Modi to trailblaze NDA’s Lok Sabha poll campaign in Bihar on Thursday

Patna: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will trailblaze the NDA’s Lok Sabha poll campaign in Bihar on Thursday when he is set to address a rally, his first in the state since the announcement of the elections, at Jamui.

Modi, who is running for a third consecutive term in office, is scheduled to address the rally around noon.

BJP ally Chirag Paswan, who has handed over the mantle to brother-in-law Arun Bharti after having represented Jamui, a reserved seat, two times on the trot, has been effusive in his praise for the prime minister for the gesture.

“It is a matter of pride for Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) and the people of Jamui that the prime minister has agreed to launch his campaign in Bihar from the constituency. We are committed to helping him achieve the target of 400 plus seats for NDA, including all the 40 in Bihar,” said Paswan.

Predictably, the opposition wants the prime minister, the NDA’s main crowd puller, to be held accountable for the alleged failures of his government, especially with respect to Bihar.

Former deputy chief minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said, “Be it the prime minister or any other leader, they will be on the campaign trail during polls. But the people of Bihar want to know what have they got in return for the enormous support they gave to NDA five years ago.” “In the last Lok Sabha polls, 39 out of the 40 seats in Bihar went to the NDA. But now the people feel they have been taken for a ride,” alleged Yadav.

However, senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad hit back, saying, “In his speech in Jamui tomorrow, the PM will enlist his achievements and share his vision for the future. On the other hand, the opposition has nothing to offer so it is busy heaping insults on Modi.” Notably, Jamui is among four Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, the other three being Aurangabad, Gaya and Nawada, which go to polls in the first phase on April 19.

Of these, the BJP is contesting Aurangabad, where Modi had addressed a rally a week before the Election Commission announced Lok Sabha polls, and Nawada, where he is scheduled to address a rally on Sunday.

Gaya, which is also a reserved constituency, is being fought by former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, the founder of Hindustani Awam Morcha.

The NDA in Bihar also includes Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), which is contesting 16 seats, one less than the BJP, and former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Morcha, which will fight Katakat.

Chirag Paswan’s party is fielding candidates in five seats, including Hajipur, his late father Ram Vilas Paswan’s pocket borough, where he is trying his luck this time.