Bihar Polls: BJP’s Virtual Rally May Hint at Nitish Kumar’s Fate

Home Minister Amit Shah is all set to kick off a massive virtual rally in Bihar on 9 June. 

3 min read
Amit Shah’s Thursday visit to Patna is a goodwill gesture by the BJP chief towards Nitish Kumar, but the latter has something else in his mind.

Home Minister Amit Shah is all set to kick off a massive virtual rally in Bihar on 9 June ahead of the upcoming state elections later this year.

While there are a lot of speculations on whether the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will continue its alliance with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led Janta Dal (U), the virual rally will also look to raise the offensive on the criticism of Bihar’s handling of the migrant situation.

A BJP functionary told IANS it has two reasons to choose 9 June for the purpose – it is a Tuesday which is considered auspicious for Hindus since it is the day of Lord Hanuman, a deity who is popular in the Hindi heartland. And on the same day, RJD's Tejaswi Yadav has announced the party would be observing 'Gareeb Adhikar Diwas.'

Fate of Nitish Kumar

Sources told NDTV that Shah is likely to make an important announcement on whether the party will continue its alliance with JDU, and if it does, some clarity is also expected on whether Nitish Kumar will be the one calling the shots.

Quoting party insiders, NDTV reported that many in the BJP feel dumping Nitish Kumar at this point is not a risk worth taking as he still enjoys popular support in the state.

With an equal distribution of seats, the two parties together swept the 2019 Lok Sabha polls winning all 40 seats. However, many in the state BJP are reportedly hesitant to go for the same arrangement for state elections.

Counter to Tejashwi’s Rising Momentum

Tejashwi Yadav has said that he will appeal to everyone on 9 June, that they should come forward and protest with a plate, bowl or banana leaf. "Lalu ji used to say that if we can't have 'aata' (flour) in our stomach, then what will people do with 'data'?"

Yadav is clearly up for an offensive to highlight the hunger and plight of the poor and marginalised during the subsequent lockdowns.

On the other hand, Shah is expected to counter the claims with the government’s handling of the pandemic and the migrant crisis in the state.

Yadav had earlier said that a virtual rally just “mocks the poor, who have suffered the most during the lockdown”.

Virtual Grandeur with Social Distancing

The video conference via Facebook Live aims to address at least one lakh people across the 243 assembly segments in Bihar for the video conference, according to NDTV.

While there is no official notification about the address from the party top brass, not even to BJP's National Chief of Social Media Amit Malviya, the Bihar BJP has reportedly already started its work to make arrangements in auditoriums, community halls of gram panchayats, etc to ensure social distancing among those attending.

BJP's Bihar chief Sanjay Jaiswal told IANS that Shah will indeed be the first among many faces who will hold such digital rallies and it will be on 9 June.

The 243 Assembly constituencies in the state are expected to have one giant screen each, or at least at places where people can be come together to watch the address.

With the aim to reach out to more than 1 lakh people, which includes 38,000 of its cadres, the Bihar BJP expects to connect their phones with Android TVs and also arrange small groups of people to watch the address.

(With inputs from IANS and NDTV.)

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