New strains emerge in India’s ruling coalition

Updated 15 June 2012
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New strains emerge in India’s ruling coalition

NEW DELHI: New strains emerged in India’s ruling coalition yesterday amid wrangling over their candidate to be the next president, further weakening the already shaky alliance.
The Congress party, the biggest member of the left-leaning coalition, had put forward Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as its preferred choice for the mainly ceremonial post, which will be decided in elections on July 19.
But in a move that mirrors previous difficulties, minority partner the Trinamool Congress publicly snubbed him, saying it preferred embattled Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“If there is a universal consensus on our choices... then it will be good for this nation,” Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee told reporters late on Wednesday.
Banerjee and the leader of another regional party, the Samajwadi Party led by Mulayam Singh Yadav, proposed Left leader Somnath Chatterjee and former Indian president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as alternatives.
The Samajwadi Party is not in the coalition, but generally lends support from the outside. Its votes are vital in the presidential election, which is decided by members of parliament and regional lawmakers.
The Times of India said the move by the two parties “raised doubts if the coalition would last its full term” because it potentially signals that the two parties are preparing to withdraw their support from Congress.
“If not handled properly, the UPA (United Progressive Alliance coalition) may implode under the internal strain of this presidential election,” political analyst M.J. Akbar told the Headlines Today channel.
There have been previous suggestions that the coalition might fall apart which could trigger elections ahead of their scheduled date in 2014. Banerjee and her Trinamool party have consistently defied the Congress party, forcing a series of embarrassing policy U-turns on everything from rail fares and petrol prices to foreign investment in the retail sector.

These differences, as well as a string of corruption scandals, are seen by analysts as the reason for a lack of economic reforms and clear policy direction by the government, which has presided over a dramatic fall in economic growth.

 


Germany wants to deport alleged former bin Laden follower

Updated 25 April 2018
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Germany wants to deport alleged former bin Laden follower

  • Germany to deport a Tunisian follower of Al-Qaeda's Bin Laden
  • Berlin is seeking assurances from the Tunisian government not to torture Sami A.

BERLIN: The German government says it is trying to deport a former follower of Osama bin Laden despite court rulings barring his transfer to Tunisia.
The case of Sami A., whose full name wasn’t released, has caused anger in Germany after it was revealed that he receives monthly state benefits of 1,168 euros ($1,427).
Responding to queries from the Alternative for Germany party, the government of North Rhine-Westphalia state said the 42-year-old can’t be deported because he might face torture in Tunisia.
Germany wants diplomatic assurances from Tunisia he won’t be tortured, but that these haven’t been forthcoming yet.
A spokesman for the federal interior ministry, Harald Neymanns, said Wednesday “there are attempts to deport the former bodyguard of bin Laden” and a ministerial task force will examine the case soon.