Bihar Elections: What Makes the BJP and JD(U) Apprehensive?

Read what is making the BJP and JD(U) apprehensive in the upcoming Bihar elections.

4 min read
Bihar Elections: What Makes the BJP and JD(U) Apprehensive?

The Quint DAILY

For impactful stories you just can’t miss

By subscribing you agree to our Privacy Policy

In their public statements, both the BJP-led NDA and the JD(U)-RJD-Congress Grand Alliance have proclaimed that they are confident of victory in Bihar. But are things hunky dory? The Quint spoke with senior politicians in both alliances, and they told us what they are apprehensive of in the upcoming polls.


When it Comes to Money and Manpower, BJP has the Edge

(Left to right) NDA leaders Jitan Ram Manjhi, Amit Shah and Ram Vilas Paswan at the announcement seat-sharing for the Bihar polls in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)

If the Bihar electorate votes on traditional lines, the Grand Alliance has an advantage. Muslims and OBCs, their traditional voter base, far outnumber upper castes and SCs.

In Bihar, upper castes and SCs each form about 14% of the population. Within SCs there are divisions, many of them are with our alliance. When it comes to numbers, we have the advantage. In fact, the BJP itself knows this. Their latest campaign strategy is to say that if we form the government, the alliance will break-up within six months. Why are they so concerned about the health of our alliance?
— KC Tyagi, Chief General Secretary and National Spokesperson, JD(U)

However, a senior member of the JD(U) has told us that when it comes to resources and dedicated party workers on the ground, the BJP has an advantage over its rivals.

We can’t match up to the BJP in terms of money or cadres. They RSS’ hindutva agenda has galvanised them. We simply don’t have enough party workers to compete at that level. There have been attempts to communalise the situation consistently. A large communal flare-up hasn’t been allowed by the state government, but it has helped polarise the vote.
Senior JD(U) Leader

Lalu Prasad Yadav’s electoral charisma and vote base, and Nitish Kumar’s popularity are the Grand Alliance’s answer to the vastly superior resources of the BJP. However, by fielding a large number of Yadav candidates, the BJP will hope to nullify their opponent’s advantage.


The BJP’s Leadership Question

Nitish Kumar has run a popular social media campaign. (Photo: PTI)

The Grand Alliance has a declared and popular CM candidate. Currently, “there appears to be no one from the NDA who matches the stature of Nitish Kumar,” according to KC Tyagi. In addition, he feels that the JD(U) has out-manoeuvred the BJP on the social media campaign as well.

There is no anti-incumbency against Nitish Kumar in Bihar. People know the work he has done. He is by far the tallest leader in the state. There is no one from the BJP, not “chota Modi”, or anyone else that can hold a candle up to him. On social media as well, we are ahead of the BJP. There are six crore mobile phones in Bihar, our message of good governance, development and social justice has gone out to the youth through these as well.
— KC Tyagi, Chief General Secretary and National Spokesperson, JD(U)

There was some talk of either Ram Vilas Paswan or Jitan Ram Manjhi – both backward caste leaders – being the chief ministerial candidate, but that seems unlikely at least for now.

The who’s who of the Bihar BJP and Sushil Modi’s book launch in Patna. (Photo:

Why has the BJP been so reluctant to declare a CM candidate? A source in the party’s Bihar leadership thinks it’s because of factionalism among party leaders.

In the long run, Lalu and Nitish won’t be able to work together. But right now, they do have the numbers. We can’t declare a CM candidate because any leader we appoint, others will have a problem with and this will divide the party. Sushil Modi has name recognition, but Yadavs and upper caste leaders may have a problem with him.
— Senior BJP Member


The ‘Others’ Conundrum

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, NCP leader Tariq Anwar and other leaders joining hands during a Samajwadi Party meeting for upcoming Bihar assembly polls in Patna. (Photo: PTI)

The temptation to see the Bihar election as a simple contest between two blocs, the NDA and Grand Alliance, may end up simplifying a complex situation. The ‘third front’ which consists of the Samajwadi Party, NCP, Pappu Yadav’s Janadhikar Party and three others could take away some of the vote from the Grand Alliance.

The Left Front too has some pockets of influence and a decent showing by them could hurt both the major alliances. Then there’s the Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) which could polarise the vote in the Seemanchal region, which has a considerable Muslim presence.

Both major alliances, while competing against each other, need to keep these other players in mind.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read and Breaking News at the Quint, browse for more from news and politics

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More
Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!
More News