JDU checkmates RJD joins hand with BJP

Nitish Kumar sudden decision to break the grand-alliance and join BJP within hours came as a shock to many, but those who were in the political circles knew that something was not very right. It was like a game of chess between JDU and RJD where JDU was winning the board with every move they made, till the final check-mate this week.

Nitish Kumar was one of the few oppositional leaders who supported demonetization while his ally RJD was against it. On the issue of GST Bill, Nitish Kumar’s JDU was first to support BJP. In the last presidential elections, almost everyone began to see the tilt which JDU had towards BJP. The rumors began to take serious shape with CBI investigating the hotel scam against Lalu Yadav’s family. JDU has repeatedly demanded former deputy CM Tejaswi Yadav to step down based on alleged corrupt allegations.

However, one thing is very clear that Nitish Kumar is no more in the race of becoming PM, as Narendra Modi would occupy that post. Within two years of breaking up with the NDA camp, JDU realized that it is not getting what it wanted as family politics of “Yadavs” did not give JDU the full-fledged freedom to rule autonomously. JDU’s decision to break ranks with the NDA had gone bad. In the national assembly elections, JDU was able to secure only 2 seats across Bihar. Nitish Kumar also resigned and appointed Jeetan Ram Manjhi as the new Chief Minister who was not able to rule properly. In the end, the situation became so bad that Manjhi founded his own party i.e. Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM).

This is the first time since 1990, that both the state government and the central government are ruled by the same coalition party in Bihar. The demand for “special-status” for Bihar can be fulfilled under these circumstances and more funds can flow inside the state. Thus for the general population of Bihar, it could be a blessing as there has always been a shortage of funds allocated from the center in Bihar.

RJD can now try to split the JDU, as there are reports of some JDU leaders including Ali Anwar Ansari and Sharad Yadav who are unhappy with Nitish Kumar’s decision. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury are also trying to engineer a split within JDU. If RJD is successful even a small fraction of JDU leaders it would be difficult for the ruling coalition to stand the floor test. Also with 80 seats, RJD is currently the biggest party in Bihar. There are 16 Muslim-Yadav legislators in the JDU camp which can break up, due to a difference in ideology with BJP. RJD may try to convince them, that Nitish Kumar would backstab them when the time is right.

However, the situation of the opposition is now in tatters if we look at its preparation for the 2019 assembly elections. With Congress losing one state after another and defection of party members followed by a broken opposition which has a divided ideology, it will be very difficult for them to defeat a strong NDA which has been expanding in every direction.

Nitish Kumar is the Chief Minister again just like the last week, everything seems to be functioning normally, and just political-parties have changed hands. Sushil Modi is back in his shoes of deputy CM thanking Tejaswi Yadav for being an accused of corruption charges. What else can one expect from politics in Bihar?

 

News Sources- Financial Express 

Situation worsens in Gorkhaland, Army called again

The volatile situation in Gorkhaland does not seem to end anytime soon, as Army was called in again by the West Bengal government after fresh incidents of torching a police outpost and a toy train station took place in Darjeeling as reported by Firstpost.

Bimal Gurung spearheading the entire agitation led by Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha claimed that two youths were killed in police firing, as a result of which the protest turned violent. West Bengal police denied any such reports. Mamata Banerjee has invited Gurung for talks in order to solve the Gorkhaland dispute, however, Gurung has mentioned that “all gates for talks are closed”. However, GJM is open to talks with the central government. Two columns of the army containing about 100 personnel were deployed at Darjeeling and Sonada after fresh unrest reported Times of India.

Though Army has been deployed, one can see the remains of violence across streets as remains of several burnt vehicles lie there. The police have accused the protestors of using stones and glass bottles while protestors have accused police of firing at “unarmed” people. After this violence there is a little chance that GJM would give upon their protests, however, at the same time, it will surely lead to economic hardships for the people whose businesses have been hurt.

Sources:  Firstpost

Image Source:

Fire at London’s famed Camden market

London’s famed “Camden market” was gutted as a result of the fire which broke just before midnight as reported by NBC news. The cause of the fire is unknown, though BBC Radio reported that the fire started from “Honest Burger Restaurant” on the ground floor. There have been no immediate reports of any injuries or causalities. The fire has burnt down the first, second and third floors of a building. The incident comes days after the 24 story Grenfell tower was gutted and 80 people were charred to death.

According to reports from Livemint, 70 firefighters and 10 fire trucks were sent to the site. “Crews worked hard to get the fire under control and to stop it from spreading to neighbouring buildings,” station manager David Reid said. The London Ambulance Service was called into action but it reported no patients were injured per se. Police had to be called in order to close down the streets as the fire was spreading very fast and became a threat to the commuters. Till the time the fire was doused down 10% of the market suffered damage, while others are intact thanks to the efficient work put up by the firefighters.

Camden is a famous tourist spot built in 1974 which caters to 28 million visitors each year for shopping, entertainment or attracted by nightlife.

 

Sources: NBC, BBC

Image Source: ABC

US President Trump to meet Putin

POTUS Donald Trump is scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time on the sidelines of the G20 meet, Hamburg, Germany as reported by BBC.

Both the leaders have been open to repair ties which had been earlier damaged by the Syrian war as well as the Crimean crisis. However, due to anti-Russian sentiment in the USA is at an all-time high due to the controversial involvement of Russia in the US Presidential elections which helped Trump to win. Also, there have been rumours that Trump has given highly classified information during the visit of Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov to the White House. Moscow has been in support of North Korea launching its ICBM (Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles) which has been heavily criticised by Washington. All this may lead to Trump holding a tough stance against Russia as reported by the Guardian.

Though the meeting would last for only an hour, there is a high chance that something new might come out of it. As far as Syria is concerned, both are determined to drive out ISIS but the US wants to install Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces government, while Russia wants Bashar-Al Assad to restore his rule as reported by the BBC.

In the recent days, Trump visited Poland and talked about the evils of communism which has been inflicted on the people of Warsaw. This certainly means that the personal equation between the two leaders is not very good as for now.
From body language to every word which both the leaders say during the meet will be dissected by the media from around the world.

Image Source: The Duran

CBI raids Lalu Yadav again

Fresh raids were conducted by CBI against RJD Supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav in the case of alleged irregularities in awarding the tender for maintenance of hotels. Raids are being conducted at 12 locations including Patna, Ranchi, Gurugram, and Puri.

The CBI has filed a case against Lalu Prasad Yadav his wife and former Bihar CM Rabri Devi and his son cum Deputy CM of Bihar Tejaswi Yadav reported Firstpost.

CBI Additional Director Rakesh Asthana said that substantial proof of irregularities was found in the privatisation of two Indian railway hotels to register a case. These hotels were transferred to M/S Sujata private limited a firm owned by Sarla Gupta. Also, another piece of land was sold to Sarada in western Patna at rates considerably below the circle. “The case is of criminal conspiracy (120-B), cheating (420) under IPC and corruption,” Asthana said.

Firstpost reported that Bihar BJP chief Sushil Modi reacted to the news by stating that once again Nitish Kumar has to decide whether they want to keep tainted leaders of RJD in its cabinet. Senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi mentioned that law should be allowed to take its course and no knee-jerk political response should be taken.

Senior RJD leader stated that “today is a dark day in Indian democracy, we will not be cowed down by this) Senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu rubbished the claims of central government using CBI against its opposition as reported by India.

Sources: India Today

Image Source: Indian Express

India – Israel becomes “strategic-partners”

The bonhomie between the two countries ended on a high note with both the countries agreeing upon raising the current “bilateral relationship” to that of “strategic partnership”.

This is the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Israel. Narendra Modi was given a red carpet welcome by his Israel counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on the occasion of 25 years of successful bilateral relationship between the two countries.  The Israeli PM even mentioned the relationship as “this is a marriage made in heaven, but we are implementing it on Earth”.

This visit saw several bilateral pacts alongside the current defense and security pacts. The impetus was also given this time on ties based on agriculture and water, these are the two major areas in which Israel is a global leader. This is in terms of India’s ambition to double the farmer’s income till 2022. The two countries also signed agreements on cyber laws along with space cooperation. Alongside these agreements, direct flight between Mumbai and Tel Aviv will soon be started.

Indian PM Modi also invited Netanyahu to visit India to which he readily accepted.

This meeting marks a strategic shift in the relationship between the two countries, as India has never been so close to Israel due to the Palestine factor. However, in the recent years, the Indian diplomacy is tilting more towards Israel as compared to Palestine.

News Source: Times Of India, FirstPost

Image Source: Indian Express

Dragon snarls, India refuses to budge

China is constructing road near the disputed area of Doka La which is claimed by India, China, and Bhutan as well. The Royal Bhutanese Army opposed the construction of the road at Doka La; India, in turn, intervened its army and halted the Chinese march ahead. The reason why this standoff is different from the past standoff between the two armies is due to the strategic location of Doka La. If China is able to make its road, it would be closer to the “chicken’s neck”, i.e. the narrow 50 km long Siliguri corridor which is the solo route connecting India with its North-East region.  If a war breaks out in future, it would give China the upper hand in cutting out the north-east region from the rest of India.
The tension does not seem to subside after 18 days of standoff between both the armies, China has repeatedly asked India to retreat their troops and the Chinese media has also been very critical and mentioned that “India should have learned lessons from the 1962 war”.  The Chinese have also stopped the Indian pilgrims to Kailash Mansarovar through Nathu La pass in Sikkim. Indian Defence Minister sharply replied to the Chinese media statement by mentioning that “If they are trying to remind us, the situation in 1962 was different and India of 2017 is different”.
Sikkim is one of the few regions where the Indian army has the upper hand in case of a conflict. India also has a brigade stationed inside “Ha Valley” in Bhutan, which would lead to the Chinese Army being trapped in a “funnel” in case a war breaks out. However, the construction of this road would seriously alter the status-quo. Indian Army would be stretched thin across the 4057-kilometer long land border if the Chinese army increases its ante near the area of Doka La.
Also at the strategic level, it comes at a time when India refused to join the Chinese initiative of developing a modern Silk Route i.e. OBOR (One Belt One Road) and Indian Prime Minister Modi during his visit to Washington. If Indian troops retreat, it would be a global embarrassment for India, as it has always taken the stance against the Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea and is unable to face China across its own borders.
Indian Army General Bipin Rawat has also visited the region, in order to assess the situation. Additional troops have been deployed by both the sides in case a war theater pops up.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of G 20 summit in Germany, and this standoff would surely be a part of their discussion. Interestingly, the Malabar exercise between India, USA, and Japan is going on with all the three navies incorporating their biggest ships in the war games in the Indian Ocean. Tension needs to be doused down soon, however; in the near future, it looks unlikely with the Indian army refusing to move.