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Thursday,29-September-2022

National News

PM’s blockade in Punjab was stage-managed, says Amarinder

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Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) chief Amarinder Singh on Friday launched a scathing attack on Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, whose government, he said, had clearly ‘stage-managed’ the blockade that led to a serious security lapse on Prime Minister Narendra Modis route in the state earlier this month.

Amarinder Singh said he had earlier passed the same bridge, where the Prime Minister had been stuck for a long duration, and there was no blockade there.

On January 5, the Prime Minister’s rally in Ferozepur had to be cancelled due to a security lapse after some protesters blocked a route and forced his convoy to spend about 20 minutes on a flyover. The Prime Minister was enroute the National Martyrs Memorial at Hussainiwala when the incident happened.

“Clearly, the Channi government had instructed the police not to remove the farmers who were stopping BJP buses from reaching the spot,” Amarinder Singh said.

Describing the incident as a major security lapse which no Constitutional head should ever have to face, and which could easily have become a threat to the Prime Minister’s life given the proximity to the international border, the former Chief Minister said that instead of taking a defiant stand, Channi should have issued an unequivocal apology.

“We are a sensitive border state and Pakistan’s ISI is always looking to create trouble here,” he said, asserting that “one can never take any chances”.

Amarinder Singh also said that the incumbent government has been exposed as a ‘suitcase di sarkar’ after the recent Enforcement Directorate (ED) raids that had unearthed crores of rupees from the premises of Chief Minister Channi’s kin.

In a social media interaction, Amarinder Singh said the ED seizure from Channi’s kin was a follow-up on the case that the agency had registered after he had ordered an inquiry while he was heading the government.

Unfortunately, Amarinder Singh said, he had been unable to take any serious action against the Congress MLAs who were involved in illegal mining in the state as that would have damaged the party’s interests, while Sonia Gandhi had failed to respond to his query on which minister or MLA she wanted him to sack over the issue.

Labelling Channi as a ‘total failure’, the PLC chief said the new Chief Minister has done nothing except indulging in postings and transfers since taking over.

“Three DGPs have been changed, his home minister has been openly accused in a cabinet meeting by his colleague that money was being taken for the posting of SSP, there was a tug-of-war on the AG’s post. This is not ‘lokaan di sarkar’ but ‘transfer posting di sarkar’, which has now also become ‘suitcase di sarkar’,” he added.

“Even the announcements made by Channi are nothing but projects that were launched or announced by me,” said Amarinder Singh, citing the examples of farm loan waiver, jobs under Ghar Ghar Rozgar scheme, investments in Punjab, free bus travel for women, etc.

Amarinder Singh further said that Manpreet Badal, as the finance minister, had scuttled many of his schemes and plans by claiming to have no funds, which, it appears now, was a “total lie”.

On why no sitting Congress MLA was joining the PLC, Amarinder Singh said they are only waiting for their party to announce the tickets, which is being deliberately delayed as the Congress is “scared” of defections.

National News

Digvijaya to file nomination for Cong prez polls

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Congress leader Digvijaya Singh will file nomination for the post of the party president for which election is scheduled to be held on October 17.

He took his nomination form from the party’s Central Election Authority (CEA) earlier in the day.

Sources close to Singh on Wednesday said the decision to contest the polls is his personal one, adding that nobody from the Gandhi family asked him to do so.

The former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister may file the nomination by September 30, which is the last date for nominations.

Congress’ initial plan was to field Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot for the top party post, but the high-octane drama in Rajasthan has miffed the Gandhis. Gehlot is in Delhi and has met Mukul Wasnik, but the suspense over his candidature continues.

Sources in the know of things said, “Gehlot has not been ruled out from the race yet”.

Congress treasurer Pawan Kumar Bansal has taken a nomination form from the CEA. On his part, Bansal said he is only a proposer and not a candidate.

CEA chairman Madhusudan Mistry on Tuesday had said: “Till now, Shashi Tharoor and Pawan Bansal have taken nomination forms from the CEA.”

Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath whose name had also come up and had met Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi on Monday, said that he did not want to become the party chief, and wants to continue to work for the party in Madhya Pradesh.

The drama in Rajasthan has made the Congress leadership think about a ‘Plan B’ for the top party post for which Gehlot was being seen as a contender. However, the open defiance by his MLAs loyal to him brought him under a cloud.

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National News

PFI ban: Vijayan holds high-level meeting with police officials

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 Hours after the Centre banned the Popular Front of India, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday met top state police officials to take stock of the situation and draw elaborate plans to ensure that everything is kept under control.

State police chief Anil Kant told Vijayan that everything is under control and the Superintendents of Police of all the 14 districts have been asked to be on high alert.

In a related development, the RSS office at Aluva in Ernakulam district was provided Central security.

Meanwhile, PFI state General Secretary A. Abdul Sathhar, in a press statement, said that the PFI has been wound up and asked its cadres to stop all political activities and organisation work.

News also came the Kerala Police, acting on the directions of the National Investigation Agency, took Sathar into custody and is now kept at the Kollam Police Club waiting for the NIA officials to arrive to take him away.

In an early morning joint operation last week, the NIA and the Enforcement Directorate took into custody several top level state and national leaders of the PFI from various parts of the state in two cases registered at Delhi and in the state.

Those who were named in the case registered in Delhi were immediately taken to Delhi and produced before a court there and those named in the case in the state before local courts here.

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Maharashtra

Maharashtra ATS to enforce further crackdown on PFI after Centre’s ban

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The agency has so far conducted raids in 12 districts in Maharashtra, arresting and detaining scores of people linked to the Islamist organisation
Following the central government’s imposition of a five-year ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI), the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) is planning to enforce a further crackdown on the organisation in the state, a senior officer said on Wednesday.“Relevant action has been initiated against the PFI in Maharashtra in accordance with the Centre’s ban this morning. We are getting details of their offices, members and bank accounts,” the officer said.

The agency has so far conducted raids in 12 districts in Maharashtra, arresting and detaining scores of people linked to the Islamist organisation. Sources said that more arrests are likely to happen in the days to come based on interrogations of the accused arrested so far.
The Union home ministry’s move banning the PFI and its affiliates under Section 3 of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act will be referred to a tribunal for adjudication, whether or not there is sufficient cause to declare the organisation “unlawful association”, people familiar with the procedure said.

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