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PDP leader Altaf Bukhari dares Congress’s Azad to prove charges

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Ghulam Nabi Azad

Srinagar, Jan 18 : Former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Minster Altaf Bukhari, here on Saturday, dared senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad to prove his allegations against him or quit Parliament on moral grounds.

Reacting to media reports in which Azad had been quoted as saying that some Congress leaders were being threatened to join the “Third Front” or face false cases, Bukhari said it was unfortunate that a leader like Azad was playing cheap politics.

In a press statement Bukhari said, “I hold Azad in high esteem, but it’s unfortunate that he has made baseless allegations against me and my colleagues, stooping this low for doing petty politics.”

Bukhari said he neither held power nor was in a position to misuse the state machinery or agencies, as used to be done during the Congress-led regimes in J&K.

“I have reiterated that I am joined by some friends, colleagues and well-wishers of J&K to raise and address the sufferings caused to the people by whosoever has been at the helm of affairs in J&K and in the Centre,” Bukhari said.

He said several senior Congress leaders were in touch with him, but there was no question of coercing them or extending any favour as had been alleged by Azad. “Many Congress leaders share the same vision, passion and motivation to serve people in their own capacities and are coming forward for that,” he said.

The remark by Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha had exposed Azad’s respect for his party colleagues in J&K, whom he termed imprudent to take any decision on their own, Bukhari said.

“The Congress style of politics is over. There is no question of forcing anybody or extending any facilities to someone to garner his/her support for a sacred cause. Yes, Azad is right in his saying that he has run the government and knows about those tricks.

“But let me remind him that the era of manipulations and political manoeuvring is over. I and my friends want the people to get rid of this type of politics. People know everything. My colleagues and friends in the Congress are not politically naive that anybody could take them for a ride,” the PDP leader said.

Some leaders who represented people in J&K House had come together to resolve the injustice committed to the people on August 5, 2019, he said.

“Why the efforts in this direction — for restoration of some of achievable rights — have send shivers down the spine of Congress leadership,” Bukhari said.

Azad was unable to find any fault with his memorandum to the Lieutenant Governor and was trying to malign his own colleagues who came forward to safeguard the people’s interests, Bukhari said.

The PDP leader said the people remembered the communal politics of 2008, causing death and destruction in J&K, and added, the people also remembered the self-centred and despicable laws, like the Roshni Act, that favoured their blue eyed acquaintances at the cost of state.

“Instead of finding faults in others, the Congress leadership, including Azad, should do self-analysis and soul-searching and see how the party is responsible for death, destruction and disintegration of J&K in the last 72 years,” Bukhari said.

Politics

‘Operation’ Lotus to bloom in Rajasthan too?

Gehlot, sources said, has also spoken to Sonia Gandhi, Rajasthan in-charge Avinash Pandey and party General Secretary, Organisation, K.C. Venugopal to apprise them of the developments taking place in the state.

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Gehlot, Pilot

Jaipur, July 11 🙂 Will “Operation Lotus” be successful in Rajasthan and will the desert state reprise the Madhya Pradesh story? This was the most asked question in political corridors here soon after Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday called a press meet, where he termed the BJP as a “shameless party which was trying to topple the Congress government when it was busy tackling the Covid-19 crisis in the state”.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot reached Delhi on Saturday, triggering more speculations.

There were reports that around 15 MLAs are camping in Delhi to show his support to Pilot, who is also the state unit chief. According to sources, MLA P.R. Meena, considered a member of the Pilot team, wanted to meet interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi to apprise her of the step-motherly treatment being given to them by the Gehlot government.

Meanwhile, Gehlot called a meeting of ministers at his official residence late on Saturday and asked all the party MLAs to write a letter of support for him.

Senior ministers have been roped in to make Congress MLAs to write a letter showing their solidarity with Gehlot. However, ministers from Pilot camp did not attend this meeting.

Gehlot, sources said, has also spoken to Sonia Gandhi, Rajasthan in-charge Avinash Pandey and party General Secretary, Organisation, K.C. Venugopal to apprise them of the developments taking place in the state.

In fact, the state government has also sealed the borders in the name of Covid-19 spread. Earlier, the borders were sealed in the run-up to the Rajya Sabha polls soon after the Chief Minister hit out at the BJP over its alleged plans of ”horse-trading”.

Earlier, the day saw a buzz of political activity as Gehlot openly accused the BJP of indulging in ”horse-trading” and trying to topple his government while the BJP dismissed the allegations, saying that the Congress has been unable to keep its own house in order.

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Politics

Critics blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone jail term

The move – sparing Stone from jail but not a pardon – came just after a court denied Stone’s request to delay the start date of his 40-month prison term.

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Roger Stone

Washington, July 12 : Leading Democrats have condemned US President Donald Trump’s decision to commute the prison sentence of his former adviser and friend Roger Stone.

Presidential contender Joe Biden’s spokesman accused Trump of abuse of power and “laying waste” to US values, the BBC reported.

The move – sparing Stone from jail but not a pardon – came just after a court denied Stone’s request to delay the start date of his 40-month prison term.

He was convicted of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.

Stone was the sixth Trump aide found guilty on charges linked to a justice department probe that alleged Russia tried to boost the Trump 2016 campaign.

The 67-year-old had been due to report to a federal prison in Jesup, Georgia, next Tuesday.

The White House said Stone was the victim of an attempt by opponents to undermine the presidency.

The president has been accused by political critics of undermining the justice system by criticising criminal cases against Stone and other former aides.

Trump has also publicly complained about the prosecutions of onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Biden’s spokesman Bill Russo said Trump could not be shamed and could only be stopped at the ballot box.

“President Trump has once again abused his power, releasing this commutation on a Friday night, hoping to yet again avoid scrutiny as he lays waste to the norms and the values that make our country a shining beacon to the rest of the world,” he said.

House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff condemned Trump”s clemency.

“With this commutation,” said the top Democratic lawmaker, “Trump makes clear that there are two systems of justice in America: one for his criminal friends, and one for everyone else.”

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren said it showed Donald Trump was the most corrupt president in history.

But the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, welcomed the news, saying Roger Stone’s sentence was draconian.

Stone himself told reporters that under the terms of the commutation he could now appeal against his sentence, and was confident that he could expose “an enormous amount of corruption” at his trial.

The White House said in a statement: “Roger Stone is a victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency.”

It said that Department of Justice prosecutors under special counsel Robert Mueller only charged Stone out of frustration after failing to prove the “fantasy” that the Trump campaign had colluded with the Kremlin.

The White House also suggested that the FBI had tipped off CNN about their pre-dawn raid on Stone”s house, noting that a camera crew for the cable network was on the scene to record the arrest.

“Roger Stone has already suffered greatly,” the statement said. “He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man!”

Trump had been hinting about a reprieve for Stone for months, including on Thursday night in an interview with a Fox News host.

The president”s commutation does not void a criminal conviction as a pardon does.

Stone was found guilty of lying to the House Intelligence Committee about his attempts to contact Wikileaks, the website that released damaging emails about Trump”s 2016 Democratic election rival Hillary Clinton.

US intelligence officials have concluded the messages were stolen by Russian hackers.

Stone had acknowledged during the 2016 campaign that he was in contact with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

He also intimated that he knew the website would disclose more than 19,000 emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee servers.

Stone”s sentence fell short of an initial seven-to-nine-year recommendation from prosecutors.

In a remarkable move, US Attorney General William Barr had overruled that sentencing guideline following a Trump tweet, and instead recommended a more lenient punishment.

That intervention led to the entire Stone prosecution team resigning from the case.

Stone has worked with Republicans since the 1970s and has a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back.

In the 1990s, Stone worked as a lobbyist for Trump’s casino business, and later helped Trump’s unsuccessful White House run in 2000.

According to the Netflix documentary Get Me Roger Stone, the strategist reportedly encouraged Trump to run for the presidency again.

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Cities

Youth Congress workers send handcuffs to UP CM Yogi Adityanath after Vikas Dubey’s encounter

On Friday morning, Dubey was shot dead when he reportedly tried to flee after a road accident in which the vehicle he was travelling in overturned near Kanpur.

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Indian Youth Congress Handcuff ot Yogi

New Delhi, July 11 : A day after encounter death of gangster Vikas Dubey at the hands of UP Police STF, the Indian Youth Congress (IYC) workers, here on Saturday, sent handcuffs to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to indicate growing gundaraj in the state.

IYC leader Varun Pandey said it was evident the UP police didn”t handcuff high-risk criminal. Dubey tried to flee from the UP police custody after having surrendered a day before to the Madhya Pradesh Police in Ujjain.

In a similar case, an aide of Dubey also tried to flee from the police custody and was killed in the encounter.

“It shows the Police don”t have sufficient means to restrain criminals, particularly handcuffs. Hence, the IYC has decided to send handcuffs to the UP Chief Minister as a symbolic protest,” he said.

IYC General Secretary Bhaiya Pawar said with several questions surrounding Dubey”s encounter, like attempts to stop the media from covering the STF cavalcade, changing of vehicle from Safari to SUV, and encounter of other Dubey aides, one thing was clear there was gundaraj in UP.

He said the chain of events given by the police also raised several questions. “If they are not able to hold a single criminal, what”s their utility,” he added..

On Friday morning, Dubey was shot dead when he reportedly tried to flee after a road accident in which the vehicle he was travelling in overturned near Kanpur.

Five Dubey gang members have been killed in the encounters over the past seven days.

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