While the BJP’s star campaigners are busy with the preparations for the October election in the northern state of Bihar, singer and actor-turned-MP Manoj Tiwari has shifted his attention elsewhere — towards the Biharis residing outside the state and the country.
Having already sung his way through several districts in Bihar and then in Surat (Gujarat), Tiwari, armed with his ‘Southern Standard’ Bhojpuri dialect and the popular number from Gangs of Wasseypur, will next set the stage in Vadodara (September 13) followed by Mumbai (September 20), and then fly to Doha in Qatar (September 23) from where he will return for a programme in Kolkata, the date for which was yet to be fixed. He said he will come to eastern UP in the last phase of the election campaign and hold a separate rally in Varanasi.
“The party has entrusted me with the responsibility to reach out to people of Bihar who have migrated to other places for employment. I belong to Bihar and my Bhojpuri language and songs connect me with the Biharis living in other parts of the country… people come to hear me,” says Tiwari who has specially composed a campaign song — Jaat paat se upar ki sarkar — for the party, and which, he claimed, has already struck the right note with his audience.
“A crowd of at least 15,000 attended the gathering in Surat (on August 22) where we flagged off a train connecting the city with Bihar as per the people’s demand,” the MP said, adding that future rallies, too, would focus on issues affecting the locals in the states where rallies have been scheduled. For the public meeting in Mumbai, Tiwari said citing an example, the party was analysing the problems faced by the
local auto-rickshaw drivers, most of whom are Bihari migrants, and then address those issues at the rally while making “some promises”.
While Biharis living in Surat mostly work in the textile and diamond polishing units, Qatar offers them job in the construction industry.
“I appeal to them (the migrants) to contact at least 10 of their relatives in Bihar and cast their vote in favour of the BJP if they want good governance and development in the state,” said the leader who was also exhorting people at his rallies to “visit Bihar during the elections and cast their vote”.
Senior BJP leaders have been accompanying Tiwari. While Union Minister of State (MoS) for Railways Manoj Kumar Sinha was part of Tiwari’s team visiting Surat, MoS (Independent charge) for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy will be with him in Mumbai.
As for the organisational workload, BJP workers have sent the message through hoardings that come up before every rally —- ‘Bihar jeetna hai, main Manoj Tiwari aapko nimantran dene aa raha hun’.