Jaipur non-profit in Bihar fray: Why would a Jaipur based 'non-profit' affiliated to the RSS book as many as four trains with 18 coaches in each of them to ferry Biharis to Mumbai and Jaipur for a week-long junket ? But the general secretary of the NGO, Sharad Joshi, is the one who made the booking, claimed RJD, JD-U and Congress at a joint press conference in New Delhi. The non-profit was acting at the behest of the RSS and the BJP to bribe voters, they complained. Not surprisingly, none of the mainstream newspapers in New Delhi carried the details or even the name. It was left to Calcutta based the Telegraph to provide the details.
Will there be a Greenpeace-like inquiry?: While it will be interesting to see how the Centre for Community Economics & Development, Jaipur explains its interest in Bihar and Biharis and sources of its funding, it will also be worth seeing if the MHA audits its accounts as it did with Greenpeace and whether it subjects the 'non-profit' to the same stringent examination.
Indian Railways accepts Rs 37 lakh in cash: The Indian Railways not only allowed the Jaipur non-profit 60 per cent discount but it also accepted payment in cash between Rs 32-37 lakhs for each of the trains which left Patna in the first week of September. It's strange that while the Election Commission does not allow anyone to move with more than Rs 50 thousand in cash after the model code of conduct came into effect, one Sanjay Kumar Rai from Saleempur, Patna made the payment for the trains in cash, as per the records leaked out.
Who are paying for the surveys?: A series of opinion polls and surveys have been released within days of the poll dates being announced by the Election Commission. While the media have dutifully covered the results ( why shouldn't they ?), the question of who has been paying for the studies and other details regarding the surveys remain unanswered. But one can put two and two together and jump to conclusions ! Today's Chanakya for example has come out with its finding that Narendra Modi is popular with 37% of the voters while Nitish Kumar is popular with 31% of the voters. The finding would be laughable if the sample size is, say, 1000 or even less; or if the sample is skewed. But the India media's penchant for swallowing 'free data' without asking any question is again in evidence. Similarly Edelweiss Research has come out with a similar finding that the Prime Minister is still popular in Bihar and is attracting 'hordes of youth'.
Bihar youth to vote for logic ?: Writing in the Sunday Guardian, editor-author turned BJP Member of Parliament M.J. Akbar says that the youth in Bihar will be voting for 'logic and reason' in this election and not for caste and communal considerations. The youth in Bihar are also aspirational and knows that it's only Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP which can ensure fast-paced development and employment for them.