BJP set to form Meghalaya govt; Himanta calls Rahul’s decisions immature

NPP President Conrad K Sangma on Sunday submitted to Governor Ganga Prasad a letter of support from 34 legislators and staked claim to form the next government in Meghalaya

BJP President Amit Shah

With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the National People’s Party (NPP) set to form the next government together in Meghalaya, despite the Congress winning the largest number of seats, BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma took a swipe at Congress president Rahul Gandhi. He claimed that Rahul Gandhi’s decision to send his party’s top leadership to Meghalaya lacked calculation and showed immaturity.

“I think top Congress leaders were sent to Meghalaya as they were told that they were the single largest party. However, they had no support from regional parties — the latter are supporting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). I feel that Rahul Gandhi sent four senior leaders of the party to Shillong without any calculation.

It shows his lack of maturity,” Sarma told ANI.
After the counting of votes on Saturday, Meghalaya threw up a hung Assembly, with the Congress winning 21 seats and NPP bagging 19.

NPP president Conrad K Sangma on Sunday submitted to Governor Governor Ganga Prasad a letter of support from 34 legislators in the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly, and staked claim to form the next state government.

ALSO READ: Meghalaya saves Congress the blushes, may spell trouble for BJP in Manipur

The 34 legislators include 19 from NPP, six from United Democratic Party (UDP), four from People’s Democratic Front (PDF), two each from Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), besides one Independent MLA Samuel Sangma.

According to news agency IANS, the regional parties — UDP, HSPDP and PDF — extended support to the NPP on the condition that Conrad Sangma, the youngest son of former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma, would be made the chief minister.

The alliance will now wait for an invitation from the Governor to form the next government.

Meanwhile, Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma tendered his resignation to Governor Ganga Prasad after his party, Congress, failed to secure a majority.

“Since the whole election process is over, the chief minister has to submit his resignation, so I did. Further course of action will follow according to convention,” the outgoing chief minister told PTI.

ALSO READ: NDA bags Meghalaya too: NPP’s Conrad Sangma stakes claim to form govt

Congress made all attempts to get the support of regional parties. The outgoing Chief Minister, Mukul Sangma, even came up with a proposal of sharing power — two-and-a-half years each — with the UDP, the main regional party in the state.

“He (Mukul Sangma) came and met me seeking our support to form the government with the proposal of sharing power for two-and-a-half years each,” UDP chief Dr Donkupar Roy said.

Roy said that his party did not approve the idea of working with the Congress for the sake of stability.

From Mamata to Owaisi, KCR’s call for non-Cong, non-BJP front gains support

The TRS chief said he would talk with all like-minded parties and leaders for creating an agenda for the country’s growth


Within days of proposing a “non-Congress, non-BJP front, Telangana Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR)has received support from several political parties including the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress.
Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren and Hyderabad lawmaker Asaduddin Owaisi were the other leaders who have extended their support to the TRS chief.

The chief minister, on Saturday, had expressed his wish to join national politics to effect a “qualitative change”, while accusing successive governments ruled by the Congress and the BJP at the Centre of having “miserably failed” to ensure development.

“Since morning, I have been receiving many calls from various places in India. Today afternoon, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee called me and said that I have taken the right decision and she will be supporting me,” Chief Minister Rao said while addressing a huge crowd at his official residence, Pragati Bhavan in Hyderabad.

“Farmers, Dalits, most backward classes are neglected. This situation should be changed. How long do they need to face problems. This has to change and this is not possible from these two parties. Hence, a non-Congress, non-BJP front should be formed in the country,” Rao said.

JMM leader Hemant Soren and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi have also expressed their solidarity.

“Former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren also called, telling me that he is standing behind me. Soren also told me that he is trying to speak with many other people in India and will meet up soon and speak on the issue,” said Rao.

He was addressing a gathering of prominent TRS leaders, ministers and elected representatives of the party at Pragathi Bhavan, his official residence in Hyderabad.
The TRS chief further said he would talk with all like-minded parties and leaders for creating an agenda for the country’s growth. | Readmore…

Maldives political crisis: India sacrifices its moral standing yet again

There was a time when a newly independent India, a third world low-income democracy, could punch above its weight in the international arena

 Maldives President Yameen
Recent events in the Maldives are yet another example of how Indian foreign policy has over the years sacrificed its moral standing in the international arena to pursue elusive strategic interests, and now finds itself left with neither. | Today’s Paper
There was a time when a newly independent India, a third world low-income democracy, could punch above its weight in the international arena.
On Monday, four days after the Supreme Court of the Maldives ordered the release of all political prisoners, South Block watched as the government of Abdulla Yameen announced a state of emergency in the country for 15-days.
Yameen’s government suspended the Supreme Court and sent in security personnel in riot gear and blue fatigues to arrest the chief justice and another top judge. Later, it also arrested former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. He was president from 1978 to 2008, when the Maldives became a multiparty democracy. Gayoom is Yameen’s half-brother.
This isn’t a first for Yameen. Ever since coming to power, his government has eroded civil liberties and has either thrown in prison or forced into exile, all political rivals.
Mohamed Nasheed, who had become president in the first multiparty elections in 2008 by defeating Gayoom, denounced the emergency decree. Nasheed currently lives in exile. He was one of the opposition politicians that the Supreme Court had ordered to be freed. Currently, Gayoom and Nasheed are part of an opposition alliance.
Nasheed, who currently lives in Colombo, urged India to “act swiftly” to help resolve the crisis. It is unlikely that Nasheed, after his recent experiences with South Block, was hoping for a repeat of ‘Operation Cactus’, but has tried nevertheless.
On November 3, 1988, India had launched ‘Operation Cactus’ to successfully foil a coup by mercenaries to restore the government of the then president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. The US, erstwhile Soviet Russia, Great Britain and several other countries had applauded India, particularly for its “swift” response.
But much has changed in the manner India has run its foreign policy in the last two decades by increasingly looking at international issues through a pragmatic geo-strategic prism of increasing trade, investments and security cooperation.
India has significant security and economic interests in the Maldives. It has, however, gradually ceded its moral authority in recent years, Nasheed’s entreaties asking it to take a tougher position on Yameen’s crackdown on civil liberties, in favour of securing its interests consistent with its pursuit of a more ‘pragmatic’ foreign policy, even as Yameen has found increasing support from China. | Readmore

Ex-President, Supreme Court judges arrested as Maldives declares emergency

The 80-year-old, who was president for 30 years until the country’s first democratic elections in 2008, was taken away from his home in the capital Male around midnight


Maldives President Abdulla Yameen declared a 15-day state of emergency in the honeymoon islands, before heavily armed troops stormed the country’s top court and arrested the Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed. Earlier, a former president was also arrested in a deepening political crisis. | Today’s Paper 

The tiny tourist archipelago has been plunged into chaos recently, with the president pitted against the Supreme Court after he refused to comply with its Thursday order to release nine political dissidents.

The tense standoff comes amid a years-long government crackdown on dissent that has battered the image of the upmarket holiday paradise, with the president jailing almost all the political opposition since he came to power in 2013.

Maldives police arrested Yameen’s estranged half-brother and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who had sided with the main opposition and was campaigning against him.

The 80-year-old, who was president for 30 years until the country’s first democratic elections in 2008, was taken away from his home in the capital Male around midnight, according to a tweet from his daughter Yumna Maumoon.

Shortly before he was taken in by the police, Gayoom also recorded a video message posted on Twitter to his supporters.

“I have not done anything to be arrested,” he said. “I urge you to remain steadfast in your resolve too.

We will not give up on the reform work we are doing.”

Chief Justice and another judge, Ali Hameed, were arrested in the early hours of Tuesday morning “for an investigation”, police said.

Hundreds of people had gathered outside the courts complex and police used pepper spray to disperse the crowds.

The court’s shock move on Thursday had also ordered the government to restore the seats of 12 legislators sacked for defecting from Yameen’s party, giving the opposition the majority in the assembly, meaning they could potentially impeach the president.

A defiant government — which has since ordered police and troops to resist any attempt to arrest or impeach Yameen — said the court was not above the law. |Readmore


Babri demolition, 25 years on: BJP’s transition from Ram to reform to Ram

BJP’s political narrative has been re-defined after 2014, with a new Hindutva mascot

babri masjid, ayodhya

Today’s Paper : The year was 1989. The first general election in which the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) manifesto explicitly talked about reconstructing the Ram temple in Ayodhya. “By not allowing the rebuilding of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, on the lines of Somnath Mandir built by the Government of India in 1948, it has allowed tensions to rise, and gravely strained social harmony,” the party’s manifesto that year stated.

The year 1989 was in many ways the BJP’s chance at redemption after its predecessor Bharatiya Jana Sangh got its first shot of power along with its socialist allies after Emergency. In 1984, the party had managed to win just two seats in the parliamentary elections. The Congress, riding high on a sympathy wave following Indira Gandhi’s assassination, swept the country by winning 404 out of the 533 seats.

So, BJP’s redemption song in 1989 was going to be the Ram Mandir. With mandir on its mind, the BJP won 85 seats, and so began the party’s push for a Ram temple in Ayodhya, with none other than L K Advani leading the charge with his Rath Yatra.

The VP Singh-led National Front government that tried to throw a spanner in Advani’s Rath Yatra was derailed after the BJP withdrew support following Advani’s arrest at Samastipur in Bihar while galvanising foot soldiers for the Ram temple in Ayodhya. The BJP’s egression from the National Front government set the stage for yet another election in 1991. The 1991 elections, widely dubbed as the Mandir vs Mandal elections, was perhaps when the Ram temple pitch in the BJP reached a crescendo.

Yes, 1989 was the year when Mandir found a mention in BJP’s manifesto for the first time. But its decibel still hadn’t reached the feverish pitch that came in 1991. The BJP’s electoral push was largely powered by the ammunition it had against the then prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi. And Gandhi had given his principal opposition quite a few of them – Bofors, India’s humiliation in Sri Lanka and economic regression, among other things. The BJP minced no words while describing him in the run-up to the 1989 elections in its manifesto, “Everything Rajiv Gandhi touches ends up in a bloody mess. A man who waded to his office through the blood-soaked streets of Delhi will be leaving behind a gory legacy. This country is not safe in the hands of such a man or such a party.”

Click here to read → Babri Masjid Demolition


I am LeT’s biggest supporter; Hafeez Saeed likes me too: Pervez Musharraf

The former president added he was always in favour of terrorist action in Kashmir

Ajmal Kasab, Pervez Musharraf, Kulbhushan Jadhav

Today’s PaperFormer Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf has come out in support of the terror groups, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD), saying they were the biggest force against the Indian Army in Kashmir.

Speaking on Pakistan’s ARY News, Pervez Musharraf said, “I am the biggest supporter of the LeT and I know they like me and the JuD also likes me.”

He further said he liked the global terrorist, JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, and had met him.

The former president added he was always in favour of terrorist action in Kashmir, and the LeT and the JuD were the biggest forces to take on the Indian Army in the state.

“I was always in favour of action in Kashmir and of suppressing the Indian Army in Kashmir and they [LeT] are the biggest force,” Musharraf said.

He also accused India of declaring the LeT and the JuD as terror groups with the help of the United States.

“India got them declared as terrorists by partnering with the US,” Musharraf said, adding,” Yes, they [LeT] are involved in Kashmir and in Kashmir it is, between, we [Pakistan] and India.”

Earlier this week, the US strongly condemned the release of LeT leader Hafiz Saeed from house arrest and called for his immediate re-arrest and prosecution.

The White House in a statement, said, “The United States strongly condemns the release of LeT leader Hafiz Saeed from house arrest in Pakistan and calls for his immediate re-arrest and prosecution.”

“A clear international consensus exists regarding Saeed’s culpability-he was designated by the United Nations under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008. The Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the United States, since 2012, has offered a $10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice,” it read.

Saeed, accused of masterminding the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people, was released on November 24 after a Pakistan judicial body ordered his release from house arrest, rejecting a request from the government of Punjab to extend his detention by three months.

The decision to put Saeed under house arrest in January was seen as a response to actions by US President Donald Trump’s White House against nations deemed linked to terrorism.



What Saudi purge and Prince Salman’s game of thrones means for West Asia politics

The purge of the princes, unprecedented in recent Saudi politics, is clearly aimed as clearing the way for Prince Mohammed bin Salman to ascend the throne



Saturday, November 4, was an extraordinary day: it witnessed three developments which, taken together, suggest a major escalation in the armed conflict in West Asia is in the offing, even as the region is already groaning under the violence of bloody wars in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, in which half a million people have been killed and several million have been displaced.

Saudi Arabia is at the heart of all these developments. First, in a dramatic coup within the royal family, engineered by Prince Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 11 princes have been detained, along with four sitting ministers and several former ministers and officials.

Three developments

Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, the commander of the National Guard, the country’s powerful domestic security force, has been summarily dismissed, so that force has now also come under the control of the crown prince. The instrument used to effect these changes is the anti-corruption committee set up by the king on Saturday, with the crown prince as its chairman.

The second development was the sudden announcement in Riyadh by the Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, that he was resigning. Hariri had taken charge only in December 2016 after entering into a power-sharing agreement with President Michel Aoun. In his public remarks, Hariri said that Iran had planted “disorder and destruction” in his country and had made Hezbollah a “state within a state” in Lebanon…..READ MORE