Wednesday November 21, 2018
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‘Champoo’ Swamy ignores ‘third-class’ Rahul’s barb

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New Delhi: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday broke his silence over BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy’s allegations that the former had declared himself as a British national in the annual return of a company in Britain, saying he was not afraid of the Narendra Modi government.

While addressing Youth Congress leaders, he asked PM Modi not to use ‘champoos’ (lackeys) for levelling ‘baseless’ allegations against him.

“I am not afraid of this government and ready for a time-bound probe. If you find anything against me, put me in jail,” Gandhi said, adding, “Modi ji show your 56-inch chest, I’m not scared.”

Reacting to Gandhi’s barb, Swamy called the former a “third-class” person from the Nehru family. “Rahul Gandhi didn’t even pass the college.”

While addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad earlier on Thursday, the BJP leader alleged that “Sonia and Rahul get commission through the directors of the companies, including one in France which supplies submarine parts worth Rs 20,000 crore to India.”

“Rahul Gandhi is not a political leader but a commission agent… All Congress leaders are commission agents,” Swamy said.

“Rahul started many companies to get commission… I will enquire whether he has the citizenship of Turkey and other countries or not,” Swamy said, adding, “The mother-son duo own wealth worth Rs 2.50 lakh crore, which is more than the Income Tax revenue of the country”.

Swamy on Monday had alleged that Gandhi had declared himself as a British national in the annual return of a company in Britain. The Congress termed his allegation “petty and mindless mud-slinging”.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Bhartiya Janata Party leader alleged that Gandhi was director of a company – Backops Limited – which was incorporated in 2003 in Britain and was later dissolved in 2009.

Swamy demanded steps to strip Gandhi of his Indian citizenship.

According to the company annual return, “Gandhi has given his date of birth correctly but has declared himself to be of British nationality with a UK address”, the letter said.

It said the Congress leader has “prima facie, committed an unconstitutional act and therefore be liable to be stripped of his citizenship and membership of the Lok Sabha”.

Responding to the allegation, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said: “Frustrated by their humiliating defeat in Bihar elections and internal revolt brewing among the senior most leadership, BJP’s dirty tricks department led by Subramanian Swamy is resorting to petty and mindless mud-slinging.”

“In this quest, Swamy and the BJP are repeating rehashed allegations levelled earlier on multiple occasions, including through press conferences held in Ahmedabad and Delhi in October 2012. We reject them with the contempt that they deserve and the falsehood they seek to perpetuate,” he added.

Surjewala said: “From the day he was born, Gandhi has held Indian citizenship and Indian passport and has never held citizenship of any other country nor has he represented as such. The allegation by Swamy is entirely false.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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India Begins Its Election Season With Five States

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh.

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India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the 'Global Mobility Summit' in New Delhi, India, VOA

India began on Monday the first of five state elections to be held in coming weeks, important tests for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he plots a course that he hopes will ensure him victory in a general election due by May.

Voters in the central state of Chhattisgarh went to the polls on Monday to elect representatives for 18 of the state assembly’s 90 seats in a staggered poll complicated by logistical problems and left-wing guerrillas.

The state of about 26 million people has been ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2003, and he will be hoping to hold on to power.

India, elections
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“Some unholy people have handed guns to children who should have pens in their hands,” Modi told a rally in the state on Friday, referring to the rag-tag guerrillas battling government forces from forest hideouts. “They’ve finished the lives of our tribal children.”

Hundreds of election workers had to be flown in to remote polling stations by helicopter because of the danger posed by the rebels.

Modi called for voters to back his BJP and its vision of “development for all.”

The final phase of voting in Chhattisgarh, which is known for its coal, iron ore and bauxite reserves, will be on Nov. 20.

India,India, elections
India’s Congress party President Rahul Gandhi displays documents as he accuses Narendra Modi’s government of buying 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault at a highly inflated price, in New Delhi, India. VOA

The BJP was the preference of about 43 percent of voters in Chhattisgarh, 7 percentage points ahead of the main opposition Congress party, according to a survey released last week by the Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Modi’s other big tests will be in the neighboring central state of Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP is slightly ahead of Congress, according to polls, and in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, where Congress is expected to emerge victorious.

A good performance by the BJP in the elections would help it deflect growing criticism over unemployment and a crisis in the countryside over falling farm prices and wages.

India, elections
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Elections will also be held for assemblies in Telangana in the south and Mizoram in the northeast.

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh, including Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu priest and the BJP chief minister in Uttar Pradesh state.

Also Read: PM Narendra Modi Announces Easier Access to Credit

Adityanath has been appealing to the BJP’s Hindu-nationalist base and on Sunday accused the opposition of blocking construction of a temple for Hindu god Ram on a disputed site in Uttar Pradesh.

The destruction of a mosque on the site by a Hindu mob in 1992 sparked deadly riots across the country. (VOA)