GA to display show of strength in Purnia; Amit Shah to address rally in Lauriya
The Grand Alliance rally, christened as ‘Ekjutata rally’, will be the first major show of strength of the seven-party coalition since its formation in August last year.
PATNA: Bihar is all set to witness a political showdown on Saturday when Union home minister Amit Shah will address Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters at two places; while chief minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Tejashwi Prasad Yadav will hold a joint rally of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ in Bihar’s Purnia district.
The rally, christened as ‘Ekjutata rally’, will be the first major show of strength of the seven-party coalition since its formation in August last year.
Apart from the chief minister and his deputy, GA leaders said ailing Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad, who is recovering after a kidney transplant operation a few months back, would be addressing the rally virtually.
“ The main objective of the rally is to save democracy and oust the forces which want to destroy the secular fabric of the nation. We want opposition unity to fight against the BJP,” said RJD state president Jagdanand Singh.
However, there is still uncertainty as to whether the rally would be the platform for projecting CM Kumar as the GA’s prime ministerial candidate for next year’s Lok Sabha polls.
Kumar in a recent CPI-ML(liberation) party event had urged the Congress to take the lead in forming a larger opposition unity to fight against the BJP and take on PM Narendra Modi in the 2024 parliamentary polls.
“ It is unlikely that CM Kumar would be projected as a PM candidate at tomorrow’s rally. It is more a show of strength by the RJD and JD(U) to consolidate their vote base in the Seemanchal belt dominated by Muslim minorities and check the growing influence of the AIMIM,” said a senior RJD leader, wishing not to be named.
Incidentally, the GA’s rally is being organised in the backdrop of the speculations about a rift growing between the JD(U) and RJD over the projection of deputy chief minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav as the chief ministerial face in 2025 and early transition of power to the Yadav scion to the top post.
The ruling JD(U) is also facing the challenge of the exit of Upendra Kushwaha, who left the party apparently annoyed over not getting a top post in the GA government, recently. “ The rally significance is two-fold, The GA comprising of regional parties wants to show their strength to send a message to the BJP about their own political power. The RJD, JD(U) also want to keep their base among backward classes intact by reaching out to their own vote base in Kosi and Seemanchal belt,” said D M Diwakar, former director of A N Sinha Institute of Social Sciences, Patna.
Meanwhile, the opposition BJP in Bihar has also planned two big events on Saturday to be graced by the Union Home Minister. Shah is scheduled to address a public rally at Sahu Jain stadium in Lauriya, about 26 km West of Bettiah, the headquarters of Bihar’s West Champaran district. He is also scheduled to visit the Buddha stupa at Nandangarh before addressing the BJP core committee at Valmikinagar along the Indo- Nepal border during his day-long visit.
Later, Shah will attend an event in Patna being organised on the occasion of Swami Sahajanand Saraswati Jayanti. Later, he will hold a meeting with Bihar BJP leaders in the evening.
BJP state president Sanjay Jaiswal on Friday said that Shah is all set to sound the poll bugle for the 2024 parliamentary elections and that the party has planned a big show in the JD-U bastion in West Champaran on Saturday.
“The arrangements are in place and it will be a historic moment where more than one lakh people will be present,” said Jaiswal, a three-time MP who represents Paschim Champaran Lok Sabha seat.
( With inputs from Sandeep Bhaskar)