Re-inventing the Socialist discourse is proving to be a challenge for the newly-formalised “secular” alliance of Lalu Prasad, Nitish Kumar and the Congress for the upcoming assembly elections in Bihar.
Alliance leaders seem to have realised that parroting the old political paradigms may not work in the upcoming elections, considering the changed demographic profile of the state.
An estimated 76 lakh new voters have been included in the state’s electoral list since the last assembly elections in 2010. About 15,000 to 25,000 new voters, all in the 18-19 bracket, have been added in all the 243 assembly constituencies.
Given that victory margins in state elections have usually been approximately between 5,000 and 10,000 votes, alliance leaders are focusing on reaching out to the recently empowered youth, keen to exercise their suffrage.
The JD(U) has taken an early lead by putting up catchy one-line captions beneath photos of Nitish Kumar, chief ministerial candidate of the alliance, on auto-rickshaws in Patna. Party hoardings and banners in the city display just Kumar’s photograph.
“It is a conscious decision to avoid complex political jargon and keep the political message clean and simple. An intensive social media campaign will also be rolled out soon,” a JD(U) leader said.
PM Narendra Modi’s 2014 campaign manager Prashant Kishor — picked by the Bihar CM as his election strategist — is said to be in the process of devising a “multi- spectrum blueprint” to ensure the alliance’s victory.
Detailed campaign planks including plans for joint rallies of Prasad and Kumar will shortly be worked out, a senior RJD leader said.
The Congress is also planning to bring out its campaign material to highlight unity in the secular front.