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Bihar ‘misruled’: Nitish Kumar looks more ‘eager than desperate’

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In the run up to the 2015 Bihar assembly elections scheduled for October-November, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar looks more “eager than desperate” as compared to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections where he seemed more “desperate than eager”. While the catchy slogans differ, the ruling party’s punch-line remains the same: “Phir ek baar Nitish Kumar”.

Photo credit: oneindia.com
Photo credit: oneindia.com

The flamboyant chief minister, who bit the dust in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, is going all out to counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the famous “Modi-way”, hiring the brain behind his smashing success through digitalized campaign – Prashant Kishor.

“The man wants to achieve that all over again, without the BJP. He has been hearing some jarring sounds with a formidable rival at work but he would do whatever it takes — from attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to brandishing his development plank to forging an alliance with long-time rival Lalu Prasad,” says the book whose publication is certainly well-timed with the crucial elections just a month away.

This is one of many interesting accounts that the book, Ruled or Misruled, written by Santosh Singh, offers. The book, whose cover portrays contrasting images of good governance and truth is described by the author, a journalist, as “an extension of my reporting”.

“He accepts making his campaign more organised than last time,” it adds.

“He has started knocking at the doors of the voters a bit early to remind them that it is an assembly election and Narendra Modi is not going to be the chief minister.” The author advocates that Nitish Kumar has “realised the value of brand-building belatedly, especially through unconventional and modern methods of social media”.

The book compares former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s emergence as a “leader” in nine months with the birth period of a child.

“A childbirth period of nine months has a great symbolism in the context of Manjhi. He was also born a leader in his nine-month tenure as Bihar chief minister. He chose his political birth as a Dalit leader as an afterthought.

“Manjhi had got his chance at the age of 70. After all in his last 34 years of political career, he had hardly done or said anything to get noticed, let alone trying to emerge as a leader of dalits,” the book says.

The book, however, describes central minister Ram Vilas Paswan, another Dalit face in Bihar, as a leader who “could have become a national dalit icon, but frittered away the opportunity because of his obsession with short-term politics and love for the comfort zone”.

From the rise of Lalu Prasad, the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief, to his growing influence and a massive debacle and from the rise in influence and governance of Nitish Kumar to the “political importance” of the Manjhi surname, the book, through 21 chapters, carries one through the political landscape of the state, which has been arguably the most misruled over the years.

The author sensibly narrates the stories of repair, hope and construction under Nitish Kumar, disillusionment and new political realignment after the 2013 NDA split, Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav coming together again after two decades and Nitish Kumar almost walking out of Lalu Yadav’s alliance.

The book also details the emergence of the BJP and the reunion of ‘Janata Family’.

By Prashant Kumar, IANS

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Copyright 2015 NewsGram

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Oli Assures Modi, Nepal’s Territory Won’t Be Used Against India’s Interests

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

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Gokhale said that Modi's two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations
KP Sharma Oli, PM of Nepal, wikimedia commons

Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has told his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Nepal’s territory will not be used against New Delhi’s interests, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said here on Saturday.

“Oli reiterated that they will be sensitive to our concerns and their territory will not be allowed to be used by anybody against India. Prime Minister Modi reciprocated the sentiments,” Gokhale told the media.

Gokhale called Oli’s view “very significant”.

There was a chill in India-Nepal ties during Oli’s earlier stint as Prime Minister between October 2015 and August 2016 when a border blockade blamed on New Delhi crippled Nepal’s economy.

There were also perceptions that Oli was leaning towards China than India.

Gokhale said that Modi’s two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations “whether it be cross-border electricity or cross-border connectivity”.

“We are looking into cross-border electricity and cross-border connectivity not only with Nepal but other neighbouring countries as well,” he said.

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

Stating that India welcomed the restoration of democracy in Nepal, Gokhale said that both the government and the opposition in the Himalayan nation were parties to it.

He said both sides agreed to be committed towards the stated projects. “We will address this within a set timeline.”

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of service to others in his last Mann Ki Baat edition for 2017.
Modi is on Nepal visit for two days, wikimedia commons

According to Gokhale, Oli confirmed to Modi that Nepal will host the the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) summit this year.

Bimstec comprises seven countries lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Gokhale also said that Modi’s visits to cultural sites in Nepal “suggested that there should be strong people-to-people ties”.

Apart from offering prayers at temples in Nepal, the Indian leader inaugurated the Janakpur-Ayodhya bus service, a 900 MW hydropower project and announced Rs 100-crore aid to develop Janakpur city.

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He also held extensive discussions with Oli, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and other government officials to better bilateral ties after which he said: “All misunderstandings with Nepal are over.”

Modi also met leaders of opposition parties, starting with former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other members of the Nepali Congress.

He exchanged views on strengthening bilateral ties with former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”. (IANS)