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Mamata Banerjee slams meeting with PM Modi as ‘insulting’, govt officials accuse her of creating ‘drama’



West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged on Thursday that many CMs were not allowed to speak in a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on COVID-19 and dubbed it “insulting”, drawing a sharp retort from some Central government officials, who accused her of creating “drama”.

With Banerjee dubbing Modi’s Thursday meeting as “super flop”, some central government functionaries said Banerjee has a history of not attending the meetings of chief ministers with the Prime Minister, be it on the pandemic or those held prior to the outbreak.

Though Modi’s interaction was primarily with district magistrates and other field officials on the COVID situation, several chief ministers, including those from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, where these officers are posted, also attended.

The central government officials, who did not wish to be named, alleged that Banerjee did not let the DM of 24 North Pargana district in West Bengal speak at the meeting with Modi to create a “drama” later.

These officials also noted that DMs from opposition-ruled states like Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Rajasthan and Maharashtra spoke in the interaction.

Banerjee had said she along with her counterparts of many states were not allowed to speak which was akin to “insulting” them.

She also claimed that only chief ministers of BJP-ruled states were allowed to speak at the meeting, while others were “reduced to puppets”.

“This was a casual and super flop meeting. We feel insulted and humiliated. This is an attempt to bulldoze the federal structure of the country. PM Modi is so insecure that he did not listen to us,” Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’.

The chief minister also alleged that the Central government has “no proper plans” in dealing with the COVID situation in the country.

source: The Statesman


“Nothing Political”: Sonu Sood, Arvind Kejriwal Meet For A Delhi Scheme



Arvind Kejriwal, whose AAP is the majority opposition in Punjab, also did not comment on Mr Sood’s possible entry into politics, and instead stressed his “inspiring” work.

New Delhi: 

Actor Sonu Sood on Friday played down talk of his political debut ahead of Assembly elections in Punjab next year, following speculation that either he or his sister – Malvika Sachar, a well-known social activist in the state’s Moga area – could contest on a Congress ticket.

Mr Sood was interacting with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for ‘Desh ke Mentor‘ – a programme to guide students in government-run schools.

‘Sonu Soodji has been agreed to be a brand ambassador of our soon-to-be-launched ‘Desh ke Mentor‘ programme. It is matter of joy for us,” Mr Kejriwal said at the event.

When asked about his potential entry into politics, Sonu Sood told reporters “politics was not discussed… this is a bigger issue than that”.

“There was nothing political… I have always been saying this. Politics was not discussed. This is a bigger issue… I don’t think there can be a bigger issue,” he said, adding, “People always say, ‘If you want to do good work then come to politics …’ It is a wonderful field… but we didn’t discuss.”

Mr Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party is the majority opposition party in Punjab, also did not comment on Mr Sood’s possible entry into politics, and instead stressed on his “inspiring” work.

“Sonu Sood is an inspiration for the entire nation… Anywhere in the country, if someone is in trouble, (he) contacts and helps them. This is (his) wonder and charisma,” Mr Kejriwal said as he appointed Mr Sood as the brand ambassador for the programme.

The Delhi government’s ‘Education Mentoring Programme’ is part of its ‘Youth for Education’ initiative, and will see over 200 B.Tech, M.Tech and PhD students from the Indira Gandhi Delhi Technological University mentor around 1,000 school students.

The actor took to Twitter to say he is “honoured and humbled” to be the brand ambassador for the programme.

Announcing the programme in May, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is also the Education Minister, said he hoped it would lead the way for more women in science.

“Although our nation is seeing major innovations in every field… these are mostly led by men. The participation of women is abysmal … especially in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects”, he said.

Mr Sood also discussed ‘Pravasi Rojagar‘ – an online job portal he set up to help migrant labourers.

“I was connected with the 7.5 lakh migrants. I had their data… Whenever I sent some home, I used to ask if they were coming back. They told me that they would if they got jobs. They were scared (thinking) parents might stop them from going back to (cities) where they worked,” he explained.

The popular actor helped hundreds of migrant workers (mainly from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh) return home after they were left stranded during last year’s Covid lockdown.

He has also provided financial assistance to around 400 families of migrant workers, and helped people during the oxygen crisis that marked the second wave of infections.

“I’ve decided to help families of the deceased or injured migrants for them to have a secure future. I feel it’s my personal responsibility to support them,” he was quoted by news agency PTI.


He even launched a toll-free helpline number to help those who needed assistance.

With input from ANI, PTI

Source: NdTv



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Taliban destroy statue of Hazara leader Abdul Ali Mazari, remind world of destruction of Bamiyan Buddhas



Mazari was a champion of Afghanistan’s ethnic Hazara minority, Shiites who were persecuted under the Sunni Taliban’s earlier rule.

The Taliban have blown up the statue of a Shiite militia leader who had fought against them during Afghanistan’s civil war in the 1990s, according to photos circulating on social media on Wednesday.

The statue depicted Abdul Ali Mazari, a militia leader killed by the Taliban in 1996, when the Islamic militants seized power from rival warlords. Mazari was a champion of Afghanistan’s ethnic Hazara minority, Shiites who were persecuted under the Sunni Taliban’s earlier rule.


The Taliban returned to power last weekend after capturing much of the country in a matter of days, less than three weeks before the U.S. Plans to complete its troop withdrawal.

The Taliban have promised a new era of peace and security, saying they will forgive those who fought against them and grant women full rights under Islamic law, without elaborating. But many Afghans are deeply skeptical of the group, especially those who remember its previous rule, when it imposed a harsh interpretation of Islamic law.

Source: Zee News

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Delhi: Union ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and Meenakashi Lekhi to take part in Jan Ashirwad Yatra



The 107-km yatra, covering all seven Lok Sabha constituencies in Delhi, will witness Puri taking part in 272 programs, while Lekhi in 47, said Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta.

Union ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and Meenakshi Lekhi will take part in a four-day Jan Ashirwad Yatra organized by Delhi BJP from Monday.

Delhi BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana said that after Prime Minister Narendra Modi expanded his council of ministers, the newly elected ones would cover all areas of Delhi to take people’s blessing and tell them about the works done by Modi.

The 107-km yatra, covering all seven Lok Sabha constituencies in Delhi, will witness Puri taking part in 272 programs, while Lekhi in 47, said Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta. The yatra will end on August 19. Around 20 lakh people will be contacted through the yatra, he said.

“Lekhi will be part of the yatra on August 16, 17, and 18 in New Delhi, Chandni Chowk, East Delhi, and some parts of northeast Delhi Lok Sabha constituencies,” said Gupta. Puri will visit west Delhi, northwest Delhi, south Delhi, and some parts of northeast Lok Sabha constituencies on August 16, 17, and 19, he said.

He said the yatra will commence from vaccination centers and during its course, the ministers will also visit Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana centers. Also, gas stoves will be given under Ujjwala Yojana. The yatra, after going to temples, gurdwaras, and Balmiki mandirs, will conclude with public meetings in the evening, he said.

News Source: Indian Express
Picture Source: India TV News
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