The Patna High Court on September 7, 2016 released Muhammad Shahabuddin, a former MP from Siwan (Bihar) and allegedly involved in multiple criminal cases, on bail because the State government didn't pursue the case despite reminders by the High Court. Sushil Modi, the BJP leader and former deputy of Nitish Kumar alleged it was a well-executed strategy of the CM to favor Shahabuddin, a Lalu protégé. Nitish was bowing to Lalu for his support, the BJP accused.

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Below are the unedited excerpts from the Facebook pages of two abiding friends since our JNU years in the 80’s. Kumar Narendra Singh and Ranjan Sharma are originally from Bihar and now settled down in their professional lives in New Delhi. We may not agree on everything but we have a lot of respect for each other’s views. Anxieties and concerns of friends like them should mean a lot to us. We are away from Bihar but Bihar is always within us.

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Even a novice understands the politics behind throwing a sumptuous Iftaar feast by Nitish Kumar at his official residence as the Chief Minister of Bihar. He’s not the only politician to have done so. The Congress CMs, and his foe-turned-mentor Lalu before him, had routinely hosted Iftaar or Eid-ul-Fitra party at the conclusion of the holy month of Ramazan. The leaders of the BJP, a party reputed as unfriendly to Muslims also break bread with the Muslim invitees on this occasion.

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Right after the Indian Independence (1947), the standard of education in Bihar was at par with what the Britishers had set out during their regime. Passing matriculation exam, with its emphasis on math and English, was tough. There used to be a category of dropouts called “Matric Fail” and just for making through the high school to the Matric Board exam, the candidates were regarded in the society as educated people. They would get lower level but respectable jobs.

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Indians in large number voted Narendra Modi, and the BJP, to power in 2014 because they were fed up with the corrupt, dynastic and paralyzed governments of the UPA. Majority of Indians not affiliated to any political party perhaps preferred to see Indian democracy taking on the shape of a two-party system like in Britain, the USA or elsewhere. Since India is a very diverse country, the two major competing parties had to be coalitions of scores of ideologies, persuasions or aspirations.

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