Of SP Feud, Congress Meet, Kashmir Refugee Row, Obama & Shami [Dec 27]

BY Edit Platter Desk | PUBLISHED: 27 December 2016

‘As I See It’ with Sanjeev Srivastava | Here’s our editor’s take on day’s top stories only on Edit Platter.

Good morning and welcome to EditPlatter.com from your daily host Sanjeev Srivastava. Please allow us to take you through day’s top stories which we skim off from the world of news and views every day.

A crucial meeting of the Election Commission (EC) will take place today where key decisions with regard to upcoming Assembly polls in five states in the first quarter of next year are likely to be taken. The EC will also review its preparedness for the elections; poll dates could also be announced in next few days.

All eyes will be on Uttar Pradesh which will decide the future of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, the BJP along with the Opposition to a great extent. UP is particularly crucial for the BJP, for defeat here after Bihar will prove to be a setback for the ruling party. At the same time, victory in the state could reinvigorate its cadre and infuse a new energy in the party.

Polls in the Punjab and Goa are also important but political developments in UP will be closely followed in the state that sends maximum number of lawmakers – 80 – to the Parliament.

Meanwhile, ticket distribution in the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) for the Assembly polls has become another point of confrontation between chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and party’s state chief and his uncle Shivpal Yadav. In a move that could trigger one more round of damaging infighting in the SP, Akhilesh has come up with a parallel list of candidates for all 403 seats in the upcoming Assembly elections.

Akhilesh claims he was not taken on board while finalising names of 175 candidates by his uncle who had made it clear that he was the man when it came to ticket distribution. But to much chagrin of his uncle, Akhilesh drew up his own list and handed it over to his father and party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday.

The party finds itself in dire straits today and sheer indifference by Mulayam to the internecine war is hard to fathom. Has he turned a blind eye towards the issue? Or is he deliberately shoving the SP towards a path of destruction?

And what about the alliance between Congress, Ajit Singh’s RLD and the SP? Sources say a blueprint is ready but disagreements over seats remain. The Congress wants at least 100 seats but the ruling party is unwilling to give more than 75 to 80 to it; Mulayam’s party also wants to seal a deal with the RLD for 30 to 35 seats. However, if this alliance materializes, it could be beneficial for the parties involved in more ways than one.

Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday said it has detected huge cash deposits in accounts belonging to the BSP and party chief Mayawati’s brother Anand in a branch of United Bank of India in New Delhi.

Sources in the ED told PTI that cash deposits totalling over Rs.104 crore and Rs 1.43 crore were detected in the BSP and Anand’s accounts respectively when the anti-corruption agency visited the Karol Bagh branch of the UBI Monday.

The visit was conducted as part of its routine survey and enquiry operations to check suspicious and huge cash deposits in banks. Mayawati has accused the Centre of misusing the ED for political purposes.

There is an interesting report in a newspaper sharing how the BJP is ready with a grand strategy for the UP polls and amount of money to be spent on campaigns.

Issue of ‘identity certificates’ to West Pakistan refugees, almost all Hindus, in Jammu and Kashmir is threatening to divide the state on regional and religious lines, bringing back memories of the Amarnath land row.

The Indian Express reports protests have erupted in the Valley as separatists and the mainstream opposition accused the PDP-BJP coalition government of trying to dilute state subject laws by giving the certificates to the refugees.

Our editor is of the view that the separatists are always looking to keep the Kashmir pot boiling. The people who came to the state from Pakistan in 1947 have equal rights to live, buy or sell property. They should be a little more accommodating and have big hearts. Unfortunately, even mainstream leaders like Omar Abdullah are of the view these people should not be given their due rights.

It is indeed an emotive issue for the Kashmiris but the government should not allow itself to be blackmailed and step back from its stated positions under threats. Be it on the issue of Amarnath land row, Sainik colonies, colonies for Pandits – who were forced out of the state – the government always succumbs under pressure.

The centre is mulling a new law which would make possessing, transferring or receiving an amount of over Rs. 10,000 in banned 500 and 1,000-rupee notes a punishable offence. The government is planning an ordinance or executive order to bring the law which would ensure that a person was not allowed to possess more than 10 banned notes of any denomination.

There are some fine pieces which we have published on Edit Platter today. Rajmohan Gandhi is of the view in Indian Express that whether fissures occur in the Modi camp, or reconciliations in the opposition, it is perhaps safe to assume a clash in India between individual freedom and rule by a strong or obstinate individual. In such a clash, the odds would probably favour the former. Democracy may not be a perfect fit for Indians — but its opposite is likely to have a harder time. Shashi Tharoor has also written a piece in The Quint wherein he has criticised demonetisation.

The Congress’  fresh bid to forge opposition unity against demonetisation and allegations of corruption against Prime Minister Narendra Modi fell flat when key “secular” players refused to attend a meeting called by the Grand Old Party on Tuesday.

The meeting – which is reportedly a Rahul Gandhi initiative and will be led by him in his mother’s absence – is likely to be skipped by CPM, SP, NCP and JD(U), and other parties have only nodded to a low-key representation in it.

Indian cricketer Mohammad Shami has been in news for the past few days ever since he shared his wife’s picture on Facebook. The Indian pacer was trolled by some people who posted nasty comments questioning his wife’s attire. According to them, her attire was not in keeping with Islamic traditions. This is wrong for her outfit was elegant and dignified and people have no right to pass such personal comments. Nonetheless, it was heartening to see so much support for Shami and his family. The cricketer also hit back at the critics saying they should mind their own business. There is a good piece on the issue in BBC Hindi where young boys and girls have shared their views on women empowerment and atrocities and discrimination against the fairer sex.

US president Barack Obama Monday said he was confident that if he had run for a third term he would have defeated his successor Donald Trump, New York Times reports. Obama made the remarks in an interview released Monday with David Axelrod, his friend and former adviser, on CNN.

“I’m confident that if I — if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could’ve mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it,” Obama said, talking of his message of inclusion and helping middle-class Americans.

“I know that in conversations that I’ve had with people around the country, even some people who disagreed with me, they would say the vision, the direction that you point towards is the right one,” he added.

Within hours Trump responded to Obama’s remarks saying the latter had no chance of beating him considering a host of issues being confronted by the country.

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Source - Sanjeev Srivastava / Edit Platter