Patna: The ruling NDA in Bihar was ahead of its rivals in more than half of the state’s 243 assembly seats, with the BJP appearing set to outperform its senior alliance partner JD(U) headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, according to trends available so far.
Tejashwi Yadav’s RJD, projected in exit polls as the clear winner along with other Grand Alliance partners, was leading in 65 out of the 144 seats it contested, while the Congress, which had fielded 70 candidates, was ahead in only 21 places. Among other partners of the RJD-led Grand Alliance the CPI-ML was leading in 14, CPI (3) and CPI-M (2).
As trends from all 243 seats became available, the NDA constituents were ahead in 125, with BJP candidates leading the table in 72 seats and the JD(U) in only 47. The BJP had contested 110 seats as against the JD(U)’s 115. A party or coalition of parties needs 122 seats for a simple majority.
Former Bollywood set designer Mukesh Sahni’s Vikassheel Insaan Party, a fledgling outfit that joined the NDA just ahead of the assembly polls, may spring a surprise, having established a lead in six out of 11 seats it contested.
Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party, which was expected to cause a major upset by pulling out of the NDA and fielding a large number of BJP and JD(U) rebels, was leading in only two seats.
Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM was ahead in three seats, BSP in one and Independents (7).
Despite looking set to emerge as the single largest party if the trend continues, the BJP has so far polled 19.89 per cent of votes counted so far against RJD’s 22.95 per cent.
However, the BJP along with partner JD(U) has so far pocketed 35.43 per cent votes against 32.13 per cent polled by the RJD-Congress combine.
Counting of votes has been tardy because of various protocols in place in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Election Commission sources said it may take longer than usual before results start pouring in.
H R Srinivasa, the state’s chief electoral officer, said that only 80 lakh of the close to four crore votes polled had been counted till noon.