Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Monday said the countdown to the defeat of the NDA government at the Centre has begun with the announcement of the Lok Sabha poll schedule. The Election Commission Sunday announced in Delhi that Lok Sabha polls will be held in seven phases in the country, beginning April 11. “With the announcement of national elections, the countdown for the (PM) Modi government has started. I have faith that the voters would send a message by their ballots that they are not fools and won’t be taken for a ride again,” he said here. Asked about some State BJP leaders claiming that his government would “collapse automatically” after the NDA retains power in the 2019 general polls, Mr. Nath said, “I can’t stop them from dreaming.”
Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh on Monday found himself in the middle of a controversy after his remarks supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s return to power in the Lok Sabha election came to light through a video footage. The video purportedly showed Mr. Singh telling reporters that the nation and society needed Mr. Modi to become the PM again.“All of us are BJP workers. We genuinely want the BJP to win. We want that Modiji should become the Prime Minister… It is necessary for the nation and society that Modiji becomes the PM again,” Mr. Singh said in the video shot in his hometown Aligarh last week.Mr. Singh, a former two-time Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, apparently made the remarks in the midst of a protest staged by some BJP workers outside his house against the party ticket for the Lok Sabha polls being given to sitting MP Satish Gautam.Non-partisan positionMr. Singh’s remarks drew criticism from various quarters, with leaders reminding him that a Governor should be non-partisan and should maintain distance from party politics.Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said Mr. Singh’s statements did not suit the dignity of the post he was holding. “We have utmost respect for Kalyan Singhji… He is holding a [high] Constitutional post. It is expected of the Governors to be non-partisan,” he said.Rajasthan Pradesh Congress president and Deputy CM Sachin Pilot described Mr. Singh’s remarks as violating the dignity of his Constitutional office. He said it was unfortunate that Mr. Singh had described himself as a BJP worker.Mr. Singh quit the BJP in 1999 and rejoined the party in 2004. The 87-year-old BJP leader was appointed Rajasthan Governor in 2014 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power at the Centre.
Punjab Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on Sunday said politicisation of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev should be avoided and any controversy at this stage could put a spanner in the preparations. The senior Congress leader asserted that the State government was committed to celebrate the occasion in full tandem with the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) under the aegis of the Akal Takht (highest temporal seat of Sikhs). “The politicisation of the occasion as sacred and pious as the 550th ‘Parkash Purab’ of Guru Nanak Dev should be avoided at all costs as the occasion is fast approaching and any controversy at this stage could put a spanner in the preparations,” Mr. Randhawa said in a statement here. But the recent development in which SGPC chief Gobind Singh Longowal went with the delegation of the Shiromani Akali Dal , led by its chief Sukhbir Singh Badal to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi “smacked of politicising” the sacred occasion, he alleged. The Congress leader said it would have been better had the invitations been extended jointly on behalf of the Punjab government and the SGPC as the State government is duly-elected by the people . ‘Need for coordination’He also said the coordination between the SGPC and the State government was the need of the hour as it would send all the positive signals concerning the celebrations. On July 1, the SAD delegation had invited Mr. Modi to attend a function to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev on November 12 at Sultanpur Lodhi in Punjab.