Shabbir Ahmad, owner of a small shoe shop at Patna Saheb’s Paschim Darwaja, extends his hand for arguably the most important handshake of his life. The man on the other side, wearing a stark white kurta-pajama and a big smile, is the Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar. It’s election season and Nitish has come knocking at Ahmad’s door for votes. It is the big launch of Nitish’s ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ (Knock At Every Door) campaign. Before Nitish utters a word, Shabbir excitedly chants: ‘Phir ek baar, Nitish Kumar’, bringing an even bigger smile to the CM’s face, who moves on to the next house with folded hands.
With Nitish leading the charge, JD(U) Thursday launched its ambitious public contact programme simultaneously at 1,500 places across the state.
The party plans to reach out to 1 crore families, with each worker assigned responsibility of 10 houses. The first 10-day phase that began Thursday will end on July 11.
‘Har Ghar Dastak’ is the centerpiece of Nitish’s campaign strategy, designed by his publicity man Prashant Kishor, to “out-think” the BJP in the forthcoming assembly polls.
The area that Nitish visited is dominated by the OBCs and Muslims with the exception of a few upper-caste households. To kickstart the campaign, the party carefully picked Patna Saheb, an assembly segment represented by BJP’s Nand Kishore Yadav. But the symbolism didn’t end there. Before knocking at the first door, Nitish Kumar visited the famous Badi Patan Devi temple in old Patna. He finished his day by offering chadar at a dargah in an apparent bid to woo the 25 per cent Muslim population in the area.
The CM’s first destination was the house of a local OBC leader Krishna Prasad. The newly-inducted JD(U) leader has a sizable following in the Teli caste group, otherwise known as a traditional BJP votebank.
Nitish covered some 100 households and was out on the streets for over an hour, walking for over 3 km. While all house owners received him at their gates, many stood on rooftops to get a glimpse of him. Even as his security cramped the narrow bylanes, some party workers managed to click selfies with the Chief Minister.
Courtesy: The Indian Express