Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar will address a joint rally in Gaya on Tuesday evening. (File photo/PTI)
New Delhi: With less than 10 days to go for the first phase of polls in Bihar, chief minister Nitish Kumar will finally start campaigning in the state on Tuesday in a joint rally with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Gaya.
The BJP state headquarters said that the prime minister will be addressing a rally in the afternoon at Jamui where he will be joined by the party’s national general secretary in-charge for the state Bhupendra Yadav and state president Nityanand Rai.
This would be followed by another rally at Gaya in the evening where the prime minister will share the stage with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi among others.
Interestingly, neither of the two Lok Sabha seats is being contested by the BJP.
The constituency is heading for a Manjhi vs Manjhi battle, where the Mahagathbandhan has fielded former chief minister of the state and HAM chief, Jitan Ram Manjhi against NDA candidate stone-cutter-turned former MP Bhagwati Devi’s son Vijay Kumar Manjhi.
The BJP had won the Gaya seat in 2014. However, this time, they have the support of JD(U) which separately contested the 2014 general election.
Bihar has BJP heavyweights lined up such as party chief Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath as well as a dozen Union ministers, including Home Minister Rajnath Singh to campaign in the state.
The most noticeable absence in this year’s election campaign is Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, who is undergoing treatment at a government hospital in Ranchi after being convicted in the fodder scam.
In his father’s absence, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav has emerged as one of the most sought after campaigners of the Opposition Grand Alliance.
Tejashwi, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly, has been addressing 3-5 rallies a day since last week.
The Grand Alliance’s other big campaigner, Rahul Gandhi, is likely to address two rallies ahead of the first phase of polling in the state, a Congress leader said. Last month, he addressed a rally in Purnea.
Under the Grand Alliance seat-sharing pact in Bihar, the RJD will contest on 20 seats, the Congress 9, while smaller parties like Upendra Kushawaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) have got 5 seats, and Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM) as well as the Vikassheel Insan Party (VIP) 3 seats each.
As per the NDA’s seat-sharing formula, the BJP and the JD-U will contest on 17 seats each, leaving 6 seats for the Lok Jantantrik Party (LJP).