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Friday,03-December-2021

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Conditions in Afghanistan extremely disturbing, says Congress

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Randeep-Singh-Surjewala

A day after Taliban captured power in Afghanistan, the Congress on Monday described conditions there as “extremely alarming” saying India’s strategic interests are at stake.

Speaking to media here, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “Situation in Afghanistan is extremely alarming. India’s strategic interests are at stake.”

He said that the safety and security of our embassy and its personnel as also that of Indian citizens is at stake. “Congress Party stands solidly behind protecting India’s interests and expects a mature political and diplomatic response from our government over the complete collapse of government in Afghanistan and Taliban takeover,” he said.

His remarks came a day after Taliban has declared that the war in Afghanistan is over after its fighters swept into the capital, Kabul, and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.

Mohammad Naeem, a spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha, told Al Jazeera the group did not want to live in isolation and said the type and form of the new government in Afghanistan would be made clear soon.

The Congress leader also raised questions on the silence of the government and said, “The stunning silence of the Narendra Modi government is deeply disturbing and highly intriguing, which is beyond any reasonable understanding.”

He said, the Modi government’s refusal to set in motion a well thought out plan to evacuate our citizens is a “gross abdication” of its duty and is totally unacceptable. “Taliban and Haqqani Network connections with Pakistan’s ISI and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jamaat-u-Dawa (JuD) are well known,” he said.

He pointed out that there is an urgent need to revisit our geo-political interests in this background and its impact on Jammu and Kashmir. “Sadly, the Modi government is oblivious of the same,” he said.

“Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and External Affairs Minister (S. Jaishankar) need to come out and clearly spell out our policy for safe return of our citizens, embassy personnel as also our future relationship,” Surjewala said.

Questioning the silence of the government, he said: “Unexplained silence at this extremely critical juncture gives rise to a reasonable apprehension that the Modi government is hiding something from the country. We are still in the dark over Modi government’s role in Doha talks.”

“Need of the hour is that the Modi government wakes up from its slumber and protects Indian citizens in Afghanistan and tell the country how it will tackle the dangerous situation in the immediate neighbourhood,” he added.

The UN Security Council will discuss the situation in Afghanistan later on Monday.

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Punjabi singer Moosewala joins Congress

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Famous Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala, who was booked on charges of promoting violence and gun culture in a song, on Friday joined the Congress ahead of the Assembly polls in Punjab.

He joined the party in the presence of Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and State Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu.

During the induction ceremony, Sidhu described Moosewala as a youth icon.

“Sidhu Moosewala is joining our family. I welcome him in the Congress fold,” Sidhu told the media.

Describing Moosewala as a “big artiste”, Channi said with his sheer hard work, he has won the hearts of millions of people.

Moosewala, whose real name is Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, is known for his hit Punjabi tracks like ‘Legend’, ‘Devil’, ‘Just listen’, ‘Jatt da Muqabala’ and ‘Hathyar’, among many others.

His name also featured in the Billboard Canadian Albums in 2018.

“I am not entering politics for status or to earn praise. I want to become a part of the system to transform it. I am joining the Congress to raise the voice of the people. I am joining the Congress as the party has leaders who have come from common families,” Moosewala said.

He said he is still living in the same house in his village. His father is an ex-serviceman and his mother is a sarpanch. “Residents of my area have expectations from me,” he added.

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‘MLA not a govt servant’, Kerala HC cancels appointment of late leader’s son

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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. (File Photo: IANS)

In a stinging blow to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who had given a government job to the son of late CPI-M MLA K.K. Ramachandran Nair, the Kerala High Court on Friday ruled that a ‘legislator is not a government servant’ and cancelled the appointment.

Nair, a first time legislator after being elected from the Chenganoor Assembly constituency in the 2016 Assembly polls, passed away in 2018 following health issues.

Vijayan, in a surprise decision, decided to appoint Nair’s son R.Prasanth as an assistant engineer in the Public Works Department, which led to a huge criticism from several quarters.

However, a petitioner from Palakkad, Ashok Kumar filed a plea in this regard at the High Court and on Friday a division bench chaired by the Chief Justice S. Manikumar ruled that an ‘MLA is not a government servant as they have an elected term of only five years, and hence a government job under the dying in harness mode is not applicable and cancelled the appointment.

Incidentally, this judgement comes at a time when a petition is before the Lokayukta after Vijayan sanctioned a substantial sum of money from the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund to clear off the debts of Nair.

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SP’s ‘Vijay Rath Yatra’ in Jhansi, Akhilesh to address public rallies at 9 places

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 Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav is taking out a ‘Vijay Rath Yatra’ in Jhansi on Friday, with the focus on Bundelkhand and will also hold public rallies at nine places.

As per information, the yatra will traverse through Laxmi Garden, Elite Square, Jail Square, Court Square, Kunj Vatika Marriage Hall, Mandi Tiraha, University Gate, Medical College Gate, Medical Bypass Tiraha, where he will be welcomed by the party workers.

After this, he will address public gatherings at Mahant Laxman Das Kanya Inter College in Baragaon, Rashtrakavi Maithilisharan Gupt Mahavidyalaya in Chirgaon and Tika Ram Kanya Mahavidyalaya.

Earlier, in Lalitpur, Akhilesh accused the BJP of “fooling” the people. He raised the farmers’ issue and said that only a family man can understand the pain of a family member.

In Bundelkhand, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Banda and Chitrakoot comprise a division (mandal). Jhansi, Lalitpur, Jalon is another division. There are seven districts and 19 Assembly seats in the area.

For Akhilesh, Bundelkhand remains a major challenge because the BJP has a strong hold in the area and it had won all the 19 Assembly seats in the region.

In the 2019 Assembly elections, the BJP wiped out the SP, BSP and Congress in the region.

The SP is busy in stitching together alliances with small parties to give a tough fight to the saffron party.

On October 13, Akhilesh had launched his ‘Vijay Rath Yatra’ as part of the 2022 UP Assembly election campaign.

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