Patna: The scale of victory of the Grand Alliance in Bihar Assembly Elections left the BJP-led NDA scrambling for cover on Sunday. The saffron party was also stunned by its poor showing and that of its allies.
The Bihar election was one of the most bitterly fought in recent times with attacks and counter attacks growing by the day.
The election was also being viewed as a grudge match between Narendra Modi and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar.
In the battle for Bihar, PM Modi had staked his all addressing more than 30 rallies and had directly taken on Nitish and Lalu. On the one hand, he had questioned the 'DNA' of Nitish, on the other, he had constantly reminded people of 'jungle raj' during RJD rule.
In the end, given the fact that Grand Alliance (JD(U), RJD and Congress combine) swept Bihar, winning 178 seats, it can be said that Nitish had the last laugh.
Also, one who had the last laugh today was Lalu Prasad Yadav whose RJD made a spectacular comeback winning 80 seats in Bihar after ten years in hibernation.
With Grand Alliance securing two-thirds majority in the 243-member House, Nitish Kumar is all set to form a third term in office as the Chief Minister. His party won 71 seats in the Assembly.
Both JD(U) and RJD had contested 101 seats each.
The Congress also put up a good show winning 27 seats out of 41.
It had won only 4 last time.
The BJP won 53 seats out of 157 it contested and along with its allies could only bag 58 seats.
LJP, led by Ram Vilas Paswan, and RLSP of Upendra Kushwaha got two seats each.
Former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's HAM won only one of the two seats he contested and lost in all the 19 others it fought in.
In the last Assembly polls, which JDU and BJP had fought together, the two parties had got 115 and 91 seats respectively.
The RJD and Congress, which had fought on their own in 2010, bagged 22 and 04 seats respectively.
For Modi, the Bihar results are seen as a personal setback for the second time in 10 months after BJP's disastrous show in Delhi Assembly polls where Aam Aadmi Party secured 67 of the 70 seats, leaving only three to BJP.
But putting up a brave front, PM Modi called up Nitish and congratulated him.
Later, addressing the press, Nitish said that the verdict in Bihar was bound to have a national impact.
He also promised to fulfil the aspirations of the people of Bihar, adding that the Grand Alliance would work with the Opposition in a constructive manner.
On the other hand, Lalu called Modi 'a RSS pracharak' and vowed to mount a nationwide campaign against the BJP-led central government.
Lalu also made it clear that although his party had more seats than the JD(U), Nitish Kumar would be the CM.
Meanwhile, reacting to the developments today, Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said that the results were disappointing and contrary to the party's expectations.
He added that the party would introspect the reasons for the loss in Bihar.
(With Agency inputs)