In the state of Bihar, campaigning has reached its peak as phase 3 of Assembly Elections is up next. Mighty claims, appeals and look-backs have come into the picturesque spread of the elections, wherein polling will be held in 78 Constituencies which are spread over 15 districts. Parties have left no stone unturned in wooing the voters.
A series of rallies and public speeches were held on Monday by the leaders of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) to lure the voters with their high claims and appeals and passionately sought votes for their candidates during the third and last phase of Bihar elections scheduled for November 7.
Both contenders, JD(U)-led NDA and RJD-led UPA are seen to be in a neck to neck contest this time in most of the Assembly seats. Bihar election of 2020 had a unique turn of events, from heated cross swords between the leaders to tweets that grasped the headlines and minds of the voters, all in the middle of a pandemic.
It was seen in a series of tweets by Mr Chidambaram that he heavily targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for seeking votes in the name of Article 370, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and Ram Mandir. Furthermore, he also said, “The best slogan I have heard about the performance of the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar: KHALI HAATH (empty hands), KHALI JEB (empty pocket), KHALI PET (empty stomach).” These direct attacks on Chief Minister Nitesh Kumar were widely heard following him being in power for 15 years.
“As I’ve promised, I will provide 10 lakh government jobs with my first signature at the first Cabinet meeting if voted to power,” RJD leader and it’s chief ministerial face Tejashwi Yadav said at a rally in Darbhanga town. He further added, “I will focus on the core issues plaguing Bihar like padhai, dawai, Kamai, sinchai aur mehengai (education, medicine, employment, irrigation and price rise) I’m a young man with new thoughts,” he told the loud and cheering crowd.
Mr Yadav, has been seen to have drawn huge crowds in over a couple of rallies and public meetings every day.
Rahul Gandhi in one of the rallies highlighted and alleged PM Modi with mistreatment of migrant labourers during the COVID-19 pandemic as he said that majority of them hailed from Bihar.
The candidates in the area of Mithilanchal of RJD are observed to be upper castes; this could be because the party is arithmetically targeting the Muslim-Yadav vote bank.
The young 31-year-old leader filled with zeal is the sole star campaigner of the RJD led- UPA. “Only a few days are left, and I have to cover all 78 seats in the third phase,” he said while addressing the crowd.
On Monday, November 2 he spoke in over twenty public meetings organized in districts of Araria, Saharsha, Darbhanga, Supaul and Samastipur, where polls are slated to happen on November 7. On Saturday, before campaigning ended for the second phase, he had addressed nineteen public meetings to set the tone of the election.
“Mr Nitish Kumar is unable to handle Bihar… he is a tired man… we’re appealing to the people to give us a chance so that we can do what Nitish Kumar hasn’t done for them in the last 15 years of his regime,” he strongly commended. Adding to this, he fervently remarked: “His (Nitish Kumar’s) bidai (farewell) is guaranteed.”
On Thursday, Mr Gandhi hit on his political rivals in Bihar PM Modi and Mr Yadav and said that they didn’t address the issue of coronavirus in Bihar well and are now seeking votes. Adding to which he said, whether it’s Modi Voting Machine or Modi Ji’s media, he is not scared of them; Grand Alliance will win.
A lot happened on the flip side of the coin, JD(U) leader and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has actively addressed four to five rallies and public meetings every day, where he affirms the public about the mighty development that his government meticulously done in the past 15 years.
“We constructed roads and brought electricity, 50 per cent reservation for women in panchayats and several welfare measures for students… if given a chance, I’ll do more, as service to the people in my religion… development with justice has been my government’s mantra,” he said in an emotional tone at Supaul while addressing a public meeting on Monday.
His speeches seen to have mocked the RJD leader “But for some people, development only means development of their family: sons, daughters, wife and others…for me, Bihar is my family.” At a rally in Harlakhi of Madhubani, onions were pelted at Mr Kumar.
In Parihar constituency of Sitamarhi district, the president of BJP, J.P. Nadda talked highly about the development done and portrayed by PM Modi across India and by the NDA government in Bihar. He accused the opposition party- RJD for its misgovernance and listed the shortcomings of Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi from the years 1990 to 2005.
“Jo kaam karne wale hain unko kaam dijiye, aur jo beimaani karne wale hain unko aaram dijiye (Those who do work, give them work to do and those who are dishonest with you, give them rest),” Mr Nada vehemently said at his rally in Sitamarhi.
He also organized a crowded roadshow in Darbhanga where he hopefully said people of Bihar would give another chance to NDA based on the development work done by PM and Mr Kumar.
PM Modi said on November 3, “NDA is committed to a government which will work for the development of Bihar and the poor people of the state.”
At a public meeting in Saharsa yesterday, PM urged the voters to reject the ‘jungle raj’ or lawlessness promoted by the Opposition. He said, every person of the state remembers the betrayal portrayed by the jungle raj against the capability of Bihar. He alleged that forerunners of jungle raj had kept the poor at bay from elections with the historical culture of booth capturing.
On Tuesday onions were flung towards Mr Yadav by some protestors at an election rally in Madhubani. The CM was addressing the public in Gangaur village ground in Harlakhi assembly constituency when the incident took place. The onions were thrown while Mr Yadav was speaking about unemployment, he continued his speech and asked people to keep throwing, while his security men covered him.
However, on Wednesday, a spark between Mr Kumar and his ally BJP’s star campaigner Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, has reopened cracks in the ruling coalition amid the Bihar election campaign. Rebuking on the UP CM’s comment on “throwing out infiltrators who try to breach the security of the country ” a remark about the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act), Mr Kumar said Who does all this malicious campaigning? Who said this faltu baat (nonsense)? Though Mr Kumar didn’t name anyone in his speech, but widely perceived as a rejoinder to his Uttar Pradesh counterpart.
The episode of Mr Kumar’s angry pushback once again laid bare his ideological contradictions with the BJP.
LJP leader Chirag Paswan has been in the limelight for wisecracking at CM Nitish Kumar on serious issues like corruption in projects of welfare. The LJP candidates have contested against the JD(U).
“The next government in Bihar will be of the BJP-LJP combine,” he declared, yet again during the third phase campaigns. He appealed to the people to make his party candidate victorious at Mahishi in the district of Saharsa. “The BJP-LJP government will implement the ‘Bihar 1st, Bihari 1st’ vision document,” he affirmed.
On Monday, Junior Paswan wrote to Mr Kumar asking him to “provide details of his government’s work in the last five years and to let people know about the document of vision curated by his government.”
On Thursday, Mr Paswan hit on Mr Gandhi’s for calling Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) “Modi Voting Machines” (MVMs) and said whenever the Congress party or the Mahagathbandhan parties raise the issue of EVM tampering, it means that they have accepted defeat.
Mr Paswan sharpened his attack on Mr Yadav and said after the declaration of results on November 10, he (Nitesh Kumar) would be seen bowing down in front of RJD chief Tejashwi Yadav. He further stated pointing out that Mr Yada always criticised PM Modi, but during election campaigning he was found being respectful and bowing in front of latter. This shows JD (U) leader’s greed towards power and the chief minister’s post.
The Jan Adhikar Party’s President, Rajesh Ranjan, was also seen in rallies and public meetings where he alleged that both NDA and Mahagathbandhan are fooling people over the issues of development. Leaders of Left parties also addressed public meetings in support of their party candidates.
As the time of the result is nearing, the air of Bihar has become cold, and the aim remains to seat on the CM’s chair and grasp the power in hand. The leaders have resorted to discharging every last bullet on each other to claim the chair as theirs. Whole of India has its eyes on this election as Bihar is one of the prominent states of North India.