Ahmedabad Mirror | 1 week ago | 21-06-2022 | 06:36 pm
Asserting that the BJP government at the Centre has failed totally in fulfilling its promises and commitments and misusing various agencies as weapons against them, at least a dozen opposition parties on Tuesday announced a consensus candidate for the President and appealed to the rest to support him.After announcing the name of former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha soon after the opposition parties’ meeting concluded on Tuesday, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, “India is passing through difficult times. The BJP government at the Centre has failed totally in fulfilling its promises and commitments. Furthermore, it is misusing the Enforcement Directorate, CBI, Election Commission, Governor’s office and other institutions as weapons against opposition parties and state governments run by them.”“Therefore, we assure the people of India that the unity of opposition parties, which has been forged for the Presidential election in a spirit of equality, common commitments and consensus building through dialogues, will be further consolidated in the months ahead,” he said.Stating that ideally, a consensus candidate of the government and the opposition should be elected to the highest office of the republic, Ramesh said, “However, the initiative for this should have been taken by the government. The Modi government made no serious effort in this direction. We, therefore, appeal to all the parties to support the candidature of Sinha so that the nation can have a worthy Rashtrapati elected unopposed.”Ramesh described Sinha as an able administrator, accomplished Parliamentarian, and an acclaimed Union Minister of Finance and External Affairs, and someone who is “eminently qualified to uphold the secular and democratic character of the Indian republic and its constitutional values.”Hours ahead of this meeting, Sinha had resigned from Trinamool Congress (TMC) leading to speculations about his name being finalized for the President’s post as opposition candidate.The meeting was called by NCP top leader Sharad Pawar and attended by leaders from the Congress, TMC, Samajwadi Party, CPI, CPI-M, National Conference, and RJD among others.On June 15, a similar meeting was called by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee to, what she had described as an effort “to build consensus on a joint opposition candidate.” However, Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) had skipped the meeting.The voting for the Presidential poll is scheduled to be held on July 18 and counting to be held on July 21. In an electoral college of around 10.86 lakh votes for the Presidential polls, the BJP and its alliance partners in the NDA are a little short of the halfway mark.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on Saturday lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP even as he lent support to Yashwant Sinha, the opposition’s presidential candidate, at the latter’s meet-and-greet programme with Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leaders.Urging TRS MPs and MLAs to ensure that a deserving candidate wins, KCR said, “Weigh the two candidates and vote after thinking. It will bring a qualitative change.”He also accused the Centre of killing democracy in the country, and using constitutional bodies to harass those who disagree. “What the Modi administration is doing is successfully killing democracy every day, throttling the federal system of India…toppling governments which do not toe their line. One Union minister said that like Maharashtra, they will pull down the Telangana government…we are ready. If our government falls, we will be free to bring down the BJP government at the Centre. For 60 years, Telangana society has fought for a separate state and we are prepared for another struggle,” he said.The chief minister also hit out at the Prime Minister, accusing him of lowering the image of the country before the world. Saying that the actions of the Modi government and BJP functionaries have destroyed India’s image in the international community, KCR asked the PM to reply to the allegation that it was due to his pressure on the Sri Lankan government that a power project contract was given to an Indian industrialist. If the Prime Minister did not reply, the allegations were true, KCR said. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the 15th PM of India and in the terms of the previous 14 PMs, never has India’s image been affected,” he said.The chief minister alleged that as per the Centre’s coal policy, coal was being imported at a steep price of Rs 30,000 while Indian coal was cheaper. “States are being forced to purchase the imported coal because it is being imported by the PM’s industrialist friend. That is why I am saying he is not a PM but has become a salesperson,” KCR said, adding that PM Modi’s policies and promises were fooling 1.5 billion people of the country. “Have you fulfilled even one promise that you have made to the people? Even if you search with a torchlight, you will not find one,” KCR said.LIVE: My interaction with MPs and MLAs of TRS https://t.co/7KBR8tI4v7— Yashwant Sinha (@YashwantSinha) July 2, 2022Criticising the Centre’s attitude towards farmers, KCR said that the Modi government had to face humiliation in front of agitating farmers and had to repeal the farm laws. “The PM and BJP leaders have vilified the farmers, even calling them Khalistanis and terrorists. Eventually, you had to bow down to the farmers. Seven hundred farmers died during the agitation but you did not express any sadness or mercy for them,” he said.KCR also accused the Prime Minister of failing the country during the Covid pandemic. “It was the biggest calamity since Independence and the PM failed to handle it. Lakhs of people died unnecessarily. Lakhs and crores of people had to walk on the roads. The Centre declined to give trains for free. Modi swears by river Ganga but instead of people immersing the ashes, bodies of Covid victims were pushed into rivers,” he said.The Telangana chief minister said that the country had fared badly on all indexes due to the Prime Minister’s failed policies.“The nation is watching and demanding answers. Modi may be under the false impression that he will be a permanent PM. Political change will happen,” KCR said, asking the Prime Minister to reply to all the allegations in his speech at Parade Ground on Sunday evening.Referring to the Prime Minister’s visit to Houston and his support to former US President Donald Trump, KCR asked if Modi knew the difference between US presidential elections and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.Meanwhile, addressing the TRS representatives, Yashwant Sinha said that the presidential election was being held at an extraordinary time. “We all know what is happening in the country. Intellectuals are saying that the nation is collapsing, and that it is why this election is so important. I am fortunate to have the support of TRS,” he said.Earlier, the chief minister and his Cabinet colleagues went to Begumpet airport to receive Sinha. The TRS had declared its support to Sinha’s candidature on June 27.
On September 12, 2011, when the Supreme Court had sent the complaint filed by Zakia Jafri against then chief minister Narendra Modi and 62 others back to the Metropolitan Magistrate’s court in Ahmedabad without issuing directions, Modi had tweeted “God is Great”. A few days later, on his 62nd birthday, he launched the ‘Sadbhavna’ fasts, meeting people from all faiths in different districts.As Prime Minister, Modi has chosen not to react to the verdict of a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court on the same complaint, which upheld the clean chit to his administration for alleged role in “the larger conspiracy” related to the 2002 Gujarat riots.However, the BJP has been in celebratory mode. All its top leaders almost immediately issued statements welcoming the judgment, while condemning the role played by activist Teesta Setalvad, retired DGP R B Sreekumar, former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt and others in “defaming” Modi who was the then CM of Gujarat. State chief C R Paatil called Setalvad a “Congress puppet”, and accused the three of “fabricating evidence” to “frame” Modi.A day later, Union Home Minister Amit Shah gave an interview to ANI solely centred around the Gujarat riots, repeating the charges against a “triad of media, political parties and NGOs”, and suggesting even the courts had been “swayed” due to their campaign. Hours later, Setalvad and Sreekumar were arrested on charges of forgery, criminal conspiracy etc, on an FIR that extensively quoted the Supreme Court order. Bhatt, who is serving a life term in another case, was also booked on the same charges.While the BJP’s stand publicly is that the riots order won’t be made a poll issue, the party is set to celebrate it as “a moral victory”. A lawyer actively associated with the BJP, who also represented some of the accused in the 2002 riot cases, said: “As a lawyer, I knew how witnesses were being tutored and many innocent people were framed and faced jail terms. This judgment will pave the way for justice, against those who framed Modiji.”The lawyer added that the Court order as well as arrests of Setalvad and Sreekumar would also send out a message to those party supporters “falsely” accused in riot cases. “Back then, the party was unable to check their persecution,” he said.The BJP especially expects a boost for those BJP leaders closely tied to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. The Godhra train burning, in which kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya as part of the campaign were killed, is seen as the trigger for the 2002 riots.For those in the Ram temple campaign, this is the second big Court endorsement after the Supreme Court in 2019 gave the go-ahead for the shrine in Ayodhya.Only one big BJP leader was convicted in the riots, who was also acquitted later. Maya Kodnani was sentenced for the Naroda Patiya violence, one of the biggest massacres of 2002, by a Supreme Court-appointed special court. Since she was acquitted by the High Court, Kodnani is again a presence at the party office at Shree Kamalam.Trial is on in only one more 2002 case under the apex court’s scrutiny, the Naroda Gam deaths. Kodnani is also on trial in this apart from Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi. In its order, the Supreme Court set aside the Tehelka sting operation that had caught Babu Bajrangi bragging about the killings.The Congress’s half-measures on the Supreme Court order – first choosing cautiousness, then speaking out after criticism – won’t help the party’s cause in a state where it is in a direct fight with the BJP.Since 2002, the Assembly elections in Gujarat have been largely polarised on communal lines, with the BJP winning one election after another. Only in 2017 did the Congress show some revival spark, though that is now also seen as snuffed out in face of the AAP’s fledgling competition.The BJP has further put the Congress on the defensive over the Supreme Court order, by alleging the hand of Congress president Sonia Gandhi in propping up Setalvad.Asked how important the Supreme Court judgment was for the BJP, C R Paatil told The Indian Express: “The judgment is important not only for Gujarat, but for the entire country. It is very dangerous in a democracy that some political party hatches such conspiracy or gets it hatched or supports it, by which its rival can get capital punishment.”On whether it will help the party electorally in Gujarat or not, Paatil said: “It is the biggest victory for us that Modi saheb has got a clean chit after such a long struggle. If you ask electorally, we are going to win (the state Assembly elections); it does not matter whether the judgment came now or afterwards. We are going to win because we are doing people’s work, we are connected with the people.”A senior BJP leader, who did not want to be identified, said: “Our party will definitely gain from this development. Narendrabhai and the party as a whole have faced a lot of stress due to these false allegations. Now, sympathy will be in favour of Narendrabhai among people. They will realise that he (Modi) was personally targeted and the entire state of Gujarat was defamed.”According to this leader, the order has ensured that the coming Assembly elections are fought solely on the issue of development. “Narendrabhai has set the tradition of fighting elections on the issues of development. Coming elections will also be fought on the same lines,” said the leader.Indicating the line the party is set to take, one also adopted by Shah in his interview, a senior office-bearer said: “Narendrabhai has always respected the law. He did not act against any of these people who hatched conspiracies (against him). Being the Chief Minister, he could have easily got an FIR registered against them. But he has set a benchmark for respecting the process of law.”The party leader also said that the cases against Setalvad, Sreekumar and Bhatt’s had been registered by the Gujarat government as per the direction of the Supreme Court. “The only gain for our party due to the Court order is that our stand has been vindicated. Our party is not going to make it an election issue and will stick to the politics of development.”
A candidate contesting the panchayat election in Madhya Pradesh for the sarpanch’s post was booked under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act for using a dog during campaigning to defame the rival candidate, police said on Monday.The candidate Mukesh Darbar, who is contesting the panchayat election at a village in Khandwa district, put up a banner with a photo of his opponent Divyaditya Shah on his pet dog and took the animal out on the streets in Khandwa district.A video surfaced on the social media showing the poster put on the dog walking on the streets.The police took action after the candidate whose photo was put on the animal lodged a complaint alleging that the act was to defame him, a police official said.It came four days before voting in the second phase of the three-tier panchayat election is scheduled to be held on July 1. Voting in the third and final phase of the election would be held on July 8.”Sarpanch candidate Mukesh Darbar was charged under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act as per the complaint of election agent Santosh Soni on behalf of rival candidate Divyaditya Shah,” Sub-Divisional Officer Ravindra Vaskale said.Shah’s father is a Cabinet Minister in the Madhya Pradesh government while his mother was a former Mayor of Khandwa.Shah in his complaint said that Darbar’s move was aimed at shaming him and his family members.He said that Darbar also violated the model code of conduct.The police said that a complaint has also been sent to the Animal Welfare Board and the Madhya Pradesh State Election Commission to take action against Darbar.Three-tier panchayat (gram, Janpad and Zila) polls are underway in Madhya Pradesh.The first phase of voting was held on June 25 and the counting of votes took place at each polling centre.However, the results would be announced on July 14 and 15 after last phase of voting is completed.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday praised NDA’s Presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu for her “understanding of the problems on the ground” and dubbed her vision for India’s development as “extraordinary”.The Prime Minister made the remarks after he met Murmu in New Delhi. After Prime Minister, Union Home Minister Amit Shah also met the NDA’s Presidential candidate.Murmu will also be meeting several Union ministers and veteran leaders before filing her nomination for the post of President on Friday.Sharing pictures of his meeting with Murmu on Twitter, Prime Minister Modi wrote, “Met Smt. Droupadi Murmu Ji. Her Presidential nomination has been appreciated across India by all sections of society. Her understanding of grassroots problems and vision for India’s development is outstanding.”Murmu, who reached the national capital on Thursday, was welcomed at the Delhi airport by Union Ministers Arjun Munda, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Virendra Kumar, BJP MP Manoj Tiwari and BJP’s national media co-in-charge Sanjay Mayukh. Several other BJP leaders and workers were also present at the airport to welcome her.Murmu on Friday will file her nomination for the Presidential election. Prime Minister Modi, BJP President J.P. Nadda, Union ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, and Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states will also be present during her nomination.To make the nomination filing a grand event, the BJP has invited its allies as well as Biju Janata Dal, which has announced its support to Murmu, to attend nomination filing.The Opposition parties have declared Yashwant Sinha as their joint candidate. The election for the next President of the country will be held on July 18 while the result will be declared on July 21.
The Supreme Court on Monday denied the pleas of Maharashtra Nationalist Congress Party lawmakers Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh to be released temporarily to cast their votes in the ongoing state Legislative Council election.Minutes before the poll, a vacation bench of Justices C.T. Ravikumar and Sudhanshu Dhulia declined to grant interim relief to NCP leaders, who moved the top court challenging the Bombay High Court order, which last week refused to grant them temporary release.However, the top court said a further interpretation of Section 62(5) of the Representation of the People Act, will be considered by it to examine whether arrested lawmakers — MLAs and MPs - could be allowed to vote in elections to Rajya Sabha and legislative councils. Section 62 (5) imposes a bar on a prisoner from voting.Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing for the petitioners, submitted before the bench that polling is being held on Monday, as she pressed for an interim relief. The lawmakers sought temporary release from prison - under escort protection — to cast their votes in the election, which is underway.During the hearing, the bench noted that regarding the entitlement of vote, the question is whether the person is in prison or not.”If you are in prison, in connection with preventive detention, there’s no bar at all but if it’s falling under money laundering (which doesn’t fall into exception)… prima facie Section 62(5) applies,” the bench told the petitioners’ counsel.Both NCP leaders are lodged in prison in separate cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.Arora argued that by closing her clients right to vote, the constituency is being deprived to cast its vote in the council. “Through me, as an elected representative I represent my constituency. It’s just not me but my constituency which is also there,” she argued.Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, citing a top court judgment, submitted that the validity of Section 62 (5) has been upheld.Earlier, during the day, the top court expressed its disinclination to take up the matter, saying this should go before the Chief Justice first, before allowing an urgent listing. Arora vehemently argued that the matter requires urgent hearing since the election is scheduled on Monday itself. The bench said it would see whether the matter can be taken up for hearing after lunch.