The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | 15-06-2022 | 10:35 pm
Important topics and their relevance in UPSC CSE exam for June 15, 2022. If you missed the June 14, 2022 UPSC key from the Indian Express, read it hereFRONT PAGEI-T flagged ‘misreporting’ of Rs 1.06-cr, black money SIT judge opted for amnesty schemeSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: General Studies III: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.Key Points to Ponder:• What Is Black Money?• How Black Money Works?• What are the sources of black money in India?• Black money includes all funds earned through illegal activity only-True or false• Black Money is recorded for tax purposes-True or False• How Black money affects country’s economy?• Most people who have black money try to convert it into legal money, also identified as white money. What are the number of ways to do that?• What was the MC Joshi committee’s recommendation which was appointed to study the generation and curbing of black money?• Amnesty Scheme 2021-Know the Key Highlights• Why Special Investigative Team (SIT) on Black Money was appointed?• What are major initiatives taken by the Government of India to curb black money?• Demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee currency notes and Black Money-Connect the dot• Black Money and Imposition of Tax (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) Act 2015-Key HighlightsOther Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍No official estimation of black money in foreign accounts in last five years: Govt in Parliament📍Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, 2015India, Israel, US, UAE are I2U2, summit next monthSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.Key Points to Ponder:• What is “I2U2”?• From ‘International Forum for Economic Cooperation’ to “I2U2”-Know the background and Evolution• The Abraham Accord is between which Countries?• Map Work-Countries involved in Abraham Accord• The Abraham Accord is the first Arab-Israeli peace deal-True or False?• The India-Israel-US-UAE grouping-Know the bilateral relations between each one of them• The Biden administration has launched several multilateral initiatives since January 2021 including the Quad (India, US, Japan and Australia), AUKUS (Australia, UK and US) and a Quadrilateral dialogue with Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan-Know India’s role in these groupingsOther Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Explained: Why is the Israel-UAE trade pact more than just another international deal?Govt’s big employment pushSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importanceMains Examination: General Studies II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.Key Points to Ponder:• Why ‘Agneepath’ is said to be a “major defence policy reform”?• The expenditure on defence constitutes what percentage of the central government’s budget?• The expenditure on defence is what percentage of India’s estimated GDP for previous years?• Agneepath Scheme-Know the key Highlights of the scheme• What are the eligibility criteria?• What happens after selection?• When will the recruitment actually begin?• How will the scheme benefit the armed forces and the recruits?• Who are ‘Agniveer’ under the Agneepath Scheme?• The government announced key changes in soldiers recruitment for the Armed Forces. What are they?• What exactly does the term “tour of duty” entail when used in the context of the military?• Aim of New Tour of Duty system-Know in Detail• How would the Indian Army benefit from the Tour of Duty?• What will be advantages esp. for the Government with this new move?• Tour Of Duty may have certain drawbacks. What are they?• The Agneepath scheme will help cut the rising salary and pension bill of the armed forces. Why rising salary and pension has been a major worry for governments over the years?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍What’s in Agnipath scheme📍Why it can help cut the rising salary, pension bill📍A reform called Agnipath📍Force of ChangeGOVT & POLITICSPresidential polls: Mamata and Left leaders meet PawarSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Indian Polity and GovernanceMains Examination: General Studies II: Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of theseKey Points to Ponder:• The President of India is integral part of the Union Executive-True or False• Know in detail about Article 54 to Article 58 of the Indian Constitution• Who elects the President of India?• The President is elected by members of the electoral college rather than by the general public. What does the electoral college entail?• What is the term of the office of the President?• When is the election of the Office of President of India held?• Who conducts the election to the Office of President of India?• What electoral system/process is followed for the election to the office of the President?• What is System of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote?• Why System of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote is used for President’s Election in India?• The voting at the President’s election shall be by secret ballot-True or False?• How Constitution of India provides uniformity in the scale of representation of different states as well as parity between the states as a whole and the Union at the election of the President?• What are the Qualifications required by a candidate to contest the election to the Office of the President of India?• Who is appointed the Returning Officer/Assistant Returning Officer for the election to the Office of President of India? Who makes such appointment?• Can the result of the election to the Office of President be challenged? If so, what is the proper procedure for doing so?• Are the provisions of the Anti-Defection Law applicable in Presidential elections?• The oath of office to the President is administered by Whom?• The President can be removed from office by a process of impeachment for ‘violation of the Constitution’-True or False?• The Constitution of India defines the meaning of the phrase ‘violation of the Constitution’-True or False?• What are the powers enjoyed and the functions performed by the President of India?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Presidential elections: Over 70 years, 14 Presidents, 15 big fights📍Explained: How the President is electedEXPRESS NETWORKPhase-1 of greenfield airport in Dholera gets CCEA nodSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social DevelopmentMains Examination: General Studies III: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.Key Points to Ponder:• What is Greenfield Infrastructure Project?• What is Brownfield Infrastructure Project?• Brownfield and Greenfield Infrastructure Project-Compare and Contrast• What is Greenfield and Brownfield investments?• What is Palace of Nations or Palais des Nations?• In which part of History, you have heard about Palace of Nations or Palais des Nations?• League of Nations and Palace of Nations or Palais des Nations-Connect the dot• National Industrial Corridor Development Programme-Know the Key features• Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs-Role, About• Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs-Know the CompositionOther Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Greenfield vs. Brownfield Investments: What’s the Difference?📍Cabinet Approves Development of New Greenfield Airport Dholera, AhmedabadGOVT & POLITICSDeadline for freezing administrative boundaries extended, no Census this yearSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social DevelopmentMains Examination: • General Studies I: Population and associated issues• General Studies II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human ResourcesKey Points to Ponder:• What is the meaning of ‘Census’?• What is Population Census?•The census exercise in India, which was originally scheduled to take place in 2021, has been further pushed to 2023-24-Why?• How is the Census Conducted?• Registrar General of India-About, Role and Functions• What do you understand by the term ‘Administrative Boundaries’?• The Census in India is conducted by whom?• The Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner comes under which Ministry?• What is the Constitutional Provisions to Conduct census in India?• What is National Population Register (NPR)?• Is National Population Register (NPR) connected to National Register of Citizens (NRC)?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Explained: Why NPR isn’t NRC, and yet…THE IDEAS PAGEThe RBI’s misdiagnosisSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social DevelopmentMains Examination: General Studies III: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.Key Points to Ponder:• What is the Monetary Policy Committee?• The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is a Statutory Body-True or False?• What is the Primary Objective of monetary policy in India?• Why according to author Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has failed? (Hint: Given in the Article)• There are several direct and indirect instruments that are used for implementing monetary policy-What are they?• What is REPO rate?• What is Current Repo Rate?• What’s the RBI assessment on inflation?• “The RBI chasing five different targets that is inflation, growth, interest rate, exchange rate, and dividends, it is hardly surprising that it lost sight of its inflation objective”-Do agree with this statement?• What will be the impact of withdrawing the accommodative policy?• Why the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) once again raised the Repo rate for the second time in over a month by an expected 50 basis points?• The RBI has raised the Repo rate-How it will impact the demand in the economy?• How this rate hike will impact banks and non-banking finance companies?• There are two economic groups in every society including India i.e. the fixed income group and the variable income group. How Inflation effects these economic group?• What is the Long term, Medium Term and Short-term impact of Inflation?• How Inflation is Measured in India?• New Standard for Measuring Inflation in India and Old Standard for Measuring Inflation-Key Differences• Impact of Money Supply on an Economy-Inflation or Deflation?• Steps or Measures Taken by GOI to Control InflationOther Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍At this rate📍First, Price Stability📍RBI rate hike & its impact📍At over 7%, price rise likely to keep pinching till Sept: RBI📍ExplainSpeaking | How inflation beat the RBI: A recent historyEXPLAINEDThe significance of holy relics of Buddha, sent on exposition to MongoliaSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: History of IndiaMains Examination: General Studies I: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.Key Points to Ponder:• Four Holy Relics of Lord Buddha are being taken to Mongolia for an 11-day exposition to coincide with Mongolian Buddha Purnima Celebrations-Know the importance of this event• ‘Kapilvastu Relics’-Know in Detail• India-Mongolia Bilateral Relations and Shared Heritage-Know in detail• The rising role of Buddhism in India’s Bilateral Relations and in soft power strategy-Know in Detail• Lumbini and Kushinagar-What is the importance of this place in Buddhism?• Rise of Buddhism in India and Gautam Buddha or Siddharth-Know in detail• Know in detail about Doctrines of Buddhism, the Four noble truths, The Five Precepts and Eight-fold Path• What are the special features of Buddhism and why it spread rapidly and widely?• When, where and under which King’s Patronage the first, Second, Third and fourth Buddhist Council held?• Know about the two main schools of Buddhism-Mahayana and Hinayana• Rajgriha, Vaishali, Patliputra, Kundalvana and Kapilavastu-Know the Importance of these place in Buddhism• Know the important Buddhist Mudras-Dhyani Mudra, (gesture of meditation), Vitarka Mudra, (teaching gesture), Dharmachakra Mudra, (gesture of turning the wheel of the teaching), Bhumisparsha Mudra, (gesture of touching the earth), Abhaya Mudra, (gesture of fearlessness and granting protection), Varada Mudra, (gesture of granting wishes), Uttarabodhi Mudra, (gesture of supreme enlightenment), Anjali Mudra, (gesture of greeting and veneration) and Vijrapradama Mudra, (gesture of unshakable confidence)• Map work-Mark Important Buddhist Sites in India• Account for the decline of Buddhism in IndiaOther Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍 The rising role of Buddhism in India’s soft power strategy📍 BuddhismPrevious Year Prelims Questions Based on Buddhism theme:📍 Which one of the following statements is correct? (Prelims 2021 GS question Paper)(a) Ajanta Caves lie in the gorge of the Waghora river.(b) Sanchi Stupa lies in the gorge of the Chambal river.(c) Pandulena cave shrines lie in the gorge of the Narmada river.(d) Amaravati Stupa lies in the gorge of the Godavari river.📍 Lord Buddha’s image is sometimes shown with the hand gesture called ‘Bhumisparsha Mudra’. It symbolizes (Prelims 2012 GS question Paper)(a) Buddha’s calling of the Earth to watch over Mara and to prevent Mara from disturbing his meditation(b) Buddha’s calling of the Earth to witness his purity and chastity despite the temptations of Mara(c) Buddha’s reminder to his followers that they all arise from the Earth and finally dissolve into the Earth, and thus this life is transitory(d) Both the statements (a) and (b) are correct in this context📍 Which of the following kingdoms were associated with the life of the Buddha?1. Avanti2. Gandhara3. Kosala4. MagadhaSelect the correct answer using the code given below: (Please refer Prelims 2015 GS question Paper for complete question)Previous year UPSC Mains Question Covering Buddhism Theme:📍 Early Buddhist Stupa-art, while depicting folk motifs and narratives successfully expounds Buddhist ideals. Elucidate (2016)Get an e-paper subscription via our special offer – click hereFor any queries and feedback, contact email@example.comThe UPSC KEY Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Updates.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on Saturday lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP even as he lent support to Yashwant Sinha, the opposition’s presidential candidate, at the latter’s meet-and-greet programme with Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leaders.Urging TRS MPs and MLAs to ensure that a deserving candidate wins, KCR said, “Weigh the two candidates and vote after thinking. It will bring a qualitative change.”He also accused the Centre of killing democracy in the country, and using constitutional bodies to harass those who disagree. “What the Modi administration is doing is successfully killing democracy every day, throttling the federal system of India…toppling governments which do not toe their line. One Union minister said that like Maharashtra, they will pull down the Telangana government…we are ready. If our government falls, we will be free to bring down the BJP government at the Centre. For 60 years, Telangana society has fought for a separate state and we are prepared for another struggle,” he said.The chief minister also hit out at the Prime Minister, accusing him of lowering the image of the country before the world. Saying that the actions of the Modi government and BJP functionaries have destroyed India’s image in the international community, KCR asked the PM to reply to the allegation that it was due to his pressure on the Sri Lankan government that a power project contract was given to an Indian industrialist. If the Prime Minister did not reply, the allegations were true, KCR said. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the 15th PM of India and in the terms of the previous 14 PMs, never has India’s image been affected,” he said.The chief minister alleged that as per the Centre’s coal policy, coal was being imported at a steep price of Rs 30,000 while Indian coal was cheaper. “States are being forced to purchase the imported coal because it is being imported by the PM’s industrialist friend. That is why I am saying he is not a PM but has become a salesperson,” KCR said, adding that PM Modi’s policies and promises were fooling 1.5 billion people of the country. “Have you fulfilled even one promise that you have made to the people? Even if you search with a torchlight, you will not find one,” KCR said.LIVE: My interaction with MPs and MLAs of TRS https://t.co/7KBR8tI4v7— Yashwant Sinha (@YashwantSinha) July 2, 2022Criticising the Centre’s attitude towards farmers, KCR said that the Modi government had to face humiliation in front of agitating farmers and had to repeal the farm laws. “The PM and BJP leaders have vilified the farmers, even calling them Khalistanis and terrorists. Eventually, you had to bow down to the farmers. Seven hundred farmers died during the agitation but you did not express any sadness or mercy for them,” he said.KCR also accused the Prime Minister of failing the country during the Covid pandemic. “It was the biggest calamity since Independence and the PM failed to handle it. Lakhs of people died unnecessarily. Lakhs and crores of people had to walk on the roads. The Centre declined to give trains for free. Modi swears by river Ganga but instead of people immersing the ashes, bodies of Covid victims were pushed into rivers,” he said.The Telangana chief minister said that the country had fared badly on all indexes due to the Prime Minister’s failed policies.“The nation is watching and demanding answers. Modi may be under the false impression that he will be a permanent PM. Political change will happen,” KCR said, asking the Prime Minister to reply to all the allegations in his speech at Parade Ground on Sunday evening.Referring to the Prime Minister’s visit to Houston and his support to former US President Donald Trump, KCR asked if Modi knew the difference between US presidential elections and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.Meanwhile, addressing the TRS representatives, Yashwant Sinha said that the presidential election was being held at an extraordinary time. “We all know what is happening in the country. Intellectuals are saying that the nation is collapsing, and that it is why this election is so important. I am fortunate to have the support of TRS,” he said.Earlier, the chief minister and his Cabinet colleagues went to Begumpet airport to receive Sinha. The TRS had declared its support to Sinha’s candidature on June 27.
On September 12, 2011, when the Supreme Court had sent the complaint filed by Zakia Jafri against then chief minister Narendra Modi and 62 others back to the Metropolitan Magistrate’s court in Ahmedabad without issuing directions, Modi had tweeted “God is Great”. A few days later, on his 62nd birthday, he launched the ‘Sadbhavna’ fasts, meeting people from all faiths in different districts.As Prime Minister, Modi has chosen not to react to the verdict of a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court on the same complaint, which upheld the clean chit to his administration for alleged role in “the larger conspiracy” related to the 2002 Gujarat riots.However, the BJP has been in celebratory mode. All its top leaders almost immediately issued statements welcoming the judgment, while condemning the role played by activist Teesta Setalvad, retired DGP R B Sreekumar, former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt and others in “defaming” Modi who was the then CM of Gujarat. State chief C R Paatil called Setalvad a “Congress puppet”, and accused the three of “fabricating evidence” to “frame” Modi.A day later, Union Home Minister Amit Shah gave an interview to ANI solely centred around the Gujarat riots, repeating the charges against a “triad of media, political parties and NGOs”, and suggesting even the courts had been “swayed” due to their campaign. Hours later, Setalvad and Sreekumar were arrested on charges of forgery, criminal conspiracy etc, on an FIR that extensively quoted the Supreme Court order. Bhatt, who is serving a life term in another case, was also booked on the same charges.While the BJP’s stand publicly is that the riots order won’t be made a poll issue, the party is set to celebrate it as “a moral victory”. A lawyer actively associated with the BJP, who also represented some of the accused in the 2002 riot cases, said: “As a lawyer, I knew how witnesses were being tutored and many innocent people were framed and faced jail terms. This judgment will pave the way for justice, against those who framed Modiji.”The lawyer added that the Court order as well as arrests of Setalvad and Sreekumar would also send out a message to those party supporters “falsely” accused in riot cases. “Back then, the party was unable to check their persecution,” he said.The BJP especially expects a boost for those BJP leaders closely tied to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. The Godhra train burning, in which kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya as part of the campaign were killed, is seen as the trigger for the 2002 riots.For those in the Ram temple campaign, this is the second big Court endorsement after the Supreme Court in 2019 gave the go-ahead for the shrine in Ayodhya.Only one big BJP leader was convicted in the riots, who was also acquitted later. Maya Kodnani was sentenced for the Naroda Patiya violence, one of the biggest massacres of 2002, by a Supreme Court-appointed special court. Since she was acquitted by the High Court, Kodnani is again a presence at the party office at Shree Kamalam.Trial is on in only one more 2002 case under the apex court’s scrutiny, the Naroda Gam deaths. Kodnani is also on trial in this apart from Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi. In its order, the Supreme Court set aside the Tehelka sting operation that had caught Babu Bajrangi bragging about the killings.The Congress’s half-measures on the Supreme Court order – first choosing cautiousness, then speaking out after criticism – won’t help the party’s cause in a state where it is in a direct fight with the BJP.Since 2002, the Assembly elections in Gujarat have been largely polarised on communal lines, with the BJP winning one election after another. Only in 2017 did the Congress show some revival spark, though that is now also seen as snuffed out in face of the AAP’s fledgling competition.The BJP has further put the Congress on the defensive over the Supreme Court order, by alleging the hand of Congress president Sonia Gandhi in propping up Setalvad.Asked how important the Supreme Court judgment was for the BJP, C R Paatil told The Indian Express: “The judgment is important not only for Gujarat, but for the entire country. It is very dangerous in a democracy that some political party hatches such conspiracy or gets it hatched or supports it, by which its rival can get capital punishment.”On whether it will help the party electorally in Gujarat or not, Paatil said: “It is the biggest victory for us that Modi saheb has got a clean chit after such a long struggle. If you ask electorally, we are going to win (the state Assembly elections); it does not matter whether the judgment came now or afterwards. We are going to win because we are doing people’s work, we are connected with the people.”A senior BJP leader, who did not want to be identified, said: “Our party will definitely gain from this development. Narendrabhai and the party as a whole have faced a lot of stress due to these false allegations. Now, sympathy will be in favour of Narendrabhai among people. They will realise that he (Modi) was personally targeted and the entire state of Gujarat was defamed.”According to this leader, the order has ensured that the coming Assembly elections are fought solely on the issue of development. “Narendrabhai has set the tradition of fighting elections on the issues of development. Coming elections will also be fought on the same lines,” said the leader.Indicating the line the party is set to take, one also adopted by Shah in his interview, a senior office-bearer said: “Narendrabhai has always respected the law. He did not act against any of these people who hatched conspiracies (against him). Being the Chief Minister, he could have easily got an FIR registered against them. But he has set a benchmark for respecting the process of law.”The party leader also said that the cases against Setalvad, Sreekumar and Bhatt’s had been registered by the Gujarat government as per the direction of the Supreme Court. “The only gain for our party due to the Court order is that our stand has been vindicated. Our party is not going to make it an election issue and will stick to the politics of development.”
A candidate contesting the panchayat election in Madhya Pradesh for the sarpanch’s post was booked under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act for using a dog during campaigning to defame the rival candidate, police said on Monday.The candidate Mukesh Darbar, who is contesting the panchayat election at a village in Khandwa district, put up a banner with a photo of his opponent Divyaditya Shah on his pet dog and took the animal out on the streets in Khandwa district.A video surfaced on the social media showing the poster put on the dog walking on the streets.The police took action after the candidate whose photo was put on the animal lodged a complaint alleging that the act was to defame him, a police official said.It came four days before voting in the second phase of the three-tier panchayat election is scheduled to be held on July 1. Voting in the third and final phase of the election would be held on July 8.”Sarpanch candidate Mukesh Darbar was charged under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act as per the complaint of election agent Santosh Soni on behalf of rival candidate Divyaditya Shah,” Sub-Divisional Officer Ravindra Vaskale said.Shah’s father is a Cabinet Minister in the Madhya Pradesh government while his mother was a former Mayor of Khandwa.Shah in his complaint said that Darbar’s move was aimed at shaming him and his family members.He said that Darbar also violated the model code of conduct.The police said that a complaint has also been sent to the Animal Welfare Board and the Madhya Pradesh State Election Commission to take action against Darbar.Three-tier panchayat (gram, Janpad and Zila) polls are underway in Madhya Pradesh.The first phase of voting was held on June 25 and the counting of votes took place at each polling centre.However, the results would be announced on July 14 and 15 after last phase of voting is completed.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday praised NDA’s Presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu for her “understanding of the problems on the ground” and dubbed her vision for India’s development as “extraordinary”.The Prime Minister made the remarks after he met Murmu in New Delhi. After Prime Minister, Union Home Minister Amit Shah also met the NDA’s Presidential candidate.Murmu will also be meeting several Union ministers and veteran leaders before filing her nomination for the post of President on Friday.Sharing pictures of his meeting with Murmu on Twitter, Prime Minister Modi wrote, “Met Smt. Droupadi Murmu Ji. Her Presidential nomination has been appreciated across India by all sections of society. Her understanding of grassroots problems and vision for India’s development is outstanding.”Murmu, who reached the national capital on Thursday, was welcomed at the Delhi airport by Union Ministers Arjun Munda, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Virendra Kumar, BJP MP Manoj Tiwari and BJP’s national media co-in-charge Sanjay Mayukh. Several other BJP leaders and workers were also present at the airport to welcome her.Murmu on Friday will file her nomination for the Presidential election. Prime Minister Modi, BJP President J.P. Nadda, Union ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, and Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states will also be present during her nomination.To make the nomination filing a grand event, the BJP has invited its allies as well as Biju Janata Dal, which has announced its support to Murmu, to attend nomination filing.The Opposition parties have declared Yashwant Sinha as their joint candidate. The election for the next President of the country will be held on July 18 while the result will be declared on July 21.
Asserting that the BJP government at the Centre has failed totally in fulfilling its promises and commitments and misusing various agencies as weapons against them, at least a dozen opposition parties on Tuesday announced a consensus candidate for the President and appealed to the rest to support him.After announcing the name of former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha soon after the opposition parties’ meeting concluded on Tuesday, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, “India is passing through difficult times. The BJP government at the Centre has failed totally in fulfilling its promises and commitments. Furthermore, it is misusing the Enforcement Directorate, CBI, Election Commission, Governor’s office and other institutions as weapons against opposition parties and state governments run by them.”“Therefore, we assure the people of India that the unity of opposition parties, which has been forged for the Presidential election in a spirit of equality, common commitments and consensus building through dialogues, will be further consolidated in the months ahead,” he said.Stating that ideally, a consensus candidate of the government and the opposition should be elected to the highest office of the republic, Ramesh said, “However, the initiative for this should have been taken by the government. The Modi government made no serious effort in this direction. We, therefore, appeal to all the parties to support the candidature of Sinha so that the nation can have a worthy Rashtrapati elected unopposed.”Ramesh described Sinha as an able administrator, accomplished Parliamentarian, and an acclaimed Union Minister of Finance and External Affairs, and someone who is “eminently qualified to uphold the secular and democratic character of the Indian republic and its constitutional values.”Hours ahead of this meeting, Sinha had resigned from Trinamool Congress (TMC) leading to speculations about his name being finalized for the President’s post as opposition candidate.The meeting was called by NCP top leader Sharad Pawar and attended by leaders from the Congress, TMC, Samajwadi Party, CPI, CPI-M, National Conference, and RJD among others.On June 15, a similar meeting was called by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee to, what she had described as an effort “to build consensus on a joint opposition candidate.” However, Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) had skipped the meeting.The voting for the Presidential poll is scheduled to be held on July 18 and counting to be held on July 21. In an electoral college of around 10.86 lakh votes for the Presidential polls, the BJP and its alliance partners in the NDA are a little short of the halfway mark.