New Delhi: The Congress has described the BJP’s decision to hold virtual rallies in poll-bound Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, where byelections are due, as an attempt to “avoid anger on the ground” in both states.
The BJP is going on an overdrive to prepare for the upcoming Bihar and Madhya Pradesh elections, with e-rallies by Cabinet ministers Amit Shah and Nitin Gadkari slated for the coming week. Party president J.P. Nadda has instructed his cadre to start preparations at the booth level so that Shah’s rally on 7 June can reach as many people as possible.
The Congress, however, has dismissed these measures as being ‘inconsequential’.
“Computer se andolan nahi ho sakta (You can’t launch a movement through the computer,” Shyam Sunder Singh Dheeraj, the working president of the Bihar Congress, told ThePrint.
“We cannot possibly take out a rally during the lockdown,” he added. “The whole reason why the BJP is doing an e-rally is because they want to avoid facing the anger of the masses on the ground. An e-rally would just mock the poor as so many in the country don’t have a computer and internet.”
The Congress, however, is yet to launch its campaign in Bihar where elections are expected to be held in October. Party leaders say they will not use the digital medium even though former president Rahul Gandhi held his fourth video interaction Thursday with businessman Rajiv Bajaj. Prior to this, Gandhi has held interactions with economist Abhijit Banerjee, RBI governor Raghuram Rajan as well as health experts Ashish Jha and Johan Giesecke.
Also read: E-rallies, WhatsApp groups, nukkad meets — how BJP plans digital poll campaign in pandemic
Congress yet to get act together in Bihar
The Congress party, however, is yet to chart out the specifics of its campaign in Bihar.
“We haven’t started going to the office yet but we will start in a few days and plan the campaign specifics then,” a Congress Bihar leader said.
“Not much can be done locally until there’s some direction that comes from the high command in Delhi,” the leader said, adding that a decision has also not yet been made on Congress’ seat-sharing with ally Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
The RJD, however, has decided to counter the BJP campaign through holding a “Garib Adhikar Diwas” on 7 June to protest the BJP government’s handling of the Covid crisis that caused problems for migrants.
Also read: Unemployment in Bihar haunts Nitish govt in poll year as it grapples with migrant crisis
Congress better placed in Madhya Pradesh
While the Congress in Bihar seems largely dormant at the moment, there seems to be relatively more activity in the party’s Madhya Pradesh unit.
Madhya Pradesh is expected to hold by-elections in the coming weeks for the assembly seats that fell vacant earlier in the year. Of the 24 seats, 22 sitting MLAs who were supporters of Jyotiraditya Scindia quit the party after he joined the BJP in March, while two seats are vacant due to deaths of two Congress MLAs.
“We have been conducting surveys in the 24 constituencies to ascertain what are the issues we should keep in mind. Kamal Nathji has also asked for names of three possible candidates from each of these constituencies,” Pratap Bhanu Sharma, vice-president of the Madhya Pradesh Congress, told ThePrint.
Congress MLA P.C. Sharma has said that the party is in talks with poll strategist Prashant Kishor for the elections.
The BJP government in the state has received flak for its handling of the coronavirus crisis, with former CM Kamal Nath saying that the lockdown was delayed in order to topple his government. BJP leader and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari is set to hold an e-rally in Madhya Pradesh on 10 June.
“This will be a major poll plank for us. The state lost crucial time in fighting coronavirus when the government was toppled. People are still furious about this,” vice-president Sharma said.
Focusing on food and aid, not on protest
While so far dormant when it comes to election preparation, the Congress party has said it is focusing on aiding the migrants and the poor impacted by the lockdown.
Youth Congress president B.V. Srinivas has been credited for running continuous food drives across the national capital, as well as kickstarting the process in other parts of the country.
It's Day 71 of FOOD BANK outside IYC HQ… https://t.co/73vyfqtJil
— Srinivas B V (@srinivasiyc) June 4, 2020
The party has also faced flak by its workers for not standing by Ajay Kumar Lallu, president of Uttar Pradesh state unit who was arrested on 20 May on allegations that he forged documents regarding the buses for migrants. His bail was rejected a second time Monday, following which the party has said it will move the High Court in this regard.
“The reason we cannot agitate and sit in a protest against his arrest is because of the lockdown. We know that the BJP will use that as yet another excuse to blame the Congress for not obeying the lockdown,” Arun Kumar Tripathi, national coordinator for the Congress unorganised workers’ committee, told ThePrint.
“Right now, we want to spend all our energies in distributing food and aid,” he added.
Also read: Woman in prostitution is a victim too, can’t be charged with trafficking: Madhya Pradesh HC
Haha. E rallies should be done only in covid times
Ha Ha Ha, Lalu’s son holding Garib Adhikar Diwas. Whats next Pappu playing chess?
Chor Chor mausere bhai.
Comments are closed.