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Bihar elections: Far ahead of rest, BJP vote share has surged since 2005

 Despite the Bihar split happening under the NDA at the Centre, the BJP saw the most increase — from 10.97% in 2005 (February) to 24.42% in 2015. One of the reasons was that the party contested 157 seats in 2015, against its earlier figure of 102-103 seats.


Janta Dal (United) Chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with BJP senior leader and Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi during a press conference ahead of Bihar Assembly elections, in Patna. (PTI Photo)

NATIONAL parties have seen a steady rise in vote share in Bihar during the last four Assembly elections — almost entirely powered by the BJP. After doubling its vote share, the BJP is now the only national party to have hit double digits in Bihar, as an analysis of election data shows. Since Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar in November 2000, the state has seen four Assembly elections — February and October in 2005, 2010 and 2015.

The combined vote share of the six national parties to have contested in these Bihar elections — the BJP, BSP, CPI, CPM, Congress and NCP — went up significantly from 23.57% in 2005 (February) to 35.6% in 2015.

Despite the Bihar split happening under the NDA at the Centre, the BJP saw the most increase — from 10.97% in 2005 (February) to 24.42% in 2015. One of the reasons was that the party contested 157 seats in 2015, against its earlier figure of 102-103 seats. BJP has fought these elections (except 2015 Assembly polls) in alliance with JD(U). However, other parties too have been contesting more seats, mostly with decline in vote share. 

In fact, as is its strategy, the BSP contested the most seats (228) among the national parties in 2015, followed by the BJP (157), CPI (98), CPM (43), Congress (41) and NCP (41). Except the marginal increase in Congress’s vote share, the BSP, CPI, CPM and NCP all saw a decline.

Between 2005 and 2015, the number of seats the BJP contested rose from 102 to 157, and its vote share from 10.97% to 24.42%. In that time, Congress contested the maximum seats, all 243, in 2010, and a minimum 41 in 2015, but its vote share has only varied between 5% (February 2005) and 8.37% (2010).

The BSP, the only national party to contest from over 200 seats in Bihar each time, started with 4.41% votes and went down to 2.07%.

The CPI candidate numbers varied between 17 in 2005 and 98 in 2015, but vote share only between 1.36% and 2.09%; the CPM did even worse, getting only between 0.61% and 0.71% votes even when fighting 43 seats in 2015 compared to 10 in 2005. The NCP contested as many as 171 seats in 2010, compared to eight in 2005, but has never got past 1.82% votes.

As compared to this, the vote share of the three main regional parties in October 2005 was 11.10% (203 seats) for the LJP, 23.45% (175 seats) for the RJD and 20.46% (139 seats) for the JD(U). In 2015, they stood at 4.83% (42), 18.35% (101) and 16.83% (101) respectively.

But even the combined vote share of State parties has seen a decline from 57.39% in 2005 (October) to 42.58 percent.

Similarly, two other categories — State Parties (Other States) and Independent — too have seen a decline in vote share in the past four Assembly elections. However, the category of ‘Registered Unrecognized Parties’ has seen a marginal increase.


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