WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 28 MARCH 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |` 3|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR SCS ACTIVISTS BOYCOTT NAIDU’S ALL-PARTY MEET CHINA KEEN ON FTA WITH INDIA P5 SENSEX 33,174.39 +107.98 P13 P10 NIFTY 10,184.15 +53.50 Clear sky. Mist in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 35 and 20 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.71% Min. 16% Max: 37.4°C (+5) SUN RISES 06:15 hrs MOON RISES 15.29 hrs Min: 17.3°C (-1) SUN SETS 18:37 hrs MOON SETS 04:51 hrs THUMBNAILS Social activist Anna Hazare sits for the fifth day of an indefinite hunger-strike against the Central government at Ramleela Maidan in the RITIK JAIN Capital on Tuesday. GST collection declines: The government’s revenue from GST continued to decline as it stood at Rs 85,174 crore for February with only 69 per cent of the assessees filing returns, the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday. That compares with Rs 86,318 crore collected in January and Rs 88,929 crore in December. Collections for December were revised upwards by the government from Rs 86,703 crore. The CBEC chief said GST collection will see buoyancy from April onwards. PAN-Aadhaar link deadline extended till 30 A June: CBDT extended the deadline for the PAN-Aadhaar linking to June 30. The policymaking body of the tax department issued an order extending the deadline from the current last date of March 31. The order said the deadline for PAN-Aadhaar linking for filing I-T returns is being extended after “consideration of the matter”. The latest order by the CBDT has come in the backdrop of the Supreme Court, earlier this month, directing extension of the March 31 deadline. Smith, Warner, Bancroft sent back home: The embattled trio of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft will be sent home on Wednesday, Cricket Australia announced in Johannesburg in the wake of the premedicated ball-tampering conspiracy that has taken the cricket world by storm. CA CEO James Sutherland said Matthew Renshaw, Joe Burns and Glenn Maxwell will replace the three players in the Test squad, with Tim Paine officially named captain for the fourth Test. ` vs $ 64.97 -10 PAISE GOLD 29,685.00 -90.00 P16 SILVER 38,850.00 +200.00 BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 70.51 +0.39 Karnataka set for polls on 12 May as leak row erupts SC: Interference by Khap panchayats in marriages illegal STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 27 MARCH STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 27 MARCH A mid a controversy, the Election Commission (EC) Tuesday announced the schedule of the Karnataka Assembly elections, declaring that the polling for the singlephase elections for the 224member Assembly will be held on 12 May with the counting of votes to be carried out on 15 May. Reflecting the fierce conflict and high stakes of the Karnataka electoral battle between the incumbent Congress and the challenger BJP the announce, ment of the election dates instantly triggered a fresh exchange of fire between the two parties on various fronts. Karnataka is the last major citadel of the Congress and the BJP has been eyeing to again storm it in a bid to make a foray into south India which has still eluded the saffron juggernaut rolling through the country. The EC's announcement of Karnataka poll dates was shadowed by a Karnataka Assembly Poll Schedule 2018 Total Constituencies 224 4.968 Crore Total Electors Photo Electoral Rolls 99.47% Electors Photo ID Cards97.46% 56,696 Polling Stations Schedule Issue of Notification Apr 17 Last Date for Nominations Apr 24 Scrutiny of Nominations Apr 25 Last Date for WithdrawalApr 27 Polling Date May 12 May 15 Counting KBK Poll graphics controversy with BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya tweeting the voting and counting dates even before Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) O P Rawat, who was then addressing a press conference here, could declare them.When this was pointed out to him, the CEC described it as a "very serious issue", asserting that the EC will investigate into it and will then take stringent legal and administrative action. Subse- quently, the EC constituted a Committee of its six senior officials to probe into alleged leak of the Karnataka election schedule and give its report within seven days. "The Committee would also suggest steps needed to prevent any such eventuality in future. The Committee set up by the Commission has already sought information from the concerned media organisations and individuals," the EC said. The reports had also surfaced about the Karnataka Congress party's social media in-charge Srivatsa tweeting the same information at the same time as Malviya's controversial tweet. Both got the polling date right and the counting date wrong. Both claimed they had picked up their information from certain TV channels. The Congress, however, hit out at the BJP with the party's com, munication in-charge Randeep Surjewala tweeting that "BJP becomes the ‘Super Election Commission’ as they announce poll dates for Karnataka even before the EC." LONDON, 27 MARCH A former employee of Cambridge Analytica turned whistleblower said on Tuesday the company had worked extensively in India and believed it was employed by the Congress party during his evidence before a UK parliamentary committee investigating the issue of fake news. Christopher Wylie deposed before the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) here amid an escalating row around alleged Facebook data breaches linked with the controversial UK-based company, which has also been linked with alleged attempts to influence elections in India. “When you look at Facebook's biggest market, India is the top in terms of num- bers of users. Obviously, that's a country which is rife with political discord and opportunities for destabilisation,” said Labour MP Paul Farrelly, member of the parliamentary committee, during his questioning. “They (Cambridge Analytica) worked extensively in India. They have an office in India,”Wylie responded.“I believe their client was Congress, but I know that they have done all kinds of projects. I don't remember a national project but I know regionally. India's so big that one state can be as big as Britain. But they do have offices there, they do have staff there,” the 28-yearold added, on being probed SNS NEW DELHI, 27 MARCH The Congress Tuesday took a swipe at BJP president Amit Shah, saying it agreed with his description of Karnataka's Yeddyurappa government as "number one" in corruption in a reference to Shah's gaffe during his press conference in Karnataka. While gunning for the Congress's Karnataka Chief Minister Siddharamaiah over corruption, Shah said, "A Supreme Court retired judge has said that if a comparison is made on corruption, then the Yed- STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI / KOLKATA, 27 MARCH West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamul supremo Mamata Banerjee arrives at Parliament in the Capital on Tuesday. SUBRATA DUTTA the grassroots level and that it was time for the BJP to “pack up and go”. The Trinamul chief asserted that all Opposition parties should worktogether to oust the BJP Banerjee, who is in Delhi . for three days, had an hourlong meeting with Pawar and other NCP leaders at his office in Parliament. She accused the Narendra Modi government of "using and misusing" all agencies, including the Election Commission. While speaking to reporters over leaked Karnataka poll dates, she slammed the ruling party, charging "All agencies are being used and misused. All In relief to inter-faith or inter-caste couples who often face threat to their lives due to their relationship, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said any interference by the Khap panchayats to scuttle marriage between two consenting adults is ‘absolutely’ illegal. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud laid down remedial and preventive measures that would operate till a statutory framework to deal with such instances was put in place. The landmark judgment came on a plea by NGO Shakti Vahini urging the apex court to address the issue of bodies like the Khap panchayats issuing diktats and interfering in marriages which do not meet their approval. While reserving its verdict in March this year, the court had observed that when two consenting adults get married irrespective of their background, no relative or a third person can inter- dyurappa government would get the number one award." Only after being reminded about his error by a state BJP leader, Shah corrected himself. Tagging Shah's gaffe clip, Congress president Rahul Gandhi soon fired away a bristling tweet, stating "Now that the BJP IT cell has announced Karnataka elections, time for a sneak preview of our top secret campaign video! Gifted to us by the BJP President, our campaign in Karnataka is off to a fabulous start. He says Yeddyurappa ran the most corrupt Govt ever...True." TURN TO PAGE 6 Whistleblower says Congress party was Cambridge Analytica’s client PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Congress pokes fun at Shah over faux pas further.He offered to provide the committee “documentation” on India, which was welcomed by Farrelly, who said India was a country that did not need any added “tensions”. During his evidence, Wylie also said that his predecessor, Dan Muresan, Head of Elections at SCL Group, had also been working in India before he died in Kenya under mysterious circumstances. He claimed to have heard stories that Muresan, a Romanian national, may have been poisoned in a hotel room while in the African country. Paul-Olivier Dehaye, co-founder of PersonalData.IO, a service that helps individuals regain control over their personal data, while giving evidence said he had heard reports that Muresan was being paid by an Indian billionaire who wanted Congress to lose elections. According to an NCP leader, TMC chief favoured a front without involving the Congress. Banerjee sought to rally regional parties against the NDA even as Telangana CM, who mooted a nonCongress, non-BJP coalition in national politics, said the alternative being proposed by him would be a People’s Front of India institutions are becoming BJP institutions." Banerjee, who is in the national capital to meet various leaders of Opposition parties to form a front against the BJP also attacked the rul, ing party for demonetisation and bank frauds. "I have travelled to all states, the issue of demonetisation and bank frauds have affected fere, threaten or unleash violence against them. During the proceedings in the matter, the Centre too had told the top court that state governments must provide protection to couples fearing for their lives due to inter-caste or inter-faith marriages and that such couples should inform the marriage officers about any such threat so that they can be given protection. In an indication that it would not recognise 'khap panchayats', the top court had also said that it would refer to them only as an assembly of persons or as a community group. The apex court had asked khap panchayats not to behave like "conscience keepers of the society" SC took note of several instances. FOR A BETTER DEAL? Syrian children evacuated from Eastern Ghouta looking out of the window of a bus after arriving with others in the village of Qalaat al-Madiq, some 45 kilometres northwest of the central city of Hama, on Tuesday, as evacuations continued following a deal with the regime that was announced earlier in the week. One hundred buses carrying 6,749 people -around a quarter of them fighters -- left a part of the enclave controlled by the Faylaq al-Rahman rebel faction. AFP (P13) Mamata explores federal front option, meets Pawar Trinamul supremo Mamata Banerjee Tuesday met NCP chief Sharad Pawar and leaders of some regional parties as well as NDA ally Shiv Sena to explore a “federal front” option to take on the ruling BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, proposing a "one-on-one" fight in all the states. According to a senior NCP leader, Miss Banerjee at the same time favoured a front without involving the Congress. TheWest Bengal Chief Minister sought to rally the regional parties against the BJP-led NDA even as Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao, who mooted a non-Congress, non-BJP coalition in national politics, said the alternative being proposed by him would be a “People's Front of India”. Attacking the BJP-ruled Centre, Banerjee said issues like demonetisation and bank frauds have affected people at WORLD CUP PLACE WILL BOOST WI CRICKET: RICHARDS Battle lines drawn between Congress and BJP, EC sets up panel to probe leak of poll dates WEATHER TEMPERATURE KIM JONG-UN MAKES UNPRECEDENTED TRIP TO CHINA people at the grassroots level. Time has come for the BJP to pack its bags and go,” she said. She will be leaving for Kolkata on Thursday. The Bengal CM also met leaders from other Opposition parties like the TDP which , recently walked out of the NDA over the issue of special status to Andhra Pradesh, TRS, SP RJD, BJD, NCP and JMM. , She again stressed that the need of the hour is to have a statewise strategy to defeat the BJP . The Trinamul leader met DMK Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi. Banerjee also met Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut along with other Sena MPs, triggering speculation in political circles. The Sena, though a part of the ruling NDA, has been critical of Maharashtra and central governments. "All Opposition parties should work together. It should be a one-on-one fight against the BJP All Opposition parties . should help the strongest one in the state against the BJP ," Banerjee reportedly told media persons. On the issue of Opposition unity, she hailed the alliance between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh and said that all Opposition parties should come together to help the alliance. "If Akhilesh and Mayawati call a meeting in Lucknow, we will all go. We should help the parties where they are strong," she said. Banerjee will also meet rebel BJP leaders and ex-Ministers, Shatrughan Sinha,Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie on Wednesday. Although she is said to be favouring a Front without the Congress, Banerjee said she was in touch with its president Rahul Gandhi. She is also expected to meet Sonia Gandhi. Raut denied that Shiv Sena was joining any front, but said the Sena and Banerjee have "a very warm" relationship. Banerjee said she "respects" the Sena. 'Cong initiates impeachment move against CJI' PTI NEW DELHI, 27 MARCH The Congress has begun the process of initiating impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra and was collecting signatures of MPs of various Opposition parties, NCP leaders said on Tuesday. However, there was no confirmation about the move from the Congress and its senior leaders avoided questions on the matter. Confirming the development, NCP leader Majeed Memon said, “The Congress as the largest Opposition party has belatedly initiated the proceedings for impeachment of the Chief Justice of India.” Asked how many MPs have signed the notice so far, he said he was just a signatory to it and the question be posed to the Congress. Another NCP parliamen- tarian D P Tripathi said, “I have signed it and others are also signing it and the process is going on.” He said it is not just corruption, but “the charges are far more serious” and it emanates from the letter that four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court had earlier written stating that there was danger to the independence of judiciary. Tripathi confirmed that among the signatories to the notice were members of NCP , CPI-M, CPI and others, and indicated that some Congress leaders too signed it. To move an impeachment motion against the CJI, signatures of 100 MPs are needed in Lok Sabha and 50 members in Rajya Sabha. Sources said leaders of several Opposition parties today discussed the issue with the Rajya Sabha Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.
The Statesman is one of India's oldest English newspapers. It was founded in Kolkata in 1875 and is directly descended from The Friend of India (founded 1818). The Englishman (founded 1821) was merged with The Statesman in 1934. The Delhi edition of The Statesman began publication in 1931. The Statesman Weekly is a compendium of news and views from the Kolkata and Delhi editions. Printed on airmail paper, it is popular with readers outside India. The Statesman (average weekday circulation approximately 180,000) is a leading English newspaper in West Bengal. The Sunday Statesman has a circulation of 230,000.