Newsletter Sept 14, 2018



 Just as a patient in the ICU of a hospital needs a “support system”, the Congress too is in the ICU and is using other parties as a “support system” to survive, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday.

He was interacting with the BJP’s booth-level workers of five Lok Sabha constituencies — Jaipur Rural, Ghaziabad, Hazaribagh, Nawada and Arunachal (West) — via the NaMo App.

Responding to a question from a party worker in Arunachal (West), Modi said the Congress, at a party convention in Madhya Pradesh a few years ago, had passed a resolution saying that it would not enter into an alliance with any party. “What is the reason today that the Congress is ready to give anything to any party, saying take us along, save us,” he said.

He said the Opposition parties were joining hands because they could foresee a storm stronger than the one in 2013-14. “There is a fear that this storm is stronger than the one in 2013-14. So when such a big storm is approaching, what can they do? They are clutching each other’s hands, or else they may get blown away. They are searching… who should hold on to whom, who should support whom… the drowning are clutching at straws,” he said.

“They are connecting parties, we are connecting 125 crore hearts. That is the difference,” he said. Repeating his earlier remarks, he said there was confusion over the leadership of the ‘mahagathbandhan’, and their policy was not clear. “Their only commitment is Modi hatao. Our commitment is growth of the country,” he said.

He said an ordinary party worker like him could reach the top post because of democracy within the BJP. “You can see the situation in other parties. Sometimes, I feel pity for several veteran workers of the Congress… Their struggle and ability is helping one family only… so many capable workers sacrificed for the growth of the parivar,” he said.

Stating that his government’s motto was “sabka saath, sabka vikas”, he said that under the Saubhagya scheme, if electricity had reached the house of a “Rameshwar”, it had also reached the houses of “Rehmaan, Ratinder and Robert”. He said his government was ending VIP culture, and was emphasising “EPI” (every person is important) instead.



 Stepping up its attack on the government over the Rafale fighter jet deal, the Congress on Thursday termed as “preposterous” Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s assertion that the government chose to procure only 36 aircraft from France in 2015, instead of the 126 being negotiated by the UPA government, as infrastructure and other technical requirements of the Indian Air Force do not allow for greater induction. The Congress said the Defence Minister has been “caught lying again”.

“The claim of Defence Minister that IAF does not have the infrastructure — parking place and maintenance facility — for 126 fighter aircraft is preposterous and goes against the grain of national security requirements. Does the Defence Minister even know that there is a sanctioned strength of 42 air squadrons for IAF,” Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said. “The Air Force had maintained up to 37-38 squadrons of fighter aircraft in the past. It currently has 33 squadrons, which is likely to fall to 31 by 2021. Considering that the Rafale aircraft will not be delivered till 2022, there will be available existing space for seven more squadrons,” he said.

In an interview to The Indian Express, Sitharaman had said, “Every time you induct one squadron (standard fleet of 18 aircraft), there is a requirement for a lot of other paraphernalia to come in. Given a set of parameters, if you quickly want to induct, two is the ideal.”

Surjewala said the Defence Minister’s argument was “obnoxious” on two other counts. Asking whether the government and the IAF can not create infrastructure in the six to eight years in which the aircraft will be delivered, Surjewala said, “Can creation of parking space/maintenance facility be a ground for compromising air superiority and national security?”



The war of words between the Congress and the BJP over fugitive Vijay Mallya escalated yesterday with Congress president Rahul Gandhi accusing Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of lying and allowing the liquor baron to escape.

Gandhi alleged that Jaitley “discussed the logistics of Mallya’s escape during a meeting in Parliament in March 2016 and gave him a free passage from the country. This is an open and shut case. The FM colluded with a criminal. Mallya told the minister he is running away. The FM too has admitted that Mallya told him he will be leaving the country.

“It is a lie that it was a chance encounter (between Jaitley and Mallya) for a few words. We have proof that they (Jaitley and Mallya) talked for 15-20 minutes. Our MP, P.L. Punia, was a witness,” the Congress president said. “Jaitley should tell us if he allowed Mallya to run away or whether the PM instructed him,” he added.

In its counter-offensive, the BJP alleged the Congress was trying to cover up its sins. Showing a clipping wherein former PM Manmohan Singh spoke of plans to look into the concerns of private airlines, Union Minister Piyush Goyal claimed this was “evidence of the involvement of the top Congress leadership to bail out private airlines”.

BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy stepped in too, into the slugfest, but only point a finger at Jaitley. He said: “Two undeniable facts on Mallya escape issue: 1. Look Out Notice was diluted on Oct 24, 2015, from ‘Block’ to ‘Report’ (sic) departure enabling Mallya to depart with 54 checked luggage items. 2. Mallya told FM he was leaving for London.”



The hearing on the petitions challenging the Constitution’s Article 35-A in the Supreme Court should be deferred till an elected government is in place in Jammu & Kashmir, political parties in the Valley demanded yesterday.

“Today, we have Centre’s rule in the state. Whether you call it governor’s rule or something else, it is central rule,” former chief minister Omar Abdullah said while addressing a press conference after a meeting of different political parties in the Valley.

While PDP skipped the all-party meet, the representatives of National Conference, Pradesh Congress, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Democratic Party Nationalist attended it.

On August 31, the Supreme Court deferred hearing the petitions against Article 35-A to January after the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government argued that it could lead to a law and order situation in the state, ahead of the coming panchayat and local body elections.



Batting for India’s admission into the 48-member elite Nuclear Suppliers Group., a senior Trump administration official blamed China for persistently stonewalling the path to consensus for its membership bid.

“The Nuclear Suppliers Group is a consensus-based organisation. India has not been able to secure membership as a result of opposition from China… we certainly believe India meets all qualifications… will continue to actively advocate on behalf of India’s membership,” said Alice Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, at an event in Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a top American think-tank.





 Myanmar government leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Thursday that the jailing of two Reuters journalists had nothing to do with freedom of expression and they can appeal against their seven-year sentences.

Suu Kyi, in her first public comment on the case since the two were convicted, referred to the colonial-era law under which they were charged.

“They were not jailed because they were journalists, they were jailed because … the court has decided that they have broken the Official Secrets Act,” she said at a conference of the World Economic Forum in Hanoi. She made her comments in response to a question from a forum moderator who asked whether she felt comfortable about the reporters being jailed.

However, the country’s de facto leader acknowledged that the brutal crackdown on the Muslim minority — which the United Nations has cast as “genocide” — could have been “handled better”.



Mark Zuckerberg began the year by promising to make Facebook safer from election interference around the world. He has spent most of the rest of the year apologising for not recognising the problem earlier.

On Wednesday, Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, published a roughly 3,300-word blog post cataloguing all the steps the company has taken. “In 2016, we were not prepared for the coordinated information operations we now regularly face,” he wrote, alluding to Russian interference in the American presidential election. “But we have learned a lot since then and have developed sophisticated systems that combine technology and people to prevent election interference on our services.”

“Today, Facebook is better prepared for these kinds of attacks,” he added.



The Pakistan Supreme Court today rejected the federal government’s appeal against a Lahore High Court order that had allowed Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) — led by Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed — and its affiliate Falahe Insaniyat Foundation to continue their welfare activities until their fate is decided in the pending case.

The petition by the Interior Ministry was dismissed on the ground that the federal government is already involved in the case at the High Court level.

The Interior Ministry had argued that the interim order was hindering the government from fulfilling national and international legal requirements that might involve severe consequences for the country





Justice Ranjan Gogoi was on Thursday appointed as the 46th Chief Justice of India, according to the Law Ministry.

He would assume office on October 3 after present incumbent Dipak Misra retires a day before.

Justice Gogoi will have a tenure of a little over 13 months and would retire on November 17, 2019.

Born on November 18, 1954, Justice Gogoi was enrolled as an advocate in 1978. He practised in the Gauhati High Court on constitutional, taxation and company matters. He was appointed as a permanent judge of the Gauhati High Court on February 28, 2001.

He was appointed as Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court on February 12, 2011 and then a judge of the Supreme Court on April 23, 2012.


A division bench of the Kerala High Court on Thursday observed that prima facie investigation into the alleged rape of a nun by Catholic bishop Franco Mulakkal was being conducted in a fair and professional manner, and it would be inappropriate to issue any specific direction on the conduct of the probe.

The bench of Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayasankar Nambiar was hearing a petition questioning the delay in arrest of the accused, and another petition seeking an order to hand over the probe to the CBI.

The court observed that the usual way of immediate arrest of an accused may not be applicable in this case, as two years had elapsed since the alleged crime. The court also said the arrest was the discretion of the police.

Director General of Prosecutions Sreedharan Nair submitted a detailed affidavit in a sealed cover, explaining the case and progress of the investigation. The police told the court that notice had been issued to the bishop to appear before the investigating officer on September 19. The affidavit said the investigation was spread across five states and seven districts of Kerala. It said 81 witnesses had been examined, and four material objects and 34 documents seized.

Quoting the report, the court said that since the alleged incidents of abuse had taken place between 2014 and 2016, the report showed that the police were making an all-out endeavour to iron out contradictions in the statements received from the witnesses and the accused. People should be interested in the final conviction of the accused, not his arrest, said the court.



The Yogi Adityanath government announced the release of Bhim Army leader Chandra Shekhar Azad alias Ravan on Thursday, more than a year after the Dalit outfit founder was slapped with the National Security Act (NSA) for allegedly inciting violence in Saharanpur in the wake of atrocities against the Scheduled Castes (SC).

Azad was arrested in June 2017 and subsequently NSA was slapped on him. The current period of NSA arrest was to expire on October 31. The government denied that the decision on Azad’s premature release was taken to preempt any adverse order by Supreme Court, which the Bhim Army had approached two months ago.

The government also denied that the move was aimed to placate Dalits in UP ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

“Chandra Shekhar alias Ravan’s mother had submitted a plea. Keeping the current situation in mind, the government is taking a sympathetic view and is directing the Saharanpur administration to release him with immediate effect,” the UP government’s order said.


The RSS’s Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad won three of the four main posts in the Delhi University Students’ Union, after a day of high drama at the fortress-like counting centre.

The Congress’s National Students Union of India (NSUI) won only the secretary’s post.

Counting of votes for the DUSU polls was stalled at least twice because of glitches in electronic voting machines, and was then suspended for more than four hours after student activists got involved in scuffles over the malfunction.

Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party, whose student wing Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS) is in alliance with the CPIML-Liberation’s All India Students Association (AISA), renewed its attack on EVMs after the disruptions. The AISA-CYSS came third in elections to all posts.

Around 44.5 per cent of DU’s 1.4 lakh-odd voters cast their ballots on Wednesday, the highest turnout in more than a decade.


Fortis Healthcare co-founder Shivinder Singh on Thursday decided to withdraw the case he had filed against his brother Malvinder Singh at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), and agreed to try to solve the dispute with mediation from family elders.

Their mother, Nimmi Singh, bedridden since suffering a stroke last year, played peacemaker between the brothers. Sources said she had stopped eating for the past few days and had constantly been making calls and sending emails to the two brothers.

She may have avoided a legal tangle for her family at least for now, but sources close to Shivinder claimed he was not very hopeful of the negotiations yielding results.


The Supreme Court has asked all states and Union territories to frame within six weeks a policy to strictly enforce a law that requires immediate confiscation and eventual sale of vehicles after an accident if it does not have a third-party insurance policy.

The objective is to use the sale proceeds of the vehicle to pay compensation to the accident victims or their families.

In line with the prevailing rule, the court said the vehicle owner should be given an opportunity to pay adequate compensation to the victim or his family. If the owner fails to do so within three months, the vehicle can be sold and the money kept as a deposit till the accident claim is settled.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud issued the directive while dealing with an appeal filed by a widow.


The national transporter is set to scrap the flexi-fare — called dynamic pricing — plan on 40 trains, representing nearly a third of the total number of premium trains covered by the scheme, as it drove away passengers by making rail fares costlier than airline tickets.

That’s not all. For the remaining 102 trains under the scheme, the railways is going to offer up to 50% discount for ‘last-minute’ bookings made for seats available up to four days before the journey. There is also a graded discount system being put in place for trains that see less than 60% bookings. Under this scheme, up to 20% discount could be available.

The scheme was introduced for 44 Rajdhani, 46 Shatabdi and 52 Duronto trains — all in premium super-fast category — on September 9, 2016. Rajdhanis and Shatabdis are entirely air-conditioned trains, while Durantos have a mix of AC and non-AC coaches.



 Virat Kohli still has a “lot to learn” about captaincy in Test matches, feels former India captain Sunil Gavaskar.

After the humiliating 1-4 defeat against England in the just-concluded five-Test series, the Little Master said: “He (Virat) still has a lot to learn. Like we saw in South Africa earlier and now in England too, there were instances when right field placements or timely bowling changes made by him could have made a big difference.

“That was missing again. It has just been a few years since he took over as a captain so at times the lack of experience shows,” Gavaskar told India Today.

“And whatever experience he had was that of Indian pitches where wickets fall quickly. He did not have the experience of breaking a good partnership. Hopefully, he will learn that by the time we tour Australia and won’t let their lower order run away with momentum,” he added.



(Indian Stock Markets were closed yesterday on account of Ganesh Chaturthi)

Nasdaq 8,014 (+59) Dow 26,146 (+147), S&P 2,904 (+15)

US$-Rs. 71.70 GBP-Rs. 93.73, Euro-Rs. 83.56, UAE Dhm-Rs.19.51, Can$-Rs. 55.13, Aus$- Rs. 51.55

GBP 0.76 /US$, Euro 0.85 /US$, Jap.Yen 111.63 /US$, Aus$ 1.39 /US$, Sing 1.37 /US$, Bang Taka 82.87 /US$, Can$ 1.30 /US$, Mal Ring 4.14 /US$,

Pak Re 123.07 /US$, Phil Peso 54.00 /US$, Russian Rouble 68.50 /US$, NZ$ 1.52 /US$, Thai Baht 32.57 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 27.92 /US$

Bitcoin – USD 6,419

Dollar Index 94.51 Brent Crude 78.36 BDI 1382

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,204 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 3014 / 2926, Silver (Rs. Per KG) 39,900


 First, Sir, permit me to observe that the use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment; but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again; and a nation is not governed which is perpetually to be conquered. – Edmund Burke



A woman was horrified to see a little boy smoking on the street. She walked up to him and said, “Do your parents know you smoke?”

The child answered, “Lady, does your husband know you speak to strange men?”

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