The Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu alleged today that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is using the same tactics he assumed in Tamil Nadu when he had supported OPS faction against the EPS in the dispute between the two factions of the AIADMK party, by opposing YSR’s Jagan Mohan Reddy and Jana Sena’s Pawan Kalyan against him.
Naidu said during a teleconference with his party MPs that “Instead of giving what AP people are rightfully asking, BJP is resorting to using Jagan Mohan Reddy and Pawan Kalyan against us…PM Modi is trying to repeat in Andhra Pradesh what he has done in Tamil Nadu”. It appears that the Andhra Pradesh chief minister was referring to the ‘role’ played by BJP in the dispute between O Panneerselvam and Edappadi Palaniswami factions in 2017 when the party had divided into two parts after the death of its leader J Jayalalithaa. Naidu also mentioned that there are strong anti-Modi and anti-BJP sentiment in the country and the results of yesterday’s bypolls in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were a predecessor of the things to derive – a reference to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
“There is strong anti-Modi and anti-BJP feeling across the country. Yesterday’s UP and Bihar by-poll results are an example of that,” the TDP chief said. The saffron party lost the both Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh bypolls yesterday, including the Gorakhpur constituency, which was measured to be a stronghold of BJP, and also failed to grab the two RJD’s seats in Bihar. Prior to this month, the TDP chief shattered ties with the BJP-led NDA government in New Delhi following the Centre denied Naidu-led TDP’s request for a special status for Andhra Pradesh.
The Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, asking for time to meet them to resolve the issue of sealing of shops in the state. In the letter to Prime Minister Modi, the Delhi CM emphasized on bringing a Bill in Parliament to remove irregularities in the law that are the causes behind sealing of commercial establishments and cautioned that unemployment produced by the drive might impact law and order situation in the national capital.
“The reason behind sealing is anomalies in the law. It is the responsibility of the Central government to remove these anomalies,” the Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said. The chief minister had yesterday threatened that he would go on hunger strike if the sealing drive is not stopped by March 31. “Traders earn their livelihood honestly and pay tax. But, they are suffering due to sealing. There is only one solution now. A Bill has to be brought in Parliament to remove anomalies in the law and save traders from unemployment,” Kejriwal added. “The traders are on the verge of starvation and each shop is means of livelihood for many people. If all of them are rendered unemployed (due to sealing) then it may impact law and order situation,” the chief minister in a letter to PM Modi.
Asking for an appointment with the Prime Minister, the Delhi CM demanded that a Bill must be brought in Parliament rapidly to stop the sealing drive. Coming to the Kejriwal’s letter to Rahul Gandhi, the chief minister sought an appointment with him and said sealing of commercial establishments is driving lakhs of people unemployed. “A solution to this problem should be found by rising above politics. This issue needs to be strongly raised in Parliament and pressure should be exerted on the Centre to bring a Bill over it,” Kejriwal wrote to Rahul Gandhi. The sealing drive was started by the municipal corporations of the national capital on the directions of a Supreme Court-appointed committee in December last year.
On Friday, the Congress leader Sonia Gandhi urged “like-minded parties” to drop their local differences for unity at the national as the leader said that “acche din” would prove to be the nemesis of Modi government just like “India Shining” was for Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
As it sounds like an expansion of the political mission she has boarded on in recent weeks, Sonia Gandhi told the India Today Conclave that it was difficult for opposition parties to produce unity since they were locked in fights “at the ground level”, stating burden that Congress faces against joining with oppositions in states like West Bengal. “But if all of us think of the larger picture…if we feel and care for the country, we have to sink local differences,” Gandhi said, asserting that the country was being led by a “regressive vision” with “sustained threat” to social and personal freedoms. The 71-year-old Congress leader’s appeal came in the backdrop of a dinner she has called for opposition parties on March 13 and her informal conversations with opposition leaders.
Sonia made an alike appeal to allies in a meeting of opposition parties on February 1, and days later told Congress MPs that she would take an initiative to produce opposition unity ahead of elections. “The main issue with BJP is they made huge fantastic promises. But what is being implemented? They sold such a positive picture — we will give jobs, give you Rs 15 lakh. There is great disappointment. I am confident BJP’s ‘achhe din’ will actually turn into ‘India Shining’ — which brought us to power (in 2004),” Gandhi said. Attacking on PM Narendra Modi, Gandhi debated that the ruling privilege of resorting to lies to hide “uncomfortable reality” like unemployment. The 71-year-old Congress leader said that Congress was out-marketed by BJP in the 2014 elections and even though corruption was an issue, it was overstated.
Gandhi also attacked into Modi government alleging that country was being led by a “regressive vision” with “atmosphere of intimidation”. “Our country, our society, our freedom are now all under systematic and sustained threat. There is rewriting of history, falsifying facts and fanning prejudice and bigotry,” she said. Sonia alleged that “Freedom to think, marry according to ones wishes is under attack. Religious tensions are being fuelled, vigilante mobs have been let loose”.
Biplab Kumar Deb takes oath as the Chief Minister of Tripura on Friday noon, forming the first-time BJP government in the state. The swearing-in ceremony was held at the Assam Rifles ground was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president Amit Shah, and senior leaders like Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi.
Besides the top BJP leaders, chief ministers of BJP-ruled states like Vijay Rupani (Gujarat), Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh), Sarbananda Sonowal (Assam) and Raghubar Das (Jharkhand) also attended the event. The ex-Tripura CM Manik Sarkar also attended the event. Jishnu Deb Burman took oath as the deputy CM of the state, who is a member of the royal family. The BJP’s ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) acquires two berths in the 12-member ministry of the newly made government. IPFT had negotiated for four seats after sweeping the tribal areas and winning eight of nine seats that it fought in. BJP’s Santana Chakmas is the lone woman among the nine ministers sworn in.
“Treat me as your son, brother, not as the CM. Pull my ears to put me on the right track if I err in providing you good governance,” Deb said to 3.7 million people in Tripura after taking charge. The Prime Minister said that the BJP-led government will “be for those who voted for us and for those who did not.” Speaking to the Left Front leaders, Modi said that there long experience in running the government in the state can guide the newly-formed inexperienced one. The BJP general secretary Ram Madhav told PTI that “A 100-ft-long stage was erected for the big function. This is a big day for us as it marks a political transition for the state. The victory has been made possible by the development work of Modiji that has inspired our workers in Tripura to work for a change”.
Throwing his loudest attack on the BJP government in recent times, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said in Singapore that there is a general atmosphere of “intimidation” in India where a “nasty form of politics” of dividing people was being played to win elections.
While speaking at a panel discussion at the prestigious Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, the 47-year-old Congress leader said that there is a challenge to the institutional structure of India. “If you ask me what am I proud about my country…it is the idea of plurality. It’s the idea that people in India can say anything they want, do anything they want and they won’t face any problem and that is being challenged…,” Gandhi said. “There is a particular type of politics that’s not only happening in India but in a number of places – of dividing people, of using (their) anger to win elections and that’s what is happening in India,” the Congress president told the audience at the school, which is part of the National University of Singapore.
Remarking on the recent controversy of four senior Supreme Court judges holding a first-time press conference, Gandhi said, “They actually went out to the press and said listen we need the people to hear our voice because there is something fundamentally wrong.” The 47-year-old Congress leader said that there is a “very aggressive and organized attack on the system and judiciary. If you speak to the press, if you talk to business people, they will also tell you that we feel intimidated. So there is a general atmosphere of intimidation.” Rahul Gandhi added that the idea of India that Mahatma Gandhi wished-for was that an India where everybody is comfortable regardless of religion, community, regardless of state. “The idea that anybody coming to India, even the foreigner coming to India, feel comfortable in the country…that idea is being challenged now,” Gandhi stated.
“Where we are running into trouble now is the levels of violence and anger that you are seeing in India and this to me is a syndrome. I’m proud to say that our vision is bringing people together,” the Congress president added. While reverting to a question, the Congress president blamed the BJP and the RSS of indulging in anti-minority politics. “Mahatma Gandhi died protecting minorities. We, the Congress party, have been protecting minority people for the last 70 years. We don’t like an India where people are persecuted, where people are being beaten up for what they eat, what they say and what they wear,” the 47-year-old Congress leader said. Citing that “we will fight him and we will defeat him” in the election, Gandhi said, “very soon you will see India where everybody is respected and everybody is loved.”
While addressing the Assembly on Wednesday, the Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu uttered anguish on the step-motherly attitude of the Narendra Modi government. Calling up the Prime Minister’s remarks that Congress successfully delivered the baby (Telangana), but killed the mother, Naidu said that the Centre is obstructing funds flow to AP.
“I visited Delhi 29 times, requesting the PM to handhold AP, but to no avail. Funds flow for the new capital city and Polavaram project are meagre and promise on railway zone for Vizag remains unfulfilled,” Naidu said, repeating his demand that all 19 promises in AP Bifurcation Act be honored. While reverting to a thanksgiving motion to Governor’s address, Naidu said though TDP and BJP are in a coalition, Centre did not extend the projected support to the state that agonized heavily due to the bifurcation. The CM said that assets were given based on location, while liabilities distributed on basis of population. He added that electricity was shared based on consumption, lamenting injustice done to the state. Naidu also blamed Congress for the injustice and said he allied with BJP, expecting justice.
“I am the senior-most politician in the country. I am working hard for development of the state and looking forward to cordial relations with the Central government. But, indifferent attitude from the Centre is painful,” Naidu said. He also added that he had waited for almost four years working hard. “We have taken initiatives to develop the State, mobilise investments and rope in multinational companies to invest here,” the CM added and regretted that his hard work and the state’s growth is being punished by the Centre. “We have taken the decision to pull out two TDP ministers, civil aviation minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju and Union minister of science and technology Srujana Chowdary, from the Union cabinet as all our efforts to get special category status failed. It was a last resort decision,” the AP CM said on Wednesday.
Punjab’s chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh took to Twitter to denounce Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “frivolous statements” and trying to drive a difference between him and his party (Congress). PM Modi said that “the Congress does not even consider their CM their own” in Punjab.
The Punjab CM Amarinder Singh, on the other hand, sarcastically asked the PM on Twitter whether the party high command had directly complained to him about it. “Who told you that @narendramodi ji? Not me for sure. Did the @INCIndia high command complain to you against me?” tweeted the Punjab CM. PM Modi had also added that Amarinder “marches on, like an independent soldier”. The Punjab CM did not take his take his words graciously and warned Modi against making such “frivolous” statements. “Anyways, let me make it clear that such frivolous statements won’t help you create a wedge between me and my party, which has full faith in my leadership & vice versa,” said Amarinder to PM Modi.
The Congress party’s Punjab unit also took a jibe yesterday at PM Modi, saying that by calling Amarinder an “independent soldier”, the PM was acknowledging that “free and democratic culture” dominating in the Congress unlike in the BJP. The Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar said yesterday that “This is quite contrary to the autocratic and dictatorial culture prevailing in the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) under Modi, where saner and seasoned voices like those of L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha have either been silenced or banished to the Marg Darshak Mandal”. Jakhar was referring to the fact that both the Sinhas, as well as BJP loyalists like Advani and Joshi have been publicly given short shrift currently by the party high command.