Month: May 2019

Cabinet 2019

On 30/5/2019 at 7 p.m. Narendra Modi took oath as Prime Minister and after him 57 others took oaths as ministers. Swearing-in ended at 9.04 p.m. Some BJP allies got one ministry each. JD(U) refused to be part of cabinet as it did not get more than one ministry. Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj were not in the ministry for health reasons. Others who were in previous cabinet were missing for different reasons. There were new entries.
Maneka Gandhi, Uma Bharti, Jayant Sinha, Suresh Prabhu, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Jagat Prakash Nadda, K. J. Alphons and some others were out. Anupriya Patel of Apna Dal was out. She was Minister of State in Health and Family Welfare Ministry.
It is reported that K. C. Tyagi of JD(U) had met Amit Shah and demanded that NDA should have a convener and an office as it was during Atal Behari Vajpayee’s time. George Fernandes was convenor during Vajpayee’s time. When Vajpayee was PM, BJP did not have a majority of its own. It needed allies. In 1999 AIADMK pulled out of alliance and government fell. Modi did not need allies after he won in 2014 and BJP had 282 seats. This time BJP has 303 seats. Nitish Kumar is unreliable. He can switch sides. He said JD(U)wanted proportional representation in cabinet, BJP offered symbolic representation.
Rajnath Singh is Defence Minister. He was Home Minister.
Amit Shah is in the cabinet. He is Home Minister. Successful as BJP President. BJP recovered in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh after losing state elections. Gained in Karnataka, West Bengal and Orissa.
Nirmala Sitharaman is Finance Minister. She was Defence Minister. There was speculation that Piyush Goyal will be Finance Minister.
S. Jaishankar is External Affairs Minister as expected.
Piyush Goyal is Railways and Commerce and Industries Minister.
Pralhad Joshi gets Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines.
Arvind Sawant from Shiv Sena is Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprise. Previous minister was Anant Geete of Shiv Sena who lost Lok Sabha election.
Kiren Rijiju is Minister of State with Independent Charge of Youth Affairs and Sports and also MoS Minority Affairs. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was MoS with Independent Charge of Youth Affairs and Sports.
General (Retd) Vijay Kumar Singh is shifted to Ministry of Road Transport and Highways as MoS. He was MoS External Affairs.
Babul Supriyo is MoS – Environment, Forest and Climate Change. He was MoS – Heavy Industries and Public Enterprise.
Anurag Thakur is MoS – Finance and Corporate Affairs. He is fourth time MP. He was BCCI President for some months.
Hardeep Singh Puri as MoS with Independent Charge has Civil Aviation in addition to previously held Housing and Urban Affairs.
Not much change in portfolios of other ministers who were in previous government.
The Council of Minister consists of Prime Minister, 24 Cabinet Ministers, 9 Ministers of State with Independent Charge and 24 Ministers of State.
Someone from BJP will be Speaker. Deputy Speaker may be from a non-NDA party.

Lok Sabha 2019

On 19/5/2019 seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha elections ended. TV channels came out with their exit polls.
India Today – Axis: NDA 339-365, UPA 77-108, Others 69-95.
Republic TV – C Voter: NDA 287, UPA 128, Others 127.
News18 – IPSOS: NDA 336, UPA 82, Others 124.
Times Now – VMR: NDA 306, UPA 132, Others 104.
Republic Bharat – Jan Ki Baat: NDA 305, UPA 124, Others 113.
NewsX – Neta: NDA 242, UPA 164, Others 135.
ABP News – Nielsen: NDA 267, UPA 127, Others 148.
India TV – CNX: NDA 300, UPA 120, Others 122.
News24 – Chanakya: NDA 350, UPA 95, Others 97.
Others included AAP, BJD, BSP-SP-RLD, Left Front, TMC, TRS, YSRCP and some other parties.
Figures for NDA were 365 highest and 242 lowest.
Figures for UPA were 164 highest and 95 lowest.
Figures for Others were 148 highest and 69 lowest.
Reactions to exit poll figures were predictable. Mamata Banerjee said they were gossip. The game plan is to manipulate or replace thousands of EVMs through this gossip. Omar Abdulla said every exit poll can’t be wrong. Chandrababu Naidu said time and again exit polls have failed to catch people’s pulse. Congress members said they will do better than predicted and results on May 23 would surprise the ruling party. Vote share to seat share conversion is a difficult job. There is fear psychosis is the country and people do not reveal their views. BJP members were happy about the figures. Yogendra Yadav said the Congress must die. If it could not stop the BJP in this election to save the idea of India, this party has no role in Indian history.
In 2004 exit polls had predicted NDA victory. Lowest number of seats was 230. As it turned out NDA got 196 seats. BJP got 138 seats, seven less than Congress. Left Front had around 60 seats and SP 36. UPA formed government with the support of Left Front and SP.
On 23/5/2019 counting began at 8 a.m. Three full days gap between voting end and counting. There are 543 Lok Sabha constituencies. Vellore election countermanded as money was used.
Sensex went up beyond 40,000 and then came down and ended lower at 38,811.39 points, 298.92 lower than previous close.
Final tally: NDA 351, UPA 92, Others 99.
Congress lost Muslim votes in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and other states because it wanted to prove it is more Hindu than BJP. In Madhya Pradesh, National Security Act was applied on Muslims caught for cow smuggling. In Rajasthan, Congress said they spend more money on cows than BJP spent.
AAP did not win any seat in Delhi. BJP won all seven seats. Congress finished second. AAP finished third. AAP had four seats from Punjab in 2014. This time only Bhagwant Mann won. AAP did not win any seat in Chandigarh, Haryana and Goa. Last time it had contested more than 400 seats. Great fall for a party that was seen as an alternative to all other political parties and for Arvind Kejriwal who was spoken as a Prime Ministerial candidate.
BJP tally increased from 282 to 303.
Congress tally increased from 44 to 52.
DMK tally increased from 0 to 23.
JD (U) tally increased from 2 to 16.
BSP tally increased from 0 to 10.
YSRCP tally increased from 9 to 22.
AIADMK tally decreased from 37 to 1.
TMC tally decreased from 34 to 22.
BJD tally decreased from 20 to 12.
TDP tally decreased from 16 to 3.
There were 3,443 independent candidates. One won.
Prime Ministerial ambitions of Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, KCR and others suffered a setback.
There were Legislative Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim and Legislative Assembly voting in 22 constituencies in Tamil Nadu. In Andhra Pradesh YSR Congress won. BJP won in Arunachal Pradesh. BJD won in Odisha. SKM won in Sikkim.

Iran and oil

USA does not want India to buy oil from Iran. It is India’s right to buy anything from any country. USA threatens sanctions against any country that buys oil from Iran.
For long India has succumbed to US pressure. There was plan of Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline. India withdrew to please USA.
Oil trade is mostly in American dollars. USA will fine banks that deal with Iran and block them from SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) System. Russia has developed SPFS (System for Transfer of Financial Messages) as an alternative to SWIFT. EU wants to establish an alternative to SWIFT.
Iran has received rupee payment for oil. At one time India imported 17% of oil from Iran. It has come down from that and recently it is said to be 5%.
USA says it helped India to get Masood Azhar declared as global terrorist. China has blocked India’s attempt against Masood Azhar for a long time. We do not why China relented, what compromises India made and what was USA’s role in getting China agree on Masood Azhar. Reports about how India achieved that are not reliable as officially nothing is said. USA talks of war on terrorism. It wants India to go against Iran because it sided with India in Masood Azhar case. So USA will not side with India against terrorism unless it gets something in return.
India should make rupee strong. Stronger the rupee the better. There will be no need of subsidies for oil and gas.
USA also does not want India to buy oil from Venezuela. It tried to topple Nicolas Maduro government and failed.
India will have to fight against terrorism on its own. USA is not India’s ally in fight against terrorism. Buying oil from any country is India’s prerogative. It is question of India’s sovereignty. India’s relationship with USA or any other country should be reciprocal. If USA is nasty to India, India should be nasty to USA. That happened in Devyani Khobragade case. Now it is election time in India. Government and Opposition are attacking each other and Iran oil issue is not talked about. Hope things will be better when elections are over and new government is formed.