‘NIA’s claims aimed at creating terror, but we won’t surrender’: PFI after NIA-ED raids

News Network
September 22, 2022

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New Delhi, Sept 22: The Popular Front of India on Thursday, while condemning the raids by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against its leaders, stated that it will "never surrender" and alleged that the agency's claims are aimed at "creating an atmosphere of terror".

A total of 106 Popular Front of India (PFI) cadres were arrested on Thursday in a joint operation conducted by the National Investigation Agency, Enforcement Directorate and state police forces across 11 states in the country's multiple locations, according to the sources.

Issuing a statement against it, PFI's National Executive Council (NEC) said, "NEC has condemned the national wide raids by the NIA and ED and the unjust arrests and the harassments of its National and state leaders across India and the witch-hunting against the members, and supporters of the organization."

"NIA's baseless claims and sensationalism are solely aimed at creating an atmosphere of terror," it added.

It said that the Front will "never ever surrender" on the action taken by a "totalitarian regime".

"Popular Front will never ever surrender on any scary action by a totalitarian regime using the central agencies as its puppets and will stand firm on its will for recovering the democratic system and spirit of the constitution of our beloved country," the statement said.

Meanwhile, among the states where the raids were conducted include Andhra Pradesh (5), Assam (9), Delhi (3), Karnataka (20), Kerala (22), Madhya Pradesh (4), Maharashtra (20), Puducherry (3), Rajasthan (2), Tamil Nadu (10) and Uttar Pradesh (8).

The searches were conducted at multiple locations in the largest ever investigation process till date. The operation started late in the night around 1 am and learnt to be concluded by 5 am involving over 1,500 personnel of state police, Central Armed Police Forces and officers of NIA and ED.

Several incriminating documents, more than 100 mobile phones, laptops and other materials have been seized by the raiding teams.

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News Network
November 24,2022

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Ahmedabad, Nov 24: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said it was time to generate income from electricity instead of getting it for free, in an apparent move to counter the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress over their promise of free electricity in poll-bound Gujarat. Addressing an election rally in Modasa town of Aravalli district in north Gujarat, Modi said only he knows the art through which people will be able to earn money from electricity.

The PM also slammed the Congress, saying it believes in the formula of "divide and rule" and focuses only on how to be in power.

AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been trying to woo voters with a promise that just like the national capital and Punjab, his party would provide free electricity up to 300 units per month if voted to power in the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Gujarat. Kejriwal has on many occasions claimed he is the only politician in the country who has "mastered this magic of providing free electricity".

The opposition Congress has also joined the bandwagon and mentioned in its election manifesto that the party will also provide free electricity up to 300 units if voted to power in Gujarat, where the Assembly polls are scheduled on December 1 and 5.

On Thursday, Modi said he wants to see people across Gujarat earning money from excess electricity generated from solar rooftop systems instead of just getting it for free.

"You must have seen how the entire Modhera village (in Mehsana district) is now running on rooftop solar power. They are using electricity as per their need and sell excess power (to the government). I want to replicate this system across Gujarat," he said. "Under this system, you can earn money by selling excess electricity generated from solar panels. Only Modi knows this art wherein people will be able to earn from electricity," said the PM.

He told the audience that a woman from Modhera is now planning to buy a refrigerator and an air-conditioner as electricity has become affordable after the installation of rooftop solar power. "She told me that though her family was able to afford the appliances earlier, they refrained because they could not bear the running cost. Now, they can afford it because electricity is free. I am working to bring this revolution at the doorstep of each and every household in Gujarat," the PM said.

He reminded the people of Aravalli that there was a time when farmers of this district were killed in police firing under the Congress rule for demanding affordable electricity for agricultural use. The PM said now the farmers are themselves generating electricity through solar panels installed on unused corners of their farms.

"They can also sell excess electricity and earn money. The era of demanding affordable electricity has gone. Today, you can generate income by selling electricity," he said.

On the occasion, Modi also slammed the Congress, saying "Rajasthan is near your border, have you seen any development in that state? Have you seen any good news coming out of that state? The Congress cannot do development."

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News Network
November 25,2022

Bengaluru, Nov 25: The Election Commission on Friday directed officials for a review of the deletions and additions in the electoral rolls of three Assembly seats in Karnataka and ordered the suspension of two additional district election officials after allegations of "electoral fraud" in the state.

The poll authority also directed the chief electoral officer to share a list of all deletions and additions made to the electoral rolls of the Shivajinagar, Chickpet and Mahadevapura Assembly seats after January 1, 2022 with all the recognised political parties so as to enable them to file claims and objections.

The Election Commission directives came a day after the Congress petitioned the poll authority, seeking a detailed investigation into the "voter information theft fraud" in Karnataka.

The Congress had alleged that 27 lakh names were deleted and 11 lakh voters added to the voters' lists of the three Assembly constituencies, claiming that the employees of a private company had collected voters' data, impersonating as government officials.

The commission also appointed officers from outside the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), under which the three Assembly seats fall, to oversee the exercise of ensuring the purity of the electoral rolls. 

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News Network
November 16,2022

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Former President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he will mount a third White House campaign, launching an early start to the 2024 contest. The announcement comes just a week after an underwhelming midterm showing for Republicans, and it will force the party to decide whether to embrace a candidate whose refusal to accept defeat in 2020 pushed American democracy to the brink.

“I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump said to an audience of several hundred supporters, club members and gathered press in a chandeliered ballroom at his Mar-a-Lago club, where he stood flanked by more than 30 American flags and banners that read, “Make America Great Again!”

Trump enters the race in a moment of political vulnerability. He hoped to launch his campaign in the wake of resounding GOP midterm victories, fuelled by candidates he elevated during this year’s primaries. Instead, many of those candidates lost, allowing Democrats to keep the Senate and leaving the GOP with a path to only a bare majority in the House.

Far from the undisputed leader of the party, Trump is now facing criticism from some of his own allies, who say it’s time for Republicans to look to the future, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis emerging as an early favorite White House contender.

The former president is still popular with the GOP base. But other Republicans, including former Vice President Mike Pence, are taking increasingly public steps toward campaigns of their own, raising the prospect that Trump will have to navigate a competitive GOP primary.

He is launching his candidacy amid a series of escalating criminal investigations, including several that could lead to indictments. They include the probe into dozens of documents with classified markings that were seized by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago and ongoing state and federal inquiries into his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Another campaign is a remarkable turn for any former president, much less one who made history as the first to be impeached twice and whose term ended with his supporters violently storming the Capitol in a deadly bid to halt the peaceful transition of power on Jan 6, 2021.

But Trump, according to people close to him, has been eager to return to politics and try to halt the rise of other potential challengers. Aides have spent the last months readying paperwork, identifying potential staff and sketching out the contours of a campaign that is being modelled on his 2016 operation.

Even after GOP losses, Trump remains the most powerful force in his party. For years he has consistently topped his fellow Republican contenders by wide margins in hypothetical head-to-head matchups. And even out of office, he consistently attracts thousands to his rallies and remains his party’s most prolific fundraiser, raising hundreds of millions of dollars.

But Trump is also a deeply polarising figure. Fifty-four per cent of voters in last week’s midterm elections viewed him very or somewhat unfavourably, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 94,000 voters nationwide. And an October AP-NORC poll found even Republicans have their reservations about him remaining the party’s standard-bearer, with 43% saying they don’t want to see him run for president in 2024.

Trump’s candidacy poses profound questions about America’s democratic future. The final days of his presidency were consumed by a desperate effort to stay in power, undermining the centuries-old tradition of a peaceful transfer. And in the two years since he lost, Trump’s persistent — and baseless — lies about widespread election fraud have eroded confidence in the nation’s political process. By late January 2021, about two-thirds of Republicans said they did not believe President Joe Biden was legitimately elected in 2020, an AP-NORC poll found.

VoteCast showed roughly as many Republican voters in the midterm elections continued to hold that belief.

Federal and state election officials and Trump’s own attorney general have said there is no credible evidence the 2020 election was tainted. The former president’s allegations of fraud were also roundly rejected by numerous courts, including by judges Trump appointed.

But that didn’t stop hundreds of midterm candidates from parroting his lies as they sought to win over his loyal base and score his coveted endorsement. In the end, many of those candidates went on to lose their races in a sign that voters rejected such extreme rhetoric.

While some Republicans with presidential ambitions, like former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, have long ruled out running against Trump, others have said he would not figure into their decisions, even before his midterm losses.

They include Pence, who released a book Tuesday, and Trump’s former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, as well as former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who ran against Trump in 2016. Other potential candidates include Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin. Trump is also likely to face challenges from members of the anti-Trump wing of the party like Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, vice chair of the House committee that has been investigating Jan. 6.

But the person who has most occupied Trump and his allies in recent months is DeSantis, whose commanding re-election as governor last week was a bright spot for Republicans this cycle. The former congressman, who became a popular national figure among conservatives during the pandemic as he pushed back on Covid-19 restrictions, shares Trump’s pugilistic instincts and has embraced fights over social issues with similar zeal.

Even some enthusiastic Trump supporters say they are eager for DeSantis to run, seeing him as a natural successor to Trump but without the former president’s considerable baggage.

Trump has already begun to lash out at DeSantis publicly. On Tuesday, the Florida governor shot back.

“At the end of the day, I would just tell people to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night,” DeSantis told reporters.

A crowded field of GOP rivals could ultimately play to Trump’s advantage, as it did in 2016, when he prevailed over more than a dozen other candidates who splintered the anti-Trump vote.

Rematch with Biden

Trump’s decision paves the way for a potential rematch with Biden, who has said he intends to run for re-election despite concerns from some in his party over his age and low approval ratings. The two men were already the oldest presidential nominees ever when they ran in 2020. Trump, who is 76, would be 82 at the end of a second term in 2029. Biden, who is about to turn 80, would be 86.

If he is ultimately successful, Trump would be just the second US president in history to serve two nonconsecutive terms, following Grover Cleveland’s wins in 1884 and 1892.

But Trump enters the race facing enormous challenges beyond his party’s growing trepidations. The former president is the subject of numerous investigations, including the months-long probe into the hundreds of documents with classified markings found in boxes at Mar-a-Lago.

Meanwhile, Trump is facing Justice Department scrutiny over efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. In Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is investigating what she alleges was “a multi-state, coordinated plan by the Trump Campaign” to influence the 2020 results.

And in New York, Attorney General Letitia James has sued Trump, alleging his namesake company engaged in decades’ worth of fraudulent bookkeeping by misleading banks about the value of his assets. The Trump Organisation is also now on trial, facing criminal tax fraud charges.

Some in Trump’s orbit believe that running will help shield him against potential indictment, but there is no legal statute that would prevent the Justice Department from moving forward — or prevent Trump from continuing to run if he is charged.

It wasn’t any secret what he had been planning.

At a White House Christmas party in December 2020, Trump told guests it had “been an amazing four years.”

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