The great Bihar cash trick: If media reports are to be believed, huge amounts of cash are materialising out of thin air in cars, occupants of which are unable to explain from where they had appeared. The only thing the occupants are sure of is that they have nothing to do with it. Therefore the son of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, after claiming that Rs 4.5 lakh cash found in his car was meant to be paid to a contractor constructing the family's house, has disowned the booty. The cash has been seized by the Income Tax Department. And now two days after, a sum of Rs 12 lakh in cash was found in the car of BJP MLA Usha Vidyarthi's husband, no alibi or explanation has been offered and the amount is again likely to be seized by the Income Tax Department.
Amit Shah rents a house in Patna: The BJP national president, say media reports, has rented a two-bedroom flat in Patna for two months. While it is doubtful that Shah will actually be camping there, tongues are wagging about the possible utility of keeping a flat for him. Rivals are of course certain that it would be used as a transit point for cash and traders from Gujarat while dignified BJP leaders say they are disgusted by such vile insinuations. Well, it is equally certain that the rent agreement will not mention the BJP president. So what's the fuss all about?
Owaisi stung by criticism: Stung by Lalu Yadav calling him an agent of the BJP for AIMIM's decision to contest 25 seats in Bihar, Asauddin Owaisi has threatened to sue the RJD leader. Lalu, he said in Patna, was ungrateful and has forgotten that he had campaigned for him in 2005. He also ridiculed Lalu's secular credentials by pointing out that the Bihar lead had once praised the RSS and had not only invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the wedding of his youngest daughter but had also happily taken 'selfies' with the PM.
Urdu Press roasts Owaisi: But Owaisi does not seem to have cut much ice in Bihar's Urdu Press. Scathing editorials have asked Owaisi to explain why he fielded candidates in Maharashtra but not in Jharkhand, where the population of Muslims is higher and from where several Muslim youth were arrested as terror suspects. Isn't it a fact, asked one of the newspapers, that in its 87 year history the AIMIM has never contested more than 20 seats in Telangana? And, finally, why doesn't Owaisi first sue BJP leaders like Giriraj Singh who asked people who would not vote for the BJP to go to Pakistan? Why not first sue Sadhvi Niranjana and Sakshi Maharaj?
Khatar-ul-Iman?: The name of Owaisi's pointsman in Bihar is Akhtar-ul-Iman. But irate Urdu newspapers have christened him ‘Khatar-ul-Iman' (A threat or danger to the faith) while some have called him 'Akhtar-ul-Beiman' (Dishonest Akhtar-ul).
It doesn't look all that grand!: A comment in Scroll points out that the 'Grand Alliance' in Bihar is looking frayed in the corners and under considerable strain. It was referring to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's scheduled rally in the state on Saturday, a rally which according to reports in the media, neither Nitish Kumar nor Lalu Yadav wants to attend. While the comment does not go into the reasons, it is well known that the personal chemistry between Rahul Gandhi and Lalu Yadav has never been warm. Gandhi's holier-than-thou approach towards the scam tainted RJD leader was responsible for the latter to drift away from UPA-II. And the breach was complete when Rahul put his foot down and killed an amendment in the law that would have allowed convicted lawmakers to contest elections. Now that Rahul Gandhi needs both Lalu and Nitish Kumar to pull crowds to his own rallies, Lalu Yadav certainly sees no reason to oblige.