Biharis Keep India Confused
There is no middle view. Either one set says the Grand Alliance is thrashing BJP-led NDA in the Bihar assembly election or the other set of people say the BJP is sweeping the polls. Those who believe the Grand Alliance would thrash BJP paint a dreadful picture thereafter. They predict communal riots all over the country, once BJP loses Bihar and then UP. The BJP, the RSS and the VHP would engineer these riots so that there is polarisation between Hindus and Muslims, in which the BJP would win. Whatever be the truth, a list of six reasons why the BJP might win in the election in the state has emerged.
Cadre and resources: The BJP claims to have over 600,000 workers, 10 workers each for the more than 60,000 polling booths. The five-phased polling also gives it the advantage of re-deploying these workers from areas where polling is over.
Haryana model and anti-Lalu vote: The BJP believes its ‘jungle raj’ campaign has struck a chord. Only the Muslims, Yadavs and Kurmis, who account for 35 per cent, are with the ‘Grand Alliance’ while the remaining 65 per cent will vote for BJP-led alliance.
Caste alliances: BJP strategists think they have stitched together a perfect alliance of castes, with the 15 per cent upper castes supporting the BJP, eight per cent Kushwahas behind their leader—Rashtriya Loktantrik Samata Party’s Upendra Kushwaha—the evenly distributed five per cent Paswans with Ram Vilas Paswan and rest of the 10 to 11 per cent Mahadalits with former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi. It also estimates that the majority of the 30 per cent Extremely Backward Castes, comprising 114 castes, will also support its alliance.
Narendra Modi: The Prime Minister’s popularity is still undiminished. The large crowds that have turned up at his dozen election rallies are evidence of this. The BJP estimates the ‘Modi effect’ will help it increase its vote share in Bihar from the 38.5 per cent that its alliance received in the 2014 multi-polar Lok Sabha contest. The BJP needs a vote share of at least 43 to 44 per cent.
Women voters: The high turnout of women in the first two phases is thought to be a vote for Modi’s promise of security and development.
Beef: The BJP thinks it has Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad on the run for his remarks about eating beef, forcing the former Bihar chief minister to clarify them at each of his rallies. This, it believes, has also neutralised whatever damage the party suffered because of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat’s remarks on reviewing the caste-based reservation policy.