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Bihar elections: Bihar assembly elections: Parties race for wider appeal with virtual rallies, digital ‘raths’

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New Delhi: Political parties across the spectrum have stepped up efforts to reach out to the electorate in Bihar digitally ahead of the upcoming assembly election.

The BJP has taken the lead through several virtual rallies addressed by senior party leaders from the Centre as well as the state. The party is now going to introduce digital ‘raths’ (vehicles) to reach out to large numbers of voters across the state. It has finalised a prototype of the rath and some changes have been suggested to it.

“It will go to every nook and corner of the state and will showcase the achievements of the NDA government at the Centre and the state,” Sanjay Jaiswal, state BJP president, told ET. “We plan to introduce it on September 25.”

The BJP biggies are going to be in Patna this week for a series of meetings. The list includes national president JP Nadda, national general secretary (organisation) BL Santosh and Bihar election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis. On Saturday last week, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was named as the chief of the campaign committee for Bihar election while another minister, Nityanand Rai, has been named as the head of the election steering committee.

The ruling JD(U) will start its campaign with chief minister Nitish Kumar addressing the first virtual election rally, ‘Nischay Samvad’, on Monday. The party has developed a digital platform called JDU Live. “This platform will enable us to connect to one to 10 lakh people simultaneously which was not possible through any other medium,” said Ashok Choudhary, cabinet minister in Bihar government and the man behind this project.

“Addressing a virtual rally is not something that Nitish ji enjoys. He has been doing several yatras and meeting people in the past,” said Jha. “In Covid times, he would share his views on the promise of Saat Nishchay (seven vows) made in 2015 and fulfilment of the same. He is a leader who fulfils his promises and people of Bihar know this.”

Among the opposition, the Congress will start its set of 100 virtual meetings – Bihar Kranti Maha Sammelan – from Monday. “We will address two districts in one rally and start with East and West Champaran on Monday,” said Ajay Kapoor, secretary and co-incharge of Bihar Congress. “Party leaders Raj Babbar and Digvijaya Singh would be addressing the first rally.”

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party leader Rahul Gandhi will address a virtual rally only after the announcement of election dates. The party is planning a virtual rally to be addressed by Rahul Gandhi on October 2.

The RJD, the main opposition party, plans to follow a hybrid model of campaign “Our voter base largely is one which prefers physical contact and hence our campaign would be a mix of digital and physical outreach. In five to ten days we will roll out our campaign,” said Manoj Jha, RJD leader and Rajya Sabha member.

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