Bihar gears up for elections.

Bihar gears up for elections.

Parties get ready to get ‘real’; step out from ‘virtual’ campaign in Bihar

Nitish woos women voters; cites Bihar's liquor ban among other schemes for women

Agency Report | Patna | 13 October, 2020 | 11:00 PM

All parties campaigning virtually for the upcoming Bihar assembly elections are now gearing up to step out of the ‘virtual to the ‘real political arena amid the corona pandemic. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president J. P. Nadda held his first public rally in Gaya in Bihar.

Many changes are visible in the state polls to be held between October 28 and November 7. Initially the emphasis was on holding virtual rallies only but now the parties have been permitted to address small ‘real’ rallies.

Leaders of all parties are now leaving Patna and meeting the voters. However, all Covid-19 protocols will have to be strictly followed.

A BJP leader said after coming out of the ‘virtual mode’ of campaigning, the saffron party has started sending party functionaries to various regions of the state. At the booth level, too, the party has asked its karyakartas (workers) to interact with the people. The party aims to reach every voter before polling day.

According to sources, the BJP has asked all its people to fan out from the party headquarters. The BJP has also hired helicopters for campaigning. Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi attended the nomination of party candidate Nitish Mishra in Jhanjharpur on Monday and held a public rally at Warisaliganj in Nawada district.

BJP’s Bihar unit in-charge Bhupendra Yadav held a meeting in Jamui, Banka and addressed a rally in Kahalgaon. BJP State President Sanjay Jaiswal campaigned, too.

The JD-U is also planning to step into the real world. Chief Minister and JD-U President Nitish Kumar on Tuesday said till now people have been reached only through virtual means but promised that he would now interact face-to-face with the voters from Wednesday.

Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leaders are also following suit. An RJD worker said party leader Tejashwi Yadav will visit various regions from Wednesday and interact with people. Other parties in the electoral fray are now campaigning door-to-door instead of in ‘virtual mode’.

Voting for Bihar’s 243-member Assembly will be held in three phases on October 28, November 3 and November 7 while counting will take place on November 10.

Leading the Mahagathbandhan (Opposition Grand alliance) is the RJD which has an electoral tie-up with the Congress and the Left while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has the BJP and the JD-U.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar sought to woo the women voters in the run-up to the three-phase Assembly elections, pointing out different decisions his government took to benefit women, including ban on liquor in the eastern state.

Bihar has a total of 7,21,40,945 electorate, including 3,80,88,338 men, 3,42,50,262 women and 2,339 transgenders.

“People targeted me when my government announced the liquor ban in Bihar. It was in the larger interest of society, especially women, who voiced a strong demand for the ban. Now, it is yielding great results. Our mothers and sisters are immensely relieved by this move,” Kumar said while addressing a second virtual rally for NDA candidates in 13 constituencies going to polls in the first phase.

“Similarly, we implemented the school-dress policy for girl students to encourage them to attend school. We also started the bicycle scheme for girl students above the middle classes. People in opposition targeted us that crimes against women and girls will increase. But what was the result? After a couple of years, boys also demanded bicycles from our government and we did that too,” he said.

Taking a dig at RJD leader Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi, he said: When the husband-wife government was there in Bihar for 15 years, only one panchayat election was held, in 2000. After our government came to power in 2005, we held three such elections. Moreover, we have also given 50% reservation to women in panchayat elections,” the Chief Minister said.

“Now, we are giving Rs 5 lakh grant to every small-scale industrial project owned by women. If such project’s cost is Rs 10 lakh, Rs 5 lakh will be given as interest-free loan,” he said.

“I have mentioned Bihar’s Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of 2006-07 on Monday. In 2005-06, the first year of our governance, the GSDP was Rs 76,466 crore. In 2019-20, the GSDP has reached to 4,14,979 crore. The per year growth rate from 2005-06 to 2019-20 is above 12%. Per capita income in Bihar in 2005-06 was Rs 8,481 and it is now Rs 34,413,” the JD-U leader said.

“We believe in work and our job is to work for every person in Bihar. On the other hand, the husband-wife government always thought of their own family. They believed in dynastic approach to promote their own sons, daughters, and relatives. They are expert in snatching money from others while we always think of working for the welfare of each and every resident of Bihar. Entire Bihar is my family,” Kumar added.

“Now, their sons are shouting at us. I urge the people of Bihar to judge us on the basis of the work we did and what the situation was when we came to power. I also urge you to avoid getting influenced by the opposition. We have a vision and will continue our developmental work in the next 5 years,” Nitish Kumar said.

The Bihar elections are scheduled to be held on October 28, November 3 and November 7. Counting of votes will take place on November 10 and results out the same day. (IANS)