The second phase of Bihar assembly elections has been completed with voting on 94 seats. Now the third stage remains. So far 53.51 percent polling is marginally lower than in 2015. And, it is almost like the first stage. Only one third of the seats are left, the dilemma is increasing and the exit poll is eagerly awaited on 7 November.
Prannoy Roy and Dorab R. Sopariwala in their book The Verdict have divided the elections up to 1952-2019 in three stages –
The Pro Incumbency Era (1952–1977)
The Anti-Incumbency Era (1952–1977)
The Fifty-fifty Era (2002-2019)
Tremendous return of anti-incumbency wave
The first phase (1952–77) was one in which there were ‘optimistic voters’ where 82 percent of the governments were re-elected.
In the second phase (1977–2002), the ‘angry voters’ dominated when only 29 percent of governments returned to power after the elections.
The third phase (2002-2019) saw ‘sensible voters’ who sensibly understood the role of incumbency and returned 48% of the governments to power.
Research shows that the anti-incumbency era has returned once again with full force. A study of 35 elections (which includes Union Territory of Pondicherry) after the 2014 general elections shows that only 8 state governments have been able to return or retain power. 27 state governments have failed to win the election. The public has overthrown these governments for poor performance or other reasons.
Low turnout is beneficial for current governments
The 2002–14 period was in favor of the outgoing governments. During this period, the governments of some states like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha changed in turn. Of the 8 state governments that have managed to stay in power, 6 have witnessed low turnout.
West Bengal (2017)
Tamil Nadu (2016)
High turnout in only two states
In Bihar too, there were changes in the constituent Dalo. Nitish won in 2010 with the NDA and in 2015 with the Grand Alliance. In this way, it was not a victory of the same coalition in particular. There was a change of power, there was no change in the Chief Minister. (In analysis, it was considered as the ruling, which won the election)
The pre-election alliance won in Maharashtra, but Devendra Fadnavis could not save the chief minister’s chair due to differences with the ally Shiv Sena. (In analysis, it was considered the ruling party that won the election.)
The Congress won in Arunachal Pradesh and formed the government in 2014. There was a revolt in the middle of the term and finally the BJP made its Chief Minister. BJP government won elections in 2019. (In analysis, it was considered a victory of the ruling party.)
In fact, I reiterate that generally low turnout is good for the present government and high turnout is harmful for it. Therefore, only with a low turnout, Nitish Kumar can hope to defend himself.
The trend shows that it is very difficult for those in power to win the re-election. Only 23 per cent probability appears. Combining this with the voting, it shows that most of the ruling parties win only when the voting is low.
In the first phase, Bihar recorded 55.7 percent polling, which is slightly higher than the 54.9 percent in these seats in 2015. Polling in the second phase was recorded at 54.15 percent, which is slightly less than the 55.35 percent polling held in these seats in 2015. This shows that in Bihar the voting is more or less the same.
Considering the increasing voter turnout and the voter’s tendency to overthrow the current government, Nitish’s return as Chief Minister is mathematically only 6 per cent likely. The only recourse for them is now less voting.
How difficult is it for a chief minister to become the chief minister for the fourth time?
Very few Chief Ministers have enjoyed 3 consecutive terms. Out of these, the number of successful people for the fourth time is very less, some of which are named – Mohan Lal Sukhadia, Naveen Patnaik, Jyoti Basu.
In this article I have shown how many governments have been caught in 15 years of misfortune including Lalu-Rabri’s ‘Jungle Raj’ during 1990-2015. However, caution is also necessary here: we need to increase the vote in two parts Must be divided into – Natural / Normal and Anti-Incumbency
Voting may increase normally due to awareness campaigns of the Election Commission and various NGOs. The increase in voting in Bihar is not very big, so it is because of the effort of Election Commission or because of anti-incumbency – it is difficult to say.
The weight of history and trends seems to be overshadowing the fourth term for Nitish Kumar.