Bihar Poll Of Exit Polls:Tejashwi Yadav emerged as the crowd-puller of the campaign

The opposition coalition in Bihar led by Tejashwi Yadav will win 124 seats, just past the majority mark, and incumbent Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s National Democratic Alliance will win 110, an aggregate of opinion polls said on Saturday after three-phase voting completed in the state.

Time Now-C Voter gives 116 to the NDA and a slight lead for the opposition Mahagathbandhan at 120. It says Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) will win one seat.

Republic TV-Jan Ki Baat gave 118 to 138 seats to the opposition alliance and 91-117 seats to the ruling NDA. Chirag Paswan’s party is likely to win five to eight seats, it says.

TV9-Bharatvarsh gives the Tejashwi Yadav-led alliance 120 seats and 115 seats to the NDA. The LJP could win four, it says.  

An India Today-Axis poll on the preferred chief minister says 44 per cent picked Tejashwi Yadav and Nitish Kumar is second to his former deputy with 35 per cent.

A disclaimer – exit polls often get it wrong.

The Bihar results will be announced on Tuesday, November 10.

Any party or coalition needs 122 for a majority in the 243-seat Bihar assembly. If these polls are any indication, it means that anti-incumbency may be a big challenge to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s bid for a fourth straight term. His campaign was marked by public displays of anger; besides heckling, the five-time Chief Minister faced an onion attack in one of his rallies.

Discontent over jobs, the migrant crisis, the handling of the coronavirus and floods, could be the undoing of the Chief Minister who prided himself as “Susashan Babu”.

While wrapping up his campaign, Nitish Kumar even announced dramatically that this was his last election and “all’s well that ends well”. The statement was clarified by his aides later as his “last election rally”, but his rivals and analysts drew a different interpretation.

The exit polls also indicate that the BJP may get an upper hand over Nitish Kumar, who was repeatedly assured by an array of BJP leaders that he remained the coalition’s top face in Bihar.

The polls indicate a tectonic shift from the national election just last year, when the NDA won 39 of Bihar’s 40 Lok Sabha seats, decimating the opposition and sending Tejashwi Yadav — who took charge of the RJD while his father Lalu Yadav served a jail sentence – into temporary self-exile.

But in this campaign, Tejashwi Yadav, 31, emerged as the crowd-puller, drawing huge cheers at every rally with his promise of signing off on 10 lakh government jobs at his very first cabinet meeting.

The poll of polls also leaves open the possibility of a fragmented verdict, given that none of the main coalitions are given a massive majority. In that case, Chirag Paswan, who contested separately from the NDA to defeat Nitish Kumar but declared his firm loyalty to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, may become a significant factor.

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