The ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) forged ahead of challenger Grand Alliance (Mahagathbandhan) in Bihar on Tuesday, leading in 128 of the 243 seats from where trends were available till 12 noon. Current trends show the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerging with the largest seat share in the state, even ahead of chief minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) (JD-U).
According to the latest updates, the BJP is leading in 75 seats, while Nitish's JD(U) is doing so on 48 seats. On the other hand, Tejashwi Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is leading on 64 seats.
As of now, it is projected that the NDA will win Bihar once again for another five-year-term. However, the question that plagues every poll-watcher's mind is — Even if the NDA wins, will Nitish Kumar remain the chief minister?
According to a report, BJP's Kailash Vijayvargiya admitted that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "image" which sailed the NDA through this election.
"By evening, we will decide on the issues of government formation and leadership," the BJP leader was quoted as saying by NDTV.
This casts some doubt on Nitish's future as the chief minister, however, even though BJP spokespersons and affiliates continue to sing the incumbent CM's praises in TV debates.
Political commentators have noted that Nitish's future as chief minister in the state now largely depends on the BJP's whims, as for the first time, the JD(U) has been forced to take the backseat in the state, even being in the ruling coalition.
The latest trends show that BJP is performing remarkably well. On the other hand, the JD(U)'s strike rate is around 40%. This has led several political experts to comment that the JD(U) might be dragging the BJP down, contrary to the ideas of a 'local battleground' peddled by the pundits following the exit poll projections.
The current developments have made it clear that the BJP has emerged with far more projected seats than any other regional party in the state, and is definitely performing a lot better than both Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav's political palaver. This is especially notable, considering that both RJD and the JD(U) have dominated the political scenario of Bihar for years, even before the BJP entered the scene.
But the current trends show that the BJP is clearly the top dog.
Counting of votes polled in Bihar Assembly elections began at 8 am on Tuesday at 55 counting centres across 38 districts of the state.
On one side is the NDA which includes JD-U (115 seats), BJP (110 seats), Vikassheel Insaan Party (11 seats) and Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustani Awam Morcha (7 seats).
Mahagathbandhan constitutes RJD (144 seats) and the Congress with 70 seats. Other alliance partners include the CPI-ML (19 seats), CPI (6 seats), and the CPIM (4 seats).
Incumbent Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was the face of the NDA while Mahagathbandhan declared Tejashwi Yadav as its chief minister candidate.