Uttar Pradesh

uttar-pradesh-opinion-poll

UP Election 2017 Opinion Poll Summary

According to India Today-Axis survey, the BJP would win around 180-191 seats in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. The poll also predicts a good number of seats for newly formed SP-congress alliance, giving them 168-178 seats, slightly behind the BJP. The poll also predicts a dismal performance by Bahujan Samaj Party which according to it would … Continue reading UP Election 2017 Opinion Poll Summary

Bollywood

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Thinking about stardom is scary: Nawazuddin Siddiqui

New Delhi: His name adds credibility to the films he does and the actor has A-listers vying to work with him but Nawazuddin Siddiqui does not want to think about stardom as he fears it will corrupt his performances. Film after film, there has been a growth in Nawazuddin’s fan following so much so that … Continue reading Thinking about stardom is scary: Nawazuddin Siddiqui

U.P

uttar-pradesh-opinion-poll

UP Election 2017 Opinion Poll Summary

According to India Today-Axis survey, the BJP would win around 180-191 seats in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. The poll also predicts a good number of seats for newly formed SP-congress alliance, giving them 168-178 seats, slightly behind the BJP. The poll also predicts a dismal performance by Bahujan Samaj Party which according to it would … Continue reading UP Election 2017 Opinion Poll Summary


Category: Political News

Chennai, Feb 13 (PTI) Amid allegations that MLAs supporting V K Sasikala were being kept in illegal detention, the Madras High Court was today informed that 119 MLAs have given in writing they were staying on their “own volition”.

A team, comprising one ADSP, four inspectors, as many sub-inspectors and two tehsildars, had gone to the resort on February 11 and given a questionnaire to 119 MLAs, Public Prosecutor Rajarathinam said.

They filled up the questionnaire stating they were staying in the resort “on their own volition”, the PP said.

When Sasikala met reporters yesterday, the MLAs were also present and they would have informed the media, if they were in illegal custody, he said.

The PP was making his submissions during arguments on two habeas corpus pleas relating to alleged illegal detention of two MLAs- T Ramachandran and Geetha- at the resort where legislators supporting AIADMK general secretary Sasikala are housed.

Sasikala had yesterday claimed the support of 129 MLAs. In the 234 state assembly, AIADMK has 134 members.

A division bench of justices M Jaichandren and T Mathivanan, before which the pleas came up, reserved orders.

Producing the statement from the two MLAs recorded in the presence of the tehsildars, Rajarathinam submitted that they had given statement that they were free and safe and on their own volition they were staying at the resort.

After hearing arguments of Rajarathinam and K Balu, counsel for Ramachandran, the bench reserved orders on the HCPs seeking to trace and set at liberty Ramachandran and Geetha.

During arguments, the PP submitted in the court the statements of the two MLAs in their own handwriting, stating that they have not been illegally detained.

Balu submitted that the only legal remedy in HCP is that the person, who is illegally detained, has to be ordered to be produced in person before the court and mere statements cannot be taken into account by the court.

Raising objections, the PP said it was only on the counsel’s suggestion the Superintendent of Police at Kancheepuram had set up a team, comprising police and other officials, to inspect the resort and record their statements.

The PP submitted that statements of not only the two MLAs but also those of another 119 MLAs were also recorded. The team had presented a questionnaire to the MLAs and requested them to fill it on their own.

“We have also those statements but as the HCPs is confined to only these two MLAs, I am submitting their statements. We are ready to submit the other statements, if the court directs,” he said. .

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will begin its five-day ‘Parivartan Yatra’ in the politically crucial Uttar Pradesh on 5th Nov Saturday.

The first rally be held in Saharanpur on Saturday while the second, third and fourth rallies will be held in Lalitpur, Ballia and Sonbhadra on November 6, 8 and 9 respectively.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address six regional meetings in the run up to next year’s assembly polls while Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and Kalraj Mishra will be the key speakers at 10 meetings each.

The BJP has set a target of 265-plus seats for itself in the 403-member state assembly.

Panaji  (PTI) AAP will announce its first list of candidates for Goa Assembly polls in September.
“The first set of eight to ten candidates will be announced in the first or second week of September,” party’s Goa unit spokesman Rupesh Shinkre told PTI.

“In certain constituencies, people have already recommended names of candidates. The volunteers and people at large have accepted them,” he said.
“A proper procedure is followed for selecting candidates.

The main criteria is that he or she should be honest, secular and not have criminal background,” the AAP leader said.

AAP had earlier said it will contest all the 40 seats in the state.
Party’s National Convenor Arvind Kejriwal will be on a two-day visit to Goa starting August 20 during which he will interact with mining-affected people, tribals and women groups

NEW DELHI: A week after he quit Rajya Sabha , Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday broke his silence and targeted the BJP for asking him to stay away from Punjab to serve “personal interests” but continued to keep everyone guessing on his next move, including whether he will join AAP .

In a brief interaction with the media, he asserted that he will choose to serve Punjab “hundred times” above any party or family.

The cricketer-turned-politician, who made clear his displeasure with the BJP+ , parried queries on whether he would join Aam Aadmi Party, saying he will be standing wherever the interests of Punjab are served.

Sidhu alleged that he was told to keep away from Punjab to “serve personal interests,” apparently suggesting that the BJP was acting under its ally Shiromani Akali Dal’s pressure.

Targeting BJP, Sidhu said he delivered the prestigious Amritsar seat to the party during adverse circumstances but was “drowned in the Modi wave” in 2014, when he was asked to shift from the constituency.

“It happened three or four times,” he said referring to the party’s suggestion that he keep away from the state’s politics. This, he said, cannot be “tolerated” even once as “no party in the world is bigger than Punjab for me. I am willing to accept any loss for that.”

“Navjot Singh Sidhu had won four elections but when there was a wave in favour of Modi sahab, then Sidhu was drowned along with rivals. I was told you cannot fight from Amritsar. You fight from Kurukshetra, you fight from West Delhi. I did not leave my roots then nor did I care about profit and loss.”

Asked if he wanted to be the chief ministerial candidate in the next year’s assembly elections, he said he always wanted to serve Punjab.

“I said I will not fight. I have no wish for any post but I will not break the trust of those who made me an MP from Amritsar and gave me the highest honour in 21 generations. Now you tell me that I should leave Punjab. I am given a Rajya Sabha seat and then told that Sidhu you keep away from your nation. Tell me what is my sin,” he said.

“I quit the Rajya Sabha because I was told that I cannot look at Punjab and will have to keep away from it. No dharma is bigger than Punjab for me,” he said, calling the state his nation from which he cannot keep away.

Asked if he will join AAP or if he wants to be the chief ministerial candidate for the Punjab assembly elections due early next year, Sidhu said, “You will find Sidhu standing wherever the interests of Punjab are served. I have said what I had to. Navjot Singh Sidhu always wanted to serve Punjab and Amritsar.”

Sidhu said he fought in 2004 on the request of the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and won the seat with over 1 lakh vote margin, adding that he won it twice more including in 2009 when he was the only party MP among the 50-51 seats in the plains of north India.

“When storms were blowing, then Navjot Singh Sidhu was sent … Now when there was a wave in support of Modi sahab, I was drowned along with rivals,” he lamented.

Top party leader Arun Jaitley had contested from Amritsar in 2014 but lost to senior Congress leader Amarinder Singh.

Sidhu, a cricket commentator and fixture at comedy shows on the television, recited a number of couplets and poems to underscore how he was treated as a “sinner” by the party without being told the reason.

 The Sikh leader, known for rapid-fire bytes, said he also worked for the victory for his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu from a difficult seat.

Though he has maintained silence over his sour relations with the Akalis, his wife has been more vocal and has aired their anger with SAD and also with BJP over its alleged cold response time and again.

The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh has appealed to the people of Jammu & Kashmir to remain calm and maintain peace. Centre is working with the State Government to bring normalcy in Kashmir valley, he said.
Shri Rajnath Singh said that he is deeply anguished at the loss of precious lives in incidents of violence in Jammu & Kashmir. The Union Home Minister also prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.
With the number of deaths in Kashmir clashes climbing to 21 over the weekend, the Jammu and Kashmir government has appealed to the separatists to help restore peace.

I have chosen the title of this piece with care. I call the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) an experiment because it is “an attempt at something new or different; an effort to be original,” as one dictionary describes the meaning of the word “experiment.” It also fits the meaning given by another dictionary as “a test, trial, or tentative procedure; an act or operation for the purpose of discovering something unknown or of testing a principle, supposition, etc”. My understanding of AAP was that it was set up to prove that it is possible to set up and run a political party successfully in a competitive electoral arena. I consider it daring as it is a brave, courageous, and adventurous stuff to do this kind of an experiment. Some might even consider it foolhardy. The qualifier ‘still’ is necessary because it is too early and premature to declare the experiment either a success or a failure. But it is not inappropriate for an interim review.

A second clarification is that I have never made a public comment on an individual political party or candidate for election, so far, because I work for systemic reform of the political and electoral systems. I am making this exception because it a significant experiment on the political ferment.

Why is it too early and premature of declare this experiment either a success or a failure? Because an experiment of this nature requires a much longer time frame than three years to provide even indications of success or failure. Setting up even a so-called normal political party and that too successfully in a fiercely competitive electoral arena such as India, is not, and cannot be, short-term by any stretch of imagination. And when the avowed objective is to set up — and successfully — a political party with the ambition of changing the very fundamentals of how politics is done in the country, it will obviously take longer.

It is likely to take something in the region of 10 to 15 years for setting up, and making an acknowledged success of, even a so-called normal party; it is reasonable to expect the setting-up of a new type of party to take even longer. Of course, such an experiment, like any other, can fail at any time. For example, if the party was to wind up and declare that it is not in the political arena at all, the experiment would end. But AAP is very much a work-in-process. It is in the saddle in Delhi with an overwhelming majority and there seem to be no signs of it going anywhere until its five-year term is over. The party has also given clear indications of contesting elections in Punjab. So, it is still very much in the game and must be given more time before a final judgment is passed.
Straws in the wind

While the fair time-frame may well be 10-15 years or longer, are there any portends to indicate which way the experiment is headed? This is a very difficult question to respond to satisfactorily, but a response must be attempted. It is not feasible to analyse all actions of the party taken during the past three years, but it is worth looking at a couple of what might be considered stark examples.

The first that I have chosen to mention is how the meetings of the National Council have been held over the last couple of years. Holding these meetings in resorts and farmhouses, and not allowing free and open access to these meetings does not seem to be in keeping with what would be reasonably expected of a party that was born out of a campaign for openness and transparency. Though the last meeting seems to have passed reasonably quietly and without the furore that occurred during some of the earlier meetings, the lack of openness seems to have left a jarring aftertaste.

The second example is the way state units are being managed and handled. The only state that gave the party a presence in the Lok Sabha, Punjab, has a lot of dirty linen being washed in full public view. After major squabbles, two of the four MPs are no longer with the party and the state unit is possibly being completely revamped. The situation in another major state where the party did have a presence, again as a result of the anti-corruption movement, Maharashtra, is almost identical. There have been reports of the state unit being dissolved and being set up anew.

Another stark example is the ambivalence of the party towards the Right to Information Act (RTI Act).

This seems very ironic when six national political parties are blatantly defying the law of the land by ignoring the decision of the highest statutory authority that has declared them to be public authorities under the RTI Act. This was one clear opportunity that the AAP had of clearly distinguishing itself from the so-called normal political parties, but its ambivalence in not appointing public information officers has been disappointing. Given that some of the founders had extremely close, almost embryonic connections with the RTI Act, this ambivalence comes almost across as a betrayal. Though the party has made statements about fully supporting the application of the RTI Act to political parties, reports and testimonies of the party not accepting RTI applications abound.

The latest straw is the revision of the salaries and allowances of MLAs. While no one can, or should, question the right of public representatives to lead honourable and dignified lives, the problem with the proposal is that it follows the same format of various itemised allowances as has been the norm for MPs and MLAs in all states all these years. It is well-established by experience in India as well as in other countries that what is mentioned as the maximum limit of an allowance, practically ends up being considered as an entitlement with the passage of time. It is beyond comprehension that AAP members, MLAs, and leaders do not know about the gory workings of how reimbursements are claimed, because they have spoken about these nefarious methods when, as social activists, they used to criticise political parties.

By following the same format, they have again opened themselves to the charge of being no different from the other so-called normal political parties. This was another opportunity to distinguish themselves from other parties. The party could have proposed a radically different format for the emoluments of MLAs. One such possibility is to give them a fixed amount as a lump sum without any additional allowances and facilities which, in any case, is a euphemism for privileges. This would imply that an MLA gets a fixed amount of money and nothing else, no free or subsidised house rent, no car, no telephone, no reimbursement for anything at all, no office rent, no constituency allowance, no free travel, no secretarial allowance. Let each MLA get this lump sum and decide for her/himself how she/he wants to use this money. This way the people will know what each MLA costs them, a ‘cost-to-the-country’, if you will.
Ends vs means

It is possible that the top brass of the party has a plan or strategy in mind which will, in the long run, enable them to achieve their goal of setting up a party that will prove that it is possible to win elections and govern a state and the country by doing honest, corruption-free politics. But this raises several questions, two of which deserve mention. One arises from “top brass”. Several of the original founders have fallen by the wayside. It appears from the outside that there are possibly only two of the originals left in the party. All the others have become fellow travellers over time. Every time action is taken which seems not to be in keeping with the avowed goal, an opportunity arises for the Cassandras to rise and claim “I told you so”.

The fallacy arises in trying to achieve noble ends with less-than-noble means. Those who aspire and claim to aspire for the high moral ground do not have the option of taking paths that are less than those with the highest morality. Proving that elections can be won and effective governance provided with honest, clean politics is undoubtedly an extremely worthy aim, but it cannot be achieved by saying “We are doing the best possible under the circumstances,” or to use a cliché, by saying “the best is often the enemy of the good.” To achieve the highest goal, only the best means are acceptable, not ‘the best possible under the circumstances’.

One hopes for the daring experiment to succeed but as more and more less-than-noble means are followed, success seems less and less attainable.

Only time will tell.

The author is a former professor, dean, and director-in-charge of IIM-Ahmedabad. Views expressed are personal.
(Courtesy:First Post)

Do the math. If Lalu and his sons, the younger one being older than the elder one, decide that enough is enough and they have more seats than does Nitish and break away at some stage and decide to join up in a sort of Faustian alliance with the BJP, where does that get them? That’s 80 plus 58 and in the green. Especially, if the BJP would love to get even-steven with Nitish for the bloody nose he gave them and pretend they are merely keeping the government going and not greedy for power per se.

In the past seven decades, we have seen this often enough.

Sixty months is a long way to go to stay friends when you don’t particularly like each other. Once reality sets in and the aphrodisiac of power is inhaled deeply, it is a fix. You need it and strange bedfellows are integral to Indian politics. And Lalu knows this is his last hurrah.

Before Rahul Gandhi starts feeling his oats and acting like Caesar into Rome, it should strike the Congress rank and file that if Nitish and Lalu hang in there and use super glue to stick it out, nothing is more dispensable than the 27 seats that count for a whistle in the wind. You get 80 plus 71 which make 151 and the Congress is of use then.

By that token, somewhere down the line, if all the mantle of the Bihari brotherhood wears thin and Nitish decides he is having to pay all too heavy a price for keeping Lalu sweet and it might be a lot easier to just let him break off and go his way, he can then make a ‘give us support from the outside of the tent’ arrangement with the BJP. The two have a history of marriages of convenience and have snuggled up on the same ticket before.

It also does not require rocket science to figure out that the BJP, chastened as it is and non-Bihari son of the soil in that sense, will be a whole lot more malleable and accommodating than a Lalu with 9 more seats who, unlike the tiger, will be hunting for the weak spot, not just at night but 24/7. Expecting him to sit docilely through five years without stirring the waters is like asking the scorpion not to sting the frog mid-river. It is in their nature. And now it is a family business. Guess who will be redundant again. Those guys with the 27 seats freezing in the chill of being frosted on the bench.

Don’t also expect the BJP to spend too much time licking its wounds in a cave of its own making. NaMo Inc will be searching for some headline-making tricks. He will pull out some rabbits from his hat most likely on the economic front (we have seen a sample of that with the FDI bonanza this Tuesday), some dazzle with gangland arrests like Obama did with bin Laden and a few high profile displays of wisdom on the home front.

If there is a tendril of fear, it rests in the fact that this is the best season for conflict across the border and a limited Kargil operation would end all opposition and catapult the Modi centurions into the warmth of the limelight again. You would rather India played cricket with Pakistan but when the monsoon has receded and armour can move and artillery is into scoot and shoot mode and the incipient lack of love is tangible and incidents ratchet up in a series like toxic Chinese firecrackers, the ingredients for stepping towards that burning bridge become probable. You can wish it away but don’t take it off the table. Between terrorist strikes and whipped unrest in Kashmir, that fear is never too distant.

The one scenario that is most difficult to absorb is that as things stand, they will not fall down. That 180 mark is not written in stone. The moving finger might have to come back.

UNION MINISTER for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and BJP veteran from Uttar Pradesh Kalraj Mishra has said that it is “alright” to eat beef at an “individual level”, while warning against any attempts at “polarisation”.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Mishra said: “If people eat beef, how can you stop them?” But he added, “Projecting it in a collective manner with slogans gives an impression that you are doing it to hurt the sentiments of the majority. This should be avoided.”

Mishra said the beef issue was being talked up “to polarise society”. “This (polarisation) is dangerous. The majority doesn’t want it. But many people consume beef. At an individual level, it’s alright… If you want to eat beef, please go ahead. But also keep in mind the sentiments of others. Those who don’t like it (beef), why go that way.”

Asked if such polarisation and the outcome of the Bihar Assembly elections would affect Uttar Pradesh, which goes to polls in 2017, Mishra said the two states cannot be compared. “The political situations are different. In Bihar, there are two fronts: the grand alliance and the NDA. In Uttar Pradesh, both the BSP and the ruling Samajwadi Party are strong. The Congress presence is not so strong. Then there is BJP. Here, elections will see a high-intensity three-way fight,” he said.

He said polarisation based on issues like cow slaughter and beef would only result in hatred. “Today, there is need for good faith and friendship. Such polarisation will only result in a loss for all. Only development-based politics will benefit BJP,” he said.

Mishra said that though people were blaming the BJP for such polarisation, other parties were to blame. “In Bihar, it is Lalu who is doing it. And in UP, other parties are raking up the issue again and again to keep the pot boiling,” he said.

Mishra said that in UP, Chief Minister Akhilesh Singh Yadav has alleged a BJP conspiracy. “If people who vote for the BJP have done this, you cannot say BJP has done it. This is not right. It is unfortunate that the National Commission of Minorities too has said it was pre-meditated.”
(Source: Indian Express)

Patna: Around 57 percent of 13.5 million electorate voted on Monday in 49 of the 243 constituencies in the first round of battle for political power in Bihar. The two main fronts soon claimed victory.

It marked the start of an intense five-phase contest that will end on 5 November and whose outcome — to be known three days later — will prove whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi still retains his charisma or not. The second round of polling will be held on 16 October.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA is determined to oust the ruling JD(U) and its allies, the RJD and Congress who had formed a Grand Alliance.

Additional Chief Electoral Officer R Lakshaman said the election passed off peacefully, with 57 percent voting. It was nearly 51 percent in 2010.

Defying Maoist calls to boycott the elections, millions of men and women in both urban and rural areas trooped to polling booths in the 49 constituencies spread over 10 districts, officials said.

The Congress on Tuesday announced that party vice president Rahul Gandhi is on a personal trip to Aspen, U.S. to attend a conference and asserted that he will continue to lead the party’s Bihar campaign as also in the rest of the country.

Rahul’s visit, interestingly coincides with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s, who will also be in the U.S from Thursday on a six-day visit.

“Congress Vice President, Rahul Gandhi is travelling to Aspen, U.S on a short visit to attend a conference. The conference is expected to be attended by global leaders from various domains, both from government and private sectors,” party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.

“We reject all rumors stating otherwise,” he added.

Rahul had earlier gone abroad on a 56-day ‘sabbatical’ when the budget session of Parliament had commenced, leading to rumors and speculation across political parties.