Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a dozen rallies in Bihar to campaign for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance ahead of the October-November election. According to the BJP, the PM will address three rallies a day and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will share the stage with him in at least one of them.
The Prime Minister's first rally will be held in Sasaram on October 23, next Friday. He will also visit Gaya and Bhagalpur the same day. His last will be on November 3 in Araria.
BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis, who is overseeing the party's Bihar campaign, said on October 28 (the first day of voting), PM Modi would visit Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur and Patna.
This is the first time that PM Modi is seeking votes for Nitish Kumar, a man who fiercely opposed his elevation as the BJP's prime ministerial face in 2013 and ended his alliance with the party over it.
Even when the alliance was in place, Nitish Kumar never allowed Mr Modi him to campaign in Bihar in the 2005 and 2010 elections, apparently fearing it would backfire with Muslim voters.
Ties between the two leaders have never been easy, right from their rivalry when PM Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat till 2014.
In 2017, when Nitish Kumar dumped Lalu Yadav and the Congress and resurrected his alliance with the BJP, he revised his stand on PM Modi and their bonhomie has been seen in many public events since. They also campaigned together for the Lok Sabha election last year when Nitish Kumar asked for votes for PM Modi.
In a virtual rally last month, PM Modi showered compliments on the Bihar Chief Minister and said with an associate like Nitish Kumar, anything is possible.
"If there is will and resolve and a sahyogi (associate) like Nitish Kumar, what is not possible?" PM Modi said, as he talked about rail projects that he said were delayed for years but fast-tracked by the NDA.
The praise also served as a message to another ally, Chirag Paswan, who has since declared that he will fight Nitish Kumar in the polls though he remains committed to his alliance with the BJP.
The PM as well as other BJP leaders have repeatedly underscored that the NDA is fighting the Bihar election under Nitish Kumar's leadership.
BJP leaders say PM Modi's rallies will set at rest the confusion created by Chirag Paswan, who has repeatedly claimed that he has the blessings of the BJP leadership. The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader has already been warned against using the PM's images for his campaign. Attempting a tricky balance, the BJP has detached itself from LJP in Bihar but retains it as a partner at the centre. "The rallies will dispel any notion that Paswan has PM Modi's support in Bihar," Mr Fadnavis said.