Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message of caution during the festive season seems to have poured water over the BJP’s grand rally plans in poll-bound Bihar. With the massive crowd in Tejashwi Yadav’s rallies becoming a talking point, the NDA had taken permission for huge rallies in Sasaram, Gaya and Bhagalpur on Friday. However, following the Prime Minister’s message to the nation on Tuesday, reminding people about the need for physical distancing and other Covid-related protocols, the organisers had to issue new guidelines. The crowd strength has now been reduced to 5,000-6,000 and people will not be allowed to stand at the venues. The central BJP, it is learnt, has given strict instructions that large crowds without physical distancing would “annoy” the Prime Minister.
Heat On Cooling Off
Former Bihar DGP Gupteshwar Pandey had caused a flutter a month ago with his decision to leave the IPS and join the JD(U) just before the Assembly elections. Although the move did not work out for Pandey, as he did not get a ticket to contest elections, the Election Commission is learnt to have taken note of the development. The poll watchdog may revive its proposal on cooling off period for civil servants keen on joining politics. This proposal was first made by the Commission in 2012, but it did not evoke a positive response from the government then. At that time, the EC wanted a two-year cooling off period. It’s likely that the poll panel may write to the government again on the issue.
When the Congress released its manifesto for Bihar elections on Wednesday, the party’s state unit chief, Madan Mohan Jha, was missing. Also absent was CLP leader Sadanand Singh. It turned out that Jha, who is contesting the MLC election from Darbhanga teachers’ constituency, for which voting took place on Thursday, was busy in some last-minute canvassing of votes. Singh’s son Shubhanand Mukesh is the Congress candidate from his seat, Kahalgaon, and he was busy campaigning there. Singh is not contesting this time and the party has fielded his son.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines