[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]C[/dropcap]ontrary to the claims by the BJP leadership, the first two phases of the poll for 81 seats have not been very encouraging for the party. The BJP will have to do everything possible to reverse the tide in the next three phases if it hopes to stage a comeback. The party has already undertaken some corrective measures like highlighting its state leaders on billboards put across the state to blunt the edge of “Bihari vs Bahri attack” on it. Here are some important things the BJP can do to salvage the situation:
- Positive campaign: Bring back focus on development. The BJP should realize that the only way it could win the battle of Bihar is by sowing the dream that the state could become next Tamil Nadu or Maharashtra in terms of prosperity and opportunity. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a good beginning by announcing a special package of the development of state, but the follow up on it was miserable. To a great extent Nitish Kumar was successful in creating an impression that the package was old wine in a new bottle. The BJP has almost forgotten the package and allowed Nitish to confuse the voters, It’s time the BJP leaders revives its vision for development of Bihar and sticks to it– and it alone. In Bihar, the BJP can never hope to win against the duo of Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad in the game of caste politics, After all, they are old masters of it.
- Stop shrill campaign: The BJP leadership should stop making personal attacks against Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav. Nitish has done excellent work as Chief minister. Even those who would not vote for him because of their political affiliations, adore him. Questioning his performance or credentials are bound to generate for him sympathy whereas attacking Lalu Prasad is bound to polarize yadavs. Both things are visible on the ground. A section of Yadavs, specially youth, who sang “har har Modi, ghar ghar Modi” in 2014 are back screaming ”Lalu Yadav zindabad.” The assembly segments going to polls in the next three phases have overwhelming numbers of yadavs and the more the BJP attacks Lalu Prasad, the more it will benefit him.
- Bring down pulse prices: Instead of blaming Nitish Kumar for the spiraling prices of pulses, the Centre should take effective steps to make daal available at affordable prices to the common man. Food minister Ramvilas Paswan’s claim that Nitish is responsible for the price rise makes no sense because prices have gone across the country. Such arguments are counte-productive because they smack of political design. Price rise has always been a sensitive issue among the voters, and the common man could vote with a vengeance against the BJP if the pulse prices continued to soar during the polls.
- Bring back old guards: A section of the BJP cadres who grew up with the party under the guidance of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Murli Manohar Joshi and LK Advani are feeling orphaned now under the new dispensation of Amit Shah and co. The BJP should immediately rope in the likes of Advani, Joshi, Kalraj Mishra, Yashwant Sinha, etc., to win back this section of voters who have no connect with Shah or his deputies Bhupendra Yadav and Ananth Kumar. Someone like Arun Jaitley, who oversaw Bihar elections for the BJP for the past two decades and shares personal rapport with the state leaders, could also be roped in more effectively.
- Win over rebels: The party should reach out to rebels who are set to queer the pitch for the NDA candidates on a large number of seats in the next three phases. So far, the BJP has made no serious efforts to win over these rebels. The task to convince these rebels should be given to state leaders who know the workers at grass-root level and not to the paratrooper from Delhi.
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