New Delhi | Jagran Politics Desk: A see-saw battle continues in Bihar with the NDA maintaining an edge over the RJD-led Grand Alliance, with both the rivals falling short of and hovering around the majority mark of 122 seats. The neck-and-neck contest prompted a series of top-level party meetings on both sides.

As per the latest trends by the Election Commission, the BJP-JD(U) combine was leading on 120 seats while the five-party alliance led by the RJD was ahead on 115 seats. In the later rounds, the Mahagathbandhan managed to narrow the gap of the lead maintained by the NDA.

As the stalemate looks set to continue, senior BJP leaders Sushil Kumar Modi and Bhupendra Yadav reached the residence of incumbent Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar in Patna. 

As per reports, Union Home Minister Amit Shah also dialled Kumar and discussed the changing poll trends. With the BJP outperforming its ally JD(U) in terms of seat share, speculations are there if Kumar will still be the chief minister. Shah and BJP president J P Nadda have already announced that Kumar will be the chief minister irrespective of the seats won by the two allies.

The Election Commission has said that the counting of votes will take longer than usual and continue till late in the night because of the 63 per cent increase in the number of EVMs in view of the COVID-19 protocols put in place. 

The fluctuating tallies of the two alliances have clearly indicated that it's done and dusted yet as it was speculated in the earlier hours of the day. However, the BJP-JD(U) combine overthrew the exit polls which predicted a landslide for the Tejashwi Yadav-led five-party Mahagathbandhan. 

The latest trends showed Tejashwi maintaining a sizeable lead in Raghopur constituency which has been an RJD bastion over the years. From Lalu Prasad Yadav to Rabri Devi to Tejashwi Yadav, this seat has been dominated by several RJP stalwarts since 1995s. 

Meanwhile, Tejashwi's elder brother Tej Pratap registered an emphatic victory from Hasanpur seat with a margin of over 21,000 votes. 

NDA ally and HAM leader Jitan Ram Manjhi is also leading after trailing for a while in Imamganj. A host of Bihar ministers including Nand Kishore Yadav, Brijendra Prasad Yadav and Binod Narayan Jha were leading but Shailesh Kumar was trailing.

While JD(U)'s poor show was evident from the numbers, Lok Janshakti Party president Chirag Paswan's move to walk out of the alliance is considered a major reason for it. 

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta