India: Jawans were killed for votes

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

‘Jawans were killed for votes’: SP leader calls Pulwama attack a conspiracy

Big fish will be caught if the new government after 2019 Lok Sabha elections probe Pulwama terror attack, says Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav. UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath demands an apology from Yadav.

LOK SABHA ELECTIONS Updated: Mar 21, 2019 16:48 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Samajwadi Party,Pulwama Terror Attack,Ram Gopal Yadav
Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav has raked up fresh controversy over Pulwama terror attack terming it a conspiracy.(ANI)

Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav has revived attack on the Narendra Modi government over Pulwama terror strike owned by Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed. Yadav has called the Pulwama terror attack a “conspiracy” in which “soldiers were killed for vote”.

The SP leader said if the government changes in 2019 Lok Sabha election, and a probe is conducted into the Pulwama terror attack, “big fish” will be caught.

“Paramilitary forces are unhappy with the government. Soldiers were killed for votes. There was no security checking between Jammu and Srinagar. Soldiers were being transported in ordinary buses. This was a conspiracy. I did not want to say this at this point of time. When the government changes, (and) it is probed, many big fish will be caught,” news agency ANI on Thursday quoted Yadav as saying.

ANI UP

@ANINewsUP

RG Yadav,SP: Paramilitary forces dukhi hain sarkar se, jawan maar diye gaye vote ke liye,checking nahi thi Jammu-Srinagar ke beech mein, jawano ko simple buses main bhej diya,ye sazish thi, abhi nahi kehna chahta, jab sarkar badlegi, iski jaanch hogi, tab bade-bade log phasenge.

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Responding to Yadav’s comment, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said the SP leader should apologise for “lowering the morale of soldiers”.

“Ram Gopal Yadav has presented an undignified example of politics. He should apologise to the public for his comment meant to raise question on the martyrdom of the CRPF jawans and lowering the morale of the soldiers of the nation,” he said.

Forty CRPF jawans were killed on February 14, when a suicide bomber targeted a convoy carrying more than 2,500 personnel from Jammu to Srinagar. The incident took place in south Kashmir’s Pulwama.

The Pulwama terror attack saw escalation in tension between India and Pakistan. Days after the terror attack claimed by the JeM, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out a “pre-emptive” strike in Pakistan’s Balakot. The target was what was believed to be the biggest terror training camp of the JeM.

Pakistan responded to the IAF strike on terror camp by violating Indian airspace in its attempt to target military installations. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) used a large package of fighter jets including the F-16 in its aerial campaign. An IAF response team foiled the PAF’s attempt to hit India’s military installations.

One F-16 fighter jet of the PAF was shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was flying a MiG 21 Bison. The IAF aircraft was also shot down by the PAF. Pilot Abhinandan ejected safely but landed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, where he was captured by the Pakistan Army.

Amid mounting international pressure, Pakistan released IAF pilot Abhinandan leading to easing out tension between the two countries. The BJP-led government termed the development as its diplomatic victory following a “bold move” to hit at terror camp deep inside Pakistani territory.

The opposition has targeted the government alleging that it is using Pulwama terror attack and IAF strike at Balakot for political gain with an eye on the Lok Sabha election in April-May.

First Published: Mar 21, 2019 15:34 IST

Chinese Views On The Taj Mahal

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

Majestic Taj Mahal, a modern wonder and symbol of love

If Varanasi is a holy city of priests and devotees, Agra is a grand city of the emperors — and you can feel it the moment you get off the train at the Agar Fort station.

The Agar Fort, right next to the railway station, was a military base and royal residence of the Mughal Dynasty emperors until 1638, when the capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi.

The Hall of Public Audience to the right of the pathway through the Lahore Gate was where the emperor would listen to public petitions and meet state officials.

Contrary to the joyful squirrels who littered the ground, the huge pillared hall with the white marble throne in the center backstage gave all the authority and solemnity over its subjects standing down under.

As of today, most of the white marble palaces were built during the reign of the fifth Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666). However, there were earlier buildings of red sandstone with layers of decorated columns in the inner court, which were also “of great importance to the study of Mughal buildings’ architectural history,” said a teacher to a group of students on the site.

Xu Qin

The Hall of Public Audience (Diwan-i-Am) in Agra Fort

Mounted high on a rocky ridge, Fatehpur Sikri, also known as the “City of Victory,” is a palace city built primarily to afford leisure and luxury to its famous residents during the reign of the third Mughal Emperor Akbar (1556-1605), Shan Jahan’s grandfather.

The city was built massively and preferably with red sandstone.

The architecture features both the Hindu and Muslim styles, popular in India at the time, with large domes, large halls and colossal gateways.

The Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti, along with the imperial complex at Fatehpur Sikri, is said to have the most delicate marble screens in India. It enshrines the burial place of the Sufi saint, Salim Chisti (1478-1572), who foretold the birth of Akbar’s son Jahangir.

Today people are often seen at the tomb praying for child birth blessings. With Sufi singers performing in front of the door to the chamber, visitors come in to pay homage to the saint while tying a thread on the marble screens to seek fulfillment of their wishes.

Standing on top of the palace walls, one can enjoy an aerial view of the green Indian countryside with small homes dotting around the rice fields on the outskirts. It is hard to believe the city, due to a lack of water, was abandoned just a few years after its construction.

Xu Qin

Mounted high on a rocky ridge, Fatehpur Sikri is also known as the “City of Victory.”

Xu Qin

The white marble tomb of Sufi saint Salim Chishti at Fatehpur Sikri

Xu Qin

Standing on top of the palace walls, one can enjoy an aerial view of the green Indian countryside with small homes dotting around the rice fields on the outskirts.

The following morning we got up early as the Taj Mahal was desperately waiting to say hello. Sitting on the south bank of the Yamuna River in Agra, the UNESCO-listed mausoleum is perhaps the finest testament to Mughal architecture.

The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built the beautiful Taj Mahal in the memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. According to popular legend, Shah Jahan spotted Mumtaz at the marketplace in his royal complex. It was love at first sight for the two, and he quickly made her his third wife. Mumtaz traveled with Shah Jahan throughout India, as his chief companion and beloved advisor. After bearing him 14 children, Mumtaz died, leaving Shah Jahan devastated.

Taking inspiration from the detailed description of Heaven in the Quran, Shah Jahan started building the Taj Mahal in 1632. To ensure that no one could recreate the Taj Mahal’s beauty, Shah Jahan supposedly severed the hands and gouged the eyes of the artisans and craftsmen after construction was completed in 1647.

Each year, millions of visitors come to the Taj Mahal to appreciate one of the greatest achievements in human history, and the stories of the loving couple flow from everyone’s lips like new gossip.

Looming out like a mirage in the morning fog, the harmony and balance of the Taj Mahal looks astounding from all directions. Inside the building, the marble screens, calligraphy inscriptions and floral inlays were detailed to everyone’s heart content.

Compared to Shah Jahan, those who built the Taj Mahal were classified as the insignificant others, like most of us who were visiting.

As I pressed my finger tip on the wall and felt along the swirling waves of the patterns, I could hear the sound of their chisels: chip-chip, chip-chip…

Xu Qin

Looming out like a mirage in the morning fog, the harmony and balance of the Taj Mahal looks astounding from all directions.

The inside of the Taj Mahal houses the tombs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan

India: Election Commission blows bugle, India takes poll position

(This Article Is Courtesy Of The Hindustan Times Of India)

 

Election Commission blows bugle, India takes poll position

Indian elections are not won or lost only on leadership and issues. It is a complex landscape with multiple states, multiple parties, and a battlefield where arithmetic often reigns supreme.

LOK SABHA ELECTIONS Updated: Mar 10, 2019 21:31 IST

Prashant Jha
Prashant Jha
Hindustan Times
Election 2019 date,Lok Sabha Poll Schedule,Lok Sabha Poll Schedule Today
A para-military jawan guards EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) at a counting centre.(PTI File Photo)

In 2014, soon after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) historic win in the general elections, a senior leader of the party was asked what lay ahead. He said, “2019. As soon as you win, the clock starts ticking towards the next polls. We cannot be a one-term wonder. A second term will cement our legacy.”

Reeling from its worst ever performance, a Congress leader had a similar response about the next objective. “All our attention must be focused on 2019. We have to survive five years, and come back. Otherwise the party’s very existence will be under threat.”

A key feature of the Indian democratic system is periodic elections. This enables a smooth transfer of power. It ensures circulation of political elites. And it keeps both the incumbent under check (for it is always looking ahead to the next poll) and the opposition hopeful (for one electoral turn can bring them back to office). Both then remain invested in the stability of the democratic system and constitutional order.

Ever since 2014, it appears that both the incumbent, the BJP, and the opposition, the Congress, and a range of regional forces have been waiting for precisely this moment. With the Election Commission announcing the dates for elections to the 17th Lok Sabha, India formally enters poll season.

What will be the nature of this election? What are the issues at stake? How do the numbers stack up as campaigning begins? And what can India expect in the next 50 days?

Read more| Lok Sabha elections in 7 phases, voting starts April 11, results on May 23

Nature

Under the Indian parliamentary system, in theory, when a voter goes to the polling booth, all he is voting for is a representative from his constituency. This representative is meant to frame laws in Parliament.

But electoral competition is mostly between political parties, and the party with the highest number of parliamentarians, either on its own, or in a coalition, gets to form the government. So the voter is essentially selecting not just a candidate (MP), but also the party the candidate represents, and eventually the Prime Minister (PM). The legislature and the executive are conjoined, unlike a presidential system in which they are elected separately.

This may appear basic, but it is precisely this debate which played out in 2014. Were voters electing MPs, according to local factors and arithmetic, or were they electing a PM, in keeping with a larger national outlook? Did Narendra Modi turn Indian elections into a presidential race? And what will happen in 2019?

Modi is not the first leader who has made a general election all about leadership. Jawaharlal Nehru’s elections (1952,1957,1962) and Indira Gandhi’s elections (particularly the one in 1971) were essentially presidential in nature. Even the BJP’s electoral gambits in the 1990s under Atal Bihar Vajpayee were based on leadership. Modi refined this campaign plank and took it to another level.

In 2019, the BJP is attempting to do the same. It is asking voters a simple question: would you rather have Modi or an unknown leader in a weak coalition government? And it is hoping that the image of Modi will once again succeed in rebuilding a coalition across castes, classes, geographies and override local factors. The opposition is hoping to take the election in exactly the opposite direction. It would like voters to consider local factors, prioritise narrower concerns rather than focus on national leadership.

The outcome of the 2019 election, therefore, depends on its very nature. Will it be national or local? Will electing the PM or MP be important?

Read more| No assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir for now

Issues

But an Indian national election is too complex to be reduced to just one variable. As citizens grow more aware, aided by the spread of technology and mass media, the importance of issues will only grow. If the 2014 election was defined by anger against the past regime for its perceived corruption and inefficiency and hope for a new future, this election will be determined by a set of five issues, with sides pushing forward their competing narratives.

The first issue is national security, or, more generally, nationalism. This has shot up the charts in recent weeks in the aftermath of Pulwama.

The BJP’s story is straightforward and is following this script. The Modi government has cracked down on terror. It has also redefined the response for Pakistan-backed terror attacks, be it through the surgical strikes after Uri or air strikes after Pulwama. The following is the narrative of the government. The air strikes represented Modi’s decisiveness. He taught Pakistan a lesson. He also used India’s diplomatic strength to isolate Pakistan and bring back the pilot. Only a BJP government can keep India secure, a weak coalition government will preside over a weak security regime and would never have the strength to take on Pakistan. And any questions about the strikes come from a position of undermining national interest.

The opposition’s script on the issue is somewhat muddled. There are segments of the opposition which do not want to engage, refer to the air strikes as a matter of pride for the armed forces, and would like to shift the conversation. But there are others in the opposition who believe Modi needs be to questioned on his claims. They ask: Did the terror attack in Pulwama itself not represent an intelligence failure? What is India’s Pakistan policy, for Modi has swung from a surprise visit to the neighbouring country to talking tough? What was actually achieved in Balakot? Didn’t the fact that an Indian plane go down and an Indian pilot captured represent the government’s weakness? Did Pakistan actually land the final blow after the strikes? And what has the Modi government done to improve the situation in Kashmir or end terror decisively?

Read more | Model code of conduct now in force: What it means

The second issue is agrarian distress and rural India.

The opposition has a robust case and argues the following. The government has not implemented the Swaminathan Commission recommendations on Minimum Support Prices. Farmer incomes are at a low; either margins are so low that livelihood is difficult or farmers are actually getting less than their cost of production and are thus driven to despair and debt traps. The government has done little to make farming attractive, treats farmers as liabilities and is leaving rural India unprepared for the future. Farmer marches and protests across the country are a symptom of this distress, as is the BJP’s losses in the state polls last year. If elected to power, the Congress has promised a blanket farm loan waiver.

The BJP, for its part, cites the PM Kisaan Scheme — a promise of Rs 6000 to small and marginal farmers, of which the first instalment of Rs 2000 is in the process of being transferred — as a landmark income support initiative. It argues that structural problems in Indian agriculture are a legacy of the past, and, instead, it has attempted to address it through soil health cards, insurance, market reforms. Productivity has in fact shot up. In addition, the Modi story for rural India goes beyond agriculture and focuses on assets. The government cites construction of houses and toilets, the distribution of gas cylinders, and electricity connectivity as big accomplishments.

The third issue is jobs.

The opposition claims that despite promising millions of jobs every year, the government has been a dismal failure on employment creation. They point to both demonetisation and the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax as having actually destroyed jobs. A recently leaked official report appears to substantiate the claim that unemployment was at a low in the year following these initiatives. The lack of progress on Make in India, the stalled private investment, the persisting twin balance sheet problem are all cited by the opposition to make the case that the government has done little to kickstart the economy, and has only favoured a few crony capitalists.

The BJP has an entirely different narrative on jobs. It argues that there has actually been substantial job creation in the service sector; the Mudra loans indicate a spurt in entrepreneurship and self employment; the government has also improved India’s ranking in the ease of doing business, which facilitates investment, which, in turn, facilitates jobs. The Modi government claims that far from encouraging cronyism, it has actually brought in key reforms to institute cleaner capitalism — from the bankruptcy code to the GST — and this will slowly begin showing dividends. As proof of its sound economic management, the government also points to low inflation.

Read more| EVM ballot paper to carry candidates’ photographs to assist voters

The fourth issue is identity, which encompasses both caste and religion.

For the opposition, the BJP regime is marked by a strong element of Hindu upper caste domination, which is geared against Dalits. By suggesting that the BJP is against reservations, pointing to the presence of upper castes at the top echelons in the party, arguing that there is a tilt towards Thakurs in key states like UP, and claiming that caste atrocities have increased, the opposition hopes to wean away Dalits and perhaps even sections of OBCs from BJP.

On caste, the BJP has attempted to keep intact its wide coalition. By restoring the original provisions of the Prevention of Atrocities Act, or restoring department wise reservations for marginalised in universities in the final cabinet meeting, the government hopes to convince Dalits its interests are supreme; by introducing 10 percent reservation for economically weaker sections, it hopes to signal to ‘General castes’ – its old core vote – that the government has taken steps to make the system more just for then; by pointing to the ongoing work of the commission to sub categorise OBCs, BJP will tell OBC groups that it is drawing up a more equitable system where advantages are not monopolised by only the most dominant of the backward groups.

The identity debate will play out in the realm of religion too. Some opposition parties will be vocal in pointing out that BJP’s regime was marked by outright majoritarianism; state backed vigilantism in the name of cow protection; marginalisation of Muslims from the political sphere; and assault on their livelihoods. Most opposition parties – particularly Congress, but also key regional forces in UP like Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party – will seek to capitalise on the Muslim vote, but not make this an explicit part of the agenda for they fear that it will lead to counter-consolidation of Hindus in favour of the BJP. But make no mistake, as subtext, religion will matter. For its part, the BJP will make an attempt to play the Hindutva card, in order to construct a wide vote across caste and class cleavages. From the (temporarily stalled) Citizenship Amendment bill to promises of Ram Temple, from acting tough against illegal (Muslim) immigrants to blurring the line between nationalism and Hindutva and encouraging polarisation on the ground, expect the BJP machine to deploy a range of tools.

And the fifth issue is the state of Indian democracy or institutions.

For the opposition, the post 2014 period has been marked by increasingly authoritarian rule of Modi, aided by BJP president Amit Shah. They allege that all institutions – from the cabinet to Election Commission, from Central Bureau of Investigation to the Reserve Bank of India, from the judiciary to the media – have all been compromised in this quest to create an almost totalitarian set up where party faithful take over all spaces. The BJP argues that distortion and politicisation of institutions is once again a legacy of the Congress. These allegations are only a result of an old entrenched elite having lost power. And in fact, they claim, what is now visible is deeper democratisation with a new segment of people, away from Westernised urban centric backgrounds but more rooted to the soil, exercising power.

Read more| Lok Sabha election dates announced: Know when your state goes to polls

Arithmetic

But Indian elections are not won or lost only on leadership and issues. It is a complex landscape with multiple states, multiple parties, and a battlefield where arithmetic often reigns supreme.

The BJP begins its campaign way ahead of the rest of the pack. This is both the party’s strength and weakness. It swept north, west and central India in 2014. Replicating the performance in these regions will be particularly difficult because either the party now faces three tiers of anti incumbency in many of these states – it is in power at the centre, in the state, and has the MP from most constituencies across Bihar, UP, Uttarakhand, Himachal, Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra – or has just lost power in states – be it MP, Rajasthan or Chhattisgarh. It also has an additional challenge in the form of alliances, especially the SP-BSP alliance in UP.

The Modi-Shah machine’s entire effort will be to defend its gains in this belt, and it believes the surge in nationalist sentiment post the air strikes will benefit them most precisely in this belt. The opposition’s entire effort will be to limit the BJP to the bare minimum here. This will either take the form of sharp bipolar contests in which the Congress is the principal challenger, or triangular contests in which the BJP will face a regional force with Congress playing a supplementary role.

If the game in the heartland for the BJP will be defence, in the east and south, it will be expansion. The BJP has invested remarkable energy in West Bengal and Odisha in particular. The opposition is more enthused here, however, for it believes that the BJP has not been able to make enough inroads independently in West Bengal or Odisha to take on the Trinamool or Biju Janata Dal; it has weakened its chances in the Northeast by pushing the Citizenship Bill; and it has minimal presence across all southern states except Karnataka where a Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) alliance will take them on.

It would be foolhardy to make any predictions based on these regional variations at the moment. But what we can say is the following.

The BJP is likely to dip from its high of 282 seats in 2014, but the extent of the dip is not known. The Congress is likely to gain somewhat from its low of 44 seats in 2014, but the extent of the gain is not clear. There will be a coalition in power after 2019 with regional parties probably exercising more say unlike in the post 2014 arrangement, but whether they will indeed exercise the veto or get leadership or play a supplementary role to a national party is not clear. And there will be a reconfiguration of forces after the results are out, with many of those currently on the fence — the BJD, Telangana Rashtriya Samithi or YSR Congress Party — more willing to reveal their cards.

But beyond the outcome, Indian elections are a remarkable exercise in allowing society to have a voice in shaping who runs the state. It is a moment for social conflicts and fault lines to play out in a civil, non violent and democratic manner. It is a moment for the political elites to understand and adapt to the demands of a new, empowered citizenry. And it is the occasion to keep this utterly diverse landscape tied together to a common political unit. Both the campaign and the polling over two months will once again be a tribute to the foresight of the Constitution’s founding fathers, as India charts the path for the next five years.

First Published: Mar 10, 2019 20:11 IST

India: Exit Polls Say That KCR has an edge in Telangana, Cong snatches Rajasthan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Election exit polls results 2018: KCR has an edge in Telangana, Cong snatches Rajasthan

Exit Polls Results 2018 LIVE Updates : The exit polls show Congress surging ahead in Rajasthan, a close contest between the BJP and grand old party in MP and Chhattisgarh, clear edge for TRS in Telangana and a close fight between MNF and Congress in…

By HT Correspondent | Dec 07, 2018 22:17 IST

Voters in the states of Telangana and Rajasthan exercised their franchise on Friday. The voting started at 7am in 13 Maoist-affected constituencies of Telangana and at 8am in other parts of the state and in Rajasthan. Initially slow, the voting picked up later with EVM glitches being reported from a few constituencies but polling was by and large smooth.

The much awaited exit polls for all the five states that went to polls over the last one month were released after the voting ended in Telangana and Rajasthan.

Read: Clash at Sikar polling centre, two motorcycles burnt

Rajasthan, Telangana are among the 5 states — others being Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram — that went to the polls. Capping a high-decibel campaign, the five voted in four-phase polls starting November 12 and the results will be known on December 11.

Also Read: Telangana exit polls 2018: All you need to know

https://www.hindustantimes.com/images/app-images/2018/assembly-election/exitpoll_chati.htmlhttps://www.hindustantimes.com/images/app-images/2018/assembly-election/exitpoll_mp.html https://www.hindustantimes.com/images/app-images/2018/assembly-election/exitpoll_miz.html

https://www.hindustantimes.com/images/app-images/2018/assembly-election/exitpoll_tel.html

 

https://www.hindustantimes.com/images/app-images/2018/assembly-election/exitpoll_raj.html

7:59 pm IST

CNX – Times Now exit polls project a hung house in Mizoram

The CNX-Times Now exit polls predict a hung house in Mizoram with a close fight between the MNF and Mizoram. The survey predicts the MNF to win around 18 seats and around 16 seats for the Congress party.

7:33 pm IST

Surveys predict clear edge for Congress in Rajasthan

The exit polls are predicting the Congress party to sweep Rajasthan. While the CVoter-Republic TV, CNX-Times Now and Axis My India Today exit polls project the Congress party to be surging ahead, India TV survey predicts a close contest between the two rival parties.

7:12 pm IST

Exit polls show a close contest between BJP and Congress in Chhattisgarh

The exit polls are showing a close contest between the ruling BJP and Congress in Chhattisgarh.

While CVoter-Republic TV and Axis-My India-India Today predicted the Congress surging ahead in the state, CNX – Times Now, India TV and CSDS – ABP projects the BJP as the winner.

Here’s the seat projection for Chhattisgarh as per surveys:

Hindustan Times

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| Exit polls show a close contest between the ruling BJP and the Congress in Chhattisgarh. Read more here: https://goo.gl/2rkWgM 

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7:06 pm IST

Close fight between MNF and Congress in Mizoram: CVoter – Republic TV

The CVoter-Republic TV survey projects a close fight between the Mizo National Front (MNF) and Congress in Mizoram.

The exit polls predict the MNF to be winning between 16-20 seats and project around 14-18 seats for the Congress.

6:54 pm IST

Jogi-Mayawati alliance likely to win between 4-8 seats in Chhattisgarh: Axis My India – India Today and Aaj Tak

The Ajit Jogi Mayawati alliance, which was being projected as the kingmaker in Chhattisgarh, is likely to win betwwen 4-8 seats in the states, says Axis My India – India Today and Aaj Tak exit polls.

6:10 pm IST

Close fight between BJP and Congress in Chhattisgarh: Republic TV

CVoter-Republic TV exit polls predict a close fight between the BJP and Congress in Chhattisgarh with the former likely to win between 35-43 seats and Congress likely to win 40-50 seats.

Here’s the seat projection for Chhattisgarh as per surveys:

Hindustan Times

@htTweets

| | Here’s the seat projection for Chhattisgarh as per surveys

Track LIVE updates here: http://goo.gl/ibgRGq 

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6:07 pm IST

BJP to retain Chhattisgarh: India TV exit polls

The India TV exit polls suggest BJP is likely to win between 42-50 seats and retain Chhattisgarh.

Hindustan Times

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| BJP to retain Chhattisgarh, show India TV ; to win 42-50 seats.
Track LIVE updates here: http://goo.gl/ibgRGq 

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6:02 pm IST

TRS to win Telangana, suggests CNX – Times Now

The CNX-Times Now survey suggests caretaker chief minister KCR’s party likely to win Telangana.

The survey shows Congress as no.2 with around 37 seats.

 

Hindustan Times

@htTweets

| In Telangana, TRS to win with 66 seats, show CNX – Times Now . Congress No. 2 with 37 seats.

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5:58 pm IST

CNX – Times Now, Axis My India – India Today and Aaj Tak exit polls show Congress winning in Rajasthan

The CNX-Times Now exit polls show Congress surging ahead of Rajasthan with around 105 seats while BJP likely to retain 85 seats.

Hindustan Times

@htTweets

| The CNX – Times Now show Congress
winning in Rajasthan. Here’s what the break up looks like –

BJP – 85
Congress – 105
Others – 9

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As per the Axis My India – India Today and Aaj Tak survey, Congress is likely to win between 119-141 seats, whereas the BJP is projected to win 55-72 seats,

5:44 pm IST

Congress, BJP in tight race in MP: CNX-Times Now

CNX – Times Now exit polls show that BJP is likely to win between 102-120 seats while the Congress is expected to win between 104-122 seats.

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5:27 pm IST

Election results to be declared on December 11

The results of the high-pitched battle in 5 states – Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram – will be declared on December 11.

5:10 pm IST

Polling ends in Rajasthan

The polling has ended in Rajasthan, however,people already in the polling stations will be allowed to vote.

The state recorded 72.17% polling by 5pm.

Click here for Live updates on Rajasthan assembly elections.

4:22 pm IST

Exit poll trends as soon as polling ends in Rajasthan, Telangana

The exit poll trends will be coming in as soon as polling ends in Rajasthan, Telangana.

The polling will end at 4 pm for the 13 constituencies of Telangana, while the polling at remaining constituencies will end at 5pm (for both Telangana and Rajasthan).

Uttar Pradesh Police Team Sent To Jammu To Arrest An Army Jawan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

A Uttar Pradesh police team was sent to Jammu to arrest an Army jawan allegedly involved in the murder of a police inspector during the Bulandshahr violence, and five more people were nabbed in the case, taking the total number of arrests to nine, officials said Friday.

Sedition is one of the 17 charges in the FIR in which 27 people have been named besides 50-60 unidentified people. They were allegedly involved in the violence that led to the killing of Inspector Subodh Singh and Sumit Kumar, 20. The violence was triggered after cattle carcasses were found in nearby fields.

Jeetu alias Fauji of Mahav village is a named accused in the case, Inspector General (Crime) S K Bhagat told reporters in Lucknow when asked about his alleged involvement in the mob violence.

Jeetu’s actual name is Jeetendra Malik and he is the 11th suspect named in the first information report (FIR) lodged at Siyana police station on December 4.

According to preliminary information, he is posted in Jammu and a police team has been sent there, Bhagat said.

“We hope that he will be arrested soon,” the IG said, adding the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed to probe the case would be able to ascertain his actual role.

Army sources in New Delhi confirmed that the police have contacted the Northern Command and they are cooperating in the probe.

The five people arrested were identified as Chandra, Rohit, Sonu, Nitin and Jitendra but their names were not mentioned in the FIR lodged for the murder of the Syana SHO, Bhagat said.

They were nabbed on the basis of video footage and eyewitness accounts, he said. Police teams were conducting raids to make more arrests, the IG said.

The IG said that the confidential report of an inquiry conducted by ADG Intelligence S B Shirodkar has been handed over to senior officials.

The cattle carcasses were found outside Mahav village strewn in the fields of former village head Rajpal Chaudhary, who too has been named in the FIR along with five more men from the village. All of them are absconding.

Sources that PTI spoke to in the village revealed that Jeetu had come to the village on leave and was “present at the site of violence” but left soon after the incident on Monday afternoon. His elder brother is also in the Army.

“Both of my sons are in the Army. They are not here, they on duty,” his mother Ratan Kaur told PTI, adding the police had raided her house around 1 am Tuesday, assaulted her daughter-in-law, vandalised the house and picked up her husband, Rajpal Singh.

The 60-year-old woman said she was away in Pipala village at the house of her elder daughter-in law as her family had suffered a bereavement recently. She said she returned home only on Wednesday Speaking to a TV news channel, she Friday said, “Jeetu is in Kargil and if any evidence like a picture or a video emerges showing he killed the policeman then I will kill him myself. I’m not so heartless, I’m equally pained by the death of the policeman and the other boy from Chingrawathi and also for what the entire village and its people are going through.” Jeetendra’s wife Priyanka, 24, also supported her mother-in-law’s claim of post midnight vandalism and assault by the police.

“I was at home with my father-in-law and my three- month-old baby when the police came to our house. They assaulted me so badly that my hand got fractured and I suffered an injury in one ear,” she told PTI over phone from a hospital in Meerut. Sumit Kumar, from Chingrawathi village, who died in the clash is among those named in the FIR which also accuses Bajrang Dal’s Bulandshahr unit convenor Yogesh Raj, local BJP worker Shikhar Agarwal among others of instigating violence.

According to the FIR, the suspects were booked on the charges of mischief by fire or explosive substance, murder, attempt to murder, sedition, rioting, voluntary assault on public servant to obstruct them from performing their duty and endangering life or personal safety of others.

They have also been booked for destroying public property, among others. PTI SAB/KIS SMI AAR

First Published: Dec 07, 2018 20:36 IST

After 43 days in Odisha prison, Abhijit Iyer-Mitra walks free

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

(I AM NOT A LEGAL EXPERT ON  INDIA’S LEGAL AFFAIRS BUT DOES NOT THIS TYPE OF A CASE DAMAGE INDIA’S CLAIM OF BEING A DEMOCRACY?)(oldpoet56)

After 43 days in Odisha prison, Abhijit Iyer-Mitra walks free

Iyer-Mitra, who was behind bars since October 23 over his tweets on 12th century Jagannath temple and 13th century Sun temple since September this year, was granted bail by Orissa High Court on Wednesday after the Odisha Government decided not to accord sanction of his prosecution and withdraw all cases against him.

INDIA Updated: Dec 07, 2018 01:26 IST

Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Bhubaneswar
Delhi-based defence analyst Abhijit Iyer-Mitra on Thursday walked out of jail free after a court in Konark granted him bail on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 and an assurance that he won’t make any “distasteful remarks” in future. (ANI)

Forty three days after his arrest over allegedly insulting Odia sentiments and tradition in his tweets, Delhi-based defence analyst Abhijit Iyer-Mitra on Thursday walked out of jail free after a court in Konark granted him bail on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 and an assurance that he won’t make any “distasteful remarks” in future.

Iyer-Mitra, who was behind bars since October 23 over his tweets on 12th century Jagannath temple and 13th century Sun temple since September this year, was granted bail by Orissa High Court on Wednesday after the Odisha Government decided not to accord sanction of his prosecution and withdraw all cases against him. Iyer-Mitra was hospitalised on Sunday following acute pain in his stomach.

Soon after his release, Abhijit will head to Chennai to meet his mother VS Chandralekha, Tamil Nadu’s first Woman collector and a close associate of Subramanian Swamy.

The withdrawal of the cases came after he petitioned to the Odisha chief secretary seeking withdrawal of sanction to prosecute him under Section 196 of the CrPC in the 2 cases citing lack of intent or malice. “In addition to my apology to the Odisha assembly, I have unreservedly and unconditionally apologized for my words and actions that may have unintentionally hurt the sentiments of the people of Odisha, the Chief Minister and any others,” he wrote. Last month, the Assembly pardoned him after he begged apology.

In September this year, Iyer-Mitra landed in a doghouse after he flew in a chopper with former BJD MP Baijayant Jay Panda over waters of Chilika lake. He became a collateral victim of fight between the CM and his bete noire Baijayant Panda, when he went to the Sun temple at Konark in Puri district and posted a video blog on Twitter in which he said the temple was a humple(a slang for sex). An FIR was lodged at Konark police station, but Iyer-Mitra managed to secure bail from a metropolitan court in Delhi in September.

However, his ordeal began when he passed some offensive remarks against MLAs of the State leading to breach of privilege motion. He landed in further trouble when a second FIR was lodged against him by a one Manoranjan Swain of Bhubaneswar over an year-old tweet of him ridiculing Odisha and Jagannath temple. In a tweet dated November 16, 2017, he wrote “Odisha was discovered by Bengali explorers, who called it “OriShala!!! And it was named Orissa”.

Iyer-Mitra was arrested and sent to judicial custody after being booked under sections 294, 295-A, 506, 500, 153-A of IPC and 67 IT Act on Sept 20 for allegedly making offensive remarks that could cause communal disturbances. Soon after he landed in jail, he stopped eating.

Though his arrest was condemned by several intellectuals as well as Amnesty India, the government did not move till his health deteriorated on Sunday leading to his hospitalisation.

First Published: Dec 06, 2018 22:40 IST

Telangana assembly elections 2018: Can KCR take on Congress-TDP math?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Telangana assembly elections 2018: Can KCR take on Congress-TDP math?

With over 28 million eligible voters, Telangana will go to the polls on Friday.

INDIA Updated: Dec 07, 2018 07:22 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
Telangana,Telangana assembly elections 2018,Telangana Polls
Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao(HT Photo)

With over 28 million eligible voters, Telangana will go to the polls on Friday. It has a complex polity — the incumbent Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the Maha Kootami led by the Congress, which includes the Telugu Desam Party, Communist Party of India, and the Telangana Jana Samiti, and two other important forces, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Here are the six variables likely to shape the outcome of the elections .


KCR
: This election revolves around the personality of caretaker chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR). He led the political movement for Telangana and was rewarded for it in 2014. Since then, two things have happened. One, he has consolidated political power in himself and his family; become distant from the electorate; and is seen to have amassed wealth. Two, he has launched a slew of tremendously popular and innovative welfare schemes, ranging from monetary farm assistance to promises of housing. He is also seen to have provided electricity. Which version of KCR prevails for voters will matter.


The electoral arithmetic
: The Maha Kootami has an electoral advantage if you go by sheer numbers . If the TRS had 34% vote share in 2014, the Congress and TDP combined vote share is 38%. In many constituencies, the votes of both parties exceed that of the TRS. Will older TDP loyalists vote for Congress and will Congress supporters transfer their votes to TDP or other allies? Will arithmetic prevail or will voter choices change?


The Muslim vote
: Muslims constitute 12% of the population. They exercise influence in close to two dozen constituencies. In the Muslim-dominated pockets of Hyderabad, the AIMIM, or Majlis as it is called, is popular and it has decided to back the TRS. So any win for the Majlis boosts the TRS, especially if it is a hung assembly. But outside Hyderabad, the mood is mixed. While a section of Muslims cheer KCR’s schemes like Shaadi Mubarak (allowances for women for weddings), there is a substantial section that criticises him for not delivering on the promise of 12% reservation for the minority community. They also have loyalties to Congress and believe party president Rahul Gandhi’s assertion that the TRS has a deal with the BJP.

Click here for live updates on Telangana assembly election 2018


Subnationalism
: Telangana is India’s newest state. It has come into being after a long struggle against Andhra Pradesh. The emotive factor has now subsided. But the TDP’s active participation in the politics of the state changes things. Telangana has a big ‘settler’ population, those originally from Andhra. Will they back the TDP? Or will they follow the lead of other Andhra parties like the YSR Congress party which have decided to stay neutral and, in effect, back the TRS? More critically, the TRS has now used the TDP’s presence to allege outsider interference and claim there is a conspiracy by Andhra Pradesh to regain control of Telangana. Will this put off the locals?


Jobs or welfare:
 The Congress has made a sharp campaign pitch against the TRS for not creating jobs. It has promised over 100,000 jobs in a year; it has also committed to over ₹3000 as unemployment allowance. The TRS rebuts the claims and points to its governance record on welfare. Across constituencies, among younger people in particular, the desire for jobs, particularly government jobs, and the belief that the government has not delivered on this aspect is deep. How much will it hurt the incumbent?


Local anti-incumbency:
 The biggest challenge for the TRS is the fact that its local legislators appear to be unpopular. It had 63 seats in the 2014 polls but managed to engineer enough defections to increase its strength to 90. Most of the former MLAs are re-contesting. Will this local anti incumbency hurt the TRS or will KCR’s personality eventually offset this resentment?

In sum, the election is about governance, identities and subnationalism. It’s about personalities. It’s about local and micro factors. Voters today will determine what matters to them most.

First Published: Dec 07, 2018 07:08 IST

UP village on edge after clash over alleged cow slaughter that left two, including cop, dead

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

UP village on edge after clash over alleged cow slaughter that left two, including cop, dead

Villagers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they fear the police may do “anything” to avenge Subodh Kumar Singh’s killing.

INDIA Updated: Dec 04, 2018 09:51 IST

S Raju
S Raju
Hindustan Times, Syana (Bulanshahr)
cow slaughter,Bulandshahr,Subodh Kumar Singh
Fearing police action, men from the two villages involved in the clash fled after the killing of inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and Chingrawthi resident Sumit, 21, in the violence. (HT Photo)

Chingrawathi and Mahaw villages in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr district wore a deserted look on Monday hours after a police inspector and a local resident were killed when protests over alleged cow slaughter in the area turned violent.

Bhartiya Kisan Union’s district in-charge, Tejvir Singh, said the men from the two villages fled after the killing of inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and Chingrawthi resident Sumit, 21, in the violence. He said they left fearing police raids. “We are in contact with women through mobile phones and keeping an eye on police activities,” said Tejvir Singh, who is a Chingrawthi resident.

Villagers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they fear the police may do “anything” to avenge Subodh Kumar Singh’s killing.

Tejvir Singh said the villagers were apprehensive that the police would not even allow them to bring Sumit’s body to his village for last rites. Sumit’s body had been sent to Meerut for post-mortem.

Tejvir Singh warned anything can happen if the police dared to misbehave with women in the absence of men.

He said the two villages, which have a population of over 5,500 of mostly farmers, are considered peaceful and blamed the alleged cow slaughter at Mahaw for the violence.

Subodh Kumar Singh’s driver, Ram Ashrey, claimed the mob that attacked the police had firearms and when they fired, a bullet pierced the inspector’s left brow.

The driver and other policemen tried to take him to a hospital, but the mob surrounded them and compelled them to flee, leaving the injured inspector behind in the police vehicle, he said.

Balraj Singh Dunger, a Bajrang Dal functionary, told HT that he had directed his local leaders to submit a report about the incident. He said that the inspector seemed to have died of shock after sustaining bullet injuries.

Also read: Mob torches truck in J&K’s Kathua alleging cattle smuggling

In Lucknow, the Uttar Pradesh government ordered separate probes into the violence and rushed additional police forces to Bulandshahr fearing an escalation of violence amid the presence of lakhs of Muslims for a religious gathering.

Additional director general (intelligence) S B Shiradkar has been asked to file a report into the violence to the state government within two days. Inspector general of police (Meerut) led Special Investigation Team and a magistrate will probe the violence separately.

Officials said 11 companies of Rapid Action Force and Provincial Armed Constabulary had been rushed to Bulandshahr as a precautionary measure.

Around 15 lakh Muslims had assembled in Bulandshahr for a three-day Islamic congregation – Tablighi Ijtema – on Saturday. Officials said the event concluded on Monday and around six to nine lakh participants have since left the area. But until Monday evening, around five to seven lakh participants were still in the city. Officials said the police were “extra cautious” in view of the large Muslim presence.

Officials said 10 vehicles were attacked and five policemen were also injured in the violence that lasted for around two hours.

“At around 11.30 am, the villagers recovered cow carcasses. The locals dumped the carcasses on a tractor trolley and blocked the Bulandshahr-Garh highway under the Syana police station,” additional director general (law and order), Anand Kumar, told journalists in Lucknow. He said the attackers were from Nai Bash along with Mahaw and Chingarwathi.

Anand Kumar said inspector Subodh Kumar Singh reached the spot along with other police personnel and pacified villagers. “Initially, the issue was resolved and villagers were pacified on the assurance of a thorough probe,” he said.

The violence erupted when the police tried to clear the highway. “Initially, there was heavy brick-throwing. When police resorted to cane charge, the villagers opened fire from country-made guns. In order to control the situation, the police fired in the air to disperse the mob.”

First Published: Dec 04, 2018 07:18 IST

Massive fire in Mumbai’s Aarey forest near Infinity IT Park doused

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Massive fire in Mumbai’s Aarey forest near Infinity IT Park doused

According to Mumbai fire brigade, the fire, which was confined to trees and dry leaves, spread across an area of about 3-4 kilometers. Although, there were no reported casualties, a heavy damage to the forest is being feared.

INDIA Updated: Dec 04, 2018 08:49 IST

Steffy Thevar
Steffy Thevar
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Mumbai fire,fire at Aarey forest,sanjay gandhi national park
A major fire erupted in the Aarey forest near Goregaon suburb of north-west Mumbai on Monday evenin(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)

A major fire erupted in the Aarey forest near Goregaon suburb of north-west Mumbai on Monday evening. The fire broke out behind Infinity IT Park at General AK Vaidya Marg, Dindoshi.

No casualties were reported till late evening.

The fire, which broke out at around 6:21 pm escalated to level three by 8:05 pm. According to Mumbai fire brigade, the fire, which was confined to trees and dry leaves, spread across an area of about 3-4 kilometers. Although, there were no reported casualties, a heavy damage to the forest is being feared.

Activist Zoru Bhathena said, “Although there might be no human casualties but there might be a huge green cover loss. Also, it is likely that there may be many animals and birds stuck in the forest fire. The cause also needs to get investigated as it may be an attempt to encroach the land by later claiming it to be a barren land.”

Ten fire engines, seven jumbo tankers and three quick response vehicles have been pressed into action to battle the fire.

Fire officials on ground are also using green branches to douse the fire. After the fire started to spread to the other side of the forest, the disaster control room intimated the nearby police stations to evacuate adivasis and cattles, if any, present in the area. The disaster control room officials, however, confirmed that no one was stuck in the fire.

First Published: Dec 03, 2018 21:45 IST

India’s Defense Minister to chart course for India-US tri-service military exercise

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Nirmala Sitharaman to chart course for India-US tri-service military exercise

During her visit, Sitharaman will also be charting out the course for the first ever India-US tri-service military exercise in Bay of Bengal in May-June, 2019.

INDIA Updated: Dec 03, 2018 07:23 IST

Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Nirmala Sitharaman,US Indo-Pacific Command,Hawaii
Nirmala Sitharaman will be visiting the US Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii to review military-to-military relations and chart out the course for the first ever India-US tri-service military exercise in Bay of Bengal in May-June, 2019. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

Days after the apex Japan-India-America (JAI) trilateral meeting on Indo-Pacific on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be visiting the US Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii to review military-to-military relations and chart the course for the first ever India-US tri-service military exercise off in Bay of Bengal in May-June, 2019. Defence minister Sitharaman left for Washington on Saturday night.

According to Indian and US diplomats familiar with the agenda of her visit, Sitharaman will be meeting her US counterpart James Mattis on December 3 to follow-up on the trilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Donald Trump and Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe and prepare grounds for sharing of information in the Indo-Pacific theatre through the secure COMCASA network. India recently signed a deal allowing it to become part of this network. With Japan, the US, Australia, and India all flying the P-8I anti-submarine surveillance aircraft, the Indo-Pacific theatre has become transparent for the QUAD grouping (of which these four countries are part) also as military information can now be exchanged through the secure network. This new network will be put to test during the tri-service amphibious exercise off the Indian seaboard next summer with all elements of Indo-Pacific command participating with their respective Indian military elements.

Senior government officials told Hindustan Times that Sitharaman will be interacting with key defence officials, thinkers and strategists on the west coast where she will be meeting a select group at Stanford university with former US National Security Advisor H R McMaster being the host. US Defence Secretary Mattis is also part of this network. She will also be visiting the highly rated Defence Innovation Unit (DIUx) in California in a bid to link Indian defence startups with this unit which aims to explore synergies between innovative US private sector firms and the Pentagon on latest technologies.

This will be largely funded by venture capital with Indian government providing the seed money. The main idea behind visiting DIUx is to understand the potential of constant technological upgrades achieved through research by private sector.

Sitharaman will be hosted by Admiral Phillip S Davidson, the top commander of all US armed forces in Indo-Pacific at Hawaii on December 6. The Minister’s visit to Hawaii is to recognize the American

effort to redefine and expand the strategic region in consultation with India. Simply put, the new definition gives India bigger play in the military affairs of the region with Japan and Australia being the other ends of the strategic grouping. The minister will also review the military to military exercises planned in future and discuss the strategic environment in the region with China in the focus.

During her meeting with Secretary Mattis at Pentagon, Sitharaman will also be exploring the acquisition of high-end military technologies for India such as the Predator-B hunter killer drone and reviewing the joint working groups on aircraft carriers and aircraft engines.

First Published: Dec 03, 2018 07:20 IST