PATNA: The outcome of the Bihar’s electoral battle largely depends upon the altered political alliances and the caste arithmetic. In 2015, the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) had trumped the NDA by securing more than 41.9% votes. The alliance included the Nitish Kumar-led JD-U, the RJD and the Congress. The BJP-led NDA could bag only 29.2% votes.
“This time, the NDA’s strength has increased with LJP, HAM, JD-U and BJP fighting together and the alliance may fetch higher vote share on the basis of caste equations (27% OBC and Dalits, 15% upper castes). The grand alliance has only two strong parties — RJD and Congress — and the rest have no political base as such,” said R K Verma, a veteran poll analyst of Bihar.
He added that election would be fought on ‘15 years of Lalu rule’ versus ‘15 years of Nitish rule’ and will be a battle between experience (Nitish) and youth (Tejashwi). There are alliance issues on both sides. In the NDA, LJP is apparently disgruntled with the JD-U. Similarly, Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP has expressed displeasure with the RJD on Tejashwi’s leadership.
“As there is murmuring on Tejashwi Yadav as leader of grand alliance by RLSP and VIP, the LJP has similar issue with Nitish Kumar in NDA. So, both the NDA and the grand alliance face rift over their faces and if not sorted out soon, both can have a tough time in the elections,” said Meera Singh, a political analyst in Patna.