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Sonia Gandhi accuses Modi govt. of a ‘brazen’ attitude

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New Delhi: Accusing the government of adopting a “brazen” attitude, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday stuck to the demand for the resignations of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and two BJP chief ministers before parliament could function.

“Let me make it clear that we are not being aggressive just to match the BJP’s aggression of the past. We have been forced to take our position because of the government’s completely brazen attitude,” Gandhi said at a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) here.

A combative Congress president said her party wants both houses to function. “But we are very clear that there can be no productive discussion and no meaningful proceedings as long as those responsible for their wrong-doings remain in office.”

“Our stand is clear and straightforward from day one. There is a mountain of incontrovertible evidence in the public domain for the prime minister to require the resignations of the external affairs minister and the two chief ministers,” she said.

She attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his silence on any issue taking a controversial turn, notably the recent ones involving the external affairs minister and two chief ministers.

She said: “Parliamentary majority does not give anyone a license to escape accountability.”

Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje have been linked to the controversy over travel documents being given to former IPL chief Lalit Modi, while Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been linked to the Vyapam scam.

“The ‘#MannKibaat’ man appears to retreat into a ‘Maun Vrat’ (vow of silence) whenever there is a scandal involving his colleagues,” she said.

Gandhi said while the prime minister never missed an opportunity to claim the moral high ground on transparency, integrity and accountability, he maintained a “deafening silence” on some blatant transgressions by his party leaders.

Taking on the BJP over its disruptive politics in parliament during the last period of the UPA regime, she said: “Today, we have to listen to sermons on parliamentary behaviour from those who not only defended but also advocated disruption as a legitimate tactic when they were in the opposition.”

“Yesterday’s agitators in both the houses have suddenly become today’s champions of debate and discussion. Memories are short and therefore we need to remind our political adversaries who are today conveniently suffering from selective amnesia.”

Gandhi accused the government of using its numerical strength as a source of arrogance rather than responsibility.

“First, parliament is by-passed and a spate of ordinances are issued and some re-issued as well. Bills don’t get referred to standing committees. Our voices are stifled. And now this numerical strength is being used to substitute investigation by mere discussion,” she said.

“This is unacceptable to us and we will do all that is necessary to hold this government accountable,” she 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)