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Sunday,28-November-2021

National

Priyanka Gandhi begins UP campaign with blistering attack on BJP

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Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday, kicked off her party’s campaign for the upcoming UP assembly elections by mounting a blistering attack on the ruling BJP.

Addressing a mammoth rally in Varanasi, Priyanka took on the Centre and State governments on the issue of farmers and injustice to the poor.

“In the past two years, I have been working in UP. Two years ago, 13 adivasis were killed in a land dispute in Sonbhadra. Some leaders of the ruling BJP were involved and the people said that they had no hope for justice. I went there and each of the victims’ families said that they wanted justice,” she said.

Priyanka said that then came the pandemic and we saw people dying without oxygen, without medicines. People had hoped that the government would help but no help came and so many died in this hope.

“After this, Hathras happened and the government shielded the accused and there was no justice for the victim’s family. The same has happened in Lakhimpur where farmers were mowed down by a minister’s son and the government is shielding the accused,” she said.

Priyanka Gandhi announced that the Congress would continue to fight on the Lakhimpur issue untill the union minister Ajay Mishra Teni submits his resignation to allow an impartial probe into the incident.

She said that nowhere in the world, does the police send an invitation to the accused to record his statement. “But in Lakhimpur, the minister’s son was invited to give his statement. Is this how justice is done?” she asked.

In an attack on UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, she said that he insulted Dalits who work as safai karamcharis.

“I went to a Valmiki temple in Lucknow and swept the floor. I met the residents of the Dalit basti and every family told me that though their children were educated, they had no employment. Today the Prime Minister’s ‘crorepati’ friends are earning thousands of crores every day but the people of this country are facing unemployment,” she said.

The Congress leader said that the Prime Minister had bought two aircraft for himself, each costing Rs 8,000 crore. “The two aircraft cost the country Rs 16,000 but Air India has been sold for Rs 18,000 crore to benefit his friends,” she stated.

She said that farmers were the real ‘Ganga putra’ of the country but the Prime Minister, who travels across the globe, has not found time to even talk to those who are sitting on Delhi borders.

Priyanka said that it was the sons of farmers who are protecting out borders, who ensure our safety and freedom.

“This country is a hope. Gandhi ji had hope for freedom and justice for the poor but today, justice and hope is only for those who are with the BJP, its leaders and their friends. The country is being destroyed and the media is being used to create a campaign that shows all is well. We will fight against injustice and force them to give us justice just like we fought for Independence,” she said.

Earlier, Priyanka visited the Kashi Vishwanath temple and the Durga temple where she offered prayers. She began her speech with the Sanskrit shlok on Navratri.

National

Laxman finally agrees to head NCA: Sources

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VVS-Laxman

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has managed to convince former cricketer VVS Laxman to head the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, sources said.

After Rahul Dravid took over the post of Indian team’s head coach, there were reports that Laxman might be appointed as a new head of NCA.

However, later it was said that the former batter “is uninterested”. But now he is ready to take the charge after the BCCI officials held a meeting with him in Dubai.

“There were some issues and it has been sorted out. The board wanted him to take the reponsibility and he is the right man to come in place of Dravid,” sources said.

It is also learnt that Laxman has also agreed to leave the lucrative commentary career for the NCA.

“Laxman is currently mentor of IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad, apart from being a commentator and cricket analyst. And he will leave it all for NCA now.”

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National

Everyone had written us off; we are here to rectify that: Finch

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Australian captain Aaron Finch has conceded that not winning the ICC T20 World Cup title so far has been a sore point with the Kangaroos and the final against New Zealand later on Sunday is the “best opportunity to rectify that”.

The closest Australia came to winning the T20 World Cup was during the 2010 edition held in the West Indies, where they lost to England by seven wickets.

“It’s one that’s eluded us in the past, and the fact that we are here in the final gives us the best opportunity to rectify that. Yeah, I think it will be a great game against New Zealand. They are a great side and they have been in all the finals over the last six years. Looking forward to it,” said Finch ahead of the title clash.

Finch added that despite critics writing his team off, the way the players had gone about their business was heartening.

“Everyone had written us off but we had a lot of confidence within. We’re really confident the way that we were preparing, the way that our strategy was coming together. Yeah, I think it hasn’t defied expectation. I think we came here with a really clear plan to win the tournament, and we still feel as though we’ve got the squad to do that.

“Well, I think the spirit among the team… and that’s been really impressive the way we’ve gone about our business. Everyone has prepared really well. Everyone has had a really defining match or match-defining performance at some point. The guys are really up and about for the final,” said Finch.

Finch added that batting stalwart Steve Smith’s form wasn’t a concern despite the fact that the former skipper has been unimpressive so far in the tournament, and the team management has drawn flak for persisting with him.

“No, not concerned one bit about his (Smith) form. He’s a world-class player and he’s someone in big games has showed how valuable he is. He’s been hitting the ball as well as I’ve seen for a long time, so no, no concerns there whatsoever.”

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It’s been happening for long; India don’t have mental strength: Gambhir

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After the crushing eight-wicket defeat against New Zealand, former India opener Gautam Gambhir has slammed the Virat-Kohli-led side, saying that they have the skills but lack the much-needed mental toughness to win big knockout games in ICC tournaments.

India have succumbed to pressure and lost two successive matches, against Pakistan and New Zealand, in the ongoing 2021 Men’s T20 World Cup.

According to Gambhir, the Indian team has the skills but they lack the mental strength to win important games in ICC events.

“Yes talent is one thing; you’ve got all the skills and do really well in bilaterals and stuff. But when it comes to these kinds of games and tournaments, this is when you have got to stand up and perform,” said Gambhir on ESPNCricinfo.

”This game was literally like a quarterfinal. The problem is with the mental toughness of the side. Suddenly when you know you have got to win the game and can’t make mistakes, in bilaterals it’s different because you can make mistakes there. But in these kinds of games, I don’t think India has got that mental strength,” he added.

The former opener, who is often remembered for his two match-winning knocks for India in the finals of the 2007 T20 World Cup and 50-over mega-event in 2011, felt that someone should have put his hand up when it mattered most for the team.

“They have the skill and are a very dangerous side. But, unfortunately, we can keep talking about it that we need to stand by our team when it’s not doing well but it’s been a trend and it’s been happening for a very long time in most of these ICC tournaments, whether it’s the semifinals or the game (against New Zealand on October 31) as well. When it mattered the most for someone to put his hand up, they just couldn’t,” said Gambhir.

Meanwhile, Gambhir’s opening partner Virender Sehwag mentioned that India’s body language wasn’t great in the game against New Zealand and they need some serious introspection.

”Very disappointing from India. NZ were amazing. India’s body language wasn’t great, poor shot selection and like few times in the past, New Zealand have virtually ensured we won’t make it to the next stage. This one will hurt India and time for some serious introspection #IndvsNZ, ” Sehwag said in a tweet.

India have three matches remaining in the tournament and another loss will confirm their early exit from the competition. The Men in Blue will have to win their remaining matches by big margins to ensure their net run rate can be improved and they stand a chance at qualifying.

They will next face Afghanistan in their third match on November 3 in Abu Dhabi in the hope of turning their campaign around in the mega event.

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