A day after the so-called Janata Parivar picked him as its chief ministerial face for this year’s Bihar election, Nitish Kumar launched a high-tech campaign on Tuesday aimed at catalysing development and showcasing his government’s achievements though analysts termed it an attempt to woo voters.
While the state’s information and public relations department is piloting the drive, sources say the idea is the brainchild of Prashant Kishor, a key strategist of Narendra Modi during last year’s Lok Sabha polls that the BJP won with a thumping majority.
Called ‘Badh Chala Bihar’ (Bihar moves forward), the campaign was meant to ensure public participation in drafting of policies and producing a Bihar@2025 vision document, said officials.
“It is not a political document or a poll campaign sheet,” the CM insisted. “Bihar needs a vision document going forward. It will be prepared after eliciting opinion from the nearly four crore people of the state, including the intelligentsia and people from different walks of life. We will reach out to masses in about 40,000 villages.”
The CM’s announcement came in the backdrop of the Janata Parivar, a volatile coalition of several avowedly socialist parties, agreeing after months of negotiations to back him for another term.
Sources said a group of IIT and IIM graduates will work under Kishor’s leadership to ensure Kumar’s victory while the campaign to showcase the state government’s achievements will conclude in eight to ten weeks, just before the polls. About 400 trucks, equipped with TV sets, music systems, microphones and speakers, and each led by a “grassroots mobiliser”, a representative of the team, are expected to move from village to village and brandish Kumar’s accomplishments.
The CM accepted that the drive was meant to “inform the people about the government’s development work in a decade of the JD(U)’s rule”. “People are aware that the government has delivered development justly. We improved the law and order situation, launched schemes for women’s empowerment and laid down a network of roads and bridges in the state,” he said.
The BJP launched a sharp attack on Kumar for taking sole credit, saying all the development happened when it was a part of the JD(U)-led government in the state.
“We (BJP) deserve as much credit as the JD(U) and chief minister Nitish Kumar for the development of Bihar during the past decade,” senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi told reporters in Patna.