In the state of Bihar, campaigning has reached its peak as phase 3 of Assembly Elections is up next. Mighty claims, appeals and look-backs have come into the picturesque spread of the elections, wherein polling will be held in 78 Constituencies which are spread over 15 districts. Parties have left no stone unturned in wooing the voters.
A series of rallies and public speeches were held on Monday by the leaders of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) to lure the voters with their high claims and appeals and passionately sought votes for their candidates during the third and last phase of Bihar elections scheduled for November 7.
Both contenders, JD(U)-led NDA and RJD-led UPA are seen to be in a neck to neck contest this time in most of the Assembly seats. Bihar election of 2020 had a unique turn of events, from heated cross swords between the leaders to tweets that grasped the headlines and minds of the voters, all in the middle of a pandemic.
It was seen in a series of tweets by Mr Chidambaram that he heavily targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for seeking votes in the name of Article 370, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and Ram Mandir. Furthermore, he also said, “The best slogan I have heard about the performance of the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar: KHALI HAATH (empty hands), KHALI JEB (empty pocket), KHALI PET (empty stomach).” These direct attacks on Chief Minister Nitesh Kumar were widely heard following him being in power for 15 years.
The best slogan I have heard about the performance of the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar:
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) November 2, 2020
“As I’ve promised, I will provide 10 lakh government jobs with my first signature at the first Cabinet meeting if voted to power,” RJD leader and it’s chief ministerial face Tejashwi Yadav said at a rally in Darbhanga town. He further added, “I will focus on the core issues plaguing Bihar like padhai, dawai, Kamai, sinchai aur mehengai (education, medicine, employment, irrigation and price rise) I’m a young man with new thoughts,” he told the loud and cheering crowd.
Another housefull rally of RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav in the Loriya assembly constituency of Bihar pic.twitter.com/rBxAwncPTJ
— Ravinder Kapur (@RavinderKapur2) November 1, 2020
Mr Yadav, has been seen to have drawn huge crowds in over a couple of rallies and public meetings every day.
Rahul Gandhi in one of the rallies highlighted and alleged PM Modi with mistreatment of migrant labourers during the COVID-19 pandemic as he said that majority of them hailed from Bihar.
The candidates in the area of Mithilanchal of RJD are observed to be upper castes; this could be because the party is arithmetically targeting the Muslim-Yadav vote bank.
The young 31-year-old leader filled with zeal is the sole star campaigner of the RJD led- UPA. “Only a few days are left, and I have to cover all 78 seats in the third phase,” he said while addressing the crowd.
On Monday, November 2 he spoke in over twenty public meetings organized in districts of Araria, Saharsha, Darbhanga, Supaul and Samastipur, where polls are slated to happen on November 7. On Saturday, before campaigning ended for the second phase, he had addressed nineteen public meetings to set the tone of the election.
“Mr Nitish Kumar is unable to handle Bihar… he is a tired man… we’re appealing to the people to give us a chance so that we can do what Nitish Kumar hasn’t done for them in the last 15 years of his regime,” he strongly commended. Adding to this, he fervently remarked: “His (Nitish Kumar’s) bidai (farewell) is guaranteed.”
On Thursday, Mr Gandhi hit on his political rivals in Bihar PM Modi and Mr Yadav and said that they didn’t address the issue of coronavirus in Bihar well and are now seeking votes. Adding to which he said, whether it’s Modi Voting Machine or Modi Ji’s media, he is not scared of them; Grand Alliance will win.
A lot happened on the flip side of the coin, JD(U) leader and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has actively addressed four to five rallies and public meetings every day, where he affirms the public about the mighty development that his government meticulously done in the past 15 years.
“We constructed roads and brought electricity, 50 per cent reservation for women in panchayats and several welfare measures for students… if given a chance, I’ll do more, as service to the people in my religion… development with justice has been my government’s mantra,” he said in an emotional tone at Supaul while addressing a public meeting on Monday.
His speeches seen to have mocked the RJD leader “But for some people, development only means development of their family: sons, daughters, wife and others…for me, Bihar is my family.” At a rally in Harlakhi of Madhubani, onions were pelted at Mr Kumar.
In Parihar constituency of Sitamarhi district, the president of BJP, J.P. Nadda talked highly about the development done and portrayed by PM Modi across India and by the NDA government in Bihar. He accused the opposition party- RJD for its misgovernance and listed the shortcomings of Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi from the years 1990 to 2005.
“Jo kaam karne wale hain unko kaam dijiye, aur jo beimaani karne wale hain unko aaram dijiye (Those who do work, give them work to do and those who are dishonest with you, give them rest),” Mr Nada vehemently said at his rally in Sitamarhi.
He also organized a crowded roadshow in Darbhanga where he hopefully said people of Bihar would give another chance to NDA based on the development work done by PM and Mr Kumar.
PM Modi said on November 3, “NDA is committed to a government which will work for the development of Bihar and the poor people of the state.”
At a public meeting in Saharsa yesterday, PM urged the voters to reject the ‘jungle raj’ or lawlessness promoted by the Opposition. He said, every person of the state remembers the betrayal portrayed by the jungle raj against the capability of Bihar. He alleged that forerunners of jungle raj had kept the poor at bay from elections with the historical culture of booth capturing.
Onions Thrown At Nitish Kumar's Rally In Bihar.
— _ (@WhatsInATwee1) November 3, 2020
On Tuesday onions were flung towards Mr Yadav by some protestors at an election rally in Madhubani. The CM was addressing the public in Gangaur village ground in Harlakhi assembly constituency when the incident took place. The onions were thrown while Mr Yadav was speaking about unemployment, he continued his speech and asked people to keep throwing, while his security men covered him.
However, on Wednesday, a spark between Mr Kumar and his ally BJP’s star campaigner Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, has reopened cracks in the ruling coalition amid the Bihar election campaign. Rebuking on the UP CM’s comment on “throwing out infiltrators who try to breach the security of the country ” a remark about the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act), Mr Kumar said Who does all this malicious campaigning? Who said this faltu baat (nonsense)? Though Mr Kumar didn’t name anyone in his speech, but widely perceived as a rejoinder to his Uttar Pradesh counterpart.
सब को साथ ले कर चलना ही हमारा धर्म है। यही हमारी संस्कृति है। सब साथ चलेंगे तो बिहार आगे बढ़ेगा। pic.twitter.com/uEfnVJPiay
— Nitish Kumar (@NitishKumar) November 4, 2020
The episode of Mr Kumar’s angry pushback once again laid bare his ideological contradictions with the BJP.
LJP leader Chirag Paswan has been in the limelight for wisecracking at CM Nitish Kumar on serious issues like corruption in projects of welfare. The LJP candidates have contested against the JD(U).
“The next government in Bihar will be of the BJP-LJP combine,” he declared, yet again during the third phase campaigns. He appealed to the people to make his party candidate victorious at Mahishi in the district of Saharsa. “The BJP-LJP government will implement the ‘Bihar 1st, Bihari 1st’ vision document,” he affirmed.
महुआ की जनता से मिले प्यार के लिए दिल से धन्यवाद।आप के आशीर्वाद से #बिहार1stबिहारी1st के लिए संकल्पित लोजपा प्रत्याशी श्री संजय सिंह जी विजयी होंगे बिहार के नवनिर्माण मे सहयोग देंगे #बिहार1stबिहारी1st को लागू करने के लिए लोजपा प्रत्याशी को आशीर्वाद दे।#असम्भवनीतीश pic.twitter.com/e8BmTTNhzS
— युवा बिहारी चिराग पासवान (@iChiragPaswan) November 3, 2020
On Monday, Junior Paswan wrote to Mr Kumar asking him to “provide details of his government’s work in the last five years and to let people know about the document of vision curated by his government.”
On Thursday, Mr Paswan hit on Mr Gandhi’s for calling Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) “Modi Voting Machines” (MVMs) and said whenever the Congress party or the Mahagathbandhan parties raise the issue of EVM tampering, it means that they have accepted defeat.
Mr Paswan sharpened his attack on Mr Yadav and said after the declaration of results on November 10, he (Nitesh Kumar) would be seen bowing down in front of RJD chief Tejashwi Yadav. He further stated pointing out that Mr Yada always criticised PM Modi, but during election campaigning he was found being respectful and bowing in front of latter. This shows JD (U) leader’s greed towards power and the chief minister’s post.
The Jan Adhikar Party’s President, Rajesh Ranjan, was also seen in rallies and public meetings where he alleged that both NDA and Mahagathbandhan are fooling people over the issues of development. Leaders of Left parties also addressed public meetings in support of their party candidates.
As the time of the result is nearing, the air of Bihar has become cold, and the aim remains to seat on the CM’s chair and grasp the power in hand. The leaders have resorted to discharging every last bullet on each other to claim the chair as theirs. Whole of India has its eyes on this election as Bihar is one of the prominent states of North India.
Ram Mandir Opening For “Darshan” In 2023
The Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is expected to allow visitors by December 2023, with the completion of construction only in 2025.
Sources in the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra have revealed that the colossal project of building the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, will be opening for devotees towards the end of 2023. In contrast, the project’s entire construction completion is expected towards the end of 2025. The sanctum sanctorum (Garbha Griha), along with the mandir’s first floor, will be ready by December 2023. Devotees will be allowed to visit the long-awaited mandir soon after the construction is completed.
An ANI report said, “The grand Ram Mandir being constructed in Ayodhya will be opened for devotees from December 2023. Sources told ANI that Garbhagriha, all five mandaps and the first floor will be ready by December 2023 and the mandir will be opened for devotees”.
Completion of entire Ram Temple complex in Ayodhya is expected by the year 2025; A museum, digital archives and a research centre also to come up in the temple complex: Sources
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) August 4, 2021
The sanctum sanctorum will be as high as 161 feet and built using Rajasthani marble and stones. Engineers and architects are taking all measures to ensure the longevity of this enormous project. The second stage of construction is expected to begin in December this year. Currently, the structure is at a standstill as a result of monsoons. Another reason for the delay is the coronavirus pandemic that depleted the force with which the mandir’s construction was expected to go on.
Ram Temple in Ayodhya will be ready in a year or two. Delhi government has decided to take senior citizens to Ayodhya for Ram Lalla's darshan with travel, accommodation, and food expenses to be borne by us: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal pic.twitter.com/MDGeP0k613
— ANI (@ANI) March 14, 2021
The announcement of the mandir being opened to visitors in 2023 has brought up questions about the political agenda. It is believed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) aims to use the mandir to catapult themselves into a position of advantage during the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Opening the mandir to devotees in December 2023 will give the BJP an easy 6-month gap to the general elections in 2024.
The opening of the long-awaited Ram Mandir in Ayodhya could be the factor that diverts the public, at least the Hindu’s in favour of BJP. Thus, securing them a vote bank based on religious sentiments upheld by the party in their previous tenure as the ruling party.
The Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir will be 360 feet long, 235 feet wide, and 20 feet high mandir will be completely ready by the end of 2025. The project will include amenities and structures like museums, archives, research centre, Sant Niwas, gau and Yagya shala, Etc. The main attraction is the Ram Mandir.
Centre to SC: Shreya Singhal Judgement- States Also Have Liability To Guarantee Individuals Not Troubled Utilizing Scrapped Section 66A
The Center has submitted to the Supreme Court that police and police requests being state subjects, the obligation to ensure the execution of the pronouncement that annuls Section 66A of the Information Technology Act belongs to the states. Further, the law requires organizations to share equivalent obligations to hold out the judgment.
On July 5, 2021, a Bench drove by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman said it was “upsetting,” “shocking” and “terrible” that individuals are as yet reserved and tried under Section 66A even six years after the apex court struck down the arrangement as unlawful and an infringement of free speech. The NGO People’s Union of Civil Liberties, represented by senior lawyer Sanjay Parikh and advocate Aparna Bhat, had made the court take notice of the contempt.
Undead segment: About Section 66A of the IT Act
In its reaction, the Centre said the police and public request were “State subjects” under the Constitution. “Counteraction, location, examination and arraignment of wrongdoings and limit the working of the police are essentially the obligation of the States,” the Centre submitted in the affidavit. It said law requirement organizations share equivalent obligation to agree with the apex court judgment. They make a move against cybercrime offenders according to the law.
The Centre said the Ministries of Information and Technology and Home Affairs gave a valiant effort to disperse information about the Supreme Court judgment in the Shreya Singhal case. Section 66A had suggested three years of imprisonment if an online media message caused “disturbance” or was found “terribly antagonistic”. Mr Parikh had welcomed the court intervention to work out a system to disperse the Shreya Singhal judgment to each police headquarters and preliminary court in the country.
“Section 66A of the IT Act has continued being utilized inside police base camp just as in cases under the attentive gaze of primer courts across India. This data was accessible on the Zombie Tracker site, created by a group of independent researchers. The discoveries of the site uncover that as of March 10, 2021, upwards of 745 cases are as yet forthcoming and dynamic under the steady gaze of region courts in 11 States, wherein the denounced are being indicted for offences of the IT Act under Section 66A.” the PUCL has acquiesced.
The accommodation has been in the rejoinder affidavit filed by PUCL in the apex court. This response was because of the Centre’s counter-affidavit in a petition filed by PUCL looking for different bearings and rules against the FIRs scraped under the struck-down Section 66A.
PUCL in, its rejoinder affidavit through Advocate Aparna Bhat, has contended that the Union of India should not have avoided its commitment by arguing that the obligation of execution lies with the States just as with the law enforcement agencies. It mentioned alluding to Union’s accommodation in its affirmation that ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ are state subjects. Accordingly, the obligation rests with the State.
Alluding to the Centre’s accommodation that they had mentioned Chief Secretaries, all things considered, and Administers of Union Territories to outfit information for arraignments summoning Section 66A get-togethers, PUCL has contended that the reaction to the said letters have ‘nor set on record nor unveiled.’ PUCL has been tending that looking for removal of its application mentioning the execution of the judgment downplays the enormous scope infringement of the right to freedom of speech and expression and the right to fair trials of citizens.
The applicant has proposed the additional directions to be given by the Court in the matter:
Directions to High Courts:
The applicant has looked for specific bearings to every one of the High Courts through Registrar Generals. The proposed headings ought to impart to every one of the District Courts and Magistrates that forthwith there ought to be no cognizance taken under the revoked Section 66A of the IT Act. It had been expressed that the High Courts be permitted to start Suo Motu contempt procedures against those liable for enlisting a case under Section 66A or for examining it or for indicting it.
Directions to DGPs:
The applicant has recommended that bearings are given to the Director-General of Police and Union Territories to convey to all police headquarters inside their separate locales to show a notification that Section 66A of the IT Act has been scrapped. Also, no case can be enrolled under the cancelled Section 66A of the IT Act.
Directions to Respondents:
Decisions have looked to the Respondents, Union of India, to accumulate the nuances of the cases enrolled by the Police or Law Enforcement Agencies under Section 66A of IT Act since the judgment of Shreya Singhal revealed by coordination with the chief secretaries of the DGP of the States and Union territories.
As per the applicant, Respondents can coordinate to guarantee that Doordarshan and All India Radio make quarterly declarations in significant vernacular dialects advising the public that Section 66A of the IT Act is presently not in power. The applicant has looked for bearings to guarantee that all authority and business forms of the IT Act that are here in after distributed (on the web or disconnected) do exclude the total content of Section 66A and educate the per user that said arrangement stands revoked.
The Shreya Singhal judgment had delivered by the seat which, lifted Section 66A by Judge J Chelameswar and RF Nariman for a violation of Articles 14 and 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. The judgment wrote by Justice Nariman held the arrangement to be obscure, over the edge, and making an alarming impact on free discourse.
SC/ST Act Misuse: Alleged Fraudulence Of The Atrocities Act?
The Government of India, recently, claimed in an answer to the MPs of Rajya Sabha, that according to research, many states have conviction rates that are even lower than 1%.
In the year 2019, there were a total of 41,793 incidences of crime or atrocities against Dalits and 7815 cases of crime against tribal people. According to the report, only 44 out of 6540 cases of crimes or atrocities against Dalits in Bihar have been proven factual in trial courts. The STs filed a total of 97 cases under the SC-ST Act, but only two were judged to be true.
The conviction rate was 0.67 percent for men and 2.06 percent for women. It also stipulates the state with the most cases of crime against SCs is Uttar Pradesh, with 9451 cases, or 22.61 percent of all such cases in the country. Rajasthan comes in second with 6659 cases (15.9% of total cases), followed by Bihar (15.6%), and Madhya Pradesh (12.6 percent). In the last year, the number of ST cases filed in UP has increased by 600 percent.
According to the information, 705 cases were filed, however just one case was found to be true during the trials. The conviction rate in Kerala and Karnataka is slightly more than 1%. The SC-ST Act has been used in 1,733 cases in Karnataka. The conviction rate, on the other hand, was only 1.67%. In Kerala, the average conviction rate for atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis under the PoA Act remained at 1.76%. These claims sure put the concerned legislation on spot for being exploited.
The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, aimed to prohibit the atrocities committed against members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, to establish Special Courts for the trial of such offences and the relief and rehabilitation of victims of such acts, and to provide for matters connected with or incidental thereto.
The number of complaints against the misuse of the same has arisen in the last few years. The apex court has had stated in the past, that the Act has been misused to submit bogus complaints to foster caste animosity, rather than blurring caste barriers, adding that, if the Atrocities Act is not brought into line, it may even “perpetuate casteism,” and the court will have to act to prevent “false implication of innocent persons along caste lines.”
However, when seen through the lens of why the Act was necessary and how well it was administered, a different image emerges. The court’s stated goal in a 2018 ruling for the Prevention of Atrocities Act, was to safeguard officers from “arbitrary arrest” and “innocent civilians” from being falsely accused in cases. But according to data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and the Ministry of Home Affairs, low conviction rates under the Act may be due to the misuse of the provision as much as the way investigations and cases are pursued in the courts.
Those who have pushed for stricter rules under the Act argue that the low conviction rate is due to the way cases are registered and prosecuted. “Dalits are frequently the victims of discriminatory treatment in the administration of justice,” according to a Human Rights Watch report.
According to a report published in the Economic & Political Weekly, approximately half of the cases brought under the Act do not get to court and are closed by the police. It had also hinted at a “caste bias among the investigating officers.” Sthabir Khora, an assistant professor, alleges that compounding, compensation inducement, and criminal intimidation are some of the practices that tend to prevail when the complainant is from the SC/ST category.
In October 2019, the top court observed the National Crime Records Bureau, where over 47,000 cases were reported in 2016 under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. “It would be against the basic human dignity to treat all of them (SC/ST members) as a liar or as a crook person and cannot look at every complaint by such complainant with a doubt,” remarked justices Arun Mishra, M R Shah and B R Gavai.
The bench stated that if a case filed under the SC/ST Act is determined to be false or baseless, many a time. It could be due to poor investigation or other factors such as human failures, regardless of caste. Therefore, all such accounts must be taken into consideration before making an informed decision to serve justice.
The bench had also added, “All humans are equal including in their failings. To treat SCs and STs as persons who are prone to lodge false reports under the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act for taking revenge or otherwise as monetary benefits made available to them in the case of their being subjected to such offence, would be against fundamental human equality.”
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