General Election 2019 | BJP Minister Anil Sharma not to campaign against son fighting on Congress ticket


If Indira Gandhi can get credit for dividing Pak., why can’t Modi get credit for Balakot air strike

If former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi can be credited for dividing Pakistan, why shouldn’t Prime Minister Narendra Modi get the credit for the Balakot air strike, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asked.

Mr. Singh was addressing a rally in Ahmedabad in support of BJP president Amit Shah, who will file his nomination from the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency later in the day.

“It was the bravery of our forces that they divided Pakistan into two parts. One remained Pakistan, while Bangaldesh was formed [out of the other],” he said.

“After the war, our leader A.B. Vajpayee praised Indira Gandhi in Parliament. She was also praised all over the country,” he added.

Referring to the Pulwama terror attack, he said, “When our 40-42 CRPF soldiers lost their lives in a fidayeen attack, Modiji gave a free hand to our forces.”

“If Indira Gandhi can get the credit of dividing Pakistan in 1971, why shouldn’t Modiji get the credit for what he has done in Balakot,” he asked.


Arunachal Pradesh

‘Chowkidar’ put Arunachal Pradesh on rail map after 70 years of independence: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu. File Photo.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu. File Photo.
| Photo Credit: PTI


“In the Northeast, the lotus first bloomed in Arunachal Pradesh,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing a rally at Aalo in the State.

“The Arun Prabha channel will ensure that the people of the country get a glimpse of the beautiful State, its culture and festivals,” he said, adding that the “watchman” was given opportunity to put Arunachal on the rail map after seven decades of Independence.

Earlier in the day, on Twitter, he requested the people of the State to “bless BJP” in the the Lok Sabha and the Vidhan Sabha polls.

Himachal Pradesh

BJP Minister Anil Sharma not to campaign against son fighting on Congress ticket

Power minister in the BJP government in Himachal Pradesh Anil Sharma has said that he would not campaign against his son Aashray Sharma, who has been declared the Congress candidate in Mandi.

A day after allocation of Congress ticket to Aashray Sharma from Mandi parliamentary seat, Anil Sharma told PTI that he would not campaign against his son.

Sukh Ram’s son Anil Sharma is the BJP MLA from Mandi Assembly segment which along with 16 other Assembly segments falls under Mandi parliamentary segment.

As an elected BJP legislator from an assembly segment falling under the Mandi parliamentary seat, he is expected to campaign in favour of BJP candidate sitting MP Ramswroop Sharma and against Congress candidate Aashray Sharma.

Anil Sharma said, “I have already conveyed it to the BJP leadership after my father Sukh Ram and my son rejoined Congress on March 25 that if Aashray is given a Congress ticket, I would not campaign against him.”

Asked about the issue, HP BJP President Satpal Singh Satti said, “Why media is following this issue. This is matter of his (Anil Sharma’s) family. (Aap log kyo is mamle ke peeche parre hue ho. Ye unke parivaar ka mamla hai.)’

Pressed further, he said, “We will see, what to do (on this issue).”

The HP power minister said, “I am ready to campaign in favour of BJP candidates contesting on other seats except Mandi.”

Anil Sharma was HP minister during the Virbhadra Singh-led Congress governments in 1993 and 2012 but he along with his father Sukh Ram joined the BJP in October 2017, just before the last assembly elections.

Anil Sharma’s son Aashray was seeking a BJP ticket from Mandi but the BJP preferred to renominate sitting MP Ramswroop Sharma.

Subsequently Aashray along with his grandfather rejoined Congress on March 25 and the Congress fielded him from Mandi on Friday.


West Bengal

Non-fixation of minimum wages, closed gardens main poll issues in Bengal tea belt

Non-fixation of minimum wages for workers and closed tea gardens are the main factors during the first two phases of Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal to be held in the State’s tea belt.

The tea belt is located in Darjeeling, Terai and Dooars region of North Bengal where 3 lakh odd permanent workers are employed in around 300 gardens.

The Terai and Dooars regions consist of the districts of Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, Darjeeling and Coochbehar districts of West Bengal and a part of Assam.

Polling in Coochbehar and Alipurduar seats would be held on April 11 and while Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and Raiganj constituencies would go to polls on April 18.

Trade union leaders who owe allegiance to various political parties said they have been demanding implementation of minimum wages in tea gardens for long but the issue has not been resolved.

Tea industry sources said the issue was deliberated at length in the minimum wage advisory committee formed by the state government, but it has not been finalised.

Submissions to the advisory board on minimum wage had been made by both the employers and trade unions, and now the ball is in the court of the government, the sources said.

Ziaul Alam, convenor of the joint forum of 29 trade unions in the tea belt spearheaded by the CITU, alleged that the Trinamool Congress government betrayed the sentiments of the tea workers by not giving them minimum wages.

Sources said the largest tea growing state, Assam, had also not decided on the implementation of minimum wages.

“Taking a cue from this, the government of West Bengal has adopted a wait and watch approach,” the sources said.

Alam said, “The overall economic situation in the tea gardens was not healthy and the workers were unable to strike a balance between income and expenditure due to rising prices of essential items of daily use.”

Presently, tea garden workers in West Bengal are given a cash benefit of Rs 176 per day besides other non-cash benefits like ration.

Mani Kumar Dhamal of the INTUC and Sankar Das of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), the trade union wing of the RSS, also felt that non-fixation of the minimum wages for tea garden workers would be a deciding factor in this elections.

The other major factor which could come at play at the polls is the issue of closed gardens.

Dhamal claimed that both the BJP and the Trinamool Congress had promised to re-open closed tea gardens but that did not happen.

Sources said there were 16-17 closed gardens affecting nearly 24,000 employees.

Dhamal said, “In the absence of any policy, it is not known how the closed tea gardens will be reopened.”

This, he said, had cast a fear in the minds of the workers of these gardens and they have started migrating to South India and other places.

“There is no job security in the tea belt,” he said.

Industry sources said, since the land on which the gardens are located was given on lease by the government and not freehold, it was difficult to implement land-based panchayat schemes like the Indira Awas Yojana.

TMC’s Darjeeling candidate Amar Singh Rai said minimum wage is definitely an issue which needs to be resolved.

“The tea garden workers are in distress and there is a need to fix the minimum wage,” he said adding that he would raise the issue in the appropriate forum, if elected.

Das claimed that the mood is in favour of the BJP now as the party had done a good job in Darjeeling.

In the last Lok Sabha polls, S S Ahluwalia of the BJP won from Darjeeling Parliamentary constituency with the backing of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, the major local force.

However, this time the saffron party fielded Raju Singh Bista.



Amit Shah to file nomination in Gandhinagar

BJP President Amit Shah is set to file his nomination in Gandhinagar where he is contesting the Lok Sabha polls as BJP candidate, replacing party patriarch L.K. Advani.

In a show of strength, Mr. Shah will hold a 4-km roadshow in areas like Ghatlodia and Naranpura of Ahmedabad city which fall in the Gandhinagar parliamentary constituency.


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