BRS Open to Alliance With Cong but Doesn’t Want Rahul as Face of Campaign; Government Pressgangs Radio Stations for Leader's Sermon
‘Modi decision-making is like Mao’s’, academics paying to publish, Indian ship in Guyana, babus need to 'face' up to leaders, CJI schools judge for interview on his own case, circus legend passes away
A newsletter from The Wire | Founded by MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sushant Singh, Sidharth Bhatia, Tanweer Alam and Pratik Kanjilal | With inputs from Kalrav Joshi | Editor: Vinay Pandey
Snapshot of the day
April 25, 2023
The K Chandrashekar Rao-led Bharat Rashtra Samithi, previously known as Telangana Rashtra Samithi, which led a campaign for a non-BJP and non-Congress “federal front” ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, is now open to the idea of joining a coalition led by the Congress, the Indian Express reports, quoting “top sources from the party”. The party, however, has reservations about Rahul Gandhi as the face of this opposition alliance, the sources told the newspaper. The Modi government recently set the Enforcement Directorate upon KCR’s daughter K Kavitha, a former MP, in the case related to the Delhi government’s liquor policy.
On the fourth day of the same-sex marriage hearing by a Constitution bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the petitioners argued that Parliament is bound by the Constitution, which courts interpret. Senior advocate Menaka Guruswamy countered the Union government’s assertion that legalising same-sex marriage is a matter for Parliament to decide. She said the government was relying on the British form of parliament, whereas “ours is a Parliament constrained by the Constitution, and the Constitution is interpreted by the court”. Senior advocate Geeta Luthra said: “Virtually every democratic, progressive country of the world has recognised same-sex marriages. We cannot be behind.”
The VHP – part of the same Sangh parivar as the BJP – certainly won’t agree. Its legal cell issued a statement on Monday which said that “despite being repeatedly assailed for millennia, the Indian cultural civilisation had persevered”. In independent India, western ideas, ideologies, and practices that are unsuitable for this country are being imposed, posing threats to its cultural foundations, the organisation said, adding that the Supreme Court’s “tearing rush” in this matter “is not appropriate”.
When Narendra Modi transmits, he wants everyone to tune in, including the listeners of India’s community radio stations. The latter have been advised to relay his golden words and send the government proof of their love for the leader, Meetu Jain reports. The 100th episode of Modi’s broadcast on state media has been receiving a massive push in the past few days, and a special ₹100 coin series is also being minted to “commemorate” it. The coin, complete with the logo and title of Modi’s radio show, will be released by Modi himself. It is a step evocative of a coronation, rather than of a prime minister’s routine broadcast in a democracy.
A first batch of 268 Indians stranded in Sudan left Port Sudan today aboard an Indian naval ship today, taking advantage of the 3-day Eid ceasefire between warring factions. The Modi government has named the evacuation mission ‘Operation Kaveri’. The fact that Karnataka, through which the Kaveri flows, is going to the polls soon is purely coincidental.
India’s unabated tryst with Russian crude oil is slowly coming to an end, according to a report in the Business Standard. Russian oil now trades above the G7 price cap, leaving India searching for creative solutions to fill the breach, it says. Meanwhile, a trade delegation from India is on a four-day visit to Russia to explore opportunities to boost Indian farm and processed food exports from $750 million to $3 billion in three years to balance burgeoning Russian goods imports that saw over 369% year-on-year growth in 2022-23 to $46.33 billion, mainly on purchase of crude oil.
India aims to purchase missile systems from both Russia and the US for about $200 million at a time when the US and Russia are at odds over Ukraine. According to reports, the Indian Navy has asked for permission to buy equipment for the American Harpoon anti-ship missile system as well as more than 20 Klub anti-ship cruise missiles from Russia.
Negotiations between Indian and French officials over a number of issues, including nuclear liability, have not yet resulted in any appreciable progress two years after Electricite de France (EDF), a French energy company, submitted its techno-commercial proposal for the development of six nuclear power reactors in Jaitapur, Maharashtra. This is despite minister Jitendra Singh’s claim that all technical, commercial and legal difficulties will be resolved by “early 2023”.
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India may have more people than China, but it won’t become a major economic, scientific and technological power without more technocrats, Pankaj Mishra writes for Bloomberg. Comparing India and China, he remarks: “Modi has shown himself disturbingly prone to Mao-style, arbitrary decision-making, illustrated most pointedly by his economically devastating policy of demonetisation. Worse, Modi seems to have prioritised his own cultural revolution against India’s previous, highly educated ruling class above all else. In permanent battle mode, he still presents himself, after nine years in power, as a humble citizen victimised by entrenched secular elites. Meanwhile, his followers assault what they see as bastions of social and educational privilege.”
Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar has criticised a Der Spiegel cartoon for “mocking India”. It shows an overcrowded Indian train overtaking a Chinese high-speed trainset – a reference on the ‘race’ to be the world’s most populous country. The cartoon, which is a comment on the degrees of development in the two countries is being attacked by some Indians on social media as ‘racist’, though the minister himself was careful not to use the R word. Look at the cartoon and see if you agree with him.
The Guardian has an editorial titled India stands at a critical juncture. It says: “India’s democratic reversal is also rooted in a development model that suits global concerns rather than domestic ones. Because of its economic heft, India is a member of the G20. Its citizens, however, are the poorest in this group. The richest 5% of Indians can consume the same goods as the average Briton. Therefore the outside world tends to be interested in Indian success as defined by the growth in this class – as the greater their purchasing power is, the larger the market for global goods and services.
“The latest Lamborghini sports car models, which cost £400,000, are already sold out in India. But 350m Indians went hungry in 2022, up from 190m in 2018. Rather than taxing the rich and corporates to fund health and education, the BJP has taxed the poor to pay for public services. India added zero net new jobs over the past decade, even as the number of people in the labour force rose by more than 100 million. The country’s democratic rise is far from assured.”
In an interview discussing the terror attack on a military truck in the Bhimber Gali area of Poonch on April 20, former RAW chief AS Dulat says “this is a wake-up call that should ring alarm bells in Delhi”.
Following Lalit Modi’s unreserved apology for his comments against the judiciary in social media posts, the Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the contempt case against the former IPL commissioner. An affidavit filed by the former IPL czar said he would not act in any way that is inconsistent with the “majesty or dignity of courts or Indian judiciary”. A bench of Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar took notice of this statement.
Is 40°C a new normal for summer in the country? To answer the question, the Hindustan Times examines the gridded temperature data-set from the India Meteorological Department.
Meanwhile, to build Britain's first dedicated Jagannath temple, billionaire Biswanath Patnaik, chairman and founder of the FinNest Group of Companies, has pledged £25 million.
An Indian built ferry, the MV Ma Lisha, had its maiden voyage in Guyana on April 24. The ship, built by the Kolkata-based PSU Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, will “play an integral role in allowing Region One (Barima-Waini) [the nothernmost part of the South American nation) to be an important link connecting Guyana with Trinidad and Tobago, and open a pathway to increased food production and economic opportunities,” Guyanese President Irfaan Ali said
Indian circus legend MV ‘Gemini’ Sankaran passed away late on Sunday at the age of 99. After working with various circus groups across the country in the aftermath of World War II, in which he fought, Sankaran purchased Vijaya Circus Company in 1951 and renamed it “Gemini Circus”.