NDA Wins Bihar Election With 125 Seats As Counting Concludes
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance said it will form government in Bihar after winning 125 seats in a closely-contested state assembly poll in the state, past the majority mark of 122. The opposition Grand Alliance notched up 110 assembly seat wins across Bihar. Counting concluded in the early-hours of Wednesday.
The results mark yet another victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party that won 74 seats in a 243-member assembly, it’s best performance in Bihar.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), which has led the alliance in the state, saw it’s tally drop to 43 seats.
While the NDA went past the half-way mark, neither of the parties in that alliance emerged as one with most seats. The Rashtriya Janata Dal will maintain position as the single-largest party in the state, winning 75 seats. Led by 31-year-old Tejashwi, son of former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, the party has fewer seats than in 2015 though the young Yadav saw large rally turnouts as he tried to woo young voters with the promise of a million government jobs in one of India’s poorest states. Yadav’s alliance partner, the Congress won 19 seats.
The three Left parties though—Communist Party of India, CPI (Marxist) and CPI (Marxist-Leninist) (Liberation)—were able to secure most of the handful constituencies they were contesting in. The three combined won 16 seats from the 29 they had placed candidates in.
For incumbent Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the loss in clout has been significant. The JD(U)‘s tally of 43 seats its worst showing since the election in 2000. Kumar has governed the state for fifteen years and the BJP has committed to him remaining the leader of any NDA government in the state.
Another surprise was Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen that was able to win five seats. The party had not won any seats in the 2015 polls.
Going by vote share, Yadav’s RJD was able to garner 23.1% of the votes, the most of all parties. The BJP ended with19.46%, followed by the JD (U) with 15.4% of the vote share.
The polls saw a longer-than-usual counting day. A clear trend of results emerged only by late Tuesday night, as there was an increase in the number of polling stations and electronic voting machines due to social distancing norms.
The counting of votes was not without controversy either. RJD alleged that the grand alliance had won 119 seats but their candidates were not given certificates of victory by local officials. A similar allegation was made by Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala who claimed their Kishanganj candidate had won by over 1,000 votes but was denied a certificate. CPI (ML) Liberation, too, called for a recount of votes in three constituencies where the margin of victory was very narrow.