Why NDA chose Bihar Governor Kovind, a Dalit leader, as President nominee

Kovind’s name was a surprise to those who wanted somebody with a Hindutva image to be the candidate

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Politics News : Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), will be the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and in all likelihood the next President of India.

The BJP Parliamentary Board decided Kovind’s candidature at its meeting on Monday. Kovind is widely respected among political circles for his integrity and people remember his family to have led an abstemious lifestyle during his political career, including when he was a Rajya Sabha member from 1994 to 2006.

The BJP-led NDA has 48.6 per cent votes in the electoral college and has been promised support from regional parties like the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, YSR Congress Party, and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

Also Read : Why NDA chose Bihar Governor Kovind, a Dalit leader, as President nominee

BJP chief Amit Shah said his party has informed Opposition parties, including the Congress, about its decision. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh regarding the matter too. Shah expressed hope that other parties will support the NDA candidate. Kovind’s name was a surprise to most, including those within the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) who had been insisting that somebody with a Hindutva image be the NDA candidate. In the choice of Kovind, Modi and Shah seem to have outmanoeuvred not just the Opposition but also convinced the RSS leadership.

Given the political symbolism, several in the Opposition might find it difficult to oppose Kovind’s candidature. While the Left parties are set to field their own candidate as they consider this an ideological fight with the Sangh Parivar, many others like the Janata Dal (United) and Bahujan Samaj Party might not find it politically sagacious to oppose Kovind. Both parties have a significant Dalit support base. Other parties were yet to make their position public at the time of filing of this report. It would be very difficult even for the Congress to oppose his candidature.

The BJP’s choice of Kovind comes at a time when Dalit groups have protested in Uttar Pradesh against the Yogi Adityanath government and raised their voice about the increasing atrocities against Dalits by upper castes and cow vigilantes. Selecting Kovind should help the BJP’s efforts at consolidating its Dalit support base in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Kovind would become the second Dalit President of India, after KR Narayanan who served as the President from 1997 to 2002.

Shah said that Kovind will file his nomination on June 23. Kovind is a two-term Rajya Sabha member. His terms were from 1994 to 2000 and 2000 to 2006. Kovind is a lawyer by profession and he hails from the Kanpur rural district. “He is from the Dalit community and from humble beginnings he has struggled to reach a high office,” Shah said. He said the NDA is yet to decide upon its vice-presidential candidate.

Who is Ram Nath Kovind

ICC Champions Trophy: Pakistan army mocks India after victory

Pakistan won the Champions Trophy cricket final on Sunday by defeating India by 180 runs

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Current Affairs : Pakistan Army has mocked India after the country’s resounding victory in the Champions Trophy cricket final, sharing photos of celebrations in restive Balochistan with a caption “To whom it may concern’. Lay off”.

After posting photos of Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa with victory sign and soldiers dancing over Pakistani triumph over India at the Oval, military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor shared pictures from Balochistan where people were celebrating the victory.

“And this is Our Balochistan. ‘To whom it may concern’. Lay off,” he wrote along with photos.

The pictures were apparently in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech last year in which he had raised the issue Pakistan’s atrocities on people of Baluchistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Ghafoor also posted a video showing people in Srinagar purportedly celebrating Pakistan’s victory over India.

“And this is………Srinagar!!” he wrote.

In another tweet, he said, “Valiant soldiers of Pakistan congrat Team Pak & Nation. United we shall defend Pak against all threats our enemies hatch.”

Pakistan won the Champions Trophy cricket final on Sunday by defeating India by 180 runs.

Namami Gange project in a shambles, Narendra Modi intervenes

Much of the money allocated to the project remains unspent

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India’s $3 billion plan to clean the holy Ganga river is badly behind schedule with large stretches contaminated by toxic waste and sewage, forcing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene, according to government officials and documents seen by Reuters.

Much of the money allocated to the project, a flagship initiative for Modi’s Hindu nationalist government, remains unspent, say officials from the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), a government body overseeing the project.

In one slide of a presentation to a top Modi aide in late January, NMCG officials marked almost the entire length of the river within three big circles to highlight “pollution in river Ganga”.

SEWAGE, POLLUTION

MODI TAKES CONTROL

A 2018 deadline to clean the river is “impossible”, one NMCG official said. “If we want to meet the 2018 deadline, we should have commissioned plants to treat half the sewage already,” he said, requesting anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

Over three-quarters of the sewage generated in the towns and cities of India’s crowded northern plains flows untreated into the 2,525-km (1,570-mile) Ganga, according to the presentation, which has not been made public.

State administrations have struggled to find land for new treatment plants, while complex tendering processes have put bidders off pitching for new clean-up projects, officials said.

The Ganga is worshipped by Hindus, who make up about 80 percent of India’s 1.3 billion people. They call it Ganga Mata, or mother Ganga, and believe a dip in the river absolves a lifetime of sins. Hindus also cremate the bodies of their loved ones on its banks and strew the ashes in the river.

Recognizing that the clean-up mission is in a shambles, Modi has decided to take personal control, a senior NMCG official said. The clean-up drive is important as Modi wants to show tangible improvement before the next election in 2019.

His principal secretary, Nripendra Misra, has met NMCG officials almost monthly since November, demanding to see updates on the project’s progress, the NMCG official said. Misra did not respond to messages and calls seeking comment.

Modi, voted to power in 2014, committed $3.06 billion for the clean-up in the five years to 2020 but the January presentation showed just $205 million had been spent between April 2015 and March 2017. (readmore…)

UP meat sellers on strike against Yogi’s crackdown, restaurants to be hit

Operations have been disrupted completely for the past few days because of an atmosphere of fear

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Meat sellers across Uttar Pradesh (UP) launched an indefinite strike from Monday against the Yogi Adityanath government’s crackdown on illegal and mechanised slaughterhouses.

“We have decided to intensify our strike from tomorrow. All shops will remain closed. Fish sellers too have joined us and are extending support to us,” Lucknow Bakra Gosht Vypar Mandal office bearer Mubeen Qureshi had said on Sunday.

He said, in the wake of the crackdown, there was no question of the strike being called off anytime soon. “It will go on indefinitely,” he added.

Industry fears being butchered

Several butcher shops and slaughterhouses across the state have complained that they are being targeted under the new dispensation. “Authorities are even closing down chicken shops,” a shop owner in Noida told NDTV. Another said even legal abattoirs were asked to hang curtains in front of their stores, while others alleged that the new administration was not willing to issue fresh licenses or renew the old ones.

Meat ban to Anti-romeo squad: Yogi Adityanath’s governance model for UP

As reported earlier, operations have been disrupted completely for the past few days because of an atmosphere of fear across the supply chain, since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) formed the government in the state after winning a historic mandate, with Yogi Adityanath as chief minister. One of the party’s election promises was shutting down illegal slaughterhouses.

So far, allegedly illegal meat shops have been shut down in Lucknow, Varanasi and Ghaziabad. Last week, three meat shops owned by Muslims were burned down in Hathras.

Eateries hit

Due to the strike, non-vegetarian food outlets, including the famous Tunday and Rahim’s have shifted to mutton and chicken dishes after buffalo meat became scarce.

As the mouth-watering kebabs went off the platter, the owner of another famous eatery said the situation might force hoteliers to get mutton from Delhi. “But there will be no compromise on the quality of the food,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Read More

Modi’s message after Yogi Adityanath’s elevation as UP CM- Hindus will rule

Adityanath has in the past accused Muslim men of waging ‘love jihad’

Swearing-in of UP Chief Minister

A saffron-robed Hindu holy man was sworn in on Sunday to lead Uttar Pradesh, sealing what appears to be a shift in course by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that could redefine the world’s largest democracy as a Hindu nation.

The choice as Uttar Pradesh chief minister of Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu ascetic with a history of agitation against minority Muslims, stunned observers who said it marked a departure from the platform of development for all on which Modi rose to national power in 2014.

“Modi is saying India is a Hindu country and shall remain so,” veteran journalist and commentator Shekhar Gupta told Reuters.

“Hindus will rule, so you had better behave.”

A spokesman for Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) however said the government did not make any distinction between citizens on the basis of religion.

Adityanath, 44, was elected by state lawmakers on Saturday, a week after the BJP won a landslide victory in India’s most populous state by mobilising the Hindu vote. The BJP won the biggest majority for any party in the state legislature in 40 years.

He took the oath of office at an open-air ceremony in the state capital Lucknow on Sunday, before shaking hands with Modi and other BJP elders who attended.

After the ceremony, Modi said in a tweet: “Our sole mission and motive is development. When UP develops, India develops.”

The BJP fielded no candidates from the Muslim minority that makes up 19 percent of the population in a state with a population of 220 million that is home to 15 percent of the world’s poor. If it were a country, Uttar Pradesh would be the world’s fifth-most populous.

India’s 1.3 billion people are about 80 percent Hindu and 14 percent Muslim, with the rest made up of Christians, Sikhs and other minorities. It is officially a secular nation, but the BJP has for years fought elections on a Hindu nationalist agenda, with party members in the past being accused of making anti-Muslim statements to polarise Hindu voters. Read Full Story >>>

Also Read About Yogi Adityanath

Love jehad to sabka vikas: Can Modi and Shah tame UP CM Yogi Adityanath?

Yogi Adityanath to follow Modi’s mantra of development

Adityanath’s appointment shows BJP has little faith in development plank

Election Results 2017 LIVE: BJP leads big in UP & Uttarakhand, Cong leads Punjab, close fight in Goa

Get live election result 2017 of Assembly elections for UP, Goa, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Manipur

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UP Election result 2017: The exit polls on Thursday predicted a hung assembly in the key Hindi heartland state of Uttar Pradesh, where Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would emerge as the single largest party, winning anywhere between 164 and 210 of the 403 seats. A victory for Narendra Modi’s BJP in Uttar Pradesh, which is home to 220 million people, would boost his chances of winning the 2019 general elections and underscore his popularity after he made himself the face of the party’s campaign in the state.

Punjab election result 2017: Most polls forecast a close fight between the Congress, which is seeking to return to power in Punjab after a hiatus of 10 years, and Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), making its debut in the Punjab Assembly election. Stay with us for LIVE updates on Assembly Elections 2017.

Uttarakhand election result 2017: Most exit polls have projected that BJP will emerge as the single largest party in Uttarakhand election 2017, ending the Congress Party’s hope to retain its Harish Rawat-led government in the state.

Goa election result 2017: In Goa, too, BJP is seen as the largest party with 15-20 of the 40 Assembly seats. The Congress could be a close second, while AAP, a debutant in the state, could get 2-4 seats.

Manipur election result 2017: Exit polls for Manipur have a split verdict. While some show BJP forming government in the state, others expect the Congress’ Okram Ibobi Singh returning for a fourth term. Iron Lady Irom Sharmila, contesting her first election, is expected to have a weak debut.

Results of Assembly elections 2017 in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand will be declared on March 11. Join us on Business Standard for election result 2017 updates today.

Read our full coverage on Assembly Elections 2017

Assembly Polls 2017: Exit polls suggest Modi-led BJP clearly ahead in UP

BJP may retain power in Goa, wrest power in U’khand; consolation prize for Cong in Punjab

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Election Results 2017 : If the predictions of several of the exit polls, made public on Thursday, for the five states that had Assembly elections in February-March turn out to be true, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to emerge as the most influential leader of India since Indira Gandhi, who had held sway over the country’s political landscape 40 years back.

Findings of at least four exit polls suggested that Modi’s blitzkrieg of public rallies in Uttar Pradesh (UP) could help the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) either comfortably cross the majority mark of 202 in the 403-seat UP Assembly, or come close to it.

The BJP, along with ally Apna Dal, had bagged 73 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP in 2014, winning a staggering 337 of the 403 Assembly segments. At least two exit polls — India Today-Axis and Today’s Chanakya — could come close to that tally by winning up to 285 seats. However, two other exit polls predicted a hung Assembly with the BJP as the single-largest party but the Samajwadi Party (SP)-Congress alliance not far behind and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in third place. As for other states, most exit polls said the BJP was likely to retain power in Goa and wrest power from the Congress in Uttarakhand.

One exit poll, however, predicted a dead heat between the BJP and Congress in Uttarakhand, predicting that both were likely to win 35-seats each in the 70-member Assembly.

In Lucknow, Modi said: “Woh kahate hain Modi hatao; main kehta hoon kaladhan hatao, bhrashtachar hatao (they say remove Modi; I say end black money, end corruption).(read more…)