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Congress claims Modi govt “arrogance” reached zenith after Sushma’s “wilful” lies

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New Delhi: The Congress party on Thursday tore into the Modi government, saying its “arrogance of power reached its zenith” when it asked External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to “explain away her unpardonable impropriety, willful lies, criminal intent, gross misuse of office and patent conflict of interest in the garb of ‘humanitarian grounds’ to help Lalit Modi.

Sushma-LalitSushma Swaraj on Thursday made a passionate defence of her role in the Lalit Modi affair, but the Congress termed her arguments as “hogwash”.

Anand Sharma, senior party spokesperson and deputy leader in Rajya Sabha, in a statement said the Modi government “first murdered democracy by suspending 25 MPs and effectively expelled the entire opposition from Lok Sabha”.

The party accused the Modi government and Sushma Swaraj of “once again misleading the country shamelessly and unabashedly”.

It latched on to Sushma’s tweets of June 14 in which she “admitted that she enabled the British government to give Lalit Modi travel documents. Lalit Modi’s request for travel documents had been rejected by British authorities on July 3, 2014. Obviously, only Sushma Swaraj’s intervention helped Lalit Modi get the travel documents by making the British authorities reverse their decision,” the Congress argued.

The party said that Sushma Swaraj was maintaining a family relationship with Lalit Modi, a fugitive of law, a FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) violator and a money-launderer for over last 20 years, both as a leader of opposition with cabinet status and then as the union external affairs minister.

The Congress said that Sushma Swaraj received telephonic calls in July 2014 as foreign minister to help a fugitive, i.e., Lalit Modi.

In July 2014 itself, Sushma Swaraj herself spoke to British Envoy, James Bevan to help such a fugitive get travel documents from the British government. She, in the process, over-ruled all objections of the government of India as repatriation of Lalit Modi to face prosecution in India.

She did not consult even the then Foreign Secretary, Sujata Singh, or her own ministry. She also chose not to consult the finance ministry or ED or DRI before overruling the objections originally raised and communicated to the British government by finance ministry, it said.

Sushma Swaraj also recommended the case of Lalit Modi to the head of a parliamentary committee of a foreign country, i.e., chairman, home affairs committee, House of Commons, Britain – Keith Vaz to grant travel documents to Lalit Modi.

It said her daughter was counsel for Lalit Modi in this case before the division bench when it was decided against decision of foreign ministry confiscating the passport.

Sushma Swaraj or her foreign ministry never took opinion of counsel for foreign ministry, Rajiv Mehra, who appeared before single and division bench qua filing of appeal in Supreme Court. Rajiv Mehra now states that, “It (appeal to the Supreme Court) should have been done. Normally, it is automatically done….”

Sushma Swaraj, by her “humanitarian gesture” (as she says), has permitted a fugitive and money-launderer not only to travel from Britain to Portugal but also facilitated his travel for holidays to resort town of Ibiza (August 4, 2014) and back to his hideout in Britain to escape the Indian law and authorities, who, according to the finance minister, were chasing him for arrest.

He said the UPA government through its then finance minister, P. Chidambaram, wrote two letters to Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne asking him for action against Lalit Modi besides following it up with a personal meeting between India’s finance minister and chancellor of exchequer, Britain. But Sushma Swaraj overruled the objections given earlier by the government of India.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj could not have withdrawn the written communications of the government of India written through the then finance minister without prior consent of the present finance minister and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leading to grant of travel documents to Lalit Modi. Tacit approval of the Prime Minister is, thus, writ large?, the Congress said.

(IANS)

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Karnataka Polls: BJP On The Way to Win, Congress May Get Hard Defeat

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

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A state of 60 million people, Karnataka is home to the Information Technology hub of Benguluru and was ruled by the BJP once before.
Congress may have to taste defeat in Karnataka, VOA

The BJP was on Tuesday set to return to power in its southern bastion Karnataka as its candidates crossed the half-way mark in vote count, stunning and ousting the ruling Congress and leaving the JD-S at the third spot.

Noisy celebrations broke out in party offices in Bengaluru, New Delhi and across Karnataka as Bharatiya Janata Party nominees were on the victory lap in 118 of the 222 constituencies which voted on Saturday.

This was a dramatic jump from the 40 seats the BJP won five years ago.

The Congress, desperate to retain power in the state amid shrinking appeal nationally, suffered major blows and was ahead only in 62 seats, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah trailing in both the constituencies he contested: Badami and Chamundeshwari.

The Congress leader was way behind G.T Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal-Secular in Chamundeshwari, Election Commission officials said. And after leading initially, Siddaramaiah fell behind B.R. Sriramulu of the BJP in Badami.

In contrast, the BJP’s Chief Ministerial face B.S. Yeddyurappa was ahead of his Congress rival by more than 11,000 votes in Shikaripura.

Energy Minister and Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar said that the numbers indicated that his party was on the way out after five years in power.

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

The BJP was overjoyed. “We are in a jubilant mood because we have crossed the half-way mark. We are confident of winning,” spokesman S. Shantharam told IANS.

BJP activists and leaders celebrated noisily in both Bengaluru and New Delhi, waving party flags and shouting slogans hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, their main vote-getter, and party President Amit Shah.

There were also celebrations outside the residence of Yeddyurappa, who has been Chief Minister earlier too.

Of the 2,654 candidates in the fray for the May 12 Karnataka Assembly elections, at least 883 are crorepatis and 645 have criminal cases against them, said two watchdogs after analysing their affidavits filed with the Election Commission (EC).
Karnataka Polls counting suggests big win for BJP, wikimedia commons

The Janata Dal-Secular of former Prime Minister H.D. Dewe Gowda, which has been expected to play the role of a kingmaker in the event of a hung Assembly, was leading in 40 seats — the same number it won five years ago.

As the vote count progressed, BJP leaders became assertive, saying they were confident of taking power again in Karnataka while Congress leaders began to speak about the possibility of an alliance with the JD-S.

BJP leader and Union Minister Sadanand Gowda said that there was no question of any alliance.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar, who is in charge of Karnataka, met BJP President Amit Shah in New Delhi.

Analysts said the BJP was leading in Lingayat dominated seats and the JD-S in Vokkaliga dominated areas.

Expectations of a BJP victory in Karnataka lifted the key Indian equity indices during the mid-morning trade session on Tuesday.

Modi’s Performance: Survey Reports That Significant Number of People Rate Performance of Modi Government as Below Expectations

According to market observers, broadly subdued Asian indices and disappointing macro-economic inflation data points released on Monday capped some gains.

Sector-wise, healthy buying was witnessed in banking, capital goods, metals, consumer durables and automobile stocks.

The Sensex has so far touched a high of 35,993.53 points and a low of 35,498.83 points during the intra-day trade. (IANS)