CONTENTIOUS SEAT SHARING:
Seat distribution is almost complete. There are a few heartburns in the Pariwar camp. One is NCP, not being given its due share. They think they are votaries of Minority interests. Samajwadi Party was not accommodated. Nothing is heard from them. RJD and JDU sharing equal number of seats is, in one way, Lalu realising that both parties have no ground support in the state. It is a climb down for the party as JDU is a party that has less voter support than the RJD. One way, it can be said that it has depended on BJP grass root support in October, 2010 polls. In May 2014 it suffered the worst humiliation in the poll. RJD kept up its head high though it won only 4 seats. Congress, naturally being the only National Party that took on BJP alliance, retained its share. This might sound an absurd argument, as the total votes polled by these parties together, far exceeded the votes polled by the NDA in the LS polls also. The common assumption is that votes get automatically transferred to alliance partners on caste basis, religion basis and the good governance basis. It is unrealistic and specious as figures from 2005 February polls prove.
NDA may not face difficulty in sharing seats as they have already attempted a winning combination. Who will sacrifice seats to Manjhi faction and how many Muslim candidates the LJP, Manjhi faction and RSLP will each allot and what will be the percentage of seats BJP gives to the Minority Community plays a crucial factor. Issue will certainly bog down the seat sharing arrangement in the Pariwar camp, as in most of the seats that they are contesting (200 seats) both parties are almost unequally placed , with RJD certainly ahead of JDU at many places and which party will contest which seat will be the toughest task.
In contrast, BJP led NDA is equally spread over the state as they nurtured the whole state in the first term of Nitish Kumar and Nitish mostly won on solid support of BJP war strategy and vote share shifting to JDU. Figures again speak here. Additionally, BJP has the strongest leader that did not waver amidst revolt by Nitish and bomb blasts during the last polls. Most of the Biharis living in Maharashtra and Gujarat and now to certain extent in Delhi too (AK flip flops, corrupt netas and goodagiri, he is not able to control, today’s vulgar display of his name for Independence Day is another example), will be added strength of BJP. Congress lost the little advantage it had in 2014 due to its negative policies. It must be noted Bihar has a very high 58% of voters below 30 years age. (2011 census) and they know their politics well and do not follow traditional voting on the diktats of elders. Presence of large numbers of youth in Modi meetings is a proof of this.
An argument is advanced that in the absence of a CM candidate announced early, BJP is at a loss. In all Assembly polls after May, 2014, BJP won without announcing a CM candidate. Only in Delhi, where they made a last minute candidate, they lost. Now, we know whether the argument stands good. And, without saying openly, BJP sent strong signals that SK Modi would lead the government. He is soft spoken, non-controversial, not an egoist like Nitish and a hard worker.
Pariwar announced Nitish as CM candidate. Natural incumbency will be there on a CM who has worked for ten years. And Nitish failed to cash in any pro-incumbency for him by his foolish acts. The first act was his distancing from NDA, with whose support only he could face UPA government’s discrimination and developed the state. Now, Bihar is feeling the pinch, as the governments who are in the opposition but have not opposed Modi personally are reaping benefits whereas Nitish is standing on his ego. Second blunder was not preventing bomb blasts in Modi meeting. It sent wrong signals, though he was not responsible for each action of his officers. The third blunder was making a mess out of Manjhi issue. The fourth and his fatal mistake that would see his nemesis was joining forces with Lalu, whom he abused in the harshest words. Fence sitters, swing voters, youth, women, upper caste Hindus, OBCs, excluding few , who suffered under Lalu would not vote for JDU where it would contest. And RJD cadres will revolt against the JDU, reason one being RJD will not rule the state, second reason they never forget the choicest abuses their leader has got, third many have ditched Lalu after his conviction and fourth Nitish is not believed by the people in general as he has backstabbed two leaders within one year. The moot question will be, “What is the guarantee he will not ditch us and join hands with BJP?” The rift between the two local leaders is not unknown. Compared to that local BJP leadership has much less grouse on Lalu than Nisish- led JDU. Sharad Yadav may not take kindly to joining hands with RJD, though he has never come out against the alliance openly. The ego war between him and Nitish is also not unknown. NDA too may face some revolt but the strong arm of Shah-Modi will be able to keep people under control. Already, Modi offered additional berths for Bihar in the Central cabinet. All is in the game. OROP and special package will certainly be a boost for Bihar and support will enhance, when compared to May, 2014.
OPINION POLLS DURING LOKSABHA POLLS:
Most of the opinion polls during Bihar assembly polls starting from February, 2005 till October 2010, (Three polls, in all) went way out of mark. Exit polls too could not predict correct picture. In the LS polls held in May 2014 too, the opinion polls were short by 100 seats to NDA and almost all exit polls, except Chanakya, gave short by 50-60 seats less to NDA. Reason, psephology in India did not change with the times. They go by standard caste preferences etc., Migration of people is not given due place. Influence of migrants on voters is not taken into account. Aspirations of people are not taken into account. Increase in literacy, access to education, better transportation facilities, increase in real wages, improvement of living standards of people over six decades are all ignored. I explained this in my September, 2013 blog on LS polls, which luckily turned out right. I predicted a landslide for BJP, on their own.
Mine is not a science. In one way it is the sense of analysis of any issue that I developed since I was a youth. It is not psephology. It is PSEPHOLOGIC. I may too go wrong, as I never talk to any voter in these places. I mostly depend on contrasting analyses appearing in newspapers and an analysis of change in voter behaviour, new expectations every five years, exit of old generation, entry of new generation, increased migration, improvement in the real wages that people are able absorb a little inflation etc. Corruption in high echelons of power is almost eradicated and a transparent administration is in place. Slowly it is percolating down and more and more officers are being booked under stringent corruption loss. With Black Money Bill in the offing, disclosures increased and as Modi said, further generation of black money almost stopped. Steps are on to bring back the money stashed abroad. The spoil sport that Congress wanted to play to halt progress of nation and JDU joining hands with Congress will have tremendous impact on voter psyche. Any voter will not expect result in one year, when they have already waited for six decades and nine years, with nothing happening. It is absurd thinking that incumbency will be against Narendra Modi. Improved infra will certainly change voter behaviour further. Hope BJP achieves it soon.
It is certain, in many parts of India, especially in states like UP, Bihar, AP etc., Caste plays major factor. But, there is a paradigm shift here too. The narrow category of castes was later Mandalised into SCs/STs, OBCs, Upper Castes etc., But even this conglomeration did not help, as, with passing of times some castes in these groupings have become rich keeping the other castes poor. So, there is neo-rich, neo- suppressive caste group in each category. So, unless a minute study of each caste group and their dependence on caste leaders is studied in detail, no analyst or psephologist can predict voter behaviour on caste basis. In religion, they were voting in groups for fear of persecution by the majority group in the constituency/state, mostly created by politicos. But this is also undergoing a paradigm shift, with people realising that they are being made scapegoats, better education, migration, better standards of living etc. We cannot live in 1947/48 perennially, nor can Congress keep people paranoid forever. I usually do not analyse polls on this basis as 1) I do not have full knowledge of caste groupings 2) I do not believe that in large sections, caste only makes the primary decision maker 3) I believe voter perception is changing faster than expected.
WHY JDU IS NOT A FORCE TO RECKON WITH, WHY CONGRESS FAILED TO CASH IN, WHY RJD LOST STEAM AND NDA MAY STILL REPEAT THE MAY,2014 POLLS
To come to a reasonable conclusion let us analyse position of each party since, February, 2005. That was when parties contested polls alone (RJD+CONGRESS together). Let me first give a few figures and then analyse what the figures mean.
Year n Month Party Seats Contested Seats won Votes polled % Efficiency of JDU n BJP
Feb, 2005 RJD 210 75 25.07 -----
JDU 138 55 14.55 25.36
INC 84 10 5.00 ------
Total % Votes 143 45.60
BJP 103 37 10.70 35.92
LJP 178 29 12.62
Total % votes 23.88
JDU and RJD replaced Congress in Bihar State. BJP was just making a foray in the electoral politics. JDU and BJP contested together and the efficiency of performance was better than that of JDU. At that stage Nitish had a chance to support RJD and Congress and could have been Dy. CM, but his ego and ambition then did not allow his conscience to share power with Lalu, whom he accused of “JUNGLE RAJ”. The fact still remains. But for the CM seat again, he allied with the same leader, who now, is a convicted criminal on bail, after allegations on him were proven. Nothing will be disparaging, more than his act of allying with Lalu, just to satisfy his ego. I think, youth might not recall, but 42% of voters who belonged old generations would recall this.
Another interesting facet of this election is the independents and others sharing a whopping 16.16% of votes that shifted to mainstream parties later.
Year n Month Party Seats Contested Seats won Votes polled % Efficiency of JDU n BJP
Feb, 2005 RJD 175 54 23.45 -----
JDU 139 88 20.46 63.30
INC 51 9 6.09 ------
Total % Votes 151 50.79
BJP 102 55 15.65 57.92
LJP 203 10 11.10
Total % votes 65 26.94
Here RJD, despite almost, retaining its own vote share (it contested less seats), it lost heavily on seats. Reason might be its aligning with Congress might have turned against the party because of the alliance and it might have won its strongest seats. JDU gained 5.89% and BJP 4.68% votes. JDU might have gained in many seats because of aligning with BJP and BJP too might have got transfer of votes from JDU. But, the 1% incremental difference shows that voters preferred RJD or Congress where JDU allied with BJP, may be due to caste factors. So, Nitish became CM and Modi Dy. CM. The Government earned good name in first five years as they could bring back a semblance of normalcy in the law and order situation.
Independents and others scored 8.77%. So, almost 8% of vote shifted to other parties. Both times BSP scored little above 4% playing a spoiler role only.
RJD 168 22 18.84 -----
JDU 141 115 22.61 81.56
INC 243 4 8.38 ------
Total % Votes 141 49.83
BJP 102 91 16.46 89.22
LJP 203 10 11.10
Total % votes 101 26.94
JDU reached a peak of 22.61% in alliance with BJP which is spread across 141 seats. Now it is contesting 100 seats and BJP reached a peak of 16.46% in alliance with JDU, across 102 seats. It will contest 180+ seats now. This makes a difference as the voters who temporarily voted to JDU because of alliance in 39 seats will return and JDU voters will support BJP because of anger over Nitish. This is not a specious argument as May, 2014 proved, JDU base eroded heavily. RJD lost heavily and Congress gained a little. Congress has a vote share of 8.38% in 243 seats and now, it is contesting 40 seats. More than vote percentage, RJD lost many seats indicating that its vote is spread across 170+ seats it contested. Now it is contesting 100 seats. It will be onerous task to identify correct seats as many places NDA might have been in second place.
Votes can be transferred from one party to the other but votes in other constituencies cannot be shared. So, in October 2010, JDU+RJD+CONGRESS were strong in 141 seats BJP+LJP, with 23.21 % vote share are strong force in 101 seats, with 5% of votes contributed by JDU. Now, RLSP joined, Manjhi joined, who together can fill the gap of 5%. So, they are very strong in 101 seats at least.
May 2014 LS Polls:
These polls were fought with Modi Versus Nitish slogan and Bihar pride versus Gujarat pride. The Modi versus Nitish fight remains and the pride of Bihar is now contesting with Pride of India. You can imagine the resultant effect.
RJD+ 40 4 20.10 -----
JDU 40 2 15.80
INC+ 40 3 9.60 -----
Total % Votes 9 45.80
BJP+ 40 22 29.40
LJP 6 6.40
RSLP 3 3.00
Total % votes 31 38.80
An interesting scenario here is JDU lost almost 6% votes by disengaging itself from BJP. BJP gained a whopping 13% vote by getting rid of JDU. One argument can be advanced that Modi wave swept the state. It cannot be true. Naveen Patnaik withstood. KCR withstood. Mamata withstood. Siddaramaiah, Jayalalita withstood. These are not stronger or as much development oriented as Nitish, in his own words. He always compared Gujarat with Bihar and said Bihar was better developed. Why did he lose?
The only explanation is the voters outright rejected his ditching Modi in the middle of a development of the state. Grounds on which more voters would be angry on him increased now with his treatment of a Dalit leader Manjhi, his joing hands with the convict Lalu and the corrupt Congress. In the final analysis, more votes will shift from JDU to BJP this time than to RJD and few votes of RJD will shift to JDU this time. This changes the equation. Congress is not strong anywhere except 5 to 10 seats and the few votes they get in other seats will add nothing to the kitty. In 40 seats Congress can only win 3 to 7 seats as per past trends. RJD is strong only in 40 out of 243 seats, and may be 25 out of 100 seats. JDU is not in the reckoning as it lost heavily to BJP in LS polls and nothing on ground improved for them and Nitish is not considered as strong even as a Naveen Patnaik or KCR. It is end game Nitish.
By simple arithmetic, BJP that got 29.40% will snatch further 3% from JDU, 3% from Manjhi faction and LJP and RSLP will retain its vote share. That makes vote share of NDA 46.8% or say 47%. JDU will lose 5% to BJP, 5% to RJD (Net of mutual transfers.) and retains 7.80% and RJD will gain maximum 5% from JDU as the seats they contest will be weaker for JDU.(Net of mutual transfers). Congress share reduces to 4% because of the less number of seats it is contesting than in Feb, 2005, when it contested 84 seats and got 5%. That adds to 25.10+1.20+ 4.00+ 7.80 = 38.10%. (1.20 is NCP share).The swing from May, 2014 is more than 8.7% and it is anybody’s guess who wins more than 186 seats it has won in LS polls, the clear winner is NDA with more than 200 seats. No caste, religion, strategic voting or leadership strength of Nitish can beat this logic.
Added to this, in LS polls JDU stood at second place in only 4 places compared to 21 places by RJD and 7 places of INC (it being a national party). NDA stood second in 8 places. A little swing here and there will be great advantage to BJP and a little extent RJD but not certainly JDU. By conceding more seats to JDU than it can win RJD won its battle on Nitish, by ensuring that he would be nowhere to be seen in the Assembly and RJD would be trying to regain lost glory on the grave of JDU in future by being the main opposition to NDA. Logically and psepholgically too, it will be Modi all the way in Bihar.
MY NEXT BLOG: A SWOT ANALYSIS OF THE PARTIES AND THE LEADERS AND THE CONCLUSION WHY IT IS MODI ALL THE WAY IN BIHAR!