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Patna

JD (U)-led "grand alliance" set to gain power with big 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 huge victory as counting of votes progressed in the crucial and bitterly-contested elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly on Sunday.
 
Supporters of the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) celebrate their victory in Patna
 
The "grand alliance" led by the ruling Janata Dal (United), which includes the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress, was headed for a huge victory as counting of votes progressed in the crucial and bitterly-contested elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly today.
 
As counting trends became available for 239 seats, the JD (U) and its allies were ahead in 163, past the two-thirds mark, while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), now in power at the Centre, was far behind with leads in just 66.
 
Among the "grand alliance" partners, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) of former Union Minister Lalu Prasad was ahead in 75, the ruling JD (U) of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in 72 and the Congress in 16.
 
The RJD's performance is particularly impressive, given the fact that many political observers felt that its presence was a liability for the JD (U).
 
The BJP was leading in 58 constituencies, while its allies Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) was ahead in four and the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RSLP) and the Hindustan Awam Morcha (Secular) in two each.
 
Among the others in the fray, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was leading in one seat, the CPI (ML) in two and independent candidates in five constituencies.
 
The campaigning for the elections was marked by sharp and bitter exchanges of barbs among the main contestants.
 
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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 Mr. Nitish Kumar and his foe-turned-ally, RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
 
The results will be seen as personal setbacks to Mr. Modi, who had campaigned extensively in Bihar and addressed more than 30 election rallies, and for BJP President Amit Shah, who had fashioned the party's strategy for the elections.
 
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.
 
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 were 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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Counting of votes begins in Bihar Assembly elections

Counting of votes began on Sunday morning in the crucial and bitterly-contested elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly.
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Counting of votes began this morning in the crucial and bitterly-contested elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly.
 
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.
 
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 has 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.
 
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The campaigning for the elections was marked by sharp and bitter exchanges of barbs among the main contestants -- the so-called grand alliance formed by the ruling Janata Dal (United), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress, on the one hand, and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power at the centre, on the other.
 
The elections are being 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.
 
Exit polls have produced varying forecasts, with some putting the "grand alliance" ahead and others predicting a victory for the NDA.
 
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60% voting in final phase of polling in Bihar Assembly elections

More than 60 percent of the electors turned out to exercise their franchise amidst tight security in 57 constituencies in the fifth and final phase of polling in the crucial and bitterly-contested elections to the Bihar Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
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More than 60 percent of the electors turned out to exercise their franchise amidst tight security in 57 constituencies in the fifth and final phase of polling in the crucial and bitterly-contested elections to the Bihar Legislative Assembly today.
 
With this, the voters of the state have recorded 56.80 percent polling in the five-phase election, as compared to 55.38 percent registered in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and 52.65 percent in the last assembly elections in 2010.
 
Today's polling was peaceful with no major untoward incident reported from anywhere, official sources said.
 
The 57 constituencies are spread over nine districts -- Madhubani, Supaul, Araria, Kishanganj, Purnia, Katihar, Madhepura, Saharsa and Darbhanga.
 
Polling began at 7 am and ended at 5 pm, except in two where it concluded at 3 pm due to security reasons.
 
A total of 15543594 electors, including 7353004 women, were eligible to exercise their franchise in these 57 constituencies. There were a total of 827 candidates, including 58 women, in the fray.
 
The Election Commission had set up 14709 polling stations and made elaborate security and other arrangements to ensure a free and fair poll.
 
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More than 57 percent of the voters had turned out to exercise their franchise in the 49 constituencies that went to the polls in the first phase of polling on October 12. In the second phase on October 16, more than 55 percent of the electors had cast their votes in 32 constituencies, while 53.32 percent polling was recorded in 50 constituencies in the third phase on October 28 and 57.59 percent polling was registered in the fourth phase on November 1.
 
Counting of votes will be taken up on November 8 and all the results are expected to be in by that evening.
 
The campaigning for the elections was marked by sharp and bitter exchanges of barbs among the main contestants -- the so-called grand alliance formed by the ruling Janata Dal (United), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress, on the one hand, and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power at the centre, on the other.
 
The elections are being 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.
 
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Polling begins for 50 seats in third phase of Bihar Assembly elections

 
Voting for third phase in Bihar begins
 
Voting began amidst tight security in 50 constituencies in the third phase of polling in the crucial elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assemby this morning.
 
In all, 14585177 electors, including 6701382 women, are eligible to vote in these 50 constituencies, where a total of 808 candidates, including 71 women, are in the fray.
 
The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements to ensure a free and fair poll, and has set up as many as 14170 polling stations in the 50 constituencies.
 
More than 57 percent of the voters had turned out to exercise their franchise in the 49 constituencies that went to the polls in the first phase of polling on October 12.
 
In the second phase on October 16, more than 55 percent of the electors had cast their votes in 32 constituencies.
 
The next two phases of polling will be held on November 1 and November 5. Counting of votes will be taken up on November 8.
 
The elections are witnessing a keen contest for power between the so-called "grand alliance" of the ruling Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress, on the one hand, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), on the other.
 
Campaigning so far has seen sharp exchanges of barbs among the main political parties.
 
The elections are being 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.
 
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Bihar elections: 57% voter turnout in first phase, polling peaceful

More than 57% of the voters turned out to vote in the 49 constituencies which went to the polls in the first phase of the elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly on Monday after more than a month of hectic campaigning that was marked by sharp exchanges of barbs among the main political parties.
 
57% voting in first phase of polling in Bihar elections
 
More than 57 percent of the voters turned out to exercise their franchise in the 49 constituencies which went to the polls in the first phase of the crucial five-phase elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly today after more than a month of hectic campaigning that was marked by sharp exchanges of barbs among the main political parties.
 
Polling was peaceful, with no major untoward incident reported from any of the constituencies, Bihar election officials said.
 
The 49 constituencies, spread over ten districts, had recorded 50.85 percent polling in the last Assembly elections in 2010.
 
The next four phases of polling will be held on October 16, October 28, November 1 and November 5. Counting of votes will be taken up on November 8.
 
Election officials said incidents of poll boycott were reported at nine polling booths, mainly in protest against lack of development projects.
 
Women voters recorded a higher percentage of polling at 59.50 percent as compared to 54.50 percent voting by men voters.
 
The elections are being 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 Janata Dal (United) and his foe-turned-ally, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad.
 
As many as 13572339 electors were eligible to cast their votes in today's polling in 49 constituencies, including 6322898 women. Eight of the constituencies that went to the polls today are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates and one for Scheduled Tribes (ST).
 
There were a total of 583 candidates candidates in the fray, including 54 women. Three constituencies had more than 16 candidates each. 
 
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The Election Commission made elaborate arrangements for today's polling. It had set up 13212 polling stations in the 49 constituencies.
 
The Commission deployed 49 general observers, 18 expenditure observers, 10 police observers and four awareness observers in these constituencies.
 
Of the 49 constituencies involved in today's polling, the ruling JD (U) had won 29 in the last Assembly elections in 2010, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), then its ally, had won 13. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) had won four.
 
This time, the JD(U) contested 24 of these 49 seats in alliance with the RJD, which fielded its nominees for 17 seats.
 
Mr. Modi himself led the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) campaign, addressing several ralleis across the state. The BJP fielded 27 candidates in the 49 constituencies, while its ally, the Lok Janshakti Party of Ram Vilas Pawan, fielded its nominees in 13.
 
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Nitish Kumar, Sonia Gandhi, Lalu Prasad take on Modi at Patna rally

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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav launched a frontal attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged the people of the state to uphold their self-respect and pride which, he said, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had challenged.
 
Addressing a massive "Swabhimaan" (self-respect) rally at Gandhi Maidan here, they especially took on Mr Modi on the Land Acquisition ordinance, hours after the Prime Minister announced on his radio show, "Mann Ki Baat", that the government would repromulgate the controversial ordinance when it lapsed tomorrow.
 
Mr Kumar said Mr Modi's withdrawal was a "victory of the people" and that the Prime Minister had to bow before their will.
 
He said the proposed legislation, which sought to amend the Land Acquisition Act 2013 enacted by the previous UPA government, had failed to get the required support in Parliament or win the backing of the people of the country.
 
Mr Kumar said no force in the world could survive after challenging the pride of the people of Bihar as Mr Modi had done by mocking their political DNA. He said the huge gathering at today's rally showed the people rejected such politics.
 
Mr Kumar said the Modi government had failed to keep its promises made to the people ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, including the one about bringing back black money from abroad and depositing Rs 15 lakh in each Indian's bank account.
 
Ms Gandhi also attacked Mr Modi for his remarks about Bihar's DNA and said some people mocked Bihar whenever they got a chance.
 
She said the Congress had always respected Bihar and its people and their talent. She said the Congress-led UPA government had launched many programmes for Bihar, which had been implemented successfully by the Nitish Kumar government in the state.
 
Ms Gandhi said the Modi government had failed to keep promises like jobs for the youth. On the contrary, she said, the lives of thousands of youth in Madhya Pradesh had been destroyed by the Vyapam scam under the BJP government in that state.
 
She said the Modi government was "anti-farmer" and that the Land Acquisition Bill was aimed at "snatching land from farmers and giving it to a few chosen industrialists.
 
Ms Gandhi said the people of India and the people of Bihar had lost faith in Mr Modi. She said the Modi government's faulty policies had led to the present economic crisis.
 
She said Mr Modi, who used to challenge Pakistan and show the neighbour his "56-inch chest" before the elections, was now silent when Indian security personnel and civilians were losing their lives in ceasefire  violations from across the border.
 
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She said Mr Modi had made so many "empty promises" and wondered how the people of the state would now belive his latest promises.
 
She said the UPA beleived in secular values and in taking the whole country and all communities and castes together forward in unity, brotherhood and harmony.
 
"You say this is Jungle Raj part 2. No, no, this is Mangal Raj part 2," said Lalu Prasad. "When two backward leaders came together, the BJP call in jungle raj," he said, referring to himself and Mr Kumar.
 
Others present on the dais included Janta Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav, former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi and senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Meira Kumar.
 
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Govt. notifies 21 Bihar districts as Backward Areas to help industries set up there

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The Government has notified 21 districts of Bihar as Backward Areas to provide additional benefits to manufacturing units or enterprises set up in them during the period 2015-20.
 
An official press release said these undertakings would be eligible for 15% additional depreciation under Section 32(1)(iia) and 15%  investment allowance under Section 32AD of the Income-tax Act, on the cost of plant and machinery acquired and installed by them during the said period. 
 
The Government had earlier amended the Income Tax Act 1961 through the Finance Act 2015 to provide such tax benefits to notified backward areas in specified states, including Bihar, to give them an opportunity to grow faster.
 
The latest notification, dated August 17, 2015, gives effect to the amendment, it said.
 
The 21 districts listed in the notification are: Patna, Nalanda, Bhojpur, Rohtas, Kaimur, Gaya, Jehanabad, Aurangabad, Nawada, Vaishali, Sheohar, Samastipur, Darbhanga,   Madhubani, Purnea, Katihar, Araria, Jamui, Lakhisarai, Supaul, and Muzaffarpur.
 
The release said the incentives are in addition to other tax benefits available under the Income-tax Act.  
 
Thus a manufacturing undertaking/enterprise set up in any of these areas during the aforesaid period will be eligible for 35% (instead of 20%) of additional depreciation. This would be over and above the normal depreciation of 15%. Besides, a company engaged in manufacturing will also be eligible for 30% (instead of 15%) of investment allowance if its investment in new plant and machinery during the period 1.4.2015 to 31.3.2017 exceeds Rs.25 crore.
 
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Justice Iqbal Ansari to perform duties of Chief Justice of Patna High Court

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The President has appointed Mr Justice Iqbal Ahmed Ansari, senior-most Judge of the Patna High Court, to perform the duties of the office of Chief Justice of that High Court.
 
An official press release said the arrangement was with effect from 1st August, 2015 consequent upon the retirement of Mr Justice Lingala Narasimha Reddy, Chief Justice of Patna High Court. 
 
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Amaresh Kumar Lal appointed as Additional Judge of Patna High Court

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The President has appointed Mr Amaresh Kumar Lal to be an Additional judge of the Patna High Court, an official press release said here today.
 
The release said that the appointment would be with effect from 20th June 2015, till 27th August 2015. 
 
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Mukherjee condoles passing away of former Union Minister Baleshwar Ram

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President Pranab Mukherjee today condoled the passing away of former Union Minister and veteran Congress leader Baleshwar Ram, who passed away in Patna yesterday at the age of 87.
 
In a message to Mr Baleshwar Ram's wife Chinta Devi, Mr Mukherjee said he had served the nation in different capacities during his long public life.
 
"As a five-term Member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly and Minister in the State Government in the sixties and seventies, he made immense contribution for the welfare and development of the people of Bihar, especially weaker sections. I had the privilege of working closely with him when both of us served as Ministers in the Government led by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the eighties," he said.
 
"Please accept my heartfelt condolences and convey the same to the rest of your family members. I pray to the Almighty to give you and other members of your family the strength and courage to bear this irreparable loss," Mr Mukherjee added.
 
Mr Baleshwar Ram is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters.
 
Apart from being elected five times to the Bihar Legislative Assembly and serving as a Minister in various Congress governments in the state during the 1960s and 1970s, Mr Baleshwar Ram was elected to the Lok Sabha from Rosera in 1980 and appointed as a Minister in the Indira Gandhi government.
 
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32 killed, 80 injured in storm in Bihar on Tuesday night

 
32 dead, 80 hurt in severe storm in Bihar
At least 32 people were killed and more than 80 suffered injuries when a severe storm hit several parts of Bihar late last night, official sources said.
 
The storm also caused widespread damage to property, including hundreds of huts, standing crops, trees, telephone and electricity poles and other structures.
 
Bihar Principal Secretary, Disaster Management Department, Vyasji told journalists here today that 25 of the deaths were reported from Purnea district, six from Madhepura and one in Madhubani.
 
With hundreds of trees and poles uprooted by the winds that reached upto 65 kmph, road traffic was disrupted in the affected districts.
 
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told reporters that he would visit the affected areas to see the extent of damage. He also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 4 lakh to the next of kin of those who died.
 
Some of the other districts affected by the storm included Darbhanga, Kisanganj, Katihar, Saharsa, Supual, Araria and Bhagalpur.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Mr Kumar about the situation arising out of the storm.
 
"Spoke to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar ji on situation arising due to storms in various parts of the State. Assured all assistance from Centre," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
Mr Modi also said Home Minister Rajnath Singh would visit Bihar to take stock of the situation.
 
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AAI proposes to develop airport at Bihta near Patna for international operations

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The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has proposed to develop the Indian Air Force (IAF) airport at Bihta in Patna district of Bihar as a new airport for international operations.
 
Accordingly, it has taken up the matter with the Ministry of Defence and the Government of Bihar, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply to a question today.
 
He said the AAI had requested for additional land of 600 acres for Phase-I and 790 acres for Phase-II in lieu of existing Patna Airport. 
 
AAI has also prepared Master Plans for development of Raxaul and Muzaffarpur airstrips and requested the State Government to provide additional land, removal of obstructions and diversion of road in the approach funnel, he said.
 
There are a total of 28 airstrips/aerodromes in Bihar, out of which 5 airports -- Gaya, Patna, Jogbani, Muzaffarpur and Raxaul -- are owned by AAI. Among these, Patna and Gaya airports are operational, the Minister added.
 
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Nitish Kumar to be sworn in as Bihar Chief Minister on Sunday

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Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar will be sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar for a fourth time 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 his Ministers will be administered the oaths of office and secrecy by Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi at a ceremony at 5 pm today.
 
Mr Manjhi had 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 invited him to form the new government and has asked him to prove his majority on the floor of the assembly within three weeks.
 
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is among those expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony.
 
"Nitish ji has invited me to his oath ceremony on Sunday. Yes, I am attending. Looking forward," she said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
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.
 
The RJD, the Congress and other allies of the JD (U) have not given any indication about whether they would join Mr Kumar's government or prefer to give it support from outside.
 
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 12 days 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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Security forces unearth Maoist dump in Bihar

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Security forces in Bihar have made a major haul of arms, explosives and improvised explosive devices allegedly stored by Maoists in the Chakarbandha forest aea in the Dumaria area of Gaya district of Bihar yesterday.
 
The recovery was made during a joint operation by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the State Police on the basis of a credible intelligence input generated by a CRPF officer.
 
The dump was found inside a deep cave located in a dense forest, a press release from the CRPF said.
 
According to it, the recoveries included a number of can bombs weighing 40, 25, 10 and 2 kgs, 25 petrol bombs, 23 hand grenades, 90 kg of explosives, 9 kg ammonium nitrade, cordex wire, detonators, radio sets, suitcase IED weighing 20 kg, three 12 bore guns and other miscellaneous articles used for making indigenous explosive devices. 
 
In an earlier operation on February 2 also, the security forces had unearthed another dump in the same area.
 
Chakarbandha forest, spread over Gaya and Aurangabad districts of Bihar touching the fringes of neighbouring Jharkhand, was a stronghold of CPI (Maoist) till about two years ago. Since establishment of  CRPF camps in the forest in 2013, the Maoists activities have been effectively checked though their presence continues, the release said.
 
These recoveries are attributed to the CPI (Maoists) of the Madhya Zone of  Bihar Jharkhand Special Area Committee, the release added.
 
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Centre promises help to Eastern states to boost internal security, combat Naxalism

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has assured all possible assistance from the Centre to the four Eastern states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal for strengthening internal security.
 
Presiding over the 21st meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council here yesterday, he emphasized the need for better coordination between state and Central agencies, particularly in the matter of combating Naxalism.
 
On the issue of fund requirements for modernization of state police forces, Mr Singh said that the Centre would consider it on merit. He also promised to consider the demand for deployment of additional Central forces in the Naxalite-dominated "Red Zone" areas of the four states.
 
Bihar Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, Jharkhand Chief Minister  Raghubar Das and representatives of Orissa and West Bengal were among those who attended the meeting.
 
The discussions covered issues such as Naxalism, police modernisation, border disputes, road connectivity, railway projects, water management, flood control, food problem, rural housing and more Central allocation for developmental activities.
 
The Council, which met after a gap of two years, also reviewed the progress in the implementation of the recommendations made at the last meeting of the Council held in Kolkata in 2013. 
 
The Council also took up issues relating to release of water by West Bengal for the upper Mahananda irrigation project in Bihar, allocation of additional rice to the States, maternal and child nutrition for addressing malnutrition, measures for bringing green revolution to Eastern India and governance issues in relation to States for export promotion, issues relating to Geological Survey of India (GSI) concerning states of Eastern Zone, and implementation of India Statistical Strengthening Project (ISSP) in the States of the eastern zone. 
 
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The meeting decided to increase the cross-border coordination and emphasized on timely sharing of information. The issues relating to disaster management and curbing of drugs trafficking in the Eastern Zone were also discussed. 
 
The Council also took up items suggested by the Inter-State Council in relation to amendments in the EZC rules and in relation to holding meeting of the Council as well as of the Standing Committee regularly. 
 
In the meeting, Bihar raised the demand for grant of special status to the state. Further, issues of power shortage, management of river water for draught & flood control were also primarily raised by Bihar during the meeting. 
 
Jharkhand put forth its concern about pending railway projects, need of better road connectivity for development and other issues. 
 
The next meeting of the Council will be held at Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, later this year. 
 
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Eastern Zonal Council to meet in Patna on January 16

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The 21st Meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal, will be held tomorrow in Patna under the chairmanship of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. 
 
The agenda for the meeting was finalized at the 8th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Eastern Zonal Council, comprising the Chief Secretaries of the four states, held in Patna on November 7, 2014.
 
Besides this, some additional items are likely to bepresented in the meeting by the concerned State Governments, an official press release said here today.
 
The release said the agenda finalized by the Standing Committee includes issues of Inter-State and Centre-State cooperation, allocation of additional assistance to the States to provide relief to the tribals and issues relating to security.
 
There are five Zonal Councils -- Eastern, Western, Northern, Southern and Central Zonal Council -- which are advisory bodies and discuss any matter in which some or all of the States represented in a Council have a common interest. These Councils advise the Central and State Governments on any matter of common interest in the field of economic and social planning, linguistic minorities, inter-state transport, matters connected with or arising out of the reorganization of states and matters concerning border disputes. 
 
Government had constituted a Commission on Centre-State relations under the chairmanship of Justice M M Punchchi, former Chief Justice of India, to look into the changing dynamics of Centre-State relations in the context of emerging social, political, economic, environmental and governance issues in the country. This Commission had recommended that the Zonal Councils should meet regularly with an agenda proposed by the States concerned to maximize coordination and promote harmonization of policies and action having inter-state ramification. 
 
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Justice Lingala Narasimha Reddy appointed Chief Justice of Patna High Court

Justice Lingala Narasimha Reddy
Justice Lingala Narasimha Reddy
The President has appointed Mr Justice Lingala Narasimha Reddy, Judge, High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad for the State of Telangana and the State of Andhra Pradesh, to be the Chief Justice of the Patna High Court.
 
An official press release said the appointment would be with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office. 
 
Mr Justice Reddy, 61, who has already taken up his new assignment on January 2, completed his B. Sc. degree in the C K M College, Warangal before obtaining a Bachelor's as well as Master's degree in Law from the Osmania University in Hyderabad.
 
He was enrolled with the Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh in February 1979. He served as the Senior Central Government Standing Counsel for the Government of India in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh for some time. 
 
He was appointed as an Additional Judge of the High Court on September 10, 2001 and as a permanent judge on July 31, 2002.
 
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32 killed, 50 injured in stampede during Dussehra celebrations in Patna

At least 32 people died and more than 50 others suffered injuries in a stampede that occurred during the "Ravan Dahan" ceremony on the occasion of Dussehra at Gandhi Maidan in Patna this evening.
 
32 killed in stampede in Patna
At least 32 people died and more than 50 others suffered injuries in a stampede that occurred during the "Ravan Dahan" ceremony on the occasion of Dussehra at Gandhi Maidan in Patna this evening.
 
The tragedy occurred around 7 pm when thousands of people were present at the ground to witness the burning of Ravana's effigy at the end of Navratri.
 
Chaotic scenes were witnessed at the Patna Medical College Hospital where the injured were rushed in ambulances and other vehicles as hundreds of angry relatives of the victims gathered outside its gates.
 
The Bihar government has ordered an inquiry by the Principal Secretary, Home into the incident and announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the next-of-kin of those killed.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and reviewed the situation arising out of the stampede.
 
Mr Modi condoled the loss of lives in the incident and sanctioned Rs 2 lakh to the next-of-kin of those killed and Rs 50,000 for those who have suffered critical injuries from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF).
 
Bihar Principal Secretary, Home, Amir Subhani confirmed to mediapersons that at least 32 people had died in the stampede.
 
Several of the victims were women and children and many of them had died due to suffocation, sources said.
 
Some media reports said that the stampede took place after a rumour spread that a live electric wire had snapped and fallen to the ground. Several of those at the venue started rushing to the exit gate, leading to the stampede, they said. Poor lighting added to the confusion, they said.
 
Police and teams of the Rapid Action Force and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rushed to the scene to help in the rescue efforts.
 
Officials told reporters that the stampede occurred because the crowds had become unmanageable.
 
Congress President Sonia Gandhi also expressed shock over the tragedy and said she was "dismayed" by the loss of lives.
 
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UMumba to face Jaipur in final of inaugural Star Sports Pro Kabaddi

Patna's raider Ravi Dalal trying to escape Jaipur Pink Panthers' trap in the semi-final of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Mumbai on August 29, 2014
Patna's raider Ravi Dalal trying to escape Jaipur Pink Panthers' trap in the semi-final of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Mumbai on August 29, 2014
Hosts UMumba and Jaipur Pink Panthers will clash in the final of the inaugural Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League after beating Bengaluru Bulls and Patna Pirates, respectively, in the semi-finals here tonight.
 
While Jaipur stormed into the final by trouncing Patna Pirates 38-18 in the completely one-sided first semi-final, UMumbai managed to get past Bengaluru 27-23 in the second semi-final.
 
U Mumba led through most of the match, with the Bulls managing to get ahead for a few minutes in the first half but surrendering the advantage soon after when their skipper was sent packing by all-rounder Rishank Devadiga.
 
The ouster, which provided the much needed breakthrough for the Mumbai boys, was followed up with Rajesh Mondal’s exit and two points as Rishank escaped Bengaluru’s four-man defence. 
 
Even Ajay Thakur’s heroics could not help the Bulls as they gifted Mumbai the first LONA points of the match in the 12th minute. With a seven-point lead and an insatiable hunger for points, U Mumba scored their thirteenth point, leaving Bengaluru high and dry towards the end of the first half. With seconds to go for the break, Mumbai’s best raider and the top raider amongst the finalists, Anup Kumar did what he did best, taking the score to 15-9 by half-time.
 
The second half began with Rishank walking out, reducing the Mumbai team to three. Despite the stacking odds towards an all out, Bengaluru’s star raider Ajay was captured by Anup Kumar and Mohit Chillar in the 34th minute, allowing them a chance at redemption. 
 
Mohit’s brilliance as a defender shone through as he executed the perfect tackles against Manjit and Ajay Thakur. 
 
Mumbai’s best defender Surender Nada also joined the party by single-handedly sending the Bull’s captain back. Re-introduced for the second time in the 33rd minute, Mumbai’s Pawan Kumar failed yet again, reducing the Orange brigade to four. After denying Bengaluru Bulls LONA points for a long time, Mumbai gave in, conceding their first LONA in the 37th minute. Though it offered two vital points to Bengaluru, it was a little too late as the Bulls were tamed 27-23.
 
Earlier, Jaipur established themselves as the stronger team within the first 15 minutes of the first semi-final and went on to dominate the proceedings for the rest of the match.
 
Both teams began cautiously before Patna began the fireworks when their best raider Ravi Dalal scored an outstanding three-point raid, sending back Rajesh Narwal, Navneet Gautam and Prashant Chavan of the Panthers.
 
The league got its first chance to use a TV referral, as a turbo-charged Maninder Singh slammed into Rakesh Kumar, knocking them both clear out of the lobby. The referees gave both teams points.
 
Moments later, a brave attempt from Sandeep Narwal failed against Jaipur’s impenetrable defence and Patna was left a four-man army by the seventh minute. 
 
After tying at five, Jasvir Singh clawed down Patna’s defence, earning a crucial one-point lead. The lone man standing, Rakesh Kumar, revived his team but gave away the first LONA points of the night, with a hope of a better, stronger comeback. 
 
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Nursing an injury, Rakesh was ousted by an easy tackle from the Panthers immediately after. With an escalating lead and a diminishing team, Patna’s inability to handle pressure showed as Maninder reduced them to two men, prompting Patna’s second all-out in the 17th minute. The Pirates were able to derive some satisfaction before halftime by taking out the juggernaut Maninder Singh, but with the first-half clearly dominated by Jaipur, the score was 20-7 at the break.
 
As the second half began, Patna was denied yet another chance to come back as, one by one, Rakesh, Ravi and Sandeep were sent back, the latter tackled just a few centimetres away from the centre line. As the Panthers continued to race ahead, their lead extended to twenty points as Ravi failed against the strong defence of the Panthers, granting them their third LONA. 
 
With seven minutes to go and a lot of ground to cover, Rakesh’s lack of form put his team on the back foot again, setting them back by 11 points. Playing his first game, Bashimov was able to gain a point which did not help much as Patna conceded their fourth LONA, giving Jaipur an unassailable lead. 
 
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Jaipur Pink Panthers storm into final of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League

Patna's raider Ravi Dalal trying to escape Jaipur Pink Panthers' trap in the semi-final of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Mumbai on August 29, 2014
Patna's raider Ravi Dalal trying to escape Jaipur Pink Panthers' trap in the semi-final of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Mumbai on August 29, 2014
Jaipur Pink Panthers stormed into the finals of the inaugural Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League by trouncing Patna Pirates 38-18 in the completely one-sided first semi-final of the tournament here tonight.
 
Jaipur established themselves as the stronger team within the first 15 minutes and went on to dominate the proceedings for the rest of the match.
 
Both teams began cautiously before Patna began the fireworks when their best raider Ravi Dalal scored an outstanding three-point raid, sending back Rajesh Narwal, Navneet Gautam and Prashant Chavan of the Panthers.
 
The league got its first chance to use a TV referral, as a turbo-charged Maninder Singh slammed into Rakesh Kumar, knocking them both clear out of the lobby. The referees gave both teams points.
 
Moments later, a brave attempt from Sandeep Narwal failed against Jaipur’s impenetrable defence and Patna was left a four-man army by the seventh minute. 
 
After tying at five, Jasvir Singh clawed down Patna’s defence, earning a crucial one-point lead. The lone man standing, Rakesh Kumar, revived his team but gave away the first LONA points of the night, with a hope of a better, stronger comeback. 
 
Nursing an injury, Rakesh was ousted by an easy tackle from the Panthers immediately after. With an escalating lead and a diminishing team, Patna’s inability to handle pressure showed as Maninder reduced them to two men, prompting Patna’s second all-out in the 17th minute. The Pirates were able to derive some satisfaction before halftime by taking out the juggernaut Maninder Singh, but with the first-half clearly dominated by Jaipur, the score was 20-7 at the break.
 
As the second half began, Patna was denied yet another chance to come back as, one by one, Rakesh, Ravi and Sandeep were sent back, the latter tackled just a few centimetres away from the centre line. As the Panthers continued to race ahead, their lead extended to twenty points as Ravi failed against the strong defence of the Panthers, granting them their third LONA. 
 
With seven minutes to go and a lot of ground to cover, Rakesh’s lack of form put his team on the back foot again, setting them back by 11 points. Playing his first game, Bashimov was able to gain a point which did not help much as Patna conceded their fourth LONA, giving Jaipur an unassailable lead. 
 
Jaipur Pink Panthers will now play the winners of the second semi-finals between U Mumba and Bengaluru Bulls.
 
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Pro Kabaddi: Patna Pirates enter last four with 33-31 win over Bengaluru Bulls

Sandeep Narwal's wonder raid which snatched the match away from the Bengaluru Bulls and took Patna Pirates into the semi-finals of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Bangalore on August 25, 2014.
Sandeep Narwal's wonder raid which snatched the match away from the Bengaluru Bulls and took Patna Pirates into the semi-finals of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Bangalore on August 25, 2014.
Sandeep Narwal was the hero as Patna Pirates qualified for the semi-finals of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League by beating Bengaluru Bulls 33-31 in front of their home crowd in a thrilling encounter here tonight.
 
Bengaluru Bills will now take on the Telugu Titans in tomorrow's game and both teams need nothing less than a victory to book their tickets to Mumbai for the play-offs.
 
The match was a keenly fought affair, especially in the first 35 minutes of play. The tone was set when, right at the start, a lightning raid from Ajay Thakur gave the edge to Bengaluru, taking out Ravi Dalal.
 
Narwal led the counterstrike, pulling himself out of the Bulls' grip. Ajay Thakur was not so lucky, and found himself sandwiched in between the full weight of Pirate defensive power. Trading blows, keeping the scores orbiting around dead equal, the two teams gave it everything they had. 
 
A masterful raid by Bengaluru left the Pirates with only Mandeep Kumar, who made his team proud by scoring a 2 touch do-or-die raid, giving Patna 3 points and 2 additional players.
 
Together, they were able to bring down Ajay in his following raid. But the Bulls’ assault was relentless, and the Patna Pirates were once again reduced to Mandeep. His second do-or-die ended in failure, giving Bengaluru an all-out at the 15th minute. This victory brought the Bulls the confidence they needed to briefly surge ahead, and with multiple A-grade raids and a halting tackle of Narwal brought the halftime score to 18 – 13.
 
The beginning of the second half witnessed a similar pace to the beginning of the first. The Pirates, despite two whisker-close raids from Ravi and an artful wraparound tackle of Thakur, were unable to close the gap. But a 2 touch raid from Dalal changed everything. 
 
Narwal took this as a challenge to his raiding excellence, and followed this with an absolutely astounding 3 touch raid that brought the Pirates ahead with a score of 26 – 25.
 
It took only another minute to bring Bengaluru down to their skipper, and Manjit’s raid was met with the same vicious kabaddi competency, giving Patna Pirates their first all out. It was all they would need. The final two minutes would yield no fruit for the Bulls, and as Narwal ran out the clock in the last 30 seconds, the Bengaluru team saw the writing on the wall. 
 
Finishing his raid with a somewhat ostentatious but absolutely warranted cartwheel (perhaps a tribute to his incapacitated captain), Narwal won the match, and secured Patna a place in Mumbai.
 
It will now be a fight for the fourth spot in the semi-finals between the Titans and the Bulls tomorrow.
 
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Pro Kabaddi: Patna defeat Bengal 36-32 to climb to second spot in table

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The much-talked about Bengal Warriors defence looked completely ordinary as Patna Pirates outplayed them 36-32 to claim the second spot in the table in the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League here tonight.
 
There were great expectations of a keen contest in the Sawai Man Singh Indoor Stadium here as the match kicked off under bright lights.
 
Patna launched the first assault as they captured Bengal’s star raider Nitin Madane in a spectacular ankle hold and followed it up by Ravi Dalal’s fierce raid which saw two Warriors ousted. 
 
Dalal continued his streak as he took down Shyam Kumar Sah, leaving Bengal a three-man outfit. As Nitin Madane exited the field yet again, captain Nilesh Shinde was left to fight alone. 
 
Leading from the front, he revived two Bengal players. Fighting hard, Bengal refused to give in easily soon, making it a four-a-side affair. However as Sandeep Narwal decide to join the party, Bengal conceded the first LONA points in 19th minute. At half-time the scores were 19-13 in favour of the Pirates. 
 
As the second half began, Bengal bounced back, as Madane earned them two crucial points, injuring his left knee in the process. With Rakesh Kumar cheering from the sides, Patna got back to their winning ways as Sandeep Narwal scored two points taking the lead to 9 points in the 29th minute.
 
In a ray of hope for the Warriors, Sandeep Narwal and Ravi Dalal got out, one after the other. But this hope was short-lived as Patna earned their second set of LONA points in the 32nd minute. The troubles ceased to end for Bengal as an injury to Mahendra Rajput saw him walking off the field as well. 
 
Keeping the last few minutes muted, the Pirates won the match by four points.
 
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4 dead, 8 injured as New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derails in Bihar

Four passengers died and eight others suffered injuries when 12 coaches of the 12236 New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derailed near Chhapra in Bihar in the early hours of Wednesday, official sources said.
 
4 dead as 12 bogies of Rajdhani Express derail near Chhapra
Four passengers died and eight others suffered injuries when 12 coaches of the 12236 New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derailed near Chhapra in Bihar in the early hours of today, official sources said.
 
The injured were admitted to a hospital in Chhapra and some of them may be shifted to state capital Patna later, they said.
 
They said three of the victims died on the spot, while the fourth succumbed to his injuries in hospital.
 
The mishap occurred around 2.15 am today when the 12 coaches -- B1 to B10, the power car and the pantry car -- derailed at a spot near Chhapra, about 75 km from Patna, they said. Most of the passengers were asleep and were rudely awakened by the derailment.
 
While the cause of the derailment is yet to be ascertained, East Central Railway (ECR) officials have not ruled out the possibility of sabotage.
 
"There was a general strike called by Maoists in the area and there are some other indications also pointing to possible sabotage," ECR officials said.
 
Railways Minister D V Sadananda Gowda told newspersons in Delhi that the Commissioner of Railway Safety would inquire into the accident and establish the cause of derailment.
 
He, however, said 18 coaches of a goods train had derailed today at a spot 60 km from Chhapra, and that incident appeared to be a case of sabotage.
 
Mr Gowda, who was on his way to Patna to visit the scene of the mishap, announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh to the next-of-kin of each of the deceased, Rs 1 lakh to each of the grievously injured and Rs 20,000 to those who suffered simple injuries.
 
Senior ECR officials from its headquarters Haipur and Chhapra, district administration and police officials and rescue and relief teams rushed to the spot immediately.
 
The passengers of the train were taken to Hajipur and will be sent to their destinations by a special train later today, ECR officials added.
 
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5 virological diagnostic labs to be set up in Bihar to fight encephalitis: Harsh Vardhan

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Union Health & Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan has announced that five virological diagnostic laboratories would be set up at Gaya, Bhagalpur, Bettiah, Pavapuri and Nalanda in Bihar as part of the efforts to combat encephalitis in these areas.
 
During a visit to Muzaffarpur district of the state yesterday, he also said that a 100-bed paediatric intensive care unit (ICU) would be set up at the Sri Krishna (SK) Government Medical College Hospital there.
 
In the adjoining districts, 10-bed paediatric ICUs would be set up, Dr Harsh Vardhan, who is a medical practitioner, said.
 
He said the SK Medical College Hospital would be upgraded to super-specialty standards. 
 
He said that, apart from the five virological diagnostic laboratories, two multi-disciplinary research units would be set up, one each at Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga. New research initiatives on encephalitis were also announced. 
 
Dr Harsh Vardhan said a Model Rural Health Research Unit on Kala Azar would be set up in Muzaffarpur district. 
 
He said the Medical Council of India (MCI) would be requested to look into extension of medical seats from 150 to 250. He also asked the officials to meet MCI requirements for medical seat extension. He stressed the need of preventive health and making healthy Indians a mass movement by enlisting participation of all sections.
 
During the visit, Dr Harsh Vardhan met the parents of disease affected children in Shahbazpur village in Kanti block of Muzaffarpur. He administered Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccine to children in an Anganwadi Centre in Shahpur panchayat. 
 
He inspected the primary health centre (PHC) at Kanti and met the indoor patients at the maternity ward of the PHC. 
 
Dr Harsh Vardhan's three-day visit to the state was aimed at understanding the situation on the ground in one of the disease-affected states where morbidity and mortality of children in the current outbreak of encephalitis had caused concern in the Ministry.
 
He spoke about the efforts being made by the government to eradicate diseases such as Kala Azar, measles, filariasis and leprosy in the country. He said 100 per cent vaccination woud be ensured so that no child goes without immunization. He said the aim should be to achieve a drastic reduction in the infant mortality rate (IMR) and maternal mortality rate (MMR) in the state.
 
In Patna, Dr Harsh Vardhan met Bihar Chief Minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi and told him that the Centre would do everything possible to halt the morbidity and mortality of mothers and children.
 
Mr Manjhi said the state government had taken many steps for improving the health scenario in the state and added that it was committed to give additional land of 50 to 100 acres for expansion of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Patna.
 
The Union Minister also visited AIIMS Patna and inspected the facilities being set up there. He met the faculty and students of the institute.
 
He announced that a School of Public Health and a Department of Environmental Health Occupational Medicine would be opened in AIIMS Patna.
 
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Jeetan Ram Manjhi to be new Chief Minister of Bihar

 
Nitish Kumar names Jeetan Ram Manjhi as next Bihar CM
Mr Jeetan Ram Manjhi, Bihar's Minister for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Backward and Economically Backward Classes Welfare, will be the new Chief Minister of the state, succeeding Mr Nitish Kumar, who had resigned after the Janata Dal (United) suffered a major debacle in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections.
 
The JD (U) had won just two of the 40 Lok Sabha seats from Bihar, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), its erstwhile partner in the state, bagged 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.
 
Accepting responsibility for the defeat, Mr Kumar, 63, had resigned on May 17, a day after the results were announced.
 
Mr Manjhi, 64,  was chosen as the leader of the JD(U) legislature party at its meeting here today and JD (U) chief Sharad Yadav, Mr Kumar and Mr Manjhi later went to meet Governor D Y Patil and apprise him of the party's decision.
 
No decision on a successor to Mr Kumar could be taken at yesterday's meeting of the JD(U) legislature party after many members insisted that he withdraw his resignation.
 
At today's meeting, the members asked him to choose his successor after he refused to go back on his decision to quit. Mr Manjhi is said to be one of his closest aides in the Bihar Cabinet. He was among those who were defeated in the Lok Sabha elections.
 
On June 16 last year, 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 that Mr Narendra Modi would be the Prime Ministerial candidate of the party.
 
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