General Elections 2024: These Six Themes Shaped 30-10 Margin In Bihar

Abhishek Kumar

Jun 06, 2024, 10:44 AM | Updated 08:49 PM IST

Nitish Kumar, Narendra Modi and Chirag Paswan.
Nitish Kumar, Narendra Modi and Chirag Paswan.

Bihar remained one of the bright spots for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the general elections (GE) of 2024.

With 30 out of 40 seats (a strike rate of 75 per cent), the state reposed its confidence in Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Here are key takeaways from it:

Impact Of Government Schemes

Excellent roads, electricity connections, houses, water, education, and health — all six key indicators of development in the 21st century have reached even the remotest and erstwhile Maoist insurrection-affected villages.

For the people of Bihar, these changes came in two phases: First, Nitish Kumar brought roads, electricity poles, and education to villages. In the second phase, Prime Minister Narendra Modi not only improved them but also provided housing, water, and easier access to hospitals.

People there are cognisant of who gave them what. While this writer was on the ground, even uneducated individuals were able to identify which road was built under the Gram Sadak Yojana or which one was built through other funds.

The thankfulness and gratitude for both PM Modi and Nitish Kumar were in order, and people preferred tried and tested leaders over the promises offered by Tejashwi Yadav.

Nitish’s Last-Minute Switch

While Nitish Kumar’s eleventh-hour switch to NDA largely turned out to be beneficial, it did cost his Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) two seats — Kishanganj and Katihar.

In Kishanganj, there was huge anti-incumbency against Congress’s Mohammad Jawed. JD(U)’s Mujahid Alam had toiled hard for the last five years by helping Kishanganj people in times of need. But the switch by JD(U) meant that trust in Alam was overpowered by the distrust of BJP among Muslims, who comprise around 67-70 per cent of voters.

Similarly, in nearby Katihar, Tariq Anwar of Congress beat incumbent Dulal Chandra Goswami of JD(U). Though Katihar is considered to be Anwar’s den, his 2019 loss to Goswami was believed to be the end of the road for him. However, in 2024, Muslim voters (more than 45 per cent) are believed to have unanimously gone with their old loyalty.

Left Making A Comeback

Once on the verge of decimation, the Left is slowly and steadily making a comeback in Bihar. In Begusarai, once their headquarters in Bihar, Abdhesh Kumar Roy, Communist Party of India (CPI) candidate, got 5.67 lakh votes, losing to Union Minister Giriraj Singh by 81,480 votes. In 2019, the gap between Singh and Kanhaiya Kumar, the CPI candidate, was more than 4.22 lakh votes.

While one Union minister was able to save himself in Begusarai, the miracle could not be repeated in Arrah, where R K Singh, Power Minister in the Modi government, lost to Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (Liberation) or CPI(ML)(L) candidate Sudama Prasad by 59,808 votes.

In Karakat, Raja Ram Singh of CPI(ML)(L) secured victory by a margin of 105,858 votes. His victory came on the back of Pawan Singh contesting as an independent from this seat. Singh ate into the vote share of Upendra Kushwaha of Rashtriya Lok Morcha (RLM).

Nevertheless, now the Left has three members of Parliament (MPs) from Bihar.

BJP’s Ignorance Of Ground Reality

In places like Arrah, Begusarai, Saran, and Buxar, the BJP committed blunders in ticket distribution. In all four constituencies, anti-incumbency was rampant against R K Singh, Giriraj Singh, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, and Ashwini Choubey, respectively.

However, except for Choubey, no one was replaced. Consequently, the BJP lost Arrah, while in Begusarai and Saran, they were able to retain the constituencies with the barest of margins.

Even when they replaced Choubey with Mithilesh Tiwari in Buxar, he turned out to be a highly unpopular choice.

Expecting a BJP ticket, a former IPS named Anand Mishra had built support for himself in the last four to five years. Both Mishra and Tiwari are said to have the same voter base, resulting in the transfer of substantive votes towards the former.

Picking Tiwari, an outsider over Mishra, a local, proved to be fatal, and the BJP lost the seat.

Chirag Paswan’s Rise

This election was a matter of prestige for Chirag Paswan and his Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) or (LJP(RV)). As he went on to select candidates of his own choice, a slew of resignations followed, creating a deja vu of 2020 when the original LJP was bifurcated into two parts.

Paswan put all of this to rest by securing LJP(RV)’s victory in five out of five seats. All of them won with significant margins, with Shambhavi securing a win with the highest margin of 1.87 lakh votes.

In the battle of young guns between him and Tejashwi Yadav, Paswan looks to be the clear winner at this moment.

Tejashwi Had His Impact

For Tejashwi Yadav, the scion of the Yadav dynasty in Bihar politics, GE 2024 turned out to be relatively successful. His party was able to secure victory in Patliputra, Buxar, Jahanabad, and Aurangabad.

Yadav could take credit for all of it as he was in charge of the whole campaign and was the star campaigner of his party Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). The image of Tejashwi sitting on a wheelchair after a tiring campaign has impacted the morale of RJD’s cadre in a positive way.

He was proactive in taking credit for job creation as deputy chief minister and promised people more if his candidates were chosen. Apart from that, his ticket distribution is also seen as largely based on winnability and social engineering, except for Patliputra and Saran, where his sisters Misa Bharti and Rohini Acharya were fielded.

Bharti turned out to be a dark horse while Acharya also came within touching distance of beating BJP’s Rudy.

Abhishek is Staff Writer at Swarajya.

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