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Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel slams BJP for intolerance, arrogance

Farmers, labourers and others – all are worried. The BJP will be defeated in 2019.

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New Delhi, Feb 7 : The Congress in Rajya Sabha today accused the BJP-led government of being “intolerant and full of arrogance” and painting a “rosy” picture even when the ground realities only told a story of tall promises and failures.

Participating in a resumed debate on the motion of thanks for the President’s address, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said even BJP allies like the Shiv Sena, Telugu Desam or the Shiromani Akali Dal also do not seem to agree with the “rosy projections” being painted.

The Rajya Sabha did away with the Question Hour to take up the debate on the motion of thanks.

Due to such a ground situation, the BJP is not keen on holding the Lok Sabha bypolls due in Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, he said, adding that the BJP would fall below the majority mark if it loses these bye-elections.

Patel also claimed that a “feeling of insecurity” was prevailing across the country, whether it is in the social fabric, economic matters, national security, judiciary or independent constitutional institutions. There is no area which has escaped the feeling of insecurity, he said.

“Farmers, labourers and others – all are worried. The BJP will be defeated in 2019,” he said, claiming even the Union Budget, on which the government had pinned its hopes, has “turned out to be a flop”.

Referring to statements by BJP allies, Patel said the Shiv Sena had accused its saffron ally of lying, while the TDP has claimed it has reneged on its promises. Even Akali Dal has said that getting 272 Lok Sabha seats in 2019 will be a difficult task.

Taking a jibe at the BJP leadership, he said the situation was such that “something will have to be done”.

Rebutting BJP chief Amit Shah’s comments that the NDA government was filling the space left by the erstwhile UPA regime, Patel said in 2004, when the Vajpayee government left office, annual per capita income was Rs 24,000. In 2014, when the Manmohan Singh-led government ended its term, per capita income had risen to Rs 70,000, he said.

In contrast, the debt during the NDA rule has risen, he said, adding that it was “clear who is digging potholes”.

The leaders of the BJP only know how to try to defame the Congress and the Gandhi family, Patel, a close aide of former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, said.

Attacking the government on the issue of corruption, he asked why the Centre had reduced the budget for the RTI, not filled key vacancies and neither appointed a Lokpal.

Patel said it was said that the BJP had formed governments in states like Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Manipur after the Modi government came to power at the Centre. In Manipur and Goa, Congress was the single largest party but the BJP formed the goverment.

“With whose support and how?…Now is this ethical, is this morality,” he asked.

Patel said that except one case, in all Lok Sabha bypolls held after the present government assumed office, it was the Congress or its allies who emerged victorious.

The BJP tally has come down from 282 to 273, while the Congress’s tally has risen after 2014, he said.

Reciting an Urdu couplet, the Congress leader said it was easy to reach the top using propaganda, but the real challenge was to remain at the top.

Patel claimed that those who talk of simultaneous Lok Sabha and state polls, could not even hold the Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat polls together as the prime minister had to launch a Ro-Ro ferry service, which has now closed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Gujarat several times, flew on a sea plane, made references to Pakistan, but despite that, the BJP shrunk to double digits winning only 99 seats. The Congress, on the other hand, has emerged with more seats than the BJP in the rural areas.

“In Gujarat, we won despite losing, while you lost even after winning…The people know who has won,” Patel said.

Referring to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, he took a dig at the BJP saying that while the saffron party may use his name for poll gains, they had a “special affection” for the surname which he and Hardik Patel also shared.

Patel also claimed that water was wrongly diverted from Gujarat water bodies earlier, ignoring the requirements of the farmers of the state who are suffering now.

The veteran Congress leader said one of the “supposedly better performing ministers” Nitin Gadkari had announced about multi-nation road projects but nothing moved on the ground.

He said it was claimed that the present government was building over 20 km of roads every day, much more than the previous regime. However, if the data related to roads widened or repaired are separeted, the figure would come down to 6 or 7 km, he said.

“Tall claims are made for marketing, but nothing is done for implementation,” Patel said.

He recited a poem by Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar to suggest that it was futile even for authoritarian regimes to impose their will on everyone and asserted that the leaders of Congress are not scared of IT, ED or CBI raids.

DMK member RS Bharati said that Tamil Nadu was neglected in the budget. He also raised issue of water for farmers. He also raised another issue related to a resolution passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly on the NEET exam.

Politics

BJP is expert in stealing and poaching MLAs: Congress

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Anand Sharma

New Delhi, May 21: The Congress on Monday hit back at BJP President Amit Shah soon after the latter addressed his first press conference post-Karnataka verdict. 

Levelling serious allegations against the saffron party, Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said the BJP spent around Rs 6,500 crore in the elections and had a provision of 4000 Cr for poaching MLAs.

“The BJP intimidated our legislators, withdrew their security, stopped them from flying. The BJP only did this to be able to abduct and poach our MLAs”, he added.

He further said that the BJP used all means to win Karnataka election but, they failed.

“The BJP has become a repeat offender when it comes to stealing mandate and Govt. Do their rules change with the states”, the Congress asked.

“Will the BJP give an account of its sources of money? On one hand, people’s money was snatched away by PM Modi, while on the other, BJP has all the money”.

Countering Amit Shah’s statement that the mandate in the state was against the Congress, Sharma said that the Karnataka mandate was for the Congress and the JD(S), adding two parties aligned to protect the social and secular fabric of the country.

He further added that he expected Shah to apologise for what the BJP did during the Assembly election and after polls. “But they are experts in stealing and poaching MLAs. On day of floor test too, 2 MLAs had to be protected by the police”.

In a scathing attack on Centre’s proposal of change in the allocation of services to successful candidates of the prestigious civil services examination, the Congress leader stated: ” After creating an environment of fear for Civil Servants, the Modi Govt is now interfering with the procedures of the Civil Services”.

“In the light of the Constitution, Modi Govt’s recent diktat compromises on the neutrality of the Civil Services and violates the constitutional principles”.

Taking a potshot at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress said “No PM has ever distorted history and dragged the Indian Army in an election campaign with manufactured lies. This adds to PM Modi’s list of many firsts.”

WeForNews 

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Election

Palghar bypoll: CM accuses Sena of betrayal by fielding

In a jolt to its ally BJP, the Sena fielded Shriniwas Wanga for the by-election after his father and sitting BJP MP from the Palghar seat, Chintaman Wanga, died.

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Palghar (Maharashtra), May 21 : Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has accused the Shiv Sena of betraying the BJP by fielding the son of late MP Chintaman Wanga for the Palghar Lok Sabha seat bypoll.

He claimed the Sena knew that the BJP was already planning to nominate someone from Chintaman Wanga’s family for the by-election, scheduled on May 28.

Lauding Wanga’s association with the BJP, Fadnavis said the late leader represented the party’s ideology.

In a jolt to its ally BJP, the Sena fielded Shriniwas Wanga for the by-election after his father and sitting BJP MP from the Palghar seat, Chintaman Wanga, died.

Fadnavis, at an earlier rally in the district, said he had told Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray that the BJP was planning to give ticket to a member of Chintaman Wanga’s family for the by-election.

“Our ally (on one hand) was welcoming our decision to give ticket to the Wanga family and on the other hand hatching a conspiracy,” the chief minister said at a campaign rally in Palghar’s Nallasopara area last night.

Chintaman Wanga’s wife had yesterday filed a complaint of model code violation against the BJP, accusing the party of using her husband’s pictures on publicity material for the upcoming bypoll illegally.

However, Fadnavis said only the BJP had the right to use the late leader’s photos.

“Only we have the right to put up Chintaman Wanga’s photo. He wasn’t an individual but our ideology,” he said.

Urging the people of Palghar to vote fearlessly without succumbing to any threats, the chief minister said those come between the BJP and the people will be “crushed”.

Nobody should indulge in extortion in the name of the saffron flag, he said without naming any party.

Fadnavis said this was not an election of ‘galli’ (a local street), but ‘Delhi’ (Parliament), and asked other parties to do politics for the welfare of the society.

For the bypoll, the BJP has fielded Rajendra Gavit, who recently left the Congress to join the saffron party.

Fadnavis asserted that Gavit was the right successor to Chintaman Wanga.

“Why vote for those who don’t know whether they exist or not. Rajendra Gavit is like (Chintaman) Wanga who struggles for people…send him to the Modi team (Parliament),” he said.

Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari also spoke at the rally.

Apart from the BJP and the Sena, the Congress is also in fray for the bypoll to the tribal-dominated constituency, located about 110 km from Mumbai, and has fielded former MP Damodar Shingda.

Local outfit Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA), which has three MLAs in total six Assembly segments in the Palghar constituency, has nominated former MP Baliram Jadhav.

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Election

AAP leader joins SAD ahead of Shahkot bypoll

Welcoming Walia into the party fold, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said the youth leader had made a name for himself in a short period of time and would be an asset for the SAD in Jalandhar district.

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HS Walia

Jalandhar, May 20 : In a jolt to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), its leader from Doaba region H S Walia today joined the Shiromani Akali Dal along with his supporters ahead of the Shahkot bypoll scheduled to be held on May 28.

Walia said he was joining the SAD due to its “pro-people” policies as well as the party’s desire to take all sections of society with it.

“I earlier joined AAP because it professed idealism. However I slowly realised that the party had become thoroughly corrupt and was not concerned about Punjabis and their problems. Moreover, AAP is being run from Delhi by Arvind Kejriwal who does not give any weightage to the local leadership,” Walia alleged.

Welcoming Walia into the party fold, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said the youth leader had made a name for himself in a short period of time and would be an asset for the SAD in Jalandhar district.

Walia would be duly adjusted in the party organisation and would be given important duties, he was quoted as saying in a release.

The SAD president said the manner in which both the Congress and the AAP leaders were joining the SAD was indicative of the functioning of the Congress government as well as complete disillusionment with the Aam Aadmi Party.

Badal said political leaders usually changed parties towards the fag end of any government’s tenure, but presently leaders were “leaving the Congress in droves” because the party had “lost all appeal among the masses” after reneging on promises made to the people.

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