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Verdict day: Four-one for BJP, including prize state UP; AAP sweeps Punjab

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The BJP was also ahead in Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa, according to trends and results on the Election Commission website

LIVE Election Result: Election Results 2022 LIVE Updates: BJP nets 4,  including UP; AAP sweeps Punjab - The Economic Times

The  raced towards a second straight win in politically crucial Uttar Pradesh and dominated the score chart in three other states while the Aam Aadmi Party announced its national presence with a landslide victory in Punjab, its triumph redrawing India's political map and diminishing the  even further.

As votes were counted on Thursday for  to five states held over February and March, the possible four-one score for India's ruling party underscoring its political prowess. The  was also ahead in Uttarakhand,  and Goa, according to trends and results on the Election Commission website.

The Congress' epitaph was written on the electoral battlefield. The party, now in power only in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, an all-time low, lost Punjab and was ahead in only two seats in Uttar Pradesh with a vote share of just 2.3 per cent -- notwithstanding the high-decibel campaign by the Gandhi siblings Rahul and Priyanka.

But all eyes were on key electoral battleground Uttar Pradesh where the Yogi Adityanath-led government was pitching for a second consecutive term in power.

In trends and results available for the 403 seats, the ruling party was ahead in 250 seats, short of its earlier count of 312 but comfortably over the halfway mark in polls that come a year after the devastating second Covid wave. This will be the first time in over three decades that a party will get re-elected for a second term in the state.

The Samajwadi Party, which made a vigorous bid for power with its leader Akhilesh Yadav attracting huge crowds at campaign rallies, was trailing with leads in 120 seats, a significant jump from the 47 last time. Enough to make it a vocal opposition but far removed from power even with the support of its allies, the RLD and the SBSP, which were ahead in 10 and four seats, respectively, analysts pointed out.

Adding to the saffron party's tally,  ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) was ahead in 12 seats. The BSP, which barely made a campaign splash, was leading in two seats with a vote share of 12.7 per cent.

The BJP was projected to have a vote share of 41.9 per cent and the SP 31.8 per cent in the prize state, which sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha and saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah among others campaigning intensively.

Applauding their party's win, BJP leaders, including Kailash Vijayvargiya and Sudhanshu Trivedi, said people have expressed their faith in the policies ushered in by Modi. Many of their party colleagues simply tweeted "Jai Shri Ram" to hail the trends.

 2022, seen as a pointer to general  two years away, were also the AAP's stepping stone out of Delhi. According to trends and results, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party was poised to win 92 of the 117 seats in Punjab, a three-fourths majority.

Incumbent  was a distant second with leads in 18 seats, preparing to cede power to a party that had so far only ruled Delhi. The Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP lagged further behind with three and two respectively.

"First this revolution happened in Delhi, then in Punjab and it will now happen all over country," Kejriwal said at the party headquarters in Delhi.

"In the coming days,  will become a national force...the party will emerge as the national and natural replacement of Congress," party leader Raghav Chadha added while addressing workers at a rented accommodation of its chief ministerial candidate Bhagwant Mann in Sangrur.

The strong  wave in Punjab saw many bigwigs trailing and losing -- including SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and Congress' Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi from both the seats he contested, Chamkaur Sahib and Bhadaur, former chief minister Amarinder Singh who left the  to join hands with the BJP and Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu.

The trends reflected in the vote share too with the  at 42 per cent and the Congress at 22.9 per cent.

In the 2017 assembly polls in Punjab, the Congress had ended the SAD-BJP combine's run by bagging 77 seats out of the total 117-assembly segments in the state.

The AAP had managed to get 20 seats, while the SAD-BJP had won 18 seats.

"Humbly accept the people's verdict. Best wishes to those who have won the mandate. My gratitude to all Congress workers and volunteers for their hard work and dedication. We will learn from this and keep working for the interests of the people of India," former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter

As the vote counting proceeded swiftly, BJP was in a dominant position in the other states too.

In the coastal state of Goa, the ruling party, set to score a hat-trick, was poised to win 20 of the 40 seats, just one short of the magic mark, while its nearest rival Congress was at 11. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party was ahead in three seats and AAP in two. The Goa Forward Party was poised to nab one seat, while independents were ahead in three seats.

The picture in Uttarakhand was decisive. In leads and trends available for all 70 seats, the BJP was ahead in 48 and the Congress in 18, a huge gulf in a state where the 'grand old party' hoped to make an electoral dent.

Among the prominent candidates trailing in the hill state were Congress veteran Harish Rawat in Lalkuan. Interestingly, BJP's Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami was also trailing in Khatima.

Counting in the northeastern state of  was slower. In trends and results available for 46 of 60 seats, the BJP was ahead in 22 and the Congress in three. The National People's Party had leads in six seats and the Naga People's Front in five.

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Women Are Getting More Into Investing

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Women in India play a number of roles throughout their lives, including that of daughter, mother, wife, sister, and many others.

warren buffett: Women possess all qualities required for success in  investing: What investors can learn from them - The Economic Times

 Simultaneously, women are defying prejudices to achieve their goals, realise their aspirations, and carry family duties in the same way that men do. They can be found in every field, including politics, medicine, athletics, law, and business.

Women, on the other hand, are prudent, sensible, and conservative when it comes to investing and are not easily swayed by irrational judgments. According to the "Women and Money Power 2022 Study," a financial platform for women, 22% of women are unaware of their investments, while only 13% of those who do invest do it on their own.

Women, on the other hand, are better managers when it comes to handling hard-earned money, according to an old adage. A significant number of fund managers in India's mutual fund industry are women now.

Impact of Covid-19

Women were encouraged to participate in various investments, such as equities markets, mutual funds, fixed deposits, gold, and PPFs, as a result of the influence of Covid-19 and lockdown, as well as its various constraints.

The younger generation is becoming more interested in stock market investing. In 2019, 19% of women invested, rising to 24% by 2022 and staying relatively constant in 2021.

Financial Objectives

Everyone has financial objectives, so they must be specific, measurable, adaptable, practical, and time-bound. It's critical not to be afraid to seek advice from an investment advisor who can provide you with objective, ethical, and unbiased advice.


If you're a woman reading this, know that you're capable of making your own financial decisions and creating plans for your future. There is no need to rely on anyone else for this.

Indian inflation likely slipped in February but set to rebound soon: Poll

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Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, crude oil prices have skyrocketed - in March alone, they have surged about 35% - which will in turn push up fuel, transport and other related components of inflation this month.Indian inflation likely slipped in February but set to rebound soon: Poll

Indian retail inflation likely slipped marginally in February, thanks to lower food prices, according to economists in a Reuters poll who still warned that surging oil prices will push inflation much higher in the coming months.

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, crude oil prices have skyrocketed - in March alone, they have surged about 35% - which will in turn push up fuel, transport and other related components of inflation this month.

Inflation, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI), likely slipped to 5.93% in February on an annual basis, from 6.01% in January, the March 3-9 poll of 36 economists predicted.

Forecasts for the data, due for release on March 14 around 1200 GMT, ranged between 5.70% and 6.40%. Over one-quarter of respondents expected inflation to have remained above the RBI's 6.0% upper threshold.

"I'm expecting the headline moderation in February to be led primarily by the food and beverages component, where adjusted monthly gains have softened from their recent peaks," said Miguel Chanco, chief emerging Asia economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

"Storm clouds have been brewing for a while...the best way to describe the inflation numbers from around Q2 onwards is that when it rains, it pours."

Petrol prices at fuel stations, where Indians will feel the effect from higher crude oil prices most acutely, have barely moved but are overdue a rise in coming weeks.

"Sharp increase in prices post the announcement of election results and its pass-through to transportation costs would push inflation higher," said Kunal Kundu, India economist at Societe Generale, referring to elections across five Indian states over the past month including the most populous one, Uttar Pradesh.

Asia's third-largest economy expanded 5.4% in the October-December quarter, slower than the 6.0% predicted by economists in a separate Reuters poll.

Focusing on growth, not inflation, the Reserve Bank of India has held its interest rates steady at record lows for nearly two years but is due to increase borrowing costs next quarter.[ECILT/IN]

The latest poll also showed industrial output likely expanded 1.5% in January from a year ago, compared with 0.4% in December.

The unravelling of Ashneer Grover: How a startup king lost his lustre

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Showdown between co-founder of BharatPe and his colleagues comes at the height of a boom for India's startup scene.

Ashneer Grover, co-founder and MD, BharatPe

Last week, the drama reached a tentative conclusion: Grover resigned from the startup. In a statement,  said it “reserves all rights to take further legal action against him and his family.” His presence was removed from the website.

Grover said the accusations against him, including that he stole company money to fund an extravagant lifestyle, stem from “personal hatred and low thinking.” In a statement provided to Bloomberg, he added: “The only thing lavish about me is my dreams and ability to achieve them against all odds through hard work and enterprise.”

The tense showdown between Grover and his colleagues comes at the height, or perhaps the beginning of the fall, of a boom for India’s startup scene. During the past few years, hard-charging entrepreneurs explored untapped corners of the market, pushing into e-commerce, online tutoring and digital health services. Investors largely looked beyond boorish behavior or personnel conflicts, fixated on record-setting initial public offerings and a surge of foreign money funneled to India after China erected walls around its economy.

This account of the drama at  is based on interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees, as well as other people close to the company. It’s a case study in how India’s business culture is changing as scores of promising startups vie for legitimacy -- and riches -- in one of the most promising markets in the world.

Until just a few weeks ago,  was lionized in the pantheon of India’s up-and-coming . Grover shepherded the New Delhi-based firm through successful fundraising rounds from investors including Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global Management, Ribbit Capital, Coatue Management and Beenext. After three years in business, BharatPe’s valuation has reached nearly $3 billion.

The tech unicorn found success in digital payments, going toe-to-toe with older rivals such as Paytm and the Walmart Inc.-owned PhonePe. Grover was the driver of growth, a smooth talker who could help persuade Bollywood stars like Salman Khan to endorse the brand. He was also a master marketer, making public appearances in snazzy jackets and landing zingers on fresh-faced entrepreneurs as a “shark” investor on the Indian edition of Shark Tank.

Now, Grover’s influence appears to have waned. His wife, Madhuri, a key executive with the title “Head of Controls,” has left BharatPe. Following weeks of mudslinging, Grover has gone quiet beyond his short statement after the board announced the ouster last week.

Grover declined to comment further. Madhuri Grover did not respond to interview requests. Sequoia, Tiger Global, Beenext and Coatue declined to comment. Ribbit did not return a request for comment.

A Fundraising Whiz

BharatPe was founded in 2018 by Shashvat Nakrani, a drop-out of the Indian Institute of Technology New Delhi, one of the country’s most prestigious schools.

After teaming up with Bhavik Koladiya, a commercial pilot, the duo canvassed small businesses to understand problems with digital payments in India. A few months into the work, they asked Grover to join as a co-founder.

The men zeroed-in on a lucrative business model harnessing merchants’ transaction data and underwriting loans to shop owners at the click of a button. BharatPe deducted loan dues daily at 2% monthly interest.

Grover, a former investment banker, was an indispensable partner on the fundraising front, helping to secure $2 million from Sequoia and Beenext almost immediately. “He knew exactly what investors wanted,” said an early employee of BharatPe. “He knew how to deliver.”

Grover’s wife, Madhuri, who has a background in fashion design, also molded the business, managing everything from hiring to marketing expenses. Within a matter of months, the husband-and-wife team had entrenched themselves so firmly in BharatPe that Nakrani retreated to the edges of daily operations, one executive said.

BharatPe soon upped the stakes. Grover raised hundreds of millions of dollars in rapid succession and locked in marquee investors. By mid-2021, when the company’s valuation hit $2.85 billion, several high-profile C-level executives were already on board, including Suhail Sameer, who reported to Grover as group president and was later elevated to chief executive.

In September 2021, BharatPe recorded around 140 million monthly transactions and had already lent 25 billion rupees through its partners. Over 7.5 million merchants used the platform.

“I’m hyper-paranoid,” Grover said in a September interview with Bloomberg, long before the company’s public meltdown. “I’m always thinking, ‘How do I ring-fence my business from competitors? Which new products will bring more growth?’”

Piles of complaints

But as BharatPe grew, signs of trouble began to emerge and spill into view of its investors.

Problems started to crop up in 2020, according to the current and former employees. At that time, India’s first wave of the coronavirus was ravaging the economy, shutting businesses and forcing the nation’s 1.3 billion people inside.

BharatPe’s office stayed open, along with other tech startups providing essential services such as grocery and medical deliveries. One veteran female executive who joined the startup that year said she was shocked that mask-wearing wasn’t mandatory. Only a handful of the company’s 70 or so employees wore them. Grover chided her for making Covid an issue and influencing staff, the executive said in an interview, asking not to be named for fear of retribution.

Just a few weeks into the job, her employment was abruptly terminated, she said. A senior leader called her a “diversity hire,” the executive said, and another attributed the decision to her “emotional baggage.”

The executive asked BharatPe’s investors for a fair hearing, writing to Sequoia, Ribbit and Beenext. Sequoia’s lawyers said they weren’t involved in day-to-day operations and had asked the startup to address her concerns. In response to questions from Bloomberg, BharatPe said “corrective actions were taken based on the complaints received from the employee. We cannot divulge more details due to confidentiality.”

Madhuri Grover was another source of frustration for senior executives, according to more than 10 current and former employees. Staff said she threatened a colleague with a salary deduction for making printouts at work and criticized people for the amount of coffee consumed in the office. According to members of the marketing team, Madhuri raised queries over relatively small things, like the price of a television or motorcycle intended as gifts for a merchant promotion.

Nakrani and Sameer met with Grover to speak about his wife’s management style, which some employees perceived as meddling. They asked Grover to hire an experienced chief financial officer, but he rejected candidate after candidate, one person said. The role is still vacant.

Office frugality clashed with the couple’s apparently glitzy lifestyle, rubbing some employees the wrong way. They upgraded their modest home for a rented penthouse and renovated another luxury property. Grover purchased a Porsche. He told multiple people at the company he spent $130,000 on a dining room table, according to the employees.

Meanwhile, as the startup expanded, staff said Grover pushed them relentlessly. The sales team met lofty targets by foisting loans on merchants who didn’t want credit, the employees said. BharatPe’s customer support and collections staff were barraged by complaints from small business owners.

“If you expect that someone will create a $6 billion dollar business in less than four years and want everything to be perfect, including culture, sorry just not going to happen,” Grover said in a February interview with Moneycontrol, an Indian publication. “Fast growth will come at some cost, no?”

An unraveling

By January, Grover’s world had started to crumble.

The audio clip that had been posted on Twitter began to go viral among the country’s tech community. In it, a person who sounds like Grover berates a Kotak Bank employee for failing to arrange funds to buy IPO shares of Nykaa, an Indian beauty supply company that nearly doubled in value after its listing. The clip is peppered with Hindi insults, while the bank employee asks largely polite questions. Grover denied on Twitter that the voice was his. That tweet was later deleted.

Generally speaking, “once in a while, the wild streak could land the founder in extreme territory,” said Krishnan Ganesh, who has invested in dozens of startups, including online grocer Bigbasket, which was recently acquired by the Tata Group.

Then, according to colleagues, Grover’s behavior took another bizarre turn. He provided a dossier to the board and Bloomberg linking Sameer, the chief executive, with colorful claims of misconduct. BharatPe declined to address these accusations. Sameer wasn’t made available to comment.

Investors appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers and Alvarez & Marsal to investigate Grover’s management of money. In early March, BharatPe’s board released a statement accusing Grover, his family and relatives of creating fake vendors to siphon away funds and abusing expense accounts “in order to enrich themselves and fund their lavish lifestyles.”

“I am appalled at the personal nature of the company’s statement, but not surprised,” Grover wrote in the statement to Bloomberg, adding that his wealth was derived in part by $12 million of shares he sold during various funding rounds.

Across India, the public unraveling has captivated investors. Many see the saga as a cautionary tale of what happens when a talented but erratic leader pursues profits at any cost. Still, Grover has taken the hits in stride.

“Founder is a guy who has the spine to raise money from someone and tell them I’m not here to dance to your tunes,” he wrote on LinkedIn last month. Hundreds of his followers liked the post and applauded its bravado.

Fellow startup founders in India, however, weren’t so generous.

“No offence boss, but you seem to have totally lost the plot,” replied Shantanu Deshpande, the founder and chief executive of Bombay Shaving Company, a startup selling grooming products.

Article Source:- Business Standard

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