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Congress on PM Modi’s silence, raises issue of China, Andhra special in RS

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The Congress appears to be lining up tricky issues that could cause trouble for the government’s business schedule in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, if not beyond.

Congress on Friday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on the Chinese government’s comment on the recent violence in Jammu and Kashmir and also raise the issue of “Prime Minister failing to keep the assurance on the floor of Parliament” on passing the Andhra Special Status Bill in the Rajya Sabha.

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Congress spokesperson Kapil Sibal said it was expected of the Prime Minister or the External Affairs Minister to make a statement on the floor of the House expressing concern over China’s remarks that did not happen, but hoped they would do so on Monday when opposition raises the issue in Parliament.

The party maintains that the ruling side ‘engineered a protest’ over AAP MP Bhagwant Mann’s video to force the adjournment of Rajya Sabha on Friday afternoon ‘to avert a private member’s bill on the Andhra issue being passed in the House with Opposition support’. But government sources argued that the finance minister was ready to reply to the discussion on the private member’s bill but since it was a money bill the House cannot put it to vote.

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Lining up the Congress’ issues for Monday, AICC spokesperson Kapil Sibal said: “For the first time” China has made a direct comment on India’s internal matter in Kashmir and yet the PM and ministry of external affairs have failed to respond. “The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman made a comment on the situation in Kashmir following the encounter of Burhan Wani and this is posted on the Chinese foreign ministry’s website. It says, ‘China has taken note of relevant reports. We are equally concerned about the causalities in the clash and hope that the relevant incident will be handled properly.’ This is a direct interference in the domestic affairs of India and what is surprising is that the government has not taken note of it,” Sibal said.

Accusing the Modi government of ‘lack of maturity in foreign policy’, Sibal said: “When Dr Manmohan Singh was the PM, we kept a delicate balance between our relationship with the US and China and considered both of them as partners in the progress. The present PM – of course the foreign minister is irrelevant – has not handled the situation with any sense of maturity .”

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Politics

Parkash Singh Badal returns Padma Vibhushan to protest ‘betrayal of farmers’

In a letter e-mailed to the President, veteran Akali leader Parkash Singh Badal listed his reasons for feeling “hurt and betrayed” by the government’s attitude and actions against the farmers

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Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and five-time former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday returned the Padma Vibhushan award in protest against the “betrayal of the farmers by the government of India and the shocking indifference and contempt with which it is treating the ongoing peaceful and democratic agitation” of the farmers against the three farm Acts.

“I am who I am because of the people, especially the common farmer. Today, when he (farmer) has lost more than his honour, I see no point in holding on to the Padma Vibhushan honour,” the veteran Akali leader wrote in a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind. He described the betrayal of the farmers by the government as “bolts from the blue on the already beleaguered peasantry of the country”, adding that the farmer finds himself waging bitter struggles in severe cold just to secure his fundamental right to live.

SAD, one of the oldest constituents of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), had snapped ties with the BJP in September 2020 and pulled out of the alliance to protest against the agriculture marketing laws enacted by the Central government.

In a letter e-mailed to the President, Badal listed his reasons for feeling “hurt and betrayed” by the government’s attitude and actions against the farmers. “When the Government of India had brought the ordinances, assurances were given that the farmers’ apprehensions would be addressed to their satisfaction while bringing the relevant Bills and subsequently the Acts. Trusting these assurances, I even appealed to the farmers to believe the Government’s word. But I was shocked when the Government simply went back on its word,” he wrote.

The former chief minister described that period as the most painful and embarrassing moment in his long political career. “I just cannot put in words the pain and emotional stress which I have been going through since then. I have truly begun to wonder why has the Government of the country become so heartless, so cynical and so ungrateful towards the farmers,” he said. Badal also said he had been deeply pained by the communal insinuations being thrown at the peacefully and democratically protesting farmers.

Badal regretted that the government remains indifferent to the sufferings of the farmers. “The spectacle of hundreds of thousands of farmers crying out for justice in one voice in the national capital would have moved any other nation or its government,” he said. No such sensitivity towards the farmers’ pain and anger is visible here, he said, hoping that as the first citizen of the country and a conscientious public figure, the President too would be fully aware and perhaps as deeply concerned about these developments.

Badal felt apologetic that the pleas of farmer friendly parties like the Shiromani Akali Dal were mocked. “It was cynically suggested that farmers take loans just for ostentatious lifestyle. This cruel cynicism and malice against the farmers did not stop even when thousands of farmers in this country were and are being driven to take their own lives in a phenomenon called farmer suicides,” he said. He also came down heavily on the government, saying that while “corporate loans worth lakhs of crores are waived off with just a single thoughtless stroke of the governmental pen, no one has ever thought of even subsiding the farm debts, forget a complete waiver”.

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Neta Rajinikanth to float party in Jan 2021, hopes for ‘honest’ Tamil Nadu Govt

Last month Rajinikanth tweeted that he would consult with the officials of Rajini Makkal Mandram his health condition and announce his political stance to the people.

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Chennai, Dec 3 : Actor Rajinikanth on Thursday said he would float his political party in January and an announcement in that regard will be made on December 31, 2020.

With this Rajinikanth puts an end to various speculations about his plunge into Tamil Nadu politics.

Announcing this in a tweet he added: “In the upcoming assembly polls, with people’s massive support, in Tamil Nadu, an honest, transparent corruption less, secular and spiritual politics is sure to happen.”

“Miracle, Wonder will happen,” he added.

On November 30 Rajinikanth told the District Secretaries of Rajini Makkal Mandram that he would announce his political plunge decision.

Speaking to reporters here, couple of District Secretaries said the actor had told them that he would decide on floating a political party and plunge into politics.

Rajinikanth would announce his decision on jumping into active Tamil Nadu politics soon, said two District Secretaries.

According to the Mandram officials, they also expressed concern at Rajinikanth’s health condition and contesting the 2021 Tamil Nadu assembly polls will be the ideal time.

The meeting lasted for about two hours.

After the meeting he waved at the crowd assembled outside his Raghavendra Kalyana Mandapam sans mask and also mingled with the others without any hesitation.

It is also said Rajinikanth had told the District Secretaries that it is not possible for anyone to make money in politics with him.

Last month Rajinikanth tweeted that he would consult with the officials of Rajini Makkal Mandram his health condition and announce his political stance to the people.

At that time, denying a statement purported to be issued by him announcing his decision to quit politics Rajinikanth said some of the contents in that statement relating to his health and the medical advice given by the doctors were true.

“After discussing the matter with the officials of Rajini Makkal Mandram at an appropriate time will announce my political stance to the people,” Rajinikanth had said.

As per the alleged statement, Rajinikanth’s doctors had voiced out their reservations on his political entry since he had undergone a kidney transplant sometime back. Further there is no vaccine for Covid-19.

Further even if there is a vaccine, whether it would be effective at his age of 70.

The election for Tamil Nadu Assembly is slated in 2021.

As per the purported statement, if Rajinikanth had to start a political party then the plans would have to be finalised by December and announcement to be made in January 15th next year.

The condition of his health getting bad was also mentioned as he had to address rallies and meet people once he plunges into active politics during the Covid-19 period.

Asserting that he was not getting into politics for the sake of power, actor turned politician Rajinikanth in March this year ruled himself out of the race for the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s post and said there was an urgent need for a change in the system.

He said that his political party and the government, in case it came to power, would have different leaders.

He said that 60-65 per cent of his party’s candidate for the Tamil Nadu Assembly polls will be in the age group of 45-50. The remaining seats will go to “good people” in other parties, professionals, judges, and former IAS officers.

Recalling his speech on December 31, 2017, Rajini said that he was not into politics for power. At the age of 45 (in 1996) he was not interested in political power, and now at the age of 68 (in 2017) one cannot say he is power crazy, he recalled saying two years ago.

On December 31, 2017, Rajinikanth had announced his decision to float a political party to practice ‘spiritual politics’ and contest all 234 Assembly seats in Tamil Nadu in 2021.

The actor said at that time that his entry into politics was a “compulsion of time” since the country’s politics had gone wrong.

Rajinikanth had remarked that while earlier kings would invade other countries and loot them, nowadays political parties were looting their own people under the guise of democracy. The system needs a change, he added.

After 2017, Rajinikanth has voiced his views on some issues. In the wake of anti-Sterlite Copper smelter plant protest in Tuticorin and killing of 13 persons in police firing, he said that Tamil Nadu would turn into a graveyard if protests were held for everything.

Later, he said that he was not a mouthpiece of the BJP and attempts were being made to paint him in saffron.

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Farmers’ Income Has Halved, That Of Govt’s Friends Risen: Rahul Takes Dig At Centre

Congress leader seeks scrapping of the three ‘black’ farm laws, asks Centre not to befool farmers with rhetoric.

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday attacked the Centre over its claim of doubling farmers’ income and alleged that their income has in fact “halved” under the “suit-boot” government, while that of its crony friends has grown four times.

He also demanded that the government abolishes the three “black” farm laws which are against farmers and farm labourers and asked it not to befool them with rhetoric.

No immediate response was available from the government.

Gandhi’s remarks come at a time when farmers from Punjab and Haryana are protesting at the Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders of the national capital against the Centre’s new agriculture reform laws.

“They (government) said farmers’ income will be doubled. What they did was increase the income of (their) ‘friends’ four times and halved that of farmers. This is a government of suit-boot, lies and loot,” the Congress leader said in a tweet in Hindi.

Gandhi also shared a video showing police using water cannons and firing tear gas shells during protests by farmers with a speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi playing in the background wherein he says his government is taking steps to resolve the problems faced by farmers and double their income.

“Modi government, stop giving ‘jumlas’ (rhetoric) to farmers, stop the dishonesty and atrocities, stop giving them the falsehood of talks, (and) abolish all three black laws which are against farmers and labourers,” Gandhi said in another tweet.

The Congress has been attacking the government over the use of force against the protesting farmers, and urged the dispensation to withdraw the new farm laws and redress the grievances of the protesters.

Farmer unions say the three new laws will lead to the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving farmers at the mercy of corporate houses.

But the government says the MSP system will continue and the new laws will give farmers more options to sell their crop.

Farm leaders met Union ministers on Tuesday, but the two sides failed to break the deadlock. The next round of talks is scheduled to be.

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