QBullet: Bihar Face-off, Vadra’s No-frisk Status and More

QBullet: Take a look at the top news and views across the papers this morning.

5 min read
File photo of PM Modi with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. (Photo: PTI)

1. Bihar Polls: Bugle for One Battle, Another Off

Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi announced a five-phase assembly election in Bihar from October 12 to November 5. The Telegraph reports that with the dates out in the open, the battle between Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will certainly intensify.

This is Act II of a drama that opened with Nitish breaking his 17-year alliance with the BJP on the Narendra Modi issue in the summer of 2013. Modi took Act I, sweeping two-thirds of Bihar’s 40 seats in last year’s Lok Sabha polls. It was a shock that forced Bihar’s chief adversaries, Nitish and Lalu Prasad, to craft an alliance against a greater common enemy. Act II will be Modi’s bid to deliver Nitish a knockout punch and Nitish’s bid to hold him off. It’s the needle between these two men that makes Bihar a flaming contest.

Read the full report here.

2. Hardik’s Movement Begins to Lose Steam After Sardar Patels Leave

Hardik Patel is having trouble after his mentor’s Sardar Patel Group split with his Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti. Hindustan Times reports that he is unable to meet Patel MLAs or even get the attention of industrialists who once supported him. Not just that, the report says he is also having trouble getting permission for venues to conduct meetings.

The two men had joined hands to bring Ahmedabad to a grinding halt on August 25 with a mammoth rally that saw over 5,00,000 people turning up to demand reservations for the community that comprises around 15% of the state’s population.

But after Lalji’s Sardar Patel Group (SPG), which started the movement in 2012, decided to part ways with the PAAS, Hardik is facing difficulties in sustaining the demonstrations as more than one million SPG members are likely to stay away.

Read the full report here.

3. MHA Leaves Aviation Ministry Foxed on Vadra’s No-frisk Status

The Civil Aviation Ministry had written to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) seeking permission to remove Robert Vadra from the no-frisking list. The MHA has responded saying his name was in the list only for facilitation and not security reasons. This leaves the final decision to the aviation ministry.

The Aviation Ministry is now in a bind as SPG protectees include ex-prime ministers and their families. Taking SPG protectees off the no-frisking list could mean making them stand in queues at airports. Aviation Ministry sources said they had sought MHA’s views in order to decide if they could take Vadra off the list when he is travelling with SPG protectees.

Read the full report here.

4. Nudge and Wink for Maria

The Telegraph reports that the Maharashtra government has asked Rakesh Maria to continue supervising the Sheena Bora murder probe in an attempt to pacify the top cop.

The Devendra Fadnavis government formally asked Rakesh Maria to “supervise” the Sheena Bora murder case, apparently rushing to mollify the ousted police commissioner lest he write a tell-all book implicating politicians and a business house close to the BJP.

Read the full report here.

5. Two Days to Go… Campaigning Ends: Clashes Ensure no Campus Debate

File photo of ABVP candidates for DUSU elections. (Photo: PTI)
File photo of ABVP candidates for DUSU elections. (Photo: PTI)

The BJP-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) blamed the Congress’ National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) for attacking its presidential candidate and his brother in two separate incidents. But the NSUI blamed the AAP’s Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS) and ABVP for attacking its presidential and vice-presidential candidates with iron rods. All three parties lodged police complaints, but no FIR has been registered yet.

Read the full report here.

6. Irrational Violence

The most striking commonality among the murders of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar (in Pune, August 2013), Govind Pansare (in Kolhapur, February 2015) and MM Kalburgi (in Dharwad, August 2015) is not the modus operandi — motorcycle-borne men shooting to kill and speeding away — but the intolerance and hatred toward their strong views on religion and superstition that the acts reflect. Though investigators have found no substantive leads in any of these cases yet, and the killers’ motives remain unclear, there is little doubt that the three rationalists had provoked religious fanatics and sectarian elements in a deeply conservative society.

Read the full edit piece in The Hindu here.

7. Rakesh Maria’s Transfer Shows Fadnavis Govt’s Inexperience

The (Maharashtra) government has tied itself in knots trying to explain its actions as Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis signed the transfer order and left on a trip to Japan. Damage control was left to the top bureaucrat in the home department, KP Bakshi, who first justified the timing of the transfer saying that though Maria was due to be promoted by the end of the month, waiting that long would have left his successor with little time to ready for the festive season — the 10-day Ganapati celebrations and Diwali are a fraught time for the Mumbai police.

Read the full piece here.

8. Ban-dit Kinks

The ‘To beef or not to beef’ question was unilaterally decided in this region several months ago, adding to the growing belief that ‘something is rotten in the state of Maharashtra’ (and not just stupidly hoarded onions). Well, most of us were cowed down by Chief Minister Fadnavis’ sweeping diktat on bovine slaughter. Will we, as sheepishly, accept these two temporary but much wider bans? No, it will truly get our goat. How can the civic authorities ram this down our throat? Actually, they’re not even letting the ram get past our mouth.

Read the full opinion piece here.

9. The Starkness of Being Nowhere

The national media — both print and electronic — has not cared even to report the ongoing preparation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), leave alone analysing the legal nuances involved in the action and the possible plight of the ‘denizens’.

The whole exercise, set off in a selective manner only for the State of Assam, is meant for detection, detention and deportation of the illegal migrants who crossed over to Assam from Bangladesh on or after March 25, 1971.

Read the full piece here.

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