NDA to rope in allies' leaders for Bihar campaign

The BJP has decided to rope in its NDA allies’ leaders to jointly campaign in Bihar Assembly polls and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be its poll mascot. Bihar elections will be litmus test for Modi’s popularity.

 BJP central leadership, however, is busy analysing the import of a Patna High Court order which has suggested that one-third of the Legislative Council members should be rotated every two years. Biennial election to 24 vacant Legislative Council seats will be held on July 7.

Party sources, aware of the developments in the state, said that they are holding back poll strategy and waiting for the next court hearing. The NDA partners – the Lok Jansatta Party (LJP) and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) – are pitched against the JDU-RJD combine in the Council poll which would give some insight to people’s mood ahead of the main battle slated sometime in September-October. 

The decision to jointly campaign is aimed at putting up a united front before the electorates since it would be a contest between alliances, said the sources. Even NDA ally Lok Samata Party (RLSP) chief and Union minister Upendra Kushwaha has publicly demanded that the coalition should have a common strategy to oust “unholy alliance” of the JDU-RJD.

To avoid bickering, the state unit of the BJP has recommended to the central leadership to fight the elections on the Modi government’s performance of last one year and also pit that against declining growth rate and increasing crime rate in the present JD-U regime since parting ways with the BJP in June 2013.

Union minister Ananth Kumar, who has been made election in-charge, had also stated that the party will fight elections under the able leadership of Narendra Modi which it did in Haryana and Maharashtra.

The BJP has had bad experience of projecting former police commissioner Kiren Bedi as the face of the Delhi elections which it lost with humiliating result. 

Depending on the outcome of the election results, the BJP will declare chief ministerial candidate though former deputy chief minister Sushil Modi is the front-runner.

It is learnt that former chief minister Jiten Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha will also contest elections on its own symbol as the third ally of the NDA. The Morcha is still to get its own symbol. The party, however, is not sure as of now whether Member of Parliament Pappu Yadav, who was expelled by the RJD in May for anti-party activities, will have an official handshake with them owing to political compulsions since Madhepura Lok Sabha constituency has sizeable minority population.

Pappu’s rebellion though is helping the BJP make a dent in the Yadav stronghold which is crucial to its strategy.

 The party is also contemplating of working out a Bihar package that would be announced prior to the election to checkmate Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s attempt to make political capital out of the recent adverse weather conditions.

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