As of Now, Advantage to Lalu-Nitish Grand Alliance: Opinion Poll

The Lalu-Nitish-Congress alliance has the edge in the Bihar elections, but it’s not over yet according to a poll.

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Politics
3 min read
An opinion poll has given the ‘Grand Alliance’ the edge in the Bihar polls.

An opinion poll conducted by CVoter has given a slight edge to the RJD-JDU-Congress alliance in the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections. The Mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance’s chief ministerial candidate Nitish Kumar is also the preferred CM with 53% of over 10,000 respondents that the survey questioned.

Nitish is the most popular choice for chief minister, according to the survey. (Photo: PTI)
Nitish is the most popular choice for chief minister, according to the survey. (Photo: PTI)

According to the poll, the Grand Alliance is expected to win 116-132 seats and the BJP and it’s allies between 94-110 seats. Crucially, the ‘others’ category, i.e. parties and independents not allied with  either formation, are predicted to get 13-21 seats. The BJP led alliance is set to get 40% of the vote, while Nitish and Lalu along with the Congress will get 43%.

When the Election Commission announced the dates for the Bihar Assembly elections yesterday, both alliances welcomed the announcement and said they were confident of victory.

If taken at face value, the opinion poll gives all the political actors involved a reason to hope.

For the RJD and Allies, it’s About Retaining Their Social Base

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD won just four seats out of 40. Despite this poor performance, the RJD had nearly 20% of the vote, thanks to the support it enjoys among the Yadavs and Muslims.

Lalu still commands an impressive vote bank and is a crowd puller. (Photo: PTI)
Lalu still commands an impressive vote bank and is a crowd puller. (Photo: PTI)

This time Lalu’s party isn’t competing against Nitish Kumar and the JD(U), but will be in a head-to-head battle with the BJP in 100 seats.

For Nitish Kumar and the JD(U), it’s a real political test. This is the first time in over a decade that Nitish is fighting an election without support from the BJP. The CM’s popularity and the fact that the BJP has not put up a CM candidate definitely bodes well for the Grand Alliance. While 53% of respondents polled said Nitish was their choice for CM, only 18% said they would like Sushil Modi of the BJP to rule Bihar.

The Narendra Modi effect is still in play in Bihar. (Photo: PTI)
The Narendra Modi effect is still in play in Bihar. (Photo: PTI)

Modi Factor and On-Ground Management Could Help the BJP Win

Narendra Modi’s popularity is still intact as far as the Bihar voter is concerned, according to the poll. A whopping 55% still think Modi is the best choice for PM. Coupled with the BJP’s cadre on the ground, this could help swing the Bihar voter.

According to the poll, the difference between the BJP and the Grand Alliance is not insurmountable. There is also the chance of a hung assembly, which would bring smaller parties and independents into play. There is still a lot of campaigning to be done before the polls, and it’s still anyone’s game.

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