Bihar is the only state that will go to Assembly polls this year in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and the NDA is gearing up to seek a fresh mandate based on its development credentials. BJP Rajya Sabha MP Bhupender Yadav, who is also party’s in-charge for Bihar, told Manish Anand in an interview that the election sshould be held as per schedule.
How is the BJP approaching the Assembly elections?
The BJP and the JD(U) have provided good governance in the state for a long time, barring 20 months when the RJD-led front came to power in the state (in 2015). From minus growth, our alliance has been able to steady the state economy to a positive development trajectory. The state government has delivered on key parameters of development, including electricity, potable drinking water and roads. We have shown tremendous growth in agriculture. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has recently inaugurated the Gandhi Setu, a state-of-art 5.5 km-long bridge built for `1,742 crore (over the river Ganga to connect Patna with Hajipur).
Should there be an election when Bihar is fighting the Covid-19 outbreak?
Bihar is dealing with the pandemic effectively, and the low fatality rate despite a large population demonstrates the effectiveness of the state government’s response. The Election Commission has consulted with all political parties in the state. Some of the measures such as increasing the number of polling booths, ensuring social distancing, postal ballots for those above 80 years of age and the ICMR guidelines have been spelt out so far. We will follow them.
What will be the BJP’s election agenda?
Continuity, constructive approach, and improvement in the law and order situation are some of the good aspects of the NDA government.
What would be NDA’s seat-sharing formula?
The talks are going on among the NDA leaders on the matter. We are clear that the constituent parties will work out a formula soon.
Will the BJP remain a junior partner of the JD(U)?
It’s not an issue of being a junior or a senior partner in the alliance in Bihar. The BJP is committed to good governance.
What’s your assessment of the political situations in Bihar since you have held district-wise reviews of the party?
We have reviewed the political and pandemic situations at district levels. We are satisfied that we have managed to reach out to the people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic with food relief and other essential services.
Tejashwi Yadav recently apologised for any “mistakes” during the 15 years of his party’s rule in Bihar. How do you look at this strategy?
What is he apologising for? The people had given him the mandate in the 2015 elections. But Nitish Kumar had to part ways with him because of his incapacity, arrogance, corruption and overall lack of governance. Politics is not a child’s play; Tejashwi should know that.
Will the migrant issues be a factor in the polls?
The government had run 1,500 dedicated trains for 20 lakh migrants to reach their respective homes. They are satisfied with the measures taken by the government.