Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the Bihar campaign on October 23, ahead of the first phase of polling with a rally in Dehri in Sasaram, and continue it till the end of campaigning for state assembly elections.
The PM will be holding 12 rallies in Bihar, including the seats in Samastipur, where the JD(U) wants him to campaign to limit the impact of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). Samastipur is considered the stronghold of the LJP.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will also join him at the rallies in the first and third leg to present a united NDA.
BJP state general secretary Devesh Kumar said the first day, i.e., on October 23, the PM would hold three rallies, the other two being in Gaya and Bhagalpur.
His second leg of campaign will be after Vijayadashami on October 28, when he will address rallies at Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur and Patna.
On November 1, he will address rallies at Chapra, Motihari and Samastipur. On November 3, he will address rallies at West Champaran, Saharsa and Forbesganj (Araria).
In the by-election for Valmikinagar seat, necessitated due to death of JD(U) sitting MP Baidyanath Mahto. The JD-U has fielded Sunil Kumar, son of late MP Baidyanath Mahto. The bypoll is scheduled on November 7.
As this is the first state election being held amid the coronavirus pandemic, there will be strict compliance of Covid-19 guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI) at all the venues for the PM’s rally, something not visible otherwise at public meetings and door-to-door campaigning.
“The administration will ensure that social distancing norms are followed and people attending it will be required to wear masks. There will be no entry to the venue without masks and sanitisation and the number of attendees will be restricted,” the BJP leader said.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, while the PM and the then BJP president Amit Shah did 10 election rallies each in the state, the tallest Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi slogged across the length and breadth of the state with 89 rallies and 43 road shows, while Nitish Kumar alone addressed 171 election meetings. The result was an NDA sweep, winning 39 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats.
While Nitish Kumar and BJP president JP Nadda have already started rallies in Bihar, Narendra Modi’s rallies will be crucial to clear the confusion that emerged following LJP’s decision to walk out of the alliance in Bihar even while being a part of it at the Centre.
Shaibal Gupta of the Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) said the popularity of the PM is still immense, and it would certainly help the NDA consolidate its position and make the election bi-polar.
“What he says will be crucial. He is popular and people want to listen to him and whatever he says may set the tone and tenor of the election. That may help change the effect of confusing signals due to LJP’s posturing,” he added.
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