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With the byelections for the 10 assembly seats scheduled for Thursday, Bihar’s political landscape is undergoing a sea change.
And the change is not only the recent tie-up between Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar but also the preoccupations of both the NDA and the BJP camps with national rather than local issues.
At Sunday’s BJP rally at Samastipur’s Mohaddinagar constituency, the central pitch of BJP leaders — from Ravi Shankar Prasad to others — was about the “strong personality” and “developmental model” of PM Modi.
“This has been one unusual by-election, where local issues have just not figured. In the Ganga hinterland, arsenic levels in water are high, and drainage systems do not exist. But political leaders surprisingly remain silent on such issues”, a local scribe said.
Principal professor in Patna College, Nawal Chaudhary, too believes the agenda of development is being ignored by most political parties.
“Bihar is at the crossroads as old paradigms are crumbling, while the new is yet to take shape. No political leader in the state is in a position to choreograph its development,” he said.
In the Lok Sabha polls, Kumar had hinged his campaign on the demand for a special category status for the state.
This time around, the former CM has been silent on the issue, while BJP leaders including Sushil Modi, Nand Kishore Yadav or Dr CP Thakur drummed up this line of argument: “Only the BJP — already in power at the Centre — can fulfil the demand”.