July 29th – National News Round-Up

Gujarat Congress MLA Exodus

The Gujarat Congress unit was afraid enough of the BJP’s reach that they flew 44 legislators to Bangalore. This reminds me of what happened in Tamil Nadu, post the death of Jayalalithaa. The number of defections that have happened in the past couple of days has been outstanding. Every time this happens, one has to wonder how any of these dealings is constitutionally valid. No governor should stand behind this.

Zakir Naik

The controversial preacher has apparently been granted Saudi Arabian citizenship. Also his assets have been seized.

What now?

What’s going to happen to the already tenuous state of the India-Pakistan peace process? The article argues that the very fact that there is going to an interim PM and then a new one means that this is a setback. I kind of feel like this is a good thing, really. Granted, he attended Modi’s swearing in, but I honestly think that he didn’t do enough to challenge the military and the ISI. Bargaining with him was always about fool’s gold, because he was a man with very little leverage. Let the chips fall where they may. Maybe everybody will be better off this way.

Military Preparedness

Article speaks for itself. I would just like to point out one thing though. Why are we talking about air defense preparedness in light of attacks on the India-Pakistan border? Are we really talking about conventional capabilities in 2017?

NDA seat collecting in RS

The BJP can expect to have 57 seats is the RS by the end of the elections. Bring it on par with the Congress. Another blow for the opposition.

Nitish is CM again

This should have been the first headline. My apologies. There was an Op-Ed in the 29th July version of the Hindu (today) on the shrinking space in the opposition and the fact that there is no viable leader around which people like Nitish Kumar can sort of rally behind. There’ll be more to write on this matter in the future, that’s for sure.

Abortion Plea

I’m not trying to make value judgements here. I just want to understand what the rationale behind asking a 10-year-old girl to raise a child is. Also, I thought abortion when the person in question is pregnant post-rape was legal in India? Am I wrong?

BJP Gains

Map of BJP’s electoral gains since 2014.

Gandhi Speaks

Gopalkrishna Gandhi (VP candidate) speaks out on the right to privacy and other issues. Not that it matters anymore. The interview also brings into question how Venkaiah Naidu would behave if and when he is confirmed to have been elected as VP. VPs have generally been very quiet on the national stage, whatever their political affiliations have been.

The Story of Bihar

The story (as far as we know it) of what went down with the grand alliance In Bihar. The Prakash Utsav invitation was the first signs of a problem. I can’t believe that Lalu Prasad did not see this coming. A lot of people have him down as a simpleton who just happens to be in politics, but in my opinion, he is a very shrewd actor. At least he was. He might have been blinded by the fact that his son was the one who had been implicated in corruption allegations. Those are the chains that are the toughest to bear.

Nitish Kumar (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Nitish Kumar (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

C130J Arrives

C130J and the Mountain Strike Corp. Welcome news for the security community.

July 25th – National News Round-Up

14th President

Kovind is now the 14th President of the country. In his maiden address to the country, he referenced national pride as being important to women and also spoke of the role that women played in the country.

Fairly lukewarm speech, but that was expected.

He won about 65% of the votes, beating Meira Kumar.

An Independent President

Interesting article on the Rajendra Prasad and the arguments he used against Nehru to allow himself the space to be the head of state. The article suggests that Kovind is not constitutionally bound to be a non-sequitur in the political space of the country. Though times are different. Kovind is a long-serving RSS member. I doubt this will play out in a similar manner.

Rajendra Prasad (Image Source: Wiki Commons - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/dd/Rajendra_Prasad_%28Indian_President%29%2C_signed_image_for_Walter_Nash_%28NZ_Prime_Minister%29%2C_1958_%2816017609534%29.jpg/842px-Rajendra_Prasad_%28Indian_President%29%2C_signed_image_for_Walter_Nash_%28NZ_Prime_Minister%29%2C_1958_%2816017609534%29.jpg)
Rajendra Prasad (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Reliance JIO

Reliance Jio is free. Mukesh Ambani publically stated that data is the new natural resource. Ensuring free access allows him to tap into enormous fields of data which one would assume that he can sell to companies that need to map entertainment consumption patterns. Article also touches on the enormously disruptive influence Jio has had on the smartphone data market. Other companies just didn’t have the money to offer something like this. Prices dropped.

GM Mustard Injunction

The SC has asked for there to be further investigation into GM Mustard. The bench also said that there would be an injunction order passed if there was any funny business going on.

Kashmiri Pundits

A group called Roots in Kashmir have approached the SC seeking an investigation in to the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits during the insurgency of the late 1980s and the early 1990s. The SC rejected their request since they had waited 27 years to approach the court.

Economic and Political Weekly

On July 18th, Guha Thakurta resigned from his position as Editor of EPW after the board asked him to take down two articles on the Adani Power Limited. Romila Thapar is one of the board members of the EPW.

“The signatories have also cautioned that India is currently living through a dark period in which there are real concerns about freedom and independence of intellectual expression, both for academics and journalists, with significant corporate takeover of major media houses and increasing instances of overt and covert intimidation of independent thinking and debate.”

Kashmir

The NIA arrested 7 J&K separatist leaders. Mr. Geelani and Yasin Malik called for a shutdown in response to these arrests, calling the this a drama that is being enacted by the government that is under renewed pressure to resolve the conflict in Kashmir and to address the human rights violations.