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Punjab Polls: Congress to snatch power from Akali-BJP on demonetisation,drugs



Rahul Amrinder Singh Majitha Rally

The ‘D-word will be the deciding factor  in the Punjab elections. The D word refers to Demonetization and Drugs that will play a prominent role against the AKali-BJP government in Punjab.

Punjab is mainly based on agriculture which is basically a cash economy.Demonetisation has affected farm sector so adversely that farm produce in various Mandis was sold at almost half the price of the last year.This will adversely impact the poll prospects of the BJP-Akali alliance .

Drug menace is another key issue in poll-bound Punjab where huge number of youths are victims of drug abuse that is destroying families  and this having happened in Badal-BJP’s regime which will cause a real damage to Badals in this election.

Further with cross- border smuggling where police under the Badals administration coupled with goonda elements  and money power has also flourished under Badals patronage.

There is a triangular contest between Congress, AAP and Akali-BJP combine in Punjab assembly elections where Congress enjoys goodwill among the voters  while AAP is an interesting player but for Badals chances are remote and there is a lot of anger  and frustration among  the voters for Badals family.The Akali Dal and the congress have dominated the Punjab politics for decades and AAP being a newcomer may not be able to establish a network among the different categories of voters. All the 117 assembly seats of Punjab will go to polls on Fabruary 4 and results will be announced on March 11.

Dera politics also plays an important role in the formation of government in Punjab  as there is one dera in every constituency connected with different castes and political parties.

Dear Sacha Sauda situated in Sirsa (Haryana) has also followers in Punjab but the sacrilege incidents  of Guru Granth Sahib is affecting the influence of this dera.And the prime minister Narendra Modi has suddenly woken up during poll season assuring that CBI will probe the sacrilege and deaths in police firing .

Thus Congress enjoys an advantage because such communal incidents do not crop up during Congress regimes.

Majha region of Punjab has maximum number of representatives of Akali Dal.But widespread protests in 2015 due to desecration of the holy books of Sikhs  and due anti-incumbency factor ,the voters are going to support Congress this time.

Malwa is the largest region with 69 seats in Punjab  where real contest is between Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP and Congress. As AAP has roped in NRI’s for campaigning for AAP in Punjab’s Malwa  and Captain Amarinder Singh  also pulls his weight in a number of constituencies in this region as it is predominantly rural  where farmers were most affected by demonetization and thereafter BJP government enhanced the price of fertilizers and seeds which again made the live of farmers miserable.

The Congress is strong in Doaba too which has a sizable vote bank of reserved castes  and AAP will find it tough to woo the Dalit votes.

These elections can be a turning point for Punjab as this time the vote will be on issues of demonetization ,drugs and sacrilege of holy books rather than on caste .Even the poll surveys are predicting a Congress government with a comfortable majority with 60-70 seats  and Aam Aadmi Party will be relegated to second position.

arti bali

By : Arti Bali

Senior Journalist



Trump’s China Tariff plan sparks fears of a trade war




United States slapped trade sanctions on China, including restrictions on investment and tariffs on $50billion worth of Chinese imports from entering the Washington thus stoking fears of a trade war.

“It’s going to make us a much stronger, much richer nation,” Trump said, adding that the retaliation could hit about $60 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Trump lamented the US’ multi-hundred billion dollar trade deficit with China and said the action would be “the first of many.”

“That’s really just a fraction of what we’re talking about,” he said, citing the large trade deficit that the U.S. runs with China.

Trump directed his administration to take action that will likely result in tariffs on a proposed list of 1,300 products as punishment for Beijing’s intellectual property practices, senior White House officials said ahead of the announcement.

Speaking at the White House, Donald Trump said the imposition of tariffs was part of an effort for fairness, noting that China imposes a 25% tariff on US cars while the US only has a 2.5% duty on Chinese cars. “They charge us, we charge the same thing,” said Trump.

The president blamed China for the loss of 60,000 factories and 6 million jobs and  also ordered Lighthizer to complain to the World Trade Organization about China’s discriminatory licensing practices for foreign companies.

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Sneaker  makes a stop at New Delhi



 PUMA, in collaboration with Peter Fahey hosted the second event of the Sneaker Pimps India chapter in the country’s capital.The exhibit showcased over 500 rare, vintage, and limited edition sneakers along with a collection of sneaker inspired art-work, sneaker fashion and customization booths. In honour of The Suede’s 50th year, PUMA is dropping 50 exclusive kicks in collaboration with legends of the music world, the streets, the fashion industry and pop culture through 2018. Some of these timeless icons are the Suede Classic, Suede Bboy, Suede Classic Exposed Seams, Suede Classic Sock and the Select Suede Classic Perforation.
After a hugely successful Pune edition, the international sneaker exhibition in New Delhi held at a colony of warehouses in the Dhan Mill Compound saw an exciting line up of speakers and artists at the HG Street festival by Homegrown. Present at the exhibition were – Sneaker Pimps founder Peter Fahey, PUMA Select Head Yassine Saidi, international artists like Futura and DJ Neil Armstrong,  and Indian hip hop icons like Divine, Rajakumari and Prabhdeep and along with a multitude of sneaker heads and sneaker aficionados from across the country coming together to celebrate 50 years of the iconic PUMA Suede.
Sneaker Pimps is one of the most popular travelling sneaker exhibits and street-based art show founded by Peter Fahey. Speaking about the Sneaker Pimps India tour, Peter said, “It’s great to be here in Delhi and an India tour is something that has been on my mind for a while now. This edition is very special as it commences celebrations for 50 years of the legendary PUMA Suede. PUMA has a long legacy and rich history of sneakers making them the perfect partner to have enabled our India tour. The sneaker culture in India is on the rise and I am very excited to be displaying this unique collection of kicks on this special occasion.”
Abhishek Ganguly, MD, PUMA India, said, “True to our brand legacy of creating unique experiences through groundbreaking product collaborations and exciting events, we are ushering in the 50th anniversary of PUMA Suede with a special line of stellar kicks which will be exhibited at the Sneaker Pimps event along with a host of other cool sneakers. India’s love for sneakers is fast growing and I am certain that this event will give the rising sneaker sub culture a massive impetus.”
Yassine Saidi, Global Senior Head of Lifestyle Footwear and Select, PUMA, who is the force behind collaborations like McQ,  Rihanna’s FENTY, The Weeknd’s  Run The Streets collection and Big Sean teaming up with PUMA Classics, was present at the event. Speaking at the event, he said, “PUMA is renowned for the sheer number of collaborations in our sportstyle segment and we find that these are key to connecting with our consumers. Sneaker Pimps is known world over for exhibiting the best and most unique sneaker collections and it is the perfect platform to showcase PUMA’s most revered kicks and the legendary PUMA Suede. Collaborations are all about co creating and PUMA’s collaboration with Sneaker Pimps has allowed us to co create something really special for sneaker lovers in India”
A big highlight at the exhibit was a live art display by American graffiti artist and the pioneer of abstract street art, Futura, a.k.a Leonard Hilton McGurr. Legendary footwear customizer from Moscow, Maggi, curated four pairs Suede Classics exclusively for the exhibition.
There were performances by Indian hip hop icons like the Grammy nominated songwriter Rajakumari,   Mumbai-based rapper Divine, and rising star of the underground hip hop scene Prabh Deep along with DJ Mocity, co-founder of Reggae Rajahs, the first Reggae Sound System in India and DJ Neil Armstrong – the first DJ at a presidential inauguration when he performed with Jay Z at President Barack Obama’s 2008 inauguration party.
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BJP inadvertently exposes its game of influencing voters

Controversial firm Cambridge Analytica used to conduct psychological war by harvesting millions of Facebook profiles without authorization and then further used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence voters at the ballot box.



Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has inadvertently exposed the Bharatiya Janata Party’s scandal of influencing voters through Ovleno Business Intelligence (OBI)—an Indian affiliate of Cambridge Analytica firm. Mere a tweet by Manish Tewari seeking enquiry by the Election Commission on the claim by Cambridge Analytics about giving services during elections and campaigns in India compelled BJP minister to call a press conference to save and clear themselves of the charges and rather accused that Congress had links with Cambridge Analytica.

Congress media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala Surjewala said, “Desperate times call for desperate press conferences. BJP’s factory of fake news has produced another fake news today. Such baseless allegations show the character of the party, Indian National Congress or the Congress President has never used or never hired the services of a company called Cambridge Analytica.”

British data analytics and election strategy firm Cambridge Analytica (CA), which is under a scanner in the UK and the US for using Facebook to influence voters in the US presidential election and the vote on Brexit in UK, is also involved in a scandal involving the 2010 Bihar Assembly election and claimed its client “achieved a landslide victory.

Controversial firm Cambridge Analytica used to conduct psychological war by harvesting millions of Facebook profiles without authorization and then further used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence voters at the ballot box.

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon has been allegedly accused of compiling user data to target American voters during the presidential election for US President Donald Trump. In the same manner, Prime Minister Narendra Modi allegedly used the same psychological warfare tool in 2010 and in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

After Information Technology and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has alleged that Congress president Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party had links with Cambridge Analytica, Congress media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala countered the Minister saying, “Fake Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is presenting fake agenda. The truth is contrary to this. The BJP and JDU used Cambridge Analytica. The BJP hired the Indian business partner of Cambridge Analytica — OBI during Delhi Assembly election and used its services. Apart from this, the firm also involved in the party’s Mission 272+ (BJP’s slogan for 2014 general election) as an additional support in Haryana, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Delhi”, Surjewala added.

Surejewala stated that information available on the website of Ovleno Business Intelligence (OBI)—an Indian affiliate of CA’s parent company Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL) firm also furnished a constituency-wise database to BJP candidates for state and national elections.

The firm used to collect data about people who are on Facebook through an app and target voters with personalised political advertisements, in the same manner as television, radio and print.

Prasad even issued a sharp warning to the social media giant, saying the government would take ‘stringent action”, including “summoning” its CEO Mark Zuckerberg to India, in case of any data theft of Indians.

Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has admitted mistakes and outlined steps to protect user data in light of a privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm. As Cambridge Analytica is accused of improperly using the data on behalf of political clients. He said that Facebook has a “responsibility” to protect its users’ data and if it fails, “we don’t deserve to serve you.”

As both BJP and the Congress accuse each other of data theft and of having used Cambridge Analytica’s services to swing elections in the country.

Ravi Shankar Prasad made a bizarre statement when he said that Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter followers had risen recently and wondered if  Cambridge Analytica was responsible for this “fake popularity”.

Prasad became so desperate that he made out of the context statement as Cambridge Analytica does not work for Twitter and there is also a report viral on online media about Prime Minister Narendra Modi of having 60% fake twitter followers. So, by making these charges what he is trying to say?

But the most significant aspect in this entire episode is how India is going to fix the loopholes so that no political party is able to covertly or overtly able to influence the electoral process for 2019 Lok Sabha elections.


Arti Bali

Sr Journalist

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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