The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has won the Bihar 243-seat legislative assembly elections with an absolute majority with 125 seats. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has emerged as the single largest party but will sit in opposition with Congress and other members of Mahagathbandhan as the alliance managed to win only 110 seats. The counting of the votes took 19 hours to complete. These elections tested Election Commission’s capacity to conduct smooth elections amid a pandemic.
Prime Minister Modi thanked the people of Bihar
PM Modi tweeted from his official account and thanked the people of Bihar. “The poor in villages, farmers, labourers, merchants, shopkeepers and every section of Bihar have relied on the NDA’s mantra of sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas. I again assure every citizen of Bihar that for the balanced development of every person, every region, we will continue to work with full dedication,” he tweeted in Hindi.
बिहार के गांव-गरीब, किसान-श्रमिक, व्यापारी-दुकानदार, हर वर्ग ने NDA के ‘सबका साथ, सबका विकास, सबका विश्वास’ के मूल मंत्र पर भरोसा जताया है। मैं बिहार के हर नागरिक को फिर आश्वस्त करता हूं कि हर व्यक्ति, हर क्षेत्र के संतुलित विकास के लिए हम पूरे समर्पण से निरंतर काम करते रहेंगे।— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 10, 2020
Additional polling booths to ensure precautions amid Covid-19
The vote counting commenced at 8 AM on Tuesday at 55 centres in 38 districts. There were 1,06,515 polling stations compared to 72,723 in the 2015 elections due to preventive measures against Covid-19. Due to additional 30,000+ polling stations, the number of EVM machines used was also higher, resulting in slower counting.
The seat tally
Apart from BJP winning 74 seats, JDU won 43, Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP), and Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) won four each, totalling 125. Congress contested 70 seats but only managed to win 19 among them, and their loss on remaining seats severely affected the Mahagathbandhan tally. CPI and CPI-M as Mahagathbandhan allies won two and 12 seats, respectively.
Among others, AIMIM won five while Bahujan Samaj Party managed to grab one seat. One independent candidate also won the elections. Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) separated from NDA and fielded candidates on over 130 seats but managed to win only one seat.
Opposition cries foul
A delegation of RJD and Congress met the Election Commission officer in Patna and alleged that there was tempering in vote-counting in some constituencies. RJD leader Manoj Jha after meeting the EC officer, said EC has assured it will “try to address their grievances”. He said, “There are over dozens of seats where tampering has been done. They are trying to change the people’s mandate. Even after all such ill-intended attempts, we will form the government. EC has assured us that they will try to address all our grievances. We trust the EC but not the district administration.”
While some Congress leaders blamed EVM for their loss, Congress’s Karti Chidambaram tweeted blaming EVM should stop. Umesh Sinha, Secretary-General, ECI, said the commission has never worked under anyone’s pressure. “All officials and machinery are working sincerely for declaration of Bihar election results,” he said.