Now, the opinion polls project a favourable picture for BJP-JDU but the dilemma or paradox is, the crowd is mostly seen for Tejashwi Yadav.
“Bihar me Bahar hai, Nitish Kumar Hai” was the slogan for JDU in 2015. In 2019, the JDU came up with another slogan. “Kyu Kare Vichar theek toh Hai Nitish Kumar”. Which means why think again? Nitish Kumar is okay for us. Exactly, a year later, a lot has changed for the party and the Chief Minister himself who is facing a massive anti-incumbency on the ground. So far in many rallies, he has been welcomed with Murdabad slogans from the audience. His convoy was greeted with black flags. At one rally, When Lalu Zindabad slogans were chanted, Nitish Kumar lost his cool and shouted at the public.
Let’s look at the Picture on the other hand. Go to Bihar, and only one thing is being discussed these days. The massive turnout at Tejashwi Yadav’s rallies. Wherever he goes, thousands of people turn up to listen to him. At first, the crowd didn’t really alarm the BJP-JDU combine but soon the crowd started gathering at every rally where he goes. Tejashwi enjoys massive popularity among youths. He talks about unemployment and giving 10 Lakh government jobs. He hasn’t let the narrative slip from his hands. Despite a handful of NDA leaders trying to shift the narrative, Tejashwi has remained firm on the topic. The other day, PM Modi in his rally invoked Kashmir, but the ground sentiment still says unemployment is the biggest issue this election season.
So on one hand, Nitish Kumar who is facing anti-incumbency and people’s anger, on the other hand, there is young Tejashwi Yadav- just out of the shadows of his father, drawing crowd, talking about employment and hitting the cord right. Looking at this, one would say that Tejashwi may win the elections.
But here’s a thing. The opinion polls predict a different story altogether.
Almost all the opinion polls are giving a clear cut edge to NDA that is JDU-BJP Combine and say that the RJD-Congress combine won’t win more than 100 seats. So isn’t it a paradox? Today, in this video we will talk about this paradox and make sense of it.
Let’s first glance over the two important Opinion Polls.
In both these opinion polls, NDA seems to be winning a clear majority in a 243 seat assembly. If we talk about the individual popularity of the leaders then Thirty per cent of the voters interviewed for the pre-poll survey chose Nitish Kumar to be their next CM, the RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav was a close second at 27 per cent. The LJP’s Chirag Paswan was the CM choice for 5 per cent respondents, while the current Deputy CM and BJP leader Sushil Modi was picked by 4 per cent respondents of the survey.
Apart from that, the Opinion Polls of CSDS-Lokniti asked should Nitish Kumar get a second chance?
Significantly, From 2010, where 91 per cent of BJP voters supported Nitish Kumar as the CM of Bihar, the number has now fallen to 55 per cent in 2020.
Now, the opinion polls project a favourable picture for BJP-JDU but the dilemma or paradox is, the crowd is mostly seen for Tejashwi Yadav. Now to understand that we have to delve into numbers once again.
First of all, who are the core Target group of Tejashwi Yadav?
Ans: The youths. The Young population, not only from the traditional M-Y voter group but all the communities is a core target group on which Tejashwi Yadav has focused. The young population of Bihar constitutes a significant chunk of voters who will be casting their votes this time around. Of the total 12.5 crore population of Bihar, 58% are youths. In 2020, there are 75 lakh such young voters whose age is less than 23 which means they will cast their votes for the first time. According to the election commission, In Bihar, there are 1 crore 60 lakh voters in the age bracket of 20-29. And more than 1 crore 98 lakh voters in the age bracket of 30-39.
Now according to the election commission, there are 7.29 Crore eligible voters in Bihar right now. Among them, more than 3 crore voters are the young lot between the age of 20-39. Tejashwi’s appeal in the young voters is high. For most of them, the Jungle Raj of the Lalu-Rabri era is a distant memory. The question, however, is will this crowd translate into votes. and that is where the opinion poll goes against what is seen on the ground. It does, however, show a close contest between Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav.
Now let’s consider the second possibility:
Can Opinion polls/Exit Polls go wrong? Looking at the massive crowd and anger on the ground, many may have this question. Well, the pollsters as you can see in the opinion polls, have predicted Vote shares and Seat shares. Getting seat share right, is what gets the maximum amount of focus. Not to go far, but in Haryana, such situation had emerged. Almost all the pollsters had said that NDA will have a walkover in Haryana. But India Today and Axis differed on the matter. They withheld the numbers for a day. Next day they predicted a hung assembly for Haryana. Which turned out to be the case after election and BJP which was shown as bagging majority of the seats had to forge a post-poll alliance with JJP to form a govt.
So yes, opinion and exit polls can go wrong. But not completely wrong. In the case of Bihar, what we need to do is wait for the exit polls. Whether they present a different picture than opinion polls will tell us what to expect from the outcome of the Bihar election and whether the crowd gathering for Tejashwi Yadav turned into votes or not.