19 parties to boycott Parliament opening: Here’s the list

News Network
May 24, 2023

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New Delhi, May 24: The new Parliament building, which is set to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on May 28, has found itself in the middle of a political controversy.

Congress and other Opposition parties have been voicing their displeasure at the fact that President Droupadi Murmu, who is the constitutional head of the Parliament, has not been invited to inaugurate the new structure.

Another point of contention for the Opposition is the fact that May 28, which is the birthday of Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar, has been chosen as the date for the inauguration.

This has led to a war of words between the BJP and Opposition parties.

Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) became the first party to announce that they would be boycotting the inauguration ceremony soon after invites for the same were sent out by the Lok Sabha Secretary. TMC MP Derek O'Brien said on Twitter: "Parliament is not just a new building; it is an establishment with old traditions, values, precedents and rules - it is the foundation of Indian democracy. PM Modi doesn’t get that. For him, Sunday’s inauguration of the new building is all about I, ME, MYSELF. So count us out."

Soon after, Aam Admi Party (AAP) followed suit. 

Since then, the list of parties who have come out to announce that they will be boycotting the ceremony has been increasing. Currently, these are the parties (and the number of MPs they have) who have officially announced that they will be keeping a distance when PM Modi inaugurates the new structure on May 28:

1. Indian National Congress
2. Trinamool Congress
3. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
4. Janata Dal (United)
5. Aam Aadmi Party
6. Nationalist Congress Party 
7. Shiv Sena (UBT)
8. Communist Party of India (Marxist)
9. Samajwadi Party
10. Rashtriya Janata Dal
11. Communist Party of India
12. Indian Union Muslim League
13. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha
14. National Conference
15. Kerala Congress (Mani)
16. Revolutionary Socialist Party 
17. Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi
18. Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
19. Rashtriya Lok Dal

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News Network
June 10,2024

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New Delhi: The 71 Union ministers who were sworn in alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday include 10 Dalits, 27 from the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), 21 from the ‘upper’ castes, five from tribal groups and five representing religious minorities. However, there are no Muslims. 

In the previous term of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was the minority affairs minister, but he resigned in 2022 after his term in the Rajya Sabha came to an end and was replaced by Smriti Irani. This time, no Muslim minister has been sworn in. No Muslim MPs from the NDA were elected to the Lok Sabha this time.

The five ministers from minority communities in the Modi Government 3.0 include Hardeep Singh Puri, Ravneet Singh Bittu, George Kurian, Kiren Rijiju and Ramdas Athawale. While Puri and Athawale are Rajya Sabha MPs and Rijiju won the Lok Sabha elections from Arunachal Pradesh, Bittu lost the elections from Punjab and Kurian, a Kerala BJP general secretary, did not contest.

After the 2019 general election, 57 ministers were sworn in, of whom 32 were from ‘upper’ castes, 13 from OBCs, six from Scheduled Castes and four from Scheduled Tribes. However, the Council of Ministers was subsequently expanded in 2021 and included 27 OBCs, 12 SCs, eight STs and 30 from the ‘upper’ castes. 

The share of representatives of the ‘upper’ castes is down after many ‘upper-caste’ candidates lost in Uttar Pradesh.

Dalit and tribal groups

In Modi’s second term, the late Ram Vilas Paswan, Thawar Chand Gehlot and Virendra Kumar were among the Dalit ministers. Kumar, who had succeeded Gehlot as the minister for social justice and empowerment, has made it to the cabinet this time, too, after winning his eighth Lok Sabha election from Madhya Pradesh. 

Besides him, Paswan’s son and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Chirag Paswan, and former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, are among the new Dalit cabinet ministers.

Arjun Ram Meghwal from Rajasthan, who was serving as the law minister in the previous term, has been inducted this time as minister of state (independent charge). In addition, Athawale, S.P. Singh Baghel, L. Murugan and Kamlesh Paswan will be ministers of state.

 A senior BJP leader said, “More Dalit ministers have been added this time, which was necessary since the party lost a significant chunk of Dalit votes. Not just that, religious minorities ranging from Sikhs to Christians have been given representation.” 

There are also five ministers from tribal groups, same as the 2019-2024 term. Jual Oram from Odisha, who had also served as a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet and has won the Lok Sabha elections six times, has been elevated to the position of a cabinet minister. Arjun Munda, another prominent tribal leader from the party, lost the election this time.

Sarbananda Sonowal, Savitri Thakur and Durga Das Uikey are other ministers from tribal groups.

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News Network
June 4,2024

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has won the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat for a third time. Mr Modi has beaten the Congress' Ajay Rai by over 1.5 lakh votes. In third place was the Bahujan Samaj Party's Ather Jamal Lari, who finished nearly 5.8 lakh behind the Prime Minister.

The party has won this seat nine times since 1991, with only RK Mishra of the Congress, in 2004, breaking that streak. And it was, for some time, another Congressman who raised opposition hopes.

Earlier today Mr Rai - who has contested and lost each of the past three general elections from the temple town - threatened (briefly) to cause, perhaps, the biggest shock in Indian electoral history.

Initially Mr Rai was leading the Prime Minister by 6,223 votes. As the day wore on, though, the PM stretched his legs and disappeared into the distance, finishing with over 6.12 lakh votes.

However, delight over the Prime Minister's win is likely to be tempered by the BJP's less-than-stellar performance across the state in this election, despite having dominated its electoral politics since 2014, when a 'Modi wave' swept UP (and the country) and corralled 61 of its 80 Lok Sabha seats.

Since then the BJP has been nearly unbeatable in UP.

That was followed by a Yogi Adityanath-led BJP scripting a stunning revival at the state level - by winning 312 of the state's 403 Assembly seats. In 2012 the BJP had won only 47 seats.

Yogi Adityanath claimed a second term in 2022, despite the party being heavily criticised over the farmers' protests. And, before that, the BJP amassed 62 seats in the 2019 general election.

The 2024 Lok Sabha election in UP was expected to be no different, at least according to exit pollsters, who handed Mr Modi's party a big win. A poll of exit polls gave the BJP 68 seats.

The Congress-led INDIA bloc was only expected to get 12 seats.

The reality, though, has been starkly different.

Driven by Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party, the INDIA group has gone head-to-head with the BJP in UP and will, most likely, finish a distant second - an unthinkable result before today.

The SP is set to win 38 seats - a record haul for the party in Lok Sabha polls - if the numbers hold, while the Congress will win seven. Crucially, the Congress is set to win back the Amethi bastion it lost to the BJP's Smriti Irani five years ago; the outgoing Union Minister had beaten Rahul Gandhi.

However, it is not Mr Gandhi who will gain revenge for the Congress.

It will be Kishor Lal Sharma, after Rahul Gandhi opted to contest the Raebareli seat - in addition to defending his Wayanad seat - left vacant by his mother Sonia Gandhi's shift to the Rajya Sabha.

Mr Gandhi is en route to massive wins from both seats.

The turnaround in UP is the story of the day and underlines the INDIA bloc's surprising challenge to the BJP, which includes tight contests in two other battleground states - Bengal and Maharashtra.

In Bengal Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool fought off an early surge from the BJP and is likely to improve on its haul of 22 (of 42) seats from the 2019 election. More importantly, it will knock back the BJP in the eastern state, from which much was expected after a record haul of 18 last time.

Meanwhile, in Maharashtra the Maha Vikas Aghadi, despite being rocked by splits within the Shiv Sena and Sharad Pawar's NCP, has dominated. The MVA, which also includes the Congress, is on course to win 29 of 48 seats in a state in which the BJP was hoping to make big gains.

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News Network
June 3,2024

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The share market has posted a massive jump in the early trade, banking on the hopes of political stability as predicted by the exit polls. The 30-share Sensex rallied over 2,000 points this morning while the 50-stock Nifty recorded its biggest jump in four years during the market opening.

Both Sensex and Nifty, the indexes of the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange, hit their record high levels today. All Sensex and Nifty stocks are now in the green.

At pre-open, Nifty surged over 800 points or 3.58% to 23,227.90 while the Sensex jumped 2,621.98 points or 3.55% to 76,583.29.

Adani Ports, Adani Enterprises, Power Grid, Shriram Finance, and NTPC are among the top performers that led the market rally with significant gains. The latest GDP data suggesting a robust 8.2% fiscal growth also bolstered the market sentiment. 

"Buoyant sentiments are driven by India's impressive Q4FY24 GDP growth of 7.8 per cent, surpassing expectations, with the fiscal year's growth standing at 8.2 per cent," said Varun Aggarwal, founder and managing director of Profit Idea. He also cautioned that the market will remain volatile in anticipation of the results pending tomorrow.

An aggregate of 12 exit polls on Saturday predicted the BJP will return to power with the ruling NDA alliance with 365 seats. A party or an alliance needs at least 272 seats to form government in the country. The market prefers political stability and a change in government usually risks volatility in the share market, according to analysts. 

The exit polls have also predicted that the BJP is set to break ground in Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the south, and make large gains in Odisha and Bengal in the east. There is, however, a health warning: exit polls do not always get it right. 

While the BJP has welcomed the exit poll predictions, the Opposition has dismissed the forecast and said the counting day will throw a completely different picture. Following a meeting of the Opposition leaders part of the INDIA bloc, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge Saturday said that the bloc will win at least 295 seats out of the total 543.

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