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BJP desperate over Rajya Sabha polls, says Gehlot, slams IT raids

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Ashok Gahlot

Jaipur, Aug 2 : Congress General Secretary Ashok Gehlot, who is in charge of the party affairs in Gujarat, on Wednesday criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), saying it is hell-bent upon killing democracy in the Rajya Sabha elections.

In a series of tweets, the former Chief Minister of Rajasthan said: “Nobody could have thought, BJP would stoop so low. First elections were postponed, then NOTA was permitted and then they even started threatening MLAs in Gujarat, which led to defections from the Congress.”

“Now they have resorted to IT raids. It shows their frustration and that the BJP is ready to use every kind of manipulation to win election, which is condemnable.”

Later talking to the media, Gehlot said: “In spite of all the manipulations, we will win the Rajya Sabha poll in Gujarat.”

“just wait and see… On August 8, you will see how we win,” Gehlot said. Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s political advisor and close confidant Ahmed Patel is contesting the Rajya Sabha poll from Gujarat.

Replying to a question on Shankar Singh Vagehla, who recently quit the Congress in Gujarat, Gehlot said that Vagehla had declared he would vote in favour of the Congress candidate.

Gehlot also castigated the BJP government in Rajasthan. He said that for the first time in the history of state, farmers had committed suicide during the present BJP regime.

The government should declare loan waiver and provide compensation to the farmers, Gehlot said.

He said half the state was facing flood-like situation. “Relief measures should be taken up on priority.”

India

MPs seating in galleries, RS gets ready for monsoon session

Naidu directed the officials to submit a detailed action plan by early next week, for this purpose.

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Parliament of India

New Delhi, July 3 : The Rajya Sabha Secretariat is exploring seating members of the upper house in the house’s chamber as well as the galleries in conformity with the norm of physical distancing and to enable virtual participation of other members from either the Central Hall or Balayogi Auditorium in the Parliament premises for the monsoon session.

As the Lok Sabha Secretariat came out with new rules for reconvening parliamentary panel meetings, Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu on Friday too held detailed discussions on various options for conducting the proceedings of the upper house during the ensuing Monsoon Session of the Parliament. The Secretary General and other senior officials of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat were present in the hour-long discussions.

However, virtual participation is considered to be limited, in view of the capacity constraints of NIC at present to enable such virtual participation of all MPs. But, Naidu said that there is a need to scale up capacities for larger virtual Parliament in due course.

The chamber and the galleries of the Rajya Sabha can accommodate 127 members while adhering to the physical distancing norms. Sources said that all the galleries, except the media gallery, would be utilised for seating the members. Seating of media persons in the media gallery would also be in conformity with the physical distancing norm for which guidelines would be framed.

“For enabling the viewing of participation of the members from outside the chamber of the House through virtual participation, it has been felt that screens need to be arranged both within the chamber of the House and outside as required,” sources said.

But given the limited seating capacity of 127 members in the chamber and the galleries of the House, Naidu asked the officials of the Secretariat to draw up appropriate plans for seating based on the strength of various parties in the House or any other effective criteria like preparing a list of the participants in the proceedings of the House for the day who would be accommodated accordingly.

But running a Parliament session during the time of pandemic is not easy as ensuring seating alone. Issues relating to taking up Question Hour, voting in the House if required, administering oath or affirmation to the newly-elected members, detailed planning for transportation of members, effective measures for physical distancing and sanitisation among other issues were discussed.

Naidu directed the officials to submit a detailed action plan by early next week, for this purpose.

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India

Why PM did not name China, again: Chidambaram

He said that the country wants to know if Modi named China as the intruder or not while talking to Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

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P Chidambaram

New Delhi, July 3 : Former Union Minister P Chidambaram on Friday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not naming China as an “aggressor” while speaking in Leh during the day, wondering aloud if he had done otherwise in his telephonic talks with US and Russian presidents.

“For the third time in a week, the PM did not name China as the aggressor. Why? What is the purpose of talking about an unnamed ”enemy” to the people of India and the jawans in Ladakh?” the senior Congress leader tweeted.

He said that the country wants to know if Modi named China as the intruder or not while talking to Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

The Congress leader also alleged government silence on satellite images “showing Chinese troops occupying key positions in places hitherto considered as undisputed Indian territory”.

“The PM has still not answered our questions about where the violent clashes took place on June 15 between Chinese and Indian troops and if the Chinese have intruded Indian territory at several points,” the former Union minister said.

Amid ongoing tension at borders with China in eastern Ladakh, Modi paid a visit to Leh and forward locations this morning to review the security situation on the ground.

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India

Ahmed Patel asks ED, who in Gujarat Govt gave benefits to Sandesara

This is the third time the ED questioned Patel under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. Earlier he was first questioned on June 27 and then on June 30.

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Ahmed Patel

New Delhi, July 3 : After being grilled thrice in a week by the Enforcement Directorate personnel over alleged links with the Sandesara group, promoters of Sterling Biotech, the Congress treasurer has hit back at the agency.

Patel in a tweet said, “Thank you officials of Director ED for coming to my house thrice.”

He added that “I answered each of their 128 questions but they failed to answer my one fundamental question.”

He posed a query to the probe agency and asked “Who in the Gujarat state govt was responsible for bestowing multiple benefits, privileges and honours on the Sandesara group?”

Earlier on Thursday after hours of grilling by the Enforcement Directorate personnel on links with the fugitive Sterling Biotech promoters, Congress treasurer Ahmed Patel said the financial probe agency is working under some pressure as no proof has been found against him despite answering 128 questions.

This is the third time the ED questioned Patel under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. Earlier he was first questioned on June 27 and then on June 30.

“I was asked 128 questions based on allegations but yet no proof was found against me. The agency was satisfied by my replies but the questioning is a result of political vendetta. I don”t know under whose pressure they are working,” Patel told mediapersons.

Patel said he is ready to answer more questions.

While the Congress has also defended the party treasurer, party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said on Thursday that the BJP is not able to digest the defeat it suffered in 2017 at the hands of Patel.

Frustration and political vendetta is writ large. It is a traceable direct link from the Prime Minister and the Home Minister and the Gujarat connection to the Congress and Ahmed Patel. It is clear that a slap in the face of illegal, reprehensible, manipulative activities in Gujarat elections has not yet been digested by the BJP national and Gujarat leadership, said Singhvi.

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