Other than 15 years of Kumar’s incumbency causing an apparent fatigue among voters, a multitude of issues was stacked against the NDA, starting with the Covid-19 pandemic, economic distress and, migration, which had built up into what could have been a perfect storm.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign — during which he highlighted welfare schemes, including those enhanced during the pandemic, development projects of the Centre and pro-women initiatives — was seen to have shored up NDA’s fortunes. He also made a concerted bid to remind people of the “alternative” to “jungle raj” associated with the rival’s terms in office. It also served to emphasise Modi’s “pro-poor” approach which is seen to have created a wide band of support for the PM.
RJD’s efforts to focus the campaign on issues of employment in a bid to expand the core Muslim-Yadav umbrella were hampered by a consistent effort by the BJP to put the spotlight on RJD’s record in office, questioning its ability to make good its promises.
The direct transfers under ‘Prime Minister Samman Nidhi’ scheme were executed effectively in Bihar with almost all farmers, registered under the scheme, credited with the assured sum.
The total beneficiaries in the state was 75,72,620 in the August-November period. Of them, 74,79,184 (Rs 2,000 each) received the payment, which comes to around 99% getting the payment. In the April to July period, 73,30,294 farmers, or almost 97%, received the payment.
The precision in timely payments to all registered farmers played a crucial role in convincing people that the Modi government was committed to bail out the distressed lot during the pandemic.
The distribution of free ration under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, launched by Modi in March in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, was meticulously done in the state. From July to October, 17,42,328 tonnes of foodgrain was allocated to the state of which 12,69,855 tonnes was distributed.
Just before the poll dates were announced, Modi launched and inaugurated a slew of Bihar-related projects and once again asserted that ‘Purvanchal’ states like Bihar, West Bengal and the north-east were top priority for his dispensation. The state also recorded good progress in provided drinking water connections to households.