See More on Facebook

Politics

India on high security alert as voting begins

Fears of election bloodshed rise after attack in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday kills lawmaker, 4 others.


Written by

Updated: April 11, 2019

India went on high security alert yesterday ahead of the start of its marathon elections after a campaign focused on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership and national security.

A bomb blast on Tuesday blamed on Maoist rebels killed five people, including a lawmaker campaigning for Mr Modi, heightening fears of election bloodshed.

Some 80,000 troops, police and paramilitary personnel will be deployed in troubled Chhattisgarh state – where the attack was carried out – when voting starts today, state police chief D.M. Awasthi said.

Mr Modi’s right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is seeking a second term, defending a landslide win over the opposition Congress party in 2014. The result is predicted to be close, however.

Chhattisgarh is among sensitive states where polling is staggered over several weeks so security and administrative staff can be moved around.

The killing of a local leader of a Hindu nationalist group in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday reinforced fears of trouble during voting. Parts of Kashmir will also vote today.

Gunmen burst into a Jammu hospital and shot dead the regional leader of the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which is closely linked to Mr Modi’s party.

Tensions also simmered in the eastern state of Odisha, where two landmines were recovered by patrols, and in nearby Bihar, where two roadside bombs were detonated.

Kashmir hit the headlines ahead of the elections after 40 paramilitary personnel were killed in a suicide attack in February.

India blamed the attack on a Pakistan-based group and launched a cross-border air raid, which sparked a retaliatory strike by Pakistan that briefly brought the rivals close to a new war.

Mr Modi has used India’s action against Pakistan to bolster his strongman image and divert attention from criticism over a lack of jobs across the country and a farmers’ debt crisis.

At a rally on Tuesday, he urged first-time voters to dedicate their ballot to the military, which staged the air strike inside Pakistan.

Congress said the speech breached an Election Commission order that political parties should not use the armed forces for propaganda.

A biopic of the Prime Minister has also caused controversy, with Congress waging a legal battle to prevent the showing of what it has called unfair propaganda.

Congress, led by Mr Rahul Gandhi, said the flattering portrayal of Mr Modi would give an unfair advantage to his Hindu nationalist BJP.

The Election Commission yesterday blocked the release of the biopic until the national elections are over, citing possible violations of the election code of conduct.

Separately, the producers of two TV series were given warning notices by the Election Commission for promoting Mr Modi’s pet schemes through their shows, the Press Trust of India reported.

Under Indian election law, during the 48 hours before a state votes, the publication of any content deemed as campaigning – including advertisements, films and even social media content – requires Election Commission approval.

Mr Gandhi, scion of India’s Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, filed his nomination papers yesterday following a roadshow in his home constituency of Amethi, in Uttar Pradesh. Amethi goes to the polls on May 6.

The last vote is on May 19 and the results will be announced on May 23.

Various opinion polls have indicated an alliance led by Mr Modi’s BJP will win up to 273 of the 543 Parliament seats at stake, just one more than the required majority.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Politics

Internet healthcare serving homebound patients in China

Online consultations, pharmaceutical deliveries play vital role during outbreak. One recent rainy day, Wu Hong was waiting at the gate of her residential community in Wuhan, Hubei province. When a deliveryman with a bag of medicine came into sight, she was greatly relieved. Wu’s mother-in-law is a breast-cancer patient and needs to take medicine regularly. Wu’s father suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and inhalers have been in short supply. As the novel coronavirus epidemic grew more serious, Wu wasn’t permitted to take her family to the hospital for drug refills. She was left in a state of restless anxiety. On Feb 26, Wu and her husband saw a news segment on TV saying that the Wuhan government had enabled online reimbursement se


By China Daily
March 13, 2020

Politics

India’s Congress suffers setback after key leader defects to BJP

Move by Scindia and 22 legislators could trigger fall of Congress-led govt in central Madhya Pradesh state. The Congress has suffered a political setback following the resignation of Mr Jyotiraditya Scindia and 22 legislators in Madhya Pradesh state, deepening an existential crisis for a party that is struggling for political relevance in modern Indian politics. Mr Scindia, 49, an articulate leader, yesterday joined Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with legislators loyal to him expected to follow suit. The move could lead to the collapse of the Congress-led Madhya Pradesh government. That would give the BJP a chance to form the government in the Hindi heartland state, which is seen as key objective for


By The Straits Times
March 12, 2020

Politics

Chinese Red Cross teams aid Iran’s COVID-19 fight

Humanitarian group to help Iranians with containment measures that worked in China. Voices on the other end of the line cut in and out due to a poor phone connection as officials at the Red Cross Society of China’s headquarters in Beijing attempted to talk to staff members on the ground in Iran on Tuesday morning. As the signal stabilised, the latest developments in controlling the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic in Teheran streamed into a conference room packed with Red Cross managers. Zhou Xiaohang, head of a five-member team-four medics and a Farsi interpreter sent to assist with COVID-19 control in Iran-said Iranians are increasingly taking precautions such as wearing face masks and washing their hands more often.


By China Daily
March 11, 2020

Politics

Shortage of Masks, Handwash due to panic- buying: Leave some for everyone

Despite repeated calls by global and local health experts and warnings from government, panic-buying grips the country. Global health experts have warned against hoarding masks, handwash and sanitisers during the coronavirus outbreak as it could worsen the situation by depriving those who might need them. Despite this, panic-buying of these products in Dhaka has been triggered by news of the first confirmed coronavirus cases in the country. Across the capital, several pharmacies and superstores have been facing a shortage of masks, antiseptic liquids and sanitisers since Sunday afternoon. The demand for tissue papers has also almost doubled overnight, some retailers claimed. Many of the retail stores, super shops and pharmacies in Karwan Bazar, M


By Daily Star
March 10, 2020

Politics

MH17 trial in Malaysia begins today

It was reported that MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile while flying over the conflict-hit eastern Ukraine. The trial will begin today. All eyes will be on the District Court of The Hague at the Schiphol Judicial Complex (JCS) in Badhoevedorp as the criminal proceeding against four men accused of shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 begins. It was reported that MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile while flying over the conflict-hit eastern Ukraine. All 298 people on board, comprising 43 Malaysians, 193 Dutch nationals and 27 Australians, were killed. Members of the Malaysian media here to cover the start of the trial were given a briefing by press secretary for the judge, Yolande Wijnnobel, on what to expect at the start of the much-awai


By The Star
March 9, 2020

Politics

OPINION: ‘Righteous’ women

So who is this ‘righteous’ woman that would never dare join Aurat Marchers? ‘TIS the season to be righteous, or so many prominent Pakistanis on TV and social media along with the religious right would have us believe. Pakistan suffers from hypocritical moral policing at the best of times — in homes, colleges and universities, places of religious worship, and the workplace — but the trigger for the current frenzy is the impending Aurat Marches in many cities of the country. Given that these marches only began three years ago, one can only marvel at how rapidly they have gotten under the proverbial skin of their highly agitated opponents. Enough has been said and written about the wider context of the marches and why they threaten the


By ANN Members
March 6, 2020