Newsletter 18th May, 2018




Hours after the Supreme Court declined to stay his swearing-in ceremony, BJP legislature party leader BS Yeddyurappa took oath as the Karnataka chief minister on Thursday even as the development created ripples in Goa, Bihar, Meghalaya and Manipur. Citing the Karnataka ‘model’, Congress units of Goa, Meghalaya and Mizoram said they would approach respective state governors to stake claim to form the government by virtue of being the single largest party. RJD, which is the single largest party in Bihar with 80 MLAs, also reiterated the same idea and Tejashwi Yadav said they would meet the governor on Friday as well as hold a day-long agitation to protest against “the murder of democracy in Karnataka”.

With a three-judge Supreme Court bench to continue hearing the Congress’ petition on Friday, the Grand Old Party called Yeddyurappa a “one day chief minister”. “BS Yeddyurappa will prove to be a one day chief minister and half the day is already gone,” quipped Congress national spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, hours after the 75-year-old leader was administered the oath of office by Governor Vajubhai Vala.

Yeddyurappa took the oath in the name of god and farmers amid loud chants of “Modi, Modi” at a low-profile ceremony at Raj Bhavan. ‘I am 100 per cent sure of the success,’ Yeddyurappa said, striking a confident note on emerging victorious in the trial of strength in the assembly. “I am not going to wait till 15 days… I am keen to do it as soon as possible,” he said in a press conference. Yeddyurappa also appealed to the legislators to vote according to their “conscience” and uphold the people’s mandate.

Even as Yeddyurappa was taking oath at Raj Bhavan, Congress and JD(S) leaders converged at Mahatma Gandhi’s statue near Vidhana Sauda, the state secretariat, to protest against the governor’s decision.


Amid the drama over government formation in Karnataka, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said the situation in the country was similar to that in Pakistan under “dictatorship”.

Addressing an event in Raipur, he alleged there was an atmosphere of fear in the country and the Constitution was under “severe attack”, with even the institutions such as the judiciary and the press being suppressed and threatened.

“The JD(S) leader has said its MLAs were offered Rs 100 crore,” the Congress president said, apparently referring to H D Kumaraswami who had made the allegation.

Gandhi said, “One after another, you can see in every democratic institution in the country,..the RSS is trying to induct its people.” He also attacked the Centre over the independence of the judiciary. “There is fear in the judiciary, there is fear in the press, and even the BJP’s members of Parliament are scared as they cannot speak a single word before the prime minister,” said Gandhi.

In the last 70 years, it was generally seen that the people approached the judiciary for seeking justice, he said.  “But for the first time, it was seen that four judges of the Supreme Court appeared before the press and sought support from the public, saying they were being suppressed and not allowed to perform their duties.

He was apparently referring to the unprecedented press conference by four senior judges of the Supreme Court in January this year to express their grievances against the Chief Justice of India.

In a reposte, BJP president Amit Shah said: “The ‘Murder of Democracy’ happens the minute a desperate Congress made an ‘opportunist’ offer to the JD(S), not for Karnataka’s welfare but for their petty political gains. Shameful!” Shah tweeted. “The legacy of Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s Party is the horrific Emergency, blatant misuse of Article 356, subverting the courts, media and civil society.”




Determined to deny the BJP a majority in the Karnataka House yet nervous that their own may be poached, leaders of the Congress and JD(S) made their newly elected MLAs board buses for the overnight journey from Bengaluru to Kochi in Kerala where they plan to stay till the floor test.

The Congress and JD(S) had drawn plans to fly them to Kochi on board chartered aircraft but when that didn’t work out, leaders decided not to wait and asked the MLAs to board the buses for the 550-km journey. JD(S) spokesperson Kunwar Danish Ali said: “Three flights were to arrive in Bengaluru from Hyderabad to take Congress and JD(S) MLAs to Kochi. However, the planes were denied permission. No reason was given. The MLAs will now travel aboard buses to Kochi.”

With the two parties claiming that permission had been denied to the aircraft, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation clarified late Thursday that no permit was required from the regulator to operate charter flights in India.

For the Congress, the first signs of worry began 4 pm Thursday. Hours after B S Yeddyurappa was sworn in as Chief Minister, the police security detail outside the Eagleton golf resort, where 76 Congress MLAs were holed up, was withdrawn and the local Superintendent of Police transferred. With no policemen outside, the Congress turned to the resort security detail and an army of party workers to enforce access control. And the going was not easy.

At the Shangri-la 37 km away, all JD (S) MLAs met at the banquet hall. “We are only chalking out strategy, nothing else. We are a strong unit, nobody can break us,” a party leader said. Unlike the Congress which had to enforce security at the resort, the JD (S) appeared more confident.


BSP supremo Mayawati on Thursday cautioned Congress against undermining regional parties and using language for political expediency that eventually “help the BJP” electorally.

To buttress her argument, Mayawati recalled Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s charge against the JD(S) —- her party’s pre-election alliance partner in Karnataka —- by calling it the “B-team of BJP”. She maintained that this helped the BJP in the polls.

Singling out Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s bitter verbal attack on the JD(S) during the campaign phase, Mayawati stated, “It is now apparent how they (Congress) in election speeches dubbed the JD(S) as the B-team of BJP, particularly in regions with significant Muslim population, (thereby) causing division in votes. This resulted in victory mostly of BJP candidates in these regions. BJP could not have reached (the stage where it has) 104 MLAs had the Congress not indulged in this kind of rhetoric.”

In his public meetings in the run-up to the May 12 polls, Rahul had accused the H D Deve Gowda-led party of tacitly allying with the BJP to defeat the Congress. At a rally in Hassan, he had called JD(S) the “B team” of BJP, and that it will support the saffron party through the “back door” in the polls.







The Trump administration said Thursday there are no plans to change or reduce the scope of current US-South Korean military exercises that triggered an angry reaction from North Korea and cast doubt on President Donald Trump’s upcoming summit with Kim Jong Un. The North abruptly canceled a planned meeting with South Korean officials over the drills and threatened to pull out of the summit, set for June 12 in Singapore, over the US insistence on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

But Trump said Thursday that nothing has changed with respect to North Korea after the warning from Pyongyang. He said North Korean officials are discussing logistical details about the meeting with the US “as if nothing happened.”

The North has argued that it needs its nuclear weapons to preserve its security, and has expressed concerns about giving up its nuclear program. The North cites the example of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who died at the hands of rebel forces amid a popular uprising in October 2011; he had given up his nuclear program in the 2000s.

Trying to address the North Korean concerns, the president said that if Kim were to agree to denuclearize, “he’ll get protections that would be very strong.” But Trump warned that failure to make a deal could have grave consequences for Kim. Mentioning what happened in Libya, Trump said: “That model would take place if we don’t make a deal.”





British Prime Minister Theresa May agreed with the leaders of Germany and France on Thursday to uphold the Iran nuclear deal after meeting on the sidelines of an EU summit in Bulgaria, May’s spokeswoman said.

May met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from a nuclear deal between Iran and major powers. Trump has since imposed new sanctions.

“The leaders reiterated their firm commitment to ensuring the deal is upheld, stressing that it is important for our shared security,” the spokeswoman said.

“They pledged to work with the many parties to the deal to this end. The leaders stressed that Iran must continue to meet its own obligations under the deal.”

Merkel said EU countries agreed the Iran nuclear deal was “not perfect” but insisted it should be preserved, after the US withdrawal threw the accord into doubt.

Shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk on Thursday joined a growing list of companies preparing to call a halt to doing business with Iran, casting doubts on whether European leaders can keep alive the deal. Maersk’s move comes a day after French energy group Total and other European companies signalled they could exit Iran ahead of a reimposition of sanctions following the US’ decision to pull out of the Iran accord.

Maersk chief executive Soren Skou said: “With the sanctions the Americans are to impose, you can’t do business in Iran if you also have business in the US, and we have that on a large scale. I am certain that we’re also going to shut down (in Iran).”






The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) looked set to sweep the three-tier panchayat polls in the state as the results poured in on Thursday. The BJP emerged a distant second in most districts of the state, leaving the CPI(M) and Congress behind.

Of the 31,812 gram panchayat seats where polls were held, TMC had won 20,441 seats (64.2 per cent) and was leading in 315 seats till 9.30 pm. The BJP emerged second, winning 5,465 seats (17.1 per cent) and leading in 28 seats. While independent candidates won 1,741 seats, the CPI(M) won 1,415 seats and was leading in 13 seats, and the Congress got 993 seats.

The panchayat polls on Monday were marred by widespread violence, resulting in the death of 14 people. Polling was held in only 66 per cent of the total seats, as the TMC won 34 per cent of the seats uncontested.

“The CPI(M), Congress, BJP and Maoists came together and contested the elections against the TMC. The TMC has still won 90 per cent of the seats. The credit for this goes to the people. There were some sporadic incidents of violence, and ruling party workers were killed in most of these cases. Of the 13 people who were killed, 10 were from the TMC. The CPI(M) and BJP together killed them. FIRs have been lodged in each case. Despite the malicious campaign by the opposition, we have won the elections,” Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee said.




The Maharashtra government on Thursday rolled out a new plan to take Mumbai towards a slum-free status. Under this plan, over 18 lakh slum dwellers residing in slum tenements, that came up between 2000 and 2011, have now been guaranteed a replacement house. However, it will not be for free. All these residents would need to pay for the new housing using the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana’s interest subvention scheme.

According to the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA), more than 62 lakh people — or one-half of the city’s population — resides in 12.5 lakh slum tenements, collectively spread over just 8 per cent of Mumbai’s geographical area.

The Mumbai slum-free plan was kicked off in 1995, with the then Shiv Sena-BJP led government entitling hutments that had come up prior January 1, 1995 to a free replacement house. The Congress-NCP-led government later changed this cut-off date for free housing to January 1, 2000. With almost every second city resident living in a slum, government sources admitted that the proposal will have a major impact on the city’s social fabric and the infrastructure.


Bollywood, which often balks at taking a stand on political issues, has found an unfamiliar voice in actor-producer Uday Chopra. Uday, the younger son of the late filmmaker Yash Chopra, had posted a Twitter repartee on Tuesday on the possible outcome of the efforts at government-formation in Karnataka.

“I just googled the governor of Karnataka….BJP guy and RSS hmmm I guess we all know what’s gonna happen,” Uday, 45, had tweeted at 5.01pm on Tuesday.

Uday’s forecast was greeted with a barrage of vitriolic trolling, making personal attacks and taunting him for his not-so-successful acting career. He replied with grace and dignity.

When Twitter user Meenakshi Langer wrote, “a looser (sic) should keep mouth shut when he has no knowledge about anything except his baap ka paissa”, Uday replied: “Not really. In a democracy a loser is allowed to have opinions too.”

Several other tweets spewed venom. ” Jaana (expletive) teri baat koi sunta hai kya dharti ke bojh,” tweeted one Nilesh Joshi. Another user, Sanjeet Ranjan, tweeted: “(Expletive) dharti ke bojh tera (expletive) ho raha hai. Ek baar Kolkata ki taraf bhi to dekh (expletives).”

Another Twitter user had a word of advice. “As per the Indian Law the party which gets maximum seats is invited first to claim for making government… I believe rather then comments you need to read and learn first.”

Not losing his cool, Uday reasoned: “That’s not what happened in Goa and Manipur. I watch the news just like you.”


A Rs 4-per-litre increase in petrol and diesel prices is in the offing if state-owned fuel retailers are to return to pre-Karnataka poll hiatus margin levels, brokerage firms said.

No sooner had Karnataka polled to elect a new state government, state-owned IOC, HPCL, BPCL on Monday ended a 19-day hiatus in revising petrol and diesel prices and reverted to the practice of changing rates on a daily basis.

Since then petrol price has risen by 69 paisa a litre, including a 22-paisa hike effected on Thursday. Diesel prices have gone up by 86 paisa a litre.

“Our computation suggests that downstream oil marketing companies (OMCs) are required to increase retail prices of diesel by a steep Rs 3.5-4 a litre and gasoline (petrol) by Rs 4-4.55 per litre in the coming weeks to earn normative gross marketing margins of Rs 2.7/litre,” Kotak Institutional Equities said in a report.

The increase is based on assumption that global price of diesel and petrol and Rupee-US Dollar exchange rate remain stable hereon.


The Bitcoin network, one of the most popular cryptocurrencies, currently uses almost as much power as Ireland does, and could be consuming about 0.5 per cent of the world’s total electricity by the end of this year, a study has found. Bitcoin’s burgeoning electricity demands have attracted almost as much attention as the cryptocurrency’s wildly fluctuating value. The estimates put the minimum current usage of the Bitcoin network at 2.55 gigawatts.


AB de Villiers and Moeen Ali struck breezy half-centuries as Royal Challengers Bangalore held their nerves under pressure to eke out a 14-run win over table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad in a must-win match and stay afloat in the Indian Premier League here on Thursday.

Asked to bat, RCB posted a mammoth 218/6 before surviving a scare from Sunrisers skipper Kane Williamson (81 off 42) and Manish Pandey (62 off 38) to restrict the visitors to 204/3.

De Villiers (69 off 39) and Ali (65 off 34) overcame a bad start to stitch 107 runs off just 57 balls for the third wicket to not only set the platform for RCB’s total but also keep their team in contention.

Team / Matches Won / Matches Played (After 51 matches, with 5 to go before Play-offs)

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

Royal Challengers Bangalore 6/13; Rajasthan Royals 6/13; Kings XI Punjab 6/13; Delhi Daredevils 3/12


Defending champions India qualified for the summit clash of the women’s Asian Champions Trophy after edging past Malaysia 3-2 on Thursday. India, who beat Japan 4-1 and China 3-1 in their previous matches, sealed a spot in the final with a match in hand in the pool stage. They are sitting atop the table with nine points and will next take on hosts South Korea on Saturday in what would be a rehearsal for Sunday’s final.

South Korea beat China 3-1 in the other match on Thursday, taking their tally to seven points. They are second on the table, with third-placed China four points behind with one game to play.


Sensex 35,149 (-239), Nifty 10,683 (-58), Trading Value NSE (Rs.crores) 30,694

Nasdaq 7,382 (-16) Dow 24,714 (-55), S&P 2,720 (-2)

US$-Rs. 67.72 GBP-Rs. 91.57, Euro-Rs. 79.94, UAE Dhm-Rs.18.43, Can$-Rs. 52.96, Aus$- Rs. 50.93

GBP 0.73 /US$, Euro 0.84 /US$, Jap.Yen 110.59 /US$, Aus$ 1.32 /US$, Sing 1.34 /US$, Bang Taka 83.78 /US$, Can$ 1.27 /US$, Mal Ring 3.96 /US$,

Pak Re 115.00 /US$, Phil Peso 52.23 /US$, Russian Rouble 61.90 /US$, NZ$ 1.45 /US$, Thai Baht 32.02 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 26.05 /US$

Bitcoin – USD 8,269

Dollar Index 93.37 Brent Crude 79.59  BDI 1403

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,289 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 3188 / 3000, Silver (Rs. Per KG) 43,200



If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor. -Albert Einstein


Unruly Child A man scolded his son for being so unruly and the child rebelled against his father. He got some of his clothes, his teddy bear and his piggy bank and proudly announced, “I’m running away from home!”

The father calmly decided to look at the matter logically. “What if you get hungry?” he said.

“Then I’ll come home and eat!” bravely declared the child.

“And what if you run out of money?”

“I will come home and get some!”, readily replied the child.

The man then made a final attempt, “What if your clothes get dirty?”

“Then I’ll come home and let mommy wash them,” was the reply.

The man shook his head and exclaimed, “This kid is not running away from home, he’s going off to college!!!”

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