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Cancelling PM rallies sent negative message: Shatrughan Sinha

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Patna: Bollywood actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha on Saturday said the last-minute cancellation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rallies for ongoing campaigning in Bihar assembly polls sent a negative message among the people.

“A situation that led our star campaigner PM to cancel his Bihar rallies at the last
minute — sending a negative message,” Sinha, the BJP’s parliamentarian from Patna Saheb, tweeted on Saturday.

Referring to cancellation of Modi’s rallies on October 16, Modi was scheduled to address two rallies in Hajipur in Vaishali district and Buxar district.

According to BJP leaders, Modi’s another visit on October 20 to address rallies was also cancelled.

“Though some local dictatorial leaders in Bihar are solely responsible for creating themes and undesirable situation in Bihar. Hope, wish and pray that despite some teething troubles and electoral problems, we do as well as we expected in the Bihar elections,” Sinha tweeted.

On Friday, Sinha embarrassed the BJP by expressing concern over the spiralling price of pulses and asked the Narendra Modi government to take urgent steps to check it.

Sinha also said the unprecedented rise in the prices of pulses had happened soon after the onion process brought tears in the eyes of people.

Interestingly, Sinha was one of the BJP’s 40 star campaigners, but missing from the hectic campaigning unleashed by his party for the Bihar assembly elections.

He has so far not addressed even a single rally in poll-bound Bihar, giving credence to speculations that he is unhappy with the BJP’s top leadership for sidelining him for over a year.

In fact, the Bollywood veteran star was not even invited to a BJP rally in Patna in April, or for that matter to the Modi rally in Muzaffarpur at which the party campaign was kicked off in July.

Old timers, who closely monitored political developments in Bihar in the past three decades, pointed out that Sinha has been known for his free and frank talk that sometimes embarrasses his party. Sometimes, he goes against the official party line.

Buzz in political circles here is that the BJP would act against a defiant Sinha once the Bihar assembly polls are over.

BJP sources said Sinha’s repeated statements in support of Janata Dal-United leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his meetings with the latter did not go down well with the party brass.

Sinha even described Nitish Kumar as the country’s best chief minister and a guardian of Bihar. He also praised and met Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad.

“The BJP has taken all this seriously as our fight is against Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad ever since they joined hands. How can the party tolerate its own senior leader praising rivals in public?” asked a BJP leader.

Sinha also backed the BJP’s Lok Sabha member from Ara, R.K. Singh, who alleged that the party “sold tickets” to tainted and criminal candidates for the Bihar polls.

Time and again, Sinha has reminded party leaders that he joined the BJP in 1984 at the
height of his film career and when the party had only two members in the Lok Sabha.

Although Sinha has been maintaining that he is a loyal BJP worker, sources said, he may shift loyalty to Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United after the Bihar polls.

(IANS)

 

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Muslim women can now travel for Haj without Mahram

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1300 applicants after the new rule came in. Wikimedia commons
1300 applicants after the new rule came in. Wikimedia commons

In India, earlier it was mandatory for Muslim women to travel with mahram if they wanted to go for Haj. However, now Muslim women aged above 45 will now be allowed to go for the pilgrimage without ‘mahram’ in a group of at least four.

“1300 Muslim women have applied to perform Haj without ‘mahram’ and women from different parts of the country from Kerala to north India, have expressed their wish to go for the Haj pilgrimage,” said PM Modi on Mann Ki Baat.

A five-member panel

Earlier too, Centre had recommended women above 45 years to embark on haj pilgrimage in a four-member group without a male relative.

A committee was formed by Union ministry of minority affairs to review the existing haj policy and suggest a framework for new rules for 2018-22. It listed several recommendations which included permitting women to go for the pilgrimage without a male relative.

1.4 lakh people from India participate in Haj every year. Pixabay
1.4 lakh people from India participate in Haj every year. Pixabay

Controversy

In his last Mann Ki Baat address of the year on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to Muslim women, highlighting his government’s attempt at facilitating women’s travel for Haj pilgrimage without a male companion.

“For decades, injustice was being done to Muslim women but there was no discussion on it. Even in many Islamic countries, this practice does not exist,” the PM said.

“Our Ministry of Minority Affairs issued corrective measures and we eased this restriction by phasing out a tradition that had been in practice for the past 70 years,” Mr. Modi pointed out.

However, many claims that these rules are made by Saudi Arabia, not the Indian Government.

“It is the Saudi Haj authorities that have allowed any Muslim women above 45 years from any country without a Mehram to do Haj. It does not behoove the PM to take credit for what a foreign govt has done,” said AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi.

Saudi Arabia had updated the rules on haj back in 2015, as their embassy website shows.