Data | How past polls guided the seat sharing strategy between BJP and JD(U) in Bihar elections

Voters wait outside a polling centre in Bihar’s Kaimur district on October 28, 2020 during the first of Assembly elections in the State.   | Photo Credit: PTI

In the Bihar Assembly elections, the NDA has chosen to field candidates from the BJP in more than 80% of the urban seats. In contrast, in rural areas, the JD(U) has the upper hand. The BJP’s strong show in the urban seats in the recent polls, where the JD(U) is relatively weaker, may have influenced such a seat-sharing pact. In contrast, both the RJD and the Congress have maintained similar vote shares across the rural-urban divide in the recent polls. And so, for the 2020 polls, the RJD’s and the Congress’ candidates are equally spread among all the areas.

NDA's rural-urban divide

The BJP won more than 45% of the urban votes it contested in the 2015 Assembly election, at least 7% points higher than its contested vote share in all other areas. On the other hand, in 2015, JD(U) won only 37.7% of the urban votes it contested. Notably, after joining the NDA for the 2019 LS elections, the JD(U)’s urban performance dramatically improved. The table lists contested vote share (a party’s votes divided by total votes polled in seats contested by the party).

NDA's vote share in 2015 and 2019


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No clear divide

There is no significant rural-urban skew for the Grand alliance parties in the ‘grand alliance.’ In 2015, when the alliance won [JD(U) was part of it in 2015], support was drawn equally from all the areas. When they lost in 2019, support was withdrawn equally from all areas. The table lists contested vote shares across rural-urban areas.

Grand alliance's vote share in 2015 and 2019



The rural-urban divide in the NDA’s seat-sharing deal is evident. The BJP is contesting in 81% of the urban seats and the JD(U) in 14.3%. In contrast, the choice of seats in the ‘grand alliance’ exhibits no clear divide. The tables list the % of seats contested out of the total urban/rural seats.


^The rural-urban seats were segregated based on night lights data from the SHRUG database which is used as a proxy for electrification or economic activity, which in turn differentiates a rural area from an urban area. The data for the 2019 elections is calculated based on leads secured in the Assembly segments.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 5:45:09 AM |

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