“Don’t go with Nitish Kumar again and let us try to get his vote base.” “Narendra Modi will make us sail through… There would be BJP rule in Bihar now.” These are part of feedback from the BJP and RSS rank and file from the ground that some senior Bihar BJP leaders have got during their recent tours of several districts across the state.
Weeks after Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) supremo Nitish Kumar walked out of the NDA by breaking up with the BJP and formed the Mahagathbandhan government by joining hands with the RJD and its other allies, the Bihar BJP has rolled out a major exercise under which many senior party leaders, mostly from the state, have been touring two-three districts each to mobilise and energise party workers and functionaries as well as RSS members at the district level. This would culminate with the visit of Union home minister Amit Shah to Purnia and Kishanganj districts in the Seemanchal region on 23-24 September.
Among top Bihar BJP leaders, who have already completed their tours of districts in this regard, are Rajya Sabha MP and former deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, Patna Saheb MP and ex-Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, ex-Union minister Radha Mohan Singh, Ujiyarpur MP and Union minister of state for home Nityanand Rai, Union minister Giriraj Singh and former state minister Mangal Pandey. These leaders are members of the Bihar BJP’s core committee.
As part of this exercise, each senior BJP leader would visit a few districts and stay put at the district headquarters to interact with the rank and file of the party and the Sangh there and get their feedback on the situation and the party’s role in the wake of CM Nitish’s exit from the NDA. Although there are 38 districts in Bihar, the saffron party has made its 45 organisational units across the state.
During their “pravas (stay)” at the district headquarters, each BJP leader would meet the party’s district and Mandal leaders and office-bearers, former district presidents, public representatives, Panchayati Raj functionaries, and intellectuals. A leader may also visit any religious place and offer floral tributes to any political icon of the region. He would hold meetings with local party workers as well as with the RSS cadre. After completion of their tours, the leaders have to submit their field reports to the state party general secretary (organisation) and hold meetings with him too.
Sushil Modi, who has already toured Gaya and Jehanabad and would visit Arwal now, told The Indian Express: “Our workers are generally very happy. They are also particular about the party not allowing re-entry of Nitish Kumar in NDA again. The workers are saying that Narendra Modi’s leadership would continue to be our trump card”.
Asked if they had been getting “honest feedback” from the party rank and file, Sushil Modi said: “Since we are meeting a lot of people including intellectuals and cross-sections of society, we have reasons to feel that common BJP workers are happy and eager to ensure BJP rule in the state. They are identifying areas where Nitish Kumar’s vote base would slowly shift towards us.”
Ravi Shankar Prasad, who has toured Bhagalpur, Naugachhia and Banka, said: “The first reaction that we got is that people are charged. Our workers are talking about Narendra Modi’s leadership and his popularity among EBC and women. There is a sense of anger against Nitish Kumar, especially over the return of Nitish with Lalu, for why he did what he did. There is also a deep urge of having the BJP rule”.
Asked how the BJP will get a winning social combination for the polls, Prasad said: “People are not sure how long this (Mahagathbandhan) government can continue. Women also hold it responsible for failure of the anti-liquor law.”
BJP sources said the party central leadership has also been tracking the ongoing district tours of the Bihar party leaders in order to work out its new strategy for the state.