New Delhi

The counting of votes for the 243-seat Bihar Assembly would be held on November 8. Here's a quick look at the key numbers ahead of the results:

1. Voter turnout

As the fourth phase of polling in Bihar ended on Sunday, both the Nitish-led grand alliance and the BJP were upbeat about their prospects. The voter turnout in this phase was 57.59 %, while in 2010 it was 54.28% and in 2014 Parliamentary poll it was 57.33 %. However, like the previous three phases, women voters again outnumbered males in this phase by six per cent.

2. 'Criminal' candidates

An analysis by Association for Democratic Reforms showed that 133 (41%) out of the 327 candidates fielded by the Congress in the last 10 years had declared criminal cases against them. Similarly, 54% of all candidates who contested on BJP seats in the last 10 years had criminal cases against them. A look at the party-wise break-up of no. of candidates with criminal cases against them (last 10 years):

3. Women voters can tip the scales

Political parties must recognise the power of 46.6 — the fraction of women electors who will determine the fate of the parties. Women in Bihar have been agents of change in previous elections and have brought in significant political and policy changes in the State. Bihari women have shown that the interests of half the society are not merely significant, but also distinct from the interests of the other half. This is reflected in their voting behaviour. More..

4. Divided loyalties

Given a bipolar contest and accretion of different social groups under the banner of either alliance, relative turnouts of various communities could clinch the verdict. If MBCs, Dalits and Forward Castes turn out in more numbers than the Muslim-Yadav-Kurmi coalition on polling days, then the NDA may carry the day. Hence, a keen eye has to be kept on relative turnouts and not merely aggregate turnouts on the polling day to sense the direction of political winds. More...

5. Understanding 'strike rates'

To understand relative party performance, we calculate strike rates in 2014, i.e., the percentage of Assembly Constituencies contested by the party in which the party won the most votes. The strike rates of each of the parties in the current UPA (or “maha gathabandhan”) challenging NDA fell below 20 per cent in 2014, with RJD and Congress displaying strike rates of 19.5 per cent and 19.2 per cent respectively, and JD(U) winning only 7.8 per cent of the ACs in which it contested. NDA parties in 2014 (all of which have returned to NDA) had strike rates of at least 65 per cent with BJP and LJP displaying strike rates of 66.5 per cent and 79.1 per cent, respectively, and RLSP winning a nearly perfect 94.4 per cent of the constituencies in which it contested. More...

6. Perception problem

Mr. Kumar in the last ten years has portrayed himself as a ‘Vikas Purush’ (a leader who gives importance to development). The alliance with Mr. Prasad is likely to alienate a section of the voters, who may have voted for Mr. Kumar on the plank of good governance and development. More...

7. The significant migrant population

How much impact would the migrant population have on the final tally? The overall effect of the migrant population in the final instance would be determined by four inter-related factors.

» How many of these migrants will return to vote.
» Do these returnees overwhelmingly belong to certain communities and a certain economic class?
» Do they vote along with other members of their household or are their voting decisions independent?
» Do migrants influence the voting decisions of their family members even when they are not visiting their native places during elections?

As there are no reliable estimates that suggest otherwise, we have assumed that a large proportion of the migrant population is registered as voters in Bihar. More..

A look at the 2010 results

The Janata Dal (United) won 115 of the 141 seats it contested, while the Bharatiya Janata Party bagged 91 of the 102 seats it contested. The BJP's performance in the State was not only its best since iIdependence but it also bettered the strike rate of its partner. The Rashtriya Janata Dal-Lok Jan Shakti Party alliance finished a distant second with 25 seats (RJD 22; LJP 3), while the Congress brought up the rear with four seats, five less than its previous tally. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha opened its account in Bihar, winning the Chakai seat. The Communist Party won one seat and independents/others, six.

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