Indian Politics Round-up: March 2019

IAF’s Abhinandan returns to India

Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman returned to India—after enduring two days of incarceration in Pakistan—on March 1 via the Attari-Wagah border. The IAF Pilot was captured by Pakistan Army after his jet was shot down during an aerial assault on February 27. Pakistan has called the move a “peace gesture”, whereas India maintain that, in reality, it is the Geneva Conventions that obliged their neighbours to repatriate him. Whichever may be the case, I’m just happy to see our brave war hero return home.


India claim the detention of Masood Azhar’s kin is a farce

India has refuted Pakistan’s claims of putting Mufti Abdul Raoof and Hamad Azhar, the son and brother of JeM leader Masood Azhar respectively, under “preventive detention” along with 42 other suspected members of banned groups. Moreover, Indian officials instead claim that they may have been taken into protective custody by Pakistan in view of the current state of tension between the two countries. Pakistan Ministry, on March 6, had confirmed the detention of the aforementioned people.


Indian Cricket Team comes under scrutiny for wearing army caps post Pulwama

The Indian Cricket Team became the subject of serious scrutiny for wearing army camouflage caps during their match against Australia in the wake of Pulwama suicide bombing. Several analysts saw this act as an irresponsible attempt of mixing sports with politics and have panned the team for it. While ICC stated that the Indian team’s army caps were intended to help raise funds for the troops, certain journalists believe there was a hidden political motive behind this. However, I believe that the use of sports as a medium for showcasing political intent is natural.


EC announces Lok Sabha Election schedule

The Election Commission released the Lok Sabha Election schedule on March 10. The elections will be conducted in seven phases starting from April 11. About 10 lac polling booths have been set up across the 543 seats that will be contested. The counting of votes is scheduled for May 23. Also, with the dates being announced, the EC’s Model Code of Conduct—guidelines which the political parties must adhere to—comes into immediate effect.

Can’t wait for the voting to start!


BJD promises to reserve 33% Lok Sabha seats for women

The ruling party in Odisha, Biju Janta Dal, has expressed its intention to reserve about one-third of its Lok Sabha seats for women candidates. The announcement was made by Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik at function in Kendrapada, Odisha. Without wasting any time, the opposition labeled the announcement as a “pre-poll gameplan” of the party.

I, for one, appreciate the effort being made by BJD for improving women representation in politics.


BCCI rejects airing political ads during IPL

BCCI, the national cricket board, has rejected telecast partner Star Sports’s request to consider removing a clause in their agreement which stops the latter from airing political and religious ads during match broadcasts. The channel was reportedly keen to air political ads during IPL matches which are known to have a wide viewership.


Former cricketer Gautam Gambhir joins BJP ahead of General Elections

Retired cricketer Gautam Gambhir started a new chapter in his life by joining the ruling party, BJP, on March 22. The 2011 World Cup winner, who retired in December last year, is expected to represent the party from a seat in his hometown Delhi in the impending Lok Sabha Elections. On his initiation day, Gambhir expressed agreement with “PM Modi’s vision” and said, after contributing through cricket, he would like to “do more for the country”.

I have admired Gambhir throughout his cricketing career, and now I am quite excited to see him open his inning in politics.


Former ISRO Chairman blames UPA for delaying anti-satellite missile test

Former ISRO head G. Madhavan Nair has come out targeting Congress-led UPA for delaying the anti-satellite weapon’s trial back in 2007. Nair said that India could have shown its outreach in space in the same year as China did had the UPA government not been apathetic about it. He also praised PM Modi for showing the “courage” to allow ‘Mission Shakti‘ to take place. India is the fourth nation to demonstrate anti-satellite capabilities after US, Russia, and China.

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