Rajat Sharma

My Opinion

India Must Be on Alert Against China

China New The latest warning from China has come from its Defence Ministry. On the India-China standoff in Doklam, Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian has said, “Shaking a mountain is easy, but shaking the People’s Liberation Army is hard”. He has also said that India should not harbour any illusion about the PLA’s ability to defend its territory. There is a proverb, “The first shot is fired much before the war starts”. This should be seen with reference to the current standoff in Doklam. Normally, nobody can imagine a conventional war breaking out between two nuclear-armed countries, but China’s intentions are difficult to predict. It can resort to anything and at any point of time. Therefore, its statements should be seen as, “Early fire shots” and be taken as a warning. And, India must stay prepared.

Farooq Abdullah Should Not Toe Pakistan’s Line 

Aaj ki Baat 21st July 2017 National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Dr Farooq Abdullah on Friday stirred a hornets’ nest by remarking that India should use the mediation of third countries like the US and China to solve the Kashmir issue. This is exactly what Pakistan has been striving for the last several decades. Pakistan had been seeking US mediation on Kashmir, and the US stand had been that it is ready to help if both parties agree. Of late, China, trying to fish in troubled waters, has been offering mediation on Kashmir, though the fact remains that a large part of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir has already been ceded to China by Pakistan. India’s stand on Kashmir has been very clear. India considers Jammu and Kashmir as its integral part and the Indian parliament has passed a resolution calling for the return of Pak Occupied Kashmir to India. On this issue, the entire Indian nation and all political parties are unanimous. There can be no compromise on the issue of J&K being an integral part of India.  India has also made it clear that any future talks with Pakistan will include the return of PoK to India. It would be better if Dr Farooq Abdullah understands the sentiments of the Indian people and stops toeing Pakistan’s line.

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BJP May Reap Rich Dividends by Electing a Dalit as President

Ram Nath Kovind Nearly 35,000 Dalit bastis across India on Thursday celebrated Diwali after Ram Nath Kovind was elected President of India. Kovind belongs to the Dalit Koli community and the first political effect of this election will be seen in Gujarat assembly polls, where Kolis constitute 16 per cent of total votes. BJP president Amit Shah is an astute political strategist and he often keeps upcoming elections in mind before taking major decisions. The second political effect will be seen in Uttar Pradesh, from where Kovind hails. Dalits constitute a deciding factor in many constituencies of this state. It was for this reason that UP CM Yogi Adityanath on Thursday referred to Kovind as the ‘son of Uttar Pradesh’ several times. The effect will be seen in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Kovind’s election was a foregone conclusion, but the cherry on the cake was cross-voting in which legislators from various opposition parties voted in favour of Kovind. The anti-defection law does not apply in Presidential elections, and every MP and MLA is free to vote. No whips are issued by political parties.

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Naresh Agrawal Must Respect Sentiments of People

Naresh Agrawal 19 July AKB Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal stirred a hornets’ nest when he quoted a derogatory comment about Hindu deities written on the wall of a wine shop in UP, while participating in a debate on lynching by cow vigilante groups in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. Clearly, this goes against all canons of parliamentary dignity, and the remark has hurt the sentiments of a large section. The leader of the House in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley rightly said, Agrawal should show courage and make a similar remark about icons of other religions and see the consequences. I would request Agrawal and other MPs who have similar inclinations, not to misuse the privileges that have been given to them as members of Parliament.

As for the lynching incidents, on which the debate was going on, there is no doubt that there has been lynching in the name of cow protection, and the image of India has been sullied outside the country. Despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi issuing stern warnings at least thrice against lynching by cow vigilante groups, such incidents are taking place. The problem is: law and order is a state subject and the Centre’s role is limited to sending advisories to the states. But the opposition is targeting Prime Minister Modi on this issue personally, which is unfair.

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Why Did Mayawati Resign from Rajya Sabha?

18th July Aaj Ki Baat Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati on Tuesday tendered her resignation from Rajya Sabha saying she was not allowed to speak on Dalit issues. The question now arises: did she resign in a huff or was it part of a well-planned strategy? I think there are two main reasons: first, after BJP nominated a UP Dalit Ramnath Kovind for the post of President, Mayawati refused to support his candidature. Naturally, Dalits were unhappy over this. Secondly, Mayawati’s Rajya Sabha term ends next year. There are hardly ten months left. Her party has no elected member in Lok Sabha, and has only 19 MLAs in the UP assembly. There is no chance of her being re-elected next year to Rajya Sabha. She possibly wants to now portray herself as a martyr for the cause of Dalits, and will go around saying she resigned from Rajya Sabha as she was not allowed to speak on Dalit issues.

Into this drama, Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad has stepped in. He has offered a Rajya Sabha seat to her from Bihar. Lalu is single-mindedly focussed on challenging Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, and his eyes are on UP. He wants Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav to join hands with BSP, and because of this, Lalu is offering a favour to the BSP leader. The offer is not gratis – by obliging Mayawati, Lalu Prasad is eyeing her support base in Bihar, which accounts for nearly 3-4 per cent of total votes.

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India Will Not be Cowed Down by Aggressive Chinese Posturing

17th July Aaj Ki Baat After failing to browbeat India by issuing jingoistic statements on the Dokalam standoff through its Foreign Ministry and state-run media, China has resorted to “live-fire drill” in Tibet to show that its tanks and missile batteries can easily reach the Line of Actual Control. This is not the first time China has done this. It is part of its diplomatic and military strategy. First, heat up the atmosphere by issuing threatening statements, then create tension on the border by sending its soldiers, and follow it up with live-fire drill exercises. China’s sole aim is to browbeat Indian army to withdraw from Dokalam, but the government of India has made it amply clear that if China desires peace and wants to defuse tension, it will have to come to the negotiation table. India will not be cowed down by aggressive military posturing.

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Why is Congress Worried About Nitish-Lalu Rift?

Grab Aaj ki Baat 14th july The Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate have taken action against RJD supremo Lalu Prasad’s wife, son, daughter and son-in-law in several benami property transactions, and the process for legal action under Prevention of Money Laundering Act has begun. Under present circumstances, the ruling Janata Dal(United)-RJD combine is facing tremendous political pressure. Voices are being raised for Lalu’s son Tejashwi Yadav, who is Deputy Chief Minister, to resign, but he is adamant on not doing so. The Congress is part of the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) that won the Bihar polls. Congress president Sonia Gandhi is worried that the united opposition challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Centre may fizzle out if the grand alliance in Bihar breaks. That is why, she has asked her party leaders to salvage the alliance. Lalu Prasad is now in a fix. He cannot antagonise both Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Sonia Gandhi simultaneously. The jury is still out on how and when Tejashwi Yadav will quit because an FIR has been filed against him.

Meanwhile, BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha has come out with a remark backing Lalu Prasad. In his comment, the film star has said mere filing of FIR does not mean, a minister should quit. He said there are several ministers in different parties who have not resigned despite cases against them. Sinha has expressed the hope that the RJD-JD(U) rift will soon be over and Bihar will not be pushed into early elections. Shatrughan Sinha is a nice gentleman and he is my personal friend. But it seems, in politics, he is yet to acquire the required level of sagacity. He often plays the wrong dice. When he was sulking in BJP, he indicated that he was with Nitish Kumar, but now when he finds that Nitish may again join hands with BJP, he has thrown in his lot with Lalu Prasad. Somebody should remind Sinha that he once used to praise his political guru L.K.Advani for resigning after the latter’s name came out in the Hawala diary case. The same person (Sinha) is now saying that mere levelling of charges does not mean that somebody should resign.

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Govt Must Take Strong Deterrent Action Against Lynchers

aaj ki baat 13th july A group of self-styled Gorakshaks brutally thrashed a Muslim man carrying mutton near Nagpur, and he is now fighting for his life in hospital. It turned out that the victim was an office-bearer of the BJP minorities morcha. In public life, I often meet people who ask me who these lynchers are, to which party to do they belong, to which ideology they subscribe to, and my reply is: they are goons (goondas), they indulge in hooliganism, they have nothing to do with any party or any ideology. Thursday’s incident near Nagpur has brought this out clearly. This is a matter that pertains to public interest. Despite several warnings from our Prime Minister, these goons carry on with their attacks without any fear. They call themselves Gorakshaks to save themselves from the arms of the law. Time has now come for the government to take strong deterrent action against these goons. I would rather want that the action should be so severe that nobody should dare to repeat such acts in future.

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Hurling Abuses Will Not Do, Tejashwi Must Reply to Charges

AKB 13th July Television viewers were witness to a shameful incident on Wednesday in which RJD supremo Lalu Prasad’s son and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav hurled abuses, like ‘goonda’, ‘BJP agent’, at media persons who were asking him uncomfortable questions about the recent CBI raids. This was soon followed by his security staff beating up some media persons who were persistently questioning Yadav. The Bihar politician did not even attempt to stop his security staff.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s party Janata Dal (United) had asked him to reply to the charges of money laundering and benami transactions. But instead of responding to the queries, Tejashwi began a tirade against the journalists. The fact is: FIR has been lodged against him, CBI has conducted raids at his residence, there are charges of acquiring benami properties too. It is the duty of the Fourth Estate to seek replies to these charges. The manner in which his security staff attacked the members of the media indicates that Tejashwi is possibly responsible for this incident. Security personnel would never have raised their hand on media persons without the concurrence of the leader. At least Tejashwi should learn from his father Lalu Prasad, an experienced politician. Serious charges of corruption were levelled against Lalu, he was imprisoned, but he never misbehaved with the media. Whether Lalu or Tejashwi, or for that matter, any other leader, they would have to face the barrage of questions from media, because they are in public life. Media has a special role to play in a democracy, and political leaders should understand this.

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Terrorists Have Killed the Soul of Kashmiriyat

11th July AKB The dastardly killings of innocent men and women returning from Amarnath Yatra have exposed the true face of terrorists and their handlers across the border. The civil society in Kashmir valley has come out in the open to condemn the killings. Terrorists have not only killed Hindu pilgrims, they have killed the very soul of Kashmiriyat, and have harmed the cause of Kashmiris. Time has now come to hunt out the terrorists and exterminate them. The nation should now stand with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in their fight against terrorism. We expect Operation All Out being carried out by the security forces against terrorists, to become successful. We also expect the J&K Human Rights Commission not to raise questions about the “human rights” of killers and terrorists this time.

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Dastardly attack on Amarnath Yatra pilgrims

Amarnath The brutal and dastardly attack on Amarnath Yatra pilgrims near Anantnag on Monday evening is an inhuman act that will be written in black letters in the annals of Jammu and Kashmir. Terrorists did not even spare innocent women and children who had gone for pilgrimage. I am at a loss for words to describe the pain inflicted on the next of kin of those killed and those injured, battling for life in hospitals.

According to J&K police, the attack was carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists, two of whom were Pakistani nationals. This terror attack calls for swift and decisive retribution on part of the security forces. Terror has no religion, it is brutal, uncivilised and inhuman. The nation must stand as a solid rock against such separatist forces and must not give leeway to such elements. The nation will not be cowed down by such dastardly acts. The ground reality is that the terrorists are fast losing their battle in the Valley, most of them have been annihilated and such inhuman attack reflects the growing sense of desperation in their ranks.

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India Has a Lot to Learn from Israel

Aaj ki baat 5th July Prime Minister Narendra Modi reminded the world about the terror massacre caused by Hafiz Mohammed Saeed’s outfit, sheltered by Pakistan, when he met the 26/11 Mumbai attack survivor child Moshe, who was two years old at that time. People who were caught in the crossfire at the Taj Hotel, Oberoi Hotel, CST station and Nariman House, still shudder when they recollect those fearful moments. In one stroke, Modi reminded the world about how Pakistan is sheltering and training terrorists. India should learn a lot from Israel while countering terror attacks: how to eliminate terrorists and cut off their supply lines. Israel is a small country with a population of 80 lakh, out of which nearly 30 lakh youths are in the Israeli Defence Forces. They have the

In one stroke, Modi reminded the world about how Pakistan is sheltering and training terrorists. India should learn a lot from Israel while countering terror attacks: how to eliminate terrorists and cut off their supply lines. Israel is a small country with a population of 80 lakh, out of which nearly 30 lakh youths are in the Israeli Defence Forces. They have the will power and technology to tackle terrorists. India can also learn a lot in agriculture from Israelis. Now that seven key agreements have been signed, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has fixed deadlines for their implementation. These will translate into reality within five months and will be effective from January 1 next year. Normally one rarely sees such timebound agreements.

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