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The data I will submit in the next blog on Bihar poll since Febraury, 2005 will be mind boggling and one way not worth blogging. For, I analyse polls on paradigm shift in the thinking of voters rather than the equations that existed before. That happened in 2014 and would most likely repeat in Bihar in 2015. One reason of my confidence is that Nitish has spoiled his and Bihar’s DNA, by his flip flops overtly exhibiting that he is over ambitious like Macbeth and now ably supported by two Ladies of his choice the RJD and the Congress, whose sins cannot be washed away by the gushing waters of Ganga or Brahmaputra. (Ladies Macbeth).
But the data is useful in analysing the real prospects of these alliances, taken that there is no change in the ground situation after 2010 or 2014. One argument stands good that elections for LS and Asembly differ on issues. But fortunately both Modi and Nitish made it a personal battle of sorts as in LS polls. And N is always after M. L is not considered in the contest as he is on baiL.
Now, let us make analysis based on ground level facts, not simply on figures.
To come to some realistic assessment, let us consider AP Polls first. In March, 2014, I met a software giant in Freemont area in a hotel owned by an aspirant for MP ticket from TDP. It was in USA. These two were close to the present CM of AP. In the midst of discussion the MP aspirant asked me , ” Are you confident of a TDP victory?”. I said yes, if they contest as partners of NDA.My own asessment was 120 seats for NDA, that fell short by a few seats finally.He said an internal survey by the party projected 119 for YSRCP. There was anxiety in TDP cadres. In fact, the same number was sent as DM to me by someone close to an ex-TDP minister. Then I told them you could convince the chief not to leave BJP as 3% vote of BJP is core. 90% of them vote as they are real voters that do not change with winds. And majority fence sitters and swing voters turn to us and we can swing it in our favor. But I expressed skepticism about the surveys. The owner of the software firms told me he was the one who designed the first ever software for a famous psepholgist and was partner in his company for years before he shifted. He said psephology went wrong as they depended on limited sample size and correlated with many past trends.But they come out wrong due to many factors, one being pattern of change and change in issues. With growth in literacy, a voter looks beyond caste and wants more. But party surveys are conducted on the basis of collection of data from sincere workers in large numbers and are more reliable. Both were reluctant welcomers of BJP but both assured to talk to the chief. Later, one of them confirmed he had a long chat and would be in AP to convince him personally. All is well that ends well. It ended well.
My point here is as of now NDA is more confidant with its internal surveys as their partners are the same. Continuity helps. Pariwar is yet a loose combination and none of the leaders is sure who is where in the Chess Board. How can they checkmate the king? Further each leader has a reason of his own to attack Modi and there is no unified opposition. MSY is changing stance each other day. So, there is no possible joint survey and confusion reigns as of now. Hence, NDA has a clear upper hand. A favorable survey of the party gives an edge to them as message goes to fence sitters, swing voters and first time voters. It happened in AP. A quick intetnal survey suggested NDA could outsmart YSRCP and 110 seats was their prediction post alliance but I stood firm on 120 for influencing swing voters at my level. It paid dividends. What was my role there? Nothing, but a sincere change monger at State and Centre. Here too, my role is that. End of Macbeth and his ambition. The two ladies already ended their lives earlier than Macbeth.
Most pollsters could not give a sweeping majority to AAP. Congress, shifting vote in toto, was not expected. Congress realised it was not strong anywhere, so shifted vote to defeat BJP. BJP dropped the hat in the middle after internal surveys predicted loss. So, Modi and Shah cleverly appeared that Modi was nowhere in picture and threw the mantle on Ms. Bedi. Modi had a long talk with her before announcing her as BJP face. What transpired, none knew. Local BJP leaders were up in arms and AAP became stronger than ever. If anyone knows Kejri personally, his basic trait is a split personality and before MCD polls, BJP tries to take advantage to cobble together the torn pieces and make a fitting comeback, if they learn a lesson. Here too, psephology went wrong, intetnal surveys helped Modi to withdraw as the face of Delhi polls. The fact is that Modi blew the conch for the upcoming Bihar polls in the first meeting.He is addressing second one close on heels suggests the confidence in NDA camp. Congress is struggling to decide and hence leadership is confined to slogan shouting in Delhi even as party is losing leaders and cadres in droves in states. Do they know the fate awaiting the top duo? Seems so. This is a second point that gives strength to my argument that NDA is on strong wicket. Modi pitching himself as main campaingner adds to my confidence.
Nothing changed on ground between LS polls and now. JDU lost heavily in LS polls. RJD too lost. Congress was nowhere. But now, these three have come together. So, the combined vote share must be more than that of NDA. But much water passed under the bridge since LS polls. Lalu is a mellowed man, because he has already been convicted and upper courts turning down the conviction are bleak. Further, there is no way out for him to save face unless one in his family occupies CM chair. Third, the party is well short of funds as none is ready to bet on him, as a convict on bail. Fourth, he does not believe that Nitish, a known adversary, will help him in any way. The relationship continues strained. So, Lalu will try his best to see that the result is fragmented. Veteran of many battles he knows where to hit that hurts Nitish most. If it is hung, he can still hang on as hard bargainer. So, this adds to the comfort zone of NDA.
As far as Congress is concerned, it dropped hat. None of the top leaders visited Bihar nor was there any sign of negotiations with others. The only way is again transferring votes in bulk to Nitish. Congress is wary of Nitish. He is another Modi, that never bends backwards to accomadate corrupt elements. So, RJD will be the best bet. But Lalu is cunning and self oriented. After winning, he may join NDA too, if accomadated. Moreover, the serious indictment of Congress by the Commission of Inquiry on Bhagalpur adds to Congress’ discomfiture as it can no longer rake up 2002. With carrying the burden of 1984 Delhi and 1989 Bhagalpur riots, even Nitish finds it difficult to defend Congress . Unless Nitish turns Dhritarashtra, not seeing anything, he cant solve the riddle. One more point in the kitty of NDA.
By showing his real face vis a vis Modi, Nitish lost heavily in 2014. Without learning a lesson he insulted Jitan Ram Manjhi, who, in a short span carved out a political space for himself. Besides caste votes, he won hearts of middle classes, upper classes, upper castes and youth very cleverly. He projected himself as a martyr. BJP too aapeared aloof to the happenings in JDU and escaped unhurt. Both joined together. This is an additional vote of about 5% in specific constituencies for NDA. Increase in specific constituencies helps in gaining numbers without diluting the vote share. This is electoral arithmetic. Let us discuss in the next part.
The special package that comes with many benefits will send a message that Modi stands by his word and a clever campaign by NDA and Modi how special packages are better than special status will send positive signals. Modi’s modus operendi is to deal with state specific subjects and announce infra and industry suited to each state or area. Power is his top priority and signals from other states where migrants from Bihar live and ruled by BJP will be helpful to build Modi image as a go_getter, who works for people. Even Nitish went on record saying teams of relief and Central Ministers reached and help reached Bihar even before the state woke up to real damage during earth quake time could be used by NDA that Modi would not play politics with opposition ruled states. “Just imagine if at both places, the same government works” will be the message. Huge hoardings with statements of Nitish in this reagard will be of immense help.
Modi’s USP is to address the basic problems faced by all sections while pursuing reforms. This is where he caught Congress with sore throats. When LAB amendments were being pursued by Modi government, Congress projected him as anti poor and crony capitalist. After Modi took the steam out of their campaign by almost agreeing to pass their own bill leaving it to states, Congress is lost for words except saying they have won. But with the fact that many states will pass bills that suit their needs, not different from NDA bill, Congress will have no answer. Either develop or remain backward, will be the message. Now, as they stall reforms, Congress will lose the other part of the war too as they are seen as anti growth. NDA is only bidding for time, as other programs of the government are showing ground result at micro level. Macro level growth takes time to percolate down to voters’ level and 2019 is far off. Voters are satisfied that Modi doing something to improve their living conditions. A plus point for NDA.
Universal Banking, Social Security, using festivals to spread goodwill message, improvement in roads, removing obsolete laws, Make In India, Fedral spirirt, Skill development to create jobs etc. are taking deep roots in large sections of population.
Major issue during LS polls was corruption in high places. During fourteen months’ of rule level of political corrpution has drastically come down pan India. Bureaucratic corruption is coming down slowly as many are circumspect of Modi ways. He strikes when one is complacent. Statesmenly. So, bureaucracy is realising the need to appear honest. Low level corruption is difficult to curb and we can only hope. Congress is shouting in the air, as it has neither issues nor tissues to wipe tears or wounds inflicted by NDA.
A shadow demon was on display in earlier polls that a BJP and a hardliner Hindu, Modi would divide the nation. To the utter dismay of Congress and allies they are more unified now and country is in safe hands.
Modi made several moves on foreign policy to help the nation and the world around. Of significance to Bihar is the Bhutan, Nepal agreements, the Bangladesh bonhomie and power generation and supply to Bihar from neighboring nations.
Modi still stands tall in the view of majority Indians, as he not only appears sincere but also sincere to the core. In a nutshell, NDA has a clear edge over any combination with the above and many underlining factors. I will not be surprised if NDA retains the three fourths majority it gained in 2014.