Bihar Assembly election 2020: Campaigning for 1st phase ends
Campaigning for 71 seats that go to the polls in the first phase of the Bihar assembly elections ended on Monday with key leaders locked in a bitter verbal war to shore up their prospects in the southern districts, many of which are ravaged by decades of Maoist violence.
A total of 1,066 candidates are in the fray – 114 of them women – in the first phase of the polls that will also decide the fate of six sitting state ministers. Roughly 24.5 million people will vote across 31,380 polling stations.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is contesting 42 seats and its ally Congress is fighting on 21. The Janata Dal (United) has fielded candidates in 35 constituencies and its ally Bharatiya Janata Party is contesting 29 seats.
The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), which decided to part ways with the NDA in the state while remaining a part of the ruling coalition at the Centre, is fighting on 41 seats.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar addressed meeting at Muzaffarpur and Vaishali, which go to the polls in second phase on November 3. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav addressed more than 60 rallies focused on constituencies going to the polls in the first phase.
In meetings at Arwal and Nokha – which go to the polls on Wednesday -- LJP chief Chirag Paswan trained his guns at chief minister Nitish Kumar and his flagship governance promise of Saat Nishchay (seven resolves).
“Saat Nishchay is a scheme formulated by him. We will get it probed after an LJP government is formed. And if found guilty, the chief minister will also go to jail,” he said.
At Nokha in Rohtas district, he also alleged the chief minister “lied” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he built drainage systems and streets, and provide piped water to everybody in the state. “The chief minister says there is no corruption in Bihar, whereas the corruption in Saat Nishchay is the biggest in the history of state” Paswan alleged.
The NDA hit back and asked the LJP chief to maintain “decency” with state minister Sanjay Jha likening Paswan to “a monkey dancing to someone else’s tunes”.
“Some people indulge in conspiracies during elections. They want to make a dent in the NDA. On one hand, they criticise chief minister Nitish Kumar but on the other they praise Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said BJP chief JP Nadda in a rally in Aurangabad.
At Sakra in Muzaffarpur, Kumar pitched for continuance of development carried out by his government for the last 15 years. “Some leaders get publicity and eyeballs by talking against me. Let them do it. I am not interested in taking any publicity. I have worked for Bihar and will continue to work for the state, if given another chance,” he said.
After the rally, a slipper was flung at Kumar by some protestors; three men were arrested by police.
Addressing women, Kumar said his government was the first to give reservation to women and institute schemes to provide cycles for girl students. “We have built thousands of schools’ buildings, round the clock electricity, better health services and all weather roads for better connectivity with block headquarters as well district headquarters,” he added.
Addressing rallies at Purnia and Aurangabad, Nadda said India, under the leadership of PM Modi, and Bihar, under Kumar, were progressing rapidly.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar have emerged as the synonyms of development whereas RJD and Congress leaders are indulged in playing spoiler politics,” he said.
Nadda cited the revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution, which accorded special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, to underline that the NDA was committed to “One nation, One rule” principle. “We have removed all obstacles in the making a grand temple of Lord Ram in Ayodhya,” he added.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad exhorted the people to give another term to Kumar for the sake of progress and prosperity of Bihar. “We are doing politics over development” Prasad said.
Yadav continued his attack on Nitish Kumar at Rohtas, alleging the CM could not provide employment and set up industries in the last 15 years. The RJD leader also claimed that things were better for the poor under his father and former CM, Lalu Prasad. “When migrants got stuck, where was his chopper? Then he said, stay where you are,” he added.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi addressed a rally in Purnia and attacked the Congress and the RJD on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
“When you were holding protests against CAA/NRC in Seemanchal, these two parties neither extended their support to us nor did say anything and they preferred to remain silent,” he said.