Indian media discuss AAP's national policies

Arvind Kejriwal has promised to put an end to corruption in Delhi
Image caption Arvind Kejriwal has promised to put an end to corruption in Delhi

Media are discussing the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) policies on national issues after one of its leaders urged a referendum on the army's presence in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The AAP, or Common Man's Party, made an impressive debut in the recent Delhi assembly elections and formed a government with support from the Congress party with Arvind Kejriwal as its chief minister.

Mr Kejriwal, a former civil servant, formed the party after playing a crucial role in activist Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement that swept India two years ago.

The AAP has now decided to contest the upcoming general elections, but the controversial statement from one of its leaders has seen the media questioning its policy on national issues.

Prashant Bhushan, a senior AAP leader, on Sunday said that he backed a referendum on the issue of the armed forces' presence in the Kashmir Valley, but recanted after a political furore and his own party distancing itself from the remark.

The First Post website feels that "incidents like these do cast some doubts about the AAP's thought process and ability to provide a long term governance model".

The website, however, adds that it is too early to say that such issues will adversely impact the party's rise.

A report in The Telegraph also highlights the difference of opinion among the top leaders of the AAP.

"Many saw in Mr Bhushan's comments and Mr Kejriwal's disclaimers a sign of the problems faced by leaders of the fledgling AAP in spelling out positions on key national issues," the report says.

The Times Now website says "a party that just 24 hours ago announced its intentions to go national clearly looks blurred on other burning national issues".

The AAP has now issued a statement saying that it will make its stand clear on national issues in the coming days.

Lutyens' Delhi

In foreign affairs, India and Japan have decided to step up their defence cooperation against the backdrop of China's increasing assertiveness, The Times of India says in a report.

Defence Minister AK Antony and his Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera met in Delhi on Monday and agreed on steps "ranging from regular joint combat exercises and military exchanges to cooperation in anti-piracy, maritime security and counter-terrorism", the report says.

Moving on to domestic news, the Supreme Court has said that lawyers do not necessarily have to address judges as "my lord", "your lordship" or "your honour" when "sir" will do just as well, the NDTV website reports.

"We only say: address us respectfully," the court said, while also refusing to accept a plea to ban the "colonial system of addressing judges… and treating the judges on a par with God".

In other news, the government is planning to demolish and rebuild at least 516 bungalows in the prime area known as Lutyens' Delhi, named after the architect Edwin Lutyens who designed New Delhi in the 1920s, The Economic Times reports.

The bungalows, which are reserved for use by ministers and senior officials, will be "rebuilt with modern specifications", the report says.

And finally, 21-year-old Amiya Mallick, a sprinter from the eastern state of Orissa, is all set to travel to Jamaica to train with Olympics legend Usain Bolt's coach Glen Mills, a report in The Indian Express says.

"I will learn how they train and how to get ready before any big competition… I want to do well at the Asian Games next year, I want to break the 20.7 national record in 200 metres which is very tough at the moment," the report quotes Mallick as saying.

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