Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan, who is also known as the most accurate weather expert in Indian politics, has decided to remain with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United in Bihar. Paswan is one of the senior most politicians in the country and his expertise in forecasting the political weather is unquestionable. According to the seat-sharing arrangement, the BJP and the JDU will contest on 17 seats each in Bihar, while the remaining 6 seats will go to Paswan's LJP. He is also going to be NDA's Rajya Sabha candidate. Sources said he could be given a Rajya Sabha berth from Assam. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the LJP had won Hajipur, Jamui, Munger, Samastipur, Vaishali and Khagaria seats.
The Tejashwi Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is, however, still hopeful of Paswan's entry into the Grand Alliance (Mahagathbandhan) in Bihar. The Grand Alliance already has the Congress, the Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha, the Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), the Mukesh Sahni-led Vikassheel Insaan Party and the Sharad Yadav's Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD). The Left parties are also tipped to be included in the Grand Alliance. But all these parties are likely to demand a respectable share of seats for themselves and this will make Tejashwi Yadav's task a bit difficult in the absence of ailing Lalu Prasad. According to reports, the RLSP wants at least 5 seats in Bihar and a seat in Jharkhand to contest. The LJD and the HAM want 3 seats each for themselves. Sources claim Kushwaha, Manjhi and Sharad Yadav want to contest from Karakat, Gaya and Madhepura seats respectively. The Congress, which had contested on 12 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha seats, wants to contest the same number of seats this time also. The RJD has to leave at least a seat for the newly-inducted member VIP. The three Left parties – CPM, CPI and CPI(ML) – are also keen to join the Grand Alliance in Bihar.
But, can the emerging Grand Alliance pose a challenge to the NDA in Bihar? A careful analysis shows the numbers are heavily stacked against the Grand Alliance in the state. In the 2015 Assembly polls, the Nitish Kumar's JDU had received 16.8 per cent of votes as compared to RJD's 18.4 per cent. The Congress had got the backing of 6.7 per cent of voters. These three parties – the RJD, the JDU and the Congress – together got approximately 42 per cent of the total votes. The BJP had got 24.4 per cent of votes, while its alliance partners the LJP, the RLSP and the HAM had received the support of 4.8, 2.6 and 2.3 per cent of voters respectively. Together these four parties were able to garner almost 34 per cent of the total votes. However, the alliances have changed now. If we take the BJP, the JDU and the LJP together now, their joint vote share will be more than of the Grand Alliance. These parties had the support of 46 per cent of the total voters in 2015. The Grand Alliance (RJD+Congress+HAM+RLSP) had the support of only 30 per cent of the voters. The three left parties together had the vote share of just 3.5 per cent in 2015. Even after adding their share, the Grand Alliance will reach the figure of 33.5 per cent.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had the vote share of 29.40 per cent. The JDU, which had contested the elections on its own, got the support of 15.80 per cent of the voters. The other NDA partners of that time – the LJP and the RLSP – had received the vote share of 6.40 and 3 per cent respectively. The RJD and the Congress alliance together got the vote share of 28.50 per cent (20.10 per cent and 8.40 per cent respectively). If we add the vote shares based on the present situation in the state, the numbers will once again favour the NDA alliance. The BJP, the JDU and the LJP had the support of close to 52 per cent of the total voters. The Grand Alliance had the backing of only 31.50 per cent of the voters. The HAM and the LJD were not in existence in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.