Union Minister Maneka Gandhi on Friday kicked off a major controversy when she told Muslims in Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh to vote for her if they wanted jobs.
Addressing an election rally in Turab Khani village, she said that she would not give jobs to Muslims if they did not vote for her. She also said that she would not like it if she won without the support of Muslims.
“My feelings get hurt. If Muslims then come to me asking for work, then I will think let it be, how does it matter? Dil khatta hi jayega. After all, a job is a deal,” she said, making it clear that Muslims should not expect jobs if they do not vote for her.
Gandhi further said that Muslim voters need to understand that it was a give and take relation.
“It is not that I will keep on giving without getting your support in return in elections. We are not children of Mahatma Gandhi,” she said.
She further said: “I have already won the elections, but you will need me. This is your chance to lay the foundation. When the election comes and this booth throws up 100 votes or 50 votes, and then you come to me for work we will see…
“I don’t see any divide, I see only pain, sadness and love. So it is up to you…”
She said: “You can ask anyone in Pilibhit about the kind of work I did there. If you feel I haven’t done enough, you can decide not to vote for me.”
Gandhi’s three-minute speech went viral on social media and led to outrage for its blatant communal content.
The Congress has termed Gandhi’s statement “scandalous”.
Maneka Gandhi is contesting from Sultanpur, a seat won by her son Varun Gandhi in 2014. Varun Gandhi is contesting from his mother’s seat Pilibhit.
India will bounce back from COVID-19: Amitabh Kant
Noting the emergence of “green shoots” in the economy, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Tuesday emphasised that India will soon bounce back from the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 crisis.
Citing examples of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), he said key sectors like FMCG have already come back to work in positive signs to bring back the economy from the crisis.
“I am optimistic that we will bounce back with vengeance,” Kant said while addressing a session on ‘Role of the Creative Economy in Nation Building’ on FICCI digital forum.
“We are already witnessing the emergence of green shoots in the economy.”
Kant said that India must identify 12-13 sectors in which it can be a global champion and suggested that all of us need to be very clear that the pandemic is a massive challenge not just for India but for the world.
He, meanwhile, said that every crisis is also an opportunity and we must pick up areas of growth which will help us emerge as winners for tomorrow.
Elaborating on the potential areas, the NITI Aayog CEO said that the areas like data, genomics, mobility, drones, creative industry along with media and entertainment will be key drivers of growth. “These sectors will take India to a sustained level of growth in the next 10-12 years and create a vast number of jobs.”
Kant further stated that while COVID-19 has brought in a ‘New Normal’, it will be innovation which will be the key in the new normal. The people who will survive will be those who will work with technology, capturing the sunrise sectors of growth while data and the use of AI will drive growth, he said.
“India often gets into the areas of sunset industries and then it becomes difficult to penetrate the global market’s size and scale. India will get into the new areas of growth and these areas will have huge disruptions,” Kant said.
Enumerating the importance of the Atmanirbhar Bharat programme launched by the government, Kant said that through this, the government has brought radical reforms in various sectors like MSME and agriculture.
“Atmanirbhar Bharat is not about isolation. It is about becoming a global champion,” he said. On the role of public and private sector partnerships, he said that the role of technology and the use of digital platforms is increasing.
“We are in touch with the private sector to build super apps in areas like education, health, agriculture. Our objective will be that the business model will be of the private sector and the government backing will give them the size and scale to reach domestic as well as global markets,” Kant added.
Highlighting the importance of data, Kant said that in India, we are seeing data at very low price points and India’s usage of data will be enormous.
Like in 2018, Kamal Nath launches poll drive from Ujjain
Former chief minister and Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath arrived here for ‘Darshan’ of Mahakal before the start of his campaign for the mini-midterm elections involving 24 assembly seats in the state.
The Ujjain visit was due on July 3 but was washed out due to heavy rains.
There are striking similarities between his present campaign and the one he led in 2018 to bring the Congress back into power after 15 years. He had started the campaign with a ‘pooja’ at Ujjain. The key difference of course is the absence of Jyotiraditya Scindia, who blindsided him and his departure with a big chunk of the party caused the current campaign. Scindia was the campaign convener then.
Kamal Nath has few more pilgrimages lined up in the next few days before he gets to the war-room to be set up in Gwalior, the Scindia bastion.
Shortly after the ‘pooja’ and meeting with the party colleagues, Kamal Nath left for Badnawar to address the first rally — ‘Loktantra Bachao’ (save democracy) rally.
Though Scindia and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh were the senior leaders in the party, Jyotiraditya was presented as the youth face to draw the electorate. Singh was asked to bring about patch up between various factions. Kamal Nath was thus the key campaigner. He retains that status. Kamal Nath who drew good crowds in 2018 under Shivraj Chouhan’s rule has made a striking start with Ujjain Congress leaders responding in large numbers despite the lockdown curbs. The temple town, once part of the Gwalior state has responded with hundreds of billboards greeting him.
Kamal Nath plans to list the achievements of his party and development works during the 15-month rule to seek return to power.
Kamal Nath held a one-on-one discussion with prospective candidates to set the selection process rolling. The party plans to have 24 call centres, one in each constituency that will witness the by-elections. The party workers will receive voters’ feedback and inputs for the prospective candidates and the agenda to be set on local issues. The same strategy will be adopted in all 24 constituencies this time also.
Unlike in 2018 when the main war room was at Bhopal, the party is expected to hire a bungalow in Gwalior where Kamal Nath plans to move to lead the campaign.
Make call records of Vikas Dubey public: Samajwadi Party
The Samajwadi Party (SP) has demanded that the call detail records of gangster Vikas Dubey, the main accused in the killing of eight policemen in Kanpur, should be made public.
“The state government should make the call details of the gangster public so that people can know the names of leaders who were in touch with the criminal. Vikas Dubey is now being termed as a terrorist and it is important for everyone to know about those leaders who were giving him protection,” said SP MLC Sunil Singh Sajan.
Sajan claimed that the police had failed to trace Dubey even after five days of the killing of police personnel.
“He could be hiding in the house of a BJP leader for all you know. Thorough searches must be carried out and his links must be made public without delay,” he said.
The SP leader said that the fact that Vikas Dubey’s name was not included in the top criminal list of Kanpur, shows that he enjoyed patronage from the ruling party.
It is noteworthy that in a video clip that went viral on Monday, Dubey was seen talking about his links with BJP MLAs Abhijeet Sanga and Bhagwati Sagar.
He said that the two leaders had helped him when he faced police action in 2017.
Abhijeet Sanga has vehemently denied having any links with the gangster. “My constituency is Bithoor in Kanpur and people from the adjoining village come to me for help. In fact, several times I have recommended action in cases where Vikas Dubey was supporting the other parties,” he said.
Sanga further said that it was typical of Dubey to align himself with political leaders belonging to the ruling parties.
Bhagwati Sagar, BJP MLA from Bilhaur, meanwhile, said that he had not pleaded in any case against Dubey. He said that this was an attempt to malign his image.
Both the MLAs said that Dubey video should be investigated.
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