By Puneet Dubey
New Delhi [India], Nov 2 (ANI): The election campaign in Bihar has been at its peak for the past few days with hectic campaign by leaders of various parties and the scenario this time is quite different compared to 2015 with change in the composition of allies contesting under the banner of NDA and Mahagathbandhan and likely division of votes due to presence of more players.
The biggest change, of course, is in the composition of NDA with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar now again leading the campaign of alliance in the state unlike in 2015 when he was part of Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance). But there are other changes as well with RLSP now not part of either NDA or Mahagathbandhan. Lok Janshakti Party led by Chirag Paswan is also contesting this election outside National Democratic Alliance.
Mahagathbandhan, led by young RJD's leader Tajeshwi Yadav, is posing challenge to Nitish Kumar. RLSP leader Upendra Kushwaha is chief ministerial candidate of an alliance that also includes the BSP and AIMIM.
It remains to be seen how this third front impacts the chances of big players NDA and RJD.
While the opposition has been seeking to bring focus on issues such as "unemployment", "price rice" and "problems of farmers", the ruling NDA has been listing its achievements both in the state and at the Centre.
In rally after rally, it is reminding people of "jungle raj", associating the previous RJD regime with "lawlessness and bad governance".
It is the first election which the RJD is contesting without its main campaigner Lalu Prasad, who is facing conviction in animal husbandry scam. Tejashwi Yadav is steering the party's campaign and is making a determined bid for RJD's return to power.
Congress, which is part of grand alliance, is contesting 70 seats and making hard efforts to revive itself in the crucial Hindi heartland state which sends 40 MPs to Lok Sabha.
The grand alliance also includes Left parties as part of efforts by opposition parties to prevent the split of anti-NDA votes.
The issues related to COVID-19 are figuring prominently in the campaign with the NDA talking of the work it has done to provide foodgrains and other relief to the poor while the opposition has been accusing the ruling alliance of having caused "hardships" to migrants" in the wake of lockdowns imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Bihar election is significant in many aspects. It is the first election in the COVID-19 campaign and is being held with political parties having relatively less opportunities to campaign. It will also show how political parties coped with division of votes and if anti-incumbency was a factor against Nitish Kumar.
Apart from BJP and JD-U, the NDA includes Vikasheel Insan Party (VIP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha. Both VIP and HAM were earlier with the grand alliance.
The Mahagathbandhan also includes CPI, Communist Party of India-Marxist, and Communist Party of India M-L besides Congress and RJD.
The Grand Democratic Secular Front has six parties including Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), and Samajwadi Janata Dal Democratic, Jantantrik Party and Samajwadi Janata Dal Democratic.
Plurals Party and Jan Adhikar Party and Bhim Army are also among parties in the fray. (ANI)