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Gujarat riots derailed BJP in 2004: Pranab

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pranab-mukherjee

New Delhi, Oct 15, 2017: The 2002 riots in Gujarat was “possibly the biggest blot” on the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and that could have cost the BJP the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, says former President Pranab Mukherjee.

In the third volume of his autobiography titled “The Coalition Years 1996-2012”, he also feels the ruling NDA’s “India Shining” campaign spawned the opposite outcome and the Vajpayee government was routed in an election against most predictions that predicted a majority to the BJP-led coalition.

“Throughout this period (of the Vajpayee government) the demand for the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya had been building up. The heightened communal tension had a distressing fallout in Gujarat which witnessed a communal carnage in 2002.

“The rioting began at Godhra, a small town in Gujarat, where 58 people were burnt to death in a fire that engulfed a compartment of the Sabarmati Express. The victims were all Hindu Kar Sevaks who were returning from Ayodhya.

“This provoked widespread riots in many cities of Gujarat. Possibly the biggest blot on Vajpayee’s government, it may have been Godhra that cost BJP the next elections,” says Mukherjee in a chapter on the “First Full Term Non-Congress Government”.

He says Vajpayee was a consummate parliamentarian. With an excellent command over the language, he was a great orator who instantly connected with people and brought them together.

Vajpayee’s signature in politics was achieving consensus, and in this process he earned the respect of his party, allies and opponents at home. Abroad, he projected a harmonious image of India and connected it to the world through his foreign policy outreach.

An emphatic and humble politician, the former President says Vajpayee did not shy away from giving credit where it was due.

“We are not the initiators of reform. We are carrying forward a process that was started by the Narasimha Rao government, and continued by two United Front governments. But we do take the credit for having broadened, deepened and accelerated the reform process.”

Vajpayee did not take political rivalries personally, says Mukherjee.

He says the 2004 Lok Sabha results brought the Congress back to power. Many were surprised by the victory of the Congress and other non-BJP parties. Several psephologists had predicted a clear victory for the NDA.

As late as February 2004, an India Today-ORG-MARG opinion poll had predicted a clear victory for the Vajpayee-led alliance.

“The magazine, interpreting the opinion poll wrote ‘Riding on the crest of the Prime Minister’s popularity and economic boom, the BJP-led alliance appears set for a sweep in the forthcoming elections.

“The confidence of the NDA had been shaken. Its ‘India Shining’ campaign had spawned the opposite outcome and cast a pall of gloom over the BJP. It led Vajpayee to ruefully comment that he could never understand the mood of the voter,” says Mukherjee.

He also recalls that the 2004 general election was due only in October but the BJP brought it forward by six months on the back of its victories in the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh though it had lost Delhi to Congress.

“There was cheer within the BJP at the resounding victory in important states. However, there were some who advised caution in interpreting these results as a marker of broader national sentiment,” observes Mukherjee.

 

Cities

Criminal on parole nabbed with illegal weapon, Police say Dawood aide

His younger brother Ashraf Awas was also a dreaded criminal and was killed in an encounter with Mumbai Police in 2002.

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9mm Brazilian make Taurus Beretta

New Delhi, July 11 : Delhi Police Crime Branch has arrested a convicted criminal who was out on parole for keeping illegal weapons. He was nabbed with a semi automatic pistol — 9mm Brazilian make Taurus Beretta with 10 live rounds. Police said that he has been an associate of Dawood Ibrahim.

Police said Anwar Thakur is a resident of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh.

“The accused is a life convict in a murder case of Sadar Bazar in Delhi in which he had shot dead a police informer inside the police station in 1992,” said Rakesh Pawaria, DCP Crime.

Anwar had come out on parole on March 17, 2020.

He had cases under the Arms Act registered against him in Lodhi Colony and Pandav Nagar in Delhi. Police are now trying to ascertain how he got possession of an illegal weapon.

His younger brother Ashraf Awas was also a dreaded criminal and was killed in an encounter with Mumbai Police in 2002.

“It is also known that Anwar Thakur and his brother Ashraf Thakur were associated with Dawood Ibrahim and were also close associates of Fajlu Rehman, who was closely associated with gangster Babloo Srivastava. The accused Anwar Thakur is an associate of Chhenu Pehalwan – the patron of the notorious Chhenu gang active in the Trans-Yamuna area, who is languishing in Tihar Jail. Anwar Thakur would roam in the area in an effort to revive the Chhenu gang which was becoming weak and losing its clout due to the judicial custody of Chhenu Pehalwan,” the officer said.

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Cities

10-day lockdown in Bengaluru from July 14: Official

“There will be complete lockdown for 10 days from 8 p.m. on July 14 to 5 a.m. on July 23 in Bengaluru urban and rural districts.

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Lockdown in Bengaluru

Bengaluru, July 11 : Alarmed by surging Covid cases by the day, the Karnataka government decided to re-impose a 10-day lockdown in Bengaluru urban and rural districts from July 14 to July 23 to contain the virus spread, said an official on Saturday.

“There will be complete lockdown for 10 days from 8 p.m. on July 14 to 5 a.m. on July 23 in Bengaluru urban and rural districts to contain the corona virus spread,a said the official of the Chief minister’s Office in a statement.

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Disaster

Dharavi emerges as a ”global role model”: Maharashtra CM Thackeray

Thackeray also showered praise on the integrated struggles undertaken by the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation, various NGOs, volunteers and the local people of Dharavi, saying: “This is the success of your efforts.”

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Dharavi Covid Case

Mumbai, July 11 : After the World Health Organisation (WHO) acknowledged the manner in which the Covid-19 spread was arrested in Mumbai’s Dharavi, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday said that Asia’s largest slum has now emerged as “a role model” for the whole world.

“The densely populated area like Dharavi has not only shown the world that through collective efforts Covid-19 can be controlled, but has also made a name for itself globally as a role model in the fight against corona,” he said.

Thackeray also showered praise on the integrated struggles undertaken by the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation, various NGOs, volunteers and the local people of Dharavi, saying: “This is the success of your efforts.”

“Such examples of human triumph over a global pandemic can inspire others,” he said, as he lauded the toil that went into controlling the spread of the virus which earned global recognition for Dharavi as a role model, and vowed that the “war against the virus” will be further intensified.

In a pat for the BMC and the state government, WHO Director-General Tedros A. Ghebreyesus, late on Friday, made a laudatory reference to the achievements of Dharavi in Mumbai among other similar examples globally as the world continues to fight the pandemic.

“Even in Dharavi, a densely packed area in Mumbai, a strong focus on community engagement and the basics of testing, tracing, isolating and treating all those that are sick is key to breaking the chains of transmission, and suppressing the virus,” he said.

In this context, Ghebreyesus pointed out that there are many, many examples from around the world that have shown that even if the Covid-19 outbreak is very intense, it can still be brought back under control, as in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Korea.

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