At the time of writing the Bihar votes were still being counted but over the past few hours a pattern has emerged for us to attempt some preliminary takeaways. While it would be premature to call the election before the votes are declared, one can make some assumptions, especially regarding the performance of the Congress. The party had contested 70 seats but its deliverability rate has not lived up to its promise, with the party being able to convert only around one-fifth of these into seats (going by the trends). Whatever the final tally, one thing seems certain that it is the Congress that has dragged down the numbers for the Mahagathbandhan (MGM) with even the Left parties coming up with a better strike rate.
During the campaign the entire focus was on Tejashwi Yadav and the kind of campaign he conducted, focusing on new-age issues such as jobs and development instead of the old caste and religion-based fault-lines. It was he who got the BJP and the JD(U) to bring back jobs on their poll talk. He certainly was the discovery of this election as he got the crowds, and swept the exit polls. While he may not form the government, there is no denying that he has emerged as the Man of the Match, one who lives to fight another day. His ally, however, needs to go in for some serious introspection. The Congress needs to get its act together before it becomes a liability for the UPA. Already Akhilesh Yadav blames the Congress for the loss in the 2017 Assembly polls (the SP had fought this in an alliance with the Congress); Mamata Bannerjee is not keen to tie up with the Congress in West Bengal; and, now it seems as if Tejashwi Yadav may end up regretting this alliance. Definitely, he must be regretting giving such a large chunk of seats to the Congress.
Certainly this was a state election where both the BJP and the Congress were expected to play a supporting role but not the lead. Within the NDA, the BJP has taken the lead, getting more seats than the JD(U), but within the MGM the Congress has not even managed to play a convincing second fiddle. And this is at a time when the country has been hit by a pandemic, the economy is at an all-time low and we are in the middle of a face-off at our border. Even at such a time the PM’s credibility was at an all-time high. NewsX has been covering the elections extensively and after every phase of voting the voters came out and said that they had voted for jobs and development. When asked whom they felt was best placed to deliver on these issues, the answer varied from PM Modi to Tejashwi. Not the Congress. Hence one can argue that this election was a game changer in that the narrative was a new-age one; the voters also belonged to a post JP era that did not identify with either Lalu Yadav or Nitish Kumar but looked to the leader that they felt would best deliver on the jobs. And voted accordingly, dividing the chunk of vote between Modi and Tejashwi and to a lesser extent Nitish Kumar.
Right before the elections began the Congress was facing a leadership crisis with 23 of its leaders writing a letter raising some pertinent questions about the workings of the party. This should have led to an introspection but that did not happen. The Bihar result is the first casualty. Will Bengal and Assam follow?
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60-year-old mentally unstable man kills wife, 2 daughters with hammer in UP
Bulandshahr (Uttar Pradesh) [India], March 3 (ANI): A 60-year-old mentally unstable man in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr district killed his wife and two of his three daughters with a hammer on Tuesday night.
According to Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Santosh Kumar Singh, the man’s wife and two of his daughters died on the spot while one daughter is in critical condition and has been admitted to the hospital. The bodies have been sent for postmortem.
The accused, identified as Saeed, fled the scene after the incident and the police has launched a probe to locate his whereabouts.
Reportedly, he used to doubt the character of his family members, possibly due to his mental condition. (ANI)
India reports 14,989 fresh COVID-19 cases
New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): As many as 14,989 new COVID-19 cases and 98 deaths were reported from India in the last 24 hours, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed on Wednesday.
With 13,123 fresh recoveries, the cumulative discharges reached 1,08,12,044.
The total coronavirus caseload in the country has gone up to 1,11,39,516, including 1,70,126 active cases and 1,57,346 deaths.
As per the Health Ministry, a total of 1,56,20,749 people in the country have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The second round of the nation-wide vaccination drive is currently underway, and several national leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
As per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), as many as 21,84,03,277 samples have been tested for the coronavirus as of Tuesday, including 7,85,220 in the last 24 hours. (ANI)
Kerala CM’s son-in-law among three remanded to judicial custody for 14 days
Kozhikode (Kerala) [India], March 3 (ANI): The Communist Party of India -Marxist (CPM) leaders PA Mohamed Riyas, TV Rajesh and KK Dinesh were remanded for 14 days by a Kozhikode court in connection with a case for protesting against Air India for cancellation of flights and increase in airfares.
Riyas is the son-in-law of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. He is the national president of the party’s youth wing — the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI).
Rajesh is a two-time legislator from Kannur district. He had launched the protest against Air India in 2009.
KK Dinesh is a DYFI leader.
The case was registered against the CPM leaders in 2009 for protesting against Air India in Kozhikode.
The leaders had obtained bail in the case and after the expiry of the bail period, they approached the court again for bail. However, the court remanded them.
Notably, at the time of protest TV Rajesh was the state secretary of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) and Muhammad Riyas was the organisation’s state joint secretary. (ANI)
NIA takes over probe of arrested terrorist who was planning major attack in Jammu city
New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken over the investigation of the case of Hidayatullah Malik, chief of Lashkar-e-Mustafa terror organisation, who was planning a major attack in Jammu city.
He was arrested on February 6.
The NIA on Tuesday registered a case relating to the conspiracy by frontal running terror organization Lashkar-e-Mustafa working at the behest of proscribed terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammed to carry out terrorist activities in the Jammu area with the aim of threatening the sovereignty, integrity and security of India.
The case was initially registered at Gangyal Police station, District Jammu on February 6 under sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). NIA has re-registered the case and has taken over the investigation.
During searches conducted, one hand grenade, 3 magazines and 28 rounds with other incriminating material were recovered from the possession of Hidayatullah Malik, NIA said in a statement.
“Malik had done reconnaissance of many security installations in Jammu and Delhi in 2018 and 2019 for carrying out terror attacks. He has been associated with other terror groups in past and has furthered subversive and terror activities in Kashmir valley. The terror group had also committed a daylight bank robbery in which Rs 60 lakh were looted from JK Bank, Main Branch Shopian in November 2020,” NIA said.
Further investigation is underway, NIA said. (ANI)
Srinagar-Jammu national highway blocked due to landslide, restoration work underway
Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], March 3 (ANI): Vehicular movement has been suspended on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway due to a landslide at Shabanbas Banihal which occurred in the wee hours of Wednesday.
“Srinagar-Jammu National Highway is blocked since 3 am today due to a landslide at Shabanbas Banihal. One oil tanker is stuck at the site and the restoration work is underway,” informed the Disaster Management Authority, Jammu and Kashmir Government.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), a fresh feeble Western Disturbance as a cyclonic circulation lies over Jammu and Kashmir and neighbourhood in lower tropospheric levels.
“Under its influence, isolated rainfall and snowfall over Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit, Baltistan, Muzaffarabad, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand on March 3 and 4,” IMD said.
The weather forecasting agency also predicted isolated thunderstorm over Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit, Baltistan, Muzaffarabad and Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday. (ANI)
World Wildlife Day: We should ensure protection of forests, safe habitats for animals, says PM Modi
New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): On the occasion of World Wildlife Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid emphasis on the protection of forests and safe habitats for animals and also extended gratitude to those working towards wildlife protection.
Taking to Twitter, he highlighted that India is seeing a steady rise in the population of various animals.
“On #WorldWildlifeDay, I salute all those working towards wildlife protection. Be it lions, tigers and leopards, India is seeing a steady rise in the population of various animals. We should do everything possible to ensure protection of our forests and safe habitats for animals,” PM Modi tweeted.
Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the Narendra Modi government is working on the reintroduction of Cheetah, which went extinct in 1952.
“India has thriving wildlife and biodiversity. 70 per cent of Global Tiger population. 70 per cent of Asiatic Lions. 60 per cent of Leopard population. The Narendra Modi govt is working on reintroduction of Cheetah, which went extinct in 1952….this Big Cat will be a reality soon. #WorldWildlifeDay,” he said. (ANI)
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