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Religion should not be misconstrued as communalism: Badal

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Patiala: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday said that religion should not be misconstrued as communalism and that people should refrain from identifying gurus, saints and seers on communal lines as they belong to the entire humanity.

“Religion should not be misconstrued as communalism as religion is just a way of life aimed at ensuring overall welfare of everybody. One should profess his own religion and should not hate the religion of others.”

“Punjab had suffered in the past as some people had divided the people on religious lines, which must be avoided,” Badal said while addressing a gathering here after installing Bhagwan Parshuram Chair for Indian literature and culture at Punjabi University here, 80 km from Chandigarh.

He claimed “some forces inimical to the progress of the state” were bent on disrupting its hard earned peace but asserted that he would not not allow such forces to succeed “till my last breath.”

The chief minister said that Punjab had suffered a lot due to “such conspiracies in the past”, but now the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance government was “keeping a strict vigil on the nefarious designs of all those people who were vary to the peace and progress of the state”.

“For their vested interests some people are actively working to bring black days back in the state but I assure you that they will not succeed till I am alive,” Badal added.

“People should refrain from identifying gurus, saints and seers on communal lines as they belong to the entire humanity. The Punjab government has been following the footsteps of great Sikh gurus to carve an egalitarian and secular society by observing days related with every community at state level functions,” he said.

“Unlike my predecessors who behaved like monarchs by maintaining a distance from the masses, I am always available to the people to serve them,” Badal said.

(IANS)

 

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Why JDU & BJP Coalition Will Remain Intact

JDU knows that this 15-16% votes is not enough to help the party and for the BJP too, only the 17% votes of upper castes are not sufficient

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Nitish Kumar with Narendra Modi.
Nitish Kumar with Narendra Modi.

By Sagarneel Sinha

There have been lots of discussions among the political circles that JDU led by Bihar Chief
Minister Nitish Kumar is upset with the BJP and trying to send signals to erst allies — RJD and the Congress. This led to speculations that Nitish may once again join the Grand Alliance (GA) leaving the NDA camp. Already, RJD’s new commander Tejasvi Yadav has clearly stated that Nitish led JDU will not be welcomed in the GA. Despite all the odds, if (suppose) GA partners accommodate Nitish, he wouldn’t be the driving force of the alliance as in 2015. Also, Nitish cannot afford to go alone like in 2014 when his party fetched only 2 seats!

Then which is the correct way for JDU? It is to go with the BJP in the upcoming 2019 polls.
JDU’s advantage in this case is the present situation of the BJP. Currently, the saffron party is not in a strong position as the party would be facing anti-incumbency from a strong RJD led alliance in the state. BJP’s traditional voters are the upper castes who account for 17% of the electorate. This votebank is not enough for the party to help to win elections. The main opposition party — RJD still commands over a larger votebank than BJP. RJD is still a dominant force among the Yadavs and the Muslims who account for 31% of the population. It means BJP has to minus the 31% votes and rely on the rest — 69%. Out of these, 16% are the Mahadalits — a large portion of whom generally hail Nitish Kumar as their leader. Also, there are Kurmis, an OBC group consisting of 4% votes — considered as the supporters of JDU. Nitish Kumar himself is also a Kurmi.

Nitish Kumar Invited to Join NDA by Amit Shah After JDU-BJP Tie-up in Bihar
Nitish Kumar Invited to Join NDA by Amit Shah After JDU-BJP Tie-up in Bihar.

JDU knows that this 15-16% votes is not enough to help the party and for the BJP too, only the 17% votes of upper castes are not sufficient. However, if these votebanks are joined together they form around 31-32%. Plus, to gain the extra votes, both the parties have the option to rely on the personal charisma of Nitish Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, there is a power tussle between the two allies to get a respectable share of seats.

This power tussle is because of a strong BJP which earlier used to be a junior ally. The 2014 Lok Sabha elections changed the political scenario of the state where BJP emerged as the largest party in terms of vote share and seats. JDU knows the reality of a new emerging BJP, though it is pushing hard to gain a respectable share of seats for the Lok Sabha elections. Instead, Nitish Kumar has another option — giving the bigger chunk to the BJP for the Lok Sabha elections and the latter playing the junior partner for the 2020 assembly elections if held timely. Given the current situation in the country, in a crucial state like Bihar, BJP can hardly reject JDU as the later still commands over 15-16% votes — a very crucial votebank for winning maximum seats in the 2019 polls. Importance of JDU can also be explained by BJP president Amit Shah’s visit to Patna to have breakfast and dinner with Nitish Kumar. Though in politics there are no permanent friends or foes, so any perfect prediction is impossible. But given the current situation, JDU and BJP parting their ways seems unlikely as both the parties are in need of each other as already highlighted by Amit Shah that the two allies would fight the Lok Sabha elections together. Smiling face of Nitish Kumar was also an indication that the meetings with Amit Shah were fine.

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