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Congress by forging grand alliance is trying to hide its weaknesses, is in ICU: PM Modi

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Lok Sabha

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today on Thursday came hard on the opposition parties stating that the Congress, which has been making efforts to forge a “mahagathbandhan” (grand alliance) for the Lok Sabha elections to be held in 2019, was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and those who are a part of grand alliance are actually its support system.

This attack by PM Modi came during a video interaction with workers of the booth of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) from Jaipur, west Arunachal, Nawada, Hazaribagh and Ghaziabad parliamentary constituencies.

Responding to a question made by a BJP worker from Arunachal Pradesh regarding the efforts of the opposition to build a grand alliance, PM Modi stated that it was not a matter of opposition unity but an attempt was being made so as to do branding for some political parties in the name of grand alliance.

He said, “This ‘mahagathbandhan’ is not a bond of knot but is an alliance of some opportunistic political parties to hide their weaknesses”.

He further added, “They are trying to stitch an alliance of parties while we are stitching people’s hearts. This is their compulsion. Our work is to stitch relations which is our national duty”.

The PM said that there was a confusion in the “mahagathbandhan” over policy and leadership. Their intention was crooked.

He added, “ Their only motto is ‘Modi hatao’, ‘Modi hatao’ and ‘Modi hatao’ (Remove Modi) while our determination is to accelerate the path of development.”

Calling the idea of grand alliance an instance of rising power of BJP, he sought to know why Congress, which had passed a resolution against alliances, was now backpedaling.

He said, “Some years back, the Congress passed a resolution in Madhya Pradesh saying it will never go for any alliance. What is the reason today they are ready to have an alliance with any political party? Today they are saying …save me”.

“When a patient remains in the ICU, he is given a different kind of support system so that he can survive. The Congress is installing a support system of political parties to save itself. For the Congress, all those part of ‘mahagathbandhan’ are only a support system so that they rescue it from ICU.”

PM Modi also asserted that Congress’ efforts to build a grand alliance were not going to make any difference to the BJP for the polls of Lok Sabha in 2019.

PM Modi further asked, “If the BJP government had made some mistakes or its popularity graph had gone down or the Prime Minister had made some mistakes, would they have gone for an alliance?” He also said, “They can’t stand before the BJP. This is the reason they are doing this to get together (‘mel milap’). They are ‘naamdar’ and we are ‘kaamdar’. Their purpose is welfare of a family and ours is country’s welfare. The country is going to judge them on these issues… Being a BJP worker it does not make any difference to us what our opponents are doing.”

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India focusing on promoting domestic defence production: Nirmala Sitharaman

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Chennai | Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said the Government was focusing on promoting domestic defence production to build capacities for catering to the need of the armed forces.

In this direction, Prime Minister Narendra Modi came up with the idea of two defence corridors–one each in Tamil Nadu and the other in Uttar Pradesh, she said.

Sitharaman said at present there are several manufacturers who send their components to various big vectors and platforms manufactured outside

“Why is it that we won’t be able to produce those very vectors and platforms in India? And that is one of the reasons– that by announcing the corridor, we have invited quite a lot of manufacturers from abroad to come, choose the location where they want to establish their unit and start producing defence equipment,” she added.

Sitharaman, who was addressing the Tamil Nadu government’s second Global Investors’ Meet (GIM) here, recalled that holding of the Defence Expo last year in Tamil Nadu marked the first time the event was held in the state.

Following that, a lot of industries evinced interest in undertaking defence related manufacturing in the state, she added.

She also assured the Centre’s full cooperation to realise Tamil Nadu’s aspirations for greater industrialisation.

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Priyanka very capable, happy that she will help me: Rahul Gandhi

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Rahul Gandhi

Amethi (Uttar Pradesh) | Welcoming his sister’s entry into active politics, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said he was “very happy” that Priyanka will assist him in the Lok Sabha polls.

“I am very happy that my sister Priyanka will assist me in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha polls, she is very capable,” Rahul said.

He also said that Jyotiraditya Scindia is a dynamic youth leader.

His comments came hours after Priyanka became AICC general secretary and was made in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, and Scindia was given the charge of western Uttar Pradesh.

To a question, Rahul said, “We won’t play on the backfoot, we will play on the frontfoot, be it Gujarat or Uttar Pradesh.”

On being kept out of the SP-BSP alliance, he said, “SP, BSP have formed alliance in Uttar Pradesh to defeat the BJP. I have no animosity against them. I have to take forward Congress ideology.”

His remarks assume significance in the light of the Congress party’s decision to go it alone in the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Rahul, however, said that he was ready to “cooperate” with these parties to defeat the BJP.

The Congress president arrived here in the morning on a two-day tour of his parliamentary constituency.

He would meet and discuss issues with people in his home constituency.

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Jayalalithaa cannot be termed a convict in assets case: Madras High Court

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J Jayalalithaa

Chennai | The Madras High Court on Wednesday held that former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa cannot be termed a convict in a disproportionate assets case and dismissed a petition challenging the construction of a memorial to her on the ground that she was one.

A division bench of justices M Sathyanarayanan and P Rajamanickam made the observation and dismissed the petition by M L Ravi, president of Desiya Makkal Sakthi Katchi, seeking a direction to restrain the Tamil Nadu government from spending money from the public exchequer for construction of the memorial.

The petitioner also said that steps should be taken to recover money if it was spent by the government from her property citing that she was convicted in the disproportionate wealth case.

The bench observed that before the orders could be passed by the Supreme Court on the appeals filed against the Karnataka High Court order, Jayalalithaa breathed her last and therefore, the appeal against her acquittal came to be dismissed as abated.

“It is to be remembered at this juncture that the said person had already had the benefit of acquittal operating in her favour and in the light of the judgement of HC the stigma of conviction against her got erased, which has not been set aside by the apex court on merits for the reason that before the orders could be pronounced, she died.

“Therefore, it cannot be said that Jayalalithaa was a convicted person and as such, there is stigma of conviction attached to her,” the judges said.

Suggesting that the money could be spent on construction of hospitals, educational institutions, for developmental projects and provision of basic facilities to citizens, the court said it was for the state government to take a call and it cannot issue any positive direction to do so.

It declined to accept the main contention of the petitioner that the order of acquittal passed by the Karnataka High Court had been reversed by the Supreme Court in criminal appeals, and Jayalalithaa who was the first respondent in the said appeals became a convict and as such, a memorial in honour of a convicted person cannot be built.

Referring to the money spent from public exchequer for construction of the memorial, the bench said, “The petitioner did not make a challenge to the sanction of funds and the clearances accorded for construction of the said memorial and even otherwise; this Court is of the considered view that the grounds urged by the petitioner lack merit for the above cited reasons.”

The apex court had in 2017 abated the charges against Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate wealth case while sentencing her close aide V K Sasikala and two others to imprisonment.

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