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I wasn’t a PM who was afraid of talking to the press: Manmohan takes a jibe at PM Modi

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NEW DELHI: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday took a jibe at his successor Narendra Modi claiming that he was never afraid of speaking to the press.

“People say I was a silent Prime Minister. I think these volumes (his book ‘Changing India’) speak for themselves. I wasn’t the PM who was afraid of talking to the press. I met press regularly and on every foreign trip I undertook, I had a press conference on return,” Dr Singh said.

The former PM was speaking at the launch of his book “Changing India” which details his life as an economist as well as talks about his 10-year period at the helm of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime.

 

He narrated an incidence of 2005 when he was advised by officials not to address a press conference organised by National Press Club in Washington and said officials were nervous but it turned out to be successful and the verbatim record is published in these volumes.

He also said that he was not only an “accidental prime minister” but also an “accidental finance minister” of the country as the post was denied by I G Patel, the former RBI Governor and his immediate predecessor in the RBI. The former prime minister said that no government could change the course of the economy and broadly followed the path set by him as a finance minister in the Narasimha Rao-led government.

Dr Singh also spoke about the relationship between the government and the RBI saying they are like “husband and wife”. In light of the alleged differences between the government and the Central bank, he said that the difference of opinions must be resolved in a manner that the two institutions work in harmony.

The comments came against the backdrop of Urjit Patel resigning as RBI Governor earlier this month amid a tussle between the central bank and the finance ministry on matters ranging from the appropriate size of reserves the central bank must hold to the easing of lending norms for sectors such as small and medium enterprises.

“At the same time, I would say the relationship between government and RBI is like husband-wife relationship. There will be hiccups, there will be a difference of opinion, but ultimately these must be harmonised in a manner that these two great institutions can work in harmony,” Singh said.


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National

Rahul ‘regrets’ using SC reference in ‘chowkidar chor hai’ remark over Rafale deal

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New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday filed his response to a contempt petition filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Meenakshi Lekhi over his remark on the Rafale deal. Rahul said that he ‘regrets’ using Supreme Court’s reference in ‘chowkidar chor hai’ remark and it was ‘made in the heat of the political campaign.’

SC had last week issued a notice to Rahul Gandhi in connection to the contempt petition and sought an explanation from him.

In his response, the Congress president said that the statement was made in the “heat of political campaigning” but alleged that it has been “used and misused by political opponents.”

 

“I will not attribute any views, observations or findings to the court in political addresses to the media and in public speeches, unless such views, observations or findings are recorded by the Court,” Rahul Gandhi said.

“It is also clear that no court would ever do that (say Chowkidar Chor hai) and hence the unfortunate references (for which I express regret) to the court order and to the political juxtaposition in the same breath in the heat of the political campaigning,” he added.

The Supreme Court will hear the matter .

After the apex court had dismissed preliminary objection raised by the Centre seeking review of the earlier judgment in the Rafale case, the Congress president remarked: “Supreme Court has said chowkidar chor hai in the verdict.”

While making the observations last week, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said: “We make it clear that views, observations, findings attributed to this court in the alleged speeches, remarks made by Gandhi to media/public have been incorrectly attributed to this court. We also make it clear that this court had no occasion to make such observation in as much as it was deciding legal admissibility of certain documents which were objected by the attorney general.”

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Like father, like son: Jaya Prada reacts to Abdullah Azam Khan’s ‘Anarkali’ jibe

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New Delhi: Jaya Prada on Monday lashed out at Abdullah Azam Khan for his remarks from a day earlier in which he described her as ‘Anarkali.’

Abdullah, son of Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan, had – without actually taking Jaya Prada’s name – had suggested that Rampur Lok Sabha constituency will accept both Bajrangbali and Ali but will reject Anarkali. It is believed to be a clear reference to Jaya Prada who is contesting the Lok Sabha election on a BJP ticket from here. (Full report here)

Reacting to the remark, Jaya Prada said that Abdullah has taken the habit of making cheap remarks from his father. “I cannot decide whether to laugh or to cry after listening to his remark. Like father, like son. But I had not expected this from Abdullah. He is an educated man,” she told news agency ANI. “His father says I am Amrapali. He says I am Anarkali. Is that how they see women?”

 

The verbal duel between Jaya Prada on one side and Abdullah and Azam Khan on the other has been bitter, often bordering on derogatory.

Azam Khan, in particular, has had to face massive backlash for reportedly making numerous crass remarks against his former SP colleague who has since joined BJP. The two are direct rivals in the Rampur Lok Sabha constituency which votes in the third phase this Tuesday.

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‘Absolutely a right decision’: Amit Shah defends fielding Sadhvi Pragya

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Kolkata: While addressing a press conference in Kolkata, BJP president Amit Shah said, “The refugees who have come from Bangladesh, be it Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, or Christians, BJP has clearly signalled in its ‘sankalp patra’ that we will give them citizenship.”

“Citizenship Amendment Bill will come first, all refugees will be given citizenship, after that NRC will be made. Refugees shouldn’t worry, only infiltrators should. First the CAB will come then NRC, NRC will not be for just Bengal but for the whole country,” Shah said.

Shah assured that Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will be passed after picture in Rajya Sabha changes by 2020.

 

He said, for India, the 2019 Lok Sabha elections is about taking it to new heights and establishing democracy.

“Democracy has ceased to exist in Bengal, law and order has also failed,” he added.

Speaking on the recent controversial leader Sadhvi Pragya, the BJP president said that she has been given a clean chit after a false case was filed against her.

Sadhvi Pragya, who is out on bail in the Malegaon blast case of 2008, has been fielded by the BJP from Bhopal constituency. “It is absolutely a right decision. The allegations against her are baseless. Nothing against her or Swami Aseemanad have been proved,” Shah said while addressing a media conference here.

On being asked if Prime Minister Modi will also contest from West Bengal, Shah said that as of now there is no such plan.

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