The Bihar poll bigule has been blown. Phase I of the much awaited elections starts tomorrow (Oct. 12). Polls will be held in 49 seats covering 10 districts namely Banka, Begusarai, Bhagalpur, Jamui, Khagaria, Lakhisarai, Munger, Nawada, Samastipur and Sheikhpura. 1.35 crore voters are entitled to exercise their franchise. 4 seats are reserved for the SC/ST category while balance 45 are for general category.
Muslims and Mahadalits hold the keys to 37% of the seats going to polls in Phase I.
- 7 of these 49 seats have sizeable Muslim population of >16.5% (their average population in the state) namely Kalyanpur, Pirpainti, Bhagalpur, Bihpur, Gopalpur, Kahalgaon and Nathnagar.
- 6 seats Barbigha, Rajauli, Hisua, Nawada, Gobindpur and Warsaliganj have >17% Mahadalit population (much higher than 10% average population in the state).
- 6 seats Jamui, Jhajha, Chakai, Sikandra, Seikhpura and Tarapur their population is >11%.
A total of 586 candidates are in the fray for the first phase of polls. While Morwa and Moiuddinnagar seats in Samastipur have maximum 18 candidates each, Warsaliganj in Nawada and Teghra in Begusarai have minimum six and seven candidates respectively.
The main contest is between Bhartiya Janata Party led National Democratic Alliance and Nitish / Lalu led grand Janata alliance which consists of Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress.
Three other parties / combinations are determined to give the main contenders a run for their money.
- Third Front (consisting of Mulayam’s Samajwadi Party, Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party, Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party and three other small parties),
- Left Front (alliance of 6 communist parties – Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India -Marxist, Communist Party of India – Marxist-Leninist and three other small parties) and
- Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party
For seat wise alliance wise caste wise candidate list please see this google doc shared by Politicalbaaba (PB) below:
Janata alliance has a lot at stake in this phase as it won 34 seats in 2010 assembly polls (JDU 29, RJD 4 and Congress 1) though fighting separately and not as partners. NDA won 13 seats (BJP 13) and others namely CPI and JMM one seat each.
It’s very interesting to note here that JDU candidate defeated RJD / Congress candidates in 20 / 29 seats, who are now partners. Congress and RJD finished 2nd in 30 seats and in 20 seats winner was JDU.
From Janata alliance, JDU is contesting on 24, RJD on 18 and Congress on 7 seats. From NDA, BJP is fighting on 27 seats, LJP 13 seats, HAM 3 seats and RLSP 6 seats. JDU has dropped 5 of its sitting MLAs and is facing rebellion in some seats.
In Lok Sabha polls held in May 2014, NDA was leading in 36 seats (BJP 21, LJP 15) and Janata in 12 seats(JDU 1, RJD 10, Congress 1) as shown below. RJD was runner up in 28 seats. It may be noted that while RJD fought in alliance with Congress, JDU fought LS polls along with CPI.
7 of these seats witnessed tight contest in 2010 with victory margins of less than 3,000 votes. In 12 seats the victory margin was less than 5,000 votes. 8 of these tight contests were won by Janata alliance. 5,000 is considered a decent margin in assembly polls. 27 seats were decided by more than 10,000 votes difference, denoting comfortable wins. With two major contenders this time and 2-3 spoilers, will margins reduce further, it remains to be seen.
|No. of Seats||7||5||10||27|
Source: indiavotes.com, politicalbaaba.com
Prominent candidates whose fate will be decided are Sadanand Singh (8 time Congress MLA), Shakuni Chaudhary (HAM state president), Pasupati Kumar Paras (Paswan’s brother), Pappu Yadav and Arijit Shashwat (Ashwini Kr. Chaubey’s son) etc.
All parties are facing rebel candidates, almost one-third seats are witnessing rebels all set to disturb calculations of official candidates. Prominent among them are Kalyanpur (Paswan cousin contesting on JDU ticket), Kahalgaon (BJP & RJD both facing rebels), Bhagalpur (Ashiwni Choubey’s son from BJP facing rebel), Jamui & Warsinagar (last time JDU candidate joined BJP), Mohiuddinnagar (RJD rebel joined Pappu Yadav) and Warsaliganj (Congress candidate joined BJP).
This phase is very important for both alliances. Better performance in these seats, will give a head start to either alliance. While Janata would want to maintain its 2010 performance (34 seats), NDA would like to maintain its Lok Sabha leads in these assembly segments (36 seats). A very keen battle ahead….
As per PB, NDA has upper hand in 25 seats, Janata alliance in 16 seats and Others in 2 seats of Phase I. ON 6 seats there is tight / triangular battle. May the best man win…
Appeal to voters is go out and vote, vote for whichever party you like, go and exercise your right….