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BJP rejects Rahul Gandhi’s demand for resignation of FM Jaitley

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RAHUL-GANDHI

New Delhi, Sep 13 : Rejecting Rahul Gandhi’s demand for resignation of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the BJP on Thursday sought to turn the tables by asking Congress President to quit from his post because of his alleged involvement in the National Herald case.

The party also dismissed the claims of Congress leader P.L. Punia, who told the media that Jaitley and fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya met in the Central Hall of Parliament before the latter fled the country on March 2, 2016.

“Rahul Gandhi, who is facing serious criminal charges, should first resign. The people of the country should thank Arun Jaitley, who is working to bring the money back which was looted during the Congress rule,” Union Minister Piyush Goyal told a press conference in response to a question over Gandhi’s demand for Jaitley’s resignation.

“Those, who took loans from hawala companies and accumulated wealth by taking government land free of cost or at lower rate from National Herald and whose case was rejected by the Delhi High Court, should resign first,” he added.

The senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader was responding to the charges made by Rahul Gandhi, who demanded Jaitely’s resignation after accusing him of colluding with fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya “and giving him a free passage” to flee the country.

Gandhi asked why the Minister did not inform the investigating agencies about Mallya’s plans to leave India.

Responding to the charges, Goyal said that comments of a criminal or a person who is under the glare of law cannot be taken for any credibility.

“It was a one-way traffic. He (Mallya) was trying to talk to somebody in the passage. By that logic, I was watching Twitter. Lots of people have put up photographs where Rahul Gandhi was seen with Arun Jaitley. I don’t think we can run away from Rahul Gandhi because he is a person accused of fraud of huge amount and high court has also dismissed his plea,” he said.

The BJP leader dubbed the charges levelled by Congress MP Punia as “incredulous” and suggested he appear before the investigative agencies. He claimed that Punia was forced to speak under pressure.

“Where was he for the last two-and-half years. He should respond to the investigation agencies. Two-and-half-years later he remembers the conversation, the time and a so-called meeting which never took place. One suddenly raises questions on the credibility…a party colleague of Rahul Gandhi is making such incredulous claims,” he said.

Punia had claimed the meeting between Jaitley and Mallya lasted 15-20 minutes and alleged that Mallya took Jaitley’s permission after holding consultations with him about his planned flight abroad.

The Union Minister for Railways said that the Narendra Modi government never interferes in the work of investigative agencies.

“This government has acted the most against bank defaulters. I think this government took such steps to get the money back looted during Congress rule…,” he said.

Showing video clips of the statements made by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi in 2010, which showed that the then government was trying to get Kingfisher out of trouble, the BJP leader accused the Congress of breaking rules to pave the way for restructuring loans to Mallya.

“How since 2010, the Congress and the Gandhi family were having their say in the government? The PM also then said that they wanted to bail out Kingfisher airlines. This proves they allowed the loot… Congress, the Prime Minister, then Aviation Minister were also involved in the conspiracy to save Kingfisher Airlines,” he said.

“The Congress party should clarify what relations they had with Kingfisher Airlines. This shows the propensity to which the Congress can lie to cover up their sins,” he said.

India

Covid positive staff at PAC meet sparks scare among MPs

Now, calls are being made to all those who attended the meeting, asking them to remain quarantined as a matter of precaution.

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adhir ranjan chowdhury congress

New Delhi, July 14 : In what could spell trouble for different Parliamentary committee meetings which have resumed after almost four months, all those who attended the Department Related Standing Committee for Public Accounts or PAC meet have been advised to go into quarantine after a staff who was present at the meeting tested positive for Covid-19.

Most members like Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury or DMK’s T.R. Baalu, who attended the meet and went back after meeting several people, have been informed about the official who was present at the PAC meet and later tested positive.

The meeting took place on July 10, while the official tested positive on Tuesday, which essentially means that the 18 MPs who attended the meeting carried on with their normal life for the last few days. The PAC has a total of 20 members, out of which 15 are from the Lok Sabha and 5 from the Rajya Sabha.

Among the 18 MPs who attended the meeting were the committee’s chairperson Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, senior DMK leader and former Union Minister T.R. Baalu, BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrashekhar, senior BJP leader Bhupender Yadav and Trinamool MP Sukhendu Shekhar Ray, among others.

Now, calls are being made to all those who attended the meeting, asking them to remain quarantined as a matter of precaution.

On Tuesday evening, Rajeev Chandrashekhar tweeted, “Ok, so I came to Delhi. Attended Parliamentary Committee meeting on 10th. Turns out one staff of Committee secretariat has tested COVID positive today. So I am headed to 7 days quarantine.”

With the gradual resumption of different committee meetings, the government is exploring the possibility of convening a short Monsoon Session of the Parliament.

Both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats have explored all the possibilities, including using a substitute venue like Vigyan Bhawan, to ensure seating with “do gaaz ki doori”, but none were big enough to accommodate the entire Parliament together.

With this incident, many parliamentarians believe that the fate of other parliamentary committees and even the Monsoon Session has now become uncertain.

Earlier, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh had complained about thin attendance, arguing for a virtual meeting, which both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats have turned down.

Significantly, on Tuesday, two key BJP leaders — MoS Jitendra Singh and party General Secretary Ram Madhav — went into self quarantine after BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir chief Ravinder Raina tested positive for coronavirus.

Just two days back, Raina had accompanied both the leaders to offer condolences to the family of Wasim Bari, a local BJP leader who was killed along with his father and brother by terrorists in Bandipora town in north Kashmir.

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Politics

It’s raining resignations in Rajasthan Congress after Pilot’s sacking

High alert has been sounded in Gujjar-dominated areas in Dausa, Ajmer, Tonk, Sawai Madhopur and Bharatpur to avert any untoward incident.

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Sachin Pilot

Jaipur, Jul 14 : Soon after Sachin Pilot was removed as Deputy Chief Minister and Pradesh Congress Committee president, Rajasthan NSUI president Abhimanyu Poonia on Tuesday also tendered his resignation.

Poonia said that around 400-500 members holding certain posts in the Youth Congress, National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) and Seva Dal have resigned to protest against the development.

Meanwhile, over 50 Congressmen have also resigned in Tonk, Pilot’s home constituency in Rajasthan to protest against his sacking.

District Congress President of Pali Chunnilal Chadwas has also resigned from the party.

Meanwhile, Pilot in a tweet said: “My heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all those who have come out in my support today. Ram Ram sa.”

Retweeting the post, Poonia said: “We will defeat slavery and will make the struggle win (hamein gulaami ko harana hai aur sangharsh ko jitana hai) #RajasthanKaPilot.”

He said that he resigned from the post in support of Sachin Pilot. “Our conscience is alive, so is our self-respect. #SachinPilotkesaath,” he said on Twitter.

The Congress on Tuesday sacked Sachin Pilot from the posts of Rajasthan’s deputy chief minister as well as the party’s state unit chief and also cracked the whip on the rebel party leader, removing his loyalists Vishvendra Singh and Ramesh Meena from the state cabinet.

Meanwhile, protests were staged in many pockets of Gujjar dominated areas as Pilot is a favourite of the community.

High alert has been sounded in Gujjar-dominated areas in Dausa, Ajmer, Tonk, Sawai Madhopur and Bharatpur to avert any untoward incident.

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Congress suspends Sanjay Jha for ‘anti-party activities’

However, a terse statement announced that he was being suspended with immediate effect for “anti-party activities and breach of discipline”, which were not specified.

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Sanjay Jha

Mumbai, July 14 : In an abrupt development, Maharashtra Congress President Balasaheb Thorat on Tuesday suspended former party spokesperson Sanjay Jha for “anti-party activities”.

Jha, who was the Congress spokesperson and was known for his outspokenness, was sacked as the party spokesman in June for a newspaper article critical of the party.

However, a terse statement announced that he was being suspended with immediate effect for “anti-party activities and breach of discipline”, which were not specified.

In recent weeks, Jha has been in the limelight for his articles, tweets, comments etc., many of which were interpreted as anti-Congress for questioning the party leadership.

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