Narendra Modi News

Goa: On PM Narendra Modi’s birthday, governor to provide financial assistance to 72 tuberculosis and 72 cancer patients
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

PANAJI: To mark the birthday of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Goa governor P S Sreedharan Pillai will be disbursing aid to TB, cancer and dialysis patients in the state. For the Prime Minister's 72nd birthday, Pillai has decided to adopt 72 TB patients for nutritional support as 'Nikshay Mitra' under the Pradhan Mantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan. Financial aid will be provided to 72 cancer patients and 72 dialysis patients. The governor will also be inaugurating a 'gaushala' and 'vamanvruksha', a garden of potted trees, on September 17, Raj Bhavan has announced. The garden will be made up of 72 potted trees. Pillai has announced awards to Goan artists and literary personalities by the Raj Bhavan. Raj Bhavan has said that the governor will complete visits to all the remaining villages of Goa under his 'Goa Sampurna Yatra' by October 31, as per his target of covering 100% of the state's villages. As per the governor's announcement at the PM's last birthday, he provided financial aid to 85 NGOs providing care and shelter to children and elders, as against the target of 71. Financial assistance was provided to 500 dialysis patients, as compared to the aim of providing the aid to 71 such patients. A jackfruit garden has been set up with 71 trees and 70% of the target of Goa Sampurna Yatra to the state's villages has been completed.

Goa: On PM Narendra Modi’s birthday, governor to provide financial assistance to 72 tuberculosis and 72 cancer patients
Modi’s tactics to derail Bharat Jodo Yatra: Cong on ED summons to Shivakumar
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

The Congress on Thursday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over its Karnataka unit chief D K Shivakumar receiving summons from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to appear before it, alleging that this was part of his tactics to derail the Bharat Jodo Yatra.Shivakumar said he has received summons from the ED to appear before it in connection with a money-laundering case. Calling the ED action “harassment”, he questioned the timing of the summons when the Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra was on and when the State Assembly session was underway.In the midst of the #BharatJodoYatra and the assembly session, they have again issued me an ED summon to appear.I am ready to cooperate but the timing of this summon and the harassment I am put through, is coming in the way of discharging my constitutional and political duties.— DK Shivakumar (@DKShivakumar) September 15, 2022“Operation Kichad in Goa yesterday Today ED summons to D K Shivakumar in Karnataka. MoSha getting desperate to derail Bharat Jodo Yatra that has evoked huge public interest and generated so much enthusiasm. But we will not be cowed down. Vendetta politics only strengthens our resolve!” Jairam Ramesh said in a tweet.“This is part of Modi’s tactics to derail Bharat Jodo Yatra. But he will NOT succeed,” he said in another tweet.Shivakumar, who is also an MLA, said he is ready to cooperate, but it is coming in the way of discharging his constitutional and political duties.“In the midst of the Bharat Jodo Yatra and the Assembly session, they have again issued me an ED summon to appear. I am ready to cooperate but the timing of this summon and the harassment I am put through, is coming in the way of discharging my constitutional and political duties,” he tweeted.AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala said seeing the “overwhelming” public support for Congress and “resounding” response to the preparation for the yatra, the Narendra Modi-headed government at the Centre has brought the ED – “the Election Dept of BJP”- to target Shivakumar.“Such cowardly acts will strengthen our resolve to decimate the corrupt Bommai (Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai) government,” he said.The Bharat Jodo Yatra, which entered Kerala on September 10 evening, will traverse through the state covering 450 kilometres, touching seven districts over a period of 19 days before entering Karnataka on October 1.

Modi’s tactics to derail Bharat Jodo Yatra: Cong on ED summons to Shivakumar
Eight of Cong’s 11 Goa MLAs break away, merge with BJP
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

PANAJI: Eight months after they did a run of a temple, a chapel and a mosque taking vows not to defect from Congress and even signing an affidavit pledging their loyalty to the party, eight of the 11 Congress MLAs “merged” the Goa Congress Legislature Party into BJP on Wednesday, taking the saffron party’s strength alone to 28 in the 40-member House. Former CM Digambar Kamat, who led the rebel MLAs along with opposition leader Michael Lobo, said they “spoke to God” before joining BJP and were advised to take an “appropriate decision”. “I am a person who believes in God. I went back to God. I told him that these are the circumstances. What should I do? God told me to take my decision. I am with you,” said Kamat, who returned to BJP after almost 17 years. The eight MLAs form two-thirds of the Congress legislative wing, which meets a provision in the anti-defection law that allows a split in such cases without the members needing to resign and contest elections. The defections take NDA’s majority of 25 (20 BJP MLAs, MGP 2, Independents 3) in the Goa assembly to 33. Congress is left with three MLAs and Goa Forward Party has one. There are two AAP MLAs and one from the Revolutionary Goans Party. The Congress MLAs’ move to join BJP has come at a time when Rahul Gandhi is leading a “Bharat Jodo” yatra. “We have joined BJP to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Pramod Sawant… Congress chhodo, BJP ko jodo (leave Congress, strengthen BJP),” Lobo, a former BJP minister who joined Congress on the eve of the assembly elections, said. Sawant said while Congress was busy with its “Bharat Jodo” yatra, a “Congress chhodo yatra” had begun in Goa. “Many Congress leaders from other states will soon join BJP in the interest of the country and to strengthen Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hands,” Sawant said, adding that Congress MLAs have joined BJP unconditionally, seeking only the development of the state. The sudden turn of events took place after Lobo told Sawant on Tuesday night that in case a merger is taking place, it should be done by Wednesday as he was leaving for Kenya for 4-5 days to visit his business partner’s restaurant. Having burned his hands in July, Lobo was categorical that he and wife Delilah would be at the assembly only if six other MLAs were present. On Wednesday morning, while Lobo was on the way to the airport, Sawant called him and asked him to rush to the assembly to merge the Congress legislative wing with BJP. Lobo turned back and arrived at the assembly with his travel bags. Two months ago, as first reported by TOI, there was an attempt by most of these MLAs to join BJP, but the plan fizzled out after two of them backed out at the last minute. Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar was even stationed in the assembly the entire day on July 11 and an emissary had come from Delhi for the induction. Following this, Congress moved a disqualification petition against Kamat and Lobo, which is still pending. A letter was also submitted to the speaker withdrawing its earlier decision to make Lobo the opposition leader. In the 2022 assembly elections, BJP secured 20 seats. It is supported by two MGP legislators and three Independents. “We had pledged to win 22 seats in 2022, but before the end of 2022, BJP has 28 MLAs,” Sawant said. Goa has a history of defections. In 1970, Goa witnessed its first defection when five United Goans Party MLAs, who were in the opposition, joined MGP after it was reduced to a minority following seven MGP MLAs breaking away from the party. Congress has also suffered huge setbacks earlier, with groups of MLAs changing loyalties and bringing down governments in 1989 and 1999. The latest was in 2019, when 10 MLAs defected to BJP to give stability to the Pramod Sawant-led government. Political analysts said Wednesday’s development would further strengthen BJP for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls but carried no implication for the seven-month-old Pramod Sawant government. Sources said the Congress MLAs appeared to be more interested in joining the saffron party to be part of the governing dispensation. On Wednesday morning, a few hours before the “merger”, the eight Congress MLAs gathered in the chamber of the opposition leader, Michael Lobo, who held a CLP meeting and resolved to merge with BJP. Later, they handed over the letter of merger to the legislature secretary as Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar was out of station. Following the merger, all eight MLAs officially joined BJP at its headquarters in Panaji in the presence of Sawant and BJP state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade. Besides Kamat and Lobo, the other MLAs who joined are Aleixo Sequeira (Nuvem), Rudolf Fernandes (Santa Cruz), Michael’s wife Delilah Lobo (Siolim), Sankalp Amonkar (Mormugao), Kedar Naik (Saligao) and Rajesh Faldessai (Cumbarjua). The three MLAs who remain with Congress are Quepem MLA Altone D Costa, Cuncolim MLA Yuri Alemao and Aldona MLA Carlos Ferreira. All eight who defected to BJP will be flown to Delhi to meet Modi and party chief J P Nadda. Watch Goa: Major blow for Congress as 8 MLAs join BJP in presence of CM Sawant

Eight of Cong’s 11 Goa MLAs break away, merge with BJP
  • Goa: Eight Congress MLAs break oath, merge with BJP
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: Eight months after they did a run of a temple, a chapel and a mosque taking a vow not to defect from Congress and even signing an affidavit pledging their loyalty to the party, eight of the 11 MLAs on Wednesday "merged" the Congress legislative wing into BJP taking the saffron party's strength to 28 in the 40-member House. Former CM Digambar Kamat, who led the rebel MLAs along with opposition leader Michael Lobo, said they "spoke to god" before joining BJP and were advised to take "appropriate decision". "I am a person who believes in God. I went back to God. I told him that these are the circumstances. What should I do? God told me to take my decision. I am with you," said Kamat, who returned to BJP after almost 17 years. The eight MLAs form two-thirds of the Congress legislative wing-a provision in the anti-defection law to facilitate a split without the members needing to resign and contest the polls. The move by Congress MLAs to join BJP has come at a time when Rahul Gandhi is leading a Bharat jodo rally. "We have joined BJP to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Pramod Sawant...Congress chhodo, BJP ko jodo (leave Congress, strengthen BJP)," Lobo, a former BJP minister who joined Congress on the eve of the assembly elections, said. Sawant said while Congress is busy with Bharat jodo yatra, Congress chhodo yatra has begun in Goa. "Many Congress leaders from other states will soon join BJP in the interest of the country and to strengthen Prime Minister Narendra Modi's hands," Sawant said, adding that Congress MLAs have joined BJP unconditionally and only want development of the state. Two months ago, as first reported by TOI, there was an attempt by most of these MLAs to join BJP, but the plan fizzled out after two among them backed out at the last minute. Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar was even stationed in the assembly the entire day on July 11 and an emissary had come from Delhi for the induction. Following this, Congress moved a disqualification petition against Kamat and Lobo, which is still pending. A letter was also submitted to the speaker withdrawing its earlier decision to make Lobo the opposition leader. In the 2022 assembly, BJP secured 20 seats and is supported by two MGP legislators and three independents. “We had pledged to win 22 seats in 2022, but before the end of 2022, BJP has 28 MLAs,” Sawant said. Goa has a history of defections. In 1970, Goa witnessed its first defection when five United Goans Party MLAs, who were in the opposition, joined MGP after it was reduced to a minority following seven MGP MLAs breaking away from the party. Congress has also suffered huge setbacks earlier with groups of MLAs changing loyalties and bringing down governments in 1989 and 1999. The latest was in 2019, when 10 MLAs defected to BJP to give stability to the Pramod Sawant-led government. Political analysts said Wednesday’s development would further strengthen BJP for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls but has no implication on the six-month-old Pramod Sawant government. Sources said more than the local unit of BJP, the Congress MLAs appeared to be more interested in joining the saffron party to be part of the ruling dispensation. On Wednesday morning, a few hours before the “merger”, the eight Congress MLAs gathered in the chamber of the opposition leader, Michael Lobo, who held the CLP meeting and resolved to merge with BJP. Later, they handed over the letter of merger to legislature (secretary) as speaker Ramesh Tawadkar was out of station. Following the merger, all eight MLAs officially joined BJP at its headquarters in Panaji in presence Sawant and BJP state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade. Besides, Kamat and Lobo, the other MLAs who joined are Aleixo Sequeira (Nuvem), Rodolfo Fernandes (Santa Cruz), Michael’s wife Delilah Lobo (Siolim), Sankalp Amonkar (Mormugao), Kedar Naik (Saligao) and Rajesh Faldessai (Cumbarjua). The three MLAs who remained with Congress are Quepem MLA Altone D Costa, Cuncolim MLA Yuri Alemao and Aldona MLA Carlos Ferreira. All newly joined MLAs will be flown to Delhi to meet Modi and BJP national president J P Nadda.

  • Eight Congress legislators who joined BJP betrayed not only Gods but Goans: AAP
  • Times of India

    PANAJI: AAP has termed the joining of Congress leaders with the BJP "a very unholy alliance". "The eight legislators who joined the BJP in pursuit of wealth and power betrayed not only Gods but Goans as well," AAP state president Adv Amit Palekar said. He added that the BJP wants an "opposition-free India" and has been trying any and every method to eliminate opposition. "There have been attempts to bribe AAP leaders in Delhi and Punjab, but BJP has failed miserably," Palekar stated, claiming that AAP is the sole alternative to strongly challenge the BJP. AAP Benaulim MLA Venzy Viegas claimed that the Congress was always on sale and blasted the BJP. Viegas further said, “This time as well, these leaders will fail to provide Goans with basic amenities. The time has come for Goans to realize the opportunistic politics of such politicians”.

Amid BJP’s claims of a wave, AAP tries to create a splash in Gujarat
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

On September 8, while addressing a gathering of beneficiaries of central schemes, BJP state chief C R Paatil took the trouble to calculate and note how the various guarantees announced by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) would cost the public exchequer Rs 41,607 crore annually, thus far overshooting the state’s annual budget. It was at an event in Olpad taluka of Surat district, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi would later speak to beneficiaries of central schemes and would also remember the late Union Textiles Minister Kashiram Rana, with whom he had a bitter fallout.Three days before this, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, while addressing a Parivartan Sankalp rally in Ahmedabad, announced eight guarantees, something that political parties usually do not do until close to the elections.Ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal appears to be redefining the rules of the game.Even as the BJP was talking about the Gujarat model, the sudden ouster of the Vijay Rupani government a year ago, the stripping of key portfolios of two ministers in the new Bhupendra Patel government, the agitations by various government employees for grade pay, and the hooch tragedy which claimed 42 lives, have given fodder to the Opposition to take on the government over its governance claims.Even as Kejriwal promised a Delhi model for Gujarat if AAP won the elections, the Congress has recently begun talking about a ‘Rajasthan model’ in its rallies, having assigned the responsibility of the state elections to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in addition to his former health minister and AICC general secretary Raghu Sharma.Since May, Kejriwal has visited Gujarat at least a dozen times, each time announcing a guarantee and holding a town hall. The AAP has so far announced nine guarantees, and the Congress eight, many of them overlapping — like the 300 units of free electricity and jobs to the unemployed.Veteran BJP leaders will tell you there is no space for a third party in Gujarat and that AAP would only eat into Congress votes, but there are younger leaders in the party who admit, “even if one MLA of AAP wins, it will be bad for us”.The fear is not so much for the upcoming Assembly election as it is for the 2024 general elections, given that this is the home state of the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister. It is not so much for AAP’s numbers as much as it is “for the noise it makes”, says a party leader.Around the time Lieutenant General of Delhi V K Saxena was raising questions on the AAP government’s amended excise policy, Kejriwal was in Gujarat meeting victims of a hooch tragedy in Bhavnagar — the constituency of Education Minister Jitu Vaghani, with whom his deputy Manish Sisodia has had a direct confrontation over the state of schools.With Goa declaring AAP as a state party in August after it won two seats with a vote share of 6.77 per cent, Kejriwal had proclaimed that if one more state recognised it as a state party, AAP would be a national party. In both Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, the party has decided to contest on all seats.A week ago, Kejriwal had taunted the Centre saying the ED raids on Sisodia would lead to a 4 per cent rise in AAP’s vote share in Gujarat and that if he was arrested, it would take the party’s vote share to 6 per cent.In the 2017 elections, AAP had contested only 29 seats in Gujarat, losing deposits on all and ending up with a vote share of just 0.10 per cent, which was far below even the NOTA option, which had a vote share of 1.84 per cent. This time, the AAP has already announced candidates for 39 Assembly seats in Gujarat.Leaders in the Congress and BJP often say that the AAP’s term in Punjab will leave it exposed since governing a full-fledged state — unlike Delhi — is a completely different ball game.However, if the sheer number of ‘Ek mauko Kejriwal ne (One chance to Kejriwal)’ slogans, brazenly painted on the walls across the city and boldly on the pillars of the Metro Project in Ahmedabad, are anything to go by, or if the number of autos with the same slogan and Kejriwal’s poster smiling from its hoods are an indicator, the AAP has certainly kicked up a storm, at least among the middle class and underprivileged sections of Gujarat.Kejriwal’s town hall in Bhavnagar had seen jawans of the Gujarat Industrial Security Force (GISF) come in their uniforms and complain about their low pay grades.The frequent clashes between AAP and BJP workers, especially in Surat, also point to a nervousness in the BJP camp since this the bastion of its leader C R Paatil, who is not only an MP from Surat but the party’s state chief, whom Prime Minister Narendra Modi is known to trust.Paatil, who had in an interview to The Indian Express soon after his appointment said that he would resign if the BJP got even one seat less than 182 — the total seats in the Assembly — is now avoiding quoting a victory number. “The army is ready, as are the arms, for the battle…there should be no sympathy,” Paatil said at the rally on September 8m adding that the winning margin should be 50,000 votes on every seat. In the current Assembly, the BJP has 111 seats while the main Opposition Congress has 63.Having said in 2020 that the party with 1.13 crore workers would not need to “import anyone”, Paatil has since then brought on board young leaders disgruntled with the Congress, including Hardik Patel, Jairajsinh Parmar and Vishwanath Vaghela.The prospect that these ‘imported’ leaders could be given tickets to contest the elections is causing discomfort among younger leaders in the BJP. To that, a senior state BJP leader says, “Everyone understands that if we have to win the election, and if these leaders make for good candidates, they will get tickets”.It was in Surat, where, within seven months of Paatil as BJP chief, that the AAP won 27 of 120 seats in the Municipal Corporation in the local body elections held in February 2021, and became the main Opposition. The clashes between the BJP and AAP have only increased since then, the latest being at a Ganesh pandal set up by the AAP, where one of its state secretaries, Manoj Sorathiya, was seriously injured.On September 3, Kejriwal returned to Surat, where he had announced the AAP’s first guarantee in July, to participate in the Ganesh aarti with Sorathiya.While the Congress has been calling AAP the “B-team of the BJP” and the AAP has been blaming the Congress as “an ally” of the BJP, Kejriwal’s silence on the release of the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case, and his cries of ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ at his public rallies, indicate that he is out to get the Hindu vote.Like a former Rajya Sabha MP of the BJP said, “If nothing, AAP has managed to keep our cadres alert, which is good.”

Amid BJP’s claims of a wave, AAP tries to create a splash in Gujarat
Satya Pal Malik: Decoding the curious case of the Meghalaya Governor
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik has been keeping his guns trained on the Narendra Modi government over the farmer issues for more than one year now. Curiously, the Centre has still chosen not to remove him so far.Seeking to explain it, a senior Haryana BJP leader, on condition of anonymity, said, “A Jat leader from western Uttar Pradesh, Malik wants to emerge as a hero in the Jat community at this stage of his life by hitting out at the BJP-led Centre over farm issues. But the BJP dispensation doesn’t want to sack him as Governor and help him realise his wish. BJP has passion and patience. We have handled such personalities earlier too.”Referring to Malik’s “annoyance” against the Modi regime, the BJP leader said: “As the Jammu and Kashmir Governor earlier, he was like its CM. But then he was shifted to Goa (in November 2019) as Governor that might have upset him. And his transfer from Goa to Meghalaya (in August 2020) was seen as his further demotion.”On his part, Malik recently said that after completing his current tenure, he will “fully participate” in the fight for farmers’ rights. Addressing a function at Kira village in Nuh a week ago, he slammed the Modi government as he demanded the implementation and legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for farmers’ produce, asserting that the country’s farmers cannot be defeated and will continue to protest till their demands are met.“I want to tell you all that there will be another protest by farmers and when that happens, leave aside differences of caste and fight together. Do not think this is a protest of Sikhs or Jats. No government can defeat you if you learn to fight together. This is a fight for every farmer, their farms, produce, the price of crops…the farmers are suffering, their produce is becoming cheaper while manure and irrigation are getting costlier,” Malik told the gathering.At the same event, the Meghalaya Governor also said: “The MSP is not being implemented because the Prime Minister has a friend whose name is Adani, who at the moment has become Asia’s richest person in five years.”During the year-long farmer agitation against the now-repealed three controversial central farm laws, Malik had made headlines several times by gunning for the Modi government, which was said to have then boosted the morale of protesters camping on Delhi’s borders.In January this year, Malik alleged that PM Modi came across as “arrogant” when he met him to discuss the farmer stir and that he ended up having an argument with the latter. Addressing a social function at Haryana’s Dadri, Malik had then said: “When I went to meet the Prime Minister to discuss the farmer issue, I ended up fighting with him within five minutes. He was very arrogant. When I told him that 500 of our own (farmers) had died… he said, ‘Did they die for me?’ I told him yes, since you are the king. I ended up having an argument with him. He told me to meet Amit Shah and I did.”Malik, 76, who hails from UP’s Baghpat, was a member of the UP Assembly during 1974-77. During 1980-86 and 1986-89, he represented UP in the Rajya Sabha. In 1989, he won the Lok Sabha election from Aligarh as a Janata Dal candidate. In 1990, he became the Union minister of state for parliamentary affairs and tourism.In 2004, Malik joined the BJP and unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections, losing to the then RLD chief Ajit Singh.The Modi government appointed Malik as the Bihar Governor in October 2017 and transferred him to J&K in August 2018. During his J&K tenure, the Modi government scrapped Article 370 which granted a special status to the then state.With Malik’s five-year term set to be completed in a couple of months, the BJP circles say he will not get another gubernatorial stint. A BJP leader said, “What bigger reward Malik would have got other than the governorship? He should have spoken only after tendering his resignation.” He also said, “Under the Constitution, the Governor is head of the state… It’s not a post of an employee who can be sacked anytime. Any action against the Governor would have its ramifications. Malik could have emerged as a ‘martyr’ if the Centre had resorted to firing him,” claiming that the BJP dispensation got Jagdeep Dhankar elected as the Vice-President “to woo the Jats”.In political circles, Malik’s bid to fire salvos at the Modi dispensation at regular intervals is perceived as part of his attempts to remain relevant in politics after his superannuation from the Governor’s office.At an event in Jaipur in November 2021, Malik had said that every time he spoke on the farmer issues, he had an apprehension for a couple of weeks that he might get a call from Delhi. Declaring that he met PM Modi over the farm laws issue, Malik said: “I was very hurt and angry and I met the Prime Minister and I told him that you are misreading the situation; these Sikhs cannot be defeated…nor can these Jats be defeated. You think that they (the farmers) will go away just like that; but give them something before sending them off, and don’t do two things: don’t use force on them, second, don’t send them empty-handed because they don’t forget, they don’t forget for a hundred years.”An Independent MLA from Dadri, Sombir Sangwan, who is supporting the BJP-JJP government in Haryana, recalls how Satya Pal Malik learnt politics in the company of Chaudhary Charan Singh in UP. Sangwan says, “Narendra Modi made him Governor of Jammu and Kashmir because he is a strong person and is capable in taking decisions. He played a good role during the abrogation of Article 370.”However, Sangwan is miffed with Malik for not attending a panchayat of farmers in Haryana this year despite having “promised” it.

Satya Pal Malik: Decoding the curious case of the Meghalaya Governor
Congress holds ‘Mehangai Par Charcha’ at Panaji market
Times of India | 4 weeks ago | |
Times of India
4 weeks ago | |

PANAJI: Congress gathered its functionaries at the Panaji municipal market on Sunday to hold an awareness programme called ‘Mehangai Par Charcha’ as part of a nationwide protest against price rise. Party workers led by state Mahila Congress president Beena Naik said that rising inflation has made it difficult for the common man to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi due to the higher cost of essential food items. Congress blamed the BJP government, both at the Centre and state, for the surge in food prices and also questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi about his promise about ‘Ache Din’. A handful of Congress workers along with two MLAs — Carlos Ferreira and Rudolfo Fernandes — joined the protest in the state capital which comes after similar protests in Mapusa, Margao, Ponda and other towns. “Inflation appears to be increasing day by day and it hurts all families. The common man is waiting for ‘acche din’ but it is a mirage. There was demonetisation that killed industry and now price rise is destroying the common man,” said Ferreira. Naik said that the BJP’s policies on inflation and taxation are encouraging poor people to return to fire wood as fuel. “When the UPA was in power, prices were around half of what they are today. Oil was at Rs 60 and today it is close to Rs 200. LPG gas was at Rs 404 per cylinder and now it is more than Rs 1,000,” said Naik.

Congress holds ‘Mehangai Par Charcha’ at Panaji market
Will make forensic probe compulsory for crimes with more than 6 years jail: Shah
The Indian Express | 4 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
4 weeks ago | |

Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced the introduction of forensic evidence as a legal provision in India’s criminal justice system to focus on the need for forensic experts for reforms. The government aims to make forensic investigation “compulsory and legal” for offences attracting punishment of more than six years, Shah said addressing the graduating students of the National Forensic Sciences University (NFSU), Gandhinagar, at its first convocation.“The Indian government under the leadership of PM Modi is going to make radical changes in the IPC (Indian Penal Code), Code of Criminal Procedure (CRPC) and Evidence Act. There is a need to re-make these laws from an independent India’s perspective. That is why, after holding discussions with several people, we have been working for the two-and-a-half years on these three acts. We will introduce a legal provision in these acts that such crimes that have provision of over six years punishment, forensic evidence will be made compulsory and legal in them. You can imagine how many experts, graduates and double graduates will be required then,” he said.Hence, with rising demand for forensic experts in India, Shah assured the students that they will be “placed” soon.As many as 1,132 students, including 91 foreign nationals, graduated from NFSU Sunday in the presence of Shah, Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Aravind Kumar, state cabinet minister Rajendra Trivedi, state Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi, and NFSU Vice-Chancellor Dr JM Vyas.“Conviction ratio can only increase when we bring forensic evidence as a legal provision and this can only happen when we have trained manpower. Trained manpower can only be achieved if we have an arrangement for their training. In very less time, NFSU has opened campuses in Bhopal, Goa, Tripura, Guwahati and Delhi, among others. We have provided the NFSU with the status of institute of national importance so that its reach and acceptability across India rises,” added Shah.He said that days of “third-degree (treatment)” are over and only scientific evidence is the way to increase conviction ratio. “Culprits can only be punished through scientific evidence,” said Shah.He also reminded that it was the vision of the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to set up a one-of-a-kind university specialising in forensic sciences.“Back in 2002-2003, the then chief minister Narendra Modi had a vision that India should have a strengthened conviction ratio which cannot be achieved unless we present forensic evidences strongly in court. For this, he decided to separate Gujarat Forensic Sciences Laboratory from the Gujarat Police department to keep it independent and convert it into India’s best FSL. That dream was achieved soon and then, we realised a shortage of trained manpower. During its discussion, it was decided to set up Gujarat Forensic Sciences University (GFSU),” said Shah.Shah also urged students to preserve their mother tongue and said they should make it a point to use it for conversation at home. He pointed out that the government is now promoting education in engineering, technical and medical courses in local languages.“I have to say one more thing, especially to the students and youths, that whatever language you may use for study, make sure to use your mother tongue at home. We are now even promoting education in the mother tongue in engineering, technical and medical courses… Preserve your own language. It is my request to you to speak, write and read in your own language at home,” he said.Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxTalking about the new National Education Policy (NEP), he said one of its important points is to create a new syllabus and set up universities considering the requirements of the country’s future needs so as to connect the youth with development.“The NEP puts an emphasis on providing knowledge and skill to the youth on the basis of future requirements. This is also being accomplished here,” he said.(With PTI inputs)

Will make forensic probe compulsory for crimes with more than 6 years jail: Shah
  • Will make forensic probe compulsory for offences with more more than 6 yrs punishment: Shah
  • The Indian Express

    Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced the introduction of forensic evidence as a legal provision in India’s criminal justice system to focus on the need for forensic experts for reforms. The government aims to make forensic investigation “compulsory and legal” for offences attracting punishment of more than six years, Shah said addressing the graduating students of the National Forensic Sciences University (NFSU), Gandhinagar, at its first convocation.“The Indian government under the leadership of PM Modi is going to make radical changes in the IPC (Indian Penal Code), Code of Criminal Procedure (CRPC) and Evidence Act. There is a need to re-make these laws from an independent India’s perspective. That is why, after holding discussions with several people, we have been working for the two-and-a-half years on these three acts. We will introduce a legal provision in these acts that such crimes that have provision of over six years punishment, forensic evidence will be made compulsory and legal in them. You can imagine how many experts, graduates and double graduates will be required then,” he said.Hence, with rising demand for forensic experts in India, Shah assured the students that they will be “placed” soon.As many as 1,132 students, including 91 foreign nationals, graduated from NFSU Sunday in the presence of Shah, Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Aravind Kumar, state cabinet minister Rajendra Trivedi, state Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi, and NFSU Vice-Chancellor Dr JM Vyas.“Conviction ratio can only increase when we bring forensic evidence as a legal provision and this can only happen when we have trained manpower. Trained manpower can only be achieved if we have an arrangement for their training. In very less time, NFSU has opened campuses in Bhopal, Goa, Tripura, Guwahati and Delhi, among others. We have provided the NFSU with the status of institute of national importance so that its reach and acceptability across India rises,” added Shah.He said that days of “third-degree (treatment)” are over and only scientific evidence is the way to increase conviction ratio. “Culprits can only be punished through scientific evidence,” said Shah.He also reminded that it was the vision of the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to set up a one-of-a-kind university specialising in forensic sciences.“Back in 2002-2003, the then chief minister Narendra Modi had a vision that India should have a strengthened conviction ratio which cannot be achieved unless we present forensic evidences strongly in court. For this, he decided to separate Gujarat Forensic Sciences Laboratory from the Gujarat Police department to keep it independent and convert it into India’s best FSL. That dream was achieved soon and then, we realised a shortage of trained manpower. During its discussion, it was decided to set up Gujarat Forensic Sciences University (GFSU),” said Shah.Shah also urged students to preserve their mother tongue and said they should make it a point to use it for conversation at home. He pointed out that the government is now promoting education in engineering, technical and medical courses in local languages.“I have to say one more thing, especially to the students and youths, that whatever language you may use for study, make sure to use your mother tongue at home. We are now even promoting education in the mother tongue in engineering, technical and medical courses… Preserve your own language. It is my request to you to speak, write and read in your own language at home,” he said.Talking about the new National Education Policy (NEP), he said one of its important points is to create a new syllabus and set up universities considering the requirements of the country’s future needs so as to connect the youth with development.“The NEP puts an emphasis on providing knowledge and skill to the youth on the basis of future requirements. This is also being accomplished here,” he said.-With inputs from PTI

Tiranga in our hearts, don’t need to display patriotism: Congress
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: Congress has challenged BJP president Sadanand Shet Tanavade to either prove his charge that Congress told people not to hoist the national flag, or to apologise to Goans. “Congress’s contribution to the freedom struggle and post-Independence nation-building is known to everyone. The Tiranga is in our hearts and we don’t need occasions to display our patriotism,” stated Congress media cell chairman, Amarnath Panjikar. The party also challenged the BJP president to instruct RSS shakhas to hoist Tirangas and also sing the national anthem. “Let BJP convince its mentor RSS to discard ‘bhagva’ and adopt ‘Tiranga’,” Panjikar said. The party claimed that BJP’s fake patriotism was now exposed, with its own functionaries circulating videos of BJP leaders disrespecting the Tiranga. “Tanavade himself insulted the Tiranga by holding it upside down. It is a shame that the Tiranga Yatras of the government carried photos of Narendra Modi and Pramod Sawant and not of Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Bhagat Singh and other national leaders and freedom fighters,” Panjikar said.

Tiranga in our hearts, don’t need to display patriotism: Congress
  • Congress: Tiranga in our hearts, don’t need to display patriotism
  • Times of India

    Panaji: Congress has challenged BJP president Sadanand Shet Tanavade to either prove his charge that Congress told people not to hoist the national flag, or to apologise to Goans. “Congress’s contribution to the freedom struggle and post-Independence nation-building is known to everyone. The Tiranga is in our hearts and we don’t need occasions to display our patriotism,” stated Congress media cell chairman, Amarnath Panjikar.The party also challenged the BJP president to instruct RSS shakhas to hoist Tirangas and also sing the national anthem. “Let BJP convince its mentor RSS to discard ‘bhagva’ and adopt ‘Tiranga’,” Panjikar said. The party claimed that BJP’s fake patriotism was now exposed, with its own functionaries circulating videos of BJP leaders disrespecting the Tiranga. “Tanavade himself insulted the Tiranga by holding it upside down. It is a shame that the Tiranga Yatras of the government carried photos of Narendra Modi and Pramod Sawant and not of Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Bhagat Singh and other national leaders and freedom fighters,” Panjikar said.

Daily Briefing: Shiv Sena extends support to presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu; SIT to probe cases against Mohammad Zubair
The Indian Express | 2 months ago | |
The Indian Express
2 months ago | |

Good morning, In a fresh setback for Yashwant Sinha’s already-faltering presidential bid, the Shiv Sena has extended its support to the NDA’s presidential candidate, Droupadi Murmu. Shiv Sena chief and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray made the announcement after a meeting with party MPs, where several leaders “requested” him to support Murmu and open the door to a possible reconciliation with the BJP and the breakaway Shinde faction.Why this matters: The Opposition, including the Congress and NCP — the Sena’s MVA allies — has fielded Yashwant Sinha for the July 18 presidential polls. Uddhav’s decision comes just weeks after the MVA government led by him was pulled down by the BJP and Shiv Sena rebel leader Eknath Shinde. What went wrong: It was never meant to be an extremely tight race — the Opposition had, in fact, framed the contest as a fight between two ideologies — but the campaign has unravelled faster than expected. Further, Sinha’s candidature has split the Opposition. The BSP, JD(S) and Akali Dal announced support to Murmu; ties between allies Congress and the JMM in Jharkhand are strained as the latter, which heads the government, is set to be leaning towards backing the NDA nominee.In the latest instalment of the Indian Express’ Uber Files investigation, we take a look at how the ride-hailing app signed a spree of MoUs with the Centre and many state governments a year after the rape of a 25-year-old passenger by an Uber driver. But most of these proposals remain on paper. What we found: According to records, the company’s public policy head Jordan Condo wanted Uber to “establish public-private partnerships with the government and have influence within the government invested in the success of our business”. Apart from approaching the Ministries of Social Justice and Empowerment; Skill Development and Entrepreneurship; Electronics and Information Technology, and Labour and Employment, among others, in the Centre, it also knocked on government doors in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Haryana. But all these MoUs either failed to take off or stalled after launch.India’s factory output, measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), came in at a 12-month high of 19.6 per cent in May, compared with a 6.7 per cent growth reported in April, partly on account of the base effect, data from the National Statistical Office showed. An Assistant Sub-Inspector was killed and two policemen injured as militants attacked a checkpoint at Lalbazar in Srinagar, amid multi-layered security cover put in place for the ongoing Amarnath Yatra. The Uttar Pradesh government formed a two-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe six cases lodged against Alt News co-founder Mohammad Zubair. Of the six cases, two cases are lodged in Hathras district while one case each is registered in Sitapur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Ghaziabad and Muzaffarnagar.The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has removed some crucial data from its Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) website which include a list of NGOs whose licences have been cancelled, and the annual returns of NGOs. The MHA did not offer any official comment on this move, but officials said it was done because the data was considered “unnecessary” for public viewing.On July 5, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel launched Vande Gujarat Vikas Yatra, a two-week publicity blitzkrieg on two decades of the BJP government. Though the BJP first came to power in the state in 1995, with Keshubhai Patel as CM, the latest campaign is on the period between 2002 — when Narendra Modi took over as chief minister – and 2022. While the programme focuses squarely on the work done under the leadership of Narendra Modi as chief minister from 2001 to 2014, it makes no mention of Modi’s predecessor Keshubhai or the other two CMs of the party – Modi’s successor Anandiben Patel and Vijay Rupani.In our opinion section today, Shreenath A Khimka writes on what the Thackeray-Shinde feud means for Maharashtra: “In this grand game of political chess, Thackeray’s stalemate is likely to persist. Shinde’s Sena may turn the tables by petitioning the new Speaker to disqualify the Thackeray group. However, the real battle for the Sena’s legacy will be fought before the Election Commission.”India’s favourable demographic dividend is at an inflection point of sorts, with the population share of the youth starting to taper off even as the share of the elderly is expected to steadily surge during 2021-2036. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, which experienced a rise in proportion of youth population to total population till 2021, are expected to see a decline from hereon, according to the ‘Youth in India 2022’ report released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.A former college champion in track and field, a winner at multiple national and Asian masters athletics championships, CPI (M) leader MJ Jacob bagged bronze in two hurdles — 200m and 80m — in World Masters Athletics Championship 2022 that ended in Tampere, Finland, on July 10. Jacob won medals in the 80-plus category.🤫 Delhi Confidential: When Priyanka Gandhi landed in Mumbai airport amid the political crisis in Maharashtra, the party was quick to clarify that she was only transitioning through the city on her way to Maldives to be with her daughter, who is completing an instructor level diving course there. The party was, however, silent on Tuesday when it became known that Rahul Gandhi has left for abroad again on a brief personal visit.🎧 In today’s episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcast, we look at the political crisis faced by Congress in Goa, UN population report, and RSS on Islamic radicalization.Until next time,Rahel Philipose and Srishti Kapoor

Daily Briefing: Shiv Sena extends support to presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu; SIT to probe cases against Mohammad Zubair
New forest conservation rules will disempower tribals: Congress
The Indian Express | 2 months ago | |
The Indian Express
2 months ago | |

The Congress accused the government on Sunday of abdicating its responsibility towards protecting tribal rights and alleged that the new forest conservation rules will disempower crores of “Adivasis” and others living in forest areas.Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav, however, rejected the charge, saying the new rules “do not dilute or infringe on” the provisions of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and that the Narendra Modi government remains committed to protecting the rights of the tribals.Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi accused the BJP-led government of diluting the new forest conservation rules for the “ease of snatching forest land” and said his party stands strongly with the “Adivasi brothers and sisters”.“‘Modi-Mitr’ Sarkar at its crony best! For ‘ease of snatching’ forest land, the BJP government has come up with new FC Rules, 2022 diluting UPA’s Forest Rights Act, 2006,” Gandhi wrote on Twitter.“Congress stands strongly with our Adivasi brothers and sisters in their fight to protect ‘Jal, Jungle and Zameen’,” he added.Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the rules issued recently allow forest rights to be settled after the final approval for forest clearances has been granted by the Centre.“Obviously, this has been done in the name of ‘ease of doing business’ for a chosen few. But it will end the ‘ease of living’ for the vast many,” he said in a statement.The former Union environment minister said this destroys the very purpose of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and its meaningful use while considering proposals for diversion of forest land.“Once forest clearance is granted, everything else becomes a mere formality and almost inevitably, no claims will be recognised and settled. The state governments will be under even greater pressure from the Centre to accelerate the process of diversion of forest land,” Ramesh said.“The Modi government has abdicated the responsibility given to the central government by Parliament to ensure that the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 is implemented in a manner consistent with the Forest Rights Act, 2006,” the Congress leader alleged.Yadav took to Twitter to say the Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022 are reformative, with an objective to streamline the process of approvals under the Act and enable a parallel process under other Acts and Rules, including the FRA, 2006.“The allegation is an ill-informed attempt to show that the Rules don’t care about the provisions of other laws. The government under Shri Narendra Modi ji remains committed to protecting the rights of the Adivasis,” he said.Responding to Ramesh, the minister said, “Jairam ji, you are trying to insinuate a problem where none exists. There is no dilution of provisions of FRA as being incorrectly interpreted since fulfilment and compliance of FRA 2006 is specifically mentioned in the Rules before State issues orders of diversion.” Ramesh, however, hit back saying, “Mantri-ji, Please don’t evade main issue — that is, are you not making the Gram Sabha irrelevant? You may not have been briefed properly. Your new Rules go AGAINST the 2015 note of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs of Modi Sarkar….”The Congress leader said the new rules were promulgated without any consultation and discussion with the stakeholders, including the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change, and will be challenged in the forthcoming session of Parliament.“If anything demonstrates the Modi Sarkar’s TRUE intent on protecting and promoting interests of Adivasis, it is this decision, which will disempower crores of Adivasis and others living in forest areas,” Ramesh said in a tweet, using the hashtag “#AdivasiVirodhiNarendraModi”.He shared a news report that said the government is approving cutting down of forests without consent from tribals and forest-dwellers. Ramesh said the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, known as the Forest Rights Act, 2006, is a historic and progressive law passed unanimously and enthusiastically by Parliament after extensive debates and discussions and it confers land and livelihood rights — both individual and community — to the Adivasi, Dalit and other families living in forest areas.In August 2009, in order to ensure the fullest implementation of the law, the then Ministry of Environment and Forest had stipulated that no clearances for diversion of forest land under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 would even be considered by it unless the rights provided under the Forest Rights Act, 2006 were first settled.“This was done to protect and promote the interests of tribal and other communities traditionally living in forest areas,” Ramesh said.This ensured that the rights of tribal and other communities will have to be settled before a decision can even be considered on forest and environmental clearance by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, he said, adding that it mandated that “free, prior and informed consent of the families affected be obtained for such an exercise to be lawful”.“Now, in a new set of rules issued very recently, the Modi government has allowed for forest rights to be settled after final approval for forest clearances has been granted by the central government,” the Congress leader claimed.

New forest conservation rules will disempower tribals: Congress
Achhe din are here, going to get better as Modi coming to you in 2024: Shah
The Indian Express | 3 months ago | |
The Indian Express
3 months ago | |

HOME MINISTER Amit Shah on Saturday said that achhe din (good days) are here and that they are going to be better in coming days as the country walks on the path of development with “Narendra Modi coming to you in 2024”.Addressing a public meeting at the Padmabhushan Sports Complex in the Union Territory (UT) of Diu, Shah said, “Mitron, sara divso avi to gaya j chhe. Achhe din aa gaye hain magar aur bhi achhe hone wale hain (Friends, good days are already here and they are going to be even better). Narendra Modi has done the job of changing India over the past eight years. Narendrabhai is coming to you in 2024, having presented to us the map of development for the next 25 years, culminating with the centenary of India’s Independence.”The Union Home Minister was in Diu to chair the meeting of the Western Zonal Council, the forum comprising the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa as well as the UTs of Dadra & Nagar Haveli (D&NH) and Daman & Diu (D&D). The public meeting was organised by the administration of D&NH, D&D that functions under the Union Home Ministry.“Achhe Din aanewale hain” (good days are going to come) was a popular campaign slogan of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during the 2014 Lok Sahba elections. Opposition parties have often taken pot-shots at the NDA government over this slogan, while pointing out price rise, unemployment and the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.Saying that he has been a witness to the government’s work first as the national president of the BJP and then as the Union Home Minister, Shah said, “It is our popular leader Narendra Modi who achieved the feat of increasing the country’s oxygen generation capacity by 10 times within a month…” The minister added that the PM created infrastructure that has made the country self-sufficient in health sector through PM CARES funds.The Home Minister claimed that during the eight years of NDA government, Modi’s leadership has increased the prestige of India globally and that the country has been witnessing an all-round development.Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inbox“Be it the sector of education, industry, rural development, urban development, taking development to hills or coastal regions such as Diu, preparing schemes for the health sector or teaching Pakistan a lesson through surgical strike and airstrike, Narendrabhai has increased India’s pride in every sector,” said Shah.Asking the audience whether all of them had got Covid-19 vaccine free of cost, Shah added that the world was marvelling at how India secured its population of 130 crore by vaccinating it against Covid-19.He also said that youths who are 25 to 30 years old have started making satellites, thanks to policies and the environment created by Modi, adding that days are not far when India would emerged among top five countries in Olymptics.“Earlier, if someone won a medal, the entire country would burst firecrackers. Today, thanks to Khelo India, India expects nothing less than 10 medals at the Paralympics or Olympics. And note my words, thanks to the type of sports infrastructure and coaching facilities we are creating, the transparent selection of sportspersons and the way PM is backing our athletes, days are not far when India will be among the top five in the medal’s tally at Olympics,” Shah said.The minister also claimed that the Modi government has expedited the construction of national highways, electrified railway network and increased speed of trains.He also said that in D&NH and D&D, 2.59 lakh people were getting free ration under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, while 25,000 toilets were constructed in eight years, 7,000 houses were built for the urban poor, and 85,000 households have started getting piped water.“I am visiting Diu for the first time after becoming Home Minister and I am dazzled by the development Diu has witnessed,” said Shah, adding chief ministers were copiously praising Diu’s development at the Western Zonal Council Meeting.Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Gujarat’s Revenue Minister Rajendra Trivedi and Minister of State for Home, Harsh Sanghvi, Administrator of the UT of D&NH and D&D, Praful Patel and local MP Lalu Patel were present.Shah also laid the foundation stones of seven infrastructure projects worth Rs 80 crore in Diu. They include a cable car service between Diu and Ghoghla, a public plaza near the historic Diu fort and memorials. He also inaugurated the INS Khukri memorial featuring a decommissioned ship of the Indian Navy having the same name.Shah said that during the ongoing Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the PM has presented his vision of what India should look like when the country completes 100 years of Independence. “I appeal all to resolve to give Bharat Mata the highest place in the world during the ‘amrutkal’,” the minister said.

Achhe din are here, going to get better as Modi coming to you in 2024: Shah
Why Atal Bihari Vajpayee remains Pakistan’s best-loved Indian Prime Minister
The Indian Express | 3 months ago | |
The Indian Express
3 months ago | |

Sagarika Ghose, author of a celebrated biography of Indira Gandhi, has done it again — this time with Indira’s rival and successor at several removes: Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Her writing technique is very similar to that of a first-class cine camera. She zooms in and out of her narrative, now highlighting the intimate and personal, now panoramically surveying the larger picture. The reader thus ends with a vivid portrait of the personality painted against the background of his times.Ghose’s Vajpayee is a large-hearted chameleon, ensuring that his colours change synchronically with changes in the political environment. But the story also emphasises that chameleon he may be, but he is a “large-hearted” one. He wanted power and could sing any tune or present any face that would get him that power, but, once ensconced on the throne, another Vajpayee would surface: generous; abounding in good humour; kind to his friends but, more importantly, also to his rivals (with the sole exception of his party challenger, Balraj Madhok); faithful to his origins as a swayamsevak but absorbing like a sponge the nuances of a parliamentary democracy, abandoning along the way the fascist tendencies of his parent organisation; paying lip service to the likes of VD Savarkar, MS Golwalkar and Deen Dayal Upadhayaya (whose wooly philosophy of “integral humanism” he genuinely admired) but, after entering Parliament in 1957 when he was not quite 32, remaining through his life in thrall to Jawaharlal Nehru’s idea of India; profound in his understanding of unity in diversity and unprejudiced in his dealings with minority communities and the neighbouring Islamic Republic of Pakistan.Hindutva rhetoric was reserved for public meetings when his party was climbing out of a hole; once in office, his tone became dulcet and it is difficult to recall any act of discrimination in thought or deed attributable to Vajpayee. The one great and unforgivable exception was his volte face over the pogrom in Gujarat on Narendra Modi’s watch. So divided was the sangh parivar over the happenings there that it took Vajpayee well over a month to visit Ahmedabad. There, he publicly thundered, “My one message to the Chief Minister is that he should follow Raj Dharma… A ruler should not practise any discrimination between his subjects on the basis of birth, caste or religion.” Modi feebly butted in, “I am also doing that, sir”. Vajpayee, says Ghose, “after one of his long pauses, said, ‘I am sure Narendrabhai is doing this’”. Having said this, Vajpayee continued, in at least six private political confabulations, to press for Modi’s resignation, but could not have his way. The die had been cast: it was now Modi v/s Vajpayee and Moditva was clearly prevailing, with Vajpayee “risking the volcanic wrath of Hindutva cadres”. At this, Vajpayee promptly changed his tune, trying to turn the tide against their “implacably anti-Vajpayee mood”. Returning from his visit to South-east Asia in time for the BJP plenary in Goa in April 13-15, 2002, he tried to rescue his standing in the eyes of the hard-core RSS-BJP element by a grim bout of uncharacteristic Muslim-bashing: “wherever Muslims live, they don’t like to live in co-existence with others… instead of propagating their ideas in a peaceful manner, they want to spread their faith by resorting to terror and threats.” It could have been Golwalkar speaking. But it did not help Vajpayee the “mukhauta”, as Govindacharya damned him. The communal tiger had been unleashed: “the rise of Narendra Modi spelled the fall of Atal Bihari Vajpayee”.More true to the real Vajpayee was his “reach-out to Muslims, to Pakistan and to Jammu and Kashmir”. While Ghose has chosen to describe Vajpayee, somewhat doubtfully as “India’s best-loved Prime Minister”, there can be no doubt that in Pakistan he has certainly remained Pakistan’s best-loved Indian Prime Minister! I confess to having been deeply upset at Morarji Desai naming him Foreign Minister because I imagined he would make Pakistan-bashing the theme of his foreign policy. Instead, whether as PM or EAM, he consistently remained determined to work out a viable modus vivendi with Pakistan despite more than one setback. Some of the setbacks he faced — the terrorist attack on Parliament, Kargil — would have made most others run for cover. He remained convinced and consistent, grimly determined and untiringly persistent, laying the foundations for the huge progress made on the backchannel in his successor, Dr Manmohan Singh’s time, with none other than the Butcher of Kargil, General Pervez Musharraf.Vajpayee’s fault was that he thought foreign policy was about grand personal gestures — such as jumping on the first bus to Pakistan — and soaring Urdu rhetoric in place of dull banquet speeches. He never recognised the need for carefully planned Sherpa work to make the final climb to the summit. In consequence, while the Pak PM recited Vajpayee’s, “Jang naa hone denge” (or, at any rate, its opening line), and Vajpayee responded with Ali Sardar Jafri’s, “Phir uske baad yeh poochein ki kaun dushman hain” (the entire stanza), Kargil was being planned with the full knowledge of the Pak PM (as his foreign minister, Sartaj Aziz, has revealed). Mujahideen terrorists were assembling on the heights overlooking the vital Srinagar-Leh highway, backed heavily by Pakistani troops and high-level Pakistani planning and logistical support, even as Vajpayee visited the Minar-e-Pakistan, site of the Lahore resolution that signalled Partition, and wrote in the visitors’ book, “A strong, stable, and prosperous Pakistan is in India’s interest. Let no one in Pakistan be in doubt. India sincerely wishes Pakistan well”. “Akhand Bharat” was buried at the Minar-e-Pakistan. The Pakistanis have never forgotten that.Vajpayee also clearly understood the connection between Pakistan and Kashmir. “He offered warm-hearted peace to Pakistan at a rally in Srinagar”. It was also in Srinagar that he came up with his famous formula of “insaniyat, “jamhooriyat” and “Kashmiriyat” instead of only the “framework of the Constitution” within which to find the answer to continuing discontent in the Valley. This on the eve of his proceeding to Islamabad in January 2004 to kick off a new and promising round of dialogue with our “distant neighbour”.(Mani Shankar Aiyar, a former Union minister, is an MP and a social commentator)

Why Atal Bihari Vajpayee remains Pakistan’s best-loved Indian Prime Minister
Panchayat polls by adhering to triple test, resolves BJP
Navhind Times | 3 months ago | |
Navhind Times
3 months ago | |

Special CorrespondentPanajiThe state executive meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) held in the city on Saturday passed a resolution demanding conduct of panchayat elections in the state within a stipulated time by adhering to the triple test led by the Supreme Court, for reservation to the OBCsin Goa.“The BJP reiterates its commitment towards upholding the lawful rights of all sections of the society and also to ensure appropriate representation to women as well as the SC, ST and OBC communities in the local bodies that is panchayats, municipalities and Zilla Panchayats,” the resolution added.The state executive meet also passed many other resolutions. They included one congratulating the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on completion of eight years in office, and another expressing profound gratitude towards the people of Goa for reposing faith in the BJP for the third consecutive term to form the governmentin Goa.This is the first state executive meeting of the BJP after the recent state assembly polls.Addressing a press conference after the state executive meeting, the state BJP president, Sadanand Tanawade said that the Minister for Panchayat Raj, Mauvin Godinho briefed the participants of the meet about the status of the panchayat elections.He further added that the Minister for Forests, Vishwajit Rane spoke about some of his decisions related to the department of forests, which were in conflict with the decisions taken by the earlier BJP government.Incidentally, BJP MLAs namely Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate, Jennifer Monserrate, Nilesh Cabral, Ramesh Tawadkar, Joshua D’Souza and Govind Gaude were not present for the meet.Tanawade said these BJP MLAs were presently out of Goa, while Govind Gaude has some family function.Speaking further, the state BJP president said the meet also discussed implementation of the central and the state government schemes in a more effective manner. He also informed that the party will soon hold one public meeting each in all the constituencies, with the ministers and party office bearers given the task to attend the same.Reacting to a recent incident as regards arrest of a person for undertaking religious conversions, Tanawade said the police department has acted as per the law.Answering another question, he said the medical cell and the legal cell of the state BJP unit are doing a good job.It was also informed that the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi will interact with the beneficiaries of the centrally sponsored schemes from Goa on May 31.The Chief Minister, Pramod Sawant, addressing the state executive meet, said the BJP is confident of forming the government at the Centre after the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. “It will be abki baar 324 paar,” he added.Sawant also stated that the Home Department has done a good job by arresting Dominic D’Souza due to forceful conversions. “We won’t allow such conversions in Goa,” he stressed, adding that the government will stop such activities if it receives any similar complaints in Goa.The Chief Minister also maintained that his government respects all religions and will not tolerate any pressure of religious conversions.Later, speaking to media, the Chief Minister said that an Anti-Conversion Bill would be brought in the monsoon session of the state legislative assembly to ensure that religious conversions are stopped.“Few MLAs have suggested enactment of law to ban conversion following the arrest of Domnic of Five Pillars Church in Siolim,” he added, pointing out, “Domnic was involved in converting poor and sick people by claiming to have magical powers for last 30 years.”“Now because few youth came forward to file complaint against him, we could arrest him,” Sawant stated, adding that his house has been thoroughly searched by police and a lot of incriminating evidence found.

Panchayat polls by adhering to triple test, resolves BJP
  • Adhere to SC ruling, have panchayat polls within stipulated time: BJP
  • Times of India

    Panaji: The BJP state executive on Saturday demanded that the panchayat elections be held in Goa within a stipulated time, by adhering to the triple test laid down by the Supreme Court in the matter of reservations to OBCs. “BJP reiterates its commitment towards upholding the lawful rights of all sections of society, and also to ensure appropriate representation to women as well as the SC, ST and OBC communities in the local bodies, panchayats, municipalities and zilla panchayats,” stated its political resolution. This state executive also resolved to celebrate the 75th year of India’s independence with various initiatives aimed at reaching out to all the sections of society and creating a better outreach of values pertaining to patriotism and service to humanity. It also expressed its profound gratitude towards the people of Goa for reposing their faith in BJP for a third consecutive term. “Overcoming speculation of anti-incumbency of a decade-long regime in the state of Goa, the people of Goa gave a resounding mandate to the party, which is a result of the sincere efforts put in by every grass-root level karyakarta, including CM Pramod Sawant and state BJP president Sadanand Shet Tanavade,” the resolution said. It added that these results have also shown that the people of Goa have rejected the false propaganda and fake promises of opposition parties including Congress, as well as political tourists such as TMC and AAP. “Now, with a stable government in the state, BJP, under the leadership of Sawant, shall continue its committed work towards ensuring sabka sath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas and sabka prayas,” it said. It also congratulated PM Narendra Modi for his eight years in office. BJP reiterates its commitment towards upholding the lawful rights of all sections of society, and also to ensure appropriate representation to women as well as the SC, ST and OBC communities in the local bodies, panchayats, municipalities and zilla panchayats

  • Goa govt decides panchayat polls will be held after monsoon
  • Times of India

    Panaji: The state government on Tuesday decided to postpone the election to 186 village panchayats, and appoint administrators till the new panchayat bodies are elected. The election will now be held post-monsoon. The government has also decided to ask the OBC commission to prepare a report on OBC reservation. “We have recommended to the Goa state election commission (SEC) to postpone the panchayat election,” chief minister Pramod Sawant told TOI. The state government rejected the proposal of the SEC to hold the election without OBC reservation. “We have decided to hold the panchayat election post-monsoon, and till the new panchayat body is formed, the government will appoint administrators,” he said. The tenure of the present panchayats ends on June 19. The OBC commission will prepare empirical data on parameters like political backwardness, necessity for reservation and percentage of reservation for OBCs, which is required to carry out reservation of wards for panchayat elections as per a recent Supreme Court order. The SEC had recommended that the state government hold the panchayat election without OBC reservation so that the polls are held on time. “As per the Supreme Court verdict and the advocate general’s opinion, if we have to hold panchayat elections at this point, then we will have to do it without OBC reservation. We do not want to hold it in that manner. We want to give reservation to OBC as there is an OBC population of 27% in the state,” Sawant said. Advocate general Devidas Pangam had said that there is no panchayat-wise empirical data on parameters like political backwardness, necessity for reservation and percentage of reservation for OBCs, which are required to carry out reservation of wards for panchayat elections as per the SC order. Pangam said that the OBC commission will have to prepare a report on the basis of which reservation of wards will have to be done. “As far as reservation is concerned, I think the state government has no option but to go for the procedure prescribed by the SC,” the advocate general said. The SC said that the OBC reservation finalisation must be based on the triple test — one, before finalising reservation, the OBC commission should conduct a study as to whether there is a need for reservation and, if yes, how much and if this study should be conducted every time. Two, once the report is submitted, a decision has to be taken on how many wards will be reserved for OBCs and, three, all reservations should not exceed 50%.

  • Goa: Hold panchayat polls without OBC quota, SEC tells govt
  • Times of India

    Panaji: The Goa state election commission (SEC) has recommended that the state government hold the panchayat election without the OBC reservation so that the poll is held on time. The tenure of the present panchayats ends on June 19. Chief minister Pramod Sawant on Sunday told TOI, “As the Supreme Court order states that the panchayat election should be held on time, the SEC has recommended that the state government hold it without the OBC reservation.” However, Sawant said that if the state goes ahead without the OBC reservation then there are possibilities of people approaching the court, which is why reservation will be done as per the triple test for panchayats. “I have already spoken to the OBC commission to prepare a detailed report on OBC reservation,” he said. The state government on Thursday decided to seek some time from the SEC to obtain a detailed report from the OBC commission. “As per the Supreme Court verdict and advocate general’s opinion, if we have to hold panchayat elections at this point then we will have to do it without OBC reservation. We do not want to hold it in that manner. We want to give reservation to OBC as there is 27% OBC population in the state,” Sawant had said. Advocate general Devidas Pangam had said that there is no panchayat-wise empirical data on parameters like political backwardness, necessity for reservation and percentage of reservation for OBCs, which is required to carry out reservation of wards for panchayat elections as per the recent Supreme Court order. Pangam said that the OBC commission will have to prepare a report on the basis of which reservation of wards will have to be done. “As far as reservation is concerned, I think the state government has no option but to go for the procedure prescribed by the SC,” the advocate general had said. The SC has said that the OBC reservation finalisation must be based on the triple test — one, before finalising reservation, the OBC commission should conduct a study as to whether there is a need for reservation and, if yes, how much and if this study should be conducted every time. Two, once the report is submitted, a decision has to be taken on how many wards will be reserved for OBCs and, three, all reservations should not exceed 50%.

Work together for BJP to win 324 LS seats: Sawant
Times of India | 3 months ago | |
Times of India
3 months ago | |

Panaji: Chief minister Pramod Sawant on Saturday said that BJP will win 324 seats in the 2024 general election and form the next government in Delhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The party has set a target to win both the Lok Sabha seats in Goa. “Ab ki baar phir ek baar Modi sarkar and ab ki baar 324 paar. I have said 324 seats because we are going for elections in 2024. We will win 324 seats under the leadership of Modi,” Sawant said at the BJP state executive meeting. “If we want to again form the government in Delhi in 2024 then we all have to work together,” he said. The CM said that it is the joint efforts of the party and the government which lead to the third victory in the state in the assembly elections. BJP state president Sadanand Shet Tanavade on Saturday said that BJP will win both the Lok Sabha seats in Goa in upcoming general elections. “I am confident of winning both Lok Sabha seats in Goa.” Tanavade said. He said that BJP has won every election whether it is ZP, municipal or assembly on the strength of its karyakartas. “We have to also win panchayat elections on your strength. Once again in 2024 Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead the country and because of him we will get votes in Goa, but it is our responsibility to work and get the maximum number of votes. We will win the Lok Sabha seats in Goa,” Tanavade said. During the meeting, panchayats minister Mauvin Godinho told the party workers the reason behind postponing the panchayat elections, the BJP state president said.

Work together for BJP to win 324 LS seats: Sawant