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Defensive Sidhu says Sushma assured him on Kartarpur corridor

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Chandigarh, Sep 18 (IANS) With two union ministers gunning for him on his hug with the Pakistan Army chief and his claims on passage for Indian pilgrims for the Kartarpur gurdwara, Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday defended himself saying External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had assured him that a letter would be sent to Islamabad regarding the corridor.

Sidhu said on Tuesday that Sushma Swaraj, whom he met in New Delhi on Saturday, had assured him that the draft regarding a request for the Kartarpur corridor was ready. He claimed that she told him that the letter would be sent to Pakistan soon.

However, union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, in a statement in New Delhi on Tuesday, said that there was no substance in what Sidhu was claiming.

Badal asked Congress President Rahul Gandhi to “tell what action he will take against Congress minister Navjot Sidhu for betraying the people of the country and misusing Sikh sentiments on the Kartarpur corridor issue to hide his traitorous conduct.

“It is now clear that there is no Pakistan proposal to open the Kartarpur corridor. The same has been officially announced by Sushma Swaraj.

“Now it is clear that Sidhu deliberately lied to the people and claimed he had received an assurance about opening the Kartarpur corridor from the Pakistan Army chief to ward off criticism for hugging the General.

“Now Rahul Gandhi should disclose whether Sidhu went to Pakistan for his friend Imran Khan’s swearing in ceremony with his blessings and whether he was also part of the conspiracy to play with the sentiments of the Sikh community.

“If not, then Rahul should expel Sidhu from the Congress immediately for betraying the people of the country and dis-respecting our martyrs,” Badal said.

She challenged Sidhu to show proof of the clearance given by the Pakistan government to open the Kartarpur corridor.

“If Sidhu is such close friends with Imran Khan, as claimed by him, he should tell his friend to give a letter stating his government was ready to open the Kartarpur corridor and we will take up this issue with our government to get it ratified.

“He should also ask his friend to stop the killings on the international border and stop exporting terror to India,” she stated.

Sushma Swaraj, in a letter to Badal on September 15 regarding the Kartarpur corridor, said that the “(Indian) government has been taking up the matter with Pakistan.

“However, Pakistan has so far neither agreed to include visits to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib by the Indian pilgrims under the bilateral protocol on visits to religious shrines of 1974 nor has it sent any official communication for establishing a corridor,” the Minister said.

Sidhu had recently written a letter to Sushma Swaraj urging her to take a “positive step” in the matter.

Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also criticized Sidhu on Tuesday for hugging the Pakistan Army Chief.

Election

Congress will celebrate Diwali with people after bypolls: Kamal Nath

“We waived loans of 27 lakh farmers and the BJP government admitted it on the floor of Assembly. After coming back to power, we will waive the loans of remaining farmers too,” he said.

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Kamal Nath

Bhopal, Sep 30 : Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath on Wednesday expressed confidence that his party will regain power in the state after the byelections to 28 Assembly seats.

The former chief minister was addressing a poll rally in Sitamau in Suvasara assembly constituency in Mandsaur district.

“They (BJP) have toyed with the Constitution framed by Babasaheb Ambedkar. They have formed government through horse-trading, but people of the state will give them a befitting reply and they (Congress and people) will celebrate Diwali together,” Nath said.

Bypolls in Madhya Pradesh will be held on November 3, while counting will take place on November 10.

“Whenever you talk about employment and farmers, BJP leaders start talking about Pakistan and China to divert attention from core issues,” Nath said.

“We waived loans of 27 lakh farmers and the BJP government admitted it on the floor of Assembly. After coming back to power, we will waive the loans of remaining farmers too,” he said.

“I am openly challenging chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to have a public debate on the issue (of loan waiver),” the Congress leader added.

“What kind of future you want, a government formed with vote or one formed with notes?…. If their will prevails, they will not even conduct panchayat polls,” he alleged.

The 15-month-old Congress government led by Nath fell in March this year after Jyotiraditya Scindia and 22 MLAs loyal to him quit the party and joined the BJP.

Later three more Congress MLAs resigned. Three other seats got vacant due to the death of sitting MLAs.

TheCongress has fielded Rakesh Patidar from the Suvasara seat for the by-poll.

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India

‘No moral right to continue’: Priyanka Gandhi’s scathing attack on Yogi Adityanath after death of Hathras gang-rape victim

The 19-year-old died in a Delhi hospital on Tuesday. The woman was admitted there in a critical condition after being brutally raped by four men in her village in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district.

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Priyanka Gandhi

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi took on Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath for the death of Hathras rape victim, saying he doesn’t have any moral right to continue as chief minister.

“I was on the phone with the Hathras victim’s father when he was informed that his daughter had passed away. I heard him cry out in despair. He had just been telling me that all he wanted was justice for his child. Last night he was robbed of the chance to take his daughter home for the last time and perform her last rites,” Gandhi said in her first two tweets on the issue on Wednesday.

She also asked Adityanath to resign. “@myogiadityanath RESIGN. Instead of protecting the victim and her family, your government became complicit in depriving her of every single human right, even in death. You have no moral right to continue as Chief Minister,” Gandhi tweeted.

The 19-year-old died in a Delhi hospital on Tuesday. The woman was admitted there in a critical condition after being brutally raped by four men in her village in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district.

The incident took place on September 14. She was first admitted to JN Medical College and Hospital in Aligarh, but was shifted to Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital after her condition deteriorated where she breathed her last.

The UP government has been facing flak from Opposition parties over the issue. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav had said that “no hope” is left from the “insensitive government”.

Reacting to the incident, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati tweeted in Hindi, “The news of the death of the Dalit girl after gangrape in Hathras, UP, is very sad. The government should provide all possible help to the victim’s family and ensure quick punishment to the culprits by prosecuting them in a fast-track court.”

The Congress has questioned the “silence” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and women leaders of his party and alleged that Uttar Pradesh under the Yogi Adityanath government has become the country’s “crime capital”.

At a press conference, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate alleged that for eight days no gangrape charges were pressed in the matter and that the UP chief minister’s information advisor and Agra Police kept calling the incident “fake news”.

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Politics

Karnataka opposition accuses ruling BJP of fudging Covid data

“The BJP government is trying to cover up its gross mismanagement and negligence. There has to be more transparency & accountability,” he said in his concluding tweet.

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Siddaramaiah Congress

Bengaluru, Sep 30 : Taking a swipe at the ruling BJP, Karnataka Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah on Wednesday charged that the ruling BJP was fudging numbers to bring down Covid-19 figures in the state.

In his hard hitting three-part tweet, Siddaramaiah alleged that there are serious underreporting issues with respect to Covid-19 deaths.

“Jalappa hospital has reported four deaths between 19 Sep, 12 PM to 20 Sep, 12 PM. But, the bulletin on 20 Sept has reported zero deaths in Kolar. Jalappa hospital has reported one death between 20 Sep, 12 PM to 21 Sep, 12 PM. But the bulletin on 21 Sept has reported 0 deaths in Kolar,” he stated tweeted along with posting those respective days’ bulletin.

By tagging to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, Health and Family welfare minister, B. Sreeramulu and Medical Education minister K. Sudhkar, he angrily questioned, “What is the government trying to hide by underreporting? “Is it your failure?” he retorted.

Siddaramaiah added that underreporting will have serious implications on the preparedness of the stakeholders providing health care and also on the behaviour of the people.

“The BJP government is trying to cover up its gross mismanagement and negligence. There has to be more transparency & accountability,” he said in his concluding tweet.

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