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Congress files disqualification petition against 10 BJP MLAs

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Panaji, Aug 8 (IANS) The Congress in Goa on Thursday filed a disqualification petition against 10 MLAs who quit the party and joined the BJP last month.

Speaking to reporters, after filing the petition with the office of the Speaker of the Goa Legislative Assembly Rajesh Patnekar, state Congress President Girish Chodankar said that he expected the former to dispose the plea quickly in the interest of “dignity” of the Constitutional position he folds.

“Speaker has to uphold the dignity of the office he is occupying. He cannot just sit on the petition, He is the judge and he has to do justice to the chair,” Chodankar told reporters at the state assembly complex.

“If he is delaying the matter, that means it will be assumed by the people not only in Goa, but also in the country that the Speaker is supporting something wrong. Speaker should do justice to our petition.”

The petition has demanded the disqualification of the 10 MLAs, arguing that their split from the party and the subsequent merger into the BJP was unconstitutional and not in sync with the provisions of the 10th Schedule.

“It is not a valid merger. According to the 10th Schedule, there are two requirements. The original political party on whose ticket they had fought the elections and elected to the Assembly should merge and secondly two third of the members of the legislative party should agree to such a merger.

“In the present case there is no merger of the original political party in itself and that is a violation of the 10th schedule and they have incurred disqualification,” Chodankar added.

In all, 13 Congress MLAs from Goa have quit the party and joined the BJP since 2017.

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Minister not only liable for clearance, says Manmohan

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New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday backed his party collegue and former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, who is in Tihar jail since September 5 after his arrest in the INX media case, saying the FIPB clearance was collective decision and if the Minister was liable for approving a recommendation, then the whole system of government will collapse.

After meeting the senior party leaders, Chidambaram also said that as long as the Congress is strong and brave, “I will also be strong and brave”.

In a show of solidarity with Chidambaram, Manmohan Singh, along with Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, visited Chidamabaram at Asia’s high security jail on Monday morning. This was for the first time that Gandhi and Manmohan Singh visited the jail premises to meet any party leader lodged there.

After meeting Chidambaram, Manmohan Singh, in a statement, said that they were “concerned with continued detention in custody of our colleague, Chidambaram”.

Hitting out at the BJP-led central government, the former Prime Minister said: “In our system of government, no decision can be taken by any single person. All decisions are collective decisions recorded in files.”

He said a dozen officers, including six Secretaries to the government, of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) examined and recommended the proposal and Chidambaram approved the unanimous recommendation. “If the officers are not at fault, it is beyond our comprehension how the Minister who simply approved the recommendation can be accused of committing an offence. If the Minister is liable for approving a recommendation, the whole system of government will collapse,” he said.

Manmohan Singh said that he was confident, and he sincerely hope, that the courts will render justice in this case.

According to party leaders, the meeting of the senior Congress leaders lasted for half an hour.

Besides Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram also arrived at the jail premises. Later, Chidambaram, through his family, thanked the party leadership for meeting him.

“I have asked my family to tweet on my behalf the following: I am honoured that Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh called on me today. As long as the Congress party is strong and brave, I will also be strong and brave,” he said in a series of tweets.

In an apparent jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his remarks in Houston that everything is fine in India, Chidambaram said: “Everything is fine in India. Except for unemployment, loss of existing jobs, lower wages, mob violence, lockdown in Kashmir and throwing Opposition leaders in prison.”

Chidambaram has been lodged in Jail No 7 of the Tihar jail, which is meant for economic offenders.

He was sent to judicial custody by a Delhi court after his arrest on August 21 by the Central Bureau of Investigation for alleged irregularities in granting FIP) clearance of Rs 305 crore to INX Media, now known as 9x news, during his tenure as Finance Minister. Chidambaram is also being probed by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case relating to INX Media.

Last week, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel visited Chidamabaram in jail.

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Friday also accused the government of planning a conspiracy to “defame and character assassinate” Chidambaram in the case.

The Congress has termed the charges against Chidambaram a “paramount example of political vendetta”.

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Donald Tusk says ‘no breakthrough’ on Brexit after meeting PM Boris Johnson

Tweeting from New York where they held a bilateral meeting, Mr Tusk wrote: “No breakthrough. No breakdown. No time to lose. #Brexit.”

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Donald Tusk tweeted this picture of his meeting with Boris Johnson

There was “no breakthrough” on Brexit during a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, EU council president Donald Tusk has said.

Tweeting from New York where they held a bilateral meeting, Mr Tusk wrote: “No breakthrough. No breakdown. No time to lose. #Brexit.”

It came after a spokeswoman for Mr Johnson said he had used the meeting to tell Mr Tusk that in order to reach a deal “we need movement and flexibility from the EU”.

Their conversation came on the sidelines of the United Nations 2019 climate action summit, where Mr Johnson is set to announce environmental policies over two speeches.

Before flying out, the prime minister warned not to expect a “New York breakthrough” on Brexit.

He expected to meet with France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel for a three-way discussion about subjects including Brexit and Iran, as he searches for a way of securing a deal before the end of next month.

Mr Johnson is scheduled to meet with US President Donald Trump and Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, on Tuesday.

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MP: Six injured as stage collapses at BJP event in Sagar

A woman standing near the dais also sustained injuries.

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BHOPAL: At least six people, including a former home minister and BJP MP, were injured after a dais carrying almost 75 people collapsed in Khurai tehsil of Sagar district in MP on Tuesday afternoon.

A woman standing near the dais also sustained injuries.

The BJP leaders had assembled to hold demonstration against the Congress government to highlight the issues of alleged apathy against flood victims and fuel price hike.

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