The votes are in, and it’s a landslide for the mahagathbandhan (grand alliance). The combined alliance of the JD(U), RJD, and Congress together won 178 out of 243 seats, while the BJP-led NDA won only 58. Why were Modi and the BJP trounced so decisively? The Indian Express has eight articles today (one co-authored by yours truly) analyzing the CSDS post-poll results. The headline article by Sandeep Shastri, Sanjay Kumar, and Suhas Palshikar offers the best summary explanation of the election results:
Modi did everything initially to project BJP as a party of promise and hope. That line did not work much. Both in subjective terms — voter perceptions — and in terms of a more formal economic and performance-related data, the 10 years of Nitish government were years of performance fuelling more expectations. To the question whether their household economic condition has improved or deteriorated during last five years, nearly two-thirds of the respondents said it had improved while less than one in every ten said it had deteriorated (with another one-fourth saying that it remained the same). This positive assessment is further underscored by the fact that against one in every ten respondents who said that there was “no development at all” in last five years, one in every four felt that there was a “lot of development.”…
So, when Modi was talking of Bihar as one of the backward states, popular perception was clearly at variance with that assessment. If there are any doubts about the new aspirational character of the Bihar of 2015, also consider this: between mid-day meal and computer education, close to three-fourths of the respondents wanted the government to spend more on the latter. This aspiration to integrate with the so-called development momentum was something that BJP’s campaign denied to the voters of Bihar….
Underneath the public debate on development, the election saw a huge polarization of upper segments (see table) and an equally impressive consolidation of the new aspiring classes of Bihar — the OBCs — behind the Grand Alliance.
Links to all pieces below:
On why the BJP’s framing of the election was wrong (headline article)
On how the CSDS Bihar post-poll was conducted (methodology statement)
On differences in voting patterns across age groups (my co-authored piece)