Exit polls after the final phase of the Bihar Assembly elections on Saturday predicted a clear victory for the Janata Dal (United)-Bharatiya Janata Party combine.

While a CNN-IBN-The Week post-poll study projected that the JD(U)-BJP alliance would sweep the elections with 185-201 of the total 243 seats, a Star-AC Nielson exit poll predicted that the Nitish Kumar-led National Democratic Alliance would get 150 seats.

An exit poll, conducted by CVoter, projected the JD(U)-BJP combine coming back to power with 142-54 seats.

The CNN-IBN-The Week study projected the JD (U)-BJP combine emerging as the single largest alliance, with a 46 per cent vote share in its kitty, followed by the Rashtriya Janata Dal-Lok Jan Shakti Party alliance at a distant 27 per cent and the Congress at merely 9 per cent, as the sixth and the final phase of polling comes to an end.

The Lalu Prasad-led RJD-LJP alliance was predicted to gain 22-32 seats and the Congress, between six and 12 seats.

Independents, the Left parties and others will end up with 9-19 seats, the CNN-IBN-The Week study projected.

The Star-AC Nielson exit poll predicted that the RJD-LJP combine would get 57 seats with a loss of seven, while the Congress would stand at 15 and others at 21.

The CVoter exit poll projected that the RJD-LJP alliance will remain at a distant second to the NDA, with its tally ranging between 59 and 71, while the Congress, coming in the third place, would get 12-18 seats.

According to the CNN-IBN-The Week exit poll, JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar was way ahead of his rivals in popularity as Chief Minister. Mr. Kumar was preferred by 54 per cent of voters for a second consecutive term, while Mr. Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi remained far behind, with only 28 per cent preferring “either of them,” the exit poll claimed.

Mr. Kumar's popularity has been increasing over the last few years since 2004 and it reached an all-time high with 60 per cent in 2009.

However, the rating for Mr. Prasad and Ms. Devi as the choice for Chief Minister has not changed significantly all these years, the study claimed.

The study claimed that not only Mr. Kumar but his government too was highly popular in Bihar, with 60 per cent of voters suggesting that they want his government for a second term. However, 20 per cent of voters wanted a change in government. — PTI