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TMC Arranges Special Buses to Take MGNREGA Cardholders to Delhi, Names the Protest ‘Fight for Right’

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TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee meets MGNREGA cardholders and those affected by the alleged blocking of funds by the central government, at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata on September 29, 2023. (@AITCofficial/X)

TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee meets MGNREGA cardholders and those affected by the alleged blocking of funds by the central government, at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata on September 29, 2023. (@AITCofficial/X)

Senior TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee announced that his party would make alternative arrangements for transporting its workers and MGNREGA beneficiaries to Delhi for the October 3 protest, accusing the BJP of creating roadblocks after the request for a special train was denied

Naming its protest against the “non-release of dues” under MGNREGA as the ‘Fight for Right’, the Trinamool Congress is gearing up for the big demonstration in the national capital on October 3.

All MPs and senior leaders of the party have been directed to be present in Delhi by Sunday evening where party general secretary Abhishek Banerjee will hold a meeting with them.

Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, who was initially scheduled to attend the program, might not travel, as she was advised 10 days of rest by doctors after suffering an injury to her left knee during a recently concluded two-country visit.

Addressing party leaders and workers virtually, Abhishek Banerjee has declared the protest will go ahead and urged participation from other parties too.

“This is not a TMC movement, this is a people’s movement. I am saying this to other political parties too,” he said. Accusing the BJP-led central government of building the new Parliament with “poor people’s money”, Banerjee said: “Bengal has given you the answer and we will keep doing that. If any poor person is hurt in Delhi, people will give the answer.”

During the protest, the TMC also plans to highlight how the central government allegedly tried to stop the demonstration from going ahead. Abhishek Banerjee had declared on Friday he will participate in the party’s protest on October 3, effectively ignoring summons by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for questioning in connection with the school jobs scam in Kolkata on the same day.

The TMC also said its request for a special train from West Bengal to New Delhi for the protest programme was declined by the Railways, following which Abhishek Banerjee said his party will make alternative arrangements for taking its supporters to Delhi.

“The BJP is deliberately creating roadblocks to stop our protest programme. First, they didn’t allow us permission for Ram Leela Maidan, then I was sent a notice to appear before the Enforcement Directorate on that day, and now this refusal of a special train at the last moment,” he said.

Eastern Rail spokesperson Kaushik Mitra, however, told News18 that no application was received for a special train. “Nobody has applied to Railways. Some political party applied to Group General Manager, IRCTC and he communicated to Railways. The Railways replied that we don’t have such rakes. This has nothing to do with politics.”

On Saturday, the TMC made arrangements for around 50 buses to take MNREGA beneficiaries and TMC workers to Delhi. The buses will take the Asansol, Dhanbad, Varanasi, Kanpur route, party sources said, adding that “more than 5,000 people” are expected to participate in the protest. Each bus shall be equipped with medical kits.

Tushar Kanti Roy, a MNREGA beneficiary from Jalpaiguri, reached Kolkata on Friday to leave for Delhi. “We have not been getting money since 2021. They have not given us trains, but our problem is so serious that we are ready to walk to Delhi too. Only I know how I am keeping my family afloat. We need an answer from the Centre.”

Mohammad Tahiud Raheman, who has come from Nadia, has been camped at Netaji Indoor Stadium along with other MNREGA card holders. “Why are they doing this? We need our money and that’s why no matter what they try, we will go to Delhi.”

Hitting back at the TMC, the BJP accused the ruling party of misusing common people for political gains. “They are doing circus. They are taking common people in buses while their leaders are travelling by flight,” said BJP MP Locket Chatterjee.

BJP leader Dilip Ghosh pointed out that the TMC government repeatedly denies permissions to the opposition in West Bengal. “They don’t give us permission for anything. Whether Railways gives permission is up to them… let them (TMC) go by bus if they want to.”





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Pune Police Seizes Escape Car Kia Of Accused's Father | Pune Porsche Crash | English News | News18

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‘He Could Have Called Me’: Naveen Patnaik Responds after PM Modi Promises Probe into ‘Conspiracy behind CM’s Failing Health’

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Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File pic/PTI)

The Odisha chief minister slammed the BJP for ‘spreading rumours’ about his health during the ongoing elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier said that if the BJP comes to power in the state, where assembly elections are being held concurrently with the Lok Sabha polls, it would form a special committee to investigate this issue and reveal the truth

Ahead of the last phase of polling in Odisha on June 1, the battle lines were clearly drawn between former allies Biju Janata Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party with none other than the Prime Minister targeting the Odisha chief minister’s close aide and former bureaucrat VK Pandian, which forced Naveen Patnaik to break his silence on Narendra Modi.

“I understand that the Prime Minister at a public meeting in our state today has stated that I am in bad health and he wants to institute an enquiry to enquire into this matter,” the Odisha CM told reporters. “If he was so concerned about my health and he has stated publicly before that I am a good friend of his, all he had to do was pick up a telephone, ring me up, and ask me about my health.”

Incidentally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had indeed called Patnaik his “good friend” in February, ahead of alliance talks between the two parties.

The soft-spoken Odisha chief minister slammed the BJP for “spreading rumours” about his health. “I understand that there are a number of people of the Bharatiya Janata Party from Odisha and Delhi who have been spreading this rumour about my health for the last ten years. Let me assure the Prime Minister that I am in perfect health and I have been campaigning in our state for the last month. Instead of concerning himself about such rumours, he should concentrate on the revision of coal royalty for our state and also our demand for special category status which we have been making for years. This will benefit the people of Odisha with all that funding,” he said.

The opposition BJP, which fancies its chances in Odisha, has made “Odia asmita” an election issue and consistently targeted the Tamilian VK Pandian for the latter’s proximity to the chief minister, alleging that Patnaik is a “mere puppet” in his aide’s hands. And, despite a list of 40 star campaigners, it is Pandian who has led the BJD’s electioneering. Whether it is public meetings, roadshows, or big-ticket interviews, Pandian is everywhere. The BJP is trying to hammer the point that “Pandian, a non-Odia, is usurping power”.

Answering questions from reporters, Patnaik said that his health was alright, or else he would not have campaigned in this heat. “If he is to form a committee, I suggest he form a committee to look into the people who are spreading such false rumours about my health,” he said. “Think about it, this is election time and this has been said to get votes, what else?”

A video of Pandian removing Patnaik’s shaking hand from the public eye during a meeting triggered speculation from the BJP.

“All well-wishers of Naveen Babu are deeply worried. They are concerned seeing the sharp deterioration in Naveen Babu’s health in the past year. Those who have been close to Naveen Babu for years discuss his health when they meet me,” Prime Minister Modi said at a rally. “They say that Naveen Babu is no longer able to do anything on his own. Those who have been close to Naveen Babu for ages believe that there could be some conspiracy behind his deteriorating health.”

The PM, who has been campaigning vigorously in Odisha along with the BJP’s top brass, said the people of the state have the right to know the truth. “Is the same lobby not behind this, the same one who in the name of Naveen Babu and behind the screen is enjoying the perks of power in Odisha? The veil must be lifted from this mystery. There must be an investigation into this. After June 10, when the BJP would have registered a victory, its government in Odisha will form a special committee and will investigate the reasons why Naveen Babu’s health is suddenly continuing to deteriorate.”

In the no-holds-barred fight between the BJD and BJP, the latter has cleverly strategised not to target Naveen Patnaik so much, as he is old and still popular, but his close and trusted aide VK Pandian.

Explore in-depth coverage of Lok Sabha Election 2024 Voter Turnout, Upcoming Phase, Results Date, Exit Poll And Much More At News18 Website



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No Bar In Electoral Law On PM Planning Meditation Trip Ahead Of Last Phase of LS Polls: Sources

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PM Modi will meditate at the Vivekananda Rock Memorial starting on Thursday evening. (Image: News18)

The Congress on Wednesday alleged that Prime Minister Modi was trying to “circumvent” the silence period restrictions with his 48-hour meditation trip in violation of the Model Code of Conduct

There is no bar under electoral law on the prime minister to undertake a meditation trip during elections, sources in the know said on Wednesday, amid the Congress’s opposition to Narendra Modi’s proposed visit to Kanyakumari’s ‘Dhyan Mandapam’ from May 30.

The Congress on Wednesday alleged that Prime Minister Modi was trying to “circumvent” the silence period restrictions with his 48-hour meditation trip in violation of the Model Code of Conduct. It urged the Election Commission to ensure that the his meditation exercise is not aired by the media.

The sources in the know cited Section 126 of the Representation of People Act, 1951 which deals with prohibition of public meetings or propagating and displaying election matter to the public, during the operation of silence period.

Silence period begins 48 hours ahead of the conclusion of poll. Silence period for the last phase, in which Modi’s constituency of Varanasi also goes for poll, begins at 6 PM on Thursday.

However, the provisions of the election law are not applicable in case of multi-phased elections — when the polls are held on different dates — if the content of election matter relates to subsequent phases and in no way, have any reference to the polling area under silence period, they said, citing a press note issued by EC last month.

So long as one does not talk about the locality where election is happening there is no bar, the sources underlined.

If there are no spoken words as reported, there seems to be no violation, they added. Similar permission was given by the Commission to the PM during 2019 Lok Sabha polls when election was scheduled in Varanasi during last phase on May 19.

Explore in-depth coverage of Lok Sabha Election 2024 Voter Turnout, Upcoming Phase, Results Date, Exit Poll And Much More At News18 Website

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)



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