General election 2019 live | Will not allow Abdullahs, Muftis to divide India: PM Modi

Jammu and Kashmir

Will not allow Abdullahs, Muftis to divide India: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday slammed the Abdullahs and Muftis, saying two families “ruined” three generations of Jammu and Kashmir and he will not allow them to “divide” India.

The Prime Minister was referring to NC leader Omar Abdullah’s demand for a separate Prime Minister for Jammu and Kashmir.

He also targeted the Congress for the migration of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley and said his government was committed to settle the displaced community in their native places and that work has started in this direction.



NCP-BJP, Munde versus Munde fight in Beed

The BJP’s sitting MP Pritam Munde and the NCP’s Bajrang Sonawane might be pitted against each other in the Beed Lok Sabha seat, but on the ground, it is more a battle of one-upmanship between the district’s guardian minister Pankaja Munde and her cousin and senior NCP leader Dhananjay Munde.

Mr. Dhananjay, who is the leader of opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, and Ms. Pankaja, Minister of Rural Development, Women and Child Welfare in the state government, have traded barbs over a host of governance issues, including alleged scams.

Pritam and Pankaja are daughters of late Gopinath Munde, former State Deputy Chief Minister and Union minister, who had won from the seat in 2014 with a margin of 1.36 lakh votes against Suresh Dhas who was then with the NCP.

The senior Munde died in a car accident in New Delhi on June 3, 2014, barely days after he was sworn in as cabinet minister in the Narendra Modi government. Pritam Munde swept the bypoll thereafter defeating the Congress’ Ashokrao Patil by a whopping 6.96 lakh votes, the highest victory margin in the country’s Lok Sabha poll history.

The BJP seems to have an edge in Beed, which will go to polls on April 18, as it holds five of the six Assembly segments that make up the parliamentary constituency. These are Parli, Kaij, Ashti, Majalgaon and Georai, the sixth seat- Beed being held by the NCP’s Jayadatta Kshirsagar.

This time around, Kshirsagar has thrown his weight behind Pritam Munde.

On the other hand, Shiv Sangram, an NDA constituent headed by Vinayak Mete, has declared support for Mr. Sonawane.

The Maratha and Vanjari communities, with roughly around five lakh voters each, hold sway in the constituency. Muslims and Dalits number around three lakh and two lakh respectively.

Despite a tough fight on hand, the NCP believes Mr. Sonawane will cause an upset when results are declared on May 23.

Speaking on the issue, Mr. Sonawane expressed confidence and cited the example of Gopinath Munde’s victory in 2014 which was achieved despite all six Assembly seats there having NCP MLAs.

“So, the numbers are not an issue at all. Caste is also not an issue. This is a battle between the BJP and the people of Beed. And the people, particularly farmers, are with me. On May 23, I will be Beed’s MP,” an upbeat Mr. Sonawane said.

Pritam Munde too appeared bullish about her victory, claiming that people will favour her over other candidates solely on the development plank. She also played down Mr. Mete’s decision to support Mr. Sonawane. “It won’t affect my poll prospects. The common man in Beed is pro-development. The response I have received (during campaign) is very good. I expect to win the election based on the work I did in the past four-and-half years,” she said.

Ms. Pritam said a victory would be a fitting tribute to her late father.

Beed Lok Sabha seat has a total of 19,57,132 voters, comprising 10,39,789 men and 9,17,343 women. Beed district, which is part of the state’s drought-prone Marathwada region, comprises five sub-divisions and 11 tehsils.



BJP has promised to look into our Gorkhaland demand, says Bimal Gurung

Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) leader Bimal Gurung, who has been on the run since the 2017 agitation in the Hills, has claimed that the BJP leadership gave him assurances that it would look into his statehood demand if it returns to power at the Centre.

Statehood is a dream for every Gorkha living in the Hills, he said, adding that the saffron party’s pitch for a permanent political solution was also “very encouraging.” The BJP, which is eyeing a third straight term in Darjeeling, has made no mention of statehood in its manifesto, but assured a “permanent political solution” in the Hills and scheduled tribe tags for eleven Gorka communities.

“We have sent a memorandum to the BJP, demanding Gorkhaland. They (BJP) have assured us that they will look into it. We are happy that their (BJP’s) manifesto speaks about bringing a permanent solution to the region,” Gurung told PTI in an interview over phone. Lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah for “being sympathetic towards the problems of the Hills”, he alleged that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, on the other hand, has been pursuing “vote-bank politics” to gain her party’s foothold in the region.

“She(Banerjee) has never addressed the real issues here. She is not interested in developing the region,” he claimed, demanding that the Trinmool Congress (TMC) supremo present a white paper on her welfare initiative in the Hills. Asked what he thought about the BJP not taking any measure in the last five years to create Gorkhaland, the GJM leader was quick to defend the saffron party, claiming that the “the Narendra Modi government’s priority was to improve the living standards of people“.

“Gorkhaland tops our agenda and I will keep fighting for it till the end. But the central government needs to focus on the overall development of the country first. Everything else is secondary. We are hoping that it (BJP) will look into the Gorkhaland issue in the next term,” he said.

Refuting opposition’s allegation that the sitting BJP MP from Darjeeling, S.S. Ahluwalia, has done little to develop the Hills, Mr. Gurung claimed that the parliamentarian has been trying to work “honestly and sincerely” in the region, but the TMC-led government in the state thwarted his initiatives. “He (Ahluwalia) had tried to initiate several projects in the region, but the local administration and the state government did not cooperate with him. This is why utilization certificates were not issued,” Gurung said.

According to records, Ahluwalia has utilized 56.30 per cent of the allotted MPLAD funds.

People have not forgotten the atrocities committed by the TMC during the 104-day-long agitation over statehood demand in 2017, Gurung claimed. “The voters in the Hills are with Modiji. This time, we have urged them to vote against every bullet fired by the TMC during the Gorkhaland agitation. This election is a fight for restoration of democracy,” he asserted.

New Delhi

AAP govt has no interest in development: Puri

Had the ruling Aam Aadmi Party worked diligently in Delhi, it would not have been so much willing to firm up an alliance with the Congress, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri has said.

The Union minister also rejected the AAP government’s claims of good work in the education sector, saying it has not opened any school since it came to power.

In an interview to PTI, Mr. Puri, who is the Housing and Urban Affairs Minister in the Modi government, sought to know the track record of the Arvind Kejriwal government in the national capital.

They (AAP) do not have any interest in development. They have different approach… Had they worked in Delhi diligently, they would not have been so much willing to firm up an alliance with the Congress,” Mr. Puri said.

Uttar Pradesh

Modi to hold rallies in Aligarh, Moradabad

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to hold public rallies in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh and Moradabad cities on Sunday, according to a state BJP official.

Manish Dixit, the media incharge for the state’s Bharatiya Janata Party unit, said Mr. Modi will campaign for Aligarh BJP candidate Satish Kumar Gautam in the city’s Numaish Maidan at around 1:30 p.m.

At 3 p.m., Mr. Modi will address the public at the Budh Vihar Circuit House in Moradabad in favour of party candidate Kunwar Sarvesh Kumar who is contesting the Lok Sabha polls from the constituency. Security has been heightened at both locations, said Additional Director General of Police Ajay Anand.



AIUDF loses it mojo, contests only three seats

Scaled-down fight: AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal files his nomination papers in Dhubri.

Scaled-down fight: AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal files his nomination papers in Dhubri.


The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) was expected to become what its predecessor, United Minorities Front, could not in the 1980s — a formidable defender of minority rights and the voice of immigrants when Assam was recovering from a violent anti-foreigners agitation.

But the sweet smell of success has of late been eluding the party that perfume baron Maulana Badruddin Ajmal had formed in 2005 after the Supreme Court scrapped the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983. And after a dismal show in the panchayat election in December 2018, the party seemed to run out of steam.

The AIUDF has fielded candidates in the Barpeta, Dhubri and Karimganj Lok Sabha constituencies against the six it contested in 2014, winning three comfortably. Mr. Ajmal won the Dhubri seat, his brother Sirajuddin Ajmal Barpeta and Radheyshyam Biswas Karimganj. Prior to the poll process, the AIUDF had announced it would field eight candidates.

The party has retained the Dhubri and Karimganj candidates but replaced Sirajuddin Ajmal with Rafiqul Islam. “We are contesting only three seats this time after assessing our chances. We are not contesting elsewhere because we do not want the secular votes to be divided,” AIUDF general secretary Aminul Islam said.


Tamil Nadu

Private company offered to craft strategy for DMK to ride on jallikattu protests

Leaked email transcripts and documents accessed by The Hindu show that a private company called One Mind Generation Research Foundation (OMG) sought to shape the DMK’s key strategic political decisions during the pro-jallikattu protests of 2017.

DMK Tiruchi MLA Mahesh Anbil Poyyamozhi and DMK Anna Nagar MLA Mohan Karthik are its directors. The email transcripts between OMG and a management consulting firm show that elaborate plans were discussed to promote ‘Brand Thalapathy’ during the historic and apolitical jallikattu protests.

While the efforts were on to organise a ‘hunger strike’ in December 2015 itself, the emails show that executives were exploring an action plan to exploit the unstable political situation in Tamil Nadu after the death of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in December 2016 in favour of the DMK.

The road map titled ‘Jallikattu Hunger Strike Strategy’ lays out several strategies through which DMK could capitalise on the simmering anger amongst the youth against the ban on jallikattu to build the image of DMK president M.K. Stalin.


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