BJP to observe ‘Anti-People’s Mandate Day’ today
Bengaluru (Karnataka): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to observe the swearing-in ceremony of the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition government on Wednesday as ‘Anti-People’s Mandate Day’ in the state. In a statement on Tuesday, the BJP termed the alliance between the Congress and the JD-S as an ‘unholy’ one, alleging that they “hijacked the people’s mandate”.
BJP president for Karnataka, B. S. Yeddyurappa will lead the demonstrations in Bengaluru. “The Congress and JDS have hijacked the people’s mandate and entered into an unholy alliance. On the day this unholy coalition government takes office, that is tomorrow, Wednesday, 23.5.2018, the BJP has decided to observe this day as “Anti People’s Mandate Day,” the statement read.
The statement also mentioned that thousands of party functionaries will stage black flag demonstration throughout the state. “In Bangalore, state BJP President B.S. Yeddyurappa will lead the demonstration at 11.15 a.m. at the Mahatma Gandhi statue, Opposite Hotel Maurya, Ananda Rao Circle. State unit general secretaries Kum Shobha Karandalaje, Aravinda Limbavali, R. Ashok, N. Ravi Kumar, MP P.C. Mohan, city President Sadashiva, office bearers and hundreds of party functionaries will be present,” the statement added.
H. D. Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in ceremony will be held on Wednesday in the presence of a multitude of eminent leaders. Among the confirmed attendees are United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijay, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Samajwadi Party chief, Akhilesh Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and son of former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, Tejaswi Yadav, Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, along with son K. Taraka Rama Rao will also be present to witness Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in. Other notable guests include the founder of Rashtriya Lok Dal, Ajit Singh (also an ex-Union Minister), actor-turned-politician and founder of Makkal Needhi Mayyam, Kamal Haasan and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M.K. Stalin.
After Karnataka election petrol, diesel prices hiked again
New Delhi: In line with the price hike announced earlier, the cost of petrol and diesel across India has been hiked as of 6:00 a.m. this morning.
As per the Indian Oil Corporation website, prices of non-branded petrol have been revised to Rs. 75.61 per litre in Delhi, Rs. 76.83 per litre in Bengaluru, Rs. 78.29 per litre in Kolkata, Rs. 83.45 per litre in Mumbai and Rs. 78.46 per litre in Chennai.
In the National Capital Region (NCR), highest petrol price recorded is in Noida (Rs. 76.65 per litre). Meanwhile, diesel prices across India have been revised to Rs. 67.08 per litre in Delhi, Rs. 68.23 per litre in Bengaluru, Rs. 69.63 per litre in Kolkata, Rs. 71.42 per litre in Mumbai, Rs. 70.80 per litre in Chennai. The highest price of diesel in the NCR has been recorded at Faridabad (Rs. 68.20 per litre).
As per reports, the hike in prices comes in the backdrop of increase in global crude oil prices, which are reportedly estimated to touch USD 100 for one barrel. Fuel prices have been on a continuous rise recently, due to which consumers have taken to social media and other platforms to complain of the additional expense.
On Tuesday, diesel prices touched an all-time high of 66 rupees 14 paise, while petrol prices hit a 56-month high of 74 rupees 80 paise a litre. In April, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the Centre and the state governments have been considering bringing the petroleum products under the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Donald Trump attacks China over US trade deficit
Washington: US President Donald Trump today hit out at China for “fleecing” his country with hundreds of billions of dollars every year, even as high-level delegations from the two countries were holding intense negotiations in Washington over a series of trade disputes between them.
“China has taken our hundreds of billions of dollars a year from the United States. And I explained to (Chinese) President Xi (Jinping), we can’t do that anymore, we just can’t do that anymore. It’s a much different situation,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “But with all the years and all the years that you covered trade and nations and wars and everything else, you’ve never seen people come over from China to work on a trade deal. Now, will that be successful? I tend to doubt it,” he said.
The reason, he said, he doubts it is because China has become “very spoiled”. China was not the only country to face Trump’s criticism in this regard. “The European Union has become very spoiled, other countries have become very spoiled, because they always got 100 per cent of whatever they wanted from the US,” Trump said.
“But we can’t allow that to happen anymore. We’re an incredible country. We have incredible potential. The potential we have is incredible. We lost USD 800 billion on trade last year, if you add it all up. Of which, China was around the USD 500 billion mark,” Trump said, asserting that the US is not going to be doing that any longer. Trump said he does not blame China for this.
“I blame our leadership of this country from the past. We have been ripped off by China. An evacuation of wealth like no country has ever seen before given to another country that’s rebuilt itself based on a lot of the money they’ve taken out of the United States. And that’s not going to happen anymore,” he asserted. Responding to a question on his recent decision on the Chinese telecom giant ZTE, in which he appears to be giving concessions to it, Trump said he did this out of respect for President Xi who requested him in this regard.
“ZTE was a company that I spoke to with President Xi. He asked me if I’d look at that because it was very harmful to them in terms of their jobs and probably other things. And I certainly said I would — he asked me to do it and I would do that — I would certainly — out of great respect,” he said. Trump said that it was his administration that took strong action against ZTE.
“I put very strong clamps on ZTE. It did very bad things to our country and our economy. It also buys a large portion of parts for its phones and is the fourth largest company in terms of that industry. It buys the parts from the US. That’s a lot of business,” he said. “So have a lot of companies that won’t be selling those parts. But President Xi asked me to look at it. I said I would look at it. But anything we do with ZTE just a small component of the overall deal,” he said.
Trump exuded confidence that the US is going to come out fine with China. “Hopefully China’s going to be happy. I think we will be happy. As the expression goes, when you’re losing USD 500 billion a year on trade you can’t lose the trade war, you’ve already lost it,” Trump said as he blamed earlier administrations for the crisis. And those days are gone, those days are over, he said.
Karnataka Election 2018: Mukul Rohatgi says BS Yeddyurappa’s letter to Supreme Court shows majority
New Delhi: Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who is appearing for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Karnataka crisis on Friday informed the state Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa’s letter to the Supreme Court shows majority and the same will be shown during a floor test.
Interacting with the media before appearing at the apex court for a hearing on the same, Rohatgi rebuffed the reports of alleged horse-trading of the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) leaders by the BJP.
“We will show Chief Minister’s letter to the Supreme Court, it shows he has support and support will be shown in the house,” Rohatgi said.
“There is no issue of horse-trading, it is the other way, as MLAs have been taken to resorts,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Congress and the JD(S) have shifted their MLAs from Karnataka to Hyderabad fearing poaching attempts by the BJP. The newly elected Karnataka Chief Minister, who took oath yesterday, has 15-day to prove his majority on the floor of the assembly.
Amid Karnataka election drama, PM Narendra Modi speaks to JD (S) chief Deve Gowda
New Delhi: A day after BJP’s B.S. Yeddyurappa took oath as Karnataka Chief Minister dashing the hopes of JD-S-Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said he spoke to Janata Dal-Secular supremo H.D. Deve Gowda and wished him on his birthday.
“Spoke to our former Prime Minister Shri H.D. Deve Gowdaji and conveyed birthday wishes to him. I pray for his good health and long life,” Modi said in a tweet. Yeddyurappa is yet to prove a majority in the Karnataka Assembly, and the Congress and JD-S have alleged that the BJP is trying to poach their newly elected lawmakers, as it has fallen short of eight seats to the 112 halfway mark in the lower House.
The JD-S had won 38 seats along with its ally BSP, while the Congress won 78 seats, the BJP emerged as the single-largest party winning 104 seats in the May 12 assembly election. The Congress-JD-S stitching up a hasty post-poll alliance approached the Governor on Tuesday to form the government, as also did the BJP. But Governor Vajubhai Valla invited Yeddyurappa to form the government and prove within 15 days that he had majority in the legislative assembly.
Aviation ministry denied charter plane to shift MLAs from Karnataka: JD(S)
Kochi: Kerala minister and JD-S leader Mathew T. Thomas on Friday alleged that the Ministry of Civil Aviation did not give them permission for a charter plane to shift Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) (JD-S) MLAs from Karnataka to Kochi.
Fearing defection to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and JD-S yesterday shifted their MLAs, lodged at Eagleton Resort in Bengaluru. Thomas while speaking to ANI said he was expecting the MLAs to reach Kochi on May 17, but the Ministry of Civil Aviation did not give them permission for a charter plane.
“I am definite Karnataka JD(S) MLAs are not coming by flight so I am moving to Kurnool. Not sure about destination if they come here, they are welcome. I was expecting them yesterday but Civil Aviation Department did not give permission to a charter flight,” Thomas said.
Kerala Tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran earlier invited Congress and JD(S) MLAs from Karnataka to their state to avoid horse-trading and poaching bid by BJP. Neighbouring Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have also been mentioned as possible destinations. As the newly elected Chief Minister of Karnataka B. S. Yeddyurappa has 15-day to prove his majority on the floor of the assembly, the Congress and JD-S has been alleging that the BJP is trying to “poach” their MLAs.
Urban-rural divide key to outcome of Karnataka poll
Bengaluru: Campaigning in Karnataka has come to an end, with high-intensity rallies being carried out by both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to woo voters in their favour in both rural and urban areas. According to Election Commission data, Karnataka consists of 70 urban and 154 rural assembly constituencies.
While nearly half of the urban constituencies are in Bengaluru city (28), the rest are spread across seven city corporations – 43 city municipal councils (CMCs), 65 town municipal councils (TMCs) and 92 town panchayats (TPs). Drawing from the experience of the Gujarat assembly elections in December last year, it was observed then that the BJP held strong ground in urban Gujarat, while the Congress had the rural voter segment in its grip.
Assembly polls in Karnataka take place tomorrow, and it will be worth a watch to see whether the BJP can work its magic in rural and urban areas, or will they concede defeat to the grand old party for a second time. While the election results in Gujarat depicted a clear urban-rural divide, a similar situation is hard to ascertain in Karnataka, based on the results of the past two elections.
A cursory glance at the 2008 and 2013 elections in Karnataka show that results could go either way, thereby eliminating the possibility of a clear-cut pattern in voting. Taking Bengaluru into account, which has the most urban constituencies, the BJP, in 2008, won in 17 out of 28 seats, while the Congress won nearly 60 percent of the rural seats in the state.
Tables, however, turned in 2013, with the Congress winning 13 seats, one more than the BJP. It must also be noted that in 2008, campaigning largely focused on the rural population, while in 2013, the urban voter dominated the decision-making process. While the rural population is looking forward to increased availability of electricity, clean drinking water, education and job opportunities, the urban voter is more concerned about commuting through the harrowing, traffic congested streets of India’s IT hub.
Opinion polls conducted across the state have shown that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s campaign is leaning towards the rural population, be it his emphasis on promoting Kannada or the importance of preserving the state’s culture and heritage. While these may garner votes in the Congress’ favour, the alarming rate of farmer suicides in this stratum could swing votes in either direction.
The BJP too has been capitalising on the opportunity to hold the Siddaramaiah government responsible for the plight of farmers and the lack of basic amenities, which may open doors for the former to woo rural voters. Opinion polls have also stated that the BJP may secure a higher share of votes in urban Karnataka, as many feel that issues related to Bengaluru have not been tackled during the Congress reign, be it infrastructural congestion, growing traffic, pollution of lakes, inefficient management of garbage, delays in the Metro rail construction, all of which have contributed to a disruptive existence.
Although campaigning has been extensively rural-centric, the urban voters, along with the final stance of the Janata Dal (Secular) would be game-changers. Karnataka will elect representatives to 224-seat assembly on May 15. A total of 2,655 candidates are in the fray and 4.96 lakh people, including 2.52 crore men and 2.44 crore women, will take part in the election. Over 15 lakh are first-time voters in the 18-19 years age group.
The population of Karnataka in 2018 as per estimated data is over 68 million. The literacy rate is 75.36 percent as per latest data. About 84 percent of its people are Hindu, 13 percent Muslim, 1.9 percent Christian, 0.16 percent Buddhist and 0.05 percent Sikh. Kannada is the official language of the state and is spoken by 66.26 percent of the population. The population density of the state is 319 persons per square kilometre. The number of people living per square kilometer in the city has extended to 4,378 in the year 2011 from 2,985 in 2001, The BJP has fielded 224 candidates, while Congress and JD (S) have fielded 222 and 201 seats respectively.
The election is considered significant for the incumbent Congress, who wants to retain power in the southern state ahead of the next year’s general elections, while the BJP is going the extra mile to dethrone the Siddaramaiah government and come back to power after a decade under the leadership of former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa. The JD(S), too, is looking to establish itself once again in the state’s politics and is being perceived as a game changer in the state.
Kerala girl who was asked to remove innerwear alleges NEET observer stared at her ‘inappropriately
In yet another alleged case of sexual harassment and sexism, a girl student from Kerala who had to compulsorily remove her innerwear to answer this year’s NEET exam has filed a complaint against an external observer for staring at her “inappropriately”.
The girl student had to remove her bra as authorities said it had metal hooks which would set off a metal detector. A similar incident occurred last year as well in Kerala, when woman examiners taking the NEET exam were forced to remove their innerwear for “security”, reported NDTV.
The girl student had gone to Lion’s school at Koppam, in Kerala’s Palakkad district, to take the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test or NEET conducted by Central Board of Secondary Education or CBSE unaware about that she will go through this ordeal.
“My sister became mentally tense, found it difficult to write the exam properly,” her sister told television channels, according to PTI. Her sister, she said, tried to cover herself with the question paper whenever the male external observer came close, since he kept looking “at her chest” and not her face.
Kerala police officers said they are speaking to “more witnesses” who had appeared for the test in the same school. A case has been registered under section 509 (eve teasing by word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code. A regional CBSE official said they are yet to receive a complaint on the matter. “We are inquiring and a report is expected by next week,” Tarun Kumar was quoted as saying by PTI.
(with PTI inputs)
Supreme Court collegium to meet today to decide on Justice Joseph elevation
New Delhi: The Supreme Court collegium will meet today to reconsider its recommendation to elevate Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K.M. Joseph and other judges to the top court.
The apex court sources said the collegium, which includes Chief Justice Dipak Misra and the top four senior judges, will meet at 1 p.m.
Besides Justice Joseph, the collegium will also consider names of judges from the Calcutta, Rajasthan, and Telangana and Andhra Pradesh High Courts for elevation as Judges of the Supreme Court.
The development came in the wake of a letter by second senior-most judge of the apex court, Justice J. Chelameswar, to Chief Justice Misra on Wednesday seeking reiteration of collegium’s January 10 unanimous recommendation for elevating Justice Joseph. With just six working days left before Justice Chelameswar bids adieu to the Supreme Court, he said the recommendation must be done at the earliest and the file carrying the reiteration sent back to the government.
Though Justice Chelameswar, a member of the collegium, is retiring on June 22, the top court is left with six working days before it goes for a six-week summer break next weekend. On May 2, the collegium, which also includes Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Madan Lokur, met and deferred a decision on the government’s request to reconsider its recommendation for the elevation of Justice Joseph.
The meeting was inconclusive but no specific date was given for the next meeting of the collegium which was speculated to take place this week. Justice Kurian Joseph earlier said the Central government should not have rejected the recommendation as this has never happened before.
The top court collegium, recommending the elevation of Justice Joseph on January 10, said: “The collegium considers that at present Justice K.M. Joseph, who hails from Kerala High Court and is currently functioning as Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, is more deserving and suitable in all respects than other Chief Justices and senior puisne Judges of High Courts for being appointed as Judges of the Supreme Court.”
However, the Central government while returning his recommendation for reconsideration said Justice Joseph stood at number 42 in the seniority of High Court judges and there are 11 Chief Justices of different high courts who are senior to him — a clear suggestion that his elevation to the Supreme Court would be at their expense.
The Centre also raised the principle of proportionality contending that Kerala High Court was a “comparatively small High Court” with a sanctioned strength of 42 judges and was a parent high court for the top court judge Justice Kurian Joseph, the Chief Justices of three High Courts — Justice K.M. Joseph himself (Uttarakhand), Justice T.B. Radhakrishnan (Chhattisgarh) and Justice Antony Dominic (Kerala).
The Central government also flagged the absence of SC/ST judges in the top judiciary. There is a perception that the government was standing in the way of the elevation of Justice Joseph because of his judgment in 2016 striking down the Central government’s decision to impose President’s rule in Uttarakhand, but Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has denied this.
Shiv Sena slams PM Modi for making personal attacks on Rahul Gandhi
New Delhi: In an unexpected instance, Shiv Sena member Sanjay Raut has slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he had criticized Rahul Gandhi. The Congress president had on Tuesday expressed that he ‘wants to be the prime minister’ if his party decides so in 2019 general election. PM Modi on this took a dig at Rahul and said he is jumping the queue of senior leaders.
The Shiv Sena member told India Today that the PM should abstain from making personal attacks. “Every party decides as per their need. If in 2019 Rahul wants to become PM, people will decide, just as people elected the BJP in 2014. If we believe in democracy it’s not right to demean any leader like this,” Raut said.
He also gave examples of the previous governments, saying, “Leaders are in the queue in every party. Pranab da was in queue but Manmohan Singh became the PM. In the BJP, Murli Manohar Joshi and LK Advani were in queue but the party chose Narendra Modi.”
This backing up of Congress president by Shiv Sena can add more fuel to the ongoing spat between BJP and Shiv Sena over the Lok Sabha by-polls.