Saturday 31 October 2020

Nitish Kumar gets 30.9% voter approval as Bihar CM candidate

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is followed by RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, BJP leader and deputy CM Sushil Modi; Lalu Prasad and Tariq Anwar trail

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Before the Bihar assembly election to be held in three phases, the first large-scale election in the country amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, an IANS C-Voter Bihar opinion poll survey showed 30.9% of the people were still backing Nitish Kumar as the most preferable candidate to be the chief minister again.

Rashtriya Janta Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav follows Nitish Kumar in popularity. Yadav is the preferred chief ministerial candidate of 15.4% people. BJP leader Sushil Modi occupies the third position with 9.2% approval ratings.

Surprisingly, RJD honcho and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, convicted in the fodder scam and barred from contesting in elections, has gone down to the fourth position. Only 8.3% of the voters approve of him as the chief executive of their state. About 6.5% of the people prefer Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan as a chief ministerial candidate.

INC leader Tariq Anwar has received 2.1% approval, the lowest among prominent leaders in the state. The sample size of the survey was 25,789. The period of the survey was 1 September to 25 September. The survey’s margin of error is ± 3% at state level and ± 5% at regional level.

The Election Commission (EC) had on 25 September announced a three-phase schedule from 28 October for the Bihar assembly polls, the first major elections in the country since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted political calendars and prompted sweeping measures for social distancing in March to check its spread. The second phase of the polling will be held on 3 November, and the last on 7 November. The election results would be declared on 10 November.

The 2015 elections in Bihar were held in five phases, recording a 58% turnout. The EC has curtailed the phases in view of the pandemic for effective deployment of security forces.

The Bihar elections are crucial for the BJP as it has suffered electoral setbacks after retaining power at the Centre with a bigger majority in 2019. It was unable to form the government in Maharashtra despite emerging as the single largest party following disagreements with its oldest ally, Shiv Sena, over power-sharing. In Haryana, it could form the government only after Jannayak Janata Party’s support. The BJP was voted out of power in Jharkhand in December 2019.

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