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Rahul has potential to become PM: Amarinder

The Punjab chief minister said he had always found the AICC vice president “extremely perceptive and decisive”.

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Rahul Amrinder

Chandigarh, May 4 : Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said today that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has the potential to become the Prime Minister of the country adding that the time was also right for a generational change in the party.

The Punjab chief minister said he had always found the AICC vice president “extremely perceptive and decisive”.

There was a “deliberate” attempt to undermine Rahul’s image by calling him names and he has potential to become the Prime Minister of the country, Amarinder said.

The time was right for a generational change in the Congress to cater to the aspirations of the over 70 per cent youth population of the country, he said.

Referring to incidents along the LoC, the chief minister said while killings and skirmishes had been going on for long, the kind of brutality we see now was not there earlier.

Incidents like the recent mutilation of the bodies of two Indian jawans were understandably provoking the wrath of the people and the Indian Army needed to counter such acts effectively, he asserted.

However, striking a note of caution, he said that in the long term, both India and Pakistan needed to think about peace and the future of the coming generations.

The chief minister exuded confidence over the response by investors and industry to the change in dispensation in the state, saying his government had, in just six weeks, been able to build their confidence.

He endorsed his claim by adding that the Bathinda refinery was all set for a Rs 20,000 crore expansion.

Amarinder said his government had succeeded in creating the right enabling environment for the elimination of drugs, which were now becoming increasingly less available, as was evidenced in the spike in their prices.

The number of youth going to rehabilitation centres was another indication that his government had successfully broken the backbone of the drugs mafia, said the Chief Minister.

However it would be difficult to wean youth completely away from drugs without giving them employment, to which his government was committed, Amarinder said.

With 90 lakh youth in Punjab either unemployed or underemployed, his government was going all out with efforts to generate employment, he added.

Referring to the state of agriculture in Punjab, the Chief Minister said his government was working to encourage farmers, about 70 percent of whom were small farmers, to diversify and shift from paddy to high cash crops.

Such small farmers, with less than 5 acres each of land, could not survive imposition of taxes, he added referring to a suggestion by NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy to tax farm income.

However NITI Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya had said that the question of levying taxes from agricultural income does not arise.

Amarinder gave credit to the previous Akali government in the state for creating surplus power.

He however came down heavily on the Shiromani Akali Dal leadership for the huge debt they had left behind, leaving the Congress government with no money to pay salaries or for development.

The state government was working to improve education and health in the state, said Captain Amarinder, adding that without good schooling, higher education remained a problem, which was also reflected in the fact that Punjabis were not faring too well in competitive exams, including those for Army recruitment.

Without mincing words, Captain Amarinder once again repeated that Khalistani sympathisers sitting in Canada were misleading people with false information and he would not allow the peace and stability of Punjab to be destroyed by such elements at any cost.

The Chief Minister said while Punjabi language accorded due prominence, it was important also to promote English to enable the youth to find jobs in the competitive global market.

Politics

I have lost a comrade, colleague and friend: Sonia on Ahmed Patel’s death

Congress has lost one of its greatest son. I am at loss of words at his death. May his soul rest in peace. May god give strength to his family to cope up with this terrible loss.”

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Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi: Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday while condoling the death of Ahmed Patel said she has lost a dedicated Congress colleague.

“In Sh. Ahmed Patel, I have lost a colleague, whose entire life was dedicated to the Congress Party.” she said

She said, “His faithfulness and dedication, his commitment to his duty, his always being there to help, his generosity were rare qualities that distinguished him from others.”

“I have lost an irreplaceable comrade, a faithful colleague and a friend. I mourn his passing and I feel deeply for his bereaved family to whom I offer my sincere feelings of empathy and support,” she added

Scores of Congress leaders condoled Ahmed Patel’s death, “It is very hard to come to terms with Ahmed patel Ji’s passing. He was a political troubleshooter par excellence & will be sorely missed by all. “Ahmedbhai” was also a close friend of my late father’s & a mentor to me,” tweeted Milind Deora.

B.K. Hariprasad said in a tweet, “Its very saddening to know about the demise of Shri Ahmad patel ji. Congress has lost one of its greatest son. I am at loss of words at his death. May his soul rest in peace. May god give strength to his family to cope up with this terrible loss.”

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India

Ahmed Patel’s role in strengthening Congress will always be remembered: PM Modi

A top strategist of the Congress and a most-trusted ally of its president Sonia Gandhi, Patel (71) died in the early hours of Wednesday.

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Narendra Modi

Condoling the death of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said his role in strengthening the opposition party will always be remembered.

Patel spent years in public life, serving the society, Modi noted.

A top strategist of the Congress and a most-trusted ally of its president Sonia Gandhi, Patel (71) died in the early hours of Wednesday.

He was admitted to the Medanta hospital in Gurugram and had been critical for a few days. He had contracted COVID-19 and subsequently, developed complications.

“Saddened by the demise of Ahmed Patel Ji. He spent years in public life, serving society. Known for his sharp mind, his role in strengthening the Congress Party would always be remembered. Spoke to his son Faisal and expressed condolences. May Ahmed Bhai’s soul rest in peace,” the prime minister said in a tweet.

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Election

Ahead of DDC polls, BJP targets Abdullahs over ‘land grab’

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Farooq Abdullah

New Delhi: Ahead of the District Development Council (DDC) polls in Jammu and Kashmir beginning Saturday, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad trained his guns on the Abdullahs for their alleged role in the Roshni scam.

Prasad alleged that the key leaders of the erstwhile state, including Farooq Abdullah, used their “influence and power for land grabbing”.

“In 1998, Farooq Abdullah had purchased 3 kanals of land but he encroached upon 7 kanals of land which were double the size of the purchase,” Prasad alleged while speaking to the media. He further said that under the Roshni scam, the name of Farooq Abdullah’s sister Suraiya Mattu has also appeared, who, the minister alleged, is also a beneficiary of 3 kanals of land.

“There was a conscious land loot by the powerful people of J&K who were getting benefits under the Roshni Act which was declared unconstitutional by the J&K High Court. This is low level politics by the powerful people of J&K and we condemn it,” alleged Prasad.

Prasad said the J&K High Court has declared the Roshni Act as unconstitutional and has stated that the names of people who have acquired land under this Act should be listed and made public.

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