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Newsletter 14 Aug, 2018




 Countering the Opposition Congress’s stand that holding simultaneous polls was against the federal structure of the country as a “baseless” argument, BJP president Amit Shah has told the Law Commission it would “strengthen the federal structure”.

According to him, the Opposition’s objections were “politically motivated and inappropriate”.

In his eight-page letter to commission chairman Justice B S Chouhan, Shah argued that one election would check expenditure and ensure that the nation is not in “election mode” throughout the year.

Shah also tried to allay apprehensions of some parties that national parties could get preference if the elections are held together. He pointed out that in 1980, when Karnataka went to polls along with Parliamentary elections, the Congress won the national election while JD-S was elected for the state.

During a recent meeting with the Law Commission, the Congress party said that the proposal of holding Lok Sabha and Assembly elections together is “unconstitutional and impractical”. Calling it “Constitutional perversity” and “preposterous”, the Congress said that the proposal, if accepted, would hit the very core of democracy.

While Shiromani Akali Dal, Biju Janata Dal, AIADMK, Samajwadi Party, TRS and YSRCP have backed the proposal, Goa Forward Party, TMC, AAP, DMK, TDP, CPI-M, CPI, JD-S and Forward Bloc have opposed the idea.



Stepping up his criticism of the Prime Minister over alleged corruption in the Rafale deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday dared him to a debate and claimed Narendra Modi would not be able to answer his questions on the issue “even for a second”. Rahul, on his first visit to Karnataka after his elevation as Congress chief, targeted Modi on several issues, including recent incidents of rape of girls in BJP-ruled states, farm loan waiver and GST.

“Let there be a debate for however long you want… Narendra Modi will not be able to answer my questions even for as second, because Narendra Modi has stolen from India. Narendra Modi favoured his friend Anil Ambani, whose company never had any experience of making an aircraft, in bagging the contract,” he said at a rally.

Rahul said the previous UPA government had signed the contract so that public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited could make the aircraft through technology transfer and create employment for the youth of Karnataka. “One day Narendra Modi goes to France and changes terms of the contract. My dear young people, Modiji has taken away your jobs from you. If he has the guts, a 56-inch chest, bring your (the BJP’s) prime minister in front of me, in front of the country.”

India had inked an inter-governmental agreement with France in September last year for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of around Rs 58,000 crore. Rahul has been alleging that the cost of Rafale jets was inflated under the new terms of the contract.



Setting the stage for a succession war within the DMK, expelled party leader M K Alagiri claimed on Monday that all the “true loyalists” of his father, M Karunanidhi, were with him.

His statement came on the eve of the DMK executive council meeting on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters after visiting his father’s burial site, Alagiri said: “I shared my concerns with him (Karunanidhi). My leader’s true loyalists are with me. All are supporting me. Time will prove it.” He was accompanied by his son, Dayanidhi Alagiri, and daughter, Kayalvizhi.

While he said his concerns were about the party, not family, Alagiri refused to talk about the DMK meeting on Tuesday. “I am not part of the party,” he said. Alagiri was expelled from the party in 2014 for “anti-party activities”.

There was speculation that the decision to elevate M K Stalin, DMK working president and Alagiri’s younger brother, to the post of party president may be taken at the executive council meeting today.

Alagiri and Stalin have been at loggerheads for years over who will inherit Karunanidhi’s legacy. Before his expulsion, Alagiri had famously questioned if the DMK was a “mutt” where the pontiff could anoint his successor.



 Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee died in a Kolkata hospital Monday morning following multiple organ failure. He was 89 years old.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who visited the hospital around noon, announced that he would be given full state honours. “He was a great leader and this is a personal loss for me. His body will be taken to the Calcutta High Court and then to the state assembly, where we will give him the highest respect with a gun salute. After that, it will be taken to his house, and then to SSKM College and Hospital as he had donated his body,” she announced.

Chatterjee’s daughter, Anushila Basu, said the CPI(M) wanted to take his body to the party headquarters at Alimuddin Street, but they refused to allow it. The CPI(M) had expelled Chatterjee from the party in 2008 for refusing to resign as Speaker after it withdrew support to the UPA-I government.

“The party wanted to take the body to the state headquarters for partymen to pay their respects. They sought our permission, but we said no… CPI(M) leaders also said that they wanted to drape the party flag over his body. We refused that too. Even my mother did not want that. He was no longer a member of the party, why should his body be taken to the party office,” she said.




On the first day of the opening session of newly elected National Assembly, vested interests and political compulsions forced Pakistan’s opposition parties into a disjointed and divided mode as Imran Khan is all set to become the prime minister.

The two main opposition parties — PML-N and PPP — supposed to contest prime minister and speakership vote jointly against Imran Khan led PTI, remained at arm’s length when the Monday session opened for oath of all members.

Former President Asif Ali Zardari, who shares PPP leadership with son Bilawal Bhutto, didn’t shake hands with PML-N President even when sitting in proximity at front rows of Parliament. Neither did Imran Khan exchange any pleasantry with Asif Zardari or Shahbaz Sharif amid speculations that PPP may be low key or withdraw its joint candidate for Speakership in favour of PTI’s Asad Qaiser.

Pakistan’s 15th National Assembly commenced on Monday with oath taking of new legislators and to kick start a democratic process that will culminate on Friday after election of new prime minister and Speaker.

Imran Khan is all set to become PM by August 17 as he and cabinet members will take oath of office the next day.



 Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday that there would be neither war nor negotiations with the United States, and that the country’s problems were the result of government mismanagement more than renewed sanctions.

Ayatollah Khamenei’s comments add to the pressure on President Hassan Rouhani following a collapse in the currency and widespread protests over high prices and corruption. They also appeared to rule out any hope of fresh talks with Washington, which U.S. President Donald Trump had proposed after walking out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions.

“Beside sanctions, they are talking about war and negotiations… let me say a few words to the people: THERE WILL BE NO WAR, NOR WILL WE NEGOTIATE WITH THE U.S.,” Ayatollah Khamenei said via his official Twitter account in English.

“Today’s livelihood problems do not emerge from outside, they are internal,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in another tweet. “Not that sanctions don’t have an impact, but the main factor is how we handle them,” he added.



 Turkey’s Central Bank on Monday sought to calm markets rattled by the precipitous plunge of the Turkish lira as a defiant President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan chastised the U.S. for seeking to stab Ankara “in the back”.

A dispute Turkey and the United States — which reached new intensity over the detention of an American pastor — has hammered the lira and also raised questions over the future partnership between Washington and Ankara.

As the latest developments caused the lira to plunge further in value, investors fretted over potential economic contagion from Turkey, particularly to European banks.

Mr. Erdoğan indicated that he was in no mood to offer concessions to the United States in one of the worst spats between the two NATO allies in years. He said Turkey was facing an “economic siege”, slamming the currency movements as an “attack against our country”. Mr. Erdoğan has been sanguine over the punitive measures announced by the U.S., saying that while Turkey’s relationship with Washington is at stake, it will look for other partners.





 Jawaharlal Nehru University student activist Umar Khalid was attacked by an unidentified gunman on Monday before an event at Constitution Club where he was supposed to speak. Khalid escaped unhurt.

Khalid was scheduled to speak at an event titled – ‘Towards a Freedom Without Fear’ organised by United Against Hate Initiative. According to an eyewitness, who identified himself as Khalid Shafi: “One man in white shirt pushed Khalid down on ground and fired on him while he was standing at a tea stall outside the Constitution Club. The shot missed him and the gunman fled from the spot leaving behind his pistol as people standing near Khalid rushed towards him.”

Joint Commissioner of Police (New Delhi range) Ajay Chaudhary said: “A preliminary investigation has revealed that it was a loaded gun, but a bullet is stuck. The crime scene is being searched for the bullet cap as Khalid in his statement has said shots were fired.” The gun has been sent to the FSL for testing and to determine if a shot was fired.

Khalid along with former JNU students union president Kanhaiya Kumar and Anirban Bhattacharya was arrested on sedition charges in 2016 in connection with the February 9 event on the JNU campus. The event, organised to protest the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, was at the centre of a storm then after allegations that students had raised anti-India slogans. No chargesheet has been filed in the sedition case as of now and all three are on bail.



The Delhi Police on Monday named Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia as accused in its chargesheet in connection with the alleged assault on Chief Secretary (CS) Anshu Prakash in February.

The development invited sharp reaction from the AAP government which accused the BJP-led Centre of “political vendetta” and called it another instance of “witch-hunt”.

The chargesheet, filed before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, also names as accused 11 other AAP legislators — Amanatullah Khan, Prakash Jarwal, Nitin Tyagi, Rituraj Govind, Sanjeev Jha, Ajay Dutt, Rajesh Rishi, Rajesh Gupta, Madan Lal, Parveen Kumar and Dinesh Mohania.

In the 1,300-page chargesheet, the police have accused Kejriwal, Sisodia and others of criminally conspiring to threaten the Chief Secretary with death or grievous hurt, obstructed him in discharging his public function and caused hurt. On February 20, an FIR was registered on the complaint of the Delhi CS.

The Delhi Chief Secretary had accused Aam Aadmi Party MLAs of assault in Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s presence at his residence on night of February 19



The Supreme Court Monday questioned the West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) as to why such a huge number of candidates won unopposed in the recent panchayat polls.

A Bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra sought to know if WBSEC had conducted any exercise to figure out the possibility of candidates having been prevented from filing nominations in panchayat constituencies in which Trinamool Congress candidates had a walk over.


 The Karnataka government has questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre over the decision to shift the 22nd edition of Aero India show from Bengaluru to Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow.

Hitting out at the BJP-led NDA government, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy asserted that Bengaluru was the proper place for Aero India show, pointing that the Karnataka capital had all infrastructure needed.

“Reports of #AeroIndia being moved out of Bengaluru are very unfortunate. We have been India’s Defence Hub since Independence, but under the NDA we are constantly losing key defence projects and flagship programs. I request @nsitharaman (Defence Minister) to clarify her stand on the issue,” he posted on microblogging site Twitter.

Though there has not been any official confirmation or formal announcement by the Ministry of Defence in this regard, reports have suggested that the event is likely to be held in Lucknow in October-November.


The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has dotted the length of the Ganga with red markers on a map on its website, two weeks after the National Green Tribunal had asked it to display a prominent map showing where the river water was fit for bathing and drinking.

Apart from stretches in Uttarakhand and a couple of places as the river enters Uttar Pradesh that are marked in green (fit), the CPCB has indicated that the river is unfit the whole way till it drains into the Bay of Bengal in West Bengal barring one spot at the border of UP and Bihar.

The NGT bench headed by its chairperson, Justice (retd) A K Goel, on July 27 had noted that the stretch of the river between Haridwar and Unnao in UP was unfit for drinking and bathing, and said that innocent people drank and bathed in it with reverence without knowing it may affect their health. “If cigarette packets can contain a warning saying it is ‘injurious to health’, why not the people be informed of the adverse effects (of the river water),” the NGT had said.


In 2014, invoking Mahatma Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given the call for a clean India campaign from the banks of Ganga in Varanasi. Four years later, the Varanasi railway station has featured among the least clean stations in the country, according to a cleanliness audit by the government released Monday. From rank 14 in 2017 in terms of cleanliness among 75 biggest stations in India (A-1 category), Varanasi has slipped to 69 in the latest assessment.

Last year’s cleanest station, Vishakhapatnam, has slipped to number 10, while Jodhpur bagged the top spot this year.

Jaipur has bagged the second spot, while Tirupati, which wasn’t in top 10 last year, has emerged third. For Tirupati, which sees heavy footfall of devotees to Tirumala Tirupati temple, this is a jump from rank 19 last year.

Mathura is adjudged the least clean station among the major 75 stations, being at the end of the list of 75.

It was a bit of a mixed bag for iconic stations in big cities. New Delhi station, for instance, stood at rank 39, same as last year, while Howrah in West Bengal slipped to 71 from 56. While Mumbai Central slipped to 40 this year from 27, Mumbai CST moved up to 13 from 44. Chennai Central jumped to rank 36 from 49 last year.


Retail inflation fell to nine-month low of 4.17% in July on account of slowdown in prices of vegetables and fruits, said government data released on Monday.

Based on Consumer Price Index (CPI), inflation for June has also been revised downwards to 4.92% from the earlier estimate of 5%, as per the CSO data released on Monday. Its previous low was in October 2017 at 3.58%.

But the rupee on Monday crashed by a mammoth 110 paise — its biggest single-day fall in five years — to end at a lifetime low of 69.93 as the US dollar gained rapid strength amid fears that economic crisis in Turkey could spread to other global economies.

The rupee also ended lower against British pound, euro and Japanse yen.



Taking note of India’s batting collapses during the first two Test matches in England, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) overseeing the BCCI is learnt to have communicated to the team’s head coach Ravi Shastri that such performances despite adequate preparation time for the series are “unacceptable”.

The CoA has is said to have mentioned this to Ravi Shastri, that after having sent the team so much in advance, allowing adequate preparation time (in English conditions), this kind of performance from the top order is not encouraging at all.

The CoA, headed by Vinod Rai, and the BCCI had faced flak for not allowing the team proper acclimatisation time for their tour of South Africa earlier this year. India had lost the three-Test series 2-1.

For the UK tour, the team left in the last week of June for the limited-overs series in Ireland and England. By the time the first Test commenced on August 1 at Edgbaston, the players had more than a month to get used to English conditions.


Sensex 37,645 (-224), Nifty 11,356 (-74), Trading Value NSE (Rs.crores) 29,316

Nasdaq 7,820 (-19) Dow 25,188 (-125), S&P 2,822 (-11)

US$-Rs. 69.68 GBP-Rs. 88.89, Euro-Rs. 79.38, UAE Dhm-Rs.18.96, Can$-Rs. 53.00, Aus$- Rs. 50.68

GBP 0.78 /US$, Euro 0.87 /US$, Jap.Yen 110.51 /US$, Aus$ 1.37 /US$, Sing 1.37 /US$, Bang Taka 83.53 /US$, Can$ 1.31 /US$, Mal Ring 4.09 /US$,

Pak Re 123.57 /US$, Phil Peso 53.39 /US$, Russian Rouble 68.13 /US$, NZ$ 1.51 /US$, Thai Baht 33.31 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 27.22 /US$

Bitcoin – USD 6,311

Dollar Index 96.25 Brent Crude 72.93 BDI 1691

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,196 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 2930 / 2842, Silver (Rs. Per KG) 41,200



Maturity begins when we’re content to feel we’re right about something, without feeling the necessity to prove someone else is wrong. – Sydney J. Harris



Millions of years ago, there was no such thing as the wheel. One day, some primitive guys were watching their wives drag a dead mastodon to the food & fire area. It was exhausting work; the guys were getting tired just watching.

Then they noticed some large, smooth, rounded boulders and they had a great idea! They could sit on top of the boulders and get a better view of their wives working.

This was the first in a series of breakthroughs that ultimately led to television…and later to the remote control.

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