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Will leave AAP in 2020: MLA Alka Lamba

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New Delhi, May 26 : Disgruntled Aam Aadmi Party legislator Alka Lamba has announced that she would leave the party next year.

“My journey started with you in 2013 will end in 2020. My best wishes will be with the dedicated revolutionary ground workers of the party, hopefully you will remain a strong alternative in Delhi. The last six years have been memorable and I have learnt a lot from you,” the Chandni Chowk MLA said in a tweet.

She did not say whether she would quit AAP before or after the assembly election due in Delhi next year.

Lamba has been at odds with the party for some time now.

On Saturday, Lamba sought accountability from AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal on the crushing defeat of the party in Lok Sabha polls following which she was removed from the official WhatsApp group of the party lawmakers. AAP did not win any of the seven parliamentary seats in Delhi.

Sharing screenshots on Twitter where it can be seen that she was removed by AAP’s North East Delhi candidate Dilip Pandey from the group, Lamba lashed out at Kejriwal and said why is she being held responsible for the party’s loss in Lok Sabha elections.

Hinting at Kejriwal, she said action should be taken against those who took all decisions “sitting in a closed room”.

“I have always been telling the party what you (Kejriwal) are telling them now. I am sometimes added to the group, sometimes removed. It would have been better if a meeting was held to introspect, look at the shortcomings and move ahead, she said.

This is the second time that Lamba has been dropped from the WhatsApp group. Previously, she was dropped in December last year when she raised objection to AAP’s resolution to revoke Rajiv Gandhi’s Bharat Ratna.

However, she was added before the campaigning for Lok Sabha polls started and was expected to campaign for the party.

But Lamba refused to campaign for the party and even refrained from participating in Kejriwal’s roadshow after she was asked to walk behind his car during the event.

In April, Lamba engaged in a bitter Twitter spat with AAP’s Greater Kailash MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj, who had taunted her to resign from the party.

Following the spat, Lamba addressed a large crowd outside Jama Masjid and said the party was repeatedly demanding her resignation.

She alleged that the party leadership was “weakening” her and said she is being accused of attempting to switch over to the Congress.

Alka Lamba won the Chandni Chowk assembly seat for the first time in 2013. Before joining Kejriwal, Lamba was part of the Congress women wing.

Politics

Now, Rajasthan BJP sends 18-20 MLAs to Gujarat

The BJP leader said they would be back by August 12, though the final date needs to be decided. They will offer prayers at the Somnath temple on Monday, he added.

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Satish Poonia

Jaipur, Aug 8 : It is not only the Congress that fears poaching of its MLAs by the BJP in Rajasthan, but also the latter which wishes to keep its flock intact. Close on the heels of the Congress sending its MLAs to plush hotels, the desert state’s opposition party is busy packing off 18-20 MLAs to BJP-ruled Gujarat.

Around a dozen MLAs from Jalore, Sirohi and Udaipur divisions were shifted on Friday night to a resort in Ahmedabad whereas another group of six MLAs were at the Jaipur airport at the time of filing of this report. They were about to leave for Porbandar by a chartered flight.

Rajasthan BJP chief Satish Poonia dubbed the sojourn of the party MLAs as an “excursion trip”, while admitting that they were being lured by the Congress and senior officials of the state. Hence, they are being sent on a tour, he added.

Speaking to IANS, Poonia said that the ruling Congress is “misusing” government machinery in Rajasthan for “selfish ends”.

“Many officials have visited our MLAs in the tribal belt and tried to influence them through immoral ways. Our MLAs were depressed and tense and hence we planned an excursion trip for them.”

The BJP leader said they would be back by August 12, though the final date needs to be decided. They will offer prayers at the Somnath temple on Monday, he added.

However, Poonia refused to use the word ‘camping’ for the BJP MLAs and said that this word has been coined by the Congress and its MLAs in Jaisalmer are literally being monitored by security teams.

Meanwhile, former PCC Vice-President Archana Sharma told IANS that “they (BJP) are blaming the Congress, but there is a dispute within the party. Hence, they are taking their MLAs to Gujarat.”

A senior politician, who wanted anonymity, said that the state BJP is feeling threatened after former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s meeting with the party leadership in Delhi and her readiness to regain her foothold in Rajasthan politics.

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Disaster

Union Minister who endorsed ‘papad’ to boost immunity against Covid-19 tests positive

A video of the minister endorsing ‘Bhabhiji papad’, which he called a health supplement, had gone viral on social media.

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Arjun Ram Meghwal

New Delhi, Aug 8 : Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, who had recently endorsed an indigenous “papad” brand claiming that eating the “papad” will help fight the deadly coronavirus, on Saturday tested positive for Covid-19.

“Meghwal was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at around 10 a.m. after he complained of difficulty in breathing,” a doctor told IANS.

However, his condition is said to be stable now. He is receiving treatment under Neeraj Nishchal, who is a professor at the department of Medicine at AIIMS, as per sources.

Meghwal, who is the Junior Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, recently made headlines after he claimed that a particular brand of the ubiquitous Indian snack, ‘papad’, had a role in boosting the immunity and antibodies that could help cure COVID-19.

A video of the minister endorsing ‘Bhabhiji papad’, which he called a health supplement, had gone viral on social media.

–IANS

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Election

Bernie Sanders mulls ‘Make Billionaires Pay Act’, zones in on Bezos, Musk, Zuckerberg

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Bernie Sanders

New York, Aug 8 :J Three Senators, led by Bernie Sanders, have attracted global attention for introducing the “Make Billionaires Pay Act,” aiming to tax US tech’s top leaders tens of billions of dollars in wealth made during the coronavirus pandemic.

The “Make Billionaires Pay Act” would impose a one-time 60 per cent tax on wealth gains made by billionaires between March 18, 2020, and January 1, 2021.

Riding growing global despair about inequity, the Senators suggest that funds would be used to pay for out-of-pocket health-care expenses for all Americans for a year. Besides Sanders, the Senators are Ed Markey and Kirsten Gillibrand.

“Over and over again, we have been told that we cannot possibly afford to guarantee healthcare as a right by moving to a Medicare for All system – even on a temporary basis during the worst public health emergency in over a hundred years. Well, it turns out that is not quite accurate,” a post on Sanders’ Senate page argued.

“While a record-breaking 5.4 million Americans recently lost their health insurance, 467 billionaires in our country increased their wealth by an estimated $731.8 billion during the pandemic. Incredibly, as a result of the Trump tax giveaway to the rich, these billionaires currently pay a lower effective tax rate than teachers or truck drivers.”

Citing the Americans for Tax Fairness and Institute for Policy, Sanders said: “If we taxed 60 per cent of the windfall gains these billionaires made from March 18th until August 5th, we could raise $421.7 billion. That’s enough revenue to allow Medicare to pay all of the out-of-pocket healthcare expenses for everyone in America over the next 12 months (based on an estimate from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget).

“Yes, that’s right. By taxing 60 per cent of the wealth gains made by just 467 billionaires during this horrific pandemic, we could guarantee healthcare as a right for an entire year. And billionaires would still be able to pocket more than $310.1 billion in wealth gains during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.”

Illustrative examples cited include Jeff Bezos, whose wealth has gone up by 63 per cent or $71.3 billion during the pandemic, paying a one-time wealth tax of $42.8 billion; Elon Musk, whose wealth has nearly tripled during the pandemic from $24.6 billion to $70.5 billion, would pay a one-time wealth tax of $27.5 billion; Mark Zuckerberg, who is now worth $92.7 billion, up from $54.7 billion, would pay a one-time wealth tax of $22.8 billion and the Walton family, the wealthiest family in America, which has seen their wealth grow by $21.5 billion, would pay a one-time wealth tax of $12.9 billion.

“At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, when so many of our people are hurting, it is time to fundamentally change our national priorities. Instead of more tax breaks for the rich while more Americans die because they cannot afford to go to a doctor, let us expand Medicare and save lives by demanding that billionaires pay their fair share of taxes.”

Aiming to distinguish the not-so-super-rich from their moves, those with net worth of less than $1 billion wouldn’t pay more in taxes. While Zuckerberg, Bezos and the Waltons haven’t yet reacted, Musk took the challenge head on, with a meme. “Everytime the Bernster mentions a free government program, chug somebody else’s beer”, the irrepressible billionaire tweeted back.

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