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Withdraw farm bills, guarantee MSP: Rahul Gandhi to Modi Govt

The video messages of various Congress leaders were posted on the party”s official Twitter handle with a hashtag ”SpeakUpForFarmers”.

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, Sep 26 : Stepping up its attack on the Centre over the farm bills passed by Parliament, the Congress Saturday ran a social media campaign — Speak up for farmers — with Rahul Gandhi demanding the government withdraw the proposed legislations and give a guarantee on MSP.

The three bills were passed by both houses of Parliament during the Monsoon Session and are awaiting presidential assent.

In a video message as part of the Congress” ”Speak up for farmers” campaign, Gandhi told farmers they were being persistently “attacked”.

“First demonetisation, then GST, then you were not given a single rupee at the time of coronavirus, attempt was being made to kill you (farmers), you are being made a slave of corporates, and now these three deadly Bills,” Gandhi said in his video message.

These bills are aimed at finishing off farmers and hurt them, he alleged.

“We are standing with you (farmers) and together we will stop these Bills,” Gandhi said.

“I want to say to the government — you have made a very big mistake. If farmers hit the streets, it will result in tremendous damage. Don”t waste time, withdraw these laws immediately and give guarantee on MSP (minimum support price) to farmers,” the former Congress chief said.

As part of the Congress” ”Speak up for farmers” campaign on social media, several party leaders such as Priyanka Gandhi, K C Venugopal, P Chidambaram, Ahmed Patel, Salman Khurshid, Tariq Anwar, Sachin Pilot and Shashi Tharoor, posted videos expressing support for farmers and calling for the withdrawal of the bills.

The video messages of various Congress leaders were posted on the party”s official Twitter handle with a hashtag ”SpeakUpForFarmers”.

Farmers from all over the country are unitedly raising their voices against the new agricultural bills, Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.

“No provision of MSP in the bills, contract farming and mandi system being ended is like hitting the hard work of the farmers with an axe,” she said.

“Today, the whole of India is united against this injustice,” Priyanka Gandhi said.

“The hurry in passing these bills is only to favour the BJP”s crony capitalist friends… The Congress party is taking this agitation throughout the country to support our farmers,” said Venugopal, the Congress” general secretary organisation.

Chidambaram, in his remarks, said, “The APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) Act today is a safety net for a large section of farmers. The MSP is a price signal & the market takes a signal from MSP. These two Bills will eliminate MSP as a price signal & in the course of time the APMCs will wither & vanish.”

Tharoor said the fact is that the farmers of the country are in a state of agitation and concern as the three bills have been “bulldozed” through Parliament by the BJP government.

In an earlier tweet, Gandhi said, “Let us raise our voices together against the atrocities and exploitation of farmers by the Modi government.”

“Join the Speak Up For Farmers campaign through your video,” he said, tagging a video in which the party called for the withdrawal of the bills.

The Congress, through its official Twitter handle, alleged the agriculture bills passed by the government in a “highly undemocratic manner are nothing but an attack on our farmers and an attempt to transform agriculture into another revenue stream for their crony capitalist friends”.

Along with many other opposition parties, the Congress has claimed that the bills — Farmer”s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 — will harm the interest of farmers and benefit corporates, a claim denied by the government.

The Centre has asserted the bills will be beneficial for farmers and increase their income.

India

Rahul Gandhi keeps his word, gifts house to Kerala sisters who lost everything in landslide

K Kavya and Karthika were saved from nature’s fury last year as they were staying in a hostel and pursuing their studies. The girls had lost all their property and relatives. Gandhi had met them last year and promised them a new home.

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Rahul Gandhi Kavya and Karthika

Congress leader and former party chief Rahul Gandhi on Monday distributed keys of a newly built house to two sisters who lost all their relatives in Kavalapara landslide last year.

K Kavya and Karthika were saved from nature’s fury last year as they were staying in a hostel and pursuing their studies. Gandhi had met the girls last year and promised them a new home. The girls had lost all their property and relatives in the landslide last year, Gandhi’s promise to them was finally fulfilled a year later.

At least 59 people were killed when a portion of a mountain drifted in Kavalapara after heavy rainfall last year. Similarly, in Puthuamala in Wayanad, 17 people perished in another landslide during the same period.

On Monday, Gandhi began his three-day visit to his constituency in Wayanad in north Kerala. After arriving at Kozhikode international airport by a special flight, he participated in a weekly Covid-19 review meeting in Malappuram Collectorate.

Gandhi is visiting his constituency after nine months – his last visit was in January. Soon after the natural disaster that crippled the hilly district, he visited the accident spots.

“He will interact with selected leaders. All restrictions will be in place. The main focus of his visit is to review the pandemic situation in the constituency,” said Wayanad district Congress president IC Balakrishnan.

The District Congress Committee (DCC) said no public function was scheduled during the day due to restrictions. On Tuesday, Gandhi will attend a Covid-19 review meeting at Wayanad Collectorate and meet party leaders. He will also visit Mananthawady government hospital on Wednesday before leaving from Kannur airport, the DCC said.

Last week, there was a controversy after Wayanad district collector Dr Adeela Abdulla denied permission to inaugurate a new block of a state-run school built with his MP fund. The online function was cancelled by the district administration last minute, stating that the state government was not informed about it and that protocols were not met. The Congress had criticised the decision saying it was politically-motivated.

His presence in the last Lok Saha election had helped the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) sweep the state winning 19 out of 20 seats. It also helped curb factionalism in the state party unit. Kerala assembly elections are due in six months and going by the tradition of the state to show incumbent doors, the UDF is likely to storm back to power.

Though the Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M) and the Congress are in good terms in national politics, in Kerala they are sworn enemies. During the last Lok Sabha election, Gandhi did not attack the CPI(M) in the state and used his firepower to attack the BJP, a distant third-runner in the state.

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India

‘Resolve to restore Jammu and Kashmir’s special status will continue’: Farooq Abdullah after ED questioning

The ED had earlier questioned Abdullah in July in connection with the case, and his statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

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Farooq Abdullah

After being questioned for nearly seven hours by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a case linked to alleged financial irregularities in the Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association, National Conference President Farooq Abdullah on Monday said the resolve for restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir would continue.

The 82-year-old National Conference president was questioned at the agency’s regional office at Raj Bagh. “Remember one thing, we have a long way to go. This is a long fight. Our struggle will go on whether Farooq Abdullah is alive or Farooq Abdullah is dead…Our resolve has not changed and our resolve will not change even if I were to be hanged,” PTI quoted Abdullah as saying.

The NC chief, however, refused to divulge any details on the proceedings, saying the matter would be decided in court. “I am not worried, why are you worried? The only regret I have is that I could not have my lunch,” a visibly irritated Abdullah told reporters.

The questioning comes two days after the formation of a joint alliance by NC, PDP and other mainstream Kashmir-based politicians — formally named ‘People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration’ — seeking “restoration” of the erstwhile state’s special position before August 5, 2019.

Several constituents of the newly formed People’s Alliance described Abdullah being summoned by the ED as a “witch hunt” and “political vendetta” by the Centre.

The ED had earlier questioned Abdullah in July in connection with the case, and his statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). It had filed a money laundering case after taking cognizance of a CBI FIR and chargesheet.

The chargesheet was filed in July last year against Abdullah and three others for allegedly misappropriating over Rs 43 crore from grants given by the Board of Control for Cricket in India to the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) for promoting the sport in the state between 2002-11.

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“How To Destroy An Economy”: Rahul Gandhi’s Latest Swipe At Government

Kaushik Basu, who served as Chief Economic Adviser to the Finance Ministry, tweeted a warning to the centre: “Don’t be in data denial… take corrective action…”

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Rahul Gandhi Farmers

New Delhi: Congress MP Rahul Gandhi this afternoon cited figures collated by renowned economist Kaushik Basu – which project India’s GDP as contracting the most among a selection of 11 Asian nations, including China – to take yet another swipe at the government.

“How to completely destroy an economy and infect the maximum number of people really quickly,” Mr Gandhi tweeted, with a data table showing projected GDP growth (for 2020) for 11 Asian countries and the number of coronavirus-related deaths (per million) for each.

India, with a projected GDP contraction of 10.3 per cent (according to a IMF report released ealier last week) and 83 Covid-related deaths per million, is at the bottom of a list that includes China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in a report released last Tuesday, said it expected India’s economy to shrink by 10.3 per cent – a huge downward revision from its June prediction for a government under pressure over its handling of the pandemic and the economic fallout.

Kaushik Basu, who served as Chief Economic Adviser to the Finance Ministry, tweeted another warning today: “Don’t be in data denial. Mistakes happen-admit & take corrective action…”

In August the government said India’s GDP had contracted by 23.9 per cent – much worse than expected – in April-June, as the pandemic brought key industries to a halt and left millions jobless.

Mr Gandhi tore into that revelation, accusing the government of ignoring repeated warnings from experts on the extent to which the coronavirus pandemic had affected the economy

The government has since claimed a recovery of sorts – on both fronts.

Earlier this month the Finance Ministry said “demand resurgence is palpable in many sectors” and yesterday a government-appointed committee said the country had crossed the coronavirus peak.

One of the points claimed by the committee was that the early lockdown, which triggered the economic problems – had significantly helped reduce the number of deaths due to the virus.

Meanwhile, apart from highlighting a potentially difficult 2020 for India’s GDP (something several economists and reports have already flagged), the IMF report triggered another row when it suggested that India’s per capita GDP is set to drop below that of Bangladesh.

Rahul Gandhi pounced on that as well, tweeting: “Solid achievement of 6 years of BJP’s hate-filled cultural nationalism. Bangladesh set to overtake India”.

Shortly after that government sources issued a clarification, claiming that in terms of purchasing power parity – a measure of GDP that accounts for relative differences between countries – India’s per capita GDP in 2019 was actually 11 times higher than that of Bangladesh.

China, which according to the data sheet shared first by Mr Basu and then Mr Gandhi, is projected to record positive GDP growth – 1.9 per cent – this year.

Bangladesh, meanwhile, is to record an impressive 3.8 per cent GDP growth for 2020.

This afternoon China released its July-September GDP figures and said its economy had grown by 4.9 per cent – the same as last year and only marginally below the expected 5.2 per cent.

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