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Rajasthan MLAs to stay put at hotel till Rajya Sabha election

Avinash Pande said the legislators had been staying like a family and various, adding that brainstorming sessions and discussion on the future roadmap for the development of the state were being held at the hotel, where the legislators have been kept after discussion with them.

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Gehlot, Pilot

New Delhi, June 15: Congress general secretary Avinash Pande said on Monday that the legislators who are supporting the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan would continue to stay together at a hotel till the Rajya Sabha election due to the alleged poaching threat from the BJP.

Pande said the legislators had been staying like a family and various, adding that brainstorming sessions and discussion on the future roadmap for the development of the state were being held at the hotel, where the legislators have been kept after discussion with them.

According to Pande, special operations group of the Rajasthan Police is investigating the alleged attempts to poach and destabilise the state government, and the report is likely to come soon.

Pande said the Independent MLAs and legislators of other parties had supported the government, which took the number to 125 (including 107 Congress MLAs) in the House of 200.

“It was decided that the legislators will stay together so that the BJP’s attempts, which the party did in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, could not succeed in Rajasthan,” he told reporters at the JW Marriott hotel in Jaipur. “We are staying like a family and this is a blessing in disguise.” Asked about the Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ramesh Meena’s absence, Pande said the Sapotra MLA was away due to some “personal reasons”, but he was in touch and would will follow the party directions.

Meanwhile, a letter written to Pande by a MLA Bharat Singh surfaced on Monday, in which the legislator had pointed out that most of the Rajya Sabha MPs “do not even recognise” the legislators, who elect them.

Singh alleged that the upper House MPs had nothing to do with anyone after the elections get over.

In the letter written on June 11, the former minister said senior leaders of the party were focusing on the Rajya Sabha elections with seriousness despite the fact that two seats were sure to be won by the party.

He pointed out that the Congress could win the Lok Sabha election, too, if the party leaders started working in the same manner.

Asked about it, Pande acknowledged that Singh had written the letter and expressed his sentiments in a “positive way”.

On the cabinet expansion, Pande said discussion would be held at the right time.

Government chief whip Mahesh Joshi, who filed complaints alleging attempts to destabilise the state government said he would elaborate on it once his statement is recorded by the Special Operations Group of the police.

Sources said Joshi had handed over some evidence in connection with the attempts.

The MLAs were taken to a luxury resort last week for discussion on the June 19 Rajya Sabha election and later they were shifted to JW Marriott on Friday.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has alleged that the BJP was conspiring to poach the MLAs in order to destabilise his government, a charge denied by the saffron party.

Elections to three Rajya Sabha seats will be held on July 19 for which the Congress has nominated K C Venugopal and Neeraj Dangi, while the BJP has fielded Rajendra Gehlot and Onkar Singh Lakhawat.

In the assembly of 200, the Congress has 107 MLAs and has the support of Independent MLAs and legislators of other parties like the Rashtriya Lok Dal, CPI(M) and the Bhartiya Tribal Party, taking the number of legislators on its side to 125.

The ruling Congress has more than enough majority to win two seats and the BJP, which has 72 MLAs and support of three Rashtriya Loktantrik Party MLAs, has the numbers to comfortably win just one seat.

Election

Trump plans to accept Republican presidential nomination at White House

Trump’s intent to give the speech at the White House triggered criticism from the Democrats, who said it would be both illegal and unethical for the President to do so.

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Donald Trump

Washington, Aug 14 : President Donald Trump said that he plans to deliver his convention speech while formally accepting the Republican presidential nomination from the White House lawn, according to media reports.

“I’ll probably be giving my speech at the White House because it is a great place. It’s a place that makes me feel good. It makes the country feel good,” Xinhua news agency quoted Trump as saying to the New York Post in an exclusive interview on Thursday.

Earlier this week, he had floated the idea of giving the speech at either the White House or Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, an American Civil War battlefield.

Trump told the New York Post that he would visit Gettysburg at a later date.

“We’d do it possibly outside on one of the lawns. We have various lawns, so we could have it outside,” he said, citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as a reason.

Trump’s intent to give the speech at the White House triggered criticism from the Democrats, who said it would be both illegal and unethical for the President to do so.

A federal law known as the Hatch Act generally forbids the use of government property and employees for political activities with some exceptions

“Whether it’s legally wrong or ethically out of the question, it shouldn’t even have been something that was expressed,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

“For the President of the US to degrade once again the White House, as he has done over and over again by saying he’s going to completely politicize it, is something that should be rejected right out of hand,” she added.

The pandemic, which has infected over 5 million people and killed more than 160,000 in the US, has forced the Republican Party to scale back its national convention, scheduled for August 24-27, by moving most of the activities to be held online, while only some in-person business meetings will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Trump scrapped the part of the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, due to skyrocketing COVID-19 caseloads in the state.

He originally planned to give the acceptance speech there on the last day of the convention.

The President still insisted on having a big crowd of supporters at his speech, telling the New York Post that “it’s very big, a very big lawn. We could have a big group of people”.

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Trump amplifies Kamala Harris ‘birther’ theory

For years, Mr Trump promoted a false “birther” theory that President Barack Obama was not born in the US.

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 Kamala Harris

President Donald Trump says he has heard Democratic running mate Kamala Harris “doesn’t qualify” to serve as US vice-president, amplifying a fringe legal theory critics decry as racist.

Ms Harris was born to a Jamaican father and Indian mother in Oakland, California, on 20 October 1964.

But a constitutional law professor has questioned her eligibility.

For years, Mr Trump promoted a false “birther” theory that President Barack Obama was not born in the US.

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Election

Biden, Harris appear together for 1st time as running mates

Harris, the daughter of a Jamaican immigrant father and an Indian immigrant mother, later took to the podium saying she was “incredibly honored by this responsibility” of the vice presidency, and that she was “ready to work.”

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 : U.S. presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden attended Wednesday a campaign event in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, together with Kamala Harris, his choice of Democratic vice presidential candidate, in what was the duo’s first public appearance as running mates.

Postponed for several hours due to power outage on site, the event, held in a basketball venue, finally saw the former vice president and the senator from California walk out side by side, both donning masks.

“I picked the right person to join me as the next vice president of the United States of America and that’s senator Kamala Harris,” Biden said, praising the first African as well as South Asian-American woman to be nominated for vice president in a major party as being “smart,” “tough,” “experienced,” and “a proven fighter for the backbone of this country – the middle class.”

Sitting next to the podium and keeping social distance with Biden as he spoke, Harris, however, took off the mask as she listened to Biden, who spoke without wearing the mask either.

Biden in his remarks pledged that a “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris administration will have a comprehensive plan to meet the challenge of Covid-19 and turn the corner on this pandemic,” adding that they will adhere to “masking, clear science-based guidance,” meanwhile “dramatically scaling up testing, getting states and local governments the resources they need to open the schools and businesses safely.”

Harris, the daughter of a Jamaican immigrant father and an Indian immigrant mother, later took to the podium saying she was “incredibly honored by this responsibility” of the vice presidency, and that she was “ready to work.”

She said she was “so mindful of all the heroic and ambitious women before me whose sacrifice, determination and resilience make my presence here today even possible.”

The California Democrat, who on Tuesday emerged from about 10 women finalists to become Biden’s vice presidential pick, bluntly blamed President Donald Trump for his “mismanagement” of the coronavirus, claiming that as a result of Trump’s failures, “our economy has taken one of the biggest hits out of all the major industrialized nations.”

Recalling how her parents met each other while protesting for civil rights in Oakland, California, in the 1960s, Harris said her mom and dad would bring her to protests as a little girl “strapped tightly in my stroller.”

Being someone who spent most of her political career as a prosecutor, Harris suggested that it was the family tradition that made her devote her life to “making real the words carved into the United State Supreme Court: Equal justice under law.”

While Biden said he and Harris “were in a battle for the soul of the nation,” Harris said the moment right now “is a moment of real consequence for America,” encouraging voters to “vote like never before because we need more than a victory on November 3rd.”

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