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Vote Swings Can Cause Wins, Upsets In Bihar

Patna, Sep 29: Negative vote swings are what the ruling NDA in Bihar and the RJD-LJP combine has to look out for in the assembly elections as it can prove to be costly. A negative
PTI
PTI September 29, 2010 17:34 IST
Patna, Sep 29: Negative vote swings are what the ruling NDA in Bihar and the RJD-LJP combine has to look out for in the assembly elections as it can prove to be costly.

A negative swing of less than one per cent votes  cost the Rashtriya Janata Dal-led Secular Democratic Front dear in 2005, while a positive swing of 9.68 per cent catapulted the National Democratic Alliance to power in the politically volatile state of Bihar.

The Nitish Kumar-led NDA, fighting Bihar's third assembly poll this year, had made the state's backwardness and alleged 'abysmal' law and order its main electoral plank, and reaped a rich electoral harvest of 142 seats in the 243-member state assembly in October 2005 polls, as anti-incumbency and a division in secular votes took their toll on the SDF.  

The RJD's attempt to reclaim the state after a 15-year unbroken stint in power had come to an end in February, 2005 as the polls threw up a hung assembly in which it emerged as the single largest party; all because a negative swing of 0.87 per cent which cost it 20 seats.

The RJD, which had secured 25.4 per cent votes in February, polled 24.17 per cent votes in October 2005.  For the SDF constituents -- the RJD, Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and the Communist Party of India-Marxists -- which polled 31.08 per cent of the votes, just 0.95 per cent less than what they got in February, it meant a loss of 29 seats, the tally coming down from 89 to 65.

Barring the RJD, only the NCP had a negative swing of 0.36 per cent, which reduced its tally from three to one.  

Though the Congress' vote share went up by 0.53 per cent, its seats came down from 10 to nine, while the CPI-M polled 0.75 per cent votes, 0.11 per cent more than the last time, but without any difference to its tally which remained at one.  

For the NDA, which had a positive swing of 9.68 per cent -- 5.26 per cent for the JD-U and 4.42 per cent for the BJP -- in October 2005 over the February polls, it meant a lot of difference as it enabled the alliance to wrest Bihar with 142 seats, 20 more than the half-way mark in the assembly and 50 more than last time.  

While the JD-U's vote share went up from 14.59 per cent in February to 19.85 per cent, for the BJP it shot up from 10.96 per cent to 15.38 per cent.  

Apart from the RJD, Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party, which squandered the opportunity to become the kingmaker after the fractured February'05 verdict, was a major loser both in terms of seats and share of votes in October '05.  

While the LJP's vote share came down marginally by 1.53 per cent, from 12.58 per cent in February to 11.5 per cent, it meant a loss of 18 seats.

Its ally the CPI had a positive swing of 0.69 per cent, which raised its share of votes from 1.58 per cent to 2.27 per cent, but did not result in any increase in its tally which remained at three.  

Independents were another major loser both in terms of seats and vote share.  Their seats came down by seven, from 17 to ten, and their voting percentage plunged from 16.16 per cent in February '05 to 8.17 per cent in October 2005, a negative swing of a whopping 7.99 per cent.  

The CPI-Marxist-Leninist's seats came down from seven to five as its voteshare saw a marginal downturn of 0.21 per cent, from 2.5 per cent to 2.29 per cent.  

The Bahujan Samaj Party's tally doubled from two to four despite a marginal decrease of 0.08 per cent of votes, from 4.42 per cent to 4.34 per cent.

However, a negative shift of 0.26 per cent saw its Uttar Pradesh rival Samajwadi Party's seats slashed by half, from four in February to two in October 2005.  The NDA apparently gained from the RJD and LJP's loss, as also the independents. PTI

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