Patna, Oct 30
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]L[/dropcap]ed by Union Minister Arun Jaitley, a late entrant in the battle of Bihar, BJP’s spin doctors may be claiming a clean sweep in the third phase of the ongoing assembly polls, but the ground reports do not suggest such a reversal of trend. The factors (split in Kushwaha and Mahadalits votes) that were widely reported in the first two phases continued to dog the prospects of the BJP-NDA in the third phase too. In many places, NDA prospects could also be marred by tactical voting by Rajputs, who reportedly opted for their own caste men over party affiliation. In previous Bihar elections also, Rajputs voting have showed similar trend when it came to choosing between party loyalty and caste preference.
The R factor will be in play at many seats in Saran district, where the BJP was hoping to make major gains.
Conversely, the core vote of the Maha Gathbandhan (Grand alliance) has remained largely intact so far. In fact, Yadav, Muslims, Kurmis and Dhanuks, the four castes which form the backbone of the Grand alliance, have largely buried their likes and dislikes and threw their weight behind a common candidate.
Patna city is a case in point from where Leader of opposition Nand Kishore Yadav of the BJP is in the fray. Nand Kishore is a seasoned politician and an accessible leader who should have no problem in scoring a cakewalk win in normal situations. But Yadavs reportedly shifted to the Grand alliance in a big way, giving nightmare to the man who has been their voice in the BJP for decades. If Nand Kishore manages to win, his margin will come down drastically.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]O[/dropcap]n the other hand, in nearby Digha seat, a section of upper caste Kayastha voters who are the cheerleaders of the BJP, reportedly preferred caste over party and voted for Janata Dal(U) leader Rajiv Ranjan against Sanjeev Chaurasia of the BJP. In normal circumstance, the BJP should not have any difficulty in retaining this urban seat, but the nature of caste polarization in favour of the Grand alliance is making things tough for it.
Another important factor that would weigh against the NDA is comparatively lower turnout of its voters on the polling booths. While Yadavs, Muslim, and Kurmis turned out in large numbers , feedback from the ground level suggests that the same was not the case with the Upper caste supports of the NDA. Also, the fact that the percentage of women turnout was higher than men is something that could tilt the balance in the favour of the Grand Alliance. Anyone travelling across the rural belt of Bihar can easily understand that Nitish Kumar’s scheme to provide free bicycles and school uniforms to girls and reservation to women in panchayats have created for him a big constituency of voters.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap]ccording to estimates, the Grand alliance is expected to win six of the seven seats in Nalanda, two each in Buxar and Bhojpur, five each in Saran and Patna, and four in Vaishali. This will mean out of the 50 seats at stake in the third round, the Grand Alliance could win 24 seats and NDA 26 seats. However, the final tally could see a change of four to five seats on either side.
In the first two phases, PerformanceGurus predicted the Grand alliance to lead by 50-31. After the third round, we expect the Grand alliance to lead by 75-57, subject to a reasonable margin of errors that all forecasts entail.
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