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 UPCC chief's arrest leaves Congress unruffled

UPCC chief's arrest leaves Congress unruffled

Lucknow, June 3 (IANS) The arrest of UP Congress President Ajay Kumar Lallu has failed to spur the Congress into action. The UPCC chief has been left out in the cold after his bail plea was rejected by the MP-MLA special court on Monday.

There was no anger palpable in the party ranks, exposing the deep division within the party, and no plans are underway to enlarge the scope of protests.

So far, the 'protests' on the issue have been restricted to wearing black ribbons, holding a candle march and organizing a 'havan' for the UPCC chief's release.

A party delegation also met Governor Anandiben Patel on Wednesday to seek her intervention in the matter.

UPCC media coordinator Lalan Kumar said on Wednesday that the party would now launch a major protest against the UPCC president's "unlawful" detention. "We will also appeal in the High Court for bail," he said.

However, there was no word whether any of the party's legal luminaries would take up Lallu's case.

Top party leaders have so far made a token contribution by tweeting in support of Lallu, but no agitation or protest plan has yet been formulated.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi have also tweeted in support of the UPCC chief.

Lallu was arrested on May 21 for alleged forgery of documents of buses that his party had arranged for ferrying stranded migrant workers.

Rejecting the bail, special judge P.K. Rai said, "The offences are of serious in nature and adequate material has been collected against the applicant in the investigation. From the material prima facie, his complicity is apparent and as such at this stage, when the probe is still going on, there is no reason to release him on bail."

Interestingly, the communication on the bus controversy was mainly between Sandeep Singh, personal secretary to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and the state government. Lallu had written only one letter offering 1,000 buses to ferry migrants.

Sandeep Singh has neither been arrested nor questioned in the matter.

Meanwhile, most senior leaders in the party have distanced themselves from the issue.

A former UPCC president said, "Since this Congress wants to focus on the youth and has no room for veterans, it is now up to the youth to fight for their president. We have already been relegated to the sidelines, so why should we take the lead and hold protests? In any other party, this issue would have mobilized the cadre and spurred the party into action."

Another senior leader said, "Ajay Kumar Lallu and his supporters have never shown even basic respect for senior leaders. They should realise that political parties are not a one-man show and if they are run like this, they will be reduced to a one-man party."

Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Aradhana Mishra said the party had full faith in the judiciary and that the party would soon launch a protest against the state government.


02:38 PM
 17 terrorists involved in Kabul bombings held

17 terrorists involved in Kabul bombings held

Kabul, June 3 (IANS) The Afghan National Police (ANP) has arrested 17 terrorists involved in a series of bomb attacks in Kabul, the country's Ministry of Interior said on Wednesday.

"Over the past few weeks, ANP has managed to arrest 17 mine planters and detect and defuse 10 rounds of roadside mines and improvised bombs prepared by terrorists for explosions in different locations of the capital," the ministry said in a statement.

Over the past years, the capital city has been hit by a series of terror attacks by the Taliban insurgents and militants of the Islamic State (IS), Xinhua news agency reported.

The ministry added that efforts are being made to arrest all elements behind bomb attacks and mine blasts in the capital.


02:32 PM
 England, WI players will have to re-train their brains, feels Hussain

England, WI players will have to re-train their brains, feels Hussain

London, June 3 (IANS) Former captain Nasser Hussain believes the real challenge for the England and West Indies teams when they face each other in the three-Test series will be "training their brain" not to shine the ball or mass celebrate wickets.

The three-match series between England and West Indies will begin on July 8, subject to approval from UK government. The matches in the series will be played behind closed doors and could also see the implementation of saliva ban put in place to stop the transmission of novel coronavirus.

"Some of the stuff they have trained their brain for 10 years to do, shining a cricket ball, celebrating a wicket, will be the difficult thing for them," Hussain told Sky Sports News.

"They are used to putting saliva on a cricket ball and can't do that anymore, so they will have to re-train the brain," he added.

According to the former England captain, players of both the teams are unlikely to be too negatively affected by having no fans in attendance.

"There will be a slight effect but a lot of these players would have played in venues where there aren't any crowds in England domestically and they have been to the UAE (to play Pakistan) where there is not much of a crowd," said the 52-year-old.

"And, I'm afraid, unless England are in town and hoards of fans go over, West Indies at times play in front of low crowds. It's not ideal but they have no other choice. They will have to create their own atmosphere," he added.

Earlier, pacer James Anderson had said that his teammates will have to motivate each other when cricket resumes in front of empty stands.

The first Test of the series will be played at the Ageas Bowl from July 8, followed by two Tests at Old Trafford from July 16 and July 24 respectively.


02:32 PM
 Modi accepts Trump's offer to be part of 'expanded' G7 to discuss China

Modi accepts Trump's offer to be part of 'expanded' G7 to discuss China

New Delhi, June 2 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a telephonic conversation with the US President Donald Trump on Tuesday, accepted his offer to be part of the ‘expanded G7', the group of most powerful nations to discuss the collective approach to China.

Earlier this week, Trump decided to postpone the G7 meeting till September and invite India, Russia, Australia and South Korea to discuss a plan on how to deal with the future of China.

The US and China have been in an open confrontation since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic which originated in Wuhan.

The phone conversation is significant in view of the ongoing face-off between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh. Though Trump had offered to mediate between the two Asian giants to resolve the violent stand-off, neither India nor China used the services of his office.

Both India and China are talking using diplomatic channels to resolve the issue. Last week, however, Trump had claimed that Modi was not pleased with the Xi Jinping regime over the ongoing border conflict.

On Tuesday, an official statement of the Ministry of External Affairs said that Modi had a telephone conversation with Trump.

During the phone call, Trump spoke about the US Presidency of the Group of Seven, and "conveyed his desire to expand the ambit of the grouping beyond the existing membership, to include other important countries including India".

In this context, the statement said, "He extended an invitation to Prime Minister Modi to attend the next G-7 Summit to be held in the US."

The government, however, did not elaborate on the mechanics of the ‘expanded G7' and in what capacity will India participate in the group.

Modi, as per the statement, commended Trump for his "creative and far-sighted approach, acknowledging the fact that such an expanded forum would be in keeping with the emerging realities of the post-Covid world."

India would be happy to work with the US and other countries to ensure the success of the proposed summit, the Modi told Trump.

Modi also expressed his concerns regarding the ongoing civil disturbances in the US, and conveyed his best wishes for an early resolution of the situation, the statement said.

The two leaders also exchanged views on other topical issues, such as the Covid-19 situation in the two countries, the situation on the India-China border, and the need for reforms in the World Health Organization.

During the conversation, Trump warmly recalled his visit to India in February this year. Modi reciprocated by saying that the visit had indeed been memorable and historic on many accounts, and had also added new dynamism to the bilateral relationships.

The exceptional warmth and candour of the conversation reflected the special nature of the Indo-US ties, as well as the friendship and mutual esteem between both the leaders, the statement said.


10:28 PM

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