Newsletter May 13, 2018










As Karnataka went to the polls yesterday, a total of 70.91% of the electorate exercised their franchise.

Six out of eight major exit polls aired by six national TV channels and one regional channel, predicted that the BJP would get the largest number of seats in the new assembly.

Seven polls predicted a hung assembly, with neither the BJP nor the Congress getting to the simple majority mark of 112 seats. All these polls suggested that the JD(S) would be kingmaker, with the party predicted to get between 20 and 40 seats.

The predictions were made for 222 of the 224 seats in the assembly. Voting in Bengaluru’s Rajarajeshwari Nagar seat was deferred to May 28 after 9,896 voter ID cards were found in a city flat ahead of Saturday’s voting. Election for the Jayanagar seat was put off following the death of the BJP candidate.

The ABP-C Voter, NewsX-CNX, Republic-Jan ki Baat and News Nation exit polls predicted the BJP would be the largest party in the assembly. A similar prediction was made by the regional Dighvijay-Vijayawani survey.

Times Now broadcast two exit polls. One, Times Now-VMR, gave the Congress a narrow lead; the other, Times Now-Today’s Chanakya, gave the BJP a clear majority. The India Today-Axis exit poll said the Congress would be the single largest party.

The ABP-C Voter survey predicted 104-116 seats for the BJP, followed by 83-94 for the Congress, and 20-29 for the JD(S). NewsX-CNX predicted 102-110 seats for the BJP, 72-78 for the Congress, 35-39 for the JD (S), and 3-5 for others. The Republic-Jan ki Baat poll said the BJP would get 104, Congress 78, JD(S) 37, and others 3.

The Times Now-Chanakya poll said the BJP would get 120 seats. This was the only poll that predicted a majority for any party. The Congress, Times Now-Chanakya said, would get 73, JD(S) 26, and others 3. According to Times Now-VMR, however, the Congress will get 97 seats, and the BJP 94. The JD(S) will get 28, and others 3, it predicted.

The News Nation poll predicted 99-108 for the BJP, 75-84 for the Congress, 31-40 for the JD(S), and 3-7 for others. Dighvijay-Vijayawani gave 103-107 seats to the BJP, 76-80 to the Congress, 31-35 to the JD(S), and 4-8 to others.

The India Today-Axis poll was the only one to predict victory for the Congress. The ruling party will get between 106 and 118 seats, it said, followed by the BJP with 79-92, JD(S) with 22-30, and others with 1-4.

In 2013, the Congress had won 122 seats. The BJP and the JD(S) got 40 seats each, while Yeddyurappa’s then Karnataka Jantha Paksha got 6 seats and B Sriramulu’s Badavara Shramikara Raitara Congress Party bagged 4.





Nepal is sensitive to India’s interests and will not allow its territory to be used against India, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has assured his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

Briefing reporters at the end of Modi’s two-day visit to Nepal, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale on Saturday said it was a “significant statement” from Prime Minister Oli and India was “satisfied” with discussions.

“Oli reiterated that Nepal would be sensitive to India’s interests and its territory would not be used against India,” Gokhale said.

During a joint press meet on Friday after a one-on-one meeting with Oli, Modi had said that the open borders between India and Nepal played an important role in the strong bilateral ties.

“We will not allow its misuse by anti-social elements,” Modi said after the marathon delegation-level talks during which the two sides had extensive discussion on all aspects of the bilateral relationship.





Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that militant organisations are active in the country and questioned Islamabad’s policy to allow the “non-state actors” to cross the border and “kill” people in Mumbai. This is a rare admission from a top Pakistan political leader, almost 10 years after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008. His party is still in the ruling establishment, whose term expires in May-end.

Sharif, who has been disqualified from holding public office for life by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case, said Pakistan has isolated itself. “We have isolated ourselves. Despite giving sacrifices, our narrative is not being accepted. Afghanistan’s narrative is being accepted, but ours is not. We must look into it,” he said in an interview to Pakistan’s leading newspaper, Dawn.

Without naming Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Masood Azhar’s militant organisations — Jamaat-ud-Dawah and Jaish-e-Mohammad — operating in the country with impunity, Sharif said: “Militant organisations are active in Pakistan… Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill over 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial…..It’s absolutely unacceptable (to allow non-state actors to cross the border and commit terrorism there). President (Vladimir) Putin has said it. President Xi (Jinping) has said it,” he said.

Citing the military and judiciary establishment, Sharif said: “You can’t run a country if you have two or three parallel governments.





The Indian Army is opposed to a unilateral ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir, given an increase in the number of militant-initiated strikes in the state during the last truce, announced by then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, between December 2000 and May 2001. The army is worried that something similar could happen in the event of a ceasefire now.

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on May 9 urged the Narendra Modi government to take a leaf out of the previous National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s book and declare a unilateral ceasefire from the holy month of Ramzan in mid-May to the Amarnath Yatra in August.

The Indian Army and national security planners say that the so-called Non-Initiation of Combat Operations, or NICO, initiative will only work if Pakistan-based terrorist groups active in Kashmir also simultaneously announce a ceasefire.

Indian Army data indicates that before NICO was announced by Vajpayee, the total number of terrorist -initiated attacks in 2000 stood at 446. The number increased to 712 during the ceasefire and then went down to 708 (from June 2001 to December 2001), 542 in 2002, and then 450 in 2003. Army brass says that terrorists used the 2000 NICO to regroup and plan future operations in the Valley. Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists attacked the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001 and prior to that, Jaish terrorists attacked the J&K Assembly complex in Srinagar on October 1, 2001. India nearly went to war with Pakistan after the 2001 Parliament attack and May 2002 Kaluchak massacre.









North Korea said Saturday that it will dismantle its nuclear test site in less than two weeks, in a dramatic event that would set up leader Kim Jong Un’s summit with President Donald Trump next month.

In a statement carried by state media, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said that all of the tunnels at the country’s northeastern testing ground will be destroyed by explosion, and that observation and research facilities and ground-based guard units will also be removed.

Kim had already revealed plans to shut down the test site by the end of May during his summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in last month. Analysts say that while the closure of the site is important, it doesn’t represent a material step toward full denuclearization.

“A ceremony for dismantling the nuclear test ground is now scheduled between May 23 and 25,” depending on weather conditions, the Foreign Ministry’s statement said.

It said the North will invite journalists from the United States, South Korea, China, Russia and Britain to witness the dismantling process.





An assailant shouting “Allah Akbar” killed a passer-by in a knife attack that also wounded four others in the heart of Paris late on Saturday before he was shot dead by police, French authorities said.

French prosecutor Francois Molins told reporters the police’s anti-terrorism unit would launch an investigation, given the aggressor’s “mode of operation.” French President Emmanuel Macron praised officers for “neutralizing the terrorist.” France “will not yield an inch to the enemies of freedom,” Macron said on Twitter.

The country has been on high alert amid a series of attacks, commissioned or inspired by the Islamic State militant group, over the past three years that has killed dozens of people. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack in post via its Amaq news agency, but provided no proof for its claim. French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb called it an “odious” attack. It took place in the heart of the French capital in a district renowned for the Paris opera and many landmark retail stories.









Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah Saturday sought an immediate probe into the Army’s “serious misgivings and concerns” over the construction on land bought by top BJP leaders next to an ammunition depot in Nagrota in Jammu.

Lt Gen Saranjeet Singh, Corps Commander of the Army’s 16 Corps, had written to state assembly Speaker Nirmal Singh asking him to stop the construction, which he said violated a string of laws, and had “implications on the security of a major ammunition storage facility as well as the safety of all personnel living in close vicinity…”

Nirmal Singh had rejected the “politically motivated” opposition to the construction, which he said was “the Army’s view”, which was not binding on him.

Omar Abdullah said he had heard about BJP leaders buying land at throwaway prices, but “We didn’t know that the Army was opposing it because it is a security risk”. After the land was purchased, an “IIT, IIM, and a zoo were conveniently set up there by the government, close to this place”, Omar alleged. “BJP is so keen on CBI inquiries, so why not a CBI inquiry into this then?” he asked.

Independent legislator Engineer Rashid said: “If the most powerful man of Sangh Parivar is facing harassment at the hands of the Army, what could be the fate of the common man in J&K? Whenever Kashmiris allege harassment and brutalities by the Army, they are labelled as anti-nationals and Pakistani agents. Now when Dr Nirmal Singh, who has also been the deputy chief minister of the state, is claiming harassment at the hands of the Army, not only the state government, but the Army too must come out with the facts without delay.”





Stunned by the description of Bal Gangadhar Tilak in a Class VIII reference book in Rajasthan — which said the social reformer and freedom fighter was called the “Father of Terrorism” — the Tilak family in Pune has taken up the matter with the Rajasthan government.

They have urged the Rajasthan government to ensure that the derogatory remark is removed and sought a ban on the book. The family of Lokmanya Tilak has also demanded action against those who published the book and approved its content.

“We are shocked and angry that anybody could make such a derogatory remark about the man who gave 50 years of his 64-year-long life to the nation…this is how they treat him… calling him names, like they have done in the book meant for schoolchildren in Rajasthan… this is beyond comprehension,” said Mukta Tilak, the Mayor of Pune and great-granddaughter-in-law of Tilak.

The controversial part of the reference book, used by private English-medium schools affiliated to the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education, reads: “Bal Gangadhar Tilak demonstrated a path towards national movement, therefore, he is called as the father of terrorism.” While the mistake has been attributed to erroneous translation and was reportedly rectified in the revised edition of the book, the Tilak family said “colossal damage” has been done to the image and dignity of the freedom fighter.





After a gap of 10 months, chief minister Nitish Kumar met ” bada bhai” Lalu Prasad at the wedding of the RJD leader’s elder son Tej Pratap Yadav on Saturday evening.

In all these 10 months, since July 26 when Nitish broke away from the Grand Alliance with the RJD and Congress to rejoin hands with the BJP, Lalu and his family members have attacked the chief minister on a daily basis.

However, political rivalry took a backseat, even if for a fleeting 20 minutes, when Nitish visited the Veterinary Ground to offer his blessings to Tej Pratap and Aishwarya Rai, the granddaughter of former chief minister Daroga Prasad Rai.

Not only Lalu, even his younger son and leader of Opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, who attacks him on a daily basis, shared the sofa with the chief minister.

Lalu Prasad arrived on Thursday from Ranchi on parole for three days to attend the elder son’s marriage. But on Friday, the Ranchi High Court granted him six weeks bail on on medical grounds.

More than 30,000 people were set to attend the event, and many had poured in from all across Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, RJD state President Ram Chander Purve said.

It seems to be a lucky time for the family. Lalu got three-day parole, later on he was granted six-week provisional bail by Jharkhand High Court, Tejaswi Prasad and three other RJD leaders got sigh of relief in connection with CBI court notices and finally Rabri was promoted to Leader of Opposition in Bihar Legislative Council yesterday.





About a year ago, Apollo Institute of Management in Durg, Chhattisgarh, was about to release newspaper advertisements announcing its management programme. But it had to shelve the plan. The mandatory cap on annual fees made it financially unviable to run the college.

“We needed to charge a fee of Rs 80,000 per student per annum at least, but the state government capped it at Rs 35,000,” Manish Jain, director at the institute told Business Standard. It was impossible to have quality faculty and infrastructure under this regulation, he said. “We decided to shut it down.’’

This is not the only college to be shut down. A recent trend suggests that like engineering colleges, a number of management institutes (other than the top-rated schools such as Indian Institutes of Management or IIMs) are in the midst of closure for various reasons including lack of students, unavailability of quality faculty, use of artificial intelligence and current economic situation.

Data from All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), which regulates courses such as engineering, management, architecture, town planning and pharmacy, revealed that the number of management colleges has dropped from 3,609 in 2014-15 to 3,264 in 2017-18. This year alone, around 101 institutes requested the regulator to let them close their management courses.





Indian biologists have documented how wild juvenile bonnet macaques use a mix of coo-calls and hand gestures to request food from humans, a “novel behaviour” indicating intentional communication between untrained monkeys and unfamiliar people.

The behaviour appears to have emerged in at least two natural populations of bonnet macaques at Bandipur National Park in Karnataka, the researchers said after four months of observing the monkeys in the wild.

Scientists distinguish intentional communication, which is almost always directed at specific recipients and seeks to achieve a goal, from unintentional communication, which may be involuntary – such as an animal yelping in pain or screeching in anger.

The scientists studied two neighbouring populations of bonnet macaques, one with 60 individuals the other with 32, in Bandipur through natural observations as well as field experiments involving interactions between bonnet macaques and people.

The scientists observed 18 juveniles between the ages of two and four years that displayed food-requesting behaviour – coo-calls and hand-extension gestures specifically directed at people – that they say satisfy key criteria for intentional communication.

Their observations suggest that the mix of coo-calls and hand-extension gestures satisfied key criteria for intentional communication – the monkeys appeared to direct their vocal and visual signals to people with food, persisted with the requests and stopped when they received food.





Kolkata Knight Riders produced a superlative batting performance as they beat Kings XI Punjab by 31 runs to stay in contention for a playoff berth.

On a batting belter, KKR posted a mammoth 245/6, their highest ever total and fourth-highest in the history of the league. Sunil Narine once again left everyone spellbound with a 36-ball 75, while skipper Dinesh Karthik played an equally significant role with his 23-ball 50.

The chase was difficult but KL Rahul tried his best with a 28-ball 66, which was not enough as KXIP could only manage 214/8 in 20 overs.

In another match yesterday, skipper Virat Kohli scored 70 and AB de Villiers an unbeaten 72 as the duo shared 118 for the third wicket to power Royal Challengers Bangalore to a five-wicket win over last-placed Delhi Daredevils. Chasing a challenging 182 to win, RCB reached the target in 19 overs.


Team / Matches Won / Matches Played (so far)

Sunrisers Hyderabad  9/11; Chennai Super Kings 7/11; Kings XI Punjab 6/11; Kolkata Knight Riders 6/12;

Mumbai Indians 5/11; Rajasthan Royals 5/11; Royal Challengers Bangalore 4/11; Delhi Daredevils 3/12





No more effort is required to aim high in life, to demand abundance and prosperity, than is required to accept misery and poverty. – Napoleon Hill





GIRL to GOD: I don’t want to marry. I am educated, independent and self sufficient. I don’t need a husband. But my parents are asking me to marry. What to do ?

GOD replied: YOU are my finest creation and undoubtedly you will achieve many great things. But something’s inevitably will not go the way you want. Some thing may go worst, some things will fail. That time whom will you BLAME?

Will you blame yourself ?


GOD: Very good… That’s why you need a HUSBAND.

BOY to GOD: But then what will I do? Whom will I BLAME?

GOD: Your scope is much wider son. YOU can blame the govt, the education system, the legal system, the environment, the slow and fast growth of the economy, the politicians, the bureaucrats, the infrastructure, religious beliefs and even ME…



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