Friday, 25 September 2015

Bihar Assembly Elections 2015- Post seat sharing announcement NDA has slight advantage over Nitish-led alliance

The process of seat sharing among NDA allies in Bihar got completed yesterday. According to the agreed formula BJP will contest on 160 seats, Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP will contest on 40 seats, RLSP on 23 seats and Jitan Ram Manjhi's HAM will contest on 20 seats. Some leaders from HAM may contest under BJP symbol, to which former Chief Minister and HAM chief, Jitan Ram Manjhi will take a decision. Thus we can say that the controversy around NDA seat sharing is no more.

The controversy on seat sharing had no relation with BJP. Rather it was Jitan Ram Manjhi vs Ram Vilas Paswan and the issue surfaced as both of them were claiming to be face of Dalit community in the state. Although Manjhi is a senior leader but he is also known as an ambitious and bit opportunistic leader.

Nitish Kumar made him Chief Minister, but when he was asked to clear way for Kumar's return he adopted an anti-Nitish Kumar approach. During his tenure he earned negative feedback from all quarters including BJP. However, when Nitish Kumar again took the reigns ofBihargovernment, Manjhi got some support from opposition parties by playing a victim card.

The one person who is entirely to be blamed for the Manjhi episode is Nitish Kumar in direct way. First he shouldn't have resigned, and when if he had resigned, then he shouldn't have given Manjhi the chief minister's post. There were other able leaders also in his party. But perhaps Nitish Kumar thought Manjhi would be less dangerous for him.
Frankly speaking Jitan Ram Manjhi is not an important player inBiharpolity. He is a failed Chief Minister, irresponsible speaker and not a trustworthy ally. In NDA also he has demanded equal number of seats as of LJP while arguing that Ram Vilash Paswan is not a great leader than him.
Good point is that neither LJP leaders reacted to Manjhi's remarks, nor BJP leaders yielded to Manjhi's demand. It appeared to be a mature negotiation. BJP leadership didn't do anything which could have resulted into loss of NDA votes.

On the other hand although the "Mahagathbandhan" declared seat sharing much before NDA, but, it didn't appear to be smooth. Samajwadi Party (SP) and NCP broke away from the alliance whereas Left Front declared to contest on all the 243 seats. Neither SP nor NCP nor the Left Front have any importance in the Bihar polity. However, whatever votes these parties will get would result into division of anti-NDA votes.

As of now it appears that by retaining Manjhi in the NDA fold, BJP ensured that no vote from its alliance gets divided whereas Nitish-led alliance is sure to lose some votes due to SP, NCP and Left Front going away in different direction.

There are two more parties in fray in the Bihar elections i.e. Asaduddin Owaisi led AIMIM and Shiv Sena. AIMIM has decided to field its candidates in Seemanchal area. JD(U) and RJD are alleging that AIMIM is BJP's agent, who is there to divide minority votes.

It's to be noted that in 2010 assembly elections and 2014 Lok Sabha elections BJP won around 75 per cent seats in Seemanchal area. Thus it's ridiculous to blame that a party is there to benefit BJP.
Gone are those days when religion and caste ruled in Bihar. Since 2005 voters are more concerned towards the development of their state. Nearly half of the Bihar voters are youth who don't want to be trapped on rhetoric line. For them good candidate, better policy and development is the agenda.
Let's ask a question to JD(U) and RJD. If AIMIM is a BJP agent, whether Shiv Sena is Mahagathbandhan agent? Shiv Sena is ally to BJP at the Centre and in Maharashtra. Doesn't it technically divide BJP's vote?

Over all as on date although both NDA and Nitish-led alliance appear to be placed at same position, but, I feel NDA has a small advantage because of its smooth seat sharing. The next hurdle is ticket distribution. It has to be seen which party has more dissenters.

Here again NDA has the advantage. As BJP is contesting on 160 seats, some 52 seats more than it has contested previously, the chance of dissent would be very less. Whereas both RJD and JD(U) are contesting on 68 and 43 less seats than before respectively. The ticket distribution would be very problematic subject for them.

Let's wait for a week so that the entire picture gets crystal clear. But there's no doubt that presently NDA has slight advantage over Nitish-led alliance.

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