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BJP veterans come in support of Kirti Azad who took on Jaitley

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New Delhi: A day after MP Kirti Azad was suspended from the BJP for taking on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over alleged corruption in Delhi’s cricket body, four party veterans have made up their minds to intervene in the matter.

According to reports, the elders – LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Shanta Kumar, and Yashwant Sinha – are likely meet Azad at Joshi’s residence on Thursday, and raise the issue in party forum instead of going public with their views.

BJP veterans, including former president L K Advani, met here on Thursday amid signs that a section of the party is not happy over the suspension of Azad.

Advani drove to the residence of another former president Murli Manohar Joshi and was closeted there with BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Shanta Kumar, party insiders said.

Shanta Kumar, a former chief minister of Himachal Pradesh, met the media but refused to reveal what was discussed.

“Yes, we met, we discussed things, we had tea. I can’t say more.”

But party sources with access to them said they felt that Azad’s suspension on Wednesday had sent out a wrong message since the cricketer-turned-politician had for years been campaigning against financial wrongdoing in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).

“Some of them feel that action has been taken against a person who acted like a whistle-blower,” an informed source told IANS.

The veterans reportedly feel that the move against Azad, a three-time Lok Sabha member from Darbhanga in Bihar, would harm the party.

For eight years, Azad has been campaigning against alleged financial irregularities in the DDCA, which was headed by Jaitley for 13 long years until 2013. Jaitley says he has done no wrong.

The minister has sued Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders for suggesting that he was corrupt.

In a related development, more than 100 supporters of Azad, who was in the Indian cricket team that won the 1983 World Cup, staged a noisy protest outside the BJP headquarters here against his suspension.

Azad, suspended for “anti-party activities”, sought help from the party’s “Marg Darshak Mandal” which comprises of Advani, Joshi, the now ailing former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

This was not an official meeting of the “Marg Darshak Mandal” but one of the veterans who also took a stand widely seen as critical of Modi’s and Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah’s leadership after the party’s huge defeat in assembly polls in Bihar.

There was no official comment from the BJP on what Advani and others discussed. A BJP leader, Srikant Sharma, told the media that the party “respected the senior leaders”.

Advani, Joshi, Shanta Kumar and former finance minister Sinha are known to be unhappy with the working style of Shah, a confidant of Prime Minister Modi.

After the BJP’s Bihar setback, these party veterans took on Modi and Shah, demanding “a thorough review” of the debacle. They said the defeat showed the party had learnt nothing from its crushing defeat by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi in February.

The AAP and the Congress have both come out in support of Azad, son of former Bihar chief minister Bhagwat Jha Azad. Azad said on Wednesday that his suspension was “unfortunate” and that his fight was against corruption and not any individual.

(With inputs from agencies)

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People Have Faith in Modi Government to Handle COVID-19 Crisis

Over 83% trust Modi govt will handle COVID-19 crisis well

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Modi government
The Narendra Modi-led central government is leaving no stone unturned in fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic. Wikimedia Commons

As the Narendra Modi-led central government is leaving no stone unturned in fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic, 83.5 per cent people from various states “trust in government” in handling the crisis.

The findings came out in the IANS-CVoter exclusive tracker on COVID-19 Wave 2 survey conducted during last seven days among 18 plus adults nationwide. The findings and projections are based on Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI).

Replying to a question “I think Indian government is handling the coronavirus well”, 83.5 per cent people agreed that they trust in government’s steps being taken in fight against the deadly disease, and 9.4 per cent expressed their disagreement. The survey was conducted on March 26 and 27. Of the 83.5 per cent who showed their trust in government, 66.4 per cent strongly agree with the opinion and 17.1 agree with the view.

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A similar survey on the same question done on March 17 and 18 showed that 83.6 per cent people expressed their trust in government in fight against the pandemic which so far has claimed 29 lives and over 1,000 conformed cases. A total of 13.7 per cent people expressed their disagreement.

Modi government
83.5 per cent people from various states trust the Modi government in handling the COVID-19 crisis. Wikimedia Commons

As per the tracker, the data is weighted to the known demographic profile of the states. Sometimes the table figures do not sum to 100 due to the effects of rounding, it says. “Our final data file has socio-economic profile within plus 1 per cent of the demographic profile of the state. We believe this will give the closest possible trends.”

The Tracking Pol fieldwork covers random probability samples during the last seven days from the release date and that the sample spread is across all assembly segments across all states. This survey covers all states in India and was conducted in 10 languages as part of our routine OmniBus, it says.

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“This is a thorough random probability sample; and we are ensuring a proper representative analysis by statistical weighing of the data to make it representative of the local population as per the latest census and or other available demographic benchmarks.”

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The data clarified that it strictly follows the WAPOR code of conduct (World Association of Public Opinion Research) for our ethical and transparent scientific practices and have incorporated the PCI (Press Council of India ) guidelines as our SOP (Standard Operating Procedures). (IANS)