Exit polls predict advantage for Grand Alliance over NDA in Bihar

Patna: If exit polls released on Saturday are to be believed, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav shouldn’t have any problem in occupying the chief minister’s chair in Bihar. If successful, the 30-year-old will have a smooth shifting from his home on 10, Circular Road in Patna to the CM’s bungalow on 1, Anney Marg – named after Maharashtra Congress leader and former Bihar governor Madhav Srihari Anney – as both have a common boundary.

As the 3-phase elections in Bihar drew to a close, all exit polls predicted a clear dvantage for the RJD-led Grand Alliance over the NDA. Today’s Chanakya even predicted a landslide win for the Grand Alliance, giving it at least 180 seats in the 243-member assembly. The results will be declared on November 10.

The mood among RJD supporters was jubilant in Patna. People came out in large numbers on Boring Road, Bailey Road, Frazer Road and even in residential colonies of Kankarbagh and Rajendranagar. They burst crackers and distributed sweets. Rickshaw pullers too joined the impromptu celebrations claiming they had voted for Tejashwi.

Exit polls predict advantage for Grand Alliance over NDA in Bihar

Nitish Kumar, who clearly seemed to have fallen out of BJP’s favour, had announced at a poll rally on November 5 that this election would be the “last” of his political career.

The widening gap between the BJP and Nitish’s JD(U) was clearer on Saturday when BJP’s Bihar unit president Sanjay Jaiswal spoke to the media claiming that the NDA will have a three-fourth majority in the House.

There was no mention of Nitish by Jaiswal, who kept praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for leading the campaign. State JD(U) president Bashistha Narain Singh trashed the predictions. He said, “Wait for three days. All survey and predictions will be proved wrong on November 10. From the reports received from our district units, NDA is winning the elections.”

The exit polls came on expected lines considering the wave that Tejashwi had created during the elections. He addressed 251 meetings despite being a late-starter. The BJP had started its campaign on June 7, with Home Minister Amit Shah addressing a rally. Tejashwi took off from first week of October as seat sharing in the Grand Alliance came too late. Before being even elected as an MLA, Tejaswhi had started contacting industrial houses in different parts of the country and invited them to invest in Bihar, according to his close friends on 10, Circular Road.

As per exit polls, the Grand Alliance is expected to get 60% of the 71 seats in central Bihar that went to polls in the first phase on October 28. In the next phase on November 3, Patna urban areas, Bhojpuri-speaking pockets of Saran, Siwan, Gopalganj, Munger too may have chosen the Grand Alliance over NDA.

However, exit polls suggest, the best performance of the GA could be from Seemaanchal areas that have a large population of minorities. Kishanganj, Araria, Katihar, Purnia, Supaul and Madhepura have a sizeable number of Yadavs. BJP might have suffered in these areas because of its association with Nitish Kumar who had become unpopular, say observers.

The Munger incident in which the police fired upon Durga devotees two days before polling might also cost the NDA dearly, they say. It could lose all three seats in the district. Professor N K Chaudhiury, a former principal of Patna College, said Tejashwi seemed to have got huge support from youths over his promise of one million jobs. This perhaps expanded his vote bank that has Yadavs and Muslims who have been promoted by his father Lalu Prasad Yadav, he said.

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