Bihar: Amit Shah’s Speech Betrays his Fear of Mahagathbandhan Ahead of 2024 Polls
Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Purnea Bihar. Image Courtesy: Twitter/Amit Shah
Patna: Nearly one and a half months after being ousted from power in Bihar and yet to overcome the big jolt, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) worry about its political prospects was evident when its top leader and Union Minister Amit Shah on Friday directly attacked two main leaders of the ruling Mahagathbandhan, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad.
Fear of Mahagathbandhan or the Nitish Kumar factor ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha polls was visible in Shah's address at a public meeting in Purnia district. “Nitish Kumar has deceived and backstabbed BJP to join hands with RJD, Congress in a bid to become the prime minister. But he will never become PM,” Shah said.
Shah further said that Kumar has betrayed many in the past, and warned Lalu to be aware of him. “Kumar has no ideology, (he is) only a power seeker,” Shah claimed.
Shah's statement exposed his party's fear of Kumar's Janata Dal-United (JD-U) attempt to project him as an opposition prime ministerial candidate in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The party has already launched a campaign for Kumar's likely bid to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Shah spent most of his 31 minutes long speech in Purnia to target the Mahagathbandhan (RJD, JD-U, Congress and Left parties) government led by Kumar. He even predicted that the people of Bihar would wipe out the alliance in the next Lok Sabha polls in 2024, and BJP would form a government with a full majority in 2025 in the state.
Upset over slow clapping during his speech, Shah was forced to request people gathered at his public meeting to clap firmly. Earlier, several people wearing black clothes were not allowed to enter the meeting ground by the party workers and local police.
Shah will meet party leaders and workers during his visit to Seemanchal on September 23-24. This will be the first visit of any top BJP leaders to Bihar. In fact, the BJP's top leadership, including Modi and Shah, are reportedly worried about facing the next elections alone in Bihar because the party has been left with only one ally in Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) of Union Minister Pasupati Kumar Paras, which has no MLA in the state Assembly and is considered a spent force.
Shah, known as a master strategist of the Hindutva agenda, has specifically chosen Seemanchal for his visit to virtually launch a campaign for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Seemanchal is considered a stronghold of the Mahagathbandhan and a politically weak area for the BJP in Bihar.
"There is no need for people to be afraid because Seemanchal is a part of the country ruled by PM Modi," Shah said. He also reminded people that the Central government will take care of developing the “backward region”.
For BJP and RSS, Seemanchal is a priority area as the concentration of the Muslim population is highest there, and the BJP has so far failed to make inroads in the region. In the Seemanchal region, Muslims account for 67.70% of the population in Kishanganj, 38% in Purnea, 43% in Katihar and over 40% in Araria. However, Muslims only form 16.5% of Bihar's 105 million population as per the 2011 Census.
In the last Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had played cautiously by giving all four seats to its ally, JD-U, which won three seats, and Congress managed to win in Kishanganj. Kishanganj is widely seen as a Congress stronghold as the party has won the Lok Sabha seat eight times. The BJP won once when its candidate Shahnawaz Hussain was elected in 1999.
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