How costly the blast could prove for Nitish Kumar?

By ZRG | Last Updated: Nov 14, 2013, 00:14 AM IST

Pankaj Sharma/Zee Research Group

Pre poll terror attacks have generally hurt the prospects of the incumbent government. This trend might not portend well for Bihar Chief Minister.

As per the statistics, in the past decade, blasts have affected the prospects of ruling party in the state in the corresponding elections (both state and Lok Sabha elections). On the contrary, Maharashtra is an exception to the trend where the single largest party in the state was able to corner more seats post the terror attack.

A Zee Research Group (ZRG) study of major blasts that occurred between 2001 and 2008 revealed that blasts often impacted the equations in elections. For instance in 2001, the Jammu and Kashmir assembly complex in Srinagar was hit by a car bomb and three suicide bombers leading to 38 deaths. Then National Conference led by Farroq Abdullah which had 57 seats in the assembly dropped down to 28 in the next state election. The attack had also impacted the performance of party in the Lok Sabha election, as the party slipped to two seats from four.

Similarly, September 2002 attack on Akshardham Temple in Gujarat cut down the size of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) both in state and the centre. While the seat tally of BJP reduced to 117 in state from 127, in general elections the saffron party got 14 seats as against 20 seats in the previous election.

Moreover, an explosion in northeastern state of Assam, which killed 16 people, did impact the Congress tally in elections. While the number of assembly seats Congress won reduced to 53 from 71, in general election party ended with nine parliamentary seats, registering a drop of one seat.

Likewise, in Uttar Pradesh two major bombings appeared to play a spoilsport for Samajwadi Party (SP) in the state and centre. SP led by Mulayam Singh was the single largest party in the state when bombings in Jaunpur and Varanasi had led to more than 40 deaths. Post blasts, while SP reduced to 97 in the assembly from 143 seats. In general election party got only 23 seats, 12 less in comparison to the previous election.

In May 2007, bombing during Friday prayers at Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad, killed 13 people. Moreover, in August 2007, 42 people were killed and 50 injured in twin explosions at a crowded park and a popular eatery in Hyderabad. Congress which was the largest party in the state then slipped to 156 from 185 assembly seats. However, in Lok Sabha the party moved slightly upwards to reach 33 from 29 seats.

However, Maharashtra is an interesting case study, where Congress which was the single largest party in the state, improved its tally post blasts in the state. While in July 2006, seven bomb blasts occurred at various places on the Mumbai suburban railway, killing 200 in September 2006, at least 37 people were killed and 125 were injured in a series of bomb blasts in the vicinity of a mosque in Malegaon, Maharashtra.

Despite the blasts, Congress increased its seats tally to 82 from 69 in the assembly. In Lok Sabha elections also the party gained more seats, as it jumped to 17 from 13.