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Express your views firmly under democratic norms: PM Modi to Kerala BJP workers



PM Modi

New Delhi | With the BJP leading protests against the Kerala government over the Sabarimala issue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday told party workers in the state to express their views firmly to convince people while following democratic and constitutional norms.

In an interaction with party workers in the state as part of his nation-wide dialogue with BJP workers in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, Modi said there should be no let-up in their efforts to spread public awareness as he referred to a “sad news”. He was referring to the death of 55-year old Venugopalan Nair, who died after setting himself afire near the venue of the party’s protest in the state on Thursday.

The BJP had called for a bandh in the state, claiming that Nair took the extreme step due to the “adamant” stand of the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government on the Sabarimala issue.

However, police claimed that Nair in his dying declaration given to the Magistrate said he did so due to depression and ran towards the protest venue after setting himself afire. Modi asked BJP workers to “inspire” people across the state to avoid taking any extreme step. Every life is important and it should not suffer, he said in his video-interaction with party’s booth workers from Attingal, Mavelikkara, Kollam, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta.

The BJP has been protesting against the state government over its decision to implement the Supreme Court order allowing women of all age groups to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa Temple and also demanding lifting of ban orders and restrictions.

He also referred to killings of BJP workers in alleged political violence in the state and referred to the example of Tripura, where the saffron party defeated the Left earlier this year after its 20-year rule, to assert that such a day is not far in Kerala. “Those in power in Kerala for years have shown no respect for democracy. They have made every effort to silence the voice of BJP workers and voice of people. Despite BJP workers’ killings, state govt failed to performance their duty,” the prime minister said.

In Kerala, he said, there are two governance models, the Congress model and the Communist model. “Both models are models of efficient corruption and inefficient governance. The BJP model of governance is a model of development. It is a model of quick development, inclusive and all round development,” Modi added.

BJP workers are becoming voice of the people, even if it means withstanding the brutality of political violence, he said. To a question from a party worker about how the party can expand its base in the southern state, he said they should make people’s voice heard and then people will hear their voices.

He recalled former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s saying that a BJP worker should have his one foot in “rail”- a reference to his willingness to travel frequently- and another in jail so that he does not care if police put him behind bars for fighting for people. He also referred to a number of figures to claim that the country had progressed a lot under his government.

“Earlier, the buzzword was VIP now the buzzword is EPI – Every Person is Important,” he said to highlight as to how his government has focussed on the common man. “Indian economy was among the Fragile Five before 2014. The world had turned away from India. Within four years, that perception has completely changed,” he said.

Modi said India is at the forefront of setting the global narrative today, adding that when a nation of 130 crore people speaks, its voice is heard.


Supreme Court asks search committee on Lokpal to recommend names by Feb end





New Delhi | The Supreme Court on Thursday fixed a February end deadline for the search committee on Lokpal to recommend the panel of names for appointment of the first anti-graft ombudsman of the country.

The search committee is headed by former apex court judge Justice (retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai,

A bench headed by the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi directed the Centre to provide the search committee with the requisite infrastructure and manpower to enable it to complete its work.

The bench, also comprising Justices L N Rao and S K Kaul, said it would hear the matter again on March 7.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, told the bench there were certain problems like lack of infrastructure and manpower due to which the search committee was not able to hold deliberations on the issue.

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BJP not involved in any operation to topple Cong-JDS government: Yeddyurappa





Bengaluru | BJP Karnataka chief B S Yeddyurappa on Thursday said no member of his party was involved in any operation to topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition government.

With the ongoing power tussle between the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition and BJP in Karnataka intensifying, both sides have been trading charges of trying to poach each other’s MLAs.

“The BJP has nothing do with ruling coalition MLAs who are in Mumbai,” the former Chief Minister said and accused the Congress and JD(S) of trying to shift the blame on his party to cover up their ‘failures and inability’ to keep their flock together. “No one from the BJP has indulged in any kind of operation or luring Congress-JD(S) MLAs.

We had gathered all our MLAs atone place and were discussing about the preparations for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls for the last two-three days. Todayall are coming back,” Yeddyurappa said.

Speaking to reporters here, he hit out at the Congress leaders, saying they talk about the Constitution, but everyone was aware of how they played with it since 1960. “Why do they have to fear if we gather our MLAs, I don’t understand. Internal fight within Congress and JD(S) is going out of control… to cover up their internal squabbles, they should not blame the BJP,” he added.

Yeddyurappa, who was in New Delhi and Gurugram along with 104 BJP MLAs for the last few days, returned to the city to visit the ailing 111-year-old prominent seer Shivakumara Swamiji of Siddaganga mutt in Tumakuru district.

Reacting to Congress-JD(S) leaders’ claims that some BJP MLAs were in touch with them, Yeddyurappa said, “We are together. You (Congress-JD(S) have said four to five MLAs are in your contact. Call them. Let me see.

If your MLAs have gone to Mumbai or Delhi, what do we have to do with it? It is -Congress-JD(S)- your duty to keep your legislators intact. No one is in touch with us…I’mtelling you,”he added.

The Leader of Opposition in the assembly also questioned as to who the leaders of Congress-JD(S) combine were to question his party about camping in Gurugram. “Who are they to ask where we are going? You try tokeep your MLAs intact, why are you blaming us? Tomorrow they (Congress) have called their legislature party meeting. how many will come it will be known, their true colours will come out tomorrow.” “Without understanding that your MLAs are dissatisfied and disgruntled, don’t unnecessarily put blame on BJP,” Yeddyurppa said.

Pointing out that during S M Krishna’s chief ministership, Maharashtra MLAs were kept at a resort in Mysuru, and recently Gujarat MLAs were put up in a resort in Bengaluru, Yeddyurappa questioned as to “where did Congress’ democracy go then?”

Hitting out at Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Yeddyurappa said despite being taught a lesson by the people ofChamundeshwari constituency, he had notlearnt anything.

Siddaramaiah lost the Chamundeshwari assembly seat in the May polls, though he won from Badami. Lashing out at the BJP and calling it “shameless” for allegedly luring ruling coalition MLAs, Siddaramaiah on Wednesday had said that Yeddyurappa has grown old, but has no wisdom.

Yeddyurappa also targeted former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and called him “a political opportunist”. “…all his fights and principles are only limited to secure his and his family’s political interests.People of the state are well aware of Deve Gowda’s use and throw policy,” hesaid.

Targeting Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, Yeddyurappa said 156 taluks were in the grip of drought, but the chief minister and his ministers are not working effectively. “What are you doing? Who is travelling- Chief Ministers and Ministers- What steps have you taken when farmers are in distress?” he questioned. “In such a grave situation, without doing your duty, you are trying to shift the blame on BJP. You will not gain anything from it,” he said.

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Congress MLAs, MLCs urge Rahul Gandhi to nominate CLP leader




Rahul Gandhi

Hyderabad | Newly-elected Congress MLAs and MLCs in Telangana on Thursday unanimously resolved to urge party president Rahul Gandhi to nominate their leader.

The meeting was attended by AICC representative K C Venugopal, who spoke to party MLAs, MLCs and MPs on the matter.

Venugopal said he would convey the legislators’ views to Gandhi, who would take a decision as early as possible.

“We took a unanimous resolution authorising the Congress president to nominate the new CLP (Congress legislature Party) leader of Telangana,” he said.

Congress won 19 seats in the 119-member house in the December 7 assembly elections.

Meanwhile, the first session of the assembly after the polls began here Thursday with the newly elected members taking oath as MLAs.

Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao was the first to take oath.

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