Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTNATION -

Modi’s at­tack on Naidu came as the Andhra chief min­is­ter is pre­par­ing for a show of unity of Op­po­si­tion par­ties in Delhi with his 12-hour re­lay fast on Fe­bru­ary 13 over the Cen­tre’s de­nial of spe­cial sta­tus to his state. Naidu has the back­ing of 22 par­ties.

Modi dis­missed the show of strength as “only worth a photo ses­sion” as well as the protests against him on Sun­day. “…I will re­turn to power af­ter the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions and I should thank the pro­test­ers for keep­ing an evil eye off me with black bal­loons [they car­ried on Sun­day],” he said.

Naidu hit back at Modi and said he will re­turn to Gu­jarat and would “cer­tainly not” re­tain his prime min­is­te­rial post. “I have taken up the cud­gels for unit­ing the Op­po­si­tion for the noble cause of send­ing Modi home but not for his bash­ing alone,” Naidu told re­porters. “I will not keep quiet un­til my state gets its due.”

In­vok­ing the legacy of NTR, Modi al­leged the Andhra CM was in­sult­ing the TDP founder, to which Naidu re­sponded by say­ing, “per­sonal at­tacks would beget per­sonal at­tacks”.

In Kar­nataka’s Hub­balli, Modi mocked the state’s Janata Dal (Sec­u­lar)-con­gress coali­tion govern­ment as “help­less”. He said Kar­nataka chief min­is­ter H D Ku­maraswamy had be­come a “punch­ing bag”. Modi added that the Op­po­si­tion wants to im­pose the same model on the rest of the coun­try.

Modi said there was not even a sin­gle day “when the coun­try does not see the natak (drama) of the Kar­nataka govern­ment”, as he launched BJP’S cam­paign for Lok Sabha polls in the state.

“The chief min­is­ter here is ev­ery­one’s punch­ing bag. Ev­ery day he is get­ting threat­ened. The chief min­is­ter’s whole en­ergy is spent on sav­ing his seat from big Con­gress lead­ers,” Modi said, re­fer­ring to Ku­maraswamy, who has of­ten ex­pressed his help­less­ness in the face of coali­tion pres­sures.

“Pub­licly, he weeps about his help­less­ness. Such a help­less govern­ment, such a help­less chief min­is­ter who is be­ing chal­lenged by any­one and ev­ery­one. Who is the in charge of the govern­ment? There is con­fu­sion about it,” Modi said.

in Tamil Nadu’s Tirup­pur, Modi ac­cused the Con­gress of ne­glect­ing the de­fence sec­tor and claimed that for the Op­po­si­tion party it was only about bro­ker­ing deals. “From the seas to the skies, the Con­gress has sev­eral scams as­so­ci­ated with de­fence and, in the process, the party did not al­low the moderni­sa­tion of de­fence forces for long years that they were in power,” Modi said.

In Tamil Nadu, M K Stalin’s Dravida Mun­netra Kazhagam, which has backed Con­gress Pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi for the prime min­is­te­rial post, led the protests against Modi. In Kar­nataka and Andhra, chief min­is­ters Ku­maraswamy and Naidu skipped the cour­tesy of re­ceiv­ing Modi at the air­port.

Naidu and his cabi­net mem­bers also stayed away from Modi’s pro­grammes while Andhra Pradesh and Te­lan­gana gover­nor E S L Narasimhan re­ceived the Prime Min­is­ter at Gan­navaram air­port.

Modi laid the foun­da­tion for sev­eral projects in the three states.

(With PTI in­puts)

scheme, the rate of re­turn will be de­ter­mined by the In­sur­ance Reg­u­la­tory De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity, the of­fi­cial cited in the first in­stance said.

“So, the crux is that for the for­mal sec­tor, if the in­ter­est rate on prov­i­dent fund is about 8.55%, at least give that much in the case of in­for­mal work­ers too to make the scheme at­trac­tive,” Kundu said. “Even the thresh­old of ~15,000 [em­ploy­ees earn­ing more don’t qual­ify for the new scheme] is prob­lem­atic to me,” said KR Shyam Sun­dar of XLRI, Jamshed­pur. Those earn­ing ~15,000 fall in the lower mid­dle-class. But those earn­ing much less, say ~3000 a month, will not be keen on part­ing with any­thing from their mea­gre in­comes. Their share of con­tri­bu­tion should be waived off to ex­pand en­rol­ment, Sun­dar said. Like in the old scheme, any­one older than 40 is in­el­i­gi­ble for the new scheme. The share of the work­force above 40 years is over 30% as per the 2011 Cen­sus. Ex­trap­o­lat­ing this, 30% of 420 mil­lion in­for­mal work­force comes to 126 mil­lion people. A sec­ond govern­ment of­fi­cial said that when seen in con­junc­tion with other wel­fare pro­gram­mers, the Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance (NDA) govern­ment has come up with a com­pre­hen­sive safety net for the poor. He ex­plained that the poor could also count on the Ayush­man Bharat for health pro­tec­tion, PM Jee­van Jyothi Bima Yo­jana, a com­pletely free life in­sur­ance scheme, and also PM Su­rak­sha Yo­jana for ac­ci­den­tal death. “So, this is com­plete pack­age of so­cial se­cu­rity for the poor.”

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