Speaking to a select group of pressmen in Patna on October 24, the BJP national president, Amit Shah, refuted the argument that a negative result for the BJP in the Bihar elections will affect the centre’s reformist zeal and policy momentum. Shah is of the opinion that the results of the assembly elections can never be a referendum on the performance of the union government.
Reacting on the statement of Amit Shah, the spokesperson of Janta Dal (U), Nihora Prasad Yadav said, “the honourable saffron party chief appeared to have conceded the probable defeat that the NDA is going to face in the assembly elections. Since, a couple of months back while reacting on the party’s good performance in the municipal elections in Karnataka, a number of influential leaders including him of the BJP had held the victory as referendum on Narendra Modi government”. Sensing the mood of the electorates Shah is looking for escape route, is he really? He asked.
Also, the statement made my finance minister, Arun Jaitley, during his Patna visit on October 25, is appeared to have stolen the enthusiasm of the NDA workers. Known as trouble shooter of Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitely while replying questions posed by the media persons said, “going by the inputs I collected, I can firmly say that the NDA would improve its tally from 21 seats that it won in 2010 assembly elections, in the 81 assembly constituencies which went to poll in two phases”. Before packing up his press meet, the shrewd finance minister alleged, “A handful of pen pushers have taken auction from GA leaders to create artificial propaganda against our electoral prospects in Bihar elections”.
It is pertinent to recall here that BJP leader and chief minister in making, Sushil Kumar Modi and party state president Mangal Pandey respectively had on the next day of the polling of second phase boasted that the NDA would be winning not less than 60 out of 81 seats that went to voting. Ironically, the claims of the two stalwarts of the BJP are belied by none other than their national party leader, Arun Jaitely.
Perhaps, after reading the writings on the walls the BJP has planned to utilise all arms and ammunitions in its artillery to be far head vis a vis Grand Alliance in the remaining 162 seats, voting for which would take place in three phases on October 28, November 1 and 5 respectively. Two dozen union ministers have been working overnight touring at each and every corner of the constituencies with sole task, assigned to them by the party supremo, of ensuring the lead so that the NDA could form government in Bihar. As many as 16 choppers have been hired by the NDA to ferry the leaders across the state.
With unpleasant IB inputs on the two gone phases in his pockets, Narendra Modi is reported to have taken up the command in his own hand. Said a minister close to him, the PM himself made up his mind to address more meetings in very attacking mode against the identified enemies. “Because as a seasoned politician he can understand more than us about implication in case the GA registered victory in the elections”.
In order to blunt the statement of Mohan Bhagwat on reservation to OBC, the Prime Minister does not help but mentioning before the audience that “no mayee ka Lal could dare to snatch reservation provided by Baba Saheb Ambedkar in the constitution”. The prime minister was scheduled to address 13 meetings for the three would-be phases. But given the unsatisfactory performance of the NDA in the last two rounds, his visits have been revised and increased up to 17. He has started aggressively attacking his arch political rivals Sonia Gandhi, Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad during his campaigning to consolidate Mahadalit and Extremely Backward Caste (EBC) people in favour of NDA candidates. He also cautioned the OBC to maintain distance of the troika because if the GA was elected to power, the combination of 3 idiots could slice away a five percent quota from their share.
The Prime Minister is understood to have found a suitable weapon in the shape of ‘Nitish-Tantrik meeting’ that came to fore recently. The footage of the sting tells how Nitish Kumar is seeking the blessing of an Aghora Sadhu to reap political advantage in the elections. The Sadhu is seen and heard suggesting the chief minister to maintain distance with Lalu Prasad to become gladiator of Bihar, though the meeting with the Sadhu occurred just before the 2014 general poll.
By highlighting the Nitish-Tantrik meeting, Narendra Modi has in his mind to convey the message among the electorates that Nitish Kumar does not have development of the state on his agenda through scientific methods but by dint of ‘Tantra-Mantra’. “In this age of 21st century both the elder and younger brothers talks of practicing ‘Tantra-Mantra’ and ‘Jadu-Tona’ for the betterment of the state, thereby doing regressive politics”, Modi thundered at all 9 meetings he addressed between October 25 and 27. Understandably, the leakage of the episode in which Nitish Kumar is displayed taking blessing from an Agora has dented his image, putting him slightly on defensive. Nitish Kumar is considered as believer in ‘Karma’ but not in ‘Bhagya’ and ‘Bhagwaan’ unlike many in Indian political arenas.
Reportedly, on the advice of Modi, the BJP has shifted its entire concentration towards making strong inroads among the EBC and Mahadalits. In fact, after the NDA leadersreceived confirmed information about the voting trend from ground zeros of the two phases, where polling was held, that voters from Yadavas, Kurmis and Kushwahas besides Muslims have blindly tilted in favour of GA they got worried. Even an octogenarian leader and former union minister, who is presently Rajya Sabha member, told Tehelka “majority of the people belonging to Kushwaha caste have thrown their weight to ensure the victory of GA candidates during the two phases of polling”.
The trend made the political observers to feel that the 4.5 percent Kushwaha people have disowned Upendra Kushwaha, union minister of state for education, as their leader only in 16 months. They had danced at the will of Kushwaha during Lok Sabha elections. The statement of Mohan Bhagwat on reservation is presumed to have alienated the caste from BJP. But Mantri Kushwaha of Karakat in Rohtas district has different story to tell. According to him, the Kushwahas are angry with BJP, for the leadership of the party in power in centre did not treat their leader at par to Ram Vilas Paswan during ticket distribution. “We swallowed the humiliation only to teach the saffron party a severe lesson at appropriate time”, he said.
By roping in Bhim Singh, former minister in Nitish government, by its side, the BJP has certainly scored over the GA as far as influence among the EBC is concerned. The GA does not have EBC leader to his stature. The BJP had already put its EBC face Prem Kumar in the crucial battle to woo the voters in a big way to intensify its efforts to lure the OBC voters. Off and on, Kumar is projected as CM nominee by the BJP solely to hoodwink the caste-men.
The emerging billionaire fishermen leader, Mukesh Sahani, has also been handed over strong responsibility to woo his caste-men at any cost. Apart from visiting the caste-men dominated villages; he is offering full page advertisement to the Hindi dailies published from Bihar, urging his tribes to strengthen the hands of Narendra Modi through ballots. EBC leaders from Uttar Pradesh such as Dara Singh Chauhan and S P Baghel, former MPs, are assigned the jobs of consolidating their caste-men in the favour of BJP in the coming three phases of elections. These EBC leaders of UP are touring across the state in separate choppers.
Meanwhile, the cantankerous Bihar elections are heating up with vulgar allegations and counter allegations against each other by the ‘respected’ leaders of the rival groups. Also, false promises are being made to woo the voters in their respective folds. VVIPs see nothing wrong in it, comparing the elections with war. Is it legitimate to hoodwink the voters to win elections?