DU Elections Herald the Winds of Change

For students of Delhi University, it is common sight to see the winning candidates in any year’s student elections being fielded by the ABVP, the RSS-affiliated right wing student organisation that has till now commanded the majority support. But not anymore. If the recently concluded DUSU elections send a message, it is that ABVP is not the most popular party anymore. The stunning defeat of the ABVP, only to give over its stronghold to the Congress backed NSUI shows that BJP is losing its hold over campuses.

It is true that the ABVP was not totally decimated in the elections. NSUI won only the President and Vice-Presidential positions, while the other two of General Secretary and Joint Secretary were retained by ABVP. It is also true that statistically, the best performer in the election was still the ABVP candidate for secretary, Mahamedhaa Nagar who defeated her NSUI rival by 2624 votes to win the post of secretary. Her win was still the biggest margin. However, what counts more is that NSUI has made a comeback and a stunning one at that. For the last five years, ABVP has dominated the student politics scene in Delhi, leaving no leeway for other parties to set foot. Since 2012, NSUI has never held an important position in DUSU and while this may be a half-triumph, it is still a triumph.

ABVP’s shocking loss should sound the alarm bells for the BJP and the Modi-brigade which has thus far captured the imagination of the youth across campuses. Students across the world do not like being dictated to and Indian students are no different. With the Modi brigade dictating terms on cow vigilantism, coupled with the lack of tolerance and the alarming rise of Hindutva across the country, it should be of no surprise that the students have swung to the age old challenger of the BJP, the Congress and chosen to put their faith in them. This is certainly a reaction to the brand of hyper nationalism propagated by the centre, which has backfired against them. Moreover, the ABVP has been on a rampage of violence and disruption, with the Rohith Vemula suicide last year, the upheaval in JNU and the Ramjas incident early this year. On every one of these occasions, the ABVP was the muscular aggressor and on the receiving end of much criticism from left-wing liberals.

And NSUI’s win in DU is not a one-off incident. This is simply a follow up of the impressive performances by the outfit in the recent polls in Guwahati, Rajasthan and Punjab Universities. This is the concert result of the educated and urban youth taking up arms against the divisive and polarising politics wielded by the ABVP in every election it participates in. This is a wake-up call to Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. Ironically, the latter had termed ABVP’s victory in DUSU polls last year as the triumph of nationalism. The DUSU election is definitely a reflection of the current mood among the youngsters, who are witnessing a polarising of the country under the current government.

However, it is not all hunky-dory for the NSUI. This year’s election also saw a huge jump in NOTA votes, from less than 10% last year to 16.5% this year. This can only portray a certain disillusionment with the student wings of mainstream political parties and should be a cause of worry for both the Congress and the BJP. It is also to be noted that more students availed of the NOTA option in the DUSU elections than the JNSUSU elections. Nonetheless, the DUDU results should be doing much to boost the sagging morale of the Congress, which sadly, does not remain a key player at the centre politics any longer.

Sources: The Quint, Hindustan Times

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

Congress – RJD welcome Sharad Yadav against Nitish

The Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) chief, Lalu Prasad Yadav’s invitation to Janta Dal (united) leader and co-founder Sharad Yadav in the fight against the Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, was welcomed by the Congress Party on Monday.

Sharad Yadav, who is a colleague of the chief minister, Nitish Kumar, has expressed his disapproval towards his ties with the BJP. Yadav, who decided to remain silent for five days was invited by Lalu to fight against Nitish Kumar. On Monday, Yadav broke his silence and said he does not agree with the steps taken by his colleague. According to a report by NDTV, the veteran leader told the reporters at Parliament, “Whatever happened is very unfortunate, the mandate by the people was not for this.”

On July 26, 2016, Nitish Kumar took a political change as he broke his mahagahtbandhan with RJD and Congress and shakes hands with the BJP. According to Kumar, the refusal of resignation by the deputy chief minister, Tejashwi Yadav, made him take the step.

ANI reported that Naresh Agarwal, a leader of Samajwadi Party (SP), condemned the decision taken by Kumar and also pointed out that a senior leader like Sharad Yadav was left out from making this decision.

RJD is planning to launch “Desh bachao, BJP bhagao” movement soon.

 

Sources: ANI news, NDTV

 

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 

Congressman arrested for raping a 51 year old woman.

Congress MLA M Vincent has been arrested for allegedly raping a 51 year old female. The victim, attempted suicide after she was sexually assaulted by the congress legislator reported NDTV.

 

A case had been registered against the MLA under charges of abetment of suicide after a complaint was made by the woman at Balaramapuram, told the police. However, he denies any such sexual attempts towards the woman and says that he is being framed.

 

Ajeetha Begum, Kollam City Police Commissioner was quoted,”A case under IPC section 376 has been registered against Congress MLA M Vincent representing the Kovalam segment, after the woman’s statement was recorded at a hospital in Neyyatinkara, where she is undergoing treatment.”
TOI mentioned, the woman’s husband had stated that the MLA on a regular basis used to call her wife over phone and harass her. Despite all this, Mr Vincent claims the charges to be “baseless” and “without facts”. He adds, the allegations were a part of a conspiracy and told the woman used to call her many times for help on a different sexual assault case, which he had passed on to the local police.

SOURCE: TOI, NDTV

IMAGE SOURCE: PTI

Shankarsinh Vaghela Quits Congress; Claims that he was thrown out of the Party

Shankarsinh Vaghela, former chief ministers of Gujarat, said that he quit the Congress on July 21, 2017. This statement was made just a day after he claimed that he had been thrown out of the party and was spotted sporting a saffron scarf.

According to The Hindu, Vaghela said that he was a ‘victim of internal conspiracy in BJP and now in Congress’.

Vaghela went on to say that he was expelled from the Congress because they were worried regarding what he might say during his birthday celebrations.

In a report by the Economic Times, Vaghela was unhappy that the Congress had not declared him as the front runner of the party’s campaign in Gujarat as well as the chief ministerial candidate in the upcoming party elections.

There has been reported internal strife in the Congress party after Vaghela criticized Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.

Regarding the matter, a Congress spokesperson, Randeep Surjewala told NDTV, “Congress regrets a veteran leader of his stature resigning.” He went on to say, “He wanted to be made the party’s state president. But no party can comply with this request. It’s something that the party must decide and cannot be left to individuals”

 

Sources-

  1. The Hindu-http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/shankarsinh-vaghela-quits-congress-wont-join-bjp/article19324073.ece
  2. The Economic Times-http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/congress-expelled-me-24-hours-ago-says-rebel-shankarsinh-vaghela/articleshow/59698011.cms