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Jung not over? LG Anil Baijal non-commital on fixing relationship with Kejriwal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former bureaucrat Anil Baijal took over as 20th Lt Governor of Delhi and struck a cautious note on where the LG’s office will stand in repairing the fractured relationship between the Centre and AAP government which had hit rock bottom under his predecessor. 70-year-old Baijal, who had served in a number of key positions at the Centre including as Union Home Secretary, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Chief Justice of Delhi High Court G Rohini, 10 days after Najeeb Jung’s abrupt resignation as the LG.Baijal said addressing key challenges like women’s safety, pollution, traffic congestion and strengthening infrastructure will be his priority areas.The oath ceremony was attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Delhi Chief Secretary MM Kutty, leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta among others.On being asked about tussle between previous LG Jung and the city government on a range of issues including administrative control over the bureaucracy, Baijal said, “This is speculative. I don’t know why and how the relationship will improve. We will sit and talk and then you will get to know.”Welcoming Baijal’s appointment, Kejriwal said he was hopeful that under the new LG, governance in the national capital will see new momentum overcoming the past hurdles.”I am very hopeful that in the future, we all – MLAs, Delhi government, people of Delhi – will work with the Lt Governor for overall development of Delhi. “In the last few months, some works of Delhi government have come to a standstill. I hope that these works will be expedited,” Kejriwal said at an event at Delhi Assembly complex.Baijal said he will put his best efforts in improving law-and-order situation, women’s safety, traffic congestion besides strengthening infrastructure and civic amenities in the city.”Delhi is a megapolis which has several problems like women safety, law and order, huge population, infrastructure, civic agencies and congestion. We all know about these problems. We will work with elected government to solve them,” he told reporters. Baijal also thanked President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving him the responsibility. A 1969-batch IAS officer, Baijal had served as Union Home Secretary under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government besides holding key positions in other ministries.He was actively associated with the designing and countrywide roll-out of Rs 60,000-crore Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) launched by the Manmohan Singh government. Baijal had retired from service in 2006 as Urban Development Secretary. He had served as vice chairman of Delhi Development Authority and is known to be well versed with the city administration.The former bureaucrat was also on the executive council of think-tank Vivekananda International Foundation, several of whose former members have been appointed to senior positions by the Modi government including NSA Doval.Baijal, known to follow the rule book, will have to take a series of important decisions including on the report of Shunglu committee, set up by Jung to examine over 400 files pertaining to decisions taken by the AAP government in the last two years.The Shunglu committee has reportedly pointed out “irregularities” in some of the Kejriwal government’s decisions.His immediate task will also include appointing a new chairman of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) which has been headless since November after the appointment of incumbent Krishna Saini was turned down by Jung.Jung and the AAP dispensation had clashed over a range of issues including transfer and posting of bureaucrats, setting up of enquiry commissions and among others.There was a running battle between L-G office and Kejriwal government with the latter constantly challenging the former’s supremacy in the city administration.Jung had won the court battle as the Delhi High Court had stamped the primacy of Lt Governor in the affairs of Government of NCT.However, AAP government had approached the Supreme Court challenging the high court verdict and during a recent hearing in the case, the apex court had said the elected government should have some powers.

BJP’s growth in Tripura due to ‘false campaign and our weakness’: CPI(M)

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ruling CPI-M in Tripura has said the BJP managed to increase its vote in the recent bypolls in the state taking advantage of “our organisational weakness and by luring people with false assurances.” “The results of the recent two by-elections held for two Assembly seats and by-polls in panchayat seats show that the BJP managed to increase their votes,” Party Secretary Bijan Dhar told reporters last night.”All these things happened due to our organisational weakness and due to their alluring people by giving false assurances,” he said.”Taking advantage of being in power at the Centre they also misused money to woo voters,” Dhar said. He alleged that RSS, Bajrang Dal and BJP have brought their activists from outside the state for trying to build up a political base for the party.”Those activists are indulging in false campaign against the Left Front government and organising demonstrations in front of the residences of ministers, government offices and roads by raising false issues,” Dhar said.”We have asked the administration and common people to remain alert about the activities of the BJP activists,” he said.He said the opposition Congress has become “very weak” due to split in their party and the breakaway faction who formed Trinamool Congress in the state also could not be certain about their political future in the state.The Left Front has been in power for the last 23 years in Tripura.

Arunachal Pradesh: PPA blames BJP for ‘hijacking’ its MLAs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) on Saturday accused the BJP of hijacking its MLAs to install its government in the state, after Chief Minister Pema Khandu joined the saffron party with 32 MLAs.Addressing media persons at Arunachal Press Club (APC) here, PPA President Kahfa Bengia criticised North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma for remaining a silent spectator during the political crisis. PPA is a partner of NEDA. “The NEDA convenor instead of coming to the state to resolve the ongoing crisis went to Kenya. He should have deputed somebody to sort out the differences between the MLAs of the party,” Bengia said.”The PPA is not comfortable with NEDA in the state and we are going to discuss the issue with other constituent members of the alliance soon,” PPA central working committee (CWC) Chairman Kamen Ringu said while supporting Bengia.Criticising the BJP for its “conspiracy” to dislodge the PPA-led NEDA government in state and to install a full-fledged BJP government, Bengia alleged that the party even hijacked the PPA candidate for the November 19 by-poll to Hayuliang Assembly constituency and forced her to contest from a BJP ticket.”Most of the MLAs treat PPA as a “transit camp”. We’ll not allow it any more. We’ll try to strengthen the lone regional party of the state and will come out strong in the 2019 elections,” Bengia said. “Most of the leaders are not to lead the state but to loot,” Bengia said, adding that the party had enough legal aspects to teach lessons to those who had been maintaining equal relation with PPA as well as the BJP.

Property Act: Opposition to SC ruling ‘misplaced’, says J&K finance minister Drabu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming the opposition to SC ruling on the SARFAESI Act with respect to Jammu and Kashmir as “completely misplaced”, state Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu on Saturday said the apex court has only reaffirmed that the state laws prevail.”I think we will have a lot of occasion to discuss this in the Assembly, but I think it (opposition to the SC ruling) is completely misplaced… the Opposition has been doing this for very very long.”While speaking at a Jammu and Kashmir Bank event here, Drabu told reporters that “there is nothing in the Act (to be opposed). In fact, it reaffirms quite a few things, one of which is that the Transfer of Property Act actually prevails over SARFAESI (the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act)”.According to him, banks cannot sell any immovable mortgaged property to non-state subjects.”In the event of a bank taking recourse to property, they cannot sell it to a non-state subject and in the last budget, I had already made a provision for an asset recovery company with the J-K Bank which can buy these impaired assets,” he said.”So, I think the Opposition is completely clueless in what they are saying and bears no relation to what the Act has and it is not today, this has been going on since 2003,” he claimed.Referring to his stint in the bank as its chairman, he recalled making some pertinent proposals.”But I think what eventually has happened is we have got clarity on it that the Transfer of Property Act of J-K will actually prevail over this (SARFAESI) and you cannot sell any immovable mortgage property to non-state subjects.” It can be a huge business opportunity for J-K bank, he felt.Asked if the state would bring any other law on the issue, he said the law department will have to discuss the same.

Mulayam expels Akhilesh: Azam Khan hints at Amar Singh’s hand in Yadav feud, hopes BJP doesn’t capture power

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expressing concern over bitter infighting in SP, Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan said the bad blood between members of the ruling family will add a dark chapter to its history. Appealing to the “pivots” of the party to consider the consequences of the conflict, he said: “They should think how historians will depict the diminishing relationship between the father and the son.”Whatever is happening… the bad blood will add a dark chapter to the party’s history and paint a grim picture of it. I am in a state of extreme shock and pain.” In a veiled attack on Amar Singh, Khan said: “Who is responsible for this gloomy state of affairs? A single person’s conspiracy and nefarious intention have put the state up for auction.”He urged people to have faith in the SP and asked the “kingpins” of the party to ensure that the BJP does not capture power in the state. With SP staring at a possible split due to open rebellion by Akhilesh Yadav, party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav has called a meeting tomorrow of all those allotted tickets by him even as the Chief Minister’s camp remained adamant on contesting against the official candidates of the party.Hectic attempts were said to be underway today by Mulayam to avert a split after the crisis reached a flash point late last night when Akhilesh “circulated” his own list of 235 candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections, parallel to the party’s official list of 393 nominees.Mulayam has convened a meeting here tomorrow of the 393 candidates who have been allotted tickets by him. Uttar Pradesh Assembly has 403 seats.Party insiders see the meeting with immense significance as the SP chief was likely gauge the sentiments of the candidates and conduct a fresh review of the list amid fears that the battle for control in SP left the party cadres divided and highly confused at grassroots level.This morning, Shivpal Yadav, the warring uncle of Akhilesh, met his brother Mulayam for nearly an hour, but it was not immediately known what transpired at the meeting.Shivpal did not answer questions of reporters waiting outside Mulayam’s residence.Mulayam’s cousin and SP General Secretary Ramgopal Yadav, who is Akhilesh supporter, asserted that there was no question of going back on the list prepared by the Chief Minister.In an apparent attack on Shivpal, he said many in the party do not want to see Akhilesh as Chief Minister again.”But, the fact remains that people of the state want him back as CM,” he claimed.He said Mulayam had convened a meeting on January 1 to take a final call on ticket distribution, “but due to pressure (from Shivpal), he announced the list on December 28”.Akhilesh’s list, which did not carry any signature, was made available on social media last night by defiant party MLAs who failed to get a ticket in the official list.Party observers said since names of 170 to 180 candidates figured in both the lists, it would be interesting to watch if they attended the meeting convened by Mulayam or opted out.Akhilesh, who was present at an official function here this morning, did not take questions from media persons.Though Akhilesh loyalists were enthusiastic to fight the elections “in the name of and as the face of the CM”, it was still not clear as to whether they would fight as Independents or float a new party.Prominent among those figuring in the list of Akhilesh are his hardcore loyalists — ministers Arvind Singh Gope, Pawan Pandey and Ram Govind Chaudhary, who were denied ticket by Mulayam. khilesh has been unhappy over the declaration ofcandidates by Mulayam which included certain names to whose nomination the Chief Minister had strong reservation.Mulayam, along with his brother and state party unit chief Shivpal, had announced the names at a hurriedly-convened press conference here on Wednesday when Akhilesh was away on a tour of Bundelkhand.Possibilities of a rapprochement dimmed when Shivpal announced the second list of 68 candidates late last night, thereby blocking the scope for minor adjustments to avoid perhaps a showdown between father-son duo before the polls.As the SP grappled with the unprecedented crisis, senior leader and UP minister Azam Khan voiced deep distress over the developments and said, “Bad blood between relatives has damaged the future of the state.”He said the feud in SP was being “celebrated” by its political rivals, especially BJP.

No need to read much into Cong-TMC joint press meet: Shakeel Ahmad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In a pointer to the emerging political realignment, the Congress today declined to comment on the Narada and Saradha scams, but said there was no need to read much into TMC chief Mamata Banerjee and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi holding a joint press conference on demonetization.”There is nothing to read much into it. Many political parties have come together on the issue of demonetization. And on this issue, both the TMC and the Congress are on the same page,” Congress general secretary and national spokesperson Shakeel Ahmad said. Ahmad, who had served as the party’s observer during the 2011 West Bengal Assembly polls, said, “We are running a government in Bihar as a coalition partner of the JD(U), but Nitish Kumar had earlier supported demonetization. So, does it mean that our alliance doesn’t exist? The same logic applies to Bengal as regards the relationship between the Congress and the TMC.”On being asked to speak on the Narada and Saradha scandals, Ahmad declined to comment and said he would rather focus on demonetization. He also refused to give a reply to the question on why the Congress was willing to align with the TMC on demonetization and black money when the party’s Bengal unit has accused the TMC of being involved in the Narada and Saradha scams. “Our fight is against the personal corruption of Narendra Modi. There are several chief ministers in India who have corruption cases and allegations against them. We are not here to talk about them,” said the Congress leader.Incidentally, Ahmad at the press conference was seated beside Leader of Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly and senior Congress leader Abdul Mannan whose PIL in the Supreme Court led to the CBI investigation in the Saradha scam. Ahmad said the party had not yet decided to hold any joint protest with the TMC on the issue of demonetization. His comments came only two days after Banerjee, along with Rahul Gandhi and leaders of other regional parties, sought to put up a united face against demonetization by demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The latest thaw in the ties comes as the Congress and the Left Front had struck up an alliance for this year’s West Bengal Assembly election, which Banerjee had termed as “unethical and immoral”.The West Bengal chief minister yesterday extended her warm wishes and greetings to the members of the Congress on the party’s 132nd foundation day.

UP Elections 2017: SP headed for virtual split, Akhilesh Yadav releases own list of candidates for 235 seats

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The feud in Uttar Pradesh’s first family appeared to be worsening, with an unhappy Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday meeting legislators who have not found place in the list of 325 declared candidates and then conveying his objections to his father and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav who had announced the nominees yesterday. After the meeting, SP MLA Indal Singh said that UP CM is likely to come up with his own list of candidates for the upcoming UP elections.According to ANI, Akhilesh Yadav has released his own list of candidates for 235 constituencies. Of them, 171 are seating MLAs and there are 64 new faces. Hectic political activities began in the morning with party leaders gathering outside the residences of Akhilesh and Mulayam. A big crowd assembled outside Shivpal’s residence also. Akhilesh, clearly upset over being apparently kept out of the process to select candidates for the upcoming Assembly polls, met at his 5-Kalidas Marg residence here his supporters, including legislators and office bearers who do not figure in the list, party sources said. Later, he spoke to Mulayam to convey his displeasure over the list of candidates from which names of his close confidants are missing, the sources said.Mulayam, along with his brother and state party chief Shivpal Yadav, yesterday declared candidates for 325 of the 403 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh and ruled out projecting Akhilesh as the Chief Ministerial candidate.Akhilesh was away on Bundelkhand tour when the list was released at a hurriedly-convened press conference. The Chief Minister and Shivpal have been involved in a power struggle for several months now. The list, which includes 176 sitting MLAs, announced by Mulayam and Shivpal in the absence of Akhilesh, has left out several pro-Akhilesh ministers, including Ram Govind Chaudhary, Pawan Pandey and Arvind Singh Gope, and does not carry names of over 50 sitting MLAs.Besides, 10 ministers, including Shivpal, sacked by the chief minister over the past few months have got tickets. These former ministers were in open defiance of Akhilesh and it paid off. Within hours after release of the list, which clearly bore the stamp of Mulayam and Shivpal, Akhilesh had said he would take up the choice of candidates with the party chief.”The list does not include names of certain candidates who are sure to win. I will take it up with the SP chief and tell him that some of them have done really good work and they should be given tickets,” an upset Akhilesh had said last night. In a late night tit-for-tat action, the Chief Minister struck back sacking two Shivpal loyalists — Surabhi Shukla, vice-chairperson of UP Awas Vikas Parishad and her husband Sandeep Shukla from the post of advisor of Rajkiya Nirman Nigam. Sandeep has been fielded from Sultanpur Sadar seat.With agency inputs

Goa: AAP leader claims sting operation bid; man detained

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An AAP poll aspirant in Goa has alleged an attempt to conduct a “sting operation” on him at the behest of his “political opponents” and filed a complaint with police in this regard.Police have detained a man after party Goa unit coordinator and aspirant from Panaji Assembly seat Valmiki Naik claimed in a press conference that an “agent from Ghaziabad called him on Wednesay with an offer to convert black money into white, saying he (Naik) may need cash since it’s an election time.””This was obviously meant to be a sting operation to trap me and demolish AAP’s credibility, but they simply don’t understand that AAP is clean and honest,” he told reporters today.Naik said efforts are “underway to entrap and implicate prominent AAP leaders and candidates in criminal cases with the aim of maligning the party’s image.” He also referred to the summons issued by the ACB last week to AAP’s Chief Ministerial nominee Elvis Gomes in connection with a land grab case.Goa is going to polls next year.When contacted, the police said the detained person, who hailed from Ghaziabad, has been working as a waiter in a hotel here.”After Valmiki Naik informed us about a suspicious person offering to convert black money into white through phone, that person was immediately detained. He was interrogated and produced before Deputy Collector. He was later released on a bond,” said police inspector Siddhanth Shirodkar.He said the man told them during investigation that he didn’t know who Valmiki was and called him after getting his number from internet.

AAP’s Jarnail Singh to fight polls against Punjab CM Badal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AAP on Wednesday announced its candidate, MLA Jarnail Singh, against Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in Lambi constituency for the upcoming Assembly polls.Addressing a gathering at Badal’s home turf Lambi, AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced Singh’s candidature and asked the audience if he would be the right man to take the Akali leader head-on. He alleged that so far, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh and Badal, as per a “tactical understanding”, have been nominating “weak” candidates against each other, so that their opponents could secure easy wins. “However, this time, we will not allow Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal and Amarinder Singh a walkover.That is why we are fielding our strongest candidates against the three and (Bikram) Majithia to give them a taste of political dust,” Kejriwal added. Notably, AAP has fielded MP Bhagwant Mann from the Jalalabad seat held by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, while the party’s legal cell head, Himmat Singh Shergill, has been nominated from the Majitha seat represented by state Revenue Minister Majithia. Listing instances of the “tactical understanding” between the Badals and Amarinder, Kejriwal claimed that the Congress’ nominee against Sukhbir from Jalalabad could not even save his deposit, adding that in a similar move, Amarinder had fielded a weak candidate against Majithia, who could only bag 7,000 votes in the 2017 Assembly polls.Both Amarinder and Badal not only “jointly contested polls to facilitate each other’s win”, but also “shared” business interests in sand and gravel, transport, liquor and above all, in “back-up candidates” who have been embroiled in the drug trade in Punjab, he alleged. Kejriwal cited the example of senior Akali leader Sarwan Singh Phillaur, who had to step down from the cabinet after his and his son’s names cropped up in the drug trade and was subsequently welcomed by Amarinder into the Congress-fold. Akali MLA Inderbir Singh Bolaria, who was the right-hand man of Majithia, too was welcomed by the state Congress chief, he said, adding that this clearly showed that both Badal’s and Amarinder’s families had “joined hands to ruin Punjab turn-by-turn”.Jarnail Singh challenged Badal to an open debate on the “superficial” development of Punjab the Akali Dal has been talking about. “Thousands of farmers have committed suicide, youngsters are dying due to drugs…transport, liquor and cable businesses have been captured by the Badal family…is this the model of development the Badals are boasting of,” he said, adding that he will let the chief minister choose the venue and time of the debate. Others who spoke on the occasion included AAP MPs Sadhu Singh, Bhagwant Mann and senior leader Sanjay Singh.

UP Elections 2017: Mulayam snubs son, rejects possibility of any alliance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In a clear snub to Akhilesh Yadav, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday announced candidates for 325 of the 403 Uttar Pradesh Assembly seats, “ignoring” his son’s objections to certain names, and “ruled out” alliance with any party for the upcoming polls.At a hurriedly convened press conference here, the SP patriarch released the list of 325 candidates, giving tickets to 176 sitting MLAs. Names of candidates for rest of the 78 seats would be announced soon, he said, flanked by state party chief Shivpal Yadav, while Chief Minister Akhilesh was away on a tour. Surprisingly, the list carries names of Sigbatullah Ansari, who is the brother of jailed gangster Mukhtar Ansari, and Atiq Ahmed who faces over 40 criminal cases including of murder and attempt to murder.Akhilesh, who is believed to be opposed to their nomination, had reportedly asked his father to intervene. Another name which had upset Akhilesh was Aman Mani Tripathi, now arrested by CBI in a case related to the killing of his wife, has, however, did not figure in today’s list. The choice of candidates for 175 seats by his warring uncle Shivpal had apparently put off Akhilesh, who prepared his own list of preferred candidates for all the seats and sent it to Mulayam. Today’s list has no mention on names of several pro-Akhilesh ministers and MLAs including those of Ram Govind Chaudhary, Pawan Pandey and Arvind Sing Gope (all ministers). To a question, Mulayam said Akhilesh was “free to contest” from any seat he wanted.Akhilesh, who was not averse to an alliance with Congress for the Assembly polls, has been saying that SP alone would get absolute majority and in case of a tie up with Congress, they would bag over 300 seats. “Samajwadi Party is not forming an alliance with anyone,” Mulayam said, ending speculation of a tie up between SP and Congress. Releasing the candidate list which clearly bore his and his brother Shivpal’s stamp, Mulayam “ruled out” projecting his son as the chief ministerial candidate.”SP has no tradition of projecting anyone as its chief ministerial candidate. Some parties do it, and in the process bite the dust. In SP, the legislators elect their leader,” he said replying to a question in this regard. Mulayam’s announcement to “go alone” came just days after BSP supremo Mayawati claimed that BJP was exerting pressure on the SP chief and his family through Enforcement Directorate, I-T department and CBI to join hands with Congress so as to “divide Muslim votes” and stop her party from coming to power.”Keeping in mind the chances of BSP coming to power in UP, it is being said BJP is showing threat of agencies like ED, I-T and CBI to the SP chief and his family in connection with DA cases and other shortcomings to divide Muslim vote,” she had said. Asked as to how many candidates have been selected from the list submitted by Akhilesh, Mulayam parried a direct reply saying that besides the Chief Minister, some other leaders had also given their own lists and all were to be accommodated.Speculation was rife that SP was ready to offer 78 seats to Congress in case of an alliance and interestingly the ruling party has left out just as many seats for which candidates were yet to be announced. The SP supremo said BJP will get a befitting reply from the electorate for demonetization and also criticised it for not fulfilling its promises. He claimed elections will be held before February 28 next year.

Punjab elections 2017: Amarinder Singh promises to bring special law to crack down on drug mafia

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Vowing to eradicate the drugs menace in Punjab within four weeks of coming to power, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh promised on Wednesday a special law to crack down on the drug mafia and asserted that all those found guilty would be jailed and their property confiscated.”All drugs cases would be dealt with on fast-track basis under the new law, which would be brought immediately after (government) formation if elected to power,” he said. “Nobody would be spared,” Amarinder said. In a statement issued in Delhi, the PCC chief said the proposed legislation – part of the 9-point action plan of Congress — would provide for deterrent punishment and confiscation of property of all those found guilty of ruining the lives of Punjab’s youth with drugs.Accusing the Badal government of “allowing unchecked proliferation of drugs in the state to further their own vested interests”, Amarinder said an entire generation of youth had been destroyed because of the “patronage” accorded to the drug mafia by the present dispensation in Punjab. He made it clear that all steps would be taken, on priority basis, to tackle the drugs cases and ensure strict, deterrent punishment for drug dealers, suppliers and distributors.He welcomed the Election Commission’s decision to appoint a special team of narcotics control officers to check flow of drugs in his state during the Assembly polls. “The EC move on drugs was a clear endorsement of the Congress stand that the drugs menace was rampant in Punjab under the Badal regime,” he said.

Rs 104 crore deposit: Mayawati raises caste card, RS Prasad calls it ‘an insult to Dalits’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after the ED detected deposits of a whopping Rs 104 crore in BSP’s bank account, a furious party supremo Mayawati dubbed it as an attempt by “anti-dalit” BJP and Modi government to tarnish her party’s image by misusing the official machinery. Two senior ministers in the Modi dispensation, including BJP ally Ram Vilas Paswan of LJP, shot back, saying her dalit identity does not give her “licence” to engage in corruption and that the former UP chief minister was trying to “hide corruption” by raking up the issue of her origin.A major contender for power in the most populous state of the country which goes to polls a few months from now, Mayawati claimed the money detected by the Enforcement Directorate at a Delhi bank on Monday was accounted for and played the dalit card in her bid to turn the tables on BJP, calling it “anti-dalit”. “BJP leaders having casteist mentality do not want that a ‘dalit ki beti’ should get the master key of the biggest state’s politics and work for the welfare of 90% poor and deprived…it will bring an end to their capitalist politics,” she told a hurriedly called press conference in Lucknow.”All deposits are as per norms and party rules and the money was collected before note ban. Should we have thrown it?” she asked.Terming the ED action as an effort to tarnish BSP’s image ahead of UP Assembly elections just few months away, Mayawati said the “anti-Dalit” BJP managed a section of the media. “After I exposed the conspiracy of BJP in forcing an alliance between SP and Congress yesterday, BJP was taken aback and out of sheer frustration it indulged in such a petty act against BSP and family members of the party chief,” she alleged.BJP, which is seeking to re-establish its primacy in the key Hindi heartland state following a remarkable showing in the Lok Sabha polls there in 2014, hit back quickly, insisting she was trying to hide corruption by using her dalit identity. “Her allegations are baseless and we reject it with the contempt they deserve. If the Enforcement Directorate does a routine exercise, why is she so rattled? Will your corruption be hidden in the name of Dalits.”Does Mayawati want to say that her corruption should be seen as a fight against dalits? It is an insult of dalits,” Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told a press conference in Delhi. Noting that she did not deny the deposits in the BSP’s account, he asked, “It raises a bigger question. Is it a donation or money conversion exercise?”Paswan, a prominent dalit face in the ruling NDA, came down heavily on Mayawati, saying her origin does not give her a “licence” to indulge in corruption and that she should let the law take its own course. “My party LJP works for Dalits. We have six Lok Sabha members and the total money in LJP’s bank account is Rs 1,03,198. Being a daughter of a dalit does not give you licence to indulge in corruption. She must let law take its course and let authorities probe her party’s account,” he told reporters in the national capital.Mocking Mayawati’s strident opposition to demonetization since it was announced on November 8, the LJP president said it has now become clear “why the likes of her and RJD chief Lalu Prasad” have been its most vocal critics. “They were hit the hardest. That is why they are making so much of noise,” he said.Mayawati, however, insisted that “every rupee” in BSP’s account in a Delhi bank were accounted for. “We have account of every rupee deposited in bank…this money has been collected through membership fee all over the country and brought for deposit by converting it into big denomination notes as it is easy to carry from remote areas,” she said.Mayawati, however, said the ED action at BJP’s bidding was a “good omen” for her party as in 2007 too when the then NDA government at the Centre had raked up Taj corridor issue, it had helped her secure an absolute majority in the UP Assembly. “If Modi and central government take a few more decisions like note ban, it will make our return to power in UP easier …they will pave our way for an easy victory and I will not have to toil much…I want to thank them for it,” she said.The ED detected cash deposits totalling over Rs 104 crore in an account belonging to the BSP on Monday and Rs 1.43 crore in another belonging to Mayawati’s brother Anand at a branch of United Bank of India in Delhi during a routine survey and enquiry operations to check suspicious and huge cash deposits in banks post-demonetization. “BJP and other parties have also deposited their money in banks. Nobody is talking about that,” she said, adding it only proved the “anti-dalit and casteist mentality” of the ruling party.Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she demanded that he make public the deposits made by BJP during the 10 months preceding the November 8 decision of banning Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes. “If BJP and the PM have any truth and honesty left, they would have disclosed BJP’s deposits 10 months before November 8 and after that date while making BSP’s deposits public,” she said.Ravi Shankar Prasad rejected Mayawati’s claim that the ED’s action was linked to her assertion that the BJP was pushing SP and Congress for an alliance for the UP assembly polls. “This is nothing but her frustration. She made these comments only yesterday while deposits were made much earlier… As far as BJP is concerned, even if SP, BSP and Congress come together, it will emerge victorious,” he said.

AAP may field Delhi legislator Jarnail Singh against Punjab CM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is likely to field its Delhi legislator Jarnail Singh, an anti-Sikh riot activist, against Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in the upcoming state Assembly polls.The announcement is likely to be made by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a couple of days at a rally at Lambi, a seat represented by Badal. “The rally should take place in a couple of days. Currently, the Akalis (Akali Dal) are creating hurdles to ensure that the rally does not take place,” a senior party leader said. The 43-year-old former scribe was sacked from the organisation for allegedly hurling a shoe at the then Home Minister P Chidambaram over the anti-Sikh riot issue.Singh, who is AAP legislator from Rajouri Garden, had also unsuccessfully contested 2014 Lok Sabha polls from West Delhi on the party ticket. Early this year, the party has elevated Singh as co-in-charge of Punjab and its spokesperson in the state. When contacted Singh said he was ready to take “any challenge” that the party asks him to take up.The party has already fielded prominent candidates like its Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann from Jalalabad, a seat represented by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. The party has also fielded Himmat Singh Shergill against Finance Minister Bikram Singh Majithia.

EC prepares for elections in 5 states, asks MHA to deploy 1 lakh paramilitary personnel

Mon, 26 Dec 2016-10:16pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An estimated one lakh paramilitary personnel along with state police forces are likely to be deployed in the upcoming assembly elections in five states, including politically crucial Uttar Pradesh. Election Commission (EC) has asked the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to make available 1,000 companies (100 personnel in each company) for the assembly elections expected to be held in next two months.The EC has made the request during a recent meeting with the top officials of the MHA which discussed various aspects of security during the polling, official sources said. In addition to the Central forces, police forces of all states will be deployed for the election duties.Sources said that the MHA is expected to accede to the request of the EC and convey its decision to the poll body soon. Assembly elections in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur are expected to be held in single phase while in Uttar Pradesh it is likely to be multi-phased. The schedule for the polls is likely to be announced by the EC anytime between December 28 and January 4.

UP Elections 2017: Another bout of power struggle in SP over ticket selection

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bitter power struggle between Akhilesh and Shivpal Yadav came to the fore once again today on the ticklish issue of ticket distribution with the Chief Minister differing with his uncle over selection of candidates.As reports of strains over ticket distribution cropped up, Opposition took a swipe at the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh with BSP supremo Mayawati saying the infighting has split Samajwadi Party into two camps.Shivpal, who had replaced Akhilesh as state party chief during a bitter feud in the Yadav clan, however, maintained there was “no problem” and if there is any it would be resolved.”The matter of ticket (distribution) will be cleared. As soon as elections will be announced, all problems will be resolved…When I have already said everyone’s opinion is being considered, there is no problem…Why are you (media) creating problems,” he posed.After Akhilesh reportedly sent a parallel list of candidates to his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shivpal today met the SP supremo at his residence here for over three hours apparently to iron out differences.Akhilesh is believed to be opposed to nomination of Sigbatullah Ansari, who is the brother of jailed gangster Mukhtar Ansari. He also does not favour giving ticket to Atiq Ahmed from Kanpur, who faces over 40 criminal cases including those of murder and attempt to murder, and Aman Mani Tripathi, now arrested by CBI in a case related to the killing of his wife.These names have reportedly upset Akhilesh Yadav so much, sources say, that he has sounded out his father Mulayam and asked him to intervene. The choice of candidates for 175 seats by Shivpal has apparently not gone down well with his defiant nephew Akhilesh who, according to party insiders, prepared his own list of preferred candidates for all the 403 UP Assembly seats and sent it to Mulayam. The list drafted by the Chief Minister carries his name as well as a candidate from Bundelkhand region where he will embark on a ‘Rath Yatra’ on December 28.During their recent public turf war, Akhilesh had insisted he should have a say in the ticket distribution as the election was a test of his government’s performance. This is Akhilesh’s second power play in the last three days. On December 24, Akhilesh had met first-time MLAs at his residence and promised to give them party tickets.

Harish Rawat seeks fresh date from CBI for appearance in CD case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Monday did not appear before the CBI in connection with a probe into the purported sting operation involving him and has sought a fresh date for it.The matter pertains to CBI’s ongoing probe into the alleged sting operation purportedly showing Rawat negotiating a deal to buy support of disgruntled Congress MLAs to save his government earlier this year.Rawat has written to the apex investigating agency expressing his inability to appear before it and sought a fresh date for the purpose, his media advisor and spokesman Surendra Kumar said.He had been served summons by the CBI on Friday last, asking him to appear before it today.After the CBI summons were issued to him, Rawat had questioned its timing and accused the Centre of using the investigating agency as a tool to frame him as Assembly elections were round the corner in Uttarakhand.This is the second time that Rawat has been summoned by the CBI on a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) registered by it in last seven months. He had earlier appeared before the agency on May 24 during which he was questioned for nearly five hours.

Uttar Pradesh assembly polls: Glow missing from face of PM Modi, Amit Shah as BSP will win, says Mayawati

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stung by BJP’s claim that the note ban has hit her hard, BSP supremo Mayawati on Monday said it is the BJP leaders who have lost the glow on their faces as they know that they will have to pay the price in upcoming UP Assembly polls for the hardships being faced by the people.”Do I look to have lost glow on my face… It is BJP leaders Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and their central ministers who have lost glow on their faces,” Mayawati told newspersons here.Calling demonetization a “foolish” decision, she said, “People all over the country are running from pillar to post and facing immense hardships because of this immature and hurried step.””Have you not seen the faces of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah wherever they go…neither mine nor the face of any BSP worker has lost any glow as we know BSP is coming to power in UP,” she said.Mayawati was asked about BJP chief’s recent remark that she has lost glow on her face and looked ten years older after demonetization.Shah had said in Shahjahanpur that both Mayawati and Mamata Banerji have started looking 10 years older in a day because of demonetization.”I have been through the rough and tumble of politics, have you ever seen me losing my glow.”I am very happy they have taken this foolish decision of note ban…our party is not in favour of corrupion or black money and this decision is not to check corruption or black money but to divert attention from their unfulfilled promises taken in a hurry,” she said.”This decision is going to cost the BJP dear and so I have to say that glow is missing on the faces of BJP and company …in our party even the smallest worker’s face is glowing as they know that we are coming to power,” she said.To another question, she said it is to be seen at which position BJP stands in the coming polls.

People will teach BJP a lesson in UP polls: Raj Babbar on note ban

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the demonetization decision to “benefit a few of his friends”, causing distress to people who will teach BJP a lesson in the upcoming Assembly polls.Addressing a rally at Purkazi town in the district last evening, he said the entire nation is in distress because of the note ban and every section of the society is facing the brunt of it.”Prime Minister is changing rules on demonetization as if he is changing clothes. A man wearing suit worth Rs 10 lakh cannot call himself a fakir,” Babbar said.State congress vice president Imran Masood also hit out at Modi during the rally, saying, “Narendra Modi has failed to fulfill his promises and caused problems to people after demonetization”.

Pakistan to enforce conversion

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan’s Sindh Assembly which unanimously passed a Bill recommending jail term to perpetrators of forced conversion, may soon be struck down to please religious political parties.Minorities— Hindu, Sikh, Christians, Ahmadiyya, Hazara—constitute 2.3 million of the Muslim-majority country and continue to live in fear. The Sindh province is home to a majority of the Hindus in Pakistan. The Sindh Assembly in November passed a Bill preventing the forced conversion of minorities.The Sindh Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Bill-2015 proposed by Pakistan Muslim Leaugue-Functional (PML-F) parliamentarian Nand Kumar Goklani last year, recommended a five-year jail term for perpetrators and three years for facilitators of forced conversions.Under the Bill, forcibly converting a minor is also a punishable offence and gives 21 days to adults to consider their decision to convert. However, soon after the Bill was passed, hardline religious parties protested claiming that it was an attempt to make Pakistan a ‘secular’ nation and the provisions went against the spirit of Islam. The parties criticised the minimum age of 18 years for any person to change their religion and are of the view that such a law would make it difficult for members of religious minorities to adopt Islam.A furore was created by religious clerics. Farahnaz Ispahani, Author of Purifying The Land of the Pure: The History of Pakistan’s Religious Minorities said, “At any and every opportunity where the rights and protections for Pakistanis who are from religious minority groups or for women are being secured, the religious/political force of the powerful Muslim clergy is seen acting to prevent these protections.”Rising UproarAfter facing the ire of religious groups and succumbing to the threats of terrorist Hafiz Saeed who warned of a movement against the Bill, it was sent to the Governor for his assent. The Bill will now be reviewed and amended by the Assembly, without waiting for the Governor’s assent, Nisar Ahmad Khuhro, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs had said.“Hafiz Saeed’s threats are very worrying as are the threats to the lives of the Hindu and Muslim lawmakers involved with the Bill. If Saeed continues to fan the flames it will create an atmosphere of fear and violence which could derail the Bill completely,” said Ispahani. Khuhro, in his statement, referred to Verse 256 of Surah al-Baqarah of the Holy Quran (see box), according to which no person could be forced to change their religion, adding that no Muslim could think about passing a law that was against this basic tenet of Islam. The minister also said that the Sindh Assembly had only declared unlawful the act of contracting marriage below the age of 18 and for this purpose a law had been passed.The Sindh police have also warned 13 lawmakers and a bureaucrat of possible ‘harm’ by religious parties, especially to those who were in the Standing Committee on Minority Affairs in which the Bill was considered.“In my opinion, religio-political parties with little or no representation in parliament, or in this case the Sindh Assembly, cannot and must not dictate to the elected representatives of the people. Nor can the Assembly be held hostage to the will of pressure groups who have no real support among the electorate,” added Zarrar Khuhro, Pakistani journalist.Bill to revoke?Post much chaos, Pakistani media have reported that the Sindh government might consider retracting the Bill.According to Pakistan media, a Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) spokesperson has claimed that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zadari—also the ruling government in Sindh—has given his word to JI chief Sirajul Haq that the Bill will be struck down. Associated Reporters Abroad Pakistan correspondent, Naila Inayat calls it shameful that progressive political parties such as PPP are succumbing under pressure. “The Bill was being seen as a major relief to the minorites in Sindh, especially the Hindu community, which has been complaining of forced conversion, abduction and marriages.” Referring to data from Pakistan Hindu Council and Movement for Solidarity and Peace, Naila points out that four girls are converted to Islam girls converted each year.With no concrete changes to the Bill yet, the fate of minorities remains uncertain.”The ‘otherization’ of people of other faiths or Muslim sects that have been rejected by the orthodoxy has been seen repeatedly and increasingly in Sindh and all over Pakistan,” said Ispahani.

Successive BSP, SP governments have ousted development, good governance from UP: Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Development and good governance have been ousted from Uttar Pradesh by the successive governments of BSP and SP and these will be brought back if BJP is voted to power, senior party leader and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in Lucknow on Saturday. Singh, while participating in the last of the party’s four ‘Parivartan Yatras’ which had started on November 5, said there were clear indications that people of the state want a change.The state is currently ruled by Samajwadi Party and the next Assembly elections are due in few months. “Development and good governance which were exiled by the SP and BSP will be brought back through the BJP government after the coming Assembly polls in the state,” said the Lok Sabha member from Lucknow. “Parivartan yatras are ending in Lucknow..I too have got a chance to take part in public meetings during the yatras..on the basis of the information I have got from different sources, I can say that the amount of love people of UP have given to these yatras had never come BJP’s way in any of the yatras in the past,” he said.He added, “The surging crowds in these yatras have clealy indicated that people of the state want a change.” Justifying demonetization, Singh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi took this decision in national interest and increased its respect at the global level. Accompanied by drum beaters and slogan shouting supporters, the yatra took form of a road show in the state capital on Saturday with partymen setting up raised platforms and dais all along the route.Besides Singh, other senior leaders including Kalraj Misra, Uma Bharti and Keshav Prasad Maurya also took part in the roadshow. They also garlanded the statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Ambedkar and other leaders as a mark of respect and took a resolve to uproot SP government and instal BJP government in the coming elections. Four ‘Parivaran Yatras’ were flagged off from four corners of UP — Saharanpur, Jhansi, Sonebhadra and Ballia — in which senior leaders and union ministers took part at different places and held public meetings. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed six public meetings during this programme.The yatra which touched all the 403 assembly segments of the state covered a distance of more than 17,162 kms. BSP president Mayawati and Congress termed BJP yatras as ‘divert attention yatras’ from the “unfulfilled promises” of the BJP. “These yatras were organised in order to divert people’s attention from the promises made by the BJP and which have still remained unfulfilled,” Mayawati said in a statement. “Although BJP used all resources at its disposal and its top leaders including the PM Modi also participated in these yatras, there was no enthusiasm among the people,” Mayawati said.The “ill-planned” note ban is yet another decision of the Modi government to divert attention from the failure. “The note ban decision has however become a thorn in the flesh of the BJP and people are now afraid as to what all is in store for them and this is a very unfortunate situation,” she said. Congress spokesman Ashok Kumar said there was no impact of the yatra in Lucknow on Saturday and note ban has become a big problem for the common people who have come to know the reality of the BJP.

UP elections 2017: ‘Congress to fight polls alone, no alliance talks with any party,’ says Azad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Saturday that the party is ready to contest the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, due next year, on its own for now. “Congress is prepared to fight the Uttar Pradesh polls alone for now and there is no talk of an alliance with any party,” Azad said while addressing Congress workers in Meerut before leaving for Bijnore. He urged the party workers to get into battle mode for the upcoming polls.Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Azad said the demonetization decision will ruin the country and its people and claimed that every person is troubled by it. “The Centre took the decision without any preparation and this will affect their performance in the UP polls. People who faced problems after demonetization will take revenge from BJP by not voting for them,” Azad said. “Neither does the Prime Minister speaks in the Parliament, nor does he talk to the poor or the media,” he said. “Prime Minister is not at all concerned about the problems of common man and he only cares for a handful of country’s people. Rahul Gandhi is continuously raising the farmers’ issues and demonetization among the people. Congress is highlighting these issues,” he added.Azad was accompanied by party leaders Meem Afzal and PL Punia. Afzal said the public will not be influenced by any gimmicks of BJP and will teach it a lesson in the coming elections.

Parrikar floats demonetization theory behind possible alliance among Cong, SP and RLD

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Amid talks of the grand alliance for upcoming Uttar Pradesh polls, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday had a dig at the Congress, Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal, saying demonetization by Narendra Modi has left them in no condition to contest on their own strength.”Demonetization has caused such a powerful impact that none of these parties could be able to contest the UP Assembly polls independently,” Parrikar told reporters in response to a query over the talks about formation of ‘Mahagatbandhan’ with SP, Congress and RLD as its constituents. The minister was here to attend the 62nd national convention of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) here.Parrikar said demonetization of high value currency notes has curbed “several illegal activities” in the country.”People may be facing some problems due to demonetization, but the common man is ready to face such problems, given the good impact of this move in the long run,” the BJP leader said. Parrikar evaded direct reply on the controversial AgustaWestland Helicopter deal, saying the matter is being investigated by CBI which doesn’t work under his ministry. “We have provided all information to CBI in this matter. I could not make any comment on this issue,” Parrikar said.On escalation of tension on Indo-Pak border, Parrikar said peace is prevailing at the border to an extent as of now.

Prakash Ambedkar’s Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh to contest 40 seats in Punjab polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM), led by Prakash Ambedkar, which has only one legislator in Maharashtra, has decided to contest 40 seats in the upcoming Punjab assembly polls.The party has no presence outside Akola and Washim district in Vidarbha region of the state.Prakash Ambedkar is the grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, father of the Indian constitution.”In Punjab, Dalit community is prevalent in almost each assembly constituency and are 32% of the total population. To rope in these voters, BBM has decided to contest 40 seats out of total 117 seats,” Ambedkar said.”The Republican Party of India (RPI) has no presence in Punjab. Earlier, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party had a hold in a few pockets, but has lost supporters in the last few years. Which is why I think that BBM has strong chances of opening its account in the state,” he added.A team of 40 retired bureaucrats from the Punjab cadre will do the leg work for Ambedkar in Punjab.”Today, I held a meeting of these retired IAS officers who had expressed their desire to join politics directly or indirectly. They will handle rallies and campaign in the state in our support,” Ambedkar, who is on a tour of Punjab from the last Wednesday said and added that the process to select candidates will begin very soon.BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal alliance is currently in power in Punjab.A party leader said that Aam Aadami Party has expressed its desire to tie up with the BBM for the assembly polls. However Ambedkar said he has not received any official communication from AAP as yet. BBM’s lone legislator Baliram Siraskar won the 2014 Maharashtra assembly polls from Akola constituency.The party has a complete hold over Akola Zilla Parishad, and 5 Panchayat Samitis from the same district. Party’s Nafisa Shaikh won president’s post of Buldhana Municipal Council in recently concluded civic polls.Punjab government’s Assembly tenure will end in March 2017.

Harish Rawat bribery case: Unfortunate the way Centre treats CBI, says Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress party on Saturday accused the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and his government of misusing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to corner Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Harish Rawat on alleged and unproven bribery charges.’There is some role of the institutions in a democracy, but it is wrong to misuse it. They (Centre) are just perturbed by the allegation put forth by Rahul ji,’ said Congress leader, Husain Dalwai. ‘It is unfortunate the way CBI has been treated’, he added.CBI has asked Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Harish Rawat to appear before it on December 26 in connection with a probe into the purported sting operation involving him.
ALSO READ CBI summons Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat again in sting CD caseThe CBI had registered the preliminary enquiry on April 29 to probe a sting operation that purportedly showed Rawat offering bribes to rebel Congress Member of the Legislative Assembly​ (MLAs) to support him during the floor test. The agency had summoned Rawat for examination on May 9, but he had sought more time.The case was handed over to the CBI​ when President’s Rule was imposed in the state. The notification was withdrawn immediately after Rawat proved his majority in the assembly and his government was restored.

BJP has surrendered to PDP on the issue of West Pakistan refugees: Ex-minister Pawan Gupta

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former minister and Udhampur ​Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Pawan Gupta on Saturday accused Bharatiya Janata Party​ (BJP) of surrendering before Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (​PDP) on the issue of West Pakistan refugees to stay in power.”BJP’s lust of power led it to surrender before PDP to promote the agenda of separatists, while denying the citizenship rights to West Pakistan refugees despite their domicile in Jammu and Kashmir for the last seven decades,” Gupta claimed.Gupta, who was a minister in the Mufti Mohammed Sayeed- led coalition was dropped from the Cabinet when Mehbooba Mufti took over the reins of the state, alleged BJP has betrayed the people of Jammu region.Gupta also accused BJP of aligning with the separatists and PDP to scuttle the establishment of Kashmiri Pandits’ and Sainik colonies in Kashmir. Gupta said the fundamental right of the West Pakistan refugees has been infringed even after they were promised domicile certificates.”Now BJP has taken a U-turn despite its announcement of issuing domicile certificates to the refugees and ridiculously reducing the same to merely issuance of I-cards, thus depriving them any chance of livelihood,” he said.

Congress’s second Punjab list out

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Treading cautiously yet again, Congress while releasing the second list of candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections in Punjab remained silent on the fate of SAD turncoats.A list of 16 candidates was released by Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), which included six sitting MLAs, namely President, Indian Youth Congress (IYC), Amarinder Singh Raja Warring from Gidderbaha, Amrik Singh Dhillon from Samrala, Jagmohan Singh Kang from Kharar and Karan Kaur Brar from Muktsar. Two youth Congress leaders were also nominated, including Birenderjit Singh Pahra (Gurdaspur) and Daman Thind Bajwa (Sunam).

CBI summons Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat again in sting CD case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CBI has asked Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat to appear before it on December 26 in connection with a probe into the purported sting operation involving him.This is the second time that Rawat has been summoned by the CBI on a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) registered by it in last seven months.He had earlier appeared before the agency on May 24 during which he was questioned for nearly five hours. The agency had registered a preliminary enquiry in connection with the alleged sting operation on April 29 purportedly showing Rawat offering bribes to rebel Congress lawmakers to support him during a floor test in the Uttarakhand Assembly.This may be a unique case where a sitting Chief Minister has been summoned by the CBI during its probe of a PE.The PE is the first step during which the agency verifies the facts in the complaint received by it. During a PE, the agency usually only “requests” a person “to join the probe” and does not summon him, carry out searches or make any arrests. If verification of facts shows need of further probe, it may register an FIR or else close the PE.The CBI probe focuses on Rawat’s relations with the owner of a news channel, alleged bribe proposal made to one dissident MLA by him and a minister in his previous cabinet, besides his claims on the purported sting video.The reason for summoning him against, according to the sources, was because Rawat had not furnished full and complete details on many issues.The case was registered on the reference received from the state government (during President’s rule) and subsequent notification from BJP-led central government.Rawat has denied the allegation and called the video fake after it was released by the rebel Congress legislators but later admitted that he was on camera in the sting operation.After Rawat’s victory in the floor test, the state cabinet had met on May 15 and withdrawn the notification recommending a CBI probe into the sting operation involving him.Instead, the state cabinet decided to constitute a Special Investigating Team to probe the case as it was a state subject. CBI had said the notification was rejected after taking legal opinion, which said there was no ground for its withdrawal and it was “not legally tenable”.The Chief Minister had failed to get a reprieve from Uttarakhand High Court also which had refused to quash the ongoing CBI probe into the sting operation.

Agra-Lucknow Expressway to open for commuters today: Akhilesh Yadav’s development spree continues

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav‘s ambitious new Agra-Lucknow Expressway, which was inaugurated in November, will open for commuters on Friday. Akhilesh, who plans to contest the upcoming Assembly elections in the state on the plank of development, on Thursday also laid the foundation of Purvanchal Expressway project which will connect Lucknow to Ghazipur. With Assembly polls likely to be announced any time now, Akhilesh has been on a ribbon cutting spree since the start of the week and set a record of sorts.

The 302-kilometre-long six-lane expressway, which is India’s longest, is expected to considerably reduce the travel time between Lucknow and Delhi which usually takes 12 to 14 hours. The dream project of Akhilesh was inaugurated in Bangarmau by his father and Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on the eve of latter’s birthday at least a month ago.In a first for any road launch, six fighter jets of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Monday made a touchdown barely skimming the road before taking off to mark the opening of the Agra-Lucknow Expressway which can be also used for war-like emergency situations.

The Agra-Lucknow Expressway, which was built in a record time of 23 months, is expected to reduce the road travel time between Delhi and Lucknow by five to six hours. According to The Financial Express, the Agra-Lucknow Expressway has a design speed of up to 120 kms per hour and will have automatic traffic management systems aimed at reducing road accidents and helping even at the time of fog. The report added that the six-lane expressway is expandable to eight lanes.

At a prepatory meeting, states chief secretary Rahul Bhatnagar met with UP Expressways Industrial Development (UPEIDA) and police officials earlier this week to ensure that the necessary traffic management system, road safety and emergency services are in place. Quoting Bhatnagar, Hindustan Times reported, “Police officers have been told to provide one police van (Dial 100) and one ambulance (108 service) on every 30 kilometre stretch of the expressway and also set up requisite check posts.”

File photo of UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. PTI

File photo of UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. PTI

At the time of inauguration, three Mirage 2000 and three Sukhoi-30 jets of the IAF carried out the ‘touch and go’ on a portion of the newly constructed Expressway which has an RCC construction and reinforced and appropriately marked to facilitate aircraft landings. The portion used for the operations is located at Ganj Moradabad in Unnao district in Uttar Pradesh. The expressway has an 8-lane bridge across the river Ganga. This will connect Kanpur and Unnao.

The aim of the exercise is to check feasibility of Expressways being used as alternate airstrips in case of dire emergencies or non-availability of runways for any reason, a defence official said.

Reports said that the Expressway includes 4 rail over bridges, 13 major bridges, 57 minor bridges, 74 vehicular underpasses, 148 pedestrian underpasses and 9 flyovers. It also stretches across 10 districts, 236 villages and 3,500 hectares of land.

The Agra-Lucknow Expressway is considered to be a Greenfield project as there were no work constraints of existing buildings or infrastructure. Uttar Pradesh Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) purchased almost 3,127 hectares of land without a murmur of dissent and decided to pay four times the circle rates (CR) to the land owners in rural areas and twice the CR in urban parts, as purchase cost. The rest of land was acquired through land acquisition method.

Mulayam, at the time of inauguration, congratulated officials for completing the Expressway in a record two years time along with the chief minister who took personal interest in it.

“At the time of laying of foundation stone of the Expressway, I had asked as to when it will be completed and when four years were asked for its completion I had refused to lay the foundation stone. Later, however, it was done giving 22 months for completing it. The result is before everyone to see that today the road is ready in two years. Earlier, it used to take 12 to 14 hours to reach Delhi and now the distance will be covered in far less time. It will be very beneficial for the people,” he said. Akhilesh said the project would prove to be an example before the country as no other state had such a vast expressway. “Samajwadis will go to the polls on the back of such great work,” the SP chief said.

“When roads are laid they lead to development, this road will connect capitals like New Delhi and Lucknow, it will have industries, petrol pumps and mandis along the route and on returning to power in Uttar Pradesh, the SP government will take this expressway further till Ghazipur and Ballia in record time, it will connect one end of the state to the other,” he said.

A high-level meeting held in November, which was presided over by the chief secretary Rahul Bhatnagar, it was decided that every 30 km, on both sides of the 302-km long Expressway, a Dial-100 police vehicle and 108 Ambulance would be stationed for any emergencies. It was also instructed that signages and milestones be put up before the route is thrown open for public use. The chief secretary also ordered breath analysers and speed radars to check traffic violators on the Expressway.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 13:00 IST

25 Punjab villages won’t vote over water pollution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At a time when river water-sharing agreement with Haryana has become an emotive issue for political parties in poll-bound Punjab, but remain silent on water-pollution, residents of villages in Jalandhar and Kapurthala have united to raise the issue of polluted river waters of the state.Residents of as many as 25 villages in Jalandhar which lie along the banks on Kala Sanghia drain which flows in the region have asserted that they will not vote in the Assembly elections until the problem is addressed.One of the major tributaries of Satluj river, Kala Sanghia drain merges with Satluj through Chitti Bein. It then goes to Harike, from where drinking water is supplied to Malwa region.“It has been 10 years since residents are bearing the brunt even as effluents from tanneries, electroplating industries are being continuously discharged into the drains. At least one person in every family is suffering from some disease due to this,” said Punjab’s noted environmentalist, Balbir Singh Seechewal who has been spearheading the campaign with residents.Apart from the stench that remains hung in air all through the day, the industrial discharge has also polluted the groundwater in the region. Ludhiana being the industrial hub, the effluent from all the major industries, including leather industries, electroplating is all discharged into the rivulets and drains.Pressing upon the urgency of the issue, Seechewal said, “The government has raised alarm about depleting water-levels, but nothing is being done to prevent the existing water bodies from poisons. The manifestos of the political parties are silent on this issue, but this time, we have vowed to make it a poll agenda.”As per the environmental water quality index prepared by Central Pollution Control Board, water in 58.8 per cent of water sources in the state are not satisfactory. Ecologists highlight that presence of heavy metal is also leading to Cancer, skin diseases, birth defects and other deficiencies.“It is an issue of grave concern, especially for villages situated along the river banks. Various scientific studies have proved the presence of heavy metals, including lead and chromium, beyond permissible limits. The solution is not only setting up of more sewage treatment plants, but effective functioning of the existing ones,” said Professor V K Garg, Centre for Environmental Science and Technology, Central University of Punjab.

Unprecedented acrimony marks Jung’s tenure as Delhi LG

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The tenure of Najeeb Jung as the Lieutenant Governor saw Delhi’s complex administrative structure stretched to the limit with unprecedented rancour marking his relationship with the elected Aam Aadmi Party government. The Arvind Kejriwal dispensation, having won a brute majority in the February 2015 election, repeatedly accused Jung of “stalling” governance and acting at the BJP government’s behest and as the “agent” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah.But, Jung steadfastly maintained that he was merely following the constitutional provisions in letter and spirit and asserted at one point that “in respect to the NCT (national capital territory) of Delhi, the government means the Lieutenant Governor of the NCT of Delhi”. Earlier this year, the Delhi High Court’s verdict came as a shot in the arm for Jung as it stamped his primacy as the city’s administrative head. However, the ruling AAP has challenged the order in the Supreme Court.The die was cast during AAP’s 49-day-stint spread across 2013-14 as the dispensation had clashed with Jung over his objection to the tabling of the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Delhi Assembly. The party also referred to Jung’s stint with business house Reliance to caste aspersions on his decisions.
ALSO READ AAP v/s LG: Najeeb Jung’s sudden resignation leaves bete noire Arvind Kejriwal ‘surprised’In AAP’s second term, the first stand-off occurred within days of Jung appointing senior bureaucrat Shakuntala Gamlin as acting Chief Secretary of the city government in June 2015, notwithstanding strong reservations by Kejriwal who termed the decision as “unconstitutional”.Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) became another sticking point with the body being headed by two simultaneous heads at one point, LG-appointed MK Meena and the other, SS Yadav, authorised by the AAP government. As matters came to a head over the appointment of Swati Maliwal as Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief in July 2015, Jung proclaimed, “In respect to the NCT (national capital territory) of Delhi the Government means the Lieutenant Governor of the NCT of Delhi.”
ALSO READ LG v/s AAP: A timeline of the battle between Najeeb Jung and Arvind KejriwalA fresh round of confrontation started in December 2015 once Jung, in his communication to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), questioned the legality of a Commission of Inquiry set up to probe alleged irregularities in Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), an issue over which the AAP was training its guns on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, demanding his resignation.In September last year, Jung had directed all officers, including IAS and DANICS, not to follow the Delhi government orders which were declared by the Centre as “null and void”. This year, soon after the verdict of the Delhi High Court, Jung set up a panel to examine over 400 files pertaining to the AAP government’s decisions.
ALSO READ Home Secretary met Najeeb Jung two days ago, was unaware of his resignationThe panel headed by former CAG VK Shunglu submitted its report last month. According to sources, it pointed out many discrepancies in decisions. The report has not been made public yet. Terming the Delhi High Court verdict as “historic”, Jung had then said, “When we get elected, it doesn’t mean we are rulers and instead we will have to work and confine ourselves to our roles and jobs which are in the framework of the Constitution.” The genesis of the confrontation, in many ways, lies in the ambiguity of powers of the elected government as Delhi continues to be a Union Territory while enjoying a special status with a Legislative Assembly.

PM Modi is making light of serious allegations to divert attention: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress MLA and leader of Opposition of the West Bengal Assembly, Abdul Mannan on Thursday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mocking of the party vice president Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.“It is sad to see that the country is being led by a person who needs to be institutionalised. We have had leaders in the past who, on a slight allegation of corruption have stepped down from their posts and waited till they were given a clean chit. But our PM is not only silent on the issue, but is making fun of those who are making the allegations, to divert the attention,” Mannan said. He said that it was unfortunate that someone who hardly understood the country’s economy was criticising globally reputed economists and qualified persons such as Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram.Referring to the demonetization policy he said, “It is clear that the PM’s decision is in favour of those who possess huge amounts of black money because the PM changes his stand on a daily basis. What would be his last decision, no one knows.”He said that the state Congress would build a movement in all the 294 Lok Sabha constituencies of the state. “The AICC direction has been to put up protest programmes across the state against the past corrupt practices of the PM who had been putting up an front of being a symbol of truth. Teams will be formed and led by state Congress leaders and they will visit every district and every Lok Sabha constituency. Some of the AICC leaders are also expected to turn up here to address public meetings,” Mannan said.The message that would be sent out to people is that the Prime Minister wears suits worth Rs 10 lakh and talks about being with the poor, whereas he himself is up to his eyes with corruption.

Ahead of elections, UP govt gives assent to include 17 Other Backward Castes in SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Playing the caste card ahead of Assembly elections, the Akhilesh Yadav government on Thursday gave its assent to include 17 Other Backward Castes in the Scheduled Castes (SC) list.A Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday morning cleared the proposal in this regard, officials said.The proposal, considered to be aimed at wooing the OBCs in the coming elections, will now be sent to the Centre for clearance, they said. The 17 sub-castes which the government wants included in the SC category are Kahar, Kashyap, Kewat, Nishad, Bind, Bhar, Prajapati, Rajbhar, Batham, Gaur, Tura, Majhi, Mallah, Kumhar, Dheemar and Machua.Earlier in March 2013, the Uttar Pradesh Assembly had passed a resolution asking the Centre to include 17 castes of the state into the list of Scheduled Castes (SC) category.In the resolution presented by Social Welfare Minister Avdhesh Prasad and passed by the voice vote in the House, it was stated that in a detailed study by UP SC/ST Research and Training Institute, these 17 castes have been found ‘deserving’ to be included in the list of Scheduled Castes (SC).The Mulayam Singh Yadav government too had passed the resolution in the state Cabinet in February 2004 and had sent recommendation to the Centre for inclusion of these castes in SC list in December 2004.Later, Mulayam went ahead and issued a government order on October 10, 2005 giving SC benefits to these castes, which was, however, struck down by the High Court.Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh are likely to be held early next year.

Manipur: 2 MLAs leave BJP, NCP to join Congress

Thu, 22 Dec 2016-10:35am , Imphal , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA and party national secretary Khumukcham Joykishan and Nationalist Congress Party MLA and national secretary Laisom Ibomcha Singh have resigned from their respective parties and joined the Congress party.Joykishan Singh was one of the two sitting BJP MLAs in the 10th Manipur Legislative Assembly from Thangmeiband Assembly constituency. With his resignation, the BJP now has only one sitting MLA, Thongam Bishwajit of Thongju Assembly constituency.Laisom Ibomcha Singh was elected from the Keishamthong Assembly Constituency.The two MLAs said the Centre’s inability to resolve the economic blockade and political crisis in Manipur was the main reason behind their resignation.

Arvind Kejriwal demands Narendra Modi to step down as PM, clear himself of corruption charges

New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi step down till his name is cleared of alleged charges of graft and sought a probe into the allegations by a Supreme Court monitored committee.

The Supreme Court should take “suo motu” cognizance of the matter, Kejriwal told a press conference in New Delhi, hours after Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi alleged that Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister had taken money from Sahara and Birla groups.

Kejriwal, who had levelled similar charges against Modi in November in the Delhi Assembly, said the Congress was only “following” the Aam Aadmi Party in this regard and also in terming demonetisation as a “scam”.

File photo. PTI

File photo. PTI

“The Prime Minister should resign till his name is cleared of the charges. The matter should be probed by a Supreme Court-monitored Special Investigation Team. Agencies like CBI are in any case controlled by Modi and Amit Shah,” Kejriwal said.

The AAP chief said BJP patriarch LK Advani had set the “right example” by quitting when his name had surfaced in the Hawala scam.

Narendra Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister whose name has cropped up in raw print. This is a very grave matter but it is being suppressed and has been suppressed over the last two years by attaching officers of their convenience to the case,” he said.

Kejriwal wondered why the PM was “evading a probe” if he was innocent. The country has been “cheated against”, he said.

The Delhi chief minister said he will send the “Income Tax appraisal reports” in this regard to Prashant Bhushan who has filed a petition in the Supreme Court. These documents have not yet been submitted in the Court, Kejriwal said, displaying few voluminous reports.

“We had raised the same issue on 15 November in the Delhi Assembly. It is good that whatever we are doing the Congress is following. We had termed demonetisation a scam, then a month later Rahul said the same thing and today he finally mustered the courage to raise this issue,” he said.

Kejriwal also sought to know the reason behind Rahul’s delay in making the allegations after promising an announcement.

“Was he trying to strike a bargain? Congress and BJP have setting. In fact, all the leaders who figure in the papers should be probed,” Kejriwal said.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 21:46 IST

Mainpuri: Woman molested, assaulted along with husband in public view in SP bastion

In a shameful manifestation of public apathy and the influence of local thugs in Uttar Pradesh’s Mainpuri district, a woman was reportedly molested and later beaten up along with her husband in broad daylight as bystanders stood and watched, while some even chose to film the assault.

The video, which has gone viral on social media, since Tuesday shows a group of men brutally caning a woman and a man while a pack of bystanders watched the incident. The woman was seen bleeding from the head, yet no one from the crowd intervened.

According to reports, the couple’s young daughter was also present when the incident took place, however, the attackers fled the scene before the police arrived, according to a report in Jansatta.

The main culprit, identified as Anand Yadav, a resident of Kishani, Mainpuri district, was nabbed on Wednesday morning based on the video and eyewitness account and a case has been registered against him and two unknown miscreants, according to Dainik Bhaskar.

According to a report published in Patrika, Vandana Tiwari and Ashwin Tiwari were asking for directions to an address in Kishani Bazaar area when a local resident tried to grab the woman’s neck scarf and grope her. The couple tried to resist, after which they were badly beaten up.

Another report in Zee News,  said Vandana and Arvind have registered a complaint with the local police and threatened to shoot themselves if the culprits were not arrested soon.

Meanwhile, this is not the first incidence being reported from the area. In another shocking incident from July this year, a Dalit couple was murdered by a local shopkeeper after a spat because the couple owed him Rs 15. In August, two labourers were reportedly beaten to death by some local cops as they refused to give bribe at a checkpoint.

Mainpuri is just 20 km away from Saifai, the hometown of the ruling Akhilesh Yadav family. With Assembly elections nearing, a gruesome incident of attack and molestation in the Samajwadi Party bastion could hamper UP Chief Minister’s claims of an improving law and order situation.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 17:43 IST

‘Around 3 million defence personnel, family members could not vote’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An estimated 3 million defence personnel and their family members could not exercise their democratic right to vote due to the cumbersome procedure involved in proxy and postal voting, mainly on account of postal delays, a parliamentary committee has said.The Standing Committee on Defence , in its report submitted recently, has sought finalisation of standing operating procedure for online registration and one way e-movement of postal ballot for effective implementation of the system.It stressed on the need to reduce the size of e-postal ballot files by the Election Commission to permit easy downloading even where internet speeds are low. The report emphasised on the need to provide ‘unique service numbers’ to armed service voters after succesful registration.”The Committee has desired that immediate steps should be taken to remove the above bottlenecks and they may be informed accordingly,” it said.The Election Commission and the Defence Ministry have also been asked to undertake a study of the electoral practices prevalent in countries where internet voting or chip-based identity card voting system exists.The countries mentioned by the Committee include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Estonia, France, Netherlands, UK, USA, Switzerland and Venezuela among others.”The best practices followed in this regard need to be identified and developed to suit the requirements of Indian election process,” it said.The Committee also expressed surprise at the fact that details of the number of armed forces personnel not having cast their vote in the elections and the reasons therefore have not been maintained, either by the Election Commission or the armed services.It noted that Election Commission keeps a separate record of dispatch of postal ballots to service voters.When it comes to counting, however, the postal ballots, which may include those of the staff on election duty, are taken up together.”The Committee has desired that a mechanism be devised so as to enable in knowing the number of service votes received, counted, invalidated and the reasons for the invalidation of votes,” it said.The committee also welcomed the “historic step” of introducing e-postal balloting in the by-election held in Nellithope Assembly (Puducherry) on November 19.However, it sought details on the number of service voters in the constituency, number of e-ballot papers transmitted to the unit, time taken to download the ballot papers, time taken in the return journey from the Unit office to the RO concerned, actual number of votes cast, actual number of valid/invalid votes and the reasons for the invalidation of votes among others.

Ahead of Assembly polls, Goa BJP to send 2 vehicles to receive suggestions on manifesto

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a novel method to elicit public opinion for drafting its manifesto for upcoming Assembly polls, the Goa BJP has decided to send two vehicles, with a box, in north and south parts of the state to receive grass-root level suggestions.”The first meeting of the manifesto committee was held yesterday. Now it has been decided to appeal people to give their suggestions about the manifesto through e-mails,” Goa BJP General Secretary Sadanand Tanawade said.”As an unique initiative, BJP will also ferry two vehicles, in North and South District respectively, mounted with a box to accept suggestion from the voters,” he added.”We want voters to put up their suggestions in that box so that we can consider their points while drafting the manifesto,” said Tanawade.The BJP manifesto committee headed by Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza had a preliminary discussion on the draft of the manifesto. “The date for release of manifesto is yet to be decided. The thrust of the manifesto would be to make Goa a model state. We want to deliver people-centric manifesto,” said Tanawade.Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar is also a member of the committee. “The party cadres in all the constituencies would be asked to approach the voters to pull in suggestions from them,” Parsekaer told reporters.”We managed to fulfil 90% of the 2012 poll promises. Wherever required administrative decisions are taken, infrastructural works are complete, while few are in pipeline. The balanced promises would be fulfilled during our next tenure,” he added.

Government to check misuse of tax exemptions by political parties: Arun Jaitley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Government plans to set a threshold criteria for political parties to enjoy tax exemptions to check money laundering by outfits that do not contest elections, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday.He said the Revenue Secretary has been asked to look into the issue in the wake of Election Commission’s recommendations in this regard. Jaitley’s remarks at a Times Now event assume significance in the context of the Election Commission’s recommendations to the Government to amend laws to bar tax exemption to parties that do not contest elections and win seats in Lok Sabha and Assembly polls and to ban anonymous donations above Rs 2,000 to political parties.”I can point out one is invisible donation which Election Commission says is anonymous and the second is when political parties got exemptions. There are about 40/50/60 political parties which effectively contest elections in Centre and the states, (but) you have a large number of political parties which got registered not for contesting election but for availing tax exemption. “Now this part is easier to tackle. I have already asked the Revenue Secretary to look into this and therefore we will have to put a threshold criteria so that we are able to eliminate those which are not real political parties but only for money conversion which have come in,” Jaitley said.He said many political parties do not contest elections but only accept donations and convert money. “I have already told the Revenue Department to look at them and therefore some threshold criteria could be fixed and number of these could be eliminated,” Jaitley added. Jaitley underlined the need for making political funding as transparent as possible, saying donations must be smaller in size but huge in number. “Political funding is necessary, it should be smaller in terms of denomination but larger in its spread. And therefore not creating a quid pro quo and it should be absolutely transparent,” he said.And eventually it may be worthwhile to try and make efforts only for genuine political parties to get those benefits then start moving towards donations predominantly in the manner, he said regretting that electoral reform initiated during Vajpayee Government were not followed up by the UPA. He further said that once the country transforms into a less cash economy, the donors of the political party won’t have the kind of money in future to donate. “And they are going to straight away tell the political parties you are the ones who brought this change and therefore don’t expect us to give any invisible funding. We will fund you but we will fund you by cheque. And that’s how it should be,” he said.

Punjab Elections 2017: After quiting BJP and flirting with AAP, Sidhu meets Congress VP Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Former BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu met Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi amid speculation that the cricketer-turned politician would join the Congress sooner than later. Sidhu’s meeting with Gandhi lasted for more than 30 minutes and had come at a time when the Congress has finalised half of its candidates for the coming Assembly elections in Punjab. There was no official word as to what transpired at the meet, but it assumed significance as this was Sidhu’s first meeting with Gandhi after his wife Navjot Kaur joined the party late last month. Reports had it that the former cricketer, who left BJP over two months back, had met Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh in Chandigarh. Amarinder had said that he does not think that Sidhu is interested in contesting Amritsar Lok Sabha by elections and is likely to campaign for the party. Sidhu’s entry into Congress has been speculated for a long time now. Sidhu was earlier in talks with AAP but it did not materialise leading to a split in his recently formed outfit Awaaz-E-Punjab. On being asked if her husband will join the party, Navjot Kaur had said, “Hum do shareer ek aatma hai, fir ek dusre ke bina kab tak reh paenge? (We are two bodies one soul how can we live separately)”. She later also said that Congress is the only platform for a stable government in Punjab.

Attacked over namaz break, Uttarakhand CM announces ‘short breaks’ for all

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Under flak over the decision on namaz break, the Harish Rawat government in Uttarakhand has said state employees, irrespective of their religion, caste and creed, will be allowed “special short breaks” to offer prayers during their festivals if they make a request for it.”A decision has been taken to allow special short breaks to state employees of all communities, creeds and castes for prayers, religious occasions and festivals. It will be given only if they make a request,” media advisor to the chief minister Surendra Kumar said in a statement. “The Chief Minister took the decision in view of the spurt in demands for holidays by state employees belonging to different religions and communities on festivals and religious occasions,” he said.The announcement came two days after the state cabinet allowed a two-hour break for government staff to offer namaz on Fridays. The cabinet’s decision to allow a special two-hour Friday break for Muslim employees had drawn flak from the opposition parties, including BJP, which had accused the government of indulging in “minority appeasement” ahead of Assembly polls.

Chandigarh Municipal Corporation polls: Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal describes SAD-BJP win as historic and a trendsetter

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday described the SAD-BJP alliance’s victory in the city municipal corporation election as “historic” and said it will prove as a “trendsetter” for ensuring back to back victory for the alliance for the third consecutive term in the upcoming state Assembly polls.

File photo of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. PTI

File photo of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. PTI

The BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal received a shot in the arm ahead of Punjab Assembly polls with their alliance winning 21 out of 26 seats in the Chandigarh municipal corporation elections on Tuesday. The victory gains prominence as it comes on the heels of demonetisation decision on 8 November which was a key issue raised by both the BJP and Congress in this polls.

Badal termed the win as a “trailer”, and said that the complete film would emerge after the “spectacular victory” of the alliance in the upcoming assembly polls.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Akali patriarch said, “This result (MC polls) would prove as a trendsetter for ensuring back to back victory of the alliance for the third consecutive term in the state.”

Badal said the massive mandate in favour of “pro-people policies and solid performance” of BJP at the Centre under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has silenced the opposition for unleashing “malicious propaganda to defame the government.”

An exuberant Badal congratulated all the workers and leaders of the SAD-BJP alliance and said that the alliance would repeat the feat in the 2017 Assembly polls.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 18:52 IST

Watch: TMC MLA Sudip Roy Burman tries to run away with Tripura assemby Speaker’s mace

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tripura Assembly on Monday witnessed uproarious scenes over personal allegations relating to Forest Minister Naresh Jamatiya, during which a Trinamool Congress MLA fled with the Speaker’s mace.During Zero Hour, TMC MLA Sudip Roy Burman, former leader of the opposition, raised the issue published in a local Bengali daily.Jamatiya then stood up and said that the charges published in the newspaper were baseless and it was a conspiracy to malign his image.The minister said that he has filed a defamation suit in a court against the newspaper.The entire opposition – Congress and TMC – started shouting and demanded a statement from Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, who also holds the Home portfolio.Sarkar said the matter was subjudice and opposition members would have to wait for the court’s verdict.Opposition members trooped to the well and raised slogans demanding that Speaker Ramendra Debnath allow discussion on the matter.At one point of time, Roy Burman picked up the mace lying on the Speaker’s table and fled from the House.He, however, handed it over to the watch and ward staff in the lobby. The Speaker adjourned the house till 2 PM.When the House reassembled, the Speaker condemned taking away of the mace.

Karunanidhi to be in hospital for ‘some more days’, DMK general council meeting postponed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> DMK on Saturday deferred its December 20 general council meeting where party treasurer M K Stalin was expected to be elevated as working president.Stalin’s elevation is on the cards as both party chief M Karunanidhi and veteran leader K Anbazhagan, who is also the party General Secretary, have not been keeping well lately. The general council meeting was postponed in view of the hospitalisation of Karunanidhi, Anbazhagan said. In a release, he said a new date for the general council meeting will be announced later. Another DMK headquarters release said Karunanidhi will be in the hospital for “some more days” to undergo treatment. The party asked party cadres and friends to avoid visiting him and “cooperate”. The party had made a similar appeal when Karunanidhi was admitted to the hospital for drug-induced allergy in October.The party also quoted Kauvery Hospital’s health bulletin yesterday which said Karunanidhi was stable having undergone the tracheostomy procedure. Although generally active, 92-year-old Karunanidhi was not keeping well in the recent past and he did not campaign in the November bypolls in Tamil Nadu though he hit the campaign trail for the May 2016 Assembly election. In the run up to the Assembly polls this year, the nonagenarian leader had said that he would be the chief minister if his party won the May 16 assembly election and his son M K Stalin has to wait “till nature does something to me”.In October, he however gave ample indication that Stalin was on his way to become the party chief. “From his prison days (during emergency, 1975-77) where he faced a lot of hardships, he has worked very hard and elevated himself systematically to the position of future president of DMK,” he had said. Also, Stalin’s supporters, for the past few years, have been impressing upon the party leadership to pass on the baton to their leader. Stalin is the leader of opposition in the Assembly and party Treasurer.

DMK general body meeting indefinitely postponed due to Karunanidhi’s health

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The DMK’s general body meeting which was scheduled to take place on December 20 has been indefinitely postponed on Saturday due to party chief Karunanidhi’s health. DMK President M Karunanidhi had undergone a tracheostomy at a private hospital here to optimise breathing and his condition was stable on Friday.The 92-year-old leader, who was readmitted to Kauvery Hospital here late last night with breathing difficulties due to throat and lung infection, has undergone tracheostomy to optimise breathing, Dr S Aravindan, Executive Director, Kauvery Hospital, said in a statement. “Karunanidhi is stable,” he said, adding that the former chief minister is being treated with antibiotics and being monitored by a team of doctors.Karunanidhi’s readmission to the hospital comes about a week after he was discharged from there on December 7, following week-long treatment for drug-induced allergy. On October 25, DMK had announced that Karunanidhi was suffering from allergy “caused by a medicine he has been using” and advised rest by doctors. The leader, who has of late not been seen regularly in public, has confined himself to his home, although he has been issuing statements and reacting on key matters such as demonetization. He had also skipped campaigning during the by-election to three state Assembly seats last month. Ruling AIADMK won all three constituencies. Leaders of political parties, including Tamil Nadu Congress Committee chief Su Thirunavukkarasar, former TNCC chief E V K S Elangovan, CPI senior leader Tha Pandian, PMK leader and Dharmapuri Lok Sabha MP Anbumani Ramadoss, and VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan visited Kauvery Hospital and enquired about the health of the DMK patriarch.Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi will meet the ailing DMK president today.With inputs from agencies.

Karunanidhi hospitalised: DMK President stable after undergoing tracheostomy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> DMK President M Karunanidhi underwent tracheostomy at a private hospital in Chennai to optimise breathing and his condition was stable. The 92-year-old leader, who was readmitted to Kauvery Hospital here late last night with breathing difficulties due to throat and lung infection, has undergone tracheostomy to optimise breathing, Dr S Aravindan, Executive Director, Kauvery Hospital, said in a statement.”Karunanidhi is stable,” he said, adding that the former chief minister is being treated with antibiotics and being monitored by a team of doctors.Meanwhile, senior DMK leaders kept thronging the hospital to enquire about the health of the party supremo. Karunanidhi’s readmission to the hospital comes about a week after he was discharged from there on December 7, following week-long treatment for drug-induced allergy. On October 25, DMK had announced that Karunanidhi was suffering from allergy “caused by a medicine he has been using” and advised rest by doctors. The leader, who has of late not been seen regularly in public, has confined himself to his home, although he has been issuing statements and reacting on key matters such as demonetization . He had also skipped campaigning during the by-election to three state Assembly seats last month. Ruling AIADMK won all three constituencies.

Civic polls: BJP makes inroads in semi-urban, rural Maharashtra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ruling BJP has emerged as the net gainer in the first two rounds of civic polls across Maharashtra as it made inroads into semi-urban and rural areas, giving leverage to the party to counter the opposition onslaught over the demonetization.As the counting of votes for the second phase of polls concluded last evening, BJP’s tally in two rounds went up to 974 seats in municipal council and nagar panchayats, dealing a grim blow to Congress and NCP which had for long held sway in rural and interior parts of the state. The decision to hold direct elections to the post of municipal council presidents brought handsome gains to the BJP which secured 56 positions.In the first phase, BJP put up an impressive show winning 893 council and nagar panchayat seats while it finished slightly behind the NCP with 81 seats in the second round. The NCP, which won 615 seats in the first phase, bettered its tally over the rival in the next round with 93 seats while the Congress, which won 727 seats in the first phase bagged 45 seats.Shiv Sena, the bickering partner in the ruling alliance, pocketed 529 and 23 seats respectively in two rounds.The polling to elect 324 councillors and 14 municipal council presidents in Latur and Pune districts was held on Wednesday. The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena drew a blank in all seats it contested.The outcome is also seen as a shot in the arm for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who led the campaign from the front.According to political observers, BJP’s success is more prominent in the Vidarbha region, once a stronghold of Congress. Fadnavis hails from Nagpur and that could be one of the reasons for BJP’s sterling performance in the region, they said.Difficulties caused by demonetization appear not to have gone against the BJP because people still feel it will yield positive results like eradication of black money at the end of the day, they said. Hailing the results, BJP state president Raosaheb Danve said, “Like in the first phase, the results of the second phase also showed that people have displayed their faith in PM Narendra Modi’s demonetization decision. People have endorsed the performance of Modi and Fadnavis governments,” he said, adding, the results show that BJP continues to be the “number one” party in Maharashtra.The outcome shows that Congress and NCP, which received a drubbing in the Lok Sabha and state Assembly polls in 2014, are yet to regain the trust of large sections of people, analysts say.Some of them, however, pointed out that these parties, who had ruled the state for long, recovered some of the lost ground, as compared to Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. In the 2014 Assembly polls, Congress and NCP were badly hit by the “Modi wave”, getting only 42 and 41 seats respectively, after ruling the state for 15 years.Congress leaders admit that the results of the civic polls fell short of their expectation. “We thought that Maratha agitation and demonetization would work against BJP. However, it may take some more time for the ill-effects of demonetization to be felt,” Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said.Both Congress and NCP have alleged that BJP’s success in the polls was due to misuse of money and administrative machinery. “Old scrapped notes were distributed to get votes. Bundles of cash recovered from BJP legislators and ministers is enough indication. Even Shiv Sena, the BJP’s ally in government, has made this allegation,” Congress Mumbai unit chief Sanjay Nirupam and NCP spokesman Nawab Malik alleged.However, BJP has vehemently refuted such allegations, crediting the victory to organisational skills and good governance at the Centre and the state. “Our success is due to the meticulous organisational planning and leadership of Devendra Fadnavis. He led from the front and addressed election meetings in most parts of the state,” said Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil.Congress and NCP leaders, on the other hand, restricted themselves to particular districts, say observers.Congress leaders admit that the results is a wake up call to the party to get its act together at the taluka level and strengthen its grassroots base.They say the party has got more seats at the nagar panchayat level, which means the rural population was upset with the present state government. The third phase of elections for 20 municipal councils and two nagar panchayats will be held on December 18. On January 8, 2017, the elections for 11 municipal councils will be held. Besides, the elections for 50 gram panchayats in different districts will be held on December 28.

Maharashtra assembly urges Centre to add ‘Maharaj’ to names of rail terminus, airport

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution on Friday urging the Centre to add “Maharaj” to the international airport and railway terminus in Mumbai, already named after Maratha warrior king Chatrapati Shivaji.The resolution seeks to rename the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport as “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport” and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railway Station as “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus”.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis moved the resolution in the Assembly saying the house recommends the Central Government to rename the two facilities. He also moved another resolution urging the Centre to change the name of Elphinstone Road Railway station in Mumbai to Prabhadevi. Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil seconded the resolutions. The entire house welcomed both the resolutions by thumping desks, with some members from the treasury benches raising chanting “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki jai”.The sprawling railway terminus, a marvellous structure and UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built in 1887 in Bori Bunder area of Bombay (now Mumbai) to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, and had for over a century been known as Victoria Terminus before it was renamed after Shivaji in 1996, months after Bombay was renamed as Mumbai. The Sahar airport in the Western suburbs was renamed as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in 1999. Later, domestic airport at Vile Parle also came to be known as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.

Congress leader Mauvin Godinho resigns from Goa Assembly, may join BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Goa Congress leader Mauvin Godinho, who is an MLA from Dabolim constituency, resigned on Wednesday as a member of the state Assembly and indicated that he may join BJP.”Godinho submitted his resignation as member of Legislative Assembly to the Speaker today,” state Legislature Secretary Nilkant Subhedar said. The Speaker has accepted the resignation, he said.After tendering his resignation, Godinho said he was unhappy with the functioning of Congress and praised the BJP. “I have been a loyal worker of Congress but I am not happy with the functioning of the party,” the five-term Member of Legislative Assembly said.”I find BJP as a party works for the welfare of the people,” said Godinho, who was Deputy Speaker of the Assembly and Power Minister in the earlier Congress-led state government.

Punjab elections 2017: First list of 61 Congress candidates released

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress released its first list of 61 candidates for the upcoming Assembly polls in Punjab on Thursday, fielding state unit chief Amarinder Singh, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, CLP leader Charanjit Singh Channi and Sunil Jakhar. The party has retained 31 sitting MLAs, while dropping only three including Preneet Kaur, who made way for her husband Amarinder from the Patiala Urban Assembly seat.The Congress has chosen seven new faces backed by “strong credibility and winnability criteria”. The list includes five youths, six women, eight former MLAs and one former MP. The names were cleared earlier by the Central Election Committee headed by Congress President Sonia Gandhi.Amarinder said since there were too many aspirants, those who could not make it to the final list for Assembly polls will be accommodated once the party forms its government. He appealed to all Congress workers to come together to campaign for the party’s victory in Punjab.He said winnability is key criteria for selection and chose to go with winnable candidates across various cross-sections, striking a balance between youth, new faces and experience while giving adequate representation to women. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s estranged nephew Manpreet Singh Badal, who had joined the Congress a few months ago, will contest from the Bathinda Urban Assembly seat, while former Sangrur MP Vijay Inder Singla will contest from the Sangrur Assembly seat.Party’s Punjab unit Vice President Sunil Jakhar will contest from Abohar, from where he is the sitting MLA, while former deputy chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal will contest from her Lehra Assembly constituency and CLP leader Charanjit Singh Channi from Chamkaur Sahib (SC), from where he is the sitting MLA. Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi will fight on the Congress ticket from Guru Har Sahai, while former minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa has been nominated from the Fategarh Churian seat.The ticket for the high-profile Majithia constituency has gone to Sukhjinder Raj Singh Lalli Majthia, while Rana Gurjit Singh will contest from Kapurthala. Former IAS officer and former Moga Deputy Commissioner Kuldeep Singh Vaid, has bagged the party ticket from Gill reserved constituency.Three sitting MLAs have been changed under “one family, one candidate rule”. While Rajya Sabha MP Pratap Singh Bajwa’s wife Charanjit Kaur Bajwa has been replaced with his brother Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa in the Qadian Assembly seat, sitting Nawan Shahar MLA Gur Iqbal Kaur Babli has given way to her son Angad Saini.Twenty-five-year-old Angad Saini is the youngest nominee in the Congress list.

After Akhilesh’s broad hints, SP-Congress tie-up talks gain traction

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prospects of a poll alliance between the ruling Samajwadi Party and Congress appeared to be brightening today with both showing inclination towards a tie-up, feeling that it will be beneficial for the two parties and would halt BJP’s march.Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said a tie-up between SP and Congress would fetch over 300 of the 403 Assembly seats in the upcoming elections while Congress said it is not averse to a “respectable” seat-sharing formula.”Though samajwadis are going to form majority government in the state, if an alliance takes place, it will win over 300 seats. The final decision in this regard will be taken by SP National president (Mulayam Singh Yadav),” Akhilesh told reporters here.Congress leaders of Uttar Pradesh, while sniffing a chance because of demonetization, are showed inclination towards an alliance, saying the party is open to a “respectable” seat-sharing formula with SP.Accepting that there are some back channel efforts to firm up an alliance, a Congress leader said his party will not agree to less than 100 seats which it has already identified. “Besides the 29 seats it won in the last Assembly polls and 31 others on which it had finished second, there are some 50 other constituencies where the party has good chance,” he said.The party, which has been out of power in the politically important state for 27 years, is trying its best to revive its electoral fortunes by pushing its vice president Rahul Gandhi to hold a ‘kisan yatra’ across the state.”The aim and target of Congress is not just to halt BJP in Uttar Pradesh but also in the country for which it believes that all parties having similar ideology need to come together,” said the leader who refused to be identified.”Such an alliance is also in the interest of Samajwadi Party which desperately needs to secure a strong platform to ward off division of Muslim votes in order to consolidate its position,” he said.BSP is posing a stiff challenge to Samajwadi Party and is going all out to woo Muslim voters and this is a concern for SP, he noted. ACongress had launched its poll preparations much in advance, roping in election strategist Prashant Kishor and announced the name of former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit as its chief ministerial candidate with an eye on Brahmin votes.

Ahead of assembly polls, pay hike for UP govt employees gets cabinet nod

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a New Year bonanza for state government employees ahead of UP Assembly elections, Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday decided to implement recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission.The decision is likely to benefit 16 lakh state government employees and six lakh pensioners.”Wetan samiti ka faisla liya hai. Aaney waley samay mey lakhon karmchairyon ko laabh hoga. Issey kai crore ka bhaar aayega (We have taken decision of pay committee recommendations. It will benefit lakhs of government employees. It will put additional burden of crores of rupees on the state exchequer,” Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said.He was briefing reporters after a meeting of the state cabinet charied by him.The pay recommendations will be implemented from January 1, he said, adding in the days to come these employees will help Samajwadi Party form government in the state again.

Goa CM Laxmikant Parsekar sacks two ministers of ally MGP from his cabinet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a significant development, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Monday night dropped two of his Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party colleagues from cabinet following their outburst against the BJP-led government, raising prospects of new permutations and combinations in the state going to polls next year.Parsekar faxed the communication to Goa Governor Mridula Sinha late night recommended dropping of Sudin Dhavlikar and Dipak Dhavlikar from the cabinet. With this, the total number of ministers in Parsekar-led cabinet is reduced to ten.”I have recommended that both the ministers be dropped under article 164 (1) of Constitution of India,” the CM told PTI.He said all the portfolios which were allotted to both the ministers are reverted to him, till they are allotted to anyone else.MGP was represented by Sudin and Dipak Dhavlikar in the cabinet.MGP had fought 2012 Assembly election in alliance with BJP. While BJP won 21 seats in the 40-member house, MGP was victorious on three. Hence, ouster of two MGP ministers won’t pose any threat to the government.While Sudin Dhavalikar held important portfolios like Transport and Public Works Department, Dipak Dhavlikar headed Rural Development Agency.Responding to a question, Parsekar said he was yet to decide on filling both the vacancies.When contacted, Dipak Dhavalikar said he was yet to receive any communication about his removal from the cabinet.”I can’t comment as we are yet to receive any communication,” he said.MGP, the first regional ruling party after Goa was liberated from Portuguese in 1961, had recently decided not to have a pre-poll alliance with the BJP if Parsekar continues to lead the party.Sudin recently accused Parsekar of taking Goa ten years backward during his rule of two-and-half years, while Dipak, the MGP president, had dared the BJP to dissolve the Assembly and face election on their own and win the majority seats.”So if BJP wants us to go, they should dissolve the Assembly. It is not the government of their own. We also have a share in it. Let BJP dissolve the Assembly and face election on their own and win the majority seats,” Dipak said.Interestingly, RSS rebel Subhash Velingkar-led Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) had proposed alliance with MGP for polls.Hinting at this, Parsekar told reporters earlier in the day, “What has happened that suddenly Dhavalikar has started reacting this way in last two-three days ? Has he met someone who has instigated him or he has started dreaming of becoming chief minister?”

Goa elections 2017: CM Parsekar hits back at MGP, asks the alliance partner to quit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The rift between the BJP and MGP in Goa widened on Monday with Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar saying those unhappy with the alliance are free to quit and the minor ally daring the senior partner to dissolve the state Assembly rather than asking its ministers to resign. MGP leader and state Transport Minister Sudin Dhavalikar recently accused Parsekar of taking the state 10 years backward during his two-and-half year rule.Hitting back, Parsekar told reporters here that, “Sudin Dhavalikar is no one to set the agenda for me. If he feels suffocated in the state government, he should resign and go, and then make a public statement against us.” Later, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) president Dipak Dhavalikar said that, “The current BJP-led state government is not a stand-alone victory of the party (BJP). MGP and BJP had pre-poll alliance. BJP’s candidates who won the election had a share of MGP votes too in their victory.””So if BJP wants us to go, they should dissolve the Assembly. It is not the government of their own. We also have a share in it. Let BJP dissolve the Assembly and face election on their own and win the majority seats,” Dhavalikar said.MGP has already announced that it will snap ties with BJP for the forthcoming state Assembly polls, if Parsekar continues to lead the BJP. In turn, Parsekar accused the MGP of not being loyal to the alliance partners. “They are not loyal to the alliance, they only cling to power. Before 2012 elections they were with the Congress,” he said. “The current government is mine. If someone is not happy with it or we are non-performing, they are free to resign and go,” the Chief Minister said.There are two MGP ministers in Parsekar-led Cabinet. The MGP chief said his party is yet to decide whether to go it alone in the polls or have alliance with any other party. “The decision on alliance will be taken only after the state election dates are announced,” Dhavalikar said.During 2012 Goa elections, BJP won 21 seats while MGP, the state’s oldest regional party, bagged three seats. Suspecting that Sudin Dhavalikar was being instigated by some elements against the government, Parsekar questioned the minister’s sudden angst in the last few days. “What has happened that suddenly Dhavalikar has started reacting this way in last two-three days? Has he met someone who has instigated him or he has started dreaming of becoming chief minister,” he said, indirectly referring to rebel RSS leader Subhash Velingkar led Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM) which has proposed alliance with MGP for upcoming polls.

Parties rush for alliance in Uttar Pradesh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With elections to the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Assembly set for February, political parties are now scrambling for alliances and selection of candidates. On Saturday, the Election Commission had shot down the Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s game plan to force the Assembly elections in April by hurriedly getting declared the school examinations in February and March.While the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has given a cold shoulder to any proposal for a tie-up, the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP) are in the final stages for finalising nitty-gritty of an alliance. Sources in both the parties said that despite a lengthy meeting between Congress poll strategist Prashant Kishor and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav early this week, the number and choice of seats leaving for potential partners was still an issue. They said that Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar was brokering a deal between the two parties, after he successfully sailed the Grand Alliance in Bihar to victory last year.Earlier talks between the Congress and the SP had failed as the Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi didn’t want to contest less than 100-120 seats out of the total of 403. But the SP was not willing to part more than 50 seats. In the SP, Akhilesh has been a strong votary of an alliance, but he was also keen to push elections to April, in order to delink polls in his state with other poll bound states like Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand and also to negotiate an alliance threadbare. But the EC exercising its powers cancelled the Class X and XII Board exams fixed by the UP Secondary Education Board from February 16 and directed it to declare the new schedule only after a prior approval of the state’s chief electoral officer (CEO). The EC’s decision, therefore, indicates that it is all set to hold the Assembly elections in February in all five states.

Rajinikanth describes Jayalalithaa as a ‘kohinoor diamond’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil ‘Superstar’ Rajinikanth on Sunday paid rich tributes to late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, describing her as a ‘kohinoor diamond’ who had made her way up through difficulties in a male-dominated society.At a condolence meeting, organised by the South Indian Artistes’ Association or the Nadigar Sangam for Jayalalithaa and actor-journalist Cho S Ramaswami, Rajinikanth also recalled his strong statements against her during the 1996 Assembly polls, which had “hurt” her.”I had hurt her. I was a key reason for her (party’s) defeat,” he said, referring to his criticism of the then AIADMK government.The actor had then famously remarked that “even god can’t save Tamil Nadu” if Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK was elected to power again. The then DMK-TMC (Tamil Maanila Congress) combine had swept the polls amid strong anti-incumbency.Jayalalithaa, however, later proved to be a “golden-hearted” leader, Rajinikanth said.Paying rich tributes to the former chief minister, he said it was with great difficulty that she could take over the reins of the AIADMK following the death of its founder and her political mentor MG Ramachandran and that she had even overtaken him in achievements.Having lost her father at the age of two and mother 20 years later, she faced various challenges including having no family but achieved fame by hard work in a male-dominated society, he said. “Today, she is resting like a kohinoor diamond at the MGR memorial site and enjoys the love and affection of so many people,” he added.Hospitalised on September 22 and having suffered a cardiac arrest on December 4, 68-year-old Jayalalithaa had passed away the next day.Rajinikanth also paid rich tributes to Ramaswamy, his long time friend. Ramaswamy, a veteran journalist, satirist, playwright and actor died of illness on December 7.

SAD has no chance in Punjab, main fight between Congress and AAP: Captain Amarinder

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh claimed the fight in the upcoming state polls is between his party and AAP, whose “standing is on the decline” and they had to bring 50,000 people from other states for campaigning.Speaking about the ruling SAD-BJP alliance, he claimed, “The fight is between Congress and AAP. SAD-BJP alliance is nowhere.”Welcoming into Congress fold AAP founding member and its state vice president C M Lakhanpal along with three leaders P K Sharma, Iqbal Pannu and Barpur Singh, Amarinder claimed the party’s graph is coming down as people of Punjab is disillusioned.He also said, “Arvind Kejriwal’s claim that if his party comes to power in Punjab a Dalit will be made the deputy chief minister is fraudulent. There is no Sikh or Dalit minister in his Delhi government.””Kejriwal is merely trying to befool the people of Punjab through such misleading statements. AAP had absolutely no standing in Punjab and had brought 50,000 people from other states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar for campaigning,” the Punjab Congress chief claimed.Amarinder said the new entrants to his party will get ticket where Congress did not have active candidates as of now.The newly inducted leaders expressed their unconditional support for Congress and alleged that AAP has “failed to meet people’s expectations in the state and is on decline”. PTI JTR NSDWill request Priyanka to campaign: Amarinder Singh Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh said that he will request Priyanka Gandhi to campaign for the party along with her mother Sonia Gandhi and brother Rahul Gandhi in the upcoming state Assembly elections.”Both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi would be campaigning for Congress in Punjab and I would also request Priyanka Gandhi to help with the electioneering in the state,” he told reporters here.Hitting out at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s announcement that a Dalit will become the Deputy chief minister of Punjab if AAP comes to power in the polls, Singh said, “The AAP government in Delhi has no Sikh or Dalit minister.”On being questioned over the delay in announcing the party candidates for the state polls, slated for 2017, the senior Congress leader said, “SAD and AAP are one-member and one-family party respectively, while Congress is a well-structured organisation that works on principles and processes.”He said the delay in the announcement would have no impact on the prospects of victory of Congress candidates in the polls, adding that they would get ample time to engage in electioneering.”We are a large party which needed to go through systems and processes to ensure proper ticket allocation,” Singh said.On being asked whether Manish Tewari will contest the Assembly election, the former Punjab chief minister said the Congress President would take a final call on it.Asked about the chances of cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu joining Congress, Singh said he was yet to announce his decision, which the party has left to him.

Ex-Sena MLA Ramesh Prabhu passes away

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Mumbai Mayor and ex-Shiv Sena legislator Ramesh Prabhu passed away in Mumbai after a prolonged illness.He was 78.Prabhu had been ailing for the past five months, his son-in-law and former Congress MLA Krishna Hegde said.The Sena leader was the Mayor of Mumbai in 1987.Prabhu was in the news when the Supreme Court debarred him from contesting elections from 1995 to 2001 on the grounds he had sought votes in the name of religion during the 1990 Assembly polls.Shiv Sena chief late Bal Thackeray was also banned from exercising his franchise for the same period after it was found he had “indulged in corrupt practice by seeking votes in the name of religion” while campaigning for Prabhu.Prabhu had won the Vile Parle Assembly segment in Mumbai in a byelection in 1987-88 and retained the seat in 1990 polls.

TN Cabinet recommends life-size bronze statue in Parliament complex, Bharat Ratna for Jayalalithaa

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Cabinet decided on Saturday to recommend late AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa for India’s highest civilian honour, the ‘Bharat Ratna’. In its first meeting chaired by Chief Minister O Panneerselvam after Jayalalithaa’s demise, the Cabinet also decided to recommend to the Centre installation of her life-size bronze statue in Parliament complex. “A resolution was adopted in the Cabinet to recommend to the Centre to award Bharat Ratna to honourable Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa,” an official statement detailing the decision taken in Saturday’s meeting said.Further, the Council of Ministers resolved to urge the Centre to install her bronze statue in the Parliament complex, and proposed to raise a memorial building for the deceased leader at the MG Ramachandran (MGR) Memorial site, where she was laid to rest on Tuesday at an estimated cost of Rs 15 crore. The Cabinet further resolved to rename the memorial as Dr Puratchi Thalaivar MGR and Puratchi Thalaivi Amma Selvi J Jayalalithaa Memorial, it added.The Cabinet also proposed to unveil a portrait of the leader in the Tamil Nadu Assembly. Panneerselvam also had a small portrait of his predecessor on his desk.
ALSO READ Cauvery row: ‘Jayalalithaa’s efforts have been rewarded by SC,’ says TN PWD Principal SecretaryThe Cabinet adopted a resolution condoling Jayalalithaa’s death. It said the 68 year-old leader had dedicated her life for the betterment of the people of Tamil Nadu, and help the state take giant strides in sectors like social welfare, education and growth.She was fondly addressed as ‘Amma’ (Mother), it said. Tracing her life from her being born to Sandhya-Jayaram in 1948, it said Jayalalithaa grew to be a bright student in school and excelled in arts like music and dance. It also recalled her successful film career, her skills of speaking several languages and also hailed her as a voracious reader.
ALSO READ Did Jayalalithaa leave behind a will? AIADMK has no answersShe had made her political entry in 1982 under the tutelage of M G Ramachandran and her speech at the Cuddalore public meeting was indicative of her successful political career, it said. She was even lauded by former prime minister Indira Gandhi for her speeches in Rajya Sabha on issues including internal security, it said.She was an “unparalleled leader” in the sense that she was AIADMK General Secretary for 28 of her 35 years of public service, a seven-time MLA and leading the party to many victories including the 2011 and 2016 assembly polls and 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it said.
ALSO READ Jayalalithaa’s death: AIADMK says 280 people have died of grief, shockShe overcame many challenges presented by rivals and had ruled the state with the sole motive of people’s welfare, it added. The Cabinet said Jayalalithaa had donated gold jewelleries she was wearing to then prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri during the 1965 Indo-Pak war.The Cabinet also hailed her active contribution on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, including batting for a separate Tamil homeland of Eelam and moving a resolution in the Assembly. It also referred to her various populist measures like free rice and said it had benefited people immensely.She had also brought the 69% reservation for OBC, it said. “We promise to work in the path laid down by Amma who is now watching us perform” from Marina where she was buried, the Ministers said, condoling her death. Earlier, Panneerselvam and other Ministers paid floral tributes to Jayalalithaa’s portrait and then held the meeting.

DMK General Council meeting on December 20

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The DMK’s top decision-making body, General Council, will meet here on December 20, the first time after the party’s electoral loss at the hands of archrival AIADMK in the May 2016 Assembly polls to discuss “constructive activities” of the party.Party President M Karunanidhi will chair the meeting, slated at DMK headquarters Anna Arivalayam, DMK General Secretary K Anbazhagan said in a statement on Saturday. The GC members will take up “constructive activities” of the party, he added.The meeting also comes in the wake of demands from a section of the party calling for elevation of DMK Treasurer MK Stalin to a higher post.Political situation in the state, especially after J Jayalalithaa’s demise and her staunch loyalist O Panneerselvam taking over as the new chief minister, will be looked into. The party will also take stock of the political situation in the state after its defeat in the May 2016 Assembly polls and ahead of the civic bodies polls.

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