Why BJP chose Yogi Adityanath as UP chief minister

Why BJP chose Yogi Adityanath as UP chief minister

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The installation of five-time parliamentarian Yogi Adityanath as the chief minister of India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh has come a surprise for the media mainly due to his controversial remarks targeting the minority community. What came as an even bigger surprise is that Adityanath, who has represented Gorakhpur Lok Sabha constituency in eastern part of UP since 1998, occupies the top post in the state without any previous experience as an administrator. It is not that the BJP did not have leaders with administrative track record for the post of UP chief minister. There were persons like federal ministers like Rajnath Singh and Manoj Sinha. And yet the mantle fell on Aditynath. In political circles, Adityanath’s appointment as chief minister is being viewed as a powerful signal to the electorate in UP ahead of the national elections in 2019. The BJP is convinced that the consolidation of votes in recent assembly elections in the state was no flash in the pan as was evident in Lok Sabha polls in 2014. This is a trend which the party believes has come here to stay at least till the 2019 national elections in a state where the politics of erstwhile ruling parties, Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, thrived on pandering to caste and religious fault lines.
By choosing Adityanath to govern India’s largest state, the top BJP leadership has sent across a strong message that it will not be apologetic about its Hindu nationalist credentials and that the country must be ready to expect the unexpected from the party. If BJP finds that the political message of having Adityanath as chief minister works till the next parliamentary polls, it’s fine. But if development take a back seat in the next two years, there is always scope for a mid-course correction because there will be still three years left for the next assembly elections in the state.

Needed a “new approach” to deal with N Korea: US

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reached Seoul on the second leg of a six-day sweep of Japan, South Korea and China, a nuclear hotspot gripped by high tensions following North Korea’s testing of missiles last week, on his first overseas visit since being appointed to the post.
As North Korea fired four missiles in quick succession, which splashed not far from the coast of Japan, the nuclear and military threat posed provoked the neighbouring countries to forge a plan on how best to confront a defiant Pyongyang and slow or halt its move to launch a nuclear strike.
North Korea’s military had launched an unprecedented 21 ballistic missiles in 2016 and set off two nuclear detonations. It has launched five missiles in the first 69 days of this year, making the region a potential nuclear flashpoint.
In both Tokyo and Seoul, the US top diplomat told the media that Washington is in search of a “new approach” for North Korea after what he described as two decades of failed efforts to denuclearize the country. In Tokyo on March 17, Mr Tillerson said two decades of diplomatic and other efforts, including a period when the US provided North Korea with $1.35 billion in assistance “to take a different pathway”, had come to nothing, an apparent dig at previous President Barrack Obama’s policy of “patience and engagement” with North Korea.
In China, Mr Tillerson is expected to convey to the Chinese leadership that the Donald Trump administration is keen on pursuing a constructive relationship with Beijing while remaining firm to ensure that China abides by international rules and that trade between the two countries is not eschewed in favour or disfavour of any side unfairly and conducted on a level playing field. He is also likely to sound out how China could give more opportunities for U.S. firms to export goods and services to that country.

Unravelling Modi tsunami in UP

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Call it the Modi tsunami or the strong desire of voters for a new political and development narrative in one of India’s most impoverished and caste-fragmented state of Uttar Pradesh. Either way, it is historic, as Mr Modi himself termed the spectacular show by India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in legislative assembly elections in the key political battleground state of Uttar Pradesh.
More than anything else, it reflects a huge consolidation of votes cutting across caste and religion affiliations. The BJP and its minor allies have won 312 of 403 state legislative assembly seats — a stunning mandate that even BJP chief Amit Shah acknowledged was “unexpected.”
The elections in UP and the other states were the first major test of Modi’s popularity in the wake of the banning of high-denomination currency notes in November-December last year in a bid to cleanse the country’s financial from the menace of black money.Analysts said the poll results in UP, which is largely an agrarian state, showed Mr Modi had succeeded in tapping into popular anger over corruption and black money with the demonetization move in a country where most transactions are cash-based. Clearly, people were more struck by the act of Mr Modi itself than by its consequences. It was a move that went beyond party and caste and affected everyone equally, especially the rich.

Historic moment for BJP in UP, Congress scores in Punjab

It’s set to be a special ‘Holi’ for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party he leads. Saffron is the reigning colour as wild celebrations erupted outside the BJP’s national headquarters in Delhi and UP’s capital city of Lucknow. Swamped by fervour of this huge victory, party activists splashed a rainbow of colours, distributed sweets and set off crackers.

It’s set to be a special ‘Holi’ for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party he leads. Saffron is the reigning colour as wild celebrations erupted outside the BJP’s national headquarters in Delhi and UP’s capital city of Lucknow. Swamped by fervour of this huge victory, party activists splashed a rainbow of colours, distributed sweets and set off crackers.
Riding the crest of a spectacular Modi wave, the party is poised for an unprecedented landslide victory in the elections to the legislature in the politically key state of Uttar Pradesh. This is the first major test of Mr Modi’s popularity since last year’s demonetization aimed at curbing black money.
As trends emerged from the counting of ballots in legislative elections in UP and four other states, the BJP is also set to return to power with a thumping majority in the adjacent northern Himalayan state of Uttarakhand after a break of five years, voting out the Congress party led by Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi.
However, the Congress is all set to roar back to power in Punjab state and coastal state of Goa after hiatus of a decade and is locked in a close battle with the BJP in the north eastern state of Manipur.
The victory in UP is crucial for prospects of Mr Modi and BJP in the 2019 parliamentary elections for a second successive five-year tenure as the northern state has the largest number of Lok Sabha seats – 80 out of the total 543 seats in the Lower House of Parliament.

Saffron sweep for BJP in UP, Modi wave swamps rivals

In a spectacular saffron sweep, the Bharatiya Janata Party is heading for a landslide victory in assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state and the epicentre of the country’s politics.

In a spectacular saffron sweep, the Bharatiya Janata Party is heading for a landslide victory in assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state and the epicentre of the country’s politics.
Latest trends indicate that the BJP, which heads the ruling coalition at the Centre, looks set to gain over 300 seats in the 403-seat assembly in UP.
It’s clearly a big moment for Prime Minister Narendra Modi who campaigned extensively across the seat and staked his personal reputation in the UP elections. Mr Modi’s charisma and his rallying slogan of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” (inclusive development) seems to have smashed the entrenched caste arithmetic that had traditionally worked in favour of regional parties like Samajwadi Party and BSP in the past. The electoral victory in Uttar Pradesh bears the Modi stamp, but it could not have been possible without 24×7 strategizing and organisational skills of BJP president Amit Shah.
The BJP’s victory is also seen as a big endorsement for Mr Modi’s controversial demonetisation, which was aimed at cleansing black money out of the system. Demonetisation was widely criticised by some opposition parties, but the BJP’s victory in India’s most populous state is expected to silence all critics.

H-1B visa: US recognises importance of Indian IT professionals, says India

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Amid persisting concerns in India over the US suspension of the fast-tracking of H1B visa, India has made it clear that this is purely a business issue which should not be allowed to jeopardise huge opportunities in consolidating Indo-US economic partnership. India has also highlighted the US’ recognition of the contribution of the Indian IT professionals towards making the US economy competitive.
Clarifying India’s position, the external affairs ministry’s spokesman Gopal Bagley told the media in New Delhi on March 9 that “the presence of skilled Indian professionals is a positive for the US economy and particularly when the US seeks to build a stronger economy.”
“There are advantages in terms of backward linkages…..When we combine all this with our own government’s efforts for economic reforms and a high sustained economic growth, there is obviously a very important opportunity here for both countries to consolidate their economic partnership,” he said in response to a question.
The issue was taken up by India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar when he held talks with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in Washington last week and flagged New Delhi’s concerns. A few days later, however, the US announced the suspension of the premium processing of H 1B visa, in keeping with the Trump administration’s stand that its priority was ban on immigrants and not the visa.
In keeping with its “America first” slogan, the Trump administration, on assuming power, had reintroduced recently a Bill that prohibits companies from hiring H1-B employees if they employ more than 50 people and more than 50 per cent of their employees are H1-B and L-1 visa holders and encourages companies to recruit American workers.

UNSC permanent seat: India, G4 tries new ‘pause’ veto power strategy

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India has made a fresh bid to win permanent membership of an expanded UN Security Council and laced it with an offer to renounce veto⋅⋅⋅
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Jakarta Concord to boost Indian Ocean connect, focus on countering terror

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It’s better late than never. The 21-nation grouping straddling the strategically vital Indian Ocean stretching from South Africa to Australia and including India was set up two decades ago, but the first summit-level meeting of leaders of the countries was held in Jakarta only on March 7, 2017. By contrast, the Summits of leaders around the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean are commonplace. By all accounts, the IORA Summit was immensely productive. It came out with three documents—the Jakarta Concord, an action plan and a Declaration on countering violent extremism leading to terrorism.
The Declaration on Preventing and Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism is important as it contains one of India’s prime concerns as articulated by Vice President Hamid Ansari, who headed the Indian delegation at the two-day Jakarta summit.
In a veiled allusion to China’s disputes over territorial waters with a number of Southeast Asian countries, Mr Ansari said there was an imperative need for open trade and open sea lanes that carry it and asked IORA member-states to ensure that the freedom of navigation and over-flight in the Indian Ocean is respected by all.
The document titled “Promoting Regional Cooperation for a Peaceful, Stable, and Prosperous Indian Ocean” aims to lay the foundation and set the course for cooperation for the organisation of Indian Ocean states in the next five years.

Amid China power play in Indian Ocean, India to focus on invigorating IORA

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Against the backdrop of the Indian Ocean turning into a theatre of geopolitical competition and increased Chinese forays into this strategic water body, the 21 littoral nations whose shores are washed by this strategically located resource-rich body will hold its first ever summit of leaders in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on March 7.
India, a preeminent Indian Ocean power, has high stakes in moulding the outcomes of the maiden summit of the Indian Ocean Rim Association. The first IORA summit is special as it also marks the 20th anniversary of the grouping of the Indian Ocean littoral states. Ideally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been trying to shape a strategic and cooperative vision of the Indian Ocean Region, should be participating in the summit, but the crucial elections in India’s largest state Uttar Pradesh has kept him away from this important gathering of leaders of the region. Vice-President Hamid Ansari, a veteran diplomat, is expected to unveil India’s agenda and priorities at the summit in Jakarta on March 7.
Blue will be the reigning colour at the IORA leaders’ discussions in Jakarta. If all goes well, the summit should come out with a joint plan for the development of the blue economy which entails sustainable development of ocean resources by avoiding debilitating resource competition. Prime Minister Modi is an ardent proponent of the blue economy.
The increasing strategic salience of the Indian Ocean can’t be overemphasised. China will be the elephant in the room when the leaders of IORA nations meet in Jakarta as most of them have some form of China anxiety.

Ahead of Sheikh Hasina’s visit, India, Bangladesh explore connect with northeast states

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Ahead of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India next month, New Delhi and Dhaka are looking to step up connectivity between India’s northeast states and the neighbouring country. A conclave was held in Dhaka on February 22 which focused on opportunities for cooperation between Northeast India and Bangladesh in the horticulture sector and to also showcase the tourism potential of Northeastern states of India.