Overview of Phase 5 of Bihar Polls

Phase 5 of the closely fought Bihar elections is to be held tomorrow wherein 57 seats covering 9 districts will go to polls.  1.54 crore voters are entitled to exercise their franchise in the Ten districts of Araria, Darbhanga,Katihar, Kishanganj,Madhepura, Madhubani, Purnia, Saharsha, and Supaul. In the last state elections in 2010 while NDA lead in Araria, Darbhanga,Katihar andPurnia, Janata alliance was leading Kishanganj,Madhepura, Madhubani, Purbi Champaran, Saharsha, and Supaul. Out of 57 seats, 9 are reserved for the SC/ST category.

District wise – Seat wise Position in 2010 State Polls

District Total  NDA Janata Alliance Independents
Araria 6 5 1 0
Darbhanga 10 6 4 0
Katihar 7 5 1 1
Kishanganj 4 1 3 0
Madhepura 4 0 4 0
Madhubani 10 3 7 0
Purnia 7 4 3 0
Saharsha 4 1 3 0
Supaul 5 0 5 0

Source: politicalbaaba.com

These 57 seats have significant Muslim population and one of the prime reasons why Janata alliance is confident of doing well in these seats. SC/ST community also have a decent population and together with Muslims can tilt the scale in favour of either alliance.

District Muslim % SC / ST %
Kishanganj 78% 10%
Katihar 43% 14%
Araria 41% 15%
Purnia 37% 17%
Darbhanga 23% 16%
Madhubani 18% 14%
Supaul 17% 15%
Saharsa 14% 16%
Madhepura 11% 18%

A total of 827 candidates are in the fray for the fifth phase of polls (average 14.5 per seat, highest in these elections). The average turnout in these 57 seats was 55.5% in 2010 assembly polls. In Lok Sabha polls held in May 2014, the turnout increased to 60.5%.

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. Owaisi’s AIMIM could pose a threat to Janata alliance in 6 seats. Pappu Yadav who won on RJD ticket in LS polls and has now floated his own party could also pose serious issues for the alliance in Madhepura and in and around districts.

Both alliances have a lot at stake in this phase as NDA won 25 seats, Janata alliance won 31 seats and 1 seat were won by independents. From Janata alliance (Maha Gathbandhan), JDU won 20 and RJD won 8 and INC 3 seat. From NDA, BJP won 23 and LJP won 2 seats. Congress and RJD finished 2nd in 29 seats and in 14 of these seats they were handed defeat at the hands of JDU.

From Janata alliance, RJD is contesting on 20, JDU on 25 and Congress on 12. From NDA, BJP is fighting on 39 (3/4th), LJP 10 seats, HAM 3 seats and RLSP 5 seats.

Seats Position in 2010 assembly polls

Party Winner Runner up
BJP 23 4
JDU 20 9
RJD 8 21
INC 3 8
LJP 2 8
IND 1 1
Others 0 4
CPI 0 2
Total 57 57

Source: politicalbaaba.com

In Lok Sabha polls held in May 2014, NDA was leading in 18 seats (BJP 17, LJP 1) and Janata alliance in 34 (INC 11, JDU 11 and RJD 12), NCP, 5 as shown below. Janata alliance was runner up in 23 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 44 seats and NDA in 8 seats only with NCP leading in 5 seats. That is NDA lead comes down from 18 to 8 (loss of 10 seats). These have been termed as swing seats in this article. Assumption that seamless transfer of votes will happen from JDU to RJD / Congress and vice-a-versa is flawed.

Assembly segment wise leads in 2014 LS polls


Party Winner Runner up  If JDU+RJD+INC fought together
BJP 17 27 8
JDU 11 8 12
RJD 12 19 20
INC 11 1 12
LJP 1 1 0
NCP 5 1 5
Total 57 57 57

Source: politicalbaaba.com

Out of the 8 seats NDA was leading in Lok Sabha, it was leading by <5% votes in 5 seats. In the 10 seats which swing to Janata alliance after aggregating JDU+Cong+RJD votes on each seat, BJP was trailing, on an average by big margin of 13.4%. This is the highest vote share gap in the five phases which have gone to polls in the swing seats because of aggregation. For instance it was lagging by 9.7% votes in such type of seats in Phase 2 and 5.9% in Phase 3 and 4.7% in Phase 4.

In the seats which Janata alliance won in 2010, it won comfortably with a margin of 16.5k votes. NDA had an average victory margin of 16k votes. In 8 seats there were close contests with victory margins of less than 3k votes. Will this increase this time? Let’s see!

Prominent candidates whose fate will be decided are 5 time MLA and Leader of Opposition in Bihar assembly till June 2013 (till the time JDU was with BJP) Abdul Bari Siddiqui.

This phase is very important for both alliances. Better performance in these seats, could ultimately decide the winner of these polls.


  1. Conservatively how many seats do you think that NDA will at least win? Can you provide a ballpark figure? And in how many seats you think could go either ways?


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