New Delhi: Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as he remembered Atal Bihari Vajpayee saying the BJP patriarch neither had anger against the opposition nor did he undermine the progress made by the country since Independence.
Speaking at a function held at the Central Hall of Parliament to unveil a life-size portrait of Mr Vajpayee, the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha said the former prime minister will always be remembered for his speeches.
“He always opposed his rival parties, but never had anger against them,” Azad said at the event where, besides PM Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar were present on the dias.
Members of both Houses attended the event where President Kovind unveiled the life-size portrait of the former prime minister.
The BJP, especially PM Modi, has been attacking the Congress and questioning the performance of its governments over the last 70 years.
The Congress leader recollected some of the speeches delivered by Mr Vajpayee in Lok Sabha, including one on the occasion of 50th anniversary of India’s Independence.
“He said ”I (Vajpayee) maintained that the country made progress in the last 50 years and no one can deny that. I had enough material to attack previous governments during elections and canvassing for votes, making fervent attacks on their policies. But I have said everywhere that I am not one of those who undermines the country’s achievements in the last 50 years.
“Doing this would be undermining the country’s administration. Doing this would mean doing injustice against country’s farmers, labourers and this would not be right against the common man,” the Congress leader said.
Ghulam Nabi Azad also recollected Mr Vajpayee’s speech in 1999 during a vote of confidence motion.
He noted that the former prime minister had said there should not no polarisation in the country in the name of caste and religion and politics should not be divided into two camps where there cannot be any conversation.
Recalling Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s speech in Goa in 2002, Mr Azad said the former prime minister had said India won’t be so if it was not secular.
Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs
Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.
“We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements,” Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.
This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs.
According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.
Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara
Vadodara: Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died due to asphyxiation on Saturday while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, officials said.
The incident happened at a hotel in Fartikui village in Dabhoi tehsil, about 30 km from Vadodara city. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.
“When one sanitation worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside. All of them died due to asphyxiation,” district collector Kiran Zaveri told PTI.
Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha
New Delhi: For the first time in 28 years, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s name ceased to be part of the list of members of the Rajya Sabha on its Web site, and was included in the list of former members of Parliament.
With the Congress lacking the numbers in the Assam legislature to ensure his re-election, 86-year-old Dr Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha.
Dr Singh, then finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, had debuted in the House on October 1, 1991, from Assam and represented the state for five consecutive terms. He was the leader of the House during his 10 years as PM, and leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2004.The former PM would now need to wait for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the Congress, to send him to the Rajya Sabha next month or until the next biennial elections in the Upper House in April 2020 when 54 MPs retire.
Five Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu retire in July. The DMK, along with its allies, has the strength in the state legislature to get at least three elected to the Rajya Sabha. It has promised one seat to MDMK chief Vaiko.
However, sources said the DMK and the Congress have not had any discussions on the issue.
The Congress could also hope to send Dr Singh to the Upper House from Gujarat if elections to fill the two vacancies from the state take place together.
The vacancies are on account of two Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat, Amit Anilchandra Shah and Smriti Zubin Irani, being elected to the Lok Sabha. Shah has debuted in the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar while Irani is the Lok Sabha member from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress’s numbers in the Gujarat assembly would ensure the party wins one of the two seats, the other going to the BJP, if elections to the two seats are held jointly.