Campaigning for the first phase of the high-stakes Bihar assembly polls ended on Saturday. The polling in this phase across 49 constituencies, 19 of them Maoist-affected, is scheduled on Monday.
The high-pitch electoral battle that saw key players hurling abuses at one another would be a test of the ‘Modi wave’ for the BJP and a ‘do or die battle’ for Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad. For the polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is poised to set a record by addressing some 40 rallies in the state — the most by any PM so far.
Backing Modi’s aggressive campaign are 13 of his 26 ministers, mostly from Bihar, besides groups like the RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal and Durga Vahini.
The battle is expected to be a close one between the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the Grand Alliance (GA) led by Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) with RJD and Congress as partners. Both combinations have been wooing voters along caste lines with the NDA labelling the fight as ‘development versus jungle raj’.
Facing his toughest electoral battle, Nitish Kumar eyes to garner votes of Muslims, Yadavs and Kurmis.
The BJP-led alliance, on the other hand, is banking on the development agenda and the financial package of Rs 12,500,000 crore announced by the Prime Minister. The BJP is also eyeing the 17% upper castes, 6% Vaishyas, 6% Koeris and others influenced by the Modi charisma.