Monday January 20, 2020
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To give or not to give: Issue over Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s passport

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The passport issue of separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, has put the two alliance partners, BJP and PDP on two different turfs.

BJP has openly objected to the granting of the Indian passport to Geelani. They have demanded an apology from Geelani’s side for his anti- national activities.

“Passport cannot be given to Geelani sahib till he apologises for the mistakes he has committed during the past 25 years.  Passports are issued to Indian citizens and not the ones who don’t believe in India and its democracy. If Geelani sahib wants the passport, then has to fall in the line and follow law of the land,” BJP spokesman Khalid Jehangir was reported as saying in media reports.

This statement was echoed by BJP leader Subramanium Swamy in Delhi as well.

However PDP (People’s Democratic Party) has advocated that the passport should be issued to Geelani on “humanitarian grounds”.

As per media reports PDP spokesman Waheed Ur Rehman Parra said, “Geelani has asked for passport to visit his ailing daughter not to hold a political rally, we should have so much tolerance in a democracy to allow him to do this”.

“He was given passport by previous regime as well, so there is nothing new. If passport can be given to other separatist he cannot be denied this right,” he added.

In 1981, Geelani’s passport was seized by authorities but because of an intervention by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2007, his travel documents were released on medical grounds for travelling to United States. At that time, the passport was issued on Tatkal basis and it was valid for just one year.

Geelani had applied for an Indian visa, to visit his ailing daughter in Saudi Arabia.

Ayaz Akbar, Geelani’s spokesperson, was reported as saying that the separatist leader has applied for a passport purely on personal grounds and not to carry out any political activity.

“It is a humanitarian issue of a father meeting his daughter. We are not ready to beg before the government if they refuse. It would be a violation of basic human rights of an individual. Geelani sahib is not going on a ‘political trip’ to Jeddah but only wishing to meet his daughter who is terminally ill there,” he said.

Amidst all the debate, the Minister of State in PMO, Jitendra Singh was reported as saying in the media, “There is mechanism in place. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) will take a call on the basis of whatever the facts. Government of India (GoI) and MEA will take a call depending on all the facts and figures.”

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Congress To Use Tribal Card to Regain Power in the Country

Congress to use tribal card to improve countrywide position

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Congress will be using the tribal card to regain dominance and their plan of action will begin from Chhattisgarh. Wikimedia Commons

BY SANDEEP PAURANIK

In order to regain dominance in the country, the Congress is mulling using the tribal card. This plan of action is to be first implemented in Chhattisgarh.

Riding on the success of the Assembly and urban body elections, the Congress feels that it can increase it base through tribals as they constitute 8 per cent of the total population.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the first three Assembly elections in the state, after its formation in 2000, recorded huge victories and came to power. But after the Assembly elections held last year, the scenario changed. After registering a victory in the Assembly elections and then in the urban body polls, the Congress showed that it still dominates the tribal areas.

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Former President of Congress Rahul Gandhi gave an important message while innaugrating the National Tribal Dance Festival in Raipur. Wikimedia Commons

The Congress gave the responsibility of the tribal areas to the tribal leader of Madhya Pradesh Umang Singhar which eventually helped the party. Now, the party is planning to spread out nationwide through Chhattisgarh.

Former party president Rahul Gandhi, while inaugurating the National Tribal Dance Festival in Raipur, gave a message to the tribals who are here to participate in the festival that the Chhattisgarh government is working for all the sections and this is the reason why there has been a downward trend in naxal attacks and the state economy has also improved.

The Congress is planning to publicise the improvements in Chhattisgarh throughout the country because the tribal population in the state is 32 per cent.

BJP media panellist Sandeep Sharma, however, claims that the party’s base has not shrunk. He said till Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were not divided, the Congress was strong in the area but in the elections held after three years of the bifurcation, the BJP won the Assembly elections and was in power for 15 years. Though we faced defeat in the 2018 elections, the only reason was that people wanted a change but they were not angry with the BJP, he claimed.

The BJP won in the Lok Sabha elections and the margin in the urban body elections was also not much. So, it would be inappropriate to say that the BJP’s base has shrunk, he said adding that in one year the Congress’ base has declined by 9 per cent whereas in Assembly elections it got 12 per cent more votes and in urban body elections the margin was 3 per cent.

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The Congress is planning to publicise the improvements in Chhattisgarh throughout the country. Wikimedia Commons

Analysing the political landscape of the state, political analyst Rudra Awasthi said, “When it was Madhya Pradesh then the Congress had stronghold in Chhattisgarh. Several big leaders were also from the state but after the formation of Chhattisgarh since Ajit Jogi was accused of being a fake tribal the Congress lost its stronghold over the tribals. Though it continued to dominate in some of the areas which helped it in regaining the power.

“As of now, the Congress has started including the tribals with the backward class. First Bhupesh Baghel was the state chief of the party and he was replaced by Mohan Markam as he became the Chief Minister. During the Assembly elections, the Congress talked about the identity of the tribals which helped the party. After winning the elections, the decisions of the Congress government were in favour of the tribals which helped the party in the urban body elections,” said Awasthi.

Also Read- Unity in Diversity is the Strength of the Country: Rahul Gandhi

The Congress is mulling over spreading its message to the tribals across the country through the three-day festival going on here. For this several senior leaders of the party will attend the festival and share the government’s schemes while giving the message that the Congress government in the state has brought a positive and a significant change in the lives of the tribals. (IANS)