Editorial

The BJP could not gracefully accept defeat in the Karnataka Assembly elections. Ever since the Congress outwitted the saffron party by forming a government with the Janata Dal (Secular), efforts were made to topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition. There were allegations that the BJP had offered huge sums of money to suborn the loyalty of some Congress and JD(S) legislators. The BJP vehemently denied such allegations but it was put on the back foot when Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy released audio tapes that purportedly recorded conversation...

The sixteenth Lok Sabha held its last session on Wednesday, not in an atmosphere of bonhomie but sounding the bugle of the battle ahead. The afternoon saw a galaxy of opposition leaders at the AAP-organized dharna manch at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi calling on the people to throw out the Modi Government in the coming elections. There were also day-long controversy between the BJP and the Congress over the just released repor of the CAG on the purchase of the Rafale deal. While Finance Minister Arun Jaitley claimed earlier in the day that the...

The terrorists struck again in Kashmir on Thursday. In one of the most heavily guarded highways in Pulwama, some twenty kilometres south of Srinagar, they attacked a convoy of CRPF vehicles. Over 40 CRPF jawans were killed, some sixty were injured,                                                                                                          about fifteen of them critically. Authorities suspect the involvement of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in the attack. This insensate violence will not bring the “Kashmir problem” anywhere near a...

The shooting down of a Trinamool Congress legislator at a crowded public function in Nadia district is a foretaste of what is going to happen when the election campaign picks up tempo. The police suspect that there were several people in the gang. That they dared to shoot the TMC MLA from such a close range and could quietly vanish into thin air, as it were, indicates the ramifications of the conspiracy and how well planned it was.  Close on the Nadia incident, another TMC MLA has been murdered. He is the Trinamool legislator from East Kanthi...

Over a hundred people have died after taking spurious liquor in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The largest number of deaths happened in UP. The State Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has said that what has happened is “unfortunate.” It may be recalled that when police Sub-Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was murdered with his own revolver at Bulandshahr by an irate mob, the CM had called it an “accident”. This shows an insensitivity that has now come to be associated with the bigwigs of the party. What nobody in the administration wants to admit is...

All government agencies, whether Central or State, are supposed to work in a professional way and with total impartiality. Political parties should not involve them to settle scores with each other. However, the opposition complains that the way some of these agencies, like the CBI, the ED, the Income-tax Department, etc, have been used by the Centre smacks of political vendetta. As a retaliation, where any opposition party is in power, it is targeting people perceived to be close to the ruling party at the Centre. Worse still, sometimes it...

The Rafale issue is slowly snowballing into a big controversy that will be one of the major issues the opposition will highlight during the election campaign. How much the Government may be trying to pass it off as an ordinary commercial transaction in which nothing irregular has taken place, one uncomfortable fact after another is coming to the public domain almost every day, to the discomfort and chagrin of the ruling party. To blunt the opposition propaganda on Rafale, the Government will have to give satisfactory answers to three questions...

Ever since she came to power in 2011, one of the major aims of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was to revive industries in the State. During the three and a half decades of Left Front rule, militant trade unionism drove out many industries. The State that was once ahead of many other States in industries saw the gradual dystrophy of industrial growth. To speed up the industrialization of Bengal she has visited several European countries, met prominent industrialists at home and regularly held business summits. But the response of prospective...

The Congress Government in Madhya Pradesh has invoked the National Security Act to book three alleged cow slaughterers in the communally sensitive Khandwa region. Invoking an anti-democratic law like the NSA to deal with alleged cow killers is nothing but an attempt to keep the cow enthusiasts and cow vigilantes in good humour. This is against the avowed stand of the Congress. For about a year or so, the Congress leadership was showing an inclination to resort to soft Hindutva, apparently to blunt the edge of attack of the champions of hard...

The controversy that was so long raging over the entry of women between 10 and 50 in the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala may now be resolved as the Devaswom Board has agreed to the entry of women into the temple. Devaswom in Malayali means the Property of God. The Devaswom Board is a socio-religious trust that has nominees of both the government and the community. It manages Hindu temples and trusts. The Sabarimala temple is managed by the Travancore Devaswom Board. It has suddenly agreed to the entry of women of all ages. Its spokesmen have said...

The Centre announced a number of sops for the salaried middle class and the farmers in the budget. Since then a high voltage propaganda blitz has been unleashed by the BJP, mainly through a docile media, about the relief the Government has sought to give the urban middle class and the small and marginal farmers. Opinion surveys carried out among sections of both classes of the people brought out the fact that by and large, the targeted people are unappreciative of what has been given them. Live interviews with farmers about the supposed...

Domestic politics has heated up so much in recent times in our country that public interest in political developments in our neighbourhood has waned. President Trump’s decision to halve US troop strength in Afghanistan from 14,000 to 7,000 has practically gone unnoticed. The Taliban is now being wooed by both the US and Russia. Both countries are engaged with the Taliban to strike a peace deal.  This directly affects India and heightens India’s security problem. The Taliban is a creation of the Pakistan army and the ISI. How much influence it...

What was so long going on as a conflict between the State and the Centre, or between Mamata and Modi, has now turned into an open and no holds barred confrontation between the two. Carloads of CBI officers appeared out of the blue and made straight for the residence of the Commissioner of Police (CP), Kolkata on a quiet Sunday evening and tried to barge in. What happened next is known to all. Even if it is assumed that the CBI had sent several summonses to the CP and the CP had chosen to ignore them, it is highly unusual for so many CBI men to...

The Metro Railway has become a major mode of passenger traffic in Kolkata. A number of new schemes are under execution which will widen the underground railway network in the next couple of years or so. In other words, more and more passengers who now travel by bus will switch over to the Metro as it is a much faster mode of transport. Ensuring safety for this rising number of passengers thus becomes a matter of top priority. Recently, several ‘accidents’ of fire and smoke engulfing Metro rakes have taken place. Each time the authorities...

The Constitution makes India a Union of States. The Constitution also defines the jurisdiction of the States and the Centre under the Union List, the State List and the Concurrent List. It was implicit in the constitutional arrangement that the Centre and the States would function harmoniously. For the first few decades after the Constitution came into force there was hardly any conflict between the Centre and the States because the same party was in power in both the Centre and the States. The situation started changing in the nineteen...

The Union Government’s interim budget was placed by the acting Finance Minister Piyush Goel in Parliament on Friday. The most remarkable feature of this budget is that a series of tax exemptions and other sops have been announced, especially for the salaried middle class and farmers. These will reduce the revenue of the Government. But Goel has not – he could not have – indicated the sources from which these revenue losses will be made up for. He could not do it because that would have meant making tax proposals which he could not do. But the...

As the president of the ruling party, Amit Shah is expected to weigh carefully what he says in public, what should be said in public and what should not be said in public. He has to be careful not to be carried away by emotion or the temptation to resort to cheap rhetoric. The speech that he delivered at Contai on Tuesday was full of empty rhetoric. He said that by the afternoon of the counting day of the Lok Sabha poll results, when the final round of counting is over, the Trinamool Congress government would fall. Amit Shah is well aware...

The Karnataka Congress has never been happy with the coalition with JD(S). During the last eight months that the coalition has been in power, Chief Minister H. D. Kumaraswamy expressed his unhappiness with his cabinet colleagues from the Congress party. Once he said he was being treated as a clerk. In his latest outburst he has plainly threatened to resign as he said “if they want, I am ready to step down.” This time he named the former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah whose allegedly overbearing attitude Kumaraswamy was smarting under....

What was being speculated for years has ended. Priyanka Gandhi has decided at last to enter politics. Formally. Her brother, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, has appointed her the party’s secretary in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh – the traditional bastion of the Nehru-Gandhis. Will she be able to turn the fortunes of her party? Time alone will tell. Physical similarities apart, she has the charm and grace of her grandmother Indira. And the same bewitching smile. Whether she can garner votes or not, there is no doubt that her decision to...

The decision of the Congress high command  to appoint Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as party general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh (East) has been seen a masterstroke by the Congress leadership aimed at infusing new hope and enthusiasm in the party rank and file in the country, particularly UP. Political observers indeed recall a statement of Rahul and Priyanka's father Rajiv Gandhi to the media at Shantiniketan when he was prime minister that between his two children it was Priyanka who showed more interest in politics.  Indeed it has been the...

As the general elections get nearer by the day, the outgoing government is desperate to convince the electorate that it has done more for their vikas or development than any previous government since independence. Statistics are being bandied about freely, whatever their credibility. Parameters of employment generation, per capita income, etc., are being arbitrarily changed, making comparisons with the past impossible. Nobody ever talks about the ‘achievements’ made in fulfilling the pre-poll promises made by the ruling party, like generating...

The fire in a multi-storeyed building at the Gariahat crossing in Kolkata that destroyed a large number of shops is one more episode in a disgustingly familiar series. The fire breaks out and in course of the subsequent inquiry it is invariably found that easily inflammable substances like plastic sheets were stored/used, there was no fire fighting equipment in the building, no water storage tanks, the stairs blocked with sundry things, huge heaps of live electrical wire hanging and waiting for a short circuit to trigger off a fire and that...

The language of political debate even in normal times in our country is not decorous. When elections come, the language deteriorates further. Recently, when  BJP President Amit Shah was struck with swine flu, a Congress leader made a remark about Shah’s disease which was not only offensive but betrayed a lack of sensitivity on the on the part of the leader and by extension that of his party. Now a BJP legislator of UP has made an insulting comment on BSP supreme Mayawati. Faced with severe criticism – the National Commission on Women took...

The message that leaders of almost all non-BJP parties gave from Kolkata Maidan on Saturday evening was crystal clear: to save democracy, constitution and the secular character of our polity, the first thing that is necessary is to oust the RSS-BJP combine from power. All other issues are secondary. Who will become the next Prime Minister from the opposition is irrelevant. What is relevant is to end the diarchy of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. From the speeches made by different party leaders with their own viewpoints, three common points...

The Supreme Court has struck down a thirteen year old ban on bar dancing which was stopped by the Maharashtra Government. It has set certain conditions regarding the period during which bar dancing can be held. The Maharashtra Government is trying to nullify the apex court order by issuing an ordinance to ban bar dancing again, on the plea of enforcing social morality. It is a part of the moral policing being done by the BJP-ruled States in many spheres of public life – from what a citizen should eat and wear to what he should see and read....