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Punjab CM and Rahul Gandhi vow to force Centre to revoke farm laws




Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday joined Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in pledging to force the Union government to revoke the ‘draconian’ farm laws.

Both said these laws would be debated in a special Vidhan Sabha session on Monday with the aim to aggressively and effectively combat the damaging impact of these legislations on farmers.

Asserting that his government will take all steps to counter the ‘black’ laws and protect the farmers of Punjab, Amarinder Singh said he would spend every single day of the rest of his life for the revival of Punjab.

“Whatever time I have left with me, I will fight for the farmers and every other section of the state’s population,” he said.

Condemning what he called the Centre’s anti-farmer legislations that attacked the soul of every farmer and were an assault on Punjab’s future, Amarinder Singh also announced his government’s decision to give proprietary rights to those settled in ‘Lal Dora’ land in villages for long.

Welcoming the Chief Minister’s decision to convene the special session, Rahul Gandhi said the voice of the farmers was gagged in Parliament, but it would now resonate in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and echo in every part of the country till the central government was compelled to withdraw the farm laws.

“If these laws were in the interest of the farmers, why did the BJP-led government at the Centre not allow a debate on them in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha,” he asked.

Virtually launching the second phase of the Smart Village Campaign (SVC-II), along with Amarinder Singh, the Congress MP assured all panchayats of his party’s full support to them, as well as the farmers and farm labour, in their fight against the new laws.

Representatives of all the Punjab village panchayats participated in the virtual launch programme.

Condemning the farm laws as a blatant attack by the BJP on the soul of each and every farmer of the nation, Rahul said the Centre had launched an assault on Punjab and its farmers with these ill-conceived and unconstitutional legislations.

“Every farmer and labourer is feeling the pain of this attack,” he added.

The AICC leader lashed out at the BJP for allegedly imposing laws on the nation from the top, without taking people at the grass roots into confidence.

“That is the difference between the BJP and the Congress — the former talking about buildings and not foundations,” he said, noting that the farmland was the foundation of every village.

Rahul declared that the Congress will not allow India’s foundations to be weakened in this manner and will go all out to strengthen these foundations.

Pointing out that the past decisions of the BJP government at the Centre had led to total collapse of the economy and promoted large-scale unemployment, the Congress leader congratulated Amarinder Singh for generating jobs for the youth.

Punjab Congress President Sunil Jakhar also took on the BJP on the farm laws which, he said, were designed to kill the farmers and the farming sector.

The state government, he said, should do everything in its power to prevent that from happening.

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Congress revs up for ‘tractor yatras’ to counter BJP on farm laws



The opposition Congress plans to hold ‘tractor rallies’ across the country in November in line with Rahul Gandhi’s similar endeavour in Punjab and Haryana earlier this month in order to counter the BJP’s efforts to drum up support for the three central farm laws.

The Congress leadership has asked its state units to prepare for the tractor rallies proposed to be held in the first fortnight of next month.

In his letter to the Pradesh Congress Committees, party General Secretary KC Venugopal said:” To continue our fight, the PCCs are requested to take out ‘tractor yatras’ in their respective states in which all state office-bearers apart from members of Parliament and MLAs along with Congress affairs incharges will participate.

“The occassion should be utilised to demolish the farmers’ yatra undertaken by the BJP and galvanise public opinion against the three central farm laws,” the Rajya Sabha MP added.

Rahul Gandhi had led the Congress’ first ‘tractor rally’ on October 4 from Badhni Kalan town in Moga district of Punjab. During his three-day visit to the state as part of the ‘Kheti Bachao Yatra’, his rallies covered Moga, Ludhiana, Sangrur and Patiala districts in the Malwa region. On October 6, the ‘tractor rally’ entered Haryana through the Pehowa border.

The Congress said it had also chalked out a strategy to corner the Modi government on key issues of economic policy, farmers and women’s safety in the coming weeks.

The Congress said that the party’s future course of action has been decided on what it called the “anti-farmers, anti-women, anti-labour and anti-poor policies and actions” of the BJP-led central government and the state governments.

BJP leaders had held ‘Kisan Dhanyawaad Yatra’ while riding a convoy of tractors that passed through villages in Jagadhri block of Yamunanagar district in Haryana a few days ago, apart from holding ‘tractor pujas’ and rallies earlier this month.

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Amid drop in daily Covid tally, Goa CM Pramod Sawant advocates caution



Pramod Sawant.

Amid a second consecutive drop in the daily tally of new Covid-19 infections, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has urged people to not self-medicate in case of a fever and opt for testing themselves for the coronavirus infection.

Speaking to reporters late on Monday night outside the Bharatiya Janata Party state headquarters in Panaji, Sawant also said that social distancing norms and basic precautionary measures like wearing of masks and use of hand sanitiser would continue to be imposed in the coming days.

“Even though Covid cases have come down, social distancing, masks and sanitisers should be used. We need this for a lot many more days ahead,” Sawant told reporters.

The state over the last few weeks had reported a daily tally of between 300 and 500 cases. On Sunday and Monday however, the daily tally of cases dropped to 187 and 159 respectively, with doctors in the state also suggesting that the state may be finally witnessing a drop in the positivity rate.

Sawant also said that while the number of daily Covid-19 cases appeared to be dipping, people should not take the situation for granted.

“It is my earnest request to the people, get themselves tested if they have a fever. Do not self-medicate. It is a new virus. We cannot say when there can be a spike. Precaution should be 100 per cent,” the Chief Minister said.

In all, Goa has reported 40,746 Covid-19 positive cases out of which 3,283 are currently active.

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Kerala local body polls likely to be held in December




The postponed local body polls in Kerala in all likelihood are going to be held during the first week of December, according to sources.

The election will be held to elect new representatives to 941 village councils, 152 block Panchayats, 14 district Panchayats, 86 municipalities and six municipal corporations.

This poll is being seen as the curtain raiser of the Assembly polls, which may be held in May 2021.

According to the earlier planned schedule, the newly elected members of the local bodies had to be in office by November 12, but following the sudden spike in the Covid cases, all the political parties agreed to postpone the polls.

According to the present scheme of things, the Kerala State Election Commission has zeroed down on likely dates. Sources say that the poll is likely to be held in two phases in the first week of December and the newly elected office bearers are likely to take charge by December 11.

The voters list, numbering 2.63 crore, is also getting finalised. The number of new voters is around 15 lakh and the poll timing would be from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The current voter list, which is getting finalised, consists of 1,25,40,302 men, 1,36,84,019 women and 180 trans genders. This includes the new voters — 6,78,147 men, 8,01,328 women and 66 trans genders.

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