Virus, Drugs or Migrant Workers? What Will Decide Bihar’s Fate? 

What are the key factors that will determine the fate of the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections?

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Video Editor: Sandeep Suman

The dates for the 2020 Bihar Assembly polls have been announced. Voting is to be conducted in three phases - on 28 October, 3 and 7 November respectively while the results will be announced on 10 November.

This year, however, there has been a low registration of voters in Bihar. It is also interesting to note that Bihar is the only state where there are more female voters than male. In the previous Assembly polls (2015) and in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, female voters outnumbered their male counterparts by 5 percent.

One can credit this to CM Nitish Kumar who has brought forth several schemes for women empowerment in the state which has had an effect on women taking on a pivotal role in the elections.

Some notable schemes for women empowerment include:

  • Cycle scheme
  • School uniforms
  • Free education
  • War on drugs

Another factor to note here is BJP's chief campaigner aka PM Modi who has been readily using the term 'Jai Siya Ram' instead of 'Jai Shree Ram', also a hint at how the party is looking to win the hearts of female voters.

The second factor which can have a major influence on the Bihar elections is that usually migrant workers don't go back to Bihar to vote, but this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, most of the migrant workers who are approximate 30-40 lakh in number are back at their home and might sway numbers.

Some other factors which would have a key impact on the Bihar elections include:

Bihar is a radical and progressive state. One of the greatest examples of this is how women in Bihar fought for period leaves 30 years ago under the Lalu government and won, long before Zomato announced it.

This will be the first election in India since the pandemic hit and all eyes will be on Bihar to set the tone for upcoming polls in terms of how the logistics will be handled during such times - how will campaigns be carried out and how crucial a role digital technology will play in this sphere.

There will also be a transformation in social equations particularly because of the BJP-JDU alliance. Last time around, it was the BJP-RJD alliance against JDU. This can also lead to smaller parties which leaned towards the RJD to swing the other way. But one must also note what the dynamics of the BJP-JDU alliance will be since that will also play a key role. BJP would be looking to increase their vote share and seat share. This will also be JP Nadda's first election as BJP chief.

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