In the busy pre-poll situation in Bihar, newspapers display a great concern for chinks in the “Grand Alliance”. Inquilab, in its editorial on September 14, writes: “…this is not the time to debate who is secular and how secular they are. This is the time for all anti-BJP forces to unite and put a stop to the expanding political power of saffronisation, because of which a large section of the country is going through anxious days and nights. The problem is that our secular parties still have some false sense of power. They have not learnt anything from the humiliating defeat in the parliamentary elections of 2014 and the situation after the change in government. These parties are not realising their responsibilities despite the lengthening shadow of saffronisation…”
The role of Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Samajwadi Party chief, has come in for severe criticism after he quit the JD(U)-RJD alliance. Nai Duniya, edited by Shahid Siddique, in a commentary on September 14 called “Mulayam’s dagger over Nitish’s head”, says: “In the last assembly elections in Bihar, the SP may not have won in the 146 seats it contested, but the BJP did gain on them because of a division in the Yadav votes. Mulayam had played a similar role in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. He will put up Muslim candidates in some constituencies to split the Muslim vote in the forthcoming election”.
Roznama Khabrain writes on the same day: “…in the already complicated situation in Bihar, the Ittehadul Muslimeen leader, Asaduddin Owaisi, found the time ripe for his entry into Bihar politics. His entry is being treated as a big threat to the Nitish-Lalu alliance. And the duo is faced with a fresh threat from Mulayam Singh, who is reportedly preparing to present the NCP’s Tariq Anwar as a CM candidate of the third front. BJP president Amit Shah’s strategy of splitting the secular vote appears to be succeeding.”
Commenting on the recent meet of the RSS leadership with top functionaries of the Central government, the Daily Siasat says in its editorial on September 6: “It’s the RSS that controls the functioning of the government. Many questions are being raised on the participation of Central ministers, including the PM himself, in the Sangh Parivar’s conclave. The leaders of the Parivar do not want to give any clarification in this regard… this type of meeting of the RSS and the BJP was held even during the tenure of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. The important feature of the conclave this time is that any type of misunderstanding between the RSS and the Modi government has not come up, whereas certain misgivings had appeared between the government and the BJP during the previous NDA government… It would not be inappropriate to describe it as civilised hypocrisy. The RSS is trying to ignore the difficulties of the country…”
Rahnuma-e-Deccan, in its editorial on September 8, writes: “The RSS has given a certificate to the government that it is going in the right direction and its performance is satisfactory. Can the environment of fear and tension in the country among minorities following the formation of the BJP government… be considered as a sign of good governance?” Masoom Moradabadi, the editor of Jadeed Khabar writes on September 6: “…following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948… the ban was lifted on the RSS on the assurance given by them that they would neither participate in political activities nor interfere directly or indirectly in such activities, but this has proved to be a breach of promise…”
Reacting strongly to the ban on the sale of meat in Maharashtra and some other states, Rashtriya Sahara writes on September 11: “The ban on meat seems to be a part of the recent efforts to communalise the country’s atmosphere, even though non-Muslims constitute a very large proportion of meat-eaters and also control a significant section of the meat trade. The governments and municipal bodies are playing politics and the objective of the ban is not what is stated in the name of Jain sentiment. The target of the ban is some other section… it is interesting that the Shiv Sena has joined the anti-ban camp in saying that the choice of what people should eat cannot be dictated by the government.”
Compiled by Seema Chishti