Leading members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are scheduled to visit Bihar in September. The state saw the party lose power there in August after Nitish Kumar, the state’s chief minister, broke off his alliance. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress, and the Left parties joined together to form the state’s administration.
Prior to the 2024 presidential elections, Bihar was still the BJP’s top priority, according to people with knowledge of the situation. The only state in the Hindi Belt where the BJP has been unable to create a government on its own or grow the organisation is Bihar, which sends 40 members to Parliament.
On September 23, Bihar will be visited by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. On September 18, his cabinet colleague Smriti Irani is scheduled to attend a book launch there to promote Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Irani’s visit is a separate one. Shah’s visit is part of the BJP’s regular outreach. Programmes in Seemanchal were planned long ago…programmes after that are also planned. Our activities never stop,” said Bihar BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal.
He denied any connection between Shah’s visit to the predominantly Muslim state of Seemanchal and the BJP’s reported efforts to divide the region along religious lines.
The BJP, according to Jaiswal, will host a fortnight-long outreach programme commencing on September 17, the day after Prime Minister Modi’s birthday, to engage the public. A special COVID vaccination push to distribute three million doses in honour of Prime Minister Modi’s birthday was announced by the chief minister, Nitish Kumar, last year.
Shah will make his first trip to Seemanchal since Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), or JD (U), severed ties with the BJP. He will speak at two rallies in Purnea and Kishanganj, in addition to attending a meeting of the BJP’s core committee.
In Bihar, the BJP aims to get 35 seats in the national elections in 2024. In an alliance with the JD (U) and other parties, the BJP won 39 of the 40 seats in 2019.
Analyst DM Diwakar said Shah’s visit shows the BJP is working on a plan and may like to polarise votes. “…Seemanchal has constituencies with significant Muslim population and where a party like the AIMIM [All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen] managed to win seats in 2015 [assembly polls].”
In order to energise the party before Shah’s visit, Union Minister Nityanand Rai, Jaiswal, and former Deputy Chief Minister Tarkeshwar Prasad travelled to Seemanchal and held talks.
“Nitish Kumar has lost credibility. No matter where he goes, he has to follow the template of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav. He is no longer a factor for us. We are a worker-based party and we will keep working for Bihar’s progress, not to suit the interests of individuals. We have the utmost regard for Kumar despite his constantly falling graph, but, perhaps, he did not deserve it,” said Rai.
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Student visa interviews to start from November by the US Embassy
The US embassy in India has announced that interviews for the student visas will open from mid-November. Minister counselor for consular affairs at US Embassy, Don Heflin, said that the process of interviews will continue till the end of December.The announcement was made by Don Heflin while answering student visa queries for the United States related to waiting and processing time. He said, “We will open up for the first half in mid-October and for the second half in mid-November.”Last month, US missions in India said that record 82,000 student visas have been issued in 2022 so far, higher than in any previous year. Indian students received more American student visas than any other country, the missions added.Amid delays, foreign minister S Jaishankar also raised the issue of the huge backlog of US visa applications from India with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.S Jaishankar said, “To the people who are concerned about the visa issues, I would like to give the message that I understand their anxiety and the urgency and which is precisely the reason why I took up the matter.”
Iran : 19 people including guard colonel killed in anti-govt protest
In one of the deadliest clashes between police and protesters since Iran’s anti-government demonstrations began, nineteen people were killed on Friday. This was in response to the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who died in police custody after being arrested for allegedly disobeying Iran’s strict dress codes for women by donning an “improper hijab.”
Iranian protesters and police had a violent confrontation in southeastern Iran. The confrontation happened as worshippers from Iran’s Sunni minority left Friday prayers at the Makki Grand Mosque in Zahedan, capital of Sistan and Balochistan province, reported Voice of America (VOA).
“Nineteen people were killed and 20 injured in the incident,” regional governor Hossein Khiabani told the state broadcaster.
“Provincial intelligence officer of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Colonel Ali Mousavi was also killed,” state television added.
Iranian state media earlier on Friday stated that security personnel had retaliated after armed men attacked a police station in the provincial capital of Zahedan.
The protesters were labeled as terrorists and separatists by the Iranian state media, who also charged them with shooting guns at police.
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Using the newly launched 5G technology, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducted a test drive of a car in Europe from Delhi’s Pragati Maidan on Saturday. Union minister Piyush Goyal tweeted the photo and wrote, “India driving the world’.PM Modi inaugurated the India Mobile Congress 2022 exhibition before he launched the 5G mobile telephony services in India. At the exhibition, he visited the pavilions of the different telecom operators to experience the first-hand experience of the 5G technology.PM Modi was briefed about the technology by Mukesh Ambani and Akash Ambani at Reliance Jio stalls.Then PM Modi went to the stalls of Airtel, Vodafone Idea, C-DOT and others.Union telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said, “Telecom is the gateway, the foundation of Digital India. It is the mode to bring digital services to every person.”Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani promised to deliver 5G to every town, every taluka by December 2023. He said, “I can say we are ready to take leadership and Indian Mobile Congress should now become Asian Mobile Congress & Global Mobile Congress. India may have started a little late, but will finish first.”
Some parts of Karnataka to witness rain in the month of October
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Kharge resigns as Rajya Sabha Lop, following ‘one person, one post’ formula
Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge submitted his resignation as Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House as he filed his nomination for the party’s chief post, after the Udaipur announcement of “one person, one post.”
“I hereby tender my resignation from the post of Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha, consequent upon my filing of nomination for the post of President, All India Congress Committee,” Kharge said in his letter to interim party president Sonia Gandhi.
In February 2021, Kharge took over as the Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House following Ghulam Nabi Azad’s retirement. If Kharge, who is considered to be the front-runner, is chosen as the party president, the Congress may need to find a new LoP in the Rajya Sabha.
Although the selection process for Kharge’s replacement won’t begin until the results are announced, party leaders said that Digivjaya Singh, Mukul Wasnik, or Ranjit Ranjan may be possible candidates.
According to party insiders, Singh, who opted out of the race to support Kharge, might emerge as a possible successor to Kharge. “He doesn’t hold any organisational position and a leader from the Hindi belt can also act like a balancing factor,” said a leader, adding that senior party leader Mukul Wasnik may also be considered. Among women leaders, Ranjit Ranjan, a fierce orator from Bihar, or Gujarat’s former leader of the Opposition Shakti Sinh Gohil could also be considered, said a Congress leader from Rajya Sabha.
In an April 2022 decision, the Udaipur Chintan Shivir demanded that the policy be put into effect at all party levels.
Ashok Gehlot, the chief minister of Rajasthan, decided not to run for president of the Congress after Rahul Gandhi’s strongly advocated “one person, one post” formula sparked an uprising inside the state party last week. A majority of Congress MLAs in Rajasthan staged a separate meeting and prevented the adoption of a one-line resolution authorising the party leader to propose Gehlot’s replacement.
As ‘Bharat Jodo’ enters Karnataka, rattled BJP gives front-page ad that distorts history: Jairam Ramesh
As Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra entered the BJP-ruled state, according to Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Saturday, the BJP placed a front page advertisement in a Kannada newspaper. Ramesh said in a tweet, “The advertisement mischievously distorts history as usual. Savarkar propounded two-nation theory & Jinnah ensured it got done. Syama Prasad Mukherjee, founder of Jan Sangh championed partition of Bengal.” BJP is rattled by the yatra’s success, the Congress leader continued.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra of Rahul Gandhi entered the election-bound state of Karnataka on Friday. There, the yatra will travel 511 kilometres across seven districts in 21 days.
Rahul Gandhi remarked in a statement at the beginning of the march’s Kerala leg that the Bharat Jodo Yatra is the voice of the nation and that no one can stop it.
“Entire control is lying with the (Central) government. If we speak in Parliament, they shut our microphones,” Rahul Gandhi said.
A new Rahul Gandhi and a new Congress party have emerged from the Bharat Jodo Yatra which forced the BJP and the RSS on the backfoot, Jairam Ramesh said on Friday. “People asked who is ‘thodoing’ (breaking) Bharat for Congress to do Bharat Jodo, our answer is Mr Modi’s ideology, policies, personality is thodoing Bharat. Because economic inequality is increasing, social polarisation is increasing and political over-centralisation is increasing, the Congress is doing this yatra,” Jairam Ramesh said.
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