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Punjab CM slams Khattar over ‘Khalistani’ remark

Amarinder Singh also slammed Khattar for making baseless allegations that he was instigating the farmers and provoking them to agitate.

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Amarinder and Khattar

Chandigarh: Lashing out at his Haryana counterpart for inflicting brutality on Punjab’s farmers, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday demanded an unequivocal apology from Manohar Lal Khattar, accusing him of spreading lies by saying “Khalistanis are managing the protests,”.

“Khattar is lying that he tried calling me earlier and I did not respond. But now, after what he has done to my farmers, I will not speak to him even if he calls me 10 times. Unless he apologises and admits that he did wrong with Punjab’s farmers, I will not forgive him,” Amarinder Singh told the media.

After Haryana Police’s actions to use tear gas shells and water cannons on Punjab’s farmers, which injured many, there is no way he would talk to Khattar again as “neighbour or no neighbour,” Amarinder Singh asserted.

The Punjab Chief Minister said that if he could talk to the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister so many times on the farmers’ issue, why would he not take calls from a neighbouring Chief Minister if he had truly called earlier.

Questioning Khattar’s decision to not allow the farmers to go to the national capital peacefully when the Centre was ready to talk to them and even the Delhi government had no problem in letting them in, Amarinder Singh demanded to know “who’s Khattar to come in between? What business does he have interfering in this whole affair?”

Amarinder Singh also slammed Khattar for making baseless allegations that he was instigating the farmers and provoking them to agitate.

“I am a nationalist to the core. I run a border state and will never do anything to create law and order problem of any kind,” he asserted, adding that for 60 days, the farmers were blocking Punjab’s railway tracks, causing more than Rs 43,000 crore in losses to the state.

“I will not take this nonsense from Khattar. Don’t I have better things to do than to incite the farmers,” he asked, adding that “sometimes they say it’s Khalistanis who’re managing the protests and sometimes they accuse me of doing it. Let them make up their minds.”

The Chief Minister categorically declared that no political party is involved in the farm protests, which are spontaneous reactions of the farmers who are fighting for their future.

Lambasting Khattar’s charge that the farmers were creating law and order problem, the Punjab Chief Minister said that Punjabis are law-abiding citizens and it is Haryana which is damaging public property and blocking the highways by forcibly stopping the farmers.

Terming as ludicrous Khattar’s claim that Haryana farmers were not part of the ‘Dilli Chalo’ agitation, Amarinder Singh said that Punjab’s intelligence showed that as many as 40,000-50,000 farmers from the neighbouring state had joined the march to the national capital, which even the Centre’s intelligence reports would have borne out.

“He (Khattar) doesn’t know what’s happening in his own state and he’s telling me what to do in my state,” Amarinder Singh.

Declaring that nobody is stopping corporate houses from coming into the agricultural marketing system, the Chief Minister pointed out that they are procuring and running businesses in Punjab even now.

They can do this while continuing with the existing system, both can run in parallel, he added.

India

Congress to welcome farmers’ tractor rally in Delhi

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The Congress in Delhi will welcome the farmers’ tractor rally on January 26 on the rally route to pledge solidarity with the farmers demanding the repeal of the three farm laws. The Congress workers have been asked by the party to welcome the rally on various points in the capital.

The Congress said the farm laws, if implemented in the present form, will be a total sell-out of the farm sector to a few chosen corporates supporting the BJP, therefore the farmers demand repeal of the laws.

Chowdhry Anil Kumar, President of the Delhi Congress unit said, “The farmers have been protesting on the borders of Delhi for over the past 60 days, braving the bone-chilling cold weather, demanding the repeal of the anti-farmer laws, and over 100 farmers have already become martyrs to the cause, and I will personally welcome the tractor rally.”

He alleged that the Modi government seems to be unmoved by the plight of the farmers, and adamant that it will not repeal the three laws after 11 rounds of talks with the farmers have produced no result, as the government is firm on not repealing the laws and is just fooling the farmers by holding futile talks. He said that the tractor rally will be a loud statement of the farmers’ anguish and anxiety.

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Congress has high hopes with DMK in Tamil Nadu

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The Congress is pinning its hopes on the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, where it will contest in alliance with the DMK, with former party president Rahul Gandhi making a trip to the southern state twice in 10 days and is expected to visit the state again in February.

Rahul Gandhi has been invoking Tamil pride in the state and attacking the BJP and AIADMK. In one of his speeches, the Congress leader said, “The Prime Minister says one language, one culture and one nation. Is Tamil not an Indian language? Is Tamil history not Indian history?”

Attacking the BJP, Rahul Gandhi said in another of his speeches, “It is an honour for me to be here with you. Whenever I come to Tamil Nadu, I am struck by your enthusiasm and by the way you live your life, something that I call Tamil spirit. No matter what difficulty you face, you always have a smile on your face and remain positive.”

He also said that in every non-BJP ruled state, Prime Minister Narendra Modi uses the CBI and ED to attack the opposition. “Why is the ED and the CBI not investigating the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister? What has the CM given to PM Modi in exchange for this? That is the central question,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi also alleged that Modi has the remote control to the government of Tamil Nadu, but the people of the state will take the batteries out of his remote control and throw them away.

The DMK-Congress alliance had outsmarted the AIADMK in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and holds an advantage in the Assembly elections as the ruling party lacks a charismatic leader such as Jayalalitha.

While the DMK has an alliance with the Congress, the AIADMK is likely to go with the BJP. The Congress is optimistic as its alliance with the DMK and the CPI(M) had won 38 out of the 39 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

There is also an anti-incumbency factor in Tamil Nadu with the AIADMK ruling the state for two terms now.

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Bring Bill in Budget Session to repeal farm laws, demands Trinamool

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With just five days to go for the Parliament’s Budget Session to commence on January 29, the Trinamool Congress on Monday demanded the government to introduce a new Bill to repeal the three farm laws.

Addressing a press conference here, Trinamool’s Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien said, “All of you know Trinamul Congress’ stand on the three farm laws and Mamata Banerjee’s commitment on the issue of land and farmers. In the upcoming session of the Parliament, the government must introduce a Bill and turn it into an Act to repeal the three farm laws.”

“Ddemocracy was murdered in the Rajya Sabha. The government must introduce a Bill and repeal the three farm laws,” O’Brien added.

The Trinamool leader also compared the PM Kisan scheme to the Krishak Bandhu scheme being run in West Bengal by the Trinamul Congress government. “Under the Krishak Bandhu scheme, a farmer gets Rs 5,000 per acre, while under the PM Kisan scheme, a farmer gets Rs 1,214 per acre,” he

Highlighting the other important points of the state government run scheme for the farmers, O’Brien said, “In Bengal, there is scope for all the farmers, while under the PM Kisan scheme, the benefits will be received only by small and marginal farmers with up to 2 hectares of land.”

He said that Krishak Bandhu’s coverage is 100 per cent in the state, while PM Kisan has a coverage of only 92 per cent.he said.

O’Brien added that under the Krishak Bandhu scheme, if a farmer between the age of 18 and 60 years dies, his family gets a benefit of Rs 2 lakh, but there is no such provision under the PM Kisan scheme in case of a farmer’s sudden death.

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