While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is hoping to ride on the Modi wave in the Lok Sabha elections, it may be counter productive for the party in Bihar. Former deputy chief minister and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi says Muslims will not vote for the BJP because of the constant negative campaign against the party’s prime ministerial nominee.
“Muslims will not vote for us in Bihar, partly because of the negative campaign against Narendra Modi by our opponents and also because Lalu Prasad is back in the political arena. They’re comfortable with Lalu and this will give some jitters to Nitish Kumar,” he said.
“The upper castes and the vaishyas, who comprise 25 per cent, are with the BJP. We are also reaching out to the Yadavs who are divided between the RJD and BJP,” Sushil added.
So BJP leaders in Bihar know that it will be a battle royal. Sushil said: “This time every vote and every caste will count, especially with RJD supremo Lalu Prasad going full steam with the Congress.” Even though the party has been out of power after its alliance with Nitish Kumar- led JD (U) fell apart in Bihar, BJP central leadership is aiming at no less than 20-22 Lok Sabha seats from the state. However, Sushil avoided stating a figure even as he claimed that BJP will emerge as the single largest party. ” We will emerge as the single party with majority,” Sushil told Mail Today at his residence in Patna.
Taking a jibe at Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for parting ways with the BJP, Sushil said the JD (U) government is busy fighting the BJP and development of the state has been sidelined. ” The voter in Bihar is disenchanted with JD (U) government under Nitish Kumar for breaking away from the NDA. The common man, including professionals and intellectuals, consider this to be a great betrayal by the chief minister,” Sushil said.
“The agenda of development has taken a backseat as the chief minister is only busy fighting us and has put the development projects on the backburner,” he added.
Alleging that law-and-order in the state has deteriorated, the BJP leader said the state government is not dealing with the Naxals and criminals.
“Governance has been the biggest casualty of this alliance break-up. Law-and-order situation is deteriorating as kidnappings and murders are being reported all over again.
The government is busy fighting political opponents and not Naxals and criminals,” Sushil said.
“Anti-incumbency is growing as social schemes are not reaching to the beneficiaries,” he added.
In the context of speculated partnership between JD (U) and the Congress, Sushil said the chief minister was left embarrassed as the partnership “eluded” him and the ” Centre didn’t oblige with a ‘ special status’ to Bihar.” Sushil asserted that all of these did not escape the voters.
So, the growing anti-incumbency mood against Nitish government has become a blessing in disguise for BJP. With the Modi wave catching up Bihar fast, the BJP is aggressively raising the pitch.
“Narendra Modi has become a household name in Bihar just for what Nitish Kumar did about seven months ago…no one wanted the BJP-JD (U) alliance to break for the sake of Bihar which was high on development and good governance in the last eight years,” Sushil claimed.
And that message will go loud and clear in the election rallies BJP is planning. “Three to four big rallies by Narendra Modi in major district towns will further boost BJP’s prospects.
We’re also arranging BJP president Rajnath Singh’s rally for the economically-weaker sections.
We will tell the electorate about our contribution in the NDA government and its achievements in Bihar over eight years,” Sushil said.
“Now we are taking ‘ Modi for PM’ campaign more aggressively and trying to put across the point that Bihar will get at least Rs.50,000- crore package which will include demands made under the ‘ special status’,” he added.
With the Aam Aadmi Party ( AAP) eyeing Bihar in the Lok Sabha polls, calculations may go haywire, as was seen in Delhi.
But Sushil said that AAP cannot impact BJP’s poll prospects in the state. “AAP will have no impact in Bihar as made out by the media. Can Narendra Modi win Bengal and Kerala for BJP? It requires local leadership and foothold to do that,” Sushil said, hinting at the lacunae in party organisation of AAP in Bihar.