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Since lending his support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to demonetise high-value currencies, the chief minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, has been at the receiving end of flak from the Opposition. Arati R. Jerath analyses the discontent brewing among his colleagues towards him and the possible consequences on the future of his party due to his expressed positions.
In another sharp analysis, R Jagannathan looks at the winners and losers emerging from the fiasco over currency ban. Although people support the move, in spite of facing tough challenges in their daily lives, both Modi and his opponents are agreed on the fact that demonetisation has acted as a disrupter. The longterm social, political and economic repercussions of the move will be felt for months to come.
Over the last few months, Pakistan has been attacking Indian army's bases along the Line of Control (LoC) with shocking frequency. How does one explain these repeated lapses and what does the future look like in the light of these major attacks? Sudhi Ranjan Sen delves deep into these troubled waters to fish out some answers.
The chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee has compared the current situation in her state to an army coup. Due to her opposition to demonetisation, security forces have been deployed across Bengal, she said, and that too without informing the state government. The army, however maintained their presence was due to some routine exercises in all Northeast states.
The hackers who broke into the official Twitter handles of Rahul Gandhi and the Congress Party have been traced to servers located in Bengaluru, while their IP addresses have been located in Scandinavia. After the accounts were compromised, which then tweeted out expletives and profanities, Delhi Police registered a first-information report (FIR) against the cyber-attackers. The Congress believed that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) members were behind the move.
Demonetisation has forced the aam admi as well as ministers to queue up at banks to deposit their cash holdings. Data in the public domain indicates several of the latter have substantial cash with them, but so far only about 50% of the serving ministers have declared their wealth. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tops the list of those who have come clean, having declared ₹65 lakhs in cash. By contrast PM Modi had ₹89,700 with him.
Off The Front Page
Dark days seem to be looming ahead of India's e-commerce giant Flipkart, whose valuation was cut by US-based Vanguard Group, days after Morgan Stanley mutual fund did the same. However, Vanguard marked down Flipkart's value to $7.3 billion (from $11 billion in March), which is still more than Morgan Stanley's, which put the estimate at $5.54 billion.
Eminent jurist and former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee has said the Supreme Court's order to play the national anthem at movie theatres, followed by mandatory standing up and observing of a set of rules, was a clear example of judicial overreach. "In my opinion, the order is per incuriam (an order that is passed in disregard of a binding authority)," he said, hoping that the bench would modify it at the next hearing.
A group of Australian schoolboys has succeeded in recreating a life-saving drug that saw its price go up by 5,000% overnight after pharmaceuticals tycoon Martin Shkreli bought its rights. Standard XI students from the Sydney Grammar School have replicated Daraprim, commonly used to treat conditions related to AIDS and cancer, at the cost of only $2 per dose. Its market price of $13.50 was hiked to $750 after takeover by Shkreli's company Turing Pharmaceuticals.
Today the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a slew of petitions that complain about the manner in which demonetisation has been implemented by the government. Suhrith Parthasarathy writes in The Hindu that should the court choose to review these, it would hardly be overreaching its judicial remit. How the apex court decides to treat these challenges will "tell us a great deal about the checks and balances that our democracy purports to provide," he says.
The Supreme Court's order on the national anthem and proper expressions of patriotism "threatens to turn the wheel of constitutional history backwards," writes Suhas Palshikar in The Indian Express. Playing the national anthem or standing up to it are not new, but by stating these activities as orders, the court has, he adds, "transformed the national flag and national anthem into fossilised and statist signatures of power and authority instead of allowing these to be imbricated in popular affection and creative imagination".
An editorial in Mint notes Pakistan's new terror strategy in India, involving repeated attacks along the LoC and on Jammu & Kashmir. But "over the years, the patience in India—and the world—for suffering terrorist attacks is wearing thin," it adds, and "while the domestic protests in Kashmir have hurt India, Pakistan's attempt to internationalise 'occupation' of Kashmir has not succeeded". Only by keeping up the pressure on Pakistan can India hope to move ahead.
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