If you are solving a problem, you first have to define the problem. What is it that’s wrong? What needs to change? What new result do you need to produce? Defining your problem is the critical first step of problem solving.But the second step is just as important. It’s identifying all of your options.Too Few OptionsOne of the reasons that resourcefulness is critical to success is that overcoming all of the challenges you encounter requires ideas.A lot of people find one solution to a problem and decide that is the only way the problem might be solved. Then they get hooked on that idea, usually the most obvious idea and the one that will make a lot of people unhappy.Most people identify two possible ways a problem might be solved. You can choose option 1 or option 2. Both options aren’t ideal, but at least it is a choice. But for most problems, there are far more that two options. But it’s work to identify them.By identifying a few ideas, none that are ideal, you don’t do the real work of problem solving.The Real WorkThe real work of solving problems is identifying all of the options available. You brainstorm; no idea is too wild, nothing’s off the table.You ask yourself what else is possible? Is there a substitution that can be made, a way to avoid solving the problem altogether? Is there a solution that means that you look for a different result than you were when you originally set out to solve the problem? Is there a new outcome that will leapfrog your present results?A Quick ExampleRight now I am helping to guide a startup Nano-technology firm to market. Most of the problems we encounter are complicated, but they generally revolve around resources. Most of the problems are framed up as a choice between A or B, neither of which is ever ideal.Instead of choosing between A or B, we have decided to spend more time identifying options. In one case, we thought we had two options, but it turns out that we have five options—one of which was never considered but eliminates any negative outcome. Even better, someone else has agreed to do it for us. We would have never gotten to that idea if we stopped at a choice between two ideas.Defining a problem is easy. Creating more than a few options to solve that problem is more challenging. But the more work you do here, the better your solution.QuestionsHow often do you solve problems by choosing the lesser of two evils?What problem are you trying to solve now?How many options have you identified?How many of those options allow you to do something very different than you first imagined?Who can you get to help you identify more options?
Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now Countless.That’s exactly how many times I have been told by sales managers, sales leaders, and entrepreneurs that their salespeople need negotiating training And who couldn’t benefit from more training in negotiation (especially in this Disruptive Age, when prospects want to commoditize you and your offering)?But the negotiation problem isn’t that they could use more training. It’s that they need to start negotiating.It’s All About PiesThere are two parts to negotiating: increasing the size of the pie and claiming part of it.Negotiation starts with increasing the size of the pie. When someone asks you to sharpen your pencil and you run and ask your sales manager to allow you to discount the price, you aren’t increasing the size of he pie. Instead, you’ve moved on to the claiming phase. More accurately, you’ve let the client determine that you are in the claiming phase.To negotiate, you have to work on making the pie as big as possible. I see salespeople play small, afraid to create the maximum value for their prospective clients because they fear that it will increase the risk and the time it takes to win (and sales leadership should be indicted here for allowing a short term focus to outweigh long term goals and value creation).This is the first stage. What can you do to make the pie bigger for both of you?Slicing the PieThe second phase of negotiating is dividing up the pie. Doling out the price concessions isn’t the right approach when it comes to claiming value.Negotiating means ensuring that you negotiate the profit margins your business needs to execute on the what you’ve sold. It means that you find an agreement that allows you to capture value in proportion to what you create. It means you help your client makes the right investment. This isn’t easy. It never has been.You need to push back and reiterate the value you create. You also need to help your buyer justify your pricing internally.If you’re going to improve your negotiating, you have to start by actually negotiating.QuestionsHow much do you work on increasing the size and value of the pie?How much do you work on confirming that the value you create is the value your client really needs from you?When you negotiate, do you claim a portion of the value you create, or do you really just negotiate the discount?What do you do to reiterate the value that you create?How do yo help your clients justify the investment you are asking them to make?
The technological tools often make it easy to trade down to more impersonal, more transactional mediums. But you don’t have to trade down; you can just as easily trade up to more personal, more value-creating mediums. And by doing so, you can differentiate yourself and create deeper relationships.Email to Phone: Trade the next email you are going to send for a phone call. Instead of writing a note that is going to get lost in a sea of distractions, pick up the phone and make it personal. As small as this might seem, it is a major upgrade in communication. You can engage in a dialogue, and you can listen to your client.Phone to Face-to-Face: Trade the next phone call you are going to make for a face-to-face visit with your dream client. Instead of discussing whatever it is you need to discuss over the phone, have that discussion in person. Make your presence felt. Showing up demonstrates a greater commitment on your part. It says that you believe your client is worth the investment of time.Face-to-Face to Lunch: Trade the next face-to-face visit you are going to have for a working lunch or dinner. Go offsite, get away from the distractions, and spend time getting to know the person you are working with. Make it even more personal. The less formal the meeting, the more you can allow your client to open up and share more about themselves and their needs. This deepens your understanding, it deepens your relationship.Lunch to Working Group Meeting: Trade the next lunch you are going to have for a working lunch session for your team and your client’s team. You bring the food, and with it bring three or four big issues you can whiteboard together with your teams. Create greater value by working on big issues and problems. The time you spend working on issues together strengthens the bonds between your teams, and it helps demonstrate your commitment to making improvements.When the outcome you need is important (and if you are communicating with your client or dream client, it is), trade up to the most effective communication medium available. Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now
Posts about how your dream clients are underinvesting are popular here, here and here. You recognize that one of the biggest challenges you face is helping your prospective clients (and your existing clients) make an investment commensurate in the outcomes they need.You know underinvesting is a mistake, and you know your dream clients should be spending more and producing even greater results. They are just too stubborn and shortsighted to see it.But before you cast that stone, you may want to think about whether you are living in a glass house yourself.Ain’t Nobody Got TimeAre you investing the time necessary to improve in all the areas you recognize need improving?Self-improvement is almost always the first thing to go when you are busy. Because you are heads-down working, you don’t invest any time in your own personal growth or development.What happens when your dream clients underinvest happens to you when you underinvest. Problems linger unresolved. Opportunities pass by without even being pursued. You stagnate. You wither.If you don’t have 30 minutes a day for personal development and growth, spend an hour on personal development and growth. If you don’t have an hour, spend two hours. Invest time in the areas you need to improve.Money, Money, Money, MoneyHow much money have you spent on your personal and professional development in this calendar year? Do the math before you move on. Is it more than you’ve spent at Starbucks?“But wait,” you say. “Iannarino, I have bills to pay. I don’t have a budget for my own personal growth and development.” And as you read these words, who are you reminded of? You can see that client in your mind’s eye right now, can’t you? They say, “We don’t have the budget,” even though spending the money would make them more money—just like it would you.You know your dream clients and prospects are underinvesting in the results they need. You can see it plain as day, even when they can’t. Can you see how you are doing the same?You will never make a greater investment than the one you make in yourself. You will also never get a greater return than that investment.If you want your clients to stop underinvesting, you go first.
The status of the Telugu Desam Party-BJP alliance came up for discussion between Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and BJP national president Amit Shah at a meeting over lunch hosted by the Cheif Minister at his residence in Vijayawada on Thursday.Union Ministers M. Venkaiah Naidu and Suresh Prabhu, BJP’s State president K. Haribabu and Narsapuram MP Gokaraju Gangaraju took part in the deliberations.The TDP was represented by Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Y.S. Chowdary, State Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, Minister for IT and Panchayat Raj N. Lokesh and TDP State president K. Kala Venkat Rao.The two sides also reportedly dwelt on important issues such as the likely impact of the denial of Special Category Status (SCS) to A.P. and development of the State.The speculation that YSR Congress president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy’s support to the National Democratic Alliance’s presidential nominee and his meeting with the Prime Minister was also learnt to have come up during the discussions.
Congress MLA Shakuntala Khatik has been booked on the charge of inciting people to set ablaze a police station during violent protests by farmers in Madhya Pradesh.A video, which recently went viral, purportedly showed Ms. Khatik indulging in the act.The video was shot on June 8, 2017 when Ms. Khatik, who represents the Karera Assembly segment in Shivpuri district, was staging a protest at the Karera Police Station against the killing of farmers in police firing Mandsaur.Karera’s Sub-Divisional Officer of Police (SDOP) Anurag Sujania said an FIR was registered against Ms. Khatik, block Congress president Venus Goyal and others early Tuesday.They were booked under IPC sections pertaining to rioting, unlawful assembly, punishment for obscene acts or words in public and assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty, he said.During the June 8 protest, an effigy of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was burnt. The police poured water on it to douse the flames, in which the woman legislator got partially drenched.This irked Ms. Khatik, who later sat on a protest at the police station along with her supporters and the video was shot during the sit-in. The video showed the MLA purportedly asking her supporters to set the police station on fire.The farmers’ protest in Madhya Pradesh that began on June 1, 2017 took a violent turn on June 6 when five farmers were killed in police firing in Mandsaur district.Subsequently, the farmers’ protests witnessed a bandh and arson as the agitation spread to other western Madhya Pradesh districts, including Neemuch, Dhar, Ratlam and Jhabua.Mr. Chouhan launched a fast in Bhopal on Saturday with an appeal for peace and met farmers’ leaders.However, he ended his fast on Sunday, saying peace has returned to the State. Before ending the fast, he assured people that those involved in the deaths of farmers in Mandsaur would be punished severely.
Human toll in the floods and relentless rain across the country reached almost 200 by Wednesday even as thousands in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Assam, Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand and elsewhere were forced out of their homes into temporary shelters.A horrible tragedy unfurled as waters receded in Banaskantha district of Gujarat, as bodies of 17 members of a single family were recovered from the banks of Banas river in Khariya village. Rescue workers found a total of 25 dead bodies in the area, and fear that more could be found in the coming days as water recedes. The area was completely inundated when the State authorities released 1.5 lakh cusec water from Dantiwada dam to the Banas river.On Wednesday, the Indian Air Force and Army intensified their rescue operations, mobilising a dozen choppers and motorboats to reach interior villages where thousands of people are still stranded in floodwaters. “More than 650 people were rescued by the agencies on Wednesday, including 272 people air lifted through Air Force choppers,” Principal Secretary (Revenue) Pankaj Kumar said.According to latest estimates, at least 111 people have lost lives in Gujarat since June 1.Over 50,000 people have been relocated to safer places, most of them residents of the worst affected districts in northern Gujarat, Banaskantha and Patan. In Rajasthan’s Pali district where rains continued to lash the remote areas on Wednesday, 26 of the 60 dams were overflowing and several far-off villages were still cut off. ‘PM ignored Assam’Authorities said the death toll in floods and rain in Assam was 77 as of Wednesday, as situation noticeably improved in the State. A seven-member inter-ministerial team from the Centre visited Assam on Wednesday to take stock of the situation, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi came under attack from opposition parties and activists for ignoring Assam’s flood situation.
In a first, the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has published an compendium of animal species in the Indian Sundarbans, estimating that there are 2,626 of them in the fragile island ecosystem. The listing includes a diverse 25 phyla, as they are biologically classified.The Indian segment of the Sundarbans, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, forms part of the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta across 9,630 sq. km, distributed among 104 islands. The region hosts 2,487 species that come under the zoological kingdom of Animalia, and 140 under the more primitive Protista.“The publication titled Fauna of Sundarban Biosphere Reserve is the first consolidated and updated information of the faunal diversity of the Sundarbans. It lists over 2,600 species, including the new species described from the mangrove ecosystem as well as threats faced by them due to climate change,” ZSI Director Kailash Chandra told The Hindu.Biswajit Roy Chowdhury, secretary of Nature Environment and Wildlife Society, a non-governmental organisation and one of the authors of the publication, says it is encyclopedic in its scope.“When we talk about Sundarbans we refer to only a few major species in the reserve forest area in about 4,260 sq. km. The publication catalogues the entire faunal diversity of Sundarban Biosphere Reserve covering 9,630 sq. km spread over 19 blocks in South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas of West Bengal,” Mr. Roy Chowdhury said.Gone missingThe researchers document the famous tigers of these islands, which have adapted to aquatic conditions around, the human-tiger conflict, and behaviour of the big cat. The fortunes of 50 mammalian species including the Asian small-clawed Otter, Gangetic Dolphin, Grey and Marsh Mongoose and the wild Rhesus Monkey, the only primate here, are also documented.“Due to pressure on habitat from people and natural threats that have shrunk the mangrove swamp habitat, mammal numbers are declining,” the authors say. Two Rhinos, Swamp deer, Barking deer and Hog deer and Asiatic Wild Water Buffalo are not found in Sundarbans anymore, they say.There are 356 species of birds, the most spectacular being raptors, or birds of prey, that occupy the highest canopies of the forest. Osprey, Brahminy Kite and White-Bellied Sea Eagle are dominant, while Rose-ringed parakeets, flycatchers and warblers are also found in the middle tier, while in the lower tier, kingfishers abound — and the Sundarbans has nine of them. There are 11 turtles, including the famous Olive Ridley and Hawskbill sea turtles and the most threatened freshwater species, the River Terrapin. A crocodile, 13 lizards including three species of Monitor Lizards and five Geckos are found here. The rivers, creeks channels and the islands together harbour about 30 snake species, led by the King Cobra, considered vulnerable by IUCN. Others documented are the Monocellate or monocled cobra, Russell’s viper, common and banded kraits. Besides, ten species of frogs and toads are found.Cartilaginous fishThe mangrove ecosystem covers about 350 species of fish. Cartilaginous fish, which have skeletons of cartilage rather than bone, make up 10.3%. The IUCN conservation status shows 6.3% fish are near-threatened and 4.85% are threatened. Also, there are 173 molluscs. In another indication of its richness, 753 insect species are encountered in the Sundarban Biosphere Reserve. Of these, 210 are butterflies and moths. Moreover, Crustaceans — crabs, shrimp and prawns — constitute 334 species.
One person was seriously injured in South Garo Hills district of Meghalaya after an MLA allegedly attacked him for asking “uncomfortable” questions in public on development works in his constituency, officials said on Saturday.According to the FIR filed at the Baghmara station, Freedom Marak sought answers from MLA Samuel Sangma about the tardy progress of development works. In a fit of rage, the MLA started beating up Mr. Marak, who was left with a swollen face and blackened eyes. Another resident was also allegedly beaten up though he did not file a complaint.South Garo Hills SP Abraham T. Sangma said, “We have received the complaint from one person who was allegedly beaten up by the MLA himself for questioning him.”He added, “The matter is currently under investigation and the person who was beaten up has been sent for a medical test.”Mr. Samuel was elected as an independent candidate from Baghmara constituency in the 2013 Assembly elections.A third-time MLA, Mr. Samuel is supporting the Congress government in the State.The incident and the photo of Mr. Marak went viral in the social network sites.“We condemn the attack on an innocent victim who sought to know as a voter. He [MLA] has no right to beat him up,” Civil Society Women Organisation president Agnes Kharshiing said.“A failed MLA should be taken to task and he should be arrested,” A. Rangad, convener, Thma U Rangli-Juki TUR), a progressive people’s group, said.
Over the past few days, excitement was palpable in the air in Shillong on the much-anticipated Cherry Blossom Festival. Posters and banners were put up across the town announcing its arrival and different venues were being prepared for the four-day festival beginning November 8. This was the second year and the organisers had another prefix – ‘International’ – to the festival name making it the India International Cherry Blossom Festival.All arrangements were in place: scores of stalls centred around the theme of cherry blossoms at the inauguration venue, dancers from the three major tribes of Meghalaya, Garo, Khasi and Jaintia ready to take the stage. As many as 15 different cultural events were planned. Among several events on the opening day, a story telling session was organised at the picturesque Ward’s Lake in the evening. The lake, in the heart of town, had another cluster of about 100 cherry trees, gently lit up, and hundreds of people gathered at the venue. At the inauguration at Polo Grounds, Meghalaya’s Forest and Environment Minister Clement Marak declared the Cherry Blossom festival a celebration of nature.Only, nature wasn’t co-operating. The cherry trees were not ready to come out in full bloom. Not one of the cherry trees in the cluster at Polo Grounds had blossomed.Since 2014, when experts began taking an interest in the tree, the blossoming had occurred in the first week of November. Dinabandhu Sahoo, director of the Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD), a Central government institute that has been working to organise the festival, said, “The rainfall pattern has been erratic this year. It rained till the last week of October. For cherry trees to blossom, a chill factor is required. There is a huge difference in the day and night temperature and it is delaying the blossoming.”No edible fruitIn countries like Japan, cherry blossoms appear in spring. The Japanese cherry blossom tree is Prunus yedoensis commonly known as Somei Yoshima. Cherry blossom in northeastern India, particularly around Shillong, is Prunus cerasoides. It is also known as Wild Himalayan Cherry and blossoms in autumn. The fruits are inedible but in perfect bloom the trees are full of pastel-hue pink and soft white blossoms.It was in Autumn of 2014 when Prof. Sahoo, during a visit to Shillong, saw cherry trees in full bloom. Even many locals are not aware that they were cherry trees.“Last year, when we had the festival in the second week of November, the blossoms had already started to fall. We decided to advance the festival this time. With no blossoms this year there are clear indications that climatic factors are affecting the life cycle of the species,” C.P. Marak, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, and Head of Forest Force, Meghalaya, told The Hindu. He said cherry trees had grown in the wild on their own. Though no enumeration has been done, the forest official put the number as low as 2000 trees in Shillong.Between May 2015 to June 2017 the State Forest department planted about 5,000 cherry trees in and around Shillong. “These include avenue plantations and along the highway passing through Shillong. In the next three to five years, these trees will be in full bloom,” Mr. Marak said.Cherry blossom spiritStudents from the Pearly Dew Higher Secondary School here tell the story about the Japanese legend of Sakura or cherry blossom tree. Natsume, a handsome boy met Sakura, a spirit who lived beside a beautiful tree that glowed by the moonlight and bloomed beautifully. They got married but soon Sakura’s time on earth came to an end. While leaving, she gave Natsume a seed, and promised to remain by his side forever. From then on, the tree was called Sakura or cherry blossom tree.At the festival, the wait for pink and soft white blossoms continued on the second day. Some residents say the trees could be in bloom in upper Shillong, near the Shillong peak. The blooms are first spotted in higher elevations and they enter town over the next few days.About eight kilometres from the town, in the 5th mile, a solitary branch of a majestic tree is in bloom and bees have already arrived. Albert Chiang, a scientist with IBSD came up with more good news. He had spotted a tree in bloom higher up in the 6th mile area. Inside the Horti Hub in 6th Mile area, beyond the pine trees, a lone cherry blossom tree was bathed in pink.Experts working on changing climate conditions in the north east underline the need for more and detailed scientific studies on plants particularly those having rich economic, cultural and aesthetic beauty. Partha Jyoti Das, head of Water Climate and Hazards Programme of Guwhati based think- tank Aranyak said some plants were more sensitive to climate change and he had come across reports of flowering of certain plants being delayed for almost a month due to climatic variations. Mr. Das said the changes in the post-monsoon period and winter rainfall had hit crops like paddy, potato, mustard and vegetables.The organisers have decided to keep the dates for the next year flexible and are also keen to take some technical help from Japan on predicting the blossoming phase.
The Justice (Retd.) Mehtab Singh Gill Commission, constituted by the ruling Congress government to probe “false cases” registered during the 10 years of Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP regime in Punjab, on Tuesday submitted its fifth interim report to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh recommending cancellation of FIRs in 41 cases. “Among the cases in which cancellation has been recommended are FIRs against Vijay Sayal, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Gurdaspur, and Sikh religious preacher Baljit Singh Daduwal, both of which the commission described as culmination of vendetta resulting from their refusal to obey the diktats of former Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and former Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia,” said an official statement. The statement added that the commission report pointed out that Mr. Sayal was falsely implicated in an FIR registered by the Vigilance Bureau, Faridkot, for challaning a bus of Mr. Badal, who was also holding the portfolio of Home Department.In the case of Mr. Daduwal, the commission did not find anything seditious in his speech at a congregation held on November 10, 2015.Relief recommended“In the fifth report, out of 159 complaints, 118 complaints have been dismissed for lack of jurisdiction or for being without merit,” said the statement, adding that of the 655 complaints examined so far, the commission has recommended relief in 258 while dismissing the remaining 397.
Five officials of the State Forest Department were booked by the Pune district rural police on Monday for allegedly holding a ‘liquor party’ in Shivneri fort in Junnar tehsil, 70 km from here.According to the police, the officials had indulged in inebriated revelry on Sunday night inside the fort premises on the eve of Shiv Jayanti celebrations. Maratha Warrior King Shivaji, who was born at the fort in 1630 C.E. had spent his childhood here.Some youths visiting the fort had filmed the officialsholding a drunken revelry in the fort premises. Junnar police detained the officials on seeing the clips. Two of them, Prakash Jadhav and Santosh Navgirhe, were suspended.With Junnar being actively promoted as the district’s ‘tourism tehsil’ , the officials had been assigned the task of upkeeping the fort premises and to prevent activities such as consuming alcoholic drinks on the premises.“A case has been registered against them under section 65 (e) of the Bombay Prohibition Act. While the officials were in the khaki uniform of policemen, they belonged to the State Forest Department,” said an officer from the Pune Rural Police.
Joining the list of BJP leaders linking modern developments with ancient India, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma has claimed that journalism began during the time of the Mahabharata.Speaking at an event in Mathurs on Wednesday to mark ‘Hindi Journalism Day,’ the Minister cited various instances from the Indian epic to buttress his claim.He said the mythological character, Sanjaya, sitting in Hastinapur, gave Dhritarashtra a “bird’s eye view” of the war of Mahabharata. “Yeh live telecast nahi to aur kya hai? [If that is not live telecast, then what is it?),” Mr. Sharma said.Ancient India’s GoogleThe Minister also equated another mythological character, Narada, with the present-day Google. “Your Google has started only now. But our Google started a long time back. ‘Narad Muni’ was the epitome of information. He could reach anywhere and transfer a message from one place to another by chanting ‘Narayana’ three times,” he said.Several BJP leaders have earlier courted controversy by claiming that advance medical procedures like cataract and plastic surgery, nuclear tests and the internet were all available in ancient times.
Authorities imposed restrictions in parts of Kashmir on Saturday as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order on the eve of the second death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, even as a strike called by separatists evoked mixed response in the Valley. Restrictions have been imposed in Tral township, in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, and in the Nowhatta and Maisuma police station areas of Srinagar — the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, a police official said. He said the curbs have been imposed as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order and to avoid any untoward incident. Wani, a resident of Tral, was killed in an encounter with security forces in the Kokernag area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on July 8, 2016. His killing triggered massive protests and prolonged period of curfews and shutdowns across the Valley. As many as 85 people were killed and thousand others were injured in clashes between security forces and protesters over four months. The official said security forces have been deployed in strength at sensitive places across the Valley. Meanwhile, the strike called by separatists against the shifting of Asiya Andrabi, the chief of radical women’s outfit Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM), to Delhi by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), evoked mixed response in the Valley today. The separatists, under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), had on Friday called for a strike to protest the shifting of Andrabi and her colleagues. The JRL — comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik — appealed to the people to “observe a complete shutdown and maintain civil curfew”.While shops and other establishments were shut in the city centre Lal Chowk here, business continued as usual in other areas of the city, the official said. He said public transport was sparse, but private cars, cabs and auto-rickshaws were plying in many areas of the city. The official said similar reports of a mixed response to the strike were received from other district headquarters of the Valley. Cracking a whip on separatist leaders ahead of Wani’s death anniversary, the police had on Friday detained Malik in a police station here, while Mirwaiz was put under house arrest. Geelani continued to remain under house detention.
The National Institute of Technology in Kurukshetra has warned its students against gate crashing weddings near its premises. “It has been reported that some of the students have been going to attend weddings in the city without having invitation. This is not only unethical and immoral but also uncalled for,” a letter sent to hostel inmates by the Chief Warden said. ComplaintsSources in the institute said that off late there have been complaints that students have been gate crashing weddings to skip meals in the mess which is why this directive was issued. The letter directed students to desist from indulging in such type of “uncivilised activities” which also brings a bad name to the institution.Disciplinary action The letter warned students of disciplinary action if they are found doing so. “Disciplinary action as per institute rules will be taken against the students if they are found indulging in such an activity, the letter said.
“Do you recognise me? I fought nine parliamentary elections, with both wins and losses. But why have I come to Muzaffarnagar to contest election, you tell me?”The question is directed at an audience of men and boys gathered around a Ravidas temple, a place of worship for Dalits, in Ladwa, a village in western Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district.There are Dalits, Muslims, Jats, and OBC communities like Kashyaps/Dheevar in the audience, most of whom are seated on neatly arranged red plastic chairs or standing in clusters.Their eyes are locked at the makeshift stage, dressed in banners of three parties — Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal — where a bespectacled man wearing a white kurta-pyjama is standing holding the microphone. “I have come to Muzaffarnagar because you are responsible for bringing the BJP to power. You fought with each other and destroyed the bhaichara [brotherhood]. As a result of that you have to bear Modi today,” he says.New challengeNow 80, RLD chief Ajit Singh has had many ups and downs in his political career, but facing a steep downward curve since 2013, perhaps the stakes have never been higher for his party as they are in the 2019 election. Moving out from his traditional seat of Baghpat, Mr. Singh has played a gamble by deciding to contest from Muzaffarnagar, a constituency which was marred by communal violence in 2013, triggering a communal polarisation which eventually helped the BJP sweep the State. While he has an uphill task to overturn the deficit from 2014, when the BJP’s Sanjeev Balyan secured a massive 6.53 lakh votes (58.98%), his fight is bolstered by the support of the SP and the BSP. Mr. Singh is going from village to village addressing nukkad sabhas to connect with his new electorate in the sugar belt.“You want to bear Modi for five more years,” he asks the crowd at Ladwa. Some of them reply: “No, not any more.” Mr. Singh then says: “Maintain your bhaichara, and Modi will disappear. You did that in Kairana, didn’t the BJP lose?”The 2013 communal violence demolished the RLD’s carefully stitched decades old Jat-Muslim coalition. The results were clear in 2014; Mr. Singh himself stood a humiliating third from his bastion Baghpat.The Hindu followed Mr. Singh through his nukkad sabhas and found most of his attacks targeted at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, backed by his desire to restore the RLD’s lost social coalition. “Just defeating Modi won’t do. You will have to bury him. You will have to uproot him,” he tells the crowd, his fist smacking the air passionately.The audience bursts into claps and shouts of “Chaudhary Ajit Singh zindabad” resonating in the open venue. “Modi, your achhe din are gone, our achhe din are coming,” he declares.The Jat leader also uses witty one-liners to mock Mr. Modi on his persona and track-record, evoking laughter from the rural audience. “Bhaiya, if he [Mr. Modi] goes to Sri Lanka, he would return and say, I killed Ravan.” Another one-liner which generates a louder response from the audience is: “People say Modi lies a lot. He doesn’t lie, he just never speaks the truth.” Local supportAfter the sabha is over, Mr. Singh moves into his SUV and is quickly escorted away to a local supporter’s house where fruits have been laid out for his welcome. Saying no to hospitality is not an option in this part of western Uttar Pradesh, even though Mr. Singh is an hour behind schedule. After a quick interval, the cavalcade drives past sugarcane and wheat fields and reaches the house of a prominent RLD old-timer, a farmer, to pacify him. To secure his win, Mr. Singh would require to revive support of all such disgruntled loyalists and the farmer, despite not being in the best of health, is convinced to address a nukkad sabha for Mr. Singh at the next location, Titavi. Along the way, drum beats, shower of flowers and handshakes welcome the Jat veteran.At Titavi, Mr. Singh once again presses for communal unity among his core constituencies. He also explains to people the economic downfall caused by the riots and how the local steel rod factories are still shut. “I want to bring Muzaffarnagar back to the same position where it was before the riots,” he says.With the SP and BSP in alliance with the RLD, Mr. Singh has ensured consolidation of the Jatavs and Muslims, with the latter itself making up for 41% of the district population. That the combined vote of the SP, BSP and RLD in each of the five Assembly segments of Muzaffarnagar in 2017 polls had crossed 50% also presents a hope for him.However, to ensure a victory and galvanise his party, he faces the challenge of reviving his appeal among the Jats, a section of whom are still inclined towards Mr. Modi and Mr. Balyan, who himself is a local Jat. To woo them, Mr. Singh focuses on issue of cane dues, menace of stray cattle and joblessness, and accuses the BJP of trying to divide the country in the name of the Army, which also recruits from the Jat community. Farmers’ woesThe RLD chief strikes a chord with Virendra Singh, a Jat farmer listening patiently in the crowd. Virendra complains that the rate of milk and cattle have fallen under the BJP rule. Another Jat, Rajendra Singh, hits out at Mr. Modi over the unemployment issue, while farmer Soraj Singh, a traditional RLD voter, regrets voting for the BJP in 2014 due to the riots. “All they did was increase the power tariff. Even if the BJP fields a Jat, we will vote for Chaudhary ji. We won’t just vote, we will make him win,” says Soraj.Raj Kumar, a Jatav, also speaks against the BJP. “We are fed up of BJP. I lost ₹80,000 during demonetisation.” A few kilometres away in Kutba village, the opinion is, however, split, with many Jats still supporting Mr. Modi and happy to see the back of the previous Muslim MPs from Muzaffarnagar. Current MP Sanjeev Balyan hails from Kutba, which along with its adjoining village Kutbi, witnessed eight deaths during the 2013 violence. While young Akshay Kumar praises the sitting MP for building metalled roads, widening the canal track and setting up solar panels, Randheer Singh, a farmer, is happy with the ₹2,000 he received under the PM KISAN scheme. They also praise the Balakot air strikes, with one local comparing Mr. Modi to a patriotic king. As the conversation shifts to the battle between the RLD and the BJP and economic issues, divisions emerge, a sharp contrast from 2013 when Jats rallied heavily behind the BJP amid communal polarisation.Pushpendra Kumar, a farmer, praises the air strike, but is tilted towards the RLD and regrets voting for the BJP in 2014. He is aggrieved by stray cows which are eating his wheat crop and forcing him to spend money on fencing his 23-bigha field. “Ajit Singh is more sympathetic towards the farmers,” says Pushpendra, blaming Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for “letting loose the cows.Parveen Balyan, who works at a local sugar mill, compares the alliance partners to “thieves” ganging up against Mr. Modi. He also questions Mr. Singh for choosing Muzaffarnagar instead of Baghpat. “For 20 years he was a Minister and an MP but what work did he do?” asks Parveen. But he believes that Mr. Singh will give a tough fight this time, and predicts a low victory margin of 20,000 votes for the BJP.Like a section of Jats, OBC groups like Kashyaps, Dheevars and Julahas, and upper castes are also tilted towards the BJP. “We don’t care about the candidate, we want BJP,” says Sonu, a Julaha, in Dhindhawali village. His namesake, Sonu, a Rohilla Rajput, admits Mr. Singh has the arithmetic to back up a strong fight but still expects the BJP to win. “All I want is a strong government, a BJP government,” he says.
At least five policemen sustained injuries on Tuesday when protesters demanding justice for the Alwar gang-rape victim threw stones in Rajasthan’s Dausa district, the police said.A large number of people gathered at Dausa railway station in support of the victim following BJP MP Kirodi Lal Meena’s call for a march from Dausa to Jaipur. “The police had to resort to mild cane charge to disperse the mob. Nearly five to six policemen sustained injuries when the mob started throwing stones. Mr. Meena was sent to a different location. The situation is under control now,” Dausa SP Prahlad Singh said.Anti-govt. slogans Rashtriya Loktantrik Party legislator Hanuman Beniwal reached Dausa to support the rally and addressed the meeting. Agitators raised anti-government slogans, alleged negligence on part of the State government and demanded to know why swift action was not taken in the matter.
Protests continued in the Kashmir valley on Tuesday over the rape of a three-year-old girl in Bandipora district, the officials said. The State police has constituted a special investigation team to probe the case and one person has been arrested. Even as the authorities closed several educational institutions in the valley, students took out protest rallies against the rape of the minor girl in Sumbal area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district last week, the officials said. They said protests erupted at Women’s College at Maulana Azad Road here as the students came out of their classes and assembled in the campus. The students demanded stern action against the accused, the officials said, adding that later the protesters marched towards the Press Enclave here. Protests rocked Kashmir University in Hazratbal area of the city where students of different departments under the banner of Kashmir University Students Union assembled inside the campus to register their protest, the officials said.