New Delhi: Zero tolerance towards terrorism and checking illegal immigration will be the focus areas of the second Modi government, which may also take some tough actions like implementing the NRC across the country and annulling Article 35A in Jammu and Kashmir.The BJP-led NDA has received a landslide mandate in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections with the saffron party winning 303 of the 542 seats that went to polls this time.Narendra Modi is set to assume the charge as prime minister for a second time on Thursday. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoCThe “decisive leadership” of Modi has “fundamentally altered” the national security paradigm of India in the last five years and his government will look at a zero tolerance approach towards terrorism in the next five years, according to the BJP manifesto ‘Sankalp Patra’, released before the general elections. “Our security doctrine will be guided by our national security interest only. This is exemplified by the surgical strikes and the air strikes carried out recently. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citations”We will firmly continue our policy of ‘Zero Tolerance’ against terrorism and extremism and will continue to follow our policy of giving a free hand to our security forces in combating terrorism,” it said. The party is “committed to annulling Article 35A” of the Constitution of India as the provision is “discriminatory against non-permanent residents and women of Jammu and Kashmir”, according to the BJP manifesto. The article provides special rights and privileges to the natives of Jammu and Kashmir “We believe that Article 35A is an obstacle in the development of the state. We will take all steps to ensure a safe and peaceful environment for all residents of the state,” it said. “We will make all efforts to ensure the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits and we will provide financial assistance for the resettlement of refugees from West Pakistan, Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK) and Chhamb,” the BJP manifesto said. Article 35A was incorporated in the Constitution in 1954 through a presidential order on recommendations of the then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru’s cabinet.This provision gives permanent residents of the state special rights and privileges in government jobs, scholarships, aids and acquisition of property. No non-state subject can buy land or settle permanently in Jammu and Kashmir due to the article. The BJP also reiterated its position since the time of the Jan Sangh to the abrogation of Article 370, which allows a separate flag and constitution for the state. Referring to illegal immigration from neighbouring countries, the BJP manifesto said there has been a huge change in the cultural and linguistic identity of some areas due to illegal immigration, resulting in an adverse impact on the local people’s livelihood and employment. “We will expeditiously complete the National Register of Citizens (NRC) process in these areas on priority. In the future, we will implement the NRC in a phased manner in other parts of the country,” it said. Currently the NRC is being updated in Assam. When the draft NRC was published on July 30, 2018, there was a huge controversy over the exclusion of 40.7 lakh people from it. The draft NRC included the names of 2.9 crore people out of the total 3.29 crore applications. The final NRC is expected to be published on July 31, 2019. The Supreme Court-monitored NRC exercise, aimed at identifying illegal immigrants in the state that borders Bangladesh, was carried out only in Assam, which faced an influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century.
Andrew Scheer may be getting hot — okay, warmish — at just the right time. The most recent Nanos Research tracking poll has him as preferred prime minister, ahead of Justin Trudeau for the first time since May. A year ago, Trudeau was out-polling the Conservative leader 41 per cent to 25 per cent when respondents were asked who they would like to see in the Prime Minister’s Office.Before anyone gets too carried away, the differential between the two realistic candidates for the top job is well within the margin of error. In addition, we’re still three weeks away from election day and at this point in 2015, Stephen Harper was leading Trudeau in the same Nanos poll.But the trend lines are clear — Scheer’s stock has risen and Trudeau’s fallen since the campaign started. The Conservative leader seems to be growing into his role and more people are starting to believe he really could become prime minister.Scheer is often compared to former Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark who once quipped: “I’m not the greatest but I’m the best available.”Related Scheer won’t say if costed platform will be out before next week’s debates Scheer accused of breaking law, falsely claiming he was once an insurance broker Canada Conservatives’ Scheer pulls ahead of Trudeau in polls in wake of blackface scandal He has risen like a grey blur through Conservative ranks to take the top job and is still learning how to be comfortable speaking about himself.On his tour around the country, he has hardly provoked hysteria – crowds have been modest and restrained. He often sounds like he’s giving grace at a Rotary luncheon when speaking from the teleprompter, though he is much better at informal gatherings in bars and halls where his geniality and wry sense of humour win through.By contrast, Trudeau is a natural politician — he has grip-and-grin politics “stored like muscle memory in the tissue”, in the words of former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. Comparatively, it’s a tin whistle versus a trumpet.But the Conservative advertising campaign — that Trudeau is “just not as advertised” — has been vindicated by the Liberal leader’s own behaviour. He has tried the patience of people who once supported him, time and time again. If they are not yet angry at him, they are disappointed.American public opinion guru, Frank Luntz, once said the voters would rather vote for someone who they trust than someone they agree with. “Being a straight shooter is important. The keys are consistency and stability,” he said.While many Canadians have come to question Trudeau’s authenticity, Scheer is as principled and predictable as he seems. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer speaks to reporters in Toronto on Oct. 1, 2019. Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press He should have been more forthcoming on the issues that have dogged him but the reality is apparent — he is a career politician, who worked for six months in the insurance business (does it matter to anyone outside the press gallery whether he was technically a “broker”?); he’s a father of five who believes in the sanctity of life and marriage between a man and a woman but has pledged not to legislate on either issue.Alberta premier Jason Kenney introduced him from the back of a pick-up truck in Edmonton last Saturday and one comment in particular resonated with the crowd. “This is a prime minister we will never have to be embarrassed about. He won’t be apologizing all the time,” Kenney said.Scheer’s strategy has been to focus on the concerns of people who might vote Conservative and leave the Liberals, NDP and Greens to fight over issues like climate change. The calculation was made that more votes would be gained campaigning against the carbon tax than would be lost.Fortunately for the Conservatives, affordability concerns are clear and present for the more than half of Canadians who live paycheque to paycheque. A new poll by BDO Canada suggests 53 per cent of Canadians have little disposable income, 57 per cent are carrying credit card debt and 38 per cent of 35-54 year olds have no retirement savings.Conservative strategists must be concerned that the Liberals have come to the affordability game late and are throwing billions of dollars at voters in the form of increased benefits. Scheer cannot compete with that level of spending, particularly since he has pledged to balance the budget within five years.While many Canadians have come to question Trudeau’s authenticity, Scheer is as principled and predictable as he seemsBut he is rolling out policy on a daily basis that is likely to find favour with people living paycheque to paycheque who may not be as disposed as Justin Trudeau to using Canadian taxpayers’ money to save the world.Scheer said Tuesday as prime minister he will cut $1.5 billion from the foreign aid budget — 25 per cent of the total — and redirect the money to domestic causes. Few embattled Canadians are going to quibble with “middle and upper income countries” and “hostile regimes” being deprived of money that could be put towards a tax cut.There’s not much Scheer can do about being outspent by Trudeau, beyond pointing out the folly of living on borrowed money. His focus is to continue to present a credible alternative to voters, should they decide they have tired of the Trudeau show.Scheer needs to start feeding off the energy of those crowds, as his rival learned years ago. There are three weeks, and three debates, remaining and the Conservative leader is looking tired. As Timothy Crouse recalled in his classic account of the 1972 presidential election, The Boys on the Bus, leaders’ tours combine “the incestuousness of a New England hamlet, the giddiness of a mid-ocean gala and the physical rigours of the Long March.”In the bubble of the bus, it is hard to know whether anyone is listening, beyond the committed partisans. It’s too early to say Scheer is punching through but he will be encouraged at the small signs of progress that suggest he is a genuine contender.• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: