Modi masala: Bihar is still reeling from a hangover of the latest Narendra Modi rally on Gandhi Jayanti and repartees from CM Nitish Kumar. Prabhat Khabar reported Modi's fears that "an arrogant government should not return the center's promised package to Bihar". It was almost a duet when Jiten Ram Manjhi suddenly exploded with the allegation that days before Manjhi was removed from the CM's post, JD-U president Sharad Yadav had told him not to resign even if Yadav asked Manjhi for it as a gesture. Aware of the PM's rally, Nitish Kumar was quick to attack Modi in a simultaneous rally targeting the 2014 Lok Sabha poll promises about repatriating black money to India and distributing it amongst Indian citizens. What was debated throughout Friday and Saturday was Nitish's highlighting the National Crime Records Bureau data which reflected a higher crime rate in BJP-ruled states than in Bihar. At the same time, the CBI was grilling one of his former MLAs (recently resigned), Anant ‘Chhote Sarkar' Singh, in a NTPC contract scam. Singh, the Mokara MLA, is already in judicial custody on charges of an abduction-cum-murder of a Yadav youth.
Caste blast: In his rally, Nitish Kumar of course invoked the latest issues of caste and reservation review that the RSS chief had raised. Modi steered clear of any explicit remarks that had to do with caste, reports several papers, after all the trouble from the RSS and the Patels back home. Shah was more reassuring and said his party would not change the reservation policy if it came to power. But, that's not where the caste discussion ends. RJD chief Lalu Yadav has planned to complain to the election commission about the BJP promise to provide color TVs to Dalits and weaker sections in the recently-released BJP vision document, while son Tejasvi said in an interview to the channel Indian News that they are not contesting on caste issues. The only one who knows to play the caste card well in BJP seems to be Ram Kripal Yadav, who claimed to be casteless in an interview to the Hindustan Times, as rumors of him being a possible BJP CM candidate re-emerge. The same newspaper's editorial comment of course noted Modi's subtle caste allusions by invoking the alliance leaders such as Upendra Khushwaha and Ram Vilas Paswan.
Beef keema: The fight for secularism has once again taken the shape of Hindus versus non-Hindus drawing Bihar's most-invested players. Invoking the recent killing of a Muslim in Dadri for supposedly consuming and storing beef, Lalu Yadav told a TV channel (ANI/IBN7) that Hindus eat beef too, but the BJP was giving a communal tone to it. BJP's MP and communal hero Girirraj Singh hit back by tweeting that he would lead a revolution from Lalu's home for such comments against Hindus who were cow protectors. In a speech, BJP's former president Rajnath Singh said that such comments about Hindus were uncalled for and not true. Bringing it full circle, Lalu hit back directly at Modi and tweeted that the BJP was creating rifts based on lifestyle and food choices.
Caveat Emptor: Police have registered a FIR under IPC 420 and other sections against the Bihar Samajwadi Party chief Ramchandra Yadav and party state secretary Rajesh Singh, reports the Telelgraph. Kumar Venkateshwar complained that Singh had offered him a ticket in return for a Rs 10-lakh donation. Turns out that Venketeshwar had even paid Rs 2 lakh directly to Singh for the transaction. While the Election Commission is yet to take note of this violation, there seems to be more ruckus over how SP has not fulfilled its promises instead of investigating how it is offering tickets for money. The SP state chief says it was party funds that he deposited.
Tail End: Several media reports in Bihar have accepted the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) report as a ‘World Bank' report that ranks Bihar 21 amongst Indian states in ease of doing business. What has gone amiss is that it is a GoI report and is supported by World Bank — making it the first such report — and it only covers a six-month period from January to June 2015, leaving out many factors. Jharkhand's high rank had surprised many, especially in industries
Wit explicit: Lalu Yadav stole the scene some time ago with his mimicry of Narendra Modi's promising Rs 1.25 lakh crore to the people of Bihar. While Nitish Kumar could only remind people that Modi had failed to deliver on his 2014 Lok Sabh poll promise to repatriate black money stowed abroad and deposit Rs 15-20 lakh in each Indian's bank account, the RJD chief bettered him. Yadav has released a hilarious dubsmash video mouthing the words of this same promise as made by Modi in various Lok Sabha poll rallies from last year.