Thursday February 21, 2019
Home Politics Barbs, insult...

Barbs, insults, abuses galore as Bihar goes to polls

0
//

Patna: Some 66.8 million people would be eligible to vote from Monday in staggered Bihar assembly polls as the biggest popularity test is set to take place in the country after the Delhi thrashing of BJP and Congress in February.

After weeks of no-holds-barred campaigning in which the key players hurled real and perceived abuses at one another, the Bihar clash will show whether or not Prime Minister Narendra Modi still retains his charisma.

If pre-election surveys are to be believed, it will be no cakewalk for anyone including the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as well as the Grand Alliance of the ruling JD-U, RJD and Congress.

Some surveys have forecast a narrow win for the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led coalition in the 243-seat assembly. Others predict a win for the four-party alliance led by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The BJP allies are Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), the RLSP of union minister Upender Kushwaha and former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustan Awami Morcha (HAM).

The five-phase elections end on November 5. The vote count is due on November 8.

The Left parties have ended their long bonhomie with the JD-U and RJD, and are on their own, but unlikely to make a big impact. There is also a Third Front led by the Samajwadi Party. And, although it has put up only six candidates, the MIM of Asaduddin Owaisi is making waves.

However, everyone agrees that the main battle will be between Modi and Nitish Kumar, who once sailed in the same boat but are now bitter foes.

Modi is taking no chances. He is poised to set a record by addressing around 40 rallies in the state – the most by any prime minister.

Socio-political analyst Soroor Ahmad said no prime minister before Modi had visited Bihar more than two-three times during assembly elections.

“Modi’s credibility and charisma will be in doubt if the BJP suffers a defeat,” warned Jai Prakash, an activist.

After leading the BJP to a sensational victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Modi had been on a winning spree even in states.

That was till February 2015 when the Aam Aadmi Party stunned the BJP and Modi by winning 67 of the 70 seats in the Delhi assembly. The BJP was left with just three seats.

BJP leaders admit that the need for a win in Bihar was important if only to prove that the Delhi rout was a fluke.

Backing Modi’s aggressive campaign are 13 of his 26 ministers, mostly from Bihar.

And BJP’s allied groups like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Vishva Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and Durga Vahini are actively campaigning for the party.

The BJP is contesting 160 of the 243 assembly seats, its allies the LJP 40, the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) 23 and the HAM 20 seats.

Bihar is equally important for the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), which have come together after years of hostility along with the Congress.

The JD-U and RJD have fielded 101 candidates each, and the Congress 41.

The main electoral planks on which all parties are seeking votes include economic development, job quotas and battle against corruption.

But political activists admit that in many places, caste equations will influence the voters more than any other issue.

Of the total 66.8 million voters, 13.5 million are eligible to decide the fate of 586 candidates in the first round of polling covering 49 constituencies on Monday.

Drones will be used for the first time for surveillance, officials said.

According to the Association for Democratic Reforms and the National Election Watch, as many as 130 candidates in the first round of polls face serious criminal charges including murder.

(Imran Khan, IANS)

Next Story

Saudi, India Admit of Putting Pressure on Countries Supporting Terrorism

Prince Mohammad said the relations between two countries were "older than history" and these were "in blood".

0
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi at the signing of agreements between India and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on April 03, 2016. Wikipedia

Against the backdrop of the Pulwama terror attack, India and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday said there was a need to exert “all possible pressure” on countries which extend any kind of support to terror activities as they agreed for biennial summit meetings and formation of the Strategic Partnership Council.

However, at the joint interaction with the media after delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, there was no reference to Pakistan by either leader.

The Prince had just made a two-day visit to Pakistan that ended on Tuesday.

Modi said that the “barbaric terror attack” in Pulwama was another manifestation of the danger posed by terrorism to humanity.

“We agree that to deal with it effectively, there is need to put all possible pressure on countries which are giving any kind of support to terrorism,” Modi said.

India, Saudi
Modi said that the “barbaric terror attack” in Pulwama was another manifestation of the danger posed by terrorism to humanity. VOA

He said it was extremely necessary to destroy terror infrastructure and to punish terrorists and their supporters.

Modi said there was need for an action plan to deal with extremism so that the youths were not misguided by forces linked to terror and violence.

“I am happy that Saudi Arabia and India have common thoughts on this,” he said.

Prince Salman, in his remarks, said that extremism and terrorism were common concerns of the two countries and Saudi Arabia will fully cooperate with India.

“As far as the issue of extremism and terrorism, these are our common concerns. We want to tell India that we are ready to cooperate with you in every way, whether it is intelligence sharing.. Not only India but we will work with all the countries in the neighbourhood so that the future of the coming generations is secured,” he said.

Prince Mohammed said India offers investment opportunities of over $100 billon and his country will work to make investments beneficial for both countries.

He said the relations between two countries were “older than history” and these were “in blood”.

Modi said Saudi Arabia was among the most important strategic partners of India in the 21st century.

“It is in our extended neighbourhood, is a close friend and an important source of India’s energy needs. I am happy that in accordance with your suggestion, we have agreed for biennial summit meetings and Strategic Partnership Council. This will strengthen our ties,” he said.

 

India, Saudi
“We agree that to deal with it effectively, there is need to put all possible pressure on countries which are giving any kind of support to terrorism,” Modi said. Wikimedia

Modi said the two leaders discussed all aspects of the bilateral relationship and decided to take it to new heights. “We agreed to create a structure to facilitate institutional investment from Saudi Arabia. I welcome Saudi Arabia’s investment in infrastructure.”

He said time has come to turn energy relations to a strategic partnership and noted that Saudi Arabia’s participation in world’s largest refinery and strategic petroleum reserve will take their energy relationship beyond that of buyer and seller.

Modi said that the two countries have a common interest in ensuring peace and stability in West Asia and the Gulf.

“Today in our talks, there was agreement on accelerating mutual cooperation and partnership in this area,” he said.

The two countries also agreed that strong relations in counter-terrorism, ocean and cyber security will be mutually beneficial, he said.

He said the two countries have also decided to increase and expand their defence cooperation in the context of their strategic environment.

Modi said that e-visa facility for Saudi nationals is being expanded to boost trade and tourism and thanked Prince Salman for the increase in Haj quota for Indians.

He welcomed Saudi Arabia’s participation in International Solar Alliance.

“Peaceful use of nuclear energy, specially for water desalination and health will be another aspect of our cooperation,” he said.

 

India, Saudi
Modi said Saudi Arabia was among the most important strategic partners of India in the 21st century. Pixabay

He said presence of 2.7 million Indians in Saudi Arabia is an important link in bilateral ties. “You have always kept their welfare in mind and for this, their gratitude and good wishes are with you,” Modi said.

Earlier, the Crown Prince, who is on his first state visit to India, received a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhawan here.

 

ALSO READ: Mamata Accused Parties for Spreading Hatred, Called ‘Shameless Politics’

He told the media that the ties between India and the Arabian Peninsula “is in our DNA”.

“With the leadership of the President and the Prime Minister, I am sure we can create good things for Saudi Arabia and India,” he said.

Prince Mohammed arrived in the capital on Tuesday for a two-day visit and was received by Modi at the Palam airport. (IANS)