NDA sceptical about exit polls prediction for Bihar; Grand Alliance jubilant

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Patna, Nov 7 (PTI) The ruling NDA in Bihar on Saturday reacted with scepticism over exit polls predictions of a clear win for the opposition Grand Alliance, asserting that surveys of the kind often failed to take into account a large 'silent voters'.

Leaders of the RJD and the Congress, which helm the Grand Alliance, reacted with predictable glee while Chirag Paswans Lok Janshakti Party insisted that its rebellion against Chief Minister Nitish Kumars JD(U) stood vindicated as the exit polls suggested that the 'anti-incumbency' was very strong.

'Exit polls have often gone wrong in the case of Bihar.

These had predicted a loss for us in 2015 while our opponents were shown ahead. We secured a two-third majority.

'Such discrepancies occur because silent voters, who comprise a bulk of our supporters, are not very vocal about their voting preferences', Vashishth Narayan Singh, state unit chief of the JD(U) headed by the Chief Minister, said.

Incidentally, five years back the JD(U) had contested polls as part of the Grand Alliance which then included RJD and Congress.

JD(U) returned to NDA in 2017 and the Grand Alliance which has undergone many changes in its composition, at present als comprises three Left parties.

'We are confident results on November 10 will be different from the projections on exit polls. People of Bihar acknowledge Nitish Kumars good governance over the last 15 years', Singh said.

The sentiments were echoed by Manoj Tiwari, the BJPs MP from Delhi who hails from Bihar and had campaigned extensively in the state.

'There have been no doubts about Prime Minister Narendra Modis popularity among the masses in Bihar. Moreover, the party leadership had assessed that Nitish Kumar was the popular choice for state-level leadership, a reason why it stuck with him. We hope the results will be different', Tiwari said.

Various exit polls have predicted a clear majority for the opposition coalition, with the Chanakyas Today going as far as to project a landslide while the one conducted by Dainik Bhaskar has been an outlier, with its forecast of the NDA winning a comfortable majority and the Mahagathbandhan, the name by which Grand Alliance is popularly known, performing poorly.

Lok Janshakti Party leader Rameshwar Chaurasia, a formal national secretary of the BJP who quit the party recently and entered in the fray on LJP ticket from Sasaram seat, said the exit polls 'prove that we were right in taking a stand against Nitish Kumar'.

'Since long we had been sensing that there is tremendous anger against Nitish Kumar but our pleas for snapping ties with the increasingly unpopular Chief Minister were ignored because of senior BJP leaders like (Deputy CM) Sushil Kumar Modi', Chaurasia said.

'No wonder, of the less than 150 LJP candidates in the assembly elections, nearly 50 were formerly with the BJP, the former BJP MLA, who claimed to have turned down an offer of ticket from the saffron party because of its reluctance to break away from the JD(U), said.

Congress MLC Prem Chandra Mishra also said that in addition to the anti-incumbency factor, the JD(U) boss could have been done in by the 'trap laid by the BJP in the form of Chirag Paswans rebellion'.

'There is no doubt that there was public anger against Nitish Kumar. He seems fatigued and he would have faced a defeat in any case. But it was not a good reflection on his political acumen to have not decoded the BJPs gameplan to finish him off, even at the cost of loss of power', Mishra said.

Meanwhile, the RJD, which as per exit polls seems poised to return to power under the leadership of Tejashwi Yadav, seemed jubilant.

'Indeed.......magnificent', was a pithy two-line tweet from Manoj Jha, the national spokesman of the RJD who reacted to the exit polls predictions shortly after having declared at a press conference, upon completion of final phase of polling that the Mahagathbandhan will be getting a 'prachand bahumat' (thumping majority). PTI NAC SNS SNS