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Kejriwal teams up with Prashant Kishor’s firm

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Prashant Kishor

New Delhi, Dec 14 : With an aim to keep up AAP’s Assembly strength, Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party has teamed up with Prashant Kishor’s consultancy Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) to manage its campaign ahead of the polls early next year.

The announcement on Saturday by party chief Arvind Kejriwal has come just weeks before his tenure as Delhi Chief Minister is to end.

The AAP had secured 67 out of 70 assembly seats in Delhi in the 2015 assembly elections and Kejriwal’s tenure will end in February 2020.

“Happy to share that I-PAC is coming on board with us. Welcome aboard!,” Kejriwal tweeted.

Kejriwal’s deputy and senior party leader Manish Sisodia responded to the tweet in Hindi, saying this time the party will get more than 67 seats.

The firm responded to Kejriwal’s tweet, saying: “After Punjab results, we acknowledged you as the toughest opponent that we have ever faced. Happy to join forces now with Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party.”

While Kishor and his team could not be contacted for comment, according to the AAP sources, the two had been in talks from the past several months.

“We were in talks… The decision was finalised recently. We will soon roll out our election plan,” a party leader said demanding anonymity.

When asked why the party decided to go for Kishor, the leader said: “He and his firm have a track record of winning (elections). We know we will win the elections, but joining hands with successful people is no harm.”

The firm shot to fame after it had helped Narendra Modi and BJP win the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Kishor helped Nitish Kumar in the 2015 Bihar Assembly Elections as well. He is now the vice-president of the BJP’s Bihar ally Janata Dal (United).

The political advocacy group was hired by the Congress for the 2017 Punjab Assembly Elections to help Amarinder Singh’s campaign. The Aam Aadmi Party came second in the elections.

Kishor was appointed as political advisor to Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy in May 2017. In all the cases, Kishor and his firm had given positive results.

For the 2021 Assembly elections in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, Kishor has joined hands with Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress in West Bengal and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Tamil Nadu to help the parties in the state elections.

The BJP accused the AAP of wasting the “hard-earned” money of the taxpayer for its political campaign.

“They say they don’t have money. How did they manage to hire such a firm? They are wasting people’s money. If they had worked in the last five years, there was no requirement to do all this,” a BJP leader said.

AAP’s Raghav Chadha said the work done by the Kejriwal government is praised by all.

“The people or firm which comes with AAP works on a pro bono basis. The I-PAC will serve the party on the same basis. There have been no financial or commercial arrangements. They will give their services on a pro bono basis and as a volunteer of the party. The aim is that the hands of the Kejriwal should be strengthened and all good people should work in the nation-building exercise. We welcome Kishor and his firm for their support to the party,” Chadha said.

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Politics

Is coronavirus a bio weapon, wonders Manish Tiwari

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manishtiwari
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New Delhi, As the world continues to take steps to tackle COVID-19 amid death of 1,665 patients in China, Congress leader Manish Tiwari here on Sunday asked was coronavirus a bio-weapon created by the communist giant.

Tiwari, a former Information and Broadcasting Minister, posted a picture of cover and a page from American author Dean Koontz’s book ‘The Eyes of Darkness’ and tweeted: “Is coranavirus a biological weapon developed by the Chinese called Wuhan-400? This book was published in 1981. Do read the excerpt.”

Tiwari highlighted a paragraph that read: “They call the stuff ‘Wuhan-400’ because it was developed at their RDNA labs outside of the city of Wuhan, and it was the four hundredth viable strain of man-made micro-organisms created at that centre.”

The virus has spread to around 30 countries, with China accounting for around 99 percent of the total cases reported.

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Junior Kejriwal steals the show at swearing-in

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New Delhi, While Arvind Kejriwal was busy taking oath for the third time as Delhi Chief Minister, ‘junior Kejriwal’ stole the show at Ramlila ground, drawing attention from the large crowd.

Avyaan Tomar, who was a special invitee at the ceremony, prompted AAP leaders Raghav Chadha and Somnath Bharati to get selfies clicked with him. Tomar was wearing a red sweater, black muffler and spectacles and moustaches, completing his appearance as the Delhi Chief Minister.

Inviting him to the function, the AAP had tweeted, “Big Announcement: Baby Mufflerman is invited to the swearing-in… . Suit up Junior”.

This isn’t the first time that the couple, Rahul and Meenakshi Tomar, have shown their support for the party by dressing their child as the AAP chief. Five years earlier, their then four-year-old Fairy Tomar had made a similar appearance, and the ‘Little Kejriwal’ video went viral.

In his maiden speech as the third-time Chief Minister of Delhi, Kejriwal said on Sunday the people of Delhi have given birth to a new brand of electoral politics –“the politics of development.”

Addressing a huge crowd gathered at Delhi’s historic Ram Leela ground, Kejriwal said immediately after his swearing-in that the future electoral politics in the country will be based on the development plank. “Delhiites, you have given birth to a new brand of politics — the politics of performance, of setting up schools, healthcare facilities, providing water, power, and women’s security.”

Kejriwal’s speech also hinted at his national ambitions. He said, “When every Indian gets security, health, education and employment only then will the Tricolour flutter proudly.”

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CPI-M more worried about leakage of CAG report in Kerala

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Pinarayi Vijayan
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Thiruvananthapuram, Finally breaking its silence on the CAG report on Kerala Police, the CPI-M on Sunday appeared to be more worried about the leaking of the report and less concerned about the contents, which speak of the corrupt deals of Kerala Police.

The Congress-led opposition has gone hammer and tongs against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for his stoic silence on this issue, who had said that he will speak about this only in the Assembly, when it resumes in the first week of March.

Speaking to the media after the end of the two-day deliberation of the various committees of the CPI-M, state party secretary, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said generally the CAG report is placed before the Assembly, but this time most of the content of the report was surprisingly revealed by a member in the Assembly itself, before the report was placed.

“The CAG should find out what happened as this is an issue of privilege in the Assembly. It’s here that, naturally, a sort of suspicion arises, if it was a planned one. Also the Accountant General conducted a detailed press conference and this generally does not happen,” said Balakrishnan.

The CAG report for 2013-18 tabled in the Kerala Assembly on Wednesday pointed out to missing guns and cartridges, misuse of funds and diversion of funds. It also pointed to the alleged collusion between Keltron, a state public sector company and police in purchases made by the latter.

“The CAG report does not speak of corruption, but more about diversion of funds. Missing bullets is a feature for long and it’s got to do with improper accounting. Such things were pointed out when I was the Home Minister and it has been like that for long.

“Generally in the police department, due to the urgent need of implementing things, what happens is the decision taken first and it is later ratified. Nevertheless, the CAG report goes before the Public Accounts Committee of the Legislature and is headed by a seasoned Congress legislator V.D. Sateeshan and now let us wait for them to look into it,” said Balakrishnan.

“Maybe one reason why the Congress-led UDF is ‘upbeat’ on the CAG report is because two of their former Minister’s are now under the net of the Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau,” added Balakrishnan, who made his first public appearance before the media after few months of rest as he was undergoing treatment for treatment.

Ahead of the CAG report being placed in the Assembly, senior Congress MLA P.T. Thomas had raised numerous allegations against the police and many were surprised to find striking similarities with the CAG report.

Thomas, however, said: “A vernacular daily a month back had run a feature on corruption in government departments and when I pursued it, I got a good number of corrupt deals in the police.

“Now that I have already done this, let the police charge me and take me to task. I have no issues with that,” said Thomas.

Meanwhile, the Congress is getting ready to take on Vijayan, and the strategy for this will be decided in a day or two.

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