Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has claimed victory in the country's first major state election held during the pandemic. Results from the Election Commission of India show that Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its coalition partners have returned to power after a tight race for control of the legislative assembly in Bihar, the country's third most populous state with more than 100 million people.
"Democracy has once again prevailed in Bihar with the blessings of the people," Modi tweeted Tuesday local time, as results rolled in from Bihar's legislative election. "I assure every citizen of Bihar that we will continue to work for the equal development of every region and for every person."
The BJP and its three coalition partners won 122 out of 243 seats, just enough to secure the coalition a victory in a narrow race that involved three rounds of voting beginning in October. The progressive Rashtriya Janata Dal won 75 seats -- one more than BJP, but not enough to secure a victory even with its coalition partners.
Earlier polling indicated that the BJP could be headed for defeat in Bihar, which has been hit hard by measures to control India's coronavirus outbreak, the worst in the world besides the United States in terms of virus caseload.