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May God save the country from ‘Modi model’: Sonia

BARNALA, Punjab: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday said the BJP’s much touted “Gujarat model” is actually “Modi model” under which the common man is suffering in the state and may God save the country from it.

“BJP’s chief campaigner is selling Narendra Modi model in the name of Gujarat. What is happening in Gujarat under this model? Sikhs living there since past 50 years are being forced to leave the state,” Gandhi said while addressing an election rally in the Malwa belt of Punjab.

“May God please save this country from this model,” she said.

She attacked the Akali Dal for joining hands with the BJP and not raising its voice for the Sikhs in Gujarat.

“Akalis rather than raising voice against them (the BJP) are colluding with them and they are partners in this atrocity against Sikhs in Gujarat,” Gandhi said.

“In Gujarat, every second five-year-old child is malnourished and those who get Rs 11 per day are not considered below poverty line in Modi model,” she added.

Gandhi said around 45, 000 acres of land in Gujarat had been given to one businessman at a cheap rate and under this model, several people in the villages are still not getting potable water.

Accusing the BJP of adopting an ideology in which the common man will be identified not by his capabilities and skills but by his religion, language and caste, she said, the saffron party’s ideology is of “hatred, narrow mindedness and consistent hunger to achieve power” at the Centre.

“Their (BJP) ideology wants to take the country on that path where nation’s entire power wrests with one person,” she said in an indirect reference to Narendra Modi.

“They will take the country to a situation where the poor, weak and farmers will beg for their rights,” she said.

However, in contrast, the ideology of Congress is development of farmers, poor, weak and every citizen of the country, she said, adding that Congress is for peace and communal harmony.

Noting that UPA had disbursed crores of rupees for the development of Punjab, she said, “The SAD-BJP leadership in Punjab is only concerned about minting money.”

“The SAD-BJP leadership is involved in all wrong trades, including drug smuggling, imposing goonda tax, illegal mining,” she said, adding that “even policeman is not safe in Punjab, what do you say about an ordinary person.”

“Youths of Punjab are getting destroyed by drugs but the government is not concerned about it,” she said.

Hitting out at Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, she said “he only talks but never delivers”.

“He makes promises to attain power and after getting it he forgets the poor and weak,” she said.

She highlighted achievements of the UPA government saying that it took commendable steps for the welfare of Dalits.

She castigated the SAD-BJP for not being serious towards the welfare of Dalits. She said that UPA had promised generation of employment for youths, right to health, free medicines to poor, right to house to landless and poor, social security to old, widow and handicapped in its election manifesto. — PTIBack

















FIR against Ramdev for remark on Dalits

LUCKNOW: Yoga guru Baba Ramdev was today booked by the Uttar Pradesh Police for his controversial remarks targeting Rahul Gandhi that drew flak from various quarters, with Congress demanding that he give a public apology as he had insulted Dalits.

"An FIR has been lodged against Baba Ramdev at Mahanagar police station under relevant section of section 171(g) IPC (false statement in connection with an election)," Additional Superintendent of Police Habibul Hassan told PTI.

The FIR was lodged by the police after analysing video clipping of Ramdev's statement made yesterday.

Ramdev, who has been supporting BJP, yesterday alleged that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi goes to the houses of Dalits "for honeymoon and picnic".

"He goes to Dalits house for honeymoon and picnic. Had he married a Dalit girl, then his luck could have clicked and he would have become the Prime Minister," Ramdev had said here.

Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh today slammed Ramdev's remarks as "anti-Dalit".

"Ramdev's remark is anti-Dalit. He must publicly apologise." "We would like Narendra Modi and BJP to react to Ramdev's anti-Dalit remark," Singh said on Twitter.

CPI(M) too demanded prosecution of Ramdev under the SC/ST Act for his "uncivilised statements" against Dalit women and charged him with demeaning Dalit women.

It also asked the Election Commission to take suo motu notice of his "outrageous comments and take appropriate action".

BSP workers and activists of Dalit organisations staged demonstration at several places against Ramdev's remarks and demanded action against him. In Phagwara, Punjab protesters blocked traffic on National Highway 1 and burnt effigies.

Ramdev had said unlike Rahul, Narendra Modi and Ramdev have not become "fakir" under compulsion.

"Us bechare ki bhi kismat kharab hai (Rahul is unlucky)", Ramdev had said.

"His (Rahul's) mother says that if you marry a foreigner girl, then you cannot become the PM and this boy does not want to marry an Indian girl. His mother wants that first he becomes the PM and then marry a foreigner," he had added.

Later, in a damage-control exercise, Ramdev claimed he did not make the remarks in a negative sense and was willing to withdraw them if they have hurt the dalit sentiments. — PTIBack












Manmohan saddened by brother’s decision to join BJP

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said he was saddened by the decision of his younger brother Daljeet Singh Kohli to join BJP.

“I feel very sad. I have no control. They are all adults,” he said while replying to queries on the sidelines of the Padma awards function here.

Kohli on Friday joined BJP at a public rally in Amritsar in the presence of the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

The entry of Kohli, a local businessman, into the BJP came a day after the Prime Minister rejected perceptions of a 'Modi wave' in the country.

Dr Singh on Saturday asserted that Congress could again form the government at the Centre.

UPA-III is not impossible, the PM said.

Welcoming Kohli into the BJP fold, Modi had said he would further strengthen the party.

PMO sources had said Dr Singh’s family was “shocked” at the turn of events involving Kohli. “His intentions are not known but he is free to pursue his political career,” they had said, adding the Prime Minister and Kohli have not been keeping in touch since long. — PTIBack














Cong could consider giving support to Third Front: Khurshid

FARUKKHABAD: Congress could consider extending support to the Third Front or taking its help to form the government if necessary after the Lok Sabha poll, Union Minister Salman Khurshid on Saturday said.

He claimed that Narendra Modi was going to emerge as a "big problem" for BJP and referring to the Ram temple movement, said when "Bhagwan ki lehar" (God's wave) could not stop Congress, then how can "Modi wave" stop it.

Speaking to reporters at his native village Pitauram, he said there seemed to be no possibility of BJP forming the government.

"After poll results, if necessary Congress could consider extending support even to the Third Front to form the government. Not only this, taking support from the Third Front could be considered," he said.

He said Modi had said in Varanasi that 'Maa Ganga' has called him.

Khurshid said that Modi went to pay floral tributes to great personalities, but did not go for "darshan" and "pujan" of the Ganga. — PTI












Shopian encounter ends, 3 militants killed 

SRINAGAR: Three militants holed up in a house were killed by security forces in Shopian district of Kashmir as the overnight encounter in which a Major and a soldier lost their lives ended this morning.

Bodies of the three militants have been recovered and operation has now been called off, a senior police official said.

The official said while two militants were killed last evening, the third ultra put up a stiff resistance.

"The third militant started firing again this morning and was killed around 9.15 AM," he added.

Major Mukund Varadarajan and a soldier were killed while fighting the militants.

Some arms and ammunition were also recovered from the scene of the encounter, he said.

Security forces launched a search operation in Karewa Malino in Shopian, 55 km from here, last evening following information about presence of three militants — two locals and one foreigner.

The militants were asked to surrender but they resorted to firing, triggering the gunfight.

The identity of the slain militants could not be ascertained immediately.

Shopian is part of the Anantnag Parliamentary constituency and the encounter took place a day after militants carried out an attack on a polling party escorted by police and CRPF in the district at the end of the voting on Thursday.

One polling officer was killed while five others, including three security personnel, were injured in the incident. — PTI











Obama warns N Korea against nuclear threats

SEOUL: President Barack Obama warned North Korea on Saturday that the United States “will not hesitate to use our military might” to defend allies, as he sought to showcase US power in the region amid China’s growing influence and Pyongyang’s unpredictable nuclear threats.

Obama’s visit to Seoul comes as North Korea has threatened to conduct its fourth nuclear test, leading the US President to raise the possibility of further sanctions.

“The commitment that the United States of America has made to the security of the Republic of Korea only grows stronger in the face of aggression,” Obama said in a speech to some of the 28,000 American service members stationed in South Korea to keep watch on its northern neighbour. “Our alliance does not waiver with each bout of their attention seeking. It just gains the support of the rest of the world.”

The website 38 North, which closely monitors North Korea, said commercial satellite imagery from Wednesday showed increased movement of vehicles and materials near what are believed to be the entrances to two completed tunnels at Punggye-ri nuclear test site. The movements could be preparations for an underground atomic explosion, although predicting underground tests is notoriously difficult.

Obama ridiculed North Korea’s attempt to show force. “Anybody can make threats,” he said. “Anyone can move an army. Anyone can show off a missile. That doesn’t make you strong.”

“We don’t use our military might to impose these things on others, but we will not hesitate to use our military might to defend our allies and our way of life,” Obama said to cheers from the uniformed troops who filled a field house at Yongsan Garrison, headquarters for US forces in South Korea.

Obama’s 10-minute speech followed a rare joint defence briefing with South Korean President Park Geun-hye that focused on efforts to counter the North’s nuclear ambitions. — AP




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