| RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav and Bihar Congress president Ashok Chaudhary at an election rally in Motihari on Tuesday. (PTI) |
Campaigning for the third phase of Lok Sabha elections in the state ended on Tuesday even as political rivals increased the pitch against each other.
The seven seats going to the polls on Thursday are Supaul, Araria, Purnea, Katihar, Kishanganj, Banka and Bhagalpur. The stakes for all political parties are high as the electoral fortunes of several of their prominent leaders — including JD(U) president Sharad Yadav, BJP leader Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, RJD’s Pappu Yadav and Union minister Tariq Anwar — will be decided.
The Thursday elections are being held against the backdrop of a vitiated political atmosphere because of the statements of BJP leader Giriraj Singh. Though the BJP leadership has disowned the statement, tone and tenure of the polls has been set. Most of the constituencies, especially in the Seemanchal region, have substantial Muslim population. “There appears a deliberate attempt to polarise voters on communal lines and on this ever the so-called secular leaders have given hints about Godhra and other communal issues,” said an octogenarian politician.
The atmosphere can be gauged by the fact that former state Youth Congress president Lallan Kumar gave a call to burn the house of Giriraj even at the cost of facing murder charges. Congress spokesperson Premchandra Mishra had to make a hasty statement declaring that Lallan’s statement was not the Congress’s version.
The general secretary of the JD(U) and MP, K.C. Tyagi, has written to the Election Commission asking it to completely ban Giriraj, Praveen Tagodia and Amit Shah from participating in poll rallies, issuing statements in the media and also initiate criminal proceedings against them.
The main players of state politics were lashing out against each other on the last day of campaigning for the third round.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar, while delivering a speech in Bhagalpur, was questioning the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s claim that he would provide a strong leadership to the country. “When crores of Muslims get frightened by his name how can he provide a strong leadership? Nitish said.
The RJD chief, Lalu Prasad, held election rallies in Katihar, Purnea and Kishanganj in which he took potshots at both the BJP and Nitish. He compared Nitish with a “spiked tree who had not done vikas (development) but had done vinash (destruction) to the state”.
“If Modi becomes the Prime Minister, the country will disintegrate,” he said.
Former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi held public meetings in Supaul, Araria and Purnea. He criticised rival parties for dubbing Narendra Modi a dictator.
“The whole nation knows that the biggest dictator was Indira Gandhi and how Sonia Gandhi has made the Prime Minister a mute spectator in administration,” he said.