The women voters of Bihar were at the forefront of change in these elections. They perceived the danger associated with the BJP brand of politics and made sure they turned out in big numbers to vote into power the Nitish Kumar brand of politics of development.
The women voters turned out in bigger numbers this time than ever before since independence. There was an increase of about over 6 % in women voter turnout all across Bihar compared to an increase in over just 2 % of male voter turnout, compared to assembly elections in 2010.
Bihar assembly general election 2010 had also witnessed a higher women voter turnout which had led to Nitish Kumar’s JDU being voted to power. In 2010 the male voter turnout was 51.11% compared to 54.44% of women voters an increase of nearly 3%. This time in 2015 the women voter turnout was 60.57% compared to 53.41% male voter turnout. The difference is over 7%, nearly double the voter turnout of women compared to 2010. This has sweetened the victory for the JDU.
Nitish Kumar as chief minister had spearheaded various innovative schemes targeted at uplifting women socially and economically. The Govt had also ensured that law and order situation was improved which is an essential ingredient in ensuring that the condition of women improves. Most of these schemes will see more impetus with Nitish Kumar back at the helm of affairs.
Besides women, there is another group which seems to have gone the ‘Grand Alliance’ way – the Extremely Backward Castes (EBC).
This is a voter group which was consciously carved out by Nitish Kumar and carefully nurtured over the last ten years of his rule. This block of citizens consists of over 120 sub castes including extremely backward Muslims which put together are over 30% of the entire electorate of Bihar. This EBC block include castes like Teli, Mallah, Sonar, Halwai, Carpenters, Rangrej, Madari, Nut, Dhobi, Darzi and the likes.
The specific castes do not live in clusters but are scattered in small numbers in every village all across the state of Bihar. Nitish Kumar had devised schemes to improve their social and economic condition and had ensured that benefits were delivered to them. But before the 2015 elections began, apprehension was cast that this section doesn’t vote en-block and may split. This is far from what happened.
Nitish’s consistent hard work paid off and the entire EBC voted for JD(U) and its candidates, delivering a lethal blow to the expansionist agenda of the BJP. All the schemes relating to the empowerment of the EBCs is likely to get a boost once Nitish Kumar takes over as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the third consecutive term.