Bihar will witness a major show of strength between the ruling Mahagathbandhan and opposition NDA today as Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the BJP's principal strategist, criss-cross the state as they campaign for their respective political fronts.
Mr Kumar will hold a joint rally of the 'Mahagathbandhan' at Purnia in the eastern part of the state. The septuagenarian Chief Minister will be joined by his deputy Tejashwi Yadav and leaders of smaller allies like the Congress and the Left in a display of the "united opposition" which Mr Kumar, in particular, believes can defeat the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Tejashwi Yadav's father and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) President Lalu Yadav, who recently returned to India after undergoing a kidney transplant surgery in Singapore, is also expected to make an appearance via video.
More than 400 km away, Amit Shah will address a public meeting in Balmiki Nagar Lok Sabha constituency, a party stronghold that was given away to the chief minister's JD(U) in 2019 as part of seat-sharing arrangements. After addressing a party meeting there, Mr Shah will fly to Patna to address another meeting of farmers.
The home minister, who is visiting Bihar after a gap of more than four months, is also scheduled to pay his respects at Takht Harmandir Patna Sahib, the world-renowned Sikh shrine situated at the place where Guru Gobind Singh was born and had spent his early years.
"The BJP stands on the two pillars of organisational strength and ideological commitment and the Union Home Minister's Bihar visit is a reaffirmation of the same. The Mahagathbandhan, on the other hand, has chosen the communally sensitive Seemanchal area to play its card of Muslim appeasement," state BJP spokesman and OBC Morcha national general secretary Nikhil Anand said, according to PTI.
The RJD, which is the largest constituent of the "Mahagathbandhan", has alleged that Amit Shah's visit will "accomplish little".
"BJP has one job in the nation, to spread hate in the society and create riots. On the other side, we will give out a message of peace and harmony. The people of Bihar have decided to remove the BJP from power in 2024," Tejashwi Yadav was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.