Reasons why Narendra Modi-led NDA lost in Bihar


November 8, 2015

BIHAR – The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance which was riding high on the Narendra Modi wave is far behind the Janata Dal United-Rashtriya Janata Dal-Congress Mahagathbandhan in the Bihar elections.

November 8, 2015

BIHAR – The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance which was riding high on the Narendra Modi wave is far behind the Janata Dal United-Rashtriya Janata Dal-Congress Mahagathbandhan in the Bihar elections.

The polls were fought bitterly between the two alliances with attacks getting more personal with each passing day and politics hitting an all-time low with name calling.

The focus of the campaign that started on development agenda shifted to issues of beef, oculist, reservation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigned extensively in the state since July 25 and also tried to woo people by announcing a package of Rs 1.65 lakh crore but failed to translate it into votes. After severe mauling in the Delhi Assembly elections with BJP winning just 3 seats in the 70-member assembly, the loss in Bihar will be a big jolt for the party.

Here's a look at the possible reasons behind BJP's loss in Bihar:

Lack of leadership

After BJP's formulae to announce chief ministerial candidate failed miserably in Delhi Assembly elections, the party went behind the Prime Minister in the 243-member Assembly election. The lack of leadership on the ground and infighting over the seat distribution led to the BJP's loss.

From Sushil Kumar Modi to Nand Kishore Yadav to Prem Kumar, the Bihar BJP has leaders who have emerged from the grassroots and enjoy a solid political clout, but the party failed to use their strength.

The party, instead, called the brigade from Delhi to campaign in the state in the last one month and tell people about various policies of the government.

Negative campaigning

The BJP repeated the same mistake in Bihar polls and indulged in negative campaigning and name calling. From his earlier rallies in the state, Modi called RJD 'Rojana Jungle raj ka Darr', JDU 'Janata Ka Daman aur Utpidan'.

He later on made Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's meeting with oculist as his poll agenda and took potshots at him. On the other hand, Nitish stick to his development politics.

Not far behind, BJP President Amit Shah even went to the extent of saying that firecrackers will be burst in Pakistan if BJP loses in Bihar.

Price Rise

The price of basic commodities spiraled in the last few months and the BJP had to face the ire of the common man. The price of pulses rose manifold and opposition did not miss any chance to hit out at the Modi government.

The Modi government's failure to fulfil Lok Sabha poll promise and give Rs 15 lakh to every citizen backfired at the party with people raising questions to the government.

Retail toor dal prices shot up to Rs 200 per kg despite the government’s steps to boost supply and check prices. Urad too retailed high at Rs 170 per kg.

Beef campaign

The bizarre and outlandish statements by BJP over beef did not go down well with the voters. After a 50-year-old Muslim man was killed over alleged rumours of consuming beef in Uttar Pradesh's Dadri, it became a poll issue. Just a day before the fifth phase of polls, the BJP even came out with an advertisement on statements made on beef and cow.

Even after the BJP cracked the whip on its partymen, they continued to stir controversy and gave a tough competition to each other by making such statements.

DNA barb

After Modi made the infamous DNA remark, Nitish started 'Shabd Wapsi' (take back your words) campaign. On July 25, while addressing the first election rally, Modi had said, "There seems to be some problem in his DNA because the DNA of democracy is not like that. In democracy you respect even your political rivals."

In return, Nitish wrote an open letter to Modi saying it was deemed as "an insult by a large section of the people of the state and beyond" and asked him to withdraw it.

Around 50 lakh DNA samples (nails and hair) of people from Bihar were collected and dispatched to PM Modi.

Rebel trouble

With so many aspirants for the BJP ticket, trouble mounted for the party anhd it led to the infighting. Situation turned for worse and Amit Shah had to step in and even threatened the leaders.

At several seats the rebels contested as independent and had cut the vote share of the party.

No CM candidate

The oar of BJP's ship is in Modi's hand and it was sailing smooth before Delhi Assembly polls. And the Bihar polls result had only sunk the boat and also sent a message that the ground leaders play a vital role in the election.

With Modi aggressively campaigning in the state, the election seemed to be a contest between a chief minister and a prime minister and the BJP paid a heavy price for it.

Alliance trouble

The BJP contested elections in alliance with Lok Janshakti Party, Hindustan Awam Morcha and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party but the allies were reportedly unhappy with the seat sharing. Even though the BJP gave in more seats to allies but it could not satisfy them.

The allies were also unhappy over the candidate selection and made their displeasure public. LJP MP Chirag Paswan was vocal in his views that ticket should not be given to certain candidates.


The statement by Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on reservation came at a wrong time and did play a major role in marring the prospects of the BJP-led NDA.

And PM Modi's initial silence on the issue provided ammunition to Nitish-led Mahagathbandhan. The Bihar Chief Minister upped the ante claiming that Modi's silence on the issue during his rallies suggested that the Union government was in sync with the RSS chief on the issue, evoking a fear of end of reservation.

Though the Prime Minister later made attempt to reach out to voters on the issue and claimed that it was not NDA, but the JDU that wanted to end a chunk of reservation to benefit the "other community", it failed to convince the voters, who reposed faith in Nitish Kumar.

Sidelining of senior leaders

The BJP sidelined its senior leaders and did not let 'Bihari Babu' Shatrughan Sinha, veterans LK Advani and MM Joshi campaign in the polls. Sinha showed his displeasure on Twitter and appealed to voters to vote for the right person.

"Not a question of Bihari vs Bahari..but of how your own Bihari (Babu) has been treated by own people for no fault…," Sinha had tweeted.

Courtesy: NDTV