Virtual Battleground! Nitish Kumar to bank on social media as COVID casts shadow over Bihar polls

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Updated: Jun 13, 2020 1:14 PM

Ahead of Bihar assembly polls, Nitish Kumar has asked workers to increase their presence on social media platforms by creating WhatsApp groups and Facebook pages.

bihar election 2020Bihar election 2020: Nitish Kumar asks JD(U) workers to increase presence of social media as COVID cast shadow over polls.

Bihar Assembly Elections 2020: The Janata Dal (United) led by Nitish Kumar has started preparations to reach to the masses to earn their confidence ahead of the Assembly elections in Bihar, slated for October-November. The party has asked its rank and file to ramp up their presence on social media platforms with a special focus on first-time voters in view of restrictions on mass activities due to Coronavirus outbreak.

Although elections are three-four months away from now, political parties are gearing up for the democratic exercise with restrictions in place because of the COVID 19 pandemic. Recently, former BJP president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah addressed a virtual rally in Bihar to set the tone for the elections and indicated that the ruling NDA will harp on failures of Lalu Prasad Yadav’s tenure, which is infamous for bringing negative image to the eastern state during 90s.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, also the national president of the JD(U), held a six-day ‘virtual sammelan’ with the party’s grassroots workers spread across all 38 districts of the state. Seated at his official residence in Patna and flanked by trusted aides, Kumar asked workers to increase their presence on social media platforms by creating WhatsApp groups and Facebook pages, which could serve as an interface between the party and the masses.

JD(U) national general secretary Sanjay Kumar Jha said more than 70 per cent of men and women, aged between 18 and 24 years, are known to be very active on WhatsApp and Facebook”.

“This online presence must be tapped into. These youngsters are most likely not aware of the conditions that prevailed in Bihar when Nitish Kumar took over. A few decades ago, when we were students ourselves, the Magadh region always remained in news because of massacres which have become a thing of the past,” Jha, who is a member of the state cabinet, said in his introductory remarks on Friday.

Jha underlined that students from Jehanabad and Aurangabad districts are figuring among toppers in examinations conducted by the state secondary education board. He said the lives of girls have been transformed because of schemes like free bicycles and uniforms.

“The youngsters would be able to appreciate it better in the light of how bad things were earlier,” he added.

Besides highlighting the failures of the RJD’s rules, the JD(U) will pull out all the stops to cash in on the achievements of Nitish Kumar since he has been in power. A seasoned politician, Nitish has projected himself as a ruler who follows the rule of law and practices fair politics.

The party has been releasing posters with evocative captions like “bhay banaam bharosa” (terror versus trust) — a clear-cut comparison between Lau’s rule with Nitish’s.

Kumar has emphasised that those who have attained voting age only recently must have been very young in 2005 and they need to be told “what we had inherited”. The 69-year-old politician who has been at the helm since 2005 and is aiming for a record fourth consecutive win, is aware of a pitfall of coming down very heavily on the opposition party and has been telling JD(U) workers that “the focus on the wrongdoings of our predecessors in power must not be more than 10%”.

This cautionary note from Nitish seeks to restrain his party workers from getting carried away while speaking about “Pati Patni Ki Sarkaar” — a catchphrase adopted by the JD(U) to underscore the 15 years rule of Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi.

The upcoming election would be the first state elections when Lalu will be missing from action. The former CM is serving life imprisonment for his involvement in a multi-crore fodder scam. The RJD is currently led by his son Tejashwi Yadav and it will be a do or die battle for the party which is struggling with a leadership crisis.

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