BJP Assumed Power in Bihar Through 'Chor Darwaza', Says Tejashwi, Demands Recounting of Postal Ballots

Tejashwi Yadav

Tejashwi Yadav

Counting of votes in Bihar progressed unusually slow Tuesday, and continued late into the night due to 'increase in the number of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) deployed in the state on account of Covid-19 precautions'.

Raising the issue of postal ballots, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav on Thursday said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took over Bihar through "chor darwaza".

Yadav on Thursday was elected the leader of the Grand Alliance legislature party and promptly hit out at the NDA, claiming it won the assembly elections through "deceit". Addressing a press conference, Yadav mocked Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, whose JD(U) has been relegated to the third position in terms of seat tally, and wondered whether the latter would "heed his conscience and give up his attachment to the chair".

Yadav was referring to Kumar resigning and snapping ties with the Grand Alliance before returning to the NDA fold in 2017 after his name had cropped up in a money laundering case. Kumar had then said he was stepping down after heeding his conscience (atma ki awaaz).

"Nitish Ji should stop plotting if he has some morals left. He must respect people’s decision and step down from his position," news agency ANI quoted Yadav as saying. "Earlier, he spoke about his retirement from politics. During his last days in politics, he shouldn't do something disrespectful."

Yadav claimed the people's mandate was for a change but it was manipulated. "It was undoubtedly a mandate for change. The NDA won by dhan, bal and chhal (money, muscle power and deceit," Yadav alleged.

Asked whether the Mahagathbandhan would try to muster numbers to form its own government, he said, "We will go to the people who gave the mandate. If they express such a wish we will act accordingly." Quoting election data, he claimed the NDA got only 12,270 votes more than the Mahagathbandhan.

"How can it convert into their victory in 15 more seats than us? We believe that had the counting of votes been fair, we would have returned with a tally of more than 130 seats," said Yadav, whose coalition has won 110 seats, 12 less than the magic figure of 122. The NDA clinched 125 seats. He said his alliance will write to the Election Commission and point out the "discrepancies".

"In so many constituencies, postal ballots were counted in the end and not at the beginning of counting which is the norm. Moreover, there were seats where as many as 900 postal ballots were invalidated," the RJD leader alleged. "We suspect this was done to offset the support we had received from a large number of servicemen who were moved by our commitment to one rank, one pension scheme. We demand recounting of postal ballots in all such constituencies and the process be videographed," Yadav asserted.

The 31-year-old former deputy chief minister alleged that errant polling officials had acted like a "prakoshth" (cell) of the BJP, and replied in the affirmative when asked if legal remedy could be explored if the EC did not satisfactorily address the concerns.

The counting of votes in Bihar progressed unusually slow on Tuesday and continued late into the night due to "increase in the number of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) deployed in the state on account of Covid-19 precautions".

However, the opposition Grand Alliance approached the Election Commission in Patna to lodge complaints alleging irregularities in declaration of results. The parties on Wednesday held discussions and weighed the options on the next step to be taken.

The opposition Grand Alliance gave a tough fight to the BJP-led NDA and clinched 110 seats in Bihar elections. Though the NDA has dashed Tejashwi Yadav's hopes of becoming the chief minister, his party Rashtriya Janata Dal has emerged as the single largest party in the state by winning 75 seats with a total vote share of 23.1 per cent.

Taking a swipe at Nitish Kumar over low tally, RJD leader Manoj Jha had said, "Public is indeed the master but see the condition they’ve placed you in. You (Nitish Kumar) dream of becoming CM after getting 40 seats. If you analyse mandate, it’s decisively against you. If you still get the post, only God knows how long will this illusion last."

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