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Modi has failed in his obligations: Congress

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New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had failed in his “constitutional and moral obligations” by not against those spreading hatred.

“The prime minister has fallen well-short of what his constitutional and moral obligations are,” Congress leader Anand Sharma told the media.

Referring to the September 28 lynching of a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh following rumours that he ate beef, Sharma said Modi broke his silence only after President Pranab Mukherjee did.

“He spoke only after the president was forced to express his serious concerns over culture, values, ethos, particularly in regard to India’s pluralistic society, democracy, co-existence and tolerance,” he said.

“The prime minister makes people believe he has transformed India, which he has not. He has rather not been able to preserve India.

“Even constitutional guarantees are under assault,” Sharma added.

The Congress leader’s comments follow the widely denounced Muslim man’s lynching, the killing of rationalists and the return of awards in protest by dozens of award winning writers.

Sharma said the situation in the country was causing “grave concern” to citizens who were “feeling insecure”.

Sharma said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah’s reported pulling up of BJP leaders for making hate statements was “a cosmetic exercise”.

“But nobody is going to be fooled,” he said.

Reacting to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s criticism of vandalism, Sharma called for “tangible action against elements, organisations and forces who have smashed India’s name in the international community”.

He said: “Those who have a divergent viewpoint from the ruling establishment or the BJP, the RSS and Sangh Parivar are targets of direct attacks.

“Even eminent Indians who have protested have not been heard but they have been humiliated.”

(IANS)

 

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Brazil’s President Bolsonaro Faces First Defeat in Congress

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal.

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Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro arrives at the inauguration ceremony of the new president of the Parliamentary Front of Agriculture (FPA), at the Clube Naval, in Brasilia, Jan. 19, 2019. VOA

Brazil’s lower chamber handed right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro his first defeat in Congress on Tuesday, the day before his government presents its most important legislative proposal to rein in a gaping budget deficit and spur growth.

The house voted overwhelmingly to suspend an executive order by the Bolsonaro government that altered Brazil’s freedom of information law to broaden the number of officials allowed to designate data and documents as secret or ultra-secret.

Lawmakers voted 367 to 57 to fast-track a bill overturning the secrecy measure and government whips were unable to muster votes to avoid defeat.

The bill must still be voted on by the Senate, but the reversal showed that Bolsonaro, who took office on Jan. 1, has not yet been able to organize a coalition in Congress to back his legislative agenda.

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro will send to Congress his plan to overhaul Brazil’s generous and costly pension system that eats up more than half of federal spending and is the main factor behind an unsustainable budget deficit.

Brazil, Bolsonaro
FILE – Gustavo Bebianno in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sept. 29, 2018. VOA

Approval of pension reform is vital for the recovery of investor confidence in Latin America’s largest economy.

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal involving campaign financing for some of his party’s congressional candidates in the October elections.

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The ousted minister, Gustavo Bebianno, was instrumental in getting Bolsonaro elected but had a run-in with one of the president’s sons, triggering the weeks-old government’s first cabinet crisis.

In a note to clients, analysts at Eurasia Group said the scandal indicated the administration’s political team was in disarray, but they still expected the pension reform to get passed, albeit in a less ambitious version. (VOA)