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BJP attacks Congress on Lalit Modi issue

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New Delhi: The ruling BJP on Wednesday attacked the Congress in the Lok Sabha for the “wrong steps” taken to bring back former IPL chief Lalit Modi and rejected the opposition party’s allegations against External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Source: Google images
Source: Google images

Sushma Swaraj countered the allegations concerning her family and denied that her husband Swaraj Kaushal was a lawyer for Lalit Modi in his passport case.

She said her daughter Bansuri was a “junior at ninth number in the appearance list (in the passport case)” and “not a single rupee was taken by her”.

She sought to tear into the Congress, telling Rahul Gandhi to ask his “mamma (Sonia Gandhi)” how much “money had been taken from (Ottavio) Quattrocchi” and why did “daddy (Rajiv Gandhi)” allow release of former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson after the Bhopal gas leak case in 1984.

The acrimonious debate in the Lok Sabha saw Rahul Gandhi accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of lacking guts to face the house over the charges against his minister.

Sparks flew in the house as the five-hour debate was marked by interruptions, sharp and sometimes personal attacks and counter-offensives.

The Congress staged a walkout as soon as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley began his reply to the debate as it wanted the prime minister to do so.

The debate in the form of an adjournment motion moved by Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge took place at the fag end of the monsoon session which has been virtually washed out over the Congress demand for the resignation of Sushma Swaraj for her alleged help to Lalit Modi, who is facing an Enforcement Directorate investigation.

In his spirited reply to the debate after a strong attack by the Congress, Jaitley said steps taken by the United Progressive Alliance government to bring back Lalit Modi from abroad “could never succeed”.

He said Lalit Modi was largely being probed by the UPA under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), which had far softer provisions compared to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Jaitley said an FIR was registered against Lalit Modi under the PMLA in 2012 but the case did not take off and the the former Indian Premier League chief became liable for arrest only after concrete steps were taken by the Narendra Modi government.

“He became liable for arrest for the first time in August 2015,” Jaitley said.

The minster said Sushma Swaraj had spoken to the British government at a time when Lalit Modi was not facing a criminal case or had arrest warrants pending but only FEMA proceedings.

He accused the Congress of making a “mountain out of a molehill”.

“The government entirely rejects the allegations. The question of Sushma ji’s resignation does not arise… My entire sympathy is with Sushma ji. It (demand for her resignation) was only a pretext,” he said.

Jaitley accused the Congress of having run “a failed government, a corrupt government”.

“You want to sabotage the Indian growth story, go back on the Goods and Services Tax bill,” the finance minister said.

Jaitley also attacked Rahul Gandhi over his jibes at the prime minister and Sushma Swaraj.

“The problem with Rahul Gandhi is that he is an expert without knowledge,” Jaitley said.

Earlier, Rahul Gandhi launched a strong attack on Narendra Modi.

“(Narendra) Modi had promised the nation that Rs.15 lakh black money would go into every bank account. He had also promised that he will not allow corruption. He has failed in both,” he said, adding that Lalit Modi was the symbol of black money.

“They (the treasury benches) are trying to silence me. The Congress will not keep quiet, we will keep protesting,” Rahul Gandhi said.

He asked how much money Sushma Swaraj’s family got from Lalit Modi and why did she help him in a “humanitarian” way in a hidden manner.

In her searing attack, Sushma Swaraj, who spoke amid constant sloganeering by Congress members, said she had not helped Lalit Modi but his ailing wife who was to undergo a medical procedure for cancer treatment in Portugal.

Denying any quid pro quo on the Lalit Modi issue, she said the Congress vice president should reflect on his family’s history.

“Rahul should ask, why they did the quid pro quo” about Quattrocchi and Anderson.

She claimed Rajiv Gandhi struck a deal with the US government for the release of his “childhood friend Adil Shahryar” who was awarded a 35-year jail in a prison there.

The minister said the British government conveyed that Lalit Modi was given travel documents according to appropriate rules.

She said when P. Chidambaram was the finance minister in the UPA government, his wife Nalini Chidambaram was appointed a lawyer by the income tax department.

(IANS)

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Congress To Use Tribal Card to Regain Power in the Country

Congress to use tribal card to improve countrywide position

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Congress Chhattisgarh
Congress will be using the tribal card to regain dominance and their plan of action will begin from Chhattisgarh. Wikimedia Commons

BY SANDEEP PAURANIK

In order to regain dominance in the country, the Congress is mulling using the tribal card. This plan of action is to be first implemented in Chhattisgarh.

Riding on the success of the Assembly and urban body elections, the Congress feels that it can increase it base through tribals as they constitute 8 per cent of the total population.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the first three Assembly elections in the state, after its formation in 2000, recorded huge victories and came to power. But after the Assembly elections held last year, the scenario changed. After registering a victory in the Assembly elections and then in the urban body polls, the Congress showed that it still dominates the tribal areas.

Rahul Gandhi Congress
Former President of Congress Rahul Gandhi gave an important message while innaugrating the National Tribal Dance Festival in Raipur. Wikimedia Commons

The Congress gave the responsibility of the tribal areas to the tribal leader of Madhya Pradesh Umang Singhar which eventually helped the party. Now, the party is planning to spread out nationwide through Chhattisgarh.

Former party president Rahul Gandhi, while inaugurating the National Tribal Dance Festival in Raipur, gave a message to the tribals who are here to participate in the festival that the Chhattisgarh government is working for all the sections and this is the reason why there has been a downward trend in naxal attacks and the state economy has also improved.

The Congress is planning to publicise the improvements in Chhattisgarh throughout the country because the tribal population in the state is 32 per cent.

BJP media panellist Sandeep Sharma, however, claims that the party’s base has not shrunk. He said till Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were not divided, the Congress was strong in the area but in the elections held after three years of the bifurcation, the BJP won the Assembly elections and was in power for 15 years. Though we faced defeat in the 2018 elections, the only reason was that people wanted a change but they were not angry with the BJP, he claimed.

The BJP won in the Lok Sabha elections and the margin in the urban body elections was also not much. So, it would be inappropriate to say that the BJP’s base has shrunk, he said adding that in one year the Congress’ base has declined by 9 per cent whereas in Assembly elections it got 12 per cent more votes and in urban body elections the margin was 3 per cent.

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The Congress is planning to publicise the improvements in Chhattisgarh throughout the country. Wikimedia Commons

Analysing the political landscape of the state, political analyst Rudra Awasthi said, “When it was Madhya Pradesh then the Congress had stronghold in Chhattisgarh. Several big leaders were also from the state but after the formation of Chhattisgarh since Ajit Jogi was accused of being a fake tribal the Congress lost its stronghold over the tribals. Though it continued to dominate in some of the areas which helped it in regaining the power.

“As of now, the Congress has started including the tribals with the backward class. First Bhupesh Baghel was the state chief of the party and he was replaced by Mohan Markam as he became the Chief Minister. During the Assembly elections, the Congress talked about the identity of the tribals which helped the party. After winning the elections, the decisions of the Congress government were in favour of the tribals which helped the party in the urban body elections,” said Awasthi.

Also Read- Unity in Diversity is the Strength of the Country: Rahul Gandhi

The Congress is mulling over spreading its message to the tribals across the country through the three-day festival going on here. For this several senior leaders of the party will attend the festival and share the government’s schemes while giving the message that the Congress government in the state has brought a positive and a significant change in the lives of the tribals. (IANS)