FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 01 JUNE 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |`5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P2 SENSEX 35,322.38 +416.27 NIFTY ASSAD THREATENS FORCE AGAINST US-BACKED KURDS GRAND JURY INDICTS WEINSTEIN ON RAPE CHARGES ‘PEOPLE MISSING EDUCATED PM LIKE MANMOHAN’ P12 10,736.15 +121.80 ` vs $ 67.44 CWG GOLD MEDALLIST SANJITA CHANU FAILS DOPE TEST P16 P13 GOLD 31,036 +112.00 SILVER 39,751 +336.00 BRENT (OIL IN $) 77.62 -0.16 Fresh bypolls blow for BJP WEATHER NEW DELHI, 31 MAY BJP plays down losses NEW DELHI, 31 MAY Partly cloudy sky with strong surface winds likely to occur during day time. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 42 and 30 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 70% Min. 30% Max: 42.1°C (+2) SUN RISES 05:25 hrs MOON RISES 21:34 hrs Min: 29.4°C (+2) SUN SETS 19:15 hrs MOON SETS 18:19 hrs TEMPERATURE Oppn snatches Kairana from BJP to score 11/14 in bypolls; limits BJP and allies to just 3; TMC wins Maheshtala Chidambaram gets interim protection from arrest AGENCIES Due to the steep rise in costs of newsprint and other inputs, we are constrained to increase our cover price to `5/- w.e.f. 1 June 2018. We seek your continued support. The Statesman THUMBNAILS School children take part in an awareness rally as part of observation of World No Tobacco Day at Shovabazar in Kolkata on AIKANTIK BAG Thursday. Zidane quits as Real Madrid coach: Fresh from winning his third consecutive Champions League title with Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane stunned the football world on Thursday by announcing his resignation as coach of the multiple La Liga champions. In a surprise press conference held alongside the club's president Florentino Perez, the French coach explained that it was time for a change after three P 15 years at the helm, reports Efe. Pakistan FATA merger: Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain on Thursday signed a landmark constitutional amendment Bill to merge restive tribal region along the Afghan border with the northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, bringing an end to the 150-year-old British-era arrangement. The Bill was passed by the National Assembly, the Senate and KP Assembly before being sent to the President for formal approval. The Bill amends several Articles of the Constitution including Article 1 that defines the territory of the Pakistani federation. ED registers AIr Asia case: After the CBI, the ED has registered a criminal case of moneylaundering against Air Asia officials and others for allegedly trying to manipulate government policies through corrupt means to get international licence for its Indian venture Air Asia India Limited, officials said. The central probe agency has invoked the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to probe if alleged tainted funds were used to create illegal assets and it has taken cognisance of the CBI FIR to lodge its own case. The agency, they said, will go into the money trail of the P7 accused and the entire deal. D ealing a blow to the ruling BJP oppo, sition parties on Thursday emerged victorious in 11 out of 14 bypolls while limiting the saffron party and its allies at just three and snatching the high-profile Kairana Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh. With prestige at stake in every single bypoll in the runup to the 2019 general elections, the opposition leaders latched onto today's results across 11 states to claim sliding popularity of the Narendra Modi-led government, even as the BJP asserted that the PM would decide the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls next year. Opposition leaders saw a big boost for strengthening non-BJP unity with the ruling party losing the Kairana Lok Sabha seat in politically important UP to a united Opposition after a communally-charged election campaign, as well as the Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha constituency in Maharashtra. The BJP retained another Lok Sabha seat from Maharashtra, Palghar, where it had faced its own ally Shiv Sena but the Opposition could not put a united fight. BJP's Rajendra Gavit won the seat, defeating Shiv Sena's ShrinivasWanaga. Shiv Sena NEW DELHI, 31 MAY After days of hectic negotiations over the sharing of portfolios in Karnataka, the alliance partners have decided that finance will go to the JDS and the home department to the Congress, highly placed sources in the parties said on Thursday. The leaders of the two parties have held five rounds of talks here since yesterday to finalise the portfolio sharing arrangement between the partners. Sources said Congress president Rahul Gandhi is on board over the portfolio sharing agreement and has spoken to leaders over the phone from the United States, where he was travelling with his mother Sonia Gandhi who has gone for a medical check-up. The power-sharing arrangement between the alliance partners is being finalized and is in the final stages, the sources added. chief Uddhav Thackeray, however, alleged “discrepancies” in counting of votes for Palghar. In Nagaland, the fourth LS seat for which bypoll was held on Monday, went to BJP's ally Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party. While the LS bypoll results were equally divided at 2-2 between the BJP-led alliance and the opposition parties, figures for the 10 assembly bypolls came as a big setback for the ruling party which could win just one (in Uttarakhand).The Congress bagged three (in Meghalaya, Karnataka and Punjab) and other parties got six ~ JMM two in Jharkhand; CPI (M), SP RJD and Trinamool one , each in Kerala, UP Bihar , andWest Bengal, respectively. The Congress also won one assembly seat in Maharashtra without contest after all other parties withdrew their candidates. The party, which retained RR Nagar assembly in Karnataka and another in Meghalaya, termed the bypoll results as the people's mandate against four years of Modi’s rule and the beginning of the end of the BJP regime. “The writing on the wall is clear. The BJP's exit and success of the Congress and its allies are guaranteed,” Congress leader Pramod Tiwari told reporters. The results appeared more marked against the BJP after taking into account the parties that had held these seats earlier. While the BJP alliance retained two LS seats ~ one in Maharashtra and another in Nagaland ~ it lost two others ~ UP's Kairana and Maharashtra's Bhandara-Gondiya. The BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the party will analyse the cause of defeat in the two LS seats. In assembly seats, the BJPanditsalliesfailedtoretain Noorpur in UP and Shahkot in Punjab, while Congress, CPI (M), Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Trinamul Congress retained their respective seats. The BJP retained Tharali in Uttarakhand, but lost Noorpur in UP SP's Naeemul . Hasan trounced BJP's Avni Singh in Noorpur. In Bihar, RJD won minority-dominated Jokihat by defeating BJP ally JD(U) by a huge margin. A buoyedTejashwiYadav of RJD said chief minister Nitish Kumar, who dumped theRJDandCongresslastyear to join hands with the BJP to form a new coalition government in the state, should resign if he has some con- GDP growth 7.7 per cent in Q4 STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 31 MAY The country’s economy strengthened in the January-March quarter, growing at a pace closer to potential and setting the stage for a tighter monetary policy. The GDP growth stood at 7.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017-18 compared with 6.1 per cent in the same period last year, and a revised 7 per cent in the quarter ended December 2017, according to data released by the Central Statistics Office on Thursday. For the full financial year, GDP growth stood at 6.7 per cent compared with 7.1 per cent last year. Briefing the media after the GDP data came out, Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said the government will maintains FY19 growth forecast at 7.5 per cent. He K’taka portfolios: JDS to get finance, Congress home PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 31 MAY The decision on when to make the formal announcement would depend on the leadership of the two parties, they said. Congress general secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal and JD(S) secretary general Danish Ali will travel to Bengaluru to hold further talks with their state leaders before finalizing the arrangement, the sources said. “We have held five rounds of talks with each other and have decided that the JD(S) will get the Finance portfolio. I will be now travelling to Bengaluru to hold further talks within our party,” Danish Ali told PTI. He said he would meet both chief minister H D Kumarswamy and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda. Leaders of the two parties, including Ali as well as the Congress' Ahmed Patel, Ashok Gehlot andVenugopal, met at the residence of senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad for talks. said he doesn't see oil prices impacting growth and that fiscal deficit will be within 3.5 per cent tar- get. Union Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia tweeted, “The constant increasing trend of quarterly GDP numbers in the Four-Quarters of 2017-18 at 5.6%, 6.3%, 7% and 7.7% indicates that the structural measures of reforms undertaken by Government is now bringing rich dividends in the form of higher GDP Growth Rate.” The manufacturing sector grew at 9.1 per cent versus 8.5 per cent in the quarter ended December 2017. The construction sector grew at 11.5 per cent compared with 6.6 per cent in the quarter ended December 2017. Adhia added, “What is most noticeable is the increase in the Growth Rate of GVA of Manufacturing Sector in the last two Quarters of 2017-18 at 8.5% and 9.1% at constant price. We would like to believe that GST has given a big boost to the Industrial Sector.” The faster pace of growth in the latest quarter might also strengthen expectations for a rate hike by the Reserve Bank of India in its next policy review. Analysts believe that the combination of a weaker currency and surging oil prices is a threat not only for the current account deficit, but also inflation. However, the disruption caused due to de-stocking of inventories and haphazard implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the blow of demonetisation significantly lowered the country’s economic growth in the first two quarters. The GDP growth in the financial year 2017-18 was 6.7 per cent, lowest in the Narendra Modi-led BJP era. In the wake of its poor showing in assembly and Lok Sabha bypolls, the BJP on Thursday said these would have no impact on the party’s return to power after next year’s Lok Sabha elections. “In 2019 we will have Narendra Modi as our next Prime Minister. The Opposition has come together to fight Modi. Modi will win and come back to power as people don’t want to lose their Prime Minister,” BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the outcome of these byelections are no barometer for next year’s Lok Sabha elections. In a jibe at Opposition unity, he said the BJP welcomes such unity as it was now SNS against BJP only. science left. BJP leader and Union home minister Rajnath Singh said one has to take two steps backward before a big leap and the BJP is “going to take a massive leap.”AAP leader and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said the results reflect the SINGAPORE, 31 MAY Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the“warmest and closest” relationship between India and Singapore, saying the future is a world of unlimited opportunities and the two lions (countries) shall step into it together. Modi, who arrived in Singapore on the last leg of his threenation tour earlier today, said that the defence relations between the two countries are among the strongest and the two sides are building a“partnership of our age.” “When India opened up to the world and turned to the East, Singapore became a partner and a bridge between India and ASEAN. Political relations between India and Singapore are among the warmest and closest. There are no contests or claims, or doubts,” Modi told the Indian diaspora at a Business and Community Event at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre here. “It is a natural partnership from a shared vision. Our defence relations are among the strongest, for both. My Armed Forces speak with great respect and admiration for Singapore's Armed Forces. India's longest continuous naval exercise is with Singapore,” he said, highlighting the deep defence ties. He said that in international forums, the two countries speak in one voice in the cause of a rules-based order, sovereign equality of all nations, and free and open pathways of commerce and engagement.“It is a partnership at the front-line of India's global engagement. Singapore is both a leading investment source and destination for India. Singapore was the first country with which we signed a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement,” Modi said. “On the foundations of this extraordinary heritage, the wealth of our human links and the strength of our shared values, India and Singapore are building a partnership of our age. It is a relationship that truly SEE PAGES 5, 6, 7 Delhi High Court onThursday granted senior Congress leaderandformerUnionminister P Chidambaram interim protection from arrest till 3 July in the INX Media corruption case being investigated by the CBI. Justice A K Pathak asked Chidambaram to join the CBI's questioning and cooperate in the investigation as and when called by the agency. The court also sought the CBI’s response on Chidambaram's anticipatory bail plea. It listed the matter for further hearing on 3 July, directing that the investigating agency will not arrest him till then. Appearing for Chidambaram, senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Salman Khurshid assured the court that he will cooperate with the CBI. Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, opposedtheanticipatorybail plea for Chidambaram, saying he was merely summoned by the CBI for questioning and that he should have first approached the trial court for relief instead of the high court. The judge, however, said that either the ASG should make a statement that the CBI will not arrest him till the next date of hearing, or the court would grant him such a SNS protection. Rahul rakes up ‘scam’ in An-32 spares deal STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 31 MAY Seizing on a media report about alleged scam in India's defence deal with Ukraine for purchase of spares for military transport aircraft, Congress president Rahul Gandhi Thursday demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should take immediate action against the guilty defence ministry officials. In a statement posted on Twitter, Gandhi said: "Ministry Of Defence, India (MODI) officials, accused of making millions of $'s in kickbacks via Dubai by Ukrainian Govt. in AN32 deal. Modi ji, as our self proclaimed chokidar, I urge you to take immediate action against your corrupt MODI officials. #BJPDefenceScam." ‘India, Singapore ties warmest and closest’ PRESS TRUST OF INDIA anger against the Modi government. The UP results came as the biggest upset for the BJP with the joint opposition candidate, RLD's Tabassum Hasan, winning in Kairana. The seat had fallen vacant after death of the BJP candidate Mriganka Singh's father, Hukum Singh. Former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav called the results “a defeat of divisive politics” and congratulated all opposition parties for the results. CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said BJP's loss at its “laboratoryofcommunaland hate politics”, Kairana, clearly showed that people did not accept the ruling party's politics but warned that the loss could push the RSS-BJP to spread communal tensions to consolidate the “Hindutva votebank”. In Punjab, Congress' Hardev Singh Ladi wrested Shahkot from the Shiromani Akali Dal.Trinamul's Dulal Das won Maheshtala bypoll in Bengal, defeating BJP's Sujit Kumar Ghosh. The Left came third. In Kerala, Left's Saji Cheriyan won Chengannur bypoll. JMM retained Silli and Gomia seats in Jharkhand. In Gomia, JMM's Babita Devi defeated AJSU nominee Lambodar Mahto, while BJP came third. In Silli, JMM's Seema Mahto defeated AJSU chief Sudesh Mahto. meets the test of strategic partnership,” Modi said, amid applause. He said that India will work with Singapore to bring the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to early conclusion. He also said the India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement has been reviewed and the two sides will work to further upgrade it. “As India's engagement with the region grows, Singapore will remain a gateway to ASEAN and the broader East,” he added. Modi said that in many area of India's development priorities, Singapore is a key partner: smart cities, urban solutions, financial sector, skills development, ports, logistics, aviation and industrial parks. “So, India and Singapore are contributing to each other's prosperity. And, now we are building new partnerships for the digital world,” he said, adding they will be the bridge of innovation and enterprise between India, Singapore and ASEAN. Ukraine is said to be probing alleged Rs 17.5 crore kickbacks via a Dubai bank in India’s purchase of spares for the IAF's An-32 aircraft Ukraine is said to be probing alleged Rs 17.5 crore kickbacks via a Dubai bank in India’s purchase of spares for Indian Air Force (IAF)'s transport aircraft An-32 in which the Ukrainian anti-graft body suspects the involvement of Indian defence ministry officials. Theagreementwassigned for the supply of An-32 spares between a Ukrainian staterun company and Ministry of Defence (Air Force Headquarters) on 26 November 2014. According to the report, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NAB), on 13 February 2018, sent a "request for international legal assistance" to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs via the Indian envoy in Kiev, seeking identification of the defence ministry officials who were part of the process of sealing this deal. The All India Congress Committee also raked up the scam, asking the "BJP-led government at the highest levels", especially Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, to respond. AICC spokesman ManishTewari told reporters that the Modi government should make public details of the contract and not sweep it under the carpet "as was the case” in the Rafale fighter jet deal. No bids received for Air India stake sale PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 31 MAY In a major setback to the Air India disinvestment process, the government said no initial bids were received for the proposed strategic stake sale of the debt-laden airlines by the deadline today. The deadline for submission of Expression of Interest ended onThursday. “As informed by the Transaction Adviser, no response has been received for the Expression of Interest floated for the strategic disinvestment of Air India,” the Civil Aviation Ministry said in a tweet. “Further course of action will be decided appropriately,” it added. EY is the transaction adviser for the process. The government has proposed to offload 76 per cent equity share capital of the national carrier as well as transfer the management control to private players. The transaction would involve Air India, its low cost arm Air India Express and Air India SATS Airport Services Pvt Ltd. The latter is an equal joint venture between the national carrier and Singapore-based SATS Ltd. Earlier this month, the government had extended the EoI submission deadline to May 31 from the previous date of May 14. The qualified interested bidders were to be intimated on June 15. The ailing airline's total debt stood at over Rs 48,000 crore at the end of March 2017. In April, both IndiGo and Jet Airways had said that they would not be participating in the Air India disinvestment process. IndiGo was the first to evince interest in Air India disinvestment when the government had mooted the plan last year.
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