QBullet: TDP Walks Out of NDA; Crisis Hits AAP in Punjab

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India
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TDP party leaders hold placards and raise slogans demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh during the budget session.
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1. TDP Exits NDA; Moves No-Trust Motion in Parliament

Ending its four-year-old alliance with the BJP, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) on Friday, 16 March, pulled out of the NDA over the Centre's refusal to grant Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh and simultaneously moved a no-trust motion in Parliament.

TDP president and AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu made the announcement to exit the BJP-led alliance in Amaravati, eight days after two of its Union ministers – P Ashok Gajapati Raju and Y S Chowdary – quit on 8 March following a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The YSR Congress – a regional party in AP – also moved a no-confidence motion against the Modi government.

The BJP termed the TDP's decision as "inevitable."

Naidu later told reporters he was fighting a "dharma yuddh (righteous war)” to secure the state's 'legitimate' rights, and claimed that parties at the national level were backing the TDP's no-confidence motion due to his party's credibility.

Catch all live updates on The Quint.

2. Kejriwal’s Apology Fallout: Bhagwant Mann Quits as AAP Punjab Head

Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann on Friday, 16 March, resigned as the Aam Aadmi Party's Punjab chief, a day after party supremo Arvind Kejriwal's apology to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Singh Majithia drew flak from state unit leaders.

Mann announced his decision to resign on Twitter.

Following this, the vice president of the AAP Punjab unit, Aman Arora, also resigned from his post.

Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal had on Thursday, 15 March, tendered an apology to former Punjab minister Majithia for levelling charges of involvement in drugs trade against him.

Read the full story on The Quint.

3. Minutes After Conviction for Trafficking, Daler Mehndi Gets Bail

Singer Daler Mehndi. 
Singer Daler Mehndi. 
(File Photo: IANS)

On Friday, 16 March, popular Punjabi singer Daler Mehndi was sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted in a human trafficking case of 2003 by a Patiala court. The singer was also almost immediately granted bail by the court soon after. The singer had been accused of illegally dropping off people abroad during his international concerts and tours.

Speaking to the media outside the Patiala court, Mehndi said that he would fight the case in a higher court.

I have been granted bail. We will appeal in higher court.  
Daler Mehndi, singer

In 2003, Daler and his brother, Shamsher Singh, had been accused of illegally sending people abroad as part of members of his troupe in return of "passage money."

Read the full story on The Quint.

4. After Gorakhpur & Phulpur, SP-BSP Formula to be Tested in More Bypolls

After defeating the BJP in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, the SP and the BSP have the opportunity to put their alliance to another trial – bypolls for Kairana Lok Sabha and Noorpur Assembly seats due within next five months. The two seats fell vacant following the death of BJP MP Hukum Singh and MLA Lokendra Singh.

Sources in the two parties told The Times of India that the bypolls could actually decide the finer contours of a possible alliance as they gear up to take on the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

It is being discussed in UP’s political circles that if the BSP candidate wins the Rajya Sabha seat with the support of the SP-led combined Opposition, there are fair chances that Mayawati would support the SP candidate in Kairana.

(Source: The Times of India)

5. Alimuddin Lynching Case: Jharkhand Court Convicts 11 ‘Gau Rakshaks’

Alimuddin Ansari was made to pose for photos while he was being beaten. On the right is the Maruti van that was burnt on 29 June 2017.
Alimuddin Ansari was made to pose for photos while he was being beaten. On the right is the Maruti van that was burnt on 29 June 2017.
(Photo: Aishwarya S Iyer/The Quint)

In a first, 11 accused of murder in a case of cow vigilantism have been booked by a trial court in Jharkhand on Friday, 16 March, The Wire reported. The quantum of punishment will be announced on 20 March.

All the accused, including a local BJP leader, have been convicted under Section 302 of the IPC, the report added.

According to The Wire, defence lawyers will soon appeal the conviction.

With the conviction of 11 ‘gau rakshaks’, this becomes the first case of conviction in a case related to violence perpetrated in the name of cow protection in the country.

Read the full story on The Quint.

6. Another Aadhaar Data Leak: Just Google ‘Mera Aadhaar Meri Pehchan’

Another Aadhaar data leak?
Another Aadhaar data leak?
(Photo: Saumya Pankaj/The Quint)

In yet another revelation that raises worries about the privacy of your Aadhaar data, it has been found that a simple Google search will lead you to the Aadhaar details of several individuals. These details, including their name, address, Aadhaar number, date of birth and photograph, have been made publicly accessible on the internet for no clear reason. Thankfully, the biometric details are not available.

Ironically enough, the Aadhaar tagline “Mera Aadhaar Meri Pehchan” is part of the search query that reveals the data.

The sites that have uploaded Aadhaar details of individuals for apparent public consumption include, among others:

  • The official government website of the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (www.incois.gov.in)
  • The official website of the All India Football Federation (www.the-aiff.com)
  • The website of a private company Starcards India (http://starcardsindia.com), a service provider of payment gateway service, mobile app development and mobile app design based in Hyderabad.

Read the full story on The Quint.

7. SC Wants PNB Probe Report in Sealed Cover, Centre Objects

The Supreme Court’s suggestion Friday, 16 March, to file the probe report of the PNB scam in a sealed cover to it invited strong protests from the Centre which opposed this saying it would amount to a “parallel enquiry.”

“What is the justification for any court, let alone this court, to ask to file the report… It will amount to a parallel enquiry,” Attorney General KK Venugopal told a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.

The AG was responding to the CJI’s suggestion while hearing a PIL – which sought directions to register cases against top officials of Punjab National Bank, deportation of Nirav Modi and directions to bank regarding grant of loans – that the Centre file the report in a sealed cover.

At the outset, the AG apprised the court the probe was on and 19 persons had been arrested so far, of whom eight were public servants and the rest private persons.

(Source: The Indian Express)

8. Politics Will Divide us, Says Kamal Haasan on Rajinikanth

QBullet: TDP Walks Out of NDA; Crisis Hits AAP in Punjab
(Photo: IANS)

As observers keenly watch the yet-to-unfold politics of actors Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, the latter on Friday, 16 March, admitted there was bound to be a “divide” between him and his film industry “competitor”-turned political opponent.

“I do not yet know his political views. But, (my stand is that) I won’t take sides. I have no religion. I believe in all religions, I believe in amity,” Kamal told TOI on Friday, in what seemed a mild dig at Rajinikanth and his avowed ‘spiritual politics.’

Would there be a sense of regret in the coming days as politics was bound to divide? “Absolutely it will… even our profession did,” said Kamal. “Rajnikanth’s kind of movies are different. I don’t believe in those kind of films because I don’t want to do his kind of films.”

(Source: The Times of India)

9. Govt May Soon Cap Life of Commercial Vehicles at 20 Years

The Centre’s ambitious vehicle-scrapping policy will become compulsory for all commercial vehicles from 2020 and their life will be capped at 20 years, a high-level meeting chaired by Nripendra Misra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, decided on Friday, 16 March, two senior government officials familiar with the development said.

The plan is to try to get the GST Council to consider a lower tax on new commercial vehicles bought against a scrapped one from the current rate of 28 percent to between 12 percent and 18 percent, one of the officials added on condition of anonymity. Vehicle manufacturers will also offer a discount on purchases against scrapped vehicles.

The road ministry has been directed to put up a proposal before the Cabinet in three months, this person added.

Once the Cabinet approves the scheme, and till the deadline of 2020 when it kicks in, owners of vehicles older than 20 years can voluntarily scrap their vehicles and receive a discount on the purchase of new ones, the first official said.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

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