Beating anti-incumbency is never easy and for a person who has been chief minister for nearly 10 years, this election in Bihar was an acid test. The margin with which the Mahaghatbandan won the election, it appeared as though there was no anti-incumbency against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
All through the election process not once did any voter in Bihar cast any aspersion on his candidature as Chief Minister. In fact, the bigger doubt that many pollsters had whether his alliance with Lalu Yadav was the right move or not.
Several attempts by the opposition to run down Nitish Kumar failed. There was never any doubt in the mind of the voter about his capabilities and a majority agreed that he had developed Bihar to a great deal and with so many issues pending it would be better to give him another chance just to maintain the continuum.
While Nitish Kumar's candidature as the Chief Minister was one major factor that worked for the Mahaghatbandan, there were several other issues which included the right combination, seat sharing and more importantly the transfer of votes.
Dr Sandeep Shastri a leading psephologist who was one of the very few who got the Bihar verdict right tells OneIndia that for the Bihar voter it was very important who was leading on the ground. Many have voted for Nitish as he was leading on the ground. Many are happy with the way Nitish has led Bihar as its CM. The Mahaghatbandan with Nitish as its CM candidate was successful in projecting that the government will not be run by Lalu from the back.
Nitish also gained popularity by introducing a series of welfare measures and schemes for women in Bihar. This was a major factor and one got to witness the number of women who voted in this election. There was a clear referendum for Nitish on this front as well, Dr Shastri also adds.
The biggest positive for Nitish Kumar was his development model. People, were in fact, happy with him and several of his opponents too in private agreed that there was nothing on this front to complain about. The people had witnessed a change and felt that getting Nitish back to power would ensure that work that was incomplete would be completed under his rule.
The voter felt that Nitish needed yet another chance in order to take the state forward. Moreover, Nitish was not a new face for the voter. He was a tried and tested Chief Minister and giving him a second chance would not have been a bad idea after all the voters felt.
While these are some of the broad factors that led to Nitish winning the elections, there were also a host of other factors that went in favour of the Mahaghatbandan. For instance, the manner in which Lalu Prasad Yadav managed to bring in the Yadav and Muslim votes was one more factor favouring the grand alliance.
Secondly the BJP appeared to have given away too much to its allies who failed to make any mark in the elections and ended up winning 5 seats. More importantly the Mahaghatbandan realized that this was an election of pride and they had to put up their most united front in order to beat the NDA.
Both Lalu and Nitish campaigned their hearts out and ensured that the transfer of votes was successful and this proved to be the factor that worked most for them.