Bihar poll: JD-U seeks more seats, BJP says can form govt on its own


Bihar poll: JD-U seeks more seats, BJP says can form govt on its own

As a part of this formula, the BJP had offered quite many its sitting LS seats to the JD-U. The minister’s remarks come close on the heels of some BJP MPs expressing concerns over the way that JD-U had been staking claims for more seats.

Even as the ruling JD-U goes on pressing for more seats under the seat-sharing arrangements, the BJP has dropped a bombshell by stating that it is in a position to form government on its own and the last year’s LS poll results have amply explained the party’s base support base. The next assembly elections in Bihar are due in October/November for which poll preparations are already on though the Election Commission has not announced the dates for polling.

“We can form a government on our own in Bihar and there’s no doubt in it. But, we’ve been in partnership with the JDU since 1996 and we do not want to break it, neither do they. We don’t leave our friends,” Union Power Minister and BJP parliamentarian from Ara, RK Singh told the media today. He added there were no differences among the NDA partners over seat-sharing and claimed it would be completed smoothly. “Lok Sabha Poll results have clearly displayed the vote base of BJP and PM Modi. Hence, the seat division should be based on that only,” he asserted.

If his remark is any indication, the seat sharing will take place on the basis of the formula adopted during the 2019 LS polls when the BJP and JDU had contested on equal number of seats. As a part of this formula, the BJP had offered quite many its sitting LS seats to the JD-U. The minister’s remarks come close on the heels of some BJP MPs expressing concerns over the way that JD-U had been staking claims for more seats.

What has annoyed the BJP further is the way the JD-U has gone on inducting outsiders to the JD-U and even lured Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) president Jitan Ram Manjhi to the party ahead of polls. The JD-U has so far inducted 12 RJD legislators.

Incidentally, all had emerged victorious after defeating the BJP candidates in the last 2015 assembly polls when JD-U fought the elections in alliance with the RJD. It’s obvious now, they would stake claims on sitting seats. If that is not enough, Manjhi too has staked claims on some 10 seats and, most of these seats too happen to be the BJP’s traditional bastions. The continuing developments have, thus, caused bitterness in relations between BJP and JD-U, and it is to be seen now how things unfold in days to come.JD(U) leader and Information and Public Relations Minister Neeraj Kumar also welcomed Manjhi to the NDA fold, saying it was in the state’s interest and result in the RJDled alliance getting wiped out in the assembly polls. The RJD had drawn a blank in the last Lok Sabha elections.

With dalits constituting a significant chunk of the electorate, Manjhi has often clashed with Paswan’s party. The two had bickered even before the 2014 general elections for a larger share of tickets. Manjhi was then a part of the NDA and the JD(U) a constituent of the grand alliance.

HAM(S) has support among ‘Mushar’ voters. They are a ‘Mahadalit’ community, which has a substantial population in the state where ‘Paswans’ are numerically strongest and the most influential among a plathora of dalit castes. The LJP believes Kumar wooed back Manjhi to counterbalance Paswan’s party.

The BJP has so far kept itself away from the feud, and insisted the alliance will contest the polls as a cohesive unit.




NIM scales 3 unconquered peaks in U’khand Himalayas


NIM scales 3 unconquered peaks in U’khand Himalayas

The Uttarkashi-based institute “conquered“ the Naga peak (4,790 metres), Ku (5,871 mts) and an unnamed peak (5616 mts) in record six days.

India’s apex adventure sports institute, Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM), used the period during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to scale three unconquered peaks in Uttarakhand Himalayas. The Uttarkashi-based institute “conquered“ the Naga peak (4,790 metres), Ku (5,871 mts) and an unnamed peak (5616 mts) in record six days.

All the three peaks are located in the Nelong valley (Uttarkashi), which was open for tourists after a 53 year long gap in 2015. Leaving troops of Indo-Tibetan Border Police and army, who are stationed there, and occasional visit of shepherds, the area remains out of bound for the common public from 1962 to 2015.

NIM Principal Colonel Amit Bisht said, “We scaled the peaks in alpine style-in which a climber carries his own food, tent and equipment. It is different from expedition style in which you use porters and other facilities like fixed lines. We have collected vital data of the three peaks.”

The three-member Nehru Institute of Mountaineering has compiled data about suitable places for establishing camp, difficulty, route, distance, etc. This information will provide help to mountaineers in climbing the Naga, Ku and the unnamed peaks in the future. NIM began the expedition on 27 August and completed on 1 September. The team returned to Uttarkashi on Thursday evening.




Rajnath Singh holds talks with Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe in Moscow


Rajnath Singh holds talks with Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe in Moscow

The meeting between the two leaders, which is first of its kind after the stand-off at the Galwan valley, lasted for 2 hours 20 minutes.  

Defence Minister of India Rajnath Singh had held a meeting with his Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe on Friday night at the sidelines of the SCO summit in Moscow, Russia.

The meeting between the two leaders, which is first of its kind after the stand-off at the Galwan valley, lasted for 2 hours 20 minutes.

 

On Thursday, Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe has sought a meeting with his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh.

“Peaceful stable and secure region of SCO member states, which is home to over 40 per cent of the global population, demands a climate of trust and cooperation, non-aggression, respect for international rules and norms, sensitivity to each other’s interest and peaceful resolution of differences,” Rajnath Singh said at the SCO.

Separate from Rajnath Singh, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said there will be no compromise on India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and asserted it cannot be “business as usual” in bilateral ties unless there is peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

At the same time, he said India is open to resolving outstanding issues through dialogue.

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar also participated in a meeting of the G-20 Foreign Ministers on Thursday and will be meeting his BRICS counterparts via videoconferencing on Friday.

“We have a long history, which is very good in many parts, very indifferent in some parts and very difficult in some ways. The problem is the more difficult parts are more recent… This is not the easiest of times in the relationship,” the External Affairs Minister was quoted as saying by Indian Express.

“I am not underplaying the seriousness of the current situation or the actual challenges of the boundary question. It is vital for both countries to reach and accomplish, not just for them. I think that one has a lot riding. I am also conscious that right now we have a situation in the border areas of the western sector. We have agreements and understandings with China the agreements and understandings must be scrupulously observed by both parties, neither party should attempt to change the status quo unilaterally. And the reality is, what happens on the border, will impact the relationship, you cannot separate it,” he added.

India said the border tension in Ladakh over the past four months is a direct result of Chinese actions which is aimed at effecting unilateral change in the status quo of the region.

On Monday, the Indian Army said in a statement that the Chinese Army has carried out provocative military movements on the southern bank of Pangong Tso Lake on Saturday night to change the status quo.

“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops violated the previous consensus arrived at during military and diplomatic engagements during the ongoing standoff in eastern Ladakh and carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo,” said the statement.




Army chief says situation along LAC tensed; morale of jawans is high, ready to face any challenge


Army chief says situation along LAC tensed; morale of jawans is high, ready to face any challenge

‘However, we are constantly deliberating. We have taken some measures such as precautionary deployment,’ he said.

Army chief Manoj Mukund Naravane on Friday said that the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is slightly tense and the morale of jawans is high and they are ready to face any challenge.

His remarks come amid the ongoing tensions at the LAC in Ladakh at the south bank of Pangong Lake.

It is worth noting that this was the first time that the PLA breached the peace at the south bank.

“I took a review of the situation after reaching Leh yesterday (Thursday). The morale of (the) jawans is high. They are ready to face any challenge. I can say, without a shadow of doubt, that our soldiers are the best. They will make not just the army but the entire country proud,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.

“The situation along the LAC is tense. However, we are constantly deliberating. We have taken some measures such as precautionary deployment,” he added.

In a separate development, the Chinese side is willing to have a set of talks with India as Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe has sought a meeting on Friday with the Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh.

Both the leaders are in Moscow currently to attend a meeting of SCO. As per the reports, the Chinese side conveyed the keenness to meet Singh.

The Indian and Chinese foreign ministers will also be in Moscow in next few days as S Jaishankar will be heading to Moscow for a meeting of the SCO Foreign Ministers on September 9.

Yesterday, India said the border tension in Ladakh over the past four months is a direct result of Chinese actions which is aimed at effecting unilateral change in the status quo of the region.

On Monday, the Indian Army said in a statement that the Chinese Army has carried out provocative military movements on the southern bank of Pangong Tso Lake on Saturday night to change the status quo.

The stand-off between the two Asian superpowers escalated in the eastern Ladakh region in April-May and peaked on June 15 when 20 Indian soldiers were martyred at the Galwan Valley.

In retaliation, around 40 PLA soldiers were also killed, but China maintained not to disclose the number.

Talks paced up after the stand-off resulting in agreement to disengage from the LAC, but the withdrawal is still not completed.




Mushrooms in classrooms: How a Bihar school fights economic crisis


Mushrooms in classrooms: How a Bihar school fights economic crisis

A leading school in Bihar has started mushroom farming in its vacant classrooms after the closure of schools due to Corona-induced lockdown destroyed it financially.

The school is earning a handsome amount from this new idea and has now decided to continue with the business even after the classrooms are reopened.

Mani Dweep Academy, a primer residential public school in Jamui district, ran into severe financial crisis when the government enforced lockdown in March to check the spread of Covid19. Prior to lockdown, the school had three sources of income ~ school fees; renting out residential premises to students for their stay and food being served to them.

But all sources of income dried up at once following closure of the schools for the past six months. The school has 1,400 students and 30 classrooms. With revenue collection turning negligible and the school administration battling hard to pay salaries to the teachers and other staff, it decided to do something to generate revenue.

“I extensively searched for ideas which could get us good money quickly, and finally we settled for mushroom farming since it required limited movements and space. We soon started mushroom farming in our vacant classroom,” school director Abhishek Kumar told The Statesman over the phone.

According to him, the school is earning well from the sale of mushrooms being grown in the classrooms. So far, it has sold around 300 kg of mushrooms at the local market and their demand is very high.

“The situation is such that we are unable to meet the demand for mushrooms in the local markets,” the director said.

The school now plans to produce 1,000 kg of mushroom per month. A good quality mushroom sells around Rs250 a kg.

With mushroom farming earning good profit, the school administration has decided to continue with the business.

They have selected the spot for its farming and was going to start the business on a bigger scale.




China opposes India’s decision to ban apps


China opposes India’s decision to ban apps

The spokesperson said China and India were the opportunities of development for each other rather than strategic threats.

An upset China today strongly opposed the Indian government’s decision to ban 118 more Chinese apps, including PUBG, accusing New Delhi of violating WTO norms.

“We are seriously concerned and firmly oppose the Indian government’s decision to prohibit mobile apps with Chinese background with the excuse of national security. We urge the Indian government to rectify the discriminatory practices violating WTO rules, and provide an open, fair and impartial business environment for all market players from various countries, including China,” Chinese Embassy spokesperson Ji Rong said.

She said the Chinese government has always required Chinese overseas companies to abide by international rules and operate in compliance with laws and regulations.

The relevant practices by the Indian government not only harmed the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese investors and service providers, but also those of Indian consumers and the investment environment.

“Suppression, selfseclusion and restrictions cannot benefit one country’s development. The right way is to integrate into global cooperation by being fair and transparent,” she added.

The spokesperson said China and India were the opportunities of development for each other rather than strategic threats.

“We hope India will work with China to maintain the hard-won cooperation and return to the right path of win-win cooperation.”




Facebook bans BJP politician Raja Singh over hate speech


Facebook bans BJP politician Raja Singh over hate speech

New Delhi: Under pressure for weeks over its handling of hate speech, Facebook on Thursday banned BJP politician T Raja Singh from its platform and Instagram for violating its policy around content promoting violence and hate.

“We have banned Raja Singh from Facebook for violating our policy prohibiting those that promote or engage in violence and hate from having a presence on our platform”, a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to Facebook’s decision to remove his account, according to the statement.

Facebook – which counts India among its largest markets with over 300 million users – has been in the eye of a storm after a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report alleged that Facebook’s content policies favoured the ruling party in India.

The report had alleged that Facebook had ignored posts containing hate speech by BJP MLA Raja Singh. Since then, the ruling BJP and Congress have been trading barbs over social media giant’s alleged bias.

In the wake of the WSJ report, a Parliamentary panel had summoned Facebook representatives to discuss the issue of alleged misuse of the social media platform on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had also written to Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg accusing the social media platform’s employees of supporting people from a political predisposition that lost successive elections, and “abusing” the Prime Minister and senior cabinet ministers.

Source: PTI




J&K industry leaders demand special dispensation


J&K industry leaders demand special dispensation

Representatives of various trade/industrial organisations participated in a webinar session with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday during which the demand was raised.

Various industry leaders of Jammu and Kashmir have demanded a separate policy for the union territory keeping in view the extraordinary circumstances faced by the local industrialists.

Representatives of various trade/industrial organisations participated in a webinar session with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday during which the demand was raised.

“The Centre will have to take prompt steps to save the dying industrial sector of Jammu and Kashmir and to address the growing unemployment,” the representatives told Sitharaman.

The session was organised by Satish Mahaldar, Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Peace Forum.

A statement issued by Mahaldar said Sitharaman told the participants that the Centre was keen to listen and understand the ground situation as that helped in formulating policies.

“We are interacting with all the stakeholders in the industry and we have been benefitted from this. We want to keep our ears close to the ground and based on the inputs from various stakeholders, policy changes are made,” the Finance Minister said.

Sitharaman said that she met the new Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha who also spoke about greater support and more resources for the union territory.

Mahaldar told the participants: “The primary objective of the meeting was to primarily understand how we can achieve sustainable industrial development in all regions for increasing the rate of growth, value of output, employment, income and overall economic development of the union territory.

“The trend in the development of Jammu and Kashmir is not encouraging; it has been lagging behind most of the states with regard to the growth of the net state domestic product at current prices. J&K UT is one of those regions in the country where both the demographic situation and level of socio-economic development remains far from satisfactory.

“It is important to discuss how to revive potential viable sick industrial units so as to put optimum use of the capital and other resources which are already employed in such enterprises. It is important to know from the industry experts how we can strive towards balanced economic and social development in all regions of the UT by promoting industrialization”.

Those local industrial sector representatives who participated in the webinar included Sheikh Ashiq, president of Kashmir chamber of commerce and industry; Javaid Ahmad Bhat, president of Sopore industrial association; Lalit Mahajan, Bari Brahmana Industrial Association president; and Wajahat Durrani, president J&K PSU employees.

Ashiq said the local industrialists had met Sitharaman on March 17, but nothing much happened after that meeting.

He hoped that since unlocks were happening now things will improve.

“Incentives were urgently needed for the revival of the industry in Jammu and Kashmir. The past year has seen a lot of suffering, unemployment is growing, artisans don’t have much work, industries and MSMEs are in bad shape. A pile up of inventories has been happening.”

Top industry bodies of Kashmir have expressed their willingness to help in the economic development of the distressed Kashmiri Pandit migrant community.




KCR: Centre abdicating responsibility on GST compensation to states


KCR: Centre abdicating responsibility on GST compensation to states

Batting for cooperative federalism in the strongly worded letter the Telangana chief minister reminded Modi that the Centre has more resources than states and particularly with the introduction of GST, states are left with no major buoyant taxes of their own

Accusing the Centre of flouting the provisions of GST Compensation Act by asking the states to borrow in order to meet the shortfall in GST compensation, Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that the central government was abdicating its responsibility of fully compensating the states for revenue losses.

Rao has urged the Prime Minister to reverse the decision of asking the states to meet the shortfall in the compensation through borrowing and proposed that the“Centre can borrow the entire shortfall amount based on the strength of receipts into cess amount. The entire debt servicing ~both principal and interest can be paid from the cess collected for such an extended period beyond 2022, as the GST council may decide.

Batting for cooperative federalism in the strongly worded letter the Telangana chief minister reminded Modi that the Centre has more resources than states and particularly with the introduction of GST, states are left with no major buoyant taxes of their own. Moreover, the option given to the state to borrow in order to meet the shortfall is not in accordance of the act either.

“Linking these options to additional borrowings allowed under the Aatmanirbhar package is only to deny the states the full benefit of the package,” complained Rao.

In addition, since the Centre has already increased the cess on petrol and diesel by Rs 13 per litre which would contribute additional revenue over Rs 2 lakh crore per annum it has preempted the states from increasing the VAT on petroleum products, argued the chief minister. He said states which are at the forefront of fighting with the pandemic requires more resources.

“The Centre is abdicating its responsibility of fully compensating states by taking recourse to legal opinion. The Centre has violated the provisions of the GST Compensation Act by parking the surpluses in the Compensation Fund in its Consolidated Fund instead of parking them in the non lapsable Compensation Fund in the Public Accounts and using the surpluses for meeting its expenditure in the years 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019. Now that there is a deficit, states are being asked to borrow,” wrote Rao choosing not to mince his words on the prickly issue.

The Telangana chief minister signed off by urging the Prime Minister to continue the tradition of taking unanimous decisions in GST Council.




She didn’t try to evade arrest: Delhi HC grants bail to Devangana Kalita


She didn’t try to evade arrest: Delhi HC grants bail to Devangana Kalita

The court was hearing a petition filed by Kalita challenging a trial court’s order which had dismissed her bail application.

 

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday granted bail to Pinjra Tod activist Devangana Kalita in a case related to to the riots and violence that broke out in northeast Delhi earlier this year.

“She did not try to evade arrest or even file for anticipatory bail because she had no reason to believe that she ought to be in custody. The petitioner is a student pursuing her higher education and sufficient standing in society without any possibility of fleeing from justice,” said a single judge bench presided by Justice Suresh Kumar Kait.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Kalita challenging a trial court’s order which had dismissed her bail application.

It further observed that Kalita was arrested even without a notice under Section 41A of the Cr.P.C.

Moreover, she remained at her home on May 23, provided her phone to the Respondent (Delhi Police) previously, and even joined the investigation.

The bench also noted that the evidence in relation to the participation of the petitioner in the protests in question, are available with the Investigating Agency, and there is no documentation/evidence of any other nature in her possession.

“Regarding third test i.e. influencing witnesses are concerned, the petitioner is not in position to influence witnesses in the FIR, which in any event appears to relate to public servants/ police officials, and in any case she came to be arrested almost three months after the registration of the FIR,” the court said.

Following these observations, the court granted bail to Kalita on her furnishing a personal bond of Rs 25,000 with one surety of the like amount to the satisfaction of Trial Court.

Justice Kait also directed Kalita not to directly or indirectly influence any witness or tamper with the evidence.

“The petitioner shall not leave country without permission of the Trial Court,” the bench said.

As per the prosecution, Kalita’s role in the present case has emerged as that of the main conspirator, inasmuch as, she with an intention to flare communal passion and to instigate a section of people to indulge in rioting, did all the preparatory work such as organising and mobilisation of crowd, sustaining the mobilised mob of a particular community at the protest site, and thereafter, to instigate them.

The petitioner and another member Natasha Narwal were arrested in the case in May by the Crime Branch of the Delhi police and booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including rioting, unlawful assembly and attempt to murder.

The two women were also booked under the stringent sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in a separate case related to the communal violence.

Inititally, Kalita was arrested on March 23 in an anti-CAA protest case related to Jafrabad in northeast Delhi but was granted bail thereafter.

But soon after getting bail, she was arrested by Delhi Police on March 24 in another case and now undergoing judicial custody.

The police said that both Narwal and Kalita were actively involved in hatching the conspiracy to cause riots near Jafrabad Metro Station in Delhi.

 

 




Top