The BJP’s poll punch line – ‘Advani for PM’- will not find a place in the poll campaign of its crucial ally,Janata Dal (United). The JD(U) will instead project the achievements of the Nitish Kumar Government in Bihar during the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
The decision is in keeping with the view that the NDA prime ministerial candidate L K Advani will not find favour with a majority of the Muslim population in Bihar despite all the benefits extended to the minority community by the state Government. The JD(U) has realised that without making fissures in the Muslim vote bank they will not be able to defeat rival RJD.
“Our poll campaign will focus on the achievements of three years of Nitish Kumar-led Government. We will tell the voters,particularly the Muslims,to strengthen us so that we can implement the Bihar model at the Centre too”,said JD(U) MP and spokesperson Shivanand Tiwary. He said that the state Government had pursued various welfare schemes for the Muslims,keeping the saffron agenda of their partner at bay.
The JD(U) however is aware that despite their best effort to keep Advani’s name away,arch rival RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav will raise it vociferously in his bid to woo Muslims. “We are prepared for it. We will counter it by citing examples of how the RJD regime had patronized those charged of killing Muslims in the Bhagalpur communal riots. Muslims of Bihar know that the RJD had just used them as a vote bank while our Government is working for their welfare”,said Tiwary,referring to how Kamehswar Yadav – named in a riot case- was exonerated by the police and given a certificate for maintaining communal harmony.
Securing Muslim support is crucial for the JD(U) as the state Government made every effort in the past three years to woo the community. Besides implementing various schemes for Muslims,the party also got lesser-known Muslim leaders elevated to the Rajya Sabha. “We are sure that JD(U) candidates would get the support of the community. The work of our Government will be rewarded”,Tiwary said.
Despite the preparedness,the party remains apprehensive about Muslim sympathy for the state government translating into votes for their candidates in the Lok Sabha polls. JD(U) leaders feel that Advani’s name still revives memories of the past in the Muslim community and thereby it would not be difficult for the RJD to run down its campaign of that votes for the JD(U) would go to make Advani the Prime Minister of the country.