Updated: November 8, 2015 8:55:18 am
With Exit Polls agreeing to disagree, the outcome of Bihar Assembly Elections is anyone’s guess. Here are five indicators that could have a say in the results:
1. BJP’s Yadavs
The BJP remains quietly confident that the narrative of the Yadavs being consolidated in favour of Lalu Prasad is a flawed one. As the results come in, one bloc of seats to look out for are the 22, where the party has given tickets to those of the Yadav caste. If the BJP does well in a majority of them, it could means RJD’s – and by that extension, Grand Alliance’s – game is up. Look out for: Patna Sahib, Raghopur and Islampur.
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It may be difficult to keep track of trends as leads ebb and flow as counting goes through various rounds. One barometer for the Grand Alliance (GA) would be the Congress, which contested from 41 seats. The party expects to perform better than its 2010 tally of four wins but if the GA is to form the government, it will need the Congress to win in double figures. Look out for: Bhore, Riga, Begusarai.
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3. The EBC vote
The Extremely Backward Classes were probably the last groups of voters who remained undecided ahead of polling day. The Grand Alliance used to consider them natural allies, but did not woo them actively this time. The BJP, on the other hand, planned whole strategies around capturing the EBC vote. There are a large number of seats where the EBC vote, though small in number, could change the outcome. Some of the obvious ones to look out for are: Bettiah, Gaura Baura and Pipra of Supaul.
The BJP expects its social alliance to bring over a large chunk of the Dalit-Mahadalit vote. There were indications that this idea was not transferring well on the ground. Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM could well end up with a better win percentage than Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP, but the worry for the BJP is that both struggled to rally castes beyond their own. If they have indeed succeeded, then the BJP will have a good day. Look out for: SC-reserved seats, especially Makhdumpur, one of the two from where Manjhi contested.
Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samta Party is widely expected to be one of the losers this election – it may lose in a large chunk of the 23 seats it contested. However, an NDA tide could lift RLSP boats too: in that sense, it is very much like the Congress. On the other hand, if the party’s base erodes this election, then that means the Kushwahas have moved over to the Grand Alliance and lined up under Nitish Kumar, resulting in a larger Kurmi consolidation. Look out for: Mahishi, Nawada and Obra.
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