Amit Shah’s Moves To Watch: In Bihar, Rajasthan For BJP Meets Next Month


Amit Shah's Moves To Watch: In Bihar, Rajasthan For BJP Meets Next Month

Amit Shah was last in Bihar in July, just days before Nitish Kumar broke up with the BJP. (File)

New Delhi:

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, seen as the BJP’s chief strategist, will be in two Opposition-ruled states, Rajasthan and Bihar, next month for party programmes.  

While in Rajasthan he’d be hoping to put together a more cohesive challenge to the Congress ahead of assembly polls next year, it’s Bihar that presents a larger challenge — that of resurgence after being dumped by Nitish Kumar.  

In his first visit to Bihar since the JDU-BJP breakup, Amit Shah will participate in programmes related to his ministry, besides party meets, in Kishenganj and Purnea on September 17 and 18. 

Mr Shah is often billed a modern-day Chanakaya by his admirers, yet here he has a point to prove, because Nitish Kumar remains in the chair despite taking JDU out of the alliance with BJP — quite an embarrassment for a party that takes pride in effecting political breakups, such as the one in Maharashtra recently.  

The BJP says Nitish Kumar is an opportunist.

But his revived alliance with Tejashwi Yadav’s RJD and the Congress also means the BJP may have to project a state-level face.  

So far, it has banked on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s wider branding to get votes here. It gave the top post to Nitish Kumar even after winning more seats than the JDU last time. This time, it has to show it at least has options if it plans to go it alone in the state.  

Elections in Bihar are due in 2025. For now, though, Mr Shah will be working on what comes first in the chronology — the 2024 Lok Sabha contest.  

Even before that, comes Rajasthan. The BJP wing for Other Backward Classes, its OBC Morcha, has its national executive meeting from September 10 to 12 in Jodhpur, which happens to be Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s home district. The OBCs have been a prime factor in BJP’s strategy in other states, such as Uttar Pradesh. In Rajasthan, they are estimated to be more than half the population, including the Chief Minister. 

So far, the BJP’s most prominent leader remains Vasundhara Raje — she claims to have a “pan-community” identity, citing her Rajput, Jat and Gujjar family connections — but a leadership tussle is on already.  

Amit Shah’s visit is expected to send some more signals.  

Mr Gehlot’s government has been facing some heat over communal and caste violence lately. 

In any case, the Congress might have to effect a change at the top here — probably Sachin Pilot’s long-held desire — if Mr Gehlot indeed becomes Congress’s new national president by October. So far, he’s not said given much away. 

Elections in Rajasthan are due in December next year, barely six months before Lok Sabha 2024. Not that there’s necessarily a connection. The Congress managed to win the state last time but sank further in the Lok Sabha.  

In Bihar, though, the BJP has more work to do. And Amit Shah’s visit is seen as a step towards that.


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