QBullet: PM Modi Slams Pak; Oppn Demands Return to Ballot Papers

1. Pakistan Hopes for Talks Post Polls; PM Modi Says Crushed Its N-Threat

Addressing a rally in Jammu on Sunday, 14 April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said Islamabad’s nuclear threats had been blown to bits, adding that he didn’t bow before any such “dhamki”. He also accused the Congress of “stopping the Army from taking strong action against terrorists”, as it feared “a 1962-type situation”.

At the rally in Kathua, he accused National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party leaders of issuing threats of “seceding from India” every day. “Yeh pehle Pakistan bhi nuclear ki dhamki deta tha. Uski nuclear ke parkhachchey nikal gaye ki nahin (Earlier Pakistan too used to give nuclear threats. Haven’t we blown that to bits)?” he said. “Gone are the days when the government of India used to come under pressure following threats. This is new India and we will kill terrorists right inside their houses and also expose those supporting them.”

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Mehbooba Mufti Slams Modi Over ‘Kashmir Isn’t Your Jaagir’ Remark

2. Opposition Raises Doubts over EVMs, Demands Return to Ballot Papers

Leaders from 23 Opposition parties announced on Sunday, 14 April, they will approach the Supreme Court to demand a minimum of 50 percent of votes cast in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections be verified with a paper trail, ratcheting up criticism of electronic voting machines (EVM) just three days after polling began.

Representatives of the Congress, the Telugu Desam Party, Samajwadi Party, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Left parties, among others, said in Delhi that a large number of EVMs had malfunctioned during the first phase of polling on 11 April, and that to restore the credibility of the electoral system, at least half the votes cast had to be checked with the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Will Do Anything to Defeat Modi: Kejriwal Amid Cong Alliance Talks

3. Why EC Frowned on DD Coverage: BJP Got 160 Hours in a Month, Congress 80

For almost a month after the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP got nearly 160 hours of “airtime coverage” on DD News and its regional channels while the Congress managed half of that, The Indian Express has learnt.

According to a report shared by DD News with the Election Commission (EC) on 5 April, on the airtime provided to all political parties from the announcement of the polls till that day, the principal opposition party stood second in terms of coverage with roughly 80 hours, followed by the CPM with eight hours.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Super PACs, Now Made In India – What’s the EC Doing About It?

4. ‘No Pay, No Work’ Decision Deferred for Now: Jet Airways’ Pilots Guild

Over 1,100 Jet Airways pilots, who threatened to stop flying from Monday, 15 April, as they have not been paid salaries for the past three months, said they have deferred the decision as they wanted to give the debt-ridden airline “a chance of survival”. The move comes the same day as the airline suspended operations in SAARC and ASEAN regions indefinitely, besides extending suspension of its services to Toronto and Paris from Chennai and back.

Employees of Jet Airways hold placards as they march during a protest outside Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.

The National Aviator’s Guild (NAG), which these pilots are a part of, said that they reconsidered their strike in view of a “critical meeting” planned on Monday between the airline management and the State Bank of India, which is leading the consortium of the airline’s lenders.

Also Read: Jet Airways’ Pilots Body Defers No-Flying Call, Key Meet Tomorrow

5. At Rs 670 Crore, BSP Has Biggest Bank Balance Among Parties

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has the biggest bank balance among all parties, according to official records. The expenditure report submitted by the party to the Election Commission on 25 February states that it has Rs 669 crore deposited in eight accounts in branches of public sector banks in the national capital region.

Supporters of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party (SP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) shout slogans during an election rally in Deoband inUttar Pradesh.

The party, which scored a blank in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, has also declared Rs 95.5 lakh as cash in hand. The expenditure report is based on details of the central kitties of parties. Samajwadi Party, occupies the second slot with Rs 471 crore in its bank accounts. The party’s cash deposits dipped modestly after the recent assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Telangana, coming down by Rs 11 crore.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: Daily Dispatch: Will SP-BSP-RLD Mahagathbandhan Defeat the BJP?

6. For Modi, Mangaluru to See Even Unpopular BJP Candidates Through

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at the Mangaluru airport in Dakshina Kannada on 13 April, fans lined up along a 15-km stretch of the city to see him. BJP workers and activists of Sangh Parivar groups regulated the traffic, ensuring smooth flow of buses with their load of youths, shouting ‘Modi, Modi’, to the rally at Nehru Naidan. Those who couldn’t enter the packed ground pulled down barricades to get in.

“This is a sea of saffron… On my way I was wondering if anyone would be here because so many were lined up along the road,” Modi remarked at the rally.

The 13 April meeting reflected the support for Modi in Mangaluru, which is unparalleled across Karnataka in the run-up to the polls. The BJP’s candidate for the Dakshina Kannada constituency, two-term MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, 52, is only a footnote in the campaign. The seat will vote on 18 April.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Beach Pe Charcha: Mangaluru Talks Polls, Air Strikes & Jobs

7. No Vote Cast in India’s Southernmost Booth

The southernmost polling booth of India, situated at Shompen Hut in the Great Nicobar Island of the Andaman and Nicobar Lok Sabha constituency, did not see a single vote cast by the last surviving stone-age tribe living in dense jungle there. The 31 inhabited islands of the constituency went to the polls on 11 April.

The booth is around 20km from the southernmost point of the Indian subcontinent, Indira Point. In 2014, two members of the aboriginal Shompen tribe had cast their votes—the first time people of the indigenous tribe of Great Nicobar Island are recorded as having voted.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: Rahul Dravid, Karnataka Election Ambassador, Cannot Vote This Time

8. Two Essel Firms Were in Red, but Top Mutual Funds Lent Them Rs 960 Crore

As three of the country’s biggest fund houses, Reliance Mutual Fund, Kotak Mahindra Mutual Fund and HDFC Mutual Fund, grapple with the consequences of having invested in Essel Group companies Konti Infrapower and Edisons Utility three years ago, the books of these two entities show that the fund houses made a beeline to subscribe to the debt instruments of the two companies even as they reported losses and had negative net worth.

According to Registrar of Companies (RoC) documents, on aggregate, the three fund houses had invested at least Rs 960 crore in the two Essel group companies in 2015-16. While Reliance MF said it will not comment on individual investments, HDFC MF and Kotak MF said their investments in the two Essel Group firms were backed by the collateral of Zee shares.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Essel Group Chief Apologises, Alleges “Negative Forces” at Play

9. Potato, Three Years of Losses to Count in 4 out of 8 Seats Voting Next in UP

If it was ganna (sugarcane) in the first, it’s aloo (potato) that could be decisive in at least four of the eight Lok Sabha constituencies of Uttar Pradesh voting in the second phase on 18 April.

Potato is a major crop in Agra, grown in 57,879 hectares of the district (2017-18 data) that includes both Agra and Fatehpur Sikri. The tuber is also extensively cultivated in Hathras (46,333 hectares) and Aligarh (23,332). While polls to these four southwest UP seats are on 18 April, the other three big aloo constituencies vote later: Firozabad (48,589 hectares) on 23 April, and Kannauj (50,089) and Farrukhabad (35,168) on 29 April.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Quota Within Quota in UP: Political Hot Potato That Can Backfire

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