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Most Nepalese now unhappy with Modi

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Kathmandu: Just a year ago when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed 10 agreements with Nepal and launched a bus service between the two countries, his popularity soared and soared. It is a different story now.

The reason is not hard to comprehend after talking to locals facing the brunt of blockages at the country’s entry points along India’s border that has caused widespread shortages in the landlocked nation.

“It’s a self-managed economic blockade by our long-time friend India,” said Deepak Shah, a shopkeeper in Kathmandu.

Shah said that New Delhi was retaliating against the Nepalese government since it approved a new constitution not to India’s liking.

“The Modi government sees the new constitution as discriminatory to one ethnic Indian community, Madhesis, who are settled along our borders (with India),” he said.

Shah’s sentiments were echoed by 35-year-old housewife Bimla Baidhya.

“The BJP-led Indian government is wooing Madhesis in Bihar where elections are due,” she said. Bihar along with Uttar Pradesh shares a long border with Nepal.

Many Nepalese say they are skipping one or two meals a day owing to a huge shortage of cooking gas in Kathmandu.

Cab driver Pradip Sapkota said China was the new friend of Nepal.

“We will get all our fuel and ration from China now. Even when the earthquake hit this country (in April), China proved to be a more trusted friend than India,” he added.

Picking holes in Modi’s address in Japan, college going Bikash Shrestha said his speeches in Nepal and Japan showed his diplomatic colours.

“When he was in Kathmandu (in August 2014), he said Lord Buddha was born in Nepal. But a month later when he visited Japan he said ‘India is a land of Buddha’. We don’t take it as a slip of tongue,” she said.

Shortly after assuming office in 2014, Modi made a high-fanfare visit to Kathmandu — the first by an Indian prime minister in 17 years.

The Madhesi parties from the Terai region bordering India have been protesting at Nepal’s entry points to build pressure on the government to meet their demands to amend the new constitution.

Nepalese officials say 70 percent of their trade comprises mainly essential goods such as fuel and cooking gas and comes from India.

There is another side to the crisis in Nepal.

People here have formed car pools to overcome the fuel shortage resulting from the blockades along India’s border with Nepal.

Long queues in front of petrol pumps, shortage of essential commodities resulting in price rise, lack of public transportation and cramped buses are common sights across Nepal since the new constitution came into being on September 20.

To overcome the problems, the government has rationed fuel — 10 litres a week for cars and three litres for a motorbike.

For some, the fuel shortage is a positive thing.

“Now there is not too much vehicular congestion on the streets of Kathmandu. A majority of people walk. This improves their health and also checks pollution,” octogenarian Dalip Rana said.

On Sunday, Nepal got some relief as over 100 trucks, stranded on the Indian border for over 10 days with essential and petroleum goods, entered the country.

 

(Vishal Gulati, IANS)

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Waves of black as Modi visits Chennai

Tamil Nadu has been in turmoil since the six-week period for setting up the Board expired, with opposition parties and a host of fringe Tamil groups attacking the Centre

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Narendra Modi App
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (FILE PHOTO)

Black flags and balloons and activists in black shirts and trousers greeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he paid a whirlwind visit to Chennai with helicopter as the chosen mode of transport in the wake of statewide agitation demanding constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB).

Protests were also held with black flags and placards throughout Tamil Nadu in cities like Tiruchi, Thanjavur, Coimbatore and Tuticorin against the Prime Minister’s brief visit to the state and the Centre’s failure to constitute the CMB despite a Supreme Court order. Black flags were hoisted on homes and business establishments across the state.

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of service to others in his last Mann Ki Baat edition for 2017.
Narendra Modi welcomed with black flags in chennai.

In a bid to avoid protesters, Modi, who arrived here by a special aircraft in the morning, chose a helicopter to reach Tiruvidanthai, in neighbouring Kanchipuram district where he opened the 10th DefExpo organised by the Defence Ministry. From there he took another chopper to come to IIT Madras, in the heart of the city. From there, he took a one-kilometre ride by car to the neighbouring Adyar Cancer Institute for an event.

The Prime Minister walked a few steps from the helicopter to the car that ferried him to the Cancer Institute. As he did so, he encountered some 30 students from IIT Madras who stood silently but held posters demanding a Cauvery Management Board as ordered by the Supreme Court — an issue which has whipped up emotions in Tamil Nadu. Modi then left by helicopter to the airport before returning to Delhi.

Also Read: Modi is anti-Dalit, will defeat BJP in 2019: Rahul Gandhi

#Go back Modi trended on top as netizens took to the cyberspace to register their protest against the Central government’s failure to set up the CMB as directed by the Supreme Court to ensure proper sharing of Cauvery waters between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and other states.

DMK leader M.K. Stalin, who was on a padayatra of the Cauvery delta areas, wore black shirt and trousers as he protested along with state Congress President Thirunavukkarasar and CPI-M state unit chief Mutharasan. “The Prime Minister may be flying in the air today but he has to come down when the elections come,” he said taking a dig at Modi.

A black flag was hoisted at DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s residence. The ailing leader wore a black shirt. DMK MP Tiruchi Siva and leaders of DMK allies wore black dress and marched on the road near the Chennai airport.

In the morning outside the Chennai airport, activists of the Federation for protection of Tamil Art and Culture, led by noted film director Bharatiraja and other film personalities like Amir, Gautaman and Vetrimaran protested against Modi’s visit. They were arrested.

will also hold a meeting there with the Indian community. Wikimedia Commons
Cauvery River Dispute is going on for a while now. Wikimedia Commons

While MDMK chief Vaiko held a black flag protest in Velachery, Naam Thamizhar Katch convenor Seeman, a film director, was arrested elsewhere. Vaiko called Modi a “coward” for choosing to fly. Political leaders Velmurugan and P. Nedumaran were arrested from Alandur metro station in Chennai for holding black flag protests.

Tamil Nadu has been in turmoil since the six-week period for setting up the Board expired, with opposition parties and a host of fringe Tamil groups attacking the Centre, saying the BJP was interested only in winning the Assembly elections in Karnataka. Even the hugely-popular IPL cricket matches have been shifted out of Chennai to Pune in view of the disturbances on Tuesday. IANS