Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who is facing a tough time in his political career due to the back to back defeats across the country, is once again making the headlines. This time Rahul has been into the limelight for a completely unique reason. Vishal Diwan, who is an engineering student from Hoshangabad Madhya Pradesh has approached to the Guinness Book of World Records and requested to enlist Rahul Gandhi’s name for losing as many as 27 elections in the country.
Diwan believes that the fact that Congress party has lost 27 elections in the span of 5 years is somewhere a result of Rahul Gandhi’s active participation in election campaigning and media interactions. As a matter of fact, this number consistent losses are more than enough to get qualified for the record book. In order to fulfill his wish, Diwan has written a letter to the administration of Guinness Books and have also paid the enrollment fees for the same. Diwan has received the confirmation of acceptance of his application, but the US-based record book have not confirmed whether it will approve such request or not.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “masterstroke” to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes could be reduced to a “nasty partisan conspiracy” or a “costly political joke” if it fails to deliver on its high-sounding promises, Chinese official media commented on Thursday.
“While it takes political courage to launch such a trailblazing and massive campaign; it actually takes far more wisdom to give it a happy ending,” an article in the state-run Global Times said.
“Given the fact that people have to pay an absurdly high price for the expected reform, if BJP fails to deliver its high-sounding rhetoric and promises, then Modi’s much-lauded ‘masterstroke’ or ‘big bang reform’ will likely be reduced to ‘nasty partisan conspiracy’ and even a ‘costly political joke’,” it said.
The article noted that demonetisation is by no means new to India. However, rooting out India’s perennial and enormous black economy has never been an easy mission, it said.
“If Modi fails to supplement the blitzkrieg reform with more enduring and fundamental measures, any beneficial effects the reform has created may evaporate quickly, even if Indian people have paid an absurdly high social and economic price so far,” the article said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress, which are fighting in Parliament over the right way to tackle black money, need to start at home. These two national parties accounted for a lion’s share of the thousands of crores of unaccounted money received by the political world over the past 10 years.
An analysis of the income-tax returns data for the past 10 years provided by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) showed that between 2005 and 2015, these two parties collected a total of Rs 5,450 crore from ‘unknown sources’.
The Congress leads the list of six national parties with Rs 3,323 crore or 83 per cent of its total income from these anonymous benefactors during this period. For the BJP, the figure was lower at Rs 2,125 crore or 65 per cent.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist), whose leader Sitaram Yechury made a spirited speech in Parliament on the black money issue and demonetisation on Wednesday, came next with Rs 471 crore from such unknown sources. Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) earned Rs 448 crore and Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party got Rs 243 crore on these accounts.
The contribution statements, submitted by the political parties declaring the names and other details of donors who contribute above Rs 20,000, are the only known source.
Pakistan on Wednesday, pulled out 4 officials posted at its High Commission in Delhi. Although no reasons are yet to be specified for the same, it is widely believed that nabbing of Mehmood Akhtar with Indian defence papers is behind it. These four officials were reportedly named by Akhtar during his interrogation.
Earlier, last week Pakistan High commission staffer Mehmood Akhtar had been arrested by Delhi police at the Delhi Zoo. He was reportedly receiving important information and documents from two other men from Rajasthan. Pakistan’s High commissioner Abdul Basit had also been summoned for interrogation regarding the same issue. Basit had denied any activities related to spying and said that Pakistan doesn’t involve itself in activities that hamper its diplomatic ties.
Although Akhtar had initially been arrested by the Delhi Police, he was let go as he happened to possess a diplomatic passport. He was asked to leave the country within 48 hours. Akhtar had been recruited by the ISI 3 years ago, and later joined the Delhi High commission. He had alsos erved as a Havaldar in the PAkistan Army for 3 years. During his interrogation, Akhtar had admitted to having 16 other employees on a diplomatic mission to India with the aim to earthing sensitive information regarding India’s ecurity forces.
In a veiled dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over India’s moves against Pakistan after the Uri attack, key BJP ally Shiv Sena on Monday said the neighbouring country’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif is now showing off a “56-inch chest”.
The Sena also said it feared that India had actually been isolated in the world with its efforts yielding little result other than mere “lip service” by global leaders. “All of India’s efforts to forge global relations have proved futile as no country actually backed India over the Uri attacks. Global leaders did mere lip service of condemning the terror attacks but the BJP’s social media cell took some other meaning out of it and went boasting how Pakistan has been isolated over the issue,” an editorial in Sena mouthpieceSaamana said.
n the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign, Modi had famously claimed at a poll rally in Uttar Pradesh that a “56 inch chest” can solve problems faced by the country. The Sena noted that neither Russia did stop its joint military drill with Pakistan nor China condemned the terror attacks. Even Indonesia is offering Pakistan defence equipment and Islamic organisations are openly backing Pakistan while Nepal too wants to maintain good relations with it, the Sena said.
Most Indians disapprove of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s handling of India’s relations with Pakistan, while a vast majority believes the use of overwhelming military force is the best way to defeat terrorism, says a survey by US-based Pew Research Center. The survey, conducted among 2,464 respondents in India from April 7 to May 24 – nearly four months before the Uri attack but three months after the PM’s Lahore visit in end-December and the terror attack in Pathankot in January. The survey findings show Modi continues to be a popular leader. There is also a favourable view of his handling of most domestic issues. Majority of Indians are satisfied with the economic growth and hopeful of a bright future. But the gap between Modi and the Gandhis is shrinking. More people approve of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, as also the Congress party, now than they did a year ago. Indians cite crime as the biggest problem (82%), followed by lack of job opportunities (81%), corrupt officials (80%) and terrorism (78%). Indians identify climate change and threat by ISIS as the major international problems. A snapshot of the survey:
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Monday once again attacked RBI governor Raghuram Rajan on the monetary policy, over a month after PM Narendra Modi had disapproved of his criticism of the RBI chief.
He also criticised the media of painting Rajan as “some angel” and him as a “devil”.
“In the Raghuram Rajan case, the whole media was motivated by forces outside this country to support him. They said the stock markets will collapse if he goes. The stock markets are not collapsing, it’s gone up in fact.
“He was harming the India economy by raising interest rates and making it impossible for small and medium industries to take loans from the banks,” Mr Swamy alleged. “…So, it was as if I was some devil, and this man was some angel, who has come from abroad to save us,” he said. The Rajya Sabha BJP MP was speaking at a function organised here by Virat Hindustan Sangam, to recall his political life during the Emergency era. The PM on June 27 had disapproved of Mr Swamy’s attacks on the RBI Governor and some top finance ministry officials, saying they were “inappropriate”.
Navjot Singh Sidhu today held a press conference to elaborate on his reasons for quitting his post of BJP Rajya Sabha MP. “I have resigned from Rajya Sabha because I was asked to stay away from Punjab,” Sidhu said. The former cricketer-turned-politician, however did not say if he has quit BJP or not. Last week Sidhu’s surprise resignation from Rajya Sabha has sparked speculations in the political circles that the BJP leader may quit the party and join Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP. It was also being reported that AAP may project Sidhu as its CM candidate for the upcoming Punjab polls.
BJP on its part has said that the leader has not quit the party till now. Interestingly, reports also suggest that the likely induction of Navjot Singh Sidhu in AAP has not been met with positive feedback from the party’s workers in Punjab. According to an Indian Express report, an internal survey cum exercise undertaken by AAP in as many as 26 places in Punjab has yielded that party workers at the ground level are not impressed with Sidhu. The reservations from AAP workers come soon after AAP’s Punjab committee chief Kanwar Sandhu said that Sidhu would have to adapt himself according to party and its principles.
Sidhu has finally spoken on his reasons for resignation from Rajya Sabha, and we take a look at some major things he said in his press conference:
The long ignored suffering of the Kashmiri people carries with it the world’s greatest risk of full-scale nuclear war between two long-standing adversaries.
Tensions have reemerged in the disputed territory of Kashmir, a Muslim-dominated region that has long been controlled by India, but whose population longs to be reunited with their brethren in Pakistan exacerbating longstanding tensions between the two nuclear powers.
Ten years ago, Pakistan and India stepped away from the abyss, after decades of warring over the territory, by deciding in principle to dissipate tensions and allowing the free movement of people and goods across the line of control.
The win-win agreement would have seen the two countries withdraw one million soldiers from Kashmir and administer the territory jointly providing residents more autonomy as progress moved towards a final resolution – but it never happened with then leader Pervez Musharraf attempting to flex his leverage with the Bush administration over the fight against al-Qaeda by stepping away from the table not realizing at the time that he was playing his hand too deep.
Apart from brinksmanship, Musharraf faced another staggering and unexpected challenge when he called on militant Islamist groups occupying Kashmir to disband and demobilize in 2003 to facilitate the diplomatic process – these militants turned into al-Qaeda affiliate Lashkar-e-Taiba that turned its weapons on the people of Mumbai.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Wednesday raised in Parliament the issue of foreign airlines investing in local airlines.
Swamy, who has taken the aviation ministry to court over the grant of licences to new airlines like Vistara and AirAsia, asked the ministry for the text of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) resolution of 2012 permitting foreign direct investment of up to 49% by foreign airlines.
“In 2012, CCEA permitted foreign airlines to invest, under the government approval route, in the capital of Indian companies operating scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services up to the limit of 49% of their paid-up capital with the proviso that this would not apply to Air India,” aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said in his reply to Parliament.
Swamy has now sent the minister’s reply to the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which granted the airlines licences. He said the licences of Vistara and AirAsia were illegal as they were not operating airlines when they were given the permits, which he argued should be suspended.