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Nitish meets Sonia, calls for opposition unity to take on BJP

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NITISH Sonia

New Delhi, Apr 20 : Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar today met Congress President Sonia Gandhi here and is learnt to have advocated unity among opposition parties to take on the BJP-led NDA.

JD(U) also used the meeting to call for a joint opposition candidate for the election to the President’s post and urged Gandhi to take the lead in the matter.

Its spokesperson K C Tyagi, however, insisted that the issue of presidential election was not discussed in the meeting and added it was his party’s view that a strong joint opposition candidate will be in national interest.

“There should a joint opposition candidate for the top Constitutional post and Sonia Gandhi being the leader of the largest opposition party should take the lead,” he said.

Kumar has already taken up the matter with leaders of the Left parties and received a good response, he said.

Another senior JD(U) leader said Kumar’s visit to Gandhi’s residence was a courtesy call as the Congress is the party’s ally in Bihar and also because Gandhi had been ill for some time.

“He did speak about the need for unity among opposition parties,” he added.

Kumar has been calling for forging an alliance of secular parties at the national level on the lines of the 2015 electoral grand alliance or ‘Mahagathbandhan’ in Bihar to take on the BJP-led NDA under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Congress is a partner in the Bihar government with Kumar’s JD-U and Lalu Prasad’s RJD, after the three parties contested and won the assembly elections as part of the grand alliance.

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Who will take the rap if BJP loses in Gujarat: Shatrughan asks Modi

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Shatrughan Sinha, File Photo

New Delhi, Dec 13 : Taking on his own BJP party, actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha on Wednesday asked the “one man show and two man army”, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah, to return to Delhi from Gujarat if they have exhausted all their “tricks, tantrums, wrong statements and tall promises”.

“Humble appeal to our one man show and two man army (Modi and Shah). Please return “home” to Delhi, if we’ve exhausted all our tricks, tantrums, wrong statements and tall promises. Time to also bring back the ministers, ministries and government sitting in Gujarat and fighting amongst themselves to get credit,” Sinha said in a tweet.

“If we are victorious, we know you shall get full credit..but if we are not, then who will take the rap? There’s an old saying – “Taali kaptaan ko to gaali bhi kaptaan ko”. Hope wish and pray that we get only Taalis (claps) in Gujarat elections. Jai Hind!” the BJP leader said.

Sinha, who has been sidelined in the party, has been continuously taking pot shot at the party leadership via social media.

Modi and Shah have been on hectic campaigning in Gujarat for the state assembly elections, with the BJP facing strong anti-incumbency.

The campaigning for the second and final phase of Gujarat Assembly elections came to an end on Tuesday evening. The polls for the 93 seats are due on Thursday. Counting of votes will take place on December 18.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been in power in the state since 1995.

IANS

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Gujarat will give BJP a shock, says Rahul Gandhi

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New Delhi, Dec 13: Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday brushed aside a question on whether a Congress loss in Gujarat will be a referendum on him and insisted that the election outcome will be “shocking” for the BJP.

“Gujarat will this time throw a surprising result. It will be shocking for the BJP. They are scared. BJP workers who talk to our leaders say that the Congress effectively campaigned in Gujarat and their own campaign was not so effective. Even they feel they will not be able to defend their own record,” Gandhi told CNN News18.

He avoided a reply when asked if a possible poor showing by the Congress would be considered a referendum on him as he was set to take over as party President and was also the star campaigner in the BJP-ruled state.

Gandhi sought an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his attack on his predecessor and Congress leader Manmohan Singh for alleging that the latter had conspired with Pakistanis to defeat the BJP in Gujarat.

“That was wrong. If Modiji is Prime Minister, Manmohanji was also Prime Minister. He devoted his life for the country. It is not acceptable. Frankly, he (Modi) should apologize. But that is for him to decide. What he has said is wrong.”

Gandhi said he won’t indulge in personal attacks on Modi even if the Prime Minister and the Bharatiya Janata Party do so daily.

“The BJP and Modiji indulge in aggressive attacks against me. But I don’t retaliate because I don’t mind it.”

He said the language Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar used to attack Modi was unacceptable to him and the Congress, which acted promptly by suspending the former MP.

At the same time, Gandhi hit out at Modi. “He has lost his credibility. It seems difficult that he will regain it.

“The youth had reposed their faith in Modiji. But the trust has been broken. He had promised to create two crore jobs every year. But he doesn’t speak about that now. And he doesn’t speak a word even about corruption.

“You may have noted that he didn’t utter a word when reports about (BJP President Amit Shah’s son) Jay Shah and (the French) Rafale deal came in.”

The Congress leader said the Modi government was not able to create in one full year the number of jobs China produces in two days.

“This is the challenge India faces. There are lots of distractions. Modiji speaks about a lot of things. But the main issue in India or in Gujarat is about unemployment. This is the challenge before the country and the Congress.”

Gandhi said the Congress fought the Gujarat elections — whose second and final phase will be held on Thursday — on the strength of what people in the state desired and added that the BJP was cornered on every issue.

IANS

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Not undergone any makeover, BJP tarnished my image: Rahul

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Ahmedabad, Dec 13: Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi maintained he has not undergone any ‘makeover’ and accused the BJP of distorting his image.

Speaking to Gujarati news channel GSTV, the Congress leader also stated the BJP is not scared of him but of the voice of the people of Gujarat.

“There is no makeover; the truth of Rahul Gandhi was being distorted by BJP workers. I speak the truth and that truth is coming out,” news agency IANS quoted, the Gandhi scion was saying.

While talking about the Gujarat elections and his poll campaigning, Gandhi asserted the election is not about him or Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but about the people of Gujarat.

“Who am I, I am just talking about Gujarat in the last three months. The election is not about Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi. It is about the people of Gujarat,” he said.

“They (BJP) are not scared of Rahul Gandhi, they are scared of the voice of the people of Gujarat.”

On being asked about the remarks on the Nehru-Gandhi family, Rahul Gandhi said he did not feel any hatred for the Prime Minister, adding that Modi has helped him the most.

“Modiji has helped me the most… How can I hate him,” Rahul Gandhi said.

Responding to a question on the comments made on the Nehru-Gandhi family, the Congress elect-president stated “If you look at religion and the history of the nation, love has to be the response to hatred. There is zero emotion of anger and hatred in me.

“It is the nature of our family. Maybe the legend of Gujarat, Mahatma Gandhi taught this to our family…” Gandhi added.

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