Boris Johnson is UK PM

On 23/7/2019 Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson won leadership of Conservative and Unionist Party. He got 92,153 votes i.e, 66.4%. His rival Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt got 46,656 votes.
On 24/7/2019, Wednesday, after answering Prime Minister’s Questions in House of Commons Theresa May met Elizabeth II, Queen of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and resigned. Boris Johnson met the Queen who appointed him Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury. That second designation is important because 10 Downing Street is the residence of First Lord of the Treasury. Whoever is appointed Prime Minister is also appointed First Lord of the Treasury.
Boris Johnson should have become PM three years back. He was leader of Brexiteers. After David William Donald Cameron resigned after losing referendum in 2016, leadership contest of Conservative Party began. Michael Gove said he would contest and would not support Boris Johnson. This was unexpected. Boris Johnson did not contest.
Theresa May became PM. She was a Remainer. She often said “Brexit means Brexit.” Instead of first having a deal approved by House of Commons, she negotiated a deal with EU which was Brexit in name only. First time she put the deal to vote it was opposed by a margin of 320 votes. That was a humiliation. She did not resign. In subsequent months she put the deal for vote twice and lost. Brexit date of 29/3/2019 was first extended by two weeks, then up to 31/10/2019.
Meanwhile many MPs turned against Theresa May and she announced her resignation. Elimination rounds of leadership contest started. Conservative MPs in House of Commons voted in it. Boris Johnson was first in every round. In straight contest between last two contestants, voting was by all members of party.
In his first speech after becoming PM, Boris Johnson said “The doubters, the doomsters, the gloomsters – they are going to get it wrong again… The people who bet against Britain are going to lose their shirts, because we are going to restore trust in our democracy and we are going to fulfil the repeated promises of Parliament to the people and come out of the EU on October 31, no ifs or buts.”
Boris Johnson has appointed Dominic Raab as Foreign Secretary, Priti Patel as Home Secretary, Ben Wallace as Defence Secretary, Sajid Javid and Chancellor of the Exchequer and Jacob Rees-Mogg as Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons. Strange that Michael Gove is Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and in charge of No-Deal Brexit preparations.

Trump as mediator

On 22/7/2019, Monday, Donald Trump met Imran Khan at White House. Journalists were present. Imran Khan raised the issue of Kashmir. Trump said “I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago. We talked about this subject and he actually said “Would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?” I said “Where?” He said “Kashmir.” Because this has been going on for many many years. I don’t know for how long… And if I can help I would like to be a mediator.”
India for long has held that Kashmir is a bilateral issue and there is no place for third party mediation. Trump’s statement created a stir in India. Raveesh Kumar, Spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs, tweeted “We have seen @POTUS’s remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate, if requested by India and Pakistan, on Kashmir issue. No such request has been made by PM@narendramodi to US President. It has been India’s position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan would require an end to cross border terrorism. The Shimla Agreement & the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India & Pakistan bilaterally.”
In USA, Alice G. Wells, Acting Assistant Secretary in State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, tweeted “While Kashmir is a bilateral issue for both parties to discuss, the Trump administration welcomes #Pakistan and #India sitting down and the United States stands ready to assist.”
On 23/7/2019 Opposition parties demanded Modi come to Parliament and make a statement. They refused to listen to External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. Jaishankar made a statement in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha:
“Sir, yesterday evening after the House had adjourned we heard remarks by President Donald Trump in a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan, to the press that he is ready to mediate, if requested by India and Pakistan, on Kashmir issue. I would like to categorically assure the House that no such request has been made by the Prime Minister to the US President. I repeat, no such request was made by the Prime Minister to the US President.

I would Sir, also reiterate that it has been India’s consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally.

I would further underline that any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross border terrorism. Sir, let me conclude by emphasizing that the Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India and Pakistan bilaterally. I hope in the view of my very specific and categorical responses that there is no confusion in the mind of anybody on this matter.”

Terrorism in Kashmir is a problem. Parties in Kashmir welcomed Trump’s statement. Farooq Abdullah congratulated Modi for seeking intervention of Trump. PDP, PDF and Hurriyat welcomed Trump’s mediation.
In USA, a journalist asked, Trump’s Chief Economic Advisor as Director of National Economic Council Lawrence Alban Kudlow, if the claim that Modi asked Trump to mediate on Kashmir was false. Kudlow replied “The President does not make things up. That is a very rude question in my opinion. I am going to stay out of that. It is outside of my lane. It is for Mr. Bolton, Mr. Pompeo and the President, so I am not going to comment on that. President does not make things up.”
India does not want any mediation on Kashmir. Bilateral talks have stalled over the years. When there is hope for peace between India and Pakistan, a terrorist incident takes place. Talks stop. SAARC meeting which was to take place in Pakistan has not happened. When Trump speaks well about India he is truthful for Indian media. Otherwise liar.
India could have won Kashmir War in 1948. India had stopped 55 crore rupees payment to Pakistan. Governor General Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten wanted Pakistan to have Kashmir because of Muslim majority. He met Mohandas Gandhi. Gandhi fasted that payment be made to Pakistan. Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai and other ministers agreed. War continued. Mountbatten persuaded Nehru to take Kashmir issue to UNO. That made Kashmir issue international.
India hoped UNO will ask Pakistan to quit Kashmir. Instead UNO ordered cease fire. In 1950 Owen Dixon submitted The Dixon Plan. It assigned Ladakh to India, Pak Occupied Kashmir and Northern Territories to Pakistan, split Jammu between India and Pakistan and wanted plebiscite in Kashmir Valley. India rejected plebiscite. UNO is now known as UN.
In 1965 and 1971 Wars India could have got back territory under Pakistan. In 1966 under pressure from Alexey Kosygin Lal Bahadur Shastri signed Tashkent Agreement and India gave up the territory it had conquered. In 1972 Indira Gandhi signed Simla Agreement and gave up gains of war. India released all Pakistani Prisoners of War. India did not get back its Prisoners of War in Pakistan. This agreement decided that issues between India and Pakistan are to be solved bilaterally. Many are baffled why Indira Gandhi agreed to such an agreement.

Congress in disarray

Rahul Gandhi announced his resignation as Congress President at CWC meeting on 25/5/2019. On 3/7/2019 he put his resignation in writing and made it public.
Many Congress members wanted Rahul Gandhi to withdraw his resignation. He did not agree. He did not want any member of Gandhi family to be President of Congress. That ruled out Priyanka Gandhi or return of Sonia Gandhi. He refused to nominate next Congress President.
Aslam Sher Khan had offered to become Congress President for two years. Rahul Gandhi did not accept it. It seems Congress does not want a Muslim President. So much for secularism. Congress Hindu leaders want to show they are one up on BJP. Kamal Nath applied National Security Act on Muslims accused of cow smuggling. In Rajasthan, sons of Pehlu Khan are charged.
When post of Congress President is vacant, seniormost general secretary of CWC becomes Interim President. Motilal Vora is seniormost general secretary. He has to call CWC meeting to elect President. He has not done that.
It is said that there is no agreement in CWC on who should be President. Some want senior leader, some want young person.
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh wants a young leader with pan-India appeal and grassroots presence as Congress President. Karan Singh said “I am aghast to see the confusion and disorientation into which the party has fallen since Rahul Gandhi has resigned of May 25. Instead of honouring his bold decision a month was wasted pleading him to take back his resignation. I strongly urge the working committee to meet without delay, perhaps under the chairmanship of former PM Manmohan Singh and take necessary decisions.”
Many Congress leaders resigned to give a free hand to Rahul Gandhi to appoint the persons he wants.
No leadership at top meant every member doing what he or she wants. In Karnataka Congress-JD(s) Government is in trouble and some members resigned from both parties. In Goa 10 of 15 Congress MLAs quit and formed a separate group and joined BJP. In Punjab, Navjot Singh Sidhu is unhappy with portfolio change and did not take charge.
For long Congress has been Gandhi family property. Congress can survive without a Gandhi as President. However Congress members know any time a Gandhi family member wants to be President the incumbent has to vacate the post. That happened to Sitaram Kesri. Prolonged uncertainty at the top will damage Congress.