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Interesting times for Nitish and Bihar

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By Tarun Pratap

New Delhi: Nitish Kumar was unanimously elected the leader of the  grand alliance on Saturday marking the beginning of an ensuing challenging if not tricky tenure for him.

Nitish Kumar, as he sits on the throne of Bihar for the third consecutive term, will enjoy the support of the comeback man of Indian politics, ironically whom he had ousted earlier.

Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD emerged as the most successful party bagging 80. Lalu is expected to have a fair say in the administration process.

Despite having major differences, both Lalu and Nitish  got united to stop the BJP juggernaut. And if they are to run the government successfully, they will need to have more common developmental agendas.

Nitish Kumar made seven commitments and it will not be easy to fulfill those with BJP in the center and ready to pounce on the opportunity to lambaste Nitish’s faults. Nitish will need almost three lakhs crores to complete his seven election pledges including 35 per cent reservation for women in the government and the jobs to youth.

The grand alliance has the clear majority as of now but if anyone backs out at some point then a new equation will come into place. It will be the BJP who would be in the driver’s seat and either of RJD or JD-U will need the support to form the government.

Nitish and Lalu know each other very well, their entente goes way back, they have come circles but issues in politics are never resolved and BJP tried to create a rift by publishing a video of Nitish Kumar with a tantric who was saying things against Lalu.

Moreover, the two sons of Lalu are in the contention of ministerial posts and if they get one, it will provide a huge boost to RJD which had remained sidelined for quite a time.

While Lalu’s supporters are happy to see him back, a faction was however left speechless. Lalu still has the corruption charges but as the ‘communal’ forces had to be thwarted, his comeback became the need of the hour.

There is no denying the fact that Nitish Kumar has brought in developmental changes in the last 10 years for Bihar. People have seen the change over the years but will this sustain in the next five years? Especially given that the focus of the two stalwarts from Bihar has shifted now. the paradigm shift in focus can be attributed to the secular and communal powers talks that have overshadowed agendas of development.

 

 

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India Begins Its Election Season With Five States

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh.

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India, elections
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the 'Global Mobility Summit' in New Delhi, India, VOA

India began on Monday the first of five state elections to be held in coming weeks, important tests for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he plots a course that he hopes will ensure him victory in a general election due by May.

Voters in the central state of Chhattisgarh went to the polls on Monday to elect representatives for 18 of the state assembly’s 90 seats in a staggered poll complicated by logistical problems and left-wing guerrillas.

The state of about 26 million people has been ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2003, and he will be hoping to hold on to power.

India, elections
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Continues To Stay Mum On The #MeToo Movement. Wikimedia Commons

“Some unholy people have handed guns to children who should have pens in their hands,” Modi told a rally in the state on Friday, referring to the rag-tag guerrillas battling government forces from forest hideouts. “They’ve finished the lives of our tribal children.”

Hundreds of election workers had to be flown in to remote polling stations by helicopter because of the danger posed by the rebels.

Modi called for voters to back his BJP and its vision of “development for all.”

The final phase of voting in Chhattisgarh, which is known for its coal, iron ore and bauxite reserves, will be on Nov. 20.

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India’s Congress party President Rahul Gandhi displays documents as he accuses Narendra Modi’s government of buying 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault at a highly inflated price, in New Delhi, India. VOA

The BJP was the preference of about 43 percent of voters in Chhattisgarh, 7 percentage points ahead of the main opposition Congress party, according to a survey released last week by the Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Modi’s other big tests will be in the neighboring central state of Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP is slightly ahead of Congress, according to polls, and in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, where Congress is expected to emerge victorious.

A good performance by the BJP in the elections would help it deflect growing criticism over unemployment and a crisis in the countryside over falling farm prices and wages.

India, elections
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Elections will also be held for assemblies in Telangana in the south and Mizoram in the northeast.

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh, including Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu priest and the BJP chief minister in Uttar Pradesh state.

Also Read: PM Narendra Modi Announces Easier Access to Credit

Adityanath has been appealing to the BJP’s Hindu-nationalist base and on Sunday accused the opposition of blocking construction of a temple for Hindu god Ram on a disputed site in Uttar Pradesh.

The destruction of a mosque on the site by a Hindu mob in 1992 sparked deadly riots across the country. (VOA)