QWrap: Rahul Closing in on Modi; HDK Spurns PM’s Fitness Challenge

Here are the top five headlines of the day.

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Video Editor: Sandeep Suman

1. Real Voting Data Shows Rahul Closing in on Modi

The unthinkable is now being predicted. Prime Minister Modi could be on a treacherous wicket in 2019.

The Lokniti-CSDS-ABP Mood of the Nation Survey, published a fortnight back, threw up a faint prospect of the ruling party’s defeat. A few of its topline findings are astonishingly contrarian:

  • Modi’s government is about as unpopular right now as the UPA was in July 2013, nine months before its electoral debacle in 2014 – “nearly half (47%) of the total 15,859 respondents are of the opinion that the Modi government does not merit another opportunity”.
  • Over the last 12 months, “BJP’s popularity is down seven percentage points, if this declining trend continues then the ruling party may well dip below the 30 percent mark in the next few months.”
  • Congress could “net about one in four votes (25 percent) nationally”; and the erstwhile UPA would secure 31 percent of the votes across the country.

This survey’s data was backed up by actual bypoll data.

Comparing the two data sets is academically defendable (even if not pristinely consistent).

And I daresay, a highly rewarding exercise, because the results are dramatic.

(Read the full story here)


2. Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy Rejects PM Modi’s #FitnessChallenge

Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Wednesday, 13 June, declined Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s #HumFitTohIndiaFit challenge, stating that he was more concerned about the development of his state than his physical fitness. In his tweet, he thanked Modi for his concern and sought his support for Karnataka’s development instead.

Earlier in the day, the prime minister responded to the #FitnessChallenge by tweeting a video of himself performing yoga. The video shows him walking across obstacles, doing breathing exercises and performing some yoga asanas.

(Watch the full video here)


3. Rahul Gandhi Hosts First Iftar Party As Congress Chief Today

Congress president Rahul Gandhi is hosting an iftar party at the The Taj Palace hotel in New Delhi on Wednesday, 13 June. Former presidents Pranab Mukherjee and Pratibha Patil, and several Opposition leaders are present at the event.

The iftar will be keenly watched for the presence of Opposition leaders, especially since the Congress is positioning itself as the centre of Opposition unity ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

(To catch the live updates, click here)


4. Kargil Martyr’s Son Joins His Father’s Battalion

The son of Kargil martyr Lance Nayak Bachan Singh was inducted into the Indian Army at the passing out parade organised by the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun on 9 June.

Lieutenant Hitesh Kumar cited his father’s sacrifice for the nation and his mother’s struggle to raise him, as his inspiration for joining the Indian Army.

Lance Nayak Bachan Singh was martyred on 13 June 1999 in the battle of Tololing. Lieutenant Hitesh Kumar has been placed in his father’s battalion, the second Rajputana Rifles, of which even his maternal uncle was a part

(Watch the full video here)


5. Exclusive: Govt Steamrolled Cong, CPI Objection to Electoral Bonds

A Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed that the Narendra Modi government took suggestions from various political parties on the introduction of electoral bond scheme – in response, the Congress and the Communist Party of India (CPI), as well as the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), wrote letters to the Ministry of Finance raising objections to the scheme.

The Congress and the CPI argued that the names of both recipients and donors should be made public to ensure transparency. The SAD, for its part, said only profit-making companies should be allowed to make donations through electoral bonds, while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) requested a draft of the proposal.

(Read the full story here)


6. FIFA Hosts Russia Take on Saudi Arabia; India Won’t Take Afghanistan Lightly Says Rahane

The World Cup is set to start and finish with games at the opposite ends of the spectrum.

The lowest-ranked teams at the tournament will meet in the opener Thursday, 14 June, when Russia hosts Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, which is also venue for the 15 July final.

Russia will likely need to win to have a realistic hope of advancing from Group A, and is expected to have President Vladimir Putin in the crowd for support as it bids to end a winless streak of seven games.

(Read the full story here)

Meanwhile, India captain Ajinkya Rahane has emphasised that the hosts need to be “ruthless” against Afghanistan in their debut Test starting 14 June in Bengaluru.

"We are not going to take Afghanistan lightly. They have a decent team...bowlers (are good),” he said. No longer a certainty in the shorter formats, India's stand-in Test captain Rahane also said he will talk to the national selection committee in order to get a clearer picture about his mode of preparation for the upcoming Test series in England.

(Watch the full video here)

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