Wednesday October 18, 2017
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BJP to contest 170 assembly seats in Bihar

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Bhagalpur: BJP leader Ashwani Kumar Choubey announced on Tuesday that the party will contest 170 of the 243 assembly seats. This announcement came a day after two of its allies said seat sharing in Bihar must conclude within a week.

1353503008_BJP Symbol“The BJP will contest nearly 170 seats, there is no question of anything less than that,” Choubey, an MP and a former minister, said here.

Choubey was replying to statements from leaders of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) that the BJP must contest only 102 seats and leave the remaining 141 to its three allies.

“There is no one in the country to advise the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi about seat sharing within the NDA,” said Choubey, a votary of Hinduvta politics.

The third BJP ally, the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, on Tuesday said the BJP should contest only 122 seats.

“They must distribute the remaining seats among its three allies to defeat the grand alliance of JD-U, RJD and Congress,” HAM leader Brishen Patel said.

Patel asked the LJP and RLSP to “behave gently” to ensure the defeat of the Nitish Kumar-Lalu Prasad combine.

The LJP and the RLSP on Monday expressed unhappiness over the delay in finalisation of seats among the BJP and its allies in the assembly elections.

“We want the seat sharing arrangement to be over and done before the election are announced in the first week of September,” LJP state president Pasupati Kumar Paras said at a press conference also attended by RLSP state president Arun Kumar.

“It will provide enough time for candidates to campaign,” he said.

The LJP and RLSP are unhappy over the BJP slogan – “Abki bar Bhajpa sarkar”.

According to them, it was wrong to raise such a slogan as the next government in the state would be formed by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Paras said the BJP was delaying seat sharing though the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Janata Dal-United (JD-U) had announced their seat sharing and are virtually giving tickets to their candidates.

RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha says his party wants to contest from 67 seats. He said the LJP should get 74 seats.

BJP president Amit Shah announced earlier this year that his party wanted to contest and win 185 of the 243 seats.

The RJD and the JD-U have decided to contest 100 seats each, leaving 40 to the Congress and three to the Nationalist Congress Party.

With inputs from IANS

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Congress, Trinamool MPs walk out from Lok Sabha over Dalit issue

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New Delhi: The chopping of limbs of two Dalit men in Abohar district of Punjab created an uproar in the Lok Sabha which led to the staged walkout of the Congress and Trinamool Congress members.

The Bharatiya Janata Party members protested when Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan asked Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia to speak after the question hour. During the question hour, the Congress members raised slogans against the Punjab government and the Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu claimed that an attempt was being made in order to libel an elected government.

He said the Congress members first abused an elected government by coming near the speaker’s podium and then sought to raise the issue in the house.

“Everyday, it is becoming a practice. Please understand the sentiments of the house,” Naidu added.

Dismissal of Shiromani Akali Dal – Bharatiya Janata Party government in Punjab was demanded by the members of congress over the abhor crime committed.

“ Going by the same logic even the Uttar Pradesh government needed to be dismissed over the Dadri lynching incident”, said Naidu.

“Matters pertaining to the states should not be raised in the house”, said speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

“Since the Modi government came to the power there were several incidents of atrocities against Dalits and women during the past 18 months. This is a national issue”, said Scindia.

As soon as Scindia referred to the crushing of a school student by a bus allegedly belonging to a company owned by an Akali leader and sought to blame the ruling party leadership in Punjab, members from the treasury benches were up on their feet.

The speaker asked Scindia to sit down, as Congress members gradually gathered near the podium.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy urged Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to allow his cabinet colleague Harsimrat Kaur Badal, a Shiromani Akali Dal MP from Bathinda to speak.

Congress and Trinamool Congress members walked out of the house soon after Harsimrat Kaur began to speak.

Harsimrat Kaur, the minister for food processing industries, said that the Congress protested in the Lok Sabha after a court order in the National Herald case and accused it of playing politics on issues concerning the Dalits.

She accused the Congress of trying to stall the country’s progress by stalling the Goods and Services, Tax Bill.

She said Dalits formed a sizeable section of the Punjab population and the state had the lowest rate of crime against the weaker sections.

Harsimrat Kaur said an arrest has been made in the case and maintained that it was a result of a clash between two gangs.

Limbs of two men were chopped off on Saturday at a farmhouse owned by an Akali Dal leader in Punjab, as per media reports.

One of the men, Bheem Tank, died on the way to hospital after both his hands and legs were chopped off. Gurjant Singh, who lost one hand, was admitted to a hospital in Amritsar in a serious condition.

(With inputs from agencies)

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NDA’s Bihar debacle proving blessing for realty

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Picture Courtesy:-www.newindianexpress.com

New Delhi: Contrary to the general impression, the defeat in the Bihar assembly elections has not dealt any blow to the reforms agenda of the ruling National Democratic Alliance. Rather, it has proved to be a blessing in disguise for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to fast-track reforms – legislative and administrative.

For the realty sector, those that stand out include the move for a pan-India goods and services tax regime and legislation for a real estate regulator, both of which are expected to get the parliamentary nod in the current winter session of parliament.

Close on the heels of the Bihar defeat, the government gave a Diwali bonanza by easing foreign investment norms in 15 major sectors, including construction, and raising the approval limit for the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) from Rs.3,000 crore to Rs.5,000 crore.

It removed entry and exit barriers in the construction sector, doing away with area restriction of 20,000 sqm and capitalisation of $5 million and allowing foreign investors to exit and repatriate investment before a project is completed but with a lock-in period of three years.

The government’s sense of the real estate industry is that it should not survive on subsidies but on the strength of the market economy. That’s why it’s focusing on realty reforms aimed at strengthening fundamentals for the sustainable revival of the sector.

The delayed reforms had affected the market sentiment and the government has been receiving a lot of flak for its inability to check retail inflation and generate employment.

The government realises it is imperative to provide momentum to reforms if it has to leverage strong domestic growth in the form of healthy seven percent plus GDP growth in the coming fiscal, besides picking up manufacturing activity.

The assessment of global rating agencies like Moody’s weighs heavily on the government’s mind that delay in reforms may hit investment. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD) has also emphasised that India’s growth prospects remain relatively robust provided further progress is made on implementing structural reforms.

The government is focusing on triggering investment. By exercising tight control over unproductive expenditure, it has greatly increased capital investment by the public sector. And to further push this, the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund has been set up to leverage public investments.

The government also plans to come up with tax-free infra bonds to broaden the corporate bond market and provide long-term finance for infrastructure. It is also looking at providing tax incentives to spur investment in housing.

Then, FDI has considerably increased and private investment is picking up. The government is also working on simplifying FDI & ECB rules to speed up foreign investment.

It plans to put 98 percent sectors for foreign investment under the automatic route. And, to help the fund-starved real estate sector to tide over the current crisis, the government is working on allowing foreign investments in alternate investment funds (AIFs) and in infra and realty trusts via the automatic route.

The most crucial piece of legislation that has a big bearing on real estate is the GST Bill expected to be passed in the current parliament session, especially as the government has now adopted a collaborative and accommodating approach.

The introduction of a single GST rate across the country is aimed at dismantling the inter-state fiscal barriers to create a common market within India to boost competitiveness and make it easier to do business.

It will result in simplification and uniformity of taxes, putting an end to tax inefficiency in the form of different state-specific VAT and service tax laws. Though there are two main taxes for home buyers – VAT and service tax – multiple taxes in the form of CST, custom duty, excise duty and the like paid by developers result in price escalation by about 25-30 percent.

A likely GST rate of about 20 percent (the Congress party is demanding a cap on 18 percent) should be quite beneficial for the sector in lowering the current tax burden, in turn resulting in the reduction of home prices. Separately, the government proposes to provide tax relief to the real estate sector in the budget for 2016-17.

The decks are already cleared for crucial Real Estate Regulation & Development Bill, 2013 in the winter session as the government has accepted changes proposed by a Rajya Sabha panel. This bill will give a major boost to real estate sector, bringing in fair play and transparency in transactions to safeguard the interests of buyers and investors.

The government, which has already streamlined environment clearances for improving ease of doing business, is now fast- tracking single window clearance system for multi-storied buildings that should come through by early December 2015.

The simplified process will considerably cut delays in granting approvals, in turn resulting in cost reduction that will benefit property consumers.This will also provide much – needed relief to debt- ridden developers by way of faster projects completions and lesser interest outgo.

For its flagship programme — “Housing for All”, envisaging building 30 million houses, the government is readying a plan to provide more funds for constructing rural houses and providing subsidised power and water. Under its AMRUT programme, the Centre has allocated Rs 11654 crore for infrastructure upgrade.

The Bankruptcy Code — providing for an easier exit for businesses, safeguarding the interests of lenders and investors — together with proposed new start-up policy, will foster new enterprises and fast-track winding up of failed enterprises, with a view of strengthening ease of doing business.Further, labour reforms are aimed at removing rigidity and encouraging employment.

The government’s new-found aggression and resolve to push reform agenda have already seen the BSE Realty Index, registering the most rise in the last fortnight and further reform measures to be unveiled in the budget, will serve to speed up the revival of real estate facing the slowdown.

(Vinod Behl, IANS)

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Chances of Bihar style grand alliance in poll-bound Bengal remote

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Source-youthkiawaj.com

Kolkata: It was “rising intolerance” or a “desperate survival bid” that saw old foes Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad join hands with the Congress to trump the BJP-led alliance in the Bihar polls. Will the approaching West Bengal assembly elections see the emergence of yet another grand alliance?

Opinions vary as the political temperature in the state rises with the electoral battle just months away.

While for some, the vastly different political spectrum in Bengal may not allow the forging of a Bihar like combination, some others feel the Nitish-Lalu duo, post the Bihar victory, could play a decisive role in next year’s duel.

While the opposition – the Left Front, the Congress and the BJP – has often been unanimous in deriding the Trinamool Congress for its “misrule” and aspires to dethrone the Mamata Banerjee government in the state, it is yet to indicate any resolve to bury its differences and collectively fight against the Trinamool.

On the other hand, an advocate of forging a federal front opposed to the “communal” BJP, Chief Minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee, has been wooing Nitish Kumar and her Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal, which some see as an attempt to forge a Bihar-like coalition.

Political analyst Anil Kumar Jana, though, opines that Bengal’s political dynamics may not present the opportunity for such an alliance.

“Had the BJP won in Bihar, things could have been different. There could have been possibilities of the Congress or even the Left coming together with the Trinamool to stop the BJP. But now, owing to the strong political compulsions of the parties, the possibility of any such alliance is very remote,” Jana told IANS.

The Vidyasagar University professor, however, felt the Congress and the CPI-M – both locked in an existential battle in the state – may come together against their common enemy, the Trinamool.

Another analyst, Udayan Banerjee, insisted that the Marxists cannot afford to align with the Congress.

“For the Left, Kerala is far more important as it has a chance of coming back to power there. Even if Bengal leaders insist, the politburo will not allow any kind of truck with the Congress as it may jeopardise its chances in Kerala,” said the associate professor of political science at the Bangabasi College here.

While there have been feelers from certain sections in both the camps on the possibility of an alliance, the top leaderships are non-committal. But both the parties unanimously ruled out the feasibility of a Bihar-like coalition.

Remaining evasive on the issue of joining hands with the Marxists, state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury argued that the political dynamics in Bengal did not afford the major forces – Trinamool, Congress, Left or the BJP – to be unopposed to each other.

“The BJP’s communal politics had brought rivals together in Bihar. But in Bengal, irrespective of the fact that the opposition collectively has been a target of Trinamool’s terror tactics, such a coalition is not possible,” Chowdhury told IANS.

Marxist politburo member Mohammad Salim shared a similar view.

“While the decision to forge any kind of alliance rests with the politburo, I don’t think in Bengal, a Bihar-like alliance is possible.

“Mamata Banerjee may indulge in any kind of gimmicks, but political parties realise the consequences of joining hands with the Trinamool. Her wooing of Nitish Kumar or Kejriwal is only a desperate move to stay relevant in national politics,” Salim told IANS.

While his party had been part of the Congress-led UPA-I dispensation, Salim, on speculation of the CPI-M aligning with the Congress, said: “Let the speculation remain.”

But political analyst Biswanath Chakraborty felt that association with JD-U chief Nitish Kumar and RJD head Lalu Prasad is a guarantee for victory in the Bengal polls.

“Post the Bihar polls, both of them have emerged as the apostles of secularism and victors over intolerance. With nearly 30 percent Muslim population in Bengal, whoever can get them on their side will emerge victorious,” Chakraborty told IANS.

Enthused by the success of its recent agitations, including a trade union-endorsed general strike on September 2, the Marxist-led Left Front has been claiming it is gaining ground since the debacle in 2011 when the Trinamool ended its 34-year-long uninterrupted rule in the state.

Chakraborty however, opined that the 2011 scenario will unfold yet again unless the Left manages to forge a “secular democratic front” with Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad on board.

“Incidentally, it’s not the Left, rather Mamata, who is making endeavours to stitch such a front. From participating in Kejriwal’s chief ministers’ conclave to voicing support for Nitish Kumar, Banerjee has been making all the right noises,” Chakraborty, a political science professor at Rabindra Bharati University, told IANS.

“Even though her party can win on its might, by wooing the key non-BJP players, she is sending out a strong message to the minorities and at the same also attempting to deny the Congress or the Left, the opportunity to forge any kind of association with the secular parties,” Chakraborty added.

Trinamool Lok Sabha member Sultan Ahmed insisted the invitations to Kejriwal, Nitish Kumar or Lalu Prasad for the Bengal Global Business Summit in January 2016 is not aimed at any electoral move.

“Whether inviting Kejriwal or supporting Nitish Kumar, it is more about fighting to preserve the federal structure of the country, which is under attack under the Narendra Modi government,” Ahmed told IANS.

(Anurag Dey, IANS)