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Nitish Kumar and his shades of grey

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To remain relevant in state politics, Nitish Kumar has always maintained an image of being a politician who floats through opportunities. In his political journey so far, Kumar has warmed up to or rejected several party colleagues, be it Upendra Kushwaha, Jitan Ram Manjhi, and Lalan Singh.

Now, once again, he has turned foe to the BJP and become friends with Lalu Prasad Yadav of the rival Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). Kumar’s political career started when he won the assembly election from Harnaut (Nalanda district) in 1985 on a Lok Dal ticket.

A then close friend of Yadav’s, he even helped Bade Bhai (elder brother) become the CM of Bihar in March 1990, pipping two other contenders. The friendship, however, did not last long. Kumar and the late George Fernandes soon formed the Samata Party and launched a fight against Yadav.

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After a disastrous performance in the 1995 assembly polls, Kumar and Fernandes formed an alliance with BJP. Since then, BJP has accepted Kumar as the leader of the alliance. The alignment proved beneficial, and Kumar became CM in 2005 after an unsuccessful attempt in 2000 where he was CM for just 10 days. Over the last 22 years, Nitish has been CM seven times, the shortest tenure being for one week and the longest for five years.

After 2005, Kumar’s relationship with friend and Samata Party co-founder Fernandes turned into a rivalry. In 2009, he denied a ticket to Fernandes from the Muzaffarpur Lok Sabha seat, which the latter had represented for five times, citing old age. Fernandes contested the seat as an independent and lost. In 2010, the NDA alliance won 206 seats in the Bihar assembly elections, with Kumar’s JDU winning 115 seats and the BJP, 91 seats. Chief minister for a third time, Kumar became assertive as his was the larger party in the alliance.

In 2013, BJP announced Narendra Modi as the chairman of the campaign committee for the 2014 elections. Soon, Kumar turned foe to its long-term partner and dismissed all BJP ministers from his cabinet. In 2014, after a poor performance in the general election, Kumar quit as CM and installed Jitan Ram Manjhi in his place. But this did not last long, and he made a comeback by removing Manjhi. In 2015, Kumar once again became friends with ‘Bade Bhai’ Yadav and the parties contested as part of an alliance, with the condition being Kumar would be the face of the alliance. The grand alliance secured a majority and Kumar became the CM. Two years later, he dumped Yadav after cosying up to BJP. He resigned as CM of the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) and led from the NDA camp.

Kumar’s friend and JDU chief Sharad Yadav did not approve of the decision to go with the BJP again and parted ways. In 2019, BJP and JDU contested the LS elections together, with JDU winning 16 of the 17 seats it contested. JDU demanded proportionate share in the Union Cabinet which was refused.

In 2020, BJP made Kumar the CM despite it being the bigger party in the alliance. After the 2020 poll results, many JDU leaders blamed BJP for ‘backing’ Chirag Paswan’s near-successful bid to unseat Kumar, with most of them claiming that BJP and Paswan’s party had some kind of ‘secreat understanding’.

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In July 2021, RCP Singh of JDU became a central minister. JDU has now alleged Singh got a ministerial berth without Kumar’s consent.



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Kerala HC rejects pleas for disqualifying Saji Cheriyan from MLA post

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The Kerala High Court on Thursday dismissed two pleas seeking a declaration that CPI(M) legislator and former state Minister Saji Cheriyan is not entitled to hold the office of MLA in view of his speech allegedly insulting the Indian Constitution. The order was passed by a bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly.
Advocate Deepu Lal Mohan, appearing for the Election Commission, confirmed the dismissal of the two pleas.

The detailed order is not yet available.

The petitions had claimed that Cheriyan’s actions attracted disqualification under Section 9 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Section 9 of the Act states that “a person who having held an office under the government of India or under the government of any state has been dismissed for corruption or for disloyalty to the state shall be disqualified for a period of five years from the date of such dismissal.”
The pleas had also contended that Cheriyan’s conduct was a violation of Articles 173(a) and 188 of the Constitution and a case has also been registered against him under the Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 in connection with his controversial speech.

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The speech had created a political row in the state with the proceedings of the state Assembly being suspended for a day due to protests by the opposition demanding that Cheriyan resign or be sacked and finally resulted in his resignation from his cabinet posts on July 6.



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Bypoll results LIVE: Who will win the high-stakes battle in Uttar Pradesh’s Mainpuri? Counting begins for six assembly, 1 Lok Sabha seat

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The counting for bypolls held in six assembly seats and the high-stakes battle for the Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat has started. It’s nothing short of a prestige battle for the Samajwadi Party as the seat fell vacant after the demise of party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Dimple Yadav is contesting the Manipuri by-elections to claim Mulayam’s legacy.

The entire Yadav family joined hands to ensure that the seat remains in the family, estranged leaders Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav also patched up, much to the relief of family members.

For Akhilesh, this election is extremely crucial because ever since he took over the reins of the party, he has been facing a series of defeats. From the 2017 Assembly polls to 2019 Lok Sabha polls, then the 2022 Assembly polls and the following bypolls in Azamgarh and Rampur, the party has faced losses.
Along with Mainpuri, Rampur Sadar and Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh, Padampur in Odisha, Sardarshahar in Rajasthan, Kurhani in Bihar, and Bhanupratappur in Chhattisgarh are the assembly seats where results will be declared today.
Here are the LIVE updates:

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  • Dimple Yadav of Samajwadi Party has taken early lead in Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat.

  • Counting began for the six assembly seats in five states along with the Lok Sabha seat of Mainpuri.



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Sule leads NCP-Uddhav Sena MPs’ attack on Bommai government; BJP MP rejects charge

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The opening day of the winter session in the Lok Sabha witnessed some heated exchanges over the Belagavi border dispute involving Maharashtra and Karnataka, with NCP MP Supriya Sule leading an NCP-Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray) combined attack on the BJP-ruled Karnataka government and its CM while demanding intervention by Union home minister Amit Shah in the matter. The Shiv Sena (Uddhav) also raised the matter at the Opposition floor leaders’ meeting convened by Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge at his office of the Rajya Sabha LoP. During the meeting, Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi condemned the “provocative statements” made by the Karnataka CM and said her party would take up the issue in Parliament and that she had given a notice for immediate discussion of the matter in the Rajya Sabha.
When the Lok Sabha reassembled after it adjourned till 12 noon as a mark of respect for the late Mulayam Singh Yadav, Sule raised the Belagavi issue. ” The chief minister of our neighbouring state, Karnataka, has been speaking nonsense. A conspiracy against Maharashtra has been going on for the past 10 days. The Karnataka CM is speaking about disintegrating Maharashtra. Both states are BJP-ruled. People of Maharashtra were beaten up on Tuesday when they wanted to go to the Karnataka border. This can’t be allowed… I urge Home Minister Amit Shah to speak up,” Sule said.

While most BJP and Congress MPs were seen treading on a cautious note perhaps because both parties have stakes on both sides, the mandatory counter came from BJP MP from Karnataka, Shivkumar Udasi.

“Maharashtra politicians from the Opposition are habitual offenders! This is their insecurity. Since the matter is still in the Supreme Court, do not let the Opposition talk on it,” he requested the Speaker.

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Trinamool back in Opposition meet

The Opposition floor-leaders’ meeting on Thursday witnessed the return of the Trinamool nominees, who had kept away from the Opposition floor-coordination meeting held at Kharge’s office during the previous session. Representatives of about 13 like-minded Opposition parties decided to coordinate in taking up in the Houses a whole range of issues they had separately raised at the session eve’s all-party meeting. They also decided to oppose two Bills — the Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amend) Bill and the Biological Diversity (Amend) Bill.



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