Bihar Elections: First Phase

Who has a better ‘social umbrella’?

Bihar Election

Image: PTI

Battle for Bihar Assembly is actually among three main parties – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Janata Dal – United (JD-U). If two of them are aligned, the coalition is believed to have won the battle; the rest of the political parties having little impact.

In past four elections, the mandate given by the public was clear and the leading coalition also made a dent in the competitor’s vote share.

In 2010 assembly elections, the BJP and JD (U) managed an unequivocal vote of its Social Umbrella and the poll was to ensure that Nitish Kumar retains the office.

In the 2015 assembly election, RJD+ JD (U) coalition had received huge support of its same social umbrella and the coalition also managed to grab a big share from NDA’s traditional voters. In the 2015 assembly elections RJD-JD(U), enjoyed the majority of Kushwaha, Vaishya and other OBCs. Traditionally, Kushwaha society is believed to vote in favor of Nitish Kumar or the candidate of Kushwaha caste.

The NDA coalition also reached out its traditional social umbrella in the 2014 and 2019 Parliament elections. In the 2014 Parliamentary election, Congress removed from the center, Modi era started and it will continue up to 2024 due to a massive victory in 2019 Parliament Elections.

Visibly no enthusiasm has been seen in voters for Nitish Kumar in the upcoming 2020 Assembly elections. Meanwhile, though it may be little, there is a sort of enthusiasm visible for UPA Chief Minister candidate Tejaswi Yadav, as well. The masses are not voting for any particular party or leader. Every assembly seat has a different scenario.

UPA’s Engineered Social Umbrella appears firmer than the last four elections. The voters are clearly not at all convinced about the tall claims of development from the ruling alliance. 

Clearly there is some kind of uneasiness among the NDA voters. The NDA’s Social Umbrella is weakened by the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and rebellion candidates. LJP is severely impacting the performance of JD (U).

For the first time since 1990 and 1995, so many rebel candidates are contesting this assembly election and perhaps most of them will manage a good number of votes. The voters who may vote for them are not even visualising defeat or victory. 

The rebels, who are fighting on LJP symbol or as independents, are impacting heavily at least on the 50 assembly constituencies.

Let’s have an introspection on the assembly areas of the first phase from Shahabad area to Magadha area.

Rajendra Singh, former BJP minister, is on the ticket of LJP in Dinara seat of Rohtas district. Practically, this one could cause JD (U) Minister – Jay Kumar Singh to be pushed out of the contest.

On the neighbouring seat of Karagahar, JD (U) candidate Vaistha Singh is having a very tough time because of Rakesh Siongh Gabru and Uday Singh, son of former minister Ramdhani Singh, who are challenging him on LJP and BSP symbol respectively. And the Congress is giving good contest in Karahgar too.

Meanwhile, former BJP MLA- Rameshwar Chaurasia is in the ring on LJP ticket from Sasaram seat of Rohtas seat. JD(U) fielded RJD MLA Ashok Kumar as its candidate on this seat. Rameshwar Chaurasia is making a clear dent in both, the RJD and JD(U)’s vote bank.

Sunil Pandey, the former LJP MLA from the Tarari seat of Bhojpur district, contesting as an independent candidate. BJP has been simply kicked out of the fight because of his candidature.

In the adjacent constituency of Sandesh, BJP leader and Mukhia, Shweta Singh, is making a mark and weakening JD(U).

Ex-MLA from JD(U) quota, Shribhagwan Kushwaha is contesting on LJP symbol from Jagdishpur seat of Bhojpur district. RJD has a clear edge because of his contest.

There is an interesting fight in the neighboring seat of Shahpur, two candidates from the same family are challenging each-other. BJP candidate Munni Devi has a challenger, Shobha Devi, who is her sister-in-law. The candidature of Shoba Devi is helping RJD a lot in Shahpur.

Ex MLC Hulas Pandey is fighting on LJP symbol in Brahmpur assembly constituency of Buxar district. He has pushed VIP- an ally in NDA, candidate down in the list of favorites.

JD (U) MLA-Dadan Yadav and Dumraon Maharaj- Shivang Singh are contesting as independents in the next seat Dumraon. Akhilesh Singh is contesting on the ticket to LJP. All the three candidates are spoiling the game of JD (U).

Sudhakar Singh, the son of Jagdanand Singh (the state president of RJD), is fighting in Ramgarh, the hot seat of Kaimur district, is facing a lot of trouble because of BSP candidate Ambika Singh Yadav – former MLA of RJD. BJP has little edge in Ramgarh.

BJP is losing significant vote share in Bhabhua seat as ex-MLA of JD(U) Pramod Singh and RLSP’s Virendra Kumar have filed their nominations. There is a close contest between RJD and BJP in Bhabhua.  Clearly, RJD has little edge.

JD(U) appears to be out of contention in Kutumba seat, and the final war between JD(U) rebel candidate Lalan Bhuiyan and Rajesh Kumar of Congress.

BJP candidate Manoj Sharma from Goh assembly seat is having serious troubles as ex-JD(U) MLA and now a rebel candidate Ranvijay Kumar is also contesting.

Generally, everyone considered victory of NDA in Paliganj of Patna district. But after JD(U) offered its symbol to ex-RJD MLA Jaywardhan Yadav, ex-MLA Usha Vidyarthi is contesting as LJP candidate. Her entry has made this seat very interesting.

BJP is having an uneasy situation in Bikram seat as ex-MLA of BJP Anil Kumar is also contesting in the same.

Jehanabad seat of the district with the same name, sees the game is slowly going away from the hands of Education Minister Krishnanandan Verma. And the protagonist is ex-BJP leader Ms Indu Kashyap.

Ex-MLA Sumit Singh has pushed JD(U) out of contest from the Chakai constituency. The main contest is between RJD and Sumit Singh.

Sumit Singh’s brother and former MLA Ajay Kumar Singh is trying his luck on an RLSP ticket from Jamui seat. If he gets a good number of votes, it will not be an easy walk for BJP candidate Shreyasi Singh.

NDA’s campaign has received a strong jolt from the current or former partner- LJP, depending on where you look; New Delhi or Patna.

Though the Mahagathbandhan is not able to convert dissatisfaction and anger totally against the CM Nitish Kumar into votes, but at the votes that rebels and LJP will get, will help Mahagathbandhan directly or indirectly.

Wherever LJP or rebel candidates are contesting and giving a good fight, either LJP or RJD+ alliance should win, surely there will be few exceptions.

BSP is in a serious contest in one seat- Chainpur and LJP is in a serious contest in Dinara.

Independent candidates are contesting in four seats to win in real terms – Kutumba, Dumaraon, Nawada and Warsaliganj.

Surely, a tough contest is on the cards in between RJD and BJP to win maximum seats in the first phase of elections. CPIML is going to perform well and JDU is going to perform perhaps the worst.  One thing may be pertinent enough to say, that within 10th November result of assembly election in Bihar will be known to everyone but still  the cry of migrants,poors,haven’ts of Bihar in this dark pandemic time is unanswered.



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