Bihar Results: Chirag Paswan’s LJP May Have Cost NDA 39 Seats

In 32 seats, LJP polled more votes than the margin of defeat for the Janata Dal (United). 

3 min read
Chirag Paswan is leading the LJP’s charge against ‘ally’ Nitish Kumar.

Even though Chirag Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) has won just one seat, it has emerged as one of the most important players in the Bihar Assembly elections.

Given that Paswan had openly announced that the LJP wants specifically to defeat incumbent chief minister Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal (United), the real tally of relevance for the LJP is the number of seats in which it may have harmed the JD(U)'s chances.

It turns out that in as many as 38 seats, the LJP has polled more votes than the margin between the winning candidate and the defeated NDA candidate.

This means that had LJP been part of the pre-poll National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and transferred its votes effectively, the NDA could have won 38 seats more than it did. Add to that the seat won by LJP, and the tally is up to 39. Therefore in such an eventuality, the NDA would have won a two-thirds majority in Bihar.


In 33 Seats, LJP Polled More Votes Than JD(U)’s Margin of Defeat

In line with the LJP's intentions, the lion's share of these 39 seats were ones in which Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) was contesting.

Out of these 39 seats, 33 were lost by the JD(U). This is roughly equal to the BJP's present lead over the JD(U), giving further credence to theories that it was the BJP that pushed the LJP to put up candidates against the JD(U) in order to weaken Nitish Kumar.

After JD(U), the party most affected by this is the Vikassheel Insan Party, which lost 4 such seats. Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustan Awam Morcha also lost one such seat as did, surprisingly, the BJP.

Here are the list of seats where the LJP polled more votes than the margin between the winning candidate and the defeated candidate from the NDA.

LOST BY JD(U): Alauli, Atri, Bajpatti, Barharia, Chakai, Chenari, Darbhanga Rural, Dhauraiya, Dinara, Ekma, Gaighat, Islampur, Jagdishpur, Jamalpur, Kargahar, Khagaria, Laukaha, Maharajganj, Mahnar, Mahua, Matihani, Minapur, Morwa, Nathnagar, Obra, Raghunathpur, Rajapakar, Sahebpur Kamal, Samastipur, Sheikhpura, Sherghati, Singheshwar, Surajgarha

LOST BY VIP: Baniapur, Madhubani, Simri Bakhtiarpur, Sugauli

LOST BY BJP: Bhagalpur


LJP’s Strategy

The LJP's candidate list included several people with an RSS or BJP background such as Rajendra Singh, Rameshwar Chaurasia and Deo Ranjan Singh. It also fielded a large number of upper caste candidates. The Quint had earlier reported that a number of RSS cadres were also actively campaigning for LJP candidates.

Both these seem to have been attempts to woo BJP voters in seats that the JD(U) or smaller NDA partners contested. Some have even accused Chirag Paswan of doing it at the BJP’s behest to cut Nitish Kumar to size.

The LJP polled 5.66 percent of the total votes in the state but since it contested only about half the total number of seats, its average vote share in the seats contested may have been around 11 percent.

Since much of these were NDA votes, the JD(U) and non-BJP partners may have been at a disadvantage compared to the BJP.

This is evident from the fact that there is a four percentage point gap between the BJP and JD(U) even though they contested the same number of seats.

Who Benefitted From This? Naturally, the Mahagathbandhan

Out of the 39 seats listed above, the RJD ended up winning 28, the Congress won in eight, an Independent in one, and of course the solitary seat won by LJP itself.

Had the LJP been part of the pre-poll NDA and transferred votes effectively, the Mahagathbandhan may have found it difficult to cross 90 seats based on this calculation.

However, the vote transfers aren't simple. It is possible that in a few seats the LJP's presence could have harmed the Mahagathbandhan as well, especially in seats where it put up Muslim or Paswan candidates.

Also while acknowledging the LJP factor, it is also true that there was a great deal of anti-incumbency against Nitish Kumar and that RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav worked exceptionally hard to turn the election around.

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