Bihar Assembly Election 2020: NDA’s seat share rose with every phase
The fact that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has managed to secure a majority in the Bihar elections is largely an outcome of its ability to gain momentum after the first phase of polling in the state. The irony involved here is difficult to miss, as it was the NDA which entered the contest as the favoured coalition against the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)-led Mahagathbandhan (MGB).
An HT analysis of phase-wise statistics shows this clearly. On every indicator, be it strike rate, vote share, or victory margin, the NDA performance improved discernibly from the first to the final phase of the elections. Phase-wise statistics also suggest a growing counter-polarisation against the RJD, which could have been the result of the NDA evoking the memories of RJD president Lalu Prasad from 1990 to 2005.
The Bihar elections were held in three phases. Seventy-one assembly constituencies (ACs) went to poll on October 28, 94 ACs on November 3, and 78 on November 7.
The seat share of NDA increased over each phase. It is 29.6% in the first phase, 52.1% in the second phase and 66.7% in the third phase. The MGB’s performance is the opposite. It bagged 67.6% of the seats in the first phase, 46.8% in the second phase and just 26.9% in the third phase.
What is interesting is the fact that this huge difference in seat share is more a result of vagaries of the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system rather than difference in popular support.
Even though the MGB suffered a dip of just about 1.5 percentage points in its vote share from Phase 1 to Phase 2 and phase two to phase three, its seat share dropped by about 20 percentage points compared to the previous phase in both the second and the third phase. The increase in the NDA’s vote share was bigger than the loss in the MGB’s vote share. It increased by 6.33 percentage points between Phase 1 and Phase 2, and 1.9 percentage points between Phase 2 and Phase 3. As a result of these changes, the NDA recovered from a 6.8% vote share deficit vis-à-vis the MGB in the first phase to a lead of 4.4% in the third phase. This suggests that the NDA was more successful in consolidating the floating voter than eat into the MGB’s support base. (See Chart 1)
The phase-wise difference in performance also shows in the victory margins of the two major alliances. Median victory margin of the NDA increased from 5% to 9.8% from the first to third phase, whereas it came down from 11.4% to 6.6% for the MGB.
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- Ghosh said that he told the officials to ensure that polling is conducted in a peaceful manner.