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Nitish set to take oath as Bihar Chief Minister

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New Delhi: Nitish Kumar is set to swear-in as the Bihar Chief Minister on Friday in the presence of significant leaders of the Alliances and the Congress.

Post a storming victory in the Bihar election against Narendra Modi-led NDA government, the combined JD(U)-RJD-Congress, famous as the Grand Alliance or the Mahaghatbandhan, are estimated to share seats in the cabinet according to their respective performance.

Several leaders are expected to attend the oath ceremony, mostly from the non-BJP block, that might make way for possible future political alignments.

The ceremony will take place at Gandhi Maidan in Patna and will be joined by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, HD Deve Gowda, Sharad Pawar, Farooq Abdullah and leaders in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha such as Mallikarjun Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also invited for the ceremony although he won’t be able to grace the occasion due to prior commitments. He has assigned deputed Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu to represent the Government at the gathering.

Two sunshade dais are prepared for the VVIPs and for those under Special Protection Group cover. On the main dais will be Nitish Kumar and the newly elected ministers. The neighbouring dais will be graced by the newly elected MLAs.

A special corridor is constructed for the women coming to attend the ceremony.

The site of the oath ceremony is being constantly supervised by the police, and security drills are taking place to practise ushering of VVIPs from Airport to the Gandhi Maidan.

The victory of the grand alliance was categorically endorsed under the expectation of Nitish leading Bihar as the Chief Minister.

Once rivals, Nitish and Lalu came together to defeat the BJP led NDA Government.This win has boosted the confidence of the party although now it will be under severe surveillance by the citizens to see whether they are worthy of the win or not.

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Arun Jaitley attributes BJP’s defeat to its loose talkers

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New Delhi: BJP leader and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday attributed the party’s resounding defeat in the Bihar assembly elections to its motormouth leaders whose remarks had “deflected from the main theme of development”.

“I did try to intervene on several occasions and correct that narrative. But… the camera has a special fondness for those who are capable of spoiling that narrative,” Jaitley told NDTV.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had come to power at the Centre in 2014 on the development agenda, managed to win just 53 seats in Bihar despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi spearheading the election campaign in the state.

The finance minister also exuded confidence that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill would be passed in parliament. “I think GST will get through. It’s only a matter of time,” he said.

The GST bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha, was stalled by the opposition in the Rajya Sabha where the opposition is in the majority.

Jaitley, who also holds the portfolios of corporate affairs and information and broadcasting, said the government was committed to push ahead with reforms.

(IANS)

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Bihar Polls LIVE: We will uproot Modi govt at Centre, says Lalu Yadav

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With results pouring in the trends show that JD(U)-RJD-Congress Grand Alliance is racing ahead of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar polls and is all set to form the next government under the leadership of Nitish Kumar.

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“Will go to Banaras with a lantern to ‘find’ Modi’s promises,” says Lalu.

“You can’t predict the ripples that this verdict will have in coming future.”

“I thank the women for coming in large numbers and voting. We are committed to look after their empowerment and safety,” says Lalu.

“Nitish Kumar is, and will be, the Chief Minister of Bihar. The state is set to develop under his leadership,” Lalu Yadav declares.

“We will work towards a better Bihar and are committed to women’s development and safety,” says Lalu.

“We will uproot the Modi government at the Centre,” says Lalu Yadav.

“The people of Bihar have handed over an unprecedented defeat to the BJP. We express our heartfelt gratitude to them,” says Lalu Yadav.

RJD chief Lalu Yadav addresses a press conference.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray calls Nitish Kumar to congratulate him over Grand Alliance’s massive victory in Assembly polls.

According to latest results/trends by 1:05 pm, Grand Alliance is leading on  160 seats while the NDA on 74 seats.

#BiharVerdict #BiharResults at 11:40am (leads/trends) JDU+ 157 BJP+ 75 OTHERS+ 12 @Bihar_BJP @NitishKumar pic.twitter.com/2SWOuNNeRD — NewsGram (@NewsGram1) November 8, 2015

This is a victory of unity over divisiveness. Humility over arrogance. Love over hate. A victory of the people of Bihar, says Rahul Gandhi.

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Five-phase Bihar battle ends; 56 percent vote in final round

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Patna: Curtains came down on Thursday on the staggered five-phase assembly elections in Bihar that pitted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP-led combine against the Grand Alliance of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, with more than half of the 1.55 crore electorate turning out to vote in the final round.

Polling in the last 57 of the 243 constituencies across seven districts: Kishanganj, Purnea, Araria and Katihar in Seemanchal region, and Saharsa, Madhepura and Supaul in Kosi region, saw a 56 percent turnout.

The 57 constituencies cover some of Bihar’s most backward pockets notorious for poverty, illiteracy and mass migration.

Balloting was by and large peaceful, even as stray clashes took place between rival groups.

Eight voters were injured when central paramilitary forces resorted to baton charge at polling booths in Araria and Katihar districts.

Four voters were injured at a polling booth in Jokihat assembly constituency in Araria, as security forces baton-charged villagers after someone attacked a security personnel on duty.

Similarly, security personnel had to use force at a polling booth in Katihar district to disperse anti-social elements trying to indulge in bogus voting, in which four people were injured, officials said.

Thousands of people — women outnumbering men — stood in long queues at polling stations from early in the morning, officials as well as witnesses said.

A total of 827 candidates contested on Thursday. Voting began at 7 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m., but those standing in queue at the close of polling were allowed to cast their ballot.

Janata Dal-United (JD-U) president Sharad Yadav voted in Madhepura and BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain in Supaul.

Bihar Police chief P.K. Thakur said polling was mainly peaceful.

In some places, the electronic voting machines malfunctioned. Apart from that, it was a smooth exercise.

Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi’s Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) is also contesting from six seats in Seemanchal region, and the Jan Adhikar Party of expelled RJD MP Pappu Yadav is also in the fray.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is banking heavily on Modi’s appeal and the support of the upper castes — Brahmins, Bhumihar, Rajputs — and also hopes to gain the backing of other communities.

Allied with the BJP are the Lok Janshakti Party of Ram Vilas Paswan and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party of Upendra Kushwaha — both union ministers — and the Hindustani Awam Morcha of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi.

The Grand Alliance includes the JD-U, the Rashtriya Janata Dal of Lalu Prasad and the Congress.

The millions of votes polled in the staggered elections that began on October 12 will be counted on November 8.

A large section of the 66.8 million electorate voted in the staggered elections.

The BJP contested 160 of the 243 assembly seats, the LJP 40, the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party 23 and HAM 20 seats.

In the Grand Alliance, the JD-U and the RJD fielded 101 candidates each while the Congress contested in 41 seats.

The Bihar election is a big test for the BJP, whose winning streak since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls was halted by the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi in February.

The jitters over the outcome of the Bihar assembly polls dented investors’ sentiments in the Indian equity markets and led a barometer index to provisionally close 287 points down on Thursday.

(IANS)