PM Narendra Modi to kick-start assembly poll campaign in Bihar today
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will kick-start NDA's campaign for the assembly elections in Bihar with a rally in Muzaffarpur on Saturday.
Organisers expect a huge turnout for the 'Parivartan Rally' at Chakkar Maidan where all top leaders of BJP and coalition partners like Ramvilas Paswan (Lok Janshakti Party), Upendra Kushwaha (Rashtriya Lok Samata Party) and Jitan Ram Manjhi (Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular) will be present.
Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Radha Mohan Singh are among the senior BJP leaders camping in the state over the past few days to make the rally a success.
"This will be the largest ever rally held in Muzaffarpur since Independence. Our rivals are already feeling dizzy at the mere mention of it," Union minister Singh said.
There is speculation that the PM may use the occasion to announce a special package for Bihar, a longstanding demand of chief minister Nitish Kumar whose Janata Dal (United) parted ways with the BJP in 2013.
The JD(U) and the BJP were alliance partners for 15 years till they split ahead of the Lok Sabha elections over the projection of Modi as prime ministerial candidate.
In the 2010 assembly elections the combine netted 206 of the 243 total seats trouncing Lalu's RJD and the Congress. Even after the split the BJP-alliance fared well, winning 31 of the 40 Lok sabha seats in 2014.
Ahead of the rally, Nitish tweeted a list of questions on PM Modi's previous "unkept" promises to the state. "You promised special status for Bihar. 14 months and people are still waiting," he tweeted.
The NDA in Bihar is pitted against a coalition of Nitish Kumar's JD(U), Lalu Prasad's RJD and the Congress in the assembly polls scheduled later this year. Other parties of the so-called Janata Parivar and the Aam Aadmi Party are backing them.
While the anti-BJP alliance -- touted as a 'grand secular alliance' -- will project Nitish Kumar as its chief ministerial candidate, the NDA will go with PM Modi as the face of its campaign.
Prior to the Muzaffarpur rally, Modi will inaugurate slew of developmental programmes in the state and is likely to share stage with Nitish in one of them.
Modi will inaugurate the newly-constructed campus of IIT-Patna at Bihta at a function attended by the chief minister and flag off two pairs of trains between Patna and Mumbai.
During his one-day visit, the PM will also launch the Jagdishpur-Haldia gas pipeline project at an estimated cost of Rs 10,000 crore, which would enable cooking gas consumers in Bihar to refill gas through pipeline once the project gets completed in four-five years.
He will attend the 87th foundation day functions of the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) where 2,500 agricultural scientists from across the country will take part.