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Kerala local body polls litmus test for Left

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Thiruvananthapuram: The upcoming three-tier local body elections in Kerala will be a litmus test for the Left which has been on a steady decline since winning the assembly elections in 2006.

It is now going to be a decade since the Left Democratic Front (LDF) led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) won the local body polls in Kerala, a state it considers its bastion.

The polls will take place on November 2 and 5. The results will be out on November 7.

After winning the 2006 assembly polls, the LDF has ended up on the losing side in every electoral battle in the state.

It was washed out in the 2009 Lok Sabha battle, quickly followed by three losses in assembly by-elections.

The shocker came in 2010 when for the first time in years, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) trounced the LDF and secured close to 65 percent of the local bodies.

The Left also lost the 2011 assembly polls to the UDF but narrowly.

The UDF won two by-elections in 2012. And in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Kerala elected the second largest contingent of Congress MPs in the country after Karnataka.

Again, this year, despite various scams, the UDF won the Aruvikara assembly by-election. And with most people feeling that the Left may be in for a shock in next year’s assembly elections, the local body polls are considered very important.

Another reason that has caused a hiccup in the Left camp is the meeting in New Delhi last week between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and V Natesan, the Hindu Ezhava leader and general secretary of the powerful Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Sangom that owes allegiance to social reformer Sree Narayana Guru.

For years, a major portion of the Ezhava community has always stood by the CPI-M.

“Electoral politics means numbers. With the SNDP moving closer to the BJP, the Hindu vote is going to be split and the Left is going to be hit badly. The BJP will gain. This will benefit the UDF,” said a political analyst who did not wish to be identified.

Naturally, the CPI-M has launched an attack on Natesan.

Former chief minister VS Achuthanandan has raked up corruption allegations against Natesan. CPI-M state secretary K Balakrishnan asked Natesan not to use Narayana Guru’s name to promote his political ambitions.

Natesan has made it clear that the SNDP will take the lead in uniting the various Hindu social and religious groups under one umbrella.

“I don’t know why the CPI-M is feeling restless. You wait and see what’s going to unfold. Something will be there for sure ahead of the assembly elections,” he said.

In the local body elections, 21,871 seats spread out in 941 village, 152 block and 14 district panchayats besides 86 municipalities and six corporations will be up for grab.

 

(Sanu George, IANS)

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India, Canada Pledge To Fight Terrorism In All Forms

Modi and Trudeau also welcomed the agreement on a bilateral Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism that was signed between the two countries

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India Canada pledges to fight terrorism of all kinds together. Facebook
India Canada pledges to fight terrorism of all kinds together. Facebook
  • India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism in all its forms
  • Modi and Trudeau also agreed on the Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism
  • Both the countries are looking forward to a cooperative future

India and Canada on Friday pledged to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations while declaring that no country should allow its territory to be used for terrorist and violent extremist activities.

The assertion by the two countries came in a joint statement issued after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau and assumes significance in the context of perceived softness on the part of Canada towards Khalistani separatists operating on its soil.

India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism together. www.affairscloud.com
India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism together. www.affairscloud.com

“Recognising that terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation to violence present acute challenges to global peace, stability and prosperity, the leaders resolved to combat terrorism and violent extremism in all their forms and manifestations,” the joint statement said.

“They called for bringing terrorists to justice and holding accountable state sponsors of terrorism, including cross-border terrorism. They further emphasised that no country should allow its territory to be used for terrorist and violent extremist activities.”

Modi and Trudeau also welcomed the agreement on a bilateral Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism that was signed between the two countries.

The Framework recognised the urgent imperative to disrupt recruitment, terrorist movements and the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, address the threat posed by cross-border and state-sponsored terrorism, stop sources of terrorist financing, dismantle terrorist infrastructure and prevent the supply of arms to terrorists and counter violent extremism and radicalisation to violence.

The two sides emphasised the need to deny operating space to terrorist and violent extremist groups.

Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism was signed between the two countries. Wikimedia Commons
Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism was signed between the two countries. Wikimedia Commons

Under the Framework, both sides committed to further develop exchanges and facilitate effective cooperation in the fields of security, finance, justice, and law enforcement, including, where appropriate, at the operational level.

Also Read: ‘Vanakkam!’ Tweets Canadian PM: Justin Trudeau Joins over 200,000 People at the Biggest Tamil Diaspora Festival in Toronto

It consists of institutionalised cooperation between the National Security Council Secretariat of India and the office of Canada’s National Security and Intelligence Advisor, and regular exchanges and coordination between India and Canada, which will be guided by the joint National Security Advisors’ Dialogue.

The joint statement further said that to reaffirm the importance of lawful commerce and the freedom of navigation and over-flight throughout the Indo-Pacific region, in accordance with international law, including the rights and jurisdiction of states under UN Convention for Law of the Sea (Unclos), the two leaders supported bolstering regional connectivity through transparent development of infrastructure and use of responsible debt financing practices, while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the rule of law and environment.

Modi and Trudeau also expressed “strong concern” over the prevailing security situation in Afghanistan and the recent political developments in the Maldives and their implications for free society.

The Two Countries will work together towards peace.
The Two Countries will work together towards peace.

On the economic side, both leaders agreed to realise the full potential of bilateral trade and investment and both sides will renew efforts to expand and diversify bilateral economic and commercial relations.

“They will also intensify negotiations to finalise a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and a Bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement,” the statement said. Modi and Trudeau also agreed to strengthen bilateral and international cooperation to address climate change and secure a clean energy future and committed to promoting the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

“The leaders welcomed the initiative to establish the (India-initiated) International Solar Alliance to promote renewable energy for sustainable development,” the statement said. “They urged research institutions and industry in both countries to collaborate to promote greater use of solar technology.”

Also Read: India and Canada to Jointly Issue Two Sets of Diwali Themed Postal Stamps

It stated that the two leaders “underscored the importance of accelerating the global transition to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources and acknowledged that renewable energy is a pathway to a low-carbon and more sustainable energy system”.

“Recognising the dynamic role of people-to-people ties in the India-Canada partnership, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to address consular issues of mutual concern through discussion between the concerned officials,” the statement said. “They welcomed the expansion of direct air connectivity between Indian and Canadian cities.” IANS