Split with Nitish will only boost BJP in Bihar: LensOnNews Poll With the BJP seemingly decided on projecting Narendra Modi as its PM candidate and its close ally Nitish Kumar of JD(U) equally firm in his opposition to the idea, a split in the NDA alliance looks inevitable; most observers think itâ€™s not a question of if, but when. Against this backdrop, a poll has been conducted by the popular news website LensOnNews.com to explore various scenarios: the outcome of the coming Lok Sabha election in Bihar if the NDA (the BJP-JDU combine) remains intact; secondly if the two allies were to part ways and the BJP and the JDU were to fight the elections separately; and thirdly if the JDU were to join Congress/UPA in a pre-poll alliance to fight a Narendra Modi-led BJP. The survey findings show that the BJP would be a big gainer in terms of its individual tally should the NDA alliance break up. And the Janata Dal (United) stands to get routed in Lok Sabha polls should it decide to go alone. The LensOnNews survey was conducted among a representative cross-sectional sample of 2400 voters in 10 parliamentary constituencies of Bihar from 18th to 24th April 2013. The poll findings carry a margin of error of four per cent. Scenario 1: NDA is intact, no change in alliances In the event of NDA going to Lok Sabha polls with the alliance intact and the RJD/ LJP mounting a combined challenge as they did in 2009, the NDA is expected to slightly improve its performance by winning 33 of the 40 seats against its tally of 32 seats in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. Out of these 33 seats, the BJPâ€™s lone tally is projected to be 13 as the BJP contests only 15 of the 40 seats in the state as per its arrangement with the JDU. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 12 seats. While the vote share of the NDA is slated to improve by 3 percentage points as compared to 2009, there is likely to be only a marginal increase in terms of seats tally for the alliance. Scenario 2: NDA splits, other alliances remain unchanged Voters were asked as to which party they would vote for if the JDU breaks away from NDA on account of the projection of Narendra Modi as the candidate for prime minister. Significantly, the BJP is projected to get as much as 31% of the popular vote and win a whopping tally of 29 of the 40 seats in the state. This, against the 12 seats it won in 2009 while fighting in its quota of 15 seats in alliance with the JDU (the JDU had a lionâ€™s share of 25 seats of which it won 20). While going it alone would thus be clearly to the benefit of the BJP, our survey shows that it would be hugely damaging to the JDU. It is projected to get a vote share of 14 per cent and end up with only 2 seats. Not only that, it is likely to be pushed to the bottom in a four-way contest â€“ behind the BJP, the RJD/LJP combine (22% vote share and 4 seats), and the Congress (16% vote and 3 seats). Scenario 3: BJP fights separately, JDU and Congress fight together When the voters were asked as to which party they would vote for if the JDU breaks away from the BJP and joins the Congress (UPA) alliance, the BJP still comes out ahead with a substantial tally of 19 of the 40 seats on its own in the state, with the JDU-Congress combine projected to win 16 seats. Assuming that the JDU contests 25 seats in alliance with the Congress, it would win only 10 seats on its own; and the RJD/LJP combine is projected to win three seats. The Modi factor There is a clear trend line from 2009 onwards showing increasing popular support for the BJP in Bihar at the expense of other parties including its own ally the JDU. Thus the BJPâ€™s vote share increased from 14 per cent in the Lok Sabha poll of 2009 to 16.5 per cent in the assembly elections of 2010, while the JDUâ€™s vote share declined from 24 per cent to 22 per cent; the vote share of RJD/LJP declined marginally from 26 to 25.5 per cent; and that of Congress went down from 10.3 to 8.4 per cent. The findings of the LenOnNews poll are consistent with this trend, showing the BJP increasing its vote share further to 31 per cent if it fights the coming Lok Sabha elections on its own â€“ due to â€˜the Modi factorâ€™. This is the ground reality when Narendra Modi has not held even a single rally in Bihar, nay has not even set foot in Bihar. There is every reason to think that when he starts campaigning in earnest it will only consolidate and further strengthen BJPâ€™s position in the state. K. Balakrishnan is Editor, LensOnNews and was formerly Research Editor, The Times of India. E-mail : [email protected] Follow K. Balakrishnan on Reprinting or republication of this story on websites is authorized by prominently displaying the following sentence, including the hyperlink to LensOnNews, at the beginning or end of the story: "Split with Nitish will only boost BJP in Bihar: LensOnNews Pollâ€" is republished with permission of LensOnNews Split with Nitish will only boost BJP in Bihar: LensOnNews Poll ___________ Balakrishnan has a knack of coming right.