Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned to two Ys —youth and Yaduvanshis — on Thursday as he appealed to these crucial segments to vote the BJP-led NDA to power in Bihar.
He harped on his development pitch at rallies in Munger, Begusarai and Samastipur to attract voters in the 18-29 age-group that are widely expected to play a pivotal role in determining the outcome of this election, beginning on October 12.
“This election hangs on the promise of development and josh (enthusiasm) of the youth,” he said. As a caste category, he singled out to woo the Yaduvanshis or Yadavs, constituting about 14% of Bihar’s population, and who for long have been believed to be supporters of RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
Modi identified himself as a man from Dwarka, the seat of Yadav king Krishna, and sought to draw a contrast between devotion towards cows in Gujarat and Prasad’s remarks that Hindus eat beef.
His point was that the long-term interest of Yaduvanshis was safer with him than in the hands of Prasad, who he accused of humiliating the community by talking of Hindus having beef.
Modi said those who swore by the names of socialist leaders Jaya Prakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia and Karpoori Thakur has entered into a selfish alliance for power with the Congress, which opposed everything the three leaders stood for.
The Congress, RJD and JD(U), constituents of the anti-BJP grand alliance, had together ruled Bihar for 60 years but had nothing to show in terms of Bihar’s development, he said.
“Theirs is a maha-swarthbandhan (a selfish alliance for power) rather than mahagathbandhan (grand alliance).”
The Prime Minister accused the grand alliance leaders of playing politics of caste and community. “I have come to you with saugat of vikas (offering of development) as an alternative.”
He called for a proper use of Bihar’s jawani (youth) for the state’s development, putting Bijli-Sadak-Pani (electricity, roads and water) firmly on the NDA’s poll agenda. In Samastipur, he spoke of how lack of toilets in homes was forcing women to wait till dark to defecate in the open and how his government was working to construct millions of toilets across the country.
He spoke of chief minister Nitish Kumar’s failure to keep his promise of not seeking votes till he could facilitate 24-hour power supply in Bihar. “Rs 8,215 crore was committed for power in Bihar in the 11th and 12th plan but only Rs 1,300 crore was spent.”
In Begusarai, Modi went into the details of his Rs 165 lakh crore Bihar package. “You need an NDA government in Bihar for the fruits of this package to reach the villages. For this to happen, you must reject grand alliance leaders who are stopping this package from coming to Bihar,” he said. The venues of Modi’s rallies on Thursday were selected to impact the majority of 49 assembly seats that go to the polls in the first phase.
In the May 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the NDA won the Munger, Begusarai, Samastipur and Nawada parliamentary seats.