#BiharElections — Who will win Bihar? – Part IV

In Part I of the series we have seen how vote share arithmetic favours Janata alliance.


In Part II we saw how trend analysis between Lok Sabha – State polls favours NDA.


In Part III we saw how caste representation of MLAs could decide the outcome of Bihar state polls and favours NDA.


In Part IV of the series we try to predict the vote share of various parties in Bihar.

Vote Share of parties in Lok Sabha across caste categories

Caste NDA (%) Janata + Congress (%) Others (%)
Upper Caste 12 2 1
Kurmi / Koeri 4 8 1
Dalits / Mahadalits 7 5 5
Most Backward Class 13 6 5
Yadavs 3 12 0
Muslims 1 11 5
Others 1 1 0
Total 39 45 16

Source: www.politicalbaaba.com, Note: JDU and RJD had fought separately in Lok Sabha. Their vote shares have been aggregated to arrive at 45%.

In bye polls held in the state after Lok Sabha elections last year Janata alliance was able to hold onto its vote share while NDA lost 2% vote share.

Generally in any election 35% vote share is sufficient to form the government in a multi cornered contest. Lalu formed govt. in 1990, 1995 and 2000 with <33% vote share. With 39% vote share in 2010, NDA swept the polls with 206 / 243 seats. 2015 is expected to be a contest primarily between BJP+ and Janata alliance; hence to win one needs to get 40%+ votes. Anything less than 40% may not ensure victory as there are not many other claimants of the votes.

Party / Alliance 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015
BJP+ 11.6% 13.0% 29.2% 36.0% 39.1% ?
RJD+ 25.6% 32.5% 29.3% 30.9% 25.6% ?
Congress 24.8% 16.3% 11.1% 8.4%
CPI 6.6% 4.8% 3.6% 1.7% ?
LJP-Left 13.3% NA
Samata-CPI ML 7.1%
Others 13.0% 12.5% 15.5% 11.1% 12.0% ?
Independents 18.4% 13.8% 11.3% 8.7% 13.2% ?
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
No. of parties / alliances amongst which main contest 4 5 4 3 4 2 / 3

Source: indiavotes.com

Two party contests have been primarily witnessed in states like Chhattisgarh and in each of the polls since 2003, BJP has had to get c. 40%+ vote share in order to win the polls.

The main contest in 2015 is bi-polar between NDA and Janata alliance. Though other smaller parties like Mulayam and Pawar are fighting separately they are not expected to win any seats and play any major role. The Left Front is also contesting together but has pockets of influence in only few seats. So contest is not multi-cornered at all.

In election history of Bihar, only at 4 times in the past any party has got more than 40% vote share – Congress in 1952, 1957 and 1962 and Janata Party in 1977. History is expected to be repeated in 2015 with both combinations vying for 40% vote share. Both Cicero and C Voter opinion polls show both alliances vote share in the range of 40-43%.

It’s clear that BJP can’t sit and relax hoping Janata alliance vote share will not be aggregated, it has already been tested successfully in bye polls. Hence, it has to work on increasing its vote share to close to 43-45% levels (from 35% levels in Lok Sabha) where it can sit safely. Not only that, it has to ensure that its increase in vote share primarily comes from snatching Janata vote share and not only from “Others / Independents”.

Same is the case for Janata alliance, it has to try to increase / maintain its vote share. If it is able to maintain its vote share of Lok Sabha polls of 45%, it could easily win and actually end up sweeping the polls. The two polls though show it already losing vote share.

Expected vote share of parties

BJP vote share from upper castes has peaked at 78%, so no additional gain expected from here. There is scope for improvement in Kurmi / Koeri vote share by +1% (only 26% of this caste voted for BJP in Lok Sabha polls). However, this may not be easy as Kurmis might polarize towards Nitish.

BJP got only 42% of Dalits / Mahadalit votes in Lok Sabha, with the entry of Manjhi it would hope this will substantially increase to 60-65%. So additional 1 to 2% vote share from here. BJP got 53% MBC votes, it would try to increase the same (1 to 2% vote share). Janata will also pitch in for this pie.

Others garnered 10% of their votes from Dalits / Mahadalits / MBCs out of their total vote share of 15%. This is where both BJP and Janata will target and wean away voters.

While it will be difficult for BJP to dent into Muslim vote bank, it would hope that Owaisi would weaken Janata position in some seats (-1% vote share). By fielding many Yadav candidates it can try to dent into Yadav vote bank. Mulayam’s decision to contest on all seats not likely to have a significant impact, but in an election which could be very tight, each vote counts!

BJP through its Bihar package would also try to wean away the voters who are expected to vote for development and not along caste lines. This number as per BJP insiders is 15% of total voters. This could lead to gain of 1 to 2% vote share for BJP.

Additionally, Janata alliance may not work in all seats as evidenced in bye-polls. This could lead to loss of 1 to 2% vote share for Nitish-Lalu. Nitish on the other hand will try to wean away people who voted for NDA’s development plank to come back to his fold. He still leads the popularity charts for most suitable CM candidate. 64% voters in Lok Sabha had opined they were satisfied with Nitish govt. performance.

Expected Vote Share based on current trends

Caste NDA (%) Janata + Congress (%) Others (%)
Vote Share in Lok Sabha 39 45 16
Dalits / Mahadalits (due to Manjhi factor) 1 to 2 0 (1) to (2)
Kurmi (due to Nitish factor) 0 0 to 1 0 to (1)
Yadavs 0 to 1 0 to (1) 0
Muslims (due to Owaisi factor) 0 0 to (1) 0 to 1
Most Backward Classes 1 to 2 0 (1) to (2)
Development vote away from Nitish 0 to 1.5 0  to (1.5) 0
Janata arithmetic may not work 0 to 1.5 0 to (1.5) 0
Expected Vote Share 41 to 47 40 to 46 11 to 15
Mid-Point 44 43 13

Source: politicalbaaba.com

Indeed it’s a close election but if any party manages to get around 45% votes, it would then be able to sweep the polls and get 150+ seats. It could also be a repeat of 2000 when difference between NDA and RJD+ was 0.1% in terms of vote share. As dates are announced, seat sharing is finalized, names of candidate announced, clearer picture would emerge.

Nitish poor election campaign where he is focusing only on targeting Modi (after every rally), unease in alliance (Nitish-Lalu, Lalu-Rahul), expected rebel candidates, higher turnout anticipated, inability of Nitish to manage fringe players Mulayam / Pawar / Communists, banking heavily on his leading the popularity charts for most preferred CM candidate are some of the factors which put the momentum clearly in favour of BJP.


  1. Brother, you should include pappu yadav factor in Yadav percentage and also impact of nitish joining with lallu will reduce Janata percentage as well.


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