The crucial electoral battle in Bihar is no longer limited to the boundaries of the State as the Bharatiya Janata Party is canvassing support of Bihari migrants in Maharashtra, largely in Mumbai, and Gujarat.
On Sunday, the BJP held a special meeting of Biharis living here to ensure that their families back in Bihar vote for the party in the Assembly elections. While this was the first such rally to be held here, the party has been organising informal meetings and group discussions in areas with a higher concentration of Biharis.
BJP vice-president Dinesh Sharma, who was here last week to address three such gatherings, said the party would leave no stone unturned to win the elections. “The people who have come here for a livelihood have influence on their families back home. We are trying to persuade them to ask their families to vote for the BJP,” he said.
Dr. Sharma, in charge of the affairs of the party in Gujarat, said a sizeable Bihari population had migrated there in search of livelihood. “We are organising similar meetings in cities such as Surat, Ahmedabad and Vadodara,” he said.
The party is targeting mostly the western suburbs of Mumbai, which has a substantial Bihari presence. According to a party estimate, around 10 lakh Biharis have migrated to Mumbai.
“We are telling them that the misrule in the past has forced them to leave their houses and families. Only the BJP can bring economic prosperity,” said Amarjeet Mishra, a BJP leader from Mumbai.