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Opposition raises Abdullahs detention at All Party meet

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Farooq Abdullah
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New Delhi, Nov 17 Opposition raked up the issue of the detention of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, who is a member of the Lok Sabha, during all party meet convened by the Government, a day ahead of the Parliament session.

Farooq Abdullah is under detention along with two other former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti since the abrogation of Article 370 and re-organisation of the state.

Leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said after the all party meet, “Farooq Abdullah should be allowed to attend the Parliament session as he is under detention for the past 3 months and as per past precedents jailed former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram should also be allowed to attend the proceedings”.

Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury asserted that the opposition will be raising the issue of economic crisis during the winter session of the Parliament while government assured smooth functioning of the house, Parliamentary Affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said.

Regarding former ally Shiv Sena, Joshi said, “Shiv Sena is working on a tie up with the Congress as they have opted to sit in the opposition. We have agreed to it and their minister has also resigned from the government”.

Earlier Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the all party meet on Sunday ahead of the crucial winter session of Parliament beginning from Monday.

Besides Joshi, his junior Cabinet colleagues – Arjun Ram Meghwal and V. Muraleedharan, Union ministers – Amit Shah and Thawarchand Gehlot, also attended the all party meet convened at the Parliament Library building on Sunday.

Telugu Desam Party’s Jaydev Galla, Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Satish Mishra participated in the meeting.

Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien and Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Lok Janshakti Party lawmaker Chirag Paswan, Republican Party of India leader Ramdas Athawale, AIADMK’s Navneet Krishnan and Anupriya Patel of Apna Dal(S) also took part in the meeting.

Other leaders included MDMK’s Vaiko, T.K. Rangarajan of Communist Party of India (Marxist), T.R. Balu of DMK, YSRCP’s V. Vijayasai Reddy, Manoj Jha of Rashtriya Janata Dal and Ram Gopal Yadav of Samajwadi Party were among those present in the meeting.

As the Central government is likely to push for passage of almost 35 legislations in the session, including the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019, which amends the definition of illegal migrants, and the Personal Data Protection Bill, the opposition parties are likely to raise the issues of their concern.

Currently, there are 43 bills pending in Parliament. Of these, 12 bills are listed for consideration and passage, and seven are listed for withdrawal. Twenty-seven bills are listed for introduction, consideration, and passage.

The Parliament session, which will end on December 13, will see a total of 20 sittings.


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BJP govt should reconsider Citizenship Act: DMK chief M K Stalin

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MK Stalin

Chennai, Dec 15 : DMK chief M K Stalin on Sunday expressed concern over the violence in Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and said the Centre should reconsider it.

Protestors torched four public buses and two police vehicles as they clashed with police in south Delhi’s New Friends’ Colony near Jamia Millia Islamia University during a demonstration against the contentious law this evening.

Soon after the violence, Jamia Millia Islamia Chief Proctor Waseem Ahmed Khan claimed, the Delhi Police entered the campus forcibly without any permission and beat up staff members and students who were forced to leave the premises.

At the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in Uttar Pradesh, hundreds of students protesting against the amended legislation clashed with police who used batons and teargas to disperse them.

“BJP government must reconsider CAA2019 (Citizenship Amendment Act) in the wake of widespread, continuous protests,” Stalin said in a tweet.

“Shocked to see visuals of brutal attacks on students in Jamia Milia and Aligarh Muslim University,” he said.

“Every drop of blood spilled will need to be answered for in the days to come,” he added.

The amended Citizenship Act seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslim religious minorities from three neighbouring countries who arrived in India till December 31, 2014, to escape religious persecution.

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Rahul’s Savarkar remark draws ire from friends, foes

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Mahatma Gandhi and Veer Savarkar

Mumbai, Dec 14 : Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s controversial remarks on Vinayak Damodar alias Veer Savarkar escalated into a big controversy, earning the ire of friends and foes alike, here on Saturday.

Slamming Gandhi, Ranjit Savarkar, the grandson of Veer Savarkar, said: “Thank God his name is not Rahul Savarkar, or else we would have had to blacken our own faces.”

“He alleged that Veer Savarkar apologised, but actually he only agreed to certain conditions to secure his release, and this is known to the whole world. Veer Savarkar never indulged in the kind of submissive behaviour that Jawaharlal Nehru showed before the British even after Independence,” Ranjit Savarkar said.

He also attacked the Congress, saying it is no longer the party of freedom struggle but was reduced to a slave of a dynasty.

Later, speaking to a private TV channel, he expressed hope that the Congress’ ally in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena, would beat him (Gandhi) up with ‘shoes’ for the insult meted out to his grandfather.

Bharatiya Janata Party’s Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis sarcastically said that “just because someone has the Gandhi surname does not make him a (Mahatma) Gandhi,” and demanded Gandhi must apologise to the nation for his utterances.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut sternly said: “We respect Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi. Veer Savarkar is not just Maharashtra’s but the entire country’s idol, who sacrificed his life for the country’s freedom. Hence, he (Veer Savarkar) should not be insulted in any manner, and there can be no compromise on this.”

Raut’s statement came barely a day after the Congress seemed to have backtracked on the Sena’s decision to vote for the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha, but abstained from the Rajya Sabha vote, even as the new Citizenship Amendment Act came into force amidst protests in many parts of India.

Gandhi’s outburst came when he refused to apologise over his ‘Rape in India’ remark and sought to deride Veer Savarkar by saying: “I am not Rahul Savarkar, and I will not apologise for speaking the truth.”

Addressing the party’s Bharat Bachao rally in New Delhi, Gandhi said that in the Parliament on Friday, the BJP members asked him to apologise “but I want to tell them that I am not Rahul Savarkar, I won’t apologise. I will not apologise for speaking the truth.”

Instead, he demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah should say sorry to the country for the economic crises and the CAA fallout, even as his comments on Veer Savarkar snowballed into a mega row by the evening.

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Kejriwal teams up with Prashant Kishor’s firm

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Prashant Kishor

New Delhi, Dec 14 : With an aim to keep up AAP’s Assembly strength, Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party has teamed up with Prashant Kishor’s consultancy Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) to manage its campaign ahead of the polls early next year.

The announcement on Saturday by party chief Arvind Kejriwal has come just weeks before his tenure as Delhi Chief Minister is to end.

The AAP had secured 67 out of 70 assembly seats in Delhi in the 2015 assembly elections and Kejriwal’s tenure will end in February 2020.

“Happy to share that I-PAC is coming on board with us. Welcome aboard!,” Kejriwal tweeted.

Kejriwal’s deputy and senior party leader Manish Sisodia responded to the tweet in Hindi, saying this time the party will get more than 67 seats.

The firm responded to Kejriwal’s tweet, saying: “After Punjab results, we acknowledged you as the toughest opponent that we have ever faced. Happy to join forces now with Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party.”

While Kishor and his team could not be contacted for comment, according to the AAP sources, the two had been in talks from the past several months.

“We were in talks… The decision was finalised recently. We will soon roll out our election plan,” a party leader said demanding anonymity.

When asked why the party decided to go for Kishor, the leader said: “He and his firm have a track record of winning (elections). We know we will win the elections, but joining hands with successful people is no harm.”

The firm shot to fame after it had helped Narendra Modi and BJP win the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Kishor helped Nitish Kumar in the 2015 Bihar Assembly Elections as well. He is now the vice-president of the BJP’s Bihar ally Janata Dal (United).

The political advocacy group was hired by the Congress for the 2017 Punjab Assembly Elections to help Amarinder Singh’s campaign. The Aam Aadmi Party came second in the elections.

Kishor was appointed as political advisor to Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy in May 2017. In all the cases, Kishor and his firm had given positive results.

For the 2021 Assembly elections in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, Kishor has joined hands with Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress in West Bengal and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Tamil Nadu to help the parties in the state elections.

The BJP accused the AAP of wasting the “hard-earned” money of the taxpayer for its political campaign.

“They say they don’t have money. How did they manage to hire such a firm? They are wasting people’s money. If they had worked in the last five years, there was no requirement to do all this,” a BJP leader said.

AAP’s Raghav Chadha said the work done by the Kejriwal government is praised by all.

“The people or firm which comes with AAP works on a pro bono basis. The I-PAC will serve the party on the same basis. There have been no financial or commercial arrangements. They will give their services on a pro bono basis and as a volunteer of the party. The aim is that the hands of the Kejriwal should be strengthened and all good people should work in the nation-building exercise. We welcome Kishor and his firm for their support to the party,” Chadha said.

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