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When Indians unite, their power is unparalleled: Full text of PM Modi’s New Year’s Eve Speech

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi today sent out a stern warning of tough action against the “dishonest” people even as he announced a slew of sops for senior citizens, farmers, rural housing, women and small entrepreneurs to soften the blow of demonetization.He also assured the honest people that the government will act as a friend to them so that their difficulties are eased.Among the sops announced in his address to the nation at the end of 50-day demonetisation period, Modi said senior citizens will get 8 per cent interest on deposits of upto Rs 7.5 lakh for 10 years and deposit of Rs 6000 into accounts of pregnant and lactating women in rural areas to meet medical expenses.For farmers, he announced that banks will not charge interest for 60 days on loans taken from district cooperative central bank and primary societies for rabi crop.Here’s his full speech:My fellow citizens, In a few hours, we will be ushering in the new year of 2017. 125 crore Indians will join the rest of the world, in welcoming it with new hope, new energy and new dreams.Since Diwali, our nation has been witness to a historic rite of purification. The patience, discipline, and resolve displayed by 125 crore Indians, will play a critical role in shaping the future of the nation for years to come. In God’s creation, humans are endowed with fundamental goodness.With time, the distortions of badness creep in. People feel suffocated in a bad environment, and struggle to come out of it. Corruption, black money, and counterfeit notes had become so rampant in India’s social fabric, that even honest people were brought to their knees.People were forced by circumstances, in defiance of their inherent goodness. It seemed at times, that the evils and corruptions of society, knowingly or un – knowingly, intentionally or un- intentionally, had become a part of our daily lives. Developments post-Diwali have shown, that crores of Indians were looking for an escape from this suffocation.We have, during the external aggressions, of 1962, 1965, 1971 and Kargil; witnessed the intrinsic strength of our citizens. Such collective energy and patriotism is under- standable, in the face of external threats.However, when crores of Indians unite to fight a war against internal evils, it is unparalleled.Indians have, with firm resolve and infinite patience, faced difficulties with a smile, re-defining the concept of sacrifice. We have lived these ideals. 125 crore Indians have shown, in their fortitude, the importance we place in truth and goodness. This has been written on the sands of time.Indians have displayed the strength of people power, utmost discipline, and the ability to discern the truth in a storm of disinformation. They have shown that resolute honesty, can defeat dishonesty.They have shown how much, even people trapped in poverty, are willing to do, to build a glorious India. The people, through persistence, sweat and toil, have demonstrated to the world, an unparalleled example of citizen sacrifice, for the brighter future of a nation. Usually, when people’s movements have arisen, the people and the government have been at loggerheads.It is historic, that both the people and the government are on the same side in this battle against evil. The Government is well aware, that in this period, you had to queue up, and face difficulty in withdrawing your own money. I received letters from many people. They have shared their pain and sorrow with me, but also emphasized their support. You have talked to me as one of your own. In this fight against corruption and black money, it is clear that you wish to walk shoulder to shoulder with us. For us in Government, this is a blessing. My effort is to take the banking system to normalcy as fast as possible in the new year. I have asked all concerned officers in the Government to focus their attention to this task. They have especially been told to proactively resolve the problems in rural and remote areas. Friends,There is no precedent globally, to what India has done. Nations similar to us do not have the amount of currency that we had. Over the last ten to twelve years, 500 and 1000 rupee currency notes were used less for legitimate transactions, and more for a parallel economy. The excess of cash was fuelling inflation and black-marketing. It was denying the poor, their due. Lack of cash causes difficulty, but excess of cash is even more troublesome. Our aim is to achieve a balance. Economists agree that when cash is outside the formal economy, it is a cause of worry.When it joins the mainstream, it is an opportunity for development. I am sure, if great sons of India like Jayaprakash Narayan, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Ram Manohar Lohia, and Kamaraj had been present today, they would have applauded the patience, discipline and resolve of our countrymen.In the past few weeks, there have been many gratifying instances – it would take weeks to list them.It is a healthy trend for any nation, when the people wish to join the mainstream abiding by the law, and helping the Government in serving the poor. Friends.How long will we overlook facts that stare us in the face? I wish to share some information with you, which will either make you laugh, or make you angry. According to information with the Government, there are only 24 lakh people in India who accept that their annual income is more than 10 lakh rupees. Can we digest this? Look at the big bungalows and big cars around you.If we look at any big city, it would have lakhs of people with annual income of more than 10 lakh. Do you not feel, that for the good of the country, this movement for honesty, needs to be further strengthened? In this fight against corruption and black money, it is natural to debate the fate of the dishonest. What punishment will they get? The Law will take its own course, with its full force. But the priority of the Government now is how to help the honest, protect them, and ease their difficulty.How can honesty gain more prestige? This Government is a friend of good people. And it aims to build an enabling environment for the dishonest to return to the path of goodness.It is also a bitter truth, that people have complaints of bad experiences at the hands of Government machinery, and some government officers.This reality cannot be wished away. No one can deny that Government officers have a greater responsibility than common citizens.Therefore, it is the responsibility of all of us in Government, at central, state and local levels, to protect the common man, help the honest, and isolate the dishonest. Friends, It is accepted the world over, that terrorism, Naxalism, Maoism, counterfeit currency trade, drug trade, human trafficking – all of these depend on black money.These evils have become a festering sore on society and Governments.Demonetization has dealt a severe blow to these trades.Today, youth who had turned to the wrong path, are returning to the mainstream in large numbers. If we remain vigilant, we can now save our children from returning to those evil ways of violence and cruelty. The fact that so much of the cash in circulation has been deposited in the banking system indicates the success of this mission.Events of the last few days indicate that escape routes for the dishonest have all been sealed. Technology has played a big role. The habitual offenders will be forced to abandon their misdeeds and join the mainstream.Friends, This also represents a golden opportunity for the country’s banking system. During this period, bank employees have worked day and night.Female employees too, worked till late hours as part of this mission.Post office staff, banking correspondents- all did exceptional work.Amid this herculean effort, some grave crimes by some officers in some banks have come to light. Some Government officers have also committed serious offences, and tried to take advantage of the situation. They will not be spared. At this historic juncture, I wish to make an appeal to the banks.History is witness that the Indian banking system has never received such a large amount of money, in such a short time.While respecting the autonomy of the banks, I appeal to them to move beyond their traditional priorities, and keep the poor, the lower middle class, and the middle class at the focus of their activities.India is celebrating the centenary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay as Garib Kalyan Varsh. Banks should also not let this opportunity slip. They should take appropriate decisions in public interest promptly. When policies and programmes are made with clear objectives in mind, not only are beneficiaries empowered, but both short term, and long term benefits are achieved. Spending is carefully scrutinized, and chances of good results are maximized.The more the villages, the poor, the farmers, the dalits, the tribals, the marginalized, the oppressed, the deprived and women are empowered, and financially enabled to stand on their own feet, the stronger the country will become, and the faster will be the pace of development. Friends, to further the principle of Sabka Saath – Sabka Vikaas, on the eve of the new year, Government is bringing some new programmes for the people. Even so many years after independence, millions of poor do not have their own home. When black money increased in our economy, houses became out of reach of even the middle class. The Government has taken some major decisions to ensure homes for the poor, the neo middle class and the middle class. Two new middle income categories have been created under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana in urban areas. Loans of up to 9 lakh rupees taken in 2017, will receive interest subvention of 4 per cent. Loans of up to 12 lakh rupees taken in 2017, will receive interest subvention of 3 per cent. The number of houses being built for the poor, under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana in rural areas, is being increased by 33 per cent. In addition to this, another scheme is being put in place for the neo middle and middle class in rural areas. Loans of up to 2 lakh rupees taken in 2017, for new housing, or extension of housing in rural areas, will receive an interest subvention of 3 per cent. Friends in the last few weeks, an impression was sought to be created that the agriculture sector has been destroyed. Farmers themselves have given a fitting reply to those who were doing so. Rabi sowing is up by 6 per cent compared to last year. Fertilizer offtake is up by 9 per cent. During this period, the Government has taken care to ensure that farmers do not suffer for want of access to seeds, fertilisers and credit. Now, we have taken some more decisions in the interest of farmers. Farmers who have taken loans for the Rabi crop from District Cooperative Central Banks and Primary Societies, will not have to pay interest on such loans for a period of 60 days. Farmers who have paid interest during the last two months, will receive these amounts back, directly into their bank accounts. Arrangements are being made to provide farmers even better access to loans from cooperative banks and societies. NABARD created a fund of 21,000 crore rupees last month. Now, Government is adding 20,000 crore rupees more to this. The loss that NABARD suffers by giving loans to cooperative banks and societies at low interest rates, shall be borne by the Government of India. The Government has decided, that 3 crore farmers who have Kisan Credit Cards, will be given RuPay debit cards within three months. Kisan Credit Cards were launched in 1998, but so far, it was essential to go to a bank, to use them. Now, farmers will have RuPay Debit Cards, which they can use anywhere. Just as agriculture is vital for the economy, so are the medium and small scale enterprises also called the MSME sector. Government has taken some decisions in the interest of small and medium businesses, which will also boost employment.Government of India underwrites loans given by banks to small businesses through a trust. So far, loans were covered upto one crore rupees. This limit is now being enhanced to 2 crore rupees. Earlier the scheme only covered bank loans. Hereafter it will cover loans given by NBFCs as well. This decision will enable better access to credit for small shop-owners and small enterprises. Banks and NBFCs will not levy high interest on these loans, as Government of India is bearing the cost of underwriting them. Government has also asked banks to raise the credit limit for small industry from 20 per cent of turnover to 25 per cent.Banks have also been asked to increase working capital loans from 20 per cent of turnover to 30 per cent, for enterprises that transact digitally.Many people connected with this sector have made cash deposits in the last few weeks. Banks have been asked to take this into account when deciding on working capital. A few days back, Government announced a major tax relief for small businesses. Income of businesses with turnover of up to Rs 2 crores was calculated at 8% of the turnover. Now, for such businesses income from digital transactions will be calculated at 6%. This will effectively reduce their tax liability by 25%. Friends,The progress of the MUDRA Yojana has been very encouraging. Last year, nearly 3 and a half crore people have benefited from this. The Government now aims to double this, giving priority to Dalits, Tribals, Backward Classes and Women. A new scheme is being launched for pregnant women.We are introducing a nation-wide scheme for financial assistance to pregnant women. 6000 rupees will be transferred directly to the bank accounts of pregnant women who undergo institutional delivery and vaccinate their children. This scheme will help reduce the maternal mortality rate, in a big way. This will help ensure nutrition before and after delivery, and improve the health of mother and child. So far, pregnant women in 53 districts were being given financial assistance of 4000 rupees, under a pilot project. We are initiating a scheme for senior citizens. Banks often reduce their deposit rates, when they receive a large volume of money. This should not adversely impact senior citizens. Under the scheme, senior citizens will receive a fixed interest rate of 8 per cent for a period of 10 years, on deposits upto 7.5 lakh rupees. The interest will be paid monthly. Friends,Political parties, political leaders and electoral funding, figure prominently in any debate on corruption and black money.The time has now come that all political leaders and parties respect the feelings of the nation’s honest citizens, and understand the anger of the people. It is true that from time to time, political parties have made constructive efforts to improve the system. I urge all parties and leaders to move away from a “holier than thou approach,” to come together in prioritising transparency, and take firm steps to free politics of black money and corruption. In our country, people ranging from the common man to the President, have at some point or another, advocated simultaneous conduct of state and national elections.This is to break the endless cycle of elections, reduce election expenditure, and minimize pressure on the administrative machinery.The time has come for this to be seriously considered and debated. Positive change has always found space in our country.We can now see a positive momentum towards digital transactions in India.More and more people are transacting digitally.Yesterday, Government has launched a new, swadeshi platform for digital transactions – named BHIM after Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar.BHIM stands for Bharat Interface for Money. I call upon the youth, the trading community, and farmers to connect with BHIM as much as possible. Friends, the developments, decisions, and policies that were put in place after Diwali, will of course be evaluated by economists. It will be good if social scientists also do the same.As a nation, India’s villages, poor, farmers, youth, educated and uneducated men and women, have all displayed infinite patience and people power. In a short time, the new year of 2017 will begin. Exactly 100 years ago, in 1917, Mahatma Gandhi initiated a Satyagraha in Champaran. Now, a century later, we witness that the people of India continue to share that feeling towards truth and goodness.Today, Mahatma Gandhi is not among us. But the path towards truth that he showed us, is still most appropriate. As we begin the centenary year of the Satyagraha, let us recall the Mahatma and resolve to follow his message of truth and goodness.We cannot allow this fight against black money and corruption to stop or slow down. Firmness in truth is a guarantee for success. A country of 125 crore, with 65 per cent below the age of 35, having the means, the resources, and the capability, has no reason to stay behind. The new dawn of the New Year, comes with the resolve of new success.Let us all come together, to move ahead overcoming obstacles and constraints. Happy New Year Jai Hind !!!

Modi speech full text: Indians showed resolute honesty can defeat dishonesty

Following is the full text of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s address to the nation on the eve of New Year 2017:

My fellow citizens,

In a few hours, we will be ushering in the new year of 2017. 125 crore Indians will join the rest of the world, in welcoming it with new hope, new energy and new dreams.

Since Diwali, our nation has been witness to a historic rite of purification. The patience, discipline, and resolve displayed by 125 crore Indians, will play a critical role in shaping the future of the nation for years to come.

In God’s creation, humans are endowed with fundamental goodness.

Screenshot of PM Modi during his New Year's Eve addressScreenshot of PM Modi during his New Year's Eve address

Screenshot of PM Modi during his New Year’s Eve address

With time, the distortions of badness creep in. People feel suffocated in a bad environment, and struggle to come out of it. Corruption, black money, and counterfeit notes had become so rampant in India’s social fabric, that even honest people were brought to their knees.

People were forced by circumstances, in defiance of their inherent goodness. It seemed at times, that the evils and corruptions of society, knowingly or unknowingly, intentionally or unintentionally, had become a part of our daily lives. Developments post-Diwali have shown, that crores of Indians were looking for an escape from this suffocation.

We have, during the external aggressions, of 1962, 1965, 1971 and Kargil; witnessed the intrinsic strength of our citizens. Such collective energy and patriotism is understandable, in the face of external threats. However, when crores of Indians unite to fight a war against internal evils, it is unparalleled.

Indians have, with firm resolve and infinite patience, faced difficulties with a smile, re-defining the concept of sacrifice. We have lived these ideals. 125 crore Indians have shown, in their fortitude, the importance we place in truth and goodness. This has been written on the sands of time.

Indians have displayed the strength of people power, utmost discipline, and the ability to discern the truth in a storm of disinformation. They have shown that resolute honesty, can defeat dishonesty.

They have shown how much, even people trapped in poverty, are willing to do, to build a glorious India. The people, through persistence, sweat and toil, have demonstrated to the world, an unparalleled example of citizen sacrifice, for the brighter future of a nation.

Usually, when people’s movements have arisen, the people and the government have been at loggerheads.

It is historic, that both the people and the government are on the same side in this battle against evil. The Government is well aware, that in this period, you had to queue up, and face difficulty in withdrawing your own money. I received letters from many people. They have shared their pain and sorrow with me, but also emphasized their support. You have talked to me as one of your own. In this fight against corruption and black money, it is clear that you wish to walk shoulder to shoulder with us. For us in Government, this is a blessing.

My effort is to take the banking system to normalcy as fast as possible in the new year. I have asked all concerned officers in the Government to focus their attention to this task. They have especially been told to proactively resolve the problems in rural and remote areas.

Friends,

There is no precedent globally, to what India has done. Nations similar to us do not have the amount of currency that we had. Over the last ten to twelve years, 500 and 1000 rupee currency notes were used less for legitimate transactions, and more for a parallel economy. The excess of cash was fuelling inflation and black-marketing. It was denying the poor, their due. Lack of cash causes difficulty, but excess of cash is even more troublesome. Our aim is to achieve a balance. Economists agree that when cash is outside the formal economy, it is a cause of worry. When it joins the mainstream, it is an opportunity for development.

I am sure, if great sons of India like Jayaprakash Narayan, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Ram Manohar Lohia, and Kamaraj had been present today, they would have applauded the patience, discipline and resolve of our countrymen.

In the past few weeks, there have been many gratifying instances – it would take weeks to list them.

It is a healthy trend for any nation, when the people wish to join the mainstream abiding by the law, and helping the Government in serving the poor.

Friends,

How long will we overlook facts that stare us in the face? I wish to share some information with you, which will either make you laugh, or make you angry. According to information with the Government, there are only 24 lakh people in India who accept that their annual income is more than 10 lakh rupees. Can we digest this? Look at the big bungalows and big cars around you.

If we look at any big city, it would have lakhs of people with annual income of more than 10 lakh. Do you not feel, that for the good of the country, this movement for honesty, needs to be further strengthened?

In this fight against corruption and black money, it is natural to debate the fate of the dishonest. What punishment will they get? The Law will take its own course, with its full force. But the priority of the Government now is how to help the honest, protect them, and ease their difficulty.How can honesty gain more prestige?

This Government is a friend of good people. And it aims to build an enabling environment for the dishonest to return to the path of goodness.

It is also a bitter truth, that people have complaints of bad experiences at the hands of Government machinery, and some government officers.

This reality cannot be wished away. No one can deny that Government officers have a greater responsibility than common citizens.

Therefore, it is the responsibility of all of us in Government, at central, state and local levels, to protect the common man, help the honest, and isolate the dishonest.

Friends, It is accepted the world over, that terrorism, Naxalism, Maoism, counterfeit currency trade, drug trade, human trafficking – all of these depend on black money.

These evils have become a festering sore on society and Governments.

Demonetistion has dealt a severe blow to these trades.

Today, youth who had turned to the wrong path, are returning to the mainstream in large numbers. If we remain vigilant, we can now save our children from returning to those evil ways of violence and cruelty. The fact that so much of the cash in circulation has been deposited in the banking system indicates the success of this mission.

Events of the last few days indicate that escape routes for the dishonest have all been sealed. Technology has played a big role. The habitual offenders will be forced to abandon their misdeeds and join the mainstream.

Friends, This also represents a golden opportunity for the country’s banking system. During this period, bank employees have worked day and night.

Female employees too, worked till late hours as part of this mission.

Post office staff, banking correspondents- all did exceptional work.

Amid this herculean effort, some grave crimes by some officers in some banks have come to light. Some Government officers have also committed serious offences, and tried to take advantage of the situation. They will not be spared.

At this historic juncture, I wish to make an appeal to the banks.

History is witness that the Indian banking system has never received such a large amount of money, in such a short time.

While respecting the autonomy of the banks, I appeal to them to move beyond their traditional priorities, and keep the poor, the lower middle class, and the middle class at the focus of their activities.

India is celebrating the centenary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay as Garib Kalyan Varsh. Banks should also not let this opportunity slip. They should take appropriate decisions in public interest promptly.

When policies and programmes are made with clear objectives in mind, not only are beneficiaries empowered, but both short term, and long term benefits are achieved. Spending is carefully scrutinized, and chances of good results are maximized.

The more the villages, the poor, the farmers, the dalits, the tribals, the marginalized, the oppressed, the deprived and women are empowered, and financially enabled to stand on their own feet, the stronger the country will become, and the faster will be the pace of development.

Friends, to further the principle of Sabka Saath – Sabka Vikaas, on the eve of the new year, Government is bringing some new programmes for the people.

Even so many years after independence, millions of poor do not have their own home. When black money increased in our economy, houses became out of reach of even the middle class. The Government has taken some major decisions to ensure homes for the poor, the neo middle class and the middle class.

Two new middle income categories have been created under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana in urban areas. Loans of up to 9 lakh rupees taken in 2017, will receive interest subvention of 4 per cent. Loans of up to 12 lakh rupees taken in 2017, will receive interest subvention of 3 per cent.

The number of houses being built for the poor, under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana in rural areas, is being increased by 33 per cent.

In addition to this, another scheme is being put in place for the neo middle and middle class in rural areas. Loans of up to 2 lakh rupees taken in 2017, for new housing, or extension of housing in rural areas, will receive an interest subvention of 3 per cent.

Friends in the last few weeks, an impression was sought to be created that the agriculture sector has been destroyed. Farmers themselves have given a fitting reply to those who were doing so. Rabi sowing is up by 6 per cent compared to last year. Fertilizer offtake is up by 9 per cent. During this period, the Government has taken care to ensure that farmers do not suffer for want of access to seeds, fertilisers and credit. Now, we have taken some more decisions in the interest of farmers.

Farmers who have taken loans for the Rabi crop from District Cooperative Central Banks and Primary Societies, will not have to pay interest on such loans for a period of 60 days. Farmers who have paid interest during the last two months, will receive these amounts back, directly into their bank accounts.

Arrangements are being made to provide farmers even better access to loans from cooperative banks and societies. NABARD created a fund of 21,000 crore rupees last month. Now, Government is adding 20,000 crore rupees more to this. The loss that NABARD suffers by giving loans to cooperative banks and societies at low interest rates, shall be borne by the Government of India.

The Government has decided, that 3 crore farmers who have Kisan Credit Cards, will be given RuPay debit cards within three months. Kisan Credit Cards were launched in 1998, but so far, it was essential to go to a bank, to use them. Now, farmers will have RuPay Debit Cards, which they can use anywhere.

Just as agriculture is vital for the economy, so are the medium and small scale enterprises also called the MSME sector. Government has taken some decisions in the interest of small and medium businesses, which will also boost employment.

Government of India underwrites loans given by banks to small businesses through a trust. So far, loans were covered upto one crore rupees. This limit is now being enhanced to 2 crore rupees. Earlier the scheme only covered bank loans. Hereafter it will cover loans given by NBFCs as well. This decision will enable better access to credit for small shop-owners and small enterprises. Banks and NBFCs will not levy high interest on these loans, as Government of India is bearing the cost of underwriting them.

Government has also asked banks to raise the credit limit for small industry from 20 per cent of turnover to 25 percent.

Banks have also been asked to increase working capital loans from 20 per cent of turnover to 30 per cent, for enterprises that transact digitally.
Many people connected with this sector have made cash deposits in the last few weeks. Banks have been asked to take this into account when deciding on working capital.

A few days back, Government announced a major tax relief for small businesses. Income of businesses with turnover of up to Rs 2 crores was calculated at 8% of the turnover. Now, for such businesses income from digital transactions will be calculated at 6%. This will effectively reduce their tax liability by 25%.

Friends,

The progress of the MUDRA Yojana has been very encouraging. Last year, nearly 3 and a half crore people have benefited from this. The Government now aims to double this, giving priority to Dalits, Tribals, Backward Classes and Women. A new scheme is being launched for pregnant women.
We are introducing a nation-wide scheme for financial assistance to pregnant women. 6000 rupees will be transferred directly to the bank accounts of pregnant women who undergo institutional delivery and vaccinate their children. This scheme will help reduce the maternal mortality rate, in a big way. This will help ensure nutrition before and after delivery, and improve the health of mother and child. So far, pregnant women in 53 districts were being given financial assistance of 4000 rupees, under a pilot project.

We are initiating a scheme for senior citizens. Banks often reduce their deposit rates, when they receive a large volume of money. This should not adversely impact senior citizens. Under the scheme, senior citizens will receive a fixed interest rate of 8 per cent for a period of 10 years, on deposits upto 7.5 lakh rupees. The interest will be paid monthly.

Friends,

Political parties, political leaders and electoral funding, figure prominently in any debate on corruption and black money.

The time has now come that all political leaders and parties respect the feelings of the nation’s honest citizens, and understand the anger of the people.

It is true that from time to time, political parties have made constructive efforts to improve the system.

I urge all parties and leaders to move away from a “holier than thou approach,” to come together in prioritising transparency, and take firm steps to free politics of black money and corruption.

In our country, people ranging from the common man to the President, have at some point or another, advocated simultaneous conduct of state and national elections.

This is to break the endless cycle of elections, reduce election expenditure, and minimize pressure on the administrative machinery.

The time has come for this to be seriously considered and debated.

Positive change has always found space in our country.

We can now see a positive momentum towards digital transactions in India.

More and more people are transacting digitally.

Yesterday, Government has launched a new, swadeshi platform for digital transactions – named BHIM after Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar.

BHIM stands for Bharat Interface for Money. I call upon the youth, the trading community, and farmers to connect with BHIM as much as possible. Friends, the developments, decisions, and policies that were put in place after Diwali, will of course be evaluated by economists.

It will be good if social scientists also do the same.

As a nation, India’s villages, poor, farmers, youth, educated and uneducated men and women, have all displayed infinite patience and people power. In a short time, the new year of 2017 will begin. Exactly 100 years ago, in 1917, Mahatma Gandhi initiated a Satyagraha in Champaran. Now, a century later, we witness that the people of India continue to share that feeling towards truth and goodness.

Today, Mahatma Gandhi is not among us. But the path towards truth that he showed us, is still most appropriate. As we begin the centenary year of the Satyagraha, let us recall the Mahatma and resolve to follow his message of truth and goodness.

We cannot allow this fight against black money and corruption to stop or slow down. Firmness in truth is a guarantee for success. A country of 125 crore, with 65 per cent below the age of 35, having the means, the resources, and the capability, has no reason to stay behind.

The new dawn of the New Year, comes with the resolve of new success.

Let us all come together, to move ahead overcoming obstacles and constraints.

Happy New Year

Jai Hind !!!

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 21:28 IST

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?”

RBI’s refusal to share details under RTI is sheer arrogance, says activist Shailesh Gandhi

The most shocking aspect of the decision to demonetise the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes by NDA government is the lack of transparency. The government and the RBI, the monetary authority, have not yet revealed the exact reason why the decision was taken or even about the current status of the economy and cash supply. There have even not been regular press releases or statements from the authorities through out the last 51 days.

The country’s central bank remained silent in the initial days of the demonetisation when the citizens had a harrowing time with cash crunch at banks and ATMs coupled with long queues that also led to even a few deaths of senior citizens. The role of the Reserve Bank of India and its new governor Urjit Patel has come for severe criticism.

Shailesh Gandhi. Image courtesy Shailesh Gandhi's Facebook pageShailesh Gandhi. Image courtesy Shailesh Gandhi's Facebook page

Shailesh Gandhi. Image courtesy Shailesh Gandhi’s Facebook page

Shailesh Gandhi, former Information Commissioner with the Central Information Commission (CIC), New Delhi, filed a complaint with the CIC over the RBI’s refusal to answer queries under Right to Information Act by a non-disclosure policy put up on its site on November 30. In a conversation with Firspost, Gandhi explains why the RBI is on the course to setting a dangerous precedent by its refusal to answer queries and setting up its list under its non-disclosure policy which goes against the exemptions laid under the RTI Act, passed by the Supreme Court.

Excerpts from the conversation:

Your take on RBI’s unwillingness to respond to RTI queries.

This is sheer arrogance on the part of the RBI. Almost everyone in power dislikes transparency for themselves, be it the courts, bureaucrats, the RBI and even the media for that matter. Arrogance weighs with everyone who will say that in theory the RTI is good but when asked to release information, will remark: I am not corrupt. I am honest and clean and why should any ordinary citizen question me. Even the honest dislike the RTI and are happy to tell others to be transparent. It takes time to get used to being questions. It is 11 years since the RTI Act came into force.

What the RBI is doing by refusing to answer queries under RTI is denying citizens their fundamental rights. There are ten exemptions under the RTI. These do not include what the RBI is stating as exemption for itself. The central bank has also not given any reason for its actual rejection to the questions posed to it under the RTI.

Our RTI Act is the best in the world and we now rank at number 4 in terms of provisions of law and at 66 with regard to implementation. The Act is grossly misrepresented. The courts also have not been very enthusiastic about it.

You have filed a case against RBI’s refusal with the CIC

Yes, I have filed a complaint with the CIC on 16 December that the RBI is arbitrarily claiming exemption and have spread the net very wide in the garb of following the law and are actually defying the law. I did that because the RBI could set a bad precedent which is dangerous that could lead other public authorities to follow it, which could lead to increase in the load on the CIC. Everyone will compile their own non-disclosure list like the RBI has done and the CIC will not be able to penalise them. I hope the Supreme Court and the CIC takes cognisance of it.

The RBI has in its Disclosure Policy on its site on 30 November said that the list of information which shall not be given is justified by the proclamation that: ‘While compiling the ( nondisclosure) list, it has been the Bank’s endeavour to attain the objectives of the RTI Act, without jeopardizing the financial stability and economic interests of the State.’ Effectively it means that RBI arrogates to itself the right to lay down exemptions to disclosure of information in line with the objectives of the Act. This is the sole prerogative of Parliament which has provided the exemptions to disclosure in Section 8 and 9 of the RTI Act. The RBI’s disclosure policy is actually a non-disclosure. They are the masters and the judges themselves.

What are the 10 areas that are exempted under the RTI Act?

1) To give information, disclosures which would affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence; 2) information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court; 3) information, the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature; 4) information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; 5) information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; 6) information received in confidence from foreign government; 7) information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes; 8) information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders; 9) cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers: Provided that the decisions of Council of Ministers, the reasons thereof, and the material on the basis of which the decisions were taken shall be made public after the decision has been taken, and the matter is complete, or over: Provided further that those matters which come under the exemptions specified in this section shall not be disclosed; 10) information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information, which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person.

When Supreme Court orders are not being adhered to by the RBI, can no action be taken on the institution?

When you defy SC orders, the CIC cannot do anything. The commission has the authority and power to say that the list you put up is too wide ranging and can’t be accepted. That’s all.

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 12:24 IST

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.

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.

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

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

From Modi & Rahul to Saif-Kareena, everyone who faced the wrath of trolls in 2016

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Internet trolls kept the social media abuzz in 2016 and spared none, be it Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, cricketer Mohammad Shami or even ‘Saifeena’ , unleashing posts and memes that ranged from controversial to hilarious to bizarre.Demonetization Demonetization was one of the most trending topics of the year 2016. Following its announcement on November 8, Twitter went into a meltdown and within hours, trolls produced a goldmine of memes and posts on the social media.Commenting on long queues at ATMs and banks, one Twitter user Sahil Shah said, “Don’t know if line to ATM or Shirdi.” A meme showed Modi’s face photoshopped on a painting of French Queen Marie Antoinette with a caption reading Modi Antoinette. It said, “I they don’t have notes, let them use plastic.”One Karthick posted, “The volume of memes generated within 1 hour of PM’s announcement shows that unemployment is a bigger problem than black money,” alluding to the number of posts and memes that surfaced online post demonetization.Mohammed ShamiRecently, Shami was attacked by trolls after he posted a picture with his wife Hasin Jahan, who was wearing a sleeveless gown. They asked him to ensure that his wife is dressed modestly in a hijab.However, other social media users, including cricketer Mohammed Kaif, lyricist Javed Akhtar and his actor son Farhan came to Shami’s defence. Kaif tweeted a screenshot of the critical comments saying, “The comments are really really Shameful. Support Mohammed Shami fully. There are much bigger issues in this country. Hope sense prevails.”Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan’s son TaimurSimilarly, Bollywood actors Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan came under fire from social media users over naming of their newborn son, Taimur. People took umbrage saying it was the name of a Turco- Mughal emperor who invaded India in the late 14th century. They also called for boycott of the actors’ films and compared Taimur to Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden.Some users, however, mocked the choice of name in a light hearted manner. One tweet said, “I think instead of screwing up Mumbai station names, the Maha government should change Taimur Ali Khan’s name, that too on priority basis!!” An RJ from Kolkata Mir Afsar Ali attracted online trolls for wishing everyone a merry Christmas but the radio jockey hit back at his detractors in a Facebook post that went viral, saying he was shocked by some of the comments advising why a Muslim should not be “celebrating/wishing” on the festival.Rahul GandhiLately, even political leaders seem to have taken to trolling people. Rahul Gandhi, who himself is a frequent target of trolls, took a dig at the government over the frequent changes in policies following demonetization. He posted a picture of a pole with a cluster of traffic lights, saying, “Government orders after demonetization.” Soon after the post, a parody account of the Congress leader, @RoflGandhi_, tweeted, “Bhai thoda sa toh gap rakho apne aur mere account mei.” Trolls also poked fun at Rahul Gandhi when his Twitter account was hacked, with one user saying, “#RahulGandhi’s account hasn’t been hacked, it’s just that for the first time he himself is tweeting from that account.” “So finally staff at @OfficeOfRG have taken that phone back from #RahulGandhi,” another one tweeted.Arvind KejriwalTrolls also took a dig at Kejriwal, with one Manish Jain saying, “#RahulGandhi Someone please also hack Kejriwal’s account. Won’t be difficult. Password must be modimodimodi .” Memes about Sonam Gupta also kept social media buzzing as users endlessly discussed whether she was ‘bewafa’ or not. It all started with a Rs 10 note on which someone had written ‘Sonam Gupta bewafa hai ‘. Soon the picture went viral, catching the attention of trolls and spawning memes. Pictures of currencies of different countries with ‘Sonam Gupta bewafa hai ‘ written on them also turned up online.The Delhi Chief Minister, who has been nicknamed Mufflerman by netizens, took to Twitter to make an official announcement of winters hitting Delhi. “Thand aa gayi hai. Muffler nikal agay hai. Aap bhi apna khyal rakhien,” said the AAP chief.Sushma SwarajEven the favourite of social media, Foreign Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, expertly trolled a man who had sought her help in replacing a defective refrigerator. She replied to his tweet, saying, “Brother I cannot help in matters of a refrigerator. I am very busy with human beings in distress.”Shilpa ShettyBollywood actor Shilpa Shetty too was trolled on Twitter after she said that George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” should be included in the syllabus as “it will teach the little ones to love and care for animals”. Twitterati also did not take kindly the statement and #ShilpaShettyReviews trending on Twitter with people posting jokes about other books and movies. “The Mummy Returns is a great sequel… To Stepmom. #ShilpaShettyReviews,” a Twitter user wrote.Similarly, another user tweeted, “Fifty Shades of Grey is an amazing coloring book. Children will love it.” Social media users also did not spare director Ashutosh Gowarikar over the historical inaccuracies in his film “Mohenjadaro”. “Relax guys, its an Ashutosh Gowarikar film. By the time he was done shooting Indus Valley got iron tools, horses and silk. #MohenjoDaro,” Twitter user Subhashish said. “Currently Independence Day looks more historically and scientifically accurate than Mohenjo Daro,” Mihir Fadnavis said.Suresh PrabhuA man was trolled by the Twitterati when he tweeted Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, asking for diapers for his toddler with most users requesting the minister not to pay attention to such “nonsense”. One user asked if the “Railways was a diaper service company”.

Congress should introspect its contribution to ills like corruption and black money: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Hitting back at Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi over his criticism of demonetization, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the opposition party should “introspect” its contribution towards ills like corruption and black money.Attacking the Congress, the Union Information and Broadcasting minister said the the party which has ruled India for the maximum time should give answers as it has all along “patronised” black money and corruption.He said that as the Congress celebrates its Foundation Day and it is only appropriate that the issue of black money, corruption etc, are “haunting” it.Referring to Rahul’s comments earlier in the day, Naidu said that the Congress Vice president had expressed unwisely his “vicarious pleasure” over what he thought that note withdrawal is a big failure in terms of unearthing black money. “This clearly shows that his party is with those who all along lived by black money and corruption….One of the objectives of note withdrawal has been to see that high value currency notes reach the system.”Whatever does not reach banking system obviously could be taken as unaccounted for money. It does not necessarily mean that all the currency that reached the banking system is white money,” Naidu said.One would have known by now that December 30 is not the last day of efforts for unearthing black money, he added. Claiming that spit and run won’t work, Naidu posed five questions to Rahul and Congress. He asked them to explain whether they believe that there is no black money and corruption in the country and there was no need for any measures to tackle them?If Congress believes that there is a problem of black money and corruption, why did it’s governments not take effective measures against them, he asked. Naidu also asked why Congress government brought the Benami Property law before Parliament in 1988 but did not subsequently notified it? Why some major opposition parties are refusing to join hands with Congress in its anti-note withdrawal campaign? he asked Naidu asked.Why Congress Government didn’t act on Supreme Court s directive for setting up SIT on black money, was Naidu’s fifth question. Referring to Congress Vice President’s remarks earlier, Naidu claimed that “Rahul’s smile and body language today clearly indicated that there is not much of black money in the country.”Then why don’t you muster courage and openly say so if his party’s assessment is that there is not much of black money, Naidu said. Everyone knows the close link between black money and corruption, Naidu said adding that if Congress says there is no black money in our economy, obviously, there is no place for corruption in our system. “Is this the stand of the Congress?” he asked. Naidu said that Congress is in panic and trying to create confusion. He claimed that Congress is worried as nobody was taking Rahul seriously, whether it is the people, opposition leaders or his own partymen. That is why the opposition leaders’ distanced from the meeting, Naidu claimed.Naidu said that Congress and communists are disappointed as the people have continued to support the crackdown on black money. Only some political parties which have been beneficiaries of the loot appear to be shaken, he claimed.When asked about the demand by Mamata Banerjee and Rahul Gandhi that the Prime Minister should quit, Naidu said that it was people’s love that had made Modi the Prime Minister and not the pleasure of these opposition leaders. Asked about the criticism by opposition regarding the use of Ordinance route by the Government, Naidu said that Congress has itself issued hundreds of ordinances.Responding to another question about West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Naidu said that she should first set her house in order.He added that secularism has been made to mean talking about only the minority. He said what is happening in Bengal is “disturbing.”In a question related to the happenings at the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Naidu said it was a wrong decision and therefore the government had taken appropriate steps.Attacking the Congress, he said that rather than asking questions to the government, it should explain why it encouraged such people.

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.

Demonetization: Tejaswi Yadav backs Mamata’s ‘super emergency’ assertion

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav on Wednesday backed Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s assertion that the present situation in the country after the Centre’s demonetization drive is a ‘super emergency.’Yadav said, “The situation in the entire nation is very bad post this demonetization drive. There is no solution to the problems being faced by the people as promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.””The situation is worse in downtrodden areas which are not well connected with the cities, do not have the facilities of ATMs and other modern techniques. Several people have lost their lives due to demonetization. However, the Prime Minister has said nothing over this. So, I think the statements made by Mamata Banerjee that is a super emergency is absolutely correct,” he added.The TMC chief on Tuesday led the attack on the Centre over their demonetization move alleging that the government had completely destroyed the federal structure.”It is not emergency; it’s super emergency. Just that it has not been officially declared,” said Banerjee addressing the media after an anti-demonetization meeting which was attended by all the opposition parties except the Left, Janata Dal (United) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).”Demonetization is a mega scam, biggest one after independence. The government is looting money of the poor and giving it to rich in the form of loans,” she added.The West Bengal Chief Minister further questioned Prime Minister Modi whether he would resign if things don’t get back to normal even after 50 days.”Even if after 50 days, things will not change. Will the Prime Minister resign,” she said.The TMC chief also accused the Modi government of pushing the country 20 years back.”In push for cashless economy, Modi government has become baseless. It’s a total loss of face for them,” she said while describing the situation prevailing in the country as ‘super emergency’.The West Bengal Chief Minister also insisted that all the opposition parties will make a common minimum agenda program.”Modi ji said we will have ‘acche din’. Is this what he meant by acche din? People are troubled. The country has been robbed in the name of acche din. In the name of cashless, Modi Government has gone baseless. It has become totally faceless,” she said.”This is a fearless government. They do not care about anything.”Meanwhile, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi also escalated his attack on Prime Minister Modi, saying the goal of his ambitious demonetization drive has completely failed as people are continuing to suffer.”Demonetisation has done absolutely nothing against corruption. What it has done instead is to leave people without any money,” said Gandhi.”December 30th is about to come and the situation is still the same. The motive of demonetization has failed completely. The Prime Minister should answer the nation as to what was the real motive of demonetization and what will he do for those affected by it,” he added.The Congress vice-president further said that demonetization was an attack on the country’s poor and had only increased unemployment.Claiming that a new black market was created to exchange the demonetized notes, Gandhi said that demonetization was a direct attack on the country’s financial institutions and the poor.”A new market for conversion of money has been set up which has resulted in an attack on financial institutions and poor,” he said.

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.”

Opposition is fighting for its own difficulties and not for public: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Launching a scathing attack on opposition parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party has said that the the former is fighting for their own difficulties and not for the public.”Opposition has not remained opposition anymore. Their coalition has broken as many parties have left, this is their first failure. The opposition has decided to protest after 30th December and no one has stopped them for doing that, they should continue with their protest as they will move away from the people the more protest they will do,” said BJP leader Rahul Sinha.He said the opposition is not finding a way to get out of the loss caused to them because of demonetization and on the pretext of fighting for the people they are making unconstitutional statements.Responding to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s statement of labelling Modi government as faceless, Sinha said that Mamta herself is becoming faceless as her neat and clean political image was tarnished by the Saradha scam.He said it has also been proved that opposition’s fight against the demonetization is the fight for the black money and for the people who own black money.”The more the opposition will raise their voice, the more BJP will gain,” he said.Sinha said it is unfortunate that opposition has not learnt from the recent election results in which the people have approved that the decision of demonetization was right.He said the Prime Minister will not reply to Rahul Gandhi, he will respond to the people and people till now have supported him.”Prime Minister himself had said that he is ready to face any decision that the people of this country will announce for him. People are giving their verdict that they are with the Prime Minister in this fight against the Black money,” Sinha said.”People don’t have any interest in Rahul Gandhi allegations. Opposition does not have any issue and their protest on the demonetization has also not worked, they don’t have anything and are just making unconstitutional statements.

2016 in review: From Modi to Rahul – who rocked and who flopped in Indian politics

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India’s democracy is loud and vibrant, and 2016 was no different. The same political players tried to outmanoeuvre each other with clever retorts and strategies. While some thrived and soared high, others nose-dived, often risking public apathy and scary oblivion. With elections in four states and one union territory, demonetization, passage of GST and run-up to the elections in early 2017, it has been a busy year in Indian politics. Here is a report card of politicians who managed to strike the right note with their electorates and those who were left in the wayside.Politicians whose stock soared highNarendra Modi:In his third year as PM, many expected Modi to embark on some bold political moves to shore up his popularity. But few would have betted on demonetisation, a hitherto unknown term that has now entered the collective psyche of Indians. In one swoop, PM made the most audacious currency swap drill ever undertaken. While reactions from experts have been mixed, the public has so far steadfastly supported demonetization, targeted at reducing black money, counterfeit currencies, terror funding etc.The PM started the year with the afterglow of his Pakistan tour which was subsequently scuttled by the Pathankot attack. While Modi’s Pak policy has been a non-starter, domestically he has got decent support with BJP doing well in the polls, GST on the anvil and demonetization eliciting positive feedback so far. Rating: 9/10Arvind Kejriwal:He tweeted, ranted, did vipassana and again tweeted- rinse and repeat, throughout the year. Kejriwal may have fallen into the vicious trap of hyperventilation and playing the victim card over everything, retweeting inane tweets to fuel conspiracy theories, but he did what was the need of the hour. He remained PM Modi’s no 1 bête-noire, a possible focal point of concentration in case of a hung parliament in 2019. Kejriwal’s AAP has gone slightly off the rails in poll-bound Punjab, but it may again surprise pundits with a Delhi-esque performance. 2017, with elections in Punjab, Goa and Gujarat, will be a big year for Kejriwal’s future political ambitions. Rating- 8/10Mamata Banerjee: First they came with Saradha, then with Narada, then with Election Commission and then Didi won! 2016’s most decisive mandate was delivered by the Bengal voters who defied a hurriedly done Congress-Left alliance to grant TMC a massive mandate obliterating BJP to a mere footnote. But that was only the start of Didi’s political sojourn in 2016. She has attacked demonetization, like a bull in the china shop, trying to elevate her position from being a regional satrap to a serious national player. It’s early days, but the tactics seem to be working. Many parties who so far had kept Didi at bay are warming up to her. However, the persistent reports of riots from Bengal will surely keep Mamata worried as the year winds down. The land of Rabindra-Najrul falling into a cesspool of communal violence is the last thing India needs now. Rating: 7.5/10Sushma Swaraj: There are politicians, and then there is Sushma Swaraj. Even the most hardcore BJP baiter has good words to say about the ‘always happy to help’ External Affairs Minister. From rescuing Judith De-Souza to evacuating Indians stuck in the Gulf, Swaraj did all, with her easy charm and wit as suitable ally. She even helped a Pakistani girl when the relationship between the two countries had hit a new low. She won Twitter with her tweets even when critically ill from AIIMS and warmed our hearts. In the Modi govt’s uniform monochrome of clipped servitude, Swaraj has brought a dash of colour of spontaneity, and that makes her even more special. Rating: 7/10Pinarayi Vijayan: Vijayan not only defeated the Congress (the easier part), he also got the better of VS Achuthanandan to become CM of Kerala. With Bengal looking out of bounds, Kerala remains the last communist bastion. Kerala off late has received massive bad press for continued skirmishes between BJP and Left workers. The acid test for Vijayan is to crack down on such attacks firmly without looking at party affiliations. Rating: 6.5/10Special mention: J Jayalalithaa bucked trend of many decades to get re-elected as CM of Tamil Nadu. With DMK in the wane, it was the ideal time for her to really consolidate her party’s position in the state. Sadly, after prolonged illness, Tamil Nadu CM passed away in December, leaving her party AIADMK and the state to possible political uncertainty in the future.Politicians who failed to impress:Rahul Gandhi:Is that a bird, is that a plane, no it is the Sahara papers! Rahul Gandhi completely lost the plot in 2016, rehashing allegations made by others, comparing demonetization to an atomic bomb among others. The more he raised his voice, the lesser he made sense. With a Congress in free fall, throughout the year​, Rahul failed to outline how his party can be the better alternative. He travelled copious miles across the length and breadth of the country and gave numerous speeches. Full marks for trying, but sadly zero for execution. Rating: 1.5/10Smriti Irani: Fiery Smriti Irani was cut down to size (pun intended) when she was shunted from the high-profile HRD Ministry to the Textiles Ministry. While she was a favourite with the die-hard BJP fans for picking up fights with detractors, for the BJP top leadership, it became an unwanted distraction. Her ham-handed management of the Rohit Vemula and Kanhaiya Kumar saga took the sheen away from the Modi govt’s achievements among sections of the youth. Finally it cost Smriti her ministry. Ratings: 2/10Samajwadi Party leadership:When the year started, the Samajwadi Party was sitting pretty with the polls showing good numbers for the Akhilesh govt. But it has been all downhill since then, as an ugly power struggle played out in full public glare. The ageing patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav has much to ponder about with another round of fights ensuing with the distribution of tickets. Can SP get its house in order before the elections? Is the party headed for a split? 2017 hopes to provide us with all these answers. Ratings: 2.5/10Anandiben Patel:Anandiben Patel ‘retired’ citing her age, merely a year before polls are due in Gujarat. Gujarat is one state where BJP’s power has steadily depleted in the last two years with Modi leaving the state to his trusted lieutenant. The graft allegations and the botched up handling of the Patel agitation led to Anandiben’s unceremonious ouster. The agitation made a hero out of Hardik Patel. Can he hurt BJP electorally will only be known next year. Rating: 3/10Mehbooba Mufti: Hardliner Mufti took over the role of CM of J&K after her father’s demise. An alliance with BJP was always going to be tricky, but the Burhan Wani saga tested it fully. Mehbooba was caught in the midst, accused of not being tough towards separatists by one side and not showing empathy to those injured by others. She has survived and the alliance remains intact, but 2017 promises to be more challenging for her. Rating: 4/10Special mention: It was always going to be an uphill task for Assam’s Tarun Gogoi. Yet the octogenarian fought hard against massive anti-incumbency, saffron surge and general fatigue with the Congress. Finally, he lost the elections meekly after 15 years at the helm. His political career may be in terminal sunset, but Gogoi will be remembered as one of the rare politicians from North East to earn a national recognition due to his longevity and good work.This was DNA’s pick of 10 politicians who were in the limelight for the right or wrong reasons. Others like Arun Jaitley, Subramanian Swamy, Sonia Gandhi, Owaisi also made their mark, but didn’t change the political discourse dramatically. Now, all over to 2017 and the mother of all elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Opposition united, but some parties have local compulsions too: Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said all opposition parties — even those who did not attend a joint press conference in Delhi — were united on demonetisation and Prime Minister Narandra Modi’s alleged corruption.

The opposition is united on demonetisation and Modi’s corruption, though every party has some local compulsions and he respects it, the Congress leader said at the joint press conference in Delhi.

Rahul Gandhi's Twitter handle was hacked on 1 December. PTI

Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter handle was hacked on 1 December. PTI

Out of 16 opposition parties that opposed the government on demonetisation in the winter session of Parliament, only eight attended the joint presss conference, including the Congress, Trinamool Congress, DMK, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal-Secular, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Indian Union Muslim League and All India United Democratic Front.

“Every day, during Parliament’s winter session, all parties were together on the issue of demonetisation. Not even one party was away.

“Every party said they are together on demonetisation and Modi’s corruption. But parties also have local compulsions and we respect those compulsions,” Gandhi said.

The Congress leader said: “Opposition unity is a process and it is going forward. You can ask all opposition parties — they will tell you uniformly that they agree on the stand we are taking on demonetisation and on the Prime Minister’s corruption.”

“There are slight differences in the perspective of these parties. We are happy to embrace them. We see all opposition parties as assets, as people who represent people in this country.

“Every party have some differences, but broadly, everyone will say that demonetisation is a failed experiment. All opposition parties believe in the democratic principles,” the Congress Vice-President added.

On meeting the Prime Minister on 16 December, the last day of Parliament session, which may have irked some political parties, Gandhi said: “I did a 30-day campaign where I committed to the people of Uttar Pradesh that I’ll take two crore of their forms they had filled up and submit to the Prime Minister. I only fulfilled that commitment.”

“I told them I’ll take these personally to the PM. It was a commitment to the farmers,” he added.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 22:25 IST

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

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

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

Actor Aamir Khan. AFP

Actor Aamir Khan. AFP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Incumbent upon Rahul to substantiate corruption charge against PM: NCP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has said it is incumbent upon Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to substantiate his corruption claims against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”It’s a political strategy adopted by Congress. In fact, the Congress is supported by several opposition parties, including the JD (U), SP, Left and CPM and TMC. In the last session the opposition was completely united and in that context Rahul has some names, evidences about the involvement of Prime Minister personally. He will have to substantiate it now,” NCP leader Majeed Memon said.He was speaking ahead of a united opposition meeting to devise a strategy against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on demonetization.
ALSO READ Ball in PMO’s court, will PM Modi come clean? Sheila Dikshit on ‘Sahara diaries’Memon also said that this meeting assumes significance as the Prime Minister’s 50 days deadline to ease the cash crunch is coming to an end.”This meeting by the opposition is now to draw a strategy because 50 days are closing now. Now that 50 days are coming to close, the Prime Minister is changing his goal posts. Now, he is saying that the trouble of the poor people is gradually starting to diminish. That would mean that it will continue indefinitely for some longer time, so, his comment has been blighted,” he added.
ALSO READ PM Modi pure as Ganga, no one takes Rahul seriously: BJP on Sahara-Birla bribe allegationsThe meeting, called by Congress, will be followed by a joint press conference by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders. Congress president Sonia Gandhi is also expected to join.However, its attempt to unite opposition parties against demonetisation has suffered a severe jolt with the Left, Janata Dal United JD (U) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) expressing their inability to attend.Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has arrived in New Delhi to take part in the meeting. The DMK, RJD and others are scheduled to participate.

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.

Mamata arrives in capital to attend joint Oppn meeting, Left to stay away

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Raising the stakes in her fight against Modi government on demonetization, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee arrived in New Delhi to attend a meeting of opposition parties and a joint press conference tomorrow along with Congress, DMK, RJD and other parties.Mamata, who is spearheading the fight against demonetization, will be part of the joint opposition meeting, TMC sources said. Banerjee told reporters at the Kolkata airport, “The Congress has called me for the meeting. Let’s see what happens!” She will attend the media briefing at Constitution Club along with other Opposition leaders including representatives from DMK and RJD among others, sources added. Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi are expected to attend the meeting.While the Left parties announced they are staying away, the JD(U) also gave hints that it may follow suit. A top TMC leader told PTI while reacting to CPI-M’s pull-out, said, “It is the CPI-M’s internal matter. But we feel that it is for them to decide on which side they are.” TMC chief will be in the capital for three days and expected to meet several leaders from different political hues during her stay.We want to highlight the hardships caused due to demonetization across the country, a senior TMC leader claimed. CPI(M) not to attendCracks appeared in the Opposition’s unity as the CPI(M) today decided to stay away from a press conference by the opposition parties convened by the Congress, citing “lack of coordination and consultation” among the participants. “We have decided to stay away from the press conference of opposition parties convened by the Congress because there has been no proper consultation and coordination among the parties,” CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury told a press conference here.”Most of the parties were neither consulted nor informed about what will be the agenda of the meeting. Several opposition parties have reservation about the way the meeting has been convened,” Yechury said.The Congress is striving for uniting the Opposition on the issue of Rahul Gandhi’s charges of “personal corruption” against the Prime Minister and plans are afoot for a joint press conference by its president Sonia Gandhi and other opposition leaders on December 27.Yechury said that a few days back he had received a call from the Congress leadership inviting him to the press conference on December 27. “But when I wanted to know what will be the agenda of the meeting, plan of action and whether all opposition parties have been called, I didn’t receive any answer,” Yechury said. On being asked if the decision to stay away would not provide ammunition to the BJP camp, Yechury said,” When you want to take the opposition unity of 16 parties from a Parliament level to a political level then you need to hold consultation and discussion with the political leadership. A decision should be taken on the basis of proper consultation.That was not done, which is unfortunate,” the veteran leader said.He noted that in order to take forward the unity of opposition parties, references should be taken from the efforts that the CPI(M) has taken during the 1996 United Front government and UPA-I government. Yechury wondered why only the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee was invited to the press conference and Chief Ministers of Tripura, Bihar, and the NCP leadership were not properly consulted. “Why are you only inviting Chief Minister of West Bengal and not calling CMs of Bihar, Tripura and other states which have non-BJP governments?” he questioned.

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:

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

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

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

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

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.

Hello Mr Winemerchant

India’s Parsis take their food and drink seriously and even take their names from it.

PM Modi has done firebombing on poor, farmers and labourers: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Escalating the attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over demonetisation, Rahul Gandhi today accused him of dividing the country between the rich and the poor and dubbed the move as “firebombing” on cash economy and farmers and labourers.Addressing a public rally here, the Congress Vice President said the Prime Minister with his note ban decision has removed the “hat” of Himachal Pradesh as it has hit hard the state’s horticulture, agriculture and tourism sectors. “Himachal’s brave soldiers carried out the surgical strikes, but Modiji thought of launching a new drama. He launched the surgical strike on corruption.”On one side the brave give away their blood and life, but here he did surgical strike on black money and corruption.Modiji this is not a surgical strike on black money and corruption. This is a firebombing and economic-bombing on the poor, farmers and labourers,” he said. Accusing Modi of dividing the country between the rich and the poor, Gandhi said, “Modiji you have tried to divide India into two parts.” “On one side are the one per cent rich comprising 50 families who have private aircraft and big buildings and on other side, there are 99 per cent honest people of India — the farmers, labourers and the middle class who built this country with their sweat and blood. You tried to divide the people of the country,” he said.He said that in the Second World War, a new way was evolved to do firebombing in 25 minutes and more people died in Tokyo firebombing than in Hiroshima bombing. “The same way Modiji has done firebombing on the poor, farmers and labourers. You have done firebombing on India’s cash economy. Not on 94 per cent of black money where it was to be done. Not on one per cent people possessing black money, but on 99 per cent poor people of the country,” he said.Showing the traditional Himachali cap, Gandhi accused Modi of putting it down and destroying it. “Modiji you have removed the Himachal’s ‘hat’ through the note ban — horticulture, agriculture and tourism. Note ban has caused a major dent on horticulture, agriculture and tourism. You have burnt the fields of honest Himachal farmers, and you did so with a smile on your face. “This note ban step was against all of you, against the honest people of India. In two-and-a-half years, the Modi government has attacked the poor of the country,” he told the crowd. Besides Gandhi, the Congress rally was addressed by Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and other state leaders. Himachal Pradesh goes to Assembly polls in the latter part of 2017.

Rahul Gandhi to address rally in Dharamshala today

“Prime Minister Modi hasn’t listened to the farmers, but he has forgiven 1.40 lakh crore in loans to 15 rich people but not farmers”, says Rahul Gandhi in his rally in Almora, on Friday. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice- president, Rahul Gandhi will address a rally in Dharamshala on Saturday. This is the first visit of Gandhi after the Congress reversal in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. While addressing a rally in Almora on Friday, Gandhi escalated his attack on Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and said that demonetization is economic robbery.”The Congress Party wants to obliterate corruption from India. The Congress will support any step against corruption. But notes ban wasn’t against black money or corruption, it was economic robbery,” Gandhi said.The Congress vice-president also used the occasion to reach out to the farmers and labourers. “Prime Minister Modi hasn’t listened to the farmers, but he has forgiven 1.40 lakh crore in loans to 15 rich people but not farmers,” said Gandhi.
ALSO READ Prime Minister Modi has given a befitting reply to Rahul Gandhi: BJPGandhi alleged that the ‘suit boot ki Sarkar’ was in its bid to help its “rich friends” snatching the rights of the poor. “Under National Democratic Alliance (NDA​), 1% of Indians have 60% of the wealth. 99% Indians don’t have black money. 94% of the black money is in Swiss Bank accounts, gold and land. Just 6% of black money is in cash. I don’t know why Prime Minister Modi has made this 6% black money his target, not the 94%,” said Gandhi.

PM Modi should stop ‘ridiculing’ Rahul Gandhi, admit demonetization was a ‘mistake’: P Chidambaram

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Taking a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ridiculing Rahul Gandhi’s remarks, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said though he too could ridicule him, he will not do that and said Modi should rather answer the questions posed.”He (Rahul) says mock me but answer the questions of the people, the duty to respond to the question… lies with the Prime Minister… however he is ridiculing and acting (mocking Rahul),” Chidambaram said.Stating that he too knows how to mock and poke fun, the former finance minister said, “I can also talk like Prime Minister… and ridicule…, however, I will not do that because he is India’s Prime Minister.”Chidambaram said though Modi belonged to “another party” and “propagated several policies that we cannot accept, I respect him as he is India’s Prime Minister. I will not ridicule him or poke fun at him, I only ask questions, he should answer the questions.””Why are you (the Centre and Modi) punishing people like this (by demonetising) and what sin have they committed? Why are you harassing people and the farmers… what is the reason…I would like to ask,” he said.He said Rahul Gandhi is addressing people in several states, including Gujarat, on demonetisation and related issues.”The Prime Minister addresses meetings, Rahul Gandhi is also doing it and the media is giving equal importance to his speeches like they do for the PM and I welcome it. However that is not enough,” he said and described the claims of BJP government regarding demonetization as “falsehood.” Corruption is happening black money is being hoarded by using Rs 2,000 notes, he claimed and said party workers should apprise people on such “false claims.””I bow my head before the people for their patience,” Chidambaram said, adding people are perhaps waiting for the Prime Minister’s December 30 deadline for things to get normal.”No government or Prime Minister has the authority to inflict so much pain and harassment on the people. They did not vote for them (BJP) for this,” he said. Chidambaram said the Prime Minister should have accepted that he had taken a wrong decision. “He (Modi) is a big (magnanimous) man… had he said that I made a mistake, had Modi sought forgiveness, he would have been a big man,” the senior Congress leader said. He said Indira Gandhi had generously admitted that promulgation of Emergency in 1975 was a mistake as it had led to suffering of people (not in Tamil Nadu) and promised to never do it again till such time she was Prime Minister. “That is why she continues to live in the hearts of people as a towering leader though she passed away 32 years ago,” he said.”There is nothing wrong in accepting one’s mistake…there is nothing wrong in saying that I have done a mistake.” Chidambaram said if Modi had admitted he had taken a “wrong decision based on wrong advice” and he was not told of the quantum of currency that will be scrapped, it would have been generous.If Modi had said he was not apprised about the note printing capacity and how many months it would take to print such notes and on the duration of ATM recalibration, he would have been magnanimous, he said.Modi should have admitted that he had not taken into consideration the fact that people would be hit and daily wage earners would be affected, Chidambaram said.

Rahul Gandhi attacks PM Modi again, dubs demonetization as ‘economic robbery’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Escalating the attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi on Friday said his note ban decision is not a fight against black money or corruption but is an “economic robbery”.Addressing a public rally at the University Campus College Grounds here, the Congress vice president said 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”.He said his party wants to eradicate corruption and if “Modiji takes any step against the menace, Congress party will lend its hundred per cent support”.”But this note ban step is not a decision against black money and corruption. This note ban is an economic robbery. It is an attack on the poor of the country,” he said.Gandhi asked the Prime Minister to name those “thieves” who own the black money stashed in Swiss banks. “The Swiss government has provided the list of all black-money holders to the Modi government. Why does he not place the list of thieves before the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha? We want to know who are these thieves. You should put their names before the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha,” he said.”Why didn’t you bring back (Vijay) Mallya and Lalit Modi from London?” he asked. Gandhi accused Modi of snatching away the hard-earned money of the country’s poor and giving them to banks to write off bad loans. He said demonetisation was introduced to waive Rs 8 lakh crore loans the “super rich” owe.”Gareebon ka paisa kheencho, amiron ko seencho. 99 per cent imaandaar ka paisa kheencho, 50 pariwaron ko seencho. Yeh hai notebandi ki sachhai, (Take away the money from the poor and help the rich. Take away the money from the 99 per cent honest people and help the 50 super-rich families. This is the truth of note ban).” he said. He used an Amitabh Bachchan song to attack Modi and said his motive is “Ram naam japna, garibon ka maal apna”.”Suck the poor and serve the rich – this is the reality of the suit-boot wali sarkar,” he said. He also accused the central government of being callous to people’s suffering and claimed the Opposition was not even allowed to mourn the “death of 100 people due to demonetisation”.

Demonetisation: PM Modi looting poor and serving the rich says Rahul in Almora rally

Almora: Escalating the attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi on Friday said his note ban decision is not a fight against black money or corruption but is an “economic robbery”.

Addressing a public rally at the University Campus College Grounds here, the Congress vice president said the Prime Minister has put “99 percent people” in the country to hardships and not targeted the “1 percent super rich” who “held all the black money”.

He said his party wants to eradicate corruption and if “Modiji takes any step against the menace, Congress party will lend its hundred percent support”.

“But this note ban step is not a decision against black money and corruption. This note ban is an economic robbery. It is an attack on the pooor of the country,” he said.

File photo of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

File photo of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

Gandhi asked the Prime Minister to name those “thieves” who own the black money stashed in Swiss banks.

“The Swiss government has provided the list of all black-money holders to the Modi government. Why does he not place the list of thieves before the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha? We want to know who are these thieves. You should put their names before the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha,” he said.

“Why didn’t you bring back (Vijay) Mallya and Lalit Modi from London?” he asked.

Gandhi accused Modi of snatching away the hard-earned money of the country’s poor and giving them to banks to write off bad loans. He said demonetisation was introduced to waive Rs 8 lakh crore loans the “super rich” owe.

“Gareebon ka paisa kheencho, amiron ko seencho. 99 percent imaandaar ka paisa kheencho, 50 pariwaron ko seencho. Yeh hai notebandi ki sachhai, (Take away the money from the poor and help the rich. Take away the money from the 99 percent honest people and help the 50 super-rich families. This is the truth of note ban).” he said.

He used an Amitabh Bachchan song to attack Modi and said his motive is “Ram naam japna, garibon ka maal apna”.

“Suck the poor and serve the rich – this is the reality of the suit-boot wali sarkar,” he said.

He also accused the central government of being callous to people’s suffering and claimed the Opposition was not even allowed to mourn the “death of 100 people due to demonetisation”.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 18:44 IST

Nigerian with about Rs 54 lakh in new notes intercepted at IGI Airport

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Nigerian national was found in possession of about Rs 54 lakh in new notes today at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here.Officials said the incident was reported at about 2:30 AM when CISF personnel intercepted the Nigerian travelling to Coimbatore from here.”He was allowed to travel after information was shared with tax and customs sleuths. A total cash of over Rs 58 lakh was detected with the Nigerian with Rs 53.78 lakh in new currency and Rs 4.29 lakh in old notes,” they said.

Prime Minister Modi has given a befitting reply to Rahul Gandhi: BJP

“With no document, no substantial evidence, Rahul is claiming that Modi has been paid Rs 40 crores by the Sahara group in 2012-13,” BJP leader S Prakash said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given a befitting reply to Rahul Gandhi’s baseless allegations.”The Prime Minister has rightly ridiculed Rahul Gandhi’s charges, as with no document, no substantial evidence and just based on Prashant Bhushan’s applications, he is claiming that Modi has been paid Rs 40 crores by the Sahara group in 2012-13,” BJP leader S Prakash said.He said that UPA was at the helm of affairs in the country at the time and could have enquired at that time. “Unfortunately, he expects a very high response from the Prime Minister which he does not deserve and Supreme Court has already given a verdict about it,” he said.He said that repeatedly making charge that don’t hold water seemed to be an exercise in frivolity. Prakash said Rahul Gandhi should realise his agenda is not working with the masses.

Lalu calls Narendra Modi ‘Uncle Podger’, lends support to Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>RJD chief Lalu Prasad demanded the Prime Minister reply to charges of alleged corruption against him levelled by Rahul Gandhi on Thursday, even as he compared Narendra Modi to ‘Uncle Podger’ for “messing up economy” by his demonetization move. Demanding the charges be probed under supervision of the Supreme Court, the RJD chief said, “The allegations levelled by Rahul Gandhi against Narendra Modi of receiving huge money is even a bigger quake than talked about. He gave details of sum of money with dates on which payments were made.” “The Prime Minister should reply to the accusation and if the allegations are wrong why does not he file a defamation suit against Rahul Gandhi?” he said. “The Prime Minister should announce a high-level probe under supervision of the Supreme Court into the allegations,” he added.Launching a blistering attack on the Prime Minister for “ill-planned” demonetization, Prasad mockingly described Narendra Modi as ‘Uncle Podger’– a bumbling character from Jerome K Jerome’s ‘Three Men in a Boat’– for “messing up economy” and “pushing it towards anarchy”. “Demonetization has flopped and those raising voice of people over anarchy caused by it are termed as traitors,” he said as a retort to PM’s comment on rivals at Varanasi.Prasad whose party has already announced a dharna against scrapping of notes in district headquarters of Bihar on December 28 said later a rally would be held at Gandhi Maidan in Patna. He said he would tour the state before the rally.
ALSO READ Rahul Gandhi is now trying to be new Kejriwal: BJPPrasad claimed support of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and said Kumar has also dismissed plea of converting the country into cashless society. “Nitish Kumar has said he would review demonetization after December 30…there is no difference in the grand alliance…we are strongly united,,” Prasad, whose party RJD is running coalition government with JD(U) and Congress in Bihar, said. He also supported Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s assertions that “only 5-6 big families close to PM are eating into the wealth of the country”. The RJD chief said the PM had sought 50 days from people for ending the problems caused after demonetization out of which only few days are left now. “This (demonetization) would also end up as ‘jumla’ like promise to give Rs 15-20 lakh to every citizen out of black money brought back home from abroad,” he said.

BJP hits back at Rahul Gandhi for ‘pro-rich’ jibe, says UPA gave loans worth Rs 36.5 lakh crore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hitting back after Rahul Gandhi’s “pro-rich” jibe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP alleged on Thursday that the UPA government had showered business houses with concessions and loans worth over Rs 36.5 lakh crore which the government is working to recover now. It also rejected the Congress vice president’s corruption charge against Modi, claiming even the Supreme Court had not taken note of the allegations, earlier levelled by his “political guru” Arvind Kejriwal.At a press conference soon after Gandhi’s rally in Uttar Pradesh, BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma said these allegations against Modi date back to 2013 when Gandhi was “super prime minister” and the then UPA government could find nothing despite agencies like CBI, ED and I-T working under it.Seeking to turn the tables on Gandhi over his constant efforts to paint Modi as a “pro-corporate and pro-rich”, he cited RBI figures released soon after BJP came to power in 2014 to claim that debts of Gautam Adani, Anil Ambani, Shashi and Ravi Ruia, and Sunil Mittal were Rs 72,632 crore, Rs 1.13 lakh cr, Rs 98,412 cr and Rs 57,744 cr respectively. “Rahul Gandhi has been accusing us of being pro-corporate. He should tell people why and on whose behest the UPA government let these industrialists run so much of debt…. It showered business houses with concessions and loans running into Rs 36.5 lakh crore. All these debts Modi is trying to recover,” Sharma said.He also alleged that the UPA government ensured that liquor baron Vijay Mallya was given a loan of Rs 1,500 crore despite having defaulted on bank payments.

Lalu Yadav backs Rahul Gandhi, demands SC-monitored probe against PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav has backed Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s assertion that corporates paid crores as bribes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2013-14 and demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the same.Lalu said that Prime Minister Modi, who is now completely trapped, owes an explanation to the nation.”Rahul Gandhi has alleged Aditya Birla and Sahara Group had given Rs. 40 crores to Narendra Modi. The Prime Minister is completely trapped and now he will have to give an explanation. If any BJP spokesperson comes up with justification on his behalf then that would be unfair,” he added.The RJD chief further stated that the Congress vice-president wouldn’t have made such allegations against the Prime Minister without any proof.”Without proof, Rahul Gandhi won’t say this…or any leader won’t accuse the Prime Minister of this. It proves that the Prime Minister was involved in corruption. I demand a Supreme Court-monitored probe in this regard,” he added.Speaking in Gujarat’s Mehsana yesterday, Gandhi alleged that in the records with the Income Tax, there were notings of Sahara officials? claims that they paid Prime Minister Modi nine times between October 2013 and February 2014 and that the total amount was Rs. 40 crore.He also alleged that according to documents with the IT department, the Birla Group too paid Rs. 12 crore to the Prime Minister.Seeking an independent inquiry, Gandhi said that he was raising the issue ‘on behalf of the country’.

Rahul’s info on ‘PM’s corruption’ turns out to be old I-T diary notings

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi chose a public rally in Mehsana, Gujarat to reveal the information he had claimed would trigger ‘an earthquake’ in Delhi.Gandhi’s charges of corruption against Prime Minister Narendra Modi have sent the ruling BJP seething. The party has described the allegations as “baseless, irresponsible and shameful” and an attempt to divert attention from the AgustaWestland scam.The information on Prime Minister Modi’s “personal corruption” which Gandhi finally let out after days of suspense related to the account books of Sahara and Birlas seized by the Income Tax Departments. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal told a press conference here that Gandhi had brought out nothing new as he had tabled the Income Tax Department’s appraisal reports of both Sahara and Aditya Birla Groups in the Assembly showing the bribes allegedly paid to Modi in 2013 during his tenure as the Gujarat Chief Minister. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader, Derek O’Brien, was also quick to claim credit that it was his party that had first held demonstrations in the Parliament House Complex on December 2, 2014 with the red diary of Sahara, exposing Modi’s corruption.Gandhi, who was originally told by his aides to raise the issue on the floor of the House, so he could not be hauled in any court of law, finally threw the ‘bombshell’ at Modi in his home state of Gujarat. He also challenged the government to set up an independent inquiry while reeling out details of the money paid to Modi during his tenure as the Chief Minister. He accused the government of sitting on the Income Tax Department’s plea for a probe into the documents seized. Gandhi had earlier accused the BJP of preventing him from revealing these details in the Lok Sabha, and claimed that Modi was already “terrified”.The Congress Vice-President referred to a diary seized during a raid on the Sahara company on November 22, 2014 that allegedly showed Rs 40.5 crore being paid in nine instalments from October 30, 2013 to February 22, 2014. He also referred to the records of a Birla company with the Income Tax Department that allegedly show Rs 25 crore meant for the (then) Gujarat CM, Rs 12 crore of which was “given” and a question mark on the balance. The date-wise payments as claimed by Rahul in the Sahara diary were: Rs 3 crore on October 30, 2013, Rs 5 crore on November 12, 2.5 crore on Nov 27, Rs 5 crore on Nov 29, Rs 5 crore on Dec 6, Rs 5 crore on Dec 19, Rs 5 crore on January 13, 2014, Rs 5 crore on Jan 28 and Rs 5 crore on February 22. The Supreme Court last month had refused to order an investigation into the entries made in this diary. “We cannot initiate an investigation just because a big man has been named by someone. He is a high public functionary and we cannot proceed on materials like this. We need better material,” Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar told senior advocate Shanti BhushanThe BJP was quick to accuse Rahul of fighting for his political existence taking recourse to lies, expressing pity that he were suffering from “Modi phobia.” Party spokesman Srikant Sharma said Rahul is a “part time and non-serious politician” belonging to a party that has the habit of levelling baseless charges on PM Modi. Hitting back at Gandhi, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the allegations reflected the Congress leader’s frustration and were an attempt to divert attention from the AgustaWestland probe in which the names of Congress leaders and the “family” were coming up. He said thePrime Minister was as “pure” as the Ganga. “The allegations levelled against the PrimeMinister are baseless, false, shameful and mala fide and they reflected Rahul Gandhi’s frustration in leading his party to disastrous defeats in state after state,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi accuses Narendra Modi of taking cash payments | Reuters

By Rupam Jain
| NEW DELHI

NEW DELHI Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s Bharatiya Janata Party denied allegations by Congress politician Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday that Modi had accepted $6 million in suspicious cash payments in the months before winning a 2014 general election.Gandhi, heir apparent to the leadership of the Congress party that has governed India for most of its seven decades of independence, levelled the allegations at a rally in Modi’s home state of Gujarat.He has threatened for weeks to cause an “earthquake” by exposing what he called Modi’s personal corruption. The ensuing row paralysed parliament and caused its winter session to be one of the most acrimonious and unproductive on record.Yet when Gandhi finally went public with the details it turned out that they were known, and were part of a case now before the Supreme Court that was filed by Prashant Bhushan, a lawyer known for pursuing corruption cases.Bhushan’s case rests on evidence recovered during income-tax raids on two business houses, Aditya Birla Group and Sahara that he alleges contains evidence of cash payments to Modi. Spokesmen for both companies could not be reached when called on their mobile numbers after working hours on Wednesday.One recipient of alleged payments in late 2013 and early 2014 totalling at least 400 million rupees ($5.9 million) is listed in the records as “Gujarat CM”. Bhushan alleges this refers to the chief minister of the western state who was Modi at the time.

Modi has not commented either on the Bhushan suit or Gandhi’s allegations but his law minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, denounced them on Wednesday.”I condemn the irresponsible, baseless and shameless allegations of Rahul Gandhi,” Prasad told a hastily convened news conference in New Delhi.The heated and increasingly personal exchanges come as Modi faces growing public anger over a six-week-old crackdown on “black money” that seeks to purge the economy of the proceeds of crime, corruption and tax evasion.

Modi’s cancellation of high-value banknotes worth 86 percent of the cash in circulation last month has caused disruption to the daily lives of people and businesses and could affect elections in key swing states next year.”Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demonetisation is not a surgical strike on black money, but against the poor and honest people of the this country,” Gandhi said in Gujarat, one of the states that goes to the polls next year.The tax authorities did not pursue investigations at the time because they concluded the entries related to a local company.

“We have proof to show that it is a clear case of personal corruption and the court must investigate the payments made by Sahara and Birla to Modi,” Randeep Surjewala, a spokesman for Gandi’s opposition Congress party, told Reuters.Surjewala, addressing a separate news conference, said Modi should come forward and “say whether he took money” from the two companies, and subject himself to an investigation if necessary.Bhushan, the lawyer, confirmed to Reuters that Gandhi’s allegations were based on the evidence he had provided to the Supreme Court. ($1 = 67.8989 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Rupam Jain; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 21:01 IST

Rahul Gandhi claims PM Modi got Rs 40 crore from Sahara in 2013, BJP claims Agusta diversion

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Rahul Gandhi alleged that Narendra Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister had taken money from Sahara and Birla groups and demanded an independent inquiry into it, a charge BJP rejected as an attempt to divert attention from the AgustaWestland probe in which the names of Congress leaders and the “family” were coming up. Addressing a rally here in the prime Minister’s home state, he alleged that in the I-T records there are notings of Sahara officials’ claims that they had paid 9 times to Modi between October, 2013 and February, 2014.Gandhi said the documents in this regard were with IT department which had raided the company when Modi was Gujarat Chief Minister.Similarly, as per documents with Income Tax department, the Birla group also paid Rs 12 crore to Modi when he was Chief Minister.Wondering as to why there has been no probe in the matter so far, Gandhi demanded an independent inquiry. Last week, Gandhi claimed that he had evidence of “personal corruption” of Prime Minister but he was being prevented from speaking in the Lok Sabha because it would cause an earthquake.Reacting to Gandhi’s allegations, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in New Delhi that the charges are “baseless, false, shameful and mala fide” and an attempt to divert attention from the AgustaWestland probe as names of Congress leaders and the “family” are coming up.Party spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said Gandhi was immature and was just indulging in bluff and bluster because people are not taking him seriously.”People of India have stopped taking him seriously. Rahul Gandhi is just bluff and bluster. There is no substance in what he says. He is just showing his and his party’s incompetence,” he said.Gandhi said he was raising the issue on behalf of the country which needs answers over the questions raised against the Prime Minister.”PM Modi takes bribes and then shamelessly foists Demonetisation on Indians under the garb of ‘fighting Black Money,” Congress tweeted after the rally quoting its Vice-President Rahul Gandhi.”Rahulji asks if Modiji received this money from Sahara or not? If this document is with Income Tax, will Modi now investigate it?,” tweeted party chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala. He was quoted saying by ANI that according to these records, Rs 2.5 crore was given to PM Modi on 30 October 2013, Rs 5 crore on 12 November 2013, Rs 2.5 crore on 27 Nov 2013, and Rs 5 crore on 29 November 2013. Entries showed Rs 5cr given to PM Modi on 6 Dec ’13; Rs 5cr on 19 Dec ’13; Rs 5cr on 13 Jan ’14;Rs 5cr on 28 Jan ’14;Rs 5cr 22 Feb ’14.” NGO Common Cause had filed a PIL on the issue in the Supreme Court and a bench headed by CJI-designate Justice J S Khehar last week had refused to take up the matter saying there was no evidence but only allegations against the Prime Minister. The bench then asked lawyer Prashant Bhushan to provide evidence before it could decide on whether it could admit the petition.Gandhi alleged that the I-T records show Sahara officials’ claims of having paid Rs 40 crore to Modi on various dates between October, 2013 and February, 2014.”You (Modi) did not allow me to speak in Parliament. I did not know why you did not wanted to face me in the House. I tell you the reason. Any business entity keeps record of its transactions. On November 2014, Income Tax department conducted raids on Sahara, a very large corporate house,” he said.”During that raid, I-T department found some documents, which are on record. I want to share with you the contents of those documents. There were several entries in those documents, which I am reading out before you,” he said.He then alleged that another record suggests that Birla Group gave Rs 12 crore to ‘Gujarat Chief Minister’.”This record is with I-T department since last 2.5 years.I-T even recommended to conduct an inquiry in this issue. I want to ask you why no such inquiry was done? We want to know whether it is true that money was given to you nine times by Sahara?” Rahul asked.”You doubted the honesty of citizens, their hard-earned income, and made them stand in the queues. Now, on behalf of citizens, I am asking you whether the information is true or not. And if it is true, then when you will set up an inquiry,” said Gandhi. With inputs from PTI

Standing tall

HS Doreswamy is a 98-year-old freedom fighter who is still battling for his idea of a just India.

Personal attack by Rahul Gandhi on PM Modi will open pandora’s box: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hitting out at the Prime Minister once again, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday likened the repeated changes in the rules regarding deposit of old currency notes in banks to his changing of “clothes” and said the message going out was that the Prime Minister’s words are “hollow”.BJP responded by warning that such “personal attacks” by Gandhi on Modi will open a pandora’s box.”RBI is changing rules like the PM changes his clothes,” Gandhi tweeted, while posting an article on the RBI rules announced post demonetization. He was commenting on the new decision of the government under which an amount more than Rs 50,00 in scrapped currency can be deposited only once per account till December 30. Earlier, the Prime Minister, while announcing the demonetization decision on November 8, had said old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes could be deposited in banks till December 30 without any questions asked. “Prime Minister’s words should have weight. Prime Minister had promised the country that people can deposit their money in banks till December 30. Yesterday, Government had again changed the rules. This is 125th time rules were changed. Yesterday, the Government gave a message that words of Prime Minister are hollow,” Gandhi said.Noting that the Prime Minister had said money can be deposited in banks till December 30, the Congress leader said yesterday, however, the government said “no you cannot”. “The words of Narendra Modi are without any weight and are hollow. We will show how hollow they are,” he told ANI later. Reacting to the attack, BJP’s National Secretary Sidharth Nath Singh said it reflected the “DNA of Congress and Gandhi family” and he should desist from it. Singh warned that such personal attacks on Modi by Gandhi will open a pandora’s box.Gandhi’s attack came as the Congress leader is all set to take the battle over the issue of demonetization to the turf of the Prime Minister with a rally at Mehsana in Gujarat tomorrow. After Gujarat, Gandhi will be addressing rally at Bahraich in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh on December 22 and at Almora in Uttarkhand the next day. Assembly polls in Uttarkhand are also scheduled early next year. On December 24, Gandhi will be addressing a rally at Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh.

Demonetisation: Jaitley claims enough cash in system, but discrepancies emerge in RBI, govt numbers

New Delhi: Several new and large discrepancies have emerged in the stated positions of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the government on the printing and distribution of new currencies following the demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes on 8 November.

These discrepancies include a highly unlikely surge in the supply of high-denomination notes in two days. They also show substantial divergence in figures given by the central banker and those given by the government in Parliament. And finally there’s an unexplained hiatus in the supply of notes for 11 days.

Either parliament has been misled, or claims about the supply by the RBI are flawed.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Let’s look at the figures in chronological order:

On 28 November, the RBI issued a press release saying that the public had withdrawn Rs 2.16 lakh crore in new notes from accounts or ATMs till 27 November. As RBI chose not to give any break-up of this amount, it is fair to assume that some of this was in lower denomination notes of Rs 100 or less.

However, according to a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, the Minister of State for Finance, Arjun Ram Meghwal, categorically stated that, by 29 November, a total of 1,608 million pieces (160.8 crore) of Rs 2,000 denomination and 156 million (15.6 crore) pieces of Rs 500 had been supplied — a total of 1,764 million pieces (or 1.76 billion) amounting to a little over Rs 3.29 lakh crore. The minister’s reply came on 6 December.

There are two significant points to note here:

One, that the government’s number implies that the currency disbursal had shot up by over Rs 1.13 lakh crore in just two days. This, when the RBI had supplied Rs 2.16 lakh crore in 17 days till then — at an average of only Rs 12,700 crore a day.

Moreover, Meghwal’s number pertained only to high denomination notes, whereas the RBI number was a mix of all denominations. In other words, the discrepancy between the two sets of numbers would have been even higher if the minister’s reply in Parliament had included the smaller denomination currency notes disbursed till 29 November.

Now things begin to get even more curiouser.

On the day the monetary policy was announced (7 December), the RBI revealed a new set of disbursal figures. The Deputy Governor of RBI, R Gandhi, said a total of Rs 4 lakh crore had been disbursed as of the previous day.

Of this amount, Rs 1.06 lakh crore was in smaller denomination currency notes, according to Gandhi, while the rest — Rs 2.94 lakh crore — implicitly, was by way of high-denomination notes.

This figure of Rs 2.94 lakh crore, which was announced seven days after the date of disbursal given in Parliament reply, is substantially less than the amount of Rs 3.29 lakh crore mentioned in the minister’s written statement about supply till 29 November.

Yet again, on 12 December, Gandhi, while speaking to reporters, said that a total of 1.7 billion notes of higher denomination of Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 had been issued to the public till 10 December.

That means, a full 11 days after Meghwal’s reply that 1.76 billion high-value notes had been disbursed by 29 November, the RBI was stating that the notes given out had been less or at best the same — if one assumes that he was giving a rounded-off figure of 1.7 billion.

Was the disbursal or printing of new notes stopped from 29 November to 10 December?

How does the RBI square with these discrepancies?

Further, the government has been talking about the printing presses working overtime. Economic Affairs Secretary, Shaktikant Das, told Doordarshan in an interview on 17 December that 80 percent to 90 percent of the currency being printed a few days after the demonetisation date was of Rs 500 notes.

According to Meghwal’s information, the amount of Rs 500 notes supplied till November 29, a full 20 days after demonetisation, was only Rs 7,800 crore (15.6 crore notes).

In comparison to the value of notes that were demonetised — Rs 8.58 lakh crore — the new Rs 500 notes amount to less than one per cent (0.91 per cent).

If we take Gandhi’s words at face value, then, even on November 10 — more than a month after demonetisation came into effect — there was not much change.

Of course, the Rs 2,000 notes, which the Economic Affairs Secretary has said were being printed for “months” are considerably more in circulation.

The value of such notes supplied on 29 November was Rs 3.21 lakh crore (160.8 crore x Rs 2,000) — almost 47 per cent compared to value of Rs 6.86 lakh crore (of Rs 1,000) demonetised. But Rs 2,000 notes are not easy to spend and have created a bottleneck in the cash economy.

Again, according to Gandhi’s information, till December 10, there seems to have been no change even in the Rs 2,000 notes circulated.

The shortage of notes, it seems, would continue much beyond the 50 days that the prime minister has mentioned.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 15:38 IST

Anupam Mishra, noted environmentalist and Gandhian ideologue, passes away at 68

Noted environmentalist Anupam Mishra wore many hats: he was an environmentalist, a journalist, an author and an authoritative voice in the field of water conservation in India. But after his demise, besides all these adjectives, he will be remembered as a true Gandhian ideologue and an effective communicator of his ideas, who emphasized on India’s ancient and traditional ways of water conservation.

Mishra, who belonged to Madhya Pradesh, died on Monday at the age of 68 after a long battle with cancer.

Anupam Mishra. News18

Anupam Mishra. News18

A Pune-based environmentalist and Mishra’s namesake Anupam Saraph, who came in touch with the late environmentalist in early 1990, says, “We came to know each other through a common friend, Joan Davis, Director of Water Research Institute in Zurich, who wanted us to meet as we shared the common name and had been working for a common cause. First, it was through postcards and then emails. Finally, we met after three years and our friendship continued till he breathed his last.”

Mishra had a witty and wise way to address any problem. He always used to look at issues with a different perspectives. He would use a mix of simple language and emotions to explain the gravity of water related issues with remarkable optimism.

“During the workshops that we attended together, I found a rare quality in him — he was an excellent listener who, instead of talking about his ideas or blowing his own trumpet, used to build up others’ perspective and present it with simplicity. The best way of paying tribute to Anupam would be to recognize his body of work and follow his ancient and traditional way of water conservation and rain water harvesting model, rather than blindly following modern technology,” Saraph said.

Mishra’s friends and associates remember him as a person, who never had any ego and believed in simple living based on Gandhian principles.

“Throughout his life, his lifestyle reflected commitment to Gandhian principles. In one word, he was truly Anupam (unique/incomparable in Hindi). I never saw him getting angry. Even when his views were being strongly opposed, he used to sweetly register his protest, and became ironical when he was sad,” said Ravi Chopra, Director, People’s Science Institute, Dehradun.

“What made him different from his fellowmen? It was his consistent hard work. He would go to the remotest parts of the country, where we couldn’t, to pursue his mission of water conservation. His uniqueness lay in appreciating the local and traditional ways of rain water harvesting and conservation of water bodies,” he said.

Mishra was highly influenced by his father Bhavani Prasad Mishra, a Gandhian poet and litterateur.

A recipient of Jamnalal Bajaj Award, Amar Shaheed Chandrashekhar Azad National Award and many others, Mishra was the editor of the bi-monthly ‘Gandhi Marg,’ published by the Gandhi Peace Foundation.

You don’t need money to protect environment; but you need to tell people about their tradition and they have to live up to it

Environmentalist Amla Ruia, Chairperson, Aakar Charitable Trust, which is also engaged in water conservation said, “It’s a great loss to India and to the cause of water conservation. He made immense contribution through his work, writing and guidance, and was a great human being.”

Referring to Mishra’s book titled Talab (Pond), which has been translated in many languages including French, Chopra said, “I owe a personal debt to him as I learnt so much from his works. I got immensely fascinated by his traditional ways of water harvesting.” Chopra feels that the country would miss Mishra’s sage advice on matters of environmental conservation.

“You don’t need money to protect environment; but you need to tell people about their tradition and they have to live up to it,” Chopra quoted Mishra as saying.

But, there is more to Mishra’s ideology.

Prof Anand Kumar, a leader of Swaraj Abhiyan and a close friend and associate for more than four decades, recalls Mishra’s staunch support to the anti-emergency movement and his association with Jayprakash Narayan.

“After his education from Delhi University, he got into Lohiya movement. He was close to Jaiprakash ji (Jaiprakash Narayan) and got to work with him in early 1970s during the surrender of dacoits. He wrote Chambal Mein Atmasamarpan (Surrender in Chambal), and through this work, people came to know about the historical contribution of JP.”

Kumar also states that during the emergency, when Jaiprakash Narayan was shifted to Mumbai for treatment, Mishra had even organised a secret meeting with him and other fellows on anti-emergency movement, a fact very few people know about him.

Mishra also played an instrumental role in scripting India’s first State of Environment report in 1980.

“He was a multi-dimensional personality, an effective communicator, an unassuming and humble person with remarkable clarity on the state of water resources and rivers in India. In the last 20 years, he helped me in my mission without any inhibitions. He attended his last public function on 28 November that was organized by us. Despite his falling health, he spoke extensively with alertness and was well informed,” summed up Himanshu Thakkar, Coordinator, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), an organization working for water resource development.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 20:00 IST

DNA Evening Must Reads: Death penalty for Yasin Bhatkal; Karun Nair’s triple ton; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Dilkhusnagar blasts: NIA court gives death penalty to IM founder Yasin Bhatkal and four othersOn Tuesday last week, in the first ever conviction of banned Indian Mujahideen cadres in a terror case, a special NIA court in Hyderabad convicted Mohammed Ahmed Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal and four others for being involved in 2013 twin blasts at Dilsukhnagar which had claimed 18 lives. Read more here.2. Demonetization like World War 2 fire-bombing on poor people: Rahul GandhiIn a direct attack on the Prime Minister, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today alleged that Narendra Modi visits the US and China “using” the aircraft of his wealthy “friends” and has “made fun” of 99 per cent honest people through demonetisation. Read what Rahul Gandhi said here.3. New ‘Rs 5,000 bank deposit’ rule: RBI announcement decodedThe Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced restrictions on deposits of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in an attempt to check the laundering of unaccounted cash and also boost the money that goes to new government scheme- Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY), 2016. Read the provisions here.4. EPFO lowers provident fund interest rate from 8.8% to 8.65% for 2016-17Retirement fund body Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) decided to lower the interest on Employee Provident Fund (EPF) deposits for the current fiscal to 8.65%, from 8.8 provided in 2015-16, for its over four crore subscribers.Read more here.5. IND vs ENG: Karun Nair creates unprecedented Indian feat by smashing triple tonKarun Nair became the second Indian after Virender Sehwag to score a triple century as India declared their first innings at 759 for seven, a lead of 282 runs, on day four of the fifth and final test against England on Monday. England reached 12 for no loss at stumps. Read more here.

Congress brands Centre’s demonetisation drive a ‘Fair and Lovely’ scheme

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress Party on Monday called the Narendra Modi government’s demonetization-cum-remonetisation drive a ‘Fair and Lovely’ scheme which would only help the corrupt turn their black money into white.”Modi government’s new policy of asking corrupt people to pay 60% fine on your black money and convert it into white is only a ‘Fair and Lovely scheme’. So this ‘suit-boot’ government is only for the suit boot people and not for the common people,” Congress spokesperson Shobha Oza told ANI.Oza added that party vice president Rahul Gandhi will address a rally on Monday in Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, where he will highlight the ‘real objective’ behind demonetization.Earlier, Gandhi had said at a rally in Belgaum, Karnataka, that demonetization is a Modi-made disaster.”As there is a man-made disaster, similarly demonetization is a Modi-made disaster,” he said.He further said that Prime Minister Modi had attacked the economy by announcing demonetization.”More than 100 people have died because of demonetization drive and PM Modi is responsible for it,” Rahul said, adding that Narendra Modi government has been attacking the poor people for last two-and-a-half years.”Nothing will happen in 50 days. The Prime Minister will give your money to the rich. Modi wants to waive off bank loans,” he added.He further said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has mocked farmers and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), which is the backbone of the farmers.Earlier, he claimed that he had some ‘information’ of the PM’s ‘personal corruption’ which he will only reveal in the Lok Sabha.The Congress vice president has been strongly opposing demonetization ever since its announcement.

Waiting for Rahul Gandhi’s earthquake revelation, mocks BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reacting to Congress vice-President’s ‘Modi-made disaster’ remark, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said on Sunday that Rahul Gandhi is yet to make ‘earthquake’ like revelations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”I expected Rahul Gandhi to explode his earthquake statement in Belgaum, but I did not see any of it. Some of the Congress spokesperson were claiming on Friday that Rahul Gandhi will speak about it. What happened where is he going to explode that bomb,” BJP leader S Prakash.He said that making hollow and sensational claims is a very but it is difficult to prove them as is the case with Gandhi.”A person of his calibre should weigh every word before commenting or claiming something against the Prime Minister. Today, his reputation has been completely tarnished and his image is dented. So, he should bother about the disaster he has created for himself,” added Prakash.Yesterday at a rally in Belgaum, Karnataka, Gandhi dubbing demonetization as a “Modi-made disaster” and alleged that Prime Minister Modi would write off Rs. eight lakh crore loans of the 50 rich families who funded his election campaign from the money people have deposited in banks after the note ban.

Sharad Pawar slams PM Modi for dragging Indira Gandhi into demonetization debate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> NCP president Sharad Pawar on Saturday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for dragging Indira Gandhi into the demonetization debate, asking why other premiers after her, including Atal Bihari Vajpayee, did not take the note ban decision.The NCP veteran said Modi was trying to project himself as a bigger leader than Gandhi by making such a statement. “According to him (Modi), Indira Gandhi did not go in for demonetization as suggested by her Finance Minister Y B Chavan. So even PMs after her, including Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and even Finance Minister in the BJP regime Yashwant Sinha or the then Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani did not take such a decision,” Pawar told a press meet here. Modi had yesterday trained guns at the former PM Indira Gandhi, claiming that she overlooked a suggestion in 1971 for demonetization by the then Finance Minister Y B Chavan.Pawar said, “It is not right to say nothing has happened in the country in past 70 years. In the 70 years, Congress has not been in power all the time. Modi himself was chief minister of a state for 13 years.” “All leaders including Pandit (Jawaharlal) Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Vajpayee, Morarji Desai and Charan Singh have contributed to the country’s development. How can one say nothing has happened in 70 years and development is taking place only since last two years,” he said. Pawar said he had supported the decision of demonetization as it was good for eradication of black money. But, its implementation has been flawed and the central government is responsible for the hardships faced by the common man.”The central government is guilty of not putting in place an alternative system like pumping in enough lower denomination notes after the scrapping of high denomination currency notes,” he said. He said when people are standing in queues for their own money, several people have been caught with bundles of new currency notes in searches across the country.”From where have people got this amount of cash … it is from the banks which are under the control of central government,” he claimed. The NCP supremo said agriculture sector has been badly affected as farm produce is not getting a good price and small scale industries and labourers were also hit. Claiming that in Uttar Pradesh, potato prices have crashed to Rs 6-7 per kg from Rs 18-20 per kg in last one month, he said, “No steps have been taken to ease the hardships faced by the people.” Asked if the Opposition plans an agitation against the government over demonetization, Pawar said, “If necessary, agitation can be launched, but people will suffer because of such protests.” He warned that the long-term impact of the decision would be lay-off of employees by corporates.The former Union Agriculture Minister was also critical of the curbs imposed on the district cooperative in the wake of demonetization. “They were not given new currency and not allowed to accept old notes. I am being told that just because district cooperative banks are held by politicians such a negative approach was adopted. It shows the central government’s attitude towards the district banks and credit societies which are the backbone of rural economy,” said Pawar.He also referred to the negative reaction of District Central Cooperative Bank Association (DCCB) head Dilip Sanghi, who served as a minister in Modi government in Gujarat. “Even Sanghi who was minister when Narendra Modi was Chief Minister has criticised the decision of the central government to impose restrictions on DCCBs post-demonetization,” said Pawar. He rejected the BJP’s contention that its success in the local body polls in Maharashtra was an endorsement of demonetization. “We know more than them how to win local body polls. Only now we don’t have that power,” Pawar said.The NCP leader said he had supported demonetization as an action against black money. “It is like saying that the operation was done but the patient died because of lack of post-operative care,” he said. On being criticised for sharing dais with Modi, Pawar shot back saying, “Is Modi PM of Pakistan?”. “In a democratic set up, one has to interact with leaders cutting across party lines. Didn’t the Congress delegation meet the PM yesterday?” he asked. Pawar, who served as Defence Minister from June 1991 to March 1993, also voiced concern over terrorist attacks on security forces in Jammu and Kashmir and criticised the government for its “failure” in tackling the situation along borders. “Between February 4 and December 9 this year, there have been 162 attacks by terrorists out of which 104 have been on security forces. As many as 57 jawans and officers have been martyred. This has never happened before,” he claimed.He said the people in the border areas have been living a difficult life. They have to stay awake all night. The central government has failed to tackle this situation. “When in Opposition, Modi had criticised the then government of going soft on terrorism and people of the country felt that the ’56 inch chest’ would do wonders if voted to power,” he added. Pawar said the need of the hour is to strengthen the security forces and their morale. “After the surgical strikes, people were made to understand that terrorism will end, but infact, there have been more incidents (of terror strikes),” he said.

Set up commission to probe source of political parties’ funds: Kejriwal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday demanded setting up of a commission to probe source of funding of political parties. He also questioned the central government’s decision to exempt political parties from paying income tax while depositing old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes.He sought to link the Centre’s tax exemption decision to the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Friday, suggesting the announcement was outcome of the parleys between the two. “Common people are being investigated if they deposit Rs 2.5 lakh individually. But if political parties are not going to be investigated even if they deposit Rs 2,500 crore following the decision, then it is wrong. We demand setting up of an independent commission to probe into bank accounts details of political parties over the past five years, to investigate into their sources of funding,” Kejriwal said at a press conference.He also asked the Centre to make public details of money deposited by all political parties post-demonetization and sought removal of the “less than Rs 20,000 donation cap” for tax exemption, saying “each paisa the parties receive should be declared”. “The income tax returns filed by AAP right from its formation until now are being enquired into. We are presenting each of the receipts and vouchers to the income tax department. We are not scared, what other parties, BJP, are scared of? Why they too should not be probed?” he asked.
ALSO READ Rahul doesn’t have guts to expose Modi because PM will arrest Vadra: Kejriwal Kejriwal, a bitter critic of Modi, accused the latter of helping political parties — the “biggest hoarders of black money” — to convert it into “white” at a time when common people have been forced to queue up outside banks and ATMs to withdraw their hard-earned money. “Ye desh ke sath dhokha hai (it is a big fraud played on the country),” Kejriwal said.Stating it was “surprising” that the tax exemption decision came after Gandhi led a Congress delegation to meet Modi, Kejriwal demanded that the Congress Vice President make public details of Modi’s corruption as he claimed to have supporting documents. “He is not sharing details of Modi’s corruption, is only talking about it… Then he meets the PM and seals a deal. I will insist Gandhi to make public the evidences and that he stops entering into deals with Modi. Or else, the country will not forgive him,” Kejriwal said.Hitting out at the Prime Minister, Kejriwal alleged Modi’s intentions were “bad” right from the day he announced demonetisation on November 8. Meanwhile, Kejriwal also denounced the decision to hike petrol and diesel prices, which he saw as a repercussion of demonetisation and sought its immediate reversal. “We oppose the hike in fuel prices. This is direct result of demonetisation. The rupee has become weak in international market post-demonetisation, leading to hike in the fuel prices. This should be rolled back immediately,” he said.To a question, the chief minister said the AAP is “not affected” by demonetisation. He reiterated demonetisation is an “unconstitutional” move and likened it to dacoity by the Prime Minister on bank accounts of people as they are not being allowed to withdraw their hard-earned money.Referring to a case pending before the Supreme Court with regard to demonetisation, Kejriwal hoped it takes cognisance of concerns and declares the move as “unconstitutional”.

Rahul Gandhi meets Karunanidhi, says DMK chief is doing well

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday called on DMK patriarch Karunanidhi, who is undergoing treatment for lung and throat infection at a private hospital here, and said the leader was doing well.”I just met him, I wanted to personally wish him a speedy recovery. I was very happy to see that he is doing well and the doctors told me that he is going to go home pretty soon and that is good news,” he told reporters.Flanked by senior party leaders including Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president Su Thirunavukkarasar and DMK treasurer M K Stalin, he hailed Karuananidhi as a “leader of the Tamil people, leader of Tamil Nadu, so I thought I would come and wish him personally.”To a query, he said, “Yes I met him (Karunanidhi), I said hello to him and he is doing well hopefully he will be out (of the hospital) soon and Congress president (Sonia Gandhi) has also sent her regards to him.”The 92-year-old Karunanidhi was admitted to Kauvery Hospital here on the night of December 15 following complaints of difficulty in breathing due to throat and lung infection. Yesterday, he underwent tracheostomy at the hospital to optimise breathing and later the hospital said the DMK chief’s condition was stable. Last night, after the tracheostomy procedure, his condition improved and even he watched a Rajinikanth starrer ‘Batcha’ on his laptop.This is the first visit that Rahul Gandhi is paying a visit to Karunanidhi in last many years. Even during his several previous visits to Tamil Nadu Gandhi he did not call on the nonagenarian leader though Congress and DMK are allies. Weeks ago, when he had visited Apollo Hospitals here to enquire about the health of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, there were expectations in the DMK camp that he could pay a visit to party patriarch Karunanidhi as well. However, he did not visit the DMK chief then Rahul Gandhi was accompanied by senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh during his brief visit. After visiting Karunanidhi, Rahul Gandhi immediately took a flight to Delhi from here. Former Union Minister and Rajya Sabha MP, P Chidambaram, TNCC president Thirunavukkarasar, Congress Legislature Party leader Ramasamy received him at the airport and also later saw him off.

NDA govt did what Congress should have done in 1971: Narendra Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Just hours before the tumultuous Winter Session was adjourned sine die, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled instances from history to counter the Congress and the Communists.Modi spoke from the BJP parliamentary party meeting platform castigating the Opposition for “getting together to support the dishonest” and disrupting the House. Amidst the standoff on the debate on demonetization, the Winter Session was a near washout.He went back to 1971 twice — once in the context of the India-Pakistan war and the second on the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi turning down the advice to demonetize. Referring to the Wanchoo Committee report, which had recommended demonetization of certain currencies to curb black money, Modi said it was a necessity felt at that time. “By not doing so for so many years, you have caused damage to the country,” he said.Quoting from Madhav Godbole’s book “Unfinished Innings: Recollections and Reflections of a Civil Servant”, Modi said that when the then finance minister YB Chavan went to meet Indira Gandhi and proposed implementation of demonetization, she asked Chavan “are no more elections to be fought by the Congress party”. The suggestion was shelved.Modi then went on to ask “dal bada hai ki desh (is party bigger or country)?…For the Congress it was the party, but for us it is the country.” He said that if the measure had been taken in 1971, there would not have been “so much damage”.He also took on another Congress leader — former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — who had launched a scathing attack on demonetization describing it as “organised plunder and legalised loot”. Modi cited Singh’s remarks in 1991 about taking strong measures against tax evaders, and said his language has changed now.In 1988, the Congress had made a law against benami assets but did not notify or frame rules for it, Modi said, adding his government will take steps to ensure its implementation.Recalling remarks made by Communists—Jyotirmai Basu and Harkishen Singh Surjeet—on demonetization to curb black money, the Prime Minister said the Communist parties have compromised with their ideology.Modi, who dubbed the face off in Parliament as that of the Opposition resisting the government’s battle against corruption, said this “fall in political values was cause for concern.”In an apparent reference to disruptions in Parliament when the BJP was in Opposition, he said the hurdles in the House were caused because of corruption cases that had surfaced against the government. “This is the first time that treasury benches are taking steps against corruption and opposition is getting together to support the dishonest… Some have had the courage to speak openly in favour of the corrupt.”The Prime Minister has spoken of demonetization in every weekly meeting with his party MPs during the Winter Session.Modi also made a reference to the Opposition’s approach to the surgical strikes across the LoC, saying on December 16, 1971, the Opposition had not sought any proof from the government about the action of the Armed Forces.He said despite several being against the BJP or NDA, there were several “with us” and thanked Bihar and Odisha chief ministers—Nitish Kumar and Naveen Patnaik for their support in the fight against corruption.While the Congress and Left have not opposed demonetization, they have attacked the government on the inconvenience caused to people after the announcement was made.Modi recalled “Panchari Niti” to say that wealth acquired through dishonest means can survive only for ten years and gets destroyed in the 11th year, an apparent reference to the Congress which had ruled from 2004-2014.Describing the decision to ban notes of 500 and 1000 as a “step and not the final goal”, he said the government needed to take tough decisions in the interests of the common man. Modi also talked about his government’s push for digital India saying “digital is a process to change the way of life and economy. It will benefit everyone.”Speaking on the benefits of a cashless economy, he said loans would be sanctioned for traders within 6-10 minutes. “Under the Digi Dhan Yojna, merchants and traders can get loans within 6 minutes.”.The PM said 15,000 rewards will be handed out beginning this Christmas. “We want to incentivise the use of digital transactions,” he said.

’45 years after creation of Bangladesh, Pakistan is unable to accept that it lost 1971 war’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The India-Pakistan War of 1971, the anniversary of its conclusion that India is observing on Friday, would be remembered as the war of the century. The war, which commenced on December 3, and concluded on December 16, ended in a crushing defeat of the Pakistan armed forces. It saw the surrender of 92,000 Pakistani troops in East Pakistan and in the creation of Bangladesh out of what was then East Pakistan. As the Public Relations Officer for the Army, I had the opportunity to disseminate information about the operations regarding the India-Pakistan War of 1971.The 1971 war was the result of a crackdown by Pakistan on its eastern wing when there was an uprising there following the refusal of the military rulers to hand over power to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who won the parliamentary elections with 167 of the 169 seats in East Pakistan and secured a simple majority in the 313 lower house of the Pakistan Parliament. He should have been made the Prime Minister of Pakistan.Pakistan’s then martial law administrator General Yahya Khan ordered the military to launch a crackdown in Dacca against the Awami League and Mujibur Rahman was arrested and taken to West Pakistan in the month of March. General Yahya Khan sent Lt Gen Tikka Khan to put down the disturbances in East Pakistan. In the crackdown that followed, hundreds of thousands of innocent people were massacred and over ten million fled to India to save themselves. People of East Pakistan raised the Mukti Bahini to liberate themselves from this oppressive rule.India’s then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi expressed her full support to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for his struggle for freedom. She launched a diplomatic offensive to make the world aware of the “demographic aggression”, against India and entered into a twenty -year treaty of friendship and cooperation with the Soviet Union.Meanwhile, on the advice of the Indian Chief of Army Staff, General SHFJ Manekshaw, she deferred action on the East Pakistan border till the Himalayan hills were closed by snow. India a responded to this ‘demographic aggression’ by supporting the ‘Mukti Bahini’, and the war between India and Pakistan broke out when the Pakistan Air Force carried out attacks on India on December 3.The war, which lasted for 12 days, concluded quickly following the airdrop of surrender documents which assured Pakistani soldiers that they will safely evacuated out of East Pakistan and returned to their country. The Indian Army secured the surrender of the Pakistan Army. The surrender documents were signed in Dacca by Lt Gen AAK Niazi and Lt Gen J Arora, India’s eastern army commander.Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, invited Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, her counterpart from Pakistan, for talks in Shimla in July 1972. It was agreed at Shimla that the prisoners of war would be returned to Pakistan; captured territories along the Western border, except in Jammu and Kashmir returned; the cease-fire line would be converted as the Line of Control and Pakistan would take steps to convert it into an international border, with the hope that peace would prevail in the subcontinent. The hope melted away with the army taking over power again. In the power struggle that followed in Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was arrested and sentenced to death.General Zia-ul-Haq, who assumed power in 1979, became an ally with western powers following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In the years that followed he was instrumental in executing the ‘proxy-war’ techniques in Afghanistan.India has to accept that Pakistan will continue its ‘proxy war’ against it, carry out terrorist attacks, even though the terrorists have been destabilizing that country itself.Even after 45 years of the creation of Bangladesh, Pakistan is unable to accept that it lost the 1971 war because it refused to make Shiekh Mujibur Rehman the Prime Minister of Pakistan and killed millions of its own citizens in the eastern wing. It is determined to conduct a proxy war against India.The country on Friday paid tribute to those brave soldiers who fought in what strategic experts refer to as the “war of the century”.Paying his tributes to the bravehearts, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Vijay Diwas is a fitting reminder of the valour & sacrifice of all those who fought courageously in the 1971 war. Tributes to them.” On the occasion, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar along with Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba and Air Force Chief Marshal Arup Raha laid wreaths and offered respects to the Martyrs at Amar Jawan Jyoti on Friday.The Defence Minister informed that announcement of the next army chief would be there very soon. Led by Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, a 72-member delegation of war veterans and Mukti Jodahas from the neighbouring country will participate in Vijay Diwas celebrations there.(The writer, Mr I Ramamohan Rao is a former Principal Information Officer of the Government of India)

DNA Evening Must Reads: Modi accuses Indira, 50% tax on undisclosed money, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Indira Gandhi sold out India by ignoring Chavan’s call for demonetization in 1971: PM ModiPM Modi alleged that Indira Gandhi sold out India by ignoring advice to demonetize, Prime Minister Modi said, ‘She told her finance minister YB Chavan: are no more elections to be fought by Congress.’ Read more here.2. Demonetization: SC transfers petitions to 5-judge constitution benchThe Supreme Court bench hearing the petitions against demonetization transferred the matter to a five judge constitution bench on Friday and stayed all matters pertaining to various High Courts. Read more here.3. Putin gave Obama clear response on allegations of hacking during US election: ReportThe Kremlin said on Friday that President Vladimir Putin had given President Barack Obama “a really clear response” to US allegations that Moscow had interfered in the US presidential election by hacking Democratic Party organisations. Read more here.4. Govt says ’email us about black money info’, 50% tax to be imposedPeople can give information about conversion of black money to the government email address created to get such information, stated Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia. He announced that unaccounted cash can be disclosed under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) from December 17 2016 till March 31 2017. Read more here.5. No official estimation of black money before or after demonetization announcement: JaitleyThere is no official estimation of black money either before or after November 8 — the day government announced scrapping of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday. Read more here.

In Modi’s cashless economy 5-6% from every transaction will go to rich people: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking in Goa Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi hit out at PM Modi’s demonetization scheme. He said at a rally that 1% of the rich people have acquired 60% of the country’s money. He was quoted saying by ANI: “In the last 2 and half years, 1% rich people have acquired 60% of country’s money.” He further said: “All cash is not black money & all black money is not cash. Demonetization has targeted the poor, the cash economy of our country. Cong wants to eradicate corruption from country; If NDA govt wants to take a step against it, party will give its 100% support. But demonetization drama isn’t fight against corruption, black money. It’s an attack on India’s 99% honest people , cash economy, weak people.” He further said: “1% super-rich people usurped Rs 8 lakh crore from India’s banks. When they didn’t return money, you(Centre) called it non-performing asset.” He added: “Nov 8 ko khade hote hain jaise Obamaji khade hote hai aur kaha,”jo jebh mein paisa hai Hindustan k gareeb logon woh ab kagaz ho gye (On November 8, he stood up like Obama and said: “The money in poor people’s pockets is now paper.)He added: “Yeh surgical strike nahi thi yeh Hindustan ke imaandar logon pe “firebombing” thi (This wasn’t a surgical strike on India’s honest people, this was a firebombing.)”He added: “In last 2.5 years, PM Modi waived off Rs 1,10,000 crore of these people. After demonetization, he waived off Vijay Mallya’s Rs 1200 crore. Demonetization is all about “gareebon se paisa kheechon, ameeron ko paisa seechon.”Earlier, a Congress delegation today met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to highlight the plight of farmers in the country and demanded a loan waiver for them. During the meeting, which came in the backdrop of Gandhi’s fierce attack on the Prime Minister over demonetisation, top Congress leaders presented a memorandum to Modi on demands of farmers including loan waiver, reducing power bills to half and remunerative MSP for farm produce.The delegation included Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, deputy leaders in both Houses Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh and UP Congress chief Raj Babbar.After the meeting, the Congress Vice President said that Modi heard them patiently but did not commit anything.”We, Congress party delegation, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the plight of farmers of this country. Every single day, a farmer is committing suicide in Punjab. Farmers are committing suicide all over the country.”The government has removed the import duty on wheat.This is a devastating blow. So we went to the Prime Minister to request him on behalf of farmers of this country to waive their loans,” he told reporters.He said the Prime Minister accepted that the situation of farmers is serious but did not say anything on loan waiver.Sources said the Prime Minister gave the delegation a patient hearing and told Rahul Gandhi to “keep meeting him”.Gandhi has been targeting the Prime Minister often, with his latest offensive being on demonetisation. He claimed on Wednesday that he had information about alleged “personal corruption” of the Prime Minister, but the BJP dismissed it as a “joke”.Gandhi had raised the farmers issue during his recent Deoria to Delhi yatra in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. The Congress has collected over 2 crore “Kisan maang patras” from across Uttar Pradesh and over 34 lakh from Punjab which also goes to polls early next year.

Indira Gandhi sold out India by ignoring Chavan’s call for demonetization in 1971: PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said Indira Gandhi rejected suggestions for demonetization in 1971, saying she wanted to win elections, but that resulted in poor economic condition in the country. Alleging that Indira Gandhi sold out India by ignoring advice to demonetize, Prime Minister Modi said, ‘She told her finance minister Y.B. Chavan: are no more elections to be fought by Congress’’ Stressing that the implementation of demonetization policy was required in 1971, but it was implemented now, the Prime Minister, hitting out at the opposition at the BJP Parliamentary Party meet, said, ‘For the Congress, party is bigger than nation; but for us, the nation is above the party.’As the nation observed Vijay Diwas , offering respect to the soldiers, who laid down their lives during the 1971 India-Pakistan war that resulted in the birth of Bangladesh, Prime Minister Modi said ‘The opposition in 1971 did not ask for a proof of the army’s valour, but today’s opposition does.’ He criticised the opposition for demanding the proof of a Surgical Strike carried out by the Indian armed forces that dismantled seven terror launch pads across the border on September 28-29 as retaliation to the Uri terror attack. Stating that demonetization is the first step to curb black money and corruption, but not the last, the Prime Minister said, ‘Corruption is our main target and it will not be long before normalcy returns after the 50-day period.’ He also thanked Chief Ministers of Odisha and Bihar for supporting demonetization. PM Modi rips into Parliament logjam Prime Minister Narendera Modi ripped into the Opposition over Parliament logjam, saying unlike earlier when opposition parties stalled the House against scams, Congress-led parties are now doing so against government’s steps to curb black money and corruption. Modi’s remarks at the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting came on the last day of the Winter Session, which has been a washout due to impasse over demonetization.Targeting Congress, the Prime Minister alleged that it has always put its interest over that of the country while for BJP the nation’s interests are supreme.He again pitched for digital economy as he appealed to the masses to adopt it as a “way of life” to rid the society of corruption and black money.Attacking former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has been unsparing in his criticism of demonetization, Modi said he advocated strong measures against corruption and black money but did “nothing” during his rule of 10 years.He also cited late Left stalwart Harkishan Singh Surjeet to support his government’s action.”Earlier the ruling side, especially Congress, would commit scams like 2G, coal-gate, Bofors and the Opposition would then unite and fight against it on the principle of honesty.”But now the ruling side, the BJP-led NDA, has started a campaign again black money and corruption and opposition parties are standing against it,” he said.Modi also noted that the Wanchoo Committee in early 70s had recommended demonetization when Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister, recalling that the then senior Left leader Jyotirmoy Basu had demanded its quick implementation, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters following the meeting.”The Wanchoo committee had said it will boost economy. Now after 45 years we have done demonetization but Congress is opposing it. The Left has also joined hands with Congress,” he said.Painting Congress as a “votary of corruption”, he said it had made a law against benami assets in 1988 but never notified it or framed rules and regulations, ensuring that the legislation never came into force.”For us, the country’s interests are always above the party’s. For Congress, party’s interests are above the country’s,” the PM said.On a day that marks the anniversary of Bangladesh’s liberation, Modi also targeted the opposition over its remarks on the army’s surgical strikes.The Opposition in 1971-72 did not seek evidence of the army’s valour unlike that of today, he said.With inputs from PTI and ANI

Rahul doesn’t have guts to expose Modi because PM will arrest Vadra: Kejriwal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said Rahul Gandhi does not have the “guts” to expose Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the Congress vice president feared action would be taken against his brother-in-law Robert Vadra. “Rahul does not have guts to expose anything against Modi ji. The day he does it, Modi ji will arrest Robert Vadra,” he said.The chief minister was reacting to Rahul’s remarks that he wants to present detailed information about “personal corruption” by Modi in the Lok Sabha but is not being allowed to do so by the PM.Two days ago, Kejriwal had dared Gandhi to “expose” PM Modi if he has documents at his disposal, saying Congress and BJP indulge in such “friendly matches” but do not make any disclosure.The AAP supremo also lashed out at the CBI for registering a case on a complaint made by e-wallet company Paytm.”Modi ji has come into Paytm advertisements. He is in Paytm’s wallet now. CBI does not have the guts to refuse Paytm’s order,” Kejriwal tweeted.CBI has registered an FIR against some customers of Paytm on a complaint by the company that it has allegedly been cheated to the tune of Rs 6.15 lakh by customers based here.It is rare for the agency to take up such cases unless they have been referred by the Central Government or directed by Supreme Court or one of the High Courts. Earlier, Rahul Gandhi and a host of Congress leaders met the PM to demand relief for debt-ridden farmers. Rahul Gandhi told the media: “‘Prime Minister accepted that the situation of farmers is critical, But he did not say anything about waiving off their loans, he only heard the matter.” He further added that the farmers are committing suicide all over the country and the removal of import duty on wheat by the government is a devastating blow. Earlier in the day, a delegation of senior Congress leaders met Prime Minister Modi to demand relief for debt-ridden farmers and to express their apprehension at not being allowed to speak in parliament.Following this, opposition leaders would call on President Pranab Mukherjee at 12.30 p.m. These meetings come even as the ruckus continues in parliament over several issues, including demonetization and corruption.Earlier, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy claimed that Rahul Gandhi was ‘duty bound by law’ to report any instances of corruption to the police. Swamy said: “He (Rahul Gandhi) is bound by the law, criminal procedure code, to report it to police station or to a court of law and not to doing so carries a punishment of three years.” Gandhi had alleged he has detailed information on “personal corruption” by the Prime Minister which he wants to present in Lok Sabha but he was not being allowed to speak in the House. “The Prime Minister is personally terrified of me being allowed to open my mouth inside Lok Sabha because I have information about the Prime Minister that is going to explode his balloon. And I am not being allowed to speak in the House,” the Congress leader had said.

Rahul Gandhi seeks appointment with PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the last day of the winter session on Friday, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and leaders of 14 other opposition parties will march from parliament to the Rashtrapati Bhawan to lodge protest with President Pranab Mukherjee against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetization move and the “miseries” it has unleashed on the common man.Besides, Rahul has also sought appointment from PM Modi to present a list of demands of farmers that he apparently collected during his extensive tour of election bound state of Uttar Pradesh.Gandhi had created a flutter yesterday by alleging that he had “detailed information about PM Modi’s personal corruption” and wanted to speak on it in the Lok Sabha.Keeping up the reputation of wasting time in pandemonium, both the houses of parliament saw unruly scenes on the penultimate day also and got adjourned without conducting any business.”This is for the first time in the history of India that it is the ruling party that is not letting the House function,” alleged leader of opposition from Congress, Ghulam Nabi Azad in the Rajya Sabha.He soon as deputy chairman P J Kurien allowed Azad to raise the matter “Distress among farmers due to drought, floods and demonetization”treasury benches created got up leveling charges of corruption on Congress in Agusta Westland helicopter deal.Amid pandemonium, a war of words ensued between junior parliamentary affairs minister, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and opposition leaders Azad, Sitaram Yechury of CPM and Derek O’Brien of TMC.Despite trying hard, Kurien could not quieten the two warring sides and kept adjourning the house, finally calling it a day at five minutes past two.Later, parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar blamed “myopic” strategy of Congress leadership and Rahul Gandhi for wasting parliament’s precious time.He said, it was very surprising that both TMC and Communists accepted and followed Congress without a murmur, without whimper, blindfolded.” My question to TMC and Communist is do they also subscribe to Congress note-jugaad. Do they accept, are they ready to concede Agusta Westland helicopter scam that is opening up like 2 G and Coal,” said Ananth Kumar.Claiming that government throughout pursued a path of reconciliation, Ananth Kumar accused Rahul Gandhi of masterminding the gagging of the Parliament.”The only time Parliament was gagged was in 1975-76….Congress has something to hide that’s why they have stopped business of Parliament,” said Ananth Kumar.

Patriarch laments House disruption again, says he feels like quitting

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It was a scene similar to the one last week. The Lok Sabha had adjourned following disruptions over the Government-Opposition standoff on the demonetization debate, and BJP veteran LK Advani expressed his anguish over the stalling of Parliament. But, on Thursday, Advani went to the extent of saying that he felt like resigning.After Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House for the day at 12.25 pm on the penultimate day of the Winter session, Advani, from his seat in the front row, was seen talking to Textiles Minister Smriti Irani. Hearing him, she nudged Home Minister Rajnath Singh.A visibly upset Advani asked Singh to convey to Lok Sabha Speaker to immediately take steps to end the logjam and run the House. “Tell her that I want leaders to be called and the issue be discussed. Call one leader from the Congress,” Advani said.The Home Minister heard him, nodded and left. The other ministers also left. Advani sat alone for a few minutes.Seeing him alone, BJP MPs Ravindra Rai and Sunil Singh moved towards him. Trinamool Congress MP Idris Ali, who was among those who had shouted slogans in the House, also walked towards him.”I feel like resigning,” he was heard telling them. When Ali asked about the health of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Advani said he would have been very upset seeing the complete washout of the House.”The only thing I want is that Parliament should run. This damages the image of Parliament. A complete washout is something we should not allow,” Advani said.The Winter Session, which has been a near washout, comes to an end on Friday. He wanted the House to function normally for at least a day.He told MPs that there can be agreement and disagreement over demonetization, but parliamentarians should have patience to hear each other and debate the matter and not indulge in an ego battle.”Whosoever wins this battle, Parliament will be the loser,” he said. He left the House 15 minutes after the adjournment. Advani’s fresh outburst also sparked off a blame game between the BJP and the Congress. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said that the veteran leader was “fighting for democratic values” within BJP.”Thank you Advaniji for fighting for democratic values within your party,” tweeted Gandhi, who had earlier accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being “autocratic”.Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said Advani is “clearly berating his own party” and not Congress, as being “twisted” by the BJP.Blaming the Opposition for disruptions in Parliament, Information and Broadcasting Minister and senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said that the Congress was adopting “spit and run” tactics to divert attention from the real issues.”Everybody is sad. The way Parliament is not being allowed to function, the countrymen is sad. We are also sad. But what to do if some people deliberately and continuously not allow Parliament to function. It is a known fact who is rushing to the Well of the House,” Naidu told reporters outside Parliament.When asked to comment on Advani’s remark, he said that “being a senior partyman, Advaniji is also feeling like that.”The veteran parliamentarian has often been seen in a pensive mood in Parliament during the session, unhappy over the frequent disruptions. Last week, he was visibly upset and said that neither the Parliamentary Affairs Minister nor the Speaker was running the House.

‘Feel like resigning’: BJP and Congress spar over LK Advani’s remark

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>L K Advani’s fresh outburst in the Lok Sabha over the prolonged Parliamentary gridlock sparked a blame game between the BJP and Congress even as Rahul Gandhi said the veteran leader was “fighting for democratic values” within his party. Shortly after an exasperated 89-year-old Advani gave vent to his anguish with his remark “I feel like resigning” on the penultimate day of the Winter Session of Parliament, the rival parties sparred over who should take the blame for the virtual washout of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.Blaming the opposition for disruptions in Parliament, Information and Broadcasting Minister and senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said the Congress was adopting “spit and run” tactics to divert attention from the real issues. “Everybody is sad. The way Parliament is not being allowed to function, every countrymen is sad. We are also sad. But what to do if some people deliberately and continuously not allowing Parliament to function. It is a known fact who is rushing to the Well of the House,” Naidu told reporters outside Parliament.He was asked to comment on Advani’s remark. “Being a senior party man, Advaniji is also feeling like that,” Naidu said. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi took to twitter to latch on to Advani’s remark to target the BJP.”Thank you Advani ji for fighting for democratic values within your party,” tweeted Gandhi, who had earlier accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being “autocratic”.Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said Advani is “clearly berating his own party” and not Congress, as being “twisted” by BJP. “Advani is an extremely senior parliamentarian and BJP is deliberately, consciously twisting these things to suggest that his angst and anguish is against Congress. It is ridiculous. Advani is clearly berating his own party. The positive proof is that you have seen today, yesterday and Monday and some other days,” he said.”How can any party in the world with 323 majority (out of 543) in the Lok Sabha stand up with placards and ask a question, whether it is Agusta (chopper scam) or anything else, before the opposition which is asking for a debate? The Vice President of the opposition party (Congress) says we are desperate of a debate…and you are clearly avoiding it,” he said.Advani vented out his pain and anguish soon after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House for the day amid trading of charges between the government and the opposition on smooth functioning of proceedings.The veteran BJP parliamentarian, who remained seated in his front seat, first narrated his feelings to Union minister Smriti Irani, who in turn drew the attention of Home Minister Rajnath Singh standing nearby.Advani was heard telling the Home Minister to convey to the Speaker that she should ensure the House runs to have a discussion on note ban.The veteran parliamentarian has been seen in a pensive mood in Parliament during this session, unhappy over the frequent disruptionsWith noisy protests continuing to stall Parliament, Advani had on December 7 expressed deep distress over the way the Lok Sabha proceedings were being conducted, saying neither the Speaker nor the Parliamentary Affairs Minister was running the House.I understanding Advani’s pain: Speaker Sumitra MahajanHours after BJP veteran L K Advani expressed his anguish over stalling of Parliament, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said she understands his “pain” and decried the disturbances caused by members. “I understand Advaniji’s pain,” Mahajan said while releasing a book on former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar.With Advani in the audience, the Speaker said Parliament is meant to be a forum for healthy debates and it is the duty of MPs to engage in discussion rather than disruptions.The reality is, however, opposite when the proceedings are not running as per the expectations, she said.Advani, a member of Lok Sabha, on the penultimate day of the Winter Session of Parliament today said “I feel like resigning”.The veteran parliamentarian gave vent to his pain and anguish soon after the Speaker adjourned the House for the day amid ruckus in the House.Remaining seated in his front seat, Advani first narrated his feelings to Minister Smriti Irani, who in turn drew the attention of Home Minister Rajnath Singh standing nearby.Singh appeared to give a patient hearing to the veteran leader, but was seen hardly reacting. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, who had earlier targeted the Opposition over the disruptions, had by then left the House.Advani was heard telling the Home Minister to convey to the Speaker that she should ensure the House runs tomorrow to have a discussion on note ban.”If it does not happen and Parliament is adjourned sine die without discussion (on demonetisation), it will be considered a washout,” he told Idris Ali (TMC) and two other BJP MPs, including Nana Patole.He was heard remarking that even today, talks should be held with the opposition, especially Congress, on ensuring a smooth debate tomorrow.Advani insisted that discussion should be held under whatever rule and no one should see it as a “victory or defeat” for his side, suggesting if Parliament is adjourned sine die without any debate, it will be a defeat of Parliament.Mahajan, while speaking at the book release function, observed that MPs, as representatives of people, are expected to raise the issues concerning the public on the floor of the House.She hoped that the new members would imbibe the healthy traditions of the Parliamentary democracy from leaders like Chandra Shekhar.She highlighted that the impressive speeches delivered by Chandra Shekhar in Parliament were of high standard and people always listened to them in rapt attention.

‘Yuvraj’ Rahul Gandhi writing last chapter of Congress-free India: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Accusing Rahul Gandhi of practising “propaganda of falsehood and rumours”, BJP on Thursday claimed that Congress Vice President is writing the last chapter of “Congress-mukt Bharat” and eroding the party’s base.”He is writing the last chapter of Congress-mukt Bharat (Congress-free India) through his flop and expired script and eroding whatever base the party has been left with. Congress and Rahul Gandhi don’t have any fact or logic. They are engaged in a conspiracy to weaken the fight against black money and corruption through rumours and propaganda of falsehood. Congress and its allies should keep in mind that this is a battle of honesty versus dishonesty,” Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said in a statement.Citing BJP’s wins and losses of Congress in state and recent local polls, he said the country is moving towards becoming “Congress-free”. The political drama of the “brand new leader” of the grand old party is also responsible for this, he claimed.
ALSO READ More Rahul speaks, more Congress will be exposed: BJP hits back at ‘personal corruption’ jibe against PM Modi Training guns on Gandhi over alleged corruption involving his party, Naqvi said when “skeletons of corruption” start coming out, they will disturb the “yuvraj’s (prince) political calculations”. Corruption and loot is in the DNA of Congress, he alleged.Latest revelation in the VVIP chopper scam is indicative of the involvement of Congress’ first family, he claimed, insisting this is the reason the opposition party and its “yuvraj” see corruption everywhere. Earlier too Gandhi had levelled “baseless and illogical” allegations but Congress had to face embarrassment and was exposed when the truth came out, the Union Minister said.
ALSO READ He kept quiet for 10 years when MMS govt ‘looted’ country: BJP big guns attack Rahul Gandhi Referring to Gandhi’s attack on BJP over the Lalit Modi episode last year, he said the Congress leader had then also said an earthquake will come when he speaks on the issue. “Rahul Gandhi spoke on the issue in Parliament but no earthquake came, but Congress lost state elections one by one,” he said.

SC dismisses Katju’s plea to quash Parliament resolution against him

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the plea of former apex court judge Justice Markandey Katju seeking quashing of a resolution passed by Parliament condemning his remarks made in a blog on Mahatma Gandhi and Subhash Chandra Bose.A bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur said the plea is being dismissed on merit.The bench also comprising Justices P C Ghose and U U Lalit rejected preliminary objections that the plea was not maintainable.Justice Lalit, who pronounced the judgement on behalf of the bench, said, “We have held that the plea is maintainable. We have dismissed the plea on merit”.Justice Katju had on June 29 last year moved the apex court seeking quashing of resolutions passed against him by both Houses of Parliament for calling Mahatama Gandhi and Subhash C Bose as British and Japanese “agents” respectively.The former judge, in his Facebook post, had said both Houses of Parliament condemned him for his statements “calling Gandhi a British agent, and Subhas Chandra Bose a Japanese agent” without even giving him a hearing.A former chairperson of Press Council of India, Justice Katju had sought quashing of resolutions passed against him by Lok Sabha on March 12 and Rajya Sabha on March 11.He had also sought a direction to Lok Sabha Speaker and Chairman of Rajya Sabha that he be heard personally or through his duly designated lawyer(s).His plea had alleged that both Houses of Parliament lacked “competence” to condemn him.”Because, Parliament lacks the competence and authority to pass the impugned resolutions condemning the act of the petitioner, who is a private person.”They (LS and RS) are not competent to take cognizance of expressions of free speech of a private person like petitioner as power under Rule 171 of Lok Sabha Rules provides that the resolution must relate to act of Government. Thus Impugned Resolution does not fulfill the jurisdictional requirement and necessary jurisdictional facts are lacking,” it said.The plea also referred to the reasons behind the alleged posts against Gandhi and Bose.”That, the post in respect of Gandhiji in short made the point that by constantly using religious symbolism in politics for several decades, Gandhiji, in effect furthered the British Policy of Divide and Rule by alienating the Muslim population of the Indian sub-continent away from the national movement.”That, the post in respect of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, in short made the point that through his actions knowingly or unknowingly, he ended up perpetuating Japanese imperial interest in the Indian sub-continent,” the plea stated.

Opposition, BJP members face off, force Lok Sabha adjournment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lok Sabha witnessed uproar as Opposition targeted the government on the demonetization issue on Thursday even as the ruling BJP members sought to pin down the Congress over alleged bribery in the AgustaWestland chopper deal, leading to adjournment of proceedings till noon.Members from Opposition and Treasury benches resorted to high decibel sloganeering soon after the House condoled the death of two former members.A belligerent Opposition, including members from the Congress, TMC and Left parties, raised slogans demanding discussion on the demonetization issue.Seeking to counter them, members from the Treasury benches were on their feet waving copies of a newspaper on reports that some people in the erstwhile UPA regime allegedly received money in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal.With her requests asking members not to display papers in the House going unheard, a peeved Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said that such actions are very bad. Referring to the Opposition as well as the Treasury benches, she said it is not right for both sides to show the papers. “You (people) are responsible MPs… This is very bad,” Mahajan said.The Opposition members were heard shouting ‘we want discussion’ on demonetization. Amid the ruckus, one question was taken up during Question Hour.Before the proceedings began, Home Minister Rajnath Singh walked up to the Opposition benches and was seen talking to Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Jyotiraditya Scindia.Singh also greeted TMC leader Sudip Bandopadhyay. Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi were present in the House.Earlier, the House condoled the passing away of two former members — N Anbuchezhian and PV Rajeshwar Rao — and stood in silence for a brief while as a mark of respect for the departed. Lok Sabha has virtually seen a washout since the Winter Session began on November 16 as the gridlock between the Opposition and the government over the demonetization issue continues.

I am sorry, but nobody takes Rahul Gandhi seriously: Shivraj Singh Chouhan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Launching a counter attack on Rahul Gandhi for calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘corrupt’, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday said he feels really sorry that nobody in this country takes the Congress vice-president seriously nor does anyone trust him, and thus, his remarks don’t deserve any comment.”I really feel sorry that nobody in this country takes Rahul Gandhi seriously. His talks are not serious and nobody trusts his words. So, how do you expect me to comment on his remarks,” Chouhan said.”As far as the Prime Minister is concerned, he is a ‘yugapurush’, ‘nishkam karmayogi’ and a patriot, and he never thinks of anything else except for the betterment of the country and welfare of the people. His personality is so enormous and his works are such that the entire nation is rallying behind him blindly, which is something that pains Rahul Gandhi a lot,” said Chouhan, while commenting on Gandhi’s statement that he has got some explosive information on personal corruption by the Prime Minister.”Rahul Gandhi finds it hard to believe how Modiji has become such a miracle and that is why he keeps on attacking him, though nobody takes him seriously and his comments are not worth answering. Modiji is Modiji,” said Chouhan, the three-time BJP Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh.The Congress vice-president yesterday said that he had “detailed” information about Prime Minister Modi’s “personal corruption”.”That information is personal information about Narendra Modi which I want to place in Lok Sabha. It is personal corruption of the prime minister… the PM is not allowing us to speak,” Gandhi said at a press conference along with NCP, Trinamool, RSP and DMK leaders after the Lok Sabha was adjourned.”The PM is personally terrified of me being allowed to open my mouth inside Lok Sabha because I have information…that is going to explode his balloon,” he added.The ruling BJP has, however, rejected Gandhi’s claim and said 125 crore people of the country have a liking for Prime Minister Modi as there is no question on his integrity.BJP general secretary Shrikant Sharma asked Gandhi to present the proof if he has any against the Prime Minister.

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