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Will this bring back Rahul Gandhi? Court summons Amethi MP for his anti RSS remark

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

The people who have been missing Rahul Gandhi now have a date to look forward to for his arrival. This time if Gandhi scion doesn’t make an appearance on or before May 8, he will be facing a legal action.

A Bhiwandi court in Maharashtra has summoned Congress Vice President for his remarks against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), while addressing an election rally in the state, blaming the outfit for assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. The Gandhi scion has been asked by the court to appear before it on May 8.

In an earlier decision, the Bombay High Court had dismissed Rahul’s petition for quashing the defamation case filed against him by a saffron outfit functionary. The court had observed that the Amethi MP “prima facie” intended to harm the RSS reputation by allegedly blaming it for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.

“RSS people killed Gandhiji and today their people (BJP) talk of him…They opposed Sardar Patel and Gandhiji,” Rahul had said while addressing a public rally in Thane district on March 06, 2014.

In response to the alleged statement made by Rahul Gandhi, a criminal complaint was filed by Rajesh Kunte, Secretary of RSS unit at Bhiwandi, a powerloom town near Thane. In his complaint to the court, Kunte had said the remarks were defamatory and sought action against the Congress leader. BJP had earlier complained to Election Commission against the Congress vice president regarding this matter as well.

In the public rally at Thane, Rahul also ridiculed senior BJP leaders for claiming credit for introducing computers in India. He claimed that the Congress leader attributed technological advancement in the country to late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and technocrat Sam Pitroda.

“When it comes to computers, it was Rajiv Gandhi, Sam Pitroda and other young leaders, (who brought it in India),” Rahul said. He also said, then the most senior opposition leaders in Parliament had questioned saying why was Rajiv Gandhi talking about computers.

“They had said India doesn’t need computers as it would snatch away jobs. Look what happened, computers have changed India. After 10 years, the same leaders said it was they who gave computers and telecom to India.

“Similarly, after five-ten years, they will say NREGA and RTI were their creation,” Rahul had said in the rally at Thane districit.

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With The Elections Coming Up, Indian Government Promises Farmers Their Income Support

The government said the fiscal deficit this year will rise from 3.3 percent to 3.4 percent due to the outlay for the income scheme for farmers.

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An Indian woman helps her farmer husband irrigate a paddy field using a traditional system, on the outskirts of Gauhati, India, Feb. 1, 2019. VOA

With an eye on wooing voters ahead of what is expected to be a tough national election, India’s Hindu nationalist government announced cash handouts of billions of dollars for poor farmers.

In the annual budget presented in parliament Friday, interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said 120 million farmers with less than two hectares of land would get an income of $85 a year.

Goyal announced that the measure, which will cost about $10.5 billion, would be implemented with immediate effect. “This will pave the way for them to earn a respectable living,” he said. “Such support will help them avoid indebtedness.”

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Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, center, holds a briefcase containing federal budget documents with Junior Finance ministers Shiv Pratap Shukla, center right, and Pon Radhakrishnan, left, upon their arrival at the parliament house in New Delhi, India, Feb. 1, 2019. VOA

Farmers complain that a sharp decline in crop prices has hurt their incomes and driven millions into debt. Rural experts said they were not sure whether the measure will assuage disgruntled rural communities that have been demanding loan waivers and better prices for their produce.

The government also announced a pension scheme of about $40 a month for nearly 100 million poor workers in the country’s vast unorganized sector and tax breaks for the middle classes.

The welfare measures come as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party tries to address rising discontent in the country — there is growing anger in rural areas over falling crop prices and widespread worries that his government has failed to create jobs to meet the needs of the country’s huge young population.

The Bharatiya Janata Party recently lost elections in three heartland states, raising concerns it could struggle to win a majority in the upcoming elections. Modi had sailed to power in 2014 on the promise of creating millions of jobs.

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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

Although economic growth numbers have been good, lack of jobs has emerged as the biggest challenge for Modi. A report in the Business Standard newspaper says a government survey that has not been released pegs the unemployment rate at a 45-year high of 6.1 percent.

Expressing optimism that “India is solidly back on track and marching towards growth and prosperity,” Goyal said that infrastructure projects such as building roads in rural areas will boost employment.

The opposition Congress Party slammed the income support of $85 a year announced for farmers as inadequate. Saying that it is not going to be transformational, senior party leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted, “₹6000 [6,000 rupees, or $84] in income support for farmers boils down to ₹500 [500 rupees, or $7] per month. Is that supposed to enable them to live with the honor and dignity?”

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The Congress Party is also trying to woo voters with the promise of a minimum income for the poor if it wins the upcoming general election. The BJP has dismissed the pledge as unaffordable, while economists have expressed concern that the “competitive populism” by India’s two main parties ahead of general elections could strain the country’s finances.

The government said the fiscal deficit this year will rise from 3.3 percent to 3.4 percent due to the outlay for the income scheme for farmers. (VOA)