Thursday April 19, 2018
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Pulse prices: New headache for BJP in Bihar

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Patna: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies have a new headache in Bihar: rising prices of ‘dal’.

With prices of pulses shooting up across the country, the anti-BJP alliance is having a field day blaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his central government.

And many voters in Bihar, in the midst of staggered assembly elections, seem to be in agreement.

“We voted for Modi (in the 2014 Lok Sabha election) as he promised to check price rise,” said Ganesh Rai, who runs a construction business near Chitkohra here.

“But he has failed to check the prices of food items. Dal is selling at Rs.200 a kilo. Who can afford it?”

It is an issue that affects not just the poor but the more vocal middle class too.

With hardly a week to go for the third round of the Bihar elections, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD leader Lalu Prasad are going hammer and tongs against the BJP.

Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and RJD activists say they are playing the “dal card” against the BJP-led alliance in what is expected to be a tough contest for the 243-member Bihar assembly.

Sensing trouble, the BJP and LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan — who is also the agriculture minister in the Modi government — and others in their camp on Tuesday began damage control by blaming the Bihar government for the state of affairs.

Paswan has been downplaying the issue of rising prices. At the same time, he has promised to provide cheaper dal if the BJP-led alliance wins in Bihar.

JD-U and RJD supporters gleefully recall the time when the zooming prices of onions caused electoral setbacks to the BJP in Rajasthan and Delhi in 1998.

Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar thunder at every election meeting that dal prices are shooting up because of the Modi government’s policies.

Lalu Prasad says this is how the poor have been deprived of pulses. “Modi has taken away the ‘dal’ in the poor man’s dal-roti.”

Nitish Kumar has hit back at Paswan after he blamed him for the rising dal prices in Bihar.

“If I am to blame, why is dal selling at Rs.200 a kilo in BJP-ruled states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan?” the JD-U leader keeps asking.

(Imran Khan, 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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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

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