Political heat soars, barbs fly ahead of Phase 1 Bihar polls
Bhairon Singh, 50, of Choklal Shai village in Morwa assembly constituency of Samastipur district is hard pressed to meet the deadline of making idols ahead of Durga Puja from October 13.
An under-graduate, he is clued into Bihar’s politics. But his profession is not allowing him to keep a tab on this election.
In the neighbouring Begusarai district, college student Mohammed Shahrukh is eager to exercise his franchise for the first time.
Singh and Shahrukh sum up the mood of voters in Bihar — festival-induced detachment for some and excitement for others, particularly the first timers.
There are 5,07,021 first time voters out of total 13,55,72,339 voters in first phase.
Bihar goes to polls for 49 seats in the first phase on October 12, a day before the Durga Puja festivities begin.
The political temperature in Bihar began soaring a fortnight before the first phase of polling. Consequently, barbs have been flying thick and fast.
New names are being given to parties and new adjectives added almost every day in a high-stake election for PM Narendra Modi and BJP on one hand and the Grand Alliance of RJD, JD(U) and Congress on the other.
Addressing a rally in Gaya, Modi described Lalu Prasad’s RJD as a party signifying “Rojana Jungle raj ka Dar” (fear of jungle raj daily) and expanded its ally JD(U) to “Janata ka Daman aur Utpidan (oppression and suppression of people)”.
Nitish Kumar hit back by saying BJP means “Badka Jhootha Party (party of big liars) and Bharatiya Jumla Party”.
The parties have hurled terms such as Chaara Chor (fodder thief), Narbhakshi (cannibal) and Jallad (executioner) at each other to surcharge the atmosphere.
Both alliances are leaving no stone unturned to take the fight to the last lap. Modi, his senior ministers and BJP chief Amit Shah have been addressing a series of rallies for the NDA. Before the first phase ends, Modi would have addressed six rallies.
For Congress, its president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi have addressed a rally each so far. Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad are the lone star campaigners for allies JD(U) and RJD.
The Election Commission has, meanwhile, taken several steps, including deployment of 730 companies of paramilitary forces, for conducting free and fair polls. The drive against ‘cash incentives’ has led to the seizure of Rs 14 crore from different parts of the state.