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Naidu on state BJP’s demand to ban Saamana: Will not curb freedom of speech by banning publication of any newspaper

New Delhi: Union Minister for I&B and BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu arrives to meet Election Commissioner on the UP issue, in New Delhi on Monday. PTI Photo M Venkaiah Naidu (Source: PTI, file) 

UNION Minister of Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu on Friday urged BJP leaders in Pune to change the name of Mula-Mutha, the river passing through the city.

“What kind of name is Mula-Mutha for a river? Rename it… as was done by renaming Bombay to Mumbai,” he said. The NCP was quick to criticise the statement of the BJP leader, saying it had hurt the sentiments of Puneites.

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“The self-respect of citizens has been hurt by the insensitive remarks of the Union Minister,” said NCP’s Pune unit vice-president Ashok Rathi. Meanwhile, two days after the state BJP urged the Election Commission to ban the publication of Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana for three days during the civic elections, Naidu said his party would not curb the freedom of speech by banning the publication of any newspaper.

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“It is not the principle of our party… we will not curb freedom of speech by banning the publication of any newspaper. They can write whatever they want to. If they write against the Prime Minister, they will hamper their own credibility,” said Naidu. Terming the Sena’s criticism of the BJP as “inappropriate”, Naidu said, “It seems the situation is getting out of hand for Shiv Sena… they started the criticism. The reasons behind the Sena praising the Congress… is beyond comprehension”.

The Union minister, who was in the city to campaign for BJP candidates contesting the upcoming Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) elections, addressed several rallies. He urged the people to vote for BJP candidates and bring the party — which is already in power at the state and the Centre — to power in the PMC as well. Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar also joined the campaign, addressing two rallies in the city with a focus on the large number of ex-servicemen in Pune.

First published on: 18-02-2017 at 05:37:40 am
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