Yogi Adityanath in Bihar: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday visited Darbhanga in Bihar to participate in a programme to celebrate the three years of Narendra Modi government at the Centre. This is Yogi’s first visit to Bihar, around three months after he took oath as the Uttar Pradesh CM. While Yogi has still a lot to prove as an administrator in Uttar Pradesh, his speech in Darbhanaga hinted the BJP has decided to use his popularity in Bihar to break the Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) matrix helmed by RJD, JD(U) and Congress.
In 2015 Assembly election, BJP had received a shock defeat at the hands of the Grand Alliance. The saffron party aims to reverse the shock in Bihar Assembly election 2020. Sending Yogi to Bihar, when he is yet to effect any big change in Uttar Pradesh seems like a well-thought out strategy. Not only this, Bihar is emerging as the epic centre of the proposed Grand Alliance of all Opposition parties for the 2019 General Election.
While addressing the event in Darbhanga from behind a bullet-proof shield, Yogi didn’t shy away from making his intentions clear. The Uttar Pradesh CM said he would ensure the formation of a BJP government in Bihar in 2020 and keep visiting the state until then. In an apparent dig at RJD chief Lalu Yadav, Yogi said BJP will ensure the end of dynastic politics in the country. Lalu’s two sons are deputy chief minister and health minister of Bihar respectively. Not only this, Yogi also attacked Bihar CM Nitish Kumar for being “silent” on the Triple Talaq issue.
Interestingly, the Bihar CM had advised Yogi on Wednesday not to visit the state “empty handed”. “You (Adityanath) should take cue from us and implement liqour ban and 50 per cent reservation for women in local bodies,” Kumar said at a public meeting in Darbhanga.
“He must be coming empty handed whereas I am here to launch various development schemes,” Kumar added.
Yogi’s Darbhanga visit is politically significant for many reasons. Two of them deserve a mention here.
First, Yogi Adityanath is very popular in north Bihar, much like he is in eastern Uttar Pradesh. His rising popularity graph in the last few months across Uttar Pradesh as well as many parts of Bihar, including Darbhanga, may have just provided the BJP a right weapon to win Bihar.
Secondly, north Bihar hosts Sitamarhi, the birthplace of Goddess Sita, wife of Lord Ram, whose birthplace is in Ayodhya. Yogi today said he is trying to connect eastern Uttar Pradesh with Bihar and Sitamarhi with Ayodhya in UP. Not only this, he said, Union road minister Nitin Gadkari has given his approval for the Sitamarhi-Ayodhya road. Coupled with BJP’s longstanding plan to build a grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya, the Sitamarhi-Ayodhya road, could prove to be a game-changer for the BJP in Bihar.
However, nothing can be predicted in the politically-conscious Bihar. Not even the chances of Yogi’s popularity resulting in more votes for the BJP. But then, if Yogi keeps visiting Bihar, he will certainly unsettle many a things in the state. If nothing else, he will keep the Mahagathbandhan on its toes.