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Sonia Gandhi terms Brigade rally important for galvanising opposition against Modi

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Sonia Gandhi

Kolkata, Jan 19: Congress stalwart Sonia Gandhi on Saturday described the opposition rally here as an “important attempt” to galvanise leaders across the political spectrum to fight the “arrogant and divisive” Narendra Modi government.

In her message to the rally, which she and her son Congress President Rahul Gandhi decided to give a miss, she wished the event “all success”.

“This rally marks an important attempt to galvanise leaders across the political spectrum to fight the arrogant and divisive Modi-rule. I wish them all the success,” she said.

Her message was read out by Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, who represented the party, along with its spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi at the Brigade Parade ground organised by Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Senior leaders of 23 political parties attended the rally.

Painting a grim picture of the country, Gandhi said: “Crisis looms across our farmers and extends to our borders; the youth are jobless; rice and jute farmers are under stress and fishermen are incurring deep losses.

“The country at large is under immense strain — economically our citizens have been screeched, politically our institutions have been undermined and socially our pluralistic fabric stands vitiated.”

The former Congress president said the upcoming Lok Sabha election would not be an “ordinary one”.

“This will be an election to restore the nation’s faith in democracy, defend our secular ethos and heritage; and defeat the forces that are trying to sabotage the Constitution of India.”

IANS

India

Abdullahs challenge house detention of NC leaders

Unfortunately that was not to be. The house detentions without any administrative orders are unlawful, undermining the due respect to human rights and individual liberty,” he said.

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Farooq Abdullah

Srinagar, July 13 : Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (NC) President and Srinagar MP Farooq Abdullah and his son and party Vice President Omar Abdullah on Monday filed a habeas corpus petition in the high court challenging the ”unconstitutional and ”illegal house detention of 16 NC leaders and functionaries.

As per the statement issued from the party headquarters, Farooq Abdullah has filed a petition for the release of Ali Mohammad Sagar, Abdul Rahim Rather, Nasir Aslam Wani, Aga Syed Mehmood, Mohammad Khalil Bandh, Irfan Shah and Sahmeema Firdous from house detention, while Omar Abdullah has challenged the detention of Mohammad Shafi Uri, Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi, Chaudhary Mohammad Ramzaan, Mubarak Gul, Bashir Veeri, Abdul Majeed Larmi, Basharat Bukhari, Saifudin Bhat Shutru and Mohammad Shafi through their counsel advocate Shariq Reyaz.

Party spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar said the decision to move to the court has been taken as a last resort to provide relief to various party members who have continuously been under house arrest or have been kept under house detention after being shifted from detention centers.

“Shifting of the detainees from detention centers to their homes only characterised revolving-door detention practice. Quashing of the PSA on party General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar underscored the indefensible nature of all detentions in the court of law, leading us to believe that the administration will release all the detainees in the absence of any convincing reason.

Unfortunately that was not to be. The house detentions without any administrative orders are unlawful, undermining the due respect to human rights and individual liberty,” he said.

“We are hopeful that the court will come to the rescue of our colleagues, who have been suffering for no fault of theirs ever since the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35-A on August 5, 2019. This was the only recourse left to us. We are hopeful that the court will uphold the civil liberties of our colleagues, most of whom have not been keeping well,” Dar said.

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UP Speaker rejects disqualification plea against two Congress MLAs

Aditi Singh is the daughter of former MLA Akhilesh Singh, and Rakesh Singh is the brother of Dinesh Singh who has joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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Aditi Singh Akhilesh congress raebareli

Lucknow, July 13 : UP Speaker Hriday Narain Dixit has rejected the Congress petition seeking disqualification of its two rebel legislators – Aditi Singh and Rakesh Singh.

Both the legislators belong to Rae Bareli.

Aditi Singh is the daughter of former MLA Akhilesh Singh, and Rakesh Singh is the brother of Dinesh Singh who has joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The Speaker said the petitioner couldn”t provide adequate evidences in support of their allegations.

The two legislators had been defying the party line and issuing statements against the party since the past one year.

The Speaker”s decision means the two legislators will continue to be members of the Assembly till the end of their term.

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BJP treads cautious, unleash ‘3 musketeers’ to check out Pilot’s claim

With Gehlot releasing photos, flashing victory sign and his camp claiming there were 107 MLAs, BJP thinks its caution paid off.

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Sachin Pilot

As Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday flexed muscles during the Congress Legislature Party meeting, throwing the show open to media claiming around 100 MLAs still in his fold, sources in the Bharatiya Janata Party claimed, they too took Sachin Pilot’s assertion of “more than 30 MLAs” support” with a pinch of salt.

This is why no top BJP leaders met Pilot and instead deputed three BJP intermediaries to “keep a close watch” on the developments. Sources say, the three leaders are BJP General Secretary Bhupender Yadav, Pilots”s former colleague Jyotiraditya Scindia and BJP MP Om Mathur.

While BJP officially maintains that there has been no meeting between BJP leaders and Pilot and sources in BJP claim nor any have been scheduled, Yadav”s role is believed to keep BJP top brass “apprised” of the “developing situation”.

The choice of Yadav may surprise some, given he is incharge of Bihar and Gujarat. However, he hails from the desert state and knows the state”s politics very well.

The second choice was obvious — Jyotiraditya Scindia. While there has been no official confirmation of a meeting between him and Pilot, sources confirmed to IANS that the two had a detailed telephone conversation on Sunday, even as the sulking Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister remained “incommunicado” for the best part of the day to his party colleagues.

Sources who could not confirm what the two leaders — Pilot and Scindia — spoke about, added, “The two have worked together for years. But ever since Scindia joined the BJP along with his supporters, both Pilot and Scindia have been in regular telephonic contact.”

Late on Sunday, after they spoke over phone, Pilot asserted that he will skip Sunday morning”s legislature party meeting and openly announced that the Ashok Gehlot-led government in the state has been reduced to a minority government.

The third BJP leader who was entrusted with the job of “getting a sense” of things in the Gehlot-Pilot face-off, was BJP”s National Vice President and Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan — Om Mathur. Sources indicate that Pilot and Mathur met on Sunday. However, there has been no official confirmation of the same.

Mathur, who on Sunday attacked Congress leader Kapil Sibal saying it”s natural for anyone to look for greener pastures, without naming Pilot, tried to distance BJP from the Rajasthan political crisis on Monday morning. Mathur said: “It is unfair for the Congress party to blame its internal problems on the BJP. The Congress should rather keep its house in order.”

Senior BJP sources say, the party top brass were skeptical of the claim of more than 30 MLAs supporting Pilot. In fact, the job of the three BJP leaders was to get a sense of the authenticity of the claim. If BJP sources are to be believed, the party top brass decided against meeting Pilot unless convinced that he indeed has the numbers on his side.

With Gehlot releasing photos, flashing victory sign and his camp claiming there were 107 MLAs, BJP thinks its caution paid off.

With just 18 MLAs staying off the CLP meeting, Congress seems to have decided not to negotiate any further while BJP distanced itself from the political row. Reports of Priyanka Gandhi pitching in to find a middle path was also reported. With Pilot still dodging camera and microphones, the picture is yet to become clear.

(Anindya Banerjee can be contacted at [email protected])

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