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Exit polls divided over JDU-BJP fate in Bihar

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New Delhi: As curtains came down on Thursday on the staggered five-phase assembly elections in Bihar, various exit polls appeared to be divided over the fate of major parties in the fray with some predicting NDA win and even a hung assembly.

An India Today-Cicero exit poll on Thursday predicted a hung assembly in Bihar, with the BJP-led alliance winning 120 seats to the Grand Alliance’s 117. Any party or combine would need 122 seats to secure a simple majority in the 243-member assembly.

Meanwhile, NewsX predicted that the BJP and its allies are set to lose the battle for the Bihar assembly, winning only 95 of the 243 seats

It said the BJP and its three allies would secure 90-100 seats while the Grand Alliance led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will win 130-140 seats whereas CVoter predicted a narrow JD-U win.

Exit poll agency Today’s Chanakya, however, predicted that the BJP-led alliance will win 155 seats in the Bihar assembly, while the Grand Alliance will win 83 seats.

Assembly elections in Bihar that pitted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP-led combine against the Grand Alliance of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, with more than half of the 1.55 crore electorate turning out to vote in the final round.

Polling in the last 57 of the 243 constituencies across seven districts: Kishanganj, Purnea, Araria and Katihar in Seemanchal region, and Saharsa, Madhepura and Supaul in Kosi region, saw a 56 percent turnout.

The 57 constituencies cover some of Bihar’s most backward pockets notorious for poverty, illiteracy and mass migration.

Balloting was by and large peaceful, even as stray clashes took place between rival groups.

Eight voters were injured when central paramilitary forces resorted to baton charge at polling booths in Araria and Katihar districts.

Four voters were injured at a polling booth in Jokihat assembly constituency in Araria, as security forces baton-charged villagers after someone attacked a security personnel on duty.

Similarly, security personnel had to use force at a polling booth in Katihar district to disperse anti-social elements trying to indulge in bogus voting, in which four people were injured, officials said.

Thousands of people — women outnumbering men — stood in long queues at polling stations from early in the morning, officials as well as witnesses, said.

A total of 827 candidates contested on Thursday. Voting began at 7 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m., but those standing in the queue at the close of polling were allowed to cast their ballot.

Janata Dal-United (JD-U) president Sharad Yadav voted in Madhepura and BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain in Supaul.

Bihar Police chief P K Thakur said polling was mainly peaceful.

In some places, the electronic voting machines malfunctioned. Apart from that, it was a smooth exercise.

Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi’s Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) is also contesting from six seats in Seemanchal region, and the Jan Adhikar Party of expelled RJD MP Pappu Yadav is also in the fray.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is banking heavily on Modi’s appeal and the support of the upper castes — Brahmins, Bhumihar, Rajputs — and also hopes to gain the backing of other communities.

Allied with the BJP are the Lok Janshakti Party of Ram Vilas Paswan and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party of Upendra Kushwaha — both union ministers — and the Hindustani Awam Morcha of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi.

The Grand Alliance includes the JD-U, the Rashtriya Janata Dal of Lalu Prasad and the Congress.

The millions of votes polled in the staggered elections that began on October 12 will be counted on November 8.

A large section of the 66.8 million electorate voted in the staggered elections.

The BJP contested 160 of the 243 assembly seats, the LJP 40, the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party 23 and HAM 20 seats.

In the Grand Alliance, the JD-U and the RJD fielded 101 candidates each while the Congress contested in 41 seats.

The Bihar election is a big test for the BJP, whose winning streak since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls was halted by the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi in February.

The jitters over the outcome of the Bihar assembly polls dented investors’ sentiments in the Indian equity markets and led a barometer index to provisionally close 287 points down on Thursday.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Karnataka Polls: BJP On The Way to Win, Congress May Get Hard Defeat

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

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A state of 60 million people, Karnataka is home to the Information Technology hub of Benguluru and was ruled by the BJP once before.
Congress may have to taste defeat in Karnataka, VOA

The BJP was on Tuesday set to return to power in its southern bastion Karnataka as its candidates crossed the half-way mark in vote count, stunning and ousting the ruling Congress and leaving the JD-S at the third spot.

Noisy celebrations broke out in party offices in Bengaluru, New Delhi and across Karnataka as Bharatiya Janata Party nominees were on the victory lap in 118 of the 222 constituencies which voted on Saturday.

This was a dramatic jump from the 40 seats the BJP won five years ago.

The Congress, desperate to retain power in the state amid shrinking appeal nationally, suffered major blows and was ahead only in 62 seats, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah trailing in both the constituencies he contested: Badami and Chamundeshwari.

The Congress leader was way behind G.T Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal-Secular in Chamundeshwari, Election Commission officials said. And after leading initially, Siddaramaiah fell behind B.R. Sriramulu of the BJP in Badami.

In contrast, the BJP’s Chief Ministerial face B.S. Yeddyurappa was ahead of his Congress rival by more than 11,000 votes in Shikaripura.

Energy Minister and Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar said that the numbers indicated that his party was on the way out after five years in power.

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

The BJP was overjoyed. “We are in a jubilant mood because we have crossed the half-way mark. We are confident of winning,” spokesman S. Shantharam told IANS.

BJP activists and leaders celebrated noisily in both Bengaluru and New Delhi, waving party flags and shouting slogans hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, their main vote-getter, and party President Amit Shah.

There were also celebrations outside the residence of Yeddyurappa, who has been Chief Minister earlier too.

Of the 2,654 candidates in the fray for the May 12 Karnataka Assembly elections, at least 883 are crorepatis and 645 have criminal cases against them, said two watchdogs after analysing their affidavits filed with the Election Commission (EC).
Karnataka Polls counting suggests big win for BJP, wikimedia commons

The Janata Dal-Secular of former Prime Minister H.D. Dewe Gowda, which has been expected to play the role of a kingmaker in the event of a hung Assembly, was leading in 40 seats — the same number it won five years ago.

As the vote count progressed, BJP leaders became assertive, saying they were confident of taking power again in Karnataka while Congress leaders began to speak about the possibility of an alliance with the JD-S.

BJP leader and Union Minister Sadanand Gowda said that there was no question of any alliance.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar, who is in charge of Karnataka, met BJP President Amit Shah in New Delhi.

Analysts said the BJP was leading in Lingayat dominated seats and the JD-S in Vokkaliga dominated areas.

Expectations of a BJP victory in Karnataka lifted the key Indian equity indices during the mid-morning trade session on Tuesday.

Modi’s Performance: Survey Reports That Significant Number of People Rate Performance of Modi Government as Below Expectations

According to market observers, broadly subdued Asian indices and disappointing macro-economic inflation data points released on Monday capped some gains.

Sector-wise, healthy buying was witnessed in banking, capital goods, metals, consumer durables and automobile stocks.

The Sensex has so far touched a high of 35,993.53 points and a low of 35,498.83 points during the intra-day trade. (IANS)