By Mukesh Singh And Sahil Pandey
Patna (Bihar) [India], November 6 (ANI): Curtains are set to draw on polling in Bihar, where Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is fighting hard to come back to power in what he calls his "last election", against his Mahagathbandhan competitor Tejashwi Yadav who is looking forward to making his debut at the office.
On Thursday, while addressing a rally in Dhamdaha, Purnea district, the Janata Dal (United) chief, who is fighting for his seventh term as CM, had said, "Today is the last day (of campaigning for the final phase of Assembly elections). Polling will take place the day after tomorrow (Saturday). This is my last election."
In the state, Nitish Kumar-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) faces a strong anti-incumbency wave, harboured by factors like unemployment and poverty -- something that RJD leader Tejashwi is looking to cash in on. Apart from announcing that if he comes to power, 10 lakh government jobs will be offered in the state, Tejashwi has, time and again, claimed that Kumar is "tired and unable to manage the state."
Another key point to look out for is the aggressive campaigning being done by the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), which continues to be a part of the NDA at the Centre, but walked out of the state-level coalition. With candidates pitted mainly against the JD(U), the LJP is looking to make use of the upper caste backlash against the ruling party, whose core support base comprises Other Backward Classes and Mahadalits in Bihar.
Furthermore, LJP chief Chirag Paswan has come out all guns blazing against Kumar in his rallies, while fielding the idea of a BJP-LJP government in the state. The BJP has, however, continued to back Kumar as its chief ministerial face.
Paswan, while campaigning, has also made attempts to muster support by backing the notion of "Bihar first, Bihari first" and has even talked about building a grand Sita temple in Sitamarhi on the lines of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, as well as a corridor linking the two places.
On the other hand, the war of words between the NDA and the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan, or Grand Alliance, went personal where Kumar took a dig at RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav for having nine children (seven daughters and two sons).
Kumar also accused the RJD chief of having no faith in daughters and slammed him for promoting his two sons.
Lalu's son Tejashwi reacted to Kumar's statements, saying with his comments the JD(U) chief is also targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "By commenting on my family, Nitish Kumar is targeting PM Modi as he also has six siblings. Using such language, the Bihar CM has insulted women and my mother's sentiments," Tejashwi said.
Conventionally, a leader's worth is measured by the crowds they're able to pull in their rallies. However, in this era of social media, when people can react to the statements made by the leaders through their mobile phones, it is also important to evaluate their digital presence.
Kumar and Tejashwi have more than 1.5 million followers each on Facebook.
Tejashwi, in order to catch the attention of the youth, also started Naukri samvad, a virtual platform that talks about jobs in his addresses.
After the third phase of polling on Saturday, the fate of both leaders will be decided on November 10. (ANI)