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Rafale deal: French government denies involvement in India’s choice of partner after Ex-president’s statement

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New Delhi | The government of France on Friday denied any kind of involvement in the choice of Indian industrial partners for the controversial Rafale deal.

The response has come after media reports emerged quoting former French President Francois Hollande that Indian government had proposed Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as the India partner in the Rafale fighter jet deal and not given them a choice. Denying the claim, the French government said  French companies have the full freedom to select Indian firms for the contract and its role was limited to just ensuring the delivery and quality of the warplanes.

The French government said,”In accordance with India’s acquisition procedure, French companies have the full freedom to choose the Indian partner companies that they consider to be the most relevant, then present for the Indian government’s approval the offsets projects that they wish to execute in India with these local partners so as to fulfil their obligations in this regard.”

Meanwhile, Dassault Aviation, the company which produces the Rafale Fighter Jet has also issued a statement after the rising controversy over the deal. It said, “This offsets contract is delivered in compliance with the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016 regulations. In this framework, and in accordance with the policy of Make in India, Dassault Aviation has decided to make a partnership with India’s Reliance Group. This is Dassault Aviation’s choice.”

The opposition parties especially Congress have cornered the NDA government over the Rafael Deal stating irregularities in the Indo-France deal.  Congress alleged that the UPA government while negotiating the procurement of the Rafale Jets had finalised the amount at Rs 526 crores while the current NDA government is procuring the aircraft at Rs 1,670 crores per aircraft.

 

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Pulwama terror attack will be avenged: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

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Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the Pulwama terror attack that took place last Thursday is “unforgivable” and those responsible for the strike will not be spared.

 

Lucknow| Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said on Sunday the Narendra Modi government has “broken the backbone” of terrorists as he asserted that the “cowardly” Pulwama terror attack will be avenged.

“National security is most important and there cannot be any compromise on this. Neither can there be any soft posturing? The cowardly act will be avenged,” Naqvi told reporters here, referring to the recent terror attack in Pulwama in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

“In the more than four-and-half years of the Modi government, the backbone of terrorists has been broken. Since the formation of BJP government at the Centre, barring some places in Kashmir, there has been no terror attack,” the Union minister said.

Citing Sankat Mochan temple (Varanasi), Mecca Masjid (Hyderabad) and Lucknow, he claimed that earlier there were no places where terror attack had not taken place.

“But, during the tenure of the Modi government, the terrorists have not been able to strike,” he said.

The minister said the Pulwama terror attack that took place last Thursday is “unforgivable” and those responsible for the strike will not be spared.

“The Prime Minister has already made his intentions clear in very strong words. We are not going to compromise with those responsible for the terror attack, those who give them patronage or those who sponsor them. They will not be spared,” Naqvi said.

He referred to the government actions in the aftermath of the deadly terror strike.

“The Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status accorded to Pakistan (by India) has been withdrawn. The process of reining in separatist forces, who sing praises of Pakistan, while staying in India, has also started,” Naqvi said.

The security cover of six separatist leaders, including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, was withdrawn Sunday.

To a question whether the Lok Sabha elections would be postponed in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, the Union minister said the poll process and the terror strike are separate issues.

Reacting to controversial statements made by Congress leaders Navjot Singh Siddhu and another leader Noor Bano, vis-a-vis the Pulwama terror attack, Naqvi said, “The Congress must rein in its leaders. In this party (Congress), a competition on giving (controversial) statements is going on.”

On “non-fulfilment” of promises made by the BJP regarding Article 370 and Ram temple in Ayodhya, Naqvi said, “These have been our sankalp (commitment). In the more than four-and-half years of the Modi government, we have given a government of Iqbal (faith), Imaan (honesty) and Insaaf (justice).”

Naqvi said the ‘Bharat ke Mann ki Baat, Modi ke Saath’ programme is the “first-of-its-kind” step taken by any political party.

The BJP launched the month-long exercise on February 3 to seek suggestions from 10 crore people across the country to help the party prepare its ‘sankalp patra’ (manifesto).

“It is happening for the first time that a government has embarked on a programme to know the aspirations of the people, while presenting the report of the work done by it so far. This programme is for construction of a new and prosperous India.” Naqvi said.

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We will not allow Assam to become another Kashmir: Amit Shah

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On the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Amit Shah said misinformation was being spread as if it was only for Assam and other parts of the Northeast.

 

Lakhimpur| BJP National President Amit Shah making a remark on Assam’s ongoing NRC protests said that the BJP government will not let Assam become another Kashmir. “BJP government brought NRC (National Register of Citizens) here. We will not allow Assam to become another Kashmir. It’s our commitment that with the help of NRC, we will deport each and every infiltrator out of Assam,” said Shah. He was addressing a rally in Assam’s Lakhimpur area.

On the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which the Centre failed to table in Rajya Sabha, the BJP president said misinformation was being spread as if it was only for Assam and other parts of the Northeast.

“It was not only for Northeast but for all refugees in the entire country. The way demography is changing in Assam, without the Citizenship Bill, the people of the state will be in big danger,” he added.

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CM Adityanath didn’t accept offer to give up charge of UP backward class welfare dept: Rajbhar

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The leader of SBSP, Omprakash Rajbhar which is an ally of the ruling BJP in UP, said he was giving up the charge of the backward class welfare department.

 

Lucknow| UP Cabinet Minister Om Prakash Rajbhar on Sunday said his offer to give up the charge of the Uttar Pradesh backward class welfare department has not been accepted by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The leader of Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), which is an ally of the ruling BJP in UP, had on Thursday said he was giving up the charge of the backward class welfare department, expressing disappointment that his recommendations on the appointment of state backward castes panel members have been “ignored”.

The minister had said he would, however, continue to be in charge of the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Department.

“I had offered my resignation from the backward class welfare department but the same has not been accepted by the chief minister,” Rajbhar told PTI.

He said, “I told the chief minister that when I do not have the right to keep people of my choice in the UP Backward welfare panel then what is the use of being a minister. The chief minister told me he would look into the matter.”

Rajbhar, however, said that he was sticking to his stand of resigning from the backward class welfare department.

The SBSP had earlier threatened to part ways with the saffron party if the state government does not implement the social justice panel’s recommendation to classify various OBC and Dalit sub-castes into three broad categories and provide quota within quota to them.

The committee, constituted in May last year, had in its recommendations to the state government, favoured classification of various OBC and Dalit sub-castes into three broad categories, backward, very backward and most backward, and provide quota within quota to them.

Backward classes account for about 44 per cent of the electorate in the state and play a crucial role in making or marring political prospects of any party. The panel’s recommendation is likely to spice up the political scene in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Rajbhar had also said that his party can go with the anti-BJP alliance of the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party.

In the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the BJP had bagged 312 out of 403 seats, while SBSP had won four seats. Another ally of the coalition, the Apna Dal (Sonelal), had won nine seats.

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