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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dilemma: BJP needs a ‘ Swacch Party’ campaign first to reshape India

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By Harshmeet Singh

The beedi baron, BJP MP Shyam Charan Gupta’s recent remarks where he dismissed any connection between smoking and health problems has left the saffron party red faced.  Gupta was quoted saying “I can produce a lot of people in front of you who are chain smokers of beedi and till date they have had no disease, no cancer… You get diabetes due to eating sugar, rice, potatoes. Why don’t you write warnings for all these things as well,” Notably, Shyam Charan Gupta is the founder and chairman of Shyam Group of Companies, whose flagship unit is Shyam Beedi.

Seizing the opportunity to corner the government on this matter, the opposition parties highlighted a ‘conflict of interest’ arising from Gupta’s membership in the committee framing laws on tobacco marketing and his tobacco trade. What the opposition parties pointed out was no rocket science. Gupta’s presence in the committee is akin to a criminal being a part of his own jury. The BJP MP from Allahabad, Gupta went on to press his views and asserted that beedis have ‘nil’ adverse effects on the health and there must be separate laws from chewed and smoked tobacco since smoking doesn’t cause any harm. Acting in a damage control mode, Modi suggested the health ministry to enhance the size of pictorial warnings on tobacco products from existing 40% to 65% of the size of the packing.

Unfortunately for the BJP, Shyam Charan Gupta isn’t the only ‘odd man out’ in a group of 281 Lok Sabha MPs and 47 Rajya Sabha MPs. Ever since the BJP stormed to power last year, its MPs have been making news constantly, albeit for the wrong reasons. The ambitious initiatives such as ‘Make in India’ and Clean India campaign lose their sheen when compared with some of the indigenous campaigns run by some BJP MPs including Ghar Wapasi, Love Jihad, Racist attacks on Sonia Gandhi and many others. For the BJP, the party which successfully captured the country’s imagination by fighting the General elections on the plank of clean politics and good governance, these maverick MPs working on self hatched lines pose a bigger threat than the opposition parties.

While campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections, the then PM candidate Narendra Modi openly appealed to the people to vote directly for him and not their local candidates. He promised to consider the entire country his own constituency if he became the PM. Now, more than 10 months after taking oath, the BJP is realizing that it would need much more than Narendra Modi alone to run the country efficiently. The BJP is slowing turning into a video game where the player has to step on the lights on the ground as and when they turn red. With so many lights turning red every second, the PM would find himself much stretched to control the game and cover the lights.

The Vyapam scam

An acronym for ‘Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal’ or the ‘Professional Examination Board’, the Vyapam scam diluted the image of BJP’s blue eyed boy, Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Though his name wasn’t directly mentioned in relation to the scam by the SIT, a number of other BJP leaders have been under the limelight for their alleged misuse of power in the scam. Some of the most well known faces associated with this scam include Madhya Pradesh’s ex education minister, Laxmikant Sharma, Governor Ram Naresh Yadav, Ganga rejuvenation minister Uma Bharti. With the Supreme Court directing the SIT to complete its investigations by 15th July, the BJP would be anxiously waiting to face the fate of its leaders.

Sakshi Maharaj

Meet Sakshi Maharaj, the man who wants Hindu women to have at least four kids. He kicked off another storm by saying that ‘madarsas in the country are teaching terrorism’. Whenever asked about his statements, BJP’s response remains ‘It’s his personal views, not the party’s’. But what the party is forgetting is that it was their leaders that asked the people to vote for Modi and not their local candidate. And since the public obliged them, isn’t it the party’s responsibility to be answerable for their MPs’ actions? The BJP’s reaction to all his actions was a solitary ‘show cause notice’ which ended the matter then and there!

Giriraj Singh 

Giriraj Singh knows how to be in the news. He wants to send Modi’s critics to Pakistan. He calls Nitish Kumar a ‘dehati aurat’. And when people thought he had exhausted his repertoire of insane comments, he tweeted this about the deadly school attack in Peshawar – “Whatever is happening in Pakistan is called friendly fight.”  The most recent of Singh’s obnoxious comments was about Sonia Gandhi and Congress Party’s love for her fair skin. While he painted the country with a brush of racism, his party said that the matter ended as soon as he offered to apologize to Sonia Gandhi!

Sadly for India and the BJP, this list is not exhaustive. For the BJP, which is hoping to ride on ‘Brand Modi’ for the next 4 years or so, the realization of truth must happen soon or the country would be headed far away from Mr. Modi’s dreams. A ‘swachh BJP’ initiative is perhaps the need of the hour for the BJP!

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Turn to Yoga For Quitting Tobacco

An effective cure to tobacco addiction is the practice of yoga and meditation

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Practice yoga and meditation to get rid of tobacco. Pixabay

There are more than 8 million people who die from tobacco-related causes each year. Of these, over 7 million die as a result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke. Smoking is decidedly bad for your health and harms nearly every organ of the body.

Smoking causes damage to blood vessels making them thicken and grow narrower. This increases heart rate and your blood pressure. Smoking also causes many other cancers and health problems. Women who smoke during pregnancy face a greater risk of certain pregnancy problems.

An effective cure to addiction is the practice of yoga and meditation. Yoga offers tools to down-regulate the stress response system and activate the relaxation response. This increases our capacity to observe our experiences with a greater sense of level-headedness and self-control. Yoga practices such as asanas, and meditation also rewire the brain creating new neural pathways. These are effective for new behaviour-forming habits, breaking old patterns to replace them with healthier ones. In this way yoga can help in de-addiction, and also regain the body’s health by boosting your immune system, building strength for both body and mind, and flushing out toxins.

One of the main reasons that people find it a challenge to give up smoking is because of nicotine. Nicotine is a stimulant drug and a highly addictive substance that is found in tobacco. Nicotine addiction makes it much harder for people to quit smoking. But it is important to remind oneself of the dangers of smoking and stay committed to quitting the habit. Yoga asanas release feel-good hormones in your body and lead you to make positive lifestyle changes. Yoga also builds mindfulness, and this awareness can be useful to keep yourself in check every time you reach for a cigarette.

Practice the following asanas upto three times or more a week, repeat for up to three sets holding each pose for 15-30 seconds.

Ustrasana

Kneel on the yoga mat and place your hands on the hips.

Simultaneously, arch your back and slide your palms over your feet till the arms are straight.

Do not strain or flex your neck but keep it in a neutral position.

Stay in this posture for a couple of breaths.

Breathe out and slowly come back to the initial pose. Withdraw your hands and bring them back to your hips as you straighten up.

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Yoga asanas release feel-good hormones in your body and lead you to make positive lifestyle changes. Pixabay

 

Vajrasana – Thunderbolt pose

Formation of the Posture

Begin by standing straight with your arms by the sides of your body

Lean forward and slowly drop your knees on your mat

Place your pelvis on your heels and point your toes outward

Here, your thighs should press your calf muscles

Keep your heels slightly apart from each other

Place your palms on your knees facing upward

Straighten your back and look forward

Hold this asana for a while

Breathing Methodology

Softly inhale and exhale

Word of Advice

A person suffering from knee joint pain, Arthritis or any knee injury should avoid this asana

 

Paschimottanasana – Seated forward bend

Formation of the Posture

Begin with Dandasana

Ensure that your knees are slightly bent while your legs are stretched out forward

Extend your arms upward and keep your spine erect

Exhale and empty your stomach of air

With the exhale, bend forward at the hip and place your upper body on your lower body

Lower your arms and grip your big toes with your fingers

Try to touch your knees with your nose

Hold the posture for 10-30 seconds, repeat up to 3 times

Breathing Methodology

Exhale as you fold forward

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Yoga builds mindfulness, and this awareness can be useful to keep yourself in check every time you reach for a cigarette. Pixabay

Padahastasana

Formation of the posture

Begin by standing in Samasthithi

Exhale and gently bend your upper body, dropping your head and keeping your shoulders and neck relaxed

Bring the trunk closer to the legs. Try to touch the knees with the forehead. This may require a lot of flexibility. If you are starting out your practice, go only as far as it is comfortable.

When you are folding forward, attempt to move your torso from the hip joints, instead of the waist.

Place palms on either side of feet

Try to keep the legs and knees straight throughout the practice. If you are a beginner, you may have to bend your knees slightly to accomplish this.

With practice, slowly straighten your knees and try to touch your chest to your thighs

Hold this asana for a while

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Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward dog pose

Formation of the posture

Lift the hips up, straighten the knees and elbows, and form an inverted �V’ shape

Now keep the hands shoulders width apart. Fingers point ahead

Put pressure on your palms and open your shoulder blades

Try to push your heels to the floor

Keep your eye focused on your big toes

Hold eight to ten breaths

Breathing Methodology

Exhale as you enter into this posture(IANS)

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COVID-19: Congress Urges Yogi to Open Places of Worship

Lucknow Congress president Mukesh Singh Chauhan has written a letter to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath

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Yogi Adityanath performs Rudrabhishek in Gorakhnath temple for safety from Corona. Wikimedia Commons

The Uttar Pradesh unit of the Congress party has written to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday to open all places of worship which are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter has been written by Lucknow Congress president Mukesh Singh Chauhan.

The letter said that the way the Central and State governments have issued orders to open shops for essential commodities, in the same way now all the big and small places of worship — temples, churches, mosques, gurdwaras should also be thrown open for the devotees.

Chauhan in his letter said, “India is a multi-religious and faith oriented country. Here people believe that worship of God will reduce their suffering. But due to the closure of the places of worship, people are not able to pray to their God. Therefore, major religious places should be immediately opened with social distancing in full compliance with the lockdown norms.

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Chauhan from Congress, in his letter said, “India is a multi-religious and faith oriented country. Here people believe that worship of God will reduce their suffering”. Pixabay

Chauhan said sanitizer machines should be placed at the entry of major places of worship just like it is done in government offices. He also said if liquor shops can be opened, in the same way, the temples, mosques, gurudwaras, churches should also be opened in full compliance of the social distancing norms.

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The president of the Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad, Mahant Narendra Giri, had also raised similar demand of opening of temples across the state. He had demanded from the Yogi government to open the doors of all temples for the devotees.

Giri had said, “Because of the closure of temples for the last two months, the livelihood of priests and other temple staff is also getting affected. When the government can allow liquor shops to be opened for revenue, why temples should not be allowed to open for the same reason.”

He had assured that after the permission to open the temples, the priests would follow the rules and protocols of social distancing and get the devotees to do it too. (IANS)

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“Where is The National Exit Plan?”, Congress Questions Government Over Lockdown

What is the 'national exit plan' from lockdown asks Congress

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Manish Tewari, Congress spokesperson asked "Where is the national exit plan,". WIkimedia Commons

The Congress has asked the government to spell out a roadmap for exiting the lockdown two days ahead of the expiry of lockdown-3 and following Prime Minister Modi seeking the states’ suggestions for lifting the restrictions.

“Where is the national exit plan,” asked Manish Tewari, Congress spokesperson on Friday.

“India announced a lockdown when the case count was 181 and now when you are lifting the lockdown, the number of cases has crossed 80,000. India is the first country apart from the US to be doing so,” said Tewari.

He said when the government can announce putting into effect the miscellaneous clause in the Disaster Management Act, then it can also come out with the exit plan.

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“The Prime Minister is playing a unique game as he announced lockdown; and now when things are out of hands, then the onus is put on the states to suffer the wrath of people.”, The Congress spokesperson said. Wikimedia Commons

“The Prime Minister is playing a unique game as he announced lockdown; and now when things are out of hands, then the onus is put on the states to suffer the wrath of people. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman too has put the onus of migrants on the states,” said Tewari.

The Congress said since states have to face people, no government can allow anarchy. “Therefore, states should be given more flexibility.”

The party has been questioning the exit strategy and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had asked the party chief ministers to press the Centre for a roadmap.

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The former Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh had asked the party chief ministers to press the Centre for a roadmap. Wikimedia Commons

Former party president Rahul Gandhi has emphasized that states should be consulted on zone categorization. He has asserted that the opening of the economy should be left to the states as they know better about the supply chain.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address on Tuesday said that coronavirus is a reality. He hinted that lockdown 4.0 would be “totally different.”

Read More: “We Have to Learn to Live With COVID-19”, Says Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain

The PM has also said in a video conference with Chief Ministers that as the country moves ahead, the economic activities that have been restarted would gain steam. He also asked state governments to ensure that rural India remains free from the Covid-19 crisis.

The Chief Ministers who couldn’t make themselves heard during the video conference on Monday were told to send their suggestions by May 15.

Though Maharashtra, Punjab, West Bengal and Telangana insisted on extending the current lockdown, some other states such as Delhi wanted greater freedom to open the economy, except in the containment zones. (IANS)