The Telegraph
Wednesday , August 27 , 2014
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Bypoll vote pattern surprise

Patna, Aug. 26: Two plus two in politics does not add up to four.

In spite of the success of the grand alliance of the JDU, the RJD and the Congress and the undeniable slump in the BJP’s vote share, the voting pattern still remains a mystery in the political circles.

“Despite not getting the expected results, our party won Narkatiaganj, Mohania and Banka Assembly seats. In all these seats, we had trailed in the Lok Sabha polls despite the Narendra Modi wave. How does the grand alliance explain these upsets?” said Nand Kishore Yadav, the leader of Opposition in the Assembly.

Several political observers felt that the by-elections essentially deal with micro issues and should not be compared with the Lok Sabha polls. “In the general election, the question was who would be the Prime Minister. In the by-elections, the people were more concerned who would be their MLA,” said an RJD leader.

The fluctuations in the vote percentage have been quite significant. The BJP, which gained over 54 per cent of voters in Chhapra in the Lok Sabha elections, dropped to just over 20. Similarly in Hajipur, the vote percentage dropped from over 58 per cent to just 38. In Bhagalpur, the BJP’s percentage also dipped by over 12. In Narkatiaganj, the JDU-RJD-Congress alliance dropped 5 per cent of the votes while the BJP gained over 12 per cent. In Banka, the alliance lost around 10 per cent while the BJP gained the same. “Every constituency has a story for its voting pattern. Somewhere it is caste and somewhere it is sabotage or the candidate’s charisma,” said a senior JDU leader.

The repeated remarks by the NDA that the alliance between Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar will pave the way of “jungle raj-II” have hardly scared voters. “At the same time, Lalu’s mantra that the bypolls was a fight between the Mandal and the Kamandal did not find favour among the voters. Most of the candidates of the grand alliance hail from the upper caste. Three of the four candidates who have won belong to the Mandal class,” said BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi.

On the other hand, whatever the BJP may say the fact remains that their assessment that the people would reject the grand alliance has been proved wrong. “The main issue was if the alliance was acceptable to the people. The bypolls have proved that it is acceptable,” said state Congress chief Ashok Choudhary.

It is small wonder that Sushil Modi’s critics in the party are gunning for the poster boy of the party in Bihar. “There have been grave errors in selection of candidates and it should be looked into,” said BJP’s former national vice-president Dr C.P. Thakur.

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