Srikant Jena, Expelled From Congress, Threatens To Expose Rahul Gandhi


Srikant Jena said Rahul Gandhi chose to stand with mining mafias and Patnaik brothers.

Bhubaneswar: 

Srikant Jena, who was recently expelled from the primary membership of the Congress, has accused party president Rahul Gandhi of surrendering himself before the Patnaik family and mining mafias in Odisha.

Mr Jena has also claimed that he would expose the Congress president to such an extent that the latter would “not be able to show his face in public”. “I am glad that I am relieved from the responsibility of remaining in the Congress party. I had written many letters to Rahul Gandhi asking whether he will stand with Patnaik brothers and mining mafias or with the people of Odisha,” Mr Jena told a press conference.

Annoyed over his expulsion from the Congress, he said: “Rahul Gandhi chose to stand with mining mafias and Patnaik brothers. This is not expulsion, I had already written a letter requesting him to accept my proposition or else relieve me from the party. I wanted to expose him but he has exposed himself.”

On Friday, Srikant Jena, along with former Koraput MLA Krushna Chandra Sagaria, was expelled from the primary membership of the Congress for alleged “anti-party activities” by the Odisha unit of the Congress, following recommendations from the All India Congress Committee (AICC).

Mr Jena has also claimed that Rahul Gandhi had also decided that the governance of Odisha should remain with the Patnaik family.

The former Congress leader said that he will campaign everywhere and expose the Congress president. “This is just the beginning. On January 25, I will give certain facts. The full country will know what Rahul Gandhi is and what he is protecting,” he said.





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Congress Student Leader NSUI Irfan Hussain Threatens Teen After She Complains Of Molestation


“I will make it very difficult for you to enter the college,” NSUI leader tells girl.

Shahjahanpur: 

A Congress student body leader is caught on camera threatening a student after she complained of harassment in a Uttar Pradesh college.

In the video, which is in wide circulation online, National Students Union of India (NSUI) district president Irfan Hussain is seen backing those who allegedly harassed the teen and brazenly telling her to behave. “You are just in the first year now, you have to stay here for three more years, sudhar jao (better behave). I will make it very difficult for you to enter the college,” he can be heard saying in the video.

After a brief argument between the two, Hussain says, “Ladki agar daayre mein hai to hi acchi lagti hai” (A woman looks good when she stays within limits).

During the entire argument, the college staff did not intervene.

After the video went viral, the Congress student body suspended Hussain and ordered him not to participate in any activity in the organisation.

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NSUI district president Irfan Hussain’s suspension letter.

The police are looking for Hussain, who is missing after a case was registered against him.

“An FIR has been registered against the accused. We will arrest him soon,” police officer D Tripathi told news agency ANI.





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Kiran Mazumdar Shaw Urges Congress To Commit To Growth Of Digital Economy


Kiran Mazumdar has been listed by the Forbes as amongst the 100 most powerful woman in the world.

Bengaluru: 

India’s biotechnology industry pioneer Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw on Sunday urged the Congress to commit itself to the growth of a robust digital economy in the country and include it in its 2019 Lok Sabha poll manifesto.

A billionaire entrepreneur and founder of the country’s leading biotechnology firm Biocon, Ms Mazumdar gave this suggestion to the Congress during the party’s ”manifesto consultation meeting on IT and BT Economy”, chaired by P Chidambaram.

“Your manifesto must focus on creating a digital economy that helps everyone. That could be the most inclusive part of your manifesto,” she said, addressing the Congress manifesto consultation meeting.

“There are 800 million plus people in our country using mobile phones and you should be able to provide that connectivity and access to the market and capital. That is the kind of digital economy we must create,” said Ms Mazumdar, listed repeatedly by the Forbes as amongst the 100 most powerful woman in the world.

While focusing on creating digital economy, even agritech should be given importance to help farmers, she said.

Ms Mazumdar also pitched for GST exemption for drugs and devices, besides hospital services, which would allow India to start delivering a semblance of universal healthcare system. 

She also urged the party to include in its manifesto a good startup policy with provisions for incentives to entrepreneurs to help the growth of startup economy. “By doing this, I, for one, really believe that this is something which will actually transform India in a big way,” she said. 

Ms Mazumdar said Bengaluru has a huge job creation potential which has been demonstrated over the years.

Bengaluru has created world’s third largest startup ecosystem with 11,000 start-ups set up in the last three years here, causing an effect of force multiplier in terms of job creation. 

“We actually have created close to 800,000 jobs,” she added.
Ms Mazumdar said “angel investors have surpassed venture capital funding in startup ecosystem and hence, it is important to focus on startups and startup policy”.

An angel investor is a wealthy individual who provides funding for a startup, often in exchange for an ownership stake in the company.

In many cases, ”angels” are the last option for startups that don’t qualify for bank financing and may be too small to interest a venture capital (VC) firm.

She said India is under-invested in science and technology and treading a very scary path.

She said the Congress manifesto should reflect its commitment to doubling science and technology spends to catch up with other world economies, which are making huge investment in it.

“We have the scientists, we have the talent to actually develop this sector, but we are really doing a disservice to this sector. We are undervaluing it. I would be happy to provide you with greater inputs into what we should be doing to this end,” she said.

Likewise, the manifesto should also focus on medical education and agritech sectors, she added. 

India has completely devalued its medical education which is reflected in a disproportionate ratio of availability of MBBS graduates and specialists, Ms Mazumdar said.

“While we produce almost 50,000 MBBS graduates every year, the ratio of specialists that we produce is minuscule. We hardly produce 12,000 specialists every year,” she said.

“You have to create more specialists seats in our medical institutions. National Cancer Institute has been completely destroyed for corrupt reasons. We need to change that, we need to have more specialists seats in the ratio of 4:1,” she said. 





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Wife Of Hospitalised Karnataka Congress Lawmaker


Anand Singh was admitted to Apollo Hospital in Sheshadripuram in Bengaluru in the morning. (File)

Bengaluru: 

The wife of Karnataka Congress lawmaker Anand Singh, who had to be hospitalised after being injured in an alleged fight with party legislator JN Ganesh, has threatened to take legal action.

“If it is true that Ganesh beat up my husband, my children and I will not keep quiet and will take legal action against him,” Laxmi Singh said.

She is in Mumbai to attend a relative’s wedding and is expected to return to Bengaluru soon.

Anand Singh was hospitalised after he was allegedly hit on the head with a bottle by JN Ganesh at Bengaluru’s Eagleton resort, where Congress legislators were moved on Friday by the party, the local media reported.

However, the Congress denied reports of any scuffle in the morning. The party members later gave different versions of why Mr Singh had to be taken to the hospital.

Asked if she has been informed that Mr Ganesh provoked Mr Singh, Ms Laxmi said: “I do not know whether Ganesh provoked my husband, but can anybody try to kill somebody for provocation? Is it right?”

She denied that there had been any scuffle in the past between the two lawmakers. “No, they are good friends. Yes, my husband told me that in the last Congress Legislature Party meeting, there was a heated exchange with (legislator) Bheema Naik. Other than that he did not tell me anything.”

Ms Laxmi said she does not know when her husband would be discharged from the hospital.

“My relatives, including my brothers, who are at the hospital, said my husband is in pain,” she added.

“I have made several calls, but I was told he was sleeping. Nobody is telling me the exact account of my husband’s condition,” she said, adding that her son had spoken to Minister DK Shivakumar, who said Mr Singh is fine.

Mr Singh had “a black eye and suffered blunt injuries” and also complained of uneasiness in the chest, hospital sources had said earlier.





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Congress Jabs Nirmala Sitharaman On Rafale


New Delhi: 

The Congress on Sunday launched a fresh attack on the centre over allegations of wrongdoing in the Rafale jet deal, after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in an event warned against getting caught in the crossfire of corporate rivalry.

“By bringing this argument about corporate warfare, the Modi government’s defenceless defence minister seals and stamps the Congress party’s charge that the Rs 30,000 crore offset contract and Rs 1 lakh crore life cycle cost contract in the Rafale deal was given to his crony friend’s company, which had zero experience and was brazen cronyism at its best,” Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said in a press conference today.

On Saturday, the defence minister had accused the opposition of spreading misinformation about the Rafale deal. “I want every strand of this debate to be explained, as much as it can be, without any of us playing into the hands of international corporate warfare. None of us should play party to any corporate warfare. We cannot become pawns in the hands of the corporate giants to constantly bully the government, to constantly throw misinformation at the public, to misinform the public,” Ms Sitharaman had said, according to news agency PTI.

Her attack on the opposition parties comes a day after a report in The Hindu newspaper claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to buy 36 Rafale jets, instead of 126 as negotiated by the previous UPA government, was taken while bypassing mandated procedures, pushing the price of each aircraft by 41.42 per cent. The Congress has launched attack at the government on the Rafale deal citing this report.

Ms Chaturvedi said the Congress wants answers from the defence minister as to what was the compulsion to “snatch” the Rafale contract from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), even though a work share agreement worth approximately Rs 36,000 crore was already signed on March 13, 2014.

The Congress spokesperson alleged that Ms Sitharaman claimed HAL did not have the capability to produce 108 aircraft in India and asked whose “corporate interests” were she defending.

The Congress has been alleging corruption in the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft with party president Rahul Gandhi repeatedly targeting PM Modi over the issue.

With inputs from PTI

Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal.





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Chest Pain Or Fight With Friends? What Congress Says On Karnataka Lawmaker


DK Shivakumar even said Anand Singh was actually in his room at the resort.

Bengaluru: 

The Congress in Karnataka took its MLAs to a resort outside Bengaluru on Friday night in a bid to keep them together. To keep them safe and united against what former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah describes to NDTV as “threats from the BJP”.

What occurred on the second night of their stay at the Eagleton resort was certainly not part of the plan. The details of what led to Anand Singh — one of the missing Congress MLAs who returned to the fold — being admitted to hospital are still not clear.

It is a fact that Anand Singh did get admitted to Apollo Hospital in Sheshadripuram in Bengaluru early on Sunday morning. And that is where the clarity ends.

The Congress has given different versions of why Mr Singh had to be taken to the hospital.

DK Shivakumar, minister and the party’s troubleshooter, began the day by saying, “It is impossible, you saw all of them coming and going together… It is all fake news, nothing is true… Everyone is together… Entire congress party is united.”

Mr Shivakumar went so far as to say that Anand Singh was actually in his room at the resort.

It didn’t help that soon after that, Mr Shivakumar’s brother, DK Suresh, a Congress MP, went to the hospital to visit Anand Singh. Mr Suresh said Anand Singh complained of chest pain.

He said, “He came to the hospital at 7 am saying he had chest pain. Some of his relatives are with him. The media is saying he has head injury. He did not say anything about that. I sat with him for 45 minutes. All necessary tests have been done. There is no cause for alarm. There is no head injury. I didn’t see any external injuries. He is well and snoring nicely!”

Later, Rizwan Arshad, MLC, said that Anand Singh fell down and hurt himself.

And then Zameer Ahmed, MLA, indicated there had indeed been a physical fight, but implied that nothing should be read into a few blows between “friends”.

“Nothing has happened at the resort. They are all friends. Bheema Naik, Ganesh, Anand Singh. Something went wrong among the three. It happens between friends. I saw on TV channels about stitches, but not a single stitch. He is now stable. He is good. Nothing to worry,” Zameer Ahmed said.





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Karnataka Congress Lawmaker In Hospital After ‘Fight’, BJP Rubs It In


On Friday, the Congress moved 76 of its 80 lawmakers to the resort amid fears of poaching by the BJP.

New Delhi: 

A Congress lawmaker has ended up in hospital reportedly after a brawl with a party colleague last evening at a resort, where they were moved on Friday. Anand Singh was hospitalised after he was allegedly hit on the head with a bottle by JN Ganesh at Bengaluru’s Eagleton resort, the local media reported. While the Congress denied the reports, several of its leaders were spotted making a beeline for the hospital this morning.

Congress leader Raghunath, who visited Apollo hospital, said they were not being allowed inside. Senior leader DK Shivakumar brushed away the reports of the fight. But his brother and party legislator DK Suresh is also at the hospital.

The BJP jeered with a series of tweets:

Another tweet read: “It’s unfortunate that @KPCCPresident was unable to stop the fight in Eagleton resort. We hope Anand Singh is being treated & we pray for his speedy recovery. Unfortunately @dineshgrao can’t even blame BJP now, MLA’s were locked up under his watch at Eagleton. Whats ur excuse now?”

Earlier today, asked about the reports of the fight, Mr Shivakumar – who has emerged as the party’s trouble shooter in the state, said: “It is impossible, you saw all of them coming and going together. It is all fake news, nothing is true. Everyone is together, the entire Congress party is united”.

When asked about the whereabouts of the two lawmakers, Mr Shivakumar said, “They are in the rooms… they will come and meet all of you”.

On Friday, the Congress moved 76 of its 80 lawmakers to the resort amid fears of poaching by the BJP. Tension had been brewing since last weekend, when the party accused the BJP of launching “Operation Lotus’ – a term coined in 2008 when the party allegedly engineered defections of opposition legislators to ensure that its government headed by Mr Yeddyurappa remains stable.

There were allegations that five lawmakers had gone out of touch – but two of the ‘missing’ men surfaced shortly, denying they had anything to do with the BJP.

Four of the Congress lawmakers who have not made it to the Eagleton Resorts and failed to turn up for the Legislature Party meet on Friday have been sent a showcause notice.

Mr Shivakumar said those who did not attend the meeting “will also come back strongly to the Congress fold”.

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who rules the state along with the Congress, has claimed the government is safe.





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Congress Expels Srikant Jena, Krushna Sagaria For Anti-Party Activities


Srikant Jena was a former Union Minister in the previous UPA government.

Bhubaneswar: 

The Congress on Saturday expelled former Union Minister Srikant Jena and former MLA Krushna Chandra Sagaria for alleged anti-party activities, a senior leader said.

The announcement was made late at night by Odisha Congress’ disciplinary committee convener Ananta Prasad Sethi.

“Both Jena and Sagaria have been expelled from the party as per the approval of the All India Congress Committee,” Mr Sethi said in a statement.

They issued anti-party statements to the media causing damage to the Congress and were expelled from the primary membership of the party, Mr Sethi added.

“They also issued remarks against OPCC (Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee) functionaries,” the Congress leader alleged.

While Mr Jena was a former Union Minister in the previous UPA government, Dalit leader Mr Sagaria represented Koraput in the state assembly.

Mr Sagaria had in November resigned from the membership of the Odisha assembly, as he was allegedly upset over failing to ensure justice for a rape and murder victim and her family at Kunduli in Koraput district.

Earlier in the day, Mr Sagaria had strongly criticised OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik.

“Congress is not a property of Niranjan Patnaik. He is indulging in anti-party activities by giving statements on who will get ticket or not in the media,” Mr Sagaria had said.

The action against Mr Jena and Mr Sagaria comes just two days after Congress suspended Sundergarh MLA Jogesh Singh from the party due to anti-party activities. Mr Singh resigned from the party on Friday.

Earlier, OPCC working president and Jharsuguda MLA Naba Kishore Das had quit the party and joined the ruling Biju Janata Dal headed by Naveen Patnaik.





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Rahul Gandhi To Raise Rafale, Farmers’ Issue At Budget Session: Congress


Rahul Gandhi would raise issues relating to farmers’ distress, unemployment during budget session.

Kolkata: 

Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said on Saturday that his party president Rahul Gandhi would raise issues relating to Rafale, farmers’ distress, unemployment, demonetisation and interference into autonomous bodies like CBI by the PM Modi government in the budget session of Parliament.

Mr Kharge, while addressing a news conference, said that the Parliament would resume on January 31 with the President’s speech.

“Then the Parliament would initiate the budget session where our leader Rahul Gandhi will raise these issues,” the Congress leader said.

He said that the BJP government led by PM Narendra Modi was “destroying democracy” along with his aide Amit Shah.

Mr Kharge said that the fight in 2019 elections would be for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

“We re fighting for them. We will continue to fight for these,” he said.

On Karnataka, Mr Kharge said that the alliance between Congress and JD(S) will continue, adding that one MLA, who was untraced, would be served notice.

Asked if there was a possibility of an alliance between the Trinamool Congress and Congress in the coming Lok Sabha poll in West Bengal, Mr Kharge said it will depend on Congress’ state party unit similar to how things are working in Tamil Nadu with DMK and JD(S) in Karnataka. 





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CPI(M) Attacks Mega Rally, Say Trinamool Congress Has Destroyed Democracy


Mamata Banerjee’s giant rally in Kolkata brought together more than 25 top leaders from 23 parties.

Kolkata: 

The West Bengal CPI(M) on Saturday criticised the Trinamool Congress for allegedly “destroying democracy and institutions” in the state and boasting of fighting against the misrule of the BJP at Centre.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) state secretary and politburo member Surya Kanta Mishra said, the TMC and BJP were two sides of the same coin and share several “undemocratic traits”.

“The TMC should not talk about restoring democracy in the country. They (TMC) themselves have destroyed democracy in the state and have subverted every institution in the state since it came to power in 2011,” Mr Mishra said.

“The way they conducted the last panchayat polls is a blot on democracy,” he added.

What the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has been doing at the Centre since 2014, the TMC has been doing the same in West Bengal since 2011, he said further.

The TMC as a political party has neither any respect for democracy not for the constitutional norms, she added.

Issuing a war cry ‘Delhi mein sarkar badal do’ (change the government at the Centre), Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee on Saturday asserted that the “expiry date” of the Narendra Modi government was over and a united opposition will win in the coming general elections.

Setting the tone for the Lok Sabha polls, leaders of 22 opposition parties came together at a mega rally in Kolkata and declared to unitedly fight to oust the PM Modi government which had passed its “expiry date”.

The CPI(M)-led Left Front which too was invited for the opposition rally decided to give it a miss.





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