New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “clean image” and will highlight the work done by the government at the Centre, especially the welfare measures implemented during the Covid lockdown, during the election campaign in Bihar.
Many state BJP leaders have also requested public rallies by Prime Minister Modi, after party president J.P. Nadda addressed an election rally at the Gandhi Maidan in Gaya Sunday.
According to a senior BJP leader, election rallies of PM Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and Union minister Smriti Irani are being planned by the party’s state unit.
Campaign to focus on Modi govt’s work
Bihar BJP leaders say they will highlight the work done by the Modi government in the state, especially welfare measures such as distribution of free food grains to the poor and needy, road construction, including under-construction projects, and monetary help provided to the migrants, among others.
The construction of Ram Mandir and the bhoomi pujan ceremony in Ayodhya is already being highlighted by the party workers during their campaign.
“As far as Bihar elections are concerned, our campaign building an Atmanirbhar Bharat is our agenda and PM Modi is the architect behind it. The free grains scheme of the Centre ensured that everyone had food to eat. This has been a major success and people vouch for it. While the opposition leaders have been criticising CM Nitish Kumar or the state leaders, but they don’t have anything to say against PM Modi. Even Tejashwi Yadav doesn’t have anything to say against PM Modi. His handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the welfare schemes he implemented for the needy have been appreciated by one and all,” said a senior BJP leader from Bihar.
“Both Ram mandir construction and abolition of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir were promises made by the BJP in its election manifesto. People know that when we make a promise we stand by it,” added the leader.
Anti-incumbency a concern
A senior BJP functionary, however, said that there is a certain level of “fatigue” that has crept in as far as chief minister Nitish Kumar is concerned, and that anti-incumbency is an important factor in certain constituencies.
“He (Nitish Kumar) has been serving for many years, so anti-incumbency is quite natural. But he has done a lot of work in Bihar especially roads, power supply has improved. But there are concerns over corruption, law and order and the issue of unemployment is also something we have to focus on. Our campaign is concentrated on the good work done by PM Modi and the stability that this coalition has provided,” he said.
Why winning Bihar is important for BJP
The Bihar assembly election is crucial for the BJP as it comes after a series of defeats in state elections since 2018. The BJP lost the Delhi election in February this year, and Jharkhand election in 2019. It was unable to form the government in Maharashtra despite emerging as the single-largest party.
For the BJP, the Bihar assembly election is also important because, despite being in an alliance with the JD(U), it has lately tried to position itself as the leading partner.
A senior BJP leader said the party cadre is “motivated” and “very strong” at the organisational level.
“In the past few years we have improved at the organisational level. Our booth-level workers have been working tirelessly and our Ghar Ghar Sampark Abhiyan has helped us connect with the people and understand their issues,” said another leader.
The state unit is already working on the dates for the physical rallies as many candidates have pointed out the “connect with the public is much better”.
“Our virtual rallies are doing quite well but now that the Election Commission has allowed physical rallies with certain protocols, we are planning it. PM Modi and Amit Shah ji will address a few rallies that would be spread across all the phases,” said another BJP leader.