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Congress in driving seats in state polls, BJP’s bid to return to power in 2019 will fail: Sharad Yadav

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New Delhi | Opposition leader Sharad Yadav said on Sunday the BJP’s hope to return to power at the Centre will be buried in the same states — Uttar Pradesh and Bihar — which had propelled it to a big win in 2014, and asserted that the Congress will trump the saffron party in all the five poll-bound states.

The results of the assembly polls, including BJP-ruled Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, will lay the foundation for the Lok Sabha elections next year, he told PTI in an interview. People want to get rid of the Narendra Modi-led government as it has not fulfilled a single promise made to them 2014, Yadav claimed.

Accusing Prime Minister Modi of resorting to “sentimental” ploys like raking up his tea-seller background while his party colleagues talk of building Ram temple in Ayodhya, the Loktantrik Janta Dal leader said this shows the BJP has nothing to talk about its government’s achievements.

“The Congress is in the driving seats in all the five states. People are under distress and want to defeat the BJP. The results of these (assembly) polls will lay the foundation stone for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” he said.

Working to forge an alliance of opposition parties and win over new allies against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, Yadav said they will be united in 2019.”The BJP had captured Delhi on the back of its win in the Gangetic plains (Uttar Pradesh and Bihar). Its hope of returning to power in 2019 will be buried in the same plains,” he said.

The NDA had won 104 of the 120 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in 2014 but a likely alliance of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samajwadi Party has made things much more challenging for the BJP in the politically most crucial state that sends 80 members to the lower house of Parliament.

The BJP has boosted its prospects in Bihar by allying with Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) president Nitish Kumar, who had fought against it in 2014, but the opposition is working to shore up its support by wooing leaders in the NDA camp. Yadav had recently met RLSP leader and BJP ally Upendra Kushwaha, and there is speculation that his Loktantrik Janata Dal and the RLSP may merge to boost the opposition alliance.

He declined to comment on the matter but Kushwaha’s drift from the NDA is becoming increasingly evident as he said on Saturday that the number of seats offered to him by the BJP for the Lok Sabha polls is not “respectable”, setting the deadline of November 30 to the saffron party to sort out the matter.

Attacking Modi for “chasing the Congress with a lathi day in and day out” while “not fulfilling his promises”, Yadav said the prime minister rakes up sentimental issues like his tea-seller background to target the main opposition party. The Congress was defeated in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the subsequent assembly elections. There cannot be a bigger punishment for a party than this, he said.

“People elected you (BJP) to power and punished them (Congress). Still, you are chasing them with a lathi day in and out. You do not do your work. You attack them (the Congress) everyday but do not fulfil your promises. People have become so distressed,” Yadav said.

Whether it was the BJP’s promise on generating employment or boosting the economy and cleaning the Ganga river, none of it has been fulfilled, he claimed and alleged that instead, measures like demonetisation hit people hard and the GST “destroyed” small traders. These are the real issues on the ground, besides distress of farmers and high oil prices, he said while reiterating that the assembly polls will boost the opposition and set the tone for the Lok Sabha polls.

Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram are due on November 26, and in Rajasthan and Telangana on December 7. Chhattisgarh had gone to the polls for 18 seats on November 12 and polling for the remaining 72 seats will be held on November 20. Counting of votes for all the five states is due on December 11.

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Naveen Patnaik not interested in Odisha’s development: Yogi Adityanath

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Bhawanipatna/Nachuni (Odisha) | Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday said his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik has “betrayed the people” as he is not interested in the development of the state.

Addressing party workers at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district and later at Nachuni in Khurda district, Adityanath called for a change in the state government to make Odisha prosperous.

He said Odisha can also develop like Uttar Pradesh if a BJP government is installed in the state.

“Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is not interested in the development of the state, rather in his personal agenda. He (Patnaik) has betrayed the people of Odisha,” Adityanath said and called up the people to end the 19-years of BJD rule in order to make the state prosperous.

He criticised Patnaik for not implementing the Centre’s popular welfare schemes like Ayushman Bharat and PM-Kisan.

“The poor people have been deprived of the benefits being given by the BJP-led central government,” the UP CM said.

Slamming the Odisha government for its alleged inefficiency, the firebrand BJP leader said the Naveen Patnaik government has constructed only 17 lakh pucca houses for the people in the last 19-years of its rule while the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has provided 20 lakh houses to the poor in less than two years.

“If the BJP is given a chance to form the government in Odisha, the state will witness quick development like Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

Odisha will witness the state as well the national elections in a few months.

While lauding the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme, Adityanath said Odisha government’s KALIA yojana has no stability and is shrouded in corruption from the beginning.

“While the UP government has so far identified 1 crore beneficiaries for PM-Kisan, Odisha government has not prepared its list,” Adityanath alleged.

The UP CM also criticised the Odisha government for taking credit in providing rice to poor people at Rs 1 per a kilogram for which “bulk of the finance was borne by the Centre”.

While the BJP-led central government is contributing Rs 29 for one kg of the subsidised rice, the Odisha government’s share is mere Re one, he claimed.

In his speech at both the places, Adityanath showered praise on Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan for his work and said Ujjawala Yojana had provided 12 crore new LPG connections in the last four-and-half-years, more that what was achieved since Independence.

Adityanath also flayed the opposition for making fun of the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY).

“When subsidies under the Ujjwala Yojana started getting credited to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries, they (Opposition parties) understood the PMJDY’s importance,” he said.

The BJP government’s agenda is development for all, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, he said, adding that Odisha has a crucial role to play in the upcoming parliamentary elections to make Narendra Modi Prime Minister for the second time.

He asked party workers to put up a spirited effort to replicate BJP‘s success in the state as they have done during the 2017 panchayat elections.

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India objects to Pakistan’s use of abusive language at ICJ

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The Hague | India on Wednesday strongly objected to the abusive language used by Pakistan’s counsel in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), urging the UN court to draw a redline.

Harish Salve, the former solicitor general of India while presenting India’s case before the ICJ, drew the court’s attention to the abusive language used by Pakistan through its counsel Khawar Qureshi on the second day of the hearing.

“The language echoed in this court… perhaps this Court may lay down some redlines. The transcript is peppered with words such as shameless, nonsense, disgraceful… India takes exception to being addressed in this fashion in an international court.

“India strongly objects to abusive language of Pakistan’s counsel,” Salve said as the International Court of Justice began the second round of public hearing in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.

Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a closed trial in April 2017. His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India.

On Wednesday, India will have a maximum of 90 minutes to submit its final arguments in the case. Pakistan will also get 90 minutes to respond to India’s arguments on Thursday.

The ICJ is expected to deliver its verdict in the summer of 2019.

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Govt created situation where calls of violence against Kashmiris being openly executed: Yechury

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New Delhi | CPIM general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Wednesday alleged that the government has “tacitly and overtly” created a situation in which calls of violence against Kashmiris were being given and executed.

In a Facebook post, he said the terror attack in Pulwama, in which 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives, was a result of “colossal failure of politics” in the state.

“Instead of fixing responsibility, upholding the basic democratic norm of accountability, we see that the Modi government has misused the support given by the political opposition to bring the perpetrators of this heinous terror attack to justice, to hide its failures.

“It has tacitly and overtly created a situation where calls for violence against Kashmiris, who are as much a citizen of India as any RSS member, are being openly given and executed. This is shameful, undemocratic and blatantly ‘anti-national’ politics from BJP-RSS,” he said.

He said there should be accountability and fixing of responsibility for the loss of lives.

“Particularly when the J&K governor talks of intelligence failure. In 2008, after Mumbai terror attack, the Union home minister and the Maharashtra chief minister had to resign. The current establishment cannot hide behind the coffins of our martyred jawans,” he said in his post.

Yechury claimed that the number of local militants has risen during the tenure of this government and alleged that the number of deaths of both civilians and security forces has also risen during this period.

“In playing petty politics, the Modi government has finished all middle ground in Kashmir and strengthened the militancy. Who is accountable for the mess now? BJP governors speak of boycotts of Kashmiris? Will this enable normalcy to return,” he asked.

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