The Bihar Post

Bihar by-polls become a matter of prestige for chief minister Nitish Kumar



PATNA—The by-polls to two assembly seats in Bihar have become a matter of prestige for the NDA with the ruling coalition putting in all efforts and fielding an army of star campaigners to retain the seats. The by-polls to the two seats—Kushwshwar Sthan and Tarapur are scheduled for 30 October.

Although on the surface, this appears to be a by-elections for only a couple of seats, the opposition has publicized it as a referendum on the policies of the ruling NDA and declared the poll outcome was going to decide the fate of the NDA government in Bihar which enjoys just wafer-thin majority. How the NDA has taken this as a challenge can be underlined from the fact that it has fielded a number of leaders in the poll campaign.

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What is astonishing, the chief minister Nitish Kumar himself has jumped into the poll campaign. Instead of focusing on the achievements of his government, the chief minister is rater highlighting the “demerits” of the previous RJD regime.

The NDA government has been in power in Bihar for the past 20 years except for brief rule of Mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance of which the chief minister Kumar was himself a part once! The RJD, on the other hand, ruled the state for 15 years.

“You already are aware what happened during the Pati-Patni rule,” the chief minister told the voters, addressing an election rally in Kusheshwar Sthan in an oblique reference to Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi who ruled the state by turns for 15 years.

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“They (Yadav couple) worked for their own family but we are working for the entire Bihar,” the CM said.

Apart from the chief minister, state BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal, former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, present deputy CM Tarkeshwar Prasad, union ministers RCP Singh and Pashupati Kumar Paras, Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi and Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) chief Mukesh Sahani too have joined the poll campaign.

On the other hand, it is only Tejashwi Yadav who is single-handedly launching the campaign from the RJD side which is locked in a direct fight with the JD-U although the Congress is trying to come into the contest.

In his address, Tejashswi has been targeting the chief minister for failing to put the state on the path to progress despite being on the throne for two decades. In his address, Tejashwi is frequently questioning the pathetic health condition in the state which, according to him, has necessitated assembly by-elections.

“In the NITI Ayog report, Bihar figures among the worst-performing state in matter of health. Even the by-elections are happening because the chief minister didn’t provide proper health facilities to his two MLAs who ultimately died. So, on what basis Nitish Kumar is asking votes from you?” Tejashwi keeps on asking this question from the masses.

In a new development, his father Lalu Prasad has reached Patna after a long gap and is expected to address a few rallies tomorrow (October 27) but it will be interesting to see if he really manages to properly connect with the voters given his failing health. The elections have by and large become a straight fight between Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi.

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