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21 AAP leaders join Punjab Congress

“I was upset with Rahul Gandhi who always promised to bring honest and young people and qualitative change in the polity of India. Unfortunately, he compromised on his own principles and ideology by forming new Punjab Congress team including Amarinder Singh, Ambika Soni and Lal Singh just to win polls in Punjab,” Khaira said.

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Also ReadIndiaThree men from Telangana planning to join ISIS arrested by ATS at Nagpur airportIndiaTortured Indian workers back after harrowing experience in SaudiIndiaKohima terror attack: NSCN(K) cadre arrested from BengaluruIndiaCongress attacks Modi, says nation will have to pay cost of PM’s surprise visit to PakistanIndiaIn yet another life-saving mission, Coast Guard rescues eight crew members from distressed shipIndiaHere’s what the American media said about PM Modi’s Lahore stopover <!– /.block –>

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Here’s what the American media said about PM Modi’s Lahore stopover

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, leader of the opposition Peoples Party of Pakistan, welcomed the Prime Minister’s surprise stoppage at Lahore. “Constant engagement is the only way to resolve all outstanding issues,” he wrote on Twitter.

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Also ReadIndiaLG Najeeb Jung questions legality of DDCA probe, Arvind Kejriwal hits backIndiaDelhi emerging as global transit hub for drugs by courier and postIndiaPunjab Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira joins AAP; hits out at Rahul, AmarinderIndiaPM Narendra Modi personally touched by Nawaz Sharif’s welcomeIndiaDiplomats hail move but with cautionIndiaNawaz Sharif gets birthday hug from Narendra Modi in Lahore; surprise move stuns even PM’s own party <!– /.block –>

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Personally touched by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s gesture: PM Modi

The Paris meeting was the first between the two leaders after July when they had met in the Russian city of Ufa and had agreed that their National Security Advisers would meet.

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Also ReadIndiaLG Najeeb Jung questions legality of DDCA probe, Arvind Kejriwal hits backIndiaDelhi emerging as global transit hub for drugs by courier and postIndiaPunjab Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira joins AAP; hits out at Rahul, AmarinderIndiaPM Narendra Modi personally touched by Nawaz Sharif’s welcomeIndiaDiplomats hail move but with cautionIndiaNawaz Sharif gets birthday hug from Narendra Modi in Lahore; surprise move stuns even PM’s own party <!– /.block –>

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Amarinder Singh obvious choice for Punjab CM: Manish Tewari

Tewari also rejected the assumption that the Aam Aadmi Party was any challenge to the Congress in Punjab. “Ask people of Delhi as how they are feeling after having made the AAP to rule them,” he said, adding that AAP has not been a failure but a complete disaster in Delhi. The choice, he said, in Punjab was very obvious between good and effective governance which Captain Amarinder is capable of providing, and the anarchy and lawlessness offered by AAP and SAD.

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<!– /.block –>Personally touched by Nawaz Sharif’s welcome, tweets PM Modi <!– /.block –>
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Personally touched by Nawaz Sharif’s welcome, tweets PM Modi

“He (Sharif) recalled their interactions & asked me to convey his regards to Atal ji,” Modi said in another tweet. Modi, who sprang a surprise by making a sudden stopover in Lahore on his return to New Delhi from Kabul, said he had a spent a warm evening with the Sharif family at their family home. “Nawaz Sahab’s birthday & granddaughter’s marriage made it a double celebration,” he added. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

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Congress trying to push Punjab back into black days of militancy: CM Parkash Singh Badal

Describing the sacrilege incidents in the state as “unfortunate”, he said they had bruised the psyche of every human being in general and that of Sikhs in particular.

Accusing Congress of trying to push Punjab back into the black days of militancy, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Friday made a scathing attack on the party and Amarinder Singh as he exhorted people of the state to become “ambassadors of peace and progress”.Addressing SAD-BJP’s fourth ‘Sadbhavana rally’ here, Badal urged the citizens to take pledge for making Punjab a “peaceful and prosperous” state saying that some forces were hell bent upon pushing the state back into the black days. “We are organising these Sadbhavana rallies not for any political purpose but for promoting ethos of peace and communal harmony,” he said, adding that peace and harmony were the basic ingredients of progress and prosperity.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Describing the sacrilege incidents in the state as “unfortunate”, he said they had bruised the psyche of every human being in general and that of Sikhs in particular. Recalling the times of militancy, Badal said more than 21,000 innocent people lost their lives during those difficult times and Punjabis had to pay a heavy price as the state lagged behind in development due to it. Attacking Congress and its state chief Amarinder Singh, Badal alleged that the party and separatist leaders were hand in glove with each other, and both had the single point agenda to divide Punjab on sectarian lines.”Captain (Amarinder) and separatist leader Simaranjit Singh Mann, who had attended the Chaba congregation at Amritsar on November 10, were relatives and they together hatch the conspiracies to derail Punjab’s peace and progress. Captain and Mann meet every evening to draw strategies for pushing the state in black days,” he alleged.

Amarinder Singh’s remark an insult to anti-Sikh riot victims: HS Phoolka

On November 19, Phoolka had demanded that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi be stripped of Bharat Ratna award as he had “justified” the killings in the over three-decade old riots. Rejecting the charge, Amarinder had said he did not take his demands seriously.

Image Credit: Facebook

Noted lawyer and crusader for justice to anti-Sikh riots’ victims H S Phoolka ON Saturday said Congress leader Amarinder Singh’s remark against him was an insult to the victims of the 1984 carnage. Phoolka also charged the former Punjab Chief Minister with speaking in favour of anti-Sikh riots accused Jagdish Tytler and Kamal Nath in order to grab the post of Punjab Congress President.”Amarinder has leveled an allegation against me that I have been making false statements pertaining to 1984 riots to grab the headlines in newspapers. By saying so, Amarinder has insulted the victims of anti-Sikh riots,” Phoolka said on Saturday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Before making such allegations, you must have thought about the victims who have been fighting their cases for so long,” said Phoolka, who had resigned from all posts held in Aam Aadmi Party in September but remains a member.On November 19, Phoolka had demanded that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi be stripped of Bharat Ratna award as he had “justified” the killings in the over three-decade old riots. Rejecting the charge, Amarinder had said he did not take his demands seriously. “He (Phoolka) has been raising such things to get in the news for the last 31 years,” Amarinder had said.Phoolka alleged that Amarinder in an interview to a newspaper in May 2010 had said that Jagdish Tytler and Kamal Nath were wrongly implicated in anti-Sikh riot case.”A leader like you, who became Chief Minister, MLA… does not have the time to meet the victims of anti-sikh riots and is giving clean chit to Jagdish Tytler and Kamal Nath (in anti-Sikh riot cases) just to get the post of PPCC Chief,” he said.He also asked Amarinder to prove that a video of Rajiv Gandhi’s speech delivered on November 19, 1984 at Boat Club on Indira Gandhi’s birth anniversary was not authentic.In the video grab which was shown to media on Saturday, Gandhi was purportedly seen saying: “when the big tree falls, the earth shakes”, an apparent reference to the anti-Sikh riots. Phoolka, who unsuccessfully contested 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Ludhiana, asked Amarinder to prove that he (Phoolka) had given wrong statements and that Jagdish Tytler was wrongly implicated, within 15 days.”Otherwise, I will intensify my campaign against him,” he said.

Sikh protest: Amarinder Singh suspects Punjab CM Badal’s hand behind violence

Amarinder Singh alleged that CM Parkash Singh Badal is trying to push the panthic crisis to serious propositions so that no one talks about the shattered economy, Rs 1.25 lakh crore debt, widespread unemployment, agrarian crisis and law and order problem.
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dna Research & Archives
Senior Congress leader Amarinder Singh on Thursday suspected that Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal may have orchestrated incidents of violence in the state in which two youths were killed to divert the attention of the people from the government’s failure.”Punjab is facing the worst agrarian crisis…farmers and farm labourers have lost all hope. They are protesting for about a month now. Similarly, youths are protesting over unemployment,” Amarinder said in a statement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Having realized that he has failed on all fronts, Badal has resorted to what he is best at – raking up panthic issues and exploiting the sentiments of innocent Punjabis,” he said.”I really can’t rule out his hand behind the incidents in run up to the violence and subsequent firing on protesters as he is quite capable of doing such things,” the Congress leader said.He alleged that Badal is trying to push the panthic crisis to serious propositions so that no one talks about the shattered economy, Rs 1.25 lakh crore debt, widespread unemployment, agrarian crisis and law and order problem. Also read- Desecration of holy book: Parts of Punjab still tense, bandh observed amidst tight security

dna Must Reads for morning: From latest in Dadri lynching to Rahul Gandhi holding party talks

Mohd Akhlaq’s son Danish is shifted out of ICU ward at the Kailash Hospital in Noida on Thursday PTI

PTI
1. Dadri lynching: Mohammad Akhlaq’s son Danish out of ICU, remembers nothing about the incidentAs the situation in Bisara village, Dadri, is kept under a controlled calm, the slain Mohammad Akhlaq’s son Danish was shifted out of the ICU on Thursday. He was shifted to the High Dependency Unit in early afternoon, as his condition showed some signs of improvement. Read more here.2. Government plans meet to chalk out strategy to remove objectionable contents with hate messages<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Objectionable contents with hate messages, especially those having communal overtones, could soon be removed from social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Read more here.3. Was sceptical about saying yes: Sonakshi SinhaTalk about multi-crore blockbusters and Sonakshi Sinha’s leading the pack with as many as five films already in the Rs100 crore club. Now, Sona thinks it’s time she took up new challenges. The Dabangg girl has signed three back-to-back author backed roles (Akira, Force 2 and the Haseena Parkar biopic). Read more here.4. Orphanages run by Mother Teresa foundation to close down?Government will soon conduct a comprehensive survey to create a database of all registered child homes in the country, aiming to trace such institutions not complying with the law. Read more here.5. Punjab: Rahul Gandhi hold talks with party MLAs, indicates handing over leadership to former CM Amarinder SinghAmid talks of restructuring Punjab Congress unit, party vice president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday met some legislators from the state and indicated that he was open to the idea of handing over the party reins to former chief minister Amarinder Singh. Read more here.

Punjab: Rahul Gandhi hold talks with party MLAs, indicates handing over leadership to former CM Amarinder Singh

Top sources said the Congress leadership was toying with the idea of naming former union minister and senior Congress leader Ambika Soni as Punjab Congress chief, replacing Pratp Singh Bajwa, to end differences in the unit.

Amid talks of restructuring Punjab Congress unit, party vice president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday met some legislators from the state and indicated that he was open to the idea of handing over the party reins to former chief minister Amarinder Singh.During one-to-one meetings with six legislators, Rahul sought their views on whom to hand over the party reins who could help the Congress bring to power in the state.Among the legislators who met Gandhi today include CLP leader Sunil Jakhar, Rana Gurjit Singh, Sukhjinder Randhawa, Ramanjit Singh Sikki, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot (all Amarinder loyalists) and Lal Singh.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources said Rahul stressed on the importance of unity while the MLAs admitted of a “significant” change in Rahul s attitude towards Amarinder.Both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul have earlier held several rounds of discussions with various party leaders including Amarinder Singh ahead of its restructuring.Congress sources said Rahul will meet the other party MLAs from Punjab again on October 12.The Congress leadership is learnt to be keen on holding another round of consultations with the party leaders from Punjab before taking a final decision on the long pending matter.The meetings come in the wake of reports of Amarinder Singh not happy with the arrangements worked out by the party after detailed consultations with party leaders.Sources said Amarinder is not satisfied with the arrangements and wants the command in his hands to steer the party to victory in the 2017 assembly polls.Top sources said the Congress leadership was toying with the idea of naming former union minister and senior Congress leader Ambika Soni as Punjab Congress chief, replacing Pratp Singh Bajwa, to end differences in the unit.A section, however, wants Amarinder to be handed over the command ahead of polls.Congress has lost out to the ruling Akali-BJP combine in the state twice in 2007 and 2012 and is keen to wrest back power.Singh has been seeking the replacement of Punjab Congress President Partap Singh Bajwa for a long time now, and has repeatedly told the party to take a quick decision in the light of 2017 state elections.The party hopes to involve everyone in the reorganization process while giving Capt Amarinder a key role.The Congress leadership is learnt to be awaiting for Capt Amarinder’s return from abroad before taking a decision.

Congress organises victory rally over lapse of Land Ordinance, Rahul Gandhi takes dig at PM Modi

The programme was organised by Youth Congress to “celebrate the victory” of farmers after the government was “forced” to let the land Ordinance lapse in the face of vociferous protests by opposition parties, including, prominently, the Congress.

Rahul Gandhi(File Picture)

Ahead of a ‘victory rally’ planned by the party over its land Bill agitation, Congress Vice- President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he talks about democracy but “forgets” about the farmers and labourers who make up its foundation.”Modi-ji talks about democracy but does not talk about our farmers and labourers, who run this democracy. He forgets them,” Gandhi told a group of farmers from northern India at 10, Janpath. Congress President Sonia Gandhi, too, was present for the interaction.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The programme was organised by Youth Congress to “celebrate the victory” of farmers after the government was “forced” to let the land Ordinance lapse in the face of vociferous protests by opposition parties, including, prominently, the Congress.”This is the victory of Congress. But it is the victory of farmers as well,” said Rahul.Youth Congress President Amarinder Singh Raja Brar said around 400 farmers from states like Rajasthan, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh met the Congress President and the Vice President to express their solidarity over the isue.Congress is holding a Kisan Mazdoor Samman Rally at the Ramlila Ground here on September 20 to greet farmers and party workers after it “forced the government” to not go for a renewal of the “draconian” land ordinance.In the run-up to the rally, Congress youth wing activists on Saturday gathered outside 10, Janpath, and party headquarters 24, Akbar Road, to celebrate what they termed was their success at having “compelled the BJP-led government to go back to UPA’s land law”.

Congress leaders in Punjab out to display individual strength

Former chief minister Amarinder Singh, who is pushing for a leadership change in the state unit, launched an agitational plan by organising two public meetings and rallies every week to galvanise the party cadres against the Akali-BJP regime. He has held 30 rallies so far.

Amid hectic efforts by Congress high command to restructure its Punjab unit, state leaders have now launched separate agitations against the Akali-BJP government besides organising rallies in an apparent bid to show their support base and individual strength.These programmes are also an attempt by these leaders to apparently impress upon the party’s top brass ahead of any leadership change in the state.Former chief minister Amarinder Singh, who is pushing for a leadership change in the state unit, launched an agitational plan by organising two public meetings and rallies every week to galvanise the party cadres against the Akali-BJP regime. He has held 30 rallies so far.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>State PCC chief Pratap Bajwa, who is facing opposition from Singh, has separately announced agitations against drugs and sugar mills across the state and is trying to motivate the other state leaders in joining them.AICC general secretary and in-charge of Congress affairs in Punjab Shakeel Ahmed has been attending such programmes by the PCC unit.Another state leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, a former deputy chief minister, has called for unity in the state leadership and asked them to get together in ousting the Akali-BJP government in the state and reach out to the people.All the three leaders have separately met the party’s high command including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi and sought their intervention in resolving the leadership row in the state.”We have launched an agitational plan against the sugar mills not starting crushing this year and will force the government to intervene. Such rallies are being held across the state and PCC has announced a fast-unto-death on November 16 outside chief minister’s residence if mills do not start crushing,” Bajwa said.”Congress should put up a united front and come together on party platforms against the Akali-BJP government. The leaders should also reach out to the public and win them over in ousting the ruling combine. The issue of senior and junior leaders should be resolved amicably through proper coordination,” Bhattal told PTI.The state unit is holding a rally on September 1 in Sangrur, in Gurdaspur on September 6, in Valtoha on 9 and in Kiri Afghana of Gurdaspur on September 12.Bajwa has separately announced a padayatra across the state in six phases against the drug menace, starting October 2 from Pathanakot to Harike.

Do not vote for ‘wrong people’: Amarinder Singh on Punjab assembly election

He also reiterated that Punjab will remain his priority.

He also reiterated that Punjab will remain his priority.

Stating that Punjab remains his priority Congress Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Amarinder Singh on Saturday cautioned people not to vote for “wrong people” in the next state election. Addressing a rally in support of local Congress MLA, Singh, Amritsar MP and a former Punjab Chief Minister, cautioned people to be careful at the time of casting their votes in 2017 state election “lest they end up voting for the wrong people and wrong party.” He also reiterated that Punjab will remain his priority. However, he added “that does not mean I will not fulfil my responsibilities as an MP”. Talking to the reporters, Amarinder said he had told Congress President Sonia Gandhi at the time of General Elections in 2014 that he was not interested in national politics as Punjab was his priority. The Congress President had also agreed and even assured him that he could resign at the right time to serve Punjab, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The former chief Minister, a known detractor of Punjab Congress president Pratap Singh Bajwa, also said that the selection of the PCC chief was the prerogative of the party President. Referring to the delay in implementation of one rank one pension scheme by the BJP government at the Centre, he said, “If the Prime Minister can announce Rs 1.25 lakh crores for Bihar and Rs 1 lakh crore for Kashmir, why he could not sanction Rs 9,100 crores for the OROP for the people who had given their life for the nation.”

In 2017 polls It will be Congress verses AAP in Punjab: Amarinder Singh

2017 Assembly polls are likely to be a litmus test for faction ridden Congress in Punjab which is out of power for around eight years.

AAP may be commanding an appeal among a section of youth, but it does not have any experienced leadership

Amarinder Singh on Friday said that the 2017 assembly elections may turn out to be a contest between the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party with the Akali Dal and BJP remaining on the “fringes” only. He also ruled out forming a separate party, while asking, “do you think with all this love, respect and support of MLAs, Congress workers and leaders and also the general public I should be leaving my party and leaving everything behind?” He asserted that the Congress continued to be the strongest party in Punjab in terms of mass base and public support.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It (2017 polls) is going to be contest between AAP and Congress with SAD-BJP combine remaining on the fringes only,” the former Chief Minister said. Amarinder claimed, while the BJP remained “inconsequential” in Punjab, the Akali reputation had touched its nadir.He said that in 2007 and 2012 assembly polls Congress had lost the election by merely one per cent of the votes against the Akali-BJP combine. “People, particularly the youngsters do not like even to talk about Akalis and Badals”, he remarked, adding, Congress was the only viable option before the people of Punjab.He said, AAP may be commanding an appeal among a section of youth, but it does not have any experienced leadership except for Sucha Singh Chhotepur. On Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s reported charges that the Congress had betrayed and let down Akali stalwart late Harchand Singh Longowal, Amarinder retorted, “Let me ask Badal as who betrayed him and who backed out of the accord which Sant Longowal signed with Rajiv Gandhi (the then Prime Minister)”. Amarinder claimed,both Badal and late SGPC head Gurcharan Singh Tohra actually “betrayed and backstabbed” Sant Longowal and he had to pay with his life.On the issue of the PCC also holding dharna outside the sugar mills for payment to the sugarcane growers, Amarinder said, it was a good thing as everyone in the party was working towards public welfare. “What is wrong in it if we are holding a dharna here outside the CM residence while others are holding it outside the mills?”, he asked, adding, everybody’s purpose is to get the farmers their due which is pending for a long time.2017 Assembly polls are likely to be a litmus test for faction ridden Congress in Punjab which is out of power for around eight years.

Amarinder Singh frustrated with Congress leadership: Parkash Singh Badal

Amarinder had yesterday claimed that there was a lot of “resentment” among the BJP ministers, and those in Akali Dal as “total power has been concentrated within the Badal family.”

Parkash Singh Bbadal

dna Research & Archives
A day after senior Congress leader and former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh alleged that Akali ministers were feeling “suffocated” in the current government, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday said Singh himself was “frustrated” with his own party leadership. Badal asked Amarinder to stop worrying about cadres of SAD as they were strongly united for strengthening the party.The statement regarding resentment among Akali cadres was merely a figment of imagination of the former Chief Minister who was violating the policy and programme of his own party just for his personal interest, the CM said on the sidelines of Sangat Darshan programme in Baba Bakala assembly segment here. “We are fully united to serve the people of the state unlike Congress where every group is having its own leader,” added Badal.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amarinder had yesterday claimed that there was a lot of “resentment” among the BJP ministers, and those in Akali Dal as “total power has been concentrated within the Badal family.” Badal said the SAD-BJP alliance was firm and the rumours regarding ripples in it were just a creation of media. The alliance has proved very fruitful for ensuring progress in the state and prosperity of its people, he added.Describing Chief Parliamentary Secretary Navjot Kaur Sidhu as her daughter, Badal said that all her grievances would be redressed. Welcoming the academic session in Indian Institute of Management (IIM) which began from today, the Chief Minister said that it would give a major boost to education in the state. He said the allegations regarding attempts to shift this project to some other district were completely baseless as Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had sanctioned this along with Post Graduate institute of Horticulture Research for Amritsar in his budgetary speech. “I express my gratitude for every worker and leader of SAD-BJP alliance who have ensured that this project starts in Amritsar,” Badal added.The chief minister, while reiterating the firm commitment of state government to stamp out the drug menace from the state, said the state government has declared a war against drugs by cutting its supply line. He said that a network of drug de-addiction and rehabilitation centers have been set up across the state to detoxify the drug addicts and enable them to live their life with dignity and pride. “We are committed to eliminate this curse from the state and no stone is being left unturned to accomplish our mission,” he said.

Badal welcomes NITI Aayog proposal to reduce central schemes, increase state’s fund share

Sangrur: Hailing NITI Aayog’s proposal to reduce the list of centrally sponsored schemes and enhance the share of flexi funds, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday said that doing away all such schemes was the need of the hour and in the larger interest of the country.

Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal. AP

Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal. AP

On the sidelines of his thanks giving tour in Dhuri assembly in Sangrur, the Chief Minister asked the Union government to transfer the funds directly to the states as untied funds and direct grants to enable them to formulate schemes.

He said that devolution of funds to the states in the right earnest could be a step for achieving the goal of true federal system.

Badal said that they have been pursuing this agenda since long so as to empower the states for ensuring the welfare of people in a far more effective manner.

Expressing concern over the declining share of the Centre’s in the existing centrally sponsored schemes, the Chief Minister batted for enhancement in the share of Centre government in the centrally sponsored schemes. He said that it was unfortunate that the share of central taxes was continuously being curtailed whereas the state’s share was ever mounting.

He said that this would put extra burden on the states, which were already having limited funds at their disposal to carry out development.

“This trend needs to be reversed by enhancing the share of union government in all such schemes for ensuring holistic development of the states,” he added. On Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh‘s claim the state government was pursuing ‘Panthic Agenda’, the Chief Minister said that the sole agenda of the state government was to strengthen the national unity and integrity by promoting the ethos of communal harmony, brotherhood and peace in the state.

He said that if the entire country pursues this agenda then peace and progress would prevail in the country.

“Our agenda is of universal brotherhood and peace and none can ever deter us from doing this pious task,” he said.

PTI

OROP: Ex-servicemen to take help from oppn parties as hunger strikes enters fifth day

New Delhi: As their relay hunger strike over the ‘One Rank One Pension’ demand entered its fifth day on Friday, ex-servicemen said that they are considering taking help from opposition parties, especially in Bihar, to push their cause.

rEUTERS

Ex-servicemen to take help from opposition parties for implementation of OROP. Reuters

“United Front of Ex-Servicemen has received feelers from well-wishers for extension of support to its cause by the Bihar state units of the JD(U) and Congress parties,” the group said in a release in the capital even as it sought to underline that it is an apolitical body.

UFESM said that former UPA minister Jitendra Singh and ex- Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had wanted to join their protest but were turned down “politely but firmly” given its apolitical stance.

“However, in view of the continued intransigence of the present government and its repeated failures to honour assurances given by the highest in authority, a view towards taking help from opposition parties will be actively considered,” it said.

Assembly polls in Bihar are likely in September/October this year. BJP has a tough fight on hand against the JD(U)- RJD-Congress-NCP combine.

Besides Bihar, the veterans think they are a strong constituency also in Punjab where Assembly elections are due in early 2017.

The Narendra Modi government has said it is committed to OROP, a key promise made during Lok Sabha poll. It is, however, yet to implement the scheme.

Close to 22 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be the immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.

Currently, the pension for ex-servicemen is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when they had retired.

So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws a lower pension than a Lieutenant Colonel who retired after 1996. PTI SAP

PTI

Punjab farmer, who recently met Rahul Gandhi on agrarian problems, commits suicide

Fatehgarh Sahib: A debt-stressed farmer, who recently met Rahul Gandhi and told him about agrarian problems, on Wednesday allegedly committed suicide by consuming a poisonous substance.

The family of the farmer 60-year-old Surjit Singh, a resident of Dadumajra village, claimed that his debt was mounting and he was unable to pay back the loan from bank and others.

ReutersReuters

Representational image/Reuters

Surjit Singh (60) had taken a loan of Rs 10 lakh from a bank and other persons but could not repay, the family claimed.

He also could not get good yield from his crop due to unseasonal rains in March and April this year.

The farmer had cultivated his land taken on lease.

Singh had met Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi during his Sirhind grain market visit in April this year.

According to state Congress leaders, Surjit Singh had briefed Rahul Gandhi about the problems faced by Punjab farmers that included problems in selling their paddy and famers committing suicide.

Rahul had after his recent Punjab visit raised the issue of farmers in Lok Sabha.

When contacted, Fatehgarh Sahib SSP Gurmeet Singh Randhawa said the police registered a case under Section 174 (suspicious death) of CrPC in farmer’s suicide case.

Randhawa said that the family of the farmer had told the police that he was under “depression”.

Congress’ Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha Amarinder Singh said “the situation calls for “agriculture emergency” to tackle the agrarian crisis “lest it is too late”.

Punjab Congress president, Partap Singh Bajwa, who attended the cremation of the deceased this evening, asked Narendra Modi government to provide succour to beleaguered farmers rather than focussing on “anti-farmer land legislation (Land Bill)”.

PTI

Punjab farmer, who met Rahul Gandhi on agrarian crisis, commits suicide

Fatehgarh Sahib: A debt-stressed farmer, who recently met Rahul Gandhi and told him about agrarian problems, on Wednesday allegedly committed suicide by consuming a poisonous substance.

The family of the farmer 60-year-old Surjit Singh, a resident of Dadumajra village, claimed that his debt was mounting and he was unable to pay back the loan from bank and others.

ReutersReuters

Representational image/Reuters

Surjit Singh (60) had taken a loan of Rs 10 lakh from a bank and other persons but could not repay, the family claimed.

He also could not get good yield from his crop due to unseasonal rains in March and April this year.

The farmer had cultivated his land taken on lease.

Singh had met Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi during his Sirhind grain market visit in April this year.

According to state Congress leaders, Surjit Singh had briefed Rahul Gandhi about the problems faced by Punjab farmers that included problems in selling their paddy and famers committing suicide.

Rahul had after his recent Punjab visit raised the issue of farmers in Lok Sabha.

When contacted, Fatehgarh Sahib SSP Gurmeet Singh Randhawa said the police registered a case under Section 174 (suspicious death) of CrPC in farmer’s suicide case.

Randhawa said that the family of the farmer had told the police that he was under “depression”.

Congress’ Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha Amarinder Singh said “the situation calls for “agriculture emergency” to tackle the agrarian crisis “lest it is too late”.

Punjab Congress president, Partap Singh Bajwa, who attended the cremation of the deceased this evening, asked Narendra Modi government to provide succour to beleaguered farmers rather than focussing on “anti-farmer land legislation (Land Bill)”.

PTI

Moga incident: Amarinder Singh to move adjournment motion in LS

Singh will also seek appointment with President Pranab Mukherjee to demand imposition of President’s rule in Punjab.

Congress Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha Amarinder Singh will move an adjournment motion in the Parliament on Tuesday to discuss the “collapse of law and order situation” in Punjab and demand President’s rule in the state.Singh will also seek appointment with President Pranab Mukherjee to demand imposition of President’s rule in Punjab. The decision of the former Punjab Chief Minister to move adjournment motion in Lok Sabha on tuesday comes in the wake of a teenage girl dying in Moga after being thrown off a moving bus by her alleged molesters.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amarinder, who met the parents of the girl in Moga on Monday, said that she was pushed off from a moving Orbit bus owned by the ruling Badal family, which reflected complete breakdown of the law and order situation in Punjab.”There is an atmosphere of lawlessness, fear and insecurity prevailing every where in the state. The government has abdicated all it authority,” he said in a statement.Amarinder also said that he will be seeking time from the President to lead a Congress delegation to him to demand dismissal of the Parkash Singh Badal-led government and imposition of the President’s rule in Punjab at the earliest.

Amarinder Singh holds show of strength amid infighting in Punjab Congress

Virtually throwing a challenge to Punjab Congress chief Pratap Singh Bajwa’s leadership, former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday rallied his supporters, including most of MLAs, and announced start of party’s campaign to take on ruling Akali-BJP with a January 22 rally.Amarinder’s bete noire and PCC president Pratap Singh Bajwa was absent at the luncheon meet organised by the Amritsar MP at Moti Bagh Palace here, where 35 out of 45 Congress MLAs were present besides district presidents and office bearers. The show of strength came days after Amarinder met Congress President Sonia Gandhi in Delhi and was understood to have sought removal of the state unit chief. Bajwa on Sunday said that he would also meet the Congress President and party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi to explain the “ground realities” in the state, but refused to comment on the meeting hosted by Amarinder.”The meeting was attended by 35 sitting MLAs, besides about 50 ex-MLAs and state and district office bearers,” a statement issued by Amarinder’s office said. It was decided that Congress will launch an awareness campaign across Punjab with each and every MLA or party candidate holding a rally in their constituency which will be attended by Amarinder “as has been demanded by the MLAs and the ex-MLAs,” the statement said. Amarinder, who is Congress’ Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha, accused the BJP of adopting “dual standards by supporting and opposing the Akalis at the same time” and announced the party will hold a public rally at Amritsar on January 22 against the alleged misrule of the Akali-BJP government.It coincides with the BJP’s rally against drugs on January 22. BJP chief Amit Shah is set to launch his party’s campaign against drugs from Amritsar by the rally. In the meeting, the Congress rank and file resolved to strengthen the hands of the party president Sonia Gandhi and party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi “as disciplined soldiers of the Indian National Congress”. The leaders resolved that the history will repeat itself like in 1980 when Punjab started the revival of the Congress which was followed across the country.The Congress leaders condemned the alleged misrule of the Akali-BJP regime saying that the government was “directionless and the two allies were spending more time in abusing each other than governing the state”. They said that the atmosphere was right for the Congress to mobilise its cadres as people were “disillusioned with the Akali-BJP regime and they had all the hopes with the Congress.” The leaders claimed that history will repeat itself with Congress bouncing back with a thumping majority in Punjab after the 2017 Assembly polls. The party also decided to launch a state-wide campaign against the Central government’s ordinance, which they claimed was “diluting the farmer-friendly Land Acquisition Act enacted by the previous Congress-led UPA government.”Among those who attended the meeting included Congress Legislature Party leader and Leader of Opposition Sunil Jakhar, former PCC president Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, MLAs Preneet Kaur, Rana Gurjeet Singh, Ashwani Sekhri, Rana Sodhi, Raj Kumar Verka, Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Kewal Dhillon, O P Soni, Balbir Sidhu, Jagmohan Singh Kang, Sukhjinder Randhawa, Karan Kaur Brar, Gurkirat Kotli and Navtej Singh Cheema.Punjab Youth Congress president Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary, former ministers Chaudhry Jagjit, Amarjit Singh Samra, Avatar Henry, Rana KP, Sardool Singh were also present. Senior Congress leader and former Punjab Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal was not present, sources said. After Amarinder’s meeting with Sonia Gandhi, Bajwa had hit back at former Punjab Chief Minister for crossing the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ and had asked him not to “share his mind” with the media, claiming that his statement could “demoralise” the party cadre ahead of civic polls next month.Bajwa said that he would continue in the post as long as the party high command had confidence in him.

Amarinder Singh holds meet with party leaders; discusses to take on SAD-BJP

Former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh pans out strategy to take on SAD-BJP regime
File Photo

Amarinder holds show of strength amid infighting in Pb unit Patiala, Jan 11 (PTI)Amid raging infighting in Congress’ Punjab unit, former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday held a meeting with party leaders including MLAs and district chiefs, in an apparent show of strength.Amarinder’s bete noir and PCC president Partap Singh Bajwa was conspicuous by his absence at the luncheon meet at his Moti Bagh Palace, which came days after Amarinder met Congress President Sonia Gandhi in Delhi and was understood to have sought removal of the state unit chief.However, sources close to Amarinder said the meeting was organised to draft a strategy in order to take on ruling SAD-BJP regime in the state. State Congress Legislature Party Leader Sunil Jakhar, former state Finance Minister and senior Congress MLA Lal Singh, MLAs Rana Gurmit Sodhi, Rana Gurjit Singh, Guriqbal Kaur, Gurkirat Singh Kotli and former State Congress president Mohinder Singh Kaypee were present at the meeting. Senior Congress leader and former Punjab Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal was not present, sources said.Meanwhile, Bajwa today declined to comment on the luncheon. After Amarinder’s meeting with Sonia Gandhi, Bajwa had hit back at former Punjab Chief Minister for crossing the “Lakshman Rekha” and had asked him not to “share his mind” with the media, claiming that his statement could “demoralise” the party cadre ahead of civic polls next month.Bajwa had added that he would continue in the post as long as the party high command had confidence in him.

Infighting in Punjab Congress intensifies, Amarinder Singh meets Sonia Gandhi

Amid rumblings within Punjab Congress, former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday met party President Sonia Gandhi and is said to have sought the removal of PCC chief Pratap Singh Bajwa.According to sources, Singh met Sonia at her residence and is understood to have told her that Bajwa, his known detractor, has failed to take the party along with him leading to major dissidence against his leadership.”I had met her to inquire about her health as she was unwell and was in hospital when I was abroad. It was a courtesy call,” Singh told PTI. He later said, “Bajwa cannot secure victory for the party”. Sources say that Singh has been openly airing his views against the leadership of Bajwa, who has been his known detractor and has been seeking a change in the leadership in Punjab in the interest of the party.Singh is understood to have told Sonia that if the Congress has any chance left in Punjab, the party has to change Bajwa, whom he alleges has failed to take the party with him and bring in fresh blood and vigour into the party.Sources that Singh has also met Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and raised the issue of leadership change with him. There has been intense factionalism within the Punjab unit of the Congress ever since the last Lok Sabha polls where the party could win only three seats out of a total of 13, with entrant AAP securing four seats.The meeting has come at a time when the strains between the ruling Akali Dal and BJP are growing, with a section of the BJP in the state seeking severing of ties with SAD and going it alone in the next assembly elections.Punjab goes to polls in January 2017. Congress has successively lost to the SAD-BJP combine in the previous two assembly polls. Singh, who is also Congress’ deputy leader in Lok Sabha, was virtually absent in the Winter session of Parliament and could be replaced.Party sources also did not rule out the possibility of the 72-year-old leader being made Congress’ Chief Ministerial candidate in Punjab where assembly elections are due in 2017. A senior party leader, who declined to be identified, said the high command could designate another person as the party’s Deputy leader in the Lok Sabha soon.Seeking to dismiss speculation that Amarinder was set to join BJP, the leader said it showed the stature of the former Punjab Chief Minister as “no one can ignore him”. He did not rule out the possibility of Amarinder, a former chief of Punjab PCC, being made the “face” of the party in the Assembly polls.

Amarinder Singh expresses solidarity with BSF; condemns SAD

Condemning the ruling SAD for its alleged attempts to malign the image of the Border Security Force, Congress senior leader and local MP Amarinder Singh on Tuesday expressed his solidarity with the BSF personnel.Commenting on the SAD holding dharnas at three different places near the international border on Monday on the drug issue, Singh said, “On the one hand the BSF is involved in a bloody battle with Pakistan paying with the life of its men, on the other hand the Akalis were staging protests against them.” In a statement here, Amarinder announced that he will be holding a “solidarity programme” in support of the BSF soon.He said, to boost the morale of the forces, who are braving all odds, he will be organising the public programme to express solidarity with the BSF and tell them that the country actually cares about them.Lashing out at the Akalis for allegedly trying to malign and demoralise the BSF, the former chief minister remarked, “nothing can be more outrageous and shameful than to defame and demoralise our brave men that too at a time when they are giving their lives to defend our borders”.”The Akalis should feel ashamed for such treacherous act that amounts to betrayal of the forces and so should the BJP for maintaining a silence,” he further said. The SAD on Monday held the dharnas on the drug issue, including near the Attari international border here, for “greater awareness” and “vigilance along the border with Pakistan”.Earlier, the sit-in by the SAD was announced to “pressurise the BSF to stop entry of drugs into the state from Pakistan side”. However, in a climbdown from its earlier stance, SAD later said the dharnas were “to create awareness about drugs rather than to pressurise the BSF to stop entry of drugs from Pakistan side”. Opposition Congress too had yesterday staged a separate sit-in at the district headquarters, demanding dismissal of the Punjab government for allegedly “inciting people against the security forces”.