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What BJP’s Manoj Tiwari said on not giving tickets to Muslims in Delhi polls

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Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief and North East Delhi MP Manoj Tiwari spoke to Hindustan Times about the party’s election campaign , ongoing protests at Shaheen Bagh, inflammatory slogans and statements by his party MPs, and the BJP’s prospects of returning to power after 21 years.

The BJP began its campaign with development, talking about unauthorised colonies; but now the party’s campaign is focused on Shaheen Bagh. Your opponents say that the BJP doesn’t have any real issues to talk about and is trying to polarise. Your comment.

They are trying to divert people’s attention from the issue by saying that we don’t have any real issues. Development is our main agenda in this election. We are talking about Ayushman Bharat for free medical care and PM Awas Yojana to provide housing to people. But they [opponents] are stalling these citizen-centric welfare schemes as they fear the credit will go to Modi ji. Non-implementation of these two schemes will be the main reason for the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) defeat in Delhi.

In all his public meetings, Amit Shah ji talks about development first. But Delhi’s safety is a big issue. The fact that a group of 1,000-1,500 people can come and set buses on fire has scared residents. And the state government is supporting those who are behind the violence and giving them cheques worth Rs 5 lakh.

We didn’t make Shaheen Bagh an issue. Our issue is to make Delhi Shanti Bagh. They started the campaign to make Delhi Shaheen Bagh. Today, a large number of Shaheen Bagh residents are opposing it [the protest]. They are feeling ashamed of what has become of the area because of the AAP and few Congress leaders.

Your MPs Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma were barred from campaigning for inflammatory comments and slogans. There have been three incidents of firing in Shaheen Bagh and Jamia after the “shoot traitors” slogan; Verma called CM Arvind Kejriwal a “terrorist” and made the “rape and kill” comment about protesters at Shaheen Bagh. Do you agree with what your party MPs said?

The BJP never supports any kind of violence. We believe the law of the land is sufficient to punish traitors. Anurag ji didn’t say ‘goli maro’… the kind of slogans that are being chanted at Shaheen Bagh such as “PM ko goli maro”, “HM ko goli maro”, “Jinnah wali Azadi”. They [the MPs] got excited because of it. But we (BJP) don’t support their statements.

Why has the party not taken action against them?

The Election Commission has already punished them. But I want to say the EC should take into consideration slogans being shouted at Shaheen Bagh….and leaders like Amantullah Khan, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Shashi Tharoor are making speeches there. I want to request EC that action should be taken against them as well.

The Shaheen Bagh protest has been going on for over 50 days now. Why is there no attempt by the Centre to have a dialogue with the protesters? Is it the Centre’s failure that it has not been able to get the road cleared, and there have been three firing incidents in less than a week’s time in the city despite the Delhi Police being under its direct control?

It is not the Centre’s failure. This shows that the Centre is concerned about citizens as there are women and children who are sitting at the front of the protest. They know that Modi government is concerned about them and their safety. There are women sitting with their small kids in the front row, else it would have been cleared in two hours.

Arvind Kejriwal is the chief minister of Delhi. People are sitting on a protest and have been blocking the entire area for 50 days, but he has not visited the area. Should he not make an appeal to the people? But he says they are with Shaheen Bagh. This means he wants to make Delhi Shaheen Bagh.

As far as talking to protesters is concerned, Ravi Shankar Prasad ji said yesterday that people can talk to the government. We are open for talks, but no one is coming forward.

BJP talks about ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’. It is for first time since 1993 that the BJP has not fielded any Muslim candidate in the Delhi election . Why?

They (Muslim candidates) don’t help us win, even when we give them tickets. We have a minister from the Muslim community [at the Centre]. We have to bring them (Muslim leaders) through Rajya Sabha and legislative councils [in states]. We have given them tickets so many times, but they don’t help us win.

Your 48-page Sankalp Patra is silent on subsidies on water and electricity — one of the key poll issues this time. What is BJP’s stand on it as several of your senior leaders have spoken against it?

The government is a continuous process. We have clearly said that whatever schemes the government has started will continue and we will not stop them. We have promised to give atta [wheat flour] for ₹2 per kg, scooter and bicycle for girls, and financial assistance to them. We are of the view that freebies or subsidies should be given to economically weaker sections.

The BJP’s manifesto has several promises for women empowerment, so why has the party has the least number of women candidates fielded by all major political parties?

We have given tickets to women. There could be a few seats less this time. We support 33% reservation for women, but it is yet to happen. While selecting candidates, we have looked at winnability. We will keep this in mind next time.

Multiplicity of authority is one of the major reasons for slow pace of development in Delhi. In the manifesto, the BJP has proposed to constitute 8-9 boards and commissions for development works. Will it not just add to the existing problem?

No, it will solve the problem as work can be done in a more focused way. Now that our government has started the process to give ownership rights to residents of unauthorised colonies, we have decided that we will constitute Colonies Vikas Board for development work here. The board will help in better implementation of projects.

How many seats are you hoping to get this time?

We will get 50-plus seats. There is a huge difference [in public mood] since Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has started campaigning here. The Shaheen Bagh protest has exposed them (AAP). People know that they are supporting those who had set buses on fire. This has changed the whole scenario.

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Mamata Banerjee hits out at BJP for not inviting her at inauguration of East-West Metro corridor

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A day after the inauguration of the East-West Metro corridor, the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday hit out at the BJP in the state assembly for not inviting her at the ceremony in Kolkata.

Mamata claimed that along with her team she had to shed tears to get the project approved when she was the Railway Minister during 2009 and 2011. The project was flagged off by Union Minister Piyush Goyal but the BJP lacked courtesy to invite her for the inauguration.

“We had worked hard for the East-West Metro project and we literally shed tears for its approval. I felt bad that even for a small route, the BJP doesn’t have the courtesy to call me or inform,” she said in the state assembly.

The first phase of the Metro was inaugurated by the Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and the Guest of Honour was Union Minister of State Babul Supriyo.

Minister while speaking at the event had accused the West Bengal CM of acting as a barrier in the central government schemes such as Ayushman Bharat and Prime Minister Kisan Yojana.

“We (central government) want to give more projects to West Bengal, but the state is not allowing those,” he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

However, other Trinamool Congress leaders namely the minister in West Bengal government Sujit Bose, Lok Sabha Member of Parliament, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, and Krishna Chakraborty Mayor of Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation were listed in the invitation to attend the event.

However, it was later reported that the TMC leader did not attend the event.

The six kilometers long Metro line has six stations namely, Sector V, Central Park, City Centre, Karunamoyee, Bengal Chemical, and Salt Lake Stadium.

As reported by the Indian Express, the corridor between Sector V and Howrah Maidan stations comprises both elevated via duct covering 5.8 km and an underground section of 10.8 km. It is the first time that a tunnel has been bored under the Hooghly river to connect Kolkata and Howrah through the Metro.

Facilities like CCTV cameras, conclave mirrors, air conditioning systems and digital information digital boards among others will be provided for the passengers.

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Badminton star Saina Nehwal to join BJP shortly

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Badminton star Saina Nehwal is going to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday, news agency ANI reported.

Haryana-born Nehwal will join the BJP reportedly in the presence of party chief Jagat Prakash Nadda.

Nehwal, 29, has won more than 24 major international titles so far.

Nehwal married fellow shuttler Parupalli Kashyap in 2018 in Hyderabad.

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To outdo AAP, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari promises big cuts in water, electricity bills

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Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari on Monday said his party would give five times more relief to electricity and water consumers than the AAP government, if voted to power in the national capital.

He also questioned Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal about his medical treatment expenditure and why did he not get himself treated at a mohalla clinic.

According to a reply to an RTI application filed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), after coming to power in Delhi in 2015, Kejriwal had spent Rs 12,18,027 on treatment in private hospitals, which was paid by the general administration department of the Delhi government, Tiwari said.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had spent Rs 13,25,329 on medical treatment for himself and his family members and ministers Gopal Rai and Imran Hussain had spent Rs 7,22,558 and Rs 2,46,748 on medical treatment respectively, he claimed.

“Why does Kejriwal not provide the real information about the facilities in the mohalla clinics and hospitals of the Delhi government, on which he issues costly advertisements? “If you do not trust the medical services of your government, why are you leaving people at their mercy? It clearly shows that the AAP government has completely failed,” Tiwari told reporters.

He said the information received through the RTI application had proved that if the medical care provided by the mohalla clinics and the Delhi government hospitals was reliable, Kejriwal, his cabinet colleagues and their family members would not have gone to private hospitals for treatment.

“The people of Delhi will never forgive the chief minister for playing with their health,” the BJP leader said.

No immediate reaction was available from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Tiwari was also asked whether his party was in favour of announcing subsidies for water and electricity consumers.

“The BJP is not against subsidies. In fact, if we come to power, we will give five times more relief to water and electricity consumers,” he said.

In an interview to a newspaper, Delhi BJP leader Vijay Goel had said, “The BJP will not give subsidies, but create such an environment that electricity will be cheaper.” Kejriwal had thanked the BJP on Sunday for making its intentions clear that it would withdraw the electricity subsidy announced by his government if voted to power in Delhi, saying it would give a chance to people to choose between “two conflicting models”.

Subsequently, Goel had said once the saffron party came to power in Delhi, it would provide electricity at cheaper rates than the AAP government.

However, Tiwari clarified that the BJP was not against subsidies.

The Assembly polls are due in Delhi early next year.

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