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Will quit politics the day PM Modi hangs his boots: Irani

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Pune: Union minister Smriti Irani said she would leave politics the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to hang his boots, though she asserted that he would be around for “long years”.

She was speaking at the Words Count festival here in a discussion titled ‘Scripting Her Story, From Star to Star Campaigner’.

A member of the audience asked her when would one see her as a “pradhan sevak” (prime servant), a title often used by Modi to describe his role as the head of the Union government.

 

“Never. I entered politics to work under charismatic leaders. I was very lucky to work under the leadership of late Atal Bihari Vajpayee and I am currently serving under Modi ji,” Irani replied.

“The day ‘pradhan sevak’ Narendra Modi decides to hang his boots, I will also leave Indian politics,” she said.

“I decide for myself how much of my life I will give for my country, my society. In an independent country, if I cannot take a decision for myself, what is the use of that independence?” she said.

On whether she did not wish to serve under leaders other than Modi, the textile minister said, “Am I not currently working under leaders like Rajnath Singh ji, Nitin Gadkari ji? There are leaders with whom I have worked within the organisation for the last 18 years. I also had the opportunity to work under leaders like Vajpayee and L K Advani.”

“You are presuming Modi won’t be there for long, but let me tell you, he is going to be around for very, very long years,” she told the audience.

The BJP leader was also asked whether she would contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls from Amethi against Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

She said the decision would be taken by her party and its chief Amit Shah.

“In 2014, when I fought the election, they were asking who is Smriti. In 2019, they know who I am,” she asserted.

Irani had lost to Gandhi in the 2014 general elections from Amethi.

Speaking on the menace of trolling on social media platforms, the actor-turned-politician said she had been trolled by celebrated journalists and politicians and not just by anonymous netizens.

“I might be one of the few people who have been equally trolled by celebrated journalists and politicians and by anonymous trolls,” she said.

Talking about the women politicians she admired, Irani named Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Lok Sabha Speaker and Indore MP Sumitra Mahajan.

“When they began their journey, it was comparatively tougher. They have made a difference in Indian politics without any additional support. I look up to them as my source of inspiration,” she added.


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National

Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs

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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.

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Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara

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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.

 
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Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha

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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.

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