Ten Assembly seats are slated to go to the polls in the state in August. The party is likely to battle a united front of anti-BJP parties – Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress.
With ex-Chief Minister and an unabashed Narendra Modi baiter Nitish Kumar pulling out all stops to firm up a grand alliance of the anti-saffron parties, it will be a daunting task for the BJP, say observers.
Altogether 10 constituencies – Jale, Parbatta, Mohania, Mohiuddinagar, Raj Nagar, Chapra, Banka, Hajipur, Narkatiaganj and Bhagalpur – will go to polls on August 21.
The BJP obviously has a lot at stake in the by-elections since the party had won six of these constituencies in the 2010 state Assembly elections.
Besides, most of the party candidates who had won the elections at that time were its formidable leaders such as Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Janardan Singh Sigriwal, Satish Dubey, Rana Gangeshwar Singh, Vijay Kumar Mishra and Nityanand Rai.
Four of them have since become the Lok Sabha MPs while two others – Rana and Mishra – have switched allegiance to Nitish’s camp.
Hardly surprising then, that the by-polls have turned out to be a ‘do-or-die battle’ for the BJP.
At the two-day state executive meeting in Patna on Sunday, the party’s Bihar unit president Mangal Pandey exhorted the party workers to take the by-elections as a do-or-die battle.
“The BJP will contest the by-polls along with its allies Lok Janshakti Party and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party,” he said.
“Our first target is to ensure victory in all the 10 seats.”
Terming the by-polls as a “trailer” before the 2015 Assembly polls, Pandey said the results of these elections would be a pointer to the outcome of the next polls.
All the top leaders of the party, including Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Dharmendra Pradhan and Radha Mohan Singh, took part in the deliberations held at the party office during the two-day meeting which concluded on Sunday.
The party has resolved to win 172 seats in the 243-member assembly next year. But the party may well have to contend with a stronger opposition this time.
After backing the JD-U’s alliance with Lalu Prasad’s RJD, Nitish on Monday made it clear that he was in favour of a grand alliance of anti-BJP parties.
“I have been in favour of a alliance of parties, including the Congress,” he said.
“The JD-U state executive has taken a decision to fight the by-polls along with RJD and Congress.
“State party chief Vashishtha Narayan Singh has been authorised to initiate talks with these parties.”
Vashishtha, however, said that he had not yet held talks with any of the parties.
Courtesy: Mail Today Bureau