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Wednesday,10-August-2022

National News

Rahul’s statements end up hurting Congress more than the country: Nitin Gadkari

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Nitin-Gadkari

Nitin Gadkari, one of the senior-most ministers in the Central government, has attacked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his recent statement at an election rally in Dibrugarh, in which Gandhi alleged that the Nagpur army (a reference to Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh) was controlling the nation.

Describing Gandhi’s statements as amusing, Gadkari said: “By making amusing statements, not just does Rahul harm the nation, he also harms his own party even more. The prestige of both the Congress and Gandhi himself is damaged by Rahul’s statements,” Gadkari said.

Speaking to IANS in an exclusive interview on the campaign trail while travelling to Assam, Gadkari said: “Now even Congress leaders don’t take Rahul Gandhi’s statements seriously. With his amusing statements, he harms the nation and more than that, the Congress.”

According to Gadkari, infiltration by outsiders is not an election issue in Assam. “I don’t consider it as an election issue. Should we consider those who enter our country illegally as citizens? That would be really wrong. If our people enter Bangladesh through illegal means, will their government grant them citizenship? We must avoid playing vote bank politics on the issue of infiltration. The Congress plays politics even on issues of security and national interest.”

Gadkari, the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, is confident that the NDA, led by the BJP, will again form the government in Assam. “More work has happened in Assam in the last five years more than what happened in 50 years before that. The BJP’s governments at the Centre and the state have changed Assam beyond recognition in the last five years. Whether it is airports, waterways, railways or roads, projects worth 1.5 lakh crore have been completed by my ministry alone. Under the leadership of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, a lot of work has been accomplished. That’s why the people of Assam will vote for the BJP on the issues of welfare of villages, farmers and our anti-poverty measures.”

The first phase of polling in Assam includes those constituencies on which there were massive anti-CAA protests in 2020. Will this affect the BJP’s fortunes on these seats? Replying to this, Gadkari says: “A few individuals tried to mislead people on the issue of CAA for political gains. But the people of Assam understand what is in their interest. The anti-CAA protests have left no impact on the people.”

The mismanagement of tea gardens is a big poll issue in Assam and Bengal. About the welfare of tea workers, Gadkari says governments both at the Centre and the state have taken a number of initiatives. “Jan Dhan accounts were opened for tea garden workers. They received free medical treatment under the Ayushman Bharat scheme and accommodation under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. So, our government cared about the roti, kapada and makan (food, clothing and housing) needs of tea garden workers. Much more will be done in the future.”

Talking about Bengal, Gadkari says the state is still reeling from the impact of the rule of Left and Trinamool governments. “In such a situation, the people of Bengal are longing for change. Only the BJP can provide a strong alternative in Bengal. The forming of a BJP government in West Bengal is a 100% certainty this time.”

National News

Nitish to continue as CM, RJD to get Dy CM & Speaker’s post, say sources

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 Amid hectic political activities in Patna, sources said a broad consensus on the government formation has been built, which includes retaining Nitish Kumar as the chief minister, Tejaswi Yadav the Deputy Chief Minister and Speaker from the RJD.

The promise of five lakh jobs for the youths is also one of the key points of RJD’s reunion with JD(U) .

The RJD had mooted the idea of public welfare and its manifesto had promised 10 lakh jobs.

“The first decision will be the announcement of jobs,” said an insider, who claimed that there are no differences on the power sharing arrangements.

The Congress is likely to get a ministerial berth after a formula was evolved during the discussions while the Left parties may extend their support from the outside.

Earlier, in the day, the Congress and Left parties handed over the lists of their legislators to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav.

Mandan Mohan Jha, the state president of Congress said: “We will support Nitish Kumar if he leaves the BJP and forms a new government with the help of Mahagathbandhan. We have also given the list of all 19 MLAs of our party to RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav.”

Mahboob Alam, the MLA of CPI (ML) said: “We have also given the list to Tejashwi Yadav. We will uproot the BJP from power. We are giving support to Nitish Kumar for the formation of a new government.

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National News

Number game suits Nitish if he goes with Mahagathbandhan in Bihar

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With a change expected in Bihar, the new government likely to be formed with the help of Mahagathbandhan will suit Nitish Kumar more, both in terms of numbers as well as upholding his socialist ideology, which gels with the RJD, Congress and the Left parties.

As far as the numbers are concerned, the JD(U) has 45 MLAs and it also has the support of an independent candidate Sumit Singh. LJP MLA Raj Kumar Singh also merged with the JD(U). Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) has already decided to stay with Nitish Kumar. The HAM has 4 MLAs. And, the final count of MLAs with Nitish Kumar is 51.

On the Mahagathbandhan front, the RJD had 80 MLAs but as MLA Anant Singh lost his legislation after the MLA-MLC court of Patna convicted him for 10 years jail term in AK 47, hand grenade and bullet proof jacket case, RJD was reduced to 79. Still, it is the single largest party in Bihar Assembly.

Besides the RJD, Congress has 19 MLAs, CPI (ML) has 12 MLAs, CPI has 2 and CPI(M) also has 2 seats. Hence, Nitish Kumar will have the support of 165 MLAs.

The Bihar Assembly has 243 seats and requires 122 for any alliance or party to prove the majority and form the government. The ‘165’ number will make Nitish Kumar more comfortable to run the government. He would be aiming to give participation to every party in his cabinet to run the government smoothly.

On the other hand, when Nitish Kumar was running the government under the umbrella of NDA, he was having the support of 77 MLAs of BJP apart from 4 MLAs of HAM, 46 MLAs of his own party JD(U) and one independent MLA Sumit Singh.

Nitish Kumar could also feel comfortable with Mahagathbandhan due to his socialist image. Kumar is a leader who emerged from the JP movement and worked under Karpoori Thakur. When he went with the BJP, his socialist image was a bit dented. Now that he is set to join Mahagathbandhan, course correction will be one of the focus for the future, sources said.

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Majority Indians believe Nitish Kumar will break alliance with BJP, tie up with RJD again

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 Speculation is rife about the possible split in the ruling coalition in Bihar and political realignments in the state.

If we look at the political posturing by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in the past few weeks, fissures in the BJP – JD(U) alliance are quite evident.

The Bihar Chief Minister skipped the Niti Aayog meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 7 in a clear snub to the alliance partner.

Nitish Kumar did not participate in the meeting of all chief ministers called by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on July 27. He decided to stay away from the farewell banquet hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind on July 22 and the swearing-in of NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu as the President of the country on July 25.

At the same time, media reports about Nitish Kumar’s two-round meetings with RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav last week further fuelled the speculation of the two parties coming together once again and the change of government in Bihar. Notably, in 2015, JD(U) and RJD contested the Assembly elections together as part of Mahagathbandhan and formed the government under the leadership of Nitish Kumar.

In 2017, Nitish Kumar pulled out of the alliance on the plank of ‘no corruption’ and joined hands with the BJP to continue as Bihar Chief Minister.

CVoter-IndiaTracker conducted a nationwide opinion poll on behalf of IANS about the political churning going on in Bihar. During the survey, a majority of Indians opined that Nitish Kumar will break alliance with the BJP and again tie up with the RJD in Bihar.

According to the survey data, while 60 per cent believe that JD(U) will break away from the NDA and join hands with the RJD once again, 40 per cent respondents did not share the sentiment.

Interestingly, during the survey, while the majority of opposition voters – 64 per cent predicted a split in the ruling coalition in Bihar and JD(U) and RJD forging an alliance once again, the NDA voters were divided in their views with a bigger proportion replying on similar lines. As per the survey data, while 55 per cent NDA voters foresee the BJP-JD(U) alliance falling apart, 45 per cent disagreed.

During the survey, a majority of most of the social groups believe that the BJP-JD(U) alliance will fall apart in Bihar, and Nitish Kumar will once again form the government with the RJD. According to the survey data, 62 per cent Upper Caste Hindus (UCH), 62 per cent Other Backward Classes (OBC), 61 per cent Scheduled Castes (SC) and 65 per cent Muslims held this view.

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