994

Path Laid Out For United Opposition To Take On The BJP In 2019 General Election

The united opposition has won Kairana Lok Sabha and Noorpur Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh by making the battle BJP versus the rest to win the polls. The same showdown seems likely in 2019. This prospect has been further strengthened by non-BJP outfits gaining in by-polls in Kerala, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Karnataka and Punjab.

The much-anticipated Kairana result saw RLD’s Tabassum Hasan, supported by Samajwadi Party and BSP, winning by over 44,000 votes as she defeated Mriganka Singh, daughter of late BJP MP Hukum Singh, who had raised the issue of a “Hindu exodus” from the area.

A powerful coalition of Muslims, Jatavs and Jats turned the tables on BJP with the result being analysed in the context of polarised politics of the region in the aftermath of the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. Hasan promptly hailed her win as a victory over communalism. Noorpur saw SP’s Naeemul Hasan winning by 6,000-odd votes, dethroning BJP.

963

Modi Refused Signing MoU With UK On Return Of Illegal Immigrants

New Delhi: The bilateral agreement on return of illegal Indians, which Union minister of state for Home KirenRijiju had penciled in January, 2018 was not signed in April when Modivisited London because India “did not see any progress on the British side of the agreement”. Sources revealed that Prime Minister NarendraModi refused to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Britain agreeing to facilitate the return of thousands of illegal Indian immigrants because the UK is not offering Indians easier access to its visas.

The deal was meant to have been the centrepiece bilateral agreement signed during Modi’s visit. British Prime Minister Theresa May had told Modi in India in November 2017 that “the UK would consider further improvements to its visa offer if, at the same time, we can step up the speed and volume of returns of Indians with no right to remain in the UK”.

907

Indonesia Seeks India’s Support For UNSC Non-Permanent Member; Maldives Too In Fray

New Delhi: During Prime Minister NarendraModi’s visit to Indonesia, the Jakarta government seeks support from Indian authorities for its bid to become a non-permanent member of UN Security Council next month. Modi is on his three-nation tour of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore who said in his departure statement that his visit will give another boost to India’s Act East Policy.

Indonesia will seek a commitment from Modi for India’s support to its candidature and the success of his visit could well hinge on India’s response, diplomatic sources said. President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo and the Indonesian foreign ministry have turned the campaign for non-permanent membership of the UNSC into Indonesia’s top foreign policy priority.

348

US Dangles Carrot: Not To Impose Sanctions On India If$5.5-bn Missile Deal With Russia Foregone

New Delhi: The United States is quite clear New Delhi should not ink proposed $5.5 billion deal for five S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems with Moscow as the country is working on imparting some ‘flexibility’ to countries like India under its new sanctions regime. This regime was targeted at those buying Russian weapon systems.

“There is lot of concern in the US administration and the Congress that any country that acquires the S-400 systems will complicate the capability to have (military) interoperability with us ... And we value India as a very important strategic partner,” said chairman of the House Armed Services Committee William 'Mac' Thornberry here on Monday.

Members of the visiting high-powered US Congress delegation also indicated that their country’s proposed sale of armed drones like MQ-9 Reaper or Predator-B and other high-tech equipment to India could be impacted if the S-400 deal was inked.

332

Government Looks For Global Rally In Crude For Relief In High Fuel Prices

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government is looking to continue despite faced with a tough political call over high fuel prices,calculating the global rally in crude is likely to lose steam. The government hopes that this will ease the squeeze consumers are currently experiencing.

Sources said while high fuel prices were problematic; the government may be reluctant to consider responses such as cuts in excise to reduce pump rates.This would affect revenue collection and reduce availability of funds for welfare programmes, while also adversely impacting fiscal discipline that has kept inflation under check.