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Congress promised loan waivers, handed out ”lollipops”: PM Modi

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Ghazipur | Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday accused the Congress of misleading farmers on loan waivers, saying its governments had handed out lollipops instead of what was promised.

“Be wary of the Congress and its lies, he said at a public meeting here after laying the foundation stone for a medical college and releasing a postal stamp on legendary king Suheldev.

Modi was on a visit to the Purvanchal region, his second trip to Uttar Pradesh this month. He also visited Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency, to launch the South Asia Regional Centre of the International Rice Research Institute.

The prime minister said the Congress promised loan waivers to lakhs of farmers, but the JD(S)-Congress coalition that came into power did not deliver.  Lollipops were handed out. The loan waiver was given to only 800 farmers, he claimed. He said the lollipop company had similarly forgotten the promises it made before the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress has in the past denied similar charges made by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Modi’s recent remarks on farm loans follow the waivers announced by the Congress governments in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh after this month’s assembly polls.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi recently said his party would not let Modi rest till he writes off farm loans across the country. Modi claimed that under the Congress rule, loans were given to people who were not eligible, while farmers were forced to go to private lenders and fall into debt traps.

The prime minister described himself again as a chowkidar’ (watchman) of the people, a term ridiculed by Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

This chowkidar of yours is toiling very hard day and night, and with honesty, to brighten your future and that of your children, he said.

“Because of this chowkidar, some thieves are having sleepless nights. It is your faith and blessings on me that will take the thieves to their rightful place one day,” he said. He described Maharaja Suheldev as a brave warrior.

Maharaja Suheldev is among those bravehearts who had struggled for the honour of `Maa Bharti’, he said. All people hailing from the deprived and the exploited sections of society seek inspiration from him. Remembering him strengthens the mantra of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas (inclusive development),” he said.

The PM’s rally here is also being seen as an effort by the Bharatiya Janata Party to woo the Rajbhar community, which reveres Maharaja Suheldev.

However, BJP ally Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party has distanced itself from the event. SBSP chief and Uttar Pradesh minister Om Prakash Rajbhar has claimed he was not invited in time.

Modi said his government will not let the memory of those who defended the country and worked for society to fade away. “There are bravehearts of the country who have not been given the due respect by the previous governments. Our government is paying tribute to them, he said.

“Several important steps have being taken to transform Purvanchal into a big medical hub and to strengthen small industries in UP,” Modi said. He said when a government works with transparency and public interest is put above self-interest, big tasks are accomplished effectively. “Today even the poorest of the poor are heard. The government has been able to lay the foundation of a strong monument,” he said.

Modi mentioned Pradhan Mantri Jan ArogyaYojana and said for the first time healthcare had been given so much emphasis. The prime minister listed several agriculture-related projects for the region.

These include the International Rice Research Institute in Varanasi, cargo centres in Varanasi and Ghazipur, a fertilizer plant in Gorakhpur and the Bansagar irrigation project.

Modi slammed the Congress for not implementing the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission on minimum support price for crops. He said the government has now fixed the minimum support price of 22 crops at one and a half times the cost of production.

Mentioning connectivity projects, Modi said work is in full swing for the Purvanchal Expressway. The recently opened waterway between Varanasi and Kolkata would also benefit Ghazipur, he added.

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Pulwama attack: Shiv Sena MLC wants boycott of tourism in Jammu and Kashmir

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Mumbai | Against the backdrop of the Pulwama terrorist attack that claimed lives of 40 CRPF personnel, a Shiv Sena MLC wants people from other parts of India to boycott tourism in Jammu and Kashmir for two years.

Sena legislator and spokesperson Manisha Kayande said boycotting tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, “where youth, women and children pelt stones on security forces”, would hurt the economic resources of the northern state. “The need of the hour is to counter the mentality of keeping the state on tenterhooks by targeting Indian jawans,” she said in a statement issued on Saturday.

Noting that Jammu and Kashmir is a beautiful state that attracts visitors from across the globe, Kayande said, “Tourism benefits the local people. If these resources earned are used against the country and the security forces, Indians should boycott tourism in the state for next two years.”

“Whenever there is an encounter between militants and security agencies, locals pelt stones on jawans to help militants get away,” she claimed. The Sena leader also demanded boycott of all Chinese goods, saying that country was supportive of Pakistan, which has been fomenting trouble in India.

China on Friday condemned the Pulwama terror attack carried out by a Jaish suicide bomber but declined to back India’s appeal to list the Pakistan-based terror group’s chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.

At least 40 CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on Thursday in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.

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Rajinikanth and his party won’t contest 2019 Lok Sabha polls

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Chennai | Actor turned politician Rajinikanth has announced that he along with his party Rajni Makkal Mandram won’t be contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in 2019.

In an issued Press release Rajinikanth stated that his party Rajni Makkal Mandram (RMM) will not support any party and added that its focus will on next assembly elections. The Tamil actor also appealed to his supporters to that he wants them to vote for a party which will solve Tamil Nadu’s water issues.

Rajinikanth further mentioned that his photo or party symbol should strictly not be used for any propaganda. On 31 December 2017 Rajinikanth had announced his entry into politics with the intention to contest in the 2021 Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly elections in all 234 constituencies.

Out of the 2014 Lok Sabha election held on the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK won 37 seats while PMK and BJP managed to win 1 seat each. DMK and Congress failed to win even a single seat in Tamil Nadu.

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Lok Sabha polls: Mumbai Congress promises jobs, unemployment allowance

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Mumbai | The Mumbai Congress is set to roll out a campaign aimed at providing employment to youth in the megacity and a monthly allowance to unemployed people if the party is voted to power in the Lok Sabha polls.

The campaign, titled ‘Chalo Ward Abhiyaan’, taken up in view of the “rising unemployment in the country”, will commence from Monday, Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam said in a statement. The city Congress unit has already started working on the plan and printed around six lakh forms, he said.

The Youth Congress workers will be visiting every house in all the Assembly segments in Mumbai to ensure that every youngster fills these forms, Nirupam said. “Those who fill the forms will be given allowance cards. If we are voted to power, the allowance card holders will be given preference in employment, or else they will provided unemployment allowance,” he said.

Nirupam said people between 18 and 40 years of age would be eligible for the unemployment allowance. The new Congress-led governments in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have already announced unemployment allowances of Rs 3,500 and Rs 4,000 per month respectively, he noted.

Nirupam also said that unlike the ruling BJP, the Congress will “actually walk the talk”, if it is voted to power in the Lok Sabha elections.

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