News / Asia

    Key State Victory Boosts India’s Ruling Congress Party

    School children arrive to watch the proceedings of Indian parliament in New Delhi, December 7, 2012.
    School children arrive to watch the proceedings of Indian parliament in New Delhi, December 7, 2012.
    Anjana Pasricha
    India’s ruling Congress Party has won a key regional election, giving it a much needed boost as it prepares for national elections next year.  An opposition onslaught on the ruling Congress-led government on corruption charges has led to parliament closing three days ahead of schedule.      

    The Congress Party’s convincing victory Sunday in Karnataka came as no surprise - the five-year rule of the ousted Bharatiya Janata Party had been marred by corruption scandals and accusations of poor governance.

    A political analyst with the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, Manoj Joshi, says the BJP fell victim to the very issue that put the Congress-led federal government on the mat.

    "The BJP government - while nationally they were attacking the Congress for corruption - found that in Karnataka, the boot was on the other foot," said Joshi.

    The image of the BJP, the main opposition party in New Delhi, was tarnished in Karnataka by a $3-billion mining scam in which the state government was accused of allowing illegal iron mining.

    Karnataka is home to India’s information technology hub, Bangalore, and the only southern state where the BJP was in power.  Its defeat is seen as a significant setback in its bid to wrest control of the federal government in national elections next year.    

    BJP leaders admitted people were angered by poor governance. 

    "If you stop governing, people will vote you out.  The reality is what you are seeing on the ground," said Jaswant Singh, a top opposition leader.

    Brief reprieve

    The victory gave a brief reprieve to the Congress-led government in New Delhi, which has faced massive opposition protests for a series of corruption scams - from awarding coal-field licenses to mobile-phone spectrum.

    But that boost is likely to be short lived.  The election also showed that there is deep public anger about graft and voters will demand accountability as India heads for national elections next year.

    Corruption has been in the headlines for nearly four years now and the brunt of the charges have been borne by the ruling Congress party. 

    The latest corruption charges the government is battling involve two top ministers. A nephew of the railway minister, Pawan Kumar Bansal, has been accused of accepting a bribe from a railway official wanting a better post, while the law minister, Ashwani Kumar, is accused of interfering in a probe into the issue of coal licenses. The supreme court has censured the government for its interference.  

    Following the election result in Karnataka, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said corruption is a big issue for the country and needs to be addressed.

    Congress party vulnerable

    Political analyst Joshi says the Congress party continues to be extremely vulnerable, not only on charges of corruption, but also their apparent inability to address it.

    "The Congress is stuck in a morass, generally. They are battling with this whole issue of two ministers… this seems to be the continuing story. They seem to lack decisiveness.  It’s a sense of apathy.” said Joshi.

    On Wednesday, parliament closed three days early, following chaotic scenes as opposition parties refused to let it function, demanding the resignation of two ministers.

    That means two landmark bills that were to be passed this session will not become law.  The government had proposed to provide heavily subsidized food to 75 percent of the people and to give fairer compensation to farmers for land acquired for industries.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.