MonitorsPublished on Apr 17, 2018
South Asia weekly report | Vol. XI Issue 16


India: Are the Dalits moving away from the BJP?

Ketan Mehta The recent upsurge among the Dalits reflects that the community is turning away from the ruling BJP at the Centre, just a year ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, due by May 2019. If nothing else, such a perception is fast emerging, more outside of the party, but even within, if the knee-jerk reaction of the Government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is any indication. So much so, the Centre has since approached the Supreme Court for a review of the latter’s recent order, for lower courts to grant bail for those arrested under what is otherwise called the ‘civil rights act’. Considering that the Dalits across the country were not unfavourably disposed towards the BJP and its prime ministerial candidate Modi in the 2014 elections that brought them both to power at the Centre, the current situation is a cause for concern for the party and the leadership. Various Dalit advocacy groups staged protests and called for a nation-wide bandh after the Supreme Court ruling on the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, under which the police will have to make instant, non-bailable arrest in all cases pertaining anti-Dalit atrocity, either by word, deed or action. In practice, lower courts have also been reluctant to grant bail in such cases, at least in the early stages. Through a more recent case, the Supreme Court has prohibited preliminary arrests and, instead provides for the arrangement of compensation for victims. Despite the fact that the SC ruling has little to do with the BJP ruling the Centre, the protests are reflective of the growing discontent among the Dalits, or the SC community with the BJP. However, this is unlike the case earlier. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, for the very first time in its electoral history, the BJP roughly got 12-14 per cent of the SC votes, claimed Sanjay Kumar, a leading psephologist at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).  Of the BJP’s 282 MPs in the 542-member House, 40 party candidates won from ‘Reserved seats’. The fact that the Dalit-centric Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) could not secure a single Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh was also cited as evidence to the BJP’s claim that the party was successful in securing sizeable number of SC voters to its side in the nation’s most populous state.

Apparent marginalisation

However, much has changed for the BJP since the 2014 elections. The Opposition parties have backed the recent wave of protests by the Dalit advocacy groups across India against the Supreme Court ruling, and have blamed the BJP of doing little to protect the vulnerable sections of the societies, including the SCs. This emerging cohesion against the BJP among the various political parties strengthens as the former has done little to adequately accommodate the SCs in various legislative and other key positions. The Modi cabinet is dominated by upper caste Brahmins and OBCs (Other Backward Classes). In Uttar Pradesh, where three years after the LS poll victory, the party swept the assembly polls in 2017, the upper castes account for a high 44.3 percent of the new members. Moreover, instances such as the death of Dalit student activist Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad, and the ‘Una incident’, in Modi’s native Gujarat State, where people from the SC community were reportedly flogged, have galvanised the drift of the Dalit community away from the BJP. The apparent marginalisation of the SC community in BJP and in the nation’s politics has also led to the emergence of new SC youth leaders like Jignesh Mevani in Gujarat, and the rise of new fronts such as the Bhim Army in Uttar Pradesh.  Helped by social media, discontent against the ruling party has transcended beyond one state. This poses a problem for the BJP.

Daunting task

Unable to draw the large Muslim constituency which constitutes around 15 percent of the nation’s electorate, under the dual leadership of Prime Minister Modi and party president Amit Shah, the BJP has lately focused on securing votes from the remaining 80-percent plus of the electorate, comprising mostly the ‘majority’ Hindu community. This is considered to be a daunting task, as the remaining 80-85 percent electorate is divided along caste lines. Second, a large section of the OBCs and the SCs identify themselves with the regional parties such as the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the BSP.  During the 90’s under the leadership of L.K. Advani, the BJP had first acknowledged this divide and sought the means of religion to mobilise the 80-percent plus of the nation’s electorate. The party lost out to the ‘caste division’ introduced by then Prime Minister, the late V P Singh, who dusted out the forgotten Mandal Commission Report for OBC reservations. The intervening Rajiv Gandhi assassination ensured that the BJP lost out the Lok Sabha polls of 1991, and P V Narasimha Rao became the Prime Minister. The subsequent ‘Ayodhya demolition’ involving the BJP only reinforced Singh’s claim, as the episode galvanised the SP and the BSP divided by inter-caste rivalry at the grassroots-level, came together, and replaced the BJP as the ruling party in native Uttar Pradesh. However, the decade saw the BJP expand its list of regional allies, and capture power at the Centre, successively after parliamentary polls in 1996, 1998 and 1999, and kept it for full five years after the last one, until Elections-2004 showed the Prime Minister A B Vajpayee-led BJP-NDA, the door at the Centre.

Replicate approach

In a way, the Modi-Shah duo only sought to replicate this approach in their election strategy and campaign. Other factors such as the promise of jobs, growth, and emphasis on good governance also contributed to BJP securing support from marginalised sections of the society. However, it is evident that this goodwill bestowed by the SC community on the BJP is now vulnerable. The party recently lost two Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh by-elections, held respectively by Chief Minister Adidya Nath and his deputy. As it is evident, Prime Minister Modi would have to scale great heights in order to revive the confidence of the SC community in the BJP. In Uttar Pradesh, the largest State, the BJP faces a serious challenge from the alliance of the SP and the BSP which could lead to the consolidation of the OBC and the SC vote-banks. Lacking any major SC leader, the party would either have to rely on an alliance partner that could better mobilise the SC community or would have to give greater space to Dalit leaders within the party and in the legislature. This, despite the fact that the Modi leadership promoted a Dalit in present incumbent Ram Nath Kovind as the nation’s President – only the second, after the late K R Narayanan, promoted by the then ruling Congress leadership. It does not seem to have worked, given possibly the fact that Kovind was not seen as a Dalit leader in his own right, and very few even in the party knew of him. In case the BJP seeks to promote either a Dalit alliance-partner, or partners across various regions and States, or identify an project a Dalit leader from within, the party’s traditional support base comprising the upper castes would not be pleased with the saffron party.   This is a significant dilemma that the BJP could confront in the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections. (The writer is a Research Assistant at Observer Research Foundation, Delhi)

 Pakistan: Drowning in drinking water crisis

Mayuri Banerjee Fifteen-month-old Kinza moves in slow motion like a small doll in an Islamabad hospital, one among the thousands diagnosed with diarrhoea and other water-borne infections in Pakistan. The industrial filth flowing downstream is identified as the cause of the massive outbreak. According to a UNICEF report, 53,000 Pakistani children die of diarrhoea every year and 30-40 percent of diseases and deaths nation-wide is linked to poor water quality. Now, shifting the screen to the port-megalopolis of Karachi, street-protests over water shortages have become a regular sight as the city struggles daily to provide the basic amenity of access to clean water to its residents. In a recent report, the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) issued a grave warning to the government that the country might run out of drinking water by 2025. The two situations stated above present in a nutshell the impending disaster facing Pakistan. The country is deep into a water-crisis, encompassing issues of both quality and quantity, and with multi-sector impact. According to FAO’s reports, Pakistan is one of the most water-stressed countries in South Asia, with 73 percent of the country under ‘acute water-stress’. Analysts nearer home and overseas have been drawing attention to the rapid environmental degradation, and the ensuing water and food scarcity. Surprisingly, the administration refuses to regard this as an urgent issue as the Sindh governor declared at the 2017 International Water Conference that terrorism is a bigger concern in the country than water scarcity. Clearly, the nation’s administrators have continued to put the issue of ‘human security’ in the policy backburner as government officials and politicians are busy battling external threats from the Taliban and ISIS, the US and India. The brewing societal and intra-state tensions over water-sharing are gaining momentum, with potential to blow up Pakistan from within.

Explaining the water crisis

The worsening water crisis which in future may hold Pakistan’s economy as its hostage has two crucial aspects. Water in Pakistan is not only becoming scarce but is also getting highly contaminated. Therefore, both issues of quality and quantity are of utmost importance. Industries and agriculture are two sectors with growing demand for water. They are also the worst contaminators. Official reports suggest that the problem of contamination is aggravated due to continuance of poorly maintained systems of water treatment. Also, there is lack of public or private investment in building new infrastructure systems for the same. The dismal arrangement leads to dumping of untreated wastes into the river streams diverted for both domestic and agricultural purpose. In Lahore, Pakistan’s second largest city, the river Ravi which supplies drinking water to its 11 million inhabitants, also serves as a spillway for hundreds of factories upstream. The same water is used for irrigating the neighbouring agricultural fields which are themselves rich in pesticides. A project study by WWF on river Ravi has found heavy metal contamination in the fishbone samples. This indicates the ease with which the food chain is affected in absence of identification and action against points of contamination along the entire stretch of the river stream. Statistics reveal that high frequency of water-borne diseases can cost the economy 1.44 percent of the GDP. Combined with industrial pollution the increasing soil salinity and water clogging in the agricultural fields will impact crop yield creating further stress on widely agricultural economy of the country.

Natural resources

Pakistan is blessed with huge natural resources of water in the form of Himalayan mountain glaciers, rain fed rivers, and three storage basins. Therefore, the ongoing water scarcity and spatial inequality of access is primarily man-made. Bureaucratic corruption and complex governance systems have complicated distribution process across regions and lack of appropriate water pricing arrangements have lead to excessive use or misuse. According to American South Asia expert Michael Kugelman,  bad water management is one the primary reasons for the current water crisis as people don’t pay for water they don’t have incentive to use it sparingly. Farmers flood their fields with irrigation waters and urban industries consume more than they need. However, the government’s focus on regulating the supply side has made the policy approach narrow and costly. Along with bad water management climate change is also  stated to impact Pakistan’s water supply. Retreating glaciers in the western Himalayas and the Karakoram Mountains in the north of Pakistan has accelerated the drying of river beds. The drying of river beds in turn has put further pressure on the fast depleting ground water resources. Especially in Balochistan province, adoption of electric water pumps for groundwater tapping has severed the looming crisis.

Water security and threat

The fundamental challenge to the management of the ongoing water crisis is official de-recognition of the same. Law-makers have been reluctant to assess the intensity of disruption that can occur across the economy, society and politics. The predominantly agrarian economy is highly water intensive and demand for water is growing at an annual rate of 10 percent. The supply on the other hand is strained and the resulting disparity is aggravating issues of dispossession and landlessness. The population of labourers thus churned out of the system are moving into urban areas creating added pressure on the urban economy and its resources. Research indicates that continued groundwater depletion and use of sewerage water for irrigation will drag down agricultural productivity by 10 percent adversely affecting the overall food security in the country. Social communities residing in more arid parts of the country are most vulnerable to the deepening water crisis. The installation of electric pumps in various parts of Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab has not only threatened aquifer reserves but is also leading to erosion of the traditional karez system of agriculture. Disintegration of crystallisation elements is creating armies of youth outside community structures and loss of their traditional livelihood make them easy target of the radical extremist groups. It is not a coincidence that majority of the soldiers in the Punjabi-Taliban outfit belong to southern Punjab, where percentage of rural dispossession is the highest. Therefore, imbalance in one arena naturally spills over to other areas, complicating processes of regulation and reform.

Political implications

In urban areas, the political implications of drinking water crisis are more serious. For instance in Karachi,  the financial capital of Pakistan, water-tankers have become the most convenient access to water. These water tankers are increasingly becoming channels of political power, controlled by ‘water mafias’. The dangerous consequence of sprawling syndicates of local politicians and water mafias is widespread corruption in allocation of scarce water resources. Simmering tensions over water allocation can lead to more water riots in cities as occurred Sindh and Punjab in 2012, paving way for the military to wrest control. Intra-provincial tension over water-sharing is also on the rise. The two most important provinces Sindh and Punjab are at loggerheads over sharing water from the Indus basin irrigation system. Plans for building the enormous Kalabagh dam on the Indus have further polarized public opinion. Especially in Sindh, the dam is perceived as another attempt to deprive the local farming community of their rightful share of water. In addition, Balochistan is also opposing the construction because of concerns over adverse impact on the Pat Feeder Canal from the Indus in its territory.

What needs to be done?

First things first, the water crisis needs to be included in the political agenda for the upcoming elections. Politicisation of the issue will provide the needed publicity and trigger discussions in the public realm. Therefore, the forthcoming government will be under pressure to act urgently on the issue. Second, the national water policy needs to be carefully studied and restructured through discussions with all the concerned stake-holders. Thirdly, large scale awareness and water preservation practices need to be introduced through a system of appropriate taxation and penalty for misuse. Fourth; along with simplification of water governance the state needs to encourage greater public-private partnership for investment and construction of water management infrastructures. As international competition for strategic influence and power intensifies, Pakistan has two choices -- either to build a strong foundation of innovative policies or drown in a crisis of its own making. (The writer is a Research Assistant at Observer Research Foundation, Kolkata)

Country Reports


Bleak economic future

The challenging security and political in Afghanistan is hampering the country’s economic development. The Asian Development Bank report predicted that owing to tense situations the economic growth of the country for 2018-2019 is expected to be a meagre 2.5 per cent. The report also states that private investments are necessary to reduce the country’s dependence on donor support. ADB as Afghanistan’s leading partner in infrastructure and regional cooperation has promised to work to reduce poverty and increase growth.

Counter-terror operations on

The Special Operation Forces of the Afghanistan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security attacked a Taliban compound in the eastern Nangarhar province of         Afghanistan, where the group is trying to gain a foothold. A total of seven insurgents were killed along with the local leader of the group. A pick up vehicle, two motorcycles and some ammunition along with a few weapons were destroyed during the operation. Four other suspects convicted of supporting the Taliban has also been arrested.

Air strikes claim 50

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has expressed concern over the Kunduz air-strikes in which the civilians have suffered. At least 50 people were killed and the rescuers brought back the injured, many amongst who were children. Most of the district is under Taliban control and in the recent years have witnessed intense violence between the insurgents and the government forces. HRW has requested the government to investigate the civilian casualties and the comingling of Taliban amongst the ordinary folk.

‘Safe zones’ not an option

Speaking at a press conference in Kabul, leader of the Hezb-e-Islami, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, encouraged the idea of ‘safe zones’ for the Talibans. This, he vouched would persuade and protect those insurgents and their families who were willing to join the peace process. However, Mohammad Younus Qanooni, a prominent Afghan political figure, recently negated the idea. He emphasised that such an act would facilitate the partition of the country and those making such statements must review their recommendations.


Protests end reservation

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has declared an end to the quota system for government jobs. The decision taken in the aftermath of a countrywide student protest that pushed the country into a stand-still for days. The Bangladesh government had 56 per cent of jobs reserved for children of freedom-fighters, women, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and citizens of some backward districts. The protesters wanted the quota to be reduced to 10 percent.

MoU on repatriation

The Government is planning to sign a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations refugee agency to lay out a framework for the voluntary repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar. The MoU is an effort to ensure safe, voluntary, and dignified returns of refugees in line with international standards, when the conditions are conducive, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative, Andrej Mahecic.


Vote for ‘Jaigaonese’

The Election Commission will allow Bhutanese nationals in Jaigaon and hailing from Chukha to cast their vote in Phuentsholing, despite the border- gate with India being sealed on the poll day. The commission has found that most of the voters living in Jaigaon are found to be from Dzongkhangs other than Chukha.

Trade-deficit down

The country’s trade deficit was down from Nu 32 billion in the recorded in consecutive last two years’ to Nu 29.7 billion this year. The value of exports stood at Nu 37.8 billion and the imports were estimated at Nu 67 billion, resulting in the trade deficit. Country-wise, India, South Korea, Japan, China, and Thailand were the top five import destinations in 2017.With regard to export, besides India, Bangladesh, Italy, the Netherlands, and Nepal were the top export destinations.


Defence expo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s 10th Defence Exhibition in Chennai. The theme of four-day expo is "India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub". The Defence Expo saw the participation of 47 countries, including the US, UK, Russia and France. In the next five years, India is expected to spend almost $ 300 billion in purchasing defence equipment.

NSA meets CPC official

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met the politburo member of the Communist Party of China, Yang Jiechi in Shanghai, said the Indian Embassy. The Indian Embassy in a brief statement stated that Mr Doval and Mr Yang, both special representatives of the India-China boundary. It is being said that boundary issues, the issue of India’s entry to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) that will set the stage for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposed visit for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in June this year.

EC wants more powers

The Election Commission in an affidavit to the Supreme Court stated that “Rule-making authority under the Representation of the People Act 1950 and Representation of the People Act, 1951, should be conferred on the Election Commission, instead of on the Central government, which should, however, be consulted by the Election Commission while framing any rule”.


President poll on time

Despite the continuing political confusion of the past weeks, and international pressure for freedom and right to contest, for jailed and/or self-exiled Opposition leaders, the Election Commission has declared that there was nothing to suggest that the presidential elections would not take place in September, as planned. The poll body also ‘guaranteed’ that the presidential elections will be a ‘smooth’ affair, implying that they would not want to upset the apple-cart and challenge the current position of the Government of President Abdulla Yameen, who is set to seek re-election.


Fast-track tourist visa

Myanmar has introduced a fast-track tourist visa that delivers confirmation within 24 hours of the application, year-round, including public holidays, according to travel website ttrweekly. The Tourist Visa Express Service is a new trial with a streamlined approval process for all nationalities that are eligible for an e-tourist visa. The application is made online at the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population’s website and costs USD 56. There is a 24-hour turnaround approval via an email confirmation, 365 days of the year.

Economy to grow

The Myanmar economy is on target for further growth in 2017-18 and as it moves forward into a fresh fiscal year, but there are policy and reform risks that could derail growth, said Yumiko Tamura, principal country specialist, Myanmar Resident Mission at the Asian Development Bank (ADB). In Myanmar, growth was driven by improvements in the agriculture sector, industry and service sectors also expanded .There was an increase in tourist arrivals and receipts despite the crisis in Rakhine. However, improving rice and garment exports were not sufficient to narrow the current account deficit.

SOP on human-trafficking

A standard operating procedures manual on managing cases of human trafficking and re-integrating victims into society was launched on 10 April in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw. The book is expected to improve the efforts of Myanmar and Thailand in fighting human-trafficking, according to U Soe Aung, deputy Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement minister. He added that Myanmar is intensifying cooperation with other ASEAN countries, as well as neighbouring border countries such as China and India to combat the scourge of human trafficking.


Maoists reviving?

Addressing the Nepali Military Academy, Prime Minister K. P Sharma Oli instructed the security agencies to remain prepared for combating extremist groups. Though satisfied with the current surveillance scenario in the country, his directions are primarily indicative of a probable Maoist struggle. Wary of the parliamentary supremacy, Maoist leaders like Netra Bikram Chand might threaten peace and stability in the Himalayan country, it is feared.

Melamchi water for Valley

A dynamic breakthrough in the supply of drinking water to the Kathmandu Valley has recently been unveiled. The excavation of the 26-km long Melamchi water supply project is nearing completion. It will carry pure drinking water from the Melamchi River to the city and has been funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

FM visiting China

The formal visit of Foreign Minister Pradip Gyawali is scheduled to visit China on 16 April. Right after the much speculated India visit of Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and building trust in the neighbourhood, Nepal is all set for engaging with the dragon country. This visit also has a strong political and economic mandate. The Belt and Road Initiative and the ‘Silk Road’ project are supposed to gain furtherance after the meeting.


Life-time ban on Nawaz

A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court has ruled in favour of life-time ban on former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from holding any elected office, declaring that the unanimous verdict was unreasonable, nor arbitrary. Nawaz Sharif has been barred from contesting future elections under Article 62 of the Constitution,  for being guilty of ‘unrighteous’ Other highly-placed judges who were not party to the decision opined that life-time ban was disproportionate and harsh. Politicians and workers from Sharif’s PML-N took to twitter to denounce the decision as an instance of extreme judicial activism.

Sino-Pak ties pillars of peace and tolerance: Xi

At a high-level meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that Sino-Pak ties should work as pillars of peace and tolerance in the region. The two leaders also appreciated their nations’ all-weather friendship in the context of rapid geo-political changes.  While President Xi hailed OBOR and CPEC as milestones in bilateral ties calling for further planning in implementation of crucial infrastructural projects, PM Abbasi expressed willingness to create SEZ’s along the CPEC trail to incentivise trade through that route. Connectivity, infrastructure, energy and multilateral platforms were underlined as major areas of co-operation between the two countries.

Sri Lanka

‘Rebel’ ministers quit

With the twin Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations ahead over the weekend, 16 ‘rebel’ ministers, including six of Cabinet rank, belonging to President Maithiripala Sirisena-led SLFP, quit the ‘Government of National Unity’ (GNU) quit UNP Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s team. Their continuance became untenable after they had voted alongside the Opposition SLPP-JO’s no-trust motion against PM Ranil in Parliament, which, however, was defeated. Yet, the trouble for the Government may not be over as new SLFP ministers may have to take their place, and the resultant shuffle of portfolios could well cause further storm in the tea-cup.



Opinion Pieces

Rod Norland, “Taliban Overrun Government Offices and Kill Two Top Officials”, The New York Times, 12 April 2018 Dr. Hussain Yasa, “Pak-Afghan Relations- Time to Break the Ice”, Daily Outlook Afghanistan, 11 April 2018 Sirajuddin Mobinis, “ Street child and the consequencesAfghanistan Times, 9 April 2018


Daily Outlook Afghanistan, “Ups and downs of Media in Afghanistan”, 12 April 2018 Daily Outlook Afghanistan, “Advancing Gender Equality in Afghanistan”, 11 April 2018 Daily Outlook Afghanistan, “Equal Access to Education: Path to National Prosperity”, 10 April 2018 Daily Outlook Afghanistan, “Bridging the Gap Between Classes”, 9 April 2018


Opinion Pieces

Fahmida Khatun, “ Can Bangladesh’s strong economic growth hold up?”,  East Asia Forum,12 April 2018 Forrest Cookson& Tom Felix Joehnk, “China and India’s geopolitical tug of war for Bangladesh”, East Asia Forum, 11 April 2018



Kuensel, “Violence against women and girls is endemic”, 12 April 2018 The Bhutanese, “The mediocrity trap”, 7 April 2018


Opinion Pieces

Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, “PM KP Oli’s visit reinforced India’s position as key player in Nepal”, Economic Times, 10 April 2018 Pratap Bhanu Mehta, “Kathua, Unnao: Shame on us”, The Indian Express,13 April 2018 Shekhar Gupta, “Cracks appear in Modi-Shah’s Hindu consensus as caste begins to overpower religion again”, The Print, 7 April 2018


Opinion Pieces

Mohamed Junayd, “Small is beautiful: startups in the Maldives”, Maldives Independent, 10 April 2018


Opinion Pieces

Alice Dawkins, “Placing Spotlights Casts Shadows”, The Irrawaddy, 6 April 2018, Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, “Healthcare for all is public health priority”, The Myanmar Times, 6 April 2018


Opinion Pieces

Anup Paudel, “Policy check”, Republica, 12 April 2018 Saurav Raj Pant, “New political nexus”, The Kathmandu Post, 13 April 2018 C K Lal, “Developmental divertissements”, Republica, 9 April 2018


Republica, “Against the mandate”, 11 April 2018 The Kathmandu Post, “Crossing point”, 13 April 2018 The Himalayan Times, “We must broaden scope”, 11 April 2018


Opinion Pieces

Usman Ali Khan, “Nuclear security and international pressure”, The Express Tribune, 11 April 2018 Khalid Saleem, “Whither ill-starred SAARC”, The Express Tribune, 12 April 2018 Wajid Ali, AzizullakKakar, “Balochistan’s water”, Dawn, 13 April 2018


The Express Tribune,The Irrelevance of SAARC”, 10 April 2018 The Dawn,Season of defections”, 10 April 2018 The Express Tribune,A new threat” 12 April 2018

Sri Lanka

Opinion Pieces

Rajan Philips, “How do you solve a problem like Ranil Wickremesinghe”, The Island, 15 April 2018 M S M Ayub, “NCM is not totally defeated, it is still yielding...”, Daily Mirror Online, 13 April 2014 N Sathiya Moorthy, “Ethical and all!”, Ceylon Today, 12 April 2018 Laksiri Fernando, “NCM victory and the end of Yahapalnaya”, The Island, 12 April 2018 Kelum Bandara, “SLFP headed for a split”, Daily Mirror Online, 12 April 2018 Malinda Seneviratne, “Good governance, democracy and the Opposition Leader”, Daily Mirror Online, 12 April 2018 Dr Dayan Jayatilleka, “Mahinda’s move”, Daily Mirror Online, 11 April 2018 D B S Jeyaraj, “TNA’s key role in defeating no-confidence motion against Ranil”, Daily Mirror Online, 10 April 2018 N Sathiya Moorthy, “Will ‘minorities’ now back Ranil for presidency, too?”,  The Island, 10 April 2018 Jehan Perera, “Superior strategy of staying together”, The Island, 10 April 2018 Ranga Jayasuriya, “The last chance for the UNP”, Daily Mirror Online, 10 April 2018


Kelum Bandara, “People want non-traditional politicians: Gotabhaya Rajapaksa”, Daily Mirror Online, 10 April 2018


Afghanistan: Sohini Bose Bangladesh: Dr Joyeeta Bhattacharjee Bhutan: Mihir Bhonsale India: Ketan Mehta Maldives & Sri Lanka: N Sathiya Moorthy Myanmar: Sreeparna Banerjee Nepal: Sohini Nayak Pakistan: Mayuri Banerjee Coordinator: Sreeparna Banerjee
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