[Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (L) with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a file photo.]
Patna: The media may be projecting Nitish Kumar, who despite claiming to be a socialist leader never hesitated to shun socialist ideology and strengthen the communal forces, as the most popular and towering leader in Bihar, especially after he broke from Grand Alliance and joined hands with the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).
However a latest survey showed that the Janata Dal (U) – the party Nitish Kumar represents is the first choice only by 17% of the people in Bihar.
“Nitish Kumar’s party has only been above the Congress in electoral popularity, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been the state’s most popular party–its popularity preceding Prime Minister Narendra Modi–and no more than 17 of 100 voters chose to vote only for Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United)”, IndiaSpend.com says in its latest survey.
The survey also found that Nitish Kumar’s supposed popularity in Bihar is not borne out in electoral numbers but it is because of his maneuvering of electoral alliances and taking advantage of India’s first-past-the-post electoral system.
“The BJP is the most popular stand-alone party in Bihar, chosen exclusively by–as we said–37 of every 100 voters, regardless of alliances. The BJP’s support in Bihar has been the most stable (37-39%), and they appear to have the least to gain from any alliance.
“The BJP’s popularity in Bihar predates Narendra Modi’s 2014 general election victory. Lalu Yadav’s RJD is the second-most popular party on a stand-alone basis with roughly 30 of 100 voters.
“Nitish Kumar, contrary to perception, is the least popular among the three, with 17 of 100 Biharis voting for him alone”, the survey showed.