The leader of the Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav (pictured), reappeared in the House on Thursday after a longish break. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader had been missing since the Lok Sabha results were declared on May 23. The RJD failed to win even one of Bihar’s 40 Lok Sabha seats. Few knew where Yadav had been since then. Other members of the RJD-led “grand alliance”, including Hindustani Awam Morcha chief Jitan Ram Manjhi, had questioned his absence. This was also the time when more than 150 children in Bihar died of encephalitis. The Janata Dal (United)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruling alliance calls Yadav ranchhod (one who runs away from the battlefield). After returning, Yadav said he was in Delhi to get his injured leg treated and dismissed reports about quitting as the leader of the Opposition.
The Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena have started preparations for the Maharashtra Assembly polls, but the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alliance is still recovering from their decimation in the Lok Sabha polls in the state. The NCP is waiting for the Congress to appoint its state unit chief before initiating seat-sharing talks. Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) Chief Ashok Chavan has stepped down from the post. Former Maharashtra minister Balasaheb Thorat is considered Chavan's successor. NCP President Sharad Pawar and Congress General Secretary Mallikarjun Kharge, who is in charge of Maharashtra, met at Pawar's residence in New Delhi on Wednesday. Sources in the NCP said the party would seek 144, that is 50 per cent, of the 288 Assembly seats as part of the understanding with the Congress. The Congress is frustrated that the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi is not amenable to a seat-sharing agreement with the alliance.
Study on substance abuse
Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot has said more than 160 million people in India drink, around 31 million use cannabis, and 7.7 million people take opioids. More than 57 million drinkers, 7.2 million cannabis users, and 7.7 million opioid users are addicted and need help, according to the minister. He said the findings were part of a national household survey done by his ministry in 2018. The survey revealed around 11.8 million people in the age group 10-75 years took sedatives and 7.7 million used inhalants. Children and adolescents used inhalants more than others. Gehlot said the government was conducting a survey in 10 cities to assess the pattern and profile of substance use among students.