Tag: Modi

INDIA: ‘Farmers From Kashmir to Kanyakumari Joined Bharat Bandh’

Bharat Bandh rally in New Delhi.

By TA/newsclick.in

The “unprecedented” 10-hour Bharat Bandh on Monday was “successful” as “farmers from Kashmir to Kanyakumari hit the streets” against the three controversial farm laws. Almost the entire poll-bound Uttar Pradesh (UP) was affected with protesters in the western region blocking highways and arterial roads and squatting on tracks since morning.

“The Bharat Bandh was successful with the full support of farmers. We did not block everything as our intention was not to cause inconvenience to the people,” Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) national media-in-charge leader Dharmendra Malik told Newsclick.

The nationwide lockdown, which ended at 4 pm, was organised to mark the first anniversary of the assent given to the three farm laws by President Ram Nath Kovind. The protesters claimed that the response to the strike had “nailed the lie of the government’s propaganda and showed how the public supported the historic struggle of the farmers”.

Visuals of deserted roads and markets kept pouring in throughout the day. The call for the lockdown received extensive support in UP, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Several trains were cancelled, highways and key roads blocked and many thousand of people stranded for hours. At least, 25 trains were cancelled.
Bharat Bandh in Karnataka.

“The unprecedented lockdown was a slap on the faces of those who dubbed the massive movement as a protest by only three states. Small and big farmers from Kashmir to Kanyakumari protested the three laws. If the government still does not understand our problems, the farmers cannot do anything more,” Malik added.

On the Union agriculture ministry’s reiteration that the farmers should hold talks instead of going ahead with their strike, Malik said, “We were and are ready for talks but the government has not invited us for any dialogue.”

Asked about the hike in the sugarcane procurement price by the UP government ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections, Malik said that the Yogi Adityanath government is third in terms of hike in the price. “The highest hike in the price (Rs 90 per quintal) was during the Mayawati government, then the Akhilesh Yadav government (Rs 65 per quintal) and the least under the incumbent government,” said Malik, adding, “It is actually an increase of Rs 5/100 kg every year.”

Terming the revision “unscientific”, Malik sought to know the formula used to hike the price. “The electricity tariff was hiked thrice (from Rs 70 to Rs 185 per horsepower) in the last five years. The price of diesel rose by Rs 25-Rs 30 per litre. Fertiliser and pesticide prices too doubled in this period. Inflation is somewhere 6.5-7%. If all these components are considered, it accounts for around 35%, but the hike is just 2%,” he explained.
Bharat Bandh in Jalalabad, Punjab.

Despite the Uttar Pradesh sugarcane purchase advisory committee, constituted for fixing the state advisory price, estimating the input cost of sugarcane production at Rs 350 per quintal, the purchase price remains, Malik said. “How will this much-hyped hike improve the farmers’ financial condition? The farmers won’t survive if they do not get a profitable purchase price against the input cost. Besides, they are paid one year late.”

Though farmer organisations were joined by trade unions, youth organisations, students and political parties in different parts of the country, peasant organisations, as per the policy of their umbrella body, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) ensured that no representative of any political party shared their stages. No untoward incident was reported from any part of the country with the SKM reiterating that the lockdown was voluntary and that there was no room for any violence.

Rakesh Tikait, national spokesperson, BKU, said that though he does not know how the movement will end up, but “the youth, who often avoided discussing farming-related issues, are also joining it”. The protest is aimed at ensuring that “Roti (bread) does not become a market commodity”, he said.

‘Quad’ leaders bat for ‘free & open’ Indo-Pacific; warn against use of Afghan territory for terrorism

Quad summit in progress. Photo- ANI

By SAT News Desk

WASHINGTON/MELBOURNE, 26 September 2021: Quad leaders, US President Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Indian Prime Minister N. Modi, and Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga have in a joint summit communique called upon for a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific, directed at China, though it is not named. The leaders’ summit on Friday (24 September 2021) in Washington DC, discussed many issues including the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, and critical and emerging technologies.

The Quad also welcomed India’s announcement to resume exports of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, including to COVAX, beginning in October 2021. On the climate front, the Quad countries decided to work together for successful outcomes at the COP26 and G20 that uphold the level of climate ambition and innovation. It announced the launch of Quad Principles on Technology Design, Development, Governance, and Use that to guide not only the region but the world towards responsible, open, high-standards innovation.

The communique says, “In South Asia, we will closely coordinate our diplomatic, economic, and human-rights policies towards Afghanistan and will deepen our counter-terrorism and humanitarian cooperation in the months ahead in accordance with UNSCR 2593. We reaffirm that Afghan territory should not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or to finance terrorist acts, and reiterate the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan. We denounce the use of terrorist proxies and emphasized the importance of denying any logistical, financial or military support to terrorist groups which could be used to launch or plan terror attacks, including cross-border attacks. We stand together in support of Afghan nationals, and call on the Taliban to provide safe passage to any person wishing to leave Afghanistan, and to ensure that the human rights of all Afghans, including women, children, and minorities are respected.

Quad leaders at the summit.Photo-ANI

The communique concludes: ” At a time that tests us all, our commitment to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific is firm, and our vision for this partnership remains ambitious and far-reaching. With steadfast cooperation, we rise to meet this moment, together.

China had reacted sharply against the recently formed AUKUS, comprising of the United States, Australia, and United Kingdom. A pre Quad meeting article in the Global Times said, ” While the Quad mechanism is engaged in splitting Asia and instigating various forces to contain China if Japan, India and Australia went too far in following the US strategy of containing China, they will become cannon fodder as China will resolutely safeguard its interests, Chinese analysts warned.”

China’s reaction to the Quad leaders’ communique is awaited.


ScoMo-Modi meet ahead of Quad meeting : Discussion on AUKUS ‘well received’- Scott Morrison

Photo- PM ScoMo’s Twitter account

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 24 September 2021: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indian PM N. Modi met face-to-face in Washington DC a day before the Quad meeting today (24 September 2021). The meeting comes as the rumpus over the AUKUS and the N-submarine deal that has badly strained Australia’s relations with France. In fact, President Macron refused to take Scott Morrison’s phone call and instead the Australian Prime Minister “messaged him in a personal correspondence”.

Australia and India are Quad partners and it remains to be seen what stand India takes over AUKUS, despite Canberra’s warmth towards New Delhi, obviously, related to its strained relations with China.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki in a media briefing recently ruled out Japan and India joining the AUKUS. She said, ” No one else will be added to the newly formed AUKUS…”

In a Facebook post, PM ScoMO says, ” Prime Minister Modi and I agreed on some important new initiatives to work on a low emissions partnership that will focus on hydrogen and ultra-low-cost solar programs and to support their energy transition.

Photo- @MEAIndia

We also discussed critical mineral supply chains, advancing trade opportunities between our two countries, our fight against COVID-19, and addressing climate change.”

Later in a media conference, PM ScoMo disclosed, he discussed the recently formed AUKUS, saying, ” Of course, we had the opportunity to discuss the recent announcement on the AUKUS agreement and our program to put in place a nuclear-powered fleet of submarines. Keen interest in that from our partners in India, and well received. And looking forward to see how that continues to progress. Of course, I spoke to Prime Minister Modi the night before we made the announcement in Australia last week.”

About the energy partnership PM Sco Mo answering a journalist’s question, indicated about Hydrogen and supply of Hydrogen and ultra-low-cost Solar to India.

The story will be updated soon.

When Ahmed Patel opined: It’s impossible to win a poll in Gujarat if you’re a Muslim


By Rajiv Shah

AHMEDABAD, 26 November 2020: Ahmed Patel has passed away. It is indeed sad that he became another Covid victim, like thousands of others across the world. His loss appears to have been particularly felt in the Congress corridors. I know how some party leaders from Gujarat would often defend him even if one “negative” remark was made on him. “I personally cannot tolerate any criticism of Ahmedbhai”, Shaktisinh Gohil, Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, appointed Bihar in charge ahead of recent assembly polls, told me about a couple of years ago during a tete-e-tete in Ahmedabad.
I have known Ahmedbhai, though not intimately. The first time I met him was in Gandhinagar. It was 1997, when the BJP hadn’t yet taken over. The elections were to take place in December. Just posted as the Times of India reporter to cover government, I was called for a dinner at a very ordinary government-owned flat in Sector 16 where former Congress minister Urvashi Devi who later switched over to BJP, but now is not with any party, used to live. It wasn’t very far from the helipad.


I first heard of Ahmed Patel in Delhi during the Emergency days, when I had just finished his post-graduation in English literature from the Delhi University, and was desperately looking for what I should do next, and finally landed up as a trainee proof reader (imagine!) in the “National Herald”. I vaguely remember, he was mentioned in newspapers as part of those who were close to Sanjay Gandhi, a terror during the Emergency.
Apart from this, all that I knew of Ahmedbhai was, he had stopped fighting elections after he was defeated from his Bharuch Parliamentary seat, from where he won continuously between 1977 and 1989. During my 1997 meeting I pointedly asked him why didn’t he fight any elections thereafter. Defeated by a BJP non-entity, I distinctly remember the explanation he gave me: “It’s impossible to win elections in Gujarat if you are a Muslim.”
Polite, suave and soft-spoken, I recall Ahmedbhai requested: “Please don’t quote me”, and I obliged. While as a reporter who covered Gandhinagar, I kept in touch with Ahmedbhai, often phoning him up, and did meet him a few times during Congress gatherings in Gandhinagar, I found, he always wanted not to be in the limelight. Every time I would talk to him, he would insist, “Don’t quote me.” I had learned a few alleged tricks of keeping sources alive.
I remember how, after I joined the Times of India in 1993 as assistant editor and hadn’t yet been sent to Gandhinagar in 1997, a very close friend of mine took me for a dinner with Bharatsinh Solanki, son of Congress stalwart Madhavsinh Solanki. Bharatsinh, then a Congress MLA, talking to me “off the record”, sharply criticised Ahmed Patel, blaming the latter for trying to “destroy” the Congress. I didn’t pay much need to what Bharatsinh was saying.
When in Gandhinagar, soon after BJP took over reins of power in 1998, I found, there was an internal tussle between what were regarded as Madhavsinh Solanki group and Ahmed Patel group. A former foreign minister and Gujarat chief minister in 1980s, Madhavsinh (now in his 90s) – whom I would often meet – addressed several meetings called to criticise Ahmed Patel. I attended these meetings in Gandhinagar, including one in the Town Hall.
After Narendra Modi took over as chief minister in October 2001, I didn’t hear much of Ahmed Patel in Gandhinagar, except for a story by my editor, Kingshuk Nag – I don’t remember the timing of the story, but it either appeared ahead of the December 2002 assembly elections or the 2004 Lok Sabha polla. The explosive story, carried as the front page flier, said Ahmed Patel had a “secret” meeting with Modi at a hotel near the Ahmedabad airport.
I had no reason to contest the veracity of the story. After all it carried the byline of my editor, whom I have known as an extremely well-informed journalist. However, what I clearly remember is, it did give air to the rumours (I still don’t know if these were totally baseless) that Ahmedbhai was, in some ways, “hand-in-glove” with Modi. These rumours were particularly widespread among Gujarati journalists, who generally know much better of things political.
Be that as it may, Ahmed Patel had tremendous clout – so much so that he could strongly influence media houses. Ahead of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, I was approached by my office to do a profile of Ahmed Patel. I was happy, as here was an opportunity to write pros and cons of a political leader, who was the key political adviser of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. Even as I was talking with different people, I told not to write. The reason I later learned was, the Delhi TOI office didn’t want a story that would embarrass Ahmed Patel. “He has helped TOI several times”, I was told.
I had written a story in 2007, based on a Gujarati book, “Karmayog”, carrying Modi’s speeches, where he had said, manual scavengers, while doing their cleanliness work, had spiritual experience. About 5,000 copies of the book were withdrawn. A decade later, I was enjoying dinner with some of my neighours in Ahmedabad, and suddenly I got a phone call from Ahmed Patel. Soft spoken as ever, he asked for the book, recalling my story. I told him I didn’t have it, wondering to myself why it took Congress to wake up 10 years late. Was Congress was like that?
Be that as it may, during my interaction with bureaucrats in Gandhinagar, I would often learn how IAS officials would approach Ahmed Patel in order to be empanelled in Delhi for important postings during the ten year long UPA rule, which ended in 2014. “Talk to Ahmed Patel, he would be of help”, is what babus would whisper, I was told. Indeed, most of the senior bureaucrats knew him personally.
My daughter got married in 2008. Deciding to keep it a very small affair, I made it a point not to call any politician. The only politician I had called was Madhusudan Mistry, whom my daughter had met a few times when he was not a politician but ran an NGO in a Gujarat tribal area. While returning home from the hotel, I suddenly got a phone call greeting me. I was pleasantly surprised, as I hadn’t been regularly keeping much in touch with him…

Source- counterview.in

NDTV is anti-India, anti-Hindu & anti-BJP: Sambit Patra

Dr. Sambit Patra addressing OFBJP function in Melbourne. Photo: SAT

By SAT correspondent

Melbourne, 17 June: The national spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Dr. Sambit Patra today came down heavily on the NDTV describing it as “anti-India, anti-Hindu & anti-BJP. Dr.Patra who is touring Australian cities to celebrate the Modi-led NDA government’s three years in power was answering to Melbourne-based SAT (South Asia Times) question about the NDTV episode where he alleged NDTV ‘agenda’ and was asked to leave the live discussion by the anchor.

Earlier, Dr. Patra gave a half-hour speech on the achievements of the three years of Modi government in a program organized by the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) Australia at the Thornbury Theatre here.

Dr. Patra addressing the gathering on the ‘ABCD of achievements’ described the demonetization step as one that touched every section of Indian society in its aim to weed out unaccounted money in the country. He then detailed other Modi government programs of rural electrification, girl’s education, ease of doing business, infrastructure development among others.

The BJP leader said India has now arrived on the global scene and it is the Indian civilization based on the Vedic culture that was engulfing the world.

The gathering was also addressed by the OFBJP leaders and political leaders including Gevin Jennings (ALP) Indian Counsel in Melbourne Manika Jain and Inga Peulich (Liberal). A Q-A session scheduled after Dr. Patra’s speech was canceled.