5 Key Messages:

1. Elections continue to be damn close (105-114 for NDA and 70-79 for Janata alliance) till now with 57 seats remaining for polls in Phase 5.

2. NDA has swept Phase 4 (43-47 seats).

3. NDA has taken a big lead after Phase 4 (26-44 seats).

4. Janata alliance is very strong in Phase 5 and capable of negating this lead (can win 49 / 57 seats).

5. This cracker of a test match goes into Day 5 with both alliances in with an equal chance to win.

Phase 4 Analysis

Phase 4 of the blockbuster Bihar elections concluded yesterday. This is a strong NDA bastion and it was leading in 38 out of 55 seats in LS polls held in May 2014 even after aggregating Nitish, Lalu and Congress votes (though they fought separately). Though Janata alliance (Maha Gathbandhan) lead in 17 seats, in half of these seats (9) their margin was in the range of 0%-5% (susceptible to poaching).

Entry of Manjhi into NDA fold has meant an additional 3%-4.5% vote share across seats enough to negate this marginal vote share advantage of Janata alliance. Yadavs likely to have consolidated towards Janata alliance across phases based on feedback from the ground and NDA could have lost the 19% Yadav votes it got in 2014 translating to a loss of 3% vote share. Still an advantage to NDA of 0%-1.5%. Additionally, votes are being lost in translation, all JDU votes not going to RJD / Congress and vice-a-versa.

Phase 4 Predictions

Based on ground feedback (low compared to other phases) and research, NDA has had a bumper performance in this phase and is expected to win 43-47 seats. Janata alliance has to be content with 8-12 seats only. The district wise expected performance is as below.

District Total NDA Janata Alliance
Gopalganj 6 6 0
Muzaffarpur 11 8 to 10 1 to 3
Pashchim Champaran 9 6 to 7 2 to 3
Purbi Champaran 12 9 to 10 2 to 3
Sheohar 1 1 0
Sitamarhi 8 7 1
Siwan 8 6 2
Total 55 43 to 47 8 to 12

Phase 1-4 Combined Position

Based on the aggregate of Phase 1 to 4, NDA is expected to have taken a big lead over Janata alliance as predicted in my last post after Phase 3 polls.

Best Case (very low probability)

As per best case scenario, NDA is expected to have already won the elections. I still maintain that these elections are very close and possibility of this happening is very low. Then why is this presented, only for illustrative / academic purposes and continuity for the readers.

Base Case (Scenario 1)

As per base case (median of the ranges forecast), NDA is expected to have won 114, Janata alliance 70 and Others 2. NDA has taken a decisive lead of 44 seats in this phase according to this estimate.

Worst Case (Scenario 2)

As per worst case (lowest end of the ranges forecast), NDA is expected to have won 105, Janata alliance 79 and Others 2. In this case the lead is of 26 seats.

Both scenario 1 & 2 have equal probability of happening. While in scenario 1 (base case) NDA has an upper hand, in scenario 2 (worst case) Janata alliance has an upper hand.

    Phase 1-4
Party / Alliance Ph. 1-3 Phase 4 Base Case Worst Case* Best Case*
NDA 62-76 43 to 47 114 105 123
Janata Alliance 53-67 8 to 12 70 79 61
Others 2 0 2 2 2
Total 131 55 186 186 186

*from NDA view point

How is this similar to a thrilling test match?

These 5 phases are like 5 days of a test match. In a test match pendulum swings from one team to another during the five days (one team has upper hand on some days while other team has upper hand on other days). The fortunes have swing in favour of both alliances during these various phases. Related post on How Bihar Elections is like a Cricket Match?


Phase 1 / Day 1: Janata alliance had a clear upper hand

Phase 2 / Day 2: NDA had a marginal upper hand

Phase 3 / Day 3: NDA had a very good upper hand

Phase 4 / Day 4: NDA had a clear upper hand

Phase 5 / Day 5: ?

NDA (26-44 seats) has taken a lead and it is now upto Janata alliance (Gathbandhan) to chase down this lead and win the match. Chasing down on the last day with a deteriorating pitch is always difficult in however good form your batsmen are. So there will be intense pressure on Janata alliance to perform and sweep Phase 5. That too when stakes are high. Its been a long campaign, volunteers / karyakartas have become tired and Janata alliance needs to keep the motivation levels high. In a way NDA will not be even contesting all the 57 seats, rather focus on 25-30 seats only.

What could happen in Phase V? Is this lead sufficient to enable NDA to win?

Phase V consists of 57 seats. This consists of areas where Muslim community has a lot of dominance. In Lok Sabha polls JDU and RJD/Congress/NCP alliance fighting separately was leading in 39 of these 57 seats and NDA in 18 seats. If you add all their votes together, 10 seats swing from BJP to Janata alliance. Effectively Janata alliance can win 49 / 57 seats in a polarized voting atmosphere. Do note that 85% of Muslims voted for Nitish and Lalu’s parties in 2014 LS polls.

In case of scenario 1 where NDA already has 114 seats, it can easily romp home by winning 8 seats it was leading in LS polls making its total tally 122 (simple majority). Janata will finish at 116 and Others at 5. I give 1 seat each to AIMIM, Pappu Yadav and NCP in Phase 5.

In case of scenario 2 where NDA has 105 seats, it becomes tricky for it to win the elections considering the data above showing the strength of Janata alliance in Phase V. In this case winning 17 seats will not be easy.

To match abhi baaki hai doston….

So after all this confusion who is winning? Stay tuned for a detailed blog on Phase V (pre-poll) and who will I put my money on. Thanks to all followers for their encouragement and support and apologies for delay.