Sena’s Time Up, Maharashtra Guv Calls NCP To Form Govt

The political uncertainty continued in Maharashtra after a day of hectic political developments on Monday though there was some movement towards forming a non-BJP government in the state with the Shiv Sena talking to NCP, and the Congress holding a meeting of its working committee in the national capital.

At the end of the day, Shiv Sena, which is keen to have its chief minister in the state, did not get additional time from Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to submit letters of support from the NCP and the Congress.

The Governor, instead, called the NCP, which finished third in the assembly polls, and asked it to indicate its willingness to form the government in the state.

In another development, Arvind Sawant, the lone representative of Shiv Sena in the BJP-led government at the Centre, resigned from his post as part of his party’s efforts to get the backing of NCP.

The political chess-game in the state started after BJP, which emerged as the single-largest party in the results declared on October 24 by getting 105 seats, declined to form the government following its differences with its ally Shiv Sena over power-sharing.

The Shiv Sena insisted on getting the post of chief minister for two-and-a-half years but the BJP said there had not been any such understanding between the two parties ahead of the polls. Shiv Sena emerged as the second-largest party in the polls and got 56 seats.

Both the NCP and the Congress held meetings in the morning over the developments as the Shiv Sena expressed its desire to form a non-BJP government. The NCP made it clear that it will not make a decision without its ally Congress spelling out its stance. The NCP has 54 MLAs in the assembly while the Congress has 44.

Sources said that there was a meeting between Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray and NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

The Congress Working Committee discussed the developments in Maharashtra and decided to have a meeting with its leaders from Maharashtra before taking a decision.

However, at the end of deliberations, the party issued a statement which talked of further consultations with the NCP and made no mention of the Shiv Sena.

“The Congress Working Committee met this morning and had a detailed discussion on the situation in Maharashtra after which consultation was held with Maharashtra Congress leaders. The Congress president has spoken to Sharad Pawarji. The party will have further discussion with NCP,” said the statement issued by party general secretary KC Venugopal.

Extending support to the Shiv Sena is not an easy proposition for the Congress, not only because the two parties have been adversaries in Maharashtra but also because of its implications on the electoral prospects of Congress in other states.

However, a section of the newly-elected MLAs is in favour of joining hands with the NCP and the Shiv Sena to form a non-BJP government.

Koshyari on Monday asked NCP leaders including Ajit Pawar to indicate willingness and ability of his party to form the government in Maharashtra. He had on Sunday asked Shiv Sena legislative party leader Eknath Shinde about the government formation in the state.

NCP leader Jayant Patil told reporters after meeting with the Governor that as per the procedure, the party had been given the letter. “We suggested to him that we will have to talk to our allies and we will get back to him as early as possible. The deadline is 8.30 pm tomorrow,” he said.

Patil said the party will hold consultations with the Congress and convey its views to the Governor.

NCP leader Nawab Malik had said earlier that non-BJP government cannot be formed in the state without NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena.


Industrial Output Contracts by 4.3% in September

Industrial output in September contracted by 4.3 per cent from a year earlier due to poor performance in the manufacturing sector, data released by the government on Monday showed.

In September 2018, the factory output had expanded by 4.6 per cent. The contraction was largely due to the underperformance of the mining and electricity sectors.

The quick estimates of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) for September stand at 123.3, which is 4.3 per cent lower as compared to the level in September last year, according to an official statement.

“The cumulative growth for the April to September over the corresponding period of the previous year stands at 1.3 per cent,” it said.

In terms of industries, a total of 17 out of 23 industry groups showed negative growth during September as compared to the corresponding month of 2018.

The power generation sector’s output dropped by 2.6 per cent in September compared with 8.2 per cent growth year-on-year. At the same time, mining output slid by 8.5 per cent as against 0.1 per cent growth.


JNU Students Hold Massive Protest Against Fee Hike

Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) on Monday carried out a massive protest rally outside the campus against the fee hike in the new hostel manual which also includes provisions on dress code and curfew timings.

Hundreds of JNU students were seen carrying out a march from Freedom Square to AICTE Auditorium with banners against the ‘massive fee hike’.

“We have been protesting for over 15 days but the Vice-Chancellor is not willing to talk to us. The fee has been hiked in the university. Around 40 per cent of the students here come from very poor families,” one of the protesting students told ANI.

Another student said that the university is subsidised so that the poor can also study here. “How will a poor student be able to study here if the hostel fee is over 6 to 7 thousand,” the student asked.

Meanwhile, the police were seen requesting students to keep their protest peaceful.

“You are resorting to violence. Please keep your protest peaceful,” a police official was seen telling the protesters as a group of students dragged a police barricade.

The students were protesting even as Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu was attending a convocation ceremony at the university.

The JNUSU has been protesting for around two weeks against the new hostel manual.

JNU Vice-Chancellor Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar had on November 8 alleged that some students had kept Associate Dean Dr Vandana Mishra in illegal captivity as part of their protest.

According to JNUSU president Aishe Singh, the hostel fees have been increased and curfew and dress restrictions have been introduced in the university.


Sena To Draft Common Minimum Programme with NCP

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Monday said that his party is working towards a common minimum programme (CMP) with NCP and Congress in a bid to form a coalition government in Maharashtra.

“Sharad Pawar and Congress want that we should form the government which should run on a common minimum programme (CMP). There is a need for it today. We are working towards it,” Raut told reporters here.

“Had the governor given us more time, it would have been easy (to get the numbers). But we have been given little time. Those who have fewer seats should be given more time. But we don’t have any complaints. We respect the governor’s order,” he said.

Raut further said: “Congress, NCP, and other parties were saying that they do not want a BJP chief minister in Maharashtra. Now, it is time to do what they were saying. Shiv Sena has come forward. I hope that we all ready to give a stable government in Maharashtra.”

NCP has 54 MLAs while its alliance partner Congress has 44. If Shiv Sena, which had 56 legislators, gets the support of NCP and Congress, it will easily cross the majority mark of 145 in 288-member Maharashtra Assembly.

When asked about contradictory ideologies of the parties, the Shiv Sena leader cited the example of BJP and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) that came together to form the government in Jammu and Kashmir despite their differences.

“Was the ideology of BJP and Mehbooba Mufti alike? Was it love-jihad? Congress and NCP are not from Pakistan or Afghanistan. All parties have made a contribution to the country. There can be differences on some issues. Shiv Sena also had differences with BJP,” he said.

Raut also held BJP responsible for the current situation despite the alliance getting a majority.

“BJP told the governor that they can’t form the government. They said that Shiv Sena is not ready to support us, so we will sit in opposition. This is their ego and an insult to the people. They are ready to sit in the opposition but are not ready to accept the rotational chief ministers’ formula,” he said.

“They told the governor that Shiv Sena is not ready to come along with us. But they have not even asked us about it. Our relations have just become a formality,” he added.

The NDA alliance received a majority in Maharashtra after the BJP won 105 and Shiv Sena bagged 56 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly.

Commenting on the resignation of Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant from the Union Cabinet, Raut said that the decision was taken by party chief Uddhav Thackeray.

“Last night Uddhav Thackeray asked Arvind Sawant to resign. We are not responsible for whatever is happening today. What relations do we have when they are not even ready to talk to us and follow the agreement we had before the alliance?” he said.


Former CEC TN Seshan Dies Of Cardiac Arrest At 87

Former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) TN Seshan died in Chennai following a cardiac arrest on Sunday night.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the demise of former Chief Election Commissioner TN Seshan.

“Shri TN Seshan was an outstanding civil servant. He served India with utmost diligence and integrity. His efforts towards electoral reforms have made our democracy stronger and more participative. Pained by his demise. Om Shanti,” tweeted PM Modi.

Seshan died in Chennai following a cardiac arrest on Sunday night.

“Sad to announce that Shri TN Seshan (former Chief Election Commissioner of India) passed away a short while ago. He was a true legend and a guiding force for all his successors. I pray for peace to his soul,” tweeted Dr SY Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner of India.

The 87-year-old was the 10th CEC and had served form December 12, 1990, till December 11, 1996. He was a retired 1955 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of Tamil Nadu cadre. (ANI)

SNAP ANALYSIS: Three Issues to Watch

Ayodhya Verdict: The five-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, has delivered its verdict on Saturday morning. The final ruling allots the disputed land to a trust for building a temple. Clearly, the decision is tilted in favour of Hindus even as it seeks to compensate Muslims with five acre of land at a prominent place in Ayodhya. It nevertheless brings to an end to a running feud between the two largest religious communities in the country. Before the verdict, mercifully, political leaders cutting across party lines had appealed for calm in the state and the country. Even saffron patriarch RSS and Shia-Sunni bodies had agreed to respect whatever the top court decides on the matter pending for decades. Thus, it is for all citizens to honour that commitment; Hindu bodies must avoid any celebratory exhibit and Muslim organizations must not play the victim card. The country has not forgotten the bloodbath that ensued after the demolition of Babri mosque in 1992, serial bomb blasts to avenge the “martyrdom of mosque”, and more riots afterwards. A better-prepared administration and a more mature political spectrum this time around lend hope that India will not allow emotions and beliefs to run over human values and sanity.

Kartarpur Corridor: After keeping the issue hanging for decades, Pakistan government, after a nod from its Army establishment, recently agreed to open the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara for Sikh pilgrims from India via a freshly-built corridor. While this new window of Track II diplomacy between the always-at-each-other-throats neighbours is a laudable restart, many fear that Pakistan Intelligence may use the holy shrine to revive an anti-India Khalistan sentiment among Indian Sikh community. The fears have been expressed by none other than Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, after Islamabad released a propaganda video on its move. Prof Christine Fair, with many books on terror and Pakistan to her credit, has called Kartarpur diplomacy Pakistan’s “Trojan horse”. It is also believed that ISI plans what military parlance calls a ‘pincer attack’ on India by opening a new front in Punjab, alongside Kashmir. However, such apprehensions cannot hold to ransom the two-way traffic between the neighbours and the faith of millions of devout Sikhs, often dubbed as the sword arm of India. The task for Indian establishment is therefore clear: screen enemy’s manipulations, take overt or covert action to negate the same, without disrespecting the Sikh sentiment. New Delhi can ill-afford another bloody phase of militancy in the land of brave.

NCR Air Pollution: After a two-day respite in air quality, due to strong winds, Delhi-NCR fell again in the grip of a vicious smog this week. At a time when India at the UN summit made tall claims to be leading the world on climate change, the situation in our Capital city reflects poorly on our commitments. PMO, Supreme Court, green tribunal have all stepped in now to crack the whip on states, administrative arms and law-enforcers. However, is it not too late for these apex bodies to home in now when the damage is already done for the season? There are multiple reasons for the deathly smog to envelop the Delhi-NCR and experts have routinely read out the remedies. However, political leaders and inefficient bureaucracy keep passing the blame to one another. Meanwhile, the foul air continues to play havoc with our citizens, particularly the elderly and the young. As our columnists have suggested in the past, citizens need to come down on streets all year round and shake up the administrators out of their deep slumber.

Disputed Ayodhya Land For Temple, Alternate Site For Mosque

In a unanimous decision, a Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, on Saturday said that a Central government-run trust will helm the construction of a temple at 2.77 acres disputed site in Ayodhya and directed five-acre plot to be allotted to Sunni Waqf Board for construction of a mosque.

While reading out the judgment, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that faith of Hindus that Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya remains “undisputed”.

“Hindus consider Ayodhya as the birthplace of Lord Ram. They have religious sentiments. Hindus have faith and belief that Lord Ram was born under the dome. The faith of Hindus that Lord Ram was born here is undisputed,” Chief Justice Gogoi said while reading out the verdict.

“Historical accounts indicate belief of Hindus that Ayodhya was the birthplace of Lord Ram,” Chief Justice Gogoi added.

A five-judge constitution bench presided by Chief Justice Gogoi and comprising Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer passed the order on a batch of petitions against an order of the Allahabad High Court which trifurcated the site between the parties – Ramlalla Virajman, Sunni Central Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara.

A decades-long legal dispute was fought by Hindu Mahasabha, a sect of Hindu monks Nirmohi Akhara and Muslim Waqf Board over 2.77 acres of land in Ayodhya.


Modi Thanks Imran As Kartarpur Corridor Opens

While inaugurating the Integrated Check Post of Kartarpur Corridor at Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday thanked his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan for respecting the sentiments of the people of India and said that the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor has “brought us immense happiness”.

“I would like to thank the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan Niazi, for respecting the sentiments of India. The opening of Kartarpur Sahib corridor before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Devi Ji has brought us immense happiness,” he said at the inauguration of the Integrated Check Post of Kartarpur Corridor here.

PM Modi said that it will now be easy to pay obeisance at Darbar Sahib gurudwara after the opening of Kartarpur corridor.

Donning a turban, the Prime Minister said that it will be easy for pilgrims to undertake ‘darshan’ of the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib with the opening of the corridor.

“I am fortunate that I am dedicating the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor to the country today. I thank all who were a part of the association of the corridor,” he added.

The Prime Minister said that Guru Nanak Dev gave the message of unity and brotherhood and said that he gave a new direction to the society.

“Guru Nanak Dev was an inspiration for the entire humanity. He taught us that truth and honesty always open the way to progress and prosperity. He also taught us that wealth will keep on coming, but true values always remain. We must continue to imbibe the teachings of Guru Nanak that are relevant in today’s world,” Modi said.

The passenger terminal building, also known as Integrated Check Post, where pilgrims will get clearance to travel through the newly-built corridor. The ICP check post will facilitate Indian pilgrims to visit Gurudwara Kartapur Sahib in Pakistan.

The corridor, which connects the Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Punjab with Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province, is formally opened to pilgrims on Saturday, three days before the 550th anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev, on November 12.

Before heading for Dera Baba Nanak, the Prime Minister paid obeisance at historic Ber Sahib Gurdwara at Sultanpur Lodhi.

At the gurdwara, PM Modi was received by former Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee chief Jagir Kaur, who is incharge of celebrations connected with 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev. The Prime Minister was presented a ‘siropa’ (robe of honour) by Kaur on behalf of the SGPC.

The first jatha of Indian Sikh pilgrims have arrived in Pakistan through the Kartarpur Corridor which will welcome 5,000 pilgrims per day.


BJP Team Meets M’rashtra Guv, Discusses Legal Options

Amidst the impasse between BJP and Shiv Sena over the formation of government in Maharashtra, a delegation led by state BJP President, Chandrakant Patil met with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Thursday and discussed political situation of the state.

A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) delegation comprising of Girish Mahajan, Chandrakant Patil, Sudhir Mungantiwar and Ashish Shelar met Governor Koshyari at Rajbhawan on Thursday.

“People of Maharashtra have given the mandate to ‘Mahayuti’ (alliance). There is a delay in government formation. Today, we met the Governor to discuss the legal options and political situation in the state,” said Patil while addressing a press conference after meeting Governor.

The BJP and Shiv Sena, who are partners in the ruling alliance in Maharashtra, had fought the assembly polls together. While the BJP emerged as the single largest party in the recently held elections, it is yet to stake a claim for government formation.

The BJP won 105 seats while Shiv Sena bagged 56 seats in the 288-member Vidhan Sabha.

Even after getting the required numbers to form the government, there has been a delay in cobbling up a coalition as Shiv Sena has insisted that the two parties had a ’50-50′ power-sharing agreement before the elections.

On the other hand, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said that Shiv Sena was not promised the chief ministerial post for two-and-a-half years when the alliance was sealed before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.


UP To Set Up 8 Temporary Jails Ahead Of Ayodhya Verdict

Ahead of the expected verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit by Supreme Court, the Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday has sought to set up eight temporary jails in different colleges in the Ambedkar Nagar district of the state.

The District School Inspector, Ambedkar Nagar, through a letter, directed the heads of three colleges in Akbarpur, and one each in Tanda, Jalalpur, Jaitpur, Bhiti and Alapur to provide the buildings and other amenities to the police station heads.

The letter, written on Wednesday, mentions that this is being done in response to the letter written by the Superintendent of Police (SP), Ambedkar Nagar in which the names of the shortlisted institutions, in which the temporary jails will be established.

Earlier on November 5, top RSS functionaries along with BJP leaders reached out to Muslim clerics at the residence of Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi to give a clarion call to maintain peace and harmony after the verdict by the apex court.

Enough security arrangements have been made to maintain law and order in the temple town. Elaborate deployment of forces and confidence-building measures has been ensured to maintain law and order in the Ayodhya district as well.

District Magistrate Court had already imposed Section-144 in the district in anticipation of a verdict in the title dispute case in the month of October.

Section 144 will be in effect till December 10, Ayodhya District Magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha had said in an order.

The Supreme Court is expected to pronounce its judgement in the Ayodhya title dispute case before November 17 when Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi demits office. (ANI)