Bihar bans 15-year-old vehicles in Patna, old govt cars in entire state

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Hours after the Supreme Court came down heavily on state governments for failing to take adequate measures to curb air pollution the Bihar government decided to ban 15-year-old vehicles in Patna. The government has also decided to ban all government vehicles over 15-year-old across the state.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday convened an emergency meeting over the pollution crisis which was attended by Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Environment Sushil Kumar Modi, Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar, Chairman of Bihar Pollution Control Board Ashok Ghosh, Patna commissioner of Police Sanjay Kumar Agarwal and Patna DM Kumar Ravi.

The Environment department gave a presentation on the pollution situation prevailing across the state.

During the meeting it was decided that no commercial vehicles more than 15-year-old will be allowed in Patna. It was also decided that the state government will ban all government vehicles that are more than 15-year-old across the state.

Giving relaxation to private vehicle owners, the government has decided to allow vehicles more than 15-year-old only after they get pollution under control (PUC) certificates.

“The state government has taken an important decision to curb pollution in the state which includes banning of old commercial vehicles. It has been found that vehicles account for almost 30 per cent of the pollution in the state. All the decisions taken in the meeting will be notified tomorrow,” said Deepak Kumar, chief secretary Bihar.

It may be mentioned that the air quality in Patna has worsened after Diwali. Air Quality Index (AQI) on Monday almost touched the 400-mark, which is the worst in the state. Air quality in Muzaffarpur and Gaya was slightly better but remained in the very poor category at 369 and 317, respectively.

JD (U) banking on Jharkhand, Delhi assembly polls for national party status.

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The Janata Dal (United) led by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has set its eyes on the upcoming Jharkhand and Delhi assembly polls which could be critical to its efforts of being declared a national party.

The elections to the 81-member Jharkhand assembly will be held in five phases beginning November 30; Delhi will go to polls early next year.

After assuming charge for the second consecutive term as the party’s national president in Delhi, Kumar, on Wednesday made a strong pitch towards realizing the target at the earliest.

“My priority as the party president is to expand its base in other states including Jharkhand, Delhi and the north-east to get national party status for the JD-U,” he said.

According to the criteria set by the Election Commission of India (ECI), a national party needs to get at least 6% of the votes across a minimum of four states, or 2% of the total seats in the Lok Sabha from at least three states, or it should be recognised as a state party in at least four states.

At present, there are six recognized national parties in India — the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

JD(U)’s ambition to expand its national footprints received a boost after it won 8 out of 60 assembly seats in Arunachal Pradesh , next only to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party which won 41 seats and secured a majority, in elections in May this year.

However, it performed badly in assembly polls in Chhattisgarh (2018), Rajasthan (2018), Karnataka (2018), and Gujarat (2017). In Nagaland, the party won one seat. In Assam, JD (U) contested four seats in collaboration with AlI India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) led by Badruddin Ajmal, but could not win a single seat.

In Kerala, JD (U) contested seven seats under the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), but failed to open its account.

“The JD (U) has the requisite share from two states, Bihar (70 seats) and Arunachal Pradesh, and we narrowly missed the target in Nagaland,” said the party’s principal general secretary, K C Tyagi.

In Delhi, the party is eyeing Poorvanchalis, the migrant population from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh who dominate certain pockets of the city. In 2015, over a dozen members of the 70-member Delhi assembly were from Purvanchal.

The JD (U) has contested Delhi assembly elections in the past too. In 2013, it contested 27 seats and won 1. In 2015, the party contested 12 seats but failed win any.

“In Delhi, we might be contesting close to 35 seats where the voters from Purvanchal have a say in deciding the fate of the candidate,” said a senior JD (U) leader who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In Jharkhand, some party leaders say that the JD(U), which is part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, will go solo and contest all the 81 seats in the November-December polls. In 2005-06 ,JD (U) had seven legislators in Jharkhand.

However, the party lost its sheen after the 2009 polls and has failed to win a single seat in any election thereafter.

“Our strategy for Jharkhand and Delhi is clear. We want to contest independently and with full strength. The number of seats to be contested will be decided later,” said Afaque Ahmed Khan, the party’s national general secretary.

DM Diwakar, professor, AN Sinha Institute for Social Studies, Patna, said that vying for national status is the ambition of every party.

“Nitish Kumar’s party wants to send a message that it is expanding its base, thereby projecting him as a national leader. On the other hand, wherever the JD (U) contests, it indirectly helps the BJP as it erodes the votes of the party opposed to the BJP.”

Regional parties eye political pie in State polls.

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Despite the NaMo wave in the country and the State, where the BJP repeated its 2014 feat of victory on 12 out of 14 Lok Sabh seats in 2019 General Elections, several regional and smaller political parties are enthusiastically eyeing to make their political ground in Jharkhand. So much so that a number of parties have already announced the number of seats, on which they will field their candidates.

While the Nitish Kumar led Janta Dal United has decided to go alone in State Assembly polls, terming its alliance with the National Democratic Alliance just for Lok Sabha polls, it has also made announcement of tentative candidates for about 14 seats in the State.

 The party that had two legislators in the third Assembly of the State, is eyeing its traditional voters alongwith the Kurmi voters, who play a significant role in Jharkhand politics.

The AAP Jharkhand unit has also got a shot in the arm after former Jharkhand cadre IPS officer and ex State in-charge of Congress Dr Ajoy Kumar joined the party recently. The party is also ready to contest elections on more than 40 seats and organising workers conferences across various Assembly segments.

“Our assessment of applications on 40-42 seats across the State is going on. It’s a process through which we finalise whether to contest elections on a particular seat or not. It mainly depends on the number of active workers in the area and also the background of applicants is checked before a name is finalised.

We have been organising workers conferences in Ranchi, Dhanbad, Jamshedpur and other prominent places of the State to boost the morale of workers,” said Rajesh Kumar, Spokesperson AAP, Jharkhand.Similarly, The Nationalist Congress Party, State unit has announced to contest elections on 30 seats in Jharkhand. Former Minister and State president of NCP Kamlesh Kumar Singh said that they were in constant touch with other opposition parties to get into an alliance.

 If there is an alliance, the NCM will contest on 10 seats. However, if the NCP is not in any alliance it will contest polls on 30 seats, he added.

The All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), which has won two Assembly seats in Maharashtra and one seat in Bihar in the recent elections, is also gearing up to field its candidates in the coming elections. AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, who had recently organised a rally in the Capital city has been getting scores of letters and calls for candidature in the polls.

The AIMIM has recently announced that it will contest the State elections on 50 seats if there is no alliance with likeminded parties. The party has claimed that it will win at least 12 seats this time.

AIMIM Victory in Bihar Will Pave Way for Dalit-Muslim Unity, Says Jitan Ram Manjhi.

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Patna: HAM president Jitan Ram Manjhi on Saturday hailed the victory of Asaduddin Owaisis AIMIM in Kishanganj assembly by-poll saying the maiden success of the Hyderabad MPs party in Bihar will pave the way for “dalit-muslim unity” across the country.

Manjhi, who is also a former chief minister, condemned the adverse remarks against Owaisi by some people and asserted that communalism and fake nationalism posed a greater threat to the nation.

We are a democracy in which every party can contest elections from anywhere. I congratulate Asaduddin Owaisi and his party for entering the fray in Kishanganj and emerging victorious, Manjhi said in a statement here.

I condemn the adverse remarks made by some people against Owaisi. The nation faces a bigger threat from communalism and fake nationalism than from the victory of AIMIM in Kishanganj, said Manjhi, a dalit leader, in a veiled criticism of the BJP and its firebrand leader Giriraj Singh.

Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) is a constituent of the five-party Grand Alliance led by RJD. One of the primary reasons why I welcome AIMIMs victory in Kishanganj is that in the Seemanchal region of Bihar, dalits and muslims face the threat of being dubbed as outsiders and terrorists in the name of implementation of NRC.

Results of the by-election will pave the way for nation-wide dalit-muslim unity, he added.

Formerly with the JD(U), Manjhi had quit it and floated HAM in 2015 in protest against having been made to step down as chief minister to make way for the return of his political mentor Nitish Kumar.

He had started off as a constituent of the NDA wherein he was welcomed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who called Manjhis forced resignation an insult to the ‘Mahadalit’ class.

He walked out of the BJP-led coalition in less than a year after Kumars return to the same in July, 2017. However, Manjhi has been sore with the RJD ever since the Grand Alliance was drubbed in the general elections this year.

Out of five assembly seats where by-polls were held earlier this week, the RJD had fielded its candidates in all except Kishanganj a seat which was held by the Congress. This time Congress ended up a distant third and forfeited its deposit.

The RJD won two seats and lost one Nathnagar by a margin of votes that was less than the tally of the HAM candidate whom Manjhi had fielded as a token of protest against Tejashwi Yadav, the son of Lalu Prasad.

Delhi will come to halt if Bihar immigrants stop work: Nitish Kumar.

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Bihar Chief Minister and Janta Dal United President Nitish Kumar has said that the capital will come to a halt if immigrants from Bihar stop working.

He criticised Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s statement that people from Bihar come to the capital for free treatment. “Delhi belongs to all, it was an absurd statement,” he said addressing party workers at a meeting in Badarpur to kickstart preparations for assembly polls.

“If people from Bihar stop working then Delhi will come to a halt,” Nitish Kumar said.

He came down heavily on political opponents for not recognising the contribution of immigrants from Bihar to Delhi’s progress. He took on Kejriwal for his jibe that people from Bihar board a Rs 500 train for Rs 5 lakh treatment in the capital.

He said that the Aam Admi Party (AAP) Government has failed to provide basic infrastructure to residents of Delhi.

“A large population of Delhi still lives in unauthorised colonies, Government should run a campaign to provide relief,” he said. “There is no safe drinking water for people, Delhi Govt should ensure this, we are running a scheme in Bihar to provide water to every household tap,” he added.

Addressing party workers, mostly immigrants from Bihar and Eastern UP, the JDU chief said that liquor consumption is a menace and Delhi too needs prohibition to check it. He said that earlier there used to be jungle raj in Bihar but now law and order is under control. “We do a lot of work but don’t publicise much, in fact we spend least on publicity,” said Nitish Kumar.

JDU workers meet in Badarpur is being seen as an attempt by the party to woo immigrants from Bihar in the national capital.

The party intends to field candidates in all constituencies in the upcoming assembly polls slated to be held early next year.

The party has been trying to make woo voters from Bihar and its bordering districts of UP settled in the capital using Nitish Kumar’s popularity in the previous assembly and municipal polls without much impact so far.

Top NDA Leaders Campaign Together For Bihar By-Polls


PATNA: Top leaders of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar have hit the campaign trail together for the upcoming by-polls, also called the “semi-finals” ahead of the assembly elections due next year.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who heads the JD(U), Union minister and LJP founding president Ram Vilas Paswan and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi a BJP veteran on Thursday shared the stage at rallies in Duraunda and Kishanganj assembly segments and Samastipur Lok Sabha seat.

The itinerary seemed to highlight the coherence within the ruling coalition, with each constituent backing the others to the hilt.

This is in stark contrast to the five-party Grand Alliance which is riven by infighting and may end up posing a feeble challenge.

Duraunda is being contested by the JD(U) which has fielded Ajay Singh, husband of Kavita Singh whose election to the Lok Sabha from Siwan has necessitated the by-poll. Ajay Singhs mother Jagmata Devi had been the MLA from the seat until her death in 2011.

Kishanganj, a Muslim-dominated seat, is being fought by the BJP which has reposed its trust in the runner-up of 2015 assembly polls Sweety Singh who seeks to wrest the seat from the Congress which has fielded the septuagenarian mother of the previous winner Mohd Jawed, now representing the Lok Sabha seat of the same name.

Samastipur, a reserved seat, has fallen vacant upon the death of Ram Chandra Paswan, younger brother of the LJP chief who was serving his second term. The deceased leaders
son Prince is making his debut from the seat.

In addition to the three seats, by-polls are also scheduled in Belhar, Nathnagar and Simri Bakhtiyarpur all of which were won by the JD(U) in the assembly polls and have fallen vacant upon the incumbents getting elected to the Lok Sabha.

In Nathnaagar and Simri Bakhtiyarpur, Jitan Ram Manjhis Hindustani Awam Morcha and Mukesh Sahnis Vikassheel Insaan Party respectively have put up candidates despite candidates of the RJD which leads the opposition coalition being in the contest.

The Grand Alliance also includes the Congress and the RLSP which has not fielded its candidate in any of these constituencies.

Discord within the five-party formation was evident at the rallies with Manjhi and Sahni launching attacks on RJD heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav.

Yadav, on his part, remained conspicuous by his absence at a rally held in Samastipur where Congress candidate Ashok Kumar the runner-up of the last two elections, is once
again in the contest.

The RJD-Congress ties are nearly two decades old and Yadavs’ father Lalu Prasad has been known to be a trusted ally of AICC president Sonia Gandhi

Patna floods: High court lawyer files complaint against Nitish Kumar, Sushil Modi and others


A complaint was filed against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi over the recent floods in Patna that left the city paralysed for more than a week. Several state ministers and Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) officials have also been named in the complaint.

The complaint was filed in the court of Patna Chief Judicial Magistrate under several sections of the IPC including 302 (murder) and (120B) criminal conspiracy. The complainant, an advocate at High Court, has sought action against Kumar, Modi and others for inaction during the crisis.

Besides Kumar and Modi, those who have been named in the complaint include Cabinet minister Suresh Kumar Sharma, PMC Mayor Sita Sahu, Commissioner Amit Kumar Pandey, Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited Managing Director Amrendra Prasad Singh, Ex-UDD principal secretary Chaitanya Prasad and Ex-Patna Commissioner Anand Kishor.

The complainant said that several people lost their lives and government and private properties worth over Rs 100 crore were damaged due to the ‘man-made’ flood. He said that flooding in the capital was caused due to the non-maintenance of the drainage system and the failure of the government machinery.

Patna, the capital of Bihar, was flooded a few weeks ago after heavy rains lashed the city and neighbouring districts. The posh Rajendra Nagar, Kankarbagh localities were waterlogged for almost a week. The historic Gandhi Maidan, busy Dak Bungalow Chauraha were also inundated.

The complainant claimed that even after 18-20 days of flooding, some of the affected areas were water-logged.

As many as 73 people lost their lives in different districts of the state due to floods in September.

Amit Shah Ends Speculation Over Who Will Lead Bihar Poll Campaign


PATNA: Nitish Kumar will remain the Chief Minister of Bihar after the 2020 assembly election, which the BJP will fight under his leadership, the party’s national chief Amit Shah has said. “The Janata Dal (United) and the BJP will go to polls together and we will fight polls under the leadership of Nitish ji. This is absolutely clear,” the Union Home Minister said in an interview to News18 on Wednesday.

Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United and the BJP are in a coalition government in Bihar. Leaders from both sides have often aired passive aggressive views over who would lead the election battle formation in the eastern state. Amit Shah’s assertion is likely to put to rest any speculation over who will lead the alliance campaign.

Mr Shah admitted there were some differences over who would lead the campaign. But he added that in collation politics, differences are signs of a healthy relationship and there should be no “manbhed” (argument) on this.

Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister from the BJP, Sushil Kumar Modi, has already said that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will contest under Nitish Kumar’s leadership. But until now, there was no official word from the BJP’s leadership.

Mr Shah’s comment has come as a big relief for all those working behind the scenes to ensure the alliance remains intact, especially after relentless attacks on Nitish Kumar by Union Minister Giriraj Singh, who criticised the Chief Minister almost every day after heavy rain led to unprecedented flooding in state capital Patna earlier this month.

When no BJP leader or MLA showed up for a Dussehra event in Patna’s Gandhi Maidan attended by Nitish Kumar, it was read as a sign of a widening rift between the allies.

Bihar BJP chief Sanjay Jaisawal has said Giriraj Singh’s comments cannot be seen as the party’s official line. “He (Mr Singh) speaks in his personal capacity. Only a statement by the party’s spokesperson should be treated as official,” Mr Jaisawal said.

The Bihar assembly election is due next year.

Complaint Against Nitish Kumar, Sushil Modi Over Patna Floods



A complaint was filed against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, several ministers and Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) officials seeking action against them over the recent Patna floods.

The complaint was filed in the court of Patna Chief Judicial Magistrate under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including 302 (murder) and (120B) criminal conspiracy.

Bihar Cabinet minister Suresh Kumar Sharma, PMC Mayor Sita Sahu, Commissioner Amit Kumar Pandey, Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited Managing Director Amrendra Prasad Singh, Ex-UDD principal secretary Chaitanya Prasad and Ex-Patna Commissioner Anand Kishor were also named in the complaint.

The complaint urged the court to look into the matter, take cognizance against the accused in the given sections and suitably punish them.

The complaint, filed by an advocate, alleged that the lives of several people were lost and government and private property worth over Rs. 100 crore was affected due to the “man-made” floods, caused “due to the non-maintenance of the drainage system” and the failure of the government machinery.

It said that even after 18-20 days, some of the affected areas were water-logged.

Over 73 people died in the floods in several parts of the state.

After Prolonged Patna Water-logging, Bihar Govt Shifts Senior Officials from Currents Posts


Patna: The Bihar government has removed Principal Secretary of Urban Development department Chaitanya Prasad and Patna Divisional Commissioner Anand Kishor from their positions apparently in the wake of prolonged water-logging here triggered by incessant rain in September end.

Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (BUIDCO) Managing Director Amarendra Prasad Singh has also been shifted to another post, according to a General Administration Department notification issued Tuesday evening.

Axe has fallen on the senior officials after the government had cracked whip on several middle level officials of the Patna Municipal Corporation and BUIDCO, responsible for upholding civic facilities in the capital city.

They were punished for lapses in discharge of their duties in dealing with the accumulation of water in several localities after heavy downpours for three days starting September 27 in Patna.

Water-logging continued for over a week in promiment localities like Rajendranagar, Kankarbagh and Patliputra colony, when boats of NDRF and SDRF were seen rescuing citizens from their inundated houses, had drawn national outrage.

The visual of Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi being rescued from his flooded house in Rajendranagar with other family members was seen with awe across the country. The issue had also resulted in some hot exchange of words between the ruling NDA partners- JD(U) and the BJP.

Chaitanya Prasad has been shifted to Science and Technology department as its principal secretary. Prasad, a 1989 batch IAS officer, will continue to hold additional charge of the Parliamentary Affairs department, the notification said.

Patna divisional commissioner Anand Kishor has been made Secretary in the urban development department. He will also hold additional charge of Managing Director of the Patna Metro

Rail Corporation.

According to the notification, 2002 batch IAS officer Sanjay Agarwal, currently Transport Secretary, has been given additional charge of Patna divisional commissioner till further order.

He had earlier served as Patna District Magistrate. BUIDCO MD Amarendra Prasad Singh has been transferred and made Administrator, Bihar State Road Transport Corporation, Patna while Chandrashekhar Singh, presently working as Additional Secretary in the CM Secretariat, will replace him in BUIDCO.

Choked drainage system after heavy rain in September end had caused massive water logging in many areas of the state capital.

The government had on Monday placed officials under suspension, withheld payment of their salaries and issued show-cause notices for lapses in discharge of their duties when the state capital was reeling under worst-ever water logging in three decades.

Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar had said the action followed a review meeting of the top government officials. The new transfer order also saw change in position of some other IAS officers.

Dr Dipak Prasad, currently Advisor, Bihar State Planning Board, has been made principal secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat department.

Science and Technology department’s principal secretary Harjot Kaur Bamhara will be principal secretary-cum commissioner in the Mines and Geology department.

Pradeep Kumar Jha has been made Director, Information and Public Relations department till further order. Jha will continue to hold additional charge as Special Secretary of Public Health and Engineering Department (PHED), it added.