Though only a few days are left for the general elections to be notified, Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Congress and the allies have not been able to finalise the seat distribution in Bihar. According to sources, the RJD has made a final offer of 11 Lok Sabha seats to the Congress, which in turn has been demanding 14 seats. The Congress fought on 12 seats during the 2014 election but managed to win only two. Of the 40 seats in Bihar, four are with the RJD.The RJD is driving a hard bargain and senior RJD leaders said they would want to be consulted on the candidates the Congress decides to field. More than the number of seats, the choice of seats offered to the Congress is creating a problem, a senior Congress leader said. ‘Cordial ties’ The RJD claims that the seat distribution is in the final stages and will be finalised in 48 hours. But the Congress is not sounding optimistic. Congress general secretary in-charge Shakti Sinh Gohil told The Hindu that the talks were still on and a decision can be expected only after the Congress Working Committee meeting in Ahmedabad to be held on March 12. “We have cordial and good relations and at an appropriate time, we will announce,” Mr. Gohil said.The Congress is keen to give tickets to outsiders, including BJP rebels Kirti Azad and Shatrughan Sinha. It is equally eager to take leaders such as Pappu Yadav and Anant Singh on board, who have been at odds with the RJD for a long time.The RJD is also not keen to concede seats to the CPI(M) or the CPI claiming that in Bihar, the CPI(ML) is the only Left party worth giving space to. Equally, there is the problem of accommodating other allies like Jitan Ram Manjhi of the Hindustan Awam Morcha, former Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha and Jan Loktantrik Party chief Sharad Yadav. Sources said Mr. Kushwaha may get three seats but Mr. Manjhi may get only the Gaya Lok Sabha constituency and Sharad Yadav too may get only one seat. The delay in seat allocation in the Opposition camp has given the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) reason to cheer. JD (U) spokesperson K.C. Tyagi said the prolonged negotiations clearly indicated that the “mahagatbandhan” was not driven by principles. “The Congress’s big-brother attitude is creating problems for them and their allies everywhere. They have always had the habit of not accept ground realities. It was Nitish Kumar who gave the Congress 40 seats to contest when they were down to four in the Bihar Assembly. This mahagatbandhan is not based on principles so obviously they will find it tough to come together,” Mr. Tyagi said.
Veteran South African player Hashim Amla feels that the IPL has become a lot more accommodating for ‘orthodox’ batsmen like him and says that one can score big runs in T20 format with proper cricketing shots.Kings XI Punjab opener Amla hit a brilliant 104 off just 60 balls, which was studded with five sixes and eight fours, though for a losing cause as his side lost to Gujarat Lions by six wickets on Sunday.As his wont, Amla, a Test-mould player, mostly stuck to traditional cricketing shots to score the ton. This was his second century for KXIP this season, the previous one being against Mumbai Indians.When told that many think T20 cricket is all about hitting fours and sixes almost every ball, Amla said the format forced every player to get a way out to “maximise each ball”.”Everybody who plays T20 cricket has to find a way of how to maximise each ball they faces. You will find many examples of better cricketers who have been successful in T20 cricket without necessarily looking agricultural, as they say. They have played good cricketing shots and managed to get runs,” Amla said at the post-match press conference.”So, I think over the ten years of IPL and T20 cricket around the world, I know it comes up every time someone who has got his runs who is not known or is not a massive six hitter. But this has been happening for many years now. I think guys are becoming a lot more accommodating for players like that,” Amla said.advertisement”Obviously, it is very disappointing to lose, target of 190 was a pretty decent score. But you’ve got to give credit to Gujarat, in the way they came out and they played so positively and managed to kind of negate whatever advantage we had earlier on,” Amla said.KXIP were also sloppy in their fielding, giving two lives to Dwayne Smith, who hit a 39-ball 74 to help Gujarat Lions win the match, but Amla said dropped chances were part of the game.”Dropped catches are part of game, it’s going to happen now and then. Before this game, we have done exceptionally well on the field and had great fielding efforts throughout the campaign. But this is one game when we haven’t been at our best and that happens.”Guys who drop catches, you know how brilliant fielders they are, so it’s only natural that they are allowed to drop couple here and there. But I said it’s part of the game.Unfortunately in this game, it (the result) didn’t go in our favour,” he said.Asked about his side’s inconsistency, Amla said, “We know any team that is going to be successful has to be consistent.I like to think that our bowlers have done exceptional job at times, but you’ve got to get credit to Gujarat. Defending here in Mohali is very difficult, it’s a big field, the wicket was playing pretty good. I will not be too critical about our bowling unit, I like to acknowledge Gujarat’s fine batting display to get to a good score.””We were not at our best against Gujarat. It’s just about finding consistency. We are still in the competition, which is a wonderful thing. If we manage to win the remaining of our games, cause some upsets here and there, then we get to reach the final four,” Amla said, exuding hope that KXIP can still make it to the play-offs.KXIP’s upcoming match will be against Kolkata Knight Riders. KKR openers Sunil Narine (54 of 17 balls) and Chris Lynn (50 from 22 balls) destroyed the Royal Challengers Bangalore bowling attack to seal their eighth win from 12 matches.Asked how would rate KKR, Amla said, “We watched that innings in the change room before we went out to play. It was great to see those guys bat like that. Every ball seemed like either four or a six, which is quite entertaining. In T20 cricket, that’s what happens. There are certain things when you play attacking cricket, you end up with some brilliant performances like these two guys (Narine and Lynn)”.
London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued an ultimatum to the European Union over what he has branded an “anti-democratic” Irish border backstop, which must be scrapped to negotiate a new deal before the October 31 Brexit deadline. In a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk on Monday night, Johnson reiterated his “highest priority” was to achieve an agreement to avert a chaotic no-deal exit from the 28-nation economic bloc, but not with any kind of backstop designed to avert a post-Brexit hard border between EU member-country Ireland and British region Northern Ireland. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”The changes we seek relate primarily to the backstop. The problems with the backstop run much deeper than the simple political reality that it has three times been rejected by the House of Commons,” writes the prime minister in his letter. “The truth is that it is simply unviable it is anti-democratic and inconsistent with the sovereignty of the UK as a state,” he notes. Johnson, who has been a vehement critic of the clause in the withdrawal agreement negotiated by his predecessor Theresa May, told Tusk that it locked the UK, potentially indefinitely, into an international treaty which will bind Britain into a customs union. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls”It is inconsistent with the UK’s desired final destination for a sustainable long-term relationship with the EU. When the UK leaves the EU and after any transition period, we will leave the single market and the customs union,” Johnson said. By requiring continued membership of the customs union and applying many single market rules in Northern Ireland, it presents the whole of the UK with the choice of remaining in a customs union and aligned with those rules, or of seeing Northern Ireland gradually detached from the UK economy across a very broad ranges of areas. Both of those outcomes are unacceptable to the British government, stresses Johnson’s four-page letter. The communication was sent soon after another conversation between the British Prime Minister and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar. The Indian-origin Irish Taoiseach, as the Prime Minsiter is referred to in Ireland, has been categorical in his stance in favour of a backstop to ensure the island of Ireland can function under the terms of the Belfast Agreement dating back to the 1990s when the ‘Troubles’ in the disputed region culminated in a shaky peace process. “The Taoiseach reiterated the EU27 position that the Withdrawal Agreement cannot be reopened, and emphasised the importance of the legally operable guarantee to ensure no hard border and continued free trade on the island of Ireland,” Downing Street said in reference to the telephone conversation between the two leaders on Monday evening. “The Prime Minister [Johnson] made clear that the Common Travel Area, which long predates the UK and Ireland joining the EU, would not be affected by the ending of freedom of movement after Brexit,” it said. Johnson has called for “flexible and creative solutions” and “alternative arrangements” based on technology to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland and wants the backstop to be replaced with a commitment to put in place such arrangements as far as possible before the end of the Brexit transition period currently the end of 2020 under Theresa May’s deal. The EU, which did not immediately react to Johnson’s letter, has been firm in its position that the withdrawal agreement struck with his predecessor was not up for reopening and that any negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU must be based on the premise of the legally binding text of that pact. That text includes the controversial backstop, which had ultimately cost May her job as Prime Minister after facing a bruising three-time defeat in the UK Parliament. This week, Johnson is on a Brexit blitz as he is set to travel to Germany on Wednesday for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel and then to Paris on Thursday for discussions with President Emmanuel Macron the two heavyweight politicians of the EU. Meanwhile, the UK Opposition Labour Party is demanding that the government publish all documents related to the real impact of a no-deal Brexit, following stark warnings of medicine and food shortages in a leaked report over the weekend. While the Johnson-led government has termed the warnings outdated as it has sped up its preparations for a no-deal exit from the EU by October 31, the Opposition has been demanding a recall of Parliament from its ongoing summer recess to address the Brexit issue.