• Sunday, October 26, 2014

INDIAN MEDIA

Questions over Modi's leadership

BBC Online
In this August 3, 2014 file photo, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures while addressing the parliament in Kathmandu. Photo: Reuters
In this August 3, 2014 file photo, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures while addressing the parliament in Kathmandu. Photo: Reuters

Media in India are criticising the booing of opposition chief ministers in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Reports say supporters of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have booed Congress party chief ministers at three different official functions in the last few days.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda's speech was repeatedly disturbed on Tuesday during an event in Modi's presence.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, an ally of the Congress party, and Maharashtra's Prithviraj Chavan were also "heckled by BJP supporters" at different functions.

Newspapers and websites feel such incidents are dangerous for India's federal structure.

Such behaviour "is hardly reassuring for any leader who plans to share the stage with his PM", says an article on the First Post website.

The article says that "at first blush, this may seem like a minor spat driven by political ego… but it underlines a certain Jekyll and Hyde quality that Modi's leadership has acquired..."

"It's just bad precedent that will, in the end, undermine Modi's own credibility when he talks of working with the opposition - or when he visits an opposition-ruled state and can't find a single chief minister who will share a stage with him," it adds.

Following the incidents, several Congress leaders have declared that they will no longer share stage with Modi.

The Tribune says such anger is "manufactured" and is "directed only at the rival party's chief ministers".

"The BJP is well aware that any protest in the presence of the PM would get wide publicity and thus serve the party's political strategy of creating an anti-Congress wave [in the upcoming state elections]," it says.

However, the Congress party's decision to not attend any official events with Modi has also attracted criticism in the media.

"The Congress really appears to be losing the plot. This is evident from the childish reaction of some of its chief ministers who have refused to share the dais with Modi," says the Hindustan Times.

CLEANING THE GANGES

Meanwhile, the federal government has set a target of three years to clean the heavily-polluted Ganges river, reports say.

Modi had promised to clean up the river during his poll campaign speeches earlier in the year.

The Ganges, India's longest river, is revered by Hindus and supports a third of the country's 1.2 billion people living on its floodplains.

And finally, the Grand Prix will not make a comeback to India in 2015 after Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone declared that the troubled event has "run out of time" due to tax irregularities.

"It is too late for 2015. We (Formula One Management and Jaypee) are looking at 2016 now and hopefully the tax issues in India will also be sorted out by then. The organisers also need to settle the existing contract before we get back," the Deccan Herald quotes Ecclestone as saying.

Published: 5:03 pm Friday, August 22, 2014

Last modified: 9:39 pm Friday, August 22, 2014

TAGS: India prime minister BJP Narendra Modi opposition chief ministers

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