- BJP's Raghubar Das exuded confidence that he would win
- Mr Das was predicted by exit polls and analysts to face a difficult fight
- No Chief Minister of the state has ever won consecutive polls
As the ruling BJP appeared to be set for second place in a tight contest for Jharkhand, Chief Minister Raghubar Das exuded confidence that he would win and "the government will be formed under the BJP's leadership".
"To give a clear statement at the moment is not possible since we are just two or three rounds into the counting of votes. There are a total of 17-18 rounds. The margins are very narrow... so narrow that it can completely turn the leads as what you see at the moment," Raghubar Das told reporters.
The BJP was at 29 of the state's 81 seats when the Chief Minister spoke. The rival Congress-Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) alliance was at 39, close to the majority mark of 42.
"Those who are celebrating can do what they feel. No one can stop someone from celebrating," Mr Das said.
"Yes, there may have been some polarisation in a seat or two... there may also be some anti-incumbency, but we are very confident that once the final result is out, you will see that the BJP will form the government. We are very confident of that," he asserted.
Asked to list what factors may have cost his party - the BJP is set to finish with a smaller tally than the 37 it won in 2014 - Mr Das said: "We will see what happened only after the results."
Mr Das was predicted by exit polls and analysts to face a difficult fight in Jharkhand, where his own party members were resentful of his style of functioning.