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Patidar protesters meet Modi over ‘atrocities’

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credit: www.images.indianexpress.com

By NewsGram Staff Writer

New York: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday met a group of people, who were complaining about atrocities by police in Gujarat during the anti-reservation agitation. They asked for a changeover to a system of reservation based on economic status.

credit: www.thehindu.com
credit: www.thehindu.com

Earlier, at least 250 people from Sardar Patel Group US-Canada (SPG) held a protest outside the United Nations as Modi addressed the General Assembly. They carried both portraits of Modi welcoming him and placards about the alleged atrocities and calling for changes in the reservation system.

Alpesh Patel, who said he led the SPG delegation that met Modi, told that they gave him 25 petitions seeking action on the alleged police atrocities where they also voiced for a change in the reservation system. In the same regard, 2,000 letters supporting the demand were sent through the Consulate General.

During their meeting at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Patel, a businessman from Central New Jersey, said, “Modi listened to us and told us that he has reviewed the issue and said the High Court is also looking into it.”

Patel further said, “Modi did not reacted on our request for change in the reservation system.”

The community conveyed to Modi that the current caste-based reservation system should be changed to one that is based on economic status.

One of those at the protest, RK Patel explained their contradictory signs of welcome and protest saying, “We are Indians first. We have a good Prime Minister and we welcome him. But we want him to do something about the atrocities in Gujarat and make the reservations economic and not caste.”

In contrast to last year when hundreds turned up to cheer Modi, there were only about a dozen people from the Overseas BJP this time. Some members of the SPG too joined BJP members in holding up their banners and welcoming for Modi.

Meanwhile, another protest erupted across the streets by Khalistan supporters, who were separated by security barriers under the watchful of eyes of police. At least 500 of them held up signs demanding a referendum in Punjab and paraded an effigy of Modi.

With inputs from IANS

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As The Election Nears, India’s Opposition Promises Several Economic Steps

Modi said at the Delhi convention that the opposition was working on a "desperate alliance," while the BJP would give a "strong government."

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Rahul Gandhi, Election
Rahul Gandhi, president of India's main opposition Congress Party, speaks at a rally ahead of October's 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 11, 2019. VOA

India’s main opposition Congress Party will simplify the goods and services tax (GST) and make “rational economic decisions” to attract foreign investment if voted back to power in a general election due by May, leader Rahul Gandhi said Saturday.

Launched in 2017, the GST was initially hailed as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s biggest economic reform as it replaced more than a dozen federal and state levies and unified Asia’s third-largest economy.

But its chaotic implementation and complexities — months after a shock ban by Modi on high-value bank currency aimed at unearthing untaxed wealth — badly hurt small businesses and led to millions of job losses in the cash-driven economy, presenting the biggest challenge to Modi’s re-election chances.

India,India, elections, BJP
India’s Congress party President Rahul Gandhi displays documents in New Delhi, India. VOA

 

Gandhi, scion of India’s Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, said during a visit to Dubai that foreign investment was at a multiyear low in India because of the “ill-advised and badly thought out economic moves” such as the currency ban and a “poorly designed GST.”

Quick growth promised

“We will take some rational economic decisions,” he told a press conference, which was broadcast live on Twitter. “We will restructure the GST and we will embrace investments from the Middle East and other parts of the world. We are the party of [India’s economic] liberalization; we are the party that gave the fastest economic growth in the first decade of the century, and will do that again.”

He said his main priority would be to create jobs, simplify the GST, rebuild confidence in institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India — whose governor resigned recently after a fight over autonomy with the government, and the Supreme Court.

Modi, election
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, is garlanded by BJP leaders on the first day of the two-day Bharatiya Janata Party national convention in New Delhi, Jan. 11, 2019. VOA

 

Four Supreme Court judges held a rare press conference early last year, saying that “unless this institution is preserved and it maintains its equanimity, democracy will not survive in this country.”

Modi told a BJP convention in New Delhi on Saturday that for Congress “every institution was wrong and only they were right.”

The Congress press conference was organized by the Indian Overseas Congress, which is present in about 35 countries, as Gandhi tries to reach out to rich Indians living abroad for funds and social media support for the party that has dominated the country’s politics for decades before being nearly decimated in the last general election in 2014 by Modi.

But back home, Gandhi received a jolt when bitter rivals, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP), announced an election tie-up without Congress in Uttar Pradesh state, which sends the highest number of lawmakers to the lower house of parliament.

Narendra Modi, India, election
Elaborate preparations for PM’s election rally. VOA

“The BSP and SP have made a political decision,” Gandhi said. “It’s on us on how to strengthen the Congress Party in Uttar Pradesh and we will fight with our full capacity. Whether we do or their alliance does, the BJP is not winning there.”

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Modi said at the Delhi convention that the opposition was working on a “desperate alliance,” while the BJP would give a “strong government.”

The Hindu nationalist BJP lost power in three key states recently, forcing the government to announce a flurry of measures to woo small businesses and the less well-off since then. (VOA)