On Tuesday, BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi perhaps became the only Opposition leader in the country to hold a Janata Durbar, a practice that he followed as Bihar’s deputy chief minister till June 2013 but discontinued after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar snapped ties with the BJP by sacking all saffron ministers on June 16.
The Janata Durbar is an occasion when people turn up along with their complaints, expecting prompt actions. The person holding the durbar connects with the top authority of the department or district that concerns the complainant, asking them to ensure prompt action. No wonder, it is always people who are in the government holds Janata Durbar because only they have the authority to direct the government bureaucrats.
Unmindful of it, Sushil Modi revived his Janata Durbar on Tuesday that was attended by nearly 300 people; most of whom returned satisfied on his response.
Unlike his days as Bihar’s deputy chief minister when Sushil Modi had bureaucrats at his beck and call, the babus on Tuesday did not respond with similar alacrity to the BJP legislature party leader.
While Bihar DGP Abhayanand told Modi to call him after 5 pm, the former deputy chief minister could not reach a district magistrate.
Sushil Modi revived his durbar in Patna, hoping to evolve a stronger link with the common man in the run up to the Lok Sabha election.
Though no BJP member describes this as a direct impact of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) getting closer to Bihar, many believe that can be Sushil Modi’s strategy to consolidate the BJP’s sway over the common man to blunt challenges from the AAP and other parties in the run up to Lok Sabha elections.
Though the AAP has so far not created any huge social or political movement in Bihar, the BJP has not been deaf to the electoral threat.
Within a week of the AAP’s impressive debut in Delhi that thwarted the BJP’s march towards the magic number, the saffron party inducted a prominent Bihar AAP leader Arvind Kumar Singh into the party.
BJP’s anxiety was revealed in the off-the-cuff remark of Patna Saheb MP Shatrughan Sinha who said that the AAP has become baap of all parties.
Aware that the AAP can eat into the anti-incumbency votes, especially that of middle class and young voters that have been counted among the BJP’s strongest supporters, the party has been found enhancing its interaction with commoners.
Bihar BJP sent its a six-member delegation to Kolkata where a rape victim from Bihar died on December 31. The six-member delegation had Assembly and legislative council members on board.
AAP position in Bihar
The AAP already has over 60,000 members in Bihar.
Ratnesh Choudhary, a senior AAP leader who started as state coordinator of India Against Corruption (IAC), says the party is willing to contest all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, although a formal decision was yet to be taken.
AAP has already opened its first office in Patna. The biggest threat for the BJP is that Bihar’s youth have joined the new party in large numbers.
Besides the some doctors, self-employed professionals and retired bureaucrats have also taken up AAP membership.