Popular owner Oneil Hinds (O’Shaun Connection) has hit the ground running at the start of the new season, thanks to four winners including the grey ITALIANO who romped the opening James B. Dawes Memorial Trophy over 1300 metres at Caymanas Park yesterday. Hinds and trainer Neive Graham teamed up for a second winner on the nine-race card when highly fancied PERSIAN BELLE (2-1) made all in the fourth race for $250,000 – $210,000) claimers over 1820 metres, winning by six lengths from PERFECT FLYER (5-2) who chased him relentlessly. The seven-year-old gelding, ITALIANO, running as the 1-4 favourite with former champion Omar Walker again in the saddle, shot past early leader AGAKHAN (2-1) leaving the half mile and breezed home by five lengths from 2-1 chance GOLDEN BULLET in a field of seven $450,000 $400,000 claiming horses. PERSIAN BELLE, on the other hand was ridden by Kerry-Gayle Robinson. Significantly, both horses were claimed, but Hinds was not perturbed. “That ‘s the nature of game, you would like to keep horses when they win and do well for the most part, but there are others out there in the claiming marketplace with an eye for an Italiano or Persian Belle and as the owner, it’s best you lose them as winners,” said Hinds who finished sixth on the list of top owners last year with 18 winners and $81 million in stakes. “I can’t complain about my numbers in 2015, but the plan is to finish higher in the standings this season even though most of my earnings will come through claimers,” added Hinds ,who owns the O&S Tack Room (horse supplies and accessories provider) located on the Caymanas Park compound.
A Raphoe man who was described by a judge as a serial road traffic offender has been disqualified for failing to give a breath sample. Andrew Galbraith(54) of 28 Cathedral Hill, Raphoe pleaded guilty at Letterkenny District Court to drink driving at Cathedral Hill, Raphoe on July, 14th, 2013 and failing to sign an analysis statement at Letterkenny Garda Station on the same date. he also admitted giving a false name and address to gardai on the same date at Glenmaquinn, Convoy.Inspector David Kelly said Galbraith was stopped by gardaí after the report of a suspected drink driver at Glenmaquinn, Convoy. Gardaí who attended the scene observed a white van which was driving very slowly and swaying from side to side.Gardaí spoke to the driver and detected a strong smell of alcohol. He was arrested at 4.30 a.m.The court heard he was later abusive to gardaí at Letterkenny garda station.The court heard that he had previous convictions for driving without insurance and a previous conviction for drink driving.Solicitor Kieran Dillon said his client apologisied for his behaviour.He said the time had been a difficult one for the separated welder who finds being on his own difficult.Galbraith, he said, works in Northern Ireland and abroad and is actively seeking employment.Judge McLoughlin said Galbraith was a serial offender who has no respect for road traffic law. He was fined €650 and disqualified from driving for four years.‘SERIAL ROAD OFFENDER’ BANNED FOR FOUR YEARS was last modified: November 27th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:courtsnews
This week Donegal Daily’s motoring columnist Brian McDaid was out in two versions of the all-new Toyota Corolla both hybrid, a hatchback, and a saloon.In a time where everyone is looking and demanding the smallest carbon footprint, this new Corolla Hybrid may have the biggest shoes to fill.We had the new hatchback and the new saloon out on the road this week, both based on the same platform but geared at very different markets. Advertisement No one likes change especially when something works well and that has been the case with Corollas over the years.The New Toyota Corolla Hybrid Saloon which went on show at Kelly’s in Letterkenny and and Mountcharles and now is available for a test drive. Photo Brian McDaid.The New Toyota Corolla Hybrid Saloon which went on show at Kelly’s in Letterkenny and and Mountcharles and now is available for a test drive. Photo Brian McDaid.I know, I had three of them and racked up big miles on all them and they never gave any bother.Now car buyers are being guided towards low emissions and away from diesel and have to look towards a different type of car.Toyota and the worlds best ever selling car, the humble Corolla, has evolved yet again, this time 53 years on since it was introduced in 1966. Advertisement Now it’s back as a hybrid.If that wasn’t a big enough transition the Saloon is also a replacement for the old Carina or Avensis range which has faded from the Toyota range.Ahead of the gameToyota has been the leaders in the development of hybrid family cars for over twenty years and that development is now at a stage now with the launch of the new Corolla that you could be mistaken for thinking that these new hybrids are not hybrids at all.The new Corolla Saloon, which was my choice, looks like an ordinary car on the road if you didn’t spot the small blue badge on the boot lid. It just looks like a normal four-door family saloon plus the fact that the petrol engine is that quiet now compared to diesel, it’s very hard to tell when you are running on the petrol engine or on the electric motor.The All New Toyota Corolla Hybrid Saloon which has recently gone on sale in Ireland. Photo Brian McDaid.The All New Corolla Hybrid Saloon which we drove this week. Photo Brian McDaid.The New Toyota Corolla Hybrid Saloon which we drive the week. Photo Brian McDaid.After a while behind the wheel, you will realise that this fact doesn’t matter to you because these cars are more efficient at making decisions, so you really don’t have to worry about it.I had the Corolla Sport Hatchback out for a morning and was managing 4.2L/100Km on a long run and that evening.I was stuck in traffic around Letterkenny in Corolla Luna Saloon which was just perfect for the purpose over heavy urban driving and was getting 4.5L/100Km I know these were short term fuel tests but they were good indications of what this 1.8 Petrol/ battery powered car is capable of doing.The hatchback probably drew the most attention which was in white a black roof and beautiful sports rims and had more of a sports theme with red piping around the dash and a nice sportive bucket seat.All information on both cars is displayed on a big screen in the middle of the dash, and again there is very little to tell you that you are in a hybrid when you are driving this car.Town driving in the New Corolla Hybrid returned an average of 4.5l /100km Photo: Brian McDaid.If you want, you can go in and display a visual on where that car is receiving the power from being it battery, engine or both or when you are going downhill it shows the car harvesting power from the road wheels to recharge the battery.The hatchback starts at €27,000 and the saloon prices start around the €30,000 mark.At a launch of the New Corolla Hybrid, a guest who is already driving a Hybrid Yaris described to me over coffee and canapés what it was like to drive these new cars.“Once you sit behind the wheel of one of these hybrid yokes, that’s you f####d.”What I think they were trying to say was how easy to was to drive these new cars which all have automatic gearboxes and the fact that these would spoil you and would never settle for driving a car with a manual gearbox again.And for me, this is the benefit of driving these new hybrid automatic gearboxs, which are silky smooth0-100kms in 7.9 secondsGone are the days of hybrids and automatics only serving the needs of one driver type. Slow, Noisy and sore on fuel they are not.The new two-litre Corolla Hybrid which is on the way soon to Ireland will put many the hot hatches to shame with 0-100kms in 7.9 seconds. and yet will match any diesel on miles per gallon but most importantly it will do it quietly will satisfy the emissions requirements.The All New Corolla Hybrid Hatchback which we tested this week. Photo Brian McDaid.The All New Corolla Hybrid Hatchback which we tested this week. Photo Brian McDaid.A view of the boot on the All new Corolla Saloon Hybrid. Photo Brian McDaid.But only getting out and in behind the wheel of a hybrid will really give you the benefit of how good this new Corolla feels on the road. In the meantime, I want to end on a story from over 40 years ago which gave automatics the brand some still think they are.Automatic assumptionsMy earliest memories of automatic cars was of an Allegro Vanden Plas which belonged to a cook from India who came to Letterkenny to work in the old Centre Spot Cafe at the Market Square, Bal always wore his long white chef coat everywhere he went.He had an infectious personality and all of Letterkenny knew Bal.An Automatic Allegro Vanden Plas like Bal’s. A familiar sight and sound around Letterkenny many years ago.The mustard coloured Vanden Plas had a Rolls Royce Type grill, massive chrome hubcaps, leather seats and a walnut dash and of course its unique sounding three-speed automatic gearbox which meant you could head Bal’s car long before you could see it as he would head up the Church Lane and in the narrow gateway where I worked as a mechanic to Danny Caddye’s Garage.Hello, Mr. Danny was always the joyful greeting that Bal would give as he presented his rare looking family car for another bit of running repair.For you that are wondering what this car from nearly 40 years ago has to do with hybrid motoring of today the answer is absolutely nothing except for the fact it’s an automatic, which is nothing like the automatic gearboxes that come in any hybrid.But automatic cars from yesteryear like Bal’s Allegro stick in people’s mind and drivers of manual gearbox powered cars still think or believe that automatics have never changed but how wrong and out of touch they could be.Happy motoring FolksDD Motoring: Testing out the all-new Toyota Corolla Hybrid Saloon and Hatchback was last modified: March 8th, 2019 by Brian McDaidShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:dd motoringToyota Corolla
Episode 15 of the Play Your Part TV series features Eco Culture Sechaba Foundation in Johannesburg, Calabash Trust in Port Elizabeth and Greenland Landscaping Farm in Limpopo. Here’s how to get involved with these initiatives:Amelia Ratlhankana belongs to Eco Culture Sechaba Foundation, which teaches people to become conservationists. It also does door-to-door education in a variety of subjects, such as illegal dumping, conservation, sewerage and municipal services. (Images: Brand South Africa)Brand South Africa reporterOn episode 15 of Play Your Part, we hear how Eco Culture Sechaba Foundation helped six schools in Johannesburg reach green flag and gold certificate status.The episode, which airs on Saturday, 23 December 2017, is hosted by South African artist Kabelo Mabalane.Here’s more about the guests and how you can get involved with their initiatives:Amelia RatlhankanaRatlhankana is a member of Eco Culture Sechaba Foundation. Its programmes are based on renewable energy (solar geyser and bio-gas), food security (vegetable garden), biodiversity (indigenous gardens and trees), water conservation and water management (recycling system and compost).The team has worked in Cosmo City in Johannesburg since 2011, supporting environmental programmes especially in schools.Contact detailsFacebook: Eco Culture Sechaba FoundationEmail: email@example.comTwitter: @iamAmieBRifqah TifloenRifqah TifloenTifloen is on the Calabash Trust team. The trust is a branch of Calabash Tours, a company that gives tourists an experience of life in townships.The trust works with non-governmental organisations to run food gardens and a feeding scheme in schools. It also hosts various workshops, including a storytelling workshop.Contact detailsFacebook: Calabash TrustWebsite: www.calabashtours.co.zaEmail: firstname.lastname@example.orgAluwani NetshiaAluwani NetshiaArmed with a qualification in agriculture, Netshia started her own landscaping business. Since then, Greenland Landscaping Farm in Limpopo has expanded and now produces food items such as avocados, pear trees and rose geraniums.The business, owned by women, began with two employees and now has a staff of more than 20 people.Contact detailsFacebook: Greenland LandscapingPlay Your Part is broadcast at 18:00 on Saturdays on SABC2.To get involved in playing your part in South Africa:Check out the conversation on Twitter: #GetInvolved; orFind out about initiatives on Play Your Part here.Tell us how you Play Your Part through our social media channels:Follow us on Twitter: @PlayYourPartSA;Follow Brand South Africa on Twitter: @Brand_SA;Like us on Facebook: Official Brand South Africa.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Lee finished with a game-high 20 points to lead UST while Steve Akomo had 15 points, 14 rebounds, and four blocks before fouling out late. Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo View comments Srisaket KOs Gonzalez in fourth to retain WBC title Marvin Lee almost gave UST the victory as he calmly hit a couple of free throws that gave the Growling Tigers a 73-71 lead with 5.3 seconds remaining.“Our objective for this season, exactly, is to generate excitement because the UP community is very passive when it comes to the basketball team,” said Maroons head coach Bo Perasol in Filipino. FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening“And we got to complete that objective and what a way to generate that excitement, especially with that last-second shot. I don’t know how Paul does that but during the huddle he called it, ‘we’re going to win, this shot will go in.’”Desiderio was off the mark all game long, going 1-of-10 from deep before his clutch basket, but he made it when it mattered most. He finished with a team-high 17 points while also grabbing nine boards. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side MOST READ Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LATEST STORIES University of the Philippines guard Paul Desiderio shoots a jumper against University of Santo Tomas in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netPaul Desiderio hit the game-winning triple and University of the Philippines escaped University of Santo Tomas, 74-73, in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena. Desiderio drained the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left as the Fighting Maroons salvaged the victory to start their campaign on an emphatic note.ADVERTISEMENT
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Hon. Horace Dalley, is assuring public sector workers, particularly security groups, that there is no need to take the option of early retirement, in order to secure pension lump sum entitlements.“The reformed pension system, to come on stream in 2016, will preserve the lump sum entitlement. This government is aware and is extremely sensitive to the fact that retirees depend on this lump sum payment to start their new lives in retirement,” Mr. Dalley said.The Minister, who has responsibility for the Public Service, was making his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on July 2.Mr. Dalley explained that with pension reform being one of the major prior actions required by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to secure an agreement, the Government had started “earnestly on this mission, because we know that the present pension arrangement is unsustainable.”He further explained that as part of moving the process along, the work of the Joint Select Committee of Parliament was concluded and a report tabled and debated in the House.However, he noted, as the negotiations with the IMF progressed, and wage talks with public sector unions intensified, Cabinet decided that pension reform could not be implemented at this time, but that the pension reform process continues, with a new implementation target date of April 1, 2016.Contact: Alphea Saunders
Boeing didn’t tell airline pilots about features of a new flight-control system in its 737 MAX that reportedly is a focus of the investigation into last month’s deadly crash in Indonesia, according to pilots who fly the jet in the U.S.Pilots say they were not trained in new features of an anti-stall system in the aircraft that differ from previous models of the popular 737.The automated system is designed to help pilots avoid raising the plane’s nose too high, which can cause the plane to stall. It automatically pushes the nose of the plane down.But if that nose-down command is triggered by faulty sensor readings — as suspected in the Lion Air crash — pilots can struggle to control the plane, which can go into a dive and perhaps crash, according to a Boeing safety bulletin and safety regulators.The bulletin included new details on how to stop a runaway series of events from leading to a crash, pilots say.“It is something we did not have before in any of our training. It wasn’t in our books. American didn’t have it,” said Dennis Tajer, a 737 pilot and spokesman for the pilots union at American Airlines. “Now I have to wonder what else is there?”The president of the pilots union at Southwest Airlines, Jon Weaks, told The Wall Street Journal, “We’re pissed that Boeing didn’t tell the companies, and the pilots didn’t get notice.”The MAX is the newest version of the twin-engine Boeing 737. More than 200 have been delivered to airlines worldwide, including American, Southwest and United.Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King said the new automated manoeuvring system was not included in the operations manual for MAX models. American and United did not immediately respond to requests for comment.Boeing Chairman and CEO Dennis Muilenburg said Tuesday that the Chicago-based company remains confident the MAX is a safe airplane. He said Boeing did not withhold operating details from airlines and flight crews.“We ensure that we provide all of the information that is needed to safely fly our airplanes,” Muilenburg told Fox Business News. He said Boeing bulletins to airlines and pilots “point them back to existing flight procedures” to handle the kind of sensor problem suspected in last month’s crash.The Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency directive last week to airlines, telling them to update cockpit manuals to include instructions for how pilots can adjust flight controls under certain conditions.“The FAA will take further action if findings from the accident investigation warrant,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday.On Oct. 29, Lion Air Flight 610 plunged into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff from Jakarta. All 189 people on board were killed.John Cox, a former 737 pilot and now a safety consultant to airlines, said Boeing’s steps since the crash “have been exactly correct. They have increased pilot awareness, they have reminded them of the proper procedure to disable (the automatic nose-down action), which stops the problem.”Indonesian investigators say that the Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 experienced malfunctions with sensors that indicate the angle of the nose on four recent flights, including the fatal one.The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. and Indonesian investigators are increasingly focusing on the way that the plane’s automated control systems interact. They are also questioning whether the FAA and Boeing adequately analyzed potential hazards if the systems malfunction and send faulty data to the plane’s computers, according to the newspaper.Shares of Boeing Co. ended Tuesday down $7.52, or 2.1 per cent, at $349.51 after falling to $342.04 earlier in the day.___David Koenig can be reached at http://twitter.com/airlinewriterDavid Koenig, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Marijuana has been legal in Canada for a month already but immigration lawyers and cannabis executives say when it comes to getting into the United States, the worst may be yet to come.As Canadians get used to the fact that cannabis is no longer against the law in their country, some experts fear they will forget the perils that past and present marijuana use still poses for those seeking to cross the Canada-U.S. border.Henry Chang, a Toronto-based immigration lawyer, says he’s bracing for a spike in cases of people who end up being banned outright from entering the U.S. for owning up to using pot.Customs and Border Protection officials have made it clear that anyone who admits to using marijuana prior to Oct. 17, the day it became legal in Canada, could be banned from entering the country.And Chang says U.S. law can still keep out anyone deemed to be a drug abuser or addict, or who is diagnosed with a mental disorder with a history of related harmful behaviour — including alcoholism or marijuana use.Investors and employees in the cannabis industry, too, are on shaky ground — one U.S. executive says the risk of being banned for life from crossing the border has become a major preoccupation for his Canadian colleagues.“The bigger issue is people thinking the slate has been wiped clean,” Chang said in an interview.“I think we’re going to start seeing more people getting banned, not because of them smoking marijuana after Oct. 17, but just because they think they have nothing to hide and they blurt out that they smoked marijuana when they were 18. That’s going to happen, because people just don’t understand that it’s still barred.”U.S. border authorities initially warned that any Canadian who gave off a whiff of pot involvement — from using the drug to working or investing in the industry —risked being banned or denied entry. They later softened that stance, saying industry workers would generally be deemed admissible so long as they were travelling for reasons unrelated to their work.Some Canadians travelling to MJBizCon, a major cannabis industry conference last week in Las Vegas, faced additional scrutiny at various border screening points.U.S. border staff at the airport in Toronto steered several attendees through a secondary screening process, said Global Public Affairs’ senior vice president Rod Elliot, who advises various clients in the cannabis industry.Elliot said he was one of roughly 25 people who were selected for additional screening — several of whom missed their flights, including him. He travelled to Las Vegas the next morning without incident.“There has been challenges for people going across the border,” he said. “It’s pretty clear that the border officials are targeting people attending this conference.”Len Saunders, a Canadian immigration lawyer based in Blaine, Wash., told a similar story about a group of would-be attendees and investors who were travelling through the airport in Vancouver. One of them, however, was part of a tour of a Vegas-based production facility in which he’d recently become an investor, arranged by his financial adviser.That investor was unaware of the risks he faced crossing the border, and must now contend with having been banned from entering the U.S., Saunders said.In the U.S., many in the industry — still hamstrung by the fact marijuana remains a controlled substance at the federal level, making it all but impossible to effectively obtain financing and other essential services — are hanging their hopes on bipartisan legislation aimed at ensuring states are protected from U.S. government interference.The bill, unveiled earlier this year by Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Democrat counterpart Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, is beginning to get traction in the wake of a strong Democratic showing in the midterms, said Derek Peterson, chief executive of California-based pot producer Terra Tech Corp.“That, I think, will be the answer to legalization, and we will start to see some attention paid to that” in the new year, Peterson said.“I think (Republicans) now understand that most of the constituents in the U.S. want to have some sort of federal regulation, a tax-and-regulate program, rather than just kind of leaving it with the black market, for all practical purposes.”In the meantime, Chang has some common-sense advice for anyone who might have reason to be anxious entering the U.S.“Don’t dress like a hippie, don’t smell like marijuana, because then the questions get asked,” he said. “If you are asked the question, your only option is to refuse to answer, say it’s irrelevant, you refuse to answer — you’ll get into trouble, they’ll detain you, you’ll get sent back to Canada, but at least you don’t have anything on the record saying you engaged in controlled-substance use.”— With files from Armina Ligaya in Toronto— Follow James McCarten on Twitter @CdnPressStyleJames McCarten, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — A group of current and past Second Cup Ltd. franchisees has filed a lawsuit against the Canadian coffee chain.The suit filed earlier this month in the Superior Court of Quebec alleges the company misused a franchisee-funded advertising reserve and forced franchisees to acquire debt to fund equipment that failed to boost sales — among other things.None of the claims have been proven in court.The suit stems from an original claim by one Second Cup franchisee against the company that eight other franchisees later asked to join.Second Cup filed a document last week arguing the additional plaintiffs should be treated separately from the first claim as “each claim is extremely fact-specific.”The coffee chain and its lawyer declined to comment.A company spokesperson said the company does not comment on active court matters, particularly if they are at a very early stage of the proceedings. Companies in this story: (TSX:SCU)The Canadian Press
Nothing could be more serious than the fact that for the very first time in the history of Independent India, eight former service chiefs, including another around 150 veterans, had to write a letter to the President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces Ram Nath Kovind, urging him to intervene against politicisation of the military in the Lok Sabha elections. Though the letter endorsed by 156 prominent army-men requests the President to take all necessary steps to ‘urgently direct all political parties’ that they must forthwith desist from using the military, military uniforms or symbols and any action by military formations or personnel for political purposes or to further their political agenda, the timing of the letter clearly shows that the army veterans are deeply upset with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to first time voters to dedicate their vote to the memory of Balakot and Pulwama. Modi had even gone to the extent of telling the young voters that if they will push the lotus symbol in EVMs, their vote will directly reach him. Election Commission has also expressed serious displeasure on Modi’s speech in an election rally at Latur in Maharashtra in which he made every effort to take political advantage of the unfortunate incident in Pulwama and a fitting reply by Indian army in Balakot. Prime Minister Modi shows no sign of any hesitation in tearing apart the election code of conduct whenever he gets an opportunity to attract voters. At different times during assembly elections held in the past five years, he never bothered to respect the basic spirit of elections in a democracy. Modi has within him strong defiance for any democratic norm. He always tried to take political advantage of the achievements of Indian Forces after taking over as the Prime Minister. I recall the last day of January 2017, when the then President Pranab Mukherjee mentioned about the surgical strikes in his address to the joint session of Parliament. Modi thumped his desk the loudest and his body language was giving all the credits to this achievement to himself. After September 2017 surgical strikes by the army across the Line of Control, Modi has spared no stone unturned in making such actions the central theme of his government’s stellar achievements. Prime Minister Modi never bothered to consider the negative consequences of using military operations to garner votes for his Bhartiya Janta Party. Even his lieutenants such as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditya Nath have gone to the extent calling the forces as “Modi ki Sena” without giving a thought that it will impinge adversely on the moral and fighting efficiency of those who selflessly serve the nation in uniform. On this, Union Minister (Retd.) Gen. VK Singh also had to criticise his party fellow UP Chief Minister. Modi government had also turned a deaf ear to 21 opposition parties who condemned the blatant politicisation of the armed forces and criticised Modi for not convening an all-party meeting amid the rising Indo-Pak tensions. Modi does not believe in the principle that national security must transcend narrow political considerations. BJP president Amit Shah had announced at the time of the elections in five poll-bound states that two key planks of his party’s electoral campaign would be demonetisation and surgical strike. But then he chose to sideline the demonetisation issue as it was heavily counter-productive and BJP focused on singing the song of surgical strikes. Similar is the situation in ongoing general elections. BJP is busy snatching the credit of various important security operations from the armed forces and scientists and adding it to its political kitty. The real issues of ruined economy, worst job market, inflation, social disharmony and rise of crony capitalism have deliberately been washed away from the national discourse. Some may argue that when Manohar Parrikar is no more amongst us, it is unfair to make any comments on him, but let us not forget how he has been credited with planning and conducting the surgical strikes of 2017, which he also had attributed to his ‘RSS training’. The fact is that Parrikar those days was spending more time in Goa for the preparations of Assembly elections than in strengthening the country’s defence. I have no idea what is there in Modi’s mind for the warriors of Balakot? But you may like to recall that how one-and-a-half year back he could make the surgical strikes the most highly decorated single operation in the history of Indian army by giving 32 awards to personnel who carried out the plan. Soon after that when Parrikar attended a BJP rally at Lucknow, the banners and posters carrying the pictures of director-general of military operations Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, who was the public face of the surgical strikes, surrounded by the photographs of Modi, Shah and Parrikar were seen at the rally venue and all over Lucknow streets. That was a trailer of BJP’s keenness for the politicisation of army. The current general election is watching a full feature film of this mindset. It is not accidental that Modi has demanded the votes from first-time voters as a return gift to him for what he has done in Balakot. He wants them to believe that only he can ensure India’s safety and security. There is a particular pattern from Kargil to Balakot through which BJP tries to fetch votes in its favour. By creating a political hype of army operations, the issues of colossal intelligence failures at strategic and tactical levels are brushed aside. BJP’s determination to extract maximum political mileage from military achievements is dangerous. We sleep safely at night because tough men stand ready all the time, but we spent sleepless nights when we see people weakening the very roots of our democratic polity by misusing army ventures to harvest their political aims. Enlightened leadership is always spiritual—spirituality not as some kind of religious dogma or ideology but as a domain of awareness. Our political system is fast losing the values of goodness and compassion. Unless we have insight and focused attention to change the scenario during this general election, the Indian dream will shatter for decades to come. Therefore, the electorate, especially our first-time voters have much more responsibility this time. Let’s hope for the best! (The author is Editor & CEO of News Views India and a national office bearer of the Congress party. Views expressed are strictly personal)