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Wednesday,04-August-2021

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Prime Minister responsible for second wave of Covid: Rahul Gandhi

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Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday launched a direct attack on the government, holding Prime Minister Narendra Modi responsible for the second wave of the Covid pandemic in the country.

Attacking the government over the vaccine shortage, he said that India is fighting a war with Covid and vaccination is the only way to stop the pandemic. He accused the government of hiding the real figures of deaths due to Covid.

Addressing a press conference virtually, Rahul Gandhi said, “I had warned the government number of times over Covid since February last year. And the government made fun of us. Even the Prime Minister announced victory over Covid.”

He said the problem is that the government and the Prime Minister are unable to understand Covid. He added that last year he told the government not to give space to Covid and to close the doors. “Vaccine is the permanent solution. And if you don’t take the vaccine then the virus will keep on mutating itself and there will be second, third, fourth and many other waves of Covid,” he said.

The Congress leader said that on the issue of vaccine, “I have written to the Prime Minister saying if the government does not have proper vaccine strategy, then number of people will keep on getting affected.”

Launching an attack on the government, Rahul Gandhi said, “Foreign Minister (S. Jaishankar) is saying that India has earned name by providing vaccines to other countries. And what is the condition today, only three per cent people of the country have been vaccinated. Means 97 per cent people have chance of contracting Covid.”

He also held the Prime Minister responsible for the second wave of Covid in the country. “The second wave of Covid is the responsibility of the Prime Minister. It is due to Prime Minister’s failure that we have witnessed a second wave of Covid in our country.” he said. If we keep on vaccinating at this rate then India will vaccinate all its people only by 2024, he claimed.

Rahul Gandhi also alleged that the government is hiding the real figure of the death toll during the second wave.

National News

‘Official work’: Sharad Pawar says amid speculation over meeting with Amit Shah

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NCP supremo Sharad Pawar on Tuesday met Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi, sparking off speculations.

Pawar himself sought to clear the air, terming it an official meet. “Had a brief meeting with Union Co-operation Minister Shri Amit Shah in New Delhi today along with Shri Jaiprakash Dandegaonkar, President of NFCSF (National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Ltd) & Prakash Naiknavre to discuss issues faced by the sugar co-operative sector,” he said.

The meeting gained significance as it came on the same day as Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule attended the breakfast meeting of opposition leaders hosted by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

The Congress and the Shiv Sena, who are the Nationalist Congress Party’s allies in the Maharashtra, however, dismissed any political significance of the meeting.

The meeting came a day after Shiv Sainiks went on a rampage, tearing down a brand new hoarding erected by the Adani Airport Holding Ltd (AAHL) outside Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) to protest against what they alleged was AAHL’s unilateral move to abruptly ‘change’ the name of CSMIA and replace it with the Adani Group brand name.

Pawar has been meeting the ruling party leaders and ahead of monsoon session on July 17, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and talked for about 50 minutes, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

The meeting took pace amid reports over fissures in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition government in Maharashtra.

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National News

Delhi Cabinet approves increased salary of MLAs

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Arvind-Kejriwal

The Delhi Cabinet on Tuesday approved salary hike of the members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) after getting approval from the Centre.

With the approval from the cabinet, Delhi MLAs will now get a salary of Rs 30,000 per month.

As per a provision of the Bill cleared by the Delhi Assembly in 2015, the basic salary of legislators will increase from the current Rs 12,000 to Rs 50,000.

However, the AAP government said that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has scuttled the proposal and restricted it and capped the salary of the MLAs to only Rs 30,000. They will be getting a total of Rs 90,000 per month including Rs 30,000 basic salary and other allowances.

The restriction imposed by the Centre has forced Delhi’s MLAs to be amongst the lowest paid among all states in the country.

“The salary of Delhi’s MLAs hasn’t increased since 2011 and the Delhi Government had requested the MHA that it should be at par with MLAs of other states, however the MHA refused to do so,” said Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) in a statement.

The Delhi Government had proposed a salary of Rs 54,000 for the MLAs.

“Now the salary plus allowances of the MLAs of Delhi has been restricted by the MHA to Rs 90,000,” it said.

Proposal for an increase in salary and allowances of Delhi MLAs was pending with the MHA for the last 5 years.

The cabinet has also approved salaries and other allowances of Ministers of Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and MLAs under the Legislative Assembly of Delhi (Amendment) Bills, 2021.

“After Cabinet approval, the proposal and draft bills will be sent for MHA’s approval before being placed in the Delhi Assembly,” CMO said.

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Uttar Pradesh Congress plays caste game, woos Dalits

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In order to regain its lost ground in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress on Tuesday observed a ‘Dalit Swabhiman Diwas’ to woo the community and highlight the atrocities on the weaker sections in the non-Congress governments.

While it is wooing Dalits and OBCs, the Brahmins are being ignored by the Congress, say state party insiders.

State head of the Congress Dalit cell, Alok Prasad, said that the significance of August 3 was that the proposal to appoint Dr B.R. Ambedkar as the Union Law Minister in the Nehru cabinet was passed on this day.

“We are taking out Dalit Swabhiman Yatras on this day to create awareness among Dalits and pay tributes to Ambedkar,” he said. The Congress also plans to hold a Dalit panchayat.

The state Congress has already held caste conferences for Nishad, Maurya-Shakya, Kushwaha and Pal-Gaderia-Dhanger caste groups.

The move by the state unit to focus on castes has irked the senior party leaders who feel that the Congress is simply following in the footsteps of the regional parties.

“We slam other parties for playing the caste and communal card but this is exactly what we are doing. Instead of focussing on issues, we are following the caste path which is detrimental to party interests,” said a former UPCC president.

Interestingly, the Congress state leadership has started criticizing other non-BJP parties instead of focusing its attention on the ruling BJP.

Uttar Pradesh Congress minority cell chairman Shahnawaz Alam has been attacking the Samajwadi Party for ignoring the victimisation of its leader Mohd Azam Khan and not opposing it.

Alam said that if anything untoward happens to Azam Khan, Akhilesh would be equally responsible for it.

A senior party leader said, “What exactly is the state leadership trying to do? We should be attacking the BJP but we are shooting down regional parties with whom we could have a post-poll alliance.”

While SP and BSP are trying to woo Brahmins who are disgruntled with the BJP, the Congress has chosen to ignore Brahmins completely-even those within the party.

A senior political analyst said, “The problem with Congress is that it is completely directionless. They have no strategy and policy for the elections and each one is pulling in a different direction.”

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