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Monday,29-November-2021

National News

2022 Punjab polls to be fought under Amarinder’s helm: Harish Rawat

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Just ahead of meeting four Congress dissident Cabinet ministers and three legislators, Punjab affairs in charge and AICC general secretary Harish Rawat, on Wednesday clarified that the 2022 Punjab Assembly election would be fought under the leadership of Amarinder Singh amid signs of revolt by the Navjot Singh Sidhu faction.

The ‘rebel’ legislators reached Dehradun in the morning to apprise Rawat about the mood of the public against the Amarinder Singh-led government in the state. They, among 20-odd party legislators, have been demanding replacement of Amarinder Singh as he failed to fulfill the 2017 poll promises.

Rawat told the media that Amarinder Singh had welcomed party state President Navjot Singh Sidhu himself, and the decision on elevation was not taken without the CM’s approval.

“We have given the party leadership to Sidhu but not the Congress to him,” Rawat was categorically clear in saying about any move to change the Chief Minister ahead of the assembly polls slated in early 2022.

The four ministers — Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Charanjit Singh Channi and Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria — a day earlier said here with the support of at least 20 other Congress legislators their main demand is to ‘replace’ Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

They said they wanted to apprise the high command over the widespread dissidence among the party ranks. They were categorically clear in saying after the closed door meeting that it was high time for the party to opt for a change of guard.

Their main grudge, among others, with the Chief Minister and his aides, was unfulfilled poll promises, particularly the delay in action in the 2015 sacrilege and police firing cases.

Channi told the media that the panel, authorised by the other legislators, would seek time from the Congress high command to listen to their grievances, otherwise it will be difficult for the party to get a repeat in Punjab.

He said the MLAs have also raised a number of issues, including the existence of sand, drug, cable and transport mafias.

Late in the evening on Tuesday, seven of the 20-odd MLAs and ex-MLAs, who were purportedly party to the demand for the removal of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, categorically disassociated themselves from any such move.

Denying outright being part of what they termed as a conspiracy hatched by a section engaged in trying to drive a wedge within the party, these seven leaders have thrown their weight behind the Chief Minister and reposed their full faith in his leadership.

The Punjab Congress leaders who have distanced themselves from the so-called festering revolt in the party are — Kuldeep Vaid, Dalvir Singh Goldie, Santokh Singh, Angad Singh, Raja Warring and Gurkirat Singh Kotli, all MLAs, and Bhalaipur Ajit Singh Mofar, a former MLA.

Their denial came within hours of a list of party MLAs or ex-MLAs being made public by a section of the Punjab Congress, which claimed that these leaders wanted the replacement of Amarinder Singh and intended to take up the matter with the party high command.

The seven party leaders have, however, washed their hands off any such decision and declared that they continue to stand firmly with the Chief Minister.

All seven of them said the closed door meeting held at Cabinet minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa’s residence, after which their names were fraudulently released along with others, had been convened to discuss party affairs.

Some of the participants tried to raise the issue of the Chief Minister’s replacement, but contrary to the claims, no unanimous resolution was passed or agreed upon.

Taking strong exception to the ‘misuse’ of their names in this manner, the seven leaders made it clear that they did not subscribe to any such move against Amarinder Singh.

National News

Dilip Ghosh’s comment on Mamata triggers controversy

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After Trinamool Congress decided not to attend the meeting of the opposition parties called by Mallikarjun Kharge of the Congress before the winter session of the Parliament, Dilip Ghosh’s comment on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee triggered a controversy.

Ghosh said, “Mamata Banerjee is trying to become the leader. The days of Sonia Gandhi are over”.

He went on to say, “Let them decide who will stay with whom. BJP has no interest in this. This is a drama by the opposition”.

“Who will call the meeting — Congress or Trinamool Congress? Which is the main party – the session will be over before they come to any decision,” Ghosh added.

Ghosh’s comment met with serious criticism both from the Congress and Trinamool Congress. Senior MP Sougata Roy said, “We had an important meeting in Kolkata and so we had to come back. We will have to stay there. It is insignificant to make any comment on the observation of Dilip Ghosh. Let them think over their defeat in the assembly elections without spending time on unnecessary things”.

Congress leader Pradip Bhattacharya said, “The problem with these people is that they don’t know the history of Indian parliamentary politics. When BJP was in the opposition they also called for the meeting of the opposition. Now Congress has called it. This is parliamentary protocol. He is trying to deny that”.

Meanwhile Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury without naming Trinamool Congress said, “There are some opposition parties who pose to be opposition but in reality, they are with the ruling party. Whenever there is a clash with the government they back out. Congress never behaves in this way”.

Hitting back at Chowdhury, Derek O’Brien wrote in his tweet: “Yes there will be Opposition unity in #Parliament. Common ISSUES will unite the Opposition. RJD, DMK, CPI-M are all electoral allies of Congress. NCP, Shiv Sena, JMM run a government with them. Congress is not our electoral ally nor are we running a government with them. That’s the distinction”.

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National News

Amarinder meets Khattar, terms it courtesy call

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 Former Punjab Chief Minister and Congress rebel Amarinder Singh on Monday called on Haryana Chief Minister and BJP leader Manohar Lal Khattar here.

The duo described the surprise meeting as ‘courtesy call’.

After the meeting, Amarinder Singh told the media that his party will form the next government in Punjab along with the BJP and a breakaway Akali faction.

“There was no political interaction. It was a courtesy meeting. I had a nice cup of coffee with the Chief Minister,” Smarinder Singh said.

On his former party colleagues joining his Punjab Lok Congress ahead of next year’s Assembly elections in Punjab, Amarinder Singh said, “Wait for the time. Everything is going fine. People are very upbeat and our membership drive is going string.

“With our seat adjustment with the BJP and with (Sukhdev Singh) Dhindsa party, we will form the government.”

Amarinder Singh had earlier said that any seat arrangement he made with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would be subject to a resolution of the farmers’ issues in their interest.

On November 2, Amarinder Singh had resigned from the Congress and sent a seven-page letter to interim party President Sonia Gandhi.

He named his party Punjab Lok Congress.

Amarinder Singh had quit as the Chief Minister in September after a power tussle with state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.

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Maharashtra

Nawab Malik granted bail in defamation case filed by BJP activist

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 A Mumbai court on Monday granted bail to Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik in a Rs 100 crore defamation suit filed by Bharatiya Janata Party activist Mohit (Kamboj) Bhartiya.

Malik, who responded to a notice by the Mazagaon Magistrate Court three weeks ago, was granted a bail of Rs 15,000 and the matter has been posted for further hearing on December 30.

Last month, the BJP functionary had filed the defamation case against the NCP leader for allegedly defaming him by revelations that his brother-in-law Rishabh Sachdev was among the persons detained by the Narcotics Control Bureau after it raided the Cordelia Cruise on October 2 and was released later.

Bhartiya contended that the minister allegedly used his power and position to raise doubts and spread canards about the release of his brother-in-law, and has spoiled his image and reputation.

After examining the evidence provided by Bhartiya, the Magistrate ruled that prima facie, Malik’s statements at his media briefings on October 9 and 11 pointed at defamation and issued the process against him.

Interacting with media, Malik said that he had honoured the court notice and appeared before the Magistrate in the defamation suit filed by Bhartiya, but denied the all contentions of the complainant.

“We have also brought on record how Bhartiya himself is a fraudulent person involved in a scam of Rs 1,100 crore and the raids by the Central Bureau of Investigations on him. When the scam started coming out, he changed his name from Kamboj to Bhartiya, we have submitted all evidence to the court and will provide more later,” he said.

Soon after the ministera¿s expose, Bhartiya had sent him a couple of legal notices and when the allegations continued, he filed the defamation case against Malik before the Mazagaon Magistrate Court.

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