Monday November 19, 2018
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Made mistakes in issuing tickets, but BJP will still win Bihar: Jayant Sinha

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Patna: Union Minister Jayant Sinha has admitted that the BJP made mistakes while picking candidates in the Bihar assembly elections but insisted his party will win the battle.

Jayant Sinha, son of former finance and external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha, said in an interview that the BJP’s mistakes were nothing compared to the blunders by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

“There is some resentment (in the BJP) due to mistakes in ticket distribution. But we have overcome it at most places,” Sinha, minister of state for finance, said ahead of the five-phase elections which begin on Monday.

“You have to take the entire state and other (factors) into account while distributing tickets.”

The MP from Jharkhand who is campaigning for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bihar went on: “But what about Nitish Kumar who has made a series of mistakes in last two-and-a-half-years?”

Listing these, he said the people of Bihar won’t forgive the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader who heads the Grand Alliance that also includes Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD and the Congress.

“Parting ways with the BJP was his first major mistake. It was a crime. Again he made a mistake by joining hands with Lalu Prasad, who is a symbol of ‘jungle raj’,” Sinha said.

“Removing Jitan Ram Manjhi from chief minister’s post was another mistake. And last but not the least, he joined hands with the Congress,” Sinha said.

Sinha also felt that the same party must rule in New Delhi and in states for better coordination vis-a-vis good governance.

“If the BJP forms a government in Bihar, it would succeed in ushering in the state’s development since the state government would function in tandem with the BJP-ruled central government,” he said.

He cited his home state Jharkhand to back his argument.

“Since the formation of a BJP-led government in Jharkhand, we have done lots of development work there with the support of the central government. See where is Jharkhand today in comparison to Bihar.”

Sinha also took a dig at the Congress, saying the grand old party didn’t have the interests of the nation at heart.

“For them dynasty is supreme. Rahul Gandhi is an example of it, he said.

He wondered if Congress had no other capable leader. “How long will they ignore the reality? People of this country understand everything,” Sinha added.

The Bihar elections will end on November 5. The results would be known three days later.

Sinha claimed that Delhi — where the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by Arvind Kejriwal routed the BJP in February — won’t be repeated in Bihar.

“Delhi’s elections were special. There was no anti-incumbency against Arvind Kejriwal. And one thing he did very cleverly is he went to public and sought apology for his mistakes. But Nitish never did that. So the people of Bihar will not forgive him,” he said.

Calling former chief minister Lalu Prasad a convicted criminal, he said that it was unfortunate that Bihar had a leader like him.

“Laluji has been a symbol of jungle raj. He can never rise above family and caste issues. See his election speeches and his remarks. It’s tragic,” Sinha said.

 

(Brajendra Nath Singh, IANS)

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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 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.

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“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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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.

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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)