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Bihar

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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PM speaks to Assam, Bihar CMs regarding flood situation in the two states

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today spoke to Chief Ministers Sarbananda Sonowal of Assam and Nitish Kumar of Bihar regarding the flood situation in the two states and assured them of all possible assistance from the Centre to cope with the crisis.
 
Later, Mr. Modi said on Twitter that the Centre was closely and constantly monitoring the situation in Assam and that all possible support was being provided to the state  for overcoming the crisis.
 
“Ever since Assam has witnessed flooding, the Central Government has been closely and constantly monitoring the situation. All possible support is being provided to Assam for overcoming the flood situation prevailing in parts of the state," he said.
 
Similarly, he said the Centre had assured all support to the Bihar government to mitigate the flood situation and that the situation was being monitored closely.
 
“My thoughts are with all those affected by floods in parts of Bihar. The situation is being monitored closely. Centre assures all support to Bihar government to mitigate the flood situation. Teams of NDRF are in Bihar for rescue and relief work," he added.
 
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Buxar DM found dead on railway tracks near Ghaziabad, suicide suspected

Mukesh Pandey
Mukesh Pandey
Mukesh Pandey, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 2012 batch (Bihar cadre) who took over only a week ago as the district magistrate of Buxar in Bihar, was found dead on the railway tracks near Ghaziabad station, near here, last night, police sources said.
 
The sources said Pandey's mutilated body was discovered on the tracks near the railway yard. His identity was established through a suicide note as well as his identity card and wallet found on his person, they said.
 
Police said that it appeared prima facie to be a case of suicide and that the IAS officer had been run over by a train. 
 
The body has been sent for a post-mortem examination that will be conducted today.
 
Pandey was previously serving as Deputy Development Commissioner in Katihar district before being transferred on July 31 as district magistrate in Buxar. He had taken charge on August 4. He was married and the couple have a three-month-old daughter.
 
According to the sources, Pandey, who hailed from Chhapra district of Bihar, had travelled to Delhi yesterday morning after taking leave and handing over charge to the Buxar deputy development commissioner, saying that he had to visit an ailing relative. He had checked into a local hotel here, they said.
 
The sources said Pandey had posted a message on a WhatsApp group of his friends saying that he planned to commit suicide.
 
“I am committing suicide in district centre area of janakpuri west delhi near hotel Piccadilly by jumping off the 10th floor of the building (sic),” he wrote in that message. “I am fed up with life and my belief on human existence has gone, my suicide note is kept in Nike bag in room 742 of Leela Palace Hotel in delhi! I am sorry I love you all! Plz forgive me!” he added.
 
 
Buxar DM found dead on railway tracks in Ghaziabad
His friends informed the Delhi Police, which sent teams to the location mentioned in the message but did not find him. On checking the CCTV footage in the area, the found that he had left the West End Mall in the area around 5.55 pm. More CCTV footage showed that he had then moved towards a Delhi Metro station.
 
Police said that around 9 pm they were informed that his body had been found on the tracks near the Ghaziabad railway station in Uttar Pradesh.
 
A note found on his person said: "I am Mukesh Pandey IAS 2012 batch Bihar cadre, currently posted as DM Buxar. I am committing suicide of my own volition and after my death please inform my relatives about my suicide. I am residing in room 742 of Leela Palace, Delhi. Detailed suicide note in my bag."
 
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Nitish inducts 27 Ministers, keeps Home, Sushil Modi gets Finance, Commerce

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sarurday inducted 27 Ministers in his Council of Ministers and, in the allocation of portfolios, retained Home with himself and gave Finance and Commerce to Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.

File photo of Nitish Kumar
File photo of Nitish Kumar
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today inducted 27 Ministers in his Council of Ministers and, in the allocation of portfolios, retained Home with himself and gave Finance and Commerce to Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.
 
The new Ministers were administered the oaths of office and secrecy by Bihar Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi at a ceremony in Raj Bhavan.
 
They include 14 MLAs from Mr. Kumar's Janata Dal (United), 12 from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and one from the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) headed by Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
 
Mr. Kumar had resigned as Chief Minister on Wednesday evening after ending  the JD (U)'s alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress and was sworn in again on Thursday at the head of a coalition government with the BJP. He won the vote of confidence in the state legislative assembly yesterday with 131 of the 243 legislators voting for him. 
 
This is the sixth time in his political career that Mr. Kumar, 66, a former Union Minister, has become the Chief Minister of Bihar.
 
The JD (U) had formally withdrawn from the NDA in June 2013 and ended its 17-year-old partnership with the BJP in Bihar after the latter had named then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the chairman of its campaign committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in a clear indication that he would be the party's Prime Ministerial candidate.
 
The JD (U) and Mr Kumar, in particular, had repeatedly made it clear in the preceding weeks that they would not accept Mr Modi as the NDA's Prime Ministerial candidate in view of his alleged failure to control the 2002 post-Godhra violence in which hundreds of people were killed in Gujarat.
 
Mr. Kumar was sworn in for the fifth time as Chief Minister on November 20, 2015 after leading the "Mahagathbandhan" comprising his party, the RJD and the Congress to a resounding win in the elections to the state legislative assembly. That was the first time that the three parties had come together in an alliance in Bihar and was seen by many as the model for a larger alliance of Opposition parties ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
 
The alliance had ended up with 178 seats in the 243-member assembly, while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), finished with 58 seats. Among the alliance partners, the RJD became the single largest party in the assembly with 80 seats, while the JD(U) bagged 71 and the Congress got 27.
 
As it turned out, the alliance lasted less than two years as Mr. Kumar resigned on Wednesday evening, hours after RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav reiterated that his son Tejashwi Yadav would not quit as deputy chief minister despite the CBI filing a case against him.
 
Events began unfolding rapidly after that. Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed Mr. Kumar's resignation, saying on micro-blogging site Twitter, "Congratulations to Nitish Kumar ji for joining the fight against corruption. 125 crore citizens welcome and support honesty."
 
"In the interest of the bright future of the nation, especially of Bihar, we have to rise above political differences and fight as one against corruption, that is the call of the nation and the time," he said. 
 
Within minutes, Mr. Kumar responded to that, conveying his "heartfelt thanks" to Mr. Modi for his reaction to his resignation.
 
The BJP Parliamentary Board went into a huddle in Delhi that night and said later that the party did not wish to see mid-term elections in Bihar and would like to ensure stability in the state. It said a three-member committee of the party in Bihar would advise the party's leadership about the future course of action.
 
Shortly thereafter, MLAs of the JD (U) and the BJP started gathering at Mr. Kumar's residence. Mr. Sushil Kumar Modi told journalists here  on Wednesday night that the BJP had decided to support the JD (U) in formation of a new government and also join it.
 
 
Nitish Kumar inducts 27 ministers in Council of Ministers
Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Yadav addressed a press conference at which he said Tejashwi Yadav, 28, would not resign from his position, arguing that the case filed against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) earlier this month was a "fake case".
 
Mr. Kumar said that he had tried his best to run the state government and adhere to the "coalition dharma" but a stage had been reached where he found that he could not continue in office without straying from his principles.
 
He said he had never asked for Tejashwi's resignation but had asked him and Mr. Yadav that they must give a public explanation about the charges against them.
 
He said he had raised this issue with Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi at their meeting in New Delhi some days ago. He regretted that there was no response from any of them.
 
"The atmosphere had become such that it was impossible to work. My conscience told me to resign," he had said.
 
But there were enough indications that Mr. Kumar was cosying up to the BJP in recent months, as seen by his support for the Centre's demonetisation move and his decision to back the BJP-led NDA's candidate Ram Nath Kovind, who was the Governor of Bihar until then, in the Presidential election.
 
On July 7, the CBI had conducted raids at the residence and other premises of Mr. Yadav and others in five cities in connection with a case registered by it on July 5 against them for alleged irregularities in the award of tender for managing two IRCTC hotels in 2006.
 
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Nitish Kumar wins trust vote in Bihar Assembly, denies charge of opportunism

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who had resigned on Wednesday evening after ending his JD (U)'s alliance with the RJD and the Congress and was sworn in again on Thursday at the head of a coalition government with the BJP, won the vote of confidence in the state legislative assembly on Friday with 131 of the 243 legislators voting for him.

File photo of Nitish Kumar
File photo of Nitish Kumar
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who had resigned on Wednesday evening after ending  his Janata Dal (United)'s alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress and was sworn in again yesterday at the head of a coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), won the vote of confidence in the state legislative assembly today with 131 of the 243 legislators voting for him. 
 
The discussion the motion of confidence moved by Mr. Kumar and the discussion on it were marred by noisy protests by RJD members. As many as 108 members voted against the motion.
 
In his brief response to the debate, Mr. Kumar rejected allegations by the Opposition that his new alliance with the BJP was an act of political opportunism.
 
Responding to criticism that his move was against the anti-BJP mandate of the 2015 elections, Mr. Kumar asserted that secularism could not mask corruption and political parties should remember that they had got a mandate to serve the people.
 
BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi also said that the "mandate was not for corruption".
 
Mr. Kumar and Mr. Modi had been sworn in at a function at Raj  Bhavan yesterday morning by Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, who asked the new Chief Minister to prove his majority in the Assembly within two days.
 
This is the sixth time in his political career that Mr. Kumar, 66, a former Union Minister, was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar.
 
The JD (U) had formally withdrawn from the NDA in June 2013 and ended its 17-year-old partnership with the BJP in Bihar after the latter had named then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the chairman of its campaign committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in a clear indication that he would be the party's Prime Ministerial candidate.
 
The JD (U) and Mr Kumar, in particular, had repeatedly made it clear in the preceding weeks that they would not accept Mr Modi as the NDA's Prime Ministerial candidate in view of his alleged failure to control the 2002 post-Godhra violence in which hundreds of people were killed in Gujarat.
 
Mr. Kumar was sworn in for the fifth time as Chief Minister on November 20, 2015 after leading the "Mahagathbandhan" comprising his party, the RJD and the Congress to a resounding win in the elections to the state legislative assembly. That was the first time that the three parties had come together in an alliance in Bihar and was seen by many as the model for a larger alliance of Opposition parties ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
 
The alliance had ended up with 178 seats in the 243-member assembly, while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), finished with 58 seats. Among the alliance partners, the RJD became the single largest party in the assembly with 80 seats, while the JD(U) bagged 71 and the Congress got 27.
 
As it turned out, the alliance lasted less than two years as Mr. Kumar resigned on Wednesday evening, hours after RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav reiterated that his son Tejashwi Yadav would not quit as deputy chief minister despite the CBI filing a case against him.
 
Mr. Kumar met the Governor here that evening and handed over his resignation. Later, Mr. Kumar told journalists outside his official residence that the Governor had accepted his resignation and asked him to continue in office till alternative arrangements were made.
 
Events began unfolding rapidly after that. Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed Mr. Kumar's resignation, saying on micro-blogging site Twitter, "Congratulations to Nitish Kumar ji for joining the fight against corruption. 125 crore citizens welcome and support honesty."
 
"In the interest of the bright future of the nation, especially of Bihar, we have to rise above political differences and fight as one against corruption, that is the call of the nation and the time," he said. 
 
Within minutes, Mr. Kumar responded to that, conveying his "heartfelt thanks" to Mr. Modi for his reaction to his resignation.
 
The BJP Parliamentary Board went into a huddle in Delhi that night and said later that the party did not wish to see mid-term elections in Bihar and would like to ensure stability in the state. It said a three-member committee of the party in Bihar would advise the party's leadership about the future course of action.
 
Shortly thereafter, MLAs of the JD (U) and the BJP started gathering at Mr. Kumar's residence. Mr. Sushil Kumar Modi told journalists here  on Wednesday night that the BJP had decided to support the JD (U) in formation of a new government and also join it.
 
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Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Yadav addressed a press conference at which he said Tejashwi Yadav, 28, would not resign from his position, arguing that the case filed against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) earlier this month was a "fake case".
 
Mr. Kumar said that he had tried his best to run the state government and adhere to the "coalition dharma" but a stage had been reached where he found that he could not continue in office without straying from his principles.
 
He said he had never asked for Tejashwi's resignation but had asked him and Mr. Yadav that they must give a public explanation about the charges against them.
 
He said he had raised this issue with Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi at their meeting in New Delhi some days ago. He regretted that there was no response from any of them.
 
"The atmosphere had become such that it was impossible to work. My conscience told me to resign," he had said.
 
But there were enough indications that Mr. Kumar was cosying up to the BJP in recent months, as seen by his support for the Centre's demonetisation move and his decision to back the BJP-led NDA's candidate Ram Nath Kovind, who was the Governor of Bihar until then, in the Presidential election.
 
On July 7, the CBI had conducted raids at the residence and other premises of Mr. Yadav and others in five cities in connection with a case registered by it on July 5 against them for alleged irregularities in the award of tender for managing two IRCTC hotels in 2006.
 
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Nitish Kumar sworn in as Bihar CM, BJP's Sushil Modi is Deputy CM

JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar, who resigned on Wednesday evening as Chief Minister of Bihar after breaking off his party's "grand alliance" with the RJD and the Congress, was sworn in again on Thursday morning to that position at the head of a coalition government with the BJP, the ruling party at the Centre.

File photo of Nitish Kumar
File photo of Nitish Kumar
Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar, who resigned yesterday evening as Chief Minister of Bihar after breaking off his party's "grand alliance" with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress, was sworn in again this morning to that position at the head of a coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling party at the Centre.
 
Along with him, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi was sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister, a position that he held in a previous government headed by Mr. Kumar when the JD (U) was a part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
 
They were adminstered the oaths of office and secrecy by Bihar Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi at a simple ceremony at Raj Bhavan here.
 
The two parties will finalise the list of other Ministers later and they are expected to be sworn in after Mr. Kumar proves his majority in the state legislative assembly within two days as directed by the Governor.
 
This is the sixth time in his political career that Mr. Kumar, 66, a former Union Minister, has been sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar. The JD (U) had formally withdrawn from the NDA and ended its 17-year-old partnership with the BJP in Bihar after the latter had named then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the chairman of its campaign committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in a clear indication that he would be the party's Prime Ministerial candidate.
 
The JD (U) and Mr Kumar, in particular, had repeatedly made it clear in the preceding weeks that they would not accept Mr Modi as the NDA's Prime Ministerial candidate in view of his alleged failure to control the 2002 post-Godhra violence in which hundreds of people were killed in Gujarat.
 
Mr. Kumar was sworn in for the fifth time as Chief Minister on November 20, 2015 after leading the "Mahagathbandhan" comprising his party, the RJD and the Congress to a resounding win in the elections to the state legislative assembly. That was the first time that the three parties had come together in an alliance in Bihar and was seen by many as the model for a larger alliance of Opposition parties ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
 
The alliance had ended up with 178 seats in the 243-member assembly, while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), finished with 58 seats. Among the alliance partners, the RJD became the single largest party in the assembly with 80 seats, while the JD(U) bagged 71 and the Congress got 27.
 
As it turned out, the alliance lasted less than two years as Mr. Kumar resigned yesterday evening, hours after RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav reiterated that his son Tejashwi Yadav would not quit as deputy chief minister despite the CBI filing a case against him.
 
Mr. Kumar, 66, met the Governor here yesterday evening and handed over his resignation. Later, Mr. Kumar told journalists outside his official residence that the Governor had accepted his resignation and asked him to continue in office till alternative arrangements were made.
 
Events began unfolding rapidly after that. Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed Mr. Kumar's resignation, saying on micro-blogging site Twitter, "Congratulations to Nitish Kumar ji for joining the fight against corruption. 125 crore citizens welcome and support honesty."
 
"In the interest of the bright future of the nation, especially of Bihar, we have to rise above political differences and fight as one against corruption, that is the call of the nation and the time," he said. 
 
Within minutes, Mr. Kumar responded to that, conveying his "heartfelt thanks" to Mr. Modi for his reaction to his resignation.
 
The BJP Parliamentary Board went into a huddle in Delhi and said later that the party did not wish to see mid-term elections in Bihar and would like to ensure stability in the state. It said a three-member committee of the party in Bihar would advise the party's leadership about the future course of action.
 
Shortly thereafter, MLAs of the JD (U) and the BJP started gathering at Mr. Kumar's residence. Mr. Sushil Kumar Modi told journalists here late last night that the BJP had decided to support the JD (U) in formation of a new government.
 
"We are going to join the government. The MLAs of the two parties will elect Mr. Kumar as their new leader. A letter conveying our support to Mr. Kumar has already been sent to the Governor," Mr. Modi said.
 
Earlier yesterday, Mr. Yadav addressed a press conference at which he said Tejashwi Yadav, 28, would not resign from his position, arguing that the case filed against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) earlier this month was a "fake case".
 
Mr. Kumar said that he had tried his best to run the state government and adhere to the "coalition dharma" but a stage had been reached where he found that he could not continue in office without straying from his principles.
 
He said he had never asked for Tejashwi's resignation but had asked him and Mr. Yadav that they must give a public explanation about the charges against them.
 
He said he had raised this issue with Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi at their meeting in New Delhi some days ago. He regretted that there was no response from any of them.
 
"The atmosphere had become such that it was impossible to work. My conscience told me to resign," he said.
 
Mr. Kumar said he had informed Mr. Yadav, the state leadership of the Congress and his party legislators of his decision before driving down to Raj Bhavan to hand in his papers.
 
He said he was attacked for supporting demonetisation and later for backing the NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. "I faced so many charges. The Opposition has no agenda, no discourse. They only have a reactive agenda," he said.
 
Mr. Kumar also talked about the various steps he had taken to ensure good governance and social justice in Bihar, including imposition of prohibition. "I tried to run the government as long as possible," he said.
 
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On July 7, the CBI had conducted raids at the residence and other premises of Mr. Yadav and others in five cities in connection with a case registered by it on July 5 against them for alleged irregularities in the award of tender for managing two IRCTC hotels in 2006.
 
The CBI said the case had been registered under section 120 B, read with section 420, of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 13 (2) read with 13 (1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 against Mr. Yadav; his wife and former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi and his son and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav; Vijay Kochhar and Vinay Kochhar, directors of Sujata Hotels, Patna; Mrs Sarla Gupta, wife of RJD leader Prem Chand Gupta; Delight Marketing Company, Patna; Lara Projects, a company owned by Mr. Yadav's family; then IRCTC Managing Director P K Goyal; and unknown others.
 
The case related to the award of tenders for the development, maintenance and operation of BNR Hotels at Ranchi in Jharkhand and at Puri in Odisha to Sujata Hotels in 2006, when Mr. Yadav was Minister for Railways. Mr. Yadav is also a former Chief Minister of Bihar.
 
A CBI spokesman had said at that time that the case had been registered consequent to a preliminary enquiry conducted by the agency which "prima facie revealed" that Mr. Yadav had derived undue advantage by abuse of his official position.
 
He said that the private hotel company had, in return for favours, sold three acres of Patna to the private marketing company, in which Mrs. Gupta, the wife of Mr. Yadav's close associate, was a director, at a price which was less than the prevalent circle rate.
 
It was alleged that this favour was in return for the award of long term lease for the two hotels by manipulating the tender process. The ownership of the hotels, owned by the Railways, was first transferred to the public sector Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) which, in turn, invited tenders for managing them.
 
It was also alleged that, as per available records, the entire shareholding of the private marketing company was transferred to Mrs. Rabri Devi and Mr. Tejaswi Yadav between 2010 and 2014 for a consideration of approximately Rs. 64 lakh when the company owned land worth around Rs. 32.5 crore as per the circle rate and around Rs. 94 crore as per the market rate.
 
The spokesman said that between 2004 and 2014, a conspiracy was hatched under which the two railway hotels were first transferred to IRCTC and then given on lease to the private hotel company by manipulating the tender process and tweaking the terms so as to benefit the Patna company.
 
"The allegation is that during this process, the tender process was rigged and manipulated and the conditions were tweaked, to help the private party. In return, three acres of land in western Patna was given to Delight Marketing Private Limited, owned by associates of Mr. Yadav, at a price far below the circle rate," he said.
 
The land was finally transferred to Mr. Yadav and his family, again at rates far below the circle and market rates, the spokesman said.
 
"Subsequently between 2010 and 2014, this land was transferred to Lara Projects, owned by Lalu's family. This transfer was also at a very low price. The land was valued at Rs 32 crore as per circle rates at that time. It was transferred for a mere Rs 54 lakhs to Lara Projects," he said.
 
Mr. Yadav has repeatedly said that the case and the raids were an act of  "political vendetta" by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre.
 
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Nitish quits as Bihar CM, BJP extends its support to him

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today resigned from his position, breaking off his Janata Dal (United)'s "grand alliance" with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress, and withiin hours the Bharatiya Janata Party, the ruling party at the Centre, extended its support to him.

File photo of Nitish Kumar
File photo of Nitish Kumar
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today resigned from his position, breaking off his Janata Dal (United)'s "grand alliance" with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress, and withiin hours the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling party at the Centre, extended its support to him.
 
Mr. Nitish Kumar's move to quit as Chief Minister came hours after RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav reiterated that his son Tejashwi Yadav would not quit as deputy chief minister despite the CBI filing a case against him, signalling the end of the JD(U)-RJD-Congress Mahagathbandhan that won a dramatic victory in the state elections in November 2015.
 
Mr. Kumar, 66, met Bihar Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi here this evening and handed over his resignation. Later, Mr. Kumar told journalists outside his official residence that the Governor had accepted his resignation and asked him to continue in office till alternative arrangements were made.
 
Events began unfolding rapidly after that. Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed Mr. Kumar's resignation, saying on micro-blogging site Twitter, "Congratulations to Nitish Kumar ji for joining the fight against corruption. 125 crore citizens welcome and support honesty."
 
"In the interest of the bright future of the nation, especially of Bihar, we have to rise above political differences and fight as one against corruption, that is the call of the nation and the time," he said. 
 
Within minutes, Mr. Kumar responded to that, conveying his "heartfelt thanks" to Mr. Modi for his reaction to his resignation.
 
The BJP Parliamentary Board went into a huddle in Delhi and said later that the party did not wish to see mid-term elections in Bihar and would like to ensure stability in the state. It said a three-member committee of the party in Bihar would advise the party's leadership about the future course of action.
 
Shortly thereafter, MLAs of the JD (U) and the BJP started gathering at Mr. Kumar's residence. Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, who was Deputy Chief Minister in Mr Kumar's cabinet earlier, when the two parties were in alliance, told journalists that the BJP had decided to support the JD (U) in formation of a new government.
 
"We are going to join the government. The MLAs of the two parties will elect Mr. Kumar as their new leader. A letter conveying our support to Mr. Kumar has already been sent to the Governor," Mr. Modi said.
 
Earlier in the day, Mr. Yadav addressed a press conference at which he said Tejashwi Yadav, 28, would not resign from his position, arguing that the case filed against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) earlier this month was a "fake case".
 
Mr. Kumar said that he had tried his best to run the state government and adhere to the "coalition dharma" but a stage had been reached where he found that he could not continue in office without straying from his principles.
 
He said he had never asked for Tejashwi's resignation but had asked him and Mr. Yadav that they must give a public explanation about the charges against them.
 
He said he had raised this issue with Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi at their meeting in New Delhi some days ago. He regretted that there was no response from any of them.
 
"The atmosphere had become such that it was impossible to work. My conscience told me to resign," he said.
 
Mr. Kumar said he had informed Mr. Yadav, the state leadership of the Congress and his party legislators of his decision before driving down to Raj Bhavan to hand in his papers.
 
He said he was attacked for supporting demonetisation and later for backing the NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. "I faced so many charges. The Opposition has no agenda, no discourse. They only have a reactive agenda," he said.
 
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Mr. Kumar also talked about the various steps he had taken to ensure good governance and social justice in Bihar, including imposition of prohibition. "I tried to run the government as long as possible," he said.
 
On July 7, the CBI had conducted raids at the residence and other premises of Mr. Yadav and others in five cities in connection with a case registered by it on July 5 against them for alleged irregularities in the award of tender for managing two IRCTC hotels in 2006.
 
The CBI said the case had been registered under section 120 B, read with section 420, of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 13 (2) read with 13 (1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 against Mr. Yadav; his wife and former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi and his son and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav; Vijay Kochhar and Vinay Kochhar, directors of Sujata Hotels, Patna; Mrs Sarla Gupta, wife of RJD leader Prem Chand Gupta; Delight Marketing Company, Patna; Lara Projects, a company owned by Mr. Yadav's family; then IRCTC Managing Director P K Goyal; and unknown others.
 
The case related to the award of tenders for the development, maintenance and operation of BNR Hotels at Ranchi in Jharkhand and at Puri in Odisha to Sujata Hotels in 2006, when Mr. Yadav was Minister for Railways. Mr. Yadav is also a former Chief Minister of Bihar.
 
A CBI spokesman had said at that time that the case had been registered consequent to a preliminary enquiry conducted by the agency which "prima facie revealed" that Mr. Yadav had derived undue advantage by abuse of his official position.
 
He said that the private hotel company had, in return for favours, sold three acres of Patna to the private marketing company, in which Mrs. Gupta, the wife of Mr. Yadav's close associate, was a director, at a price which was less than the prevalent circle rate.
 
It was alleged that this favour was in return for the award of long term lease for the two hotels by manipulating the tender process. The ownership of the hotels, owned by the Railways, was first transferred to the public sector Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) which, in turn, invited tenders for managing them.
 
It was also alleged that, as per available records, the entire shareholding of the private marketing company was transferred to Mrs. Rabri Devi and Mr. Tejaswi Yadav between 2010 and 2014 for a consideration of approximately Rs. 64 lakh when the company owned land worth around Rs. 32.5 crore as per the circle rate and around Rs. 94 crore as per the market rate.
 
The spokesman said that between 2004 and 2014, a conspiracy was hatched under which the two railway hotels were first transferred to IRCTC and then given on lease to the private hotel company by manipulating the tender process and tweaking the terms so as to benefit the Patna company.
 
"The allegation is that during this process, the tender process was rigged and manipulated and the conditions were tweaked, to help the private party. In return, three acres of land in western Patna was given to Delight Marketing Private Limited, owned by associates of Mr. Yadav, at a price far below the circle rate," he said.
 
The land was finally transferred to Mr. Yadav and his family, again at rates far below the circle and market rates, the spokesman said.
 
"Subsequently between 2010 and 2014, this land was transferred to Lara Projects, owned by Lalu's family. This transfer was also at a very low price. The land was valued at Rs 32 crore as per circle rates at that time. It was transferred for a mere Rs 54 lakhs to Lara Projects," he said.
 
Mr. Yadav has repeatedly said that the case and the raids were an act of  "political vendetta" by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre.
 
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Nitish Kumar quits as Bihar CM, signals end of JD (U)'s alliance with RJD

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday resigned from his position, hours after RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav reiterated that his son Tejashwi would not quit as deputy chief minister despite the CBI filing a case against him, signalling the end of the JD(U)-RJD-Congress Mahagathbandhan that won a dramatic victory in the state elections in November 2015.

File photo of Nitish Kumar
File photo of Nitish Kumar
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today resigned from his position, hours after Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav reiterated that his son Tejashwi would not quit as deputy chief minister despite the CBI filing a case against him, signalling the end of the JD(U)-RJD-Congress Mahagathbandhan that won a dramatic victory in the state elections in November 2015.
 
Mr. Kumar, 66, met Bihar Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and handed over his resignation.
 
Later, Mr. Kumar told journalists outside his official residence that the Governor had accepted his resignation and asked him to continue in office till alternative arrangements were made.
 
Earlier in the day, Mr. Yadav addressed a press conference at which he said Tejashwi, 28, would not resign from his position, arguing that the case filed against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) earlier this month was a "fake case".
 
Mr. Kumar said that he had tried his best to run the state government and adhere to the "coalition dharma" but a stage had been reached where he found that he could not continue in office without straying from his principles.
 
He said he had never asked for Tejashwi's resignation but had asked him and Mr. Yadav that they must give a public explanation about the charges against them.
 
He said he had raised this issue with Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi at their meeting in New Delhi some days ago. He regretted that there was no response from any of them.
 
"The atmosphere had become such that it was impossible to work. My conscience told me to resign," he said.
 
Mr. Kumar said he had informed Mr. Yadav, the state leadership of the Congress and his party legislators of his decision before driving down to Raj Bhavan to hand in his papers.
 
He said he was attacked for supporting demonetisation and later for backing the NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. "I faced so many charges. The Opposition has no agenda, no discourse. They only have a reactive agenda," he said.
 
Mr. Kumar also talked about the various steps he had taken to ensure good governance and social justice in Bihar, including imposition of prohibition. "I tried to run the government as long as possible," he said.
 
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On July 7, the CBI had conducted raids at the residence and other premises of Mr. Yadav and others in five cities in connection with a case registered by it on July 5 against them for alleged irregularities in the award of tender for managing two IRCTC hotels in 2006.
 
The CBI said the case had been registered under section 120 B, read with section 420, of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 13 (2) read with 13 (1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 against Mr. Yadav; his wife and former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi and his son and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav; Vijay Kochhar and Vinay Kochhar, directors of Sujata Hotels, Patna; Mrs Sarla Gupta, wife of RJD leader Prem Chand Gupta; Delight Marketing Company, Patna; Lara Projects, a company owned by Mr. Yadav's family; then IRCTC Managing Director P K Goyal; and unknown others.
 
The case related to the award of tenders for the development, maintenance and operation of BNR Hotels at Ranchi in Jharkhand and at Puri in Odisha to Sujata Hotels in 2006, when Mr. Yadav was Minister for Railways. Mr. Yadav is also a former Chief Minister of Bihar.
 
A CBI spokesman had said at that time that the case had been registered consequent to a preliminary enquiry conducted by the agency which "prima facie revealed" that Mr. Yadav had derived undue advantage by abuse of his official position.
 
He said that the private hotel company had, in return for favours, sold three acres of Patna to the private marketing company, in which Mrs. Gupta, the wife of Mr. Yadav's close associate, was a director, at a price which was less than the prevalent circle rate.
 
It was alleged that this favour was in return for the award of long term lease for the two hotels by manipulating the tender process. The ownership of the hotels, owned by the Railways, was first transferred to the public sector Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) which, in turn, invited tenders for managing them.
 
It was also alleged that, as per available records, the entire shareholding of the private marketing company was transferred to Mrs. Rabri Devi and Mr. Tejaswi Yadav between 2010 and 2014 for a consideration of approximately Rs. 64 lakh when the company owned land worth around Rs. 32.5 crore as per the circle rate and around Rs. 94 crore as per the market rate.
 
The spokesman said that between 2004 and 2014, a conspiracy was hatched under which the two railway hotels were first transferred to IRCTC and then given on lease to the private hotel company by manipulating the tender process and tweaking the terms so as to benefit the Patna company.
 
"The allegation is that during this process, the tender process was rigged and manipulated and the conditions were tweaked, to help the private party. In return, three acres of land in western Patna was given to Delight Marketing Private Limited, owned by associates of Mr. Yadav, at a price far below the circle rate," he said.
 
The land was finally transferred to Mr. Yadav and his family, again at rates far below the circle and market rates, the spokesman said.
 
"Subsequently between 2010 and 2014, this land was transferred to Lara Projects, owned by Lalu's family. This transfer was also at a very low price. The land was valued at Rs 32 crore as per circle rates at that time. It was transferred for a mere Rs 54 lakhs to Lara Projects," he said.
 
Mr. Yadav has repeatedly said that the case and the raids were an act of  "political vendetta" by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Purnia region of Bihar

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, shook the Purnia region of Bihar late last night, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 25.7 N and longitude 87.1 E, occurred at 0006 hours today at a focal depth of 50 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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BJP names Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as NDA's Presidential nominee

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday named Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as the nominee of the the ruling National Democratic Alliance led by it for the Presidential elections slated for next month.

Ram Nath Kovind
Ram Nath Kovind
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today named Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as the nominee of the the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by it for the Presidential elections slated for next month.
 
The decision to nominate Mr. Kovind, 71, a Dalit leader, for the august office was taken at a meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Party, its top decision-making body, here today at which senior party leaders were present, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah.
 
Senior BJP leaders had met top leaders of various Opposition parties, including Congress President Sonia Gandhi and CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechuri on the Presidential election, following which the Opposition parties had said that the Government must name its choice at the earliest so that they could decide on their stand.
 
Mr. Shah had met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai yesterday in this connection.
 
Mr. Shah told journalists here that Mr. Modi had called up Mrs. Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other Opposition leaders to inform them of the BJP's choice.
 
The Election Commission of India (ECI) had, on June 7, announced that polling, if necessary, in the 15th Presidential Election to elect a successor to President Pranab Mukherjee, whose five-year term will end on July 24, would be held on July 17 and the votes counted on July 20.
 
The ECI's notificatin calling the election was issued on June 14 and the last date for making nominations is June 28. Scrutiny of nominations will be conducted on June 29 and the last date for the withdrawal of candidatures is July 1, he said.
 
Mr. Kovind is expected to file his nomination papers on June 23, BJP sources indicated.
 
The President is elected by the members of the Electoral College consisting of elected members of both Houses of Parliament, and elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of all States including National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
 
(The nominated members of either Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha or Legislative Assemblies of the States are not eligible to be included in the Electoral College and therefore, they are not entitled to participate in the election. Similarly, members of the Legislative Councils are also not electors for the Presidential election).
 
Article 55 (3) of the Constitution provides that the election shall be held in accordance with the System of Proportional Representation by means of single transferable vote and the voting at such election shall be by secret ballot. In this system, the elector has to mark preferences against the names of the candidates.
 
Poll for the election will be taken in the Parliament House and in the premises of the State Legislative Assemblies.
 
 
Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind is NDA's Presidential nominee: Amit Shah
In case there is a contest for the post, the BJP-led NDA is expected to get its nominee through with the support of some regional parties.
 
Born on October, 1945 in Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Kovind has degrees in Commerce an Law from the Kanpur University.
 
He practised as an advocate in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court of India for about 16 years till 1993. He was a Central Government advocate in the Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979 and Central Government Standing Counsel in Supreme Court from 1980 to 1993. He became Advocate-on-Record of the Supreme Court of India in 1978.
 
Mr. Kovind was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh in April, 1994 and served for two consecutive terms till March, 2006. 
 
He served as a Member of the Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Kolkata and of the Board of Management of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar University, Lucknow.
 
He has been an advoate for the rights and causes of weaker sections, specially Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, Minorities and women. He has also supported the development of basic infrastructure for education in rural areas through the MPLAD Scheme. As an advocate, he used to provide free legal aid for the weaker sections under the aegis of the Free Legal Aid Society in Delhi.
 
Mr. Kovind is married to Ms. Savita Kovind and they have a son, Prashant Kumar and a daughter, Swati.
 
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TCS launches new centre in Patna to create opportunities as part of Digital India push

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IT services major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has set up a business process service (BPS) centre here as part of its India BPO Promotion Scheme (IBPS), envisaged under the Digital India programme, to leverage IT industry’s growth to create new opportunities for the country's talent and drive inclusive growth.
 
The TCS centre was inaugurated yesterday by Union Minister of Law & Justice and Electronics & Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad.
 
The facility in Patna is one of three such BPS centres being set up by TCS, with the other two located at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Nashik in Maharashtra.
 
The BPS unit of TCS is among the largest in the country with annual revenues of over $2 billion. It works with customers on core industry-specific processes, delivers analytics and insights as well as enterprise services such as finance and accounting, HR and supply chain management, a press release from the company said.
 
According to it, TCS complements its experience and expertise with innovative delivery models such as robotic automation and providing Business Processes as a Service (BPaaS). With four decades of global experience and a delivery footprint spanning six continents, TCS is one of the largest BPS providers globally today, it said.
 
Mr. Rajesh Gopinathan, CEO and MD, TCS, said, “The launch of the new centre in Patna is aligned with the government's ambitious IBPS scheme, aimed at creating thousands of new jobs, driven by technology and taking the IT revolution beyond the metros. The TCS centre is a state-of-the-art facility with robust administrative and technology infrastructure that will drive new opportunities for business and jobs and help build an IT eco-system in the region.”
 
The release said TCS has been working closely with several large customers to redefine the processes of their business to deliver a superior experience to their end customers. 
 
"The BPS enterprises seek to drive business growth and agility through innovation in an increasingly regulated, competitive, and global market. TCS helps clients achieve these goals by managing and executing their business operations effectively and efficiently," it added.
 
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Mukherjee honours freedom fighters on occasion of centenary of Champaran Satyagraha

President Pranab Mukherjee felicitating a freedom fighter, on the occasion of the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s Champaran Satyagraha, at Patna, in Bihar on April 17, 2017.
President Pranab Mukherjee felicitating a freedom fighter, on the occasion of the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s Champaran Satyagraha, at Patna, in Bihar on April 17, 2017.
President Pranab Mukherjee honoured freedom fighers at an event to commemorate the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s Champaran Satyagraha here today.
 
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that Champaran in Bihar had served as the laboratory of Satyagraha and the national freedom movement.
 
He said that the symbolic significance of Champaran Satyagraha was much greater than what actually happened in Champaran.
 
Along with the Kheda Satyagraha of 1917-1918, the Champaran Satyagraha was the movement responsible for putting Mahatma Gandhi in the front seat of the Indian nationalist movement and making satyagraha a powerful tool of civilian resistance, he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee said that the Government of Bihar deserved appreciation for commemorating the centenary of the Champaran movement and for organising the event to felicitate the freedom fighters of India. 
 
"It is a true homage to our roots – the freedom fighters, who under the able and inspiring leadership of Gandhiji laid the foundation of a resilient Indian freedom movement. The event is not only to recognize the contribution of our freedom fighters but was also important because it is necessary that we know our history and are acquainted with our roots," he said.
 
He said that India must celebrate its diversity and should make efforts to ensure that it reaches at rightful place in the comity of nations. 
 
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Mukherjee to visit West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar from April 1-3

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President Pranab Mukherjee will visit West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar from April 1-3 during which he will, among other engagements, attend the 52nd annual convocation of Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC) in Kolkata as the chief guest.  
 
On April 2, the President will lay the foundation stone of Rabindra Bhawan and Haj House at Ranchi in Jharkhand. On the same day, he will also inaugurate the 44 km Deoghar-Basukinath Solar Street Light Project and lay the foundation stone of Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) Centre; Employees State Insurance Corporation Hospital and Driver's Training Centres at Deoghar in that state.
 
On April 3, Mr. Mukherjee will visit Vikramshila University Monuments and Museum at Vikramshila in Bihar.  He will also visit Guru Shyama Charan Lahiri Peeth, Gurudham-Bounsi before returning to Delhi, an official press release added.
 
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Mukherjee inaugurates ADRI International Conference on Bihar & Jharkhand

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The strategy for development of seriously disadvantaged regions like Bihar and Jharkhand requires policy makers to unleash the productive forces of the economy, and not just unquestionably follow a path of industrialization, President Pranab Mukherjee has said.
 
Inaugurating a conference on “Bihar and Jharkhand: Shared History to Shared Vision’ here yesterday, Mr Mukherjee pointed out that despite the region being a land of rich mineral resources and fertile soil, relative economic progress and development could not take place.
 
“We also need to realize that, for seriously disadvantaged regions like Bihar and Jharkhand, a strategy of development requires the policy makers to unleash the productive forces of the economy, and not just unquestionably follow a path of industrialization, as was done by countries or regions which had developed earlier. It is here that one requires directed research which can identify appropriate policies that best suit the interests of the regions,” he added.
 
“More specifically, one may consider the immense potential of human development for promoting economic development in regions like Bihar and Jharkhand. The international experience shows that, for specially disadvantaged regions, human development, could indeed be an alternative development strategy.
 
“Under this strategy, it is possible for disadvantaged regions to change their comparative advantage from low skill labour-intensive goods and services to more skill-intensive goods and services provider through deliberate human development. A logical requirement of this alternative development strategy will be prioritizing investment on education beyond what would happen under 'normal' circumstances.
 
“One may also note here that education does not mean economic advantage for the educated persons alone. It has some other important advantages as well — it empowers people and also promotes their participation in both development programs and the political process,” he added.
 
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In the recent past, both the states have started doing well. Particularly Bihar has shown the way in implementation of many social development schemes. The growth performance of Bihar economy has been steady over the past one decade registering an annual growth rate at 10.5%. This is a remarkable achievement.
 
While Bihar still remains a largely agricultural state, Jharkhand is slowly transforming itself into an economy with larger share of service sector. Governments in both the states have taken a large number of steps to speed up the transformation of the social and economic conditions of the states. I wish the people of this region all the best in their march forward.
 
The Conference was organized by the Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) as part of its Silver Jubilee Celebrations.
 
The President said he was very happy to learn that the Asian Development Research institute (ADRI) is one of those institutions which have been active in social science research during the last 25 years. He expressed the hope that they would continue their efforts in coming years and attain new heights in their academic pursuit and simultaneously provide valuable research support to various development agencies.
 
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Scourge of violence can be overcome with Buddhist philosophy: Mukherjee

President Pranab Mukherjee addressing the closing ceremony of an international conference on “Buddhism in the 21st Century - perspectives and responses to Global Challenges and Crises”, at Rajgir, Nalanda, in Bihar on March 19, 2017.
President Pranab Mukherjee addressing the closing ceremony of an international conference on “Buddhism in the 21st Century - perspectives and responses to Global Challenges and Crises”, at Rajgir, Nalanda, in Bihar on March 19, 2017.
President Pranab Mukherjee today said no part of the world today is free from the scourge of violence and this all pervasive crisis can be overcome with the philosophy of Buddhism.
 
Addressng the closing ceremony of an international conference on “Buddhism in the 21st Century – perspectives and responses to Global Challenges and Crises” here, Mr Mukherjee said the basic question being raised today is how to stop this wanton destruction and come back to sanity. 
 
The philosophy of Buddhism is as relevant today as ever - especially as the world grapples with complex problems that seem intractable, he said.
 
"Buddhism has had a deep influence on human civilization. The mighty Emperor Ashoka who had the ambition of extending his empire as far as he could was converted into a missionary. Dhamma Ashoka is remembered in history rather than warrior Ashoka," he said.
 
The President said Nalanda reflected the country's ancient educational system which attracted mighty minds in the form of students and teachers.  Education means the development of mind and requires an atmosphere which is conducive to free exchange of ideas, he said.
 
The President said that, as they return to their respective areas of activity and influence, the delegates should redouble their efforts to promote the simple truths and the path of the Buddha that show people can be better citizens and contribute to making the country a better place to live in.
 
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He expressed happiness that the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara has published the entire Pali Tripitaka (texts or words of the Buddha) in 41 volumes in the Devanagari script. He congratulated the University for this achievement and for opening the first ever Department of Buddhist Sciences in the world.
 
Mr Mukherjee said he would encourage the texts to be further dispersed – like seeds by migrating birds – far beyond the institutions of Buddhist studies and the region – to Universities in all parts of the world – regardless of their academic specialization.
 
"These initiatives will go a long way in popularizing the tenets of Buddhism. They will help the coming generations to easily connect with the supreme ideals of humanity, forbearance, discipline and compassion. Once these values are adopted by more and more scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and leaders in letter and spirit, he said he had no doubt that they will work to gear up to address the scepticism and cynicism that ails modern societies," he added.
 
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Projects worth Rs. 1050 crore to arrest sewage pollution in Ganga from Patna

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In a major step to develop adequate sewage treatment infrastructure in Patna to keep the Ganga clean, projects worth Rs. 1,050 crore have been awarded under the Namami Gange programme.
 
An official press release said here yesterday that the amount would be spent on setting up two sewage treatment plants (STPs), renovation of one existing STP , construction of two pumping stations and laying of new underground sewage network of about 400 km.
 
Contracts to build STP of 60 MLD capacity and laying of new underground sewage network of 227 km in Saidpur zone of the city have been awarded to UEM India Pvt. Ltd and Jyoti Build Tech Pvt. Ltd at a total cost of Rs. 600 crore, it said.
 
Three other firms – Larsen & Toubro Ltd, Voltas Ltd and GAA Germany JV have been awarded separate projects in Beur zone of the city worth over Rs. 450 crore to build one STP of 23 MLD, renovate existing STP of 20 MLD and lay down new underground sewage network of about 180 km. The scope of work also includes creation of main pumping stations of 83 MLD and 50 MLD capacity in Saidpur and Beur zones, respectively.
 
The contracts include the cost of operation and maintenance of STPs and sewage networks for a period of 10 years.
 
The release said the projects aimed not only to treat the current sewage generation in respective zones of Patna but also take into account the sewage estimates of next one decade, considering the expected rise of population in the city. As per a survey by the World Bank, Patna is also one of the fastest growing city in the world in terms of infrastructural development.
 
After time-bound commissioning of these projects, no untreated water will go into the Ganga from these zones, saving the river from contamination and deterioration, it said.
 
The progress of the construction will be monitored by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to ensure that deadlines are met, the release said.
 
Patna city, spread in an area of more than 100 square kilometers, is divided into six sewerage zones – Digha, Beur, Saidpur, Kankarbagh, Pahari and Karmali Chak. Contracts for sewage related projects in Karmali Chak zone are expected to be awarded shortly, he added.
 
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Cabinet approves transfer of 11.35 acres of land to AAI for expansion of Patna Airport

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The Union Cabinet today approved the transfer 11.35 acres of land at Patna airport to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) by way of exchanging equivalent land of AAI at Anisabad.
 
The proposed land at Patna Airport will be used for expansion of the airport and construction of new terminal building along with other associated infrastructure, an official press release said. The Bihar Government has also agreed in principle for transfer of the land.
 
The new terminal building will have a capacity of 3 million passengers per annum. The existing terminal building at Patna Airport was built for a capacity of 0.5 million passengers per annum, against which 1.5 million passengers per annum are already using it, leading to  extreme crowding in the terminal building, the release added.
 
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Cabinet approves transfer of AAI land at Patna Airport

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The Union Cabinet today approved the transfer 11.35 acres of land at Patna airport to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) by way of exchanging equivalent land of AAI at Anisabad.
 
The proposed land at Patna Airport will be used for expansion of the airport and construction of new terminal building along with other associated infrastructure, an official press release said. The Bihar Government has also agreed in principle for transfer of the land.
 
The new terminal building will have a capacity of 3 million passengers per annum. The existing terminal building at Patna Airport was built for a capacity of 0.5 million passengers per annum, against which 1.5 million passengers per annum are already using it, leading to  extreme crowding in the terminal building, the release added.
 
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24 dead as boat capsizes in Ganga at Patna in Bihar

As many as 24 people, including five children, died after a boat carrying them capsized in the river Ganga at Patna in Bihar on Saturday evening.

 
24 dead as boat capsizes in Ganga at Patna
As many as 24 people, including five children, died after a boat carrying them capsized in the river Ganga at Patna in Bihar yesterday evening.
 
Patna District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar Agarwal told NetIndian that the victims included 16 men, three women and five children.
 
He said about eight people had swum to safety and a similar number had been rescued by people who jumped into the river to save them.
 
Mr. Agarwal said the boat was carrying about 40 people and none of them are now reported missing. However, search and rescue teams were continuing their operations for some more time to ensure that all the passengers of the boat are accounted for, he said.
 
He said that two of the eight persons admitted to a local hospital had been discharged, while the other six were undergoing treatment and in a stable condition.
 
The search and rescue efforts had continued through the night last night, sources said.
 
The victims were among a large crowd that had gathered at the Ganga Diara here to witness a  kite festival held every year on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. The boat, which had taken people for a free ride on the river, capsized around 6 pm, perhaps, due to overcrowding, the sources said.
 
Video footage shot by onlookers on the river banks showed rescuers making frantic efforts to save the people.
 
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has asked the District Magistrate to look into the lapses that led to the tragedy.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the loss of lives in the incident and conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families.
 
He also approved an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 2 lakh for the next-of-kin of those killed and Rs. 50,000 for the seriously injured from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund, an official press release in Delhi added.
 
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Modi expresses grief over loss of lives in Bihar bus accident

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed grief over the loss of lives in Bihar today after a bus veered off the road and fell into a deep roadside pond in Madhubani district.
 
“Deeply saddened by the bus accident in Bihar’s Madhubani district. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of grief,” he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
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16 dead as bus plunges into pond in Madhubani district of Bihar

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At least 16 people died when a private bus they were travelling in veered off the road and fell into a deep roadside pond, Sundar Kund, in Madhubani district of Bihar today, official sources said.
 
District officials at the scene of the mishap told NetIndian over the telephone that about 12 passengers of the ill-fated bus had been rescued.
 
Search and rescue teams were searching the pond, said to be about 25 feet deep, to see if there were any more victims.
 
The officials said they had no exact figures for the number of passengers in the bus, which was completely submerged under water.
 
By late this evening, the search teams, including personnel of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), had managed to pull the bus out of the water and extricate several bodies from it.
 
The bus was on its way to Sitamarhi from Madhubani, 180 kms northeast of Patna, when the mishap occurred around 12.30 pm near Basaitha chowk in Benipatti police station area of the district.
 
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives in the accident and urged district officials to speed up the rescue and relief efforts.
 
He asked Revenue Minister Madan Mohan Jha and Panchayati Raj Minister Kapil Dev Kamat to rush to the scene of the tragedy.
 
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Universities must be bastions of free speech, expression: Mukherjee

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Universities must be the bastions of free speech and expression where there should be no room for intolerance, prejudice and hatred, President Pranab Mukherjee said today.
 
Addressing the first convocation of Nalanda University after laying the foundations stone of its new campus here, he said universities must be the arena where diverse and conflicting schools of thought contend.
 
"There should be no room for intolerance, prejudice and hatred within the spaces of this institution. Further, it must act as a flag bearer for the coexistence of multiple views, thoughts and philosophies.
 
"The lesson for modern Nalanda is to ensure that this great tradition finds new life and vigour within its precincts," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee said the ancient Nalanda was a melting pot of civilizations and modern India should remain the same. 
 
“We should not close our windows and yet we should not be blown off by winds from outside. We should let the winds flow freely from all over the world and get enriched by them. We should embrace free discussion and debate leaving behind narrow mindsets and thoughts,” he added.
  
Mr Mukherjee said as Visitor to Nalanda University, it was his hope that it would truly attain the status of the Nalanda of yore. There are many practices of ancient Nalanda which are worthy of emulation by the new Nalanda. One of the most important characteristics of ancient Nalanda was that it was an international institution where inter-Asian connections, in particular, flourished, he said.
 
Chinese monks like Xuan Zang, Yijing and Huichao, among others, visited, lived, studied and taught in Nalanda. At a later period, scholars from Tibet kept coming to N?land? for studying Buddhism and other branches of knowledge, he said.
 
Monks from several other countries including Sri Lanka also came to N?landa, revealing the diversity of religious and cultural influences on the institution. And, the traffic was not just in one direction. Monks from N?land? spread their wisdom across the world and had reached China before Xuan Zang’s visit to India.
 
The President said ancient Nalanda was known for the high level of debate and discussion it nurtured. It was not a mere geographical expression but it reflected an idea and a culture.
 
Nalanda conveyed the message of friendship, cooperation, debate, discussion and argument. Discussion and debate are part of our ethos and life, he said.
 
Mr Mukherjee said though the main subjects of study were the Buddhist texts, importance was also given to critiques of Buddhism by various schools, study of Vedas and beyond.
 
“I am pleased to know that the Nalanda University has around 125 students including about 25 foreign students from countries such as China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and Brazil,” he said.
 
“With students and faculty from many countries, modern day Nalanda is a novel institution pioneering a new model of learning. Its vision is to “be universalist in its outlook, open to currents of thought and practice from around the globe, and respond to the needs of a world.” It is a matter of satisfaction that within a short period of time, Nalanda has established linkages of various kinds with many leading educational institutions around the world,” he added.
 
The President said he personally witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Nalanda University and Peking University during his visit to China in May this year.
 
The new Nalanda University is envisioned as a non-state, non-profit, secular, and self-governing international institution. “Our goal is to bring together the brightest and the most dedicated students from all over the world, especially Asia - irrespective of gender, caste, creed, different abilities, ethnicity or social-economic background and enable them acquire a liberal education,” he added.
 
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“I am particularly happy to see the first batch of students from this University graduate today. I have often spoken of the time when India played a dominant role in the higher education system of the world. Renowned seats of learning like Nalanda, Takshashila, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Somapura and Odantapuri were magnets which attracted scholars from all over the world. They stood at the crossroads of many civilizations and spread knowledge far and wide. Sadly, India’s modern day universities are yet to reach the top position in world rankings. We must work towards regaining that glory of the past,” he added.
 
The President said, as a result of his persistent efforts, Indian institutions for the first time secured ranks within the top 200 universities in the world in the QS world university rakings 2015. IISc, Bangalore at 147th and IIT, Delhi at 179th position have done exceedingly well, with IIT, Bombay close on the heels at the 202nd rank.
 
Three other IITs were within the top 300 institutions and they can come within the top 200 in the next one or two years. In the QS university rankings 2015 for the BRICS region, five Indian institutions came in the top 20, including IISc, Bangalore which was ranked fifth.
 
In the list of top 20 small universities (criteria: less than 5,000 students) by the Times Higher Education, there were two Indian institutions – IIT, Guwahati at 14th and Savitribai Phule, Pune University at the 18th position. Recently, in a ranking amongst Asian institutions, five Indian institutions are placed in the top fifty, he added.
 
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