Political parties have braced themselves for the Rajya Sabha elections after months of accusations of horse trafficking, spa politics and frenetic gatherings. In the meantime, here are the top reads from today’s issue.
The Big Story
As President Ram Nath Kovind’s term ends on July 24, the Indian Electoral Commission announced that Poll for the election of the country’s 15th President will take place on July 18th and the votes will be counted on July 21st. Here’s what you should know:
🔴 The ruling BJP-led NDA and opposition have yet to announce their choice of candidates.
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🔴 That the candidate of the NDA, which has around 48 percent of the vote in the electoral college, will win the presidential race with the help of some friendly parties such as the BJD of Odisha and the YSRCP of Andhra Pradesh is a foregone conclusion.
🔴 Sources in the opposition camp said consultations between like-minded parties were underway to find a consensus candidate. But unlike in 2017, the opposition is heavily divided.
🔴 The President is elected by a secret ballot, in which a voter marks preferences against the names of the candidates. Find out more about the process here.
Mahua Moitra writes on the absence of Muslim MPs and MLAs in the BJP: “The BJP officially sticks to the agenda of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’. When cornered, they refuse to officially follow the Hindutva hardline. The Good Cop, Bad Cop routine ensures that, on the one hand, the official press release following the Nupur Sharma fiasco stated that the BJP is “committed to making India a great country where all are equal and all live with dignity …” as it continues On the other hand, party officials and officials have been actively encouraged to continue the harsh rhetoric.”
From the front page
Statements by BJP leaders against the Prophet have drawn worldwide attention. While Iran had condemned the remarks, its Foreign Minister H. Amirabdollahian said after his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday Iran, India agree on need to ‘respect divine religions’“Islamic sanctities” and “avoid divisive statements”.
In the Maldives, which had also issued a statement of concern while the pro-India Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Ibu Solih government tried to stave off pressure to condemn the hate speech, it was one Emergency motion by the opposition in the Volksmaschlis, which prompted the government to make its statement.
In other news, Banks will probably decide opposed to financing the working capital needs of 13 imported coal-fired power plants – key to the Union Department of Energy’s proposal to revitalize those units as part of an expanded package of measures to bridge ongoing power shortages.
Rajiv Mehrishi is a household name in the corridors of power, having held several high-profile posts during his four-decade career as a civil servant – from Finance Secretary to Home Secretary to Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India. However, what is not so well known is his passion for making cucumberswhich are now sold under the brand name “Pickley – Taste of Dada”.
With about 2,000 students failing the Class 10 exam in Andhra Pradesh, the state recorded its worst passing rate in two decades. To find out what went wrong, the opposition TDP has arranged a zoom call with the party’s general secretary, Nara Lokesh Naidu, 10th grade students and their parents to “assume their concerns”. But things went south as a group of leaders from the ruling YSRCP joined the call, accusing Naidu of politicizing Class 10 results: “Why are you playing politics with the students? Why include them?”
“I’ve fought all these years to support my children. She loves to run and always tells me that if her father were alive today he would have been proud of her achievements.” Balmati Devi couldn’t hold back her tears as her 19-year-old daughter Supriti Kachhap clocked a time of 9 minutes and 46.14 seconds set a new Athletics Federation of India national youth record, surpassing the previous mark of 9 minutes 50.54 seconds to win gold in the girls 3000m race at the Khelo India Youth Games in Panchkula. Balmati reminds of the many hurdles She had to overcome herself over the years after her husband was killed in a suspected Naxal attack.
🤫 Delhi Confidential: BJP MP Varun Gandhi is enjoying success in his attempts to accommodate candidates appearing for Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) consideration later this month. After writing to Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw to request special accommodation for them as they have been randomly assigned to examination centers, the Minister has decided to run special trains for candidates presenting for the examination.
Rachel Philipose and Sonal Gupta