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BJP attacks Rahul on Rafale remarks, calls him irresponsible

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Ravi Shankar Prasad

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) The BJP on Monday attacked Congress President Rahul Gandhi for his remarks on the ‘secrecy pact’ in the Rafale deal, calling him irresponsible for “misleading Parliament” and for dragging French President Emmanuel Macron into the matter.

It also advised Rahul Gandhi to “do homework and improve understanding” of India’s foreign policy and security issues.

“Rahul Gandhi is irresponsible; he makes false statements in Parliament. He was irresponsible on two fronts: First, by saying there was no confidential agreement (between India and France on the Rafale fighter jet deal); and second, by dragging French President into an internal political debate,” Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.

“This is unfortunate. I have often said that Rahul Gandhi needs to improve his homework. Now I have to add that his understanding of (Indian) foreign policy and national security and strategic concerns also need to be upgraded,” Prasad said.

During the no-confidence debate in Parliament on July 20, Gandhi had said that there was no secrecy pact on the Rafale deal, alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had “lied” to the nation” about it.

“I met the French President and asked him if there was a secrecy pact with India. He told me that no such pact was signed between the two countries. He said that he had no hesitation in saying this and that I can tell this to my country,” Gandhi had said.

Prasad said that the Congress was worried over the “transparent and honest” functioning of the BJP-led government and was hence making allegations about the Rafale deal.

“We can say with complete responsibility that Rahul Gandhi clearly misled the house when he said that there was no confidentiality agreement. His reference to the French President’s conversation was formally denied the same day by the French government,” the Minister said.

He added that sensitive armed forces operations can’t be made public, a fact which was acknowledged in Parliament by A.K. Antony and Pranab Mukherjee, both Ministers in the then UPA government.

Disaster

Maharashtra minister Ashok Chavan tests Covid-19 positive

He is the second Cabinet Minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi govermnent to test positive after Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad was diagnosed last month.

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ashok chavan

Mumbai, May 25 : Maharashtra PWD Minister Ashok Chavan is reported to have tested Covid-19 positive, party sources said here late on Sunday.

The former Chief Minister’s condition has been described as asymptomatic and he is under treatment in Nanded, his home town.

He is the second Cabinet Minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi govermnent to test positive after Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad was diagnosed last month. After nearly a month’s treatment, Awhad was fully cured and discharged.

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Will not tolerate high-handedness of UP govt: Jitin Prasada

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Jitin Prasada Congress UP

New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) Upset over the arrest of state party president Ajay Kumar Lallu and registration of cases against its leaders, the Congress has warned the UP government that this “high-handedness” will not be “tolerated”.

Congress working committee member Jitin Prasada, talking to IANS, alleged that the government is misusing the lockdown as opposition parties can”t assemble and agitate at the moment. But as and when the lockdown is lifted, the Congress and its workers will not leave any stone “unturned”.

The Congress and the UP government are at loggerheads since the state government refused to allow buses provided by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, on pretext of not providing the ”appropriate list”. The Congress has alleged that the government is insensitive towards the plight of the migrants who are walking towards their home.

Uttar Pradesh Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu was brought to Lucknow, late on Wednesday night from Agra, and produced before a magistrate. He was taken for medical examination at the Civil Hospital and then taken to a temporary jail.

He was arrested in a case of fraud and forgery, related to bungling in the list of buses submitted by the Congress to the Uttar Pradesh government for bringing migrant workers.

Lallu was arrested immediately after he was granted bail in another case by the court in Agra on Wednesday. He had been arrested in Agra on Tuesday for protesting against the government”s refusal to allow movement of buses in the state.

Meanwhile, talking to reporters in Lucknow during his medical examination, Lallu said, “Such cases and jail sentences are a reward for a political worker. The government can heap cases on me and keep me in jail but they should provide immediate relief to migrant workers.”

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Thackeray hints at lockdown extension, flight restrictions

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Uddhav Thackeray-

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, here on Sunday, hinted at further extension of the lockdown after May 31 and proposed restrictions on plans to resume domestic flights from May 25 as the Covid-19 situation could worsen after the onset of monsoon.

Addressing the state, Thackeray said it was not proper to impose the lockdown suddenly and now it couldn’t be lifted abruptly as it would be detrimental to the people.

“We will have to study the situation carefully before moving ahead. The coming weeks are critical as the spread of coronavirus is increasing. People must exercise extreme precautions during monsoon,” Thackeray said.

Hours after Home Minister Anil Deshmukh red-flagged the Centre’s plans to resume domestic flights from Monday, Thackeray spoke with Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri on the issue.

The Chief Minister has communicated that till Mumbai International Airport plans and finetunes airport operations, they (Centre) should initiate minimum possible domestic flights from Maharashtra from Monday.

“These should be purely emergent in nature, like for international transfer passengers, medical emergencies, students and cases on compassionate grounds,” said an official from the CMO.

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