QBullet: TDP Quits NDA Govt ; Modi Condemns Vandalism of Statues
1. Chandrababu Naidu Takes TDP out of NDA Govt Over Special Status for Andhra
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) said on Wednesday that its ministers would quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre, after failing in its bid to secure special category status for Andhra Pradesh.
The decision came amid a persistent deadlock between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which leads the NDA, and the TDP over the issue, with the latter stalling Parliament for the third consecutive day. The Narendra Modi government refused to give in to the demand while making placatory gestures towards its largest ally in southern India.
The TDP announced that its two ministers in the Modi government, aviation minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju and junior minister for science and technology YS Chowdhury, would quit.
2. PM Narendra Modi Condemns Vandalism of Statues Across Country
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday came down heavily on incidents of vandalism of statues of leaders in various parts of the country, and took up the matter with Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
The Home Ministry issued two strongly worded advisories to State governments to prevent such incidents from occurring.
In an official statement, Prime Minister Modi was said to have strongly condemned such incidents of vandalism and assured stern action would be taken against those found guilty.
Following the BJP’s victory in the Assembly polls in Tripura, a statue of late Soviet leader VI Lenin in Belonia town in the State had been vandalised. What added fuel to the fire was a Facebook post (now deleted and denied) from the account of BJP’s national secretary H Raja, that statues of Dravidian ideologue Periyar in Tamil Nadu be defaced too.
3. Jaitley to Contest From UP in Upcoming RS Polls
The BJP’s central election committee announced on Wednesday that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat, will contest the upcoming 23 March elections to the Upper House from Uttar Pradesh, while Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan will represent Madhya Pradesh. Currently, Pradhan is a member from Bihar.
Of the 58 Rajya Sabha seats going to polls, Uttar Pradesh accounts for 10. Following its massive win in the 2017’s Assembly elections, the BJP will gain eight UP seats, seven up from its previous tally.
Samajwadi Party, which currently has 18 members in the Upper House, is set to lose five of its six seats up for polls — this means its tally will come down to 13.
4. Man Enters Karnataka Lokayukta's Chamber, Stabs Him Four Times
A man with a knife walked into MS Building, the nerve centre of the state administration, on Wednesday afternoon and stabbed Karnataka Lokayukta P Vishwanath Shetty in his office at least four times before being overpowered and arrested.
Justice Shetty, 73, was stabbed in the chest, abdomen, hand and thigh in what police said was an attempt to murder him. He underwent multiple surgeries later in the day at Mallya Hospital. Doctors said his condition was stable.
Opposition parties said the security breach showed a “complete breakdown of law and order” in the state and questioned the common man’s safety if the Lokayukta was not safe in his office. CM Siddaramaiah said a probe was on and action would be taken if any laxity was found.
5. Aadhaar Not Mandatory for NEET
In a huge relief to thousands of students, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed a CBSE notification that made Aadhaar or its enrolment proof mandatory to register or appear for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2018.
The five-judge Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, which is hearing a batch of petitions challenging Aadhaar, questioned the Centre about the issuance of such notifications by government authorities.
Especially when the Supreme Court had already made it clear in a series of interim orders that Aadhaar would continue to be voluntary till a final decision is taken by the court about its constitutional validity.
6. 7th Pay Commission: Hike in Dearness Allowance for Govt Employees Gets Cabinet Nod
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday announced a two percent hike in dearness allowance and dearness relief for Central government employees and pensioners, a move that will benefit an estimated 11 million people across the country.
The hike will be effective from January 2018, an official statement said.
“The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval to release an additional installment of dearness allowance (DA) to Central government employees and dearness relief (DR) to pensioners...representing an increase of two percent over the existing rate of five percent of the basic pay/pension, to compensate for price rise,” the statement added.
7. Rajasthan Congress Winning Run Continues in Bypolls to Civic Bodies
The Congress continued its good run in Rajasthan by winning most of the Zila Parishad, Nagar Palika/Nagar Parishad, and Panchayat Samiti seats in the bypoll results declared on Wednesday.
The Congress won four Zila Parishad seats while the BJP won one; in the Nagar Palika/Nagar Parishad, it won four seats compared to the BJP’s two. Congress won 12 Panchayat Samiti seats while the BJP won eight. Independents won one Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti each.
Congress won one Zila Parishad seat each in Barmer and Dungarpur and two seats in Karauli, while BJP won in Jhunjhunu.
8. Wife Accuses Indian Pacer Shami of Infidelity, Assault
India pacer Mohammed Shami's wife has accused him of infidelity and physically assaulting her over several months, prompting her to go to the Lalbazar police headquarters on Wednesday.
Hasin Jahan met senior cops in her lawyer's presence during her three-and-a-half-hour visit, which came a day after she posted a series of screenshots of text messages on Facebook, claiming that they were conversations between Shami and other women.
Jahan, 26, a former Kolkata-based model and KKR cheerleader, met Shami in 2011 during his KKR days. They got married a year later. The couple has a four-year-old daughter.
"She came to Lalbazar and met us. She has told us in detail about the trouble between her and her husband but did not lodge any official complaint," Kolkata Police joint commissioner (crime) Praveen Tripathi said.
9. BCCI Player Contracts: Kohli & Co Receive Pay Hikes
In a bid to strike a balance between players’ demands and BCCI’s coffers, the CoA has arrived at a compromise formula while finalising the much-delayed player retainers for 2017-18.
While announcing the revised player contracts for the period from October 2017 to September 2018, the Vinod Rai-led CoA created a new provision to ensure that the international men, women and domestic cricketers’ annual retainer does not suffer even if India plays fewer matches at home.
“The CoA recognises that the actual income of the BCCI fluctuates on an annual basis depending on the number of home matches Team India (senior men) plays. Hence, to insulate the player compensation, the CoA has sanctioned the creation of a Players Revenue / Compensation Equalisation Fund” (PR/CEF) to which the BCCI will contribute approximately Rs 125 crore per annum from its surplus,” Rai said in a statement.