The RJD of opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav has accused Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy, from BJP Sushil Kumar Modi, of conspiring to put pressure on district and election officials to ensure verdicts in closely-contested seats are declared in favour of the ruling JDU-BJP alliance.
In a tweet posted late on Tuesday night – as the counting of votes crossed the unprecedented 12-hour mark – the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) attached screenshots of a list of 119 Assembly constituencies the party claimed had been won by either itself or one of its allies.
The tweet said that Returning Officers (RO) had initially congratulated these candidates on their “win” but later said they had lost.
The officials also refused to hand over election certificates – issued by each constituency to confirm a candidate’s victory in that electoral race, the RJD added.
“The Returning Officer congratulated them (the candidates) for their victory, but now they are not giving them the certificates and have said they have lost. These same candidates were shown as winning on the Election Commission website,” the RJD tweet read.
“Such looting will not work in a democracy,” the party added.
Less than an hour earlier the opposition party accused the JDU-BJP alliance of delaying counting and not handing over certificates to winning candidates in at least 10 seats.
“The Nitish Kumar administration is delaying counting in 10 seats. Candidates who won have not been given certificates.
Sitting in the Chief Minister’s house, Nitish Kumar and Sushil Kumar are making the Chief Secretary exert pressure on officials for seats with close margins,” the party said.
The Congress has also made a similar allegation, with spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeting that the party’s candidate from the Rajapakar seat (Pratima Kumari) had been told she had won her race by 1,720 votes but officials later refused to give Ms Kumari a certificate.
“This is neither the practice of democracy nor legally correct. Where is the Election Commission?” Mr Surjewala asked in his tweet.
According to information from the Election Commission’s website at 9.45 PM, Ms Kumar is leading in her seat; she is 2,462 seats ahead of her BJP rival.
The RJD had earlier advised patience as the counting process is dragged out.
“We want to tell our leaders and candidates that they should leave only with the victory certificate in their hands,” Manoj Jha, a senior party leader, had said. Mr Jha later said the RJD would appeal to the Election Commission.
According to provisional data from the poll body at 8.30 PM, the lead margin in around 100 seats is less than 5,000 votes. The results of the election – the first major polling exercise to be held amid the Covid pandemic – are still unclear, more than 12 hours after counting began this morning.
The RJD, which is leading an opposition alliance that includes the Congress and some Left parties, was widely predicted as winning this election, according to several exit polls.
The mahagathbandhan began the day well, surging into an early lead.
The Election Commission said results have been delayed because of Covid restrictions but results were likely to be released late night.