Bihar: First Post-Covid Elections

Bihar: First Post-Covid Elections

With the Bihar state elections coming up in October-November 2020, the state is poised for an electoral battle with several friends-turned-foes being pitted against each other.

Crux of the Matter

Upcoming Elections
The Bihar state elections would be held in October-November 2020, with Nitish Kumar, the current Chief Minister of Bihar, being the CM candidate of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The NDA is the alliance of Janata Dal (United), BJP, Hindustani Awam Morcha and Lok Janshakti Party, with Nitish Kumar belonging to the Janata Dal (United). Devendra Fadnavis, former Maharashtra Chief Minister, has been appointed as the “election in-charge” of the BJP in the state.

UPA
The other major alliance of the state is the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), which is a coalition of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Indian National Congress, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party and Vikassheel Insaan Party. The alliance would be led by Tejashwi Yadav, who is the son of Lalu Prasad Yadav (RJD party chief and former Bihar CM). Tejashwi Yadav has reportedly engaged in talks with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and BSP to form a ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance).

Other Groups In Elections

  • The Left Front of the Communist parties led by former JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar.
  • All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) which has Asaduddin Owaisi as the Party President.

Election Commission Rules And Online Rallies
The Election Commission of India (ECI) recently declared a ‘revised schedule’ for the advertising of criminal cases and background of a candidate:

  • First broadcast: Within 4 days of the last date of nomination withdrawal.
  • Second broadcast: Within 5 to 8 days after the deadline of nomination withdrawal ends.
  • Third broadcast: From day 9 till the campaign ends (2 days before the polling).

Virtual election rallies are being held in Bihar due to restrictions on physical ones owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

PM Schemes Amidst Elections
PM Modi recently had an online interaction with beneficiaries of different schemes like the PM Ujjwala scheme, PM Kisan scheme, etc. He also recently inaugurated several schemes and projects affecting the state:

  • 3 petroleum projects in Bihar costing ₹900 crores.
  • 7 urban infrastructure projects in Bihar worth ₹541 crores.
  • Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) for the fisheries sector with an investment of ₹20,050 crores.
Curiopedia
  • Mere Bharat Ke Kanth Haar is the state song of the Indian state of Bihar. The lyrics were written by Satya Narayan and the music was composed by Hari Prasad Chaurasia and Shivkumar Sharma. 
  • A Bodhi Tree with Prayer beads, flanked by two swastikas is the emblem of Bihar. The whole emblem signifies spiritualism, knowledge and auspiciousness in Indian religions.
  • The name Bihar is derived from the Sanskrit word vihāra, meaning “abode”. The region roughly encompassing the present state had many Buddhist vihāras, the abodes of Buddhist monks in the ancient and medieval periods.

Venezuela: Election Controversy

Venezuela: Election Controversy

Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro‘s decision to grant pardon to over 100 political opponents and activists has drawn suspicion from critics, who have been protesting against his regime for years. The episode is a manifestation of the turnaround of the country’s fortunes, once considered the wealthiest Latin nation, to now being a center of hyper inflation and extreme poverty.

Crux of the Matter

Recent Pardon
Venezuelan Government recently announced pardons for more than 100 people, with the list including political opponents either in prison or in refuge in foreign countries. President Nicolás Maduro also terminated criminal cases against several opposition leaders and activists, with the decision coming ahead of the 6 December Congressional elections.


Experts have labelled the move as the “largest amnesty” move in Venezuela for more than a decade. However, the popular opinion is that the decision was taken to make amends before elections as opposition leader Juan Guaidó, backed by the US, has announced boycott of elections due to unfair voting conditions.

Juan Pablo Guanipa, an opposition leader whose victory in a governor’s election was declared null and was accused of treason without any evidence, labelled the move a farce.

Maduro, an executioner who has destroyed the institutionality, [has] no authority to forgive anyone.

Juan Pablo Guanipa

The decision has divided the opposition as some leaders have announced to fight elections against Maduro, ignoring boycott calls from Guaido.

Maduro And His Rise To Power

  • Maduro worked as a bus driver in his early days.
  • He served as the Foreign Minister under President Hugo Chávez from 2006 to 2013.
  • 2013: He became the President after the death of Chávez.
  • 2016: Vote to remove Maduro occurred with more than 1.8 million petitions to remove him. However, he declared the voting “fake” and continued his reign, and soon implemented a state of Emergency afterwards.
  • 2017: Maduro set up a new constituent assembly to rewrite the Constitution.
  • 2018: Maduro was re-elected as the President in controversial elections.
  • The US, the UK, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, etc declared the elections rigged and unfair and recognized opposition leader Guaidó as the President of Venezuela. On the other side, Russia, Turkey, China, Mexico, Bolivia, etc backed the regime of Maduro.
  • Annual inflation rate became 1,300,000% by November 2018. Prices of basic food and daily use items doubled every 19 days on average by the end of 2018.
  • Venezuela has been in a recession since 2014, and more than 3 million citizens have left Venezuela to escape extreme poverty and authoritarian measures.

Also Read: Venezuela: The Oil Problem

Curiopedia
  • United States of Banana is a postmodern geopolitical tragicomedy by the Puerto Rican author Giannina Braschi. The book dramatizes the global war on terror and has Hugo Chávez as a heroic character in it. 
  • Colectivos are irregular, leftist Venezuelan community organizations that support Nicolás Maduro and the Bolivarian government. Colectivo has become an umbrella term for armed paramilitary groups that operate in poverty-stricken areas and attack individuals, engaging in “extortion, kidnapping, drug trafficking and murder”.
  • Popular Will is a political party in Venezuela founded by former Mayor of Chacao, Leopoldo López. The party describes itself as progressive and social-democratic and was admitted into the Socialist International in December 2014.

'Dildaar Dilli' gears up for Elections 2020

elections

Delhi Assembly elections will be held in single phase on February 8 while results will be announced on February 11. The Election Commission of India has said in it’s public statement that the entire election process will be over by February 13. The poll scrutineer has also published the final electoral list, according to which 1.46 crore voters are eligible to cast their franchise in the Delhi elections.

Crux of the Matter
  • The model code of conduct has come into force with immediate effect, after which counting of votes will be done.
  • The term of the 70-member Delhi Assembly would be ending on February 22 and a new house has to be constituted before that.
  • New concept of absentee voters enables those voters to take part in polls who are not able to come to polling stations due to physical circumstances or unavoidable reasons.
  • Pick and drop facility will be provided to Disabled persons and senior citizens above 80 years. They can either vote in person or vote through postal ballot.
  • The ruling AAP government in Delhi is eyeing for a second consecutive term while BJP, which has not been in power in Delhi for 20 years, is vouching for an election win as well.
Curiopedia

Elections in Delhi, the National Capital Territory of India are conducted in accordance with the Constitution of India. The Assembly of Delhi creates laws regarding the conduct of local body elections unilaterally while any changes by the state legislature to the conduct of state-level elections need to be approved by the Parliament of India. In addition, the state legislature may be dismissed by the Parliament according to Article 356 of the Indian Constitution and President’s rule may be imposed. The main political parties are Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Indian National Congress (INC)Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are the major political parties in Delhi. In the past, various parties such as Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) and Janata Party (JP) were also influential in the territory. More Info

Boris Johnson Returns as UK PM with Full Majority

The Conservative Party secured its biggest victory since 1987 with a thumping majority of 365 seats in the general elections concluded on the 12th December 2019. In a statement after the victory from 10, Downing Street PM Boris Johnson said, ” We promise to govern as a one nation party and use the majority to ‘unite and level up’ the country.”

Crux of the Matter
  • Boris Johnson will meet the Queen shortly to seek permission to form the new full majority government.
  • Labor Party led by Jeremy Corbyn won 203 seats with 32.2% vote share which is termed as the worst defeats for the party.
  • Jeremy Corbyn declared that he will no more lead the Labour party in the next elections
  • Out of the total 650 seats, Scottish National Party and Liberal Democrats managed to secure 48 and 11 seats with 3.9% and 11.6% vote share respectively. Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) secured 8 seats with 0.8% vote share.
  • Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson and the DUP’s leader Nigel Dodds have lost their seats.
  • Following the election results, the Muslim Council of Britain‘s Secretary General Harun Khan issued a statement saying there is ‘a palpable sense of fear amongst Muslim communities after the victory of the Conservatives’.
  • Snap elections were called as Johnson had failed to pass through an EU withdrawal agreement by the end of October 2019.
  • PM Boris Johnson reiterated that ‘Brexit’ and ‘NHS’ are the top priorities for the newly elected government.
Curiopedia

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is a British politician, writer, and former journalist who is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and leader of the Conservative Party since July 2019. He also served as mayor of London from 2008 to 2016 and foreign secretary from 2016 to 2018. He began his career in journalism at The Times. He was elected MP for Henley in 2001 and served as a Junior Shadow Minister under Conservative leaders Michael Howard and David Cameron. In 2016, he became a prominent figure in the successful Vote Leave campaign for Brexit. He then served as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs under Theresa May. More Info

Namibia President Hage Geingob Wins Second Term in The Presidential Elections

Amidst facing several corruption accusations, economic recession President Hage Geingob of Namibia has retained his term consecutively for the second time in the 2019 Presidential elections. The Electoral Commission of Namibia announced on November 30 announced that Geingob won by securing 56.3% vote share.

Crux of the Matter
  • There were about 1.3 million registered voters for which the turnout was 60%.
  • The president, Hage Geingob, received 56.3% of the votes while his opposition Panduleni Itula bagged 29%.
  • The elections were held for 96 parliamentary seats, in which the ruling party won 63 seats while the opposition Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) party secured 16 seats.
  • After the results were announced, Hage Geingob addressed the people of Namibia and said, ” I am proud of the fact that the elections were held free and fair, without any fights or attacks. People were able to cast their votes to the representatives of their choice.”
  • Opposition leader Venaani said that his party is considering approaching the courts over “anomalies and irregularities” during the election.
Curiopedia

Hage Gottfried Geingob is the third and current president of Namibia, in office since 21 March 2015. Geingob was the first Prime Minister of Namibia from 21 March 1990 to 28 August 2002, and served as Prime Minister again from 4 December 2012 to 21 March 2015. Between 2008 and 2012 Geingob served as Minister of Trade and Industry. He is also the current president of the ruling SWAPO Party since his election to the position in November 2017. More Info