Indian media: Bihar by-elections

Lalu Prasad Yadav (left) says his alliance with Nitish Kumar (right) will continue to challenge the BJP Image copyright Manish Shandilya
Image caption Lalu Prasad Yadav (left) says his alliance with Nitish Kumar (right) will continue to challenge the BJP

Media in India are analysing the impact of the assembly by-election results in eastern Bihar state on national politics.

A "grand alliance" of regional parties won six out of the 10 seats and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the remaining four.

The BJP had won 31 out of 40 parliament seats in Bihar in the general elections in May.

Observers say the Hindu nationalist party's victory in the general elections had posed a threat to the existence of strong regional parties like the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Janata Dal (United) (JDU).

To counter the threat, rivals Lalu Prasad Yadav, former federal railways minister and the leader of the RJD, and Nitish Kumar of the JD-U announced their alliance on 11 August to take on the BJP in a "politically-charged" by-election.

Analysts and editorial writers feel the the result is a setback for the BJP but cannot be described as a "referendum" on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership.

The Tribune says "a quick and easy conclusion may be that the BJP has peaked, its bubble [has been] burst. On the ground there is as yet very little evidence to draw conclusions. Vote wise, it is only the anti-BJP 'forces' coming together."

"Too much should not be read into the good showing by the RJD-JD(U)-Congress combine...This is certainly not a referendum on the three months of Narendra Modi's prime ministership," says The Hindu.

The paper adds that "by-elections neither testify to nor negate the existence of any wave - be that of an individual or of a party".

Echoing similar sentiments, The Indian Express says that "by-polls do not inevitably portend larger electoral trends, their outcomes are most often rooted in local issues and factors".

Tributes to 'Gandhi director'

Moving on to other stories, papers are paying tributes to "Gandhi director" Richard Attenborough.

The Oscar-winning actor and director died on Sunday at the age of 90.

Attenborough directed the epic film "Gandhi" on Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi in 1982.

"The world of cinema and stage loses a giant. India will grieve even more as it has lost a friend who defied humongous odds to present Mahatma Gandhi to the mahatma's own people in splendid cinematic fashion," says The Deccan Chronicle.

The Business Standard says "Gandhi, starring Ben Kingsley as Mahatma, remains one of the biggest highlights of a distinguished and versatile career that spanned six decades, on both sides of the camera".

And finally, papers welcome the Supreme Court's ruling that all coal mining licences awarded between 1993 and 2010 are illegal.

Successive governments gave rights to mine coal to state and private companies in a manner which was "not fair and transparent" and without competitive bidding, the court said.

The New Indian Express says "the Supreme Court has rightly blackballed the process and the new NDA government must lose no time in setting things right".

Hindi daily Amar Ujala says the court's ruling shows that the country's natural resources have been looted in the past two decades.

It adds that the need of the hour then is to have a "transparent policy" in place to protect and distribute India's natural resources.

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