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Bihar assembly elections 2020: Why PM Modi raked up double engine govt slogan

(This story originally appeared in on Oct 24, 2020)

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who launched his campaign for Bihar assembly elections on Friday, once again raked up the “double engine government” slogan while seeking votes for the four-party NDA in the state.

Addressing his first rally in Sasaram, PM Modi said he had got only three to four years of time to work with Bihar chief minister and JDU president Nitish Kumar. During this limited period, he said, the two governments had done multifold works in the state.

He sought one more term from the voters for giant leaps to development.

Modi recalled that when he was the Gujarat CM and Nitish was his Bihar counterpart, they would attend meetings in Delhi and the latter would complain of non-cooperation from the Congress-led UPA government at the centre.

Between 2004 and 2014, Nitish was a part of the NDA while Manmohan Singh was the PM during the two consecutive terms of the UPA government.

Nitish quit the NDA after Modi became the PM in 2014 and installed Jitan Ram Manjhi as the Bihar CM for nine months. He contested the 2015 assembly elections as a Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) member along with Lalu Prasad-led RJD and the Congress.

However, the alliance collapsed and Nitish returned to the NDA fold in 2017.

Modi had first sought votes in the name of double engine government during campaigning for the 2014 Maharashtra and Haryana assembly elections after he became PM.

He had reasoned out that the BJP had come to power at the centre. The two states would get the strength of double engine if the BJP came to power there too.

While the Congress-NCP government led by Prithviraj Chavan was in power in Maharashtra, Congress government of Bhupinder Singh Hooda was ruling Haryana.

The BJP won the Haryana elections with a thumping majority and ML Khattar became the CM.

On the other hand, the BJP fell short of majority in Maharashtra. Though they had broken their age-old alliance over the number of seats to contest and fought separately, the BJP and the Shiv Sena realigned under Devendra Fadnavis.

Since then, Modi and home minister Amit Shah have sought votes in the name of double engine in not just all the assembly elections but also in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The last time they appealed to the voters in the name of double engine government was in this year’s Delhi assembly elections.