Today will decide the fate of the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) government that has helmed Bihar for a decade and a half.
The ruling NDA has surged ahead of the Mahagathbandhan, moving above the half-way mark after a close fight for Bihar’s 243 seats. However, Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) seems to have fallen behind the BJP. Chirag Paswan’s rebellion and decision to go solo seems to have played a role in the setback for JD(U)
Chirag’s Lok Janshakti Party, which is leading in 6 seats, has given the upper hand to the BJP. He can also be expected to align with the NDA given the fact he had earlier said: “The Prime Minister lives in my heart. I am like his Hanuman.”
The Mahagathbandhan is currently leading at nearly 100 seats while the NDA is leading in 131 seats. BJP is leading in the maximum number of seats at 70, followed by RJD (59), JD(U) (54), Congress (22) and Left (12).
The 15 years anti-incumbency sentiment against Nitish Kumar seems to have played in his poor vote share. The chief minister once known as “Sushasan Babu” has been facing tough questions on what he has achieved during his tenure, with Bihar languishing on a number of key indicators.
The coronavirus pandemic along with the associated reverse migration from Delhi also seems to have hit Nitish hard. Ground reports have suggested there is huge resentment among the migrants.
The pandemic also exposed many fault lines in his development model. Despite his over a decade and half rule, Bihar still faces acute job crisis, a plight multiplied by the pandemic.
BJP in the run-up to the election declared Nitish Kumar will be the chief minister whatever may be the outcome in terms of numbers. So, despite a poor show by his party, the JD(U) leader can expect to get the CM post for another term.