New Delhi: Narendra Modi is the “favourite” prime ministerial candidate of Muslims for next year’s Lok Sabha polls as he has dispelled the “fear” that several parties instilled in the community using his name, senior BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said.
He said the faith in Modi among Muslims had increased, especially among the women. “The favourite prime ministerial candidate for Muslims in the 2019 polls is Narendra Modi, because he sees all 132 crore people of the country just as Indians. Other parties have seen them as a vote bank,” Hussain said.
Muslims account for around 14 per cent of India’s 130 crore population and the community plays a key role in the electoral outcome in a sizeable number of Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir.
Hussain blamed the Congress for the poverty and backwardness of the Muslims in the country, saying the party had done injustice to the community and Modi had given them justice.
“Some people in 2014 used to scare others using Narendra Modi’s name. Today, a large number of people from the Muslim community also feel that he is a man who works day and night. Narendra Modi treats all 132 crore Indians alike,” he said.
Other parties used to take votes from Muslims by spreading the “fear” of Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the prime minister had taken out that fear, Hussain said. Now they see that Modi is in power but there is no problem, the BJP leader added.
Not a single statement was made by Modi against Muslims, he said, adding that the prime minister’s “shamshan-kabristan” statement in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls last year was “wrongly interpreted” as he had advocated taking care of both.
“In our party, some people may be making (certain) statements, but Muslims have full faith on the statements made by BJP chief Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” the former Union minister said.
“Our party president and our prime minister have never given any statement that would hurt Muslims,” he claimed, asserting that the community would back the saffron party big time in the 2019 general election.
Hussain also said Allahabad’s name was changed to Prayagraj as “injustice” was done in the past” and now, “justice” had been restored. “The earlier name was Prayagraj that was changed. To correct that mistake, is it wrong? Earlier also, Bangalore’s name was changed to Bengaluru, Madras was changed to Chennai. So, how does history come into this,” he said, rebutting the Congress’s charge that the Modi government was trying to rewrite history.
On the Ram temple issue, Hussain said for the BJP, it was a matter of faith and not a poll plank. “From October 29, there will be day-to-day hearing (in the Supreme Court). We are hopeful that this issue will be resolved soon and it will be acceptable to all the people in the country.
“Some people are also demanding that a law be made (for the construction of the temple). Everybody has a right to demand, how can anybody stop that? The government has the right to decide and it has not taken any decision in this regard,” he said.
Talking about the upcoming Assembly elections in five states, the BJP spokesperson exuded confidence that his party would win in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
“In Mizoram, the government will not be formed without our support and in Telangana, we will emerge as a big party,” he claimed.
Hussain also asserted that the BJP, the Janata Dal (United), the Lok Janshakti Party and the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party will fight the Lok Sabha polls in Bihar together.
He said the alliance with the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) had boosted the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) prospects in Bihar and the coalition was focussed on “Mission 40” — to win all the Lok Sabha seats in the state.
Asked if anti-incumbency would be a factor in Bihar, Hussain said, “I had lost from Bhagalpur by 8,000 votes and Nitish Kumarji’s candidate was third, getting 1,60,000 votes. Now those votes will be added to the BJP’s kitty…We will fight together and this time, it is Mission 40 — that we win all the 40 seats.”
He also claimed that issues such as rising petrol and diesel prices will not hamper the BJP’s poll prospects, saying the people were aware that the fuel problem was a global one.
The Modi government will come to power with a bigger mandate in 2019, Hussain asserted.
Pramod Sawant sworn in as 11th Goa CM
Mumbai : Vijai Sardesai from the Goa Forward Party and Sudin Dhavalikar from Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, both alliance partners, have been inducted as Deputy Chief Ministers, Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik told reporters on the sidelines of the oath-taking ceremony at Raj Bhavan here.
Sawant, 45, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Mridula Sinha at a formal ceremony held at the Raj Bhavan in the early hours of Tuesday.
Apart from Sawant and the two deputy Chief Ministers, nine other MLAs, all of them who were part of the previous BJP-led coalition cabinet headed by Parrikar, were also administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor and inducted as ministers in the state cabinet.
The Chief Minister said portfolios would be allotted to his ministers within eight days.
Sawant succeeds former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who died on Sunday due to complications arising from advanced pancreatic cancer.
The new Chief Minister heads a coalition government which has the support of 12 MLAs from the BJP, three each from the Goa Forward and MGP, and two independent MLAs, taking the tally of the treasury benches to 20 in the 36-member state legislative assembly.
“Parrikar is not among us now and this responsibility has been given collectively to me by my party, alliance partners and independent MLAs. This is a big responsibility,” Sawant told reporters soon after he was sworn in.
“I am committed to the development of Goa and to take forward the teachings of former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar with a positive outlook,” Sawant also said, adding that he would focus on completing all infrastructure related projects started by his predecessor.
He was sworn in after a marathon session of hectic negotiations anchored by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and BJP national president Amit Shah, who over a series of meetings, spanning more than 24 hours, with legislators from regional parties and independent MLAs forged a coalition together.
2008 Mumbai attacks one of the ‘most notorious’ terrorist attacks: China
Mumbai/Beijing: In a rare acknowledgment, China described the 2008 Mumbai attacks carried out by Pakistan-based LeT terror outfit as one of “the most notorious terrorist attacks”.
In a white paper on its massive crackdown against terrorists in the restive Xianjiang province, China said the global spread of terrorism and extremism over the years had inflicted agony on humanity.
The paper described the Mumbai terror attacks as one of “the most notorious terrorist attacks”, adding that the “global spread of terrorism and extremism over the years has inflicted agony on humanity”.
The release of the paper, “The Fight Against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang”, interestingly coincided with Pakistan foreign minister’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s visit to China.
Throughout the world, terrorism and extremism gravely threaten peace and development, and endanger the life and property of individuals, said the white paper released by China’s State Council Information Office.
The paper came days after China for the fourth time blocked a bid in the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday to designate Pakistan-based chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” by putting a technical hold on the proposal, a move India termed as disappointing.
The JeM has claimed responsibility for the February 14 Pulwama attack that left 40 CRPF personnel dead and escalated tensions between India and Pakistan.
“Striking aggressively at terrorism and furthering the de-radicalisation effort is the common responsibility of the international community and essential to the protection of human rights,” it said.
China opposes all forms of terrorism and extremism, and opposes double standards on fighting terrorism, said the white paper, adding that Beijing opposes linking terrorism and extremism with specific countries, ethnic groups or religions.
China advocates comprehensive measures to address both the symptoms and the root causes, with the dual purposes of striking at terrorist activities and eliminating poverty, so that there will be no room for terrorism to breed, it said.
Pak did not do a favour by returning Abhinandan, says Sitharaman
Mumbai: Pakistan has shown the statements of such people and opposition leaders on their television channels, increasing TRP, the minister said.
“It is these people who did not want (the country) to buy Rafale, because arrival of these will give strength to our forces,” she said, addressing a gathering in Kolkata on ‘Ensuring India’s National Security’ organised by the Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.
India has given a message to the world after the Balakot air strike by not bowing to Pakistan’s nuclear blackmail, the minister said.
On February 26, the IAF conduct air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot targeting Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps. The strikes came after a suicide bomber from the terror group on February 14 rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a CRPF bus, killing 40 personnel, in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Modi did what former prime minister Manmohan Singh did not do after the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008, possibly because of Pakistan’s continued propaganda that “it is a nuclear power like India, and we should not forget that before doing anything against them”, she said.
“‘Chowkidar’ gave Pakistan the right answer,” she said.
The defence minister said though there is no direct war being waged between India and Pakistan, there were ceasefire violations by the neighbouring country, and non-state actors with the support of Pakistan, indulge in attacks like that in Pulwama.
Many were given training for suicide attacks at Balakot. There was intelligence on this development and that there will be many more Pulwama-like attacks in the coming days, she said.
“So, not to wage war but to neutralise the terrorists at their training camps. They were eliminated (at Balakot),” she said, adding, India did what Pakistan ought to have done.
Sitharaman said Pakistan claims it is a victim of terrorism, but itself trains and sends them to India.
“Why Pakistan does not take action against terrors groups and terrorists being nurtured and trained on its soil if it is a victim?” she asked.
The minister said that after the Pulwama attack, evidence was given to Pakistan, but it did not act.
Noting that the Jaish-e-Mohammed itself claimed responsibility for the strike, she said, “What more proof does it (Pakistan) want?”