Bihar battleground: RJD alliance gains ground, Tejashwi draws huge crowds

Barely eight days before the first phase of elections, an opinion poll suggests support for JD-U CM Nitish Kumar could be dipping

A star campaigner is the one who can pull crowds and helps brand the party, if not the candidate. Hence, the need for a star campaigner.

Things appear to be changing in the run-up to the three-phase Bihar elections beginning October 28. The Grand Alliance led by RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav is attracting huge crowds in villages and small towns. Opinion polls are acknowledging as much, saying the RJD is gaining ground.

The latest Lokniti-CSDS poll suggested though the NDA maintains its lead, its overall projection is hemmed in by undecided voters. It said one in ten voters is undecided and around one in seven of those who gave their vote preference said they may change their voting decision on election day. It also said the NDA lead is tapering off. The survey revealed that the National Democratic Alliance led by incumbent chief minister Nitish Kumar has a slight edge despite his shrinking popularity.

On Tuesday, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is also JD-U’s chief ministerial candidate, for the first time questioned the poll promise of Tejashawi Yadav on giving 10 lakh jobs. Nitish’s remarks came at election rallies at Gopalganj, a Yadav stronghold, and other places.

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“From where will they arrange funds to meet the promise — from jail or counterfeit notes?” Nitish asked.

Enthused by latest crowd response, the RJD leader plans to address a dozen meetings today (October 21).

Videos of Tejashwi’s rallies are going viral showing huge crowds flooding the venue. Photo: PTI

On Wednesday, Tejashwi came out with a sharp retort:”I was Deputy Chief Minister. If I am so inexperienced and immature, then why are BJP leaders chasing me with 20 helicopters? I am a lone man and they are so many. What is their compulsion?”

The 31-year-old RJD leader also took on Nitish Kumar’s comments ridiculing his jobs promise. “The Chief Minister is physically and mentally tired. After his 15-year rule, he is asking where is the money for jobs! ₹ 30,000 crore is Bihar’s budget, where is the money? All gone in 60 scams on his watch. His Jal-Jeevan-Hariyali policy has been assigned ₹ 24,000 crore. It is all going into corruption. He spent ₹ 500 crore to brighten his face in ads. Then he makes this laughable comment about where’s the money to give jobs,” Tejashwi said.

Videos of Tejashwi’s rallies are going viral showing huge crowds flooding the venue.

“The sea of people is standing for change, development, employment and jobs in Bihar. The incompetent NDA govt of 15 years have ruined Bihar,” an elated Tejashwi tweeted on Tuesday.

Related news: Worry for Nitish as Chirag’s ‘strategy’ may help Tejashwi sail through

At Goh in Aurangabad, Tejashwi raised slogans asking the people to dump the incompetent Nitish Kumar government. In a typical style of his father Lalu Prasad, Tejashwi exhorted the youths to bring about a change. “Their enthusiasm, passion, love and support show that they need development, education, health, employment, jobs and a golden future.”

The BJP has come out with its Hindutva icon, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who on Tuesday asked people to vote the NDA back to power, drawing upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mass appeal and the BJPs ability to walk the talk on Ayodhya, Kashmir and Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.

The BJP’s star campaigner blazed through three assembly segments with back-to-back rallies on the first day of his campaign in the poll-bound state, commencing his speeches with roars of Vande Mataram and signing off with chants of Jai Shri Ram.

The firebrand Hindutva icon said that under Modi’s leadership the BJPs old promise of abrogation of Article 370 has been achieved in Kashmir and Pakistan made to realise that it can no longer sponsor terrorism on the Indian soil.

Ghar mein ghus ke maarenge (will kill you in your territory),” he asserted, in an obvious reference to the Balakot air strikes.

The BJP will be sending its top crowd-puller, Narendra Modi, to the state. The first set of PM’s rallies will be held on October 23 in Sasaram, Gaya, and Bhagalpur.

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