Ahead of Shah’s visit, Bihar’s ruling alliance accuses BJP of fanning tensions

Updated on Sep 19, 2022 01:15 PM IST

The Grand Alliance plans to counter the alleged attempts for fanning communal tensions by organising public meetings in the region for harmony

Union home minister Amit Shah. (PTI)
Union home minister Amit Shah. (PTI)

Bihar’s ruling Grand Alliance has accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of attempting to fan communal tensions ahead of Union home minister Amit Shah’s rallies in the state’s Seemanchal this week and plans to counter them by organising public meetings in the region, which has a high concentration of Muslims.

“We will decide dates [for the meetings] after discussing with all the parties in the alliance. They all seem to be ready for it as they view Shah’s rallies as an attempt to fan communal tension in the region. We will organise the rallies in Purnea, Kishanganj, and Katihar for social harmony, which Bihar has been known for under [chief minister] Nitish Kumar,” said Rajiv Ranjan of Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) or JD (U).

Shah will address the rallies in the state for the first time since the JD (U) parted ways with the BJP and formed the government with the help of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress, and the Left parties last month.

Deputy chief minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav has backed the idea of the public meetings. “RJD has always stood for communal amity and it will not like the social fabric of the state to be disturbed,” said an RJD leader, who did not want to be named.

Ranjan said the choice of Seemanchal for Shah’s rallies was a clear indication of the BJP’s motive. “People want to talk about core issues confronting them in daily lives. The BJP...wants to deflect public attention, but cannot succeed.”

Bihar is the Hindi belt’s only state, where the BJP has failed to form the government on its own or expand its organisation.

Ahead of Shah’s visit to Bihar, Union minister Smriti Irani attended the launch of the book “Modi@20” in Patna on Sunday and mocked Kumar’s prime ministerial ambitions.

BJP state chief Sanjay Jaiswal insisted Shah’s visit was part of BJP’s regular outreach programmes planned long ago. “We will have programmes in different parts of the state. JD (U) has panicked due to the situation it has put itself in due to the personal ambition of Kumar.”

Top BJP leaders, including Union minister Nityanand Rai, have been camping in Seemanchal for over a fortnight.

Jaiswal said Bihar of 2022 is different from that of 2015 and the people are not going to fall for JD (U)’s special status poll plank. “People have seen what the BJP has done for Bihar and they will always be by the side of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has no competitor.”

He said JD (U) is planning to “drive Kumar out” of Bihar by asking him to fight Lok Sabha polls from Uttar Pradesh. “...they know the fate of the JD (U) in the state.”

The BJP has set a target of winning 35 of Bihar’s 40 seats in the 2024 national elections. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, which included JD (U), swept the 2019 national polls in the state by winning 39 seats.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Arun Kumar is Senior Assistant Editor with Hindustan Times. He has spent two-and-half decades covering Bihar, including politics, educational and social issues.

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