As the campaign ended in the Delhi State Assembly Election, leaders of both the Congress Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tended to be rather dismissive of the challenge posed by Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). When asked by media persons if she was worried about the growing popularity of AAP, the former Delhi Chief Minister, Ms.Sheila Dikshit reportedly countered by asking “Who is Arvind Kejriwal?”. This was on December 4, the day of polling. On December 8, the day the votes were counted, the people of Delhi had answered her query!
A police escort was killed and another wounded when militants attacked a team of polio vaccinators on the outskirts of Peshawar on 30 November.1 Earlier on 23 November, militants in Pakistan kidnapped eleven teachers involved in a polio vaccination campaign for school children at a private school in the Bara area of the Khyber tribal agency.
The visit of Japan’s royal couple to India, the first in the history of India-Japan relations, deserved greater attention by our media. The government did make special gestures to underline the visit’s importance, with the Prime Minister receiving the couple at the airport and the External Affairs Minister acting as the Minister-in-waiting. But the media did not amplify the government’s political signals, which a mature media with geopolitical sense should have.
In the light of what was attempted by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in June 1975 by declaration of Emergency and references to the same by contemporary politicians, it is pertinent to examine whether the Indian Constitution is strong enough to prevent the imposition of authoritarian and totalitarian rule on India, or whether there are loopholes in the Constitution which an unscrupulous person can perhaps exploit.
The interim deal struck between the P5+1 and Iran over the latter’s nuclear programme is by all accounts a big breakthrough on an issue, which if it had spiraled out of control, held the very real potential of destabilizing not just the Middle-East and its surrounding regions but also the global economy.
Indian elections in the past have always tended to be rambunctious, rowdy, noisy and not always necessarily peaceful. I have had the great good fortune of being an international observer nominated by the Sri Lankan Government to observe four levels of elections in that country, local government, provincial government, parliamentary and presidential. As Collector of a district I have had the opportunity to run two general elections in my district and, therefore, I have had firsthand knowledge of how elections are conducted.
Out of all the names being tossed around as the possible replacement for Gen Ashfaq Kayani, it is the dark horse – Gen Raheel Sharif – who has finally been appointed as the Pakistan Army’s 15th chief. Apparently, Gen Sharif’s name was on the panel of names forwarded by Kayani to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif; but he was never the favourite. The grapevine was that Nawaz Sharif, who has had a run-in with all the army chiefs he has worked with in his previous two tenures as Prime Minister, would stick to the book and go by the seniority criteria.
It certainly cannot be the cooler days in Delhi that has attracted, in recent weeks, so many concerned western ‘experts’ to the capital, to discuss the abstruse-to the Indian public-subject of “strategic stability” in Asia/ in the sub-continent. Ahmed Rashid, the celebrity commentator on the Af-Pak region, has recently written in the Financial Times that they-the West-should “Beware Pakistan’s small nuclear weapons” and this kind of reporting perhaps is causing some of the excitement.