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Tuesday,28-September-2021

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Big jolt for Congress as Jitin Prasada joins BJP

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Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh Jitin Prasad on Wednesday joined BJP in presence of union railway minister Piyush Goyal and Rajya Sabha member Anil Baluni at party headquarters, giving a big jolt to the Congress party.

Welcoming Prasada, Goyal praised his commitment to serve the people and said that he (Prasada) will play an important role in Uttar Pradesh. “He will have a major role in Uttar Pradesh politics in the future. He is someone who is connected to the ground realities and is a popular leader in the state,” Goyal said.

Prasada thanked BJP president J.P. Nadda, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah for accepting him in the saffron fold.

Prasada said, “The question is not why I’m leaving a party but why I’m joining another party. If there is a party in the real sense today, an institutional party, then it is the BJP. Other parties are either regional or person specific.”

After joining BJP, Prasad said, “I feel there is no purpose of your doing politics or staying in a political party if a person is not able to serve or protect the interest of its people. I realized being in Congress and not being able to do the same. So, I joined BJP and my work will only speak for itself.”

His father Jitendra Prasada was a prominent ‘Brahmin’ face in Uttar Prasad, who had challenged Sonia Gandhi’s leadership in 1999 and had contested against her for the post of party chief. He died in 2002.

The saffron party believes that Prasada joining BJP will help it pacify Brahmins in Uttar Pradesh, where the Assembly poll will be held early next year. A party insider said that Prasada could be projected as the Brahmin face of the party which is completely missing in Uttar Pradesh.

Prasada, once close to Rahul Gandhi, was part of Group-23 (G-23) signatories who had written to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi demanding for sweeping reforms in the party. Despite being a dissenter, he was tasked with the Congress campaign in West Bengal, which turned out to be a disappointment. Taking a stand against the party, he opposed Congress’s alliance with the Indian Secular Front (ISF) in West Bengal.

National News

Navjot Sidhu reigns as Punjab Congress chief

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 Unhappy over the first expansion of Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s cabinet, state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday resigned from his post. But he said he would continue in the party.

He announced his resignation on his Twitter handle in just an hour after Channi announced allocation of portfolios to his Cabinet colleagues.

In a letter to party President Sonia Gandhi, he wrote, “The collapse of a man’s character stems from the compromise corner, I can never compromise on Punjab’s future and the agenda for the welfare of Punjab.”

“Therefore, I hereby resign as the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. Will continue to serve the Congress,” he added.

It is learnt that Sidhu was upset over the non-inclusion of the MLAs of his choice in the expanded Cabinet and the appointment of new Advocate General, A.P.S. Deol.

On Sidhu’s resignation, former Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh tweeted, “I told you so… he is not a stable man and not fit for the border state of Punjab.”

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‘Upset’ Amarinder likely to meet Shah, his office denies

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 Less than a fortnight after he was ‘unceremoniously’ asked to quit as the Punjab Chief Minister in the run-up to the Assembly polls, Congress veteran Amarinder Singh is likely to meet Union Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah in Delhi late Tuesday evening.

The former Chief Minister is also likely to meet Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President J.P. Nadda, sources said.

However, Amarinder Singh’s media advisor denied his meeting with the BJP leaders, saying he’s on a personal visit to Delhi to meet some friends.

“Too much being read into @capt_amarinder’s visit to Delhi. He’s on a personal visit, during which he’ll meet some friends and also vacate Kapurthala house for the new CM. No need for any unnecessary speculation,” Thukral informed in a tweet.

The proposed meeting seems crucial as Amarinder Singh has been saying that he stepped down as he felt ‘humiliated’.

At the same time, he said the “future politics option is always there” and he will use that option.

Speculations are rife that Amarinder Singh is likely to join the BJP.

After his resignation, Amarinder Singh said he had offered his resignation to party President Sonia Gandhi three weeks earlier but she had asked him to continue. “If she had just called me and asked me to step down, I would have,” he said, adding that “as a soldier, I know how to do my task and leave once I am called back”.

He had said he had even told Sonia Gandhi that he was ready to hang his boots and allow someone else to take over as the Chief Minister after leading the Congress to another sweeping win in Punjab. “But that did not happen, so I will fight,” he asserted, taking strong exception to being subjected to humiliation by calling a Congress Legislative Party meeting in a secretive manner, without taking him into confidence.

“I would not have taken MLAs on a flight to Goa or some place. That is not how I operate. I don’t do gimmicks, and the Gandhi siblings know that is not my way,” he had said, adding, “Priyanka and Rahul (Gandhi siblings) are like my children, this should not have ended like this. I am hurt.”

He said the Gandhi children were quite inexperienced and their advisors were clearly misguiding them.

Indicating that he was still keeping his political options open, the former Chief Minister had said he was talking to his friends before deciding on his future course of action.

After his resignation and political tussle, Charanjit Singh Channi, a Scheduled Caste Sikh, took oath of office on September 20 along with his two deputies — one a Jat Sikh and another belonging to the Hindu community.

Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and O.P. Soni, both ministers in previous Council of Ministers led by Amarinder Singh, took oath for the posts of the Deputy Chief Ministers.

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National News

PM should think of problems being faced by farmers: Congress

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 Amid the Bharat Bandh, the Congress, which has extended its support to the agitating farmers, has said the Prime Minister should think about the problems being faced by the farmers, especially now when the input costs have increased, and not about the ‘billionaire friends for whom the farm laws were brought.

Pawan Khera, while addressing a press conference on Monday said, “The government has tried to deligitimise the farmers and made all efforts to demean the farmers and every citizen should come out and support them.”

The Congress alleged that ‘the Prime Minister was using diversionary tactics in elections, and he doesn’t have time to talk to farmers’.

Former Chief Minister of Haryana Bhupinder Singh Hooda demanded that the government should talk to the farmers without any conditions.

Rahul Gandhi in a tweet in Hindi said, “The farmers non violent satyagraha is intact today but the exploitive government doesn’t like this and that is why #Bharat is Bandh #IStandWithFarmers.”

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted in Hindi, “Farm of the farmer, hard work of the farmer, crop of the farmer. However, the BJP government is eager to let its billionaire friends capture them. Take back the black laws.”

Farmers on the call of Samyukt Kisan Morcha on Monday observed a shutdown. They blocked major highways, including National Highway 1 linking Delhi with parts of Haryana and Punjab and Uttar Pradesh and railway tracks in some states.

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