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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?”

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.

PM to address nation on New Year’s eve

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

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

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

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

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

Rahul is obsessed while Mamata is biased on demonetisation: BJP

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

Sheila Dixit junks Sahara documents: BJP takes on Rahul Gandhi for ‘fabricated’ claims

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday questioned Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s intent after former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit junked the documents related to ‘Sahara diaries’ bribery issue and said this clearly indicates that whatever he speaks is lie and fabricated.”Everyone knows that Sheila Dikshit is a trusted person of the Gandhi family and if she has refuted and she has very clearly stated that there is no truth in it the fact is now open to everyone to see that what the intent of Mr Rahul Gandhi was and what he is up to,” BJP leader Zafar Islam said. “That is why I am saying again and again that people of India do not pay attention to Rahul Gandhi because it is all lie and all fabricated and always far far away from truth,” he added.With the Congress vice-president targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over ‘Sahara diaries’ bribery issue, a controversy erupted after the grand old party put out a list linked to it on Twitter in which a reference to Dikshit also allegedly figured. Dikshit, who is the 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.

Gandhi vs Modi: Joint opposition meeting on Monday to discuss charges of ‘personal corruption’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>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. While there is no formal word from Congress about the initiative or the press conference, reports from Kolkata said West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee will be attending a joint opposition meeting on December 27. She is scheduled to arrive in Delhi on Monday. Leaders of Left parties said they have been approached by Congress but are not aware of the details. They also remained non-committal about their participation in the meeting. Sources said NCP, JD(U) and some other opposition parties have also been approached by Congress for the joint meeting to step up the attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government.The sources said NCP leader Tariq Anwar, CPI leader D Raja and Mamata Banerjee have been approached, besides some other leaders. Congress is working towards projecting a united opposition to dispel the impression that cracks developed in the opposition ranks on the last day of the Winter Session of Parliament on December 16 when some parties backed out at the last minute from an opposition delegation to meet the President.Congress’ move comes close on the heels of Rahul Gandhi targeting the Prime Minister on his home turf of Mehsana in Gujarat last week in which he made the allegations against Modi. BJP leaders have dismissed the charges levelled by Rahul. The Prime Minister too had mocked Rahul, who in turn, hit back at Modi saying that the PM could make as much fun of him as he can but he should say whether the charge of corruption is correct or not. The Congress Vice President had also emphasised on an independent probe.A TMC leader said, “Our party supremo will go to Delhi tomorrow and will attend the meeting of opposition parties on December 27. In that meeting, the next line of action will be discussed.”Besides this, Banerjee is likely to hold a separate meeting with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. She will also be meeting some other leaders. The just-concluded Parliament session had seen several opposition parties getting their act together as a united force by holding daily meetings to strategise their plans to target the government. This was for the first time that such meetings to strategise opposition plans took place since Modi took charge as the Prime Minister.Meanwhile, a senior Congress leader, who declined to be identified, has raised doubts over the strategy, saying that the plan to step up attack on Modi might not hold ground as former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s name has also allegedly figured in the same documents. She has junked the charges.

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.

Kept under house arrest due to Modi’s visit,’ claims Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam

Mumbai: Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam, who planned to lead a ‘silent’ march of party workers to the venue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s public meeting in Mumbai on Saturday, claimed he had been placed under “house arrest” by police which denied the charge.

Mumbai Police said the personnel deployed outside Nirupam’s residence were only part of the security arrangements made across the city in view of the PM’s visit for launching some major projects.

“The area outside my house is under heavy police bandobast and I am being prevented from stepping out,” Nirupam told PTI,

“In the present democratic set up Opposition leaders are being virtually kept under house-arrest,” he alleged.

File photo of Sanjay Nirupam. AFP

File photo of Sanjay Nirupam. AFP

Asked about Nirupam’s allegation, Mumbai Police spokesperson, DCP Ashok Dudhe. said, “We have deployed policemen across the city especially on the route of PM’s convoy to maintain law and order as well as to avoid any untoward incident during his visit.”

Nirupam said the morcha was planned as a peaceful march to highlight some live issues.

“We have a lot of questions for the PM. He should answer graft allegations made by our Vice President Rahul Gandhi instead of mocking him. Modi should also answer when the people will get back their right to deposit and withdraw their own hard earned money from banks. It is more than a month. Since demonetisation citizens are still suffering due to cash crunch,” he said.

AICC General Secretary in-charge of Maharashtra, Mohan Prakash accused the police of curbing the democratic rights of political rivals, which he alleged was being done at the behest of the government.

“Earlier, the government put restrictions on citizens’ rights to access their money and now there are restrictions on freedom of expression as well,” he said.

Condemning the “house arrest” of Nirupam, MPCC spokersperson Sachin Sawant said, “It is indeed, a black day for Indian democracy. This act confirms the fact that the BJP government has a sadist and fascist mindset, which denies the citizen’s basic fundamental constitutional right to protest peacefully.”

First Published On : Dec 25, 2016 11:48 IST

Not a government of Sonia Gandhi where institutions can be over ruled and subverted: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Coming down heavily on former prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh who sought to know whether the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was given sufficient time to hold deliberations on the government’s demonetization move, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has said the present dispensation, unlike the UPA tenure, does not ‘subvert and over rule’ the institutions and perform their duties mandated by the constitution.”As far as institutions under the present dispensation is concerned, every regulator is performing their duty as mandated by the constitution and this is not the government of Sonia Gandhi where institutions can be over ruled and subverted,” BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao said.Rao said Singh worked as a puppet in the hands of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi and accused the former prime minister of subverting the institutions for political benefit.”Manmohan Singh himself had lacked authority as the prime minister even when Rahul Gandhi went on a rampage and tore ordinance papers that were cleared by Singh and he talks about institutions, I find it rather curious,” Rao added.During a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Finance on Thursday Singh suggested that the panel, which is looking into the demonetization decision, call government officials to depose before it hears RBI Governor Urjit Patel.The issue was being discussed in presence of independent experts, including economists Rajiv Kumar and Mahesh Vyas, former chief statistician Pronab Sen and Kavita Rao of National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, who had been called to offer their views to the panel. Three of the experts were critical of the demonetization decision.RBI governor Patel will brief the panel on January 18 or 19 on demonetization and its implications, while government officials, mostly from the Finance Ministry, will be asked to depose before it on January 11 or 12.

DMK supremo Karunanidhi discharged after undergoing tracheostomy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi was discharged from a private hospital here after a week-long treatment for breathing difficulty caused by throat and lung infections, with doctors advising him complete rest.The course of antibiotics for the 93-year-old DMK chief has been completed and he has “recovered well” from breathing difficulty due to throat and lung infections, Executive Director of Kauvery Hospital Dr S Aravindan said.Karunanidhi was hospitalised on the night of December 15. The next day, he underwent tracheostomy to optimise breathing and the hospital had declared him as being stable.Dr Aravindan, in a statement today, said, “Doctors have advised him complete rest and restriction of visitors.” He said Karunanidhi needs tracheostomy tube for a few more weeks and added that medical and nursing care would continue to be provided at his home by the hospital.The DMK patriarch was given a warm welcome by senior party leaders and cadres when he arrived at his Gopalapuram residence. Earlier soon after his hospitalisation, there was a marked improvement in his condition and he even watched Rajinikanth blockbuster “Batcha” on his laptop.Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, former Union Minister P Chidambaram, AIADMK leaders M Thambidurai and D Jayakumar, among several other leaders, had visited him during his hospitalisation.Karunanidhi was in the same hospital between December 1 and 7 for drug allergy treatment.On October 25, DMK had announced that Karunanidhi was suffering from allergy “caused by a medicine he has been using” and advised rest by doctors. Though active for his age, the veteran DMK leader is not seen regularly in public and has been reacting to key issues and developments through his statements.The DMK general council meet scheduled for December 20, where party treasurer M K Stalin was expected to be declared working president, had to be cancelled in view of Karunanidhi’s hospitalisation.The DMK chief also had to skip campaigning for the November 19 polls to three constituencies in Tamil Nadu and instead appealed to voters through a statement to vote for his party.

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

Rahul’s allegation against PM Modi lowers political discourse: BJP leader

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal on Thursday said that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s allegation against Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lowered the level of political discourse.”The speech given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has nothing to do with Rahul Gandhi. It was only his statement that if he speaks, then an earthquake will occur, and what Modiji has said is that Rahul Gandhi has said what he wanted to say, so, there is no possibility of any earthquake,” he said.”Rahul Gandhi has touched upon that aspect which the Supreme Court has already rejected. This only lowers the level of politics,” he added.
ALSO READ Rahul Gandhi is now trying to be new Kejriwal: BJPThe Congress vice-president on Thursday accused Prime Minister Modi of having taken money from the Sahara and Birla business groups when he was chief minister of Gujarat and demanded an independent inquiry into the matter.Gandhi made this assertion in Prime Minister Modi’s native district of Mehsana in Gujarat just days after he said that he had proof of “personal corruption” against the latter.
ALSO READ Lalu Yadav backs Rahul Gandhi, demands SC-monitored probe against PM ModiGandhi alleged that the Sahara Group had paid Rs 40 crore, while the Birla Group had paid Rs 12 crore to Prime Minister Modi, claiming his charges were based on documents recovered during raids on the companies by the income tax department.

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.

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

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

PM likens Congress to Pakistan, says note ban will expose ‘kala dhan’ and ‘kala mann’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a scathing attack on opposition for stalling Parliament over demonetization, Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleged on Thursday that they were trying to “rescue the corrupt” like Pakistan gives cover fire to terrorists to cross border and said the note ban will expose the ‘kala dhan’ (black money) as well as ‘kale mann’ (ill-intentions) of many. “Many people say I had not taken account the consequences of this huge step. In fact, the only thing that I could not take into account was the brazenness with which many political parties and leaders will come to the rescue of the corrupt.But I am happy that this drive aimed at eliminating ‘kala dhan’ has exposed so many ‘kale mann’,” Modi said. The Prime Minister, who was on his first tour of his Lok Sabha constituency after Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes were demonetized on November 8, was speaking at a function organised inside the Benares Hindu University campus.Charging the opposition parties, who have been attacking the government over demonetization, with “brazenly standing in support of the corrupt and the dishonest”, Modi compared their stalling of parliamentary proceedings during the latest session to “firing at the borders by Pakistan in a bid to provide cover to infiltrators”.
ALSO READ After PM Modi mocks Rahul’s ‘earthquake’, Congress VP says ‘answer me’He also hit back at former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and P Chidambaram, saying their argument that promoting cashless economy was futile due to poverty, illiteracy and electricity not reaching villages in the country “exposes” their own report card. Reacting to his predecessor Manmohan Singh’s assertion in the Parliament that a cashless economy was not feasible for the country where nearly 50% of people were poor, the Prime Minister said, “I wonder whether he was giving his own report card by admitting the dismal situation. After all, he has not just been the Prime Minister for two terms and a Finance Minister previously. Since the 1970s he has been holding key positions”.Taking on former Finance Minister Chidambaram over his assertion that online transactions could not find wide acceptance in India since nearly half of its villages were not even electrified, Modi said “whose faults is he pointing at. Did I uproot electric poles or snap cables in villages which had electricity”.
ALSO READ Manmohan Singh exposing his own misdeeds, says PM ModiHe also took potshots at Rahul Gandhi’s assertion that payments through cards, online transfers etc. would face hurdles in the country due to low literacy levels, saying, “I hope he does not say that I had indulged in some sort of black magic to make illiterate those who knew how to read and write. “He never thinks before he speaks and he may not have realized that he has admitted the failure of the long reign of his own party.”Calling himself “Kashi ka bachcha” (a child of Kashi), Modi said, “I am, nonetheless, delighted to see that the power of this holy land has made me work and forced detractors to admit, even if unwittingly, their failures”. Urging the people to have patience in the face of the inconveniences which have ensued demonetization, Modi said, making use of a metaphor, “The stench of a garbage heap becomes unbearable when a cleanliness drive starts. But if we persevere and remove every bit of filth, we can build a beautiful garden on the clean spot”.
ALSO READ Rahul Gandhi hits back at Modi, says mock me, but answer questionsReiterating the need to move towards a “cashless economy”, Modi said “once black money is eliminated from the system, it is essential to ensure that fresh black money is not generated. Net banking, mobile banking and payment through cards is the way forward”. Earlier, the Prime Minister laid the foundation stones for a cancer research centre and a super specialty hospital and stressed on the need for “not just health insurance but also health assurance wherein the poorest of the poor have access to the best possible treatment and medicines”.Modi, who also interacted with artistes performing a stage play “Chanakya”, hailed the political and economic thought of the ancient Indian strategist saying “so many ideas have come and gone but he remains as relevant as ever”. Offering words of appreciation for the ongoing “Rashtriya Sanskritik Mahotsav” (national cultural festival at BHU), Modi said, “Art must be a part of our life and artistes must get due respect since it is art alone that can prevent human beings from becoming like robots which have intelligence but no sensitivity.”The Prime Minister was speaking in the presence of Union Ministers Mahesh Sharma and Anupriya Patel.

Rahul Gandhi hits back at Modi, says mock me, but answer questions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday hit back at Narendra Modi for ridiculing his remarks about bringing an ‘earthquake” and said that the Prime Minister did not answer his questions, but mocked him.”Yesterday, I had asked PM Narendra Modiji 2-3 questions on corruption, but instead of answering, he made a joke of me. You can mock me, but answer the questions,” said Rahul Gandhi addressing a rally in Uttar Pradesh.”Everyday our farmers are committing suicide, we went to the PM with these problems, but the PM did not say even one word. How many black money holders have been put in jail by Modiji? Not even one. He instead made Modi (lalit) and Mallya run away,” Rahul added.Meanwhile, Rahul also took to twitter and said, “Modiji first tell us what was contained in the ten packets from Sahara.”Earlier in the day, commenting on Rahul Gandhi, the Prime Minister said his speech held no relevance. “Since the time he has learnt how to speak, there is no extent to my happiness. Till 2009, there was no clue as to what is inside the packet (Gandhi). Better that he started speaking, at least we came to know that there is no scope of earthquake occurring,” said Modi.The Prime Minister, who was on his first tour of his Lok Sabha constituency after Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes were demonetized on November 8, was speaking today at a function organised inside the Banaras Hindu University campus.

Modi graft charge: Rahul Gandhi warns of a quake but survey shows it might be a tremor never felt

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had warned last week, as Parliament was going for its winter recess, that he would drop a bombshell regarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi if allowed to speak in the House. A survey of 1,235 people has revealed that his grandiose statements were a little too weak to cause an “earthquake”, as he threatened would happen.

According to a CVOTER survey, conducted on 19 and 20 December in 24 states, 57.7 percent of the total respondents believed that Gandhi’s allegations about Modi’s corruption were baseless. This group of respondents refused to trust Gandhi, the survey said.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTICongress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi

The survey was conducted to find out what the nation thinks about Gandhi’s claims that he would expose Modi’s graft.

Rahul Gandhi‘s charges came at the end of a stormy week in Parliament, which also saw many sharp and personal attacks from both sides. They were all reactions to the demonetisation exercise announced by the Modi government on 8 November. While the Centre attempted to weed out black money from the country, logistical bottlenecks and shortsightedness in implementing the scheme meant the country was pushed into an unprecedented cash flow situation, with banks running out of currency within a night. The ensuing confusion caused by a plethora of announcements, both written and verbal, and a slew of contingency measures came too little too late, and allowed Modi’s political opponents, particularly the Congress, to go out all guns blazing against the prime minister and his party for maximum political mileage.


However, despite all the aggression from the Congress camp, it didn’t quite succeed in hurting the BJP or the prime minister’s image. The CVOTER survey said the advantage enjoyed by the BJP was quite clear, and cutting across demographics.

Among the 57.7 percent who did not believe Rahul Gandhi’s allegations, 62.8 percent respondents were in the age group of 45-60, while 56.5 percent were below 25 years of age and 57.9 percent were between the age group of 25-45. When looked from a locational break-up, 53.3 percent were from an urban background and 67.6 percent from a semi-urban set-up; 58.8 percent of respondents came from rural India, and refused to believe the Congress’ second-in-command’s claims on Modi.

Ironically, even among those who thought Rahul Gandhi to be trustworthy enough, a huge majority of respondents didn’t back his claims about Modi; just 7.6 percent of people thought there was substance to his claims. Finally, only a paltry 9.8 percent among Gandhi’s supporters thought that his claims on Modi’s alleged corruption are true, while another 3.9 percent backed these arguments though they don’t necessarily support the Congress party.

The survey, which covered 419 Lok Sabha and 897 Assembly constituencies respectively, also covered different income groups to get an impression of what they reckon about the Congress leader’s assertion.

In the higher income group, 81.9 percent respondents in the middle-income group, 78 percent and in the lower income group, and 86.2 percent respondents in the higher income group considered the corruption against Modi are baseless.

In contrast, the CVOTER survey said, 18.1 percent respondents in the higher income group and 22 percent among the middle-income group thought the corruption charges against the Prime Minister are serious. In the lower income group, 13.8 percent of the respondents believed that the charges against Modi are grave.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 22:12 IST

Rahul Gandhi accuses Narendra Modi of taking cash payments | Reuters

By Rupam Jain

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

Modi-Sahara bribery allegations: SC yet to probe documents, says Prashant Bhushan

New Delhi: Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who has filed a petition in the apex court demanding a probe into bribery allegations against Narendra Modi from the time he was Gujarat chief minister, said the court has not yet examined many documents.

Prashant Bhushan. PTI file imagePrashant Bhushan. PTI file image

Prashant Bhushan. PTI file image

Rejecting the corruption charges levelled by Congress vice-president against Prime Minister Modi as “baseless, shameful, and mala fide”, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad had said “even the Supreme Court has observed that these are no allegations”.

Reacting to these remarks, Bhushan said he has procured more documents following the the apex court observations to come up with “better material” to support the allegations.

“The douments recovered by the Income Tax department are a part of its appraisal report. The Supreme Court has not seen many documents presented by us. There are more documents that we have got subsequently,” Bhushan said.

Bhushan has filed a PIL in the apex court seeking a probe by an SIT into alleged recovery of documents by the IT department in connection with raids on two business houses here in 2013-14 which purportedly showed computerised inventories containing designations of top people allegedly having received money.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 20:58 IST

PM Modi pure as Ganga, no one takes Rahul seriously: BJP on Sahara-Birla bribe allegations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP strongly dismissed as “utterly baseless” and “shameful” Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s allegations that Narendra Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister had taken money from Sahara and Birla groups and said the Prime Minister is as “pure” as the Ganga.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.”The allegations levelled against the Prime Minister 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 told a press conference at the BJP headquarters.Addressing a rally in Mehsana in Gujarat, Gandhi alleged that Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister had taken money from Sahara and Birla groups and demanded an independent inquiry.Wondering why Gandhi did not raise voice against UPA government’s massive scams, Prasad said people of the country do not take the Congress Vice President seriously.”There is no expectation from Rahul Gandhi who has demonstrated himself as the biggest partner of corruption during the 10-year rule of the UPA… Why he did not utter a single word when crores of rupees were being looted during Congress rule,” asked Prasad.”Our Prime Minister is as pure as the river Ganga,” he said, adding even the Supreme Court had observed that there was no basis in the allegations. He was referring to the Supreme Court rejecting a plea for a probe by a special investigation team against Modi on allegations that two companies paid Rs 65 crore to him ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. 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. 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. (MORENGO Common Cause had filed a PIL on the issue in theSupreme 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.

Congress has no moral right to criticise Centre on demonetization: Venkaiah Naidu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking on Rahul Gandhi for his criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on demonetization, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting M. Venkaiah Naidu said the Congress Party has no moral right to do so since it was under their previous regime that a parallel economy laden with black money was allowed to function in the country.”Let them further up the ante, they have no credibility, not even one person is going to believe what the Congress says because they have ruled the country and ruined the country. All this is happening in the country because of the misrule of the Congress and what have they done to unearth black money,” Naidu told ANI.”What is it you that have done to unearth the black money, why have you not acted on the Supreme Court guidance to form the SIT on black money, the order came in 2012, and how this parallel economy has been going on years together. It was the Congress rule that provided for all scams and scandals. You have pushed the country into a cesspool of corruption,” he added.He further asserted the Congress has no moral authority to raise questions on the Prime Minister.”In the two years, Prime Minister Modi has repaired the economy enhanced the image of the country and has earned the respect of the country and international community and what have we inherited? We inherited fiscal deficit, trade deficit, current account deficit led by great economist Dr. Manmohan Singh,” Naidu said.Naidu said the Congress is now getting frustrated as their election prospects are on the down swing and their presence in parliament is diminishing.”From last 20 days, Congress and its friends prevented parliament from functioning. You gave a call for bharat bandh which was a flop. You called for aakrosh rally it fissile out. You wanted a debate, we started, but you ran away from it,” he added.Recalling Prime Minister Modi’s remark, Naidu said demonetization is a bitter pill for a long term ill while adding that will benefit people in the long term.”It is a revolutionary and transformatory move in every transformation. There will be some problems and affects, but after affects it will be good that is why people showing monumental patience, they have confidence in leadership of the Prime Minister and feel that this step is a moral step,” he said.

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.

Rahul Gandhi would have exposed PM in Parliament: Ghulam Nabi Azad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday said that if Rahul Gandhi would have been allowed to speak in Parliament, the Prime Minister would have been “exposed”.”Well he (Rahul Gandhi) was not given the opportunity as he wanted to say something on the floor of the House. Had he been given the opportunity to speak in the Parliament, he (Prime Minister) would have been exposed,” the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha told reporters here.Azad said that if there was nothing to hide, then why the government and the MPs of the ruling party did not allow Rahul Gandhi to speak.”(It was) because they did not want him (Prime Minister) to be exposed (by Rahul Gandhi),” Azad said.Azad, who is also the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, blamed the BJP for the five-month long unrest in the Valley, stating that BJP being part of the government did not go well with the people of the state.”As far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned we had warned the Prime Minister earlier that BJP government will not go well with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The situation which prevailed in Kashmir in the past five to six months, the main reason was the BJP forming the government in the state,” Azad said.On the issue of Robert Vadra’s Bikaner land row, Azad said that the BJP government in order to hide its own failures was “befooling” the people of the country by raking up “non issues”.”Let me tell you whenever there has been an attack on the BJP or its corruption or misdoing (is exposed) they will try to divert the attention by saying this has happened and that has happened,” he said.On the Augusta Westland issue, Azad said, “Sometimes they raise Augusta. Same Augusta thing which was discussed for six hours in the Parliament and we had said about Augusta there was nothing and whatever deal was struck it was not concluded the government came to the conclusion that there was something fishy and it was the UPA government which initiated the CBI enquiry.”

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.

Rahul Gandhi’s ‘bomb’ explodes: Why the Opposition split ahead of meeting with PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A steady and unified Opposition that derailed almost all official business during the Winter Session of Parliament —for the past 20 days— came to a cropper on the last day, when Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.Opposition parties accused Rahul of breaking an understanding by going alone to meet the PM and fixing an appointment with President Pranabh Mukherjee in his own name.Speaking to DNA, a senior Left party leader revealed that a day ahead of the session of Parliament, it was decided that no one would be the leader of the coordinated Opposition programmes and even while marching towards Rashtrapati Bhawan and during sit-ins, the leaders would form a horizontal row to give equal prominence to all leaders.Protesting at the Congress’ conduct, the Left, DMK, AIADMK, SP, BSP and the NCP, at the last minute, dropped out of the protest march. That left Congress president Sonia Gandhi to lead a whittled-down Opposition delegation of 15 parties to meet the President.Among prominent parties only JD(U) and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) joined the delegation. While the Congress said that the meeting with the PM was fixed to raise the issue of farmers in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Punjab and hand over thousands of signatures collected by the party for waiving loan arrears and seeking other reliefs, other Opposition parties were not impressed.”We will never know what transpired at the meeting since it was between the Congress leaders and the PM. It was a clear violation of understanding,” said P Karunakaran, CPI(M) member from Kerala. NCP leader Praful Patel said: “We were together in Parliament. It would be better if they would have taken everyone along. Outside the house, everyone has a different role.”Sources said that it was decided at a meeting that all Opposition leaders would meet Modi over the issue of farmers, since the SP and the BSP were primary stakeholders in UP. BSP chief Mayawati and SP leaders later expressed their anger over Rahul meeting the PM alone.CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury said that there was no use knocking on the doors of the President. “Our strategy was deferred as we felt the President could do nothing in the matter and we should have gone to the public instead,” he said.The Left and other parties were firmly behind Rahul Gandhi when he declared two days ago that he has information on the “personal corruption” committed by PM Modi, a claim that was dismissed by the BJP as “the joke of the year.”Rahul delayed his flight to Goa in order to first meet Modi. In a memorandum to the PM, the Congress highlighted an acute agrarian distress and the plight of the farmers suffering for the last two years due to two consecutive droughts, unseasonal rains, and floods.As a relief, he sought halving the farmers’ electricity bills and asked the PM to fulfil its promise to provide higher Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for the crops.During the meeting, the Prime Minister told Rahul: “We should always meet like this.” Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge responded by saying, “Even if our hearts don’t meet, we can at least cooperate and shake hands.”In a memorandum to the President, Congress and other smaller parties asked his intervention to save parliamentary democracy, which they said was being destroyed by the Modi government by preventing a debate on demonetization.

Narendra Modi is correcting Congress, Indira Gandhi’s mistakes: BJP leaders

On the last day of the Winter Session of Parliament, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made some scathing remarks against the Opposition and specifically the Congress on Friday stating that the Narendra Modi government is doing what Congress failed to do since 1971.

Referring to the Wanchoo Committee report of 1971, which had suggested demonetisation of certain bank notes as a mean to curb black money in Indian economy and tax evasion, BJP said that demonetisation was a necessity to keep Indian economy on track in a closed-room parliamentary party meeting on Friday, reports said.

Narendra Modi. Reuters

Narendra Modi. Reuters

Modi addressed Party MPs on a variety of issues including demonetisation at the meeting.

The meeting was called on the last day of the Winter Session of the Parliament as the deadlock on demonetisatin continued to disrupt regular business in both houses. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had also alleged that he had proof of corruption by Modi on Thursday.

According to ANI, sources told the news agency that Modi specifically spoke about how former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi had snubbed a report of the Wanchoo Committee that had recommended demonetisation of certain bank notes in 1971 because she was afraid to lose election. Firstpost had written about the Wanchoo Committee report in November.

Mentioning a conversation with YB Chavan, ANI quoted a source as saying:

Speaking with the press live on television, BJP leader Ananth Kumar echoed similar words stating that BJP-led government is trying to do correct Congress’ mistakes. Speaking on CNN-News18, Kumar said, “The prime minister said that digital economy should be a way of life” and that it would help make India a transparent and effective economy. The BJP leader also took a jibe on the opposition saying that “earlier the Opposition used to carry out scams, now they are working for black money”.

Interestingly, initial reports said that Modi will speak in a televised address about various issues around demonetisation and the Winter Session of the Parliament in a fashion similar to the announcement of the scheme in November. However, it didn’t happen.

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu, who spoke with the press after the party meet, criticised the Opposition and Congress Party for creating a ruckus inside the Parliament and outside on demonetisation. Naidu also criticised parties like CPM, Trinamool Congress and the Congress of working for giving vested interests preference over national interest and accused them of trying to tarnish the prime minister’s image with wild accusations.

“While the ruling party is fighting corruption and black money some opposition parties are fighting for the corrupt and terrorists. Many people are shaken because vested interests are shaken. They are trying to create panic in the public. And therefore, they are trying to tarnish prime minster’s image,” Naidu said on television.

Meanwhile, Kumar also attacked the Congress party and the Opposition for demanding proof for the strikes that the Indian Army carried out in September in retaliation to the Uri Attack.

First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 13:02 IST

Demonetization | PM Modi has not committed to waive off farmers loans: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a demand to provide relief for debt-ridden farmers, the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said the former has accepted that the situation of farmers is critical in the country, but did not commit anything on waiving off their loans.”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,” said Rahul.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 pm. These meetings come even as the ruckus continues in parliament over several issues, including demonetization and corruption.On Thursday, Azad said, “It is for the first time in history of India that the ruling party is not letting the House to function,” he said. Azad gave a notice in the Rajya Sabha on the “hardships faced by farmers due to demonetization”. “I have given notice so that the debt of the farmers is forgiven. The BJP is not in the support of the farmers,” he said.Both Houses of Parliament had to be adjourned for the day eventually.

DNA Morning Must Reads: Finance Secretary assures focus on Rs 500 notes; Karunanidhi hospitalised again; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Focus is now on Rs 500 notes, assures finance secretaryClose to Rs 5 lakh crore or 33% of additional notes had already been brought back into the system. Read more.2. Ensure cash crunch ends by Jan 15, BJP MPs tell Amit ShahMPs told party president that demonetization has overshadowed the positive impact of surgical strikes. Read more.3. Karunanidhi hospitalised again with lung infection, breathing difficultyDaughter Kanimozhi said he is better now. Read more.4. Rahul Gandhi seeks appointment with PM ModiRahul 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. Read more.5. I don’t even compete with myself: Sushant Singh RajputSushant Singh Rajput on having the time of his life just pursuing acting and doing little else. Read more.

LK Advani fighting for democratic values within BJP, says Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi: After LK Advani’s outburst in the Lok Sabha over frequent disruptions, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said the veteran leader was “fighting for democratic values” within his BJP.

File photo of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

File photo of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

“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”.

His comment came after Advani expressed his anguish in the Lok Sabha saying, “I feel like resigning”, after a virtual washout of the winter session of Parliament over the demonetisation issue.

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 tomorrow 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 disruptions that have become order of the day.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 17:09 IST

‘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.

Demonetisation: War on black money won’t be complete unless the top sharks are prosecuted

Are we now scraping the bottom of the barrel? A couple of crores in some old lady’s apartment. A relatively small sum in a hotel raid… all these are probably customary ‘finds’ based on snitches and inside information. A larger sum in Axis Bank in 20 false accounts, whatever those are… and if banks themselves are a string in the fiddle, what chance is there of winning this war?

Nowhere near the last month’s grandeur of so many lakh crores and 10 zeros and talking in trillions. Now, it is all common garden variety stuff, so does it mean the unearthing is largely over? Have all the ill-gotten gains been discovered and is black money a thing of the past?

Since no one can really put a finger on the figure of the parallel economy it is difficult to assess exactly how much has been dredged and who got away.

Suffice it to say that over these seven decades, corruption and the hoarding of wealth has been intrinsic to our lifestyle and our value system. It will come as no surprise to discover that the political-gangster-middleman-launderer-banker-underworld nexus is so well-entrenched that it will bounce back.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

I think it was Khalil Gibran who said if you have an enemy be sure that the blow you give breaks his back or else every blow will only strengthen it.

Black money and corruption have been twin enemies. The two inseparables have been given a blow, but has it broken their backs? That is a question that demands to be answered and as we wind down the ‘collection’ or the ‘uprooting’ or whatever you wish to label, it is necessary to ask what exactly have we gained, all of that mutually exclusive from anointing Prime Minister Modi for his courage or criticising him for his questionable execution of the master plan.

By that very token forcing a zipping of Rahul Gandhi‘s cavalier dismissal of the 8 November exercise and telling him to stop it, for heaven’s sake, at least some action was taken. Likewise, the Opposition parties who simply are against the demonetisation because they cannot be for it.

That not a single politician or high-profile businessman or leader of the gangster pack was apprehended is also a cause to be concerned about. One would have thought that just like the Chicago mobsters were targeted by Bobby Kennedy and decimated, the black market would have been raided in India and kingpins brought to book. In the thirties, they took down Al Capone and wiped out organised crime. In the eighties, the feds indicted the dreaded Joseph ‘Dove’ Aiuppa who allegedly planned the murder of Sam Gianca. In 2005, 14 bosses in the mob were locked up. ‘The Outfit’, as it was called, was mortally wounded.

A fed report says: A series of successful federal prosecutions over the years put many bosses behind bars and have forced mobsters and their associates into much lower profiles, practically destroying the mafia.

As far back in the 1920s Mussolini did the same in Italy and today the closest we see to the human element in the ‘clean up’ being placed on centrestage is the assault by President Duterte of the Philippines whose unprecedented war on drugs has him announcing that he has personally killed drug lords.

In comparison, not that one advocates that extreme, even nutty attitude, we have netted tiddlers and the tadpoles and no big fish.

The operation is still largely anonymous and we are no wiser who manipulates the strings of our black economy.

If they get away and the powerful nexus closes ranks then will this effort be a back-breaking exercise or one that simply replaces the old evil system with a fresh one?

It would be naïve in the extreme to assume that the bad guys are on the run. There is not just enough concrete evidence of that; more rhetoric than reality. By the same token so deeply ingrained is the chai pani to ‘kick back’ and ‘mark up’ concept that we must be conscious of an emergency plan the crooked have and one that is already in operation. The wall may have crumbled a bit but has it collapsed?

To ensure that the chapter is closed we need prosecutions of the top sharks, we need fast track convictions and we need to know that the underworld system is being dismantled and it’s back being broken.

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

DNA Morning Must Reads: Rahul accuses Modi of corruption; US Fed raises key interest rate; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Rahul claims to have explosive info against PM; party sources say they don’t know what he wants to sayCongress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday created another flutter, by putting a needle of suspicion on Prime Minister Modi’s personal integrity. Read more.2. US Fed raises key interest rate, dollar near 14-year peakDollar boosted after Fed ups 2017 rate hike projections | Focus on if further rise in USD prompts warning by authorities. Read more.3. Yahoo reveals new hack, says information from over 1 billion accounts stolenYahoo says 1 billion accounts exposed in newly discovered security breach. Read more.4. Raids across India fetch huge black bucks; 2.25 cr seized from Bengaluru flat guarded by 2 dogsPolice seized Rs 3.25 crore old currency in a raid in New Delhi on Tuesday. Read more.5. India v/s England: Ashwin like an Olympian, will settle for nothing less than gold – Lakshmipathi BalajiHis statistics reveal numbers that are far superior for the number of Tests he has played and the impact he has had on India’s progress as No. 1 Test nation. Read more.

More Rahul speaks, more Congress will be exposed: BJP hits back at ‘personal corruption’ jibe against PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hitting back, BJP said only Congress and not the government will be exposed when Rahul Gandhi speaks as it rejected his charge that the government was not letting him speak in Parliament, saying there cannot be a bigger “lie” than this. Union minister Prakash Javadekar also used a news channel sting, which purportedly showed some leaders from rival parties offering to change old currency notes for a commission, to attack Congress, SP and BSP and taunted Gandhi saying he should rename All India Congress Committee as All India Currency Conduit.The sting has exposed the true face of these parties opposing demonetization , he told a press conference at the BJP headquarters, and said while Prime Minister Narendra Modi was working to change the country, the Opposition was changing notes for a commission.”The more Rahul Gandhi speaks the more Congress will be exposed… These parties are protesting outside. They stand by Mahatma Gandhi’s statue to protest. They have been unmasked now. They are opposing (demonetization ) because their wounds are deep. They have now opened money exchange centre.”We demand that Congress, SP, BSP and NCP tender an apology to the nation. Merely taking action against individuals won’t do,” he said.Mocking the Congress vice president over his “personal corruption” jibe at Modi, Javadekar said Congress has become “commission agent” while the world has come to appreciate the Prime Minister’s “spotless” character in the two and a half years of his rule.Attacking the Opposition party over its protest in Parliament, he said such disrespect for democracy was never seen and it highlights the Emergency era mindset of Congress.Congress, BSP and NCP committed scams when they were in power and continue to do so when they are out of it, he alleged. Responding to Gandhi’s dig that Modi speaks to pop concerts but not in Parliament, Javadekar said the Prime Minister is working every day unlike him who had “disappeared” for 50 days.Mocking his claim that there will be earthquake when he speaks, the Union minister said the ground under feet will give way when he speaks.”We want him to speak. It benefits us.” Raking up AgustaWestland scam, he sought to know who is the “AP”, an alleged bribe-receiver. Rejecting the charge that the government was not allowing a debate in Parliament, he said it was all recorded on camera that it is Congress, SP and other Opposition members who were disruption the proceedings in the Lok Sabha, of which Gandhi is a member.A debate had there even started by Opposition members did not allow Jithender Reddy, a TRS member, to speak.Referring to the sting, Javadekar said the purported Congress leader offering to change old notes for a hefty commission headed a government body under the previous Congress government in Delhi. There are photographs of his with Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, he claimed.If Congress continues to behave in such an “irresponsible” way, its tally in the Lok Sabha will come down to four, he further claimed. Taking a dig at Gandhi, BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said he was practising shoot and scoot, and spit and run tactics to stay relevant in the media. “If Rahul Gandhi wants to become another Arvind Kejriwal of Indian politics, then who are we to stop him,” he said. If he is so keen to speak in Parliament, then why members of Congress and other Opposition parties are disrupting it, he asked. Dismissing Gandhi’s allegation that the prime minister was scared, Kohli said the nation and world have come to see how “bold and fearless” Modi was.

Demonetisation, cashless economy: Covering up the fiasco with a new trick means more trouble

Making a virtue of one’s mistake to escape embarrassment is an old childish trick, but if a central government indulges in it, it does say something about the character of the country.

What began as a sure-fire “surgical strike” on black money has mysteriously metamorphosed into a campaign for digital economy and cashless life. Despite the unprecedented man-made financial and economic disaster, which has no parallel in the world, imposed on the country’s poor and the middle class, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s midnight adventure purged no black money. Almost all the black money estimated to be in circulation has found its way into the banks and by the time the 50-day deadline ends, what might have been cleansed would, be at best, a pittance.

By then, the country would have had to endure all this costly madness — Rs 12,000 crore plus for printing new notes, unestimated transaction costs, about Rs 1.28 lakh crore of immediate loss to the economy and irreversible damage to various sectors and the lives of people — for practically nothing. A pilot study in wishful thinking when the premise itself had been rejected by skilled and experienced technocrats.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

That’s when the same eccentric idea gets dressed up as cashless economy and digital payments. By covering up the monumental fiasco with a new trick will lead India to more trouble, because the fundamental problem with the premise is, as Rahul Gandhi said, all cash is not black money and all black money is not in cash. The nationwide experiment of demonetisation so far has proved it beyond any reasonable doubt, and there’s no point in giving it a new spin.

If all cash is not black and all black money is not held in cash, how does petty cashless transactions prevent black money? In the best case scenario, it it will create enormous physical hardship for people and a lot of money for companies that make POS instruments and mobile and online payment firms. Does the nation or the people gain at all if people do their daily shopping using bank transfers and cards? Is it where most of the black money gets generated in India? If it’s about tax evasion by small-time vendors, wouldn’t the new GST-IT infrastructure handle it?

The government hasn’t made a cogent argument for such a move at all. All that it’s trying is to do is to cover up its failure and lack of cash because it thought of printing replacement currency only after killing 86 percent of it. After demonetisation, it’s another blunder that the government is getting into because more than 80 percent of the people are cash-dependent. It cannot be changed through a decision provoked by a distress.

It’s alright if the government had a policy on cashless/digital economy and is now rolling out a constitutionally valid process. If there was any such plan, it should have been discussed in Parliament, because some studies do suggest considerable cost in handling cash, ideally made into an Act, and implemented after framing the rules and putting an appropriate ecosystem in place. This is not a ship that can be built while sailing it.

Playing with most of the economic transactions in India without a master-plan and appropriate pilot studies before implementation is fraught with risks that might be more unforeseen than had been evident during demonetisation. Any simplistic move to address it will be like those Chinese grand idiocies (the sparrow story, the blood-plasma transfusion in Henan and Chairman Mao’s giant leap) or the social engineering experiences of Hitler (eugenics) and Sanjay Gandhi (family planning).

If the issue is really black money and if the intent is genuine, the way to go about is to implement the recommendations of the SIT on black money. In its fifth report, it does talk about curb on cash transactions, not at the grocery stores or petty shops, but at places where the money involved is big. It wanted the government to put a cap on cash transactions at Rs 300,000.

And guess what, the SIT wants it to be done through an Act. And that’s how it should be — not through knee jerk decisions or late night announcements. Did the government do anything on that? The SIT also said that government should make cash holding illegal beyond Rs 15 lakhs.

In fact, based on the experience of Indian ingenuity that was visible during the demonetisation, the government should raise the bar of stringency. Probably bring the Rs 300,000 limit to Rs 50,000 or even less. If only one percent of Americans use big dollar bills, the chances of the poor and middle class getting affected by such a cap in India must be negligible. This is the biggest transformative step the government could take, the real drive for cashless economy. An auto-driver or a beggar swiping cards is good only for WhatsApp.

Among other recommendations, the SIT wanted action on the generation of black money in education, charities and religious institutions and misuse of exemption from capitals gains tax. And probably most important of them all, it wanted transparency in participatory notes (P-notes), which are misused for whitening black money through round-tripping. Reportedly, the total value of P-note investments in India is 2.75 lakh crores with nearly a third of it coming from a tiny Cayman islands with 55,000 population. The Modi government is right — bulk of it came during the UPA regime. If you want to hit at the UPA, do it through policy.

Knowingly putting the cart before the horse defies logic, particularly for a G20 country. When there is a set of proposals from a committee of experts reporting to the Supreme Court suggest steps, why does the government drag its feet if it’s really serious about black money and black economy?

And it doesn’t hurt to admit that demonetisation was a mistake although the intent was genuine. It would make more sense if the failure is presented as a learning experience (unarguably the biggest monetary pilot in the world) on the entire range of issues related to the use of money that can help frame future policies, than being dressed up as a precursor to another pointless exercise.

It’s time to count one’s losses and move on.

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 17:01 IST

Rahul Gandhi, Congress Twitter hacking: Delhi police seeks info from 5 nations

New Delhi: The Delhi police have sought information from five countries to help them trace the group which hacked into the Twitter accounts of the Congress party and its vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

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

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

The hacking group ‘Legion’, which claimed responsibility for the act, is still a mystery for internet service providers. The Delhi police is probing the case after it received a complaint from Congress members.

Accounts of two journalists — Barkha Dutt and Ravish Mishra, both from the NDTV group — were also hacked, but their complaint was yet to be received by the cyber cell.

During its preliminary enquiry, the police could trace IP addresses from five countries — Sweden, Romania, the US, Canada and Thailand — in the hacking job. Investigators want to know if the hackers used the servers in these countries from somewhere else, or if they were physically present there while breaking into the microblogging sites.

“We have got the IP logs from Twitter. The details of IP logs were sent to the internet service providers in five countries after a thorough examination. We are yet to get the details of hacker’s account and address,” deputy commissioner of police (cyber cell) Anyesh Roy told IANS.

Asked if the act was done by Legion, Roy said the group “is itself taking responsibility for hacking these microblogging sites but we don’t as yet have any information about the real hackers. The case is under investigation”. He said the police was also taking help of Twitter officials in Bengaluru to identify those responsible.

The cyber cell is probing the case after two FIRs under Section 66(c) of the Information Technology Act were filed. Randeep Singh Surjewala, a senior Congress leader, had filed a complaint with the Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi police on 1 December after the two accounts were hacked and a string of abusive messages posted on their Twitter handles.

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 15:56 IST

Read my lips…have proof that PM Modi is corrupt, will expose him: Rahul Gandhi

For live updates follow the Parliament live blog here.

After accusing the government of not allowing him to speak in Parliament on demonetisation, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said he wanted to speak on a lot of issues and it was to be seen if the government allows it. In a joint media briefing of the Opposition parties on Wednesday, Rahul said that he had some “personal information” about the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi‘s involvement in a scam.

File photo of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

File photo of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

Addressing the media, Rahul Gandhi said, “Modi is very scared because I have personal information on the prime minister. We have told the Speaker that please let us speak in Parliament and it is our political right to speak in Parliament but this government is opposing. Members of ruling government is up in arms and they are not letting the Opposition speak.”

The Congress leader had said that when he gets a chance to speak about demonetisation in the House, “the Prime Minister will not be able to even sit there…Demonetisation is the biggest scam in the history of India… I want to speak in Lok Sabha. I will tell everything there.”

Gandhi also said, “If he lets me speak then his balloon will burst…Since the last one month, the entire Opposition is discussing in the Lok Sabha and wants to discuss with the prime minister but they don’t want to.”

“I have come here to speak. Let’s see if the government allows me to speak,” Gandhi told reporters outside the Parliament earlier on Wednesday.

Gandhi said the entire Opposition wants a debate in Parliament and have discussed with the Speaker to allow it while dispensing all rules.

“Pretty much unconditionally we are ready to have a discussion, but the government is not interested in having a discussion. I have already said it before, the prime minister is personally terrified of me being allowed to open my mouth inside the Lok Sabha,” he said.

He claimed Modi has taken a decision against the poor people of this country and has “destroyed” millions of lives and thus is answerable. He said he has personally taken this decision and he cannot keep running away from the House. Gandhi said the prime minister cannot keep “running away” to pop concerts to public meetings. This is a democracy, he owes this country an explanation and he owes the entire Opposition a space in the discussion in the Lok Sabha, he said.

“The prime minister is worried. He goes to pop concerts and public meetings. Why does he not come to the House. For the first time in history, the treasury benches and the government is stalling Parliament. Normally, the Opposition stalls the House. The prime minister should stop taking alibis and he should come to the House and give all of us an opportunity to speak. Then the country should take a decision on whether the Opposition or the prime minister is speaking the truth,” he said.

TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay, who was accompanied by Gandhi, said the entire Parliamentary system is facing a “threat” as government is not allowing the House to function smoothly and allow the Opposition to speak.

“We cannot understand why so much arrogance on the part of the government. The voice of the Opposition is going to be gagged. Parliamentary democratic system is now under threat only to resist that Rahul will not be allowed to speak,” he said.

He said the government is spreading rumours that after Rahul speaks, the Opposition will not allow the House to function. “It is totally incorrect,” he said. Bandyopadhyay charged the government is not allowing the Opposition to speak in Lok Sabha and this was “unfortunate and disgraceful”.

P Karunakaran (CPM) said all 16 parties came together on the issue of demonetisation and wanted a discussion on the issue, but the government is now allowing this.

“Government is not willing to answer questions. The prime minister is accountable to Parliament but has not come to the Lok Sabha. It is very clear that they are not ready to answer the questions raised. The prime minister is running away from Parliament which means he is running away from people,” he said.

NCP leader Tariq Anwer said this is the first time that such an atmosphere has been created where the Opposition is not allowed to speak. “It is a conspiracy by the government. The entire Opposition is united. What is the government fearing from. We are all united. Let us be allowed to speak,” he said.

Rahul was accompanied by a few other party leaders besides his own leaders in Lok Sabha, including Mallikarjun Kharge and Jyotiraditya Scindia.

Earlier leaders of 16 Opposition parties on Wednesday met in the chamber of Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad’s and decided to launch a united offensive against the government on demonetisation. They also decided to launch a united offensive against Union Minister Kiren Rijiju, who is under opposition fire over his alleged role in the “Arunachal power scam”.

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar rejected Gandhi’s allegation as “false and baseless” and “very unfortunate”. “The allegation was made out of desperation and he (Gandhi) should apologise to the nation,” he told reporters. He added that from Day One, the BJP has been ready for a debate, but it is the Opposition that has not allowed the House to function.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju tweeted that Modi is very scared of Rahul’s ‘oratory skill’.

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that they are ready for a debate or any revelation.

Gandhi had on Friday last said his party wants debate on demonetisation so that the truth can come to the fore, but the government is running away from it.

The Winter Session of Parliament resumed on Wednesday after a four-day hiatus. It has seen little transaction of any substantial business due to ruckus over demonetisation and other issues.

With inputs PTI

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 14:36 IST

Have proof that PM Modi is corrupt, will expose him, says Rahul Gandhi

For live updates follow the Parliament live blog here.

After accusing the government of not allowing him to speak in Parliament on demonetisation, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said he wanted to speak on a lot of issues and it was to be seen if the government allows it. In a joint media briefing of the Opposition parties on Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi said that he had some “personal information” about the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi‘s involvement in a scam.

File photo of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

File photo of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

Addressing the media, Rahul Gandhi said, “Prime minister Narendra Modi is very scared because I have personal information on the prime minister. We have told the Speaker that please let us speak in the Parliament and it is our political right to speak in Parliament but this government is opposing. Members of ruling government is up in arms and they are not letting the Opposition speak.” The Congress leader had said that when he gets a chance to speak about demonetisation in the House, “the Prime Minister will not be able to even sit there…Demonetisation is the biggest scam in the history of India… I want to speak in Lok Sabha. I will tell everything there.”

Gandhi also said, “If he lets me speak then his balloon will burst…Since the last one month, the entire Opposition is discussing in the Lok Sabha and wants to discuss with the prime minister but they don’t want to.”

“I have come here to speak. Let’s see if the government allows me to speak,” Gandhi told reporters outside the Parliament earlier on Wednesday.

Gandhi had on Friday last said his party wants debate on demonetisation so that the truth can come to the fore, but the government is running away from it.

The Winter Session of Parliament resumed on Wednesday after a four-day hiatus. It has seen little transaction of any substantial business due to ruckus over demonetisation and other issues.

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 12:57 IST

Rajnath Singh must forget his Pakistan obsession and let the Indian Army do its job

My heart sank as I read Home Minister Rajnath Singh‘s speech on Sunday at a Martyrs’ Day event in Kathua, South Jammu. My despair was caused not only by what he said but also by the very fact that he found it necessary to say it.

He said, among other things, that Pakistan is trying to divide India on religious lines and warned the neighbouring country that if it doesn’t stop supporting terrorism, it may get divided into “10 parts”.

Then a pearl of wisdom rolled from the esteemed tongue of Congress scion Rahul Gandhi, the world-renowned pacifist who is forever ready to place his own life on the altar of India’s unity. He said:

What Gandhi said was so wonderfully sagacious that it must have made the Pakistanis roll on their drawing room floors in sheer ecstasy. The joy of Pakistanis, in turn, would make India’s Left bauddhiks or intellectuals, whose superior wisdom stretches their mental horizons far beyond country boundaries and nationalism, grin with contentment.

Home minister Rajnath Singh must realise that talking too much about Pakistan can be seen as a pathological obsession. PTIHome minister Rajnath Singh must realise that talking too much about Pakistan can be seen as a pathological obsession. PTI

Home minister Rajnath Singh must realise that talking too much about Pakistan can be seen as a pathological obsession. PTI

It would seem that each time a BJP leader puts one foot in his mouth, Gandhi shoves both his feet in his mouth faster than you can imagine. But the picture of one foot-in-mouth isn’t any prettier than that of two.

That Pakistan is trying to divide India is a fact too well-known to be worthy of repetition, especially by a member of the government as highly placed as Singh.

We all know that the very purpose of Pakistan exporting terror to India – with the same ease as it exports cement, leather, almonds and such things to our country – is not to have some gory fun or to enjoy a real life snakes-and-ladders game, but to disrupt and divide India.

Singh didn’t say it, but we are aware that Pakistan’s ISI has been printing fake Indian currency with great efficiency; stuffing it into the pockets of jehadi thugs who then send it across the border.

Now about Pakistan getting divided into “10 parts”. Whether Pakistan gets truncated into two and a half parts or ten pieces or makes mincemeat of itself, it would seem that it’s none of our damned business. Let Pakistan worry about its problems, and we should worry about ours. And, we have many.

Apart from this, Singh also said:

– that despite repeated failures, India continued to seek peace with Pakistan;

– that even after the Kargil war, Atal Bihari Vajpayee offered friendship to Pakistan;

– that Prime Minister Narendra Modi went out of his way to keep Pakistan in good humour;

– that in return, Pakistan gave India Gurdaspur, Pathankot and Uri;

– that more Islamic sects existed in India than in Pakistan;

– that the jehadis didn’t get as much support in India as they had hoped, because Indian Muslims are loyal to India;

– and that Pakistan is our neighbour and, though one can change friends, one can’t change neighbours.

All these are facts with a ring of finality that brook no repetition. Think of a man running out on the street every morning, screaming that the sky is blue and that the sun rises in the east. He only runs the risk of being considered off his rocker.

Parrot-like repetitions can be somewhat pardonable if they come from lowly officials or party satraps. True statesmen know the worth of silence, aware that a stern look can often be more catastrophic than a shout.

Ask the Chinese. Rarely, if ever, senior Chinese leaders, leave alone President Xi Jinping or Premier Li Keqiang, shoot off with their mouths. They leave that job to spokesmen of their foreign ministry or editorial-writers of China Daily or an academic in a province like Guangdong.

Singh must realise that talking too much about Pakistan can be seen as a certain pathological obsession with that country; an obsession that we accuse Pakistan of having with India.

An obsession with Pakistan, which is one-fourth of India in area, one-sixth in population and which, as the world has certified it, is a rogue nation and a terror-factory means stooping to the depths of an abyss. India has better things to do.

And as for Pakistan’s adventures from across the border, the Indian Army knows what to do. Can we please let the army do its job?

Modi’s polite admonition in October to his party leaders against chest-thumping and speaking out of turn about the surgical strikes has not doused the enthusiasm of many in the BJP – be it Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar or Information & Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu – to talk, talk and talk.

Pardon me for not being able to resist the temptation of recalling a little dialogue between The Lady (Queen Elizabeth) and The Man (Shakespeare) in George Bernard Shaw’s comedy The Dark Lady of the Sonnets:

“The Lady: You talk too much, sir. Let me warn you: I’m more accustomed to be listened to than preached at.

The Man: The most are like that that do talk well. But though you spake with the tongues of angels, as indeed you do, yet know that I am the king of words –

The Lady: A king, ha!”

It seems that the BJP has too many ‘kings of words’, and the party can do without them.

Author tweets @sprasadindia

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 18:48 IST

Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Modi dividing India along religious lines’ remark will ‘encourage’ Pak: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The BJP took exception to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s remarks that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh are dividing the country on religious lines, saying he is suffering from “attention seeking disorder”. The Congress vice president had earlier in the day taken a dig at Singh and remarked that while he agrees that Pakistan is trying to divide India along religious lines, the Home Minister and his “boss” (PM Modi) have also been doing the same.”Rahul is suffering from attention seeking disorder. It is a shameful statement. He does it for a good TRP,” BJP secretary Srikant Sharma said here. He said while the entire country and the world community are united against Pakistan on the issue of terrorism, Gandhi’s remarks only encourage those seated in power in Islamabad. “No other party than Congress knows it better how to divide the country on religious lines. The 1984 anti-Sikh riots are the biggest example … then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said minorities have the first right on resources.

Journalists Barkha Dutt, Ravish Kumar’s Twitter accounts hacked by Legion

After senior journalist Barkha Dutt’s Twitter account was hacked on Saturday by a group calling itself Legion — the same group that hacked Vijay Mallya’s and Rahul Gandhi’s accounts — hours later, the same group hacked her colleague Ravish Kumar’s account.


ravish 2ravish 2

“We use Twitter as a means to reach the public. We don’t just hack Twitter accounts, go through the data and find out,” the group posted a tweet signing “Legion”.

“Coming up next – @LalitKModi leaks. Stay tuned,” they posted in a subsequent tweet.

The tweets have since been deleted and Ravish’s Twitter account has been restored, posted @Nayisadak, which is another Twitter handle operated by Ravish, on behalf of his website.

According to The Indian Express, the hackers had tweeted out Barkha Dutt’s email address and password, while posting “long live the legion”. The tweets were derogatory in nature and were deleted at once.

NDTV, on its website, posted a statement on its employees’ accounts being hacked. “Email, Twitter accounts of senior NDTV journalists have been hacked. Attempts are being made to use emails out of context. We are asking relevant authorities, including courts, to take strong action,” it said.

Legion had earlier hacked Vijay Mallya‘s Twitter account, posting a series of tweets claiming details of Mallya’s assets at several banks and passwords of accounts. The group had also hacked Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi’s account, claiming that he has the brains of a 5-year-old.

First Published On : Dec 11, 2016 10:06 IST

No one preventing PM from speaking, Congress accuses Modi of misleading people

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “misleading” people on demonetization, Congress on Saturday said no one is preventing him from speaking and the opposition is only demanding the PM’s presence in Parliament to debate this critical issue.Attacking the Prime Minister for his remarks that he has not been allowed to speak in Lok Sabha, senior spokesperson of Congress Anand Sharma alleged that Modi was “habitual of peddling untruths” and also asked as to why he did not wait to announce the demonetization decision in Parliament when the House had been summoned by the President.”Prime Minister is habitual of peddling untruths. Nobody has prevented the Prime Minister from speaking. He should not mislead the people. Only thing the Opposition has asked is that he should listen to us, participate and answer our questions because it is he who made this announcement. He could have waited for Parliament to begin on December 16 to make this (demonetization) announcement as the Parliament stood summoned by the President,” Sharma said on Saturday reacting to Modi’s remarks that he was not being allowed to speak on demonetization.
ALSO READ PM Modi’s responsibility to run Parliament, but he ran away: CongressThe Congress said not even once had the PM made any statement on demonetization inside Parliament. “We are demanding that if he makes a statement and everybody listens, then he should be prepared to respond to our questions also. We cannot allow this that he makes the statements outside, he has actually unleashed financial anarchy,” Sharma said.There is a deadlock in Parliament with government and the opposition sticking to their demands. “Opposition is not allowing me to speak in Lok Sabha, so, I have decided to speak in ‘jan sabha’ (people’s assembly). But, whenever I would get a chance, I will try to represent the voice of 125 crore people in Lok Sabha,” Modi said on Saturday at a rally in Gujarat, in a retort to the opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi accusing him of running away from speaking on demonetization in Parliament.
ALSO READ Parliament logjam | ‘Jan Sabha’ better platform for me than Lok Sabha: PM ModiThe Winter Session of Parliament that started on November 16 has been rocked by opposition protest over demonetization and has so far been a virtual washout, with both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha not doing any significant business.

People tired of Modi’s monologues, urge him to face Parliament: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday to face Parliament and answer the questions raised by MPs, saying people are tired of his “monologues”. Gandhi’s attack came soon after Modi slammed the opposition for not allowing him to speak in the Lok Sabha forcing him to speak out in ‘jan sabha’ (public rallies). “Modiji, people are tired of monologues. I urge you to honestly face the Parliament and answer our questions,” Gandhi tweeted.Modi, while speaking at a public rally in Deesa in Gujarat, targeted the opposition for disrupting Parliament over demonetization, noting that even the President was unhappy with their conduct. “Opposition is not allowing me to speak in Lok Sabha, so, I have decided to speak in ‘jan sabha’. But, whenever I would get a chance, I will try to represent the voice of 125 crore people in Lok Sabha,” Modi said at a rally, in a retort to the opposition leaders accusing him of running away from speaking on demonetization in Parliament.The PM said those criticising him and highlighting people’s problems should also inform masses that they do not need to stand in queue and can use mobile banking. “You must be aware that the Opposition is not allowing the Parliament to function. I am surprised that despite government’s assurance that the PM is ready to speak on the issue (of demonetization), the situation has not improved. Even the President is unhappy about it (disruptions in Parliament),” he said.Modi also said that the government is ready for a debate on the issue if the Opposition is willing.

National Herald case: Court order on Dec 26 on summoning Cong documents

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Patiala House Court on Friday reserved its order in the National Herald case after BJP leader Subramanian Swamy filed an application, seeking documents and ledger books from the Congress party and the Associated Journals Limited (AJL). The court is likely to pronounce an order on December 26.Swamy in his petition alleged that Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi got hold of Associated Journals through “dishonest means” which pertains to “criminal misappropriation and criminal breach of trust.” However the defence counsel, appearing for Gandhi, said Swami filed a complaint in July 2013 which has no reference regarding the loan borrowed from the Congress.They said neither Swamy made the Congress an accused nor he alleged that no office bearers were authorised to lend the loan.The counsel argued that the details of loan were never mentioned in the returns and the documents Swami asked are not necessary for this case. However, Swamy refuted the claim saying that his case has merit. “They have been saying that I don’t have a case, how can that be when the court has issued summons for them. So they are buying time and delaying, but they will not escape it,” Swamy said.Swamy further alleged that he revealed a correspondence between Sardar Vallabha Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru where the former alleged that Nehru had indulged in corrupt practices by collecting money for National Herald by giving away government contracts to undesirable parties. “The National Herald is being used by the Nehru family to collect funds and aggrandise them. I wanted to know whether Sonia and Rahul Gandhi got hold of Associated journals limited by honest means or dishonest means, My allegations is that they acquired through dishonest means which is criminal misappropriation and criminal breach of trust,” he said.Swamy had filed an application in 2012 accusing Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others associated with Congress of conspiring to cheat in a land deal.In his complaint, Swamy had alleged that the Congress granted an interest-free loan of Rs 90.25 crore to the AJL, owner of the National Herald newspaper, established by Jawaharlal Nehru, which was either not repaid or repaid in case. This is in violation of Section 269T of the Income Tax Act, 1961.In August, the court issued notices to Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and five others on Swamy’s application seeking presentation of certain documents from Associated Journals Pvt. Ltd (AJL) and Indian National Congress (INC) in connection with the National Herald case.

PM Modi wishes Sonia Gandhi on her birthday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday greeted Congress president Sonia Gandhi on her birthday.”Birthday wishes to Smt Sonia Gandhi. May Almighty bless her with a long life filled with good health,” he said in a tweet.However, the Prime Minister’s cheerful message comes despite the massive onslaught by the Congress, especially party vice president Rahul Gandhi, on the Centre over demonetisation.Yesterday, Rahul compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Roman emperor and then accused him of banning high-value notes to benefit a few people like e-wallet company Paytm. “The idea behind a cashless economy+ is that a few people must get maximum benefits from these (cashless) transactions, this has damaged the nation,” the Congress vice president said at an opposition protest against the currency ban on the Parliament’s premises.”If they let me speak in the Lok Sabha I will expose this nexus. How PayTM is actually ‘Pay to Modi’ “, Rahul said accusing the Prime Minister of having a nexus with corporates.

Demonetisation ‘biggest scam’ of Narendra Modi government, claims Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused the government of not allowing him to speak in Parliament on demonetisation, which he dubbed as the “biggest scam”, and said he would reveal in the House what was behind the move to scrap high denomination notes.

Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, Gandhi said that his party wants debate on demonetisation so that the truth can come to the fore, but the government is running away from it.

The Congress Vice President said that when he gets a chance to speak about demonetisation in the House, “the Prime Minister will not be able to even sit there”.

File photo of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

File photo of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

“The Prime Minister is giving speeches across the country but is afraid of coming to the Lok Sabha and is not willing to sit there,” Gandhi said and asked what could be the reason for this “nervousness”.

“Demonetisation is the biggest scam in the history of India. I want to speak in Lok Sabha. I will tell everything there,” Gandhi said and accused the government of not allowing him to speak in the House on the issue.Demonetisation ‘biggest scam’ of Narendra Modi government, claims Rahul Gandhi

The Congress leader was speaking after his party said in Lok Sabha that it was ready to debate the issue but the government demanded that it should first apologise to the people of the country for stalling Parliament proceedings for 16 days, leading to uproar and adjournment of the House.

Gandhi said initially the Government spoke about black-money, then moved to counterfeit currency and then again to a cashless society campaign.

He said, “I want to tell about the the biggest scam committed by Narendra Modi single handedly” and present the “voice of people, specially poor, who have suffered due to this move”.

He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should come to the House so that it can be discussed “what demonetization is, who has benefited from this decision is and what it means for whom”.

He added that the government had initially proposed debate on demonetisation to which his party agreed but then the government backtracked.

“If they allow me to speak in Parliament, you will see an earthquake will happen,” Gandhi told reporters.

First Published On : Dec 9, 2016 14:00 IST

Vijay Mallya’s Twitter account hacked: Group called ‘Legion’ claims responsibility

On Friday, troubled business tycoon Vijay Mallya‘s Twitter account was hacked by a group which identified itself as ‘Legion’. This is believed to be the same group that also hacked Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and the party’s accounts earlier this month.

“Hello We are back with – Vijay Mallya‘s assets at several banks All known passwords of Mr. Mallya”, said the hacker.

Mallya appeared to laugh off the move as he tweeted:

The hackers posted a series of tweets claiming details of Mallya’s assets at several banks and passwords of accounts:

The group also uploaded a file dump containing an assortment of documents — including a scanned image of his passport and transcripts of conversations — and provided the link in one of the tweets:

At the time of writing, the authenticity of the contents of the file dump has yet to be verified by Mallya or anyone connected with the business tycoon.

Calling for public support, ‘Legion’ claimed that it will bring more information of criminals out in public in order to bring them to justice. Calling Mallya a “fraudster” and a “conman”, the hacker also claimed that more information on Mallya’s bank accounts and foreign assets will be published as the investigation is completed in some other matters.


It is not clear how the hackers gained control of Mallya’s accounts, but the flow of tweets from his account shows no sign of abating. Here’s a sample of the latest tweets:

The group did however point out repeatedly that the motive behind putting Mallya’s dirty laundry on public display was not blackmail.

Mallya owes close to Rs 9,000 crore to lenders like SBI, PNB, IDBI bank, BoB, Allahabad Bank, Federal Bank, Axis Bank etc. He currently lives in Britain.

First Published On : Dec 9, 2016 11:43 IST

Demonetization: Congress likens PM Modi to Roman Emperor Nero

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the wake of demonetization that has put the nation through “great hardships”, Congress on likened Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Roman Emperor Nero who fiddled while Rome burned.”There is a saying, Nero fiddled while Rome burned. As the story goes, in the time of a crisis, the Roman Emperor was busy playing the violin. He was both whimsical and ineffectual when Rome needed him the most. “It has been a month since that fateful day when Modi decided that 86 per cent of the cash in the economy was illegal. Since then, the entire nation has been put through great hardships, whose cost in terms of human lives has been significant”, the main opposition party said.In a commentary on the party website on a day marking one month to the demonetization announcement, the AICC noted that people were told that the Government was prepared to face the situation. “We were told that we would have to bear with the Government for only a few days. But, as the extent of the pain across the nation became apparent, Modi began to change the rules around demonetization. It has been a month and there is still not enough money in the banks. Rules have been changed more than 120 times”, it said.The party suggested that in this backdrop Rahul Gandhi said, “This is not a bold decision, it is a foolish decision which has been taken without any due consideration. It has devastated the poor, farmers and daily wage workers. We want to have a discussion (in Parliament). We want a vote (in Parliament). The government doesn’t.”Highlighting how the Prime Minister has been constantly changing the goal posts, the Congress Vice President said, “PM started off by saying, I am against black money. After black money he went to terrorists. Then he moved to counterfeit money and then to cashless economy. So he is running and we will catch him inside the House. He won’t be able to run inside the house.”

Demonetization: Must ensure #IndiaDefeatsBlackMoney, short-term pain will pave way for long-term gains: PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid ongoing protests from the Opposition parties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that the government’s decision of demonetization had several gains and that people must ensure that India defeats black money.”The Government’s decision has several gains for farmers, traders, labourers, who are the economic backbone of our nation. I always said that the government’s measure will bring a degree of inconvenience but this short term pain will pave way for long term gains,” said Modi in a series of tweets.Stating that no longer will the progress and prosperity of rural India be curtailed by corruption and black money, Modi added, “Our villages must get their due. We also have a historic opportunity to embrace increased cashless payments and integrate latest technology in economic transactions.”Calling youngsters the agent of change, Modi said, “My young friends, you are agents of change who will make India corruption free and ensure more cashless transactions.””Together, we must ensure #IndiaDefeatsBlackMoney. This will empower the poor, neo-middle class, middle class & benefit future generations,” he added.Earlier in the day, Opposition leaders observed a ‘Black Day’ in Parliament premises to mark one month of the announcement of demonetization with Rahul Gandhi launching a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying his “foolish decision” had “devastated” the country.Leading the protest, Gandhi accused Modi of shying away from having a discussion on the issue in Parliament, but stressed that opposition parties will “not let him run away” from both Houses, where “everything will become clear” once the Prime Minister takes part in the debate.”The Prime Minister took this so-called bold decision. The bold decision can also be a foolish decision. And this was a foolish decision, it has devastated the country. More than 100 people have died. Farmers, fishermen, daily wage earners have been hit hard,” Rahul said.

Rahul Gandhi: Demonetisation a foolish decision,has devastated the country

New Delhi: Opposition leaders on Thursday observed a ‘Black Day’ in Parliament premises to mark one month of the announcement of demonetisation, with Rahul Gandhi launching a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying his “foolish decision” has “devastated” the country.

Leading the protest, Gandhi accused Modi of shying away from having a discussion on the issue in Parliament, but stressed that opposition parties will “not let him run away” from both Houses, where “everything will become clear” once the Prime Minister takes part in debate.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Speaking to reporters in Parliament premises, he said the Prime Minister is “having nice time” and has over the past one month “changed his narrative” on the issue while people are reeling under hardships.

Besides Congress, leaders of all opposition parties including TMC, CPI(M), CPI, JD(U), Samajwadi Party joined the protest wearing black band on their arms.

“The Prime Minister took this so-called bold decision. The bold decision can also be a foolish decision. And this was a foolish decision, it has devastated the country. More than 100 people have died. Farmers, fishermen, daily wage earners have been hit hard.

“He (the Prime Minister) is laughing. He is having a nice time, while the people of the country are suffering,” Gandhi said.

“So, he is switching from one issue to another. And we are going to catch him inside the House. He is not going to be able to run inside the House,” he said.

Referring to the Prime Minister’s cashless economy talk, Gandhi said, “There is this concept of PayTM. Pay to Modi, that’s the idea behind cashless economy. That’s few people should get maximum benefit from cash transactions.”

Gandhi once again demanded a debate in Lok Sabha on demonetisation under a rule which entails voting and claimed some BJP MPs too will support the opposition’s demand.

“We know people in BJP will vote in our favour if such debate is allowed. If he (Modi) speaks inside…doodh ka doodh aur pani ka pani ho jayega (everything will become clear),” he said.

On his “Pay to Modi” jibe, Gandhi said he will explain on his allegation inside Lok Sabha if allowed to speak.

First Published On : Dec 8, 2016 13:52 IST

Probe in Congress twitter hacking case leads cops to 5 countries

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The probe in to the case of hacking of official twitter accounts of Indian National Congress (INC) and party’s Vice-President Rahul Gandhi has led Delhi Police’s Cyber Cell to Internet Protocal (IP) addresses in five different countries.The Delhi Police will now write to the server heads of these countries to identify the people behind these addresses.The accounts were being operated from the United States (US), Romania, Canada, Thailand and Sweden. Twitter confirmed that the two accounts were not accessed by the main server of INC media operation in Bangalore, on November 30, 2016 from 9.15pm-to 9.30pm, and on December 1, 2016, from 10.30am.The Delhi Police will now write to these five countries, asking for the details of the users. If the details provided prove to be unsatisfactory, the police will issue a Letter of Retreat (LR) to the competent courts in the five respective countries, seeking more details. The history details of the Congress server are yet to be obtained.Gandhi’s twitter account was hacked on November 30, the party’s official account was hacked the very next day. The accused then posted a series of derogatory tweets on the accounts.Meanwhile, sources said it would be very difficult to trace the exact location of the hackers as it is their common modus operandi to jump IP addresses and show their presence in different countries.

Jayalalithaa buried with full state honours; Mukherjee, Modi pay homage

Chennai: Lakhs of grieving men and women bid a tearful adieu to J Jayalalithaa, the charismatic chief minister who held sway over Tamil Nadu politics for more than three decades with a pro-poor image, as the AIADMK supremo was buried with full state honours on Tuesday.


Jayalalithaa was buried with full state honours on Tuesday. PTI

President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Union minister Venkaiah
Naidu, chief minister O Panneerselvam and his counterparts from several states, governor Vidyasagar Rao, DMK leader MK Stalin and superstar Rajnikanth were among the dignitaries who paid homage at Rajaji Hall where the body of 68-year-old Jayalalithaa lay in state since early morning.

Sasikala Natarajan, the close confidante of Jayalalithaa for over three decades, was beside the body throughout the day and later conducted the religious rituals before the sandalwood casket was lowered at a site close to MGR memorial on the shores of Marina beach. She was assisted by Jayalalithaa’s nephew Deepak in performing the last rites.

No sooner had the brief rituals concluded at around 6 pm, the casket carrying the mortal remains of the six-time chief minister was lowered after a gun salute amid emotional chants of ‘Amma Vazhga’ (Long Live Amma) by a sea of humanity which had converged at the burial site.

Various leaders including Naidu, Rao, Gandhi, leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Paneerselvam, speaker Dhanapal and former governor K Rosiah placed wreaths at the feet of the body that was draped in a silk saree in her favourite green colour, and a sandalwood garland placed around her neck.

Earlier, thousands of people hailing “Puratchi Thalaivi Amma” (Revolutionary Leader Amma) walked with the cortege that
was part of a military convoy in which her coffin was carried, wrapped in the national flag and covered with flowers. Amid heavy security cover, the funeral procession made steady progress to the destination, a distance of three kilometres from Rajaji Hall in the government estate, passing through Madras University and the burial site opposite the British-era iconic PWD building.

Big photographs of Jayalalithaa, an actor-turned-politician, were placed all around the coffin even as people showered the hearse with flowers, as Sasikala accompanied the body.

With the central government ordering a state funeral, personnel from the three armed forces paid their respects and gave a guard of honour before Sasikala conducted the last rites with the aid of a Brahmin priest.

The rituals include sprinkling of water, offering of rice, showering of flower petals and sandalwood pieces. Jayalalithaa, a spinster who never shied away from flaunting her religious identity and beliefs, was surprisingly buried and not cremated. She was laid to rest by the side of her mentor and actor-turned-politician MG Ramachandran, a former chief minister.

Lakhs of people had packed the area around Rajaji Hall where men and women wept in grief as they attempted to reach the body of their “amma” (mother).

The mortal remains of Jayalalithaa was earlier taken from her Poes Garden residence to Rajaji Hall, hours after she died at a private hospital late last night after battling for life for 75 days.

First Published On : Dec 6, 2016 23:09 IST

Chorus grows in AICC for Rahul Gandhi’s appointment as Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretaries have demanded that party vice-president Rahul Gandhi be appointed as the president at the earliest.According to sources, some of the secretaries are of the view that a few people having vested interest are procrastinating this decision. The Congress Working Committee (CWC) had earlier on November 7 unanimously supported a proposal in this regard.In 2014, when the Congress plummeted to a historic low, winning just 44 parliamentary seats, a shocked party put off the elevation of Gandhi for a more propitious occasion.But after two and a half years of the Narendra Modi government, a section of the party began to stress that the moment of renewal could not be deferred any longer.There have been repeated suggestions that Gandhi should take over reins of the party from his mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Jayalalithaa still on life support; Rajnath Singh says no law and order problem in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa is alive and on life support, Apollo Hospitals announced on Monday evening, after a few Tamil media channels reported her death that sparked a mass frenzy.

“Some television channels are wrongly reporting that the chief minister is no more. This is totally baseless and false,” a statement from the hospital said, denying reports that Jayalalithaa was no more.

The clarification came after a few TV channels began reporting the demise of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister that expectedly triggered a frenzy both outside the hospital and the AIADMK headquarters.

AIADMK members pray for the speedy recovery of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. PTIAIADMK members pray for the speedy recovery of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. PTI

AIADMK members pray for the speedy recovery of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. PTI

A group of emotionally charged AIADMK activists tried to barge into the hospital after breaking the barricades but were pushed back. Many others broke down, unable to check their emotions, loudly crying “Amma, Amma!”

Some people hurled water bottles at police.

At the AIADMK headquarters in Chennai, the party flag was brought down to half mast but was restored to its original position once the clarification from the hospital was issued.

Inside, hundreds of people wept on hearing the wrong media reports of her death. “How can you leave us?” cried one man, reported IANS.

However, later in the evening, the AIADMK said that Jayalalithaa is “responding” to the treatment, reported PTI. 

The AIIMS team… they have come and are treating (Jayalalithaa). She is responding to it,” a spokesperson from the ruling party said on Monday without elaborating.

Earlier, Apollo said: “Despite our best efforts, our beloved chief minister remains in a grave situation.”

Richard Beale from the London Bridge Hospital, who has been regularly consulted by doctors in Chennai, said the situation for Jayalalithaa was “extremely grave”.

“I can confirm that everything possible is being done to give her the best chance of surviving (the cardiac arrest),” he added.

By dusk, roads started wearing a deserted look, even as groups of anxious people huddled in discussions over the condition of 68-year-old AIADMK supremo. The usual weekday peak hour rush was also absent as many bus and suburban rail stations wore a near deserted look by 7 pm.

Crowds have been gathering outside the hospital from Sunday evening as a near total shutdown like situation prevailed in the city with shops and other establishments downing shutters and office goers returning home early. Security has been stepped up across the state where actor-turned-politician Jayalalithaa enjoys widespread support.

Earlier, AIADMK MLAs, apparently to pick a successor, trooped to the hospital, which has turned into a virtual fortress with hundreds of police personnel trying to keep at bay the thousands of Jayalalithaa supporters.

An AIADMK source told IANS that the MLAs were in a hall of the Apollo complex. There is speculation that the party is looking at Jayalalithaa’s successor.

Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, who has additional charge of Tamil Nadu, visited the hospital on Sunday night. But he did not issue any statement after his hospital visit.

Supporters also flashed posters and photographs of Jayalalithaa, who has wielded single-handed control over the AIADMK for decades.

Special prayers were offered in places of worships in Krishnagiri, Trichy, Tuticorin, Erode, Kanchipuram, Dharmapuri, Sivaganga and Coimbatore for the chief minister who was admitted to the hospital in September.

Apollo Hospitals had days ago said she was on the road to recovery and she could take a decision on going home.

As she became critical on Sunday, some parts of Chennai experienced shortages of milk as traders jacked up prices fearing a shutdown.

President Pranab Mukherjee joined the political class in wishing Jayalalithaa a “speedy recovery”.

DMK chief M Karunanidhi and his son and party leader MK Stalin also conveyed their best wishes for her recovery.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said: “I hope she gets better very soon,” said .

Mamata Banerjee, Devendra Fadnavis,  Vasundhara Raje also prayed for her recovery.

Though there were no major untoward incident, reports of stones being pelted at a state transport corporation bus came in from a locality in Chennai.  The city has come under a thick security cover with large number of police personnel being deployed at vital junctions.

Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday ruled out the possibility of law and order problems in Tamil Nadu. “There is no issue of law and order. Law and order is not a concern yet,” he told reporters.

A senior Home Ministry official said the central government was closely monitoring the situation in Tamil Nadu all efforts are being made to maintain law and order so that no untoward incident takes place. The Home Ministry officials are in constant touch with the officials of Tamil Nadu government and assessing the situation.

As many as 900 personnel of Rapid Action Force (RAF) of CRPF have been put on stand-by to be immediately airlifted from various places in the country to Tamil Nadu, if needed, they said.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Dec 5, 2016 21:51 IST

Jayalalithaa’s health: A timeline of events since hospitalisation over two months ago

Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa was on Monday said to be critical after she suffered a cardiac arrest in the hospital where she was admitted over two months ago. Apollo Hospitals, in a tweet late on Sunday night, said doctors were closely monitoring Jayalalithaa’s condition and trying their “very best”.

Joint Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals, Sangita Reddy has said that the AIADMK chief was on extracorporeal membrane heart assist device and being treated by a team of expert doctors and critical care specialists. Dr Subbaiah Viswanathan had indicated that the  team of experts included cardiologists, pulmonologist and critical care specialists.”

File photo of Jayalalithaa. AFP

File photo of Jayalalithaa. AFP

A large number of AIADMK cadres, including women, anxiously stayed put outside the hospital, which has been covered in a thick blanket of security. Worried party supporters continued to pray for her recovery.

While an IANS report claimed that normal life was not affected in Tamil Nadu, security has been beefed up across the state with the Tamil Nadu DGP ordering all police officers and personnel to report for duty by 7 am for deployment.

Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan, who arrived at the airport in Chennai on Monday morning, said all BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, wished for a complete recovery of Jayalalithaa and they were praying for her. He expressed confidence that Jayalalithaa will soon recover and resume official duties.

Here is a timeline of events that have taken place ever since Jayalalithaa was admitted in the Apollo hospital in September.

22 September

Jayalalithaa was admitted to Apollo Hospital for fever and dehydration. The hospital then shortly issued a statement saying she was under observation and that she had “no fever now” and was subsisting on a “normal diet.”

24 September

AIADMK party members dismissed reports that Jayalalithaa will be flown to Singapore for further treatment. On reports in a section of media, including on social media, that Jayalalithaa will be flown to Singapore for further treatment, party Spokesperson CR Saraswathi said, “It is false information. She is not going anywhere…someone is spreading wrong news. She will soon return home.” Apollo Hospitals said that Jayalalithaa would be discharged from the hospital in a few days and would resume normal official duties soon.

Meanwhile, actor Rajinikanth, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, DMK leaders M Karunanidhi and MK Stalin and Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Puducherry, Siddaramaiah and V Narayanasamy respectively, were among those who had wished her speedy recovery.

30 September

Meanwhile, DMK chief M Karunanidhi wished Jayalalithaa a speedy recovery, but urged the government to “put an end to the rumours.” He suggested that photographs of the Chief Minister may be released through the media to quell any kind of rumours being circulated about her health. Quoting from a section of the media, he said when AIADMK founder and former chief minister late MG Ramachandran was hospitalised in 1984, regular briefings on his status were made by then health minister HV Hande.

The DMK requested Governor Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao to take “due steps” in dispelling rumours even as the police filed a case against an “unknown person” for allegedly circulating rumours about the AIADMK supremo’s condition. The case was filed under various sections of the IPC, including those dealing with “public mischief” and “promoting enmity between classes.”

1 October

AIADMK members continued to assert that Jayalalithaa was healthy, even as a doctor from the UK, Dr Richard John Beal, an experienced investigator in the fields of sepsis, ARDS, haemodynamics, critical care nutrition and ICU informatics, was reportedly flown in to examine her. Party members even said that had announced the candidates for the upcoming civic polls while in the hospital.

A senior leader and spokesperson ‘Panruty’ S Ramachandran, also insisted that Jayalalithaa would “return home soon”.On DMK chief M Karunanidhi seeking an explanation over Jayalalithaa’s health, Ramachandran said “he has no right” to demand so.

2 October

AIADMK dismissed demands to release photographs of hospitalised party supremo and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to quell rumours about her health, saying the hospital was regularly releasing bulletins about her condition. “Even if we do so, he will say it has been photo shopped. He is making such comments just to criticise us,” said CR Saraswathi. While Apollo Hospitals initially said Jayalalithaa was cured of fever, it then said she was being treated for infection and put her on respiratory support.

4 October

The Apollo hospital said in a press release, Jayalalithaa’s health condition “continues to improve” and the same line of treatment, including antibiotics and other clinical measures, is being continued. Chief Operating Officer of Apollo hospitals Subbiah Viswanathan said in a press release that “the same line of treatment is being continued. The honourable CM is under close observation by the team of doctors”. Meanwhile, the Madras High Court directed Tamil Nadu’s Additional Advocate General to get instructions from the government on her health, after social activist Traffic Ramaswamy filed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking the real status of Jayalalithaa’s health. The court also observed that people were anxious to know about the Chief Minister’s health.

6 October

Reports claimed that a three-member doctors team from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) consisting of pulmonologist GC Khilnani, cardiologist Nitish Naik and anaesthetist Anjan Trikha were to examine Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in the hospital.

According to Apollo Hospitals, the treatment plan followed was based on detailed discussions with Beale. The treatment plan included appropriate antibiotics, respiratory support and other allied clinical measures presently being continued to treat the infection. In the meanwhile, the Madras High Court dismissed the PIL filed by activist Traffic Ramaswamy, as the one filed for seeking publicity.

7 October

Rahul Gandhi visited Apollo Hospital, becoming the first national leader to visit Jayalalithaa. BJP MP Subramanian Swamy urged Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to impose President’s Rule in the state following her prolonged hospitalisation.

8 October

In a statement issued in Chennai, Apollo Hospitals said the chief minister is under constant monitoring by intensivists and consultants in the panel, announcing that she was being treated for lung decongestion, and that all other comprehensive measures including nutrition, supportive therapy and passive physiotherapy were underway.

AIADMK continued to maintain its stand that there is no legal necessity for a substitute chief minister. DMK leader MK Stalin was not able to meet the CM on his visit to the hospital, but the doctors and state ministers like Finance Minister O Panneerselvam and others briefed him about her health.

9 October

Main Opposition party DMK demanded either a “Chief Minister incharge or a new Chief Minister,” to streamline governance. However, the demand failed to find support even from the key ally of DMK, the Congress.

10 October

According to a report by The Financial Express, AIADMK launched a Twitter campaign titled ‘My CM is fine’ to counter spreading of rumours regarding Jayalalithaa’s health.

11 October

Police registered 43 cases and arrested two persons in connection with posting of “malicious and false content” on social media about Jayalalithaa’s health, undergoing treatment at a hospital. Special teams, constituted to investigate such cases, were working to identify those who had posted the content on social media, such “offences are liable to be punished with rigorous imprisonment for more than seven years,” police officials said. Meanwhile, doctors indicated that she was not yet fit to resume her duties following which the Tamil Nadu governor allocated the portfolios held by Jayalalithaa to Finance Minister O Panneerselvam, even as she continued to be CM.

12 October

BJP President Amit Shah and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley visited the Apollo Hospital to enquire about the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s health. And Opposition leaders questioned how the ailing Jayalalithaa told the Governor to allocate her portfolios to Finance Minister O Panneerselvam.

13 October

Aiims experts and UK doctor Richard Beale visited Apollo Hospital to examine Jayalalithaa again.

18 October

Apollo Hospitals did not release an update on the chief minister’s health for the eightht consecutive day.

19 October

O Pannerselvam presided over a Cabinet meeting in Chennai for the first time after the Governor allocated portfolios of ailing Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to him.

21 October

The Apollo Hospital declared Jayalalithaa’s health was showing gradual progress, stating that the Chief Minister “is interacting (with people) and progressing gradually”, according to a medical bulletin, the first issued after a 11-day gap.

27 October

AIADMK claimed that the doctors at Apollo Hospitals have said that Jayalalithaa is on the road to full recovery and have even decided on her discharge date. However, the hospital continued to remain silent for the sixth day since its last update on 21 October.

29 October

Jayalalithaa reportedly affixed her left thumb impression on the poll documents submitted by a AIADMK candidate as her right hand was inflamed following a tracheostomy. It was attested by a government doctor — P Balaji, Professor of Minimal Access Surgery in Madras Medical College. Dr Babu K Abraham, working in Apollo Hospitals, signed as a witness.

4 November

A senior AIADMK member said that Jayalalithaa would be soon moved out of the critical care unit to a private room, stating that the lung infection was under control and that she had passed the critical stage. Apollo hospitals announced that she had recovered fully. “She is very satisfied. She is completely recovered and understands what is going around her,” Pratap C Reddy, Chairman of Apollo Hospitals Group, said. He added that it was up to Jayalalithaa to decide when to return home.

7 November

AIADMK said that Jayalalithaa may be discharged from Apollo Hospitals in less than 15 days, adding that all her vital parameters were under control and she was even being given physiotherapy exercises. A senior of the party said that she was now able to sit when the respiratory systems were removed. She was also taking semi-solid food. Meanwhile, Madras HC dimissed a PIL challenging the earlier affixing of her thumb impression on election documents.

12 November

Apollo Hospitals said that Jayalalithaa’s infection is fully under control and she needs recuperation.

13 November

In her first direct communication since her hospitalisation, Jayalalithaa said she had taken rebirth because of people’s prayers and urged them to vote for AIADMK in the 19 November polls, in a statement released to AIADMK in Chennai.

18 November

Apollo Hospitals Chairman Pratap C Reddy said that Jayalalithaa is fine and is in the ICU in order to protect her from fresh infection. He said Jayalalithaa is breathing and sleeping well, and is on ventilator only for 15 minutes in a day.

19 November

Jayalalithaa was shifted to a special room from the Intensive Care Unit in the Apollo Hospitals according to a senior AIADMK leader.

25 November

Chairman Pratap C Reddy said that Jayalalithaa is returning to normalcy and all her vital organs are functioning well. The Hospital told media that she was shifted out of Intensive Care Unit as there were no health complications.

4 December

Jayalalithaa suffered a cardiac arrest, hours after AIADMK members said she would be returning home soon and a team from AIIMS confirmed that she has completely recovered after two months of hospitalisation.

5 December

Centre dispatched a team of specialists from AIIMS to look into her treatment. Contrary to the Union Health Minister, JP Nadda ‘s satetements that she is out of danger, the hospital in a press release said that Jayalalithaa continues to be critical and is on ECMO and other life support systems, besides being treated and closely monitored by a team of experts.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Dec 5, 2016 13:55 IST