People of Bihar are talking about BJP and Modi wave and resurgent Lalu. The Lalu’s release from prison, the Election Commission’s decision to debar him from contesting polls and his alliance with the Congress are talk of the town.

It’s being said that Lalu, who had been ruling the state for 15 years banking on M-Y equation, has succeeded in revitalize the famous social engineering formula this time around.

It may be possible to some extent but it may prove wrong that Lalu will get enough number of seats based only on M-Y formula.

Polls are over in 27 Lok Sabha constituencies and going by the trend it will be hyperbole to say that Lalu has succeeded in getting entire Minority votes which seems to be witnessing erosion. At the same time, the youth voters have inclined towards development issue. It will not appropriate to forget that the changed equation and several factions during the last 10 years have changed the political ground in the state. Riding high on its traditional M-Y equation, the RJD seems to be getting strengthened to some extent.

RJD’s main vote base Yadav and Muslim have 14 percent and 16 percent populations respectively in the state. Five constituencies have 40 percent M-Y populations, while seven seats have 30-40 percent. This formula makes RJD frontrunner on total of 12 seats but the caste of candidates is directly affecting the electoral outcome. On the other seats, Lalu needs support of other communities which have deserted him years before. The history of last two and half decades reminds that the RJD was getting support of 23 percent OBCs and 10 percent Mahadalit apart from its traditional M-Y vote bank.

There was a slogan of social justice. The entire political equation in Bihar had changed with Ramvilas Paswan’s decision to switching sides in 1998 and 2004. In 1998, Paswan was with NDA. But with the LJP president joining hands with UPA in 2004, RJD registered historic victory in the Lok Sabha elections by winning 24 seats. But in 2005, Lalu faced humiliating drubbing as Paswan deserted him. In 2009 LS elections, Lalu tasted worst ever defeat, getting only four seats. He himself lost Patliputra seat to his onetime close aide Ranjan Yadav of JD (U) because Congress went to polls solo.

Indication is clear that Lalu appears to be bouncing back in Bihar politics but he has probably lost his political power to some extent. The RJD is yet to get support of OBCs and Mahadalit. The JD (U) is facing tough time after parting ways with BJP in June last year. The BJP has attracted his core OBC vote bank citing Modi’s backward background.

The election observers are of opinion that important factors of social engineering will play an important role in this election. Modi’s leadership has overshadowed Nitish’s. The BJP also added around 8 percent Kushwaha and Paswan votes in its fold. If Modi succeeds in encroaching upon the Backward and Most Backward Class voters and polarizing Upper Castes in its favour, RJD seems to be lagging behind BJP in Bihar. But the RJD may improve its tally on the cost of JD (U).     

(JPN/Bureau)

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