The Many Contradictions of Bihar Polls

Bihar polls underway in full fervor – campaign pitch at peak, both alliances claiming victory already. A short blog on “How Bihar elections is uncannily similar to Delhi elections” has received good response.

In this series of short blogs, I focus on the inherent contradictions clearly evident in Bihar elections.

1. Nitish and Lalu joining hands is the biggest of them all. These friends turned foe turned friends again solely for survival and revival.

2. Paswan jumping onto NDA bandwagon. The same Paswan who resigned from Atalji’s cabinet after the Godhra episode in Modi’s Gujarat.

3. JDU won 115 seats in 2010. In 72 seats it defeated RJD and in 8 seats it defeated Congress. So in 70% of the seats it pushed RJD & Congress candidates to 2nd position. Now all three have formed Maha Gathbandhan.

4. RJD won 25 seats in 2010. In 18 seats (72%) it relegated JDU to 2nd spot.

5. BJP won 91 seats. In 19 seats it defeated LJP which was runner up.

6. While Nitish leads popularity charts across opinion polls, majority polls project a NDA win. This is the biggest dichotomy of these elections and may have a bearing on results which pollsters and pundits seem to have missed.

7. BJP ruled the state for 7.5 years with Nitish, however terms Nitish rule of 10 years and Lalu rule of 15 years prior to that as jungle raj.

8. The upper caste of Bihar who have been out of power since 1989-90 (when Jagannath Mishra of Congress was CM) are expected to overwhelmingly vote for BJP led NDA. This despite the fact that many leaders of the alliance have announced that a backward caste person would be installed as Bihar CM.

9. The two most fierce support banks of Nitish (Kurmis) and Lalu (Yadavs) don’t seem to get along well and have an acrimonious past. Kurmis started the oust Lalu campaign in 1994. Now they have to vote in favour of same alliance.

10. Mahadalit voters may side with HAM’s Manjhi while Nitish is credited for creating this caste category and offering them reservations / sops.

11. Women have been empowered during Nitish rule, 50% reservation in Panchayat elections, one of the top schemes. Their turnout has been higher than that of men in both phases. They have a tough choice between development / empowerment model of Nitish vs jungle raj of Lalu and may intuitively vote for NDA.


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