Shah’s statement, on the NDA coalition fighting under the leadership of Nitish Kumar, also put an end to speculations about discontent among the NDA coalition members about Nitish Kumar being the face of the coalition.
- Last Updated: June 8, 2020, 12:35 AM IST
New Delhi: Union Home Minister and former BJP chief Amit Shah in a virtual rally on Sunday said that NDA would fight elections under the leadership of Nitish Kumar and win with over two-thirds majority. This was the first time that the former BJP chief addressed his party cadres after the outbreak of Covid-19. According to reports, Shah reached out to nearly five lakh workers in nearly 72,000 booths in Bihar. The state is likely to go for polls in October-November.
Shah’s statement, on the NDA coalition fighting under Kumar’s leadership, also put an end to speculations about discontent among the alliance partners about Nitish Kumar being the face of the coalition. Shah’s statements came after clarifications made by BJP leader and Bihar deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi and state unit chief Sanjay Jaiswal that Kumar will lead the coalition into polls.
It was LJP chief Chirag Paswan who had set the cat among pigeons on Friday by stating, in an interview, that LJP would support BJP “if they want to have a change of mind” about the CM’s face. Paswan’s statements were seen in the context of his public criticism of Nitish Kumar’s handling of the migrant workers’ crisis. Paswan has since early May criticised the sitting chief minister thrice on the issue, at one point, even saying that he saw “a lot of anger among migrant workers when I watch their ordeal in videos posted on social media. I fear that they might lose confidence in our government.”
In his virtual rally on Sunday Amit Shah who was present on the stage with Jaiswal, Sushil Modi, senior BJP leader and union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, and deputy Home Minister Nityanand Rai, recounted statistics to prove that Bihar under Nitish Kumar when compared to its performance under previous chief ministers had done better on most social indicators. “Nitish [Kumar] and Sushil [Modi] are a little lax in publicising their works. They don’t go around like the opposition clanging thalis on roads,” Shah said in his speech.
He was referring to protests launched by senior RJD leaders, including Rabri Devi, Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav, who were beating thalis on roads to mark their protest against what they termed was “political vulturism” on the part of BJP to be conducting political campaign during the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic.
“Electioneering at this juncture is nothing but political vulturism. Rather than helping the poor, needy and migrants, they want to win elections even at the cost of human lives,” Tejashwi Yadav told the news agency PTI on Saturday.
This prompted Amit Shah to say that his virtual rally was not a political rally but a public outreach. “This rally has got nothing to do with elections. This is a public outreach to honour Corona warriors and to rope in people in our fight against Coronavirus. To reach out to the public is the tradition of the BJP. This is not a political rally. This is a virtual rally,” Shah said in his speech.
BJP had earlier stated that Sunday’s rally was meant to address the party workers at approximately 72,000 booths to reach out to its cadres and workers through a virtual rally on Sunday. Party leaders claimed that nearly 5 lakh party workers had tuned in to Shah’s speech through YouTube, Facebook Live and the Namo app.