Bihar Assembly Election 2020: How women steered NDA towards majority

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Nov 11, 2020 06:20 AM IST

Data from the Election Commission of India shows that women do not outnumber men among registered electors in any of Bihar’s 243 ACs.

Women seem to have played a pivotal role in ensuring the victory of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar assembly elections.

Women voters hold up inked fingers after casting vote in the third phase of Bihar Assembly election, in Saharsa, Bihar. (HT Photo)
Women voters hold up inked fingers after casting vote in the third phase of Bihar Assembly election, in Saharsa, Bihar. (HT Photo)

An HT analysis shows that the NDA has a decisive edge over the Mahagathbandhan (MGB) in assembly constituencies (ACs) where women voters outnumbered men.

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Data from the Election Commission of India shows that women do not outnumber men among registered electors in any of Bihar’s 243 ACs. But there are 118 ACs where the number of women voters this year was higher than men voters. This is because voter turnout was higher among women.

HT has calculated this from the number of electors and voter turnout figures, both of which are available by gender.

There is a massive lead of 19 percentage points in the NDA’s strike rate (seats won as a proportion of those contested) in ACs where actual women voters outnumbered actual men voters. In fact, the higher the share of women voters in a constituency, the better is the NDA’s performance. This is evident in a quintile (bottom 20% to top 20%) distribution of all ACs by the share of actual women voters.

The NDA won 62% of the seats in the highest quintile compared to just 24% seats in the lowest quintile. There is a 6 percentage point gap in vote share between these two extreme groups of constituencies. (See Chart 1)

The advantage or lack of it among women voters is consistent for parties in either the NDA or the MGB, which suggests that they voted for government formation rather than local factors. Nitish Kumar’s government in Bihar has tried to consolidate women voters by schemes such as distribution of bicycles for girl students and announcing prohibition in 2016. (See Chart 2)

Women in Bihar have a higher share among voters, compared to their share in the population and registered voters. Women comprised 47.9% of Bihar’s population,

according to the Census 2011, and 47.4% of the registered electors, but approximately 49.6% of the people who voted this year. Turnout by women has been higher than that of men in Bihar in the last three assembly elections. (See Chart 3)

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