Bihar Assembly Election 2020: Nitish Kumar, Rajnath Singh to hold rallies in Khagaria, Bhagalpur
Campaigning for the second phase of the ongoing Bihar assembly elections has gained momentum, as chief minister Nitish Kumar and union minister for defence Rajnath Singh are slated to address several rallies in the state on Friday.
The campaigning for the 94 seats in the 243-member Bihar legislative assembly ends on Sunday and the polling will be held on Tuesday (November 3).
CM Kumar has become aggressive in enumerating his development initiatives and accusing the main opposition, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), of its tall talks amid a multi-cornered contest, which appears to be too close to call at this stage.
He has been blaming the RJD for promoting “jungle raj” —a euphemism for lawlessness—during its uninterrupted 15-year rule between 1990 and 2005.
Kumar is slated to address five public rallies in Khagaria, Sitamarhi and Sheohar districts on Friday, where he is likely to train his guns on the RJD.
The Khagaria-Sitamarhi belt is known for a high migrant population and also home to extreme backward classes (EBCs), the core vote base of Kumar’s ruling Janata Dal (United) or JD(U).
The JD(U) has been facing a formidable challenge in trying to keep the EBC and Schedules Castes (SC) vote bloc intact.
The challenge is more acute in Khagaria district, as the estranged ally of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in Bihar, the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), led by Chirag Paswan, is taking on JD (U) in all the seats that it is contesting from this backward belt.
Khagaria, which has a large section of SCs, is considered to be a LJP stronghold in the state.
Kumar has his task cut out amid the high-decibel campaign unleashed by RJD’s CM face Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, who has stolen a march over the ruling NDA by promising 1 million state government jobs, if he is voted to power.
Kumar has debunked Yadav’s 1-million job pledge as “untenable” and “empty promises”, citing the latter’s political naivete.
The CM is emphasising on development initiatives during his tenure that helped power an all-round growth and development.
“During the previous RJD rule, the power generation in the state was only 700 mega-watt (MW). It increased to 6,000 MW during my tenure,” he said at an election rally at Valmiki Nagar in West Champaran district on Thursday.
He also made an oblique reference to Yadav over his 1 million job promise. He said those who are talking of giving 1 million jobs should come clean whether over 10 million youth, who passed their intermediate exams in the last decade, would get employment or be denied of the opportunity. “Where will the money come from to give 1 million jobs?” he asked.
The CM has also raked up reservation—an emotive issue in the poll narrative—at the Valmiki Nagar rally. He advocated affirmative action on the basis of the population.
“We want that provision be made for giving reservations to different sections of the society as per their population. We have no doubt about it. The quantum of reservation can be decided only after the census next year. But the decision is not in my hands,” he said.
In 2015 Bihar assembly polls, a statement made by Mohan Bhagwat, the Sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), about the need for reviewing the existing reservation policy had given a handle to RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
The former CM, who is languishing in a Ranchi jail after being convicted in multiple fodder scam cases, had made reservation a key poll issue and had accused the NDA government of harbouring a secret agenda in a bid to end quota for other backward classes (OBCs) and SCs in jobs and education sectors.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh will address a rally with union minister of state for health Ashwini Choubey at the Pirpainti assembly seat in Bhagalpur district.
Singh will also campaign at the Bachwara assemby in Begusarai district; Kesaria and Raghopur constituencies in East Champaran and Vaishali districts, respectively.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has high stakes in the Raghopur seat, where the party’s nominee Satish Kumar is pitted against RJD scion Yadav.
The third phase of Bihar assembly polls will be held on November 7 and the election results will be declared on November 10.