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‘After May 17, what and how?’ Congress questions Govt strategy on COVID-19 lockdown

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The Congress on Wednesday questioned the Central government over the criteria it adopted to judge how long the lockdown imposed to curb Coronavirus will continue and also accused it of non-cooperation in dealing with the pandemic, taking decisions arbitrarily without consulting them, and not providing them funds.

The Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled states were deliberating on the extended lockdown situation with interim President Sonia Gandhi.

At the meeting, held via video conferencing, Sonia Gandhi questioned the exit strategy of the Centre post May 17 when lockdown 3.0 ends.

“After May 17th, what? and after May 17th, how? What criteria is the Government of India using to judge how long the lockdown is to continue,” she asked at the meeting which was also attended by Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“Chief Ministers need to deliberate and ask as to what is the strategy of the Government of India to get the country out of lockdown” Singh said. “We need to know, as Soniaji said, what will happen after lockdown 3.0?”

The third phase of the lockdown imposed although with some relaxations ends on May 17.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who spoke first, raised the demand of the stimulus package. “Until extensive stimulus package is given, how will states and country run? We have lost 10,000 crore of revenue. States have repeatedly requested Prime Minister for a package, but we are yet to hear from GOI,” Gehlot said.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who has set up two committees — one to strategise on how to come out of the lockdown and the other on economic revival — said, “Concern is people sitting in Delhi are deciding on classification of zones without knowing what’s happening on the ground.”

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said, “The States are facing dire economic crisis. They need to be provided immediate assistance.”

He said in his state 80 per cent of the Small Industries have restarted and nearly 85,000 workers have returned to work.

Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayansamy also accused the Centre of taking one sided decisions. “The Government of India is deciding on zones without consulting the states and this is creating an anomalous situation. People sitting in Delhi can’t tell the states. No State or CM is consulted. Why?” asked the Chief Minister.

“PM isn’t saying a word on the economic package for states,” he added.

In the meeting, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi suggested that the “central piece of strategy to fight COVID-19 is to protect the elderly as also those who are diabetic and with heart condition.”

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram stated, “States are bleeding in terms of finances, but no money is being allocated by GOI. A number of newspapers have brought out the unavailability of finances with states.”

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Sisodia tears into BJP over Kejriwal’s ‘doctored’ video

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Delhi deputy chief minister and senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia today said that his party will take legal action against the BJP for allegedly sharing a doctored video of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on social media over the Narendra Modi government’s controversial farm laws issue.

Sisodia charged that the BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Modi, have “lost” trust of the people. That is why the BJP has released a “doctored video” of CM Kejriwal on the agri laws issue. “They know that the Indian public places a lot of faith in Kejriwal. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will take legal action against the BJP,” he said.

Addressing a press conference, Sisodia said the BJP yesterday had tweeted a video claiming that Kejriwal had “supported” the three controversial farm laws. “This doctored video was created by selectively editing a long interview of Kejriwal and including fake bites at some places,” he said.

Sisodia presented before the media persons the “real interview” of Kejriwal along with the “doctored video”, highlighting the tampered parts in it. “Despite having their government at the Centre and in many states as well as having Modi as their leader, they (BJP) have lost people’s trust and hence their use of Kejriwal’s fake video to save the farm laws. Today, the BJP’s credibility is at all-time low and they have to use Kejriwal’s doctored statements to protect their farm laws”, he alleged.

The deputy CM said despite being in power, the BJP was feeling helpless as people have “lost trust” in the BJP leadership. Modi has enumerated the benefits of farm laws on several occasions, but farmers have understood that they are being “cheated”, he said. When the BJP could not explain the Centre’s farm laws to the farmers, “it started branding them traitors and Khalistanis”, he said.

“Then the BJP conducted a sponsored protest at the Red Fort, leading to disrespect to the national flag. Now, the Indian public has understood the BJP’s ill-intentions and does not believe in its conspiracies,” Sisodia said.

When the BJP’s theatrics didn’t work, it allegedly sent its goons to the Ghazipur border who attacked the farmers and their leader Rakesh Tikait, he said. “The BJP sent its goons to the Singhu border where they disrespected the Sikh community by throwing their turbans and attacking the protesting farmers. They tried to portray it as an attack by the locals, but, thankfully, the Indian public saw through their tactics,” he added.

Sisodia maintained that the AAP would not allow such “machinations” by the BJP and would take legal action against them.

source: The Statesman

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Collision between public, govt not good for democracy: Congress

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Following the violent clashes between farmers and police in Delhi on Tuesday, the Congress again hit out at the Modi government for the “collision” with the people over the contentious farm laws and demanded their immediate withdrawal.

In a statement, party General Secretary Randeep Surjewala said there is no place for violence in democracy and it is good that agitating farmers have separated themselves who have indulged in hooliganism.

“The farmers should make their target clear and non-violence and satyagraha is the root cause of success of this agitation. We hope that this path will make way for withdrawal of farm laws.

“The Congress believes that from the last 61 days, the collision between public and government is not good in democracy, and the government will be compelled come out from its arrogance and listen to the voice of people,” it said.

Farmers on Tuesday swarmed into the Red Fort in New Delhi during a ‘tractor rally’ here on the Republic Day even as police tried to prevent them from driving towards central Delhi, leading to clashes.

The farmers barged into the 17th century monument, climbed up its ramparts and waved farmer union flags and banners and even hoisted a pennant.

source: The Statesman

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Congress leader Ahmed Patel passes away at 71

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Congress leader Ahmed Patel passed away this morning at 3.30 a.m. at the age of 71 years after Covid-19 complication in Gurugram Hospital.

His son Faisal Patel tweeted ,”With profound grief I regret to announce that sad and untimely demise of my father on 25/11 at 3.30a.m.”

More than month after testing positive for Covid-19 infection, Patel was under treatment at a Gurugram-based hospital. He was being monitored by a team of doctors.

Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram tweeted, “Deeply shocked and saddened to learn that my dear friend Ahmed Patel passed away in the early hours of today…For two decades, he was one of the staunchest pillars of the Congress party and a trusted counsellor. He will be profoundly missed…I offer my tribute to his memory and convey my sincere and heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family.”

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