Jharkhand BJP leader Saryu Roy to contest against CM Raghubar Das in assembly polls.

Source – indiatoday.in

Peeved about his name not featuring in the list of 72 candidates announced so far for the assembly polls, senior BJP leader Saryu Roy on Sunday said he will contest against Chief Minister Raghubar Das as an Independent.

Roy said he will contest from the Jamshedpur (East) and Jamshedpur (West) assembly constituencies. He had won from the Jamshedpur (West) seat in the 2014 polls.

He tendered his resignation from the state Cabinet and assembly membership on Sunday evening.

In a letter addressed to Governor Droupadi Murmu, Roy said he is resigning from the ministry and that it be accepted with immediate effect.

Earlier in the day, Roy had said he would resign on Monday.

Roy was the Food, Public Distribution and Consumer Affairs Minister in the Jharkhand Cabinet.

“I will file my nomination papers from both the assembly constituencies tomorrow,” he said.

Roy’s move comes in the wake of his name not finding a place in the first four lists of 72 candidates declared by the BJP for the 81-member assembly in Jharkhand, which is going to polls in five phases between November 30 and December 20.

Asked if he was taking on his own party by deciding to contest against the chief minister, he said, “Let the BJP take action against me.”

The BJP has re-nominated Das from the Jamshedpur (East) seat, while it is yet to announce its candidate from Jamshedpur (West). The two seats will go to polls in the second phase on December 7 and the last date of filing papers is Monday.

To another query on whether contesting elections from two seats would be a tall order, Roy said, “Not at all. The geography of the city (Jamshedpur), its people and issues are the same. My supporters will campaign from my home constituency, while I will concentrate on Jamshedpur (East).”

Asaduddin Owaisi announces his party AIMIM will contest assembly polls in Jharkhand

Source: hindustantimes.com

All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) party headed by parliamentarian Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday announced to contest the upcoming assembly elections in Jharkhand even as holding its maiden public rally in state capital Ranchi.

Though the party didn’t announce its exact plan as to whether it would contest on all seats or foment an alliance with other parties but its leaders expressed hope that the party would win 10-12 seats in Jharkhand polls.

“If a non-BJP government is formed after the elections, then AIMIM will be one of the four legs of the chief minister’s chair,” they said.

Addressing a public gathering amid downpours at Bariatu, party’s chief Owaisi said, “AIMIM is a real political alternative for the oppressed people of Jharkhand. We are no more going to beg for crumbs. We have to fight for justice. Erase the terror of Modi-RSS from your heart.”

He added, “AIMIM will field its candidates in the upcoming Jharkhand polls. Names of candidates will be announced very soon. The next Jharkhand assembly will also have AIMIM legislators who will espouse the cause of Muslims, Tribal, Christians, poor and downtrodden.”

Appealing the party works to start preparing for the polls, Owaisi slammed the ruling BJP and opposition parties including JMM, Congress and others for using poor and downtrodden as vote bank.

He said, “Congress and JMM never cared for Muslims, Tribal, Christians and oppressed people. They use them as vote bank only.”

Adiwasi Sarna Samiti President Ajay Tirkey, party’s Jharkhand president Hubban Mallick and many Muslim leaders across the state and other states also attended the public rally.

Owaisi, who met the family members of alleged mob lynching victim Tabrez Ansari in Ranchi, slammed the ruling BJP government for its utter failure in controlling these crimes.

He said, “18 women had been lynched in Jharkhand for practising witchcraft. I want to ask the ruling BJP what is going on in this state in its rule. Is this a respect towards woman. The government completely failed in curbing this social evil.”

Highlighting the incidents of mob lynching in Jharkhand, Owaisi said, “The state has turned into a factory of mob lynching. But I want to assure sisters Anita Minz, Shahista Parveen and many others, who lost their husbands in mob lynching violence, that our party is standing firm with you to help you out and raise your concern.”

Hyderabad MP Owaisi also raised concern over delinking of internet and cell phone services in the state of Jammu Kashmir after the union government scrapped Article 370 to strip the state of its special status.

He said, “Kashmir is an integral part of India and will remain like that. However, the government should restore internet and cell phone services to people of Kashmir as it says that the situation in the state is normal.”

Giriraj Singh To Replace Nitish Kumar In Bihar After Assembly Polls? His Reply Shocks Everyone

Source: newsnation.in

It is being long speculated that Union minister and the firebrand leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Giriraj Singh is likely to replace Nitish Kumar as Chief Minister, if the Saffron party outscores JDU in Bihar Assembly polls. However, putting all the speculations to the bed, Giriraj Singh on Tuesday asserted that his political innings may “come to an end” with the completion of the second term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

It is to be noted that that the clarification from Giriraj Singh comes in reply to the reporters’ queries about him being a probable chief ministerial candidate after the assembly polls in Bihar next year. The BJP leader said, “I am one of those party workers who entered public life to fulfil the dream of integration of Kashmir pursuing which Syama Prasad Mukherjee had sacrificed his life. PM Narendra Modi has achieved that.” 

“I did not enter politics to acquire positions of power. So now I see my political innings nearing its end. It may come to an end with the completion of Modi’s ongoing tenure, Giriraj Singh added.  

It is worth mentioning here that Assembly elections in Bihar for all 243 seats will be held in October 2020. The term of current assembly, which was elected in 2015, will culminate on November 29, 2020.  

Giriraj Singh is currently serving as the Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries in Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government. In 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Giriraj Singh defeated CPI candidate Kanhaiya Kumar from the Begusarai parliamentary constituency.

Former Jharkhand CMs Babulal Marandi, Hemant Soren meet ahead of assembly polls

Source: indiatoday.in

s Jharkhand is bracing up for the assembly polls towards the end of the year, political parties have already intensified their campaign. It is going to be NDA, led by BJP, versus others in the state.

However the picture is still grey as to whether the allies of opposition will manage to come on a common platform.

The Congress is yet to take a call in the matter.

It is not known whether the party is interested in a pre-poll alliance with all the allies who are against the BJP.

There has been a change of guard and five working presidents were nominated to bring back the party on track which is loosing it’s base in the state.

However party spokesperson Lal Kishore Nath Shahdeo has accepted that talks are on with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).

In the prevailing political condition, other allies of opposition have started dialogue among themselves to reportedly forge a formidable alliance to take on the BJP which is riding high on the Modi wave. The saffron party is brimming with confidence after an emphatic win on 12 out of 14 seats in the Lok Sabha elections 2019.

In what is being seen as an effort to break ice two stalwarts of Jharkhand, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) supremo and the first chief minister of the state Babulal Marandi and former chief minister Hemant Soren met at Dhanbad circuit house for more than 25 minutes in a closed door meeting.

Both of them were visibly thrilled post the meeting. Babulal Marandi said that there was nothing to hide. He admitted that he was not against an alliance of like-minded parties.

Hemant Soren reiterated the same. There was no discussion over seat-sharing, Soren said, but when the time comes, everything will be sorted and disclosed to the media.

All is well, Soren said, while dropping a hint that RJD, JMM and JVM could explore the possibilities of contesting the elections under an umbrella.

In 2014, Congress had thrown it’s hat with RJD and JDU in the electoral fray but JMM and JVM had contested on their own.

The major issue which emerges in alliances is seat-sharing. This was the core reason why JMM and the Congress had contested 2009 and 2014 assembly polls without an alliance.

Now, the allies are daring to take on the BJP and whether they will see eye to eye with their partners remains to be seen.

Highly placed sources said that even RJD wants 12 seats and the other allies are opposed to it, citing reasons that they don’t deserve the number of seats they are asking.

Congress wants more seats in Santhal where JMM candidate had won. The allies are headed for a fight over seat-sharing before going to polls. It would be interesting to see who wins the race.Al

In Jharkhand, BJP poised to gain by default as Opposition is in disarray

Source: business-standard.com

From all appearances, the Jharkhand Assembly polls later this year look like a cinch for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). If the Lok Sabha election outcome is a hot lead — the National Democratic Alliance won 12 of the 14 seats and secured a vote share of 55.29 per cent— the BJP and its partners, the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), can stage an encore in this neck of the woods that seldom gives a winner an absolute majority in the legislature.

Jharkhand has an Opposition that a ruling party would dream of. In this case, the BJP and the AJSU (the LJP does not have a legislator) governed for five years after winning the 2014 elections with a bare majority. “It is the most conducive Opposition a party in power can hope for. Even if people search for an alternative, they can’t find one. The BJP gains by default,” a Ranchi-based veteran political observer said.

The BJP’s Jayant Sinha, Hazaribagh MP and a former central minister, remarked: “The Opposition alliance doesn’t have a leader, an ideology, a common minimum programme or the skills to work together. People saw through this hotchpotch combine.” The “combine” comprised the Congress, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) or JVMP, and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

Recent developments support the observations on the Opposition’s plight. Jharkhand Pradesh Congress chief Ajoy Kumar quit his post on Friday, accusing some colleagues of indulging in corrupt practices and promoting their own interests over the party’s and said “worst criminals look better” than them. A few days ago, Kumar was roughed up allegedly by allegiants of his rivals in the party, Subodh Kant Sahay, former Union minister, and Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu, Rajya Sabha MP.

The RJD split vertically, which gave birth to the RJD (Democratic), led by Gautam Sagar Rana. The JVMP, helmed by former BJP chief minister Babulal Marandi, suffered a setback after its MLA and Marandi lieutenant, Pradip Yadav, was jailed on an attempted rape charge. The JMM, the mainspring of the Opposition grouping, hit a rough patch after its patriarch Shibu Soren was defeated in the Dumka Lok Sabha seat, his fief, for a third time and his son and heir apparent, Hemant, led the coalition to a defeat in the last state polls.

With a spring in its step, the BJP encapsulated its target in the “Mission 65 plus” slogan, based on the fact that in the parliamentary polls, it led in 63 of the 81 Assembly constituencies. In 2014, the BJP and the AJSU together won 40 seats. Shivpujan Pathak, the BJP’s state media minder, claimed: “The ambience hasn’t changed. Our biggest achievement is we offered Jharkhand its first stable government lasting five years. Before 2014, there were instability and Maoist attacks. Under our government, there is inclusive development, fuelled by a double engine because we have a government at the Centre too.”

According to Sinha, the “double engine-driven growth” was a force multiplier in at least three sectors. Under the Ujjwala Yojana, a targeted scheme to provide cooking gas connections to BPL households, the Jharkhand government distributed free burners, with the first costless cylinder; it plans to hand a second cylinder shortly so that women do not revert to the “chulha” if the wait for a refill gets long and uncertain. Second, the Ayushman Bharat Health Protection scheme was universalised to cover any person having a ration card. “In effect, two-thirds of Jharkhand’s population are covered,” said Sinha. Third, the Rs 6,000 annual minimum income support to farmers under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi was enhanced by the state government — additional Rs 5,000 per acre to farmer who owned less than an acre, not as a loan or an amount to be redeemed. The scheme was projected to benefit nearly 2.3 million small and marginal farmers who already received interest-free loans and a crop insurance cover.

However, even BJP sources conceded there were “challenges” to face and loopholes to plug. The Santhal Pargana region, accounting for 18 Assembly seats, is on the BJP’s radar because of concerns that tribal voters may turn to the JMM and the Congress for succour. “Our government is backward caste-driven,” a senior BJP leader said. Chief Minister Raghubar Das is from the backward caste Vaish community.

Memories of 2016 still anger tribals. That year, Das amended the Chotanagpur and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Acts to permit the acquisition of tribal-owned land for “development”. These Acts proscribed the transfer of tribal land to non-tribal people and favoured community ownership. After huge protests, the government withdrew the amendments in 2017.

The BJP sought to assuage tribal people’s sentiments by resorting to symbolism. It kicked off 2019 with a 15-day campaign to collect soil from the villages of pre-Independence martyrs and build a statue of tribal legend Birsa Munda on the old jail campus in Ranchi. BJP President Amit Shah visited Munda’s village, Ulihatu, to felicitate his descendants.

Will the gestures help? A central leader’s answer was: “Jharkhand’s demography is diverse. The BJP has to portray itself as an inclusive entity and not a sectional one.”

Raghuvansh Prasad Singh’s outreach to Nitish: A sign of churn in Bihar?

Source: business-standard.com

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decimated the opposition in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, but intriguing developments of the past few days suggest space opening up for a possible churn in Bihar politics in the run up to the state Assembly polls by October 2020.

On Tuesday, union minister and BJP leader Giriraj Singh ridiculed Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and others over their attending ‘iftaar’ parties. In turn, Kumar was dismissive of Giriraj Singh’s comments and said his government would deliver on all its promises much before the Assembly polls.

By evening, BJP sources said party chief Amit Shah had phoned Giriraj Singh and advised him to be careful about his comments, particularly on BJP’s allies.

In his tweet, Giriraj Singh had commented at a photograph of Kumar and other leaders breaking fast at an ‘iftar’. “How beautiful would the picture have emerged, had phalaahaar (a fruit feast) been organised during Navaratra with the same fervour with splendid photographs taken. Why do we lag behind in observance of our own karm-dharm (religious customs) in public, while staying ahead in making a show for those of others,” Singh tweeted in Hindi.

The latest developments come in the wake of Kumar spurning the offer of a cabinet berth in the Narendra Modi-led council of ministers at the Centre, stating that his party does not “symbolic” but “proportional representation”. He, however, denied any “unease” between the allies.

Kumar then expanded his cabinet, including eight ministers, all from the Janata Dal (United) that he leads. He offered the BJP one ministerial berth, which it refused.

On Monday, senior Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said all non-BJP parties needed to get together to provide a national alternative to the BJP. “We are not allergic to any particular party or leader,” Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said when asked about Kumar’s acceptability.

“It would be even better if all small parties merge together and become a single entity to take on the humongous challenge posed by the BJP,” Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said. He said these were his personal views but RJD chief Lalu Prasad, currently incarcerated, and he have worked together for a long time and thought alike “on most occasions”.

In the just concluded Lok Sabha polls, the RJD could not win a single seat in Bihar. Its ally Congress could win one seat. However, Kumar’s JD(U) won 16, and allies BJP and Lok Janshakti Parthy won 17 and six seats respectively.

The RJD vote share in the Lok Sabha polls was 15.36 per cent, while JD (U)’s was 21.81 per cent, BJP’s 23.58 per cent and LJP’s 7.86 per cent. The Congress bagged a vote share of 7.7 per cent. In 2015 Assembly polls, the alliance of RJD, JD (U) and Congress had defeated the BJP-led NDA in Bihar.

Historically, the JD (U), and its previous avatar of Samata Party, has performed poorly whenever it has fought any election without a strong alliance partner.

The Samata Party, with George Fernandes and Kumar as its top leaders, could win only seven of undivided Bihar’s 324 assembly seats. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the JD (U) could win only two seats. The JD (U) has improved its vote share significantly.

Observers of Bihar politics say Kumar is aware that the BJP might now want the chief ministerial chair for itself after the next Assembly polls. In Maharashtra in 2014, the BJP had severed ties with the Shiv Sena to emerge the single largest party in the Assembly.

However, no other party currently has a leader of the stature of Kumar in Bihar, including the BJP. BJP’s Giriraj Singh is now a cabinet minister in the Modi government, while Bihar BJP state unit chief Nityanand Rai, being groomed as a possible chief minister, is minister of state for home at the Centre but still lacks Kumar’s popularity.

Raghuvansh Prasad Singh’s comments suggest that the parties that came out of the womb of the socialist parties, or the ‘Janata parivar’, could be prepared to come together under Kumar’s leadership. “Now that the results have dented Tejaswi Yadav’s leadership, the challenge from within the family of Lalu Prasad to Kumar has weakened,” a Bihar leader said.

Giriraj Singh, who defeated CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar from Begusarai, has been a known detractor of Kumar’s. “We have never taken utterances of Giriraj seriously. We have always believed in giving respect to all religions and hence we sport a ’tilak’ and also wear skullcaps.” JD(U) spokesman Sanjay Singh said.

The ’tilak’ and skullcap metaphor is reminiscent of the developments of April, 2013, when at his party’s national executive meet in New Delhi Kumar had used the analogy to highlight ideological differences with the BJP, which eventually led to him severing 17-year-old ties between the two parties.

Union minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan said the BJP-JD(U) and his party’s alliance is “intact”. Former chief ministers Rabri Devi and Jitan Ram Manjhi also appeared to have mellowed towards Kumar. Kumar attended the iftar that Manjhi hosted. Rabri Devi said any decision on inclusion of new allies can be taken only in consultation with all allies.

Union minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan said the BJP-JD(U) and his party’s alliance is “intact”. Former chief ministers Rabri Devi and Jitan Ram Manjhi also appeared to have mellowed towards Kumar. Kumar attended the iftar that Manjhi hosted. Rabri Devi said any decision on inclusion of new allies can be taken only in consultation with all allies.