Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar (File Photo, Image credit: Deccan Herald)

Continuous decline in JD(U)’s strike rate reduces its bargaining position

Salt plays a very significant role in the preparation of any food. But it is added in a small amount. The disproportionate use may spoil its taste. This is the situation with Nitish Kumar, whose presence in the dish named the National Democratic Alliance is very important. The debate within the BJP during the run-up to the recently concluded Bihar Assembly election was as to how much his service should be utilised. One faction of the saffron party wanted his stature to be cut while the other was not in favour of it as it feared that the whole move may backfire and the NDA may end up losing the election.

So be it in a brief stay of two years in Grand Alliance or long association with the NDA Nitish has to assert his importance though, proportion wise, the number of seats his party wins is often less. Or to say its strike rate is always less than the main partner.

Even in the high time of 2010 Assembly election the BJP won 91 out of 102 seats where it fielded its candidates against alliance partner the Janata Dal (United) which won 115 out of 141 seats it then contested.

Thus the strike rate of the BJP was 89.21 per cent  while that of the Janata Dal (United) 81.56 per cent.

Ten years later the strike rate of Nitish Kumar’s party was  37.39 per cent as it could win only 43 out of 115 seats where its candidates were in the fray. This was slightly ahead of Vikassheel Insan Party which had the strike rate of 36.36 per cent. It won four out of 11 where its nominees were contesting.

By that standard the Janata Dal (United)’s strike rate was much inferior than that of the Hindustani Awam Morcha which registered victory in four out of seven seats. So the Janata Dal (United)’s strike rate was not only way behind that of the BJP which won 74 out of 110 seats where its candidates threw their hats.

Even  in 2015 Assembly election when the Janata Dal (United) and RJD as the Grand Alliance partners contested 101 seats each, the former got only 71 seats against 80 by Lalu Prasad’s party. Needless to say Lalu had before the poll then announced that Nitish would be the chief ministerial candidate even if his party gets less number of seats. The strike rate of the Janata Dal (United) was just slightly better than that of Congress which bagged 27 seats out of 41 in which it had its candidates. One must be honest to the Congress which was left with a sizeable number of urban seats where the BJP is traditionally strong.

For the Janata Dal (United) this sharp decline in the strike rate this time is a matter of worry. It would further reduce its bargaining position. When the party was floated a quarter century back it used to claim that as the NDA constituent the then Samata Party, its earlier name, will have a separate stand on Article 370, Uniform Civil Code, Ram Mandir issue etc. Now the party has diluted its stand on all these matters.

The continuous fall in the strike rate of the Janata Dal (United) puts a question mark before the credibility of Nitish Kumar who has been the chief minister for 15 years.

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