India PM’s reform push faces crunch test in Bihar vote

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PATNA, India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi faces a crucial test Monday when Bihar, one of India’s largest and poorest states, begins voting in polls that could have major consequences for his troubled reform drive. Modi has mounted a no-holds barred campaign, promising Biharis billions of dollars for development in a state where many of its 104 million people still vote along caste lines. He is up against an unlikely alliance of two powerful local leaders, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his predecessor Lalu Prasad Yadav, who has served time in prison for corruption.Their rivalry goes back decades, but both men have put their differences aside to thwart Modi, highlighting the premier’s polarizing nature. Voting begins on October 12 and runs in five phases, with the results due on November 8.

AFP

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