11:48 GMT30 November 2020
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    Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally invested his energies in the Bihar state election, addressing no fewer than 12 public meetings in the lead-up to the voting. Bihar state election was the first mass voting exercise in India since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The New York Times (NYT) appears to have come under fire from Indian social-media users for predicting the probability of an "electoral setback" for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the recently ended elections in the state of Bihar.

    The Bihar poll results, declared late Tuesday night, returned Prime Minister Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to power in the eastern India state, defying NYT’s expectations.

    Users of social media latched on to an article in the New York Times entitled, India’s Modi Faces Chance of Another Electoral Setback, This Time in Bihar, as they accused it of “selling” lies.

    “Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the leader of the BJP, remains popular nationally. But a loss would be the 10th for his party in the past 12 major state elections, potentially creating a roadblock down the line for his government’s aggressive Hindu nationalist agenda,” stated the New York Times piece.

    The prediction of the US daily was in line with most of the exit polls broadcast on Indian television on 8 November, after the voting for the final round of the state election had concluded. As per most of the exit polls, the opposition alliance led by 31-year-old Tejashwi Yadav from the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) was set to emerge as the winner in the electoral contest.

    It was the first mass voting exercise in the South Asian country since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year and after the national lockdown imposed on 25 March to curb the spread of coronavirus. .

    In the results announced late Tuesday evening, the BJP-alliance won 125 seats in the 243-member assembly, and the opposition coalition won 110 seats.

    Analysts have credited the BJP alliance’s impressive performance to Modi’s popularity, which prevailed despite his ally and Bihar state chief Nitish Kumar facing an anti-incumbency and the country going through one of its worst economic phases in recent times.

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