Thursday, February 2, 2023

Bihar: Grand Alliance upbeat; NDA believes silent voters will do the magic for it


New Delhi: The mood in the opposition camp in Bihar is upbeat after most exit polls indicated a clear edge for the ‘Grand Alliance’ in the state assembly polls.

On Saturday, after the third and last phase of polls in the state had ended, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav had taken feedback from different constituencies. On Sunday, he mostly remained indoors.

In a span of a month in the run-up to the elections, Yadav, the sole campaigner from his party, had held 247 rallies. RJD leaders told ET they were expecting this from Yadav.

“We have taken a long journey from opinion polls to exit polls. The journey tells you about the kind of commitment that was shown by the leader of opposition, Tejashwi Yadav,” said Manoj Jha, a Rajya Sabha MP and senior RJD leader. “We knew right from the beginning that we are going to win this with overwhelming support. We still believe that numbers would surprise everyone once the results are out. This was not an election; this was a movement for change.”

The mood in the Congress camp is also upbeat. Party leaders said they were sure of the performance.

“Bihar has voted for change. Bihar has voted for jobs, MSP for farmers and industries,” said Bihar campaign incharge Randeep Surjewala. “I have always maintained that exit polls are only an interesting narrative for newspapers and TV channels. It doesn’t matter whether they are in our favour or against us. The real numbers will be disclosed when the actual counting takes place. UPA will be 150-plus in final numbers. Congress would be somewhere between 40 and 55.”

Meanwhile, Sunday was a silent day for the NDA camp. The leaders of both BJP and JDU believe that the silent voters will do the magic for the alliance and they will form the government. “There are several voters in Bihar who have benefited from various schemes launched by PM Modi. These voters are silent voters, and it is difficult for any exit poll to take stock of such voters,” Sanjay Jaiswal, president of Bihar’s BJP unit, told ET. “Wait for the results day and we will comfortably form the government.”

JDU is banking on its leader Nitish Kumar’s popularity among women and EBC voters. “In 2005, nobody said Nitish Kumar is going to come back. In 2010, they said it will be a hung assembly. In 2015, all exit polls were forming BJP’s government. So there is no reason for us to trust the exit polls,” said Ashok Choudhary, working state president of JDU. “My voters are very silent voters. They belong to weaker sections, women and sections that remain very shy. It is difficult to map them by any survey.”

He declined to comment on whether there was lack of coordination between JDU and BJP on the ground.

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