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‘Some understand money, not national security’: Jaitley hits back at Rahul

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New Delhi: The government rejected a demand in the Lok Sabha for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe the alleged scam in Rafale jet deal.

Hitting back at the Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who alleged a scam in the fighter jet deal, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said as the Supreme Court has already satisfied its “conscience” on the issue, there was no need for a JPC.

His speech was disrupted by continuous protests from the Congress Members, some of whom were seen throwing paper planes, drawing the Speaker’s admonition.

 

“Are you still kids”, an angry Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said.

Jaitley said perhaps the Congress members were throwing paper planes in the memory of Euro Fighter, which was also in the race along with Rafale.

Jaitley said the Congress felt that since “its hands are already soaked in corruption”, it decided to “manufacture” a lie to defame the Modi government which has a clean record. “Remember the JPC on Bofors … it said the kickback were winding up charges … it whitewashed corruption,” Jaitley said.

He also claimed that the JPC is a partisan body which cannot investigate fairly. He said there was no point in accepting demand for a JPC by a party which is already embroiled in Bofors corruption case.

The Finance Minister noted that the price of ‘bare aircraft’ has been revealed and that the price of ‘weaponised’ version cannot be told as it would help India’s adversaries. He also asserted that the bare aircraft was nine per cent cheaper than the one negotiated by the UPA and the weaponised version was 20 per cent cheaper.

Taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi, Jaitley said, “It is a tragedy that the grand old party which was headed by the legends in the past is now headed by a gentleman who doesn’t have basic understanding of combat aircraft.”

Targeting the Congress, he also said that “conspirators” of past defence scams are now raising fingers at the Narendra Modi government and quoted the Supreme Court judgement to say that all charges have been negated.

“There are some people who have a natural dislike for truth. Every word spoken for the last six months on this subject, including in this House (by them) are false….He has a legacy of speaking falsehood,” Jaitley said.

He said Gandhi has a “natural dislike for truth” and had earlier “manufactured” his conversation with former French President, which was denied by the French government.

“We are all utterly disappointed because every word he has said has been denied by the Supreme Court. When the Supreme Court speaks on an issue, it is the last word,” the finance minister said. He asserted that nobody here can be entitled enough to challenge the Supreme Court’s verdict.

Targeting the Gandhi family, he said some people and families understand arithmetic of money but cannot comprehend issues of national security.

The finance minister also raised AgustaWestland, National Herald cases and made a veiled reference to Ottavio Quattrocchi to attack Congress leadership.

Jaitley, who briefly held the Defence portfolio, said tender for buying aircraft was floated in 2007 during UPA regime and Dassault manufacturer of the Rafale aircraft was found the L1 (lowest bidder).

“In 2012 it went to the table of the then Defence Minister, who everyone knows is a simple man who wrote that Rafale is appropriate but the process through which it has become lowest bidder need to be looked into,” Jaitley said suggesting that the then defence minister did this under the influence of his party.


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National

Naveen Patnaik-led BJD sweeps Odisha assembly polls

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Mumbai: Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) clinches a clean sweep in the Odisha assembly elections. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has tried to increase the vote margin than the previous elections.

The BJD has secured 94 seats. While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has joined the race with 28 seats, the Indian National Congress (INC) managed to attain 12 seats and the Communist Party of India, Marxist (CPM) with 1 seat.

The counting of votes began at 8 am. The Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Odisha took place simultaneously in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29.

 

In 2014 Odisha assembly election, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) had won 117 seats out of the total 147. The Congress had won 16 seats while the BJP, on the other hand, 10 of the 147 assembly seats.

An Odisha-centric exit poll jointly done by Sambad, the most circulated regional daily in the state, and Kanak News, its group-owned TV channel, gives BJD a massive lead over its closest rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Sampling a survey of over 100,000 respondents, the exit poll forecasts BJD winning 85-95 of the 147 Assembly seats, where outcomes were polled till this report was filed. The BJP is seen contending with a distant second spot with 25-34 seats, while for the Congress, the poll trend is a reprisal of its mortifying electoral performance in 2014. Congress party’s presence is seen diminishing to 12-15 seats.

A collective prediction of Kanak News and News18 Odia for the Odisha Assembly Election 2019 projects BJD’s win. On the other hand, the BJP may add more to its 2014 tally by 16 seats, which comes up to 26 of the 147-seat assembly. Congress, on the other hand, may manage to win only 12 seats, a drop of four seats less than what it had won in the 2014 polls. The other parties will collectively win 24 seats in Odisha.

Among the main candidates in Odisha, Naveen Patnaik contested in two seats – Hinjili in Ganjam district and Bijepur in Bargarh. Senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra contested from Bolangir assembly seat, while BJP’s legislature party leader KV Singhdeo is contested from Patnagarh.

Before the gradual rise of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) – formed by Biju Patnaik and his son Naveen Patnaik, the political arena was dominated by the Congress.

The upsurge of Congress party in the state as the only secular, progressive force in Odisha was countered by the BJD, which has managed to gain a majority for the last three consecutive terms. The BJP has also made its presence felt in the state, and is considered an important political party in Odisha.

The regional parties apart from BJD in the state are Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), All India Trinamool Congress (AITC), Janata Dal(United), Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP), Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), Samajwadi Party (SP).

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India, Marxist (CPM), Indian National Congress (INC) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are the national parties in Odisha at present.?

Odisha, earlier known as Orissa, has a rich and varied political tradition. From the ancient times, the state has remained politically active. However, Odisha’s political prominence was heightened after it was granted complete statehood in 1950. Odisha has a 147-member strong Vidhan Sabha.

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National

‘Was expected, it is people’s victory,’ says Jaganmohan Reddy

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Amaravati: With his YSR Congress heading for a landslide victory in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Andhra Pradesh, party president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy Thursday termed it as people’s victory.

He also said the YSRC’s victory was expected. “I sincerely thank the people who overwhelmingly voted for YSRC and blessed it. I also thank them for exercising their franchise in large numbers and enhanced the value of democracy,” Jaganmohan Reddy said in a Facebook post.

“I will live up to the expectations of the people,” he promised.

 

According to the trends, YSRC is leading in over 150 seats of the total 175 in the State.

The party is leading in 23 Lok Sabha seats, while the TDP in two.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao called Reddy over phone and congratulated him over the YSRC’s thumping win in the general elections. Wishing Reddy all the best, Rao hoped he would lead Andhra Pradesh further on the path of progress.

Later, talking to the media at his residence here, the YSRC chief congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the BJP’s stupendous performance in the Lok Sabha polls.

Reddy asserted that his fight for securing special category status for Andhra Pradesh would continue. He declined to speak about Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

Meanwhile, the YSRC Legislature Party will meet here on May 25 to formally elect Jaganmohan Reddy as its leader, party sources said. The sources said Reddy will take oath as Chief Minister in the temple-town of Tirupati on May 30.

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National

BJP loses Parrikar’s Panaji Assembly seat to Congress

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Panaji: Congress’ Atanasio Monserratte on Thursday wrested Panaji Assembly seat, held by the late chief minister Manohar Parrikar, from the BJP and with a margin of over 1,775 votes in the by-poll held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections.

The Panaji Assembly seat became vacant after the demise of former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar, who held the seat for nearly two-and-a-half decades since 1994.

The BJP had fielded Siddharth Kunkolienkar to retain the seat.

 

Goa Assembly has a strength of 40 members out of which BJP currently has 12 legislators and enjoys the support of legislators from Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Vijay Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party (GFP) and three independents. GFP and MGP each have three MLAs.

Congress, on the other hand, has 15 MLAs in the house till now.

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