Five days before Bihar goes to polls, Prime minister addressed his first rally in Bihar, Sasaram. PM made blistering attacks on the opposition and appealed the voters to reelect NDA government for the development of Bihar.
He began his speech by paying tribute to the veteran LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan.
He lauded the people of Bihar for bravely fighting the coronavirus pandemic, “The swift decisions taken by the government under the leadership of Nitish Kumar is commendable. If the decisions were not taken steadfastly then we would have lost many lives.”
Exuding confidence in voters about their clear stance, he said, ‘I have learnt a lot from the people of Bihar. One best thing about Biharis is their clear vision. They are never confused. The voters have decided that they would not let the misleading opposition linger around.’
“Be it about the security or development, Bihar has always been upfront”. He paid respect to the martyrs who lost lives in Galwan valley and Pulwama.
He castigated the opposition saying, “the era of Lalten (lantern) is long gone”. ‘This is an era of electricity. You must remember those who had put Bihar into dark tunnels. Those who looted Bihar are greedily eyeing at CM’s seat. Don’t forget the bimaru past. The have never cared about your needs and used the 15 years to fill their own bank accounts”
“The country had been long waiting for the removal of article 370 from J&K. The opposition wants to reverse the order. For them politics is above national interest. They are conspiring to weaken the nation.” Warning the opposition, he said, ‘the country would not reverse its decision’.
He took a jibe at the UPA government for delaying the developmental work. “They didn’t let Nitish work. UPA government destroyed 10 years on Nitish. They made him beg for clearances.”
“When Nitish understood their power politics, he decided to leave the alliance. This is when we joined hands with him for Bihar’s development. We worked together for 4 years and achieved milestones.”
Citing the progress in Bihar he said “the state has electricity, roads and most importantly an environment where people can live fearlessly.” Roads connecting villages have been constructed. Several new bridges have been built along with the work on Son River which is on its last leg.
“Bihar still has a long way to go in terms of development. Efforts are being made to reach each and every individual in the state. Facilities of gas and electricity have been provided.”
He urged the voters to bring back Nitish- BJP govt to power in order to strengthen self- reliance.
The next rally is scheduled to be held in gaya, followed by Bhagalpur.
In a much substantive and disciplined presidential debate, unlike the first one which had turned into a brawl, the presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden wrapped up the third and final face off. Topics of the debate varied from coronavirus, immigration reform to healthcare, climate change and racism.
The presidential election is going to take place on 3rd November. 50 million people have already cast their ballots.
The event took place at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. It was moderated by Kristn Welker of NBC.
Here are the highlights from the debate:
ON FIGHTING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
TRUMP: It’s a worldwide pandemic. The mortality rate is down. There was a spike but it has gone down. The vaccine will be announced in weeks and the military is going to distribute it. More and more people are getting better. I have been congratulated by many countries for what we have been able to achieve. It will go away. It is going away.
BIDEN: 220000 Americans are dead. Anyone responsible for these many deaths should not remain the President of America. We have 1000 deaths in a day and 70000 cases. We are in a circumstance where the president doesn’t have any plan. We will set up national standards.
BIDEN: We are about to go into a dark winter and there is a no prospect of vaccine coming up.
TRUMP: He ran the H1-V1 vaccine which was a disaster. His own administration said that it was catastrophic. It was far less lethal, but millions died.
BIDEN: He shut down after 4 countries. Trump said we have to thank him for his response but he did virtually nothing. He then gets out of the hospital and say, oh, don’t worry. Nobody besides him thought it wasn’t going to end soon.
TRUMP: We are learning to live with it. We can’t lock ourselves up. I learned a lot. I have recovered. We can’t close down.
BIDEN: You say we are learning to live with it. People are learning to die with it. And you are not even taking the responsibility.
TRUMP: I take full responsibility. But it is not my fault. It is China’s fault.
STRATEGIES FOR DEALING WITH CORONAVIRUS
BIDEN: I am going to shut down the virus and not the country. More social distancing. When you open, give the people facilities to open, increase the funding.
TRUMP: All he talks about is shut downs. We are not going to shut down. I want to open the schools. We are going to open the country. It is a massive country with a massive population. The cure cannot be worse than the problem.
BIDEN: We need to be in a position to test rapidly. We need to be able to trace.
TRUMP: New York has turned into a ghost town. Businesses are dying. We have to open up to protect these businesses. We have the best testing so far.
ON Dr. FAUCI
TRUMP: I get along with Dr. Fauci. I am listening to everyone. But he said there was no need for a mask and now he wants it. He is allowed to make mistakes. He is a good person.
INFLUENCE OF FOREIGN ADVERSARIES ON THE U.S ELECTION (IRAN, RUSSIA)
BIDEN: I have made it clear. Any country interfering with American sovereignty will pay a price. I don’t know why Trump hasn’t said anything about it. I don’t know why he is not willing to talk to Putin about it.
TRUMP: I knew all about that. I was told by Ratcliff that Russia wants me to lose. You got $3.5 million from Russia. You were getting a lot of money from Russia and probably still getting it. Someday you will have to explain why you got the money. The American people need an explanation. There’s been no one tougher on Russia other than Donald trump. I sold tank busters to Ukraine. They were so bad.
BIDEN: I have not taken a penny from any foreign source. I have not taken money from any country what so ever. The president takes money from China, does business with China. I have released all my tax returns and you haven’t returned a single one.
TRUMP: I prepaid tens and millions of dollars. I don’t make money from Russia Ukraine or China. You do. You have got $3.5 million. I will release the audit soon. I was put through a phony witch hunt. Nobody has gone through what I had to. They found nothing.
DEALING WITH CHINA
BIDEN: I would make china pay by the international rules. Not like what he has done. He embraces thugs of North Korea, China, and Russia.
TRUMP: China is paying. They are paying billions and billions. They devalued their currency and paid. I gave the money to our famers.
BIDEN: This is all malarkey. Families are hurting badly.
TRUMP: I am not a typical politician. That’s why I got elected.
RELATIONS WITH NORTH KOREA
TRUMP: When I met Obama he said our biggest problem is North Korea and cautioned me of a nuclear war. I have a very good relationship with Kim. We are not at war today.
BIDEN: We made it clear that China has to rein in North Korea. North Korea is a problem and we are going to make sure it is addressed. Trump’s good buddy is a thug.
TRUMP: Obama care is no good. No matter how you ran Obamacare, it wasn’t going to run. I would like to do much better. I think we are going to win the house. We have done an incredible job on healthcare and we are going to do better.
BIDEN: We will roll out Bidencare. We are going to reduce premium and regulate drug prices. I am going to eliminate private insurance. We are going to make sure we protect pre-existing condition. 10 million people have lost their insurance. Affordable healthcare is a right and not an option.
TRUMP: He didn’t do it when he was in power. You are going to have socialized medicine.
BIDEN: People need affordable healthcare. Period. Period. Period.
Trump blames Nancy Pelosi for failing to strike a deal for the pandemic economy
TRUMP: Because Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to approve it. We are willing to do a lot of thing.
ON INCREASING MINIMUM WAGES
BIDEN: I think we do because one of the things we’re going to have to do we’re going to have to bail them out, too.
TRUMP: How are you helping your small businesses when you’re forcing wages? What’s going to happen and what’s been proven to happen is when you do that these small businesses fire many of their employees.
BIDEN: There is no evidence that if you raise the minimum wages the business will go out of business.
TRUMP: Children are brought here by coyotes and lot of bad people. They are used to get enter the country. We have a 400 miles of border ball. While they built cages.
BIDEN: Coyotes didn’t bring them here. Their parents brought them. Kids were separated from their parents and now they have nowhere to go. Within 100 days we will put 11 million undocumented people to the path of citizenship. We owe them.
TRUMP: He had 8 years as vice president to do so but he did nothing except building cages.
BIDEN: Cages were meant to catch and release, not staying there.
TRUMP: He has no understanding of the issue. Catch and release is flawed.
RACE IN AMERICA
BIDEN: My daughter is a social worker and has written a lot about it. The fact is that there is an institution racism in America. We have been moving the needle further to inclusion. Trump roots for exclusion.
TRUMP: He has been in the government for 47 years and has done nothing. Nobody has done more for the black community but Donald trump with exception of Abraham Lincoln. I gave them 10-year long term funding and I will give them more.
TRUMP: We have different programmes. But I want crystal clear water. Look at Russia, China, India…. how filthy it is. The air is filthy. They were taking away our businesses. I will not sacrifice millions of jobs because of Paris accord. We have already done an incredible job. We have the cleanest air, the cleanest water and the best carbon emissions.
BIDEN: Global warming is next essential threat to humanity and we have been told by the scientists that we don’t have much time. My plan will create millions of job. We will focus on alternative energy reforms. In fact, it would create 7 million more jobs than his.
TRUMP: If you look at his environment plan, they know nothing about climate. His plan is a disaster. They want to knock down buildings and rebuild.
BIDEN: Where does Trump come up with numbers? Fastest growing industry in America is solar and wind energy
TRUMP: We are energy independent for the first time. I know more about wind than you do. Wind is expensive, kills birds. Solar isn’t powerful yet to run our big industries.
TRUMP: We have to make our country completely successful. Success is going to bring us together. I am cutting us taxes but he wants to hike them.
BIDEN: I will be the American president whether you have voted for me or not. I represent all of you. We are going to choose science over fiction. We can grow the economy, address systematic racism, create jobs and roll in clean energy. What is at stake is our dignity and I will get it for you.
In his address to the nation, today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi cautioned people against coronavirus saying, ‘the lockdown may have been eased but the virus still exists’.
‘We have come a long way since the Janta curfew was imposed. While many people have gone back to work, the danger of coronavirus is not over yet. In this festival season we must not forgot that restrictions might have been eased but coronavirus is still out there’.
He mentioned that India is doing well in its fight against the coronavirus. ‘The recovery rate is good, the fatality rate is low. India is saving the lives of more of its citizen than a lot of developed nations. In India, more than 90 lakh beds are available for corona patients, over 2000 testing labs are operational and around 12000 quarantine centers are there in the country. ’
‘Our doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are selflessly working for the nation. This is not the time to be careless. We must not be in the misconception that corona doesn’t exist anymore. Lately, people have been careless towards the virus. If you are going out without a mask then you are putting your as well as the lives of your family members in danger.’ said the PM.
Speaking on the availability of vaccine the PM said, ‘the entire world has come together in a war against corona. Several vaccines are under development.’
‘Work is being done to make sure vaccine reaches every Indian as soon as it is made available. An infrastructure for vaccination at scale is under process.’ Advising the citizens to not be careless until a vaccine is developed, he said, ‘jab tak davayi nahi, tab tak dheelayi nahi’.
Stressing upon the safety measures to be taken during festival he asked the citizens to maintain 2-feet distancing, regularly wash hands and wear mask. ‘I want to see you safe. I want this festival to fill your life with joy’.
PM offered festive wishes to the citizens and ended his address by requesting media personnel and people on social media to campaign to spread public awareness for following Covid-19 guidelines.
Situated in the North of India, Himachal Pradesh has myriad landscapes that make for a perfect ‘me- time’. Kullu, Manali, Shimla, Dharamshala, Dalhousie are some cities which see tourists throughout the year. But I chose a small tranquil village on the map for my vacation.
Bir, commonly known as Bir Billing is a small village in Himachal Pradesh. Underrated thus relatively undisturbed. After spending 6 years in south India which has a lot of beaches (peninsular region), the thought of being in the mountain was mesmerising. Breeze, mountains & river; that’s your company for the journey. And damn no TRAFFIC!
The hotel was located at a hilly yet ideal place. On it’s left was the bus stop, on its right was the road that led to the village, and the windows gave the picture-perfect view of lush green mountains. I quickly took a hot bath, gulped down a tomato soup and left with my backpack for an experience which will remain etched in my memory.
Paragliding, that’s what I had come to do in Bir. Bir billing has been marked the second highest paragliding site in the world and trust me the view from the top explains why. The heights, along with the cool climate of Bir Billing makes it most suitable for any air borne gliding sport. Plus, the wind is extremely smooth which helps in perfect take-off and landing.
I went to the local tourist guide shop located near the bus stop. The place could fit only 5 people at a time. While I stood outside waiting for my turn, I noticed the manager explaining the paragliding rules to a group of European tourists. Eyebrows frowned, open mouth and constant stare at the computer screen. Yes, fear was dripping from their faces. For a minute I was sceptical if I should do it. Come on, you have to accept that the sport is risky. But then the thought lasted just for a minute. I too went through the tutorial video and signed the forms which basically said, ‘the company won’t be liable for my death’.
The take-off site was a 15min-20min drive from the tourist guide shop. I was anxious and terrified to death. I bugged my pilot the entire way asking him how dangerous the sport was. Who wouldn’t be if your travel guide leaves you with a statement, ‘If you don’t jump off the cliff at the right moment, only ambulance will come to pick you up.’
Anyway, the most awaited moment had finally come. There I was standing at the cliff, hooked to the parachute glider. There was a mix of adrenaline rush and relaxation. A few seconds before the jump I thought, ‘It’s time I ease out. Fwww’. And moments later, there I was hanging in the sky, 8000ft from the sea level. In the company of breeze and the lush green valley, all I wanted was to build a home in the sky.
The landing site is huge thus welcoming safe landing. After that one heck of an experience, I spent my evening exploring the village. Bir has Tibetan refugee settlement. Besides the unspoiled nature, you would find lining the street of Bir a handful of guest houses, fields filled with colourful Tibetan flags, monks coming out of years-old-monasteries, people peeping from their small fruit wine shops & the tourist guides wandering with their customers. You would be filled with the aroma of Tibetan food specially the Tibetan momos.
With a population in hundreds, the street is exquisitely quiet and pleasant. Simple wooden houses and farming way of life in the mountains offers an insight into a more traditional way of life. A bicycle ride would be the best to explore the valley. If you’re craving fresh mountain air, adventure with a touch of history and culture thrown in, then perhaps Bir should be your next adventure holiday.
With eyes tightly closed and lips marginally opened, my tongue tasted something sour. It perhaps was the sweat dripping of my philtrum or the last night’s food left on the edge of lips. My delicate ears were almost jeopardized by multiple irksome sounds. As the gentle breeze brushed the epidermis of my cheek, the dead and slob pores began to rejuvenate. The neurons in my body were enjoying the process of slow activation, until the wind reached my nostrils and I was awakened by the smell of raw fish.
I stood near the window and took a seriatim glimpse of world. Though it was eight in the morning, my shadow rather being slant, stood right beneath me (So imagine the temperature). Sweat on the back of my neck were chasing each other. I gasped and skimmed the words written on the billboard which stood in front of my hotel – “Kalakātāẏa sbāgata” (Welcome to Kolkata).
I had gone to Kolkata to attend my friend’s wedding. It was my first visit to the oldest capital of the nation. Unlike my hometown, the city was extremely chaotic and impatient. My friend’s resident was just 2kms away from the railway station. Therefore, to avoid inconvenience I decided to stay in a hotel beside the junction.
The function was supposed to being at 12 pm which gave me ample amount of time to take insights of this exuberating city. Carrying a mug of dark, exotic espresso in hand, I went out to the adjacent balcony and rested my elbows on the exquisitely polished railing. The railway station was on the left and the scenery was cluttered with people on footpaths and vehicles on road. As I shifted my gaze to the right, I saw a long queue of yellow taxis with a few private vehicles in between, standing on the road. The drivers were honking and yelling from their cars’ windows. The subject of the matter was a black giant bull sitting in the middle of a narrow road.
It was impossible for people to commute without moving the cattle. A few passerby tried to move it by making some facetious sounds but nothing fell of deaf ears. The absence of traffic police made the traffic worse. Nobody went close with the fear of being hit by its horns. After a few bizarre attempts, people made their way to stone pelting. Suddenly, two wiry men dressed in rugged jeans and shirts came out of restaurants for rescue. I couldn’t figure out, what made those slender men attack a bull, especially with no weapon or shield in hand. Looking at their daunting attitude, everybody was hopeful of their success.
The performance started with artists taking their positions. One stood in the front and the other at the back of the bull. They followed the modified version of “divide and rule” i.e. distract and rule. As the man in the front tried to retrieve bull’s attention, man at the back tried to push it. They tried almost every position to move the bull which weighed double the their sizes . As a point of acclamation, the cattle did get distracted but the result was different from expected. The cattle hit the frail man with its tail. One try, second try, third try and it went on but the cattle sat there like a fragile king. It almost felt like the bull was bestowing the two men. This went on for almost an hour. The performance which had begun with immense enthusiasm, drained down but the bull continued to remain on its throne.
The queue eventually settled with an alternative route. The clock struck 11. Before rushing towards the room, I took a last glimpse of the bull and titled the hilarious performance of the two frail men and cattle “reign of the bull”.