Of Divided Opinion Polls, Budget Row, SP’s Cycle Tussle & Dhoni [Jan 5]

BY Edit Platter Desk | PUBLISHED: 5 January 2017

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Good morning and welcome to EditPlatter.com from your daily host Sanjeev Srivastava. Please allow us to take you through day’s top stories.

An India Today-Axis opinion poll projected clear majority for the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday when Election Commission announced the poll schedule for five states. It has also conducted a survey in this regard in other states.

The saffron party is projected to secure 206-216 seats in the 403-member UP assembly, a significant progress from the 2012 assembly election when it commanded a 15% vote share and won 47 seats.

But opinion polls have predicted starkly different outcomes of assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and the Punjab. A recently conducted survey by ABP News-Lokniti-CSDS survey showed a united Samajwadi Party will emerge as the single largest party in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.

ABP News and CSDS showed Akhilesh Yadav remains the first choice as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and that Akhilesh’s personal approval rating is higher than that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

However, the SP would fall way short of a majority, the survey found.

The India Today-Axis poll, however, showed the SP, which is on the verge of a split due to an internecine tussle for power between father-son duo of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh, is likely to emerge as the second largest party with a vote share of 26% and win 92-97 seats.

At the same time, the survey showed a united SP is likely to do better in the polls while stating they had not considered impact of a likely alliance between Akhilesh and Jayant Chaudhary and Rahul Gandhi.

In the Punjab, the ABP News-Lokniti-CSDS survey predicted there is likely to be a tough contest between the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine and the Congress, that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will finish third. While the SAD-BJP alliance is likely to win 50-58 out of the total 117 seats, the Congress and the AAP will secure 41-49 and 12-18 respectively.

However, India Today-Axis survey predicted a close contest between the Congress and AAP in Punjab, giving 49-55 seats to the former, 42-46 to Arvind Kejriwal’s fledgling outfit and 17-21 to the SAD-BJP.

The survey also forecasted a victory for the BJP in Uttarakhand, giving 35-43 out of the total 70 seats to the BJP and 22-30 to the Congress.

Our Editor predicts a tough contest in the Punjab which is the only state where the Congress could make a come back.

Meanwhile, according to a report published in Live Mint, banks have received Rs 14.97 trillion ($220 billion) as of 30 December, the deadline for depositing the old bank notes, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s drive to unearth unaccounted wealth and fight corruption.

A report published in Business Standard, however, states economy is likely to recover from the setback caused by the demonetisation drive in next few month.

Congress leaders are likely to meet Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi today demanding that the Union Budget scheduled to be presented on February 1 – just three days before Punjab and Goa go to assembly polls – be postponed as it gives undue advantage to the ruling BJP.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, however, said presenting the Budget was a “constitutional requirement”.

Out Editor is of the view that functioning of government must not be hampered due to elections and advancement of the Union Budget is a good move which should not be taken back.

The Election Commission of India Wednesday asked two warring factions of the Samajwadi Party led by Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav to prove their majority in order to secure rights to the party’s election symbol, the cycle.

In a letter sent to both sides Wednesday evening, the EC asked for a show of strength among party delegates and MLAs, MPs and MLCs through “signed affidavits”.

In a sign the Congress is likely to tie up with Akhilesh, Sheila Dikshit, the 78-year-old picked as the party’s presumptive Chief Minister for Uttar Pradesh, said that he was a much better Chief Ministerial candidate than her and that she would “be happy” to step aside for him.

A final decision in this regard is likely to be taken soon once Rahul Gandhi returns from abroad. It is important that he returns soon and takes crucial decisions if the Congress wishes to stay relevant in the national politics.

One of the most successful Indian skippers, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, stepped down as India’s ODI and T20 captain on Wednesday, leaving Indian cricket fans in utter shock. The wicketkeeper-batsman however has not retired and will be up for selection in the upcoming series against England.

Dhoni has been a transformational leader both as a sportsperson and as an individual who changed the face of Indian cricket. Dhoni, who hails from a small town of Ranchi, has made India proud through his character and performance on the field. A biopic was also made on this inspirational leader last year.

What could be the reason behind Dhoni’s sudden decision? Our Editor spoke to Dhoni’s friend and neighbour Kunal Sarangi who is also an MLA of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. Sarangi said Dhoni took the decision as he wanted to give more time to his family.

Ayaz Memon and Pradeep Magazine, both well-known cricket commentators, have called it a masterstroke and well-timed decision by Dhoni as he will continue to be a part of the team. Virat Kohli, who is at his best now, is ready to take the reins of the squad. Both Kohli and Dhoni together can take Team India to greater heights.

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Source - Sanjeev Srivastava / Edit Platter