Patna: BJP president Amit Shah is set to kick-start `Mission Bihar` here Friday to woo the extremely backward castes (EBCs) on the birth anniversary of former chief minister Karpoori Thakur.
Shah will address a public meeting being organised by the BJP`s EBCs wing to claim the socialist leader`s legacy in the election year, state BJP president Mangal Pandey said.
It will be Shah`s first visit to Bihar after becoming the BJP president.
Shah will arrive here Friday on a two-day visit (Jan 23-24) to take stock of the party`s preparation first hand by meeting party leaders and workers from panchayat to district level, a senior BJP leader said.
Shah`s visit assumes significance as Lalu Prasad`s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Janata Dal-United (JD-U) of Nitish Kumar are set to merge in the state.
"BJP is eyeing to make a dent in the social support base of the EBCs by celebrating Thakur`s birth anniversary in a big way this time ahead of crucial state assembly polls later this year," JD-U leader Neeraj Kumar said.
State BJP president Pandey said the mere news of Shah`s visit to Bihar has already created a "feel good" feeling among party leaders and workers. "Shah`s visit will boost the confidence and morale of the party in the election year."
Earlier this month, Shah had held a meeting in Delhi with the BJP`s core group from Bihar to discuss the party`s strategy for the assembly polls.
With an ambitious target of winning 185 seats in the 243-member assembly, Shah asked BJP leaders from Bihar to strengthen the party`s connect with the people and aim to repeat the party`s performance in the recent Lok Sabha polls when it had won 31 out of 40 seats.
The BJP has set another goal of enrolling 75 lakh members in Bihar alone during its nationwide membership drive targeting 10 crore new members.
Popularly known as `Jan Nayak` (people`s leader), Karpoori Thakur was one of the socialist leaders close to Jayaprakash Narayan who spearheaded the movement for total revolution as well as protests against the Emergency (1975-77) during Congress rule.
Belonging to the extremely backward castes (EBCs), Thakur emerged as an important icon for consolidating EBC votes in caste-ridden Bihar. The EBCs are a cluster of over 100 castes accounting for around 32 percent of the electorate.
Karpoori Thakur was Bihar`s chief minister from December 1970 to June 1971 and from December 1977 to April 1979. He died in 1988.