NDA maintains lead over Mahagathbandhan in Bihar but game still wide open
The NDA maintained an edge over the RJD-led Grand Alliance on Tuesday, winning four seats and leading in 121 others as counting progressed slowly in Bihar.
The RJD, leading the opposition five-party alliance, has won two seats, and along with allies, was leading in 106 others, according to the Election Commission website.
EC officials said over 1 crore votes were counted till around 1.30 pm out of nearly 4.16 crore votes polled in the three-phase elections. Out of nearly 7.3 crore voters, 57.09 per cent had cast votes in the polls.
Despite the NDA leading the table, having won or leading in 125 seats, three more than the number required for a simple majority in the 243-member assembly, it's not done and dusted yet.
The RJD and its partners have won or are leading in 108 seats, 17 fewer than the ruling coalition.
With more than two third of the votes still to be counted, and the margin of lead being less than 1,000 in about a score of seats, the game is still wide open.
Tejashwi Yadav, the Mahagathbandhan's chief ministerial candidate is leading in Raghopur, the seat he is seeking to retain, and so is his elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav in Hasanpur.
NDA ally and HAM leader Jitan Ram Manjhi is also leading after trailing for a while in Imamganj. Another NDA partner Mukesh Sahni of the Vikassheel Insan Party (VIP) is also leading in Simri Bakhtiyarpur.
A host of Bihar ministers including Nand Kishore Yadav, Brijendra Prasad Yadav and Binod Narayan Jha are leading but Shailesh Kumar was trailing.
Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav of Jan Adhikar Party, a multiple term Lok Sabha member, was trailing from his pocketborough Madhepura. Luv Sinha, the Congress nominee for Bankipur seat in Patna and son of actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha was also trailing.
Going by the trends, the BJP looks set to emerge as the single-largest party having won two seats and leading in 74 others. Its senior ally, the JD(U) of Nitish Kumar, has won two seats and its candidates were leading in other 39 places.
The HAM and VIP, the other two allies of the NDA, are ahead in three and five constituencies respectively.
The RJD has won two seats and its nominees are leading in 68 others, giving a close competition to the BJP to emerge at the top of the table. Ally Congress is leading in 19 seats.
The Magathbandhan's Left partners look set for a resurgence, with the CPI-ML leading in 13 places, CPI and CPI-M three each.
The LJP, whose walking out of the NDA in Bihar just ahead of the polls had set off talks that it upset the ruling alliance's applecart, was down in the dumps with its candidate leading in just one seat.