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Sangh steps up pressure on BJP for Ram temple

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New Delhi: While the Ram Mandir issue failed to have any impact with voters in the recent Assembly elections in the Hindi heartland, the RSS continued to mount pressure on the government to pave the way for the construction of the temple. The Sangh Parivar’s big brother wants the Narendra Modi government to clear the way for the Ram Mandir construction in Ayodhya before the crucial Lok Sabha polls in 2019. RSS’ second-in-command Bhaiyya Joshi told BJP president Amit Shah that any “positive step” towards the construction of the temple could improve the party’s poll prospects in the 2019 electoral battle. Both leaders met late on Wednesday evening to discuss, among other issues, the BJP’s poll debacle and the Sangh Parivar’s feedback from the three key states — Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan — where the party lost to the Congress.

Also, Sangh Parivar affiliate Vishwa Hindu Parishad has sent invitations to RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat and Mr Shah for its much-hyped “Dharamsansad” at the Kumbh Mela next month where the saints and seers could give a call for the construction of the temple. The Sangh Parivar is already campaigning for the temple across the country.

Going by the party’s own feedback, anger among upper castes over the BJP’s aggressive wooing of OBCs and dalits, including the recent legislation to amend the Supreme Court order on the SC/ST Act, as well as GST, demonetisation, candidate selection and, most important, NOTA (the “None of the Above” option in EVMs) worked against its interests. Sources said that the Sangh Parivar could also launch a campaign urging people not to opt for NOTA during voting. In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP lost more than a dozen Assembly berths due to thousands opting for NOTA. It may be recalled here that Mr Bhagwat had appealed to people to not to use NOTA as it “goes in favour of the one who is most ineffective”.

 

With dalit unrest a major issue for the BJP, sources said the forthcoming Kumbh could see dalit saints getting prominence during the congregation at Prayag.

Despite pressure from the Sangh Parivar for a bill in the Winter Session of Parliament for construction of the temple, the government is yet to take a call, which has given BJP ally Shiv Sena yet another issue to attack the ruling party. Taking a dig at the BJP, the Shiv Sena on Thursday said the Ram temple had become another “jumla” (rhetoric) for the party and that it would lead to its ouster from power. The Sena, in an article in Saamna, its mouthpiece, said “there is pressure within the BJP” to construct the Ram temple in Ayodhya, and asked when will “achche din” (good days) come for Lord Ram.


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National

Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs

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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.

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Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara

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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.

 
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Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha

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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.

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