|SIGNS OF THE TIMES|
|Yogi Adityanath as CM: Doomsday for Uttar Pradesh|
|Doomsday for the state of Uttar Pradesh with the appointment of Yogi Adityanath as chief minister. Well, that was my first spontaneous reaction as soon as that news had trickled in. And this reaction is getting compounded as disasters are getting unfolded. Within the very first two days of his appointment hundreds are sitting jobless as slaughter houses and meat-shops have been shut or sealed in several towns of Uttar Pradesh - Allahabad, Lakhimpur Khiri, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Ghaziabad. Together with this, his dictatorship style of functioning seems more than writ large with the arrest of a Muslim man from Ghazipur because of an "objectionable picture" he had posted. Mind you, even before the police could take action, Yogi Adityanath's private brigade of goons - the Hindu Yuva Sena -hound...|
|Hindutva is now BJP's top agenda in Uttar Pradesh|
|Ensuring development will be a tough task for Adityanath|
|'Desh mein Modi, Pradesh mein Yogi' is the new slogan heard in the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh after the Gorakhnath Mutt head Yogi Adityanath took over as chief minister of UP on Sunday. The choice of Yogi shows that the BJP interprets the UP victory as a vote for Hindutva although the official text was development. Interestingly, even Yogi, who is known for his hardline Hindutva chanted soon after taking over, "Sab ka saath and sab ka vikas will be my first priority." Optimists say give him a chance while the doomsayers claim that UP will go the Hindutva way further. While talking of development will he also keep Hindutva as a subtext just as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is doing?
While the credit for the UP victory unquestionably goes to Modi, Adityanath did play a key role in...|
|What's wrong with Southeast Asia?|
|Thirty years ago most of Southeast Asia was run by thuggish dictatorships. Then the Philippines showed the rest of the world how to get rid of the dictators without violence, and its non-violent example was watched and copied around the world. But now the thugs are coming back where it all started.
The democratic revolution in the Philippines in 1986 was quickly followed by the non-violent overthrow of the generals in Thailand in 1988(though they continued to intervene every few years), and then by the fall of Suharto's 30-year dictatorship in Indonesia in 1998. By then the example had also spread through the rest of Asia (democratic revolutions in Taiwan and South Korea and even an attempt at one in China).
The democratic wave swept across the rest of the world too: Eastern Europe and ...|
|Black money spurt may be behind millionaire exodus from India|
|Time to extend focus beyond Mallya, Modi and Moin Qureshi|
|It is good to know that the government is seriously examining if a new law is required or prevailing statutes could be amended to confiscate the properties of those who commit financial crimes in India and hide abroad. Recently, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said this in Lok Sabha in response to Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy's query as to what steps the government has taken to bring back "IPL man" (Lalit Modi) and "Kingfisher man" (Vijay Mallya). The finance minister, without taking names, said assets worth Rs 840 crore have already been attached by various enforcement agencies. Hi-profile Modi and Mallya, both alleged to be big economic offenders, may have been much in the news these days, but there are thousands of others, including Islamic preacher and foreign fund handler t...|
|Amarinder Singh's initial moves are promising|
|Punjab strongly ns[eeds a good governance|
|What is likely to be Punjab's future political scenario after the 2017 assembly polls whose outcome has thrown up some surprises? The answer cannot be attempted without analyzing the factors which have played an important role in the polls outcome. The piece begins with comments on the fate the mainstream contesting parties have met.
The vanquished deserve sympathy. The victor needs breathing time. Punjab's Akali-BJP alliance and the AAP fall in the first category and the Congress in the second. Have they earned the desired treatment in state assembly elections? Perhaps yes.
Normally, one should not be harsh towards the vanquished. But an analysis of the factors behind the Akali Dal and BJP's electoral rout in 2017 shows that the main reasons for the alliance's humiliating debacle wer...|
|Beware the new US 'border tax' plan|
|A new and deadly form of protectionism is being considered by US leaders, and it could have devastating effects on the exports and investments of developing countries like Malaysia, as well as destabilising the world economy.
The plan, known as a border adjustment tax, would have the effect of taxing imports of goods and services that enter the United States, while also providing a subsidy for US exports which would be exempted from the tax.
The proponents' aim is to drastically reduce imports while promoting exports, and thus reduce the huge trade deficit in the United States. It fits in with US President Donald Trump's goals to make America great again, to buy American and hire Americans.
On the other hand, if adopted, it would depress the competitiveness or viability of other countr...|
|BJP-MUKT centre after 2019 Lok Sabha poll is still possible|
|Opposition needs determination, spirit of accommodation|
|There is a sense of demoralization among the opposition parties and the secular forces in general after the resounding victory of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The massive victory in UP, the largest populated state of the country, has given the Prime Minister Narendra Modi an invincible stature which will continue for some time unless the opposition parties can really throw up a big challenge to the Prime Minister or Mr. Modi himself makes a major lapse.
In this latest round of state assembly elections, the Congress has not really done that bad, the GOP has recaptured Punjab after ten years with a convincing majority and it has emerged as the largest single party in both Manipur and Goa. That in both states, BJP has finally formed the governments speaks of the money power an...|
|Pak-Afghan dialogue in London significant|
|A trilateral cooperation to curb terrorism underlined|
|Pakistan's firm stand in curbing terrorism inside Pakistan, imported from Afghanistan, was made known by the Pak Prime Minister's Adviser on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz on the very first day of the one-to-one meeting with Afghanistan's National Security Adviser, Hanif Atmar in London on March 15. Aziz made no bones of Islamabad's hard line against Talibans and complained that Afghan-based militants continued to mount attacks inside Pakistan. The initiative in this dialogue was taken by Sir Mark Lyall Grant who became the first British national security adviser in 2015. He knows Pakistan well. Between 2003 and 2006 he was the British high commissioner to Pakistan. The proposal for dialogue was made by the current British High Commissioner to Afghanistan Karen Pierce CMG. The British d...|
|Date one, Days five!|
|"Uncle, 21 March! Important date! You said it. But that why how?"
"Dear, an important date, no doubt! That very date, five international days are observed."
"Uncle, yes, what are the days?"
"Dear, these are: Nowruz; International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; World Down Syndrome Day; International Day of Forests; World Poetry Day."
"Good Uncle, say please about them all."
"Dear interesting all. Nowruz (New Day, literally), first day of first month (Farvardin) in Iranian calendar, the day of vernal equinox, marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and has been celebrated for over 3,000 years in Western Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Basin, and the Balkans."
"Uncle, second Day, please?"
"Next, that is, International Day for...|
|Congress revival possible only by building leadership at local levels|
|It has no more time for introspection if the Congress party has to revive itself as it is time for action. Two important lessons to flow from the recent debacle in U.P is that it can no more piggy ride on the strength of allies or with alliances with regional parties. Second lesson is that the Gandhi family is no longer a vote puller which can carry it through to victory even if the organisational base is weak.
While major opponent of Congress BJP has a crowd puller, excellent communicator and a vote catcher in Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On the other hand any time Congress tries to put party Vice President Rahul Gandhi against Mr Modi, it suffers a major debacle. Congress Vice President has to go a long way before he can match the skills of BJP leader who is past master in manipulati...|
|Governors decisions on Goa, Manipur are partisan|
|BJP cobbled majority through unfair means|
|Both the governors of Goa and Manipur have committed gross impropriety in inviting the BJP to form the government in two states. They ignored the basic provisions in the constitution, which lays down that first the single largest party be invited to form the government, asked it to prove the majority on the floor of the house within a specified period. If it fails, chance should be given to the second largest party. Both governors of Goa Mridula Sinha and Manipur governor Najma Hepttula flouted the constitutional provisions.
The Congress, which emerged as the single largest party in the two states, but fell short of majority, also committed faux pas. Firstly, it did not elect the legislature party leader and, secondly, did not stake claim to form the government. The BJP promptly took ad...|
|BJP projecting Modi as new messiah|
|Party propaganda misses the reality of election results|
|Massive victory of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh has created unprecedented ecstasy in the saffron brigade and it is being described as Modi' March signaling emergence of a new politics. The claim of Modi's march is yet to be scrutinized in proper prospective, but one thing is certain it is the precursor of new politics of coercion and thrusting the philosophy of Hindu Rashtra on the nation. No doubt some people claim that this has armed Modi with the authority and power to translate his reforms programmes into reality and hasten up the process for fiscal reforms.
Nevertheless even before the euphoria dies down, one question still awaits a rationale reply from the BJP and continues to stare at Modi's face; why the Modi's March failed to demolish the Congress in Goa, Punjab and especially in Ma...|
|State Assembly Elections|
|BJP's lethal cocktail of communal polarisation and caste based social engineering|
|The BJP has scored a stunning victory in the recent round of assembly elections. In Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, it has managed to maintain its 2014 performance. In the 2014 general elections, it had polled 42.3 per cent of the vote in Uttar Pradesh and 55.3 per cent in Uttarakhand. In these assembly elections, it polled 39.7 per cent in UP and 46.5 per cent in Uttarakhand. The BJP, however, faced a miserable defeat in Punjab where the Congress party succeeded in dislodging the Akali Dal-BJP alliance government by a big margin. Though the Congress party emerged as a single largest party in Goa and Manipur, but falling short of a majority, the BJP managed to form the governments in these two states. The BJP employed a lethal cocktail of intimidation, appeasement through corruption a...|
|Choose a side: Trump and the Sunni-Shia war|
|The Sunni-Shia civil wars in Iraq and Syria are both nearing their end, and in both cases the Shias have won - thanks largely to American military help in Iraq's case, and to a Russian military intervention in Syria. Yet Russia and the United States are not allies in the Middle East. At least not yet.
President Trump may get in bed with the Russians and the Shias eventually, but he doesn't seem to have given the matter much thought yet. So for the moment US policy follows the line laid down by Barack Obama.
Ex-president Obama was determined not to send American troops into another Middle Eastern war. Even as the Sunni extremists of Islamic State and the Nusra Front (al-Qaeda under another name) expanded their control in Syria and then seized much of Iraq, Obama restricted the US interve...|
|Time to reform, bill vital|
|India is ailing, when it comes to its health sector. On a very conservative estimate the country is short of 35 lakh-odd doctors across the country. Thus, while it is aspiring to gain status as a developed nation, it is imperative that health should be accorded top priority. The big question then is whether the National Medical Commission Bill 2016, which proposes to revamp the Medical Council of India (MCI), will finally be brought this Parliament session.
Recall that last year, the Supreme Court curbed the powers of private medical colleges in admission matters to MBBS and BDS exams. It stated that the admission process would be in a centralised manner conducted by the State governments concerned even as the Association of Private Medical & Dental Colleges (APDMC) had opposed the move...|
|BJP resorts to horse-trading in Goa, Manipur|
|Narendra Modi loses his moral posture|
|By "stealing" the governments of Goa and Manipur from the Congress, the largest party in these states, Narendra Modi can be said to have begun his post-poll tenure on the wrong foot.
The act of larceny, as Congress leader P. Chidambaram has alleged, is all the more unfortunate since the prime minister promised in his victory speech after his party's akalpaniya or unbelievable victory in U.P. that he will not do anything with a bad intention.
However, he added that he could make mistakes. It is possible that the horse-trading which he must have sanctioned in Goa and Manipur to negate the electoral outcome was an error. As Modi said in his speech, an election result is an aadesh or order from janata janardan or hoi polloi.
The aadesh by the Goa and Manipur voters was that the BJP should ...|
|SIGNS OF THE TIMES|
|Bloody elections and a 'terror plot'|
|What's left of our democracy! Gone are the traditional notions of governors being non - partisan. In fact, right from the summer of 2014, when BJP cam centre stage, it has been appointing governors with RSS - BJP backgrounders to them. And much in accordance to the fascist framework, the Right -Wing sees to it that there is a pre-planned motive to every little move. Today, BJP appointed governors in Manipur and in Goa are lending a 'helping hand' in the government formation in those two States. How else would you explain the latest round of decision taken by Manipur governor Najma Heptullah and also by Goa's governor Mridula Sinha. Trampling upon the people's verdict in those two particular states, they have bypassed the Congress, instead 'invited' the BJP and allies for government format...|
|BJP's political challenge to regionalism|
|Mamata's sway on Bengal versus Modi|
|After the recent round of Assembly elections, there is little doubt that the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Bengal currently remains the strongest and most self-assured regional party in India.
Even as it takes stock of the new situation, where the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah combo-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is re-scripting the country's political narrative, the TMC enjoys major advantages. The rise of regionalism signalled the decline of the Congress party, as vote-bank obsessed regional parties made the running. It is no mean achievement of the BJP that it has begun reversing the process. It is winning growing support from non-Hindi speaking states, and the once mighty regional parties may soon face an existential crisis.
The AGP in Assam has been effectively sidelined. The AIAD...|