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Modi a seasonal bird, afraid of me: Mamata

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Jalpaiguri/Alipurduar (West Bengal) : West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “seasonal bird” for coming to north Bengal only ahead of elections, and dismissed his claim that she was petrified, saying it was he who was scared of her.


“Babus of Delhi set fire in the hills and we defused it. You (Modi) had not come to Darjeeling during the days of unrest. Where were the BJP leaders when there were disturbances in the hills?” Banerjee said in a strongly-worded speech at a rally at Churabhandar in Jalpaiguri district, hours after Modi spoke at an election meeting in Cooch Behar.


Addressing a rally later in the day at Falakata in Alipurduar district, she said BJP leaders “are seasonal birds who come here only during elections and run away after polls” while Trinamool Congress leaders and activists have been with the people 365 days a year

 


For the major part of 2017, the hills in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong witnessed violence and political turmoil over the revived demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland to be curved out of the northern West Bengal hills.


The entire region came to a standstill for 104 days following the longest-ever shutdown called by the pro-Gorkhaland outfits.


Responding to Modi’s remarks that she was petrified at fearing defeat, Banerjee said: “They are saying Didi and Trinamool Congress are scared. I am not scared of any dacoit like you and it is not so easy to frighten Didi. Didi was beaten up from head to toe and I have injuries all over my body. I had fought in front of bullets and guns.


“When rest of India remained silent (during the note ban and the NRC), we raised our voice. That is why Modi babu is afraid of us and he knows he will be defeated,” she said.


In Churabhandar, Banerjee also asked why the people of Bengal would vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as “Modi has done nothing for Bengal” and “has not even cleared the proposal for changing the name of the state to Bangla”.


She attacked the BJP for nominating “tainted” candidates such as John Barla from Alipurduar, whom she accused of indulging in “violence and efforts to create division between hills and plains”.


Banerjee also alleged that the saffron party was offering cash to the youth and the people so that they come and join its meetings and rallies.


“They are threatening people and fighting the elections with money power,” she said.


Responding to the Prime Minister describing the Trinamool Congress as “Saradha-Narada” party, Banerjee said: “You had linked the Trinamool with the Saradha chit fund scam in 2014 and with the Narada sting case in 2016. But during today’s rally in Cooch Behar, you shared the stage with persons who were accused in both the cases and are now controlling your meetings.”


“Sarada-Narada-Hawala leaders have now become BJP’s leaders,” she said at Falakata.


Incidentally, BJP leader Mukul Roy, who had jumped ship from the Trinamool to the BJP and was questioned by the central investigation agencies in these cases, was present at Modi’s rally in Cooch Behar earlier in the day.


Amid the controversy over removing senior police officers in the state by the Election Commission, Banerjee claimed that the saffron party will not win the Lok Sabha elections by transferring officers.


“Why the Cabinet Secretary and your Secretary won’t be removed ahead of the elections? There were many allegations against you (Modi),” she said.
Taunting Modi for calling himself a “chowkidar” (watchman), Banerjee wondered whether the Prime Minister knew that many “chowkidars” at the ATMs do not even get their salary regularly.


“We want real chowkidar, not the fraud. I will say chowkidar jhoota hain. Chowkidar lootera hain. Chowkidar did note-ban and is corrupt,” she said at the Falakata rally .

ontroversy over removing senior police officers in the state by the Election Commission, Banerjee claimed that the saffron party will not win the Lok Sabha elections by transferring officers.


“Why the Cabinet Secretary and your Secretary won’t be removed ahead of the elections? There were many allegations against you (Modi),” she said.


Taunting Modi for calling himself a “chowkidar” (watchman), Banerjee wondered whether the Prime Minister knew that many “chowkidars” at the ATMs do not even get their salary regularly.


“We want real chowkidar, not the fraud. I will say chowkidar jhoota hain. Chowkidar lootera hain. Chowkidar did note-ban and is corrupt,” she said at the Falakata rally .


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National

Non-Gandhi chief will cause Congress to split within 24 hours: Natwar Singh

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New Delhi: With the Congress leadership in limbo after the resignation of Rahul Gandhi, party veteran Natwar Singh joined the chorus backing Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for the top post, adding that having a non-Gandhi at the helm will cause the party to split.

Praising Priyanka for her visit to Sonbhadra to meet victims of a firing incident, the former external affairs minister told ANI that she is capable of handling the party. “You must have witnessed what she did in a village in Uttar Pradesh. It was amazing. She stayed there and achieved what she wanted to,” he said.

Singh suggested that Rahul’s decision of a having someone from outside the Gandhi family as the party chief will have to be reversed.

 

On being asked if Priyanka would be elected as the party president, the Congressman said, “It will depend on Priyanka because her brother (Rahul Gandhi) had said that nobody from the Gandhi family will become the Congress president. Now, the family will have to reverse the decision and only they can do it.”

Earlier, Anil Shastri, son of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, had said that Priyanka Gandhi should be made the Congress president as no one other than her is “100 per cent acceptable”.

Shastri, speaking to ANI, had also warned that if somebody else is made the supremo and a section of the outfit does not accept them, chances are that the party will disintegrate.

Natwar Singh echoed similar sentiments and said that if anyone is elected from outside the Gandhi family, the Congress will split within 24 hours.

“It is unfortunate that the country’s 134-years-old party does not have a party president. I do not think apart from the Gandhi family, anyone should be elected as the president,” Singh added.

Around 50 days after Rahul stepped down as Congress president, taking moral responsibility for the humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, the grand old party is yet to finalize its new chief.

Gandhi, now a lawmaker from Wayanad in Kerala, became the ongress president in 2017. He had, earlier this month, written a lengthy four-page letter making his resignation from the post public. Taking responsibility for the drubbing in Lok Sabha polls, Rahul had said it would not be right for him to suggest a successor.

At present Congress in Goa has completely lost foot, after 10 of its MLAs switched side with the BJP. This has reduced its strength to five in the Assembly.

Similarly, in Karnataka, the situation is equally embarrassing for the party, as its coalition government with JD(S) is facing a tough time. The government had slumped into a crisis following the resignation of 16 dissident MLAs and now its survival seems to be tough.

The Congress won 52 seats in the recent general elections, which is just eight more than its 2014 Lok Sabha tally of 44.

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35 killed as lightning strikes in Uttar Pradesh

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Lucknow: As many as 35 people were killed in Uttar Pradesh due to lightning, said officials.

A day earlier, the lightning had claimed one life in the state, while two others had died of snake bites on July 18 and 20 respectively, the statement said.

Thirteen others were injured due to lightning, the statement added.

 

The lightning victims included seven each in Kanpur and Fatehpur, five in Jhansi, four in Jalaun, three in Hamirpur, two in Ghazipur and one each in Jaunpur, Pratapgarh, Kanpur Dehat and Chitrakoot, the statement added.

Among the three who died earlier, one was killed due to lightning in Deoria, while one lost his life to snake bite on in Kushinagar on Saturday.

Yet another person had died of snake bite on July 18 in Ambedkarnagar, the government statement said.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expressed sorrow over the loss of lives in the state and has issued orders to the respective district magistrates to give a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to each of the families of victims.

He also directed officials to ensure that the injured persons get adequate treatment, and that there should be no laxity in execution of relief works, the statement said.

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Netanyahu to visit India in September to meet PM Modi

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Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to India on a day-long visit on September 9 to meet his counterpart Narendra Modi, just eight days before unprecedented repeat polls in the Jewish state.

PM Netanyahu, who created history on July 20 by becoming the longest-serving Israeli Prime Minister, surpassing Israel’s first premier David Ben-Gurion, is facing a tough political challenge as opinion polls show flagging fortunes for his ruling Likud party.

“The (Israeli) Prime Minister will be in India only for a few hours on September 9 during which he will be meeting Modi. No other significant meeting is yet on the cards but something may be worked out during the coming days, possibly a business meeting,” informed sources told news agency Press Trust of India in Jerusalem.

 

Israeli lawmakers in May voted 74-45 in favour of dissolving the 21st Knesset (Parliament) and hold an unprecedented repeat general elections on September 17 after PM Netanyahu failed to form a coalition government.

Some analysts in Israel believe that the meeting with PM Modi is meant to prop up his campaign right before the polls.

Ha’aretz columnist Yossi Verter, in an opinion piece, “Netanyahu’s Out of Luck, but He’s Hoping a Photo-op With India’s Modi Will Help”, recently argued that PM Netanyahu, who’s fighting for his personal survival ahead of a hearing before the state prosecution on several graft cases, must find a way to bounce back.

He wrote that that the PM Office in Tel Aviv is said to have reached out to their counterparts in New Delhi and requested for an invitation.

PM Netanyahu will land, meet, have his picture taken, market the visit as “very important” for Israel’s security and economic interests, complain that the leftist media ignored the trip and upload something to Facebook, the journalist wrote.

Sources said that the Indian PMO had indeed suggested the week of August 25 for the visit but the Israeli side pushed for an early September visit which has finally been confirmed for September 9, exactly sixteen years after then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon created history by becoming the first Israeli Premier to visit India.

The first request for an invitation for PM Netanyahu to visit New Delhi was made in January during the visit of Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Sabbath to India. The two leaders were scheduled to meet on February 11 before the elections in Israel but PM Netanyahu called off his trip to New Delhi due to other engagements.

The efforts regarding the visit were renewed after the Israeli parliament was dissolved and fresh elections announced.

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