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BJP to target Lalu-Nitish alliance

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s campaign in the coming Assembly elections in Bihar is likely to focus on the coming together of Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad and the Congress as an opportunistic alliance, formed solely to gain power.

Top sources in the party have said BJP president Amit Shah’s visit to Patna, which began on Saturday evening and will see Mr. Shah participate in a Yoga Day event on Sunday morning, will focus on a strategy for the elections. “Apart from the Yoga Day function, he has a string of meetings lined up with party leaders till late in the evening,” a State BJP leader said. Mr. Shah is expected to tell the State leadership to harp on the “opportunistic alliance” and highlight the failures of the incumbent government.

While party leaders privately concede the coming together of the two leaders has made the Bihar election a tough fight for the BJP-led NDA, they are hoping to stave off any anti-incumbency against the BJP which was the JD(U)’s ruling alliance partner from 2005 to 2013.

“Our focus will be on offering a comparison of how the government performed when the BJP was a part of the alliance with the JD(U) and after we parted ways,” a top party leader said. “Lalu’s tenure was ‘Jungle Raj’ and after the BJP-JD(U) split, Nitish’s tenure in the last two years has been the return of ‘Jungle Raj’,” he added.

Sources at 11 Ashoka Road, the BJP headquarters, confirmed that Mr. Shah will carry forward the Prime Minister’s message to the State leadership at every level that “the fear of the BJP has forced this alliance.”

“People will not accept such opportunism. Bihar is a politically aware State, we need to remind them of what Lalu and Nitish have been saying about each other in the past,” a top decision-maker said.

The BJP hopes it will be able to fill the anti-Congress platform in Bihar politics that it says has fallen vacant with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Janata Dal (United) having decided to join hands with the Congress.

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