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IT raids on AAP minister: Kejriwal asks PM to apologise

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New Delhi | Hours after the Income Tax Department raids on premises linked to his minister Kailash Gahlot, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday sought an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to people for “constantly troubling” the AAP government.

The ruling Aam Aadmi Party accused the Modi government of trying to “intimidate” the AAP dispensation by getting its leaders and ministers raided by central agencies.

The party also termed the raid as “political vendetta”.

The Income Tax Department (ITD) Wednesday conducted searches on multiple premises linked to Gahlot, the Delhi Transport Minister, in connection with an alleged tax evasion case, officials said.

“Friendship with Nirav Modi and Mallya and raid on us? Modiji you conducted raids on me Satyendra and Manish what happened to those (raids). Nothing was found.

“So before you go with another raid at least apologise to Delhi people for troubling their elected government,” Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi.

The Najafgarh MLA holds charge of several departments in the Kejriwal government.

They include Law and Administrative Reforms department that are handling the matter of disqualification of 20 AAP legislators for holding posts of parliamentary secretary, and the doorstep delivery of services scheme, respectively.

“It’s clear why Kailash Gahlot is facing Income Tax raids. Modi and (Amit) Shah want illegal and unconstitutional disqualification of 20 MLAs whose legal battle was being led by Gahlot.

“He also oversaw the successful implementation of doorstep delivery scheme despite efforts to derail it by the BJP,” said AAP leader Atishi.

AAP supports investigation of allegations, but why to single out only party’s leaders and ministers, she questioned.

“No matter which agency Modi and Shah send after us, we will not be intimidated and continue to serve people in Delhi,” she said in a press briefing.

Another AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj said the central agencies including the CBI, the ED and the ITD should disclose if it found anything related to “corruption” during their raids on AAP leaders and ministers.

“Many such raids happened in the past but nothing substantial came out and nor any charge sheet was filed,” he said.

The searches were conducted as part of a tax evasion probe against two construction firms linked to the minister and others, the officials said.

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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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