Votes will be counted on Sunday in the high-stakes Bihar elections in which no clear verdict has emerged so far, with results likely to go either way.
Counting for the 243 seats of the Bihar assembly will begin at 8 am and the result for most seats is expected by early afternoon.
While some exit polls, by NDTV and Today&’s Chanakya, have predicted a clear win for the BJP-led alliance, others have said the Mahagatbandhan or the Grand Alliance led by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will win, while some have predicted a neck-and-neck race.
Meanwhile, the leaders who till two days ago were involved in hectic electioneering, giving fierce speeches, were on Saturday keeping mum.
Nitish Kumar preferred to rest at his 7, Circular Road residence and keep away from all exit surveys, according to reports.
On Friday, Nitish had exuded confidence of the Grand Alliance, comprising his Janata Dal-United, Lalu Prasad&’s Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress, emerging victorious.
Nitish had addressed more than 200 rallies.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad preferred to spend time with his family and friends at his 10, Circular Road residence. But Lalu was keeping close tabs on the exit polls.
Lalu has predicted an outright victory for the Grand Alliance.
The Congress has preferred to keep mum. The party fought on 41 seats of the 243 in alliance with JD-U and RJD.
BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi stayed ensconced at his Polo Road office, meeting party leaders and officials.
“We are confident about NDA&’s prospects, as we have got good feedback about the fifth phase too,” Modi said, sounding confident.
The five-phased elections started on October 12 and ended on November 5.
Meanwhile, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has said it will not support the BJP-led NDA to form the government in Bihar in case of a hung assembly.
Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Tariq Anwar told the media in Patna that there was no question of the NCP extending support to the NDA but it may have a re-think to join the ‘Grand Alliance’ of the JD-U, the RJD and the Congress.
"The NCP is not going to support the BJP-led NDA after polls outcome to help it to form the next government in case the Grand Alliance did not get majority," Anwar said, expressing hope that his party would win some seats.
Last month, the NCP walked away from the Third Front to contest the assembly elections on its own.
The BJP has said that a defeat in Bihar cannot be seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi&’s government at the centre. Modi addressed over 25 election rallies in the state.
The elections saw Bihar clock 56.8 per cent voter turnout, the highest among assembly polls held in the state since 2000, with women coming out to vote in large numbers. The voting percentage for women was 59.92 per cent, higher than the 56.8 per cent male voter turnout.