In a proverbial last throw of dice, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday said that the ongoing Assembly elections in the state would be his last, ANI reported.
“All is well that ends well. This is my last election,” Kumar said, while addressing an election rally in Purnea district. “Will you not vote for me now,” he asked the people present at the rally.
The Janata Dal (United) leader is seeking his third consecutive term as chief minister of the state. The JD(U) and BJP are contesting the ongoing Bihar Assembly elections together while the opposition Grand Alliance comprises the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress and Left parties.
The third phase of the Bihar elections will see 78 constituencies go to polls on November 7. The first phase on October 28 witnessed nearly 55% turnout across 71 seats, while the 94 seats in the second phase recorded over 53% turnout.
The results for all 243 seats will be declared on November 10.
On Thursday, the last day of campaigning for the third phase of elections, Kumar addressed multiple rallies in the Muslim-dominated Seemanchal region, most of which will go to polls on Saturday.
The chief minister made a pitch to minorities by saying that his government had increased salaries for teachers in madrasas. In a region that saw widespread protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act last year, Kumar said “nobody can send anyone out of the country”, ANI reported.
On Wednesday also, Nitish Kumar had reached out to Muslim voters in Seemanchal region by allaying fears over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. In doing so, the Janata Dal (United) chief criticised Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath who also happens to be a popular face of ally Bharatiya Janata Party.
“Who does all this malicious campaigning?” Kumar had said on Wednesday. “Who says all this faltu baat [nonsense]? Who will throw out people? No one dares do that. Everyone belongs to this country, everyone is Indian.” The Seemanchal region in the state’s northeast has a sizeable minority community. Although Kumar did not name anyone during his speech, it was apparent that he was referring to Adityanath’s remark.
On Tuesday, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister spoke about the new law while addressing a rally in Katihar. “Modiji has found a solution for the infiltration issue,” Adityanath had said. “With the CAA [Citizenship Amendment Act], he ensured the safety of the tortured minorities of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The centre also said any infiltrator who tries to breach the security of the country will be thrown out. We will not tolerate anyone who messes with the country’s security and sovereignty.”