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Boycott of President Kovind’s address: BJP terms it unfortunate, Opposition insists on repeal of farm laws

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New Delhi [India], January 29 (ANI): Leaders of the central government and the Opposition parties engaged in a war of words on Friday after President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to Parliament, which was boycotted by over 16 parties.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders termed the boycott by the Opposition as “unfortunate” while the Opposition leaders said that they boycotted the address to register their protest against farm laws, not to insult President Kovind and demanded a repeal of the laws.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that today’s Budget Session began with the President’s address, but it is “really unfortunate that the entire Opposition boycotted it.”
“The President is above political differences. He is the Constitutional head. Respecting him in his address is a healthy practice of democracy. It is unfortunate that the Opposition, especially the Congress, which governed this country for 50 years, boycotted it. What tradition are they establishing?” he asked.
Before the commencement of the Budget Session, Giriraj Singh, Union Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Bihar’s Begusarai had said that the Opposition is lowering the dignity of democracy by not attending the President’s address.
“They are shredding the dignity of democracy. In the Parliamentary system, President has his own dignity and boycotting his address is insulting him,” Singh said on being asked about Opposition parties announcing their boycott of the President’s address at Parliament.
Meanwhile, Opposition leaders said that they are determined to win and demanded a repeal of the laws.
“The Opposition parties boycotted the President’s address today. Do not they (Centre) feel ashamed of themselves? How do they sleep at night? We will not let Parliament run from Monday onwards until the farmers’ issues are resolved and they win,” Ravneet Singh Bittu, Congress MP from Punjab told ANI.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress MP said that boycotting President’s address doesn’t mean insulting him.
“We are standing with farmers and demanding that farm laws be taken back. It is our biggest reason behind boycotting the address. We will debate when there is a Motion of Thanks and debate,” he said.
Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) MP Hanuman Beniwal showed a placard and raised slogans, demanding the repeal of the three farm laws, during the President’s Address in Parliament today.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Sanjay Singh said, “Farm laws should be repealed. We protested against the President’s address and raised slogans in support of farmers. We were not allowed inside the Central Hall, so we raised slogans at its gate. Farmers are being called traitors. So, we boycotted the address.”
A total of 16 political parties including Congress, NCP, J-K National Conference, DMK, AITC, Shiv Sena, Samajwadi Party, RJD, CPI (M), CPI, IUML, RSP, PDP, MDMK, Kerala Congress (M) and AIUDF in a joint statement announced a boycott of the President’s address in the Parliament to register their protest against the three farm laws.
Apart from these 16 parties, BSP, AAP and SAD had also boycotted the President’s address.
The government headed the budget session while the opposition parties’ protested outside the parliament in support of anti-farm law agitations. (ANI)

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Unemployment is high, informal sector in shambles due to demonetisation : Former PM Manmohan Singh

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Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], March 3 (ANI): Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attacked Central Government over the rising unemployment and the prevailing crisis in the informal sector following the “ill-conceived demonetisation decision”
“Temporary measures by the Government of India and Reserve Bank to paper over the credit problems can not blind us to the looming credit crisis ahead that could affect the small and medium sector. Unemployment is high and the informal sector is in shambles – A crisis precipitated by the ill-considered demonetisation decision taken in 2016,” he said.
While speaking at ‘Pratheeksha 2030’ organised by the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Development in Thiruvanathapuram, the former Prime Minister further attributed the low employment and informal sector crisis to the ‘ill-considered demonetisation.
Criticising the Union Government for not holding regular consultations with the states, Former PM Manmohan Singh further said that public finances in Kerala and other states were in disarray and many had to resort to excessive borrowing, creating an intolerable burden on future budgets.
“Federalism and regular consultation with states, which was the cornerstone of India’s economic and political philosophy, no longer finds favour with the present Central Government. In the midst of all the gloom, I see the United Democratic Front’s (UDF) steadfast adherence to planned growth with a clear sense of direction and concern of the common man a beacon of hope, not only for Kerala but for the entire country,” he added.
He further lauded the efforts of the state’s Congress leaders for planning a framework for the UDF government when they are voted to power and hoped that the main idea is focussed on the welfare of the common man.
“I am glad to see that UDF manifesto draft presented to the people for public response contains such radical ideas as NYAY – a scheme outlined in the Congress’ national manifesto in 2019 which will provide direct benefit transfer to the poorest people,” he added. (ANI)

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Students, teachers of J-K’s Poonch relieved by India-Pak ceasefire agreement

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Poonch (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], March 3 (ANI): Students and teachers of the Faqirdara school in Jammu and Kashmir’s border district of Poonch no longer have to live in constant fear for their lives thanks to the recent cease-fire agreement between India and Pakistan.
A teacher of the Faqirdara school, Mandeep Kaur, told ANI that the school’s infrastructure had been damaged by bullets.
“Whenever firings used to happen, the school was always affected. The walls have a lot of bullet marks and we have had to get a lot of repair work done. As soon as the firing started, students would get very tense and scared,” Kaur said.


“As soon as we found out that India and Pakistan have agreed to a ceasefire, we were very happy. The students also feel relaxed now,” she added.
According to Muhammed Rafiq, a resident of the village, many students were hesitant to go to school as the area often witnessed firing from both sides of the border.
“There used to be a lot of firing from both sides and we always felt like we were in danger. But the last few days have been peaceful and school children also feel safe now. Many could not go to school because they were afraid. But the government’s decision has brought peace,” he said.
Students have also expressed relief that they can now study in peace.

“We have witnessed many firings at school. It has stopped now and we can study in peace. We are happy,” said Muhammed Azad, a student.
“We are glad that the firing has stopped. We used to feel very scared. I am grateful,” said Nazma, another student.
Earlier last week, after discussions between the Director Generals of Military Operations of India and Pakistan, the two sides have to cease firing along the Line of Control (LoC) and all other sectors with effect from midnight of February 24 to 25.
The discussion between the two armies took place at a time when a large number of ceasefire violations were taking place along the LoC and violence levels were going up especially for the villagers living along the LoC on both sides.
“Both sides agreed for strict observance of all agreements, understandings and cease firing along the Line of Control and all other sectors with effect from midnight of February 24 to 25,” a joint statement issued by the Defence Ministry said. (ANI)

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Goa CM takes first jab of COVID-19 vaccine

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Sanquelim (Goa) [India], March 3 (ANI): Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday took the first jab of COVID-19 vaccine at a Primary Health Center (PHC) in Sanquelim.
He further appealed to all eligible people to come forward and get themselves vaccinated.
“Received the first dose for #COVID19 vaccine today at PHC Sankhali. I once again appeal to all those eligible to come forward and get vaccinated. Let us together eradicate #COVID19 from Goa,” Goa CM tweeted.
India on March 1 commenced its second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities against the coronavirus.
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi administered the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) New Delhi.
Several Union Ministers, including Amit Shah, S Jaishankar, Jitendra Singh, Dr Harsh Vardhan have also received their first COVID-19 vaccine jabs.
As per the Health Ministry, a total of 1,56,20,749 people in the country have been vaccinated against COVID-19 till now. (ANI)

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Sonia Gandhi should rename her party as ‘Godsewaadi Congress’, demands Hindu Mahasabha

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Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) [India], March 3 (ANI): The Gwalior unit of Hindu Mahasabha will take out a ‘Godse yatra’ from the city to the national capital and will demand Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi to rename her party as “Godsewaadi Congress”, said Jaiveer Bhardwaj, National Vice-President, Hindu Mahasabha said.
This comes after “Godse supporter” Babulal Chaurasia joined the Congress in Madhya Pradesh last month.
“Godse yatra will commence from March 14. By breaking away one of our leader (Babulal Chaurasia), Congress has proved that they welcome the ‘Godsewaadi’ ideology and want to make ‘Godsewaadi Congress’. To disseminate this message, we will take out the yatra. We will request Sonia Gandhi to rename the party,” Bhardwaj told ANI on Tuesday.
“We had written a written to Sonia Gandhi and Kamal Nath and asked them to rename Congress as ‘Godsewaadi Congress’. Godse killed Mahatma Gandhi in retaliation for the partition in which 10 lakh Hindus were killed and around 2 crore Hindus were displaced.
Jaiveer Bhardwaj also alleged that Congress has bought Chaurasia as it is on the verge of falling apart. Congress has been a vocal critic of the Hindu Mahasabha for projecting Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse as a ‘nationalist’ and ‘patriotic’ figure.
Bhardwaj said that Hindu Mahasabha had issued a show-cause notice to Chaurasia and later expelled him.
Babulal Chaurasia, who attended an event for the installation of an idol of Nathuram Godse in Gwalior in 2017, joined Congress in presence of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on February 24. (ANI)

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60-year-old mentally unstable man kills wife, 2 daughters with hammer in UP

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Bulandshahr (Uttar Pradesh) [India], March 3 (ANI): A 60-year-old mentally unstable man in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr district killed his wife and two of his three daughters with a hammer on Tuesday night.
According to Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Santosh Kumar Singh, the man’s wife and two of his daughters died on the spot while one daughter is in critical condition and has been admitted to the hospital. The bodies have been sent for postmortem.
The accused, identified as Saeed, fled the scene after the incident and the police has launched a probe to locate his whereabouts.
Reportedly, he used to doubt the character of his family members, possibly due to his mental condition. (ANI)

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India reports 14,989 fresh COVID-19 cases

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New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): As many as 14,989 new COVID-19 cases and 98 deaths were reported from India in the last 24 hours, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed on Wednesday.
With 13,123 fresh recoveries, the cumulative discharges reached 1,08,12,044.
The total coronavirus caseload in the country has gone up to 1,11,39,516, including 1,70,126 active cases and 1,57,346 deaths.
As per the Health Ministry, a total of 1,56,20,749 people in the country have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The second round of the nation-wide vaccination drive is currently underway, and several national leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
As per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), as many as 21,84,03,277 samples have been tested for the coronavirus as of Tuesday, including 7,85,220 in the last 24 hours. (ANI)

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