10.35 pm: Here are the top updates of the day

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that the Bharatiya Janata Party had come a long way from having “two rooms and two MPs” to now establishing a national presence. He made the remark while addressing BJP workers in Delhi at an event to celebrate the National Democratic Alliance’s victory in the Bihar Assembly polls.
  • Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushil Modi reiterated that Nitish Kumar will remain the chief minister of Bihar as per the party’s commitment, a day after the ruling National Democratic Alliance emerged victorious in the Assembly elections. “There is no confusion on this,” he added.
  • Nitish Kumar thanked Narendra Modi. “The people decide,” he tweeted. “I bow to them for giving majority to the NDA. I also thank PM Modi for his support.” 
  • Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh congratulated Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav for the Grand Alliance’s performance in the Bihar Assembly elections. Singh also urged Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to quit regional politics as it had become “too small” for him.

8.21 pm: Nitish Kumar thanks voters for giving NDA the majority. “The people decide,” he tweets. “I bow to them for giving majority to the NDA. I also thank PM Modi for his support.”

8.08 pm: The prime minister hits out at the Congress, says parties run by family are a threat to the democracy.

8.06 pm: Modi says India’s Covid-19 fight is a success story.

7.57 pm: Modi says that the BJP is the only party in Bihar which came to power three times and whose seats have gone up.

7.51 pm: The prime minister says that behind BJP’s success, is its governance model. “People trust BJP the most and are willing to give it chances,” he says.

7.47 pm: “BJP is the only party which understands the needs and aspirations of sections of the society,” he adds.

7.46 pm: Modi says NDA won the Bihar elections because it made the development of people its goal.

7.36 pm: “It was not easy to conduct elections amid Covid, but the officials did it,” Modi adds.

7.34 pm: Modi says that the election process is the pride of all Indian, no matter what the results are.

7.32 pm: “I thank the people of this great country not because they gave BJP success in the elections, but because we all celebrated the festival of democracy,” he adds.

7.30 pm: Modi begins his address at the BJP headquarters.

7.20 pm: Nadda thanks the voters for supporting the BJP in Bihar and the bye-elections.

7.19 pm: Here are some visuals of Modi at the event.

7.18 pm: BJP President JP Nadda begins his address at the venue.

7.11 pm: Modi arrives at the venue.

7.08 pm: The stage is all set for the prime minister’s address, reports NDTV.

6.45 pm: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh arrives for the big celebration at the BJP headquarters. His cabinet colleagues Nirmala Sitharaman and Dharmendra Pradhan have also reached the venue, according to NDTV.

6.34 pm: Union Home Minister Amit Shah also arrives for the event, reports NDTV.

6.21 pm: BJP National President JP Nadda arrives at the party’s headquarters.

6.20 pm: Here is a video of the venue where Modi will address BJP workers.

6.10 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address BJP workers in Delhi soon, reports NDTV.

5.43 pm: BJP leader Uma Bharti says Tejashwi Yadav is a “very good boy”. “But Bihar was saved by the skin of its teeth because he wouldn’t have been able to run the state,” she adds, according to ANI. “Lalu would have ultimately been at the helm pushing Bihar back into jungle raj. Tejashwi can lead but after he grows older.”

5.40 pm: The Dalai Lama has written to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to congratulate him on the victory of his alliance in Bihar State Assembly Election, reports ANI.

“I pray you will be successful in meeting whatever challenges lie ahead in fulfilling hopes and aspirations of the people of Bihar,” he has written in a letter to Kumar.

4.57 pm: Bihar BJP chief says Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party “cheated” the ruling alliance, reports Economic Times.

In a separate interaction with the Hindustan Times, Yadav maintains that Nitish Kumar will remain the state’s chief minister, asserting that the saffron party knows to abide by “coalition dharma”.

12.47 pm: Sushil Kumar Modi also says not all parties win equal number of seats in an alliance, reports ANI. “Who won how many seats is irrelevant, people voted for NDA,” he adds. “BJP played a role in JD(U) victory and JD(U) played a role in BJP’s victory. JD(U), BJP, VIP and HAM worked together, then we registered this victory.”

12.45 pm: BJP leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi says there is no question of replacing Nitish Kumar as chief minister, despite his party winning less seats, reports NDTV. “Nitish ji will remain chief minister as it was our commitment,” he says. “There is no confusion on this.”

He also says the BJP and Janata Dal (United) are “equal partners” in the alliance.

11.27 am: The BJP’s state election committee in Bihar will meet at 4 pm, reports News18.

At the same time, Modi is set to address party workers at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi.

11.25 am: Congress leader Digvijaya Singh asks Nitish Kumar to enter national politics. “Nitish ji, Bihar has become too small for you,” he tweets. “Help unite all leaders who believe in the ideology of secularism, and stop the Centre from using the ‘divide and rule’ policy of the British.”

He also asks Kumar to support Tejashwi Yadav, saying that his father Lalu Yadav has fought alongside him before. “Save the country from ruin,” he says.

11.04 am: Around 7 lakh voters in Bihar used NOTA, or the None of The Above, option during the election, reports News18. This is around 1.69% of the electorate.

11 am: Union minister and BJP leader Prakash Javadekar says the people of Bihar have rejected the Opposition’s politics and that they want progress.

9.30 am: Maharashtra MP Sanjay Raut takes a swipe at the Janata Dal (United) and says Nitish Kumar ought to thank Shiv Sena if he ends up retaining his post of the chief minister of Bihar despite winning fewer seats than its ally, the BJP, PTI reports.

Raut says Kumar should pay attention to what happened in Maharashtra in October last year, adding that his party had shown what happens when alliance partners do not keep their promise. “I have heard BJP leaders saying only Nitish babu will be Chief Minister, Nitish babu should thank Shiv Sena for this,” Raut says. “Not keeping promises will not happen in Bihar because the Shiv Sena has shown what can happen if word is not kept.”

He was referring to the dramatic events that followed last year’s Assembly elections in Maharashtra, when the BJP and Shiv Sena had a fall out after disagreements over power-sharing. The two contested the polls together and swept to victory, but the Sena later alleged that the BJP was refusing to honour its pre-poll promise of rotating the chief minister’s post.

9.27 am: Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said that although the scales of the Bihar Assembly election finally tilted in favour of the NDA, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav’s contest was worthy of praise, PTI reports.

“We [NCP] did not contest because we felt that young leadership in the form of Tejashwi Yadav should come forward,” Pawar told reporters. “Tejashwi has put up a gritty fight.”

9.23 am: Bihar BJP state president Sanjay Jaiswal criticises Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Manoj Jha, saying that the Rajya Sabha member should desist from indulging in drama and accept the verdict, PTI reports. On Tuesday when counting of votes was still underway, Jha had prematurely declared victory for his party. Jaiswal mocked the RJD leader for his remarks, which he said revealed Jha’s “poor mentality”.

9.19 am: After a dismal performance at the elections, Congress alleges tampering in the counting of votes and accuses the ruling National Democratic Alliance of “misusing power”.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, who is camping in Bihar for the past many days, alleges that party candidates in Kishanganj and Sakra had won but were not given victory certificates. “How much forgery will we see in Bihar polls?” he tweets. “Congress candidate from Kishanganj had won by 1,266 votes. BJP candidate had gone home. But our candidate is not being given a certificate of victory. Democracy is being murdered and mandate being abducted in Bihar.”

9.16 am: Bharatiya Janata Party President JP Nadda credits Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the party’s victory in Bihar, and says people of the state have rejected dynasty, casteism and politics of appeasement.

“In the difficult times of the coronavirus pandemic, when the country was struggling with crisis and challenges, Modi government took all possible steps to help the poor and the needy and provided them free ration and financial assistance as well. It was a unique example of serving the humanity,” Nadda says in series of tweets.

9.11 am: With the Assembly election in Bihar going down to the wire late of Tuesday night, the Congress emerged as the weakest link in the RJD-led Grand Alliance. The party, which had contested 70 seats, had won just 14 and was leading at another 5, registering a strike rate of 27%, according to The Indian Express. Its performance was especially poor in seats where it was in a straight fight with the the Bharatiya Janata Party.

9.08 am: On March 24, Narendra Modi announced a lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus that brought the economy of 1.3 billion people to a juddering halt. What was the political impact of this unprecedented dislocation? In a word: none. As the Bihar Assembly as well a spate of bye-poll results came in on Tuesday, it was clear that while Indians suffered immensely due to the lockdown, they did not attach much blame to the measure’s author, the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Read more:

Bihar elections: Modi’s Covid-19 lockdown battered Indians – so why are they still voting BJP?

7.40 am: Nitish Kumar, who battled the anti-incumbency mood, is now set to return as the chief minister of Bihar for a fourth term.

7.30 am: The ruling JDU-BJP combine touched the majority mark around 3 am in the closely-watched election.

7.20 am: The Opposition’s Grand Alliance or Mahagathbandhan put up a strong fight in the contest, but
fell short of the magic mark.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal bagged 75 seats and emerged as the single largest party in the Assembly despite the loss. The Congress managed to win only 19 of the 70 seats it contested.

However, the Left parties did remarkably well in the polls. The Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist) secured two seats each, while the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (Liberation) won 12 seats of the 19 it contested.

The total number of seats won by all its five alliance partners stood at 110.

Also read: Left parties put up impressive show, leaders say could have won more seats

7.10 am: Defying most exit-poll predictions, the Bharatiya Janata Party won 74 seats out of the 110 it contested. Meanwhile, Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) which fought 115, won only 43. Both the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) and the Vikassheel Insaan Party won four seats each, taking the coalitions total to 125. Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party, which pulled out of the NDA in October and contested 137 seats, managed to win just one seat.

7 am: Here is what happened on Tuesday:

  • The counting for the Bihar Assembly elections started at 8 am and after over 15 hours, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance emerged as the winner. The NDA secured a majority in the Bihar Assembly.
  • However, even as counting for 50 seats was underway, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced victory.
  • The Election Commission addressed four press conferences throughout the day, the last one at 1 am on Wednesday, as counting progressed slowly due to the coronavirus-related restrictions. Additionally, the Rashtriya Janata Dal levelled accusations of fraud in the polls. Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav said the returning officers had initially congratulated the party candidates on their “victory” but later said they had lost.