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Monday, Aug 26, 2019

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Nitish takes centre stage in JD(U)’s election campaign

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s achievements and not central schemes have become the focal point of JD(U)’s election campaign and posters. Most of these posters have a small photograph of PM Narendra Modi and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan. But none of them speak of any achievement of the central government.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 29, 2019 11:13 IST
Vijay Swaroop
Vijay Swaroop
Hindustan Times, Patna
JDU workers are looking NDA flags, batches, masks and others accessories ahead of Lok Sabha Election 2019 at the campus of JDU office in Patna.
JDU workers are looking NDA flags, batches, masks and others accessories ahead of Lok Sabha Election 2019 at the campus of JDU office in Patna. (Santosh Kumar/ HT)
         

“Neta Woh Jo Nirnay Le, Nitish Kumar, NDA Sarkar (A leader is one who takes decisions),” reads a hoarding outside the JD (U) party office in the state capital. Another one with pictures of all the 17 candidates of JD(U) contesting the Lok Sabha polls reads, “Sachcha Hai, Achcha Hai, Chalo Nitish Ke Saath Chale (He is honest and nice, let’s go with Nitish).

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s achievements and not central schemes have become the focal point of JD(U)’s election campaign and posters. Most of these posters have a small photograph of PM Narendra Modi and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan. But none of them speak of any achievement of the central government.

Another poster says, “Hum kaam mein vishwas karte hain (we believe in work)” while another declares, “Kaam kiya, sammaan diya (Have done work, given respect).” Another poster at party office says, “Hamara sankalp…sharab mukt, dahej mukt, bal vivah mukt rashtra (our resolve…liquor-free, dowry-free, child marriage-free nation).” There are several posters which highlight the CM’s pet project Mukhyamantri Balak-Balika Cycle Yojana, prohibition and campaign against child marriage.

The JD(U) had from time to time raked up the issue of playing the role of a ‘big brother’ in the electoral alliance in Bihar and has made it clear that the party will contest polls under Kumar’s leadership. “We want to convey the message to the voters that Nitish Kumar is a man who fulfils the promises he makes and does not lie,” said party’s national general secretary Ram Chandra Prasad Singh, while releasing the posters.

Though Kumar was at the centre stage during the of 2015 assembly polls,with slogans like ‘Bihar mein bahar hai Nitish Kumar hai’ (Bihar blossoms under the leadership of Nitish Kumar), the recent posters speak volumes on changing dynamics within NDA’s second innings with the Bihar chief minister.

When Kumar re-joined the alliance in June 2017, BJP was in a position to call the shots. BJP leaders pointed out that they were told not to allow Nitish to take credit for all the works and projects. This was in contrast to NDA-I days, when Nitish’s photograph used to feature in nearly every poster put up by BJP on special occasions.

However, election debacles in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh has put the saffron brigade on a backfoot and in quick turn of events, Kumar started putting pressure on BJP, which agreed to contest on equal number of seats and forego seats of five of BJP’s sitting MPs in the state.

BJP leaders accept in private that the party “started toeing his line,” and “surrendered the advantage of a bigger party.”

Defending JD(U)’s posters, the saffron brigade said that it will be PM Modi’s work at the centre and CM Nitish Kumar’s work in the state, which will be focal points of NDA’s poll campaign agenda. “NDA is focusing on the agenda of development. In the last five years, PM Narendra Modi has worked for the welfare of every section of the society. In Bihar, we will bank on the good work done by our PM, as well as on work done by the Bihar CM who led the NDA government in the state,” said BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand.

First Published: Mar 29, 2019 11:13 IST

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