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BRS set for 'Chalo Medigadda' to counter Congress campaign

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Hyderabad, Feb 29 (IANS) The stage is set for opposition Bharat Rashtra Samithi’s (BRS) ‘Chalo Medigadda’ programme on Friday to counter what it calls misinformation campaign by the Congress government over Kaleshwaram project.

BRS MLAs, MLCs, MPs, former MLAs, MLCs and other leaders will leave for Medigadda from Telangana Bhavan, the party headquarters in Hyderabad.

The BRS team will visit Medigadda, Annaram and Sundilla barrages and reservoirs. Party’s senior leader and former irrigation minister T. Harish Rao, through a powerpoint presentation, will explain various features of the project and the benefits it accrued to the state.

‘Chalo Medigadda’ is to counter the recent visit to the barrage by Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy, ministers and Congress MLAs on February 13.

After the visit to the barrage, some of whose piers sank in October last year, the Congress government had claimed that the large-scale corruption in the Kaleshwaram project by the previous BRS government was exposed.

The Chief Minister had stated that the previous government spent Rs 94,000 crore to irrigate only 98,000 acre of land.

While announcing ‘Chalo Medigadda’, BRS working president K. T. Rama Rao said ministers can join with them in the programme to ascertain the facts.

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The BRS leader declared that through this programme, they will explain how the Kaleshwaram project has benefited the people and will expose the ‘conspiracies’ of the Congress party.

KTR stated that though cracks have developed in 2-3 piers, the Congress is conspiring to demolish the entire project.

He mentioned that during the Congress rules, problems cropped in several irrigation projects like Kadam, Gundla Vagu, Musi project, Singur, Pulichintala and Prakasam barrage

There are engineering solutions to carry out repairs to the damaged barrages. Repairs to the three piers can be undertaken by easily building a cofferdam.

“We demanded in the Assembly that while carrying out the repairs, take action against those responsible for the damage,” he said adding that BRS welcomes any probe into construction of the project

The BRS leader said the Congress government should not play with the lives of farmers by delaying the repairs just to malign the previous government

KTR alleged that by not undertaking the repairs, Congress is conspiring to see that the three barrages (Medigadda, Annaram, Sunkilla) are washed away in the coming rainy season.

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Meanwhile, irrigation minister N. Uttam Kumar Reddy has demanded that BRS President and former chief minister K. Chandraskhar Rao should personally visit the Kaleshwaram project to witness the disaster he caused to Telangana and apologise to the people instead of delegating the task to other BRS leaders.

He remarked that it was extremely foolish and arrogant for BRS leaders to talk about giving a ‘Chalo Medigadda’ call. “From our government’s side, we’ve instructed the officials to extend full cooperation to the BRS leaders and let them inspect Medigadda and other barrages. But whatever the government has to do, it will do,” he said, emphasising that the BRS party’s call was nothing but a political gimmick.

However, Uttam Kumar Reddy insisted that, ideally, KCR should visit the Kaleshwaram project himself and apologise to Telangana. “KCR was not only the Chief Minister but also the Irrigation Minister. He acted as the Chief Designer, Chief Planner, and Chief Architect of the project. Therefore, KCR should visit Kaleshwaram and tender an apology, not others who know nothing about it,” he said.

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Uttam Kumar Reddy reminded that Chief Minister Revanth Reddy had invited KCR to the Assembly to speak on the Kaleshwaram project and explain the fiasco and fraud that occurred in the name of irrigation. “We even offered to arrange a helicopter for KCR to visit Kaleshwaram, but he is not coming out,” he said.

Interestingly, he noted that leaders not directly involved in the projects were planning to go to Kaleshwaram. Even former minister KTR had stated that he was not in the loop regarding irrigation projects. “Someone who designed, planned, and did the engineering is not going. The visit of other leaders is only a political gimmick and drama,” he emphasised.

The irrigation minister said that the Director-General of the Vigilance Department briefed him about the status of the inquiry. He stated that the Vigilance report would be submitted soon. “Based on the Vigilance report, we will file cases against whoever is guilty of the act. We will go as per the law, and we will take legal opinion to proceed against all failures,” he announced.

–IANS

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Rahul Gandhi hints at relinquishing Wayanad, BJP hits out at 'cheating' (Lead)

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Wayanad (Kerala), June 12 (IANS) Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is in Kerala on Wednesday, admitted that he was in a dilemma as to which Lok Sabha constituency he should relinquish — Wayanad or Rae Bareli – but then in Wayanad, dropped enough hints that he will be dropping the Kerala seat.

State BJP chief K. Surendran, who had contested against Gandhi and finished a distant third, termed Gandhi’s indication “cheating”. Meanwhile, advertisement boards have come up in Wayanad which welcome Gandhi’s sister and party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi to contest the by-election.

Gandhi, who arrived at the Kozhikode airport in the morning, drove to Edavana in the Malappuram district which is part of his constituency. He was given a rousing welcome and in his first public meeting, he said he was in a dilemma about Wayanad and Rae Bareli. “Unfortunately like Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, I am not guided by god, as I am a human being…God takes all decisions. But I don’t have that luxury as I am an ordinary human being. My god is the poor people of India. My god is the people of Wayanad… What I will commit to the people of Wayanad and Raebareli… whatever decision taken … all of you will be happy,” said Gandhi.

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Addressing another meeting at Kalpetta in Wayanad, Gandhi said his relationship with Wayanad will be forever and it will be beyond elections or votes.

“Speculations have started whether it’s Wayanad or Rae Bareli. Everybody knows the answer except me. In politics, all know except the person who has to make the decision. Don’t worry, the people at Rae Bareli and Wayanad will be happy with the decision, I will be making,” he said.

He said he is well aware of the issues in Wayanad. “There are issues of man-animal conflict, night travel, and health sector. The Congress and I are well aware of all these and I assure you all issues of Wayanad will be addressed,” he added.

State Congress President and Kannur MP K. Sudhakaran spilled the beans by saying he was both happy and sad at the turn of events. “The victory of the Congress and Rahul’s wins makes me happy, but his leaving Wayanad makes me sad,” Sudhakaran said.

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Meanwhile, Surendran said that Gandhi’s decision to vacate Wayanad was cheating the people of the constituency. “We had told the voters that he would ditch Wayanad. Earlier he said Wayanad’s people are his family, but now he says it’s Rae Bareli’s people who are his family… before it was Amethi. He did not even have the courtesy to tell the voters of Wayanad before the elections that he would vacate it. Now that a by-election is thrust on the voters of Wayanad, they will give the Congress an apt reply,” he said.

Gandhi retained his Wayanad seat easily but with a reduced margin of 3.64 lakh votes, against 4.37 lakh in 2019.

–IANS

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Maharashtra: Woman govt officer plotted 'supari' killing of father-in-law for Rs 22-crore property

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Nagpur, June 12 (IANS) Investigations into the bizarre case of a government woman officer who allegedly carried out a ‘supari’ (contract) killing of her father-in-law, has revealed that the black deed was carried out to grab family properties worth around Rs 20-22 crore, a senior police officer said here on Wednesday.

Nagpur Commissioner of Police Ravinder Singhal told the media that so far, six accused individuals have been arrested in the sensational case after the ‘hit-and-run’ killing of a senior citizen, Purushottam Puttewar, a businessman, on May 22.

The prime accused is Archana Manish Puttewar, 53, an Assistant Director in the Gadchiroli District Town Planning Department, who was arrested last week, more than a fortnight after her father-in-law met with an ‘accident’ by a rashly driven car.

Simultaneously, another senior bureaucrat, Prashant Parlewar — Archana Puttewar’s elder brother — has also come under the police radar for his alleged complicity in the accident-turned-murder case, and has been arrested, said the police chief.

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Parlewar is a Director with the MSME Department in Nagpur and Singhal said that the police are now establishing his connections and links with Purushottam Puttewar’s killing – which was originally registered as a road accident matter, but later filed as a murder case.

Besides the siblings, Archana M. Puttewar and Prashant Parlewar, the others arrested include her assistant Payal Nageshwar, the family driver Sarthak Bagade, and two others, Neeraj Imje, Sachin Dharmik, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Nimish Goyal.

So far, the police have recovered gold, cash, mobiles and a car — totally worth around Rs 17 lakh, that was the purported part pay-off for the gruesome murder that was disguised as an accident.

On May 22, Purushottam Puttewar was returning home on foot after visiting his wife convalescing at a nearby hospital when a speeding car knocked him down, injuring him seriously and he succumbed soon afterward during treatment.

Singhal also clarified that contrary to earlier reports that Purushottam Puttewar’s properties were worth Rs 300 crore, they were actually in the range of around Rs 50 crore, with a dispute centering on assets worth about Rs 20-22 crore.

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Archana, the wife of a prominent ENT surgeon, Dr. Manish P. Puttewar – who lodged the first complaint after his father’s death – had hired the assailants by promising to pay them Rs 1 crore and parted with the cash and gold jewelry and asked them organised a second-hand car for the planned killing.

The sister-brother duo also lured Dharmik with other benefits like premises and a beer bar license, after which he hired Imje and involved Bagade into the dark conspiracy.

The police chief Singhal, said that in May, the accused had made a couple of failed attempts to eliminate Purushottam Puttewar, but he survived with minor injuries, so the family did not register a police complaint.

Incidentally, after the killing, the driver, Bagade, went on a pilgrimage to Vaishnodevi Temple in Jammu, and was arrested after his return on Tuesday.

While Archana M. Puttewar is currently in judicial custody, the other accused are being produced in court for police remand, and further investigations are underway.

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The probe would encompass the official track records of the woman who is said to have high political connections, as well as her brother, both holding important posts in key government departments.

–IANS

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Mohan Charan Majhi takes oath as CM as BJP makes debut in Odisha

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Bhubaneswar, June 12 (IANS) Mohan Charan Majhi took oath as the Chief Minister Odisha on Wednesday in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many other Central Ministers, including Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, and party President J.P. Nadda, among other dignitaries.

Apart from Majhi, two Deputy CMs also took the oath of office — Kanak Vardhan Singh Deo and Pravati Parida — during a grand ceremony at the Janata Maidan in state capital Bhubaneswar.

Naveen Patnaik, who was the Chief Minister of Odisha for 24 years before the BJD lost power to the BJP, was also present on the stage, and extended his greetings and good wishes to the new government.

Notably, this is the first time the BJP came to power in the eastern state by unseating the dominant Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the Assembly polls.

The Chief Ministers of many BJP-ruled states also attended the swearing-in ceremony.

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Earlier in the day, Mohan Majhi paid tributes to many eminent personalities of the state. He also visited outgoing CM Naveen Patnaik at his residence and invited him to the swearing-in ceremony.

–IANS

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Goa FDA warns against commercialisation of human milk

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Panaji, June 12 (IANS) Goa’s Directorate of Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has warned against unauthorised commercialisation of human milk in the coastal state.

FDA Director Jyoti Sardesai told IANS that the processing or sale of human milk is not permitted under the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, 2006. “We have informed the Food Business Operators about this,” she said, adding that no such case has been noticed in the state.

“All such activities related to the commercialisation of human milk and its products should be immediately stopped,” she said, citing the Central government’s directives.

“Any violation may result in the initiation of action against the Food Business Operator in accordance with the FSS Act,” Sardesai added.

–IANS

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Priyanka Gandhi should be made Cong chief if party wants to revive: Acharya Pramod Krishnam

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New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) Acharya Pramod Krishnam, a former Congress leader, on Wednesday blamed Rahul Gandhi and his team for setting the grand old party in a ‘freefall mode’, saying that his sister Priyanka Gandhi is the only leader who could arrest this slide.

Pramod Krishnam, unimpressed with the party’s impressive rebound in the 2024 elections, told IANS that the Congress was in a sorry state of affairs despite having a rich existence and history of over 100 years.

Questioned on Rahul Gandhi’s claims that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would have lost his Varanasi Lok Sabha seat had he fielded Priyanka Gandhi from the constituency, the former Congressman said she (Priyanka) should also be made Congress president as she is the only leader who could put a stop to this decline.

Pramod Krishnam, poking fun at the existing set-up of Congress, said that the party is doomed to fail and also held Rahul Gandhi and his aides responsible for its ‘pitiable’ condition.

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“None other than Rahul Gandhi is responsible for state of Congress,” Krishnam said.

“Today, the party is in dire straits. It is not because of BJP or PM Modi… Rahul Gandhi and his team are solely responsible for this downslide in party,” he added.

The former Congress leader also batted for the nation-wide roll-out of Uniform Civil Code (UCC), saying it will give strength to the nation and rule out scope for spurring differences among communities, as claimed by certain sections.

“UCC should be implemented across the country. Not just NDA allies but also the Opposition parties should support it,” he said.

Pramod Krishnam, a former member of Priyanka Gandhi’s team was expelled by Congress for six years in February this year for “indiscipline and anti-party activities”.

The trigger for disciplinary action against him was his condemnation of party leadership skipping the Ram Temple Pran Pratishtha ceremony in January, this year.

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Krishnam also contested the 2019 Parliament elections on a Congress ticket from Lucknow LS seat but was defeated by his rival candidate.

–IANS

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