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Bihar Assembly Election 2010

Discussion in 'National Politics' started by Osiris, Sep 6, 2010.

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  1. Osiris

    Osiris Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    JD(U) reiterates 'perfect understanding' with ally BJP in Bihar

    The JD(U) today claimed that there was a 'perfect understanding' between the BJP and JD(U) in the run up to the assembly polls in Bihar.

    "We have a perfect understanding with the BJP and all speculation regarding rift between our two coalition partners have been a creation of media," state unit JD(U) president Vijay Chaudhary told reporters here.

    The alliance between the NDA allies was formed years back on a set of programmes and the people of Bihar had given their mandate to the ruling coalition on the basis of the two parties' shared agenda of development of the state, he said.

    Referring to the JD(U) leader Shivanand Tiwari's advice to the party leadership to sever ties with the BJP to avoid a potential negative fallout of the much awaited judicial verdict on the title suit of the disputed structure at Ayodhya, Chaudhary refused to be drawn in the controversy and hinted that Tiwari's statement could be personal one.

    On the JD(U)'s stand on the Ayodhya dispute, the state unit President said that his party was of the view that all parties to the dispute and the general public should respect the Allahabad high court's verdict slated to be delivered on September 24 next.

    It was the responsibility of all political parties, the parties to the Ayodhya dispute and the people to abide by the whatever verdict of the court on the sensitive issue, Chaudhary said.

    Meanwhile, the RJD leader Om Prakash and LJP's Md Sarfudding joined the ruling JD(U) with hundreds of their supporters.

    Welcoming the two leaders into the JD(U) fold, Chaudhary said that his party's electoral prospects will receive a boost in Prakash's native district Gopalganj and Sarfudding's district, Sheohar.

    JD(U) reiterates 'perfect understanding' with ally BJP in Bihar - India - DNA
     
  2. Osiris

    Osiris Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Rush for poll tickets in Bihar Cong

    Bihar hasn't exactly been a Congress pocket borough in the last decade or so. But going by the rush for Congress tickets to fight the upcoming assembly elections, one would think otherwise.

    The grand old party has received a staggering 9,000 applications for the 243 assembly seats in the state. It's obvious that Rahul Gandhi's go-it-alone policy has reenergised the party in Bihar.

    The rush at Sadaquat Ashram, the party headquarters in Patna, has been unseen for the last two decades. Earlier this week, Sewa Dal volunteers had a hard time controlling the crowd at a state election committee meeting and private security guards had to be brought in.

    Hundreds of ticket-aspirants - mostly Youth Congress members - assembled at the headquarters gates demanding adequate representation to the youth. In fact, the action is no more confined to Patna.

    On Friday, ticket- aspirants from Bihar literally made their presence felt at the All- India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters in New Delhi. They were everywhere - on the lawns, at the canteen, on the busy Akbar Road outside and some even at the Bihar Bhavan.

    At one point, AICC general secretary and incharge of Bihar affairs Mukul Wasnik and screening committee chairman B. K. Hariprasad had to shift base to the former's Aurangzeb Road house to carry on the shortlisting of candidates.

    Men, women, the youth and the old - it was a composite milieu. "I have been camping here for one week now," Sultana Parveen from Supaul said. "I have met Mahila Congress president Prabha Thakur and hope to secure a nomination." Not all were there to secure a candidature for themselves.

    Nurual Ansari from Kaimoor said he was at the party headquarters to canvass for Haji Siraz Ansari, a backward Muslim.

    Why was there such enthusiasm? "Rahulji's soch, Soniaji's soch (The principles of Rahul and Sonia Gandhi)...they attract people," Pradeep Kumar Tiwari, from Araria, said. "The Congress is contesting all seats alone. Bihar will now have a new crop of leaders," the ticket hopeful said.

    The fact that the party will contest all 243 seats has generated new energy among supporters. In alliance with Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), it could fight only a paltry number of seats.

    Ten years ago, the party had managed a meagre 242 votes in one of Bihar's assembly seats. In 50 constituencies it drew less than 500 votes.

    In undivided Bihar, it won 23 seats in alliance with RJD. After the formation of Jharkhand, the tally dipped to 10 in 2005. In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, it could manage only two seats.

    But a sizeable chunk of supporters think Rahul's initiative to rebuild the party has given it a much- needed boost. Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Prem Chandra Mishra cited the number of ticket seekers to support this.

    "Nine thousand applicants for 243 seats is a clear reflection of the party's growing popularity in the state," he said. "We are a viable alternative now," he added.

    "The electorate have seen 15 years of misrule by the RJD. Nitish has also failed to deliver in the past five years. Now the people in general and the youth in particular are looking up to Rahul Gandhi," Mishra said.

    This focus on the youth seems to be here to stay. Sources said the party would prefer young leaders while distributing tickets.

    Also, a particular aspirant's track record will be taken into consideration. Those who had lost polls thrice in the past on the party ticket are unlikely to be fielded again. "The Congress may not form the government this time, but it will certainly emerge stronger," a senior party leader said.

    Rush for poll tickets in Bihar Cong
     
  3. Osiris

    Osiris Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    In Bihar, 30,000 aspirants for assembly polls

    Patna, Sep 19 (IANS) Looks like over 30,000 people in Bihar want to fight an election! They are all aspirants who have submitted their biodata to political parties - mostly directly to party chiefs - to contest the October-November elections to the 243-member legislative assembly. The maximum number seems to be interested in the Congress ticket!

    Thousands of ticket aspirants have submitted their well-designed colourful biodata and are eagerly awaiting the final lists of candidates, party leaders told IANS, adding that they are seeing such a rush for the first time.

    'Till the last assembly polls in 2005, hardly a few hundred ticket aspirants were there. This time, a record was made when thousands of applications were submitted,' state Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Abdul Bari Siddiqui said.

    Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Ashok Kumar said: 'I submitted a biodata with other documents to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and requested him to consider my application for the party ticket. I am hopeful as it has everything for a potential candidate.'

    More than 4,000 aspirants submitted their particulars to the ruling JD-U and 6,000 to its alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

    But the opposition Congress tops the list with nearly 10,000 aspirants, followed by 8,000 for the RJD and more than 3,000 for its alliance partner Lok Janshakti Party (LJP).

    Other parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) also received particulars from ticket aspirants in small numbers.

    RJD leader Narender Yadav submitted his papers to party chief Lalu Prasad and is sure to impress him for the ticket.

    'My biodata has no match as I have been with the party since the mid-1990s and committed to Lalu Prasad's politics of social justice,' he said.

    Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and former chief minister Lalu Prasad, the main political rivals in Bihar, spent hours at their party headquarters here for four-five days this week to collect biodata from aspirants which they said would be the basis of selection of candidates.

    JD-U state president Vijay Kumar Chaudhary said his party was trying hard to shortlist potential candidates in view of the large number of aspirants. 'Party leaders are busy scrutinising biodata,' he said.

    The party is expected to release the first list of candidates by Sep 27 when nomination for the first phase of election will start.

    BJP leaders also admitted that due to the large number of aspirants, there is pressure on the party to scrutinise all biodata before finalising the candidates. 'It is no doubt a tough task this time,' BJP state president C.P. Thakur said.

    The JD-U would contest 140 assembly seats and its ally BJP 103. Currently, the JD-U has 81 sitting legislators and the BJP 54.

    A JD-U leader said the party would select hardly a dozen new candidates. The situation is similar in the BJP, a party leader said.

    Congress leader Prem Chand Mishra said a heavy rush of ticket aspirants was a result of the party's decision to contest elections on its own from all the seats.

    He said it indicated that the Congress is moving ahead in Bihar, thanks to general secretary Rahul Gandhi's keen interest to revive the party in the state.

    The RJD state president said, 'It is not only a positive sign but indicates that the RJD popularity is still intact.' The RJD would contest 168 seats and the LJP 75.

    JD-U, BJP, Congress, RJD and LJP leaders said there are a large number of young ticket aspirants.

    'Youths gathered inside and outside the party offices for submitting biodata,' a shopkeeper outside the JD-U office said.

    Other parties' offices on the busy Birchand Patel Marg here also witnessed similar scenes.

    In Bihar, 30,000 aspirants for assembly polls
     
  4. Osiris

    Osiris Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Left for maiden joint fight in Bihar polls

    PATNA: The three major Left parties CPI, CPM and CPI(ML) have decided to contest 200 of the 243 assembly seats together in the state.

    At a joint news conference, CPI state secretary Badrinarayan Lal said for the first time the three parties had decided to fight the assembly elections jointly. He said seat-sharing agreement had been reached on 130 seats, while talks were on for another 30. Rest of the 40 seats would be left for smaller Left parties and other like-minded people, he added.

    CPI(ML) state secretary Nandkishore Prasad said out of 130 seats that had been finalised, CPI(ML) would contest 78, CPI 32 and CPM 20. He said names of the three major Left candidates would be released by September 27 or 28.

    CPM state secretary Vijaykant Thakur said, "We have decided to fight the election together so that a unified attack on feudal forces could be launched."



    Left for maiden joint fight in Bihar polls - The Times of India Left for maiden joint fight in Bihar polls - The Times of India
     
  5. Osiris

    Osiris Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    EC to use satphones during polls

    PATNA: Amidst apprehensions of violence as a result of poll boycott call given by Maoists, Bihar is gearing up for the six-phase assembly election commencing from October 21. Candidates with criminal background may also create disturbances during polls in some areas.

    According to official sources, of the 243 assembly constituencies, 47 of them are in the 33 Maoist-hit districts, where the EC has decided to deploy central paramilitary force (CPMF) personnel and hold polling between 7 am and 3 pm.

    Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) S Y Qureshi during his recent visit to Bihar had said that the CPMF and armed police force from other states would be deployed at each polling booths in the Maoist-hit districts.

    "We have made adequate security arrangements in the Maoist-hit areas. The communication network has been strengthened with the availability of booth-wise landlines, mobiles, wireless phones and satellite phones," Qureshi told reporters here recently.

    "In case of any emergency, we have kept local runners at each booth to transmit immediate message to the nearest flying squad team," Qureshi told the media.

    "To protect the voters belonging to the weaker sections of society, a booth-wise vulnerable mapping has been done to keep a regular watch on local goons, criminals, rumour mongers and professional booth grabbers," he said. The district election officers concerned have been asked to monitor the action of theses elements in villages.

    It's a fact that poll violence has, however, shown a declining trend in Bihar in recent years. In 1999, 76 persons had died during the Lok Sabha polls and 61 in the 2000 assembly polls.

    EC's former special observer K J Rao had a major impact on Bihar polls during the 2004 general election in Bihar. Nineteen people had died during the 2004 Lok Sabha polls and 27 in the 2005 assembly polls.

    Not a single civilian was killed in poll violence in the Lok Sabha polls in 2009.

    The EC has made elaborate arrangements to guard polling stations. Adequate forces will be deployed to secure strongrooms at the counting centres and at places where EVMs would be stored.


    Read more: EC to use satphones during polls - The Times of India EC to use satphones during polls - The Times of India
     
  6. Osiris

    Osiris Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Live webcast of select booths in Bihar polls

    Patna, Sep 25 (IANS) It is now official. The Election Commission (EC) has decided to webcast the coming Bihar assembly elections - on an experiment basis - to ensure free and fair polls.

    'The EC has decided for live webcast of the Bihar assembly elections, first time in any polls in India,' additional chief electoral officer Kumar Anshumali said here Saturday.

    The EC plans to webcast live polling at 20 percent of the 56,943 booths in the 243 assembly constituencies in Bihar.

    'The EC has already approached BSNL in this connection to provide broadband connectivity for it,' Anshumali said.

    He made it clear that the webcast will be for poll surveillance purpose and not for public viewing. The EC has requested the BSNL officials to inform it about the booths where it can provide the webcast facility.

    Official sources here said the live webcast will be possible in urban and semi-urban booths because internet connectivity in rural booths will be a problem.

    The six-phase assembly polls in the state will take place from Oct 21 to Nov 20. The counting of votes will be on Nov 24.

    Live webcast of select booths in Bihar polls
     
  7. Osiris

    Osiris Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Notification for first phase issued

    Patna, Sep 27 (PTI) Notification was today issued for holding elections to 47 of the 243 assembly constituencies in Bihar going to the first of the six phase elections from October 21."The notification has been issued by the Election Commission for holding the first-phase on October 21," Additional Chief Electoral Officer Anshumali told PTI.The notification was issued by the order of Governor Devanand Konwar, he said. October 4 would be the last date for filing nominations and scrutiny would be held on October 5. The last date of withdrawal was October 7, Anshumali said.Polling would be held would be held for Simri Bakhtiarpur and Mahishi between 7:00 am and 3:00 pm and for others between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm.

    Notification for first-phase of poll in Bihar issued, IBN Live News
     
  8. Osiris

    Osiris Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Dissidence in state BSP gaining ground

    PATNA: All efforts of BSP supremo and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati to gain ground in neighbouring Bihar seems to have gone haywire, if dissidents within the party are taken into account.

    After the expulsion of three of its sitting MLAs on September 7 by Mayawati, party state general secretary Pramod Kumar Nirala on Monday charged BSP national general secretary and state in-charge Gandhi Azad with committing irregularity in the distribution of tickets for the forthcoming state assembly elections.

    "The party has opened a shop where prospective candidates irrespective of castes come in with a price for the ticket," Nirala alleged. The loyal party workers have been sidelined in ticket ditribution, he said adding that the party is playing double standard in the name of uplifting deprived section of the society as it has no concern with the backwards and dalits.

    More than 90 per cent of tickets have been given to such persons who have no connection with the party's ideology, Nirala alleged.

    He said even such persons were ignored who come from that very section of the society to which Mayawati and Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar belong, on whose principles the party was founded.

    Responding to a query about mentioning the castes of party candidates in the second list of 125 nominees released on September 25, Nirala condemned it and said it was a big mistake made by party. He said the act, which tried to encourage casteism, was done primarily to attract the voters to come in power by exploiting the caste sentiments of the people.

    The Election Commission has also taken exception to this act which was considered a viollation of the model code of conduct.

    Nirala said he had kept all options open as of now which include joining other like-minded parties.


    Read more: Dissidence in state BSP gaining ground - The Times of India Dissidence in state BSP gaining ground - The Times of India
     
  9. Osiris

    Osiris Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Notification issued for 2nd phase poll in Bihar

    The Election Commission on Wednesday issued notification for holding elections to 45 Assembly constituencies in Bihar going to poll in the second phase on October 24.

    Bihar Assembly elections will be held in six phases.

    In the first phase due Oct 21, polls will be held in 47 of 243 assembly constituencies.

    “We have issued notification for holding elections to the 45 constituencies in the second phase in Bihar by order of Governor Devanand Konwar,â€￾ Additional Chief Electoral Officer Anshumali said.

    The notification paves the way for filing of nomination papers by candidates in the 45 constituencies from today and October six will be the last date for filing nomination, he said.

    The last date for withdrawal of candidature will be October 9, 2010 and scrutiny of the papers will take place on October seven, Anshumali said.

    Of the 45 constituencies, polling will be held in Naxal-infested constituencies of Minapur, Paroo and Sahebganj in Muzaffarpur district between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., while voting will be taken up for the rest of the constituencies in the second phase between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., he said.

    The Hindu : States / Other States : Notification issued for 2nd phase poll in Bihar
     
  10. Osiris

    Osiris Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    BJP to field candidates in 102 seats in Bihar assembly polls

    New Delhi: The BJP on Wednesday said it would field candidates in 102 constituencies in upcoming Bihar assembly polls- the same number as in the last elections- and declared the names of 87 contestants, including eight women while leaving the rest of the seats to ally JD(U).

    The announcement by party general secretary in-charge of Bihar Ananth Kumar that BJP will contest the same number of seats as in 2005 has belied reports that JD-U wanted three more seats than its share of 141 in the 243-member state assembly.

    Four sitting MLAs did not get ticket this time but Kumar said this was done due to change in demographic profile of their constituencies after delimitation.

    Minister of Environment and Forest Ramji Das Rishidev is the only minister in the Nitish Kumar government to be dropped from the list of candidates. In his place, Parmanand Rishidev has been given ticket from Raniganj seat in Araria district.

    Rishidev had won the elections from this constituency in February 2005 but was dropped in the November by-elections from there.

    Laxmi Narayan Mehta, who was MLA from Forbesganj has been replaced by famous litterateur Phaneshwar Nath Renu's son Padmaparag Renu, Sri Kishan Singh (Begusarai) has been replaced by Surendra Mehta and Sanjeev Jha (Saharasa) by Alok Jha.

    46 sitting MLAs figure in the list of candidates announced today.

    "We have finalised the names of 87 candidates after reaching a consensus among all senior party leaders and after consulting our units at the Mandal, district and the Core Group at the state level," Kumar said.

    Besides the eight women, 16 Scheduled Caste candidates, one Scheduled Tribe and one minority candidate have been given ticket by the BJP for the for the six-phase Assembly elections beginning on October 21.

    "BJP President Nitin Gadkari has been authorised by the Central Election Commission to finalise candidates for the remaining 15 constituencies. The names will be announced in 2-3 days," Kumar said.

    Sources said the decision on some seats was defered as there are too many strong contenders for them.

    Prominent candidates in the list include Sukhda Pande (Buxar) who is the national vice-president of BJP, former Bihar minister Ashwini Chaubey (Bhagalpur), former state unit president Nand Kishore Yadav (Patna Sahib), Renu Devi (Bettiah) and Bhagirathi Devi (Ramnagar-SC)- both sitting women MLAs- and Padmaprayag Renu (Forbesganj).

    Party sources said some more sitting MLAs may be dropped in the remaining 15 constituencies where candidates are yet to be announced.

    BJP candidates had won from 55 constituencies in the 2005 assembly elections and at present their strength is 54.

    Two candidates for by-elections in Uttar Pradesh were also announced by the party.

    Vinod Mishra (Lakhimpur Nagar) and Rajesh Yadav (Nidholikalan) will be BJP candidates for the assembly by-elections in UP.

    BJP to field candidates in 102 seats in Bihar assembly polls
     
  11. Osiris

    Osiris Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Congress names 77 candidates in Bihar

    NEW DELHI: With a slogan that promises to bring back Bihar its past glory, the Congress announced the names of 77 candidates for the coming Assembly elections on Tuesday night, after much dithering. But the crowds at the Congress headquarters here showed no signs of thinning, though the door-handles of senior leaders showed signs of strain and damage.

    With the party rumoured to be spending `75 lakh a candidate plus `5 lakh for advertisement -- much beyond the Election Commission’s ceiling on poll expenditure, the rush is understandable.

    In the first list, the Congress seemed to favour those who have stayed put in Patna or in other parts of Bihar pushing the party’s case and not doors of senior leaders. The lucky ones in the first list are mostly youth, especially from the minority community, and women candidates. Prominent among them is Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mehboob Ali Kaiser.

    Describing the list as a balanced one, former Union Minister Shakeel Ahmed said, “The youth have got a good representation along with women.â€￾

    Congress Legislative Party leader Ashok Ram too figures in a list of 77 candidates. The names of candidates of the next six-phases of the elections beginning on October 21, will be released gradually. While Kaiser, who was appointed the PCC chief a few months ago, will be contesting from Simri Bakhtiarpur segment, Ram will fight the elections from Kusheshwar Asthan seat. The Congress is putting up candidates for all the 243 seats.

    Leader of the party in the Legislative Council Mahachandra Prasad Singh will also be a candidate from Sahebganj. Another prominent name in the list is Asif Gafur, grandson of former Chief Minister Abdul Gaful from Barauli.

    Congress names 77 candidates in Bihar | | | Indian Express
     
  12. Osiris

    Osiris Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Bihar Congress gives 30% seats to Muslims

    NEW DELHI: released its second list of 45 candidates for the forthcoming , with special emphasis on Muslim candidates, taking the total number to 35 out of 112 candidates.

    Congress first list had 22 out of 77 Muslim candidates. In the second list, there are 13 Muslim candidates, which translates to roughly 30% candidates being Muslims. The party’s attempt seems to wean away Muslims, who form a strong vote-base of RJD’s Lalu Prasad. The plan might not have an immediate effect in the forthcoming assembly election, but it would give the Muslim electorate in Bihar another option in Congress.

    A senior Congress leader said: “This is a conscious decision. We are not expecting immediate gains in 2010, but it would provide a base for future elections, making us indispensable or a kingmaker party in Bihar.†The party had sent the first signal to the Muslim electorate when it had made Mehboob Ali Kaiser as the state unit chief, replacing Anil Sharma.

    The party has rewarded several ‘turncoats’ like Ranjit Ranjan, who has been fielded from Bihariganj, and former MLA Rajesh Kumar Roshan from Madhuban. Mr Roshan is considered close to former Union Minister Akhilesh Singh, who had recently joined Congress from RJD.

    The second list has also replaced Janmotri Mamta, a protege of Lalu’s brother-in-law Sadhu Yadav, with Rameshwar Prasad in Nautan. According to party sources, there was much disaffection in the party against Ms Mamta as she did not even belong to the district. There could be more such replacements soon as Congress is looking at Sadhu Yadav as a liability. Many in Congress feel that keeping him on board would spoil the party’s chances with ‘forward’ castes. Mr Yadav has already quit from the party post after being cold-shouldered in the first list.

    Both the lists have left many aspirants resentful. There are allegations that those with criminal background and without any political standing in the constituency have been given tickets. The party high command has received complaints against its declared candidates from Narkatia, Kalyanpur and Pipra alleging they are accused in murder cases.

    Bihar Congress gives 30% seats to Muslims - The Economic Times
     
  13. Osiris

    Osiris Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    CPI to contest 55 seats in Bihar

    The Communist Party of India (CPI) will contest 55 seats, while the Communist Party of India (Marxist) will put up candidates in 30 constituencies in the Bihar Assembly elections.

    The CPI's national executive committee, which met here on Monday, endorsed the seat adjustment among the CPI, the CPI(M) and the CPI(ML). “After a long time, the Left parties have come together to fight a large number of seats… It is a positive development to change the political course in Bihar,â€￾ the party said in a statement after the meeting.

    The CPI appealed to the people of Bihar to defeat the Janata Dal (United)-Bharatiya Janata Party combine and reject the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Lok Jan Shakti Party and the Congress, and instead elect the candidates of the Left parties.

    The two-day meeting of the CPI (M) Polit Bureau, which concluded here on Tuesday, approved a list of 30 seats and candidates.

    Pointing out that land reforms in Bihar were a crying need, the CPI said it was unfortunate that all other parties, except the Left, “ganged upâ€￾ to stall them. “The parties are trying to widen caste-based politics for electoral gains. What Bihar needs is a secular democratic government.â€￾

    New Act needed

    The CPI (M) Polit Bureau said forcible land acquisition for various projects in different States and the inadequate compensation offered to farmers — instances of which had come to the fore lately — highlighted the need for a new Land Acquisition Act, along with legislation for resettlement and rehabilitation.

    It demanded that the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 be scrapped and the government introduce legislation in the coming session of Parliament for land acquisition and resettlement and rehabilitation of those affected.

    The Hindu : News : CPI to contest 55 seats in Bihar
     
  14. Osiris

    Osiris Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    No one wants Bihar's 'Osama' this time

    Patna, Oct 14 (IANS) Meraj Khalid Noor, a young businessman who campaigned in the 2005 assembly polls and was dubbed Bihar's Osama bin Laden due to his uncanny resemblance to the Al Qaeda chief, finds himself unwanted by political parties this time.

    'I am not in demand any more this time. I am busy with my business and personal work,' Noor told IANS.

    Noor, who is tall, well-built, has a long black beard and sports a white robe and turban just like bin Laden, had campaigned for the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in Bihar in the past to woo Muslim voters. He was expecting to be roped in by these parties again this year.

    But no one has approached him so far even as the Bihar elections are set to begin Oct 21. The first phase of polling covers 47 of the state's 243 assembly constituencies in the Seemanchal and Kosi region where the Muslim factor may tilt the outcome.

    Noor, who runs a men's salon and a school in Patna, admitted that Bihar has changed in the last five years.

    'In place of caste, community or religion card, development has become the main issue in the polls. I am not relevant in politics for development,' he said.

    Noor recalled that he was much in demand during the 2005 assembly elections. 'I was much sought after then, but that's not the case in the coming elections,' said the businessman.

    He however admitted it was only his resemblance to the world's most wanted man that parties last time wanted to capitalise on as he was 'neither a good speaker nor a leader with any support base'.

    'Nobody remembers my real name. Even now everyone calls me bin Laden,' he added.

    Noor's close friend Salam Iraqui said the businessman took the plunge into politics in late 2004 when he sought nomination by the LJP to contest the assembly polls but was turned down.

    But LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan decided to use Noor for campaigning, introducing him as 'Osama bin Laden' at his various poll rallies then.

    This 'Osama' switched over to the RJD in September 2005 and campaigned for it in the November 2005 assembly elections.

    'I shared the dais with Paswan and (RJD chief) Lalu Prasad at several meetings during the assembly elections and was honoured by both of them,' said Noor, a commerce graduate from Patna University and a post-graduate in rural management from Delhi University.

    For all his looks, Noor is no hardliner. He is the grandson of Kazi Muzahidul Islam, a former president of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, while his father Noor Ahmad was a close associate of veteran socialist leader George Fernandes.

    Interestingly, Lalu Prasad and Paswan have been using some bearded Muslims in public meetings during the campaign but they are not like Noor.

    Bihar's ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) has been using another long-bearded man - Maulana Ghulam Rasool Baliavi - in its poll campaign to attract Muslim voters.

    Baliavi, who was earlier with the LJP but later joined the JD-U, was seen accompanying Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as well as JD-U national president Sharad Yadav during campaigning.

    'Baliavi has a permanent seat along with Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav in their helicopters for election campaigning these days,' a senior JD-U leader said.

    After the caste factor in Bihar, the Muslim factor is also significant.

    About 16.5 percent of Bihar's 83 million population is Muslim. The community has sizeable populations in dozens of assembly constituencies in Kishanganj, Purnea, Araria, Katihar, Madhubani, Sitamarhi, Bhagalpur, Darbhanga, Siwan and Katihar.

    Bihar goes to the polls in six phases during Oct 21-Nov 20.

    No one wants Bihar's 'Osama' this time
     
  15. Osiris

    Osiris Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Central funds are not Congress property: Jaitley to PM

    Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley on Sunday slammed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his remark that central funds had not been properly utilised by the Bihar government, saying "central funds are not Congress property". Jaitley, who is Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, also


    said "the prime minister should not have made that remark on Bihar as a Congressman but as an economist".

    "The remark that was made yesterday - the money that the central government collects is the tax-payer's money. People from Bihar also pay tax. Central funds are not the property of the Congress party," Jaitley said.

    On Saturday, the prime minister had told an election rally in Narpatganj assembly constituency in Bihar's Araria district that funds provided by the central government were not utilised properly.

    "The Bihar government has failed to spend funds properly which resulted in lack of progress and development," he said.

    The prime minister also said that Bihar's Janata Dal-United-Bharatiya Janata Party government was "misguiding" people by naming centrally-funded schemes as its own.

    Central funds are not Congress property: Jaitley to PM - Hindustan Times
     
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