Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav, today’s winning combo, hugged and held hands, before Mr Yadav said, “Nitish Kumar, chief minister of Bihar, present and continuing, will take care of Bihar.”
Here are the latest developments in this story:
- Nitish Kumar will be Bihar chief minister for a third straight term, with the state handing the Grand Alliance that he leads a big win in the assembly elections. It has won in 178 seats, the BJP camp got only 58.
- “This is a victory of Bihar’s people and Bihar’s self-respect,” Mr Kumar said, adding that the “people have voted against intolerance and for democracy. We will attempt to meet their expectations.”
- Both talked about the national impact of the Bihar result. “We will start a nationwide movement against the BJP. Bihar has given a new direction to the entire country. We will oust the Narendra Modi government,” Lalu Yadav said.
- Lalu Yadav has scripted a spectacular comeback after multiple setbacks in the last few elections. His RJD won 80 seats and has emerged as the single-largest party in the Bihar assembly.
- As it became clear that the Grand Alliance had won Bihar, PM Modi tweeted, “Had a telephone conversation with Shri @nitishkumar & congratulated him on the victory.”
- Facing a second defeat this year after Delhi, the BJP was in a huddle with party chief Amit Shah meeting top leaders in Delhi for an assessment. “We accept the mandate of people,” said BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad. “I cannot think of any one factor why we lost today. Extraordinary loss,” he later told NDTV.
- The BJP needed a win in Bihar to boost PM Modi’s chances of building the parliamentary strength he needs to push through key reforms. The government is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha, which is selected on the basis of parties’ strength in state assemblies.
- The BJP has rushed to protect PM Modi from the blame of defeat. The PM led a no-holds barred attack on Nitish and Lalu for the party, which opted not to name a chief ministerial candidate as it projected him as the face of its campaign.
- “This is a state election and not a referendum on the central leadership or government,” said senior BJP leader and union minister Prakash Javadekar.
- “This is a victory of unity over divisiveness. Humility over arrogance,” said Rahul Gandhi, attacking the Prime Minister. For his Congress, the third ally in the Grand Alliance, the Bihar election brought the first good news in months. The Congress has won on 27 seats; it had won only four last time.