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Rahul holds key strategy meeting with Cong leaders



New Delhi, Apr 18 : Initiating efforts to revamp the Congress, Rahul Gandhi today convened a key strategy meeting in which he asked volunteers to assess the ground situation and strengthen the party in poll-bound states.

The meeting was attended by a group of party MPs, MLAs, former PCC chiefs and party workers, besides four former Union ministers including P Chidambaram.

During his three-hour interaction with the party leaders, Rahul asked them to devote more time to the party and help strengthen it ahead of upcoming elections to key states including Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

Sources said Rahul asked the leaders to volunteer for visiting the poll-bound states and help suggest ways and means to strengthen the party at the grassroots level after assessing the ground situation in these states.

The Congress vice president sought views of the leaders at the meeting to help revive the Congress from the lowest level of panchayats to the highest level in states.

He indicated that there will be more such meetings with party leaders in groups of 50 and assured decentralisation and internal democracy in the party at all levels.

Rahul also stressed on the need for dedicated cadres who would devote more time for the party. There was also a view during the meeting that the party was “neglected” when the Congress was in power in various states and the need to do away with such a culture and the need to focus on the organisation.

The party has already announced the poll schedule for organisational elections, which is to be completed by December. The Election Commission has asked the Congress to complete its internal elections by this year-end, after it gave a six-month extension to the party on the issue.

Amid a growing clamour among partymen for restructuring in the wake of recent electoral defeats in states, the party is in for a major revamp in the coming days and is likely to hold a series of meetings in this regard.

A meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision-making body of the party is also likely soon.


Modi is ‘Mauni Baba’ in India, but talks on domestic issues when abroad: Shiv Sena




New Delhi, April 21: The Shiv Sena hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi by referring him as Mauni Baba, who only speaks about domestic issues when he is abroad.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led party also said Modi should follow the advice of his predecessor Manmohan Singh and speak more often.

“(Former prime minister) Manmohan Singh has advised Modi to speak more often and to speak on time. He has also said that Modi’s advice to him when he was the prime minister is now applicable to him as well” news agency PTI quoted Sena as saying in its sensational mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.

“The advice given by Manmohan Singh is only fair. Except for bhakts (Modi supporters), who are flying in the air, the whole country feels the same.

“However, what Manmohan Singh said was only a half-truth. Modi may become a ‘mauni baba’ (mute spectator) in India, but he talks abroad,” the editorial piece added.

Taking potshots on Modi, the Marathi daily said if one wants to see the PM speak, the country’s capital will have to be taken to London, New York, Tokyo, Paris or Germany.

If that is not possible, like, in movies, a “set” of national capitals would have to be established in foreign locales, the editorial stated.

“The Prime Minister has talked about rape cases (in India) in London. This is part of his sensitive mind. He is emotional and there are sparks in his mind against injustice, and we are seeing the sparks turn into flames on foreign land. Is it right for Modi to speak on an issue like rape abroad? Why speak about the insulting incidents there?

“Why should a picture of prevalent corruption, rape incidents and an insecure country should be painted outside?” it questioned and added that on a visit to Japan, Modi had spoken about black money and corruption in India.

“You may have enmity with the previous regime. You may also have a deep enmity with the Congress or the Gandhi family… Speaking about the incidents occurring in the country on foreign land does not befit anybody,” the Sena said.

The Sena publication further said that Diamantaire Nirav Modi looted the country and fled, and Mallya is in London itself, but “our prime minister visit the country that has given him shelter and comes back empty-handed”.

Nirav Modi is a prime accused in the multi-crore Punjab National Fraud, while Mallya is wanted in a loan default case.


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Election Commission conspiring with Modi to destabilize Delhi govt: AAP



New Delhi, April 20: Calling the Election Commission “biased”, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alleged that the poll panel was conspiring with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to destabilize the AAP government in Delhi.

Interacting with the media here, AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj referred to remarks by EC’s former legal advisor, S.K. Mendiratta, that his opinion was not taken before the Election Commission disqualified 20 AAP MLAs for holding “office of profit”.

“Now it’s established that the EC is biased,” he said. “If advice was not taken from him (Mendiratta), it means that advice was coming from the Prime Minister’s office.”

Bharadwaj claimed the former Election Commission chief during whose tenure the decision to disqualify the AAP MLAs was taken was an IAS officer who had good relations with Modi when the latter was the Gujarat Chief Minister.

“Country’s EC with Prime Minister is conspiring to destabilize the elected government in Delhi,” the AAP leader stated, adding this was a “very dangerous sign”.

Speaking to The Indian Express on Wednesday at Idea Exchange, Mendiratta, who left EC last month, said, “I was (working) on contract with them (EC). I have given them my opinion whenever it was sought. In this case (office-of-profit complaint against AAP), they did not feel the necessity of seeking my opinion. So I (have) just kept away”.

Apart from this, Poll panel’s veteran legal troubleshooter confirmed he was associated with the AAP case until EC’s June 23, 2017 order, which had promised further hearing on the matter. That time Nasim Zaidi was the CEC.

However, the EC did not conduct any oral hearings after that and, straightaway tendered its opinion to the President on January 19, 2018.

On being asked that if he was consulted by the Commission for the June 23 order, Mendiratta said, “I was (consulted) in this matter till the last order, where it was decided that they have held an office. Thereafter, I have not been associated with that case”.


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FIR filed against Karnataka BJP MLA for ‘Hindu Vs Muslim’ remark



Belgaum, April 20: An FIR has been lodged against Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Sanjay Patil on Friday on charges of delivering a provocative speech in Belagavi.

Patil, while addressing the public Patil said that the forthcoming elections in the state is not about roads, water or other issues but about Hindus vs Muslims, Ram Mandir vs Babri Masjid.

The complainant has demanded disqualification of Patil’s candidature for his communal speech and for violating model code of conduct.

The FIR was registered in Marihal police station in Belgaum rural district under Sections 253a, 259A of Indian Penal Code (IPC), according to news ANI.

Karnataka will vote on May 12 to elect its representatives for the 225-member assembly. The results will be declare on May 15.


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