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Lalu, Farooq Abdullah bat for secular front, BJP mocks

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Kolkata, May 27 : Asserting it was imperative to remove the Narendra Modi government to save India from getting divided, RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Friday called upon all secular parties to unite against the BJP and the RSS.

National Conference chief and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah too batted for a federal front and said Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, who on the day was sworn in as West Bengal chief minister, could head such a front.

The Bharatiya Janata Party however mocked the proposal, calling it a “tested, tried and failed idea”.

“We want all the parties having similar ideologies, the secular parties, to unite. Removing the BJP and the RSS from the centre has become imperative, so we will sit tighter and discuss about that,” Lalu Prasad told mediapersons at the swearing-in ceremony here.

“If we fail to awaken in time and don’t unite, the BJP and the RSS will divide the country,” he added.

Expressing a similar view, Abdullah said there was every possibility of a federal front materialising.

“We will sit together, work out, and whatever is best for this nation, we will think about that.

“There is every possibility of a front that might come up, that will save India from future disaster,” he said.

Asked if Banerjee could head such a front, Abdullah said: “There are a number of people. Mamataji is also one of them. She has worked for a secular India, a united India.

“For the development of every single individual of this nation, whether he belongs to the east or west, or north or south, we all will join in that process in uniting this nation together,” he said.

Even as she described herself as a “less important person”, Banerjee extended help to all seeking her assistance.

“I am a commoner, a less important person. But I will help all of them, no problem, if anybody wants my help. Let me work for the people,” said Banerjee who has taken over the reins of Bengal for her second successive term.

Senior BJP leader and union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley however mocked the idea.

“Federal front is a tested, tried and failed idea,” Jaitley, who too attended Banerjee swearing in, said at a press conference.

“We welcome anybody coming in opposition to the BJP. The alternative alliance should have a stable anchor with a national presence. The past experience of the failure of federal fronts was because the anchor was narrow in support.

“Any alliance will never be stable when the alliance is anchored by small groups. The last example was that of the United Front 20 years back,” added Jaitley.

India

Congress steps up attack on Yogi Adityanath govt

Punia alleged that UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath said in an interview to a TV channel that migrant workers were responsible for spreading the corona infection.

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Lucknow, May 26 : The Congress has stepped up its attack on the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, accusing it of putting out fake statistics regarding coronavirus cases and also spreading communal hatred.

Senior Congress leader P L Punia, while addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, said that UPCC president Ajay Kumar Lallu had been sent to jail only because he was helping the migrant workers.

“No one is being allowed to meet the UPCC president and the Congress will not tolerate this injustice,” he said.

Punia alleged that UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath said in an interview to a TV channel that migrant workers were responsible for spreading the corona infection.

Meanwhile, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Aradhana Mishra said that the Yogi government had claimed that 25 lakh migrant workers had returned to UP.

“The government has said that the number of infected persons is 6228 so how can they claim that the 25 lakh migrant workers have brought the infection to UP? The chief minister should explain the basis of his claim,” she said.

Mishra demanded that the state government should come clean on the number of patients, testing figures and preparations made for corona.

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India

Arrest of UP Cong chief undemocratic: Priyanka Gandhi

He was arrested in a case of fraud and forgery, related to bungling in list of buses submitted by the Congress to the UP government for bringing migrant workers.

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New Delhi, May 26 : Amid the political slugfest over migrant workers and arrest of UP Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi, here on Tuesday, termed his arrest undemocratic and violation of humanitarian principle, and demanded that he be released immediately.

“Throwing him into prison on baseless charges during a pandemic reveals the undemocratic and opportunistic mindset of the Yogi government and violates all humanitarian principles,” Priyanka Gandhi tweeted.

“We demand justice for him and will continue to fight until it’s delivered,” she said and also tweeted a video clip showing Lallu providing help to migrants.

“Having lived a life of struggle, perseverance and grit, the UP Congress chief knows well the suffering of displaced and marginalised people. He has fought for them steadfastly throughout his career,” tweeted Priyanka.

Lallu was arrested soon after he was granted bail in another case in Agra on Wednesday. Earlier, he had been arrested in Agra on Tuesday for protesting against the government’s refusal to allow movement of buses in the state.

He was arrested in a case of fraud and forgery, related to bungling in list of buses submitted by the Congress to the UP government for bringing migrant workers.

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India

My statement on Maharashtra was distorted, says Rahul Gandhi

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New Delhi, May 27 : After creating a political stir by saying his party is not the key player in Maharashtra, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has claimed that his statement was “distorted”.

In a late Tuesday night tweet along with the video, the former Congress president said “paid media distorts the truth to distract attention from real issues”.

“I would like to make a differentiation here. We are supporting the government in Maharashtra, but, we are not the key decision maker in Maharashtra. We are the key decision maker in Punjab we are the key decision maker in Chhattisgarh, in Rajasthan, in Puducherry. So, there is a difference between running a Government and supporting Government,” Rahul Gandhi said.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, he said that the Congress is only supporting the Maharashtra government and is not a key decision maker.

He, however, defended the Maharashtra government and said the state is one of the most connected in the country.

“It is going to be one of the most aggressive places where corona is going to act. However, Maharashtra is struggling because of the nature of its connectivity and Maharashtra is one of the most important assets frankly that India has. It is the centre of business.

“So, it requires full support from the Government of India, I fully understand that Maharashtra is fighting a very difficult battle and I appreciate that fact and so many other states and it is important that full support of the Government of India goes to the people of Maharashtra and the Government of Maharashtra,” the Congress leader said.

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