Union Home Minister Amit Shah will on Sunday address the people of Bihar in his first virtual rally, ahead of the Assembly elections in the state, the Hindustan Times reported. As the Bihar Assembly’s term ends on November 29, the elections are scheduled to be held later this year.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, the Janata Dal United and the Lok Janshakti Party are part of the National Democratic Alliance in the state. The BJP will contest the elections under the leadership of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The party is likely to be challenged by the Rashtriya Janata Dal-Congress combine, apart from other smaller parties.

Bihar BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal said that the Union minister will sound the poll bugle through the virtual rally, and it will also be broadcast live on Facebook. He said the party has a target of roping in “at least one lakh people across the 243 Assembly segments in the state”.

On Friday, the BJP had rejected Lok Janshakti Party national president Chirag Paswan’s proposal of backing the saffron party even if it decides to choose a different chief ministerial candidate. Paswan had recently also expressed his dissatisfaction over Nitish Kumar’s handling of the migrant crisis during the coronavirus pandemic.

But BJP’s Bihar in-charge Bhupendra Yadav said that Shah had already announced that “Nitish Kumar will be the face of the NDA in Bihar” and the BJP still stands by it. “Nitishji will be our face and forthcoming elections will be contested on the policies and achievements of both Centre and the state,” Yadav said.

Meanwhile, the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav protested against BJP’s virtual rally, calling his protest the “Garib Adhikar Diwas”. Along with Tejashwi Yadav, RJD leaders Rabri Devi, Tej Pratap Yadav and others stood in circular markings to maintain physical distancing and banged utensils. Tejashwi Yadav said the NDA government should give an assistance of Rs 10,000 to the migrant workers.

On Saturday, Tejashwi Yadav had said that the BJP’s rally at the time of the coronavirus crisis was “political vulturism”, PTI reported. He alleged that the BJP’s only interest was winning the elections, even at the cost of human lives.

With no means to support themselves and public transport suspended, several migrant workers were stranded amid the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus on March 25. The Centre only began running shramik special trains on May 1 to help migrants reach home. However, by this time, thousands of workers had already begun walking home or looking for other means of transport. Many also died along the way. The Centre has been severely criticised for its handling of the migrant crisis during the pandemic.

Tejashwi Yadav also accused the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government of meting out “step-motherly” treatment to migrant labourers. He said that this would be a major issue during the Assembly elections. The RJD leader said that he was hopeful that like-minded parties will come together to fight the “divisive and a failed government of 15 years” in the state.

During the 2015 Assembly elections, the NDA lost to the grand alliance of the RJD-JD(U)-Congress. However, Nitish Kumar broke ties with his allies in 2017, and entered the saffron alliance again after a gap of over four years.

Earlier in March, Kumar had said that his Janata Dal (United), along with the National Democratic Alliance, will win more than 200 of the total 243 seats in the upcoming elections.

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