The considerable marketing skills of Bihar’s politicians would put any sharp salesman to shame, as the elaborate preparations for the upcoming anti-Nitish “Kisan Mahapanchayat” on May 9, translate like a veritable sales procurement blueprint.
For every major leader behind this “Mahapanchayat” has been handed with a “business procurement target” – that of gathering a sizable amount of followers from his allotted area.
It is as well, for this “show of strength” is in reality, a do-or-die situation for the many of the dissidents and the Opposition leaders, as they struggle to stay politically credible and relevant.
The five major dramatis personae in his high-stakes “credibility” play to be held in Patna’s Gandhi Maidan include JD (U) dissidents and bitter Nitish critics Rajiv Ranjan Singh “Lallan” and Prabhunath Singh, LJP’s Surajbhan Singh, RJD’s Akhilesh Prasad Singh and ex-JD (U) MP Digvijay Singh.
The chief objective of this rally - which is being staged by dissidents within the ruling Janata Dal (United) and prominent leaders in the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) - Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP) combine - is to protest against the state government’s allegedly anti-farmer measures while provoking Mr. Kumar to comment on the contentious issue of ‘bataidar’ (sharecropper) rights in this critical election year.
According to informed sources within the Mahapanchayat, the five stalwarts have divided between themselves a “target” of gathering a minimum of 30,000 upper-caste Bhumihar and Rajput farmers from 24 state districts.
Similarly, lesser leaders have been asked to gather at least 15,000 supporters from the remaining 14 state districts.
“Sunday’s rally will be the biggest ever to be held in Bihar in the last 20 or 25 years,” said RJD leader and former Union Minister, Mr. Akhilesh Prasad Singh, speaking to reporters today.
“This rally is for the benefit of the state’s farmers. He [Nitish] must clarify his stand on the ‘bataidar’ issue,” remarked ex-MP Prabhunath Singh, who has a dozen criminal cases pending against him.
If not anything, this massive ‘anti- Nitish’ ganging up certainly is a hyper-tech savvy affair indeed.
As part of the aggressive campaigning, the Mahapanchayat’s media cell has flooded the farmers’ mobiles and mailboxes with text messages and electronic mails, inviting them to the rally.
The logistics strategy is no less impressive as the planners have arranged no less than 35,000 private vehicles – SUVs, tempos, smaller cars - to ensure that their claques reach the venue on time.
“We have also arranged for 3 special trains to ferry farmers from all over the state,” said Mr. Akhilesh Prasad Singh.
Incidentally, the Left opposition too has started work in earnest with a massive rally organized by the Left parties coming up on May 10, a day after the Kisan Mahapanchayat.
Their objective is to attack the Nitish Kumar government on exactly the opposite issue – non-implementation of the ‘bataidari’ bill.