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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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Smriti Irani tests positive for Covid

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Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday became the latest Union Minister to be infected by coronavirus.

Taking to Twitter, Irani said: “It is rare for me to search for words while making an announcement; hence here’s me keeping it simple – I’ve tested positive for COVID and would request those who came in contact with me to get themselves tested at the earliest.”

Earlier, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and AYUSH Minister Shripad Y. Naik were among those infected. Chief Ministers like Madhya Pradesh’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Karnataka’s B.S. Yediyurappa had also tested positive.

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‘Modi govt won’t last long with free Press, institutions’

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Rejecting the suggestion that the Central government was able to take unilateral decisions because of a weak Opposition, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said “give me free Press and other key institutions and this (Narendra Modi) government will not last long.”

He pointed out that the Opposition in any country functions within a framework, including the media, the judicial system and institutions that protect the voice of the people. “In India, that entire framework has been controlled and captured by the BJP government, the entire architecture designed for giving voice to the people has been captured,” he added.

The Modi government has taken control of all the key institutions, and it has done so not democratically but forcibly, Rahul told a Press conference here on the third and final day of his Kheti Bachao Yatra in Punjab against the black Farm Laws. The BJP government has captured the soul of the country, which is what the Congress is fighting, he said, adding that this fight will become more and more aggressive, going forward.

Terming the control of institutions by the government a big problem, Rahul noted that no other country in the world today is faced with a situation where even the Media does not question the government when its land has been seized by another nation.

Modi, he said, is not interested in India’s people but is only concerned about protecting and promoting his image, which would have got dented had he admitted to China’s incursion. The media, by helping promote his image, is also to blame, said Rahul, adding that Modi was comfortable in the knowledge that the Press would project his onesided statements. “Why don’t you question him at Press conferences,” he asked the media.

Rahul, however, said while the government may have captured the institutions, the fact is they cannot control farmers, the youth and the small traders, whose interests they are destroying.

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‘If you didn’t count, so no one died?’ Rahul Gandhi’s sharp retort to Modi government on migrant crisis

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday launched a sharp attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Centre’s response in Parliament on “no data” on migrant workers.

“The Modi government does not know how many migrants died during the lockdown, how many lost jobs. If you didn’t count, did nobody die? The sad part is that the government does not care about the loss of lives. The world saw them dying, Modi government was unaware,” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.

Rahul Gandhi is currently abroad for the check-up of his other Sonia Gandhi.

He has been active on twitter for attacking the Modi government over several issues including India-China stand-off, corona crisis and others.

The Union government informed the Parliament on the first day of monsoon session that no data was available on the deaths of the migrant workers caused to the lockdown induced by a deadly coronavirus.

Ministry of Labour and Employment, in a written response to a question on whether thousands of migrant labourers lost their lives during this period, said that “no such data is available”.

Further on the question of compensation, it said: “Question does not arise in view of the previous question.”

The government said that it had also not kept track of the job losses amid the pandemic. “No such data is maintained,” it told.

However, as per a report published by the World Bank in April this year, the nationwide lockdown has impacted the livelihood of nearly 40 million internal migrants.

On the question of whether the government has failed to assess the issues faced by these labourers, the government said, “India, as a nation, has responded through the Central government, state governments, local bodies, self-help groups, Resident Welfare Associations, medical health professionals, sanitation workers as well as a large number of genuine and bonafide non-governmental organizations in the Nation’s fight against the unprecedented human crisis due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and country-wide lockdown, including Tamil Nadu.”

More than 4,611 Shramik Special trains were run by the Indian Railways to help the labourers return home, the government told.

“More than 63.07 lakh migrant workers have been shifted to various destinations located in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and other States. Food and water were also provided free of cost to the workers during their journey,” it said.

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