World shaken by India's COVID-19 situation; Modi govt focussed on imagery, brand-building: Rahul

New Delhi, May 1  As India logged a world record of over four lakh coronavirus infections on Saturday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the entire world is shaken by what is happening here and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "dropping the ball and throwing it to states" after prematurely taking credit for having "won against COVID-19" when the second wave was already underway

"Rely on yourself is the motto. No one will come to help you. Definitely, not the prime minister," Gandhi said, while alleging that the COVID-19 situation has gone completely out of control for the Modi government, and wondered whether it was their way of making the states and the citizens truly 'Aatmanirbhar'

In an exclusive interview to PTI, the former Congress chief alleged that the government completely failed to understand or to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, right from the very beginning, despite repeated warnings including from scientists

Training his guns on the prime minister and Home Minister Amit Shah, Gandhi said India must be the only country in the world facing this massive pandemic without the guidance of an expert and empowered group that is charged with fighting the virus and protecting the people, with planning ahead, anticipating needs and taking the decisions that will result in swift action to save lives

"They continuously ignored rising cases and were busy instead with election campaigns. They encouraged super-spreader events. They even bragged about them. Our Prime Minister and Home Minister were not even wearing masks in public over the past few months. What sort of a message is that sending to citizens?" Gandhi said

He was referring to election rallies that were recently held for five assemblies for West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Leaders of all major parties including BJP and Congress participated in rallies, but decided to curtail the size of meetings and even cancelled some towards the end of the campaign for West Bengal when cases began rising more sharply

Gandhi, who was among the first to cancel his rallies and had also urged other political leaders to do so, noted that the second COVID-19 wave is a tsunami that has brought absolute devastation and has destroyed everything in its way

The former Congress chief termed the story of vaccine pricing in the country as one of "discount sales" and a "complete eyewash" alleging that the vaccine makers first marked up the prices and then reduced that while making a show of the entire exercise

Asked who is responsible for the current situation, Gandhi said, "The prime minister is at fault. He runs a highly centralised and personalised government machinery, is solely and substantially devoted to building his own brand, is utterly focused on imagery rather than substance."

"The fact is that this government completely failed to understand or to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic -- right from the very beginning, despite repeated warnings," he alleged

Attacking the Modi Government over the handling of the situation, he alleged it is "plainly arrogant and focuses on perception over reality"

"Now that the situation is completely out of control, they have dropped the ball and thrown it to the states... The need of the hour is to hold hands, work together and heal our people," Gandhi said

Gandhi alleged that the government declared victory against the virus too soon and that this was "absolute insanity" and demonstrated a complete misunderstanding of the nature of what this virus was

The only way to fight Corona is with humility and by realizing that you are faced with a relentless opponent, who can adapt and is very resilient, he said, noting that the prime minister had an entire year to better prepare, to protect India, and to think through this crisis but did nothing

"The Modi Government was both grossly negligent and blindly overconfident. The BJP announced the end of the pandemic and congratulated the Prime Minister for his 'success' even as the second wave was just beginning. The Prime Minister himself is on record as having said that India had successfully fought the pandemic and won. In reality, there was no coherent strategy," he said

The former Congress chief said the only solution we have is vaccination and India is supposed to be the largest manufacturer of vaccines in the world.

"And yet, India is desperately short of vaccines. We are making them, why were our people not the first in line to be vaccinated? If that is not a failure to plan and execute, what is?"

Gandhi said since the start of the pandemic in 2020, he warned the government about the disaster ahead if urgent steps to prepare were not taken, but they attacked me and ridiculed me

"It's not just me -- anyone who tried to sound the alarm, the state callously and thoughtlessly ignored," he said

He alleged that the Modi Government let this virus enter India through our airports in February and March of 2020 and then it panicked and without consultation or thought imposed the world's harshest lockdown

Gandhi alleged that this is a government that wants to control everything. "When cases went down, they declared victory, and the Prime Minister took all the credit as he always does. Now that the situation is terrible, why are you blaming the states?"

He said Congress is willing to support the government in this crisis, but the problem arises when the government doesn't believe in consultation, in carrying everyone along, in tapping expertise it lacks

"This government seems to think that acknowledging help is needed is a sign of weakness. The hubris and pettiness of this government is unbelievable," he said

On the Madras High Court recently accusing the Election Commission of being a super spreader, Gandhi said the Court was echoing a widely held view

In the past 7 years, like so many other institutions, the Election Commission of India has also crumbled and "The Court has said what it believes, I don't want to make any further comment. Let your readers judge for themselves."

He said our institutions are a warning system -- they give us feedback and information on how to respond to crisis but our institutions have been completely destroyed and taken over

"The press, judiciary, election commission, bureaucracy - none of them have played their role of guardian/watchdog. This means India today is like a ship in a storm, sailing without any information

"Corona is just part of the problem -- the real problem is that India now doesn't have the capacity to respond to any major crisis because of what has been done to its systems over the last six years," he said.

FM accuses UPA of nationalising corruption, privatising taxpayers' money for one family

New Delhi, Mar 16Hitting out at Rahul Gandhi, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday accused the Congress-led UPA regime of nationalising corruption and privatising taxpayers' money for the benefit of "one family".

She was responding to Gandhi, who in a tweet earlier in the day had alleged that the government was privatising profit and nationalising loss. He also accused the government of "selling PSBs to Modicronies" and that it gravely compromises India's financial security.

Responding to a question in this regard during a press conference, Sitharaman said Gandhi has "probably outsourced" his comments to a "hardcore communist".

"I would want him to engage in serious discussions, rather than throw these kinds of two liners every now and then," she said.

The minister further took on the former Congress President saying the UPA government also nationalised corruption.

"His daadi (Indira Gandhi) would have probably nationalised the banks, but nationalising of loss in the banks was during UPA time. And I would want to add one more -- nationalising corruption is what they did.

"So nationalising corruption and privatising taxpayers' money for the betterment of one family is all that Rahul Gandhi will have to take as a reply for that tweet...," she said.

The senior BJP leader advised Gandhi that he should do some more intense homework before speaking. PTI

Congress leaders meet President and demand withdrawal of farm laws

Along with other senior Congress leaders, Rahul Gandhi met with President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday and submitted a memorandum seeking to withdraw the new farm laws.

Farmers have been agitating against the laws for nearly a month in and around Delhi as they fear the laws may pave the way for the corporatization of farming.

Speaking to the media after submitting the memorandum, Rahul Gandhi asked for a joint session of Parliament to repeal the laws and asserted that farmers won’t go back until their demands are met.

Earlier, on December 24, 2020, Gandhi had attempted to lead a delegation of Congress leaders to the Rashtrapati Bhavan but was stopped by the Delhi Police. Several leaders including general secretaries Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and KC Venugopal, and senior leader Randeep Singh Surjewala was detained for violating prohibitory orders.

Also Read: Amit Shah to lay foundation stone for Govt Schemes in Assam

Congress supports farmer’s call for ‘Bharat Bandh’ on December 8

Guwahati: The Indian National Congress stands solidly behind the farmers and wholeheartedly supports their call for 'Bharat Bandh' on December 8.

Speaking about the same, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) President, Ripun Bora took to Twitter saying, “The time has come to tell government enough is enough and that it will HAVE TO take back the three murderous farm laws that have brought the farmers on streets.”

Earlier, in a press statement, APCC stated that each and every member of the block Congress committees will be supporting the ‘Bharat Bandh’ tomorrow.

Meanwhile, INC leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted saying, “‘अदानी-अंबानी कृषि क़ानून’ रद्द करने होंगे।

और कुछ भी मंज़ूर नहीं!  The ‘Adani-Ambani Farm Laws’ have to be revoked. Nothing less is acceptable.”

Also Read: Govt should make a decision on our demands; else, we are walking out of the meeting: Farmer Leaders

 

Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi has a "Nervous, Unformed Quality": Barack Obama

Former United States president Barack Obama talking about Rahul Gandhi in his memoir ‘A Promised Land’ said that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has a “nervous, unformed quality” about him like a student and lacks “aptitude or the passion to master the subject”.

According to a New York Times review, Obama on Rahul Gandhi said he has “a nervous, unformed quality about him, as if he were a student who’d done the coursework and was eager to impress the teacher but deep down lacked either the aptitude or the passion to master the subject”.

Meanwhile, Gandhi's mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi also appears to find mention in the memoir.

The NYT review said in the memoir "we are told of the handsomeness of men like Charlie Crist and Rahm Emanuel, but not the beauty of women, except for one or two instances, as in the case of Sonia Gandhi."

The 768-page memoir, expected to hit the stands on November 17, chronicles Obama's childhood and political rise, before diving deeply into his historic 2008 campaign and first four years in office.

"Congress Cannot Lie Like Modi", says Rahul Gandhi

Taking jive at PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi said "Congress cannot lie like Modi" in a rally at Darbhanga, Bihar today.

As Bihar enters the first phase of polls today with above 46% voters turn out, highest till date, the lines of final campaign has taken a new turn. Both Modi and Rahul are at Bihar today addressing multiple rallies. Modi accused the RJD government of looting Bihar whereas Rahul said that the Nitish Government has taken the state to gallows in the last fifteen years.

A voter and a political analyst of Bihar who denied to be named said that though the wind is in favour of the Mahagatbandhan CM Candidate, Tejasvi Yadav but still people are voting in terms of caste. Needless to say that for the first time Bihar is witnessing election contested on the issues of unemployment, hunger, health and education.

While the State and national level parties are on the field, Pushpam Priya Chaudhury's party Prurals seem to lack the field connect and hence might act as a vote cancel mechanism for the Mahagatbandhan and hence favouring NDA led JD(U).

PM Care Fund Puts Common Lives At Risk: Rahul Gandhi

Mumbai: Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi accused the government of wasting the PM care fund by procuring substandard ventilators that put people's lives at risk. He accused that the government is wasting the lockdown period by not ramping up the health infrastructure. He also charged that the opacity of PM Care fund is not up to the mark.

He tweeted using hashtag BJP fails Corona Fight," PM Cares opacity is: 1. Putting Indian lives at risk. 2. Ensuring public money is used to buy sub-standard products."PM CARES (Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations) was set up in the view to curb the pandemic situation.

Congress chief spokesperson, Randeep Surjewala, alleged this procurement as a scam. He alleged, 1 one ventilator cost quoted Rs 4 lakh instead of Rs 1.5 lakh. Rs 2,000 crore was allocated for 50,000 ventilator, out of those only 1,340 are delivered till the 23rd  of June. He questioned the procurement policy of the government. He asked, “Why so few ventilators are procured, whereas BJP Party chief claimed the country will have 60,000 ventilators in the virtual rally.”

Congress spokesperson Gaurav Vallabh also raised his concern over the ventilator procurement. In the virtual press conference, he expressed is concern over the rising infection cases in the nation, and government wasting time the lockdown period by not ramping up the healthcare facility. He also alleged the confusion and delay in the procurement of ventilators. Vallabh hoped the government would look into the concerns raised by the party. "We can't tolerate the iota of confusion, corruption and mistake at these critical times when the number of COVID-19 patients are every day breaking the record of the last day," he said.

India now ranks third in the COVID cases with over 6.98 lakh infected cases. However, over 2.5 lakh active cases, 4.2 lakh cases are cured and death toll stands at 19,707.

Also Read: India surpasses Russia, becomes 3rd worst-hit country by COVID-19

Sonia Gandhi writes to PM Modi, urges to roll back hike in fuel prices

Guwahati: Congress Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed her resentment over the recent hike in petrol and diesel prices in the country.

In her letter, the Congress president wrote to PM Modi for rolling back of hike in fuel prices. “258% rise in excise of petrol till now and 820% rise in excise of diesel. In 6 years BJP Govt has made Rs 18,00,000 crores. If ever there was ever a time to deploy these resources in the service of the people, it is now,” Sonia Gandhi asserted.

She also claimed that the Government is seeking to earn additional revenue of nearly Rs 2,60,000 crores by these ill-advised hikes in excise duty and increase in the price petrol of diesel.

“These price increases are saddling our people with an additional burden of this enormous magnitude that is neither justified nor appropriate,” said Sonia Gandhi.

Sonia also highlighted the fact that at a time when the international price of crude oil has fallen by approximately 9% over the last week, the Government of India is doing nothing short of profiteering off its people-when they are down and out.

On the other hand, taking a jibe at PM Modi, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi took to twitter saying, “PM Modi, these tragic times dictate putting money directly in the hands of middle class and poor. STOP profiteering from their misery.”

Also Read: Rahul Gandhi slams BJP Govt for rise in mortality rate...

Rahul Gandhi slams BJP Govt for rise in mortality rate in Gujarat

 

Guwahati: Amidst the coronavirus catastrophe in the nation, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday attacked the BJP government in Gujarat over the state's high COVID-19 mortality rate, saying it had "exposed" the "Gujarat model".

Expressing his concern over the issue, Rahul took to twitter saying, “Covid19 mortality rate: Gujarat: 6.25%, Maharashtra: 3.73%, Rajasthan: 2.32%, Punjab: 2.17%, Puducherry: 1.98%, Jharkhand: 0.5%, Chhattisgarh: 0.35%.”

He added, “Gujarat Model exposed” tagging a media analysis report.

It is to be noted that Gujarat has the fourth-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country at 24,055 with 1,505 deaths.

Earlier on Monday, Rahul took a jibe at the BJP-led government, quoting Albert Einstein - “The only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance.”

He had also shared a graph in his twitter handle that showed how the four phases of lockdown have flattened the curve of the economy instead of COVID-19 deaths, which are rising in the country.

Also Read: CBI warns against fake hazardous hand-sanitizers in market