Archive for ‘PM Modi’

21/02/2019

‘PM has never given, only taken’: Rahul Gandhi slams Modi for denying ‘shaheed’ status to jawans

As the country mourned the Pulwama killings, there has been an increased demand for according ‘Shaheed’ status to the martyred jawans.

SNS Web | New Delhi | 

In a fresh attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said the “jawans gave their lives but have been denied the ‘Shaheed’ status.

 

In strong words, the Congress president said the “PM has never given and only taken”.

In an indirect reference to the government allegedly supporting industrialists like Anil Ambani, as accused by the opposition, Gandhi tweeted, “Jawans give their lives but are denied the status of “Shaheed”. While this man has never given & only taken. He’s gifted 30,000Cr of their money & will live happily ever after. Welcome to Modi’s NEW INDIA”.

As the country mourned the Pulwama killings, there has been an increased demand for according ‘Shaheed’ status to the martyred jawans.

The CRPF jawans were addressed as martyrs in resolutions passed in various state assemblies to condemn the terror attack and to announce compensation for the bereaved families from the respective states.

While the Madhya Pradesh government announced compensation of Rs 1 crore, the Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand governments announced Rs 25 lakh each.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat also assured government jobs to one member from each family.

According to the set rules, the Central Government provides Rs 10 lakh as ex gratia for the death of jawans due to accidents in the course of duty or death due to terrorist acts in the line of duty. Apart from this, the wife of the dead jawan would receive a pension, which would go to parents if he is not married.

The government does not recognise the term ‘martyr’.

In December 2017, the government had informed the Central Information Commission that there was no term as ‘martyr’ or ‘shaheed’ in the army or the police. Instead, a soldier or policeman killed in action is called ‘battle casualty’ or ‘operations casualty’, respectively.

In 2016, the Ministry of Home Affairs informed the Lok Sabha that the word ‘martyr’ is not used in reference to any casualties from the Indian armed forces during battle.

Earlier in 2015 too, the Government had informed the Parliament that the term ‘shaheed’ or martyr is not defined “anywhere” and that there is no official order to accord the same to defence or paramilitary personnel.

The CAPFs like CRPF, BSF, ITBP, CISF, SSB and NSG have made representations to the Union Home Ministry that ‘shaheed’ salutation is being demanded by the personnel of these forces.

Source: The Statesman
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11/02/2019

Priyanka Gandhi on stage, Rahul says time to win Uttar Pradesh back

Rahul Gandhi,Congress president,Priyanka Gandhi Vadra
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, party general secretary (incharge of east UP) Priyanka Gandhi Vadra during a roadshow from the Chaudhary Charan Singh airport to the UPCC headquarters in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday underlined his party’s ambitions in Uttar Pradesh saying the party cannot afford to be weak in the state.

‘Congress started in UP and it cannot stay weak here. Priyanka Gandhi and Jyotiarditya Scindia will make Congress strong in UP again,’ Rahul said at headquarters in UP unit of the Congress in Lucknow at the end of a mammoth road show that his sister Priyanka launchedin her first visit to .the state sicne her appointment as c general secretary in charge of eastern U.P.

While the roadshow marked Priyanka’s formal entry into active politics, Rahul set his sight beyond the upcoming general elections to regain power in U.P.

‘Congress party has to form government in Uttar Pradesh.’

‘I respect Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, but Congress will fight with all its might in Uttar Pradesh,’ Rahul said.

The Congress won two Lok Sabha seats in U.P. in 2014.

“In every defence deal there is a clause against corruption.Narendra Modi scrapped the corruption clause to benefit Anil Ambani,” he said.

He also accused the Prime Minister of ignoring farmers and favouring industrialists.

The Congress has consistently attacked the Modi government for not addressing farm distress in the country and the issue was one of the main election planks for the grand old party in the recent assembly elections in five states.

Source: Hindustan Times

09/02/2019

After China objects to PM Modi’s Arunachal visit, MEA says state integral part

Modi’s visit was part of a series of public meetings in the region aimed at garnering support for the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of elections that are due to be held by May.

INDIA Updated: Feb 09, 2019 16:14 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Bejing
China,PM Modi,Arunachal Pradesh
Both India and China have sought to rebuild trust after an armed standoff over a stretch of the Himalayan border in 2017.(Twitter/BJP4India)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh on Saturday saw jagged exchange between China and India. China’s foreign ministry Objected to PM Modi’s Arunachal visit saying “resolutely opposes” activities of Indian leaders in the region.

Responding to China’s objection to PM Modi’s visit to the northeastern state, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the state is “an integral and inalienable part of India.” Modi’s visit was part of a series of public meetings in the region aimed at garnering support for the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of elections that are due to be held by May.

“The State of Arunachal Pradesh is an integral and inalienable part of India. Indian leaders visit Arunachal Pradesh from time to time, as they visit other parts of India… This consistent position has been conveyed to Chinese side on several occasions,” news agency ANI quoted MEA as saying.

Despite recent efforts to improve bilateral ties in both countries, disputes over the mountainous Indo-China border – which triggered a war in 1962 – and the region that China claims as southern Tibet have remained a sensitive issue.

On Saturday, India’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Both India and China have sought to rebuild trust after an armed standoff over a stretch of the Himalayan border in 2017.

Source: Hindusatn Times

09/02/2019

Rumours being spread over Citizenship Bill, says PM Modi amid protests, inaugurates projects in Assam

PM Modi said the NDA government was ready to fully protect the culture, resources and the language of the Northeast states.

SNS Web | New Delhi | 

Amid angry protests, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said huge misinformation campaign has been carried out over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill while addressing a rally in Assam’s Amingaon.

He further said the NDA government was ready to fully protect the culture, resources and the language of the Northeast states.

In an indirect attack at the opposition, PM Modi said: “false rumours about the citizenship bill are being spread by people sitting in AC rooms”.

Defending the Bill, he said we must “understand the pain of people forced to flee their homes and leave behind all they own”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday fired a fresh salvo at the Opposition accusing the Congress of “ignoring the real heroes of India”.

His remarks came close on the heels of Bhupen Hazarika being conferred the Bharat Ratna posthumously.

“I pay my tributes to Dr Bhupen Hazarika. He raised his voice for the deprived and the poor,” PM Modi said.

Repeating his BC and AD jibe, PM Modi said, “I want to ask Congress, why did they fail to confer Bharat Ratnas to those who really deserved it. Why did they ignore real ratnas of India.”

The prime minister had earlier in the Lok Sabha said, “Our friends in Congress see things in two time periods. BC- Before Congress, when nothing happened. AD- After dynasty- where everything happened.”

Earlier, PM Modi inaugurated the Numaligarh Refinery Ltd’s bio-diesel refinery and the Barauni-Guwahati gas pipeline.

He also laid the foundation stone of a six-lane bridge over river Brahmaputra.

“Today is a new chapter in the history of the Northeast,” PM Modi said after the inauguration.

“Assam is on the path to progress,” says PM Modi. “We have launched projects worth thousands of crores.”

A 729 km gas pipeline from Barauni – Guwahati passing through Bihar, West Bengal, Sikkim and Assam will also be laid by the prime minister.

PM Modi kicked off his two-day visit of the Northeast on Friday evening.

Modi was shown black flags in at least two places on Saturday for the second consecutive day in Assam over the contentious Citizenship Bill.

Modi, who was on his way to the airport from the Raj Bhawan in Guwahati, was shown black flags by protesters belonging to the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chhatra Parishad (AJYCP) at Machkhowa area.

Minutes later, a group of students showed black flags to the prime minister when his huge convoy was passing through the Gauhati University at Jalukbari area.

On Friday evening, Modi was shown black flags in at least four different locations as soon as he landed in Guwahati and was travelling from the airport to the Raj Bhawan to spend the night.

While hundreds of Gauhati University students waved black flags at Modi in Jalukbari area, activists of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and AJYCP did the same at Adabari and Fancy Bazar areas.

Members of the All Assam Students Union (AASU) were also seen waving black flags at the prime minister and shouting slogans as his convoy crossed the AASU headquarters on the Mahatma Gandhi Road at Uzan Bazar.

Slogans like ‘Modi go back’, ‘Scrap Citizenship Amendment Bill’, ‘Joi Aai Asom (Glory to Mother Assam)’ was heard.

This is Modi’s third visit to Assam since December 25, 2018, when he inaugurated the Bogibeel bridge. In his second visit on January 4 this year, the prime minister had told a rally in Silchar that the Citizenship Bill would be passed by Parliament soon, triggering widespread protests in the state.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India even if they do not possess any document.

The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha during the Winter Session on January 8 and has been awaiting Rajya Sabha nod.

Later in the day, PM Modi is scheduled to fly to Tripura to address a public rally.

Source: The Statesman
06/02/2019

Stray cows add to Modi’s farmer woes as Indian election looms

KAKRIPUR/MAHABAN, India (Reuters) – As night fell on the bucolic northern Indian hamlet of Mahaban, Gopi Chand Yadav gathered blankets and a flashlight to spend the night sitting on a wooden platform in his field. His task: to use bamboo sticks to ward off stray cattle from intruding and eating a maturing mustard crop.

Like Yadav, many thousands of farmers stay awake to guard their farms over a cold winter or face losing their crops to the cattle – a double whammy for growers already reeling from a plunge in Indian crop prices.

While stray cows ambling around towns and villages have always been a feature of life in rural India, farmers say their number has increased sharply in recent years to the extent that they have become a menace, and blame the policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government.

Protecting cows – considered sacred to Hindus – was one of the measures meant to shore up support in the heavily populated, Hindi-speaking belt across northern India that has been a heartland of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP). Instead, it is creating a backlash, even among Hindu farmers.

“We already had enough problems and now the government has created one more,” said octogenarian farmer Baburao Saini from Kakripur village, about 85 kilometres (50 miles) from New Delhi. “For the first time, we’ve been forced to stay in the fields to protect our crops.”

More than 50 farmers Reuters spoke to in Mahaban and nine other villages in Uttar Pradesh state said they would think twice before voting for Modi’s BJP in the next general election, due by May. The cattle issue and low farm prices are major reasons behind their disillusionment with a party that most say they voted for in the last election in 2014.

Modi swept Uttar Pradesh at that poll, winning 73 of 80 seats in India’s most populous state, with rural voters swayed by a promise of higher crop prices, and as Hindu farmers supported the BJP amid tensions with the minority Muslim community.

COW PROTECTION

Modi is trying hard to claw back support among India’s 263 million farmers and their many millions of dependents after the BJP lost power in December to the opposition Congress in three big northern states where agriculture is a mainstay.

Indian farmers keep cows to produce milk, cheese and butter, but to harm or kill a cow, especially for food, is considered taboo by most Hindus.

Most states in India have long outlawed cow slaughter, but after coming to power in 2014 the BJP ratcheted up its distaste for trade in cattle, launching a crackdown on unlicensed abattoirs in Uttar Pradesh and on cattle smuggling nationwide.

At the same time, a wave of attacks on trucks carrying cattle by Hindu vigilante groups has scared away traders, most of whom are Muslims, bringing to a halt the trade even in bullocks, which are not considered sacred. Rising sales of tractors and increasing mechanisation mean that more animals are redundant for use in farming.

The farmers Reuters spoke to said they revered cows as most devout Hindus would, but a sudden halt in the trade of cattle had hit the rural economy. In their view, the government should come up with more cow shelters and let cattle traders deal in other animals without fear of attack.

“The government has only enforced the laws by closing down unlicensed abattoirs and cracking down on cattle smuggling,” said BJP spokesman Gopal Krishna Agarwal, who added that he runs a cow shelter of 1,300 cattle. “We’re not trying to hurt either any community or the rural economy.”

CROP TRAMPLED

Fodder prices have gone up by more than a third in the past year and most farmers cannot afford to keep cows after they stop producing milk, said farmer Rajesh Pahalwan as he smoked a hookah pipe in the village of Manoharpur. Six farmers sitting with him mainly nodded in agreement.

In India, the world’s biggest milk producer, about 3 million cattle become unproductive every year. In the past, Hindu farmers would sell unproductive cows to Muslim traders and about 2 million of these would end up smuggled to Bangladesh for meat and leather. But that trade has now been throttled by the government crackdown, trade and industry officials say.

That has led to many unproductive cattle being abandoned, farmers said, but governments – both state and federal – have failed to construct new shelters, leaving rising numbers of stray cattle that are feeding on crops, or even garbage.

“The government clearly did not think of alternatives before putting these curbs in place,” said farmer Deepak Chaudhary, who grows wheat on the outskirts of Mathura, considered to be the birthplace of the Hindu God Krishna. “As Hindus, we treat cows as sacred but these unwarranted measures have upended the economics of farming.”

The government did provide some relief in its interim budget last week as it announced a cow welfare programme costing 7.50 billion rupees (80.79 million pounds) in the year beginning April.

But there are hardly any “adequate measures to rehabilitate” cattle, said Fauzan Alvi, vice-president of the All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Association.

“Forget about cows, we cannot sell even a single animal to even our relatives thanks to cow vigilante groups which are aided and abetted by the BJP,” said the wheat farmer Chaudhary.

Modi has in the past condemned violence by cow vigilantes, but critics and opposition politicians say some of the right-wing Hindu groups involved have links to his party, a charge the BJP denies.

Nearly 85 percent of India’s farmers own less than 2 hectares (5 acres) of land, so even a relatively small area damaged has a big impact on their livelihood.

Only two weeks ago, some cattle ravaged an acre of wheat grown by farmer Chandra Pal in the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh.

“My investment went down the drain after some stray cattle trampled and ate up the crop,” he said.

Many farmers in Uttar Pradesh are now using barbed wire to stop animals from entering their farms, but that is expensive.

“We have been at the receiving end of anti-farmer policies of the government and the problem of stray cattle is just another blow to us,” said farmer Amar Chand, from Maholi village who voted for Modi in 2014. “Unlike the previous general election, farmers are not solidly behind Modi, who’s on shaky ground this time round.”

Source: Reuters

04/02/2019

CBI vs Kolkata Police: Mamata Banerjee addresses farmers from protest venue, accuses PM Modi of taking away democratic rights

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee continued her dharna against the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) move against the Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection with ponzi scam cases.

SNS Web | New Delhi | 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee continued her dharna against the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) move against the Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection with ponzi scam cases.

Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah of unleashing a state of “emergency” in the country, Banerjee, the chief of Trinamool Congress (TMC), said on Monday that her protest is a Satyagraha and she will continue till the country is saved.

Banerjee has been on a sit-in at a makeshift dais at Dharamtala area near Metro Channel of the city since 9 pm on Saturday.

“The nation can see but they can’t speak out of fear,” she said, further accusing the Centre of playing vendetta politics.

“The Modi govt has taken away the democratic rights of the people,” Banerjee said, adding, “Centre is targeting opposition.”

Banerjee, who was scheduled meet farmers today at the Netaji Indoor Stadium, addressed them from the protest site over Facebook Live.

“The Modi government has sucked the blood of the farmers. Around 12,000 farmers have committed suicide,” she alleged.

Banerjee said that her government works for farmers’ welfare.

Commenting on crop insurance schemes for the farmers, Banerjee claimed that the state government has done more than the Modi government in this regard.

“Modi says he has sent money. He hasn’t. Eighty per cent of the money contributed into the scheme is of the state government. We pay the share of both the state government and that of the farmers. We have given Rs 600 crores. We have given Kisan credit card to 70 lakh farmers,” Banerjee said.

Further hitting at the Modi government, Banerjee said that the Modi government, after 5 years, says that farmer income will double by 2022.

“I say with pride, we have tripled the income already. The West Bengal govt is way ahead,” she told the gathering and the farmers.

“Those who try to insult Bengal should know that we consider work as dharma and karma. Doing lip-service is not enough. I will appeal to the farmer brothers and sisters to not allow anyone to exploit your weaknesses for political gains,” she said.

Opposition support

Banerjee’s sit-in, now dubbed ‘Save The Constitution’, received wide support from anti-BJP parties except a few from across the country.

Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav said that Banerjee is right when she says that the BJP is using CBI to target political opponents.

“Besides West Bengal, such things have been heard from other states too. BJP and Centre have started misusing CBI as elections are approaching. Not only I, not only Samajwadi Party, but all political parties are saying this,” he said on Monday.

“There was CBI row, centre was scared of a CBI director, now they are trying to scare everyone using CBI. Who has misused? The institutions. If someone has politicised the institutions, it is BJP,” Yadav said.

The former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister recently formed an alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to take on the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. He was also among the leaders present at the mega anti-BJP rally organised by Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata on 19 January.

Extending support of the National Conference (NC), Farooq Abdullah said, “Her (Mamata Banerjee) allegation is right. This country is in danger as its becoming dictatorial. They (Central govt) are not masters of this country, people are.”

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav and DMK leader M K Stalin were among leaders who expressed their solidarity with Banerjee in tweets.

Kejriwal called Modi-Shah duo’s action is against democracy.

“Spoke to Mamta didi and expressed solidarity. Modi-Shah duo’s action is completely bizarre and anti-democracy,” Kejriwal said.

Yadav, who also spoke to Banerjee, extended RJD’s support, “BJP has not only venomous and nefarious agenda against opposition leaders but Indian Administrative Service and Police Officers. Might visit Kolkata tomorrow,” he said on Sunday night.

Stalin said he stood with Banerjee in her fight to protect the federal structure of this country and to save democracy. “The independence of every institution has been compromised under this fascist BJP Government.”

Read More: Rahul, oppn leaders extend support to Mamata’s dharna against Centre; CPI (M) calls it ‘drama’

Congress president Rahul Gandhi too threw his weight behind Banerjee.

Sitaram Yechury, CPI(M) general secretary, said that corruption cases against TMC government in chit fund scam have been public for years but the Modi government chose to stay quiet as the top mastermind of the scam joined BJP.

“It does a drama to act now, after 5 years, and TMC leadership responds by staging a drama to protect its corrupt. This drama in Kolkata by BJP and TMC is not a fight for any principle but only to save their corrupt and hide their corruption. CPI(M) has fought both these undemocratic, corrupt, communal and dictatorial regimes in the Centre and the state and will continue to do so,” he said.

CBI vs Kolkata Police: How it began

The showdown began when CBI officials reached official residence of the police commissioner in the evening to question him in connection with the ponzi scam cases. Reports indicate that the probe agency sleuths were spotted in the vicinity in the afternoon, alerting the police who reached the Commissioner’s residence immediately.

Kolkata Police officials inquired if the 40-odd CBI officers had the documents required to question the CP.

After preventing the CBI officials from entering the residence of Commissioner Kumar, the police whisked away some of the sleuths to the Shakespeare Sarani police station for further discussions.

More CBI men arrived at the Loudon Street home of Rajeev Kumar and a commotion ensued. Some CBI men were then bundled into police jeeps and taken to the police station.

It was after this incident that Mamata Banerjee began a sit-in in front of the Metro Cinema to protest “insults” faced at the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah. She accused both the BJP leaders of organising a “coup” on West Bengal.

The CBI on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking directions to Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to cooperate with the investigation.

Representing CBI, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought directions to Kumar to cooperate with the investigation and surrender all the evidence related to the chit fund case, stating that the top cop was a “potential accused”.

Read More: Kolkata Police chief a ‘potential accused’ in chit fund case, says CBI; SC to hear matter tomorrow

The CBI has claimed that Kumar has been instrumental in causing destruction of evidence and obstructing justice.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the Lok Sabha that the CBI action was initiated after the Supreme Court ordered an investigation into Saradha chit fund case.

“The Police Commissioner was summoned many times but he did not appear. West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi has summoned Chief Secretary and Director General of Police and has asked them to take immediate action to resolve the situation,” Singh told the House.

Read More: Governor Tripathi speaks to Rajnath Singh; agency to move Supreme Court

Banerjee is expected to hold a scheduled cabinet meeting at the protest venue itself. The events were expected to cast a shadow on the Budget Session of Parliament on Monday with the opposition expected to vociferously raise the issue.

Source: The Statesman
03/02/2019

Seemanchal Express tragedy | Rail fracture may have caused derailment; PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi express grief

The Railways suspect rail fracture as the probable cause of the derailment of the Delhi-bound Seemanchal Express on Sunday morning that left at least seven dead and scores injured.

SNS Web | New Delhi | 

The Railways suspect rail fracture as the probable cause of the derailment of the Delhi-bound Seemanchal Express on Sunday morning that left at least seven dead and scores injured.

“Prima facie cause of Seemanchal Express accident is rail fracture of CMS  X-Ing at Barauni end of station yard,” Rajesh Kumar, the Chief Public Relations Officer of the East-Central Railway, was quoted as saying by ANI.

The exact reason behind the accident will be unearthed after the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) concludes its investigation into the derailment.

Eleven coaches of the train went off the rails before dawn near Sahadai Buzurg in Vaishali district at a time when most passengers were deep in sleep.

Kumar said that the 12 unaffected coaches are being moved to Hajipur where more coaches will be attached before the train moves to its original destination at Anand Vihar Terminal railway station (ANVT) near New Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar were among those who expressed grief at the loss of lives.

“Deeply anguished by the loss of lives due to the derailment of coaches of the Seemanchal Express. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly. Railways, NDRF, and local authorities are providing all possible assistance in the wake of the accident,” wrote PM Modi on Twitter.

Narendra Modi

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also directed the state administration to provide all assistance in the rescue and relief operation.

He announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the injured.

A statement from Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s office said that the Minister is in touch with Railway Board members and GM ECR regarding the accident.

The Indian Railways also announced that ex gratia Rs 5 lakh each will be given to the kin of the deceased while Rs 1 lakh would be given to the grievously injured and Rs 50,000 to those who have suffered simple injuries. The Railways will also bear medical expenses.

Read More: Seven killed as 11 coaches of Delhi-bound train derail in Bihar

Rajesh Kumar said that one general coach, one AC coach (B3), three sleeper coaches (S8, S9, S10) and four more coaches derailed between 3-4 am near Shadai Buzurg railway station in Vaishali district.

The train, number 12487, was running at full speed when it derailed.

Officials fear that the death toll might increase as many are still trapped inside the derailed coaches.

Locals were the first to respond to the accident site. People were seen trying to rescue those trapped inside the derailed coaches before a massive rescue operation was launched involving personnel from NDRF and police.

NDRF personnel went in through broken windows to scan the insides of the overturned coaches for those trapped. Sniffer dogs, too, were deployed to help in the rescue mission.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
The teams of doctors were rushed from nearby Sonpur and Barauni.
The Railways has also issued help line numbers – Sonpur 06158221645, Hajipur 06224272230 and Barauni 06279232222.
Source: The Statesman
02/02/2019

Three women who could be Modi’s biggest nightmare in India’s election

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Three powerful women politicians, each from a very different section of Indian society, may pose a big threat to the chances of Prime Minister Narendra Modi winning a second term in a general election due by May.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, part of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that has ruled India for much of the time since its independence from the British in 1947, joined the struggle in January, when the opposition Congress party made her its face in the nation’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh.

Two other senior female politicians – the firebrand chief minister of West Bengal state, Mamata Banerjee, and Mayawati, a former Uttar Pradesh chief minister – are also plotting to unseat Modi’s ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition by forming big opposition groupings, though there is no firm agreement between them as yet.

“The opposition has more powerful women leaders than the NDA, and therefore they will be able to carry conviction with voters generally, and with women voters, in particular,” said Yashwant Sinha, 81, a former finance minister who quit Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which dominates the NDA, last year.

“They should be very worried, especially after the defeat in the three major Hindi heartland states,” he said, referring to BJP’s losses in recent state elections.

The entry of Priyanka – she is usually referred to by just her first name – into the political fray drew a gushing reaction from much of the Indian media.

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There were pictures of elated supporters dancing, a lot of talk of the 47-year-old’s resemblance to her grandmother, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and comments about her gifts as a speaker able to connect with voters. That contrasts with her brother, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who in the past has been criticized for lacking the common touch.

TRIPLE CHALLENGE

The other two women seen threatening Modi’s grip on power have a lot more experience than Priyanka, and both could be seen as potential prime ministerial candidates in a coalition government.

Mayawati, a 63-year-old former teacher who goes by just the one name, last month formed an alliance between her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) – which mainly represents Hinduism’s lowest caste, the Dalits – and its once bitter foes, the Samajwadi Party that tends to draw support from other lower castes and Muslims.

Then there is 64-year-old Banerjee, who has twice been railways minister in federal governments. Last month, Banerjee – who built her All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) party after leaving Congress in 1997 – organised an anti-BJP rally in Kolkata that attracted hundreds of thousands.

Party colleagues of the three women leaders said they were not available for comment.

To be sure, Modi remains, for now, the most popular leader in the country, opinion polls show.

Modi also cannot be accused of ignoring women’s issues during his first term. He has launched a government campaign – Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, or “Save the Daughter, Educate the Daughter” – and called for the eradication of female foeticide. His campaigns to provide toilets and subsidised gas cylinders for poorer Indians are often promoted as ways to empower women.

He has six women in his 26-strong cabinet, though a lot of power is centralised with Modi and a couple of senior male lieutenants.

The BJP said it would seek votes on the basis of achievements under Modi and the opposition did not have a “positive alternative to the government, and its activities”.

PERSONAL TIES

Congress has said it wants to form a post-poll partnership with Mayawati’s BSP and SP alliance, though it will be fighting against it in 78 seats. The alliance will not contest two Gandhi strongholds won multiple times by Rahul and his mother Sonia.

Mayawati told a press conference announcing the alliance with the SP that Congress was not part of it because they did not think “there would be much benefit in having them with us before the election”.

The BSP, however, backs Congress-led governments in the northern states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

There is no formal alliance between Banerjee and Congress, though she does know Rahul and Priyanka.

Dinesh Trivedi, a former federal minister and a close aide to Banerjee, said she enjoys a good personal relationship with Sonia Gandhi, the matriarch of the dynasty and a former Congress president, and so working with her two children would not be a problem.

“In terms of experience, Mamata Banerjee is far ahead,” Trivedi said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi would look at Mamata Banerjee as somebody who could really inspire them.”

The strength of Priyanka, Mayawati and Banerjee as a potential opposition alliance is that they can appeal to different parts of the electorate.

Two Congress sources said the formal entry into politics of Priyanka could help rejuvenate the party in Uttar Pradesh, where it is a marginal player. Coming from what is India’s first family, they said she could appeal to upper caste voters in the state who typically vote for the pro-business BJP.

A Congress leader close to the Gandhis said she would attract women, young people, and floating voters.

Priyanka is far from a political neophyte, having supported her brother and mother during previous election campaigns. She has also experienced political and personal tragedy, as Rahul Gandhi stressed in a speech last week.

“You have to understand my relationship with my sister – we have been through a hell of a lot together,” he said.

“Everybody is like ‘look, you come from this illustrious family, and everything is easy’. Actually it’s not so easy. My father was assassinated, my grandmother was assassinated, huge political battles, wins in political battles, losses in political battles.”

“NATIONAL LEADER”

BSP spokesman Sudhindra Bhadoria said Mayawati’s gender did not matter.

“She has managed a party from scratch to this level. The important fact is that she has organised large numbers, both men and women, Dalits, other backward castes, the poor, minorities,” Bhadoria said. “I don’t fit them in the straightjacket of male-female. I think she’s a national leader.”

She is regarded as ambitious. A U.S. diplomatic cable in 2008, among many thousands leaked by Wikileaks two years later, described her as “first-rate egomaniac” who “is obsessed with becoming prime minister”.

But Mayawati has also been credited with empowering oppressed lower caste Hindus.

Banerjee, who defeated a 34-year-old communist government in West Bengal in an election in 2011, is known for her streetwise political skills and portrays herself as a secular leader in a country polarised under the BJP.

Source: Reuters

02/02/2019

Bengal won’t tolerate anarchy anymore, will uproot Mamata govt: PM Modi in Durgapur

The Prime Minister also batted for the Hindu Bangladeshi migrants in a bid to woo the voters ahead of the Lok Sabha polls that are due this May.

SNS Web | New Delhi | 

Addressing a rally in Durgapur, PM Modi said the ruling Trinamool Congress was not bothered about the development of the state with major projects stuck for over a long period of time.

“Projects worth Rs 90,000 crore are moving at snail’s pace because of the attitude of the state government. They are not cooperating with the Centre, they have an anti-development approach,” PM Modi said while referring to infrastructure development in West Bengal.

He said while the state government is busy crushing the dreams of the poor and the middle class, the Central government is trying to deliver a new flight to those dreams.

He said the people of Bengal will oust and uproot the government led by Mamata Banerjee, which does not care about the dignity of democracy.

The PM further said the Mamata government has strangled democracy adding that the people of Bengal will no longer tolerate anarchy.

“Ruling TMC is certain to go, I can see clearly that Bengal will usher in parivartan (change),” he said.

Referring to clashes on Friday night in Durgapur, PM Modi said TMC has no respect for the law.

Clashes erupted between workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Trinamool Congress late on Friday in Durgapur.

The clashes erupted after TMC workers allegedly attacked a BJP cadre and pulled down hoardings and banners announcing PM Modi’s visit.

Read | Clashes erupt between BJP, TMC workers ahead of PM Modi rally in WB’s Durgapur

Lauding the BJP workers in Bengal, he said their efforts and sacrifice would not go in vain.

“Your fervour is giving Didi sleepless nights, and that’s why she is adopting the ways of the Left,” PM added.

Lauding the Interim budget 2019, PM Modi said the budget illustrates “Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas”, adding that it was just a trailer.

“The budget after the elections will portray the contours of a New India,” he said.

The Prime Minister also batted for the Hindu Bangladeshi migrants in a bid to woo the voters ahead of the Lok Sabha polls that are due this May.

Earlier in the day, PM Modi kicked off the Bharatiya Janata Party’s campaign in West Bengal for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections with a public rally in Thakurnagar.

Read | No need to pay ‘syndicate’ tax: PM Modi woos voters in WB’s Thakurnagar ahead of LS polls

In a bid to woo the people, the Prime Minister said the people will not be required to pay any ‘syndicate tax’ and the money to the farmers will be directly paid to their bank accounts.

The rallies are being held at a time when the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal has upped the ante against the BJP-headed government at the Centre and has given the call to oust the PM Modi government in the next General Election.

Apart from PM Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and many other top leaders are also expected to attend several ‘Ganatantra Bachao’ rallies across the state.

Source: The Statesman
27/01/2019

PM Modi urges youth of Tamil Nadu to reject forces of negativity

At a public event in Madurai on Sunday, the PM urged the youth of the southern state to reject the “forces of negativity”.

SNS Web | New Delhi | 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi slammed the opposition parties in Tamil Nadu saying that they were busy creating an atmosphere of mistrust to serve their own interests.

At a public event in Madurai on Sunday, the PM urged the youth of the southern state to reject the “forces of negativity”.

“It is unfortunate that an atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust is being created by a few people in Tamil Nadu, to serve their own selfish interests,” the PM said without taking any names in the presence of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Governor Banwarilal Purohit.

“I urge all of you to remain vigilant against such negativity and call upon the people of Madurai, and the youth of Tamil Nadu, to reject the forces of negativity,” the PM added.

The PM assured the people of the state that the 10 per cent reservation for upper castes will not impact Dalits, Tribals and OBCs, who are already availing benefits of reservation.

“I want to talk to you about one more issue. This is relating to the Devendra Kula Vellalar community and ensuring justice as well as opportunities for them,” he said.

“The issue came to me and I’m fully sensitive towards their demands,” Modi added, referring to the community’s demand to be excluded from the Scheduled Caste (SC) list.

The PM said that the Union Government is taking effective steps to rid the country of corruption and nepotism.

“Any person who has cheated or looted the country, shall be brought to justice,” he said.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the main opposition party in Tamil Nadu, has extended support to the ‘grand alliance’ which aims to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in the country.

DMK chief MK Stalin had on 19 January attended a mega anti-BJP rally in West Bengal on the invitation of the state’s Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee. Stalin had then urged the people to vote BJP and PM Modi out of power.

Reports say that the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) is apparently in talks with the BJP for an alliance ahead of the elections.

Protests were organised against the Prime Minister in Madurai by opposition parties.

MDMK chief Vaiko was seen leading a protest with black flags earlier today. The DMK, on the other hand, targeted the PM on social media.

A Saravanan, DMK MLA, accused the PM of never offering any solace when Tamil Nadu was in distress. He said that the party is opposing the PM’s visit because of the majoritarian politics of the BJP.

Before his address, the PM laid the foundation stone for an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Madurai and also inaugurated super speciality blocks at three medical colleges.

The 750-bedded AIIMS will cost Rs 1,264 crore and is expected to go on stream in 2022. It will have a capacity of 100 MBBS seats and 60 for B.Sc. (Nursing).

Speaking at the function, Palaniswami thanked PM Modi for setting up the AIIMS soon after the Centre had announced its plans to set up one in each state.

Source: The Statesman
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