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Newsletter Sept 08, 2018




Outlining its campaign theme for the 2019 general elections, the BJP’s two-day national executive concluded Sunday with a political resolution on ‘New India’ that praised the government’s achievements under Prime Minister Narendra Modi as much as it slammed the Opposition for its lack of “leadership, policy and strategy”.

The BJP’s resolution said the Opposition was running a “Modi roko abhiyan” (Stop Modi campaign) while the government was committed to a “new India”, free of poverty, corruption, casteism, terrorism and communalism, by 2022.

Briefing reporters on the resolution, which was presented by former party chief Rajnath Singh, senior party leader and Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said: “Vipaksh ke paas na neta hai, na neeti hai, aur na ran-neeti hai. Isliye vipkash hatash hai (The Opposition lacks leadership, policy and strategy. That’s why the Opposition is in despair).”

Insisting that the Opposition was only “daydreaming” and looking for alternatives, Javadekar said his party will get more votes and seats in 2019 than in past elections. “The Opposition does politics with a negative mindset. The Opposition has only a ‘Modi roko abhiyan’. The public never stands with such a negative mindset,” Javadekar said.

“Politically, after four years, the Prime Minister defies conventional political wisdom about incumbency by recording 70% plus popularity ratings. No other Indian leader comes anywhere close to him,” the resolution said.

In the resolution, the BJP said internal security has improved in the last four years as compared to the 10-year rule of UPA. “Terror blasts had occurred almost every month and in almost all cities in the country in the UPA’s rule. No blast occurs now. There is no major terror activity. Terrorism has decreased in Kashmir,” Javadekar said. The number of Naxalism-affected districts has decreased and Naxalism is nearing its an end, he said.

“We have had a record four years of riot-free India. Maoism, once a threat in about 160 districts in the country, is today contained to just 20 districts. Soon, we are going to have a Maoist insurgency-free India. Urban Maoism too is being curbed with an iron hand,” the resolution said.

“The North East remained largely peaceful – an accord with underground Naga groups is on the cards paving way for lasting peace in the region,” it read.

On the fiscal front, the resolution said:  “Four years ago, we inherited a crumbling, corrupt and crony capitalist economy. We had the challenge to turn it around. The Prime Minister undertook the task of setting its basics right….Demonetisation, GST, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), etc., are such measures that set India’s economic basics right while bringing economic discipline and rule of law in the governance,” it said.

Referring to the government’s crackdown on fugitive businessmen such as Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi, the resolution said: “The corrupt today have to run, to use the metaphor, from pillar to post, ‘from Hong Kong to London’. They may remain fugitives for some time, but they have to return to join their comrades in Ranchi jail.”


In a statement on the Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) issued at the BJP’s National Executive meeting on Sunday, party president Amit Shah said the Narendra Modi-led NDA government will not allow India to become a shelter home for illegal infiltrators. The BJP also reiterated its support to the Centre’s Citizenship Amendment Bill.

Shah also said that every illegal infiltrator would be identified and exiled after being denied citizenship. In the statement, Shah said that the exercise to identify Rohingya infiltrators has been started in various cities and appropriate steps would be taken for their exile.

Shah also said that the BJP congratulates the Modi-led Central government and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal for fulfiling the promise on NRC that was pending for several years.

Shah said that illegal infiltration had begun at a large scale in Assam before Independence and it continued because subsequent governments lacked the will to stop it. People of Assam had to start a movement between 1979 and 1985 against infiltration and the BJP supported their fight and actively participated in the movement since the party was formed, reads the resolution.



 The Congress has called for a Bharat bandh on Monday to protest against rising fuel prices as well as the fall in the value of the Rupee in comparison to the US Dollar. In what is being termed as the first joint political action by the Opposition in several months, the Congress has claimed that 21 parties, including SP, BSP, TMC, DMK and RJD, as well as several chambers of commerce and traders’ bodies, have backed its Bharat bandh call. However, the Aam Aadmi Party has made it clear that it would not join the shutdown call by the Congress, IANS reported.

Moreover, five Left Front parties have given a separate call for bandh over the hike in fuel prices, the problem of farmers and unemployment issues. Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala has said the bandh would be observed across the country between 9 am and 3 pm, so as not to inconvenience the people.

Trinamool Congress has said it would organise street protests but would not enforce a shutdown in West Bengal, while the BJD-led Odisha government on Saturday directed all schools to remain closed on Monday.all for bharat bandh today.

The Congress dubbed the BJP’s political resolution as a testament of “unpardonable failures and betrayal” by the Modi government and said the exclusion of key promises of 2014 establishes that Modi-Shah duo has failed to deliver.

“Deliberate elimination and deceptive exclusion of key promises of 2014 establishes that Modi-Shah duo has miserably failed to deliver. “The BJP now stands for – ‘Break, Jam & Perish’. ‘Breaking’ the backbone of India’s MSME’s and shopkeepers through flawed GST, ‘Jamming’ the economy through demonetisation disaster and ‘Perish’ the future of youth and farmers,” he said.


The Centre has asked High Courts that it must speed up the process of filling vacancies in the lower judiciary by appointing judicial officers, as it claimed lack of judges was one of the main reasons for high pendency of cases in the country.

In a letter to chief justices of 24 High Courts, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has urged them to expedite the process of holding timely examination and interviews to recruit judicial officers in lower courts.

In the letter, the minister pointed out that there were a total of 2,76,74,499 cases pending in the district and subordinate courts of the country. “One of the underlying reasons behind the high pendency is sometimes the inordinate delay in filling the vacancies of judicial officers,” he said in the letter to the chief justices.

The sanctioned strength of the district and subordinate courts, Prasad said, had increased from 19,518 judges in 2013 to 22,444 as in June, 2018. “However, the working strength of judges has not kept pace with the sanctioned strength. As on June 30, 2018, the total working strength was only 17,221 judges, indicating a vacancy of 5,223 judges,” he added.




Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal wraps “a suicide vest around the British constitution” and hands the detonator to the European Union, former foreign minister Boris Johnson said in comments that drew strong criticism.

In an article in the Mail on Sunday newspaper, Johnson pressed his attack on May’s so-called Chequers plan to leave the EU, calling it “a humiliation” that opens “ourselves to perpetual political blackmail”.

Johnson resigned as foreign secretary over the Chequers plan, named after May’s country residence where the government agreed proposals to maintain close trade ties with the EU in July, and has attacked it as making Britain “a vassal state”.

May is under fire from all sides of the divisive Brexit debate, with Johnson, favourite to succeed her, leading a push by eurosceptic lawmakers for the government to “chuck Chequers” and pursue a clean break with the bloc.

But so far, May has signalled she will not drop her blueprint for Britain’s future ties with the bloc after Brexit, the biggest shift in the country’s foreign and trade policy for almost half a century.

Johnson’s words, particularly the reference to a suicide vest, drew condemnation from fellow members of the governing Conservative Party. Alan Duncan, a minister at the Foreign Office, said Johnson’s comments marked “one of the most disgusting moments in modern British politics”.



Australia’s new Prime Minister will not revive plans to embed carbon emissions targets in law, a thorny issue that triggered the ousting of his predecessor in a party coup.

Scott Morrison won a Liberal Party ballot to replace Malcolm Turnbull—a moderate who struggled to get his conservative colleagues to support the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) — as leader in late August.

Australia is considered one of the world’s worst per capita greenhouse gas polluters, and is a heavy user of coal-fired power.

Morrison, who is to the right of Turnbull, said the proposal to help the government meet its Paris Agreement pledge was “dead” and his government would focus instead on lowering soaring electricity prices.





The AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu Sunday decided to recommend to the state Governor Banwarilal Purohit, the release of all seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

A resolution to this effect was adopted at the state cabinet which met under Chief Minister K Palaniswami’s leadership. It decided to recommend to Governor Purohit, the release of Murugan, Santhan, Perarivalan, Jayakumar, Ravichandran, Robert Payas and Nalini, serving life imprisonment.

The moves comes days after the Supreme Court asked the Tamil Nadu Governor to consider the mercy petition of Perarivalan seeking remission or pardon under Article 161 of the Constitution and disposed of the Centre’s petition opposing Tamil Nadu government’s earlier proposal for the release of the convicts.

Though the apex court had asked the Governor to consider the plea of Perarivalan, the government decided to recommend setting free all others also as they had also petitioned seeking premature release.


Four days after a senior HDFC Bank executive went missing, Mumbai Police detained a 20-year-old man in connection with the murder.

According to investigators, the detained man, a driver from Navi Mumbai’s Koperkhairaine identified as Sarfaraz Shaikh, has given the names of three men who he has claimed stabbed Siddharth Kiran Sanghvi, a vice president with HDFC Bank, in a parking lot inside Kamla Mill Compound in Lower Parel.

The men then allegedly wrapped Sanghvi’s body in a mattress and kept it in his car. Shaikh has claimed that he was given the responsibility of disposing of the body.

While Shaikh reportedly altered his statement a few times Sunday evening, police suspect professional rivalry to have been the reason for Sanghvi’s murder. Investigators are yet to identify the mastermind of the crime.

Sanghvi lived in a Malabar Hill apartment with his wife, parents and a four-year-old son. He went missing from the Kamla Mill Compound on September 5. Police said his phone was switched off before leaving the compound but was later switched on for five minutes the next day, and again around 7 pm on Saturday, leading to the location of the car in Koperkhairaine. Police recovered a knife and blood stains on the back seat of the car.


The Enforcement Directorate (ED), whose request for an Interpol Red Notice (RN) against Mehul Choksi has been pending for months, has now accused the international agency of leaking information to the key accused in the Rs 13,600 crore PNB scam.

In a communication sent last week, the ED asked Interpol to desist from providing information about the ED’s RN request to Choksi. The ED has said this because the Interpol’s queries against its request are based on objections raised by the fugitive jeweller.

“The fact that Choksi’s objections to our request for a Red Notice against him are pin-pointed, only means that he has all the details of our request,” an ED official said. He added that the ED believes that details should be shared with an accused only after the Interpol has recorded the charges in its database. “Following that, the accused can challenge it. But Interpol appears to have a different view. The fact that the accused has been charged by a competent court, should be a good enough ground to issue a Red Notice,” the official said.


Shashank Shekhar, 39, did his MBA from IIT-Delhi, and is now a PhD candidate at the institute, working to build a revenue model for bioinformatics research and development. One of his three supervisors is from the Department of Management Studies; the second is a professor at the Department of Chemistry who also has responsibilities as a coordinator at the Centre of Excellence for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology; the third is from the School of Biological Sciences.

This unusual research collaboration has been made possible through the School of Interdisciplinary Research (SIRe) which was set up at IIT-D last October. Its twin mottos are “Collaboration over Competition” and “Breaking Departmental Barriers”, and it’s an effort by IIT-D to bring about fundamental change in the ways in which academic research happens in India.

“The basic objective of this school is to actively encourage researchers and students to stretch their boundaries and collaborate with people from other disciplines to help bring broader perspectives and new ideas to research problems,” Dr Arunachalam Ramanan, professor of chemistry and chairperson of SIRe, said. Collaboration has so far been limited mostly to within departments, Dr Ramanan said.


The nine-year-old chess prodigy Shreyas is English in many ways: Loves fish and chips, “mein achha hoon” to grandma on Skype is about all he knows in Hindi, likes food non-spicy, loves the local architecture. No wonder, his parents were desperate to continue in the UK.

Born in Bengaluru, Shreyas has lived in London since he was three. But with his father’s work visa due to expire in September, he was to return to India. But then, the chess fraternity pulled together, the media got involved, UK’s politicians urged the Home Office to ensure that an “exceptional talent” wasn’t lost. Last month, when the family had begun to pack, they got the news — they could stay.

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid said he took a “personal decision” as Shreyas is “one of the most gifted chess players in his generation and we have always been clear we want a world-class immigration system that welcomes highly-talented individuals from across the globe”. Shreyas is currently ranked fourth in his age group globally.

Shreyas’s father Jitender Singh can now apply for Tier-2 work visa, which is valid for up to four years without needing to leave the country. It will be sponsored by his employers, Tata Consultancy Services. Jitender is confident he can get permanent residency in the UK and says he has been told that Shreyas will get his British passport by next year.


A clinical Novak Djokovic dismissed Juan Martin Del Potro 6-3 7-6(4) 6-3 to collect his third U.S. Open title on Sunday, giving him 14 Grand Slams to move into a tie for third on the all-time list alongside Pete Sampras. A gloomy season that started with elbow surgery following the Australian Open is turning into a brilliant finish for the 31-year-old Serb who has now won three of his last four events including back-to-back majors at Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows.

Over the last eight weeks Djokovic has resembled the Grand Slam machine that held all four major titles at the same time in 2016.

Playing on the same court where Pete Sampras claimed his 14th title, Djokovic has endured more disappointment than joy on Arthur Ashe, mining just three titles from eight finals.

The disappointment on Sunday belonged to a teary Del Potro who was back in a Grand Slam final for the first time since the big Argentine won his one and only title at Flushing Meadows in 2009.


Alastair Cook, as unflappable as ever, led from the front in the final innings of his record-breaking Test career as England built a commanding 154-run lead over India at The Oval on Sunday.

England’s most prolific Test run-scorer began in nervy fashion as India battled hard to stay in contention on Day 3 of the fifth and final match of the series.

But by stumps he was set fair on 46 not out having ridden his luck at times in search of a second half-century in his 161st Test. Thirty more runs on Monday would take him past Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara’s 12,400 runs and into fifth on the all-time list.

With Joe Root looking fluent on 29 and England having eight wickets in hand Cook has every chance of signing off his magnificent international career with a victory.

Earlier, India stretched their overnight score of 174/6 to 292 all out, thanks for Ravindra Jadeja’s 86 (not out) and Hanuma Vihari’s 56.

Had Ravindra Jadeja fallen early, had he not played his best Test knock, India would have been already buried in the Test. With India set to bat last, England, who are already 154 runs ahead with eight wickets intact, hold all the cards.

Scores at end of day 3: England 332 & 114/2; India 292


It is not because men’s desires are strong that they act ill; it is because their consciences are weak. – John Stuart Mill


A jockey is in the parade ring discussing race tactics with the horse’s trainer. The trainer tells the jockey that this is the worst horse he has in training. It has had 23 races and finished last in every one of them. If it doesn’t win today the milkman will be using it for deliveries in the morning.

The jockey mounts up and takes the horse down to the start. The race begins and very soon the horse is 30 lengths behind the pack. He then gives him a series of sharp slaps on the shoulder. Nothing changes. He then gives him two wallops right on the hindquarters.

The horse comes to a sudden stop, turns to the jockey and says, “Will you stop it with that whip! I have to be up at four in the morning to deliver the milk”!

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