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Sunday,19-September-2021

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Rahul’s statements end up hurting Congress more than the country: Nitin Gadkari

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Nitin-Gadkari

Nitin Gadkari, one of the senior-most ministers in the Central government, has attacked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his recent statement at an election rally in Dibrugarh, in which Gandhi alleged that the Nagpur army (a reference to Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh) was controlling the nation.

Describing Gandhi’s statements as amusing, Gadkari said: “By making amusing statements, not just does Rahul harm the nation, he also harms his own party even more. The prestige of both the Congress and Gandhi himself is damaged by Rahul’s statements,” Gadkari said.

Speaking to IANS in an exclusive interview on the campaign trail while travelling to Assam, Gadkari said: “Now even Congress leaders don’t take Rahul Gandhi’s statements seriously. With his amusing statements, he harms the nation and more than that, the Congress.”

According to Gadkari, infiltration by outsiders is not an election issue in Assam. “I don’t consider it as an election issue. Should we consider those who enter our country illegally as citizens? That would be really wrong. If our people enter Bangladesh through illegal means, will their government grant them citizenship? We must avoid playing vote bank politics on the issue of infiltration. The Congress plays politics even on issues of security and national interest.”

Gadkari, the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, is confident that the NDA, led by the BJP, will again form the government in Assam. “More work has happened in Assam in the last five years more than what happened in 50 years before that. The BJP’s governments at the Centre and the state have changed Assam beyond recognition in the last five years. Whether it is airports, waterways, railways or roads, projects worth 1.5 lakh crore have been completed by my ministry alone. Under the leadership of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, a lot of work has been accomplished. That’s why the people of Assam will vote for the BJP on the issues of welfare of villages, farmers and our anti-poverty measures.”

The first phase of polling in Assam includes those constituencies on which there were massive anti-CAA protests in 2020. Will this affect the BJP’s fortunes on these seats? Replying to this, Gadkari says: “A few individuals tried to mislead people on the issue of CAA for political gains. But the people of Assam understand what is in their interest. The anti-CAA protests have left no impact on the people.”

The mismanagement of tea gardens is a big poll issue in Assam and Bengal. About the welfare of tea workers, Gadkari says governments both at the Centre and the state have taken a number of initiatives. “Jan Dhan accounts were opened for tea garden workers. They received free medical treatment under the Ayushman Bharat scheme and accommodation under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. So, our government cared about the roti, kapada and makan (food, clothing and housing) needs of tea garden workers. Much more will be done in the future.”

Talking about Bengal, Gadkari says the state is still reeling from the impact of the rule of Left and Trinamool governments. “In such a situation, the people of Bengal are longing for change. Only the BJP can provide a strong alternative in Bengal. The forming of a BJP government in West Bengal is a 100% certainty this time.”

National News

Captain quits in Punjab, takes team along

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Amarinder-Singh

Just minutes ahead of the crucial Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting on Saturday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh reached the Governor’s house and submitted his and his council of ministers resignation to him.

“CM @capt_amarinder has met Punjab Governor and submitted his and his council of ministers’ resignation,” the Chief Minister Media Advisor Raveen Thukral informed in a tweet.

Earlier in the day, the party’s high command is said to have conveyed to the Chief Minister to resign to enable the election of a new incumbent.

However, the Chief Minister ‘threatened’ to quit the party for being humiliated.

“Amarinder Singh spoke to Congress President Sonia Gandhi in the morning and told her he is being humiliated and he will resign from the party,” a close confidant of the Chief Minister, told IANS.

According to some senior party leaders, the high command has categorically asked Amarinder Singh to step down.

The minute-by-minute changing political development began at about 11.42 p.m. on Friday when Punjab Congress in-charge Harish Rawat tweeted about the decision to hold an urgent CLP meeting on Saturday.

Almost 10 minutes later state party chief Navjot Sidhu directed all the MLAs to be present at the CLP meeting.

The announcement by Rawat is being seen as an indication from the high command to appoint the new incumbent under whose helm the party will go to the Assembly polls, slated in March 2022.

Responding to the political developments, former state President Sunil Jakhar tweeted: “Kudos to Sh Rahul Gandhi for adopting Alexandrian solution to this Punjabi version of Gordian knot.”

“Surprisingly, this bold leadership decision to resolve Punjab Congress imbroglio has not only enthralled Congress workers but has sent shudders down the spines of Akalis.”

The decision to call the CLP comes in the wake of the fresh letter signed by a majority of legislators who expressed dissatisfaction with Amarinder Singh and demanding his removal from the Chief Minister’s post.

Meanwhile, AICC’s deputed party general secretary Ajay Maken and Harish Chowdhry reached Chandigarh as central observers for the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting slated in the evening. State party in charge Harish Rawat is also reaching here.

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National News

Former Union Minister Babul Supriyo joins Trinamool Congress

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Babul

Former union minister and BJP MP Babul Supriyo on Saturday joined West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s All India Trinamool Congress (AITC).

“Today, in the presence of National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee and Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien, former union minister and sitting MP Babul Supriyo joined the Trinamool family,” the official account of the AITC tweeted.

On July 31, Babul, also a playback singer, declared that he had quit politics and would soon resign as the MP too. He had cited a difference of opinion between him and the state BJP leaders, saying that it was “harming the party”.

“I will continue to work constitutionally as an MP in Asansol. Politics is beyond the constitutional post and I withdraw myself from it. I will not join any other party. I will vacate the MP bungalow in Delhi and release security personnel from their duties soon,” he was quoted saying.

A minister in the Narendra Modi Cabinet, Supriyo was dropped in a reshuffle that took place in the month of July. Post his leaving the saffron party, he had told media that if someone asks whether leaving the politics was somehow linked to losing ministry then he said that is true to some extent. He also added differences with the senior leadership since the assembly poll campaign as another reason.

It is yet to be seen whether Supriyo will resign from his Lok Sabha seat or leave it to the Bharatiya Janata Party to move the Speaker’s office for his disqualification post the latest move.

Earlier in the day, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) reduced the security cover of Babul from Z to Y category, an official ministry said.

Having joined BJP in 2014, Babul Supriyo has been elected twice from Asansol.

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National News

B’days will come and go, but yesterday was special: Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that birthdays will come and go, but I will never forget my 71st birthday because of the nearly 2.5 crore vaccine jabs which the country administered, marking a new feat against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking during a virtual interaction with health workers, ruling politicians, administrative officials and a cross section of people from Goa, Modi also said that by clocking the record vaccinations in a single day, India has shown the world the depths of its ability, adding that Indians should boast about the achievement with pride.

“But due to all your efforts, yesterday was a special day for me. Birthdays will come and go, but I will never forget yesterday. I cannot thank you all enough,” Modi said.

“Many birthdays have come and gone. But I have kept away from these things (birthday celebrations). But in all my years, yesterday was a very emotional day for me,” the Prime Minister added.

Breaking down Friday’s nationwide statistics, Modi said that 15 lakh vaccines were administered every hour, 26,000 every minute and 425 doses given every second at the more than 1 lakh inoculation centres across the country.

“Because of your efforts, yesterday, India in one day, vaccinated 2.5 crore people, creating a record. Bigger and developed countries in the world have not been able to achieve this fear.

“I noticed yesterday as to how the country was watching the Cowin dashboard in anticipation,” Modi said.

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