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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

BJP assessment: Lalu’s stock on the rise in Bihar

Kumar Uttam, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 04, 2014
First Published: 01:07 IST(4/5/2014) | Last Updated: 01:10 IST(4/5/2014)

An internal assessment by the BJP for Bihar has indicated the rise of Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), mostly at the cost of the Janata Dal (United) that could be headed for its worst performance in recent years.

The analysis is in line with the findings of several independent surveys.

After Wednesday’s fourth round of elections in Bihar – the polling got over in 27 of the 40 seats – the BJP’s assessment indicates a significant shift of the Muslim vote towards Lalu Prasad while signalling cracks in his OBC vote bank, particularly the Yadavs. An alliance with the Congress, which wasn’t the case in 2009, is also helping the RJD.

“Last time, the RJD got four seats and the Congress won two. Their combined tally may double this time,” a BJP leader told HT.

The BJP, however, is confident that its figure (along with its two allies) could be around 25 seats while the JD(U) would get only three seats. The BJP and JD(U), in alliance in 2009, won 12 and 20 seats respectively.

This time, the BJP has forged an alliance with Dalit leader Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party, which has fielded seven candidates, and backward leader Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, which is contesting three seats.

“Barring Muslims, every other section is supporting us. There are indications of a section of MBC and Maha Dalit votes coming to the BJP,” another BJP leader said.

The leader admitted that the BJP’s tally would have been higher if Nitish had got a major chunk of minority votes, making it a triangular contest. But the JD(U) has been practically relegated to the third position on most of the seats.


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