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Prashant Kishore vs Nitish Kumar – Will Prashant be expelled from party?

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War between Janatadal United (JDU) vice-president Prashant Kishor and Bihar CM reached zenith as Nitish Kumar openly told today that, “if he (Prashant Kishore) wants to leave the party, it is ok”. He also made sort of sensational comment that Amit Shah asked Nitish to induct Prashant Kishor into their party. Prashant Kishore retaliated this and called Nitish a liar. This ongoing war between the president and vice president of the party is becoming a cause of concern for the party cadres and is keenly watched by political observers.

Prashant Kishore joined JDU in 2018:

Prashant Kishore is known to common people as political strategist who was instrumental in Modi’s success in Gujarat assembly elections, Congress success in Punjab elections in 2017, and YS Jagan’s success in AP assembly elections in 2019. He joined Nitish Kumar led JD-U in September 2018. He is given vice president post in the party and he is considered as the number two in the party by the people of Bihar. He has been one of the chief advisors for Nitish Kumar since then.

Prashant Kishore targetting BJP recently:

Even though Prashant kishor joined JDU party, he didn’t stop his primary job of political strategist. He signed deals with Mamta banarji in West Bengal and Arvind kejriwal in Delhi. As everyone knows, Mamta and kejriwal are bitter rivals of BJP, Prashant kishor also has been sketching political strategies targeting the mistakes of BJP. He attacked citizenship amendment act of BJP, even though the bill was supported by JD U, for which is vice president. He also condemned NRC.

Nitish Kumar responded on Prashant kishor tweets:

Prashant kishor has been tweeting against various decisions of BJP which is not at all going well with Nitish Kumar, his party is an ally of BJP. Nitish Kumar responded that, Prashant kishor has been supporting various political parties as part of his job, but as he is in JDU now, he needs to voice as per the party stand. Nitish Kumar also added that, if Prashant kishor wants to leave the party, it is ok.

Prashant kishor calls Nitish Kumar a liar:

But while responding on Prashant kishor tweets, Nitish Kumar said that it is because of Amit Shah, Prashant kishor was inducted into JDU party. Obviously this statement irked Prashant kishor. He retaliated this statement in a tweet, “.@NitishKumar what a fall for you to lie about how and why you made me join JDU!! Poor attempt on your part to try and make my colour same as yours! And if you are telling the truth who would believe that you still have courage not to listen to someone recommended by @AmitShah?”

Will Prashant Kishore be expelled from the party?

As of now the war between Nitish Kumar and Prashant kishor seems to be on the top gear. Whether it will lead to the expulsion of Prashant kishor from the party, or Prashant kishor continues in the party as usual after his deal with Arvind kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee is yet to be known.

We will have to wait and see.

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Nitish Kumar thanks TRS for supporting Harivansh

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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday thanked his Telangana counterpart K. Chandrasekhar Rao for the support extended by his party TRS to NDA candidate for the election of Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

Nitish Kumar telephoned Rao to convey his thanks for Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS)’s support to Harivansh Narayan Singh, an MP of Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United (JD-U).

Harivansh secured 125 votes as against 105 of opposition nominee B.K. Hariprasad in a House of 244 besides the Chairman.

Nitish Kumar also mentioned that their support would be there in future for Telangana’s development, according to a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office here.

The TRS chief also congratulated Nitish Kumar on the victory of his party candidate in the election for Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman’s post.

On August 7, Nitish Kumar had called up Rao to seek TDP’s support for the NDA candidate.

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Reservation Should Be Implemented In Private Sector Too, Says Bihar CM

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There should be a renewed debate on the issue of reservation in the private sector, said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday.

The Bihar CM, responding to a question at an event in Patna, emphasized that reservation for the marginalized sections should be implemented in the private sector too. There should be a debate on the issue on the national level, added Mr. Nitish Kumar.

Currently, the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other backward castes and physically handicapped persons are entitled to reservation in educational institutions and jobs in government!

A proposal to bring outsourced government jobs within the ambit of reservation, was approved by the Nitish Kumar Cabinet, last week.

“Reservation policy would be followed in the selection of outsourced staff which is provided by a third party,” cabinet secretary Brajesh Mehrotra had said.

In various departments, around 10 thousand staff on third party payroll were employed by the Bihar government, with an aim to bring down pension and other liabilities. The private companies will now have to follow reservations ruled by the government, as per the latest Cabinet decision. The companies outsourcing government jobs will have to ensure that SCs get 16%, STs 1%, EBCs 18% and OBCs 12% reservation in the jobs.

This is not the first time when Nitish Kumar has advocated reservation in private sector. No reservation in the age of liberalization is hurting the cause of social justice, emphasized Nitish Kumar.

“In today’s time of economic liberalisation if reservation is not provided in private sector then it would be playing a joke with the concept of social justice,” a leading news channel quoted Kumar as saying.

The issue of providing reservation to Dalit Muslims too was raised by Kumar, during his tenure as a member of 14th Lok Sabha. “I had said that SC/ST could be of any religion. Subsequently, Dalit Buddhist and Dalit Sikh got benefits of reservation but Dalit muslims and Dalit Christians could not get it,” he had said.

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Nitish Kumar returns as CM of Bihar with BJP

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A night after accepting resignation of Nitesh Kumar, Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi administered oath to him again as the chief minister and Sushil Kumar Modi as the deputy chief minister of Bihar on Thursday.

Amidst the chants of “Nitish Kumar Zindabad” in Raj Bhavan, the JDU chief took oath as Chief Minister for the sixth time. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on twitter said,

It may be noted that, on Wednesday evening the Nitesh tendered his resignation for the post and dissolved the Mahagathbandhan. Hours after the move, Nitish formally staked claim to form the government with the backing from the BJP. This officially marks his return to the NDA.

The JDU-BJP alliance together have 129 MLAs in the 243-member Bihar Assembly. RJD has along with Congress and CPI-ML has only 110MLAs .

It may be recalled that, in 2013, Nitesh Broke alliance with the BJP when they projected that Narendra Modi as prime ministerial candidate . In 2015, JDU formed alliance with Lalu Prasad, later transforming into grand alliance with the Congress to fight the assembly elections. Finally JDU took a U-turn in 2017 and returned to its former ally BJP.

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Who will stop the BJP? No one in sight

After the resounding victories of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the UP assembly and Delhi municipal elections, the party increasingly appears to be politically invincible.

The three parties which offered some resistance to it in 2014 — the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha and Trinamool Congress in West Bengal — are not in the pink of health today.

The AIADMK has all but collapsed after former Chief Minister Jayalalitha’s death, the BJD has suffered serious reverses in the local polls and is feeling distinctly nervous while the Trinamool Congress has shot itself in the foot by its rather too soft a policy towards the Muslims, thereby alienating the Bengali middle-class Hindus, while several of its prominent personalities have become embroiled in scams.

Among the supposedly all-India parties, the fact that the Congress has fallen back on Sonia Gandhi to reach out to the regional leaders for an anti-BJP alliance shows that the party’s attempts to prop up Rahul Gandhi haven’t succeeded. It will not be easy for Sonia Gandhi, who is clearly not as fit and energetic as before, to take up the kind of role which she played to bring the non-BJP parties together in 2004.

Those who worsted the BJP in 2015, like Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi and Nitish Kumar in Bihar, have also suffered a decline, especially the former.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the BJP is now eying the east and the northeast as its new areas of conquest. The alacrity with which Congress MLAs in various states are joining the BJP shows that they regard their former adversary as a greener pasture for political and personal advancement.

It is not that the BJP doesn’t face problems. For one, it has become a virtual one-man party with its dependence on Narendra Modi for success in even municipal elections. The party does not have a second line of defence if only because Modi has kept previously prominent party members like Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha, not to mention veterans like L.K. Advani, well outside the organisation.

For another, the economy has not been picking up in a manner which will sustain hope about the success of Modi’s development agenda. The prime minister, therefore, has been speaking more about a pro-poor thrust a la Indira Gandhi than about rapid growth.

For a third, the government appears to be at a loss as to ways to deal with both external and internal threats posed by the Pakistan-based fidayeens (suicide bombers) and the Maoists, mainly in western and central India.

Even then, what evidently keeps the BJP going is Modi’s popularity which has made him the most dominant person in today’s politics, as Congress leader P. Chidambaram has said. Apart from the Prime Minister’s seemingly boundless energy and rhetorical skills, his advantage is that there is no one in the opposition camp who can match his wide appeal.

Not only that, his adversaries have undermined themselves by self-defeating moves as when Sonia Gandhi stalled the Manmohan Singh government’s forward march on the economic front by opting for extravagant populist measures, thereby handing over her own government’s development agenda on a platter to Modi. As Chidambaram ruefully admitted later, the government should not have taken “the foot off the accelerator of reforms”.

Similarly, Kejriwal came to power with the assurance of providing a clean government as promised by his one-time mentor, Anna Hazare, who pleaded for the setting up of a Lokpal, an anti-corruption ombudsman. But Kejriwal’s own internal ombudsman, Admiral L. Ramdas, had to leave the Aam Admi Party (AAP) for questioning the Chief minister’s authoritarian style, which also led to the ouster of the latter’s former allies, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan.

By the time Kejriwal had concluded the purge of his own party, it was clear that governance, whether a clean one or not, was not his primary objective, but an insatiable craving for power. Once this obsession became clear, it was obvious that his party’s days were numbered since the aam admi or the common man after whom the outfit was named had seen through his pretensions. The AAP’s defeat in Delhi was only to be expected, therefore, after its setbacks in Punjab and Goa.

Like Kejriwal, Nitish Kumar, too, has failed to live up to the expectations that he had aroused during his earlier stint as Chief Minister when he succeeded in ridding Bihar of the lawlessness — or the jungle raj, as it was called — which was rampant during the tenures of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leaders Laloo Prasad Yadav and his wife, Rabri Devi.

But now, as an ally of Laloo Prasad while Rabri Devi is calling for her son, Tejaswi, to be elevated from Deputy Chief Minister to Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar’s focus is somehow to hold on to power.

So, who will stop the BJP? Not only is there no one in sight, but there is little chance of the opposition parties being able to put together an anti-BJP combine because of their fractious internal relations.

Besides, they lack a forward-looking economic agenda which appeals to the young as Modi’s Make In India, Digital India, start-ups and other programmes do.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

22 % Bihar candidates in Phase-1 have criminal record

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Bihar Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have analyzed the self-sworn affidavits of all 583 candidates who are contesting in the first phase of Bihar assembly elections, 2015.The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) was established in 1999 by a group of professors from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad. In 1999, Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by them with Delhi High Court asking for the disclosure of the criminal, financial and educational background of the candidates contesting elections. Based on this, the Supreme Court in 2002, and subsequently in 2003, made it mandatory for all candidates contesting elections to disclose criminal, financial and educational background prior to the polls by filing an affidavit with the Election Commission. We give the salient points of the report released today.

Highlights of the Analysis

Criminal Background

• Candidates with Serious Criminal Cases: 130 (22%) candidates have declared serious criminal cases including cases related to murder, attempt to murder, communal disharmony, kidnapping, crimes against women etc.Candidates with Criminal Cases: Out of all the 583 candidates, 174(30%) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.
• Candidates with cases related to murder: 16 candidates have declared cases related to murder (Indian Penal Code Section-302). Pradeep Kumar of the Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)) fromWarsaliganj constituency has declared 4 charges related to murder while rest of the candidates face one charge each. 7 Independent candidates have declared cases related to murder.

• Candidates with cases related to Attempt to Murder: 37 candidates have declared cases ofattempt to murder (IPC Section-307). Ramswarup Yadav, an Independent candidate from Hisuaconstituency faces 5 charges related to attempt to murder. 1 candidate fielded by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), 1 by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), 3 by JD(U), 1 by Jan Adhikar Party (Loktantrik) (JAP(L)) along with 1 Independent candidate have each declared 2 charges related to attempt to murder.

• Candidates with cases related to Crimes against Women: 11 candidates have declared cases related to crimes against women. Nityanand Kumar, an Independent candidate from Suryagarhaconstituency and Rajiiv Nayak, an Independent candidate from Jamalpur constituency have each declared1 charge related to rape (IPC Section-376) against them. Suman Kumar Singh, an Independentcandidate from Kahalgaon constituency has declared an offence of dowry death (IPC Section-304B).
• Candidates with cases related to causing Communal Disharmony: 2 candidates have declared cases relating to causing communal disharmony. Shakuni Choudhary of Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) from Tarapur constituency has declared a case related to injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class (IPC Section-295). Rambalak Singh ofJD(U) from Bibhutipur constituency has declared a case related to promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony (IPC Section-153A).

•Candidates with cases related to Robbery and Dacoity: 5 candidates have declared cases related to robbery and dacoity. Ram Lakhan Singh of BJP from Teghra constituency has declared 1charge each related to making preparation to commit dacoity (IPC Section-399) and assembling for purpose of committing dacoity (IPC Section – 402). Baiju Kumar Rai, an Independent candidate,from Ujiarpur constituency has declared 1 charge each related to dacoity (IPC Section-395), making preparation to commit dacoity (IPC Section-399) and voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery (IPC Section – 394).

• Candidates with cases related to Kidnapping: 9 candidates have declared cases related toKidnapping. 5 candidates have declared offence related to kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person (IPC Section-365), and 4 candidates have declared offence related to kidnapping or abducting in order to murder (IPC Section-364). 5 candidates have declared more than 1 charge related to kidnapping against themselves.

• Party wise Candidates with Criminal Cases: 14 (52%) out of 27 candidates from BJP, 14 (56%) out of 25 candidates from Communist Party of India (CPI), 8 (20%) out of 41 candidates fromBSP, 11 (46%) out of 24 candidates fielded by JD(U), 9 (50%) out of 18 candidates from Samajwadi Party (SP), 8 (47%) out of 17 candidates of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), 6 (75%) out of 8 candidates fielded byIndian National Congress (INC), 8 (62%) out of 13 candidates of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) along with 8 (67%) out of 12 candidates of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) and 45 (23%)out of 192 Independent candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

• Party wise Candidates with Serious Criminal Cases: 10 (37%) out of 27 candidates fromBJP, 7 (28%) out of 25 candidates from CPI, 6 (15%) out of 41 candidates from BSP, 9 (38%) out of 24candidates fielded by JD(U), 7 (39%) out of 18 candidates from SP, 6 (35%) out of 17 candidates of RJD, 4 (50%) out of 8 candidates fielded by INC, 6 (46%) out of 13 candidates of LJP along with 5 (42%) out of 12 candidates of the CPI(M) and 38 (20%) out of 192 Independent candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits.

•Red Alert Constituencies*: 37 constituencies in the first phase of Bihar assembly elections have 3 or more candidates with declared criminal cases.

*Red Alert Constituencies are those which have 3 or more candidates with criminal cases contesting elections.

Financial Background

• Crorepati Candidates: Out of the 583 candidates, 146 (25%) are crorepatis.

• Party wise Crorepati Candidates: 18 (67%) out of 27 fielded by BJP, 19 (79%) out of 24 candidates from JD(U), 11 (65%) out of 17 candidates from RJD, 6 (33%) out of 18 candidates fielded by SP, 6 (75%) out of 8 candidates of INC, 8 (62%) out of 13 candidates of LJP, 3(7%) out of 41 candidates of BSP and 42 (22%) out of 192 Independent candidates have declared assets worth more than Rs. 1 crore.

• Average Assets: The average of assets per candidate contesting in the first phase of Bihar assembly elections is Rs.1.44 crores.

• Party wise Average Assets: Among major parties, the average assets per candidate for 27 BJP candidates is Rs 2.15 crores, 41 BSP candidates have average assets of Rs 1.63 crores, 24 JD(U) candidates have average assets worth of Rs 4.63 crores, 8 INC candidates have average assets worth Rs 8 crores, 17 RJD candidates have average assets worth of Rs 4.08 crores, the average assets per candidate for 18 SP candidates is Rs 78.27 lakhs, 13 LJP candidates have average assets of Rs 2.7 crores and 192 Independent candidates have average assets of Rs. 1.23 crores.

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Bihar Elections : Back to Basics

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Indian election is a two-headed monster. One likes it or not, one can simply say the elections are fought on caste and religion lines. Even though India is witnessing the entry of Vikas Purush it is only meant for animated social media discussions of those who left their constituencies before they attained the age of consent and for those, who never cast their vote and confined to discussion rooms. The ongoing Bihar election is being fought on the plank of caste and religion, even though two Vikash Purush– Prime Minister Modi and chief minister Nitish Kumar- are leading the campaign.

It is clear now that there are three fronts in the fray: NDA led by Prime Minister Modi, Grand Alliance of JDU, RJD, Congress led Chief minister Nitish Kumar, and Third Front of Mulayam’s SP, Sarad Pawars NCP and Samajwadi Janata Dal (D). MIM of Asaduddin Owaisi (Hyderabad) has also entered the fray in Seemanchal region without joining any of the fronts.

The contours of Bihar elections is determined by its demographic content. It is the demography of Bihar that has created these fronts. Bihar has something to offer for every party in India which is the reason for fierce competition. Upper castes (Rajputs, Brahmins, Bhumihars and Kayasthas) account for just 12 per cent in the state which is far less than the numerical strength of Yadavs, who form 14.6 per cent. Kushwahas and Kurmis constitute about 8 per cent. Vaishyas, who are part of the OBC , constitute 7 per cent. The conglomeration of extremely backward castes constitute another 25 per cent, thus making OBC a major force in the state with more than 50 per cent share in the population. Coming to Muslims, they constitute about 15.5 per cent- this is the attraction that lured Asaduddin Owasi to look towards Seemanchal.

Similarly, Mulayam’s allurement is the Yadav force. It is clear that BC’s hold the key in Bihar. BJP needs BC votes to supplement its upper caste support base which is not enough to steer the party to power. Even though there are some OBCs among its ranks, BJP doesn’t want to promote anybody as the chief minister of the state. Because the party wants to cash in on two counts : one, Modi’s personal charisma as ‘Vikas Purush’ and two, Modi as the first OBC Prime Minister of India. Vikash Purush in Modi is banking on the special package of whopping Rs 2.60 lakh crore, he announced recently and OBC in Modi is trying to wean away extremely backwards castes (EBC) from Lalu-Nitish combination. The advanced OBC such as Yadavs, Kurmis etc are a hard nut to crack. BJP’s line of thinking is that the EBCs are unhappy lot as the Yadavs monopolized the power during Lalu’s era, while Kumis and Kushwahas enjoyed enormous clout during Nitish regime. BJP wants to widen this gulf, real or perceived, between advanced OBCs and EBCs by promoting Modi’s OBC identity, which is also a non-Yadav and non-Kurmi idenity.

In BJP’s calculations, weaning away some EBCs, who come from lowest rungs, from neo-feudal OBC of Lalu-Nitish, would catapult the NDA into winning position. Once won, it can appoint anybody as the CM. It’s clear that BJP doesn’t want to commit on projecting a BC leader as chief minister.
This is the essence of Bihar Election-2015. The meaning of NDA reeks of caste politics under the coating of artificial flavor of Vikas. If one deciphers the partnership of Modi+Upendra Kushwaha+Ramvilas Paswan + Jatin Ram Manji into electoral language it tells about the BJP expectations of its votes from impoverished OBCs, Kushwahas, Dusadhs and Musahar. Though anxious to charter OBC course, BJP doesn’t want to annoy the traditional support base of upper castes. It avoided projecting anybody from OBC as the CM. So, BJP has created an impression that a OBC Prime Minister Modi is fighting the Bihar Elections with feudal OBC of Yadavs, Kushwahas and Kurmis.
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The ‘Silent Revolution’ has certainly been dealt a death blow by Narendra Modi. The plank of social justice, which shaped the electoral outcomes in UP and Bihar for nearly two decades, seems to have become obsolete now. The Modi assault Bihar received in 2014, bears testimony to this. Chief minister Nitish Kumar, taking moral responsibility, stepped down as CM and Mahadalit leader Jitan Ram Manjhi his successor. Nitish and Lalu now have realized that they could fight between themselves but resurgent BJP should not be allowed to exploit their fight. Both Lalu and Nitish finally agreed to bury the hatchet to stop OBC Modi set foot on Bihari soil. And Congress is more than willing to join them. Their simple math is that while BJP and allies got 38 per cent votes in 2014, the combined strength of RJD(20.46 per cent), JDU(16.40 per cent) and Congress (8.50 per cent) has far exceeded that of NDA with 45 per cent. That Lalu-Nitish is a winning combination was vindicated already in by-polls in August 2014, winning 6 out of 10 seats. They wrested these seats from BJP. Now two former socialists want to extend their cooperation to the 2015-Assembly polls as well in the form of Grand JDU-RJD-Congress Alliance.

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Bihar has a long tradition of lower caste politics. Bihar has been ruled by the protégés of Jayaprakash Narayan. Lalu, Nitish, Sushil Modi (all OBC) and Ramvilas Paswan(Dalit) are all the products JP movement. In course of time, socialism led to the mobilization of lower castes (which Christophe Jaffrelot called Silent Revolution) which brought Lalu to power on the banner of OBC -Muslim unity. Lalu achieved this rare feat by uniting OBC and Muslim with a popular slogan ” Bhurabal Hatao” and by halting Advani Rath from entering Bihar. Bhurabal Hatao is targeted against the hegemony of four uppercastes namely Bhumihars, Rajputs, Brahmins and Kayastas. The slogan was seen as the point of departure from politics of Garibi Hatao towards what Jaffrelot called ‘Silent Revolution’.
With Nitish becoming Vikas Purush, the silent revolution took a beating. As he stopped banking on Mandal rhetoric, upper castes also began accepting him which led to his second winning 201 people are going to witness an interesting phenomenon in Bihar elections- a new avatar of caste clash. Hindu BJP has made Modi first OBC prime Minister vs OBC Nitish Kumar, who also seems to have jettisoned his Vikas to retreat back to basics.

Ultimately OBC factor is going to play key role in elections. To win the Bihar election, Modi has to succeed in weaning away EBCs to supplement upper castes with huge package of Rs 2.60 lakh crore, and Nitish-Lalu have to win over all OBC plus Muslim against looming threat of Modi.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.


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