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Token seat not accepted this time: Chirag Paswan

The LJP is a part of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.

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Chirag Paswan

New Delhi, Nov 13 : The Lok Janshakti Party, which is ready to contest the Assembly elections in Jharkhand alone on 50 seats, has made it clear that it doesn’t want to contest polls on a token seat.

The party has gone its own way from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and has announced that it will contest alone on 50 out of the 81 seats.

The LJP’s national President and son of Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, Chirag Paswan told IANS on Wednesday: “Last time (previous Assembly elections) the Bharatiya Janata Party allowed the LJP to contest on just one seat. But this time the LJP has made it clear that we won’t contest on any token seat. We will contest the election only on the seat where our party has a public base”.

Junior Paswan who took over the party reigns earlier this month said: “Last time we were given the Shikaripada seat where we did not have any candidate also. If the BJP does it again, we are not ready”.

The LJP is a part of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.

He said the LJP has strengthened in the state in the recent past and the party’s state unit wanted to go solo in the Assembly elections. Still, we demanded six seats from the BJP but the efforts went in vain.

Chirag said: “I made an honest effort by contacting the BJP’s central leadership and demanded six seats to contest. But we could not get their consent. Therefore, the LJP has decided to contest this election alone”.

However, he made it clear that even if the LJP wins any seat in the election, it will support the NDA. “We are with the NDA at the Centre and state as well,” he said.

Replying to a query about the impact of the LJP’s decision to go solo in the election, he said it won’t affect the alliance.

“If some opposition parties are happy that they (BJP and LJP) lack coordination in Jharkhand and Shiv Sena has gone its own way in Maharashtra, they should not be overwhelmed,” said Paswan.

He said we had no alliance in Jharkhand, our pact is based on Bihar. We entered into an alliance in Bihar under which we contest the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections there together.

Chirag added that the BJP, LJP and the Janata Dal (United) would contest the 2020 Bihar Assembly elections together.

We will win more than 225 seats in the Assembly elections in Bihar like we won 39 out of 40 seats during the Lok Sabha elections. Chief Minister (Nitish Kumar) will retain power, he said.

The LJP chief said that the party will contest the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections alone.

Asked about the imposition of President’s Rule in Maharashtra and the break-up between the BJP and the Shiv Sena, he said: “People of Maharashtra have given a clear mandate to the NDA. People wanted to form a government under NDA but the decisions from parties and their political aspirations took things to President’s Rule. It’s unfortunate”.

The LJP has announced the candidates for 10 seats in Jharkhand. The state will go to the polls in five phases between November 30 and December 20 while counting is scheduled for December 23.

(P.K. Jha can be contacted at [email protected])

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The end of growth?

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The end of growth

Sveriges Riksbank Prize: Better Answers to Our Biggest Problems’, focusing on jobs, immigrants, growth, climate change and trade. Here are exclusive excerpts from the book, published with permission from the publishers, Juggernaut.

Good Economics for Hard Times
By Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo
Published by: Juggernaut

Is growth over?

Two economic historians at Chicago’s Northwestern University are at the centre of this discussion.

Robert Gordon takes the view that the era of high growth is unlikely to come back. We have only met Gordon once. He gives the appearance of being quite reserved; his book, however, is anything but. On the other side is Joel Mokyr, whom we know much better, an enormously vivacious man, with twinkling eyes and a kind word for everybody; he writes with infectious energy consistent with his generally positive outlook on the future.

Gordon has gone out on a limb and predicted economic growth will average a meager 0.8 per cent per year over the next twenty-five years. “Everywhere I look,” he said during a debate with Mokyr, “I see things standing still. I see offices running desktop computers and software much as they did ten or fifteen years ago. I see retail stores
where we are checking out with bar code scanners the same way we did before; shelves are still stocked by humans, not by robots; we still have people slicing meat and cheese behind the counter.”

Today’s inventions, in his view, are simply not as radical as electricity and the internal combustion engine were. Gordon’s book is particularly daring. He gleefully takes on the set of future innovations futurologists predict and one by one explains why, in his opinion, none of them would be as transformational as the elevator or air conditioning, and why none would take us back to an era of fast growth.

Robots cannot fold laundry. Three dimensional (3D) printing won’t affect large-scale manufacturing. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are “nothingnew.” They have been around at least since 2004 and have done nothing for growth. And so on.

It is clear of course that nothing Gordon says precludes the possibility that something entirely unexpected, perhaps some hitherto unimagined combination of familiar ingredients, will prove to be ransformative. It is just his hunch that it won’t.

Mokyr, on the other hand, sees a bright future for economic growth, spurred by nations competing to be the leader in science and technology, and the resulting rapid spread of innovation worldwide. He sees the potential for progress in laser technology, medical science, genetic engineering, and 3D printing.

To Gordon’s claim that nothing much changed in fundamental ways in how we produced in the last few decades, he counters: “The tools we have today make anything that we had even in 1950 look like clumsy toys by comparison.”

But mostly, Mokyr thinks that the way the world economy has changed and globalized produces the right environment for innovations to bloom and change the world, in ways we cannot even begin to envision. He predicts one factor that will accelerate growth: we will be able to slow down the aging of the brain. Which of course would give us more time to have better ideas. Mokyr, engaging and creative as ever at seventy-two, is a good example for his thesis.

The fact that two brilliant minds come to such radically different conclusions about growth highlights what a vexing topic it has been. Of all the things economists have tried (and mostly failed) to predict, growth is one area where we have been particularly pathetic. To name just one example, in 1938, just as the US economy was going back into high-growth mode after the Great Depression, Alvin Hansen (who was not a nobody; he was the co-inventor of the ISLM model most students of economics will remember from their first macroeconomics class, and a professor at Harvard) coined the term secular stagnation to describe the state of the economy at the time.

His view was that the American economy would never grow again because all the ingredients of growth had already played out. Technological progress and population growth in particular were over, he thought.

Most of us today who grew up in the West grew up with fast growth or with parents used to fast growth. Robert Gordon reminds us of our longer history. It is the 150 years between 1820 and 1970 that wereexceptional, not the period of lower growth that followed. Sustained growth was virtually unknown until the 1820s in the West.

Over the period 1500 to 1820, annual GDP per capita in the West went from $780 to $1,240 (in constant dollars), a paltry annual growth rate of 0.14 percent. Between 1820 and 1900, growth was 1.24 percent, nine times more than in the previous three hundred years, but still much less than the 2 percent it would hit after 1900. If Gordon is right and we end up with a 0.8 percent growth rate, we would simply be returning to the average growth rate over the very long run (1700-2012). This is not the new normal; it is just normal.

Of course, the fact that sustained growth over a long time, the kind we saw over most of the twentieth century, was unprecedented, does not mean it could not happen again. The world is richer and better educated than ever before, the incentives for innovation are at an all-time high, and the list of countries that could lead a new innovation boom is expanding.

It could well be the case, as some technology enthusiasts believe, that growth explodes again in the next few years, fueled by a fourth industrial revolution, perhaps powered by intelligent machines capable of teaching themselves to write better legal briefs and make better jokes than humans. But it could also be, as Gordon believes, that electricity and the combustion engine brought about a onetime shift in how much we can produce and consume.

It took us some time to reach this new plateau and there was fast growth along the way, but we have no particular reason to expect this episode will repeat itself. Nor, we might add, do we have definitive proof it won’t. Mostly, what is clear is that we don’t know and have no way to find out other than by waiting.

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Citizenship Amendment Bill gives legality to Two nation theory which was perpetrated by Savarkar: Kapil Sibal

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Kapil Sial in Rajya Sabha

New Delhi, Dec 11: Senior Congress Leader Kapil Sibal and Rajya Sabha leader on Wednesday specifically targeted Home Minister Amit Shah, saying that “Two-nation theory is not Congress theory. It was perpetrated by Savarkar” and further said that this Citizenship Amendment Bill gives legal colour to the two nation theory.

Putting arguments during a debate in the Rajya Sabha, Kapil Sibal asked Amit Shah, “the illegal migrants that entered India in 1972, how will this government say they were persecuted. Religion cannot be a factor in considering if a person should be granted citizenship.”

Opposing the Citizenship Amendment Bill, he said when we asked Advani had said that that those who flee their country due to religious persecution or economic reason or otherwise they are bonafide refugees in India and can’t be treated on par with illegal immigrant and now you are asking illegal migrants to fill the documents that you were prosecuted to get the citizenship.”

How will you prove that they were persecuted. How do you say, how do you know? Kapil SIbal posed a nother question to Amit Shah.

When some of the illegal immigrants came they said they are from India and now your government (Modi led BJP government) is asking them to tell lies by saying that you came from Bangladesh you were persecuted.

What is this government doing with the Constitution of India, First you brought NRC, then removed Article 370. We know your aim you want to know by name the religion of a person.

Retorting to Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement that no Muslim needs to worry over Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, Sibal said that no Indian Muslim is scared of the current regime.

“You made a very objectionable statement earlier. Which Muslim fears you? No Indian Muslim fears from you. Neither I nor any other citizen of the country is scared of you. We fear only from the Constitution of the country,” he said.

Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement “CAB wouldn’t have been needed if Congress hadn’t allowed partition on basis of religion”: “I don’t understand which history books the home minister has read. The two-nation theory is not our theory. It was perpetrated by Savarkar. Even BR Ambedkar said that instead of being against each other, Jinnah and Savarkar were in agreement that there were two different nations based on religion.”

“I request the Home Minister to withdraw that allegation because we in Congress believe in that one nation, you don’t believe in that.”

Sibal attacked BJP “who have no idea of India cannot protect the idea of India. Don’t convert this country into a Jurassic republic. This Bill weakens the foundation of our culture and ethos,” Sibal said.

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Creator of the Grand Trunk Road

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Sher Shah Suri GT Road

New Delhi, Dec 11 : For travellers in India, moving from North to South or East to West, would have been almost impossible if the magnificent Grand Trunk Road did not exist. We must thank Sher Shah Suri, the founder of the Suri Empire for creating this amazing road connecting the major cities of India. Whenever there are discussions about this splendid road, Sher Shah Suri’s name is always mentioned with awe. But the Grand Trunk Road is just one of his major creations. Few know what an extraordinary personality he was and how much we owe him. In his seven-year rule he added a vast number of improvements that we continue to see today.

Born Farid Khan Lodhi in 1486 at Sasaram in modern day Bihar, he was the grandson of an ethnic Afghan, a noble of the Pashtun Sur tribe named Ibrahim Khan Suri. Farid Khan became known as �Sher’ when as a young man he saved the King of Bihar, from a tiger that had suddenly leapt upon him. He was later re-named Sher Shah and rose to become the founder of the Suri Empire in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent.

A landowner (Jagirdar) and a representative of the Delhi rulers of that time, he was an adventurer with royal connections and was recruited by Sultan Bahlul Lodi of Delhi during his long confrontation with the Jaunpur Sultanate. He was one of the eight sons of Mian Hassan Khan Suri – a prominent figure in the government in the Narnaul district. His grandfather Ibrahim Khan’s �Mazar’, still stands as a monument in Narnaul.

Sher Shah rose from being a private to the status of a commander in the Mughal army under Babur to the level of being the governor of Bihar. In 1538, when Babur’s son Humayun was away at war, Sher Shah took over the state of Bengal and established the Suri dynasty – naming it after the �Sur’ tribe to which he belonged. A gifted administrator and strategist during his rule from 1538 to 1545, he introduced a number of important changes, which continue to benefit us till today.

As a brilliant general Sher Shah laid foundations for later Mughal emperors – among them Akbar son of Humayun, was probably the one who benefited the most from this. Among Sher Shah’s more important strategies in his administration, was the setting up of new civic and military rules. Under him, the first �Rupiya’ was issued in place of �Taka’ – and still continues to remain. Another important improvement was the reorganisation of the postal system of the Indian Subcontinent. To ensure that he would be remembered, Sher Shah renamed the name of Humayun’s city, changing it from �Dina-panah’ to �Shergarh’ and simultaneously he also revived the historical city �Pataliputra’, which had been steadily declining since the 7th century. The feather on his cap is however the Grand Trunk Road, for which he is justly famous.

It is said that Sher Shah and his father were constantly fighting with each other. His father, Hassan Khan Suri, then a jagirdar of Sasaram, had several wives with whom Sher Shah did not get along and so, he decided to run away from home. When his father discovered that Sher Shah had requested Jamal Khan, the governor of Jaunpur to give him shelter, he wrote a letter that stated, “my son being annoyed with me, has gone to you without sufficient cause. I trust in your kindness to appease him, and send him back; but if refusing to listen to you, he will not return, I trust you will keep him with you, for I wish him to be instructed in religious and polite learning.”

But Sher Shah refused and replied in a letter, “If my father wants me back to instruct me in learning, there are in this city many learned men: I will study here.”

Sher Shah started his service under Bahar Khan Lohani, the Mughal Governor of Bihar. Because of his valour, Bahar Khan rewarded him with the title �Sher Khan’ After the death of Bahar Khan, he became the regent ruler of the minor Sultan, Jalal Khan. Jalal soon realised that Sher Khan’s power in Bihar would make things difficult and sought the assistance of Ghiyasuddin Mahmud Shah – the independent Sultan of Bengal. Ghiyasuddin sent an army under General Ibrahim Khan but Sher Khan defeated the force at the battle of Surajgarh in 1534 after forming an alliance with local chiefs – and achieved complete control of Bihar.

In 1538, Sher Khan attacked Bengal and defeated Ghiyasuddin Mahmud Shah. But could not capture the kingdom, because of the sudden appearance of Emperor Humayun and his army. On 26 June 1539, Sher Khan faced Humayun in the Battle of Chausa and defeated him. Assuming the title �Farid al-din Sher Shah’, he defeated Humayun once again at Kannauj in May 1540 and forced him out of India.

Thereafter Sher Shah turned his attention towards the Rajput Forts. He attacked Malwa and Jodhpur, but was killed during the siege of the Rajput Fort of Kalinjar. Sher Shah had ordered the walls of the fort to be blown up with gunpowder, but he was himself seriously wounded, by the explosion. He died on May 22, 1545 and was buried in Sasaram. His son Jalal Khan succeeded him, taking the title of �Islam Shah Suri.’

The founder of the Suri Dynasty lies under the splendid Sher Shah Tomb that is 122 ft high and stands majestically in the middle of an artificial lake in Sasaram – located on the road that he is famous for – India’s magnificent Grand Trunk Road.

(Shona Adhikari is a lifestyle and travel columnist.)

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