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K’taka Cong MLA says audio tape released by his party to frame BJP is ‘fake’

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In a development that could leave the Congress red-faced in Karnataka, its MLA Shivaram Hebbar today dismissed as “fake” an audio clip released by the party to allege that the BJP offered money and ministerial berth to him for cross-voting during the floor test in the Assembly.

The Congress had released three audio tapes in run up to the floor test, claiming that the BJP leaders were trying to ‘poach’ on the party MLAs by offering ‘blandishments’ so that the BS Yeddyurappa government is saved.

One of the audio tapes released by the party allegedly had conversation between Hebbar’s wife and BJP leaders, who allegedly offered money and ministerial post to woo him to vote for the BJP.

However, in a Facebook post in Kanadda, Hebbar today questioned the authenticity of the audio clip, saying her wife did not receive any such call.

“This is not my wife’s voice and she has not received any such calls. The audio tape is fake. I condemn it,” he wrote.

The Karnataka polls threw up a hung Assembly, with the BJP emerging as the single largest party, but eight short of majority. Governor Vajubhai Vala invited the BJP to form the government and Yeddyurappa was sworn in as chief minister.

As the floor test approached, the Congress alleged that the BJP was indulging in horsetrading and released the audio tapes to back their charges.

In the audio tape in question, B S Yeddyurappa’s son BY Vijayendra and his close associate B J Puttuswamy are heard speaking purportedly to Hebbar’s wife, offering money and ministerial position to her husband if he cross-voted in favour of the BJP during the floor test.

Vijayendra and Puttuswamy are also heard allegedly offering Rs 15 crore for cross-voting but without a ministerial berth, or Rs 5 crore with a cabinet berth. Puttuswamy is also heard allegedly saying that cases against the wife and the son, who are facing a trial in a mining scam, would be cleared.

Realising that he did not have the numbers, Yeddyurappa had on May 19 announced his decision to quit as chief minister without facing the floor test in an anti-climax to the political drama following the hung verdict in the assembly polls.

Union minister and BJP’s Karnataka election in-charge Prakash Javadekar had rubbished the audio tapes as ‘fake.’

Javadekar also had accused the Congress for releasing ‘fake’ audio clips to prevent the BJP from forming government.

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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

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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Improved India-Pakistan relation will be a tribute to former PM Vajpayee says, Farooq Abdullah

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Vajpayee

New Delhi | Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah on Friday said that improved relationship between India and Pakistan will be the greatest tribute to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Speaking to media, Farooq Abdullah said that “He (Vajpayee) was a great man, I cannot see the values he had in anyone today. He was from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Jana Sangh, but his ideology was opposite to theirs. He wanted India to be everybody’s. He also wanted to strike up a friendship with Pakistan. Unfortunately, he couldn’t oversee its fruition. He further added that “I hope that the current government and Imran Khan’s government in Pakistan fulfill his dream, that will be the greatest tribute to him.”

Earlier Pakistan’s to be Prime Minister and Pakistan Therekke-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan while expressed similar views saying that the best way to honour the “towering leader” is by establishing peace between India and Pakistan. condolence towards the death of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who breathed his last on Thursday at 5.05 pm at All India Institute of Medical Science was suffering from a urinary tract infection. Major Political leaders including President Ramnath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with his entire cabinet, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal paid their final homage to the veteran leader at his residence.

The Union government also announced a seven-day state mourning as a mark of respect for the former prime minister. The Home ministry has also issued a circular stating national flag would be flown at half-mast from today for seven days across India and a state funeral would be accorded to Vajpayee. Several state governments have also announced a holiday in schools, colleges and government offices Friday.

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