India’s unpredictable elections

first_imgDear Editor,The final phase (seventh) of voting in India comes to an end this Sunday, May 19. The outcome is unpredictable. This writer travelled to several parts of India to solicit opinions on how people are voting and to gather their views on the outcome.This writer believes the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will win the most seats and form the Government. But it is difficult to determine the proximate number of seats the BJP and the opposition Congress Party will win. Both major parties are contesting the elections with alliance partners – the BJP and its allies are known as the National Democratic Alliance or NDA while the Congress and its allies are known as the United Progressive Alliance or UPA. The NDA will win a lot more seats than the UPA, perhaps two to one. However, the NDA (BJP in particular) will lose seats and the Congress and UPA will gain seats.In travelling around India querying views, people largely parroted the polls’ findings that they read or heard about in the media just before the first phase of voting on April 11. The polls put the BJP and the NDA well ahead of the Congress and UPA. But polls in India are not known to be reliable.Almost everyone I interviewed in the urban areas said BJP/NDA will win and they will actually vote for BJP/NDA partner. Middle-class and upper caste voters (Brahmins and Chatris) are voting BJP. However, when one goes to lower-class neighbourhoods and in rural areas, voter preferences change. The lower castes and slum dwellers are divided in their votes. The BJP gets only a fraction (less than 20 per cent) of their support. Muslims are united against the BJP; only a very small percentage is voting BJP. The preference of female Muslims is not known; the BJP has tried to grant them equality. If female Muslims break for BJP, which is quite unlikely given that they have received instructions from clerics to vote for a candidate that has the best prospect to defeat the BJP candidate, the BJP will sweep. The lower castes and the Muslims make up almost 70 per cent of the electorate. No one knows for sure how the lower castes will vote – will they vote en bloc for the SP (Yadavs) and BSP (Dalits) alliance in Uttar Pradesh (UP) State? The two castes have had a history of antagonism and ill feelings towards each other and never quite got along; they were engaged in physical violence against one another. This writer projects BJP will lose a minimum 15 seats in UP but could reduce its losses if Muslims stay away from the polls or if Dalits don’t support Yadav candidates.There is some element of anti-incumbency in India. This means BJP will suffer losses not only in UP but in other states as well. Also, the caste alliance working against the electoral prospects of the BJP. The Dalits and the Yadavs have formed an alliance in UP, India’s largest state. A similar alliance is formed in Bihar and in a few other states. This caste alliance and the understanding with between the Congress and other parties representing lower castes poses a serious challenge to BJP and would cause it to lose several seats and for Congress to pick up seats. But the BJP party is also expected to make gains in seats in states it never won.In the 2014 elections, Congress won only 44 seats and the BJP 282 out of 543. The Congress is projected by this writer to win up to 25 more seats, making gains from the BJP in states like Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madya Pradesh, and Chattisgarh. The BJP/NDA, in addition to losing seats in these states, will lose seats in UP. While losing seats to anti-incumbency and the various alliances allied against it, the BJP will make gains in other states. The party could pick up anywhere between 15 and 20 seats to reduce overall losses. The final projection is BJP is expected to win between 250 and 275 seats and the NDA up to 40 seats for a total of anywhere between 275 and 315. In addition, the BJP will get outside support from the MPs in other states of approximately another 35 seats.To form a Government, 273 seats are required. So clearly, going by the numbers projected by this writer and the views of pre-election pollsters, the BJP and Modi are projected to retain office. But the number of seats the party or alliance will win is unpredictable. Even if the BJP/NDA comes up short, outside allies will make up the numbers. The UPA and a third front are not likely to have the numbers to form a coalition Government as they did in 2004-2009.Yours truly,Dr Vishnu Bisramlast_img read more

Humboldt Crabs take weekend series with 5-0 win over California Expos

first_imgARCATA >> With their 1-0 lead hanging in the balance entering the late stages Sunday afternoon, the Crabs’ offense was able to provide some much-needed breathing room.They did it in rather loud fashion, too.Shortstop Michael Perri and left fielder James Outman homered in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively, to back a Humboldt pitching staff that allowed just three hits and threw its first shutout of the season in the Crabs’ 5-0 win over the California Expos in front of 1,046 …last_img

Home Affairs speeds up services

first_img11 June 2008The Department of Home Affairs’ turnaround strategy is on track, marking a change in the way the department does business and delivers services to citizens and residents.Delivering her budget vote in Parliament in Cape Town this week, Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said that this could only bode well for the customers who visited Home Affairs offices.She said that her department had achieved the goals set out in the first phase of the turnaround strategy, with the department being able to issue a new identity document within two-and-a-half months – down from the initial waiting period of up to six months.“We are well on our way to our aim of two months by the end of the year,” she added.The department has also acquired a new e-passport production system, to be installed in the government printing works by August this year, with staff already having begun training on the new system.“The main benefit of the new system will be the reduction in the passport production turnaround time due to the printing systems ability to print higher volumes,” she said. “The implementation of online fingerprint verification and subsequent interface with the passport completion processes will further enhance the turnaround times and issuance within 10 days.”Constitutional obligationMapisa-Nqakula said the department had a constitutional obligation to provide every South African with an identity document, which serves as a key for access to rights and services in the country.“By introducing an operational management system as part of the roll out of the new process, we are eliminating blockages in the production process,” she said. “This means that we will be able to offer our clients reasonable and reliable time frames within which they can expect their documents.”She said that the Track and Trace system, which enables the department to track the progress of customers’ ID applications, had transformed the way in which the department handled customer enquiries about the progress of their applications.“We can report that the system is now fully operational in all our permanent offices nationwide,” she said. “We are receiving positive feedback both externally and internally. The system has clearly worked as a management and a service tool.”In addition, temporary Identification Certificates are now being issued immediately.Fingerprint identificationThe department also started with the roll out of online fingerprint verification systems, which enable it to verify fingerprints electronically at local offices even before applications are sent to the head office in Pretoria, in 40 offices during March this year.The online verification makes it possible for counter staff to conduct real-time fingerprint comparison of citizens whose fingerprints were previously registered on the automated fingerprint identification system.This has lead to further improved turnaround times in respect of issuing ID documents, temporary identity certificates, emergency and temporary passports. Previously centralised manual fingerprint verification took an average of seven days to process.Smart ID cardsMapisa-Nqqkula told members of Parliament that a pilot project for smart ID cards – the only outstanding element of the Home affairs National Identification System – would commence in December this year, after the Cabinet approved the model and roll out plan for the card and the replacement of the current green bar-coded ID book.This will streamline the production process, reduce turn around times for the ID document and ensure the integrity of the identification system, she said, adding that the roll-out would go hand-in-hand with the national population register clean up.The department has set aside a total of R114-million for the 2008/09 financial year, with the amount rising to R335-million in the 2009/10 financial year as the volumes of the roll out increase.“In order to properly manage the roll out, we will issue a limited number of these cards to identified vulnerable groups and continue with a staggered roll out in the following years,” she said. “Discussions will be held with the [Independent Electoral Commission] regarding the use of these cards during the 2009 general elections.”Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Pakistans participation in Asian Athletics in doubt

first_imgNew Delhi, Jun 21 (PTI) Pakistans participation in the Asian Athletics Championships, to be held in Bhubaneswar from July 6-9, remained uncertain as the government was yet to clear the visas of its contingent. With the deadline of making final entry of athletes having ended yesterday, athletes from neighbouring countries are set to start arriving here in the next few days, but the Indian government is yet to grant visas to the Pakistani athletes. Athletics Federation of India (AFI) president Adille Sumariwalla said that the organisers are awaiting a response from the government on the matter. “We have invited Pakistan for the championships. Under International Olympic Committee Protocol, you have to send invitation to all countries. Pakistan has sent their entries and we have forwarded the name of their athletes and their passports to government. We are awaiting a response from the government,” Sumariwalla said at a press conference here today. “India played with Pakistani teams in cricket and hockey (outside India). So, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of External Affairs will take a call on the participation of Pakistan in Asian Athletics Championships,” he added. Reports emanating from Pakistan said that they have sent entries of at least half a dozen athletes for the championships and have applied for visas early this month. Due to the worsening relation between the two neighbouring countries, Pakistan could not take part in the Asian Wrestling Championships here and Asian Snooker Championships in Chennai last month as their players could not get visas.advertisementLast December, the Pakistan hockey team was not granted visas for the FIH Junior World Cup in Lucknow. India has also refused to play bilateral cricket with Pakistan and the countrys sports minister has even gone on record that “terrorism and sports cant go along and Pakistan should understand that”. Pakistani athletes took part in the 2013 Asian Championships held in Pune. More than 800 athletes from 45 countries will take part in the event to be held at the renovated Kalinga Stadium, making it the biggest ever Asian Championships. This is the third time India is hosting the Asian Championships after New Delhi (1989) and Pune (2013). At least 10 athletes, who are either medallists of Rio Olympics or World Championships, will take part in the Asian flagship event. Rio hammer throw gold winner Dilshod Nazarov of Tajikistan, Olympics 3000m steeplechase winner Ruth Jebet of Bahrain and top Qatari high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim are among those who are set to take part. The gold medal winners in the 42 events of the championships will get a direct entry into the World Championships to be held in London in August. The Odisha government, which is organising the championships, has spent Rs 59 crore. India will field 168 athletes, the biggest among the participating countries, while China and Japan will send 96 and 78. India will announce its final entries next week. “With nearly 1100 athletes and officials coming for the event, it is going to be the biggest ever Asian Championships and I hope this will also be the most successful one,” said Sumariwalla, an 100m Olympian and national champion himself. Asked about Indias chances in the championships, he said, “We won 13 medals (4 gold, 4 silver, 4 bronze) in 2015 Asian Championships in Wuhan, China. We will get more gold, more medals, but I feel we will still finish at third.” Sumariwalla praised the Odisha government and its officials for renovating the Kalinga Stadium in a record time of three months, after the original venue, Ranchi, pulled out due to financial reasons. “Ranchi got the hosting rights in 2015 but in March they pulled out. We were thinking where will we hold the event. It was a matter of pride for the country. “Sports Secretary Injeti Srinivas suggested we should look at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. We went there but I found there nothing except for a ground without any running track. But on March 30, Odisha government said they will host the championships,” the AFI president said. “Once they decided to host the event, I was amazed at the commitment, honesty and transparency of the team of officials who worked day and night to prepare a world class stadium in record time of three months. A brand new synthetic track and another practice track was laid. From the incredible work they had done, I told myself that this country can do amazing things if we want to.” The executive council of the Asian Athletics Association will meet in Bhubaneswar on July 4 and the AAA Congress will be held the next day. The opening ceremony of the championships will be held on July 5. International Athletics Federation president Sebastian Coe will attend the AAA council meeting and also the Congress. PTI PDS AH PDSadvertisementlast_img read more

Sportzware upgrades now available

first_imgSportingpulse have announced that the upgrade for Sportzware Central v6.4 is now available to download. There are no major changes to the application, upgrading will not significantly alter the application or an association’s database.  Full release notes for version 6.4 are available from: http://support.sportingpulse.com/show.php?num=286.Sportzware Central v6.4 is available to the public to download from www.sportzware.com > Products and Services > Sportzware Central.  The application will run for 21 days without a registration key.Sportzware Websites v6Sportzware Websites v6 will come into effect on Wednesday 9 April.  The upgrade includes:Top menu option, in addition to left and right menus Sub-menu option Easier to use Content Manager area with a drag and drop function to move sections between menus and add new sections, and a right click function to edit, rename, hide and modify sections Forums – set up and manage a forum on your website (NB: Should a NGB not wish to make Forums available to its affiliates, it can be deactivated upon request) These website enhancements will have no visible effect on a current website’s design, structure or content.  They are additional features which must be added through the website administration area for any changes to take place on the website.Updates to the Sportzware Website User Guide will also be available by the release date from www.support.sportingpulse.com and within the website administration area.last_img read more

4 days agoCrisis almost over as Man City welcome back three defenders for Atalanta

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Crisis almost over as Man City welcome back three defenders for Atalantaby Freddie Taylor4 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester City are set to welcome back three defenders for Tuesday’s Champions League group stage clash with Atalanta.John Stones, Kyle Walker and Nicolas Otamendi were all absent in Saturday’s win over Crystal Palace, with midfielders Rodri and Fernandinho acting as makeshift centre-backs.Walker has been out with a virus, while Otamendi suffered a blow on international duty with Argentina.Stones hasn’t started since suffering a thigh injury against Norwich last month. last_img

a day agoLiverpool boss Klopp: Of course the second Spurs meet us they’re back on track!

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Liverpool boss Klopp: Of course the second Spurs meet us they’re back on track!by Paul Vegasa day agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was typically jovial when talking about Sunday’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur.Spurs snapped a three-game winless with an emphatic 5-0 win over Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday.Speaking after his side beat Genk on Wednesday, Klopp joked about the timing of Spurs’ return to form.He said: “We’ve just had two away games that were both difficult for different reasons. I don’t know where we are now but I know where we need to be on Sunday.”It’s a refreshed Tottenham. Of course the second they meet us they’re back on track! But we’re a different team to Red Star Belgrade, just like Tottenham are different to Genk.” last_img read more

Giancarlo Stanton Will Need To Slug Like Barry Bonds To Beat Roger

2007Prince FielderMIL351550 2006Ryan HowardPHI411758 2001Barry BondsSF492473✓ 2007Alex RodriguezNYY391554✓ 2010Jose BautistaTOR361854 Want a late-season home run barrage? Juice up.MLB players who hit the most home runs before the end of the season after hitting 35 or more home runs through 116 games 1998Sammy SosaCHC432366✓ 1999Sammy SosaCHC461763✓ HOME RUNS That means Stanton will need the kind of performance not seen since the steroid era to beat Maris’s old record — a tall order, even for one of history’s greatest power hitters. Of course, maybe juiced balls are the equivalent of steroids for today’s batters, which would certainly boost Stanton’s odds. Either way, to get there, he’ll have to stay nearly as hot as he’s been in this recent streak over the entire rest of the year.Check out our latest MLB predictions. 1990Cecil FielderDET351651 Based on 72 hitters. For 162-game seasons only. Implication of PED use based on the Mitchell Report, failed drug tests and player admissions.Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, Lahman database 2001Sammy SosaCHC412364✓ 1998Ken Griffey Jr.SEA411556 1961Roger MarisNYY441761 1998Mark McGwireSTL462470✓ 1997Ken Griffey Jr.SEA362056 Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is on some kind of hot streak. With yet another home run on Sunday (he’s homered in four straight games and nine times this month), Stanton now has 42 on the 2017 season — and 21 in his last 33 games. Just when it looked like Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees was going to usurp Stanton’s crown as the game’s top power hitter, Stanton has reclaimed it with a vengeance.Stanton’s season is already historic; only 11 times in the 162-game-schedule era1Since 1961. has a batter hit 42 or more home runs in his team’s first 116 ballgames. But Stanton can set his sights on another historic mark: the pre-steroids single-season home run record of 61, set by Roger Maris in 1961.Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds later surpassed Maris’s mark.2Bonds holds the current record with 73 home runs, set in 2001. But McGwire and Sosa either admitted to or tested positive for using performance-enhancing drugs, and Bonds was mentioned prominently in the Mitchell Report (which investigated the use of steroids in baseball), thus tainting their accomplishments in the eyes of many fans. So for Stanton, breaking Maris’s “record” would bring cachet even if it isn’t technically the record anymore.And by the numbers alone, Stanton — who needs 20 more home runs by the end of the season to best Maris — has an outside shot at the feat. For every batter who hit at least 35 homers in the first 116 games of a 162-game season,3This sample included 72 players. I recorded how many homers each managed over the rest of the season. About 11 percent managed to hit at least 20 more home runs. 2002Alex RodriguezTEX372057✓ 1999Mark McGwireSTL442165✓ So there’s a chance. But if you look at who did the homering over the rest of the season, Stanton’s odds might need to be adjusted downward more than a little. Of the eight hitter-seasons in our sample with 20 or more home runs between Game 116 and season’s end, all came in the steroid era, and only one — the great Ken Griffey Jr. — belonged to a player never associated with performance-enhancing drug use. The most by a recent player was the 18 late-season homers that Jose Bautista hit in 2010. YEARPLAYERTEAMTHROUGH 116 GAMESREST OF SEASONTOTALPEDS? 1997Mark McGwireOAK/STL352358✓ read more