Patna, Jul 31: A much-anticipated virtual rally of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar next week, where he was expected to sound the bugle for assembly polls, has been put off for the time being in view of raging problems of COVID and floods in the state, a top JD(U) leader said here on Friday.

In a statement, the Janata Dal (United) state unit president Vashishtha Narayan Singh said the rally, scheduled for August 7, has been postponed “in view of coronavirus pandemic and floods”.

Nearly four million people in north Bihar have been affected by the floods caused by a rise in water levels of rivers originating in Nepal. Novel coronavirus has also ripped through the state with the count of positive cases touching almost 50,000, while 285 patients have died due to virus.

A fresh date for the virtual rally will be decided in due course, the statement added. Senior leaders of the party, of which the chief minister is the national president, had been busy holding orientation workshops for grassroots-level workers over video conferences for the past two weeks.

Prominent among those who took part in the exercise included the party’s leaders in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, RCP Singh and Rajiv Ranjan alias Lalan Singh respectively, and state ministers Sanjay Kumar Jha, Bijendra Yadav and Ashok Choudhary.

Kumar, who was earlier holding district-wise interactions with the party workers and leaders through video conferencing, has stopped all such excercise and holding regular review meetings with the senior officials to fight the twin problems-coronavirus and floods. The JD(U) has asked its workers to render help to flood victims in the 14 districts hit by deluge.

As part of preparation for the upcoming state polls, RCP Singh, who also holds the key party post of national general secretary (organization), had coined a new catchphrase “main bhi hoon Nitish Kumar” (I too am Nitish Kumar) in a bid to enthuse the party foot soldiers.

The catchphrase was said to be inspired from a poem penned by JD(U) media cell chief Amardeep and bore a canny resemblance to the “main bhi chowkidar” slogan adopted by the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls last year which it won with a thumping majority.

Incidentally, the BJP shares power with the JD(U) in the state, and the combine had been drawing flak from the opposition for being busy with electioneering at a time when the state was rocked by its worst spike in COVID 19 cases, which necessitated the re-imposition of the lockdown.

Parties such as the Congress and the RJD have also been insisting that either the assembly polls, scheduled in October-November, be deferred or “traditional” mode of campaign be allowed since digital electioneering put them at a disadvantage.

Source: PTI