DEMOCRACY IN ACTION VVPAT machines being unloaded from an IAF chopper for the final phase of Lok Sabha polls at Kaza in Lahaul district, Himachal Pradesh, on Wednesday. The chopper was used for transportation as Kunzum-Spiti road was blocked | PTI MANGALURU THURSDAY MAY 16, 2019 `6.00 PAGES 16 CITY EDITION CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI ‘Govt formation won’t take too long’ Congress President Rahul Gandhi is cagey about his post-poll strategy of looking for partners outside the current alliance if push comes to shove, but feels a new team will be put in place quickly; says he will wait for the verdict on May 23, but is confident that the Modi govt will be defeated G S VASU A N D S A N T W A N A B H AT TA C H A R YA P redictions about the election results may be swinging back and forth between a wild range of 150 seats, but in the middle of it all, Congress President Rahul Gandhi is exuding a quiet confidence. He resolutely parried off, like any seasoned politician, queries on any specifics on how he would move in the various scenarios - but in an exclusive interview with The New Indian Express he offered both subtle and broad hints about how he is oriented to the tasks that may lie ahead of May 23. Perhaps, that he may already have initiated, or responded to, dialogue with potential partners. In ter ms of overt words about post-poll possibilities, he offered a perfect defence — a wall that could not be breached. “You are asking the sixth time. I will answer the same way he ,” said. And that steadfastly noncommittal stance was woven around the logic that it’s “not his place” to second-guess the jurisdiction of the voters. “The people of India are the masters. I will wait for the voice of the people first and only then...” talk about post-poll scenarios. But between his words, a perfect script seems to be in place too — and an open script, not a bound one. His confidence rests, firstly, on the conviction that “Mr Modi is going to be defeated.” To sceptics, including from the BJP he has this coun, ter: “Do you think the 1.4 billion people of India can’t defeat Mr Modi?” Secondly, he does not think government formation will be a long-drawn process — “I In terms of overt words about post-Lok Sabha poll possibilities, he offered a perfect defence — a wall that could not be breached. “You are asking the sixth time. I will answer the same way” think it will be very quick.” Read along with his remark that the “entire Opposition” is united in the objective of seeing the back of the present dispensation, this is an indication that backchannel negotiations may be already under way . A major point of curiosity in the public mind is the Congress’ capacity or willingness to work with big regional blocs that may be in a position to control the narrative post-May 23. Parties like Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSCRP, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti of K Chandrashekhar Rao, besides other regional parties who are part of neither the UPA or the NDA, could form a sizeable chunk of the next Lok Sabha. Their individual relations with the Congress have often South India felt the country was being run from Nagpur....TN, AP are screaming. I was shocked by the expression of the Tamil people.... oblique, via a reverse critique of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his NDA regime. Building his decision to contest from Wayanad into the narrative, he said he had got the sense that “South India felt the country was being run from Nagpur.... Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh are screaming. I was shocked by the expression of the Tamil people....” On a specific quesEXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW tion about his willingness to work with Jagan Mohan Reddy, he took the discussion to the promise of Special Category Status for Andhra Pradesh and the way it was dishonoured by the Modi government. “The PM of India had made a commitment on Special Category Status to Andhra. Dr Manmohan Singhji had made that commitment on the floor of Parliament. That’s like a commitment from the people of India. You can’t tell the peobeen fraught and frosty, while ple of Andhra that isn’t worth they still retain a formal dis- anything.” tance from the BJP too. The The reason he cites for why Congress too has often been al- Modi ignored this long-pending leged to be isolationist, imperi- demand is what he calls his inous and often ill-adjusted to the capacity “to listen”. Calling demands of coalition politics. him a man filled with anger, he Rahul’s words are, therefore, says, his “I, me, myself and nosignificant in terms of symbol- body else” approach was a ically opening up the space for “tragedy” for India. negotiations. After Rajiv Gandhi, it was The way he opened it up was only Modi who had got a “blank cheque” to govern India, he says. And while Rajiv had kickstarted the telecom revolution, computerisation and a vision for the 21st century Modi bun, gled on an excellent opportunity to reshape India, he feels. But “anger blinded Mr Modi” and brought about a lack of sensitivity to the needs of others - and, “tragically” for India - kept him on a path of governance that was begun under Rajiv, perfected under Narasimha Dr Manmohan Singhji made that commitment in Parliament on Andhra’s special status. That’s like a commitment from the people of India. You can’t tell the people of Andhra that isn’t worth anything Rao and Dr Singh, but one that had stopped working from 2012. “We are not going to be arrogant. We are going to listen to the people, we’re even going to listen to the Opposition,” said Rahul. As explicit an answer as he has ever given on whether he is willing to accept the post of prime minister — of course, if the “masters” so decide on May 23. FULL INTERVIEW | WILL LISTEN TO THE VERDICT OF THE PEOPLE ON THE LOK SABHA ELECTIONS, SAYS RAHUL GANDHI | PAGE 9 EXPRESS READ 10 injured in grenade attack in Guwahati Guwahati: At least ten people, including two SSB personnel and a child, were injured when suspected insurgents of United Liberation Front of Assam (Paresh Baruah faction) triggered a grenade blast in the heart of Guwahati on Wednesday evening. The explosion occurred at around 7:55 pm near a shopping mall. Minor’s rape: JK HC takes suo motu cognizance Srinagar: Taking suo motu cognizance of the rape of a threeyear-old girl in Kashmir’s Bandipora district, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday directed the Kashmir Police to file a status report by Friday. On May 8, the minor was raped by her neighbour, who lured her into the washroom of a nearby school. Odisha govt pegs Fani damage at B11,942 crore Bhubaneswar: Even as the Odisha government on Wednesday pegged the preliminary Fani damage estimate at `11,942 crore, a Central team, which completed its assessment, praised the state for its measures. Estimating the damage in Fani affected areas at Rs 11,942 crore, the government said a detailed memorandum will be submitted to the Centre after P6 the actual loss is estimated. Poll panel cuts short Bengal campaigning EC blames state officials for not doing enough to control violence instigated by mobs; removes two key officers MANISH ANAND, KUMAR VIKRAM AND P R A N A B M O N D A L @ New Delhi / Kolkata SC PULLS UP BENGAL GOVT ON ACTIVIST ARREST IN an unprecedented move in the electoral history of India, the Election Commission invoked Article 324 of the Constitution on Wednesday, ordering all campaigning in nine remaining West Bengal constituencies to end at 10 pm on Thursday night — a day before its scheduled deadline — in the wake of the clash between BJP and TMC workers in Kolkata on Tuesday . The EC also ordered the removal of Principal Secretary (Home) and Additional Director General, CID from their postings in West Bengal, while directing West Bengal police to speedily identify the accused involved in the arson, vandalism and violence. The EC action came on a day of fast paced developments with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee trading charges of inciting violence during BJP president Amit Shah’s massive road show in Kolkata on Tuesday which saw the destruc, tion of a bust of the iconic reformer-educationist Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar on University Street. Both parties served video-clips to prove that the other was responsible for the violence. “Didi’s goons carrying guns and bombs are bent upon destruction. Her government is out to destroy everything in the state. People’s conviction and courage will evict the torturous rule,” The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the West Bengal government for keeping BJP activist Priyanka Sharma behind bars overnight despite the court’s order to release her on bail immediately. She was released only on Wednesday at 9.40 am. Meanwhile Sharma, who was arrested for allegedly sharing a morphed picture of CM Mamata Banerjee, alleged she was tortured in jail P7 Modi told a poll rally at Taki on the IndoBangla border in North 24 Parganas. Charging her with destruction of Bengal’s ‘Bhadralok’ culture, he said, “Democracy has given you CM’s chair and you are killLOK SABHA ELECTION ing it. You said two days ago that 2019 you will take revenge inch by inch and within 24 hours, your men attacked Shah to fulfill your agenda of spreading terror.” Mamata alleged the EC action was taken at the behest of Shah and Narendra Modi and was ‘unethical, unconstitutional, undemocratic and politically biased”. “Will this secure BJP’s victory? This is the EC’s prize to BJP for smashing Vidyasagar’s bust,” she said. Shah said in Delhi, “TMC, rattled by BJP’s rapid rise in Bengal had ordered rioting, targeting me. I would not have come back alive but for CRPF protection.” MATTERN OF CONCERN IT’S OFFICIAL, MONSOON TO BE DELAYED E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi IT’S now official that this year’s monsoon will be delayed. A day after private weather forecaster Skymet predicted rains will reach the Kerala coast on June 4 instead of the normal onset date of June 1, India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Wednesday that showers will hit Kerala only on June 6. IMD uses a customised weather model to forecast the arrival of monsoon. The model is near fool-proof and has gone wrong only once, in 2015, since IMD started using it in 2014. It has a built-in error margin of four days so that the onset would be anywhere between June 2 and June 10. Skymet’s forecast has an error margin of two days. “Conditions are becoming favourable for the advance of the southwest monsoon over the southern part of the Andaman Sea, Nicobar Islands and adjoining southeast Bay of Bengal during 18-19 May the IMD said in a statement. ,” Arrival of monsoon over Kerala marks the beginning of the four-month rainfall season in mainland India. In the normal course, monsoon reaches Kerala within 10 days of reaching the Andamans. However meteorologists predict that this year, the monsoon will make a sluggish advance after reaching Kerala due to the high temperatures in the seas surroundi n g t h e c o u n t r y a n d E l N i n o. CLOUD SEEDING IN K’TAKA: P5 Raichur Girl Assaulted Multiple Times The Day She Went Missing S H R E YA S H S @ Raichur SOME vital documents related to the investigation of the Raichur girl’s death reveal that she was subjected to multiple assaults on the day she went missing. The accused had also hidden the key of the victim’s vehicle at his far mhouse where her body was later found hanging from a tree. The spot inspection report (panchanama) filed before the Judicial Magistrate First Class III, has damning details which were not in public domain so far. The inspection was carried out at the house of the accused in Timmapur Pet area on April 25 and the report was submitted by CID (Special Enquiries) DySP K Ravishankar. A certified copy of it has been obtained by TNIE. The report says that on April 13, the day the girl went missing, the accused Sudarshan Yadav followed her from her house in IDSMT Layout to her college on his two-wheeler and accosted her near Vishnavi Heaven Apartments opposite Navodaya Hospital. He then got into an argument with her. He also slapped her on the face and shouted at her. When she fled from there, Yadav followed her to her college. The girl had earlier informed the local police that Yadav was in possession of her horoscope which she had got prepared by an astrologer for her wedding. Police had seized the 13-page horoscope from Yadav along with his 90page diary . The report further states that on April 10, the girl and Yadav were spotted at a lodge in Mantralayam. Footage from the CCTV cameras in the lodge show Yadav checkPRESS ing in with a bag at CLUSIVE 10:17 am and stepping out at 10:21 am. He returns to the hotel with the girl at 10:49 am. A few hours later, at 1:30 pm, Yadav heads out only to come back in two minutes carrying bottles of soft drink and mineral water. The duo is seen walking out of the hotel at 3:10 pm. The CID also found Yadav had assaulted her again on April 13 at a parking lot where he snatched they keys to her two-wheeler and her mobile phone. While the mobile phone was found at his house, Yadav had hid the two-wheeler key at his farmhouse. ALL ARE WELCOME KAMAL Seeks anticipatory bail over Godse remark This comes a day after police registered an FIR against the actor-politician for his recent alleged ‘Hindu terrorist’ statement P6 A fishing festival that unites people of different religions AROCKIARAJ JOHNBOSCO @ Mangaluru HERE’S a fishing festival that brings together people of all religions. The annual fishing festival of the Dharmarasu Shree Ullaya temple festival at Chelyaru Khandige, which was held on Wednesday, attracted people from across the region where devotees caught fish in the Nandini River. From senior citizens to children, devotees entered the muddy river, and tried their luck. Within two hours, most of them had their share of riverine fish, including pearl spot, paiya, irpe and sarkar and larger ones like mudava. Lawrence Cutinha from Pavanje caught a handful of fish and was looking for more. “The festival is not restricted to one particular community Every. one is allowed to catch fish in the festival. It is an age-old custom of this village,” he said. The fishing festival began at 7 am after the prasadam was offered to the river and at the sound of a firecracker, people rushed to the river. Due to the festival, regular fishing was suspended in the river for an entire lunar cycle so that all participants get their share of fish. “Some people even buy new nets for this festival ... it is the joy of fishing together with family and friends and later feasting on the fish we catch,” said Santhosh, a participant. Temple official Adithya Mukaldhi said the fishing festival P3 is open for all. People participate in the fishing festival organised as part of Dharmarasu Shree Ullaya temple festival, on Wednesday | RAJESH SHETTY BALLALBAGH
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