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Bihar results LIVE | As Nitish trumps Modi, Lalu takes centre stage

The Nitish Kumar-led Grand Alliance gained a clear lead over the National Democratic Alliance in the Bihar assembly elections and looked set on Sunday to form the next government as counting of votes entered its final phase.

 

At 11 am, Rajya Sabha TV showed the Grand Alliance ahead in 145 seats as against 88 for the BJP-led alliance in the 243-member assembly. NDTV showed the JD(U)-led alliance ahead with 136 seats as against 95 for the NDA.

“We will get about 150 seats. It was a very tough fight, it was a straight fight,” Janata Dal(Uunited) chief Sharad Yadav told reporters.

Initially, there was confusion over the trends, with NDTV, India Today and Times Now channels showing the NDA comfortably ahead. They later corrected their figures, with NDTV reporting the error was possibly came from the consortium providing counting data to the three channels.

The BJP, which was celebrating when the initial trends showed it ahead, became subdued after the picture changed. “If we are losing, it is because of the superior arithmetic of our rivals,” BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said.

The biggest gainer, according to initial trends, is Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal, which is set to vastly improve its previous tally of just 22 seats in the 2010 polls.

“We have been working hard for the past four months. This marks the return of the Yadav rule. We will now have IAS officers from the Yadav community again,” said Mannu Yadav, a RJD worker outside Prasad’s residence.

The election may reshape Indian politics as it would mark a comeback for anti-BJP parties at the national level. After the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, this was the second major setback for the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo after the BJP’s loss in the Delhi assembly elections.

A victory for Modi in Bihar would have helped to deflate the Opposition which is seeking to corner the PM over what it says is jobless growth and for failing to rein in hardline Hindu groups campaigning on issues that are seen weakening secularism in multi-faith, modern India.

The outcome will also possibly set the political momentum for at least four crucial state elections -– Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala and Assam -– next year and then in the key state of Uttar Pradesh in 2017.

Prime Minister Modi addressed as many as 30 rallies across Bihar as the BJP put its entire energy into clinching the crucial poll.

The bitter, high-octane campaign was more on communal and caste lines and not on jobs and development in an impoverished state where two-thirds of the people have no access to electricity.

Security personnel outside a counting centre for Patna

 

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