The Tejashvi Yadav - led grand alliance is likely to have an edge in Bihar over the current Nitish Kumar - led National Development Alliance government, according to exit poll predictions. The exit polls results released Saturday also hint at a likely hung assembly.
Come November 10, when the counting of the polls is expected to take place, the grand alliance - also referred to as the 'Mahagathbandhan'- is likely to be ahead by a hairline margin. Most exit polls also give an indication of a possibility of a hung assembly, potentially paving the way for post-poll alliances to take shape.
The anomalies are CNN Chanakya, who have projected an absolute sweep for the Mahagathbandhan with 180 seats, and the Dainik Bhaskar, that has projected a win for the NDA with 120 - 127 seats.
Bihar has 223 seats in its assembly, thus requiring 122 seats for a majority.
The elections took place in three phases - October 28, November 3 and November 7 during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic under heavy health protocols. The exit polls were released after the end of voting today.
This year, for the Mahagathbandhan, Yadav of the Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD), son of Lalu Prasad Yadav and current Leader of Opposition in the Bihar assembly has been projected as the face of the chief minister for the alliance. The Congress and the Left Front are also part of the Mahagathbandhan for this election.
Incumbent Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of the Janta Dal (United) [JDU] remains the chief Minister hopeful of the National Developmental Alliance (NDA). The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) is its primary ally, but the alliance also consists of smaller parties.Tejashvi Yadav's casting of the CM-face in Bihar is deemed to have sent his popularity soaring, with India-Today Axis stating 44 percent prefer him and only 35 percent Nitish.
The Chirag Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party walked out of the NDA early October in Bihar and is in the fray independently this time. However, that have said that still supports the NDA at the Centre. They may emerge kingmaker.
In 2015, the JD(U) contested the polls alongside RJD and the Congress as part of a three-way Mahagathbandhan. But on July 26, 2017, Nitish Kumar walked out of the alliance and re-formed a government with the BJP the next day.
Here's what the polls look like.