Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi's party AIMIM has won five assembly seats in Bihar, where votes are still being counted late into the night. The All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen had entered Bihar in 2019 after winning by-elections in five seats.
"In politics, you learn from your mistake. Our Bihar chief personally met with each and every leader of political parties. No one was ready to touch us. Big parties treated me like an untouchable... Our party president met every important Muslim leader as well. But nothing worked out. Cannot tell you why it didn't happen," Mr Owaisi said, adding he expected the party would perform better.
The AIMIM will decide later which party it will support, Mr Owaisi told NDTV.
"It's a very good day for our political party. People of Bihar have voted for us and given us their blessings. I don't know how I can thank them," Mr Owaisi told reporters this evening. "We will work for the people and focus on flood-affected areas. I want to thank people for coming out and vote for us despite the pandemic. We must be lacking in something, due to which we didn't win more seats yet. We will sit together and work on the issues and win the seats next time," Mr Owaisi said.
Given his aversion to the BJP, Mr Owaisi could be more than willing to lend a helping hand to the Grand Alliance if it falls short of a majority by a few seats.
Mr Owaisi's party said people who called his party a "vote-cutter" have got a solid reply.
Ahead of the third phase of voting, the Congress had called the AIMIM the BJP's "B team".
"They are trying to hide their frustration. If they are defeated they blame Owaisi. We started our Bihar journey five years back. We have worked for development of Seemanchal. We will decide later who we will support. Our fight for justice for Seemanchal will continue," Mr Owaisi told NDTV.
The BJP and the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal had been locked in a close fight again for the top spot in Bihar - the party with most seats; the battle was narrowly won by the RJD.
The final results will take some time. Describing the conditions that led to the delay, the Election Commission said they have halved the number of counting tables from 14 to seven.
The number of postal ballots has increased and so has the number of rounds. The Election Commission has told counting officers not to be in a hurry and take time. Officials said results will come late night.