Patna: It is part of the BJP’s campaign plan to reach out to the people in rural and urban areas to counter Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad and make inroads into their social support base.
Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh launched the party’s ‘Parivartan Yatra’ by flagging off a high-tech ‘rath’ (chariot) from Sonepur, state BJP president Mangal Pandey said.
Sonepur in Saran district, about 50 km from here, is considered a stronghold of Lalu Prasad.Another union minister Anant Kumar launched the ‘yatra’ from Rajgir in Nalanda district.
Union minister Nitin Gadkari launched the party’s campaign from Dalsinsarai in Samastipur district while Jharkhand chief minister Raghuvar Das kicked off the ‘Parivartan Yatra’ from Bihta, about 30 km from Patna.
Though the ‘Parivartan Yatra’ is a BJP show, leaders of its allies like Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) were also present apart from union ministers from Bihar.
LJP MP Rama Singh and Narender Singh, senior leader of HAM of former chief minister JItan Ram Manjhi, joined Rajnath Singh in Sonepur, RLSP MP Arun Kumar joined Anant Kumar in Rajgir, RLSP chief and union minister Upender Kushwaha joined Nitin Gadkari in Dalsinsarai and HAM’s state president Shakuni Choudhary and LJP MP Ramchander Paswan were present at Bihta.
Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said the BJP would speed up its campaign following good public response to the two rallies addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Muzaffarpur and Gaya.
“The BJP has to reach out to every nook and corner across the state,” he said.
Last month, BJP president Amit Shah launched the party’s high-tech ‘Parivartan Rath’ campaign. Shah flagged off the 160 GPS-fitted raths (chariots) to reach out to people in all villages across the state.
The party plans to hold 100,000 meetings in 100 days ahead of the assembly elections.
In order to regain dominance in the country, the Congress is mulling using the tribal card. This plan of action is to be first implemented in Chhattisgarh.
Riding on the success of the Assembly and urban body elections, the Congress feels that it can increase it base through tribals as they constitute 8 per cent of the total population.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the first three Assembly elections in the state, after its formation in 2000, recorded huge victories and came to power. But after the Assembly elections held last year, the scenario changed. After registering a victory in the Assembly elections and then in the urban body polls, the Congress showed that it still dominates the tribal areas.
The Congress gave the responsibility of the tribal areas to the tribal leader of Madhya Pradesh Umang Singhar which eventually helped the party. Now, the party is planning to spread out nationwide through Chhattisgarh.
Former party president Rahul Gandhi, while inaugurating the National Tribal Dance Festival in Raipur, gave a message to the tribals who are here to participate in the festival that the Chhattisgarh government is working for all the sections and this is the reason why there has been a downward trend in naxal attacks and the state economy has also improved.
The Congress is planning to publicise the improvements in Chhattisgarh throughout the country because the tribal population in the state is 32 per cent.
BJP media panellist Sandeep Sharma, however, claims that the party’s base has not shrunk. He said till Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were not divided, the Congress was strong in the area but in the elections held after three years of the bifurcation, the BJP won the Assembly elections and was in power for 15 years. Though we faced defeat in the 2018 elections, the only reason was that people wanted a change but they were not angry with the BJP, he claimed.
The BJP won in the Lok Sabha elections and the margin in the urban body elections was also not much. So, it would be inappropriate to say that the BJP’s base has shrunk, he said adding that in one year the Congress’ base has declined by 9 per cent whereas in Assembly elections it got 12 per cent more votes and in urban body elections the margin was 3 per cent.
Analysing the political landscape of the state, political analyst Rudra Awasthi said, “When it was Madhya Pradesh then the Congress had stronghold in Chhattisgarh. Several big leaders were also from the state but after the formation of Chhattisgarh since Ajit Jogi was accused of being a fake tribal the Congress lost its stronghold over the tribals. Though it continued to dominate in some of the areas which helped it in regaining the power.
“As of now, the Congress has started including the tribals with the backward class. First Bhupesh Baghel was the state chief of the party and he was replaced by Mohan Markam as he became the Chief Minister. During the Assembly elections, the Congress talked about the identity of the tribals which helped the party. After winning the elections, the decisions of the Congress government were in favour of the tribals which helped the party in the urban body elections,” said Awasthi.
The Congress is mulling over spreading its message to the tribals across the country through the three-day festival going on here. For this several senior leaders of the party will attend the festival and share the government’s schemes while giving the message that the Congress government in the state has brought a positive and a significant change in the lives of the tribals. (IANS)