New Delhi: Attempting to downplay its debacle in Bihar, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday slammed the barrage of attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asserted that he still remained the 'most popular' leader in the country.

'In every election, the Prime Minister is the tallest leader of the BJP. He is the principle architect of the BJP's success over the past few years. Without his leadership in the party, things would have been very difficult. He remains the most popular leader in the country today. Just because we have lost the assembly election does not mean our appeal has diminished,' BJP spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao told ANI.
Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also defended the Prime Minister, saying the Opposition must not use 'fiction and frustration' as a measure to celebrate their win.

'It's not like this is the first time that the BJP has ever lost. We don't drink an elixir of victory before every polls. We have tasted both loss and triumph. We fight the election to win it, but we also know to accept the mandate of the people. There is absolutely no need to drag the number of rallies the Prime Minister conducted in Bihar since it is of no use now,' Naqvi told ANI.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had yesterday launched a blistering attack on Prime Minister Modi post the grand alliance's landslide victory in Bihar, saying it is a defeat of hatred, arrogance and anger.

"This is a message for Modi ji. The message is clear that Modi ji, the RSS and BJP cannot divide this country. You cannot win the election by making the Hindus fight against Muslims. This is not a nation of caste and religion, this is the country of all and there should be love and brotherhood in this country," said Gandhi.

"I want Mr. Modi to tone down his arrogance as it will be good for him and the nation as well," he added.

The Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) made a clean sweep by securing 178 of the 243 seats, with Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) winning 71 seats and the Congress Party securing 27 seats, paving the way for Nitish to form his government for a consecutive third time.

However, Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal, a constituent of the Mahagathbandhan, emerged as the single largest party by winning 80 seats, the final result for which were declared by the Election Commission at 9:28pm on Sunday.