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Opposition meet condoles cyclone deaths

“The opposition parties, therefore, urge the Central government to immediately declare the cyclone as a national calamity and substantially help the states in facing the impact of the disaster”.

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Sonia Gandhi in Cong meeting

New Delhi, May 22 : An Opposition meeting convened by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Friday was attended by 22 parties. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackarey, his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee, NCP leader Sharad Pawar and DMK’s M.K. Stalin were also present in the meeting.

The parties in a resolution extended support to the government and people of West Bengal and Odisha in the aftermath of cyclone
Amphan. “This meeting conveys its deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives,” said the resolution.

“We express our solidarity and sympathies with those who have suffered losses.”

The resolution said the country and its people are already in the midst of a grim struggle for survival in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. “A natural calamity like Cyclone Amphan came as a double blow”.

It said people in West Bengal and Odisha urgently need support of the governments and people of the country. “The opposition parties, therefore, urge the Central government to immediately declare the cyclone as a national calamity and substantially help the states in facing the impact of the disaster”.

“Relief and rehabilitation should be the top-most priority. The possibility of outbreak of diseases after such a calamity must not be ignored. The opposition parties call upon the Central government to provide urgent help to our fellow citizens”.

Prominent leaders present in the meeting were: Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, Rahul Gandhi, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s D. Raja, Sharad Yadav (Loktantrik Janata Dal), Upendra Kushwaha (Rashriya Lok Samata Party), Tejashwi Yadav (RJD), Omar Abdullah (National Conference), Jitan Ram Manjhi (Hindustani Awam Morcha), N.K. Premachandran (Revolutionary Socialist Party) and Badruddin Ajmal (All India United Democratic Front).

India

Uttarakhand minister Covid positive, Congress asks cabinet to go into quarantine

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Suryakant Dhasmana
Uttarakhand Congress state Vice President Suryakant Dhasmana

Dehradun, May 31 : Hours after Uttarakhand Minister Satpal Maharaj tested positive for coronavirus, the state’s opposition Congress on Sunday sought that the state cabinet should go into quarantine as he had attended a cabinet meeting earlier this week.

“Very disturbing news, the whole Uttrakhand Cabinet including the Chief Minister may be quarentined (sic) as a Cabinet Minister who attended the Cabinet Meeting found Corona positive,” Congress state Vice President Suryakant Dhasmana said in a tweet.

Satpal Maharaj and at least two dozen of his family members and staff also tested positive, state officials said. This came a day after the minister’s wife Amrita Rawat, who had fever for the past few days, tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday.

What is worrying is that Satpal Maharaj, the state Tourism Minister, had attended a cabinet meeting on Friday where Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and other ministers of the BJP government were present.

In a video on his Twitter handle, Dhasmana said: “I think the whole cabinet should go into quarantine and get themselves checked at the earliest as it is a matter of public welfare, of public health, of people’s health… so many of the state’s people, party leaders and officials, ministers come in contact.”

“I pray to God that no one else turns out to be infected… to stop this happening, this (quarantining) is necessary. We pray that the Chief Minister and his colleagues stay healthy, and Maharaj ji and his family come out victorious.”

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Politics

Madhya Pradesh bypolls: Ex-MP rejoins Congress

Guddu said he had to leave the Congress and join the BJP due to “sustained victimisation” by Jyotiraditya Scindia.

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MP Premchand Guddu

Bhopal, May 31 : Former MP Premchand Guddu on Sunday rejoined Congress in Madhya Pradesh, bringing fresh hopes in the party for the upcoming bypolls in the state, due in the next four months.

Guddu was twice MLA and a Rajya Sabha member. His return to Congress can lead to a keen contest for Sanwer seat where by-elections are due.

The Congress leader was with the BJP for over five years. He had joined the party in the last elections, but claims he left it in February when he was served a notice for anti-party activities.

The current Irrigation Minister and a staunch supporter of Jyotiraditya Scindia, Tulsi Silavat, represented Sanwer before switching to BJP in March. He was Health Minister in Kamal Nath’s ministry just when coronavirus was declared a pandemic.

The Congress is seriously considering pitting Guddu against Silavat. Guddu has been an MLA in the past from the Sanwer seat reserved for the Scheduled Castes.

Guddu rejoined the Congress with much fanfare in the presence of N.P. Prajapati, former speaker and Sajjan Singh Verma, former minister.

Guddu said he had to leave the Congress and join the BJP due to “sustained victimisation” by Jyotiraditya Scindia.

While in BJP, Guddu said he was ignored because of senior party leader Kailash Vijayvargiya.

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Disaster

Govt neglecting Shramik special trains: Priyanka Gandhi

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Priyanka at Rajghat

New Delhi, May 31 : Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi, here on Sunday, alleged that Shramik special trains were being ignored by the railways due to which 40 per cent were running late, many lost their way and 80 passengers died.

“The Railway Ministry says weak people should not travel, which is shocking. Shramik trains are being ignored since the beginning. At this time the railways should be more sensitive towards people,” she tweeted.

Railway Board Chairman V.K. Yadav had said on Friday, “Some people died during the train journey and the railways is gathering details.”

In this difficult phase, the railways was trying its best, he said and added, as many as 12 lakh railways employees were striving to make every train reach its destination on time.

More than 4,000 Shramik trains had ferried over 54 lakh people to their destinations, the Ministry said in a statement. Almost all requests from sending states had been accommodated, it said.

“Many states have reduced their requirements, indicating that the task is nearing completion,” he said. Nearly 75 per cent of the trains were headed to UP and Bihar, and the rest to eastern India.

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