A day after exit polls gave mixed signals on the outcome of the assembly elections, both the BJP and Grand Alliance camps in Bihar still appeared confident.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar remained at his 7, Circular Road residence, on Friday morning telling visitors that he was sure of a victory. The same confidence was there in his tweet, hours after polling ended, in which he thanked voters for extending “tremendous support” to the Grand Alliance.
According to sources, Kumar stayed away from watching the exit polls and did not even seek feedback from visitors about them. After all the hectic campaigning, in which he addressed more than 200 public meetings, he was in a mood to relax at home, though some state government officials did drop in.
“He was confident about the response the day campaigning ended and we knew it, as he headed straight to his favourite restaurant in Patna to enjoy a masala dosa. I don’t remember him doing the after the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign. He goes to a restaurant after the campaign only when he is confident. He did that after the 2010 assembly election campaign, and the result was for all to see,” said a family member.
His ally, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad also confined himself to his 10, Circular Road residence, barely a stone’s throw from Kumar’s house, relaxing with family and friends. He kept tabs on the exit polls, but did not believe any of them. He was confident of a landslide in favour of the alliance.
“The Grand Alliance will get 190 seats, while the BJP will be confined to 10-40 seats,” Prasad said, while enjoying samosas with his wife Rabri Devi and grandaughter at the portico of his house.
An RJD leader close to his family said, “He watched exit polls, but he has his own assessment based on his decades of experience to read public mood. He knows the pulse and he is supremely confident. He even told visitors to wait for the final outcome, as the contest was not even close.”
It was, however, different with BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, who remained at his Polo road office seeking feedback from across the state over the phone.
“He returned to his Rajendra Nagar residence only at 8pm, and even there he was constantly on the phone till 11pm, getting information from all,” said a leader close to him.
In the evening, just before the exit polls, Modi held a press conference with union minister Ananth Kumar, BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav and others.
“After that he did watch the exit polls, but refrained from making any comments. Yet, like Ananth Kumar, he was confident that the NDA will get a two-third majority,” the BJP leader added.