While the JD(U) has embarked on a “hi-tech” campaign led by publicity manager Prashant Kishore ahead of the Bihar assembly polls, its alliance partner RJD has a different plan to woo voters.
The Lalu Prasad-led party has decided to engage 1,000 tongas from the first week of August.
“Our candidate would sit on a tonga to move about in his or her constituency. As tongas move at a slow pace compared to a car, it will give more time to the candidate to connect with voters. The tongas will bear the party’s green flag. We would flag off the first set of tongas from Patna soon,” said RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
RJD spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari told The Indian Express: “Most people still live in villages and we need to reach out to our cadre using conventional methods. Tongas are part of our culture. It is not a matter of rural and urban divide, but a matter of connecting with maximum voters”.
Tiwari said that the party leaders would observe a fast against the Centre not releasing findings of the caste census on July 26 and follow it up by enforcing a Bihar bandh on July 27. The tonga rallies, he said, could get underway by the first week of August.
“We have already started hiring tongas. District units have been asked to engage tongawalas,” said Tiwari. JD (U) MP R C P Singh praised RJD’s tonga campaign plan, saying “tongas are good and part of our culture”.
Meanwhile, RJD leaders are learnt to be peeved at JD(U) focusing mainly on solo campaigns. “We need more show of solidarity and Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad sharing the dais more often,” said an RJD leader. He added that the message of an unified alliance had not gone out to the people yet and added that RJD leaders were getting demotivated with the two parties not sharing the campaign space.
JD(U), on the other hand, is learnt to be planning a joint meeting of RJD and JD (U) workers in August. JD(U) national president Sharad Yadav is would be attending the fast by Lalu Prasad on the caste census issue.
The party’s state president Bashistha Narayan Singh said, “We will soon be holding joint programmes.”