Union Home Minister Amit Shah will arrive in Bihar on Friday, for the first time after the political upheaval last month robbed the BJP of power in the state.
Shah, a former party president who is regarded as the BJP’s principal strategist, will spend two days in the Seemanchal region.
“The home minister will reach Bagdogra airport around 11.30 am and proceed to Purnea in a helicopter. Late in the evening, he will leave for Kishanganj,” state BJP vice-president Rajib Ranjan told PTI.
A series of meetings with party and administrative officials are scheduled during the two-day trip though the highlight will be a public meeting at Purnea, titled evocatively “Jan Bhavana Rally”, in line with the party’s stance that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has “betrayed public sentiments” by turning his back on the NDA as part of which he had won the mandate in 2020 assembly polls.
The loss of power, in the third week of August, came as a rude shock for the party which had, less than a month earlier, held with much fanfare a two-day conclave in Patna — attended by Shah and BJP president JP Nadda.
The BJP has been accused of having tried to break the JD(U) through former Union minister RCP Singh, whose induction had caused controversy.
BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, who had served as the Deputy CM for long before being shunted out to an uneventful stint in Rajya Sabha, has claimed his ex-boss was looking for an alibi and Singh was inducted into the Union Cabinet with the consent of the Bihar CM, the JD(U) de facto leader, obtained over phone by Shah himself.
Keen watchers of politics are likely to be interested in the manner in which Shah breaks his silence over the matter.
However, the BJP realises well the limitations of righteousness, having acquired power “through back door” five years ago which it now accuses the RJD, Congress and Left combine of.
Union minister Giriraj Singh has been camping in Seemanchal for a while, ostensibly to supervise the preparations for Shah’s visit, while making headlines with comments on alleged “demographic change” in Seemanchal and activities of the PFI.
Singh, the MP from Begusarai, has been pulling no punches while blaming “appeasement politics” for terrorism, unchecked population growth and infiltration of illegal immigrants.
The party had, while still in alliance with JD(U), made it clear that it will oppose tooth and nail any attempt to legitimise the alleged infiltration of Bangladeshis and Rohingyas under the headcount of castes being undertaken in the state.
Besides, memories of the 2013 Patna serial blasts are being raked up to paint Kumar as a political vacillator whose alleged prime ministerial ambitions cause him to break up with BJP under one pretext or the other and claim that this results in a spurt in terror activities in the state.
Raids have been conducted in several Bihar districts by the NIA and the BJP is clearly not willing to let go of the opportunity to firm up its narrative battle.
The dog-whistling has irked the JD(U), which is eager to see its leader, now working for opposition unity, in a “national role”.
Senior JD(U) leaders have been issuing statements, warning the BJP against polarisation and urging the people not to fall into the communal trap.
In a sarcastic Facebook post, JD(U) parliamentary board chief Upendra Kushwaha said Shah will “speak in favor of special status for Bihar, expose the culprits of Pulwama terror attack, announce distribution of black money brought from abroad among the poor, pledge to scrap the faulty collegium system of judges’ appointment and declare rollback of privatisation of public sector companies”.