The Big Story: The Kairana factor

The Bharatiya Janata Party went back to the drawing board and returned with the same game plan. At the national executive meet in Allahabad on Sunday, BJP president Amit Shah outlined the party's strategy for the Uttar Pradesh polls, due next year: it will hit out at the ruling Samajwadi Party for its failures in governance. This includes the Samajwadi Party's inability to prevent the alleged mass migration of Hindu families from Kairana. Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have exhorted party workers to embrace new ideas but in UP, it appears, the BJP is sticking to the old script. The emphasis on Kairana suggests the party will pull out that time-tested tactic: polarisation.

The Kairana allegations were spearheaded by Hukum Singh, a BJP member of Parliament and an accused in the Muzaffarnagar violence of 2013. Singh claimed that Muslim aggression had forced 346 Hindu families to migrate from the area since 2014 and the local administration was paralysed by pressure from the minority community. The episode has been compared to the persecution and forced migration of Kashmiri Pandits, always an emotive issue. Since then, the UP administration has claimed that the list put out by Singh contains the name of four persons who died 20 years ago. Thirteen people on the list still live in Kairana and another 68 left the town several years ago in search of a better life, officials said. The National Human Rights Commission has also ordered an inquiry into the allegations.

A calm, impartial investigation is needed to establish the facts of the matter. What is not needed, however, is heated rhetoric pitting one community against the other. Kairana is located in western UP, a region known for its communal conflagrations. It was here that the Muzaffarnagar riots broke out before the general elections of 2014. It was also here that the BJP campaign showed its most vicious communal strain, with Shah himself being chargesheeted for hate speech. The corrosive campaign worked, however, and the BJP posted one of its biggest electoral wins. Now, it seems, the party is back for seconds.

The Big Scroll: on the day's big story
Dhirendra K Jha writes on the insurrection in the Bharatiya Janata Party in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, where Dalit and Other Backward Classes leaders have accused senior party leader Rajnath Singh of "trying to divide" society.

Political Pickings
1. The Congress high command is investigating what went wrong for the party in the Rajya Sabha polls in Haryana, and the needle of suspicion points to former chief minister Bhupinder SIngh Hooda.
2. In Karnataka, the Janata Dal(Secular) suspends eight rebels mebers of the legislative assembly for cross-voting.
3. As China stands in the way of India joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Prime Minister Narandra Modi calls Russian President Vladimir Putin.
4. The Centre-appointed special investigation team will reopen 75 cases on the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.

1. In the Hindu, Gautam Bhatia takes apart the antiquated Cinematograph Act and the censor board that it mandates.
2. In the Telegraph, Mukul Kesavan on Modi's willingness to speak in English while delivering speeches in America.
3. In the Guardian, Steven Thrasher urges the LGBTQ community not to give in to fear after the Orlando attack.


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Reeds, messiness and bushes are not part of the green imagination. Instead, lush parks, tall trees and forests populate many million minds.