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Bihar

Nitish visits AES-hit Muzaffarpur, faces protests

Hundreds of angry protesters staged a demonstration on Tuesday against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's visit to Muzaffarpur district, where 107 children have died due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi visiting children with encephalitis symptoms at a hospital in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, on June 18, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi visiting children with encephalitis symptoms at a hospital in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, on June 18, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Hundreds of angry protesters staged a demonstration on Tuesday against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's visit to Muzaffarpur district, where 107 children have died due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).
 
The protest took place outside the state-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), where Nitish Kumar arrived with Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi. 
 
The protesters, annoyed over poor medical treatment and lack of facilities, shouted slogans like "Chief Minister wapas jao (Go back Chief Minister)".
 
The Chief Minister and his deputy visited children admitted at the hospital as well as their parents and left without stopping to acknowledge the protesters.
 
The Chief Minister will hold a review meeting with the doctors and health officials later in the day to take stock of the situation.
 
Of the 107 victims, 88 died at SKMCH and 19 at the private Kejriwal Hospital. In both the hospitals, over 100 seriously ill children with symptoms of AES are undergoing treatment.
 
However, unofficial reports say the number of deaths is much higher because some children died in the villages before they could be taken to hospital.
 
On Sunday, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had visited SKMCH to review the situation.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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BJP suffers shock defeats in Gorakhpur, Phulpur LS bye-elections

Samajwadi Party candidates backed by the Bahujan Samaj Party have inflicted shock defeats on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the March 11 bye-elections to the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, about a year ahead of the 2019 General Elections.
 
Samajwadi Party workers celebrate their victory in UP LS bye-elections
Samajwadi Party (SP) candidates backed by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have inflicted shock defeats on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the March 11 bye-elections to the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, about a year ahead of the 2019 General Elections.
 
What made the loss even more humiliating for the BJP, which is in power at the Centre as well as in Uttar Pradesh, was the fact that the Gorakhpur and Phulpur seats were held by its leaders Yogi Adityanath and Keshav Prasad Maurya, who had resigned after taking over as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, respectively, of Uttar Pradesh.
 
The bye-election results have come a year after the BJP had scored a resounding win in the elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly, held in February-March 2017, in which it won 312 seats in the 403-member House. Its allies Apna Dal (Soneylal) and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party won nine and four seats, respectively.
 
The Samajwadi Party (SP), which was then ruling the state, could manage only 47 seats, while its ally Congress ended up with a single-digit tally of just 7.
 
The Bahujan Samaj Party of former Chief Minister Mayawadi picked up 19 seats and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) one. The Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal secured one seat and independents three seats.
 
As counting of votes was taken up in the bye-elections today, Samajwadi Party candidate Praveen Nishad won the Gorakhpur seat, defeating his BJP rival Upendra Shukla by a margin of 21,881 votes. In Phulpur, Nagendra Singh Patel of the SP prevailed by a margin of more than 59,000 votes over Kaushalendra Singh Patel of the BJP.
 
The BJP ended up on the losing side in Bihar, too, where its candidate Pradeep Kumar Singh lost to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) nominee Sarfaraz Alam in the bye-election for the Araria Lok Sabha seat by a margin of more than 57,000 votes. 
 
The vacancy in Araria was caused by the death of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Mohammad Taslimuddin in September last year.
 
In bye-elections for Assembly seats in Bihar, the BJP's Rinki Rani Pandey won the Bhabua seat by a margin of more than 15,000 votes while the RJD's Kumar Krishna Mohan defeated Aviram Sharma of the Janata Dal (United) by a margin of more than 35,000 votes in Jahanabad. The two seats had fallen vacant due to the deaths of RJD MLA Mudrika Singh Yadav and BJP MLA Anand Bhusan Pandey, respectively.
 
In Bihar, the bye-elections were the first electoral test for the RJD and Bihar's ruling Janata Dal (United) after the collapse of their grand alliance, which also included the Congress. JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar continued to be the Chief Minister of the state after forging an aliance with the BJP.
 
Adityanath said the party accepted the people's verdict in Uttar Pradesh and would work on ironing out the flaws. "There are lessons for us in the results," he said.
 
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Gorakhpur was considered to be the Chief Minister's bastion, with Adityanath having won the seat for five consecutive terms from 1998 onwards. Before that, his mentor Mahant Avedyanath had won the seat for three consecutive terms from 1989 to 1998, the first time as a candidate of the Hindu Mahasabha and then twice as a candidate of the BJP.
 
Adityanath, 45, is the head of the Gorakhnath Mutt in Gorakhpur, which has a huge following in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Nepal and other parts. 
 
Phulpur, which was the constituency of India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, was won by the BJP for the first time in 2014. After Nehru passed away in 1964, the seat was won by his sister Vijayalakshmi Pandit in a bye-election that year and retained by her in 1967. V P Singh, who served as Prime Minister in 1989-90, had won the seat as a Congress candidate in 1971.
 
Samajwadi Party leader and former state chief minister Akhilesh Yadav thanked the people of Uttar Pradesh for the victory as well as BSP leader Mayawati for her support. Mr. Yadav met Ms. Mayawati to convey his gratitude to her and her party.
 
Ms. Mayawati's decision to back the Samajwadi Party nominee in the bye-elections caught the BJP unawares. Adityanath called their understanding as the coming together of "a snake and a mongoose", but it was the Opposition which had the last laugh today. The arrangement between the two parties has given rise to speculation about a grand alliance by the Opposition parties against the BJP and its allies in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
The BJP, on its part, tried to explain the defeat by saying that the low turnout of voters -- 49% in Gorakhpur and 38% in Phulpur -- was a factor. The party's leaders also said they did not anticipate the understanding between the SP and the BSP and could not respond to the new situation in the short time available to it. The results suggest that the BSP was able to transfer its votes to the SP candidate.
 
The Congress candidates -- Sureetha Kareem in Gorakhpur and Manish Mishra in Phulpur Lok Sabha -- ended up losing their deposits.
 
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JD (U)-led "grand alliance" heads for handsome win in Bihar Assembly elections

The "grand alliance" led by the ruling Janata Dal (United), which includes the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress, was headed for a handsome victory on Sunday as counting of votes progressed in the crucial and bitterly-contested elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly.
 
Grand Alliance heads towards big win in Bihar Assembly elections
 
The "grand alliance" led by the ruling Janata Dal (United), which includes the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress, was headed for a handsome victory today as counting of votes progressed in the crucial and bitterly-contested elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly.
 
As counting trends became available for 230 of the 243 seats, the JD (U) and its allies were ahead in 125, past the half-way mark for a simple majority, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had established leads in 96. Others accounted for nine seats.
 
The campaigning for the elections was marked by sharp and bitter exchanges of barbs among the main contestants.
 
The elections were seen as a major test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to the voters and as a battle for survival for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of the JD(U) and his foe-turned-ally, RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
 
Polling in the elections was held in five phases on October 12, October 16, October 28, November 1 and November 5, and more than 56.80 percent voting was registered.
 
Polling was by and large peaceful across the state and no major untoward incident was reported from anywhere.
 
A total of 67063004 electors, including 31282535 women, were eligible to exercise their franchise in the elections and there were, in all, 3450 candidates, including 272 women, in the fray.
 
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The Election Commission had set up 65349 polling stations and made elaborate arrangements to ensure a freee and fair poll.
 
Counting of votes began at 8 am today amidst tight security at 39 centres across the state and al the results are expected to be in by this evening. 
 
All counting centres are situated in the district headquarters. There are two counting centres separated by a common road in Saharsa distict and one each in the 37 other districts.
 
The Election Commission ensured 24x7 three-tier security at all counting centres, with the inner cordon being manned by personnel of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF). Closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been installed at all counting centres.
 
The commission also deployed an observer each in all 243 constituencies to oversee the counting process.
  
Exit polls had produced varying forecasts, with some putting the "grand alliance" ahead and others predicting a victory for the NDA.
 
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Nitish Kumar returns as Chief Minister of Bihar

Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the fourth time in Patna on Sunday evening, two days after his loyalist-turned-political foe Jitan Ram Manjhi resigned from the position hours before a trust vote in the state legislative assembly on Friday.
 
Nitish Kumar takes oath as Chief Minister of Bihar
Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the fourth time here this evening, two days after his loyalist-turned-political foe Jitan Ram Manjhi resigned from the position hours before a trust vote in the state legislative assembly here on Friday.
 
Mr Kumar, 63, and 22 Ministers, including three women, were administered the oaths of office and secrecy by Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi at a ceremony that began around 5 pm today.
 
The ministers are : Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, Vijendra Prasad Yadav, Ramai Ram, Damodar Raut, Narendra Narayan Yadav, P.K. Shahi, Shyam Rajak, Awadesh Kushwaha, Lesie Singh, Dulal Chand Goswami, Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh, Shrawan Kumar, Ramlashan Ram Raman, Ramdhani Singh, Jai Kumar Singh, Manoj Kumar Singh, Javed Iqbal Ansari, Bima Bharti, Ranju Geeta, Baidyanath Sahni, Vinod Singh Yadav and Naushad Alam.
 
Of them, 20 had resigned from the Manjhi government while the other two --  P K Shahi and Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh -- had been removed by the former chief minister.
 
Mr Kumar has returned as Chief Minister nine months after he had stepped down on May 17 last year, taking moral responsibility for the defeat suffered by his party in the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
 
His return ended about two weeks of political uncertainty in the state following a bitter power struggle between him and Mr Manjhi.
 
Mr Manjhi finally met Mr Tripathi and handed in his papers on Friday morning. Shortly thereafter, Mr Kumar had called on the Governor and staked his claim to form the next government. Mr Tripathi had invited him to form the new government and asked him to prove his majority on the floor of the assembly within three weeks.
 
Mr Manjhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Miister Akhilesh Yadav, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Abhay Chautala were among those who attended the ceremony.
 
Mr Manjhi's resignation came after it became clear that he did not have the numbers to win a trust vote in the 243-member assembly even though the  Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has a score to settle with Mr Kumar, had thrown its weight behind him.
 
Mr Kumar has been claiming that he has the support of 130 MLAs in the House, including 99 of his own party, 24 from the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and five of the Congress.
 
Ahead of his meeting with the Governor, Mr Kumar, a former Union Minister, had promised on Friday to provide good governance if given another chance to serve the people of Bihar and apologised to them for his decision to resign on May 17 last year after his party's poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections in the state.
 
Mr Kumar's party had ended up with just two of the 40 Lok Sabha seats from Bihar, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), its erstwhile partner in the state, won as many as 22.
 
The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) of former Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, an ally of the BJP, got five seats. The Congress won two seats, the NCP one, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) four and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party won three.
 
On June 16, 2013, the JD (U) had formally withdrawn from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and ended its 17-year-old partnership with the BJP in Bihar after it became increasingly clear at that stage that Mr Narendra Modi would be the Prime Ministerial candidate of the party.
 
Mr Manjhi, who was the Minister for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Backward and Economically Backward Classes Welfare, was handpicked by Mr Kumar to succeed him on May 19 last year.
 
"I assure the people of Bihar that if I get an opportunity again I will serve them in the same spirit I did for eight and a half years earlier. Good governance was and will remain my priority," Mr Kumar told journalists on Friday.
 
"I also apologise for my decision to quit. I will never take an emotional decision again. Now I am ready to lead from the front," he said.
 
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The JD (U) has 115 members in the assembly, and most of them back Mr Kumar. The BJP has 88 members and the support of three independents.
 
Mr Kumar had staked claim to form the next government two weeks ago after the JD (U) removed Mr Manjhi as the leader of its legislature party and elected him to the position to enable him to return as Chief Minister. Mr Manjhi had refused to oblige and was expelled from the party. He then decided to seek a trust vote, banking on the support of the BJP.
 
Mr Kumar said Mr Manjhi had decided to quit after all the efforts made by the BJP to wean away MLAs from the JD (U) had failed.
 
Mr Manjhi, however, told journalists that he had decided to quit to protect MLAs supporting him, saying they had received death threats in the past few days. 
 
Mr Kumar has a degree in electrical engineering from the Bihar College of Engineering, Patna, now the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Patna. He joined politics after a brief stint in the Bihar State Electricity Board.
 
At the Centre, Mr Kumar has handled the portfolios of Railways and Agriculture.
 
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Polling underway for 41 seats in final phase of LS elections

Polling was underway on Monday amidst tight security in 41 constituencies spread over three states -- Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal -- in the ninth and final phase of elections to the 16th Lok Sabha.
 
Ninth phase of 16th LS polls underway
Polling was underway today amidst tight security in 41 constituencies spread over three states -- Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal -- in the ninth and final phase of elections to the 16th Lok Sabha.
 
Thousands of voters turned out to exercise their franchise in these constituencies and long queues of voters  were seen at many polling stations despite the sweltering heat,
 
All eyes were, however, on Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, the second constituency from which BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is trying to make his maiden entry into the Lok Sabha. His main rivals in Varanasi are Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal and local Congress leader Ajay Rai.
 
Mr Modi is also in the fray from Vadodara in Gujarat, where polling was held on April 30.
 
Around 1.6 million people are eligible to cast their votes in Varanasi in what is clearly the keenest contest of the 2014 elections. There were long queues of voters outside polling stations in most areas of the city.
 
The authorities have deployed around 45,000 security personnel to ensure free and fair polls in the constituency. More than 12,000 polling booths were put under surveillance with CCTV cameras and proceedings at more than 300 polling stations were being videographed.
 
The Election Commission has deployed Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar as a special observer for the constituency following complaints of bias against the local election officials by the BJP. Several senior police officers of Uttar Pradesh are also camping in the city.
 
The constituencies that voted today included 18 in Uttar Pradesh, 17 in West Bengal and six in Bihar. They have a total of 66.13 million voters and there were 606 candidates in the fray.
 
The first phase of polling in the long drawn out election process was held on April 7. Counting of votes for all constituencies will be taken up on May 16 and all results are expected by that evening. Two members in the 545-member Lok Sabha are nominated by the President from the Anglo-Indian community.
 
Other prominent candidates in the fray in Uttar Pradesh include Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo and former Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav from Azamgarh and UP Legislative Assembly Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey from Doomariaganj.
 
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Union Minister of State for Home Affairs R P N Singh is contesting from Kushinagar and popular Bhojpuri film actor Ravi Kishan from Jaunpur, both on the Congress ticket. Veteran BJP leader Kalraj Mishra is contesting the Deoria seat. Quami Ekta Dal (QED) leader Mukhtar Ansari, who withdrew from the contest in Varanasi and later announced his support for the Congress, is in the contest from Ghosi.
 
In Bihar, the prominent candidates include well-known Hindi filmmaker Prakash Jha, who is trying his luck yet again, this time as a Janata Dal (United) candidate, and former Union Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
 
In West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has fielded former Union Ministers Sudip Bandopadhyay, Dinesh Trivedi in Barrackpore and Sougata Roy in Dum Dum and actors Dipak Adhikari (Dev) from Ghatal and Tapas Paul in Krishinagar.
 
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has put up Ms Subhashini Ali against Mr Trivedi in Barrackpore, while the BJP has fielded well-known magician P C Sorcar (Junior) in Barasat. West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury is the party's candidate in Berhampore.
 
The TMC had won 14 of the 17 seats that went to the polls today in West Bengal in the 2009 elections, while the CPI, SUCI and Congress had won one each. The TMC and the Congress were in an alliance then. The CPI (M) had not won a single seat from these in 2009.
 
There are a total of 328 candidates, including 18 women, in the 18 constituencies of Uttar Pradesh, which have a total electorate of 31.6 million voters.
 
In Bihar, more than 8.8 million voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the six constituences which have a total of 90 candidates in the fray.
 
The 17 constituencies that went to the polls in West Bengal have a total electorate of  25.61 million and 188 candidates in the fray.
 
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Five killed, 83 injured in serial blasts near Modi's rally venue in Patna

At least five people were killed and as many as 83 others suffered injuries in a series of low-intensity blasts that occurred near the Gandhi Maidan in Patna shortly before Gujarat Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi addressed a huge rally there on Sunday afternoon.
Serial blasts rock Patna; 5 killed, over 80 injured
At least five people were killed and as many as 83 others suffered injuries in a series of low-intensity blasts that occurred near the Gandhi Maidan here shortly before Gujarat Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi addressed a huge rally there this afternoon.
 
In all, there were seven blasts, including one in a toilet on platform number 10 at the Patna railway station, about two and a half kilometres from the ground. The other six explosions occurred around the Gandhi Maidan, the venue of the rally, which was attended by thousands of people.
 
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told newspersons that one person suffered injuries in the first blast at the railway station and his condition was stated to be critical.
 
He said the other five blasts occurred around the Gandhi Maidan within the space of 15-20 minutes.
 
Mr Kumar said that, in all, 83 people were taken to the Patna Medical College Hospital, where 38 were admitted for treatment while the rest were discharged after first-aid. He said the condition of a few of the injured was serious.
 
Police sources said four unexploded bombs were found later and had been defused by bomb disposal squads. One policemen suffered injuries while defusing a bomb.
 
Mr Kumar said the police were questioning some suspects and had gathered valuable clues. He said he was confident the police would find those responsible for the blasts. 
 
He said there were no intelligence inputs about the possibility of such blasts. According to him, the police had made elaborate arrangements for Mr Modi's rally and it was a matter of serious concern that such an incident had occurred.
 
He said that the way in which the serial blasts were carried out indicated that somebody had planned to vitiate the atmosphere in the state.
 
The Chief Minister announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of those killed in the blasts. He said the state government would meet the medical expenses of those injured in the explosions.
 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the blasts and called for urgent steps to identify and ake action against those responsibility. He also appealed to the people to maintain peace and calm.
 
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Dr Singh spoke to Mr Kumar to enquire about the situation and called for immediate and firm action against those responsible.
 
He also assured the Chief Minister of all assistance from the Centre in the investigations.
 
Mr Kumar held a meeting with senior state government and police officials to take stock of the situation.
 
In Delhi, Union Minister of State for Home R P N Singh told journalists that the explosions were caused by crude devices.
 
Condemning the blasts, he said teams from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the National Security Guard (NSG) had been rushed to Patna to probe the incident.
 
He said the Ministry of Home Affairs was in continuous touch with the Bihar government in this regard.
 
The rally continued, with none of the speakers, including Mr Modi making any reference to it. However, towards the end, Mr Modi did urge people to return home from the meeting in a peaceful manner.
 
Later, he condoled the loss of lives in a post on micro-blogging site Twitter. 
 
"Blasts in Patna are deeply saddening & unfortunate. Condolences with families of deceased & prayers with injured. I appeal for peace & calm," he said.
 
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Central medical teams to strengthen management of AES cases in Bihar

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday directed that five teams of senior paediatricians and paramedics be sent immediately to help manage the cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome/Japanese Encephalitis in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar.
Children with encephalitis symptoms being treated at a hospital in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. (Photo: IANS)
Children with encephalitis symptoms being treated at a hospital in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. (Photo: IANS)
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan today directed that five teams of senior paediatricians and paramedics be sent immediately to help manage the cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES)/Japanese Encephalitis (JE) in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar.
 
The teams will strengthen the State government's efforts and measures in Muzaffarpur and other affected districts, an official press release said.
 
Ten paediatricians (including five senior consultants) and five para-medics from RML Hospital, Safdarjung and Lady Hardinge Medical College will be part of the five teams. “The teams will strengthen the clinical care to the existing patients in the hospitals and also strengthen surveillance of cases from the peripheral areas,” Harsh Vardhan stated.
 
“A high-level central team led by Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health, has been stationed in the area to monitor the operations for the past three days. Teams have also been constituted for socio-economic survey in these areas to identify and pinpoint causes linked with the economic status," he added.
 
Ten additional ambulances have been deployed in the most affected blocks of the districts for round-the-clock services. Also, 16 nodal officers (teams of senior doctors and an administrative officer) have been deployed at the primary health centres (PHCs) in the affected blocks.
 
To strengthen the health infrastructure and facilitate the transportation of patients to the health facilities, the State Government has also made a provision to reimburse the ambulance charges if the patients are shifted privately by the family to the hospitals.
 
IANS adds from Patna:
 
Children have been dying in Bihar's Muzaffarpur and neighbouring districts due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) for over a fortnight, but doctors and health officials are still in the dark about the exact nature of the disease and precise cause of deaths.
 
The state and central governments are also clueless in the matter. As per official figures, 113 children have died due to AES in Muzaffarpur and neighbouring districts, so far. 
 
Bihar Health Department Principal Secretary Sanjay Kumar said here that of the total 113 deaths, 91 had died in the state-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), 16 in the private Kejriwal hospital, both in Muzaffarpur, two in the Nalanda Medical College and Hospital in Patna, and 4 in other districts.
 
This year, 501 AES cases have been reported in the state till date.
 
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Doctors and health officials have different views on the factors behind the AES epidemic and the cause of the deaths. This confusion has further complicated the process to combat or control the seasonal outbreak of AES, which has been recurring every year.
 
Bihar Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar has publicly admitted that even the government is unclear about what exactly was causing the AES outbreak, which has been recorded regularly in Muzaffarpur since 1995.
 
"We are still not aware if the disease is caused due to some virus, bacteria, toxin effect due to the consumption of lychees, malnourishment or due to environmental conditions such as high temperature and humidity," he said. 
 
"Several research projects have been conducted, including by a team of experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta (US), but the finding is inconclusive."
 
SKMCH Chief Medical Officer S. P. Singh said the reason behind the outbreak of the disease was yet to be confirmed. "We don't know it and it is being ascertained medically," Singh said.
 
Harsh Vardhan, himself a doctor, who had visited Muzaffarpur three days ago and examined several children in SKMCH, said the deaths could have something to do with electrolyte imbalance and the metabolic system. 
 
He also did not rule out the possibility of AES due to viral infection or toxin effect, which could possibly be caused by the consumption of litchi, as well as high temperature and humidity.
 
Taking this into consideration, Harsh Vardhan stressed the need for research on AES and setting up of a state-of-the-art, multi-disciplinary research unit in Muzaffarpur in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research, the National Centre for Disease Control and AIIMS Patna.
 
He said there should be research to identify the disease that has still not been identified and for it a research facility should be developed in Muzaffarpur. He said the government will take support from Atlanta based Centre for Disease Control and WHO for research in order to ascertain the causative factor of the disease.
 
However, Hardeo Manjhi, a landless labourer from Muzaffarpur, whose 4-year-old son is being treated at SKMCH, said: "My son suddenly developed a high fever in the early hours last week, followed by convulsions, and he later turned unconscious, after which we brought him to hospital for treatment. His condition is showing little improvement."
 
Manjhi pointed out that most of the children first develop high fever, followed by symptoms like weakness and convulsion, and then lose consciousness.
 
Marla Devi, the mother of a 6-year-old child undergoing treatment for AES, said doctors treating her daughter informed her that she had lost consciousness due to brain swelling and high fever. "We have noticed only high fever and convulsion," she said. 
 
SKMCH's Paediatrics Department head Gopal Shankar Sahni said the AES outbreak happened during extreme summer.
 
"We have collected information that suggests that children's body temperatures would shoot up followed by convulsion. They also suffer from hypoglycaemia (very low blood sugar) due to shortage of sodium".
 
Rajiv Kumar of Kejriwal Hospital said it was common for children struck by AES to suffer from mental disorientation after the sudden onset of fever.
 
"In such a situation, we have been advising parents to bring their children to the nearest PHC or hospital without delay for treatment. Chances of survival increase with early arrival"," he said.
 
Most of the child victims of AES belong to poor and marginalised sections, including Dalits, Other Backward Classes (OBCs), Economically Backward Classes (EBCs) and Muslims.
 
"AES victims are mostly the malnourished children from underprivileged sections of society, they are from categories below the poverty line (BPL)," said a district health official in Muzaffarpur.
 
After Chief Minister Nitish Kumar visited Muzaffarpur on Tuesday, the government has commissioned a survey in blocks and villages which reported high death toll to study the socio-economic profiles of the affected families and their living conditions.
 
A team of experts sent by the Central government has expressed dissatisfaction over the weak health infrastructure and poor hospital facilities.
 
IANS
 

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Heatwave kills 90 people in last 72 hours in Bihar

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A severe heat wave has killed 12 more people in Bihar in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll over the past three days to 90, official sources said on Tuesday.
 
Unofficial reports reaching here, however, said the number of people killed was much higher in a dozen districts.
 
Deaths were reported from Aurangabad, Gaya, Nawada and Jamui districts, where temperatures hovered around 45.8 to 42 degrees Celsius on June 15, 16 and 17.
 
According to the State Disaster Management Department website, some 90 deaths had been recorded till Tuesday. Of these, Aurangabad recorded 41 deaths, Gaya 35 and Nawada 14.
 
In a first, prohibitory orders have been imposed in the wake of extreme weather conditions under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in Gaya, Begusarai, Darbhanga, Gopalganj, Madhubani and Sitamarhi districts 
 
Bihar Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar told the media here that the government will conduct an enquiry into how intense the heatwave was between 3-5 p.m. on June 15 that it resulted in the highest number of deaths in a day due to heatstroke.
 
Kumar said the Chief Minister had also ordered an environment survey of the state over the next four days.
 
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has already announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the next-of-kin of the victims.
 
The government has also issued a heat alert and advised people to avoid going out during the day time.
 
Additional Health Director of Magadh range Vijay Kumar said that nearly 100 people had been admitted in government-run hospitals in Gaya, Aurangabad and Nawada, while dozens were being treated at primary health centres in the three districts.
 
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Harsh Vardhan visits AES-hit Muzaffarpur, death toll rises to 81

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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday visited Bihar's Muzaffarpur district, where 81 children have died due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in the past fortnight.
 
Seven children died on Sunday, taking the total number of casualties due to AES to 81, health officials said. Seventy three children had died till Saturday night.
 
However, the unofficial number of deaths due the disease is said to be over 100 as some children died in villages before being admitted to hospital.
 
Harsh Vardhan, accompanied by Union Minister of State for Health Ashwani Kumar Choubey and Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey, visited the state-owned Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH).
 
"The Ministers are holding a closed-door review meeting with the doctors and health officials to take stock of the situation," a district health official said.
 
Meanwhile SKMCH and private Kejriwal Hospital in the city continue to recieve fresh cases with symptoms akin to AES. The two hospitals are reverberating with the cries and wailing of helpless parents as children continue to die of AES.
 
According to reports, two children died in Begusarai district and three died in East Champaran district on Saturday.
 
IANS
 

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AES kills 43 kids in Bihar, spreads to new victims

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Seven more children died of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES)-like symptoms in Bihar in last 24 hours, taking the toll to 43 even as new cases are being reported, officials said on Thursday.
 
Amid fears that the toll might go up, as dozens of children are still being treated in various hospitals, the state and Central governments are scrambling to contain the spread of the disease.
 
Regional Additional Director, Health, Ashok Kumar Singh, who is based in Muzaffarpur that has been worst hit by the disease outbreak, confirmed deaths of 43 children so far
 
As many as 36 children died in the government-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) and seven in the private Kejriwal hospital as of Wednesday evening, he said. 
 
With dozens of children undergoing treatment, Singh did not rule out more deaths on Thursday even as some reports said that the toll had risen above 60.
 
Principal Secretary, Health, Sanjay Kumar admitted that many children with symptoms akin to AES are still undergoing treatment in Muzaffarpur and a few new patients were also admitted in the hospitals in last 24 hours. 
 
Till date, 143 cases of AES have been reported from 11 districts - Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Samastipur, Sheohar, Sitamarhi, East Champaran, Patna, Gaya, Jehanabad, Bhojpur and Aurangabad.
 
Kumar said that most of children died due to hypoglycaemia (loss of sugar in the blood) and shortage of sodium in their bodies after developing symptoms akin to AES.
 
A day after the seven-member Central team headed by senior paediatrician Dr Arun Kumar Sinha, national advisor in the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry, visited Muzaffarpur to review the situation and to help the state in control of the disease, Union Minister of State for Health Ashwani Kumar Choubey reached Muzaffarpur on Thursday.
 
His visit came as Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan's visit was cancelled at the last momemnt.
 
Choubey, who belongs to Bihar, will meet doctors, health officials and parents of children battling for their lives during his visit. 
 
SKMCH superintendent Sunil Kumar Shahi said team of doctors have been working day and night to provide proper treatment to save the lives of the affected children. "We are in alert mode... taking no chances," he said.
 
Health officials said that experts are of the view that monsoon rains will not only help bring down cases but also help to treat children. "In the last few years, we had closely seen that heat wave conditions help the virus to spread and intensify the disease... monsoon rains are the best antidote for the disease," an official said. 
 
The state Health Department had already issued advisory to people to take care of their children during daylight hours and not allow them to play under the open sky.
 
After Chief Minister Nitish Kumar stressed the need to sensitise the people, health officials have launched the campaign from primary health centres to block and district hospitals.
 
IANS
 

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Bihar Cabinet expansion, 8 JD-U MLAs appointed ministers

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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday inducted eight new JD-U MLAs as Ministers in his Cabinet. The Cabinet expansion comes two days after Janata Dal-United (JD-U) chief opted out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new government at the Centre.
 
There are now 33 ministers in the Nitish Kumar Cabinet, up from 25 ministers.
 
The newly appointed ministers are Ashok Coudhary, Shyam Rajak, Narendra Narayan Yadav, Sanjay Jha, Ramsewak Singh, Lakshmeshwar Rai Neeraj Kumar and Bima Bharti. Bima Bharti is the only woman among the new ministers. 
 
Governor Lalji Tandon administered the oath of office and secrecy to the Ministers at a simple ceremony held at the Raj Bhavan. Five of the eight sworn-in are first-time ministers.
 
IANS
 

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Two children killed in Bihar fire

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Two children were killed in a fire that engulfed three houses in Bihar, police said on Saturday.
 
The incident took place in Baligaon Bandh village in Saran district on Friday night.
 
Rumbhu Shah had left his son Kundan (eight) and daughter Suhani (five) sleeping in the house to attend a function in the neighbourhood. A fire broke out in the house killing the children and engulfed two adjacent houses.
 
The reasons for the fire could not be ascertained immediately, said Kundan Kumar Singh, in-charge of Parsa police station.
 
IANS
 

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JD-U not to be part of Modi government: Nitish Kumar

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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday said that his Janata Dal-United would not be part of the Narendra Modi government. He called the BJP's offer of participation in the Modi-led ministry "symbolic representation."
 
"We got the BJP's offer (for one ministerial post).. discussed it in the party and conveyed yesterday (Wednesday) itself that it was not acceptable. We also reiterated our stand this morning," Nitish Kumar, who is also the JD-U chief, told media persons here.
 
He, however, reiterated that his party would continue to be part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Pragya Thakur should be expelled from BJP: Nitish Kumar

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BJP ally and JD-U chief Nitish Kumar on Sunday lashed out at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur for her statement in favour of Mahatma Gandhi assassin Nathuram Godse and demanded the party to expel her.
 
Pragya Thakur, who is a Malegaon blast accused, spurred a row and drew flak after she lauded the killer of Mahatma Gandhi and called him a "patriot".
 
"The BJP should take action against her. She should be expelled from the party for what she had stated," Nitish Kumar told media here after casting his vote in the final phase of the Lok Sabha elections. 
 
"The BJP should think about such comments. We condemn such remarks," he said.
 
Thakur is contesting from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh against senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh. 
 
Thakur had earlier too, created controversy after she claimed that 26/11 martyr Hemant Karkare, who died fighting against terrorist in Mumbai, lost his life because he tortured the BJP leader in jail.
 
IANS
 

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Congress stands with 'tukde-tukde' gang: Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday attacked the Congress saying it has been standing with the "tukde-tukde" gang and joined hands with those who care less about the country and more about themselves.
 
"Desh ko tukde tukde karne wale ke sath Congress khadi hai," Modi said, addressing an election meeting at Paliganj in Patliputra constituency in Patna district. 
 
Modi complained to the public that those people have been hurling abuses at him and trying to damage his image and defame him. 
 
He appealed to the people not to support and vote for any party that could disintegrate the country. "Elect a strong government that will protect the interest of the country." 
 
He urged them to vote for a party that will work for development, progress and growth of the nation. 
 
He said: "130 crore people of the country have faith in me and my leadership." 
 
Modi claimed that people, particularly the youths, have been getting cheapest internet in the country. "World's cheapest internet is in India." 
 
He said his real capital was people's love for him and he was getting overwhelming blessings and support throughout his campaign. 
 
He requested people to support and vote for BJP candidate and Union Minister Ram Kirpal Yadav from Patliputra seat, who is pitted against RJD's Misha Bharti. 
 
IANS
 

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CBI to SC: Probing murder of 11 girls in Muzaffarpur shelter home case

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In a twist in Bihar's Muzaffarpur shelter home case, the CBI informed the Supreme Court on Friday it is probing accused Brajesh Thakur in the murder of eleven girls. The CBI has recovered a bundle of bones from an alleged burial ground.
 
Thakur is already an accused in rape and sexual abuse of children in his shelter home in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar. The CBI has been facing severe criticism for the delay in charging the accused persons with murder.
 
The CBI, in its affidavit, told the court that it had made a headway into the alleged murders from a child rescued from the shelter home. 
 
"During investigations, from the statement of victims recorded by investigation officers (IOs) and NIMHANS team, names of 11 girls emerged, who were said to be allegedly murdered by the accused Brajesh Thakur and his accomplices, said the CBI in affidavit. 
 
"On scrutiny of details of these 11 girls, it was revealed that there were a total of 35 girls with identical/similar names who at one time or the other stayed at the Balika Grih (girls' home), Muzaffarpur".
 
The CBI told the apex court: "The physical existence of these girls and their location were verified and duly reported to the apex court in a status report."
 
One accused, Guddu Patel, led CBI to a "particular spot in a burial grounda...a bundle of bones was recovered after excavation," the CBI told a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
 
The CBI said: "The alleged murders had cropped up during the examination of victims by the IOs. The Master Register maintained at Balika Grih is being scrutinized to locate the dead bodies, conduct field-level verification as to existence of the girls alleged to be murdered." 
 
Stating that the investigation is in progress, the agency denied the accusations that allegations of murder have not been looked into. 
 
The CBI told the apex court that it will soon file a supplementary chargesheet.
 
Advocate Shoeb Alam, representing Nivedita Jha, in an application in a writ petition filed in the court, accused the CBI of avoiding crucial leads to shield the perpetrators. 
 
In its defence, the CBI said: "Persons named by the victims even by way of gestures have been identified and chargesheeted to face process of law. No person has been left out who was named or identified by the victims." 
 
The agency said all the accused who were chargesheeted by the local police have been chargesheeted by it. 
 
The agency said the trial court has already framed charges against 20 accused for offences under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, the Indian Penal Code and the Juvenile Justice Act. 
 
The court will further hear the case on May 6.
 
IANS
 

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Modi surname: Case filed against Rahul in Bihar

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A case was filed against Congress President Rahul Gandhi in a Bihar court for his reported statement that "all thieves have Modi as their surnames".
 
A BJP leader Manoj Modi on Wednesday filed the case in the Chief Judicial Magistrate's (CJM) court in Purnea district.
 
The petitioner's lawyer Delip Kumar Deepak said his client Manoj Modi was deeply hurt by Gandhi's statement.
 
Last week Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi also filed a defamation case against Gandhi for the same reported statement.
 
The senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader had filed the case in the CJM court in Patna under Section 500 of the IPC. "Rahul defames and hurts the sentiments of everyone who has the Modi surname," he had said.
 
IANS
 

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People have decided to change chowkidar: Rahul

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said voters have made up their mind to "change their 'chowkidar' this time" as he has proved he is "not fit for the job".
 
"The chowkidar has exposed himself and people have realised he is not fit for the job," Gandhi said at an election rally in Bihar's Supaul parliamentary constituency.
 
"PM Narendra Modi has been trying hard but the people of the country will not allow him to become PM again," he added.
 
"Now people know the reality and truth of the chowkidar. And the chowkidar is afraid of that truth. Chowkidar has realised that his place will be in jail whenever a probe is conducted in the Rafale case," Rahul said.
 
He appealed to people to support Congress candidate from Supaul seat Ranjeet Ranjan.
 
Gandhi reiterated that only rich people keep a chowkidar not the poor including farmers, workers and labourers. 
 
The Congress president said if his party is voted to power this time, it along with allies would provide annual income of Rs 72,000 to 5 crore poor people and 35 per cent reservation to women in government jobs.
 
He also promised to provide employment to 22 lakh youths annually. "These are not mere promises. After coming to power in MP, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, the Congress has fulfilled its promise of waiving farmers' loans".
 
IANS
 

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Poll code breach: Case lodged against Sidhu in Bihar

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A case was lodged against cricketer-turned-politician and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday for violating the Model Code of Conduct in Bihar's Katihar district, police said.
 
According to district police officials, a first information report (FIR) was lodged against Sidhu at Barsoi Police Station in Katihar based on the statement of a local magistrate.
 
The case was lodged in connection with Sidhu's allegedly objectionable appeal to Muslims to vote against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha polls while campaigning in Barsoi in Katihar parliamentary constituency. 
 
Earlier in the day, Bihar BJP leaders had said they would make a complaint to the Election Commission against Sidhu.
 
Deputy Development Commissioner (DDC) Amit Kumar Pandey, who is the district's nodal officer for Model Code of Conduct, took cognizance of Sidhu's statement and asked the local administration to submit a CD of his speech at an election rally.
 
Pandey said if it was established that Sidhu made the appeal for votes on the basis of religion, the Election Commission would take appropriate action against him. 
 
While canvassing support for veteran Congress leader and former Union Minister Tariq Anwar, Sidhu urged Muslims to vote en bloc and defeat Modi. 
 
Katihar is part of backward Seemanchal region having sizeable Muslim population, and their support or opposition could decide the outcome of polls. 
 
Sidhu reportedly said: "Do not consider yourself as being in minority. You constitute the majority here. You are about 64 percent. Do not fall into the trap laid by people like (Asaduddin) Owaisi (chief of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen). They have been propped up by the BJP.
 
"Recognise your strength and vote en bloc to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi."
 
Katigar will go to polls on April 18 in the second phase of Lok Sabha elections. 
 
IANS
 

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Shatrughan Sinha ends suspense, joins Congress

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Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha on Saturday ended the suspense over his political future and joined the Congress here with the hope it will provide him with the opportunity to serve people, society, and the nation.
 
The former Bharatiya Janata Party MP joined Congress at the party headquarters in the presence of Congress General Secretary K.C. Venugopal and Randeep Singh Surjewala.
 
He earlier tweeted: "It's with a heavy heart and immense pain that I finally bid adieu to my old party, for reasons best known to all of us, on April 6, which also happens to be the Sansthapna Diwas (Foundation Day) of the BJP.
 
"I don't hold any ill will for our people as they were like my family and I was groomed in this party with the guidance and blessings of the stalwarts like Bharat Ratna Nanaji Deshmukh, late and great PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and of course, our friend philosopher, ultimate leader, guru and guide L.K. Advani."
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Opposition speaks Pakistan's language on terror: Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday attacked the opposition, accusing them of "speaking the language of Pakistan" on terror while his government had cracked down on terrorist activities and ensured security in the country.
 
The Prime Minister addressed two election rallies in Bihar's Jamui and Gaya Lok Sabha seats for candidates of allied parties.
 
At a rally in Gaya, from where Janata Dal-United's Vijay Manjhi is contesting, he alleged that the opposition are helping terrorists "who are in trouble from the 'chowkidar'".
 
"Earlier, bomb blasts were a daily affair but now it has ended after people voted us to power. Every vote matters as it helped to end daily bomb blasts," Modi said.
 
He also said that in last five years, several schemes and development projects were initiated and promised people that if they voted for the National Democratic Alliance, he would do what was left.
 
"You have given me chance to serve and work for development... if you are happy with my work, then give me another chance to complete the remaining work," he said.
 
He also questioned former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's demand to go back to the old title of 'Prime Minister' in the state. "How it is possible that there will be two PMs in one country," he asked, adding that opposition leaders were silent over the demand.
 
Modi attacked the Congress for insulting the Indian Constitution's prime architect B. R. Ambedkar while his BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government honoured him.
 
"Congress has always insulted Ambedkar. But the NDA government is doing everything to respect and honour him," he said at the rally in Jamui constituency from where ally Lok Janshakti Party's Chirag Paswan, the son of party chief and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, is contesting.
 
Those who consider Ambedkar as an icon and legendary would never support the Congress, Modi added. 
 
Accusing the Congress of creating confusion over reservation by spreading lies, he said: "No one can end reservation in government jobs and educational institutions, not even Modi. Opposition leaders are spreading lies on it."
 
The Prime Minister also sought to clarify that the 10 percent reservation for economically weaker sections, brought in by his government, has nothing to do with ending reservation at all.
 
IANS

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Four injured after train derails in Bihar

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Four people were injured on Sunday after at least 13 coaches of the Chapra-Surat Tapti Ganga Express train derailed in Bihar, officials said.
 
The train that runs between Bihar and Gujarat derailed near Gautam Sthan railway station, a railway official said.
 
Rescue and relief operations were on, the official added.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Maoists blow up house of ex-Bihar lawmaker in Gaya

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Armed Maoists destroyed a former Bihar Legislative Council member's house in Gaya district. No one hurt was hurt, police said on Thursday.
 
The Maoist attack on Anuj Kumar Singh's Bodhibigha residence came late on Wednesday. The insurgents used dynamite for the explosion.
 
According to a police official, the banned Left wing activists had beaten up a close relative of Singh before ordering him to vacate the house.
 
"The house was badly damaged," Dharmendra Kumar, police official at Dumaria police station said.
 
Gaya Senior Superintendent of Police Rajeev Mishra also confirmed the incident and said a search operation has been launched. 
 
The attack comes days ahead of the Lok Sabha poll in which Bihar will vote in all the seven phases polling between April 11 and May 19.
 
IANS
 

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CPI fields Kanhaiya Kumar from Begusarai

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The Communist Party of India (CPI) has decided to field former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) President Kanhaiya Kumar from the Begusarai Lok Sabha seat in Bihar.
 
"Kanhaiya will be the CPI candidate from Begusarai," said State CPI Secretary Satyanarayan Singh here on Sunday. 
 
Kanhaiya Kumar will be the Left parties' joint candidate and take on Union Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Giriraj Singh in Begusarai.
 
Singh said the party had decided last week to field the former student leader in the Lok Sabha elections. "We wanted a secular democratic alliance to defeat the BJP," he said.
 
The announcement has come two days after the Grand Alliance of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Congress and other parties did not allocate Begusarai to the CPI. 
 
The RJD is set to field Tanweer Hasan who lost to Bhola Singh of the BJP in 2014.
 
Speaking to the media on Sunday, Kanhaiya Kumar said his fight will be against Giriraj Singh, not the RJD. 
 
"People of Begusarai will defeat Giriraj Singh and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will be defeated across Bihar as the people have made up their minds to oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he said.
 
He also called Giriraj Singh Pakistan's 'Visa Minister' for his repeated threats of sending the critics of Modi and the BJP to Pakistan. "The people of Begusarai have decided not to support any hardliner. The BJP has been spreading hatred across the country," he said.
 
He also vowed to work to minimise division of anti-NDA votes in Bihar and other states.
 
Kanhaiya Kumar, 32, was arrested in February 2016 and accused of sedition for allegedly doing nothing to prevent the raising of anti-India slogans on the JNU campus.
 
The JNUSU President for 2015-16, he was then pursuing doctorate from the School of International Studies and was affiliated to the All India Students Federation (AISF). 
 
Kanhaiya Kumar belongs to a Bhumihar family in Begusarai.
 
IANS
 

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NDA names candidates for 39 LS seats in Bihar

Bihar's ruling National Democratic Alliance on Saturday announced candidates for 39 out of the total 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and Union Ministers Ramvilas Pasvan, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Ram Kripal Yadav at a rally in Patna, on March 3, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and Union Ministers Ramvilas Pasvan, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Ram Kripal Yadav at a rally in Patna, on March 3, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Bihar's ruling NDA on Saturday announced candidates for 39 out of the total 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
 
The lone seat for which a candidate was not announced was Khagaria.
 
The announcement was made at a joint press conference addressed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state-in-charge Bhupinder Yadav here in the presence of leaders from the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP).
 
The BJP has dropped actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha from his Patna Sahib seat and instead fielded Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in his place.
 
Sinha won the seat in 2014.
 
LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan will not contest from Hajipur seat. The party has fielded Paswan's younger brother Pasupati Kumar Paras, a Bihar Minister and state LJP president, in his place.
 
Ram Vilas Paswan's son Chirag will contest from Jamui, while another brother Ram Chandra Paswan is being fielded from the Samastipur seat that he won in 2014.
 
The BJP has shifted its firebrand leader and Union Minister Giriraj Singh from Nawada to Begusarai. Nawada went to the LJP under the seat sharing formula.
 
"All the Union Ministers from BJP including Radha Mohan Singh from Motihari, Ram Kirpal Yadav from Patliputra, Ashwani Choubey from Buxar, R. K. Singh from Ara, were given tickets," Yadav said.
 
Only one Muslim candidate figures in the NDA list. The JD-U has fielded Mahmood Ashraf from Kishanganj.
 
The NDA had earlier officially announced the seat-sharing formula for the Lok Sabha elections.
 
According to the agreement, the JD-U and BJP will contest 17 seats each and the LJP the rest of the six seats.
 
The JD-U is contesting Valmikinagar, Sitamarhi, Jhanjharpur, Supaul, Kishanganj, Katihar, Purnea, Madhepura, Bhagalpur, Gopalganj, Banka, Munger, Nalanda, Gaya, Jehanabad, Siwan and Karakat parliamentary seats.
 
The BJP is contesting West Champaran, East Champaran, Sheohar, Madhubani, Araria, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur, Maharajganj, Saran, Ujiyarpur, Begusarai, Sasaram, Aurangabad, Buxar, Ara, Patna Saheb and Patliputra constituencies.
 
The LJP is contesting the Vaishali, Hajipur, Jamui, Khagaria, Samastipur and Nawada seats.
 
The BJP has ceded to the JD-U five seats -- Valmikinagar, Gaya, Siwan, Gopalganj and Jhanjharpur -- that it won in 2014. 
 
The BJP-led NDA won 31 of the 40 seats in the state in 2014. Of this, the BJP won 22 seats, the LJP six and the Upendra Kushwaha-led Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) three. 
 
The RLSP has joined the Opposition Grand Alliance this time.
 
The JD-U, not part of the NDA then, had contested the 2014 elections on its own and won only two seats -- Purnea and Nawada.
 
IANS
 

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