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DMK MLA J Anbazhagan dies of Coronavirus; first death of a politician in Tamil Nadu due to COVID-19

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Tamil Nadu MLA J Anbazhagan, who had earlier tested positive for novel Coronavirus died at a private hospital in Chennai on Wednesday morning.

The 61-year-old DMK legislator was admitted to Dr Rela Institute & Medical Centre in Chennai on June 2 with acute respiratory distress syndrome and his COVID-19 test returned positive at the time of admission.

Initially, he was managed with oxygen therapy through face mask but later on the MLA was put on ventilator support as his respiratory distress worsened. Further, his cardiac function also deteriorated, requiring medicine support for blood pressure.

As his condition improved in a few days, he was gradually weaned off the ventilator,

However, on June 8, the hospital informed that Anbazhagan’s existing chronic kidney disease had worsened and described his condition as critical.

Anbazhagan is the first lawmaker to test positive for Coronavirus and die of the infection in Tamil Nadu.

Incidentally, today was his birthday too, said party officials.

He represented the Chepauk-Thiruvallikeni seat in the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly.

Anbazhagan was first elected to the assembly in 2001 from the T Nagar constituency and later from Chepauk-Tiruvallikeni seat in 2011 and 2016.

The death of Anbazhagan has reduced the DMK’s strength in the assembly to 97. In February this year, two DMK legislators KPP Samy (Tiruvottiyur constituency) and S. Kathavarayan (Gudiyatham constituency) passed away.

Chief Minister K.Palaniswami condoled the death of Anbazhagan.

In a statement, DMK President MK Stalin expressed his grief and said the “heart fails to accept that party’s hardworker Anbazhagan is dead.”

Stalin further said that as a mark of respect for Anbazhagan, the party will observe three days of mourning and its flag will fly at halt staff.

He also informed all party functions stand postponed.

Meanwhile, even as the DMK has accused the state government of having failed to control the spread of Coronavirus, the ruling AIADMK allege that the leader caught the infection while participating in MK Stalin’s events to provide relief to people stranded by the coronavirus lockdown.

Tamil Nadu is the second worst Coronavirus-hit state after Maharashtra in terms of cases with 34,914 infections. As many as 307 people have succumbed to the infection in the state.

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Rahul Gandhi quips at Govt’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ call, questions priorities; BJP hits back

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Continuing his attack on the Narendra Modi government, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday took a jibe at the much-hyped ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ programme of the Centre and called out the “misplaced” priorities given to events since February when Coronavirus cases were just starting off and then amounted to 11 lakh by July third week.

“Achievements of government during the COVID-19 period: In February, Namaste Trump (US President Donald Trump’s visit to India); in March, Madhya Pradesh government toppled; in April, lighting candles; in May, sixth anniversary of the government; in June, virtual rally in Bihar and in July attempt to topple the Rajasthan government.

“This is the reason why the nation is self-reliant in the fight against COVID-19.” he said in a tweet in Hindi.

His remarks come amid the crisis in Rajasthan being faced by the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government.

Amongst several important developments, a petition by Sachin Pilot and 18 other rebel Congress MLAs challenging disqualification notices served to them last week for “anti-party activities” is in the Rajasthan High Court.

After Sachin Pilot and the rebel MLAs gave the second CLP meeting a miss on July 14, the Congress announced the removal of Pilot as the Deputy Chief Minister as well as the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief.

On the evening of the same day, Pilot and 18 rebel MLAs were served notices by assembly Speaker CP Joshi for allegedly flouting the party whip and not attending Congress Legislative Party meetings called on Monday and Tuesday. They were asked to respond by Friday.

However, Pilot and his loyalists approached the high court challenging the validity and legality of the notice served to them.

The crisis exploded following the night of July 10 when the Rajasthan Police sent a notice to Pilot, asking him to record his statement over an alleged attempt to bring down the government.

On July 12, the sulking leader declared open rebellion against his party by claiming that he has the support of 30 MLAs.

Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi over his remarks, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar detailed the achievements by the Congress leader in the last six months which included the anti-CAA protests as well as “advocating for China”.

“Will tell Rahul Gandhi’s achievements in the last six months. Shaheen Bagh and riots in February; losing Jyotiraditya Scindia and Madhya Pradesh government in March; instigating labourers in April (amidst the COVID-19 crisis); 6th anniversary of the historic poll defeat in May; advocating for China in June and party destroyed in Rajasthan in July,” Javadekar said while speaking to reporters later today.

“Rahul Gandhi is tweeting daily. I think Congress will be reduced to a party that only tweets. One after the other, states are proof that Congress isn’t working. A dejected party is attempting to attack Centre in every manner, but they will not succeed,” he added.

Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi’s attack on the Centre’s “Atmanirbhar Bharat” mission comes months after PM Modi on May 12 announced the most anticipated stimulus package of Rs 20 lakh crore, nearly 10 per cent of country’s GDP, for all segments including industries, workers, farmers, honest taxpayers, MSMEs, cottage industry and others.

The Prime Minister said that the special economic package would be the primary component of “Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India)”.

He said the package will focus on land, labour, liquidity and laws. It also includes the monetary easing announced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Articulating the plans, PM Modi said, the self-reliant strategy will depend on five-pillars consisting, ‘Economy, Infrastructure, Tech-driven System, Vibrant Demography and Demand’.

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‘Prime Minister has destroyed our position, betrayed our army’: Rahul Gandhi

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday launched another attack on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the China issue.

He said that China cannot be permitted to get away with this “unacceptable usurpation” of India’s land.

While speaking at the Congress Working Committee (CWC), he said, “China has brazenly occupied our territory. The Prime Minister has destroyed our position and betrayed our army by accepting their position that they occupied no Indian land. The Chinese cannot be permitted to get away with this unacceptable usurpation of our land.”

On Saturday, the PMO said that PM Modi was clear that India would respond firmly to any transgression attempts at the LAC.

The PMO said that “attempts are being made in some quarters to give a mischievous interpretation” to his remarks at the All-Party Meeting (APM) held on Friday on the Galwan stand-off and the killing of 20 Indian soldiers by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops on June 14-15 night.

The Prime Minister’s Office said the PM had specifically emphasized that Indian forces now decisively counter any violations on the LAC (unhe rokte hain, unhe tokte hain) in contrast to the past neglect of such challenges.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has also lashed out at the Centre over the economic crisis due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the tension along the border with China, attributing them to the “mismanagement” of the BJP-led NDA government and the “wrong policies” pursued by it.

In her opening remarks at the Congress Working Committee meeting today, she added that the “cumulative effect is widespread misery, fear and danger to the security and territorial integrity of the country”.

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Rahul Gandhi launches fresh attack on PM, says satellite images shows China has intruded

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday launched a fresh attack on the Narendra Modi government over the recent India-China face-off by saying that satellite images show that China has intruded into Indian territory.

In a tweet in Hindi, Gandhi said, Prime Minister said nobody intruded and nobody has occupied our territory, but the satellite images show clearly that China near Pangong lake has occupied the holy land of Bharat Mata.”

Rahul Gandhi used an image with the tweet shown by one of the TV channels.

Earlier in the day, Gandhi had mocked PM by calling him “Sur(r)ender Modi” instead of Narendra Modi and accused him of conceding Indian territory to the Chinese.

Former Congress president took to Twitter and said “Narendra Modi is actually Surender Modi,” sharing an article by The Japan Times with his post.

Earlier, Gandhi on Saturday had made allegations that PM Modi had “surrendered” Indian territory to China in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, tweeted two questions for the government, “PM has surrendered Indian territory to Chinese aggression. If the land was Chinese: 1. Why were our soldiers killed? 2. Where were they killed?”

At least 20 Indian soldiers, including an officer, were killed in an unprecedented violent face-off with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on June 15. Gandhi has been attacking the PM Modi-led government since the incident took place.

However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office had clarified on Saturday and countered opposition’s attack, saying “attempts are being made in some quarters to give a mischievous interpretation” to Modi’s remarks at the All-Party Meeting held on Friday on the Galwan stand-off.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said, the PM specifically emphasized Indian forces now decisively counter any violations on LAC (unhe rokte hain, unhe tokte hain) in contrast to the past neglect of such challenges.

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