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Congress transferred farmers’ land to family trust: Smriti Irani

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Amethi: Union minister Smriti Irani on Sunday alleged that 65 acres of land was taken away from Amethi residents during the 1980s to set up a cycle factory and later it was transferred to the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust.

Smriti-Irani“Rajiv Gandhi Charitable trust bought that 65 acres of farmers’ land allotted to Samrat Cycles in the 1980s,” Irani, the union human resource development minister said here while addressing a gathering.

Irani, who was in Amethi to hand over the first installment of premium of Pradhanmantri Bima Surakhsha Yojana to about 25,000 women of Amethi who subscribed to the scheme, added that: “The factory has not been set up. The land should go back to the Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation.”

The minister promised to the people that she would try to get coverage of Rs.50,000 to Rs.10 lakh for poor street vendors of Amethi under Prime Minister’s Mudra Yojana.

She also regretted that development works in Amethi, the parliamentary constituency of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, have been neglected by successive governments, adding that the Narendra Modi government at the Centre was trying its level best to cover the gap by implementing various schemes in the area.

(IANS)

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Himachal Polls: It will be do-or-die battle equally for Congress and BJP CM faces

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It will be a do-or-die battle equally for Congress and BJP CM faces (Himachal Polls) (Anonymous Poll Photo)

Shimla, Nov 2, 2017, 1:00 IST:  It’s literally a do-or-die battle for both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief ministerial faces in the upcoming Himachal Pradesh assembly polls. Both veterans — one in his eighties and the other in his seventies — are struggling for their political survival.

One is veteran Congress leader and incumbent Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, 83, who is pushing hard to get to the helm for the seventh time. The other is the BJP’s Prem Kumar Dhumal, 73, who is making a strong bid to ensure the party’s victory with a record margin to silence his detractors within the party.

 For almost two decades, both the parties in the state have fought almost every assembly and parliamentary polls under their leadership.

“This time, Virbhadra Singh is fighting on two fronts — one is to establish his son Vikramaditya Singh, who is contesting his maiden assembly election, and the second is to ensure the party’s repeat as he forced the Congress to announce him as the chief ministerial candidate despite all odds,” a political observer told IANS.

For Dhumal, it’s simply the battle for “self-survival” after facing a humiliating defeat in the 2012 assembly polls. Since then, he was almost marginalised by the BJP faction led by Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda.

After thwarting foes within, Virbhadra Singh donned his battle gear much ahead of this arch rival Dhumal, whose name was cleared by the BJP as its chief ministerial candidate just days ahead of the polling for the 68-seat assembly on November 9.

“The announcement of Dhumal as the chief ministerial candidate was part of the BJP’s strategy to boost the morale of the cadres as the party for long was divided in two camps — one led by Dhumal and the other by Nadda,” a senior state BJP leader admitted.

Interestingly, both Virbhadra Singh and Dhumal are seeking re-election from new seats and that is not going to be easy for them.

The Congress leader is in the fray from Arki in Solan district, the BJP’s pocket borough that he chose himself, while Dhumal is contesting from Sujanpur, the seat he was asked to contest from.

The Sujanpur contest seems interesting as the Congress has fielded Rajinder Rana, who knows the Dhumal family well.

Virbhadra Singh knows the assembly poll will be a vote on the performance of his five-year-old government.

“We are seeking votes on the basis of development by our government, especially in the education, health and connectivity sectors,” a confident Virbhadra Singh, who first became the Chief Minister in 1983, told IANS.

The Chief Minister, who has been in active politics for over 50 years, is a regular target of the top BJP leadership, who point to his being out on bail and facing corruption charges in the Delhi High Court during the time he was the Union Steel Minister 2009-11.

But against all odds, he alone tours across the state seeking votes for the Congress. Party leaders said the Chief Minister is single-handedly campaigning and he is conducting 15 to 20 meetings in two to three constituencies every day.

He starts his campaign at 9 a.m. and continues till late into the night. He holds closed-door meetings with party workers in the evening for their feedback.

The only saving grace for the Congress is that its Vice President, Rahul Gandhi, will tour the state on November 6, a day before the campaigning comes to an end.

Contrary to this, the BJP has fielded its entire top brass — from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to his cabinet colleagues, including Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and J.P. Nadda.

Even party President Amit Shah is aggressively touring the hill state.

“The Congress has failed to handle even sensitive cases like gang-rape of a schoolgirl. Our focus on coming to power will be eliminating forest, mining, liquor and transfer mafias that are active in the state for long. This will greatly help restoring the faith of the public,” Dhumal told IANS.

Political observers say issues like development have been pushed to the background as personal attacks dominate most of the election rallies.

“Apart from mudslinging, there is no public-specific agenda with both the leaders. They are just trying to woo voters by raking up personal issues,” an observer said.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said Singh is the main “star” of the party campaign in the state.

“Virbhadra Singh is campaigning on the ground and the BJP is baffled at the response he is getting. We don’t have to be loud to impress the people, like the BJP is doing,” Surjewala told reporters in Shimla on Thursday.

Virbhadra Singh is targeting Dhumal by saying he has always worked with a political vendetta against him.

But a confident Dhumal believes there is a favourable wind prevailing for the BJP’s return as the present government has wasted much time in the ongoing corruption cases against Virbhadra Singh and his family rather than focusing on development.

The future of the arch rivals will be pronounced on December 18, the day the votes cast will be counted along with those in Gujarat.

The Congress won 36 of the 68 seats in Himachal Pradesh in 2012 with a 42.81 per cent vote share, while the BJP bagged 26 seats with a 38.47 per cent vote share.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at vishal.g@ians.in) –IANS

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Congress is ‘laughing club’, losing everywhere: Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia

Kangra(Himachal Pradesh), November 2, 2017: Terming the Congress a “laughing club”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said it was losing its hold in every corner of the country.

 “We all need to look at the Congress. We should appreciate them. Nothing is left for them and they have lost their hold from every part of the country,” Modi said in his first election rally in Kangra ahead of the Himachal Pradesh assembly polls.
“Wherever people have a chance, they have voted for change. They (Congress) have become a laughing club,” he said.
Assembly polls in Congress-ruled Himachal will be held on November 9.
Attacking the Himachal Pradesh government, Modi said Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh was talking of action against corruption when he himself was out on bail on a corruption case.
“Despite the case, Singh ‘saheb’ is claiming there will be zero tolerance against corruption if the Congress is back in power. Can anyone believe him?” asked Modi.(IANS)

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Deepika Approaches Smriti Irani Against Attack on ‘Padmavati’ Rangoli

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Deepika Approaches Smriti Irani Against Attack on 'Padmavati' rangoli. Wikimedia

Surat, October 20: Actress Deepika Padukone on Wednesday urged Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani to take action against the attackers who ruined artist Karan Ks rangoli depicting a poster of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Padmavati” here.

“Absolutely heartbreaking to see the recent attack on artist Karan and his artwork! Disgusting and appalling to say the least,” Deepika tweeted, along with photographs showcasing the before and after of the “attack”.

“Who are these people? Who is responsible for their actions? For how long are we going to let this go on? Allow them to take law into their own hands and attack our freedom and right to individual expression time and again,” questioned the actress, who essays the title role in the historical drama.

Deepika then tagged Irani and wrote: “This has to stop now and action must be taken! Smriti Irani.”

ALSO READDeepika Padukone Paid more than Ranveer for Padmavati

On October 15, Karan tagged Deepika on the micro-blogging site and wrote: “A crowd of 100 people cried Jai Shri Ram and rubbed out my 48 hours intense work!”

The artist also shared two photographs on social media. In one image, he can be seen making a rangoli inspired by the poster of the film, while the other shows the artwork completely vandalized by attackers.

“Padmavati” also features Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh.

In the film, Deepika plays the role of Rajput queen Padmavati, while Shahid will be seen as Maharawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer will essay the role of Alauddin Khilji.

During its production, the film witnessed many ups and downs.

Earlier this year, activists of Shri Rajput Karni Sena assaulted Bhansali and vandalized the movie’s Jaipur set over alleged distortions in the film’s script.

They were forced to move to Maharashtra to continue shooting. Still, an outdoor set of the historic period drama in Kolhapur was burnt down after two dozen unidentified people torched it.

The Shri Rajput Karni Sena has maintained it will oppose screening of the film if the facts are “distorted”.

“Padmavati”, presented by Viacom18 Motion Pictures and Bhansali Productions, is set for a December 1 release. (IANS)