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First time since 2002 riots,Muslims vote for BJP Plus

For the first time after Gujarat riots,there is evidence to suggest that Muslims have voted in favour of an alliance that includes the BJP.

For the first time after the 2002 Gujarat riots,there is evidence to suggest that Muslims have voted in favour of an alliance that includes the BJP.The BJP-JD(U) combine won 40 of 51 Assembly segments in seven minority concentrated districts (MCDs) of Bihar — Araria (41.2% Muslim population),Kishanganj (67.8%),Purnea (36.9%),Katihar (42.8%,Sitamarhi (21.2%),West Champaran (21.5%) and Darbhanga (22.8%). The RJD-LJP combine,on the other hand,managed only five seats from these districts.The BJP alone took 27 seats in these districts while 13 went to the JD(U). The victory margin of BJP-JDU candidates in most constituencies — barring 12 constituencies — was over 10,000 votes.The Congress,which had come out with a special programme for 90 MCDs across the country after the Sachar Committee report on the plight of Muslims,won only three seats in these 51 segments.The RJD too managed only three seats while ally LJP of Ram Vilas Paswan,who quit the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre after the Gujarat riots,had to make do with two seats. Among the victors from the MCDs were three Independents.

That Lalu’s M-Y politics is no longer a match-winner can also be gauged from the fact that the RJD stood second in only 17 constituencies while LJP managed the No. 2 position in only eight.

There was some consolation for the Congress though — the party came second in eight constituencies while Sharad Pawar’s NCP stood second in four.

Women in Bihar too turned out in strength to vote this time. The overall voting percentage went up to 52.4 per cent from 45.85 per cent in October 2005.

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Women participation stood at 54.85 per cent as against 50.77 per cent recorded for men in this election. This is a clear departure from the past — women participation in October 2005 was 44.49 per cent as against 47.02 per cent for men.

While there are no statistics to suggest that women turned out to vote in favour of the Nitish Kumar-led combine,it is being pointed out that his government reserved 50 per cent seats for women in local panchayats and offered bicycles to high school girls.

First published on: 25-11-2010 at 01:59 IST
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