Ram Nath Kovind elected as India’s 14th President

NDA’s candidate Ram Nath Kovid has been elected as the 14th President of India on July 20. Kovind won the Presidential position after beating Meira Kumar of the opposition by garnering two-thirds of the total vote.

The 71-year-old Dalit leader, who will be following the footsteps of President Pranab Mukherjee, has received over seven lakh votes which sums up to about 65 per cent of the votes cast while Kumar could only get 3.6 lakh votes.

Talking about his victory, Kovind said that he had never thought that he would be elected as the President, but his love for the nation has brought him here, reported Indian Express.

“I thank all who supported me from across country, I feel very emotional, I’ll represent all struggling to make a living. I promise to serve the nation with all honesty,” he said.

While Meira Kumar claimed that the battle against her values and ideologies will continue.

Congratulating Kovind on his victory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to his Twitter handle and wrote, “Congratulations to Shri Ram Nath Kovind Ji on being elected the President of India! Best wishes for a fruitful & inspiring tenure.”

In a series of tweet, PM Modi also thanked the members of the Electoral College for extended support to the NDA candidate. He also posted a 20 years before and present picture of him and Kovind.

Many other politicians including MM Joshi, N Chandrababu Naidu, Suresh Prabhu, Sharad Pawar, Nitish Kumar, Nitin Gadkari also gave their best wishes to Kovind.

Sources: Indian Express, NDTV

Smriti Irani gets additional charge of I&B Ministry

Bharatiya Janata Party Union Ministers, Smriti Irani, and Narendra Tomar on Tuesday were given the additional charge of the Information and Broadcast and Urban Development respectively. This came after the resignation of Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu, who previously held the two offices, reported Indian Express. He will now contest for the Vice Presidential election in August.

In a series of tweets, Irani congratulated Naidu and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “With blessings of PM @narendramodi ji, took Additional Charge of @MIB_India. My gratitude to Hon. Prime Minister for his continued guidance”, Irani tweeted.

Both Irani and Tomar who are the incumbent Union Ministers of Textiles and Rural Development and Panchayati Raj were stripped off their position during the 2016 cabinet shuffle and were given their current roles. Prakash Javadekar replaced Irani as the Minister for Human Resource and Development and Tomar was replaced by Piyush Goyal for an additional charge of Minister of Mines.

In her two-year tenure as the HRD Minister, Irani faced constant lashes for her policies and comments. In 2014, she was a major figure on scrapping off 2013 implemented FYUP in Delhi University colleges. According to Livemint, the same year a huge controversy sparked over her educational qualification as it was believed she presented fake educational certificates. She was also criticised for lewd comments on the suicide of JNU student Rohith Vermula.

Smriti Irani became the fourth I&B minister in the three years of the Modi government. Previously, Arun Jaitley and Prakash Javadekar held the portfolio before Naidu was made the minister in 2016.

Sources: Livemint, Indian Express

Gopalkrishna Gandhi opposition’s choice for Vice-President

Former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi has been chosen as the Opposition’s candidate for Vice-President. The decision to pick the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi was taken after 18 Opposition parties met on Tuesday.

According to Indian Express, only Gandhi’s name was discussed during the meeting at Parliament House.

After the meeting, Congress President Sonia Gandhi told reporters that Gandhi’s name for the nomination had been raised unanimously by all parties present in the meeting.

“Eighteen parties have decided to field Gopalkrishna Gandhi as their vice presidential candidate. We have spoken to Gopalkrishna Gandhi. He has agreed to be the opposition’s candidate for vice president”, Indian Express quoted the Congress President as saying.

Nitish Kumar caused a bit of worry in the opposition camp by not attending the meeting, although he sent Sharad Yadav, JDU’s other top leader to compensate for his absence. There has already been some tension in the Opposition camp over Nitish Kumar’s support for BJP Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. But Nitish Kumar’s earlier approval of Gandhi, though, is a major positive.

The meeting was attended by Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, TMC’s Derek O’ Brien, CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury, NC’s Omar Abdullah, SP’s Naresh Agarwal and BSP’s Satish Chandra Mishra. If required, polling for the vice president’s post will be held on August 5 and counting will also take place in the same evening.

The NDA government is yet to announce their candidate for the vice president.

Sources: Indian Express, NDTV 

Backing Kovind’s presidential candidature is an ‘isolated incident’ : JD(U)

The Janata Dal (United) on June 22 said that the party’s decision to support NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind was an ‘isolated incident’. The party continues to be an integral part of the Opposition and there was no question of going back to the National Democratic Alliance.

K C Tyagi, JD(U) national spokesperson said, “The decision to back Kovind’s candidature is an isolated incident… we’ll never go back to the NDA-fold again.”

According to The Hindu, Tyagi said that Kovind, during his nearly two years’ tenure as the Bihar governor had played a positive and non-confrontational role in the functioning of the state government. He handled himself with poise and dignity. Nitish Kumar, chief minister of Bihar was quite impressed with his conduct and grace which made him back the candidature for the president’s post.

He said that on June 4, during the DMK founder M Karunanidhi’s 94th birthday celebrations at Chennai, Nitish Kumar and  Sitaram Yechuri, general secretary, CPI(M), had discussed the name of former West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi as the Opposition’s candidate and it would have proceeded with that but for the NDA throwing a surprise by announcing Kovind’s nomination.

Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar said, “Nitish ji took the initiative for the opposition Presidential candidate. It was he who was talking to everybody. Different opposition leaders have their own perspectives. Those are their views. He (Nitish) also supported demonetisation. We should respect it. Had he put his views at the June 22 meeting, it would have been elegant.”

The JD(U) national spokesperson asked the NDA that it should not expect his party to go back to the ruling alliance at the Centre.

“Despite backing Kovind’s candidature for the president’s post, we are of the considered view that the Modi government has failed on all fronts”, Tyagi added.

 

Sources-

  1. INDIA TV NEWS-https://www.google.co.in/amp/m.indiatvnews.com/amp/politics/national-bound-to-support-kovind-s-presidential-bid-but-no-question-of-going-back-to-nda-jdu-s-kc-tyagi-387583
  2.  THE HINDU- https://www.google.co.in/amp/www.thehindu.com/news/national/no-question-of-going-back-to-nda-jdu/article19125959.ece/amp

Nitish Kumar to support Ram Nath Kovind for President

On Wednesday, June 21, leaders of the Janata Dal United (JDU) party stated that Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar has decided to support Ram Nath Kovind for President, siding with the Modi government.

According to NDTV, Kumar is due to meet with his party colleagues as well as Sharad Yadav on Wednesday evening  to formally announce that they will not support any candidate that the Congress-led opposition decides to field. He has reportedly conveyed this message to Sonia Gandhi, Congress president and Lalu Yadav as well, according to India Today.

“It is for the first time that the Governor of Bihar has been chosen for the post of President. We are all supporting him, the Chief Minister is supporting him…it’s good for Bihar,” said Ratnesh Sada, a leader from Kumar’s JDU told NDTV.

Kovind, who was announced as NDA’s candidate for the presidential position, was the Governor of Bihar and a Dalit leader. Kumar has praised the ex-Governor, who resigned on Tuesday after the announcement of his candidature.

The presidential elections, if necessary, are scheduled for July 17, that is, if the opposition decides to field an opponent to Kovind. With Shiv Sena and other regional parties having pledged their support to the NDA, Kovind is likely to win the election, reported India Today.

According to sources, the opposition may also go in for a Dalit candidate to match Kovind, with former Speaker Meira Kumar, B R Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar and former Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde being possible names.

 

Sources: India Today, NDTV

Jaitley firm on 1 July GST roll out with a historic Parliamentary Session

Despite pressure from various fronts, the NDA brass has decided to stick to the deadline of 1 July 2017 to roll out Goods and Service Tax (GST) which has been in the spotlight since the last couple of months. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday stated that the inputs of various political parties will be given due recognition in a special function to be held at the historic central hall of the parliament on 30 June.

All the key constitutional dignitaries, members of Parliament,  along with the members of GST council are expected to be present at the function. President Pranab Mukherjee, during his term as a Finance Minister in the UPA regime, piloted the the first Constitutional Amendment Bill in 2011 to bring in GST. He, too, will be present for the function.

Jaitley reiterated the fact that the GST will provide long-term benefits to the economy by increasing the revenues, boosting overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and keeping a check on tax evasion. However, he sounded cautious over the short term challenges and expected some challenges in the near future. The finance minister also stated that the roll out date of 1

The finance minister also stated that the roll out date of 1 July was announced long back and all the stakeholders including the Medium and Small Enterprises (MSME ) sector were expected to prepare themselves for the roll out in the stipulated deadline. He also informed that the time frame for filing returns have been extended to provide relief to firms. Commenting on the anti-profiteering clause of the Bill, he stated that the mechanism has been inserted to be used on a situational basis and not be used as a regular practice.

News Sources- ANI, Business Standard 

CJI condemns Government verdict on rejection of Subramanium’s candidature

Picture Courtesy – newsfiber.com
New Delhi: The Chief Justice of India RM Lodha has criticised the NDA government for rejecting General Gopal Subramanian’s candidature for SC judge.

The Gopal Subramanium controversy has received a firm reaction from Lodha as he remarked that the independence of Judiciary would never be compromised.

He further added that the decision of segregating Gopal Subramanium’s name was done without his acknowledgement and he has asked Subramanium Gopal to wait and have a detailed discussion regarding the rejection.

It was a shocking occasion for the Chief Justice of India as he received a letter from Subramanium in which he allegedly blamed the government for putting an edge on the former Solicitor General. He accused the government for eliminating his name due to adverse IB and CBI reports.

Gopal Subramanium has gone public with the letter in order to draw attention for the judgement. Reports have also revealed that Lodha asked the former Solicitor General to reconsider his decision but received a 30 word letter from him which said that he was no more interested in the candidature.