Monday November 19, 2018
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No chief ministerial candidate for BJP: Ananth Kumar

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Patna: The BJP declared on Tuesday that it will not announce its chief ministerial candidate and instead fight the coming Bihar assembly elections solely in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The BJP will not announce its chief ministerial candidate. The BJP has several capable leaders for the top political post in the state but it will fight the assembly elections in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said Ananth Kumar, union minister for chemicals and fertilisers and party in-charge for Bihar.

“Narendra Modi is the BJP face; our party will contest the assembly polls under his leadership,” he told the media.

BJP’s main rival – ruling Janata Dal-United, RJD, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party combine – declared Nitish Kumar as its candidate for the top post on June 8.

Nitish Kumar said that the party had, in the last one year, contested assembly elections in different states in the name of Modi.

The union minister downplayed the repeated demand of Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar that the BJP too declare its chief ministerial candidate.

BJP ally Rashtriya Lok Samta Party said on Monday that its party chief and union minister Upendra Kushwaha be declared the opposition alliance’s chief ministerial candidate.

However, another BJP ally, union minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party, announced last week that Paswan would not be the NDA’s chief ministerial candidate.

Former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, who announced joining the NDA alliance in the state, said he was not in the race for the top job and only a BJP leader would be the candidate.

In the caste-ridden politics of Bihar, over half a dozen BJP leaders from the upper castes and the backward castes have staked their respective claims for projection as chief ministerial candidate. (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, 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.

India,India, elections
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
Modi Appeals For A Regional Front Against Terrorism, flickr

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)