Today's Chanakya has predicted a landslide victory for the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar assembly elections. The Today’s Chanakya exit polls have forecast RJD-Congress bagging 180 seats, the whereas JD(U)-BJP+ is expected to be restricted to just 55. The majority mark in the 243-seat assembly is 122.
The mammoth difference in the seat projection is in sync with the estimated voter percentages of the two alliances. While the RJD+ is expected to get around 44% votes, the JD(U)+ is estimated to bag only 34%. Others, including alliances headed by Upendra Khushwaha, Pappu Yadav and other smaller parties and Independents, are estimated to get only 22% votes.
The huge mandate that Today's Chanakya has predicted for the RJD-Congress-Left alliance becomes possible because of two factors -- severe anti-incumbency and unemployment. As per an exit poll conducted by Today’s Chanakya, 63% respondents favoured a change of government in the state, while 35% cited unemployment as the main election issue followed by development (28%) and corruption (19%). In another blow to incumbent Nitish Kumar, nearly one in three people (37%) surveyed rated his performance as chief minister poor.
Unemployment was the poll plank of Tejashwi Yadav, the CM face of the Mahagathbandhan. Early on in the poll campaign, Tejashwi had talked about generating an employment portal which receive a huge response. He then promised to provide 10 lakh government jobs on his first day as chief minister. This was a poll sop that had clearly left the NDA in a quandary, with Nitish Kumar claiming that this was an unachievable promise. The BJP then promised double the number of jobs.
The Mahagathbandhan seems to have used the anti-incumbency to its advantage with a skillful balance of caste arithmetic, Today's Chanakya poll shows. A significant chunk of Extremely backward Class (EBC) and Scheduled Caste voters, which had been solidly behind Nitish Kumar, seems to be getting distributed almost evenly between JD(U)+ and RJD+.
The survey done by Today’s Chanakya shows that 40% EBC population was behind the JD(U)-BJP combine and 33% was behind the RJD-Congress combine. Among Scheduled Caste voters, 39% said they were backing the NDA and 34% said they were with the Mahagathbandhan.
The Today’s Chanakya survey also showed that among OBCs, non-Yadav OBCs (51%) were firmly behind NDA, while 30% non-Yadav OBC expressed faith in the Mahagathbandhan. Yadav as a caste block (69%) backed the grand alliance to the hilt, while the NDA got only 22% Yadav vote. Yadavs make up 16% of Bihar’s population.
Of the other caste blocks, the NDA seems to have bagged support of majority (60%) upper castes, while Muslims seem to have overwhelmingly backed Mahagathbandhan (80%).
With nearly half of Bihar’s population consisting of EBC/OBC communities, SCs with 15% and Muslims with 17% of the state’s population, the RJD+ seems to have got its caste arithmetic and seat distribution right better than the JD(U)+. RJD+ seems to have got huge support from not only its Muslim-Yadav voters, but made significant forays into SC and EBC communities.