Did PM Modi just sound bugle for Bihar election?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced extension of PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana “till Chhath Puja or end of November”. The term of the current Bihar assembly expires on November 29. And, only recently, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said in an interview that there was “no plan to defer Bihar election”.

So, did PM Modi just announce Bihar Assembly election? Else, extension of a foodgrain scheme could have been announced through a press release. (A little diversion, at least West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC boss Mamata Banerjee does believe so. She has extended the scheme for free foodgrain till June 2021. Assembly’s tenure ends in May 2021)

Just a day ago, the government put out a release to enforce ban on 59 Chinese apps and another for Unlock 2.0. To be fair, PM Modi spoke about reopening measures expressing concerns about people becoming “careless” with Unlock 1.0.

Bihar is facing one of the severest life and livelihood issues in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. Bihar is estimated to have received the highest number of returnees in reverse migration.

There is no concrete figure for returning migrants in Bihar but the official estimate is 23-24 lakh workers for whom the government has promised employment under new PM Garib Kalyna Rozgar Abhiyan.

The Centre has mapped 67 lakh returning migrant workers as potential beneficiaries and selected 116 districts for the employment scheme across six states.

Of these 32 are in Bihar, which has a total of 38 districts. During the coronavirus lockdown, it was the migrant workers from Bihar which hit the maximum new headlines building a perception that a large number of poor in the state would be angry with the government.

Besides the Modi government at the Centre, the BJP is in power in Bihar also in alliance with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United. In a recent interaction with PM Modi, CM Nitish is understood to have underscored his challenge of handling the reverse migration crisis in Bihar, which has seen surge in Covid-19 cases over last few weeks.

Officials in the Bihar have reported to the Nitish Kumar government that a large number of returning migrants are “not in a mood” to go back to places they worked earlier. Bihar has one of the highest population densities and worse employment rates.

Against this background, PM Modi in a special nationally televised address said this: “With the onset of July comes the time of festivalsThis time of festivals expands our needs and…

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