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India

Posters in Patna blame Nitish, Pandey for AES deaths

Hours ahead of the Monsoon session of the Bihar Assembly on Friday, posters appeared in Patna blaming the NDA government for the death of over 150 children in Muzaffarpur due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and the complete collapse of law and order in the state.

Dozens of posters in Hindi that were pasted on walls along the main roads in the state capital, also demanded resignations of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey on moral grounds for having failed to check the spread of AES.

The posters termed Bihar as “maut ka kuan” (death well) and mocked it leaders lack of concern for the suffering of the people of the state.

“Chief Minister Nitish Kumar found time to visit Muzaffarpur only after 100 children had died, while Mangal Pandey was more interested knowing the score of the India and Pakistan World Cup cricket match at his press conference with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in Muzaffarpur,” it said.

The posters also expressed growing resentment among the people over the rising lawlessness in the state with daily reports of murder, kidnapping, extortion, loot, robbery and rape.

Ealier similar posters had come up in Muzaffarpur — the epicentre of AES epidemic — asking people to trace “missing” Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav.

(IANS)

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India

Rahul to blame if Modi-Shah return to power; Kejriwal

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said that Congress President Rahul Gandhi will be responsible if Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes back to power in the Lok Sabha polls.

Speaking to the media over a possible alliance between the AAP and Congress in the national capital, he said his party would have left all the seven seats for Congress if it was in a position to win. “But the Congress cannot win even a single seat in Delhi.”

“They don’t have an intention (to forge an alliance). For the past two months we have been trying for an alliance. I am saying this with huge sadness that if Modi and (BJP President Amit) Shah return to power, only one person will be responsible — Rahul Gandhi.

“The way he is weakening the opposition in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Goa, Chandigarh and Haryana, this is not a good thing,” the Delhi Chief Minister said after releasing AAP’s Delhi manifesto.

He said his party was giving a tough fight to the BJP and claimed “we can defeat the BJP in Delhi”.

Kejriwal said the AAP was born amid corruption charges during Congress rule.

“The thought of an alliance with the Congress was something we could not even think of at one point. But the tough situation the country is facing made us take such a decision.”

The talks between the AAP and Congress for an alliance in Delhi were on for some time but both the parties will now contest the May 12 Lok Sabha battle in Delhi on their own.

Kejriwal also slammed Rahul Gandhi for tweeting discussions related to the alliance. “Where in the world an alliance took place on Twitter or through newspaper headlines?”

IANS

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India

Bengal MPs blame Mamata for poor MPLADS funds use

Opposition MPs in West Bengal have blamed the “non-cooperation” of Trinamool Congress-led state government and district administrations for unused MPLADS fund, even as Mohammad Salim of the CPI(M) tops the list of state MPs for spending the highest proportion of the funds released.

According to official data, Rs 803.76 crore has been spent out of the total Rs 928.09 crore available under the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) during the 16th Lok Sabha. Rs 124.27 crore remain unspent till date.

The Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation specifies the role of MPs is limited to recommending the projects and it is the responsibility of the district authorities to sanction, execute and complete the works.

Babul Supriyo (BJP) who is seeking re-election from Asansol has spent 72.68 per cent of the MPLADS funds.

However, BJP Darjeeling MP S.S. Ahluwalia, who has recorded 56.30 per cent utilisation of the released MPLADS funds, claimed he recommended about 312 projects worth Rs 25.22 crore till January end, but 228 of them were yet to be processed.

“The Trinamool government had categorically instructed officers not to approve projects recommended by BJP MPs. This is a complete non-cooperation by district authorities. Since I have recommended, funds for development in Darjeeling will be used sooner or later,” Ahluwalia told IANS.

Beharampur MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury of the Congress had a similar complaint. “We were not allowed to spend the funds by the state administration.”

The four-term Congress MP used 79.85 per cent of the amount released, his party’s Malda South MP Abu Hasem Choudhury used 74.63 per cent and former President Pranab Mukherjee’s son and party’s Jangipur MP Abhijit Mukherjee 91.80 per cent.

Mohammad Salim, seeking re-election from Raiganj, used 115.14 per cent of the released funds and recommended around Rs 28.88 crore for developmental work of which Rs 21.51 crore was sanctioned. The amount available with interest in Salim’s MPLADS was Rs 20.98 crore.

Badaruddoza Khan, CPI(M) MP from Murshidabad seat, who is also seeking re-election, told IANS: “The Trinamool government did not allow us to spend MPLADS funds. I have written to the Prime Minister and the Lok Sabha Speaker seeking their interventions. About Rs 12.5 crore fund was sanctioned.” He has used 73.32 per cent of the funds.

Refuting allegations, Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy told IANS: “Our focus has been development and we have been relentlessly working towards it, while the Opposition leaders lack interest. The allegations are their excuses for their own failure.”

Among the Trinamool Congress MPs whose fund utilisation has been over 100 per cent are mostly either first-time parliamentarians or those belonging to the entertainment industry like Jhargram’s MP Uma Soren, Sandhya Roy (Medinipur), Deepak (Dev) Adhikari (Ghatal) and Satabdi Roy (Birbhum).

Party veteran and Kolkata South MP Subrata Bakshi secured 100.46 per cent funds utilisation.

Opposition MPs also alleged the TMC refused tickets to better performers like Soren, Roy and Bakshi. But Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee refuted the charge saying Roy asked for “a more sedate responsibility owing to her ill-health” and Bakshi preferred to work for the party.

Anupam Hazra and Soumitra Khan, who were expelled from the Trinamool for anti-party activities and joined the BJP subsequently, have ensured 89.44 per cent and 98.42 per cent utilisation, respectively. Hazra is contesting from Jadavpur while Khan is in the fray from Bishnupur.

IANS