TDP
N. Chandrababu Naidu with Rahul Gandhi
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With elections around the corner, foes are turning friends and vice-versa. Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, whose party was founded on an anti-Congress plank, has joined hands with Congress president Rahul Gandhi with an aim to “save democracy”, reports The Hindu. In fact, Naidu termed the decision a “democratic compulsion”.

“They are demolishing all institutions one by one: RBI, CBI, ED, IT, even Supreme Court,” The Indian Express quoted Naidu as saying, “I have proposed all political parties have one meeting on a common platform.”

The two parties will contest the upcoming Telangana assembly election together, amid talks to form a larger opposition alliance to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party.

On a question about who will lead the grouping of opposition leaders, The Times of India quoted Naidu as saying that “he and many others are capable”.

What will be the prospect of the alliance in Andhra Pradesh? The Hindu has an answer. It writes, “Mr.Naidu evaded a question on whether the alliance with the Congress in Telangana will extend to Andhra Pradesh claiming that he is working on larger issues.”

The work on a common minimum programme will began later. The Telegraph writes of the alliance, “…The significance of the event was underscored by Arun Shourie, the former NDA minister and crusading editor: ‘The very fact that eternal foes are coming together shows how bad the situation is.’”

Two weeks before the state holds panchayat polls, Jammu & Kashmir remains tense. The Bharatiya Janata Party state secretary and his brother, both in their 50s, were shot dead in Jammu Thursday, leading to curfew.

The Hindu reports, “BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir secretary Anil Parihar and his brother Ajeet were shot dead at point-blank range by unknown gunmen at Kishtwar in Jammu division on Thursday evening.”

Talking about the politics of Anil Parihar, The Indian Express writes, “Son of late BJP leader Sewa Ram Parihar, Anil Parihar was an influential leader of the region. He was considered a moderate and had a sizeable support base even among Muslims.”

While The Hindu used the word “assailants” to describe the killers, The Times of India termed them ‘terrorists’.

Meanwhile, in a major relief to the more than 40 lakh people left out of the final draft of the National Register of Citizens in Assam released 30 July, the Supreme Court allowed five more documents, including the ration card, to prove their citizenship, The Hindu reports on its front page.

Addressing the fears of NRC co-ordinator Prateek Hajela that the five documents could be easily forged, the Supreme Court said “the answer lies in allowing the use of these five records, subject to additional and thorough verification”.

The Times of India, Hindustan Times and The Indian Express report the news on their inside pages. The Telegraph, a major English newspaper in the northeast, has relegated the news to a single column on Page 6.

Prime Time

An ordinance for Lord Ram

On Aaj Tak, anchor Anjana Om Kashyap conducted a discussion on demands for an ordinance to construct the Ram mandir in Ayodhya.

BJP leader Sambit Patra hinted that the temple will be built “very soon”. “Something good is going to take place very soon,” he said, “The 500-year wait is going to end soon.”

Fellow panelist Ameer Haider Zaidi of the CPI replied, “The Ram Mandir issue is like a business for BJP and RSS in order to garner votes… every five years”.

The importance of opinion polls

On Republic TV, anchor Arnab Goswami discussed whether the Congress had a shot at winning the Rajasthan assembly elections. A pre-poll survey carried out by Times Now-CNX suggested that the Congress was going to win about 110-120 seats in the 200 member Rajasthan assembly when the state goes to the polls last month.

BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said pre-poll surveys should not be believed, while political commentator D.K. Giri claimed the poll projected people’s disappointment with PM Narendra Modi.

News it’s just kinda cool to know

Nasa’s planet-hunting telescope Kepler has run out of manoeuvring fuel after nine and a half years in space and will be forced to retire. Kepler has observed 530,506 stars and discovered 2,662 planets around other stars over the past decade, The New York Times reports.

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