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Not in touch with Congress MLAs: Vaghela



Shankersinh Vaghela
File Photo IANS

New Delhi, Aug 7: Former Union Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela said on Monday that he was not in touch with Congress MLAs ahead of the crucial Rajya Sabha elections from Gujarat on Tuesday.

He also said his relations with Congress leader Ahmed Patel were “very cordial”.

Vaghela, who resigned from the Congress in July, told NDTV in an interview that there was no question of getting any offer from the BJP.

Asked if he was in touch with Congress MLAs, who returned to Gujarat on Monday after being in Karnataka for almost 10 days to prevent “poaching” by the BJP, Vaghela said: “On moral grounds, I should not be in touch. I am not.”

Asked about his vote, Vaghela said voting was the “property of a MLA”. I don’t want to expose it.”

Vaghela said Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who is in the fray for the third Rajya Sabha seat from the state, had telephoned him on Monday and will again talk to him on Tuesday.

Vaghela, who was the Leader of Opposition in the Gujarat Assembly before he resigned, said he had known Patel for about four decades and their relationship was beyond political affiliations.
“Even today, our relations are very cordial,” he said.

Asked about speculation that he had been offered the post of Governor by the BJP, Vaghela said there were no talks between him and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“There is no question of any offer,” he said and added that BJP leaders were not in touch with him.

He said Balwantsinh Rajput, who had been put up by the BJP for the third Rajya Sabha seat in the state, was a friend of Ahmed Patel before he became his relative.

Rajput was the Congress Chief Whip in the assembly and was named BJP candidate soon after resigning from the party in July.

Vaghela said he had been asked what he will do for the victory of his relative but it was the BJP’s outlook. “Where I find it necessary, I will speak,” he said.

Forty four Congress MLAs from Gujarat, who were flown to Bengaluru on July 29, returned to Gujarat on Monday. They were taken to Karnataka after six party MLAs resigned from the party in July with some of them joining the BJP.

Ahmed Patel faces a tough contest in the Rajya Sabha election on Tuesday. BJP President Amit Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani are also in the fray for the three seats from the state.



KC Tyagi says, Cambridge Analytica has no links with JD(U) nor his son



New Delhi, March 22: Senior Janata Dal (United) leader KC Tyagi on Thursday rejected any links with the Cambridge Analytica (CA).

Speaking to Media, he stated that JDU has no relation with Cambridge Analytics, neither has its CEO ever met Bihar Chief Minister Nitish nor me. In any case, JDU is a Socialist outfit and we stay away from such things, except for maybe Prashant Kishore ji helping us during last assembly polls.

There was only a work relation between my son Amrish’s company and Cambridge Analytics , there is no financial transaction or shareholding, everything is open to probe. JDU also has no links with this, neither did they promote us in 2010 polls”, he added.

KC Tyagi’s son Amrish Tyagi owns Ovelina Business Intelligence (OBI), which was Cambridge Analytica’s associate in the country.

OBI in association with CA parent company SCL Group had formed a firm, SCL India.

Meanwhile hitting out at Janata Dal (United), RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, said the name of the company coming out in this matter is in the BJP client list, run by KC Tyagi’s son.

“JD(U) General Secretary’s son is involved and JD(U) is saying that we do not know anything”, he further asserted.

The alleged involvement of the data analytics company and Facebook has erupted a massive political debate across the world as well as in India with a big war-of-words breaking out between the ruling BJP and main Congress.


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Congress hits out at BJP, says Sabse bade data chor macha rahe hai zyada shor




New Delhi, March 22: Lashing out at the Bharatiya Janata Party for levelling charges over the alleged data theft, Congress on Thursday said the ruling government has become a manufacturer of fake news.

Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said the BJP Govt has become a manufacturer of fake news. Sabse bade data chor macha rahe hain sabse zyada shor”.

Taking a jibe the BJP-led government, he said, “Hitler had an associate called Goebbels, Narendra Modi has an associate called Ravi Shankar Prasad.”

His reaction comes soon after, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad retaliated his allegations of Congress’s links to political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica (CA) and claimed that the firm was involved in Rahul Gandhi’s social media campaign and there had been meetings too in this regard.

The minister, accepting full responsibility, said that CA had been managing the social media campaign for Rahul Gandhi and there had been meetings also in this connection.

“The Congress cannot run away from this fact. If the Congress maintains a conspicuous silence on such an important news of the involvement of a dubious social media company and does not counter it, then I am sorry. They don’t have any right to run the country,” he said.

Earlier on Wednesday also, the Congress denied links to CA that has been accused of data theft to allegedly influence the electoral process.


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Death of 39 Indians in Iraq: Congress to move Privilege Motion against Swaraj



New Delhi, March 22: The Congress will move a Privilege Motion against EAM Sushma Swaraj for misleading the kin of the Indians killed in Iraq by the Islamic State.

Speaking to media, Senior Congress leader Ambika Soni said: “We are going to bring a Privilege Motion against the External Affairs Minister for misleading the families of the 39 Indians as well as the House”.

EAM on Tuesday confirmed the death of missing 39 Indians who were abducted by ISIS in June 2014.

Former MoS for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor, too, had cornered the ruling government for giving false hope to the families of the hostages all these years.

“Giving falsehood to people is actually cruel and suggests a certain level of lack transparency on part of the government, Tharoor asserted.

Echoing on similar views, another Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday asked the Central and State governments to provide financial assistance to the families of deceased and job opportunities in government sector.

The thirty-nine persons, most of them hailed from Punjab, were working on projects near Mosul, when they were abducted during their evacuation.


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