The opposition Tejashwi Yadav-led opposition alliance in Bihar will win the most seats in Bihar and even cross the majority mark, with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's National Democratic Alliance (NDA) placing a distant second, an aggregate of opinion polls predicted on Saturday after three-phase voting completed in the state.
NDTV's poll of polls says the opposition coalition will win 128 of Bihar's 243 seats and the NDA, 99. Chirag Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) is given six seats.
Any party or coalition needs 122 seats to form a government in Bihar.
The India Today-Axis My India poll gives the opposition Mahagathbandhan 139 to 161 seats and the Nitish Kumar-BJP alliance 69 to 91 seats. The Lok Janshakti Party will win three to five, it says.
Times Now-C Voter gives 116 to the NDA and a slight lead for the opposition at 120. It says Chirag Paswan's party will win one seat.
Republic TV-Jan Ki Baat gave 118 to 138 seats to the opposition alliance and 91-117 seats to the ruling NDA. Chirag Paswan's party is likely to win five to eight seats, it says.
TV9-Bharatvarsh gives the Tejashwi Yadav-led alliance 120 seats and 115 seats to the NDA. The LJP could win four, it says.
Today's Chanakya predicts a landslide for Tejashwi Yadav's alliance at 180. The NDA, it says, will be restricted to 55 and the LJP, zero.
News X-dvresearch gives the NDA 110 to 117 seats and the opposition 108 to 123. The LJP is seen to win four to 10 seats.
Dainik Bhaskar is the outlier, giving the NDA 120 to 127 and the opposition 71 to 81. The LJP is given 12 to 23 seats.
A disclaimer - exit polls often get it wrong.
An India Today-Axis poll on the preferred chief minister says 44 per cent picked Tejashwi Yadav and Nitish Kumar is second to his former deputy with 35 per cent.
The Bihar results will be announced on Tuesday, November 10.
If these polls are any indication, anti-incumbency may block Nitish Kumar's bid for a fourth straight term. Discontent over jobs, the migrant crisis, the handling of the coronavirus and floods, could be the undoing of the Chief Minister who prided himself as "Susashan Babu".
Nitish Kumar's campaign was marked by public displays of anger, heckling and his personal attacks on rivals; the five-time Chief Minister faced difficult crowds and even an onion attack in one of his rallies.
While wrapping up his campaign, Nitish Kumar, 69, even announced dramatically that this was his last election and "all's well that ends well". The statement was clarified by his aides later as his "last election rally", but his rivals and analysts drew a different interpretation. Tejashwi Yadav remarked that he had always maintained, Nitish Kumar was "tired" and could not handle Bihar anymore.
The exit polls indicated the BJP may get an upper hand over ally Nitish Kumar, who was repeatedly assured by his ally that he remained the coalition's top face in Bihar.
The polls talk of a tectonic shift from the national election just last year, when the NDA won 39 of Bihar's 40 Lok Sabha seats, decimating the opposition and sending Tejashwi Yadav -- who took charge of the RJD while his father Lalu Yadav served a jail sentence - into temporary self-exile.
But in this campaign, Tejashwi Yadav, 31, emerged as the crowd magnet, drawing huge cheers at every rally with his promise of signing off on 10 lakh government jobs at his very first cabinet meeting.
A fragmented verdict is not ruled out, given the varied predictions. In that case, Chirag Paswan, who contested separately from the NDA to defeat Nitish Kumar but declared his firm loyalty to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, may become a significant factor.
Chirag Paswan's candidates, who fought against Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United at every seat, may have caused maximum damage to the Chief Minister.