PDP ruined 3 generations in Kashmir, says PM Narendra Modi

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

 

Lok Sabha elections 2019: NC, PDP ruined 3 generations in Kashmir, says PM Narendra Modi

Modi also took a jibe at Abdullah over his recent remark over a separate PM for Jammu and Kashmir. “Some are threatening of two prime ministers, some are speaking the language of anti-nationals but I want to make it clear that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and their ‘vanshwaad’ [dynasty rule] will not survive for long,” he said.

LOK SABHA ELECTIONS Updated: Apr 15, 2019 00:23 IST

HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Kathua/Moradabad/Aligarh
NC,PDP,Kashmir
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was riding a wave stronger than the support it received in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. (Nitin Kanotra/HT Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was riding a wave stronger than the support it received in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, while also attacking the two main parties in Kashmir during his campaign for the second phase of polling.

Modi was in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua to campaign for Union minister and the BJP’s Udhampur Lok Sabha candidate Jitendra Singh. Voting will be held for the constituency on April 18.

“I have visited the entire country… I have seen a more powerful wave this time as compared to 2014,” Modi said. He said that opinion polls and surveys showed the BJP was set to win three times the seats that the Congress was projected to get.

The Prime Minister blamed two political families of Kashmir – one of National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and the other of Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti – for “ruining” three generations in the state and said he will not allow them to “divide” the country.

“These families have sucked the blood of people of J&K for long and I challenge them – let them field all their relatives in the polls, abuse me as much as they can, but I will not allow them to succeed in their nefarious design of dividing India,” he said after starting his speech in the local Dogri language.

Modi also took a jibe at Abdullah over his recent remark over a separate PM for Jammu and Kashmir. “Some are threatening of two prime ministers, some are speaking the language of anti-nationals but I want to make it clear that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and their ‘vanshwaad’ [dynasty rule] will not survive for long,” he said.

Abdullah questioned why the BJP made two members of the Mufti family chief ministers. “‘We have to rid J&K of these two political families,’ says Modiji in 2014 and then promptly goes and makes not one but two members of the Mufti family CM of J&K,” Abdullah tweeted.

Launching an attack on the BJP, Mufti said leaders of the party “are suffering from the disease of fear”.

At another rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad, Modi renewed his attack on the Congress and other opposition parties over the issue of national security.

“What used to happen earlier was terrorists would come from Pakistan, attack us and the Congress government would only lament before the world that we have been attacked. But in this new India when terrorists attacked Uri, our brave soldiers conducted a surgical strike,” he said.

“The second big mistake the terrorists made was in Pulwama after which we killed them in their home through air strikes,” Modi added, referring to the air strike on a terrorist camp in Pakistan’s Balakot after a February 14 suicide bombing in Kashmir killed 40 troopers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). He added that the Congress did not have faith in India’s armed forces.

The PM said that wrong policies of the Congress led to the mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in 1989.

In Aligarh, Modi raised the issue of nationalism, a key plank of the BJP’s outreach to voters.

“They [Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party] have fielded such candidates in this election who have reservation over Vande Matram. Those who cannot respect Vande Matram, cannot respect mother India. Their (SP-BSP) thinking is only one – abuse Modi as much as they can,” he said.

The Prime Minister also launched an attack on Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, saying he did not get time to attend the government’s Jallianwala Bagh event with vice president Venkaiah Naidu as he was busy with “parivar bhakti”, an oblique reference to the Gandhi family.

Responding to the allegations, Singh accused the PM of playing “dirty politics”. He alleged the central government had deliberately chosen to hold a “parallel event” instead of supporting the initiatives and programmes of the state government. “I had personally approached the Prime Minister several times over the last two years to seek support for ensuring that the centenary of the historic event is observed in a befitting manner but the central government had failed to respond suitably,” the Punjab CM said. He added that the PM was trying to mislead the people of the country with politically motivated falsehoods.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Apr 15, 2019 00:22 IST

PM Modi condemns Chhattisgarh attack that killed 5

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

 

‘Deeply anguishing’: PM Modi condemns Chhattisgarh attack that killed 5

In Delhi, the Election Commission said it had asked the state government and Chhattisgarh’s top election official for a report on the attack.

INDIA Updated: Apr 09, 2019 20:04 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PM Modi,Dantewada attack,BJP MLA
PM Modi said Bhima Mandavi, an MLA from the Dantewada constituency, was a dedicated party worker who assiduously served the people of the province.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the Dantewada attack that killed a Bharatiya Janata Party legislator and four security personnel on Tuesday in south Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada region.

“Strongly condemn the Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh. My tributes to the security personnel who were martyred. The sacrifices of these martyrs will not go in vain,” PM Modi tweeted on the Maoist attack that comes days before Bastar votes in the first phase of Lok Sabha on Thursday.

PM Modi said Bhima Mandavi, an MLA from the Dantewada constituency, was a dedicated party worker who assiduously served the people of the province.

“Shri Bhima Mandavi was a dedicated Karyakarta (worker) of the BJP. Diligent and courageous, he assiduously served the people of Chhattisgarh. His demise is deeply anguishing. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti,” PM Modi added.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has called a high-level meeting to review the security situation in the state.

In Delhi, the Election Commission said it had asked the state government and Chhattisgarh’s top election official for a report on the attack.

The Election Commission had settled for voting in three phases for the state’s 11 Lok Sabha seats to give security personnel enough time to move from one constituency to another and familiarise themselves with the area that they have to secure.

Tuesday’s attack took place between Kuakonta and Syamgiri in Dantewada.

Maoists had blown up an IED on the road when the legislator’s convoy was passing through the district. One SUV was blown up in the attack that left a crater on the road. A reinforcement of CRPF contingent has been rushed to the explosion site.

First Published: Apr 09, 2019 20:01 IST

India: Participation in Asean, East Asia summits sign of continued commitment, Modi

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

 

Participation in Asean, East Asia summits a sign of continued commitment, says PM Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is participating in the Asean-India and East Asia Summits in Singapore on November 14-15.

INDIA Updated: Nov 14, 2018 00:04 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Nanredra Modi in Singapore,Asean summit,PM Modi in Singapore
Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarks on the plane to leave for Singapore on November 13. (Twitter/PMO)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday his participation in the Asean-India and East Asia Summits in Singapore reflects India’s “continued commitment” to strengthen its engagement with Asean members and the wider Indo-Pacific region.

Besides participating in these two summits during November 14-15, Modi will also join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) leaders’ meeting and hold a bilateral meeting with US vice president Mike Pence.

“My participation in these meetings symbolises our continued commitment to strengthening our engagement with Asean member states and with the wider Indo-Pacific region. I am looking forward to my interactions with other Asean and East Asia Summit leaders,” Modi said in his departure statement.

On Wednesday, Modi will be the first head of government to deliver the keynote address at the Singapore Fintech Festival. As the world’s largest financial technology event, he said, the festival is the right forum to showcase India’s strengths in this fast-growing sector and to forge global partnerships for fostering innovation. Modi said he would also have the opportunity to interact with participants and winners of the India-Singapore Hackathon. “It is my firm belief that if we provide the right encouragement and a nurturing ecosystem, our youth has the ability to become global leaders in providing solutions to the challenges facing humanity,” he added.

Besides Pence, Modi will hold bilateral meetings with Singapore PM Lee Hsein Loong, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

First Published: Nov 14, 2018 00:02 IST

Manmohan Singh Defied National Line By Meeting Pakistan Diplomats

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

 

Manmohan Singh defied national line by meeting Pakistan diplomats: Arun Jaitley

Arun Jaitley wanted the former prime minister to explain what transpired at the meeting and went on to defend Modi government’s track record of fighting terror.

GUJARATELECTION2017 Updated: Dec 11, 2017 23:19 IST

Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley addresses the media in New Delhi on Monday.
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley addresses the media in New Delhi on Monday.(PTI)

Virtually ruling out an apology by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday charged former prime minister Manmohan Singh with defying the national line by meeting Pakistani diplomats and demanded to know the context, relevance and necessity of such a meet.

Terming the meeting as “political misadventure”, Jaitley wanted Singh and the Congress to explain the context of attending the dinner hosted by suspended party leader Mani Shankar Aiyar for Pakistani diplomats.

He said the main Opposition party is expected to follow the national policy, which states that terror and talks cannot go hand-in-hand.

“Is (the) main opposition party not part of the State?” he asked.

Jaitley said that if anyone defies the national line, he should be prepared to answer questions.

“It is a political misadventure, it has a political cost,” he said.

Read more

Jaitley addressed a press conference hours after Singh asked the Prime Minister to apologise to the nation for setting a “dangerous precedent”.

He wanted the former prime minister to explain what transpired at the meeting and went on to defend his government’s track record of fighting terror, saying no government in the past has a track record this government has in fighting terrorism.

In response to Singh’s demand for apology, Jaitley further said people who have violated the national policy of talks and terror not going hand in hand should apologize.

PM Modi says Mani Shankar Aiyar gave ‘supari’ in Pakistan,

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

 

Gujarat elections: PM Modi says Mani Shankar Aiyar gave ‘supari’ in Pakistan, Rahul Gandhi targets BJP on manifesto

The BJP and Congress targetted each other ahead of the first phase of Gujarat elections, in which 89 of 182 seats go to polls on Saturday.

GUJARATELECTION2017 Updated: Dec 09, 2017 07:42 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A life-size digital cutout of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was set up at Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad.
A life-size digital cutout of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was set up at Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

The campaign trail in Gujarat heated up on Friday ahead of the first phase of polling in the state with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP’s star campaigner accusing Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar of issuing a “supari” (contract) in Pakistan to have him “removed”, even as Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi criticised the BJP for waiting till the 11th hour to release its manifesto.

The first phase of elections to the Gujarat assembly is scheduled for Saturday, as 89 of 182 seats go to the polls, in what is perhaps the most watched and closely contested election in the state in two decades.

The BJP has ruled the state for 22 years, but the Congress has always had a significant presence in the state, with its vote share never going below a third, and it is expected to do better this time. In the 2012 assembly elections, the BJP won 119 seats and the Congress 57. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won all 26 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

This time, opinion polls give the Congress anything between 37 and 85 seats, and the BJP 92-141. Modi, the former chief minister of Gujarat, has been leading the campaign from the front. He has spent much of the past week in the state, and is expected to spend the first part of the coming week (campaigning for the second phase, scheduled for December 14, ends on December 12) here too. BJP president Amit Shah has also camped in the state.

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The Congress campaign, overseen by veteran Ashok Gehlot, has had Rahul Gandhi, who will be announced as the party’s next president on December 11, as its face. The Congress has been supported by the Patidars, led by Hardik Patel, some backward classes, led by Alpesh Thakor, and the Dalits, led by Jignesh Mewani.

All three are young and charismatic leaders, and strong orators, with a significant following among the young people of their respective communities. These young people want jobs, and better education that leads to such jobs.

The Congress is hoping that its partnership with the three – Patel is supporting it but not contesting the election himself; Thakor has joined the Congress and is a candidate; and Mewani’s candidature is supported by the Congress – will help.

As will angst over the fallout of last year’s demonetisation and this year’s Goods and Services Tax on small traders in the state who have traditionally voted for the BJP.

The BJP is hoping its focus on Other Backward Classes (OBCs) who are worried that any quota for the Patidars will come at their expense, its track record in the state, superior planning and constituency management, and the Modi magic will see it through. Modi and the BJP have also been quick to latch on to missteps by the Congress. Earlier this week, Congress leader Kapil Sibal, appearing in the Ram Janambhoomi case in the Supreme Court asked for the hearing to be deferred till after the 2019 polls claiming that the outcome of the case could have significant implications on the 2019 parliamentary polls.

There has been confusion over who he appeared for. And on Thursday, Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar called Modi “neech” or low class, prompting the Congress to suspend him from the primary membership of the party. The BJP has milked both to its advantage.

Read more

Modi continued to do so on Friday, recalling a 2015 visit by Aiyar to Pakistan during which he had said in a talk show that relations between India and Pakistan would not improve until Modi was removed from the way.

On Friday, the BJP released its so-called vision document or manifesto, promising a better deal for farmers, sops for people belonging to the Other Backward Classes, and better housing, health, and education for all, although it stopped well short of promising the quotas in jobs and educational institutions that the Congress has promised the Patidars.

The BJP maintains that the Congress formula isn’t legally tenable (a Supreme Court judgment mandates that quotas must not cross the 50% mark).

To resolve the problem in Kashmir, acknowledge the suffering of its people

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE KASHMIR OBSERVER)

 

To resolve the problem in Kashmir, acknowledge the suffering of its people

If the Narendra Modi government has appointed Dineshwar Sharma to arrange the surrender of the separatist movement, nothing will happen


After a year of hammering the separatists in Jammu and Kashmir – killing more than 160 militants in targeted operations in 2017 alone and arresting at least 10 overground separatist leaders for their role in suspicious financial transactions – the Indian government is seeking to apply a balm. These are fairly standard tactics, but will they work?

The answer depends on many factors, primarily the character of the movement.

As of now, it is not clear what exactly Dineshwar Sharma’s role is in Jammu and Kashmir. Union minister Jitendra Singh pointedly said Sharma was not an interlocutor but merely “a special representative” of the government. Indeed, the October 24 notification appointing him described Sharma as a “representative of the government of India” whose task was to “carry forward the dialogue” with elected representatives, various organizations, and individuals. The day before, Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke of Sharma as a “special representative” who would “have full freedom to engage in talks with anyone he likes”.

At one level, it doesn’t really matter. “Interlocutor” was a word of convenience that fitted in the diverse collection of individuals and groups who have sought to work outside formal government structures to suggest solutions for the Kashmir problem. The way the government works, it does not really have to listen to anything such interlocutors tell it. Their role is strictly recommendatory and facilitative.

For the record, there has been no dearth of interlocutors who were interested in promoting a political solution to the issues roiling Kashmir and who had access to the highest levels of government. Some were self-appointed well-meaning folk, others informally asked to do the needful, yet others who were formally appointed and laid out their recommendations in formal reports. The Jammu and Kashmir legislature, too, added its bit by examining the issue of autonomy and sending its recommendations to Delhi in 2000, only to have them rejected peremptorily.

All had one thing in common – they were not the Government of India. At the end of the day, only the central government has the authority to take decisions on such matters. Yet, despite years and decades of reports, recommendations, cogitation, the government has not spelled out what it is willing to offer. True, there have been statements by prime ministers that the “sky is the limit” when it comes to autonomy, or that the issue needs to resolved within the ambit of insaniyat, or humanity. Most recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that Kashmir’s problems could not be resolved by bullets but “only by embracing its people”. But these are rhetorical statements that give no clues as to the Union Government’s bottom line.

Emphasise reconciliation

So what can we expect now? A great deal depends on what Modi wants. If the government has appointed Sharma to arrange the surrender of the separatist movement, nothing will happen. The Kashmiri insurgency is now nearly three decades old, having taken the lives of some 45,000 people, roughly half of them militants, 14,000 civilians and some 6,000 security personnel. The way the government sees it probably is that its policy of relentless police action and attrition has brought the militancy to its knees, and this is the best moment to step in with an offer of political dialogue. It is possible that the movement can be brought to a point of exhaustion by relentless police action. But it is like a fire where even embers can give life to a dying blaze if there is sufficient combustible material around.

Parse that another way and one could argue that having been willing to shed so much blood, Kashmiris will not accept a settlement that offers them nothing more than status quo ante as of January 1, 1990.

So, parse that another way and one could argue that has been willing to shed so much blood, Kashmiris will not accept a settlement that offers them nothing more than status quo ante as of January 1, 1990.

In the government’s reckoning, it is really unemployed youth and the internet that is causing the problem and so if jobs can be assured and the internet kept in check, things will work out. Things are not that simple. Historically, Kashmiris buttressed by geography, have had a sense of their uniqueness. The circumstances of their accession and the commitment of a plebiscite made by India and endorsed by the United Nations remain. No country in the world recognizes Jammu and Kashmir to be a part of India; all see it as disputed territory, including our big friend the United States.

Not many in India realize that the counter-insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir has been brutal. Extra-judicial killings, torture, and intimidation have been its constant features. And this for the last 30 years. So, on one hand, you have a hardened population and, on the other, an embittered one. Therefore, the political effort that you initiate must be thought through. Empty gestures are not going to mean much. Neither will they achieve the end you have in mind – the normalization of the situation.

What needs to be adopted is a perspective that emphasizes reconciliation. That’s a carefully chosen word. A brutal struggle has gone on in Kashmir for the past 30 years. To wish it away or to pretend it did not happen is to live in an imaginary world. The more honorable and pragmatic path is to accept that things happened and are happening and that there is a need to overcome them through the process of dialogue, negotiation, and compromise. The alternative is repeated cycles of violence and alienation, with fits of political intervention that will not really get you anywhere.

The Article First Appeared In Scroll.In

(Manoj Joshi is Distinguished Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi).

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PM Narendra Modi presents new projects, defends Demonetisation and GST

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

PM Narendra Modi presents new projects to election-bound Gujarat, defends demonetisation and GST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated and laid the foundation for projects worth more than Rs 1,600 crore, addressed three public rallies, a road show and took a 31km ferry ride.

INDIA Updated: Oct 23, 2017 07:02 IST

HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad/ New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with the children during his maiden voyage on the Ghogha-Dahej Ro-Ro ferry service in Bhavnagar, Gujarat on Sunday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with the children during his maiden voyage on the Ghogha-Dahej Ro-Ro ferry service in Bhavnagar, Gujarat on Sunday.(PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed on Sunday to continue his economic reforms and asserted that the Indian economy is on the right track, defending his government’s major steps such as the demonetisation drive, and the goods and services tax.

His remarks are aimed at deflecting the Opposition’s flak after the economy decelerated to a three-year low of 5.7% in the quarter ended September.

“After all the reforms and hardcore decisions, the economy of the country is on track and is going in the right direction,” Modi said at a rally in Dahej, one of the three places he visited in Gujarat, his home state where assembly polls are due this winter.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the maiden voyage of the Ro-Ro ferry service between Ghogha and Dahej in Bhavnagar, Gujarat on Sunday. (PTI)

Modi’s assurance couldn’t cut ice with his rivals, though. As many as 13 opposition parties will meet on Monday to sharpen their strategy for a renewed attack on the government over the economy.

“GST is fast becoming ‘Grossly Scary Tax’ under Modi Govt as 40 lakh assesses fail to file September returns,” tweeted Randeep Surjewala, the Congress’s chief spokesperson.

The parties, led by the Congress, plan protests on November 8 when Modi’s decision to scrap two high-value banknotes in a shock recall completes a year. Programmes are likely to be held to highlight what they called the demonetisation aftershocks.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi prays at Ghogha Sea Ferry Point to mark the inauguration of the Ghogha-Dahej Ro-Ro ferry service, in Ghogha in Bhavnagar on Sunday. (PTI)

The opposition parties also accused the government of persuading the Election Commission to delay declaring the poll schedule for Gujarat and help the ruling BJP dole out sops to voters.

Modi, who was Gujarat chief minister since 2001 till he became Prime Minister in 2014, announced a slew of projects for his state on Sunday.

He inaugurated or laid the foundation for projects worth more than Rs 1,600 crore, addressed three public rallies, a road show and took a 31km ferry ride from Ghogha to Dahej, and had lunch with disabled kids onboard the boat.

“The flood of promises from Modi in Gujarat, due to EC’s relief by not announcing the polls. Whither ‘One election?” tweeted CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, referring to Modi’s previous stand seeking simultaneous parliamentary and state elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being welcomed on stage at the public meeting in Ghogha in Gujarat on Sunday. (PTI)

But the theme of Modi’s speeches was economic stability that was meant to address concerns of his state’s large business community after the economy switched to GST this July. Traders are known to back the BJP, which is in power for two decades in Gujarat.

He criticised the Opposition for questioning his visit to the poll-bound state in his speech in Vadodara, where he inaugurated and dedicated several projects.

“Can’t I come to Vadodara after Diwali? Some people don’t like to see me coming here. As they can’t directly tell me anything, they are targeting the Election Commission,” he said.

He defended the projects, saying he was clearing stuck files.

Vadodara is the second constituency he won in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections but gave up to retain Varanasi. He dedicated housing, drinking water and fuel pipeline projects among others to the city.

“Those who managed to win (elections) after a recounting are today abusing the EC. They have no moral authority to do so,” he quipped a day after former Union minister P Chidambaram carped at the poll panel for not announcing dates for the Gujarat elections along with Himachal Pradesh, the other state going to the polls this winter.

The Prime Minister also blamed the Congress-led UPA, which ruled the country for a decade before the BJP regained power three years ago, for what he called a backlog of development projects in Gujarat.

At Ghogha in Bhavnagar, where he launched a ferry service, Modi accused the previous UPA government of trying to halt development along the state’s coastline giving environment as an excuse. The sea ferry route cuts 310km by road to 31km.

Gujarat faced difficulties but these “were solved one after another” after he became Prime Minister, he said.

He advocated blending economy with ecology and hailed his government’s signature decisions — demonetisation and GST. He said the fundamentals of the economy are strong and “financial stability of the country will be maintained while initiating reforms”.

The remarks came hours after revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia pitched for some rejig of GST rates to help small and medium enterprises.

Adhia’s comments gave fresh fodder to the opposition parties on the controversial GST rates.

“Now this explains why the Hon PM was so happy to share credit for GST with the Congress. He’s not usually given to sharing credit anywhere,” tweeted Omar Abdullah, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.

BJP parliamentarian Shatrughan Sinha joined the debate too and said: “Some support GST, some don’t. Some support #DeMonetisation some don’t, this doesn’t mean critics are anti-national.”

Man From India’s Lowest Caste Elected President

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

Man from India’s lowest caste elected president

Ram Nath Kovind, center, gestures as he leaves his residence in New Delhi on June 20, 2017.

Story highlights

  • Victory could boost support for ruling party among India’s Dalit community
  • President is a largely ceremonial role in India

New Delhi (CNN) A relatively unknown political operator and member of India’s lowest Dalit caste has been elected as the country’s 14th president.

Ram Nath Kovind, who until recently was governor of the eastern state of Bihar, won an overwhelming majority to beat opposition Congress party candidate, Meira Kumar, a former parliament speaker and also a member of the Dalit community.
Kovind secured 2,930 votes in a secret nationwide ballot involving near to 5,000 lawmakers from the central parliament and state legislatures. Kumar received 1,844 votes.
The election of 71-year-old Kovind, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate, is widely viewed as part of a strategy by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to widen support among India’s 200 million-strong Dalit community.
Kovind is the second Dalit to become Indian president, after K. R. Narayanan, in office from 1997 to 2002.
Dalits, who are often referred to as untouchables, occupy the lowest rung on India’s caste system. Traditionally viewed as “impure” the group continues to grapple with persecution and exclusion.
Kovind, a lawyer by training who has practiced in both the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court, has never held popularly elected office and lacks an independent power base. For the last two years he has occupied the governorship of Bihar, a position appointed by the prime minister. He also served as the national spokesman of the BJP between 2010 and 2012.

Ram Nath Kovind delivers a speech in presence of Gujarat Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) members in Gandhinagar, on July 15, 2017.

Ceremonial role

Though the five-year post is largely ceremonial, Kovind’s election will help strengthen Modi’s grip on power, say analysts.
“Modi would not like anyone in Rashtrapati Bhavan (the President’s House) who can question him, that’s why Kovind was picked,” said Satish Misra, a senior fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, an independent think tank based in Delhi.
Unlike the American president, and in line with other Westminster-style governments, the role of India’s president lacks any real executive authority. All decisions taken by the president require the approval of the prime minister and the council of ministers.
However, each piece of legislation passed by parliament requires the president’s sign-off. As a result, the president can delay key legislation taken by the prime minister, and can symbolically signal disapproval of controversial bills.
Having a compliant president will help Modi if parliament does not cooperate with his agenda. The prime minister can pass ordinances, similar to a US executive order, with the approval of the president, said Shailesh Kumar, a senior analyst with the Eurasia Group.

Dalit identity

Analysts point to the recent rise in mob violence directed at minorities as among the BJP’s primary motives in selecting Kovind.
“There’s a disillusionment among the Dalits,” said Satish Misra. “That’s why it’s necessary for the ruling party to send a signal that we are with you.”
Kovind is also a member of the the Koli ethnic group, an important voting bloc in Modi’s home state of Gujarat. A survey by the Centre for Study of Developing Societiesfound that members of the Koli community, many of whom are Dalit, switched their support from the Congress Party to the BJP between 2007 and 2012.
“Until now, Dalits never voted for the BJP. But in 2014, some percentage of the votes went to the BJP,” Misra added. “The fact remains that Dalits constitute over 20% of the Indian population and they’re a vote bank.”

Modi govt gets high approval rating at three-year mark in Times Of India online poll

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF INDIA)

Modi govt gets high approval rating at three-year mark in TOI online poll

TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: May 23, 2017, 07.04 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • In timesofindia.com poll, almost 84% of those surveyed believed that if elections were held today, the government would equal or better its 2014 Lok Sabha performance
  • Demonetisation and the passage of the Goods and Services Tax Bill were seen as the two most important decisions of the Modi government

Modi govt gets high approval rating at three-year mark in TOI online poll

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government got a big thumbs-up for its overall performance in the first three years of its tenure, according to an online survey conducted by timesofindia.com and its sister sites.

Over a million readers participated in these polls.

In timesofindia.com’s poll, a total 77% of respondents said they rated the Modi government’s performance as being ‘very good’ and ‘good’. That is, in response to the poll question ‘How would you rate the performance of the Modi government?’, 48% respondents voted ‘very good’ and 28% voted ‘good’.

However, respondents on tamil.samayam.com weren’t as impressed with the BJP government’s performance, with a total of 53% choosing the options ‘Average’ or ‘Poor’.

In timesofindia.com poll, almost 84% of those surveyed believed that if elections were held today, the government would equal or better its 2014 Lok Sabha performance. That is, 61% of those voted believed that if the Lok Sabha elections were held today, the BJP would perform better than it did in 2014. Some 23% of respondents believed the BJP would fare the same as it did in 2014.

To this question too, tamil.samayam.com’s respondents voted differently. Close to 44% respondents here believed the Modi government would fare worse than it did in 2014, if Lok Sabha elections were to be held today.

By and large, except for tamil.samayam.com’s respondents, it appears the reason people feel the BJP would equal or better its performance if elections were held today is the ‘Modi factor’ – the same one considered responsible for the party’s wins in recent polls.

In timesofindia.com’s poll, 76% believed Modi’s popularity has increased in the last three years. However, respondents on tamil.samayam.com felt differently, with 41% of voters saying the PM’s popularity has decreased.

Demonetisation and the passage of the Goods and Services Tax Bill were seen as the two most important decisions of the Modi government, with the former squeaking by the latter to make it to the top spot in timesofindia.com’s poll.

The November 8 decision to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes was seen as the Modi government’s most crucial decision by 37% of those who were surveyed in timesofindia.com’s poll. GST was considered the most crucial by 28% of those who answered the question in the same poll.

Demonetisation, in fact, got a huge thumbs up among those surveyed bynavbharattimes.com , maharashtratimes.com, iamgujarat.com and vijaykarnataka.com. On these sites, more than 50% of respondents said the note ban was the most important move by the Modi government.

Interestingly, even though demonetisation – touted by PM Modi as a move to curb black money – was seen as the most important decision of the BJP government, timesofindia.com’s respondents were not as awed at overall efforts by the government to curb black money.

A majority of respondents were satisfied, yes, but not by as large a margin. Of those who answered the question ‘What do you think of the steps taken by the government to curb black money?’ 56% voted ‘Very Effective’ and ‘Effective’, while the rest believed the steps ‘Need Better Implementation’ or are ‘Ineffective’, on timesofindia.com’s poll.

Navbharattimes.com respondents though were underwhelmed by the Modi government’s efforts to curb black money. Close to a total 60% surveyed said these efforts ‘Need Better Implementation’ or are ‘Ineffective’.

By and large, respondents in most of the polls felt that in its three years in power, the Modi government had been least successful in ‘Employment Generation’ and ‘Tackling Cross-Border Terror.’

However, those surveyed on tamil.samayam.com and telegu.samayam.com believed the Modi government’s biggest failure has been ‘Improving Condition of Farmers’.

As for tangible improvements to their individual lives, more than half of those who voted in timesofindia.com’s and most other polls felt that in the last three years their lives had improved.

Top Comment

no need of such survey …. we all know it ..and it will remain even after 2019 ….. as this Govt. for all is credible …..B S Jha

Of those who answered the question ‘How has life changed for you under the Modi government?’, 58% clicked on ‘Significantly Improved’ and ‘Slightly Improved’. The answer ‘Same as Before’ got 29% of the votes, which the remaining believed their lives have ‘Deteriorated.’

On this issue too, respondents on tamil.samayam.com and telegu.samayam.com differed, with most respondents saying their lives are the ‘Same as Before’.

India: Stopping Counterfeit Money Will Hurt Economy For About 3 Months But Will Help The People Of India In The Long Run

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

Demonetisation pangs will last for 3 months, but benefit India in long run: Jaitley

INDIA Updated: Dec 03, 2016 00:50 IST

Suveen Sinha
Suveen Sinha
Hindustan Times
Finance minister Arun Jaitley in conversation with Vikram Chandra during Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, Consulting Editor, NDTV at Taj Palace in New Delhi on Friday. (Gurinder Osan/HT Photo)
Finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday the recall of 500-and 1000-rupee notes will cause just three months of disruptions before yielding substantial benefits for the economy.In a year, he sees a bigger and cleaner economy with less paper currency, a wider tax base with lower rates, and more money in the banks resulting in cheaper loans. All of this will help the country’s ambition of becoming a modern and digital economy befitting its status as the world’s fastest growing major economy.

WHAT JAITLEY SAID
  • The disruption won’t last long; in the next 12 to 15 months, the impact will be beneficial
  • There will be more money in the banking system which can be used for social, infrastructure, industry, trade
  • People in queues are saying they are troubled but happy the decision was taken
  • The difference between paper currency withdrawn and the one coming into the market will be replaced by credit and debit cards, and e-wallets

“If you switch over from a particular way of life and conducting expenditure, there is disruption. But I do not see the disruption lasting long, maybe a quarter or so. But if you look at the next 12 or 15 months, the impact will be beneficial,” Jaitley said at the inaugural session of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi.

The government recalled 500-and 1,000-rupee notes on November 8, culling 86% of cash in circulation to purge the economy of illicit “black money” and fake bills.

The move, said Jaitley, will prove a windfall in many ways. Banks, flush with money from new deposits, will be able to give social, infrastructure, industrial, and trade loans at lower rates. He, however, said the amount of new banknotes being released will not touch the November 8 level, and that will help the country along the path of becoming a digital economy.

Watch | We need to replace the cynicism amongst the common man: Arun Jaitley

“The volume of formal trade and business will grow in size… What was normal in India? You go and buy a property, you pay some amount in cash, some in cheque. You start a trade, wholesale or retail, there is so much in kaccha khaata and so much in pucca. Do developed economies behave like this?” he argued in defence of the so-called demonetisation.

He said the purging existing high-value notes strikes at the stock of black money.

The flow part of it will be curbed by the goods and services tax, which, by establishing a transparent and uniform system of indirect taxes across the country, will prevent the generation of black money in trade and business.

A next possible step, said Jaitley, could be to make political funding more transparent.

“The current move will create a situation where political funding will become far more transparent. At the end of the day, donors will say, ‘Where do I bring this money from? The only donation I can give is legitimate cheque donation’”.

 

 

 

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