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Homework | Collective Leadership Under PM Modi & Lotus, No CM Face: BJP’s Mantra for State Elections

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The collective leadership under Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the main attraction of the BJP’s campaign in all poll-bound states. (X File)

On the face of it, this looks to be a bold move to not project three of the most prominent faces the party has — Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Vasundhara Raje and Raman Singh

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) began its campaign early in the four key states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Telangana, and so far one thing seems clear — the BJP is projecting no Chief Ministerial face in any of these states. The poll mantra is that of a ‘collective leadership under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party’s poll symbol, the lotus’.

ALSO READ | PM Modi’s Telangana Thunder: ‘2 Families Running State; Parties Like Pvt Ltd Co.’ | Turmeric Board & Tribal Varsity Promises

On the face of it, this looks to be a bold move to not project three of the most prominent faces the party has. Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been the Chief Minister (CM) in Madhya Pradesh for four terms. He is still the tallest Other Backward Class (OBC) face the party has in a state with over 50% OBC population. In Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje Scindia has brought the BJP to power twice, defeating Ashok Gehlot. Raman Singh was in power as the CM of Chhattisgarh for three straight terms till 2018.

So has the BJP decided to take a leap of faith in the upcoming polls?

One apparent reason for the BJP to not put all its eggs in one basket when it comes to the CM face is the factor of anti-incumbency or the electorate’s fatigue with the BJP’s established faces. Chouhan has been the CM for over 17 years in MP. The last elections saw the Congress coming to power before Chouhan made a comeback as the CM within 15 months thanks to a “palace coup” by Jyotiraditya Scindia. Now, Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has also re-entered state politics and he is seen as senior to Chouhan. Tomar has said there is no BJP CM face in MP.

In Rajasthan, the last election mandate was essentially one against Raje with the people voting out her government in November 2018, before giving all 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state to the BJP. ‘Modi tujhse vair nahi, Rani teri khair nahi (no fight with Modi, but we won’t spare the queen)’ was a slogan much heard in the 2018 Rajasthan elections. Since then, the BJP has nurtured new leadership in Rajasthan in Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Rajsamand MP Diya Kumari — both adversarial to Vasundhara Raje.

In Chhattisgarh, Raman Singh won three elections consecutively, but the party collapsed to a shocking defeat at the hands of the Congress in the last elections, with a vote gap of over 10%. Singh hasn’t been projected although there is not much competition to Singh’s standing in the party in Chhattisgarh and he continues to occupy the centre-space in party rallies. PM Modi also mentioned Singh in his rally in Bilaspur on Saturday, while he did not mention Chouhan or Raje in his last rallies in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

FREEBIES VS WOMEN RESERVATION PITCH

After losing Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka amid the poll freebies rolled out by the Congress, the BJP is keen to wrest back Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh from the Congress and retain Madhya Pradesh. On the other hand, if one goes by the words of Rahul Gandhi, the Congress is confident of winning all three states and Telangana as well. The Congress game is simple — keep its winning formula of freebies going to blunt the BJP’s ‘nationalist’ agenda as well as the latest hard-selling of the passing of the Women Reservation Bill to woo women voters.

ALSO READ | ‘Change Is Finalised In Chhattisgarh’: PM Modi Addresses ‘Parivartan Maha Sankalp’ Rally in Bilaspur

The Congress feels the poll freebies would outweigh all factors for women voters, who stand to get monetary doles as well as cheaper LPG cylinders, rather than wait for a women’s reservation bill, which won’t be a reality any time soon. One senior party leader from Rajasthan told News18 that it is the rollout of the freebies that seems to have brought the Congress back in the game in Rajasthan in the last few months, despite anti-incumbency against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. The same seems the case in Chhattisgarh. In Telangana, the Congress’s six guarantees as poll freebies are troubling the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS).

The situation in Madhya Pradesh, however, is the most intriguing. Here, BJP CM Shivraj Chouhan has gone ahead on his level and rolled out poll freebies such as Rs 1,250 per month dole-out to 1.3 crore women in the state and the country’s cheapest LPG cylinder at just Rs 450. This came after the Congress had announced similar promises if it came to power. The BJP has not gone for such a counter in any other state. “This is the CM’s initiative, not that of the central BJP. The election results will tell if it was effective,” a senior BJP leader told News18. The PM has so far mentioned neither of the two ‘freebies’ in his rallies.

Will the move to not announce a CM face and not offering freebies, except in Madhya Pradesh, end up being a ‘masterstroke’ or a ‘disaster’? The results of the elections later this year will show.



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12 Wagons of Freight Train Derailed in UP’s Amroha, Oppn Attacks Centre

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Visuals from the accident site in UP’s Amroha. (X)

Work to restore movement of trains on the section is underway and is expected to be completed by Sunday morning, officials said

Twelve wagons of a Delhi-bound freight train derailed near the Amroha railway station in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday evening, officials said. No one was injured in the accident.

The mishap just comes three days after eight coaches of the Chandigarh-Dibrugarh express passenger train derailed in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda. At least four people were killed in the accident while 31 were injured.

Moradabad Division’s Senior Deputy Commercial Manager (DCM) Aditya Gupta said that “12 wagons of a goods train derailed just after crossing the Amroha railway station around 5 pm”.

The Northern Railway CPRO said the accident happened at the Amroha Yard on the Ghaziabad-Moradabad section, disrupting train movement on the route.

Several Trains Diverted

Fifteen trains have been either diverted or cancelled, railway sources said. “In the meantime, trains on this route are being diverted via Ghaziabad, Hapur and Gajraula,” Gupta said.

Work to restore movement of trains on the section is underway and is expected to be completed by Sunday morning, officials said.

The official further said the freight train “was coming from Uttarakhand and was headed for Delhi, and the contents of the wagons which got derailed are not known”.

Congress Targets Railway Minister For Recurring Train Accidents

Soon after the incident, the Congress party dug up an old tweet regarding a train accident from Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and asked him to pin the post in light of such recurring rail mishaps.

The tweet said “Heading to the accident site” and the opposition party asked the minister that he should keep it as his pinned social media post as he has to use it repeatedly.

The grand old party also posted a video of the train accident and alleged that the Modi government’s negligence ruined the condition of the Indian Railways.

“During the Modi government, news of train accidents used to come every few days, but now such news is coming every day. The government’s negligence has ruined the railways, which are called the lifeline of the country,” Congress wrote on X.

In one such similar incident, a wagon of a goods train derailed between Valsad and Surat stations in Gujarat on Friday but there were no reports of anyone getting injured, a Western Railway official said.

The traffic on the route, however, was affected due to the incident that took place near Dungri station around 3 pm, he said.

The train was heading towards Surat.





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Union MoS Jitin Prasada’s Car Meets With An Accident in UP’s Pilibhit

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Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry of India Jitin Prasada. (PTI Image)

One of the cars in the minister’s carcade reverse banged the vehicle in which the Union Minister was travelling from the front

Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry of India Jitin Prasada’s car on Saturday met with an accident in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit. While the minister is reportedly safe, one person who was present in the car suffered minor injuries.

The crash occurred while he was on a tour of his parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit. The minister’s car reportedly collided with another vehicle in his convoy.

One of the cars in the carcade reverse banged the vehicle in which the Union Minister was travelling from the front.



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‘Bihari Itna Aage Hai to Bihar Itna Pichhe Kyon’, Asks Chirag Paswan

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Union Minister Chirag Paswan. (Image: PTI/File)

Once a sharp critic of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Paswan said the ruling NDA will fight the next assembly elections under Kumar’s leadership

Union minister and Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) leader Chirag Paswan has asked the Bihar government to set a precedent by taking stringent action in cases of crime and the recent spate of bridge collapses, asserting that the state needs the vision to move up the development ladder.

Once a sharp critic of Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar before both allied with the BJP, Paswan said the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will fight the next assembly elections under Kumar’s leadership but flagged a host of issues which, he suggested, has stymied the state’s growth.

The assembly elections in Bihar are due to be held in 2025-end. “Bihari itna aage hai to Bihar itna pichhe kyon? (If Biharis are doing so well, then why is Bihar so behind?) We need to find an answer to this question,” Paswan told PTI, highlighting how people from the state in different fields, from elite government jobs to the private sector, have done well after migrating.

“The problem is that a vision needs to be there and it needs to be implemented,” he said, stressing that efforts should be made to stop migration from the state.

Ahead of the Union budget presentation on July 23, Paswan said he supported the demand for special category status for Bihar.

However, he noted that the NITI Aayog’s recommendations go against granting the demand and said an alternative like a special package should be given to the state.

Asked about the collapse of nearly 15 bridges in Bihar in recent months, a development which raised questions about the quality of development work and made the state a magnet for jokes and memes on social media, Paswan said it is a serious issue.

“This shows that somewhere corruption has taken place. Compromises were made. I don’t want to get into the politics of who was in the government then. We are in the government now. It is our responsibility to make sure this does not get repeated. Whosoever is responsible should be held accountable and punished so that a precedent is set for the future,” he said.

Asked about his change of stand on Kumar, he said if he is part of an alliance, then he needs to be there wholeheartedly.

“I can’t be part of an alliance and have apprehensions also. Because that could have just damaged the alliance and would have affected our performance,” Paswan added.

The NDA won 30 of the state’s 40 Lok Sabha seats, with Paswan’s party achieving a 100 per cent strike rate by bagging all five seats it contested.

He added that Kumar as chief minister has done “really well” compared to the way the state was run under the previous RJD governments. “There is always a scope for improvement,” he said.

Curbing the crime rate can boost tourism, especially religious tourism, in the state, as people need to feel safe before visiting Bihar.

A grand temple in Sitamarhi for Lord Ram’s wife Sita and connecting the town, where the devout believe she was born, with Ayodhya can be a huge boost to tourism, he added.

He rued the lack of education infrastructure in cities of Bihar, noting that a large number of students from the state enrol in Kota’s coaching centres, many of whom are owned by Biharis.

A good number of teachers there are also from Bihar, Paswan said, wondering why such a model cannot be replicated in Patna, Muzaffarpur or Bhagalpur.

The state regularly suffers from drought and floods at the same time, the Hajipur MP said, calling for the inter-linking of rivers.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)



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