Rupani sees political motive behind Patnaik’s Gujarat visit

UPA constituents and Congress allies at the swearing in ceremony of Kamal Nath as Madhya Pradesh in Bhopal on Monday.   | Photo Credit: A.M. Farouqi

Two key matters are likely to dominate the political space on Monday. The Supreme Court verdict on Rafale deal, which is believed to be relied on a crucial "typographical error" made by the Centre, which the Congress claims as intentional misleading of the top court. The second one is the Delhi High Court reversing a trial court's decision to acquit Congress leaders including Sajjan Kumar in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Then there are swearing-in ceremonies of three new Chief Ministers — Ashok Gehlot, Kamal Nath and Bhupesh Baghel — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh respectively.

Ashok Gehlot took oath as the Rajasthan CM in the morning. The ceremonies for Mr. Nath and Mr. Baghel are set to take place at 1 pm and 4 pm respectively.

Here are the updates of top political developments across the country today:

8:20 pm

Rupani sees political motive behind Patnaik’s Gujarat visit

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Monday suspected a political motive behind Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s maiden visit to Surat ahead of the 2019 general elections.

While Mr. Rupani came down to the capital of Odisha to address a press conference on the Rafale fighter aircraft deal in the aftermath of the Supreme Court judgment, Mr. Patnaik flew out to Gujarat the same day to attend a festival of Odia migrant labourers in Surat.

Denying it was a “coincidence”, Mr. Rupani hit out saying Mr. Patnaik remembered the people of Odisha staying in Gujarat “after being in power for 19 years”.

However, he stressed that his Odisha visit had nothing to do with politics.

“Gujarat is not going to polls but Assembly election in Odisha is round the corner. I welcome him on his maiden visit,” Mr. Rupani said.

Mr. Patnaik’s Surat visit attained political hue because the textile city houses about 10 lakh Odias including seven lakh alone from Ganjam, the home district of the Chief Minister. These migrant labourers will return to Odisha to cast their votes.

Ayushman Bharat programme

Replying to a question on Odisha government rejecting the “Ayushman Bharat” programme, Mr. Rupani alleged that by doing so, Mr. Patnaik was depriving Odias residing outside Odisha of healthcare benefits.

The benefits of the State-sponsored “Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana” cannot be availed by the beneficiaries beyond the State’s boundaries, he said and urged Mr. Patnaik to be part of Ayushman Bharat programme.

Claiming that the Gujarat government was equally concerned about the well-being of the Odia speaking people in Gujarat, he said, the BJP regime in Gujarat had provided them with good homes under “Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana” and “Mukhya Mantri Awaas Yojana”.

Reacting to Mr. Rupani’s statement on Mr. Patnaik’s Surat visit, BJD spokesman P.K. Deb said, “Why is Gujarat Chief Minister here in Odisha when our CM is scheduled to visit Surat today? It seems BJP is terrified of CM Naveen’s visit.”

Rejecting Mr. Rupani’s claim that the Odias living in other States cannot avail the benefits of the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, Mr. Deb said “The non-resident Odias are also entitled to get benefits from Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana wherever they are in the country.” — PTI

7:50 pm

Will seek revenge for ‘injustice’ meted out to party workers: Bengal BJP chief

Two days after the West Bengal government denied permission for its ‘rath yatra’, State Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Dilip Ghosh said on Monday he and his supporters would “seek revenge” for every “injustice” meted out to them.

Addressing the BJP’s “ganatantra bachao (save democracy) andolan” in Arambagh town of Hooghly district, Mr. Ghosh alleged that the Mamata Banerjee-led government had refused to give permission as it was afraid that its “wrong-doings” might get exposed at the rally.

The State government had on Saturday disallowed the Bharatiya Janata Party’s proposed rally on the ground that it might lead to communal tension.

“We would seek revenge for each and every injustice meted out to our party workers. We will speak to them in the language that the TMC understands. The ruling party doesn’t believe in democratic rights,” Mr. Ghosh said.

The saffron party has decided to take out rallies across the State to protest against the Trinamool Congress government’s decision.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Ghosh said at a press meet that the BJP would be forced to organise a “civil disobedience” campaign if they were stopped from holding the protest rallies.

“They [the State government] are afraid that they might be unmasked if we conduct the yatra. At our protest rallies, we will inform the masses about the undemocratic atmosphere prevailing here and the need for the ‘save democracy’ rally at this hour,” he said.

'Vctory of democracy'

The State BJP chief also alleged prejudice on the part of the ruling party. “We are a nationalist party, not a terrorist organisation. We are denied permission, but other organisations are allowed to hold their programmes.”

Mr. Ghosh hit out at the TMC for describing the victory of the Congress in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan as a “victory of democracy”.

“The Congress has won elections in three states. It’s not like that they’ve got a huge vote share, just that they’ve got a few more seats than the BJP. But, the biggest joke is that the TMC, which doesn’t have any stake in national politics, are celebrating the win,” he said.

West Bengal, once known for its culture and values, has become a “bomb-making and hooch-manufacturing” industry under the TMC rule, Mr. Ghosh claimed. — PTI

7:00 pm

Kamal Nath says politics behind ‘raking up’ anti-Sikh riots

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Monday said there was no FIR or charge sheet filed against him in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and questioned the ’politics’ behind raising of the issue now.

Mr. Kamal Nath was speaking to reporters after taking oath as the 18th Chief Minister of the State.

“I took oath today… I had taken oath several times in [in the past], but none said anything then. There is no case against me, there is no FIR or charge sheet against me. I was also in-charge of [the party affairs in] Delhi,” Mr. Kamal Nath said.

“None raised the issue when I was the general secretary of the Congress. Today, that issue is being raised. You all understand what politics is there in it,” he added.

Senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar was on Monday convicted and sentenced to life term for “remainder of his natural life” in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case by the Delhi High Court which said the riots were a “crime against humanity” perpetrated by those who enjoyed “political patronage”. — PTI

5:30 pm

'It's Sajjan Kumar today, Jagdish Tytler tomorrow and Kamal Nath after that'

Harsimrat Kaur Badal. File

Harsimrat Kaur Badal. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

 

Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal hailed the conviction of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, saying the verdict has given confidence that the law would soon catch other Congress leaders allegedly involved in the “genocide“.

“I am grateful to the high court that it has given a landmark judgement and it gives us confidence that yes if Sajjan Kumar today and Jagdish Tytler tomorrow and it will be Kamal Nath after that. Eventually it will be the Gandhi family who will be answerable,” Ms. Kaur said while addressing media in Chandigarh. - PTI

5:00 pm

Host of leaders attend swearing-in ceremony

UPA constituents and Congress allies at the swearing in ceremony of Kamal Nath as Madhya Pradesh in Bhopal on Monday.

UPA constituents and Congress allies at the swearing in ceremony of Kamal Nath as Madhya Pradesh in Bhopal on Monday.   | Photo Credit: A.M. Farouqi

With Congress forming governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the party decided to use the swearing-in ceremony to show its strength. Several regional leaders including former Prime Minister Deve Gowda, Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, DMK president M.K. Stalin, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, Loktantrik Janata Dal party chief Sharad Yadav, Trinamool Congress’ Dinesh Trivedi, RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav, and NCP chief Sharad Pawar attended the event.

However, BSP supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav were not present in the event. They had extended their support to the Congress government, when the party was a few seats short of majority.

All the leaders were present at the swearing in ceremony of Rajasthan cabinet in Jaipur, and will travel to Raipur later in the day to attend the swearing in of Bhupesh Baghel.

4:50 pm

Lies of Rahul Gandhi on Rafale issue have been exposed: Smriti Irani

Union minister Smriti Irani on Monday alleged the “lies” of Congress president Rahul Gandhi on the issue of Rafale deal have been exposed and accused the opposition party of trying to malign the country’s defence establishment.

Addressing a press conference in Kolkata, Ms. Irani said the Congress chief should reveal his source of information for allegations regarding the fighter jet deal and his party should give answers to the people of the country.

“The lies of Congress and its party president Rahul Gandhi has been exposed. Rahul Gandhi should reveal his source of information. In the matter of national security, efforts have been made to malign the country internationally.

“Under whose inspiration, the Congress party had conspired to ensure that India does not get fighter jets? They should give answers to the people of this country,” Ms. Irani said. - PTI

2.00 p.m

Justice delayed but not denied in anti-Sikh riots case: Omar

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said that justice to victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots was delayed but not denied. “Justice delayed but not denied. #84riots,” Mr. Abdullah tweeted after the Delhi High Court convicted six persons, including Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, in an anti-Sikh riots case.

12.45 p.m.

Honour for Congress to serve Rajasthan: Rahul Gandhi

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot with Congress president Rahul Gandhi. File photo courtesy: Twitter/@RahulGandhi

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot with Congress president Rahul Gandhi. File photo courtesy: Twitter/@RahulGandhi  

 

Congress president Rahul Gandhi thanked the people of Rajasthan for believing in the party and vowed that the State government will fulfil its responsibilities.

His remarks came after senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Rajasthan at a ceremony here, while Sachin Pilot took oath as a cabinet minister. The party announced that Pilot will be the state’s deputy chief minister.

“Thanks to the people of Rajasthan for believing in the Congress. Congratulations to the leaders and workers of the Congress for the success of their struggle,” he tweeted.

“It is an honour for the Congress party to serve Rajasthan. We will fulfil our responsibility,” he added. - PTI

12.40 p.m.

"CPI not in favour of projecting anti-BJP PM candidate before polls"

The CPI is not in favour of projecting a prime ministerial candidate of the proposed anti-BJP front before the Lok Sabha polls, a top leader said on Monday, arguing that too many contenders might hurt electoral prospects.

“If somebody proposes, we can’t do anything. We are not opposed to it,” Communist Party of India general secretary Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy told PTI.

He was speaking in response to DMK president M.K. Stalin's proposal that Congress president Rahul Gandhi be the prime ministerial candidate of such a grouping.

“We think...who should be prime minister...that should be discussed in post-election period instead of now...,” he said when asked for his response on Mr. Stalin’s remark.

“Different people have got different type of ideas. Our party has said this earlier also... this should be decided in the post-election period,” Mr. Reddy said.

The party’s opinion, Mr. Reddy added, is that it is more convenient if the PM is decided after the elections.

Too many aspirants for the post should not create problems for the unity of the anti-BJP parties, he said. - PTI

12.30 p.m.

Kejriwal welcomes Sajjan Kumar’s conviction

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal welcomed the verdict convicting Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in the anti-Sikh riots case.

“It has been a very long and painful wait for innocent victims who were murdered by those in power. Nobody involved in any riot should be allowed to escape no matter how powerful the individual maybe,” Mr. Kejriwal said on Twitter.

His AAP colleague and Supreme Court lawyer H.S. Phoolka also welcomed the judgement and thanked everyone for their support and help.

BJP spokesperson Tejinder Pal Singh Bagga, who is sitting on a hunger strike to Nath being named chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, said they will appeal in the apex court for death sentence to Kumar.

12.20 p.m.

'Nobody is above law'

The Punjab Congress Committee on Monday welcomed the conviction of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in a case related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Sunil Kumar Jakhar, president of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, said the party has been clear that whoever was involved in the riots should be brought to justice. “Yes, justice has been delayed but delivered finally. Nobody is above law and anyone who is involved in such a heinous crime should be brought to justice,” the Congress MP told reporters outside Parliament.

He also said Congress leader Kamal Nath’s name never figured in the list of those involved in the riots.

11:30 am

Congress, Gandhis will continue to pay for the sins of '84 riots: Jaitley

"Sajjan Kumar’s conviction by the Delhi High Court is a delayed vindication of Justice. The Congress and the Gandhi family legacy will continue to pay for the sins of 1984 riots," wrote Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on his Twitter page.

The Delhi High Court on Monday held Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and others guilty in a 1984 anti-Sikh riot case and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

Sajjan Kumar and five others were facing trial in the case related to the killing of five people in Delhi Cantonment area following the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.

 

11.20 a.m.

Congress knowingly misleading people on Rafale pricing: Nirmala Sitharaman

In a scathing attack on the Congress, Defence Minister Niramala Sitharaman alleged that the opposition party was “knowingly” misleading people over the Rafale jets’ pricing.

“The Congress is knowingly misleading people on the pricing of the Rafale jets,” Ms. Sitharaman told reporters at the BJP office in Mumbai.

“The stance of the country’s ‘first family’ in not listening to the apex court’s order on the Rafale deal case petition can be termed as, with due respect, amazing audacity,” the minister said.

She was speaking as part of the BJP’s move to hold pressers in 70 cities across the country on Monday to attack the opposition party against the backdrop of the Supreme Court’s verdict on the controversial Rafale jet deal.

Ms. Sitharaman said, “We’ve given the price to the CAG, in a parliamentary system the CAG looks into it and then its report goes to PAC. The PAC will have a look at it and then it’ll become a public document. It is a process and it has commenced.”

“In the affidavit we’ve given the data and the information. We think there’s an interpretation problem, we would like you (court) to look at it and correct it. That’s our appeal to the court, we’ll wait for them to take the call,” she said.

The minister further said they have explained the process through which information comes to Parliament. “In that the past tense, future tense, present tense and present continuous tense has come into play. That is post the decision, is it not? Therefore, how is it going to affect the verdict?” she said. - PTI

11.00 a.m.

Gehlot, Pilot sworn in as CM, Deputy CM

Congress leaders Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot take oaths as Rajasthan's Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, respectively, reports our correspondent Mohammed Iqbal.

The swearing in ceremony was organised at Albert Hall in Jaipur.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and H.D. Deve Gowda, among others, were in attendance.

Read more

9.00 a.m.

Opposition leaders expected to attend swearing in of Congress CMs

A host of opposition leaders are expected to attend the swearing in of Ashok Gehlot, Kamal Nath and Bhupesh Baghel.

While Congress president Rahul Gandhi will be attending all the three oath-taking ceremonies, other prominent opposition leaders likely to attend the events include former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda and Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah.

While Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu will be attending the events along with RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, other leaders invited include AIUDF leader Badruddin Ajmal, TMC leader Dinesh Trivedi and LJD leader Sharad Yadav.

Sources said the Congress has also invited the Aam Aadmi Party and its leader Sanjay Singh is likely to attend the events.

Among other opposition leaders who have been invited and are likely to attend the ceremonies include JMM’s Hemant Soren, Jharkhand Vikas Manch leader Babulal Marandi, Swabhimani Paksh leader Raju Shetty and former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi.

Ashok Gehlot would be sworn is as the Chief Minister of Rajasthan in Jaipur around 10 am, followed by Kamal Nath as CM of Madhya Pradesh in Bhopal around 1 pm and Bhupesh Baghel as Chhattisgarh chief minister around 4 pm in Raipur.

(With inputs from PTI)

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