The first phase of the Bihar assembly elections, which took place on October 12, saw a voter turnout of 57%, according to the Election Commission of India.

There are two reasons that assembly elections in Bihar, scheduled to be held in five phases till November 5, will be crucial for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party.

Having won three out of four state assembly elections in 2014, the BJP needs to maintain its winning streak if it has to consolidate political power. Second, a larger seat share in state assemblies will assure the party more seats in the Rajya Sabha .

India’s third-most populous state with more than 10 crore people, Bihar sends 16 members to the Rajya Sabha, third after Uttar Pradesh (31) and Maharashtra (19).

The Rajya Sabha has 245 members. Of this, the BJP’s 48 MPs make up a fifth of the house. The government needs a majority in the Rajya Sabha to get important legislations passed, such as the controversial land bill that it was forced to withdraw.

The BJP has a loyal vote bank in Bihar, but the critical factor will be the vote swings it can muster in an era of polarisation.

Of the five opinion polls declared so far, four favour the BJP-Lok Janshakti Party-Hindustani Awam Morcha-Rashtriya Lok Samta Party alliance.

Source: Infoelections

The 2014 success story

Maharashtra, the second-largest state in terms of Rajya Sabha MPs, was the first to hold elections for its legislative assembly after parliamentary elections in 2014. The BJP won, ending the 15-year-long reign of the Congress and its partner, the Nationalist Congress Party.

Source: Election Commission of India

BJP was the clear winner in Maharashtra both in terms of number of seats and vote share.

Haryana held elections simultaneously with Maharashtra. Here, too, the BJP gained 43 seats.

Source: Election Commission of India

An analysis of the factors that contributed to the BJP’s victory proved that the difference was Narendra Modi.

The Jammu and Kashmir elections, held in 2014, witnessed a record voter turnout. The BJP, with a 16% gain in seats over the previous election, also mustered the highest vote share.

Source: Election Commission of India

Assembly elections in Jharkhand were held along with Jammu and Kashmir. Here again, BJP registered a win over strong regional parties.

Source: Election Commission of India

The Delhi assembly election in 2015 was the only one where the BJP flopped after its 2014 general election victory. Although the party did not lose its vote share, the Aam Aadmi Party AAP was able to swing voters of other parties.

Source: Election Commission of India

AAP’s maiden venture into Delhi’s assembly polls in 2013 led to a huge loss for both BJP and Congress, but it mustered only 28 seats, leading to a hung assembly.

AAP formed the government with support from the Congress, which later backed out. In the re-election in early 2015, AAP got a clear majority, with 67 of 70 seats.

This article was originally published on, a data-driven and public-interest journalism non-profit.