Patna,November 8: The Grand Alliance secured an edge over the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as vote counting progressed in the high-stakes Bihar assembly election that has was been by many analysts as one that's too close to call.
BJP and allies were ahead in 86 seats; Grand Alliance JD (U), RJD and the Congress were leading in 60, and others in three.
The Grand Alliance comprising the Janata Dal (United), or JD (U), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress was ahead in 102 seats and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA in 96, according to reports.107 seats to the Great Alliance and 99 to the NDA.
According to the Election Commission (http://eciresults.nic.in/), the BJP led in 39 seats and JD (U) in 15 seats, the RJD in 44 the Congress in eight. The NDA was ahead in 46 seats and the Grand Alliance on 83, according to trends available on 134 seats.
Counting of votes in the 243 assembly constituencies began amid tight security at 8am. The votes are locked in 62,780 electronic voting machines with 14,580 officials on duty for the counting process in Patna and other districts, officials said.
The fate of 3450 candidates will be decided during the day. The five-phase elections started on 12 October and ended on 5 November.
For the NDA, a victory would mean it has managed to regain the momentum with which it swept to power in the 2014 parliamentary elections and which it has lost since its ignominious defeat in the Delhi elections, and a spate of controversies that seem to point to growing intolerance. It will also eventually mean more seats in the Rajya Sabha and that can only help its legislative efforts.
A victory for the Grand Alliance will mean an endorsement of JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar's brand of developmental politics and also prove that an united opposition can, under the right circumstances, take on the BJP-led NDA.
In an intense and vitriolic campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed 25 meetings in the state. Nitish Kumar, the Grand Alliance chief ministerial candidate (and also the incumbent chief minister), addressed over 200.
Thursday's exit polls failed to present a clear picture. Data collated after the final phase of polling on Thursday showed that 56.8% of Bihar's electorate had exercised its vote in the election, a record. The India Today-Cicero poll predicted a range of 111-127 seats for the NDA and 110-124 seats for the Grand Alliance.
If the NDA wins, the BJP will, for the first time, form a government in the state on its own.