RJD worker close to Shahabuddin shot dead in Siwan

Minhaj Khan, a youth leader of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in north Bihar’s Siwan district was shot dead early on Saturday, July 29 morning by unidentified gunmen. This development comes three days after a JD(U)-BJP government has come to power in the state.

According to Hindustan Times, Khan – a close aide of controversial and currently imprisoned former MP Mohammad Shahabuddin – was asleep when the gunmen shot and killed him around 3 am in the morning. He was a district general secretary of the RJD Yuva Morcha. notorious local gangster and criminal Raju Khan is being blamed by Khan’s family members for plotting and carrying out his murder.

Post the murder, the village came under a blanket of tension, with many villages gathering outside the victims house. Police teams were also deployed to keep the situation from going out of hand. Times of India reported that the police teams that were camping in the area also found country-made carbine and five live bombs in Khan’s house. A probe has begun, led by Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Sanjeet Kumar Prabhat along with Basantpur police. The station house officer stated that it looked like a case of personal enmity.

News Source: Times Of India, Hindustan Times

Image Source: NDTV

Gopalkrishna Gandhi opposition’s choice for Vice-President

Former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi has been chosen as the Opposition’s candidate for Vice-President. The decision to pick the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi was taken after 18 Opposition parties met on Tuesday.

According to Indian Express, only Gandhi’s name was discussed during the meeting at Parliament House.

After the meeting, Congress President Sonia Gandhi told reporters that Gandhi’s name for the nomination had been raised unanimously by all parties present in the meeting.

“Eighteen parties have decided to field Gopalkrishna Gandhi as their vice presidential candidate. We have spoken to Gopalkrishna Gandhi. He has agreed to be the opposition’s candidate for vice president”, Indian Express quoted the Congress President as saying.

Nitish Kumar caused a bit of worry in the opposition camp by not attending the meeting, although he sent Sharad Yadav, JDU’s other top leader to compensate for his absence. There has already been some tension in the Opposition camp over Nitish Kumar’s support for BJP Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. But Nitish Kumar’s earlier approval of Gandhi, though, is a major positive.

The meeting was attended by Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, TMC’s Derek O’ Brien, CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury, NC’s Omar Abdullah, SP’s Naresh Agarwal and BSP’s Satish Chandra Mishra. If required, polling for the vice president’s post will be held on August 5 and counting will also take place in the same evening.

The NDA government is yet to announce their candidate for the vice president.

Sources: Indian Express, NDTV 

Tejashwi Yadav won’t resign, ‘RJD’

The politics of Bihar has taken another turn with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) announcing today that party leader and deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav won’t be resigning over the CBI raids in the land-for-hotels case.

This announcement comes a day before the Janata Dal (United) legislators meeting called by Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, to decide upon party’s stand on the raids. The RJD made it clear that there was no question of Tejashwi resigning from the office.

The CBI last Friday conducted raids against RJD party chief Lalu Yadav, his wife and former Chief Minister Rabri Devi and son Tejashwi Yadav.

So far, Nitish Kumar has not made any comments on the raids and the statement by the RJD leaders has clearly sent the JD(U) leaders into a frenzy who were seen rushing to Kumar’s official residence post the announcement.

As far as the future of the alliance and Bihar’s politics is concerned, both the party leaders have assured the continuation of the alliance and accused the BJP government at the Centre of trying to harm the alliance by such moves.

Sharad Yadav, senior JD(U) leader and party’s Rajya Sabha member also added that efforts were on to “destabilise the grand alliance government in Bihar by the BJP-led Central government”.

Sources: Times of India, Deccan Herald

 

Nitish Kumar deflates opposition by supporting Kovind

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar support to BJP candidate Ram Nath Kovind for the Presidential elections has jolted the united opposition.  Kumar stated that it is not the issue of the “mahagatbandhan” (grand-alliance) but an independent issue of each of the political parties. He met Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury and conveyed them the message that it is a matter of pride that a governor of Bihar is being given the candidature for President.

The oppositional parties have fielded former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar as their candidate. Kumar enjoys a popular wave of support among the backward women in the state; hence this will dent his image. Nitish Kumar has earlier asked the opposition to part away with all their differences in order to form a united opposition against Narendra Modi. Though Nitish Kumar always states that his alliance with Lalu Prasad’s RJD is strong, he has been continuously playing cards which are against the interest of his allies.

As far as the Presidential elections are concerned, with Kumar’s support Kovind has passed the half mark required to win the presidential polls and should comfortably win the elections. The fractured opposition means that BJP would not have much difficulty in winning the 2019 elections.

News Sources- NDTV, Times of India 

Nitish Kumar deflates opposition by supporting Kovind

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar support to BJP candidate Ram Nath Kovind for the Presidential elections has jolted the united opposition.  Kumar stated that it is not the issue of the “mahagatbandhan” (grand-alliance) but an independent issue of each of the political parties.

He met Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury and conveyed them the message that it is a matter of pride that a governor of Bihar is being given the candidature for President.

The oppositional parties have fielded former Lok Sabha speaker “Meira Kumar” as their candidate. Kumar enjoys a popular wave of support among the backward women in the state; hence this will dent his image.

Nitish Kumar has earlier asked the opposition to part away with all their differences in order to form a unite opposition against Narendra Modi. Though Nitish Kumar always states that his alliance with Lalu Prasad’s RJD is strong, he has been continuously playing cards which are against the interest of his allies.

As far as the Presidential elections are concerned, with Kumar’s support Kovind has passed the half mark required to win the presidential polls and should comfortably win the elections. The fractured opposition means that BJP would not have much difficulty in winning the 2019 elections.

Sources: NDTV, TOI

Image Source: TOI

Backing Kovind’s presidential candidature is an ‘isolated incident’ : JD(U)

The Janata Dal (United) on June 22 said that the party’s decision to support NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind was an ‘isolated incident’. The party continues to be an integral part of the Opposition and there was no question of going back to the National Democratic Alliance.

K C Tyagi, JD(U) national spokesperson said, “The decision to back Kovind’s candidature is an isolated incident… we’ll never go back to the NDA-fold again.”

According to The Hindu, Tyagi said that Kovind, during his nearly two years’ tenure as the Bihar governor had played a positive and non-confrontational role in the functioning of the state government. He handled himself with poise and dignity. Nitish Kumar, chief minister of Bihar was quite impressed with his conduct and grace which made him back the candidature for the president’s post.

He said that on June 4, during the DMK founder M Karunanidhi’s 94th birthday celebrations at Chennai, Nitish Kumar and  Sitaram Yechuri, general secretary, CPI(M), had discussed the name of former West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi as the Opposition’s candidate and it would have proceeded with that but for the NDA throwing a surprise by announcing Kovind’s nomination.

Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar said, “Nitish ji took the initiative for the opposition Presidential candidate. It was he who was talking to everybody. Different opposition leaders have their own perspectives. Those are their views. He (Nitish) also supported demonetisation. We should respect it. Had he put his views at the June 22 meeting, it would have been elegant.”

The JD(U) national spokesperson asked the NDA that it should not expect his party to go back to the ruling alliance at the Centre.

“Despite backing Kovind’s candidature for the president’s post, we are of the considered view that the Modi government has failed on all fronts”, Tyagi added.

 

Sources-

  1. INDIA TV NEWS-https://www.google.co.in/amp/m.indiatvnews.com/amp/politics/national-bound-to-support-kovind-s-presidential-bid-but-no-question-of-going-back-to-nda-jdu-s-kc-tyagi-387583
  2.  THE HINDU- https://www.google.co.in/amp/www.thehindu.com/news/national/no-question-of-going-back-to-nda-jdu/article19125959.ece/amp

Mohammad Shahabuddin: Power in jail, power out of jail

Much hullaballoo has already been created with the release of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Mohammad Shahabuddin from the Bhagalpur jail on September 10, after 11 years in prison. The four-time MP and two-time MLA, who has often been regarded as the dreaded don of Bihar’s Siwan district, almost immediately stoked controversy when he called Bihar CM Nitish Kumar a “chief minister of circumstances”. He did not even spare PM Narendra Modi, calling his government “zero, bakwas (useless)” in an interview with a Times Network reporter.

The response to his release from prison has been that of contrasts: while the citizens of Siwan seem to have given him a grandiose welcome, the Bihar government – irked by his comments on Kumar – went to the Supreme Court seeking a cancellation of his bail. Notably, the apex court did not stay this bail order of the Patna High Court on Monday and sought the reply of Shahabuddin himself on the issue.

Shahabuddin jumped into the political arena in 1990, when he was first elected the MLA in Bihar. From 1996 till 2008, he was the Lok Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) representing the Siwan constituency. He was jailed in 2005 when Bihar was under President’s Rule, and the subsequent Nitish Kumar-led government ensured that he was properly persecuted with the formation of a special court dealing only with his cases. Notably, his wife, Heena Shahab contested the Lok Sabha elections from the district in 2009 and 2014. Both the times, she was defeated.

The 49-year-old has a total of 40 cases against him since 1986, with 24 of them still pending. The cases in which he has been convicted include the murder of CPI (ML) leader Chhotelal Shukla in 1999, attack on Siwan SP SK Singhal, and the murder of brothers Girish Raj and Satish Raj in 2004, among others. Not only this, his involvement has also been suspected in the infamous murder of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) president and CPI (ML) member Chandrashekhar Prasad in 1997, as well as that of Siwan journalist Rajdeo Ranjan in 2016 – at a time when he was in the Siwan central jail.

Often referred to as bahubali, (strongman) Shahabuddin’s dominance over Siwan seems to have been based on both a culture of fear as well as patronage. Various tales of his contribution for the locals of Siwan, helped him gain a Robin Hood-like image with widespread popularity. But these stand in pale comparison with stories that narrate the assaults by his men on anyone who dared to raise a finger against him. Shahbuddin maintained direct control over health, education, trade, land deals and the liquor business. He took the delivery justice in his own hands with his own brand of courts. Tales go as far to suggest that when Shahabuddin was in power, people even avoided travelling at night.

This apart, Shahabuddin’s significance within the political fold over the years, despite his involvement in criminal activities, can be attributed to two important factors. First is the minority (Muslim) votes he commands in Siwan, as well as other neighbouring districts. These, according to him, have not moved to Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) (JDU), but have remained with his party. The second factor – which may not be very significant in the present context but was so in the past – was the large-scale support he enjoyed from the landed upper castes. Speaking on this, Shahabuddin was quoted by the Indian Express as saying, “In those days, those whom the CPI (ML) called feudal were with me and the RJD government. At that time, there were only two sides. I gave a political umbrella to those upper castes in Siwan who have now migrated to the BJP.”

Politically speaking, the release of Mohammed Shahabuddin comes at an inopportune time for the ruling Mahagathbandan alliance of JDU, RJD and the Congress. The 49-year-old, by overtly criticising Nitish Kumar and calling RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav his onlyneta (leader), has dealt a further blow to the alliance already suffering from internal fissures. The limbo is clearly reflected by the state government in its contrasting stands. While the government did file for a petition with the SC against the bail order and is now mulling a non-bailable warrant against him, this has been clearly at odds with Lalu Prasad Yadav defending Shahabuddin after his statement. In fact, RJD vice-president Raghubansh Prasad Singh even supported the jibe against the chief minister of his own alliance.

SOURCES: Indian Express

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