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No Hindutva without Muslims: RSS chief

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Sep 19: Often under attack for its “exclusionary” agenda, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat  said there will be no “Hindu rashtra” without Muslims in India and Hindutva encompasses fraternity and unity in diversity.

Expounding on the Hindutva concept in his second of the three-day lecture series, he said that Hindutva was the basic thought of all communities residing in India. Bhagwat, speaking at the event “Future of Bharat: An RSS perspective” at Vigyan Bhavan here, also said that the Sangh firmly believed in the Indian Constitution and does not take part in politics.

He spent a large part of his over 80-minute speech expounding on the RSS’ adherence to the concept of Hindutva and said unity in diversity, sacrifice, self-control and a spirit of gratitude were defining characteristics of Hindutva. With the Congress and other parties accusing the RSS of following a divisive agenda and trying to impose uniformity, Bhagwat said there is no Hindutva without minorities being part of the society.

 

He said political parties follow different ideologies but if the spirit of camaraderie was forgotten, it can lead to difficulties. “The Sangh works for ‘bandhubhav’ (fraternity) and for this there is only one basis – unity in diversity. This is our thought process which the world calls as Hindutva and that’s why we say we are a Hindu rashtra (nation). It does not mean that we do not need Muslims, this does not work. The day it is said that we do not need Muslims, that day it will not be Hindutva.

“It talks of the world being a family. The day we say only Vedas will be preached and Buddhism should not be followed, then there will be no Hindutva. Because we constantly strive for truth and several religious philosophies came as a result. It is the only thought to give basis to this fraternity. It does not react,” he said.

With the Congress accusing the RSS of being an extra-constitutional authority, Bhagwat said: “Constitution is the consensus of all Indians and it is duty of all to follow it. “And what I have said so far is in accordance with the Constitution. Sangh works after accepting the primacy of the Constitution and we respect it fully.” He said the RSS worked for the country to become capable and rich.

“It should have economic capability, moral capability and strategic capability. It should be full of people with knowledge and humility, it should be egalitarian and free of exploitation.” He said the RSS wanted India to be powerful for the good of the world as people respect truth if there was power behind it.

Bhagwat said the RSS had its views on national issues but it does not interfere in the government’s policies and functioning. Since its inception, he said the RSS had abstained from electoral politics but continued to have its views on issues which affect the country.

“We don’t participate in politics, (that) doesn’t mean we don’t have any views. We do have our views on national policies, we talk about the policies with all our might,” said Bhagwat. “Sangh abstaining from politics doesn’t mean we will not talk about infiltrators. These are national issues and they affect the entire country. Sangh gives its views on all such issues,” he added. He rubbished speculation of the RSS influencing the government’s functioning.

“Often people make this speculation that a call from Nagpur (RSS headquarters) must be behind a particular decision (of the government). This is all baseless. All those working (in the government) are seniors and they are far more experienced in politics than us,” said Bhagwat.

“They don’t need Sangh’s advice. They neither depend on our advice, nor do we give any. If they need any suggestion, they ask for it, and if we have something to offer, then we give it. But we have no influence on the government’s policies. They are our Swayamsevaks, but are capable of doing their job,” he added. He also said the aim of the Sangh was to unite the entire society. “Since the birth of the Sangh, it has decided to stay away from politics. It will neither contest elections, nor participate in electoral politics. RSS functionaries cannot be office bearers of a political party.”


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New party in the offing: Faesal wants public money for ‘clean politics’

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Srinagar, Jan 23: Former IAS officer Shah Faesal Wednesday launched a crowd-funding campaign for “clean politics and corruption-free administration” in Jammu and Kashmir hinting towards his plans to float his own political party.

The 2010-batch topper of the UPSC civil services exam said it was a “people’s movement for change”.
“Be a part of this journey for clean politics and corruption-free administration in J&K. Support Shah Faesal with your small donations,” he tweeted.

Faesal, who resigned from government service earlier this month, gave a bank account number for contributions and said payments could also be made through e-wallet.

 

Taking to a social networking site Facebook, Faesal wrote: “I had never imagined that my small act of defiance to highlight political deadlock in Jammu and Kashmir would evoke such a response across the world.”

He added that he had never thought that his “dream of clean politics and corruption-free administration” in J&K would take the shape of a “public movement”. “Respecting the public sentiment, I have decided to chart my independent political journey. And now in this new phase of public service, my mission is to support the true cause of humanity, stand up for the poor, marginalized and dispossessed and speak up for injustices, wherever in this world, irrespective of caste, colour, region, and religion,” he wrote.

Faesal said he imagined a politics where youth can “lead the change and take charge of their future”.“I wish to partner with a new generation of young leaders who can stand up for human rights, environment, free speech and rule of law. My idea is to seek help from the people of India, build alliances with the Indian civil society and intellectual class to humanize the narrative around Kashmir conflict so that lasting peace can be achieved in J&K State.”

He added that his “mission” was to “truthfully represent aspirations, culture, fears, and dreams” of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, across the world.“I wish to facilitate dialogue between people of various regions of the State – Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Pir Panchal, and Chenab Valley so that an environment of amity and brotherhood can be built. I believe that development and dignity must go together, and we have to work together for giving a sense of security, better education, healthcare, livelihoods, electricity and other civic amenities to people of J&K State.”

“This is a people’s movement and it will be funded by the people. People are the only agencies who will help this succeed. Believe in me, be patient with me in this long and difficult journey and donate for this cause,” he wrote.

Earlier Faesal had resigned dubbing it as protest against “unabated killings in Kashmir, and lack of any sincere reach-out from the Union government; the marginalisation and invisiblisation of around 200 million Indian Muslims at the hands of Hindutva forces reducing them to second-class citizens; insidious attacks on the special identity of J&K and growing culture of intolerance and hate in mainland India in the name of hypernationalism”.
While he has made it clear that he would like to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Faesal has not joined any political party so far. Speculation is rife that he might float a new political outfit.

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Priyanka Gandhi debuts in active politics: Mehbooba dubs her ‘X factor of 2019 polls’

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New Delhi, Jan 23: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the sister of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, has finally taken the plunge into politics, just months ahead of the national election due by May.
Often dubbed the “Brahmastra” or the mythical ultimate weapon of the Congress, Priyanka will debut as the party’s general secretary in charge of the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh, which pitches her against the ruling BJP’s top two mascots, Prime Minister Narendra Modi–whose constituency Varanasi will be in her share–and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
“I have not sent Priyanka and Jyotiraditya for just two months. I have sent them to take the Congress’ ideology forward in Uttar Pradesh,” Rahul Gandhi told reporters.
Among many noted personalities congratulating Priyanka was former J&K Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, who tweeted: “Welcome Priyanka Gandhi to the rough and tumble of politics. She brings with her the grace of Gandhi Nehru lineage and her immense personal charm. Wish her the best. Could she become the Xfactor of 2019 poll battle?”
47-year-old Priyanka, who reminds many of her grandmother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, for both her charisma and the stunning likeness, is seen as a natural in politics but she has confined herself to the constituencies of her brother Rahul and mother Sonia Gandhi–Amethi and Raebareli–till now.
In national and state elections since 2004, the mother-of-two has campaigned exhaustively in the family seats where the Gandhis enjoy almost royal status.
Reports say her appointment to a key position reflects the Congress’s realisation that in a politically vital state like Uttar Pradesh, which has 80 parliamentary seats and is considered the route to power at the centre, the party needs to up its game and cannot afford just one in-charge. It is a huge gamble for the Congress, a sign that the party is all for aggressively taking on PM Modi and the BJP in the coming election.
The Congress dropped the Priyanka bombshell in the third para of a press statement that also announced that Jyotiraditya Scindia will be in charge of western UP. The giant announcement came as Rahul Gandhi began a two-day visit to Amethi. Priyanka Gandhi is in New York and is expected to return on February 1.
Congress leaders say Priyanka Gandhi’s arrival in party politics will galvanise the ranks that have been demoralised by the Mayawati-Akhilesh Yadav move to form an alliance in UP for the national election without the Congress, which has been pitching for a grand opposition alliance to take on the BJP.
Rahul Gandhi commented that the BJP was “panicking”.
The ruling party has been repeatedly targeting Priyanka Gandhi’s husband Robert Vadra, a businessman being investigated for allegedly corrupt land deals in Haryana and Rajasthan. Robert Vadra congratulated his wife in a Facebook post: “Congratulations P… always by your side in every phase of your life.”
In national and state elections since 2004, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has campaigned in the family seats where the Gandhis enjoy almost royal status.
Priyanka Gandhi was always active in decision-making and played a key role in the alliance with Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh election. She also reportedly oversaw the party meeting in which her older brother was crowned Congress president.
The BJP shrugged off the Congress announcement. “Rahul Gandhi failed so they need Priyanka as a crutch. Can’t they find anyone beyond that family?” sneered BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra.

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Srinagar-Jammu Highway still closed

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Jammu, Jan 23: A massive snow-clearance operation was underway to restore the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar Highway which remained closed for vehicular traffic for the third consecutive day Wednesday, officials said.
The snow clearance operation on both sides of the Jawahar Tunnel–the gateway to Kashmir–was started and the snow-clearance operation is going on in full swing, said Deputy Superintendent of Police, Traffic Highway, Pardeep Singh Sen.
An avalanche had also struck the Jawahar Tunnel area on Tuesday, blocking both tubes on Qazigund side.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO), which maintains the Jawahar tunnel stretch of the highway, pressed its men and machines to clear the road of the accumulated snow on Tuesday, Sen said.
“We are expecting the highway to be open for traffic by late afternoon. However, only the stranded vehicles will be allowed to move on the highway once we get the green signal,” he said.
Hundreds of vehicles, mostly trucks, are stranded at various places along the highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with rest of the country, officials said.
They said the road from Banihal, which recorded over two and a half feet of snow, to Jawahar tunnel was also being cleared, while the Banihal-Ramban stretch is almost clear after agencies concerned removed minor landslides and stones which came down at different places due to incessant rains.
After three-day long wet spell across Kashmir, the weather showed improvement with local meteorological department forecasting dry weather till January 29.
The three-day-long wet spell ended across the Valley today. The MeT department had predicted improvement in the weather conditions from Tuesday evening.
The local Meteorological department said that there is no forecast of rain or snowfall across the Valley till January 29 here, saying that the weather would remain cloudy on Jan 25.

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