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Murky Waters | The Indian Express

Canadian Premiere Justin Trudeau waded in murky waters when he accused India of “credible allegations’’ of involvement in the death of Khalistani gangster Hardeep Singh Nijjar. The Canadian government’s half-baked assumption is reportedly based on telephone intercepts provided by the US government, which presumably does not want any suggestion of unfriendly activity against a friendly country made public. Several anti-India terrorists have died abroad, reportedly in inter-gang rivalries.

In Pakistan, there were at least seven gangland terrorist deaths in the last two years. Since the world of terrorism is inextricably linked with drug cartels and other illegal activities, pointing a finger in a shoot-out is difficult to prove.

For instance, on September 21 this year, Khalistani terrorist Sukhdool Singh was bumped off in Canada a day after Trudeau made public his accusation against India in the Canadian Parliament. Goldy Brar, a member of Lawrence Bishnoi’s gang, claimed he had engineered the plot against Sukhdool Singh.

Wheels in Wheels
The forthcoming Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana are expected to favour the Congress. Surprisingly, however, this does not suit the Congress alliance partners in the I.N.D.I.A. group.

The apprehension is that a victorious Congress will gain the upper hand in taking decisions. Incidentally, a significant new friendship has developed within I.N.D.I.A. NCP leader Sharad Pawar has moved close to AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal through his friendship with AAP MP Sanjay Singh. Pawar has been very supportive of his fellow Rajya Sabha member over his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate.

Festive offer

With AAP on Pawar’s side, Nitish’s chances of chairing the I.N.D.I.A. alliance automatically recede. Meanwhile, Akhilesh Yadav is threatening to contest all seats in UP in the parliamentary poll since the Congress has not shared any Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh.

Riled over a River

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s recent remark at a two-day National Sindhi Convention in Lucknow, that if the Ram Janmabhoomi can be reclaimed, then the Sindhu (Indus) river can also be brought back to India, merited just a para in the Indian media. In Pakistan, however, Adityanath’s remark had become a major point of discussion on talk shows, blogs and YouTube. Pakistanis are infuriated at the suggestion that India can lay claim to a river, which only passes through Indian territory marginally.

MP is not Gujarat

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It is puzzling why the BJP is fielding its reluctant heavyweights in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly poll and opinions differ on the purpose. Conventional wisdom is that the BJP is importing all its heavy artillery because of the poor situation on the ground. (Though many suspect that the move will backfire badly rather than help.) Some assume it is an attempt to undercut Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan. But undermining a long-time CM, who still has much popular support, can only further harm the party’s prospects. The BJP’s election posters display so many candidates’ faces that it resembles Ravana’s head. The reluctant candidates, including seven MPs, three of them Union ministers, plus a party general secretary, are naturally fuming at the demotion. Though, general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya was the only one candid enough to admit that he did not have “one per cent wish to contest’’, particularly as his son was hoping to stand for the assembly.

Perhaps the real reason for the move, which has resulted in mounting resentment both from disappointed aspiring ticket seekers as well as those who have tickets thrust upon them, is that the BJP’s high command believes that it could replicate the Gujarat model in Madhya Pradesh. In Gujarat, the party high command had successfully replaced old faces with a younger generation of politicians, with barely a whimper. (In Madhya Pradesh, BJP stalwarts contesting the Assembly elections will in all likelihood see their political careers petering out, whether they win or lose the Assembly polls.) But MP is not Gujarat. The RSS has particularly deep roots in the state and an attempt to replace an older entrenched political leadership with a younger generation of politicians is not going to be as seamless as in the home state of the party high command.

Seen in Context

Devendra Fadnavis’s recent observation at a media conclave, that the Shiv Sena was the BJP’s natural ally and the Ajit Pawar-led NCP only a political ally, has a context. A Mumbai industrialist and a Marathi litterateur were reportedly asked by the BJP to act as intermediaries with Uddhav Thackeray to see if a rapprochement was possible. Uddhav, however, indicated that too much water had flown to make the resumption of ties possible.

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