The Indian Herald

The Indian Herald

March 24, 2014

BJP won't use 'blasphemous' slogan 'Har Har Modi' during election campaign after opposition from section of Hindus

The controversial slogan 'Har Har Modi, Ghar Ghar Modi' has now been dropped by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), after stiff opposition in the heart of Hinduism--Uttar Pradesh.

The slogan was coined to promote BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

But it caused anger among sections of Hindus in North India, as it replaces the original 'Har Har Mahadev' in which the word Mahadev is meant for Lord Shiva.

Hindu religious leaders were also fuming over the BJP leader's growing cult and the alleged tampering with the original slogan.

The religious seer Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati had objected to the use of the slogan and talked to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat about it.

The opposition parties were also critical of the BJP's campaign. Modi's posters were blackened in Varanasi for the use of this slogan. Also, the Election Commission was informed by Congress. Facing stiff opposition and wide condemnation, BJP reluctantly withdrew it.

Modi himself tweeted and requested his 'enthusiastic supporters' to stop using 'Har Har Modi'. But some defiant BJP leaders continue to say that there is nothing wrong in it and say that the Hindu seer is pro-Congress.

BJP leader form Bihar Sushil Modi said that if one seer objects to it, another seer can okay it. Narendra Modi is contesting the election from Varanasi, the city that represents Hinduism for centuries. In this city, such a campaign was likely to have backfired and angered Hindus.

TIH Bureau

March 16, 2014

Finally, Narendra Modi contesting from Varanasi: Will it set off Hindutva wave in UP, propel BJP to power in the Centre?

It is final now. Narendra Modi is fighting the Lok Sabha election from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

Varanasi, also known as Benares, is the ancient seat of learning and the holy town for Hindus.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hopes that with there will be Hindu consolidation in UP, the most populous state in India.

In the last Parliamentary election, the BJP had won just 10 seats from this state. UP sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha.

UP is crucial in the BJP's scheme of things, if the party intends to form government at the centre. But is it so easy? With the Gujarat Chief Minister contesting from UP, the party hopes to replicate NaMo magic in UP also.

The cadre is energised. The RSS has thrown itself in the campaign. The upper caste that was split between Congress, SP and BSP, is now shifting back to BJP. Many backward castes can also turn towards the BJP now because of Modi's 'charisma'.

There is also hope that disenchantment with Samajwadi Party (SP) government during the Akhilesh Yadav tenure, can turn the tide in favour of SP. UP has three major electoral blocks. The first is Dalits who constitute 22% vote and most of them support BSP's Mayawati.

The Muslims constitute 20% of the state's population. Till now they were solidly behind SP but after Muzaffarnagar riots the shift has begun. The BSP and Congress were getting Muslim votes too. But now there will be more split and it will help BJP.

The Yadavs number 12%. Most of them support SP. But a tiny fraction can support Modi. The backwards are split into several groups. The Jats who support Ajit Singh's RLD have got reservation and this recent UPA decision can bring them towards Congress also.

The Upper Caste shift can help BJP. The Brahmins, Banias and Thakurs constitute 15% populace. If majority of this electorate goes towards BJP, then it will certainly help the party. The opinion polls suggest a mood towards BJP in the middle-class and upper caste Hindu population.

Rajnath Singh  hopes to ride over the NaMo popularity wave and has been fielded from Lucknow, replacing Lalji Tandon. Modi has forced Murli Manohar Joshi to leave his constituency and shift to Kanpur. Riot-tainted politicians have also been given ticket, which goes against the party's tall claims.

But it is too early to write off others. BSP has a rock solid vote bank. Muslims can do tactical voting as BJP's victory is seen as an ominous future. Narendra Modi is still associated with the Gujarat carnage of the year 2002. SP is down but not out.

Congress is far behind, as even the AAP is giving it a tough fight. One thing is certain, the election is going to be interesting and tough. BJP cadre is enthused and there are reasons for it. Right now there is advantage BJP. But it will be premature to say that the party will sweep UP in 2014 polls.

TIH Bureau

March 14, 2014

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal terms Times Now, two other TV channels as 'paid media', biased and 'sold out' to Narendra Modi

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal on Friday has that Times Now, Zee News and and India TV as 'paid media'.

He accused these three channels of running a campaign for BJP leader Narendra Modi.

Kejriwal made the sensational remark on Friday. He said that the media was sold out, biased against AAP and was favouring Modi.

The other AAP leaders defended Kejriwal for his comments and said that paid media should be exposed as it is against the interest of the nation. They also questioned how media groups were not critical of Modi but kept targeting Kejrwial.

The charge is that certain TV channels had taken money to promote Modi ahead of the Lok sabha election 2014. AAP leader Sanjay Singh too said that Zee News was repeatedly showing fake stories about the AAP. He said that baseless news was being shown on Zee.

But Kejriwal's comment that 'media was sold out' upset journalists. He also said that he would send media men to jail if his party manages to form government anytime in future. Later, AAP leaders denied the statement and said that it was in context of certain TV channels who were blatantly 'Modi bhakt'.

Former journalist and AAP leader Ashutosh said that Kejriwal didn't target the media. Kejriwal himself went back on his words and said that he couldn't be upset with the journalists. The Broadcast Editors' Association (BEA) condemned Kejriwal for his accusation of media being sold out.

Political parties including BJP, Congress and CPI have also condemned the statement. However, AAP leader Ashutosh said that BEA should first get an investigation done to find out the charges of paid media, before condemning the statement.

TIH Bureau

March 12, 2014

Terror attack in Chhattisgarh: 16 killed as Maoists target security personnel in Sukma

Heavily armed Naxalites attacked security personnel in Sukma district in Chhattisgarh, killing 16 persons.

This is one of the biggest terror strike by left-wing extremists in the Central Indian state, after the last year's Darbha Valley attack in which nearly 30 persons were killed.

The Naxals ambushed the security personnel including Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and policemen, who were on way to Jagdalpur.

Sukma is a district carved out of Bastar in Southern Chhattisgarh. The Red militants took away grenade launchers, assault rifles and other arms and ammunition from the policemen.

Nearly 200 Naxalites surrounded the police party. The Naxals surrounded the policemen from all sides and began firing. For 2 hrs, the cross-fire continued. Landmines were also laid in the entire area and several policemen died because of these IED explosions.

Those killed include a civilian. Last year, Naxalites had attacked Congress leaders in Darbha Ghati (Valley) in the same district, killing nearly 30 Congress leaders and policemen. Senior Congress leaders like former Union Minister Vidyacharan Shukla, Nand Kumar Patel, Mahendra Karma, Uday Mudaliar were killed then.

After today's incident, it is clear that Maoists are again on the offensive. The state government has failed to act. Policemen are being killed in large numbers. Congress has demanded that the Chief Minister Raman Singh who heads the BJP government in the state, must resign.

TIH Bureau

March 11, 2014

Is 'Narendra Modi wave' real or just a hype: Is it corporate groups' sponsored campaign to pitch for NaMo as next PM?

How real is the 'Modi wave'? Is it a factor in the upcoming elections or it is just a hype?

The question has come to fore as the public rallies of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi fail to draw the expected crowd.

In Lucknow, the capital of most populous state of the country, there wasn't substantial gathering at the much-awaited rally. Such was situation that the workers had to be brought in from neighbouring towns in trucks and buses at the last moment, to swell the size.

The organisers had said that there will be 5 lakh people at the Ambedkar Ground but when Modi came to address the audiences, the figure was far from the lakhs announced for days before the much-hyped public rally in the capital of Uttar Pradesh (UP). 

An interesting aspect is that print and electronic media has stopped writing about strength or crowd size now. The 'Chai par Charcha' or the 'Modi Chai' programme has also seen empty chairs in many cities. Similar was the situation in rallies in Jammu and Bhopal.

The organisers expected lakhs but the figure at most places remained in thousands. The figure of 50,000 in a rally is not bad but it is not in sync with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) poll managers who claim that there is a national wave.

The rally in Purnea (Bihar) was held on March 10. It had substantial crowd. Modi sharply attacked the Congress and his own former ally, JDU. Modi said that Nitish Kumar is too arrogant and has an ego as high as Himalayas.

The Lok Sabha elections are quite close now. Till now Modi seemed to be ahead in the election campaign due to the strong strategy and media blitz. His detractors say that big business groups like Ambani and Adani are behind him.

Congress has also asked how he funds have been coming to finance the huge public rallies,  helicopter rides and immense publicity drive. Many leaders say that the wave has been managed on television.

There have been accusations that due to the business groups' stakes in TV channels, there was pressure on editorial staff to give excessive coverage to BJP. But on the other hand, BJP and RSS cadre say that there is tremendous support for Modi at the grassroots.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has also made similar accusations apart from Congress. Just two months from now we will now, if it was real or fake. BJP has little to gain in South India. In MP, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh, it is tough to hold on to existing tally. Hopes are pinned on Gujarat and Bihar.

While new allies have come, there is infighting in UP among senior leaders like Murli Manohar Joshi, Lalji Tandon and Rajnath Singh.  If Rajnath Singh-led  BJP gets Mission 272 accomplished, then its sure that NaMo wave was real. Else, it will be just like India Shining that had come a cropper during the earlier BJP campaign.

TIH Bureau

March 9, 2014

Ambani, Adani Vs Aam Aadmi: Kejriwal taps Indian public anger against big industrialists to corner Narendra Modi

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal has successfully cornered Narendra Modi by attacking his friendly policies towards top business houses.

By repeatedly taking names of Mukesh Ambani and Adani group, Kejriwal has tapped into the public anger against these businessmen who seem to be growing exponentially, and against whom there was a visible public sentiment.

During his rally on the fourth day of his visit to Gujarat, Kejriwal termed chief minister Narendra Modi, the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, as property dealer for the Ambani, Adani and Tata groups.

He cited examples to show how common man suffered in Gujarat but industrialists got land at throwaway prices. Ambani group is known to be in good books of both Congress and BJP.

Kejriwal had earlier taken on the group for bagging the big contracts and selling gas at exorbitant prices. Once again, he targeted Modi and alleged that he used Ambanis' choppers to fly.

The Ambanis have got bad publicity after constructing the Antilla skyscraper in Mumbai. But through stakes in major newspapers and TV channels, the group managed to control media to a large extent. Reports against the group no longer got published or telecast.

However, Kejriwal has begun an all out direct attack against the group, just when both the major parties viz. Congress and BJP refrain from attacking the corporates. Clearly, the strategy seems to be working for Kejriwal, as he is getting attention.

The turnout at his rally proves the point. He has brought attention of common Indian citizen against the big groups that are accused of questionable practices to make huge profits, by using resources that are made available to them freely, by governments.

How far he will succeed in translating this sentiment into votes, time will tell. But for now, he has definitely made his move and has taken a stand, which is earning him praise from different sections of the society, with even media forced to publish his comments attacking Ambani.

TIH Bureau

March 8, 2014

Arvind Kejriwal storms into Narendra Modi's bastion, asks 16 questions, 'exposes' Gujarat model of development

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal has exposed the Gujarat development model, and has targeted BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi over the issue.

In four days, Kejriwal has done what Congress couldn't do in the last 15 years. He managed to bring to fore the issues of common citizen, in the State.

On the last day of his four-day tour to Gujarat, Kejriwal asked 16 questions from the Gujarat chief minister.

Most of these questions aim at sending the message to electorate that there has been little development on the ground. The AAP supremo said that why the condition of government school was so pathetic in Gujarat.

He asked questions about bad condition of infrastructure, poverty, farmers' issues and sops given to big industrialists rather than the ordinary man. Kejriwal wanted to meet Modi but was stopped 5 km away from the CM's office.

Clearly, with Lok Sabha elections drawing nearer, Kejriwal has increased the heat of Modi. In fact, he emerged as an opposition leader in Gujarat, where the Congress party has almost been reduced to a non-entity.

Further, Narendra Damodar Modi's refusal to meet him, has given an edge to Kejriwal. The BJP's discomfort was visible as its leaders had a tough time explaining the chief minister's decision of not meeting Kejriwal.

TIH Bureau

March 6, 2014

Suspended, sent home, now booked for sedition: 60 Kashmiri students who cheered for Pakistan face criminal charges in Meerut

In a questionable decision, the Meerut police have booked 60 Kashmiri students for sedition.

All these students of Swami Vivekanand Subharti University have been accused of cheering for Pakistan in a cricket match.

The students were earlier suspended from the college. Then they were forcibly sent back home.

Now the case of anti-national activity has been registered against them. The decision is questionable as it is not illegal to cheer for any team in a sports match just like Indians settled for generations in England and other countries, do not support their nation but cheer for visiting Indian team.

There was no inquiry to establish if how many had supported Pakistani team. The case was slapped against all the students. The Kashmiri students rue that they are discriminated and that the other group which vandalised and beat them on campus, was not even reprimanded.

The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said that he will speak to Uttar Pradesh (UP) chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, urging him to drop the sedition charges. He said that the students were already suspended and this would damage their future.

Talking to media,he said that the youths' action was wrong but it did not tantamount to sedition charges which will further damage their careers. Meanwhile, there has been condemnation of the UP police and local administration's action in J&K. The decision has been termed outrageous and shocking.

TIH Bureau

Updated news: There are reports that the Home Ministry has asked the UP government to drop the sedition charges.

March 5, 2014

Detained, then released: Arvind Kejriwal's Gujarat visit causes tremors in Modi-land

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremeo Arvind Kejriwal who has landed in Gujarat, for his four day trip to the state, was detained by the police.

The unprecedented development brought Kejriwal in focus. A while after his arrest at the Radhanpur police station in Patan district, Kejriwal was released.

Apparently, he was detained to see if there was any violation of the model code of conduct. There were neither any stickers or posters on his car. He was on way to Bhuj.

The AAP supporters say that it was harassment and he was targeted because he came to Gujarat to see the 'reality of the state'. There was no reason to hold him up and thus the police later let him go. They allege that their leader was caught after instructions from the top.

The mainstream TV media that was not giving coverage to AAP leader's visit to Gujarat till recently, suddenly seemed to have woken up to Kejriwal's presence in Gujarat. Kejriwal is raising the issue of lack of development in Gujarat.

He claims that talk of progress is just an eye wash. He says that he will expose the lack of adequate development in the State. Kejriwal is meeting people from all sections of the society and apprising them about AAP's policies, during his road show.

Clearly, AAP leader's entry in Gujarat, is heating up the political atmosphere. The state has been a virtual BJP citadel. Congress has failed to find favour with electorate. Now AAP is certainly turning the contest more interesting.

TIH Bureau

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