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Will become PM if allies agree after polls: Rahul

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New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi yet again played the “I’m flexible” card by saying that he is willing to be the Prime Minister if allies want him to take the top job, but the first step for all parties is to get together and defeat the BJP.
“We have had discussions with allies and what we decided is that this is a two stage process — one is to get together and defeat the BJP, and stage two is, once the election is over then we will decide what happens,” the Congress president said at an event in Delhi.
When probed further about the possibility of him becoming Prime Minister, Gandhi said, “If they (allies) want me, sure… I will.”
This is the second time in five months that the Congress president has made public his prime ministerial ambition. Earlier, while campaigning for Karnataka elections, Mr Gandhi had suggested that he would be the Prime Minister if the Congress emerged as the single largest party after the Lok Sabha elections.
His comment came on a day when BJP president Amit Shah challenged the Congress to an “open debate” on the development works
done by his party during its rule, as compared to the work done by chief minister Raman Singh in Chhattisgarh and the Prime Minister at the Centre.
“We are ready for an open debate with the Congress on development works done by its governments in 55 years as against the 15 years of Raman Singh’s government in Chhattisgarh and five years of the Narendra Modi government,” he said at a rally in poll-bound Chhattisgarh.
Earlier, Mr Gandhi downplayed BSP chief Mayawati decision to rule out an alliance with the Congress in the upcoming state Assembly polls, but exuded confidence that the two parties will get together for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
He said that the BSP chief’s move to not align with his party would not impact Congress’ fortunes in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls slated to be held later this year.
“Alliance in the states and at the Centre are two different things and Mayawati has sort of indicated that. I don’t see the BSP not aligning (with Congress) will impact us in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan,” he said.
Stressing on adopting a flexible approach in talks for alliance, he said, “We were flexible in the states (about seat sharing). In fact I was more flexible than some of our state leaders. We were in the midst of talks when they (BSP) decided to go their own way.” Earlier this week Ms Mayawati had praised Mr Gandhi and UPA chairperson Mrs. Sonia Gandhi but hit out at senior Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Digvijaya Singh for jeopardising the alliance talks.


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National

CJI recuses from hearing petition challenging interim CBI chief appointment

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New Delhi: Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has recused himself from hearing a plea challenging M Nageswara Rao’s appointment as interim Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Gogoi has sought transparency in the process of short-listing, selection and appointment of the CBI Director.

CJI Gogoi said he cannot hear plea as he would be part of the committee meeting to select the next CBI director.

 

.The plea will now be heard on January 24 by another bench.

The high-powered selection committee comprises the prime minister, the leader of the largest opposition party and the CJI or his nominee judge of the apex court.

A bench comprising CJI and Justice Sanjiv Khanna was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Common Cause challenging the appointment of Rao as interim CBI director.

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‘Not safe’: Mamata refuses to allow Amit Shah’s chopper to land in Malda, BJP cries foul

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KOLKATA: In yet another attempt by Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal to stop Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) President Amit Shah from addressing rally in the state, the state government has denied permission for landing of Shah’s helicopter in Malda district.

The BJP president, who was recently treated for swine flu at AIIMS in New Delhi, is scheduled to address a rally in Malda on January 22. As per BJP’s plan, Shah will reach Kolkata and then take a helicopter from there to reach Malda where he will participate in a public rally with BJP workers from North Bengal.

The Malda district administration has informed the BJP that it is not possible to grant permission to land helicopters at Malda airport this week.

 

“As per report of the executive engineer, PWD (civil), Malda Division, up-gradation of work at Malda Airport is going on in full swing. A large quantity of fine sand, dust and GSB materials is lying all along the runway and also stacked all around the site,” Additional District Magistrate of Malda said in a letter to BJP.

The letter added that the ongoing construction work has also affected the maintenance of temporary helipad at the airport and it is not possible to grant permission to Shah’s chopper to land at Malda Airport.

Meanwhile, General Secretary of BJP Malda unit had written to Malda DM saying that West Bengal government is using Malda Airport for landing their helicopter every Wednesday and they are refusing permission to Shah’s helicopter.

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Centre threatening to impose Prez’s rule in Andhra: Chandrababu

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Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday alleged that the Centre was threatening to impose President’s Rule in the state but, he said, nobody would be cowed down by such threats.

He claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a “negative leader” under whose leadership the country was regressing. Addressing a teleconference with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders, he attacked the prime minister and the BJP, saying they did nothing special for Andhra.

“They say one Union minister will come to the state every week. What good have they done for the state? On top of it, they are issuing threats that President’s Rule will be imposed in Andhra Pradesh. There is nobody here to be cowed down by their threats,” Naidu said.

 

Referring to the opposition parties’ rally in Kolkata two days ago, the TDP chief said it marked the beginning of the end of dictatorial rule and gave confidence to the people of the country. “We will hold a similar rally in Amaravati in which leaders of 22 parties will take part,” Naidu added.

The TDP chief lashed out at his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao and YSR Congress president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, saying they were working under Modi’s direction.

The TRS and the YSRC were conspiring to create misgivings among the backward classes so that they are distanced from the TDP, he alleged. He said the backward communities should unitedly thwart such attempts.

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