Phase II of the much awaited Bihar elections concluded today (Oct. 16). Polls will be held in 32 seats covering 6 districts namely Kaimur, Rohtas, Arwal, Jehanabad, Aurangabad and Gaya. 85.86 lakh voters voters are entitled to exercise their franchise. 7 seats are reserved for the SC/ST category while balance 25 are for general category.
Mahadalits hold the keys to 22 / 32 seats (69%) going to polls in Phase II.
- Gaya district (6 seats) has the highest proportion of Mahadalits (19% vs state avg. of 10%) – Sherghati, Barachatti, Bodh Gaya, Gaya Town, Belaganj and Wazirganj.
- Jehanabad district (6 seats) proportion of Mahadalits is 17.3% vs state avg. of 10% – Arwal, Kurtha, Jahanabad, Ghoshi, Atri and Makhadumapur.
- Kaimur district (4 seats) percentage of Mahadalits is 14.8% vs state avg. of 10% – Ramgarh, Mohania, Bhabua and Chainpur.
- Aurangabad district (6 seats) proportion of Mahadalits is 12.3% state avg. of 10%) – Kutumba, Aurangabad, Rafiganj, Gurua, Imamganj and Tikari.
Muslim population in none of the seats is higher than their average 16.5% population in the state.
A total of 456 candidates are in the fray for the first phase of polls (average 14 per seat, higher than 12 of Phase I). The Election Commission has cut short the time for voting by one to two hours in as many as 23 constituencies that would go to poll on October 16, depending upon its perception of the threat from outlawed Naxalite groups. Only 9 out of a total of 32 seats would see voting from 7am to 5pm.
The average turnout in these 32 seats was 52.0% in 2010 assembly polls. While Atri recorded the lowest turnout (46.5%), Chainpur and Ramgarh recorded the highest turnout (60.4%). In Lok Sabha polls held in May 2014, the turnout increased to 53.1%.
The main contest is between Bhartiya Janata Party led National Democratic Alliance and Nitish / Lalu led grand Janata alliance which consists of Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress.
Three other parties / combinations are determined to give the main contenders a run for their money.
- Third Front (consisting of Mulayam’s Samajwadi Party, Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party, Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party and three other small parties),
- Left Front (alliance of 6 communist parties – Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India -Marxist, Communist Party of India – Marxist-Leninist and three other small parties) and
- Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party which has a strong presence in these seats in Phase II
For seat wise alliance wise caste wise candidate list, winner, runner up, turnout and much more please see this google doc shared by Politicalbaaba (PB) below:
Janata alliance has a lot at stake in this phase as it won 20 seats in 2010 assembly polls (JDU 18, RJD 2) though fighting separately and not as partners. NDA won 10 seats (BJP 9, LJP 1) and independents 2 seats. Congress and RJD finished 2nd in 20 seats and in 14 of these seats JDU was the winner.
From Janata alliance, JDU & RJD is contesting on 13 each and Congress on 6 seats. From NDA, BJP is fighting on 16 seats, LJP 3 seats, HAM 7 seats and RLSP 6 seats. JDU has dropped 5 of its sitting MLAs and is facing rebellion in some seats.
In Lok Sabha polls held in May 2014, NDA was leading in 30 seats (BJP 19, RLSP 11), Janata in 1 (RJD 1) and BSP (1) as shown below. RJD was runner up in 18 and Congress in 12 seats. It may be noted that while RJD fought in alliance with Congress, JDU fought LS polls along with CPI. If we aggregate the vote share of JDU, RJD and Congress, then Janata alliance would be leading in 20 seats and NDA in 12 seats only.
7 of these seats witnessed tight contest in 2010 with victory margins of less than 3,000 votes. In 9 seats the victory margin was less than 5,000 votes. 6 of these tight contests were won by Janata alliance, 2 by NDA and 1 by Others. 5,000 is considered a decent margin in assembly polls. Half of the seats were decided by more than 10,000 votes difference, denoting comfortable wins. With two major contenders this time and 2-3 spoilers, will margins reduce further, it remains to be seen?
Prominent candidates whose fate will be decided from NDA are Jiten Ram Manjhi (from 2 seats), Jawahar Prasad, Ram Prasad Chaurasiya, Rajendra Singh (could be NDA CM), Dr. Prem Kumar (another CM candidate of NDA. From Janata alliance, Uday Narayan Chaudhary, Mahabali Singh, Mohd. Iliyas Hussain are prominent candidates.
All parties are facing rebel candidates (almost half of 32 seats going to polls). NDA is facing rebels in 7 seats in Chenari, Sasaram, Barachatti, Bodh Gaya, Karakat, Bhabua & Nabinagar. Janata is facing rebel candidates in 8 seats – Atri, Mohania, Chainpur, Karahgar, Goh, Bodh Gaya, Chenari and Kurtha.
This phase is very important for both alliances. Better performance in these seats, will give a head start to either alliance in earlier phases. While Janata would want to maintain its 2010 performance (20 seats), NDA would like to maintain its Lok Sabha leads in these assembly segments (30 seats). A very keen battle ahead….
Stay tuned for seat by seat analysis today evening…..