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When the BJP won 74 of the 110 seats it contested in the November 2020 election for the 243-member Bihar assembly, just one less than the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s 75 (of 144 contested) and well ahead of alliance partner Janata Dal (United)’s 43 (of 115 seats), it achieved two things: become the principal opposition to the RJD in Bihar, and the dominant partner in the National Democratic Alliance.

In view of the verdict, JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar refused to stake claim to the chief minister’s post, offering it instead to the BJP. The saffron leadership, however, persuaded him to continue as chief minister as it set about

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