New York: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will hold bilateral meetings with several of her foreign counterparts and attend multilateral meetings such as SAARC and BRICS during a busy week at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly.
Swaraj, who arrived here on Saturday for the General Assembly week, will on Monday attend the high-level event on Counter Narcotics hosted by US President Donald Trump. The event, which kicks off the high-level UNGA week, will be a global call for action on the world drug problem and is expected to see participation from over 120 UN member states.
Requests have been received for about 30 bilateral meetings with Swaraj, said the Joint Secretary for UN Political in the Ministry of External Affairs, Dinesh Patnaik, while adressing reporters at India’s Permanent Mission to the UN.
She will also attend the Nelson Mandela Peace Conference, a high-level plenary meeting on global peace in the honour of the centenary of the birth of the late South African President, as well as attend a reception hosted on Monday by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Over the course of the week, Swaraj will make a statement on climate change and participate in the NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) Ministerial conference on Palestine, besides attending other plurilateral meetings including the G4, IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa), BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), and SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) – a meeting on September 27 that will also be attended by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
Indian diplomats will also be participating in the G77, LDCs (Least Developed Countries), Commonwealth and Heart of Asia meetings to be held on the sidelines of the UNGA.
Health Minister JP Nadda will be attending the high-level meetings on tuberculosis and non-communicable diseases.
Heads of State will participate at the first-ever high-level meeting on tuberculosis (TB) on September 26 to accelerate efforts in ending TB and reach all affected people with prevention and care.
On September 27, the UNGA will stage the third high-level meeting on the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), which will undertake a comprehensive review of the global and national progress achieved in putting measures in place that protect people from dying too young from heart and lung diseases, cancers and diabetes.
Swaraj’s early engagements included a meeting Sunday with World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to discuss global health issues.
She also held discussions with a few members of the Indian diaspora.
‘This Lok Sabha election was like pilgrimage for me,’ says Modi
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday told his ministerial colleagues that this Lok Sabha election was like a pilgrimage for him.
Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said: “PM Modi said that he has seen many elections but this election’s campaign did not seem like a campaign. He said it was like a pilgrimage for him.”
“Terming the completion of the NDA government’s tenure as a successful experiment, PM Modi said the alliance should be further strengthened,” Tomar said.
PM Modi on Tuesday had a meeting with the members of his Council of Ministers and congratulated them for successfully working as a team for the last five years.
The 2-hour long meeting was attended by all the ministers, who on their part congratulated PM Modi for the development works that the government did in the last five years under his leadership.
Fully confident to return to power, Union Minister and SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur said: “We are 110 per cent forming the next government. The opposition is staring at their defeat.”
On the allegations about drawbacks in electronic voting machines (EVMs), Kaur said: “When they won the Assembly polls in three states, EVMs were good for them but when the exit polls have shown their defeat, they have started blaming EVMs.”
Seeking apologies for their baseless allegations against PM Modi, Giriraj Singh said: “Opposition parties should apologise to the public for their baseless allegations. They have won elections when it was conducted by EVMs in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, and Delhi.”
Predicting more than 300 seats for BJP and 350 plus for the NDA, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan said: “Scared of defeat, the opposition parties indulged in violence and bloodshed. They are not able to digest the defeat.”
Union Minister and LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan also thanked PM Modi for running a strong government at the Centre for five years.
EC wants to set new precedent of ‘dark secrets’, ‘secluded chambers’: Cong
New Delhi: A day before the counting of the votes polled in the Lok Sabha election, the Congress on Wednesday termed as “constitutional travesty” the EC’s rejection of Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa’s demand that dissent notes should be recorded and alleged that the poll watchdog wanted to set a new precedent of “dark secrets” and “secluded chambers” in performing its duties.
“A Constitutional travesty! ECI wants to set a new precedent of ‘dark secrets’ & ‘secluded chambers’ in doing its constitutional duties. If CEC can’t play fair in its functioning, can it play fair in ensuring a free & fair election?,” Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala wrote on Twitter.
His comments came a day after the Election Commission (EC) decided not to record the dissents put forward by the members of the “full commission”, overruling Lavasa.
On Tuesday, the poll panel rejected with a majority vote Lavasa’s demand that dissent notes should be recorded in its orders on model code violations, days after the simmering tension within the EC over the issue came out in the open.
The “full commission” of the panel, comprising Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and two other members — Lavasa and Sushil Chandra — deliberated on the contentious issue, after which the EC said dissent notes and minority views would remain part of the records but would not be part of its orders. Lavasa had dissented on a series of clean chits given by the EC to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah on their speeches during the election campaign.
As his demand for recording his dissent notes in EC’s orders was not met, Lavasa recused himself from cases relating to violations of the Model Code of Conduct. The counting of votes for the just-concluded, seven-phased Lok Sabha polls will be taken up on Thursday.
Pawar plays matchmaker, looks for new partners for a non-BJP front
Mumbai: The Opposition’s leading players are reaching out to other political leaders who can swing numbers in case the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) falls short of majority. The exit polls, however, predicted otherwise.
Nationalist Congress Party’s Sharad Pawar has played a role of matchmaker between various parties for a non-BJP front.
Pawar has reached out to YSR Congress’s Jagan Mohan Reddy, Telangana Rashtra Samiti leader K Chandrasekhar Rao and Odisha’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, reported NDTV.
According to Hindustan Times report, the functionary said KCR confirmed to Pawar that his party would be open to supporting the United Progressive Alliance in the event of a hung Parliament.
He had reportedly made calls for support in case Opposition gets a chance to form the government. He has been in touch with Chandrababu Naidu who has been touring across nation for discussion with leaders including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, BSP’s Mayawati, SP’s Akhilesh Yadav and Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.
On Tuesday, Chandrababu Naidu met Karnataka Chief Minsiter HD Kumaraswamy and Deve Gowda of JD(S), which is in alliance with Congress.
Jagan Reddy is yet to return calls from the opposition. Reddy is also being pursued by the NDA.
Last year, Naidu broke the alliance with NDA over the delay of granting special status to Andhra Pradesh.
Exit polls on Sunday predicted over 300 of Lok Sabha’s 543 seats for the NDA, well past the majority mark of 272. The Congress and its allies were given 122 and non-aligned parties, 114.