Can Akhilesh do what Nitish did in Bihar?

G.S. Vijay Kumar By G.S. Vijay Kumar, 10th Feb 2017 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Politics

If Akhilesh can convince Mayawati, his aunt (bua) to join the Mahagatbandhan, leaving aside all their differences, there could be a formidable alliance to take on Narendra Modi’s NDA.

Can Akhilesh do what Nitish did in Bihar?

Yes, he can, provided Samajwadi Party & Bahujan Samaj Party join hands to form the Mahagatbandhan. If Akhilesh can convince his aunt (bua) to join the Mahagatbandhan, leaving aside all their differences, there could be a formidable alliance to take on Narendra Modi’s NDA.
One can feel the heat. Dates for elections to five State Assemblies namely Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand & Manipur have been notified. Uttar Pradesh with 403 seats is the state which is likely to generate more heat during the next few weeks. Akhilesh Yadav has finally managed to retain the cycle symbol and this is a major positive for the Samajwadi Party. Uttar Pradesh is a big state and the entire country has an eye on their Assembly.
Samajwadi Party & Congress Party have formed an alliance in UP to take on the BJP & the BSP. Although, many are calling this alliance a Mahagatbandhan, there is a huge difference between the Mahagatbandhan of Bihar and UP.
For one, in Bihar the two major forces, Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) and Lalu Prasad’s RJD were part of the Mahagatbandhan in addition to the Congress Party. In Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is not part of this alliance. This is one factor which is likely to make all the difference in the final outcome.
The Mahagatbandhan or the caste arithmetic that Nitish Kumar formed between JD(U), Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD and the Congress to take on Narendra Modi and NDA worked wonders in Bihar. The Bihar win, in fact, has given rise to similar such calls in Uttar Pradesh.
The question that is uppermost in everybody’s mind is “Can Akhilesh do what Nitish did in Bihar ? There are no easy answers to this question as time alone will give us the answer. However, the following factors need to be considered before an honest attempt is made to answer the question.
What were the reasons that compelled Nitish, Lalu and the others to form the Mahagatbandhan?
As far as Nitish Kumar was concerned, he was decimated in his home state of Bihar by NDA & Narendra Modi in the 2014 General Elections. Out of Bihar’s 40 Lok Sabha seats, the NDA won 31 seats leaving the balance 9 seats to Rashtriya Janata Dal, JD(U), Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party. In terms of vote share, NDA got 38.8 % of votes ( BJP with 29.4% + LJP with 6.4 % and RLSP with 3 %) followed by RJD at 20.1 %, JDU with 15.8 %, Congress with 8.4 %.

BIHAR, General Election Results, 2014
Name of Party Vote Share % Change Seats won Changes
Bharatiya Janata Party (NDA)
29.40 +15.47 22 +10
Lok Janshakti Party (NDA)
6.40 --- 6 +6
Rashtriya Janata Dal (UPA)
20.10 +0.80 4 0
Janata Dal (United)
15.80 -8.24 2 -18
Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (NDA)
3.00 --- 3 +3
Indian National Congress (UPA)
8.40 -1.86 2 0

This vote share is what made Nitish come out of his slumber as he realised that RJD, JDU & Congress put together got 44.3 % votes, as against NDA’s 38.8 % votes, but only 9 seats due to the division of votes.
At the other end, Nitish’s bête noire and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav was out of the reckoning as he was, in any case, barred from contesting elections. Having been wiped out in the Lok Sabha elections, Lalu felt threatened and his only choice, as far as the Assembly Elections were concerned, was to either lose or lose badly. Losing another election would have meant going into political oblivion as his vast support base may have got eroded. Besides, he had the added responsibility of establishing his children in politics. He had to make this very difficult choice to be either with Nitish, his sworn enemy in Bihar politics, or not. The timing of this alliance perfectly matched his requirements and he didn’t hesitate to bite the bullet.
Congress Party had virtually become an also ran in Indian politics as they were losing state after state and were confined to a few smaller states plus Karnataka. As a result, they had no choice whatsoever and were prepared to go along with Nitish Kumar.
It was mainly Lalu Prasad Yadav’s disqualification that became the binding force for this group to join hands and form the Mahagatbandhan. But for his disqualification, this grand alliance was very unlikely in Bihar.
The Bihar Assembly election results followed more or less the similar pattern as the General elections but this time the opposition votes were not divided. Here too BJP got the maximum vote share of 24.4 % but managed to win only 53 seats. Lalu’s RJD was the principal gainer in the election as they managed to win 80 seats, followed by JD(U) with 71 seats and Congress with 27 seats. Their combined vote share was 41.9 % (RJD with 18.4 % + JD(U) with 16.8 % + Congress Party with 6.7 %) as against NDA’s vote share of 34.1 %. This is what that did the magic.
Summary of results of the Bihar Legislative Assembly election, 2015

Alliance Political party Seats
Contested Won Net change
in seats % of
Seats Votes Vote % Change
in vote % Vote % in
Seats Contested
Mahagatbandhan Janata Dal (United)
101 71 44 29.21 6,416,414 16.8 5.81 40.65
Rashtriya Janata Dal
101 80 68 32.92 6,995,509 18.4 0.44 44.35
Indian National Congress
41 27 23 11.11 2,539,638 6.7 1.68 39.49
Bharatiya Janata Party
159 53 38 21.81 9,308,015 24.4 7.94 37.48
Lok Janshakti Party
40 2 1 0.82 1,840,834 4.8 1.95 28.79
Rashtriya Lok Samata Party
23 2 2 0.82 976,787 2.6 N/A N/A
Hindustani Awam Morcha
21 1 1 0.41 864,856 2.3 N/A N/A

Now the question uppermost in everyone’s mind is with regard to Uttar Pradesh results. Can Bihar be repeated in Uttar Pradesh? Well, It is easier said than done. Let us not forget that Bihar was a unique and a one-off case and the same cannot be repeated in other states so easily.
Have we ever seen two leading parties and sworn enemies joining hands in an election? Well, the answer lies mainly with Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party. If Akhilesh can convince his aunt (bua) to join the Mahagatbandhan, leaving aside all their differences, there could be a formidable alliance to take on Narendra Modi’s NDA. This is, of course easily said than done. Congress Party has nothing to lose and everything to gain in the short run and in any case, they are contesting elections not to win but to ensure that BJP does not win.
Uttar Pradesh too seems to have followed the pattern of Bihar in the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections. BJP won 71 seats with 42.3 % votes, followed by Samajwadi Party with 5 seats, Congress 2 seats & BSP’s zero. But, if one analyses the vote share, BJP got 42.3 % votes, followed by SP with 22.2 %, BSP with 19.6 % and Congress Party with 7.5 % votes. The combined vote shares of the last three parties put together was 49.3 %. This is what the Mahagatbandhan can do in UP .

Uttar Pradesh, General Election Results, 2014

Name of Party Vote Share % Change Seats won Changes
Bharatiya Janata Party (NDA)
42.30% +24.80 71 +61
Samajwadi Party
22.20% -1.06 5 -18
Bahujan Samaj Party
19.60% -7.82 0 -20
Indian National Congress
7.50% -10.75 2 -19
Apna Dal (NDA)
1.00% 2 +2

G S Vijay Kumar, Navi Mumbai
10 Feb. 2017


Akhilesh Yadav, Assembly Election, Assembly Election 2017, Bahujan Samaj Party, Bharatiya Janata Party, Bjp, Congress Party, Elections, India, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Narendra Modi, Nitish Kumar, Rahul Gandhi, Samajwadi Party, Up Elections 2107, Uttar Pradesh

Meet the author

author avatar G.S. Vijay Kumar
I am a management graduate and have worked as a senior executive for 25 years in the corporate sector.I am a columnist and write on management, Economics and socio-economic topics.

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