First phase of Bihar polls begin for 49 seats, 583 candidates in fray

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nitish, modi lalu

With the first phase of Bihar Assembly elections getting underway from Monday, battlelines have been drawn between the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance and the the Nitish-Lalu-Congress grand alliance. Since the morning 27% percent of polling has been registered till 11 am with the highest 34% posted in Khagaria.

The BJP, which had an edge hardly 15 days ago, seems to be losing it. This is in part to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise of “good governance” against Lalu Prasad’s “jungle raj”. The BJP had hoped that by doing so it can make Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar go into the background. But instead Kumar has emerged as a dignified statesman; even his choice of words, they say, placed him above the fray, the RSS sources.

Modi urged the youth to vote extensively in the elections and electricity, beef and drinking water are issues that are highlighted in the elections. The BJP-led alliance and the grand coalition are in a “neck-and-neck” fight, with many shifts in the pollscape. There are as many as 583 candidates, of which 20 are crorepatis, in the fray with 1.53 crore voters.

With BJP referring to Prasad’s “jungle raj” and calling him a chara-chor (fodder thief) appears to have backfired, it has not only united Yadavs but also made them quite “aggressive”. In last year’s Lok Sabha polls, a sizeable chunk of young Yadavs had voted for Modi, but this time the BJP has failed dent the Yadav votebank.

“Who has given the right to two non-Biharis—Amit Shah and Modi—to constantly our leader and hisn regime names? We’ll vote for Prasad aggressively this time around,” said Rajdeo Yadav, a voter.
Remarks by BJP and RSS leaders on reservation made powerful caste leaders in OBCs and EBCs uneasy.

The remark on reservation by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat were seized by Lalu Prasad who said that Modi government would end quota made threw many OBCs and EBCs in a dilemma.

The second remark came after the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri area. Yadav not only accused the BJP of communalising the issue, but also said that some Hindus too ate beef. The BJP jumped in the bandwagon Modi, too, in his recent speeches plunged into the beef debate, lashing out at Yadav for “insulting the Yadavs for saying that they, too, eat meat.”

The BJP’s plan to make Modi address six election meetings in two days has not helped. “The BJP has exhausted its most potent weapon (Modi)at every block, nook and corner of Bihar, said a Sasaram NDA leader. There re only two faces on hoardings put up across Bihar—Modi and Amit Shah. “Not a single Bihar BJP leader gets a place on the billboards,” said another voter.

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