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Jaitley, Surjewala in war of words after former’s attack on Rahul

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The state of the economy was the focus of the verbal slugfest between Arun Jaitley and the Congress today with the Union minister saying that abuse is not the answer in political discourse and the opposition party accusing the government of “economic mismanagement”.

The barbs flew thick and fast as Jaitley, who attacked Congress president Rahul Gandhi yesterday saying that wisdom has to be acquired through learning and cannot be inherited, telling Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala that he should respond on facts.

Surjewala accused the union minister of “economic mismanagement” in the country after Jaitley claimed that India had emerged as the fastest growing economy from being among the ‘fragile five’ during UPA.

The Congress leader again hit back, saying exports are in a free fall, the promise of two crore jobs a ‘jumla’, NPAs had soared to Rs 10 lakh crore and loots and scams a norm under this government.

“This is a political discourse. Abuse is not the answer. Please respond to the facts,” Jaitley told Surjewala on Twitter, a response to yesterday’s attack in which the Congress leader said the union minister was writing “hollow and wasteful” blogs to regain political relevance.

“When you abuse and berate the Congress leadership, even Supreme Court and many others by distorting facts, it is ‘political discourse’ for you, but when you are shown the ‘mirror of truth’ with hard facts, you get ‘unnerved’ and call it ‘abuse’? Politics of Convenience?” Surjewala asked today in response to Jaitley’s comments on the Congress chief.

Jaitley hit back, saying, “… surely the journey from India being part of the ‘fragile five’ and ‘policy paralysis’ to the world’s fastest-growing economy could not be the result of economic mismanagement – Another case of ignorance.”

Surjewala responded by saying that growth under Modi government was at a four-year low.

“Exports are in free fall, a promise of 2 crore jobs is a ‘Jumla’, NPA’s are soaring to Rs 10 lakh crore, investment is down, banks are paralysed and ‘loot scams’ a norm, GST flawed, schemes failing! Isn’t this Economic Mismanagement?.”

Jaitley had started the verbal duel by taking a jibe at Gandhi for his “anti-Narendra Modi tirade” yesterday.
“In dynastic parties political positions are heritable. Unfortunately, wisdom is not heritable. It has to be acquired through learning,” he said in a post titled “Is Congress Becoming Ideology-less? Is Anti-Modism its only ideology?,” he had said on his Facebook page.

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Month-long, countrywide agitation plan to expose Modi Government : Congress

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New Delhi  |  The Congress on Saturday decided to launch a month-long, countrywide agitation to expose the Modi government on its alleged corruption and scams including the Rafale fighter jet deal in which it has demanded an investigation by a joint parliamentary committee (JPC).

The agitational plan was finalised at a meeting of top Congress leaders including party general secretaries and in-charges of various states and state unit chiefs, chaired by party president Rahul Gandhi.

“It was decided that corruption, scams of the Modi government particularly the Rafale scam will be taken to people of India. In the next 30 days, Congress workers will do district and state level demonstrations. We will ensure a fair probe, independent probe, a JPC is constituted immediately. We will not be deterred and pushed back,” party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters here.

The party, he said, discussed the Rafale deal in details and claimed that the scam has cost the exchequer Rs 41,000 crore. He said a company belonging to the friend of the Prime Minister has been given a contract worth Rs 30,000 crore under the deal after snatching it away from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

He said the party also demanded that Kerala floods be declared as a “national calamity” and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to play politics in such matters.

He claimed that while the central government has only provided Rs 100 crore relief to the state government, there has been a huge loss of life and damage to properties to the extent of Rs 2,000-3,000 crore due to the floods.

“We believe Modiji should stop discriminating in the matters of flood relief between BJP and non-BJP governments. Only mere Rs 100 crore has been given to Kerala while there is devastation.

“It’s time the PM rises above political partisan game and come forward as a nation to help the people of Kerala and Karnataka and declare Kerala floods as a national calamity,” he said.

He said the Congress governments in different states are contributing to the relief funds while all party MPs, MLAs, MLCs will donate one month’s salary for relief measures.

The Punjab government and the JDS-Congress Karnataka government have sent Rs 10 crore each, while the Puducherry government has contributed Rs one crore, he said.

The deadliest deluge in Kerala in close to a century has claimed 194 lives since August 8. Over 3.14 lakh people have been moved to relief camps.

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Navjot Singh Sidhu recalls memories of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee while in Pakistan for Imran Khan’s oath-ceremony

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Navjot Singh Sidhu, the only one of the 3 Indian cricketers invited by Imran Khan, chief of Tehreek-e-Insaaf to his oath-taking ceremony, reached Lahore yesterday on Friday to watch Khan taking over as the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan. After few minutes of walking across the Wagah border, the minister of Congress Punjab government, Navjot Singh Sidhu, stated he came to Lahore, “take part in the happiness of my friend Imran Khan”.

Navjot Singh Sidhu said, “ I have come here not as a politician but as a friend”.

Sidhu, who seems to have braved jibes and insults piled onto him on social media for the visit, swept them aside stating that he needs not give any kind of proof and hardly cares for what people say or said.

Other than Navjot Singh Sidhu, the elected Prime Minister Imran Khan had invited his two more of his contemporaries from India, Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev.

Mr. Sidhu, staying steadfast to his stand of accepting the invite even before a formal invitation came in. He recited, “Hindustan jeevay, Pakistan jeevay (May India live, May Pakistan live)”, reading a verse that he had jotted much before in Pakistan.

He also said that he saw himself to be “a goodwill ambassador of India” and had brought along “a message of love” to India.

The cricketer-turned-politician, as per Dawn a Pakistan newspaper, recounted how former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had also pushed for improving relations with Pakistan and started the bus service from Wagah.

Quoting Atalji, he said, “If there is a fire at a neighbour’s house, we will also get the heat.” He further added, “Mr Vajpayee, who made repeated efforts to resolve differences with Pakistan despite severe setbacks, is known to have argued that a country could not change its neighbours and “you have to get along with them”.

Imran Khan, who had been a phenomenal cricketer for 2 decades and was the captain of the Pakistan cricket team when it won over England in the World Cup in the year 1992, had rolled out his political party in the mid-nineties after seeing a successful cricket career.

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Jharkhand HC extends Lalu’s provisional bail in fodder scam

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Ranchi  |  The Jharkhand High Court extended today the provisional bail of former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad, convicted in four fodder scam cases, till August 27.

Granting the extension of the provisional bail, the bench of Justice Apresh Kumar Singh fixed August 24 as the date to hear the bail petition.

Senior advocate Chitaranjan Sinha appeared for the RJD leader.

The court had on August 10 extended the provisional bail till August 20 on medical grounds.

The high court had on May 11 granted six weeks provisional bail to the RJD supremo on medical grounds and again extended it till August 14.

Prasad has been convicted in four cases of the multi-crore rupees fodder scam.

The cases relate to illegal withdrawal of money from government treasuries in different districts for the animal husbandry department in undivided Bihar in the 1990s when the Rashtriya Janata Dal was in power in the state.

On September 30, 2013, he was convicted in the first fodder scam case related to the Chaibasa Treasury.

The former Bihar chief minister was again convicted in another case related to the Chaibasa Treasury on January 24, 2018. On February 23 and March 19, he was convicted in cases related to the Deoghar Treasury and the Dumka Treasury respectively.

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