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Pinarayi Vijayan checkmates IUML, will he take on Congress now?



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

It’s game on in Kerala as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, known for showing no mercy to his detractors, has struck first blood with the arrest of former PWD Minister and senior legislator of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), V.K. Ebrahim Kunju, in the Palarivattom flyover collapse case.

Now all eyes are on the CM to see if he will go forward and take on the Congress leaders who have been named in a sexual exploitation case, which came up along with the solar scam in 2015 and 2016.

While Kunju was arrested on Wednesday, his party colleague and legislator M.C. Kamrudeen is already in jail after investors complained that his business venture cheated them.

Another IUML legislator who is presently facing the heat is the firebrand K.M. Shaji, a known critic of Vijayan. The investigating agencies are after him in a case of taking bribe for sanctioning courses in a school in his constituency.

But what’s being keenly watched is the sexual exploitation case filed by the ‘victim’ against former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, AICC General Secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal, Lok Sabha members Adoor Prakash and Hibi Eden, and legislator A.P. Anil Kumar — all from the Congress — and former Congress MP and present BJP national Vice-President A.P. Abdullakutty.

While the case was taken up by Vijayan a few years back, few senior police officers who were tasked with going forward with the cases against these top brass had backed out, putting the matter on the back burner.

Last month, another old case re-surfaced after a bar owner alleged that huge sums of money were paid to then state Congress President Ramesh Chennithala, who’s the present Leader of Opposition, and two former state cabinet ministers, V.S. Sivakumar, presently a legislator, and K. Babu, both Congress leaders.

The vigilance department is probing the allegation, and it remains to be seen if Vijayan gives the nod to go after all these top leaders of the Congress.

Vijayan is facing attacks from the Congress and the BJP ever since his secretary and senior IAS officer M. Sivasankar was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in the gold smuggling case. Sivasankar is presently cooling his heels in jail

The CPI-M is also nursing anger against the Congress after its state Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had to resign after his younger son was arrested by the Bengaluru unit of the ED and is presently under the custody of the Narcotics Control Bureau. Balakrishnan junior’s friend and business associate was earlier picked up by the NCB in August.

The anger of the CPI-M came out when the present secretary and Left Front convenor, A. Vijayaraghavan, said a week back in public that very soon a dozen opposition legislators will have to cool their heels in jail.

Chennithala, after hearing the news of Kunju’s arrest, warned the Vijayan government and also the officials who are trying to put opposition legislators under duress.

“With the Vijayan government’s face completely disfigured on account various scams, he is trying to get back at the opposition by arresting legislators. Vijayaraghavan himself had publicly announced that several opposition legislators would be in jail. All those who are trying to discredit the opposition should be aware that there are laws and regulations and anyone who tries to break them will have to pay a heavy price,” said Chennithala.

On his part, Vijayaraghavan said that Kunju’s arrest was not an overnight decision as the case was under investigation for a long time, and no rule was violated in making the arrest.

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95% people do not need BJP: Akhilesh





 Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Friday took a swipe at Uttar Pradesh Minister Upendra Tiwari for saying that 95 per cent people do not need petrol, and said ‘the truth is that those people do not need the BJP’.

Upendra Tiwari had said that prices of petrol and diesel were not increased much considering per capita income and added that 95 per cent people do not need the petrol.

“The BJP minister said that expensive petrol does not bother the general public because 95 per cent of the people do not need petrol. Now, even the minister will not need it as the people will soon put him out of power. The truth is that 95 per cent of the people do not need the BJP,” Yadav said in a tweet in Hindi.

The SP president also asked, “Does Thar need diesel?”

The obvious reference was to the recent Lakhimpur Kheri incident where four farmers were allegedly mowed down by a jeep (Mahindra Thar) owned by Union Minister Ajay Misra.

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Priyanka to flag off ‘Pratigya Yatra’ on Saturday




priyanka gandhi

 Congress General secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will flag-off the three ‘Pratigya Yatras’ from Barabanki on Saturday.

The yatras will be taken out from October 23 to November 1.

According to the Congress press release, the ‘Pratigya Yatra’ will commence from Barabanki in the Bundelkhand region and will end at Jhansi via Lucknow, Unnao, Fatehpur, Chitrakoot, Banda, Hamirpur and Jalaun.

Similarly, in the western Uttar Pradesh region, the yatra will start from Saharanpur and will move through Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Moradabad, Rampur, Bareilly, Badaun, Aligarh, Hathras, Agra and Mathura.

In Avadh region, the yatra will start from Varanasi and will end at Rae Bareli via Chandauli, Sonbhadra, Mirzapur, Prayagraj, Pratapgarh and Amethi.

During these ‘Pratigya Yatras’, Priyanka will hold several meetings.

Priyanka, according to party sources, is likely to make announcements like women’s reservation in education and jobs, free education for women, farmer’s loan waiver and rebate in electricity rates during the yatras.

She has earlier announced that the Congress will give 40 per cent of the total election tickets to women in the state.

Apart from this, she has also promised to give mobile phones and scooty to the girl students.

The Congress is also especially eyeing women voters and is making a conscious effort to neutralize caste-based politics.

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Congress damaged interests by not trusting me: Amarinder





 Two days after announcing to launch his own political outfit to serve the interests of the people, two-time Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday slammed AICC general secretary Harish Rawat, saying the party has damaged its own interests by not trusting him and giving the party into the hands of an ‘unstable person’ like Navjot Sidhu.

“Your apprehension is that I’ll damage @INCIndia interests in Punjab…. Fact is @harishrawatcmuk ji, the party has damaged its own interests by not trusting me and giving @INCPunjab into the hands of an unstable person like @sherryontopp who’s only loyal to himself: capt_amarinder,” media advisor Raveen Thukral quoting Amarinder Singh as saying in a tweet.

In a series of tweets, Amarinder Singh asked Rawat, who is Punjab affairs in-charge, “Today you’re accusing me of helping my rival @Akali_Dal for 4 and a half years @harishrawatcmuk ji. Is that why you think I’ve been fighting court cases against them for the last 10 years? And why I’ve won @INCIndia all elections in Punjab since 2017?”

Asking Rawat to stop talking about secularism, the former Chief Minister said, “Don’t forget @INCIndia took in @sherryontopp after he was with @BJP4India for 14 years. And where did Nana Patole and Revnath Reddy come from if not RSS? And Pargat Singh was with @Akali_Dal for 4 years!”

Amarinder Singh further asked Rawat, “And what are you doing with @ShivsenaComms in Maharashtra? Or are you saying @harishrawatcmuk Ji that it’s ok to join forces with so-called communal parties as long as it suits @INCIndia purpose.

“What’s this if not sheer political opportunism?” he asked.

The former Chief Minister’s reaction came a day after Rawat said Amarinder’s announcement of floating a new party will not hurt the Congress in Punjab.

It will actually divide the votes of Congress’ rivals in the state, Rawat said, adding, “Our votes will depend on the performance of the Charanjit Singh Channi government. The way Channi has started, it has created a good impression before Punjab and the entire nation.”

Meanwhile, state party President Navjot Singh Sidhu blamed Amarinder Singh the architect of three black farm laws.

“The Architect of 3 Black Laws… Who brought Ambani to Punjab’s Kisani… Who destroyed Punjab’s Farmers, Small traders and Labour for benefiting 1-2 Big Corporates!!” Sidhu said in a tweet with photos of the former Chief Minister meeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah and others.

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