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PM Modi’s New Year’s Eve Speech: BJP hails speech, Opp attacks PM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Opposition parties attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “failing” to show “sensitivity” towards people’s pain due to demonetisation in his address to the nation, while BJP hailed him for announcing a string of welfare measures for the weaker sections.Slamming Modi for his “lacklustre” address, Congress called him a merchant of “false promises” and wondered why he did not mention how many “lakhs of crores” in black money and fake currencies the government managed to wipe out through demonetisation in the last 50 days.Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged the Prime Minister totally failed to show any sensitivity to people’s pain as no relief from financial restrictions was announced despite widespread expectation.The Left parties attacked him for “failing” to address problems of the poor and farmers caused by demonetisation and charged him with delivering a “budget speech” in view of forthcoming assembly polls in UP and some other states.”He spoke like a pracharak for most of the 45-minute speech…It was like a budget speech,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said.BJP President Amit Shah, however, hailed Modi for welfare measures and called them “great step” towards opening the avenues for the weaker sections of the country.”The prime minister opened up avenues for poor, farmers and youth of this country after the record availability of money in the banks since Independence following the demonetisation. It is a great step for the weaker sections of the country,” he said.Surjewala said though crores of people were reeling under severe difficulties and a large number of them lost their jobs, Modi did not talk about any roadmap for them.”The Prime Minister’s so called cleansing drive took 125 lives of innocent Indians and put crores of people in severe difficulties. But Modi did not uttter a single word for those who died. This is reflection of his insensitivity to the peoples’ pain,” Surjewala said. Attacking Modi for not lifting restrictions on withdrawal of cash even after the 50-day period, the Congress spokesman said the PM only believes in “hitting headlines and giving no deadlines”. “The entire country was listening with curosity that the Prime Minister will lift the restrictions on withdrwal of their hard earned money from banks. But people will still have to reel under this economic anarchy.”The Prime Minister said it will take time to improve the banking system in the new year. It means he belives in hitting headlines and not giving deadlines,” he said.Yechury, who had asked a number of questions to the Prime Minister ahead of the latter’s address to the nation, rued Modi did not announce any compensation for daily wage earners, fishermen, agricultural workers “who were hit hard by demonetisation”.He also questioned why the Prime Minister did not announce debt waiver to farmers while Rs 1.12 crore taken in loans by corporates have been written off.”He (Modi) has talked about hardships of people standing in queues. But he said nothing on compensation to those 115 persons who died in queues while withdrawing money,” Yechury said.In a series of tweets, Shah said, “PM @narendramodi has given a futuristic & visionary address to the nation, sharing a series of welcome initiatives for poor & farmers.”PM @narendramodi wonderfully articulated the passion & enthusiasm with which 125 crore Indians supported the movement against corruption.”BJP leader and Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu also welcomed the announcements, tweeting, “I specially thank PM @narendramodi for reducing interest rate on housing.A big boost to housing sector & big boon to the poor &middle class,” he tweetedComing down hard on the PM, Surjewala said demonetisation has taken away the jobs, hit the farmers and traders and made life difficult for every section of the society but there was no word of relief for them in his address.”Who benefitted from the demonetisation. Only a handful of 50 people who are Modiji’s friend. This is why he said yesterday that the deposits of the people in the banks would be used for strengthening banking system and infrastructure.Noting that there was “nothing new” in PM’s announcements, he said Modi is selling what Congress was implementing whether the Rs 6,000 maternity benefit to pregnant poor women or interest subvention on houses for the poor.Stating that the decision of demonetisation has destroyed the back bone of poor and medial class, Surjewala said Modi should have announced 20 per cent bonus for farmers above MSP, compensation for those who lost job during this period among others.Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the ruling alliance partner in Bihar, said the address proves that even Modi himself has accepted that demonetisation has “failed.” In a series of tweets, party chief Lalu Yadav posed a series of questions to the PM on the demonetisation, saying the people of the country would be standing in the queues from Monday again.”Where is the report card, why did not (Prime Minister Modi) disclose how much black money (has been) unearthed. How much (money) has been deposited, how many jobs lost, how much is the loss to the economy and how it would be compensated,” Lalu tweeted.In another tweet, he sought to know from the PM how much money was spent on printing of new notes.Taking a dig at Modi’s speech, which did not mention any timeline for the return of normalcy in the banking system, he said the PM, who had in his November speech asked the people to bear the pain for 50 days, “did not give any deadline.””Prime Minister publicly misleading the nation is not a good sign. Nobody will have faith in such a Prime Minister,” he tweeted.”The boring speech of today signals that the PM has accepted that demonetisation has failed. Had there been even a single achievement he would have gone to the town, tom-toming it,” he said.”The country will be in the queues again on the eve of the new year, such an expressionless, ineffective and crawling pre-budget speech,” he said.He claimed that the PM has no “remorse” even after taking away the lives of hundreds of people, and 25 lakh people’s jobs.

DNA Evening Must Reads: PM Modi to address nation at 7.30 pm, updates on Mulayam-Akhilesh row, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Yadav vs Yadav: Akhilesh back in SP fold, to make poll candidates list with MulayamFaced with an imminent split which could have drastically reduced his clout, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today revoked the expulsion of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Ramgopal, just a day after they were sacked for ‘indiscipline’. Read more hereAmid demonetization row, Rahul Gandhi leaves country to celebrate New YearAccording to various media reports, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has reportedly left the country to celebrate New Year in London. Read more herePM Modi’s New Year’s Eve Speech at 7:30 PM.Here’s where you can watch PM Modi’s address. BJP forms govt in Arunachal as Pema Khandu & 32 MLAs join partyIn a fast paced development, a BJP government was today installed in Arunachal Pradesh after 33, out of 43 Peoples’ Party of Arunachal (PPA) MLAs led by Chief Minister Pema Khandu, joined the saffron brigade in this politically fragile state. Read more hereAamir Khan’s ‘Dangal’ ROARS at the Box Office, mints Rs 216.12 crore in 8 days!Aamir Khan ‘s Dangal continues its victory marathon at the ticket windows on Day 8 of its release. Read more here

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.

Amid demonetization row, Rahul Gandhi leaves country to celebrate New Year

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to various media reports, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has reportedly left the country to celebrate New Year in London. The Congress VP tweeted: “I will be traveling for the next few days. Happy New Year to everyone, wishing you and your loved ones success & happiness in this coming year.”Rahul Gandhi has been in the thick of the action in recent times, as he has criticised PM Modi for the demonetization move and also alleged that he had information of PM Modi’s personal corruption.Recently, Rahul Gandhi targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi by posing five questions including the amount of black money recovered since November 8 and the number of jobs lost due to the dramatic decision. The Congress vice president took to Twitter asking the Prime Minister as to whom had he consulted before taking the decision and wondered as to why were “experts, economists and RBI not consulted”.His questions have come a day ahead of the Prime Minister’s address to the nation. Rahul sought to know as to who all deposited more than Rs 25 lakhs in bank accounts in six months preceding November 8 note ban decision.”With 50 days over since demonetisation, India is waiting for your answers to these five questions, Modiji. Amount of black money recovered after 8 November 2016? Economic loss to the nation and numbers of jobs lost? How many people died due to demonetisation? Has the compensation been paid? “Whom all did PM consult on demonetisation? Why were experts, economists, RBI not consulted? Who all deposited more than (Rs) 25 lakhs in bank accounts in six months preceding 8th November 2016?”

Mamata Banerjee extends support to Akhilesh Yadav, asks him to stay strong

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Extending her support to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee has wished him well and asked him to stay strong. Sources said, Mamata spoke to Akhilesh last evening for about three minutes.The Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo’s support comes in the wake of Akhilesh’s suspension from the Samajwadi Party for six years. Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav yesterday expelled Akhilesh and national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav from the party for six years over indiscipline.This move comes after Akhilesh had released a list of 235 candidates out of the total 403 seats for upcoming state assembly elections on Thursday, rejecting the list announced by Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday. Akhilesh’s name did not figure in the first list. Mulayam said his son being the Chief Minister, can contest from any assembly seat he wishes to.

Demonetization: PM Narendra Modi slams Congress for stalling debate, openly protecting dishonest

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>PM Narendra Modi has slammed the Opposition in his recent interview to the IndiaToday for stalling debate in the Parliament following demonetization. He also accused them for using the Upper and Lower House for ‘openly supporting and protecting the dishonest’.”While Parliament sessions being washed out is a major concern, this blatant endorsement of dishonesty is even more disconcerting for the nation. Debate is critical in a democracy. Had they allowed a debate to take place, it would have revealed a number of dimensions of this mammoth exercise to the nation,” PM Modi said.He said he wanted to speak in both houses but couldn’t as the Congress didn’t allow it, despite the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s appeal to them, as they did not want to a debate in the Parliament over the issue of note ban. He also dismissed the allegations by the Congress that the demonetization was done for political gains. He said that the while the party claims that the note ban was a political decision it also blames the Centre of making the common man suffer. Questioning the two contradictory accusations, Modi said that Congress’ attack on him was illogical. “Maybe, as members of the Opposition, they have to conjure something up to criticise me about, however illogical it may be. I sympathise with their difficulty,” ModiHe also reiterated his earlier attack on the Congress that former prime minister Indira Gandhi had junked the proposal of note ban – as claimed by Madhav Godbole’s in his book Unfinished Innings: Recollections and Reflections of a Civil Servant.- fearing backlash in elections. Rebutting Manmohan SinghModi said indicated that it was ironic that the former prime minister Manmohan Singh called the note ban “monumental mismanagement” as despite Singh’s various high profile roles in the government for 45 years, many in the country ‘continued to live in poverty and deprivation”.He also said that by calling demonetization ‘organised loot’ , Singh was probably referring to the various scams under his own tenure as the prime minister in the UPA governance.

TMC MP Tapas Paul arrested in Rose Valley case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Trinamul Congress (TMC) Lok Sabha MP and actor Tapas Paul was arrested on Friday after a four-hour-long questioning in two sessions at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) office here for his alleged association with the Rose Valley Group.Paul had been the director of Brand Value Communication, the media division of the Group. His wife Nandini Paul, who was also an employee of the company, was also questioned on Friday.Sources said that he was arrested following several inconsistencies during interrogation. “He was mainly asked five questions: whether he had taken cash from the Rose Valley Group, what were the amenities he enjoyed as the director of the media wing, when had he written to the Centre against the chit fund companies of the state, why he had not mentioned Rose Valley when he had mentioned the Saradha Group and whether he had continued taking favours from the company even after stepping down from his post,” said a senior CBI official.He also said that the CBI had reasons to believe that Paul used to take cash from the company even after detaching himself from it. Sources said that Rose Valley employees had been questioned in the last one-and-a-half years and it was found out that Paul had met Goutam Kundu, who owned the company several times at different five-star hotels which Paul couldn’t give a satisfactory explanation to.Paul had been a TMC MLA for two terms from the Alipore constituency from 2001 till 2009 and had been representing the party in the Lok Sabha from 2009 from the Krishnanagar Lok Sabha constituency.Paul would be taken to Bhubaneswar and would be produced at a court there on Saturday and CBI officials said that they would seek Paul’s custody.In June 2010, he had written to Sebi and RBI against the chit fund companies in Bengal but had not mentioned Rose Valley at that time. Officials said that he had said that he did not know that Rose Valley raised money like a chit fund company but the CBI didn’t buy the theory.Another TMC MP, Sudip Bandopadhyay, had also been summoned by the CBI and he is believed to reach the CBI office on January 3.Interestingly, Paul’s arrest comes 50 days after the demonetization drive, against which the TMC had been vocal from the very beginning. Naturally, it has given rise to several political reactions from the TMC and other Opposition parties. TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that it was political vendetta and that she was not surprised and she was not afraid too. “We have been protesting the demonetization policy and knew something like this will happen. They may arrest more of our MPs but we will not deter from our protest,” Mamata said at a press conference.State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said that there may be other bigger names who should not be spared. “CBI investigation should be carried out the right way and the high and mighty should not be spared if found guilty. At the same time, no innocent person should be harassed,” he told DNA.CPI(M) MLA Sujan Chakraborty said, “Why only Tapas? He is not even the ear, which when pulled the head will be caught. Tapas is at the most the hand. Anyone who possesses money which has been siphoned off the common people should be arrested.”State BJP president Dilip Ghosh, however, said that it was only a matter of time. “It was inevitable. Why was he not arrested so far was the question. Another MP is also going to be questioned. He has been summoned by the CBI, but he is not going there probably he knows that he will be arrested too. There will be more such arrests, given the kind of corruption within the TMC,” Ghosh said.

Demonetization will cause 1.5% GDP loss

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former finance minister and Congress spokesperson P Chidambaram on Friday pegged the hit to the GDP at 1.5 per cent that is Rs 1.5 lakh crore as against former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who had pegged the loss to 2 per cent or more. He said the govt should not misread people’s patience as being happy with the demonetization, asking the Prime Minister to put an end to all restrictions on withdrawals of own money by the people and grant them back the economic freedom to withdraw as much money as they want in the new year.He said it is fair to expect that there shall be no queues outside bank branches and ATMs, that all ATMs will be open round the clock, fully stocked with currency notes, the bank will pay the money written on the cheque and not ask the drawer to draw another cheque of smaller amount.Dropping a hint that the whole demonetization exercise was PM Modi’s own brainwave, Chidambaram asked for making public the agenda note of the board of governors of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Cabinet note on the demonetization on November 8. He pointed out that RBI Governor Urjit Patel and only three non-official directors of the RBI Board met in Delhi at 5.30 pm on November 5 and took the decision to recommend demonetization of 85 per cent of the Indian currency in just 30 minutes. He wants to know how the governor and ‘three wise men’ reached such a momentous conclusion in so short a period and said that it should be made public what was discussed and if there were any dissents.Chidambaram said it would bring out the truth that everything was prescribed to both the RBI Board and the union ministers at the Cabinet meeting to have the command performance (as per the PM’s wish). He said he only hopes that there would not be another ‘surgical strike’ of this dimension on the people. Taunting at the BJP leaders describing the bank note withdrawal as a ‘surgical strike’, he said, “it should rather put all surgeons to shame.”

Chhattisgarh: BJP registers victory in municipal council polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP on Friday registered victory in the Bhilai-Charoda municipal corporation and Sarangarh municipal council polls putting to rest speculation that demonetisation would impact party’s prospects in the recently held civic elections in Chhattisgarh.”BJP’s nominee Chandrakanta Mandle won the mayor’s seat in Bhilai-Charoda, defeating Congress candidate Jyoti Banjare by a margin of 4922 votes,” a state election official said. Mandle received 27,184 votes followed by Banjare in the second position of the tally with 22,262 votes, he added.Likewise, BJP’s Amit Agrawal defeated Congress’ Suraj Tiwari for the post of president of Sarangarh Municipal Council by 1096 votes. Agrawal secured 6221 votes, while Tiwari got 5125 votes.BJP put up a good show in Bhilai-Charoda winning 16 out of 40 wards (for corporators) while the main Opposition Congress managed to get 13 and remaining 11 went to Independent candidates.Besides, BJP also won byelection held in four wards for corporators and Independent candidates emerged victorious in 2 wards (by-poll).”The victory clearly indicates that it is peoples’ stamp of approval for demonetisation decision of Prime Minister. It is also a signal that people of the state will bring BJP to power for the fourth consecutive time in the next 2018 assembly election,” state BJP chief Dharamlal Kaushik told reporters.The victory that came on the 50th day of demonetisation brought cheer to Chief Minister Raman Singh led BJP who had suffered a setback in the urban body election for 10 municipal corporations held in 2014-15.Congress had won four out of 10 corporations then while the ruling BJP was reduced to four, two less from previous time in that election.Besides, rest of the two seats were won by Independent candidates.

Former Union Minister Balasaheb Vikhe Patil passes away after prolonged illness

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Union Minister and Congress leader Eknathrao alias ‘Balasaheb’ Vikhe Patil passed away at his residence in Loni village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra on Friday evening following prolonged illness, his family said. He was 84.Vikhe Patil largely kept away from public life in the last couple of years due to his illness. His son Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil is a senior Congress leader and currently the Leader of Opposition in the state assembly.Though a Congressman most of his career, Balasaheb was elected to Lok Sabha on Shiv Sena ticket in 1998 and became Minister of State for Finance in the NDA government. He was subsequently elevated as Minister for Heavy Industries. He returned to the Congress fold in 2004.His father, Vitthalrao Vikhe-Patil, was instrumental in setting up Asia’s first cooperative sugar mill at Loni.Born on April 10, 1932, Balasaheb Vikhe Patil first entered the Lok Sabha in 1971 from Ahmednagar district and continued to represent Kopargaon Lok Sabha constituency for the next 20 years.He also had a brief stint as president of Maharashtra Samajwadi Congress, a Congress splinter group, during 1977-79.Vikhe Patil family commanded a strong political base in the Ahmednagar area through a network of cooperative societies and educational institutes including medical and engineering colleges.He was also a founder president of Maharashtra Pani Parishad, an NGO which focused on efficient use of water and training of farmers.He received the Padma Bhushan in 2010.

Total mismanagement and administrative collapse: P Chidambaram flays PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying since 50 days of the demonetization drive are over, all restrictions should be removed and normalcy should be restored.’It is fair to expect that there will be no queues outside bank branches and ATMs. It is fair to expect that all ATMs will be open round the clock and fully stocked with currency notes. It is fair to expect that the bank branch will pay out the money written on the cheque and not direct the drawer to write another cheque for a smaller amount,’ Chidambaram said while addressing media.Chidambaram sarcastically said that only the Prime Minister can provide an assurance on the removal of restrictions after 50 days of demonetization as the opposition has been dubbed as supporters of black money hoarders and tax evaders by him.’I wish I could hold out assurances on the matter (demonetization), but none of us in the opposition can, because the government has dubbed all of us in the opposition as supporters of black money hoarders and tax evaders,’ he said.Condemning the government for implementing a currency ban without prior planning, Chidambaram reiterated his opinion of demonetization being a case of total mismanagement.’I had also cautioned that the test of demonetization lies in the manner in which it will be implemented. It is now abundantly clear that the whole exercise was undertaken without forethought and planning; without consulting key officials; without understanding the crucial role of money in circulation’ Altogether, the whole exercise has been a case of total mismanagement, administrative collapse and widespread corruption,’ he said.Pointing towards government’s changing stand on the announcement, Chidambaram called it an absurd and undesirable goal. ‘The government has tried to change the narrative from black money and corruption to a cashless economy. No economy can become — or has become – totally cashless. We support encouraging high-value transactions to adopt the digital mode, but to insist that even low-value transactions should go cashless is an absurd and undesirable goal,’ he said.The minister also put forward his two demands and urged the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to make it public- 1. The Agenda note and the minutes of the meeting of the Board of Directors of RBI held on November 8, 2016; and2. The Note for Cabinet on demonetization placed before the Cabinet on November 8, 2016.Prime Minister Modi is all set to address the nation on New Year’s Eve regarding the same issue of demonetization, which marked its 50 days on Friday.

Fresh twist in Arunachal Pradesh, Pema Khandu claims support of 49 MLAs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As a fresh political drama unfolded in Arunachal Pradesh after Chief Minister Pema Khandu was suspended from PPA along with six other MLAs, his government on Friday claimed majority support and the BJP backed him, but the ruling party said there will be change in leadership.The Pema Khandu government claimed support of 49 of the 60 MLAs, including 35 of Peoples Party of Arunachal (PPA) legislators, a day after he was suspended from his own party.Government spokesperson Bamang Felix claimed that 35 out of the 43 PPA MLAs have reposed their faith and allegiance in the leadership of Khandu.”We have support of 49 MLAs including 35 PPA, 12 BJP along with one associate BJP member and one independent,” he claimed at a press conference here.”Everything is going normally as usual and the chief minister is still enjoying absolute majority from PPA, BJP and independent MLAs,” Felix said in response to queries.The PPA, which has total 43 MLAs, had midnight last night temporarily suspended Khandu, deputy chief minister Chhowna Mein and five other MLAs from the primary membership of the party for their alleged “anti-party activities”.Stating that there was no question of change in leadership, Felix said, “We are looking at the legal aspects of the suspension of seven MLAs including Khandu.” “The PPA is not a single man party. Whatever decision was taken by the party’s president Kahfa Bengia was his own.”We are trying to sort out the differences among the party MLAs and our door is open for all,” the spokesman added.Responding to a query on BJP s claim that process is on for the PPA MLAs to join it, Felix said that since PPA is an alliance partner of BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) government “no such question arises”.Bengia on his part said that Takam Pario, PHED minister, is likely to be the next chief minister.”The sudden decision of the PPA is not acceptable to us as they have never discussed with us. In the interest of development of the state and its people, BJP cannot be a party to change of government every six months,” BJP legislature party leader Tamiyo Taga told a press conference.Taga, who is also the Textile and Handicraft Minister, further said that the party has decided to support Khandu on the floor of the assembly if the Governor issues directives for a floor test.Khandu broke away from the Congress along with 42 lawmakers in September this year, managing a coup that suddenly left the party out of power in the state.Arunachal has been battling political instability since December last year when Congress dissidents revolted against former chief minister Nabam Tuki.After a series of dramatic developments, which included a special session held at a hotel to vote out Tuki, Congress rebel Kalikho Pul became chief minister in February with the help of 11 BJP lawmakers.The Congress then moved Supreme Court, which turned the clock back and restored Tuki’s government.But Tuki was out within days as he did not enjoy a majority in the 60-member assembly.Pul, who insisted that he be reinstated as chief minister, was left alone in the last minute when lawmakers supposedly backing him shifted their loyalties to Khandu.Pul committed suicide in August and a month later, Khandu walked out of Congress with 42 lawmakers and joined the PPA.

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

TMC MP and actor Tapas Pal arrested by CBI in connection with Rose Valley chit fund scam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Trinamool Congress MP from Krishnanagar constituency, Tapas Pal was arrested by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the Rose Valley Chit Fund Scam for money laundering. Pal was arrested by CBI officials after four hours of questioning on Friday, when he appeared at the CBI office in CGO Complex of Kolkata. Sources in the CBI reveal that several inconsistencies had surfaced in his statements and he was not cooperating with the investigators. Officials are likely to take him to Bhubaneswar for further questioning. CBI had sent a notice to Pal on Tuesday to appear before them and give details of the transactions that took place when he was the director of the Films Division in the Rose Valley Group. He was also asked to produce documents of the transactions. Earlier, his accountant was also questioned by the CBI. Reacting to his arrest, Trinamool Congress spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP, Derek O’Brien said, “So now political atrocities against those opposed to #NoteBandi and with the movement. We will fight it out.” On the other hand, opposition parties welcomed the arrest of Pal and claimed that the noose will further tighten on other Trinamool Congress leaders. “Long awaited and much delayed arrest,” said CPI(M) leader Md.Salim.

Exclusive | After Modi took office, there are fewer communal clashes, focus on development: Venkaiah Naidu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Has demonetization served its purpose of taking out black money from the system?Yes, it has done so. It is a vaccine against the scam and it has done the job.Critics say that a large amount of black money is abroad and not in India and all cash is not black.This is wrong to say that most of the black money is stashed abroad. You may recall that the first decision taken was constituting an SIT to find the black money stashed abroad. Secondly, we also came out with a bill in Parliament on the funds stashed abroad. Then we took initiative in G20 and followed it up by entering into the agreement on multiple avoidance tax treaty with Mauritius and Cyprus, which we then followed up with Switzerland and then with the US on FETA. PM has been consistent. PM also gave time to Indian people to declare the money. He has been doing things systematically. The black money is now in the open and this is the biggest achievement. Every rupee is being accounted for. There will be scrutiny.The scheme caused public inconvenience. Was it avoidable?It was not possible. It was like a cancer spread into the country. The entire system was affected. Serious action was required. In 1971, the former finance minister YB Chavan recommended demonetization. Justice Wanchoo committee also recommended it. The Congress didn’t act upon it. In the 1980s, the bill on benami transactions was passed but the government did not notify it. We did it. In 2012, the Supreme Court of India directed the government to form a mechanism to bring back black money. This government did it. UPA slept over it. One after another, there were reminders. This chemotherapy has been administered. Some people are complaining that it will lead to hair fall. So one has to choose whether you want hair fall or one wants to fall itself. People welcomed it as a gamechanger. People wanted drastic action and we have done it. We have 130 crore population. We had a parallel economy, drug mafia, a high number of fake notes and a neighbour that promotes terror etc. Everywhere black money was prevalent. We delivered a death blow and that is why there is so much hue and cry. I admit that there is an inconvenience. It might continue for few more days because people are used to cash. Arrangements could not be made because advance information could not be given. It is a temporary pain for long term gain.When will the caps go? When do we expect the liquidity to return to normal?PM has already assured that pain will be eased step by step.On this issue, the Opposition did not allow the Parliament to function. Do you expect demonetization to cast its shadow on the Budget Session as well?I hope it doesn’t happen. Parliament is to debate and discuss, which could not happen. At the end, the Opposition wanted a debate but early on they avoided the debate and disrupted (it). Then they went to the President. The government was willing and PM was ready to intervene and respond. In fact, the debate had started and Opposition had fielded Anand Sharma, Pramod Tiwari and Manmohan Singh. They fielded him as the third candidate but that is the choice of the party. Mayawati, Ram Gopal Yadav, Piyush Goel and others spoke, including me, but they changed the goal posts and asked for the Prime Minister. PM came but (they) didn’t allow the house to function. They lost a golden opportunity for a debate. It was a proper forum to highlight the issue, but they missed it.There is a perception that senior leaders of BJP and Congress don’t talk, unlike in the days when Vajpayee was Prime Minister?Everyone has a different style. Vajpayee’s style is different, Modi’s style is different and then Nehru, Indira and Rajiv had a different style. PM told the Opposition that we are ready for discussion but it didn’t happen. I know you have in mind what Advani ji said but I’m also sad and unhappy that Parliament wasn’t allowed to function. Then I always tell the Opposition, I propose, you oppose and let the House dispose.Rahul Gandhi has attacked PM on the issue of demonetization and Sahara papers. Your response?Rahul Gandhi is behaving in the most irresponsible and immature manner. My personal advice is that he should graduate himself, otherwise he would be failing himself and his party in the process. Personal criticism has been out of frustration. Congress has called Modi names. They called him maut ka saudagar, then Rahul Gandhi called him khoon ka dalali and then they called him Hitler, Mussolini, Gaddafi and former external affairs minister called him ‘impotent’. This has not helped them and their stature has gone down.The principal charge of the Opposition is that 50 odd families are being helped through the process of demonetization?Absurd and meaningless. They shouted these slogans in Parliament. Adani and Ambani. They said, “Modi hai hai”. I got up and told them, “Adani and Ambani, aapka meherbani”.Adani and Ambani were not born during Modi’s regime. They were born and brought up during Congress regime. Who are these 50 families and how did they prosper? 1.86 lakh crore of the bank money which has become NPA was all given during the Congress regime by these people. All the concession to Ambani and Adani was given during Congress regime. Now, in order to portray us as pro business and against poor people, they are shouting these slogans. We are different. We feel that both industry and agriculture is important to country’s interest. Each should be respected. (In) media, there is black sheep. Every sector has a black sheep. Take action against them. Vijay Mallya was given loans during Congress regime. The loans were restructured during Congress’ tenure. This will boomerang on them. These are cheap tactics.BJP in 2016 was able to make its presence felt in the Northeast by winning Assam. What are the prospects of the party in Uttar Pradesh?Absolutely. BJP is becoming a real all-India party. When I joined this party, people would make fun of me that I’m joining a Brahmin baniya, urban, North India party. Today, we have MPs throughout the country. We will win Karnataka. We have done well in Kerala. Our votes have gone up. In Tamil Nadu, we have prospects because of the vacuum and the demise of Amma. In UP, the stakes are high and we will come to Parliament. We got 71 seats in Lok Sabha. People have seen the performance of SP and BSP. The alternative is BJP.Doesn’t it worry you that demonetization might impact BJP adversely?That is what is being discussed by media. Going by the grassroots feedback, our appeal has increased. This is the feed back I’m getting from UP. Look at the result of Chandigarh. We got 20 seats. Chandigarh is a big city. People from UP and Bihar stay there. In Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan local body elections, we have done well. Even after demonetization.Prime Minister has invested his political capital in a scheme like demonetization. Do you think it was worth the risk?Yes, it was worth taking. We have not come to rule the country. We want to develop it. He is known for taking risks. He has taken it up as a challenge. He went for a surgical strike against our neighbour, who is interfering in our affairs. He is known for taking tough and bold decisions. He wants to improve the living condition of the people.Last year, the debate on nationalism and citizenship dominated universities and many areas of our society. In retrospect, how do you see it?What is wrong with discussing nationalism? Nation means people and people means all communities. It means all sections. It means Bharat Mata ki jai. It means Daliton ki jai, Christian ko jai, Jains ko jai, sabhi backwards ko jai. It encompasses every community. We should feel proud of it. Earlier, it was a curse to talk about nationalism. Now people feel proud and people talk about it. 122 countries have recognized yoga. There nothing wrong with it.Many scholars would say that there is a difference between ethnic and civic nationalism.Perverts. This because of 2000 years of foreign rule and Macaulay. This education system has gone into mind. The influence of socialist model has also affected us. People have change and the mandate has changed, but people in certain sections who were well entrenched, their minds have not changed. They have lost the battle but still holding key positions like media, also the so-called leftists and so-called progressives.There was a big clash in the Dhulagarh of West Bengal. Hundreds of shops were looted and people were thrown out of houses but so called secular media is neither reporting it nor discussing it. On the other hand, Zee TV has reported it prominently but an FIR has been launched against them. The so-called people sitting in the Lutyen’s Zone of Delhi, the big progressive people aren’t talking about it. Is talking about Hindus a crime in this country? This is perverted secularism and that is why people have rejected it. Secondly, the ultra-leftist people take up the issue of JNU and shout slogans about Hyderabad but society remains peaceful. Our image has improved. I don’t know why this perverted meaning is being given to Hindu. It is a way of life, not a religion. It is a way of living. We don’t want to discriminate against people on the basis of religion and race. After Modi’s coming in, there are less communal clashes and the focus is on development and good government. My opponents lost the elections badly and they have not been able to digest it. That is why they are attacking Modi personally and indulging in disinformation campaign.Lastly, did the surgical strike change the nature of play between Pakistan and India?I don’t think that Pakistan would understand but a message has gone. It was not for a political purpose but it became inevitable to show the world and to Pakistan that India is capable of retaliation. That has been done. It has raised the morale of the Indian armed forces and it has raised the morale of the Indian people living in India and also abroad.

Demonetization: Cash crunch making some in BJP & allies fear poll prospects in several states

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cash shortages weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to abolish large currency notes is 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.
ALSO READ Demonetization broke the myth that powerful can’t be harmed: Shivraj Singh ChouhanInterviews 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.
ALSO READ Demonetization: Jaitley misleading people with his statements, says Congress”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 western 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.
ALSO READ Demonetization: PM Modi criticises opposition for ‘openly protecting the dishonest’, slams Manmohan SinghOf 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 GVL 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 “demonetization” 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 the southern state Andhra Pradesh and a political ally of Modi, abruptly distanced himself from the move.Modi and senior members of his cabinet defend demonetization. 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.”

Demonetization: Jaitley misleading people with his statements, says Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress Party has accused Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of quoting wrong facts and misleading the people of this country with his statements with regard to demonetization.”It is very surprising that Arun Jaitley is giving such a peculiar statement, saying that there was no unrest, but it has been reported that that more than 100 people have died in the country,” Congress leader Pradeep Bhattacharya.”I cannot believe that Arun Jaitley does not know this thing. Definitely he knows this thing in spite of that he said something wrong and he thought if I say something wrong people will believe it, but now, people have started thinking that he is saying untruth and trying to mislead the people of the country,” he added.Bhattacharya said he can very emphatically and very clearly say that people who have died and those who are suffering due to present situation will never forgive this type of painful situation.Responding to Jaitley’s statement that the people are supporting the demonetization initiative, the Congress leader said, the finance minister clearly knows that people are not supporting them.”What the people would do, people are hesitating, they are showing their grievances very clearly, they have shown it very clearly that that they cannot accept this kind of functioning by the Government of India,” he said.

Govt fields senior ministers to highlight achievements, defend demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the Congress chalking out a national agitation against the demonetization from next week, the government here on Thursday went all out to defend its note ban move, rolling out figures to prove that its drive to transition to a cashless economy had takers. The government fielded three senior ministers — Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu and Ministry of Information Technology Ravi Shakar Prasad — to put forth an optimistic picture and highlight its achievements. Countering the opposition, the ruling BJP will also launch a massive political campaign to make people aware about digital economy.Jaitley said clear results from the notes ban were now coming in, tax collections were up, so was the life insurance business, petroleum consumption, tourism and investments in mutual funds. The minister countered naysayers who predicted that demonetization would have a severely adverse effect on the economy. “What was being predicted by the critics has to have a rationale with the revenue collections. Assessments can be unreal but revenue is real,” Jaitley said, adding that “in all the categories (of indirect tax) till November 30, there has been a significant increase in tax collection.” Till December 19, the income tax collection had gone up by 14.4%, he said.Giving a breakdown of central indirect tax collection, he said that the excise duty collection went up by 43.5%, service tax by 25.7% and customs duties by 5.6%. Even on a month-on-month basis, the tax collection this November was higher, he said.Prasad said, “Now the country is functioning at such a fast pace, but if the Congress party can’t see this, then it’s their loss.” He accused the main opposition party of being “the biggest patron of the corrupt and corruption”.Similarly, at a separate press conference, Naidu said that the note withdrawal was an effective Anti–Scam Vaccine to prevent scams taking place through corruption and black money generation. Attacking the Opposition, Naidu said that those rattled by the prospect of the government going after those who made illegitimate deposits in banks and bought benami properties were making such baseless allegations. “It is a cheap tactic to dilute the public perception about the potential benefits of note withdrawal. Government will not be retracted by such diversionary tactics,” he said.He further said that note withdrawal is a part of the grand anti-corruption strategy launched by the government in pursuit of the mandate give by the people in 2014 general elections but that some vested interested were questioning the initiatives against black money and corruption.Highlighting his government’s achievements, Naidu said his scandal-free governance, effective inflation management, increased Foreign Domestic Investments, enhanced pace of infrastructure creation, stepped up economic growth rate despite adversities, financial inclusion, transparent resource allocation, increased accountability and transparency in governance, positive macroeconomic parameters were among the achievements of the government in the past few years.Giving details about the tourism sector, he said that there had been notable growth in the comparative figures of Foreign Tourists Arrival (FTA) and Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) and online sale of e–tickets after demonetization. The Minister said that earnings from cashless ticketing in Railways has increased by 30% and the number of people booking reserved tickets online using credit and debit cards or online transactions was at 58% in November, but had now reached over 75%.He also said that more than 26 crore accounts were opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana as a step towards financial inclusion. The Make in India initiative ensured enhanced the partnership between the government and the industry, he said, and India’s ease of business ranking had improved from 142 to 130 in the world.Naidu said that about 3.09 crore farmers were covered under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana in 2015-16 and 3.66 crores this year. He stated that over 19 lakh youth were trained in useful skills under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana. Under the Stand Up India scheme, Rs 500 crore had been allocated in 2016-17 budget. Over 2.5 lakh entrepreneurs had benefited from the scheme so far, Naidu said. He also said that 1.22 crore LPG connections had been provided to BPL households under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. On the soil health card scheme for farmers, he said that over 2.5 crore health cards had been distributed so far.Prasad too opined that the demonetization was a big success and said that digital payments had gone up by anywhere between 300% to 1500% following the move. At another press conference, Prasad, who is also the law minister, said that the government was taking every step to make digital payments foolproof. “We are reinforcing all cyber security walls,” Prasad said, adding that the IT ministry will come out with a detailed plan in this regard within a fortnight. Prasad further said that the government was also considering whether amendments were required in the Income-Tax Act to plug loopholes which may have provided tax evaders a legitimate way of legalising their black money.

Demonetisation Day 50: Deadline to deposit old Rs 500, Rs 1,000 notes ends today; crunch to continue

New Delhi: The 50-day deadline to deposit the old Rs 500/1,000 notes in banks comes to an end today but the cash crunch and queues before ATMs are likely to continue for some more time as currency printing presses have failed to meet the huge demand for new bills.

People, however, will still have time to exchange the currency notes at designated RBI counters till March 31 after giving valid reasons for not depositing defunct notes in their accounts by December 30.

The government is also planning to come out with an Ordinance making possession of old Rs 500/1,000 notes beyond a specified limit for numismatic purposes illegal and punishable.

PTIPTI

PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a surprise announcement on 8 November declared the old Rs 500 and 1,000 notes invalid.

The banks started accepting deposits in scrapped notes from November 10. However, very few ATMs opened on 11 November, as most of the machines had to be recalibrated for people
to get cash which was available in Rs 2,000 denomination.

Saddled with cash crunch, banks resorted to rationing of valid currency notes and fixed a withdrawal limit of Rs 24,000 per account in a week. Although the overall situation at banks has improved, ATMs still have to do some catching up. Many cash vending machines are still out of cash even after 50 days since demonetisation.

The government move was sharply criticised by the Opposition parties led by Congress and TMC.

With every passing day, the number of circulars from the government or the Reserve Bank kept on rising that led to confusion among bankers as well as the public. Bankers believe that restrictions on withdrawal of cash from banks and ATMs are likely to continue beyond December 30.

After the demonetisation, the government had fixed a limit of Rs 24,000 per week on withdrawal from bank accounts and Rs 2,500 per day from ATMs in view of the currency crunch.
The government and the RBI has not specified when the restrictions will be withdrawn. Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa had said the withdrawal cap would be reviewed after December
30.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 09:01 IST

Gujarat: Results for 2891 gram panchayats out; BJP, Congress claim win

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The results for 2,891 out of 8,624 gram panchayats in Gujarat, which went to polls on December 27, came out on Thursday, following which both BJP and opposition Congress claimed their respective victories.As soon as the results stared tricking in, at least two incidents of clashes were reported between groups of rival candidates in Vadodara and Banskantha districts.While the ruling party has hailed their “win” in the aftermath of demonetization and attributed it to the “village development policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” the Congress dismissed it as “tall claims” of BJP and the “victory of Rahul Gandhi over Modi”.Gram Panchayat polls are not fought on party symbols as candidates need to fight on their personal capacity and each voter is required to cast two votes, one to elect sarpanch and another for electing panchayat member for his ward.Votes are being counted manually as EVMs were not used in polls. “Till evening, counting is over for 2,891 gram panchayats, both for members as well as for (the posts of) sarpanch. Since counting is done manually, the process would go on till late night,” a State Election Commission official said.BJP has claimed “80%” of elected representatives are associated with the party. “Out of those elected till now, 80% representatives have the BJP’s support. In coming days, BJP will organise ‘sarpanch conclaves’ across state to establish better coordination,” state unit BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said. He said the poll outcome is the “victory of BJP after demonetization and of policies of village development adopted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.Congress said “70%” elected sarpanchs are associated with the party some way or the other. “Around 70% sarpanchs elected today were directly or indirectly associated with Congress and its ideology. It’s very clear that BJP has lost this election. We are surprised about BJP’s tall claims,” state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki said at a press conference. He said rural voters are not happy with BJP, mainly because of the Centre’s demonetization move.”It was a fight between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi and it was Rahulji who came out victorious. Rural voters rejected BJP mainly because the note ban decision, which has crippled rural economy,” he added.In the polling held in 8,624 village panchayats across for the election of members as well as sarpanchs on Tuesday, about 80.12% voter turnout was recorded.Around 1.20 lakh candidates were in fray for 53,116 wards, whereas 26,800 candidates contested 8,527 seats of sarpanchs. The counting process is being held at 252 places across Gujarat with the help of more than 17,300 polling staff.As per State Election Commission, total registered voters for the polls stood at over 1.65 crore, including 79.6 lakh women.Meanwhile, a clash broke out at Polo Ground in Vadodara as one Kanubhai Rabari was declared winner.Kanubhai, who won as sarpanch of Kotali village, was allegedly attacked by his opponent Jagdish Rabari who lost. “As Kanubhai’s supporters were celebrating, they were attacked by a group led by Jagdish Rabari with iron rod and stick,” a Navapura police official said, adding Kanubhai was rushed to city civil hospital in a critical condition.An FIR was lodged against six persons, including Jagdish, under various sections of IPC including 307 (attempt to murder). No arrest has been made so far.A similar clash took place at Jorapura village in Banaskantha district when candidates belonging to Thakor community attacked each other.At least three persons, including two women from rival groups, were injured in the incident, police said. “Two groups of candidates who had contested Gram Panchayat polls clashed with each other after the result was announced, leaving some persons of both the groups injured including two women who sustained fracture,” said Banaskantha SP Neeraj Badgujar. He said an FIR was filed against 15 persons under various sections of IPC.

Get in line: Friday is your last chance to deposit old Rs 500, 1000 notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 50-day deadline to deposit the old Rs 500/1,000 notes in banks comes to an end on Friday but the cash crunch and queues before ATMs are likely to continue for some more time as currency printing presses have failed to meet the huge demand for new bills.People, however, will still have time to exchange the currency notes at designated RBI counters till March 31 after giving valid reasons for not depositing defunct notes in their accounts by December 30.The government is also planning to come out with an Ordinance making possession of old Rs 500/1,000 notes beyond a specified limit for numismatic purposes illegal and punishable.Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a surprise announcement on November 8 declared the old Rs 500 and 1,000 notes invalid.The banks started accepting deposits in scrapped notes from November 10. However, a very few ATMs opened on November 11, as most of the machines had to be recalibrated, for people to get cash which was available in Rs 2,000 denomination.Saddled with cash crunch, banks resorted to rationing of valid currency notes and fixed a withdrawal limit of Rs 24,000 per account in a week. Although the overall situation at banks has improved, ATMs still have to do some catching up. Many cash vending machines are still out of cash even after 50 days since demonetization.The government move was sharply criticised by the Opposition parties led by Congress and TMC. With every passing day, the number of circulars from the government or the Reserve Bank kept on rising that led to confusion among bankers as well as the public.Bankers believe that restrictions on withdrawal of cash from banks and ATMs are likely to continue beyond December 30.After the demonetization, the government had fixed a limit of Rs 24,000 per week on withdrawal from bank accounts and Rs 2,500 per day from ATMs in view of the currency crunch.The government and the RBI has not specified when the restrictions will be withdrawn. Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa had said the withdrawal cap would be reviewed after December 30.

Patriotism should not result in ‘blinkered’ approaches in interpreting history: President Mukherjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lamenting the “unfortunate tendency” to take umbrage at the expression of any view considered hostile, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said the “freedom to doubt, disagree and dispute” must be protected.Mukherjee also said patriotism should not result in “blinkered” approaches in interpreting history or a compromise with truth in order to justify an argument of choice.Asserting that the greatest strength of India is its pluralism and social, cultural, linguistic diversity, he said the country’s traditions have always celebrated the “argumentative Indian and not the intolerant Indian.” The President made the remarks after inaugurating the 77th session of the Indian History Congress in Thiruvananthapuram.There has been an “unfortunate tendency” in the country from time-to-time to take umbrage at the expression of any view perceived to be hostile to our social or cultural institutions past or present, Mukherjee said.Similarly, critical appraisals of heroes and national icons of the past have been met with hostility or sometimes even violence, he pointed out. “Freedom to doubt, disagree and dispute intellectually must be protected as an essential pillar of democracy. Nothing should lie outside realm of discussion and argument and such freedom is vital for the progress in any field especially in a craft like history,” he said.In his address, the President asked historians to be as objective as possible in their approach to history.Advocating that reason and moderation should be the guide, Mukherjee said, “It is natural to love one’s country and see as much glory in its past as one can detect. But, patriotism should not result in blinkered approaches in interpreting history or a compromise with truth in order to justify an argument of choice.””No society is perfect and history must be also seen as a guide on what went wrong and what were the contradictions, deficiencies and weaknesses of the past,” he said.”An objective pursuit of history, such as our best historians have attempted, requires an impartial mind of a judge and not the mind of an advocate,” the President said.”We must keep our eyes open for unfamiliar ideas and be ready to consider a range of different inferences or assumptions,” he said. He also said there should not be any conflict or contradiction between the promotion of regional history and the pursuit of the country’s history as a whole.Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged that attempts were being made by vested interests to distort history to suit the present government at the Centre.Mukherjee released the first copy of the proceedings of the Congress by presenting it to the Chief Minister.

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.

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.

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.

Rahul dares PM Modi to reveal names of Swiss account holders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of protecting black money hoarders and demanded that the names of Swiss account holders be revealed to the nation.”He (Modi) said he is going to reveal the names of those who hold Swiss accounts. The Swiss Government has given the list to Narendra Modi ji. When is he going to bring the list in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha” We want to know who the corrupt are. He should also tell why he is trying to protect these defaulters,” said Gandhi. Gandhi also continued his outburst against the government”s demonetization move and demanded answers from the Prime Minister.”Since November 8, how much black money has been recovered” How much economic loss has the nation faced” How many people became unemployed” How many people lost their lives due to demonetization and if the government has provided compensation to them and if not then why. When the PM took this decision whom did he ask, name the experts whose advice did he take” PM should give the names of those who deposited more than Rs. 25 lakhs two months before November 8,” he said.Terming the decision to ban high-denomination currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 as a yagna, Gandhi demanded proper compensation for those affected post this decision. “The PM has performed the yagna of demonetization for 50 families. The Congress is demanding the way compensation should be made. The limit of Rs. 24,000 should be withdrawn. By putting this limit, you are snatching away the financial independence of the people. Secondly, loans of the farmers should be waived off and bonus on 20 percent MSP should be given. Every women of the BPL family must be given Rs. 25,000. The daily wages of the MNREGA workers should be doubled,” he said.Gandhi’s fresh outburst against the ruling dispensation came a day after the anti-demonetization meeting, which was attended by all opposition parties except the Left, Janata Dal (United) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Taking on the opposition for raising objections to the demonetization drive, Prime Minister Modi yesterday described the move as a ‘safayi abhiyan’ aimed at curbing black money and corruption. Addressing a parivartan rally in Congress-ruled Uttarakhand, the Prime Minister said that the country has suffered in the past not just because of black money but also due to leadership with ‘malicious heart.’

Demonetization: Rahul Gandhi puts forth demands, seeks white paper from PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seeking a white paper on demonetization, Congress posed several questions to the Prime Minister on Wednesday including how much black money has come in and put forth a charter of demands including lifting all restrictions on money withdrawal and compensation to farmers, traders and the poor who have “suffered” due to note ban.Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi also demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should double the MNREGA wages and the number of days each labourer can work, besides giving 50% rebate in Income Tax and Sales Tax to shopkeepers and 20% bonus on MSP for Rabi crops to farmers and waiving their loans. Coming out with the “Charter of Demands” before the media, he sought a list of all those who have deposited above Rs 25 lakh before demonetization was announced and sought relief to those badly affected including provision of Rs 25,000 to at least one woman of each BPL family.”We want that the Prime Minister should explain some things to the country. After November 8, how much black money has come out and how much economic loss has the country suffered due to demonetization. How many people lost their lives and whether any compensation has been paid to them. “The Prime Minister should also tell whom he consulted before taking the decision and spell out the names of experts consulted. The Prime Minister should also provide a list of all those people who have deposited Rs 25 lakh or more in their accounts before demonetization,” he told reporters.
ALSO READ Scrap cash withdrawal limit, reveal how much black money recovered post demonetization: Rahul to ModiAs part of the demands, Rahul Gandhi said all restrictions on withdrawal of money be lifted with immediate effect and till the time these restrictions are in place, a special interest at the rate of 18% per annum be given to all. He also sought that all charges on digital transactions should be abolished forthwith, adding that the charter of demands was “on behalf of the people of India”.Gandhi said the price of of ration distributed under the PDS system should be halved for the period of a year under the provisions of the Food Security Act and a special one-time bonus of 20% should be provided over and above the MSP of all Rabi crops. “That Rs 25,000 should be deposited in the account of at least one woman belonging to each BPL family as compensation for the immense suffering caused to women due to demonetization,” the demands charter said.
ALSO READ Demonetization: Rahul and Mamata slam Modi, BJP calls opposition meet a ‘flop show’Gandhi also said that an Income Tax and Sales tax rebate of 50% should be given to small shopkeepers and businesses. The central government should compensate state governments for loss of revenue incurred on account of this exemption,he said. The Congress Vice President also demanded that the number of guaranteed work days and the wage rate under MGNREGA should be doubled for a period of one year.He also demanded that government should organise a special drive to identify and register those who lost their jobs since November 8 and provide them compensation at the applicable minimum wage rate for a period up to March 31. Lashing out at Modi, the Congress leader alleged that the Prime Minister did this demonetization ‘yagya’ for only 50 families while the poor and small shopkeepers have suffered and government should provide compensation to these people.
ALSO READ Demonetization: Tejaswi Yadav backs Mamata’s ‘super emergency’ assertionHe said the money deposited in banks is that of the people of the country and the limit imposed by him on bank accounts should be withdrawn immediately to help restore their financial independence. “The farmers have been hit hard. He should waive their loans and provide 20% bonus in MSP to farmers,” he said, adding that small shopkeepers be also compensated by providing 50% rebate on sales tax and income tax. “The Prime Minister has to tell the country why he caused pain to the poor people and snatched their financial independence.”Narendra Modi should answer when he will present the list of all Swiss bank holders before the lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the list that has been provided to him by the Swiss government. We want to know who are these thieves and why is Modi saving them,” he said.In the questions posed to the Prime Minister, Gandhi asked, “What was the process of consultation and preparedness followed prior to the implementation of demonetization? Why were experts, economists or the RBI not consulted before unleashing this draconian policy upon the people?.” He also asked the government to place the names of all persons, institutions and entities that deposited Rs 25 lakh or more in bank accounts in six months preceding November 8.

Kerala: Party workers throw rotten eggs on Congress leader Rajmohan Unnithan’s car

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The unrest in Congress in Kerala over the selection of DCC Presidents turned ugly on Wednesday when some party workers allegedly threw rotten eggs at the vehicle of a leader Rajmohan Unnithan, who had locked horns with former KPCC chief K Muraleedharan on party issues.The incident came as a great embarrassment to Congress as it happened on a day the party is celebrating its formation day. Unnithan, who resigned from the post of KPCC spokesperson on Tuesday, was attacked allegedly by a group of Congress workers in front of the DCC Office at Kollam when he was proceeding to attend the party celebrations.Reacting to the development, KPCC President VM Sudheeran said it was unfortunate and the party would inquire about it. Sudheeran wanted party workers to desist from airing their views in public and said “party is our strength and we should strengthen it.”Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said intolerance towards criticism should be avoided and it should be taken positively. Meanwhile, Muraleedharan also termed the attack on Unnithan as unfortunate. He also wanted the party leadeship to intervene and sort out the matter.However, Unnithan alleged that “paid goons” of Muraleedharan were behind the attack. Muraleedharan and Unnithan had sparred after the former charged that party-led UDF Opposition was not functioning as an effective opposition. Joining the issue, KC Joseph, considered to be close to Chandy, came out in support of Muraleedharan and sought action against Unnithan.

Demonetization: Maharashtra Congress to launch statewide stir from January, says Ashok Chavan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Ashok Chavan on Wednesday said the party will launch a state wide stir from first week of January to protest against demonetization since the hardships of the common man continued even after the end of the 50-day window.Chavan was addressing party workers at a function here to mark the 132nd foundation day of the Congress.”Fifty days have passed since demonetization and despite assurance from Prime Minister Narendra Modi that people’s hardships will ease, the ground reality is different,” Chavan said.Attacking the Prime Minister, Chavan charged he should answer the questions posed by party Vice President Rahul Gandhi regarding allegations of bribery.Escalating his attack on Modi over note ban in the last couple of days, Rahul had said that demonetisation was not a surgical strike on corruption and black money as projected by the Prime Minister and his ministers but was an “economic robbery” and “firebombing on India’s poor”.Rahul says the Prime Minister has put “99 per cent people” in the country to hardships and not targeted the “1 per cent super rich” who “held all the black money”.According to him, five per cent of every online transactions in a cashless economy will go to “those 50 families”.The Congress VP has also been reiterating his charge of “crores of rupees” allegedly being paid to Modi by big business houses on different occasions when he was Gujarat Chief Minister and has sought the PM’s reply to the charges.

Air Chief Arup Raha backs OROP, says it should be accepted

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, on Wednesday asserted that One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme of the government is reasonably good and said that one should accept it.”The OROP by the government is reasonably good. We should accept it. The anomalies are being resolved by one-judge committee. Some of the anomalies and the discrepancies which cropped up from the transition from the sixth to seventh pay commission have been resolved… others will also be resolved,” he added.Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the Congress Party on Tuesday of betraying the jawans by not fulfilling the long-pending OROP demand in the last 40 years. Addressing a parivartan rally in Dehradun, Prime Minister Modi said, “My Army jawans were demanding OROP for the last 40 years, the party that ruled the country then never thought of their demands.” “In reality, the budget for OROP is over Rs. 10,000 crore. Why did they (Congress) betray the Jawans by allocating 500 crore for this,” he added.He said the Centre was always clear that from day one that the Jawans must get their due and therefore, his government always stated that OROP will be a reality. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar earlier last month said 95% of veterans have already got the benefits of the OROP scheme and they are happy with it.The scheme, announced in September 2015, is meant to ensure equal pension to servicemen who retired on the same rank and after the same duration of service, regardless of the year of retirement. However, retired soldiers have been alleging that the government has not addressed their concerns fully about disparity in pension payments.

Scrap cash withdrawal limit, reveal how much black money recovered post demonetization: Rahul to Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Upping the ante on the government’s demonetization drive, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sacrificed the common man in ‘yagna’ against black money.He further said that demonetization ‘yagna’ is aimed at benefiting the rich.Addressing the media on the party’s foundation day, Rahul demanded that PM Modi must reveal the amount of BlackMoney recovered since demonetization.Here are the demands made by Rahul Gandhi# Modi has performed demonetization yagna for 50 families. Many people have suffered and for this loss, government should give compensation.# Modi should reveal how much black money recovered post November 8, how much economic loss nation suffered and how many people lost their lives.# Government should come out with list of those who deposited more than Rs 25 lakh in their accounts before demonetization.# Restrictions on withdrawals must be lifted now. It is taking away the financial independence of the people.# PM must explain how he will he compensate farmers who are affected the most by demonetization.# Farmers have been hit the most, PM should waive off their loans and give bonus at 20% MSP. # A sum of Rs 25,000 should be deposited in the account of every woman of a BPL family that has suffered post demonetization.# Double MNREGA wages and Income Tax and Sales Tax rebate for small businessmen and shopkeepers.

As Congress turns 131, Rahul Gandhi accuses BJP of ‘spreading anger’ across India

Just a day after Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad poked fun at Rahul Gandhi for his lack of maturity, the Congress vice-president hit back at the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central stating how the BJP has formed a rigid view of everything, and that Prime Minister Narendra is spreading anger across India.

Juxtaposing BJP’s ideology with that of Congress, Gandhi, speaking to Congress party workers on the 132nd foundation day of the Indian National Congress, alleged the BJP of following a rigid stance similar to its ideological head, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Rahul Gandhi. Reuters

Rahul Gandhi. Reuters

Gandhi said: “Congress is not just a party, it’s an idea. Congress means being open to a second viewpoint. It means listening to you. It means listening to others. It doesn’t have a single rigid point of view.”

Gandhi also alleged that the Modi-led government is following on the footpath of RSS and is spreading anger in the country, and called on his party workers to fight against this politics of anger. “Congress has to stand with the poor, the middle class, the labourers and the small traders. We have to go to the people. I am sure you will do this. And fight against this RSS ideology of spreading anger,” he said.

Gandhi also mocked the Narendra Modi government’s decision to demonetise the old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 on 8 November. He said that the government has sacrificed the people. “The prime minister said he is performing a yagya against black money and corruption. The yagya of demonetisation is being performed for the one percent super rich. And just like a sacrifice made in a yagya, the prime minister has sacrificed the common people,” he said.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 11:02 IST

Rahul-led meeting fake attempt for unity, no wise party can join hands with Congress: Naidu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior BJP leader and Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday dismissed the Congress-led meet of eight parties against demonetization, as a “fake attempt for unity” and said it would never succeed.”This is a fake attempt for unity and it will never succeed. No wise party can join hands with Congress. If they (some political party) are doing it, they are doing so at their own peril,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.Earlier in the day, Congress vice-President Rahul Gandhi and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee along with some regional parties at a meeting in Delhi sought to put up a united face raising the pitch against demonetization by demanding resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Taking a dig at Gandhi, Naidu claimed, “He has failed to bring unity in his own party. The strength of Congress (in Lok Sabha) has declined from 444 seats to 44 seats.”Referring to scams and corruption during the Congress rule, he claimed, “Earlier Opposition parties had to protest against corruption of the government. But now, the government is fighting against corruption and the opposition is fighting against the government.”

DNA Morning Must Reads: 13 coaches of Sealdah-Ajmer express derail; cash withdrawal cap may be eased; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. 13 coaches of Saeldah-Ajmer express derail near Kanpur, several injuredThirteen coaches of Ajmer-Sealdah express derail near Rura railway station in Kanpur. Read more.2. Demonetization: Withdrawal cap may be eased to Rs 4,000 per day, say sourcesAs per a reliable source, the government was seriously considering relaxing current restrictions on withdrawals from banks and ATMs. Read more.3. Rs 104 crore deposit: Mayawati plays Dalit card, says BJP misusing state power, all my cash is whiteMayawati plays Dalit card after ED disclosure on BSP a/c swelling by Rs 104 crore post-demonetization * Says BJP misusing state power to malign her. Read more.4. Demonetization | ‘Will pressure Modi to resign if fails to solve problems’: Rahul leads fractured Opposition to attack PMCongress president Sonia Gandhi, who had steered the Opposition’s unity, had invited 16 political parties, but in the end only eight turned up. Read more.5. IOA ‘honours’ tainted Kalmadi as its life presidentsKalmadi, a former Congress party Member of Parliament, has been accused of corruption while handing out contracts for the Commonwealth Games held in Delhi in 2010. Read more.

Demonetization | ‘Will pressure Modi to resign if fails to solve problems’: Rahul leads fractured Opposition to attack PM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eight Opposition parties under Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, and Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, on Tuesday, joined hands against demonetization and launched an attack on Prime Minister Modi, accusing the party of “corruption.”Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who had steered the Opposition’s unity, had invited 16 political parties, but in the end only eight turned up. Unexpectedly, no joint programme was announced, leaving it for parties to chalk out their own protest programmes on a common minimum agenda against demonetization. The Congress will launch its own nationwide protest from January 5.The press conference was attended by the Trinamool Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the DMK and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, while the JD-U, Samajwadi Party, BSP, CPI (M) and NCP decided to give it a miss. Ahead of the meeting, the leaders held a meeting at the Constitution Club. Sources said that Mrs Gandhi had carefully chosen the venue, so that it didn’t appear to look like a Congress sponsored programme.On the issue of demonetization though, Opposition party members however seemed to slightly differ in their demands. While Mamata demanded the resignation of Modi for “pushing India back by 20 years through demonetization,” Rahul had a different slightly viewpoint. Instead of endorsing Mamata’s call for Modi to resign, the Congress vice-president wanted the PM to explain clearly why he went in for demonetization, “instead of constantly changing the goalposts.”Rahul added, “We (Opposition) would certainly put pressure on him to resign if he neither justifies the move nor solves the problems of the people suffering from his arbitrary financial experiment.”The Congress leader also continuously referred to allegations that Modi had benefitted financially from the Sahara and Birla corporate houses, when he was Gujarat chief minister.In a counter attack on Rahul at a press conference at BJP headquarters in Delhi, union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad described him as “lacking maturity” as he kept making “baseless and shameless comments against the PM.” Prasad also pointed out that none of the Opposition leaders at the joint press conference had repeated Rahul’s allegations.He went on to accuse Rahul of “trying to save the corrupt” by demanding a disclosure in Parliament the names of account holders received from foreign banks.

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.

Hopeful of GST roll out from coming April: Ananth Kumar

Bengaluru: Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs H N Ananth Kumar on Tuesday expressed hope about the roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime from coming April, saying the government is pushing ahead with the agenda.

“Our discussions with opposition parties and GST council is an ongoing process. I’m confident that once we have passed the constitutional amendment bill without any opposition in both houses of Parliament, ultimately GST council will also come out with unanimous decisions so that it can be given a legal framework in the Parliament of India,” he said.

Asked how hopeful he was about GST roll out as one approaches April, Kumar said, “We are pushing ahead with the agenda, I’m hopeful.”

The Union Minister was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the 21st convocation of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) here.

File photo of Union Minister Anant Kumar. PTI

File photo of Union Minister Anant Kumar. PTI

The government intends to roll out the GST regime from 2017 April, but there are apprehensions that the date will be missed because the all powerful GST Council is yet to iron out several vexed issues, including jurisdiction of the Centre and state governments over tax payers.

The Council, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising state finance ministers, has so far met seven times after Parliament amended the Constitution for implementation of GST.

The next meeting is scheduled for 3 and 4 January  to decide on the contentious issue of dual control over assesses and the legislation on IGST.

“I am trying my best,” Jaitley had earlier said on the expected 1 April roll out schedule.

“I am not going to bind myself with anything. Our effort is to do it as quickly as possible and I think we are making a reasonable headway,” he had said.

On the demonetisation move, Kumar said the Prime Minister’s direct target was those who are in favour of black money, corruption, fake currency and terrorism that originates with its help.

Stating that people of the country are with Modi in his fight against corruption and black money, he said, “Its echo effect was visible in the by-elections at different places.”

He expressed confidence that people would adapt to the digital economy and cashless transactions in the same way they had to electronic voting machines and mobile communication.

Kumar noted that for 50 days people had peacefully cooperated despite difficulties, keeping their faith in the prime minister and said, “I salute their courage and will in taking this economic reform to its logical conclusion.”

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 18:54 IST

Rs 104 cr deposit | Being Dalit’s daughter is no licence for corruption: Ram Vilas Paswan to Mayawati

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Slamming Mayawati for linking the Enforcement Directorate action against BSP to her being a Dalit, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday said her Dalit origin does not give her a “licence” to indulge in corruption and she should let the law take its own course. Paswan, a prominent Dalit face of the ruling BJP-led NDA, hit out at the former UP chief minister over alleged deposits of Rs 104 crore in BSP’s bank account following the note ban and said it was shocking that a party claiming to represent the most downtrodden sections of society has so much money. “My party LJP works for Dalits. We have six Lok Sabha members and the total money in LJP’s bank account is Rs 1,03,198. Being a daughter of a Dalit does not give you licence to indulge in corruption. She must let law take its course and let authorities probe her party’s account,” he told reporters. Mocking Mayawati’s strident opposition to demonetization since it was announced on November 8, the LJP president said it has now become clear “why likes of her and RJD chief Lalu Prasad” have been its most vocal critics.”They were hit the hardest. That is why they are making so much of noise,” he said.Referring to deposits of Rs 1.43 crore in bank accounts of Mayawati’s brother, Paswan said she must come clean on the source of the money. “Who is he? What is his source of income? Why is she afraid? She should let agencies probe all accounts and deposits,” he said.The disclosure of deposits in BSP’s bank account is not the end but only the first chapter and more details will come out soon, he said.He also took potshots at joint programme by Congress, TMC, RJD and some other regional outfits against demonetization. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is an ally of Congress and RJD, supports note ban and they are opposing it for political reasons, he said and dared these parties to withdraw support from Kumar’s government if they are serious in their opposition.

MoS Finance Arjun Meghwal responds to ex-TN chief secy Rao’s ‘political vendetta’ charges, says all are equal before law

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Responding to Tamil Nadu’s top bureaucrat P Rama Mohana Rao who was removed after tax raids at his home and office, Arjun Ram Meghwal, MoS Finance said on Tuesday that anyone who violates the law will be punished. “Everyone is equal before law, whosoever does wrong will be punished,” Meghwal said.Speaking on the topic on demonetization, he said that the government is keeping a close tab on the present situation post demonetization, adding the nation is backing Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this move to end corruption and black money menace. “Things will get better. After my field visit to smaller villages, I can say that things will very soon get better. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has understood the pulse of the public. The people want to end black money and corruption. They are in the support of the government,” he said.Meghwal claimed that despite facing hardships due to demonetization, the people are giving their full support to the government.
ALSO READ Removed after IT raids, Rama Mohana Rao says, I am Chief Secy of Tamil NaduOn the other hand, the Congress Party has called for an anti-demonetization meeting today. The meeting will be followed by a joint press conference to be addressed by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders. Congress president Sonia Gandhi is also expected to join.The meeting is seen as an attempt on the part of the grand old party to paper over the cracks that developed when several opposition parties skipped the joint march to Rashtrapati Bhawan on December 16 over demonetization.Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is in New Delhi for the meeting. The DMK, RJD and others are also expected to participate. With input from agencies .

Punjab to form elite force of 250 police personnel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A month after 14 men stormed the Nabha jail and facilitated the escape of six inmates including Khalistan Liberation Front Chief; Punjab is all set to form an elite force of 250 Punjab police personnel to tackle any emergent situations including terrorist attacks.While making the announcement, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said the elite force will be equipped with latest weapons and gadgetry. He said the vision of the government was to strengthen and modernise the police force.There have been two terrorists attacks in the state in last two years, including one in July, 2015 when terrorists killed seven people, along with a Punjab Police Superintendent when they attacked a police station in Gurdaspur district.At present, the total strength of Punjab police is 70,000 personnel and over 26,000 personnel have been recruited in the past eight years. Emphasising that 200 women have become sub-inspectors in the state police for the first time, he said a SWAT team comprising women personnel will also be formed in Punjab Police.Six Hockey players from Punjab who had recently won gold in the Asian Games were also appointed as Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), including Akashdeep Singh, Manpreet Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Gurwinder Singh Chandi, Dharamvir Singh and Sarvanjit Singh. Three other sportspersons including three-time Asian Games Gold medalist, Mandeep Kaur, Asian games silver medalist athlete Khusbir Kaur and Asian games bronze medalist Amandeep Kaur.Badal also announced that as many as 125 noted sportspersons would be recruited in Punjab police every year. “A totally transparent procedure was followed in police recruitments and even the interview was done away with to ensure that best talent comes to the fore,” said Badal as he made the poll pitch highlighting the work done by the party.Lambasting Congress, he said the Punjab Congress Chief Captain Amarinder Singh had banned recruitment during his tenure thus robbing scores of state youth of their rightful job opportunities, while SAD-BJP gave jobs to over 2.5 lakh people. The state is gearing up for Assembly elections early next year.

Sonia Gandhi’s attempts to revive Oppn unity coming a cropper

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s attempts to parade a united opposition against the demonetization and to highlight the alleged corruption charges against Prime Minister Narendra Modi is coming a cropper with the Left and the JD(U), its ally in Bihar deciding to stay away from Tuesday meeting.It was supposed to be a big show of strength after leading an entire opposition during the recently concluded winter session of Parliament. The move set by Gandhi was seen to revive this unity, after it went to a toss on the last day of the session when Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi went alone to meet the Prime Minister without consulting other parties. A senior party leader drew parallels between Gandhi’s earlier attempts to supervise opposition unity following party’s Shimla conclave in 2003 which led to the ouster of the then NDA government led by Vajpayee. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are expected to attend the meeting. Off late, Sonia Gandhi has been avoiding public appearances owing to her ill health.Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPIM National General Secretary Sitaram Yechury was the first to publicly decline invitation to attend the joint Congress sponsored programme. “A press conference is called after consultation with all the parties concerned and then the day and time is fixed,” he said. But a confident Congress spokesman Jairam Ramesh, while admitting that some parties have expressed reservations said they will join latter, but there will be a united show of parties concerned about the current crises.There was no immediate confirmation from either the Samajwadi Party (SP) or the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Tariq Anwar has also expressed inability to come to Delhi on Tuesday.Janata Dal (U) leader KC Tyagi said his party had not yet decided whether to attend or not, but it would first like to know what the agenda was. He added that no “common minimum programme” has been decided on and pointed out that all the opposition parties do not have the same stand on note ban. The increasing proximity between the TMC and the Congress seems to have upset the Left. So far confirmations have come from Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and Rashtriya janata Dal (RJD) only.Ramesh cited local and regional compulsions for some parties not to be together on the same platform. “Whoever comes tomorrow will come and those who won’t will come the next time. Whoever comes tomorrow, you will see,” said Ramesh striking a philosophical note. He said the party will highlight two issues to take on the government both inside the Parliament and on the streets across the country. Rahul Gandhi also presided a meeting of state leaders at his residence on Monday evening, directing them to focus on two issues—demonetization as well as the corruption charges against the Prime Minister.Yechuri, who was the first to question Congress’ attempts of uniting opposition, said that a few days ago, he had told Congress interlocutors to reply to his three questions—Who all would be attending the meeting? What were the issues that would be highlighted? And whether there was going to be a joint action against the demonetization decision? “But, I have got no reply,” he said. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee arrived here to attend the joint opposition meeting.The entries in the Sahara diary, which has become a weapon in the hands of Rahul Gandhi has been vehemently denied by former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. “It is all hearsay. There is no iota of truth in the allegations. I totally reject these allegations,” she said. She is also Congress party’s Chief Ministerial candidate for the Uttar Pradesh elections to be held in 2017.Reacting to her statement, Ramesh said his party was only demanding an independent probe into the ‘Sahara diaries’ in which Dikshit and some other chief ministers also purportedly figure. “There should be an independent probe into whoever’s name is there,” he said.He also demanded an independent probe against all those BJP leaders who allegedly knew of the demonetization decision before the Prime Minister announced it on November 8. He also asked for investigation into Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank, which had received Rs 500 crore deposits within two days of demonetization.

‘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.

Congress to hold country-wide protests against demonetization from January 5

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress on Monday announced it will hold country-wide protests on January 5 at all district headquarters and on January 8 at the block level to highlight the common man’s woes due to demonetization and the “personal corruption” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.At a meeting of all top Congress leaders chaired by party’s vice president Rahul Gandhi it was decided to involve the commoner in the fight against demonetization.Sources said Congress will also hold pressers across the country at the central and the state level on December 29 and 30 and later on January 2 at the district level, where the “personal corruption” by thePrime Minister and sufferings of common people will be highlighted. The meeting was attended by all party general secretaries and secretaries, PCC chiefs and other top leaders at the central and the state level.The sources said that in the first phase, Congress will agitate at district headquarters on January 5 and in the second phase, it will take this fight to the block level with Mahila Congress holding such agitations and demonstrations on January 8. Addressing the party men, Gandhi alleged demonetization has turned out to be a “scam” and that the Prime Minister has “indulged” in corruption and has not come clean on the “Sahara diaries” bribery issue. “If an independent probe is held, Modiji will stand exposed,” he is reported to have said at the meeting.Gandhi also asked party men to gear up for taking their fight to the public and highlight the “personal corruption” by the Prime Minister and the woes of the common man due to note ban. During the meeting, Gandhi sought feedback from state leaders on note ban woes. Starting December 29 and 30, Congress will push for withdrawal of all financial restrictions imposed on the common man post-demonetization and ask the government to allow the public deposit and withdraw money freely from their bank accounts.”We will also highlight the personal corruption by the Prime Minister… and the suffering of the common people due to demonetization,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said. The party will focus on highlighting “losses suffered by people, who lost their jobs due to demonetization, contraction of economy and the hardships of the poor, farmers and traders”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi while announcing the decision to invalidate 500 and 1000 rupee notes on November 8 had said there would some inconvenience to people for the initial 50-day period that ends on December 30.

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)

Throwing Sheila under the bus? Congress demands probe into ‘Sahara Diaries’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress demanded an independent probe into the “Sahara diaries” in which names of former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and that of some other chief ministers also purportedly figure. “Whoever, whichever name is there should be investigated. There should be an independent probe into whosoever’s name is there. Why are you shying away from an impartial, independent probe?,” Congress spokesperson Jairam Ramesh told reporters.He said there should first be an investigation and in the course of which some names may prove to be wrong. Ramesh said action can be taken only after a probe. He also demanded an independent probe against all those BJP leaders who allegedly knew of the demonetization decision before the Prime minister announced it on November 8. He asked whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi would order an independent time-bound probe to ascertain whether there was any money laundering by certain BJP leaders and whether they were in the know of demonetization before it was announced.”Maximum Governance, Minimum Government”, “Maximum Drama, Minimum Governance” and “Maximum Publicity, Minimum Governance”, this is the motto of Narendra Modi,” he said, dubbing demonetization as a “complete failure” and an “unmitigated disaster”. He claimed that Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank, which had received Rs 500 crore deposits within two days of demonetization and asked why there was no probe into it.The Congress leader also asked who was Mahesh Shah, who had declared over Rs 13,860 crore under the income disclosure scheme, and asked whether some leaders were involved and whether any money laundering was being done at their behest.To a question on introduction of Benami Property Act and its implementation by the Government, Ramesh said the fight against corruption is a long drawn out fight.”It will require law; it will require tough executive action. Whatever steps the Government takes which we feel is going to be effective, will automatically get our support.”Any serious, well considered step and well thought out step to deal with corruption and black money will automatically be welcomed by us,” he said.”However, if Benami Property Act also becomes a gimmick like demonetization , then we are against it. demonetization has taught us, that economic policy is a serious business; these are serious issues which unfortunately the Prime Minister is unable to understand because his Governance philosophy is maximum headline minimum governance,” he said.The Congress leader said, “We are not North Korea, we are not Venezuela. We are not disintegrating Soviet Union. We are not a bankrupt Mynamar. We are an economy that is growing at 7-1/2 per cent per year and no economist in his right mind would ever recommend demonetization to an economy that is growing at that rate. demonetization has been an unmitigated disaster.”

National Herald case: After setback in Delhi Court, Swamy to move SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Monday said that he would file an appeal in the Supreme Court in connection with the National Herald case.Swamy’s assertion came after a Delhi Court dismissed his plea seeking documents from the Congress Party in connection with this case. “I will appeal to the Supreme Court on Patiala House Court’s order. The law is very clear that I am entitled to ask the court and summon the documents in possession of certain institutions,” he said.Rejecting Swamy’s plea, the Patiala House Court earlier in the day observed that the order was passed without giving any notice or opportunity of hearing to the opposite side. The court also directed Swamy to move the trial court again with a similar plea. Swamy alleged that the National Herald took lots of benefits from the then government.Swamy has accused Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi of allegedly conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by just paying Rs. 50 lakh through which Young Indian obtained the right to recover Rs. 90.25 crore that the Associated Journals Ltd owed to the grand old party. Besides the Congress president and her son, party leaders Motilal Vora and Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda and Young Indian are accused in this case.The court has now put up the matter on February 10 for pre-charge proceedings.On Swamy’s plea, the trial court in its January 11 and March 11 orders had sought documents from Ministries of Finance and Urban Development, Department of Corporate Affairs and Income Tax Department and 2010-11 balance sheet of the Congress party in the case, which were submitted by the INC and AJL on April 8. However on July 12, Delhi High Court had set aside both the orders of the trial court saying they were passed in a “casual manner” and “without application of mind”.Swamy then filed a fresh application before the trial court seeking summoning of certain documents while the Congress leaders and AJL sought the return of documents including its balance sheet, which had been submitted in the court. In this application, Swamy had sought documents relating to a loan given by the Congress to the AJL, the holding firm of the National Herald, saying these were necessary for the purpose of trial.During the hearing on December 9, the counsel appearing for the accused had told the court that Swamy was seeking a “fishing and roving enquiry” in the case by calling for documents from the party and the AJL as he wanted to make out a “new case” against them. Swamy, however, had termed the allegation as baseless and said his demand was legitimate.The court had on June 26, 2014, summoned Sonia, Rahul, Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda as accused in the case besides YI. It had on December 19, 2015, granted bail to Sonia, Rahul, Vora, Fernandes and Dubey, who had appeared before it pursuant to summons. Pitroda was granted bail on February 20 when he had appeared in the court. Sonia, Rahul, Vora (AICC Treasurer), Fernandes (AICC General Secretary), Dubey and Pitroda were summoned for alleged offences under section 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) read with section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.

DNA Evening Must Reads: Updates on National Herald case, ‘Dangal’ vs ‘Sultan’ at the box office, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>National Herald case: Court dismisses Swamy’s petition seeking documents from CongressIn a relief for Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Delhi court on Monday dismissed BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea seeking documents and ledger books from the Congress Party and the Associated Journals Limited (AJL). Read more hereDemonetization: Problems will not end after December 30, says Rahul GandhiQuestioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his assurances to the people, Rahul Gandhi today said the “economic lockdown” will continue to hurt the poor, farmers and workers the most. Read more hereIndia needs lower taxation levels to be competitive: FM Arun JaitleyFinance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said India needs to move to a lower level of taxation to be globally competitive. Read more hereRussian military jet crash: Body of plane found in Black SeaRussian divers on Monday found the main body of the military plane that crashed in the Black Sea with 92 people onboard, an official told Russian news agencies. Read more hereSultan vs Dangal: Salman Khan or Aamir Khan – Who won the box office battle?Sultan and Dangal fight it out at the box office. Read more:

Manipur violence: Centre rushes 4,000 additional paramilitary personnel

New Delhi: The Centre has rushed additional 4,000 paramilitary personnel to Manipur in its efforts to reopen a national highway which has been 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 1 November.

File photo. Reuters

File photo. Reuters

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.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 18:11 IST

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.

National Herald case: Relief for Sonia Gandhi, Rahul as court dismisses Swamy’s petition seeking documents

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a relief for Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Delhi court on Monday dismissed BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea seeking documents and ledger books from the Congress Party and the Associated Journals Limited (AJL)Swamy in his petition had alleged that Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi got hold of Associated Journals through ‘dishonest means’ which pertains to criminal misappropriation and criminal breach of trust.However the defence counsel, appearing for Gandhi, had said Swami filed a complaint in July 2013 which has no reference regarding the loan borrowed from the Congress.Swamy had alleged that he revealed a correspondence between Sardar Vallabhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru where the former alleged that Nehru had indulged in corrupt practices by collecting money for National Herald by giving away government contracts to undesirable parties.”The National Herald is being used by the Nehru family to collect funds and aggrandise them. I wanted to know whether Sonia and Rahul Gandhi got hold of Associated journals limited by honest means or dishonest means, My allegations is that they acquired through dishonest means which is criminal misappropriation and criminal breach of trust,” he had said.Swamy had filed an application in 2012 accusing Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others associated with Congress of conspiring to cheat in a land deal.In his complaint, Swamy had alleged that the Congress granted an interest-free loan of Rs. 90.25 crore to the AJL, owner of the National Herald newspaper, established by Jawaharlal Nehru, which was either not repaid or repaid in case. This is in violation of Section 269T of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

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.

Punjab: Congress gets a boost ahead of elections, SAD, AAP and BJP leaders join party

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress got a boost on Sunday, ahead of the Punjab Assembly elections, with some leaders from Shiromani Akali Dal, Aam Aadmi Party and BJP joining the party in the presence of PCC chief Amarinder Singh here on Sunday. Former SAD leader from Atam Nagar and councillor Kamaljit Singh Karwal, once considered close to MLA Simarjit Singh, and former AAP central executive committee member Yamini Gomar were among those pledged their allegiance to Congress.Other AAP leaders to join Congress were LR Nayyar, former chief commissioner (Income Tax), and party observer Gagan Sahni. Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Congress president Amarinder said all these leaders had joined the party “unconditionally”. “They had become completely disillusioned with the policies of their respective parties and the agendas of their leaders,” he said.Amarinder hailed their joinings as another milestone in the Congress’s journey towards a “clear majority” in the upcoming Assembly polls, saying these developments highlighted the “complete wipeout” of all the other parties in the fray. Karwal, who had met Amarinder in Delhi, was associated with SAD since 2007, except for a brief period in 2014. “The anti-people policies of the party,” he said, had encouraged him to take the decision to move to the Congress.Yamini, who had openly accused Kejriwal and AAP of being “anti-Dalit, anti-Sikh and anti-Punjab,” said, “AAP was in a total mess, with its leadership befooling the people of Punjab with fake promises.” “AAP leadership is not even ready to blink its eyes over the issues of corruption and promotion of criminals in the party,” she said.Yamini said there was hardly any AAP leader who fulfilled the party’s motto of not being involved in corruption and not having criminal record. “More than 70% of the AAP volunteers, who had joined the party with an aim to see Punjab on roads of progress, are completely shattered with party leaders busy promoting their own vested interests”, she said.Many more genuine people in AAP, who were feeling suffocated there, would join Congress fold in the coming days. Yamini, who contested 2014 Lok Sabha elections on AAP ticket, said no honest person who has the interests of Punjab in his heart can remain with AAP, given the complete moral bankruptcy of its leadership.She said the Congress could save the state and its people from doom. Both Nayyar and Sahni also backed Yamini, saying AAP was a party of “corrupt and greedy individuals who had no interest in the welfare of the people of Punjab.”Meanwhile, a number of the BJP leaders from Doraha, also joined Congress. Prominent among them were Doraha BJP Mandal chief Rahul Bector, vice-president Anish Bector, secretary Varun Sharma and general secretary Anoop Bector, besides several Municipal Councillors and other BJP leaders.

Rahul Gandhi must respect democracy, mandate of people: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has asked the Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to stop threatening Prime Minister Narendra Modi and show respect for democracy and the people’s mandate.”Rahul Gandhi is the most affected by the announcement made on 8th November, as the Congress and corruption have a strong association, and this association is breaking away due to demonetization,” said BJP leader Shrikant Sharma.”Rahul Gandhi is fighting for his existence as where there is cash, there is commission, and where there is commission, there is Congress. So, Rahul Gandhi’s quivering is relevant.” he added.Accusing Rahul Gandhi of double standards, Sharma said that he speaks on corruption, but is himself out on bail on a corruption charge and shares the stage with a chief minister who is also involved in corruption.”The Prime Minister has started a initiative against the black money to resolve the current problems of the country and people of this country are standing like stone besides him. Rahul Gandhi seems distraught and, therefore, is making these baseless statements,” he said.Sharma warned that if Rahul continues in this vein, the Congress presence in parliament could dip further from the current 44 seats it has.

BJP submits ‘charge sheet’ against Himachal govt, Virbhadra terms it ‘bundle of lies’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Himachal Pradesh BJP on Saturday submitted a “charge sheet” to the Governor against the alleged “omission and commission” by the Congress government, which completed four years in office, even as Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh termed it as a “bundle of lies”.The Congress government in the state celebrated four years in office today by organising a rally at Dharamsala which was addressed by party vice president Rahul Gandhi.The 75-page “charge sheet” submitted to Governor Acharya Devvrat includes allegations against the Chief Minister, his Cabinet colleagues, Congress leaders and 41 individuals and institutions and demands a probe into these charges by a central investigating agency.It also highlights the “failures” of the state government in developmental front, accuses it of financial mismanagement and its lukewarm attitude in implementing the projects sanctioned by the Modi government at the Centre.The charges levelled by BJP against Virbhadra Singh are a compendium of cases registered against him by various agencies and alleged misuse of office.Terming the “charge sheet” by BJP against his government a “bundle of lies”, the Chief Minister said, “It is an old habit of BJP to make false allegations. It had submitted similar “charge sheet” twice in the past and implicated me in false cases but I was acquitted by courts.” Singh claimed the Congress government has ensured overall development of the state during the last four years and the charge sheet was prepared out of “frustration” of BJP leaders.State irrigation and public health minister Vidya Stokes, health and family welfare minister Kaul Singh Thakur and agriculture minister Sujan Singh Pathania termed it a “futile exercise” as the charges were “contrary” to facts.Reacting to accusations of corruption, they claimed the state government has adopted a policy of zero tolerance towards corruption and if BJP leaders have any proof, they should go to the Lokayukta. Else the party should seek apology from the people.

Cong, AAP will withdraw subsidies and concessions if voted to power: Parkash Singh Badal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sharpening attack on Congress and AAP, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday said the two parties have shown “stiff resistance” to “pro-people” policies of the Akali government and asserted that if re-elected to power he would review “people-friendly” decisions like regularisation of employees.”By announcing that they (opposition) will review the pro-people decisions taken by the state government like regularisation of employees and others, Amarinder Singh (of Congress) and AAP leaders have proved that if voted to power they will withdraw the subsidies and concessions like free power, Atta-Dal, Shagun and others being given to the people,” he said. The Chief Minister was addressing public gatherings in village Dhaler Kalan, Sandhaur, Sherwani Kot, Ferozepur Kothala and others during Sangat Darshan programme in Malerkotla assembly segment.Congress state unit chief Amarinder Singh had earlier said that he would review all decisions taken by the SAD-BJP state government in the last three months, if his party comes to power. Singh, however, yesterday clarified that his statement was twisted and affirmed that no government appointments would be subjected to any scrutiny. Badal said that in last ten years, the SAD-BJP alliance had given free power to farmers at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore annually. He said now in a historic initiative the state government has decided to regularise the services of 30,000 employees by passing the bill in the state assembly.Badal said the SAD-BJP alliance has ensured the welfare of every strata of society by taking several “path-breaking initiatives” for providing jobs, quality health and education facilities and by starting several pro-poor schemes. The veteran Akali leader said Punjabis can never forgive the Congress party for its “sins” against Punjab. “Congress has irrelevantly meddled in the social, political, economic and even religious affairs of the state,” he said, adding that the Congress governments at the Centre had deliberately denied the state of Punjabi speaking areas, its capital Chandigarh and even its legitimate share in river waters. He said “no true Punjabi” can ever forgive Congress for sins like Operation Blue Star and the killing of innocents in 1984 anti-Sikh carnage. On the sidelines of Sangat Darshan, the Chief Minister said he would contest the election from the seat which would be allocated to him by the party. He said in a democratic set up party was the supreme and he had always obeyed by the decision of his party.Flaying the shameful act of vandalisation of Gurdwara in Calgary (Canada), Badal said this incident has bruised the psyche of every human being in general and Sikhs in particular. He said this incident needs to be condemned in strongest words as it was a crime against the humanity as the Sikh Gurus have shown the way of peace, communal harmony and welfare of all to the entire humanity. He said the government of India must ensure the safety and security of the law abiding members of the Punjabi diaspora abroad, which have been living in across the globe for decades as most civilised and productive members of the local society.

Anna Hazare writes letter to Kejriwal, says painful that Delhi CM didn’t fulfill promises

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare today castigated Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for “not fulfilling the promise” of putting his party’s donors list in public domain, at a time when the AAP has been questioning the Congress and BJP over their source of funding.In a letter to Kejriwal, dated December 23, the veteran activist, popularly known as Anna and also a ‘father-figure’ for the AAP, took a dig at the Delhi Chief Minister and said if change has to be brought into the system, then the leadership should “walk the talk”. “For the betterment of country and the society, I kept aside several important works related to people in Maharashtra and gave you my time without any selfish interest and dreamt big for the country. But my dream has been shattered,” Hazare, who launched an anti-graft crusade, said.He also referred to a letter written to him by Munish Raizada, a US-based medico and suspended AAP member, pointing out that donors’ records have gone off the party website since June 2016. Raizada also launched ‘no chanda’ (no donation) satyagraha at Raj Ghat today. AAP’s national treasurer Raghav Chadha claimed that Hazare was being misled by Congress leaders on the issue while the BJP is using state agencies to threaten its donors.On behalf of Kejriwal, he also challenged BJP President Amit Shah and Congress President Sonia Gandhi to come out clean on party donors and have a debate on the issue at Jantar Mantar. “You made several promises, which includes putting the donations received by the AAP on the party website. “The talks of social change, which we espoused, are fading and politics and money are becoming important. The sense of humility is also fading.”Or else, you would not have taken off the names of people from your website who gave donations to the party during trying times,” Hazare said.He also expressed displeasure over functioning of the AAP. Hazare said that while other parties get donations from people for their “selfish interests”, people give funds to AAP to bring in change. “You penned a book on Gram Swaraj. The way you are going…is this the way to Gram Swaraj? This is the question before me. What is the difference between your party and other political outfits?” Hazare said.”You promised change to me and the people. It pains because the promise has not been fulfilled. You have made several such promises to me and people,” Hazare said.Chadha said AAP is the only party that has transparency in its source of funding and 92 per cent of its donations come through banking channels like net banking, credit and debit card and cheques. “Congress leaders like Muish Raizada are misleading Anna while BJP uses state agenices to harass our donors. Raizada has joined the Congress,” Chadha claimed.

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

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

Jung made to resign as he wanted to release Shunglu Committee report: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken claimed Najeeb Jung had to resign because he had planned to make public the Shunglu Committee report and alleged there was a “deal” between BJP and AAP on the matter.He alleged BJP does not want Congress to form governments in Goa and Punjab, and if the Shunglu Committee report were made public, AAP would have suffered great jolts in the two states, benefiting his party.The report was not made public as it would have exposed AAP and hence as per the “deal”, Jung, who wanted to release it, was made to resign.
ALSO READ I wanted to quit earlier, PM Modi asked me to carry on, says Najeeb JungThe two BJP-ruled states go to poll next year and the AAP has launched intensive election campaigns.”It seems the deal was struck between the BJP and AAP not to make public the Shunglu Committee report as it would have exposed irregularities in 200 files of Delhi government,” Maken told a press conference.
ALSO READ AAP, Cong should not do politics on Najeeb Jung’s resignation: Kiren Rijiju”Dr Najeeb Jung was to make public the Shunglu Committee report on Monday, that’s why he had to resign,” Maken said quoting “reliable source”.The two states go to poll next year and the AAP has launched intensive election campaigns.
ALSO READ Arvind Kejriwal meets Najeeb Jung, says he resigned due to personal reasons”BJP does not want the Congress party to form governments in Goa and Punjab at any cost. However, the Congress is coming to power in both the states,” he claimed.Earlier, Maken had demanded the Modi government to explain the reason behind sudden resignation by Najeeb Jung from the post of Lt Governor.He had charged the reason behind Jung’s “unceremonious exit” could be a “deal” between Narendra Modi and Kejriwal, or he was punished for poor performance of BJP in MCD bypolls, or the government wanted to place a representative of RSS on his post.Jung had formed the Committee to examine over 400 files on the AAP government decisions.

Centre slams Manipur Govt over economic blockade

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a stern message, the Centre told 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. Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, who is 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 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 said at a press conference here.Rijiju earlier had a detailed meeting with Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh and senior officials of central and state governments on the crisis and how to resolve it.He dismissed suggestions that central government was late in taking action, saying that it has been asking the state government to clear the blockade since the beginning and offering assistance to it.”From today onwards, the state government can’t escape from its responsibility. Nobody will be allowed to add to the sufferings of the people. Central government is also not shying away from its responsibility,” he said.Opposing creation of seven new districts, the United Naga Council has been staging blockade on the National Highways 2 and 37 connecting the landlocked Manipur since November 1 crippling normal for last 52 days.The BJP-led central government has been nudging the Congress government in Manipur to ensure smooth flow of traffic on the two highways.

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