QBullet: Cong-JD(S) Win K’taka Bypolls; Faizabad Becomes Ayodhya
1. Bypoll Boost for Opposition Unity
The Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) alliance on Tuesday, 6 November, won two of three Lok Sabha seats and both assembly seats with hefty margins in the November 3 Karnataka by-elections, securing a morale booster in what the former called just a teaser ahead of next year’s general elections.
An unexpected victory in the Ballari Lok Sabha constituency was particularly sweet for the alliance, which wrested the seat from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after a hiatus of nearly oneand-a-half decades. It also won the Mandya Lok Sabha seat and the Ramanagara and Jamakhandi assembly seats.
2. UP CM’s Temple Push: Faizabad is Ayodhya, New Airport After Ram
As the chorus for early construction of a Ram temple at the disputed Ayodhya site grows within the Sangh Parivar in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath lent weight at ground zero, announcing on Tuesday, 6 November, that Faizabad district, home to the pilgrim town, will henceforth be known as Ayodhya district.
He also declared that Ayodhya will have its own airport named after Ram and a medical college named after Ram’s father King Dashrath. Cheering the announcements, people in the crowd raised slogans of “Yogiji ek kaam karo, Mandir ka nirman karo (Yogi, do one job: build the temple)”.
3. ‘RBI Board Role Worrisome, Shouldn’t Interfere in Ops’: Rajan
Embattled RBI governor Urjit Patel’s predecessor Raghuram Rajan has come out in support of professionals leading the central bank, stating that the regulator’s board should only ensure governance and not intervene in operational decisions.
“The RBI’s board is not an operational board. It is not led by professional supervisors or central bankers. These are all people from different walks of life whose main role is to play the wise people to advise, to counsel, to play a Rahul Dravid, to coach in some sense but not to make operational decisions and certainly not be loud like Navjot Sidhu,” Rajan told ET Now.
4. Protests in Mizoram Seek CEO Removal, Election Panel Sends Team
Over 40,000 people took part in a rally in Aizawl Tuesday, 6 November, morning to demand the removal of Mizoram’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) SB Shashank over allegations of bias in the conduct of the upcoming polls, officials said. The Election Commission (EC) has dispatched a three-member committee to the state to resolve the issue.
The massive rally and the EC’s move came after Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding Shashank’s removal. The EC team, led by Jharkhand CEO L Khiangte, has begun meetings with the Mizoram Chief Secretary and representatives of civil society groups that have been demanding Shashank’s transfer.
5. Delhi Breathes Easy Again, But May Choke From Diwali Night
The city’s air quality improved on Tuesday, 6 November, a day after it had recorded its worst bad-air day this season. The air quality index returned to ‘very poor’ from Monday’s ‘severe’ category as the wind speed picked up. The effects of stubble burning also went down after contributing to as much as 33% of Delhi’s PM 2.5 levels on Monday, 6 November.
The overall AQI for Delhi was recorded at 338 on Tuesday, a substantial drop from 426 a day earlier. Forecasts show the air quality will improve even further during daytime on Diwali before spiking again from the evening, touching ‘severe’ levels on November 8 and 9 if even half the amount of firecrackers burst on Diwali last year are burst this year.
6. CBI Director Verma Responds to CVC, Rejects Bribe Claim
CBI Director Alok Verma, in his response to the Central Vigilance Commission, has dismissed the charge that he sought or accepted a bribe of Rs 2 crore from Hyderabad-based businessman Sana Satish Babu to shield him in the case against controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi, as alleged by CBI special director Rakesh Asthana.
Babu was a witness in the case, not an accused as claimed by Asthana, Verma told CVC, according to officials familiar with the development.
7. NDA Reworks Math for JD(U) Lok Sabha Share
Candidate selection for about half of the 40 Lok Sabha constituencies is on the table for discussion as the three National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners from 2014 make room for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)) into the coalition for the 2019 elections, according to three leaders familiar with the negotiations.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is yet to announce a seat-sharing agreement in Bihar, but has said it will contest an equal number of seats as the JD(U). This means the BJP will have to let go of several seats where it won five years ago. Partnering with the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) of Ram Vilas Paswan and the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party of Upendra Kushwaha in 2014, the BJP won 22 out of 30 seats it contested in 2014. The LJP won six out of seven seats and the RLSP won all three seats it contested, making the Bihar polls a virtual rout by the NDA.
8. RSS Men, in Fight For Sabarimala Traditions, Break Sacred Custom
The Ayyappa temple closed on Tuesday, 6 November, night after remaining open for a little over 24 hours even as right-wing protesters agitating for the supposed safekeeping of “traditions and customs” ran into a controversy by ironically violating a custom which is considered sacrosanct.
Following rumours on Tuesday morning that a woman below 50 had arrived for darshan, scores of protesters planted themselves on the 18 “holy steps” leading to the temple, led by RSS leader Valsan Thillenkery. None of them was carrying irumudi (the traditional cloth bundle containing votive offerings), which is a violation of the custom. Only devotees carrying irumudi are allowed to ascend the holy steps, and they have to do so as quickly as possible.
Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) member Sankar Das also violated the tradition by climbing the holy steps without an irumudi later in the day.
9. Ganapathi Steps Down as General Secretary of CPI (Maoist), Succeeded by Baswaraj
Andhra Police’s investigations into the “tactics” adopted by suspected members of the CPI (Maoist) in the killing of an MLA and a former MLA in Araku Valley last month have led to a key conclusion: the Naxal outfit has got a new leader in Namballa Keshav Rao.
Police sources told The Indian Express that Keshav Rao (63), alias Baswaraj, took over from Muppala Lakshman Rao (72), alias Ganapathi, around two months ago.
Lakshman Rao was asked to step down after the CPI (Maoist) central committee decided to elevate a younger leader, sources said. The new leader, Keshav Rao, is from Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh and is a graduate from the former Regional Engineering College in Warangal.