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Shiv Sena lashes out at PM Modi, says lack of political will delaying Ram Temple

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Shiv Sena; Mumbai

Mumbai | The Shiv Sena on Monday charged that “lack of political will” was delaying construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should stop doing “political nautanki” (drama) over the issue while keeping a gun on shoulders of the Congress.

Taking potshots at Modi for his “56-inch chest” remark made during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, it said the Congress did not have the courage to build the Ram Temple, so it was thrown out of power, and a man with a “56-inch chest” was given the keys to the administration. “Yet, if you see the Congress in water, on land and in air, people will once again have to measure your chest size. If Ram continues to stay in ‘vanvaas’ (exile) then stop your political ‘nautanki’,” the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.

During the 2014 Lok Sabha poll campaign, Modi had said that a “56-inch chest” was needed to tackle Pakistan.

On the prime minister’s charge that the Congress was creating hurdles in the court’s process, the Sena said, “Modi has to stop levelling allegations against the Gandhi family and the Congress. You were not given power to keep cribbing about such problems. The Congress and the Samajwadi Party were ousted because of their hurdles in the construction of Ram Temple. So, stop blaming the Congress now”.

“Did demonetisation not happen despite opposition from the Congress? Did you not form government in Jammu and Kashmir with (People’s Democratic Party chief) Mehbooba Mufti despite hurdles from the Congress? Then what is the hurdle in (construction of) Ram temple?” it asked.

Contrary to the BJP’s claims, it is not the Congress, but a “lack of political will” that is the biggest hurdle in the temple’s construction, claimed the Sena, which is an ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre and in Maharashtra.

“What is (Congress chief) Rahul Gandhi’s importance? What strength does the Congress have? Then why give it so much importance? If you play politics on temple while keeping the gun on the Congress’ shoulders, you will disappear. Ram temple was not Congress’, but BJP’s promise,” it said.

It also said that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya has fulfilled one objective – those who were sleeping over the issue did not turn but at least have opened their eyes and understood that ‘jumlebaazi’ (rhetoric) will not work as far as the Ram Temple is concerned.

Thackeray had offered prayers at the Ram Lalla Temple in Ayodhya on Sunday and said the BJP government at the Centre “may not last” if the temple was not constructed.

He had demanded that an ordinance be brought in to pave way for the temple’s construction, warning that emotions of Hindus should not be taken for granted.

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Omar questions Army officials boasting about number of militants killed in J-K

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Srinagar | Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday questioned Army officials boasting about the number of militants killed in the state last year, saying it would have been a “great year” if no youth had joined militancy.

“I beg to differ, a great year would be one in which no young man would join militancy, no terrorists would be killed & no security personnel would lose their lives in encounters. The compulsion of killing militants/terrorists shouldn’t be treated as a cause for celebration,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

He was responding to the remarks of Northern Army Command chief Lt Gen Ranbir Singh in which he reportedly said that 2018 has been a great year for the security forces as more than 250 terrorists were killed, 54 were caught alive and four surrendered to the forces.

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Opposition rally will sound the death knell for BJP: Mamata Banerjee

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Kolkata | West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said the mega opposition rally being hosted by her Trinamool Congress on January 19 would sound the “death knell” for the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls and regional parties would be the deciding factor.

She also claimed that the BJP’s seat count in the general election will not cross more than 125.

The number of seats that the state parties will win will be much more than the BJP’s, further claimed.

“The federal parties, that is the regional parties, will be the deciding factor after the elections,” she told newsmen here.

“The rally will sound the death knell for BJP … Obviously, they (BJP) will not cross more than 125 seats,” she said in reply to a question.

Banerjee also visited the Brigade Parade grounds to check arrangements for the rally.

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20 lakh Bangladeshi Hindus to become Indians if Citizenship Bill is passed: KMSS

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Guwahati | Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), which is spearheading the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, claimed that around 20 lakh Hindu Bangladeshis would become Indians if the controversial Bill is passed.

Addressing a press conference, KMSS Adviser Akhil Gogoi slammed the BJP-led government for its attempt to get the Bill passed despite widespread protests across the North East.

“The BJP and Himanta Biswa Sarma is saying that only eight lakh Hindu Bangladeshis, who are already staying here, will get citizenship. But our assessment is that 20 lakh people are present in Assam at this moment and they will get citizenship as soon as the Bill is passed,” he added.

Elaborating on his claim, the prominent RTI activist said that a report of former Assam Governor Lt Gen S K Sinha had mentioned that over one crore people have entered India.

“When I met former Assam Assembly Deputy Speaker Dilip Kumar Paul, who is from BJP, he said around 15-20 lakh Hindu Bangladeshis are in Assam. Himanta Biswa Sarma himself had said that out of the 40 lakh excluded from the complete draft of NRC (National Register of Citizens), 22 lakh were Hindus.

“Saugata Roy had said in Parliament that 28 lakh Hindu Bengalis are excluded from NRC. So, these different figures by various sources clearly say that around 20 lakh Hindus from Bangladesh are living in Assam, not eight lakh as claimed by BJP,” Gogoi said.

He further claimed that as per Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, there are around 1.7 crore Hindus, which is 10.7 per cent of that country’s total population.

“If the Bill is passed, this will pave the ways for these 1.7 crore people in Bangladesh to come to Assam and get Indian nationality as there is no cut-off date in the Bill.

So, there is a possibility that a total of 1.9 crore people are likely to get Indian citizenship in coming years,” Gogoi said.

He claimed that if that happens, the entire demography of Assam will change irreparably.

Gogoi accused the BJP-led government for garnering votes in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls by bringing in three sensitive issues one after another.

“Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Committee on Clause-6 of Assam Accord and another committee on ST status were brought at this time only for polarising the society on communal lines for the votes. That is why we all should resist it. We will shed out blood, but will not allow the Bill to pass. We will do everything possible to stop it,” he said.

The Bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8, provides for according Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 years, which is the norm currently, even if they do not possess any document.

A large section of people and organisations in the northeast have opposed the bill saying it would nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of illegal immigrants irrespective of religion.

Massive protests broke out across the state after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in Silchar on January 4 that the legislation would be passed as soon as possible in Parliament.

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