KISHANGANJ: BJP will announce its chief minister (CM) face for 2025 assembly elections in Bihar immediately after 2024 Lok Sabha polls and it has shut all doors for former ally and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar for any coalition in future.
Such strategies were churned out during the meeting of the state core committee of the BJP held under the chairmanship of union home minister Amit Shah at Kishanganj on Friday evening.
Political observers claimed that it will be for the first time that BJP will announce its CM face in Bihar when it will fight assembly polls on its own and against Nitish. It will also be a departure of the saffron party from its usual practice of fighting state polls on the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Shah, who addressed a rally in Purnia district on Friday, asked the party men in Bihar not to pay much heed to the claims of strong caste equations in favour of the Mahagathbandhan of seven parties led by Nitish and RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
“If only social combinations were making parties win elections, then what happened in Uttar Pradesh elections earlier this year, when Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi party chief), Mayawati (Bahujan Samajwadi Party supremo) and Jayant Chaudhary (Rashtriya Lok Dal chief) came together but still the BJP won with complete majority. We will do the same in Bihar as well,” Shah told MPs, MLAs and members of the core committee of the BJP.
He, however, treaded cautiously while interacting with Bihar BJP functionaries as he said: “Bihar can be more challenging than West Bengal due to deep rooted caste system and strong social roots. However, the Mahagathbandhan will not have an easy way in playing caste politics as there is no bigger EBC face than Narendra Modi. Besides, the electorate in states like UP and Bihar is also gradually coming above caste lines.”
Shah gave the mantra of strengthening the party from booth level up and achieving better results as seen in states like Tripura, Manipur and Assam, where it established a stronghold despite having almost negligible presence initially.
“We have been asked to be strong from the booth level and all party functionaries to personally look after a booth, irrespective of their hierarchy. More than 80 lakh workers of the BJP in the state are being activated and mobilised to make the party stronger at the grassroots and well- connected with common people. In fact, Shah has also volunteered to take up a booth and a constituency in Bihar and monitor the preparations over there,” a senior BJP functionary, who is privy to the core committee meeting of the BJP, told TOI on Saturday.
The Saffron party, which has been dumped by Nitish a month ago, has targeted to prepare the NDA to contest on all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar in 2024 general elections, though there is no word yet on forging alliance with former allies, including LJP (Ramvilas) chief Chirag Paswan.
“We will win at least 35 seats in the Lok Sabha polls, which will further boost the morale of party workers and we will comfortably win the Bihar assembly elections as well with two- third majority and form a strong government,” the BJP functionary said.
He said: “The idea is to wipe out the two old leaders- Lalu and Nitish. Tejashwi is the DNA of Lalu only and will not be given much political mileage. Once, the BJP will come to power in Bihar; it will stay here for long.”
In order to pursue the target of impressive performances in the upcoming elections, senior leaders including Amit Shah will visit the state frequently over the next couple of years.
“Shah and most national level functionaries of the party will now keep visiting Bihar on frequent basis to interact with party workers and people as well as monitor the booth and constituency level preparedness,” the BJP functionary said.
It was also discussed in the meeting of MPs/MLAs with Shah that caste- based census being conducted by Nitish- government will not yield much dividends for the Mahagathbandhan. “Such a census is neither feasible nor accurate. For instance, one surname can be used by people in different castes and sub- castes depending upon the region,” he said.
Shah also visited Burhi Kali Mata temple at Muslim dominated Kishanganj town on the border of West Bengal and Bangladesh and conducted an elaborate puja. Senior BJP members maintained that it was a routine visit.