PATNA: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya are set to address two rallies in Bihar in the next fortnight as part of BJP’s plans to energise itself in the crucial State before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Yogi, who remains widely popular across Bihar, and Maurya, may address rallies in Patna and Nalanda, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s home district and main political turf, said BJP leaders. The purpose of the rallies, they said, is to mark the completion of three years of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.
Bringing Yogi Adityanath to Bihar is widely seen in BJP circles as a move by party chief Amit Shah, who is focusing on Bihar after their massive success in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.
Shah himself is likely to be on a three-day visit to Bihar in June to take stock of the political situation in light of the recent setbacks received by the State’s ruing three-party alliance led by JD(U) stalwart Nitish Kumar.
“These rallies are a part of our nationwide programme to mark the third anniversary of the central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi.
BJP failed to replicate in the Assembly polls the success it had got in Bihar in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, when 31 of the state’s 40 Lok Sabha seats were won by the BJP-led NDA. The three parties in Bihar’s current alliance government have since then fought separately.
Sources said Yogi’s Hindu Yuva Vahini, which is present in several districts of Bihar and is reportedly on an expansion mode after he became CM, has already started mobilising people for the rallies. Maurya, who is the OBC face of the UP government, is likely to address a rally in Nalanda, where Nitish Kumar’s caste community- OBC Kurmis- have a sizeable presence.
“Will he try to replicate in Bihar the atrocities against Dalits like it has been in UP? BJP’s plans to end the Dalit-backward castes discourse in Bihar will fail. Bihar’s politics works on a different plane,” said RJD national spokesperson Manoj Jha.
Bihar Congress chief and education minister Ashok Chaudhary said Bihar “strongly remains a secular state” despite BJP’s efforts. “BJP’s plans to communalise society through such programmes will not succeed in Bihar,” he added.
A JD(U) spokesperson and MLC said Yogi and Maurya would “immensely gain” to witness the communal harmony and ‘governance with social justice’ prevailing in Bihar in Nitish Kumar’s rule.