By Sunil Dang, Editor-in-Chief
Rafale Deal has been hitting the headlines for last one year and in this entire period, the Congress Party has been able to make the BJP and Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, feels the kind of heat that it had been aiming for. However, with the CBI row reaching the doors of the Supreme Court there have been some noticeable changes that need special mention, in the Congress parties approach. After the Apex Court’s directives to the government to put forth details of Rafale Deal in a sealed envelope, it became evident that the given papers will be classified and its details won’t be reaching the hands of the grand old party. Hence, in a dramatic change of move the Congress Party announced to take the Rafale Deal into the ‘people’s parliament’ — putting end to speculations of party leaders putting forth any evidence as proof.
Despite repeated threats by terror outfits from across the border against voting as well as calls for boycott of the panchayat polls by the major parties in Jammu & Kashmir, voter turnout has been good in all areas. Even though the Jammu and Ladakh region have the highest voter turnout, Kashmir region has a decent turnout as well, which indicates that people of J&K are fed up with petty ‘boycott brigade’— those who have little faith in democracy. However, by boycotting the Panchayat Polls, regional parties like National Conference and PDP, forces to reckon with in the valley, have unknowingly given a foothold to the BJP in the valley just as a few decades ago, Akalis did to the Congress Party in Punjab. The Akalis are still fighting to gain the political ground from the Congress Party, which they ceded after boycotting the Punjab assembly polls in 1992. Let’s see whether the BJP leaders, who have gotten elected in the valley due to this NC-PDP boycott, are able to use this platform to strengthen the BJP’s local presence just as Congress did in Punjab or squander this opportunity as they did in J&K Assembly.
When I sat to write my editorial, news of constitutional crisis deepening in Sri Lanka was making headlines. However, to my surprise, it’s the Petroleum Minister and cricketer turned politician Arjun Ranatunga who is spearheading the fight for safety of Sri Lankan constitution not the sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Ranatunga, who is an ardent critic of President Maithripala Srisena is considered close to Wickremesinghe. The firing incident led by Ranatunga at the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has established the former cricketer into the league of serious Sri Lankan politicians. Now, I won’t be surprised if Sri Lankan people begin to look at Ranatunga as an alternative leader who can take on Srisena and Rajapaksha. Probably, the Sri Lankan President has an idea of this; hence he hasn’t taken any action against Ranatunga that may give the cricketer-turned politician an extra mileage in Sri Lankan polity.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on an official visit to Japan where plethora of news related to investment got reported. However, for me, the ideal reporting from Tokyo would have been the Indian stance towards Japan after the IL&FS Crisis — which has impacted shareholders who are predominantly from India, Japan and Saudi Arabia — that has jeopardized Indian NBFC and HFCs for both short-term and mid-term perspective. The ongoing NBFC crisis has, for all intents and purposes, hijacked Indian real estate’s growth story over the short to mid-term. It would not only freeze funds to the real estate sector but also impact private equity (PE) funds flowing into the sector. That is because PE players will become extra cautious in lending to developers, become more selective, and engage in extremely deep due diligence before making any plays in the currently tense market environment. Private equity players will prefer last-mile funding, meaning for projects nearing completion. So, infra loans to various Indian projects may get a toll if the current IL&FS Crisis doesn’t get solve in quick time. This visit of Modi to Japan should be seen through this lens as well.
Nation is soon going to celebrate festival of lights. Coincidently, immediately after the Deepawali, the Supreme Court is going to hear the CBI case and the Winter Session of the Parliament is going to begin on that very day. Hope this session is enlightening and not a wash out again.