There is a complete mismatch in what PM says and his party, the Bhartiya Janata Party, does. While his oratory is filled with messages of inclusiveness, unpalatable actions of the BJP and its associated wings cause unnecessary consternation amongst a section of the society thereby raising questions like, ‘Is there a hidden agenda?’. West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh are under their radar.

The dust in Aligarh, kicked up by the BJP insistence on celebrating the 128th birth anniversary of Jat King Raja Mahendra Singh on AMU campus, had barely settled down when the union minister from Fatehpur Niranjan Jyoti made an unwarranted statement during campaigning in Delhi. Her rural and poor background (as quoted by the prime minister while seeking pardon for her behaviour ) can hardly justify her use of abusive language in denouncing those who don’t believe in Lord Rama.

Behind both, the reasons are purely political. Ironically, in Aligarh the BJP saw the caste of the leader while coolly ignoring the fact that the Raja was also called Peter Peer Singh because he had imbibed three religions. The game plan was clear in Aligarh, to keep the Jat-Muslim wedge simmering till the 2017 Lok Sabha elections as the unity of the two dominant castes could prove politically dangerous for the saffron brigade.

But why defend the indefensible like union minister Niranjan Jyoti, whose popularity is waning in her own Lok Sabha constituency. But then how can the Prime Minister drop her when his party is out on its woo-OBC-Dalit mission. On this December 6, instead of observing Shaurya Diwas, the saffron brigade was celebrating Ambedkar Jayanti in Uttar Pradesh.

Now, we have this news about a conversion camp held in Agra.

On a day prime minister Narendra Modi won hearts at a rally in Kashmir by saying, ‘They want Android smart phones and not AK 47’, a group of Dharam Jagran and Bajrang Dal volunteers were converting 57 Muslim families to Hinduism describing it as the homecoming of those who had embraced Islam only 25 years back. Knowing the bullying character of these organisations, it is hard to know whether these Muslims were forcibly converted to Hinduism under their ‘Hindu Bachchao, Hindu Banao’ campaign.

While making it clear that these conversions camps will continue, the volunteers held hawan amidst Gayatri Mantra for the purification of those ‘coming home’ and handed over deity of Kali for worship.

The families were from Kolkata and claim to be happy with their new identities. The very next day, accusing Bajrang Dal of tricking them at a religious event denied conversion to Hinduism. But by then the rumour mill had started working across the country.

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The Uttar Pradesh government on November 18 allocated Rs 556 crore for toilets in state’s villages. Media was quick in linking it with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Clean India campaign. Read more

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Perhaps it will be politically premature to read by-poll reverses as a comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governance, but it will certainly have a bearing on the upcoming assembly polls in the country. For the simple reason because elections in democratic India is as much a battle of perception as of poll management.
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I recently read two news reports that came as a big relief to someone who has gradually, over the years, fallen in love with UP, my adopted state. Read more

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The by-polls in states held after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections have sent two clear messages.
First one is to the Bhartiya Janata Party. The by-polls results, beginning with Uttarakhand, have punctured the euphoria created by the party’s landslide victory across the country. Read more

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UP’s rumour mills have been in an overdrive ever since Amar Singh shared dais with Mulayam Singh Yadav at the inaugural ceremony of Janeshwar Mishra Park, the dream project of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, in the state capital. Read more

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What is wrong with the Aam Admi Party? The party, which was so charged up till their leader Arvind Kejriwal was contesting from Varanasi, has suddenly gone all quiet; at least one doesn’t hear the many noises it made almost daily on every burning issue. Is this how they are going to take forward their battle against corruption? Read more

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The day the CBI took over the investigations into Badaun rape cum murder case that made headlines across the globe because of the hanging of the victims from a tree, some confidence of the people was restored. Those who were crying for justice and had little faith in the state machinery were convinced that at least the investigations would be fair and reach a logical end. But that was not to be. Read more

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I have not been a Narendra Modi fan but I was completely floored by him the day he spoke about ‘Clean India.’ Perhaps, he is the first prime minister or minister in recent years to highlight something as mundane as hygiene, an issue that has been troubling people like me who have to travel by all modes of transport – air, road and rail. Read more

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