Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Imran Khan is Prime Minister

Imran Khan is Prime Minister of Pakistan after 22 years of struggle. He founded Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in 1996. He contested from 11 constituencies and lost deposit in all. The total votes he got in 11 constituencies were not enough to win any one seat. Some commented that Imran Khan considered himself the team when he played cricket and therefore contested from 11 constituencies. This time he contested from five constituencies and won in all of them.
PMN-L, PPP and other parties have accused army of rigging Pakistan election in favour of Imran Khan’s PTI. PTI did not win more than half seats and depends on support of small parties and independents. It seems army wanted PTI wanted to form government but not have enough seats to have majority of its own.
PTI won 116 seats in election for National Assembly. Nine independents joined it. PTI got 28 seats reserved for women and five for Non-Muslims. PTI has 158 seats in National Assembly. It has to vacate six seats; four held by Imran Khan and one each by Sarwar Khan and Major Tahir Sadiq (Retd). PMN-L has got 82 seats. PPP has got 53 seats.
Imran Khan’s swearing-in was supposed to take place on 11 August. It got postponed to 14 August and again to 18 August when Imran Khan took oath. He took oath in Urdu and struggled with words. He got elected as Prime Minister on 17 August. He got 176 votes in National Assembly. His rival Shahbaz Sharif got 96 votes. PPP abstained from voting. Even if PPP had voted for Shahbaz Sharif he would not have won.
Imran Khan had invited Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Navjot Singh Sidhu for his swearing-in. Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev did not attend. Navjot Singh Sidhu attended.
Imran Khan was well-known as cricketer. He led Pakistan to victory in a Test series in India in 1986-87 and World Cup in1992. His popularity as a cricketer did not translate into votes in 1996 and later years. Gradually his vote tally increased. For some time he was in good terms with Pervez Musharraf who was Chief Executive and later President. There was possibility of him become Prime Minister. That did not happen as later Imran Khan turned against Pervez Musharraf.
Imran Khan is against Pakistan being part of America’s War on Terror. He wants Kashmir to be part of Pakistan. He is in favour of Sharia. There is not much hope of Indo-Pakistan relations becoming better with him as PM.

Hari versus Hari

It was Congress’ B. K. Hariprasad against JD(U)’s Harivansh Narayan Singh for the office of Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha. JD(U) is part of NDA.
M. Venkaiah Naidu wanted consensus about candidate but that did not happen. Some parties are unhappy with him.
There was talk of NCP’s Vandana Chavan being Opposition candidate. It is not clear why that did not happen. It seems BJD and TRS did not support her candidature and NCP did not want her to contest.
BJD President Orissa CM declared support to NDA candidate. He said Nitish Kumar had spoken to him. Narendara Modi and Amit Shah had spoken to him some days back.
Nitish Kumar called Arvind Kejriwal for support to JD(U) and NDA candidate. Arvind Kejriwal told Nitish Kumar AAP will not support a candidate supported by BJP. AAP wanted call from Rahul Gandhi to Arvind Kejriwal asking support for Congress candidate. There was no call. AAP decided to abstain. AAP had voted for Congress Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates, but Congress did not thank AAP. When Election Commission disqualified 20 AAP MLAs Congress members had distributed sweets.
YSRCP MP Vijayasai Reddy said both BJP and Congress have not fulfilled promises made to Andhra Pradesh so YSRCP is abstaining.
PDP decided to abstain.
SAD was unhappy that Naresh Gujrat was not NDA candidate but decided to support Harivansh Narayan Singh.
TRS supported Harivansh Narayan Singh.
Harivansh Narayan Singh got 125 votes and won the election. B. K. Hariprasad got 105 votes. That is 230 votes. Effective strength of Rajya Sabha was 244. It means 14 members did not vote.
It is consolation prize for Nitish Kumar who is unhappy at not having any JD(U) minister in central government. He was unhappy with BJP in Bihar. He wanted to end the alliance with BJP and go back to alliance with Congress and RJD. Tejashwi Yadav opposed it. Nitish Kumar is stuck with BJP.
It is a victory for BJP which was not a foregone conclusion.
Harivansh Narayan Singh is a first-time MP. His term is April 2014-2020. If he does not get re-elected his Deputy Chairmanship will be over in one year and eight months.

Opposition PM Candidate

On 22/7/2018 Congress Working Committee and declared Rahul Gandhi as Opposition’s PM candidate. Congress was to enter into alliances with regional parties.
On 24/7/2018 Tejashwi Yadav said “All the opposition parties will sit and decide the name of the Prime Ministerial candidate. Rahul Gandhi is not the only leader in the race for it. There are other opposition leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Chandrababu Naidu, Sharad Pawar and Mayawati.”
There was no official reaction from Congress to Tejashwi Yadav’s statement. Unofficially Congress was open to an outsider as PM candidate if that leader’s party gets enough numbers in Lok Sabha or lack of consensus on Rahul Gandhi.
Opposition has many PM candidates. According to Mamata Banerjee’s criteria she and Naveen Patnaik are only two in Opposition who are suitable to be PM. Mayawati is bargaining for seats with Congress and said there will be no alliance if her party does not get respectable number of seats. Chandrababu Naidu said he does not want to be PM. He had opportunity in the past but did not take up the offer. Sharad Pawar’s party is unlikely to have many MPs.
Parties like TRS and TDP will not be part of coalition where Congress is a member. AIADMK will not be part of a coalition where DMK is a member. Tamil parties like DMDK, MDMK, PMK may go with Congress or BJP. JDS may support Congress if the alliance lasts till Lok Sabha elections. Sheila Dikshit and Ajay Maken do not want alliance with AAP and their view has prevailed.
Tejashwi Yadav has shown he is no pushover in politics. When talk of Nitish Kumar’s return to alliance with RJD and Congress was going on Tejashwi Yadav said Nitish Kumar is not welcome in the alliance. One Congress leader said who is Tejashwi Yadav to decide on alliance. Congress leaders were divided about accepting Nitish Kumar. Tejashwi Yadav said he did not want Nitish Kumar back even if he makes him CM. Nitish Kumar continues with BJP.
There is possibility of Shiv Sena supporting Congress. BJP is ready to contest all 48 Lok Sabha seats and 288 Legislative Assembly seats alone. Shiv Sena did not vote against No Confidence Motion in Lok Sabha. Narendra Modi should have dismissed Anant Geete as minister.
There is SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh. Mayawati does not want to give any seat to Congress and other parties. SP wants to give two seats to Congress and one seat to RLD. Congress messed up in UP. It hired Prashant Kishor for strategy. It wanted to go alone in state election. Prashant Kishore suggested three choices as CM candidate. First was Rahul Gandhi. Second was Priyanka Gandhi. Third was Sheila Dikshit. The slogan was Saththaavees saal, UP behaal. Congress was to be alternative for 27 years of misrule in UP. Then something changed. It seems Priyanka Gandhi wanted alliance with SP. Congress entered into alliance with SP. It was a disaster.
BJD is against both BJP and Congress.
Victory in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh state elections in no guarantee of victory in Lok Sabha elections that follow. In 2003 BJP won in those three states and was confident of winning in Lok Sabha elections. That did not happen.

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