New Delhi: Bihar’s opposition coalition, led by Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav, is projected pull ahead of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to win the assembly election, according to a number of exit polls conducted Saturday, the final day of polling.
The India Today-Axis My India Exit Poll predicted that the Mahagathbandhan of the RJD, Congress, CPI, CPIM and CPI-ML will win 139-161 seats, whereas the NDA, led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, will be limited to 69-91 seats.
Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) is projected to win three to five seats, while others, including Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) and Upendra Khushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) could win six to eight seats.
The majority mark for forming a government is 122 in the 243-seat Bihar assembly.
Today’s Chanakya predicted a massive victory for the grand alliance, with over 180 seats in the Bihar assembly. It also said that both the Bharatiya Janata Party and Janata Dal (United) combine and the RJD-Congress will see a 3 per cent increase in vote share. While the BJP-JD(U) will get 34 per cent, the RJD-Congress will secure 44 per cent of the vote share.
A few exit polls, though, predicted a tight contest between the opposition coalition and the NDA.
The ABP News CVoter predicted that the opposition alliance will get 108-131 seats and NDA 104-128, while the LJP would get between 1-3 seats.
The Times Now-C Voter gave 116 seats to the NDA and 120 to the Mahagathbandhan, indicating it could be hung assembly. The LJP, which several BJP leaders have called the “vote-cutter” this election, is projected to win one seat.
This exit poll also projected that the NDA will get 37.70 per cent of the vote share, while the Mahagathbandhan will secure 36.30 per cent. The LJP is expected to garner 8.50 per cent, and the others 17.50 per cent.
Republic TV-Jan Ki Baat gave 118-138 seats to the opposition coalition and 91-117 seats to the ruling NDA. According to it, the LJP will win 5-8 seats.
In the last assembly election in 2015, the JD(U) had won 71 of the 101 seats contested, the BJP took 53 of 157, and the LJP won two seats of the 42 contested.
Votes from the three phases of polling will be officially tallied Tuesday, 10 November.
The Election Commission said there was a 55.22 per cent voter turnout in phase 3 of the polls. The 2015 election saw a total turnout of 56.66 per cent.
Tejashwi first choice for CM, Nitish second
The India Today-Axis My India said that Tejashwi Yadav had emerged the first choice for the chief minister’s chair with 44 per cent backing him. Yadav emerged as a formidable opponent in the election campaigns, especially among the youth following his promise of providing 10 lakh jobs.
Incumbent Nitish Kumar was the next most favoured chief ministerial choice, with 35 per cent supporting his return.
The exit polls reiterate the challenge facing Nitish Kumar, for whom the stakes not just include the CM’s chair but also his reputation as an able administrator.
While the BJP is aware of a “Nitish fatigue” in the state, the party has banked on PM Narendra Modi and his rallies to have made up for it, a strategy the BJP has followed across most state elections in the past five years.
Paswan’s decision to break away from the NDA and have the LJP contest independently has further made this election a politically charged event. The LJP fielded many candidates against the JD(U), especially several BJP rebels, to damage Nitish’s prospects.
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