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Opposition grand alliance “a non-starter,” says Ram Madhav

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Ram Madhav

Hyderabad | Terming the proposed grand alliance of opposition parties against BJP a “non-starter,” BJP general secretary V Ram Madhav Saturday said the party is gearing up for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls with a target of winning 315 seats.

The opposition parties are proposing ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance) as there was no leader who can match the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said.

“No ‘jhenda’ (flag) and no agenda (for ‘Mahagathbandhan’). It’s a non-starter.

With such a sinking ‘gathbandhan’, nobody can stop the victory march of BJP. BJP is gearing up for parliament elections with the target of 315 seats in 2019,” he said.

Madhav claimed there was no leader in the country who can match Modi’s popularity.

“That’s why, all are doing ‘Mahagathbandhan’ today.

There is no leader in the country who can match the popularity of Modi ji.

With that fear, your Chandrasekhar Rao (Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief and caretaker Chief Minister) has brought elections by six-eight months early,” Madhav said.

Madhav was addressing a meeting of BJP workers from Secunderabad assembly constituency here which was organised in connection with the December 7 Assembly polls in the state.

BJP is a natural party for Telangana and only it can be the alternative to ruling TRS, he claimed.

Hitting out at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and describing the party as a “sinking ship”, he said “an alliance is being formed for the assembly polls in the company of such a party.”

The Congress leader was “working hard on how to put Modi in power in 2019. He is very busy..,” Madhav said.

Attacking TDP, which is also a partner in the Congress-led alliance of opposition parties in Telangana, he described the party as ‘Telugu Droham (betrayal) Party’.

TDP was founded by late N T Rama Rao on an anti-Congress plank and the party is joining Congress-led alliance for political existence in Telangana, he claimed.

BJP activists should aim to bring the party to power in Telangana and not hope to increase its strength by just a few seats in the assembly elections, Madhav said.

TRS had only got 62 seats (out of 119) in a wave in 2014 in when the party ran a campaign claiming credit for realising separate Telangana, the BJP leader said.

“Does TRS, which could not run the government for full five years, have the eligibility (to be in power) in the state,” he asked.

BJP MP from Secunderabad Bandaru Dattatreya, state BJP president K Laxman and others were present on the occasion.

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Union government sources allege AAP govt ‘stonewalling’ Phase-IV metro

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New Delhi | The AAP government has “stonewalled” the progress of the Delhi’s Metro’s Phase-IV project, leading to “substantial delay” and inconvenience to people, Union government sources claimed Monday.

The fresh accusation comes amid an apparent tussle between the Centre and the Delhi government after the Arvind Kejriwal dispensation imposed a condition of 50-50 per cent operational loss sharing while giving approval to the Phase-IV of the metro network late last month.

A Delhi government spokesperson countered the allegation, saying, the city government has already cleared the project from its side and “any delay that is now happening is from the Centre’s side”.

Highly-placed sources in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (HUA) alleged that “delay tactics of the Delhi government has derailed the metro Phase-IV project”.

The Delhi government has “stonewalled” the progress of the Delhi Metro’s Phase-IV project, leading to “substantial delay” and “causing inconvenience to people”, the sources alleged.

However, the city government spokesperson said, “The Phase-IV project was cleared in December and we had made conditions quite clear.”

“We will respond further as and when we receive any communication from the Centre,” the spokesperson said.

The HUA officials recently had said that it was examining the condition that the Centre equally share any operational loss with the AAP government, while asserting that it was a state subject and that other states might raise similar demands.

Sources said the Delhi government in 2016 had not “conveyed financial commitments in their in-principle approval of the Phase-IV”.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation on January 24, 2017 had submitted the proposal without commitment of sharing of 50 per cent subordinate debt towards central taxes by the Delhi government as the city government did not approve of it, they said.

This was “contrary to the existing practice being followed for all 50:50 joint venture metro rail projects”, including earlier phases of the Delhi Metro, sources claimed.

The Arvind Kejriwal government had on December 19 approved the much-awaited Phase-IV of the DMRC.

An official of the ministry had said the Delhi government had also put a condition in its approval that it will not have any liability on loan provided by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to fund the project.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had told reporters after the approval that the city government will give its share of Rs 9,707 crore towards the construction work under the project, which is estimated to cost around Rs 45,000 crore.

Among the projects chosen under the Phase-IV are Rithala-Narela (21.73 km), Janakpuri West-R K Ashram (28.92 km), Mukundpur-Maujpur (12.54 km), Inderlok-Indraprastha (12.58 km), Tughlakabad-Aerocity (20.20 km), and Lajpat Nagar-Saket G-Block (7.96 km).

A Delhi government official had late last month said “in the past one year, the ridership has gone down due to various reasons. So, if Delhi has to pay 100 per cent of the operational loss, it will not be financially viable for it”.

Also, there are certain corridors that may not be profitable in the future or even do not reach the break-even level, the official had said.

HUA sources on Monday said the two conditions imposed by the Delhi government is “contrary to condition of sanction of the Phase-III of the Delhi Metro wherein operational losses are to be borne by the Delhi government”.

As per the terms of sanction of other metro projects, “repayment of external loan and operational losses” are to be borne by the state governments, they said.

The DMRC on January 10 this year had submitted the Phase-IV detailed project report comprising six corridors with revised costs, sources said.

“The HUA Ministry has started the appraisal process,” sources told PTI.

“The proposal is under appraisal by an independent agency in terms of the Metro Rail Policy, 2017. Since, the proposal of the Delhi Metro Phase-IV has again been changed by the Delhi government to six corridors, it again requires fresh inter-ministerial consultation as part of the appraisal process,” a source said.

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Attempt to murder case registered against Congress MLA who ‘attacked’ colleague

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Congress

Bengaluru | A case of attempt to murder was registered on Monday against Congress MLA J N Ganesh in connection with the alleged brawl with lawmaker colleague Anand Singh at a resort near here, police said.

The case was registered based on a complaint by Singh, who has been hospitalised for injury suffered in the brawl late Saturday night.

Singh and Ganesh, both from Ballari district, had a heated argument and came to blows at the resort where the Congress MLAs were herded together amid alleged poaching attempt by the BJP.

According to the FIR, besides attempt to murder, Ganesh has been charged with causing grievous injuries and giving threats.

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Punjab Assembly Speaker serves notice to Khaira

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speaker

Chandigarh | Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana K P Singh on Monday served a notice to Bholath MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira for his disqualification from the state assembly.

Khaira has been given 15 days to file his reply as to why action under the provisions of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution should not be initiated against him, a spokesman said.

“The Vidhan Sabha has issued a notice to Bholath MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira for disqualification under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution of India,” he said.

The notice was given to Khaira following petitions filed by Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema and Harsimran Singh, a resident of Bholath.

“In their respective petitions, they made references to the Speaker for Khaira’s disqualification,” the spokesman said.

In case Khaira failed to give a reply within 15 days, it will be presumed that he has nothing to say in this regard, the spokesman added.

In his petition to the Speaker, Cheema had said that Khaira had voluntarily given up the membership of the AAP and had floated his own political party ‘Punjabi Ekta Party’.

He had quit the AAP on January 6, six months after he was ousted from the post of Leader of Opposition of the Punjab Assembly.

However, he had not resigned as MLA and had dared the AAP to get him disqualified.

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