Modi’s coalition retains power in Bihar, India’s third-most populous state.

The coalition of Prime Minister Narendra Modi retained power in the state of Bihar, results showed on Wednesday.

Modi’s coalition won a fourth straight term in Bihar, the third-most populous state and one of the poorest in India.

The alliance led by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 125 seats in the 243-member Bihar assembly, Election Commission data showed after counting started on Tuesday.

The counting process took much longer than usual because more electronic voting machines were deployed to avoid crowding in polling centres as per health rules.

“This result not only reflects the faith of the poor, labourers, farmers and youth in the successful fight of the Modi government against corona but is also a lesson for those who mislead the country,” BJP’s second most powerful leader, Amit Shah said.

About 1.5 million lowly paid workers from Bihar were forced to head back home from cities such a New Delhi and Mumbai, many on foot carrying luggage and children on their shoulders, after the factories or other places they worked in shuttered following Modi’s sudden announcement of a national lockdown in late March.

Their images and videos had made national and international headlines.

The state’s unemployment rate has averaged 22.6% since April, compared with 13% for the country as a whole, data from private think-tank Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy showed.

The state sends the fourth highest number of lawmakers to the lower and upper houses of parliament, and whoever rules it generally goes on to do well in electing those leaders too.

After Bihar, the states of Assam, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu go to polls next in 2021.