The Bihar Post

Battle gets tougher for NDA in Bihar as poll contest turns straight on most LS seats



PATNA: The ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is battling hard to throw out tough challenge to the opposition Grand Alliance in Bihar as the overall contest has turned straight, giving little hope of split in secular votes.

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The consolidation of Yadav, backwards and Muslim voters are yet another thing of worry for the NDA which now banks on the support of chief minister Nitish Kumar’s “development planks” and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan’s Dalit image.

In the last 2014 LS polls, the NDA had emerged victorious on 31 out of Bihar’s total 40 Lok Sabha seats and the experts said this happened mainly because the two major political rivals in the state—chief minister Kumar who heads the Janata Dal United (JD-U) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Prasad had gone it alone in the elections.

This had turned the contest triangular on most of the seats as the NDA candidates easily emerged victorious due to sharp split in secular votes.

The overall situation cane very well be underlined from the fact that at around 15 seats, the victory margins of NDA candidates hovered between roughly 6,000 to 60,000 votes.

A case in point is Samastipur seat where the Congress candidate lost the seat by mere 6,000 votes as the JD-U caused heavy split in the secular votes. The JD-U candidate Maheshwar Hazari had polled over 200,000 votes.

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Two close kin of RJD chief Lalu Prasad too faced severe poll setbacks owing to multi-cornered contest. Both his wife Rabri Devi and daughter Misa Bharti lost the Saran and Patliputra LS seats to paltry 40,000 votes each.

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While in Saran, JD-U candidate polled over 107,000 votes, in Patliputra, JD-U and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) caused heavy split in secular votes, polling 97,228 and 51,623 votes respectively. The split in secular votes sealed the chances of Prasad family members.

Taking a lesson from the past mistakes, however, the secular parties this time have formed a mega alliance nicknamed Secular Alliance which includes the RJD, Congress, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and Vikashsil Insan Party (VIP) while it has entered into seat understanding with the CPI-ML, a major left party.

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The RJD claims to be enjoying support base among Muslims and Yadavs, Congress has support base among upper castes, RLSP enjoys support of eight percent backward Kushwaha community, HAM has its reach among Dalit voters and VIP claims to have the support of fishermen community while the CPI-ML enjoys the support of Dalit voters.

Experts say the coming together of these parties is bound to send shockwaves to the NDA this time. Moreover, the Narendra Modi wave is totally missing this time as was evident from the low turnout of voters in the first phase. A little about only 53 percent voters cast their votes in the first phase.

ALSO READ: A tale of 3 politicians: How they tried to be smart but now repenting for their acts

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