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We are not in favour of Sidhu hugging Pakistan Army chief: Punjab CM Amarinder Singh

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Navjot Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh | Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday clarified that the Congress party is not in favour of its minister Navjot Singh Sindhu hugging Pakistan’s Army Chief during the oath-taking ceremony of Cricketer turned Politician Imran Khan as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Speaking to media, Amarinder Singh said, “It was wrong for him (Navjot Singh Sidhu)to have shown the affection towards the Pakistan Army Chief,  I am not in its favour of this act.” He further added that “Everyday our jawans are getting martyred. To hug their Chief General Bajwa…I am against this. The fact is that the man should understand that our soldiers are being killed everyday.”

Criticising Sidhu for his act Amarinder Singh said, “To say that ‘I don’t know General Bajwa’…it is written on their uniform. That’s wrong for him (Sidhu) to have shown the affections he did for the Pakistan Army Chief.” Holding Bajwa responsible for the death of Indian soldiers at the LOC Amarinder Singh said, “My own regiment lost 1 Major & 2 jawans a few months ago & everyday somebody is being shot & whether the man who pulled the trigger is to blame or the man who gives the order which is the chief, and the chief is General Bajwa.”

However, when asked about Sidhu being sited next to the President of Pakistan’s Kashmir Masood Khan, Singh said that maybe he (Sidhu) didn’t know who he was. He further stated that the Punjab government has nothing to do with Sidhu attending the oath ceremony of Imran Khan as he went there in his personal capacity.

Responding to the controversy of sitting next to POK President, Cricketer turned Politician Navjot Singh Sidhu said that, “If you’re invited as a guest of honour somewhere, you sit wherever you are asked to. I was sitting somewhere else but they asked me to sit there”. When asked about him hugging Pakistan Army Chief General Bajwa, Sidhu said,” If someone (Pak Army Chief General Bajwa) comes to me & says that we belong to the same culture & we’ll open Kartarpur border on Guru Nanak Dev’s 550th Prakash Parv, what else I could do?”

The Punjab minister was criticised by the opposition for visiting Pakistan and hugging Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa during the oath ceremony of Imran Khan. BJP leader and Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij termed Sidhu’s participation in the ceremony as an “act of disloyalty” towards India which “will not be endorsed by any patriotic citizen” of the country. While another BJP leader Shwait Malik demanded an apology from him for the “unacceptable act.”

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Priyanka very capable, happy that she will help me: Rahul Gandhi

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Rahul Gandhi

Amethi (Uttar Pradesh) | Welcoming his sister’s entry into active politics, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said he was “very happy” that Priyanka will assist him in the Lok Sabha polls.

“I am very happy that my sister Priyanka will assist me in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha polls, she is very capable,” Rahul said.

He also said that Jyotiraditya Scindia is a dynamic youth leader.

His comments came hours after Priyanka became AICC general secretary and was made in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, and Scindia was given the charge of western Uttar Pradesh.

To a question, Rahul said, “We won’t play on the backfoot, we will play on the frontfoot, be it Gujarat or Uttar Pradesh.”

On being kept out of the SP-BSP alliance, he said, “SP, BSP have formed alliance in Uttar Pradesh to defeat the BJP. I have no animosity against them. I have to take forward Congress ideology.”

His remarks assume significance in the light of the Congress party’s decision to go it alone in the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Rahul, however, said that he was ready to “cooperate” with these parties to defeat the BJP.

The Congress president arrived here in the morning on a two-day tour of his parliamentary constituency.

He would meet and discuss issues with people in his home constituency.

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Jayalalithaa cannot be termed a convict in assets case: Madras High Court

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J Jayalalithaa

Chennai | The Madras High Court on Wednesday held that former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa cannot be termed a convict in a disproportionate assets case and dismissed a petition challenging the construction of a memorial to her on the ground that she was one.

A division bench of justices M Sathyanarayanan and P Rajamanickam made the observation and dismissed the petition by M L Ravi, president of Desiya Makkal Sakthi Katchi, seeking a direction to restrain the Tamil Nadu government from spending money from the public exchequer for construction of the memorial.

The petitioner also said that steps should be taken to recover money if it was spent by the government from her property citing that she was convicted in the disproportionate wealth case.

The bench observed that before the orders could be passed by the Supreme Court on the appeals filed against the Karnataka High Court order, Jayalalithaa breathed her last and therefore, the appeal against her acquittal came to be dismissed as abated.

“It is to be remembered at this juncture that the said person had already had the benefit of acquittal operating in her favour and in the light of the judgement of HC the stigma of conviction against her got erased, which has not been set aside by the apex court on merits for the reason that before the orders could be pronounced, she died.

“Therefore, it cannot be said that Jayalalithaa was a convicted person and as such, there is stigma of conviction attached to her,” the judges said.

Suggesting that the money could be spent on construction of hospitals, educational institutions, for developmental projects and provision of basic facilities to citizens, the court said it was for the state government to take a call and it cannot issue any positive direction to do so.

It declined to accept the main contention of the petitioner that the order of acquittal passed by the Karnataka High Court had been reversed by the Supreme Court in criminal appeals, and Jayalalithaa who was the first respondent in the said appeals became a convict and as such, a memorial in honour of a convicted person cannot be built.

Referring to the money spent from public exchequer for construction of the memorial, the bench said, “The petitioner did not make a challenge to the sanction of funds and the clearances accorded for construction of the said memorial and even otherwise; this Court is of the considered view that the grounds urged by the petitioner lack merit for the above cited reasons.”

The apex court had in 2017 abated the charges against Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate wealth case while sentencing her close aide V K Sasikala and two others to imprisonment.

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‘GST rollout biggest reform taken as part of systemic reform’: Nirmala Sitharaman

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Sitharaman; Congress

Chennai | Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday termed the NDA government’s 2017 rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as the “biggest reform” taken as part of a “systemic reform” and pitched India as a bright spot for investors.

In her address at the Tamil Nadu government’s second Global Investors’ Meet (GIM), the Defence Minister said the government has ensured that systemic reforms were taken up with ‘courage.’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it a point that systemic reforms were done in such a way that India’s growth potential was realised fully, she said.

“We maintain the growth well above 6.5 (per cent), sometimes touching seven and IMF’s prediction is that we are likely to be over seven per cent in the coming years too.”

She said it was possible because the Modi government had made sure that that the systemic reforms were taken up “with courage,’ GST being the biggest of them.

“The biggest reform in the last 60 years was to make India as one market and that was achieved under Prime Minister Modi,” she said.

Together with many steps taken by the government, the country has now climbed the World Bank’s Ease of Doing business index also, she added.

“India is seen as the brightest spark..and the shining spot globally. Only two days ago, the IMF came up with the forecast that India’s growth will be the highest globally, being sustained for the last five years in that fashion.

This, along with fiscal prudence (and) the way in which the economy is being managed,” Sitharaman added.

Whether food inflation or the overall inflation, they have been kept well under control, she said.

“So, for somebody who wants to set up an industry, somebody who wants to do business, what more ideal situation can you have?” she asked.

Sitharaman also released the ‘Tamil Nadu Aerospace and Defence Industrial Policy 2019’ on the occasion.

Speaking at the summit, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami strongly pitched for his state as a favourable investment destination, among a group of investors and diplomatic officials, including Ambassadors and High Commissioners of various countries.

“With a population of 7.2 crore, of which 80 per cent is literate, and nearly 50 per cent urbanised, Tamil Nadu is an innovation-based economy, with a strong performance in manufacturing and services,” he said.

High quality skilled human resources, besides infrastructure, have made it a very attractive investment destination, he said, adding that the state attracts the third highest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country.

Palaniswami said Tamil Nadu’s industrial base was diversified and it holds the leading position in textiles, leather, automobiles and auto components.

It also leads in heavy and Light engineering, electronics manufacture, Information Technology and Information Technology Enabled Services, and health care, he added.

The two-day GIM 2019 will see the participation of investors from a number of countries.

Palaniswami is scheduled to give an account of the MoUs signed during the event on its concluding day on Thursday.

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