Tejashwi Yadav demands recounting of votes, says mandate in favour of Grand Alliance

Crying foul play in the counting process, Yadav said the mandate of people was in favour of the Grand Alliance but Election Commission’s result was in NDA's favour.

Speaking for the first time after the Bihar election results, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav on Thursday demanded recounting of postal ballot votes. Crying foul play in the counting process, Yadav said the mandate of people was in favour of the Grand Alliance but Election Commission’s result was in NDA’s favour.

“I thank Bihar’s people. The mandate favoured Mahagathbandhan, but the Election Commission’s result was in NDA’s favour. This hasn’t happened first time. In 2015 when Mahagathbandhan was formed, votes were in our favour but BJP made back door entry to gain power,” said Yadav.

Casting doubts on the electoral process, the RJD leader flagged narrow margin in 20 seats. “It is surprising that the NDA got only 12,270 votes more than Mahagathbandhan, and yet managed to win 15 more seats. We lost 20 seats by a wafer-thin margin. In many constituencies, as many as 900 postal ballots were invalidated,” added Yadav.

“We got support of the people but NDA achieved poll victory through dhan, chhal and bal (money, deceit and muscle),” alleged Tejashwi Yadav. He also said that candidates were not told why so many postal ballots were cancelled.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi and CM Nitish Kumar could not stop this 31-year-old. They could not stop the RJD from becoming the single-largest party,” Tejashwi Yadav told reporters.

After being unanimously elected by 109 Mahagathbandhan MLAs as their leader, Tejashwi Yadav further said that Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) has been relegated to the third position. “If he has any conscience left, he must give up his attachment to the Chief Ministers chair.”, he added.

While the NDA has been voted back to power with 125 seats, three more than what’s required for a simple majority in the 243-seat Assembly, the RJD-led Grand Alliance hasn’t given up hope and is in touch with at least two of its former allies who are now in the NDA camp.

The RJD has ended up with 110 seats and needs 12 more to get to the winning number in the Assembly, which, sources said, it can get if it gets the AIMIM (with five seats) and two NDA partners, the Mukesh Sahani-led Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) and former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular), on its side.

Though Sahani himself lost from Simri Bakhtiarpur, his party VIP and Manjhi’s HAM(S) have four seats each. The two parties were with the Mahagathbandhan and had switched over to the NDA just before the elections.

In a nail-biting contest that went down to the wire, the NDA edged past the Mahagathbandhan to win the Bihar elections, with the BJP emerging as the dominant partner for the first time in about two decades. The NDA pulled ahead with 125 seats against the Grand Alliance’s 110 in the 243-member Assembly. For the NDA, Nitish Kumar 4.0 still looks probable despite the JD(U)’s slide to 43 seats. The RJD, on the other hand, emerged as the single largest party, winning 75 seats, one more than the BJP which won 74. Although the Left parties won 16 out of the 28 seats that they contested, the Congress’ lackluster performance proved costly for the Opposition. The grand old party could only win 19 seats out of the 70 it contested.

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