Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 9
Amid some very encouraging ‘exit poll’ predictions favouring RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav-led ‘mahagathbandhan’, key state Bihar is set to deliver tomorrow a verdict on what is being called the test of “mood of the nation”.
The first state elections coming amid the COVID-19 pandemic will test the NDA-led Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and political worth of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar fighting his most difficult elections in the backdrop of 15-year anti-incumbency and gauntlet thrown down by LJP president Chirag Paswan.
They have transcended local and state issues to become a measure of national sentiments, political observers say.
Apart from the Covid-induced stresses like migrant, economic and jobs crisis, Bihar also polled amid the debate surrounding the contentious CAA, which many believe is one of the reasons for the BJP’s loss in Delhi.
Launching its characteristic poll blitzkrieg, the BJP gave these elections all it had with PM Modi and party president JP Nadda leading from the front, making it more about Modi and BJP than Nitish Kumar who remained bogged down by his own difficulties, including Chirag Paswan’s constant nagging.
Though political observers say Chirag could not have pulled such a big stunt without blessings of the BJP.
“Whatever happens in Bihar tomorrow there is no denying the nationwide support for PM Modi and political acumen of the BJP. To think Chirag would have antagonised the BJP to spite Nitish Kumar is unthinkable.”
However, despite Chirag’s constant needling the BJP threw its weight behind Nitish Kumar. Prime Minister Modi, who addressed around 12 rallies and fired all ammo in BJP’s arsenal like ‘Ram temple’, ‘development and double engine ki sarkar’ versus ‘double yuvraj and jungle raj’, promise of development, jobs etc, always praised ‘mitr’ Nitish Kumar and his ‘sushasan’ model.
To divert attention from the 15-year incumbency faced by Nitish Kumar, the BJP made these elections into ‘Modi versus the rest’ with some heavy dosage of ‘nationalism’ and its ‘anti-national rivals’.
Meanwhile, apart from decades-long political worth of Nitish Kumar, the day will also test JP Nadda as the BJP president who is yet to register an electoral victory for his party since he became the president. For him, these elections are as crucial.