Narendra Modi In Varanasi

Modi To Take Oath As PM On May 30

Narendra Modi will take oath for a second consecutive term as Prime Minister on May 30 at 7 pm in Rashtrapati Bhavan, along with members of the Union Council of Ministers.

President Ram Nath Kovind will administer the oath and secrecy of the Prime Minister and other members of the Union Council of Ministers, a statement issued by the President’s Office mentioned.

“The President will administer the Oath of Office and Secrecy to the Prime Minister and other members of Union Council of Ministers on 30.05.2019 at 07.00 p.m. at Rashtrapati Bhavan,” the press statement read.

Riding on muscular nationalism and a strident anti-Congress plank spearheaded by Modi, the BJP on May 23 got an overwhelming majority in the Lok Sabha, crossing on its own the 300 seat mark while storming back to power for the second consecutive term.

The BJP, which had won 282 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, managed to increase its tally and notched up 303 seats in the 2019 elections.

This will be the first time when a non-Congress party has managed to secure a majority on its own for the second consecutive term after Indira Gandhi had won in 1971. Earlier, Jawaharlal Nehru had performed that feat. (ANI)

Jaganmohan Reddy With Narendra Modi

Jagan Meets PM Over Andhra Spl Status

YSRCP president and Chief Minister-designate YS Jaganmohan Reddy on Sunday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said he would meet even “50 times” in the next five years to get special status to Andhra Pradesh.

Talking to media persons after meeting Modi in New Delhi, Reddy said: “Today was my first meeting with Prime Minister Modi. God willing I will probably meet him, maybe, 30, 40 or even 50 times over these five years. I told him how important the special status is for us.”

In reply to a question, Reddy said: “Will not just let go off the special status. I will keep on reminding Prime Minister Modi and hope things change.”

He added: “The situation would have been different had the BJP won just 250 seats in the Lok Sabha elections…We would have then supported the BJP only after they signed the Special Category Status document.”

Reddy also said that he met BJP president Amit Shah and discussed with him the issue of special category status.

Talking about Pollavaram project, Reddy said: “This project should be completed in a time bound manner and that is what I want.”

On being asked how hopeful he is after meeting with Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao regarding disputes between two states, Reddy said: “Both of us speak the same language…we can voice our concerns to each other. KCR has moved a couple of steps for us.”

The two leaders had met on Saturday where Rao expressed that if water from Godavari and Krishna rivers is used effectively, both the states would prosper in all respects.

Speaking about his rival former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Reddy said: “I have nothing against Naidu. My duty is that of a custodian. Today I promise that our government will be revolutionary.”

“Within six months to one year, I will make sure that this government stands as an exemplary to the country,” he said.

Reddy steered YSRCP to a massive victory in 175-member Assembly, ousting N Chandrababu Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party (TDP) from power in the state. YSRCP finished the tally by winning 151 seats, while TDP’s strength drastically reduced from 102 in the 2014 Assembly elections to 23.

YSRCP polled 49.9 per cent votes, while the TDP got a 39.2 per cent vote share. One Assembly seat went to the Jana Sena Party (JSP)-led by actor-turn politician Pawan Kalyan. The party also bagged 22 Lok Sabha seats out of 25 in the state during the simultaneous elections while the TDP could get only three seats. (ANI)

Sonia Gandhi Rahul Gandhi

CWC Urges Rahul To Remain Cong Chief

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday offered to resign from his post following the party’s drubbing in Lok Sabha polls but it was unanimously rejected by the Congress Working Committee (CWC).

“Congress President Rahul Gandhi in his address to the CWC offered his resignation, as the party president. The CWC unanimously and with one voice rejected the same and requested the Congress President for his leadership and guidance in these challenging times,” a resolution adopted in the meeting said.

Releasing the resolution, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the meeting decided that a complete introspection will be done on the reasons for the electoral debacle and authorised Gandhi to make changes in the party and restructure at every level.

Surjewala rejected suggestions from reporters that Gandhi suggested that a non-Gandhi should head the party after his resignation.

“CWC has given Congress president the right to makes changes to restructure the party, a plan for this will be brought soon,” Surjewala said addressing a press conference after the CWC meeting.

“The CWC fully recognizes the challenges, the failures and the shortcomings, resulting into this mandate. The CWC recommends a thorough introspection and requested the Congress President for a complete overhaul and a detailed restructuring at every level of the party. A plan to this effect shall come into force at the earliest,” the resolution said.

Earlier, even as the CWC meeting was in progress, Surjewala had dismissed reports that Gandhi had offered to resign from his post. “Such reports are not correct,” he had said.

Congress, despite extensive campaigning by Rahul and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, among other leaders, was decimated to a single seat – Raebareli, represented by Sonia Gandhi – in Uttar Pradesh. Rahul, who was the MP from Amethi since 2004, lost to Union Minister Smriti Irani.

The party put up a poor show in states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh where it had won the Assembly elections just five months ago.


Surat Family Mourns

Surat Family Mourns Fire Tragedy

Family members mourn the death of a student who died in a massive fire at the coaching center in Surat on Saturday. At least 20 people, mostly students, have died in the massive fire that broke out at a coaching centre in Gujarat’s Surat on Friday afternoon


May To Quit As UK PM Amid Brexit Chaos

Embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday announced that she will step down from her post on June 7, after her Brexit deal failed to get the green signal thrice in the UK Parliament.

May also said that she will resign as leader of the Conservative Party on the same date.

“Ever since I first stepped through the door behind me as prime minister I have striven to make the United Kingdom a country that works not just for the privileged few but for everyone, and to honour the result of the referendum,” CNN quoted an emotional May as saying while speaking to reporters outside her 10 Downing Street residence.

Holding back her tears, the British Prime Minister expressed regret that she could not pass her Brexit agreement in the Parliament despite repeated efforts and negotiations with the Labour Party.

“I have tried three times. I have done my best,” May said.

May’s decision to step down comes amid uncertainty over the UK’s future in the next few months, whether it leaves the EU with or without a deal.

Reminding the media persons that she was UK’s second female premier, May said it had been an honour to serve the post.

“Our politics may be under strain, but there is so much that is good about this country. I am leaving with no ill will,” she said.

May has been making efforts to push her beleaguered agreement or an alternative withdrawal deal through the British Parliament in a bid to prevent the UK from participating in the European Parliament elections.

Her thrice-rejected deal forced the 62-year-old letter to request an extension to delay the withdrawal process. The Brexit date was hence changed from March 29 to April 12.

Last month, the EU leaders agreed to delay the Brexit process to another six months, with October 31 as the new date for the UK’s withdrawal from the European bloc.

May took office as UK’s Prime Minister in July 2016 after her predecessor and party colleague David Cameron stepped down from the post, following the Brexit referendum, which saw 52 per cent of the electorate voting in favour of the country leaving the EU.

In a last-ditch attempt, May on Tuesday gave a chance to those in the UK Parliament asking for a second referendum on Brexit to have their way by introducing a new Brexit deal, even as she maintained her stand against the move.

BJP Leaders Vote Of Thanks

Modi 2.0 – Majoritarian Agenda Is In

Given majority in both Houses of Parliament, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s second term in office may see a renewed push in majoritarian agenda.

This must begin with an apology for failing to discern the Tsunami that has brought Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a landslide victory in India’s Elections 2019.

Churlish though it sounds, the fact is that none noticed it. A very toxic and polarizing campaign that raised the decibels of rival claims high even as it brought standards of discourse at their lowest-ever,  made it difficult.   

A 40-day polls process, when several institutions, including the Election Commission, came under the cloud, made that task near-impossible. 

Now that the world’s largest democratic exercise is over, this apology must be followed by a sincere acknowledgement of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s solo score. It can compare well with the one by Indira Gandhi in 1971 when she fought off a united non-Communist opposition’s “grand alliance”. One is not taking into account the popular sympathy vote caused by her assassination in 1984 giving the Congress the highest 400-plus.

Modi and his National Democratic Alliance (NDA) were criticized for winning the 2014 elections with the lowest-ever 31 percent vote-share. At 48 percent today, it can claim to be close to the 1984 score of 49.10 percent. The BJP got 7.7 percent then and only two members won. Tables are totally turned now with the Congress getting just 29 percent vote. Regional parties won 23 percent. Unable to align with some of them when and where needed, Congress, the country’s oldest party is an also-ran today.

ALSO READ: Modi Is Still India’s Best Hope

Percentages apart, perceptions matter. They were created by Modi’s oratory and deft media management. Indeed, Modi commands several ‘M’s —  media, money, muscle power in the form of cadres and government agencies that he let loose on critics and above all, brilliant marketing with his oratory, slogan-mongering and ample use of the “humble-me.” 

Dedicated effort has paid. After two consecutive defeats in 2004 and 2009, the BJP, helped by its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), battled its way on the back of an anti-graft movement. Back in power in 2014, it has built the world’s largest cadre-based political party that, under its chief Amit Shah, never stopped working for electoral gains. This victory belongs to those cadres.

By contrast, the Congress’ mass-based goodwill and support are ebbing. It is not ready for such a revamp. Rahul Gandhi has offered to resign. But the party will not accept it. He must slog on along with his housewife-sister Priyanka. The party is destined to remain trapped as a family concern. Psephologist-politician Yogendra Yadav has demanded that the Congress “must die,” but parties don’t. The BJP did not, and the Congress, too cannot. It has no choice but to persist.

ALSO READ: Six Things To Expect If Modi Returns As PM

The salt on the Congress’ wounds is Rahul’s defeat in Amethi, the family bastion. If nothing else, he could take lessons from the victor, Smriti Irani, who nursed Amethi despite defeat five years ago.

His love-and-hug ‘soft’ power was a novelty for a while, but its persistence failed against Modi’s hard-headed, even harsh, responses that included constantly attacking the Nehru-Gandhis.  Now that Modi has won and Rahul has lost, it is a moot point why Rahul calling the PM a ‘thief’ (chowkidar chor hai) failed.

Not just the Gandhis, the opposition’s family enterprises failed. The Gowdas of Karnataka, the Pawars of Maharashtra, the Yadavs of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, among many others, were bogged down by family rivalries. By contrast, the BJP took some hard-headed, even controversial decisions, to jettison its founding leaders L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi.   

In the next few days if not weeks, some opposition-run state regimes may go. Hindutva hardliners – Giriraj Singh, Sakshi Maharaj, Anantkumar Hegde and others have all won.  On the victory ramp is Pragya Thakur, the terror under-trial out on bail whose nomination was endorsed by Modi who then, in an act of damage control criticized her praise for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh once predicted total British rule in India saying “sab lal ho jayega.” Today, would he have said: “sab kesri ho jayega?”

The road for the march of communism in Asia, it was said in the last century, would traverse from Moscow to Beijing to Kolkata and beyond. Those prospects have disappeared.  After three decades’ Left rule, West Bengal switched over to Mamata Banerjee and now, to the BJP. 

In ideological terms, the Before-Modi-After-Modi era has consolidated. The pluralist India of Nehru’s dreams and vision that the world has known and praised is passé. India joins the comity of nations led by tough-talking populist right-wing leaders like US President Donald Trump, Turkey’s Erdogen and Hungary Viktor Orban.  

Given majority in both Houses of Parliament, the majoritarian agenda can now be pushed. Also ripe for legislation could be Uniform Civil Code and repealing of Article 370 of the Constitution that removes the special status Jammu and Kashmir enjoys.

It would take a while to know how he Muslims have voted, but given the NDA’s two-thirds majority win it is obvious that this vote has not mattered. In such a situation, the community may reach some understanding on the vexed issue of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

There may well be some benefits on the economic front from Modi 2.0. Among them could be unshackling of ailing public sector units in favour of private enterprise. In telecom sector, BSNL is unwell and so is MTNL. In aviation, Air India might find buyer(s) if the government writes off some of the liabilities. Just-closed Jet Airways may also revive. Modi could use his Gulf goodwill to help out.

The India Inc. that has placed immense faith in Modi despite many disastrous moves because it sensed the TINA factor and did not want an unwieldy coalition government, can reap some benefits.        

Riding on conflict with Pakistan, Modi, like US President Donald Trump, focused on border to shape a vision of a muscular India. Nationalism was at the heart of the BJP campaign, and that included a citizenship census in the north-eastern state of Assam to raise the threat of Muslim “infiltrators” and show they are curbing the tide of undocumented immigrants at India’s borders.

Yet, Modi has a fan across the border in Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. He unusually — and controversially – showed open preference for Modi over anyone else to lead India. Old logic goes with it that the South Asian rivals can normalize relations only when a right-wing ‘nationalist’ Indian government (read non-Congress, since that party carries the baggage of the Partition and the Kashmir dispute) and an army-backed Pakistan government.

Khan should be happy to talk with a more agreeable Delhi under Modi. Both would be hiding their iron fists in velvet gloves. But circumstances favouring, they could solve some intractable issues. Why, solving even Kashmir is possible, to the glee of world powers that are tired of it. That would make them eligible for a joint Nobel.

The writer can be reached at

Lok Sabha 2019 Results

BJP Scripts History, Set For 2nd Term

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party appeared to be storming back to power with a comfortable majority on its own for the second consecutive time and is set to cross the 300-mark along with its allies in the Lok Sabha.

The BJP whose campaign was spearheaded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on muscular nationalism and a strident anti-Congress plank was leading in 292 seats, 20 seats more than the halfway mark of 272 in the 543-member Lok Sabha. Its allies Shiv Sena (20), JD-U (16) and Lok Janshakti Party (6) were also doing well in Maharashtra and Bihar.

On the other side, the main challenger Congress was way behind BJP leading in only 51 seats. Its ally DMK has put up a good show leading in 22 of the 30 seats in Tamil Nadu. The Congress was leading in eight of the nine seats it contested in the state. The party was also doing well in Kerala where it was leading in 15 out of total 20 parliamentary seats.

Prime Minister Modi was leading comfortably in Varanasi where he is seeking a second term while UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi led in Raebareli. Congress President Rahul Gandhi was trailing behind Union Minister Smriti Irani in Amethi while leading in his second seat in Wayanad in Kerala.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh was leading in Lucknow and BJP President Amit Shah led in Gandhinagar.

Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav was leading in Azamgarh while his father Mulayam Singh Yadav was leading in Mainpuri in Uttar Pradesh. Senior SP leader Azam Khan was leading in Rampur.

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi was trailing in Sultanpur, whereas her son Varun Gandhi was leading from Pilibhit constituency in UP.

BJP’s ride back to power was also enabled by its spectacular show in West Bengal where it was leading in 15 of the 42 seats. The ruling Trinamool Congress has suffered a setback leading only in 25 seats. It has 34 seats in the outgoing Lok Sabha.

The BJP also was set to sweep in Bihar where the party and its ally JD(U) were ahead in 16 seats each and the other ally LJP was leading in six seats.

Karnataka also was going the BJP way where it was leading in 23 of the 28 seats, pushing the ruling Congress-JDS behind.

Apart from fresh gains, the BJP put up a sterling show in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh where it had lost the Assembly polls five months ago, bettered its showing in Maharashtra compared to 2014 and retaining its hold in states like Gujarat and Haryana.

In the battleground state of Uttar Pradesh, it appeared to have conceded some ground to the SP-BSP-RLD combine. Out of the 80 seats for which trends were available, the BJP was ahead in 58, the BSP 11, SP 8 and Congress, Apna Dal and Apna (S) were leading in one seat each. In the last elections, the BJP had won 71 seats and its ally Apna Dal 2.

In the national capital of Delhi, the BJP was ahead in all the seven seats which it had won in the last elections.

In the 2014 general elections, the BJP had won 282 seats, 10 more the halfway mark, on its own and crossed the 300-mark with its allies.

If the trends convert into seats, this would be the first time in more than 40 years in India, a party with a majority on its own will be coming back to power with a similar showing. (ANI)