Saturday, November 25

Saffron hopes surge after good turnout in 3rd phase

Voter turnout in the third phase of Bihar’s assembly elections surpassed the polling figures of five years ago and the BJP is seeing it as a sign that it has acquired a lead over the secular “alliance”.

That’s because voters turned out in larger numbers in the area that’s supposed to be more favourable to the BJP’s bid to wrest power in Patna. Saffron strategists believe that their “change-for-development” pitch has resonated well.

In the 2010 assembly polls, the BJP won 20 of the 50 constituencies in the comparable round. The NDA led in 37 of these in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

In last year’s general elections, it polled the same percentage of votes — 42% — as the JD(U), the RJD and the Congress put together.

While exact replications are rare because the public moos idn’t constant, the BJP derives appears confiedent for several reasons. There’s little sign of OBC voters getting polarized against the BJP, despite Lalu Prasad using Mohan Bhagwat’s reservations comment to dub the BJP anti-quota.

In Arrah and Vaishali districts, saffron candidates appear to be have drawn support from EBCs and Dalits. This could help them build upon the solid backing saffron challengers are getting from the upper castes, Vaishyas, Paswans and Musahars.

Thee BJP also seems to be gaining from the resentment among EBCs, the trading castes and others whoare against the dominance that the Yadavs enjoyed during 15 years of Lalu-Rabri rule. PThe fear of ‘Jungle Raj 2’ — PM Narendra Modi’s shorthand for Yadav raj — appeared more palpable in constituencies that voted on Wednesday.

The RJD strengthened the BJP’s plank in Arrah by giving a disproportionate number of tickets to Yadavs whose refusal to share power with others alienated EBCs and drove them into the arms of Nitish Kumar and the BJP.
With Nitish joining Lalu, the sections wary of the return of Yadav raj, seem to be looking at the BJP favourably. A good showing here is crucial for the BJP’s bid to form a government in Patna by dint of its own strength.
Reports of a good showing seem to have repaired the confidence of the BJP cadre that had earlier been bruised by the narrative about the party faring poorly in the first round when 49 seats were in contention.

Saffron strategists are hoping to do even better in the fourth round. Of the 55 seats to be voted for on Sunday, the BJP and the rival combination hold 26 each. The remaining belong to others. In the LS elections, the BJP, propelled by the Modi wave, won 53 of the seats. It outpolled the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ 44% to 38%.

 Gaining big leads in these two rounds is crucial for the BJP to neutralize any losses it may suffered in the first round because the “secular” alliance is expected to gain big in the 57 seats of the last round which saw a high voter turnout from Muslims and Yadavs.