By Syed Moziz Imam
New Delhi/Patna, Nov 5 (IANS) Ahead of the final phase of voting in Bihar on November 7, the fight has narrowed between the NDA and the Grand Alliance, and the narrative seems to focus on employment, education and other such people’s issues.
The Grand Alliance has promised 10 lakh jobs in the state, half of which they are claiming will be government jobs. The alliance led by Tejashwi Yadav has not been distracted by issues being raised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has kept the focus on the issue of jobs.
The Congress is also toeing the same line and its leader Rahul Gandhi has kept himself glued to the issue. On Thursday he said, “Unemployment has become a national calamity which is deepening and the Modi government has no solution except hollow promises.”
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Manoj Jha said, “After many years an election is being fought on real issues of jobs, education, food, irrigation and health.”
“The BJP tried to ‘deflect’ the issue and raked up many sensitive issues, the Prime Minister mentioned about abrogation of Article 370, ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ issue, but all this does not seem to be resonating with the people,” said a Congress leader.
The insistence on the employment issue has forced the ruling National Democratic Alliance to talk about jobs and incumbent Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was forced to clarify on the NRC issue too, which was raised by the BJP.
Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate claimed in a press conference that “the Grand Alliance is going to sweep the polls as people have decided to move on to the real issues of jobs, inflation, migrants and Covid mismanagement.”
In the final phase of voting scheduled for November 7, a total of 1,207 candidates are in the fray for 78 seats in 15 districts.
The contest by and large is a direct one between the Grand Alliance (Mahagathbandhan) and the NDA, but as much of the region falls in the Muslim-dominated Seemanchal area, parties such as the AIMIM, the LJP and the NCP may end up cutting into the votes of the bigger parties. The AIMIM, for instance, won a seat from the Muslim-dominated Kishanganj district in the last elections.
For the Grand Alliance, 46 candidates are contesting on RJD tickets in the third phase followed by 25 on Congress tickets, five on CPI-ML (L) tickets and two for the CPI. For the NDA, the JD-U is contesting on 37 seats, the BJP on 35, the VIP on five and the HAM on one seat.
The third phase of polling will decide the fate of leaders such as Abdul Bari Siddiqui contesting from Kewati, Sharad Yadav’s daughter Subhasini Yadav from Bihariganj, Lovely Anand contesting from Saharsa, Nikhil Mandal from Madhepura and Akhtarul Iman from Amour.
Eight ministers of the JD-U are trying their luck in this phase. Power Minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav is contesting from Supaul, Vinod Narayan Jha from Benipatti, Madan Sahani from Bahadurpur, Suresh Sharma from Muzaffarpur, Laxmeshwar Rai from Laukaha, Bima Bharti from Rupauli, Narendra Narayan Yadav from Alamnagar, Maheshwar Hajari from Kalyanpur and Ramesh Rishidev from Singheshwar.
(Syed Moziz Imam can be contacted at [email protected])