It is indeed the age of social media but what is interesting to observe is that three young faces of Bihar politics are turning back to the traditional ways of campaigning and building on their grassroot connect. The three young faces in Bihar politics- Tejashwi Yadav, Kanhaiya Kumar and Chirag Paswan have decided to become a little old school and revive the tradition of hitting back on the roads and personally meeting people as part of their poll campaign.
It is reaffirming to see that these young leaders of Bihar are doing yatras and making an attempt to have a direct interaction with the masses. This will also give them the opportunity to know their political workers better and become more accustomed to the grassroots reality.This is an age-old method now being revamped and used by these young faces of politics in Bihar to drum up support for their respective parties or alliances before the state assembly elections scheduled later this year.
RJD’s ‘Berojgari Yatra’
Tejashwi Yadav is a former deputy chief minister and RJD leader. He is scheduled to begin his ‘Berojgari Yatra’ (unemployment yatra)from February 23. This yatra is being seen as the RJD’s claim to power once again in Bihar. The yatra has already become controversial after JD(U)minister Neeraj Kumar alleged that the hi-tech Volvo bus acquired by Tejashwi to undertake his travel across the state was actually registered in the name of a person who holds a BPL card. Tejashwi Yadav has chosen to remain silent on the claim as RJD leaders have alleged that JD(U)is trying to deviate attention from the “real issue” of unemployment and lawlessness in the state.
LJP’s ‘Bihar First, Bihari First Yatra’
Lok Janshakti Party’s president Chirag Paswan is gearing up to start his ‘Bihar First, Bihari First Yatra’ from February 21.
Paswan is scheduled to hold a rally in Patna on April 14 at the famous Gandhi Maidan. Chirag Paswan will be visiting all the districts of the state before that to seek support from the masses. He has decided to lay focus on Bihar and its problems, several teams have been working to ensure that Paswan’s yatra becomes successful.
Kanhaiya Kumar’s ‘Jan Gan Man Yatra’
Communist Party of India(CPI) leader Kanhaiya Kumar has started his tour of Bihar as part of his ‘Jan Gan Man Yatra’ which started in the last week of January and will end in mid-March.
Kanhaiya Kumar has been going to different parts of the state and making speeches against the CAA and NRC amongst a host of other subjects. He has managed to draw large crowds wherever he has undertaken a yatra.
However, his yatra has not been very smooth so far and he has been attacked several times. The latest attack happened on February 15 when his convoy was attacked in Arrah district, but he escaped unhurt in the incident. It is in this context that CPI has submitted a memorandum to the Bihar Director General of Police Gupteshwar Pandey, expressing concern regarding the frequent attacks on Kanhaiya’s convoy.
Will the Tradition of Yatras Revamp Bihar Politics?
At a time when a leader’s contact with the masses has taken a backseat and we are witnessing the trend of political parties roping in election strategists to manage poll campaigns, the initiative of the three young politicians is a refreshing departure from the prevalent trends.
The tradition of Yatras was given a momentum by Bihar CM Nitish Kumar who initiated the process in Bihar politic after February 2005 assembly elections that brought about a hung assembly and denied him the opportunity to form the government in Bihar.
Nitish then started the ‘Nyay Yatra’ which became a huge success and resulted in the NDA wining a clear majority in the assembly polls conducted in November that year. Since then, Nitish has been out conducting yatras every year- to establish and consolidate his connect with the masses. The latest was his ‘Jal Jeevan Hariyali Yatra’ that began in December 2019 and was conduced in January 2020.
The three young faces of Bihar politics have again taken up the tradition of conducting yatra politics, perhaps they have realised that operating out of Delhi and Patna and making occasional visits to Bihar wouldn’t work in the long run if they are to make their presence felt on the ground. With intense travel, grounded interaction and the establishment of a rapport- these leaders will surely be able to reach out to people better.The assembly elections in Bihar are scheduled later this year, high intensity campaigns and political rhetoric will claim the air but it will remain to be seen who comes to power in Bihar and whether after decades of corruption, bureaucratic failure and a history of political chaos, the state finds a leader who can revamp the face of Bihar and return to it its lost glory.