The NDA has retained the Bihar Assembly by a slim margin, crossing the majority mark of 122 seats in the 243-member house and winning from 125 seats in total. The BJP leads the alliance with 74 of the 110 seats it contested while the JD(U) has bagged 43 seats out of the 115 seats it fought. The Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) winning four seats each.
The RJD however has cried foul, contending that the votes in favour of their candidates were edited or ignored. The party has alleged that officials had initially declared them as a winner in several seats and then backtracked because Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was calling people up to "rig" the situation in the NDA's favour. One of the seats mentioned by the RJD also happens to be the most closely fought election this time around, with a mere 12 votes separating the two candidates.
RJD candidate Shakti Singh from the Hilsa assembly constituency was declared victorious by 547 votes by the Returning Officer, the RJD claimed in a tweet late on Tuesday. Soon after that, the RO "got a call from the CM's residence" and the statement was amended to declare Shakti Singh the losing candidate by 13 votes, the RJD alleged. Eventually, according to the Election Commission website, the JD(U) won the Hilsa assembly seat in Bihar just by 12 votes.
According to the results updated on the Election Commission website late Tuesday night, JD(U)'s Krishnamurari Sharan alias Prem Mukhiya has polled 61,848 votes, while his nearest Atri Muni alias Shakti Singh Yadav of the RJD has got 61,836 votes. As per the poll panel data, Sharan has got 232 postal votes while Yadav 233.
The Election Commission has however denied all allegations of pressure being exerted. Umesh Sinha, Secretary-General of the ECI had denied the allegations of rigging, stating that the Election Commission has never worked under anybody's pressure.
In an earlier briefing, the Election Commission had asserted that the numbers were "authentic", with Deputy Election Commissioner in charge of Bihar Chandra Bhushan Kumar Kumar stating that they had been sent by respective returning officers after completing all formalities.
(With inputs from agencies)