Jharkhand ration tragedy blamed on internet glitch

Source : telegraphindia.com

The death of a senior citizen in rural Jharkhand has been linked to starvation, allegedly triggered by a two-month ration freeze that the dealer has blamed on Internet glitches.

If the account is established, it will shine a torch on a little-debated aspect of the celebrated ration delivery system based on the online biometric model.

“Ramcharan Munda, 65, was not given rations for the last two months by his PDS (public distribution system) dealer. Our officials have found this to be true. There’s ‘zero’ written in the delivery chart for two months in respect of Munda,” Latehar deputy commissioner Rajiw Kumar told The Telegraph on Thursday.

Such a confirmation is a rare occurrence in Jharkhand. As many as 21 people have died in the state since September 2017 of suspected starvation, according to the state convener of the Right to Food Campaign, Asharfi Nand Prasad. But the state government has consistently refused to admit that any of them was caused by hunger, citing pre-existing ailments as the probable causes.

Munda, who died on Wednesday, hailed from Durup, a remote Latehar village more than 170km from Ranchi. Sources said Munda lived with wife Chamri Devi and daughter Sunila Kumari in a hut. His son died of TB two years ago.

Prasad blamed the state government for the recurring tragedies.

“The area in Latehar where Munda died of starvation lacks good Internet facilities. This was reported to the district administration by the PDS dealer,” said Prasad, who is part of a nine-member state government committee formed last year to formulate a protocol for defining and investigating starvation deaths.

“The state government should make the food supply offline, instead of following the existing biometric-based ration delivery system, in areas with network issues,” he added.

Deputy commissioner Kumar said he would investigate whether the PDS dealer had sold Munda’s rations to others at a premium.

“This is too serious a matter. I fail to understand how ration to this senior citizen was denied for two months on the pretext of poor online connectivity of the point-of-sale machine and an unresponsive biometric machine,” the deputy commissioner said.

Jharkhand has put in place a system of “express money” under which the panchayat head keeps Rs 10,000 that can be used during such exigencies. Kumar said he would find out why the money was not used in this instance.

James Herunj, state convener of NREGA Watch, said one of the NGO’s aid workers, Afsana, had visited Munda’s home a day after his death.

“The home had nothing, a clear sign that they lived in abject poverty,” he said quoting Afsana, who had reached the place after Munda’s family had created him using money pooled from fellow villagers.

Afsana said Munda and Chamri Devi were old-age pensioners but had not been receiving pension for the past five months.

Deputy commissioner Kumar confirmed Afsana’s visit to Munda’s home but could not say whether the couple were pensioners.

He said Afsana had informed SDO Mahuadarn Sudhir, who had sent an official to the Munda home with 50kg rice and Rs 2,000 for the family.

Patna Durbar: How Nitish Kumar-Sushil Modi’s bond keeps BJP-JDU alliance afloat

Source: .indiatoday.in

A June 4 tweet from Union Minister Giriraj Singh, wherein he apparently taunted key ally Nitish Kumar for attending iftar events just “for a show” followed by Sushil Modi’s somewhat ambassadorial defence of Bihar chief minister has once again highlighted the case of the two cozy, but somewhat mismatched, allies in Bihar.

Sushil Modi’s BJP and Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United (JDU) are clearly bound by a common vision and purpose in Bihar, yet also pushed apart by their political teammates and their temperaments.

It’s not for nothing that Giriraj Singh’s tweet has once again brought the irony behind the electoral friendship of Kumar and Sushil Modi, the tallest BJP leader in Bihar and one of the strongest supporters of Nitish-BJP alliance, to the fore. Kumar and Sushil Modi, in their contemporaneous careers, often symbolise the prisoner’s dilemma that circumstances had thrust upon them.

The two have somehow seen through the bitterness and understood that they were better off collaborating than confronting. But there are spoilers galore. Singh was clearly one of them.

Fresh from his promotion to the Union Cabinet in the new Narendra Modi government, the senior BJP leader, for whom Nitish Kumar had campaigned during the Lok Sabha elections to ensure his victory, on Tuesday morning tweeted four pictures from three different iftars, saying: “How beautiful the pictures could have been had falahaar (fruit feast) been organised with similar fervour during Navratri. We fall behind in our own rituals and religion but are ahead in showing off.”

These pictures were from iftar parties organised by the JD-U, Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Opposition alliance member Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) (HAMS). Since Nitish Kumar was the only leader present in all the four pictures, the man and the target behind Singh’s tweet was not lost on anyone.

Not only this, Singh’s tweet was uploaded on the eve of Eid ul-Fitr and its underlying message seemed to be confronting the inclusive outreach of Prime Minister Modi and the secular fabric of the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in Bihar.

Though there are suggestions that BJP President Amit Shah has advised Singh against making such comments, the Union minister has not withdrawn his tweet, which was still visible till the time of filing this report.

A section of JD-U leaders, however, refused to accept Giriraj’s tweet as a coincidence. They see a purpose in the tweet, as Singh’s quip has come at a time when relations with the BJP have turned frosty after Nitish Kumar refused to accept a “symbolic representation in the Union Cabinet.”

The BJP had offered a solitary Cabinet berth to Nitish Kumar’s JD-U in the Union Cabinet, describing it as a “symbolic representation.”

The Bihar chief minister, who heads a party of 16 Lok Sabha and six Rajya Sabha MPs, promptly shot down the saffron proposal on the ground that it should have been proportionate and not symbolic.

In what seemed like a return riposte, Nitish expanded his ministry on June 2 by inducting as many as eight JD-U members while offering just one berth to the BJP, which was not accepted by the latter. “Giriraj Singh is not alone to have taken potshots at the NDA alliance in Bihar.

In 2017, when JD-U rejoined NDA, our former National President Sharad Yadav had defied the decision. While JD-U quickly showed the door to our former national president, the BJP has failed to force Giriraj to make amends,” said a senior JD-U leader.

JD-U chief spokesperson Sanjay Singh has described Giriraj Singh’s tweet as a clear manifestation of the fact that BJP has no control over such leaders. “It is time for the BJP to take the comments of Giriraj seriously and take action,” he said.

They say momentous eras are appreciated only in retrospect, but in this case, where Nitish Kumar accepted BJP as an alliance partner, the two have together delivered magic.

A landmark Lok Sabha election victory in 2019 where the NDA won 39 of Bihar’s 40 seats looks both unprecedented and unrepeatable. The combined magic of BJP and JD-U made a spectacular start in 2005 when the two parties together unseated Lalu Prasad who seemed invincible then.

Since then, the two parties have prospered and gone from strength to strength, evolving a relationship that was to be the making of modern Bihar.

When the BJP and JD-U separated in 2013 and fought two elections against each other, the BJP won the 2014 Lok Sabha poll while Nitish Kumar won the 2015 assembly polls. The two once again came together in 2017 to deliver a watershed result in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Today, however, with Bihar Assembly polls scheduled in 2020, the two parties, JD-U and BJP, need to unthaw their relationship to fill up the fissures, which have come up after the BJP refused to let Nitish have more than one representation in the Union Cabinet.Giriraj Singh or his tweets can make the process a painful one for NDA in Bihar.

EESL Issues Tender for LED Street Lights in Gram Panchayats of Jharkhand

Source: saurenergy.com

The Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), a joint venture of PSUs under the Union Ministry of Power, GoI, has issued a tender inviting bid for 24W LED Street Lights contract for all Gram Panchayats in the state of Jharkhand.

This tender was issued under EESL’s Street Light National Programme (SLNP).

The scope of tender includes designing, manufacturing, testing, supplying and five years on-site warranty of 24W LED Street Lights and other related works for all Gram Panchayats in Jharkhand.

Furthermore, a part of financing received from KFW Development Bank will be used for payment under this contract.

KFW has provided finance to India for the cost of project called Energy Efficiency in Energy Intensive Sectors (EESL II).

As per the bidding document, international competitive bidding will be conducted in accordance with KFW’s ‘Single Stage: Two-Envelope’ bidding procedure and is open to all bidders from eligible source countries.

The tender issuing body said that, in order to participate in the bidding under this invitation for bids, all interested bidders have to necessarily register themselves on the EESL portal i.e. https://eesl.eproc.in.

For the cost of bidding, the bidder shall bear all costs associated with the preparation and submission of its bid, and the purchaser shall in no case be responsible or liable for those costs, regardless of the conduct or outcome of the bidding process.

Meanwhile, the bids will be submitted comprising two envelopes simultaneously, one envelope containing the technical bid while the other envelope containing the price bid; and both the envelopes enclosed together in an outer single envelope.

Blood banks across Jharkhand struggle with severe shortage

Source: hindustantimes.com

An unprecedented crisis in blood banks of medical colleges and hospitals across Jharkhand has put patients in a spot and the lives of many are on line as doctors are not able to carry on with treatment due to lack of blood. In the last 72 hours, two patients have died at the Patliputra Medical College Hospital (PMCH) in Dhanbad and surgeries of over a dozen critical cases in different wards are on hold due to the blood crisis.

The crisis in blood banks has been attributed to several factors by authorities of hospitals such as PMCH, RIMS and MGMMCH. Many have cited the long duration of the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, which meddled with the regular stocking up of blood at the blood banks.

PMCH authorities on Thursday held an emergency meeting and sent an SOS alert to donor clubs across the district for bailing out the institution immediately, as several critical patients continued to suffer.

On Thursday, relatives of three bullet-injury patients, Manoj, Nageswar and Sanjay, had to look for blood donors from their homes district of Giridih, so that the trio could be operated upon at PMCH. All three were admitted to PMCH in a critical condition on Wednesday night. Since the PMCH blood bank was nearly empty, doctors had to call for donors from Giridih.

Earlier on Tuesday, two gynaecology department patients Jyoti Kumari (20) and Shahjadi Khatoon ( 35) died allegedly due to lack of blood. However Dr AK Singh, an official at the PMCH blood bank said that both were severely complicated cases by the time they arrived from nursing homes. Under Janani Shishu Siraksha Yojana, both patients were entitled to get free blood from hospital. “The hospital had provided blood to them in time,” Dr AK Singh said.

PMCH Dhanbad requires 50 units of blood per day to cater to the requirement of patients. But on Thursday, the hospital’s blood bank was left with merely seven units of blood. “Of course there is an unprecedented crisis of blood as incoming flow is almost choked. However, we do not let the patients of hospital to suffer by linking them with donors”, said Dr AK Singh of PMCH.

Patients at hospitals Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) in Ranchi and Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College Hospital (MGMMCH) in Jamshedpur are suffering from a similar crisis. Dr KK Singh, blood bank in-charge of RIMS Ranchi on Thursday said the crisis had aggravated badly but now the situation has improved. RIMS requires an average of 82 units of blood per day. On Thursday, the blood bank at RIMS had a stock of 200 units.

MGMMCH had 150 units of blood stocked on Thursday. The hospital requires 20 to 25 units of blood per day to cater to the requirement of patients. “We were facing a major crisis of blood for the past few days but now the stock has improved “, said Dr VVK Chaudhary, blood bank in-charge of MGMMCH Jamshedpur.

Ranchi: 6 injured in knife attack over water dispute

Source: business-standard.com

Amidst the prevailing water shortage in the region due to rising mercury, at least six people sustained injuries after being stabbed by a man here over a water dispute.

The injured are undergoing treatment in a local hospital here.

On Friday, while locals in Kishoreganj were lined up in front of a tanker to fill water, a man from a neighboring village was seen filling water in large barrels, leaving a lesser amount of water for residents of the region.

Speaking to ANI, Sunil Kumar Yadav, one among those who sustained bruises in the incident, said his father asked the man why he was taking so much water and explained that others, too, must get a chance to fill water.

Irked by this, the accused, Yadav said, began quarreling and hurled abuses at his father. When Yadav tried to intervene, the accused took out a knife and began stabbing him with it.

“A boy came to fill water multiple times in our area. My father asked him why he is taking so much water and if he takes all the water, where will everybody else get water from. He started arguing with my father. When I intervened, he hurled abuses and later stabbed me with a knife. He stabbed my mother and brother also when they tried to save me. We rounded him up and grabbed his knife, after which the police took him away,” Yadav said.

Recalling the incident, Yadav’s mother Sona Devi said she too was stabbed by the man when she tried to save her son.

Kishoreganj, locals say, is reeling under water shortage, as tankers are sent only once in four days. Locals claim they are forced to travel distances to fulfill their requirement, as water bodies in the region have begun to dry up due to soaring temperatures.

Acknowledging the situation, state minister CP Singh said people should learn how to use available water judiciously rather than fight over it.

“I heard of the knife attack, this is wrong. Everyone needs water, fighting is wrong. The state and local administration are working on water-related projects. We are trying to arrange water through pipelines, but some are installing motors and diverting water flow. People should learn how to judiciously use water and start water harvesting. It is taking time, but we’re working on it,” he added.

Seven murders within 12 hours leaves Bihar shaken

Source: hindustantimes.com

Seven murders were reported within a span of 12 hours -between 8pm on Wednesday to 6am on Thursday – across Bihar on Thursday. Reacting to the series of killings, a senior official of the Bihar Police headquarters said that district police chiefs had been directed to probe the murders and prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

Two men were shot dead and one lynched at Samastipur in separate incidents, and one person each was shot dead/stabbed to death in Madhubani, Rohtas, Saharsa, and East Champaran districts.

According to the police, three armed assailants looted a motorcycle and gunned down one Mantun Rai on National Highway 28 near Rupauli village under Ujiyarpur police station in Samstipur. The incident took place when he was returning home after attending a wedding function at Vaishali. Angry over the murder, locals blocked traffic on the national highway and staged a demonstration.

In another incident, medicine trader Ujjwal Barnwal was shot dead near Jitwarpur Bypass under Muffasil police station and his motorcycle was stolen. After the assailants fled, a few people in the area alerted the police. A team arrived and sent the body to a government hospital for autopsy.

The third killing was near Dumaria Bhagwati Asthan under Bibhutipur police station on Thursday morning. An irate mob beat an unidentified elderly man to death, after he allegedly injured a youth with a hammer. Samstipur SP Harpreet Kaur said, “We have traced the suspects and hope to nab them soon.”

In Madhubani, an LIC agent named Amit Kumar Karn was shot dead near his house in Anandpur. An FIR was registered against unidentified miscreants on the basis of the statement of Ghanshyam Karn, the victim’s father, at Jainagar police station. In his FIR, Ghanshyam stated that someone called his son, asked him to come out of the house, took him a short distance away from the house and then shot him.

In Rohtas district, armed criminals shot dead the husband of a ward councillor in Shivpur village while he was out on an evening stroll. The police said that ward councillor Sharda Devi’s husband Kameshwar Yadav was intercepted by motorcycle-riding assailants who shot him three times, killing him on the spot. The police have launched a manhunt for the criminals.

In Saharsa district, an undergraduate student identified as Rupesh Kumar, a resident of Mangrauli village under Mahishi police station, was killed by unidentified assailants late on Wednesday night. This might be an honour killing. Angry villagers blocked the Saharsa-darbhanga main road and disrupted traffic more than six hours, demanding immediate arrest of the culprits.

Rupesh’s brother Jugesh said that the incident took place when both the brothers were going home from Baluwaha Bazar. As soon as they came close to Baluwaha bridge, criminals on motorcycles intercepted them and fired upon Rupesh. Hit by four bullets, he was declared brought dead by Sadar hospital doctors. Jugesh alleged that the scene of crime was just a few metres away from the spot where local police were on Eid duty, but none of them chased the criminals.

According to Saharsa police, two years ago, Rupesh allegedly eloped with a girl and got married without her parents’ consent. The police suspect that the girl’s family could be involved in the crime.

In East Champaran, unidentified criminals barged into the house of a local trader, in Paharpur locality, and stabbed his three sons. One of them, identified as Deepanshu, succumbed to his injuries, while two brothers Navneet Kumar and Prachand Kumar were admitted to a hospital at Areraj. The house is barely a few metres from the Paharpur police station. Following the attack, locals blocked the main road for hours. Shops remained closed in protest.

SDPO Jyoti Prakash said that the incident occurred around 10pm on Wednesday, when grocery shop owner Chandrasekhar Prasad’s sons were sleeping in their rooms. Police arrested four persons, but the motive behind the incident was yet to be established. “We are investigating the matter from extortion as well as land dispute angles,” said the SDPO.

Ranchi forest cover increased by 0.86%: Report

Source: ailypioneer.com

While the temperature in Capital city is touching 42 degree Celsius, a government report on forest area in Ranchi division shows an increase in the forest cover.

According to the latest Indian State of Forest Report (ISFR) published by Forest Survey of India in 2018, Ranchi increased its forest area by 10 sq km since 2015, the highest increase among all the districts in Jharkhand. This increase happened despite rapid urbanisation and development in the city. The Pioneer contacted environmentalists and government officials on the issue ahead of World Environment Day.

“As the data shows, the city’s forest area has increased in the last few years. It is the result of a targeted approach of the Ranchi Forest Division, where we have different management policies for different kinds of forests,” said Sushil Oraon, Assistant Conservator of Forest, Ranchi Forest Division. As per the report, Ranchi currently has 63 sq. km of ‘Very Dense Forest’, 364 sq. km of ‘Moderately Dense Forest’, and 737 sq. km of ‘Open Forest’.

“We focus on the maintenance and improvement of dense forests, and try to increase density of the moderately dense forests so that they are promoted to the dense forest category. For open forests, we push for afforestation, so that the overall forest cover increases,” Oraon said. He said that the Pollution Board is organising an event on Wednesday to mark World Environment Day.

An initiative was undertaken recently by the Ranchi Smart City Corporation (RSCC) along with Jharkhand Urban Infrastructure Development Company Limited (JUIDCO) and Larson and Toubro (L&T) on Sunday, where officials from the three companies planted a lot of saplings to compensate for the various ongoing projects across the State.

However, environmentalists have continued to show concern over the matter. Environmentalist Nitish Priyadarshi raised the issue of the environmental concerns of the loss of trees due to rapid construction work in the city.

He also stressed on the impossibility of recovering lost forests. “We cannot create forests. We can plant trees, but forests are natural that develop over a long period of time,” he said. “Also, planting trees is easy, but protecting and caring for them requires commitment. Instead of just planting trees and forgetting about it, the government should have a long term policy, so that the planted trees are cared for when they begin to grow in two three years. Planting trees is just a formality if the there is no follow-up,” he added.

Priyadarshi, who teaches Geology at Ranchi University, dismissed the government data and pointed out the evident ill-effects of deforestation. “The increase in temperature, the water crisis, the man-animal conflicts in neighbouring areas are all results of this increasing loss of forests.” He suggested many ways to combat the problem. “Public awareness, strict government policy, cultivation of barren land are all beneficial steps,” he said. “We can also follow the example of the sacred forests of Meghalaya, where nothing is allowed to leave the forest groves due to the religious beliefs of the indigenous cultures.”

Plastic bags being widely used in Jharkhand 18 months after the ban

Source: hindustantimes.com

In a bid to protect the environment, use of plastic carry bags was declared a punishable offence in Jharkhand in September 2017 and the state government had put a blanket ban on manufacturing, import, storage, transportation, usage and sale of plastic bags. To enforce the ban, the state urban development department on October 25, 2017, had directed all 41 urban local bodies (ULBs) to make the respective towns under their jurisdiction plastic free.

The plastic ban was enforced with much fanfare and for the first six months, several ULBs took numerous measures to comply with the state government’s order and action was taken against end users in several cities.

Use of plastic carry bags declined largely during that period, as retail traders were scared of hefty fines of up to Rs one lakh and a jail term of five years under the new rule.

Customers too, were getting into the habit of using cloth and paper made bags.

Unfortunately, within a year, the zeal to curb plastic usage seems to have waned in the state.

Plastic bags have started dominating markets once again, and the drive against plastic has slowed down in most major cities in the state.

HT visited several markets in Jharkhand’s three major cities -Ranchi, Dhanbad and Jamshedpur-to see the ground reality of enforcement, but found that plastic carry bags are largely in use.


In Ranchi, vegetable, fruit, fish and meat sellers are using polythene bags, that too of low quality, without any hurdle. HT visited Ranchi’s Lalpur and Morahbadi vegetable markets on Tuesday where many sellers were found using polythene bags.

At Lalpur market, a vegetable seller, Raja Ram, said, “Plastic was banned more than a year ago but now it has returned back and everyone is using such bags.”

When a fish seller was asked about violation of law, he said, “Fish cannot be carried in paper or jute bag due to the water content in fish.” Use of plastic bags are also rampant in retail grocery shops in the city.

In 2017-18, Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) had set up 11 enforcement teams to impose the ban in 53 wards of the state capital.

The teams were active for few months. They conducted several raids in malls and markets collected fines. However, such drives are hardly visible anymore.

“We admit the drives partially slowed down in initial months of this year. But an extensive drive has been started and is continuing for the last two months. In the past two months, we have collected Rs 1.40 lakh fine against use of plastic,” said RMC city manager Saurav Verma, who is leading the enforcement drive in Ranchi.

He said the use of plastic has extensively declined in malls and shopping complexes, which signalled success of the ban.


Plastic carry bags are still in use in Dhanbad, even as the Dhanbad Municipal Corporation (DMC) fines Rs 50 on consumers found carrying plastic bags. Traders and wholesalers are fined between Rs 5000 and Rs 50,000.

“Despite a strict ban, reports of poly bag use come from different parts of the city. But we are strict on it and flying squads crack the whip when we get such reports,” said Dhanbad town commissioner Chandramohan Kashyap.

DMC has already set up flying squads in its all five circles of Dhanbad, Jharia,Sindri, Katras, Chhatand for regular monitoring of the ban.

This year the DMC has sealed two plastic godowns in Jharia and Saraikhela areas of district. DMC additional town commissioner Sandeep Kumar said they have seized 130 kgs of plastic from wholesalers and retailers.


The scene is not much different in Jamshedpur. Even as authorities claim that they had implemented the ban efficiently and action was being taken whenever the authorities got information about usage of plastic bags in markets, local shopkeepers have started using plastic bags regularly and with ease.

City manager of Jugsalai municipality, Abhishekh Rahul said, “We have been implementing the ban strictly. However, no raid was conducted at a large scale last month. Shopkeepers are not using banned polythene bags as they are still afraid of being fined. Only a couple of shopkeepers have been using it secretly and action would be taken against them.”

Notified Area Committees (NAC) in Jamshedpur, Jugsalai and Mango have imposed the ban strictly.

OPINION | Articles 370 & 35A, Mahadalits, Bihar Clout: Spurning Single Berth Offer, How Nitish Kumar Added Weight to His Voice

Source: news18.com

By spurning the single-berth offer in the Union council of ministers, Janata Dal (United) leader and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has clearly indicated that he was not overawed by the larger-than-life image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that his own image and popularity has substantially contributed to the spectacular victory of the NDA in Bihar.

Nitish Kumar not only rejected the offer of symbolic representation in the ministry but gave a tit-for-tat reply to the BJP by inducting eight ministers from the JDU in his cabinet, leaving the BJP stunned and sulking. Most of the newly-inducted ministers are from the social groups that have been ignored by the BJP in the Union cabinet.

The BJP leadership, however, claimed that everything within the NDA was hunky-dory and that Nitish Kumar had offered BJP to fill party’s quota of the vacant ministerial seat but the BJP leadership decided to fill it in future.

Efforts are on from both the sides to send across a message that everything was fine within the NDA but the smooth relationship between the two allies before this episode seems to have gone for a toss. It has to be watched whether the BJP and JDU continue to remain under one umbrella till the 2020 assembly polls.

State president of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), JDU’s previous ally, Ram Chandra Purve and senior party MLA Bhai Virendra appeared exultant over the development and hinted that they were ready to welcome Nitish once again into the grand alliance. “The RJD always stood for secular forces to defeat the resurgent BJP,” they said.

It may sound stubborn on part of Nitish Kumar but he has played a long-term bet by rejecting the single-berth offer in the Union cabinet. It will come in handy for Nitish and cast its impact on the upcoming state assembly elections due next year in Bihar.

One of the major reasons for Nitish toeing a separate and independent line is its reservations on certain issues like Article 370 and 35A, which the BJP is likely to rake up aggressively in days to come.

The BJP has already announced its agenda through media advertisements during campaigning. The JDU could not have opposed them by remaining part of the Union council of ministers.

The BJP and the JDU have diametrically opposite stance on certain issues like construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, uniform civil code, abrogation of Article 370 and annulment of Article 35A. While the BJP pursues these agenda vigorously, the JDU has maintained a distinct stance on them.

The Nitish Kumar-led party has always held that the vexed issue of Ram temple be solved either through a consensus among the affected parties or through a Supreme Court order. During the poll campaign, the JDU leadership had strongly opposed the demand for abrogating Article 370 amid the clamour for doing away with the special provision granting autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir.

Nitish has maintained that the JDU would never support any such move that deprived Jammu and Kashmir of a provision that has been in place.

Compared to 2014, the BJP has complete majority and therefore it wouldn’t be having any problem in pursuing these issues to a logical end. In such circumstances, the JDU would be in an awkward position to oppose Article 370 or Article 35A by remaining part of the Union cabinet. But it can oppose such issues, as and when required, by remaining within the NDA and outside the government.

Despite remaining in the NDA, the JDU has been cautious regarding its secular image and kept away from controversial issues. Of the 16 seats the JDU won this time, altogether eight seats are located in the region which has substantial population of the minorities.

By maintaining its secular image, it intends to get the benefit during the 2020 state assembly elections. It will come in handy if the party switches over to other combination or alliance after deserting the NDA.

Yet another but crucial reason for Nitish Kumar’s defiant stance is that the BJP is taking the sole credit for the poll victory in Bihar. The given impression that it was Narendra Modi tsunami that swept the polls in Bihar and throughout the country is being vehemently contested by the JDU leadership.

By claiming that it was the victory of ‘people of Bihar’, Nitish Kumar indicated that the Extremely Backward Caste (EBC) and Mahadalit vote bank nurtured by him over the years voted en bloc in favour of the NDA in Bihar. “The poll outcome was due to unflinching support of base votes of all the three constituents of the NDA in Bihar,” he said.

Apparently, Nitish also fears that the BJP buoyed by its huge majority may relegate the common agenda of the NDA and pursue its own pet agenda. In this context, the Bihar chief minister has categorically said that steps to eradicate backwardness of Bihar should be taken on a priority basis. The JDU leaders too have started raising the issue of grant of special status for Bihar ever since the poll results were declared.

The non-inclusion of EBC and Mahadalit MPs from Bihar in the Union ministry was also one of the major concerns of the Bihar chief minister. The BJP has appointed four out of five ministers from the upper castes, leaving the backwards, EBCs and Mahadalits. These sections might be annoyed by the socially lop-sided selection of ministers from Bihar.

It has also become clear from the tough posture of Nitish Kumar that he was not satisfied with the arbitrary attitude of the BJP leadership. JDU leaders contended that Nitish untiringly campaigned to bring Narendra Modi back to power but as the BJP crossed the magic number, it has started acting arbitrarily and want the allies to follow their diktats.

Despite opting to remain out of the Union cabinet, Nitish has pledged that he would continue to remain in the NDA. However, it is certain now that he would be treading cautiously in future.

Nitish has silently performed the role of a true ally during campaigning to ensure return of NDA to power but after this episode, the BJP cannot expect him to remain silent on many issues like article 370 or 35A.

The Bihar chief minister has also raised his reservation on the methodology of cabinet formation. During previous NDA regime led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani, the proportion, ministries and other finer details used to be finalised in the very beginning. But this time, the BJP unilaterally decided single-berth formula for the allies and conveyed it to the respective allies.

“With one cabinet berth it would have been difficult for the JDU to ward off differences among various claimants in the 22-member JDU parliamentary party,” said Bihar JDU president Bashishth Narayan Singh.


Bihar: VVIP arrogance caught on camera! BJP leader’s brother thrashes chemist for not standing up to greet him

Source: timesnownews.com

In a shocking high-handedness captured on camera, a senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader’s brother was seen thrashing a shopkeeper for allegedly not standing up to welcome him. The incident took place in Bettiah city of Bihar.

On June 3, Bhartiya Janata Party national vice president Renu Devi’s brother Pinu entered a medical shop at 9:18 pm. He apparently got miffed when one of the staff remained seated and did not stand up to greet him, and started beating him.

The shocking visuals of the VVIP arrogance were captured on the CCTV installed in the shop. It is being reported that after beating the man black and blue in the shop, Pinu grabbed him and took him outside the shop.

It is also being reported that Pinu had a heated conversation with the owner of the shop, who is out of station, on the phone after the incident.

The Bihar Police have claimed to have now provided protection to the victim. Pinu is on the run and police are trying to apprehend him.

Meanwhile, Renu Devi has claimed that she has no ties with her brother and asked the Bihar Police to take appropriate action against him.