Connect with us

Blog

Explore Laos as Ultimate Family destination

Published

on

Travel

Laos is a Southeast Asian country and known for its mountainous terrain, French colonial architecture, hill tribe settlements and Buddhist monasteries. Capital Vientiane is the site of the That Luang monument which reportedly houses Buddha’s breastbone in a reliquary; one can also see the Patuxai war memorial and Talat Sao – Morning market.

A few must visit places in Laos

Royal City of Luang Prabang – Situated in Northern part of the county, this is one of the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Laos. The city is best known for its ornate temples, vibrant night market and exquisite colonial era architecture. Lunag Praban was the former capital of the country and gives a superb introduction to Laos with its traditional wooden houses and European architecture. The city is set apart due to its location between mighty Mekong River and Mae Kok river which makes water based exploration a possibility. Early risers can catch a glimpse of local monks clad in saffron robes as they walk the royal city daily in the morning at 6 am in a ritual known as a ‘tag bat ceremony’, one can also explore the Elephant sanctuary located near Luang Prabang.

 

The country offers several centuries old temples, monasteries with monks dressed in orange robes and traditional settlements alongside the Mekong river, the country has plenty to offer to the curious visitors.

 

Laos retains many traditions even today that have disappeared with development of its neighbors in the region. The country offers timeless quality to rural life where stilt houses and paddy fields look like they are out of a movie set.

Discover the Capital City Vientiane – Capital city is located in Central Laos and compared to others capital cities of South East Asia it us extremely laid back. City is best known for its eye-watering beautiful temples. The Buddhist monuments offer a spectacular view of the sunset over the Mekong River. Some of the important places to visit in Vientiane are Wat Sisaket Temple built in 1818, Wat Si Muang Temple and Laos National Museum.

Kuang Si Waterfalls – Close to Luang Praband – the beautiful falls are are set amidst natural landscape, main waterfall features a 200 feet tall cascade, visitors can swim in the crystal clear pools and explore the are by walking over a wooden bridge over the falls.

UNESCO World heritage site Champasak – This is the second world heritage site in Laos and home to Way Phu and this is the Angkor style Khmer temples. The Hindu Wat Phu temple complex has been carefully preserved and is known to date back to over 1,000 years; it is located close to the Thailand and Cambodia border.

French Colonial Heritage of Savannakhet- Savannakhet is the second largest city in Laos and is a important gateway to all corners of the country and home to the spectacular French colonial architecture. Located in the southern part of the country on the banks of Mekong, the city is actually connected to Thailand via a bridge. One can explore the local culture and the 16th century That Ing Hang Stupa, wander the old French Colonial buildings around the central plaza and the central church.

Pakse – City located in the in the southern province and is an ideal gateway to the four thousand island which is a must visit place in Laos and also the famous Wat Phu. One can also access the pristine waterfalls and the colourful markets of the Bolaven Plateau. Si Phan Don i.e. the ‘four thousand islands’, this is where Laos becomes the Land of Lotus eaters. The time swings slowly and views are spectacular. Many travellers stay longer after enjoying the beauty of this place. The Mekong bulges to a breadth of 14 kms here and the is wide along its 4,350 kms journey from Tibetan Plateau to the South China sea, if you caount every islet and sanbar that emerges in the dry months, the names translation is ‘Four Thousand islands’ is not and exaggeration.

Jay Kantawala, Founder of WIYO travel said, Laos is one of the less explored destinations in Asia and one can enjoy a relaxed holiday and explore the cities and countries of this beautiful country.

Blog

Karnataka: Modi  stands exposed, Congress gains

Published

on

narendra modi

This time, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have failed to foist a BJP government in Karnataka and the high drama surrounding forcible installation of BJP government showed that Modi could resort to anything to grab power.

The entire sequence of events after the Karnataka elections verdict from BS Yeddurappa taking oath and then resigning just ahead of the floor test and culminating to the announcement of formation of Congress-JD(S) coalition government revealed how it has become difficult for a party to protect their legislatures from being poached by the BJP.

BJP again indulged in using money and muscle power to lure MLAs of other parties to reach the half mark as the Saffron party emerged as the single largest party with 104 members but short of majority while Congress with 78 seats immediately after the verdict sent Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ashok Gehlot to form an alliance with JD(S) having 37 MLAs .

The desire of adding Karnataka to the list of 19 states where it is in power has been dashed and the disgraceful exit of BS Yeddyurappa two days after assuming the office of the Chief Minister of Karnataka was triggered after the Supreme Court had directed BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa 24 hours to prove majority in the Karnataka assembly due to the fractured mandate in Karnataka assembly elections earlier this week.

The governor, constitutionally, should invite the party or alliance that could ensure a stable government but Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala called the BJP to form the government.He erred as he acted in an unconstitutional manner that could encourage horse-trading consequently JD (S) alongwith Congress were shifted to Hyderabad to guard against poaching of their legislatures.

Governor Vajubhai was a minister in BJP government in Gujarat from 1997 to 2012 and is a vetran Sangh memeber since 1971.

In Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya, the Congress won the largest number of seats and also staked claim before the respective governor to form government but the BJP manipulated and resorted to horse-trading to grab power .But the entire drama in Karnataka has exposed Prime Minister Narendra Modi who claims to be non corrupt and respect  the peoples mandate as audio clips were heard in which even Yeddyurappa appeared to be luring MLAs of Congress to join the BJP .

Congress has even released an explosive audio clip alleging horse-trading by the BJP. The party in a press meeting in Bengaluru on Friday evening released a 2 minute 41 second audio clip, and alleged that it had the voice of mining baron and former BJP minister Janardhana Reddy, who can be heard speaking to Congress Raichur Rural MLA-elect Basavanagouda Daddal.

The Congress has alleged that Janardhana Reddy has sanction from top BJP leadership, as he mentions ‘National President’ in the conversation.

The whole exercise has proved that the aura of clean image of Narendra Modi has suddenly vanished.

Hours before BS Yeddyurappa resigned as chief minister in the Karnataka assembly, two Congress lawmakers had gone MIA this morning. But they were both back with the Congress just in time for the floor test that never happened. The Congress alleged that they had been held captive inside a hotel in Bengaluru by the BJP.

Anand Singh and Pratap Gowda Patil reached the assembly, the Vidhana Soudha, about an hour before the trust vote was scheduled. Pratap Gowda Patil was seen pushing away BJP lawmakers and rushing to join his Congress colleagues.

“Pratap Gowda won’t betray us,” Congress leader DK Shivkumar said, who has been in charge of guarding his party’s lawmakers and organizing their “protection”.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has termed the resignation of B S Yeddyurappa as Karnataka Chief Minister a “victory of democracy”and said “this is not an ordinary victory. Entire people of the country will be happy. It is a proud day for all of us.”

 

Congress moved Supreme Court On May 16 late evening against the governor’s invitation to the BJP.The Apex court opened its doors at midnight for an urgent hearing.Hearing began at 2.11 am on May 17 and concluded at 5.28 am in which SC refused to stay oath-taking ceremony of Yeddyurappa.Yeddyurappa was sworn in as Chief Minister at 9 am. on May 17. On May 18 , Supreme Court ordered floor test at 4 pm on May 19.Janata Dal Secular leader HD Kumaraswamy said he will take oath as the chief minister of Karnataka on Monday, hours after the BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa conceded defeat and resigned from the top post without facing a floor test when it saw that it had fallen
short of the target of 112 in the 224-member House.

BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said “In a democracy, everyone has a right to form an alliance but an alliance without ideology won’t work,People don’t accept alliances which are not formed on ideological similarities.”

It is pertinent to mention that in Jammu and Kashmir BJP cemented alliance with PDP which has diametrically opposite stand on most key issues and ideological difference between Mehbooba’s Valley-centric Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its ally, the Jammu-centric Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has resulted into crisis in Kashmir with renewed surge in militancy,situation in the Valley remains volatile and unstabile and ceasefire in tatters.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi has given two direct messages to the entire Opposition that Congress is ready to ally with any regional party to defeat Narendra Modi’s attempt to grab power .But there is one important factor that Congress and the parties in alliance will have to guard against the poaching of their MLAs by the BJP as they will make an attempt to break the Congress led coalition government.
On the contrary, Rahul Gandhi has displayed leadership by benefitting both the parties and not by manipulating results in any states as done by BJP.

Blog: By Arti Bali,
arti

(Senior Journalist)

Continue Reading

Blog

Modi’s burden has become heavier after Karnataka setback

In the end, the Supreme Court’s directive apparently proved crucial, for the BJP chose not to wait have its legislative strength tested on the floor of the House.

Published

on

BS Yeddyurappa

The hopes of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) adding Karnataka to the list of 19 states where it is in power has been dashed although it came close to fulfilling it. However, the eight seats which the BJP needed to cross the finishing line in the legislature eluded the party.

In hindsight, it might have been better for the BJP if it had conceded defeat when it saw that it had fallen short of the target of 112 in the 224-member House. Instead, by opting for a floor test, it provoked all the avoidable controversies about horse-trading which have haunted the Indian political scene ever since the Aya Ram-Gaya Ram days of defections in the late 1960s.

The Governor, too, did his office no service by swearing-in B.S. Yeddyurappa as the Chief Minister when the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress combine was pressing its claim, and allowing him a fortnight’s time to prove his majority. It was inevitable that the inordinately long period would be seen as some kind of a helping hand to the Chief Minister by not only the BJP’s opponents but also a fair number of observers.

The belief that 15 days was too long a period was confirmed by the Supreme Court’s drastic reduction of the time needed by Yeddyurappa to two days. At a time when the legislators have to be carted around from one town to another and holed up in luxury resorts to stop any of them from being lured away by the powers-that-be, it is necessary to give an aspiring Chief Minister as little leeway as possible.

In the end, the Supreme Court’s directive apparently proved crucial, for the BJP chose not to wait have its legislative strength tested on the floor of the House.

What is worrying for the BJP is that the setback in Karnataka has shown that, for once, the extra effort put in by Narendra Modi by raising the number of his rallies in the state from 15 to 21 did not pay dividends. It can even be argued that if the Prime Minister had stuck to his original plan to address 15 public meetings, the BJP might have fared worse.

Since Modi remains not only the party’s star campaigner but also the only one who can make the difference between victory and defeat, any hint that he can no longer easily enable the party to cross the winning line cannot but be of concern when the BJP faces three more crucial assembly elections in a few months’ time in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Clearly, the burden which he already carries as the spearhead of the BJP’s campaign will become heavier after the outcome in Karnataka.

As it is, the BJP’s tally of 104 fell short of the 110 it won in 2008 with a vote share of 33.8 per cent. Moreover, its percentage this time of 36.2 is well below the 43.4 per cent it received in 2014 when Modi was at the height of his popularity. There is little doubt that the Modi magic is not as effective as it once was.

As for the state itself, the early ringing down of the curtains on what was expected to be riveting drama on Saturday afternoon can hardly be seen as a welcome development (except for the hardened opponents of the BJP) because the prospect of a hodge-podge alliance between the Janata Dal-Secular and the Congress is not a pleasant one.

For a start, no one knows how long it will last since it will take time for the two parties to forgive and forget their recent verbal duels including the Congress’s jibe about the Janata Dal-Secular being the BJP’s “B” team.

Now, as virtually the Janata Dal-Secular’s “B” team in the government of H.D. Kumaraswamy, the Congress will have to shed some of its pretences as the Grand Old Party of Indian politics. Having already been reduced to such a secondary position in UP, Bihar, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, the Congress would not like Karnataka to be added to the list, especially when it polled 640,000 more votes than the BJP with a vote share of 38 per cent, up from 36.6 in 2013.

Even as the Janata Dal-Secular-Congress tie-up has been hailed by Mamata Banerjee as being in line with her idea of a federal front, there will be many a slip between the cup and the lip before such a grouping materialises.

It goes without saying that the new ruling group in Karnataka will provide the first test of the possibility of an anti-BJP glue holding two not-so-friendly parties together. The test will be all the more crucial since the Janata Dal-Secular was supposed to have had a tacit understanding with the BJP in constituencies such as Chamundeshwari, where the saffron party was said to have put up a weak candidate because the Janata Dal-Secular was expected to have the upper hand in a direct fight with the Congress. This was what led to Siddaramaiah’s defeat there. It remains to be seen if episodes such as these will be overlooked by the new allies.

By : Amulya Ganguli

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

Continue Reading

Analysis

Yeddy does ‘Atal’, deals blow to BJP’s south strategy

With Karnataka gone now, Yeddyurappa made an emotional last bid to win people’s heart ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Published

on

BS Yeddyurappa

New Delhi, May 19 : The BJP’s efforts to expand in southern states suffered a blow on Saturday with its two-day old government collapsing as Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa resigned before a trust vote in an assembly where no party has majority.

The party now hopes that the move, akin to what then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee did in 1996 after failing to garner enough support for his 13-day old government, will help it gain sympathy in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Despite knowing the fact that it was short of the required numbers, the BJP leadership went ahead to stake claim and took risk of allowing Yeddyurappa to take oath as Chief Minister.

This is what Vajpayee — the first Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Prime Minister — did almost 22 years ago.

The BJP, which considers Karnataka as its gateway to south, tried its best to win the trust vote after forming the government on Thursday but failed to sustain it.

Despite this, BJP leaders are hopeful Yeddyurappa’s emotional speech in the Assembly before resigning and clearing his vision for the cause of farmers and downtrodden, will help the party in 2019 elections.

“Yeddyurappa did the same way Atal Bihari Vajpayee made his speech in the Lok Sabha in 1996 before resigning as the Prime Minister,” a senior BJP functionary told IANS, recalling how the BJP-led NDA returned with a thumping majority in the elections that followed.

“The BJP surged all over the country and formed governments (in many states) with coalition as well as of its own in 2014. We are hopeful of emerging in south too through Yeddyurappa,” he said.

With the possibility of relatively fewer seats in the Hindi belt states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and other north Indian states during the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, BJP President Amit Shah has been working on a strategy to compensate a bit from the probable loss of seats in southern part of the country.

But after Yeddyurappa’s resignation, Shah’s startegy has suffered a jolt as it provided an opportunity to the opposition camp to remain united.

The Assembly poll results clearly indicate that if the Congress and JD-S join hands in 2019, it will be a tough task for the BJP.

In 2014, the BJP had won 17 out of total 28 Lok Sabha seats of Karnataka. Out of total 129 seats of southeren states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka and Kerela, the BJP could win only 21 in 2014.

With the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) quitting the NDA, the BJP has already suffered a jolt in south as its position has weakened considerably in Andhra Pradesh where Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is campaigning against the Modi government for not meeting the demand of special status to the state.

To compensate TDP’s departure from the NDA, the BJP has been eying YSR Congress. But that looks like not an easy task as YSR Congress itself has been vehemently opposing the Modi government for not meeting the demand of special status.

In 2014, the BJP could won only two out of 25 seats in Lok Sabha in Andhra Pradesh.

In Tamil Nadu, the BJP is also facing the ire of the people as the Union government has failed yet to constitute a Cauvery Management Board.

With AIADMK in power and DMK as the main opposition, the BJP has very little space for its emergence in the state. In the 2016 state Assembly elections, the BJP even found it hard to identify candidates for the 234 constituencies in the Dravidian state.

The BJP is now trying to make inroads in Kerala but it will again not be an easy cup of tea for the party.

Although the BJP improved its vote share by around nine per cent in 2016 state Assembly elections, but it failed to stop Left Democratic Front from retaining power. In that year, the BJP opened an account in the state assembly — a first in the history of Kerala.

The BJP is hopeful of gaining ground in Telangana but faces a tough contest from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and the Congress. In 2014, it could win only one seat out of total 17 in the state.

Now, with the country all set to face general elections next year, the only state through which the BJP could have made inroads in south was Karnataka.

With Karnataka gone now, Yeddyurappa made an emotional last bid to win people’s heart ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

“I will travel across the state non stop. We have received tremendous love and support across the state. For 2019, I promise, we will win 28 out of all 28 Lok Sabha seats. I won’t relent. I will continue to fight till my last breath,” he said in the Assembly, before meeting Governor Vajubhai Vala to resign.

(Brajendra Nath Singh can be contacted at [email protected])

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular