PATNA (TIP): After declaring a war on his principal rival, Nitish Kumar, at his earlier rally held last week in Muzaffarpur, a northern town known as the ‘political capital’ of Bihar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi now seems to be Principal campaigners – Modi and Nitish pumping in all his energies to win the battle in this key eastern Indian state.
A victory in Bihar will indeed come as a morale booster for the saffron camp ahead of the assembly polls in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. West Bengal goes to polls next year (2016) whereas the elections in politically more significant UP are scheduled to be held in 2017.
The popular response it was able to get during one such rally held last week has only inspired the top BJP leadership to go for more action. Enthused by the impressive crowd which filled every inch of the sprawling Chakkar Maidan in Muzaffarpur and then climbed on trees and bamboo poles to hear Modi, the BJP has now planned three more rallies of him in Bihar in a bid to charge up the voters before the dates of assembly polls are announced by the Election Commission. The idea is to retain its old pockets of influence and then concentrate on weaker areas, especially the north-eastern region having significant presence of Muslims and Yadavs who are considered traditional voters of Lalu Prasad. It was with this mission that Modi rallies have been strategically planned for Bihar.
The first town chosen for a Modi rally was Muzaffarpur whereas his subsequent rallies are scheduled to be held in Gaya on August 9, Saharsa on August 19 and Bhagalpur on August 30. The selection of the rally venues assumes much significance since all these venues are located in four different corners of the state having great political significance. While Muzaffarpur located in the northern region of the state is known for the kind of rare political consciousness among voters, southern town Gaya is a prominent Hindu pilgrimage city where millions of pilgrims descend every year during the fortnight-long “Pitripaksha Mela” to ensure salvation to the departed souls of their ancestors. The BJP thinks this could be the ideal place for the party rally.
These are the two regions where the BJP-led NDA had made huge gains during the last LS polls-making a virtual clean sweep in reality. This can be underlined from the fact that of the total 31 seats won by the NDA, 28 came from these two regions alone. While the NDA bagged all the 18 seats in north Bihar, it emerged victorious on 10 seats falling under the south-central Bihar. It was only Nalanda which went to the JD-U kitty. During the last 2010 assembly elections as well, the NDA had given a terrific performance in the region. Especially in north Bihar, the NDA which then comprised JD-U and the BJP had clinched victory over 91 of the total 109 seats. While the JD-U had won 49 seats, BJP emerged victorious on 42 seats. It’s obvious now the pressures are on the BJP to retain its hold in the coming assembly elections as well. A repeat of the past performance will only give a walkover to the NDA in the polls.