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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

30 days of Narendra Modi Sarkar: Top 10 controversies

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 23, 2014
First Published: 16:34 IST(23/6/2014) | Last Updated: 14:02 IST(24/6/2014)

A glittering event on May 26, attended by leaders from neighbouring countries, top politicians and holy men, promissed to "script a glorious future for India." It was the day on which the country crowned Narendra Damodardas Modi its Prime Minister, bringing back the era of NDA.

With the vow to revive the economy from its worst slump in a quarter century with a slew of measures, the Modi-led NDA exuded the image of a government with a mandate.

However, no government is free of controversies. As the 'Modi sarkar' completes its first 30 days in office on Tuesday, we take a look at the top 10 incidents that triggered a row.

Article 370 row:
A row errupted after minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh claimed that the process to repeal Article 370 — which provides special status to Jammu and Kashmir (J-K) — had begun. 

The remark drew sharp reactions with J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah saying that Article 370 was the only constitutional link between the state and the rest of India.
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Smriti Irani's educational qualification row:
Smriti Irani was at the centre of the controversy over her educational qualifications and a mismatch in the information provided by her in two election affidavits after taking charge as the human resource development minister.

When contesting the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, she mentioned her qualifications as Bachelor of Arts (BA) which she passed in 1996 from DU's School of Correspondence.

However, in her affidavit for this year's Lok Sabha election, the actor-turned-politician mentioned her educational qualification as "Bachelor of Commerce Part I, School of Open Learning (Correspondence), University of Delhi - 1994."
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BJP leader Smriti Irani during the interview at her residence in Delhi on April 1, 2014. (Photo by Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times)

Controversy over IB report on NGOs:
The report by IB alleged that NGOs such as Greenpeace had been "stalling development projects". Greenpeace, an international NGO which works on environment issues, rejected the allegations in the report.

The IB report also stated that several Gujarat-based NGOs campaigned against the government. It reportedly said that organisations such as the Maldhari Rural Action Group, People's Union of Civil Liberties, and others had been protesting against the government.
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Row over Nihalchand's name in a rape case:
Nihalchand Meghwal and 16 others were named in an FIR lodged by a 24-year-old married woman from Jaipur. In the FIR filed in 2011, she alleged that the accused had sexually exploited her.

Workers of Mahila Congress staged a protest outside BJP office in New Delhi seeking Meghwal's resignation.
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Row over government's stand to promote Hindi on social media:
A Union home ministry circular on May 27 had asked all ministries, public sector undertakings and banks to give preference to Hindi over English on their social media accounts.

Many parties criticised the NDA government for the move on Friday, even as Shiv Sena and Samajwadi Party backed the promotion of Hindi. Congress advised prudence, expressing fear that such directions may result in a backlash in non-Hindi states, especially Tamil Nadu.
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A file photo of Rajnath Singh. (HT photo)

Heptullah's comment on Muslim reservation:
Minority affairs minister Najma Heptullah, the senior-most members of the newly sworn-in council of ministers, said the minorities needed a “level playing field” in society, but reservation was not the answer.

“Reservation on the basis of religion is not permissible under the Constitution. Nor is it the solution. It kills the spirit of competition,” she said.
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Delhi University's FYUP row:
The University Grants Commission had ordered Delhi University to scrap the Four-Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP).

According to the UGC order, the university would have to make arrangements for students to migrate to the three-year undergraduate programme structure so that they do not lose a year for obtaining an undergraduate degree. It also said that the university has to make sure that the students acquire necessary academic and other competence during the remaining two years.
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ABVP activists protest against the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP) of Delhi University in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

Row over removal of UPA governors:
The Centre continued with its move to clear Raj Bhawans of UPA appointees and on June 19 asked all members of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and National Council of Women (NCW) to resign.

The move came on a day President Pranab Mukherjee accepted the resignation of Chhattisgarh governor Shekhar Dutt, the second governor to have quit following a nudge.

The move drew a sharp reaction from political parties with Congress saying the government's priority should be to combat inflation and not "shadow boxing" while JD(U) demanded a debate in Parliament over the very need of having Governors.
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Idea of scrapping/reducing Planning Commission:
Controversy errupted after reports that the all-powerful Planning Commission may shrink, made more accountable, and forced to think long-term under the new government. The reports stated that Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi is likely to dilute its over-arching financial powers and convert it into a developmental think-tank.

The Planning Commission was set up by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to assess funds available to with the government and how best they should be spent for social and economic growth.
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Row over VK Singh's comment on appointment of new army chief:
The controversy came in the wake of an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court by the ministry of defence (MoD), which was critical of VK Singh for taking "illegal and premeditated" decisions.

The affidavit was filed by the MoD in response to a petition filed by Lt Gen Ravi Dastane, who is seeking the apex court's intervention to stay the appointment of Lt Gen Singh as the next army chief.
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A photo of ex-Army chief VK Singh. (HT photo)

Full coverage: All about Narendra Modi Sarkar


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