India

Indian media: Political divide

The JDU's Nitish Kumar has been reportedly upset over the BJP's poll strategy
Image caption The JDU's Nitish Kumar has been reportedly upset over the BJP's poll strategy

Media in India are discussing the split in the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

The Janata Dal United (JDU) withdrew from the NDA on Sunday after reported differences over controversial politician Narendra Modi's appointment as the BJP's poll campaign head for the general elections due next year.

"Nitish Kumar (JDU leader) divorces NDA, changes relationship status to 'available'," reads the front-page headline in the Hindustan Times, while The Times of India says "JD(U) ends 17-yr-old marriage with Bharatiya Janata Party".

Newspapers, including the Asian Age and The Indian Express, feel the division in the NDA may lead to new political calculations.

Meanwhile, newspapers are highlighting the importance of the monsoon rains in India despite the deaths and destruction caused by them in the north of the country.

The papers feel the monsoon means much more to India than an annual meteorological activity.

Heavy showers drenched much of north India on Sunday, announcing the arrival of the rains 13 days earlier than expected, reports say.

While farmers eagerly await the annual rains for irrigation, people in cities look forward to the showers for some relief from the searing heat that usually precedes the wet season.

"The early rains spell good news on the economic front since two-thirds of India depends on farm income and 60% of farmed land has no irrigation," says the Hindustan Times.

The Economic Times says "the monsoon season is making its primary calls across the country - a welcome respite from the summer heat and grime" and also from power cuts.

Newspapers are also highlighting the historic connection between the monsoon and music.

Malhar Rang, a concert devoted to the oldest and one of the most melodious monsoon-inspired ragas of Hindustani (Indian) classical music, will take place in Mumbai on 21 June to celebrate the rains, reports the DNA newspaper.

But not all is well when it rains. Some regions are witnessing water logging, landslides and heavy traffic in cities, reports say.

"Unprecedented" rains on Sunday flooded parts of the domestic and international airports in Delhi, reports The Indian Express.

Despite the problems, the season is drawing visitors from far and wide. Arab tourists are escaping the heat of Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the southern state of Kerala, reports The Hindu.

British-era factory 'in ruins'

In some news related to the British era, the first East India Company factory set up in the western city of Surat in 1613 is now in ruins, reports The Times of India.

Gujarat state officials, however, are trying to rebuild the factory. "We are trying to fix this. We've found out 150-year-old maps of the place and are trying to restore the fort scientifically," the paper quotes government official MK Das as saying.

Moving on to Delhi, the police will receive lessons on the capital's roads and alternative names of areas to help them handle calls to distress helpline number 100 in a better way, the Hindustan Times reports.

Meanwhile, a UN report says about 40% of the world's child marriages take place in India, reports the Daily Pioneer, adding that the government is taking serious steps, including appointing inspectors in every state, to stop the practice.

But love knows no age, as an elderly couple in the western city of Nagpur discovered.

Through Jyeshthanche Live-In Relationship Sanyojak Mandal, an NGO that helps single elderly citizens find company, 73-year-old Sitaram and 63-year-old Jyoti met and decided to settle down together, reports The Indian Express.

Their live-in relationship raised some eyebrows in an otherwise conservative society, but the couple went ahead and got married on Sunday, the paper adds.

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