Editorial

As the country goes to the next general elections in about three months, a sordid drama making a mockery of democracy is being played in Karnataka. The BJP, unable to stomach being outmanoeuvred by the Congress which quickly forged a post poll alliance with JD(U) to keep the BJP out of power, has now mounted  “Operation Topple to bring down the alliance government led by H. D. Kumarswamy. Two Independent legislators (one of whom was initially made a cabinet minister but later dropped during the cabinet reshuffle) have withdrawn support to the...

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has levelled a sensational charge against the main opposition party, the Congress. She has told BJP workers that “The Congress leaders are playing dirty politics by seeking help from Pakistan to remove PM Modi’s Government”, according to a media report. If this is true then it is her duty to bring to book those conspiring with Pakistan for what amounts to high treason and have them put up for trial by a court. She has done nothing of the kind and is not going to either. This mud-slinging is all part of pre-...

The battle lines for the 2019 general elections are being drawn. The first indications are that an all-in unity of the opposition parties to take on the ruling BJP, is not going to be realized. The decision of Mayawati and Akhliesh Yadav to form an alliance keeping the Congress out of it in UP will mean a triangular contest because the Congress will certainly not be satisfied with the two seats of Amethi and Rae Barelly that the Maya-Akhil duo has condescended to leave for the Congress. The Left, which still has considerable presence in some...

Within a couple of days of his being reinstated as CBI Director by the Supreme Court, Alok Verma has again been shunted out of the CBI by the Selection Committee comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and a judge of the Supreme Court deputed by the Chief Justice of India on his behalf. The Prime Minister was determined to have Verma out of the premier investigating body. He was supported by Justice Sikri. Only the Leader of the Opposition, Mallikarjun Kharge, was against it and wanted that an opportunity be given to Verma...

The passage of the Bill in Lok Sabha seeking 10 per cent reservation in job and education for poor people belonging to the upper castes is a significant chapter in India's democracy. How far the Bill will prove beneficial for the people is a question that only time will answer but the incident is significant as it sent out a positive message across the country and also to those who watch India's politics closely that when needed, leaders of the country can go beyond their political obligation to stand in support of things that ensure benefit...

The Supreme Court order today reinstating Alok Verma as CBI chief is seen as the end of a three-month old episode of bitter and even childish acrimony between two top officials of the most prestigious investigating agency of the country. Quite naturally the Opposition has dubbed it as a setback for the NDA government, victory of justice and stalling saffron sacrilege of the constitution. The ruling party too hailed the order with union minister for finance Arun Jaitley, an eminent lawyer himself, commenting that the apex court took a `balanced...

The two-day all India bandh starting tomorrow called by 10 central trade unions led by CITU, pressing for a 12-point charter of demands from the Centre might have some impact on public life in states like West Bengal and Kerala where the left has a good presence but it once again raises questions about the efficacy of strikes and hartals to get grievances redressed.  In West Bengal while the CPM has been running a sustained campaign to make the bandh a success the state government is determined to foil the strike call.   They have reasons to...

The video footage of chief minister Mamata Banerjee playing badminton last week at Bolpur that went viral in no time refurbishes her image as a keen sports enthusiast whose physical fitness is cause for envy for many young people. She undergoes regular fitness regimes and takes strolls whenever she finds time. Even when she is on a foreign trip she takes to walking to keep herself fit. In fact bureaucrats, policemen, politicians and even scribes even dread her invite to accompany her in her strolls as they find it difficult to keep pace with...

In the recently held general elections in Bangladesh the ruling Awami League and the 14-party Front led by it won a massive victory, capturing 288 of the 299 seats for which elections were held. The victory has been too ‘massive’ for the party to be comfortable. The Opposition has cried foul and demanded fresh elections under a “neutral” government. As this is not going to happen, the Opposition has decided to boycott the Parliament. The Awami League has declared that if the Opposition does not attend Parliament then their seats will be...

Two recent reports emanating from China point unmistakably to rising Chinese belligerence. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) recently sent a destroyer close to a US warship in the South China Sea (SCS) which China claims to be its own territorial waters while the world does not recognize it. A senior Chinese naval official has gone on record stating that China is capable of destroying two US warships sailing in the SCS and kill some twenty thousand people. This is nothing but war-mongering and threatening a Sino-US war. The second is...

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced that from now her government will pay the full premium of crop insurance in the State. She has said that the Centre bears only twenty per cent of the cost of the crop insurance scheme, the State bearing the lion’s share of eighty per cent but New Delhi claims it to be a fully centrally-funded scheme named Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima yojana. The State will now do away with this twenty per cent also, and make the scheme fully State-funded. She has claimed that her decision will benefit 7.5...

Since it became operational in 1984, the Kolkata Metro Rail has become an important segment of the transport system of the metropolis. Nearly seven lakh passengers are carried daily by the Kolkata Metro. With the rapid expansion of the Metro network in Kolkata and Howrah now underway, in the next five years, its passenger handling capacity may double or treble. This will be a welcome development as the Metro rail is non-polluting. The more diesel buses go off the roads the better it will be from the view of pollution. The Metro is likely to...

The spurt in organ transplantation in West Bengal in the last one year has kindled the hopes for survival of those patients suffering from terminal diseases. While in 2016 the number of organ donations was 5, it went down to 1 in 2017 but last year it went up to 15. And with sustained campaigning and interest growing in the general public about this life saving measure, one can easily hope that this will further increase in the coming years. There are stories in newspapers about the recipients, who lost all hopes for survival but  have turned...

Keeping NATO-allies blindsided, US President Donald John Trump announced withdrawal 7,000 out of 14,000 troops from Afghanistan – one of the decisions disagreeing with which Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis put in his papers. However, the chief executive office at Kabul heaved a sigh of relief and appreciated the US initiative in successfully in persuading Taliban militants to hold face-to-face talks with the government, having taken place in Qatar capital Doha. A spokesperson Feraidoon Khozon said, “We are still optimistic and hopeful that...

Keeping NATO-allies blindsided, US President Donald John Trump announced withdrawal 7,000 out of 14,000 troops from Afghanistan – one of the decisions disagreeing with which Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis put in his papers. However, the chief executive office at Kabul heaved a sigh of relief and appreciated the US initiative in successfully in persuading Taliban militants to hold face-to-face talks with the government, having taken place in Qatar capital Doha. A spokesperson Feraidoon Khozon said, “We are still optimistic and hopeful that...

Till a month back the rebellion by Tejpratap Yadav, elder son of Lalu Prasad, against his younger brother Tejashvi had very few takers. But with Lalu’s daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Misha Bharati blasting the brothers for fighting, bolstering the chances of their opponents JD(U) and BJP, it has given a rude shock to the RJD rank and file. Apparently there was no reason for Misha to bring the issue to public, but for a perceived plot to avenge Lalu projecting Tejashvi as his heir apparent. She shared her feelings with Tejpratap. The motive...

Deaths of homeless people have been branded a “national tragedy” after shock figures revealed today that the number has leapt by almost a quarter in the last five years. Almost 600 people sleeping rough or in emergency accommodation died last year in England and Wales, according to an estimate from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This total represents a 24 per cent rise from the 482 who died in 2013, according to the first research of its kind by the ONS. Jon Sparkes, chief executive of homelessness charity Crisis, said: “This is...

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari gave a lecture to the officers of the Intelligence Bureau in Delhi on Monday. It was an ‘endowment’ lecture. Prominent among those who were not present at the meeting were the Union Home Secretary and the National Security Adviser. What Gadkari said at the meeting was unexceptionable as it reflects the spirit of the Constitution. He reminded his audience that tolerance is the biggest asset of the Indian system; that one who thinks he knows everything is mistaken; that this country does not belong to any party or...

The Supreme Court has refused to give an urgent hearing to BJP petition on taking out its Rath Yatra in West Bengal. The apex court did not find any reason for an urgent hearing. The case will come up only in the first week of January next, when the courts reopen after the Xmas vacation. This has come as a much needed breather for Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the West Bengal Government who feared widespread violation of law and order across the State if the Rath really rolled out from its scheduled starting points. Even though the Rath...

The latest order of the Union Home Ministry authorizing ten designated agencies “to intercept, monitor and decrypt” any information “generated, transmitted, received or stored” in a digital device takes India one more step toward a surveillance State. This has been done, the people have been told, in the interest of national security. This is the standard argument used for taking every new step that intrudes a citizen’s privacy in a more pervasive manner. The object is to keep the citizen twenty-four hours under surveillance. His personal data...

A Manipuri journalist, Kishore Chandra Wangkhem, has been sentenced to a year’s jail term under the National Security Act, for daring to criticize Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh. He called the Chief Minister a “puppet” of the Prime Minister because the former celebrated Rani Lakshmibai’s birth anniversary in Manipur. Rani Lakshmibai is a historical character and is respected by millions across the country. Her criticism or criticizing the anniversary of her birth may be in bad taste but by no stretch of imagination can it be called “...

The electoral defeat of the BJP in three Hindi States has set off a chain reaction. After the new Congress Governments announced loan waivers for farmers immediately on assumption of power, two BJP-ruled States have been forced to follow suit. Gujarat has decided to write off outstanding power bill of Rs. 650 crore in rural areas. This will benefit 6.22 lakh farmers. Assam has announced a farm loan waiver of Rs. 600 crore. The Centre has suddenly realized that it is unnecessary to insist on Aadhar connection for opening a bank account or...

The Supreme Court has practically demolished the Congress case for a judicial probe into the Rafale deal. It has held that there was no irregularity in the decision making process, that the price and other details about the aircraft are confidential and cannot be made public and no benefits accrued to any private party in concluding the deal. The Congress, however, is still demanding an inquiry by a Joint Parliamentary Committee.  It holds that the apex court is not the forum to decide on such ‘sensitive’ defence contracts. A JPC probe alone...

A judge of the Meghalaya High Court has, in course of a recent judgment, observed that India should have been declared a Hindu country at the time of independence. He wrote: “Pakistan declared themselves as an Islamic country and since India was divided on the basis of religion should also have been declared a Hindu country but it remained as a secular country.” He went on to add: “I make it clear that nobody should try to make India another Islamic country, otherwise it will be a doomsday for India and the world.” The causes and...

The Congress has won all the three States in the Hindi belt where Assembly polls were held. Now it will have to deliver. It has to make good the promises it made to the people of the three States. For example, Rahul Gandhi has promised to waive farm loans within ten days of coming to power. That promise has to be fulfilled and the stress it will put on the States’ economies will have to be met. Job creation is the crying need of the youth. This cannot be done overnight but a practicable programme will have to be worked out to provide...