Finally it’s out. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley got into poll mood when he released BJP’s manifesto called ‘Vision Bihar’. The party lays out its vision on how its plans to transform Bihar, if it comes to power.
As mentioned earlier in this column, BJP is focusing big time on women and youth, which includes boys and girls. The party recognizes that after decades of neglect, the youth of Bihar want a change in the quality of life for themselves and the state as a whole. With total lack of quality education and related infrastructure, young boys and girls from Bihar are forced to migrate to other states in pursuit of higher education. Keeping this in mind, BJP has decided to focus its Bihar transformational plan centered around education, as one of the three keys areas of focus, agriculture and infrastructure being the other two.
It plans to develop Bihar as an education hub for higher studies. Towards this, it plans to set up engineering and medical colleges at the divisional level across Bihar. To promote vocational training amongst the youth, ITIs will be set up at block level. Coaching hubs for higher studies in places like Patna, Muzzafarpur, Bhagalpur, and Gaya will be developed so that students don’t have to go to other states. This is of course backed by an Educational Loan Guarantee Scheme at 3% interest for students wishing to pursue higher studies.
Targeting the girl student is the 5000 ‘Scooty’ scheme for meritorious students. This is besides the 50,000 laptops on offer for class Xth and XIIth students.
For the landless, the party has promised five decimal land to build a house. Agriculture and Agri-processing units will be a thrust area to benefit farmers, besides a separate power feeder line for agricultural purposes is planned.
BJP has tried to position its Vision for Bihar that is different from what Nitish-Lalu-led alliance is offering and has tried to present a wider coverage with a more sustainable plan, without sounding too populist.
EC bans exit polls until the last phase of voting
With voting to take place in five phases starting on 12 October and with the last phase on 5 November, the Election Commission has banned exit polls or publication of any poll related information that could possibly influence voters. The Commission has also banned publication of any opinion polls 48 hours prior to voting in each phase. These are all part of preventive measures to ensure free and fair polling.
In a separate development, the police have seized US$ 1 million in cash along with two gold plates, several SIM cards, and ATM cards from two suspects who were intercepted. The seizure is indicative of an Indo-Nepal gang being used to ferry cash for polls.
Meanwhile, the EC office has issued summons to Lalu Prasad Yadav and has asked him to appear on or before 15:00 hrs on 6 October and explain his statement that apparently violated the Model Code of Conduct. An FIR was lodged against Lalu for his ‘fight between backward versus forward class’ statement during a poll rally at Raghopur.
Has Sushil Modi lost his chance to become CM?
BJP is in a tough spot in Bihar on who to pick for the Chief Minister’s post. Sushil Kumar Modi till now was the frontrunner given his credentials as a long standing party loyalist and someone who has the full support of the RSS, In addition he has the necessary administrative and political experience having served as the deputy chief minister and has remained largely non-controversial. Now, with Amit Shah on the defensive as a result of Mohan Bhagwat’s statement on reviewing reservations, BJP was forced to announce that the next Bihar CM will be from OBC or EBC category, thereby almost ruling out Sushil Modi’s chances to become the next CM.
BJP will now have a tough choice to make. Jitan Manjhi is a recent cross over to the alliance and has no real ideological sympathy with either BJP or RSS. Also, he has shown himself to be fairly irresponsible in making public statements as also in his handling various groups while he was the CM. Ram Vilas Paswan is a better choice but he too does not hold any real affinity to BJP and is more a person of opportunity than loyalty to any party or alliance. Same applies to Upendra Kushwaha. All three have an independent streak and may not ply as per BJP’s wishes, once they sit on the CM’s chair.
So now BJP has a real problem. It cannot backtrack on its OBC/EBC candidate promise, at the same time it may be forced to choose from the least acceptable choices. It may still find an acceptable ‘Yadav’ candidate to try and break RJD-JD(U) hold over the Yadav community but that would also mean that BJP is following the same caste formula as its rivals.
However, there is one outside option that could be a game changer for BJP. They could pick Shahnawaz Hussain for the post and make a Yadav the Deputy CM. This way they will be able to break RJD-JD(U) hold over the Yadav-Muslim vote bank that they championed all these years and also re-position itself as a truly all-inclusive party, for the first time. Can Team Amit Shah rise to the occasion?
Politician in focus: Chaudhary Mehboob Ali Kaiser, LJP (Born 13 May 1958)
Chaudhary Mehboob Ali Kaiser is the sitting MP from Khagaria in the 16th Lok Sabha. He was born in Kolkata in the house of Chaudhary Md. Salahuddin and Rahmat Banu. His grandfather was Nawab Nazirul Hasan of Simri Bakhtiarpur and his father, Chaudhary Salahuddin, was active in politics and has served as a former Cabinet Minister in the Bihar government. He completed his graduation in History from the prestigious Aligarh Muslim University and later turned his attention to agriculture and politics.
From 1995 to 2000, he served as a Member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly. From 2008 to 2010, he was the President of the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee. He became a first time MP when he won his seat to the 16th Lok Sabha.
Constituency in focus: Rajauli (SC)
Rajauli is one of the five sub-divisions of Nawada district and is located approximately 30 kms from main Nawada town. The Dhanarjay river flows along Rajauli. Blessed with good rainfall, the land is fertile and supports various crops. The beautiful terrain has the Phulwaria Dam located nearby and places like Haldiya Hill and Kakolat are worth visiting.
2010 Assembly Election Results
- Winner in 2010 Assembly Poll: Kanhaiya Kumar, BJP
- Margin of win: 14,090; 13.03 % of total valid votes
- Runner-up: Prakash Bir
- Male voters: 56,007; Female voters: 52,430; Total: 108,439
- Polling %: 46.01
- Male Candidates who contested: 10; Female Candidates: 2
- Polling stations: 262
Bihar Elections 2015
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Candidate List for Bihar Assembly Elections 2015
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Political Parties of Bihar
Who will be the next Bihar Chief Minister?
List of Chief Ministers (CM) of Bihar
Government and Politics of Bihar
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