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AAP names Bhagwant Mann as Punjab president; Khaira quits posts

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bhawant mann

Chandigarh/New Delhi, May 8 : The Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) on Monday announced Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann would be its new Punjab unit president and AAP legislator and millionaire businessman Aman Arora the co-president.

The announcement had an immediate reaction with state AAP legislator Sukhpal Singh Khaira announcing his resignation from the posts of party chief whip and spokesman.

“The Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of Aam Aadmi Party today approved roadmap to revamp the Punjab unit of the party and decided to appoint Bhagwant Mann, MP from Sangrur, as state President (convener) and Aman Arora MLA from Sunam as Co-President (Co-Convener).

“Sarabjit Kaur Manuke MLA from Jagraon has been appointed Deputy Leader of the Legislature party in Vidhan Sabha,” an AAP spokesman said in Chandigarh.

The PAC, headed by AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal, approved the new appointments after marathon meeting with AAP legislators, zone in-charges and heads of frontal organisations of its Punjab unit.

“The national leadership held one to one meetings and collective talk with MLAs and other office bearers before taking final decisions in the PAC,” the spokesman added.

“In another significant decision, the party has decided to constitute separate PAC for Punjab so that the state unit may take its independent decisions of political affairs Apertaining to state,” the spokesman said.

Khaira, who had left the Congress last year to join the AAP and had remained one of its most vocal voices, was clearly upset by Mann’s elevation as Punjab unit president.

“Friends, to set at rest different kind of rumors doing the round in media, I confirm that I have asked Mr. Kejriwal to relieve me from the posts of Chief Whip and the Spokesperson of the party with immediate effect.

“I requested that these positions be given to leaders who are more deserving than me in the party. I am very happy to serve party as an ordinary volunteer and elected representative of the people,” Khaira said in a statement here.

Several party leaders and NRI supporters of AAP had conveyed to the AAP national leadership that Mann should not be made the state unit head.

The main complaint against Mann, a comedian-turned-politician, was about his drinking habit and coming drunk to public functions.

Mann, otherwise, is a popular celebrity in Punjab, especially in the rural areas. He had contested against Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal friom the Jalalabad assembly seat in recent assembly polls but lost.

“Opinion was sought from the state leaders on how to move forward after assembly elections in Punjab. The aim of the exercise was to make state unit more vibrant and accountable,” the spokesman said regarding Mann’s appointment.

The PAC has also decided to appoint four Vice Presidents – two to be from Malwa region and one each from Doaba and Majha region, the spokesman said.

“Bhagwant Mann, in his capacity as state convener would be responsible for all party affairs and Aman Arora would specially work to build structure of the party in state. The party would take holistic approach towards all issues to refurbish the party base in Punjab,” he added.

The AAP, which at one stage was expected to put an impressive show in Punjab polls, ended up with only 20 seats in the 117-member assembly in the February 4 elections. The spokesman said that AAP would launch a fresh offensive against the Amarinder Singh-led Congress government, taking it on various promises it had made with the people during elections.

“The PAC has directed the state unit to go back to people and make the Congress government accountable on every promise,” he added.

India

Wrong to prevent farmers from holding peaceful demonstrations: Kejriwal

Thousands of farmers have been marching to Delhi from Punjab and Haryana protesting against the laws that liberalise the agriculture sector

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Farmers Protest

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday showed his support to the farmers who are protesting against the three farm laws passed in the Parliament in September, and said that they should be allowed to stage a peaceful protest.

“The three farm bills of the central government are anti-farmer. Instead of rolling back these bills, farmers are being stopped from staging peaceful protests. Water cannons are being used against them. This is injustice to the farmers. Peaceful protest is their constitutional right,” said Kejriwal in a tweet on Thursday.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had voted against the Bills in both Lok Sabha (where it has one MP) and Rajya Sabha (where it has three MPs).

Thousands of farmers have been marching to Delhi from Punjab and Haryana protesting against the laws that liberalise the agriculture sector. While some groups were stopped in Haryana on Wednesday and water cannons used against them, several others continue to approach Delhi to stage a protest. The Delhi Police has issued a notice prohibiting any gathering in the Capital, citing Covid-19 regulations and the Delhi Metro has temporarily closed operation on certain routes.

The three laws that have led to widespread protests are the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.

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Politics

I have lost a comrade, colleague and friend: Sonia on Ahmed Patel’s death

Congress has lost one of its greatest son. I am at loss of words at his death. May his soul rest in peace. May god give strength to his family to cope up with this terrible loss.”

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Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi: Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday while condoling the death of Ahmed Patel said she has lost a dedicated Congress colleague.

“In Sh. Ahmed Patel, I have lost a colleague, whose entire life was dedicated to the Congress Party.” she said

She said, “His faithfulness and dedication, his commitment to his duty, his always being there to help, his generosity were rare qualities that distinguished him from others.”

“I have lost an irreplaceable comrade, a faithful colleague and a friend. I mourn his passing and I feel deeply for his bereaved family to whom I offer my sincere feelings of empathy and support,” she added

Scores of Congress leaders condoled Ahmed Patel’s death, “It is very hard to come to terms with Ahmed patel Ji’s passing. He was a political troubleshooter par excellence & will be sorely missed by all. “Ahmedbhai” was also a close friend of my late father’s & a mentor to me,” tweeted Milind Deora.

B.K. Hariprasad said in a tweet, “Its very saddening to know about the demise of Shri Ahmad patel ji. Congress has lost one of its greatest son. I am at loss of words at his death. May his soul rest in peace. May god give strength to his family to cope up with this terrible loss.”

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India

Ahmed Patel’s role in strengthening Congress will always be remembered: PM Modi

A top strategist of the Congress and a most-trusted ally of its president Sonia Gandhi, Patel (71) died in the early hours of Wednesday.

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Narendra Modi

Condoling the death of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said his role in strengthening the opposition party will always be remembered.

Patel spent years in public life, serving the society, Modi noted.

A top strategist of the Congress and a most-trusted ally of its president Sonia Gandhi, Patel (71) died in the early hours of Wednesday.

He was admitted to the Medanta hospital in Gurugram and had been critical for a few days. He had contracted COVID-19 and subsequently, developed complications.

“Saddened by the demise of Ahmed Patel Ji. He spent years in public life, serving society. Known for his sharp mind, his role in strengthening the Congress Party would always be remembered. Spoke to his son Faisal and expressed condolences. May Ahmed Bhai’s soul rest in peace,” the prime minister said in a tweet.

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