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I told PM to withdraw CAA, NPR and NRC: Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met PM Narendra Modi in Raj Bhavan in Kolkata. The Trinamool Congress chief asserted again that she is against National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) and Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

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PM Modi with Mamata

Kolkata, Jan 11 : West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Raj Bhavan here and urged him to reconsider the enforcement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and explained her opposition to the new legislation, as well as to the proposed NPR and NRC.

Briefing the media barely 15 minutes after the meeting, Banerjee said that she also sought Rs 38,000 crore in dues for the state from the Centre.

With her meeting causing raised eyebrows, Banerjee started off by saying that it was just a courtesy call and she would do it for both Prime Minister and President whenever they visit her state.

“I met him here because my state has pending dues of Rs 28,000 from the central govt. We also have pending dues of Rs 7,000 crore from the Centre on account of severe cyclone Bulbul. This is a demand of my state …it is our rightful claim. I tolds him that we want this money.”

“I also spoke to him about our opposition to the CAA, NPR and NRC…There have been widespread protest against all these three.”

As the opposition criticised her meeting with the PM at a time when there is sutained anti-BJP stir all over Bengal, especially with “Modi go back” being raised, Banerjee said, “It’s my constitutional responsibility to meet him. It is a matter of courtesy for me to meet prime minister or president.”

India

ED under some pressure, says Ahmed Patel after third grilling

A team of ED on Thursday grilled Ahmed Patel at his residence for the third time in less than a week”s time in connection with its probe into multi-crore bank fraud case by the Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech.

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Ahmed Patel

New Delhi, July 3 : After hours of grilling by Enforcement Directorate (ED) on links with 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.

A team of ED on Thursday grilled Ahmed Patel at his residence for the third time in less than a week”s time in connection with its probe into multi-crore bank fraud case by the Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech.

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Business

Congress alleges PPP model in Railways is “jugglery of words”

It said that it plans to allow private entities to operate passenger trains and the project would entail private sector investment of about Rs 30,000 crore.

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Abhishek Manu Singhvi

New Delhi, July 2 : The Congress has said that the government is pushing railways into private hands and the Public Private Partnership is just “jugglery of words” after the government invited private participation in passenger train operations on 109 pairs of routes.

“Why did the government decide on privatisation in the midst of corona” asked Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

He said that “on March 17, 2020 the government said in Parliament that it is not going to privatise railways.”

The Congress apprehended that the government is moving towards retrenchment of employees. The Indian Railways employs up to 1.5 crore people.

“Is retrenchment next?” asked Singhvi.

The Congress said that Railways ferry 2.5 crore passengers daily and 7.5 billion annually.

“Rail is the only lifeline of the poor and the government is taking it away from them. Snatch whatever you want to. But remember – the people of the country will give a befitting reply,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.

The Railways on Wednesday announced that it has invited request for qualifications for private participation in passenger train operations on 109 pairs of routes through 151 modern trains.

It said that it plans to allow private entities to operate passenger trains and the project would entail private sector investment of about Rs 30,000 crore.

According to the railway ministry, this is the first initiative for private investment for running passenger trains on the Indian Railways network. The move was initiated last year with the introduction of the Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).

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Politics

Delhi Congress chief calls on MPs, MLAs to rise against fuel price hike

He said that the diesel price rise has adversely affected the farmers, transporters, businessmen and the common people, and both the central and Delhi governments are not taking any steps to reduce the prices.

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Anil Kumar Chaudhary

New Delhi, July 2 : Delhi Congress chief Anil Kumar has written to all MPs and MLAs from Delhi across parties, to rise above narrow political considerations to join hands with the Congress to prevail upon the Modi government at the Centre and the AAP government in Delhi to reduce the excise duty and VAT on petrol and diesel.

Kumar said that “petrol and diesel are selling at over Rs 80 per litre in Delhi, and for the first time in history, diesel has become costlier than petrol, as the central government has imposed an excise duty of almost Rs 32 and the Delhi government is charging almost Rs 18 per litre as VAT (Value Added Tax)”.

He said that the frequent hikes in the prices of petrol and diesel (23 times in June alone) has had a cascading effect on the prices of other essential commodities as the cost of transportation has steeply gone up and the common people have been hemmed in from all sides.

He said that the diesel price rise has adversely affected the farmers, transporters, businessmen and the common people, and both the central and Delhi governments are not taking any steps to reduce the prices.

Anil Kumar in his letter reminded the elected representatives of both the BJP and the AAP that they have a moral obligation to protect the interest of the voters who have elected them to power and wondered why they were keeping a studied silence on the price hike.

Kumar said that if other political parties join hands with the Congress to request the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister to reduce the prices of petroleum products, then it would be of great benefit to the people of Delhi, as pressure from all quarters will force the Centre and Delhi government to reduce the prices.

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