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Test of democracy is will I be allowed to reply, says Rahul Gandhi

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Facing flak for his ‘democracy under attack’ in India remarks in the United Kingdom, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Thursday said if Indian democracy was functioning, he would be able to say his piece in Parliament, asserting that it is a ‘test of democracy’.

IMAGE: Congress MP Rahul Gandhi with Jairam Ramesh at the party headquarters, New Delhi, March 16, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

After four leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party have made an allegation about a Member of Parliament, is that MP going to be given the same space that those four ministers have been given or is he going to be told to ‘shut up’, asked Gandhi at a press conference, his first after returning from the United Kingdom.

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He alleged that the whole ‘tamasha‘ by BJP members in Parliament has been created by the government to divert attention from the Adani issue.

 

The BJP, however, hit back saying Rahul Gandhi has made it a habit to ‘demean’ Indian democracy on foreign soil and he must apologise.

Senior BJP leaders, including Union ministers, have attacked Rahul Gandhi over his remarks that democracy was under attack in India and there is a ‘full-scale assault’ on the country’s institutions.

However, Congress leaders have denied that Gandhi made any anti-India comments.

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Gandhi on Thursday came to the Parliament House after his return from abroad and met Speaker Om Birla urging him to allow him to speak in the Lok Sabha.

“So, if Indian democracy was functioning, I would be able to say my piece in Parliament. So, actually what you are seeing, is a test of Indian democracy.

“After four leaders of the BJP have made an allegation about a Member of Parliament, is that Member of Parliament going to be given the same space that those four ministers have been given or is he going to be told to shut up? That’s what the real question in front of this country is right now,” the former Congress chief said.

Gandhi said he told the LS Speaker that people from the BJP have made allegations against him and as a Member of Parliament, it is his democratic right to speak.

He said Birla was ‘non-committal’ on this and just smiled.

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He also expressed hope that he will be allowed to speak tomorrow in Parliament even though he is unsure.

Claiming that the whole controversy (creation) was about distraction, Gandhi alleged that the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are ‘scared’ over the Adani issue and that is why they have ‘prepared this whole tamasha’ to distract.

The former Congress chief also did not take any questions from the media and said he would like to first place his statement on the floor of the house and after that, he will be happy to have any discussion.

“I went to Parliament this morning with the idea of putting (forward) what I have said or what I feel on the floor of the House. Four ministers have raised allegations against me in Parliament House, it is my right to be allowed to speak on the floor of the House,” the former Congress chief said.

Responding to Gandhi’s remarks, former Union minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said Gandhi’s comments cannot become the ‘barometer’ of the success or failure of democracy.

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He accused Gandhi of making it a habit of seeking to ‘derail and demean’ Indian democracy from foreign soil.

IMAGE: Rahul Gandhi and K C Venugopal in the Central Hall of Parliament, New Delhi, March 16, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

Union minister Piyush Goyal also reiterated the demand that Gandhi should first apologise for his democracy remarks.

Addressing a press conference soon after Gandhi’s media interaction, Prasad said the Congress leader did not deny making comments against the state of democracy in India and seeking the intervention of the United States and Europe.

He said the BJP had posted the video of Gandhi’s comments in Britain, urging foreign powers to take ‘notice’ of the ‘falling standards’ of democracy in India.

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The BJP will continue to campaign against the Congress leader, seeking his apology for insulting the country and its people, he said.

“The same democracy elected him to Lok Sabha from Wayanad and the Congress to power in Himachal Pradesh recently, he noted, asserting that Gandhi begins raising questions on it after his party is defeated in elections. The Congress drew a blank in the recent assembly polls in three northeastern states,” he noted.

All India Congress Committee general secretary of communications Jairam Ramesh said all opposition parties, barring a few who have a tacit understanding with the Modi government, are together and believe that what Rahul Gandhi has said is right.

“We have an undeclared emergency in our country,” he alleged, claiming that all parties are with the Congress on this issue as well as on the demand for a JPC on the Adani issue.

Rahul Gandhi also said, “the story started the day I gave my speech in Parliament about Mr Adani and I had some fundamental questions to the prime minister — about his relationship with the businessman, about how Mr Adani has been given pretty much the entire India -Israel defence relationship, how he has been given the Mumbai airport and other airports, how rules have been changed to allow him to be given these things”.

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“What happened in Australia between the prime minister, Mr Adani and the chairman of the State Bank and one of the Australian chief ministers of one of the states in Australia. It is the picture that is visible to everybody. Why is the prime minister of India sitting with the State Bank Chairman and Mr Adani and an Australian leader? What is he discussing? And after that discussion almost a billion dollars are pledged by the State Bank to Mr Adani,” he alleged.

He also referred to a statement made by a functionary in the Sri Lankan government claiming that former president Rajapaksha had told him that Adani be given the contract and it was basically Mr Modi who told him.

The same was in Bangladesh, he claimed.

Gandhi’s remarks during his recent trip to the UK have rocked Parliament, with both houses failing to transact any significant business on the first four days of the Budget session’s second half which started earlier this week.

He also told British parliamentarians in London that microphones are often ‘turned off’ in Lok Sabha when an opposition member raises important issues.

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Gandhi’s remarks have triggered a political row with the BJP accusing him of maligning India on foreign soil and seeking foreign intervention, and the Congress hitting back at the ruling party by citing instances of Modi making similar statements when abroad and raising issues of internal politics.

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David Warner’s Men Look to Shed Underachiever Tag Amid Rishabh Pant’s Absence

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Delhi Capitals Team Preview IPL 2023: Delhi Capitals have been perennial underachievers in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The likes of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, David Warner, Tillakarante Dilshan, AB de Villiers, Kevin Pietersen, Glenn McGrath, Shikhar Dhawan and Morne Morkel have been part of the franchise at different times. However, Delhi Capitals are yet to win an IPL crown even after 15 years of trying and twice they had topped the group stages (2012 and 2021) only to fluff their lines in the qualifiers. Their best result to date remains the runners-up finish in 2020 when they lost by five wickets to Mumbai Indians.

This year, however, could well be different for the Delhi franchise, which has gone for a good mix of experience and youth. They bought a host of players in the IPL mini-auction in December last year, including veteran pacer Ishant Sharma, who, along with Warner and Mitchell Marsh will add a great deal of experience to the side. The Delhi franchise also picked up seasoned IPL campaigner Manish Pandey, the hard-hitting South African Rilee Rossouw, England wicketkeeper-batter Phil Salt and the promising Bengal bowler Mukesh Kumar.

The fact that the Capitals paid much higher than the base price for Pandey, Rossouw and Mukesh perhaps points to the fact that they have big plans for these players in the upcoming season.

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And, two X-factors in the Delhi ranks in the master strategist Sourav Ganguly, who has been roped in as the Director of Cricket, and the two-time ICC World Cup-winning former Australian captain Ricky Ponting continuing as head coach.

However, for all the positives, the biggest setback for the franchise this season is the unavailability of their regular captain and talismanic wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant, who was put out of action after suffering a horrendous car accident late last year. Both Ganguly and Ponting accepted that Pant’s absence would be a huge loss. However, Delhi will be desperate to find a workaround and Sarfaraz Khan, who has been in great form in the domestic circuit, will probably have to step into Pant’s shoes as wicketkeeper-batter, while Warner, who had won led Sunrisers Hyderabad to their maiden IPL title in 2016, will be taking over the mantle of captaincy. Incidentally, the swashbuckling Australian started his IPL career in 2009 with the Delhi franchise.

“They are looking good, actually. They need match time. Nets are good but match is most important. They have been with me before the start of this camp thrice. So I have worked with them there. We want to get into match mode,” Ganguly said on Delhi’s bunch of youngsters. In a year that the women’s team of the franchise reached the final of the Women’s Premier League, the men’s team will be looking to go one better.

How They Fared Last Time

Delhi Capitals had a modest harvest last year, finishing out of the playoff bracket. They were fifth out of 10 teams, having won seven and lost seven matches. Considering the individual performances they had last year, it was a disappointing end to the season. Warner was the standout batter for the Capitals last year and was ably supported by the young guns Prithvi Shaw and Axar Patel. Marsh played some impactful innings, while spinner Kuldeep Yadav and Bangladeshi pace ace Mustafizur Rahman impressed with the ball.

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West Indies’ Rovman Powell also chipped in with handy knocks from time to time. DC started with a bang by beating five-time champions Mumbai Indians, but could never be consistent and the only time that they could string together two wins on the trot was at the very end of their campaign. The final outcome, as a result, was expectedly poor.

Top Player(s) to Watch Out For

David Warner: The new captain has been one of the most successful players in IPL history. Apart from his achievement as a captain in the orange jersey of the SRH, Warner has won the Orange Cap thrice for being the highest run-getter: in 2015 (562 runs), 2017 (641 runs) and 2019 (692 runs). He could have won the Orange Cap in 2016 too, having scored an unbelievable 848 runs, but Virat Kohli had other ideas. Warner is the third-highest run-getter in the history of the IPL after Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan. He amassed 432 runs last year and his knocks of 66 off 38 balls against Royal Challengers Bangalore, 60* off 30 balls against Punjab Kings and 92* off 58 balls against SRH stood out.

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Prithvi Shaw: He was another top performer for the DC last year, scoring 283 runs in 10 matches at a handsome strike rate of 152.97. His best knocks last year included 61 off 34 balls against Lucknow Super Giants, 51 off 29 balls against Kolkata Knight Riders and 41 off 20 balls against Punjab Kings. The 2018 U-19 World Cup-winning captain has had fitness and off-field issues of late, but Delhi Capitals coach Ponting has a lot of faith in him. “He has trained harder and better than I have ever seen. I am pretty sure leading into the IPL, he is in better physical shape than what I have seen him ever before. This is going to be his biggest season ever in the IPL. He has that different look in his eyes, you can see that he is probably hungrier than ever,” Ponting said during a team event. When Shaw gets going, he can take the game away from the opposition pretty quickly.

Mitchell Marsh: The lanky Australian allrounder pounded the Indian bowling to dust in the three-match ODI series that got over earlier this month. Marsh was the highest run-getter in the series with a tally of 194 runs at a tremendous average of 97. He scored 81 off 65 balls in the 1st ODI in Mumbai and followed it up with a 36-ball unbeaten 66 in Visakhapatnam. The last match of the series yielded a run-a-ball 47. “I don’t think I’ve seen him bat better than he is right now. I think that ODI form although as an opener that we saw in this last series against India is exactly the way that we wanted to play for the Delhi Capitals,” Ponting said about Marsh. He provides a good pace bowling option too, having taken 24 wickets in the IPL at an impressive strike rate (balls bowled per wicket taken) of 16.29 and an average (runs conceded per wicket taken) of 21.75.

Axar Patel: The allrounder has been in sublime form, especially with the bat for India in recent times. He had scores of 84, 74 and 79 in the recently-concluded Test series against Australia. His bowling has been tidy too, both in the Test series and the ODI series against the Australians. Axar scored 182 useful runs for the DC last year at a strike-rate of 151.67. His standout knocks included an unbeaten 42 off 24 deliveries versus Lucknow Super Giants and an unbeaten 38 off 17 balls against Mumbai Indians. He was good with his left-arm orthodox spin too and his best performance came against Punjab Kings which saw him bag a couple of wickets by giving away just 10 runs off his four overs. The responsibility of being Warner’s deputy will give him added motivation.

Strongest Playing XI

David Warner (C), Prithvi Shaw, Mitchell Marsh, Rilee Rossouw, Axar Patel, Lalit Yadav, Sarfaraz Khan (wk), Kuldeep Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman.

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Full Squad: David Warner (C), Prithvi Shaw, Yash Dhull, Sarfaraz Khan, Manish Pandey, Rovman Powell, Rilee Rossouw, Lalit Yadav, Mitchell Marsh, Ripal Patel, Axar Patel, Phil Salt, Khaleel Ahmed, Aman Hakim Khan, Praveen Dubey, Kuldeep Yadav, Mukesh Kumar, Mustafizur Rahman, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Vicky Ostwal, Chetan Sakariya, Ishant Sharma, Rishabh Pant.

Delhi Capitals Full Schedule

  • Match 1: April 1 – Lucknow Super Giants vs Delhi Capitals, 7:30 PM IST, Lucknow
  • Match 2: April 4 – Delhi Capitals vs Gujarat Titans, 7:30 PM IST, Delhi
  • Match 3: April 8 – Rajasthan Royals vs Delhi Capitals, 3:30 PM IST, Guwahati
  • Match 4: April 11 – Delhi Capitals vs Mumbai Indians, 7:30 PM IST, Delhi
  • Match 5: April 15 – Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Delhi Capitals, 3:30 PM IST, Bengaluru
  • Match 6: April 20 – Delhi Capitals vs Kolkata Knight Riders, 7:30 PM IST, Delhi
  • Match 7: April 24 – Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Delhi Capitals, 7:30 PM IST, Hyderabad
  • Match 8: April 29 – Delhi Capitals vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, 7:30 PM IST, Delhi
  • Match 9: May 2 – Gujarat Titans vs Delhi Capitals, 7:30 PM IST, Ahmedabad
  • Match 10: May 6 – Delhi Capitals vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, 7:30 PM IST, Delhi
  • Match 11: May 10 – Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Capitals, 7:30 PM IST, Chennai
  • Match 12: May 13 – Delhi Capitals vs Punjab Kings, 7:30 PM IST, Delhi
  • Match 13: May 17 – Punjab Kings vs Delhi Capitals, 7:30 PM IST, Dharamsala
  • Match 14: May 20 – Delhi Capitals vs Chennai Super Kings, 3:30 PM IST, Delhi

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Top Telangana news developments on March 27, 2023

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BRS MLC K Kavitha arrives at the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office in connection with the Delhi excise policy case, in New Delhi on March 20.
| Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

Here are the key news developments from Telangana to watch out for today :

1. Supreme Court to hear Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter Kavitha’s case challenging the summons issued to her by ED in the Delhi liquor scam today.

2. Supreme Court to take up State Government’s petition over Governor not giving assent to Bills passed by the State legislature today.

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3. The Cherlapally Central Jail at Hyderabad invites Expression of Interest by entrepreneurs to do business in furniture fabrication, warehousing, agricultural allied services, confectionary, and battery making today. 

4. Singareni Collieries Company Limited gears up for elections to a recognised union in the backdrop of the court giving a go-ahead for polls. The Central labour department proposes to issue a notification in April and conduct elections in May. The elections were last held in 2017 when the union affiliated with the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samiti won the polls at the company level and most of the mines.

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Urfi Javed Goes Boldly Braless And Backless on Red Carpet, SHOCKS Everyone; Check Out Sexy Photos

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Urfi Javed looks smoking hot in a daring ensemble.

Urfi Javed never fails to make headlines for her daring outfits. The actress has once again made everyone’s jaws drop with her sexy dress.

Urfi Javed has taken the internet by storm with her latest red carpet appearance. The actress, who rose to prominence after participating in Bigg Boss OTT, ditched bra and went completely backless as she wore the most daring outfit of the night at an event on Sunday.

Urfi Javed donned a barely-there purple top inspired by skeleton rib cage. She teamed it with a beige pants and tied her hair back in a high bun. The actress looked super hot and carried her bold outfit with utmost confidence on the red carpet.

Last week, Urfi Javed shocked everyone as she posted a cryptic picture hinting that she might have asked someone out and ‘he’ agreed. The picture that she dropped was that of a big card with ‘He Said Yes’ written on it in gold letters. Not only that, she followed it up with another picture of a card with ‘Woohoo! We Did It!’ imprinted on it. While the meaning behind her post was not clear, she definitely caught the attention of the netizens as they flooded her post with mixed reactions.

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Reacting to her post, one of the users wrote, “Many Many Congratulations!!” Another one tweeted, “Noooooo… it should’ve been me.” Someone else asked, “Who is that super lucky chap?” A netizen stated, “Why you had to make our relationship public?”

Just a few days back, Urfi Javed took to her Instagram handle and dropped a video in which she covered her modesty with a top made up of Kiwis woven together. The actress paired it with black trousers and left everyone completely stunned.

On the work front, Urfi Javed has reportedly been approached for the upcoming season of Khatron Ke Khiladi but she rejected the show.

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