Narendra Modi to hold 13 more rallies in Bihar, says BJP

Patna: BJP’s star campaigner for Bihar Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hit the campaign trail again after Navratri with 13 rallies across three phases of polls in the state. This was disclosed by a top BJP leader on Saturday, soon after BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha tweeted on “last-minute cancellation” of Modi’s rallies.

Exuding confidence of a two-thirds majority, the leader said the BJP was expecting to win around 55-65 of the 81 seats in the first two phases where polling has been held, countering the claim of the rival alliance that the high polling went in its favour. However, there is admission in the BJP that the fight was a difficult one.

The BJP leader said with 13 more rallies, Modi would be addressing a total of 22 as planned earlier. Of these, five would be in Seemanchal, the last phase of the election in which 57 seats go to vote. The BJP is anticipating the last phase, which has a considerable Muslim population, to be the most “exciting” and “challenging”.

According to the BJP leader, development and law and order were issues in the last phase belt. However, the party is yet to assess its chances there.

While the BJP views Modi as the NDA’s “biggest advantage” against the Mahagathbandhan, it is also banking on a “combination of caste and development” to tilt the scales in its favour. Brushing aside the political fallout of issues like rise in dal prices, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s reservation comments and the mahagathbandhan’s Bihari versus bahari debate, the BJP leader said people were more concerned about “jungle raj”.

In the BJP’s calculations, Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD will get double the number of seats that Nitish Kumar’s JD-U gets. At the same time, BJP leaders say that Nitish Kumar would have fared better if he had not aligned with RJD.

The BJP feels it’s at an advantage in the caste arithmetic as Yadavs, Muslims and Kurmis, who would favour the mahagathbandhan, accounted for just 35 per cent of the electorate. According to the BJP leader, the women voters were supporters of Modi, not Nitish Kumar, as claimed by the grand alliance.

The party is hoping that Modi’s rallies, which have been drawing crowds, would enhance ithe NDA’s prospects in the high stake battle for Bihar. Party chief Amit Shah, who has been camping in Bihar along with his team, has held 29 rallies and will address 18-20 more.

Meanwhile, Shatrughan Sinha posted a series of tweets on Saturday, one of which seemed to blame party leaders in Bihar for “cancellation” of rallies to be addressed by Modi. “A situation that led our star campaigner PM to cancel his Bihar rallies at the last minute…sending a negative message???”

In another, he said “Hope, wish and pray that despite some teething troubles and electoral problems, we do as well as we expected in the Bihar elections.”