The ruling Congress-Janata Dal Secular (JDS) alliance in Karnataka has won two assembly seats and two Lok Sabha seats in bypolls that are expected to have an impact on opposition moves to forge a grand coalition to take on the BJP in next year's national election, reports NDTV. The BJP has won only one parliamentary seat, Shivamogga, vacated by former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa. The Congress has surged ahead in Ballari, a BJP stronghold since 2004. The ruling alliance has won the Mandya Lok Sabha seat and the assembly constituencies of Jamkhandi and Ramanagara, NDTV reported. An upper hand in these by-elections will be seen as validation for the Congress-JD(S) coalition amid digs about its longevity from the BJP, which is still smarting at its failure to form a government despite winning the most number of seats in the May state elections.
Three Lok Sabha and two assembly seats in Karnataka are voting today in a crucial set of by-elections that will test the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in the state. The two alliance partners have fielded joint candidates in all the seats. The JD(S) is contesting the Mandya and Shivamogga Lok Sabha seats and the Ramanagara assembly constituency. The Congress has put up candidates in the Ballari Lok Sabha seat and Jamkhandi assembly seat.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a telephone conversation with Dr. Lotay Tshering, President of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa. Prime Minister Modi congratulated Dr. LotayTshering on his party’s victory in the third general election in Bhutan and his own election to the National Assembly. Prime Minister Modi welcomed the successful conduct of general elections, which is an important milestone for consolidation of democracy in Bhutan. Prime Minister Modi conveyed that India attaches the highest priority to further strengthening unique ties of friendship and cooperation with Bhutan, which is based on shared interests and values, utmost trust, goodwill and mutual understanding. Recalling the ongoing Golden Jubilee celebrations of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Prime Minister Modi reiterated India’s steadfast commitment to work with the new government in Bhutan in its national efforts for socio-economic transformation, based on the priorities and interests of the people and the government of Bhutan. Prime Minister Modi extended an invitation to Dr. LotayTshering to visit India. Dr. Lotay Tshering thanked Prime Minister Modi for his greetings and good wishes, and accepted the invitation to visit India at the earliest opportunity. The two leaders agreed to take forward the unique and multifaceted bilateral co-operation to new heights for the benefit of the people of Bhutan and India.
It has been reported in a section of the media that Rahul Gandhi, during an interaction at New Delhi on Saturday, had commented that “The SPG Chief appointed by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had to quit because he refused to accept a list of SPG officers handpicked by the RSS”. The matter has been verified. The officer in question, Vivek Srivastava, former Director, Special Protection Group (SPG), has specifically averred that he did not have any such conversation with Rahul Gandhi at any point of time. The officer has stated that as part of his professional duties he interacted with SPG protectees; however, he has categorically stated that during his interaction with Gandhi, there was no talk whatsoever regarding the appointment of a new Director, or the reasons for his leaving SPG. SPG is a professional organisation which takes its task of protecting serving Prime Ministers, former Prime Ministers and their families entrusted to its security, very seriously and in the highest professional spirit.
With chief minister Manohar Parrikar in New Delhi for treatment at the capital’s AIIMS hospital and the ruling BJP in a huddle over the way forward, the Congress has staked claim to form government in Goa as the single largest party. It has urged Governor Mridula Sinha to dismiss the BJP-led government arguing that it is “not functioning”, reports Hindustan Times. “The government should be dismissed and we should be given an opportunity,” Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar of the Congress said today, adding that his party delivered two letters, signed by all 16 of its MLAs at Goa’s Raj Bhawan, but were unable to meet the Governor. They will attempt to meet her again tomorrow, he said, Hindustan Times reported. The BJP has, however, asserted that its government is stable and that no demand has been made for change in leadership. Senior BJP leader Ram Lal asserted that the party’s allies have reiterated their support, reports Hindustan Times.
Ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar be admitted to the premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi today for treatment at a time when the BJP is exploring options in the state, reports NDTV. Mr Parrikar, who returned from the US after a medical check-up last week, was admitted to a hospital in Goa Thursday evening. Mr Parrikar is expected to reach Delhi on a special flight this afternoon, reported NDTV. Mr Parrikar being shifted to Delhi for treatment for a pancreatic ailment comes after intervention from the BJP high command, sources said. "He will be flying to Delhi around 10.30 am today by a special flight and would be admitted to AIIMS for his follow-up treatment," a senior official from the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said. At AIIMS, Mr Parrikar will be under the care of Dr Pramod Garg of the gastroenterology department, NDTV reported.
Opposition parties, latched on to Vijay Mallya's statement in which he claimed that he had met Arun Jaitley before leaving India, and demanded a probe into the fugitive liquor baron's statement, which was rubbished by the finance minister as "factually false", reports NDTV. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi should immediately order an independent probe into Vijay Mallya's "extremely serious allegations" and Arun Jaitley should step down while the investigation will be carried out. The claim made by Vijay Mallya, who is facing charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to Rs. 9,000 crore, has triggered a political storm, with the Congress is saying that the government must explain how and why Mr Mallya was allowed to leave India, NDTV reported. Arun Jaitley, however, said he never gave Vijay Mallya an appointment after becoming a minister in 2014, but the liquor baron misused his position as a member of parliament to approach him once in Parliament, reports NDTV.
At the national executive meeting in Delhi, the BJP has strategised a point by point rebuttal of the combined opposition's attack on the government on several issues including steep rise in oil prices and farmers' distress. The BJP has decided fight the 2019 Lok Sabha elections under the leadership of Amit Shah, reports NDTV. The Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh has confirmed to NDTV that the party's internal polls, to select a new leader, will be deferred as Amit Shah's term as president ends in January 2019. The party will also formulate its strategy for the state assembly polls and the Lok Sabha elections. The two-day meeting is being attended by its national leadership, key leaders from all states and union territories and office bearers, NDTV reported.
The Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu today urged all the political parties to evolve a code of conduct for MPs and MLAs both within and outside the Houses for effective functioning of legislatures to restore the confidence of the people in parliamentary institutions. He also urged the parties to come together, transcending political considerations, on issues of national importance. Naidu voiced concern about the functioning of legislators in the country after release of a book titled “Moving On…Moving Forward: A Year in Office” on his first year as Vice President, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Naidu described the book as a report to the people on his mission and it’s outcomes during the year since he was sworn in as Vice President on August 11 last year. Naidu said “While there is cause for a great deal of celebration in the way Indian economy is shaping up and how India’s standing in the comity of nations has been steadily going up, I am a little unhappy that our Parliament Is not functioning as it should”. He suggested five reforms to improve the functioning of Parliament and State legislatures. These include; Code of conduct for legislators both within and outside the Houses, Legislators to resign before changing party and Anti-defection cases to be decided in three months time, Election petitions and criminal cases against political leaders to be decided quickly by special benches of higher courts, A national policy to ensure consistency in having upper houses in States and Cleansing of polity. Naidu also urged political parties to consider issues concerning women dispassionately to ensure their safety and dignity and by ending discrimination against women on the basis of religion and other factors. He called for reservation for women in all spheres including in legislatures. Stressing that agriculture is the basic culture of the country, the Vice President called for a clear bias towards farmers in resource allocation to ensure remunerative farming and a robust food security. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Naidu as a person ‘’ driven by a holistic vision aimed at improving the lot of common man”. He recalled that when former Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee was keen to offer to Naidu an important portfolio, Naidu, unusually requested to be given the Ministry of Rural Development. Modi noted that the Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) launched by Naidu became hugely popular among the MPs, given the importance of rural roads.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Harivansh, on his election as Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. Speaking in the Upper House, shortly after the election, the Prime Minister also expressed happiness that the Leader of the House, Shri Arun Jaitley, is back in the House, after recovering from illness. The Prime Minister noted that we are marking the anniversary of the Quit India Movement today. He said that Harivansh ji hails from Ballia, a land which has been linked with the freedom struggle, right from the 1857 war of independence. The Prime Minister added that Shri Harivansh has been inspired by Loknayak Jaya Prakash Narayan. The Prime Minister recalled that Harivansh ji had also worked with former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar ji. The Prime Minister said that working closely with Chandra Shekhar ji, Harivansh ji knew in advance that Chandra Shekhar ji would resign. However, he did not let his own newspaper have access to this news, the Prime Minister observed, adding that this shows his commitment to ethics and public service. The Prime Minister said that Harivansh ji is well read and has written a lot. He added that Harivansh ji has served society for years. Narendra Modi also congratulated B.K. Hariprasad for being a part of the election for Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha. He thanked the Chairman and all the members, for the smooth conduct of the election.