Mangaluru college student and mother killed in car-truck collision on Shiradi Ghat

News Network
May 21, 2024

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Mangaluru, May 21: A tragic road accident on Shiradi Ghat early Tuesday morning claimed the lives of a college student and his mother. The mishap involved their Innova car and a speeding truck.

The deceased have been identified as Mohammed Shafiq bin Shabbir (20) and his mother, Safiya (50). Shafiq, a student at P A Engineering College in Mangaluru, was driving the car. They were residents of Bondala in Bantwal taluk.

The accident occurred in the jurisdiction of the Sakleshpur rural police station as the car was nearing Kempuhole on Shiradi Ghat. A container truck, traveling in the opposite direction, collided with their vehicle.

Among the car's passengers, three children sustained serious injuries. The family was returning from a wedding reception in Bengaluru.

Family sources reported that the victims had attended a wedding reception in Bengaluru on May 20. They left the city around midnight to return to Dakshina Kannada. The accident occurred when the truck collided with their car.

The mortal remains of Shafiq and Safiya have been moved to a private hospital in Mangaluru. The injured children are receiving treatment at another hospital in the city.

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News Network
June 12,2024

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Nara Chandrababu Naidu, Telugu Desam Party supremo, was sworn in as the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh for the fourth term on Wednesday, June 12. Andhra governor S Abdul Nazeer, former Telangana governor Tamilisai Soundarajan were present at the swearing-in.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah, Union ministers JP Nadda and Bandi Sanjay Kumar, and several other leaders attended the oath-taking ceremony.

Chandrababu Naidu took oath around 11.27am near Gannavaram Airport in Kesarapalli on the outskirts of Vijayawada. Along with Chandrababu Naidu, Janasena chief Pawan Kalyan, the TDP supremo's son Nara Lokesh and 22 others also took the oath.

Pawan Kalyan reportedly has been offered the deputy chief minister's post. Janasena is being offered three cabinet berths and the Bharatiya Janata Paty one.

After taking oath as chief minister Naidu shared a hug with PM Narendra Modi on stage. This is the fourth time that Naidu is assuming charge as Andhra chief minister and the second time after the bi-furcation in 2014.

Chandrababu Naidu's son and TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh, Union minister Rammohan Naidu, actors Chiranjeevi, Rajnikanth, Nandamuri Balakrishna were also present on occasion.

Naidu had led the TDP- BJP-Janasena National Democratic Alliance to a landslide victory in the assembly as well as Parliamentary elections.

The TDP holds the majority in Andhra Pradesh's 175-member assembly with 135 MLAs, while its allies, the Janasena Party, have 21 and the BJP has eight. The opposition YSR Congress Party has 11 legislators.

The TDP MLAs who took oaths included Nara Lokesh, Kinjarapu Atchannaidu, Nimmala Ramanaidu, NMD Farooq, Anam Ramanarayana Reddy, Payyavula Kesav, Kollu Ravindra, Ponguru Narayana, Vangalapudi Anita, Anagani Satya Prasad, Kolusu Parthasaradhi, Kola Balaveeranjaneya Swamy, Gottipati Ravi, Gummadi Sandhyarani, BC Janardhan Reddy, TG Bharath, S Savitha, Vasamsetty Subhash, Kondapalli Srinivas and Mandipalli Ramprasad Reddy.

In the 175-member Andhra Pradesh assembly, the cabinet can have 26 ministers, including the chief minister.

The Telugu Desam Legislature Party and NDA partners elected Naidu as their leader in separate meetings on Tuesday, June 11.

Addressing the legislators, Naidu asserted that he is committed to developing Amaravati as the state's sole capital.

"With all your cooperation, I am swearing in tomorrow (as the CM) and I would like to thank you all for that. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is coming for the swearing-in ceremony,” Naidu said, adding he had sought cooperation from the Union government for Andhra Pradesh's development and it was "assured".

South superstars Rajinikanth, Chiranjeevi, and actor-politician Nandamuri Balakrishna also attended the event at Gannavaram Mandal, Kesarapalli IT Park.

Naidu first became the chief minister in 1995 and went on to have another two terms.

His first two terms as chief minister were at the helm of united Andhra Pradesh, beginning in 1995 and ending in 2004, while the third term came post-bifurcation of the state.

In 2014, Naidu emerged as the first chief minister of bifurcated Andhra Pradesh and served it until 2019. He lost the 2019 polls and was the opposition leader until 2024.

Following a landslide victory in the 2024 elections, he is returning as the CM for a fourth term, ousting the YSRCP.

The NDA won a landslide victory in the recently concluded simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections in the state, winning 164 of the 175 assembly seats and 21 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats. 

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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 5,2024

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India is unpredictable. This is an incontrovertible fact that Indians themselves seem to have forgotten over the past decade.

Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed into office with an unexpected and unprecedented outright legislative majority in 2014, many have assumed the country’s politics had changed forever.

The age of coalitions was over; India seemed to be heading inexorably toward one-party dominance.

To stock traders and pro-government pundits, the country’s trajectory seemed so clear: It was destined to see steady 8 per cent growth, happy voters, and a prime minister going from strength to strength at home and abroad.

Indian voters chose to disagree. With votes still being counted in the country’s massive general elections and several races still hanging in the balance, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party looks almost certain to have fallen short of a parliamentary majority. 
That means it will have to depend, for the first time, on fickle smaller parties to hold onto power.

This was what Indian politics looked like for decades prior to Modi’s emergence. Many thought we were living in a new normal. Instead, the old normal has reasserted itself.

In these surprising elections, Modi and the BJP appear to have discovered the limits of hype. An apparently unified public sphere, solidly pro-government media, and impressive growth numbers had left many assuming that Modi’s performance in power had few holes.

Observers should have paid more attention to contrary indicators. Employment growth under Modi has been marginal at best. Social inclusion has been patchy.

While much of the country looks very different from it did in 2014, even more of it looks largely unchanged.

Small-town India has not seen the sort of revolution in infrastructure that cities of equivalent size in China or Southeast Asia have enjoyed over recent decades.

Big metropolises were transformed during the boom years of the 2000s; they have mostly stagnated since then.

Whatever the GDP growth numbers are, whether they are believable or not, one thing is clear: Voters do not believe enough of that growth has reached their wallets.
It’s not surprising such facts have been overlooked. The Modi government and its allies have completely dominated messaging over the past decade.

They sought to maintain, week in and week out, the frenetic pace and outsize enthusiasm that marked the Prime Minister’s initial march to power.

The government thought that the lesson of its sweeping re-election in 2019 was that social conservatism and welfare delivery was enough to maintain control.

But Modi and the BJP have reached the limits of welfare-first politics and saturation advertising. Without real change on the ground, he or any successor may struggle to retain power over the next five years. They will have to pay more attention to governance than to marketing.

There’s a lot that needs attention. Modi came into power promising manufacturing jobs and private-sector-friendly reforms. In this campaign, he instead argued that loans to small-scale entrepreneurs had gone up, proving that jobs were being created — and that increases in share prices for public-sector companies validated his economic performance.

This is clearly a retreat from the ambitions of a decade ago. Any new government must recapture those ambitions; voters clearly expect it.

If India’s politics have indeed returned to normal, its government must, too. Repression of the opposition does not work, not in a country this large and variegated.

For 10 years, Modi has promised to wipe out his principal rivals in the Indian National Congress party. Yet, in this election, the Congress demonstrated that it is not going anywhere.

The government arguably misused investigative agencies to go after opposition leaders in two states in particular, Maharashtra and West Bengal; both have decisively voted against the BJP.

Modi’s personal popularity is such that he and his government can survive the sort of relatively mild rebuke the electorate has delivered. To retain power for a third term, even if dependent on allies, is an historic achievement.

This result is only startling because the Modi hype had completely detached itself from reality.

We do not live, it appears, in a post-truth world. Even the most adept populists must eventually reckon with reality. None of them are immune to the most fundamental rule of politics: If you don’t perform, you perish.

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