Commenting on the results of the bypolls for 10 Bihar Assembly seats, multi-edition daily Inquilab, in its editorial on August 26, writes: “This is a great success for secular forces. If the three parties of the secular alliance had not acted wisely and each had stuck to their egos, they would have met the same fate as in the recent Lok Sabha elections… it has not been even a month since the alliance was forged and yet such a good result has been achieved. If this alliance had been in place longer, the BJP would have returned abjectly unsuccessful and devoid of hope from the land of Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar… In other states where by-elections were held, the performance of secular parties deserves praise…”
Multi-edition daily Sahafat proclaimed in its front-page report (August 26): “Political commentators are of the view that the magic of [Narendra] Modi has started losing its glow. Following the formation of the NDA government at the Centre, these by-elections were seen as a test for the Modi government, and were treated as the semi-final before the Bihar Assembly elections due next year… In Karnataka, the Congress won two seats out of three and snatched the prestigious Bellary (Rural) seat from the BJP. In Madhya Pradesh, too, the Congress snatched the Bahoribund seat, giving the BJP a shock.”
Commenting on the setbacks to the BJP, Roznama Khabrein, writes in its editorial on the same day: “Modi’s claims and promises have been proven false. Price rise hasn’t been checked, nor could corruption be reined in. And an atmosphere of fear has started gripping the entire country. The politics of fear has started to take root.”
Talking to neighbours
The daily Siasat, in its editorial on August 20, writes: “Cancellation of the proposed talks between the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan is regrettable… The decision of the Pakistan high commissioner [to meet Kashmiri separatist leaders] is being seen as a sign of weak administrative capabilities… [But] if the Modi government considers its decision to cancel talks with Pakistan to be an act of courage, it is unfortunate… The non-transparent foreign policy of the BJP government was evident when Modi made his first foreign visit… The decision to cancel the talks is a great shock to the peace initiative.”
Jamaat-e-Islami’s bi-weekly, Daawat, in its commentary on August 22, writes that “the Indo-Pakistan talks have once again got stuck due to mutual lack of confidence and unwise steps, despite the seriousness of the leaders [of the two countries]… If, when India had conveyed its objection directly to the Pakistan high commissioner, the two countries had cool-headedly tried to resolve this issue and restore mutual confidence, the talks would not have been called off”. Rashtriya Sahara, in its editorial on August 20, writes: “Obviously, with the Pakistan high commissioner’s step, a message was sent that Pakistan is determined to interfere in the internal affairs of India [in Kashmir] by supporting the separatists. Silence on these types of decisions by any country would be considered inappropriate. But the fundamental question is whether this issue can be resolved by cancellation of talks. Obviously, the answer is no.”
Fact or Fiction?
‘Nai Duniya’, edited by former Samajwadi Party MP Shahid Siddiqui, in a commentary (August 25-31) says that the talk about “love jihad” is a pretext to target madrasas. It writes: “Whereas in Uttar Pradesh, the atmosphere is being disturbed in the name of “love jihad”, the cases that are coming up are proving to be false. The marriage of Muslim boys to Hindu girls is nothing new. But the manner in which this is being politically used is an effort to divide society… The law does not stop anyone from marrying anyone. Therefore, it can neither be termed as illegal nor can any hurdle be put in marriages between two consenting adults.”
The daily Aziz-ul-Hind, in an editorial on August 26, asks: “What would happen to the various articles of the Constitution and law if a restriction is put on such mixed marriages?” Jadeed Khabar (August 25) points out that in view of the outcry against the BJP’s pronouncements about “love jihad”, there was no mention of it at the two-day meeting of the party’s executive committee in Mathura.
Compiled by Seema Chishti