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Ignoring looming drought in Bihar, politicians fight for ‘pride’ and ‘change’

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Patna,A drought-like situation in Bihar is a serious issue for millions of farmers, but not for the politicians, including the main contenders in the electoral stakes — Janata Dal-United (JDU), Rashtriya Janada Dal (RJD), Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance(NDA).

 

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For them a ‘swabhiman’ (self-respect) and ‘parivartan’ (change) are more important slogans than poor rainfall. That farmers are suffering from a 31 percent deficient monsoons, leading to a drought-like situation in the state, has had no impoact on the political discourse.
Ahead of state assembly polls in October-November, political leaders and their supporters have not shown any sympathy for the plight of the poorest of poor farmers even as the political temperature starts heating up.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the star campaigner of NDA, addressed two public meetings in Muzaffarpur on July 25 and Gaya on August 9 but he did not mention anything on the near-drought situation in Bihar. His main plank was urging people to bring about a change in the state by questioning the “political DNA” of chief minister Nitish Kumar.
Neither BJP president Amit Shah, who launched ‘parivartan raths’ nor the several union ministers, including those from Bihar, who launched parivartan yatra from four places expressed their concerns on the farmers’ woes.
The allies of BJP like Lok Janshakti Party, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party or the Hindustan Awami Morcha have also been silent on the issue.
Nitish Kumar and his new ally RJD chief Lalu Prasad, have raised the decibel on pride of bihar by vehemently objecting to Modi’s remark on DNA of Nitish Kumar as being an “insult to Bihar.”
Nitish Kumar’s JD-U has launched a shabd-wapsi (take back your word) campaign to collect signatures and samples of 50 lakh people in Bihar to send them to Modi for a DNA test as a protest. Lalu has been showing more concern for caste census data to be made public.
In a ritualistic way, the state government has announced an increase in diesel subsidy for farmers directing the energy department to provide six to eight hours of uninterrupted power in rural areas.
A K. Sen, an official with the meteorological department in Patna said the situation in the state was “alarming” due to a deficient rainfall.”At present,overall rainfall deficit in Bihar is 31 percent. But the situation is alarming in 26 of 38 districts of the state where the deficit is more than 50 percent, Sen told IANS.
According to officials records,nearly two-thirds of Bihar’s population of 10.5 crore are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. Nearly two-thirds of agricultural activities in the state are dependent on rain.
Poor rainfall till date has affected paddy sowing and plantation, triggering fears of another drought, an official of the state disaster management department, who did not want to be named, said.
Reports received here say that unlike in the past, there is no water for irrigation in the canals. A large part of central Bihar is irrigated by water from the Sone river through canals.
Even the water table in parts of central and south Bihar has gone down to alarming levels due to a poor monsoon.

(IANS)

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Congress To Use Tribal Card to Regain Power in the Country

Congress to use tribal card to improve countrywide position

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Congress Chhattisgarh
Congress will be using the tribal card to regain dominance and their plan of action will begin from Chhattisgarh. Wikimedia Commons

BY SANDEEP PAURANIK

In order to regain dominance in the country, the Congress is mulling using the tribal card. This plan of action is to be first implemented in Chhattisgarh.

Riding on the success of the Assembly and urban body elections, the Congress feels that it can increase it base through tribals as they constitute 8 per cent of the total population.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the first three Assembly elections in the state, after its formation in 2000, recorded huge victories and came to power. But after the Assembly elections held last year, the scenario changed. After registering a victory in the Assembly elections and then in the urban body polls, the Congress showed that it still dominates the tribal areas.

Rahul Gandhi Congress
Former President of Congress Rahul Gandhi gave an important message while innaugrating the National Tribal Dance Festival in Raipur. Wikimedia Commons

The Congress gave the responsibility of the tribal areas to the tribal leader of Madhya Pradesh Umang Singhar which eventually helped the party. Now, the party is planning to spread out nationwide through Chhattisgarh.

Former party president Rahul Gandhi, while inaugurating the National Tribal Dance Festival in Raipur, gave a message to the tribals who are here to participate in the festival that the Chhattisgarh government is working for all the sections and this is the reason why there has been a downward trend in naxal attacks and the state economy has also improved.

The Congress is planning to publicise the improvements in Chhattisgarh throughout the country because the tribal population in the state is 32 per cent.

BJP media panellist Sandeep Sharma, however, claims that the party’s base has not shrunk. He said till Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were not divided, the Congress was strong in the area but in the elections held after three years of the bifurcation, the BJP won the Assembly elections and was in power for 15 years. Though we faced defeat in the 2018 elections, the only reason was that people wanted a change but they were not angry with the BJP, he claimed.

The BJP won in the Lok Sabha elections and the margin in the urban body elections was also not much. So, it would be inappropriate to say that the BJP’s base has shrunk, he said adding that in one year the Congress’ base has declined by 9 per cent whereas in Assembly elections it got 12 per cent more votes and in urban body elections the margin was 3 per cent.

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The Congress is planning to publicise the improvements in Chhattisgarh throughout the country. Wikimedia Commons

Analysing the political landscape of the state, political analyst Rudra Awasthi said, “When it was Madhya Pradesh then the Congress had stronghold in Chhattisgarh. Several big leaders were also from the state but after the formation of Chhattisgarh since Ajit Jogi was accused of being a fake tribal the Congress lost its stronghold over the tribals. Though it continued to dominate in some of the areas which helped it in regaining the power.

“As of now, the Congress has started including the tribals with the backward class. First Bhupesh Baghel was the state chief of the party and he was replaced by Mohan Markam as he became the Chief Minister. During the Assembly elections, the Congress talked about the identity of the tribals which helped the party. After winning the elections, the decisions of the Congress government were in favour of the tribals which helped the party in the urban body elections,” said Awasthi.

Also Read- Unity in Diversity is the Strength of the Country: Rahul Gandhi

The Congress is mulling over spreading its message to the tribals across the country through the three-day festival going on here. For this several senior leaders of the party will attend the festival and share the government’s schemes while giving the message that the Congress government in the state has brought a positive and a significant change in the lives of the tribals. (IANS)