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Dadri-like incidents will damage BJP, NDA: Parrikar

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Panaji: Incidents like the lynching in Dadri, near the national capital last month, will actually damage the BJP and the NDA, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, even as he gave a clean chit to the RSS vis-a-vis rising incidents of communal violence.

Parrikar who was speaking during a public interaction event near here, late on Sunday, also said that some of the incidents were being “blown out of proportion” by vested political interests.

“I think these incidents would actually damage the BJP or the NDA. It also damages the cause or the vision that the prime minister has and therefore they cannot be in the interest of the BJP or the NDA or the country,” Parrikar said in response to a question about the Dadri episode at the event.

Parrikar’s comments come at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is being publicly questioned for not commenting enough on the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq, 52, by a mob at Dadri last month, after accusing him of consuming beef at his home.

Without mentioning any specific incident, Parrikar, a Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh, said that sometimes such flare-ups were blown out of proportion.

“Sometimes they are being blown out of proportion. I am not referring to any specific instance but I found that issues which are local in nature, they are being given national coverage maybe because some politician wants to make it a national issue,” the defence minister said.

When asked about reports allegedly linking the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to communal incidents, Parrikar gave the Hindu right-wing organisation a clean chit and said that he was a “hardcore RSS person”.

“I am a hardcore RSS person from childhood, I can assure you that this has nothing to do with RSS,” Parrikar said, adding that violence in any form by any one cannot be accepted and that the both he and the Sangh believed in similar principles.

Asked to comment on the increasing demand of right-wing Hindu groups for a ban on beef, Parrikar said that a decision on the issue had to be taken “based on various factors including sensitivity of the subject, health, cruelty to animals, all these aspects will have to be taken into consideration and the government decision has to be fair to everyone”.

“A solution to the issue should be found while also keeping in mind the sensitivity of the others. Everyone’s opinion will be taken into account. This cannot be decided by discussion in interviews,” Parrikar said.

 

(IANS)

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India Begins Its Election Season With Five States

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh.

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India, elections
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the 'Global Mobility Summit' in New Delhi, India, VOA

India began on Monday the first of five state elections to be held in coming weeks, important tests for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he plots a course that he hopes will ensure him victory in a general election due by May.

Voters in the central state of Chhattisgarh went to the polls on Monday to elect representatives for 18 of the state assembly’s 90 seats in a staggered poll complicated by logistical problems and left-wing guerrillas.

The state of about 26 million people has been ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2003, and he will be hoping to hold on to power.

India, elections
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“Some unholy people have handed guns to children who should have pens in their hands,” Modi told a rally in the state on Friday, referring to the rag-tag guerrillas battling government forces from forest hideouts. “They’ve finished the lives of our tribal children.”

Hundreds of election workers had to be flown in to remote polling stations by helicopter because of the danger posed by the rebels.

Modi called for voters to back his BJP and its vision of “development for all.”

The final phase of voting in Chhattisgarh, which is known for its coal, iron ore and bauxite reserves, will be on Nov. 20.

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The BJP was the preference of about 43 percent of voters in Chhattisgarh, 7 percentage points ahead of the main opposition Congress party, according to a survey released last week by the Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Modi’s other big tests will be in the neighboring central state of Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP is slightly ahead of Congress, according to polls, and in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, where Congress is expected to emerge victorious.

A good performance by the BJP in the elections would help it deflect growing criticism over unemployment and a crisis in the countryside over falling farm prices and wages.

India, elections
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Elections will also be held for assemblies in Telangana in the south and Mizoram in the northeast.

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh, including Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu priest and the BJP chief minister in Uttar Pradesh state.

Also Read: PM Narendra Modi Announces Easier Access to Credit

Adityanath has been appealing to the BJP’s Hindu-nationalist base and on Sunday accused the opposition of blocking construction of a temple for Hindu god Ram on a disputed site in Uttar Pradesh.

The destruction of a mosque on the site by a Hindu mob in 1992 sparked deadly riots across the country. (VOA)