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BJP gamble in Bihar: Analysis

Patna, Mar 18 (): BJP’s Modi candidature from Varanasi has raised the temperature in UP and Bihar. Congress which was a prime rival in the constituency is working out a strategy to consolidate opposition behind a single candidate even if it is Kejriwal.

Bihar’s CM Nitish Kumar has taken the fight against BJP very personally and it is more so against Modi. The speeches by Nitish are now just on how bad Modi can be for the State and the country. Special status for Bihar, development story and wooing on caste lines are put on the back-burner and it is hatred for Modi. The result is that voters are divided on pro-Modi and anti-Modi stance.

Many feel that Nitish should ignore Modi. Nitish targeting Modi has now made the voters start giving NaMo importance. Apart from Modi, it is the traditional caste factor which plays the most crucial role in Bihar.

Bihar’s development takes a back seat since caste politics is the King. BJP has divided seats to please all castes. In the last eight years, Nitish has emerged as the saviour of most backwards and Maha-Dalits, with Lalu having Yadav’s and Ram Vilas Paswan’s vote bank, Muslim votes are now crucial.

Nitish knows that Muslims would go with Congress and this party is in alliance with Lalu’s party. BJP has taken Paswan’s votes on board. The question is will Muslims think JDU can stop BJP in its tracks?

Nitish has shown his secular credentials by ejecting BJP over the nomination of Godhra riots-tainted Modi. BJP has got on board Paswans who constitute 6% and 5% Koiri vote bank through Kushwa. BJP banks on Muslim votes being split between Nitish-Lalu and Congress. If 15% Muslim votes are split, Modi is in business and Nitish ministry is in trouble. To top this, survey gives JDU only six seats.

Kejriwal has got company as Nitish too feels media is ganging up against him.