Amit Shah worried at Bihar prospects
BJP chief Amit Shah’s “Mission Bihar” primarily focused on demolishing Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s image of “Shushan Babu”. It was expected of Shah that he would take out some innovative idea from his magical hat to wrest the initiative from Nitish and project the BJP as the savior of Bihar.
However, the deliberations at the “strategy sessions” for evolving the tactical line to counter Nitish underline that the leadership has preferred a defensive posture rather than an aggressive campaigning. The party has decided to hold one lakh public meetings in the next 100 days to brighten its prospects in the state Assembly election due later this year. Undoubtedly it also unravels the nervousness that has gripped the BJP and more importantly the index of peoples’ acceptance of Nitish.
If <g data-gr-id="85">party</g> was sure that Nitish has lost the trust of common Bihar, it certainly would not have preferred to organise one lakh public meetings. This would cost an exorbitant money. But even then the party leadership was eager to spend the money. Under the <g data-gr-id="82">mission</g> Amit Shah will deploy trained workforce to win the 2015 Assembly polls. With strong <g data-gr-id="81">organisation</g> only the party will be able to pull down <g data-gr-id="80">Nitish</g> government. One development that ought to be taken note of is Shah did not repeat his 2014 political line that BJP’s road to spread in the eastern India through Bihar.
There is yet another important feature. Though Shah is concentrating on Bihar, he has preferred to keep the state out of eastern zone contact programme. Under his <g data-gr-id="79">plan</g> the eastern zone of the Mahasampark Abhiyan consists of West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Sikkim, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. While Shah feels that the eastern zone has been deprived of infrastructure development, he is reluctant to raise this issue at this stage. The reason is he is scared this might help the cause of Nitish who has been raising the issue of Modi government’s discriminatory approach towards the state.
It was expected, since the Bihar Assembly election is being projected as a battle between Nitish and Narendra Modi, that the party would reach out to the masses and count the achievements of the one-year rule of the Modi government. <g data-gr-id="72">Instead</g> the party has decided to counter Nitish.
Winning the Assembly election has become the ultimate goal of the party. The party is not in the mood of taking any chance. Significantly much of its thrust on its future policy and programmes depends on the outcome of the local body election to the Bihar Legislative Council. The BJP leadership is confident of winning a lion’s share of the seats. While local body elections are not influenced by the political scenario at the national level, they are nevertheless suggestive of the mood on the ground. In case the BJP fails to perform a better result, the prospect of the Assembly outcome would be endangered. If the party sources are to be believed, Shah is personally lying low to avoid the accusation that he was indulging in political hyperbole.
Even on Wednesday all the top state leaders including the BJP Union Ministers from Bihar and national functionaries held a daylong meeting to give a shape to Shah;s Bihar Mission. In Charge for the Assembly election Ananth Singh, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, party In Charge for the state Bhupendra Yadav, BJP General Secretary Susan Singh, former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, Leader of Opposition in state Assembly Nand Kishore Yadav, state BJP President Mangal Pandey and others. Bhupendra Yadav said that the party will also roll out 160 chariots to highlight performance of the Modi government and to corner the Nitish Kumar government on its alleged misgovernance since the JD (U)-BJP split.
For final outcome, the BJP is dependent on the charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is likely to kick start the election campaign by participating at a function in Muzaffarpur on July 25. Already hoardings of Narendra Modi have been hung at different places, explaining why they should not vote for Lalu Prasad’s RJD and Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) which symbolise “<g data-gr-id="65">Aparadh</g>, Bhrashtachar and <g data-gr-id="66">Ahankar</g>.”
With Nitish using <g data-gr-id="89">high</g> tech mechanism to launch and sustain the election campaign, the BJP has also summoned a group of expert image makers. Their primary task is to project the Modi government and the Prime Minister. The BJP is scared of the scenario where people will seek the explanation and account of the work done for the people of Bihar by the cabinet members from the state. These ministers have not been able to undertake the task of developing Bihar. Six months ago, the BJP, based on an internal survey, was hopeful of getting 185 seats out of the 243. But in the present situation, the leadership is not willing to stake claim to this magical figure.
The BJP was earlier quite ebullient at the prospect of forging an alliance of the extremely backward castes (EBCs) and the upper castes, especially Bhumihar, besides augmenting its outreach among the numerically preponderant Yadavas. But now the leadership is treading cautiously with Nitish taking the Bhumihars at his target. Allegations of lack of coordination amongst the allies have started surfacing. The leader of one of the allies Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), Union Minister of State for HRD Upendra Kushwaha has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to rely the claims of the state leaders and take matters in his own hands.IPA