‘This is the reason why both the BJP and JDU are trying to make the election as Modi versus others’.
New Delhi: With the election campaign gaining momentum in Bihar, it is clear that the ruling NDA led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This is the first time when an ally of BJP is banking on PM Modi in an election. This is the reason why both the BJP and the JDU are trying to make the election as Modi versus others.
The surveys so far have suggested a decline in popularity of CM Nitish Kumar. The same surveys have shown a rise in popularity of PM Modi which keeps the Bihar ruling alliance happy. Therefore, there will be more rallies of PM Modi in Bihar.
What is clear from rallies of the Prime Minister and Rahul Gandhi is that national issues, instead of local ones, will dominate the Bihar elections. As the PM spoke of abrogation of Article 370 and coronavirus, Rahul Gandhi also carried forward the national issues. Both the Congress and the RJD are targeting Modi, which may benefit the NDA. What bodes well for the NDA is that BJP is united behind Nitish Kumar.
Last time, Nitish Kumar was the face of the Mahagathbandhan. BJP had contested polls banking on national leaders, which was made an issue by the Nitish-led alliance then, Moreover, the Mahagathbandhan had leaders such as Lalu Prasad Yadav who impressed the public with his trademark style of speech. Several other leaders like Nitish Kumar, Sharad Yadav and Raghuvansh Prasad Singh were there. Sonia was a big leader from Congress then.
But this time the scene is different. Nitish Kumar is NDA’s face. He is backed by a strong leader like PM Modi. In 2015, Modi and the then national BJP chief Amit Shah could not read the pulse of the public in Bihar. But now, both the leaders have grown their political strength winning several elections over the last five years. What is also good for NDA is that the Opposition is weak at present.
BJP knows that Bihar results will have implications for Bengal too, which is going to polls after six months. That is why PM Modi and national BJP president J.P. Nadda have started the Bengal election campaign right now.
Modi explained the importance of Durga Puja in Bengal and gave a message to Bihar as well. At the same time, Nadda spoke about CAA implementation soon and charged the atmosphere in Bengal. These issues may impact Bihar polls too.
How the youth team of the Mahagathbandhan is able to face the NDA when BJP stalwarts will descend on the field for campaigning will be keenly watched.
For now, Tejashwi Yadav is the main face of the alliance. His rallies are witnessing huge crowds on the basis of which the Mahagathbandhan is expecting a big change. Rahul Gandhi is another big face in campaigning. He has deputed a youth Congress team led by Randeep Singh Surjewala.
However, Congress repeated the mistake in Bihar that it committed in other states. It got active in Bihar in the election year. Congress could not present any face in Bihar even when a strong leader Meira Kumar was with the party. Congress is fully dependent on the RJD. Congress leaders are doing what BJP wants. If Tejashwi Yadav succeeds in converting the crowd into votes, then Congress will gain strength. But the Congress is targeting PM Modi over issues like China that may benefit the NDA. The BJP also wants that talks should be about the Central government instead of Nitish Kumar so that the benefit of the PM›s popularity could go to the ruling alliance. That LJP is fighting separately is also being seen as part of BJP’s strategy to stop disgruntled voters from going to Mahagathbandhan.