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Saturday,19-June-2021

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Punjab CM Amarinder Singh slams Manohar Lal Khattar over ‘Khalistani’ remark

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Amarinder-Singh

Lashing out at his Haryana counterpart for inflicting brutality on Punjab’s farmers, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday demanded an unequivocal apology from Manohar Lal Khattar, accusing him of spreading lies by saying “Khalistanis are managing the protests,”

“Khattar is lying that he tried calling me earlier and I did not respond. But now, after what he has done to my farmers, I will not speak to him even if he calls me 10 times. Unless he apologises and admits that he did wrong with Punjab’s farmers, I will not forgive him,” Amarinder Singh told the media.

After Haryana Police’s actions to use tear gas shells and water cannons on Punjab’s farmers, which injured many, there is no way he would talk to Khattar again as “neighbour or no neighbour,” Amarinder Singh asserted.

The Punjab Chief Minister said that if he could talk to the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister so many times on the farmers’ issue, why would he not take calls from a neighbouring Chief Minister if he had truly called earlier.

Questioning Khattar’s decision to not allow the farmers to go to the national capital peacefully when the Centre was ready to talk to them and even the Delhi government had no problem in letting them in, Amarinder Singh demanded to know “who’s Khattar to come in between? What business does he have interfering in this whole affair?”

Amarinder Singh also slammed Khattar for making baseless allegations that he was instigating the farmers and provoking them to agitate.

“I am a nationalist to the core. I run a border state and will never do anything to create law and order problem of any kind,” he asserted, adding that for 60 days, the farmers were blocking Punjab’s railway tracks, causing more than Rs 43,000 crore in losses to the state.

“I will not take this nonsense from Khattar. Don’t I have better things to do than to incite the farmers,” he asked, adding that “sometimes they say it’s Khalistanis who’re managing the protests and sometimes they accuse me of doing it. Let them make up their minds.”

The Chief Minister categorically declared that no political party is involved in the farm protests, which are spontaneous reactions of the farmers who are fighting for their future.

Lambasting Khattar’s charge that the farmers were creating law and order problem, the Punjab Chief Minister said that Punjabis are law-abiding citizens and it is Haryana which is damaging public property and blocking the highways by forcibly stopping the farmers.

Terming as ludicrous Khattar’s claim that Haryana farmers were not part of the ‘Dilli Chalo’ agitation, Amarinder Singh said that Punjab’s intelligence showed that as many as 40,000-50,000 farmers from the neighbouring state had joined the march to the national capital, which even the Centre’s intelligence reports would have borne out.

“He (Khattar) doesn’t know what’s happening in his own state and he’s telling me what to do in my state,” Amarinder Singh.

Declaring that nobody is stopping corporate houses from coming into the agricultural marketing system, the Chief Minister pointed out that they are procuring and running businesses in Punjab even now.

They can do this while continuing with the existing system, both can run in parallel, he added.

National News

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra spoke to Sachin Pilot: Ajay Maken

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Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has spoken to Sachin Pilot, party leader Ajay Maken said this on Friday dispelling rumours that ‘no leader was engaging with Pilot’.

Sources have said that party interim President Sonia Gandhi ‘is likely to intervene’ to resolve the deadlock between the Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Pilot.

Ajay Maken Congress General Secretary In-charge of Rajasthan said, “Priyanka Gandhiji and I have spoken to Sachin Pilotji. As he is senior leader of the party and asset, so it’s impossible if he seeks appointment he will be denied, K.C. Venugopal has also spoken to him.”

The MLAs and the Pilot camp in particular have been pressurizing the Congress leadership for cabinet expansion and appointments in board and corporations in Rajasthan. They allege all this is being stalled by the Chief Minister’s camp.

Pilot was in Delhi last week and even toured Uttarakhand to meet his supporters where he attacked the BJP.

Maken had said last week, “Vacant positions in the cabinet, boards and commissions would be filled soon and we are in talks with all.”

He said that all other pending issues will also be taken up.

When asked if senior party leader Sachin Pilot is angry, the former Union Minister said, “I am speaking to Pilotji on a regular basis. If he would have been angry, he would not be speaking to me.”

Pilot has raked up the issue of non-resolution of commitments made to him.

“It has now been 10 months. I was given to understand that there would be swift action by the committee, but now half of the term is done, and those issues haven’t been resolved. It is unfortunate that so many of the party workers who worked and gave their all for getting us the mandate are not being heard,” Pilot had said.

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Tamil Nadu CM M.K. Stalin meets Sonia Gandhi and Rahul

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Friday met Congress interim Chief Sonia Gandhi and party leader Rahul Gandhi here for the first time after the Assembly poll results were declared on May 2.

Stalin had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.

The DMK leader along with his wife arrived at the residence of Sonia Gandhi on Friday morning at 10 Janpath.

During the meeting, Rahul Gandhi was also present.

The meeting lasted for over 40 minutes.

Party sources said that the leaders discussed several issues for the development of the state.

After the meeting, Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter and wrote, “Congress President Sonia Gandhi and I had the pleasure of meeting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin and Durgavathy Stalin earlier today. We will keep working with the DMK to build a strong and prosperous state for the Tamil people.”

The Congress had contested the Tamil Nadu Assembly polls in alliance with the DMK.

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Former TDP MLA Philip C. Tocher joins YSRCP

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Former Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Christian minority leader Philip C. Tocher has joined Andhra Pradesh’s ruling Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP).

Tocher joined YSRCP in the presence of party founder and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday at his camp office.

The former MLA was accompanied by YSRCP MLC Lella Appi Reddy and party leaders Kathera Suresh and Kathera Henry Christina.

Back in January, Tocher resigned from the TDP, accusing party supremo Nara Chandrababu Naidu for his remarks on the Christian community.

He was with TDP since its inception in 1983 and went on to be nominated as the Anglo-Indian MLA during the TDP regime from 2014 to 2019.

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