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National Herald Case: Sonia, Rahul have got bail, not medal, says Prakash Javadekar

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Reacting to Sonia and Rahul’s barb against Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing him of levelling ‘false allegations’ against them, Javadekar said, “NDA government has nothing to do with the National Herald case.”

Prakash Javadekar

Union Environment Minister and senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar on Saturday said the local court has granted bail, not medal, to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi, and he failed to understand why the Congress was in a celebratory mood.”I don’t understand why the Congress is celebrating the bail given by court to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. They have got bail, not a medal,” Javadekar told reporters here on the sidelines of an event here, adding that “The court has also found the offence cognisable.” Rahul and Sonia had sought and were granted bail in the National Herald case after the court in Delhi rejected complainant Subramanian Swamy’s opposition to relief for them on the ground that they are influential and can flee the country.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Swamy had lodged a private criminal complaint against the mother and son for cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust. Reacting to Sonia and Rahul’s barb against Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing him of levelling ‘false allegations’ against them, Javadekar said, “NDA government has nothing to do with the National Herald case.”
Seizing the opportunity, the Congress leadership has turned the legal battle into a political one accusing Modi of deliberatley targeting the Opposition and making full use of the state agencies to do so.This was the first time that the Gandhis appeared before a court in pursuance of the summons issued to them on December 8.

OROP: Ex-servicemen threatens to intensify stir, if demands not met within 3 weeks

The United Front of Ex-servicemen (UFES), an umbrella body of associations of ex-servicemen which is leading the protest, demanded that the Centre appoints “formally” former Army Chief and Union Minister V K Singh as the mediator between them and the government to resolve the issue “immediately”.

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PTI
Ex-servicemen agitating over the ‘One Rank, One Pension’ (OROP) issue on Sunday threatened to intensify the protest if their demands were not met by the Centre within three weeks even as they decided to not vote for BJP in the upcoming assembly elections.The United Front of Ex-servicemen (UFES), an umbrella body of associations of ex-servicemen which is leading the protest, demanded that the Centre appoints “formally” former Army Chief and Union Minister V K Singh as the mediator between them and the government to resolve the issue “immediately”. The veterans “gave” 15 days’ time to the government to “correct” its OROP scheme in line with the protesters’ expectations — failing which a seven-day notice period will be given to the government before the protest is intensified.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are giving the government 15 days’ time, requesting the government for mediation and after that we will give them seven days’ notice. “Issue an order today itself empowering V K Singh to mediate with us and discuss the issue with us and resolve it within three-four days by removing seven discrepancies in the government OROP,” major general (retd) Satbir Singh, who is leading the protest, said. Singh made the demand during ‘Sainik Aakrosh’ rally organised by UFES at Jantar Mantar here.Aiming to mount pressure on the NDA government, the UFES urged its members to not vote for the BJP in the upcoming assembly elections in several including Assam. The veterans claimed it were the votes of ex-servicemen which helped BJP improve its tally in the 2014 Lok Sabha – more than what the NDA major itself had expected, they claimed. However, the government has “cheated” veterans by not giving the OROP they wanted and BJP had promised to give, Singh said.”You saw what happened to the party in Delhi and recently Bihar. We urge the members to not vote for it in upcoming polls now if our demands are ignored,” he added. The UFES also called upon ex-servicemen present at the rally to boycott Republic Day celebrations this year. Major general (retd) Singh also hit out at Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for stating that the government’s OROP formula was accepted by most of the ex-servicemen’s organisations and that only a small section had some issues with it. “He (Jaitley) should come here and see the number of people who have turned up here,” Singh said, pointing towards the gathering.”The number would be even bigger had our other colleagues reached here in time. Jaitley claims their OROP is acceptable to most of us, it is a lie. More than 99.99 per cent of us are against it,” he claimed. Singh also challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jaitley and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to face a debate with UFES on the issue and added that the ex-servicemen will call of the movement if proved wrong.Singh also announced the UFES rejected 7th pay commission report, saying it is over and above OROP. The rally was also addressed by Colonel Inderjit Singh, who is considered to have begun the fight for OROP. He urged the ex-servicemen to stay “united” for their rights.The government came out with a notification on OROP on November 7 but the veterans still remain unsatisfied. They have demanded that OROP should be implemented from April 1, 2014 and not July 1, 2015 as in the government notification. OROP principle is in perpetuity and cannot be fiddled with, they maintain.

GST Bill: Congress says ball is in govt’s court

Congress has put forward three “concrete” points for consideration of the government but it is yet to get a reply.

GST

Courtesy: Priya Saraf
Congress on Monday put the onus of ensuring passage of the GST Bill on the government, saying it is yet to revert to the opposition parties on their concerns.”Ball is in their court. Government has to take a call and revert to opposition parties as to how GST Bill does not become a kill-GST Bill but rather remains an effective GST Bill,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters here.He said the Congress has put forward three “concrete” points for consideration of the government but it is yet to get a reply.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an apparent reference to the Arvind Subramanian panel suggestions, the Congress spokesperson said, “Government has also finally relented and has seen the voice of the reason.” “Congress party has clearly stated that GST is a Bill that was conceived and was presented to Parliament and the nation by the Congress party,” Surjewala said.The government has listed the goods and services tax (GST) bill for consideration in the Rajya Sabha this week, without securing a commitment from the Congress, whose support is essential for the passage of the legislation that requires a constitutional amendment.The bill seeks to bring all goods and services under a uniform tax regime but has been stuck in the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling NDA is in a minority, on some key points.The Lok Sabha has passed the bill.

Shiv Sena asks RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to announce a date to begin construction of Ram Temple

“This issue cannot be prolonged anymore. It needs to be finished now. The blood that has been shed over the issue should not be disrespected,” an editorial in Saamana said

Mohan Bhagwat
File Photo

Welcoming RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s remarks on construction of a Ram temple during his lifetime, the Shiv Sena on Saturday said he should announce a date for its commencement.”We welcome the stand taken by Mohan Bhagwat on the issue. He should now announce a date for the commencement of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya to give an impetus to the issue…. If a temple cannot be built there despite the bloodshed that happened over the issue, what about the hundreds of people who sacrificed their lives for the cause,” the Sena said in an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: Mohan Bhagwat asks society to prepare for a grand Ram templeIt said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the “courage” to build a Ram Temple in Ayodhya and that his popularity will only increase once he takes the issue in his hands. “To show that it is not only the minorities who are pampered by the government, construction of a Ram temple is a necessity…. If it is not built now, it can never be built,” it said.”This issue cannot be prolonged anymore. It needs to be finished now. The blood that has been shed over the issue should not be disrespected,” the Sena, which is an NDA constituent, said.Bhagwat had on Wednesday said, “The grand goal may be realised in our own time. May be we can see it with our own eyes.” “None can say when and how the temple will be constructed, but we need to be prepared and ready,” he had said.

Bihar alcohol ban may be limited to country-made liquor

Fulfilling a promise he had made to women before the assembly elections in the state, Nitish Kumar had on November 26, announced his plan to effect a liquor ban in the state next year.

Though Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced that alcohol will be banned in Bihar from April 1 next year, some reports say the ban could be limited only to country-made liquor.Fulfilling a promise he had made to women before the assembly elections in the state, Nitish Kumar had on November 26, announced his plan to effect a liquor ban in the state next year.However, a revenue deficit of Rs 5,500 crore that the ban is likely to bring on, may limit the ban to only country-made liquor, according to a report in a leading daily. “Ban on country-made liquor will be effected first, and IMFL, if it’s economically feasible, later,” a revenue and excise department official told the daily. The ban would be staggered at the very least, an official from an Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) company added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, AJ Mastan, Bihar Minister, Registration & Excise insisted that all kinds of alcohol would be banned. “The government feels that alcohol is death, will a government sell death?” he said. Bihar earns a revenue of Rs 400 crore annually from liquor sale.During his election campaign, women had requested Nitish Kumar at a function to stop the sale of liquor, saying it was ruining their homes and Kumar had promised to do so if he returned to power. The promise is believed to have paid rich dividends to Kumar in the elections as women voters outnumbered men by nearly 5% in all five phases of voting.The erstwhile ruling NDA in Bihar had implemented a liberal excise policy under the earlier government, headed by Kumar himself, due to which a large number of liquor shops had come up in the state. Also Read: Why Nitish Kumar’s plan to ban alcohol in Bihar is flawed

Number of ‘communal’ incidents down since NDA in power: Kiren Rijiju

Amid heated exchanges between the opposition and treasury benches, he said while there has been some rise in incidents between 2014 and 2015, but compared to 2013, they have come down.

He also said he would not like to comment on the communal incidents which took place during the UPA rule.

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The number of communal incidents in the country have declined “substantially” since the NDA government has come to power, the government said in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.Responding to a series of supplementaries on communal incidents in various parts of the country, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said between 2013 and October this year, the number of communal incidents reported have come down “substantially.” As opposition members questioned his remark, the minister said so far this year four major communal incidents have taken place. “In fact, the incidents have gone down and not come up since our party has come to power,” he said during Question Hour.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid heated exchanges between the opposition and treasury benches, he said while there has been some rise in incidents between 2014 and 2015, but compared to 2013, they have come down. He said he was comparing the number of incidents since 2013 as NDA was not in power for the entire of 2014 but only part of it. He also said he would not like to comment on the communal incidents which took place during the UPA rule.In the written reply, government has explained that ‘major events’ are classified as those where over five persons have been killed or 10 injured or which lead to multiplicity of fatalities and extensive destruction of property.’Important events’ are classified where at least one person has been killed or at least 10 persons are injured.According to the written reply, in 2014, 644 ‘communal incidents’ took place, including 133 in UP, 72 in Rajasthan, 97 in Maharashtra, 56 in Madhya Pradesh, 73 in Karnataka, 10 in Jharkhand, 74 in Gujarat, 7 in Delhi, 61 in Bihar and 16 in West Bengal. This year, between January and October, 650 incidents have taken place with a maximum of 139 taking place in Uttar Pradesh.While 97 incidents were reported from Maharashtra, 86 from Madhya Pradesh, 79 from Karnataka, 24 from Jharkhand, 47 from Gujarat, 59 from Bihar and 24 from West Bengal. Rijiju rejected suggestions by Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge that there have been more communal clashes in states where BJP has “more presence” such as Gujarat, Karnataka and Bihar. “It is not a fair comment. What Kharge says does not tally with the figures. It is the responsibility of state government or MPs,” the minister asked.

Congress open for ‘understanding’ with parties to defeat BJP in Assam, says Tarun Gogoi

Holding a press conference in Guwahati, Gogoi also said that BJP has no local leadership in the state and was dominated by “Hindi-speaking” leaders from outside.

Tarun Gogoi

Ruling Congress will not go for any pre-poll alliance with any party in the Assembly polls next year but is open for “understanding” to defeat communal forces, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said on Monday.Holding a press conference in Guwahati, Gogoi also said that BJP has no local leadership in the state and was dominated by “Hindi-speaking” leaders from outside. “We will not go for an alliance before the polls. We are only for understanding with any party. We must fight communal forces like BJP,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress is open for an understanding with opposition parties like AGP, AIUDF and even RTI activist Akhil Gogoi-led farmers’ body Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti to defeat the BJP in the forthcoming Assembly polls, he added. “I want understanding with one and all, including the media and intellectuals,” Gogoi said.Referring to NDA’s drubbing in Bihar polls, he said, “It was the battle of Kurukshetra and they were defeated very pathetically. They are now nervous and engaged in false propaganda against me here.”Launching attack on local BJP leadership, “BJP in Assam is run by Hindigiri. The local leaders are spineless.They do not have the Assamese blood in their veins.” Taking swipe at turncoat Himanta Biswa Sarma, the chief minister described his former party colleague and now BJP leader as an “opportunist”. “He is like a professional singer. While Himanta was with me, I was the best person on earth. Now there is no one worse than me. He does not have any commitment to any ideology or party,” Gogoi said.He added that the state government will bring a White Paper by December 20 regarding the Centre’s contribution to Assam during NDA tenure against the UPA rule. He also criticised the Centre for failing to control rising prices of essential items, including food.

‘Chai Pe Charcha’ has become ‘Gai Pe Charcha’: Jyotiraditya Scindia hits out at NDA

Scindia had also alleged that the NDA government has moved from “chai pe charcha” to “gai (cow) pe charcha” and demanded that PM Narendra Modi break his silence on the issue.

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Scores of Youth Congress workers who assembled at Jantar Mantar agitating against the alleged growing “intolerance” in the country, have been detained. Demanding that the Prime Minister break his silence on the issue, the activists marched towards the Parliament for a “Sansad Gherao”, following which the police used water canons to disperse them midway. According to police officials, around 250 protestors were detained and taken to Parliament Street police station. The agitating workers were earlier addressed by Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia who accused the BJP-led NDA government of failing to contain the issue of rising intolerance in the country. “The atmosphere of intolerance has been created by BJP and we have to get rid of it. Their ministers and MPs are making irresponsible comments and they are silent. Their Assam Governor says that India is for Hindus and Muslims can go to Pakistan or Syria…they are forgetting that India is a united country,” he said in his address.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>
Scindia had also alleged that the NDA government has moved from “chai pe charcha” to “gai (cow) pe charcha” and demanded that PM Narendra Modi break his silence on the issue.Indian Youth Congress’ national president Amarinder Singh Raja Brar, who was also among those detained, said, “intolerance will not be tolerated, PM Modi should speak up on this issue and should tell the people how his government will handle the growing intolerant environment in the country.” “There should have been an appropriate action against those leaders who have repeatedly fuelled the issue with their comments,” he added.The protesters also targeted the government for the price hike of essential commodities as well, especially onions and potatoes. Few party workers also alleged that they were injured during the protest.

Nitish Kumar-Lalu Prasad ego clash to bring mid-term poll, predicts Ram Vilas Paswan

RJD, JD(U) and Congress had not forged the alliance on the basis of principle, and, as a result of which, egos of top leaders are bound to clash sooner than later, he said.

RJD, JD(U) and Congress had not forged the alliance on the basis of principle, he said.

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LJP president Ramvilas Paswan on Saturday said the Grand Alliance will not complete its full term and force a mid-term poll in Bihar due to ego clash between its top leaders, a reference to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad. “The Grand Alliance may have won a landslide mandate in the polls, but its government will not complete its full term as the egos of its leaders are bound to clash soon plunging Bihar into a political crisis followed by mid-term polls,” Paswan told reporters on the sidelines of his party’s 15th foundation day celebrations.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>RJD, JD(U) and Congress had not forged the alliance on the basis of principle, and, as a result of which, egos of top leaders are bound to clash sooner than later, he said. The Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister, however, chose not to offer any comment on inclusion of Prasad’s sons, Tejaswi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav as number two and three ministers respectively in the Nitish Kumar ministry. On Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s announcement to ban liquor in Bihar from April 1 next year, he hailed the step, but asked the former as to how will he compensate the people over deaths in family or financial losses due to sale and consumption of liquor over the past decade.On the debacle of the NDA which won only 58 seats against the GA’s 178 in the polls, Paswan maintained his earlier stand that it was not the defeat of the BJP-led coalition, but that of the people of Bihar as the NDA had contested on the sole agenda of development of the state. In a move to boost morale of his party workers, Paswan asked them to forget poll reversal and get on with the task of strengthening the party in Bihar. Paswan’s son Chirag, who heads the LJP parliamentary board, also addressed the media and said that the NDA lost the Bihar Assembly polls as the positive mood in its favour since the general elections last year waned steadily. Describing the new Grand Alliance government as ‘old wine in new bottle’, he said people should not pin great hopes on the Nitish Kumar government as it will not be able to deliver on its various promises.

Winter Session: Failure to pass GST will cost India dear; BJP shouldn’t let that happen

Parliament’s Winter Session, which started today (Thursday) and follows a wasted monsoon session, is crucial not just for the NDA government but for Narendra Modi himself to reaffirm his reform intent to the world.

If Modi fails to deliver in this session that would send a horribly wrong signal to the world on India’s prospects to advance on the reform front.

The House will get down to actual business only on Monday with the first two days dedicated to discuss constitution. The Congress-led opposition is likely to do what any opposition in India does best — try creating obstructions to the incumbents to score brownie points by winning key legislations.

The BJP can’t complain if the Congress takes the obstructionist path because the BJP too had done no different in the past when it was in the opposition, even on the critical GST Bill.

PM Narendra Modi. PTIPM Narendra Modi. PTI

PM Narendra Modi. PTI

This time around, the BJP’s motormouths and some of Modi’s ministerial colleagues have given ample ammunition to Congress-led opposition to do a repeat of Monsoon-session theatrics. For sure, the entire issue on ‘intolerance’ will play out in full force, with the Congress likely to raise issues like murder of free-thinkers and attacks on minorities (read beef killings) and controversial comments by BJP ministers.

The only way the BJP can avoid an intolerance wash-out is if Modi himself takes the lead and makes the government’s stance clear and this is precisely what the Congress has been demanding. If the BJP tries to play down the issue and not address it, a replay of Monsoon session is well on the cards.

There are other issues too, where the opposition will also try to corner the government such as price rise of essential food items, mainly pulses.

The BJP’s Bihar defeat, which ended Modi’s political invincibility, would give more teeth to the Congress-led opposition to face the BJP, compared with the Monsoon-session.

GST – a political and economic challenge

If the GST Bill doesn’t get passed in the Winter Session, the government will miss the 1 April roll-out date.

For the outside world, where Modi has hard-sold the India story, the passage of key reform Bills in the Winter Session is all that matters. Particularly so, since the Land Bill is almost off the table for now with the power to decide on land acquisition now resting with the state governments.

If the Modi government can make GST happen, it will be seen as a big victory of this government by the investor community and the biggest reform India has witnessed in a decade. The GST will subsume several different taxes into one and will significantly improve the tax revenues over a period of time.

Economists estimate up to 2 percent addition to the country’s GDP when GST improves tax revenues.

Its passage can silence Modi’s critics who have cited absence of major reforms, except a few incremental steps and FDI liberalisation. This will also give ample time to the NDA government to work on rest of the reform agenda, such as Land and labour reforms.

Tackling Congress

The Congress party has been demanding certain changes in the GST Bill, but they do not seem to be in a mood to block the it if the BJP is ready to address their concerns and arrive at a mutually agreeable formula. This is partly because Congress realises that beyond a point, opposing GST will give them the tag of a reform-spoiler, which wouldn’t do well for the party in the run up to a series of state elections and finally, the 2019 general elections.

This is where the opportunity lies for the BJP if it really wants to push the GST Bill and Modi should use it to his advantage. The Congress has mainly sought a few changes in the GST Bill.

First, it wants to cap the GST rate at 18 per cent. Second, it doesn’t want the 1 per cent tax on inter-state sales and the third it wants inclusion of tobacco, alcohol and electricity in GST.

Finally, the party has sought a dispute resolution mechanism to be included in the amendments and not left for the GST council to decide later. All these points are valid and genuine issues, which the government should consider to reach a consensus path. A GST rate, too high, would hurt consumer and services states and a rate too low too wouldn’t be acceptable. A rate of 18 percent would be a safe-middle path.

A final picture on the rate-structure is yet to emerge since a panel, headed by chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian will submit its report on the revenue-neutral rate only in the first week of December. The point of contention then would be whether to include the cap of 18 percent in the constitutional amendment, as the Congress wants it, or leave to the GST council, but not something which is insoluble.

The demand of the Congress to remove 1 percent inter-state sales tax fully makes sense since additional levy can dilute the very basic character of a uniform tax regime, something former finance minister, P Chidambaram has pointed out. Such an additional levy will take away the character of GST as a destination-based tax.

Speaking at an event in Bangalore, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, repeated that his party is all for GST provided the Modi government doesn’t show off its majoritarian approach to opposition and discuss issues to resolve the differences on GST.

The BJP should use this commitment to its advantage and pass the onus of getting the Bill through on the Congress, accommodating its own demands (which are genuine). This will also help the BJP to get the Congress-ruled states on the GST board, which is also crucial at next stage of implementation.

If the BJP wins the GST battle, that would help Modi restore his fast losing image as India’s reforms agent and set the stage for next phase of high economic growth. If Modi fails to build a consensus and winter turns a repeat of monsoon, Modi will face even tougher days ahead.

More critically, it will send a bad signal to the global investors about India’s reform course and thus future investment prospects. As global rating agency, Moody’s Investors Service warned on Wednesday, there are clear potential headwinds looming over India from a loss of reform momentum.

NDA govt targetting Nehru-Gandhi family to weaken Congress: Ahmed Patel

The political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi also said the results of local bodies’ polls in Gujarat scheduled to be held on November 29 will bring a downfall of the ruling BJP in Gujarat.

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Saturday alleged that the NDA government was indulging in revenge politics and targetting the Nehru-Gandhi family with a view to weaken Congress. “The NDA government is indulging in revenge politics to weaken the Congress. The throwing of muck is not just happening now, since the Independence they have been doing this against the Nehru-Gandhi family. They know that to weaken Congress they have to target and weaken the Nehru-Gandhi family,” Patel said in reply to a question over BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s recent charges against Rahul Gandhi. “All the allegations are baseless and Rahul Gandhiji has given an apt reply,” Patel added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi also said the results of local bodies’ polls in Gujarat scheduled to be held on November 29 will bring a downfall of the ruling BJP in Gujarat. The Rajya Sabha MP is here to campaign for his party ahead of local polls that are being fought amid the Patel quota agitation. Congress hopes to make a mark in the elections riding on the Patel quota agitation. The Congress leader campaigned in Danilimbda ward for the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation elections which are going to be held tomorrow. “The result of the local bodies polls will bring the downfall of BJP in Gujarat. This polls will have a definite impact on the 2017 (Gujarat Assembly) elections,” Patel told reporters here. “I am hopeful that Congress will do very well in the local bodies polls,” he said.According to him, BJP’s claim of ‘Gujarat model’ has failed in Bihar and common people are facing inflation and unemployment. “The debt on the Gujarat government is Rs 1.75 lakh crore and they have to take loan to pay the interest. The growth rate of the state is around seven per cent, which earlier during Congress government used to be around 15 per cent. This tells the state of economy of Gujarat,” Patel alleged Voting for the municipal corporations of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar will take place tomorrow, while that for 31 district panchayats, 230 taluka panchayats and 56 municipalities will take place on November 29.

Bihar defeat not of NDA, but of the public, says Ram Vilas Paswan

When asked if NDA drubbing in Bihar was a defeat of the Prime Minister on whose face the ruling coalition had gone to polls, Paswan disagreed and thanked Modi and Shah for successful campaigning in the state.
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PTI
Union Minister and LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan on Saturday came to the defence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah in the wake of NDA debacle in Bihar.”It’s not the defeat of NDA but defeat of public of Bihar,” Paswan told reporters.When asked if NDA drubbing in Bihar was a defeat of the Prime Minister on whose face the ruling coalition had gone to polls, Paswan disagreed and thanked Modi and Shah for successful campaigning in the state.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”PM would have been defeated if his election meetings had flopped. But we saw a huge gathering of people in his all election meetings,” the LJP chief said, adding, “We should be thankful to the PM for devoting so much time to Bihar to know about its problems.””NDA had contested elections not in the name of PM but in the name of development of Bihar,” he said.Paswan also praised Shah saying he worked hard to galvanise party workers by making surprise visits to district party headquarters to establish proper coordination between workers of constituent parties.The LJP leader felt that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar cleverly enacted social engineering by recommending many OBC castes for EBC status and EBCs into SCs/STs to win their votes. Paswan had earlier said that opposition parties in Bihar were successful in convincing people that reservation will go and minorities won’t be safe if NDA came to power. He said a comprehensive review meeting of LJP on recent Bihar elections would be held here on November 28 to analyse causes of defeat.LJP which had fought 41 seats as part of NDA coalition managed to win only two seats in the polls.

Those who returned awards should review decision: Rajnath Singh

His comments on the issue came a day after President Pranab Mukherjee virtually disapproved of the returning of honours by some writers and other intellectuals, saying such awards should be cherished and valued by the recipients and emotions should not “overrun reason”

Rajnath Singh

The Modi government respects the sensitivity and creativity of litterateurs and will protect that, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in Lucknow on Tuesday and asked the writers and other intellectuals who recently returned awards to review their decisions.He was speaking to a delegation of Writers and Journalists Association which handed over two memoranda to him criticising those who returned their awards and highlighting the number of attacks on journalists in the state. “NDA government respects the senstivity and creativity of litterateurs and will take every step required to protect it,” Singh said. “I appeal to the litterateurs to show the right and positive path to society and should also review their decision of returning the awards,” the Home Minister said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>His comments on the issue came a day after President Pranab Mukherjee virtually disapproved of the returning of honours by some writers and other intellectuals, saying such awards should be cherished and valued by the recipients and emotions should not “overrun reason”. Mukherjee observed that “sensitive minds” sometimes get disturbed by some incidents in the society but there should be “balanced” expression of concern over such events.The delegation demanded a law for ensuring security to journalists as it highlighted that a number of scribes have recently died under mysterious circumstunces. The delegation members also alleged atrocities by the police. Underlining that attack on journalists is a serious matter, Singh said he himself at the personal level as well as union government will take steps respecting the federal structure to see that such unfortunate incidents are not repeated.

Meeting of NDA leaders postponed due to Ashok Singhal’s death

Sources said the meeting of NDA leaders scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed due to the death of VHP patron Ashok Singhal in a Gurgaon hospital

Ashok Singhal

Government on Tuesday cancelled the meeting of NDA leaders convened on Wednesday to work out strategy ahead of the winter session of Parliament beginning November 26 that is expected to be stormy.Sources said the meeting of NDA leaders scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed due to the death of VHP patron Ashok Singhal in a Gurgaon hospital today. His cremation will take place on Wednesday. Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu was to meet the leaders of all NDA allies at his residence to chalk out the government plans on its legislative business and floor coordination plans amid indications of the Opposition parties closing ranks on various issues.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Naidu will hold a meeting with NDA leaders later now and with all other Opposition parties within a week. Lok Sabha Speaker holds an all-party meeting a day or two before the Session begins. The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh met here on November 9, a day after BJP’s rout in Bihar polls, and decided to hold the session between November 26 and December 23.Reaching out to the Opposition to pass key reform bills, Naidu had urged them not to interpret the Bihar polls result as a “mandate to disrupt Parliament”.

Sachin Pilot bats for Rahul Gandhi as Congress President

Pilot sought to give full credit to Rahul for the party’s performance in Bihar, where it won 28 seats of the 41 contested, and even for forging Grand Alliance with JDU and RJD which trounced that BJP-led NDA, winning 178 of 243 seats.

The demand for early elevation of Rahul Gandhi as Congress President grew louder on Tuesday with the party’s Rajasthan unit chief Sachin Pilot saying the time is right for the transition as the party needs to gear up for Assembly elections due next year.The party’s good show in the recent Bihar Assembly elections has rejuvenated it and boosted the morale of the rank and file and the outfit is now showing signs of recovery after the drubbing it received in Lok Sabha polls last year, the former Union Telecom Minister said. Pilot sought to give full credit to Rahul for the party’s performance in Bihar, where it won 28 seats of the 41 contested, and even for forging Grand Alliance with JDU and RJD which trounced that BJP-led NDA, winning 178 of 243 seats.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We were not the main player in Bihar for 25 years. But because of Rahul Gandhi’s efforts, because of the competition that we were able to stitch up together, our seat tally went up to 28 from four (in the previous Assembly). As far as Congress party is concerned, the results in Bihar show the role Gandhi played”, he told PTI in an interview. “But more than that, it’s a fact that secular parties came together on a platform. Rahul Gandhi was the one who first approached and he had a meeting with Nitish Kumar who was then projected as CM candidate and then of course, Lalu Yadav joined the alliance,” he said.Asked if the poll outcome would hasten the elevation of Rahul Gandhi as party President, Pilot said its timing depends on the Congress Working Committee, party President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul himself.”As far as we are concerned, both of them (Sonia and Rahul) are giving able leadership. But..Rahul…yes…there are demands…for example at CLP meeting in Bihar, there was a demand from newly elected MLAs that Rahul should take over as Congress President. And we all believe that. (But) the decision is up to them (CWC, Sonia and Rahul).”But we will like it (elevation of Rahul) to happen as soon as possible because now the party is steadily (growing in strength again) and we have elections in Assam, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal etc.(next year)”, Pilot said.Amritsar MP, Captain Amarinder Singh, who is also Congress Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha, said yesterday that time has come for the party Vice-President to take over the reins of the party, echoing views of party leaders who are pushing for such a move, particularly after the Bihar election outcome.

Non-fulfilment of OROP promise blot on Centre’s head: Jyotiraditya Scindia

“Jawans are facing troubles at the Centre while farmers were facing problems in the state during the BJP rule,” Scindia said.

Congress leader and former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Saturday criticised the ruling BJP-led NDA government at the Centre for “not fulfilling” its promise of One Rank One Pension (OROP) and termed it as a blot on its head. Scindia, who is the party’s Chief whip in the Lok Sabha also criticised the Madhya Pradesh government for farmers woes. “The non-fulfilment of promise of OROP is a blot on the head of the Centre. Jawans are facing troubles at the Centre while farmers were facing problems in the state during the BJP rule,” Scindia said addressing a rally in Petlawad where an explosion killed 89 people recently.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He was in Petlawad to campaign for Congress candidate and former Union Minister, Kantilal Bhuria for the Ratlam-Jhabua Lok Sabha by-poll slated for November 21. Referring to September 12 Petlawad explosion, Scindia said that even after 12 hours of the blast, not a single Minister reached the spot to provide relief to the people. Besides, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan also reached there 20 hours after the incident. The Congress leader further alleged that Chouhan arrived at the spot as he was aware that by-poll was going to be held in the constituency soon and people will not forgive him if he failed to do so. He also alleged that the prime accused of the Petlawad blast, Rajendra Kasawa is absconding even after 60 days of the explosion and it appears that the BJP government is “protecting” him.Referring to multi-layered Vyapam scam, he alleged the real accused were moving scott free. “The one who is able but poor is not getting jobs while the one who is a duffer but rich, got it as he had paid money for it,” Scindia alleged in an apparent reference to the Vyapam scam. He also criticised the Centre for rising inflation and said staple food, pulses has become so costly that the common man was unable to buy it.Referring to farmers, he remarked that while they are suffering, both Chief Minister and the Prime Minister are busy on foreign tours while referring to Chouhan’s Japan visit and Modi’s UK tour. Speaking about the Land Acquisition bill that was introduced by the BJP-led NDA government “to favour industrialists”, he said that the government was forced to backtrack on the issue because of stiff opposition from Congress President Sonia Gandhi. The Congress leaders also observed two-minute

Bihar Debacle: Now RK Singh, Manoj Tewari step up attack as dissent in BJP grows louder

The former home secretary, who during the campaign had spoken against the choice of candidates of BJP-led NDA, claimed BJP gave tickets to people with criminal background, stressing that some of them were not “ordinary criminals” but those on whom government had declared reward.

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There was no let up in the chorus of dissent in BJP over Bihar poll debacle with MP Manoj Tewari finding fault with party’s strategy and sulking MP R K Singh supporting the demand of veterans like L K Advani that accountability be fixed.”Accountability has to be fixed. Review should be made of the election debacle. We need to find out what went wrong, who were responsible. That’s what ‘margdarshak mandal’ said,” Singh, the Ara MP, said in a reference to the statement of Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and two other veterans.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The former home secretary, who during the campaign had spoken against the choice of candidates of BJP-led NDA, claimed BJP gave tickets to people with criminal background, stressing that some of them were not “ordinary criminals” but those on whom government had declared reward.”We thought we were a party with a difference. We will give a clean government…. Then you give tickets to criminals. That is very bad, very sad,” Singh told NDTV.Bihar debacle: Advani, Joshi highly respected leaders, no question of disciplinary action against them, says Nitin GadkariManoj Tewari, MP from Norh-East Delhi who was one of the leading BJP campaigners for the poll, also joined other BJP leaders in criticising the party’s election campaign in Bihar and lauded the strategy of JD(U)-RJD-Congress alliance as “undoubtedly better”.The Bhojpuri singer-turned-politician, who is a Lok Sabha member from Delhi, said the party failed to convince the people to vote for BJP candidates.”We clearly failed to convince people of Bihar on our party’s agenda. Undoubtedly, the strategy of grand alliance (of JDU-RJD-Congress) had been proved better than ours. We could have campaigned in a more strategical way to reach out larger masses,” said Tewari, who represents North East Delhi in Lok Sabha.A number of Bihar BJP MPs like Shatrughan Sinha, Hukumdev Narayan Yadav and Bhola Singh have criticised the party’s campaign with likes of Sinha and Singh drawing the top party brass in their line of fire.Also read: Bihar debacle: Dissent should be raised within party, not publicly: Venkaiah Naidu to veterans

FDI decision ‘very unfortunate’, says RSS affiliate BMS; threatens to take to street in protest

New Delhi – The Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh has strongly opposed the government’s decision to allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail and defence sectors, and wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking the review of the decisions.

It said the government should talk to all stakeholders and discuss with them whether FDI has helped them or the country.

Representational image. AgenciesRepresentational image. Agencies

Representational image. Agencies

The BMS will wait for the government’s decision to initiate discussion on the FDI and review it failing which the Sangh will protest by taking to the street.

The BMS, in separate letters to the PM and and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, has also demanded a white paper on the inflow and outflow of the FDI in the country.

BMS General Secretary Virjesh Upadhyay told PTI that allowing FDI in retail will “finish” the local retail sector leading to large-scale unemployment, affecting the poor.

“We are concerned about the retail sector, which is certainly going to suffer the most. We want the government to seriously consider this issue,” Upadayay told CNN-IBN in a separate interview.

“It is very unfortunate that the government has come up with a FDI and we are against it in totality. The proposal of FDI is not well researched as the government is thinking that FDI will help India to regain from its financial crises,” he told the TV channel.

He said the FDI that has come into the country so far has flowed out and is thus not helping the country.

“Nobody is talking about Foreign Direct Outflow (FDO). It means whatever investment is coming that is going out again. The volume of direct flow is higher than the investment. We want the government to bring a white paper to all the investments done in FDI till now. Also the general public should be informed about the FDO details as well,” he was quoted as saying in a report in IBNLive.com.

On allowing FDI in Defence sector, he said it was not good for the country.

With inputs from PTI

Tremors of Bihar loss reach UK on eve of PM’s visit

Modi will be also the first Indian prime minister to address the British Parliament. He will pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi’s statue which was unveiled last year and also visit the Tata-JLR factory, a private entity which provides largest number of jobs in the UK.

The tremors of NDA’s electoral rout in Bihar are being felt as far as the United Kingdom, leaving both the ruling BJP as well as the ministry of external affairs (MEA) worried at the implications on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip — the first one by any Indian PM in nine years. Sources in the BJP said the party which had been making preparations for this visit along with the MEA for over several months – to repeat Modi’s New York’s Madison Square Garden magic — is now deeply concerned at the bad press the NDA has been getting in the UK after the Bihar fiasco. Not only this, many groups are preparing to protest at the Wembley Stadium in London, where Modi is scheduled to address Indian diaspora. The prime minister will be on a bilateral visit to the UK from November 12. From there, Modi will head head to Turkey to attend a two-day G-20 summit begnning November 15.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Briefing the media on PM’s upcoming UK visit, foreign secretary S Jaishankar said Modi will hold talks with his British counterpart David Cameron and have luncheon meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, the first by any PM. The Queen normally invites only kings and presidents to share lunch or dinner with her.Jaishankar said political and security related discussions on global and regional issues are high on the agenda. He said economic and commerce ties are an important aspect of the visit, besides science, technology and education. Modi will be also the first Indian prime minister to address the British Parliament. He will pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi’s statue which was unveiled last year and also visit the Tata-JLR factory, a private entity which provides largest number of jobs in the UK. The PM will also pay a visit to the house where Dr B R Ambedakar lived during his stay in London. The house was recently acquired by the government of Maharashtra to be converted into a museum. British PM David Cameron is leaving no stone unturned to give a red-carpet welcome to Modi. Cameron and his wife Samantha will accompany Modi to Wembley stadium. The organisers are expecting a gathering of 60,000 inside the stadium to hear Modi. London city authorities have earmarked a place outside for the protesters too. But the rout in Patna has energised Modi’s detractors who are planning protests on the eve of his visit. Further, sources both in the party and the government say that some people are trying to create an impression that Modi has lost political ground at home. This, coupled with the emerging religious tensions and debate on intolerance, risks affecting the important constituency — the Indian diaspora. More worrisome is that several world capitals have also started making fresh calculations about Modi’s political vulnerabilities, credibility and his ability to deliver, sources say. A party source said they were in touch with a group of Sikh protesters to address their grievances. Most of them, who in the past were sympathisers of Punjab separatism, are keen to forget the past and want the Indian government to remove them from exit control list, that bars them from visiting India. “We too want, they should be treated as normal Indian citizens. But their grouses are more against the government of Punjab than against the Centre,” he said.

JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav criticises BJP over violence during Tipu Sultan celebrations

Calling this “another example of intolerance” in the country which has been “increasing” after NDA Government came into power at Centre, JD(U) President Sharad Yadav cited the return of awards by some writers, academicians and artists on the intolerance issue.

JD(U) Party President Sharad Yadav
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dna Research & Archives
JD-U on Tuesday launched a hard-hitting attack on BJP over the violence that erupted in Karnataka over holding the birth anniversary celebrations of 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan saying the saffron party has “not learnt any lesson from its humiliating defeat” in Bihar.”In spite of “humiliating” defeat of NDA in the recent election of Bihar Assembly, the communal forces connected with BJP have not learnt a lesson… I am confident that in the coming assembly elections in 2016 (in four states West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala) NDA will face the same defeat as in Bihar,” party President Sharad Yadav said in a statement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Again on anniversary of Tipu Sultan the violence has taken place which is very bad, dangerous and serious for the unity and integrity of this country. Unless these divisive forces resist themselves from their actions, it will be difficult to control the law and order situation in the country. They should understand that they are living in a secular country where Hindus and Muslims have to live together and there is no other way to keep peace. I do not understand that whether these forces want another partition and to see the dark days for human beings,” Yadav added.He noted that Hindu religion never preaches that we should burn and beat the human beings.”Further, I would like to mention that Tipu Sultan was a secular ruler, who even reconstructed many temples. He took on the British rulers with hard hand and the British rulers had to accept his terms and conditions on many issues in the interest of our country. He banned liquor. When he came to know that women in Kerala are prohibited from wearing blouse, he sent blouses to them. He used to say that he can never become the slave of the British and also he said that it is better to live one day as a Tiger than hundred years as a jackal. He was one of the architects of promoting communal harmony,” Yadav said.”Some communal forces protested against anniversary celebrations of such a personality who did a lot for the welfare of the country,” he said.Calling this “another example of intolerance” in the country which has been “increasing” after NDA Government came into power at Centre, he cited the return of awards by some writers, academicians and artists on the intolerance issue.”I am sad and pained to know that one person has died in clash over Tipu Sultan 165th birth anniversary being celebrated in the State of Karnataka, and I convey my condolences to the bereaved family of the deceased,” Yadav said.

What do the ‘Bahari’ Biharis think about Modi’s debacle?

While some rejoiced the Bihar mandate, some are disappointed with it.

Modi-led NDA received a drubbing at the hustings while JD(U)-led Grand Alliance with 178 seats registered a scintillating win in the crucial polls, which also saw the return of Lalu as the kingmaker.
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AFP photo
They might have missed casting their franchise in the crucial Bihar elections that witnessed a landslide victory for the Nitish Kumar-Lalu Yadav’s Grand Alliance and decimation of the BJP, but the diaspora in US gave a mixed response to the outcome. Stakes were high in the recently-concluded assembly polls in Bihar through which BJP was eyeing better hold on the key state notwithstanding the strong regional politics. The campaigning had Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding marathon rallies in a direct challenge to incumbent Kumar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi-led NDA received a drubbing at the hustings while JD(U)-led Grand Alliance with 178 seats registered a scintillating win in the crucial polls, which also saw the return of Lalu as the kingmaker. From San Francisco to Prague, the results evoked mixed reactions from people hailing from Bihar, ranging from “extreme happiness” to “extreme disappointment.””‘Jo na kate aari se, wo kate Bihari se’ (Those who seem invincible are also defeated by a Bihari),” said Texas resident Ajit Chauhan, who works for an organisation dedicated for development of Bihar.Patna-born Shrini Singh, who recently moved to Texas after her marriage, is elated about the return of Kumar at the helm of the affairs.”When he had first come to power, I had personally gone to thank him as a young student living in Patna… And, today, I feel very happy for him,” she told PTI.After the announcement of results in which Lalu’s RJD emerged as the largest party with a haul of 80 seats, more than JD(U)’s 71, many people including from Bihar took to social media. London-resident Shitesh Prakash, an IIT-Bombay graduate who migrated from Patna in 2001, said: “BJP raising meaningless issues like cow and beef to polarise voters was stupid, and hence it backfired.”Prakash, who works for a consultancy major in UK, said he would never support Lalu after what he saw in the mid-90s in his hometown, and will go for “Nitish in the state and Modi at the Centre.” He said: “Well, having said that this will push Bihar back again. But there is also a feel that Modi should focus at national level and let local BJP leadership fight these state elections… his stooping to such low-level during election campaigns, was anyway, something, we did not appreciate.” Patna-born Vineet Abhishek, an IIT-Kanpur alumnus working for a start-up in California, feels uncomfortable about the victory of the Grand Alliance “given the Lalu factor”.”I have battled stereotyped at IIT and even now people occasionally ridicule me in US, despite all my education and achievements I have earned with my hard work,” he said.Shruti Sahi, who lives in Prague with her husband, rues not having been able to vote in the elections this year.”I wanted to be there in Bihar and register my presence in the democracy exercise. But, even I could not participate, hope people have made the wise decision, and Bihar will change for the better,” she said.

RSS chief’s statement had no negative impact in Bihar, says Rajnath Singh

“Bhagwat’s statement was not damaging. It was nothing controversial. We can’t think like that. He had only said that reservation should continue,” Singh said. Bhagwat had said there is a need to have a fresh look as to who should get the benefit of quota, in comments that kicked up a political storm ahead of the Bihar polls.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday rejected suggestions that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s quota review remark had a negative impact on NDA’s poll prospects in Bihar and said social equations of the ‘Grand Alliance’ had cost the BJP-led grouping dearly.Singh also asserted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot be held responsible for NDA’s humiliating defeat.”Bhagwat’s statement was not damaging. It was nothing controversial. We can’t think like that. He had only said that reservation should continue,” Singh said. Bhagwat had said there is a need to have a fresh look as to who should get the benefit of quota, in comments that kicked up a political storm ahead of the Bihar polls.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Home Minister said this when asked whether the RSS chief’s statement favouring review of reservation policy had a negative impact on the prospects of NDA.”Social equations of Mahagathbandhan hamare upar bhari padi (social equation of Grand Alliance cost us dearly),” he told reporters at a ‘Diwali Milan’ when asked for reasons for NDA’s defeat. The winning alliance comprised JD(U), RJD and Congress.The Home Minister laughed at a question whether Modi will resign as Prime Minister taking moral responsibility for the BJP defeat, asking, “what kind of question is this?” “It’s BJP’s loss and not of the Prime Minister,” he said.Singh, a former BJP chief, also ruled out the possibility of party chief Amit Shah being removed over the Bihar debacle.”Amit Shah will remain as party chief for six more years.There is no hurdle. In fact, he got one and half years of my own tenure (as party chief) when I had moved from the party to the government. After that he is entitled to two terms (of three years each),” he said.Singh said the BJP will study and analyse all aspects of party’s defeat in the polls and will take action accordingly.”Victory and defeat are part of the democratic process.We had won elections in the past, we had lost elections in the past. We will not do justice to future if we decide future only on the basis of one elections,” he added.The Home Minister was candid in admitting that the results had puzzled him as he had seen good public presence during 50 rallies addressed by him.Asked about controversial statements made by some of the party leaders to whip up communal tension, Singh said “if there is any secular party in the country, it is BJP.”

No illusions about Mahagathbandhan, but BJP the greater eviI, says Justice Katju

In his blog Justice Katju also wrote about how he had predicted the Bihar election result.

Markandey Katju

A day after BJP crashed to a humiliating defeat in the Bihar assembly elections, former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju has called the BJP the greater eviI.In a bitterly fought election between Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi, the Mahagathbandhan won 178 seats in Bihar, a commanding two-third majority in the 243-member assembly. The Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies had to settle for a mere 58 seats.On Tuesday, Katju wrote on Twitter, <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, in his blog Justice Katju also wrote about how he had predicted the Bihar election result. He said, “Many people asked me how I could so accurately predict the results of the Bihar election, when all the exit polls failed (NDTV was predicting an NDA victory till the last day before the results). My answer is simple: in most states, including Bihar, most people vote on caste and religious lines, unless there is a wave.”He further added, “The Modi wave of 2014 had dissipated totally because people found the vikas slogan hollow as there was no job creation after May 2014. So they fell back on the traditional line of voting on the basis of caste and religion.”However, protecting the leadership from any attack, BJP has ruled out holding anyone responsible for the rout in Bihar Assembly elections and rejected criticism even from within that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s quota remarks was one of the major reasons for the defeat.The party admitted that it lost because the size of the “social arithmetic” cobbled by the grand alliance was bigger than the NDA and acknowledged that its assessment that the vote transferability among the JD(U), RJD and Congress will not happen proved “incorrect”.

‘Haathi chale Bihar,… bhaunken hazaar’: Shatrughan Sinha returns fire at Vijayvargiya

Shatrughan Sinha just escalated his tiff with the BJP as he responded to an insult hurled at him by a party leader infamous for consistently sticking his foot in his mouth.

After Kailash Vijayvargiya — yes, the very same one — on Monday compared party MP Shatrughan Sinha to a dog, Sinha took to Twitter to reply.

For the uninitiated, ‘haathi chale bazaar, kutta bhauken hazaar‘ is a very popular Hindi muhavra, or expression, which encourages a person to be thick-skinned, because there will always be  baseless and harsh criticism hurled at him/her.

Sinha obviously played around with the expression and changed ‘bazaar‘ to ‘Bihar’ to suit the occasion and censored the word ‘kutta‘.

Shatrughan Sinha gave a befitting reply to Vijayvargiya's remark.

Shatrughan Sinha gave a fitting reply to Vijayvargiya’s remark.

On Monday, Vijayvargiya, a BJP General Secretary and a party strategist for Bihar Assembly polls, was asked to comment on Sinha’s remarks that the poll outcome could have been different had he been projected as the chief ministerial candidate and that those responsible for NDA’s defeat “should be taught a lesson”.

“When a car moves, a dog moves under it too, the dog believes that the car is moving because of me. This party is not dependable on one person, it’s a whole organisation and there’s a big hierarchy here. Those who are out of it were on a ‘Maun Vrat‘ and now they are speaking,” Vijayvargiya, a former minister in Madhya Pradesh, had said.

The dog analogy was being used by a BJP leader for the second time in recent weeks after Union Minister VK Singh did so over the Dalit burning incident in Faridabad.

Moreover, Vijayvargiya had earlier also taken a cheap dig at Shah Rukh Khan. “Shah Rukh lives in India, but his soul is in Pakistan. His films make crores here but he thinks India to be intolerant,” Vijayvargiya had said in a series of tweets.

He also said on Monday that Sinha’s identity in politics is because of the BJP and he alone should decide on his loyalty to the party.

“Shatrughan Sinha’s identity in politics is because of the BJP, and BJP’s identity is not because of him. How much loyal he should be towards the party should be decided by him. Causing loss to the party even when you’ve taken so much from the party, that is for him to decide. I disagree with his behaviour,” he had said.

Vijayvargiya also went on to say that a person is assessed by how he or she behaves during a victory or loss.

“It’s the party’s honest workers who did their hard work, winning and losing happens in a democracy but a person is identified by their behaviour after winning or losing. Everbody’s character is coming to light whether it is Shatrughan Sinha or anybody else,” he had added.

Sinha, who has been severely critical of BJP leadership, particularly those in the Bihar unit, after he was left out of the campaign for the Assembly polls, had said he was “deliberately sidelined”.

“I am not bragging, but I do feel that when the darling (laadla) of Bihar’s people, the dhartiputra (son of the soil) and the original ‘Bihari babu’ was deliberately sidelined, it definitely had an impact on my supporters and fans.

“I can’t say how much difference it could have been, but I can definitely say, some difference would have been there. We could have definitely got more seats than what we got,” he said.

The NDA got just 58 seats in a House of 243.

With inputs from PTI

Bihar drubbing will not impact reforms: FM Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said BJP’s electoral drubbing in Bihar will not impact economy or the reforms programme and the government will go ahead with the process of enacting Goods and Services Tax (GST) law.

“I don’t see it as a setback to the economy…structural reforms will continue. They should continue at a rapid pace,” he said and expressed the hope that JD(U) would support the Constitutional amendment bill to roll out the long-pending GST as the new tax structure would benefit Bihar.

Arun Jaitley. PTIArun Jaitley. PTI

Arun Jaitley. PTI

About reforms, Jaitley told television channels that government would continue them by taking executive actions and also in the Budget, which would be announced in February next year.

To a question of the pending GST bill, he hoped that Bihar would support the legislation because as a consuming state it would benefit from the new indirect tax legislation.

“Bihar and JD(U) had supported this in the Lower House…If Nitish Kumar, as a responsible leader, has been elected on the plank of development, then certainly he wants more revenue for Bihar,….,” Jaitley said.

The government had planned to roll out GST,from 1 April, 2016 but the Constitution Amendment Bill is stuck in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling NDA does not have a majority.

Once rolled out, it will subsume various levies like excise, service tax, sales tax, octroi, etc, and ensure a single indirect tax regime for the entire country.

Stating that GST roll out is a “matter of time, Jaitley said the “obstructionist” position of the Congress would not continue for long as the country’s mood is reform oriented.

On whether he would talk to Nitish Kumar for supporting GST, he said, “I don’t see any reason, why just because he is in alliance with the Congress at the moment, he will…change his position. If he changes his position, then I will have to explain this and I am quite certain, as a responsible leader, that will not happen”.

The government, he added, was open to suggestion to improve the architecture of the GST.

“I am for a GST with a proper architecture, not for a GST with a defective architecture. So if there is any suggestion in the direction of strengthening GST and its architecture, I am certainly open to that,” he added.

One what should be the rate of the GST, Jaitley said, “the lower the better.”

Jaitley said the Bihar election outcome is not a setback to the economy.

Asked about Moody’s Analytics report which said Prime Minister Narendra Modi must keep BJP members in check or risk “losing domestic and global credibility”, he said the commentary by the “young analyst” is incorrect.

“India is the most tolerant society in the world… and I will reject any contention which says that a stray incident happening in any part of India makes it intolerant. India is tolerant, Some unfortunate incidents take place, that doesn’t make India an intolerant society. India is a liberal society, it will continue to remain one,” the minister said.

He said the NDA government under Modi has changed the culture of Governance in the country and in terms of developmental politics, the Prime Minister has a particular agenda and will go ahead with that.

“We are conscious of the political problem that arise. We will try as far as possible to tackle this problem and move ahead,” he said.

Stressing that both executive and legislative reforms will get a push, he said, the Parliamentarians, irrespective of which side they sit on, are conscious of their responsibilities.

PTI

Bihar elections 2015: Here are 11 reasons which could have led to BJP’s loss

Here are some points after talking to scores of BJP leaders and activists on ground.

The electoral match which was looking a close-call finally appeared a cakewalk for Nitish Kumar-led grand alliance. What went against NDA. Here are some points after talking to scores of BJP leaders and activists on ground. 1. Overlooking dedicated cadres in ticket distribution 2. Overemphasis on youth, that led insecurity amongst old workers, who have built party over the years 3. BJP workers didn’t go home to home unlike last Lok Sabha elections 4. Cadres from Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and even from Jammu region and Andhra Pradesh were air-dashed, rendering local cadres ineffective. The strategy misfired. And it also augmented argument of Bihari v/s Bahri, when they roamed in villages asking for votes.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> 5. While selecting village panchayat members and influential village men to tour Maharahstra and Gujarat ahead of elections to show them best practices and development, many others were ignored. Angry at being denied a free train ride and hospitality, they worked against party candidate. 6. In a hurry to fracture other parties, BJP encouraged defection from JD (U), and even gave defectors tickets, ignoring those vying for tickets. 7. Ignoring of women candidates. In Raghavnathpur—sitting MLA Usha Vidhyanath was denied ticket. Women voted in large numbers to Nitish. 8. Above all, was the statement of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat statement to review reservation. Though, he may not have meant it, it was used to the hilt by Lalu Prasad Yadav. 9. Lynching of Ikhlaq Ahmed in Dadri created fear psychosis amongst minorities. They voted in large numbers, just to defeat NDA, ensured there is no division of their votes. 10. Dalits and Maha-Dalits lost confidence in Ramvilas Paswan and Jatin Ram Manjhi. 11. Absence of local face. Not projecting a chief minister, that gave liver to Nitish, Lalu combine to portray battle between Bihari and Bahri (outsider).

Bihar elections 2015: 10 highlights in run up to polls

The barbs exchanged between PM Modi, Nitish Kumar and others.

–The Prime Minister Narendra Modi versus chief minister Nitish Kumar battle for Bihar went down to DNA barbs. Modi said there was a problem with Kumar’s DNA and the chief minister tried to turn it to his advantage saying his DNA was similar to that of Bihar. — Just ahead of announcement of election dates, Modi announced a Rs 1.25 lakh crore special package, which came in for criticism from chief minister Nitish Kumar who asked if he was auctioning Bihar. What followed was a verbal duel over statistics. – RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s comments seeking review of the reservation policy gave the Nitish-Lalu grand alliance fuel to take on the BJP in the state where caste equations have a sway over elections.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> – The BJP-led NDA later gave the reservation debate a communal twist saying Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav had conspired to give religious-based reservation diluting the quota of the SCs, STs and OBCs. – While the Mahagathbandhan projected Nitish Kumar as its chief ministerial candidate, the BJP refrained from putting up a face for the top post in the state. – Modi-led the NDA’s battle from the front holding 26 rallies across the state – The BJP targeted RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav saying that his return to power would bring back “jungle Raj” — Ahead of the fifth phase, which has a high concentration of Muslims, BJP chief Amit Shah said if the NDA lost, crackers would be burst in Pakistan. – Beef politics — The NDA took on Lalu over his beef comments and BJP even put out an advertisement in some Bihar papers on the last day of polling. The Election Commission sought an explanation from the party. In a vitriolic political battle, FIRs were filed against leaders of both alliances for hate speeches. – The Mahagathbandhan took on Modi with the Bihari versus Bahari debate

Bihar Elections 2015: Poll defeat is a slap on Modi the ‘Package PM’: Congress

NDA faced massive defeat on Sunday in Bihar.
File Photo
PTI
The opposition Congress on Sunday termed the outcome of the Bihar election as a “slap” on Naredra Modi’s face and dubbed him as the “Package Prime Minister” for “luring” people during campaigning.”Modi is a ‘Package Prime Minister’ (PPM) who tried to misguide people of Bihar with false promises and had attacked the opposition in an unfair manner. This defeat of BJP and NDA is a tight slap on our PM who crossed all limits to acquire power in Bihar,” senior Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Time has now come for them (BJP and NDA) to do introspection. During his poll campaign, our PM was behaving as if he wanted to become the chief minister of Bihar. The way he tried to lure people with various packages, he has become a Package PM,” the Leader of Opposition in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly said.He said the poll result, wherein the NDA bit dust at the hands of the Nitish Kumar-led Grand Alliance, is the “defeat” of the “arrogance” displayed by the BJP-led dispensation and also an “eye-opener” for the BJP as well as Modi. Vaghela also demanded Modi’s resignation on “moral grounds”.”Looking at the poll results, Modi should immediately resign from PM’s post on moral grounds. People of Gujarat are also happy with Bihar poll results. I am sure that people of Gujarat will also reject BJP in the upcoming local body polls here,” he said.Meanwhile, reacting sharply on Vaghela’s comment, state unit BJP spokesperson I K Jadeja asked Congress to first improve its score before pointing finger at the saffron party.”There was a time when Congress was ruling Bihar. Now, they are struggling to get seats in double figure. They first need to do introspection before asking us,” Jadeja said. Jadeja said the Bihar results will not have any bearing on the forthcoming local body polls in Gujarat.”Congress is day-dreaming about their victory in the upcoming local body polls. People here have remained with BJP since so many years and rejected Congress several times in the past. This time too, people will choose BJP for it’s development agenda and reject Congress for their negative attitude,” he said.While the municipal corporations of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar would go to polls on November 22, the voting for 31 district panchayats, 230 taluka panchayats and 56 municipalities will take place on November 29.

Bihar win defeat of "arrogance" of BJP: non-NDA parties

Appearing together before the media after the results, Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad said the poll verdict would have an impact on national politics as it shows that there is yearning for a “good and strong alternative” and a “powerful opposition” to BJP.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The stunning victory of JD(U)-RJD- Congress alliance in Bihar was on Sunday hailed by non-NDA parties as a “victory of principles” and defeat of the “arrogance” of BJP with the winning leaders saying the poll verdict would have an impact on national politics.Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over NDA’s setback, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said he should “step on the accelerator or people will throw him out of the driver’s seat” while the Left parties asserted that it underscored Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “personal defeat”. AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said it was a slap on those “indulging in politics of hate and intolerance” and described the outcome as a referendum on the Centre’s performance.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It was a very difficult fight. On the one hand were moneybags and on the other were principles. It is a victory of principles over moneybags,” JD-U chief Sharad Yadav said.Appearing together before the media after the results, Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad said the poll verdict would have an impact on national politics as it shows that there is yearning for a “good and strong alternative” and a “powerful opposition” to BJP. They also spoke of plans for forging a strong national alternative as an “effective opposition” to the BJP.Also read- Bihar Elections 2015: How the election defeat is going to hurt Narendra ModiAddressing a press conference after emerging victorious in the Assembly elections, Kumar said efforts to polarise the society have been rejected and described the election as a “milestone” and the result was for “harmony” and against “intolerance”.”The results have made it clear that people want a robust opposition and strong alternative at the national level. A very aggressive campaign was run (by BJP) and attempts were made to create a certain situation. People have rejected it, rejected attempts to polarise. This is a huge mandate and we expect it with all humility,” Lalu said.Rahul Gandhi, who said that the poll verdict signified the defeat of the “divisive agenda of BJP and RSS”, asked Modi to either “give up or tone down his arrogance”.”Since Modiji has become Prime Minister, there have been only promises. Start the work. One year has passed and your car is not starting. Press the accelerator. If you fail to press the accelerator, like Bihar, the people of the country will open the door and throw you out,” he said.”This is defeat of not only the BJP, but personal defeat of Modi and his policies. The… anti-intolerance campaign also could not bring any result,” CPI national secretary Atul Anjan said.CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury observed the verdict ensured beginning of “good days” for people as they rejected alleged communal polarisation by RSS-BJP and its “so-called” development agenda.”People’s acche din have begun, first Delhi, yesterday Kerala and today Bihar.”Kejriwal said the Bihar verdict is historic in many ways.”The Bihar result is historic in many ways. It has shown that the people of the country do not want politics of hate. It’s a slap on the face of those indulging in politics of hate and if they resort to politics of hate, then they will be wiped out. I hope this atmosphere of intolerance will end.”West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee termed the results of Bihar elections as defeat of “intolerance”.

Then and now: Here is how top political parties fared in Bihar Elections in 2015 compared to 2010

Congress and RJD have performed better than what they did in 2010 Bihar Assembly Elections.

Aggressive campaigning for the Bihar Elections was led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi this year.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The grand alliance emerged victorious in the Bihar Assembly polls with the people yet again reposing their faith in Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar despite an aggressive campaigning by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the BJP-led NDA. RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav scripted a spectacular comeback after multiple setbacks in the last few elections with the party winning in 80 seats.In the 2010 Bihar Assembly polls, where JD(U)-BJP alliance won the elections, JD(U) had scored 115 seats out of the 141 contested seats. BJP won 91 out of 102 contested seats. This year, the battle was between Modi and Nitish as JD(U) was in alliance with former competitor RJD. BJP, who suffered a massive defeat in these elections, won 53 seats out of 159. JD(U) won 71 seats out of a 101 seats.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The strike rate of JD(U) in 2010 was 81.5%, and this year it managed to get 70%. For BJP the strike rate then was 89.2%, while this year it is paltry 33.3%. In the previous assembly elections, RJD won 22 of the 168 contested seats, thus bringing their strike rate to 13.10%. But this time, RJD broke all past records and got the most number of seats. Out of the 101 contested seats, they won 80. The strike rate is 79%, which shows that RJD performed extremely well as compared to the poor performance they put up in the last Assembly elections. In 2010, Congress aimed for an ambitious 243 seats out of which they won only 4 seats; strike rate was as low as 1%. But this time around, Congress seems to have pulled up its socks, and has won 27 out of 41 contested seats. This brings their strike rate to 65.8%. Not only BJP, parties in alliance with it also put up a poor show too. LJP whose strike rate in 2010 was 4%, only made nominal progress that of 1%. This time out of 40 contested seats, they won only 2. Newbie Hindustani Awam Morcha, led by former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, won only one of the two seats he contested and lost in all the 19 others it fought in. On single-party basis, however, the BJP managed a face-saver with a vote share of nearly 24.8 % — higher than individual shares of 18.5 % for the RJD and 16.7 % of the JD-U.Related read: Mahagathbandhan gets 12% more votes than NDA

Nitish’s arrow hits the bullseye in Bihar, thanks to Lalu’s lantern

New Delhi: The arrow hit the bullseye in Bihar on Sunday with the support of lantern while the lotus wilted in a politically crucial state.

As the JD(U)-led Grand Secular Alliance swept the Bihar Assembly elections, the outcome was very crucial for Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)), whose election symbol is arrow, as it was decimated in 2014 Lok Sabha elections in the state giving it a negligible presence with only two out of 545 seats in its kitty.

Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav. PTINitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav. PTI

Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav. PTI

Lantern is the poll symbol of Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) which is part of the JD(U)-led alliance which also included the Congress.

JD(U), which has a political presence mainly in Bihar, Jharkhand and Kerala, was formed with the merger of the Sharad Yadav faction of the Janata Dal, the Lokshakti Party and the Samata Party on 30 October 2003.

The Samata Party led by George Fernandes and Nitish Kumar merged with the Janata Dal. The merged entity was called JD(U) with the arrow symbol of JD(U) and the green and white flag of the Samata Party.

The uniting force is believed to be common opposition to RJD in Bihar especially after it welcomed Samata Party rebels like Raghunath Jha into the party.

The JD(U) along with its alliance partner, the BJP defeated the RJD-led UPA government in Bihar in November 2005. and retained power in 2010 with the ruling coalition holding 206 seats in 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly.

JD(U)) broke its 17-year old alliance with the BJP in Bihar in June 2013 in protest against the elevation of Narendra Modi as a head of election campaign committee of BJP for 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

JD(U) President Sharad Yadav and then Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced their end of coalition at a press conference on 16 June 2013, exactly a week after Modi was made the BJP’s campaign committee chairman, who was later made the prime ministerial candidate of NDA. Just after this split, Sharad Yadav relinquished his position as the NDA convenor.

It contested Lok Sabha polls in Bihar in an alliance with CPI but they won only two seats out of total 40 seats of Bihar while the BJP-LJP alliance bagged 31 seats.

Following poor performance in elections, Nitish resigned as chief minister of Bihar and Jitan Ram Manjhi was sworn in as a new chief minister. When the trust vote was demanded by the BJP to prove majority in Bihar assembly, the RJD supported the JD(U) in the assembly on 23 May, 2014 to pass the majority mark.

But some of Manjhi’s controversial moves forced Nitish to oust him in February 2015 and return to power with the help of Lalu Prasad.

On 14 April, 2015, the JD(U), JD(S), RJD, the Indian National Lok Dal, Samajwadi Party, and Samajwadi Janata Party announced that they would merge into a new national Janata Parivar alliance in order to oppose the BJP but this did not fructify and then the Samajwadi Party was offered three seats out of 243 assembly seats in Bihar elections which caused it to leave the alliance and fight separately.

Displaying a picture of unity, JD(U), RJD and Congress on 12 August announced the formation of a grand secular alliance.

Irrespective of any social or political differences, the JD(U) believes in propagating the true values of Gandhian socialism.

PTI

Bihar Elections 2015: Here’s how Twitter reacted to BJP’s dismal performance

The jibes expectedly were stored majorly for Narendra Modi and BJP, but Today’s Chanakya which predicted a landslide win for BJP.

In the bitterly fought election between NDA and Mahagatbandhan, Nitish- Lalu regime has finally won convincingly. While the trend initially showed a spectacular saffron performance, it was soon reversed and BJP was reduced to a handful of seats compared to its rich haul in the last Assembly election and 2014 General Elections.As usual, Twitter was in hyper mode reacting to the developments. The jibes expectedly were stored majorly for Narendra Modi and BJP, but Today’s Chanakya which predicted a landslide win for BJP, also faced a fare share of flak. Here are some of the notable tweets:<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

BJP parliament board to discuss Bihar poll outcome tomorrow

BJP’s Parliamentary Board is likely to meet on Monday to analyse the poll results in Bihar where the JD(U)-RJD combine has outshone the party-led NDA.

BJP

BJP’s Parliamentary Board is likely to meet on Monday to analyse the poll results in Bihar where the JD(U)-RJD combine has outshone the party-led NDA.According to sources, the board is likely to examine all the aspects and factors leading to the party’s below par performance against the Nitish Kumar-led grand alliance. Party leader and Union Minister Ram Kripal Yadav said it was for the top brass to analyse and introspect the reasons behind these results.

Bihar Elections 2015: Lalu makes dream comeback, to be kingmaker in Bihar

The man, who once lorded over Bihar, was pushed to the margins after the 2010 assembly elections when the NDA under incumbent Chief Minister Nitish Kumar won an astounding four fifth majority in the 243-member assembly, winning 206 seats and restricting RJD to a paltry 22, its worst-ever tally

Lalu Prasad Yadav

Notwithstanding a string of losses that began with the defeat in the 2005 assembly polls when his party was ousted from power after 15 years and a court ruling, which will keep him out of electoral fray for six years, RJD boss Lalu Prasad has made a resounding comeback on Bihar’s political stage.The man, who once lorded over Bihar, was pushed to the margins after the 2010 assembly elections when the NDA under incumbent Chief Minister Nitish Kumar won an astounding four fifth majority in the 243-member assembly, winning 206 seats and restricting RJD to a paltry 22, its worst-ever tally. The once seemingly invincible RJD, with its massive Muslim-OBC votebank, was not even eligible for the Leader of Opposition’s post.If the 2005 polls marked the exit of the Lalu-Rabri duo from the hot seat, 2010 debacle appeared to have exacerbated the process of RJD’s marginalisation in state politics.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lalu’s conviction in a fodder scam case in 2013 came as a personal blow to him as it led to his immediate disqualification from the Lok Sabha and a ban from contesting an election at least for six years. The 2014 Lok Sabha election was a crucial test for the backward class leader which he was to lead as a non-playing captain for the first time. The results came as another jolt to RJD and Lalu, with the party managing to win only four of the state’s 40 seats.The successive defeats, however, carried seeds for a future reunion with friend-turned-foe Nitish Kumar, whose JD(U) had also been humiliated in the 2014 election, managing to win just two seats after parting ways with 17-year-old ally BJP in June 2013 over Narendra Modi’s anointment as the party’s campaign spearhead for last year’s LS polls.Acutely aware of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal charisma and BJP’s growing popularity in the state, they began cosying up to each other after the Lok Sabha debacle. With Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav playing the role of a peacemaker, the two backward class heavyweights resolved their differences and decided to contest the 2015 Bihar polls in tandem. Lalu, the wily practitioner of realpolitik, after initial reluctance, agreed to accepting Nitish Kumar as the grand alliance’s chief ministerial candidate.With he himself not eligible to contest elections, his wife Rabri Devi unwilling to return to the hurly burly of politics, and sons Tejaswi and Tej Pratap too young to handle the pressure that comes with the hot seat, Lalu declared Nitish Kumar will be the Chief Minister even if RJD won more seat than JD(U).When RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat suggested a review of the reservation policy in an interview to Sangh organs Organiser and Panchjanya, Lalu, one of the most enduring mascots of post-Mandal politics, was quick to pounce on it and raise an alarm about a move by the Narendra Modi government to scrap quotas. He repeated the charge, rally after election rally, and Modi’s counteroffensive about the grand alliance favouring a dilution of quotas for dalits, tribals and OBCs to give five per cent reservation to Muslims failed to cut much ice with the electorate.Lalu promptly declared the poll as ‘Mandal Raj Part II’ and a fight between the ‘backwards and forwards’, ensuring a rapid polarisation along caste lines, something which had kept RJD in power for 15 years in the politically volatile state.While there was an apparent consolidation of backward class and Muslim voters in grand alliance’s favour, the beef talk by the leaders of the NDA, particularly BJP, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, failed to bring about a consolidation of Hindu votes in the favour of the centre’s ruling alliance.Of the 232 seats in the 243-member state assembly trends from where are available so far, Lalu’s RJD is leading the table with 77 seats and JD(U) 68. BJP was leading in 55 seats.Like the Lok Sabha polls in which his daughter Misa Bharti lost to his former protege Ram Kripal Yadav of BJP, his two sons Tejaswi and Tej Pratap are trailing from Raghopur and Mahua in Vaishali district.Personal losses notwithstanding, Lalu is set to become the king maker in Bihar, if not the king.

Bihar Elections: NDTV exit poll predicts BJP win with 120-130 seats; CDS-Lokniti says late gains for Lalu-Nitish

New Delhi: An exit poll on NDTV on Friday predicted an edge for the BJP-led alliance in the Bihar Assembly elections giving it 120 to 130 seats in the 243 member House. A post-poll survey ( not an exit poll) done by Lokniti-CSDS for The Indian Express, points to a turnaround in favour of the Mahagathbandhan. A couple of weeks before the first phase of polling, the NDA was ahead in the electoral race in Bihar. The latest from this survey says the Mahagathbandhan may end up with roughly 42 per cent of the votes while the NDA will lag behind with around 38 per cent votes. This survey also says Lalu Yadav fared better than Nitish Kumar.

In the NDTV exit poll, the JD(U)-led Grand Alliance has been projected to get between 105 and 115 seats.

The poll showed that the NDA led in three phases — second, third and fourth — while the other grouping led in the remaining two phases.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

In the first phase comprising 49 seats, the Grand Alliance has been given 28 seats and the NDA 20. In the second phase with 32 seats, the alliances have been projected to get 12 and 19 respectively.

The BJP-led alliance is tipped to get 28 seats in the third phases, which has a total of 50 seats. The Grand Alliance gets 21 seats.

The fourth phase, which has 55 seats, the JD(U) alliance is predicted to 21 seats, 10 less than the NDA.

Surprisingly, the last phase, where Muslims and OBCs were a major factor, the NDA is predicted to get 27 of the 57 seats giving it a big edge. The JD(U)-led alliance is tipped to get only 28 seats.

Overall, the “Others” has been given 8 seats.

On Thursday at the end of the polling, most of the exit polls predicted a close fight giving an edge to the Grand Alliance while one poll predicted a clean sweep for the NDA.

Today’s Chanakya too had predicted a win for the BJP-led alliance in Bihar with 155 seats (the highest any exit polls has given so far) and had given the JD(U)-led Grand Alliance 83 seats and others 5.

However, the NDTV exit polls can be more accurate in terms of numbers since their sample size is huge. Psephologist and former AAP leader Yogendra Yadav said, “A sample size of 76,000 is something that is used for general elections.”

After the exit poll numbers, both the sides said they were confident of a victory.

“Feedback we have been getting from ground zero makes it clear that our alliance will win the polls and form the government there,” Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed had said.

He had said reports from different parts of the state made it clear for the Congress that the grand alliance comprising the Janata Dal-United, Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress would form the new government in Bihar.

Expressing similar hopes, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Nalin Kohli had said his party was confident of victory.

“The BJP is confident of victory. The exit polls are showing wide variance, with some predicting a clear victory for the BJP and a few predicting a close call,” he told IANS.

Kohli expressed happiness over the participation of a large number of women in the electoral process.

“The increase in voting percentage and the participation of a large number of women voters is a positive sign and a victory for democracy,” he added.

Curtains came down on Thursday on the five-phase assembly elections in Bihar that pitted Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s BJP-led National Democratic Alliance against the Grand Alliance of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, with nearly 60 percent of the 1.55 crore electorate turning out to vote in the final round.

With inputs from PTI and IANS

Bihar polls: Lalu’s politics is not outdated, he is still relevant, says social scientist Shaibal Gupta

Here is Shaibal Gupta, based in Patna, one of the most renowned social scientists in the country, explaining the importance of Bihar, the nature of its politics, caste equations and much more in an interview with Parth MN:

Lalu Yadav- Nitish Kumar- Jiten Ram Manjhi

The all-important Bihar elections is heading for a climax. The build up to the elections has been intense. Political parties have left no stone unturned with rallies and campaigns trying to cover every nook and corner of the state. Reporters across the country have flocked to Bihar, trying to gauge the direction in which the political wind is blowing. On November 8, the results will be out and, commentators say, it is most likely to resonate across the country.How is this election different from the earlier elections in Bihar?<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nitish and Lalu were never on the same side. Moreover, substantial number of the social justice system is in the rank of the NDA. Two pivotal colleagues of the social justice group, Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitan Ram Manjhi, are with NDA. A dramatically new sort of political configuration has come up. We will have to see how that unfolds.On the whole, as per the reports I have received, the first two rounds went to the grand alliance. The next two went in favour of the NDA. Fifth will be the clincher.How crucial is the caste factor in this election?Caste is an important agenda in the context of Bihar. Historically there has not been a sub-national identity. There is either a caste identity or a national identity in Bihar. So caste has played an imperative role.How important was the Mohan Bhagwat comment of the need to revisit reservation?In Bihar, state is an important institution. In a society you need three things: State, civil society and market. Out of the three, corporate sector is not important here. Civil society is entitlement oriented. Effectively, you have a state. Therefore, entry and exit in the state is a very important matter. That is why the Mohan Bhagwat statement is important. On the question of revisiting reservation, people from the subaltern background are not well disposed to this agenda. That has created a problem and that has made the trajectory of the election agenda as forward-backward agenda.How acute is this consolidation of the OBCs, SC and ST? Is it a completely bipolar election or would the likes of Owaisi and Pappu Yadav play a role?Essentially, it is a two-way fight. There is an increasingly broadest possible social justice coalition getting consolidated behind the Grand Alliance. It is also true that whatever votes Pappu, Mulayam, Owaisi get, they will do so at the cost of Grand Alliance. Whether they will substantially do so, is anybody’s guess.There is a vertical split in Bihar today, like there was in the 90s during the Mandal Commission. How would you compare the two situations?There is no comparison. In the 90s, there was a broadest possible social justice coalition. It supported the Mandal. Today, the social justice constituency is fragmented. Large section is still with old social justice parties. But substantial section of the social justice party has switched over to the BJP. Though, they are not the true repository of the social justice movement in the country.Many say the Ranvir Sena was a reaction to Mandal Commission. Is there any need to alarmed given the vertical split in Bihar?Ranvir Sena was not primarily a reaction to Mandal Commission. It was formed due to rural unrest. It resulted primarily because the agricultural productivity had been going down and the input cost was increasing. One way to control cost was to target the agricultural labourer. Over and above, Mandal changed the social paradigm in the context of Bihar. The forward caste got marginalised and backward were at the help. That also contributed to the discord of Ranvir Sena.You had written that when lower caste leaders come together, it is called caste politics. But when the upper caste parties form an alliance, it is not. Can you elaborate? Even during Nehru’s period, social base of congress was Brahmin, Dalit and Muslim. Nobody talked of caste configuration then. Social base of Lalu is Muslim and Yadav, and his M-Y combination is spoken about all the time. That is my only objection. In India, whichever political parties fight elections, they have some principal social base. BJP has been conscience about caste as they have been co-opting caste into social engineering.It has not even been a year and a half since Nitish was wiped out in the 2014 general elections. But reports suggest he would most likely form the government. What changed in the last year and a half?It had become clear in the beginning that Nitish was not the Prime Ministerial candidate. Therefore, Bihar electorate did not have an option but to support Modi against Congress. Voters vote differently in the national election. It was more of an anti-congress vote than a pro-Modi vote. Plus, Nitish was not critical enough of the Congress and he could not en-cash the anti-incumbency. He thought he would get special category status, which the congress had promised. It was perceived he was siding with Congress. The anti-congress vote, therefore, went to Modi.If the Grand Alliance forms the government, is there any chance of conflict within the two parties? It is a tactical alliance after all. What do Nitish and Lalu need to do for the alliance to last five years?There can be a conflict. But they will work out a Common Minimum Program. Immediately after this election, they will start preparing for the parliamentary elections, which they will not be able to fight on their own unless there is a broadest possible national coalition. They will have to contend with number of assembly elections as well. Their hands will be full.Do you think there is chance of the likes of Mamta and Kejriwal joining the ranks and forming a grander alliance?It is possible. The non-saffron forces could come together to stop the BJP and Modi juggernaut.If Nitish becomes the Chief Minister, what would be his primary challenge?The primary challenge will be to continue with the work he has done and consolidate. These are in the realm of, I call them ‘provided’. He has been providing things. The critical question will be to what extent will he be able to enable the state. Will it be possible to enable the state without land reform? Will it be possible to enable the state without strengthening the backward linkages of education as well as the forward linkages of education? For the knowledge economy, one needs to invigorate the education society.Has Nitish’s image taken a hit for tying up with Lalu?Brand of Nitish Kumar is different. Whatever brand that Nitish has been able to make for himself, will definitely get affected. But Lalu’s image must have gone high as well. Even when his wife and kids are there, he has promoted Nitish. In the process, Lalu will reinvent his image. Politically there is no difference between Nitish and Lalu. Both are products of the same political movement. There is a cultural difference. Nitish is organised, Lalu is not. Nitish is man of governance. Lalu is man of masses.The media reports regarding Lalu suggest he is a discredited leader. But the ground reality palpably indicates otherwise. Why does Lalu’s charm still endure despite his tenure being referred as the Jungle Raj?When we say jungle raj, we must ask who the listener is. The poor and marginal may not consider the period jungle raj. Lalu was the leader of the broadest possible social justice coalition in India. He should not be given credit single handedly, though. In Bihar, there has been a history of socialist movement, communist movement, naxalite movement. It is different matter that at a critical juncture Lalu was at the centre stage. Even when he was convicted and went to jail, he got more votes than Nitish in parliamentary election. It indicates the solid social base support he enjoys. He democratised the electoral politics of Bihar. That is why his image is not sullied by the fact he went to jail. But in the process the state structure completely collapsed. Nitish resurrected the state. He gave authority to the state. Now this combination will be a lethal combination in the context of Bihar.After 2010, there were talks of Lalu’s politics being past its prime. Is his politics outdated?I do not think his politics is outdated. He is still relevant. The social justice, social liberation movement is not yet completed in Bihar. Until and unless the process gets completed, persons like Lalu will survive. The critical question is whether Lalu and Nitish will graduate the state from state centric development to market centric development.Irrespective of the results, would you concede that BJP came to centre-stage in Bihar? Three major parties coming together to stall one, did it not increase the BJP’s stature?It is the other way round. Because they are important, the three parties had to collaborate. BJP has not yet reached its peak in Bihar. It was expected it would do so this time around but the indications are otherwise. Nonetheless, BJP has become an important party in Bihar.How would this election resonate in the national context?If the BJP loses, Narendra Modi’s authority will decrease. Critics within the party might pounce on him. The other day, Arun Shourie said jo kursi pe baithte hai apne aap ko khuda samajhte hai.The reform agenda of the centre will be affected as well because of the upper house seats. More importantly, Bihar experiment, if it succeeds, might be replicated in other states.

Bihar exit polls hint at all outcomes; voters may have turned smarter than netas, pundits

The Bihar election has turned into a thriller whose ending will be revealed only in the final paragraph. The exit polls were expected to give some vital clues to the outcome. But they have just kept the suspense lingering by hinting at all possible outcomes: NDA sweep, Mahagathbandhan victory and a hung Assembly.

If the crowd outside the office of a party was a clue, the BJP has won it. On Thursday night, minutes after TV channels came out with their exit poll results, the largest crowd — a few vehicles and a dozen men — was outside the BJP office in Patna’s Beer Chand Patel road. The office of Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD next door was bathed in darkness and the JD(U) office across the road was absolutely silent.

The mood in party offices reflected the silence amidst top leaders of both the alliances. While the junior leaders and spokespersons made contrasting claims, both Amit Shah and Nitish Kumar stayed in wait-and-watch mode after the confusing exit polls. Shah said he will speak only after the votes are counted, while Nitish Kumar eschewed the temptation of tweeting out a victory claim. Only Lalu Prasad Yadav, with his characteristic optimism bordering on hyperbole, claimed his alliance is winning 190 out of the 243 seats in the Bihar Assembly.

Then he laughed.

Lalu Prasad Yadv, Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi in file photos. PTI

Lalu Prasad Yadv, Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi in file photos. PTI

BJP’s hope and fear

Kuch gadbad lag raha hai (something isn’t right),” said a state BJP leader as he walked out of TV studio in Patna. He then went on to talk about how the party’s alliance partners, Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP and Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustan Awami Morcha had failed to pull their weight. Within the BJP, there are fears that these two parties will win less than a quarter of the 43 seats — RLSP’s 23 and HAM’s two — they are contesting. The party is however optimistic of making up for this by winning 70 percent of the 160 seats it is contesting. Its internal assessment: 120-140 seats.

The BJP’s other fear is that the fifth phase of polling, held on Thursday, may have gone to the Mahagathbandhan. In this round, nearly 60 percent of the voters — the highest figure recorded in this election — came out to vote. Since the 57 seats in this round were in areas considered strongholds of the Mahagathbandhan because of a large number of Muslims and Yadavs, the record turnout indicates aggressive voting in favour of Nitish Kumar’s alliance. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, even at its peak, the NDA had led in just 17 out of these 57 constituencies. Its vote share was nearly 17 percent less than that of Mahagathbandhan. A high turnout combined with the failure of Pappu Yadav and Asaduddin Owaisi to split the anti-BJP vote could lead to the Mahagathbandhan’s dominance of this round.

The Chanakya conundrum

The only source of concern for the Mahagathbandhan was the very fountain of hope for the BJP: The prediction by Today’s Chanakya that the NDA will sweep the election, winning 155 seats. Chanakya has got several exit polls and pre-polls surveys right in the past. Its history of hitting bullseye has made the Mahagathbandhan nervous and BJP optimistic, though in private even party leaders said the survey was more bullish than its own forecast.

Chanakya has got it wrong in the past, though. In 2012, it had projected that the Congress would win the Punjab assembly polls. Earlier last year, Chanakya’s exit poll claimed that the BJP would win 61 seats in the 81-member Haryana Assembly, while others had predicted a much tighter contest. In the end, the BJP barely scraped through winning 43 seats with its allies.

Chanakya has predicted a vote-share of nearly 46 percent for the BJP alliance. This is nearly eight percent more than the votes it got in 2014 at the peak of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s wave in Bihar. The only explanation for this unexpected spike could be that most of the 26 per cent Extremely Backward Caste voters and women have voted for the NDA. We will know whether Chanakya loses its credibility or Mahagathbandhan the loses the election on Sunday.

Back to square one

Finally, if the exit polls are correct, it is time to ponder the question: What did the parties achieve in three months of campaigning, mud-slinging and resorting to casteism and communalism?

Three months ago, when the campaign began, most of the pre-poll surveys were predicting a tight contest. Some had forecast a narrow win for the Mahagathbandhan and others had suggested a narrow lead for the NDA.

Three months later they are predicting the same outcome. So, here are some more questions to ponder:

One: Is the era of fence-sitters over? If the battlelines aren’t changing much, it seems Indian voters now make up their mind several months in advance. Are campaigns a waste of time?

Two: Do Indian politicians underestimate the intelligence of voters? The two alliances used a variety of jumlas to influence voters. Beef, reservation, Mandal, kamandal, Pakistan, crackers, Diwali, shaitan, pishaach, DNA and financial packages were talked about and dissected 24×7 during the past three months.

If there has been no change in the pre- and post-poll scenarios, it is clear that what Rajesh Khanna once sang was accurate: Yeh public hai sab jaanti hai.

Pity you can’t say the same about analysts and psephologists.

Bihar polls: Except Chanakya, others predict a close call

Half of the six – C-voter, AC Neilson and CNX – exit polls gave a clear but small majority to the Grand Alliance. NDTV put together these six different polls to show the Grand Alliance winning 125 seats, NDA 110 and others 8.

Except Today’s Chanakya, all other six exit polls have predicted a close fight between the BJP-led NDA and the Grand Alliance, comprising JD(U), RJD and Congress, in the crucial Bihar assembly elections. Real outcome will, however, be known only on Sunday when the counting of votes takes place. Half of the six – C-voter, AC Neilson and CNX – exit polls gave a clear but small majority to the Grand Alliance. NDTV put together these six different polls to show the Grand Alliance winning 125 seats, NDA 110 and others 8. However, Today’s Chanakya, which shot to fame in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections after getting the NaMo wave bang on, and also predicting point-blank two Delhi assembly elections, gave the NDA a landslide 155+ against the Grand Alliance’s 83. It also showed Nitish Kumar government suffering from anti-incumbency as 51 per cent said “yes” to change.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The C-voter exit poll, carried out for India TV showed the Grand Alliance winning 122 seats as against NDA’s 111 and 10 going to other parties. It showed the BJP’s allies did not contribute much as the BJP alone was expected to get 91 seats. On a conservative estimate, C-voter gave 112 to 132 seats to Grand Alliance, 101 to 121 to NDA and six to 14 to others, giving a hope to the BJP that the NDA may still make it. Most of the exit polls showed that the Grand Alliance was beating the NDA by a margin of just 1% votes. C-voter gave Grand Alliance 42%, NDA 41% and others 17%. News Nation TV’s exit poll showed the Grand Alliance getting 45% votes and NDA 44%. News Nation predicted 120 to 124 seats to Grand Alliance, 115 to 119 to NDA and 3 to 9 to other parties. Cicero exit poll conducted for India Today TV gave 120 seats to Grand Alliance, 117 to NDA and six to others in the 243-member Assembly. On a conservative scale, it showed Grand Alliance bagging 112-132 seats and NDA 111-121. The CNX exit polls carried out for News X TV gave 130-140 seats to the Grand Alliance and 90-100 to the NDA while AC Neilson agency’s exit polls for ABP News TV gave 130 to Grand Alliance, 108 to NDA and five to others. India.com news portal showed the Grand Alliance led by Nitish Kumar getting 120 to 130 seats, followed by 100 to 110 to the NDA, two or three to Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), which has entering the fray in Bihar for the first time, one or two seats to Nationalist Congress Party and nine to 10 seats to others. News X exit polls predicted 130-140 seats for the NDA, 90-100 for the JD(U)-RJD and 13-23 to others. Elections were held across five phases, from October 12 to November 5, for a total of 243 seats in the Bihar assembly.

Ready to help India in addressing economic challenges: US

NDA Government has taken a number of positive steps for streamlining the economy but is not moving as fast as America would like to have, a top US official has said, offering help to address India’s internal challenges like bureaucratic and infrastructure bottlenecks.

NDA Government has taken a number of positive steps for streamlining the economy but is not moving as fast as America would like to have, a top US official has said, offering help to address India’s internal challenges like bureaucratic and infrastructure bottlenecks.Underlining that India-America commercial ties has considerable room to grow, Arun M Kumar, US Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets, said “India is only our 11th largest trading partner and 18th largest export market. Two-way trade is more than five times smaller than in the US-China relationship.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”India’s vast untapped potential makes playing the long-game worthwhile,” said Kumar, who is also Director General for the US and Foreign Commercial Service, at an event organised by Atlantic Council, a top American think-tank.Listing out the challenges being faced, he said India’s bureaucratic capacity; the overall ease of doing business; systemic infrastructure bottlenecks; and the challenge of finding adequate financing to complete infrastructure and other large-scale projects are the major hurdles.”We stand ready to help India address its internal challenges. By helping facilitate a single market, the GST is an important building block to facilitate greater trade and investment with India.”The Modi government is aware of the hurdles, and while it is not moving as fast as some would like, it has taken a number of initial, positive steps,” he said.The US officials said the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue can and should be the long-term vehicle to help drive the commercial aspect of the relationship.Private sector from each country will be active participants in driving the relationship forward in the years to come, he noted.

Here’s why PM Modi should not ignore Arun Shourie’s ‘sour-grapes’ jihad

By Gouri Chatterjee

I am no Narendra Modi fan-girl, but even I can find it in me to sympathise with his predicament. Who was it, he must have wondered, with Karan Thapar on Monday evening? He looked like Arun Shourie, talked like Arun Shourie, waved his hands like Arun Shourie, but sounded just like Irfan Habib. Yes, Irfan Habib, that “rabid, anti-BJP” lefty, yet eminent, historian who had said, the day before, at a seminar protesting rising intolerance in the country, that there was “not much difference between the Islamic State (IS) and the RSS as far as intellect goes”.

But there was Shourie, a minister in the first NDA government, author of books glorifying Hinduism, lambasting Islam, denigrating Dalit leader BR Ambedkar, ridiculing ‘pseudo-seculars’, vilifying these very same “lefty” historians as “frauds” and many more, one of the few intellectuals the right-wing could claim as its own, patting the seething writers and other members of civil society on the back as the nation’s “conscience-keepers” while accusing the prime minister of actively engendering a climate of hate by communalising the Bihar campaign and keeping quiet over incidents like the Dadri lynching for electoral gains.

Arun Shourie. Reuters

Arun Shourie. Reuters

Of course, his language was far more colourful than dry academics’. On being told the BJP believes the prime minister doesn’t have to react to everything, he retorted, “The prime minister is not a section officer of the homoeopathy department; he is not head of a department. He is the prime minister. He has to show the country the moral path. He has to set moral standards.” While the left liberals are not quite rushing to claim him as one of their own, they couldn’t have put it any better.

Of course, this was not the first time the honourable Mr Shourie had taken potshots at NDA mark-II. His comment, late last month, that the Modi government was nothing more than “Congress plus a cow” will forever remain one of the most quotable quotes in our political annals.

Predictably enough, the BJP has dismissed his diatribe as the ravings of someone who is not even a member of the party as he had not renewed his membership and were caused by “the pain of not being in government” or in any key position. The rumours had been there from day one: Shourie had fancied himself as the finance minister — after all, he was the first national leader to openly back Narendra Modi’s prime ministerial ambitions — but Modi chose the other Arun, with whom he is really, really close; his soulmate in fact. Shourie was, one hears, offered a sprawling governor’s mansion but, an energetic 74-year-old, he was not ready to be put out to pasture so soon.

Whatever, this Arun jihad against the Modi regime cannot be ideological. He has no reservations about the Hindutva plank — the “spontaneous” demolition of the Babri masjid had “corrected a historical wrong” he had opined in December 1992 — and is an enthusiastic proponent of the RSS’ call for a rethink on the reservation issue. And had touted Modi’s bid at prime ministership at a Brics forum with these words: “What India wants is not divisive but decisive leadership and Modi has certainly demonstrated that.”

Modi will not miss a step at his advocate’s volte face. He didn’t when LK Advani blurted out, in June, that he didn’t “have the confidence that Emergency cannot happen again”, because “at the present point of time, the forces that can crush democracy, notwithstanding the constitutional and legal safeguards, are stronger; a commitment to democracy and to all other aspects related to democracy is lacking”.

He was equally phlegmatic when another party elder, Murli Manohar Joshi, ridiculed Modi’s plans of developing Varanasi on the lines of Japan’s old capital Kyoto and scoffed at the prime minister’s dream project of running bullet trains in this country.

True, these are tired old men, miffed at being forced out of the limelight, hankering for the loaves and fishes of power. He can ignore them. Anyway, NaMo prefers to plow a lonely furrow. He has his self-belief, an unshakeable conviction in his own ideas, his “God-given mission”, and his handpicked loyalists to aid him. He has his brute majority, he will brook no interference.

He has no interest in the parliamentary process, in the give and take of making deals to get legislations passed, in handing out patronage today for a future quid pro quo, in building caucuses, in keeping track of the vanities and vulnerabilities of members that he can play on when needed, in spending evenings massaging parliamentarians’ egos — in short, in politics itself. But then, his great appeal was his authoritarian style, that he could be his own man. He was elected on the promise that he would be himself, he is keeping his promise.

Yet, with the growing crescendo of criticism both within and without, some vocal, many watching from the sidelines in silence, maybe a change in tactics is called for. Otherwise, many of his dreams, his pet projects, his vision of India zipping ahead like a bullet train will go the way of the Land Bill, discarded mid-way.

He could, if he likes, follow the maxim laid down by Don Corleone, the Godfather, for his son: “Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.” Frenemies too. Or, he could pay attention to a fellow Gujarati — Mahatma Gandhi — who said: “I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.”

Rajnath Singh asks writers, scientists to come meet PM Modi, give suggestions

On a day when writers and artistes vehemently denied that Congress and Leftists were behind the protest that has seen several of them return their state-conferred honours, Singh also said that “returning awards is not the right thing

Rajnath Singh

Amidst the row over claims of rising intolerance in the country, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday asked artistes and intellectuals to come and meet Narendra Modi to suggest ways to resolve the crisis even as he wondered why the NDA government and the prime minister were being targeted over the issue.On a day when writers and artistes vehemently denied that Congress and Leftists were behind the protest that has seen several of them return their state-conferred honours, Singh also said that “returning awards is not the right thing”. Assuring that the government would take their suggestions seriously and will act upon them in the wake of their charge of “growing intolerance” in the country, he said “Returning awards is not the right thing, I request the writers and scientists to come and meet the prime minister and give their suggestions, the Union government will take concrete steps on those.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Addressing a function organised here by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyut Parishad, Singh also said it was “wrong” to target NDA government and the prime minister on the issue as law and order was a state subject and the Union government only extended assistance as and when needed. “It’s beyond my understanding, why they are targeting the (NDA) government and our prime minister on this issue,” he said, adding “it’s not right to target the government and PM”.Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the event, Singh also said that the NDA government will not function not on the basis of caste or religion but humanity and justice. Meanwhile, talking about the Bihar polls, he expressed confidence that the BJP-led NDA will form the government there. He claimed that even analysts had forecast victory for NDA in Bihar with a clear majority.At a “resistance” (Pratirodh) meet today in the national capital writers, artistes, thinkers and academics had gathered to protest what they termed an “attack on reason, democracy and composite culture”. They also took umbrage at Union Minister Arun Jaitley’s remarks dubbing their protest as “manufactured rebellion”, questioning how he could make such a claim when the President, many business leaders as well as common people have joined in voicing concern over the “disturbing” trend.

Sushil Modi questions Nitish Kumar over Pakistan visit 3 years ago

Incidentally, Modi was the deputy chief minister in the erstwhile NDA government when Kumar had led a delegation for the week-long visit to Pakistan in November 2012.

Sushil Modi

Ahead of the final phase of Bihar Assembly polls for 57 seats, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi on Sunday questioned Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s visit to Pakistan three years ago. “In what capacity did Chief Minister Nitish Kumar tour Pakistan three years ago when the neighbouring country has been abetting terrorism in India and now threatening to use nuclear weapons against our country,” he asked in a series of tweets.”Who all he was trying to send a message to by visiting Pakistan which neither shares borders with Bihar nor has business ties with our state?…There is no prospect of Pakistani investor coming over to Bihar,” he said. On the other hand, the chief minister’s visit to the Buddhist countries like Japan, Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka would have been more fruitful as these countries have always provided assistance to Bihar which is a land of Lord Buddha, he said and wondered why Kumar never visited these countries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Incidentally, Modi was the deputy chief minister in the erstwhile NDA government when Kumar had led a delegation for the week-long visit to Pakistan in November 2012. On the chief minister asking the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a debate at the time and place of the latter’s choice, Modi dared Kumar to debate with him and Nandkishore Yadav, who is the Leader of Opposition in the legislative Assembly.The senior JD(U) leader, who has two members in Lok Sabha, should not dare to challenge the Prime Minister, who leads 282 members in the lower house of Parliament for debate and do so with leaders of comparable stature like himself and Yadav at the time and place of the chief minister’s picking, Modi said.

Wives of bahubalis strive to keep their political flames burning

Sheohar goes to the polls on November 1 in the fourth phase, which the BJP had swept winning 53 of 55 assembly segments in 2014 general election.

Exhausted from the heat and din of campaigning, Lovely Anand enters a house in Amba village, where lunch has been arranged for her and her supporters, and asks for water. “Unlike men, I cannot campaign late into the night,” she says, wiping sweat from her face, as the NDA’s election rath continues to blare.She has recently heard that her husband Anand Mohan, who was serving a sentence in Saharsa jail for the murder of G Krishnaiah the then district magistrate of Gopalganj in 1994, has been shifted to Behur jail in Patna. “We heard he was being kept with criminals accused in bomb blasts at Modi’s rally. When some people went with food, jail authorities told them he is on a hunger strike,” she said as dna caught up with her at the village.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lovely, who is contesting from Sheohar as an NDA candidate from Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM, is relying on “sympathy” for her husband and the “Modi wave” in the tough fight against JD-U’s Sharfuddin and Ajit Kumar Jha, who is fighting on a Samajwadi Party ticket. Ajit, the son of six-time Sheohar MLA Raghunath Jha, held the seat as RJD MLA before Sharfuddin. Like Lovely, Jha is also from the upper caste.Sheohar goes to the polls on November 1 in the fourth phase, which the BJP had swept winning 53 of 55 assembly segments in 2014 general election.According to Lovely, the charge against her husband was a political conspiracy. The villagers, several of them women, crowd around Lovely whose first priority would be to get her husband out of prison. Dressed in a simple black saree, she takes the blessings of the older women. “Then there are issues like law and order to be addressed. There are no schools, colleges for girls or hospitals here.”A graduate who never thought of entering politics, Lovely is fighting not just for her own political space but also to keep alive the memory of her husband, who had a Robin Hood-like image. “When my husband went underground, I took the lead in the campaign against Lalu Prasad Yadav,” she said.Lovely won the Lok Sabha election from Vaishali in 1994, the year Krishnaiah was killed. “Before becoming an MLA, I became an MP,” she laughs. But, in 1998, she lost the seat to Raghuvansh Prasad Singh. Anand was given life imprisonment. She had fought as SP candidate in Supaul in 2014 general election but lost.Over 100km away in Kosi belt some time ago Ranjeeta Ranjan had held the banner for her husband Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, when he was in jail for his alleged involvement in CPI-M leader Ajit Sarkar’s murder.Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party is now constesting 64 seats in the Kosi and Seemanchal belt, which goes to polls in the last phase, as part of Socialist Secular Morcha. After 14 years behind bars, he won last year’s Lok Sabha polls from Madhepura on a RJD ticket while his wife won as a Congress candidate from Supaul.It was Ranjeeta, who shouldered the responsibility of fighting legal cases for him, keeping his name alive in Madhepura and taking care of the children, when her husband was in jail.In 2009, Yadav put up his mother against BJP’s Uday Singh and managed the campaign from jail. However, Singh, who has fought several electoral battles with Yadav, won by the largest margin ever in Purnea.But, this time Yadav is seen as someone trying to play spoiler for RJD-JD (U) by cutting into its Yadav vote. The BJP, which along with allies had swept Bihar in the Lok Sabha elections, had failed to win any of the seven parliamentary seats in the Kosi and Seemanchal region.It is to be seen if Yadav succeeds in hurting the mahagathbandhan in a state where the politically conscious voter avoids wasting a vote.

India’s history of unity in diversity in danger due to communal ideology: Sonia Gandhi

Sonia Gandhi

Speaking on the occasion of Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration in New Delhi, Congress President Sonia Gandhi launched a scathing attack on the current regime. She said that former President Indira Gandhi was always concerned with uniting the country. Explaining Indira Gandhi’s ideology, Sonia said that former PM was in favour of empowering the socially backward classes.However according to the Congress President, the rich tradition of unity in diversity in India is endangered due to rise of communal forces in the country. Sonia Gandhi said, “It is extremely important for everyone to come together and fight to safeguard the unity and integrity of our nation”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It was very clearly a dig at the ruling BJP led NDA government. Many intellectuals have protested and even given away their awards voicing against the ‘growing intolerance’ in the country.

Shiv Sena takes dig at BJP President Amit Shah for ‘invoking’ Pakistan in Bihar polls

Shiv Sena’s latest jibe at BJP comes a day after Shah told an election meeting at Raxaul that Pakistan will celebrate by bursting firecrackers in the event of the NDA’s defeat in Bihar.
File Photo
PTI
Shiv Sena on Friday took a swipe at BJP president Amit Shah for “invoking Pakistan to win electoral benefits” in the ongoing Bihar polls while his party’s government “rolled out red carpet” for Pakistanis in Mumbai.”The BJP president invokes Pakistan during elections in Bihar apparently to polarize the voters yet his party’s government in Maharashtra rolls out red carpet in Mumbai for Pakistani dignitaries,” Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut told reporters.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shiv Sena’s latest jibe at BJP comes a day after Shah told an election meeting at Raxaul that Pakistan will celebrate by bursting firecrackers in the event of the NDA’s defeat in Bihar. Raut claimed that it was Shiv Sena which has consistently crusaded against Pakistan for its “anti-India activities”.The Shiv Sena had opposed legendary Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali’s programme in Mumbai leading to cancellation of the event. Some Sena workers had blackened the face of BJP leader Sudheendra Kulkarni to protest against his decision to go ahead with launch of former Pakistan Foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book; Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove : An Insider’s Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Relations’ in the western metropolis earlier this month.

Scientists returning awards similar to revolt against Adolf Hitler: Congress leader Manish Tewari

Tewari warned the BJP of the country”s realisation that a great evil hangs over this land in the form of the NDA Government.

Congress leader Manish Tewari

Comparing the BJP-led NDA Government with the Hitler regime, the Congress on Friday blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the protest by the country”s intelligentsia.”If you turn the pages of History, the first people who stood up against Adolf Hitler and National Socialism were the intelligentsia in Germany, and it is ironic that in 2015, almost a century later, the first people who have stood up against Narendra Modi and his Government are the intelligentsia of India,” Congress leader Manish Tewari told ANI. “Rather than trying to understand the message, the BJP ministers are trying to shoot the messenger,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Tewari warned the BJP of the country”s realisation that a great evil hangs over this land in the form of the NDA Government. “This is now being contested, repudiated and demolished by the progressive forces across the board irrespective of whether they are affiliated to any political party or not,” he added.The grand old party had earlier dubbed the returning of the awards by eminent personalities from various fields as an “inqalab” (revolution) against the Central Government. Around ten film-makers returned their National Awards to protest against the rising cases of intolerance in the nation, after the writers, artists and scientists expressed their dissent over growing the same.

Bihar Elections 2015: Amit Shah warns voters that if BJP loses, Pakistan will celebrate

“Do you want the return of Jungle Raaj-2? If by any mistake BJP loses, victory and defeat may be in Bihar but fire crackers will go off in Pakistan. Do you want crackers being burst in Pakistan?” he said.

File Photo: Amit Shah

BJP chief Amit Shah today said there will be bursting of fire crackers in Pakistan if his party loses Bihar assembly elections. Addressing an election rally here, he asked the audience if they wanted crackers to go off in Pakistan while appealing to them to vote for the BJP-led NDA. “Do you want the return of Jungle Raaj-2? If by any mistake BJP loses, victory and defeat may be in Bihar but fire crackers will go off in Pakistan. Do you want crackers being burst in Pakistan?” he said.His remarks come against the backdrop of reports that it could be tough going for the saffron alliance in the state contrary to earlier reports that the BJP-led grouping was comfortably placed. Shah also said if the grand alliance of JD(U), RJD and Congress win, then “gangsters” like Mohammad Shahabuddin, a RJD leader presently lodged in jail, will celebrate. He also repeated the charge that the grand alliance was plotting to give away a share of quota meant for the backward castes and Dalits to minorities, a reference to Muslims.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Bihar polls: BJP humiliating Shatrughan Sinha, say Lalu Prasad, Nitish Kumar

“There might be a big explosion within BJP after Bihar elections which the NDA is sure to lose,” said JD(U).

Nitish Kumar alleged that state BJP leaders were “conspiring to keep the ‘Bihari Babu’ (Sinha) away from Bihar poll.”

RJD and JD(U) on Thursday sympathised with rival BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha, who has kept himself off from Bihar elections and vented his ire at state party leaders for “conspiring” against him. RJD president Lalu Prasad shared the discomfort of Sinha, popularly known as “Bihari Babu”, and alleged that BJP was humiliating the actor-turned politician. “BJP is humiliating Shatrughan Sinha who has done a lot to bring the party at this position,” Prasad told reporters when asked to react on ire of Sinha against his own party. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>JD(U) General Secretary KC Tyagi said many important BJP leaders like LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Shatrughan Sinha and R K Singh have been sidelined by the current party leadership for questioning the style of functioning of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. “There might be a big explosion within BJP after Bihar elections which the NDA is sure to lose,” he told reporters. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has on several occasions spoke high about Sinha and targeted BJP for “humiliating” the actor-turned MP who used to be a star campaigner of the party and had pulled crowd when there were not many takers of the saffron party. While, rivals shared agony of Sinha, who is BJP Lok Sabha member from Patna Sahib, his own party leader Uma Bharti had a different take. In reply to a question on Sinha, Union minister Uma Bharti told reporters “Voices made in anger does not bear any meaning.” When asked to comment on issues raised by Sinha, she described Sinha as her “elder brother”. Sinha, who has remained conspicuous by his absence during poll campaigns, had come here yesterday to cast vote. He left Patna hours after exercising franchise without visiting party office or meeting any leader. To questions by reporters, he alleged that state BJP leaders were “conspiring to keep the ‘Bihari Babu’ (Sinha) away from Bihar poll.”

Bihar polls: Nitish Kumar says BJP can only win by default in Bihar, no neck & nech race

With the polling process in Bihar entering its final stretch, a confident Chief Minister Nitish Kumar predicted Thursday that he saw no threat to his chances of serving a third consecutive term in office from the opposing NDA led by a boisterous Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but was candid enough to accept that there was a political challenge to be faced and taken head-on.

With the polling process in Bihar entering its final stretch, a confident Chief Minister Nitish Kumar predicted Thursday that he saw no threat to his chances of serving a third consecutive term in office from the opposing NDA led by a boisterous Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but was candid enough to accept that there was a political challenge to be faced and taken head-on.Speaking to ANI, Kumar on Thursday warned that if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wins the assembly elections in Bihar, it would do so by default, and this would push the nation into a deep pit.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If the BJP wins the elections by default, then this nation runs the risk of falling into a deep pit. They (BJP) have done nothing significant in the last 17 months of their rule at the Centre. Neither have they fulfilled any of the promises made during the general elections, nor have they set an example of good governance that can be emulated.””All they are focused on is winning the elections in one state, and then, following it with an aim to win in another. They have got the mandate to run the government at the Centre and serve the people, but what they are seeking is absolute power and they are working on the basis of that strategy only,” he added.Emphatically rejecting suggestions that his Mahagatbandhan Alliance, comprising of the JD-U, RJD and Congress on the one hand, and the BJP-led NDA are running neck-to-neck in the five-phased Bihar assembly elections, the third phase of which ended yesterday with an over 53% voter turnout, Kumar said, “There is no neck-to-neck in Bihar. Nothing neck-to-neck happens here. The BJP is trying to create an environment of political hype, and they are experts in boasting. Using this technique, they try to gain publicity.”He maintained that the BJP enjoyed huge political success in Bihar in the 2014 general elections purely because there was a division of votes between him and the RJD of Lalu Prasad Yadav. “The BJP does not have a strong base in Bihar. They achieved success in the Lok Sabha elections because of a division of votes between me and Lalu ji. But the situation is different this time around,” he said.”Only the media is projecting the BJP as being in a neck-to-neck fight with the Mahagatbandhan. The BJP is most definitely demoralised after the first two phases of these elections. We don’t talk about seats, nor is there any talk of an electoral fight. We all know that there is an election taking place and we should compete in it seriously. We should not take our opponents for granted. We should not see or consider them to be weak or strong, and that?s what we are doing,” Nitish said. It was his apparent rejoinder to BJP president Amit Shah’s recent claim that the NDA would win 32 to 34 seats in the first phase of the assembly elections and around 24 seats in the second phase. Training his guns directly at arch rival Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government at the Centre, the Bihar chief minister claimed that the former had somehow achieved the goal of forming and heading a government, but was now unable to run or lead the nation. “Narendra Modi has somehow formed the government, but he is unable to run the nation. You (the BJP) are in majority, so, there is no fear till 2019 (when the next general elections are due). You have formed the government at the Centre, but you are even unable to run parliament,” Nitish said. “If you are not acting on time, then, you will have to face difficulties and consequences. There is a lot of intolerance in our society at this point in time. Today, numerous writers are forced to return their awards to the Sahitya Akademi. They are very disappointed and sad with the present state of affairs. There is no relief. Whosoever is there in the government is not fulfilling their duties and responsibilities,” he added. Taking this argument forward, he said one-time key supporters of Narendra Modi like Arun Shourie and Ram Jethmalani were now his strongest critics, and he reasoned that it could be due to the ‘arrogance’ of Modi, who desired centralization of power, and not rule by consensus”Ram Jethmalani and Arun Shourie were supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the general elections last year. But now, why is it that their feelings have changed? Ram Jethmalani came to Patna and held a press conference. He lent his support to veterans fighting for the OROP (One Rank One Pension) and also raised the issue of reservation and black money,” Kumar said.”Now, Arun Shourie has also launched a stinging attack on the Modi government. People like them, who had put all their strengths to develop the personality of Prime Minister Modi, today, they are criticizing him and his government,” he added.Shourie, a former BJP leader, had recently contended that Modi belief in managing the economy meant ‘managing the headlines’, and said that people have now started recalling the days of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.”Doctor Singh (Manmohan Singh) ko log yaad karne lag gaye hain (People have started recalling the days of Manmohan Singh). The way to characterise the policies of the government is? Congress plus a cow. Policies are the same,” Shourie said at a book launch function recently. Jethmalani, who was in Patna recently, said the BJP needed to be defeated in the ongoing Bihar elections, as it had “failed” to keep its promise to bring back the black money stashed illegally abroad for evading taxes. He also claimed that he had been defrauded by playing into the hands of Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley. When it was suggested that rallies organised for the Prime Minister were attracting huge crowds and that Modi’s popularity with the masses remained intact, Chief Minister Kumar retorted that he was of the view that all of Modi’s rallies, or at least a majority of them in his state are ‘sponsored’. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally, which is being organised by the BJP, is sponsored. They try to gather people from various places. Our campaign is based on public meetings. Our meetings are based on constituencies. Whether it is me or Sonia ji, Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Meira Kumar or our party president Sharad Yadav, the programmes are constituency specific,” Nitish told ANI. “All of us conduct a lot of public meetings and in various places. So, if we conduct joint meetings, there will be fewer meetings. And if we conduct joint meetings in one constituency, then people from other constituencies will think that they are not significant. This will have and leave a bad impact. That’s why, we avoid joint rallies,” he added. On him recently copping a lot of flak for seeing and apparently seeking the blessings of a tantric, Kumar countered by asking whether there was proof of him asking the latter to save him from his so-called political enemies, and added that if the BJP was so concerned, they should declare that they are against black magic, and stop accusing him of practicing it. “These days, Modi ji is meeting so many people, that each and every detail is there on the social media. Why does he meet the Sadhus? Why is he raising the issue of the Ram Mandir? They have accused me of using black magic. So, he and the BJP should first declare that they are against black magic,” he said.”I never went of my own volition to the tantric. How am I in danger? One of my supporters said to me that he has faith in the tantric and wanted me to see him. I said I am ready to meet him and there is no need to bring him here to Patna. This episode took place one-and-a-half years ago in Patna. He was an ‘Aghod’ and naturally, as expected, spoke in the language of an Aghod. I kept on listening and smiling to whatever he was saying. What they (BJP) have released is an image taken from the mobile phone of one of our MLCs – Neeraj Kumar,” he added.”Had I gone to see the tantric without anyone’s knowledge, I would have told the MLC not to click the photo. I had no objection and kept on listening to him (tantric).Have you seen me saying something in that footage-that, Baba, I am in a spot of bother, save me and destroy my enemies,” the Bihar chief minister said.”I sat there for some time and kept on listening to him. What he was speaking about Lalu ji one-and-a half-years ago, after that only, we (me and Lalu) formed the alliance. What does the BJP want to prove? Can’t we even meet people? I have no objection if an Aghod greets me and showers his love upon me,” he added.The June 2014 video shows Nitish Kumar being hugged by a tantric who also says ‘Lalu murdabad’.Residents of the Bhavnauli Mathia village of the Mairwa block in Siwan District have identified the tantric as Baba Birnath Aghori, who had come to the village in 2011 and later settled down there despite their reluctance. They also said that he is a Muslim and belonged to Motipur village in Deoria District of Uttar Pradesh.During the course of his nearly hour-long interview, Nitish wondered whether Prime Minister Modi’s electoral promise of Achhe Din (Good Days) had gone up in smoke. “This government has not achieved success on any front, be it international, diplomatic, economic and or social sector. All the promises that they had made in the last 17 months, have not been fulfilled. This government has failed on each and every front. For how long will the people wait for the so called Achhe Din? The people have now been joking that Prime Minister Modi, keep his Achhe Din and return their Purane Din. At least, then we could have our pulses at less than Rs.200 per kilogram,” he said.”When you (BJP) were asking for the mandate in last year’s general elections, then you were blaming the then government for not taking immediate and appropriate action on the escalating prices of essential items. Now, I am asking that you are in power and what are you doing about it,” he added. “There is a drought in and around 300 districts. But where are they (BJP or NDA) and are they even concerned about it? What they seemed to be concerned about is how to capture Bihar. It seems to me as if the headquarters of the BJP has shifted from Delhi to Patna. The president of their party (Amit Shah) is living in the Maurya Hotel here. There are so many of their key leaders and representatives here for the polls, when they should be elsewhere fulfilling their responsibilities. They seem to have deployed all the resources at their command here to win at all costs,” the Bihar chief minister said. “They want to extend their power across the country. The mandate that they got, has led them to believe that they have the nation in their hands. They want to capture each and every state, one by one, in order to attain absolute power,” Nitish said. He concluded the interview by saying that he has been inspired by the principles of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, and freedom fighters and socialists like Ram Manohar Lohia and Jayaprakash Narayan, and added that they were his role models.

Bihar Polls: It seems BJP has shifted its headquarters from Delhi to Patna, says Nitish Kumar

“There is a drought in and around 300 districts. But where are they (BJP or NDA) and are they even concerned about it? What they seemed to be concerned about is how to capture Bihar.”

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday questioned the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) “over its enthusiastic” desire to seal an electoral win in Bihar, maintaining that it seemed to him as if the latter has shifted its headquarters from New Delhi to Patna.”There is a drought in and around 300 districts. But where are they (BJP or NDA) and are they even concerned about it? What they seemed to be concerned about is how to capture Bihar,” Nitish said.”It seems to me as if the headquarters of the BJP has shifted from Delhi to Patna. The president of their party (Amit Shah) is living in the Maurya Hotel here. There are so many of their key leaders and representatives here for the polls, when they should be elsewhere fulfilling their responsibilities. They seem to have deployed all the resources at their command here to win at all costs,” the Bihar chief minister said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”They want to extend their power in the entire country. The mandate that they got in the general election to run the nation doesn’t hold any importance for them. They believe that they have the nation in their hands. They want to capture each and every state, one by one, in order to attain absolute power,” Nitish said.”Despite the BJP putting all of its power in the Assembly polls, they will face defeat. And after that, they will have to face the consequences of the defeat,” he added.

Bihar Polls: PM Modi calls RJD ‘Rashtriya Jadu Tona Party’; says Nitish, Lalu responsible for trampling Bihar’s development

Amid indications that the caste and reservation debate dominating the polls scenario here could be detrimental to NDA’s prospects, the Prime Minister raised the development pitch promising “bijli-paani sadak” (electricity, road and water) and “kamai, padhai, and dawai” (earning, education and medicines) for each family in the state.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday made a scathing attack on RJD chief Lalu Prasad on his home turf, calling him a “tantrik” (occultist) and his party “Rashtriya Jadu Tona Party” as he reached out to the youth and weaker sections, promising a six-point programme for the state’s development.Amid indications that the caste and reservation debate dominating the polls scenario here could be detrimental to NDA’s prospects, the Prime Minister raised the development pitch promising “bijli-paani sadak” (electricity, road and water) and “kamai, padhai, and dawai” (earning, education and medicines) for each family in the state.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Blaming “Bade bhaai (Lalu) and Chhote Bhaai (Nitish Kumar) for problems plaguing the state, Modi insisted that the only plank NDA has is of “development”.Hitting back at the grand alliance’s “Bihari versus Bahari (Bihari versus outsider)” barb to attack BJP, which is fighting the polls under the leadership of Modi and Amit Shah, the Prime Minister took up the issues of migration and unemployment among youths.Modi said that Bihar will celebrate real Diwali on November 8 and that this election would bring double joy to the entire nation.Stating that 80% of their (Lalu’s and Nitish’s) election rallies focussed on him, Modi added, “I want to ask ‘loktantrik’ (democratic) Nitish ji and Lalu ji, who claims to be the biggest ‘tantrik’ of India, that who has forced the youth of Bihar to become ‘bahari’ (outsider)? You trampled Bihar during your rule but the youth have finally woken up to your lies.”He asserted that because of their combined efforts in ‘ruining’ the state, those who were born 25 years ago were still struggling outside the state in search of means to survive. He added that ‘development’ was the only solution to the evil the pair had sown.”I am reminded of my childhood when I used to run behind officers selling tea, they used to behave like they were kings and ill-treat us. Even today, a few people behave like they are kings. Are we going to accept such kind of behaviour?”Modi said that for the first time he had come to know that there were not three but four partners in the ‘Mahagathbandhan’. He said, “The partners in the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ are – Lalu ji,Nitish ji aur Sonia ji and the Tantrik.”Training his guns on Kumar, he raked up the issue of the death of 23 school children in Chhapra due to insecticide poisoning after consuming food served under Mid Day Meal (MDM) and said Nitish Kumar “did not have the courage” to visit the victims. The place of occurrence was considered to be a bastion of the RJD.”Nitishji keeps remembering me day and night. His devotional opposition is praiseworthy. It would have been better had he taken care of these things. Children of the poor, deprived, dalits and backwards had to lose their life,” he said.Modi expressed confidence that the NDA will form a government in the state, saying the gathering in Chhapra is not a rally but “a mela of parivartan”.Referring to BJP’s victory in local body polls in Ladakh, the Prime Minister said that the region with 90 per cent of minority population showed its faith in the BJP and the result will have its impact in Delhi as well.”This election will bring two Diwalis not only for Bihar but for the entire nation. It is clearly visible how Bihar will celebrate Diwali on November 8, the day of counting,” he said.

Nitish, Lalu slam Centre over Faridabad caste violence, say Dalits being burnt alive under BJP rule

Patna: Top leaders of Grand Secular Alliance, Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on the NDA government over the death of two children in Faridabad who were set afire along with their parents allegedly by upper caste members.

Lalu Prasad (left) and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. IBNLive

Lalu Prasad (left) and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. IBNLive

RJD President Lalu Prasad, in a tweet, said, “I had demanded them to burn books of Guru Golwalkar which are anti-Dalit in theme…but in their rule instead Dalits are burnt alive…Dalits and backwards unit.”

“Along with scrapping reservation, in the rule of BJP and RSS, Dalits who are beneficiary of reservation are being set on fire,” Prasad said in another tweet.

The RJD chief has made reservation issue a major poll plank of his party in context of the remarks of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, who had pitched for a review of the reservation system.

The incident had occurred yesterday at Sunped village when the family was sleeping inside their home and the attackers allegedly poured petrol from the window, killing two-and-half- year old Vaibhav and his 11-month-old sister Divya.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also hit out at the Central government over the incident.

“Shocked at this gruesome incident. Where are those now who claimed ‘hamari sarkar bana do sab theek ho jayega’ (bring my government to power and everything will be okay),” Kumar tweeted.

Locked in a keen tussle with NDA, the two leaders of grand secular alliance are using every opportunity to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is the face of the coalition in Bihar elections.

PTI

Rahul Gandhi writes to PM Modi, pitches for special category status for Andhra Pradesh

The Congress vice president said he had twice visited the state in the past one year and during the tours he could sense “the severe disappointment and pain the people were in due to the Centre’s failure to honour its commitments”.
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Rahul Gandhi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi pressing for early grant of special category status for Andhra Pradesh, telling him about “disappointment and pain” among people over the Centre’s “failure” to honour its commitments.”Over one year has elapsed since the NDA government has come to power, but many of the commitments made to the state–including special category status-remain unfulfilled”, he said in the letter.The Congress vice president said he had twice visited the state in the past one year and during the tours he could sense “the severe disappointment and pain the people were in due to the Centre’s failure to honour its commitments”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Noting that the state was facing a huge revenue deficit and development initiatives have been at a standstill, he said that despite the obvious need for immediate aid, the Centre has still not acted to extend support.Since the Prime Minister was visiting Andhra Pradesh this week to lay the foundation stone for its new capital Amravathi, he should utilise the opportunity to grant Special Category status and announce a time frame for the fulfillment of the commitments made in the Act, said Rahul. During the process of reorganisation, one of the major concerns of the people was the economic viability of their state, he said.”To address these concerns, the UPA Government was careful to include a comprehensive development package for Andhra Pradesh within the Act itself”, he said, adding that for further support, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also announced Special Category Status to the state.The Act had resulted in carving separate state of Telanagana out of Andhra Pradesh some two years back which has led to lot of problems for the people in coastal Andhra and Rayalseema regions. Gandhi had earlier accused the TDP-led government as also the NDA and opposition party YSR Congress for not doing enough to pressure the Centre on this issue.

Grand alliance a coalition of ‘power hungry’ parties: BJP

On Chief Minister Nitish Kumar trying to put the NDA government at the Centre on mat on socio-economic and political issues, Syed Shahanwaz Hussain questioned Kumar’s national vision claiming that he did not have any business to do so as he was not even a full-fledged leader of Bihar itself.
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PTI
BJP leader Syed Shahanwaz Hussain on Sunday described the grand alliance a coalition of “power hungry” parties considering the “contrasting” roles played by the alliance leaders with reference to the Bhagalpur riots.”The very nature of grand alliance raises several question marks vis-a-vis the Bhagalpur riots in late 1980s which took place during the Congress rule, Lalu Prasad came to power after the 1989 elections and brazenly protected the perpetrators, while Nitish Kumar upon becoming the Chief Minister in 2005 had the riot cases re-investigated…” he told reporters.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>All three parties, who had taken contrasting stances on the Bhagalpur riot incidents in which thousands of Muslims were killed, have now joined forces for collective self-interest, Hussain, the BJP national spokesperson, said.On Chief Minister Nitish Kumar trying to put the NDA government at the Centre on mat on socio-economic and political issues, he questioned Kumar’s national vision claiming that he did not have any business to do so as he was not even a full-fledged leader of Bihar itself.”It’s a matter of fact that Kumar has never contested all 243 Assembly seats in Bihar nor his party won majority seats on its own, but yet he worries about the entire country and gives unsolicited advice to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Hussain said and asked the Chief Minister to keep the counsel to himself as the PM does not need ‘NOC’ (no objection certificate) from him on any issue.With the caste and beef issues emerging as major poll planks in Bihar, the senior BJP leader charged Prasad and Kumar with fomenting communal strife in the state to reap electoral dividends “which was in stark contrast with the BJP-led coalition’s sole thrust on development to win the elections.””The RJD supremo and the senior JD(U) leader are deliberately raking up reservation and beef issues to polarize the voters and derail the NDA’s development plank,” he said.On film actor-turned-BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha’s statement that the “cancellation” of PM’s rallies in Bihar had sent a wrong signal to the voters, Hussain refrained from taking on his party colleague, but said that there was no plan to hold Modi’s rally in the state in the past week.On the BJP MP from Patna Sahib backing the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s stand for review of reservation policy, he said that the Prime Minister himself and and the BJP national president Amit Shah have clarified time and again that the quota for the OBCs and SC/SCs was there to stay.