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Rahul rejigs Odisha state Congress body



Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, Aug 15 (IANS) Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday reconstituted the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) including Vice Presidents, Treasurer, General Secretaries, Executive Committee members, Special Invitees, Secretaries, Disciplinary Committee, Election Committee and Campaign Committee.

While OPCC President Niranjan Patnaik will head the state’s Election Committee, Bhakta Charan Das has been appointed Chairman of the Campaign Committee. Ranjib Biswal has been made the Convener of the committee.

Kishore Chandra Patel has been appointed the Treasurer of the OPCC.


Padma Shukla resigns from BJP, joins Congress



Bhopal, Sep 24: A cabinet minister of Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led Madhya Pradesh government, Padma Shukla on Monday joined the Congress ahead of assembly elections. 

“I tried to work with Madhya Pradesh Minister Sanjay Pathak for two years, but that seemed impossible. He used to humiliate BJP workers. It was hurting me and damaging self-respect of my workers”,  Shukla told media.

Earlier in a day, she resigned from the primary membership of Bharatiya Janata Party. ahead of assembly elections.

Shukla also held a post of Madhya Pradesh public welfare board Chief.

She joined the rival party in the presence of Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath and other senior leader.


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Congress-BJP dogfight over Rafale intensifies



Rafale Deal Facts

New Delhi, Sep 23 : The political dogfight over the Rafale deal peaked on Sunday with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seeking to discredit former France President Francois Hollande’s revelation about choice of the offset partner and even found a link to his claim to Congress President Rahul Gandhi.

Hitting back, the Congress accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of violating the oath of secrecy by revealing details of the pact to his industrialist crony and reiterated its demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the intergovernmental deal with France to purchase 36 Rafale jets.

A day after Gandhi and the Congress came out all guns blazing against Modi, Jaitley cited conflicting media reports on Hollande’s claims and questioned the veracity of the former French President’s remarks that the Modi government had asked them to chose a private firm as the offset partner in the Rafale deal.

“Truth cannot have two versions,” wrote Jaitley in his blogpost citing Hollande’s initial claim to a French website that “Reliance Defence partnership with Dassault Aviation was entered at the suggestion of the Indian Government” and his subsequent statement to news agency AFP that “he is not aware if government ever lobbied for Reliance Defence”.

“The accuracy of the statements made by the individuals may be questioned but circumstances never lie,” said Jaitley, adding that “there is no ‘partnership’, as suggested by the former President.

“His (Hollande) second statement in Montreal, Canada, to AFP makes the veracity of his first statement even more questionable,” said Jaitley maintaining that it was “erroneous for anybody to suggest that there is a partnership in the supply of the 36 Rafale aircraft”.

Jaitley also pointed to a link between Hollande’s claim and a tweet by Gandhi on April 30 saying “It’s (Rafale) also going to drop some big bunker buster bombs in the next couple of weeks.”

“The former French President’s first statement rhymes with Rahul Gandhi’s prediction,” wrote Jaitley asserting Gandhi’s tweet was “no coincidence”.

The Congress which has been gunning for the Modi regime, lost no time in dismissing Jaitley’s assertions as “lies” and demanded the Prime Minister to answer its questions rather than hiding behind his ministers’ defences.

Gandhi in his reply said Jaitley’s specialty was to “spin lies” and “defend the indefensible”.

“It’s high time he, the RM (Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman) and our Prime Minister stop lying and call a JPC to establish the full, uncorrupted truth about the Rafale scam,” he said.

Intensifying the attack senior Congress leader Anand Sharma charged Modi with revealing the details of the intergovernmental deal to industrialist who subsequently became an offset partner instead of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

“The question to the Prime Minister is: how did this information come out that he would go go to France and reverse the deal?” said Sharma referring to Modi’s April 2015 announcement of the deal to purchase 36 jets instead of 126 being negotiated during the erstwhile UPA regime.

“Then Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar had said that the Rafale deal was not on the agenda during Modi’s visit to France. Even the Cabinet Committee on Security, the Indian Air Force, the Cabinet or the Foreign Secretary were not aware.

“Modi violated his oath of secrecy. Only he and none else could have revealed to the private company that he would reverse the deal,” said Sharma while pointing to the incorporation of Reliance Defence Limited just days before Modi visited France in April 2015.

“It’s a conspiracy, only one (Modi) person with knowledge about the new deal — without telling anyone in the Cabinet, or the Ambassador etc — revealed the details to the industrialist and asked him to form a company,” added Sharma.


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Shah, Modi can’t make Parrikar resign, fearing Rafale exposure



Manohar Parrikar

Panaji, Sep 23 (IANS) The Congress on Sunday alleged that top BJP leaders including President Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “no courage” to ask ailing Manohar Parrikar to step down as Chief Minister of Goa, because Parrikar, a former Defence Minister, had a lot of information about the Rafale deal.

Goa Congress President Girish Chodankar made the charge soon after Shah tweeted, that the ailing Parrikar, who is being treated for advanced pancreatic cancer at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences for a week now, would continue as Chief Minister of Goa.

“Parrikar must be having a lot of information about the Rafale deal, because he was the Defence Minister that time. Parrikar is refusing to resign and they have no courage to ask for his resignation, because of the Rafale deal, because it is a huge scam, where PM is directly involved.

“I think Parrikar is using them now (and saying) if you ask for my resignation, I will expose you in the Rafale deal. They (Shah and Modi) are being blackmailed,” Chodankar alleged at a press conference at the party’s state headquarters in Panaji.

Earlier in the day, Shah in a tweet finally lent a bit of clarity to the ongoing leadership crisis arising from Parrikar’s recurring hospitalization for nearly seven months now in hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, New York and now Delhi.

“After discussions with the core team of the Goa state BJP, a decision has been taken that Chief Minister of Goa Manohar Parrikar will continue as a leader. Changes in the state government ministerial portfolios will happen soon,” Shah said in his tweet.

Chodankar, however, has claimed, that the decision to continue with an ailing CM, who has been admitted to the Delhi hospital for a week now, only shows the “pure arrogance” of the party.

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