Nitish Kumar wins floor test in Bihar

Nitish Kumar wins floor test in Bihar; Modi-led NDA goes strong in 18 Indian states

Sailing through the trust vote with 131 votes, Nitish Kumar is back being the ‘king’ of the Bihar.

Nitish Kumar wins floor test in Bihar; Modi-led NDA goes strong in 18 Indian states

‘Secularism can’t mask corruption,” said the Chief Minister in the Bihar Assembly with Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi by his side.

“These are arrogant people. Political parties get a mandate in elections to serve the people. The people are fed-up,” added Nitish.

Last 48-hours, Bihar witnessed some fast-paced and stunning developments that has changed the political scenario of the country.

It all started on Thursday evening.

Alleging corruption charges against Tejashwi Yadav, Nitish tendered his resignation and dissolved the 20-month-old mahagathbandhan or grand alliance between JD(U) and RJD. Within hours, JD (U) formed a new coalition with old ally BJP and Nitish headed back to office, claiming support of 132 MLAs in a letter to Bihar governor Keshari Nath Tripathi.

In 2013, Nitish had ended his 17-year alliance with the BJP over the party’s decision to name Narendra Modi its Prime Ministerial candidate.

Nitish’s decision to side with BJP has not gone down well with several party members. JD (U) stalwart Sharad Pawar is reportedly miffed with the new development while MP Ali Anwar openly expressed his dissatisfaction.

Today morning, Nitish moved the confidence motion to prove majority of his new government amid scathing attacks from various counters. In the 243-member Bihar Assembly, 131 legislators voted in favour of the new alliance and 108 against.

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav argued that former his former ‘boss’ Nitish Kumar should have shown guts and sacked him rather than joining hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Aapko sharam nahin aayi? (Aren’t you ashamed?),”asked Tejashwi.

Today morning, Patna High Court accepted RJD’s petition challenging the appointment of Nitish as Chief Minister. However, the court refused to stop today’s trust vote, saying it would hear the case on Monday, 31 July.

JD (U)’s new alliance with BJP has changed significantly changed the political discourse of the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA now holds the power in 18 states throwing Congress out of the national equation. This, in turn, will have some significant bearing upcoming state elections and 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Bihar’s political upheaval has only confirmed the notion of BJP’s saffron wave engulfing the entire nation.

-July 28, 2017, Patna

RJD dubs Lalu-Shahabuddin audiotapes doctored

RJD dubs Lalu-Shahabuddin audiotapes doctored, JD(U) calls it attempt to destabilize Bihar government

A day after an audiotape of a conversation between Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and his party’s jailed leader Mohammad Shahabuddin, was made public, the political outfit on Sunday dubbed the tape as doctored, while its ally Janata Dal (United) said that it was an attempt to destabilize the government of Bihar.


A day after an audiotape of a conversation between Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and his party’s jailed leader Mohammad Shahabuddin, was made public, the political outfit on Sunday dubbed the tape as doctored, while its ally Janata Dal (United) said that it was an attempt to destabilize the government of Bihar.

RJD leader Manoj Jha accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of scripting a propaganda against Lalu, who he termed as one of the strongest voices against right-winged authoritarian.

“I find the audio tapes purported and doctored. This is malicious, this is propaganda ruled out by top BJP script writers. We welcome all kind of investigation. Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav is one of the strongest voices against right-winged authoritarian,” Jha told ANI.

Condemning the episode, JD(U) leader K.C Tyagi said, “This is an attempt to destabilize the Bihar government.”

An English news channel yesterday aired an audio clip of Lalu having a conversation with jailed mafia don Mohammad Shahabuddin. It played a recorded conversation which it claimed took place between Lalu Prasad and his convicted MP.
-May 7, 2017, New Delhi

Paswan demands CBI probe, President’s rule in Bihar

Paswan demands CBI probe, President’s rule in Bihar


Union Minister Ramvilas Paswan today said he has apprised Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the “deteriorating” law and order situation in Bihar and demanded for an imposition of President’s rule in the state.

Paswan has also sought for a CBI probe into the recent political murders in the “Jungle Raj-2”, which has set in Bihar since the Grand Alliance government came to power three months ago.

“In my capacity as LJP president, I met the PM two days ago and apprised him about deteriorating law and order situation in Bihar… I also submitted a letter demanding a CBI probe in the recent political murders and sought imposition of President’s Rule in the state,” he said.

Paswan said that the recent murders of BJP state unit vice president Visheshwar Ojha in Bhojpur district and LJP leader Brijnathi Singh in Vaishali district pointed to the “collapse” of law and order situation in Bihar.

The spate of political murders has not even left the RJD with its leader Vijendra Yadav and his kin shot dead in Samastipur district two days ago, the LJP supremo said, adding the criminals have got so emboldened by the “lack of teeth in the ruling government” that they have even started targeting leaders of the ruling alliance.

Paswan targeted the RJD in particular, saying his worst fears that Bihar will be gripped by “Jungle Raj-2” if Lalu Prasad’s party returned to power, has come true.

The LJP supremo said the victory of RLSP candidate Sudhanshu Sekhar in Harlakhi Assembly bypoll in Madhubani district showed that the people have started raising their voice against the lawlessness under the Nitish Kumar government.

The people of Bihar have realised that they committed a mistake by electing the Grand Alliance government and the vote in favour of the RLSP candidate from Harlakhi vindicates their disapproval of lawlessness in Bihar, he said.

-18 February 2016 | PTI | Patna

Jaitley slams Congress for stalling GST, says last laugh will be best

Jaitley slams Congress for stalling GST, says last laugh will be best

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday attacked Congress for stalemate in Parliament, saying some people are getting “sadistic pleasure” by not allowing the GST bill to get passed but it would eventually get through and the ‘last laugh would be the best’.

The Minister also expressed hope that the Indian economy would do better in the coming fiscal on the likelihood of a good monsoon as the rains in the past had never remained deficient for three consecutive years.

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley.

The Minister was speaking at the ET Awards function here along with Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

“Democracy doesn’t work in that manner. It’s obvious that not allowing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill to pass (is) giving some people sadistic pleasure. And then democracy has its own strength and the last laugh is always the best one.”

The Constitutional Amendment bill to roll out the GST is stuck in the Rajya Sabha because of the stiff opposition by the Congress party though several regional parties, including the JDU, RJD and BJD, were in favour of the new indirect tax regime.

“Almost everyone is on board. I have never seen a complete coalition of regional parties supporting a particular proposal. Even the UPA allies are supporting it. RJD has said they are supporting it, the JDU has said they are supporting it, the NCP… so it is only one political party which is opposed to it.

”… when I speak to the mid-command of the party, I come back with a sense of optimism. And when I meet them just before Parliament is about to commence at 11 am every morning, I think the high-command prevails over the mid-command. The problem is not with the Indian politics, the problem I think, is with a few individuals,” said the finance minister.

-PTI, MUMBAI, January 9, 2016

Liberals can’t see opp’s intolerance to house!-Swapan Dasgupta 

Liberals can’t see opp’s intolerance to house!

By-Swapan Dasgupta 

If a wave of intolerance was indeed sweeping through India, making a mockery of the cherished ‘idea of India’ and putting our democracy at risk, why has the threat evaporated so abruptly since Diwali?

It can hardly be the case that such a grave threat is purely seasonal and that the fascists in khaki shorts are on a winter break. If Narendra Modi is indeed the Hitler he is made out to be, he must be a papier-mâché replica. A more authentic Fuhrer would certainly have bared his fangs far more menacingly.

Maybe the answer lies in the conclusive outcome of the Bihar Assembly election. At the risk of sounding conspiratorial, let me suggest that the kerfuffle over beef and intolerance was aimed at elevating the political opposition to the regime and the ruling BJP into a more fundamental question of civil liberties and minority vulnerability. If that indeed was the purpose — with the award wapsi gang playing the role of what Lenin called “useful idiots” — it succeeded beyond all expectations. The BJP was forced on to the back foot confronting an agenda over which it had no control. A spectacular degree of Opposition unity was achieved — with even the doughty anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal embracing Lalu Prasad and the AAP maintaining a silence on the National Herald affair.

Both the BJP and the parties decimated in the 2014 poll attached a great deal of importance to the Bihar election. For the BJP, a victory or at least a creditable showing was absolutely essential for two reasons. First, it was necessary to establish that the momentum of 2014 centred on Modi hadn’t entirely dissipated. Secondly, like in 2014, the BJP set out to establish that political chemistry could prevail over electoral arithmetic and that the votes of the JD(U), the RJD and the Congress wouldn’t transfer in its entirety to the Mahagathbandhan.

The assumptions turned out to be flawed. Modi is still an extremely popular figure — as the huge crowds in his public meetings demonstrated — but an Assembly election isn’t a Lok Sabha election and the Prime Minister’s national standing couldn’t prevail over the respect Nitish Kumar commanded for providing Bihar with a half-decent administration for a decade. Strangely, the BJP, which too had a seminal role in extricating Bihar from Lalu’s ‘jungle raj’, chose not to demand a share of the credit. On the contrary, the incessant invocation of the possibility of Bihar being again overwhelmed by whimsical governance led to a spectacular consolidation of Lalu’s dedicated vote bank behind the three-party alliance. With the chemistry going wrong, a high index of anti-BJP unity was reflected in the results.

For the combined Opposition, the biggest take-away from Bihar was the proof that the BJP was most vulnerable when it was confronted with a united challenge.

Nitish Kumar, whose long-term national ambitions are no great secret appears to be the most active in fostering anti-BJP unity at all levels.

He is understood to be particularly active in Assam, trying to forge some form of tactical understanding between a beleaguered Congress, an increasingly marginalised AGP and Badruddin Ajmal’s UMFA. The project is challenging and may not ultimately fructify. But what is significant is that a serious attempt is being made to extend the Mahagathbandhan to every State where the BJP has a meaningful presence. It was even in evidence in the by-election in Jharkhand the Congress won.

In a revealing interview during the campaign, Nitish Kumar was asked to explain his sudden fondness for the Congress that had been the historic enemy of the followers of Ram Manohar Lohia. His answer — “But where is the Congress?” — may have underestimated the potential of the principal Opposition party but it does indicate his belief that the long-term decline of the Congress is an inescapable reality. Yet, there is the realisation that without the Congress no strong anti-BJP is possible.

If Nitish’s calculation is valid, has the Congress grasped its predicament? Can the Congress — which still has a presence all over India — be reconciled to a national coalition where it is not the senior partner and which does not project Rahul Gandhi as the leader? There are indications that the Congress does not want to address this question as yet, at least not before the results of the Assembly elections in Assam and Punjab. However, quite instinctively, the Congress will not be very happy with any arrangement that doesn’t acknowledge the primacy of the Gandhis.

It is primarily to secure the lion’s share of the anti-BJP space that the Congress has opted for its total war strategy in Parliament. The Gandhis are waging a classic asymmetric war. All it needs is the mobilisation of some 40 or so MPs and indulgence of the chair to create a Constitutional crisis and, by implication, make the Modi Government appear dysfunctional. The Congress wants to be the final approving authority of legislation.

Rahul Gandhi’s approach is out and out adventurist. However, he has been able to get away for two reasons. First, the other Opposition parties are still unwilling to allow the internal cracks in the anti-BJP ranks to emerge. They are happy to see Modi brought down a notch or two. Secondly, despite all the post-Bihar attempts, the agenda is still not being set by the Prime Minister, and certainly not in a media that has turned spectacularly hostile. The ominous implications of a non-functioning Parliament does not seem to concern the liberal classes, still nursing a deep resentment over exclusion from the power structure.

How long will this paralysis of the legislature continue? By going for the kill even before the Government has completed two years, Rahul Gandhi has left himself little room for manoeuvre. The BJP can turn this to advantage only if it shows some political imagination which, alas, has not been in evidence in the past fortnight’s crisis management.

-20 December 2015 |

Lalu’s Muslim-Yadav combine proved the game changer

Lalu’s Muslim-Yadav combine proved the game changer

Of the 49 Yadav candidates that RJD fielded, 42 won while 12 out of 16 Muslim candidates bagged seats

The grand victory of the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) of Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad in the crucial Bihar poll was possible not because of Mr.Kumar’s celebrity publicity manager Prashant Kishor, but because of Mr.Prasad’s M-Y(Muslim-Yadav) vote bank which proved the real game changer, according to political analysts. The RJD of Mr.Prasad won more seats than JD(U) of Mr.Kumar.

Of the total 49 Yadav candidates that the RJD fielded, 42 won the poll while 12 out of the 16 Muslim candidates bagged the seats. Similarly, out of the total 13 Yadav candidates the JD(U) had fielded, 11 won the poll while out of seven Muslim contestants, five registered wins.

Even for the Congress, out of the three Yadav candidates, two won the poll and out of 10 Muslim candidates, six bagged the seats.

The RJD’s Yadav candidates had a whopping 85.71 strike rate whereas Muslim candidates notched up 75% strike rate for the party. For the JD(U), the strike rate of Yadav candidates was 84.61 % while Muslim contestants had 71.42% strike rate.

However, for their third alliance partner, the Congress party, the strike rate of Yadavs was 66.66% while for the Muslims it was 60%.

The political analysts told The Hindu that such an impressive M-Y strike rate had lifted the vote-share of the grand alliance to an extent that no other factor could affect the outcome.

“Even this M-Y combo helped JD(U)’s vote-share to pick up substantially”, said one of them.

It is said that if Mr.Kumar’s face and his “development” image being projected and publicised on a huge scale by his celebrity campaign manager Prashant Kishor had been the factor for the grand alliance’s grand victory, his party JD(U) would have got more seats than the RJD. But, the RJD got nine seats more that the JD(U)’s 71 seats.

During the poll campaign, Mr. Kumar’s face was splashed on huge billboards side by side the posters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, all across the State. But, nowhere were visible RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s images, except on very few hoardings in the State capital Patna.

It is being observed that Mr Kishor’s publicity efforts had not reached people in remote villages who voted for the M-Y candidates of the RJD.

PATNA, November 10, 2015

Nitish Kumar led grand alliance surging ahead in Bihar

Nitish Kumar led grand alliance surging ahead in Bihar

In a reversal of early trends, the JDU-led grand alliance is surging ahead of the BJP-led NDA is leading more than 140 seats, well above the half-way mark needed for forming the government in Bihar.

Bihar elections

The Nitish Kumar-led grouping is leading in 146 of the 243 seats as counting of votes progressed fast in the five-phased elections that concluded on November 5.

The rival alliance has been projected to get 83 seats and the ‘Others’ eight.

Initial trends on television channels projected the BJP to be in the lead.

In the last assembly polls in 2010, the JDU had won 115 seats while BJP won in 91 when both parties had an alliance. RJD had got 24 and Congress 5, contesting separately.

-08 November 2015 | PTI | Patna

Stage set for 4th phase voting in Bihar, stakes high for BJP

Stage set for 4th phase voting in Bihar, stakes high for BJP

Voting will be held in 55 seats tomorrow in the penultimate phase of Bihar election, with stakes high for BJP as it had along with its then ally JD(U) bagged majority of seats in last Assembly polls.

BJP had won 26 out of 55 seats spread across seven districts of Muzaffarpur, East Champaran, West Champaran, Sitamarhi, Sheohar, Gopalganj and Siwan in 2010 Assembly polls. Its then ally JD(U) had emerged victorious in 24. RJD had won 2 seats and Independents 3.

But the scenario has changed this time. From the grand secular alliance camp, RJD has now fielded candidates in 26 constituencies followed by JD(U) in 21 and Congress 8.

From NDA on the other hand, BJP fielded its nominees in 42 seats in this phase, LJP in 5 and Hindustanti Awam Morcha and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) in 4 seats each.

A total of 1,46,93,294 electorate will be able to cast vote on 14,139 polling stations on November 1 to elect their representatives from 776 candidates of which 57 are women.

On the basis of assessment of security situation, polling will be held from 7 AM to 5 PM in 43 constituencies, while it will be shortened by one hour in 8 seats and voting would end at 3 PM in four seats, Additional Chief Electoral Officer R Lakshamanan said.

He put the number of polling stations in LWE (Left Wing Extremist) affected areas at 3043. Altogether 1163 companies (each comprising 100 personnel) of Central Paramilitary Force and state police will be posted to ensure free and fair elections.

A total of 38 motor boats will be pressed into services for riverine patrolling tomorrow.

Balloting has already completed on 131 seats in the earlier three rounds. After completion of fourth phase, voting would be over in 186 seats. The last phase of polling is scheduled on November 5 on the remaining 57 seats.

Counting of votes is on November 8.

The fourth phase saw high voltage campaigning with both BJP-led NDA and JD(U)-RJD-Congress alliance accusing each other of trying to polarise voters on communal lines.

“If BJP loses Bihar elections even by chance, though victory or defeat will happen in Patna, there will be bursting of firecrackers in Pakistan,” BJP chief Amit Shah had said at a rally at Raxual in East Champaran district on Thursday, three days before the fourth phase polling.

Rivals JD(U), Congress and RJD saw the comment as an attempt to communalise voters for the next two rounds on 112 seats and approached the Election Commission.

Acting on the complaint, the state Election Office has sought report from District Magistrate of East Champaran and West Champaran on the remark.

-31 October 2015 , PTI , Patna