A lesson BJP won’t learn from Delhi election: To not polarise Bihar and West Bengal

Source: theprint.in

BJP tally increased from three to eight seats in Delhi assembly. This is enough to tell the party that polarisation could be a good bet in Bihar, Bengal and Assam.

Shaheen Bagh’ was the most mentioned reference in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi poll campaign, a convenient metaphor for it to polarise the election and the electorate. But Tuesday’s verdict has shown us one thing — the politics of polarisation may not always work for Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. At best, it is a no-gain-no-loss gamble for the party, one that the BJP will continue to push in the upcoming assembly polls, where the party has huge stakes.

But make no mistake. The one important lesson the BJP will not learn from the Delhi election is to refrain from brazen, even toxic, polarisation.

Polarising the voters on communal lines lies in the BJP’s political DNA, and has been at the heart of its rise in national politics. Notwithstanding Delhi results, this strategy will continue to form the core of the BJP’s campaign in elections in Bihar — due later this year — and Assam and West Bengal next year.

The Delhi chapter

When the poll season began, BJP members privately admitted the party was staring at a dismal performance, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party as the front-runner by a wide margin.

The BJP party then sensed an opportunity to make this election a face-saver. It went all out to make this election entirely about non-developmental issues like the new citizenship law, Shaheen Bagh protests and ‘tukde tukde’ gang.

Even senior BJP leaders, including the likes of junior finance minister Anurag Thakur and Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath tried their best to polarise the election, limiting the party’s campaign to goli and gaali. 

The BJP has increased its tally from three to eight seats and its voteshare from 32.7 per cent to 38.7 per cent (as per the Election Commission’s figures till 4pm). This is a marginal improvement for the party, but a resounding defeat nonetheless. However, given that the BJP knew it had a poor chance in Delhi, the polarisation push was more of a desperate attempt to deflect attention from Kejriwal’s governance conversation. Modi and Amit Shah will not see the Delhi election result as a failure of their strategy. It may not have helped BJP, but hasn’t taken away much either. In fact, if Lok Sabha polls were to be held today, Modi will manage to sweep Delhi again.

Do voters get put off by these overt attempts at polarisation? Unlikely, considering BJP polarises every election and its political grammar is such. If the Indian voter had a problem with polarisation, the BJP wouldn’t have managed 303 Lok Sabha seats after its ‘infiltrators are termites’, ‘go to Pakistan’ and ‘anti-national’ campaigns in 2019.

The politics of polarisation may have its limits, but for BJP, the law of diminishing marginal utility does not quite apply.

Upcoming elections

Bihar, West Bengal and Assam — three states where the BJP will do all it can to win — are fertile grounds for polarisation. In Bihar, where the party is in power with Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), the Muslim population is around 17 per cent as per the 2011 Census. For Modi-Shah’s brand of politics, it makes complete sense to talk communal and put the Congress-RJD combine on the backfoot for ‘minority appeasement’. It helps the opposition’s cause that the RJD has remained a firmly secular party, never being seen as having compromised on that front.

In West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already been branded as a minority appeaser, and her anti-NRC and anti-CAA stance have only given the BJP more ammunition against her.

If there’s one state that provides Narendra Modi and Amit Shah the most agreeable ground to polarise on communal lines, it is Assam. The state has been on the edge after the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was updated and the CAA brought in, given the big ethnicity faultline. The BJP has conveniently turned the ethnicity debate into a religious one, changing the language of the state’s conflict. As elections approach, the party will sharpen this polarisation pitch further.

For the BJP — whether under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani, Narendra Modi or Amit Shah — polarisation, an overtly communal agenda and language is the brand of politics it relentlessly pursues, one that has helped it reap dividends over the decades. Shaheen Bagh may be behind it now, but expect the BJP to find another metaphor for its divisive agenda in the upcoming elections.

PK & KK: Do Bihari, sub par bhari!

Source: nationalheraldindia.com

They could be defining faces of the decade, Forbes India has said. These 2 Bihari men have however been part of political parties with a limited support base

They could be the defining faces of the decade, said Forbes India while releasing a list of 20 Indians to watch out for in 2020. The two Bihari men have however been part of political parties with limited support base and credited with not too bright a future.

Neither JD(U), which expelled Kishor after he baited JD(U) president Nitish Kumar for not opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) nor the Communist Party of India, boasts of a large base in Bihar.

But at a time when communism is facing an existential challenge in India and abroad, Kanhaiya Kumar has been drawing huge crowds in his public meetings. He connects with people even better than Lalu Prasad Yadav. He speaks well, explains complex legal, economic or political issues simply and is an aggressive critic of the BJP and Narendra Modi.

While Kishor is a Brahmin, Kanhaiya happens to be a Bhumihar. But there the similarities end. Kumar hails from a poor family while Kishor’s father was a doctor. Unlike Kumar, Kishor is the quintessential backroom boy, a political and communication strategist. His public speaking skills remain untested while Kumar has already the makings of a mass leader.

Kishor in his early forties is already a veteran of many elections. After leaving his job with a UN body, he returned to help BJP win the Gujarat assembly election in 2011. He thereafter set up Narendra Modi’s Prime Ministerial campaign and is credited to have masterminded it. But after 2014 he parted ways with the BJP and signed up with Nitish Kumar to manage the campaign of the Maha Gathbandhan or Grand Alliance (RJD-JD(U) and Congress) in the Bihar election in 2015.

Since then Kishor has been either consulted or engaged by Mamata Banerjee, M.K. Stalin, Arvind Kejriwal, Captain Amrinder Singh and even Chandra Babu Naidu. No wonder he has kept people guessing about his next assignment.

His relations with Modi and Amit Shah remain an enigma. While Kishor has often boasted of excellent relations with the PM, he has never been very forthcoming about his relations with Amit Shah. But Nitish Kumar did publicly say last month that he had inducted Kishor in the party at the behest of Amit Shah.

While Kanhaiya Kumar has a PhD in African Studies from JNU, Prashant Kishor worked in the health sector in Africa for the United Nations.

While Marxism may have lost its appeal among the poor and the working classes, election of leftist governments in Nepal and Mexico in two corners of the world also speak of the continuing relevance of leftist ideas.

Both of them seem to be on the same page as the Congress on several issues. And while Kishor has publicly praised Congress leaders for opposing the CAA, Kanhaiya Kumar is accompanied by Congress MLA and a former JNUSU president himself Shakeel Ahmed, on his month-long ‘Jana Gana Mana Yatra’, which will conclude at Patna on February 29.

Whatever political direction their political journey eventually takes, the duo are sure to play key roles in the Assembly election later this year.

Sedition Charges Being Distributed Freely Like ‘prasad’, Says Kanhaiya


Katihar (Bihar), Feb 7 (PTI) CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar on Friday rued that sedition charges were being “distributed freely like prasad” though a police officer arrested along with terrorists was not deemed fit to be booked for treason.

The former JNU student leader, who was booked for sedition four years ago, was referring to suspended Jammu and Kashmir DSP Devinder Singh.

“Sedition charges are being distributed freely like prasad. Social workers are being booked…. In Karnataka, school children have been booked for merely staging a play. And this is when a police official arrested along with terrorists is yet to be charged with the same,” he said while addressing a rally here as part of his state-wide “Jan Gan Man Yatra” against the CAA-NPR-NRC issue.

Kumar, who made an unsuccessful electoral debut in the Lok Sabha polls last year against BJP’s Giriraj Singh, termed the saffron party as ‘Godsewadi’, followers of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse.

“These Godsewadis, these rioters have placed guns in the hands of youths while (Union Home Minister) Amit Shah has secured the plum post of BCCI secretary for his son.

“The people in power send their children to Oxford, Cambridge and other elite institutions abroad while the ordinary young men and women in the country have to contend with an educational system wherein a three-year degree course takes five years to get completed,” he said.

A person who becomes a member of any legislative body for just one term is guaranteed a handsome pension for life, while government employees get post-retirement benefits irregularly after a lifetime of service, Kanhaiya said and termed this “unfair”.

Charging the NDA government with adopting a “provoke and mislead” policy, he wondered why the need for a fresh amendment was felt by the Centre despite the citizenship law having been amended by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

Kanhaiya sought to defend the use of epithets like “takloo” (the bald one) and “tadipaar” for Shah (an allusion to the Supreme Court order whereby the BJP leader was asked to stay out of Gujarat a decade ago) by claiming “I do so to make things easier to understand. I do not wish to use foul language against anybody.”

“I am often accused of claiming to be a student despite being in my 40s. Let me make it clear, I am no more with the JNU, having completed my PhD. And I am only 35. But the problem with my friends who are supporters of the BJP is, they have fallen in love with Modi. And love makes you blind, prevents you from seeing reason,” he added.

“Shah says those opposed to the CAA are against grant of citizenship to refugees. This is false. People desirous of Indian citizenship were getting the same under the existing law. The current exercise is an attempt by them to undo the effects of the NRC that took place in Assam as per Supreme Court order. But it backfired, politically, for the BJP,” Kanhaiya said referring to reports that a majority of those excluded in the NRC in the north-eastern state were Hindus.

“News channels too have become a part of this Hindu versus Muslim game. I say it is fine that work has commenced for building a Ram temple at Ayodhya. But the day-to-day problems faced by people do not deserve any coverage!” he lamented.

The rally was also addressed by senior leaders like Tariq Anwar, a former Union minister from here and Congress MLA Shakil Ahmed Khan.

A slipper was thrown at the convoy while it was approaching the rally, by an unidentified person, though the situation was brought under control by police.

Once in Spotlight for Laying Foundation of Ram Temple, This Dalit Boy Has Now Been Nominated in Ayodhya Trust

Source: ews18.com

Meghnath Oram had travelled to Ayodhya with small jattha of karsewaks from South Bihar’s Chota Nagpur division. Led by a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) functionary in Gaya region, the group had camped about a mile off the disputed site.

Oram since his arrival had shown signs of unrest. He had vowed to lay the foundation stone for a grand Ram temple at the site where Babri Masjid stood. Else, he would not return to his village.

To avoid any untoward incident, Kameshwar Chaupal, the VHP joint general secretary in-charge of tribal-dominated districts in Bihar, was asked to keep a close watch on Oram.

November 9, 1989 was the ‘auspicious’ day chosen by top Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and VHP leaders to performs shilanyas and lay the foundation for the ‘proposed grand temple’ at Ayodhya. It was to be the culmination of decade-long campaign led by the VHP and nurtured by the RSS.

Early that Wednesday morning, VHP leader Ashok Singhal’s close aide Rameshwar came looking for Chaupal. At the shilanyas site, very close to the disputed structure, Chaupal was accorded the coveted seat beside Singhal.

Swami Chinmayananda, who would go on to become a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, was the master of the ceremony. With Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia, seers and saints in attendance, the puja began.

In a powerful political statement, from a bevy of gurus lined up for the event, the VHP had chosen a Dalit boy from Saharasa in Bihar to lay the foundation stone of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, and of the BJP in national politics.

Once Shilanyas was done, Kameshswar Chaupal left Ayodhya for his village in Bihar.

On his arrival, Chaupal was told Baldev Jha, head of a prosperous Brahmin family had sent a message and wished to see him. “We had lived under centuries of subjugation, and I was reluctant. But my father coaxed me to go and meet Baldev Babu,” Chaupal recalled speaking to News18 in December, 2017.

For a person who had never entered an Upper Caste household in his village, Chaupal was unsure of the reception he would receive. “To my shock, Baldev Babu held my hand, made me sit beside him and asked everyone in the family, young and old, to touch my feet. They had read about me in the newspapers,” he recalled.

Chaupal later contested 1991 Lok Sabha elections from Rosada on BJP ticket, but lost. Chaupal tried his luck for the second time in 1995 Assembly polls. Five years later, he was nominated to the Bihar Legislative Council, where he served for two terms.

Ahead of the 2014 general elections, JD(U) had broken its poll pact with the BJP. It asked him to contest from a general seat. Chaupal lost to Pappu Yadav’s wife and Congress candidate Ranjeet Ranjan.

Invoking Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s ‘Indigenous’ Dream, PM Modi Says UP Will Become One of the Biggest Hubs of Defence Manufacturing


Lucknow: India is eyeing defence export of USD 5 billion in the next five years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday, highlighting the measures taken by his government to boost manufacturing and woo investors to set up a base in the country.

Inaugurating the 11th edition of DefExpo here, Modi said a country of the size of India cannot entirely depend on imports and added the number of defence licenses issued in the last five years has risen to 460 from 210 in 2014, the year he first came to power.

India is building several defence equipment like artillery guns, aircraft carriers, submarines, light-combat aircraft, and combat helicopters, he said. “Today India is capable of manufacturing Artillar guns, Air Craft Carriers, Submarines, Light Combat helicopters and other defence related equipments. Our main aim for next five years is to increase defence export by 5 Bilion Dollars in next five years,” Modi said.

India is not only a major market globally but a vast opportunity for the world as well, he said, asserting that Uttar Pradesh is going to be one of the biggest defence manufacturing hubs in India. Lack of proper policy initiative in last several decades made India the biggest importer of defence platforms, he added.

Modi cited misuse of technology, terrorism and cyber threat as challenges facing the world and said defence forces are eyeing new technology considering new threats. India is not behind others, he added. He said a roadmap had been finalised to use application of artificial intelligence in defence sector.

The prime minister said the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff and the Department of Military Affairs will boost the overall defence production. “We are going to enhance our presence in the outer space in coming years,” he said, adding that the DRDO is putting up effective protection for India’s assets in outer space created by ISRO.

“Our defence preparedness is not aimed at any country as India is a reliable contributor to world peace. It’s our responsibility to ensure security of not only India but countries in the neighbourhood as well,” he said. He invited foreign defence manufacturers to “come and invest in India.

Modi further said, “This time more than 1000 companies are participating in the Defence Expo from over 150 countries across the world. Also defence ministers from more than 30 countries and hundreds of business leaders have come to participate in this event today.”

Budget breaks from the past

Source: telegraphindia.com

or decades before he became prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a stalwart of the Opposition, even when he wasn’t formally the leader of the Opposition. One of the obligatory duties of an Opposition leader was to proffer comments on the Union budget — an event which in India is both preceded and accompanied by a great deal of paraphernalia. Unfortunately, the budget and, indeed, economic policy were facets of statecraft that didn’t ever interest the otherwise accomplished parliamentarian. Even as the reporters crowded around him for his comments on the finance minister’s speech, Vajpayee would take a deep breath and then mutter that the government “garib ko peth me laath maar diya (the government has kicked the poor in the stomach)”, followed by the usual platitudes about the budget being either ‘inflationary’ or ‘anti-growth’.

It was a ritual that Vajpayee always hoped would end fast and painlessly before he got on with the business of normal politics.

Vajpayee wasn’t the only leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party who was permanently ill at ease with money matters and economics. In theory — or at least in the public perception — the BJP has always been positioned as a party of the Right. In many countries, particularly in the Western democracies, Right was a convenient shorthand for a cocktail that incorporated both market-oriented economics and a nationalist orientation — something loosely akin to what the present British prime minister, Boris Johnson, practises. In India, however, apart from the short-lived Swatantra Party founded by C. Rajagopalachari as an alternative to Jawaharlal Nehru’s socialism, the mainstream Right has been most comfortable with identity issues and the culture wars. Vajpayee’s personal interests may have extended to foreign policy but, overall, he didn’t deviate from this trend.

Neither for that matter did his inseparable political associate, Lal Krishna Advani. I recall the spirited debates that accompanied the process of economic liberalization initiated by Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao and his finance minister, Manmohan Singh. Ideally, the BJP, which had paid a great deal of emphasis on economic deregulation and less State control, should have been happy that a Congress government was walking away from the Nehruvian model. However, it

wasn’t all that straightforward. There were murmurs in the BJP rank and file against the generosity shown towards foreign capital. Leaders such as Murli Manohar Joshi combined their opposition to globalization with an advocacy of swadeshi. The BJP ended up speaking in multiple voices. It was at this juncture that I asked Advani how the issue could be resolved. Looking pensive and after a long pause, Advani had only one comment: “We will never fight an election on economic issues.”

Translated in political language, it meant that while economic development would always feature on the BJP’s radar, it would never incorporate issues of economic philosophy. Unlike Margaret Thatcher who, it is said, once flaunted a copy of Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom and said, “This is what we believe in”, the BJP leadership shunned doctrinaire politics. It merely had a loose commitment to welfare programmes, lower taxes and less government involvement. The other choices would be governed by necessity and expediency.

It is worth recalling this background in the context of the second budget presented by Nirmala Sitharaman which has been met with mixed, and often confused, responses. While it is true that the importance of the Union budget has shrunk exponentially over the past decade, not least owing to the ‘shared sovereignty’ principle governing the goods and services tax, there was an expectation that the government would take audacious steps to cope with the steep economic slowdown that has taken the country by surprise.

To some extent, these expectations were not always politically realistic. Any government, even one that commands a single-party majority, has to juggle between conflicting compulsions. If there is a compelling need to attract foreign investment and compete with other Asian countries to offer sops for corporations looking for alternatives to China, it has to also take into account the misgivings of small units — both in manufacturing and trade — that are wary of entities such as Amazon undercutting the market. Then, if managing the fiscal deficit is important, the government has to take into account the need to service welfare programmes and ease the rural distress. Finally, there is the pressure from the middle classes for some more tax relief.

At the best of times, balancing these different pressure points is difficult. History will be the best judge as to when the finance minister’s approach of addressing each concern perfunctorily is going to yield results or leave everyone unhappy. Budgets are forgotten within a fortnight of their presentation and the management of the economy is judged by other indicators, in which the finance bill plays only a small part. Certainly, there is absolutely nothing in Sitharaman’s budget that has got any section furious. Even the new, exemptions-less income tax structure that is planned as the model for the future has been deemed voluntary and gives individual taxpayers time to mull over and plan for the future. The initial scepticism in this regard is entirely understandable, particularly as it makes no allowances for the enforced savings that have, so far, played the role of an individual’s future security. Indeed, in the realm of direct taxes at least, the budget does convey a sense of tentativeness, which will have to be addressed through a series of future clarifications.

Yet, there are notes of reassurance for the future. In the course of her very long budget speech, peppered with the sayings of saintly men and women from the past, the finance minister began the process of at least trying to delineate an economic philosophy that went beyond the targeted $5-trillion objective. Putting more money in the pockets of individuals and their families was one clear objective. Equally, in line with the elaborations in this year’s Economic Survey, there was a clear assertion of the virtues of wealth and an explicit rejection of the povertarianism that has often marked populist thinking in India. The Economic Survey and the budget speech also sang the virtues of aspirational thinking and entrepreneurship, and some of this was backed up by concrete financial provisions. Finally, it had so far been assumed that the Narendra Modi government was keen to improve the efficiency of State-owned enterprises rather than transfer them to private hands. Now that the Economic Survey has categorically stated that privatization is the key to greater wealth creation and efficiency, we can hope that the post-1991 approach of liberalization by stealth is finally given up. The budget has promised a partial disinvestment of the Life Insurance Corporation of India and has indicated that railway routes may be leased out to private players. These suggest that the process that began with the deregulation of the defence industry will be complemented by other bold moves in sectors that have hitherto been seen as government monopolies.

The importance of the 2020 budget does not lie in the small steps it has taken to accommodate the concerns of exporters, the medium and small scale units, the opening up of the bond market and the tax cuts for those in the lower rungs of the income tax-paying classes. To the sceptics, much more should have been done, especially since an economic slowdown invariably confers greater acceptance of bold reformist steps. To those familiar with the ecosystem of the BJP, this budget marks a decisive move away from managerial tinkering. The point now is for the party to accept this facet of the Modi Doctrine openly and without inhibitions.

AIPH University Annual National Workshop on Public Health to be inaugurated by Principal Secretary Nikunja Bihari Dhal

Source: indiaeducationdiary.in

Bhubaneswar: In light of the current global health emergency due to the Novel Corona virus, Odisha’s first Public Health University is organizing a one-day National Workshop on Role of Public Health in state’s development. In the workshop being held at its city campus in Pahala, eminent public health & development experts will come together to deliberate on different aspects of public health education, research and policy and its implications for health and development. Principal secretary Health Nikunja Bihari Dhal will inaugurate the workshop and eminent environmentalist Prof Radhamohan will be felicitated. Prof Radhamohan has been awarded with Padmashri by Government of India for his contribution to state’s development.

In the technical session, presentations will be made by Dr Narendra Kumar Jena, Head of Emergency Medicine, Minakshi Mission Hospital Madurai on Coronavirus crisis & its management, Healthcare Management expert Mr Keerti Pradhan will discuss role of academia in preparing public health professionals and former world bank senior finance officer Mr Binod Nayak will discuss on role of microfinance in public health delivery. The session will be chaired by Mr Vivekananda Patnaik, IAS who is a member of board of governors of AIPH University.

In the post-lunch session, a panel discussion would comprise of eminent panelists such as Dr Omkar Mohanty, former vice chancellor of BPUT, Prof Lalu Mansinha, emeritus professor of University of Western Ontario, Prof Luna Samant, Dean of School of Biological Sciences of Ravenshaw University, Dr Priyadarshan Patra, Dean of Research, Xavier University and Dr Srijit Mishra, Director Nabakrushna Choudhury Center for Development Studies.

The workshop will also be addressed by Prof Pinaki Panigrahi, founder-president of AIPH University and eminent researcher at Georgetown University in USA. The deliberations of the workshop with key recommendations will be submitted to the state government.

Aidan Singh Bhati to get Bihari Puraskar.

Source – hindustantimes.com

Dr. Aidan Singh Bhati will be awarded the 29th Bihari Puraskar for his poetry collection, Aankh Heeyae Ra Hariyal Sapna (Green Dreams of the Heart’s Eye), the KK Birla Foundation said in a statement Friday.

Bihari Puraskar is one of the three literary awards instituted by the Foundation in 1991. Named after famous Hindi poet Bihari, the award carries a cash prize of Rs 2.5 lakh, a citation and a plaque.

The award is given every year for an outstanding work in Hindi/Rajasthani published in the last 10 years by a Rajasthani writer.

After considering the works published during 2009-2018, poetry collection Aankh Heeyae Ra Hariyal Sapna by Dr. Bhati was selected for the 29th Bihari Puraskar, 2019.

The recipient is chosen by a selection committee. Its present chairman is Om Thanvi.

Born on December 10, 1952, in Jaisalmer’s Nokh village, Dr. Bhati is a noted poet and scholar in the Rajasthani language. His poetry reflects folk traditions of Rajasthan. His poetry collection, Hanstoda Hotan Rau Saanch (The Truth of Smiling Lips), is taught at Sukhadiya University.

After completing his master’s degree in Hindi, Dr. Bhati did his research on poetry from Jayanarayan University.

Aankh Heeyae Ra Hariyal Sapna, published in 2010, is a collection of poems that touch upon the geography of the Thar region, its culture and folk life. They also talk about the effects of globalisation. The collection delves into the plight of migrant villagers but also holds out hope and positivity.

The KK Birla Foundation also presents the Saraswati Samman, which is given to an outstanding literary work by an Indian citizen in any of the languages mentioned in Schedule VIII of the Constitution; and the Vyas Samman, given annually to an outstanding literary work in Hindi authored in the last 10 years.

What Bill Gates Said About Bihar’s Efforts To Fight Poverty, Diseases.

Source ndtv.com

PATNA: Billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on Sunday praised the Bihar government’s progress in fighting poverty and disease in the last 20 years. He said only a few places have been able to surpass the achievements made by the state.

The co-chair and trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who is on a visit to Bihar, said this at a meeting with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in Patna.

“Over the past 20 years, few places have made more progress against poverty and disease than Bihar. Compared to her mother born two decades ago, a child born today in Bihar is twice more likely to reach her fifth birthday,” a press release quoted Bill Gates as saying.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is committed to working with the state government to ensure health and education for all children, the statement said.

The state government also announced its commitment for continued partnership with the foundation to find solutions to the state’s critical health and development goals.

“Now, we have to make sure that all children are able to grow up healthy and get a good education. And our foundation remains committed to working with the state government to make that happen,” the statement said.

Commenting on the interaction, Mr Kumar expressed happiness with the collaboration as it would help improve public health services.

“We are pleased with our collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve public health services, community level behaviour change, scaling up innovation across health, nutrition and agriculture. Bihar is keen to continue partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to further strengthen sustainable systems across departments like health, social welfare, agriculture, empowerment of women and rural development,” the chief minister said.

The discussion also focused on giving priorities to structural reforms in the health sector with a need to strengthen primary health care by building a robust, resilient and responsive health system in Bihar, the statement said.

Elaborating on the “impressive” progress made by Bihar, the statement mentioned decisive actions towards reforming the state health system through creation of a Public Health Management Cadre for delivering good quality clinical care and bringing more administrative and management capacity into public health.

Mr Gates was apprised of the chief minister’s flagship programme “Jal-Jivan-Hariyali”, an inter-departmental effort to combat the effects of climate change. The chief minister was accompanied by his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi, health minister Mangal Pandey and key officials during the meeting.

Cattle trader beaten to death in Bihar, probe on.

Source – deccanchronicle.com

Patna: Nitish Kumar-led government facing attack over rising crime graph was in for another setback after a cattle trader was killed by a group of men for refusing to pay extortion money.

The incident occurred on Monday when a cattle trader identified as Mohammad Jamal was going to neighbouring West Bengal to sell his cows. The police investigating the case feel that the real cause of the incident could be personal enmity between the victim and the accused who is also involved in the cattle trading business.

The incident took place in the presence of Jamal’s younger brother who was escorting him to a weekly market in West Bengal to sell the cattle. Police investigating the case said that FIR against one Sagar Yadav and three others was registered on the basis of complaint filed by the victim’s brother.

“We have registered an FIR against those who are involved in the case. Manhunt has been launched and raids are being conducted in the area to nab the accused,” the police said.

Sources from Katihar said that Jamal was stopped by motorcycle-borne men who asked him for money. “They attacked him after he refused to pay them. He was rushed to the hospital where he was declared dead”.  

Meanwhile, local people blamed the district administration for rising crime graph in the area and demanded immediate arrest of all the accused who has been absconding after the incident. Protesters also demanded a compensation of `25 lakh for the family members of the victim.

As per an assessment over two dozen cases of lynching and mob attack have rocked the state in the last couple of months.  In view of some of the recent incidents, district administration has been asked to launch a campaign and create awareness to counter rumours leading to violence.

Social activists, however, feel that rivalry between two cattle traders led to the killing of Mohammad Jamal in Katihar and urged the police to arrest all the accused involved in the case.