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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Bihar Election 2020 Highlights: Opposition doesn’t have any issue to raise, says Sushil Modi

"They talk of Covid-19 and today it's completely controlled here. Only 961 people have died while Congress-ruled Maharashtra has 41,000 deaths. Almost 1 lakh people are tested every day and beds are lying vacant," Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi said.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi, Patna | Updated: October 15, 2020 10:45:59 am
No party can form government in Bihar alone, alliance a reality: Sushil ModiBihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi. (File photo)

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi Wednesday said that the Opposition does not have issues to raise in Bihar. “They talk of Covid-19 and today it’s completely controlled here. Only 961 people have died while Congress-ruled Maharashtra has 41,000 deaths. Almost 1 lakh people are tested every day and beds are lying vacant,” Modi said.

Earlier today, ahead of filing his nomination from Raghopur for the upcoming assembly elections, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said the first thing his government will do after winning is to sanction jobs for 10 lakh youth in the state. “If we form the govt, the first thing we’ll do at the first cabinet meet is to sanction jobs for 10 lakh youth. These will be government jobs and permanent in nature,” Yadav said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is scheduled to hold four rallies in  Banka, Bhagalpur, Munger and Patna districts today.

Voting for 243 assembly constituencies in the state will be held in three phases–October 28 (71 seats), November 3 (94 seats) and November 7 (78 seats). The counting of votes will take place on November 10. Click here to stay updated with our complete Bihar election coverage

Live Blog

Read highlights on Bihar elections 2020

20:50 (IST)14 Oct 2020
Oppn shall set their own agendas instead of merely reacting to NDA's agendas: Kanhaiya Kumar

Taking a swipe at the ruling NDA in Bihar, CPI leader and former JNU students union president Kanhaiya Kumar on Wednesday said unfortunately the agendas which were relevant to the state 15 years back continue to dominate the present polls.

He lamented that in the ongoing polls in Bihar, the ruling coalition is setting the agendas and the opposition is only reacting to it instead of coming out with their own issues.

CPI is part of the RJD-led Grand Alliance in the Bihar elections. The left party is contesting on six seats in all three phases of the election as partner of the anti-NDA grouping.

Though Kumar, who unsuccessfully contested 2019 General Election from his native Begusarai Lok Sabha seat, is not fighting the state elections, but he has been named among the star campaigners of his party for the polls.

Former JNUSU general secretary, Sandeep Saurav, has been fielded by CPI-ML, also a member of the grand alliance, from
the Paliganj assembly seat in the outskirts of Patna. It's yet not confirmed whether Kanhaiya Kumar as leader of the opposition grouping would seek vote for him at Paliganj.

19:15 (IST)14 Oct 2020
Don't fall in anybody's 'publicity trap', vote after comparing work of successive govts: Nitish to voters

Beginning his election tours with a public meeting at Banka, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Wednesday alerted people not to fall in anybody's "publicity trap" else while their income would multiply but that of the common man would slide as was the case before the present dispensation came on the scene.

He cautioned people that any error in making a right decision while casting vote would pave way for return of condition that prevailed 15 years before the NDA assumed reins of the state in 2005 end. After launching campaign for Bihar polls on Monday with a virtual rally and addressing two more digital rallies Tuesday, Kumar started addressing election meetings physically with a public meeting at Balua maidan in Banka district during the day.

From there he flew to Bhagalpur to address a second rally at Sultanganj and after that another one at Munger and the last in Mokama in the outskirts of Patna.

18:24 (IST)14 Oct 2020
BJP releases its final list for Bihar polls

The BJP on Wednesday issued its fourth list of 35 candidates for the Bihar assembly polls, and with this the party has named all its nominees for the 110 seats that it is contesting in the three-phase elections starting from October 28.

All the candidates are for the third phase scheduled for November 7, the party said in a statement. The names of six women figure on the fourth list.

The JD(U) and the BJP are fighting on 115 and 110 seats respectively, with two smaller allies Jitan Ram Manjhi's HAM (S) and Vikassheel Insaan Party contesting on seven and 11 seats respectively. The polls to the 243-seat Bihar assembly are scheduled for October 28, November 3 and November 7. The counting of votes is slated for November 10. (PTI)

17:05 (IST)14 Oct 2020
Referendum is a big word…BJP will seek votes in Modi’s name, not Nitish’s: Meira Kumar

Member of the Congress’s election management and coordination committee for Bihar and among the party’s star campaigners for the polls, former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar speaks to the Indian Express about the issues in these elections and the Congress’s strategy in the state. Read the full interview here.

 

16:37 (IST)14 Oct 2020
Tejashwi Yadav dares Nitish Kumar to fight from Nalanda

Leader of opposition and RJD's Chief Ministerial candidate Tejashwi Yadav has challenged CM Nitish Kumar from his home turf in Nalanda. In a video shared on twitter, Tejashwi said: "I'm going to file nominations today. He (Nitish) can pick any constituency from his home district Nalanda and I will contest against him."

16:34 (IST)14 Oct 2020
'If RJD wins Bihar polls, terrorists from Kashmir will take shelter in state'

With less than a month left for the Bihar Assembly elections, Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai Tuesday said if opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) comes to power, “terrorists would escape Kashmir and take shelter in Bihar”. Speaking at an election rally in Vaishali, Rai said, “Agar RJD ki sarkar is chunav main ban gayi to jo Kashmir ke aatankwadi hain we Bihar main aakar sharan lenge. Aisa hum hone nai denge (If the RJD forms government in this election then the terrorists in Kashmir will seek shelter in Bihar. We won’t let that happen).” Read the full report here.




15:21 (IST)14 Oct 2020
Nitish Kumar addresses gathering in Tarapur

Nitish Kumar is currently addressing a gathering in Tarapur.

15:14 (IST)14 Oct 2020
Subhashini Raj Rao joins Congress

Loktantrik Janata Dal chief Sharad Yadav's daughter Subhashini Raj Rao joins Congress.

(Source: ANI)
14:43 (IST)14 Oct 2020
Oppn doesn’t have any issue to raise, says Sushil Modi

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi said, "Opposition doesn't have any issues to raise. They talk of COVID-19 and today it's completely controlled here. Only 961 people have died while Congress-ruled Maharashtra has 41,000 deaths. Almost 1 lakh people are tested everyday and beds are lying vacant."

13:32 (IST)14 Oct 2020
‘We have provided electricity to every home, aren’t we catering to all castes and religions’: Bihar BJP in-charge
Bhupendra Yadav, Bihar BJP in-charge.

As the BJP campaign kicks off in Bihar, Bhupendra Yadav, Bihar BJP in-charge, talks to The Indian Express about the party’s position on the LJP, dismisses reports of distrust with JD(U), and insists the party is not following the Maharashtra Model in Bihar. "

"We have already expelled nine BJP rebel leaders who were contesting (against NDA candidates) on Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) ticket. Also, soon there will be several joint rallies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Besides, leaders from both the parties will campaign together," he said. Read the full interview here

 
13:10 (IST)14 Oct 2020
NCP to go it alone in Bihar polls: Praful Patel

The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, which joined hands to form a coalition government to keep the BJP away from power in Maharashtra, will fight the Bihar Assembly polls separately.

The NCP, led by party president Sharad Pawar, is set to contest the elections alone. The decision was taken at a meeting in Mumbai. The NCP is upset as the RJD and Congress did not leave a single Assembly seat for it.

Speaking to mediapersons, NCP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Praful Patel said, “The Congress and RJD talk of forging a grand alliance to defeat the BJP and JD(U). But when it comes to practical approach, they are not willing to accommodate the allies.”

13:09 (IST)14 Oct 2020
Bihar elections: Tej Pratap shifts from Mahua, files nomination from Hasanpur
RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s son Tej Pratap (second from right) files his nomination for Hasanpur Assembly seat on Tuesday ahead of the elections in Bihar. He is accompanied by his brother and leader of Opposition in the Assembly Tejashwi Yadav (right). (PTI )

Tej Pratap Yadav, former health minister and son of incarcerated RJD president Lalu Prasad, Tuesday filed his nominationfrom Samastipur’s Hasanpur constituency — a seat won by the JD-U as a Grand Alliance constituent in the last Assembly polls.

Tej Pratap, who was elected from the Mahua constituency in the last elections, decided to shift to the “safer” Hasanpur seat which has a good combination of Muslim and Yadav votes. Before filing his nomination amid chanting of slogans, the RJD leader, accompanied by his younger brother and Grand Alliance CM candidate Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and the party’s state president Jagtanand Singh, said the alliance was committed to make Tejashwi the CM.

13:06 (IST)14 Oct 2020
My govt works for people, RJD’s worked for one family: Nitish Kumar
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. (Source: Twitter/@Jduonline)

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday said his government had made great strides in the state in his 15 years in power. Speaking at his second digital rally in two days, Nitish targeted the Opposition, which has been attacking the CM and JD(U) chief over his development record.

Nitish said that in 2006, a year after he took over, only 39 people used to visit a PHC in a month, and that number is now 10,000. He said that if the 15 years before 2005 — when the RJD was in power — were to be compared, there would only be one clear choice before the people of Bihar.

Referring to the promise of RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav — the CM candidate of the Mahagathbandhan — to provide 10 lakh government jobs, Nitish said they had no experience, and that even cabinet meetings were not held properly before 2005.

11:40 (IST)14 Oct 2020
Explained: Apart from NDA and Mahagathbandhan, what other alliances are in the poll fray in Bihar?
Leaders of the Grand Democratic Secular Alliance announcing the coming together of various parties.

Recently, two new alliances have been formed in the state. The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM)’s Asaduddin Owaisi and the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP)’s Upendra Kushwaha have come together to form the Grand Democratic Secular Alliance.

The Bahujan Samaj Party and former RJD MP Devendra Prasad Yadav’s Samajwadi Janata Dal (Democratic) are also part of alliance that has Kushwaha as its chief ministerial candidate. While in the 2015 Assembly elections in the state the AIMIM had won just one of the six constituencies it contested in, the party got noticed in Bihar last year when it won the Kishanganj bypoll in October.

In the elections this year, both Owaisi and Kushwaha may not have a great impact on the chances of the two main alliances, but they may cut into votes of BJP, RJD and JD(U) candidates in some key constituencies. While Owaisi has considerable influence in the Muslim-dominated Seemanchal belt (Kishanganj, Katihar, Purnea and Araria), Kushwaha can get a chunk of the votes in areas such as Nalanda, Arwal, East Champaran, West Champaran and Jamui that have a sizeable Kushwaha population. The RLSP claims the support of Kushwahas, including Koeris, which account for 8% of Bihar’s population.

11:28 (IST)14 Oct 2020
The man of many U-turns looks to turn a corner
Jitan Ram Manjhi is re-contesting from Imamganj, against two-time Bihar Speaker and RJD candidate Uday Narayan Choudhary.

In May 2014, Jitan Ram Manjhi had been Nitish Kumar’s surprise choice for chief minister — a choice dictated both by the 70-year-old’s surname and the fact that he kept a low profile and was expected to keep the seat warm for the JD(U) leader who had resigned in a huff after a massive defeat in the Lok Sabha elections that year. It marked a big moment for Manjhi’s Mushahar community, among the lowest of the low in the caste hierarchy and around 2% of the state’s voters. It was also only the third time that a Scheduled Caste leader had become the CM of Bihar, despite the caste churning that rose from its fertile politics. The others were Bhola Paswan Shastri and Ram Sunder Das.

Nitish was seen to have retained EBC and Scheduled Caste votes in the 2014 polls, besides those of his core constituency of OBC Koeris and Kurmis. Manjhi was a gamble to get the Mahadalits behind him too. Here is a profile of Jitan Ram Manjhi

11:11 (IST)14 Oct 2020
Bihar elections: 8 rallies, 4 lakh ‘smartphone warriors’ for PM Modi
PM Modi at a BJP meeting to decide candidates in Delhi. (PTI/File)

THE BJP is getting four lakh party workers with smartphones and 10,000 ‘social media commandos’ ready to ensure Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s virtual rallies reach the largest audience.

Sources said the party is planning at least eight rallies of the PM, after October 15. “The number could go up to a dozen,” said a leader, adding that since huge rallies can’t be held due to the Covid curbs, they had to find other ways to get across the PM’s message.

The designated ‘social media commandos’ and the four lakh ‘smartphone warriors’ will hold charge of showing Modi’s speeches in every nook and corner of the state. The ‘commandos’ “monitor and manage” the ‘warriors’.

11:01 (IST)14 Oct 2020
Tejashwi Yadav to file nomination from Raghopur today

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav seeks blessings of his mother Rabri Devi and elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav. He'll file nomination from Raghopur today, for the upcoming Bihar elections 2020.

Rabri Devi says, "People of Bihar and everyone in the party is missing Lalu ji."

10:39 (IST)14 Oct 2020
Will sanction jobs for 10 lakh youth after winning: Tejashwi Yadav

Ahead of filing nomination from Raghopur today, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said, "If we form the government, the first thing we will do at the first cabinet meet is to sanction jobs for 10 lakh youth. These will be government jobs and permanent in nature."

10:22 (IST)14 Oct 2020
Sharad Yadav's daughter Subhashini Raj Rao to join Congress today

Loktantrik Janata Dal chief Sharad Yadav's daughter Subhashini Raj Rao to join Congress today in Delhi. She will also contest in the upcoming Bihar elections.

09:56 (IST)14 Oct 2020
Bihar Elections 2020: As BJP footprint grows, Nitish Kumar slips in Muslim base
The extent of Muslim alienation from the Modi-led government at the Centre threatens to rub off on Nitish. (File)

During the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, a Muslim voter in Siwan had explained why it didn’t matter to them that the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) was aligned with the BJP. As reasons, he listed that the school uniform given by the Nitish government was the best dress his son had ever owned, and said he had no problems with the BJP, “the B team” of the JD(U).

That was the time when the popularity of Nitish Kumar, still in his first full term as Chief Minister and riding high on the changes he had ushered into the tired landscape of Bihar, was at its peak. That election, the NDA under him won 32 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar. In the Assembly polls that followed next year, Nitish returned to power with 206 of 243 seats.

It’s not the same Nitish, nor is it the same NDA, with the BJP now enjoying equal billing as the JD(U). More importantly, the extent of Muslim alienation from the Modi-led government at the Centre threatens to rub off on Nitish. Even in the 2015 Assembly polls, with his popularity waning, Nitish had managed to retain the support of Muslims (17% of population) largely on account of Mahagathbandhan partners, RJD and Congress. The fact that he did a turnaround in 2017 and went back to BJP is seen as a stab in the back by the community.

 

THE BJP is getting four lakh party workers with smartphones and 10,000 ‘social media commandos’ ready to ensure Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s virtual rallies reach the largest audience. Sources said the party is planning at least eight rallies of the PM, after October 15. “The number could go up to a dozen,” said a leader, adding that since huge rallies can’t be held due to the Covid curbs, they had to find other ways to get across the PM’s message.

The designated ‘social media commandos’ and the four lakh ‘smartphone warriors’ will hold charge of showing Modi’s speeches in every nook and corner of the state. The ‘commandos’ “monitor and manage” the ‘warriors’. The party leader said it was important that Modi reach out directly to voters as they had received feedback that people were concerned about the developments at the Indo-China border and the economic slowdown. “The Prime Minister is the most credible leader to talk on these issues. He will also be talking about the Centre’s programmes as we have a number of beneficiaries covered under direct benefit transfer in Bihar.”

As Bihar heads into an election that promises to be a battle of proxies fought between former and present allies, on the state’s economic conditions alone, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar seems to have a clear edge. The state has improved in the last five years in terms of growth of the gross state domestic product (GSDP), agriculture, expenditure on health and education, as well as infrastructure.

However, Bihar’s legacy problems such as minimal industrialisation, clean water, sanitation, open defecation, rural housing, and microfinance for small and marginal farmers continue.

In the first decade of Nitish as CM, between 2005-06 and 2014-15, the GSDP of Bihar at constant prices grew annually at 10.5%. While this spike was attributed to a low-base effect, the GSDP continued to grow at an average rate of 9.8%, higher than the national growth rate, even between 2010-11 and 2014-15.