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Whistle blower slams Pinarayi Vijayan, wants Central agency probe



Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. (File Photo: IANS)

Biju Ramesh, a whistle blower bar owner whose revelation in 2015 rocked the Oommen Chandy government and saw the resignation of the then Finance Minister K.M. Mani, slammed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday. Ramesh alleged that the Vijayan government was backtracking on the probe.

He demanded that the probe should be done by a Central agency, especially after he made some fresh revelations last month that in 2015 money was also paid to then State Congress party president Chennithala, State Minister’s K.Babu (Excise) and V.S. Sivakumar (Health) — all Congress leaders.

“I do not have any faith in the Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau (VACB) of Vijayan, as he is heading for a patch up with the Congress-led UDF. Only if a Central agency probes this, will the truth come out,” said Ramesh to the media here.

“Vijayan and the former state CPI-M secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan used to tell me not to back out from the case, but now they have themselves backed out. One day in 2015 Mani had breakfast with Chief Minister Vijayan and after Mani left, the call from Vijayan came to the police headquarters to leave out Mani. (K.M. Mani passed away last year),” alleged Ramesh.

After Ramesh’s new revelation Vijayan had asked the VACB to start a new probe on the fresh inputs, and the permission of Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan is awaited on this.

What appears even more surprising is Ramesh has also pointed out that at the height of the case in 2015, son of K.M. Mani — Jose K. Mani — had offered him Rs 10 crore for withdrawing his allegations.

Ramesh went on to add: “In 2015, I did not name Chennithala as an accused because his wife called me and later Chennithala also called me and persuaded me not to say his name.”

“I submitted the audio evidence of Jose K.Mani, pressuring me in 2015 to the probe agency. But then and now, we all know that the VACB will not touch him. He is now a part and an ally of the Vijayan-led Left Front government. For the complete truth to come out, the probe should be taken up by a Central agency,” added Ramesh and said, “The politicians are all one and on the same page, saving each other’s skin”.

The case began in October 2014 when Biju Ramesh, who then owned a string of bars, had alleged that Mani had taken Rs one crore as bribe from Kerala’s bar owners to see that the 418 closed bars in the state were reopened.

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95% people do not need BJP: Akhilesh





 Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Friday took a swipe at Uttar Pradesh Minister Upendra Tiwari for saying that 95 per cent people do not need petrol, and said ‘the truth is that those people do not need the BJP’.

Upendra Tiwari had said that prices of petrol and diesel were not increased much considering per capita income and added that 95 per cent people do not need the petrol.

“The BJP minister said that expensive petrol does not bother the general public because 95 per cent of the people do not need petrol. Now, even the minister will not need it as the people will soon put him out of power. The truth is that 95 per cent of the people do not need the BJP,” Yadav said in a tweet in Hindi.

The SP president also asked, “Does Thar need diesel?”

The obvious reference was to the recent Lakhimpur Kheri incident where four farmers were allegedly mowed down by a jeep (Mahindra Thar) owned by Union Minister Ajay Misra.

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Priyanka to flag off ‘Pratigya Yatra’ on Saturday




priyanka gandhi

 Congress General secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will flag-off the three ‘Pratigya Yatras’ from Barabanki on Saturday.

The yatras will be taken out from October 23 to November 1.

According to the Congress press release, the ‘Pratigya Yatra’ will commence from Barabanki in the Bundelkhand region and will end at Jhansi via Lucknow, Unnao, Fatehpur, Chitrakoot, Banda, Hamirpur and Jalaun.

Similarly, in the western Uttar Pradesh region, the yatra will start from Saharanpur and will move through Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Moradabad, Rampur, Bareilly, Badaun, Aligarh, Hathras, Agra and Mathura.

In Avadh region, the yatra will start from Varanasi and will end at Rae Bareli via Chandauli, Sonbhadra, Mirzapur, Prayagraj, Pratapgarh and Amethi.

During these ‘Pratigya Yatras’, Priyanka will hold several meetings.

Priyanka, according to party sources, is likely to make announcements like women’s reservation in education and jobs, free education for women, farmer’s loan waiver and rebate in electricity rates during the yatras.

She has earlier announced that the Congress will give 40 per cent of the total election tickets to women in the state.

Apart from this, she has also promised to give mobile phones and scooty to the girl students.

The Congress is also especially eyeing women voters and is making a conscious effort to neutralize caste-based politics.

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Congress damaged interests by not trusting me: Amarinder





 Two days after announcing to launch his own political outfit to serve the interests of the people, two-time Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday slammed AICC general secretary Harish Rawat, saying the party has damaged its own interests by not trusting him and giving the party into the hands of an ‘unstable person’ like Navjot Sidhu.

“Your apprehension is that I’ll damage @INCIndia interests in Punjab…. Fact is @harishrawatcmuk ji, the party has damaged its own interests by not trusting me and giving @INCPunjab into the hands of an unstable person like @sherryontopp who’s only loyal to himself: capt_amarinder,” media advisor Raveen Thukral quoting Amarinder Singh as saying in a tweet.

In a series of tweets, Amarinder Singh asked Rawat, who is Punjab affairs in-charge, “Today you’re accusing me of helping my rival @Akali_Dal for 4 and a half years @harishrawatcmuk ji. Is that why you think I’ve been fighting court cases against them for the last 10 years? And why I’ve won @INCIndia all elections in Punjab since 2017?”

Asking Rawat to stop talking about secularism, the former Chief Minister said, “Don’t forget @INCIndia took in @sherryontopp after he was with @BJP4India for 14 years. And where did Nana Patole and Revnath Reddy come from if not RSS? And Pargat Singh was with @Akali_Dal for 4 years!”

Amarinder Singh further asked Rawat, “And what are you doing with @ShivsenaComms in Maharashtra? Or are you saying @harishrawatcmuk Ji that it’s ok to join forces with so-called communal parties as long as it suits @INCIndia purpose.

“What’s this if not sheer political opportunism?” he asked.

The former Chief Minister’s reaction came a day after Rawat said Amarinder’s announcement of floating a new party will not hurt the Congress in Punjab.

It will actually divide the votes of Congress’ rivals in the state, Rawat said, adding, “Our votes will depend on the performance of the Charanjit Singh Channi government. The way Channi has started, it has created a good impression before Punjab and the entire nation.”

Meanwhile, state party President Navjot Singh Sidhu blamed Amarinder Singh the architect of three black farm laws.

“The Architect of 3 Black Laws… Who brought Ambani to Punjab’s Kisani… Who destroyed Punjab’s Farmers, Small traders and Labour for benefiting 1-2 Big Corporates!!” Sidhu said in a tweet with photos of the former Chief Minister meeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah and others.

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