11 Lessons from Bihar 2020 Elections

  1. Caste still a factor in Bihar
    • As the voting day was closer and closer, Tejaswi was attracting more and more crowd. But as the voters of Nitish knew this they became more and more silent. This brought them into defense. Usually the floating voter gets influenced with the wave, but here it seemed like this helped in consolidating against the RJD. This I think is due to the caste factor.
    • Caste and social equations were already in favour of NDA, and I think the BJP-JDU knew that in BIHAR it’s more about the caste-religion or social equations. Rather that issues like development, anti-incumbency. And so, they did their campaigning very silently and in organized manner.
    • BJP had a strong hold in West Bihar. Tirhut, Saran Patna used to give them 40-60% of their total seats. While east Bihar was the strong hold of JDU. But this time BJP gained more from East as compared to west. The vote dividers in East has indirectly helped the JDU-BJP in East Bihar.
  2. Gundaraj – still haunting, Nitish still the Sushasan Babu.
    • During a number of interactions, many people openly supported Tejaswi but there were few who reminded us of the Laluji’s Gundaraj. And I could infer from the responses that if youths had more craze about Tejashwi/Chirag, the elder voters used to compare Nitish with Lalu. And they used to definitely say this that even though Nitish has not done anything stupendously great, but his regime is at least better than the Laluji’s Regime.
    • Even I met few college students in Chapra, who were just 17 years old, looked towards Chirag rather than Tejashwi as future CM. When asked about Tejashwi they used to quote him with his father’s regime. This is somewhere I think has proved as a disadvantage to Tejashwi. And that’s the reason that even his father’s image was not there in many of the posters in Bihar.
    • When it comes to Nitish, people have confidence that whatever he had done in Politics, he has never compromised his ethics and his beliefs. His image is still like a Sushasan Babu. He didn’t even own his own home in Patna. Which makes him committed towards his people.
  3. Tejashwi’s Performance
    • RJD performed extremely well in this election according to me. Because this was the first time when Lalu ji was not a part of the Election. This even gave Tejaswi an opportunity to show his Leadership skills. And as a young leader of 31 he has left a mark on everyone’s heart.
    • He made a very good alliance with Congress and the Lefts. Then the campaign was also crowd pulling. He focused more on Social media campaign as well as ground level campaign. He took 10-15 Sabhas daily. This is the actual level of Hard work which is expected from a leader, which is not seen by the Opposition in Centre. The only thing on which the party was relying was the anti-incumbency factor and the young voter. But at last they were not successful in converting crowd into votes. I won’t blame the young champ. He did his best. But one wrong friend can surely pull u down.
    • RJD were successful in gaining seats in Patna, Saran and Magadh region. Which were strong holds of NDA. Also they must be thankful to LJP which helped them indirectly on more than 15 seats
  4. Performance of Left:
    • One of the best parts of the MG was the incorporation of the Left leaning parties in their alliance. Left has sizable presence in some constituencies. And Tejashwi have given them enough chance to prove their worth. 16/29 I think is a good score. At least better that the Congress.
  5. MIM is seen as a rising hope for Muslims in Bihar.
    • The unexpected rise of MIM in Bihar is indicative that if Secular parties like Congress and RJD won’t deliver then they may shift towards an Extreme party like MIM.
    • Also, it’s interesting to note that MIM just fielded 20 odd candidates, got 5-6 lakh votes and was able to grab 5 seats in Bihar. This shows how keen they were in this election.
    • Secondly it is said that MIM was like voter cutter for MG. But as per my analysis no seat I found where the RJD lost due to MIM’s candidate.
    • MIM fought on 20 seats amongst which they won 5 seats, 11 seats went to MG and 4 seats went to NDA. And these 4 seats which went to NDA didn’t have MIM as a major voter cutter.
  6. Muslim dominated seats:
    • There are around 38 seats where the Muslim population is greater than 26%. Here it is seen that the NDA has gained a good score. BJP-13, JDU-9, INC-5, RJD-5, CP-1, AIMIM-5.
    • Also, one more point to add is that the MIM has proved to be Seat Cutter than Vote Cutter. Nowhere else there has been a condition where the MG lost any seat due to MIM.
  7. Congress more a liability for Alliances:
    • I think Congress is one of the main reasons behind the defeat of the Mahagathbandhan. Because when an alliance bestows more trust by giving 70 seats, more than its actually strength then it’s the party’s responsibility to perform well.
    • They were hardly able to win 19/70 seats. Even the Communists performed better than Congress. Already they are known for worst in transferring it’s vote bank. But now they are even not able to pull seats with stronger partners. They will not get anything if they today blame MIM for cutting their votes. Even their core voter will search for option if Congress won’t deliver.
    • The biggest disadvantage that the Congress had was they had a straight fight against BJP on 37/70 seats. From which the Congress won only 8/37 while BJP won 29/37 seats. This also could have been the tactics of RJD to give more BJP rival seats to Congress.
    • There is a lack of serious leadership not only in Bihar Congress but also at the Central level.
    • Congress is proving to be a liability for its partners. Like the way it performed in Maharashtra, UP and now in Bihar.
  8. LJP’s successful Gambit:
    • LJP became a serious factor when JDU was trying to pull leaders from RJD and trying to pitch for more seats in the Alliance. When it became stubborn on leaving seats for LJP then the LJP decided to opt out of the Alliance. Here BJP was looking to accommodate LJP but JDU seemed stubborn. And this then went against LJP. And then BJP played the gambit of Pitching LJP candidates against JDU only.
    • At this point only I sensed that LJP was not interested in state politics but they just wanted to show that they can certainly dent JDU. And the objective was achieved. This indirectly helped BJP in being the biggest player of NDA in Bihar. Now BJP has more leverage than JDU in Bihar. And even though LJP failed they are still with BJP at the centre. This was a big lesson for the JDU.
    • LJP dented JDU on 18 seats.
  9. Underestimated JDU:
    • Though everything was not ok for the JDU, its performance was quite good to at least save the NDA. There were 2 major factor s which were against the party. They were the Anti-incumbency and the LJP factor. JDU suffered on 18 seats due to LJP. And the motive of LJP seems successful in denting the numbers of JDU. The voters of JDU are silent and less vocal. Even when we were in Patna, we hardly found any Nitish Kumar’s firm supporter. RJD and BJPs voters were very much vocal.
    • Also, the 15% voters of JDU are the King makers and itself King from the last 5 Elections. The voters of Nitish Kumar are loyal with him and he is equally loyal with them. That’s why they don’t criticize him openly and just go and vote him. It won’t matter whether he goes with right BJP or Left RJD. They just believe in their Leader which is Nitish Kumar. And this has made him indisputable since 5-6 elections till today.
  10. Underestimating VIP, Blunder by Tejashwi:
    • At this point when the fight was so close for MG, it seems like underestimating a small party like the VIP was one of the major blunder of the RJD.
    • Mukesh Sahani, the son of Mallah, has around 10-15 lakh voters in Bihar. He just wanted handful of seats to represent his people. And the first priority he gave was to RJD led MG. But we all saw how he was forced to leave the alliance.
    • And the spontaneous decision taken by Mukesh Sahani today seems like a wise decision. This will surely haunt the RJD now. Because they didn’t saw the support of 10-15 Lakh Mallah voters. And at this position when he is able to grab 4 seats, he becomes a crucial player in Bihar Politics. Even the extra 20 seats of Congress if given to VIP could have gained better results.
    • Today even though Mukesh Sahani has lost his own seat but he has proved as a strong Leader of his Community on state level. This will surely haunt the RJD.
  11. BJP – The Smartest Player:
    • I would claim BJP as the smartest player in Bihar Elections 2020. There are 2 factors behind my claim. First is the way they kept their flock together and secondly the calculated move of LJP’s gambit.
    • Giving the CM post to JDU is itself benefiting the BJP by keeping its flocks together. Like in Maharashtra where the party was divided into factions in 2019, they wanted to avoid this in Bihar by giving a face.
    • This also has given BJP enough time to groom and test few faces in coming 5 years. CM face is a crisis in BJP Bihar. That’s why they chose Nitish to keep their flock together. This also gave a strong message to Shivsena, that they stand by their words, and they didn’t gave any word to them before Maharashtra 2019 Elections.
    • The strategy of BJP was straight and clear. They retained tickets of 51/53 MLAs and targeted seats which they loss by less than 11000 in 2015. This showed that they were confident about 70 seats. That’s why when LJP opted out from NDA, they smartly convinced LJP to not to field candidates against them. This helped them in increasing their leverage in the alliance.
    • It seems like BJP learned from NCP that it’s not about the CM post but about the leverage you have in an alliance and the perception you build in the minds of people.

Bihar Election was my First Election where I experienced it from ground. The results were unexpected but the lessons learned will be life long cherishing. Hope you like my Blog. Please feel Free to share your views and thoughts. Thank You!

My Bihar 2020 Exit Poll

Bihar Elections Prediction

  • RJD: According to me RJD has understood that their MY formula is not sufficient to win the elections and the BJP-JDU have successfully defeated this formula. So by understanding their limitations the RJD has chalked out a new formula of Social Engineering where it has consolidated its core and focused on making its party, open for all like BJP. And the most important part of this strategy was to attract the youths who have not seen the Lalu Prasad’s Regime. So there are cases where the is Nitish supporter and his own son is Tejashwi supporter. This is because the father could easily compared the Lalu Raj with Nitish’s Raj. And so the formula becomes MYY- Muslims, Yadavs, youths(from all). Even if we minus the JDU’s vote bank last time, RJD will get JDU’s minority vote share.
  • Congress: It was a lottery for Congress to get 70 Seats in an alliance where it actually has very less strength. But this strength came with a disadvantage that RJD gave Congress most of its weak seats. In Bihar it is quite clear that BJP is more stronger than the Congress. and Congress is weak in transferring it’s vote share to its allies. Congress has a disadvantage of facing direct fight with BJP only 37 seats. They will not cross single digit according to my Prediction. This could have been the strategy of RJD as well. They will not cross 10% in vote share.
  • Communists: If Congress is weak in MG then I would say Communists is strong in MG. This will benefit the RJD. They are fighting on 29 seats. And the way they have given their 100% is commendable. People from JNU and Southern states came to Bihar for Campaigning.
  • BJP : I think the wisest player in the whole Campaign was BJP. Because it knew that all the anti-incumbency was against Nitish Kumar. So posing Chirag Paswan only against JDU has helped them to shift all the blame on Nitish Kumar. Also the LJP factor has helped them to keep its voters intact. Also it has successfully confused the Anti-incumbency voters by posing Chirag as an potential Opposition to Nitish Kumar.
  • JDU : JDU will be the most damaged as per my opinion. But it will still gain support of its natural voters. Only it will loose it’s minority voters. And also a sizeable vote share of the Rajputs. This is because LJP has given tickets to many Rajput leaders and also it’s unclear whether the BJP would 100% transfer it’s vote to JDU or some to LJP.
  • HAM : They are fighting on 7 seats. They are know for transferring vote share to its allies.
  • VIP : Its quite hard to predict but it have sizeable voteshare in Bihar and is fighting on 11 seats.
  • LJP: The very unexpected player in this Election is proving to be a spoiler for JDU. They will get full support of their traditional voters. The thing they will gain is the votes of Uppercaste and Rajputs who are traditionally BJP voters. Lack of coordination on ground between BJP-JDU voters indicates that all is not fine in NDA. And there is a clear doubt that whether the BJP’s Votebank will be transferred to JDU or not. Bcoz even many of the defects of BJP are given tickets in LJP who are from RSS background.

To Summarize,

There is a clear edge for MG. After seeing this it seems like there could be hung assembly but the most interesting part that even if both will get same voteshare there will be a wide difference when they will be converted into seats.
And the reason for this is the coordination of parties with the alliances. The coordination with MG was seen very much smooth as compared to NDA. Also there was clarity regarding all the concerns among the alliance. While in NDA the LJP had openly opposed Nitish Kumar and opt out of the alliance creating doubt on CM. But the LJP was equally soft regarding BJP. and so they fielded no candidates against the BJP. LJP will prove as a vote cutter for JDU. This move was played to ensure that the JDUs seats are lessened in the alliance. But this proving to opt out NDA from the government. So all is not well in NDA, to cut short. This might hamper in results. Even if NDAs vote share is greater that MG by not less than 2%. This will not be converted into seats. As the MGs Vote bank is clear, focused and consolidated.

Other smaller Predictions

  1. NDA will not cross 100
  2. MG will not cross 140
  3. BJP will gain more in West Bihar of Tirhut Patna Magadh and Saran region around 40-50
  4. RJD will loose more to BJP and gain more from JDU
  5. East Bihar is largely dependent on vote cutters. If parties like MIM/JAP/LJSP gain sizeable vote they will cut the votes of RJD. And hence will profit NDA and BJP majorly.
  6. Clear majority for Tejashwi will be ensured only if MG sweeps East Bihar and only if it is able to consolidate it’s votebank.
  7. If RJD fails in areas of Seemanchal and Purnia there will be a hung assembly.
  8. LJP will damage the JDU on 25-35 seats majorly. Will gain sizeable votes of 2nd and 3rd position on 10-17 seats. And will be able to win 4-11 seats with 5-8% voteshare!

These are just my predictions as a Political Analyst Student. It might even go to another into unexpected direction also. On 10th it will be clear. But as a Student I must keep on studying people’s mandate. And will keep on delivering.

Now lets Wait and Watch!