BJP not fit to govern India: Jaswant Singh

April 2, 2014

New Delhi, April 2: Expelled leader Jaswant Singh slammed the BJP for becoming a party of "individual leaders" and said he was "not sure if the BJP is fit to govern" India since "there was no collective leadership."

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"There is no longer any collective leadership... I don't know if the BJP can be called fit to govern the country today," Singh, a former foreign, defence and finance minister at various times in the previous NDA government of prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, said in an interview to IANS over phone from Barmer where he is busy campaigning as an independent candidate.

"All important decisions are being taken by a few people in the BJP," he said, adding that senior leaders are being sidelined.

Singh, 76, was expelled from BJP March 29 following his decision to contest as an independent candidate from Barmer in Rajasthan in defiance of the party. He said he misses the Vajpayee era, not out of sentiments, but for the fact that decision-making was not concentrated in a few hands then.

Who in the BJP is wanting to finish me?

When it was put to him that the BJP looked like hinting at envisaging a new leadership in which the older leaders were making way for the new, he said, "I would like to ask who in the BJP is wanting to finish me? Who is dropping such hints? Such questions are being repeated again and again. This is a facile question, which doesn't merit an answer."

Singh, who was expelled from the BJP for the first time in 2009 over his controversial book "Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence" and was taken back in 2010, did not rule out the possibility of lending support to the NDA after the poll results.

On possibility of lending support to the NDA

"This is a question which will be addressed when I come across that situation. As of now, I do not want to comment anything," Singh said when asked whether, in the event of his victory as an independent, he would support the NDA if it falls short of the 272 majority mark.

Singh, who was once close to Vajpayee and formed the leadership troika in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) along with L.K. Advani, said people in Barmer were angry that his candidature was rejected by the BJP "without any validity of reason".

"They are feeling personally humiliated that I have been expelled from the BJP. They are enraged that the BJP picked a candidate who recently lost in assembly election as a Congress candidate," he said, referring to Col. Sonaram Choudhury, who is now contesting from Barmer from the BJP ticket.

When asked if caste equation might have persuaded the BJP to field the former Congressman, Singh said, "The caste factor is a stupid and destructive reason being churned out."

"My son Manavendra Singh won the Barmer Lok Sabha constituency in 2004 on a BJP ticket by a margin of over two lakh (200,000) votes. Where is the caste equation here?"Singh said it was the highest margin ever from Barmer-Jaisalmer. "If caste equation had dominated this constituency, such a victory would not have been possible for my son."

‘I have three lakh Muslims supporting me’

Singh claimed he enjoyed a popular support base across caste and communities in Barmer. "I have three lakh (300,000) Muslims supporting me but I am not a Muslim," he said.

Singh, who has also been leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha and chairman of the important Public Accounts Committee of Parliament which oversees government spending, said it was an "absolutely facile and incorrect explanation" by the BJP which has maintained caste equations do not favour Singh's candidature.

Singh appeared confident he would win the election.

"There is an overwhelming support for me in Barmer. Never before have I seen such public enthusiasm," remarked Singh, who faces a triangular battle from Choudhury and Congress's Harish Chaudhary.

When asked what were the factors working in his favour, Singh said, "I have a long political experience backing me; I have been a nine-term MP. Wherever I go, there is a demonstration of affection for me. I am confident I will win."

Singh does not believe that the lack of organisational support will come in way of his campaign, now that he is out of the BJP. He added that he accepted the reality and challenges of today, but those challenges need to be dealt with collectively in the BJP since the "BJP is not a party of individuals."

When asked why he had sharpened attack against Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, whom he accused of using religious places for political activity (a charge found baseless by the district administration), Singh exclaimed, "What do you mean by sharpened attack? They have never been charge free."

Singh said that he met L.K. Advani, old friend and colleague, before leaving from Delhi, but now that he had been expelled from the BJP, he "did not find it fit to call anybody".

Significantly, he dismissed rumours that he might join any other political party.

"I am not joining any political party. The Samajwadi Party was very kind; Mulayam Singh called me. Azam Khan called me, too. I also had a talk with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. But I am not looking forward to joining any party."

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News Network
November 24,2022

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Ahmedabad, Nov 24: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said it was time to generate income from electricity instead of getting it for free, in an apparent move to counter the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress over their promise of free electricity in poll-bound Gujarat. Addressing an election rally in Modasa town of Aravalli district in north Gujarat, Modi said only he knows the art through which people will be able to earn money from electricity.

The PM also slammed the Congress, saying it believes in the formula of "divide and rule" and focuses only on how to be in power.

AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been trying to woo voters with a promise that just like the national capital and Punjab, his party would provide free electricity up to 300 units per month if voted to power in the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Gujarat. Kejriwal has on many occasions claimed he is the only politician in the country who has "mastered this magic of providing free electricity".

The opposition Congress has also joined the bandwagon and mentioned in its election manifesto that the party will also provide free electricity up to 300 units if voted to power in Gujarat, where the Assembly polls are scheduled on December 1 and 5.

On Thursday, Modi said he wants to see people across Gujarat earning money from excess electricity generated from solar rooftop systems instead of just getting it for free.

"You must have seen how the entire Modhera village (in Mehsana district) is now running on rooftop solar power. They are using electricity as per their need and sell excess power (to the government). I want to replicate this system across Gujarat," he said. "Under this system, you can earn money by selling excess electricity generated from solar panels. Only Modi knows this art wherein people will be able to earn from electricity," said the PM.

He told the audience that a woman from Modhera is now planning to buy a refrigerator and an air-conditioner as electricity has become affordable after the installation of rooftop solar power. "She told me that though her family was able to afford the appliances earlier, they refrained because they could not bear the running cost. Now, they can afford it because electricity is free. I am working to bring this revolution at the doorstep of each and every household in Gujarat," the PM said.

He reminded the people of Aravalli that there was a time when farmers of this district were killed in police firing under the Congress rule for demanding affordable electricity for agricultural use. The PM said now the farmers are themselves generating electricity through solar panels installed on unused corners of their farms.

"They can also sell excess electricity and earn money. The era of demanding affordable electricity has gone. Today, you can generate income by selling electricity," he said.

On the occasion, Modi also slammed the Congress, saying "Rajasthan is near your border, have you seen any development in that state? Have you seen any good news coming out of that state? The Congress cannot do development."

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News Network
November 12,2022

New Delhi, Nov 12: Strong tremors were felt in Delhi and adjoining cities around 8 pm today, prompting many to rush out of their houses and offices. The severe tremors lasted for nearly 5 seconds and were reported from Noida and Gurugram as well.

This is the second time that tremors have been felt in the national capital region. On Tuesday night, strong tremors were felt in Delhi around 2 am after a 6.3 magnitude struck in Nepal. 

The depth of the earthquake was about 10 km, according to the National Center for Seismology. Six persons were killed and eight others injured in Nepal.

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News Network
November 21,2022

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The union government of India, on November 21, cancelled Air Suvidha forms for international passengers.

Air Suvidha is a contactless solution by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of Health Family Welfare, which is facilitated by Delhi Airport for all international passengers coming to India.

Air Suvidha is a self-declaration for International arriving passengers.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the decision to discontinue the self-deceleration will begin from 22 November.

Following the announcement people flying into India from abroad will no longer need to fill out the Air Suvidha form from November 21-22 midnight and will also not be required to take a RT-PCR COVID-19 test.

Passengers, including children of five years and above, had to get RTPCR tests before boarding a flight back to India since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

RTPCR tests on foreign shores are typically costlier than in India.

Also, it is no longer mandatory for international arrivals to be vaccinated — though it remains preferable. The relaxation comes days after India had made it optional — though, again preferable, — for air travellers to remain masked on aircraft and at airports.

Passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated, taken to a designated medical facility as per health protocol.

All travellers will need to self-monitor their health post arrival.

The government’s move has come as a big relief for the NRIs across the world who often travel home back. “This is a welcoming decision, which will reduce burden on international passengers while travelling back to India,” said Farook Portfolio, CEO, Portway Travel, Jubail, KSA.  
Last week, the government made wearing masks optional for passengers flying domestic and international flights due to the vastly improved pandemic situation.

The guidelines have been revised in light of sustained declining Covid-19 trajectory and significant advances being made in Covid-19 vaccination coverage both globally and in India.

India has been lifting Covid time restrictions like those on domestic airfare range; in-flight meal and beverage serving/selling; number of domestic flights allowed; restriction on scheduled international flights and testing and quarantine requirements as the pandemic situation improved over the past few quarters.
 

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