Connect with us


Did Parrikar government just survive a coup?

With Congress MLA Vishwajeet Rane resigning on March 13 and becoming the Health Minister in the Parrikar cabinet, the Congress needs five MLAs to obtain a simple majority and therefore the support of Goa Forward with its three MLAs and two Independents helps the party make the numeric cut.



Manohar Parrikar

Panaji, May 14 : Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar may have just managed to quell a coup.

The Congress, fresh from its sacking of Digvijaya Singh as a central overseer, made fresh overtures to allies in the Bharatiya Janata Party-led ministry in a bid to topple the Parrikar government.

While both the Goa Forward and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), which have three seats each in the 38-member (an MLA each from the BJP and Congress have resigned) have rejected reports of a coup and the BJP on Saturday claimed the government is stable, Goa’s politics appears primed to replay its mercurial and unstable edge of the 1990-2000 decade — when the state saw 14 Chief Ministers.

The fresh developments, during which the Congress claimed to have been in touch with several BJP MLAs and the BJP counter-claiming that 10 Congress legislators were in touch with its leadership, have, however, ended with some egg on the face of state Congress President and legislator Luizinho Faleiro.

Faleiro’s leadership has again been challenged by a section of Congress MLAs.

Congress sources said they had re-established contact with Goa Forward founder-member and now Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai and two Independent MLAs in a bid to win him over.

“His condition to joining a Congress-led government continues to be the same as it was before he joined the BJP-led formation in March. He wants Faleiro out of the decision-making hierarchy. He wanted our MLA Digambar Kamat (former Chief Minister) in charge of negotiations and as the coalition leader,” a senior party leader told IANS.

The party official also said that efforts to topple the BJP-led coalition government had been intensified following A. Chellakumar’s promotion as Congress General Secretary in charge of Goa.

He was earlier an understudy to Digvijay Singh, who was unceremoniously sacked a few weeks back.

Faleiro, a two-time Chief Minister, led the Congress campaign in the February 4 polls. But his running feud with Sardesai could have cost the Congress the opportunity to stake claim to form government despite the party emerging with 17 seats of the 40 Goa assembly seats.

Sardesai is known to have more than cordial relations with Kamat. Both politicians have successfully partnered together in the municipal elections in Margao, a major South Goa township.

The loyalty of Congress legislators appear to be split between Kamat and Faleiro although the Congress formally has denied any rift and Faleiro has even offered to surrender his rank for the health of the party.

“I am ready to quit any position for the party… If even one MLA feels that we can form a government and that it (my resignation) will help and facilitate that, then I am ready to quit,” Faleiro said.

With Congress MLA Vishwajeet Rane resigning on March 13 and becoming the Health Minister in the Parrikar cabinet, the Congress needs five MLAs to obtain a simple majority and therefore the support of Goa Forward with its three MLAs and two Independents helps the party make the numeric cut.

But Sardesai, who led the poll campaign and canvassed for votes in the Catholic-dominated areas on an anti-BJP pitch, now claims his support to the BJP and Parrikar is unequivocal and he would never betray the latter.

“Parrikar gave up his ministry in Delhi on our word. I will never let him down. This government is stable and it will last its full term,” he said.

The BJP too has strongly refuted reports of a coup, with its state President Vinay Tendulkar insisting that in fact the Congress which is in turmoil.

“This government will continue full-strength and last its full five year term,” Tendulkar told IANS.

Asked if the Congress had tried to poach ruling alliance partners, he said: “As many as 10 Congress MLAs are in talks with us. They are willing to join the BJP.”

By :Mayabhushan Nagvenkar


Is Sonia the answer to ego hassles in non-BJP camp?



Sonia Gandhi

An indication as to how difficult it is going to be for the opposition at the national level to get its act together was available after K. Chandrashekar Rao met Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata to lay the foundation for a federal front.

However, even before the proposed alliance could get off the ground, the differences about its framework were visible. While the Telangana Chief Minister wanted it to be a non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), non-Congress group, his West Bengal counterpart kept her options open about including the Congress.

A feature of these alliances is that each of their constituents is guided by the ground realities in their own states which may be at variance with the political condition in some other state. For instance, the Congress may be a more formidable adversary for Chandrashekhar Rao in his state, but it isn’t so for Mamata Banerjee. So, while the Telangana Chief Minister wants to keep the 133-year-old Grand Old Party at arm’s length, Mamata Banerjee, a former Congress person, is more accommodative.

Similar conflicting perceptions are known even within one party such as the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) where the Kerala comrades are against any proximity to the Congress, obviously because the latter is a force to reckon with in the southern state, but the Marxists in West Bengal are keen on a tie-up with the Congress against the BJP since they no longer face any major threat from their old opponent in the state. Rahul Gandhi’s hope, therefore, of forming a “workable” anti-BJP alliance with other parties faces considerable roadblocks.

Yet, the BJP’s current vulnerability is obvious to its political enemies. At the same time, the non-BJP parties know that none of them is capable on its own of offering a serious challenge to the ruling party at the Centre. Banding them together is the only alternative. The egos of individual leaders are also a problem, for none of them will be willing to concede the role of a leader to another.

Difficulties of this nature have plagued earlier such formations. In the Janata Party (1977-80), the duel was between Morarji Desai, Charan Singh and Jagjivan Ram. In the Janata Dal (1989-91), it was between V.P. Singh, Devi Lal and Chandrashekhar.

It was to overcome similar confrontations in the confused post-1996 scene that the name of then West Bengal Chief Minister, Jyoti Basu, was proposed by United Front leaders like H.D. Deve Gowda, Mulayam Singh Yadav and others, but was rejected by the CPI-M. The BJP, on the other hand, has been fortunate in having an unchallenged leader like Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1996 and in Narendra Modi now.

Who can be the unchallenged leader in the non-BJP camp at present? Although the leaders in a federal front are highly influential in their home provinces, none of them measures up to the popular image of a Prime Minister who is a sober, sophisticated, well-educated, widely respected, trustworthy and unbiased person with a clearly identifiable vision.

To start with Sharad Pawar, who is among those who have shown an interest in leading the charge against the BJP, there has been a question mark over his reliability ever since his party was seemingly regarded by the BJP as a prop against the Shiv Sena’s machinations in Maharashtra. He is generally seen as too clever by half and too much of a deal-maker to be trusted as the guiding light for the nation.

His age — Pawar is 78 — is also against him. India appears to be coming around to accepting Modi’s view, as articulated by senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, that a politician is “brain dead” after 75.

Rahul Gandhi at 48 is safe in this regard as is Mamata Banerjee (63), whose case is being energetically pushed by one of her lieutenants in Delhi. But while the Congress president is still considered not “grown-up” enough, the West Bengal Chief Minister is too immersed in her own province to be seen as a national leader.

Akhilesh Yadav (45) and Mayawati (62) have the same disadvantage of being rooted in the Hindi belt with its concomitant of casteism. Though also from the same region, 67-year-old Nitish Kumar was once considered a possible Prime Minister “material” before he shot himself in the foot with his politics of perambulation, forever looking for green pastures.

The bare cupboard of PM hopefuls leaves only 72-year-old Sonia Gandhi, who has been engaged in dinner diplomacy to cobble together an anti-BJP formation, as a possible candidate. But her minus points are obvious.

For one, she does not appear to be in the pink of health. For another, any whiff about her aspirations will make the Hindu Right revive the “foreigner” debate with great gusto with Sushma Swaraj perhaps once again threatening to shave her head as in 2004. For a third, she may not be interested as she is seemingly intent on paving the way for her son’s elevation.

Yet, the former Congress president is possibly the only one with a much wider acceptability in the non-BJP camp than anyone else and also among the Dalits, backward castes and minorities as well as a section of the traditional Congress supporters in the upper caste though not among the middle class. In a way, she offers the best of a bad bargain with the resultant turmoil proving to be one of the worst in recent years.

By : Amulya Ganguli

(Amulya Ganguli is a political analyst. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached at [email protected])

Continue Reading


Global sell-off drags Indian equities to 5-month lows




Mumbai, March 24 : A global sell-off triggered by trade protectionist measures imposed by major world economies unleashed the bears in the Indian equity markets during the week, pushing the key indices — NSE Nifty50 and BSE Sensex — to their 5-month lows.

Apart from the prospects of escalating trade wars, the risk-taking appetite of investors was marred by rising crude oil prices, the ongoing turmoil in the domestic banking system as well as the uncertainty on the political situation in the country.

On a weekly basis, the barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE shed 579.46 points or 1.75 per cent to close at 32,596.54 points — its lowest closing level since October 23, 2017.

On the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the wider Nifty50 ended below the psychologically important 10,000-mark and closed trade at 9,998.05 points — down 197.1 points or 1.93 per cent from its previous week’s close — its lowest closing level since October 11, 2017.

“Benchmark indices Sensex and Nifty fell 1.75 per cent and 1.93 per cent respectively during the week, posting their longest stretch of weekly losses in 16 months as the domestic market joined a global sell-off triggered by prospects of a trade war,” Arpit Jain, Assistant Vice President at Arihant Capital Markets, told IANS.

According to D.K. Aggarwal, Chairman and Managing Director of SMC Investments and Advisors, the global stock market traded lower after US President Donald Trump announced sweeping tariffs on Chinese goods, a move that has heightened concerns that the global trade war will escalate.

“Back at home, dragged by escalating trade tensions among global economies, the Indian stock market too witnessed selling pressure amid other domestic factors. Since the beginning of the year domestic market witnessed some hiccups on the back of imposition of LTCG (long term capital gains) tax, liquidity issues, rising bond yields and volatile global markets,” Aggarwal told IANS.

“Also, a surge in crude oil prices impacted the market sentiment. The Indian rupee, too, witnessed a volatile move ahead of Fed rate-hike and global trade war concerns,” he added.

On the currency front, the rupee weakened by eight paise to close at 65.01 against the US dollar from its previous week’s close at 64.93.

“Sentiments were affected by rising crude oil prices, bond yields and a troubled domestic banking system. Uncertainty around the political situation in the country added to the woes, and collectively dragged the sentiment across the street,” Gaurav Jain, Director at Hem Securities, told IANS.

Provisional figures from the stock exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors purchased scrips worth Rs 2,524.13 crore and the domestic institutional investors (DIIs) scrips worth Rs 211.91 crore during the week.

Figures from the National Securities Depository (NSDL) revealed that foreign portfolio investors invested in equities worth Rs 2,060.04 crore, or $316.99 million, during March 19-23.

“The market breadth was negative in three out of the five trading sessions of the week. The top sectoral losers were realty, metal, Bank Nifty and pharma indices. There were no gainers,” said Deepak Jasani, Head – Retail Research, HDFC Securities.

The top weekly Sensex gainers were: NTPC (up 2.90 per cent at Rs 170.15); IndusInd Bank (up 1.36 per cent at Rs 1,750.20); Power Grid (up 1.04 per cent at Rs 194.25); Hindustan Unilever (up 0.05 per cent at Rs 1,299.75); and Larsen and Toubro (up 0.01 per cent at Rs 1,267.75).

The losers were: Yes Bank (down 8.37 per cent at Rs 286.70); ICICI Bank (down 7.48 per cent at Rs 275.80); State Bank India (down 7.13 per cent at Rs 234.60); Tata Steel (down 5.65 per cent at Rs 566.60); and Axis Bank (down 4.29 per cent at Rs 501).

(Porisma P. Gogoi can be contacted at [email protected])

Continue Reading


Rahul sir said it’s all about mental preparation now: Shubman Gill



rahul dravid

Kolkata, March 24 : His U-19 World Cup heroics still fresh in memory, top-order batsman Shubman Gill is now looking to walk Rahul Dravid’s talk and be mentally strong as he gets ready to play against the “big boys” in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the Kolkata Knight Riders.

“We all talked to him. He had a word with all of us before we dispersed after the tournament. He had a one-on-one chat with everyone. He told us that from here on, there will be more mental preparation.

“When you go to the higher level, there is a difference and it is more in the mind. You have to prepare yourself mentally,” Gill told IANS in an interview at KKR’s team hotel here.

“It’s more of a mental game now. Dravid sir told us that everybody has skills, but it’s how you prepare yourself mentally to execute at the stage and at that particular time,” the 18-year old Punjab right-hander added.

Under Dravid’s tutelage, Gill and his teammates claimed a record fourth U-19 World Cup, beating Australia in the final by eight wickets.

All through the tournament, India were not only unbeaten but utterly dominant, winning three matches by 100 or more runs and two by 10 wickets.

“It was a great experience for all of us in the U-19 World Cup in New Zealand,” Gill reminisced.

“Our bowlers did a great job, both the medium pacers and the spinners. We got great exposure and because of that opportunities have opened up for all of us. People have started recognising us. We get motivated by that and our chances to doing well are enhanced,” he said.

Soft-spoken and very articulate for his age, Gill finished the World Cup as the “Player of the Series” after scoring 372 runs in five matches at a whopping average of 124 and a strike rate of 112.38.

Asked about his stellar show at the showpiece event, Gill again credited Dravid.

“We were fortunate that we worked with him (Dravid) and that helped not only me but all of us play the way we did. He shared all his experiences of going to New Zealand with us before the World Cup, during our preparations. He is such a legend,” he said.

At KKR, there is a shortage of top-order batsmen and Gill could come in handy with his penchant for big runs. Gill, who had a base price of Rs 20 lakh in the IPL auctions, was roped in for Rs 1.8 crore by KKR.

“It’s a great opportunity for all of us to… play at such a high level. I am really looking forward to it. Our preparations are going well and we will try to deliver our best,” said Gill, who is more about textbook shots than big bat swings.

Against arch-rivals Pakistan, Gill underlined his potential with a classy 94-ball 102. Comparisons with India skipper Virat Kohli have already started doing the rounds but Gill, whose favourite cricketer is Kohli, wants to take it easy.

“I look up to Virat Kohli. But at the moment, my only goal is to make my team win every time. Our chances of taking the next step will only be enhanced if we win the IPL. I always think of how I can help the team and how I can contribute.

“If I do well for KKR, I will automatically do well for myself,” said Gill, who made his first-class debut before the World Cup for Punjab in the Ranji Trophy in late 2017 with a half-century in the game and 129 in the next match.

Not wanting to think too much about breaking into the senior team, Gill signed off by saying he admires each and every member of Kohli’s side and it is their fielding and fitness that attracts him the most.

“This Indian team has changed the trend in terms of their fielding and fitness standards,” Gill said.

“Now the Indian team is one of the best fielding sides in the world. The way they carry themselves, their attitude on and off the field, all the guys, I really admire them.”

(Debayan Mukherjee can be contacted at [email protected])

Continue Reading

Most Popular