News, Newsletter

Newsletter – 16th May, 2018




Total Seats 224 – Polling held for 222 seats


Party / Seats Won / Percentage of Vote Polled


BJP 104 (votes 36.2%)

Indian National Congress 78 (votes 38.0%)

Janata Dal (Secular)     37  (votes 18.3%)

Bahujan Samaj Party    1

Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party            1

Independent      1


This fractured mandate in Karnataka has opened up a round of possibilities.

The Congress, beaten often in the recent past in the numbers game, appears to have seized the initiative. It had rushed some senior leaders to Karnataka on Monday, perhaps anticipating such an eventuality. On Tuesday, no sooner did it became clear that BJP will fall just short of the halfway mark, the Congress rushed to extend support to JD(S) and also offered it the chief minister’s chair.

Congress apparently knew that in order to get support from the JD(S) it must pander to the ambitions of HD Kumaraswamy (Deve Gowda’s son) who would settle for nothing less than the chief minister’s chair even though it is the junior partner in the post-poll ‘alliance’.

The combined strength of Congress and JD(S) is 116 right now with the BJP stuck at 104. While the alliance has the numbers, a significant fact is that it is a “post-poll alliance”, and not a “pre-poll alliance”.

If there had been a “pre-poll alliance”, Governor Vajubhai Vala would have had no option but to call the alliance partners to prove their majority. However, since there was no such alliance when all parties went to the polls, the Governor could call the single-largest party (SLP) for staking claim to form a government.

In view of the uncertainty, the Congress and JD(S) rushed to rajbhawan in the afternoon to put pressure on Governor.

Ironically, the kingmaker-turned-king – the JDS – actually has performed worse than it did in 2013, down from 40 seats to 37. The party’s vote share also dropped from 20.19 per cent to 18.4 per cent.





The Congress is all set to use the precedents set by the BJP to stake claim on government formation in Karnataka. After sealing a post-poll pact with the JD(S), claiming absolute majority and a 56 per cent vote share, Congress’ chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said all options were open, hinting at the party moving the courts, if push came to shove.

Congress’ confidence stems from the example the BJP set in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya to form governments in these states where the Congress had emerged the single largest party. The Governors in all these states invited a post-poll coalition led by the BJP to form government.

“The BJP’s claim that being the single largest party, it must be invited to form a government in Karnataka stands demolished by recent precedents set by them,” Surjewala said.

Congress legal eagles are ready to cite in their party’s favour the March 2017 Supreme Court judgment of then Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, who had refused to interfere with the order of the Goa Governor to invite the post-poll coalition led by BJP’s Manohar Parrikar to form a government in the state.

The party recalled how former President KR Narayanan had in March 1998 invited the BJP-led NDA leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee, leader of the largest coalition, to form a government at the Centre. In his March 12, 1998, order, KR Narayanan had said, “When no party or pre-election alliance of parties is in a clear majority, the Head of State has in India or elsewhere, given the first opportunity to the leader of the party or combination of parties that has won the largest number of seats, subject to the Prime Ministers so appointed obtaining majority support on the floor of the House within a stipulated time.”





Calling Karnataka a “big win” for the party, both PM Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah said they would not allow Opposition’s “attempts to subvert democracy”.

“Ever since it came to power at the Centre, the BJP has won 14 elections. Karnataka is its 15th consecutive win,” Shah said, addressing party workers at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi where celebrations were held to observe the party’s “victory” in Karnataka.

Terming the BJP’s Karnataka win “unparalleled and unprecedented” the PM said: “I want to assure the people of Karnataka that the BJP will not allow the state’s development journey to be trampled upon. It will not lag behind for ensuring the state a bright future.”

Modi accused the Congress of using money and muscle power during the Karnataka elections and dividing people on caste lines. The verdict has changed the perception that the BJP is only a party of the Hindi-speaking states, he added.

“Are Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, the northeastern states Hindi-speaking states? No, the BJP represents India and our proud diversity,” he said. Shah, meanwhile, termed Karnataka results as people’s trust in the Modi-led government’s “clean governance” and rejection of the Congress’s “dynastic politics”. “The BJP will form the government at the Centre in 2019,” he claimed.




Even as the Congress leadership tried to salvage the situation, party leaders and allies said it was time for the Congress to learn the “right lessons”, shed its “rigid” approach and opt for “tactical alliances” with regional parties to take on the BJP in 2019.

Regional forces like the Trinamool Congress, NCP, DMK and the Left said the Congress should read the writing on the wall and join hands with state parties if it was serious about taking on the BJP. They said the Congress should take the lead in forging alliances, but without setting any condition.

“Congress should take the leadership to unite all the democratic, secular and anti-BJP parties, and it should be well-planned. Our planning may have to be changed state to state. Not only from a national perspective, but from a regional perspective. For example, in Kerala, the Congress and CPI(M) may not be able to go together. But outside Kerala, we can go together. Similarly, what is our strategy with Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar? Congress has to be at the forefront,” said former Union minister K V Thomas.

West Bengal CM and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee tweeted, “If the Congress had gone into an alliance with the JD(S), the result would have been different. Very different.”

The NCP, DMK and Left agreed. “We have been saying that secular parties should come together to defeat the BJP. Congress was over-confident. And they never made any attempt. Unfortunately, they don’t learn their lesson.… whether it was possible or not, an attempt should have been made with the JD(S),” CPI general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy said.

“The Congress should have allied with the JD(S). The problem with the party is that they want everything. They should have told the JD(S) that you run the show, we will support you, and in Parliament you give us more seats. It would have helped them in 2019,” said DMK’s T K S Elangovan.

Airing similar views, NCP’s Tariq Anwar said the Congress got more votes than the BJP in Karnataka. “This is not the defeat of the Congress or the leadership. A prior understanding with the JD(S) would have worked better… If you want to defeat the BJP, you (Congress) will have to go with the regional parties.”






North Korea said it was suspending high-level talks with South Korea scheduled for later today due to U.S.-South Korean military exercises that it said went against the trend of warming North-South ties.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency also cast doubt on whether next month’s summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US. President Donald Trump could go ahead as planned.

“This exercise, targeting us, which is being carried out across South Korea, is a flagrant challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration and an intentional military provocation running counter to the positive political development on the Korean Peninsula,” KCNA said. “The United States will also have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-U.S. summit in light of this provocative military ruckus jointly conducted with the South Korean authorities.”

Wednesday’s meeting was due to focus on plans to implement a declaration that emerged from an April 27 inter-Korea summit in the border village of Panmunjom, including promises to formally end the Korean War and pursue “complete denuclearization,” the South’s unification ministry, which handles ties with the North, said on Tuesday.

KCNA called the U.S.-South Korean “Max Thunder” air combat drills, which it said involved U.S. stealth fighters and B-52 bombers, a “provocation” and said Pyongyang had no choice but to suspend the talks.



Israel faced a growing backlash on Tuesday and new charges of using excessive force, a day after Israeli troops firing from across a border fence killed 59 Palestinians and wounded more than 2,700 at a mass protest in Gaza.

Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador, while Ireland and Belgium summoned Israeli envoys. Leading European countries and the UN human rights office called for an investigation of the bloodshed, and the UN Security Council held a moment of silence for the Palestinians killed on Monday as it opened discussions on the Gaza situation.

Israel says it has the right to defend its border against a possible mass breach and accuses Gaza’s Hamas rulers of trying to carry out attacks under the cover of the protests. A military spokesman said on Tuesday that 14 of those killed a day earlier were involved in attacks.



Pakistan’s former dictator General Pervez Musharraf has attacked Nawaz Sharif and blamed the ousted prime minister for withdrawing from Kargil in 1999 under pressure from India when the Pakistan Army was in a “dominating position“.

Gen. Musharraf, who was the army chief during the Kargil War, also demanded that Mr. Sharif should be tried for treason for his controversial remarks on the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

The 74-year-old retired general, facing a slew of cases in Pakistan, has been living in Dubai since last year when he was allowed to leave the country for medical treatment.

Elaborating on the Kargil war and its happenings, Musharraf said that Pakistan was in a dominating position in five different fronts in the war, and that the then-prime minister was briefed on the situation at least two times.

He rejected Mr. Sharif’s claims that he was not taken into confidence about the withdrawal of the Pakistan Army from Kargil.

“He kept asking me whether we should withdraw,” said Gen. Musharraf in his video statement.







Eighteen persons were killed and several feared trapped under debris as a section of an under-construction flyover collapsed in front of the Cantonment railway station in Varanasi, PM Narendra Modi’s constituency, on Tuesday evening.

Rescue workers managed to extricate three persons alive from the debris. Witnesses said the toll could go up as over 10 four-wheelers and a 32-seater bus were trapped. Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath announced a three-member panel to probe into the mishap and give its report in 48 hours.

The CM, who left for Varanasi from Lucknow late in the evening, announced Rs 5 lakh as compensation for the kin of the deceased and Rs 2 lakh for the injured.



Mukul Rohatgi, who once represented the government in the Lokpal case as the attorney general, has been named the “eminent jurist” on the search panel to find the chairman and other members of the anticorruption watchdog.

Rohatgi was nominated to the panel by a high-level committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice Dipak Misra and the Lok Sabha Speaker.

The leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, did not turn up after he was asked to join the process as a special invitee and not as one of its members.

Though the Lokpal Act had made the Leader of the Opposition a part of the consultative process, the central government has resisted co-opting the Congress into the process on the ground that it had not secured the minimum number of seats required for its leader to be declared the Leader of the Opposition.

The government had also cited this as one of the reasons why it was yet to give effect to the Lokpal Act, enacted under the Congress regime. It had declared that it would tighten the law to smoothen its working further.



The Supreme Court on Tuesday acquitted Navjot Singh Sidhu of the charge of causing an elderly man’s death in a road brawl but fined him for a fist blow on the victim, sparing the cricketer-turned-politician a jail term in the 1988 case.

A bench of Justices J. Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul cited lack of medical evidence as it reversed the three-year sentence Punjab and Haryana High Court had handed Sidhu and co-accused Rupinder Singh Sandhu.

The high court had in 2007 held them guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Sidhu was accused of beating up Gurnam Singh, 65, in Patiala after an altercation over whose car should cross the road first. Gurnam was taken to a hospital where he was declared dead.

The top court said there was neither adequate medical evidence to prove that Gurnam’s death was due to the fist blows, nor that Sidhu wanted to kill him. It said the sessions court, which had acquitted Sidhu and Sandhu, had rightly concluded that the death was apparently due to cardiac arrest.



The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed realty firm Supertech Ltd to deposit Rs 50 million more within four weeks to refund to the home-buyers who have taken loan from banks and opted out of its building project in Noida area of Uttar Pradesh.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the submission of lawyer Gaurav Agrawal, who is assisting it as an amicus curiae, that the money to the tune of Rs 104 million, which was lying with the apex court registry, should be utilised to pay back the home buyers in its Emerald Towers project comprising two 40-storey residential buildings.

The bench considered the submission of Shoeb Alam, one of the counsel for the hassled customers, that the refund be termed as compensation, otherwise the recipients would be levied income tax on the refund. The court accepted the plea.

“The home-buyers who are agreeable to the said amount may indicate to Gaurav Agrawal, so that the amount can be disbursed and the controversy can be put to rest,” the bench said.



In a setback to Google India, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal has upheld a tax demand on the search engine’s remittances of advertisement revenue to Google Ireland Ltd.

The Bangalore bench of the ITAT, in a 331-page order, upheld the tax department’s contention that such payments are royalty and therefore subject to withholding tax.

Google India said it will challenge the ruling in the high court.

For the assessment year 2012-13, the tax department had found Rs 1,114.91 crore to have been credited to Google Ireland Ltd (GIL) without deduction of tax at source. And so, it issued a tax demand of Rs 258.84 crore.



Skuli Mogensen’s airline, Wow, is offering a deal that’s unheard of in the aviation world. In December, Wow will launch the cheapest return flight from India to East Coast (US) at Rs 27,000 — this is less than half of the next cheapest flight.

A Wow Air flight will take off from Delhi early morning; take about 11 hours to reach Reykjavic and another six hours to Washington after a two and a half hour layover.

The low fares will come with a discernible sea-change in service quality and minus the luxury which comes as an essential part of any long-haul travel.


Things seem to be falling into place for the Kolkata Knight Riders as the business end of IPL XI draws near. On Tuesday, with two overs remaining, they completed a six-wicket victory over Rajasthan Royals.

A target of 143 wasn’t going to be difficult for the Knight Riders after choosing to field. The slowness of the wicket, however, did make stroke-making a bit tougher, but their proximity to the conditions helped Karthik and Co.

Dinesh Karthik once again played the role of a finisher to perfection, but the meagre target did make his job a bit easier. The Knight Riders captain remained unbeaten on 41 off 31 balls.


Team / Matches Won / Matches Played (After 49 matches, with 7 to go before Play-offs)

Sunrisers Hyderabad  9/12; Chennai Super Kings 8/12; Kolkata Knight Riders 7/13; Rajasthan Royals 6/13;

Kings XI Punjab 6/12; Mumbai Indians 5/12; Royal Challengers Bangalore 5/12; Delhi Daredevils 3/12



Sensex 35,544 (-13), Nifty 10,802 (-4), Trading Value NSE (Rs.crores) 33,295

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US$-Rs. 67.84 GBP-Rs. 91.75, Euro-Rs. 80.63, UAE Dhm-Rs.18.46, Can$-Rs. 52.82, Aus$- Rs. 50.84

GBP 0.73 /US$, Euro 0.84 /US$, Jap.Yen 110.07 /US$, Aus$ 1.33 /US$, Sing 1.34 /US$, Bang Taka 83.61 /US$, Can$ 1.28 /US$, Mal Ring 3.95 /US$,

Pak Re 115.45 /US$, Phil Peso 52.50 /US$, Russian Rouble 62.10 /US$, NZ$ 1.45 /US$, Thai Baht 31.97 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 26.08 /US$

Bitcoin – USD 8,622

Dollar Index 93.09 Brent Crude 78.19  BDI 1476

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,294 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 3188 / 3000, Silver (Rs. Per KG) 43,300



If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.  – Abraham Maslo



An elderly couple was celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. They walked to their school where they had once studied together. On their way back home, a bag of money fell out of a car, practically landing at their feet. Sally quickly picked it up and, not sure what to do with it, they took it home. There, she counted the money – fifty thousand dollars!

Jerry said, “We’ve got to give it back.” Sally said, “Finders keepers.” She put the money back in the bag and hid it in their attic.

The next day, two police officers, who were canvassing the neighbourhood looking for the money, knocked on their door. “Pardon me, did either of you find a bag that fell out of a car yesterday?”

Sally said, “No.”

Jerry said, “She’s lying. She hid it up in the attic.”

Sally said, “Don’t believe him, he’s getting senile.”

The agents turned to Jerry and began to question him.

One said, “Tell us the story from the beginning.”

Jerry said, “Well, when Sally and I were walking home from school yesterday….”

The first police officer turned to his partner and said, “Buddy, let’s get out of here.”

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