Bihar election: RJD single-largest party; NDA maintains slight lead
The results of the 2020 Bihar election are yet to be declared. The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance continues to maintain a lead, albeit only slightly. The Rashtriya Janata Dal-led Mahagathbandhan (Grand) Alliance is slowly catching up to the NDA in what has turned into a tight race and the RJD has surpassed the BJP to become the single-largest party.
According to the latest trends available on the Election Commission website, the BJP and the JD(U), constituents of the NDA, are winning/leading in 72 and 42 seats respectively. The NDA is ahead on 122 seats. The RJD and the Congress, constituents of the MGB alliance, are winning/leading in 77 and 19 seats respectively. The MGB is ahead on 114 seats.
Notably, most exit polls had predicted either a tight race between the MGB and the NDA, with some favoring the former. Earlier, trends suggested that the BJP-led NDA was in a clear lead, surpassing the majority mark of 122 in the 243-seat Assembly.
The Election Commission had said at a press conference earlier on Tuesday that, as of 5:30 pm, 2.7 crore votes (or two-thirds of the total 4.11 crore votes) had been counted. The overall voter turnout in the three-phase election was 57.05%. The process of vote counting is slower this time as the EC had capped the maximum number of voters per booth at 1,000.
Separately, with Nitish Kumar's JD(U) lagging behind the BJP in the NDA, questions were raised about whether Kumar will remain the CM candidate for the alliance if it emerges victorious. On the subject, BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya told NDTV that the party will decide on the issues of government formation and leadership in the evening. Kumar, a three-time CM, has performed poorly this election.
When the count had started, the RJD was leading, and JD(U) spokesperson KC Tyagi had conceded defeat. As the count progressed, the BJP-led NDA emerged as the leading alliance. The RJD has now alleged that the Kumar-led government is intimidating officials. It said returning officers had congratulated RJD candidates for winning 119 seats, but are now refusing to issue certificates, claiming they lost.