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Congress questions PM Modi’s role in Mallya-Jaitley meeting

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New Delhi | The Congress Party on Friday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on conducting a fair investigation in the alleged meeting between Fugitive businessmen Vijay Mallya and Finance minister Arun Jaitley.

Addressing a Press Conference, Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked,” Why is PM afraid to conduct a fair investigation in this matter?” He alleged that It shows that PM Modi is not just a part of this crime but the main culprit.”

Attacking Arun Jaitley, Surjewala said, “Despite the shocking revelation of meeting between bank frauds Vijay Mallya and FM Jaitley before Mr. Mallya fled the country, the silence from FM is pointing towards admission if guilt.”

Stressing on Congress leader PL Punia claims on witnessing the meeting between Mallya and Jaitley, the Congress Spokesperson said, “PL Punia has asked CCTV footage to be released. He even offered to quit politics if he is wrong. But Arun Jaitley and entire government are maintaining complete silence not daring to rebut PL Punia.”

Questioning Arun Jaitley’s role Congress further alleged,” Arun Jaitley did not tell CBI, SFIO or MEA to stop Mallya and detain his passport. Was this not his duty to stop the offender?”

Hinting a government conspiracy in restricting the banks to take action against Mallya, the Congress party asked, “In July 2015, Mr Mallya owed ₹7000 cr. Why didn’t the banks take any action against him? Who in Modi govt was asking banks to not take action?” Surjewala further asked, “Who ordered the CBI to change the lookout notice from ‘to detain’ to ‘to inform’?”

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PM should tour drought-hit Maharashtra, help distressed farmers: Congress

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Maharashtra

Mumbai | Congress in Maharashtra on Friday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to tour the drought-hit parts of the state and provide a financial assistance in the form of loan waiver to enable farmers tide over the agrarian crisis.

Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said if the PM just lays foundation stone of the Metro rail projects during his visit to the state next week, it would be a mockery of drought-hit farmers.

“After the electoral losses in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, the BJP-led government at the Centre is reportedly planning Rs four lakh crore worth loan waiver. If this is true, the loan waiver should be given without any criteria and pre-conditions,” he said. Modi will be in the state on a day-long visit on December 18, he said.

“We want him to tour the drought-affected parts of the state and help the distressed farmers. During the 2014 election campaign, Modi had made tall promises to the farmers in the state. But after coming to power, he did not get time to inquire about their well-being. “For the last several years, farmers in the state are facing natural calamities. They have become economically weak after facing natural calamities,” Vikhe said.

A central team has surveyed the drought-affected areas of the state and the government has sought central assistance of Rs 7,000 crore.

“However the state government is yet to get the monetary aid. If the PM is coming to the state just to lay foundation stone of Metro rail projects, it will be a mockery of drought-hit farmers,” he said.

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Punjab CM slams Pakistan Army, warns against its ulterior motives in opening Kartarpur corridor

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Amarinder Singh

Chandigarh | Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday slammed the Pakistan Army raising questions on its intentions to open the Kartarpur Corridor between the two countries and for trying to revive terrorism in the border state.

Participating in a discussion in Punjab Assembly on a resolution on the corridor, Singh warned political parties in the state to be wary of the “ulterior motives” of the Pakistan Army. “Do you really think that the Pakistan Army is our sympathiser when it is continuously killing our soldiers at the border with the ultimate aim of destabilising the border state,” he said, referring to the leaders in the assembly and urged them to contribute to maintaining peace in the state.

“Why did Pakistan Army chief broke news about the corridor even before the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan? What was his interest,” he said.

Singh had refused to visit Pakistan for the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor across the border on November 28, citing terrorist attacks by Pakistan-backed terrorists in India and killing of Indian soldiers on the Kashmir border.

He, however said, he hopes the corridor would become a “bridge of peace” in the times to come and reiterated that he accompany the first ‘Jatha’ to Kartarpur gurdwara. The chief minister also asked Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to “reign in his army”.

“I want to congratulate the Pakistan prime minister (on the decision to open the corridor). My only request to him is that you are a newly elected prime minister and people have high hopes from him; he should rein in his army,” Singh said.

On November 26, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Singh laid the foundation stone of the corridor on the Indian side of the border. On completion, the corridor will facilitate Sikh pilgrims in visiting the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib on the banks of Ravi river in Pakistan where Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, had spent 18 years.

The chief minister reiterated his government’s commitment to protect Punjab from ISI-backed terrorism and said no one would be allowed to push it back into terrorism.

Though Congress leaders shared Singh’s concern about Pakistan Army’s designs to revive militancy in Punjab, opposition leaders said there should be no any “negativity” on the Kartarpur corridor issue.

“It is a historic resolution and we unanimously support it. But there should not be any negativity. Terrorists do not have religion and they only follow their mission. It is the government of India which will ensure foolproof security,” said SAD chief Sukhbir Badal.

Akali leader Gurpartap Singh Wadala said there should be no room for scepticism on the issue. AAP MLA Kultar Singh Sandhwan praised Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu for pushing for the opening of the corridor and rejected suggestions that there could be any recruitment of people from here for spreading terror activities in Punjab.

However, BJP legislator Som Prakash said the chief minister’s fears cannot be overlooked. He said Pakistan has never been sincere in mending ties with India and cited terrorist attacks in Kashmir, Pathankot and Mumbai.

Following the discussion, the Punjab Assembly unanimously passed the resolution and urged the Centre to complete all necessary work before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November 2019 and ensure that peace in Punjab is not disturbed.

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Express your views firmly under democratic norms: PM Modi to Kerala BJP workers

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PM Modi

New Delhi | With the BJP leading protests against the Kerala government over the Sabarimala issue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday told party workers in the state to express their views firmly to convince people while following democratic and constitutional norms.

In an interaction with party workers in the state as part of his nation-wide dialogue with BJP workers in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, Modi said there should be no let-up in their efforts to spread public awareness as he referred to a “sad news”. He was referring to the death of 55-year old Venugopalan Nair, who died after setting himself afire near the venue of the party’s protest in the state on Thursday.

The BJP had called for a bandh in the state, claiming that Nair took the extreme step due to the “adamant” stand of the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government on the Sabarimala issue.

However, police claimed that Nair in his dying declaration given to the Magistrate said he did so due to depression and ran towards the protest venue after setting himself afire. Modi asked BJP workers to “inspire” people across the state to avoid taking any extreme step. Every life is important and it should not suffer, he said in his video-interaction with party’s booth workers from Attingal, Mavelikkara, Kollam, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta.

The BJP has been protesting against the state government over its decision to implement the Supreme Court order allowing women of all age groups to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa Temple and also demanding lifting of ban orders and restrictions.

He also referred to killings of BJP workers in alleged political violence in the state and referred to the example of Tripura, where the saffron party defeated the Left earlier this year after its 20-year rule, to assert that such a day is not far in Kerala. “Those in power in Kerala for years have shown no respect for democracy. They have made every effort to silence the voice of BJP workers and voice of people. Despite BJP workers’ killings, state govt failed to performance their duty,” the prime minister said.

In Kerala, he said, there are two governance models, the Congress model and the Communist model. “Both models are models of efficient corruption and inefficient governance. The BJP model of governance is a model of development. It is a model of quick development, inclusive and all round development,” Modi added.

BJP workers are becoming voice of the people, even if it means withstanding the brutality of political violence, he said. To a question from a party worker about how the party can expand its base in the southern state, he said they should make people’s voice heard and then people will hear their voices.

He recalled former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s saying that a BJP worker should have his one foot in “rail”- a reference to his willingness to travel frequently- and another in jail so that he does not care if police put him behind bars for fighting for people. He also referred to a number of figures to claim that the country had progressed a lot under his government.

“Earlier, the buzzword was VIP now the buzzword is EPI – Every Person is Important,” he said to highlight as to how his government has focussed on the common man. “Indian economy was among the Fragile Five before 2014. The world had turned away from India. Within four years, that perception has completely changed,” he said.

Modi said India is at the forefront of setting the global narrative today, adding that when a nation of 130 crore people speaks, its voice is heard.

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