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BJP-JD(U) War Room Experts Confident of Win Even as Exit Polls Predict Dull Show for Nitish Kumar

By: Sujit Nath

News18.com

Last Updated: November 10, 2020, 09:41 IST

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

The war room experts have campaigned relentlessly for the alliance on ground as well as social media and have helped popularise JD(U)'s work among the masses.

“Arey bhai, exit poll ko rahne dijiye…silent vote hua hai…Sarkar hum log bana rahey hai (forget about the Exit poll…people silently cast their votes in favour of our alliance with the JD-U and we are forming the government),” says BJP’s Bihar unit vice president Rajesh Verma. Much before the Election Commission announced the election dates for 243 Assembly seats in September, Verma not only burnt the midnight oil for days, but also ensured everything goes perfect when it came to campaigning party bigwigs who visited Bihar from Delhi and other parts of the country.

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Verma silently worked for the BJP’s war room in close coordination with the party’s top leaders who visited Bihar for campaigning. He came into political arena in in 2000 and became BJP’s Yuva Morcha district president for Muzaffarpur. Like many, he was also attracted towards the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and attended workshops-Prathamik Siksha Varga—that year. Verma served the youth wing of the party from 2010 to 2011 as a national working committee member and worked under Anurag Thakur.

Verma moved up the ladder of party ranks and is now the state vice president of the BJP. As Bihar awaits the final verdict on the crucial Assembly polls, he is confident that the ‘mahagatbandhan’ of BJP-JD (U) will retain power to form the government in Bihar.

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“I was assigned to strengthen the party at the grass root level, carry out outdoor publicity, tell people about Centre’s achievement under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. My key responsibilities were to keep a close coordination with the central ministers and leaders who came to Bihar for campaigning,” Verma, one of BJP’s war room boys, told News18.

As exit polls predicted a dull show for the BJP-JD (U) alliance, Verma opines that nothing can defeat the PM Modi’s popularity in Bihar. “Let’s not discuss the exit poll. All I can say is that there is a ‘Modi craze’ in Bihar. This time people voted silently for us (BJP-JDU). Just wait for the results,” he said.

The elections for the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly were held between October 28 and November 7 in three phases. While 71 seats went to polls in the first phase, elections for 98 seats were held in the second phase on November 3. In the rest of the 78 remaining seats the polling was held on November 7. The results will be announced on November 9.

The exit polls on Saturday have already predicted the future trajectories of the JD (U)-BJP alliance amid prediction that the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) led by Tejashwi Prasad Yadav will emerge a clear winner.

While the campaigning saw bitter war of words between the political rivals, Nitish Kumar went ahead with his ‘Parhka Hai Jisko, Chuneyge Usiko’ (vote for those who have stood the test) slogan. In this campaign, Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, a back room strategist for the JDU worked relentlessly to brand Nitish as ‘Sushasan Babu’ in Bihar. He helped the people to understand ‘Saat Nischay’ (seven resolves) of ‘Munna’ – as Nitish is popularly known.

Chaudhary joined politics in 1982 and has been a three-time MLA with the Congress before he joined the JD (U) in 2005. He is known for being an efficient administrator and a good orator. He was considered to be one of the important people in Bihar cabinet and continues to be a member of Nitish Kumar’s core committee to shape policies of the state government and the party.

He belongs to Bhumihar community and has worked tirelessly to secure Jitan Ram Manjhi’s support towards Nitish Kumar and to polarise the ‘mahadalit’ votes in Bihar. There is hardly any political party which was not successfully tried by Jitan since 1982.

Jitan was the former chief minister of Bihar and it was Chaudhary who helped the JDU in bringing Jitan to their camp to bank on the ‘mahadalit’ votes. Whether Chaudhary’s strategy will work or not will be clear after the results, but undoubtedly he is among few others who played a crucial role in steering the party towards stability amid rough political weather.

“It is not necessary that exit polls will be correct all the time. I think results will be better. Let’s not speculate too early,” Chaudhary said.

JDU’s another crucial war room man is Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh. Lalan too belongs to the Bhumihar community and worked as an ‘eye’ and ‘ear’ for Nitish Kumar in bringing key issues before the chief minister. Besides strengthening the party at booth level, he actively worked in poaching efficient RJD leaders on ground level. He has rendered blows to the RJD through rift and poaching.

Not far behind is Bihar building construction department minister Ashok Chowdhury – a Dalit leader. He is the second leader in Nitish camp who rose to prominence after joining switching sides from the Congress to JDU in 2018. He managed to tow three members of the Bihar state legislative council members of Congress to join Nitish’s party.

He was made the JDU’s working president in September ahead of the polls to look after party’s organisational and election related affairs. This was also seen as an attempt by the party to consolidate the Dalit votes.

Tech-savvy Ashok Chowdhury proved to be an excellent task master during the polls through social media platforms. His ability to connect with the youth as well as elderly people in Dalit-dominated assembly seats has impressed Nitish Kumar.

Face of the JDU in ‘Mithilanchal’ and in the national capital, Sanjay Jha was another war room boy who helped in branding Nitish as ‘Sushashan Babu’ on social media.

JDU’s National Secretary Rabindra Singh said, “Sanjay was among others strategists who were looking after the social media campaign. He roped in a few people and launched ‘JDU live’, the platform which Nitish ji used to address virtual meetings. This helped the party to connect with the masses effectively during the pandemic crisis.”

Jha also helped Nitish in gaining popularity among the Brahmin population.

Since it was a ‘Mahagathbandhan’ government it Bihar, the BJP too engaged its social media strategists and war room warriors like Radha Mohan Sharma, Mangal Pandey, Mukul Singh to put up a tough battle with the opposition.

While Pandey was BJP’s Election Management Committee president and was tasked to plug the loopholes cropping up during poll planning, Mohan Sharma was working in BJP’s war room as overall in-charge of political rallies, slogans. Their strategies helped the saffron brigade to take PM Modi’s work to the masses.

Mukul Singh was Bihar BJP’s overall IT in-charge and he along with Sanjay Gandhi of JDU worked in close coordination to strengthen the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ on social media. They helped to keep party leaders of BJP and the JDU on same political line to face opposition.

Mukul is an engineer and he worked with Multinational Companies like IBM and Siemens in Bengaluru for more than 13 years. In 2015, he came back to Bihar and actively started working for BJP’s IT and social media cell. He is from Raxaul and besides politics he is also involved in organic farming.

When contacted Sanjay Gandhi, he ridiculed the exit poll and claimed that again a government will be formed in Bihar under Nitish Kumar.

“Ban Rahi Hai..confirmed,” he said on government formation.

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first published:November 10, 2020, 09:02 IST
last updated:November 10, 2020, 09:41 IST