LIVE updates of the Bihar Assembly election result 2020. RJD-led Mahagathbandhan is taking on the BJP-JDU’s NDA alliance
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is all set for another term in Bihar after bagging 125 seats in the 243-member assembly.The RJD-led Grand Alliance or the Mahagathbandhan (MGB) won in 110 constituencies in the nail biter finish with the Tejashvi Yadav’s party emerging as single-largest party by bagging 75 seats, one more than the BJP’s 74.
Moneycontrol lists five things that you should know about the Bihar assembly election, the results of which were announced late last night.
The rise of BJP in Bihar
The NDA win notwithstanding, the biggest takeaway of the results was the rise of BJP in Bihar. The party, which was a junior partner in the last elections, emerged as senior partner this time bagging 74 seats, just one short of RJD’s 75. The total vote share of BJP is 20 percent in this election.
BJP’s strike rate, 67.27 percent was best among parties. The performance assumes significance since JD-U, the NDA ally underperformed by winning 43 seats, down from 71 in 2015 assembly polls. Seven ministers of the JD-U lost the elections. It is the stellar performance of the BJP that enabled the NDA to attain a simple majority of 125, three more than the magic number 122. In 2015 elections when the BJP and the JD-U were in different alliances, the saffron party had won 53 seats.
Even as Nitish Kumar is set to become the chief minister for the fourth consecutive term, he will have to take senior alliance partner BJP more seriously than before.
A diminished Nitish Kumar
The Bihar mandate may have given NDA another chance to rule the state, but it led to dip in the stature of the incumbent chief minister Nitish Kumar whose party Janata Dal (United) won just 43 seats and polled 15 percent votes, a dip from 71 seats and over 40 percent vote share in 2015 elections.
Even though Nitish Kumar is set to be the CM, but the BJP, the senior ally now, will for sure be in the driver’s seat in setting the agenda for the government. The JD-U chief has come as a fresh change in Bihar's political arena after the three terms of Lalu-Rabri rule which the NDA leaders have been referring as the ‘Jungle Raj’.
But, his stature has reduced over the years with increasing anti-incumbency. The numbers that JD-U got clearly show that the political clout of the leader often referred to as Suhasan Babu has diminished.
The bigger worry is for JD-U where there are not many second generation leaders after sixty-nine-year old Nitish Kumar. It will be interesting to see if he will last five years in the new gig ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Tejashwi Yadav’s coming of age
The 2020 Bihar Assembly elections also marked the coming of age of a 31-year old Tejashwi Yadav, who as chief ministerial face led the Mahagathbandhan to winning 110 seats, 15 less than the NDA, the eventual winner. Tejashwi’s RJD ended with 75 seats and emerged as the single-largest party. The party bagged 23% vote share, the BJP 20 per cent and JD (U) 15 percent.
The cricketer-turned-politician was up against the best in the trade. He is credited for setting the Bihar polls narrative by invoking employment as an issue in the elections in a state where caste remains a major poll factor. Analysts have hailed his strategy of focusing on the incumbent Nitish government while steering clear of contentious issues such as Ram Temple, scrapping of Article 370, etc. He also tried his best to stay away from father Lalu Prasad Yadav, serving a jail term for a series of corruption charges. He might have fell short of making it to the victory figure, but he is here to stay, analysts said.
Underperformer Congress, resurgent Left
The Congress, an ally in the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan, won 19 of the 70 seats it contested. The poor performance was blamed for dragging down the overall tally of the Opposition alliance that ended with 110 seats, 12 seats short of the magic number 122 in the 243-member Bihar state assembly.
Many say that the grand-old party emerged as a weak link of the alliance and the RJD would have done better had they contested seats that were generously given to the Congress party. In sharp contrast, the elections marked the resurgence of the Left in the state with the three Left parties, part of the Mahagathbandhan bagging 16 of the 29 seats they contested.
The LJP factor
Even though Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) ended up winning one seat of the 134 it contested, it is being accused of playing a role in cutting votes of JD-U’s candidates. LJP managed to get over 5.7 percent votes, up from 4.8 percent it got in 2015. The party, which contested alone, is said to have damaged Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD-U in at least 27 seats where the LJP candidates played the spoiler for the JD-U candidates.