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Punjab Elections 2017: Captain Amarinder slams Badals, promises to jail ‘drug mafia’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh said if elected he would put behind bars those guilty of drug smuggling and “patronising” drug mafias, bringing to the fore the rampant drug abuse in the state, as he slammed the Badal family for failing to control the menace. He attacked the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and its top leaders, including Bikramjit Singh Majithia, for allegedly misleading the people with their “disinformation” campaign.Capt Amarinder was talking to reporters after some Akali, Aam Aadmi Party and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, including Kamalji Singh Karwal and Yamini Gomar, officially joined Congress here.”From transport to drugs to sand, cable TV, liquor, there was nothing the Akalis had not seized control of to promote their interests,” the Congress chief alleged and vowed to eliminate “all these mafias” after coming to power in Punjab. He accused Parkash Singh Badal-led SAD and AAP of Arvind Kejriwal of a malicious campaign against Congress, rubbishing allegations his government during his tenure as chief minister from 2002 to 2007 had banned recruitments and appointments.He claimed the parties were doing it “deliberately”. The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief claimed his government had created job opportunities for 20 lakh youth and also recruited thousands of government employees.He said recruitments were kept in abeyance for some time as the treasury had no money when he began his tenure in 2002.”Had we not done so, Punjab would have plunged into an even deeper financial crisis than my government had inherited from the Akalis,” he said.He, however, said after the ban was lifted his government appointed more than 49,000 government employees and 12,000 teachers. “Neither the Badals nor AAP’s HS Phoolka have an iota of knowledge (about governance) and are simply talking out of their hat.” Promising to review only the “political appointments” made by the Badals, Capt Amarinder said no government employees’ jobs would be reviewed and his party was committed to provide employment to every family in the state.

Cong, AAP will withdraw subsidies and concessions if voted to power: Parkash Singh Badal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sharpening attack on Congress and AAP, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday said the two parties have shown “stiff resistance” to “pro-people” policies of the Akali government and asserted that if re-elected to power he would review “people-friendly” decisions like regularisation of employees.”By announcing that they (opposition) will review the pro-people decisions taken by the state government like regularisation of employees and others, Amarinder Singh (of Congress) and AAP leaders have proved that if voted to power they will withdraw the subsidies and concessions like free power, Atta-Dal, Shagun and others being given to the people,” he said. The Chief Minister was addressing public gatherings in village Dhaler Kalan, Sandhaur, Sherwani Kot, Ferozepur Kothala and others during Sangat Darshan programme in Malerkotla assembly segment.Congress state unit chief Amarinder Singh had earlier said that he would review all decisions taken by the SAD-BJP state government in the last three months, if his party comes to power. Singh, however, yesterday clarified that his statement was twisted and affirmed that no government appointments would be subjected to any scrutiny. Badal said that in last ten years, the SAD-BJP alliance had given free power to farmers at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore annually. He said now in a historic initiative the state government has decided to regularise the services of 30,000 employees by passing the bill in the state assembly.Badal said the SAD-BJP alliance has ensured the welfare of every strata of society by taking several “path-breaking initiatives” for providing jobs, quality health and education facilities and by starting several pro-poor schemes. The veteran Akali leader said Punjabis can never forgive the Congress party for its “sins” against Punjab. “Congress has irrelevantly meddled in the social, political, economic and even religious affairs of the state,” he said, adding that the Congress governments at the Centre had deliberately denied the state of Punjabi speaking areas, its capital Chandigarh and even its legitimate share in river waters. He said “no true Punjabi” can ever forgive Congress for sins like Operation Blue Star and the killing of innocents in 1984 anti-Sikh carnage. On the sidelines of Sangat Darshan, the Chief Minister said he would contest the election from the seat which would be allocated to him by the party. He said in a democratic set up party was the supreme and he had always obeyed by the decision of his party.Flaying the shameful act of vandalisation of Gurdwara in Calgary (Canada), Badal said this incident has bruised the psyche of every human being in general and Sikhs in particular. He said this incident needs to be condemned in strongest words as it was a crime against the humanity as the Sikh Gurus have shown the way of peace, communal harmony and welfare of all to the entire humanity. He said the government of India must ensure the safety and security of the law abiding members of the Punjabi diaspora abroad, which have been living in across the globe for decades as most civilised and productive members of the local society.

Congress’s second Punjab list out

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Treading cautiously yet again, Congress while releasing the second list of candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections in Punjab remained silent on the fate of SAD turncoats.A list of 16 candidates was released by Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), which included six sitting MLAs, namely President, Indian Youth Congress (IYC), Amarinder Singh Raja Warring from Gidderbaha, Amrik Singh Dhillon from Samrala, Jagmohan Singh Kang from Kharar and Karan Kaur Brar from Muktsar. Two youth Congress leaders were also nominated, including Birenderjit Singh Pahra (Gurdaspur) and Daman Thind Bajwa (Sunam).

Punjab: 13 teachers killed in road mishap due to dense fog

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thirteen teachers, including four women, were killed when their vehicle collided with a truck due to dense fog on Fazilka-Jalalabad road on Friday, police said.The police said the teachers were on their way to school and that the mishap was caused due to poor visibility.Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal expressed grief over the incident and condoled the deaths. He said the loss of teachers, who chisel young minds for the future of the nation, was ‘irreparable’ and it has not only traumatised their families, but their students and the nation as well.The Deputy CM and SAD chief said he and his government were with the bereaved families at this critical hour and pray to Almighty to grant them strength to bear the enormous loss. He also advised all to use utmost caution while driving in the coming days when dense fog dominates during early and later hours of the day.Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh and AAP state convener Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi also condoled the deaths.They said the incident was a sad moment and his heart went out to the bereaved families.Amarinder asked the state government to change the school timings in order to ensure that “school teachers, students and other staff are not exposed to the risk of such accidents due to fog.”

Two sitting MLAs of Akali Dal join Punjab Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a major jolt to the ruling Akali Dal, two of its sitting legislators Mahesh Inder Singh and Rajwinder Kaur Bhagike joined the Congress on Tuesday in the presence of PCC chief Amarinder Singh here.While Mahesh Inder Singh represents the Baghapurana Assembly seat, Rajwinder Kaur is the sitting MLA from Nihal Singh Wala constituency.Welcoming them into the party fold, Amarinder said this will help strengthen the Congress party ahead of the upcoming polls. He reiterated that the exodus of leaders and workers from SAD and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) would further increase as the elections drew closer, especially after the imposition of the Code of Conduct in Punjab. “As per the tradition, there is no commitment in their joining the Congress. They have joined unconditionally. I welcome them into the Congress fold and I hope their joining will strengthen the party further,” he said.Expressing their disillusionment and anger with the Akali leadership, the sitting MLAs said they had always been loyal to the party but could not allow themselves to be slaves to the Badals.Throwing his weight behind Amarinder, Mahesh Inder Singh claimed that he was the only credible face. He said that he quit the party as his ticket was cut a few months ago and the ruling dispensation sent police to his residence to intimidate him. “We can be their loyalists but not slaves. The insult given to me by sending police at my residence has hit me. They think they can terrorise me. I have quit the Akali Dal not for being denied a party ticket but out of humiliation. “I have not come here to contest as I have joined the Congress unconditionally. The Akalis have not performed and the AAP stands isolated. They had their time when four of their MPs won, but not any more,” Singh said.Besides welcoming Rajinder Kaur and Mahesh Inder Singh, Amarinder also welcomed SAD leader Pritam Singh Kotbhai and social activist from Phillaur Ajay Sharma, into the Congress fold. Kotbhai had lost narrowly to the Congress candidate in the last election.

Punjab Elections 2017: Sonia chairs first meet to finalise candidates

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The all-powerful Congress Election Committee met today to take stock of the Punjab elections and commence the task of finalising candidates for the 2017 state elections.Chaired by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and comprising party vice president Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the committee held a one hour meeting to assess the current political landscape and devise suitable plans to counter Aam Aadmi Party and the ruling combine of Akali-BJP. Congress sources said the panel did not discuss specific seat situation in the state which has 117 assembly segments and will meet again on December 8 to start those specific discussions.The Election Commission is yet to notify polls in Punjab with a section of the Congress leaders of the view that hasty ticket allocation should not be done. AAP has so far declared 91 candidates and Akalis have declared around 65. Congress is yet to start the work although the state screening committee headed by former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has done the short listing and sent panels in each seat to the CEC for a final decision.The CEC is also learnt to have discussed the recent entries to Congress including that of Pargat Singh and Navjot Kaur Sidhu and how conflicting interests within the Congress would need to be balanced to accommodate these people. At least 10 seats in Punjab are single applicant seats including Patiala where Punjab Congress President Capt Amarinder Singh will be contesting. Sitting Patiala MLA and Amarinder’s wife Preneet Kaur will vacate the seat for him.From Lehra in Sangrur Lok Sabha segment, the sole applicant is sitting MLA and ex Punjab CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. From Abohar ex CLP leader Sunil Jakhar is the only candidate. A leader said single applicant seats would in normal course get cleared as such. Candidates will now be discussed on December 8.

Amarinder Singh slams Arun Jaitley after I-T department files complaint against him

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Friday lashed out at Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, after the Income Tax Department filed a prosecution complaint against him in a foreign tax evasion case.”I challenged @arunjaitley to fight by-elections in Amritsar and this is how he responds. So predictable!”, Singh tweeted.Earlier in June, the Enforcement Directorate issued summons to Amarinder’s son Raninder Singh for allegedly violating the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).Dubbing the summons as “fraud notice”, Amarinder had alleged that Jaitley was behind it. “This is total fraud notice. This issue of income tax and all has been done by Jaitley, he can’t get over his defeat,” Amarinder said.Amarinder, who will lead the Punjab Congress in the upcoming assembly elections eyeing the Chief Minister seat, recently resigned from his Lok Sabha membership in protest against the Supreme Court order on the Sutlej Yamuna Link canal issue.

Income Tax dept charges Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh in foreign assets case

Chandigarh: The Income Tax department has filed a chargesheet against Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh in connection with its probe against him and his son in a case of alleged untaxed foreign assets.

Official sources said the department filed the prosecution complaint (equivalent to a police charge sheet) in a competent court in Ludhiana in Punjab yesterday and the former chief minister has been charged under section 277 of the I-T Act (false statement in verification) and IPC sections 176 (omission to give notice or information to public servant by person legally bound to give it), 177 (furnishing false information), 193 (punishment for false evidence) and 199 (false statement made in declaration which is by law receivable as evidence).

Amarinder took to Twitter to accuse Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of complicity.

Congress Party State President, Captain Amarinder Singh, flashes the victory sign after his party claimed victory in the state assembly elections in the northern city of Chandigarh February 24, 2002. India's opposition Congress party captured northern Punjab state in a regional election on Sunday, dealing a setback to the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). REUTERS/Str JSG/CP

Congress Punjab chief Captain Amarinder Singh. Reuters

According to the complaint, a copy of which was accessed by PTI, the I-T department said during its investigations Singh was “found to be the beneficiary” of a trust and other properties owned and created by his son Raninder in a foreign territory and when questioned about these, the Congress chief ministerial candidate for the state gave a “false statement on oath” about the ownership of these assets.

It said Singh was “actively involved” in the creation of these trusts and foreign properties which were not disclosed to the department for tax purposes. The department has already filed a similar complaint against Raninder and has charged him under section 276C of the I-T Act in the case (wilful attempt to evade tax) and the same charges would now apply on the senior Singh.

The case came to light when the Income Tax department received information about Raninder allegedly holding the offshore account in Switzerland as part of details received by the Central Board of Direct Taxes from its French counterparts in 2011.

The department had also detected movement of funds to Switzerland and creation of a trust and a few subsidiaries in the tax haven of British Virgin Islands allegedly by Raninder.

Both Amarinder and Raninder have denied any wrongdoing and termed as “false” the charges. Based on the earlier I-T department charge sheet, the Enforcement Directorate too had registered a case against Raninder under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) sometime back and has also questioned him.

Jaitley had lost the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat in 2014 to Amarinder Singh. Only yesterday Amarinder had dared Jaitley to contest the Amritsar bypoll again, saying let it be a referendum on the Narendra Modi government’s demonetisation move.

First Published On : Dec 2, 2016 20:44 IST

DNA Evening Must Reads: Urjit Patel finally breaks silence, Punjab jailbreak updates, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Demonetization: Urjit Patel breaks silence, says RBI is taking action to ease citizens’ painBreaking his silence over the demonetization issue, RBI Governor Urjit Patel on Sunday said the central bank is monitoring the situation on a daily basis and taking all necessary actions to “ease the genuine pain of citizens” with a clear intent to normalise things as early as possible. Read more hereLive updates | Punjab jailbreak: Amarinder Singh demands President’s rule in stateA group of armed men in police uniform attacked the Nabha Jail in Patiala on Sunday and fled with six prisoners including Khalistan Liberation Front chief Harminder Mintoo. Read more hereAakrosh Diwas | Protest over demonetization tomorrow, no Bharat bandh: CongressCongress made it clear on Sunday it has not called for a ‘Bharat bandh’ tomorrow, but will hold protests across the country against demonetization, which it alleged “was a political move being sold as a fight against corruption”. Read more hereIndia v/s England: Stokes reserves special message for Kohli as hosts reach 271-6Indian batsmen, including flamboyant and in-form skipper Virat Kohli, were made to toil hard before Ravichandran Ashwin’s counter-attacking 57 enabled the hosts to reach 271/6 at stumps on the second day of the third Test in Mohali on Sunday. Read more hereBox Office: It’s Rs 11.25 crore for Alia Bhatt-SRK’s ‘Dear Zindagi’ on Day 2!The Gauri Shinde directorial latest flick Dear Zindagi starring Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan among other, has taken a huge leap in its collections on Day 2. Read more here

SYL canal issue: Navjot Kaur Sidhu, Pargat Singh, Bains brothers resign from Punjab Assembly

Chandigarh: Former SAD leader Pargat Singh, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, wife of former BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, and two other legislators resigned from Punjab Assembly on Wednesday protesting the Badal government’s “failure” to protect the state’s rights over river waters.

File photo of Navjot Kaur Sidhu. PTIFile photo of Navjot Kaur Sidhu. PTI

File photo of Navjot Kaur Sidhu. PTI

The hockey player-turned-politician said he had resigned “as the Badals have failed miserably to protect Punjab’s rights over river waters”, adding though Kaur is indisposed, she has sent her resignation “directly” to Assembly Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal.

Besides Pargat Singh (Jalandhar Cantonment) and Navjot Kaur Sidhu (Amritsar East), Simarjit Singh Bains (Atam Nagar) and his brother Balwinder Singh Bains (Ludhiana South) too resigned.

Pargat had resigned from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), in the last monsoon session, while Kaur had left BJP in October.

During the debate on the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Sutlej-Yamuna-Link (SYL) canal issue in the special session of Punjab Assembly, the Bains brothers went into the well of the Assembly and threw their “resignation letters”.

Pargat and the Bains brothers are members of ‘Awaaz-e-Punjab’, an apolitical front, floated by Sidhu.

Already, 42 Congress MLAs had submitted their resignation after the apex court’s ruling favouring Haryana on the contentious SYL canal issue. The party’s Amritsar MP and Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh too had resigned from his Lok Sabha seat.

A special session of the Assembly was held on Wednesday following the Supreme Court’s verdict last week holding as “unconstitutional” the 2004 law passed by the Punjab government to terminate the SYL canal water sharing agreement with neighbouring states.

Assembly polls are slated in Punjab early next year.

First Published On : Nov 16, 2016 17:44 IST

Demonetisation | BJP should declare it will contest polls with cheques only: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lashing out at Modi government, Congress leader Salman Khurshid has alleged that anybody who questions it is labelled a traitor, and said BJP should declare it will contest the next elections by only using cheques if it is serious about the fight against blackmoney.The former external affairs minister also urged all parties to refrain from playing politics over the SYL canal issue, saying, “It would be better if they get together and resolve it or they will have to go by the SC decision”.At a function at a private school here last evening, Khurshid said, “Anyone who questions the government is being labelled a traitor or an irresponsible person”.Speaking on the issue of black money, he said that the central government should also focus on the fake currency being pushed into the country from outside. “Modi government should disclose the amount of fake currency seized till now…. If the BJP says that it will contest the next elections only by using a cheque, then I will admit that black money has been wiped away”.On reports of infighting between Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh and Pratap Singh Bajwa, Khurshid said that Congress high command was aware of the situation and will take apt measures when required. “Captain’s hardwork and the enthusiasm of the cadres will lead Congress to a thumping victory in Punjab,” he added.Targeting AAP over SYL issue, Khurshid said, “AAP likes to point fingers at others, but it doesn t want to be questioned”. “Their leaders are used to giving irresponsible statements on serious issues,” he said, adding, “This might have helped them in the past, but they stand exposed now”.

SYL canal verdict: Capt Amarinder promises to return with two-thirds majority to nullify verdict

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh has tendered resignation along with 42 Congress MLAs on Friday after the Supreme Court’s ruling on Punjab’s water-sharing agreement with other states. Amarinder Singh told the media that hopefully they would come up with the two-thirds majority and use the constitutional powers to nullify this decision of the Supreme Court. “Once our resignation is given the matter is over. And now, it is up to the Speaker, whether he will accept it tomorrow or day after. We have no connection with Vidhan Sabha anymore,” Singh said.”We are not in the house now. We are going to people of Punjab now. Tomorrow, in every constituency of Punjab, we will burn the effigies In all the 117 constituencies. We will start wide-agitation from Abohar on November 13. Sunil Jakhar will take take out mass protests, where everyone of us will participate,” he added.In a blow to Punjab, the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that Punjab was bound to share the Ravi-Beas waters with Haryana and other states and comply with its two judgments for completion of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal.The case involves sharing of Ravi-Beas river waters largely between Punjab and Haryana, besides Rajasthan, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh.

Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal dispute: Punjab CM Badal refuses water to Haryana, AAP to hold morcha

Following the Supreme Court’s verdict on Thursday of the Punjab government’s 2004 law as unconstitutional to terminate the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal water-sharing agreement with its neighbouring states, MP Amarinder Singh along with 42 Congress MLAs submitted their resignation in protest.

The 43 MLAs are expected to personally handover their resignations on Friday to Vidhan Sabha Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, said a report in The Indian Express.

“Haryana will never get the water,” Amarinder Singh told News18, and also blamed Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for entering into the water-sharing agreement.

Reacting to the verdict, Badal assured the people of Punjab that only the SAD can make sure that Punjab “will not let the water go” and that the resignation by the Congress party members was just drama, reported ANI. Badal also said, “Punjab ka paani kahin nahi jaayga, nahin jayga aur nahin jaayga (Punjab’s water will not go anywhere).” Badal then stressed that SYL canal dispute was not political but “a livelihood and economic issue”.

The Aam Aadmi Party has announced an indefinite morcha at Kapoori village from Friday to protest against the SC verdict — Kapoori village, located in Patiala, is where Indira Gandhi had performed the stone-laying ceremony of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal in 1982, reports The Indian Express. The report also mentioned that AAP would not allow the implementation of the verdict if it came to power in Punjab. BJP MLA Vijay Sampla called Amarinder Singh’s resignation “another excuse to stay away” from Parliament as he was “anyway never seen” there, ANI reported.

Meanwhile, Haryana minister called the verdict a “ray of hope” and advised Punjab CM Badal to accept the decision to give water to Haryana.

The Bains brothers (Balwinder and Simarjeet Singh Bains), who floated Lok Insaaf party ahead of the Punjab elections, have asked Badal to convene an emergency session of the Assembly, adding that they will wait for two or three days for the session, else they will submit their resignations as well, according to The Indian Express.

The Supreme Court on Thursday responded in “negative” to all the four questions referred to it by then President APJ Abdul Kalam on the constitutional validity of the law passed by then Punjab government-led by Captain Amrinder Singh to nullify the court verdicts and unilaterally terminating the almost three-decade old SYL water sharing agreement.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice AR Dave said in its advisory verdict, “Once a conclusion is arrived at to the effect that one state, which is a party to the litigation or an agreement, cannot unilaterally terminate the agreement or nullify the decree of the highest court of the country, the state of Punjab cannot discharge itself from its obligation which arises from the judgment and decree dated 15, January, 2002, and the judgment and order dated 4 January, 2004 of the apex court.”

The controversial 1981 water sharing agreement came into being after Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966. The Indus Waters Treaty, 1960 which was executed between India and Pakistan, later led to inter-state division of water share among states like Punjab, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir.

Punjab, which was entitled to 7.20 million acre feet (including 1.30 MAF for Pepsu) out of 15.85 MAF of surplus water from Bhakra-Nangal project, was required to give 3.5 MAF water to Haryana from its own share.

For effective allocation of water, the SYL canal was conceptualised and both the states were required to construct its portions in their territory.

Haryana constructed the portion of SYL canal in its territory. However, Punjab after initial work, stopped the work leading to a spate of litigations. In 2004, the Congress government of the state came out with the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act with an intention to terminate the 1981 agreement and all other pacts relating to sharing of waters of rivers Ravi and Beas.

With inputs from PTI

Punjab polls 2017: Kejriwal, Amarinder indulge in epic Twitter fight over trade manifesto, open debate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Twitter battle ensued between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress senior leader Amarinder Singh on Monday. It started on Sunday evening when Singh took to Twitter to slam AAP’s Punjab elections manifesto. “Like older manifestos, once again Kejriwal states the obvious & exposes his intellectual bankruptcy in crafting actual solutions for Punjab. In Delhi Kejriwal hiked VAT twice this year,increased toll taxes and imposed a new green tax on trucks. Yet, he speaks of lower tax in Punjab.””Kejriwal better set his own house in order, before he sets his sights on Punjab,” said Singh on Twitter. To this, the Delhi CM responded saying, “Sir, Badals closed corruption cases against u just a few months before elections. Why? Punjab asking what’s the deal?”Amarinder’s response: “You and your shoot and scoot politics!! Tell us how many of those who you accused before elections have been put behind bars till now? Country is increasingly sick of your theatrics just to grab headlines!”Kejriwal then accused the Congress’ Punjab CM hopeful of using “drug money” in his campaign.Singh then challenged Kejriwal for an open debate, to which the Delhi CM suggested 4 names of his party leaders.

Punjab polls: Arvind Kejriwal, Amarinder Singh engage in war of words on Twitter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Amarinder Singh on Monday locked horns on social media after the AAP chief accused the Congress’ Punjab CM hopeful of using “drug money” in his campaign. Singh put out a stinging response to Kejriwal, saying he was “hallucinating” and seeing things that “don’t exist”.The two leaders have been increasingly trading barbs on Twitter as the Assembly election nears. “Sir, people talking in Punjab that u using (Bikram Singh) Majithia’s drug money in your campaign. Is it true? U had saved him from CBI enquiry three yrs back (sic),” Kejriwal tweeted. Majithia is Punjab’s Revenue Minister. The Punjab Congress chief was quick to respond, saying Kejriwal was “seeing stars during the day”.”When your hopes crash from 100 to 30 & still sliding, you’re bound to hallucinate & see things that don’t exist,” Singh tweeted. Kejriwal has been alleging a “nexus” between Congress and the ruling Akalis in poll-bound Punjab. He has dubbed Singh their “joint chief ministerial candidate”.”Sir, Badals closed corruption cases against u just a few months before elections. Why? Punjab asking what’s the deal?” Kejriwal had tweeted yesterday, responding to which Singh asked the AAP chief to “set his own house in order, before he sets his sights on Punjab”. Kejriwal was referring to Punjab Vigilance Bureau’s clean chit to Singh in his alleged role in the Amritsar Improvement Trust land scam case.

Punjab Elections 2017: Sidhu welcome to join, says Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress on Friday extended an olive branch to former BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, saying he was “most welcome” to join the party and insisted that its Punjab unit chief Amarinder Singh was on the same page.Amid speculation over Sidhu joining the party, Singh met Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and is learnt to have discussed the issue besides the political situation in poll-bound Punjab. Sources said Singh is also learnt to have discussed the party’s prospects in Punjab and about the probable candidates for the upcoming assembly polls.Congress, which is seeking to wrest power after a decade of political wilderness, is trying to strengthen its position and sees Sidhu as an effective campaigner who could add more punch in reaching out to people at a time when Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP is keeping it on tenterhooks. “Sidhu is most welcome to join the party. It will be a wise decision on his part,” Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar told mediapersons while replying to a volley of questions on the issue.He added that if Sidhu recognises the leadership and the values of the Congress and joins the party, it would be a wise decision on his part and we welcome his wisdom.Former PCC chief Pratap Singh Bajwa has been batting for Sidhu while Singh has lately been critical of the cricketer- turned-politician. Sidhu, who quit his Rajya Sabha seat and the BJP, formed a non-political outfit Awaaz-e-Punjab but is yet to align with any party. Earlier, he was speculated to join the AAP that did not materialise. Asserting he is not aware whether Congress and Awaaz-e-Punjab are engaged in talks or not, Bajwa said if the party is not engaged in talks, it must open communication channel with the Sidhu-led front, so as not to let the anti-Badal votes get divided in the upcoming Punjab polls. “I want to appeal to the Congress high command that it should take Navjot Singh Sidhu on board in the joint fight against the tyrannical Akali-BJP rule in the state,” the former Punjab Congress chief said.”As the former PPCC chief and now MP, I want talks should be initiated with Sidhu… for the betterment of Punjab and Congress,” Bajwa said. Notably, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh and the party’s Punjab affairs in-charge Asha Kumari had repeatedly said no talks is going on with Awaaz-e-Punjab. However, Awaaz-e-Punjab member and Independent MLA Simarjit Singh had claimed Sidhu was in touch with the Congress high command for alliance and Amarinder “very well knows” about it.”Congress must open channel with Navjot Singh Sidhu. Talk to him and bring him on the table and he should be convinced, because he has taken a public stand that he is against the Badals and wants an end to the SAD-BJP rule,” Bajwa said. He said talks should also be held with other members of the forum like Pargat Singh and the Bains brothers.Asserting that “anti-Badal” votes should not split, he said, “There is a need to defeat Badals and there is no need to get into all this (that whether talks are on or not).” Bajwa also said the party should not repeat the “mistake” it committed in the last Punjab Assembly elections.”I had appealed to the Congress high command during 2012 polls that talks should be held with Manpreet Badal’s Peoples’ Party of Punjab for alliance. But my suggestion was not accepted and we lost the polls,” he claimed.”I feel that the revival of Congress will start from Punjab if we are able to win the upcoming assembly polls,” he said.

Reality Check: There’s been no let up in fidayeen attacks in Jammu and Kashmir since Kargil

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the terror attack on a military base in Jammu and Kashmir has given political ammunition to the Opposition to target the government, a pattern since the 1999 Kargil war shows that there hasn’t been any let up in suicide or fidayeen attacks in Jammu and Kashmir. While the last two and half years of NDA-rule led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi have already witnessed 10 such attacks, the decade-long UPA rule under Manmohan Singh experienced 43 similar strikes. Interestingly, the only exception has been a two-year period between 2011 and 2012, when no such incident was reported.On Sunday when the Prime Minister strongly condemned the attack, promising that “those behind the despicable attack will not go unpunished”, the Opposition reminded him his September 2013 speech in Rewari, Haryana, saying “till we have a capable government in Delhi, which is nationalistic and committed to protect every citizen, we can’t guarantee security.” This rally was held in the backdrop of twin suicide strikes killing 13 including four policemen and four army personnel, including Lieutenant Colonel Bikramjeet Singh (39) in Samba District. “India has lost more jawans to bullets of terrorists than enemies from across the border.”Senior BJP leader Ram Madhav, in his Facebook post, recommended a “complete jaw for one tooth”. He wrote: “The PM has promised that those behind the Uri terror attack will not go unpunished. That should be the way forward. For one tooth, the complete jaw. Days of so-called strategic restraint are over.”But the Congress leaders, including former defence minister AK Antony, deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh and former minister Jitendra Singh, mocked him. Questioning the policy of appeasement resorted to by the Modi government, both towards Pakistan and the handling terrorism in Kashmir, Amarinder Singh, who is also spearheading party’s electoral campaign in Punjab said, “we as a nation need to tell it to Pakistan in simple and straight terms that enough is enough and we are not going to take it any more”.Antony described the attack as “a serious security lapse”. He said the incident, coming close on the heels of what happened in Pathankot, is a huge security lapse.”The Kashmir issue is drifting and reaching dangerous propositions. All this is happening with the knowledge of Pakistan,” he added. Jitendra Singh, who started the political blame game, said that the Modi government should stop diplomacy of sarees, biryanis, sweets, shawls and should instead send a hard-hitting message to Pakistan.Over the years more hardened and determined lot of militants have sneaked in to carry out sensational and deadly attacks. One such daring such attack, similar fashion to the one in Uri, which went largely unreported, took place on November 25, 2015, when three JeM militants attacked the army camp near the LoC at Tanghdar in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district, setting ablaze barracks, vehicles and kerosene depot. Sources in the security establishment here stated that since the unprecedented turbulence following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, counter-insurgency grid has come to a grinding halt. The army has intercepted the infiltrating militants and neutralised some of them in Nowgam and Machhil sectors on the LoC, there has not been a single raid or operation in the hinterland since July. They deny that the intelligence has started drying up, saying that all the security agencies including the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Jammu and Kashmir are getting information unhindered. However, all the field units have been directed to only maintain vigil over the activities and movement of the militants and avoid conducting any raid or counter-insurgency operation in the populated areas “during the period of turbulence”.While the frequency of the encounters along the LoC indicates alertness of the security forces, it also shows the high levels of attempts of infiltration. Officials revealed that in recent times most of the hideouts had been established in the localities and districts believed to be completely free of militancy. They pointed out that Wani and two of his associates had been traced to a militant-free area in Kokernag and killed there in an operation of surgical precision.Fidayeen attacksSince Kargil – 106NDA under Narendra Modi – 10UPA under Manmohan Singh – 43NDA under Atal Bihar Vajpayee – 53

Punjab: Akali Dal MLA Farzana Khatoon’s house attacked by mob over allegations of sacrilege

A mob allegedly attacked the house of local Akali Dal MLA Farzana Nissara Khatoon while protesting alleged sacrilege of a religious book forcing police to open fire, police said on Saturday.Six policemen including a DSP was injured as protesters who numbered around 300-400 indulged in stone pelting, torched a car and a room meant for security men outside the MLA’s house. The legislator who was in the house was safe, DSP Randhir Singh said on the incident that occured in Malerkotla town in Sangrur district last night. Farzana is the wife of former Punjab Police DGP Mohammad Izhar Alam.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As tension prevailed in the area, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal urged on Saturday to people to maintain peace and communal harmony while the opposition Congress and Aam Aadmi Party alleged it was a conspiracy to destabilise the state ahead of Assembly elections next year and demanded a judicial probe.
ALSO READ Desecration of holy book: Is Punjab getting back to militancy days?Congress leader Amarinder Singh claimed that the people wanted to meet the MLA in connection with the incident when her security personnel “fired indiscriminately” at them.The cause
ALSO READ Desecration of holy book: Parts of Punjab still tense, bandh observed amidst tight securityThe trouble started when some people allegedly found torn pages of a religious book near Jarag Chowk in Malerkotla. Protesting over the incident, a group of 300-400 people first blocked the Sangrur-Ludhiana highway. “They damaged three vehicles of the MLA including setting a car on fire. Then they also burnt down the room meant for security men outside the house of the legislator,” said the DSP.Police and security men of Khatoon fired in the air to disperse the crowd. The mob pelted stones at police personnel injuring to six policemen including a DSP, said police. Heavy police force has been deployed in the wake of the incident. DIG (Patiala Range) B S Sidhu said, “Situation (in Malerkotla) is peaceful now.” A case has been registered in this regard, police said, adding that no arrest has been made so far.
ALSO READ Punjab: CBI likely to visit Faridkot to probe holy book sacrilege incidentDGP (Law and Order) Hardeep Singh Dhillon along with IG (Patiala Zone) Paramjit Singh Umra Nangal visited the area and reviewed the situation on Saturday.CM Parkash Singh Badal speaksStrongly condemning the incident, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal urged the people to remain calm and said that nobody would be allowed to disturb the hard earned peace and communal harmony in the state. He appealed the people in general and especially the Muslim brethren to maintain peace, amity and communal harmony at all cost.Expressing deep anguish over the incident, Badal said it was time to display the ethos of religious tolerance, unity and brotherhood. He also warned the anti-social elements saying strict action will be taken against them.What does Amarinder Singh has to say?Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh expressed apprehension that the incident in Malerkotla was “conspiracy at the behest of the ruling party to disturb peace and destabilise Punjab” ahead of elections.Amarinder said that there appeared to be a pattern in these incidents. In Fatehgarh Sahib, less than a year ago a holy book was desecrated leading to protests and firing on people in which two protesters were killed, he said. “Now again, the pages of a holy book were torn out in a clear act of provocation and when the people wanted to meet the local MLA, whose husband Izhar Alam is an ex-DGP, his security personnel fired indiscriminately at them injuring so many,” he alleged.Demanding a time-bound independent probe, the PCC president said an “atmosphere of instability and uncertainty” will suit the Chief Minister since he has realised that he had “lost the trust” of the people.AAP’s takeAam Aadmi Party (AAP) termed the incident extremely unfortunate. Sangrur MP and senior leader AAP, Bhagwant Mann while demanding a judicial probe into all such incidents which have occurred in recent times in Punjab, said those responsible for attempting to create a communal wedge between various communities by resorting to desecration must be brought to book.Mann said prior to Malerkotla incident, alleged desecration of holy book was also engineered by certain anti-social elements to divide and create communal divisions between Punjabis on caste and religious lines. Mann said Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who also controls Punjab police, has “completely failed” in putting an end to such incidents of alleged sacrilege which have been occurring at regular intervals for the past many months.

Amarinder Singh accuses Parkash Singh Badal of misappropriation worth Rs 12,000 cr

Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh accused Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Friday of trying to hush up the “misappropriation” in Rs 12,000 crore Cash Credit Limit (CCL) meant for food grains procurement in the state.Also, blaming Badal for the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal construction, he said the Akali leader has “no moral authority” to question Congress over the issue. “Badal has no moral authority to blame the Congress for SYL as it was he (Badal) who had accepted Rs 2 crore from his Haryana counterpart, Devi Lal in 1978 for the construction of SYL canal, by giving precedence to personal relations over Punjab’s interests as he considered Devi Lal to be his ‘elder brother’,” he alleged.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amarinder alleged that “it is not the first time that Badal misappropriated money meant for procurement as during his previous tenure between 1997 and 2002 too he had done the same thing and misappropriated Rs 4,700 crore in a similar manner.””As they say ‘old habits die hard’, Badal had repeated the same thing by misappropriating the CCL money, most probably in Sangat Darshan programmes, which means the new government will inherit a deficit of Rs 12,000 crore once again,” he claimed.He disclosed that in 2002 when he took over as the Punjab chief minister, his government inherited a CCL deficit of Rs 4,700 crore from the Akali government. He said he had to give personal guarantee to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to ensure that the deficit is cleared, before further CCL was released. “When we demitted office in 2007 there was zero deficit,” he said.Reacting to Badal’s charge that Congress was responsible for SYL, Amarinder reminded him that it was the Congress government which in 2004 had repealed all previous water sharing agreements by enacting a law that legally relieved the state of its obligation to construct SYL and “saved Punjab’s precious water”.He accused Badal of “playing with the emotions of people by exploiting them” and pointed out how he delayed sending the Vidhan Sabha resolution to the Governor for his assent during the last session.

Rahul ‘shedding crocodile tears’ over drug issue in Punjab: SAD

The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal on Monday hit out at Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi alleging he was “shedding crocodile tears” over the drug menace in Punjab.”It is clear you have no love lost for Punjabis or their sentiments so please stop shedding crocodile tears over drugs in Punjab,” SAD spokesman Daljit Cheema said in a statement here. At a rally in Jalandhar earlier, Gandhi, hitting out at the 9-year-old SAD-BJP government in the state, accused the Akalis of “protecting” drugs trade and said there was “ease in doing only one business in Punjab which is of drugs”. Cheema asked Gandhi to explain his remarks over the issue of drug addiction in Punjab.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress vice-president at the rally said, “The hands and feet of Punjab’s youth are chained and without breaking these chains, Punjab cannot move forward. Punjab’s people will have to accept this truth and only then we can wage a war against drugs. Nothing will happen by hiding it.” Cheema also alleged that the truth of the matter was that the drug trade “flourished” during Congress rule in Punjab. “Your government was in power at the Centre also for 10 years but did not do anything about the matter. It was only when the SAD- BJP government started taking sweeping steps to end this menace that you woke up about the problem and tried to score brownie points by wrongly quoting a survey report”, he added.
ALSO READ Only drugs business is easy to do in Punjab: Rahul GandhiCheema claimed Rahul was fond of reading verbatim from scripts handed over to him. He (Gandhi) did so when he claimed 70 per cent Punjabis were drug addicts four years ago and again today when he said police officers were sent on ‘Khudeline’ (unimportant) job by Punjab government, he said. “It would have been better if he had listed how much employment had been provided by the previous Amarinder Singh’s government in Punjab while speaking about unemployment.” “If you do a Google search on this issue you will come to know that the Amarinder government had banned recruitment.The SAD- BJP government on the other hand has recruited 1.30 lakh youths and recruitment processing for providing jobs to 1.25 lakh more youths is already on”, he added. “Defaming Punjabis is akin to cutting the sword arm of the country and weakening India”, Cheema said.

If Punjab needs a better future, drug menace should stop: Rahul Gandhi in Jalandhar

Leading the protest in Jalandhar on Monday against the drug menace in the state, Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack on the Punjab government.

File image of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

File image of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

“On one side, Punjab has the drug menace and on the other, there’s unemployment and issues with law and order,” he said. “If Punjab needs a better future, there is no better way but to stop the drug menance in the state.”

Referring to Amarinder Singh’s vow to finish the drug menace in Punjab, he said that if Congress comes to power, this drug problem will be curbed in a month as the Congress intends to give more powers to the state police.

Attacking the Akali Dal, Gandhi said that it is important to give powers to the police to eradicate this problem and the Akali Dal leaders are not doing it.

“There are good police officers in Punjab police who want to work but SAD Govt isn’t giving them the required freedom to function,” he added.

The mass protest in Jalandhar was organised to highlight rampant drug abuse and collapse of law and order in Punjab in the wake of the controversy around Udta Punjab.

“Punjab has a crippling drug problem. Censoring Udta Punjab will not fix it,” Gandhi tweeted before the event.

SAD-BJP, AAP have found a common cause against me: Amarinder Singh

Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh on Tuesday took a dig at SAD, BJP and AAP for finding a “common cause” against him over the Enforcement Directorate issuing summons to his son allegedly “at the behest of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley”.The ED has summoned Amarinder’s son Raninder, in connection with its probe against him for alleged forex contraventions and holding of untaxed foreign assets. “The only conclusion one can derive from their common cause is that they are too scared of Congress ahead of the Assembly polls in Punjab. It is really amusing that the SAD-BJP and AAP have come together to side with Jaitely against me,” he remarked. Amarinder was responding to these parties reportedly “supporting, endorsing and celebrating” the ED’s summons against his son.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said that while the ruling SAD-BJP alliance “supporting and endorsing Jaitley’s action is understandable”, he is “surprised and amused” over the AAP’s stand on the issue. “The way the party is celebrating the ED notice to my son it looks like Jaitely proposes and AAP disposes,” he remarked. Amarinder said that while AAP has gone “overboard” in “celebrating and supporting Jaitley’s mischievous action” against his son, it had accused the Union Minister and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “political vendetta” when CBI raided the office of Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary, Rajedra Kumar in connection with a corruption case last December. “How come when a central government agency raids your office, it is vendetta and when the same government is trying to resort to similar vendetta against me, you have come in its support? These are just double standards, so characteristic of Kejriwal and his party” he said.

Time is right for Rahul: Captain Amarinder calls for scion to take over from Sonia Gandhi

As speculation raged over the issue, Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh said that time is right for Rahul Gandhi to take over from his mother as Congress President and favoured Priyanka’s entry into active politics.”Sonia Gandhi is a brilliant leader. I have said that she has been working (as Congress President) for the last 20 years. If she feels that time has come to give it to a new generation, then she should pass it on and we will fully support Rahul (to take over),” he told a press conference here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He was replying to a question whether time has come for Congress Vice-President to take over from Sonia Gandhi. Singh said, “Look, she has not talked to me (on the issue). But what we are coming to know is that she is now feeling that the time has come for a new generation (to take over), which everyone today is saying.”We are also saying so that 70 per cent of India’s population is under the age of 40 years. She also knows this, may be she feels she would like to hand it over to the new generation. I think there is nothing wrong in it.” Asked if Rahul could take over this month itself, Amarinder said, “look, I do not know this. If Sonia wants to hand it over to Rahul ji, I think everybody will support”.About Sonia, he said, “she has worked really hard. Let me tell you the amount of work she has put in since 1997, it is amazing”.”Her way of work has been very intensive..Now, if she is feeling that the time has come for her to handover the baton to somebody else, then we must honour what she wants. I think we have gained so much from her over the last 20 years that if she herself wants to leave, then we must honour what she wants,” he said.Asked if this will become a benchmark for party leaders who are over 70 years of age to quit in favour of younger generation, Amarinder replied, “No, its not a benchmark, everyone has his or her time. And everyone gets tired after a while.”I have also announced that I am not going to fight another election. Why because I have done 47 years now.” Amarinder Singh is leading the Congress’ campaign ahead of crucial 2017 Punjab assembly elections, where the opposition party is eyeing to wrest power from the SAD-BJP combine. About Rahul Gandhi, Amarinder Singh said, “I have been interacting with Rahul as Vice-President. Executive decisions are being taken by him. I find him very perceptive, he asks pertinent questions and he agrees what you say, if he feels it is right.” “Sonia is a brilliant leader, but you know we have to give (pause). Why am I wanting to quit (fighting 2017 as last elections), because I think enough is enough.I think the new generation has emerged and the baton should be passed to the new generation,” he said.”Similarly, I think Soniaji wants to do the same. Nobody is asking her to handover (the baton). It is her own thinking that she would like Rahul to take over. And that of course when the matter is put before the party, I am sure we will all endorse Rahul,” he said.Asked if he has full faith in Rahul’s leadership, the former Punjab CM further said, “I have been interacting with him on many occasions. Everybody learns and I think in the last 4-5 years, he has learnt a lot. I am meeting him even tomorrow.”When asked if he will make a good leader, he replied, “I am sure he will make a good leader.” He also added that Rahul belongs to a family in which politics runs in its blood right from Moti Lal Nehru to Jawahar Lal Nehru to Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.When asked what about Priyanka Gandhi, he said, “I hope she will come into (active politics). I have always suggested that she must come into this thing. She will be a great asset to the Congress President and the Vice-President.” Asked if Rahul will get full support of the party, he said, “why not. There is a system of take over, it is not Amarinder Singh announcing or Sonia ji announcing, the party will meet on the issue.”

Sonia Gandhi should continue as Congress President, says Amarinder Singh on eve of vote count

Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said Sonia Gandhi should continue as party President irrespective of tomorrow’s poll outcome in the five states. Singh, a former Punjab Chief Minister and a sitting MP, at the same time said that Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi can step into Sonia’s shoes if she feels that time has come for her to go and that she is “tired” of being at the helm of the party since 1997.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Exit polls have projected Congress losing power in Assam and Kerala.”No, not at all.” Singh told NDTV when asked whether time has come for Rahul to take over as Congress President in the backdrop of suggestions in this regard with Sonia assuming the role of ‘Chairman Emeritus’. “I have worked very closely with Soniaji and I think she is a great leader.” Singh, who returned as Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) President in November last, said Sonia believed in modern concept of management. Singh said any decision on elevating Rahul is for him and Sonia to take.”She(Sonia) has been non-stop in this role since 1997 and she may be tired….may be she feels that time has come that she wants to go and that she is tired of handling this. And in this case the Vice President can take over and Rahul can handle it,” he said. “It has been years since he(Rahul) has been in his current role…I am sure he can step into her shoes,” he added.Singh also denied reports of a rift with strategist Prashant Kishor who has been roped in by the Congress to hammer out strategies for the party for the Assembly polls in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh due next year. “100 per cent. Things are 100 per cent fine. We’ve been together for the whole of yesterday, been together whole of this morning. We have no differences whatsoever,” he asserted when asked whether all is well between him and Kishor in the light of reports of a rift between them.

Will Congress lose out on Prashant Kishor ahead of 2017 UP and Punjab elections?

Exit polls conducted on Monday for the five assembly elections in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, suggested that Congress will be losing out on Chief Minister’s seat in Assam and Kerala. Now, reports suggest that poll strategist Prashant Kishor may quit his assignment with Congress. According to a report in NDTV, a section of Congress feels that Kishor is an outsider and is overstepping his brief. Quoting sources, the report says that Kishor’s plan of having a new team lead the Congress to fight in the 2017 assembly elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, has not gone down well with many party members. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Although Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi have extended full support to Kishor, the man behind Nitish Kumar’s win in Bihar in 2015, will quit if the new team is not announced by the end of this month, added the report.Kishor has no role in organisational matters: CongressThere have been reports that things are not going well between Kishor and the Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh who does not want to open party’s doors to expelled senior leaders Bir Devinder and Jagmeet Brar. While apparently Amarinder wants to be seen as the one calling the shots, Kishor wants a free hand in deciding what’s going to hurt Congress prospects and what will boost them.Refuting these reports, Shakeel Ahmed, the party spokesperson, on Monday had said, “There is no communication gap between them…..Kishor will have no role in organisation matters and he will have no role in ticket distribution.”Congress is out of power in Punjab for the past nine years and is making strenuous efforts to oust the SAD-BJP combine from power, at a time when AAP has emerged as a significant player in the state.Kishor has played an important role in Narendra Modi’s campaign during his Lok Sabha elections 2014. After which, he planned out the poll strategy for Nitish Kumar during Bihar elections 2015. Both his strategies worked well and brought victory to both the political leaders.

Punjab polls: Capt Amarinder Singh criticises Sukhbir Singh Badal’s China visit

Taking a dig at Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal’s trip to China, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh on Monday alleged that he had gone to explore his “personal investment options and opportunities” there.”…No doubt that Sukhbir having realised that he had exhausted all options of investment in Punjab and also the fact that he was going to have enough time post-2017 Assembly elections after getting defeated by the Congress, he was now looking at the business opportunities in unexplored places like China, where, he might be thinking, his investments will remain away from public scrutiny,” Amarinder said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Badal currently is in China to showcase the State as an attractive investment destination. “I challenged Sukhbir to show a single penny worth of investment that he can claim he has brought to Punjab after the visit or during the last nine years of being in power,” he said.Singh alleged that the manufacturing sector, particularly the bicycle industry, was moving out to other states like Jharkhand and about 20,000 big and small industrial units were already shut down in Punjab. Taking a jibe at Sukhbir’s announcement about setting up the “cycle valley” in Ludhiana, Capt Amarinder said, “it was not for the first time that catchy phrases were being coined in an apparent bid to fool people”.”What happened to the textile park in Ludhiana?” or may be you plan to set up the ‘cycle valley’ on the rooftop of the textile park,” he questioned. “Earlier we saw much hyped investor summits without a penny of investment and now we are being made to believe that the investments will come from China,” he alleged.

Punjab elections 2017: HS Phoolka claims that Prashant Kishor contacted him, I-PAC dismisses claim as ‘canard’

Anti-Sikh riots lawyer and AAP leader HS Phoolka on Sunday claimed that poll strategist Prashant Kishor, who has been helping the Congress in Punjab, contacted him to seek suggestions on the issue of justice to the Sikhs, Kishor’s organisation I-PAC, however, dismissed the claims as “canard”.Maintaining that Kishor wanted his suggestions to “incorporate” it in Congress manifesto, the noted lawyer trained guns on the Congress leadership on the issue. Before giving any suggestions, Phoolka said the Congress should come out clean on the “genocide of the Sikhs”. “Prashant Kishor contacted HS Phoolka and wanted to have a meeting with him. When Mr Phoolka declined to have a meeting and even refused to meet his mediator, the mediator sent an SMS to Mr Phoolka that Prashant Kishor wants Mr Phoolka’s suggestions on the issue of ‘justice to the Sikhs’ for incorporating the same into the Congress manifesto,” the lawyer claimed in a Facebook post.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When contacted Prashant Kishor, he was unavailable for comment. Prashant Kishor’s organisation I-PAC however, dismissed he claim as complete farce and canard. “PK contacting @hsphoolka is complete farce and typical AAP canard. We challenge him to present proof else apologise for this publicity stunt,” I-PAC tweetedIn his “suggestions” to Kishor, which Phoolka “chose to” give through the “media”, the lawyer said Capt Amarinder Singh, Congress’ Chief Ministerial candidate in the state, should apologise to the victims for giving a clean chit to Jagdish Tytler and should ensure that henceforth he will support the victims in their struggle for justice.”Mrs Sonia Gandhi should disclose what all transpired in their house on November 1 and 2, 1984 when one Sikh was killed every minute within the radius of 5 kms of her residence and over 4000 sikhs were killed in a span of 48 hours. “She should disclose who was the main conspirator for these killings,” the Facebook post said, adding the Congress President should also “apologise” for the remarks made by her husband Rajiv Gandhi after the carnage that “when a big tree falls, the earth beneath it shakes”.He said Congress Vice-President should inform the people whether he was aware about the killings going on November 1 and 2, 1984 and “deprecate” his father for killings of innocent citizens of this country.

Rahul Gandhi holds marathon meeting to devise Punjab polls strategy

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi tonight held a marathon meeting with the leaders from Punjab to plan the party’s strategy for the 2017 state Assembly elections.The meeting which started around 7 PM continued for over four hours and was also attended by poll strategist Prashant Kishor.All prominent leaders from the state, including former PCC chiefs Partap Singh Bajwa, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Shamsher Singh Dullo and senior party leader Ambika Soni and MPs and ex-MPs, attended the meeting, senior leader Jagmit Singh Brar was conspicuous by his absence.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 30 state leaders were also present during the meet.Sources said the party discussed it’s plans on how to counter AAP which is a growing force in the state and mooted ways to reach out to the targeted electorate especially the youth.Today’s meeting comes in the wake of a similar session with Uttar Pradesh leaders with Kishore on March 2.Congress has been out of power in Punjab for the past decade and to end this “bad patch”, the party and Rahul Gandhi are working hard to wrest back power.Sources said that the party will try and woo it’s traditional vote bank of dalits and the marginalised sections and also focus on youth and women.The party would chalk out plans of holding interactions with youth and various other sections in the coming months, the sources said.PCC chief Amarinder Singh later said the the meeting was aimed at discussing the poll strategy and evolve plans for the party’s campaign ahead.Various leaders also gave their suggestions aimed at wooing the masses and countering the growing influence of AAP in the state.Apart from the ruling SAD-BJP combine, the party is set to face a spirited challenge from AAP, which is gaining ground in the agrarian border state.

2017 Punjab elections: Congress leader Amarinder Singh asks CM Parkash Singh Badal to prepare for ‘political exile’

Taking a dig at Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Congress leader Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said that rather than dreaming of forming a government again in 2017, Badal should prepare himself for “political exile” that the people will impose upon him.”Given the current circumstances and the anger prevailing among people against the Badals, the exile will be the only option available to them as people will chase them down for all the sins of omission and commission during their two tenures,” Singh said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state Congress chief’s reaction comes in the wake of Badal’s statement on Monday who asked the former to be prepared for a third “consecutive defeat”. The former Chief Minister said Badal had “failed” all sections of the state, including farmers, youth, industry, employees etc.”This is because he could never look beyond his family and clan with seven MLAs of his family in the Vidhan Sabha and four of them being ministers and another in the central government,” Singh said.Responding to the CM’s claims that he would be forming the government for the third consecutive term in 2017, the PCC president asked Badal to name a single assembly segment that would guarantee a win for Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) .”Leave aside Punjab, you better worry about your feudal fiefdom of Lambi which is certain to write your political obituary this time,” Singh charged.

Ahead of Punjab elections, famous Sufi singer Hans Raj Hans joins Congress

Famous Sufi singer Hans Raj Hans on Saturday joined the Congress party. He was inducted into the party by the PCC president Amarinder Singh in Chandigarh.Welcoming Hans into the party, Amarinder said, given his appeal that goes across all the sections of the society his joining the Congress will definitely benefit it. He said people like Hans who enjoy a clean image and reputation are widely admired by the people.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking on the occasion Hans said, he had resigned from the Akali Dal about one and a half year ago as he had not found it coming to his expectations. Hans said he looked around and found that the Congress under Amarinder’s leadership was best suited to rule Punjab. He made it clear that he had not joined the party with any condition as his only aim was to see Punjab grow and prosper.About the Aam Aadmi Party, he said, there was a “great gulf” in what they preach and what they practice. He said, the AAP “balloon was deflating” in Punjab.

No Sikh regiment in Republic Day parade: Parkash Singh Badal regrets, Congress deplores

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday regretted the absence of a Sikh regiment contingent in this year’s Republic Day parade even as opposition Congress termed it as a “grave omission”.Describing the absence of the Sikh regiment from the Republic Day parade as “sad and regrettable”, Badal has urged the central government to issue necessary instructions and guidelines to ensure that the regiment is never kept out of the parades in future.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Badal said, “A widespread feeling of hurt and resentment has been caused by the non-inclusion of the Sikh Regiment in the Republic Day parade where French President Francois Hollande was the chief guest.”Badal said the parade was always regarded as a great occasion to showcase India’s multi-cultural and multi-religious identity, highlighting its secular ethos.”As a vibrant and fiercely patriotic minority community in the country, the Sikhs are always seen as the most powerful symbol of this multi-dimensional identity and secular character of the country,” he wrote.He said Sikhs have made unparalleled sacrifices not only for the freedom of the country but also for defending that freedom against foreign aggression.”They have a strong presence in the armed forces and their patriotic and martial traditions are something on which the entire country rightly takes pride,” Badal said.”Because of these factors,” the Punjab Chief Minister said, “The presence of the Sikh regiment in the Republic Day parade is regarded as a natural part of our nationalistic symbolism.” Badal said the exclusion of the Sikh regiment from the parade would be regrettable at any time but it was doubly so this year “because of the presence of the French president as a special guest at the event.”The Sikhs have been facing several practices in France which amount to the denial of freedom to observe the fundamental religious practices to the community, including a ban on the wearing of turbans, one of the five symbols of their religion.”Badal said this would have been an appropriate occasion to demonstrate to the French dignitary the place of the Sikh community in India’s rich cultural identity and its contribution to the cause of freedom.The Chief Minister has appealed to the Prime Minister “to have the issue looked into. Necessary instructions and guidelines may also please be issued to ensure that in future the Sikh Regiment is always included in the Republic Day parade.”Regretting the absence of Sikh regiment, PCC president Amarinder Singh dubbed it as a “grave omission” particularly when President of France, where turban is banned in public places, was the chief guest.”There could not have been a better occasion to convey the importance of the turban to him,” Singh said.Ruing the state government’s “failure” to send its contingent to represent the glorious culture of the state at the parade, Amarinder said in Malerkotla, “The Akalis actually have no idea about the significance and importance of such occasions.”

With Punjab polls due next year, Congress leader Amarinder Singh promises employment opportunities

With Assembly polls due next year, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said, generating jobs and eradicating the scourge of drugs in the state will be “my top most priority”. He was interacting with a group of youth of at a local sports stadium. Assembly polls are slated to held in Punjab in 2017.The PCC president claimed, not only will he arrange jobs for youth, but will also facilitate soft and easy loans to encourage the youth towards entrepreneurship, whether in transport, small industry or information technology and agriculture. He said, revival of industry and agriculture will be among his top most priorities as Punjab cannot survive without agriculture.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sharing the concern and apprehensions of the educated youth, Amarinder said, he was saddened about highly educated youths with MPhil, PhD and engineering degrees in the state, applying for small and menial government jobs.”I can understand the trauma of a highly qualified youth who is jobless”, he said, adding, “my first and foremost priority will be to provide respectable jobs to all those who are qualified, deserving and in need of these”.Amarinder also announced that he will stop the illegal plying of buses by the Badal family and their associates. He claimed the Badals were operating ten buses against one permit. “They will be allowed to operate one bus against each permit and all extra route permits will be provided to the unemployed youth”, he said, adding, “not only will be the youth provided bus permits they will also be provided soft and easy loans so that they do not have any difficulty in purchasing the buses to operate”.Talking about drug trade issue, he said, no matter whosoever…is found guilty, will not just be put behind the bars but severely punished, he said, adding, he had sworn under oath to punish the drug mafia. He was accompanied by local MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, in whose Assembly constituency Dera Baba Nanak this historic town falls.About the “false cases” registered against Congress workers, the former chief minister asserted, the “cases would be cancelled” on the first day of taking over the government.

Manpreet Badal, estranged nephew of Punjab CM joins Congress

Manpreet Badal, the estranged nephew of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, on Friday joined Congress after meeting party Vice President Rahul Gandhi.Hectic parleys were held between the former Akali leader and Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh and other senior party leaders before the decision was taken to merge Badal’s outfit, People’s Party of Punjab, with Congress, sources said.The merger was sealed today during a meeting between Badal and Rahul at the latter’s residence here where Singh and AICC General Secretary Shakeel Ahmad were also present, they said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A formal announcement in this regard is likely to be made soon, they added.Manpreet Badal had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 General Elections from Bathinda on a Congress ticket against his sister-in-law and Akali leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal.He was earlier part of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) government and held the finance portfolio until his exit from the party over differences with his uncle Parkash Singh Badal and cousin Sukhbir Singh Badal.He had thereafter launched the People’s Party of Punjab.

Government decides to merge Overseas Indians Ministry with MEA

The Ministry initiated various programmes focusing on developing networks with and amongst the overseas Indians with the intent of building partnership with the diaspora.

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Pathankot terror attack: PM Nawaz Sharif blames terrorists for disrupting peace process between India, Pakistan

Meanwhile, the combing operations are still underway at the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot. The operation against the terrorists at the air base entered its fourth day today as security forces continue to carry out combing operations to smoke out any remaining terrorist. Six terrorists have been neutralised so far in the combing operation.

ANI

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Pathankot terror attack – Bury slain terrorists in pigskin: Tripura Guv Tathagata Roy

A day after Yakub Memon was hanged to death at Nagpur Central Jail for his role in the 1993 Mumbai blasts, Tripura Governor Tathagata Ray sparked off a major controversy by terming people who assembled at his last rites as ‘potential terrorists’. “Intelligence should keep a tab on all (except relatives & close friends) who assembled before Yakub Memon’s corpse. Many are potential terrorists,” he wrote on Twitter.

dna Web Team

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Delhi University’s nod to seminar on Ram Janmabhoomi; students, faculty oppose

“A centrally-funded institution offering its platform for such an event speaks volumes about the agenda being pursued by the government as well as the administration,” a DUTA statement said.

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Bomb scare in Parliament premises after hoax call

Delhi Police Commissioner held a meeting with all deputy commissioners and discussed security concerns in details earlier today, a police source said.

PTI
Info

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