Test for Modi: Mini elec­tions in In­dia next Mon­day

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

CA.C.SHAHUL HAMEED OLOMBO China’s in­vest­ments in South Asia climbs to $12.29 bil­lion and the re­gional trade crossed $111 bil­lion as the world’s sec­ond largest econ­omy seeks to make in­roads into the sub-con­ti­nent with its One Belt One Road Ini­tia­tive says a me­dia re­port.China’s in­vest­ments in Sri Lanka, Pak­istan, In­dia and other South Asian coun­tries reached $12.29 bil­lion.

China, the largest lender to Sri Lanka also in­vested over $7 bil­lion in the is­land.Mean­while, China’s Xin­hua news agency said that China’s co­op­er­a­tion with South Asian coun­tries will be very broad, thanks to the grow­ing shared in­ter­ests and mar­ket de­mand.“A round of key projects has been launched fol­low­ing the China- pro­posed Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive to pro­mote eco­nomic growth of the coun­tries and boost re­gional co­op­er­a­tion,” states Vice Min­is­ter of the Min­istry of Com­merce Gao Yen, ahead of the Fourth –South Asia Expo and 24th China Kun­ming Im­port and Ex­port Fair be­ing held in the Yu­nan Prov­ince from June 12 to 17 , 2016. By the end of 2015 China’s di­rect in­vest­ment in South Asian coun­tries, spe­cially Sri Lanka, Pak­istan, In­dia stood at $890 mil­lion, Gao said.Be­sides plans to step up in­vest­ments in In­dia, China launched the $46 bil­lion China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor (CPEC) with Pak­istan.

The Cor­ri­dor to con­nect West­ern China to Pak­istan’s Gwadar deep sea port on the Ara­bian Sea was an­nounced last year. Ac­cord­ing to an­other re­port last year trade grew 4.9 per cent from the pre­vi­ous year to US111.22 bil­lion be­tween China and SAARC coun­tries namely - Pak­istan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, In­dia , Mal­dives and Afghanistan. @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ Mini elec­tions in In­dia next Mon­day. AC Shahul HameedCOLOMBO - Assem­bly elec­tions in four In­dian States and a Union ter­ri­tory will be a mini-ref­er­en­dum on In­dian Prime min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s two-year rule. It is also a test of whether Modi’s Bharatha Janatha Party (BJP) can ex­pand its foot­print in re­gions where it has been tra­di­tion­ally weak.Vot­ing for West Ben­gal State Assem­bly and As­sam Assem­bly have been com­pleted while Tamil Nadu State, Ker­ala State and Pondicherry will go to polls on May 16.

The count­ing of vote will take place on May 19.The term of Tamil Nadu State Assem­bly ends on May 23.A close con­test is ex­pected be­tween All In­dia Anna Dravida Mune­tra Kaza­ham (AIADMK) and DMK in Tamil­nadu. The third front Peo­ples Wel­fare Front led by ac­tor turned politi­cian Vi­jaykanth is ex­pected to do well IN some re­gions while BJP and its mi­nor part­ners do not have much pres­ence in Tamil­nadu. of 10 months- from com­plaint ver­i­fi­ca­tion-to-in­quiry-to-in­ves­ti­ga­tion and fi­nally to a ref­er­ence in

“The Elec­tion Com­mis­sion is com­mit­ted to strict en­force­ment of model code of con­duct by all stake­hold­ers for fair and free elec­tions”, said lec­tion Com­mis­sioner Naseem Zaidi in his an­nounce­ment to all par­ties.All women polling sta­tions will be set up in Tamil­nadu for the first time. An ef­fec­tive mon­i­tor­ing of pre­ven­tive ac­tions against antso­cial el­e­ments have al­ready com­menced but the rul­ing party sup­port­ers are busy dis­tribut­ing money and sar­rees to vot­ers es­pe­cially in vil­lage ar­eas.In Tamil­nadu State 6800 can­di­dates in fray for 234 seats.RK Na­gar Con­stituency where Chief Min­is­ter Jay­alalitha Ja­yaram is con­test­ing has 50 can­di­dates in the fray in­clud­ing a trans­gen­der.Opin­ion polls say that the DMK led by Dr. M K Kau­nanidhi is likely to win.

The DMK al­liance is sup­ported by In­dian Union Mus­lim League and Congress. Some Mus­lim groups in­clud­ing group from the ManithaNeya Katchi has come for­ward to sup­port the DMK.Ac­tor Vi­jaykanth’s De­siya Mut­pokku Dravida Kaza­ham (DMDK) has aligned with the Maru­malartchi Dravida Mune­tra Kazagam (MDMK) , Vidutha­lai Chiruthai­gal Katchi (VCK) and Left par­ties the Com­mu­nist Party of In­dia – Marx­ist (CPI-M and the CPI.If the third front wins Madu­rai­born Vi­jaykanth will be the State’s third ac­tor­turned­politi­cian to be­come Chief Min­is­ter af­ter the Sri Lanka-born M G Ra­machan­dran and Kar­nataka-born Jay­alalitha Ja­yaram.The DMK and AIADMK have been rul­ing Tamil Nadu since 1967 when the DMK crushed Congress and V N An­nadu­rai be­came the first Dra­vid­ian chief min­is­ter.

The DMK ruled Tamil Nadu for 21 years while the AIADMK was in power for 24 years.M G Ra­machan­dran be­came the chief min­is­ter in 1977 and ruled the State for 10 years. He sup­ported the Lib­er­a­tion Tigers of Tamil Ee­lam (LTTE) and other Ee­lam mil­i­tant groups fi­nan­cially. Af­ter MGR, his pro­tégé and hero­ine in many films Jay­alalitha took charge of the AIADMK af­ter a great strug­gle against MGR’s wi­dow Janaki. Now AIADMK is un­der the full con­trol of Jay­alalitha, the gen­eral sec­re­tary of the party.DMK leader M K Stalin ad­dress­ing elec­tion ral­lies in Chen­nai said that the AIADMK gov­ern­ment had failed to find a last­ing so­lu­tion to the Tamil fish­er­men is­sue, de­spite promis­ing to pro­tect their liveli­hood and re­trieve Katchatheevu in the 2011 elec­tion man­i­festo. He said af­ter the AIADMK came to power in 2011 Sri Lankan Navy had ar­rested about 3000 fish­er­men when they set out for fish­ing in the Palk Strait and con­fis­cated over 400 boats but the gov­ern­ment had not taken any steps to find a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion.Sri Lanka Tamil Refugees liv­ing in over 100 camps in Tamil Nadu are cam­paign­ing for AIADMK, some are sup­port­ing the MDMK and DMK. Jay­alalitha in her elec­tion cam­paign stated that the AIADMK would take con­tin­u­ous steps to at­tain a sep­a­rate home­land for Tamils in Sri Lanka and also de­manded the Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment to grant dual cit­i­zen­ship to Sri Lankan refugees. She also ap­pealed to Prime Min­is­ter Modi to take steps to re­lease the killers of Ra­jiv Gandhi now in Tamil Nadu pris­ons.The vote as­sumes sig­nif­i­cance at a time when the coun­try is caught-up in a po­lit­i­cal up­heaval over a de­bate over na­tion­al­ism and al­leged re­li­gious in­tol­er­ance.

The con­tro­ver­sies have given a han­dle to non-BJP par­ties which are hop­ing to fur­ther cor­ner Pre­mier Modi af­ter his party’s hu­mil­i­at­ing de­feat in Delhi and Bi­har Assem­bly polls last year.The polls are also im­por­tant for Modi to im­prove the Modi gov­ern­ment’s tally in the Ra­jya Sabha, the up­per House of Par­lia­ment in which the BJP and its al­liance are in a mi­nor­ity. In Ker­ala the United Left Front is ex­pected to do well. In the re­cent lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions the United demo­cratic Front led by Congress failed to im­press.The to­tal elec­torate in each State is as fol­lows: As­sam 19.8 mil­lion, Ker­ala 25.6 mil­lion, Tamil Nadu 58 mil­lion, West Ben­gal 65.5 mil­lion and Pondicherry 927,000It’s not just Modi and his BJP are on trial in th­ese polls. The left too is bat­tling for its sur­vival in West Ben­gal, It has teamed with the Congress in their strug­gle against Ma­mata Ben­er­jee’s Tri­namool Congress.

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