Aiyar stokes fresh controversy; all eyes on ‘Modi vs Mamata’ in West Bengal | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Aiyar stokes fresh controversy; all eyes on ‘Modi vs Mamata’ in West Bengal

May 29, 2024 10:42 AM IST

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal fails to secure relief from the Supreme Court, while Congress seeks CBI probe into Dalit woman’s death in Madhya Pradesh’s Sagar

Three more days before the polling for the 2024 Lok Sabha election comes to an end in this gruelling summer. The seventh and final phase would be crucial for parties such as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Janata Dal-United (JDU), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Samajwadi Party (SP).

Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar in New Delhi. (ANI Photo)
Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar in New Delhi. (ANI Photo)

Both NDA and the INDIA camp leaders, however, have not waited for the final phase to declare victories for their respective sides. A section of the Opposition also claims that if the BJP can be reduced to less than 250 seats, it too would be a political and moral victory for the INDIA bloc.

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Aiyer stokes fresh controversy, Congress distances itself from his statement

One can always trust Mani Shankar Aiyer to start a controversy when there is none. After the ‘chaiwala’ jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, which was promptly used by the BJP to wage a commoner’s battle against the elitist Congress, Aiyer said that China “allegedly invaded” India in 1962.

As a purported video of an event at the Foreign Correspondents Club on Tuesday, where Aiyar made the statement, started circulating on social media, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh pointed out that his party colleague had subsequently apologised “unreservedly” for using the term “alleged invasion” “mistakenly”, and that the party distances itself from the “original phraseology”.

BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya, however, hit out at the Congress over the remarks. “Mani Shankar Aiyar, speaking at the FCC during the launch of a book called Nehru’s First Recruits, refers to the Chinese invasion in 1962 as ‘alleged’. This is a brazen attempt at revisionism,” Amit Malviya wrote on X (formally Twitter).

It’s Modi vs Didi in the last phase of West Bengal

PM Modi and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee clashed during the campaign trail on Tuesday as the two leaders addressed multiple rallies and held road shows to canvass voters ahead of the final phase of the general elections on June 1.

Speaking at two rallies in Baruipur and Barasat, Modi accused the TMC government of appeasement politics and deceiving young people from other backward classes (OBC), pointing to a recent Calcutta high court ruling that scrapped OBC certificates to 77 groups since 2010. He also held a road show in north Kolkata

Hours later, Banerjee, who held two marches cutting through the heart of Kolkata and addressed a rally, hit back as she reiterated her opposition to the controversial court order and accused Modi of lying to the people of India.

The verbal war came ahead of the seventh phase of the general elections on Saturday, when nine seats in state capital Kolkata, South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas are scheduled to go to the polls. This is a crucial phase for both the BJP, which performed impressively in other parts of the state but drew a blank here in 2019, and the TMC, which is looking to defend its fortress in south Bengal.

Kejriwal’s ‘Atishi next’ prophecy after minister gets defamation notice

AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday reacted to a court’s summons to AAP leader Atishi in a defamation case, saying the Delhi minister will be arrested next. In a post on X, he said if Narendra Modi becomes the prime minister again, all Opposition leaders will be put behind bars.

“I had said earlier that they will arrest Atishi next. They are planning to do so now. Complete dictatorship. In completely flimsy, frivolous and false cases, they are arresting ALL leaders of AAP one by one. Every single opposition leader will be arrested if Modi ji comes back to power. AAP is not imp. Saving our dear country from dictatorship is imp,” Arvind Kejriwal wrote on X.

Atishi was summoned by a Delhi court on June 29, in connection with a defamation case filed by BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor.

In April, the BJP issued a defamation notice to Atishi after her allegation that she was asked to join the party or face the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Reacting to the summons, BJP’s candidate from the New Delhi constituency, Bansuri Swaraj, accused the AAP of having what she called the habit of “shooting and scooting”.

“AAP cannot make defamatory statements against the BJP repeatedly and not be held accountable. Atishi ji will now have to appear before court to present her side,” she added.

No urgent hearing for Kejriwal’s bail extension

The Supreme Court’s vacation bench on Tuesday refused to grant an urgent hearing on Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea for an extension of his 21-day interim bail by one week on medical grounds, emphasising that it would be more appropriate for the Chief Justice of India (CJI) to take a decision on the matter given that proceedings in Kejriwal’s petition have already been closed for judgment.

The AAP chief, who was released from judicial custody on May 10 to campaign for the Lok Sabha elections, has been directed by the top court to return to jail on June 2. The results of the elections will be announced on June 4. To be sure, Kejriwal’s plea has made no allusion to that.

On Tuesday morning, senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Kejriwal, mentioned the extension plea before the vacation bench comprising justices JK Maheshwari and KV Viswanathan, highlighting the need for immediate medical examinations, including PET-CT scans and Holter monitoring, to assess potential serious health issues.

Arguing about the urgency of the situation, Singhvi pressed for a hearing on Wednesday, adding the plea does not prejudice anyone.

However, the bench pointed out that the Supreme Court had reserved its judgment on Kejriwal’s petition challenging his arrest by the ED on May 17.

Congress seeks CBI probe into Dalit woman’s death

The death of a Dalit woman, who had filed a sexual harassment complaint against some members of “upper caste” Rajput community in 2019 hours after her uncle was beaten to death in Madhya Pradesh’s Sagar district, has sparked a political row, with the Congress on Tuesday demanding a CBI probe in the incidents.

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday assured all possible support to the woman’s family, who belong to the Ahirwar community, a Scheduled Caste, and promised to meet them. State Congress chief Jitu Patwari, who met the victim’s family in Barodia Nonagir village, called up Gandhi on the mobile phone and connected him with the woman’s brother.

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