With Bihar Legislative Assembly elections just months away, political parties have started preparations for the impending contest and are taking a virtual turn and banking on social media platforms to reach out to voters due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah is scheduled to launch the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s election campaign in the state virtually.
The party has chosen Bihar BJP Facebook and YouTube pages for the live streaming to reach out to the people residing in the 243 Assembly segments of the state.
Besides BJP, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United (JDU), and opposition Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) will also formally launch their election campaign later today.
“Amit Shah will be addressing party workers that will be live-streamed at 60,000 booths that have internet connectivity,” Bihar BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal told ANI.
Meanwhile, to counter Shah’s rally the RJD staged their protest by observing ‘Garib Adhikar Diwas’.
RJD leaders and workers staged protests, beating utensils and blowing conches against what their leader Tejashwi Yadav dubbed as the ruling party’s celebration of the devastation caused by COVID-19 and the lockdown.
A large crowd gathered outside 10, Circular Road, the residence of former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi, where she stood alongside Tejashwi and her elder son Tej Pratap Yadav and party workers – all clanging steel plates with spoons – while standing inside circles drawn on the ground to ensure social distancing.
“They (the JD(U)-BJP government) are celebrating the devastation caused by COVID and the lockdown,” Tejashwi Yadav alleged in his brief interaction with media during the protest, referring to Shah’s rally scheduled later in the day.
Tejashwi Yadav accused the Nitish Kumar government of treating migrant workers as second class citizens and raked up the withdrawn circular by police headquarters voicing apprehension that the return of a large number of jobless labourers could pose a law and order problem.
“The government is treating the poor people of Bihar like goonda and lootera,” the younger son of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, who has already been declared the party’s chief ministerial face for the assembly election due in October- November, said.
He also took a swipe at Shah’s digital rally when the state and the country were ravaged by the pandemic.
“The ruling dispensation could have used digital technology for providing relief to the millions of poor affected by the calamity. But that seems to be none of its concern. The digital rally is an obvious indication that they are merely interested in pursuing their hunger for power,” he said.
Yadav said their protest was aimed at ensuring that the poor, who have been hit the hardest by the pandemic, got their due.
There was no representation of RJD allies, including the Congress, former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP, former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM or VIP at the protest.
The Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who has been MIA since the lockdown began, has also started video conferencing with his party workers, reported NDTV.
Parties in Bihar feel that despite spending ₹8,500 crore under various schemes, controversial decisions like stopping the special trains in March and refusing to pay for the migrants’ train journey has generated a lot of anger among the voters.