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Modi threatening idea of India, stifling dissent: Manmohan Singh

The author of the book, Tharoor, said that Modi became Prime Minister on the back of a “full-fledged” marketing campaign but that he won’t stay popular for long.

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Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, Oct 26 : Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of curbing academic freedom and stifling dissent, his predecessor Manmohan Singh on Friday said the “idea of India” was being threatened under his government, which not only sought to rule India, but to change its “very heart and soul”.

Often criticized by his successor for being a non-vocal prime minister during his term, Singh attacked Modi for remaining silent in the face of widespread communal violence, mob lynchings, and cow vigilantism.

He also accused him of failing the electorate and eroding voters’ faith in his words and “lofty” promises while “vitiating” the environment of Indian universities and national institutions like the CBI.

He was speaking at the release of a book ‘The Paradoxical Prime Minister: Narendra Modi and His India’ written by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor.

The Paradoxical Prime Minister

New Delhi: Congress leaders Dr. Manmohan Singh and P. Chidambaram with eminent journalist Arun Shourie at the launch of Shashi Tharoor’s book “The Paradoxical Prime Minister: Narendra Modi And His India” in New Delhi on Oct 26, 2018. (Photo: IANS)

“While he (Modi) speaks of being a Prime Minister for all Indians, but the government he presides over has been mostly silent in the face of widespread communal violence, mob lynching, and cow vigilantism,” Singh said.

He said Modi did not represent the secular, plural, free and equal society that India’s founding fathers had envisioned.

On the economic front, Singh said the Modi government had achieved “nothing more than a series of empty gestures” and that his “foolhardy inititatives” had proved to be a setback for the economy.

“Nothing concrete has been done to bring back the promised billions allegedly held abroad as black money. A hastily implemented demonetisation and GST have proved to be disastrous.

“Petrol and diesel prices are at historic high despite the fall in international crude oil prices because the Modi government chose to levy excessive excise duty,” he said.

Echoing his views, Congress leader P. Chidambaram said Modi was an embodiment of an illiberal democracy and was driving India towards that.

“Once an illiberal democracy is in place, everything will go wrong and we would move towards dictatorship,” he said.

Referring to the ongoing crisis in the CBI, Chidambaram said it was an example of how an institution was being destroyed.

“It (CBI) always had its weaknesses, I am not denying that… But today we have virtually destroyed it,” he said adding it was the same story with the Central Information Commission and the Central Election Commission.

“Every institution is being destroyed from within by putting your people there, destabilising it, capturing it and then bending it (on its) knees. We need to wake up to that,” he said adding people had started to sense what was happening.

Former BJP leader Arun Shourie said Modi had lost control of the administration, be it CBI, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) or the Intelligence Bureau, and that there was an “absolute civil war” going on in the PMO.

He said people often underestimate the power of falsehood and don’t evaluate things before acclaiming them, “like in case of the Gujarat model”.

“Today we’re surprised that ministers have no powers – but that’s the Gujarat model. Our parliament has been reduced to annullity… Civil servants have become yes men… IB, ED and CBI are being used to terrorise opponents.. but that’s what the Gujarat model was,” he said.

The author of the book, Tharoor, said that Modi became Prime Minister on the back of a “full-fledged” marketing campaign but that he won’t stay popular for long.

“You can be an outstanding salesperson, but people who are buying your package keep realising that the package is empty. How long will they keep buying the same package?” he asked.

He said while his book was not neutral in its criticism of Modi as he was, after all, a member of the Congress party, but that it was measured in its criticism and substantiated with facts and figures.

Former Aam Aadmi Party leader Ashutosh said the common mistake people made was to try to understand Modi as a man, not as an ideology.

“It is not the man who is communal but the ideology which is communal. That ideology has been preparing to convert India into a Hindu nation for the last 90 years and that project is going on. Modi is the puppet of that ideology which has been thrust upon this country,” he said.

JD(U) leader Pawan K. Varma took the counterview and asked why the Opposition was unable to do the packaging and produce a leader who had the organisational skills to take on Modi even after four-and-a-half years of anti-incumbency “staring him in the face”.

India

Students join farmers’ protest against farm laws at Singhu, Tikri borders

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Farmers and Students

New Delhi: Students from various universities in Delhi on Decmeber 1 joined the farmers protesting at Singhu and Tikri borders and expressed solidarity with them in their fight against the Centre’s new farm laws.

The protesters part of a student outfit, Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS), demanded that three farm legislations should be revoked unconditionally and the BJP government at the Centre should apologise to the people for introducing such “anti-people laws”.

“We have launched agitations in different states in solidarity with the on-going movement and to bring to the fore the issues being faced especially by the most exploited section — agricultural workers in the farming sector.

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Cities

After Singhu and Tikri borders, Chilla border closed as well

While the Tikri border, Jharoda Border, Jhatikra Border are closed for any traffic movement, the Badusarai Border is open only for two wheeler traffic.

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Delhi Chilla Border

New Delhi, Dec 1: The Delhi Police on Tuesday closed the Chilla border connecting Delhi to the UP link road towards Noida due to the farmers’ protest.

The Singhu and Tikri borders are already closed by Delhi Traffic police for any vehicular movement which has caused traffic diversions at various points in the national capital region as the farmers agitation entered its sixth day.

The Delhi Traffic Police after closing the Chilla border advised motorists to take alternative routes towards Noida after taking a U-turn from under the Ghazipur, Akshardham flyover and also from Sarai Kale Khan.

While the Tikri border, Jharoda Border, Jhatikra Border are closed for any traffic movement, the Badusarai Border is open only for two wheeler traffic.

“Available Open Borders to Haryana are Dhansa, Daurala, Kapashera, Rajokri NH-8,Bijwasan/Bajghera, Palam Vihar and Dundahera,” said a senior Traffic police officer.

“Singhu Border is still closed from both sides. Please take alternative route.Traffic has been diverted from Mukarba Chowk and GTK road. Traffic is very very heavy. Please avoid outer ring road from Signature Bridge to Rohini and vice versa, GTK road, NH 44 and Singhu border,” the Delhi Traffic Police Twitter handle tweeted.

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday headed the government side in the much-awaited talks with over 30 farmer unions on the sixth day of the ongoing farmers’ protest.

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India

Farmers-govt dialogue inconclusive, 4th round of talks on Thursday

‘Bullets or peaceful solution’: Farmers’ union member after discussion with government

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Farmers Union

New Delhi, Dec 1: The government’s proposal to form a committee to study the three contentious farms laws was rejected by farmer unions during the ongoing talks called by Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday to resolve the issues raised by agitating farmers.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Roop Singh Sanna told IANS that the government proposed to form a committee to study and discuss issues related to the three farm laws enacted in September during Monsoon Session of Parliament.

The farmers’ leader, while sharing inputs received from its union members attending the farmers-ministers ongoing meeting at Vigyan Bhawan, said the government offered to select four-five members from farmers association to form the committee in which there will be some government members.

He said that all the “union leaders unanimously rejected” the government’s offer.

“Forming a committee is an attempt to postpone the issue. We are not ready to accept government’s offer,” said Sanna.

The government is holding on to its stance of not rolling back the three farm laws which farmers allege are “anti-farm” and “black laws”: The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

The information comes from the meeting led by Agriculture Minister Tomar and Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs and Food & Public Distribution, in presence of more than 32 farmer union leaders on the sixth day of the ongoing farmers’ protest. The meeting started at Vigyan Bhawan around 3.30 p.m.

The meeting is also being attended by Union Minister of State for Commerce Som Prakash and Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal.

The meeting between the government and farmers comes after late Monday night invitation sent by Agriculture Minister to them following their ongoing protest started from November 26.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh have been protesting at Delhi borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Currently, these farmers have been protesting at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders.

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