3 Reasons why Nitish will comfortably return to power this year
Bihar elections are likely to be held in October this year. This is of course assuming we have greater control over the COVID situation. However, unlike 2015, the fight is likely to be one sided and Nitish will return to power once again comfortably. Here are 3 major reasons why we think this will happen
a. Satisfied Electorate: Nitish enjoys 75% satisfaction ratings in the State (ABP January 2020). This is even higher than 2015 and there is no reason for voters to ditch NDA and vote for someone else.
b. Lack of Strong CM Candidate from RJD: The survey data is confirmed by Google Trends as well. The search index for Nitish is higher than May 2015 and significantly ahead of Tejashwi Yadav. Had the candidate been Laloo Yadav, the election may have been a little closer if not an RJD win. The opposition does not have a credible CM face and with just few months left for the election, they have little time to present an alternative
c. Strong NDA Voting base: The Caste alliance of the NDA is quite solid.
3 segments of voters vote for the NDA
Upper Castes (15%)
Most of OBCs (32%)
A total of 62% of the voters
NDA won 63% of SC Vote
71% of OBC Vote
73% of General Category votes
This translates to 43% of all votes. It won 54% in total in 2019.
In the event of a worst case scenario like in other States and NDA loses 20% of 2019 vote, it will still end up with 43% of the vote. With others winning another 15-20%, it would be difficult for the opposition to win this election.
Can Jharkhand Happen again?
The big difference between Jharkhand and Bihar is that Raghubar Das was struggling on voter satisfaction due to the slow pace of development and the economy. Secondly, Hemant Soren was doing well on leadership attributes. Third, BJP fiddled around with its alliance before the election. Finally, the caste mix was not as favorable to the NDA like in Bihar. STs+Minorities make up for about 40-45% of the State’s population and some OBCs are far more open to trying the Opposition than in Bihar. So in many ways Bihar is different from Jharkhand
What can go wrong for NDA?
If the opposition can execute a plan that shows
a. Tejashwi in great light
b. Through alliances bring in more SCs and OBCs to vote for RJD Alliance.
c. If an economic crisis can persuade some if not many Upper castes to abandon BJP
If all 3 happen, Nitish will be in trouble. The probability of all 3 is less than 50% at the moment. Then there is Prashant Kishor factor. We have limited information to comment on that. So at the moment, it is Nitish all the way!