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Like-minded parties will support Rahul as leader of united alliance against BJP-led NDA: Amarinder




Tel Aviv | Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh expressed confidence that all “like-minded parties” in the Opposition which have the best interests of the nation at heart and will support Congress chief Rahul Gandhi as the leader of the united alliance against the BJP-led NDA in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Singh also said the Congress party, under the leadership of Rahul, will return to power in 2019 as the people are “completely disillusioned” with the BJP and want a “positive change”.

Singh, who is in Israel on a five-day visit, said India needed a young and dynamic leader to bring it out of the current mess and put it back on the global map.

“Rahul has all the qualities needed to be a great prime minister and he is the perfect man to lead the country, as I have always maintained,” Singh told PTI in an interview when asked if he really feels Rahul is the right man for the job of running the country.

Singh is heading a high-level delegation to Israel to strengthen Punjab’s cooperation with it in the fields of agriculture, horticulture, dairy farming and waste water management, besides trying to attract investments in the state.

Singh said the people are tired of “misgovernance” by the BJP.

“The people are completely disillusioned with the BJP and want a positive change,” he said.

“The escalating prices of diesel and petrol, the economic situation faced by the country just see the way the rupee is going viz a viz the dollar, the polarisation triggered by the BJP, the widespread unemployment, the way many of the ministers at the Centre are functioning the people can see all that, and are sick and tired of it.

“The time is up for the BJP. The Congress, under Rahul, is ready to take the reins of the country and bring it back on the path of progress and prosperity,” Singh said.

He said the entire Congress party is currently in election mode.

“All of us, including me, are ready to put all our might into ensuring that the party wins each one of them,” he said.

When asked whether opposition parties would be able to accept Rahul as the leader of a united alliance against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, Singh said all like-minded parties which have the best interests of the nation at heart will embrace him warmly as their leader.

“Other opposition parties know that the Congress is the only party that can lead an effective campaign against the BJP, and they also know that Rahul is more than capable to leading the united opposition. As I have said earlier, it is important to have the right kind of alliances at this juncture if we are to save the nation from the misgovernance of the BJP and its allies,” he said.

Singh expressed confidence that the Congress would win each of the states going to polls, referring to the assembly electons in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram and Chhattisgarh.

Asked whether he would form an alliance with Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab for the 2019 elections if there is a national alliance of the Congress with them, Singh said the Congress in Punjab will sweep the election on its own and does not need allies.

“We have also conveyed this to the Congress high command. But at the same time, we have told them that the final decision rests with them, which they would need to take keeping all exigencies in mind,” he said.


Court takes cognisance of defamation plea against Shashi Tharoor for remark against PM Modi





New Delhi | A Delhi court on Friday took cognisance of a criminal defamation complaint filed against Congress leader Shashi Tharoor for his alleged “scorpion” remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal fixed December 22 for recording the statement of the complainant, Delhi BJP leader Rajeev Babbar. The complaint alleged that Tharoor, with “mala fide intention, made the statement which is not only abuse of the Hindu deity but also defamatory”.

In his complaint, Babbar said being a vice-president of the BJP’s Delhi unit, he was “identified as a worker/supporter of Narendra Modi and BJP” and that Tharoor’s statement hurt his religious sentiment.  The complaint termed the statement “intolerable abuse” and “absolute vilification” of the faith of the people.

Tharoor stoked a controversy last month while speaking at the Bangalore Literature Festival, claiming that an unnamed RSS leader had compared Modi to “a scorpion sitting on a Shivling”. The complaint has been filed under sections 499 and 500 of IPC relating to defamation. If convicted, Tharoor may face a maximum punishment of two years in jail.

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Uttar Pradesh: Thakur leader Raja Bhaiya launched new political party

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Raja Bhaiya

Lucknow | Six-time MLA and Thakur community Raghunath Pratap Singh on Friday announced the launch of his new political party called ‘Jan Satta Party’.

Addressing the media during the launch Singh said,”I have completed 25 years in politics, have been an Independent politician and MLA, so now have decided to form a political party.” He further added that he has approached Election Commision for registration.

Popularly known by the name Raja Bhaiya, Singh is currently an MLA from Kunda in Uttar Pradesh. He was a cabinet minister of Food and Civil Supplies Department during the Samajwadi Party government. He has also served as a minister in the cabinet of Kalyan Singh, Ram Prakash Gupta and Rajnath Singh’s government.

According to political pundits, the formation of a new political party by Raja Bhaiya is an attempt to influence the upper caste of voters in Uttar Pradesh which will indirectly help the BJP in the upcoming elections against the possible SP-BSP alliance. Earlier a close aide of the Samajwadi party, Raja Bhaiya in the last Rajya Sabha elections voted for the BJP candidate. He clearly stated that he won’t be voting in favour of the BSP candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls due to his differences with BSP supremo Mayawati.

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Afridi’s comments on Kashmir endorsed by Pakistan citizens: Shiv Sena





Mumbai | The Shiv Sena Friday latched on to former Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi’s remarks that his country “does not want Kashmir” and said all sane Pakistanis would endorse the view.

The Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, said Pakistan’s government and military chief gave more impetus on trying to harm India than governing the country as a result of which it has to seek external financial aid even 70 years after Independence.

In a video that has gone viral, Afridi is heard saying, “I believe that Pakistan does not want Kashmir, and India too should not be given the state. Kashmir should be an independent country.” He went on add that “humanity” or “insaniyat” should be prioritised.

In a swipe at the affairs of his own country battling financial woes and sectarian strife, the Pakistani all-rounder added, “Pakistan can’t handle its four provinces”. Afridi, while speaking on the matter later, however, has blamed the Indian media for quoting him out of context. Making a U-turn, Afridi has now said that “Kashmir belongs to Pakistan”.

The Sena’s editorial Friday stated, “Pakistan has become so poor in trying to support terrorism and corruption that it now is left with only the option of selling cattle and vehicles from the Prime Minister’s residence.”  It claimed that Pakistan was on the verge of a financial breakdown and it had been relegated to begging for a bailout from countries like China, after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) turned down its aid request.

“If the country needs financial oxygen to keep its economy going, alive, how will it take care of Kashmir? Not just Afridi, every sane Pakistani will hold the same view. However, who asks the common man there?” the editorial questioned. “The government and the military chief there give more impetus on harming India than doing good for its people. Therefore, they have to beg for aid even 70 years after Independence,” it said.

The Sena further dubbed Afridi as “anti-Indian” and said he has, in the past, made derogatory statements against India. Citing examples, it said Afridi had shown a soft corner for 13 terrorists eliminated by Indian security forces, and has been repeatedly advocating Independence for Kashmir.

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