Phase 4 of the closely fought Bihar elections is to be held tomorrow wherein 55 seats covering 7 districts will go to polls. 1.47 crore voters are entitled to exercise their franchise in the seven districts of Gopalganj, Purbi Champaran, Paschim Champaran, Muzaffarpur, Sheohar, Sitamarhi and Siwan. In the last state elections in 2010 while NDA lead in Champaran and Siwan, Janata alliance was leading in Muzaffarpur and Sheohar. In 2 districts Gopalganj and Sitamarhi there was a tie. Out of 55 seats, 7 are reserved for the SC/ST category.
District wise – Seat wise Position in 2010 State Polls
In none of the districts the Mahadalit population is >10% (their average population in the state). Paschim Champaran has the highest Mahadalit population (9.1%) and Purbi Champaran the lowest (6.7%). 5 of the 7 districts have sizeable Muslim population – Purbi Champaran (19.1%), Paschim Champaran (21.2%), Sitamarhi (21.1%), Siwan (18.1%) and Gopalganj (17%).
A total of 776 candidates are in the fray for the fourth phase of polls (average 14 per seat, same as Phase 2). The average turnout in these 55 seats was 54.1% in 2010 assembly polls. In Lok Sabha polls held in May 2014, the turnout increased to 57.9%.
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. BSP & Left Front have a decent presence in around 13 seats (5 each). BSP finished 3rd in 5 seats while Left Front was runner up and 3rd in 4 seats each.
For seat wise alliance wise caste wise candidate list, winner, runner up, turnout and much more please see this google doc shared by Politicalbaaba (PB) below:
Both alliances have a lot at stake in this phase as they won 26 seats each, 3 seats were won by independents. From Janata alliance (Maha Gathbandhan), JDU won 25 and RJD won 1 seat. From NDA, BJP won all the 26 seats. Congress and RJD finished 2nd in 36 seats and in 20 of these seats they were handed defeat at the hands of JDU.
From Janata alliance, RJD is contesting on 26, JDU on 21 and Congress on 8. From NDA, BJP is fighting on 42 (3/4th), LJP 4 seats, HAM 4 seats and RLSP 5 seats.
Seats Position in 2010 assembly polls
In Lok Sabha polls held in May 2014, NDA was leading in 53 seats (BJP 42, LJP 5, RLSP 6) and Janata alliance in 2 (INC 1, JDU 4) as shown below. Janata alliance was runner up in 52 seats. It may be noted that while RJD fought in alliance with Congress, JDU fought LS polls along with CPI.
If we aggregate the vote share of JDU, RJD and Congress, then Janata alliance would be leading in 17 seats and NDA in 38 seats only. That is NDA lead comes down from 53 to 38 (loss of 15 seats). These have been termed as swing seats in this article. Though this may not be the west way to analyze it. Assumption that seamless transfer of votes will happen from JDU to RJD / Congress and vice-a-versa is flawed. This is the first phase in four phases that NDA was leading in LS polls over Janata alliance combined vote share.
Assembly segment wise leads in 2014 LS polls
|Party||Winner||Runner Up||If JDU+Cong+INC fought together|
In the 38 seats NDA was leading in Lok Sabha it had an average vote share advantage of 12.3% (difficult for Janata alliance to negate this advantage). In the 15 seats which swing to Janata alliance after aggregating JDU+Cong+RJD votes on each seat, BJP was trailing, on an average by only 4.7%. This is the lowest vote share gap in the four phases which have gone to polls in the swing seats because of aggregation. For instance it was lagging by 9.7% votes in such type of seats in Phase 2 and 5.9% in Phase 3.
Assembly segment wise margins in terms of vote shares in 2014 LS polls
4 of these seats witnessed tight contest in 2010 with victory margins of less than 3,000 votes. In 7 seats the victory margin was less than 5,000 votes. 5 of these tight contests were won by JDU. 5,000 is considered a decent margin in assembly polls. Majority of the seats were decided by more than 10,000 votes difference, denoting comfortable wins. In the seats which Janata alliance won, the average margin was 15,520 while in the seats which NDA won the average margin was higher at 16,675 votes. With two major contenders this time and 2-3 spoilers, will margins reduce further, it remains to be seen?
Victory margins in terms of votes in 2010 state polls
|No. of Seats||4||3||8||40|
Prominent candidates whose fate will be decided are 9 time MLA Ramai Ram from Janata alliance.
This phase is very important for both alliances. Better performance in these seats, could give a decisive lead to either alliance. While Janata would want to maintain its 2010 performance (26 seats), NDA would like not only to maintain but also improve upon its Lok Sabha leads in these assembly segments (38 seats). A very keen battle ahead….