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Malda violence: BJP and CPI-M delegation team stopped while entering in Kaliachak

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Kolkata/New Delhi: Delegations of opposition parties BJP and CPI-M were on Monday prevented from proceeding to violence-hit Kaliachak in Malda district by the administration, triggering a war of words between political opponents in West Bengal.

Eight days after the violence during which a police station was attacked and BSF vehicles torched, the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress accused the BJP and the RSS of trying to turn a “criminal issue” into a “communal” one in view of the upcoming assembly polls.

The BJP called the January 3 violence a “planned action” and flayed the administration for stopping its parliamentarians.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist alleged that the state administration was not allowing opposition parties to proceed to Kaliachak as it had “something to hide”.

The three BJP MPs — BhupendraYadav, Ram Vilas Vedanti and SS Ahluwalia — sent by the party on a ‘fact finding mission’ were detained on Monday morning soon after they alighted from the Gaur Express at Malda station, 30 km from Kaliachak.

Ahluwalia, the sole Bharatiya Janata Party LokSabha member from Bengal, told reporters that the team’s only purpose was to ascertain the truth and restore the confidence of the people.

“We told the Malda district administration that we have come to ascertain the truth, we have not come to instigate or incite anyone. We wanted to restore the confidence of the people.”

Police told the MPs that prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure had been clamped at Kaliachak, as added by Ahluwalia.

“They (police) told us that our presence will lead to problems, and the situation would deteriorate.”

The MPs spent three hours at the station before they were “forced to board” the Shatabdi Express.

Yadav termed the act “condemnable”.

Hours later, a CPI-M delegation headed by LokSabha member Mohammad Salim was also stopped.

Salim, also a Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo member, said that despite having given prior intimation to the district administration about their visit, they were stopped by a large posse of policemen at Amriti, about 35 km from Kaliachak.

“They said our visit could trigger law and order problems. Though I told them that my aim was to ascertain the facts by talking to the people, they refused to budge,” said Salim.

“I wonder if the administration has something to hide. And so it is stopping all opposition parties from going to the troubled spot.”

Trinamool chief national spokesperson Derek O’Brien accused the BJP parliamentary team of trying to go to Kaliachak to fuel “communal tension”.

“This was a ‘criminal issue’ but the BJP/RSS, as is their strategy, tried to turn it into a ‘communal issue’.”

O’Brien said the situation at Kaliachak was “tense”, but never “got out of hand” and praised the police for handling the issue “tactfully”.

“Thankfully, no deaths occurred, no injuries and 10 people have been arrested.”

The Trinamool Rajya Sabha member alleged that the “BJP/RSS were trying for the last one week to present, what I call, CIN 100: Communally Insensitive Narrative, 100 days before the state goes to polls.”

In Delhi, BJP national secretary Sidharth Nath Singh said party leaders will meet union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and seek an investigation by an appropriate agency into the violence.

“An incident happens on December 1 and the reaction happens on January 3… it took more than 30 days. If there was a communal reaction, it had to be spontaneous. Therefore, it was not a communal reaction, but a planned action.”

The BJP leader said Malda had become a hub for drug trade as authorities overlooked opium cultivation, asking why the West Bengal chief minister did not make efforts to stop such cultivation.

According to reports, protesting against remarks allegedly made to “hurt religious sentiments” in Uttar Pradesh, a large number of people on January 3 went on a rampage in Kaliachak, torching vehicles including those belonging to the Border Security Force (BSF) and also attacked the police station.(IANS) (Picture Courtesy:theweek.in)

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Karnataka Polls: BJP On The Way to Win, Congress May Get Hard Defeat

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

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A state of 60 million people, Karnataka is home to the Information Technology hub of Benguluru and was ruled by the BJP once before.
Congress may have to taste defeat in Karnataka, VOA

The BJP was on Tuesday set to return to power in its southern bastion Karnataka as its candidates crossed the half-way mark in vote count, stunning and ousting the ruling Congress and leaving the JD-S at the third spot.

Noisy celebrations broke out in party offices in Bengaluru, New Delhi and across Karnataka as Bharatiya Janata Party nominees were on the victory lap in 118 of the 222 constituencies which voted on Saturday.

This was a dramatic jump from the 40 seats the BJP won five years ago.

The Congress, desperate to retain power in the state amid shrinking appeal nationally, suffered major blows and was ahead only in 62 seats, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah trailing in both the constituencies he contested: Badami and Chamundeshwari.

The Congress leader was way behind G.T Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal-Secular in Chamundeshwari, Election Commission officials said. And after leading initially, Siddaramaiah fell behind B.R. Sriramulu of the BJP in Badami.

In contrast, the BJP’s Chief Ministerial face B.S. Yeddyurappa was ahead of his Congress rival by more than 11,000 votes in Shikaripura.

Energy Minister and Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar said that the numbers indicated that his party was on the way out after five years in power.

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

The BJP was overjoyed. “We are in a jubilant mood because we have crossed the half-way mark. We are confident of winning,” spokesman S. Shantharam told IANS.

BJP activists and leaders celebrated noisily in both Bengaluru and New Delhi, waving party flags and shouting slogans hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, their main vote-getter, and party President Amit Shah.

There were also celebrations outside the residence of Yeddyurappa, who has been Chief Minister earlier too.

Of the 2,654 candidates in the fray for the May 12 Karnataka Assembly elections, at least 883 are crorepatis and 645 have criminal cases against them, said two watchdogs after analysing their affidavits filed with the Election Commission (EC).
Karnataka Polls counting suggests big win for BJP, wikimedia commons

The Janata Dal-Secular of former Prime Minister H.D. Dewe Gowda, which has been expected to play the role of a kingmaker in the event of a hung Assembly, was leading in 40 seats — the same number it won five years ago.

As the vote count progressed, BJP leaders became assertive, saying they were confident of taking power again in Karnataka while Congress leaders began to speak about the possibility of an alliance with the JD-S.

BJP leader and Union Minister Sadanand Gowda said that there was no question of any alliance.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar, who is in charge of Karnataka, met BJP President Amit Shah in New Delhi.

Analysts said the BJP was leading in Lingayat dominated seats and the JD-S in Vokkaliga dominated areas.

Expectations of a BJP victory in Karnataka lifted the key Indian equity indices during the mid-morning trade session on Tuesday.

Modi’s Performance: Survey Reports That Significant Number of People Rate Performance of Modi Government as Below Expectations

According to market observers, broadly subdued Asian indices and disappointing macro-economic inflation data points released on Monday capped some gains.

Sector-wise, healthy buying was witnessed in banking, capital goods, metals, consumer durables and automobile stocks.

The Sensex has so far touched a high of 35,993.53 points and a low of 35,498.83 points during the intra-day trade. (IANS)