Bihar has delivered a stunner. Despite a high voltage campaign by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party has suffered a big defeat, and no matter how much the party tries, the blame will surely make its way to 7 Race Course Road.
While it’s too early to analyse the reasons behind the loss, here's a quick look at issues that may have turned the tide against the Amit Shah-led BJP.
Lack of leadership: The BJP's campaign was centered around one man – Narendra Modi. It may be the same for the Mahagathbandhan as Nitish Kumar was clearly its face. But there was one big difference – Modi is Prime Minister and would go back to Delhi after polls but Nitish Kumar was the Chief Minister and will continue to be in Patna. The lack of a credible CM candidate appears to have cost the BJP dear.
The Mahagathbandhan idea: It was dubbed as an alliance that had far too many heavyweights to succeed on ground level given their conflicting egos. However, the fear of political oblivion kept Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar glued together and they worked as a team to take on the might of the BJP.
Vote share - caste- mathematics: The 2015 assembly election results have once reaffirmed Bihar's fascination with caste loyalties. The big swing in favour of the alliance appears to have become possible because the RJD and JD(U) managed to transfer their vote banks to each other.
BJP had swept the 2014 Lok Sabha polls but a close scrutiny of the vote share of parties puts the 2015 picture in perspective. 2014 vote share: RJD 20.46, JD(U) 16.04, Congress 8.5 and BJP 29.86. The first three fought the assembly election together.
Dalits and Mahadalits (Poor show by Allies): The BJP had set its eyes on the dalits and mahadalit vote banks ever since it began to draw up a battle plan to win Bihar. The tie-up with Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustan Awam Morcha was a key element of the plan. Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshatki Party was the other cog of the wheel. However stunningly poor showing by both the parties indicates that Dalits continue to trust Nitish Kumar.
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's comments on the need for a review of reservations may have also led to OBCs and Dalits to united to protect their turf.
Unguided missiles with loud mouths
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's inability to rein in loud mouths in the party and RSS, and the national debate on intolerance is one factor that is bound to be mentioned when the results are analysed in detail. Relatively insignificant party leaders have made a huge dent on BJP's image by making a series of controversial statements. The party leadership – atleast in public – has been reluctant to take action against such leaders, the Bihar stunner, hopefully, leads to a rethink.