narendra modi, bjp campaign in bihar
Patna: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a massive rally in Bihar's Muzaffarpur today afternoon in what is the formal launch of the BJP's poll campaign for the crucial assembly elections due later this year. The BJP is hoping to replicate its resounding victory in the state in the Lok Sabha polls last year as it takes on the combined might of foes-turned-friends, Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad. "Pradhan Mantri Modi ki Muzaffarpur rally se chunav ka agaaz hoga (Prime Minister Modi's rally at Muzaffarpur will kick off the campaign for polls)," Union Minister Radha Mohan Singh said on Friday. Massive preparations are on at the Chakkar Maidan in the north Bihar town for the rally which is expected to senior leaders of the BJP as well as key allies of the NDA in attendance There is speculation that the Prime Minister may announce a special economic package for the state, a longstanding demand of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar whose Janata Dal (United) parted ways with the BJP in 2013 over its decision to project Mr Modi as its prime ministerial candidate. Prior to the rally at Muzaffarpur, PM Modi will visit Patna where is expected to launch a slew of developmental projects and schemes; he will flag off two new trains, inaugurate an IIT campus, a gas pipeline scheme as well as a rural electrification scheme. Interestingly, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, one of the fiercest critics of the Prime Minister and his party's main rival in the state, will be accompanying Mr Modi at these functions. "Hum toh jayenge... Jab nimantran mila hai to sarkari kaaryakram mein kyun nahi jayenge (I will go... If I have been invited, then why will I not attend government functions," Mr Kumar said. For years, the BJP was the ruling Janata Dal (United)'s junior partner. In the national election last year, months after Nitish Kumar's JD(U) ended its alliance with the BJP, the latter came back strongly winning 31 of Bihar's 40 seats.