The Nitish Kumar-Lalu Prasad alliance has an edge over the BJP and its allies in poll-bound Bihar and would romp to victory if polls were to be held today, according to a survey by AC-Neilson.
The grand alliance of the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Janata Dal-United, which has been wooing OBC and Muslim voters, would bag 129 seats with a vote share of 43%.
The BJP, allied with Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) of Ram Vilas Paswan, Former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustan Awami Morcha -Secular (HAM-Secular) and Rashtriya Loktantrik Samata Party (RLSP) of Upenndra Prasad Kushwaha, would get 112 seats with a 32% vote share.
If elections were to be held today, the BJP would win 87 seats, Jitan Ram Manjhi’s group 16, the JD-U 99, and the RJD 24. Seven seats would go to others.
Something wrong in Nitish's political DNA: Modi at Muzaffarpur rally
The Bihar assembly has 243 seats and the erstwhile BJP-JD-U alliance had swept the 2010 polls by bagging 206 seats. The JD-U had won 115 seats while the BJP won 91.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a scathing attack on leaders of the RJD-JD-U combine on Saturday as he rolled out the NDA’s campaign for the assembly polls in Bihar, singling out Kumar for criticism.
Modi began his day-long visit to Bihar by sharing a stage with Kumar and the two leaders were seen warmly greeting each other. But Modi was unsparing when he addressed a “Parivartan Rally” in Muzaffarpur to kick off the National Democratic Alliance’s campaign.
He said there is something wrong with Kumar's “political DNA” that led the Janata Dal-United leader to ditch friends who worked with him.
However, according to the survey, Kumar, with 52% support, is the most popular candidate for the chief minister’s post, followed by BJP’s Sushil Modi at 42%. Kumar also had a higher appeal among Muslim voters, according to the survey.
Overall, around 54% respondents felt Kumar should be given another chance to be chief minister, with 42% rooting for former deputy chief minister Modi.
Kumar is also slightly more popular than Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Bihar. But Modi’s appeal is higher in urban areas of Bihar among Hindus and upper castes.
Sixty-two percent of the respondents felt the BJP-JD-U alliance’s government was better than the government run exclusively by the JD-U. Kumar was far ahead of Manjhi when it came to his performance as the chief minister.
According to the opinion poll, the NDA is expected to lead in Bhojpur and Magadh regions because of Manjhi’s appeal, while the RJD-JD-U alliance along with Congress is likely to dominate Seemanchal, east Bihar and Mithilanchal.
In Tirhut, the RJD-JD-U alliance and the Congress may get 38 seats while the NDA could bag 32.
Asked about political parties banking on the caste card to win the election, 43% of respondents said the RJD-JD-U had played up the factor compared to 35% who felt the BJP was depending on this issue.
A total of 56% of respondents felt Manjhi’s rebellion against the JD-U would benefit the BJP while 38% said Kumar had benefited from the development.
The 38% that gave Kumar the advantage believed that the alliance of the JD-U, RJD, Congress and NCP would gain from the mess even though 66% believed that the current mess in Bihar was solely due to chief minister Kumar. Another 23% felt Manjhi was responsible while 9% blamed it on the BJP.
The survey suggested that the JD-U and its allies would get 57% of the vote share and the BJP and its allies 41%.
The survey covered 2,650 respondents in Patna, Gaya, East Champaran and Muzaffarpur.