After Varun Gandhi raises voice against UP violence, BJP drops him and Maneka from national executive panel

News Network
October 7, 2021

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New Delhi, Oct 7: Bharatiya Janata Party leader Varun Gandhi and his mother Maneka have been dropped from the saffron party's national executive whose team was reconstituted on Thursday by party president JP Nadda. Union Minister Smriti Irani, however, has made a comeback to the executive team.

Maneka Gandhi had been a Union minister in the first tenure (2014-19) of the Narendra Modi-led government and she is currently a Lok Sabha MP from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh.

Her son Varun Gandhi is Lok Sabha MP from Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh.

Varun Gandhi has been quite vocal through his tweets on the October 3 Lakhimpur Kheri violence, demanding action.

In a letter written to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Varun Gandhi alleged that the farmers were killed, and sought action on the issue.

Sharing a video on Twitter, he wrote that the protesters cannot be silenced through murder and accountability should be fixed.

His stance on the Lakhimpur Kheri issue is being seen as a reason behind his removal from the BJP's executive committee.

Nadda's new team sees the return of Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani, who defeated former Congress president Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha elections from Amethi. Irani has been given a place in the National Executive as a member.

Apart from film actor Mithun Chakraborty, Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, Shubhendu Adhikari, and many leaders from other parties (who switched over to BJP) have also been included.

A BJP leader said this time around 30 per cent new leaders have been included in the executive team.

The meeting of this newly formed team will be held in the national capital on November 7.

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News Network
October 23,2021

Washington, Oct 23: Indian-American policy expert Neera Tanden, a close confidant of US President Joe Biden, has been named White House staff secretary, eight months after Republican lawmakers scuttled her nomination to another key post.

Tanden, 51, a senior adviser to President Biden was named White House staff secretary on a morning staff call on Friday, the CNN reported.

The White House staff secretary is a behind-the-scenes but critical role in the West Wing, responsible for managing paper flow to the President from other areas of the administration and federal government. The person filling the job has been viewed as one of the most powerful in the building, it said.

In addition to her new duties, Tanden will keep her senior adviser title "and will continue to provide leadership on particular projects and initiatives," Politico reported, quoting a White House official.

She will report to White House chief of staff Ron Klain, it said.

The appointment does not require Senate confirmation.

"The Staff Secretary role is the central nervous system of the White House and moves the decision-making process and manages a wide variety of issues for the President," the White House official said.

Tanden has "over two decades of experience in policy and management which are critical elements of the role. Her experience across domestic, economic and national security policy will be a key asset in this new role," the official said.

Tanden's appointment as White House staff secretary came eight months after she withdrew her nomination as Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget due to stiff opposition from Republican senators.

In March, she faced a tough time for the confirmation of her nomination as Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) over her past social media outbursts against several lawmakers, including those from her own Democratic Party.

While accepting Tanden's request to withdraw her name from nomination in March, President Biden had said, "I have the utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience and her counsel, and I look forward to having her serve in a role in my Administration. She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work."

White House announced in May that Tanden had been appointed as a senior adviser to Biden.

Tanden previously served as a senior adviser for health reforms at the US Department of Health and Human Services. She worked with Congress and stakeholders on particular provisions of former President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act.

Before that, Tanden was the director of domestic policy for the Obama-Biden presidential campaign, where she managed all domestic policy proposals.

Tanden also served as policy director for Hillary Clinton's first presidential campaign.

Before the 2008 presidential campaign, Tanden served as legislative director in Clinton's office, and deputy campaign manager and issues director for Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign.

She began her career as an associate director for domestic policy in former President Bill Clinton's White House, and senior policy adviser to the First Lady.

Tanden holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a law degree from the Yale Law School. 

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News Network
October 17,2021

Bengaluru, Oct 17: Congress leader BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan has said JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy is not a politician, but a dealer, and he does not do any work without benefits.

"I have seen Kumaraswamy from close quarters. He does not do any work without seeking benefits. It is impossible for the JDS to win by-elections. He has fielded (Muslim) candidates to help BJP.

"It is not politics, it is a deal between JDS and BJP. Kumaraswamy does not do anything without a deal. He is a dealer," he told reporters late yesterday evening at the Bengaluru International Airport.

He was replying to a query on Kumaraswamy hitting out at Opposition Leader Siddaramaiah for orchestrating "political genocide" of Muslim leaders in Congress party.

Further turning on the heat against Kumaraswamy, Khan accused him of collecting money from Byrathi Suresh, an independent candidate, to defeat Iqbal Ahmed Saradagi in the legislative council polls in 2012.

"Who supported Byrathi Suresh? How much money was taken from him? With the help of ex-Chikkanayakanahalli MLA Suresh, the meeting was fixed at UB City flat. How much money was taken then? It was for defeating Saradagi, wasn't it? Doesn't he (Kumaraswammy) know? Siddaramaiah did not defeat Saradagi, but JDS who defeated him. Invite Kumaraswamy for a debate on this," he said.

Kumaraswamy had alleged Siddaramaiah was responsible for the defeat of Saradagi, a protege of senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, in the legislative council polls in 2012.

Kumaraswamy also had blamed Siddaramaiah for clandestinely working for Byrathi and defeating CK Abdul Rehman, the official candidate of the Congress and grandson of late CK Jaffer Sharief, in the byelection to Hebbal assembly constituency in 2016.

He also held Siddaramaiah responsible for the ouster of Roshan Baig from the party. "The only reason for doing this was that he had questioned the state leadership's poor performance in the last Lok Sabha elections," he added.

Baig himself had blamed Siddaramaiah for his suspension from Karnataka Congress.

Kumaraswamy also had rapped Siddarmaiah for insulting Tanvir Sait, who was making sincere efforts to empower the secular forces in the polity.

The supporters of Sait had protested against Siddaramaiah for serving their leader notice for attempting to forge an alliance with JDS for the Mysuru mayoral election in February this year.

Kumaraswamy had also blamed Siddaramaiah for the six years suspension of MA Salim who had linked KPCC President DK Shivakumar to an irrigation scam as a minister and defended VS Ugrappa who entertained his conversation.

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News Network
October 18,2021

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Alappuzha, Oct 18: Amidst heavy rainfall, floods, and landslides in Kerala, there was a pleasant development of a couple -- both health workers -- braving flooded roads and reaching their wedding hall in a large aluminium cooking vessel to get married on Monday. 

They travelled nearly 500 metres on a traditional copper cooking vessel for their wedding held in a local temple at Thakazhi near Alappuzha. Both bride and groom are health workers working at a hospital in Chengannur.

Entering wedlock in a flooded hall at Thalavady adjacent to a nearby temple, where they were scheduled to get married initially and which too was filled with water, the couple was joined by a very limited number of relatives.

The couple -- Akash and Aishwarya -- were seen travelling in the cooking vessel. 

After their wedding, the couple told reporters -- who were covering the rising water levels in the district and had arrived at the hall after hearing about the nuptials -- that due to COVID they had kept invitees to a minimum.

They also said that since they had scheduled the wedding for Monday, they decided to go ahead with it as it was an auspicious event and did not want to delay it any further.

"We were not scared to travel in the vessel," said an excited Rahul while Aishwarya said, "We all are happy that the wedding took place at the planned auspicious time."

They said that when they arrived at the temple a few days ago, there was no water, but after the heavy rains in the past two days, the place got flooded. 

A relative who organised the 'vessel' trip said, "Some areas near the temple were almost submerged but we managed to bring both the bride and the groom on time."

Since torrential rains hit the state on Friday afternoon which continued partly till Sunday, the Kuttanad area of Alappuzha had submerged due to severe rains, the roads in the area were completely submerged on Monday.

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