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Battle for Bihar: who stands where in the first phase

N Kumar | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 5:47 IST

The poll

  • The first phase of polling in Bihar came to an end on Monday
  • The turnout was 57%, up 6% from 2010. Turnout in Naxal areas was 52%

The politics

  • PM Narendra Modi addressed rallies in Jehanabad and Bhabua, despite protests
  • But the rallies are unlikely to have an impact on first phase voters

More in the story

  • Which way is the wind blowing?
  • Who gains from the high turnout?
  • Who are the main players in these areas?

The polling in numbers

  • Number of voters: 35 lakh
  • Candidates in the fray: 583
  • Number of seats up for grabs: 49
  • 13 areas declared as Naxal-affected
  • The overall turnout is estimated to be 57%, an increase of 6% from 2010
  • In Naxal-affected areas, the turnout was 52%

From the polling booth

  • Polling in most areas continued well beyond 5 PM
  • In Naxal-affected areas, polling wound up by 3 PM
  • The polling was largely peaceful in the Naxal areas, except for the Chakai seat in Jamui district where suspected Maoists fired at LJP candidate Vijay Kumar Singh.
  • The turnout was lower in Nawada and higher in Khagaria.

Who stands where

  • The majority of the seats that voted today were Grand Alliance bastions.
  • 35 out of the 49 seats were with the JD(U), RJD and Congress in the previous Vidhan Sabha.
  • If they are able to retain these 35 seats, it would mean that the alliance between Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad has been successful.
  • NDA too had its pockets of influence. Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP is considered strong in Jamui and Khagaria.
  • Khagaria is Paswan's home district whereas his son Chirag Paswan represents Jamui in the Lok Sabha.
  • However, the rivalry between Paswan and Jitan Ram Manjhi may cost the alliance in these areas.
  • Nawada is known to be controversial Union minister Giriraj Singh's pocket of influence.
  • Begusarai is where the left movement has much at stake.

PM Modi's rally in Jehanabad might not have much of an impact as voters had made up their minds

Prominent candidates

  • JD(U) heavyweight Vijay Kumar Chaudhary from Sarairanjan
  • Senior JD(U) minister Damodar Singh Rawat from Jhajha
  • JD(U) minister Renu Kushwaha, who defected to the BJP, from Samastipur
  • Shakuni Chaudhary, state president of Jitan Ram Manjhi's HAM, from Tarapur
  • LJP's state chief and Paswan's younger brother Pashupati Paras from Alauli
  • RJD leader Alok Mehta from Ujiyarpur
  • Congress leader Sadanand Singh from Kahalgaon
Also read - Spoiler turns benefactor: why Nitish & Lalu need to thank Owaisi

Reading the signs

  • Pundits expected Grand Alliance to do well in this phase. But they say that a low poll percentage could hamper its chances.
  • The fact that women and minorities came out to vote in large numbers might be an encouraging sign for them.
  • A corruption scandal against one of Nitish's ministers came to light a day before polling. But it is unlikely to have any impact.
  • Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally in Jehanabad might not have much of an impact as the voters had made up their minds by then.
  • Most of the regions that voted today are Muslim or Yadav dominated.

The X-factors

  • No one knows which way the Most Backward Castes voted
  • Yadav voters will play a decisive role in areas like Nawada and Jhajha. Was Lalu Prasad able to shift these votes in favor of the grand alliance?
  • While Dusadh Dalits seem to have voted for the NDA because of Ram Vilas Paswan, it is not clear if non-Dusadh Dalits voted for the alliance.
  • Similarly, this phase is going to decide whether the Mallahs of Samastipur will side with the NDA or not.
  • Kushwahas hold the key in some areas. Can Upendra Kushwaha bring his community's vote towards the NDA?

Drama in Delhi

  • After the first phase of polling, the action seems to have shifted to national capital.
  • The Opposition raised objections to Modi addressing rallies on polling day in Jehanabad and Bhabhua.
  • Simultaneously, a BJP delegation led by Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission.
  • The memorandum reads: "RJD, JD(U) and Congress are repeatedly trying to obstruct fair, fear-free, corruption-free elections in Bihar".
  • It further slams the Grand Alliance for "pressurising the administration" to deny permission for the PM's rally and demanding a ban on their live telecast.

What the leaders had to say

  • On the other side, Lalu Prasad attacked Modi from his twitter handle. He said:

Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party supremo, Mulayam Singh Yadav addressed a rally in Kaimur in Rohtas. He reportedly said that there are strong chances of the NDA winning the election and forming the government in the state.

(With inputs from Panini Anand)

First published: 12 October 2015, 10:42 IST
N Kumar @CatchNews

Is a freelance journalist based in Patna. He writes prolifically on politics, caste and economic reforms.