Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Election

Past poll victories add spring to the BJP step in Bihar

IANS | October 06, 2020 04:14 PM

PATNA: Riding on its performances in the past electoral battles in Bihar as well as its developmental agenda, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems quite sanguine about its prospects in the coming Assembly elections in the state.

The BJP began its political journey in Bihar in its earlier avatar as Jana Sangh, and has steadily expanded its support base over a period of time.

However, the BJP has not managed to hold on to power in Bihar on its own as it could never emerge as the single largest party in the Assembly.

With only three MLAs in 1962, the party now has 53 MLAs in the outgoing Assembly. In the last state elections, the BJP bagged 24.42 per cent votes -- its highest in Bihar politics till date.

This time, the BJP will contest under the leadership of Janata Dal-United leader and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and is quite gung-ho about emerging as the single largest party.

Nandkishore Yadav, Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly and senior BJP leader, said: "The BJP only believes in the mantra of development, though politics in Bihar devolves around caste. That is why a party like BJP is supported by the voters."

If one looks back, it was after nearly a decade of struggle that three Jana Sangh MLAs made their presence felt in the Bihar Assembly in 1962 for the first time.

Over time, the BJP has cultivated a vote bank in tribal-dominated regions, considered Congress strongholds in undivided Bihar. The stature of the BJP in these regions is now quite robust.

In the 1967 elections, the Jana Sangh fielded candidates on all 272 seats and won 26, most of these in the tribal regions. The party won 34 seats in 1969, but the 1972 Assembly elections saw it win only 25 seats.

In 1980, the BJP came into existence after the Janata Party failed as a major political alternative of the non-Congress parties.

The BJP won 21 seats in the 1980 elections, but in the very next state elections, the BJP was reduced to only 16 seats. The BJP won 39 seats in the 1990 elections and increased its tally to 41 seats in the 1995 Assembly elections.

The BJP, in alliance with the Samata Party, won 67 seats in the 2000 Bihar elections. During this time, the bifurcation of the state into Bihar and Jharkhand saw the BJP sending 32 MLAs to Jharkhand. This move proved beneficial for the BJP in Jharkhand but cost it politically in Bihar. The BJP was now left with only 35 MLAs in Bihar.

In the 2005 Bihar Assembly polls, the BJP contested in alliance with the Janata Dal-United and bagged 55 seats. This poll victory made the BJP an equal alliance partner in power. In 2010, the BJP contested 102 Assembly seats and won 91.

In the 2015 elections, the BJP broke alliance with the JD-U and forged alliances with the Lok Janshakti Party and other smaller parties, winning 53 seats.

BJP leader Nikhil Anand asserted that his party would win a majority in the elections as it was the most preferred in Bihar presently.

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