Of SP Internecine War, Modi’s Address To Nation & Trump’s Praise For Putin [Dec 31]

BY Edit Platter Desk | PUBLISHED: 31 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. Usually, last week of a year is devoid of much activity when it comes to news but 2016 has been different in this regard. There is not dearth of stories in both national and international spheres and in our editor’s view, this has been one of the most hectic year-enders.

In a short-while from now, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav – expelled by Samajwadi Party chief and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav yesterday for six years – is going to meet party lawmakers to decide their future course of action.  All eyes will be on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the evening at 7.30 pm when he addresses the nation on demonetisation and his next steps. We shall also talk of two big international stories.

A political storm erupted in Uttar Pradesh after Mulayam Singh expelled Akhilesh Yadav and cousin Ramgopal Yadav yesterday. In this manner, the SP supremo has also squandered his political legacy. He is known for his sense of timing and political acumen. For some, he was an untrustworthy and opportunist leader always striving to strike better deals with other players. Remember, how he performed a somersault and supported Pranab Mukherjee’s candidature for the post of President. Known as a wily, grass-root leader, Mulayam had a knack for knowing in advance where power was headed and therefore, he would device his strategies accordingly.

However, Mulayam Singh has played a poor shot in the final leg of his political inning and taken an ill-considered decision of expelling his son. The stalwart may still be under the impression that he still rules the roost in the SP, but this is not the case in truth. The party may have been founded by Mulayam and spread to remote areas of the state, but Akhilesh became its face in the past five years. So much so that that Mulayam has, in a way, expelled himself from the SP by sacking Akhilesh. One thing is certain that whatever may be the new name of the party floated by his son, the Samajwadi Party belongs to Akhilesh.

Speculations are also rife about a possible alliance of youth leaders in the state. If RLD chief Ajit Singh’s son Jayant Chaudhary, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh close ranks, it could lead to a spectacular outcome in the state. Anything can happen in the next one and a half months. It remains to be seen what kind of support Akhilesh gets today and whether he will be the face of a new Samajwadi Party. Akhilesh has been playing smart politics by extending his support base beyond Yadav vote-bank; he is likely to get support from old stalwarts like Azam Khan and Naresh Chandra Agarwal. So interesting days are ahead for Uttar Pradesh politics and we shall continue to provide you with updates regarding political developments in Lucknow throughout the day.

As our colleague and former BBC correspondent in Jaipur, Narayan Bareth, remarks that Modi’s modus operandi was to make demonetisation a poll issue in UP but that was not to be thanks to Akhilesh Yadav. Meanwhile, there are three rumours doing the rounds in political and media circles with regard to Modi’s possible announcements during his address to the nation in the evening. Harishankar Vyas writes in a newspaper that he might scrap Rs 2,000 notes. It is to be noted that in view of cash crunch this is unlikely now but sooner or later the high-denomination currency will be demonetised. He might also take a decision targeting benami properties. Or Modi could announce measures aimed at alleviating sufferings of people hit by the cash crunch.

The third possibility is that he might give a report card of his government’s work in 2016 and we shall, thus, have to wait for next year’s budget – which is likely to be a revolutionary one – for his new measures.

In the US, President-Elect Donald Trump was all praise for “smart” Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday after the latter said he would refrain from deporting US diplomats in a tit-for-tat response to US hacking sanctions, a move which is being seen as Russia’s intent to cultivate relations with the incoming administration.

“We won’t create problems for American diplomats,” Putin said in a statement Friday afternoon, adding that Russia reserved the right to punish US diplomats at the time of their choosing.

The Russian President said he would “plan further steps for restoring the Russian-American relationship based on the policies enacted by the administration of President Donald Trump.”

Hours later Trump tweeted praising Putin for his “great” decision.

Meanwhile, China has once again obstructed India’s efforts to ban terror leader Maulana Masood Azhar in the UN Security Council. A day before China’s “technical hold” on a ban against Masood Azhar – Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief and Pathankot terror attack mastermind – expired in the UN Security Council, Beijing converted the “hold” into a “block”, thus formally stopping Azhar from coming under sanctions.

It indicates China’s intention to support Pakistan at all costs, including its terrorist leaders. India has reacted strongly to the move by saying that the block was confirmation of the “double standards” prevalent in the world community’s fight against terrorism. We shall also have to keep a close watch on India-China ties in the next year.

May 2017 bring you all the happiness and prosperity in the world. In Edit Platter, we have cancelled leaves of our colleagues today in view of political developments in UP and PM Modi’s address to the nation. We hope your new year celebrations will be nothing short of spectacular.

Stay tuned to Edit Platter because now we are bringing to you some of the best voices with their take on day’s top stories from different states. Listen to podcasts of Shivkant Sharma for his excellent analysis of world affairs, Mani Kant Thakur from Bihar, Ram Dutt Tripathi from UP, Deepak Khajuria from J&K, Narayan Bareth from Rajasthan and renowned journalist Omer Farooq from Hyderabad every morning. Manzar Alam is likely to join us from north east soon. Please do share your valuable feedback with us and also enjoy the last day demonetisation.

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Source - Sanjeev Srivastava / Edit Platter