The NDA seemed to be taking a lead in the Bihar Assembly polls with trends across the board putting it above the majority mark. While the BJP was leading in 65 seats, the JD(U) was hovering around the 60 mark.
Even as early celebrations started outside the BJP office, opposition leaders said it was still early and there were at least 70 seats with wafer-thin margins.
Thus far, while the Congress is performing slightly under par with leads in only around 20 of the 70 seats it is contesting, the Left is doing well, with leads in 12 to 15 of the seats allotted. It was in fact the RJD, which party leaders had thought would win 90 seats, was underperforming, according to the early trends, with the counting putting it in the lead in only 65 seats.
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RJD leaders said the numbers were misleading as the counting was slower due to the Election Commission setting up a higher number of polling booths because of Covid-19, and because of trends not available from the rural areas. They said that this meant that the picture might change still.
The BJP and JD(U) however said the trends showed what they had been saying all along — that despite the noise around the Tejashwi Yadav campaign, there were silent voters that had chosen the NDA over jungle raj.
Meanwhile, as per the trends till 10:30 am, the celebrations that had started at Lalu Prasad’s 10, Circular Road, residence in Patna around one hour into counting were put on hold an hour later as the trends swung the NDA’s way, putting it neck and neck with the Grand Alliance. While only first rounds have been counted yet, the fact that these were trends for 243 seats made both camps cautious.
The most noticeable change in fortunes was of the LJP’s Chirag Paswan. The party is now leading on eight seats, and in case of a Hung Assembly, can play a crucial role. With over 5.5% of the share, should the LJP hold on, it would be a huge boost to the political career of the young Paswan, and his gamble of walking out of the NDA in Bihar at the last moment.
The NDA seemed to be doing well in North Bihar, which voted in the third phase and includes some of its strongholds, and the Grand Alliance in the Magadh and Bhojpur belts, where polling was held in the first and second phases. The RJD seemed to be emerging as the single largest party, followed by the BJP, with the JD(U) third. The Congress seemed to be doing well. The AIMIM, which was seen as having a good chance in the Seemanchal region, was ahead in two seats and its ally BSP in one.
On their individual seats, RJD leaders Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav were leading from Raghopur and Hasanpur respectively, former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi was ahead in Imamganj against the RJD’s Uday Narayan Choudhary, while VIP chief Mukesh Sahani was leading in Simri Bakhtiyarpur.
BJP stalwarts and ministers Nand Kishore Yadav and Prem Kumar were leading from Patna Saheb and Gaya Town respectively, while Plurals Party chief Pushpam Priya Choudhary and the Congress’s Luv Sinha were trailing against the BJP’s Nitin Navin from Bankipur.
On ground, both camps look to put their celebrations on hold.
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