In twist to Bihar vote count, RJD issues list of 119 seats, says it has won them
As counting for the Bihar elections entered the home stretch on Tuesday evening, Tejashwi Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal accused the Nitish Kumar government of pressuring local election officials to withhold results on 10 seats won by the Grand Alliance.
The RJD also issued its list of 119 candidates of the alliance who it insisted had won the election. But the election officials weren’t handing over the certificates to the winning candidates in some cases, it alleged.
“This is the list of 119 seats where counting has been completed and candidates of the grand alliance have won them. The Returning Officers initially congratulated the candidates but later told them that they have lost the election,” the RJD said in a post on its Twitter account in Hindi late on Tuesday.
Election Commission secretary general Umesh Sinha denied the charge, insisting that the Election Commission machinery functioned under the rules and procedures. “The commission has never been under anyone’s pressure,” he said.
The RJD, which is set to emerge as the single largest party in Bihar according to trends on the Election Commission website, has been claiming for most of Tuesday evening that chief minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi had been arm twisting election officials to delay results on seats won by the RJD or its allies.
The Grand Alliance was projected to sweep the Bihar election by numerous exit polls released over the weekend. The projections initially appeared to be on track when counting started at 8 am. But it became increasingly clear after a few hours that they were way off the mark.
The NDA fronted by Nitish Kumar hovered around the majority mark for most of the day; the RJD-led alliance trailed.
But Tejashwi Yadav didn’t lose hope. As the sun set, the RJD messaged its counting agents at the Election Commission’s 55-odd centres not to lose hope and wrap up. “Stay put till the end,” the party tweeted to its workers, underlining that it was still ahead on more seats than the election commission or TV channels were showing. It also cited three seats where it said the party had a substantail lead but were shown to be trailing by news channels.
“Just wait for the final results. The trends are reversing now with the Grand Alliance slowly inching towards the magic figure. We are confident of getting a majority,” RJD’s Rajya Sabha MP and national spokesperson Manoj Jha told reporters.
Jha said the delay was designed to leave scope to tamper with the results. “JDU-BJP leaders are sitting at the chief minister’s residence. I urge these leaders and the administration that it is their duty to be impartial. They are delaying the handover of certificates and not entertaining our candidates,” he said.
As of 9:30 pm, the BJP was leading in four seats and had won 70 seats. The JDU, which bagged 39 seats, was leading in five constituencies. The RJD had also wrested 70 seats and was stated to be ahead in counting on four seats.