Bihar Elections: Sonia Gandhi launches her Bihar Campaign

Sonia Gandhi to begin election campaign in Bihar

Sonia Gandhi to begin election campaign in Bihar

Sonia Gandhi launched her Bihar campaign yesterday with a rally at Kahalgaon in Bhagalpur district.

Addressing the rally, Sonia Gandhi launched a direct attack on Narendra Modi highlighting the fact that the PM was spending more time overseas than addressing pressing issues here in India. She spoke of the economic hardship that people were having to face since food prices had gone up and the government had done little to stop it. Then, there was the problem of unemployment that had risen under the Modi government and more youth were unemployed today.

She spoke of how Narendra Modi had become an expert on packaging and re-packaging schemes that were initiated by the previous UPA government and asked the people not be misled by his promises. Sonia Gandhi recalled the development efforts of the UPA government under Manmohan Singh and spoke of UPA’s, and now, the Grand Alliance’s secular credentials. She warned people of BJP’s possible effort at rolling back reservation on advice from RSS, but assured people that her party would not allow BJP to go back on the reservation issue. She asked people to repose faith in Nitish Kumar who had led the transformation of Bihar, saying that the future of India and that of Bihar was at stake.

Her second speech at Wazirganj was on similar lines. Here she again attacked Narendra Modi for stooping low and making personal attacks on her family on foreign soil. Taking on his government’s policies, she asked people how many had received Rs 5,000 into their Jan Dhan Yojana accounts? She questioned what Modi had really done for the poor.

Her speech in Kahalgaon and Wazirganj yesterday set the tone of her campaign ahead. She and the Grand Alliance have decided to take on Modi directly and in coming days, all their public speeches are likely to be centered around him. At both rallies yesterday, Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav were absent and were busy campaigning in other parts of Bihar.

Whose ‘JP’ is it anyways?

There is a major fight brewing on who is the rightful inheritor to Jayaprakash Narayan’s legacy, the man who led the nationwide campaign in 1974 that ultimately brought down the mighty Indira Gandhi and her government.

Fondly referred as Lok Nayak, JP was from Bihar and this is where he came back from retirement to initiate the ‘Indira Hatao, Desh Bachao’ campaign that was to become a national movement against her removal.

11 October is JP’s birth anniversary and BJP is planning to celebrate the day nationally as ‘Loktantra Bachao Diwas’ with celebrations in all state capitals and major districts. The celebrations become significant on two accounts; one, it happens just one day before the first phase of polls in Bihar, and second, BJP will try and claim to be the rightful inheritors of JP’s legacy.

The JP movement had several key leaders at its core. There was Jivatram Kripalani, Morarji Desai, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, LK Advani, Raj Narain, amongst several others. Several senior leaders of the current JD(U) and RJD were active members of the movement as well.

So with BJP taking the lead in celebrating JP’s birth anniversary as  ‘Loktantra Bachao Diwas’, it is also staking claim to his legacy. BJP’s line is that it has remained loyal to JP’s ideology and has consistently opposed the Congress, whereas JD(U)-RJD combine has betrayed JP’s legacy by joining hands with the Congress in a Grand Alliance. Celebrating the day in a big way, especially in Bihar, will be significant as all campaigning will cease one day before polls but the celebrations itself will garner a lot of publicity and media attention for the BJP. Let’s wait and see how this battle for ‘Lok Nayak’ pans out.

Clean politics is nobody’s business

Here is news that is not surprising but is depressing. As per latest report released by Association Democratic Reforms – a non-profit organization, the first phase of polls in Bihar has a total of 583 candidates contesting, of which 174 (30%) have criminal cases against them.

Of these 174, 130 (22%) candidates have serious criminal charges. 16 candidates have ‘murder’ charges, while 37 have ‘attempt to murder’ charges pending. 11 candidates have charges of crimes against women, 5 have cases of Dacoity & Robbery, 2 have cases for causing communal disharmony, and 9 have cases of kidnapping. These are going to be our ‘Honorable Ministers’ tomorrow, if they get voted in.

But guess what, the biggest surprise is the party that has made the loudest claims to clean government. BJP has given maximum seats to candidates with a criminal past. 14 (52%) of its 27 candidates have a criminal record. This is the highest along with CPI, amongst all parties contesting in the first phase of polls in Bihar.

CPI is putting up 14 (56%) out of 25 candidates, BSP – 8 (20% ) out of 41 candidates, JD(U) – 11 (46%) out of 24 candidates, SP – 9 (50%) out of 18 candidates, RJD – 8 (47%) out of 17 candidates, INC – 6 (75%) out of 8 candidates, LJP – 8 (62%) out of 13 candidates,  CPI(M) – 8 (67% ) out of 12 candidates, and Independent – 45 (23%) out of 192 candidates.

Is this what Bihar, and the country deserve? Can any party lay claim to offering ‘clean government’ after this?

Politician in focus: Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav, RJD   (Born 02 August 1954)

JPN Yadav is the sitting MP from Banka, Bihar in the 16th Lok Sabha. He has earlier served as MP from Munger in the 14th Lok Sabha. He was born in Barhat village of Jamui district in the house of Akhileshwar Prasad Yadav and Shanti Devi. He went on to study M.A. and followed it up with a degree in Law from Patna University. His social and cultural interests have been in preserving local languages and culture.

He became a Member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly for the 1st time in 1980 and has since served a total of four terms. He has served as Minister of Water Resources-Bihar (1990-95), Minister of Primary, Secondary and Adult Education-Bihar (1995-2000), Minister of Micro Irrigation-Bihar (2000). He has also served as Union Minister of State of Water Resources in 2004.

Constituency in focus: Khajauli

Khajauli Vidhan Sabha constituency is part of Madhubani district and falls under the Jhanjharpur Lok Sabha constituency. Khajauli was earlier reserved for Scheduled Caste but is now an open seat. There are two development blocks – Basopatti and Jaynagar and villages falling under Khajauli include Datwar, Mahua Ekdara, Nararh East, Sarabe, Rasidpur, and Betakakarghati. Located around 28 kms from Jhanjharpur, Khajauli is mainly an agrarian town.

2010 Assembly Election Results

  • Winner in 2010 Assembly Poll: Arun Shankar Prasad, BJP
  • Margin of win: 10,713; 8.63% of total valid votes
  • Runner-up: Sitaram Yadav, RJD
  • Male voters: 62,077; Female voters: 62,066; Total: 124,145
  • Polling %: 53.09
  • Male Candidates who contested: 16; Female Candidates: 0
  • Polling stations: 231


Related Information:
Bihar Elections 2015
Bihar Election Updates
Bihar Election Dates
Candidate List for Bihar Assembly Elections 2015
List of Assembly Constituencies of Bihar
Bihar Election Results
Political Parties of Bihar
Who will be the next Bihar Chief Minister?
List of Chief Ministers (CM) of Bihar
Government and Politics of Bihar
List of Governors of Bihar
Bihar Map