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Rahul Gandhi fires fresh salvo at PM Modi after French media revelation on Rafale deal

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New Delhi, Oct 11 (PTI) Firing a fresh salvo at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale deal, Congress president Rahul Gandhi alleged on Thursday that he was a “corrupt man” who helped Anil Ambani pocket Rs 30,000 crore in the purchase of the fighter aircraft.

Rahul Gandhi demanded an investigation against the prime minister.

The Congress president also described Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman‘s trip to France as part of a “huge cover-up” by the government.

His attack at the government came at a press conference following a report in the French media that Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of Rafale, had to choose Ambani’s firm Reliance Defence as its offsets partner in India as a trade-off for getting the deal.

The government has been insisting that it had no role in the Dassault’s choice of Reliance Defence.

Dassault Aviation said in a statement that it has “freely chosen to make a partnership with India’s Reliance Group”.

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Former Goa Congress MLAs join BJP after resignation

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New Delhi | Former Goa Congress MLAs  Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte on Tuesday joined BJP after resigning from the party.


Both the Congress MLAs today joined the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) after in the presence of Union Minister Piyush Goyal and Goa BJP leader Sripad Naik. Both the leader had earlier met BJP president Amit Shah in the morning which lead to the speculations of both the lawmakers joining BJP.  Speaking to media after meeting Amit Shah, Subhash Sirodkar said, “We are joining BJP today. We expect 2-3 more MLAs to come, not today but in the coming days.”

When asked about the recent development Goa Assembly speaker Pramod Sawant said, “I received resignation from 2 Congress MLAs Dayanand Sopte & Subhash Shirodkar. They confirmed they’re doing this willingly, without any pressure. I accepted the resignations. The process will be completed, copies will be sent to all members of House, Guv & EC.”  He further added, “Strength of the assembly now is 38. Party strength is BJP 14, Congress 14, MGP 3, Goa Forward 3, NCP 1, independent 3. We have informed EC, it is up to them as to when there should be a by-poll etc.”

The resignation of the two Congressmen proves to be a major setback for the Congress party that demanded a no-confidence motion in the Goa assembly after CM Manohar Parrikkar was admitted to AIIMS regarding his degrading health. In the 40 member Goa assembly, the numbers of the Congress party has been reduced to 14, while the coalition of BJP (16) along with Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (3), Goa Forward Party (3), NCP(1) and 1 independent government has 24 MLAs in the assembly.

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Dhinakaran vows to ‘retrieve’ AIADMK

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Chennai | AMMK leader TTV Dhinakran on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on the AIADMK leadership, saying the ruling party has “lost its identity” and was “stuck” due to a “few selfish” people.

The ousted AIADMK leader also claimed that his Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) would ‘retrieve’ the ruling party.

“One cannot deny the fact that the party has lost its identity and ideology and veered away from the path laid down by Amma (the late J Jayalalithaa). It is now stuck due to a few selfish persons,” he alleged without naming anyone.

He was apparently targeting AIADMK Coordinator O Panneerselavam and the Joint Coordinator K Palaniswami, with whom he is in a running feud for control of the ruling party.

Palaniswami is Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu while Panneerselvam is his deputy.

In a letter to partymen ahead of the AIADMK founding day on October 17, Dhinakaran said while the late Chief Minister M G Ramachandran had launched it, Jayalalithaa had taken it forward and made it a popular movement in the state.

But post her death in 2016, “hegemonic forces” had taken over the party, he said in the letter.

Reiterating his oft-repeated charge of the AIADMK being ‘subservient’ to the BJP-led government at the Centre, he said his AMMK would retrieve the AIADMK and restore it to its old pride.

The AIADMK has “lost its identity and become someone’s slave,” he said but did not name anyone.

Dhinakaran claimed 90 percent of AIADMK workers were supporting AMMK and that the rest were in the ruling party due to “selfish motives.”

“AMMK has been the true AIADMK. In the coming days, it will retrieve AIADMK,” he added.

His victory in the RK Nagar bypoll in December 2017 was proof of people’s sentiments as the voters elected him as Jayalalithaa’s successor, he said.

The bypoll was necessitated due to the death of Jayalalithaa in December 2016. Dhinakaran, who contested as an Independent, had defeated ruling party nominee E Madhusudhanan by a good margin.

Earlier, Paneerselvam had in February 2017 fallen out of favour with then AIADMK interim general secretary V K Sasikala and resigned as the chief minister.

Palaniswami was subsequently made his successor by Sasikala, who also appointed Dhinakaran as AIADMK deputy general secretary, before leaving for Bengaluru to serve a four-year jail term in a disproportionate assets case.

However, in August last year, the factions led by Panneerselvam and Palaniswami merged. Later, a party General Council, under the two leaders, expelled Sasikala from the party and annulled all appointments made by her, including that of Dhinakaran.

Dhinakaran has been since critical of the Palaniswami government and has repeatedly vowed to oust it.

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2 Congress MLAs likely to join BJP after resigning from the party

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New Delhi | The Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) has found a sense of relief for its government in Goa after 2 Congress MLAs held a meeting with BJP president Amit Shah.

According to reports, Congress MLAs Dayanand Sapote and Subhash Shirodkar have resigned from the Congress party and are likely to join BJP. Speaking to media after meeting Amit Shah, Subhash Sirodkar said, “We are joining BJP today. We expect 2-3 more MLAs to come, not today but in the coming days.”

When asked about the recent development Goa Assembly speaker Pramod Sawant said, “I received resignation from 2 Congress MLAs Dayanand Sopte & Subhash Shirodkar. They confirmed they’re doing this willingly, without any pressure. I accepted the resignations. The process will be completed, copies will be sent to all members of House, Guv & EC.”  He further added, “Strength of the assembly now is 38. Party strength is BJP 14, Congress 14, MGP 3, Goa Forward 3, NCP 1, independent 3. We have informed EC, it is up to them as to when there should be a by-poll etc.”

The resignation of the two Congressmen proves to be a major setback for the Congress party that demanded a no-confidence motion in the Goa assembly after CM Manohar Parrikkar was admitted to AIIMS regarding his degrading health. In the 40 member Goa assembly, the numbers of the Congress party has been reduced to 14, while the coalition of BJP (16) along with Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (3), Goa Forward Party (3), NCP(1) and 1 independent government has 24 MLAs in the assembly.

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