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Having won with a clear majority, the Grand Alliance now has the task of moving away from the traditional caste arithmetic of Bihar and pushing development as the key agenda.

In the run-up to the elections, development was seen becoming a key issue with both the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and the Grand Alliance that comprises the Janata Dal (United), or JD(U), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress, promising voters jobs, education, water and sanitation.

“This is a huge victory which suggests people of Bihar have aspirations, we will match their expectations. This victory is a big win and we will work towards the Grand Alliance’s mandate for the development of Bihar. We want to work in consensus with everyone, with the same enthusiasm as we did during the election to follow up the promises made to the people of Bihar," Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar told reporters in Patna on Sunday.

“Even if we are winning, for development we want the central government to cooperate with us," Kumar added.

In the run-up to the elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government announced a package of 1.25 trillion for the development and progress of Bihar.

Looking to develop the state, the Grand Alliance in its election manifesto has promised an estimated expenditure of 1.03 trillion to ensure that every household gets electricity connection and is supplied with clean drinking water. An estimated 47,700 crore has been promised for road connectivity. The alliance also promised to construct 17.2 million toilets to eliminate the practice of open defecation.

“The development that Modi (Narendra) projected didn’t connect with the people. It missed out on the common man’s issues. Nitish Kumar on the other hand, as chief minister of the state improved the law and order situation. People have hopes for him. They may be vary of (alliance partner and RJD chief) Lalu Prasad but caste polarization works in his favour," said S.K. Dwivedi, an Uttar Pradesh-based political analyst and professor at the University of Lucknow. “This coalition was for winning elections. No compromises about policy preparations, they have come together keeping the election in mind. For the government to function effectively, they must come out with a common minimum programme or Prasad will be up to mischief," he added.

The assembly election result is in contrast with the outcome of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, where the JD(U) won just two out of 40 seats.

Reaffirming the alliance’s agenda for development, RJD chief Prasad told a press conference in Patna, “We will now work for the development of backward classes, especially the farmers. Looking at the overwhelming response from women voters, the Grand Alliance promises to work to fulfil their dreams. Unlike the BJP, our main focus is development. We bow before the people’s mandate."

In this election, the JD(U) secured 71 seats while the RJD won 80 seats. The Congress secured 27 seats.

Political analysts said that while the Grand Alliance may have won the election, the difference in the number of seats won by the JD(U) and the RJD will be key to the pace of development.

“While caste has emerged as the winning factor, in this election the issue of development has emerged in a big way. There is going to be an ongoing caste conflict at every level and Lalu Prasad will get his way... since the RJD has emerged in larger numbers," said Vijay Kumar, a professor of political science at the Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University.

“Ahead of elections, Nitish Kumar made many promises and the biggest challenge for him will be to control crime in the state. During Lalu Prasad’s term in Bihar crime rates had increased and with him coming back in alliance with Kumar, this will be a major task for him," he added.

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