BJP cadres have been enthused by the attendance and response received from the people of Bihar during the four Parivartan rallies held so far. Apparently, the Rs 1.25 lakh special package seems to have been welcomed by the people and now BJP wants to consolidate the advantage by holding 10 more Maha-Parivartan rallies across the state.
Since BJP lacks local leaders who can match charisma and oratory skills of leaders like Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar, the party has decided to continue to use Narendra Modi as their lead mascot during the rallies and remain the face of NDA’s campaign in Bihar. The local BJP unit is in resurgent mood and is confident of surpassing the simple majority mark on its own strength. Even the NDA allies in Bihar realise this and therefore have been subdued in raising their voices for more seats.
HAM leader Jitan Ram Manjhi’s son detained for cash stash
In a sensational development, Praveen Manjhi, younger son of Jitan Ram Manjhi and NDA ally, was detained for carrying cash. The incident occurred in Jehanabad district, an area affected by Maoist insurgency, when the car he was travelling in was stopped for a routine check. The search revealed Rs 4.5 lakh in unaccounted cash. The police are investigating the case.
This happened at a time when Jitan Manjhi was in Delhi negotiating with the BJP high command for more seats. He was reported to be unhappy over being offered just 15 seats and was pushing for five more seats. He is also reportedly upset with BJP offering his party the least number of seats as compared to higher number of allocations to other alliance partners, LJP and RSLP. The final list announcement is still awaited.
Shadow of muscle and money power a matter of concern
The Election Commission is concerned about the influence of muscle and money power that have traditionally played a significant role in poll outcomes. Taking no chances, the EC has recorded over 18,000 potential trouble makers and made them to sign a Bond for ‘Good Behaviour’ under Section 107 of CrPC. This is to ensure that they feel the police pressure and not participate in any illegal poll related activity.
The police have been asked to step up vigilance and arrest all criminals against whom non-bailable warrants are out. Furthermore, the EC office has also called for people to deposit 93,000 licensed weapons with the authorities until the end of the elections. The presence of this large number of weapons along with unaccounted illegal weapons, is posing to be a serious threat to conducting free and fair polls. The fear factor has been partially responsible for relatively low voter turnout. During the last Assembly elections in 2010, the voter turnout was 52%, while it was 56% during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The EC however is confident of a higher voter turnout this time and has assured that the Paramilitary forces are adequately prepared to handle all possible situations that might emerge and voters can come out and vote without fear.
Politician in focus: Sushil Kumar Modi (Born 5 January 1952)
Born in Patna, Bihar, to a business family, Sushil Kumar Modi was drawn to RSS and became active during the 1962 Indo-Sino War. He later became an active Pracharak and served in various parts of Bihar propagating RSS ideology.
He pursued B.Sc. (Hons) in Botany and later joined the M.Sc. programme in Botany from Patna University. During his time at Patna University, he became active in student politics and served as General Secretary of the Students Union at the time when Lalu Prasad Yadav was its President. He soon joined the Bihar Pradesh Chaatra Sangharsh Samiti which spearheaded the Bihar Student’s action in 1974, as part of the JP Movement. He was arrested five times and during Emergency was jailed for 19 months.
In 1990 he joined party politics and stood from Central Patna Assembly seat and won. He was re-elected in 1995 and 2000. He was the Leader of Opposition in Bihar State Assembly from 1996 to 2004 and was responsible for filing the PIL against Lalu Prasad Yadav for the fodder scam which ultimately led to his conviction.
Between November 2005 and June 2013, he has served as the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar as also its Finance Minister. He remains a serious contender from BJP for the CM’s post in the 2015 Assembly Polls in Bihar.
Constituency in focus: Madhuban
Madhuban is a town in the East Champaran district. It was earlier carved out of Darbhanga district in 1972 and is the central part of the earlier territory known as Mithila. Madhuban has a long history with people involved in agriculture and weaving. In fact, Madhuban became associated with Khadi and also the popular art form of ‘Madhubani Paintings’. Madhuban with an area of 3501 sq km and as per 2011 Census, has a population of 4,487,379.
Winner in 2010 Assembly Poll: Shivjee Rai, JD(U)
Margin of win: 10,122 votes; 9.86% of total valid votes
Runner-up: Rana Randhir, RJD
Male voters: 51,224; Female voters: 51,446; Total: 102,670
Polling %: 57.45
Male Candidates who contested: 10; Female Candidates: 0
Polling stations: 192
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