Monday November 19, 2018
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Now Yogi Adityanath likens Shah Rukh Khan to Hafiz Saeed

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New Delhi: A day after Bhartiya Janta Patry (BJP) leader Kailash Vijayvargiya attacked Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan saying that his heart was in Pakistan, another ruling party politician Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday likened the actor to 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed.

“Shah Rukh should understand that if Muslims don’t see his films, he will be on the roads. There is no difference in what Shah Rukh Khan and Hafiz Saeed say,” Aditynath said, hours after Vijayvargiya retracted his controversial tweets following criticism by his party leaders saying that he did not intend to hurt anyone.

Vijayvargiya tweeted on Tuesday asking, “Where was Shah Rukh Khan when 1993 blasts, 26/11 attacks took place, killing hundreds of people?”

He added: “Shah Rukh Khan lives in India, but his heart is in Pakistan. His movies make crores in India, yet he finds the country intolerant.”

Vijayvargiya in his tweets on Wednesday while withdrawing his anti-Shah Rukh comments said that the actor would not have been more popular in India had the country been intolerant. Thus, some people misunderstood his remarks.

“I did not intend to hurt anyone. I retract my tweets,” the BJP leader tweeted.

“These are uncalled for, not correct comments. You cannot compare Shah Rukh Khan or any Indian citizen with a terrorist. This is not the BJP viewpoint,” BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said disapproving of the statements of both the leaders.

Ironically, BJP ally the Shiv Sena took a dig at the former saying, “Shah Rukh Khan should not be targeted for being a Muslim.”

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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
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Continues To Stay Mum On The #MeToo Movement. Wikimedia Commons

“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.

India,India, elections
India’s Congress party President Rahul Gandhi displays documents as he accuses Narendra Modi’s government of buying 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault at a highly inflated price, in New Delhi, India. VOA

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
Modi Appeals For A Regional Front Against Terrorism, flickr

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)