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As counting continues in Bihar, NDA, Mahagathbandan fight a tight contest

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Nitish down; RJD, BJP up; Left sounds right; Owaisi hits gold

Srinagar: As the counting of votes in Bihar continues, the wins and trends indicate a tightrope contest between NDA and Mahagathbandan with Left parties hitting right chord and Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM also making some mark.

Even as the Election Commission stated that counting of votes for the Bihar Assembly elections will continue till late in the night, the trends available so far suggested that the ruling NDA alliance has nosed ahead of its rival alliance—Mahagathbandan (Grand Alliance). As per the latest data, the NDA alliance is leading in 123 seats as opposed to the Grand Alliance, which is ahead in 113 seats. The majority mark in the 243-member Bihar Assembly is 122.

While there is still time for the final results, one thing is clear — the BJP that had remained a junior partner in the NDA in Bihar so far is going to end up having the upper hand. Notably, the Chirag Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party’s (LJP) decision to pull out of NDA alliance seems to have backfired while ending up hurting NDA’s prospects. Meanwhile, Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM could play a key role in the formation of the next government in case of a hung assembly. As per the latest available trends, the AIMIM has taken a sizeable number of seats in the state’s Seemanchal region—Amour, Kochadhaman, Jokihat, Bahadurganj and Baisi.

The RJD accused the Nitish Kumar government of intimidating officials and tampering with the results. A delegation of RJD and Congress has approached the poll watchdog office to raise the issue of alleged voting irregularities. The Election Commission, amid the charges of election fraud, responded that it has “never worked under anybody’s pressure” and that all officials and machinery are working sincerely for the declaration of results.

Most exit polls had given the RJD-Congress-Left alliance (Mahagathbandan) a clear edge over the JD(U)-BJP NDA coalition and have predicted that the ruling government was on its way out.

While the counting continues as this report is being filed, RJD seems set to be the single largest party while as Nitish Kumar has gone down and may have to play second fiddle as BJP seems winning more seats than his JD(U).

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