Nitish hits poll trail on Diwali, rivals in festive spirit


Patna : While his political rivals are in a festive mood, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is campaigning Friday for the ongoing state assembly polls instead of celebrating Diwali.

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“Nitish Kumar will address three public rallies for campaign till 2-3 p.m. Friday instead of usual 5-6 p.m. to seek people’s votes on Diwali,” an official said.

“He will again leave for campaigning Saturday morning,” the official added.

While Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad will conduct a road show Friday at Phulwari Sharief on the outskirt of Patna for the fifth phase of the polls slated for Nov 9, his wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi will rest at home. They both will later celebrate Diwali with their daughters and sons here.

“Lalu-ji and Tejaswi (son) will leave Patna Saturday morning for campaign as they will address election meetings but Rabri Devi will stay away from campaigning till Chhath, a popular festival in Bihar Nov 13,” a RJD leader said.

Other leading politicians — Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United (JD-U) president Sharad Yadav and Lalu Prasad’s RJD alliance partner Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan — have already left Bihar to celebrate Diwali with their families.

According to JD-U leaders, Sharad Yadav will not campaign till Nov 14.

“Sharad Yadav Thursday left for Delhi to celebrate Diwali and will stay away from campaigning till Chhath and will join campaign Nov 15,” a JD-U leader said.

Ram Vilas Paswan will also not campaign till Sunday as he will stay in Delhi with his family.

The last two rounds of the six-phase polls will be held Nov 9 and Nov 20. Votes will be counted Nov 24.

Till now, the four phases of the state elections — to pick a new 243-member legislative assembly — have passed off peacefully except stray incidents of violence.