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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.

BJP condemns Hurriyat leaders, says will continue to support the west Pakistani refugees

Jammu: BJP on Saturday condemned Hurriyat and other political parties for opposing the grant of domicile certificate to the west Pakistani refugees(WPRs) residing in Jammu and Kashmir and said it will continue to support the rights of the WPRs.

“Hartal called by Hurriyat and other separatist groups on Friday to oppose the grant of domicile certificate to WPRs is very unfortunate, unwarranted and uncalled for. BJP strongly opposes the efforts of these pro-Pakistan elements to politicise a humanitarian issue,” BJP state spokesperson Brig Anil Gupta (retd) said.

He condemned the attitude of Hurriyat and political parties who are opposing the grant of domicile certificate to the WPRs residing in the state and said what was more discomforting is that these people belong to economically backward segment of the society and have been denied the growth opportunities due to no fault of theirs.

“It is very unfortunate that a section of society living among us is termed as refugees and denied basic rights on the plea that they are not the state subjects and have migrated from West Pakistan at the time of partition,” he said.

Representative image. PTI

Representative image. PTI

Even after 70 years of independence they are being given this treatment in their own country due to the “parochial outlook” of the majority community in the state is tragic, Gupta said.

“It is the influx of illegal Bangladeshi and Burmese migrants that has resulted in the demographic change and ironically they do not raise any voice against them but welcome them.

“This highlights their communal outlook. Our Party will continue to support the WPR and ensure that justice is delivered to them,” he said.

Taking a dig at the National Conference’s stand, Gupta said political parties like NC are misquoting history and trying to mislead the people of Jammu using the name of late Maharaja Hari Singh.

“Their contention that State Subject laws were enacted by the Maharaja to safeguard the interest of Dogras is being quoted out of context.

“The State Subject Act was enacted by the Maharaja in 1927 to protect the rights of its citizens when J&K was an independent state.

“It was the Maharaja only who had acceded the state with India in 1947 and it was his desire that his state should be a part of Union of India,” he said.

He said, “All citizens of J&K are now citizens of India.”

Had the Maharaja been alive he would have himself ensured that any law that keeps his state away from rest of the country should be “abrogated”, the spokesperson said.

“He would have ensured that these helpless people are given all rights immediately and they would not have to suffer this humiliation for 70 years,” he said.

It was surprising and unfortunate that parties which had included this issue in their election manifestos in the past were now opposing the issue of the domicile certificate.

“The statements of Ambika Soni in Jammu and Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal in Srinagar clearly show that the Congress was only exploiting them for narrow political gains and now that their plight is being improved by the present BJP government they have joined hands with the Hurriyat and others to oppose the same,” he said.

“Issue of domicile certificate will enable the WP refugees to seek central government jobs including in the armed forces. There will be quota for them in the 5 IRP Battalions being raised under Prime Minister Special Package for J&K,” he said.

The contention that it is an attempt to change the state’s demography, Gupta said it is not understood as to how it will affect the demography of the state since they have been staying here since 1947.

“The State Subject Act was enacted by the Maharaja in 1927 to protect the rights of its citizens when J&K was an independent state.

“It was the Maharaja only who had acceded the state with India in 1947 and it was his desire that his state should be a part of Union of India,” he said.

He said, “All citizens of J&K are now citizens of India.” Had the Maharaja been alive he would have himself ensured that any law that keeps his state away from rest of the country should be “abrogated”, the spokesperson said.

“He would have ensured that these helpless people are given all rights immediately and they would not have to suffer this humiliation for 70 years,” he said.

It was surprising and unfortunate that parties which had included this issue in their election manifestos in the past were now opposing the issue of the domicile certificate.

“The statements of Ambika Soni in Jammu and Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal in Srinagar clearly show that the Congress was only exploiting them for narrow political gains and now that their plight is being improved by the present BJP government they have joined hands with the Hurriyat and others to oppose the same,” he said.

“Issue of domicile certificate will enable the WP refugees to seek central government jobs including in the armed forces. There will be quota for them in the 5 IRP Battalions being raised under Prime Minister Special Package for J&K,” he said.

The contention that it is an attempt to change the state’s demography, Gupta said it is not understood as to how it will affect the demography of the state since they have been staying here since 1947

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 17:56 IST

PM Modi’s New Year’s Eve Speech at 7:30 PM | Live streaming and where to watch in India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rejecting media reports that the PM’s address to the nation at 7:30 PM on December 31, the BJP said that that the speech would go ahead as planned. The BJP Twitter handle tweeted: “Narendra Modi live address to the nation at 7:30 PM on Dec 31: Live streaming and where to watch in India.”Here’s how you can watch PM Modi’s address:Time: 7:30 PM IST on December 31, 2017Watch it on Facebook live on BJP’s pageWatch the live stream on YouTubeCheck it on the BJP websiteYou can also watch the speech on PM Modi’s website​The speech will also be broadcast on all TV channels including Zee News. ​DNA will add the links when the PM speaks. What we know so far? The BJP-led NDA Government, which has come under sharp criticism post the November 8 demonetization drive, will roll out a massive canvassing campaign beginning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation on December 31.Sources said all Central Ministers have been asked to visit at least 10 places and hold rallies and mass contact event so as to convince the masses about the decision to demonetize high-value currency notes.As many as 10 towns visited by each minister will be mix of rural and urban places and more focus will be on poll-bound states as Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and especially rural areas.In the wake of the realisation in the government that demonetization related problems will continue for some time, a detailed dossier on demonetization issue has been given to all Central Ministers explaining need of the drive to various milestones achieved along with its success stories.All mass media platforms from radio, TV to field publicity will be used.Sources disclosed that around 60-page documents have been distributed to all ministers by the Finance Ministry in which every aspect of demonetization has been described point by point.The Finance Minister in the document has described the need for initiating such a step, future action plan and impact on major policies.Prime Minister Modi had earlier urged the nation to give him 50 days post the demonetization decision to get things back on track. After demonetization, the government has taken a number of steps to ensure that no hardship is faced by tourists and the industry is not affected.Till date, the government has made several changes to the norms.The demonetization decision has also taken a toll on the common man, with reports of some dying while standing in queues to collect money.In between all this, Prime Minister Modi has continued to address the nation at various public gatherings and his ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio programme.

Rahul Gandhi submits charter of demands to Modi, wants all restrictions on cash withdrawals gone

New Delhi: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi put forth a charter of demands to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to lift restrictions on cash withdrawals immediately and pay Rs 25,000 to every family below the poverty line.

Rahul Gandhi. PTIRahul Gandhi. PTI

Rahul Gandhi. PTI

Gandhi took to Twitter to highlight his demands ahead of Modi’s second television address to the nation on Saturday, after his surprise 8 November announcement, where he announced the demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and old Rs 500 currency notes.

The Congress vice-president, a staunch critic of the government’s decision to demonetise the notes, listed out his eight demands to Modi as the 50-day period asked by the prime minister to normalise the situation expired on Friday. and there still isn’t seem to have some issues with the availability of notes.

He has dubbed the move the single most arbitrary decision in the history of the world affecting 1.3 billion people. Besides asking Modi to “lift restrictions on withdrawal of money with immediate effect”, Gandhi demanded the prime minister to deposit Rs 25,000 in the account of one woman in each Below Poverty Line (BPL) family.

He advocated immediately abolishing charges on digital transactions and called for income and sales taxes rebate of 50 percent to small-scale shopkeepers and businesses. Gandhi demanded the prime minister to compensate all bank account holders with special interest rate at 18 percent per annum for the “time restrictions are in place”.

He also urged doubling of number of guaranteed workdays and wage rate under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment
Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) for a year and a special one-time bonus of 20 per cent over and above the Minimum Support Price
(MSP) of all rabi crops.

Another of his demands was that rate of ration under public distribution system (PDS) be halved for a year under the provision of Food Security Act. In one of his tweets, Gandhi said, “Destroyed in the last 50 days: trust in the Prime Minister’s word. Weekly cash withdrawal limits must go.”

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 17:30 IST

Will continue to support the rights of West Pakistani Refugees: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> BJP on Saturday condemned Hurriyat and other political parties for opposing the grant of domicile certificate to the West Pakistani Refugees residing in Jammu and Kashmir and said it will continue to support the rights of the WPRs.”Hartal called by Hurriyat and other separatist groups yesterday to oppose the grant of domicile certificate to WPRs is very unfortunate, unwarranted and uncalled for. BJP strongly opposes the efforts of these pro-Pakistan elements to politicise a humanitarian issue,” BJP state spokesperson Brig Anil Gupta (retd) said. He condemned the attitude of Hurriyat and political parties who are opposing the grant of domicile certificate to the WPRs residing in the state and said what was more discomforting is that these people belong to economically backward segment of the society and have been denied the growth opportunities due to no fault of theirs.”It is very unfortunate that a section of society living among us is termed as refugees and denied basic rights on the plea that they are not the state subjects and have migrated from West Pakistan at the time of partition,” he said. Even after 70 years of independence they are being given this treatment in their own country due to the “parochial outlook” of the majority community in the state is tragic, Gupta said. “It is the influx of illegal Bangladeshi and Burmese migrants that has resulted in the demographic change and ironically they do not raise any voice against them but welcome them.”This highlights their communal outlook. Our Party will continue to support the WPR and ensure that justice is delivered to them,” he said. Taking a dig at the National Conference’s stand, Gupta said political parties like NC are misquoting history and trying to mislead the people of Jammu using the name of late Maharaja Hari Singh. “Their contention that State Subject laws were enacted by the Maharaja to safeguard the interest of Dogras is being quoted out of context.”The State Subject Act was enacted by the Maharaja in 1927 to protect the rights of its citizens when J&K was an independent state. “It was the Maharaja only who had acceded the state with India in 1947 and it was his desire that his state should be a part of Union of India,” he said. He said, “All citizens of J&K are now citizens of India.” Had the Maharaja been alive he would have himself ensured that any law that keeps his state away from rest of the country should be “abrogated”, the spokesperson said.”He would have ensured that these helpless people are given all rights immediately and they would not have to suffer this humiliation for 70 years,” he said. It was surprising and unfortunate that parties which had included this issue in their election manifestos in the past were now opposing the issue of the domicile certificate. “The statements of Ambika Soni in Jammu and Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal in Srinagar clearly show that the Congress was only exploiting them for narrow political gains and now that their plight is being improved by the present BJP government they have joined hands with the Hurriyat and others to oppose the same,” he said.”Issue of domicile certificate will enable the WP refugees to seek central government jobs including in the armed forces.There will be quota for them in the 5 IRP Battalions being raised under Prime Minister Special Package for J&K,” he said. The contention that it is an attempt to change the state’s demography, Gupta said it is not understood as to how it will affect the demography of the state since they have been staying here since 1947. “The State Subject Act was enacted by the Maharaja in 1927 to protect the rights of its citizens when J&K was an independent state.”It was the Maharaja only who had acceded the state with India in 1947 and it was his desire that his state should be a part of Union of India,” he said. He said, “All citizens of J&K are now citizens of India.” Had the Maharaja been alive he would have himself ensured that any law that keeps his state away from rest of the country should be “abrogated”, the spokesperson said. “He would have ensured that these helpless people are given all rights immediately and they would not have to suffer this humiliation for 70 years,” he said.It was surprising and unfortunate that parties which had included this issue in their election manifestos in the past were now opposing the issue of the domicile certificate. “The statements of Ambika Soni in Jammu and Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal in Srinagar clearly show that the Congress was only exploiting them for narrow political gains and now that their plight is being improved by the present BJP government they have joined hands with the Hurriyat and others to oppose the same,” he said.”Issue of domicile certificate will enable the WP refugees to seek central government jobs including in the armed forces. There will be quota for them in the 5 IRP Battalions being raised under Prime Minister Special Package for J&K,” he said. The contention that it is an attempt to change the state’s demography, Gupta said it is not understood as to how it will affect the demography of the state since they have been staying here since 1947.

FCRA licences of 20,000 NGOs cancelled: For Modi govt the Act is a repression tool

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has cancelled Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licences of about ever since it came to power in May 2014.

The home ministry, which took the action, has justified it saying these organisations were technically violating various provisions of the Act.

Cancellation of license would mean that these NGOs are no longer eligible to receive foreign funds. It should be noted that several of these NGOs are involved in rights-based advocacy work, especially working in the domain of human rights.

A plethora of civil society organisations have issued statements against this mass cancellation of FCRA licences stating that this is nothing but an ‘abuse of legal procedures’.

A file image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. APA file image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

A file image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

They also “unequivocally condemned the present use of the FCRA as a tool of repression by the current government”.

Organisations such as Greenpeace India, Amnesty International India, TARSHI Delhi and the Centre for Social Justice were all signatories to this statement.

Even the National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the home ministry on the issue.

“Prima facie it appears FCRA licence non-renewal is neither legal nor objective and thereby impinging on the rights of the human rights defenders in access to funding, including foreign funding,” the apex human rights watchdog in the country said in the notice.

The FCRA is an intimidating law, especially since the original Act came into force in 1976 during the Emergency by the Indira Gandhi-led government. The Act, at that time, prohibited MPs, electoral candidates, political parties, judges from accepting foreign contributions.

Even “correspondents, columnist, cartoonist, editor, owner, printer or publisher of a registered newspaper” were included in the ambit of the definition of candidate under the Act. The objective was certainly to remove all voices of political dissent, though the ostensible legislative intent suggested that the law was to restrain foreign intervention from internal, domestic matters.

The new FCRA, amended by the Finance Bill 2016, has many changes that render it more severe than its predecessor.

For one, the registration under the previous FCRA was permanent; the present law has altered this, mandating that FCRA licences would expire after five years.

A renewal process would mean that prescribed authorities, that is the State, would have arbitrary power to decide whether an NGO can renew its licence afresh.

The new law also puts a 50 percent restriction on the proportion of foreign funds, thereby controlling the way an NGO spends its money.

Another change, and perhaps a significant one, is that the 1976 law targetted political parties. The new law, however, aims at “organisations of a political nature”.

The FCRA Rules, 2011, drafted by the United Progressive Alliance government, defines what “organisations of a political nature” may include – farmers’ organisations, students’ unions, trade unions, workers’ unions, youth forums, women’s wing of political parties, youth organisations based on caste, community, religion, language and “any organisation… which habitually engages itself in or employs common methods of political action like ‘bandh’ or ‘hartal’, ‘rasta roko’, ‘rail roko’ or ‘jail bharo’ in support of public causes”. The list is astonishing as it clearly targets people and organisations that want to critique, censure and challenge present political discourse.

It is absolutely appalling that the government would amend the legislation in a way that all “organisations of a political nature” are rendered powerless, while political parties are vindicated for prior violations of the law.

In 2014, the Delhi High Court indicted both the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as the Congress of receiving foreign funds in violation of provisions of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).

The verdict came after a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by the Association for Democratic Reforms. A division bench comprising justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice Jayant Nath asked the government and the Election Commission (EC) to act against the two political parties for accepting foreign funds from Vedanta subsidiaries.

The question, at this juncture, is why is the government apprehensive of NGOs whose work is to democratically interrogate so that constitutional rights and freedoms are not violated. Another question is whether the FCRA is indeed a tool of repression as civil society organisations have declared?

In April 2015, a legal analysis was developed by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association.

It stated that FCRA norms and regulations “are not in conformity with international law, principles and standards”. The FCRA violates the right to freedom of association, an integral freedom incorporated within the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a party.

The right, though not absolute, are amenable to reasonable restriction; however, the analysis suggests that restrictions such as “public interest” and “economic interest” invoked under the FCRA cannot be termed as legitimate restrictions as they are too ambiguous and may give rise to arbitrary and discretionary powers.

Therefore, should the FCRA be repealed? Perhaps not, as regulation of NGO funding is a significant matter. However, curbing the voices in the civil society by way of a colourable legislation is unacceptable and simply put, draconian.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 21:24 IST

Mulayam should explain why he imposed Akhilesh on UP after 2012 polls: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>People of Uttar Pradesh have already “expelled” Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav should now answer as to why he “betrayed” the state by imposing his son after 2012 polls, BJP said soon after Akhilesh was expelled for six years from the party.”Akhilesh Yadav has let down the people of Uttar Pradesh with the all-round failures of his government. He has not fulfilled any promise. People are feeling betrayed. Now Mulayam Singh Yadav has expelled him from the party. People have already expelled him due to his governance failures,” BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma said.”Mualayam Singh Yadav should answer as to why he imposed his son on the state and betrayed it,” he said.People had voted for SP in 2012 as they were angry with the Mayawati government over poor law and order and development but SP has also let them down, he said, blaming Yadav for “deteriorating law and order” as his portfolios includes the Home department.Voters will not fall in this trap this time, Sharma said, claiming that they have made up their mind to vote for BJP.”There is wave in our support,” he claimed. BJP governments in various states have brought development and ensured double digit growth, he said.

India’s cash crunch making some in Modi’s party anxious | Reuters

By Rupam Jain
| NEW DELHI

NEW DELHI Cash shortages weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s decision to abolish large currency notes are making allies and members of his ruling party anxious, with some distancing themselves from the move ahead of a series of state elections.Modi removed 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, worth around $7.50 and $15 respectively, on Nov. 8, billing it as an attempt to root out corruption, end terror financing and move the country into the age of digital payments.He promised to replace all old bills with enough new currency notes by the end of this month. But his government has struggled to do that, leading to long lines at banks and a slump in economy activity. Nearly 90 percent of transactions in India used to be in cash.Interviews with six lawmakers from Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a senior leader of the party’s ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), show his party cadre is starting to worry that the cash crunch could hurt their prospects in several states that go to the polls next year.Some parliamentarians said that while they thought Modi’s decision was good, its execution had been botched and they were faced with constituents who were increasingly upset.”There is no doubt that it is difficult to convince voters that everything will be fine,” said Santosh Gangwar, the junior finance minister who is leading the BJP campaign in Uttar Pradesh.      “Every candidate who will be contesting polls is nervous because they feel people may not vote for the BJP … There is tension and we cannot deny it,” he said.    Of the BJP’s 71 MPs from Uttar Pradesh, 28 have been to BJP President Amit Shah and the finance minister’s office to seek solutions for the cash crunch, said a senior finance ministry official.BJP EXPECTS “BIG VICTORY”

BJP spokesman G.V.L. Narasimha Rao said that despite temporary difficulties, the prime minister continued to enjoy overwhelming support.”Party cadres are highly enthused about a big victory in upcoming elections, and if a few are apprehensive, they will realise the reality soon,” Rao said.    Disquiet within the BJP underscores how Modi’s unprecedented bet is turning into a test of popularity, and could go some way to determining his political future.It has become a central issue in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, where the outcome of elections early next year will be key for Modi’s expected bid for a second term in 2019.    The opposition, led by the Congress party, has joined forces, mocking the government for being ill-prepared for so-called “demonetisation” and blaming it for hardships faced by the poor as a result. It has called for Modi’s resignation.     The senior RSS official said they had counselled Modi days before the move to take time to prepare the ground for such a massive exercise, including setting up two new mints and expanding the banking network, and to roll it out in phases.

    But the prime minister decided to press ahead, and he alone would bear responsibility for its failure or success, the official added.    Earlier this month, N. Chandrababu Naidu, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh and a political ally of Modi, abruptly distanced himself from the move.    Modi and senior members of his cabinet defend demonetisation. In an interview with India Today magazine on Thursday, Modi said it would give the economy a boost and provide long-term benefits, including forcing the country’s vast shadow economy into the open.”GRIM SITUATION”

    Modi’s announcement enjoyed popular support at first, with many people prepared to endure hardship as long as others were forced to give up ill-gotten wealth or pay tax.But shortages of new 500 and 2,000 rupee notes have caused tempers to rise as millions queue at banks and ATMs to draw money.    Last week, more than three dozen BJP lawmakers, many of whom came from states that go to polls next year, met with Shah to demand that the government sends more cash to their constituencies, and quickly.     The MPs told Shah about severe cash shortages and hardship to local businesses and ordinary people, according to several lawmakers who attended the meeting.They told the BJP president that they did not have the courage to hold election rallies at a time when people still had to stand in line, sometimes for hours, to get money. Some said they had not started door-to-door campaigning.    “The situation is grim, and we cannot ignore it,” Jagdambika Pal, a BJP lawmaker from Uttar Pradesh who attended the meeting, told Reuters. “It is a challenge for every BJP lawmaker to manage the situation, but we cannot do anything if there is no money in the banks.”($1 = 67.9550 rupees) (Additional reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh and Manoj Kumar; Editing by Paritosh Bansal and Mike Collett-White)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 18:20 IST

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee denies rioting in Dhulagarh, blames social media

Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday denied any incident of rioting at Dhulagarh in Howrah district and alleged that “wrong information” was being given on social media.

“In the last 15 days, social media is running wrong information on an incident which did not take place at all,” Banerjee said at a programme in Kolkata, in an apparent refernce to the reports of violence in Dhulagarh, which is barely 20 km from the state secretariat.

“In order to break a news one must not act irresponsibly. If something has really happened then you (media) have every right to report but I think a field survey must be conducted,” she stated.

File photo of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI

File photo of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI

Her remarks came even as a senior government official had said on Thursday that strict actions were taken against those involved in the Dhulagarh violence and the process of giving compensation to the affected had started. The state government, Banerjee said on Friday, is the first to help a family when their home is damaged or they are affected.

“If there is an accident, we immediately take steps to help the family…. We do it on humanitarian grounds but we do not do any publicity.”

It was learnt from sources that the state government was paying compensation of around Rs 35,000 to families whose houses were damaged in the incident.

District police said inhabitants are wary of returning to their homes at Dhulagarh.

Delegations of BJP, CPI(M) and Congress were stopped from visiting the troubled areas of the district and police superintendent of Howrah (Rural) Sabyasachi Raman Mishra was transferred in the wake of violence in less than a fortnight of his appointment.

BJP has hit out at Banerjee over the Dhulagarh incident claiming that Hindus have been targeted in the violence. “This is height of the politics of appeasement. I want to ask those intellectuals, who cried over 2002 riots in Gujarat and then intolerant India, that when are they going to Kolkata,” Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Thursday.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 16:52 IST

Congress in Gujarat may project a CM face for 2017 polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki has not ruled out the possibility of the party projecting a chief ministerial face in 2017 assembly polls to take on BJP, which has been in power in the state for nearly two decades.Claiming that the Congress is well equipped to take on BJP in the Prime Minister’s home state, Solanki dubbed Vijay Rupani as a “rubber stamp” Chief Minister and claimed the change of guard earlier this year did not help the ruling party which has been grappling with Patel quota and dalit stirs.The Congress has not fought elections projecting a chief ministerial candidate in the last 20 years in Gujarat.With the exit of Modi from Gujarat political scene leaving a leadership vacuum in BJP, Congress is hoping to make a mark in the 2017 elections.”Though it (the leadership question) will be decided by the high command, after Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, we cannot rule it out. Let’s wait and see,” Solanki told PTI in an interview.Congress has named former Delhi CM Sheila Dixit as its chief ministerial candidate for Uttar Pradesh.In a direct attack on Chief Minister Rupani, who replaced Anandiben Patel, Solanki said he is a “rubber stamp of BJP president Amit Shah.””By changing chief minister,the BJP has lost on both fronts. Replacing a Patel and a woman Chief Minister by Rupani has not impacted the administration in a positive way. Things have gone from bad to worse,” he said, when asked if the change of guard will prove disadvantageous to Congress.The Congress, after remaining in opposition for last 20 years, is hoping for a revival, as the BJP is facing tough challenges in the form of Patel quota agitation and Dalit protests after the Una flogging incident.”Gujarat’s political scenario has changed due to two agitations – Patel quota movement and Dalit agitation. Come what may, both the communities have decided to defeat BJP in the 2017 elections,” Solanki claimed.

BJP, AAP all set for 2017 high-stakes Delhi municipal poll

New Delhi: The high-stakes municipal poll is likely to set the tone for the political battle in the national capital in 2017 in which BJP will seek to retain its turf facing an upbeat AAP which aims to replicate its stunning performance of 2015 in its civic polls debut.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led party had swept the Delhi Assembly elections in 2015 reducing BJP to just three seats while Congress failed to open its account.

The erstwhile unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was trifurcated in 2012 into North, South and East Corporations.

BJP has been ruling the MCD and the subsequent three civic bodies for nearly 10 years.

The last municipal elections were held in 2012 in which BJP was voted back to power. The civic bye-polls in May saw AAP bagging 5 of the 13 seats, while Congress had made a spirited comeback by winning 4 seats, pushing BJP to third spot.

The three civic bodies, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and East Delhi Municipal Corporation constitute 272 seats, with NDMC and SDMC accounting for 104 seats each while 64 seats fall under EDMC.

File photo. PTI

File photo. PTI

The BJP, which dominates the civic bodies, was left with only three seats in the bypolls, signalling that the municipal elections next year could be a keenly-fought contest.

All three parties are gearing up to put their best foot forward, with BJP hoping to retain its turf amid changed political scenario while AAP seeks to replicate its performance, banking on the loyalty and support it earned from the assembly election.

Sanitation, education and health would be some of the major factors that would be weighing on voters mind during the polls.

AAP and BJP have already been at loggerheads over the sanitation and garbage disposal issue in the city, with one side blaming the other for lack of cleanliness in the city.

The Kejriwal-led party aims to target the BJP on sanitation grounds and conditions in unauthorised colonies, where a considerable chunk of voters in the city reside.

Delimitation will change the geography of many wards and AAP, BJP and Congress think that redrawing of the municipal limits could affect the outcome of the civic elections. Civic polls would be considered the litmus test for AAP in Delhi and the contest would be a keenly-watched one.

Besides, urban issues becoming poll planks, 2017 is also set to see Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) launching its new Housing Scheme with 12,000 flats on offer. The scheme was earlier slated to be launched this Diwali.

Out of the total number of flats, most of them are in Rohini, Dwarka, Narela, Vasant Kunj and Jasola. Ten thousand unoccupied flats are from the 2014 scheme, while 2,000 are other flats which have been lying vacant.

Sources said most of the flats are one-bedroom LIG flats from the last housing scheme and no new flat is on offer this time.

“About 10,000 are LIG flats from 2014 DDA scheme. Unlike EWS (Economically Weaker Section) last time, in 2016 scheme there would be no such category,” a DDA official said.

From application to refund, the DDA this time has planned to make the scheme an online affair to reduce the long queues of flat buyers at its headquarters.

“Yes, plans are underway to make the process completely online,” a source said.

“We are in talks with certain vendors for upgrading our infrastructure to handle the expected increase in traffic. But, we are technologically capable of handling the online rush,” the source said.

The flagship Housing Scheme 2014 offered 25,040 flats across categories, with prices ranging between Rs 7 lakh and Rs 1.2 crore.

The online response had been so massive that the DDA’s official website crashed soon after the launch. The one-bedroom flats were offered in Dwarka, Rohini, Narela and Siraspur areas.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 16:09 IST

Arunachal Pradesh: Takam Pario likely to become next CM, Ram Madhav says BJP MLAs support Pema Khandu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after suspending Pema Khandu, the Peoples’ Party of Arunachal (PPA) is likely to elect Takam Pario as the new Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh.The final statement is yet to come out after the PPA meeting.However, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary Ram Madhav said that around 12 BJP MLAs in Arunachal are lending support to the government led by suspended Peoples’ Party of Arunachal (PPA) leader Pema Khandu.”12 BJP MLAs in Arunachal strongly backing government led by Pema Khandu,” Ram Madhav to ANI.Takam Pario, Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) minister, is likely to be the next Arunachal Pradesh CM, said PPA President Kahfa Bengia.In a fast-paced development, PPA on Thursday late night suspended Khandu, Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and five other party MLAs from the primary membership of the party temporarily with immediate effect for alleged anti-party activities.The five other MLAs are Jambey Tashi (Lumla), Passang Dorjee Sona (Mechuka), Chow Tewa Mein (Chowkham), Zingnu Namchom (Namsai) and Kamlung Mossang (Miao).PPA President Kahfa Bengia in an order stated that by virtue of the power vested in him by the Constitution of the party and the resolution adopted in the state executive committee meeting held on December 20, the MLAs are placed under suspension temporarily from the primary membership with immediate effect pending initiation of disciplinary proceedings.Bengia said prima facie he was satisfied with the proofs of their indulgence in gross “anti-party” activities.The order further stated that with the suspension, Khandu ceased to be the leader of the PPA Legislature Party.He directed the party MLAs and PPA functionaries not to attend any meeting called by Khandu and said that any members failing to comply with the order would have to face disciplinary action of the party.

Demonetization failed to check black money: Sharad Pawar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday said Centre’s demonetization move has failed to curb black money in country and questioned the “real reason” behind its roll out.”Rural economy is collapsed. Farmers and cooperative movement are affected due to denomination. The move has failed to curb black money. Rs 14.38 lakh crore out of Rs 15.42 lakh crore are deposited in banks till date. If this is the outcome of this major decision then what was the real reason behind it?” he said.Pawar appealed to people to come on streets in a peaceful manner to protest against “hypocrisy” of the BJP-led Central government.He was speaking after inaugurating refurbished YB Chavan auditorium at a cooperative bank here.”Common people are standing in queues since last 50 days, but no black money-holder is seen standing there. The farmers have lost the hope due to fallen prices of agri products. All the sensible and common citizens are now worried about future,” he said.

Investigation reveals ISIS conversations on Indian issues, Orlando shooting

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been able to extract conversations that suspected ISIS operative Mohammad Masiuddin alias Musa, who was recently interrogated by the FBI , allegedly had with Syria-based members of the dreaded outfit using cloud-based instant messaging services.The conversations accessed revealed Masiuddin’s, take on issues ranging from Sharia, taxation policies, Kashmir issue,the Orlando night club shooting incident in Florida, USA, and socio-political parties of India including ruling BJP, RSS and VHP, apart from the obvious hatred ISIS has for Non-Muslims, and Muslims not practicing ISIS ideology.The messages give an insight into how suspected ISIS operatives in India are pursuing their alleged terror plans, which sometimes include sophisticated maneuvering to avoid detection, and at times includes simple tactics such as ordering a pepper spray online.According to the NIA chargesheet, the alleged chats took place between Masiuddin, Shafi Armar, Abu Suleiman and other suspected ISIS members on cloud-based instant messaging service Telegram in 2015 and 2016. Musa, a resident of Birbhum,West Bengal, was arrested earlier this year. Armar, formerly with proscribed outfit Indian Mujahideen, escaped India and is believed to be based in Sryia, while Abu Suleiman is a Bangladeshi ISIS/ JMB operative according to NIA.In one of the chats, Musa asks Armar to share tactics of “stab and escape”. The probe agency had recovered a knife and a sword from Musa and through the chats the 27-year-old had with Armar, it appears that it was on the behest of Musa’s ISIS handlers that he had plans to kill non-Muslims using these weapons.In another part of the conversation, Musa boasts about how all JMB members have become a part of ISIS and the dreaded outfit has a total membership of 10,000 in India. Musa, according to NIA documents, also does not seem to be pleased with the lone-wolf strategy of ISIS and believes that the group should organise and restrict itself to carrying out low intensity terror attacks to avoid detection.As reported earlier, Musa was asked by his handlers to target tourists in India, especially British, Russian, and American nationals. To execute the same, Musa had traveled to Kashmir as well as Kolkata to prepare for the attack. In Kashmir, Musa stayed as a tourist in hotels and houseboats and even allegedly admitted that he was the one who raised ISIS flags following Friday prayers in Srinagar’s Jama Masjid. Musa however seemed disappointed by the situation in the valley criticizing the armed insurgency in Kashmir and calling Kashmiri mujahideen “impure”.”A-1 (Musa) discusses with ISIS operatives on the other side of the chat that Kashmir is presently full of Mujhids with impure ideologies (post- Nabi) who are fighting for Kashmiri land whereas the actual requirement is for them to support Shariat,” the chargesheet reads. After praising Omar Mateen, the Orlando nightclub shooter, Musa allegedly lectures other group members against elections, democracy and taxes stating that Indian tax money is used for anti-ISIS activities. NIA quoted Musa saying that the Hindu population in India is “close” to BJP, RSS and VHP and must be targeted.Rest of the chat reflects the ill-planning of the arrested ISIS operative especially the part where in he discuses how to procure pepper spray through Snapdeal by using a fake ID. Musa ordered under the name Murugan Kumar and is quoted saying to his handlers that Cobra Magnum pepper spray is a dangerous liquid weapon and is capable of killing anyone without proof as it blinds people for 2-3 hours.

PM to address nation on New Year’s eve

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The last time Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on a late evening, he had taken the country by surprise. As the 50-day period after demonetization expires, he is all set to make another address through public broadcaster Doordarshan, this time before the dawn of the New Year. Speculation is rife about the speech — whether it would be about another unforeseen announcement, a road map of the post-demonetization scenario, a thanks to the people, or more incentives for the common man.Modi had said in his public rallies after demonetization that for 50 days people would have to endure the troubles in the aftermath of demonetization to help him deliver the “India of your dreams”. At a meeting with BJP MPs during the Winter Session of Parliament, Modi had said there would be a, “New India in the New Year”.If these statements are any indication, the Prime Minister could be aimed at assuaging the people, either in his address to the nation or at his Lucknow rally on January 2. However, the content of his address is likely to be shrouded in secrecy, like the last one when he announced the decision to ban old Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes.He could be just thanking the people for bearing the inconvenience caused after demonetization, sources said. Modi has been indicating that demonetization was just the beginning of the fight against corruption and that steps would be taken against benami property.Under attack from the Opposition for the inconvenience caused to people in the aftermath of demonetization, this would also give the Prime Minister an opportunity to counter it. The issue had stalled the entire Winter Session, giving neither Modi nor Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi a chance to speak on the floor of the House.The government is confident that the worst was over and things had started moving towards normalcy. BJP is confident that Modi’s gamble has paid off, projecting him as a decisive Prime Minister who has taken a bold decision of fighting corruption.Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi, at a hurriedly convened press conference on Wednesday, reeled out a set of demands which included exposing names of black money hoarders in Swiss banks, return of “financial independence” by removing the limit of withdrawals of Rs 24,000 a week from the bank accounts, and compensating the poor and traders who have suffered. Rahul also posed questions, such as how much black money had been found after the announcement of demonetization on November 8, the extent of the economic loss to the nation and how many people have lost their jobs due to demonetization.

Arunachal crisis: Ram Madhav says BJP will stand by CM Khandu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The newly formed People’s Party of Arunachal Pradesh (PPA) is in crisis. The newly formed outfit has suspended its own chief minister Pema Khandu, son of former chief minister Dorji Khandu, who died in a helicopter crash four years back.The reason for the sudden shift in position is not known but the PPA has decided to suspend seven MLAs. The PPA also would be taking disciplinary action against the MLAs.A floor test is expected to take place in Itanagar on Friday (today). Sources say that the ruling party decided to do away with the chief minister because of his continued closeness with the Congress.Sources indicate that Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi was pretty much clued into the affairs of the development, which took place in the North-Eastern state. Sources also say that it would not affect the chance of the BJP-supported government as the suspension would not destabalise the government. The Congress had split last year with MLAs moving out of the stable lock, stock and barrel. Sources said that the MLAs had complained against Pema Khandu. The Congress tried its best to take legal recourse but the split in the party was so intensive that even legal help could not do much.Ram Madhav, BJP general secretary, who is in charge of the state, said: “The president does not have the power to remove the chief minister. BJP is supporting Pema Khandu’s government. The chairman can only do so. Let’s see what happens.”

BJP says PM Modi, Amit Shah have no links with tainted Gujarat businessman Mahesh Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP on Thursday warned Congress of legal action over its “baseless and untrue” allegations, including that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its chief Amit Shah have links with Gujarat businessman Mahesh Shah, who is being probed for declaring unaccounted income of Rs 13,860 crore.Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also rejected Congress’ charge against Amit Shah, who is one of the directors in a Gujarat bank in which deposits of over Rs 500 crore were made and asserted that the bank has over 200 branches and it will give explanation about the matter. In a reference to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s attack on Modi and BJP during his address at the party’s 132nd foundation day, he told reporters that the party leaders and spokespersons behave like “children” and “today’s Congress does not represent even a grain of its 132 year’s heritage”.”We want to make it clear that our Prime Minister and party president have no links whatsoever with the person by the name of Mahesh Sharma, against whom action is going on. If Congress has any proof, it should talk about it. Otherwise, we will consider taking legal action under the law dealing with levelling of baseless allegations,” the Law Minister said. Prasad was accompanied by Power Minister Piyush Goyal, who is also the party’s treasurer, as they hit out at the opposition party.It has become the second nature of Congress to level “untrue and baseless” allegation, he said. Attacking it, Prasad said it was “rattled” by Modi’s continuous attack on those linked with black money and corruption and it thinks that its attack on him will “weaken” his fight. Action has been taken against those linked to BJP, he said, citing a case in Madhya Pradesh. “Congress is the biggest patron of the corrupt and corruption. If it thinks that its attack will have any impact on the government, it is wrong. The government will remain unfazed and continue to act against black money and corruption,” he said.The corrupt and those with black money have long been patronised by Congress, he alleged, adding that they now “cry” before its leadership to save them from the government’s action. “I want to ask Congress chief Sonia Gandhi if the childish behaviour of her son and more childish conduct of its spokespersons is being done at her behest,” he asked. Congress has learnt no lessons from its successive poll defeats while BJP has won everywhere after demonetisation, Prasad claimed, adding that its attack on the government showed its “affection for the corrupt and corruption”. He also targeted West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over communal violence in Dhulagarh, alleging that “attempts of massacre” are being made and police is not taking action.”This is height of the politics of appeasement,” he said. “I want to ask those intellectuals, who cried over 2002 riots in Gujarat and then intolerant India, that when are they going to Kolkata,” he said sarcastically. BJP has claimed that Hindus have been targeted in the violence. Prasad, who is also IT Minister, said digital payments have gone up by anywhere between 300 per cent and 1500 per cent following demonetisation which, he and Goyal said, have been a “big success”.Over 1.15 crore people against the target of 80 lakh have been trained in digital transactions, he claimed. The Law Minister also defended promulgation of ordinances by the government, saying it was left with no option after the opposition did not allow Parliament to function in the last session. Goyal also refuted the allegations that crores of rupees have been sent to BJP office in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, demanding that proof be given and warning of legal action.”We are getting indication for an historic support for BJP in UP,” he said, claiming that people have supported note ban despite hardships. “Things are fast returning to normalcy,” he said.

Demonetization: Congress demands Modi’s apology, to hold country-wide protest from January 6

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress on Thursday demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologise to the nation for the “suffering” caused to the people by note-ban when he speaks on New Year’s eve and vowed to hold country-wide protests from January 6.Attacking Modi, who is set to address the nation after end of the 50-day period he had sought from the people to ease their problems due to cash crunch, Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that the Prime Minister is good at making announcements that are far from reality.”Even after 50 days of demonetization step, normalcy has not been restored.”PM Modi’s demonetization move has turned out to be ‘Deshbandi’ (lockdowbn of country). Development has come to a standstill. It is a scam and an uncalled move. It has resulted into economic instability in the country. Several people have died due to cash crunch across the country. It is a surgical strike on the country’s poor and has caused them immense suffering,” Surjewala said at a press conference in Jaipur. He claimed that note ban has led to 115 deaths in last 50 days, RBI has changed its rules 126 times and it will take eight months to print the equivalent currency notes.”Starting from January 6, we will continuously hold protests across the country against demonetization. We demand compensation for aggrieved family members, income and sales tax rebate to traders and common man,” he said.Congress leader Meem Afzal said the Prime Minister “has so far not had a word of sympathy for the victims, forget about an apology”.”But we expect him to apologise when he speaks on the issue at the end of the 50 days he had sought,” he told reporters in Srinagar.”Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to create two crore new jobs every year but only 1.5 lakh jobs have been created in two and half years. After announcing demonetization last month, at least 10 crore people have been rendered jobless,” he claimed.Afzal claimed as many as 11 crore man-hours were spent every day in queues outside banks and ATMs as people struggled to withdraw their own money.”Money was taken from people’s pockets and put in the banks. 130 crore people of the country were made to queue up for their money. The time people should have spent earning their livelihood was spent in the queues,” he said.He said the Congress party demands an apology from the Prime Minister to the nation for these deaths and also compensation to the next of kin of the victims.Afzal said the Congress party also demands that 18 per cent interest be paid to the people on the money they have deposited in the banks.Alleging that some BJP leaders have been caught with stashes of new currency notes, Surjewala demanded a high-level inquiry.”Ordinary people are standing in bank lines to withdraw money, but a parallel black market flourishes in converting black money into white by charging commission up to 30 per cent commission,” he alleged.Surjewala also said that PM’s credibility is under cloud as his named has allegedly surfaced in Birla and Sahara dairies for receiving kickbacks when he was the Gujarat Chief Minister. BJP has rejected these charges, terming them as false, baseless and malafide.

Govt, BJP say the worst is over on demonetization front

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Within a fortnight of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to ban high currency notes, several ministries in his government went into a tizzy tackling problems, particularly in labour-intensive sectors.However, the government now feels the storm has passed. The string of complaints and representations that came last month owing to cash crunch from various trade and industry bodies have slowed to a trickle, a senior union minister said. As the 50-day timeline sought by the Prime Minister, who had promised a “new India in the new year” nears its end, the central government and BJP are heaving a sigh of relief saying the “worst is over”.The BJP was hoping to cash in politically on demonetization and the Prime Minister’s assurance to fight black money. Some party MPs had expressed apprehensions about the impact of the inconvenience faced by people because of the cash crunch on the party in the forthcoming elections, particularly in Uttar Pradesh. Internal ground reports also indicated that demonetization would give the BJP an advantage. The party national executive is holding its meet, the last before assembly elections in five states, next week in the Capital. Ahead of the meet, Modi will be holding a rally in Lucknow.The government has indicated that various departments have received reports from the ground showing that things had started improving over the past fortnight and the story of demonetization woes was nearly over. While it was not entirely ruling out the flip side of its impact on the economy, it saw it as a temporary phase that was waning faster than expected, the sources said.One by one, the woes of various sectors because of cash crunch in the aftermath of demonetization had to be addressed, but the situation is now returning to normal, sources said, adding that the labour force which had migrated was getting back and the use of digital mode for transactions was picking up.The worst affected were around half a dozen labour intensive sectors including handloom, carpet weavers and metal pickers, where payments were made in cash.Worried that the cash crunch would hit farmers in the northern states, including poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, where the sowing of the rabi crop was just starting, the government had asked NABARD to ensure credit flow in rural areas in the end of November, sources said. The money flow into metropolitans was cut down to increase availability in rural areas.The government had also faced demands from the RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) to withdraw the decision to scrap import duty on wheat or give an assurance that the rabi crop would be bought at the prevailing MSP. Government sources said the move was aimed at avoiding any knee-jerk reaction in case of shortage of wheat and that import was not mandatory. It is understood that the government has given an assurance that the concerns would be kept in mind.

Mulayam Singh Yadav snubs son, kills hopes of grand alliance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav not only poured water on the dream of stitching together a grand alliance with Congress and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), but also snubbed his son, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, by announcing 325 candidates out of total of 403 for the upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. The list of candidates he released, at a hurriedly convened news conference in Lucknow on Thursday, bore the stamp of Akhilesh’s bete noire—uncle Shivpal Yadav.Congress leaders in Delhi, however, are still pinning their hopes that Akhilesh, who has been in touch with their party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, will fight back. “Wait, it (the alliance) is still in process. We hope better sense prevails in the SP to fight unitedly against the BJP,” a senior Congress leader told DNA.SP supremo Mulayam has been quite annoyed with the Congress demanding some 125 seats. Though interlocutors said the party’s bargain had come down to 85 seats, the SP was apparently not ready to part more than 50 seats. It is also believed that besides a large chunk of seats, the Congress was also insisting for the post of deputy chief minister.Even after Wednesday’s announcement, there are still 78 seats for which the candidates have not been announced, leaving a window of negotiations for an alliance still open. The elections are expected to be held in late February or early March in 2017 along with Punjab and Goa.Among those who have made it to the SP’s list of candidates is Akhilesh’s notable detractor Atiq Ahmed, who faces 44 serious criminal charges—including that of murder. But 53 other sitting lawmakers, out of the SP’s current 224, have been dropped. Among them are close aides of the Chief Minister like Arvind Singh ‘Gop’, Pawan Pandey, and Kamal Akhtar.When asked as to where Akhilesh would contest the elections from, Mulayam said, “He can contest elections from anywhere he wants.” Besides Atiq, Akhilesh had also expressed reservations against Sibagtullah Ansari, whose name figures as a candidate from Mohamdabad. Sibghatullah is the elder brother of Muqthar Ansari, again a noted don. Another name which had upset Akhilesh is Aman Mani Tripathi, who was arrested by the CBI in a case related to the killing of his wife. Tripathi’s name, however, did not figure in Wednesday’s list.Significantly, Mulayam also “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” also came just days after BSP supremo Mayawati claimed that the BJP was exerting pressure on the SP chief and his family through the Enforcement Directorate, I-T department and CBI to join hands with the Congress so as to “divide Muslim votes” and stop her party from coming to power.The SP supremo also said that BJP would get a befitting reply from the electorate for demonetization and criticised it for not fulfilling its promises. He also stated that elections would be held before February 28 next year.Earlier, Akhilesh had submitted a parallel list of 403 candidates, in retaliation to party’s list, comprising largely of his loyalists. This move triggered a fresh feud in the already divided Yadav family.”It was an attempt to marginalise the chief minister by Mulayam and his uncle Shivpal, by declaring tickets without consulting him. But I am sure better sense in the larger interests of state and the party will prevail,” said Udaybir Singh, SP’s sacked MLC, who continues to be an advisor to Akhilesh.

Sasikala to be elected AIADMK gen secy, but will stay away from GC meet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>V K Sasikala, former chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s aide, has not revealed her cards yet but she is expected to be elected the AIADMK General Secretary on December 29 as thousands of party executives, with their supporters, flooded Chennai today. Sasikala herself is expected to stay away while the party executive committee and general council will formally elect her as the leader. She apparently wants to convey the impression of a reluctant politician — that she doesn’t want any post but it is the party that has thrust the post on her.All the district units of the ruling party had already held meetings to adopt a resolution, urging her to take over the leadership. Her election on December is expected to be a mere formality. Posters hailing the Chinna Amma (Small Mother) have sprung up all over Chennai to greet Sasikala.In the style of the DMK (party banners would have its president M Karunanidhi displayed prominently with its leaders Annadurai and Periyar in the background), and that of the Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK until recently (Jaya’s face would be the focus with MGR in the background), AIADMK banners now display Sasikala in the foreground with Jaya in the background.Whatever dissent there was in the party over the elevation of Sasikala to the post held by Jaya has been put down with a firm hand by the party leadership.Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, ever the loyalist, has been co-ordinating the arrangements for the meet on Dec 29, although the event would mark the first decisive step towards Sasikala acquiring a strangle-hold over the party and the government. Panneerselvam’s days as chief minister are clearly numbered.For Sasikala, it has been a long and patient wait. She was merely made an executive committee member and was even removed from the party as Jayalalithaa suspected the loyalty of Sasikala’s relatives. She was brought back into the Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa and into the party in 2012.It is this gap that was questioned by some dissidents in the party on the ground that one has to be a member continuously for at least five years to qualify for a post. Since Sasi has not completed five years of continuous membership, the legal impediment was raised by a few party personnel. However, this was nipped in the bud by party seniors who pointed out that the party executive could adopt a resolution to waive this clause and to ratify the election of Sasi. Therefore, the executive meeting will also be held in addition tothe general council to enable the smooth election of Sasi on Dec 29.Sasikala will enter the party headquarters only after being elected its supremo so that she will have a triumphant and powerful entry, a party senior said.The BJP’s plan to marginalise Sasikala had not worked, an AIADMK source said, adding that the party with 49 MPs could not be threatened with a mere raid on the chief secretary’s office and residence. The BJP realises that Sasikala would not be as pliable as Panneerselvam. Governor Vidyasagar Rao even asked vice chancellors of universities to explain why they prostrated at Sasi’s feet a few days ago at the Poes Garden. It remains to be seen if the Centre would tighten the screws on Sasi and members of her family or will the BJP make a strategic retreat and try and get cosy with her, in view of the changed situation. It appears that for the time being, it is the BJP that will blink first.

EC orders FIR against Maha BJP chief Raosaheb Danve for poll code violation

Thu, 29 Dec 2016-12:20am , Mumbai , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Election Commission on Wednesday asked the Aurangabad district collector to file an FIR against state BJP president Raosaheb Danve for his statement where he asked voters to accept “Laxmi” before the polls.Danve had made the controversial statement at a campaign rally in Paithan in Aurangabad district on December 17 before the municipal council polls.”On the eve of elections, Laxmi comes to your house and you should accept it,” Danve had said at Paithan rally.An Election Commission official said here that the Commission had asked Aurangabad collector to file a first information report against the BJP leader for violation of model code of conduct. Earlier the Commission had served a show-cause notice to Danve who had defended himself, saying he did not mean money when he referred to “Laxmi”. Congress and AAP had complained to the Election Commission demanding action against the state BJP chief.

Jammu: Farooq Abdullah attacks people calling him ‘Pakistani’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a scathing attack on those calling him “anti-national and Pakistani”, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday said if the BJP-PDP coalition government “is not anti-national” for advocating talks with all stakeholders, including the Hurriyat, how can he be given the label for doing the same.Farooq sought “meaningful dialogue” for ending political uncertainty in Jammu and Kashmir. “PDP-BJP batted for talks with all. They entered into alliance. In their agenda of alliance it’s written they will talk to all– and also to Hurriyat,” Farooq told a public rally at Ragooda belt on Wednesday.Taking a dig at those calling him Pakistani, he said, “They (PDP-BJP) are not Pakistanis. They are not anti- nationals. When Farooq is calling for holding talks with all they allege Farooq is anti-national and Pakistani.” “We have given sacrifices for entire life and then I am being given a label,” he said.”Alongside opening channels of dialogue with Pakistan, the Centre must talk to all the stake-holders, including Hurriyat Conference,” Abdullah said.Referring to recent unrest, he blamed the coalition for bringing “unprecedented crisis” not only in the Valley but also in the Jammu region. He also referred to “harassment being caused” to weaker sections of society in Jammu by threatening eviction from the lands rehabilitated by their ancestors.”Aren t these people Dogras and integral part of the Jammu society, who are at the receiving end of the whims and fancies of the coalition dispensation,” Abdullah said.”We inherit the legacy of Hindu, Muslim, Sikh. Anybody attempting to trample upon these ethos will get befitting reply from the people,” he said and “advised the Chief Minister not to lose sense of proportion by colluding in inflicting miseries on the people”.Holding PDP responsible for “political instability” and unrest across the Valley, he said “betrayal of mandate” by aligning with the BJP engulfed Jammu and Kashmir into “unprecedented crisis”. He described the PDP-BJP alliance as one of the major causes of igniting Kashmir unrest.

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.

If Narendra Modi’s demonetisation drive isn’t successful, it’s down to our cynicism

It’s misplaced, but it exists. We have this inordinate cynicism about the removal of corruption. With the central government’s demonetisation drive about to complete its second anniversary next month, the army of doom and gloom is increasing its numbers.

We hear people saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot eliminate corruption, and how his whole exercise is not worth a spit in the wind, because the crooks and the charlatans, the hundis and the hawalas, the gangsters and the hoarders will all be back collecting bribes in a couple of months, just wait and see.

The “wait and see” is said with a certain ill-concealed glee, as if we would be disappointed in case the fruits from the poisoned tree were actually squashed.

Narendra Modi. AFPNarendra Modi. AFP

Narendra Modi. AFP

I am not pro-Modi or anti-Modi, but I have just been thinking, what the heck, why are so many of us detracting from the herculean effort? No one else ever did it.

Though there are many hiccups and flaws, and we can point to all of them and exult in the mess, the fact is that the man has gone out on a limb and done something. Look at it this way: World War II lasted five years; many a battle was lost before the Allies pushed the Axis powers into a corner; many strategies were changed mid-way, campaigns reworked, troops repositioned. Nothing happened according to some preordained master plan.

Often they bumbled along, hoping for a break. England was one night away from considering surrender after the brutal Battle of Britain, Rommel thought his Afrika Korps would singlehandedly destroy the Allies, Japan blasted Pearl Harbor and let the US into a war it did not want to enter.

Modi too is at war. In a way, all of us are the troops. It is a massive undertaking and he needn’t have done it at all. But he has set the ball rolling and it is gathering speed.

That his PR machinery is weak and rickety and totally eclipsed by the mainstream media is a tragedy. Large sections of this mainstream media has found comfort in projecting Modi’s mission as having failed. If the prime minister has failed at anything, it’s in his inability to share the message effectively with the public. When you do something so drastic, you don’t put timelines on it. That was the one big mistake, because it was easily exploitable. Every time a correction has been made or a deadline reworked, we have screamed foul and mocked this as evidence of the BJP frontline groping in the dark.

“They do not know what they are doing, they have changed the deadline again!” This is now a mantra.

No one second guessed when the Vietnam War would end. Nobody in 1971 said we will have Pakistan surrender in the East by 16 December.

But we are doing the death dance over the 31 December deadline and getting all pointy fingered again.

Be fair. Public suffering and long queues have reduced; the discomfort is abating. Even at the worst of times, Indian resilience kicked in and the poor whose suffering has been sculpted into a sledgehammer hung in there. The anger that we, the media, showcase is only triggered by our highlighting scuffles. If things were indeed that bad, there would have been riots across the board.

The public took it on the chin; they are nowhere near being stirred into a rebellion, so lets not exaggerate their rage.

Point two: Millions of jobs have been lost. Really? Greedy bosses may have closed down their small scale and cottage industries and not paid their labour force by shrugging and claiming no cash, but they are going to open doors again and the slack will be pulled in because now that the cash flow has commenced, there is no cause to shut the companies. So, millions of jobs are not lost, just temporarily frozen.

Finally, point three: The filthy rich are happy bunnies. They have escaped the net. Not true. They may not confess it or even show it, but the underground is hurt, mortally hurt. The rich have been slapped in the fiscal face. This money did not fall from the skies, it belonged to someone who had concealed it. Hidden wealth has been discovered, so let’s not make it less than it is.

Oh, these guys are so smart they will make it again? Fine, let them start from zero, and if you want the truth, they can get going if you and I let them get going. If we become customers to the corrupt, what price on Modi or anyone else winning the war?

He will lose. Thanks to us.

Like I said, why are so many of us so confident that corruption is in our DNA and why do we speak of it with such misplaced pride.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 17:54 IST

Day after Modi jibe, Rawat orders probe into misappropriation of Uttarakhand disaster fund

Dehradun: Uttarakhand government on Wednesday instituted a judicial probe into the alleged misappropriation of disaster relief funds in the state after the 2013 natural calamity which claimed thousands of lives, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue to lash out at the Harish Rawat dispensation for corruption.

Announcing the probe, Rawat also took a jibe at his predecessor Vijay Bahuguna, who is now with the BJP and was at the helm when disaster relief operations were carried out in the state. He said the saffron party should have conducted an in-house inquiry into the irregularities as the “entire family of executors of the alleged scam are now with them”.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat. PTIUttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat. PTI

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat. PTI

The Prime Minister had on Tuesday said at a rally in Dehradun that he was going to drag Uttarakhand out of the “bottomless pit of corruption in which it was languishing under the present regime”.

Rawat also took strong exception to Modi’s remarks that even a scooter with a capacity of five liters of oil could drink 35 liters of it, a reference to the alleged scam in relief funds.

The chief minister said though the alleged irregularities in the distribution of relief after 2013 tragedy had already been probed by a panel constituted by the state government, a judicial probe has been ordered into it after the Prime Minister’s remarks.

“Though a probe committee headed by the then chief secretary had found no veracity in the allegations and given a
clean chit to everyone involved in the massive relief operations, now that the PM has reiterated the charge we have asked retired justice MS Chauhan of Chandigarh High Court to conduct a probe into the alleged irregularities and find out if there was any negligence on part of officials or any misappropriation of disaster relief funds,” Rawat told reporters at a press conference.

Asked why he was not recommending a CBI probe into the allegations, Rawat said he had more faith in the judiciary and it was in his hands to order a judicial probe.

“It is now a general impression all over the country that the CBI is a tool in the hands of the Centre to settle scores with political adversaries. I have therefore more faith in our judicial institutions. Moreover ordering a judicial probe was in my hands whereas I would have had to look to central authorities for a CBI probe,” he said.

Rawat said calamities strike all of a sudden and quick decisions have to be taken to deal with the situation,
sometimes even at the cost of relaxing the rules and norms.

“However, we are ready for a judicial probe into any negligence on part of officials or misuse of funds,”  he said.

The chief minister also accused the BJP of trying to grab credit for the all-weather Chardham roads project inaugurated by the Prime Minister in Dehradun on Tuesday, saying the state government was very much part of the process of its launch.

“It is not BJP’s brainchild as the party is trying to make it appear. We had conceived the project and consistently worked towards its early launch,” he said.

However, he said he welcomed the launch of the project as the state stood to benefit from it in a big way “provided it is implemented in the manner promised”.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 16:15 IST

Uttar Pradesh assembly elections: SP’s Mulayam Singh Yadav rules out alliance with any party

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid speculations, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of an alliance with any political party for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.Addressing the media, Mulayam said, “Samajwadi party is not forming an alliance with anyone.” The SP supremo also said that the BJP will get a befitting reply for demonetization from the people itself.Last week, amid whispers about an SP-Congress-RLD alliance, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had said that the party was ready to contest the Uttar Pradesh polls, due next year, on its own for now.Singh also said that the party had declared a list of 325 candidates and the names of candidates for rest of the 78 seats would be announced soon. The party has given tickets to 176 sitting MLAs.(More details awaited)

Tripura: BJP calls for band to protest against murder of party activist, life partially affected

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Normal life was partially disrupted during a dawn-to-dusk bandh in Dhalai district of Tripura on Wednesday called by BJP in protest against the recent murder of a party activist.Schools, colleges and other educational institutions remained open and attendances in government offices, banks and financial institutions were normal, official sources said. Movement of vehicles was almost normal, but in some areas it came down to a trickle, the sources said. Shops kept open their shutters, but markets in a few places in remote areas were closed, the sources said.Ruling CPI-M has opposed the bandh. The BJP has claimed that their party activist Chanmohan Tripura, also a member of village committee of Dalapatipara, a remote tribal hamlet in Gandacherra sub-division of Dhalai district, was murdered on Monday afternoon, allegedly by one Biswada Tripura, a CPI-M member.However, officer-in-charge of Gandacherra police station, Babul Das said that Chanmohan Tripura was a priest who practised witchcraft, and was hit by a heavy object, allegedly by Biswada, when he went to his house to treat him. Biswada was arrested next day.

Nine months after Sreehari Aney’s resignation, Maharashtra Cabinet approves Rohit Deo as next advocate general

Mumbai: The BJP-led Maharashtra government has chosen acting Advocate General Rohit Deo as its next Advocate General, nine months after his predecessor Sreehari Aney quit the post following a huge row triggered by his espousal of statehood for the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions.

A meeting of the state Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, recommended elevation of Deo to the AG’s post to Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, a senior official said.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. File photo. PTI

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. File photo. PTI

Aney had courted controversy by advocating statehood for Vidarbha and Marathwada regions, which was vehemently opposed by the ruling partner Shiv Sena.

The Sena had then seized on the issue to target the BJP, which, as matter of policy, favoured smaller states, despite Fadnavis asserting that bifurcation of Maharashtra was not on his government’s agenda.

The government had recently filed an affidavit in the Bombay High Court, saying the post will be filled by the end of this month.

The Division Bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai was hearing a petition filed by Congress MLC Sanjay Dutt, urging the court to direct the state to appoint an A-G under Article 165 of the Constitution.

The court had criticised the state for not complying with the deadline of 23 December and had adjourned the matter to 9 January.

It had earlier observed that constitutional and statutory functions were suffering due to the non-appointment of the AG and has hurt the cause of justice.

On 18 November, 2014, Sunil Manohar was appointed as the AG, but he resigned on 9 June, 2015. On 11 June, 2015, additional Solicitor General Anil Singh was given the additional post of acting A-G. On 14 October, 2015, Aney was appointed as the AG, and he resigned on 22 March, 2016.

Reacting to the decision, Dutt claimed that the government was compelled to take a decision on the matter after he moved the high court.

In a tweet, Dutt said, “The government has conceded my demand and finally appointed Acting AG as AG.”

“However, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis needs to answer why he waited for nine months to appoint Acting AG as the new AG,” said Dutt.

“Maharashtra Chief Minister speaks of good governance but his indecisiveness reflects lack of governance! If acting AG Rohit Deo only was to be made the AG, why the government had waited for 280 days?” he asked in another tweet.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 14:07 IST

Rahul is obsessed while Mamata is biased on demonetisation: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday has said that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s seeking a reply from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the government’s demonetisation drive is ridiculous and added that the former is obsessed with demonetization.”Rahul Gandhi is obsessed with demonetization scheme may be his party is deeply hurt with this move. Seeking reply from Prime minister is ridiculous because in every public meeting, Prime Minister is addressing, he is raising the issue and giving clarification to the people of India. It is more important to speak to the people than to these discontented elements,” said BJP leader S Prakash.He further said that more than Rs. 5 lakhs crores scandals were exposed by the CIG and other independent authorities during the Congress regime, but Rahul did not speak a word on any of scams adding,”Now when, there is no scam and only demonetization is taking place, commenting on the same issue repeatedly will not convince the people.”Congress vice-president, earlier in the day, escalated his attack on Prime Minister Modi, saying the goal of his ambitious demonetization drive has completely failed as people are continuing to suffer.Addressing the media after an anti-demonetization meeting which was attended by all the opposition parties except the Left, Janata Dal (United) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Gandhi said,”Demonetization has done absolutely nothing against corruption. What it has done instead is to leave people without any money.”Prakash also took dig at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who also went all guns blazing at the Prime Minister over his decision to scrap Rs. 500 and Rs. 000 currency notes and said that Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief?s demand is irrelevant and her crusade against demonetization is highly biased.”I think she should more focus on Saradha chit fund scam’s accused as her own MP is still in jail, may be, she has forgotten or dumped him. Let her stable it first and then look at national aspirations,? Prakash said.”Unfortunately, Mamata Banerjee’s mind is totally clouded with biased opinion over demonetization. I hope after December 31 she will realise her mistake and the benefit of demonetization will certainly be known to the people of India in coming days,” he added.

All my cash is white: Mayawati

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after the Enforcement Directorate detected cash deposits totaling over Rs 104 crore in an account belonging to her party, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati said on Tuesday that “every penny” was deposited in a bank account and not stashed in her office or at home.At a hurriedly convened news conference in Lucknow, the BSP leader was at her combative best as she accused the ruling BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “misusing power and maligning the image” of her party ahead of crucial elections in Uttar Pradesh.Responding to allegations that the sources of the money were dubious, Mayawati said that the money had been deposited following due procedures. “We have an account of every rupee deposited in banks, but what about deposits by the BJP?” asked Mayawati. She also dared the PM to make public bank deposits by the BJP, which she alleged was “anti-Dalit”.”After I exposed the conspiracy of the BJP in forcing an alliance between the Samajwadi Party and Congress on Monday, BJP was taken aback, and out of sheer frustration it indulged in this petty act against my party and family members of the party chief,” she said.Reacting to Mayawati’s allegations, senior BJP leader and union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad took strong exception to her linking the ED’s move with the Dalit issue. “If the Enforcement Directorate is investigating some deposits, why should this be labelled as an ‘anti-Dalit’ issue? We can clearly dismiss this contention with some contempt,” he said.”The bigger question is that can corruption be hidden behind a Dalit card? What is Mayawati trying to say, that her corruption is a movement for the rights of Dalits? This is an insult to all the Dalits of India,” he told news persons. Prasad added that Mayawati had not denied the existence of the deposits in the account and asked if it was a donation or a money conversion exercise.”The development of scheduled castes should not be ‘mortgaged’ to corruption to one party or leader,” he said.In her news conference, Mayawati asked the PM to make public major expense, statement of deposits, and expenditures of the BJP. Her party, the BSP, is pitted in a do or die battle against the BJP, the SP and the Congress in a power packed contest in the UP elections. This election is being seen as the most crucial election before the national elections of 2019.Sources in the Enforcement Directorate have said that around Rs 104 crore were deposited in a United Bank of India account belonging to the BSP in the seven weeks since PM Modi banned 500 and Rs 1,000-rupee notes. At the same bank, Rs 1.43 crore were reportedly deposited in the account of Mayawati’s brother, Anand Kumar, sources said.Under the Income Tax Act, the income of political parties is exempt from tax provided all donations above Rs. 20,000 are taken by cheque and that in cash is properly documented, with full details of the donors. These accounts also have to be audited.Mayawati said the note ban came in the midst of the process of seeking donations from supporters for the elections. The old notes that the party had were deposited by due process and she had herself inspected accounts, she said, adding, “should we have thrown away the old notes?”Dismissing allegations against her brother, Mayawati said, “He has his own business and deposited money in bank account as per Income Tax norms.”Commenting on the alleged moves of the BJP against her, Mayawati said this action of BJP is a “good omen” for her party, as it had been in 2007. In 2007, the then BJP government at the Centre had raked up the Taj Corridor issue, but the issue helped her get absolute majority in the UP Assembly.”If Modi and his 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.”BJP and other parties have also deposited their money in banks. Nobody is talking about that,” she said, adding it only went on to prove the “anti-Dalit and casteist mentality” of the BJP.

Rs 104 crore deposit: It is now clear why Mayawati was against demonetization, says BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after ED detected huge cash deposits in an account belonging to BSP, BJP on Tuesday took a dig at Mayawati saying now it is clear why she was protesting against the demonetization move.”It is now clear why Mayawati was protesting against it (demonetization) and why she was angry with the Centre,” party’s national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told reporters before addressing a rally of BJP’s minroty cell in Mukerian of Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district. “Mayawati has been protesting against demonetization in the name of the poor but now the common man knows why she was against the drive,” he said.The ED yesterday detected cash deposits totaling over Rs 104 crore in an account belonging to the BSP and Rs 1.43 crore in an account belonging to party Supremo Mayawati’s brother Anand in a branch of United Bank of India in New Delhi. Hussain said many politicians are protesting against the note ban in the name of the common man but the truth is they are creating ruckus for their vested interests, Hussain said. “A drive is on against black money. In the manner we have made India Congress free, similarly we will make black money-free India. That is why the government is stressing on a cashless society,” he said.The government is working towards a cashless economy and it will help in checking black money, Hussain said.On Uttar Pradesh elections, he said there is a wave in BJP’s support and the party is fighting against corruption and nepotism. When asked if there is nepotism in Punjab, Hussain said, “They (Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family) have achieved this with their hardwork.” Over seat distribution between SAD and BJP, he said the election will be fought as per the coalition system only.On being asked when BJP will declare candidates for Punjab polls, he said in other parties candidates contest the polls but in BJP the party itself competes in the elections. Strategies are being formed and soon candidates will be declared. “BJP has strong ties with SAD that is why the coalition is continuing but such was not the case in Odisha,” he said replying to a question on why the alliance of BJP and BJD was broken in the state.

Tamil Nadu: CM should respond to Rama Mohana Rao’s claim that he is Chief Secretary, says DMK

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK on Tuesday demanded an explanation from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam over former Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao’s insistence that he continued to remain on the top post despite being replaced following Income Tax raids at his residence and office.DMK Treasurer and Opposition Leader M K Stalin said he had sought an explanation from Panneerselvam when the raids were being carried out at Rao’s house and office last week.”If the former Chief Secretary is in a position to claim that he is the Chief Secretary, then only the Chief Minister has to respond to that,” Stalin told reporters here.Rama Mohana Rao, who is under I-T scanner, had earlier in the day said that the copy of the transfer order on his removal as Chief Secretary has not been handed over to him yet, and that therefore he continued as the topmost official of the state government.The state government had last week appointed Girija Vaidyanathan in his place, a day after I-T sleuths raided Rao’s Anna Nagar residence and chamber at the state Secretariat.Asked if the BJP government at the Centre was “behind” the raids, Stalin said it was up to the central government, BJP and I-T officials to clarify it.

Hafiz Saeed asks Pakistan govt not to forge friendship with India

Tue, 27 Dec 2016-03:06pm , Srinagar , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief and the 2008 Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed has asked the Pakistan government to refrain from forging friendship with India claiming that its forces are committing atrocities in Kashmir.He also alleged that the BJP government is trying to change the demographic status in Kashmir.”We are standing with Kashmiris and completely support freedom movement of Kashmir,” he said and criticised the Indian army for committing atrocities in Kashmir. He has urged the Pakistani government to solve problems of Kashmiris.”The Pakistani government should not look towards India’s friendship. Blood is being shed in Kashmir. Therefore, it is Pakistani government’s responsibility to solve their problems,” he said.

‘Sahara-Birla’ papers: Why is PM shying away from independent probe, asks Sheila Dikshit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Toeing the party line, Sheila Dikshit on Tuesday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi wondering why he was shying away from an independent probe into the ‘Sahara-Birla’ papers relating to pay-offs, days after her comments questioning autheticity of the documents put Congress on the backfoot.The Congress’ CM candidate in Uttar Pradesh also debunked speculation that she was distancing herself from the campaigning in the poll-bound state in the wake of the controversy.”Why is @PMOIndia shying from an independent and a thorough probe into the #BirlaSaharaPapers?,” Dikshit tweeted.Dikshit, whose name allegedly figured in the ‘Sahara diaries’ along with many other politicians, had trashed it, putting party Vice President Rahul Gandhi in a tight spot as he had charged Modi with taking money from corporate houses based on the document.”I have said what I had to. The ball is in the court of the @PMOIndia & others now. Will he respond and come out clean? #SaharaBirlaDiaries (sic),” Dikshit said in another tweet.With BJP targeting it following Dikshit’s comments, Congress maintained that it wanted an independent and thorough probe into the “Sahara diaries” corruption issue.There was speculation that Dikshit may not remain Congress’ chief ministerial face in Uttar Pradesh following the controversy.Rejecting the speculations, Dikshit also junked reports that she has suspended her scheduled programmes in Aligarh.”I am amused to see ‘Sheila distances herself from UP’ speculation in media. Aligarh was not on my schedule. I will be in Barabanki tomorrow,” she said.The former Delhi Chief Minister’s name purportedly figured in the list that Congress had put out in a tweet two days back as proof of its allegations against Modi which upset her.On Sunday reacting strongly to the allegations, Dikshit had vehemently denied any wrongdoings calling the charges “all hearsay”. He had said the Supreme Court had already made observations on the diaries, comments that appeared similar to BJP’s argument in defending Modi.

‘BJP forced Snapdeal to dump Aamir Khan’: Party IT chief allegedly ordered online abuse

The raging intolerance debate against actor Aamir Khan, which led to Snapdeal dropping him as a brand ambassador in February this year, was not just the e-commerce company’s first choice. According to journalist Swati Chaturvedi’s book I am a Troll, which is being published by Juggernaut, the BJP’s social media cell was implicitly told by the party’s information and technology cell head to exert pressure via social media on Snapdeal to drop Aamir as its brand ambassador.

Snapdeal had announced the termination of contract almost a month after Incredible India, the signature advertising campaign for the tourism ministry to promote India globally, dropped the actor as its brand ambassador. The decision, at that time, was attributed to Khan’s remark on “rising intolerance in India”, but the government had tried to distance itself from that controversy.

Actor Aamir Khan. AFP

Actor Aamir Khan. AFP

In her book, Chaturvedi spoke to Sadhvi Khosla, a former volunteer at the BJP social media cell. Khosla was part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s social media ‘dream’ team in the run up to the 2014 General Election. She quit the BJP social media cell as a volunteer at the end of 2015. Khosla, who runs a knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) company in Gurugram, was in the US in 2014 when she got the call from Modi’s social media team and told Chaturvedi that she was ecstatic at the offer and believed that Modi, “her idol, the man she wanted to see as the Prime Minister of India”, would bring in all the positive change and development that he promised.

In a couple of months, Khosla came to realise that everything was not as it seemed. Khosla told Chaturvedi that the BJP IT cell head Arvind Gupta, who ran the “biggest ever social media operation in the country”, told Khosla that the “goal was to attack and expose the UPA government and the Gandhi family. Volunteers were told to attack certain mainstream journalists — the book explicitly mentions the names of NDTV‘s Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai (then of CNN-IBN) — and malign a few politicians on social media. The trolls were ordered to attack any unflattering mention of Modi,

Khosla admitted that she herself was forced to send messages trolling and abusing minorities, Gandhi family, liberals and journalists. She told the author that WhatsApp messages threatening rape against Barkha were sent out at the behest of Gupta, whose word was the last word as he was directly in touch with Modi. An IIT alumunus, Gupta joined BJP in 2010 and was part of the core team that was credited hugely for the massive mandate that Modi received in 2014.

“It was a never-ending drip feed of hate and bigotry against the minorities, the Gandhi family, journalists on the hit list, liberals, anyone perceived as anti-Modi,” she is quoted in the book as saying.

The “breaking point” for Khosla, however, was when the two reigning Khans of Bollywood were attacked. Last year in November, breaking his silence on the stormy intolerance debate, Aamir had expressed alarm and despondency over the rise in such cases. Speaking at the Ramnath Goenka Awards, Aamir had said:

“Kiran (Rao; filmmaker and Aamir’s wife) and I have lived all our lives in India. For the first time, she said, should we move out of India? That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make to me. She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers everyday. That does indicate that there is a sense of growing disquiet.”

Aamir was attacked in the worst possible manner after his comments and Khosla said Gupta messaged everyone from the party’s social media cell: “Sign the Petition to Snapdeal India. Appeal Snapdeal to drop Aamir Khan from their ads” (sic). It provided the link to sign an online petition. At the end of January 2016, Snapdeal did not renew Khan’s contract.

Khosla told Chaturvedi that this incident was the “last nail in the coffin” for her association with BJP. The decision to go after Aamir appears to have had the tacit approval of Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah. Khosla, in the book, has said that the operation to troll anyone who has unfavourable remarks for the prime minister, still continues.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Gupta rejected the claims made by Khosla and said that she was a supporter of the Opposition Congress party. Her claims are unsubstantiated, Gupta told the paper. He said the BJP had published social media guidelines on its website and never “encouraged trolling”. He said the social media cell of the BJP is being headed by another person since July 2015.

The author of I am a Troll, Chaturvedi herself has been the target of social media trolling. She filed a police complaint last year against an anonymous Twitter account that had deluged her with malicious posts.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 13:37 IST

Rs 104 cr deposit | BJP seeks BSP’s explanation on deposits post demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday asked the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to come clean after the Enforcement Directorate detected cash deposits totalling over Rs 104 crore in an account belonging to Mayawati-led party and said that this matter should not be politicised as it is the fight against black money.BJP spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao said any money deposited in bank accounts in excess of the acceptable amounts will certainly be looked into by the Enforcement agencies. “So, if more than 100 crore has been deposited in BSP’s accounts, the party will possibly have to provide answers as to what is the source of this money. The Enforcement agencies fear that a lot of unaccounted money, illegitimate money, money from which taxes have not been paid is being laundered into different accounts,” Rao said.”So, whether it’s a political leader or a political party, they will be expected to provide source of such money that possibly is the angle that the Enforcement Directorate would be looking at. We should allow all the Enforcement agencies to do their job,” he added.The Enforcement Directorate also detected Rs 1.43 crore in an account belonging to Mayawati’s brother Anand Kumar.Meanwhile, another BJP leader Nalin Kohli said that the BSP has nothing to fear if they have explanations for the money deposited in their accounts. “If Mayawatiji’s brother has an explanation, has a business, has a lot of money, has a lot of cash and he can explain that this is how it has come into my account then there is no issue,” said Kohli. “But if the money is coming from unknown companies with whom he has no relations then obviously it’s going to be a matter of investigation,” he added.Kohli further said this is not a political issue but the fight against black money. “Whether it is an ordinary person or whether it is the highest and the most mighty, anyone who has cash and deposits money or brings large sums of money into their accounts without explaining the source and the reasons has to be investigated,” said Kohli. “So, this can’t be seen as a political issue, this has to be seen in the fight against black money. And if they have explanations, they have nothing to fear,” he added.As per reports, the accounts had been detected in a branch of the United Bank of India (UBI) in the national capital.The Enforcement Directorate has reportedly sought details about the accounts from the bank. The agency has also asked the bank to provide it some CCTV footage and the KYC documents used to open the accounts. This has come as a major setback to the BSP supremo ahead of next year’s Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.

Ahead of Budget 2017, Arun Jaitley says India needs globally compatible tax rates

Ahead of the Union Budget, finance minister Arun Jaitley has pitched for a lower level of taxation that is globally compatible. This, according to him,  is necessary if the country has to have a broader base of economy.

He said gone are the days of the philosophy that high taxation will bring greater revenues and that since 1991 the course of economy has altered itself.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Reuters file photoFinance Minister Arun Jaitley. Reuters file photo

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Reuters file photo

“… What you need is a broader base of economy for which you need a lower level of taxation. You need to manufacture products and provide services which are more competitive in character and therefore your taxes have to be globally compatible,” Jaitley said while inaugurating the professional training of IRS officers.

The comments have raised speculation that the government may cut tax rates in the Union Budget for 2017-18 to be presented in Parliament on 1 February.

However, in a later tweet he also indicated that any such interpretation of his speech may be inaccurate.

Ever since the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, there has been speculation that the government may resort to some direct tax cuts to lessen the pain inflicted on the common man. A cut in income tax rates will placate the middle class, a key political constituency of the ruling BJP.

As far as corporate tax are concerned, Jaitley had laid out a road map for cuts in rates and exemptions in last year’s Budget.

In the speech on Monday, Jaitley also said competition is not merely domestic but global and therefore in the last two-and-a-half decades, the governments have been guided by these principles.

Tracing the behaviour of people in the last 70 years, the finance minister said there has been an impression if avoidance could be done of government revenue, there is nothing “improper or immoral” about it.

This was, he said, considered to be “commercial smartness” and of course some people were visited with very serious consequences.

He told the young revenue service officers that in coming future decades they should see that voluntary tax compliance has to increase in India.

“And the mindset of the tax payer (should be) that payment of legitimate taxes is a responsibility and then it should be reciprocated by you with a confidence in the tax payer. The tax payer is to be trusted, except when it’s proven otherwise.

And therefore only in those select cases, very objectively selected, you go in for a wider audit or a wider scrutiny itself,” Jaitley said.

With PTI

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 08:35 IST

‘National Herald’ case: Subramanian Swamy loses battle for documents in court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A trial court on Monday dismissed BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s request for documents claiming it to be “nothing but a fishing enquiry which is not permitted under the law.” Metropolitan Magistrate Loveleen dismissed the application a year after Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi were summoned to court in the National Herald case.The court added that by seeking the financial documents Swamy seemed to “enlarge the scope of the present proceedings.”The court observed that documents sought from the Income Tax department were not relevant to the proceedings and hence could not be ordered to be summoned. With respect to the documents sought from the Congress party—at least 10 types of documents, the court rejected the claim observing that Swamy had not yet submitted his list of witnesses in the case whom the BJP leader proposed to examine in the pre-charge stage.While requesting for documents Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), primarily to check the legality or otherwise of the loan taken from the Congress Party and to check whether the AJL was complying with the provisions of the Companies Act at the relevant time, Swamy used the terms ‘verify’, ‘see’, ‘investigate’. The court observed, that by using these terms, Swamy himself was “not aware of the contents of the said documents.”The court however, allowed Swamy a last opportunity to submit the list of his witnesses in this case and fixed the matter for February 10 to hear arguments on framing of the charges.In a complaint filed by Swamy, the BJP leader has alleged that Sonia, Rahul and others conspired to cheat and misappropriate funds. Swamy accused the Gandhis of misappropriating Congress party funds by paying Rs 50 lakh through which Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YIPL) obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore from Associate Journal Private Limited (AJPL). This, Swamy felt was fraudulent not only to the party donors but also to the State Exchequer by claiming tax exemptions.The defence led by senior advocates RS Cheema, and Rebecca John along with Ramesh Gupta among others argued that the complainant is under an obligation to file a list of witnesses and examine them before seeking documents. The defence further submitted that Swamy was trying to collect and prepare an archive of documents through the present application. The application was omnibus in nature and the documents sought to be summoned were neither relevant nor necessary.

BJP not doing politics on religion but justice & honesty: Rajnath Singh in Assam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said people have accepted BJP as a party of their own by electing it to power at the Centre with thumping majority even though opposition parties had made allegations in the past that it practised politics over religion.”There was a big allegation that BJP used to do politics over religion or over communalism. Now that allegation has gone away. Had it been a party of doing politics over religion, then the 1.25 billion people of the country would not have elected to power with a clear majority,” he said addressing a meeting of the BJP’s Assam unit here. Singh, a senior BJP leader, said the party never practiced politics over religion nor did over communalism but on the issue of justice and honesty.”We are a party of doing politics over justice and honesty. We are a party which takes everyone along and wants to march forward with everyone’s cooperation,” he said. The Home Minister said BJP’s politics is centred around humanity – irrespective of whether someone is Hindu, Muslim, Christian or from any other religion. Describing Indo-Bangladesh agreement on land-swap as a very significant pact for bilateral relations, Singh said after the exchange of ‘enclaves’ along the border, Dhaka has been supporting India in every international forums.”Be is on terrorism or be it on any other issues, Bangladesh has been supporting India in every international forum ever since we have completed the process of exchange of enclaves between India and Bangladesh.Singh said security of the more than 200-kilometre-long Indo-Bangladesh border in Assam was a priority for the BJP government and it will be completely sealed in next one and a half years. “We are committed to sealing the 223.7-km Indo-Bangladesh border in Assam and the process is on. It is expected to be completed within the next year and a half,” he said.The Home Minister said Bangladesh is a neighbouring country and India shares a good and warm relations and wants to continue and remain committed to in the future. The Home Minister, without referring to the issues of illegal migration and granting of citizenship to Hindu refugees, assured the people of Assam that BJP was committed to protect the interests of the indigenous population of the state as per Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.”We are committed to Clause 6 of the Assam Accord and will protect it even if we have to amend the Constitution,” he said. Referring to the updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, Singh said the process is underway and the state government should complete it soon. Singh said the Centre will make no compromise on the issue of insurgency as he claimed that violence has considerably come down in the state. “If any people or group have any grievances, problems or issues, we are ready to talk to them… We are ready to embrace them and talk. But if there is violence, there will be no compromise,” he said.The Home Minister claimed people have supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “bold step” to demonetise high-value currency notes and his fight against black money and corruption. “The Prime Minister’s bold step of demonetization has been welcomed by the people of the country and we are grateful for that,” he said. The Prime Minister’s fight against black money and corruption was “beyond any doubt” and the people of the country have expressed their gratitude by supporting him despite facing initial difficulties, the home minister said.”People did face initial difficulties after demonetization was announced, but no one has questioned the intention of the Prime Minister. “People had to wait for hours in queues outside ATMs, but when told they were facing difficulties, many replied, ‘When our jawans our dying on the borders to protect our country against enemies, then why can’t we stand in queues for a few hours.’ This is the spirit of our people,” he said.Modi on November 8 had announced to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, and said new notes of denominations Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 will be issued in their place, leading to a rush among people to exchange their notes at banks and withdraw new notes from ATMs.

Aligarh: BJP mayor Shakuntala Bharti refers to former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee as ‘deceased’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP’s controversial Aligarh mayor Shakuntala Bharti found herself in a pickle on Saturday during an address to Dharam Jyoti Mahavidyalya School students at Iglas on Saturday. According to a Times of India report, in an event held to celebrate the 155th birth anniversary of Madan Mohan Malviya and Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s 92nd birthday, the mayor referred to Vajpayee as “deceased” in her speech.”Bharat ke purv pradhan mantri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji hamare beech me nahin rahe, lekin unki yadein hai (Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji is no longer with us, but his memories remain),” she said. Her statement not only took everyone by shock, but also did not go well with other leaders of BJP and other parties present.However, Bharti tried to brush off criticism of the statement by saying that she was talking about Malviya and not Vajpayee. But, a video of the event was shown to her, she apologised for her mistake and said that she was feeling “miserable” about it. She also wished Vajpayee a healthy and a long life.Vajpayee, the only non-Congress leader who served the nation as the prime minister and completed his full term, was born on December 25, 1924. He was among the founder members of the BJP. After former prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Vajpayee is the only prime minister to get three successive mandates. He was felicitated with country’s highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna, on March 27, 2015. His birthday is also celebrated as Good Governance Day.Earlier this year, Bharti had opposed Manoj Bajpayee starrer ‘Aligarh’ which she claimed defamed the city. (With ANI inputs)

Is this 2016? Nutan College in Bhopal bans jeans, t-shirt and leggings

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Wearing jeans, t-shirts or leggings would no longer be allowed at the Sarojini Naidu Government Girls Post Graduate College, commonly known as Nutan College, as the authorities have decided to have a dress code. From the next month, the students will have to wear salwar, kurta and a jacket.”We have decided to implement a dress code from the next month when a new semester would start. The girls have been making this demand for long,” said the college principal Vandana Agnihotri.The dress code would instill discipline among the students, as in schools, she told PTI.”Some girls from final year had come to me. They are completing their studies. Their contention was they will have to purchase a new dress only for (remaining) few months,” she said, when asked if there was any opposition to the decision.College was yet to decide whether these girls should be granted exemption, she said. Students from weaker financial background develop inferiority complex when they see other girls wearing expensive clothes, and dress code would avoid this, she said. “Dress code would have several advantages. It would bring a sense of uniformity among students as some of them feel inferior when their friends come to the college wearing expensive clothes,” Agnihotri said.The Congress-affiliated National Students Union of India said the decision reflected misplaced priorities.”Education system is facing a lot of challenges like lack of faculty and poor infrastructure. The decision would only increase the financial burden on students who mostly come from middle or lower-middle classes,” said Vivek Tripathi, NSUI spokesperson. BJP-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad did not offer any comment. “We are busy with our national convention at Indore. This is government’s decision and we will discuss it (later),” said Nitesh Sharma, ABVP leader.In October this year, Madhya Pradesh Higher Education Minister Jaibhan Singh Pawaiya had said the BJP government in the state intended to introduce a dress code in the colleges as it brings uniformity.

Demonetisation: Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu says problems caused by note ban easing out

New Delhi: Problems caused by demonetisation are “easing out” and the move will eventually benefit the nation, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said on Monday, days after he said the decision was not as per “our wish” and that he had to “break his head” to find solutions.

Naidu, who heads the 13-member committee formed by the Centre to look into note ban-related issues, also sought to allay apprehensions over cyber security, saying the country is “very strong” in the sphere and information technology.

“Nowadays, it is easing out. More and more cash is coming, Rs 500 currency note is in circulation. Naturally, it will ease out. The problems are there temporarily. Ultimately, it (demonetisation) is going to benefit the nation,” he told reporters here.

To a question whether the inconvenience caused by note ban will end by 30 December, Naidu said one has to consider “plus or minuses” and that the sacrifices are being made for long-term gains.

File photo of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. AP

File photo of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. AP

“It is going to provide future for people. Sometimes for long term gains, you have to sacrifice something, that is what is happening today. Yesterday, situation was different, today it is different, tomorrow it is going to be much more different,” he said.

On apprehensions about cyber security as the Centre pitches for turning the country into a less-cash economy, stressing more on digital transactions, Naidu said “all over the world” countries are following digital economy.

“We are very strong in cyber security and also in information technology. Our people are heading Google, Microsoft. That is the caliber India has,” he said.

The 13-member committee is expected to meet on 28 December again.

Speaking at a party workshop in Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada on 20 December, Naidu, who had initially supported demonetisation, said the 8 November move was not as per “our wish” and that a “lot of problems” still remain without any solution in sight.

“I am breaking my head daily but we are unable to find a solution to this problem,” he had said. A day later, Naidu had said his comments were “distorted” but acknowledged that currency problems continued.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 20:24 IST

Talk to real people about demonetization, you will get beaten up: Lalu to PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a dig at Narendra Modi over his remark that people can punish him for demonetization after the 50-day window, Lalu Prasad on Monday asked the Prime Minister to choose a “chauraha” (roundabout) where people can punish him for triggering a chaotic situation in the country. “PM should chose his favourite ‘chauraha’ (roundabout) where people could punish him for leading the country to a chaotic condition in the name of demonetization to fight black money,” RJD President Lalu Prasad told reporters after flagging off Rath to drum up support for party dharna across Bihar on December 28.Prasad was reminding the PM of his utterances at Goa where he had asked people to give him 50 days for fight against black money through scrapping of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes. Launching a scathing attack at the PM, the RJD chief said “Madari ka khel bana diye hain kabhi notebandi to khabi cashless economy (he is re-enacting play of monkeys in the name of demonetization and than cashless economy)”.Prasad said the PM was under “illusion” that people are appreciating him by chanting “Modi, Modi”. It’s a few RSS men who occupy front seats in his rallies and shout Modi, Modi which he is reading as voice of masses”. “If election is held in the country today BJP would draw a nought,” the RJD chief said.Prasad said that the saffron party would bite dust in Uttar Pradesh poll. “BJP ka koi ata-pata nahin rahega Uttar Pradesh ke chunav mein (BJP will be no nowhere in UP polls),” he said.The RJD chief predicted victory for Samajwadi Party in UP and said like in Bihar he and other leaders from the state would campaign for Mulayam Singh Yadav party to ensure its victory in UP. Asked if family feud in SP would mar his chances in the election, Prasad who is related to Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family, dismissed it and said minor fight happens in every family.

India, Bangladesh border to be completely sealed by mid 2018: Rajnath Singh

Guwahati: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday the security of the more than 200-kilometre-long Indo-Bangladesh border was a priority for the BJP government and it will be completely sealed in next one and a half years.

“We are committed to sealing the 223.7-km Indo-Bangladesh border and the process is on. It is expected to be completed within the next year and a half,” Singh said addressing BJP workers in Guwahati.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

“Bangladesh is our neighbouring country and we share a good and warm relation, which we will continue to pursue and remain committed to in the future,” he said.

The Union minister, without referring to the issues of illegal migration and granting of citizenship to Hindu refugees, assured the people of Assam that BJP was committed to protect the interests of the indigenous population of the state as per Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.

“We are committed to Clause 6 of the Assam Accord and will protect it even if we have to amend the Constitution,” he said.

Referring to the updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, Singh said the process is underway and the state government should complete it soon.

The Union minister said the Centre will make no compromise on the issue of insurgency as he claimed that violence has considerably come down in the state.

“If any people or group have any grievances, problems or issues, we are ready to talk to them… We are ready to embrace them and talk. But if there is violence, there will be no compromise,” he added.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 19:20 IST

Manipur: BJP slams CM Okram Ibobi Singh, Centre rushes 4000 paramiltary personnel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ram Madhav, the National General Secretary of the BJP hit out at Manipur CM Okram Ibobi Singh over the blockade in Manipur by the United Naga Council. He was quoted by ANI: “Manipur CM was asked to take help from forces & clear blockade, but blockade apparently politically suited him, so didn’t do needful. Manipur CM playing games with lives of people of Valley, Govt of India from day one asked him to avail all required support from Centre.”Earlier, the BJP appealed the United Naga Council (UNC) to immediately withdraw the ongoing economic blockade on the highways of Manipur. BJP spokesperson N Biren appealed the UNC to withdraw the blockade which entered its 56th day today and sought “another forum” to achieve its demands.Biren was speaking to the reporters on his return from Delhi, where an eight-member BJP delegation met top central leaders including Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the issue. Biren said, “The ruling Congress government is answerable to the people of the state for the hardship faced by them”.He questioned whether it has made any formal effort at the Centre regarding the presence of NSCN(IM) camps in the Manipur, the number of its cadre present in the state.He also sought to know whether there have been any effort to demolish the NSCN(IM)’s designated camps in the state as the ceasefire agreement between NSCN(IM) and the Centre does not cover Manipur. Biren also asked whether the state government has made any move to identify the perpetrators of the twin ambush on Manipur police at Lokchao and Bongyang in Tengnoupal district which claimed the lives of three policemen earlier this month. If there has been any such move, BJP demanded that the documents be made public. He also said the BJP was for a neutral CBI or NIA inquiry into the attacks on Manipur police. Later, lone BJP MLA Bishwajit said BJP’s philosophy is nation first, party second and self last. Centre rushes 4000 paramilitary personnel to Manipur The Centre has rushed additional 4,000 paramilitary personnel to Manipur in its efforts to reopen a national highway which has blocked for nearly two months by a Naga group.With this, the total number of central security personnel deployed in the sensitive northeastern state for assisting the local administration for maintaining law and order has gone up to 17,500.”Our top priority is now to reopen the National Highway-2 connecting Manipur (to Nagaland). While the other highway (NH-37) is reopened, we want to reopen the NH-2 too as early as possible,” a senior Home Ministry official said.The security personnel were sent to the northeastern state keeping in view the security situation in the wake of violence following the economic blockade imposed by the Union Naga Council (UNC) on the National Highways since November 1.The UNC has imposed the economic blockade on NH-2 (Imphal-Dimapur) and NH 37 (Imphal-Jiribam) that serve as lifelines for the landlocked Manipur.Curfew has been clamped in Imphal East district for the last fortnight after a mob torched and vandalised 22 passenger vehicles on the Imphal-Ukhrul road, while curfew in Imphal West district was imposed from evening to dawn.In a stern message, the Centre had on Friday told the Manipur government that it can’t escape responsibility for the “humanitarian crisis” arising out of the 52-day economic blockade by a Naga group and must work to end it, while making it clear that nobody will be allowed to take political advantage out of it.Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, who was on a day-long visit to Congress-ruled Manipur as a central emissary, said it is completely unacceptable to have such kinds of blockades in which thousands are suffering and both the central and Manipur governments will work together to end it.”The state government has not been able to end the blockade. It must end as soon as possible as law and order is the responsibility of the state government. Nobody will be allowed to take political advantage out of a humanitarian crisis where common people are suffering,” he had said.

Indo-Bangla border to be completely sealed by mid 2018: Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said the security of the more than 200-kilometre-long Indo-Bangladesh border was a priority for the BJP government and it will be completely sealed in next one and a half years.”We are committed to sealing the 223.7-km Indo-Bangladesh border and the process is on. It is expected to be completed within the next year and a half,” Singh said addressing BJP workers here.”Bangladesh is our neighbouring country and we share a good and warm relation, which we will continue to pursue and remain committed to in the future,” he said. The Union minister, without referring to the issues of illegal migration and granting of citizenship to Hindu refugees, assured the people of Assam that BJP was committed to protect the interests of the indigenous population of the state as per Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.”We are committed to Clause 6 of the Assam Accord and will protect it even if we have to amend the Constitution,” he said. Referring to the updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, Singh said the process is underway and the state government should complete it soon. The Union minister said the Centre will make no compromise on the issue of insurgency as he claimed that violence has considerably come down in the state.”If any people or group have any grievances, problems or issues, we are ready to talk to them… We are ready to embrace them and talk. But if there is violence, there will be no compromise,” he added.

Congress-SP alliance for UP elections depends on BJP’s approval: Mayawati

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Commenting on possibility of a tie-up between Samajwadi Party and Congress before Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, BSP supremo Mayawati said on Monday an alliance would be struck only if it benefits BJP. “SP and Congress alliance in UP will come into being only if BJP gives its approval and if it (BJP) feels it will gain from it…the green signal will be given by BJP after evaluating its gains and losses from such an alliance,” she told newspersons here.She said it was being stated that BJP was exerting pressure on SP chief and his family through Enforcement Directorate, I-T department and CBI through disproportionate assets cases, and “other weaknesses” to join hands with Congress to divide Muslim votes and stop BSP 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 central government agencies like ED, I-T and CBI to SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his family in connection with DA cases and other shortcomings to divide Muslim vote,” she claimed.Referring to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s frequent statements favouring an alliance with Congress, Mayawati questioned as to why a person who has come to power on his own in the last Assembly elections is so keen on contesting the coming polls in an alliance. “Why is he so keen on taking the help of Congress which is on oxygen in the state…this fact has to be understood in depth by the people of the state or else SP will be able to take its political benefit,” she said.”The reality is that even if SP contests coming elections in alliance with Congress, it will not come back to power and the CM is well aware of this,” she said, adding if they contest in alliance and lose, SP will put the entire blame on Congress. “…(by doing so) the head of the SP government will be able to save his image in the eyes of the people…this has to be understood by Congress as well otherwise it (Cong) will go in oblivion in the state,” she said.Taking the Bihar elections example, Mayawati said “just as all secular voters” there decided to defeat BJP, they will show the same unity here and defeat the “dangerous” policies and programmes of BJP and vote for BSP. Cautioning Muslims against “designs” of her political rivals, Mayawati said even if SP and Congress came together it will be of no use as infighting in the Yadav family has split the ruling party into two camps – that of Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav – and they will work against each other.”Yadav vote bank will get divided in the two camps and if Muslims vote for SP, this will directly benefit BJP,” she said. She was, however, confident “Muslims will not waste their votes” either on SP or on the alliance, in case it comes into being, “after having learnt the lesson in 2014 Lok Sabha elections”.”Muslims will this time vote only for a party or alliance which has the potential of defeating the saffron party candidates and they feel BSP is the only such party as it alone has 24% Dalit vote which together with Muslim vote bank becomes a major force,” she said. “Due to discriminatory development and jungle raj of the SP and BJP’s unfulfilled promises and hardships caused by note ban, even the upper castes and backwards are coming to BSP which alone can stop BJP from coming to power in UP,” she said.Claiming that SP has a tacit understanding with BJP, Mayawati said although her party had formed government in the state with BJP in the past, it had “never compromised” on its ideals. She, however, cautioned people, especially Muslims, that in order to divert voters’ attention from major issues, BJP might try to cash in on Ayodhya dispute for its “political and selfish” motives or engineer Hindu-Muslim riots during the elections and both communities need to remain vigilant.

Demonetization: Problems will not end after December 30, says Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his assurance to people that problems due to demonetization will end after December 30, Rahul Gandhi today said the “economic lockdown” will continue to hurt the poor, farmers and workers the most.”Modiji has said that the problems will end after December 30. But I can say with confidence that it will not be so. These hardships will continue for six-seven months and beyond,” the Congress Vice President said addressing a rally here. He was referring to the Prime Minister’s repeated assurance to the people that the problems due to note ban will begin to ease after the 50-day period. Persisting with his attack on the demonetization issue, Gandhi alleged that the Modi Government at the centre and Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan had not taken a single step for the poor. “The note ban decision is not against corruption but is an economic lockdown. It is not against black money but against the poor, farmers, labourers and women,” he alleged.”99 per cent of the people do not have black money and they were targeted by the demonetization drive while on the other hand, there are 50 families who have lakhs and crores of rupees and that is black money,” he said.Stating that the Congress party wants to eradicate corruption and its leaders would support the NDA government against the menace, Gandhi alleged that the decision of demonetization was “totally against the people of the country”.He said that only six per cent black money is stored in cash while the remaining is in the form or real estate and gold and is also stashed in Swiss bank accounts. “In the last two-and-a-half years, Modi only worked to create a divide in the country and functioned only for the rich,” he alleged. Rahul alleged that the Modi government tried to “murder” the Land Acquisition Act, which benefits the farmers, and also attempted to stall other pro-poor steps like MNREGA started by the Congress.He alleged that the BJP governments have failed to fulfil three demands of the farmers, namely debt waiver, lower power tariff and proper price for their produce. He also alleged that the tribals were being exploited in BJP-ruled states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. “The entire government is functioning of the rich. What Narendra Modi ji is doing at the Centre, the same is being done by the chief minister of Rajasthan.”In Rajasthan, privatisation is going on. Power tariff was raised by 18 per cent. Have Modiji and the BJP government here taken any step for the poor. They have done nothing for the poor,” he said.

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”.

Parrikar, Naik at loggerheads over Madkaikar’s entry in BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The entry of former Congress legislator Pandurang Madkaikar into Goa BJP, has led to a war of words between two union ministers Manohar Parrikar and Sripad Naik, with the latter claiming that he was not consulted on the latest induction.”I was not consulted before taking decision to allow Madkaikar enter the party. I was just told at the last minute. I was not in favour of the decision,” Naik said.Naik is apparently upset as his son Siddhesh was hopeful for a ticket from Cumbharjua constituency which was represented by Madkaikar before joining the BJP.Madkaikar joined the party last week after which Parrikar had addressed the Vijay Sankalp rally in Cumbharjua constituency during which he amply made it clear that the three-time MLA (Madkaikar) would be contesting on the BJP ticket from that constituency.However, Parrikar claimed, talking to mediamen on Sunday that “as far as Sripad Naik is concerned he was totally taken into confidence before the decision (of Madkaikar’s entry) was taken.”Naik, who is union AYUSH minister, however, claimed that he was consulted just as a formality.He said he was informed after the decision was taken.”Such induction is against the principles of the party. I will take up the matter before party leaders in Delhi,” Naik said.Madkaikar, a former BJP minister had left the party to join the Congress. He left the Congress last week claiming that the party had no future in Goa.

What 2017 has in store for BJP…

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If BJP retrieved some momentum back in its favour in 2016 with a maiden assembly election win in Assam, the biggest question on the minds of its top brass was whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetization gamble will pay off in the new year in a series of assembly polls, especially in Uttar Pradesh. BJP President Amit Shah will look back at the passing year with fondness as it presented him with some promising rewards and shored up his authority after back-to-back massive defeats in Delhi and Bihar in the preceding year had prompted leaders within the party, including veterans like LK Advani, to point fingers at him.The saffron party put up a creditable show in Kerala and West Bengal, two states where it has been traditionally weak, pulled off wins in bypolls held across the country, including in Assam and Madhya Pradesh, besides in local polls in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. Its impressive show in Maharashtra and the tiny municipal corporation of Chandigarh was held by the party as an evidence of people’s support to demonetization at a time it has come under intense attack from a united Opposition over the decision, cited by the government as a measure against black money and corruption.While economic fallout of the radical exercise will take some time to be evaluated, there won’t be a long wait before its political implications are out in the open. Five states, including Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur, are going to the assembly polls early next year and demonetization has clearly emerged as the war cry of not only the saffron party but also its rivals, who have latched onto the hardships facing people in form of long queues outside banks and ATMs to term the measure anti-people.Besides Uttar Pradesh, it has a lot at stake in polls to three other state assemblies, including Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa. In Manipur, it has never been in power but has forged a strong regional alliance to have a realistic shot at power. In Punjab and Goa, the presence of AAP has upset the conventional poll dynamics and BJP, which is in power in both the states is trying hard to keep the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit at bay while battling its traditional rival Congress.However, it is capturing the big prize of Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha compared to 22 of four other states together, that is at the heart of BJP’s poll strategy in the fag end of the outgoing year. After taking over as the party chief in January for the second time, Shah continued with his efforts to build the organisation in states which he has identified as important for BJP’s poll prospects in 2019 Lok Sabha polls. He believes that it is imperative for the party to put up a decent performance in states like Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Telangana and Kerala– the coromandal region– besides northeastern states if it is to repeat its strong show in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.It will be hard for the party to repeat let alone better its landslide win in the western India besides the Hindi heartland of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and any loss in these regions can be made up by better shows in the coastal and northeastern states, BJP leaders believe. A win in Assam and vote share of more than 15 and 10% in Kerala and West Bengal were seen by the party as a big step to this direction.Though its performance in Tamil Nadu was disappointing it looks at ruling AIADMK as a friendly outfit with which it can have a political understanding. The untimely death of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has brought the leadership of two parties closer as the state government leans on the central government for support.Appointments of a number of state chiefs, including in Punjab and Bihar, underlined efforts of the saffron outfit, which has for decades been identified with Brahmin-bania support base, to broaden its appeal among the backward castes and Dalits, two Hindu groups which may have supported it in the past but never embraced it.Shah surprised many within the party by appointing Manoj Tiwari as Delhi BJP president as he is seen as an outsider with no ideological upbringing of the sort its regional satraps are expected to have. It was a clear indication that he was willing to move on from the city’s entrenched leadership which has failed to deliver in polls.If 2014 was the milestone year in the BJP’s history as it emerged stronger than ever before, 2015 exposed it to the limits of solely banking on Modi’s charisma. This year, BJP used its organisational heft and credible local leadership, as in the case of Assam where Sarbananda Sonowal turned out to be its lucky mascot, to expand into newer territory. However, it will be the new year that can provide the strongest signal yet of whether its hope of a repeat of 2014 landslide in the next Lok Sabha polls will ride on firm foundations or not. Uttar Pradesh will decide.

Rahul’s attack on PM Modi loses edge as Sheila Dixit junks Sahara documents

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Rahul Gandhi targeting the Prime Minister over ‘Sahara diaries’ bribery issue, a controversy erupted after Congress put out a list linked to it on Twitter in which a reference to its leader Sheila Dikshit also allegedly figured, prompting her to junk the documents. BJP immediately latched onto the issue, saying there cannot be double standards and that Rahul was “whipping a dead horse” as the apex court has already cleared the matter while parties like JD(U), RJD and NCP demanded that everyone mentioned in the diaries should be probed.Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who is also Congress’ chief ministerial candidate in Uttar Pradesh, strongly denied the charges and trashed the documents, saying the Supreme Court has already made its observations on them.”There is no iota of truth in the allegations. I totally reject these allegations,” she said. Asked about Congress putting out the “list” publicly on its twitter handle, she told PTI, “It surprised me”. She, however, said she has nothing to do with the issue and refused to speak further saying the matter is sub-judice. Sources close to her said she may take up the matter with the party.”The list has so many names. Then why are you focusing on Sheila Dikshit. I don’t even remember anything like this. There are names of other chief ministers. Why don’t you talk about them? Why only Sheila Dikshit?” she said. BJP national Secretary Siddharth Nath Singh said, “There cannot be double standards but Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and their spokespersons are making stupid mistakes time and again. A horse has died and his death has been certified by the Supreme Court.”Taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi, he said the Congress leader “should have gained wisdom by now, he is no more a child”.JD(U) leader K C Tyagi said, “I want that the Sahara diaries should now be made public and all the people named in it should be questioned.””There are accusations against Sheila Dikshit, Raman Singh and Shivraj (Singh Chouhan) and some other leaders that they have received money from Sahara and that is why we demand that the entire list should be made public,” he alleged.RJD leader Manoj Kumar said irrespective of who has been named in the list, immediate action should be taken and a probe by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court ordered.”Because we don’t want to target an individual, rather we don’t want the Prime Minister’s position losing its credibility in front of the entire world and this is our priority,” he said.Majeed Memon of NCP said, “It does not matter if the person is from Congress or BJP or is a PM or a former CM. “If someone has committed a crime and he/she is being accused, then he/she should be dealt with in accordance with the law.” Just days earlier, Rahul Gandhi had alleged that Narendra Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister had taken money from Sahara and Birla groups and demanded an independent inquiry into it, a charge rejected by BJP.The ruling party had said that the “baseless, false, shameful and mala fide” allegations were an attempt to divert attention from the AgustaWestland probe as names of Congress leaders and the “family” are coming up.

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah caught getting his shoelace tied by man: Yet another instance of VVIP elitism

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was caught on camera getting his shoelaces tied by a man. A video tweeted by ANI shows the chief minister getting his laces tied and even offering his second leg to the man who was tying his shoelaces.

#WATCH: Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah caught on camera while getting his shoelaces tied by a person, in Mysuru. pic.twitter.com/HSgIysInkz

— ANI (@ANI_news) December 25, 2016

Meanwhile, the media adviser to the Siddaramaiah has clarified in a tweet that the man seen tying the shoelaces is not his staff or employee but his relative.

It is hereby clarified that the person tying CM Siddaramaiah’s shoelaces is not his staff but his relative: Media Adviser to Karnataka CM

— ANI (@ANI_news) December 25, 2016

The video generated considerable interest among Twitterati who were appalled by the chief minister’s actions. And, General Secretary of BJP in Karnataka, CT Ravi tweeted that it showed the “arrogance of a pseudo socialist.”

Arrogance of Pseudo Socialist @CMofKarnataka has no limits. Absolutely disgusting that Siddaramaiah gets his shoes fitted by an assistant. https://t.co/c6LWgJEq3h

— C.T.Ravi (@CTRavi_BJP) December 25, 2016

This faux pas comes from Siddramaiah just days after his Twitter page erroneously wrote Siachen instead of Sichuan and his team took almost 30 hours to correct the error.

Such VIP elitism isn’t new. Earlier this year, the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan came under fire after he visited a flood hit district in Madhya Pradesh but he was carried by others.

Panna: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan visits flood affected areas in the state. pic.twitter.com/Q4HcBuEyOJ

— ANI (@ANI_news) August 21, 2016

Pankaja Munde, the minister for rural development, women and child development in Mahrashtra also got into a bit of trouble after a member of her staff was seen carrying her slippers during her recent tour of drought-affected regions in the state. During her visit to Sonpeth in Parbhani district, Munde took her slippers off seeing a muddy road ahead; while she walked bare-feet, a man picked up her slippers which the news channels showed.

First Published On : Dec 25, 2016 15:29 IST

PM speak: Thorns for corrupt, roses for the rest

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that after the deadline of 50 days (from November 8 when demonetization was announced), inconvenience faced by honest people would mitigate and trouble would increase for the dishonest.The war against black money will not be called off until victory is achieved, he said. But he offered the dishonest a chance. “There is still some time left and they can still bring themselves into the mainstream of honest ones,” he said. Though the government does not want to destroy such people, it cannot spare them if they loot the common man’s money, Modi said. The Prime Minister was addressing a public rally at the MMRDA ground here after laying the foundation stone for the Arabian sea memorial of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The recent local body elections in Maharashtra, where BJP has emerged as the largest party, prove that people are with the demonetization drive, he said. He said 125 crore people backed his decision. “There are very powerful people, who have enjoyed many benefits in the last seven decades, trying to defeat the demonetization drive. But the country cannot be defeated by such people,” he said.“Some people thought that they can escape by convincing bankers, but those who tried this route not only endangered their future but also that of the bankers,” he said. These people will have to ultimately bow down before 125 crore Indians who would not tolerate dishonesty anymore, he said. He said that 125 crore Indians have now become the baton holders of the war against black money and that is the reason why this war will not stop, he said.

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.

LIVE: Narendra Modi lays foundation for Shivaji Memorial in Mumbai, arrives at BKC

Dec 24, 2016

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    PM Modi talks on demonetisation ​PM Modi assures that the government will take sound economic decisions, will not shy away from difficult decisions which are in the interest of the country. He said, “Demonetisation is an example. It gives short term problems but long time gains.” He said, “India is been seen as bright spot. To see how far we’ve travelled we should look back to 2012-13 when the currency was falling sharply.”

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Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on a day’s visit to Maharashtra on Saturday, where he will lay foundation stones for the grand memorial of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the metro rail projects in Mumbai and Pune.

Modi will inaugurate the newly-built campus of the National Institute of Securities Management in MIDC Patalganga in neighbouring Raigad district.

He will then proceed to the site in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai coast, where the state government is planning to build a mega memorial for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

The Prime Minister’s visit assumes political significance as the high-stake elections to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are just a few months away.

Narendra Modi. PTINarendra Modi. PTI

Narendra Modi. PTI

The main feature of the Shivaji memorial, slated to cost Rs 3,600 crore, will be a 192-metre-tall statue of the iconic Maratha king. The site is a rocky outcrop, roughly 1.5 km from the Raj Bhavan shore.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently said the ‘Shiv Smarak’ will not only be the tallest memorial in the country, but in the entire world. He had thanked Modi for “making it possible.”

Later, Modi will address a public function at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ground in suburban Bandra, after laying foundation stone for two Metro rail projects, Elevated Rail Corridors Project and Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL).

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, whose party is an ally of ruling BJP, is expected to share the dais with Modi at the MMRDA event.

The PM will then leave for Pune, where he will lay the foundation stone of the Pune Metro Rail project. NCP leader Sharad Pawar will share the stage with Modi at this event.

The memorial project has been facing stiff opposition from fisherfolk and environmentalists, who have alleged that it would affect marine life and ecology of the Arabian Sea.

A rally was flagged off at Chembur on Saturday, where representatives from various districts gathered with collections of sand and soil from Chhatrapati Shivaji’s forts across the state.

The rally led by a ‘Shivaji chariot’ will conclude at the Gateway of India, where the Chief Minister will receive the vase carrying water and soil from all districts of the state. This will then be handed over to the Prime Minister and carried to the memorial site.

For the MMRDA event, the government has sent out invitation to over 3,000 VVIPs and dignitaries, including members of the royal family and Shivaji historians.

Ever since it came to power in Maharashtra in October 2014, BJP has been quietly trying to usurp the near-monopoly that bickering ally Shiv Sena has held over the 17th century Maratha king for the last many years.

Ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly election in 2014, BJP had used the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji for electoral gains, with a famous tagline seeking to evoke Shivaji’s blessings.

The government and BJP are trying to make the memorial event a success with hoardings at important places of all districts and also through campaigns in print, TV and social media.

Meanwhile, an official said those who would accompany Modi in the hovercraft to the jalpujan and bhumipujan venue off Mumbai coast, will include Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Fadnavis, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, NCP’s Satara MP Udayanraje Bhosale and BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP from Kolhapur Sambhaji Raje Bhosle.

First Published On : Dec 24, 2016 16:03 IST

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