The Bihar Post

Poor turnout says how BJP workers still not ready to get mixed up with JD-U in Bihar

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PATNA: The relatively poor turnout at an election rally addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Patna on Sunday has brought out a very serious “fault line” at the ground level in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar—it showed the BJP workers didn’t get mixed up with the JD-U people and that they are yet to fully “trust” chief minister Nitish Kumar.

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Reports have it that the JD-U workers outnumbered the BJP activists at the rally ground as the green colour obviously drowned the saffron.

Inside story is that the BJP workers on the ground maintained distance from the JD-U as they are still “suspicious” of the chief minister for his “unpredictable” nature politics.

That was not the case when the Grand Alliance, comprising RJD, Congress and the JD-U had organized a rally at the same ground just ahead of the 2015 assembly elections. The massive crowd which gathered at the rally had bridged the gap between the JD-U and the RJD workers as the Grand Alliance cruised to power in the assembly polls held soon thereafter.

As such, the chief minister has lost much of his credibility by frequently switching sides in the past five years. He ditched the BJP at a time when Modi had been projected as the NDA’s prime ministerial face and returned to the BJP camp shortly after Modi had become the Prime Minister.

PM Narendra Modi engrossed in conversation with chief minister Nitish Kumar during NDA rally in Patna on Sunday
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Though it has been more than a year since the chief minister joined the NDA but the situation at the ground level still remains serious. This was seen during the by-poll to Jehanabad assembly seat held last year when the JD-U badly lost the seat to RJD. This seat is dominated by upper caste Bhumihar voters and the defeat indicated they had not supported the JD-U.

The situation remains more or less the same still and if that persists, this could prove disastrous for the NDA in upcoming LS polls. The poor turnout says although the top leaders have embraced each other after forgetting the bitter animosity but the workers on the ground are still to come together and they view each other with suspicion.

The JD-U, however, offers an interesting logic for the low turnout. “The crowd attending the Sankalp Rally at Patna was ‘disciplined’ and serious, and they immediately rushed back home after listening the leaders,” claimed JD-U spokesperson Sanjay Singh.

Bihar opposition leader and RJD lawmaker Tejashwi Yadav, on the other hand, linked the poor turnout at Modi rally with the NDA government’s move to grant 10 percent reservation to upper castes.

“This happened because 90 percent of Bahujan voters (Dalits and backwards) stayed away from the NDA rally while it was attended by only upper caste people who were given the reservation benefits by the Modi government,” claimed Tejashwi.

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