NEW DELHI :
Home minister Amit Shah on Sunday accused Opposition parties in Bihar of deliberately misleading migrants, who returned home during the over-two-month-long lockdown, and urged them not to believe in the allegations levelled by these parties.
Shah was addressing the first virtual public rally, which could be seen as the soft launch of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s campaign for the Bihar assembly elections expected to take place in October-November.
“There is a deliberate attempt to mislead the people of Bihar and migrants should keep away from such allegations that are being levelled by opposition parties. The entire country respects migrant labourers who have always worked for the development of the country. PM (Narendra) Modi had reached out to all chief ministers to ensure that migrant labourers returning home should not face any problem."
According to officials figures, more than three million migrants have returned to their villages in Bihar, with around two million travelling by the special Shramik trains.
“I want to ask all Opposition parties, since they are criticizing the Union government...I want to know from them, what were you doing? Were you in Bihar or were you in Delhi? This is my question to the leaders who are criticizing the government," Shah said.
Speaking to voters and BJP workers across areas covering 60,000 polling booths, Shah also made it clear that the forthcoming elections will be contested under the leadership of chief minister Nitish Kumar.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had won 38 out of the 40 seats in the 2019 general elections, and the ruling alliance will also seek to dominate the assembly polls.
Kumar has been the chief minister of Bihar since 2005 and he will be trying for a fourth term as chief minister in the forthcoming election. The BJP had won only 53 seats in the 2015 assembly polls, and later formed the government with Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), or JD(U), which had won 71 seats.
Kumar had walked out of the NDA before the 2014 general elections to form an alliance with Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). The two alliance partners, along with the Congress, had won a mammoth majority in the 2015 assembly polls, before Kumar walked out of the alliance in August 2017 citing corruption allegations.
“The message of NDA is development, but the idea of governance of the Opposition parties is lawlessness, dynasty and corruption. The political parties that are in Opposition now have been in power for 15 years, but they did not do anything and, instead, only indulged in corruption. We should not forget the lawlessness in Bihar when Opposition parties were in power," said Sushil Modi, the deputy chief minister of Bihar.
Shah said the NDA had managed to end caste-based politics, dynastic politics and corruption over the last 15 years.
“NDA will get two-thirds majority in Bihar under chief minister Nitish Kumar, but this is not the time for political activity. It is the time to help the people who are facing difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic. We have helped Prime Minister Narendra Modi by helping as many people as possible," Shah told BJP workers.
BJP leaders have decided to deploy 10 million party workers in Bihar to carry out door-to-door campaigns before the assembly elections.