PM Modi to share dais with Nitish Kumar today: Key highlights about NDA’s election campaign in Bihar

Patna: In build up to Lok Sabha elections in Bihar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and statechief minister Nitish Kumar will address a ‘sankalp‘ rally in Patna on Sunday to begin the National Democratic Alliance’s campaign for the Lok Sabha election in Bihar. Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi has predicted that at least five lakh people will be in attendance.

The rally comes exactly a month after the Congress held the first-of-its-kind ‘Jan Akanksha’ Rally at the same venue. The public meeting holds significance because Modi and Kumar will share the stage for the first time after 2010.

With the three top leaders of the NDA – PM Modi, Nitish and Paswan – together on the stage, the alliance will blow the bugle for the upcoming general election.

Here are main highlights of the rally:

This will be the first time when the Chief Minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar will share a stage with the Prime Minister since May 2009, and the first joint rally by the NDA in Bihar since November 2005.

The Sankalp rally will also be the first rally of PM Modi’s at Gandhi Maidan since the time he became the Prime Minister of the country. His last event here was in October 2013, in the run-up to the previous Lok Sabha poll and  that time the event did not went well as the series of blasts had occurred at the event, killing six and injuring 85 others.

Nitish Kumar who did not supported PM Modi earlier and when the two are doing the rally together this year, political analysts are waiting to hear what he will say in his support at the rally. They also want to know if PM Modi will succeed in pulling crowds comparable to what Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Yadav used to in the 1990s.

Elaborated security arrangements have been made by the district administration to prevent untoward incidents at the rally. As many as 4,000 police personnel will be present at the venue today, and 60 door-frame metal detectors have already been installed.

As many as 30 trains and 6,000 buses have been booked to bring people to the event and the organisers are not leaving any stone unturned to make the rally a big success. Kumar has also helped publicise the event among his supporters.

Seates for the Lok sabha elections will be decide by the ruling parties in Bihar. Although they have decided on a 17:17:6 formula between the three allies, the allotment of specific seats to parties is yet to be done. 

Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav had earlier demanded that the rally be called off because the bodies of CRPF soldiers killed in Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14 were still coming in. As the event drew closer, he released past videos of PM Modi and Kumar taking potshots at each other.

The seat-sharing arrangement Bihar’s grand alliance – comprising the Congress, RJD, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party, Hindustani Awam Morcha and Vikassheel Insaan Party – will also be finalised after the event.

The days preceding the Sankalp Rally saw the ruling leaders go on a foundation-laying spree. However, two promises made by the Prime Minister – providing special status to Bihar and establishment of a second AIIMS institute – continue to hang in balance.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi had addressed his party’s Jan Akanksha (people’s expectations) Rally at the same venue on February 3. Many leaders of the Grand Alliance had participated in the event.