Scorning the Aam Aadmi Party’s ambition to rule the state as a ‘pipe-dream’, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday said it was ridiculous that a party that is totally faceless in Punjab should talk of having a grand CM face in the 2022 Assembly elections.
“With just a year to go for the Assembly polls, AAP could not find a face from Punjab to campaign in the municipal elections and had to drag in non-entities from Delhi for electioneering! And now they claim they’ll find a CM face that will be the pride of Punjab?”, mocked Captain Amarinder. “What can a party which sold off the farmers’ interests by implementing one of the Farm Laws in Delhi back in November know of Punjab’s `aan, baan and shaan,” the Chief Minister asked, adding that AAP neither knows nor cares what Punjabiyat is all about.
Far from learning from their mistakes of the past 5 years, AAP continues to blunder its way through Punjab, with absolutely no understanding or concern about the problems of its people, he said. “All they see here is another state to rule, another seat of power. They do not see the pain and the problems of our people,” said Captain Amarinder, adding that AAP is an outsider in Punjab and will remain so as long as it continues to be disconnected from the state’s ground realities.
The exodus of AAP leaders and members from the party’s Punjab unit over the past 2-3 years is just the tip of the iceberg; the fact is that they have no roots here, said the Chief Minister. “Arvind Kejriwal’s party has no existence outside Delhi, and will soon be wiped out from there too, given their shameless collusion with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), at whose behest they have been trying to befool the lakhs of farmers camping outside their city for more than two months now,” he further said.
The Chief Minister also termed as ludicrous and futile AAP’s persistent attempt to mislead the people with lies on the issue of the Agricultural Reforms committee set up by the Government of India. “These AAP members don’t even know that the committee that was formed, and in which Punjab was included only after I personally wrote to the Centre, was a reforms committee and not a drafting committee,” he remarked, adding that the party, in its desperation to spread lies, has lost the narrative completely.
“Show me one piece of paper to prove that the Farm Laws were even mentioned, leave alone discussed, at the two meetings of the reforms committee held after Punjab was made a member,” Captain Amarinder challenged AAP, dubbing it a party of shameless liars and cheats, with no compunction about sacrificing the truth to serve their political purpose.
Punjab neither wants nor needs such a party, said the Chief Minister, adding that “neither AAP nor its Delhi model of governance is welcome in Punjab, which is faring better than the national capital on almost every key index of development.” With every passing year, Arvind Kejriwal’s government is plunging the national capital lower down into the abyss of devastation, in sharp contrast to Punjab, which has seen unprecedented growth and development in the past 4 years, he said. Even the much-touted health model of Delhi government, which showed a decline by two positions on the Health Index from 2015 to 2019, was completely exposed during the Covid peak crisis, he pointed out, calling upon Kejriwal to focus on managing Delhi instead of wasting precious time and resources in trying to find a footing (or a face) in Punjab or other states.
What Punjab needs is solid and sincere leadership, not a party of loud-mouth liars and deceivers, he added.
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Naveen Patnaik pays floral tribute to father Biju Patnaik on his birth anniversary
Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], March 5 (ANI): Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief Naveen Patnaik on Friday paid floral tribute to his father and former CM Bijayananda Patnaik, popularly known as Biju Patnaik, on his 105th birth anniversary at BJD headquarters in Bhubaneswar.
The Odisha CM also reiterated his commitment to building a new Odisha in line with his father’s ideals.
“My humble tribute to Biju Babu, the great Jananayaka and former Chief Minister, a symbol of Odia self-respect. He dedicated his life to making Odisha a leading state and serving the people. We are committed to building a new Odisha by respecting his Odia self-esteem and values,” he tweeted (translated from Odia).
“In a democracy, people are the real owners. Bijubabu was a pioneer in strengthening the panchayat system by decentralizing power for the betterment of the people. In memory of his contribution, let us be determined on the occasion of Panchayati Raj and Lok Sabha Day to be determined to build a new Odisha,” he said in another tweet (translated from Odia).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also paid tribute to Biju Patnaik.
“Tributes to Biju Babu on his birth anniversary. His futuristic vision for India, emphasis on human empowerment as well as social justice inspires us all. The nation is proud of his efforts for Odisha’s progress,” Prime Minister said in a tweet.
Biju Patnaik served twice as the Chief Minister of Odisha. He died on April 17, 1997. (ANI)
Ahead of assembly polls, Kolkata sweet shop comes out with political ‘Sandesh’
Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], March 5: With election fever swinging in high altitude in West Bengal, Kolkata’s iconic sweet shop Balaram Mallick Radharaman Mallick has etched political slogans and party symbols on Sandesh, a Bengali sweet dish made of milk, sugar and other ingredients.
The slogans “Khela Hobe” (The game is on) and “Jai Shree Ram” are most commonly visible, with the shop seeing a minimum of 150 orders each day since February 27.
Along with this, the shop is also displaying Sandeshs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ‘Didi’, with carved images of the two leaders.
The Sandesh — weighing 250 grams — that with political symbol and images of leaders costs Rs 170 per piece, while that of smaller size with slogans carved on it costs Rs 70.
Sudip Mallick, the owner of the shop, said, “We always make these thematic sweets based on current trends, even during cricket or football World Cups. The election is the biggest festival of democracy and we wanted to highlight this.”
A customer named Molly said, “The shop is known for such variety and this is going to attract a lot of eyeballs. I am sure that like me, several people will come to buy these sweets.”
Carvings of occasions such as “Bhaiphota” (Bhaiduj) on sweets have been a tradition in Bengal. However, with changing times and to keep up the competition, innovative ideas are being helmed out on sweets.
The assembly elections will be held in eight phases in the state starting from March 27 with the final round of voting taking place on April 29. The counting of votes in the state will take place on May 2. (ANI)
Have not received No-confidence motion notice: Haryana Assembly Speaker
Chandigarh (Haryana) [India], March 5 (ANI): After Congress said it will move a “no-confidence motion” against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) government in Haryana, Assembly Speaker Gian Chand Gupta on Friday said that he has not received any motion.
Speaking on the ‘No Confidence’ motion, Gupta said, ” As far as ‘No Confidence’ motion is concerned, till now I have not received any motion if I receive it, we will discuss it after eighteen members support the motion. The Opposition can bring it, we will take it forward as per the norms.”
He further said, “Today is the first session of the year, it is likely to last till March 16. The final dates will be mentioned after the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting.”
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, Haryana Assembly Speaker Gian Chand Gupta, Deputy Speaker Ranbir Gangwa, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Kanwar Pal and Congress MLA Aftab Ahmed attended the BAC meeting.
Former Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Thursday said it will give a no-confidence motion to the Speaker against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) government in Haryana.
Earlier the budget announcement was to be on March 10 but as per sources after the BAC meeting, it has been decided that the budget will be presented from 12 noon to 2 pm on March 12 and there will be no question hour on the budget day.
Gupta said that the Private Member’s Bill was rejected as it was not in line with the rules as any matter which is sub judice cannot be discussed in the Assembly.
Speaking to ANI, Haryana Assembly speaker, said, “The Private Member’s Bill which was sent by the Opposition leader was not in line with the rules because the matter is sub judice and nay matter which is in court cannot be discussed in the Vidhan Sabha, which is the reason it was rejected.”
He said that only the Centre can make amendments to the Farm laws and not the state.
The budget discussion will take place on March 15. Haryana Chief Minister proposed to extend the session. Now the budget session will be till March 18 and actions will be taken to extend it till March 19 if needed. (ANI)
Rajasthan CM gets first dose of COVID-19 vaccine
Jaipur (Rajasthan) [India], March 5 (ANI): Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot received his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Friday at Sawai Man Singh Hospital in Jaipur.
“Arrived at IDH Jaipur (SMS Hospital) here and administered the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Do not be afraid about the vaccine, it is safe, get the vaccine when your turn comes in with priority and motivate the people around you to get the vaccine too,” he tweeted in Hindi.
After taking his first dose of the vaccine, he said that vaccination work in Rajasthan is going very well, “Around 2 lakh people are getting vaccinated each day in Rajasthan. This is due to people’s confidence in State’s COVID-19 management,” said Gehlot.
India 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 from March 1. (ANI)
AIUDF chief says Mahagathbandhan’s only aim is to defeat BJP in Assam
Guwahati (Assam) [India], March 5 (ANI): All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief Badruddin Ajmal on Friday said that the Mahagathbandhan has only one aim in the upcoming assembly elections in Assam – to ensure the loss of BJP.
“In our alliance, seat sharing is not an issue. We have a one-point program, only one target which is to ensure BJP’s farewell from Assam.”
“We are working with a mood to sacrifice. In the coalition, some adjustments in seat-sharing will be made and within 24 hours the Grand Alliance’s seat-sharing agreement and details will be made public,” he said.
He alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Chief Minister Sarbnanda Sonowal did not fulfill any of the promises that they made to the people of Assam, and this would be one of the main poll issues of the state.
He promised that the Mahagathbandhan would help the deprived tea garden workers and solve the CAA, NRC issues forever if they assume power after the Assembly polls.
“We also end the problem of D-voters (doubtful voters) in Assam. It is a big issue in the state,” he said.
“The Mahagathbandhan government will not allow any illegal Bangladeshi to stay in the Assam. BJP may have lent them support. We will not,” the AIUDF chief added.
“I have said at least a hundred times in Parliament that there will be no peace in Assam till the issue of floods in Assam is resolved. We will work on it,” he further said.
He said that the unemployment rate and all-time high inflation would be major issues in the upcoming polls as well.
“The price of dal, rice and fruits have skyrocketed. Prime Minister Modi said that he will give two crore jobs in the whole of India but till today he has not given a single job,” he said.
“Today our children are going out of Assam to study. Incidents of rapes have happened there. The government did not set up educational institutions in Assam which is why these children are leaving Assam to pursue their studies,” the AIUDF chief said.
He said that the Mahagathbandhan Government would revive the Cachar Paper Mill at Panchgram in Hailakandi district and Nagaon Paper Mill at Jagiroad in Morigaon district.
He also promised to issue ‘Land pattas’ and build houses for the landless people in Assam.
He alleged that the health sector in the state is in a poor condition, “Whereas there should be one doctor for a population of 1300 and a nurse for a population of 3000, In my constituency of Dhubri there is not a single gynecologist for 18 lakh people”. (ANI)
SC issues notice to Centre over guidelines banning transgenders from donating blood
New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to the Central government and other parties after hearing a Public Intrest Litigation (PIL) challenging the constitutional validity of Section 12 and 51 of Blood Donor guidelines, 2017, which has imposed a blanket ban on transgender persons from donating blood.
A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde, issued notice to the government after hearing a petition filed by T Santa Singh.
The petitioner had moved the Apex Court challenging the current rules of the 2017 guidelines, which barred transgender persons from donating blood.
“We issue a notice to the respondents, and we will see their replies,” the bench led by CJI Bobde said.
The PIL filed by Santa Singh, before the Supreme Court has challenged the constitutional validity of section 12 and 51 of Blood Donor guidelines 2017, and sought a stay on the rule.
“These are medical matters. We don’t understand these issues,” the CJI Bobde, said, but, however, issued a notice to the Central government and sought its detailed replies in the issue.
The Supreme Court refused to stay the present blood donor guidelines and added that it would not pass orders without understanding the issue. (ANI)
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