In Part I of the series we have seen how vote share arithmetic favours Janata alliance.
In Part II we saw how trend analysis between Lok Sabha – State polls favours NDA.
In Part III we will see how caste representation of MLAs could decide the outcome of Bihar state polls to be held in Oct-Nov 2015. We will also see who this factor will favour in these polls.
Caste is cast in stone in Bihar politics as I have said in a previous article in Niticentral. Caste system is deep rooted in the state. Party which is able to get the caste combination right is expected to win the state polls. In Lok Sabha polls of 2014 BJP was able to create a social combination of upper castes, Dalits (Paswan), Koeris (Kushwaha), Bania and most backward classes and went onto sweep 31 / 40 sweets. Nitish was left with only Kurmi and a section of MBCs, Dalits / Mahadalits, Muslim votes. Lalu held onto majority of Yadav and Muslim votes.
Caste Wise Population Break Up of Bihar
50% of the population is accounted for by 3 caste communities – Muslims, Dalits / Mahadalits and Most Backward Classes (MBCs).
Caste Wise Break-Up of MLAs of Bihar (based on last 3 assembly elections & Lok Sabha polls)
Upper Castes and Yadavs account for half of the MLAs of Bihar when they represent only 29% of population.
Note: Source: Bihar Times (MLAs for 2000, 2005 and 2010), politicalbaaba.com
For 2004, 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections, to arrive at no. of MLAs, no. of MPs per community has been multiplied by 6.
Dalits & Mahadalits account for 17% of MLAs which is equal to their population proportion primarily because 38 / 243 seats are reserved for them. Kurmis and Koeris also have representation in assembly which is equal to their population.
So we see that Muslims and MBCs are two caste categories which are grossly under-represented and Upper castes and Yadavs are two caste categories which are grossly over represented in the assembly.
Upper castes have dominated the political scene of Bihar before the arrival of Lalu era in 1990s. 16 out of 24 Chief Ministers belonged to the upper castes pre 1990. After Lalu arrived in 1990, Yadavs have dominated the political scene. 5 out of 9 CMs were from the Yadav community post 1990.
As BJP grew stronger in the state from 2000 onwards, the number of upper caste MLAs has witnessed an increase (from 58 in 2000 to 96 in 2014 based on Lok Sabha seats converted to assembly seats). On the contrary the number of Yadav MLAs has shown a decline (from 64 in 2000 to 36 in 2014) as Lalu’s fiefdom weakened. With Lalu tying up with Nitish, Yadav MLAs could once again see a marked increase in 2015 polls.
Seats won by major caste communities in Bihar (in last 6 polls)
This data is really interesting and can be used to predict the party expected to win the Bihar polls. In 2015 elections 75 upper caste, 47 Yadavs, 20 Muslims, 40 Dalits, 30 Kurmi / Koeri, 12 Bania and 17 MBC MLAs are expected to be selected based on an average of the past 6 elections.
Upper caste MLAs are most likely to win on BJP ticket, Yadavs & Muslims on Janata ticket, Dalits / Mahadalits on Paswan / Manjhi ticket, Kurmis on Janata ticket, Koeris on Kushwaha ticket, Banias on BJP ticket and MBCs on both BJP as well as Janata ticket in the polls of 2015.
Based on the average number of MLAs per caste / community and voting pattern of that particular caste in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, it is expected to be a hung assembly. NDA is expected to be ahead with 109 seats and Janata following closely with 96 seats. Others are expected to win 38 seats.
Expected seat share in 2015 state polls
*RJD + JDU + Congress assuming they fought together in 2014 Lok Sabha Polls.
Post Lok Sabha polls three key events (apart from old foes Nitish and Lalu coming together) have taken place:
• Manjhi has joined NDA – expected to increase vote share of BJP from Mahadalits.
• Pappu Yadav has left RJD to form his own party – expected to reduce vote share of Lalu from Yadavs.
• Owaisi has announced fighting Bihar polls – expected to reduce vote share of Lalu from Muslims
Who will win the polls depends upon who snatches the 25 odd seats (upper caste 7, Dalits 11 and Kurmi / Koeri 7) from “Others”. Whichever party wins majority of these seats will form the government.
So the ability of both the alliances to win over the seats which looks likely to go to “Others”. However, currently BJP seems to be ahead as shown in the above table leading the pack with 109 seats.
Stay glued for more in this series in coming weeks…