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Eye on Polls: Congress manifesto continues to raise storm, draw flak from BJP



New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday once again slammed the Congress for its manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections that was released on April 5.

Addressing a rally in support of BJP candidate Jitin Prasada in Pilibhit, Uttar Pradesh, on Tuesday, the Prime Minister said the Congress manifesto reflects the ideology of the Muslim League and follows the policy of “appeasement”.

Last week too, PM Modi had criticised the Congress manifesto, calling it a “bundle of lies” with “each page” smelling of “dividing the nation”.

“The Congress wants to impose the ideas of the Muslim League of the past era on the India of today. The Leftists have dominated the part of this manifesto bearing the imprint of the Muslim League,” PM Modi had said while speaking at a rally in Rajasthan’s Pushkar last week.

The Congress manifesto has been in the eye of a storm ever since it was released, with several experts pointing out that it has some similarities with the 1936 Muslim League manifesto and Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s 14-point formulation of 1929.

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The Congress’ ‘Nyay Patra’ promises to encourage reform of personal laws “undertaken with the participation and consent of the communities concerned”.

To recall, the Centre led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in 2019 enacted a law against ‘triple talaq’, which made the social malpractice a criminal offence.

Muslim women across the country too overwhelmingly welcomed the move, which saw a significant decline in such cases after the law came into force.

Experts reckon that Congress’ promise to give veto to the community for any reforms in personal laws would be just like what the Muslim League gave in the pre-Independence era.

It has also irked the government, which believes that India’s development journey is closely interlinked with the empowerment of its women.

Similarly, the Congress manifesto speaks about restoring the Maulana Azad scholarships for studying abroad and increasing the number of scholarships.

The Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF) Scheme was discontinued by the Modi government from 2022-23 as it “overlapped” with various other fellowship programmes for higher education, which already covered students from the minority community.

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The Congress manifesto also states that the party will ensure that, like every citizen, minorities will have the “freedom of choice of dress, food, language and personal laws”.

It is pertinent to mention that southern India has witnessed a lot of politics over hijab, beef and love jihad since last year.

The Congress is also facing flak for promising in its manifesto that it will not interfere with the “personal choices of food and dress, to love and marry, and to travel and reside in any part of India”.

The Congress, meanwhile, moved the Election Commission Monday accusing the Centre of “spreading falsehood” about its manifesto, which it said has “created panic” in the BJP.

“Even today, they are invoking the Muslim League against the Congress Nyay Patra, which has been guided and shaped according to the aspirations, needs and demands of the common Indians,” Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge posted on social media.

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Irrespective of the criticisms, the Congress said that its manifesto is the “voice of India based on the five pillars of justice” which has an “indelible imprint” on the people of the country.



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Licence expired, doctors not qualified to treat newborn: Delhi Police on hospital fire




New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Police probe into the Baby Care New Born Child Hospital fire has revealed that the licence issued to the hospital by the Delhi Government Health Services (DGHS) had expired on March 31.

The initial probe also revealed that the doctors at the hospitals were not qualified to treat newborn babies, who were in need of Neonatal Intensive care, as they (doctors) were only BAMS degree holders.

Delhi Police arrested the hospital owner and a doctor on duty at the hospital. The owner was identified as Naveen Kichi, a resident of Bhairon Enclave, Paschim Vihar while the doctor was identified as Dr Aaksh (26), a resident of district Charkhi Dadri in Haryana, who is a BAMS degree holder.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara) Surendra Chaudhary said that on Saturday at around 11:30 p.m. a police control room (PCR) call regarding a fire at Baby Care NewBorn Hospital was received at Vivek Vihar police station, following which a police team rushed to the spot.

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“In the hospital, there were 12 newborn babies admitted and one was already dead before the fire incident. All the 12 newborn babies were rescued from the hospital with the help of other people and shifted to East Delhi Advance NICU Hospital, for treatment,” said the DCP.

Delhi Fire Service (DFS) Chief Atul Garg said that seven children were declared dead at the hospital while five newly born babies are undergoing treatment.

“All 7 dead bodies have been further shifted to GTB Hospital for postmortem,” said the DCP.

DCP Surendra Chaudhary further said that after dousing the fire, the hospital was inspected and there were burst oxygen cylinders found.

“An FIR for the offence under sections 336, 304A and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was registered. Further, the hospital was thoroughly inspected by police, fire brigade staff and crime team,” the DCP said.

He said that on inspection of the hospital and examination of the nursing staff, it was found that there was no fire extinguisher, improper entry exit, absence of emergency exit and deployment of the BAMS doctor.

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“Section 304 and 308 IPC have been invoked,” said the DCP.

He said that even as per the expired licence, the hospital was allowed for five beds only, but at the time of the incident 12 newborn babies were admitted to the hospital.

During the investigation, it was found that the ‘Baby Care New Born Child Hospital’ has four branches including Vivek Vihar, Punjabi Bagh, and in Haryana’s Faridabad and Gurgaon. The DCP said that the owner of the said hospital is Dr Naveen Khichi, an MD in Pediatric Medicine.

“He and his wife Dr Jagriti (Dentist) are running the said Hospital. The probable cause of the fire is stated to be a short circuit. An Electric Inspection Report from the Electric Inspector (Labour Department) is being obtained. Report is also being obtained from the Delhi Fire Services,” said the DCP.



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AIADMK raps TN govt for not resuming free laptops scheme for govt school students




Chennai, May 26 (IANS) AIADMK General Secretary and former Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami (EPS) on Sunday questioned Tamil Nadu’s DMK government for not resuming the scheme to provide free laptops to government school students in the state.

In a statement, he said it was highly condemnable that the state government was not making any announcement regarding free laptops for state government school students even when only a few days were left for schools to reopen.

Noting that the scheme of free laptops to government school children was introduced during the previous AIADMK government, Palaniswami said that it was meant to increase the quality of education of the students.

He asked Chief Minister M.K. Stalin whether he would resume the free laptop scheme which was stopped after the DMK government assumed office in the state.

In another statement, Palaniswami, who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, questioned the Tamil Nadu State Electricity Board beginning the process of allowing only one electricity connection in the name of the house owner.

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He said that if the house owner stayed in one portion of the house and had a tenant in another portion, 100 free units of power would be provided. However, if the tenant leaves and the house owner has two electricity connections, one will be disconnected and for reconnection when a new tenant comes, the house owner has to apply afresh for a new connection, he said. This would lead to the house owner spending more, he added.

He said that during the AIADMK government, 100 units of power were provided free for both connections and called upon the DMK government to maintain the status quo.



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Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple priest backs PM Modi's divine assertion




Thiruvananthapuram, May 26 (IANS) As Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion that he’s not merely a biological entity but divinely sent stirs a significant public discourse, the priest of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple has now voiced support for the PM’s statement.

Going even further, Pushpanjali Swami Parameswara Brahmananda suggested that PM Modi existed contemporaneously with Lord Krishna and played a role in governance during that era.

Swami Parameswara Brahmananda is the highest spiritual authority of Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple.

Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple is among the richest Hindu temple in the world with assets worth Rs 1,20,000 crore.

Pushpanjali Swami Parameswara Brahmananda’s fresh remarks came while responding to PM Modi’s recent statement that he was convinced that God had sent him and that the energy he had was bestowed upon him by God.

“PM Modi is a contemporary of Lord Krishna. This is his new birth to complete the unfinished work in his previous birth,” Swami Parameswara Brahmanada told IANS.

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He also said that India would emerge as a superpower and there was nothing wrong with the statement of the Prime Minister.

Swami Parameswara Brahmananda in an article in a historical book on the Pournamikkavu temple here mentioned that PM Modi was a contemporary of Lord Krishna.



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BRS, BJP running false propaganda on paddy procurement: Telangana minister




Hyderabad, May 26 (IANS) Telangana Minister for Civil Supplies Uttam Kumar Reddy on Sunday alleged that BRS and BJP are running false propaganda against the government on the issue of paddy procurement from farmers.

He said the opposition parties are spreading lies and misinformation against the Congress government.

Addressing a press conference, he claimed that there is no truth in the corruption allegations and criticism by the opposition parties.

He said that the Congress will not remain silent over irresponsible allegations against the government.

The Congress leader said BRS working president K. T. Rama Rao and BJP floor leader in Assembly Maheshwar Reddy speak whatever they want

Reacting strongly to Rama Rao’s allegations, the minister said levelling baseless allegations against an honest person like him is highly improper.

Earlier, the BRS leader had claimed Rs.1,000 crore scam in procurement of paddy and fine variety rice by the government.

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Uttam Kumar Reddy clarified that the government has not procured even one grain of fine-variety rice. If somebody is ready to sell fine rice at Rs 42 per kg, the government will immediately procure it, he said on Rama Rao’s allegations.

If the conditions laid down in the tenders are accepted, the government will procure any quantity of paddy, he added.

He alleged that BRS and BJP are speaking on behalf of defaulter ricer millers.

He said on one hand the opposition parties are criticising the government for not taking action against ricer millers, while on the other they are saying that millers are being put to difficulties.

Slamming BJP leader Maheshwar Reddy, Uttam Kumar Reddy alleged that he bought the floor leader’s post by sending money to Delhi.

He said that Maheshwar Reddy is trying to overtake Kishan Reddy. He wants to move ahead in the party.

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Under the BRS government, the fine variety of paddy was fetched at Rs1,700 per quintal but now farmers are getting Rs 2,400. He claimed that after Congress came to power, farmers earned an additional income of Rs 1,100 crore.

Stating that not even one rupee was spent on fine variety rice, Uttam Kumar Reddy said a tender was called for procurement of fine rice but was later cancelled.

He said the previous government had pushed the Civil Supplies Department into Rs 58,000 crore debts. Under the BRS rule, the Civil Supplies Corporation had raised the debts of Rs 11,000 crore

Uttam Kumar Reddy claimed that compared to the previous government, the Congress government started paddy procurement early.

“The government took a revolutionary step to procure wet paddy at MSP. Ours is the only government which procured paddy soaked in unseasonal rains,” he said.



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Bring change in country by electing Cong-INDIA govt, says Priyanka Gandhi in Chandigarh




Chandigarh, May 26 (IANS) Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Sunday appealed to the electorates in Chandigarh to bring change in the country and also in their lives by electing the Congress-INDIA government.

Addressing a public rally in support of INDIA bloc candidate Manish Tewari here, Priyanka Gandhi, countered the BJP’s charges that the Congress is anti-Hindu, saying the philosophy of the Congress is based on the teachings of the Bhagwadgita which teaches truth, love, harmony and non-violence.

She pointed out how Prime Minister Narendra Modi has only exploited the religious sentiments of people coupled with fake promises like depositing Rs 15 lakh in every Indian’s bank account, or providing two crore jobs every year and doubling the income of farmers.

Alleging that PM Modi has lowered the dignity of the office of the Prime Minister, she said no Prime Minister, irrespective of which party he or she belonged to, had talked the way PM Modi is talking.

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She said, despite being in Opposition, leaders like her felt ashamed of what PM Modi is saying. “After all he is everybody’s Prime Minister,” she told a large crowd.

The Congress General Secretary said PM Modi always avoids talking about the pressing issues like unemployment, inflation and farmers’ plight.

She pointed out that unemployment is at its highest in the last 45 years with 70 crore jobless people in the country.

She referred to various guarantees of the Congress. She said every poor family would receive Rs 8,500 every month. She also announced that every fresh graduate will get a one-year apprenticeship with an assured income of Rs 1 lakh for that period.



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