LATE CITY, 18 PAGES, AHMEDABAD, `4.00 ● WEDNESDAY, MAY 9, 2018 ● WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM TheIndian EXPRESS DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE CHALLENGE TO VENKAIAH NAIDU’S ORDER Not told who formed SC bench to hear CJI impeachment matter, MPs withdraw plea 5-judge bench tells Sibal to argue on merits, agrees this is ‘unprecedented’ 3 GUJARAT FODDER PROTEST: BANASKANTHA WITHDRAWS PROHIBITORY ORDER ● Babu Bajrangi gets parole to file appeal in SC, P 4 ANANTHAKRISHNAN G NEW DELHI, MAY 8 TWO CONGRESS MPs, who had moved the Supreme Court challenging Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu’s April 23 decision to reject the impeachment notice against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, withdrew their petition Tuesday following sharp exchanges with a five-judge bench which did not answer their query on who constituted the bench to hear their matter. The bench of Justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde, N V Ramana, Arun Mishra and A K Goel “dismissed” the plea of Partap Singh Bajwa and Amee Harshadray Yajnik “as withdrawn” after senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the two MPs, maintained he would not proceed with the matter if he was not given a copy of the order by which the matter was allocated to the bench. The court asked him to argue the petition before it on merits, but Sibal declined to do so and said he was withdrawing it. The exchanges even forced the bench to remind Sibal that Kapil Sibal on Tuesday. Praveen Khanna he had started with the caveat that his sole aim was to uphold the dignity of the judiciary and not to malign anyone and that his refusal to argue the matter on merits could give the impression that “there is something else” to the petition. “You must give me the order. Only then will I be able to decide whether I should proceed or not... Your lordships must tell me who constituted the bench and give me a copy of that order so that I can challenge it,” Sibal said as Justice Sikri told him “this will lead nowhere. You must proceed on merit”. “It can’t be a secret order,” Sibal said. “Ifyou want to proceed, argue on merits,” Justice Sikri told him. “In that case, I will withdraw the petition,” Sibal replied. Opening his arguments, Sibal said the Chief Justice of India, who is the Master of the Roster, could not have allotted it to a fivejudge bench by means of an ad- ministrative order. But this was opposed by Attorney General K K Venugopal — he was appearing for Venkaiah Naidu — who cited judicial precedents to underline that the CJI had the power. The bench also remarked that there did not appear to be any explicit provision in law preventing the CJI from listing it directly before a Constitution Bench. On Monday, the petition was mentioned before a bench of Justices J Chelameswar and S K Kaul. Though Sibal requested the judges to list it, they did not oblige him and told him to return Tuesday. But on Monday evening, the causelist of the court showed that the matter CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Shah rules out early LS polls, says consensus a must for joint elections ANANTHAKRISHNAN G NEW DELHI, MAY 8 RAVISH TIWARI BENGALURU, MAY 8 BJP PRESIDENT Amit Shah Tuesday dismissed suggestions that the 2019 Lok Sabha polls may be advanced and indicated that simultaneous elections may not be feasible next year since a political consensus is yet to be formed on the issue. “No,” was Shah’s firm response to a question from The Indian Express on whether the BJP-led government was considering the option of advancing elections. The Lok Sabha elections are due next summer and there have been suggestions that they may be clubbed with a clutch of Assembly elections slated in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh later this year, especially with Prime Minister Narendra Modi advocating simultaneous polls. In an interview to The Indian Express, Shah said: “The PM has put forth an idea (of simultaneous elections) before the country. And he has welcomed a public debate on this. This issue will progress further only after a law is enacted and all parties extend support. The Election Commission will also have to hear it. Only then can this thing ‘NO CHANCE OF A FRACTURED VERDICT’ FULL INTERVIEW, PAGE 6 DECISION 2018 The father of R Thirumani reaches Chennai with his son’s body Tuesday. The youth died in Srinagar Monday after the family, visiting Kashmir, was attacked by stone-pelters. PTI KARNATAKA FULL COVERAGE PAGE 7 move forward.” Shah said: “If all political parties unite tomorrow, it can be done tomorrow. It requires an amendment to the RP Act (The Representation of People Act), and it can happen only in Parliament. It cannot be done secretively.” Dismissing suggestions of a fractured mandate in the Karnataka elections, Shah asserted that the BJP will form the next government in the state with a clear majority. Mallya loses assets case to Indian banks in UK court ‘A few men gone wild killed my son... chief minister asked for my forgiveness’ NIRUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN CHENNAI, MAY 8 “WHY DID they kill my little brother? He never hurt anyone,” cried Sangeetha as she embraced the freezer box in which 22-yearold R Thirumani’s body was brought home from Srinagar. On Monday, Thirumani, who was travelling with his parents to a resort in Gulmarg, was hit on 12 ADITI KHANNA Banks hope to recover over $1.5 bn from him LONDON, MAY 8 EMBATTLED LIQUOR tycoon Vijay Mallya, who is undergoing an extradition trial in a UK court over fraud and money-laundering charges levelled by Indian authorities, Tuesday lost a lawsuit filed by 13 Indian banks in the UK High Court seeking to collect from him more than US$ 1.55 billion. Judge Andrew Henshaw refused to overturn a worldwide order freezing Mallya’s assets and upheld an Indian court’s ruling that a consortium of 13 Indian banks were entitled to recover funds amounting to nearly 1.145 billion pounds. The victory for the banks will WORLD Died hours after a stone hit him on the head. PTI the left of his head by a stone during a protest at Narbal on the outskirts of Srinagar. He was admitted to a hospital where he succumbed to injuries. Late Tuesday, his body lay on the porch, just outside the front door of their house at Muthapudupet in Avadi, a Chennai suburb. His elder brother Ravikumar stood there silently. He had not accompanied the family on the Kashmir vacation. All through the journey back IRAN DEAL: TRUMP KEEPS WORLD WAITING 11 EXPLAINED To the early unvierse CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 from Srinagar, Thirumani’s mother Selvi had not been told that her son had died. She had been injured in the incident, too, and needed stitches on her ear. Today, she cried wordlessly. Thirumani’s father Rajavel, who works at the Avadi Ordnance Factory, said the incident took place on the third day CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MORE REPORTS PAGES 10, 11 AFTER LIVING together for several years as husband and wife, 48 tribal couples got “married” as per Hindu rituals purportedly to attain “moksha” (salvation) at a mass wedding ceremony in Ahwa taluka of Gujarat’s Dang district on Tuesday. Some of the couples were over 60 years old who tied knot at the ceremony where their sons and daughterin-laws also took wedding vows. While some parents arrived A ‘bride’ with her infant at the mass wedding, Tuesday. along with their children to ge “married”, few “brides” were seen breast feeding their infants 8 as they were getting married to their “husbands”. Tribals usually do not follow the customary Hindu way of life, some even taking more than one wife. In Dangs in south Gujarat, which is a tribal district, these couples were staying together with their children, but they had no formal marriage. “It is the tradition among the tribals in Dangs that if a boy likes any girl, he talks to his parents, who contact the parents of the girl and puts forth the proposal. If the proposal is acceptable to Centre to frame the Cauvery management scheme, which also includes creating the Cauvery management board, within six weeks for smooth release of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. It had said the deadline would not be extended. “We do not want to come back to square one. Once the judgment has been delivered, it has to be implemented,” the bench said as the Centre sought more time to implement the order. The CJI pointed out that there were drinking water problems etc that needed to be addressed and told the Attorney General “you can’t abdicate your obligation... It’s your duty to implement the scheme”. Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for the Tamil Nadu government, told the bench that “we have been taken for a ride by the Centre on one pretext or another”. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 A curious friendship THE EDITORIAL PAGE BY CHRISTOPHE JAFFRELOT & HAIDER ABBAS RIZVI Bus to Ayodhya from Janakpur will be PM gift for Nepal NEW DELHI, MAY 8 Together for years, tribal couples with kids take Hindu wedding vows SURAT, MAY 8 TICKING OFF the Centre that it was in “sheer contempt” of court by not acting on the ruling on the Cauvery river water matter, the Supreme Court Tuesday directed the Secretary, Ministry for Water Resources, to appear before it on May 14 with the draft of the Cauvery management scheme drawn up by the Union government. “By now, the authority should have framed the scheme. It can’t go on like this. What you have done is sheer contempt,” a three-judge bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud told Attorney General K K Venugopal when he sought more time, on behalf of the Centre, to finalise the draft scheme. In its February 16 verdict, the Supreme Court had asked the SHUBHAJIT ROY MASS WEDDING IN DANGS KAMAAL SAIYED enable them to enforce the Indian judgment against Mallya’s assets in England and Wales. The worldwide freeze prevents Mallya from removing any assets from England and Wales upto that value or to dispose of, deal with or diminish the value of his assets in or outside this jurisdiction upto the same value. The claim brought by 13 Indian banks against the 62year-old businessman was heard in the High Court last month. What you have done is sheer contempt, CJI bench to Centre over Cauvery delay IN HIS third visit in four years to Nepal on May 11-12, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to announce a direct bus service between Janakpur in Nepal and Ayodhya in India, both key places in the Ramayana tourism circuit. A development project for Janakpur, with India providing financial and developmental assistance, may also be announced. The move to connect the birthplaces of Ram and Sita is set to appeal to the BJP’s core constituency as the country heads for Lok Sabha elections next year. Besides Janakpur, Modi will also travel to Muktinath temple, a revered site for the Sri Vaishnava sect, who hold the key to the election results in parts of Karnataka. Modi is scheduled to visit the temple on the morning ofMay 12, when Karnataka is set to vote. Modi and Nepal’s Prime Minister K P Oli are also scheduled to jointly inaugurate the Arun-III, a 900 MW power project. This is Modi’s third visit as Prime Minister — he visited the neighbouring country in August and November 2014. On May 11, Modi is scheduled CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Walk with the poet Tagore reminds us of the possibility of exploring India as a civilisation. THE IDEAS PAGE 9 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ● PAGE ONE ANCHOR IN BENGAL POCKETS, SAFFRON AND RED QUIETLY SHARE SPACE RAVIK BHATTACHARYA KOLKATA, MAY 8 THEY ARE bitter rivals, sparing no opportunity to display their contempt for each other, even engaging in a violent turf war in Kerala. But in pockets of West Bengal, where the panchayat polls will be held on May 14, saffron and red appear have quietly teamed up to face a common enemy — the blue of Mamata Banerjee’s TMC. In Nadia district, over 190 km north of Kolkata, election graffiti on walls have the lotus symbol of the BJP and the hammer-and- sickle of CPM sharing space along with the names of candidates and a common appeal. One such image at Mollahad village in Karimnagar seeks votes for Sumitra Mondol of CPM in the gram panchayat, and Bikas Mondol and Ajit Roy of BJP for the panchayat samiti and zilla parishad. It’s not just graffiti. In Burdwan’s Purbashali, BJP leaders claim that local CPM leaders have even invited them to take part in “small joint protest rallies” against the Trinamool. On April 28, at a protest rally in Ranaghat’s Majhergram village, CPM MLA Rama Biswas and party workers were seen walking with BJP workers and leaders. “It was a spontaneous protest rally by people. Apart from BJP and CPM, Congress workers too were present,” said Biswas. In Kolkata, BJP and CPM leaders admit that some of their workers are “joining hands at the grassroots level”. They say this is needed to counter “Trinamool’s terror”, especially when the polls have been postponed once following allegations of violence by the ruling party. “For people at the grassroots level, it is practical for all parties Sharing space in poll graffiti in Nadia. Express to join hands against Trinamool’s terror. Since the BJP has emerged as the biggest opposition, many are coming to us from different parties, including CPM. In Purbasthali, CPM leaders are calling us for joint protests. This time, despite the terror and attacks, we have been able to file nominations in over 25,000 gram panchayat seats and around 30,000 seats overall,” says Sayantan Basu, BJP state secretary. The view from the left appears to be the same. “Our party line is clear. We are maintaining equal distance from the Trinamool and the BJP. But it is true that in some pockets, people are joining hands. This is because of the unprecedented violence and reign of terror by the ruling party. In seats where we do not have candidates, we are supporting independents,” says Sujan Chakraborty, CPM central committee member. Apart from pockets in districts like Burdwan, East and West Midnapore, this unusual joining ofhands is clearly visible in Nadia — in areas like Karimpur, Tehatta, Ranaghat and Mahisbathan. In Karimpur block, out of 144 gram panchayat seats, BJP did not field candidates in 37 where CPM and independent candidates submitted nominations. “At the grassroots, it is a fight for survival. Therefore, political ideologies have taken a backseat. It’s not just the CPM, the Congress too has joined hands with us. In our protest rallies, CPM and Congress workers are seen together. This is because all the opposition supporters and leaders and their rallies are being attacked by Trinamool workers. Should our workers worry about ideology or survival?” said Jagannath Sarkar, BJP’s Nadia district president. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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