Indian media: Political parties look for new alliances

Reports say Janata Dal United leader Nitish Kumar is likely end his party's 17-year-old association with the BJP Reports say Janata Dal United leader Nitish Kumar is likely to end his party's 17-year-old association with the BJP

Media in India are focussing on emerging political trends as parties gear up to form new alliances ahead of the general elections due next year.

The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) named controversial politician Narendra Modi as the head of its campaign committee on Sunday in a bid to boost its chances in the elections.

But the decision did not go down well some of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) members, a coalition led by the BJP.

Most newspapers, including the Hindustan Times, The Times of India and The Hindu, are now reporting that the Janata Dal United (JD-U), a key NDA partner, is considering leaving the alliance over Mr Modi's appointment.

The JD(U) says Mr Modi did little to stop anti-Muslim riots in 2002 which left more than 1,000 dead and feels the Gujarat chief minister is not the right person to lead the poll campaign of the NDA's main party. Mr Modi has always denied any role in the riots.

The New Indian Express reports that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is considering forming a new alliance, excluding the BJP and the ruling Congress, with other regional parties.

"It's that time of the electoral season again when politicians' thoughts turn to that predictable pastime - the formation of a third front. And this time is no different," the Hindustan Times says.

Newspapers also feel Mr Advani's resignation from key party posts on Monday, reportedly over Mr Modi's appointment, and his subsequent withdrawal, has hurt the BJP's image.

The Deccan Herald feels Mr Advani's "revolt and withdrawal" has "diminished his stature" and this may affect the party's poll strategy.

"With his poorly enacted resignation drama, BJP veteran LK Advani has hurt his stature," The Tribune, in an editorial, says.

Meanwhile, there is bad news for India's economy as the country's industrial output grew by "a weaker-than-expected" 2% in April, disappointing many in the industry, the Hindustan Times reports.

But, in some good news, global ratings agency Fitch has raised India's investment rating outlook to stable from negative, the paper adds.

Moving on to some tourism-related news, the chief minister of Indian-administered Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, has urged the media to be careful while reporting on the state, saying misreporting affects tourism.

"While filing stories about various happenings, the reporters should take care that these are not going out of the right perception and creating unnecessary speculation in the minds of tourists intending to visit the state," The Tribune quoted him as saying.

'Stop. it's old. stop'

Meanwhile, the humble telegram service seems to have lost its importance "in the age of smart-phones, e-mail and text messages," reports say.

"Once considered the main source of urgent communication in India, the 160-year-old telegraph service will wind up from 15 July due to losses suffered by the government," reports the Business Standard.

Staying with communication, the internet seems to be touching every nook and corner of the country.

One can now buy cows and buffaloes at the click of the mouse, the indiatimes website reports.

"Online retailers in India such as Quikr and OLX say online adverts for pets and animals are getting responses from small towns and remote villages," the website says.

The trend is becoming popular in states such as West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, Assam and Uttar Pradesh, it adds.

And finally, a bride in the eastern state of Orissa refused to get married after finding the groom drunk on the wedding night.

"How can I marry someone so irresponsible? A person who gets drunk on the most important day of my life does not deserve to be my husband," the Hindustan Times quoted 22-year-old Subhadra Mallick as saying.

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