Ruling, Oppn parties struggle to get their act together in Bihar

Ram Vilas Paswan and Chirag Paswan of the Lok Janshakti Party
Strange bedfellows

Will Bihar see a political realignment in the run-up to the polls? Even the most perspicacious of “weather scientists” would desist from hazarding a guess. But here’s how things have unfolded. With the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress, and other smaller parties struggling to get their act together, the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led ruling coalition was expected to trot to a comfortable win in the coming Assembly elections. But the father-son leadership of Ram Vilas Paswan and Chirag Paswan of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) has thrown a spanner in the works by demanding more seats. Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), or JD (U), is upset at the younger Paswan for taking potshots at Kumar, even suspecting that a section within the Bharatiya Janata Party, the JD(U)’s key ally, has stitched him up for the job. It is also not amenable to the LJP’s demand for more seats. Meanwhile, all isn’t well in the opposition camp. Leaders of smaller parties, including Jitan Ram Manjhi and Upendra Kushwaha, have reservations about accepting the RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav as the leader of the coalition.

Standing up to scrutiny

The next few days are going to be interesting for Union home ministry officials. They are slated to face questions from at least two parliamentary standing committees. On Tuesday, the parliamentary standing committee on information technology will grill representatives of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Ministry of Home Affairs on citizens’ data security and privacy. On Wednesday, the parliamentary committee on home affairs, headed by Congress leader Anand Sharma, will have the home secretary brief it on the “management of Covid-19 pandemic and coordination with state governments, phased unlocking, resumption of economic activities, inter-state movement of people and goods and state of preparedness”.

Spike in online frauds

The pandemic has made fraudsters more creative. In the past few weeks, many have received WhatsApp messages from bogus “friends and family members”, asking for financial help to tide over medical emergencies. The supporting pictures are easy to obtain from Facebook and other social media posts. These pictures are then posted as WhatsApp profile pictures by them while making an appeal. The police, meanwhile, are unable to help because they are busy with the curfew/containment duty.



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