Well, I can’t imagine anything else being on my mind or the minds of my readers right now. Let me start by guessing what I think is gonna happen tomorrow.
BJP Strike Rate =60% 60% of 160 seats = 96
LJP strike rate = 40% 40% of 40 seats = 16
HAM strike rate = 33% 33% of 20 seats = 7
RLSP strike rate = 10% 10% of 20 seats = 2
Total for NDA = 121
I am no psephologist. I have never predicted numbers before. So I could be badly wrong. But I think these will be the strike rates, with the strong possibility that LJP and HAM’s strike rate could be higher than 40% and 33% respectively. LJP might touch 50% but not much more. However, with HAM, I have a feeling they might be the surprise package. They could go way above 33%.
There is a distinct possibility that RLSP might end up with a big fat ZERO.
With Today’s Chanakya, Cicero and Hansa predicting in our favor and Cvoter showing a narrow defeat by 1% vote share, I feel fairly confident of NDA’s win tomorrow. What adds to my confidence is the fact that Bihar is a state where BJP has routinely been underestimated by both pollsters and analysts. In 2005, no one saw that BJP would actually emerge larger than RJD. And most analysts were surprised at BJP’s 91/102 score in 2010. Most were predicting that Nitish’s JDU would sharply increase its seats, but BJP would prove a burden on its ally. Most were left speechless when the BJP swept 91/102 in 2010, with a strike rate that exceeded that of JDU.
Similarly, BJP was a victim of underestimation by analysts in 2013, when most were of the view that Nitish had delivered a masterstroke by snapping ties with the BJP. Even when the Modi wave hit shores in Apr-May 2014 and people realized that Nitish was a goner, there was chatter among analysts of a last minute Lalu surge.
There is a reason Lutyens loves Lalu so much, even though he is nothing like them. Lutyens sees in Lalu a confirmation of their view of ordinary desis: casteist, uncivilized, lawless and unable to govern. Like British colonial masters were fascinated by native jugglers performing The Great Indian Rope Trick, Lutyens derives great pleasure from Lalu’s antics. And because Lalu does not threaten the power of the Dynasty, it is a great sport for Lutyens to watch from a safe distance. This is why before every Bihar election, Lutyens indulges in wishful thinking about a Lalu revival.
My guess is that JDU is going to perform very well in it 100 seats tomorrow. But RJD and Cong will have a meltdown in their 140 seats, handing the NDA a victory. This is the “double wave” theory I had written about nearly a month ago. People want the BJP. And people want the JDU. It was a good partnership that was doing genuine good to the people of the impoverished state. There can be no doubt that Nitish Kumar was a good Chief Minister. But he has sinned against the people by disrespecting their mandate and fallen prey to jealousy and ego. And for that, the people will punish him.
There are definitely some further considerations here. The BJP must be prepared for the post poll possibility of Manjhi being offered the CM chair by Nitish-Lalu, especially if HAM performs well. If NDA wins comfortably, it is of foremost importance that the BJP choose a strong Chief Minister for Bihar. Nitish was a good CM and will be a tough act to follow. If the new Bihar CM falls short of Nitish’s performance, the BJP will face complete disaster in Bihar in 2019. On the other hand, if the Mahathugbandhan wins, the BJP is assured of sweeping Bihar in 2019 because there is no way a rickety hodge-podge government of Nitish-Lalu can run the state effectively. In this respect, the BJP is in serious danger of winning the battle and losing the war tomorrow.