Fiji seeks India’s help to hold polls
Fiji, suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth after the army-led coup installed an interim government in the South Pacific island earlier this year, is seeking Indian assistance to hold credible polls there.
The military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, defied international pressure in January to be sworn in as prime minister, tightening his grip on power after Fiji’s fourth coup in 20 years.
“We want to have credible polls there,” said Mahendra Pal Chaudhry, Fiji’s Finance Minister, who is on a week-long visit to India. “We want to discover the reasons for this coup culture, restore the shattered economy and return to democratic rule as soon as possible,” said Chaudhry, who met Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami on Tuesday to ask for electronic voting machines for his country.
“We did not have a culture of rigged elections in Fiji,” said Chaudhry, speaking to a select group of journalists, “before (Laisenia) Qarase,” the former Prime Minister who rigged elections last December to ensure his government returned to power.
According to Chaudhry, an audit report has been published which talks of even the 2001 elections, which Qarase won, being rigged. The report said two million ballot papers were printed for an electorate comprising 421,000 people.
“The aim was to disenfranchise a large section of the voters,” Chaudhry said, primarily Fijians of Indian origin, to which community Chaudhry belongs.
According to Chaudhry, the interim government will require three years to be able to register voters, correct electoral rolls, and effect course correction for the economy before holding credible elections. The international community, led by the United States, Australia and New Zealand, want elections in 18 to 24 months.
Chaudhry was bitter about what he called "double standards" of the international community and the Commonwealth, which has suspended and sanctioned Fiji, but supports Bangladesh, where an army-backed interim administration is in power.
The former Prime Minister also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram to seek India’s financial help to revive the Fijian economy, particularly its infrastructure and rural development.
India has offered a $ 54 million credit line to Fiji to restructure its sugar industry.
The four Delhi government agencies running the liquor stores are Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation, Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation, Delhi Consumer’s Cooperative Wholesale Store, and Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd.
According to the LG office, the government in 2015 rejected an excise department proposal to reduce the number of dry days from 23 to three days in a year in line with nearby states which observed only three dry days in a year.
Haryana government's efforts to rejuvenate dried-up rivers bore fruit with the rejuvenation of the Rakshi river after almost 25 years. The recuperation of the 32-km-long stretch of the river has brought a smile to thousands of farmers of 50 villages of Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra and Karnal districts as the flow of water will help recharge the groundwater in these villages.
While Safdarjung recorded only 2.7mm of rain through the day, moderate rainfall was recorded in south-west Delhi, with Palam receiving 33.3mm of rainfall till 5.30 pm, followed by 22.0mm at Ayanagar.
Urging the Union government to promote natural farming in the country, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday informed the NITI Aayog that the Haryana government has been taking steps to encourage farmers to switch from chemical farming to natural farming. The chief minister said that the state government is completely focused on promoting natural farming in the state and that farmers should also be encouraged for the same.