With its early adoption of digital technologies and lack of resource constraints, BJP is the only political party heading into the Bihar assembly elections without worrying too much about reaching out to the electorate amid the coronavirus scare. So powerful has been BJP’s early surge that a clutch of opposition parties led by RJD have opposed its virtual rallies citing the need for a level-playing field. The demand of the parties is unlikely to be accepted by the Election Commission as this is a safe mode of campaigning.
Conversely, parties can save themselves the cost of transportation and organising large physical rallies by adopting technologies like Zoom. Reports also indicate that BJP has moved to create a vast Whatsapp group infrastructure down to the booth level to amplify its messaging. It is even possible that this election could see the BJP upstage chief minister Nitish Kumar and JD(U) with Nitish unable to leverage his connect with voters through ground rallies.
BJP will also take heart at the rumblings within the opposition camp. Tejashwi Yadav has lost acceptability among RJD’s allies and Congress appears to be weighing the possibility of testing political openings created by Lalu Prasad Yadav’s eclipse. BJP’s ultimate ambition has been to shake off the ally baggage in Bihar, as it could in Maharashtra. While BJP has reaffirmed Nitish’s primacy, nothing is permanent in politics and it is entirely within the realm of possibility that technology could hasten the next big disruption in Bihar politics.