With roughly a week left before assembly elections kick off in Bihar, campaigning kicked into high gear on Tuesday as top leaders from the National Democratic Alliance and the opposition Grand Alliance addressing at least 30 rallies between them. Seventy-one assembly seats go to the polls in the first of three phases on October 28.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar, who is seeking a fourth straight term, and GA chief ministerial candidate Tejashwi Yadav were locked in a war-of-words.
Kumar attacked Yadav’s poll promise of one million jobs if voted to power and asked him how he would meet the huge salary obligations. “When you make a tall claim, you must also explain the resource mobilisation for meeting the financial burden. Will it be sourced from and serviced by the ill-gotten money which the family has amassed and is currently serving a jail term for the irregularities?” he said in Gaya.
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Yadav shot back in Patna, calling the CM a “confused man”. “Nitish Kumar is totally confused now. On one hand, he is asking us how jobs would be provided and from where the money would come. On the other hand, he is talking of generating employment. I want to tell him that we have the will power to give jobs and we will do it,” he said.
Yadav, who campaigned in Gaya and Jehanabad, also lambasted Kumar for saying Bihar failed to industrialise because it is landlocked. “If we go by the logic that Bihar is a landlocked state not conducive for industries, then how did Haryana, Punjab get industrialized? The sea is nowhere near to these states,” Yadav said.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president JP Nadda addressed rallies at Ara and Buxar. In Ara, where the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) is in direct contest with the BJP, Nadda said, “The coalition of different parties in grand alliance is unholy (apavitra) and unnatural (ashwabhavik).” He recalled massacres in 1990s and alleged some parties in the Grand Alliance spread disturbance. He targeted Congress and alleged that its actions hurt national interest. He also took a dig at the Rashtriya Janata Dal. “It’s no more the age of lantern. It is the age of Modi ji’s LED bulbs,” he said, referring to the opposition party’s election symbol.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath addressed three rallies and heaped praise on Kumar “for ushering in progress and prosperity in the state”. “Bihar is writing the history of progress and prosperity under the leadership of Nitish Kumar,” Adityanath said.
Late in the evening, news agency ANI reported that Yadav was attacked with slippers during a rally in Aurangabad. While one slipper missed him completely, the other one landed in his lap.