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‘We have been urging govt to control economic slowdown’

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Priyanka Gandhi

New Delhi, Nov 21 : Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday hit out at the central government over the economic slowdown in the country and said that conditions are very critical and we are regularly urging the government to do something about it.

Speaking to media here after the meeting of the general secretaries, Priyanka Gandhi said, “We have been raising the issue of economic slowdown and continuously urging the government to do something about it.”

She said that the Congress is going to hold a rally on the same issue on December 14 in the national capital.

When asked about the Special protection group (SPG) cover provided to her, her mother and party interim chief Sonia Gandhi and her brother Rah Gandhi, she said, “These are politics and it keeps on going on.”

The Congress general secretaries met on Thursday evening to discuss the Party’s preparations for the five phased Jharkhand assembly elections scheduled from November 30 to December 20.

The Congress leaders also discussed the party’s for its ‘Bharat Bachao’ rally scheduled on December 14 in Delhi’s Ramleela Ground.

India

BJP’s CAB plan in RS: 11 nominated MPs, ‘help from ‘friends’

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Parliament

New Delhi, Dec 10 : After a smooth passage in the Lok Sabha, the real test for the BJP is to get the sensitive Citizenship Amendment Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, where it is short of numbers.

But party insiders say the passage of the Bill in the Upper House has less to do with the numbers and more with inter-party chemistry, where the party’s top guns, led by Amit Shah, come into the picture.

At least two BJP Ministers — a Rajya Sabha member and the other an influential party General Secretary — say the chemistry will pave the way for the CAB passage.

The Rajya Sabha has a total 245 members. But now, with a few vacant seats, the House strength comes down to 238. BJP needs 120 votes to pass the Bill, which is one above the halfway mark (119). The BJP has 83 MPs in the upper house and its National Democratic Alliance has 94 MPs.

Apart from BJP’s 83 MPs, the NDA also has 6 MPs from the Janata Dal (United), 3 from the Shiromani Akali Dal and 1 each from Lok Jan Shakti Party and Republican Party of India. The entire count goes up to 94.

There are 12 nominated MPs in the Rajya Sabha. The BJP is confident of support from 11, which includes Subramanian Swamy, Swapan Dasgupta, Rakesh Sinha among others. The only nominated MP the BJP is not counting on is K.T.S. Tulsi, say sources.

With 11 more Rajya Sabha members on board, the NDA’s count goes up to 105, where it still needs 15 MPs’ support. Here comes the BJP’s ‘chemistry’ to enable it to take the total tally to 120, making a smooth passage for the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or AIADMK is seen as part of the NDA and in one viral video, Amit Shah was earlier heard advocating AIADMK Ministers to use NDA banner for events in Tamil Nadu rather than that of its own.

The alliance between the two parties in Tamil Nadu, however shaky, has been for all to see. Two senior Union Ministers are pressed to take the southern party on board. The BJP is confident the AIADMK’s 11 MPs will vote in favour of CAB on Wednesday.

With 116 MPs, the BJP would need 4 more. But Amit Shah, who is personally overlooked the floor management in the Lok Sabha on Monday, doesn’t want to leave anything to chance. Hence, the BJP wants to get a few extra votes in its kitty.

Sources say, Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal was approached long before the Parliament session started for its “help” on passing the Bill in the Upper House. “Not only Naveen Babu, but V. Karthikeyan Pandian was also approached for this purpose,” said a source.

Pandian is the backroom person of the Odisha CM and considered de facto Chief Minister. The BJP has reason to believe that BJD’s 7 MPs will vote in favour of the CAB.

With three extra votes than required, Amit Shah’s party has also reached out to Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSRCP which has 2 Rajya Sabha members.

Though Shiv Sena has said it will oppose the Bill, many in BJP are hopeful that the Sena at best may end up walking out, which will eventually help the government.

“Wait and watch. We will be having the last laugh tomorrow”, said a BJP General Secretary who is privy to talks with YSRCP. He said the government has more numbers than it needs for the Bill to pass the RS test.

The NDA government had introduced the Bill in its previous tenure and got the Lok Sabha’s approval. However, CAB couldn’t pass the Rajya Sabha test due to vehement protests.

With more protests mounting against the government this time, Home Minister Amit Shah is personally overseeing the arrangement to ensure the Bill sees the light of day.

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

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DTC gets 100 more new buses

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DTC Bus Depot

New Delhi, Dec 10 : Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gehlot here on Tuesday flagged off 100 buses from the Rajghat Bus Depot to be included in the DTC fleet. The new buses are equipped with GPS trackers, panic buttons, CCTV and hydraulic lifts for the convenience of the differently-abled.

The government has flagged off 429 buses in the previous months by the government.

He said the safety features in the 37-seater buses, include three CCTV cameras on each bus, a panic button on every alternate seat. “If a panic button is pressed, a large hooter goes off activating the command center,” he said.

“There are marshals on every bus in Delhi,” he reminded.

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Nirbhaya case: Accused says Delhi gas chamber then why death penalty

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nirbhaya

New Delhi, Dec 10 : Delhi is a gas chamber then why hand down death penalty, said Akshay Kumar Singh, one of the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case, while moving the Supreme Court seeking review of its 2017 judgement of sentencing all the four convicts to death.

“Everyone is aware of what is happening in Delhi-NCR with regard to water and air. Life is becoming short, then why death penalty,” asked Akshay in the review petition filed through advocate A.P. Singh.

The Supreme Court on July 9, 2018, had dismissed the review pleas filed by the other convicts in the case, except Akshay who did not file a review petition. Singh filed the review plea for his client in the top court on Tuesday.

Akshya pleaded that the air quality of Delhi has deteriorated, and the capital city has literally become a gas chamber. Even the water in the city is also full of poison, the plea claimed.

A 23-year-old paramedic student was gang-raped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012, inside a moving bus in south Delhi by six persons. Later, she was thrown out of the bus at an isolated place. The victim succumbed to her injuries on December 29, 2012, at a hospital in Singapore.

The apex court court had earlier dismissed the review pleas by Mukesh (30), Pawan Gupta (23) and Vinay Sharma (24), ruling that no ground was established by the accused for seeking a review of the death penalty.

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