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Leadership, direction, plans needed to turnaround ‘ravaged economy’ lacking: Rahul

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Sep 8 : The Congress on Sunday launched an all out attack on the Modi government alleging that there had been “no development” in the first 100 days of its second term, with Rahul Gandhi saying there was a “glaring lack” of leadership, direction and plans where it is needed the most — to turnaround a “ravaged economy”.

Congress” senior spokesperson Kapil Sibal, addressing a press conference, also alleged that the government”s 100 days in office have been characterised by “arrogance, uncertainty and vendetta politics”.

He attacked the dispensation over issues such as the state of the economy, the situation in Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam and action by probe agencies against opposition leaders.

 

Taking a dig at the Modi government, Gandhi “congratulated” it on 100 days of “no development”.

“Congratulations to the Modi govt on #100DaysNoVikas, the continued subversion of democracy, a firmer stranglehold on a submissive media to drown out criticism and a glaring lack of leadership, direction and plans where it”s needed the most — to turnaround our ravaged economy,” he tweeted.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the Modi government is mum after “ruining the economy” and alleged it is trying to hide the grim situation in the country.

“The government is mum after ruining the economy. The companies are in danger, while trade is in doldrums,” she said in a tweet in Hindi.

“Through drama, deceit, lies, and propaganda, they are trying to hide the country”s grim situation,” she said, using the hashtag ”100DaysNoVikas” (100 days, no development).

“Three words that describe the first 100 days of BJP 2.0 – tyranny, chaos and anarchy,” the Congress said earlier in a series of tweets.

“Eight sectors have recorded a growth rate below two per cent and our finance minister still refuses to accept that our economy is in free fall. If the BJP continues this path of negligence & deceit, we are headed towards recession,” the party said.

Sibal said the massive mandate to the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls had given it an opportunity to provide relief to the common man, but what happened was the opposite.

“Common man”s problems are increasing, lapdog media is becoming even more biased, atrocities against women increasing, there is no strategy on education and health, small trader is in distress, and there is vendetta politics against political opponents,” he alleged.

He claimed that the Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax Department and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are being misused.

“Where there is evidence against their own people, they are sheltering them, and action is being taken against opposition leaders against whom there is no evidence,” Sibal said.

The government”s arrogance reflects in legislations being passed without parliamentary scrutiny as well as in decisions such as abrogation of Article 370, dilution of the Right to Information Act, criminalisation of triple talaq, merger of banks and the RBI made to transfer 1.76 lakh crore record surplus to the government, he said.

Accusing the government of practising vendetta politics, Sibal, in a statement, said in the cases of P Chidambaram, D K Shivakumar”s arrest, MNS”s Raj Thackeray, NCP”s Ajit Pawar , TMC”s Partha Chatterjee and Kamal Nath”s nephew, probe agencies haven”t charge-sheeted the leaders for particular crimes.

“The agencies apply the law selectively on opposition leaders while those belonging to the BJP are given an easy escape route,” he said, listing cases such as those of Kuldeep Sengar (Unnao rape accused), Mukul Roy (Saradha chit fund scam), Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa (land and mining scam) and Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Vyapam scam).

Uncertainty prevailed in the Modi government 2.0”s first 100 days and with the abrogation of Article 370, Kashmir braces for an “uncertain future”, Sibal said.

“Tourism, trade and horticulture industries are registering huge losses. At least 2,500 hotels are empty. 15,000 salesmen working in major markets have lost their jobs…While the government has directed schools to open, parents prefer not to send their children to school owing to the prevailing situation,” he said.

The former Union minister said he was surprised over the government”s assertion that easing of curbs in J-K depends on “Pakistan”s behaviour”.

“I didn”t understand what this statement means? If Pakistan continues terror activities, then you will not bring any improvement in the condition of your citizens,” he asked.

On the NRC, Sibal said many of the 1.9 million people, who are genuine citizens have been left out which has created chaos and they brace an uncertain future.

He alleged there was a lot of “anguish” prevailing in the country over the slump in the auto industry and highlighted the problems being faced by textile, gold and real estate sectors.

Citing figures from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), he said the overall unemployment has now touched 8.2 per cent, with urban unemployment as high as 9.4 per cent.

As there is suspense over whether scientists would be able to make contact with Chandrayaan-2”s lander, there is also deep suspense over whether the economy will recover in the near future, Sibal said.

The Congress, in a short video on its official Twitter handle, hit out at the BJP over issues such as “unemployment, dilution of RTI, UAPA, GDP, bank frauds, lynchings, falling of rupee, J&K bifurcation, and mishandling of NRC”.

On lynchings in the country, it said, “The term ”mob lynching” in the BJP government has greatly damaged India”s fraternity. Involvement of people associated with the ruling ideology in promoting mobilized violence is a big threat to the unity, the integrity of the country.”


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Declare birth anniversary of Hari Singh public holiday: Karan Singh to Guv

Press Trust of India

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Senior Congress leader Karan Singh on Friday urged Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik to declare his father Hari Singh”s birth anniversary next week as a public holiday, asserting that it was due to the state”s erstwhile ruler that it became a part of India.

Singh, the former Sadar-e-Riyasat of Jammu and Kashmir, said that for many years there had been a strong demand to declare the birthday of Hari Singh as a public holiday.

“In fact, both my sons had a resolution to this effect passed in the legislative council some years ago, but so far no action has been taken. The birth anniversary is on Monday, September 23,” he said in a statement.

“Let us recall that it was due to Maharaja Hari Singh ji that Jammu and Kashmir state became a part of India when he signed the instrument of accession on October 26, 1947. Apart from that he was a progressive and a far-sighted ruler who instituted many social and economic reforms for the welfare of the people,” he said.

Singh said as far back as 1929, his father had declared all temples in the state open to Dalits.

“I urge the governor to declare this day as a public holiday,” he said

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Fresh restrictions in Kashmir in view of Friday prayers

Press Trust of India

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Fresh restrictions were imposed in parts of Kashmir on Friday as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order in view of congregational prayers, officials said.

Normal life continued to remain affected across the valley for the 47th consecutive day with markets closed and public transport off the roads, the officials said.

Restrictions under Section 144 CrPc have been imposed in few areas of the valley to maintain law and order, the officials said.

They said the curbs have been imposed in Nowhatta and adjoining areas in downtown (interior city) and Anchar area of Soura police station in Srinagar.

The restrictions have also been imposed in Kupwara and Handwara police districts and the main towns of Ganderbal, Anantnag and Bijbehara, the officials added.

Security forces have been deployed in strength in vulnerable areas in the rest of the valley, they said.

The officials said the curbs were a precautionary measure to maintain law and order in view of apprehensions that vested interests might exploit the large Friday prayer gatherings at big mosques and shrines to fuel protests.

Friday prayers have not been allowed at any of the major mosques or shrines – including Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta or Dargah Sharief in Hazratbal – in the valley for the past over a month now.

Restrictions were first imposed across Kashmir on August 5 when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate the state into two Union territories. The restrictions were lifted in phases from many parts of the valley.

Internet services have remained suspended across all platforms, they said. While landlines across the valley were functional, voice calls on mobile devices were working only in Kupwara and Handwara police districts of north Kashmir, they added.

The efforts of the state government to open schools have not borne fruit as parents continued to keep children at home due to apprehensions about their safety.

Most of the top-level and second rung mainstream politicians, including three former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, continued to be in detention or under house arrest.

While NC president Farooq Abdullah was first placed under house arrest, he was on Tuesday booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA).

His son Omar and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti were detained on the night of August 4 — hours before the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and to bifurcate the state into two Union territories.

Most of the mainstream leaders, including former ministers and legislators, were also either detained or kept under house arrest, the officials said.

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Ignoring protests, Gates Foundation to give Narendra Modi global award

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New York: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be awarding the Global Gatekeepers Award to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his leadership in India’s achievement sanitation, the organisation has announced.

“Modi is receiving an award at the Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the progress India is making in improving sanitation, as part of its drive toward achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” the Foundation said in a statement to IANS on Wednesday.

“Sanitation is a key factor in improving the health and well-being of millions of people, especially women and children,” it added.

Modi is being recognised by the foundation in New York on September 24 for the Swachh Bharat Mission of which the constructions of toilets is a key element.

A motley collection of Indian secularists, Pakistanis, activists and entertainers have opposed the award to Modi alleging he was responsible for human rights violations and for India rescinding the special status for Kashmir.

Some influential US media also published articles demanding that the Foundation cancel the award.

The publications include Foreign Policy magazine’s website, and Washington Post that is owned by Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, which has disputes with the Indian government. The Post published an opinion article by two Indian-origin lawyers.

An organisation called S Asian Philanthropy published in the Medium a letter signed by people of Indian origin and others representing various foundations and NGOs.

National Public Radio reported that a dozen demonstrators with “Stop Genocide, a project of the American human rights group Justice For All”, delivered a petition with 100,000 signatures to the Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle protesting the award for Modi.

The radio also said that three Nobel Peace Prize winners – Shirin Ebadi of Iran, Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman of Yemen and Mairead Maguire of Britain – had also sent the Gates a protest letter.

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