The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) comprising of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Janata Dal United (JDU) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) has officially announced seat sharing formula of 17-17-6.
BJP is ready to contest on 17 seats: East Champaran, West Champaran, Sheohar, Madhubani, Araria, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Maharajganj, Saran, Ujjiarpur, Begusarai, Patna Sahib, Patliputra, Ara, Buxar, Sasaram and Aurangabad.
One should think at what cost BJP is fighting in Bihar?
Answer lies in seats which it has lost to its allies. On part of BJP, noticeable shocking compromise is underway on six seats which it sailed victorious during last Lok Sabha polls i.e. Siwan, Gaya, Gopalganj, Jhanjharpur, Valmikinagar which have gone in pocket of JDU whereas Nawada has been grabbed by LJP.
Reason remains clear- with absence of Modi wave bubble, this time BJP in alliance has decided to bend down rather stand upright. BJP has put focus on constituencies falling in Mithilanchal area like Madhubani, Darbhanga and Jhanjharpur.
Eyeing the upper caste and business class:
OBC vote bank of Champaran, Mithlanchal, Chhapra, Maharajganj, Patna and Bhojpur, the saffron clad party hopes to replay the magic wand of 2014 but retrogative attack on reservation policy and attempts to impose 13 point roster has certainly disillusioned its OBC vote bank. Opposition’s victory on keeping Modi government on backfoot is its proof on which it will embark vocally.
On this, Mahagathbandhan may nucleate ruling party’s vote among the backwards. BJP’s vote share in Bihar in 2014 Lok Sabha polls was 29.40% where it had fought on 30 seats whereas presently the seat count has come down 17, so vote share will get affected as environment is not favourable as before.
Nitish’s JDU is the only constituent and biggest beneficiary in NDA’s seat sharing. It is ready to field candidates in eight divisions out of nine. Seats for JDU are Balmikinagar, Sitamarhi, Jhanjharpur, Supaul, Kishanganj, Katihar, Purnia, Madhepura, Gopalgunj, Siwan, Bhagalpur, Banka, Munger, Nalanda, Karakat, Jehanabad and Gaya.
Precisely JDU’s gamble is on border and Kosi area constituencies such as Kishanganj, Supaul, Katihar, Purnea and Madhepura. Vote bank of minorities, backward caste and extremely backward caste is on target.
In past, JDU had vote share of 15.80% and had contested on 38 seats but was not part of any alliance.
For Ram Vilas’s LJP on six seats of Hajipur, Vaishali, Khagaria, Jamui, Samastipur and Nawada, it is ready to field candidates. Among the six, three seats- Hajipur, Jamui and Samastipur are reserved seats which LJP had won in last 2014 Lok Sabha poll.
LJP has exchanged Munger seat with Nawada. In 2014, Union Minister and senior state BJP leader Giriraj Singh had won from Nawada while, LJP candidate Veena Devi had bagged the Munger seat.
With vote share of 6.40%, Lok Janshakti Party without its chief expects to maintain its tally.
Conclusion remains that Nitish Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswan have successfully tuned BJP’s Bihar leadership dance to their tone snatching away six winning seats from saffron camp. JDU as “Big Brother” is heading the NDA in Bihar as the seat sharing announcement was done in JDU state office.
Will the NDA survive the litmus test of 2019? remains the question, as scenarios from past have changed, illusion of repetitive slogans hailing a ‘Sarkar’ may not push people to vote the same as previous.