BJP kicks off Jan Ashirwad Yatra with new ministers

Updated on Aug 17, 2021 07:17 AM IST
Union minister of state for education, Annapurna Devi, at her constituency Koderma, called the Narendra Modi goverment an inclusive government that gives representation to all sections of society.
Union minister Bhupender Yadav starts his ‘Jan Ashirwad Yatra’ with BJP workers in Gurugram on Monday. (Yogendra Kumar)
Union minister Bhupender Yadav starts his ‘Jan Ashirwad Yatra’ with BJP workers in Gurugram on Monday. (Yogendra Kumar)
By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi/mumbai

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday launched Jan Ashirwad Yatras from different parts of the country, accusing the opposition of jeopardising democracy by stalling the recently concluded monsoon session of Parliament. Thirty nine ministers, who were inducted into the Union council of ministers on July 7, will be part of these yatras across 22 states.

On Monday, close to a dozen central ministers participated in the yatras organised to introduce the newly inducted ministers to the people and tell them the party’s version of the washout of the monsoon session of Parliament. This was decided after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not able to introduce his council of ministers in both houses of Parliament on account of the opposition’s protest, seeking a discussion on the Pegasus snooping controversy, the farmers’ agitation and price rise.

At one such yatra undertaken by Union environment minister Bhupendra Yadav, the mainstay of his speech was the opposition’s alleged efforts to derail the session. “The Parliament is for discussion not dancing on the tables. The books kept there are for reading not ripping apart…” he said at a public meeting organised to felicitate him in Alwar, Rajasthan.

Yadav, an OBC leader who before being inducted as minister was the party’s national general secretary, in charge of seven state elections, dubbed the disruptions as “disrespect” and said, “…A big change in India’s polity is about to come, it has begun with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The opposition did not allow him to introduce the ministers, this is an insult to the people. And when the time comes, the people of this country will give them (the opposition) a befitting reply.”

The government had earlier alleged that the opposition, by not deferring to the tradition of introducing ministers in Parliament, showed disregard towards the representatives from the socially and educationally backward classes, women and other marginalised sections, who have been given a place at the high table.

This was reinforced in Coimbatore on Monday by L Murugan, minister of state for information and broadcasting, when he accused the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and Congress of not allowing him to be introduced in Parliament as he was a Dalit. “DMK has been in power for 20 years but did they make anyone from a poor and ordinary family a Union minister? No,” said Murugan, who was the former Tamil Nadu BJP president.

Taking a dig at the DMK government in Tamil Nadu, Murugan said that through his induction and several others from backward communities as Union ministers PM Modi showed the spirit of social justice.

“Modi ji is the true champion of social justice,” said the minister, who had earlier served as the national SC/ST commission’s vice-president. “I’m from a poor and ordinary family. Congress and DMK didn’t want a person like me, who is now a Union minister, to be introduced,” Murugan said while beginning his three-day tour.

Union minister of state for education, Annapurna Devi, at her constituency Koderma, called the Narendra Modi goverment an inclusive government that gives representation to all sections of society.

“The basic philosophy of the BJP is to work for Antyodaya, that is the last man standing. The Narendra Modi government works with the mantra of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas. I thank the PM for giving me an opportunity. In today’s cabinet, there are 11 women, 28 OBCs, 12 SCs and 8 belonging to the ST community,” she said.

Annapurna Devi, the second MP from Jharkhand to join the Modi cabinet after tribal affairs minister Arjun Munda, is a former Rashtriya Janata Dal veteran. She was the Jharkhand president of the Lalu Prasad Yadav-led RJD when she switched sides and joined the BJP ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Newly-inducted Union ministers Bharti Pawar (health and family welfare), Kapil Patil (MoS Panchayati Raj) and Bhagwat Karad (MoS finance) also took out their yatras in different parts of Maharashtra.

In Gujarat, Union ministers Mahendra Munjapara and Devusinh Chauhan embarked on the yatra a day after Union minister Darshna Jardosh (MoS railways and textiles) started her tour from Karamsad town on Sunday. The vehicle rally of junior women and child development minister Mahendra Munjapara, an MP from Surendranagar, began from Ahmedabad, while Kheda MP and junior communications minister Devusinh Chauhan started his yatra from Palanpur in Banaskantha district.

Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya and junior fisheries minister Parshottam Rupala will start their yatras from August 17. In Bihar, the yatra will start from August 19.

Following the opposition’s unrelenting protest in both Houses of Parliament that saw proceedings affected, the government has accused the opposition of disrespecting parliamentary etiquette, wasting public money and flitting from issue to issue instead of taking up debates and discussion.

A delegation of seven Union ministers on Sunday submitted a memorandum to the Rajya Sabha chairperson Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu to take stern action against what they alleged is “unprecedented, extreme and violent acts” in the Upper House in the final hours of the disruption-hit monsoon session on August 11. That day, there was ruckus in the House following which at least two marshals complained about being manhandled by some opposition lawmakers.

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