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# BJP loses Kairana LS seat, suffers reverses in Assembly bypolls too
Manages to retain Palghar LS seat in Maharashtra, while ally NDPP wins the Nagaland constituency
A united Opposition wrested the Kairana and Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha seats from the BJP, which managed to hold on to Palghar in Maharashtra while its ally NDPP won the lone Nagaland seat in the lower House.
In a setback for the BJP, the party could win only a single Assembly seat in Uttarakhand while the Congress and other Opposition parties secured the remaining 10 across nine States.
The Kairana Lok Sabha seat in western Uttar Pradesh was a prestigious battle as the BJP had fielded Mriganka Singh, daughter of Hukum Singh, whose passing away in February this year necessitated the bypoll – against the Opposition’s Tabassum Hasan, who won by a margin of 44,618 votes. Contesting on a Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) ticket, Ms. Hasan’s thumping victory once again underscored the importance of the grand alliance as her candidature was supported by the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Ganna vs. Jinnah
Kairana is the third straight defeat for the BJP in Lok Sabha bypolls in U.P. after Phulpur and Gorakhpur. It was being seen as a battle between ganna (sugarcane) and Jinnah.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s repeated reference to Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s portrait in the Aligarh Muslim University during the campaign was seen as an attempt to polarise voters on religious lines.
The Opposition, however, campaigned against the Modi government’s failure to get the sugarcane farmers their dues from the various sugar mills that stood at over Rs. 12,000 crore.
The Palghar Lok Sabha seat in Maharashtra brought cheer to the BJP as its candidate Rajendra Gavit defeated Shiv Sena’s Shrinivas Wanga by 29,572 votes.
But the votes polled in favour of the BJP fell sharply from 5.33 lakh in 2014 to to 2.72 lakh in this election. In Bhandara-Gondia, the other Lok Sabha seat from the State, NCP’s candidate Kukade Madhukarrao Yashwantrao, defeated the BJP’s Hemant (Tanubhau) by over 48,000 votes. The Congress had supported the NCP in these elections.
In Nagaland, however, BJP ally Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP)’s Tokheho Yepthomi won the Nagaland parliamentary seat by a margin of over 1.5 lakh votes, trouncing C. Apok Jamir of the Opposition Naga People’s Front.
The LS bypoll results were equally divided between the BJP-led alliance and the Opposition parties (each side winning two seats).
# ‘Red’ wave sweeps Chengannur
Saji Cherian of CPI(M) wins Assembly bypoll with a record margin of 20,956 votes
Over the past two months, Chengannur was witness to a campaign that had no parallel in its electoral history. On Thursday, the Assembly constituency threw up a byelection outcome that too had no parallel in its history.
In an outcome that had all the dimensions of a Left Democratic Front (LDF) wave, the ruling alliance romped home with a record margin of victory.
LDF candidate Saji Cherian of the CPI(M) won the byelection, necessitated by the death of K.K. Ramachandran Nair of the CPI(M), by a margin of 20,956 votes, staying ahead of his rivals D. Vijayakumar of the Congress and P.S. Sreedharan Pillai of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in all the 10 panchayats and the Chengannur municipality forming part of the constituency.
The LDF’s victory margin is the biggest in the history of the Chengannur Assembly constituency, surpassing the previous record of 15,703 votes registered by Mammen Iype (Congress-S), who too had fought under the banner of the LDF in the 1987 Assembly poll.
The LDF candidate polled 67,303 votes, followed by the UDF (46,347 votes) and the BJP (35,270 votes). Ramachandran Nair had won from Chengannur in 2016 defeating P.C. Vishnunath of the Congress by a margin of 7,983 votes.
The outcome is significant for the ruling front as it is seen as an assessment of the two-year-old State government. Mr. Cherian maintained a steady lead from the beginning of the counting which started at 8 a.m.
He made inroads into the UDF stronghold panchayats of Mannar, Pandanad and Ala and Chengannur municipality. He also polled big in Mulakuzha, Budhanoor, Chennithala, Cheriyanad, Venmoni and Puliyoor panchayats.
In Thiruvanvandoor panchayat, which is ruled by the Kerala Congress (M) with the support of UDF and LDF members, the UDF finished in the third position behind the NDA.
Compared to the 2016 Assembly poll, the LDF vote share has gone up by 14,423 votes. While the UDF’s vote share increased marginally by 1,450 votes, the NDA’s share went down by 7,412 votes. Mr. Pillai, who had contested here in the 2016 Assembly election, had 42,682 votes.
# New lessons ‘on train’ for tiny tots
Kollam school makes learning more fun in rail coaches
The students of Thazhathukulakada DVUP School are in for a surprise on school reopening day.
The little ones will be welcomed not to regular classrooms but train coaches as the school authorities have gone in for a novel plan this academic year.
Their school is now DVUP School Express, a stretch of classrooms-turned-compartments, where they will engage in studies. “This was done to make classes more exciting and pique their curiosity. Sitting in coaches for their classes will make learning a more fun and pleasurable experience for the students. Now they won’t consider attending school a chore,” says Headmaster T.N Hemanth.
The idea of converting classrooms to bogies came from the very famous children’s book Totto-chan, the Little Girl at the Window , authored by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi.
“In the book, there is a school that functions in train carriages and last year we staged a play based on the book. The book inspired us to change the structure of the school,” he says. The school has around 150 students in class 5, 6 and 7 and each class has two divisions. It’s not just the structure as the school follows railway format in everything. Class 7 A is now A7 and staff room and seminar hall were rechristened as SR and SH. “It took us five days of art work to convert the school,” he adds.
Last year, the school introduced an initiative to reduce the weight of school bags by providing two sets of textbooks.
“The students were given old and new textbooks. While the new ones were taken home, old texts were kept at school. We also provided plates and glasses for lunch so that the students can come to school more freely,” he says. The school also boasts classrooms under the shade of trees complete with bamboo benches.
# Youth to get unemployment allowance soon
10 lakh graduates, diploma holders will get Rs. 1,000 a month, says Lokesh
The much-awaited unemployment allowance will be a reality soon.
The State government on Thursday decided to pay Rs. 1,000 per month as allowance. Approximately, 10 lakh graduates/diploma holders will be eligible, according to IT Minister Nara Lokesh.
Addressing a press conference along with Youth and Sports Minister Kollu Ravindra at the Secretariat, Mr. Lokesh said the State Cabinet had finalised the modalities. A final decision would be taken in the next Cabinet after eliciting the opinions and suggestions from the youth. About Rs. 1,200 crore per annum was required for the scheme, he said.
A Cabinet sub-committee, which studied such schemes in other States and countries, found that none of them could be implemented in a saturation mode. Many States like Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Rajasthan attempted to give Rs. 120 to Rs. 1,000 but stopped midway. Also, the scheme in 12 countries like Finland, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Germany, Malaysia and the U.S. was found not compatible, he said.
Since the other States had a data problem, the State government relied on the Praja Sadhikara (people empowerment) survey for mining data relating to the unemployed.
The youth working in the informal sector, unless and otherwise covered under the PF and the ESI, and those working under the MGNREGS would also be eligible for the allowance.
Six criteria had been fixed. The applicant must be from a Below Poverty Line family and should be between 22 and 35 years. Incentives would be given to those taking part in adult literacy and other programmes and the amount would be credited into their accounts, he said.
Mr. Lokesh said the government would create a database of beneficiaries and would make it available to the industry as it wanted to turn the beneficiaries into workforce. It would help in identifying the eligible candidates.
Mr. Ravindra said the allowance was one of the electoral promises. The government had been implementing many schemes like the Chandranna Bima and Pellikanuka (wedding gift) though they were not part of the manifesto, he said.
# Govt. puts FY18 growth at 6.7%
Q4 GDP expansion accelerates to 7.7%
Stronger growth of 7.7% in the fourth-quarter GDP estimates for 2017-18, driven in large part by the manufacturing and construction sectors, led to an upward revision in the GDP growth projection for the full year to 6.7%, official data released on Thursday show.
The fourth-quarter growth was the strongest in the entire financial year 2017-18, with the economy expanding by 5.6% in the first quarter, at a 6.3% pace in the second, and by 7% in the October-December period. The government had earlier forecast full-year growth at 6.6%. Growth in 2017-18 was notwithstanding the upward revision, however, still slower than the 7.1% pace posted in 2016-17.
The manufacturing sector grew at 9.1% in Q4 of 2017-18, faster than the 6.1% seen in the year-earlier quarter. Overall, the sector is estimated to have grown at 5.7% over 2017-18, compared with 7.9% in 2016-17.
‘Hint of a turnaround’
“Capital formation is another area where growth has been strong, along with manufacturing and construction, which grew strongly on the back of negative growth in Q4 last year,” Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said at a press conference. “These indicate a turnaround in the economy and should also give a boost going forward.”
“Sequential growth in manufacturing has picked up in Q3 and Q4, which suggests that the impact of GST is behind us,” said Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian. “With the contribution of net export growth being negative in all four quarters of 2017-18, growth has clearly been driven by domestic factors,” D.K. Srivastava, Chief Policy Advisor at EY India said.
# Adivasis to declare self-rule in their habitations today
Talks with Chief Secretary in Hyderabad make no headway
The aboriginal tribes in Telangana will go ahead with intensification of their movement for removal of Lambada tribe from the list of Scheduled Tribes.
The glimmer of hope that the meeting with Chief Secretary S. K. Joshi on Thursday afternoon at State Secretariat in Hyderabad would yield positive result with respect to finding a way out of the imbroglio stood dashed as nothing came out of the meeting.
According to sources, the government had invited Adivasi leaders for talks with the Chief Secretary. About 40 of them led by Adivasi Hakkula Porata Samithi leaders Soyam Bapu Rao and Athram Sakku met Mr. Joshi. They informed the top government official that would not compromise on the issue of expelling Lambadas from the list of STs. Mr. Joshi said nothing could be done about this demand.
The leaders apprised him of other problems related with land, employment and education to which the Chief Secretary responded saying he would take it to the notice of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao. The Adivasis however, said they were not satisfied with the talks and later decided to continue with their agitational programme of declaring self rule in their habitations.
# One-year govt. service optional for medicos
The State Cabinet has approved the proposal to place an ordinance to amend the A.P. Medical Practitioners Registration Act, 1968, making it optional for medical students to work for the government for a year before becoming licensed medical practitioners.
This is in response to the demand from the Junior Doctors Association to remove the condition of one-year government service.
It was learnt that Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu wanted officials of the Law Department to work out the modalities of payment of interim relief under court directions to the victims of the AgriGold scam, which is expected to cost up to Rs. 250 crore, and expressed displeasure at their lethargic attitude in dealing with the issue of auction of properties belonging to the defunct company.
Nod for cold chain co.
The Cabinet has cleared the establishment of Andhra Pradesh Cold Chain Promotion Company Limited under the Companies Act as a Special Purpose Vehicle.
The SPV will enable farmers to extend the life cycle of perishable products and reach out to wider market segments and a larger consumer base.
The Cabinet has cleared the allotment of 56.63 acres in Chittoor district to Apollo Tyres Ltd. for the establishment of a tyre manufacturing plant with an investment of Rs. 4,500 crore.
# Two arrested for fake messages
The police arrested two persons from Chikkamagaluru for allegedly circulating on WhatsApp messages spreading hatred among communities.
The police suo motu registered a case after messages depicting BJP workers wrapping saffron flag on the crucifix of a church were found in circulation on the social media. The video of police action at a church in the city in 2009 was also among the messages that were circulated as ones occurring on May 15, the day Assembly election results were declared.
Police Commissioner Vipul Kumar had asked Assistant Commissioner of Police (Central) to investigate the case. The police on Wednesday arrested Sunil Vegas (34) and Sachit P.P. (23). The two have been accused of offences under Section 153 (a) and 507 of the Indian Penal Code.
# Alarm bells ring for blackbuck
The Indian Antelope (blackbuck), that has been named the State Animal of new Andhra Pradesh, is facing habitat problem, and is all set to get caught in man-animal conflict.
With the incidence of blackbuck herds raiding standing crops in the vegetative stage on the rise. it is only a matter of time before farmers resort to various methods of trapping and killing them.
It is for hunting this animal that is listed in the First Schedule of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, that Bollywood star Salman Khan had been sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment by a district court in Rajasthan.
# 4 suspects in Gauri case to be quizzed
At this point, they are only accused of targeting Professor K.S. Bhagavan
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder of editor-activist Gauri Lankesh, on Thursday, took custody of four men who were arrested by the Bengaluru city police for allegedly attempting to kill Mysuru based rationalist thinker K.S. Bhagavan. The SIT will have custody of the accused for 11 days. The SIT will be questioning them as they are suspected of having a role in the murder of Gauri who was shot dead outside her house last September.
One of the four is Sujith Kumar alias Praveen, 37, who hails from Shikaripura. SIT sources claim that he has emerged as a key link between Gauri and the Bhagavan plots, and he had recruited Naveen Kumar, now chargesheeted as an accused in the Gauri Lankesh case, in both conspiracies. The other three men have been identified as Manohar Dundappa Edave alias Manoj, 29, from Vijayapura, Karnataka; Amol Kale alias Bhai Saab, 37, from Pune; and Amit Degwekar, 38, from Sindhudurg in Maharashtra. All four had been arrested by the Upparpet police in the third week of May for allegedly plotting to kill Prof. Bhagavan months after Gauri Lankesh was shot dead. The SIT took custody of the men from the Upparpet police on Thursday. Presenting their arguments in court, the SIT claimed that it had incriminating evidence indicating their involvement in the Gauri Lankesh case. However, SIT chief B.K. Singh said that they have been taken into custody for interrogation, and are not shown as accused and arrested in the Gauri case.
# HC stays RBI’s rejection of Pak. carrier’s plea
The Delhi High Court on Thursday stayed the Reserve Bank of India’s rejection of Pakistan International Airlines’ request for regularisation of its branches in India. Justice Rajiv Shakdher put on hold the decision of the RBI as it did not disclose why the PIA’s request was rejected.
# Power infrastructure takes a beating
The summer showers and pre-monsoon rain have caused extensive damage to power infrastructure and network under the jurisdiction of MESCOM that caters to four revenue districts — Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Shivamogga and Chikkamagaluru.
# Cabinet expansion likely on Sunday or Monday
Differences over distribution of portfolios between the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) are said to have been resolved and the State Cabinet expansion is expected to take place either on Sunday or Monday.
Source:- The Hindu