Monday 26 October 2015

Why a loss in Bihar will be no setback for the BJP

It will be a miracle if the BJP combine wins in Bihar. but if they do, the message will be loud and clear that the Modi sheen is not fading and if anything, it is even getting stronger, much stronger.

But I am not sure if even the BJP expects to win Bihar, their public posturing notwithstanding. Not that that is going to make a huge difference.

Consider this.

Even in the Lok Sabha elections of 2014 when Nitish Kumar was humiliated, the BJP polled just under 30 % of the votes polled. The JD (U) of Nitish Kumar,  the RJD of Lalu Yadav and the Congress received 16%, 20 % and  9 % % respectively.

If one recognises that the BJP cannot better its pe
rformance of the 2014 Lok Sabha and sees this in conjunction with the fact that the JD (U), the RJD and the INC are fighting this election together, the writing on the wall is very clear. These 3 parties between them, polled 45 % of the popular vote during the last Lok Sabha elections, against the 36 % vote share of the BJP along with Paswan's Lok Jan Shakti party. On top of this, the support of the CPI and the CPM for the anti NDA alliance may swing a few votes on the margin for sure.

Just as the arithmetic of the vote split  swept BJP to its huge victory in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it is the same arithmetic, this time of the 3 party unity which will make a victory for the NDA nothing short of a miracle. But then, while a win in Bihar will be a huge shot in the arm for the NDA, a loss will be no setback.

A win for NDA will deliver a huge body blow to opposition unity. An NDA win in Bihar would only increase the stand off in parliament as a resurgent NDA hardens its stance against an obdurate opposition.

A loss for NDA may create the illusion of a surge in opposition fortunes with consequent implications for the Assembly elections due in 5 states (Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu & West Bengal)  in 2016, none of which are anywhere near being BJP strongholds anyway.  But in the 5 states going to elections next year, this unity of anti NDA forces won't matter, considering that in  2 states, local parties are in power, both of whom are in a strong position.  All that an NDA loss would therefore achieve is to cause the opposition to get confrontational and more shrill in Delhi.

What will change ? Nothing.

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