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Sunday,09-August-2020

National News

Sachin retains rebellious streak of father Rajesh Pilot

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Sachin-Pilot

The sacking of senior Congress leader Sachin Pilot as Rajasthan’s Deputy Chief Minister and state unit chief has brought to the fore the fighting spirit and rebellious streak he has inherited from his late father Rajesh Pilot who had also dared the party leadership in his political life.

Sachin, who was sacked as Deputy Chief Minister and state unit chief post, in a single line targeted the party and said, “Truth can be troubled but cannot be defeated.” Sachin, who entered politics in 2004 and served twice as a Lok Sabha Member of Parliament and was also a minister in the Congress-led UPA 2 government, seems to have followed in the footsteps of his father.

He was one of the youngest MPs in 2004 and became Union minister at the age of 31. After losing in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Sachin was made the Rajasthan Congress chief. His father Rajesh Pilot became a Union minister at an age of 40 after two Lok Sabha election victories. In early 1990s, Rajesh Pilot openly dared Congress veterans like Arjun Singh, SB Chavan and others and asserted that if he had been in charge, the Babri Masjid debacle would never have taken place in Uttar Pradesh. Rajesh Pilot was also among the leaders who challenged then Congress chief P.V. Narasimha Rao.

Similarly, a soft spoken Sachin brought the Congress back to power in Rajasthan in 2018 and he was hailed as the architect of the victory. But he remained adamant on his stance despite Congress leaders like Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, P. Chidambaram and many others who tried to persuade him to return to Jaipur and attend the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting.

Following the sacking of Sachin, many party leaders sided with him. Former Union minister and senior party leader, Jitin Prasada tweeted, “Sachin Pilot is not just a collegues but my friend. No one can take away the fact that all these years he has worked with dedication for the party. Sincerely hope the situation can still be salvaged. Sad it has come to this..”

Priya Dutt, daughter of late Congress leader and Bollywood actor Sunil Dutt also took to Twitter and wrote, “Another friend leaves the party both Sachin and Jyotiraditya (Scindia) were colleagues and good friends unfortunately our party has lost two stalwart young leaders with great potential. I don’t believe being ambitious is wrong. They have worked hard through the most difficult times.”

Former Union minister and senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid said that he was sad because the son of his dear friend Rajesh Pilot is at a vortex. “Sad to see events unfold in Rajasthan. Sad particularly because the son of my dearest late friend, Rajesh Pilot is at the vortex. We have challenges ahead that make personal ambitions and expectations insignificant. Let us rededicate our vision and energy,” Khurshid said in a tweet.

This is the second big jolt to the Congress in the last four months. Earlier in March former Union minister and Gwalior royal Jyotiraditya Scindia quit the party and joined the BJP leading to the fall of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh.

National News

Rajnath Singh promised a bang, but ended with whimper: Chidambaram

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Rajnath-Singh

After Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced an import embargo on 101 defence items, senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram took a dig at him on Sunday and called his announcement a “whimper”.

“The Defence Minister promised a ‘bang’ on a Sunday morning and ended with a ‘whimper’!” Chidambaram said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, Rajnath said: “The Ministry of Defence is now ready for a big push to the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative. The MoD will introduce an import embargo on 101 items beyond the given timeline to boost indigenisation of defence production.”

Chidambaram pointed out that the only importer of defence equipment in India is the Defence Ministry. “Any import embargo is really an embargo on oneself.”

“What the Defence Minister said in his historic Sunday announcement deserved only an office order from the minister to his secretaries!” he added.

The Congress leader also said that the ‘import embargo’ is “high-sounding jargon”.

“But what it means is we will try to make the same equipment (that we import today) in 2 to 4 years and stop imports thereafter!” the former Finance Minister said.

Rajnath on Sunday announced the ban on import of 101 items to make Indian defence industry self-reliant and boost indigenisation.

The list of 101 embargoed items comprises not just simple parts but also some high technology weapon systems like artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, sonar systems, transport aircraft, light combat helicopters, and radars.

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National News

Mukhtar Ansari’s aide, accomplice shot dead by STF in Lucknow

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Mukhtar Ansari.

A dreaded shooter, said to be a close aide of mafia don turned politician Mukhtar Ansari, was gunned down along with an accomplice by a team of Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) on the outskirts of Lucknow on Sunday morning.

Officials said that shooter Rakesh Pandey aka Hanuman Pandey carried a reward of Rs 1 lakh on his head.

STF IG Amitabh Yash said Pandey was gunned down in retaliatory firing when the STF team tried to arrest him after he went to an area falling in Sarojini Nagar police station limits to meet one of his accomplices.

Police said Pandey was involved in a number of murders and shootouts carried out by the Ansari’s gang in the past 23 years. He was also accused of hatching a conspiracy to kill BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai, who was shot dead in 2005.

Pandey was, however, acquitted after a trial in a subordinate court.

The police officer said Pandey had at least 10 criminal cases registered against him between 1993 and 2010. He said the criminal was untraceable for the last 10 years or so.

Police was continuously trying to track him down for the past many months, the IG said.

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National News

Two disasters in 48 hours has affected Kerala badly: Kerala Governor

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Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan who arrived here with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and a few of his cabinet colleagues on Saturday, expressed deep sadness at the tragedy after visiting the injured at the Medical College hospital.

“In the past 48 hours, Kerala has seen two tragedies and this has affected the state very badly. I got a call from the President who has conveyed his deep condolences,” said Khan.

It was on Thursday night that a landslide near Munnar in Idukki district left 23 people dead. Around 50 people residing in four tea estate lines are missing after a portion of a huge hill came down on them.

And on Friday night an Air India Express flight from Dubai skidded off the runway at Kozhikode airport and fell into a 35 feet deep gorge, leaving 18 dead and several others injured.

Vijayan said Prime Minister Narendra Modi called him soon after learning about the accident.

“The flight had 190 people on board and included six crew. Eighteen people including the two pilots and a crew member have died. Among the dead are 14 senior citizens (seven men and 7 women) and four children. 149 of the injured passengers are in various hospitals, 23 of them have been discharged, while the condition of 21 is serious,” said Vijayan.

One passenger of the ill-fated flight has tested Covid positive and the results of all the others are awaited.

“The pilot and co-pilot and a crew member have lost their lives and Air India will take possession of their bodies. From 3 p.m. onwards the bodies of the victims will be handed over to the relatives. We have announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 10 lakh to the families of the deceased, while the cost of the entire treatment of all the injured will be borne by the State. If need be, the State will again come to the help of all if there is a need,” said Vijayan.

“I will take this opportunity to thank each one who came to the rescue of the passengers the moment the accident occurred and it includes locals, airport officials and also the health professionals,” added Vijayan.

Both Khan and Vijayan also inspected the accident site.

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