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In Buxar, rebels may trip official candidates

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Buxar (Bihar): The Puranas describe Buxar as the battlefield of gods and demons. Politically speaking, ‘gods’ and ‘demons’ will fight it out here in the Bihar assembly elections too.

The battle of Buxar district has turned out to be more than interesting as the official candidates of both the NDA and the Grand Alliance face stiff opposition from rebels in three of the four constituencies.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded candidates from Buxar, Rajpur and Brahmpur, leaving Dumraon constituency for Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP).

On the other side, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) is contesting from Rajpur and Dumraon, the Congress from Buxar and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) from Brahmpur.

In 2010, the BJP won from Buxar and Brahmpur and the JD-U from Dumraon and Rajpur. They were allies then.

This time, the BJP denied ticket to both outgoing legislators, Sukhada Pandey (Buxar) and Dilmani Devi (Brahmpur).

The JD-U also denied ticket to incumbent legislator Daud Ali (Dumraon) and fielded former legislator Dadan Yadav. However, it reposed its faith in Rajpur victor Santosh Kumar Nirala.

The Congress candidate from Buxar and RJD’s from Brahmpur are both first timers.

Buxar has 29 candidates but the main fighters are BJP’s Pradip Dubey, 44, and Congress’ Sanjay Kumar Tiwari alias Munna Tiwari, 47, son of former union minister and Congress leader K.K. Tiwari.

Supporters of former minister and three-term BJP legislators Sukhda Pandey are angry after she was sidelined. They are sure to trip the BJP.

The Bahujan Samaj Party’s Saroj Kumar Rajbhar, 30, and Ashok Yadav, a JD-U rebel, are also in the fray. And Yadav, now an independent, could hurt the JD-U.

In Brahmpur, the NDA and Grand Alliance are in trouble. BJP’s Vivek Thakur, 45, son of former union minister C.P. Thakur, has an enemy in outgoing BJP legislator Dilmani Devi, who joined the JD-U after she was not re-nominated. She is now campaigning for RJD’s Shambhu Yadav.

The RJD is in a mess too. It denied ticket to four-time former legislator Ajeet Choudhry, 61, who is now a BSP candidate.

In Dumraon, BJP ally RLSP has fielded Ram Bihari Singh, who lost two elections. He is pitted against three-time legislator Dadan Yadav, who has won once as an independent and again on Samajwadi Party ticket.

Dadan Yadav too faces rebellion. Outgoing JD-U legislator Daud Ali, after being denied ticket, is now the candidate of Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party, giving sleepless nights to Dadan Yadav.

In Rajpur, the only reserve constituency, there seems to be a straight clash between BJP’s first timer Vishwanath Ram and JD-U’s 2010 winner Santosh Kumar Nirala.

Ram is a nephew of former BJP legislator Ram Narayan Ram. The Samajwadi Party and the BSP are also in the fray, the former fielding ex-legislator Chedi Lal Ram.

“Rebels have made the fight triangular in at least three seats in Buxar. Only Rajpur will see a direct fight between the BJP-led NDA and the Grand Alliance. So, rebels could spoil the chances of the official candidates,” Alok Kumar, a long-time Buxar resident, told IANS.

Munna Singh of Nawanagar doesn’t agree.

“There are lots of issues in Buxar. People who live on the banks of the Gange drink water contaminated with arsenic. There is hardly any water in canals. People are dependant on boring water. Unfortunately, no one talks about these issues,” he moaned.

“This election is being fought on caste lines,” he added.

Buxar will also witness an internecine Left war. Although the Communists have joined hands across Bihar, both Bhagwati Prasad of the CPI and Dhirendra Choudhry of the CPI-M are in the fray.

(Brajendra Nath Singh, IANS )

 

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What Would Be The Outcome Of The Judgement On Homosexuality With BJP At The Centre?

If parties like the BJP and "cultural" organisations like the RSS realise the value and motivation of such mindsets, they will desist from their present attempts to impose a straitjacket of their pseudo-religious identity on the nation.

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Flag Of BJP, homosexuality
Ruling on gays: Is the BJP out of sync with modern realities? Flickr

More than the social impact of the Supreme Court’s judgment on homosexuality, what will be of concern to the ruling party at the Centre is its political fallout. Hence, the eloquent silence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the subject.

For the BJP and its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), any expansion of the concept of civil liberties is fraught with danger to their restrictive worldviews since a widening of human rights carries the prospect of greater individualism.

If the rights of the homosexuals to live without legal constraints are conceded, it can only encourage the people to free themselves of other restrictions as well such as on choosing live-in partners (of whatever sex) and eating, dressing and speaking as they please.

Homosexuality, India
SC decriminalises homosexuality, victory for gay rights. Pixabay

It is noteworthy that the verdict on gays has come close on the heels of the judgment which described the right to dissent as a “safety valve” which the government can only shut off at its peril lest there is an explosion.

Moreover, the court had also upheld not long ago the right to privacy which the government described as an “elitist” concept.

For the Hindu Right, as also for other religious fundamentalists, this dalliance with civil rights — the freedom to criticise the government, the exaltation of privacy and now the decriminalisation of homosexuality — entails a push towards liberalism and modernism which are anathema to any group which wants the society to be bound by shackles of orthodoxy and obscurantism.

It is ironic that although the Hindutva brotherhood speaks of decolonising the Indian mind, the two colonial laws which have long been its favourites are the section on homosexuality in the Indian Penal Code and on sedition.

Now that one of them is gone, there is little doubt that these closet followers of Britain’s 19th century politician Lord Macaulay — even as they decry the secular groups as “Macaulay’s children” — will hold on resolutely to the law on sedition as their only safeguard against the “anti-nationals” who, they believe, stalk the land.

Homosexuality
It is ironic that although the Hindutva brotherhood speaks of decolonising the Indian mind, the two colonial laws which have long been its favourites are the section on homosexuality in the Indian Penal Code and on sedition.
Wikimedia Commons

It is also possible that the saffronites will keep a hawk’s eye on any social problems that may arise because of the assertion of gay rights. As the BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has said, with eager anticipation, if a five-judge bench can overturn an earlier judgment in favour of criminalising homosexuality, a larger bench can undo the present verdict if gay bars begin to flourish and there is a rise in the cases of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infections.

Interestingly, what these judgments underline is how the judiciary is more attuned to the changing world than the elected representatives of the hoi polloi who often argue in favour of giving greater primacy to the legislature than the judiciary since they claim to represent the people while the judges are unelected denizens of an ivory tower.

However, one possible reason why MPs and MLAs, especially of the BJP, seem to be out of sync with the present-day world is the presence in their midst of a large number of criminal elements who can hardly be regarded as the most progressive sections of society.

For instance, of the 543 elected members of the Lok Sabha, of whom 186 have a criminal record, 63 belong to the BJP, followed by eight of the Shiv Sena, four of the Trinamool Congress and three each of the Congress and the AIADMK.

Homosexuality
Gay Pride Procession. Pixabay

What the Supreme Court judgment appears to have done is to persuade parties like the Congress, which usually hedges its bets lest it should fall on the wrong side of public opinion, to come out in the verdict’s favour, presumably because it senses that this judgment, more than any other, has become a touchstone in the matter of breaking out from the stranglehold of the past.

To distance a party from it, as the BJP is doing, will amount to virtually alienating the entire youth community. Even if a majority among them do not have homosexual instincts — according to official figures, there are 2.5 million gay people in India, but this may be an underestimate since, till now, it was unsafe for them to reveal their sexual orientation — the youths nevertheless see the ruling as an assertion of living life on one’s own terms and not be held hostage by the dictates of a society steeped in conservatism and of political parties which believe that their agenda can only advanced if the country is made forcibly to conform to khap panchayat-style social and cultural norms.

Also Read: Why JDU & BJP Coalition Will Remain Instant

To these youths, being or not being aware of homosexuality is of little consequence. What matters to them is to be able to make up their own minds and not be told by elders to abide by certain rules which are regarded as outdated by the younger generation.

If parties like the BJP and “cultural” organisations like the RSS realise the value and motivation of such mindsets, they will desist from their present attempts to impose a straitjacket of their pseudo-religious identity on the nation. (IANS)