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INDIA’S

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Narendra Modi is an “encounter minister”

ELECTIONS SPECIAL 2014 w w w . l e m a t i n a l . c o m

LE MATINAL, PORT-LOUIS, FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2014

India’s marathon fast woman wants to vote

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rom Sharmila Chanu, who has been fasting for 13 years against a draconian law in India’s north-eastern state of Manipur, said she wanted to cast her vote for the first time.Her state, Manipur, went to polls in the ongoing nine-phase general election on Thursday.”I didn’t think much of my voting rights earlier, but now I feel the value of my one vote. I want to cast my vote,” she said, in her small hospital room in the capital, Imphal, where she has been force-fed through a pipe in her nose since November 2000. But her wish will be denied as Indian laws prohibit people in custody from voting in an election.Ms Chanu, 42, said she never voted as she had lost faith in democracy, but the rise of the new anti-corruption party, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has changed her view.

Uma Bharati’s controversial video which calls Modi ‘vinash purush’ out

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In a pungent attack on Narendra Modi for his often repeated “recounting minister” jibe at him, Union finance minister P. Chidambaram on Thursday called the Gujarat chief minister an “encounter minister”. Chidambaram said while apparently referring to the alleged fake encounters that occurred in Gujarat during Modi rule. Chidambaram won the 2009 Lok Sabha election from Sivaganga constituency in Tamil Nadu. – TOI

he Congress party on Thursday pulled out a video clip from the archives showing BJP leader Uma Bharati describing the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as ‘vinash purush’ instead of ‘vikas purush’, to claim that this was the true picture of Modi. This is not the first time that Uma Bharati, BJP’s candidate from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh, is under the spotlight for taking on Modi. Earlier, another video clip was aired by news channels in which Uma Bharati was shown saying that Modi was not as good an orator as former Prime Minister and BJP veteran Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The video clip released by the Congress party on Thursday was reportedly shot shortly after Uma had quit the BJP to float her own political outfit by the name of Bharatiya Janshakti Party in 2006. She rejoined the BJP in 2011. Apart from accusing Modi of having a dictatorial attitude, the video also shows Uma Bharati pointing out gross anomalies that were deliberately introduced to tamper the statistics of the Gujarat government related to the count of people living below poverty line during Modi’s first stint as chief minister of the state. Uma has been having on-off relations with the BJP ever since she returned to the party fold in 2011. Even before the present elections, she had expressed her desire to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh but was eventually fielded as the BJP candidate from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh. — HT

Modi confident about defeating Congress M edia in India are discussing controversial politician Narendra Modi’s recent statements on the 2002 religious riots in the western state of Gujarat. Modi, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) candidate for PM, is credited with making Gujarat economically prosperous as its chief minister, but also faces questions over his controversial past.He is accused of doing little to stop anti-Muslim riots which left more than 1,000 dead - an allegation he has always denied.He has never apologised over the riots and appeared to be evasive in his interviews given to a TV channel and a news agency on Thursday, reports say. Though he has been cleared by an investigation of any involvement in the riots, his political rivals continue to demand an apology from him.”I am convinced that if there is even a grain of truth in the allegations... Modi should be hanged in the street square. There should be such exemplary punishment so that no one dares to commit such a crime for 100 years,” Modi reportedly said when asked why

he hadn’t apologised over the riots. In another interview to a regional television news channel, Modi denied the possibility of any “witch-hunt” on the issue of the riots if the BJP came to power, saying his government would be “positive in approach and would not be vindictive in any form”, The Indian Express reports. He also dismissed the view that “Muslims were afraid of him coming to power and this fear could lead to polarisation of votes” in key constituencies such as Varanasi, from where he is contesting, theHindustan Times reports. “I am not going there (Varanasi) to defeat anyone, but to win hearts. Once I meet

them all, they will love me,” the report says. Hate speech Meanwhile, the Election Commission has censured Mr Modi’s top aide Amit Shah and Azam Khan, a senior minister in the Samajwadi party government in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, “for making controversial remarks during campaigning”, The Hindu reports. The poll watchdog’s decision came days after it banned the two leaders from campaigning in the state. Mr Shah, who is leading the BJP’s poll campaign in Uttar Pradesh, had allegedly asked people at a public meeting to take “revenge” for last year’s religious riots in Muzaffarnagar town.

On the other hand, Mr Khan was reprimanded for his remark that India’s victory in the 1999 Kargil conflict over Pakistan was due to Muslim soldiers and not Hindus. In its order to both leaders, the Election Commission said that their highly provocative speeches had the “impact of aggravating existing differences or create mutual hatred between different communities...” the report said. And finally, the high-voltage elections have reportedly sparked a division in Bollywood as well. “The Hindi film industry, which prides itself on its secular image, appears to be taking sides for the first time,” The Times of India reported A collective appeal launched by writer Anjum Rajabali says “while corruption and governance are important issues… India’s secular character is not negotiable”, the report adds. However, not many in Bollywood agree with this initiative. “Shocking to see some colleagues, under garb of stopping so-called divisive forces, are themselves dividing a secular place like Bollywood,” filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar tweeted. — BBC ASIA

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Voters are not fools

n a counterattack on Rahul Gandhi for asking Narendra Modi to “stop fooling” the people, BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Thursday said voters are not “ullus” (fools) if they exercise their vote against the Congress.Jaitley, who is facing a tough contest in Amritsar, said Rahul must accept that people are “angry” with the Congress. “With 121 parliamentary constituencies going to poll today, almost half of India would have voted in 2014 general elections. What are the trends? The Third Front or the Federal Front is the non-starter. The Congress lags far behind,” he said.”Rahul Gandhi must accept that people are angry with the Congress. They are not ‘ullus’ when they vote against the Congress. The prospects of defeat should not make a leader lose his graciousness. Those who vote against the Congress may have good reasons to do so. The angry voter is not a four letter word that Rahul Gandhi has chosen to describe them”, Jailtey said. At an election meeting in Bihar on Wednesday, Rahul had said, “Modiji, Hindustan ko ullu banana band karo (Modiji, stop fooling the people of Hindustan)”.Jaitley claimed the NDA is the only combination which has a real chance of forming the government. Besides, the usual emphasis on the anti-incumbency against the UPA, national mood is in favour of Narendra Modi, he claimed.”An issue that concerns the average Indian is who will provide a stable government,” he said, adding the answer to the question squarely helps the BJP and NDA. Jaitley welcomed Modi’s comment that the next government at the Centre will function on a positive agenda and not be vindictive. “India is changing. The people are becoming restless. The aspirational class is expanding. People expect to live in a system where the quality of their life is significantly enhanced. The new generation is looking for education, jobs, housing, health care and hygiene. They want politics to ensure the delivery mechanism instead of being just a slugfest between the parties”, he said. — TOI

An election official distributes red roses to Christian nuns during voter registration in Ranchi.

Thursday is one of the most critical days of voting spread across 12 states.

Bollywood actor Ritesh Deshmukh interacts with youth in support of Congress candidate Dattatray Bansode at Nana Nani Park, in Latur, Maharashtra.

A BJP supporter portrayed as Mahatma Gandhi during Narendra Modi's rally, in Dhanbad.

TMC candidate Moon Moon Sen with her daughters Riya Sen and Raima Sen during a roadshow at Mejia Bankura, West Bengal.


Indian Elections 2014  
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