Incumbent Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led ‘Grand Alliance’ has emerged winner with a big margin in Bihar Assembly polls. Nosing ahead after the BJP-led NDA led in the early trends, the JDU(U)-RJD-Congress ‘Grand Alliance’ only kept firming its lead. The three party alliance stormed the assembly polls with a near 3/4th majority securing 178 seats, well above the magic mark of 122, while the BJP-led four-party NDA was humbled with just 58 seats.
With the results throwing a clear winner, Nitish Kumar is set to return as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the third time.
Addressing the press first time after the resounding victory of Grand Alliance, Nitish Kumar said that Bihar results reflected the mood of the nation and described it as a “milestone election”, while thanking people for the decisive mandate.
“Bihar poll outcome will have national implications as it had attracted nation-wide attention. The results have made it clear that people want a robust opposition and strong alternative at the national level,” Mr. Kumar said in Patna.
He also asserted that despite the bitter campaign, he will not hold “grudge against anybody and will work together with all” keeping a positive mindset.
The counting for 243 member Bihar legislative assembly began early on Sunday. For nearly an hour, some trends showed NDA in a healthy lead but soon it was left trailing with a sudden surge of JD(U)-led alliance. The biggest story, however, for this election happens to be Lalu Prasad Yadav, whose RJD is emerged as the single largest party with 80 seats.
Whereas, the third partner Congress too put up a strong performance securing 26 seats out of the 41 it contested.
On the other hand, BJP got 53 seats, crashing down from the 91 seats it had held in the last assembly. Whereas its three allies – LJP, Manjhi’s HAM and RLSP — struggled with just 5 seats.
As the picture kept getting clearer, congratulations for the Grand Alliance and especially Nitish Kumar kept pouring in. Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up Mr. Kumar congratulating him on victory.
“Had a telephone conversation with Shri @nitishkumar & congratulated him on the victory,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted.
Immediately thereafter, Nitish Kumar replied on the micro-blogging site tweeting “Just received a phone call from the Prime Minister congratulating me…thank you Modiji.” Mr. Kumar also thanked Congress president Sonia Gandhi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
“Thank you Sonia Ji for your congratulatory phone call,” he said.
Conceding defeat, BJP chief Amit Shah on Sunday afternoon congratulated Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad on their massive victory and said his party respected the people’s mandate.
“Our good wishes to the new government to take Bihar on the path of development,” he said adding “we respect the mandate of the people of Bihar… I congratulate Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav on their victory in Bihar Assembly elections,” on his micro-blogging site Twitter.
While the workers of the JD(U), RJD and the Congress were seen celebrating outside their offices, workers and cadres of BJP and its allies were left subdued after holding celebrations after the initial leads, which showed NDA in the front.
Earlier, most of the exit polls have predicted a close contest between the BJP-led NDA and the grand alliance of JD(U)-RJD- Congress with a slight edge to the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led grouping.
The five-phased elections, which started on October 12 and ended on November 5, saw the lead campaigners from both the sides trading bitter accusations. Over a dozen FIRs were lodged by the poll authorities against the top leaders of the two alliances relating to their alleged hate speeches.
As much as 56.80 per cent, the highest in assembly election in the state’s history, of the 6.68 crore voters have exercised their franchise.
(With inputs from the PTI)