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BJP attacks AAP over Tomar, Kejriwal asks for Sushma’s sacking

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modi_650_051715075845New Delhi: The first day of the Delhi assembly budget session witnessed several disruptions by the BJP MLAs over former Minister Jitender Singh Tomar’s alleged fake degree even as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to sack the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for alleged impropriety.

BJP legislator O.P. Sharma leapt towards Kejriwal’s bench and turned his mike, triggering panic among AAP lawmakers in the house.

Kejriwal remained unruffled, while the BJP legislator was forced out of the house by marshals. Sharma returned to the house later.

Meanwhile, the AAP tabled three bills in the house which had to be adjourned over the fake degree row in the beginning for 15 minutes.

Speaking on the arrest of former Law Minister Jitender Singh Tomar, Kejriwal told the Delhi assembly that Modi too must act against his ministers the way he did vis-a-vis Tomar.

“We removed Tomar from the cabinet when he was arrested,” he said, after one of the only three BJP legislators, Sharma created a din over the arrest and jailing of Tomar.

Kejriwal compared the Tomar development with the demands now being raised for External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s resignation.

Modi, Kejriwal said, should take a cue from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Saying that Tomar had misled him over the genuineness of his allegedly fake law degree, Kejriwal said Modi too had been misled by his cabinet colleagues, and mentioned Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje by name.

“His cabinet ministers have also misled him. He should remove Sushma Swaraj from the cabinet,” the Chief Minister said.

He also demanded an independent investigation into charges that both the Rajasthan Chief Minister and the External Affairs Minister helped former IPL chief Lalit Modi who fled India.

On Tomar, Kejriwal said that when it began to be alleged that the AAP minister held a fake law degree, he felt the then Law Minister had done no wrong.

“But after he (Tomar) was arrested and sent to police custody, it seemed to me that I was kept in the dark (by him).”

Kejriwal insisted that AAP stood for “an honest system” and “honest politics”. “We will not tolerate any wrongdoing.”

The three bills moved by AAP were Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (Amendment) Act, 2015; Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification Amendment) Bill, 20115; and The Delhi Netaji Subhas University of Technology Bill, 2015.

(IANS)

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As The Election Nears, India’s Opposition Promises Several Economic Steps

Modi said at the Delhi convention that the opposition was working on a "desperate alliance," while the BJP would give a "strong government."

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Rahul Gandhi, Election
Rahul Gandhi, president of India's main opposition Congress Party, speaks at a rally ahead of October's 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 11, 2019. VOA

India’s main opposition Congress Party will simplify the goods and services tax (GST) and make “rational economic decisions” to attract foreign investment if voted back to power in a general election due by May, leader Rahul Gandhi said Saturday.

Launched in 2017, the GST was initially hailed as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s biggest economic reform as it replaced more than a dozen federal and state levies and unified Asia’s third-largest economy.

But its chaotic implementation and complexities — months after a shock ban by Modi on high-value bank currency aimed at unearthing untaxed wealth — badly hurt small businesses and led to millions of job losses in the cash-driven economy, presenting the biggest challenge to Modi’s re-election chances.

India,India, elections, BJP
India’s Congress party President Rahul Gandhi displays documents in New Delhi, India. VOA

 

Gandhi, scion of India’s Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, said during a visit to Dubai that foreign investment was at a multiyear low in India because of the “ill-advised and badly thought out economic moves” such as the currency ban and a “poorly designed GST.”

Quick growth promised

“We will take some rational economic decisions,” he told a press conference, which was broadcast live on Twitter. “We will restructure the GST and we will embrace investments from the Middle East and other parts of the world. We are the party of [India’s economic] liberalization; we are the party that gave the fastest economic growth in the first decade of the century, and will do that again.”

He said his main priority would be to create jobs, simplify the GST, rebuild confidence in institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India — whose governor resigned recently after a fight over autonomy with the government, and the Supreme Court.

Modi, election
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, is garlanded by BJP leaders on the first day of the two-day Bharatiya Janata Party national convention in New Delhi, Jan. 11, 2019. VOA

 

Four Supreme Court judges held a rare press conference early last year, saying that “unless this institution is preserved and it maintains its equanimity, democracy will not survive in this country.”

Modi told a BJP convention in New Delhi on Saturday that for Congress “every institution was wrong and only they were right.”

The Congress press conference was organized by the Indian Overseas Congress, which is present in about 35 countries, as Gandhi tries to reach out to rich Indians living abroad for funds and social media support for the party that has dominated the country’s politics for decades before being nearly decimated in the last general election in 2014 by Modi.

But back home, Gandhi received a jolt when bitter rivals, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP), announced an election tie-up without Congress in Uttar Pradesh state, which sends the highest number of lawmakers to the lower house of parliament.

Narendra Modi, India, election
Elaborate preparations for PM’s election rally. VOA

“The BSP and SP have made a political decision,” Gandhi said. “It’s on us on how to strengthen the Congress Party in Uttar Pradesh and we will fight with our full capacity. Whether we do or their alliance does, the BJP is not winning there.”

Also Read:China, India Keen on Joint Ventures For e-vehicles

Modi said at the Delhi convention that the opposition was working on a “desperate alliance,” while the BJP would give a “strong government.”

The Hindu nationalist BJP lost power in three key states recently, forcing the government to announce a flurry of measures to woo small businesses and the less well-off since then. (VOA)