Here are the top 10 points on Bihar election results:
"People from every section of Bihar have displayed their confidence in the NDA's 'sabka saath, sabka vikas (development for all)' mantra. I want to assure them that we will continuously work for the balanced development of every person and every region," the Prime Minister said. He also praised women voters for turning out in record numbers and credited the NDA for giving them "self-confidence to take Bihar forward'.
Amit Shah appeared to call the election for the NDA, despite it remaining a tight race. "Bihar has rejected hollow promises, casteism and politics of appeasement, and has backed the NDA's development agenda. This is a win for Bihar's hopes. This is a win for the double-engine development of PM Modi and Nitish Kumar," he tweeted.
The ruling NDA is ahead in (or has won) 124 seats. The opposition mahagathbandhan led by Tejashwi Yadav's RJD is ahead in (or has won) 113. The BJP is likely to overtake Nitish Kumar's JDU as the majority partner in the ruling alliance. The party has won 64 seats and is ahead in nine others. The JDU has won 34 and is leading in nine. The RJD has won 64, is ahead in 12 and is on course to be the single-largest party. Its ally, the Congress has won 17 and is ahead in two. Chirag Paswan's LJP has won one seat.
Late Tuesday evening the RJD tweeted a list of 119 seats that, it claimed, were won by the opposition alliance but the winning candidates had been denied their certificates. The RJD said Nitish Kumar and his deputy, Sushil Modi, had put pressure on district and election officials to ensure decisions in their favour for closely-contested seats. A delegation of RJD and Congress leaders set out to meet polling officials in Patna.
Earlier the RJD had advised patience, saying it was still too early to decide anything. "We know a lot of people would try to play mind games in this. We want to tell our leaders and candidates that they should leave only with the victory certificate in their hands," said senior party leader Manoj Jha, pointing to the coronavirus-related precautions.
In response, the Election Commission, during its 10 PM briefing, pointed out that it had only declared results for 146 seats overall and indicated that the RJD's claim was not feasible. The counting of votes has been hampered by restrictions in place during the coronavirus lockdown, the polling body said once more. The poll body has scheduled another press conference for 1 AM.
The dismal performance of Nitish Kumar's JDU prompted party spokesperson KC Tyagi to blame the Covid pandemic in an attempt to deflect focus from Tejashwi Yadav's repeated and pointed attacks on the Chief Minister. Mr Tyagi told NDTV coronavirus had "defeated" the JDU. Meanwhile, Bihar BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal hailed the Prime Minister for the NDA's victory, saying, "The NDA won because of Prime Minister Modi and its pro-poor policies."
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut took the opportunity for a swipe at the BJP, urging Nitish Kumar to remember what happened in Maharashtra after elections in October last year. Mr Raut said his party (the Sena) had shown what happens when alliance partners do not keep promises. He was referring to the post-poll fallout between the Sena and the BJP over the former's demand for a rotating chief minister's post. The BJP has promised Nitish Kumar that he will remain in the top job in Bihar, regardless of respective performances in this election, if the NDA wins.
Asked if he would join hands with the RJD to help form the government, Asaduddin Owaisi - chief of AIMIM (All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen), which has won five seats, said: "We will decide who to support only after the last vote is counted. We believe in supporting only a truly secular party". The AIMIM, he added, has approached "all likeminded parties for an alliance to form a unified opposition and I was the untouchable for them".
As the day dawned to a close, with nearly 50 per cent of the votes counted, and given its strong results in bypolls across other states, the BJP was getting ready for festivities. Celebrations started in Patna and preparations were on at the party headquarters in New Delhi. But with the opposition narrowing the gap in Bihar, the party had toned it down. Mr Shah and Prime Minister Modi, both scheduled to appear, skipped the function.