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Bihar may see repeat of February election

June 01, 2005 10:20 IST

The forthcoming assembly election in Bihar is set to mimic the one held in February.

Very little had changed on the ground, 34 per cent of votes -- 12 per cent polled by Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janashakti Party and 22 per cent polled by Independents -- will once again hold the key to a result, Asian Development Research Institute chief Saibal Gupta said.

Gupta, a political economist and psephologist, said the votes polled by Paswan would, in all likelihood, be transferred to the National Democratic Alliance.

As most of the rebels who contested as Independents were from the Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal, some skillful management by the party could neutralise their impact, he felt. The Independents cut into the vote share of the major parties and were dubbed katuas (vote-cutters).

'Bihar needs an icon'

Gupta said much of the Yadav vote that had drifted away from Prasad was likely to return to the RJD this time. As the RJD "can't do worse" than its 75 seat tally, it might improve its position by around 25 seats, he said.

The NDA, he said, is also expected to get around 100 seats. The unknown factor is the Muslim vote. They had switched from Prasad to the LJP in February and there is no telling which way they will swing this time.

Gupta suggested that determined symbolism by Prasad --highlighting the attack on him in Gujarat, for instance or constantly reminding people of the post-Godhra riots -- underscored his efforts to consolidate the Muslim vote. Whether his efforts succeeded, remains to be seen.

"One thing is certain: the LJP and the Congress, which were trying to put up a secular democratic alternative to Prasad, will be further marginalised," the psephologist said.

Gupta said on the ground, President's rule had not influenced voters in favour of either the NDA or the UPA and its effect was largely confined to Patna.

He felt the outcome of this assembly election could be even more confused -- in terms of forming a government -- than the February poll.

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Number of User Comments: 2

Sub: Predictions

Noone can predict Bihar, You would never know what the hell is in store for Biharis.

Posted by krishna

Sub: no probelm

NO problem. we'll conduct another poll after this, in case no party or coalition gets majority. and this process will continue unless Biharis choose a ...

Posted by nira


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