Nation
AAP stares at split as internal crisis escalates

The current developments are two days ahead of the Aam Aadmi Party's national executive meeting where both sides -- the Kejriwal camp and supporters of Bhushan and Yadav -- could have had a showdown

 

Less than two months after it stormed to power in Delhi, the AAP appeared set for a split with the party saying on Thursday that senior leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav had quit its national executive and the two men vehemently denying this.
 
Making the announcement two days before the executive meets here, AAP spokesman Ashish Khetan said Bhushan and Yadav appeared dead set against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the party's best known face who assumed office on February 14.
 
"They say one thing in private and another in public," Khetan told the media, adding he had been involved in days of close-door discussions with both men over issues confronting India's youngest political party.
 
The comments came two days ahead of the Aam Aadmi Party's national executive meeting where both sides -- the Kejriwal camp and supporters of Bhushan and Yadav -- could have had a showdown.
 
Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia added that close-door talks with Bhushan and Yadav had failed as they were adamant that Kejriwal must go as the party's all-powerful national convener.
 
“No effort to remove Kejriwal is acceptable to me," added Sisodia, a long-time confidant of the chief minister.
 
“Despite accepting all their demands, they are insisting (on the removal of) AK," he added, referring to Kejriwal. "In public they say AK is the leader, in private they insist on his removal."
 
Another AAP leader, Kumar Vishwas, said all the five proposals of Bhushan and Yadav were accepted by the party but their demand for axing Kejriwal as the national convener would only be decided by the national executive.
 
In the mounting war of words, Bhushan and Yadav denied the charges made against them. A defiant Bhushan added that Kejriwal wanted only "yes men" around him and not those with independent views.
 
Both are to hold a press conference on Friday, a development that could generate more heat.
 
A founder member of the AAP and a leading Supreme Court advocate, Bhushan told the media that it was a lie to say that he and Yadav wanted to see Kejriwal step down as the national convenor.
 
"This is a lie, we never made this demand," he said. "All we have asked for is transparency in the party."
 
Yadav, a known political expert, agreed and asked Kejriwal loyalists to produce his resignation letter -- if he had indeed resigned.
 
"What is being passed off as 'resignation letter' is a note for internal negotiations," Yadav said in a tweet.
 
He said it was "ridiculous" to say he and Bhushan demanded Kejriwal's removal as the national convenor.
 
"This wasn't mentioned in our note, never came up for discussion. Can they give any proof?" he asked.
 
Yadav added: "I hear funny news about the PAC (Political Affairs Committee) accepting our resignation. Will my colleagues please produce a copy of the resignation letter?"
 
The AAP has been embroiled in an internal tussle after taking power in Delhi last month, with the pro-Kejriwal camp accusing Bhushan and Yadav of trying to oust the chief minister. Both have denied the charge.
 
Bhushan and Yadav were sacked from the Political Affairs Committee (PAC), the party's top decision making body, earlier this month in the first open sign that all was not well with the AAP.
 
That was accompanied by a war of words between Bhushan and Yadav on the one hand and known supporters of Kejriwal on the other. 
 
Once Kejriwal returned to New Delhi after 10 days of naturopathy in Bengaluru, the situation calmed -- publicly -- but the two factions held a series of close-door discussions to sort out various issues.
 
From the dramatic developments on Thursday, efforts to bring about a unity between the two groups appear to have fizzled out. 
 

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Take care of disabled people as per law, governments told
The Supreme Court order came after senior counsel VK Tanha gave his suggestions following his visit to Asha Kiran - a home for the mentally retarded people in Delhi - during the hearing of a petition by Reena Banerjee
 
The Supreme Court Thursday issued notice to the central and State governments and union territory administrations for enforcement of law to support the people with physical disability including mentally challenged so that they can live with "dignity and respect".
 
Noting that people with physical disabilities were living in pathetic conditions, a bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C Pant said that all the state governments have a definite role to see that the law to support the persons with disabilities which includes the mentally challenged people is properly implemented and they are "taken care of as commanded by the act.
 
The court order came after senior counsel VK Tanha gave his suggestions following his visit to Asha Kiran - a home for the mentally retarded people in Delhi - during the hearing of a petition by Reena Banerjee.
 
The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation Act, 1995 identifies the nature of disabilities and the obligation of the state to support people suffering from such disabilities.
 
Noting that the matter being dealt by it was rooted in the order passed by the Delhi High Court, the court in its order said: "Yet the pathetic situation of this category of persons which have been highlighted before us in other states cannot be ignored or marginalised."
 
It sought a comprehensive study of the situation where this "class of people are treated with dignity, respect and as far as practicable feel a part of the main stream of life".
"We are not oblivious of the fact that in every case, it may not be possible but there has to be an attempt to identify the possibility. We have been apprised at the bar that the said effort has not been made and, if made, that is not adequate enough to meet the real challenge."
 
Directing the next hearing of the matter on July 8, the court in its order said: "This court hopes and trusts that the Union of India and all the states and union territories shall respond without taking recourse to any kind of subterfuge and none should take adversarial position for the present cause has its own sacrosanctity."
 

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Nifty, Sensex and Bank Nifty deeply oversold – Thursday closing report
Nifty remains weak, but it could make an effort to rally on Friday, after initial weakness
 
We had mentioned in Wednesday’s closing report that NSE’s CNX Nifty and S&P BSE Sensex were weak, but a sudden rally may be possible. Both the indices opened Thursday in the red, following a sharp decline in the US markets previous night and witnessed a gradual fall without much of a struggle to revive. The fall became stronger in the last few minutes of the session, when the indices plunged to hit its lowest since 14 January 2015.
 
The Sensex opened at 27,938 while the Nifty opened at 8,475. After hitting the high at the beginning of the session at 27,997 and 8,499, both Sensex and Nifty moved lower to hit a low at 27,385 and 8,325, respectively. Sensex closed at 27,458 (down 654 points or 2.33%), while Nifty closed at 8,342 (down 189 points or 2.21%). Bank Nifty too followed the same trading pattern. It opened at 18,139 and moved from the high of 18,224 to 17,729 and closed at 17,832 (down 478 points or 2.61%). NSE recorded a volume of 94.77 crore shares. India VIX rose 15.37% to close at 15.1625. Today, NSE futures and options segment expired for March 2015 series.
 
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved reviving of and improving utilisation of the stranded gas-based power generation capacity in India. The mechanism envisages sacrifices to be made collectively by all stakeholders, including the Central and State Governments, by way of exemptions from certain applicable taxes and levies on the incremental RLNG being imported for the purpose. Besides, gas transporters and re-gasification terminals have agreed to reduce their transportation tariff, marketing margin and re-gasification charges on the incremental RLNG. Power developers would completely forego the return on their equity. With this arrangement, electricity generation in the country would be enhanced significantly by around 79 billion units, valued at about Rs42,000 crore, CCEA added.
 
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that the union government hopes to pass the Constitution Amendment Bill for the introduction of a nationwide Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the country during the second half of the Budget session of the parliament which begins on 20 April 2015.
 
Banks will be shut for almost a week starting 28th March due to holidays and annual closing of accounts for the financial year.
 
The Supreme Court has allowed the government to conclude the auction of telecom airwaves and collect initial payments from operators. The government raised a record $17.6 billion from its sale of mobile airwaves in four spectrum bands, after a 19-day auction that ended on Wednesday. While the government has raised a lot of revenues, the "Telecom industry, which was already saddled with nearly Rs2.5 lakh crore, is now going to helplessly see it mount to nearly Rs3.5 lakh crore," Assocham Telecom Council Chairman TV Ramachandran said in a statement.
 
The government is hopeful that Coal India will surpass its one billion tonne excavation target by 2020. However, it may miss its output target of 507 million tonnes (MT) by 10 MT, during the current fiscal, on account of various delays in operationalising mines.
 
The Revenue Department has made public the names of 18 tax defaulters who collectively owe over Rs500 crore to the exchequer. Out of the 18 defaulters, 11 are Gujarat-based.
 
The US and India are planning to launch negotiations to sign a high quality bilateral investment treaty to create an enabling business environment in India.
 
Coming back to the Indian stock market, Amtek Auto (6.21%) was the top gainer in ‘A’ group on the BSE. The stock hit its 52-week low on Tuesday. It was in the news for its plans to acquire TRW Automotive Holdings Corp.’s suspension business. TRW is based in the Detroit suburb of Livonia. Vakrangee (9.08%) was the top loser in ‘A’ group on the BSE. Bharti Airtel (0.98%) was the top gainer in the Sensex 30 pack, while HDFC (5.32%) was the top loser in the pack. It was also among the top two losers in the ‘A’ group on the BSE.
 
On Wednesday, US stock markets closed in the red. US economic data released yesterday raised concerns about US growth.
 
Except for Shanghai Composite (0.58%) and Straits Times (0.37%) all the other Asian indices closed in the red. Nikkei 225 (1.39%) was the top loser.
 
US business investment spending plans fell for a sixth straight month in February. The Commerce Department said yesterday that non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, dropped 1.4% in February after a revised 0.1% dip in January. European indices were trading deeply in the red so were the US Futures.
 

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