Monday November 19, 2018
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Yashwant meets Advani; Gadkari wants action against ‘irresponsible’ remarks

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New Delhi: Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha met BJP patriarch L.K. Advani on Wednesday, a day after the BJP’s old guard, including Advani took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, and demanded “thorough review” of the Bihar assembly poll debacle.

Meanwhile, union minister Nitin Gadkari defended Modi and Shah and demanded action against leaders who make unwarranted statements.

However, there was no official word either from Advani or from Sinha, but sources said that the old guard of the BJP was not satisfied by a mere statement issued by the party on Tuesday night after their joint statement.

The meeting took place at Advani’s residence and lasted for around 40 minutes.

Sources said union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and former Delhi mayor Arti Mehra were also present at Advani’s residence when Sinha reached there.

In a virtual challenge to Modi’s leadership who became the prime minister in May 2014, former party presidents Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, former union minister Yashwant Sinha and former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Shanta Kumar said on Tuesday in a joint statement that the Bihar defeat showed that the BJP had learnt nothing from its crushing defeat by the AAP in Delhi in February.

The BJP, in a statement, later said it was “fortunate” to have been led by leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani for decades, and welcomed any guidance and suggestion from the party’s “seniors” on victories and defeats.

Meanwhile, Gadkari defended Modi and Shah, saying everyone in the party was responsible for the Bihar debacle.

“We are not a party of mother-son, father-son. Neither are we a party of a specific family. The BJP is a party of cadres. It’s not a party of any leader. When we win, the party wins and when we lose, the party gets defeated,” Gadkari told reporters.

He also said the BJP had lost elections under Advani’s leadership too.

“The BJP lost elections under party veteran Advani too,” he said.

“The Bihar debacle is the collective responsibility of the party and not of any individual. I have told party chief Shah to initiate stringent action against those making irresponsible statements and causing damage to the party’s image,” Gadkari said.

(IANS)

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India Begins Its Election Season With Five States

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh.

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India, elections
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the 'Global Mobility Summit' in New Delhi, India, VOA

India began on Monday the first of five state elections to be held in coming weeks, important tests for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he plots a course that he hopes will ensure him victory in a general election due by May.

Voters in the central state of Chhattisgarh went to the polls on Monday to elect representatives for 18 of the state assembly’s 90 seats in a staggered poll complicated by logistical problems and left-wing guerrillas.

The state of about 26 million people has been ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2003, and he will be hoping to hold on to power.

India, elections
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Continues To Stay Mum On The #MeToo Movement. Wikimedia Commons

“Some unholy people have handed guns to children who should have pens in their hands,” Modi told a rally in the state on Friday, referring to the rag-tag guerrillas battling government forces from forest hideouts. “They’ve finished the lives of our tribal children.”

Hundreds of election workers had to be flown in to remote polling stations by helicopter because of the danger posed by the rebels.

Modi called for voters to back his BJP and its vision of “development for all.”

The final phase of voting in Chhattisgarh, which is known for its coal, iron ore and bauxite reserves, will be on Nov. 20.

India,India, elections
India’s Congress party President Rahul Gandhi displays documents as he accuses Narendra Modi’s government of buying 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault at a highly inflated price, in New Delhi, India. VOA

The BJP was the preference of about 43 percent of voters in Chhattisgarh, 7 percentage points ahead of the main opposition Congress party, according to a survey released last week by the Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Modi’s other big tests will be in the neighboring central state of Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP is slightly ahead of Congress, according to polls, and in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, where Congress is expected to emerge victorious.

A good performance by the BJP in the elections would help it deflect growing criticism over unemployment and a crisis in the countryside over falling farm prices and wages.

India, elections
Modi Appeals For A Regional Front Against Terrorism, flickr

Elections will also be held for assemblies in Telangana in the south and Mizoram in the northeast.

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh, including Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu priest and the BJP chief minister in Uttar Pradesh state.

Also Read: PM Narendra Modi Announces Easier Access to Credit

Adityanath has been appealing to the BJP’s Hindu-nationalist base and on Sunday accused the opposition of blocking construction of a temple for Hindu god Ram on a disputed site in Uttar Pradesh.

The destruction of a mosque on the site by a Hindu mob in 1992 sparked deadly riots across the country. (VOA)