The school playground where the duo addressed the gathering was almost empty and a major space was reportedly occupied by visiting journalists and OB vans.
The low turnout of supporters during formal announcement of two big rivals - Nitish from JD(U) and Lalu from RJD - in Bihar's politics warming up reflects the problems this alliance is going to face in the coming days. It seems people are still not buying this grand alliance and thus kept themselves away from this much talked about political gathering in Hajipur, which is backyard of NDA ally LJP.
JD(U)-RJD-Congress's number game
Playground where the duo addressed the meeting was almost empty
From arithmetical perspective, the reunion of arch rivals, Nitish, Lalu and Congress, in Bihar was significant as three parties grossed a combined voters' share of over 44.6%, in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls. While their rival BJP-led NDA bagged around 39.4% of votes in Bihar. RJD received 20.6% votes, JD(U) 15.8% and the Congress 8.2% of the total votes polled in Bihar. All three of them together polled more than 10.07 million votes.
However in the 2010 Assembly polls, the ruling JD(U) bagged 22.6 % votes, RJD 18.8 % and Congress 8.4%. The total vote share was 49.8% while the BJP received 16.5% of votes. These figures have probably forced the three to forge an alliance and keep the BJP at bay.
The ground realities in Bihar
One of the possible reasons for low head count during Nitish-Lalu reunion rally could be due to the fact that both their parties thrive on two rival communities Yadavs and Kurmis (who are each other's rivals), respectively. The JD(U) and RJD heavily bank on these two communities when it comes to winning seats but it seems both these groups are happy with this alliance.
Hence, it would be worth noticing whether the two parties in association with the Congress would be able to garner support from their respective traditional vote-banks or will they face their rejection for coming together.
Then there are those who are worried about the JD(U)-RJD alliance as they fear hooliganism and misgovernance, that Bihar once witnessed under Lalu's 15-year rule, coming back. This could also be one of the reasons for people staying away from this new alliance.
The BJP on the other hand is on a surge thanks to the Modi-wave and the rising anti-incumbency against ruling JD(U) Government. The state's growth rate has also dipped ever since JD(U) parted ways with the BJP last year. Nitish Kumar had to face people's brunt in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls when the party bagged just two Parliamentary seats. Nitish took the blame for the party's dismal show and resigned from CM's chair. Lalu's RJD had also won just four out of 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Congress even failed to open its account in Bihar this time.
On the contrary, people of Bihar showed their faith in Narendra Modi and the BJP. The BJP had alone won whopping 22 seats while its allies bagged 9 seats taking the NDA's total to an impressive 31 in the state.
Modi's chemistry or grand alliance's arithmetic
Modi during election campaigns talked about people's chemistry with the BJP and flayed the arithmetic which was prevalent in the country. While it's three major rivals were splintered in Bihar during the Lok Sabha polls. Hence it will be interesting to see with whom the people of Bihar go Modi's chemistry or the JD(U)-RJD-Congress grand alliance's arithmetic.