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Saturday,19-June-2021

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Refusal to quit NDA shows Akalis’ greed: Punjab CM

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Taking a jibe at the SAD and the BJP for what he called a “public spectacle” of the blame game between the two long-time allies over the controversial Farm Bills, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday said the continued refusal of the Akalis to quit the NDA showed the “extent of their greed to cling to power”.

“The fact that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is holding on to vestiges of power it continues to enjoy at the cost of Punjab and its farmers, despite being publicly humiliated by the alliance partner, the BJP, had exposed the Akalis’ dual standards and total lack of concern for the farming community,” Amarinder Singh said in a statement.

He was referring to the BJP’s statement that it had left the task of convincing the farmers about the agricultural Bills to the Akalis.

“Why else are the Akalis still a part of the anti-farmer and anti-people BJP-led government at the Centre, which conspired with large corporate houses to deprive the farmers of their livelihood and, in the process, ruin Punjab?” the Chief Minister asked, adding that the SAD was still trying hard to stay politically afloat by hook or crook.

Taking a dig at SAD chief Sukhbir Badal’s remark that Harsimrat Kaur’s resignation from the Union Cabinet was like an “atom bomb that had shaken the Prime Minister”, Amarinder Singh said it was not even a damp squib.

After the “politically motivated drama” of her resignation, which she had clearly done only to save face amid the farmer protests across Punjab, SAD President Sukhbir Badal was widely expected to pull his party out of the NDA, but that did not happen, Amarinder Singh said.

Lambasting the Akalis for actively supporting the Union government in what he dubbed as “selling off the farmers’ rights to the monopolistic corporate houses” through the “unconstitutional and undemocratic” Farm Bills, the Chief Minister said that the SAD had completely lost all political credibility or standing after their “”antics on the new laws.

“The Badals will go down in Akali history as the leaders responsible for the party’s destruction,” he said.

From the farmers’ resentment against them, to their fallout with the BJP, the Akalis seem to be heading towards elimination from Punjab’s political arena, said Amarinder Singh, adding that the state’s people, especially the farmers, would never forgive the Badals for their deception and dishonesty.

The Prime Minister, and his BJP, did not care for the Akalis as was evident from the former’s criticism of their alliance partner, and also the promptness with which Harsimrat’s resignation was accepted, said the Chief Minister.

It seemed that the BJP wanted to go it alone in the Punjab Assembly polls, he said, adding that the stage seemed set for the NDA to throw out the SAD if the latter did not quit the coalition ruling at the Centre on its own.

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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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