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Team Swaraj, Raje, Irani and Munde: Will BJP’s female power sink PM Modi’s ship?

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By Prachi Mishra

When Modi government took the office on May 26, 2014, it was widely appreciated for including seven women ministers, six of them with Cabinet rank, a first in any Indian government. These female ministers included the names of veteran leaders like Sushma Swaraj, and some relatively young members like Smriti Irani and Harsimran Kaur Badal.

However, recently some of the female stalwarts of Bhartiya Janata Party have made it to the news for all the wrong reasons.

Here are some of the female political figures of BJP who have run into trouble in the recent past:

Sushma Swaraj

Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj (Photo: IANS)
Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj (Photo: IANS)Sushma Swaraj

The Union External Affairs Minister was recently involved in a controversy for allegedly aiding corruption-accused former IPL Chief Lalit Modi in getting travel documents to travel outside UK, after his Indian passport was revoked.

Swaraj received flak from the opposition parties, with Congress demanding her resignation.

The External Affairs Minister, meanwhile, took to Twitter to clarify. She said she helped to go out of India on “humanitarian ground” to meet his cancer-afflicted wife who was to undergo surgery in 2013.

 

Vasundhara Raje

raje_lalit2The Rajasthan Chief Minister was also entangled in the Modi- Gate, with Lalit Modi admitting to being helped by “family friend” Vasundhara  Raje.

Raje was hit by the controversy following revelation apparently made in  a statement released by Lalit Modi’s legal team.

The statement said that Raje, who was then the Leader of Opposition in the Rajasthan assembly, said she was in favour of Modi’s immigration application but on the strict condition that her name will not be revealed to the Indian authorities.

Smriti Irani

Smriti-Irani-621x414Allegations were raised against Human Resources Development Minister, Smriti Irani for her fake educational qualifications in affidavits filed with the Election Commission.

Irani became the centre of a raging controversy because of her slippery statements that involved the mention of Yale University. Following the speculations, PM Narendra Modi’s brother Prahlad demanded a probe into her degrees.

This row over Irani’s educational qualifications was finally taken to the court. The trial court had decided to declare the verdict in this case on June 24, 2015. The final decision will be out on August 28.

Pankaja Munda

pankaja-mundes-goal-maharashtra-cms-postThe daughter of late senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde is accused of allegedly defying norms in a Rs 206-crore order she was placed as Maharashtra’s Women and Child Development Minister.

As reported by media outlets, Pankaja allegedly purchased some items for Anganwadi schools in a single day without inviting tenders. The rules require all government acquisitions over Rs 3 lakh to be made through e-tenders.

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India-Pakistan Ties: India Grants Medical Visa to another Pakistani National

The action was termed "highly regrettable" by Islamabad, which said that asking for such a letter violated diplomatic norms and such a requirement had not been prescribed for any other country.

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Sushma swaraj addressing a press conference. Wikimedia

New Delhi, November 10, 2017 : India on Friday issued a medical visa to another Pakistani national following a promise made by the Ministry of External Affairs on Independence Day.

“Amna – We have approved medical visa for your father Mr Shamim Ahmed,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted in response to a request from one Amna Shamim through the Twitter handle of Karachi’s Muhammad Talha.

Shamim also posted a reference letter dated October 9 from a doctor in Sri Ganga Ram Hospital who stated that the patient was being considered for a liver transplant.

On Independence Day, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had announced that India would provide medical visas to all bonafide Pakistani patients.

As ties between the two countries soured over various issues, the ministry had announced in May that only a letter of recommendation by then Pakistan Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz would enable a Pakistani national to get a medical visa for India.

The action was termed “highly regrettable” by Islamabad, which said that asking for such a letter violated diplomatic norms and such a requirement had not been prescribed for any other country.

However, a patient from Pakistan-administered Kashmir, seeking treatment in New Delhi for liver tumour, was given a visa on July 18.

Sushma Swaraj then said that he needed no recommendation from the Pakistani government for a medical visa because the territory “is an integral part of India”.

Since August 15, however, Pakistani nationals seeking medical treatment have not been denied visas. (IANS)

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Myanmar Must Take Back Displaced Rohingya Refugees : India

Sushma Swaraj did not use the word Rohingya to refer to the thousands who have taken shelter in Bangladesh and instead referred to them as displaced persons from Rakhine state

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A group of Rohingya refugees walk on the muddy road after traveling over the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. VOA

Dhaka, October 22, 2017 : India on Sunday said Rohingya refugees who have poured into Bangladesh must be taken back by Myanmar from where they have been displaced.

“Normalcy will only be restored with the return of the displaced persons to Rakhine state,” Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said at a media meet also attended by her Bangladeshi counterpart Abula Hassan Mahmood Ali.

This followed the fourth India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Committee meeting.

ALSO READ US will Provide $32 Million to Rohingyas As Humanitarian Aid Package

Sushma Swaraj did not use the word Rohingya to refer to the thousands who have taken shelter in Bangladesh and instead referred to them as displaced persons from Rakhine state, bdnews24.com reported.

She said India was “deeply concerned at the spate of violence in Rakhine state of Myanmar”.

According to latest figures from the UN office in Bangladesh, over 600,000 refugees have entered the country since August 25 after the Myanmar Army cracked down on the Rohingyas after a series of attacks on security personnel in Rakhine.

Bangladesh Minister Ali said India was urged to contribute towards exerting sustained pressure on Myanmar to find a peaceful solution to the crisis, including return of Rohingyas to their homeland. (IANS)

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Deepika Approaches Smriti Irani Against Attack on ‘Padmavati’ Rangoli

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Deepika Approaches Smriti Irani Against Attack on 'Padmavati' rangoli. Wikimedia

Surat, October 20: Actress Deepika Padukone on Wednesday urged Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani to take action against the attackers who ruined artist Karan Ks rangoli depicting a poster of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Padmavati” here.

“Absolutely heartbreaking to see the recent attack on artist Karan and his artwork! Disgusting and appalling to say the least,” Deepika tweeted, along with photographs showcasing the before and after of the “attack”.

“Who are these people? Who is responsible for their actions? For how long are we going to let this go on? Allow them to take law into their own hands and attack our freedom and right to individual expression time and again,” questioned the actress, who essays the title role in the historical drama.

Deepika then tagged Irani and wrote: “This has to stop now and action must be taken! Smriti Irani.”

ALSO READDeepika Padukone Paid more than Ranveer for Padmavati

On October 15, Karan tagged Deepika on the micro-blogging site and wrote: “A crowd of 100 people cried Jai Shri Ram and rubbed out my 48 hours intense work!”

The artist also shared two photographs on social media. In one image, he can be seen making a rangoli inspired by the poster of the film, while the other shows the artwork completely vandalized by attackers.

“Padmavati” also features Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh.

In the film, Deepika plays the role of Rajput queen Padmavati, while Shahid will be seen as Maharawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer will essay the role of Alauddin Khilji.

During its production, the film witnessed many ups and downs.

Earlier this year, activists of Shri Rajput Karni Sena assaulted Bhansali and vandalized the movie’s Jaipur set over alleged distortions in the film’s script.

They were forced to move to Maharashtra to continue shooting. Still, an outdoor set of the historic period drama in Kolhapur was burnt down after two dozen unidentified people torched it.

The Shri Rajput Karni Sena has maintained it will oppose screening of the film if the facts are “distorted”.

“Padmavati”, presented by Viacom18 Motion Pictures and Bhansali Productions, is set for a December 1 release. (IANS)