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Navjot Singh Sidhu dares Amarinder to prove he is ‘switching loyalty’




With the Congress high command taking cognizance of the purported ‘anger’ of some of its senior leaders against the party-led Punjab governments stand on the 2015 sacrilege case, its ‘vocal’ legislator Navjot Singh Sidhu on Saturday dared Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to prove that the cricketer-turned-politician had met the leader of any other party to switch loyalty.

“Prove one meeting that I have had with another party’s leader,” Sidhu dared the Chief Minister on Twitter.

“I have never asked anyone for any post till date. All I seek is Punjab’s prosperity!! Was invited & offered Cabinet berths many times but I did not accept. Now, Our Esteemed High Command has intervened, Will wait…,” he added.

The former Cabinet minister was replying to the recent assertion of the Chief Minister that Sidhu is in talks with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and would quit the Congress.

Two days back, Sidhu had tweeted: “In 2019, I began & ended my Election Campaign in Punjab seeking – Justice for Sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib Ji & punishing the culprits & the ONE shielding them…Now, Our MLAs & Party Workers must go to Delhi & speak the Truth of Punjab to our High Command, as I regularly do!”

It is learnt that interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have taken feedback on the situation. Rahul Gandhi is expected meet all the legislators and MPs from Punjab to end the impasse ahead of the Assembly polls in the state slated in early 2022.

In a bitter war of words last week, Sidhu had advised the Chief Minister to stop firing from his “colleagues’ shoulders”.

A defiant Sidhu had reminded Amarinder Singh that “his soul demands justice for Guru Sahib”.

His reaction came after seven ministers had demanded the suspension of Sidhu from the party for indiscipline and launching verbal attacks on Amarinder Singh.

The ministers urged the party high command to take action against Sidhu for his open rebellion against the state party leadership.

The Chief Minister has already challenged Sidhu to clearly spell out whether he is a member of the Congress.

“If yes, then his continuing rant against his Chief Minister and the government amounts to gross indiscipline,” Amarinder Singh had said, adding that the Congress dissident ought to choose the side he is on because “he is indulging in breaking the discipline of the party, and the BJP won’t take him back and as far as the SAD is concerned, it is also peeved with him”.

“Is sacrilege case not the top priority for the Home Minister,” Sidhu had asked the Chief Minister.

Two persons were killed and many others were injured after the police under the previous SAD-BJP government resorted to unprovoked firing on hundreds of people protesting against the alleged desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib in Bargari village in Faridkot district in 2015.

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Narendra Modi, Amit Shah to virtually join Gujarat govt’s 5-year celebration from August 1 to 9




Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah will virtually join the celebrations between August 1 and 9 to mark the five years of the Rupani-Nitin Patel government in Gujarat.

About a-year-and-a-half before the state Assembly elections, the government wants to reach out to the various sections of the society through the celebration.

According to information available, both Modi and Shah will virtually participate on two separate days during the nine-day celebrations.

Modi will be virtually present in the ‘Annotsav celebration’ (food festival) on August 3 during which he will interact with the beneficiaries of free ration under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana from five districts. He is also expected to virtually distribute food kits to the poor. The state government has planned to distribute a kit containing 5 kg foodgrain free of cost to around 4.25 lakh poor people from 17,000 fair price shops across the state. The state-level event for ‘Annotsav’ will be held at Dahod, where CM Rupani will be present.

Vijay Rupani replaced the then Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and took over the reigns of the state on August 7, 2016, becoming the 16th Chief Minister of Gujarat. Nitin Patel was named as his deputy in the government then.

During the nine-day celebration various people-oriented works will be intensified while expansion of flagship schemes of the government is also planned. CM Rupani’s birthday also falls during the celebration on August 2.

The celebratory programmes will be based on the theme of welfare of various segments of the society and governance like education, women’s empowerment, farmers’ welfare, tribals’ welfare, employment and urban development.

Union Home Minister Shah will virtually attend ‘Vikas Diwas’ event on August 7. The main event that day will be held at the Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar in the presence of Rupani, Pate and state BJP president C.R. Paatil. Inauguration or laying of the foundation stones for various projects worth Rs 3,906 crore like housing for the poor, new bridges in Ahmedabad and Banaskantha, water pipeline in Mehsana and power substations will be carried out by Shah.

According to the information released, August 1 will be celebrated as the Gyanshakti Diwas’, where the government will organise education-related programmes. On August 2, ‘Samvedna Diwas’ will be observed where the state will help citizens get necessary forms and documents related to various government schemes.

August 4 will be celebrated as ‘Nari Gaurav Diwas’, where women-centric events are planned. August 5 will be Kisan Sanman Diwas’ with various events organised for farmers.

August 6 will be celebrated as ‘Rozgar Diwas’, and the state government will organise 50 job fairs and other events aimed at providing employment to Gujarat’s youths. The government has selected 50,000 youths for various posts in the state-run boards and Corporations, who will be issued appointment letters.

‘Vikas Diwas’ will be celebrated on August 7, where projects worth Rs 5,855 crore will be launched or dedicated and August 8 will be celebrated as ‘Shaheri Jan Sukhakari Diwas’ (related to improving urban infrastructure and amenities).

August 9 is being celebrated as ‘Adivasi Diwas’. Marking this, programmes will be held in 53 tribal Tehsils of the state. Various tribal-centric projects will be launched on the day.

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Water level in Yamuna reaches close to danger mark: Delhi government




The Delhi government on Friday warned that the water level of the Yamuna river has reached closer to the ‘danger mark’.

The Department of Irrigation and Flood Control said it has deployed boats in different areas of the national capital and has also put 21 others on stand-by for emergency situation.

The Department added that the water level increased not only due to the torrential rain in Delhi, but also because Haryana has started discharging more water into the river from the Hathinikund Barrage.

“District administrations and Delhi Police have been asked to evacuate people living on the floodplains of the Yamuna,” a Department official said.

According to the Met Department, Delhi recorded 463.5 mm rainfall until Thursday.

On Thursday alone, Delhi received around 72 mm of rainfall between 2.30 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.

The Met Department has predicted light and moderate rain for Friday and Saturday as well.

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Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai meets Rajnath Singh




Newly appointed Chief Minister of Karnataka Basavaraj Bommai on Friday met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh here.

After the meeting, Rajnath Singh tweeted, “Met with the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Basavaraj Bommai today. I conveyed my best wishes to him for a successful tenure ahead.”

Bommai is likely to meet Prime Minister Modi around 4 p.m. today. He will also meet BJP chief J.P. Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Karnataka Chief Minister is on a two-day visit to the national capital.

“It is a courtesy visit to the national capital during which Bommai will discuss his cabinet expansion with the central leadership. During his meeting with Prime Minister Modi, Bommai is also likely to discuss issues concerning the development and Covid situation in the state,” sources said.

This is the first visit of Bommai to Delhi after being sworn in as the Chief Minister of Karnataka. He was elected leader of the BJP Legislative party after former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa resigned on July 26.

On Thursday, Bommai had said that he is going to Delhi, where he will meet Prime Minister Modi, Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, J.P. Nadda to take blessings from them.

Bommai had also hinted that cabinet expansion will be discussed with the party’s central leadership.

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