Amit Shah unveils Deen Dayal Upadhyay’s statue in Bhopal

As part of his three-day visit, BJP President Amit Shah uncovered a statue of Deen Dayal Upadhyay, the founder of the erstwhile Jan Sangh. Madya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Bhopal mayor Alok Sharma were also present near the city’s Lal Ghati square to witness the same. 

Shah was welcomed by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and party leaders, Kailash Vijaywargiya and Prabhat Jha at Bhopal airport. He was also accompanied by a large number of Bjp workers and supporters during his visit to the party’s office. 

According to Chouhan, Shah’s schedule in Bhopal will be a hectic one and involve a number of meetings with local party leaders, including State unit office-bearers, central office-bearers, core group members, State spokespersons, MPs, MLAs, district presidents, among others. The brainstorming sessions will also be attended by the central officers. 

Apart from unveiling a book by Kailash Narayan Sarang, his hectic schedule will also involve addressing intellectuals and students. 

The Bhopal visit is a part of his nationwide tour to promote his party ahead of the upcoming assembly elections. 

SC quashes Congress plea to disallow NOTA to three RS seats in Gujarat

Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A.M. Khanwilkar decided to freeze Congress’ plea to abolish None of the Above (NOTA) from the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections. NOTA will continue to feature as an option on the ballot paper, which was introduced by Election Commission (EC) in 2014.

Senior advocate, Kapil Sabil, argued that NOTA will foment to be a recipe for corruption, and it was the court’s responsibility to stop the rot at the stems. He raised the concern that MLAs might cross vote once again, throwing party directives to thin air or invalidate their vote by exercising NOTA.

Closely observing Sibal’s apprehensions, Justice Roy asked Sibal whether Congress is already forecasting a defeat.

The bench also argued that NOTA has been in place since Jan 26, 2014 and it didn’t understand why Congress is filing a petition at the 11th hour.

Although the BJP has supported Congress’ claims regarding NOTA, they have maintained a strategic silence in SC on the issue.

Rajya Sabha elections are due on August 8, with ten seats up for grabs; one from Madhya Pradesh, three from Gujarat, and six from West Bengal.

SOURCES: THE HINDU, TOI

IMAGE CAPTION: ELECTION COMMISSION

Congress, BJP on the same page: Say No to NOTA

Political rivals, Congress and the BJP took a similar stand on the use of NOTA for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat. In a memorandum to the Election Commission, the BJP said: “It is submitted that use of NOTA in the upcoming poll has become an issue of debate among the political parties and therefore, a proper consensus should be made before the use of NOTA in an election in Rajya Sabha.” 

 The BJP believes that due to the lack of provision of the secret ballot, NOTA does not hold much use.“Therefore, the BJP demands that the direction for using the NOTA option in the election for the Rajya Sabha in the state of Gujarat be withdrawn with immediate effect,” the party said in the memorandum. 

 The Congress followed suit as they moved the Supreme Court against the Election Commission’s decision of using NOTA  in the upcoming elections. 

According to Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Minister of State of Parliamentary Affairs, NOTA goes “against the nature of the whip.”. “NOTA is fine in the case of direct elections but in the case of Rajya Sabha elections, it should be withdrawn. This option should be eliminated as it creates confusion” she added. 

News Source: Hindu, Indian Express

Image Source: PTI

Is GST serving slow death to Marathi plays?

It has been a month after Goods and Services Tax (GST) was levied and is still showing an impact on various businesses, including Marathi drama and hotel industry. The drama industry is already struggling to keep Marathi drama and traditional folk dance prevalent, GST has hit them hard with a loss of 40 to 50 per cent. At the same time, the hotel owners have a complaint of 20% fall in business.

The new tax regime included a revised rate of movie tickets too. 18 per cent GST is applicable on movie tickets above Rs 250 and this has led to a drastic increase in the ticket rates which inherently pushes up the charges such as traveling costs of artists and catering expenses.

Following these reasons, the number of the audience coming to watch a Marathi play or traditional performances like Lavani has gone down, leading to declining in the number of events, reported Hindustan times.

Sadanand Mohol, president of Pune Exhibitors Association, that has 13 single screen theatres under its wings, told Indian Express, “Given that so far no entertainment tax was charged for regional films, so any amount of entertainment tax will deter moviegoers from coming to the theatre. The biggest impact of this will be on single-screen theatre owners who have been suffering losses from the past many years post the arrival of multiplexes.”

The people from the industry are trying to cut down on production prices and other things in order to keep the shows going and inviting citizens. Some producers have formed WhatsApp groups and shared link among citizens. They shared information regarding the show through the social platform announcing a discount on ticket window to attract citizens.

Sources: Hindustan timesIndian Express

Image source: Mumbai theatre guide

Samajwadi Leaders Resign from Party; gives a jolt to the already shaky foundation

In a surprising turn of events, Samajwadi MLCs Yashwant Sinha and Bukkal Nawab tendered their resignations from the party. This move has caused a major setback for the already politically volatile atmosphere within the Samajwadi party.

Nawab cited Akhilesh Yadav’s confrontation with his father as the reason for his resignation from the party. “I am feeling very suffocated since last one-year. It is clear that when he (Akhilesh) is not with his own father then how can he be with the people”, Deccan Chronicle quoted Nawab saying.

After his resignation, Bukka Nawab told ANI, “Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is doing good work and PM Modi has given a good slogan of ‘Sabka sath, sabka vikas’. If they invite, then I might go with BJP. Yogi is also doing a good job in the state; at least there has not been any scam yet.”

Nawab went on to say that more people might resign from the party.

With these resignations, it will be easy for the Uttar Pradesh chief minister to become a member of the legislative assembly. He will not have to contest an election to become a member.

Sources: ANI, TOI, Deccan Chronicle

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 

AAP MLA booked on charges of molestation

Prakash Jarwal, MLA of the Aam Aadmi Party has been booked for allegedly molesting a 53 year old woman in southeast Delhi’s Sangam Vihar. This is the second case against him for the same issue. However, Jarwal has denied the charges and termed it as “Politically motivated.”

The FIR has been lodged under IPC sections 354, 509, 506.According to the NDTV, the accused MLA said that the police had not informed him about a case being registered against him and they will not call him for any interrogation but will arrest him directly.

He further claimed that the woman is a “BJP volunteer”  who wanted to make “political gains.”

Jarwal added saying that he was present in the area at the time of the incident, but it was the woman and her family who hurled abuses at him.

“If I had barged into her house and roughed her up, some injuries would have been found in medical examination,” he said.

In June 2016, Jarwal was accused of touching a woman inappropriately and pushing her when she had gone to lodge a complaint regarding water problems at Delhi Jal Board office in southeast Delhi’s Greater Kailash area.

15 MLAs from the AAP have been booked under different charges after the party came to power. The party claims it to “political vendetta.”

News Source- Indian Express, NDTV

Image Source- DNA