Bharatiya Janata Party plays waiting game in Karnataka for power

Riding on its landslide win in the recent Lok Sabha elections at the national and state levels, an upbeat Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is waiting for the fall of the year-old JD-S-Congress coalition government in Karnataka to return to power in the southern state.

“We are in no hurry or desperate for power. We don’t have to topple the coalition government, as it will fall on its own soon due to dissidence in the Congress and serious differences between the ruling allies on several issues, including power-sharing,” BJP’s state unit spokesman G. Madhusudan told IANS on Thursday.

The resignation of two Congress legislators Anand Singh and rebel leader Ramesh Jarkiholi on July 1 from their assembly seats has made the BJP hope for more lawmakers of the ruling ally to quit, which will reduce the fledgling government into a minority and call for a trust-vote.

In the 225-member Assembly, including one nominated, the BJP has 105, Congress 78, excluding the Speaker, JD-S 37, BSP 1, regional outfit KPJP 1 and one Independent.

With the support of the BSP, KPJP and Independent, the ruling allies have 118, which is 5 more than the halfway mark (113) for a simple majority.

“If the Speaker (K.R. Ramesh Kumar) accepts resignations of Singh and Jarkiholi and 4 more Congress members resign, then a trail of strength on the floor of the Assembly will be inevitable as the coalition government’s strength will be less than the halfway mark,” asserted Madhusudan.

Denying any role in the resignation of Singh and Jarkiholi or instigating more Congress legislators to quit, the BJP has also decided not to move trust-vote against the government in the ensuing 10-day monsoon session of the state legislature from July 12, as the numbers are not in its favour yet.

“We are not going to burn our fingers again. Though a dozen unhappy Congress MLAs approached us even earlier to join our party (BJP) after resigning and contesting the by-elections that will follow, we have told them that they were welcome but without any condition or demand,” said the spokesman.

With the ruling allies bickering over the rout in the 2019 general elections, as both won only one parliamentary seat each to retain Bangalore Rural by the Congress and Hassan by the JD-S, they both are desperate to continue the coalition government, ostensibly to keep the BJP out of power, though it is only 8 short of the halfway mark for simple majority.

The BJP won 26 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats it contested in the state and supported Independent Sumalatha Ambareesh to win the Mandya seat, about 100km southwest of Bengaluru.

A split verdict in the May 2018 assembly elections threw up a hung house, with none of the three mainstream parties having numbers to form the government of its own.

Though the Congress and JD-S fought against each other in the assembly polls, they formed a post-poll alliance and came to power on May 23, 2018 after the 3-day BJP government resigned on May 19, 2018 for want of even a simple majority in the lower House.

“We will wait for our turn to stake claim for power if the dozen rebel Congress MLAs withdraw support to the government by giving such a joint letter to the state Governor (Vajubhai Vala), who will, in turn, ask the Speaker to conduct a trust vote to assess if the ruling alliance has the majority,” said Madhusudan.

Claiming that there was no threat to the government and would complete its 5-year term, Congress spokesman Ravi Gowda told IANS that the ruling allies were determined to stay put and thwart the BJP’s desperate attempts to wrest power from them.

“Efforts are on address the concerns of some of our legislators who are unhappy for not getting cabinet posts or becoming chairmen of boards or corporations although they are aware of the limitation in sharing them (posts) in a coalition government where they are shared with the ally (JD-S),” added Gowda.

Gowda also hastened to clarify that the Speaker did not yet accept the resignations of Singh and Jarkiholi and ruled out any more party legislator quitting ahead of the assembly session.



BSP, President Mayawati slams Yogi for proposed power hike

Bahujan Samaj Party President Mayawati has slammed the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh for proposing a hike in power tariff.

Mayawati said that the proposed hike would have the biggest impact on families living below the poverty line (BPL).

“The BJP is turning its ‘Saubhagya’ scheme (free power connections to BPL families) into a ‘Durbhagya’ Scheme. The party has just won the elections and is now targeting those who voted it back to power,” she said.

Mayawati said that the BJP government had ensured its success in elections by giving free power connections to BPL families but the proposed increase in power tariffs will hurt this class the most.

The BSP president said that the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh has hit rock bottom and crime against women has touched an all-time high.

“Instead of focusing on crime control, the Yogi government is preparing to add to the burden of the common man,” she pointed out.

The UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) proposal for an increase in power tariffs, if implemented will mean a 53 per cent increase in power rates for the BPL consumers, 23 per cent increase for domestic consumers and a 25 per cent increase for agricultural consumers.

The UP Power Consumer Council has also stated that after the proposed hike in power tariff, the income of the UPPCL will rise substantially.

“The total revenue of the UPPCL at present is Rs 58,403 crore and after the hike, this will rise to Rs 65,923 crore, which implies an increase of Rs 7,520 crore,” Council chairman Avadesh Varma said.

The Council said that domestic consumers will contribute Rs 4,117 crore and farmers will give Rs 787 crore which means that the biggest impact of the increase will be felt by domestic consumers and farmers.

Janata Dal (United) has also decried the proposed hike in power tariff. JD(U) spokesman Prof K.K. Tripathi has demanded that the proposal should be withdrawn at the earliest and the consumers should not be made to face additional financial burden.



Rahat Indori shares ‘power cut’ pain with MP CM

Frustrated with long power cuts in Madhya Pradesh amid the ongoing heat wave, Urdu poet Rahat Indori on Sunday shared his pain with Chief Minister
Kamal Nath and state Power Minister Priyavrat Singh on Twitter.

“Electricity failures are a routine nowadays. There has been no power for three hours today. It’s Ramzan and hot, and noone’s picking the phone in Indore Power company (@mppkvvclindore). Please help,” Indori tweeted tagging the post to the office of the Chief Minister Kamal Nath and state Power Minister Priyavrat Singh.

Replying to the tweet, Higher Education Minister Jitu Patwari said: “The power supply has been affected due to the sandstorms over the past few days. But it has been rectified. Electricity staff should be rewarded for the hours they spent fixing the faults.”




Rahul to blame if Modi-Shah return to power; Kejriwal

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said that Congress President Rahul Gandhi will be responsible if Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes back to power in the Lok Sabha polls.

Speaking to the media over a possible alliance between the AAP and Congress in the national capital, he said his party would have left all the seven seats for Congress if it was in a position to win. “But the Congress cannot win even a single seat in Delhi.”

“They don’t have an intention (to forge an alliance). For the past two months we have been trying for an alliance. I am saying this with huge sadness that if Modi and (BJP President Amit) Shah return to power, only one person will be responsible — Rahul Gandhi.

“The way he is weakening the opposition in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Goa, Chandigarh and Haryana, this is not a good thing,” the Delhi Chief Minister said after releasing AAP’s Delhi manifesto.

He said his party was giving a tough fight to the BJP and claimed “we can defeat the BJP in Delhi”.

Kejriwal said the AAP was born amid corruption charges during Congress rule.

“The thought of an alliance with the Congress was something we could not even think of at one point. But the tough situation the country is facing made us take such a decision.”

The talks between the AAP and Congress for an alliance in Delhi were on for some time but both the parties will now contest the May 12 Lok Sabha battle in Delhi on their own.

Kejriwal also slammed Rahul Gandhi for tweeting discussions related to the alliance. “Where in the world an alliance took place on Twitter or through newspaper headlines?”



Will probe Rafale deal if voted to power says Congress

The Congress on Tuesday promised that if the party is voted to power it will probe the controversial defence deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets signed by the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Dassault Aviation.

“Congress will enforce anti-corruption laws without discrimination…,” the party manifesto said.

It will investigate several deals entered into by the BJP government in the last 5 years and, in particular, the Rafale deal, it added.

Earlier, Bhalchandra Mungekar, one of the members of the party’s manifesto committee, told reporters that the inquiry into the Rafale deal will be initiated on the “first day after coming to power”.

The party also promised to probe the circumstances under which industrialists and fugitives like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi fled the country.

“Congress will also investigate the circumstances under which a number of scamsters were allowed to leave the country and will take determined steps to bring them back and face legal proceedings,” the manifesto released here by top Congress leaders including its President Rahul Gandhi, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said.


IMB News Room

ELECTION 2019 | Power, Money & Luxurious Life | Farhan Hoda

ELECTION 2019 | Power, Money & Luxurious Life | Farhan Hoda


Congress to build Ram temple if it takes power; Harish Rawat

Congress General Secretary Harish Rawat on Friday said the party will launch sincere efforts to build a grand Ram Temple at Ayodhya if it comes to power after the Lok Sabha elections.

“On two previous occasions, the Congress made sincere attempts to build the Ram temple when it was in power. We will sincerely launch efforts to build the Ram temple if we come to power,” Rawat told reporters here.

Asked whether this the party’s official stand, Rawat quipped: “My statement regarding the Ram temple was widely reported in the media. There is no denial from the Congress.”

He accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of being insincere on the issue. “BJP is only doing politics on the Ram temple issue,” said Rawat. The government must work as a facilitator for building the temple, he said.

On the Pulwama suicide bombing, Rawat accused the BJP of projecting Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the only nationalist in the country.

“I have strong objections on the projection of Modi as the only nationalist in India. We all are nationalists. Everybody in the country is a nationalist,” Rawat said.

Criticizing the Uttarakhand BJP government on its budget presented this week, Rawat said the declining agriculture and manufacturing growth in the state was a matter of grave concern.

He said nearly a dozen factories had been closed in the state after the November 7 investors meet. He also claimed that of the nine lakh farmers in the state, 50,000 have quit farming in the past two years.

Rawat said the government’s decision to relax the stringent land laws would force the people to migrate to other states.

“Top industrialists like Adani and Ramdev would buy all the land. There will be no land left for living,” said Rawat.




India will provide power to citizens at affordable cost; President

India is committed to provide power to all citizens at affordable cost as well as boost the national economy through an industrial revolution, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Wednesday.

The President spoke after inaugurating the International Conference and Exhibition on Energy and Environment: Challenges and Opportunities (ENCO 2019) here.

He said that in today’s era of rapid technological advance, energy and environment were major concerns not only for developing countries but also for developed countries.

Global trends showed that coal will remain the predominant energy source for most countries, including India, while renewable sources will also grow, he said.

The President said that India was committed to provide power to all citizens at affordable cost as well as boost the national economy through an industrial revolution.

He urged participants of the Conference to come up with actionable ideas on environmental issues related to the use of fossil fuels and viable alternatives.

The conference was organised by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.

India will provide power to citizens at affordable cost: President



If ‘thugs’ come to power, India’s growth will decline; Shah

India’s growth will decline and pace of development will be derailed if “thugs” came to power in the coming Lok Sabha elections, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah warned here on Saturday.

Stating that the BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi “gave a new direction of development” to the nation since 2014, he said the elections will decide the future of the country.

“What could not be achieved in 55 years has been achieved by Modiji in the past 55 months. The BJP stressed on ‘vikas’ (development) and the latest budget has done justice to all sections of the society,” Shah said while addressing a meeting of party leaders, including Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Reiterating that the BJP is a party of workers and not leaders, he said in the past five years, it has virtually wiped out the influence of ‘one family’, crushed casteist-communal type of politics, rid the country of corruption and catapulted it on the path of rapid development.

Criticising the opposition parties, he said nobody can stop the BJP’s victory chariot in the coming elections, “and no opposition Grand Alliance can prevent us from returning to power”.

Fadnavis said the 2020-2035 period was critical for the country as it was poised to overtake the economies of China and the US. To ensure that the “strong development agenda continues unhindered” it was imperative to vote for the BJP in the next elections, he said.

He urged the people of Maharashtra to ensure the BJP’s and its allies victory in all of the state’s 48 Lok Sabha seats.



Omar promises division status to Chenab Valley, Pir Panchal if voted to power

Reacting to the Jammu and Kashmir government’s decision to grant separate division status to the Ladakh region, former Chief Minister of the state Omar Abdullah said on Friday that he would grant similar status to Chenab Valley and Pir Panchal areas if Jammu & Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) is voted to power.

“After the elections of 2019, should the people of J&K repose faith in @JKNC_ our government will grant division status to Chenab valley & Pir Panchal regions as already laid out in our regional autonomy promise,” Omar tweeted. 

In another tweet, Omar said, “We will take care of regional & sub-regional aspirations. We won’t adopt the pick & choose approach of the Governor but will instead take a holistic view & address the wider problems. Our regional autonomy document will be our template.”

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has welcomed the decision to create a separate administrative division for Ladakh, but added that in the same spirit, administrative division status should have been given to the Chenab Valley and Pir Panchal areas of the state.

“I welcome the decision although both Leh and Kargil already had hill development councils.

“Similarly, the far off Chenab Valley and Pir Panchal areas should have been given separate division status while granting division status to the Ladakh region,” she said.


Science & Technology

Facebook bans 4 groups in Myanmar for spreading hate, inciting violence

Facebook has banned four groups in Myanmar involved in spreading hate and inciting violence in the country.

The company designated the Arakan Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, Kachin Independence Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army as “dangerous organisations”.

“These armed groups are now banned from Facebook and all related praise, support and representation will be removed as soon as we become aware of it,” the social media giant said in a statement late on Tuesday.

Since last August, Facebook has taken down three networks who were misrepresenting who they were and what they were doing and some banned Myanmar military officials to prevent the spread of hate and misinformation.

“There is clear evidence that these organisations have been responsible for attacks against civilians and have engaged in violence in Myanmar, and we want to prevent them from using our services to further inflame tensions on the ground,” said the company.

Coming under fire for not doing enough to stop the misuse of its platform from spreading hate in Myanmar, Facebook in November promised to invest more in people, technology and partnerships to make the social network a safer place.

Facebook said it was looking into establishing a separate policy that defines its approach to content moderation with respect to human rights, as per recommendation from San Francisco-based nonprofit Business for Social Responsibility (BSR).

BSR was commissioned by Facebook to make an independent human rights impact assessment on the role of the social network’s services in Myanmar.

In April last year, the Guardian reported that hate speech on Facebook in Myanmar had exploded during the Rohingya crisis, which was caused by a crackdown by the military in Rahkine state in August 2017.

Facebook bans 4 Myanmar groups