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.
Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs
Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.
“We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements,” Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.
This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs.
According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.
Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara
Vadodara: Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died due to asphyxiation on Saturday while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, officials said.
The incident happened at a hotel in Fartikui village in Dabhoi tehsil, about 30 km from Vadodara city. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.
“When one sanitation worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside. All of them died due to asphyxiation,” district collector Kiran Zaveri told PTI.
Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha
New Delhi: For the first time in 28 years, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s name ceased to be part of the list of members of the Rajya Sabha on its Web site, and was included in the list of former members of Parliament.
With the Congress lacking the numbers in the Assam legislature to ensure his re-election, 86-year-old Dr Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha.
Dr Singh, then finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, had debuted in the House on October 1, 1991, from Assam and represented the state for five consecutive terms. He was the leader of the House during his 10 years as PM, and leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2004.The former PM would now need to wait for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the Congress, to send him to the Rajya Sabha next month or until the next biennial elections in the Upper House in April 2020 when 54 MPs retire.
Five Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu retire in July. The DMK, along with its allies, has the strength in the state legislature to get at least three elected to the Rajya Sabha. It has promised one seat to MDMK chief Vaiko.
However, sources said the DMK and the Congress have not had any discussions on the issue.
The Congress could also hope to send Dr Singh to the Upper House from Gujarat if elections to fill the two vacancies from the state take place together.
The vacancies are on account of two Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat, Amit Anilchandra Shah and Smriti Zubin Irani, being elected to the Lok Sabha. Shah has debuted in the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar while Irani is the Lok Sabha member from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress’s numbers in the Gujarat assembly would ensure the party wins one of the two seats, the other going to the BJP, if elections to the two seats are held jointly.