On the basis of the feedbacks they received from the grass-root workers in the 186 constituencies that went to voting in the four phases, none of the rival wrestlers is confident about his ‘Pucca Jeet’. Off the records, both sides whisper that the winner for the battle of Bihar is to be decided by the final round of voting in 57 seats on November 5.
And they are right. If the opinions of political analysts are to be believed, the first two phases of polling in 81 seats took place on October 12 and 16 respectively had given an edge to the Grand Alliance (GA). The NDA, according to them, have compensated during the other two phases on October 28 and November 1 respectively in the 105 constituencies. Thus, the chances of win- ability for either ‘yodha’ are of fifty-fifty after the completion of four phases of polling.
Claims and counter claims of victory are pouring in from both sides by showing social and political ‘realities’ in their respective favours in the constituencies going to polls on November 5. To begin with the GA, it had succeeded in winning 31 seats during the 2010 assembly elections whereas even during the Narendra Modi’s wave in 2014 Lok Sabha polls the GA bagged 6 out of total 9 seats of the regions known as Mithilanchal, Koshi and Seemanchal respectively. Moreover, even after contesting separately, the three parties of the GA, the Janata Dal (U), RJD and congress had registered lead in 35 assembly segments during the 2014 general elections.
On the other hand, the NDA is expecting polarization along the communal line during the voting that will tilt the weight in its favour making it winner of the battle. Claimed Dadan Tiwary of Phulparas seat in Mithilanchal, “the 6 public meetings of the Prime Minister on November 1 and 2 had changed the political scenario in all the three regions in the favour of NDA”. Lok Janshatki Party (LJP) nominee from Babu Barahi constituency Binod Kumar Singh claimed there were wave in favour of NDA because of two reasons of Narendra Modi’s performance as Prime Minister and Nitish Kumar’s mistake of falling in the lap of Lalu Prasad.
The NDA leaders claim of having information that rebel MP and president of Jan Adhikar Party (JAP), Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav would be cutting into sufficient Yadavas’ votes in the 57 seats to ensure the defeat of GA. They also believe that the candidates put up by AIMIM supremo Asaduddin Owaisi in 6 constituencies of Seemanchal region would darken the electoral prospects of the GA for sure. “Even Katihar MP Tariq Anwar of the Nationalist Congress party (NCP) is making strong dent into the fate of GA by throwing 40 candidates”, said Miss Sweaty Singh, NDA candidate from Kishanganj.
The five days tour conducted by Tehelka covering almost all nine districts that will be witnessing poll on November 5, has sufficient materials to prove that the GA are dominating in a big way with solid inclination of MY (Muslim-Yadav) towards it. The combination of MY with overt support of Kurmi and Dhanuk outnumbers other castes even if they come together. There is apparent split in the votes of extremely backward castes that constitutes around 34 percent of votes in the regions. Bonus to the GA is clear division in the Brahmin votes. Said Manik Jha of Mahisi in Saharsa district, “ the village was at one leg for Narendra Modi in 2014 but this time we will vote for Nitish because he has done a lot for our village”.
The women cutting across the caste line are for Nitish Kumar. Some of them whom Tehelka encountered do not know the symbol of the nominees put up by the GA but their hearts beat for the Bihar CM. Beauty Kumari reads in BA at Islampur (West Bengal). She assists her father Khogan Singh in the business of tailoring at Jalu Chauk in Pothia block of Kishanganj. She wanted to make Nitish Kumar chief minister but is not in the know by now that he has parted ways with the BJP. “ I will press lotus button to ensure victory of his candidate in the Kishanganj seat”, she stressed. In fact, Nitish Kumar was here in 2010 to seek vote for BJP candidate.