Bihar: It's Modi vs Nitish in poster wars ahead of assembly polls
It is Nitish Kumar versus Narendra Modi again in Bihar and the likes of Lalu Prasad and Sushil Kumar Modi will only play second fiddle, at least if one goes by the poster war launched by the two main parties ahead of crucial assembly polls.patna Updated: Jul 10, 2015 13:31 IST
It is Nitish Kumar versus Narendra Modi again in Bihar and the likes of Lalu Prasad and Sushil Kumar Modi will only play second fiddle, at least if one goes by the poster war launched by the two main parties ahead of crucial assembly polls.
The Janata Dal-United has put up huge hoardings of Kumar on the main thoroughfares with a clear message that, if voted to power, he will lead Bihar once again, while the BJP has pasted posters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at important points, matching the size of those put up by the JD-U.
The poster war on Patna’s skyline – a phenomenon never witnessed before – reflects the rising political temperature in Bihar months ahead of the polls. It underlines two key aspects of the political battle – the JD-U and RJD are fighting for their existence and the BJP is out to prove that Modi’s victory in the general election last May was no flash in the pan.
For the Janata coalition, the assembly polls is all about stopping Modi in the heartland of Bihar, ahead of elections in crucial states such as West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh in the next two years. A loss for either side could resonate across India.
Though there are no names on the JD-U posters, they feature a phone number and appeal to people to strengthen Kumar’s hands by signing up for the party. But the message on the poster is loud and clear – “Aage badhata rahe Bihar, phir ek baar Nitish Kumar (Bihar needs Nitish Kumar again for its development).”
To counter the JD-U, the BJP has pasted posters of Modi with the message “Why Nitish Kumar?” on key thoroughfares. The posters question Kumar's bid for another stint as chief minister.
The posters ask: "Apradh, Bhrashtachar aur Ahankar, Kya is gathbandhan se badhega Bihar? (Crime, corruption and ego, will this combination take Bihar forward?)”
Another poster put up by the opposition leader in the Bihar assembly, Nand Kishore Yadav, attempts to dismantle Kumar’s claims on the development of Bihar.
"Kahan badha Bihar? Kyon phir Nitish Kumar? (Where has Bihar progressed? Why Nitish Kumar then?)" it says. The poster appeals to people to vote for the BJP and install a government that will work in close coordination with the Centre.
"It will usher in development, a victim of prejudice of the Centre in the past. If a BJP government is installed, Bihar will have a government led by the same party as in the Centre after 25 years," Yadav said.
Both the parties have levelled allegations against each other about grabbing all the space on Patna's skyline. The BJP has accused the JD-U of seizing the main billboards in the state capital, leaving no space for others.
To counter this, chief minister Nitish Kumar accused the BJP of violating the Prevention of Defacement of Public Property Act by pasting their posters on government property.
"The BJP has become uneasy over my hoardings placed at 10 to 20 places in the state capital and is now resorting to illegal means. They should recall that they had put up a number of posters during the last Lok Sabha polls. This time, they have grabbed all hoardings along the Patna-Digha route and along the railway line," Kumar said.
Amid this verbal jousting between the BJP and JD-U, RJD chief Lalu Prasad is nowhere on the scene. RJD sources, however, said their campaign will be the “most innovative” and visible war that will “outstrip” all others.
The Congress too has pasted posters on the back of auto-rickshaws and public vehicles with state unit president Ashok Choudhary as its face. However, the posters have no photos of party chief Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi.
Though the polls are nearly four months away, the gloves are off with political parties breathing fire and brimstone at each other in a no-holds barred slugfest, which promises to get shriller as D-Day approaches.