The number of voters under the jurisdiction of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has increased by 31 per cent in the last five years, said officials last week while releasing the draft voters list for the upcoming civic polls in the city. The total number of voters in the second-largest city in Maharashtra is now 34,58,714, against the figure of 26,34,798 during the previous civic elections in 2017.“The percentage of voters has increased by 31 per cent in the PMC area. This is due to the increase in population, which is yet to be registered in the census exercise, and also inclusion of 34 villages in civic limits,” said a civic officer.Overall, 4.5 lakh new male voters and 3.75 lakh female voters have been added to the voters list. Notably, there are six wards among the total 58 PMC wards where the number of female voters is more than that of male voters.Going by the increase in population, the number of corporators in the PMC has also been increased to 173.The civic body has finalised the reservation of seats for the Schedule Caste (SC) and Schedule Tribe (ST) groups based on their respective percentages within the city limit as per the 2011 census. The reservation of seats for women across categories has been fixed at 50 per cent as per state laws. Meanwhile, the reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) has been struck down by the Supreme Court but the state government continues to argue in its favour in the apex court.The PMC is updating its voters list by referring to the latest electoral roll available with the Election Commission of India (ECI). Citizens completing 18 years and registering with the ECI before May 31 this year will be eligible to cast their votes in the PMC polls.Interestingly, the updated list of the ECI has 34,58,714 registered voters as on May 31, while the population of the city is 35,56,824 as per the 2011 census. “This is because the electoral rolls are updated every year but the population census data available every 10 years has not been updated, as the census exercise got delayed owing to the ongoing pandemic,” said the civic officer.He said, “The strength of corporators for the PMC is decided as per the population data of the city, but the available data is from 2011… the number of corporators has been revised to 173. It could have been much more if the latest data would have been available before the civic polls. On the other hand, electoral rolls are updated throughout the year.”The civic officer further noted that the difference in the census data of 2011 and the updated electoral roll has led to a peculiar situation. “In 17 of the total 58 wards, the number of voters is more than the population of the area. There is nothing we can do about the situation as the entire election process is based on data available from the Union government,” he said.The population of Dhayari-Ambegaon ward is 64,071 as per the 2011 census data but the number of voters is 1,03,959. Other wards where voters outnumber the local population are Lohegaon-Vimannagar, Kharadi-Wagholi, Kharadi-Vadgaonsheri, Aundh, Balewadi, Pashan-Bavdhan Budhruk, Manjri Budhruk-Shewalewadi, Mahatma Phule Smarak-Bhavani Peth, Kothrud-Shivteerthnagar, Ramnagar-Shivane, Shivdarshan-Padmavati, Marketyard-Maharishinagar, Kondhwa Khurd-Meethanagar, Wanowried-Kausarbaug, Mommadwadi-Uruli Devachi, Kondhwa Budhruk-Yeolewadi and Katraj-Gokulnagar.Meanwhile, the PMC while releasing the draft electoral rolls has appealed to citizens to check their details, adding that correction requests, if any, can be filed in ward offices till July 1.
MUMBAI: After the Supreme Court decision which has halted the disqualification of rebel MLAs, Thackeray junior has demanded a floor test. He said he has not yet read the Supreme Court's verdict though, would react to it later on. He also dubbed the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) summons to Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut as a “circus”. While expressing confidence that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) would emerge from the crisis, Thackeray said they (rebels) have only two options, one is to get disqualified or merge with BJP, MNS or Prahar party. He also said that if they want to return, Sena's doors are open. "We are confident of winning. We all have people's love with us. Those who betray don't win. Those who run away don't win," he told the reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with representatives from BDD chawls. “This is not politics, this has now become a circus.” Thackeray told a news agency while commenting on ED summons to Raut. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut also termed the Enforcement Directorate's summons issued to him as a “conspiracy” to stop him from fighting against their political opponents, and said he will not be able to appear before the agency on Tuesday as he has to attend a meeting in Alibaug. Thackeray called the Shinde camp "traitors, not rebels", and said, they should have resigned and contested the election. "Those who ran away from here & are calling themselves rebels, if they wanted to rebel, they should've done it here. They should've resigned and contested election. The second floor test would be when they sit before me, look me in the eye and say "what did we do wrong." Raut said he is a “Shiv Sena tiger” and the executive editor of a fierce newspaper like the (Sena mouthpiece) 'Saamana'. He asserted that such actions cannot weaken him mentally. Raut said if there are orders from the BJP leaders, they (the probe agency sleuths) can arrest him. Sanjay Raut's brother MLA Sunil Raut claimed the ED summons were to scare the parliamentarian as he has been opposing the BJP. In April, the ED provisionally attached assets worth more than Rs 11.15 crore of Sanjay Raut's wife Varsha Raut and two of his associates as part of this investigation. Raut in a tweet said, “I just came to know that the ED has summoned me. Good! There are big political developments in Maharashtra. We, Balasaheb's Shivsainiks are fighting a big battle. This is a conspiracy to stop me.Even if you behead me, I won't take the Guwahati route.” “Arrest me ! Jai Hind!” he added. In his tweet in Marathi, he also tagged BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis.
The political crisis in Maharashtra has brought focus back on the anti-defection law. By all accounts, the law has failed to shore up the stability of elected governments. Not only have many governments fallen due to defections in recent times, but the defectors have not suffered any cautionary consequences. There are many ways to thwart provisions of the law: the Speaker can sit on the defection pleas for the term of the assembly; the beneficiary party can facilitate accretion of defectors through money and investigative agencies to hit the magic two-thirds threshold. The voters don’t seem to care about punishing the defectors either – 11 out of the 14 defectors who stood for re-election in the 2019 Karnataka bypolls won on the BJP ticket. Some have thus argued that the way forward is to amend the anti-defection law to fill these lacunae by mandating time-bound decisions by the Speaker and disqualifying defectors from standing for the next election as well. These proposed amendments like the original law want to consolidate power without necessarily putting in the requisite politics. They may thus help consolidate the leadership’s intra-party power but the underlying aversion to ongoing politics leaves them vulnerable to bigger external powers.First, it should be obvious that the practice of politics is too wide for any institutional process to fully capture. Politicians are adept at subverting institutional processes for their own ends and there are many possibilities for payoff for defectors outside of elected office alone. Moreover, politics has a rich history of exercise of power by proxy and the disqualified representative may simply choose to have a family member stand in their stead. It thus seems unlikely that these amendments can plug the gap in any substantive manner, especially if the defections have been engineered by the threat of investigative agencies. The anti-defection law and proposed amendments approach the issue of defections from the prism of denying power to the defector, a framing which repeatedly comes up short in the face of a bigger and/or more punitive power. Beleaguered parties may denounce the BJP but in the absence of mobilization of public opinion, these condemnations have at best rhetorical value, moving neither the BJP nor the defectors.Within this framework, if political parties want to resist defections, they must be able to project (imminent) power themselves. At the same time, political parties must address organizational and ideological infirmities which have made them susceptible to mass defections in the first place. There are only about 4000 MLAs in a country with a population of almost 1.4 billion people. However, political parties tasked with representing the aspirations of crores of people are unable to find candidates who take themselves seriously enough to not cross over to political opponents. In fact the bar is so low that the MLAs have to be physically corralled and phones confiscated to ensure alignment with the Party stand. This is not apolitical outrage but has pragmatic organizational value. It is one thing for a few individuals to be susceptible to threats and inducement, another for the organization to be vulnerable to mass defections. Individuals can be faulted in the former but the latter calls for urgent introspective and corrective measures at the level of the leadership.Two measures with both short-term and long-term implications come to mind. First, political parties need ideological clarity and the ability to attract individuals with a sense of purpose and not love for power alone. This ideological depth if reflected in the party organization and its political programs will give members the ability to withstand lean periods of power. Every party has committed individuals; internal party processes must be geared to identify and promote them into leadership positions. This ties into the second issue. Multiple analyses have attributed the political crisis in Maharashtra in part to Shiv Sena’s inability to accommodate the aspirations of its dissident MLAs. The rebel MLAs on their part have spoken of the Chief Minister’s inaccessibility. The MLAs may be opportunistic but there is no question that political parties are failing to create intra-party forums where grievances can be expressed and resolved on an ongoing basis. Internal mechanisms for inner-party democracy – from elections to deliberative forums – are ultimately at the discretion of the party leadership. Scrapping the anti-defection law would provide some institutional leverage to express intra-party dissidence and while it may be more chaotic in the short-term would lead to greater stability and political strength in the long-term.Finally, two fundamental questions. In trying to legislate political affiliation – a key freedom in democracy – political parties are repeatedly giving primacy to legal instead of political battles since these issues inevitably end up in court. This repeated ceding of political power to the judiciary is a serious deviation from the democratic paradigm and must be checked. Second, the anti-defection law has undermined not just the very principle of representation but has also contributed to polarization in our country by making it impossible to construct a majority on any issue outside of party affiliation. Instead of providing stability, the law has undermined our democracy. It is time to scrap the anti-defection law.The writer executive director of the Future of India Foundation
Read |UP bypolls result: BJP candidate Ghanshyam Singh Lodhi wins Rampur Lok Sabha seatWithout Akhilesh Yadav at the helm of its campaign and facing an aggressive campaign by the BJP, the Samajwadi Party (SP) lost the Lok Sabha by-elections in Rampur and Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh that were once considered its strongholds. The Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) strong performance in Azamgarh heavily damaged the SP.By winning both the bypolls, the BJP on Sunday strengthened its already-dominant position in the state ahead of the urban local body elections that are due later this year and the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The ruling party also dealt a crippling blow to the Opposition party whose tally in the Lok Sabha is now down to three. These losses will not only be a blow to the morale of the workers of the Akhilesh Yadav-led party but also weaken it ahead of next month’s presidential elections in which the party is backing the Opposition’s consensus candidate.The elections are also likely to raise questions about Akhilesh Yadav’s absence from campaigning in both Azamgarh, where his cousin Dharmendra Yadav was the contestant, and in Rampur the once bastion of senior SP leader Azam Khan now in the hands of the BJP. The veteran leader is also likely to face questions about his position in the party following this defeat as he had to negotiate hard with Akhilesh to give the candidature to his longtime associate Asim Raja.Though the BSP could not win Azamgarh — it did not contest Rampur — its candidate Shah Alam, popularly known as Guddu Jamali, got 2.66 lakh votes and effectively ended Dharmendra Yadav’s chances. Jamali is a two-time MLA from the constituency’s Mubarakpur Assembly segment. Reacting to the results, BSP president Mayawati said they had “shown that only the BSP has theoretical and ground strength to defeat the BJP”. She added the party would keep reaching out to Muslims “for a much-awaited political change in the state”.Like Akhilesh, Mayawati too stayed away from the campaign. For the BJP, putting its entire might into the campaign paid off as Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and almost his entire Cabinet canvassed for the party’s candidates in both seats on the plank of development and welfare benefits.AzamgarhThe SP won the constituency in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections despite a wave of support across the country for the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Even in the state elections earlier this year, it won all the five Assembly segments in Azamgarh. But this time, the parliamentary constituency fell to the BJP as its candidate Dinesh Lal Yadav “Nirahua”, who lost to Akhilesh in 2019, ended up being second-time lucky.Given the dominance of Dalits, Muslims, and Yadavs in the 18-lakh-strong electorate of Azamgarh, the SP and the BSP were considered to be the main contenders in Azamgarh. But Nirahua, who drew large crowds of youth during campaigning, managed to take advantage of the Mayawati-led party eroding away the SP’s support base. The popular Bhojpuri actor-singer defeated Dharmendra Yadav by 8,679 votes and with a vote share of 34.39 per cent, slightly lower than the 35.1 per cent he had polled last time. The SP’s vote share slid from 60.36 per cent to 33.44 per cent, illustrating the damage caused by the BSP.Even though Azamgarh was an important seat for the party and it was crucial for it to give the impression of turning things around after the Assembly elections setback earlier this year, the SP leadership did not seem to make any concerted effort to consolidate Muslim and Yadav votes. Akhilesh also not turning up for the campaign did not help matters. The SP president had faced criticism during the initial period of the Covid-19 pandemic for not visiting the constituency.The party deployed its Muslim MLAs from other districts such as Ghazipur, Rampur, and even Maharashtra to campaign in the constituency. But a local like Jamali gained more traction with the locals, fuelling an insider versus outsider talk in the run-up to election day. The SP’s alleged silence on Muslim issues also seemed to not go down well with Muslim voters.RampurConsidered the citadel of Azam Khan, the SP left campaigning in Rampur to the veteran leader and his supporters, hoping they would ensure the party’s victory. But the BJP, which won two of the five Assembly segments in the state polls earlier this year, did not throw in the towel and mobilised its entire top leadership to storm Azam’s bastion.At least 16 state ministers reached out to voters in Rampur, where almost 52 per cent of voters are Muslims. But a low turnout of 41.39 per cent (63.19 per cent had voted in the 2019 polls when Azam was elected) aided the ruling party as it managed to increase its vote share from 42.33 per cent in 2019 to 51.96 per cent. The SP’s vote share meanwhile declined from 52.69 per cent to 46 per cent. After polling on Thursday, Azam and other leaders accused the police of intimidating voters and not allowing Muslim voters to move out to cast their votes.Some locals claimed that a section of Muslim voters also did not show interest in the bypoll as the candidate was not from Azam’s family. The veteran leader campaigned for Raja and tried to garner sympathy by narrating the hardships he and his family faced in prison. But the strategy failed in front of the BJP juggernaut and the SP leader could not benefit from the decision of the BSP and the Congress to not contest the election. With the BSP not in the fray, political observers said several Dalit voters chose the BJP. This helped the ruling party wrest control of the constituency.Commenting on the loss, an SP leader said, “The leadership now needs to review its political strategy of reaching out to different sections of voters and it also needs to revamp its team of counsellors.”
Trinamool Congress is open to local alliances in Assam with parties that are aggressively fighting the BJP but “under no circumstance” will it ally with Badruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF, the saffron party’s “B-team”, said state unit chief Ripun Bora on Saturday.Observing that the TMC will support the opposition’s joint candidate in the upcoming presidential election, Bora, however, remained non-committal on whether the Mamata Banerjee-led party will enter into any understanding with the Congress in Assam as the grand old party is “not fighting BJP in the way it should have”.“The TMC will obviously support the opposition candidate in the presidential election. Our central leadership has authorised our state unit to forge alliances at the local level.“However, there will be no alliance with the AIUDF under any circumstance as it is no longer an opposition party, it is the BJP’s B-team,” Bora told PTI on the sidelines of the party’s first state executive meeting here.“TMC wants to join hands with parties fighting BJP aggressively,” he said, without specifying any likely allies in the state.Addressing a press conference at the same venue, Bora said, “We will not have an alliance with any party that has a soft spot for the BJP.” The state unit chief said the TMC will launch a massive membership drive with an aim to bolster its ranks by the end of this year.“We have five lakh members now. We will launch an intensified membership drive once the floodwaters recede,” he said.Bora said the party will continue opposing the camping of dissident Maharashtra MLAs in a luxury hotel here, alleging that it was giving a bad name to the state as a ground for ‘horse trading’.“Our chief minister is emerging as an expert in horse trading, encounters and spreading hatred. It does not augur well for our state,” the former MP said.Among the decisions adopted at the executive meet, which was also attended by Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen, were demands for restoration of ‘special status’ for Assam, a “correct and updated” National Register of Citizens, resolving the issue of “doubtful voters” and regularisation of government jobs.
Assam has been in the grip of a devastating flood and landslides that have claimed more than 100 lives so far. The deluge has affected over three million people who are in dire straits. But it seems there is a “bigger crisis” which has kept the entire nation’s focus fixed on Assam. As many as 38 rebel Shiv Sena leaders are currently camping in Assam’s capital Guwahati and probably hatching a conspiracy to topple the three-party coalition government led by Uddhav Thackeray. The almost week-long political drama involving dozens of Sena legislators has kept the local police and administration busy, at a time when they have more pressing issues to attend to. Chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday sought to downplay the issue saying all “tourists” are welcome in Assam. A leading Assamese daily reported the daily food bill of these rebel MLAs, who are lodged at a luxury hotel in the city, is around Rs 8 lakh. A total of 70 rooms of Radisson Blu are being occupied by these ‘tourists’. And all this would surely run into several crores of rupees. The million dollar question is - why Assam, why not any other state? Sarma said he has nothing to do with the politics of Maharashtra. “Some people have come to Assam. They booked hotels. I am happy for that. You also come, it will help Assam's economy. Through this, Assam's tourism is also getting promoted,” he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. On Friday, Sarma was among the galaxy of BJP leaders who accompanied NDA's presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu while filing her nominations at Parliament complex, in the national capital. Reacting to the claims that Assam government was allegedly ignoring flood relief work and busy hosting the MLAs from Maharashtra, Sarma said he cannot order closure of hotels in Guwahati due to “floods in some parts of the state”. “We have spent so much money to promote tourism, (we say) visit Kamakhya, visit Kaziranga, now, should I stop those who have come to Assam,” he added. But the fact is that the 38 “tourists” from Maharashtra have not stepped out of the hotel since he checked in earlier this week. And the Kaziranga National Park is closed during the rainy season. So, one is left wondering how these tourists are killing their time in a Guwahati hotel. Perhaps, Sarma, seen as one of BJP’s master strategists, has a ready-made answer to this query. The NE tribal leader who nearly became PresidentBefore Droupadi Murmu, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had backed an influential tribal leader from the northeast. But that was a decade ago and the party was not in power back then. Former Lok Sabha Speaker, late Purno Agitok Sangma, belonged to the Garo tribe of the northeast. He served as chief minister of Meghalaya from 1980 to 1990. He represented the Tura Lok Sabha constituency for several terms until his death in 2016. The seat is now held by his daughter Agatha. His son Conrad is the current CM of Meghalaya. PA Sangma was a staunch Congressman but in 1999, he became a part of the group which revolted over the issue of Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin. Subsequently, he joined the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) floated by Sharad Pawar. During the 2012 Presidential election, the BJP, which was the main opposition party, supported his candidature while the Congress-led ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) proposed the name of former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee. Sangma hogged the limelight when he challenged Mukherjee’s election as the President, in the Supreme Court. He claimed that Mukherjee was holding an office of profit as chairman of the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata and as the leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha when he contested the election. In December 2012, the top court turned down Sangma’s petition, saying it is not maintainable for regular hearing. ‘No encounter killings, but killed in police action’The Assam government carefully crafted its reply to a directive issued by the Gauhati high court, which is hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) on alleged extrajudicial killings. In an affidavit, the state Home Department said earlier this week that 51 people died and 139 were injured “in police action” between May 2021 and May 31, 2022. The government claimed that no extrajudicial killings have taken place during this period, according to the affidavit quoted by a local English daily. This is the second affidavit filed by the BJP-led state government in the case. The PIL filed by Delhi-based lawyer and activist Arif Jwadder sought a probe into alleged fake encounters by an independent agency such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or a special investigation team (SIT) constituted by the court. He alleged that all the “victims were unarmed and handcuffed at the time of the encounter”, claiming that those killed or injured “were not dreaded criminals”. Earlier this year, the Union home ministry said in a written reply in Parliament that 655 cases of death in police encounters were registered across the country, with Assam recording the third-highest cases at 50. Maoist-infested Chhattisgarh topped the list with 191 deaths, followed by Uttar Pradesh at 117. It’s yet to be seen if the Assam government can steer clear of the allegation of extrajudicial killings levelled by the PIL. The next date of hearing is scheduled for the third week of July.
Uddhav Thackeray has the support of less than 13 MLAsMumbai: The battle for Shiv Sena's control has moved from the streets to the drawing room, where the legal teams of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Sena rebel MLA leader Eknath Shinde are working to make a claim as the rightful owner of Maharashtra's ruling party.In the Sena's first tangible move against Mr Shinde, who is camping in Guwahati and claims to have the support of nearly 40 Sena MLAs and 10 others, Maharashtra's Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal has accepted Ajay Choudhari as the Sena's Legislature Party leader by replacing Mr Shinde.The Deputy Speaker rejected a suggestion by the Mr Shinde camp to appoint Bharat Gogawala as the Sena's whip.Pressing on his attack, Mr Thackeray has asked the Deputy Speaker to disqualify Mr Shinde and 15 other rebel MLAs, who are camping in a five-star hotel in BJP-ruled Assam.After the Deputy Speaker issued notice to the rebel MLAs on the disqualification plea, two independents rose to defend the Mr Shinde camp by directly going for the Deputy Speaker - they moved a no-confidence motion against the Deputy Speaker Mr Zirwal in a bid to stop the MLAs from being disqualified.Mr Shinde, supported by the rebel MLAs, has said he would go to the Election Commission and claim the Shiv Sena as belonging to them as he has the numbers.The Sena's two allies in Maharashtra - Nationalist Congress Party, or NCP, and the Congress - have said they will stick with Mr Thackeray come what may. Sena leaders have said their party is strongly focused on cadre. While MLAs come and go, the cadre will remain with Mr Thackeray, they said.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"We're Shiv Sainik and will fight and will win. What they (rebel MLAs) are doing is not legal and politically not feasible. It's not happening for the first time with Shiv Sena. Earlier also it had happened but all in vain. This time also it will not succeed," Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said.The Sena filed to disqualify the rebel MLAs in a last-ditch attempt to save the ruling alliance. Team Thackeray is unlikely to seek more rebel MLAs for disqualification since that would bring the halfway mark down, which would benefit the BJP. Sena's play appears to be to go for disqualifying a few rebels to discourage the rest from facing elections, hence forcing them to return from Assam, where the BJP's north-east election strategist Himanta Biswa Sarma is the Chief Minister.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi Thursday appointed Abhishek Singhvi, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) spokesman, as a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest decision-making body, along with a few other names. In an interview with The Indian Express, Singhvi spoke on a range of burning issues. Excerpts:How do you see your elevation as a CWC member?Undoubtedly, it is a matter of great honour, privilege and pleasure. Personally, I see this apex decision-making body of the Congress as representing firstly, geographical diversity, secondly, community diversity, and thirdly, a kind of a brains trust or an in-house think tank. The third element needs to be reinforced and reinvigorated.On the Presidential election, there is a sense that the Opposition lacked imagination. And the Congress, the main Opposition party, simply sat back and let the other parties come up with names and agreed on the name on which there was wider acceptance. Why?I don’t quite agree with this formulation for the reason that firstly, the paramount consideration has to be consensus. There cannot be “ekla chalo” model on the President’s selection. Secondly, Gopal Krishna Gandhi was our choice more than five years ago and was again a front-runner this time. One cannot be blamed if for a variety of reasons he declined gracefully. Yashwant Sinha is a powerful name with rich experience and represents a thinking process about whatever is wrong with the BJP. I do not mean the slightest disrespect to the NDA candidate and she has every right to vigorously campaign and claim the Presidency but that should not detract from the continuous efforts of every segment of the Opposition for the last several days to provide a very respectable ideological opponent.On the ED’s questioning of Rahul Gandhi, the Congress has been attacking the government accusing it of misusing the agency. The party has called the ED’s summoning “illegal”. Then why hasn’t the party approached the court or taken a legal recourse?It’s completely wrong to suggest that “confinement by questioning” or “detention through questioning” for 55 hours over 5 days can be attacked only by going to court. The whole point is that there’s nothing to go to court about. Interminable questioning was intended for harassment, heaping insults and political objectives. Certainly Rahul Gandhi could have sought anticipatory bail but we had resolutely decided not to do so because he was confident in standing up to such intimidation. How can the ED first act perversely and unreasonably and then put the ball in our court saying we should seek legal redress for their unreasonable behaviour.I can personally tell you that when the summons for questioning first came to Sonia Gandhi, it was difficult to restrain her from going even with Covid at the initial stage. She has been raring to go and will go immediately when medical advice permits. However, elementary medical knowledge tells us that exposure to collateral infection must be avoided, especially at her age, and that is the simple reason why time has been sought.First, let me briefly address the political part. No doubt this is a storm which should have been partly combated preventively. But one must never brush aside the humongous immoral conduct of the BJP. Luxury buses, 3 or 4 jets, trans-Indian coverage from Surat to Guwahati and over 70 rooms in luxury hotels and resorts do not come cheap. All escorts were provided by BJP leaders visible on camera and all protection by police of BJP-ruled states. Now we know how 90% of the money from electoral bonds which admittedly and officially goes to the ruling party is utilised. They are the last persons who have any right to preach or moralise or feign ignorance.Turning now to the legal, the options are limited because all of them, first and foremost, depend on the numbers. However, firstly any Chief Minister can recommend dissolution (of the Assembly) subject to the caveat that a Governor is not obliged to accept that recommendation if there is sufficient material to show that the recommendation is based upon a minority support. Secondly, the Governor is within his or her rights to order a floor test if some group so claims and the Governor on demonstrable material finds that the incumbent does not have numbers. Thirdly, the anti-defection law clearly kicks in but is unfortunately time-consuming. Thus, while in a properly constituted complaint with sufficient natural justice for hearing, the Speaker or Deputy Speaker would be fully entitled to disqualify those who have jumped ship, that may practically be of no use given the time lag involved. Fourthly, Indian genius has found enough ways of circumventing the anti-defection law by resigning, creating artificial deductions in the total pool of voting and then after toppling the government by such illegal shenanigans getting re-appointed as ministers with a six month window left for the election. Fifthly, if by any last minute retrieval, Uddhav Thackeray gets the numbers, he himself is entitled to call for a vote of confidence. Unfortunately, in all of this the Congress remains an outsider but a self-professed clear strong supporter (of Thackeray).On the contrary, I believe the Aghadi (MVA coalition) has had a highly desirable convergence of views to the center point of reasonableness of the Hindu religion. Aghadi is absolutely right in saying that this is the brand of Hinduism which is true Hinduism and not the distorted, politically expedient and hyperventilating, breast-beating of the BJP. In that sense a lot of aberrations and distortions have been ironed out to the golden mean which Aghadi has adopted.Undoubtedly, the elections will happen on time. And undoubtedly everyone is free to stand. And we must all respectfully await the results. Naysayers and doomsdayers will keep on creating negative scenarios because it does not suit their script. There is a wait of hardly a few months and we must therefore all await the eating-of-the-pudding before sermonising.You are also the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home. The committee is travelling to the Northeast. What is on its agenda?I’m equally privileged to be the Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home not only because it’s an extremely important committee but because its remit covers the wide vistas from the Northeast to issues of national security to a huge swathe of paramilitary forces and to the vital themes of Center-state relations and federalism. On these issues, we have already started discussions on infiltration and security and border security in the Northeast. We have already examined the CRPF and ITBP. Indeed, the trip to the Northeast was already finalised and about to take off from 25th to 30th but was postponed because of the terrible floods and landslides and logical difficulties.Lastly, Kapil Sibal, one of the key G-23 leaders, has left the Congress and some of the leaders of the group have been placated with positions. How do you see the development and the activities of the dissident or reformist group?As Mr Sibal has rightly refused to comment on the Congress, the latter should equally rightly reciprocate. As far as your larger question on G-23 is concerned, I believe that the primary justification of such a grouping can only be suggestions for reform, which were intensively discussed and openly thrashed for over three days at the Udaipur Shivir. With (internal) elections round the corner, I think every legitimate demand of this G-23 has either been met or about to be met.
◾ We track the big story of the day, from Maharashtra, where the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has been plunged into turmoil with around 30 MLAs, led by Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde moving to Gujarat. While Shinde has always sworn allegiance to the Sena and Thackerays, there have been murmurs in recent months that he was “unhappy” over the way the party was being run and the treatment being meted out to old Sainiks like him. But will his move lead to the fall of the MVA government in the state? Here’s a look at the numbers as we bring to you live coverage from the two states.◾ The Opposition has reached a consensus over its consensus candidate for the Presidential election next month. Former Union minister and Trinamool Congress leader Yashwant Sinha has been named as the common candidate of the Opposition, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said during a meeting of opposition parties. Nurtured by Advani, picked to head the prestigious Finance and External Affairs Ministries in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government of 1999 to 2004, Sinha has reshaped his political profile since leaving the BJP under Narendra Modi.◾ There will be no roll back of the Agnipath scheme as it is for the good of the armed forces and even the youth who get trained through it, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval said. He also said there would be ample employment opportunities for Agniveers as by the time they retire from the forces, India will have a $5 trillion economy and industries will be vying to employ disciplined, trainable youth. In an interview to ANI, Doval also spoke about the controversy over remarks against Prophet Mohammad, saying it has damaged India’s reputation internationally as they have projected the country in a manner that is far from the truth.◾ On International Yoga Day today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said yoga has become a global festival as there is widespread acceptance of the ancient Indian practice. “The acceptance of that amrit spirit of India which gave energy to India’s freedom struggle. That is why mass yoga demonstrations are being organised at 75 iconic locations across the country,” PM Modi said in Mysuru. While the Modi government has been consistently pushing for the day on a global scale since first coming to power in 2014, this year marks a new kind of reach, with the Ministry of External Affairs’s ‘Guardian Ring for Yoga’. As per this, yoga is to be performed across the globe at sunrise in their respective countries — from 3 am IST in Japan to 10 pm in America and Canada.◾ Meanwhile, as people participated in yoga events across the globe, a crowd stormed a stadium in Maldives’s Male, where more than 150 people, including diplomats and government officers, were taking part in an event organised by the Indian Embassy. Police used tear gas and pepper spray as the crowd attacked participants and vandalised property.◾ AIADMK coordinator O Panneerselvam (OPS) appears to be on the losing wicket ahead of a crucial meeting of the party where joint coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) is likely to press for a single leadership system. Senior AIADMK leaders who support EPS have questioned OPS and rejected his proposal for postponement of the June 23 party general counsel meeting. Senior AIADMK leaders told The Indian Express that EPS is likely to pass the resolution for single leadership at the party meeting. Arun Janardhan reports.Political Pulse◾ As the violent protests over the Agnipath scheme subside, allies JD(U) and BJP are circling around each other as they weigh the way forward. While the protests and open attacks have further strained ties between the two, neither looks ready to snap the same just yet. In fact, a message has gone out from the BJP high command to state unit leaders to hold their peace even under provocation from the other side. Liz Mathew and Santosh Singh report.◾ From the Urdu Press, this week: As protests against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme swept through the country, resulting in violence and mayhem in some states prompting several Opposition parties to seek its rollback, a demand rejected by the ruling BJP, the reporting and analysis of this entire story dominated the news and opinion pages of the country’s leading Urdu newspapers. A look at them.Express Explained◾ The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued a notification disallowing non-bank prepaid wallets and prepaid cards from loading credit lines — preset borrowing limits — into these platforms. This comes in the backdrop of a boom in credit instruments such as fintech-driven credit cards and buy-now-pay-later wallets. What does the notification say and what does it mean for fintech firms? Read here.◾ Gujarat has inaugurated the state’s first multi-level railway-over-bridge and flyover built at the cost of Rs 133.50 crore. A look at the three-level bridge, its features and how it will change life for commuters in Surat.◾ Preparing for Civil Services and other competitive examinations. Read The Indian Express’ UPSC Key and UPSC Essentials to stay informed.
Yashwant Sinha's nearly four-decade-old political life has been marked by bureaucratic efficiency and close association with top leaders, ranging from socialist ideologue Chandra Shekhar to saffron stalwart L K Advani, earning the former IAS officer key party and government positions before his political stars waned in the last decade with the rise of a new BJP leadership. However, his sharp critique of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government in media over a host of issues running the gamut of policy to politics and tireless efforts to unite anti-BJP forces also ensured the octogenarian leader a space in the opposition camp which has now settled on him as its joint candidate for the presidential election, a high of his public life when it appeared all but over. Former Union minister Sinha will be the consensus presidential candidate of several opposition parties, including the Congress, the TMC and the Samajwadi Party, the parties said in a joint statement on Tuesday. Sinha, who served as Finance Minister in the short-lived Chandra Shekhar government and also in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee dispensation, has always carried a rebel streak. He boycotted the swearing-in ceremony of the V P Singh government in 1989 and then went all out against then BJP president Nitin Gadkari in 2013 over alleged corruption charges when the Maharashtra leader was set to get a second term. MORE STORIES FOR YOU✕Presidential election: Non-BJP parties mulling Yashwant Sinha as possible joint opposition candidateDoes the opposition finally have a Presidential candidate? Yashwant Sinha's ‘time to step aside' tweet before the big meetPresidential Polls: Ex-union minister Yashwant Sinha emerges as candidate for Opposition« Back to recommendation storiesI don't want to see these stories becauseThey are not relevant to meThey disrupt the reading flowOthersSUBMIT Gadkari was forced to quit but Sinha's actions, which many believed had the blessings of Advani, further pushed him to the margins of the party whose rank and file always nursed resentment over the rise of a leader not really dyed in the saffron wool. When the BJP denied him a Lok Sabha ticket in 2014 and instead fielded his son Jayant Sinha, it did little to placate him. He quit the BJP in 2018, alleging that democracy was in danger and joined the Trinamool Congress in 2021. Born in Bihar and a Bihar-cadre IAS officer, he quit the administrative service after 24 years in 1984 and joined the Janata Party whose leader Chandra Shekhar took a liking to him, considered competent, articulate and clear-headed. He had also served as a principal secretary to the then Bihar chief minister Karpoori Thakur, also a socialist stalwart. Sinha was soon entrusted with the key position of general secretary and made his debut in Rajya Sabha in 1988. Various opposition leaders, including Chandra Shekhar, joined hands to form the Janata Dal to take on the Congress in the 1989 poll, and Sinha followed his mentor when he split the party to topple the V P Singh government. As fortunes of Chandra Shekhar declined and the BJP emerged as the principal challenger to the Congress, Sinha joined the party under the influence of Advani, with whom he shared a good bond. He was given key responsibilities, including the leader of opposition in Bihar, and later won Lok Sabha poll from Hazaribagh in 1998, the year Vajpayee led his party to form its first regular government after the 13-day stint in 1996 when he resigned after failing to put together a majority in the House. He remained Finance Minister till 2002 and then made External Affairs Minister. It was during his term as Finance Minister that the colonial practice to present the Union Budget at 5 pm was junked. He has been credited with ushering in reforms and rationalisation of taxes during the Vajpayee era, though it did not make either him or the government a favourite with the RSS-backed 'Swadeshi' school of economic thought, seen to be a reason for his shift from the ministry. With the BJP-led NDA having a distinct numerical advantage over the opposition, Sinha's prospects seem bleak in what appear to be largely a symbolic fight. But he can be counted to make the most of it.
The still-unfolding scenes of the dramatic political crisis in Maharashtra, stretching from Mumbai to Guwahati via Surat, frame a government in freefall in an important state, and its rippling echoes. The Uddhav Thackeray government would appear to be coming undone by, on the one end, its own weakness, the inability or unwillingness or both of a family-run party to accommodate the rising ambitions within, and on the other end, by its partner-turned-foe’s aggressive fishing in murky waters. That the Sena rebels who have rallied behind Eknath Shinde have been ferried and locked into hotels in BJP-ruled states, first Gujarat and now Assam, tells its own story. There has been visible rancour between the Sena and BJP ever since 2019 assembly election, in which the BJP emerged as the single largest party but after which the two long-standing allies went their separate ways. The rift inaugurated a battle over the “real” flagbearer of Hindutva against the arresting backdrop of the country’s financial capital. At that time, the Sena went on to join hands with Sharad Pawar’s NCP and the Congress, and formed a coalition government. Now the Shinde-led group of rebels are pointing to that unlikely alliance and the need to go back to a solo, undiluted Hindutva as reason for their revolt, but they protest too much. After all, unlikely alliances are not unusual in Indian politics and, time and again, power has proved to be a strong glue. In all likelihood, therefore, the current unravelling in Mumbai has more to do with a Sena, having lost Bal Thackeray, finding it difficult to hold together and a BJP, in power at the Centre and not above weaponising its control of central agencies against political rivals and opponents, that is seizing the opportunity.In the coming days, the prospect of a vertical split in the Sena, and the endgame for the Uddhav Thackeray government, will pose a test for the institutions of the Speaker and Governor. The Deputy Speaker — since the Maharashtra assembly does not have a full-time Speaker since 2020 — could be called upon to assess the claims and counter claims and determine the status of the Sena factions under provisions of the anti-defection law. The governor could play a critical role in resolving the political instability, even as, after the Bommai judgement in 1994, the Supreme Court has laid down that the place for deciding whether a government has lost its majority is the floor of the assembly, not Raj Bhavan.The fate of the Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra will also send signals that resonate beyond the state. With less than two years to go for the general election in 2024, and given that the Opposition is struggling to rally together to put up a fight against a formidable and predatory BJP, the loss of a crucial state will be consequential. Maharashtra, which has been one of the most prominent sites in the fight against Covid — during which, incidentally, the Uddhav Thackeray government kept a remarkably calm head — is now, amid the political tug and pull, again ground zero.
◾ In the top story of the day, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray offered to step down in a bid to defuse the crisis that has gripped the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government following the rebellion led by Eknath Shinde. An emotional Thackeray added that he was willing to resign if the rebel leader and MLAs supporting him declare that they don’t want him to continue as CM.◾ Meanwhile, Shinde stated that the MVA govt in Maharashtra was an “unnatural alliance” and it was imperative for his party to walk out of the coalition with the NCP and the Congress for its own sake and that of party workers.◾ Touted as the biggest-ever loan fraud case in India, the CBI has booked former promoters of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL), Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan, among 13 accused for defrauding a consortium of 17 banks of over Rs 34,000 crore. Until now, the Nirav Modi-led PNB loan fraud (Rs 13,000 crore) and ABG Shipyard loan fraud (Rs 20,000 crore) were considered to be the biggest.◾ In one of the country’s deadliest quakes in decades, a powerful earthquake struck a rural, mountainous region of eastern Afghanistan early today, killing 1,000 people and injuring 1,500 more. Officials warned that the already grim toll may still rise.Political Pulse◾ In this exclusive interview with The Indian Express, Yashwant Sinha, who has emerged as the Opposition’s consensus candidate for the July 18 presidential election in which he will be up against the NDA nominee Droupadi Murmu, talks about the presidential election being an ideological battle, Murmu’s candidature, and why it is too early to conclude that he does not have the numbers to win. Read more here◾ The protests across the country against the Centre’s short-term military recruitment scheme Agnipath have a recurring feature: railway properties have been vandalised, torched or attacked from Bihar to West Bengal to Telangana. This isn’t the first time the Indian Railways found itself the target of such protests. As a 168-year-old organisation that is a subsidised mode of travel for millions of Indians, the Railways carries huge symbolism for demonstrators seeking to make a point. Here’s whyExpress Explained◾ As poll results for Haryana’s 46 municipalities rolled in Wednesday, BJP scored a clear edge over its opponents by winning 22 civic bodies, while its ally JJP managed to win three. The lion’s share of the remaining local bodies went to the Congress, with debutant AAP managing just one. What do these results mean for all major political players in the state?◾ Britain is in the middle of its biggest rail strike in 30 years. Tens of thousands of rail workers took part in a mass walkout on Tuesday (June 21), protesting frozen salaries, changing working conditions, and proposed job cuts. What impact has the strike had and what happens here onward?
Important topics and their relevance in UPSC CSE exam for June 22, 2022. If you missed the June 21, 2022 UPSC key from the Indian Express, read it hereFRONT PAGEDroupadi Murmu set to be elected first tribal woman President of IndiaSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Indian Polity and GovernanceMains Examination: General Studies II: Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of theseKey Points to Ponder:• Who is Droupadi Murmu?• Who elects the President of India?• The President is elected by members of the electoral college rather than by the general public. What does the electoral college entail?• What is the term of the office of the President?• When is the election of the Office of President of India held?• Who conducts the election to the Office of President of India?• The President of India is integral part of the Union Executive-True or False• Know in detail about Article 54 to Article 58 of the Indian Constitution• What electoral system/process is followed for the election to the office of the President?• President must be subscribed by at least how many electors as proposers and seconders?• What is System of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote?• Why System of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote is used for President’s Election in India?• The voting at the President’s election shall be by secret ballot-True or False?• How Constitution of India provides uniformity in the scale of representation of different states as well as parity between the states as a whole and the Union at the election of the President?• What are the Qualifications required by a candidate to contest the election to the Office of the President of India?• Who is appointed the Returning Officer/Assistant Returning Officer for the election to the Office of President of India? Who makes such appointment?• Can the result of the election to the Office of President be challenged? If so, what is the proper procedure for doing so?• Are the provisions of the Anti-Defection Law applicable in Presidential elections?• The oath of office to the President is administered by Whom?• The President can be removed from office by a process of impeachment for ‘violation of the Constitution’-True or False?• The Constitution of India defines the meaning of the phrase ‘violation of the Constitution’-True or False?• What are the powers enjoyed and the functions performed by the President of India?• Can the President be Impeached?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Yashwant Sinha is Opp’s President candidate📍Droupadi Murmu: 10 things to know about NDA’s presidential nomineeMinister leads Shiv Sena revolt, ruling MVA fights for survival in MaharashtraSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.Key Points to Ponder:• What is going in Maharashtra Politics?• How many parties are there in Maha Vikas Aghadi?• How the numbers add up in the Maharashtra Assembly?• What is Horse-Trading?• Current development in Maharashtra is Horse trading or Defection?• What constitutes ‘horse-trading’ or defection?• What Supreme Court said in the SR Bommai case (1994) with respect to Horse trading and Defection?• What is the anti-defection law, and what is its purpose?• The 52nd Amendment Act of 1985 and the 10th Schedule of the Constitution are related to what?• What constitutes defection? Who is the deciding authority?• What Supreme Court of India said in Kihoto Hollohan case (1993)?• Has the anti-defection law ensured the stability of governments?• Have any suggestions been made to improve the law?• The 91st Amendment Act of 2003 made one change in the provisions of the Tenth Schedule. What was that?• The disqualification of member on the ground of defection does not apply in the two exceptional cases. What is that ‘exception’?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Out of touch with MLAs, lacklustre in admin, how Uddhav lost the plot📍Explained: The anti-defection law, and why Eknath Shinde could be poised to dodge it in MaharashtraEXPRESS NETWORKPM to attend BRICS virtual summit in China on June 23, 24Syllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s InterestKey Points to Ponder:• Evolution of BRICS from Russia-China (RC) to Russia-India-China (RIC) to Brazil- Russia-India-China (BRIC) to Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS)• What is Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS)?• BRICS Development Bank-Key Features• Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Economy-Key Features• RIC (Russia-India-China) out of BRICS-Significance and Stature in World Politics?• Why BRICS Matters?• What are the issues and challenges Associated to BRICS in present scenario?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS)📍Why BRICS Still Matters📍BRICS and the creation of a multipolar worldTHE EDITORIAL PAGEWhat MPC says, what RBI doesSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social DevelopmentMains Examination: General Studies III: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilisation, of resources, growth, development and employment.Key Points to Ponder:• What is the Monetary Policy Committee?• The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is a Statutory Body-True or False?• What is the Primary Objective of monetary policy in India?• Members/Composition of Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)-Know in detail• What is Inflation targeting (IT) regime resolution adopted by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)?• According to Author, the first few years of IT regime from 2016 to 2018 worked quite well but from 2019 onwards, things began to change-What change she (Author) is talking about? (Hint: Given in the Article)• Do You Know-The inflation target of the Reserve Bank of India is 4 per cent, with a band of 2 per cent on either side.• There are several direct and indirect instruments that are used for implementing monetary policy-What are they?• How Fast tightening of loose monetary policy, prudent fiscal policy and rational trade policy can control inflation?• The word ‘Inflation’ is now days very often in News. What do you understand by this term?• Why Inflation holds so much importance for an Economy?• The term ‘Price’ is almost familiar to all of us. What do you understand by the term ‘price’ and ‘Price Level’?• How price level is Measured?• What is Price Index? Which are the two most important Price indices?• What do you understand by Wholesale Price Index (WPI) and Consumer Price Index? WPI and CPI is published by whom?• What is CPI-based Inflation or Retail Inflation? Both are same?• The base year of Wholesale Price Index (WPI)?• Base Year for Consumer Price Index (CPI)?• Know the Types of Inflation like Moderate Inflation, Galloping Inflation, Hyper-Inflation, Stagflation, Deflation, Core Inflation etc.• Know the Causes of Inflation like Demand-Pull or Demand-Side inflation and Cost-Push or Supply-Side Inflation.• There are two economic groups in every society including India i.e. the fixed income group and the variable income group. How Inflation effects these economic group?• What is the Long term, Medium Term and Short-term impact of Inflation?• How Inflation is Measured in India?• Steps or Measures Taken by GOI to Control Inflation• National Statistical Office (NSO)-About, Vision, Mandate and RoleOther Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍The point of interest rate hikeTHE IDEAS PAGEOur entwined values & interestsSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.Key Points to Ponder:• India-Australia Bilateral Relations-Background• India & Australia-Areas of Cooperation• India & Australia-Bilateral Trade• India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (INDAUS ECTA)-Key Proposals• How has the Quad impacted trade relations between India and Australia?• India-Australia and the new cyber framework between the two Nations-Key Highlights• INDAUS ECTA (India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement)-Key Proposals• Early harvest trade agreement between India and Australia-Key highlights• How has the Quad impacted trade relations between India and Australia?• What other Free Trade Agreements is India currently negotiating with Australia?• Map Work-Australia, Important Cities, PhysiographyOther Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍India and Australia are finally acting like the natural partners they areEXPLAINEDIndia’s emerging twin deficit concernsSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies III: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.Key Points to Ponder:• What do you understand by the term ‘Twin Deficits’?• What is Fiscal deficit?• What is Current account deficit (CAD)?• How Current Account Deficit and Fiscal Deficit reinforces each other?• What is Stagflation?• Why Stagflation is dangerous for the economy?• What has caused the most recent stagflation worries in India?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍What is Current Account Deficit?Summer SolsticeSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.Mains Examination: General Studies I: Important Geophysical phenomenaKey Points to Ponder:• What are solstices?• What is Summer Solstice?• What happens on summer solstice day?• Is June 21 always the summer solstice?• What is the purpose of summer solstice?• Have you heard of Winter Solstice?• Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice-Compare and Contrast• Misconceptions about the solstices-Know in briefOther Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍What are solstices?Why Israel is headed to its 5th election in 3 years, and what nowSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Main Examination: General Studies II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s InterestsKey Points to Ponder:• Electoral process is Israel and in India-Know the difference• What is ‘Knesset’?• What is happening in Israel now?• Why frequent elections is taking place in Israel?• Change in Government in Israel and its impact on India-Know in Detail• India and Israel marked 30 years of full diplomatic relations this year-Know its Significance• India and Israel Bilateral Relations-Historical Background• Pegasus and India-Israel Relations• India & the Palestinian cause and Israel-Know India’s Stand in this entire conflict• India and Israel Relations-Shift in policyOther Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Explained: The India-Israel relationshipECONOMYRBI puts a stop to credit lines on prepaid instrumentsSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies III: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.Key Points to Ponder:• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued a notification recently disallowing non-bank prepaid wallets and prepaid cards from loading credit lines-why?• What else has RBI said in its notification?• What are prepaid payment instruments (PPIs)?• What are prepaid payment instruments examples?• What is a credit line?• Why has the RBI issued this notification?• Which are the fintechs offering credit products in India?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Prepaid payment instruments: First step towards better wallet safetyGet an e-paper subscription via our special offer – click hereFor any queries and feedback, contact firstname.lastname@example.orgThe UPSC KEY Indian Express is now on Telegram. 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Yashwant Sinha concludes his autobiography, appropriately titled Relentless, with a line that has proved to be very pertinent after he was chosen on Tuesday as the common candidate of Opposition parties to contest the presidential election next month. He writes: “For me, my journey’s end has no end till I finally go to sleep.”Though fighting fit at 84, his long and distinguished public life appeared to have entered the last lap. He was a prominent member of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s cabinet in which he served as the finance and external affairs minister. After he quit the BJP, he became vice president of the Trinamool Congress. With a boldness rare among political leaders, he frequently visited Kashmir as the head of the Concerned Citizens’ Group and criticised the attacks on the identity, dignity and democratic rights of the Kashmiri people under the Narendra Modi government. In 2020, he undertook a gruelling 3,000-km Gandhi Shanti Yatra from Mumbai to Delhi to create mass awareness about divisive politics and “state-sponsored violence”, as was evident in the attacks on anti-CAA protesters. His prolific and powerful pen continues to produce widely admired newspaper articles.Yet, it seemed that the most active phase of his public life had ended. But it hasn’t. He is now all set to fight the most challenging election of his life. He may not win. But not all battles are to be fought only for victory in the conventional sense of the term. There is also triumph of a different kind in fighting for one’s principles and convictions that are in alignment with the nation’s pressing needs. This is why Sinha’s candidature as the representative of the united Opposition is significant for two reasons. First, by coming together for the presidential election, the anti-BJP parties have answered a question millions of Indians have been asking, with disappointment and frustration, since Narendra Modi’s ascension to power in 2014: “Where is Opposition unity?” The process of forging unity of all Opposition parties has begun.Second, this process is bound to gain momentum in the run-up to the bigger battle for 2024. The joint statement issued after the meeting of the Opposition parties articulates this resolve clearly: “The BJP government at the Centre has failed totally in fulfilling its promises… It is misusing ED, CBI, Election Commission, Governor’s office and other institutions as weapons against Opposition Parties and state governments run by them… We assure the people of India that the unity of the Opposition parties, which has been forged for the presidential election… will be further consolidated in the months ahead.”Three leaders deserve special credit for this effort — Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee and Sonia Gandhi. Banerjee and Pawar initiated the two crucial meetings of the Opposition in New Delhi last week, which culminated in Sinha’s candidature. Pawar has already shown his extraordinary political acumen in Maharashtra by achieving what had seemed impossible a few years ago — a coalition government comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress. When these three leaders — along with Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, Tejashwi Yadav of the RJD and others, including, possibly, Nitish Kumar of the JD(U) — begin to work together, there will be a big change in the country’s political atmosphere.Sinha’s words, “my journey’s end has no end,” also ring true in the case of Draupadi Murmu, the BJP’s candidate for the presidential election. Hers has been a life of unending struggle and multiple tragedies, from which she sought solace by associating herself with Brahma Kumaris, a women-led spiritual movement. Depression due to the deaths of her husband and two sons prompted her to think of quitting public life. Yet, destiny opened up new beginnings, first as the Governor of Jharkhand and now, in all likelihood, as India’s next President. The prospect of a woman from the Adivasi community becoming the head of the Republic should certainly be welcomed and rejoiced. Our Republic belongs to all equally, and all, especially those belonging to marginalised communities, must have opportunities to serve the nation.However, considerations of identity politics, which have influenced the BJP’s decision, cannot be sufficient to determine the suitability of becoming Rashtrapati. Regardless of gender, caste, creed or tribe, the incumbent of that august office must be committed to, and capable of, serving as the custodian of the Constitution. In this context, sadly, we cannot overlook the prime minister’s self-serving calculations. The BJP’s choice of making “a Dalit President” five years ago turned out to be deeply disappointing. Ram Nath Kovind did not even once show the courage to express displeasure over the government’s repeated assaults on democracy, secularism, and independence of the institutions of governance. In 2019, he even acquiesced in Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s egregious midnight “coup” of revoking the President’s rule and swearing in BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis as chief minister. Contrast this with the many instances when Kovind’s predecessor, Pranab Mukherjee, publicly voiced his concern over the infringement of the Constitution’s basic values.A rubber stamp Rashtrapati may suit the needs of an all-powerful prime minister. Getting an Adivasi, who is moreover a woman, elected as the President may well bring electoral benefits to the ruling party. But these are not the purposes for which the makers of the Constitution created the office of the head of state. The majesty of Rashtrapati Bhavan lies less in its grand architecture and more in the extent to which its occupant conscientiously ensures, without fear or favour, the supremacy of constitutional governance in India. Sinha or Murmu, this is what the nation expects from them.(The writer, formerly an aide to late Prime Minister Vajpayee, was actively involved in the meetings of opposition parties that chose Sinha as their common candidate)
The Israeli invasionIsrael is continuing to adhere to the shaky cease-fire with Palestinian guerrillas in Beirut, the cabinet secretary, Dan Meridor said. Answering reporters’ questions after a cabinet meeting, Meridor had no comment on efforts by the US presidential envoy, Philip Habib to negotiate some kind of disengagement of Israeli forces encircling the Palestinian stronghold in the Muslim sector of the Lebanese capital. Meridor indicated there was little chance of a deal widely reported in Beirut, under which the PLO would lay down its arms in Beirut in return for safe passage and a role in peace negotiations. “Israel will not negotiate ever with the organisation calling itself an organisation to liberate Palestine from the Jews, never”, Meridor said.Bhosale faces revoltThat the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Babasaheb Bhosale is facing a revolt from within his party became clear when his rivals held a three-hour meeting at Ramrao Adik’s house in Bombay. The meeting attended by over 60 legislators, seven MPs and 11 presidents of district Congress (I) committees “bitterly” criticised the “style of functioning” of Bhosale and “virtually” decided to urge Indira Gandhi to dislodge the Chief Minister in the interest of the state. The dissidents will meet again on June 23 to decide the date on which they should approach the Prime Minister. However, the meeting will not take place if the President’s election is not going to be unanimous. The dissidents want to avoid any rift in the state party until the President’s election is over.Assam Mail derailsAt least 12 persons were killed and 75 others were injured when nine bogies of the 3 Down Assam Mail derailed between Pranpur and Thana Bihpur railway stations in the North Bihar stretch of the North-Eastern Railway, according to official sources. Reports received here are silent over the cause of the derailment. Civil and police officials and doctors of Khagaria and Katihar districts are engaged in rescue and relief operations.
The Election Commission decided on Monday to delete from its register 111 political parties that were found to be "non-existent" during a verification exercise aimed at cleaning up the system. According to the poll panel, its action came after chief electoral officers (CEOs) of states had reported that these "registered unrecognised political parties" either have been found to be "non-existent" on verification or the letters issued by authorities to verify their addresses and communication details had been returned as undelivered by the postal department. Subsequently, the EC decided to withdraw various benefits accorded to these parties under the Symbols Order (1968), including allocation of common election symbol. In a statement, the poll panel said any registered unrecognised political party (RUPP) aggrieved by the decision can approach the CEO concerned within 30 days along with all evidence of existence, year-wise annual audited accounts, contribution report, expenditure report and updated list of office-bearers. Earlier this month, the EC had deleted from its register 87 such non-existent political parties. Sources in the poll panel shared specific details of various parties that have flouted laws and rules on disclosure of funds and donations. These details are in public domain and are available on the websites of state chief electoral officers. The EC said a reference has also been sent to the Department of Revenue for necessary legal and criminal actions against three such parties involved in serious financial impropriety. A list of RUPPs that have not submitted their contribution reports in FY 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 has been shared with the Revenue Department for taking all consequential action as per Representation of the People Act read with the relevant provisions of the IT Act 1961, it said. Another list of 66 RUPPs which have claimed income tax exemption without submitting contribution reports as mandated under law has also been shared with the Revenue Department. There are nearly 2,800 registered unrecognised political parties in India. The poll panel had been pushing the government to allow it to de-register political parties. On multiple occasions, it has written to the Law Ministry to amend the election law to give it the power to de-register so that it can deter the parties that indulge in financial and other irregularities. Citing a May 25 order of the Election Commission, sources said various such parties across India have been availing tax relief without properly sharing their audit and contribution reports. Quoting details available on the websites of state CEOs, they said several parties were found to be flouting rules and laws. Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar has been spearheading the cleanup drive against such political entities. During his earlier posting as the financial services secretary, Kumar had taken the decision to ask banks to flag shell companies deregistered by the Registrars of Companies and take appropriate action. Over 2.26 lakh shell companies were deregistered in 2017-18. The sources said the Apna Desh Party from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh had two different persons as president. In the verification format, one name is mentioned as president, but the sign was by another person. Quoting details, they said the party also failed to provide the mode of donations received by it. Similarly, they cited the example of the Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Party in Maharashtra whose balance sheets of two consecutive years were not matching. The party, the sources said citing details on the website of the CEO Maharashtra, was investing in gold. The Bharatiya Rajnitik Vikalp Party received around Rs 28 crore donations in two years, but no annual audit accounts were available on the website of the CEO Bihar. For the Jan Sangharsh Virat Party in Madhya Pradesh, the auditor certified a one-line profit and loss statement without any detail, they said. The poll panel has been urging the government that anonymous contributions of Rs 2,000 and above should be prohibited. It has also pointed out that the present format does not incorporate the contributions amounting to a sum below Rs 20,000. "Form 24A needs to be amended by including a column for mentioning the total contributions received in amounts less than Rs 20,000. This will be in the interest of transparency," one of the EC proposals sent to the government read.
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday declined the plea of jailed Nationalist Congress Party leaders and MLAs Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh seeking temporary release from prison to cast their votes in the Maharashtra Legislative Council election. A vacation bench of Justices C T Ravikumar and Sudhanshu Dhulia, however, issued notice to the Maharashtra government and others in the case and agreed to examine the issue relating to the interpretation of Section 62(5) of the Representation of the People Act 1951, which bars jailed persons from voting. "In view of the larger question with respect to interpretation of Section 62(5) of Representation of the People Act 1951, we are of the view that matter has to be heard in detail. It's open for the parties to complete the pleadings within four weeks. "On the question of interim relief taking note of the fact that the constitutional validity of Section 62(5) was upheld by the Supreme Court in the Anukul Chandra Pradhan Vs Union of India case and S Radhakrishnan Vs Union of India, we are not inclined to grant interim relief," the bench said. At the outset, senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing for the jailed lawmakers, submitted that not permitting the two from voting in MLC elections will effectively impact the rights of all voters who had elected the two lawmakers. "People have sent me to the Legislative Assembly. I represent their choice and decision-making in the Legislative Assembly. If I am deprived of my right to vote, the right of all those persons who voted for me has also been taken away," she said. The senior lawyer said rather than being a statutory right, the right to vote is also a constitutional right. "Right to vote is not a fundamental right but is certainly a constitutional right and the right originates from the Constitution," she said. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate, submitted that the embargo under Section 62(5) of the Representation of the People Act 1951 applies to MLAs too. Earlier in the day, Arora mentioned the matter saying that the plea needed to be heard on Monday itself as the polling is being held today. The bench had said such matters have to go before the Chief Justice of India (CJI) first before allowing an urgent listing. "In respect of matters listed during the vacation, there is a circular and the matter has to go before the CJI," the bench had said. However, it took note of the vehement submission of the senior lawyer and said it would see whether the matter can be taken up for hearing in the afternoon. The Bombay High Court had on June 17 rejected the NCP leaders' plea seeking temporary release from prison for casting their ballots saying the constitutional right to vote is not absolute. Malik, who is still a cabinet minister in the state, and former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, both of whom are in prison after being arrested in separate money laundering and corruption cases, had sought the court's permission to be let out of custody "for a few hours," and "under escort protection" to vote. The senior counsel said that the matter needed an urgent hearing today itself as the jailed MLAs have the right to vote in the MLC elections. The high court had rejected the pleas of the leaders, saying that while their lawyers argued that their clients must be permitted to vote to uphold democratic principles, the concept of democracy "transcended electoral democracy." The embargo in law, imposed via section 62 (5) of the Representation of the People Act, was based on reason, the high court had said, adding that it has been imposed to ensure "purity of electoral process and probity of the participants therein." The two leaders had moved the court earlier contending that as they are members of the Legislative Assembly and representatives of their respective constituencies, they ought to be given the opportunity to vote in the Council election. "The claim to the exercise of this constitutional right can, by no stretch of the imagination, be said to be absolute," the high court had said in the judgement. Earlier, Malik and Deshmukh had moved the courts for temporary bail for voting in the June 10 Rajya Sabha election from Maharashtra but were denied relief.
The Supreme Court on Monday declined the plea of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLAs Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh seeking temporary release from prison so they could vote in the Maharashtra Legislative Council election, which was held today.However, PTI reported that a vacation bench of Justices C T Ravikumar and Sudhanshu Dhulia agreed to examine the issue relating to the interpretation of Section 62(5) of the Representation of the People Act 1951, which bars jailed persons from voting.Last week, Deshmukh and Malik’s pleas were rejected by Bombay High Court, with a single-judge bench of Justice N J Jamadar observing, “One of the objects of prohibition under the Act is stated to be arresting the criminalisation of politics. I am, therefore, not inclined to accede to the broad proposition that permitting the persons (who are otherwise not qualified to vote in the election) strengthens democracy.”Malik and Deshmukh are in jail in two separate money laundering cases.The polling for MLC election in Maharashtra ended at 4 pm on Monday. The elections for 10 seats in the legislative council saw eleven candidates in fray.The BJP has five candidates — Praveen Darekar, Ram Shinde, Shrikant Bharatiya, Uma Khapre and Prasad Lad. The Congress candidates are Bhai Jagtap and Chandrakant Handore. The NCP candidates are Ramraje Nimbalkar and Eknath Khadse. The Shiv Sena candidates are Aamshya Padavi and Sachin Ahir.Of the 288 MLAs in Maharashtra, 285 voted, as Malik and Deshmukh were not allowed to participate and one Shiv Sena MLA, Ramesh Latake, passed away last month.To get both its candidates elected, the NCP is short of just one vote.Earlier in the day, the Shiv Sena claimed that not allowing Malik and Deshmukh to vote was like “trampling” on the rights of the two elected representatives.
The Bombay High Court on Friday rejected pleas by arrested NCP leaders Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh, who sought their release for a few hours on June 20 to vote in the Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) elections.Justice NJ Jamadar on Thursday concluded the hearing on the pleas filed by the two leaders and reserved them for orders on Friday.Senior advocate Amit Desai, representing Malik, argued that his client was not seeking his release on bail but was merely seeking permission to be taken to cast his vote with an escort. He said Section 62 (5) of the Representation of the People Act did not prevent the high court from exercising its discretion to pass an order to facilitate the process of voting for Malik and such discretion was not taken away by any of the previous high court or Supreme Court judgments.He added that the courts did not ordinarily interfere in political processes but leaned in favour of allowing democratic processes to continue, except in cases where there were extraordinary issues including law and order problems, which was not the case with Malik. He argued that the court must therefore exercise discretion in favour of a fair political process and allow his client to cast a vote.Desai added that the returning officer or election officer was competent to declare whether or not the vote was valid, but Malik’s right to vote in the MLC elections could not be curtailed.He said there was a difference between an undertrial and a convict, and for an undertrial the presumption of innocence could not be forgotten. When the court says that the person is in prison due to his own conduct, then that conduct is of a convict and not that of an undertrial.Senior advocate Vikram Chaudhari, representing Deshmukh, said that his client was not seeking the right to vote in prison but a few hours’ release to cast his vote. “It could have been an absolutely non-adversarial case. It could have been a consent order. Why is the enforcement agency jumping to oppose this plea?” Chaudhari argued. He said the high court had unfettered discretion to pass such an order.Additional solicitor-general Anil Singh, representing the Enforcement Directorate, opposed the plea and said there was a “clear embargo” on the right to vote for prisoners as per the Representation of People Act. Therefore the question of a vote on release from prison does not arise as the arrested leaders are not entitled to vote, he argued.Justice Jamadar said, “Let us look at it from a different perspective…Election to the MLC is an indirect method of election. In the present case, would it not deprive citizens of his (applicant’s) constituency from (indirectly) taking part in the MLC elections? What the applicant did was in his personal capacity. But because of his personal conduct, people in his constituency are being deprived.”Singh responded that the question was not whether the leaders were the “voice of people” so that it might affect the people who elected them. “The question is of the person’s conduct that led him to prison,” he said.He said the law contemplates an embargo on voting, which also applied to MLC polls, and the arrested politicians could argue that they have a right to vote if they challenged the validity of the provision of the law, but not in the present plea.Last week, the two NCP leaders could not secure approval from either the special court or the high court to vote in the Rajya Sabha elections held on June 10.Justice Jamdar said that the detailed order would likely be uploaded by the end of the day.
MUMBAI: Bombay high court on Friday rejected pleas of Maharashtra ex-home minister Anil Deshmukh and cabinet minister Nawab Malik to vote at the forthcoming Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) polls on June 20. The two Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLAs Malik and Deshmukh are presently incarcerated as undertrial prisoners in alleged money laundering cases. Justice N J Jamadar had on Thursday heard arguments at some length. It had said the lawyers need to address and argue on the express bar in section 62(5) of the Representation of Peoples Act against voting by people behind bars. The judge had also posed a question when ED sought dismissal of the politicians’ pleas. The Judge had said, “Election to Legislative Council in indirect. Would it not deprive the electorate of the constituency if the elected member was sent to jail for actions in his personal capacity (and denied voting rights)?’” On Friday when he pronounced his rejection of their petitions the judge didn’t give his reasons and a reasoned detailed order will be available later on Friday. On Thursday Malik's senior counsel Amit Desai had said the law doesn’t bar the HC from exercising its unfettered discretionary powers to enable the undertrial prisoners to exercise their constitutional and democratic rights. Desai said, “an accused can file nomination to contest but the court will not permit him to vote for himself at the election Such dichotomy was never intended in the law. The law must be construed harmoniously, and the courts must lean in favour of ensuring democratic and political processes continue…the simple request to be allowed to vote has now become a much larger legal question.’’ The Enforcement Directorate (ED) represented by Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh opposing any such permission had said the Representation of Peoples Act under section 62 (5) does not permit undertrials in prison to vote. “where is the question of discretion? The HC cannot read something into something that is “contrary to the Act’’. He said moreover they are seeking escorts, such facilities would burden the system. Desai said Malik is not seeking bail, just half-hour to go cast his vote. “Intention of the legislature was never that a person alleged to have committed a crime should be barred from voting,’’ Desai had submitted adding the RP Act disqualifies certain kinds of people from voting but section 62(5) invoked by the trial court to deny them permission for the Rajya Sabha Polls merely says those confined to prison cannot vote. “It only means the ballot cannot be brought to them. The court in its discretion can grant bail bond or permit under escort.’’ For Deshmukh, senior counsel Vikram Chaudhri had argued that the plea was simply to allow the ex-home Minister to go out of jail, under medical escort or a day’s bond just to vote, as is their right and duty as legislators. “The question is not the ambit of 62(5) of the RP Act. The single issue is that in the peculiar facts, would your lordship allow release for a few hours for a person who is confined in prison.” Malik is presently in a hospital, albeit under Judicial custody. The trial court had earlier denied Malik and Deshmukh permission to vote for the June 10 RS elections citing section 62(5) of the RP Act to say they are not permitted to vote since they are in prison.
MUMBAI: Incarcerated former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh on Monday approached the Bombay high court seeking permission to be allowed to step out of jail, on a bail bond for a day or under escort, to cast his vote for the June 20 Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) elections. His petition was mentioned by his lawyer before Justice N J Jamadar who posted for a hearing on Wednesday. Deshmukh filed an interim plea in his bail application in a money laundering case seeking release to vote for June 20 MLC elections. Last week Deshmukh and incarcerated cabinet minister Nawab Malik were both denied permission by the special PMLA court to vote for the Rajya Sabha election held on June 10. Malik on Monday also moved the HC with a plea to amend his petition filed last week when he sought permission to be allowed to go and cast his vote for the Rajya Sabha polls, a day after the Special PMLA court had denied him permission. Justice Naik had at the time—on June 10-- said his plea was not maintainable before him and granted him liberty to seek appropriate relief for release, on a bail bond, before the appropriate bench handling such assignment bench. On Monday, his lawyers Rohan Dakshini and Kushal Mor sought “substantial amendment’’ to that petition to seek permission to vote on June 20 for the MLC election. On Monday, Justice Naik refused the NCP spokesperson Mailk’s plea to "substantially" amend his earlier plea to vote for the MLC polls and asked him to file a fresh petition instead. "It is a fresh cause of action. You may lose time like last time. You have to file a fresh petition. By making an amendment, a new prayer cannot be inserted. Something which is against the procedure, this court will not allow," said Justice Naik to Malik’s lawyers. Justice Naik then allowed Malik’s advocate to withdraw his petition. Malik is in a hospital in Kurla on health grounds and his advocates then went after 5 pm to another bench of Justice Bharati Dangre--who last week had recused from hearing Deshmukh's regular plea for bail--to seek permission to seek liberty to approach the Chief Justice to get his fresh plea for MLC voting tagged with Deshmukh’s plea so both can be heard on Wednesday before Justice Jamadar or any special bench. Justice Dangre asked Malik’s lawyer to mention their matter on Tuesday morning. She went on then to preside over her court till 8 pm when she finished 110 matters listed on her board. She has been sitting late to finish her board almost every other day including in the vacation court.
IN A bid to ensure that the grievances of the general public are heard and addressed in a time-bound manner by government agencies in the city, Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey joined hands with a group of citizens and formed a citizen forum through a small electoral process conducted last month. The citizens have drafted a bill ‘Citizen First Bill, 2022’, which will be submitted to the government, said Pandey. The forum also has a website where people can reach out to become a member.The idea is to build on the Maharashtra Right to Public Service Act, 2015, which talks about initiating action against government servants if they do not discharge their duties. But the Act names a citizen as an “eligible person”, and there is no mention of a citizen group in it.Unlike the 2015 law, the ‘Citizen First Bill’ defines citizens, and citizen groups and provides for a democratic mechanism for creating a citizens’ forum, which is needed for strengthening the participation of citizens in government’s decision making and delivery of services in a time-bound manner.The mechanism will help to address grievances related to inadequate or delayed services and make all decision makers accountable, to interact with and responding to the citizen forum promptly. The bill states that no member of a political party or having a criminal record can be part of this forum.🚨 Limited Time Offer | Express Premium with ad-lite for just Rs 2/ day 👉🏽 Click here to subscribe 🚨Speaking to The Indian Express, Pandey said, “We are setting up a trust, which will fund all the forum’s activities. I have proposed looking at funding and educating students from kindergarten to Class 5 in ethics and moral science. The bill also defines punishment and cognisable offences.”The forum will have a chief, a deputy head, regional heads, zonal committee members, and representatives at the BMC ward level and further at the BMC councillor level. It aims to have 8 to 10 people to represent a population of 6,000 people in the city. The forum will also have an advisory board with people from the media, activists, educationists, lawyers, technology experts, accountants and government servants. The forum aims to have at least one meeting with government servants every month to raise public issues.Its first election process took place last month for the chief, deputy chief and regional heads. Over 200 people had come forward to participate in the process and about 100 of them were shortlisted and 11 of them contested the elections for the post of forum chief.Zohair Diwan won the election after getting 10 votes. Diwan, a BSC graduate and metal artist by profession, runs an NGO “Nobody Ever Sleeps Hungry (NESH)”. Varsha Vidya Vilas was elected as deputy head of the forum. Varsha is an activist, who runs de-addiction programmes across Maharashtra. The election process for zonal heads and representatives at the ward level is underway.Diwan told The Indian Express, “During the pandemic, I saw that the commitment of people towards this city is phenomenal. Citizens came together and did better work than the government to help people. Like RK Laxman’s common man, we want a watchdog body of ordinary citizens. I intend to bring all NGOs, philanthropists, peace committees, and ALM’s together on one platform.”Diwan said that senior BMC officials and senior officers from the Mumbai Police, including Pandey, held the first meeting of the forum at the Police Prerna’s Hall near Azad Maidan.
Even though there is scepticism among political parties in Jammu and Kashmir about the resumption of the democratic process in the Union Territory — despite Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s comment on Friday that there was a strong possibility of elections being held in J&K by the year-end — for the past few months, they have been focussing on grassroots campaigns in the Chenab Valley and Pir Panjal regions of Jammu.The battleground in the state is shifting to Chenab and Pir Panjal, which have a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims, with a growing sense among political parties that the outcome of any election in the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley and Hindu-dominated Jammu is a forgone conclusion. The Union Territory has not had an elected government in four years.Both the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have shifted their focus away from the Kashmir Valley, where their traditional vote banks lie, to Jammu. While PDP president Mehbooba Mufti has toured the Pir Panjal twice in six months, the NC leadership has made several rounds of the region to pep up its cadre ahead in anticipation of an election. The BJP and the Altaf Bukhari-led Apni Party have also toured the region in a bid to garner support. Of the 43 seats in the Jammu division, 16 are in the Chenab and Pir Panjal regions. Before delimitation, the two regions had 13 Assembly seats.The political battle in the Chenab and Pir Panjal is also important as the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) — the NC and the PDP are its two main partners — has hinted at a joint front if and when the elections happen. While there has been no formal announcement about a poll alliance, party leaders suggest that there is a consensus on the issue.“It (PAGD jointly contesting the election) is more or less a done deal,” said a senior NC leader. “This election is not about development, it is not about bijli, sadak, and paani (bread-and-butter issues). It is to send a message that we are united. It is the fight for identity, a fight for existence. It will be an election fought on sentiments.”Sources said a joint front of the PAGD and the Congress was unlikely and any alliance with the grand old party would only be tactical. “To be honest, Congress is in a disarray not only nationally but also in Jammu and Kashmir,” said an NC leader. “We don’t even know whom to speak to in the Congress.”A senior PDP leader said the Congress would not be in favour of an alliance with the PAGD because both the BJP’s and its vote bank is in Jammu. “There is a realisation among the political parties that this election is not for power,” he added. “But as far as the Congress is concerned, any alliance with the PAGD will damage them in Jammu that is their traditional vote bank.Fundamentally, the Congress and BJP have the same constituency. In the DDC elections, there were some efforts to bring them on a single platform, but you see the Congress had to distance itself from PAGD then. Now, if there has to be an alliance with the Congress, it can only be tactical.”Though the PAGD’s objective of a joint front is to consolidate the Muslim vote bank in Chenab and Pir Panjal, it is likely to diminish the electoral prospects of smaller political parties in the Valley such as Sajad Lone’s Peoples Conference and the Apni Party.Congress stalwart Ghulam Nabi Azad can also play spoilsport for the alliance. While it is not yet clear if Azad will go with the Congress or float his own party comprising Congress dissidents, a new political party will erode the PAGD’s votes in Jammu. “Azad is right now in political wilderness. If he forms his own party, it will not have great prospects. It can at best work as a spoiler for PAGD as it will divide Muslim votes and help the BJP,” said a PDP leader.
Almost two years after it registered with the State Election Commission and amid disillusionment of a section of Muslims in Madhya Pradesh with the Congress, Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is set to make an entry in the coming local body elections in the state.The AIMIM, which has set its sights on the November 2023 Assembly elections, has announced plans to contest local polls in the districts of Bhopal, Jabalpur, Indore, Khargone, Burhanpur, Ratlam, and Khandwa. After starting a membership drive in March 2021, it has managed to establish a district committee in each of these seven districts. The party will also field a candidate for the mayoral post in Burhanpur, which has a sizable Muslim population, and contest a panchayat election in Indore. There are 47.75 lakh Muslims in Madhya Pradesh, comprising 6.57 per cent of the 7.56 crore population.Sayyed Minahajuddin who is in charge of the AIMIM’s affairs in the state said the party was looking to get not only Muslim votes but also those of Dalits and tribals. “We are not just looking at the Muslim community, but all communities that are being targeted by the present-day regime, be it the Muslims or the Dalits,” he told The Indian Express.Minahajuddin said he would soon visit the state and a list of candidates would be drawn up and declared in the coming days. “Once the campaign begins, party president Akhbaruddin Owaisi and our MLAs from Maharashtra will come and campaign for the polls.”The Owaisi-led party’s entry into the state comes at a time when many state Congress leaders are also feeling neglected. In recent weeks, the Opposition party has restructured its organisation, dropping at least nine Muslim spokespersons. Only one member of the minority community in the state media cell was elevated to the post of vice president.A party leader who was dropped said on the condition of anonymity, “When we asked as to why our names were dropped, we were plainly told, ‘You do not see where the party is heading. Your stand on several Muslim issues does more damage than good for the party.’”To counter the BJP’s Hindutva politics, the state Congress, under the leadership of its president Kamal Nath, has been focussing on outreach to Hindus on matters of religion. Mhow MLA Jitu Patwari, Leader of the Opposition Govind Singh, and at least half a dozen Congress leaders organised katha vachan programmes in their constituencies last month.“During the entire communal clash in Khargone, the party failed to make a single strong statement or raise any issue. Barring Digvijaya Singh, there is not a single leader today within the state Congress who can take up the issues of minorities,” said a Congress leader.But even with a floundering Congress that is not taking up the minority community’s issues, the AIMIM has its task cut out. It does not have a credible face in its local ranks and has a limited base. With limited resources, the party is strategically fielding its candidates in wards with a sizable Muslim population where Congress candidates are seen as weak. At present, the AIMIM has around 20,000 members in 20 districts and is working to establish district committees in Rewa, Barwani, Mandsaur, Neemuch, Betul, Dewas, and Ujjain.Two Congress leaders said the party was not bothered by the AIMIM’s entry into the state.“The people of Madhya Pradesh are not happy with the work done by the BJP and the results will declare so. AIMIM’s entry does not bother us,” Congress media department’s vice-president Abbas Hafiz.Another party leader said, “More than the entry of the AIMIM, it is the entry of Aam Aadmi Party that poses a challenge.”But in a warning to the Congress leadership, a senior functionary said, “The results of local body polls will be a wake-up call for the Congress, which, until now, has been taking Muslim support for granted in a bipolar state. If it cannot make space for its Muslim leaders in the organisation, we will have little choice but to contest on an AIMIM ticket in the next Assembly elections.”
Eleven candidates filed their nominations on the first day Wednesday for the July 18 presidential polls, and the paper of one of them was rejected for want of proper documents, sources said.The nomination process began with the issuance of the notification on Wednesday calling electors to fill up the vacancy at the country's highest constitutional post. The nomination process would continue till June 29.Parliamentary sources said a person named Lalu Prasad Yadav from Saran in Bihar was among those who filed their papers.The nomination of one of the candidates was rejected as the person had not attached a certified copy of the entry showing his or her name in the current electoral roll for the parliamentary constituency in which the candidate is registered as an elector.The candidates who filed nominations on Wednesday were from Delhi, Maharashtra, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.A nomination paper of a candidate for the election has to be made in the prescribed format and has to be subscribed by at least 50 electors as proposers and at least 50 electors as seconders.The security deposit for the election of Rs 15,000 should also be deposited.
Kolhapur: Sanjay Pawar, Kolhapur’s district president of Shiv Sena, who lost the recent Rajya Sabha election, said that the celebrations were unwarranted and would be “dealt with accordingly.”Pawar lost the RS election and BJP’s Dhananjay Mahadik won the sixth seat. Sena nominated Pawar after turning down the offer put by Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati to support him as an independent candidate. The elections for the Rajya Sabha seats from Maharashtra were held after over two decades. The results for the sixth seat came as a surprise as the BJP managed to snatch a win when the MVA looked comfortably set up for the win.After Pawar’s defeat, the supporters of Sambhajiraje were in a celebratory mode. Sambhajiraje had posted a tweet with verses of Sant Tukaram Maharaj, which conveyed that those who wear a tiger’s outfit do not become the tiger in reality. Pawar, after arriving in Kolhapur, said that the attempt to insult Shiv Sena was unwarranted. “I have respect for the Chhatrapati family. The elders in the family had wished me luck and even made public statement that the CM or Shiv Sena had not insulted anyone in the royal family. After the results, the celebrations were unwarranted.”Pawar also criticised Sambhajiraje stating that Maratha Kranti Morcha’s marches taken out for the Maratha demands had no leadership and those who claim that they are leaders of the Maratha community are “ignorant.” “The Maratha rallies were faceless. No one should claim the leadership for the Maratha community. I had participated in many of the marches as a Maratha,” said Pawar.Pawar said that after the RS poll defeat, Uddhav Thackeray comforted him and his family members. Pawar said that the CM was unhappy as the Thackerays care for the common party workers and try to help them grow in their political careers.
Former union minister Sharad Pawar is seen as key figure in opposition unity efforts.Mumbai and New Delhi: Amid speculation that former union minister Sharad Pawar may be the opposition's consensus candidate in the election for President of India, his party has said that Mr Pawar will take a decision "only if the opposition parties have the numbers for a victory". The comments came on the eve of a meeting of the opposition convened by West Bengal Mamata Banerjee in Delhi on June 15 to discuss a joint strategy for next month's presidential polls. Ms Banerjee met Mr Pawar in Delhi on Tuesday. Our honorable chairperson @MamataOfficial met Shri @PawarSpeaks today.Two stalwart leaders set the stage for the meeting of all progressive opposition forces; set to happen tomorrow at the Constitution Club, New Delhi.Our resolve to fight divisive forces grows stronger! pic.twitter.com/9Pm3abPMEN— All India Trinamool Congress (@AITCofficial) June 14, 2022In Mumbai, Chhagan Bhujbal, senior leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, said, "No doubt, if Pawar saheb becomes President of India, every Marathi person's chest will swell with pride. But the question is: Do we have the required numbers?" Mr Pawar, meanwhile, also met Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja, heads of the CPM and CPI respectively, in Delhi. Mr Raja later said Sharad Pawar did not seem enthused by the idea of becoming a candidate, "Our understanding is that he is not keen. He said he has many political commitments." Significantly, Mr Raja also said that Left parties will attend Mamata Banerjee's June 15 meeting. The Left and Trinamool Congress are sworn enemies particularly in West Bengal. But Mr Raja said, "We are keen on unity of opposition parties, so we will go." CPI(M), CPI will depute MPs to attend Oppn meeting called by Mamata Banerjee for deliberations on presidential poll nominee: Sitaram Yechury— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) June 14, 2022In Mumbai, Chhagan Bhujbal said Mr Pawar's name is being suggested by Arvind Kejriwal of Aam Aadmi Party, Mamata Banerjee of Trinamool Congress, and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, "which makes us happy". "But he has not lost any election in his life. So, if the required numbers are there, he will take a decision after discussions with senior leaders of our party," added Mr Bhujbal, who is a minister in the Maharashtra coalition government of NCP, Shiv Sena and Congress. President Ram Nath Kovind's term ends on July 24. Election for the post will be held on July 18 and counting, if needed, will be held three days later. The ruling coalition led by BJP does not have the numbers for a sure-shot victory. In that light, the June 15 meeting will see attendance by the largest opposition party Congress, too, which has deputed senior leaders Mallikarjuna Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Singh Surjewala. This appears to be a thaw in the cold war between Mr Banerjee and the Congress.The presidential poll is based on an electoral college comprising votes of MLAs and MPs. Vote value of each MLA depends on the population of the state and the number of assembly seats. Total strength of the electoral college, thus, is 10,86,431. A candidate with more than 50 per cent votes wins. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is 13,000 votes short. In 2017, too, the NDA did not have the required numbers, but it got support from Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), YSR Congress and Biju Janata Dal, for Mr Kovind against Congress-led opposition's candidate Meira Kumar. This time, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao of the TRS is part of the efforts to gather opposition forces against BJP.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comAs for Mr Pawar's role, irrespective of candidature, he is seen as an important figure for unity among opposition parties. He was the creator of Maharashtra's ruling coalition, bringing together ideologically opposed parties to thwart the BJP's bid for power. NCP leader Bhujbal asserted that Mr Pawar would not like to "sit at one place" by becoming President or Governor. "He does not like protocol much. He likes meeting people in the villages, sitting with farmers in their fields."
In June 2021, when election strategist Prashant Kishor met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar, it set off speculation that the former was lobbying for mounting bids to get the 81-year-old Maratha stalwart as the President of India.Pawar, a seasoned practitioner of pragmatic politics, had then dismissed the buzz, saying “When a single party (the ruling BJP) has more than 300 MPs, what will be the result of the (Presidential) election, I know. I will not be a Presidential candidate”.Exactly a year later, however, there is a fresh chorus of demand from the Opposition camp calling for pitchforking “India’s tallest leader of a small party” into the Presidential fray. A meeting between veteran Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge with Pawar last Thursday seems to have set the stage for the Opposition parties to raise their pitch for Pawar as their consensus nominee in the July 18 Presidential election, with even the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also appearing to be on the same page.Significantly, Pawar himself has been keen on building a unified, anti-BJP Opposition front at the national level, leading to his moves to hold consultations with the leaders of prominent Opposition parties like the Trinamool Congress (TMC), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), among others.Widely regarded as Maharashtra’s tallest leader, Pawar has been one of the seniormost politicians of the country. The former Union minister and three-time chief minister, Pawar has been the fulcrum of the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition government since it was formed two-and-a-half years ago.Pawar is known to have relations with the leaders of a slew of national, regional and local parties across the political spectrum, ranging from TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee to Akali Dal patron Parkash Singh Badal, Telegu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu to National Conference president Farooq Abdullah.Noting this key feature of Pawar’s political playbook, Sena leader Sanjay Raut recently told The Indian Express: “During his more than five-decade-long political career, there are people who have opposed Pawar to the extreme level but their opposition could never match his deeds and thoughts. He has never allowed politics to interfere with his social and development works. He has extended help to leaders of all parties. He has a knack of helping people in times of trouble and no one can match it.”The NCP chief’s pragmatic politics, coupled with his pro-reforms agenda, has put him in a different league in national politics leading to even Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling him his “political guru”.Pawar’s long political journey is marked with many milestones. He was first elected to the Maharashtra Assembly from the Baramati constituency in 1967. He served as a minister in successive state governments till 1978, when he took over as the CM (from 1978 to 1980). He went on to become the CM for two more times (1983-91 and 1993-95). He has been elected as a Lok Sabha member six times and a Union minister several times in charge of various key portfolios including defense and agriculture.An erstwhile Congress heavyweight, Pawar parted ways with the grand old party in 1999 after raising a banner of revolt against the party over the projection of the Italian-born Sonia Gandhi as its prime ministerial candidate. He was expelled from the Congress, following which he floated his own party NCP.His political pragmatism and astuteness has however always defined his politics. So, on the heels of his departure from the Congress, the NCP joined hands with the Gandhi-led Congress to form their coalition governments, first in Maharashtra and later at the Centre. This pragmatism was again displayed in November 2019 when forgetting his ideological differences with the Sena he masterminded the formation of the MVA government by involving an unlikely triumvirate of the NCP, Congress and Sena.It is his ability to spring such surprises and his political networking and doggedness that has led many Opposition parties to believe that Pawar may be their right candidate to take on the nominee of the formidable BJP in the Presidential poll.Sometime in 2004, an oncologist counselled Pawar, who was then diagnosed with oral cancer, to make his will, saying he had less than six months to live. Recalling those days later, he said the doctor had not factored in his “dogged determination” while giving him that advice.“Basically, it was a fight. I realised that if I got worried then the disease would devour me. The point of tackling such contingencies in life is to have a go at them in an aggressive fashion and take them head on,” Pawar once said while explaining how he recovered from cancer.The point, however, remains that Pawar has a keen sense of which fights to pick and which to avoid. The signals that he has sent out so far indicate that he may not be willing to bet on himself in the Presidential race in what many believe is a losing battle for the Opposition.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar is not keen on contesting the Presidential election, according to a senior party leader, even as some opposition parties have backed his candidature for the race to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.The issue came up for discussion after Pawar met Maharashtra NCP ministers here on Monday.An NCP minister, who attended the meeting, said Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh met Pawar on Sunday and affirmed his party’s support to the NCP chief for the election for the next President of India, to be held on July 18.Last week, when senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge was in Mumbai in connection with the Rajya Sabha polls, he pitched for Pawar’s name as the opposition’s joint candidate for the presidential polls.Kharge said the Congress had even consulted the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) over Pawar’s candidature.“But, I don’t think he is keen on it (contesting polls). Saheb (Pawar) is a people’s man who loves meeting people. He will not restrict himself to the Rashtrapati Bhavan,” the minister from the NCP said.More importantly, Pawar is busy trying to bring the opposition together ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, he said.The Congress has been reaching out to other opposition parties for a common candidate for the presidential polls.The BJP-led NDA is comfortably placed to win the presidential election, with its vote share touching the 50 per cent mark of the total electors.While there are 776 MPs of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, each having 700 votes, there are 4,033 legislators in states with different votes who will also elect President Ram Nath Kovind’s successor.Though the final list of electors is yet to be notified, the NDA has 440 MPs in its favour while the opposition UPA has around 180 MPs, besides 36 MPs of the TMC who normally support the opposition candidate.The election for the President will be held on July 18 which will see voting by members of both the Houses of Parliament and state Assemblies.
The duo has now sought to be released from jail for one day on June 20 to vote in MLC elections.Mumbai: Jailed NCP legislators Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh on Monday approached the Bombay High Court seeking to be released from prison for a day on June 20 to cast their vote in elections to the Maharashtra Legislative Council.Mr Deshmukh and Mr Malik, both members of the Legislative Assembly, could not cast their vote in the Rajya Sabha elections held on June 10 after a special court refused to release them to take part in the poll process.The duo has now sought to be released from jail for one day on June 20 to vote in MLC elections.Mr Deshmukh, a former home minister of Maharashtra, filed an application for one day release from prison in his bail plea submitted earlier this year. The NCP leader's application was mentioned by his advocate Inderpal Singh before a single bench of Justice NJ Jamadar.Justice Jamadar posted the matter for hearing on June 15.The plea of Mr Malik, a sitting cabinet minister, was mentioned before a single bench of Justice Bharati Dangre. His lawyer Kushal Mor sought permission to get Mr Malik's plea tagged with MrDeshmukh's application and for both the matters to be heard on June 15 by Justice Jamadar.Justice Dangre asked Mor to mention the matter on June 14 (Tuesday).Mr Malik's lawyers Taraq Sayed and Kushal Mor had initially sought to amend an earlier petition filed by the state minister challenging a special court order refusing to release him on June 10 for voting in the Rajya Sabha polls.Sayed told a single bench of Justice PD Naik that the prayers are still the same and that only the date would have to be amended from June 10 to June 20.Justice Naik, however, noted that the cause of action was different and that Malik's earlier petition had become infructuous as the elections he wanted to vote in (Rajya Sabha) was over.“You (Malik) will have to file a fresh plea seeking to be released on June 20 for the MLC elections,” Justice Naik said, indicating he was not inclined to allow the amendment.Mr Malik's lawyers then withdrew the earlier petition and said they would file a fresh one.Mr Malik was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on February 23 this year in connection with a money laundering probe linked to the activities of fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his aides.His party colleague Mr Deshmukh was arrested in November 2021 by the ED on money laundering charges.The biennial elections for 10 vacant seats of the Upper House of the state Legislature will be held on next Monday. Members of the state Legislative Assembly constitute the electoral college for these polls.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comEleven candidates are in the fray. The opposition BJP has fielded five candidates, while the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress, all constituents of the ruling MVA, have given tickets to two nominees each.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
MUMBAI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) backed independent Sadabhau Khot, founder of the Ryat Shetkari Sanghatant withdrew his candidature from Maharashtra council polls on Monday, the last day for withdrawing nominations. The elections for ten vacant council seats are due on June 20. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)'s Shivajirao Garje too has withdrawn from the contest. A day before the Rajya Sabha polls, BJP president Chandrakant Patil had accompanied Khot to the Vidhan Bhavan to file his nominations. Khot had been denied nomination by the BJP on its ticket and Patil had told the media that everyone's expectations could not be met. Khot was the BJP's sixth candidate and his nomination being backed by the party despite there being no chance of him being elected was seen as a strident stand taken by the party as it fought for the sixth Rajya Sabha seat from Maharashtra. The party's third candidate Dhananjay Mahadik finally won the seat which saw a battle on the secrecy of rules being violated being fought in the office of the Election Commission of India. Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis who scripted the party's Rajya Sabha election victory in the state said the BJP had held discussions with the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) parties on the withdrawal of candidates to avoid a contest. "The Congress refused to withdraw its candidate. There is a lot of unrest within the MVA and a lack of coordination too. This will show in the council election results. Our fifth candidate will win," he said. The BJP candidates now in the fray include Pravin Darekar Professor Ram Shinde, Shrikant Bharatiya, Uma Khapre and Prasad Lad. The other candidates contesting the elections are Sachin Ahir and Amasha Padvi (both Shiv Sena), Chandrakant Handore and Bhai Jagtap (both Congress) and Ramraje Nimbalkar and Eknath Khadse (both NCP).
Shiv Sena praised Devendra Fadnavis for his "cleverness and astute poll management." (File)Mumbai: Undeterred by the defeat of its candidate at the hands of the BJP in a bitterly contested Rajya Sabha polls last week, the Shiv Sena on Monday said those who are thinking that the result has made the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra unstable are living in a fool's paradise.In an editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana', the MVA lead party, in a rare move, praised BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis for his "cleverness and astute poll management", but said luck also played a role as the election was dragged to second round which saw BJP's Dhananjay Mahadik trounce Shiv Sena candidate Sanjay Pawar for the sixth seat in the June 10 polls to the Upper House of Parliament.The party pointed out that said while Shiv Sena candidate Mr Pawar secured 33 votes in the first round of preferential votes, Mr Mahadik secured only 27.Mr Fadnavis, a former CM, is widely credited for his election management that ensured Dhananjay Mahadik's win on the back of support from independents and MLAs from smaller parties.Seven candidates were in the fray for six Rajya Sabha seats in the state. All three candidates of the opposition BJP won -- Union minister Piyush Goyal, Anil Bonde and Mr Mahadik. The Shiv Sena (Sanjay Raut), the Congress (Imran Pratapgarhi) and the NCP (Praful Patel) bagged one seat each."Those thinking that the Rajya Sabha polls has made the Maha Vikas Aghadi government unstable are living in a fool's paradise," the editorial said.It said during the polls, the votes of the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress, all constituents of the ruling alliance, remained intact, and it was smaller parties that did not vote for the MVA candidates.The Shiv Sena also took a dig at its former ally BJP, saying the win was not a feat like the "Sun rising in the west or an ant swallowing a mountain".Calling the functioning of the Election Commission "an attack from Delhi", the Shiv Sena publication questioned the poll body's credibility when its officials in the state had discarded the BJP's objections to consider invalid the votes of MVA ministers Yashomati Thakur and Jitendra Awhad and Sena MLA Suhas Kande for violating norms.The MVA had also challenged before the Election Commission the votes cast by independent MLA Ravi Rana and BJP's Sudhir Mungantiwar on the same ground.However, MLA Suhas Kande's vote was declared invalid by the EC.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"The way central agencies were used to win the polls by the BJP was not a good sign for democracy in the country," the editorial said.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
Hyderabad: The BJP top brass is keeping a close eye on Telangana. Recent remarks made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting with state BJP unit in Delhi suggest that he himself is following developments in the state. According to reports, the PM clearly told leaders in the party unit not to be carried away by the BJP’s momentum in the state. He said regional parties like TRS ‘don’t just contest elections, but fight them like wars’. According to sources, the prime minister stated that regional parties take elections very seriously because losing one election threatens their very identity. “Just criticising the TRS will not suffice. He asked us to sweat it out on the battlefield and work hard to make ground-level connections with people,” a top leader said. Many state-level leaders met him recently, in addition to all of the GHMC corporators in Delhi. The PM was keen that BJP leaders be involved in service-related activities and be seen as approachable to the public especially when they are in need. Though the PM did not comment on the early election or any other political developments in Telangana, he did ask the state party unit to focus on those joining the party. His suggestion was to bring in more professionals rather than just political leaders from other parties.The PM’s remarks assume significance as BJP is treating regional parties as main rivals in many states like Telangana, West Bengal, and Maharashtra.
PATNA: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday categorically said he is not in the race in the July presidential election setting to rest speculations on it. “I am not in the race to become the country's next president, nor am I going anywhere. Such reports are unfounded and are mere speculations,” he said to queries by scribes on the sidelines of his weekly public outreach programme. . The election for the country's highest constitutional post will be held on July 18 and the counting for it will take place on July 21. "I repeat I am not in the race to become the country's next president,” was his curt reply when asked to comment on Bihar Rural Development Minister Shrawan Kumar comment on his being a worthy candidate for the post, Immediately after announcement of the schedule for the presidential poll on June 9, Shrawan Kumar, who is also a senior JD(U) leader, had said Nitish Kumar has all the abilities required for being president. He had also said "Being a Bihari, I wish that Nitish Kumar will become president of India" and though he is not in the race "Every person would want him to become the president of the country". "He is a better candidate for the post and he can shoulder the responsibility well," the minister had insisted. The ball for Kumar being in the presidential race was set rolling by Maharashtra leader Nawab Malik in February who said that his party, headed by Sharad Pawar was ready to support the JD(U) leader for the country's highest constitutional office if he snapped ties with the BJP. Batting for Bihar, which he has been helming since 2015 and had done so on five previous occasions, Kumar said the alleged use of money and other corrupt practices in the recently concluded Rajya Sabha polls does not exist in the state. "Those states where such incidents have been reported, must learn from Bihar,” he added.
Though it has claimed spectacular success in the Rajya Sabha polls in Maharashtra, winning three out of the six seats, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to have suddenly changed its tune over the future of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state.The BJP, so used to claiming that the MVA government would fall soon, has now indicated that a rule change in the state, in its favour, is likely only after the 2024 Legislative Assembly elections.Opposition leader in the assembly Devendra Fadnavis and BJP Maharashtra chief Chandrakant Patil claimed on Sunday that the party was confident of returning to power after the 2024 elections, meaning that the MVA alliance of Shiv Sena, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) would complete its five-year term.“In the elections (Lok Sabha and Maharashtra) of 2024, the BJP will return to power at the Centre as well as the state. In the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP will get 42-43 seats from Maharashtra and will have 170 MLAs in the state assembly,” Patil said during a victory rally of newly-elected Rajya Sabha member Dhananjay Mahadik.Before Patil, Fadnavis also made a similar claim in Mumbai after Mahadik was declared the winner by the state election commission.When asked whether the BJP would stop claiming that the MVA government would fall soon, the party’s state spokesperson Keshav Upadhaye said: “Our leaders have been maintaining that the MVA government will fall due to its internal contradictions. The Rajya Sabha election has proved us right. It reflects how deep are the internal contradictions within the MVA.”“Whether the elections happen in 2024 or within the next few months, the BJP is in election mode. We are fully prepared for the elections whenever they happen,” he added.Meanwhile, NCP spokesperson Clyde Castro said: “The BJP has been repeatedly claiming that the MVA government will fall soon. This was a lie it peddled to keep its flock together. Now they have given another twist to their claim. They have started claiming that their party will return to power after the 2024 elections. This is another lie to keep their flock intact as there are many disgruntled leaders like Pankaja Munde, who are ready to desert the party. Their new claim, which is again a lie, is intended to ensure that their party remains intact.”Congress spokesperson Gopal Tiwarie said: “The people of Maharashtra will now understand how much the BJP lies. For the last two-and-a-half years, it has been repeatedly lying that the MVA government will fall. Its leaders, practically on every TV channel, were claiming that the MVA government’s fall was imminent. They were repeatedly setting deadlines for the fall of the government. Now they will come to know it was a lie and they were lying so that the BJP does not disintegrate. It is a party which sustains and thrives on one lie after another.”
Pune: After addition and deletion of names in the last five months, the final tally of voters in Maharashtra as on May 31 stands at 9.09cr, state election officials said.The State Election Commission (SEC) had declared May 31 as the cut-off date for inclusion of voters’ names in the list for the upcoming local polls to 14 civic bodies, around 2,000 gram panchayats, and 221 nagar parishad and panchayat samitis.The January tally of voters was 9.13cr, after which nearly 7.31 lakh names were added and 11.70 lakh names deleted, stated election department officials. This means voters registered on or before May 31 are entitled to cast their vote in the civic polls. The earlier cut-off date for voter list was January 5. An increase of 4.38 lakh voters have been registered in the final tally.With elections to 14 municipal corporations likely to be conducted between July and October, the SEC has directed these local bodies to declare ward-wise splitting of electoral rolls by July 7. Collectors and commissioners have been given this data to carry out ward-wise distribution of voters’ names, stated election officials.According to the available data till May 31, Pune district has an estimated 81.95lakh voters, while Mumbai city has 24.79lakh voters. Mumbai suburban has 73.94lakh voters, followed by Thane with 63.33lakh voters. “This is the estimated number of voters district-wise till May end. They would then be divided ward-wise by the local authorities,” added officials.SEC secretary Kiran Kurundkar said that the May 31 cut-off was decided to accommodate maximum voters on the voter list for the upcoming civic polls. “The data provided by the chief electoral office will be utilised by the local bodies for ward-wise voter distribution. We extended the date as we were told that there was a good response to the voter registration drive across the state,” he said. The SEC has directed 14 municipal corporations to publish ward-wise voter list on June 17. It will be followed by seeking suggestions and objections between June 17 and 25 and the publication of final ward-wise voter list on July 7.Kurundkar said that a detailed discussion has been held with the Met officials regarding planning for elections. “We will seek a detailed week and month-wise forecast before planning the date for local body polls.”. He said that the decision will be taken after July 7, which is the deadline for ward-wise splitting of electoral rolls.