The Bharatiya Janata Party emerged as the largest single party in the Assembly elections in Bihar as the National Democratic Alliance raced ahead of the Rashtriya Janata Dal-led Opposition alliance.
As the numbers take the BJP closer to victory in Bihar Elections, hundreds of BJP supporters have assembled at the party headquarters for celebrations.
BJP supporters waving party flags and chanting slogans praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressed the mood of the party.
As per the trends so far, out of the total 243, 122 seats have been given to the NDA and 112 to the Grand Alliance.
The magic figure for forming the government in the state is 122 seats.
According to trends at 6 pm, the BJP is leading on 77 seats and the JD(U) on 41 seats. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is leading on 67 seats and the Indian National Congress on 18 seats.
The counting of votes for the 243-member Bihar Assembly began at 8 a.m. at 55 centres across 38 districts. In the Grand Alliance, RJD contested on 144 seats and the Congress on 70 seats.
The three Left parties fought in 29 constituencies: the CPI(ML) (Liberation) in 19 seats, and the CPI and CPI(M) in six and four seats, respectively.
In the NDA camp, the JD(U) and the BJP contested 122 and 121 seats, respectively. Out of that, JD(U) provided seven seats to HAM (S) while the BJP allocated 11 seats to the Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) from its share.
The sentiment of the nation and the state of Bihar was against the chief minister. Nitish Kumar was facing anti-incumbency after 15 years in power.
Bihar’s unemployment rate is twice that of the rest of the country. The states's workforce has migrated to other states for many many years. The country-wide lockdown has forced 1.5 million people to come back to Bihar as jobs vanished. Poor migrant workers of Bihar walked hundreds of kilometres to reach their home state. And, in all of this, BJP's promise of a free vaccine for people of Bihar created controversy.
Critics said Nitish has no answer for joblessness in the state, migrant crisis and corona pandemic crisis
At this juncture, enters Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He eventually addressed election rallies at 12 places, in Sasaram, Gaya, Bhagalpur, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Patna, Chapra, East Champaran, Samastipur, West Champaran, Saharsa and Forbesganj and at all these constituencies, NDA is far ahead of the Opposition Mahagathbandhan according to the trends.
So, if Prime Minister Narendra Modi's magic has once again been a factor in Bihar elections, here are the key reasons:
Take a look at the quotes from the PM’s rallies, and the issues that he harped on:
In support of Nitish
In his first rally in the state, PM in Sasaram, PM Modi sought votes for another term of the NDA government under Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, saying he had been working with the JD(U) president only for the last three-four years and that the state had seen much speedier development in this period.
The Congress-led UPA government at the Centre between 2004 and 2014 put "roadblocks" in the state's development as Kumar was a member of the NDA for most of the time, PM Modi said.
Slams dynasty politics
Addressing another rally in Samastipur, PM Modi said on one side of the political divide was the NDA which was committed to democracy and on the other an alliance devoted to dynastic politics.
"Has any relative of (Bihar Chief Minister) Nitish Kumar been sent to Rajya Sabha? Do you find any relative of Modi in Parliament?" he asked the audience in Samastipur which responded with a resounding "No".
"Double engine" govt
A "double-engine" government, he said referring to the NDA ruling at the Centre and the state as well, will ensure Bihar's development at a fast pace.
Launching his campaign for the Bihar assembly polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during Sasaram rally invoked the alleged reign of "crime" and 'loot" during the 15-year rule of the RJD, as he sought people's vote for the NDA to ensure the state's continuous journey towards "development".
"Double yuvraj" in rallies
PM Modi also berated the RJD-Congress combine in Bihar, calling it an alliance of "double-double yuvraj" (two crown princes) whose sole concern was to protect their "respective thrones".
"On the one hand, there is development brought in by the double engine government of the NDA. On the other there are these double-double yuvraj with the sole agenda of saving their thrones," he said referring to Tejashwi Yadav and Rahul Gandhi who have shared the stage during elections quite a few times.
"One of them failed in UP a few years ago and is now lending his support to the 'yuvraj of jungle raj' in Bihar.
They are going to fail here again," Modi said recalling the short-lived SP-Congress alliance which was trounced in the assembly polls of Uttar Pradesh in 2017.
Does not mention Chirag Paswan’s name
On one hand, Chirag Paswan gave statements that he will side with BJP but not JDU, and on the other hand, he kept attacking Nitish saying his aim was to put BJP in power and oust Nitish Kumar.
Though LJP is part of the NDA at the Centre, Chirag Paswan fought this election on his own. The BJP or Prime Minister Narendra Modi despite repeated attacks, did not mention Paswan Jr’s name in rallies even once. This resistance from the PM seems to have worked in favour of the NDA as the trends show LJP did not dent BJP or its allies.
Talks about Pak’s Pulwama confession
"A few days ago, our neighbour confessed to its involvement in the Pulwama terror attack," PM Modi said referring to a statement made on the floor of Pakistan National Assembly by minister Fawad Chaudhry who credited Premier Imran Khan for the "success in Pulwama" where "humne Hindustan ko ghar mein ghus kar maara (we hit India on its own soil)".
"The admission has also taken the masks off our opponents who never actually cared for the lives we lost in the suicide attack which killed many sons of Bihar. They have always been more preoccupied with their political gains," said Modi referring to the questions that were raised about the Balakot air strikes that followed the terrorist strike.
He asked the electorate to "beware of such elements" who are seeking their votes.
Rakes up Article 370
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his campaign for the Bihar assembly elections where he castigated the opposition over its stand on repeal of Article 370.
PM Modi also accused the opposition of siding with forces which are conspiring to weaken India by promising to restore Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir if it comes to power.
Free grain for poor till Chhath
Addressing an election rally in Chapra, PM Modi sought to appeal to Bihari sensitivities by speaking about 'chhath' puja, saying their "son" will ensure that kitchen fires are kept burning despite the COVID pandemic.
"My mothers need not worry about whether they would be able to afford Chhath festivities a few weeks from now. Do remember this son of yours is sitting in Delhi. He will take care of all your needs," striking a chord with women voters.
PM Modi in the rally, Prime Minister Modi assured free grains for the poor till Chhath puja.
Opposition cares only for their family
PM Modi said the oppsition alliance remembered the poor only during the elections, and once they were over, they forgot them and cared only for their own family.
He also assailed the Congress party for "conveniently forgetting" Sardar Patel on his birth anniversary yesterday.
"Did he belong to the RSS, the Jana Sangh or the BJP? No. He was a Congressman but that party chose to forget him even on his birth anniversary," he said.
Harping on the alleged lawlessness under the Lalu-Rabri governments, Modi referred to the folklore about "lakadsunghwa", a mysterious child-lifter against whom parents used to warn their children to prevent them from stepping out of homes after dark.
"The kidnappers were like the lakadsunghwa. They endangered not just children, but engineers, contractors and people from all walks of life," Modi said urging the voters to reject the RJD-led Grand alliance like "bad food which causes us indigestion after which we make up our mind never to try it again".
Lambasts protests over farm laws
Without naming any opposition party, the PM said their protests against the recent farm reform laws are in fact aimed at "saving" middlemen and brokers while being couched as support for the Minimum Support Price and agriculture 'mandis'.
They had spoken the language of middlemen and brokers even when the Rafale fighter aircraft were bought, he said, asserting that India will not back off from the decisions it has taken.