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Abhishek Banerjee Leads TMC Protest at Rajghat; BJP Calls it ‘Drama’ to Divert Attention from Scams in Bengal



Trinamool Congress general secretary Abhishek Banerjee along with party leaders and workers sat on a dharna at Delhi’s Rajghat on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary on Monday demanding the release of funds for West Bengal by the Centre.

The Lok Sabha member, accompanied by party leaders including MPs, MLAs and state ministers who had arrived from West Bengal, paid tributes to Gandhi at the memorial and held the protest for two hours, sporting black armbands and displaying placards, after which they were escorted out by security personnel.

”They are scared that is why they are doing this… They talk about being a big party, but it is now visible that they are scared,” Banerjee told media persons outside Rajghat before he and other TMC protesters were asked to clear the area.

The TMC lashed out at the central government for ”stopping” it from holding a ”peaceful protest” and alleged that the protesters were heckled and manhandled by the security personnel.

The BJP hit back accusing the TMC of committing theft of government funds. Union Minister Anurag Thakur alleged that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has sent her party leaders under a ”corrupt and tainted” MP to stage the protest to divert the public attention from the ”numerous scams” that took place in her state.

At a press conference, Thakur dismissed TMC’s allegations that the state’s funds were being withheld and claimed there was no shortage of money for the centrally-sponsored schemes in West Bengal.

The BJP also fielded its state leaders, including unit president Sukanta Majumdar, Union minister Subhas Sarkar and MP Locket Chatterjee, who accused TMC of doing a ”drama” in Delhi.

Majumdar made light of Abhishek Banerjee’s charge that the BJP has been trying to scuttle his party’s protests, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not that idle to target a ”petty leader” such as the TMC’s heir apparent.

Abhishek Banerjee later visited Lal Bahadur Shastri’s memorial Vijay Ghat and paid tributes to the former prime minister on his birth anniversary.

At Gandhi’s samadhi, Banerjee held a placard demanding that the Centre ”release fund for Bengal”. Another placard read ’Bengal Deprived: 1 lakh 15 thousand crore families, Rs. 15,000 crore owed’.

The ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal has accused the BJP-led NDA government of withholding Rs 15,000 crore in dues to the state under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and PM Awas Yojana.

The demonstration was held for about two hours, after which the TMC leaders were escorted out by security personnel. Banerjee addressed the media outside Raj Ghat but loudspeakers were used by police to ask the TMC leaders and supporters to move out of the area.

”Our leaders peacefully protesting for the rights of the people were abruptly asked to leave by the police. All Shri Abhishek Banerjee asked for was ten minutes, but was ungracefully refused. What is the BJP-led Central Government scared of?” the Trinamool Congress said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

They also shared a video of a police official asking the TMC leaders to leave.

The party leaders alleged that derogatory remarks were made by an IPS officer about the peaceful protest and that women leaders were ”manhandled” by police.

”It is deeply disheartening to witness such a lack of respect for the democratic process and the voices of the people under the BJP-led central government,” Trinamool Congress said in a post on X.

”Raising our voice for people’s rights is labelled as Tamasha. On Gandhi Jayanti, all we sought was a peaceful dharna for the betterment of our people. However, the anti-people BJP-led central government chose to silence us,” the party alleged.

Speaking to the media before leaving the area, Banerjee said the BJP government is ”scared”.

The TMC leaders and supporters will stage a protest at Jantar Mantar on Tuesday over the issue.

The party claimed that over 50 lakh letters have been brought by the protesters from West Bengal that are addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the non-payment of dues.

TMC sources said letters will also be brought from BJP-ruled Assam, Goa, Tripura and Meghalaya highlighting alleged corruption in central schemes.

Biswajit Dev, a spokesperson of the Trinamool Congress and member of the party’s state committee, accused the Centre of destroying the rural employment scheme MGNREGA and said it’s an insult to Mahatma Gandhi, after whom the scheme has been named.

”Is this democracy? Centre is using schemes for political benefits,” he alleged.

”This is an insult to the poor people and to Mahatma Gandhi after whom MNREGA has been named,” Dev told PTI.

Chaiti Barman Barua, a TMC leader from Coochbihar, said they have come to Delhi to make their voice heard.

Joy Banerjee, who came from Purulia in West Bengal, alleged that the many trains and flights on which the TMC leaders were scheduled to travel to Delhi were cancelled.

”We are here to make our voices heard by the Centre, not for any confrontation. Why is the BJP so worried?” he said.

TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee was scheduled to attend the programme in New Delhi, but is unlikely to do so as she has been advised ten days of rest by doctors after she suffered an injury in her left knee during a recent trip to Spain and Dubai.

The chief minister held a two-day sit-in in March this year against the Centre’s alleged move of ”not releasing funds” to the state for MGNREGA and other welfare schemes.

Union Minister Anurag Thakur targeted the TMC saying its leaders ”have come to Delhi under the leadership of a tainted party MP, who himself is accused of several corruption charges and is currently under the investigation by the ED”.

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

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12 Wagons of Freight Train Derailed in UP’s Amroha, Oppn Attacks Centre




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Visuals from the accident site in UP’s Amroha. (X)

Work to restore movement of trains on the section is underway and is expected to be completed by Sunday morning, officials said

Twelve wagons of a Delhi-bound freight train derailed near the Amroha railway station in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday evening, officials said. No one was injured in the accident.

The mishap just comes three days after eight coaches of the Chandigarh-Dibrugarh express passenger train derailed in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda. At least four people were killed in the accident while 31 were injured.

Moradabad Division’s Senior Deputy Commercial Manager (DCM) Aditya Gupta said that “12 wagons of a goods train derailed just after crossing the Amroha railway station around 5 pm”.

The Northern Railway CPRO said the accident happened at the Amroha Yard on the Ghaziabad-Moradabad section, disrupting train movement on the route.

Several Trains Diverted

Fifteen trains have been either diverted or cancelled, railway sources said. “In the meantime, trains on this route are being diverted via Ghaziabad, Hapur and Gajraula,” Gupta said.

Work to restore movement of trains on the section is underway and is expected to be completed by Sunday morning, officials said.

The official further said the freight train “was coming from Uttarakhand and was headed for Delhi, and the contents of the wagons which got derailed are not known”.

Congress Targets Railway Minister For Recurring Train Accidents

Soon after the incident, the Congress party dug up an old tweet regarding a train accident from Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and asked him to pin the post in light of such recurring rail mishaps.

The tweet said “Heading to the accident site” and the opposition party asked the minister that he should keep it as his pinned social media post as he has to use it repeatedly.

The grand old party also posted a video of the train accident and alleged that the Modi government’s negligence ruined the condition of the Indian Railways.

“During the Modi government, news of train accidents used to come every few days, but now such news is coming every day. The government’s negligence has ruined the railways, which are called the lifeline of the country,” Congress wrote on X.

In one such similar incident, a wagon of a goods train derailed between Valsad and Surat stations in Gujarat on Friday but there were no reports of anyone getting injured, a Western Railway official said.

The traffic on the route, however, was affected due to the incident that took place near Dungri station around 3 pm, he said.

The train was heading towards Surat.

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Union MoS Jitin Prasada’s Car Meets With An Accident in UP’s Pilibhit




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Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry of India Jitin Prasada. (PTI Image)

One of the cars in the minister’s carcade reverse banged the vehicle in which the Union Minister was travelling from the front

Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry of India Jitin Prasada’s car on Saturday met with an accident in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit. While the minister is reportedly safe, one person who was present in the car suffered minor injuries.

The crash occurred while he was on a tour of his parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit. The minister’s car reportedly collided with another vehicle in his convoy.

One of the cars in the carcade reverse banged the vehicle in which the Union Minister was travelling from the front.

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‘Bihari Itna Aage Hai to Bihar Itna Pichhe Kyon’, Asks Chirag Paswan




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Union Minister Chirag Paswan. (Image: PTI/File)

Once a sharp critic of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Paswan said the ruling NDA will fight the next assembly elections under Kumar’s leadership

Union minister and Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) leader Chirag Paswan has asked the Bihar government to set a precedent by taking stringent action in cases of crime and the recent spate of bridge collapses, asserting that the state needs the vision to move up the development ladder.

Once a sharp critic of Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar before both allied with the BJP, Paswan said the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will fight the next assembly elections under Kumar’s leadership but flagged a host of issues which, he suggested, has stymied the state’s growth.

The assembly elections in Bihar are due to be held in 2025-end. “Bihari itna aage hai to Bihar itna pichhe kyon? (If Biharis are doing so well, then why is Bihar so behind?) We need to find an answer to this question,” Paswan told PTI, highlighting how people from the state in different fields, from elite government jobs to the private sector, have done well after migrating.

“The problem is that a vision needs to be there and it needs to be implemented,” he said, stressing that efforts should be made to stop migration from the state.

Ahead of the Union budget presentation on July 23, Paswan said he supported the demand for special category status for Bihar.

However, he noted that the NITI Aayog’s recommendations go against granting the demand and said an alternative like a special package should be given to the state.

Asked about the collapse of nearly 15 bridges in Bihar in recent months, a development which raised questions about the quality of development work and made the state a magnet for jokes and memes on social media, Paswan said it is a serious issue.

“This shows that somewhere corruption has taken place. Compromises were made. I don’t want to get into the politics of who was in the government then. We are in the government now. It is our responsibility to make sure this does not get repeated. Whosoever is responsible should be held accountable and punished so that a precedent is set for the future,” he said.

Asked about his change of stand on Kumar, he said if he is part of an alliance, then he needs to be there wholeheartedly.

“I can’t be part of an alliance and have apprehensions also. Because that could have just damaged the alliance and would have affected our performance,” Paswan added.

The NDA won 30 of the state’s 40 Lok Sabha seats, with Paswan’s party achieving a 100 per cent strike rate by bagging all five seats it contested.

He added that Kumar as chief minister has done “really well” compared to the way the state was run under the previous RJD governments. “There is always a scope for improvement,” he said.

Curbing the crime rate can boost tourism, especially religious tourism, in the state, as people need to feel safe before visiting Bihar.

A grand temple in Sitamarhi for Lord Ram’s wife Sita and connecting the town, where the devout believe she was born, with Ayodhya can be a huge boost to tourism, he added.

He rued the lack of education infrastructure in cities of Bihar, noting that a large number of students from the state enrol in Kota’s coaching centres, many of whom are owned by Biharis.

A good number of teachers there are also from Bihar, Paswan said, wondering why such a model cannot be replicated in Patna, Muzaffarpur or Bhagalpur.

The state regularly suffers from drought and floods at the same time, the Hajipur MP said, calling for the inter-linking of rivers.

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

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