India

Indian media urge politicians to end Kashmir stalemate

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Asiya Naqash (C) gestures after winning the Hazratbal constituency, in Srinagar on December 23, 2014 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Some 65% of the more than a million eligible voters cast their ballots in Kashmir elections

Papers urge political parties to end the stalemate in Indian-administered Kashmir and form a government.

The state gave a "fractured mandate" on 23 December after a fiercely fought elections. No party crossed the 44-seat mark needed to form a government in the state.

The regional People's Democratic Party (PDP) won 28 seats, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came second with 25 seats.

The two haven't been able to agree on forming a coalition government, and that has led to the state coming under the president's rule.

According to this arrangement, India's federal government would run the state on behalf of the president until fresh elections are held.

But papers feel that the state needs a stable government because it voted in big numbers despite calls for a boycott from separatist leaders.

"What was touted as a triumph of democracy seems to be fast turning into a major disappointment as political parties in Kashmir have not been able to cobble together a government even three weeks after the results were declared," says the Hindustan Times.

The paper adds that "every effort should be made to stitch together a coalition as fast as possible and fulfil the people's mandate".

Echoing similar sentiments, The Times of India says "it would not be prudent for India's most politically sensitive state to remain without a representative government for too long".

The Hindu nationalist BJP made a bold attempt this year to win the polls in the Muslim-majority state, but eventually could not win the required number of seats to form a government on its own.

Some papers feel that the onus is now on the BJP to win the confidence of regional parties like the PDP to bring political stability to the state.

"Mr Modi spoke with justifiable pride about the peaceful election and the high voting percentage, but the democratic process would not be complete until the state gets an elected government committed to its growth and development," says The Hindu in an editorial.


Change in Sri Lanka

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Maithripala Sirisena is Sri Lanka's new president

Moving on to other news, papers continue to discuss the change in leadership in Sri Lanka.

Maithripala Sirisena last week defeated long-time leader Mahinda Rajapaksa to become the island country's new president.

The Times of India says that India should use the change in leadership as an "opportunity to reset bilateral ties".

Relations between India and Sri Lanka have seen several lows and highs in the past few years. India's Tamil parties accuse the Sri Lankan government of committing war crimes during its 2009 operation against the Tamil Tigers.

"It's significant that Mr Sirisena's victory was made possible through support from Tamils and Muslims in addition to a sizeable chunk of the Sinhalese (the majority ethnic group in Sri Lanka) vote. This gives him vital elbow room on the Tamil issue," the paper says.

The paper also suggests that India should make efforts to counter China's growing influence on the island nation.

"Delhi should ensure that India-Sri Lanka ties remain as attractive for Colombo as China-Sri Lanka ties," the paper says.


Ganguly backs Kohli

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Image caption Virat Kohli has replaced MS Dhoni as India's captain

And finally, former Indian captain Sourav Gnaguly says it is "unfair" to compare new Test captain Virat Kohli with his predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Kohli led the Indian team in the final Test against Australia after Dhoni announced his retirement at the end of the third Test. India eventually lost the four-match series 2-0.

"There will be a strong urge to compare Kohli and Dhoni. I don't think the two can be compared and it would be unfair to do so as well," the NDTV website quotes Ganguly as saying.

The former captain added that Kohli had "got all the attributes for leadership".

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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