Gujarat CM (Chief Minister) News

Suvendu says CAA to be a reality in Bengal soon, dares Mamata to stop implementation
The Indian Express | 1 hour ago | |
The Indian Express
1 hour ago | |

Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari on Saturday asserted that Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) would be a reality in West Bengal soon and dared Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to stop its implementation.“CAA is a much-debated issue. We are proud that it has been implemented in a place in Gujarat. CAA will be implemented here too. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjeeneeds to hear that it will be implemented soon. I challenge her if she has guts, then stop its implementation,” said Adhikari addressing a public meeting on CAA atThakurnagar in North 24 Parganas district.The meeting was convened by Union Minister of State for Shipping, Ports and Waterways Shantanu Thakur.Thakurnagar is considered the hub of the Matua community people who migrated to India from Bangladesh after the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. Getting the country’s citizenship is their long-standing demand which the BJP had promised to fulfil if voted to power in the 2021 West Bengal Assembly polls.Addressing the meeting, Thakur said, “The state government is misleading people on CAA, but it will prove a futile exercise. People support CAA. It will definitely be implemented one day.”Adhikari, meanwhile, asserted that he would ensure that Mamata Banerjee becomes the ex-chief minister of the state. “I have defeated Mamata Banerjee and I will ensure democratically that she becomes the former chief minister of the state. She has surrendered before the Opposition. So, we will keep mounting pressure on her,” said Adhikari, who met the chief minister at her Assembly chamberon Friday.Reacting to his comment, TMC MP Sougata Roy said, “CAA was passed in December 2019. Three years have passed, but the Centre is yet to frame its rules. Now they are showing an urgency to implement the law. People cannot be fooled anymore. Moreover, we have always maintained that the refugees who came to India before 1971 arecitizens of this country.”

Suvendu says CAA to be a reality in Bengal soon, dares Mamata to stop implementation
At farmers’ rally, Uddhav hits out at BJP, PM Modi
The Indian Express | 3 hours ago | |
The Indian Express
3 hours ago | |

Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday slammed the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying industrial projects coming to Maharashtra are being diverted to neighboring Gujarat as Assembly elections are being held there. He also called the BJP a “party of imports” and “chor bazaar (flea market)”.While addressing a farmers’ rally at Chikhli in Buldhana, Uddhav also slammed Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde for his “silence” over the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute, the alleged insult of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and the government’s inaction on farmers’ plight in the state.After stepping down as chief minister in June this year, this was Thackeray’s first rally outside Mumbai. Last month, Uddhav had addressed party workers at its annual Dussehra Rally at Shivaji Park.“The BJP has lost its ideology and is only importing people from other parties. It has become a party of imports. If you enlist, you will find how many people they have taken into their party from other parties. Nothing is left with them so they are stealing people from other parties. Is it a political party or ‘chor bazaar’,” Uddhav said.Hitting out at Modi, Uddhav said the PM would not hesitate to break Maharashtra and hand over villages to Karnataka with polls in Karnataka next year. “The projects coming to Maharashtra were diverted to Gujarat owing to the elections there. Now Karnataka chief minister is staking claims over Akkalkot and Solapur of Maharashtra. Karnataka is going to polls next year, I am afraid that as the PM sent the projects to Gujarat, he won’t hesitate before breaking Maharashtra into pieces,” Thackeray said.Taking a dig at Shinde, Uddhav said, “This CM might even say that what is the harm in handing over 40 villages to Karnataka …. PM has promised to get Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and give us 100 villages…..”Further attacking Shinde who along with his MPs and MLAs went to Guwahati, Uddhav said, “Today all these 40 people have gone to Guwahati to take blessings. A weekago he (Shinde) had gone to visit an astrologer to know his future. He doesn’t know his own future. And he is going to decide our future? In fact, his future is being decided by people sitting in Delhi. He has to follow their orders,” Thackeray said.Claiming that nearly 1,000 farmers had committed suicide in Maharashtra since the formation of the current dispensation in the state in July this year, Uddhav said if he would have been the CM, he would not have allowed such suicides to take place.In response to Uddhav’s attack, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “The Maha Vikas Aghadi government, which held the reins of Maharashtra between November 2019 and June 2022, should explain where was its concern for farmers and the agriculture sector. Why did it fail to address the agrarian crisis?”

At farmers’ rally, Uddhav hits out at BJP, PM Modi
I give money to public, don’t take it to Swiss bank: Kejriwal
The Indian Express | 6 hours ago | |
The Indian Express
6 hours ago | |

Aam Aadmi Party national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Saturday said that he is giving money to the people and “not taking it to Swiss bank”, replying to BJP’s accusations of him “squandering money”.“Ye mujhko BJP wale khoob galiyan dete hain…..Kejriwal sara paisa luta dega. Kejriwal janta ko hi toh paisa de raha hai (These BJP people curse me a lot…..Kejriwal will squander all the money. Kejriwal is only giving money to the public). Kejriwal is not taking the money to the Swiss bank, or building mansions or buying properties,” the AAP chief said in Bhavnagar.Kejriwal also repeated guarantees of free electricity, allowance for women, employment, unemployment allowance and raised the issue of paper leaks. The Delhi chief minister also claimed to reinstate the Old Pension Scheme by January 31 (2023), if they are voted to power. Asking just five years from his voters in the roadshow, the supremo said, “If I don’t work, then oust me.”AAP candidates from Bhavnagar West, Bhavnagar East, Bhavnagar Rural, Palitana, Gadhada, Botad and Talaja of Bhavnagar and Botad districts were present in the roadshow as well. All of these constituencies are the stronghold of the BJP, except for Talaja which is Congress dominated seat.Kejriwal also said that God will cause a miracle by sweeping the broom, the Aam Aadmi Party’s election symbol, and catapult his party to power in Gujarat.Raju Solanki, who is the AAP candidate from Bhavnagar West, of the two term MLA and Gujarat Education Minister Jitu Vaghani, who has been re-fielded from the same seat.When the “pot of sin is full, the Almighty sweeps his broom”, the AAP national convener claimed.“In all of Gujarat, a heavy storm of change is brewing. The entire state has stood up. Some miracle is going to happen this time. It is said in Bhagavadgita that whenever the pot of sin is full, the Almighty sweeps his broom. The Almighty has started sweeping his broom,” Kejriwal said.(With PTI)

I give money to public, don’t take it to Swiss bank: Kejriwal
"Almighty Started Sweeping His Broom": Arvind Kejriwal At Gujarat Rally
Ndtv | 7 hours ago | |
Ndtv
7 hours ago | |

Arvind Kejriwal asked the people assembled to give him a chance. (File)Bhavnagar: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said God will cause a miracle by sweeping the broom, the Aam Aadmi Party's election symbol, and catapult his party to power in Gujarat, where the two-phase Assembly polls are scheduled for December 1 and 5.When the "pot of sin is full, the Almighty sweeps his broom", the Aam Aadmi Party national convener claimed while addressing a roadshow in Bhavnagar in the poll-bound state."In all of Gujarat, a heavy storm of change is brewing. The entire state has stood up. Some miracle is going to happen this time. It is said in Bhagavadgita that whenever the pot of sin is full, the Almighty sweeps his broom. The Almighty has started sweeping his broom," Mr Kejriwal said.He said people getting zero electricity bills for the usage of 24-hour electricity, as part of AAP's poll promise of not charging for 300 units of power, would be the "magic" people will experience once his party forms government in Gujarat."This is magic. This 24-hour, zero-electricity bill is magic. And only Kejriwal knows how to perform that magic. No other party can perform this magic. I have been specially blessed by the Almighty and this can only be done by Mr Kejriwal and no other leader," he said.He said the Bharatiya Janata Party had done nothing for the state in its 27-year rule and voting for the opposition Congress was futile as its legislators would defect to the ruling party post-elections.Mr Kejriwal asked the people assembled at the roadshow to give him a chance to see what can be done in five years, adding they could "throw us out" if promises are not fulfilled."Today, people are suffering due to inflation. They are unable to survive. I will give you relief from inflation. After the formation of our government, I will pay your electricity bill from March 1," he said.Mr Kejriwal said women above the age of 18 will get Rs 1,000 per month as an honorarium, while youth will get Rs 3,000 as an unemployment allowance till they land a job."If you want to keep your children unemployed, you want to be abused, then you vote for them (BJP). This has been going on for 27 years. But if you want employment for your children, then vote for AAP," he asserted.Slamming the ruling BJP, he said frequent exam paper leaks in major competitive exams meant there was the involvement of big leaders."All paper leaks since 2015 will be probed and these big leaders will go to jail. We will completely eliminate the atmosphere of fear in the business world. We will create an environment to do business with courage and peace. We will give every businessman the respect they deserve," he said.Mr Kejriwal said an AAP government in the state would be free from corruption, and Value Added Tax and other pending refunds will be paid within six months (of coming to power).PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe Goods and Services Tax will be simplified, he added.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayRow Over Karnataka Chief Minister's Border Remark Intensifies

"Almighty Started Sweeping His Broom": Arvind Kejriwal At Gujarat Rally
Kejriwal well-wisher of terrorism, Congress opposed Somnath temple reconstruction: Adityanath
Times of India | 10 hours ago | |
Times of India
10 hours ago | |

SOMNATH: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday dubbed Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal as a 'namoona' or buffoon, and accused him and his party of supporting terrorism and corruption. Speaking at an election rally in Somnath town in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat for BJP candidates, he also accused main opposition Congress of not respecting other people's religions because of its "Muslim vote bank". "A 'Namoona' (buffoon) from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) who is visiting Gujarat now a days is a true well-wisher of terrorism. He had also opposed the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya. He had sought proof from our brave soldiers when the Indian Army carried out a surgical strike in Pakistan," said Adityanath, who is among the Bharatiya Janata Party's star campaigners. "When the Pakistan government itself was admitting that the strike had broken their back, AAP kept on asking for evidence. Support for terrorism and corruption is in their genes," the UP CM claimed. "Professional rioters" as well as goons and criminals who enjoyed the patronage of Congress and its allies used to harass common citizens, poor people and traders in his state, Adityanath said. "But now riots no longer take place in Uttar Pradesh. Our bulldozers have made Uttar Pradesh riot-free," he said. "Do you believe that Congress would have removed Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir? Would Congress or AAP give consent for the construction of Ram temple? It was (prime minister Narendra) Modi ji and BJP government and Gujarat who stood by you in your difficult times. They gave you free treatment, vaccines and ration during COVID-19 pandemic," he said. Neither Congress nor AAP will respect your faith and neither of them are capable of protecting you, he told the audience. "Only the BJP can do that because we believe in Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas (progress for all by taking along all)," Adityanath said. The Congress party and the country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru opposed Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's proposal to rebuild the Somnath temple, he alleged. "Because of its Muslim vote bank, Congress never wanted to respect your faith. That is the reason why Congress was against rebuilding the Somnath temple. But with his strong will, Sardar Patel went ahead with the construction. Even attempts were made to stop President Rajendra Prasad from attending the event. Can you support such a party?" Adityanath asked. He also accused the Congress of insulting Dr B R Ambedkar and trying to defeat him in elections. Reacting to Adityanath's swipes at him, Kejriwal took to Twitter and said people should vote for the BJP only if they wanted foul language, hooliganism, corruption and dirty politics. "And if you want schools, hospitals, electricity, water connections and roads then give your vote to me," said the Delhi chief minister who too is in Gujarat for campaigning. Gujarat will go to the polls in two phases on December 1 and 5.

Kejriwal well-wisher of terrorism, Congress opposed Somnath temple reconstruction: Adityanath
National security, bulldozer and Ram Mandir key topics in Yogi Adityanath’s Gujarat speeches
The Indian Express | 11 hours ago | |
The Indian Express
11 hours ago | |

Campaigning for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Somnath, Bhavnagar and Amreli, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Saturday attacked the Congress for “appeasing Muslims” by opposing the reconstruction of the Somnath temple and branded Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal a “true sympathiser of terrorism”.A recurrent theme across all three of his public addresses was that of national security and pride associated with the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, which, according to Adityanath, has been restored by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.He also appealed to the public to not vote for the Congress and the AAP and hailed his own administration in Uttar Pradesh and said “professional rioters, goons and criminals”, who flourished “under the patronage of the Congress and their allied parties”, have been bulldozed in UP to make the state riot-free.Evoking sentiments towards the Ram temple, Adityanath said, “In 1990, the yatra towards Ayodhya was started after seeking blessings at the Somnath temple. People used to say that if the Ram Temple is built, there will be bloodshed. I say not even a mosquito will die.”He added, “Now, riots do not happen in Uttar Pradesh. The professional rioters, goons and criminals, who flourished under the patronage of the Congress and its allied parties, who used to oppress the poor, businesspersons and the common people, have been bulldozed.”In Bhavnagar’s Gariadhar, Adityanath spoke of an improved national security under PM Modi. “Earlier, there used to be attacks every other day. When Modi became the chief minister of Gujarat, curfew and riots ended forever. When he became the Prime Minister, terrorist attacks stopped altogether.”He added, “Under PM Narendra Modi’s leadership, India’s cultural heritage is being honoured and taken to new heights. By constructing the tallest statue of Sardar (Vallabhbhai) Patel in the world in Kevadia, PM Modi honoured him. He also honoured Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar and in five places he was associated with, development of the panchteerth is being done by the BJP under Modi’s leadership.”He further said, “Congress never honoured Sardar sahab. When Sardar sahab wanted to restore Somnath temple, Congress had opposed it. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had opposed it. Congress, for the sake of the Muslim vote bank, never wanted to respect your faith. But Sardar sahab had pledged here that an independent India will not accept symbols of oppression and had taken forward the work of rebuilding the Somnath temple. Back then, president of India Rajendra Prasad wanted to attend the ceremony but efforts were made to stop him.” Adityanath further asked the crowd to not support the Congress.The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister made it a point to mention at all the three public addresses that Gujarat does not witness curfews, riots and Naxal threat anymore. Attacking Kejriwal, he said, “He is a true sympathiser of terrorism. He opposes Ram Mandir in Ayodhya and when the Indian Army does a surgical strike in Pakistan, he demands proof from our brave soldiers. Don’t waste your votes on those who are corrupt and support terrorism.”Adityanath further added, “No self-respecting person should vote for Congress or AAP. These two parties are power-hungry. They do not care about the country’s security, development or security of the common citizens.”Gujarat will go to polls in two-phases on December 1 and December 5 and counting will be held on December 8.Adityanath later attended a roadshow at Viramgam in Ahmedabad along with BJP candidate Hardik Patel. Recurrent chants of “Jai Shree Ram” and “Modi, Modi” by the crowd continued till the end of the roadshow.

National security, bulldozer and Ram Mandir key topics in Yogi Adityanath’s Gujarat speeches
Arvind Kejriwal's Reply To Yogi Adityanath's "This Specimen" Comment
Ndtv | 12 hours ago | |
Ndtv
12 hours ago | |

New Delhi: Aam Aadmi Party boss Arvind Kejriwal today shared a video of BJP's star campaigner Yogi Adityanath calling him "a sympathiser of terrorism" during a poll rally in Gujarat, and pitched himself as someone who stands for "development" as against the BJP's "politics of abuses and hooliganism"."If you want dirty abuses, hooliganism, corruption, or dirty politics, then vote for them. If you want schools, hospitals, electricity, water, roads, then vote for me," the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in Hindi, retweeting a video which his UP counterpart had captioned: "This specimen from the Aam Aadmi Party who has come from Delhi is actually a sympathiser of terrorism."अगर गंदी गाली गलौज चाहिए, गुंडागर्दी चाहिए, भ्रष्टाचार चाहिए, गंदी राजनीति चाहिए तो इनको वोट दे देना। अगर स्कूल, अस्पताल, बिजली, पानी, सड़कें चाहिए तो मुझे वोट दे देना। https://t.co/kNtrOR2azB— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) November 26, 2022The AAP, buoyed by its victory early this year in Punjab, has mounted a high-decibel campaign to challenge the BJP in Gujarat where it's been in power for 27 years, including PM Narendra Modi's 13 years as chief minister. Pitching a former TV news anchor Isudan Gadhvi, as the AAP chief ministerial candidate, Mr Kejriwal has spent weeks in Gujarat speaking of "development" besides making appeals to the BJP's core Hindutva voter with demands such as Hindu gods' images on  currency notes. The Congress, which increased its vote share in 2017, has been running a lowkey campaign — it calls that a strategy. It refuses to see the election as a three-way contest, dismissing AAP as "just hype". The BJP, too, sees the contest as a direct fight with the Congress.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comYet, the BJP has gone all-out and deployed its big guns, including the hardline Hindutva icon Yogi Adityanath, in the campaign. And the campaign has taken a turn towards the BJP's primal appeal, with Amit Shah saying "rioters were taught a lesson in 2002", and Yogi Adityanath, too, calling rivals "opponents of Lord Ram". In the video that Mr Kejriwal shared, Yogi Adityanath said that the AAP leader had "opposed the construction of Ram Temple, and even sought proof for the Indian Army's surgical strike in Pakistan". He said corruption and terrorism are "the same thing".

Arvind Kejriwal's Reply To Yogi Adityanath's "This Specimen" Comment
PM Modi personally monitoring case, asked CBI & ED chiefs to find evidence against Sisodia: Kejriwal
The Indian Express | 16 hours ago | |
The Indian Express
16 hours ago | |

A day after the CBI submitted its chargesheet in the Delhi excise policy scam case, leaving out the name of Manish Sisodia, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal hit out at the BJP saying that his sources had told him that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was personally monitoring the case and had even met the CBI and ED directors, asking them to find evidence against the Deputy CM.Linking it to the upcoming elections in Gujarat and the Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief said that about 800 officers were deployed to find evidence against Sisodia but they managed to find nothing. “CBI has given clean chit to Sisodia. It is clear from their chargesheet that they couldn’t find an iota of evidence against him. Only one week is left for the elections. They (BJP) spread lies and only made huge claims.”Taking a dig at the Prime Minister, Kejriwal said: “It is being said that an additional supplementary chargesheet may be filed in the case. Humari jhanch to Pradhan mantri ji zindagi bhar karayenge. Jab tak hum zinda hai jaanch chalti rahegi (The PM will be probing us till we are alive). Investigation against us have been going on since we formed the government in 2015. All agencies have been entrusted with the duty of targeting us but none have been able to draw up a chargesheet against anyone.”He added: “My sources said, that Pradhan Mantri ji (PM) was personally monitoring the case and he used to meet the CBI and ED chiefs, directing them to do anything to find evidence against Sisodia. Today, we can proudly say before the country that Kejriwal kattar imandar hai aur humari party kattar imandar hai (Kejriwal and his party are honest).”The Delhi Chief Minister also had a piece of advise during his address for the Prime Minister. “Pradhan Mantri ji kehte hain aap 18 ghante Kam karte hain. 18 ke 18 ghante aap bas yahi sochte hain ki mai kis tarah se Kejriwal ko Roku kam karne se, kis tarah se Kejriwal mantriyon ko giraftar karun, kis tarah se khichad fekun. (The Prime Minister says that he works for 18 hours a day. What he actually does is that he plans for all these 18 hours ways to stop Kejriwal and arrest his ministers). I just want request you that of the 18 hours, if you will give at least two hours to the country, the country will progress and unemployment will end. Don’t be so negative. Be positive and think about the people of the country.”

PM Modi personally monitoring case, asked CBI & ED chiefs to find evidence against Sisodia: Kejriwal
In pre-Budget meet, states ask for higher borrowing limit, more Central funds
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | |
The Indian Express
1 day ago | |

A HIGHER borrowing limit to increase fiscal space available to states; enhancement of funds under the scheme for special assistance for capital investment; limiting the scope of centrally sponsored schemes. These were some of the key demands made by finance ministers of states and union territories in their pre-Budget meeting Friday with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.Tamil Nadu and Bihar called for limiting centrally sponsored schemes, saying that states end up shelling out more funds for sustaining them. The Centre should increase its share of transfers to reduce states’ burden, they said. Chhattisgarh sought funds from the Centre for implementing the Old Pension Scheme.Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan said all states, irrespective of the political party in power, expressed a common theme at the meeting — that states’ fiscal autonomy is constrained by the extent of centrally sponsored schemes, by the extent of changing ratios of funding of such schemes.“…and by the fact that states have to top up 2x, 3x and 5x of what the Union gives and still it is centrally sponsored or PM scheme…in old age pension, Tamil Nadu pays Rs 1,000 a month, the Union Government of India only gives Rs 200 a month. Every state, every minister of BJP-government states made the same exact request and many have asked for an extension of GST compensation and also 3.5 per cent fiscal deficit limit,” he told reporters.Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) are implemented by state governments but funded jointly by the Central and state governments with a defined sharing pattern. Bihar Finance Minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary said these schemes should be limited as the burden on states for them is increasing and Centre should implement only Central schemes if they want to help states. He also said that the borrowing limit should be fixed at 4 per cent of GSDP for states.The Old Pension Scheme found mention in the meeting, with Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel asking for Rs 17,240 crore to be returned from the new National Pension System, which will be deposited in a separate pension fund to be used for future pensionary obligations. “Funds should be given for OPS which has been implemented in Chhattisgarh,” he said after the meeting.Finance Ministers of Assam, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Nagaland, Odisha and West Bengal did not attend the meeting.The Union Finance Ministry said in a statement after the meeting that “most of the participants thanked the Union Finance Minister for financially supporting their States/ Union Territories by enhancing borrowing limits, providing two advanced devolution installments and through Special Assistance for capital expenditure. The participants also gave numerous suggestions to the Union Finance Minister for inclusion in the Budget Speech.”More funds for capital expenditure were also demanded by many states, including Maharashtra, Meghalaya and Bihar. Maharashtra put up a proposal of projects worth Rs 3,000 crore under schemes of special assistance to states for capital investment.Although the state has received a grant of Rs 6,800 crore, it urged Centre to consider additional allocation of Rs 3,000 crore for various projects. “The Centre has come up with a very good scheme for special assistance to states for capital investment. Its size has been increased from Rs 15,000 crore during the year 2021-22 to Rs 1 lakh crore for the year 2022-23. This will help states,” Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said.Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said he has demanded an increase in capital assistance given to the states. “Have asked for a system where it should be linked to the population. Village-based schemes should be stressed on,” Sangma said.Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy said he has sought special assistance towards capital expenditure. “We have demanded that state-promoted renewable projects be included in the green bond funding scheme,” Reddy said.Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur sought better road, rail, air connectivity in the state to promote tourism, and wanted GST on apple packaging to be reduced to 12 per cent from 18 per cent.Pending dues of compensation cess were also sought by states. Chhattisgarh’s Baghel further urged for continuation of the system of GST compensation for the next five years after June 2022 and demanded Rs 1,875 crores as GST compensation for April-June along with coal royalty amount of Rs 4,140 crore. Royalty for minerals extracted in the state should be increased, he said, adding that it was to be fixed every three years but has not changed over ten years.

In pre-Budget meet, states ask for higher borrowing limit, more Central funds
Rahul’s Bharat Jodo yatra pushes Pappu behind, strikes a chord — but hard work awaits off-camera
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | |
The Indian Express
1 day ago | |

After 19 years of being an unsuccessful politician, Rahul Gandhi, dubbed as the “Pappu” of Indian politics, is beginning to be viewed differently as he walks the dusty bylanes from Kanyakumari to Kashmir on his Bharat Jodo Yatra.I went to see the yatra in Maharashtra and most of the people I talked to, driving 250 km from Aurangabad to Akola, and later following the yatra in Buldhana district, had, to my surprise, a positive word to say about the yatra. These were the aam aadmi and the aam aurat: a retired teacher, a fruit seller, a housewife, a cobbler, most of them in small towns and wayside villages. They all expressed a similar sentiment: “Paidal chalkar abhi tak humare paas koi nahin aaya hai. Humaen pasand aa raha hai.”(Nobody has come to us on foot like this and we like it.)A polio-hit retired government servant, 74, came from Nagpur with his son and daughter-in-law—old Congressis — to be part of the yatra for a few hours “to encourage Rahul”. An assistant professor from Amravati joined the yatra in Shegaon and said the time had now come “to work at the ground level because the opposition is blanked out.”Rahul talked about “berozgari, mehngai and nafrat,” (unemployment, inflation, hate) as he has done in the past, but it is resonating with many more today. With growing economic distress, some say they identify more with what Rahul “had been saying all along”.It is not so much Rahul Gandhi who has changed — as his comments on Savarkar illustrated; he had criticised in Maharashtra someone who is seen as an icon in the state.Nor do Rahul’s speeches set the house on fire. In a way, they are reminiscent of Rajiv Gandhi in the early years. In his campaign speeches in the 1983 state elections in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka — which the Congress lost — Rajiv used to painstakingly explain the value of hard work and abstract concepts of political freedom to puzzled audiences. In his speech at Shegaon, Rahul, too, dwelt philosophically, and at length, on the need to shed fear, and the linkages it had with hatred and violence.Significantly, it is the people’s perception of Rahul that is undergoing a change. There is only one reason for it, and person after person mentioned it. Rahul Gandhi had come to them on foot, walking 25 km a day. He need not have undertaken the yatra; after all, he is from a “shahi gharana”, they said. And having embarked on a mammoth journey of 3500 km, he had not run away — but stayed the course. It is this which has caught the imagination of a section of the people.Senior Congress leaders say he is like a “man possessed”, determined to complete the yatra. Given his interest in martial arts over the years, and the daily fitness regimen he reportedly follows, Rahul walks so fast that if you blink, he is gone.As he walks, he is cordoned off by a rope held by a string of policemen to prevent people from entering the walking enclosure. He has two planned “sitting interactions” with individuals or groups and three daily walking “interactions”, all cleared by the party (and they do not allow media persons near him). It is not as if those waiting by the wayside get a chance to exchange a word with him — or he with them.The day I saw him, he walked with Tushar Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, signifying the coming together, once again, of the Gandhi and Nehru-Gandhi families for uniting India.And yet the yatra is rebranding Rahul Gandhi. It is also bestowing on him a legitimacy that was earlier missing. Two years ago, the dissenting group of G-23 in the Congress had questioned his leadership — and his behind-the-scenes decision-making without accountability. Today, without being the president of the party, he is emerging as the unquestioned leader of the Congress.Yet, without a revival of the Congress organisation, Rahul’s yatra will only be a flash in the pan. The elephant in the room, then, is the Congress organisation, admit senior Congress leaders.The curiosity about the yatra, and the visible response to it, has perked up the Congress cadre. It was after 10 years that the Congress organised a meeting in Maharashtra as large as the one in Shegaon, with 150 Congress leaders on the dais, and people pouring in from neighbouring districts and local police putting the estimates at 2-3 lakh jampacked in the 22-acre ground.These meetings will be no more than an exercise in event management unless followed up with an action plan — and painstaking, hard work behind the lights, which the Congress has shown little appetite for. The BJP’s winning streak combines Narendra Modi’s appeal with Amit Shah’s organisational prowess.It goes without saying that the acid test of Rahul’s yatra will lie in winning elections. But, curiously, he has tried to delink the yatra from electoral gains, not to appear power hungry —but this makes little sense. A political party is nothing if it cannot win elections and deliver on its promises.And this is not only about winning 2024 two years away. Nor about the elections due in Maharashtra the same year. All eyes will now be on the imminent 26 municipal corporation polls, including the BMC, that are due in Maharashtra. How will the Congress fare, for instance, in the local polls in Nanded, where Rahul walked for many days and is supposed to have made an impact? Or, in the four other districts of Maharashtra the yatra touched? How does the Congress encash the interest the yatra has rekindled in the party?If the Congress loses the Gujarat elections, which it seems to have given up on, and does not manage to get Himachal Pradesh in its bag, Rahul’s yatra can also lose steam. If the party wins Himachal – which even if it has little to do with Rahul or Bharat Jodo — it will give a further impetus to the yatra.Now that the yatra has strengthened his position, Rahul Gandhi will be watched for how he handles the latest crisis in Rajasthan, with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot going ballistic against his younger colleague Sachin Pilot, calling him a “gaddar” (traitor). It is a pre-emptive strike by Gehlot to prevent Pilot from becoming the CM. By vehemently declaring that Pilot will not become CM, the normally measured CM has virtually threatened a split if the party high command replaces him with Pilot.Rahul Gandhi has to figure out how he redeems his word to Pilot, signals to younger leaders they will be rewarded if they work hard and deliver, weakens the anti-incumbency of four years by projecting a new face in the state like Pilot — and ensure that the Congress government does not fall in Rajasthan.Whatever be the outcome of the Bharat Jodo yatra, Rahul Gandhi has certainly set a new benchmark for political action — that leaders must go back to the people and listen to them. And even in a 24 X 7 image-rich politics, powered by the videoclip, the challenge is the effort they put in when the camera is off.Neerja Chowdhury, Contributing Editor, The Indian Express, has covered the last 10 Lok Sabha elections

Rahul’s Bharat Jodo yatra pushes Pappu behind, strikes a chord — but hard work awaits off-camera
Daily Briefing: Gehlot calls Pilot a ‘traitor’; CBI to probe Meghalaya border firing; and more
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | |
The Indian Express
1 day ago | |

Good Morning!Big Story As his rival camp continues to demand a decision on the leadership issue before the Bharat Jodo Yatra enters Rajasthan next month, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot launched a sharp offensive calling Sachin Pilot a “traitor” who colluded with the BJP. Saying Pilot doesn’t have the support of even 10 MLAs, Gehlot said he could not be made CM. His attack come on a day when Pilot joined Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Madhya Pradesh.Only in the ExpressIn our opinion section today, former High Commissioner to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal writes on the challenges ahead for Pakistan’s new army chief: “While the appointment of a new army chief to succeed the by now highly-controversial Bajwa has been expected to bring a degree of calm to Pakistan’s deeply divided polity, much will depend upon how Munir conducts himself.”From the Frontpage Delhi’s Jama Masjid, which had announced that it was restricting the entry of any unaccompanied girl or group of girls into its premises, rolled back the decision on Thursday. Officials from Raj Niwas said Delhi Lieutenant-General Vinai Kumar Saxena had spoken to the Shahi Imam, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, and had requested him to rescind the order.Noting that the file relating to the appointment of former IAS officer Arun Goel as Election Commissioner had moved “in the shortest possible time, superfast… not travelled even 24 hours”, the Supreme Court asked the Centre Thursday if there was “any haste or tearing urgency”.The Supreme Court Collegium recommended the transfer of seven judges of High Courts. Significantly, the Collegium has not recommended the transfer of Justice Nikhil Kariel, Judge of the Gujarat High Court, following the representation from the Gujarat Bar that protested against the proposed transfer.Must Read In the Katargam Assembly constituency of Gujarat,  Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s Gujarat president Gopal Italia launched an attack against the BJP on the sidelines of the ‘freebies vs welfare’ debate. A firebrand leader known for oratory skills, Italia at a campaign speech on Thursday said, “They have free toys, we have free schools, healthcare and they ask us where will we get the money from if we give everything free.” Here’s a glimpse of Italia’s campaign Meanwhile, in Delhi,  a delegation of the Meghalaya Cabinet led by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday and demanded a central agency inquiry into the Assam-Meghalaya border firing that led to the death of six people. The Ministry of Home Affairs has agreed to the demand and CBI will be probing the matter. Five years since it was introduced, the scheme of supernumerary seats for women has ensured a steady increase in the number of girls in IITs. As admissions for the academic year 2022-23 concluded, as many as 3310 girls, or 20 per cent of the total number of seats, have confirmed admissions across the 23 IITs with the allotment of 16635 seats, data shows.To ensure the availability of water in its parched areas, the Bihar government will launch the “Har Ghar Gangajal” project on November 27. The ambitious project aims to utilise Ganga’s flood water for the purpose. And Finally With the 65th-minute goal against Ghana, Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first player to score in five different editions of the World Cup. Even though the game was more than this Ronaldo moment, at the end it became all about him as an otherwise forgettable game sprung to life after this very moment. We report from Qatar on the breathtaking moment and the thriller game.Delhi Confidential: With Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s outburst against Sachin Pilot leading to yet another crisis in the state Congress, the first meeting of the party’s steering committee convened by new AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge on December 4 has become interesting and significant. Called to review the progress of the Bharat Jodo Yatra and to discuss strategy for the upcoming Parliament winter session, the meeting now will be watched keenly. In today’s episode of the ‘3 things’ podcast, we take a look at why global investors are favouring India, RBIs increasing penalties, and the incident of six patients losing their vision following cataract surgery at a private hospital in Uttar Pradesh.Until tomorrow,Aneesa PA and Rahel Philipose

Daily Briefing: Gehlot calls Pilot a ‘traitor’; CBI to probe Meghalaya border firing; and more
As Mann, his ministers camp in Gujarat, secretariat goes silent
The Indian Express | 1 day ago | |
The Indian Express
1 day ago | |

As Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, several of his Cabinet colleagues, chairpersons of various boards and corporations and the ruling party legislators continue to camp in Gujarat, ahead of Assembly elections that state, the Punjab Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh continues to wear a deserted look.A source close to Mann said the CM had reached Gujarat on Monday and would be camping there till the last date of campaign, on November 29, ahead of first phase of polling on December 1. “He has a personal programme on November 25. He may come back for a day. But, he may change his plan too,” the source said.While Mann is in Gujarat, the Chief Minister’s Office has not scheduled any meetings in which his presence is required. If he comes back on November 25, then the CMO may schedule one or two meetings, multiple sources said.Meanwhile, with most ministers away, the corridors in the secretariat, which normally see a lot of hustle-bustle, remain empty. There have been not many visitors to these offices. “As the files are not moving from the top, the bureaucrats and other staff are also having a field day. Not much official work is being taken up,” said a senior functionary.He, however, said, “The CM is keeping a tab on the happenings in the state. He is being briefed constantly. That is how he ordered registration of case against Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh’s aide for flaunting weapons on his Facebook page. The orders came from the CM himself.”For a better part of a month now, a number of ministers have remained stationed in Gujarat. None of the ministers were available in the secretariat on Tuesday. “Our minister is back from Gujarat. But he has not come to office yet,” said a staff member of Rural Development and Panchayats minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal.The minister later held several meetings, including one on Thursday with farm leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal, who is on a hunger strike.The chairpersons of various boards and corporations are also in Gujarat, “Virtually, it is our entire government that is in Gujarat. This has been happening for a month now,” said the functionary.

As Mann, his ministers camp in Gujarat, secretariat goes silent
Give me control of CBI, ED for one day, half of BJP will be in jail: Delhi CM Kejriwal
The Indian Express | 2 days ago | |
The Indian Express
2 days ago | |

Attacking the BJP for allegedly filing “false” cases against members of the AAP, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Thursday that despite 167 cases filed against its leaders, no investigating agency had been able to prove any wrongdoing by an AAP member.Speaking to NDTV, Kejriwal said, “Over the last seven years, they have filed 167 cases against AAP leaders — not one has been proved in court. AAP leaders have been cleared in over 150 cases and the rest are pending… 800 probe agency officers are dedicated only to find wrongdoing by AAP leaders but they have found nothing. Agencies are getting pulled up in courts because they have filed false cases.”When asked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claim of running a completely clean government, Kejriwal said, “Give me control of the CBI, ED (Enforcement Directorate) for one day, half of BJP will be in jail.”Delhi minister Satyendar Jain has been in jail for the past six months in relation to an alleged case of money laundering filed by the ED. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has been named as an accused in the CBI FIR in an alleged scam in the implementation of the Excise Policy 2021-22, and the party’s communication in-charge Vijay Nair is in ED custody in relation to a case in the same matter. AAP has called all these cases politically motivated.Kejriwal also said AAP was going to win with a thumping majority in the MCD polls. “AAP will get 230-plus seats out of 250 in MCD. The BJP will get less than 20 seats. In Gujarat also, I feel AAP will win the elections,” he said.

Give me control of CBI, ED for one day, half of BJP will be in jail: Delhi CM Kejriwal
Governor seems on mission to create animosity between communities, says Pawar
The Indian Express | 2 days ago | |
The Indian Express
2 days ago | |

NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday said that Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari seems to be on a mission to create animosity between communities, days after the Governor claimed that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was an icon of “olden days”.Pawar added that the President and Prime Minister needed to take a call on whether Koshyari should continue as the Governor of Maharashtra.Speaking to mediapersons in Mumbai, Pawar said, “A person with no sense of responsibility has been sent to Maharashtra. Governor seems to be on a mission to create animosity between communities. He had made objectionable statements against Mahatma Phule in the past as well, but we kept quiet respecting the constitutional position he represents. But now he has crossed all limits.”Pawar also took on Karnataka Chief Minister Basavraj Bommai over his demand to include villages from Sangli and Solapur districts into Karnataka. “Karnataka has a BJP CM and Maharashtra’s deputy CM is also from BJP… therefore, this party cannot get away with not taking responsibility for such statements,” he said.He added that Maharashtra’s demand for Belgaum, Karwar and Nipani in Karnataka has been consistent over the years and the matter is pending before the Supreme Court. Asked about the Maharashtra government announcing holidays in districts bordering Gujarat on the two voting days for Gujarat Assembly polls, Pawar said that he has never witnessed such a decision being taken in the last 50-55 years. “The decision indicates that they (BJP) lack the self-confidence to win this election,” he added.

Governor seems on mission to create animosity between communities, says Pawar
Kerala: Shashi Tharoor joins Opposition protest in ‘bid’ to blunt detractors
The Indian Express | 2 days ago | |
The Indian Express
2 days ago | |

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor Thursday joined the ongoing party-led stir in the state capital demanding the resignation of CPI(M) leader and mayor Arya Rajendran in an alleged recruitment scam. Political observers said Tharoor might have participated in the stir to blunt criticisms that he was not active in anti-Left agitation.Meanwhile, senior Congress legislator and former Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala joined the controversy over Tharoor’s north Kerala political outreach programme, saying that “all leaders have space to work anywhere in the state, but that should be in the party framework.”Tharoor, who returned to the state capital Wednesday evening after his four-day-long north Kerala mission, turned up at the venue of the agitation.While attacking Tharoor for indulging in parallel political activity under the ‘guise’ of a north Kerala tour, senior party legislator and Opposition leader VD Satheesan had indirectly criticised Tharoor’s absence in the state capital at a time the Congress was protesting against the mayor. The protest against the mayor’s alleged bid to recruit CPI(M) cadre to the municipal body has been going on for the last two weeks. On some days, the agitation had turned violent and scores of Congress workers were jailed.Addressing the UDF agitation, Tharoor said: “I was first to demand the resignation of the mayor. Certain people might have forgotten that… Everybody knows that I had raised the demand on November 7. I had adopted a clear stand on this issue and I hope the party would understand it.’’On returning from the north Kerala tour, marked by meetings with IUML leaders, religious heads of minority communities and delivering talks on “Sangh Parivar and challenge to secularism,” Tharoor dropped enough hints that he is to stay in the state politics. “The party would decide whether I should contest the Lok Sabha or the Assembly elections,’’ he told the media.Chennithala, who has been away in Gujarat for the Congress campaign, Thursday joined the issue but tried to strike a balance. “All leaders have space in the party. What is important is to put up a strong fight against the LDF Government’s anti-people policies. None should be instrumental for giving an impression that there is factionalism in the party.’’Referring to former party state chief K Muraleedharan’s allegation that those who are eyeing the CM’s post in the party were behind the Youth Congress decision to withdraw from hosting Tharoor’s last Sunday talk in Kozhikode, Chennithala said: “There is enough time to tailor the mantle of the CM.’’It is widely believed that Tharoor getting active in state politics would create a churning in the upper-caste Hindu Nair camp of the Congress comprising AICC general secretary KC Venugopal, Opposition leader VD Satheesan, former Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and former KPCC president K Muraleedharan. Both Chennithala and Muraleedharan had faced a setback in their careers in recent years after Satheesan rose to the state leadership and Venugopal to the national. The stand of Chennithala and Muraleedharan towards the ‘one-man show’ of Tharoor would be critical in the impending realignment of equations in the party.

Kerala: Shashi Tharoor joins Opposition protest in ‘bid’ to blunt detractors
"No Need For Lies": Sachin Pilot On Ashok Gehlot's NDTV Interview
Ndtv | 2 days ago | |
Ndtv
2 days ago | |

Sachin Pilot said, "We have to see how we can make Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra a success".Bhopal: Congress's Sachin Pilot has brushed off Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's sharp attack on him as "false and unfounded allegations" that completely "unnecessary". Mr Gehlot, he hinted, will do better to focus on Gujarat, which is practically days away from the state elections. Mr Gehlot is the party in-charge of the state."Ashok Gehlot called me 'incompetent', 'traitor' and made lots of allegations. These allegations are completely false, unfounded and unnecessary," Mr Pilot told news agency ANI.The need of the hour, he said, is to strengthen the Congress party. "We have to see how we can make Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra a success because that's what the country needs," said Mr Pilot, who flew down to Madhya Pradesh today to join the foot-march."Only Congress can challenge the BJP in the country.  Elections are underway in Gujarat, where Ashok Gehlot is in-charge. We have to put up a united fight to defeat the BJP," he added.He also mentioned the election in Rajasthan, due next year.  "We formed government twice in Rajasthan under the leadership of Ashok Gehlot. But then we lost both elections… Despite that, when the party high command wanted him to head the government, we accepted it. This time our focus should be on winning the coming election, he said."Under the circumstances, it does not look well for a leader of his seniority to talk about such issues," he added.Mr Gehlot, in an exclusive interview to NDTV today, had launched a no-holds-barred attack on Mr Pilot, accusing him of being a "traitor" to the party.  "A gaddar (traitor) cannot be Chief Minister… the High Command cannot make Sachin Pilot the Chief Minister... a man who doesn't have 10 MLAs, revolted. He betrayed the party, (he) is a traitor," Mr Gehlot said, referring to the 2020 episode when Mr Pilot had camped out in Delhi for days with his loyalist MLAs.  "It must be a first for India that a party president tried to bring down his own government," he said, alleging that the revolt was "funded by the BJP" and backed by the party senior BJP leaders including its chief strategist Amit Shah.He even indicated that the Mr Pilot was responsible for the political chaos in Rajasthan, including the rebellion by Gehlot loyalists which publicly embarrassed the party and the Gandhis."It must be a first for India that a party president tried to bring down his own government," he said, alleging that the revolt was "funded by the BJP" and backed by the party senior BJP leaders including its chief strategist Amit Shah.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comMr Pilot has not apologised to the party, the state or the people, Mr Gehlot said, which made him unacceptable to the state MLAs as a candidate for the Chief Minister's post."Has he apologised, I would not have to," he added, referring to his apology to party chief Sonia Gandhi after the revolt by his loyalists during the election for the party chief's post.

"No Need For Lies": Sachin Pilot On Ashok Gehlot's NDTV Interview
  • "Wrong Of Sachin Pilot To Claim...": Ashok Gehlot Interview Full Transcript
  • Ndtv

    Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has launched an all-out attack against arch rival Sachin Pilot. In an exclusive interview with NDTV, he took time out from campaigning with Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat to deliver his biggest takedown yet of Mr Pilot. Here is the full transcript of the interview:NDTV: Hello and welcome to this NDTV exclusive with Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot. The elections in Rajasthan are more than a year away. In fact, the elections right now are in Gujarat, where Mr Gehlot has been campaigning. But frankly the battle, in a sense in Rajasthan, has already begun. Is the Congress' internal turmoil proving an obstacle to Mr Gehlot, as he seeks re-election? Ashok ji, thank you very, very much, for being with us now. We are in Pali district now. You have been travelling all day, holding meetings, some scouts are also waiting for you. Tell me Ashok ji, there are elections in Rajasthan, there is time, but whatever is happening in the last few months, what we saw, is that causing tension, problems for the party's situation here?Ashok Gehlot: I have no tension. And there is none. Media is creating more. Media is creating more. Some bickering happens in all states, some rifts also happen. Media wants that it always seems like there are 2 groups here, etc. I have noticed this is media's approach everywhere.NDTV: Is this only media? You know two months back, so much tumult had happened here. 90 plus MLAs rebelled; that is not a small thing? Ashok Gehlot: It was not rebellion. In a way, because there was a rebellion earlier, when people had stayed in hotel for 34 days. These 90 people who had gathered, were those had supported in saving government at that time. Without them the government would not have been saved. NDTV: So you are saying they were loyalists of Congress in a way?Ashok Gehlot: They were loyalists of the High Command. No CM can save government without High Command. If High Command gives blessing, then people support. NDTV: What was said was that these MLAs were your loyalists. That they were Ashok Gehlot's loyalists. And they did this at your behest. Ashok Gehlot: This was nonsense, saying that. Everybody knows me, the whole country knows what my nature is. This party and the Gandhi family has for 50 years continuously rewarded me. I have been five time MP, three time union minister, three time AICC general secretary, three time PCC President, three time Chief Minister. NDTV: So you are saying this revolt had nothing to do with you? Ashok Gehlot: The question does not even arise. If even one MLA says it, I will leave the state. NDTV: Then why were they angry?Ashok Gehlot: I'm telling you. They were angry, because news was spread that Sachin Pilot will be made CM. He himself also behaved this way. People thought he is going to be CM.NDTV: Who behaved like that? Pilot?Ashok Gehlot: Pilot called many MLAs, he said you leave it to High Command, an observer will come to take your views. So the MLAs felt that there may be a one line resolution today, tomorrow will be the swearing in. Because of this rumour, all of them gathered there. NDTV: What was their issue if Pilot becomes CM? Ashok Gehlot: The problem was that because he was pulling the government down. Amit Shah was also involved in it, Dharmendra Pradhan was also involved in it. All had a meeting in Delhi. NDTV: With whom? Ashok Gehlot: Some of our MLAs had also gone, no? Some of them had meetings. Some stayed in Manesar for 34 days. In a resort. So our MLAs got angry. They said this is unusual, that the Party President goes to the opposition to topple his own government.NDTV: Pilot was State Party President at the time?Ashok Gehlot: Yes. He was Deputy CM also. It must not have happened in the history of the country before this, that a party president went to the opposition to topple his own government. It must have never happened in history. NDTV: You are saying this is why MLAs had a problem?Ashok Gehlot: Yes. The MLAs were loyal to High Command, were loyal even now. They have highest the respect and regard towards Madam Sonia Gandhi. They were angry that the observer was coming and would ask them to endorse Pilot. Pilot was requesting the MLAs himself. So such a situation was created. NDTV: But if High Command themselves gave directions to the observer, to garner support for Pilot, maybe the High Command itself wanted Pilot to be CM? Ashok Gehlot: How could they bear making Pilot CM? People who suffered for 34 days, we know how we survived the 34 days. We had to protest at Raj Bhavan. I was also present there. We worked hard to save the government. PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comNDTV: No, no. I'm saying, if the High Command wanted to make Pilot CM, then?Ashok Gehlot: No, no, no. Can't make him CM. There has been some communication gap. How can they make him? A man who doesn't have 10 MLAs. Who revolted; who has been called traitor. He betrayed the party, is a traitor. How can people accept him? NDTV: But Pilot has denied that he had nothing to do with BJP? Ashok Gehlot: No, no. He can't say that. The whole game was theirs. Rs 10 crore was distributed by the BJP. I have proof.NDTV: To all?Ashok Gehlot: I don't know to who all, some got five crore, some 10 crore. In fact the money was picked up from BJP office in Delhi. Many have picked the money up from there. They have told me themselves.  NDTV: So you are saying that when Pilot denies all this, saying have nothing to do with BJPAshok Gehlot: Who? Who? I am hearing this for the first time. NDTV: You are hearing it for the first time?Ashok Gehlot: Yes, hearing it for the first time. NDTV: But Pilot has said so?Ashok Gehlot: No, no. He must have told you. NDTV: No, not just me. He has told the media, that 'I have nothing to do with BJP. I was unhappy within the Congress, and so I revolted'Ashok Gehlot: No, no. If he had gone to AICC HQ and sat there, it would have been different. For the past 50 years, protestors have gone to AICC. They have spoken to Madam. Raised their complaints. First time I saw somebody went to Manesar. Dharmendra Pradhan used to go to Manesar. Our two independent MLAs had also gone there separately. They were stopped at the hotel. They were not from the Congress. Dharmendra Pradhan used to meet them there. It was all the BJPs game. NDTV: But Ashok ji, if what you are saying is true, why has Pilot not been kicked out by Congress? In a way, he is back in the Congress?Ashok Gehlot: It is for the first time some State Congress President has been sacked. Sacking is not usual practise. Resignation is asked, and they give their resignation. Why was he sacked? Why did I as CM sack him as Deputy CM? NDTV: But if he has gone through his punishment, why can't he be CM? Ashok Gehlot: You do not get it. The MLAs are angry. They wanted that Pilot should have at least apologised to the High Command, he should have apolgised to the people of Rajasthan, to the MLAs. NDTV: He did not apologise?Ashok Gehlot: Till date Pilot has not apologised. If he had apologised, I would not have had to apologise.NDTV: Meaning you would have not have had to apologise to Sonia Gandhi? Ashok Gehlot: If Pilot had apologised, there would have been no revolt against him. The 90 MLAs' revolt was against Pilot. And after many of our ministers had said also that cannot accept gaddar, traitor... NDTV: The MLAs are saying that we won't accept a 'gaddar'. But you also agree with this?Ashok Gehlot: I accept it, of course, why not? NDTV: You also say it? Ashok Gehlot: I also say it. Make one of 102 who were loyal the CM, there is no problem. But how will we accept the man who betrayed us? NDTV: So you are ready to accept someone else as CM? Somebody other than Pilot?Ashok Gehlot: Listen to me. I'm still ready. I'm loyal to the High Command. They have to decide what is in the interest of the party. If they want to keep me, keep me. I have no objections if another face comes as long as we can win elections. NDTV: What if they make Pilot the new face?Ashok Gehlot: How can he be made? Nobody will accept him! NDTV: Nobody will accept him? Ashok Gehlot: How will they? You tell me.NDTV: But Ashok ji, Pilot says he was sidelined so much by you, that is why he got angry and decamped with his supporters? Ashok Gehlot: This is absolutely wrong. Question does not even arise. How can we sideline?NDTV: That he was not given power, his supporters were stopped from important positions?Ashok Gehlot: Absolutely wrong. In fact his supporters have told Ajay Maken that we have no complaints against the CM. We have come back. After coming back, we treated Pilot well, still. Have done no discrimination with anyone. NDTV: But the High Command may not see all this the same way?Ashok Gehlot: What do you know? NDTV: But you yourself said you had to apologise to the High Command?Ashok Gehlot: I did so because it was my moral responsibility. Despite my being CM, the MLAs did not come to the meeting. That was not revolt, it was their loyalty to the High Command. They were angry because Pilot himself was saying that he got congratulatory messages. NDTV: So High Command is not angry with you then? When you met Sonia ji, was she upset with what happened? Ashok Gehlot: Ask Sonia Gandhi that. NDTV: But you were in the meeting?Ashok Gehlot: I have the highest regard for the High Command. NDTV: But you were going to file nomination as Party President, and then you met Sonia Gandhi and came out saying you were not going to file. What happened?Ashok Gehlot: It is between them and me. It is between them and me. NDTV: But why did you withdraw?Ashok Gehlot: It is between them and me. NDTV: Okay. But overall are things not stable in Rajasthan? Ajay Maken wants to quit as central observer?Ashok Gehlot: Unhappiness is common. Today 33 people of BJP are rebelling in Gujarat, 22 in Himachal. NDTV: But Ajay Maken is senior, he is an observer?Ashok Gehlot: This bickering happens in all big parties. I believe by and large there is peace in Rajasthan. Everybody wants to work together. NDTV: Maken says there has been no action against the MLAs who revolted.Ashok Gehlot: I don't want to comment on this right now, because the matter will get distorted. NDTV: But the show cause notice was in public domain?Ashok Gehlot: No, no. It is the duty of the disciplinary committee. They have to see whose mistake it was, whose it wasn't. What can I do about that?NDTV: Ashok ji, you are saying that everything is fine in Rajasthan, but is it decided you will be CM? Ashok Gehlot: We are going to form government, why are you troubling us? NDTV: No, no. We are not troublingAshok Gehlot: We are going to form the next government in Rajasthan. NDTV: Will it be under your leadership?Ashok Gehlot: The atmosphere is such that it seems we are going to form government. It is a great ground situation. We have so many great schemes. Everybody is happy. I think this is the first time, or it is after a long time, that there is no anti-incumbency in Rajasthan. NDTV: I understand you are saying you will form the government, but will it be under your leadership?Ashok Gehlot: Today I am here. Today it is me. NDTV: But what if High Command signals that they want change? Have they given you any such indication? Ashok Gehlot: They have given me no such indication. I know that High Command will do justice with Rajasthan. We need to form the government in Rajasthan. If we form the government in Rajasthan, then there will more Congress state governments in other states. This is our focus.NDTV: You are saying... Ashok Gehlot: ...I want to say something else. I have said this in August too. It was said that I am doing this to be CM. Let me tell you, this happened in September, October. In August itself, I had told Sonia Gandhi and Ajay Maken my feelings, that it is important that we form government in Rajasthan. I have been CM three times, and held other posts. For me being the CM is not important. What is important is that if we conduct a survey, you conduct a survey, I will also conduct a survey, if it emerges our chances are better with me as CM, then I am here. If they feel, no, I need to move from the CM post, and we need to do some social engineering, based on caste, community or whatever, and only then we will be able to form government, then I have no problem withdrawing from the CM post. I also said, Amarinder Singh had revolted. I said that if I withdraw, I will continue to work and campaign like I am the CM. NDTV: So you will not revolt?Ashok Gehlot: I will work hard to form the government. I am withdrawing myself. I have told you an open secret. In Jaisalmer, when the observer had come, I was at the Pakistan border and I had given an interview, you must have heard it? NDTV: So you are saying you won't revolt even if you are removed as the CM?Ashok Gehlot: What do you mean remove? I said I am withdrawing myself. How will you remove? I'm offering to withdraw myself. NDTV: I understand what you are saying is that you are willing to withdraw yourself. But my question is, if they replace you with Pilot, would you accept it? Ashok Gehlot: How will that happen? That can't happen. NDTV: What if you are replaced with Pilot, would you revolt? Ashok Gehlot: It can't be. Why are you asking such hypothetical questions?NDTV: Pilot says in 2018, when you became CM, he was promised a rotating CM formula. Ashok Gehlot: It won't look nice if I say something on this. You can ask Rahul Gandhi. NDTV: So are you saying nothing of the sort was promised? Ashok Gehlot: The question does not even arise. Nothing like this happened. But if he still says it, then ask Rahul Gandhi about it.NDTV: So was there no such arrangement?Ashok Gehlot: There is no question about it. It was not even discussed. NDTV: What is the issue between you and Sachin Pilot? Why not settle the issues? Is it not hurting Congress? Ashok Gehlot: In 2009, when I had become CM, and the Lok Sabha elections were happening, we won 20 seats here in Rajasthan. I was called to Delhi to meet the party's Working Committee. I gave my opinion to Ahmed Patel; and Pilot knows about this. I recommended that he be made a Union Minister. NDTV: You recommended that Pilot be made a Union Minister? Ashok Gehlot: Yes. I made the recommendation because before that, 17 Gujjars were killed here in Rajasthan in a firing incident during Vasundhara Raje's time. Meenas and Gujjars had fought at the time. Namo Narain Meena was a minister already in UPA-1. This was UPA-2, and I said he would be minister again. So I said, if you make a Gujjar a minister it will at least quell the fight between Gujjars and Meenas. It was a psychological move. It would also make governance easier for me. I also got a call from Pilot asking me to recommend him for the minister post. I said 'I have spoken to them Sachin, and I have hopes, that everything will be fine.' I conveyed this to him. This is it.NDTV: So are you saying there are no personal differences between you? Then why has this become such a big issue now? Why has it become Pilot versus Gehlot? Ashok Gehlot: This even I don't know.NDTV: You would not accept that he has been marginalised by you?Ashok Gehlot: The question does not arise. NDTV: Are you saying that you are willing to make peace? Ashok Gehlot: Forget the issues between Pilot and me. Why is the media meddling in this?NDTV: Lastly, you seem confident that despite all this, Congress will perform, but Rajasthan has this repeating pattern. Ashok Gehlot: There is no pattern, we can break patterns. It looks like it will change this time, based on the response of the people. I think we would form the government.NDTV: Is there a risk that if Sachin Pilot is not made the CM, he will revolt again? Ashok Gehlot: You are asking hypothetical questions again. I don't answer hypothetical questions.NDTV: But you are a politician, and as a politician you look at the future and assess if there is any risk. Is this a risk? Do you think there could be issues again?Ashok Gehlot: All these are hypothetical questions. I have no response to them. Media should teach people to love each other, not to fight. NDTV: We are not making people fight; what was our role in what happened? Anyway, let's see. Thank you Ashok ji that you spoke to us. let's see what happens in the elections. Ashok Gehlot: Everything will be fine.

Ex-Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh’s daughter comes out in support of farmers’ stir
The Indian Express | 2 days ago | |
The Indian Express
2 days ago | |

BJP leader and daughter of former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Jai Inder Kaur, came out in support of the fast-unto-death of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Sidhupur) president Jagjit Singh Dallewal, saying that the CM Bhagwant Mann’s government has betrayed the farmers.“Our farmers, led by Jagjit Singh Dallewal, have been protesting for the last 8-9 days across Punjab. They have kept forth genuine demands that were promised to them by the state government, which has now gone back on its words. I support the protesting farmers and urge CM Bhagwant Mann to come down from his high horse and fulfil the promises made to the farmers,” Kaur said.She added: “The Bhagwant Mann-led government has repeatedly backstabbed Punjab’s farmers. First, they promised to provide Rs 2,500 per acre as compensation to farmers for stubble management but later went back on their word. Moreover, they even started filling cases and made red entries against the farmers who had to burn stubble due to the incompetence of the state government. Mann’s government has completely failed to provide any alternative to stubble burning and now, instead of taking responsibility, is blaming the for its misdeeds.”She further said that the government, instead of focussing on the farmers’ welfare, is busy with the Gujarat elections.“During the tenure of Captain Amarinder Singh, the farmers had to face no such issue. My father always heard the demands of the farmers and fulfilled them — whether it was raising the MSP of sugarcane, waiving farm loans or supporting them in their protest against the three farm laws. However, the current AAP government seems to not care about the welfare of the farmers.”The demands of farmers include enhanced compensation for land acquired for national highway projects, compensation for crop damage due to inclement weather and pest attack, and rolling back of heavy fines imposed for stubble burning.

Ex-Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh’s daughter comes out in support of farmers’ stir
How a 36-sq km island has come to occupy prime space in BJP campaign
The Indian Express | 2 days ago | |
The Indian Express
2 days ago | |

Residents of Bet Dwarka, Okha town and local journalists were caught unawares as a huge contingent comprising policemen from four districts swamped Bet Dwarka island on October 1, accompanying JCB excavators and dump trucks into its narrow lanes.Over the next week, around a hundred structures were razed, including shops and homes and more than two dozen religious structures of the minority community, with officers claiming to have cleared area measuring 1 lakh sq feet. Police imposed restrictions on movement during this time to and from Bet Dwarka, a 36-sq km island with a population of around 15,000, located off the Okha coast.A month later, the drive on the island, which holds the Shree Dwarkadhis Mukhya Mandir dedicated to Lord Krishna, who is believed to have set up his kingdom here, plus other Hindu temples, has become a recurring theme in the narrative of the BJP’s election campaign.Days later, the demolition drive had started assuming political colours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi “congratulated” Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel at a public meeting in neighbouring Jamnagar district on October 11, while launching some government projects.He said the drive had shown Gujarat the “mrudu ane makkam (soft and firm)” face of Patel, a description Modi is fond of when it comes to the CM. “People were revelling after constructing illegal constructions on the coastline… they were all cleared, silently… So much land (was cleared) and Bet Dwarka’s pride (restored). I noted statements of the culture lovers, saints and religious heads. It made me happy.”Demolition drives were conducted simultaneously in neighbouring Porbandar and Gir Somnath districts, and a few dozen structures, including a dargah, were razed in these coastal districts.Then, as the campaign for the coming elections picked up, on November 18, three JCBs decorated with flowers were parked at the entrance to the venue of a rally by Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath in Wankaner in Morbi district. Two days later, PM Modi talked about raids on Somnath temple by Islamic invaders in the Middle Ages while addressing a public meeting near Somnath temple in Gir Somnath district. The next day, an Adityanath rally at Chowpatty Ground in Porbandar saw a JCB on the maidan.Then, for the first time this election, the BJP mentioned the issue outside Saurashtra region, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah raising it at a meeting in Khambhat in Anand district on Tuesday. “Our Bhupendrabhai (CM Bhupendra Patel) and Harshbhai (Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi) demolished the fake mazaars in Bet Dwarka. They were all encroachments in the name of mazaars and they were cleared, but the Congress said we were polarising,” said Shah. Vowing to continue the “clean-up”, Shah underlined that the BJP government had also built the shikhar (crest) of a temple of Goddess Kali in Panchmahal distict by shifting a mazaar.Even as Shah talked about “fake” mazaars while campaigning in Khambhat, the BJP candidate for Dwarka constituency (under which Bet Dwarka falls), Pabubha Manek, was telling voters to make up for the support he was “set to lose due to the demolition drive”. He said he had cleared the demolition “at the risk of losing votes”.“Even I didn’t know there was so much encroachment… They (BJP leaders) asked me how much it would affect me in the elections. I said it would affect me a great deal, but it was not appropriate to stop the work due to this. So, I said demolish,” Manek said addressing a gathering in Bhatiya village. He went on to urge them to vote for him “in the name of Dwarkadhis”. “I told BJP leaders that we will tell people to work a bit harder for me… We have to offset the loss.”All through his series of meetings Tuesday evening, Manek urged people to attend Adityanath’s Wednesday meeting in Dwarka, calling him a saint and ascetic “whose darshan was a rare opportunity”.At his meeting in Dwarka town Wednesday, Adityanath praised the “bhavya karyakram (grand programme)” going on in Bet Dwarka for its “purnodhhar (restoration)”.Manek, who was also present, called Modi and Aditynath God’s “chosen ones” and said people should not view them as mere PM or CM. He added: “Those who want to do good for their country, they have to do good deeds for seven lives. Our Modiji and Yogiji, when they did their fill of punya in one avatar, two, four, uptil seven, they were told (by God) that you (Modi) take the seat of Delhi and you (Aditynath) take the seat of UP, and do good with a (bull) dozer.”Manek went on to lament that he had forgotten to park a JCB outside the venue, and that he should have done it so that “Baba (Adityanath) could know that even residents of Dwarka have started knowing him”.While Manek told The Indian Express he was confident of retaining the Muslim vote, BJP insiders admitted that the community in Okha and Bet Dwarka that has been steadfast supporter of Manek is likely to turn away from the party.“Manek will lose a few Muslim votes,” admits a senior BJP leader. However, he adds, “We expect to make that loss good by consolidating non-Muslim votes, which are decisive.”

How a 36-sq km island has come to occupy prime space in BJP campaign
Amrinder Singh Raja Warring slams AAP on law & order: ‘Even I am getting death threats’
The Indian Express | 2 days ago | |
The Indian Express
2 days ago | |

Punjab Congress president Amrinder Singh Raja Warring targeted AAP government on law and order situation in the state and said that even he was getting ‘open threats from some anti-social elements’.In Ludhiana on Wednesday to attend ward-level meetings for upcoming Municipal Corporation polls, the schedule for which is yet to be announced, Warring in a press conference said: “What to talk about a post on social media…. the situation has turned so bad in Punjab that such elements are issuing open threats. Even I have received such threats.Recently, a person while making a public speech issued a threat to me and said ‘Ehda kamm kar dena hai… (We will eliminate him)..”Warring said this when questioned about the drive started by Punjab Police on orders of CM Bhagwant Mann to take action against those uploading posts on social media while posing with weapons. “Which drive… what is the use of such drive when such anti-social elements are brazenly issuing threats,” said Warring.Warring was in Ludhiana to attend ward-level meetings for upcoming Municipal Corporation elections. With former Congress minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu lodged in Patiala jail since August this year, his wife Mamta Ashu, also a local Congress councillor, was seen taking the charge in his absence and she accompanied Warring to ward-level meetings. Former MLA Sanjay Talwar, recently appointed as district Congress president, also accompanied them.Warring today said that Punjab was facing a ‘Taliban like situation’ where people had started taking law in their own hands.Talking to reporters along the sidelines of a meeting here today, Warring revealed that the criminals and anti-social elements had the audacity even to threaten him (Warring) personally. “When questioned, AAP leaders including CM Bhagwant Mann start comparing Punjab with states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar which were never known for good law and order. This is a new low for Punjab that now it is being compared with UP and Bihar”, he said.Replying to a question about the AAP’s performance in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, Warring said, “Like Kejriwal Sahib claims to give in writing, I am also giving it in writing that the AAP will not win a single seat in HP.” He said, the AAP was wasting and squandering away Punjab’s resources in Gujarat and there also party will not cut any ice.He pointed out, in Haryana, the state Kejriwal originally belongs to, AAP candidate faced crushing defeat in a bypoll.To a question on farmers’ agitation and demands, Warring said, the Congress party has always supported the farmers and continues to support all their genuine demands, which the government must accept.At the same time he appealed to the farmers’ organizations to ensure that their protests do not lead to harassment to the general public. He said there were reports from different parts of the state that people were facing difficulty in movement as farmers had blocked several roads.Referring to MC elections in Punjab, Warring said that AAP graph had declined in the state where it lost Sangrur parliamentary by-election within less than three months of coming to power.He said that Congress will sweep the municipal elections in Ludhiana, Patiala, Jalandhar and Amritsar as people were completely fed up and disillusioned with the AAP government. “People don’t know whom to approach for the redressal of their grievances as neither there is any government nor any party structure that could facilitate people’s work”, he said.Replying to a question on allocation of tickets, the PCC president said, the Congress party will give 50 percent tickets to those less than 50 years of age. He said, it will be a combination of “youth and experience” as both must go together.

Amrinder Singh Raja Warring slams AAP on law & order: ‘Even I am getting death threats’
Even if I die, continue peaceful stir: Farmer leader’s appeal to followers
The Indian Express | 2 days ago | |
The Indian Express
2 days ago | |

The fast-unto-death of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Sidhupur) president Jagjit Singh Dallewal to press for various demands of farmers entered its sixth day on Wednesday, while the dharna at six highways of Punjab entered its eighth day.The demands of farmers include enhanced compensation for land acquired for national highway projects, compensation for crop damage due to inclement weather and pest attack, and rolling back of heavy fines imposed for stubble burning. The dharnas are being organised under the banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (Apolitical). On Wednesday, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders, including Parambans Bunty Romana and Prem Singh Chandumajra, called on Dallewal and enquired about his health. SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal also called up Dallewal to enquire about his health.Romana said, “I had gone to meet Dallewal ji on behalf of the party president. The SAD chief had also called him up.We assured him (Dallewal) that the party is with the farmers and we extend all our support to them.”Effigies of Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann were also burned at all the six highways in Mansa, Patiala, Bathinda, Faridkot, Hoshiarpur and Amritsar. Dallewal is sitting on hunger strike at Tehna T-point in Faridkot.BKU Sidhupur members widely circulated pictures of various AAP leaders sitting on roads when they were in the Opposition. The pictures included that of Bhagwant Mann sitting on a dharna at Sangrur in 2018 when he was the Sangrur MP; of the then AAP MLAs Aman Arora, Peermal Khalsa, Nazar Singh Manshahia, Kultar Singh Sandhwan, and Gurdit Singh Sekhon, among others, sitting on roads at various sit-ins during the previous Congress government when AAP was in the Opposition.“Farmers are very much irked by the statement of the Punjab CM. They want the CM to apologise for it. It was also conveyed to Vidhan Sabha Speaker and Kotkapura MLA Kultar Singh Sandhwan when he came to meet Dallewal on Monday,” said Sukhmander Singh Dhilwan, a BKU Sidhupur farmer leader.CM Mann had slammed the farmers’ unions on Friday last for frequently blocking roads in Punjab as part of their protests.Kaka Singh Kotra, another state leader of BKU Sidhpur, said, “Several sarpanches made arrangements to provide us dry ration at all the protest points. People are now understanding that we are sitting on a dharna for a public cause.”Sukhmander added, “We are giving way to traffic from one side of the road and so we are not putting the commuters to inconvenience.”Late in the evening SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal tweeted: “Spoke to BKU (Ekta-Sidhupur) president S Jagjit Singh Ji Dallewal who is on fast unto death for past 5 days. Inquired about his well being & assured complete support to him. @Akali_Dal_ is a party of farmers & is committed to safeguard the rights of farming community at all costs.”Speaking to reporters at the protest site in Faridkot on Wednesday, Dallewal said, “Even if I die, I appeal to farmer colleagues to carry out their protests in a peaceful manner.”He said his weight loss, fluctuation in blood pressure and low blood sugar level were not weighing on his mind at the moment. “I am not thinking about these things. We are here so that the government should issue a notification for the demands they had already been accepted,” he said.A medical team has been stationed at the protest site in Faridkot to monitor Dallewal’s health.Jai Inder Kaur backs DallewalDaughter of former Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh and BJP leader Jai Inder Kaur Wednesday came out in the support of farm leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal and other farmers who are sitting on protest.Kaur said, “Our farmers led by BKU leader Jagjit Singh Dallewal have been sitting on a protest for the last 8-9 days in various places in Punjab. They are keeping forward their genuine demands that were earlier promised to them by the state government which now has backtracked on all its promises. I stand fully in support of these protesting farmers and urge CM Bhagwant Mann to come down from his high horse and fulfill his promises to our farmers.”Condemning Mann for what she termed as a ‘betrayal’, Kaur said, “Bhagwant Mann led government has repeatedly backstabbed Punjab’s farmers. First they promised to provide Rs 2500 per acre compensation to farmers for stubble management but later they completely refused and even worse, they started filling cases and marking red entries against the farmers who had to burn stubble due to the incompetence of the state government. Mann’s government completely failed to provide any alternative to stubble burning and is now instead of taking responsibility is blaming farmers for it’s misdeeds.”“The present government is totally failing our farmers on all front and is clearly more focused on the Gujarat elections, instead of taking care of business in Punjab,” she said.

Even if I die, continue peaceful stir: Farmer leader’s appeal to followers
Day 5 of fast: Jagjit Singh Dallewal refuses to meet Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann
Times of India | 2 days ago | |
Times of India
2 days ago | |

BATHINDA: Five days after starting an indefinite fast, farmer unionist Jagjit Singh Dallewal of the BKU (Ekta Sidhupur) has declined to hold further meetings with the Punjab chief minister until he implements the accepted demands. When the government functionaries approached him to set up a meeting with the CM, he said three meetings had happened since October 6 and now was the time for implementation. The team of doctors monitoring his health has reported his sugar level and weight to have declined. The state authorities continue to implore him to end the hunger strike or at least take medicine, but he keeps saying no. Punjab assembly speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan on Monday night, inspector general of police Jaskaran Singh and Faridkot senior superintendent of police Rajpal Singh on Tuesday, and state agriculture minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal on Wednesday have all visited Dallewal and requested him to end his fast. Concerned by the road blockades Dallewal’s farmer union has engineered, CM Bhagwant Mann has said without naming it had become custom with some organisations to hold protests for funds. Dallewal started fasting on November 19 at Faridkot. He said that in their October 6 meeting, the Punjab government had agreed to fulfil all the demands of the farmer unions but had not taken any step in that direction. On the eighth day of protesting at Amritsar, Faridkot, Mansa, Patiala, Talwandi Sabo, and Mukerian, his activists burnt effigies of the state government to ask for land ownership rights to long-term tillers, compensation for crop damage and lumpy skin disease, restarting sugar mills, jobs to the families who lost farmers in the Delhi agitation, and withdrawal of cases and fines imposed for burning crop residue. Meanwhile, after Balbir Singh Rajewal, another farmer unionist in Ruldu Singh Mansa has accused Dallewal of acting at the BJP’s behest for its benefit in the Gujarat elections. He has claimed that Dallewal wants to prolong his protest in Punjab to show its ruling party in a bad light until Gujarat has voted. Two days ago, Dallewal had called Ruldu Singh Mansa “not a farmer unionist but a brick-kiln owner”. The Aam Aadmi Party is a contestant in Gujarat and any adverse impression from Punjab will benefit the BJP in those elections. Ruldu hinted about it when he called Dallewal “an agent of the BJP and the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh)”. Dallewal leads farmer union BKU (Ekta Sidhupur), while Ruldu heads the Punjab Kisan Union. Rajewal had laid similar allegations against Dallewal. The problems between them started after Ruldu’s union blocked roads and Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann had to speak out against the trend of disrupting traffic for protest. A week ago, Ruldu had said that farmer unions should protest without causing inconvenience to the general public. Reacting to it, Dallewal said: “Don’t talk to me about Ruldu Singh, who is not a farmer unionist but a brick-kiln owner.” On Wednesday, Ruldu hit back by alleging that Dallewal was fasting to help the BJP in the Gujarat elections and going a separate way from the SKM (Sanyukt Kisan Morcha) by continuing the blockades.” On the other allegation, he said: “Yes, my grandson is a 50% partner in a brick kiln, but I am fully devoted to the cause of farmers.”

Day 5 of fast: Jagjit Singh Dallewal refuses to meet Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann
Gujarat elections: Who’ll scale the slippery slope in ‘ghee’ land?
Times of India | 2 days ago | |
Times of India
2 days ago | |

The Gujarat Maldhari Mahapanchayat, the umbrella body of cattle-rearers, has decided against voting for the BJP, emboldening Isudan Gadhvi, the chief minister face of the Aam Aadmi Party who is contesting from the Khambhaliya seat. “It should make you proud that the son of a maldhari is going to become the CM,” Gadhvi, who is pitted against Congress sitting MLA Vikram Madam, tells people during his campaigns. Incidentally, Khambhaliya is famed for its ‘valona’ or handchurned ghee. The AAP’s decision to field Gadhvi from Khambhaliya raised many eyebrows as the constituency has just 15,000 Gadhvi community votes while there are 55,000 Ahirs and 44,000 Satvaras. Gadhvi claims he has the support of the Ahir community. The burning issue of stray cattle menace, which has seen the state government drawing severe flak from the high court, has already riled the community, and Gadhvi is capitalizing on their anger. “If animals are found on the road, the government books maldharis under PASA and impounds their cattle. If the government can provide mining land to companies at cheap rates, why can’t they do the same for cattle-rearers to keep their animals,” he tells people. The BJP has fielded the former minister, Mulu Bera, who had lost the 2012 poll from the Jamnagar North seat. Khambhaliya is one of the two seats in Devbhumi Dwarka district where national security has been raked up by the BJP, after a massive razing drive on properties mostly belonging to Muslims was conducted in Bet Dwarka. PM Modi and home minister Amit Shah have heaped praises on CM Bhupendra Patel forthe daring decision to demolish the illegal structures, which police say were being used for anti-national activities. The BJP has fielded seven-time MLA Pabubha Manek from the Dwarka seat but the 40,000-strong minority community is likely to vent their anger against the demolition during voting. Manek also has tough competition from the AAP candidate, Lakhman Nakum, who belongs to the Satvara community with around 40,000 voters here, and Mulu Kandoriya of the Congress, who comes from the Ahir community, which has 57,000 voters. In adjoining Porbandar, once notorious for gang wars and arms smuggling, a familiar battle will be playing out between the Congress veteran Arjun Modhwadia and the BJP’s Babu Bokhiria. Modhwadia lost the 2012 and 2017 elections to Bokhiria. Interestingly, the AAP has fielded Jeevan Jungi, leader of the huge Kharwa (fishermen) community, who has been with the BJP and the Congress earlier. In Kutiyana, godmother Santokben Jadeja’s son Kandhal is seeking to stamp his authority by contesting on a Samajwadi Party (SP) ticket after being dropped by the NCP. The BJP has fielded Dheliben Odedara, also a Mer, and the president of Kutiyana municipality for the past 28 years. Odedara and Kandhal’s families have been at loggerheads for years now.

Gujarat elections: Who’ll scale the slippery slope in ‘ghee’ land?
  • Gujarat elections 2022: How BJP performs in Patidar areas?
  • Times of India

    NEW DELHI: Patidars, the land holders and agrarian caste, account for over 12% of Gujarat's population and hold significant sway in the state's politics. In the 2017 Guujarat elections, the BJP saw its domination in Patidar-dominated seats dented. Of nearly 40 such seats, the BJP finished on top in 24; the Congress did not fare badly either- bagging 15. The Congress held an upper hand in Saurashtra, while the BJP fared better in and around the urban centres of Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. Compare this to 2012, when BJP bagged 28 seats and Congress just 9. Point to be noted- The Congress had several factors going its way in 2017. The Patidar agitation seeking OBC status and reservation benefits, led by the firebrand Hardik Patel, helped sway some of the community votes away from the BJP. It is safe to assume that Patel's support for the Congress swayed a few Patidar seats for the party. But the grand old party might not have the same wind in its sail this time. Hardik Patel has since parted ways with the Congress, alleging being sidelined, and quit the party in May 2022. he formally joined the saffron party in early June. He will be contesting the 2022 election from Viramgam in Ahmedabad district as a BJP candidate. The patidar agitation too has lost steam, specially with the Supreme Court allowing 10% reservation for the Economically Weaker Sections. How will that, along with the Hardik Patel factor, reflect in the EVMs this time? The last Gujarat assembly had 44 Patidar MLAs. That could rise this time, with BJP, Congress and even new entrant AAP fielding several candidates from the communitiy.

  • Gujarat polls: More women contesting but ‘winnability’ still perceived as hurdle
  • The Indian Express

    Of the 560 candidates the BJP, the Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) have fielded in the coming Assembly elections in Gujarat, only 40 are women. Seventeen of them are from the BJP, 14 from the Congress, seven are AAP nominees, and two of the AIMIM’s 14 candidates are women.Though more women are in the fray this time, compared to 22 in 2017 and 33 a decade ago, women still comprise a small percentage of the candidates of major parties BJP (9.4 per cent) and Congress (7.7 per cent). The two parties had reduced the number of women candidates in 2017 — the BJP from 19 women nominees to 12 and the Congress from 14 to 10 — compared to five years earlier. This was reflected in the decrease in the number of women legislators in the Assembly from 16 in 2012 to 13 in 2017. All 13 were from the Congress and the BJP.Despite their low number, the success rate of woman nominees from the BJP and the Congress remained high in the last Assembly election as 59 per cent of 22 woman candidates from the two parties won. In 2012, the success rate was 51 per cent.Gujarat Pradesh Mahila Congress president Jenny Thummar told The Indian Express, “I was expecting at least 35 tickets for women out of 182 total candidates from the Congress.”With “winnability” taking precedence and several other factors at play, Thummar said the number of women candidates was not at all justified by the parties.“A total of 92 women in their written requests had asked for tickets. But it depends on surveys, caste equations, and area equations based on which the decision is taken by the high command,” said Thummar, 39, who is the former president of the Amreli district panchayat and the wife of the Congress’s incumbent MLA from Lathi Virji Thummar.Meanwhile, the BJP initially fielded Jignaben Pandya from Wadhwan constituency in Surendranagar but just before the nomination process for the first phase closed last week, she was replaced with Jagdish Makwana.Even though the BJP has won Wadhwan since 1990, the party replaced its candidate at the last minute because of the party’s efforts to balance caste equations. Pandya is a Brahmin while Makwana is from the Dalwadi or Sathwara community that is categorised under Other Backward Classes (OBCs). The Sathwaras are found mainly in the districts of Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Surendranagar, and Junagadh.“The BJP has lost 13 seats where Dalwadis or the Sathwara community is dominant. In Surendranagar district alone, the community is a deciding factor in Wadhwan and Dhrangadhra,” said a BJP insider.BJP state vice-president Varshaben Doshi accompanied Pandya to the party headquarters in Gandhinagar as the former candidate submitted a letter declining to contest. She claimed gender was not an issue in this case. Doshi was the sitting MLA from Wadhwan when she was replaced by Dhanjibhai Patel (Makson) ahead of the contest five years ago.Defending the party, Doshi told The Indian Express, “There are several factors that come into play while deciding a candidate’s name. BJP is the party that not only gave tickets but appointed three of the nine (women) who won the elections in 2017 as ministers and Vidhan Sabha Speaker. Even in the organisation, appointing a woman as vice president is a big thing for a political party.”But Thummar accused the ruling party of not trusting its women workers even in “safe” constituencies. “The Congress is fighting to come to power but the BJP which is already in power could have taken a risk by fielding women candidates. It is very sad that on the safe seats in urban areas too they did not take the risk.”BJP state Mahila Morcha general secretary Veena Prajapati disagreed. “Whatever the party decides is good. There is 50 per cent reservation for women in urban local bodies and our women are content and happy,” she said.Disagreeing with Prajapati, Rajya Sabha MP Amee Yajnik, who has been fielded by the Congress from Ghatlodia against Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and the AAP’s Vijay Patel, told The Indian Express, “Political parties look at the winnability factor of a candidate. Women empowerment in politics is very challenging. Though this has changed over the years, there should be more representation of women. especially in politics where they can be strong policymakers. There should be some kind of acceptability by society. Rather than thinking about why she is contesting, it should be, ‘why not?’ Society should be encouraging too.”

  • Gujarat Elections 2022 Live Updates: Fadnavis, Himanta Sarma, and Kejriwal in state today; BJP ‘threatens’ news channels, claims Manish Sisodia
  • The Indian Express

  • Gujarat assembly polls 2022: Election campaigns make demand for charters soar
  • Times of India

    With Gujarat set to vote on December 1 and 5, campaigning is on and in full swing and to water-tight schedules, pushing up demand for charter aircraft and helicopters. Estimates from industry players show that at least 50% of the demand for charters is driven by political entities. Instead of flying scheduled flights like in the years past, most politicians now arrive by charter jets and use helicopters to fly within the state. A string of political heavyweights including PM Narendra Modi, Delhi CM and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi have arrived in Gujarat. Accordingly, the number of charter flights is expected to increase significantly. Sources said at least 400 chartered aircraft and helicopters flew as non-scheduled commercial flights from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) airport in Ahmedabad in the first fortnight of November. This figure has risen by a third, from 600-odd in all of October. “Last month, the Defence Expo coupled with corporate events drove chartered flight movements. This month, the majority of charters are for political leaders. A chartered aircraft is hired for at least five days a week by leaders for a minimum of fourhours,” said a senior official of an aviation firm based in Ahmedabad. This means if a party holds a charter aircraft even for a day, the costs incurred range from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 30 lakh. Interestingly, the sudden spurt in demand for chartered jets and helicopters in the past two years has led aviation leasing companies to look for new aircraft, as their inventory gets fully booked. “With such high demand, the inventory shortage which prevails globally is affecting local players too. We are thus looking to expand our fleet. Even if we order now, the aircraft will be delivered in a year or two. Many are looking at aftermarket aircraft purchases too. However, prices have risen by at least 40% there as well,” said an official of an aviation firm based here. Consequently, many political parties booked charters from Delhi or Mumbai. “Parties such as the Congress, BJP and AAP collectively have four or five aircraft on standby, for use as and when needed for travel to Gujarat for campaigning,” said a source privy to the developments.

  • Gujarat assembly polls: 2007’s highest vote margin unbreachable?
  • Times of India

    The first assembly election held after the delimitation of constituencies in 2012 — which entailed redrawing constituency boundaries based on census — has shrunk the candidates’ hopes of winning elections by mammoth victory margins for decades to come. This, because delimitation alters the voter population and the social composition of seats. The 2007 assembly poll in Gujarat proved to be a landmark contest for two politicians, former Gujarat home minister and now the Union minister, Amit Shah, who fought from Sarkhej (Ahmedabad) constituency and Choryasi’s BJP candidate (Surat) and former state irrigation minister Narottam Patel. Patel won by a margin of 3. 47 lakh votes while Shah beat his nearest rival by 2. 36 lakh votes. This was possible because, in 2007, the Choryasi constituency had the highest voting population of 15. 94 lakh, while Sarkhej had 10. 26lakh voters. Read AlsoGujarat polls 2022 | Tickets: Highest number of women get seat on the triangular tableThe 2022 Gujarat assembly election will be historic for women, as a total of 38 women candidates have been fielded by the three major parties in the fray – BJP (17), Congress (14), and Aam Aadmi Party (7). In the last tripartite contest in 1990 — when JD (Gujarat) emerged as the third front — thereAfter the 2012 delimitation process, there are 172 constituencies at present where the voting population is less than Patel’s 2007 victory margin. However, even today, Choryasi seat boasts of the highest number of voters in the state at 5. 65 lakh, while Surat North has the lowest number of voters at 1. 63 lakh. The average number of voters in 182 seats of Gujarat is 2. 70 lakh. There areonly 10 constituencies where the number of eligible voters exceeds Patel’s 2007 victory margin. “In 2012, the Sarkhej constituency was dissolved and merged with nearby Ghatlodia and Daskroi constituencies to carve out the Vejalpur assembly seat. In the case of Choryasi seat, parts of the constituency were merged with the adjacent assembly seats. Even BJP’s Naroda MLA Maya Kodnani’s margin of 1. 8 lakh votes in 2007 is yet to be broken in that constituency,” reveals a senior BJP leader. The effect of redrawing boundaries was apparent on the Ghatlodia seat where, in 2012, the then chief minister Anandiben Patel won by a margin of 1. 1 lakh votes. In the 2017 poll, she vacated the seat for first-time MLA and close confidant Bhupendra Patel, who won by a margin of 1. 18 lakh votes and went on to become the chief minister last year. Notably, in the 2007 poll, former Gujarat home minister Amit Shah garnered a total of 4. 07 lakh votes and trounced his Congress rival Shashikant Patel by a huge margin. Similarly, in Choryasi, former state irrigation minister Narottam Patel got 5. 84 lakh votes and defeated Congress’s Janak Dhanani. After the 2007 assembly election, Gujarat saw assembly elections in 2012 and 2017. However, the records of the three BJP candidates — Amit Shah, Narottam Patel, and Mayaben Kodnani — who won with huge vote margins in 2007 have not been broken so far. This time, however, poll pundits say that there are chances that Kodnani’s 2007 victory margin could be breached on the Naroda seat if not Amit Shah’s or Narottam Patel’s winning margins that year.

‘Gave green signal for Bet Dwarka demolitions at the cost of losing votes’: BJP’s Dwarka candidate Pabubha Manek
The Indian Express | 3 days ago | |
The Indian Express
3 days ago | |

Campaigning for the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections in villages of the state’s Devbhumi Dwarka district Tuesday, BJP MLA and candidate Pabubha Manek said he gave permission to the demolition of unauthorised structures on the Bet Dwarka island even while running the risk of losing votes.The district administration of Devbhumi Dwarka, Okha municipality, and other departments of the state government had launched a joint demolition drive against unauthorised encroachments on the island, which is near Okha and believed to be the residence of Lord Krishna, on October 1. Around 100 structures constructed mainly by the minority community, including about 30 religious structures, were demolished during the week-long drive.Addressing a gathering in the Bhatiya village under Kalyanpur taluka, Manek said he has been asked whether the demolition drive would affect his prospects in the Assembly polls. “When the island was surrounded from all sides, officers took the responsibility. I didn’t know that it (encroachment) had grown that much. They (officers) spotted it. They (BJP) told me they will give the election ticket to me only and then asked me how much would it (the demolition) affect me. I said it will affect me a great deal but it was not fair to stop that work just because of that effect. So, I said ‘enu shiv shiv kari nakho’ (demolish them),” Manek said to a round of applause.Manek, who represents the Dwarka constituency in the Gujarat Assembly, said he told party leaders he would manage the impact. “I said we will tell people to work a bit harder… You have to offset that loss,” the BJP leader, who will be contesting his eighth consecutive election, told the gathering ahead of the Gujarat polls on December 1 and December 5.Manek has won the Gujarat Assembly elections in 1990 and 1995, and the 1998 poll as an Independent and as a Congress candidate in 2002. Later, he switched over to the BJP and won the elections in 2007, 2012, and 2017 as its candidate.When asked by The Indian Express whether the demolition drive will impact the Assembly election, Manek said it won’t. “Elections continue round the year. Taluka panchayat, district panchayat, municipality, Assembly, Parliament, and so on. Work of country’s security and development have to go. If one keeps only election in mind, no work can ever be done,” he said.Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have been mentioning the Bet Dwarka demolition in their election speeches, Manek insisted the demolition drive is not even a poll issue. “How can it be an issue? People living there say it is a very good development because even they didn’t know that terrorists were coming from outside and using and good Muslims are saying that that (activity) was the worse thing.”Muslims, who are mainly concentrated on Bet Dwarka, Rupen Harbour, and Okha town and hold around 25000 votes in the Dwarka Assembly constituency, have traditionally, voted for Manek and the BJP leader claimed they will do the same in this election as well. “Muslims have been supporters of the country but some of them were swayed by disputes, disturbance, and communalism promoted by Congress. Then our Prime Minister came (and gave the slogan of) Sauno Saath, Sauno Vikas. They felt that something good is happening. So, gradually, they started coming back…” said Manek, adding he has visited the island three to four times after the week-long demolition drive.The BJP leader also urged the gathering to attend the election meeting organised by him on Wednesday, which will be addressed by Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath Wednesday. “Don’t look at Yogi as a Chief Minister. Yogi is a committed ascetic and saint. Getting his darshan is difficult. He will come to Dwarka at 10 am tomorrow… If some of you and those who are in touch with you want to come, you are free to hire a vehicle. We will pay the fares… But come you must… It is punya (virtue) to meet such people,” he said.“He is not afraid of anyone. You must have heard on TV that Pakistan says that Narenrabhai (Modi) is okay but that UP Chief Minister is very dangerous. Pakistan is fearful of him and trembles wondering what will he do to them if he wins. So you come, have darshan of Dwarkadheesh (Lord Krishna), don’t swim in the Gomati but just have suryasnan and then come to the meeting,” he told the gathering.He extended his invitation to the people of the Juvanpar and Ran villages as well.

‘Gave green signal for Bet Dwarka demolitions at the cost of losing votes’: BJP’s Dwarka candidate Pabubha Manek