Raipur: Union minister Prakash Javadekar said Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s remark on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shiv Linga reflected the party’s mentality which had become evident when former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi dubbed the opposition a “scorpion” in 1984 polls.
He also accused the Congress of “indirectly supporting” Maoists and said the BJP governments at the Centre and in Chhattisgarh, where elections would be held next month, were determined to finish the Naxal menace in the coming years. No Congress leader was available for comments.
“When Chhattisgarh was formed and the Congress was in power in the state, Naxalism was at its peak. Now it has come down to one third of the total area which was in control of Naxalites earlier,” the human resource development minister said in a press conference here.
Javadekar criticised Tharoor for his reported remark on Saturday in which he claimed that an unnamed RSS source had told a journalist that “Prime Minister Modi was like a scorpion sitting on a Shiv Linga who cannot be removed by hand or hit with a chappal (slipper)”.
When asked about the remark, Javadekar said, “The Congress is wondering on how to take on Modi at the political level and therefore it has resorted to abusing. Rahul baba keeps on abusing daily. People will do only those things which they know. Shashi Tharoor is a bit sophisticated but he has also come down to the ‘bichhu’ remark.”
“This was the Congress’ advertisement in 1984. Rajiv Gandhi had brought this advertisement of calling the opposition a scorpion in the 1984 elections. It reflects the mentality of Congress,” the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leader claimed.
On Naxalism, he said 350 ultras were gunned down in the last five years in Chhattisgarh. “Not only that, around 5,000 misguided tribals have surrendered while thousands of Naxals have been arrested,” he said.
Hitting back at Congress leader Abhishek Manu Sanghvi who Sunday accused the Chhattisgarh government of being weak in tackling Naxalism, Javadekar said on the contrary the menace was at its peak during the Congress’ rule in Chhattisgarh between 2000 and 2003.
“The Congress gave birth to Naxalism and it is the party which has encouraged it. The senior Congress leader indirectly supports Maoists. The party had appointed overground supporters of Maoist to the planning commission. It is the record of the Congress,” he alleged.
Accusing the Congress of adopting “double standards”, Javadekar alleged the party had backed overground supporters of Maoists. “Their sympathy towards Maoist is not hidden. No decisive action was taken by the previous UPA government against Naxals. However, the action has been taken against Maoists since the last four years under Modi government and very soon the menace will be neutralised,” he claimed.
“Chhattisgarh will be free from Maoist activities in the next three years. We are determined to finish the Maoist challenge in the next couple of years which is totally violent and undemocratic. Our policy is clear,” the minister said.
Slamming Tharoor, Javadekar said the Congress leader had recently said Ram Mandir should not be built in Ramjanmabhoomi in Ayodhya because a mosque existed at that place. “Tharoor has forgotten that Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya and his temple existed at the spot. A mosque was built after demolishing the temple.
“A public protest for Ram temple has been on from last 500 years. No BJP or Congress were there in the movement. It was a public protest. Now, the Supreme Court has fixed the dates of hearing (the Ayodhya title suit). We are hopeful that soon justice will be done and Ram Mandir will be built in Ramjanmabhoomi,” he said.
When asked if Ram Mandir will be the BJP’s agenda for Lok Sabha elections in 2019, Javdekar said, “Ram Mandir had never been an agenda of our politics or election but the temple should be built in Ramjanmabhoomi because people of the country want it. This is a national demand and sentiments of people are attached with it. This is a matter of faith of people and we never do politics over it.”
Responding to a query on a row over a Supreme Court judgment allowing women of all age to visit Sabarimala shrine in Kerala, Javadekar said people reacted because orders were passed against public sentiments.
“Despite peaceful opposition by the devotees, the brutal treatment meted against them by the incumbent Communist government is severely criticised by the Bharatiya Janata Party,” he added.
‘Mahagathbandhan’ club of ‘nawabs of negativity’: Jaitley
Mumbai: The opposition “mahagathbandhan” (grand alliance) is a club of “nawabs of negativity” and the only glue of this diverse grouping is its opposition to one man (Narendra Modi), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
People of an aspirational society which is politically conscious will not buy into this “suicidal” alternative, the senior BJP leader said.
“The nawabs of negativity may come together but that is not something that will carry credibility as far as people are concerned,” Jaitley said, speaking via video link at the CNBC-TV18 India Business Leadership Awards event. During the video call, Jaitley also spoke about the Union Budget.
This was the first time Jaitley, now in the US for medical treatment, addressed a gathering since leaving the country on Tuesday.
The setback the ruling BJP suffered in Assembly elections in three heartland states recently (Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan) has enthused some opposition leaders about the likely electoral success of such an alternative.
The “mahagathbandhan” has neither the ideological cohesiveness nor a common programme aimed at building the country or an individual leader, Jaitley said.
As against the BJP’s strengths of leadership, decisiveness, performance and potential, the point being put forward by the opposition is of arithmetic, Jaitley highlighted.
In politics, it is not the arithmetic but chemistry which succeeds, he added.
“The premise is that we have politics which is negative in character and the negative politics is we want one man (Narendra Modi) out. On that negativity of wanting one man out, they (Opposition) have come together,” Jaitley said.
Arun Jaitley also said there is a need to elevate the political debate in the run up to the elections and stressed that we cannot afford a “sloganised political debate” where emotional cries take over sound policy.
Without mentioning the promise of farm loan waivers, which the opposition Congress is pitching for, the minister said “sloganised policies” never help the larger interest of the economy and it is the country’s aspirations which will receive a setback in the process.
Govt compromising national security, why 36 Rafale jets instead of 126: Chidambaram
New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday accused the government of compromising national security and asked why it bought only 36 Rafale fighter jets instead of 126 required by the Air Force.
His comments come in the wake of fresh revelations on the Rafale deal in a media report which claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to but 36 aircraft instead of the 126 asked for by the Air Force pushed the price of each jet up by 41.42 per cent.
“In the light of new facts and revelations in THE HINDU, the question gains greater urgency: why did the government buy only 36 Rafale aircraft instead of 126 aircraft required by the Air Force?,” Chidambaram asked in a tweet.
“The Government has compromised national security by denying to the Air Force the 7 squadrons (126 aircraft) that it desperately needs,” he said.
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia also took to Twitter to demand answers from Modi on the increased cost of aircraft. “The PM’s unilateral decision to buy 36 Rafales resulted in a price escalation of 41.42 per cent per jet. When will the prime minister answer? he asked.
No war, but soldiers are dying on borders: Bhagwat
Nagpur: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said requisite steps need to combat killings on the border, as soldiers are being martyred sans a war-like situation in the country.
“In our country, there is no war at the moment, still people (soldiers) are getting martyred…Because we are not doing our jobs properly. We need to make efforts in this regard. If we want our country to reach the top, then we all should learn to sacrifice,” he said at a gathering here on Thursday.
Furthermore, Bhagwat said the responsibility of safeguarding the country should not be solely shouldered by the Forces.
“Everybody has to make efforts in this regard. This is not something for which we can give a contract to somebody. We keep thinking that the government will do it or the army will do it, the police will do it, but it’s not like that, the entire society has to make efforts,” he opined.
Citing the example of Israel, Bhagwat noted: “If one looks closely, after 70 long years, those countries in comparison with India have done better in terms of growth and development. Israel is a classic example. The natives were weed out before the 19 c. But citizens there gradually came back to their country and started their businesses, trade etc. Finally, in 1948 they got independence.”