High female turnout helps Grand Alliance script win in Bihar

  • Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, Patna
  • Updated: Nov 09, 2015 18:35 IST
Supporters of Congress, RJD and JD(U) celebrate the Grand Alliance’s victory in Bihar assembly elections in Ranchi on Sunday. (PTI Photo)

The Nitish Kumar-led Grand Alliance netted 80% of the constituencies where the voting percentage of women was higher than that of men. Its success rate dropped strikingly to about 48% in others segments, election data show.

The polls saw more women coming out to vote compared to last year’s Lok Sabha election and the 2010 assembly polls, with the difference between the two gender groups about four percentage points— 60.57% women and 56.5% men. Traditionally, the percentage of women voting is about two percentage points higher primarily because thousands of men migrate from Bihar every year seeking work.

A scrutiny of the Election Commission data on voting percentage in each constituency and counting trends showed a higher female turnout helped the Grand Alliance. Of the 203 assembly segments where voters comprised more women than men, the alliance won about 160. Of the remaining 40, it bagged 18.

The strike rate of the alliance was higher in constituencies where the difference was more significant. It won 87 of the 98 assembly seats where the gap in numbers between women and men who came out to vote was more than 10 percentage points.

Further analysis of the data showed the Nitish Kumar-led coalition won all the 10 constituencies where women outnumbered men by the widest margin in terms of turnout.

In comparison, the BJP won four of the 10 constituencies where male turnout was the highest.

Poll analysts said the Grand Alliance campaign strategy was more targeted towards women as it talked about providing better schools, health facilities, reliable electricity supply and road connectivity.

“Also, the positive image of Nitish Kumar found resonance with female voters,” said an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader who was part of the Grand Alliance’s campaign strategy.

The poll results also pointed to growing independence of women in the state when it comes to deciding their pick which had massive bearing on the outcome.

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