In the end, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance has emerged as the winner in Bihar assembly elections. It has won 125 seats in the 243-member state assembly, just about enough to form the next government. The poll arithmetic would seem to have yielded exactly what the leadership of BJP had hoped for.
For itself, the party won 74 seats with a strike rate of almost 70% — the best in this election. Its “attempt” to relegate Nitish Kumar and his JD(U) to a junior partner’s status worked just as planned. It ensured there were enough spoilsports in the opposition ranks, especially in seats that were too close to call. And, last but not the least, it secured a mandate that reinforces the narrative that brand Modi delivers, no matter what.
All told, this election, however, has sprung a new hero in Indian politics — Tejashwi Yadav.
A closer scrutiny of the numbers reveals that the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), besides remaining the single-largest party with 75 seats, polled nearly 3 million votes, or 40%, more than it did in 2015. That shows the predominantly Yadav party has been able to extend its net beyond the core vote base of Muslims and Yadavs.
Notably, the increase in its vote share — from 18.3% to 23.1% — has come more from the BJP’s quota than that of the JD(U). The BJP’s vote share slipped from 24.4% to 19.5%. It also polled 1.1 million votes less than it did in 2015. Of course, the drop was in line with the lesser number of seats it contested this time because of the alliance, but it could not be offset by a commensurate in JD(U)’s vote share.
On the contrary, the latter’s vote share dropped from 16.8% to 15.8%. In fact, BJP candidates seem to have secured JD (U) voters, the same did not happen with upper caste BJP voters in seats contested by JD (U). They voted for rebel BJP or upper caste candidates who were contesting either on tickets from LJP or the RJD, and in some cases even independents and smaller parties such as the Plurals Party.
Source: The Wire