NEW DELHI: In the bitter-tough battle for Bihar, both sides, the BJP-led NDA and the JD(U)-RJD-Congress combine, are employing every trick in the book to win a clear mandate. If the BJP has
unleashed election merchandise and large-than-life portraiture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Nitsih Kumar’s camp is countering it with a ‘dy-mystification’ campaign.
Close on the heels of a booklet full of quotes on Jitan Ram Manjhi and senior BJP leaders, including Sushil Modi, taking potshots at each other when Manjhi was the chief minister for a brief interim, another booklet to counter BJP’s campaign against Lalu Prasad’s tenure as “jungle raj’’ is in the making.
Despite Lalu’s uneasy equation with the Congress vice-chief Rahul Gandhi, it is being prepared at the old party’s behest. Congress media chief Randip Surjewala gave a peek into the counter jungle raj campaign at a joint briefing on Monday. And, the man and the mind the Congress seems to be banking on to do the research is none other than its Rajya Sabha MP, Rajiv Gowda. The former IIM professor has been providing back-up service to the Congress leadership and the party to take on the Modi government on economic policies and other weighty issues.
In the Bihar polls, the entire objective is to turn the ‘jungle raj’ allegation back against the BJP, LJP and others — their past record, associations with Bihar’s dreaded ‘Bahubalis’, political elements with serious criminal backdrop — as also to target the NDA government in the Centre.
An alternative development plan would also be put in place, citing the inability of the Modi dispensation in the last one year to provide jobs, control prices and the overall economic downturn besides what it calls “the lack of social inclusiveness”. Already, in the previous booklet an attempt has been made to portray Manjhi’s alliance with BJP as too opportunistic. Manjhi with his Hindustani Awam Morcha is expected to woo the crucial Dalit and Maha-dalit (extremely economically backward classes) voters for the NDA camp.