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No politics as Sonia Gandhi graces book event

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New Delhi, May 23 : Sonia Gandhi was there and so was Sheila Dikshit but there was no politics on the agenda — and neither did anyone seek to inject politics into the evening’s event.

The occasion was the release of the book “The Unseen Indira Gandhi” (Konark), penned by Dr K.P. Mathur, who was the former prime minister’s personal physician for 16 years till her untimely death on October 31, 1984.

Now 92, Mathur managed to get Sonia Gandhi to grace the event on Monday for her late mother-in-law, a fact that was not announced by the organisers and took most of the audience at the India International Centre by surprise.

Sonia was relaxed, came early and mingled easily with the guests over tea and pakoras before the event began. With even the security men around her relaxed, many people took advantage of the occasion and their proximity to one of India’s most guarded leaders to take selfies with her, exertions which she mildly protested at but then gave in.

But no one talked politics.

Wearing a maroon saree and blouse, Sonia was content to sit in the audience and got up only to receive a copy of the book from the author, who was part and parcel of the Gandhi household and knew the family, including her children, Rahul and Priyanka, intimately.

In fact, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra wrote a foreword to the book, describing Mathur as a “storehouse of fascinating tales for my brother and me” who became “more a member of our extended family than just a part of my grandmother’s entourage”. She was not present at the event.

The audience broke into repeated applause when the former Delhi chief minister spoke of Indira Gandhi as one of the most remarkable women of the 20th century who brought India prestige and standing in the international arena.

Also present in the audience were those who were close to the Gandhi household at some point or other, including former ministers Jairam Ramesh, Mani Shankar Aiyar and former journalist Suman Dubey, who was a close friend of Rajiv Gandhi. Dr Karan Singh, MP, who has been close to the family for decades, was among those on the dais.

Interestingly, no one from the ruling establishment could be seen.

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India

Sonia terms Modi speech as old rhetoric, Rahul says it was weak

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Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, July 21 (IANS) UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi described Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech during no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha as an “old rhetoric” and Congress President Rahul Gandhi said it was “weak”.

The Congress party termed his speech as “dramebaazi” (theatrics).

The Modi government on Friday passed the no-confidence motion moved by the opposition with an overwhelming majority, with the government getting 325 out of a total 451 votes.

Only 126 MPs voted in favour of the motion.

Soon after the government won the no-confidence motion, Modi said that the NDA has the confidence of 125 crore people.

“NDA has the confidence of the Lok Sabha and the 125 crore people of India. I thank all the parties that supported us in the vote. Our efforts to transform India and fulfil the dreams of our youth will continue. Jai Hind!,” he said in a tweet.

Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said: “We posed questions to Prime Minister Modi on Rafael deal, Nirav Modi but he didn’t answer any.

“His speech was ‘dramebaazi’ (theatrics). He didn’t say anything for people of Andhra Pradesh. He was saying what previous governments had done and not what his government has done in four years,” he said.

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India

Peace in Kashmir impossible without Pakistan: Farooq Abdullah

You may not like what I am going to say. We will not have peace in Jammu and Kashmir unless we strike a deal with Pakistan,”

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Farooq Abdullah

New Delhi, July 20 : Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Friday said peace in Jammu and Kashmir was impossible without involving Pakistan, asking the BJP government to give up its rigid stance and be flexible in solving problems in the terror-ravaged state.

“You may not like what I am going to say. We will not have peace in Jammu and Kashmir unless we strike a deal with Pakistan,” Abdullah said in his speech during the no confidence motion in the Lok Sabha.

He said he had high hopes on Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he would build peace with Pakistan that Atal Bihari Vajpayee could not do.

“North Korea, which was making nuclear missiles, atom bombs, has made peace with US President Donald Trump. Trump and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin are meeting each other to find peace. But we have failed to do the same for Jammu and Kashmir.”

In his short but fiery speech, the National Conference leader said the anti-Muslim rhetoric building up in the country needed to stop because it was dangerous.

“We won’t be defeated by America, Russia or any other nation. We will defeat ourselves. We will not be successful unless the Hindus and Muslims unite.”

Pointing his finger towards the ruling bench, Abdullah asked the BJP to take note of the fact that “Muslims are as Indians as you are”.

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No-confidence motion against Modi government defeated

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Modi

New Delhi, July 20 : The no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government was defeated in the Lok Sabha on Friday after a 12-hour heated debate which saw the government and opposition trade charges and a moment of drama when Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, after a blistering speech, walked over to hug the Prime Minister.

 

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