Karnataka Assembly election – will it be oxygen for BJP or ventilator for Congress

C.A.Gurudath Chilkunda

After the conclusion of polling for the general elections to the Karnataka Assembly, all eyes are set on the outcome of these crucial polls that are bound to set the trend for the 2019 parliamentary elections. The Karnataka press says: the poll results would  be a “Ventilator” for the Congress party or ‘Oxygen’ for the BJP.

The level of the speeches by leaders cutting across party lines touched an abysmal low in Karnataka this time. It became a free for all and leaders were more interested in launching personal attacks rather than focusing public attention on their manifesto or electoral promises.

In this election, the Congress resorted to all sorts of strategies to retain what it considers as its traditional vote bank and also tried to create a new vote bank by raising the lingayat issue. The BJP and JDS also have used caste and religion desperately. The much talked about “deal” between BJP and JDS to defeat Chief Minister Siddaramaiah also gave a talking point to political pundits and journalists to interpret the future political trends in Karnataka. All early surveys predicted a hung assembly wherein, strangely, the latest post poll surveys suggest a lead for the BJP. 

People have started talking of H. D. Deve Gowda, the former Prime Minister, and the role he is most likely to play in the formation of the new government. The track record of Gowda proves that his moves can not be predicted by any one.

Polls for Rajarajeswari Nagar Constituency of Bengaluru has been deferred as the election commission is convinced of fake epic cards, allegedly the handiwork of Congress candidate Munirathna. The 7th ACMM Court has directed the police to frame charges against him under Sections, 420, 468, 471, 171E, 171F of IPC along with Sec 123 of Representative of Peoples’ Act. Election for this Constituency will be held on 28 May. A record amount of cash, liquor and other materials allegedly stored for distribution has also been seized along with the fake voters’ cards. People are alleging that this election has witnessed a record use of money power. A common observation is that demonetisation has had no effect at all.

The State recorded an average voting of 71%. Bengaluru city recorded a just 52%. The question still remains as to when the so called educated Citizens  will come out in full numbers to discharge their constitutional duty.

Counting will be held tomorrow. The first trend will be available by 10 a.m. and a clear picture will emerge by noon. Though all political leaders look like a volcano ready to burst, the common man is praying for a victory of democracy.

BCCI follows CIC order submits details of Taxes paid year wise for AY 2004-05 to 2017-18

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New Delhi: In response to an interim order issued by the Central Information Commission on 4 May 2018, the Income Tax department has submitted a written submission giving details of the taxes paid year-wise by Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as available in the Oltas, ITD and E-filing Portal for the AY 2004-05 to 2017-18.

The details furnished are as follows:

Appellant Omprakash Kashiram, a resident of Mumbai had filed an appeal against the order of the first Appellate Authority on 8 March 2017 against the CPIO & Dy. Commissioner of Income Tax, Circle 6 (2), Mumbai seeking information regarding the year-wise tax paid by the BCCI from 26 January 1950 to 2016.

The CPIO, through its letter of 18 October 2016, had denied disclosure of information under Section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act, 2005. Dissatisfied by the response, the Appellant had approached the First Appellate Auhority (FAA).

The Respondent submitted before the Central Information Commission that initially the information sought was denied undeer Section 8 (1) (j) by the then CPIO. However, subsequent to taking over of the charge, on deputation he had sought the consent of the third party i.e. BCCI under Section 11 and would provide the information, if not denied by the third party. It was also conveyed that the information regarding the tax paid was also available in the public domain on the website of BCCI. On being queried, if he was aware of the decision of the Apex Court in the matter of BCCI vs. Cricket Association of Bihar (2015) 3 SCC 251 and the subsequent recommendation of the Law Commission of India in its Report of 18 April 2018 recommending that the RTI Act be made applicable to the BCCI along with all of its constituent member cricketing associations provided they fulfilled the criteria applicable to BCCI, the Respondent replied in the affirmative. He also confirmed that he had been reading media reports on the above issue.

The Commission also observed that similar issues were adjudicated by the Commission in Appeal No. CIC/RM/A/2012/000197-BJ-FINAL on 5 January 2018 wherein the Appellant had inter alia sought information regarding the details about the Income Tax Arrears pending towards BCCI from the Ministry of Finance. In the said matter, the Commission while allowing disclosure of information observed that the matter involved larger public interest regarding payment of income tax by a body which administers, regulates and controls the game of cricket followed by large number of cricketing fans all over the country. In compliance with the said decision, the Respondent compiled the said information from the o/o the Pr. CIT, Mumbai itself and provided the same as per dossiers of BCCI for AY 2011-12. The Respondent while taking note of the earlier decision of the Commission agreed to disclose the details as available with them expeditiously and not later than 7 days from the date of this order to the Appellant under intimation to the Commission.

The Appellant was not present to contest the submission of the Respondent or to substantiate his claims further.

The Central Information Commissioner Bimal Julka on 4 May 2018 had passed an interim order directing the Respondent to provide information available on their record within a period of 7 days i.e. before 11 May 2018 to the Appellant under intimation to the Commission. Subsequent to receipt of the reply from the Respondent, the Commission pronounced its final decision in the matter on 11 May. 

Disposing the appeal, the CIC has said in its final order that no further intervention of the Commission is required in the matter.

Nepal’s growing trade deficit with India figures prominently at bilateral Summit

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Kathmandu:  At their second bilateral Summit in 2018, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Nepal K P Sharma Oli held delegation level talks on 11 May 2018 and recalled their meeting in New Delhi during the State visit of Prime Minister Oli in April 2018 and agreed to maintain the momentum generated by the visit by taking effective measures for the implementation of all the agreements and understandings reached in the past. They also agreed that effective implementation of the bilateral initiatives in agriculture, railway linkages and inland waterways development, as agreed upon by the two sides during the recent visit of Prime Minister Oli to India, would have transformational impact in these areas.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on a State Visit to Nepal from 11 to 12 May 2018 at the invitation of the Prime Minister of Nepal K P Sharma Oli.

While reviewing the close and multifaceted relations between the two countries at different levels, the two Prime Ministers reiterated their resolve to work together to take bilateral relations to newer heights by strengthening ongoing cooperation in diverse spheres as well as expanding partnership for socio-economic development on the basis of the principles of equality, mutual trust, respect and mutual benefit.

The two Prime Ministers emphasized the need for regular convening of bilateral mechanisms, including Nepal-India Joint Commission at Foreign/External Affairs Ministers level, to review the overall state of bilateral relations, and for the expeditious implementation of the economic and development cooperation projects.

The two Prime Ministers underscored the importance of trade and economic ties between India and Nepal. Expressing concern over Nepal’s growing trade deficit with India, Prime Minister Oli stated that measures to address this deficit need to be taken. In this context, the two Prime Ministers welcomed the outcome of the recently held Inter-Governmental Committee meeting on Trade, Transit and Cooperation to control unauthorized trade to jointly initiate a comprehensive review of the bilateral Treaty of Trade, and to consider amendments to the Treaty of Transit and related Agreements with a view to further facilitating Nepal’s access to the Indian market, enhancing overall bilateral trade, and facilitating Nepal’s transit trade.

The two Prime Ministers underlined the catalytic role of connectivity in stimulating economic growth and promoting movement of people. They agreed to take further steps to enhance the economic and physical connectivity by air, land, and water. Recognizing the vibrant people to people contacts and friendly bilateral ties, the two Prime Ministers directed the respective officials to expand cooperation in civil aviation sector, including early technical discussion on additional air entry routes to Nepal by respective technical teams.

The two Prime Ministers reiterated the importance of advancing cooperation in water resources for mutual benefit in areas such as river training works, inundation and flood management, irrigation, and to enhance pace of implementation of ongoing bilateral projects. They also expressed satisfaction over constitution of the joint team, which will visit areas affected by inundation and floods and consider appropriate measures for sustainable solution.

The two Prime Ministers jointly laid the foundation stone of 900 MW Arun-III hydro-electric project in Nepal. They expressed hope that operationalization of the project would help enhance cooperation in the generation and trade of power between the two countries. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the outcome of the recently concluded meeting of the Joint Steering Committee on cooperation in the power sector held on 17 April 2018. They agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in power sector in line with the bilateral Power Trade Agreement.
Prime Minister Modi also visited Janakpur and Muktinath and attended civic receptions in Kathmandu and Janakpur.

With a view to further strengthening the close religious and cultural ties between the two countries and peoples, the two Prime Ministers launched Nepal-India Ramayana Circuit connecting Janakpur, the birthplace of Sita, with Ayodhya and other sites associated with the epic Ramayana. In Janakpur, the two Prime Ministers flagged off the inaugural direct bus service between Janakpur and Ayodhya.

The two Prime Ministers directed their respective officials to address outstanding matters by September 2018, with the objective of advancing cooperation in all areas.

The two Prime Ministers underscored the importance of regional and sub-regional cooperation under BIMSTEC, SAARC, and BBIN frameworks for forging meaningful cooperation in identified sectors.

The two Prime Ministers agreed that the landmark third visit of Prime Minister Modi to Nepal has further strengthened the age-old friendly relations between the two countries and has injected a fresh impetus to our growing partnership.

Prime Minister Modi thanked Prime Minister Oli for his gracious invitation and warmth of hospitality.

Prime Minister Modi extended an invitation to Prime Minister Oli to pay a visit to India. Prime Minister Oli accepted the invitation; dates will be finalized through diplomatic channels.

Modi to visit Russia on May 21

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New Delhi: Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi will visit Russia on 21 May 2018 for an informal Summit with President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin in the city of Sochi.

Modi’s Russia, visit at the invitation of Putin, will be an important occasion for the two leaders to exchange views on international matters in a broad and long-term perspective with the objective of further strengthening our Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership. Both leaders will also discuss their respective national developmental priorities and bilateral matters.

This informal Summit in Sochi between Prime Minister Modi and President Putin is in keeping with the tradition of regular consultations between India and Russia at the highest levels.