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Lt Gen Rawat takes over as Army chief, Air Marshal Dhanoa takes charge as IAF chief

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lt Gen Bipin Rawat on Saturday took over as the 27th chief of the 1.3 million strong Indian Army succeeding Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, who retired after 42 years of service.Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa also took charge as the 25th Air Force Chief replacing Anup Raha.Gen Rawat superseded two senior most Lt Generals, Praveen Bakshi and P M Hariz.Lt Gen Bakshi, who heads the Kolkata-headquartered Eastern Command, announced “full support” to the new chief and told theatre officers through video conferencing he will continue to lead with “full professional sincerity as hither-to-fore”.”I convey my best wishes and full support of Eastern Command to Gen Bipin Rawat on having taken over as the Chief of Army Staff,” he said.Earlier, there was speculation that Lt Gen Bakshi may resign or take premature retirement. He had also met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar recently.He requested that speculation and trolling in media and social media should stop and everyone should focus on contributing their best to the betterment of the army and the nation.The Eastern Commander called the new Army chief to congratulate him on taking over the reins of the army.Speculation is rife that Lt Gen Bakshi may be given the new post of Chief of Defence Staff pertaining which Parrikar will meet Prime Minster Narendra Modi next month.Sources, however, have indicated that no such development will take place.Gen Suhag, who superannuated today, said army is prepared to meet any challenge as he thanked the government for “providing a free hand” and implementing the One Rank One Pension scheme.He said that infiltration bids had increased during the year and the number of terrorists killed was nearly double the previous year.The General said the army focused on operational preparedness during his tenure.Suhag said that when he had taken over he had asserted the response of the army to any action against our interest would be immediate, adequate and intense. “Indian Army has done that in the last two-and-a-half years,” he said.Later at noon, he handed over the charge to Rawat, who was commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the Eleven Gorkha Rifles in December 1978 from IMA, Dehradun. He was awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’ at the academy.Earlier in the day, Gen Suhag and Air Chief Marshal Raha paid tributes at Amar Jawan Jyoti and inspected the guard of honour.The new IAF chief, Air Marshal Dhanoa, had developed the country’s aerial targeting philosophy against potential adversaries and transformed the concept of air operations of the air force into contemporary war fighting practices.He has mainly flown Kiran and MiG-21 aircraft though he has the experience of flying the entire spectrum of fighter aircraft from Jaguar to state-of-the-art MiG-29 and Su-30 MKI.The Air Marshal has many feathers in his hat. As the commanding officer of a frontline ground attack fighter squadron, he led the IAF punch during the “Limited War” against Pakistan to drive the enemy out of their “dug in” defences in the icy heights of Kargil region.During the conflict, under his leadership and supervision, the squadron devised unique and innovative methods of bombing at night at altitudes never before attempted in the history of air warfare, the IAF said.Prior to the attack, the squadron had been adjudged as the best fighter squadron of western Air Command for its high degree of professionalism and peace-time training. After the conflict, it emerged as the most decorated IAF unit of Kargil War.He also holds the highest flying instructional category in the IAF and was handpicked to establish the “IAF Training Team” abroad.Gen Rawat has vast experience in high altitude warfare and counter-insurgency operations.He commanded an infantry battalion, along the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern Sector, a Rashtriya Rifles Sector and an Infantry Division in the Kashmir Valley, a Corps in the Eastern theatre and the Southern Command.He has tenanted instructional appointments at Indian Military Academy and at Army War College, Mhow.Gen Rawat has held important staff appointments at Directorate General of Military Operations and Military Secretary’s Branch at Army HQ.He has also been Major General General Staff (MGGS) at HQ Eastern Command.The General commanded a Multinational Brigade in a Chapter VII mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC). While serving with the United Nations, he was twice awarded the Force Commander’s Commendation.An alumni of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, he has been awarded various medals of high honour for gallantry and distinguished service in a span of over 38 years in uniform.He also attended the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) course at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, USA.Academically inclined, Rawat has authored numerous articles on national security and leadership, which have been published in various journals and publications.He was awarded M.Phil in Defence Studies from Madras University. He has a Diploma in Management and another Diploma in Computer Studies.Gen Rawat has also completed his research on military media strategic studies and was awarded Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D) from Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut in 2011.

Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi rules out resignation, offers support to new army chief Bipin Rawat

Kolkata: Putting to rest all speculation about his resignation, Eastern Army Commander lieutenant general Praveen Bakshi assured his full support to General Bipin Rawat, who took charge as the new army chief superseding him.

Lt General Praveen Bakshi. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.Lt General Praveen Bakshi. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Lt General Praveen Bakshi. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

“I convey my best wishes and full support of Eastern Command to Gen. Bipin Rawat on having taken over as the Chief of Army Staff,” Bakshi said on Saturday. He also made it clear that he was not resigning, and even called the new army chief on the phone to congratulate him on taking over the reins of the army, an official said.

Speculation that he may seek premature retirement from service gained ground after he met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on 21 December and then proceeded on leave after Christmas.

Bakshi was initially the frontrunner for the post of army chief. However, keeping aside the trend of seniority, the government appointed vice-chief of army, lieutenant general Bipin Rawat, a batch junior to Bakshi, as the new chief.

The army commander requested that speculation in media and trolling on social media should stop and everyone should focus on contributing their best to the betterment of the army and the nation.

At a function here on new year’s eve, he greeted all ranks of Army’s Eastern Command and said he would continue to lead the Command with full professional sincerity. He, however, continues to be on leave for the next few days.

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 16:48 IST

On his last day as Army Chief, Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag pays tribute to martyrs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>General Dalbir Singh paid tribute at Amar Jawan Jyoti on his last day as Army Chief on Saturday. He will be replaced by Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat as new army chief.General Singh inspected the guard of honour on his last day as Army Chief. “I salute our martyrs who made supreme sacrifices in upholding honour of the nation,” he said. He also thanked the Centre for granting One Rank One Pension to the armed forces.He also thanked PM Narendra Modi and the Centre “for their full support and giving free hand in conduct of operations”. Gen Dalbir Singh praised the Indian Army saying ,”Indian army delievered that in the last 2 and a half years. Indian Army is fully prepared and well trained to tackle any challenges be it external or internal. I strongly believe that actions must speak louder than words.” “In 2012, we had killed 67 terrorists, 65 in 2013 & killed 141 terrorists alone in J&K this year,” said General Dalbir Singh on his last day as the Army Chief. (With ANI/PTI inputs)Lt Gen Bipin Rawat’s appointment as the new Army Chief had created a controversy as it superseding seniors Lt Gen Bakshi and Southern Army commander Lt Gen PM Hariz. It had also sparked a fierce political row between a section of the Opposition and the government.

Lt Gen Bakshi’s leave sparks speculation about early retirement

Tue, 27 Dec 2016-11:30pm , Kolkata , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speculation about Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, who has been superseded by Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the next Army Chief, taking premature retirement heightened on Tuesday after he proceeded on leave.Army sources, however, said Lt Gen Bakshi is on a pre-scheduled three-day leave and is expected to resume duties on December 30, a day before Lt Gen Rawat takes over as the new Army Chief.There has been speculation that Lt Gen Bakshi may take premature retirement. He had recently met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, fuelling speculation about his possible resignation.

Coming a full circle: Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag on his farewell visit to Siachen

Mon, 26 Dec 2016-08:12pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Keeping the promise made to himself, army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag visited the world’s highest battlefield Siachen on Monday and interacted with the soldiers posted on the glacier. Suhag’s visit to the Siachen and the 15 Corps on Monday will be the last of his farewell visits to the Commands under him before he retires on December 31.Suhag had said that the first visit he undertook soon after taking over as army chief in 2014 was to Siachen and he wanted his last visit also to Siachen. Though Gen Suhag had wanted to visit Siachen around December 29, bad weather forced him to prepone the visit to the icy heights. Gen Suhag would hand over the baton to his Vice Chief Lt Gen Bipin Rawat at his North Block office on the afternoon of December 31.

Centre using CBI to cow-down political opponents: Harish Rawat’s media advisor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Uttarakhand Chief Minister’s Media Advisor Surendra Kumar on Friday accused the Centre of “using CBI to cow-down political opponents”, after the probe agency again asked Harish Rawat to appear before it on Monday regarding an investigation into a purported sting operation involving him.The CBI has asked Rawat to appear before it in connection with a video allegedly showing him negotiating to “buy disgruntled” party MLAs to save his government during the political crisis in March.This is the second time that Rawat has been summoned by the CBI on a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) registered by it in last seven months. He had earlier appeared before the agency on May 24 during which he was questioned for nearly five hours.Questioning the timing of the summons that comes with the Uttarakhand Assembly polls round the corner, he alleged, “The CBI summons are as conspiratorial as toppling the Rawat government earlier this year.” Terming it a “premeditated conspiracy against the state government”, Kumar claimed, “We knew that the probe agency will be used by BJP against its opponents at the time of elections for petty political gains.””Going by the timing of the summons, it seems the BJP intends to contest the coming state Assembly elections by using the probe agency that has been reduced to an instrument by the Centre to settle political scores,” he alleged.It reflects the sense of frustration in the BJP over its impending electoral defeat, Kumar claimed.

CBI asks Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat to appear for preliminary enquiry to probe sting operations

New Delhi: CBI has asked Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat to appear before it on 26 December in connection with a probe into the purported sting operation involving him.

This is the second time that Rawat has been summoned by the CBI on a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) registered by it in last seven months. He had earlier appeared before the agency on 24 May during which he was questioned for nearly five hours.

The agency had registered a preliminary enquiry in connection with the alleged sting operation on April 29 purportedly showing Rawat offering bribes to rebel Congress lawmakers to support him during a floor test in the Uttarakhand Assembly.

This may be a unique case where a sitting Chief Minister has been summoned by the CBI during its probe of a PE.

The PE is the first step during which the agency verifies the facts in the complaint received by it. During a PE, the agency usually only “requests” a person “to join the probe” and does not summon him, carry out searches or make any arrests.

File photo of Harish Rawat. PTI

File photo of Harish Rawat. PTI

If verification of facts shows need of further probe, it may register an FIR or else close the PE.

The CBI probe focuses on Rawat’s relations with the owner of a news channel, alleged bribe proposal made to one dissident MLA by him and a minister in his previous cabinet, besides his claims on the purported sting video.

The reason for summoning him against, according to the sources, was because Rawat had not furnished full and complete details on many issues.

The case was registered on the reference received from the state government (during President’s rule) and subsequent notification from BJP-led central government.

Rawat has denied the allegation and called the video fake after it was released by the rebel Congress legislators but later admitted that he was on camera in the sting operation.

After Rawat’s victory in the floor test, the state cabinet had met on 15 May and withdrawn the notification recommending a CBI probe into the sting operation involving him.

Instead, the state cabinet decided to constitute a Special Investigating Team to probe the case as it was a state subject.

CBI had said the notification was rejected after taking legal opinion, which said there was no ground for its withdrawal and it was “not legally tenable”.

The chief minister had failed to get a reprieve from Uttarakhand High Court also which had refused to quash the ongoing CBI probe into the sting operation.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 21:29 IST

Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi meets Manohar Parrikar, officials term it ‘courtesy call’

New Delhi: Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, who was superseded along with another senior officer in selection of the new army chief, met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday, amid speculation that he may seek premature retirement or will be given a new role by the government.

Defence Ministry officials termed the meeting as a “courtesy call”.

They said the meeting was sought by Lt Gen Bakshi, contrary to initial claims by army sources that Parrikar had sought the meeting. Lt Gen Bakshi also met with Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag after meeting Parrikar.

Lt General Praveen Bakshi. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Lt General Praveen Bakshi. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Dalbir Singh is set to visit the Eastern Command in Kolkata shortly as part of his farewell tour. The army chief will hang his boots on 31 December.

A section of military experts feel that Lt Gen Bakshi may seek premature retirement. However, the process may take a month or two, sources said, adding that during this period he may go on leave.

Lt Gen Bakshi was initially the front runner for the post of the army chief. However, keeping aside the trend of seniority being the lone criteria, the government appointed Vice Chief of Army Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, a batch junior to Lt Gen Bakshi, as the new chief.

Lt Gen Rawat, an infantry soldier, was found best suited among three officers to deal with challenges like cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and the situation with Pakistan, both areas which the government felt will be under focus for the next two-three years.

Another section of military experts claimed that Lt Bakshi may become the new Chief of Defence Staff, a post that has been hanging fire for the last many years.

While the creation of such a post is in “active consideration” of the government, it is unlikely that it will happen soon, they claimed.

The Centre had on 17 December appointed Lt Gen Rawat as the new army chief superseding his two senior officers — Lt Gen Bakshi and Southern Command Chief Lt Gen PM Hariz.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 20:11 IST

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat is next army chief: Govt did what it thought right, it’s time to end row

Appointment of Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat as the next Chief of Army Staff superseding Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi and Lieutenant General PM Hariz has got the self-appointed social media critics going ballistic on the internet. It has also given enough to feed the monstrous hunger that the media has for breaking news. Many writers have mentioned that there has been precedence of such supersession. Having known all the three officers closely, one is at a loss to explain one’s feelings. Lieutenant General Bakshi is an intellectual, straight shooter, dynamic and a thoroughly professional officer who is a dear friend and a course mate.

Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat. File photo. Getty ImagesLieutenant General Bipin Rawat. File photo. Getty Images

Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat. File photo. Getty Images

Lieutenant General Hariz is again a very competent officer and a junior in service but became the author’s boss due to residual service requirements. A mature and simple officer, he conducts himself with dignity. Lieutenant General Rawat, took over the command of the corps from this author. He is a humane, mature, professionally sound and a second generation officer. Appointments Committee of the Cabinet would have had a tough time picking one among them as the next COAS of the Indian Army. Since the supersession issue mainly pertains to these three officers, other officers considered are not mentioned here.

Be that as it may, the procedure followed is very simple and has been alluded to by some writers. A panel of all eligible army commanders and vice chief of army staff is sent to the defence ministry by the army headquarters. The defence minister makes his recommendations and sends it to the Appointments Committee of the cabinet. Previously, the appointments committee of the cabinet used to comprise of the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Foreign Minister, Defence Minister and the Finance Minister. Under this government, it has been simplified and reduced to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister. A thorough 360-degree review of the individual is carried out for all promotions to and above the rank of Major General. Similarly, in this case too such a review would have been done. One is confident that all three would have been above board. After the panel is drawn and recommendations are made by the defence ministry it is purely the call of the appointments committee of the cabinet to make the selection of the next Chief of Army Staff. Needless to say that it is the prerogative of the government of the day to select the COAS of its choice.

A quick glance at the selection procedure of other democracies would be highly perceptive at this time. The organisational structure of many of the advanced countries is different from that of our country. The USA follows a theatre commands system whose commanders directly interact with the Secretary of the State for Defence and the President. In the USA, a Chief of Staff is considered to be the equivalent of the Chief of Army Staff in India. UK follows the system of a Chief of Defence Staff who has an advisory role and a Chief of General Staff who commands the army directly. Australia has a Chief of Defence Staff and a Chief of Army. Pakistan also follows a system of a Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and a Chief of Army. Sri Lanka follows a similar system to ours. One cannot compare China and other communist countries with India on this subject as “political correctness” plays a major role in such selections and the system is different.

In the USA, the selection of Chief of Staff (COS) is governed by the rule “10 US Code 3033 – Chief of Staff”. Unlike the COAS of the Indian Army, the Chief of Staff of the Army is an administrative position and does not have operational command authority over the army. The COS is recommended by the Secretary of the Army, nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. In the UK, the equivalent of the COAS is the Chief of General Staff. The Ministry of Defence headed by the Secretary of State for Defence, recommends the names for Chief of General Staff and he is nominated by the Prime Minister. By the exercise of Royal Prerogative Powers, powers to appoint the senior leaders of the services is vested in the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Defence. The Queen, remains the ultimate authority. A similar system is followed in the Australian Army. In Germany, the Army Chief is designated as the Inspector of the Army (Generalinspekteur derNationaleVolkarmee). In peacetime, and in a state of tension, command of the Armed Forces is vested in the Federal Minister of Defence. It is only in a state of defence, which can be declared only with a two-third majority in the Bundestag (Lower House), that the power of command over the Armed Forces is passed to the Federal Chancellor.

While the systems may differ in various countries, the underlying principle in appointing the Chief of Army remains the same. That is, the political dispensation holds the privilege of choosing the person it likes to have as the Chief of its Army.

There has been disappointment and anger in some quarters about the supersession particularly those who are close friends of Lieutenant General Bakshi and Lieutenant General Hariz. This is but natural. Once the dust on this issue settles down and it dawns on people that the civilian government’s supremacy is to be respected, things will return to normal. Already, it has appeared in the media that things have reverted to normalcy and Lieutenant General Bakshi is back to his regular work schedule. Nothing less would have been expected from the true soldier that he is known to be. Similarly, Lieutenant General Hariz can also be expected to do the same. If these two generals who were directly affected have behaved in a manner befitting their stature and reputation, it behoves on all others to behave in a like manner. There are also rumours making the rounds that they will be accommodated as Permanent Chairman of Chief of Staff and Vice Chancellor, Indian National Defence University respectively. Again, it is required to keep in mind that it is the prerogative of the government to take a decision on these appointments. There is also a need to have confidence in the government that it will take the decisions in the best interests of the country.

This author has closely watched two of the COASs functioning and is convinced that every COAS works hard for the army. Therefore, we should hold the hands of Lieutenant General Rawat and support him in all his endeavours to take our famed army to higher glory.

The author is a retired lieutenant general of the Indian Army.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 19:20 IST

Is Mohanlalganj the best place to be a woman politician?

BBC Hindi’s Divya Arya visits a constituency that has elected the most amount of women to parliament.

CPM slams govt for political interference in appointing new Army Chief

CPM slams govt for political interference in appointing new Army Chief

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New Delhi: The CPM on Monday criticised the government for bypassing the established convention while naming a new army chief and said the military should not be subject to political interference.

“The appointment of the new Chief of Army Staff has been done bypassing the established convention of the senior most General assuming the post,” the Communist Party of India-Marxist said.

“The Modi government’s departure from this precedent has raised questions about the intent and motivation of the government,” it said in a statement.

“The Indian Army should not be subject to any political interference.”

The government on Saturday named Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the next chief of the Indian Army, overlooking the seniority of two senior Lt Generals.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 18:23 IST

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Lt General Bipin Rawat is new Chief of Army Staff: How does selection process work?

The government on Saturday chose Lt General Bipin Rawat as the next Chief of Army Staff (COAS). He will succeed General Dalbir Singh Suhag, who retires on 31 December. However, controversy broke out immediately as Rawat was not the senior-most officer in the Indian Army. Traditionally, the rule in the security forces is to nominate the senior-most officer as the new head. According to the established tradition, Eastern Command chief Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi was all set to be the next chief, on account of his seniority.

This is the second instance in Indian Army’s history that this principle of seniority has been overlooked. In 1983, the then senior-most officer Lt Gen SK Sinha was superseded by Arun Shridhar Vaidya, who was the army chief when Operation Bluestar was launched.

Here is all you need to know about the process of selecting a new army chief.

Who has the power to appoint the new army chief?

The government of India has the power to choose the army chief. The government chooses a successor based on the security situation as well as the requirements that arise from time to time, noted The Times of India. It is worth noting that seniority has generally been the guiding principle while choosing the head of the third-largest army in the world.

Who exactly is responsible in the government for appointing the army chief?

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) is responsible for taking the final decision on the appointment. The ACC comprises of the prime minister, minister of home affairs and the concerned ministry, in this case the defence ministry.

File picture of Lt Gen Bipin Rawat. Getty Images

File picture of Lt Gen Bipin Rawat. Getty Images

How does the selection process go about?

The process of selection commences four-to-five months in advance, with the ministry of defence seeking personal data and professional profile of all eligible lieutenant generals from among the vice chief of army ataff and general officers commanding in chief of the various Commands, the IANS reported.

The service headquarter, then forwards data of the eligible candidates, including their professional exposure, achievements and operational experience. These are processed by the ministry and forwarded through the defence minister for consideration and selection to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, the IANS quoted an unnamed defence ministry source as saying.

Generally, the government appoints the prospective COAS as the vice chief of staff to familiarise him with the working at the South Block, the report added.

When is the announcement generally made?

The announcement of the next army chief is made two or three months in advance.

What is the tenure of the army chief?

The chief of army staff has a three-year term. Alternatively, the chief of army staff is in office till he is 62, whichever is applicable at the earliest.

Why has the move to appoint Rawat been criticised?

In an article in The Citizen, ex-army officer Lt General Vijay Oberoi said that such a move may play a negative role in the long run. “Chances of selection based on political, sycophantic and non-professional reasons may become predominant in due course, with professional and character qualities being sacrificed on account of extraneous issues.”

What about Lt General Praveen Bakshi now?

Media reports suggest that the current Eastern Command chief might be the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), a position first mooted after the Kargil War. The CDS will be the single point of contact for the defence minister as well as the prime minister.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 14:52 IST

Political parties flay Gen Rawat’s appointment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even before the row over appointing Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as interim director of the CBI could die down, the Modi government has countered a fresh controversy on its decision to appoint Lt General Bipin Rawat as the new Army chief by superseding Lt General Praveen Bakshi and Lt Genenral PM Harizwas.The Congress and the Left have questioned the Government on its motive behind the appointment of Lt Gen Rawat.Citing the dynamics and hierarchy embedded in every institution, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said, “With all due respect to Gen Rawat’s professionalism and no personal animus towards anybody, there is a legitimate question as to why that supersession has taken place…Did the government have anything against them? Was their professionalism in question? What was the reason and I guess with the army being a public institution, the country deserves those answers.”When reminded of the previous instance of supersession in 1983 by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who gave the reins of the Army in the hands of Gen AS Vaidya, superseding Lt Gen S K Sinha, Tiwari called it “complete nonsense”. “ Every situation has its own context and, therefore nothing can be extrapolated out of context in order to justify a supersession. So, therefore the government needs to answer this legitimate question as to why these senior army commanders were superseded,” he said.CPI leader D Raja and former Army Chief General Shankar Roy Chowdhury have also questioned the appointment.DIFFERENT NOTEFormer Army Chief Gen Shankar Roy Chowdhury said he differs with Defence Minister Parrikar’s assumption that operational experience in one type of terrain was found relevant in Gen Rawat’s case. The BJP, however, lashed out at the Opposition reaction.

Bipin Rawat as next Army Chief: Superseding three army commanders sets an ugly precedent

Superseding three active General Officer(s) Commanding-in-Chief of three ‘armies’ has never occurred since 1947, so let’s stop talking about precedents. That is complete nonsense. Why are we so nice about the mishandled manner in which the new army chief (Bipin Rawat) was announced with 14 days to go instead of the customary 90 days? The only one precedent was the clumsy bypassing of Lt Gen Mani Sinha in place of Lt Gen Vaidya and General Sinha did what Generals do — he put in his resignation. As a protest. Hardly a high-water mark in the annals of military history, the way he was set aside.

Which is exactly what Lt Gen PM Hariz, Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi and Lt Gen BS Negi will do — either retire or simply put in their papers.

Bipin_Rawat_380_GettyBipin_Rawat_380_GettyConsequently, we will have three top commands in Southern, Eastern and Central armies without leadership around the same time since none of these officers will serve a junior at this high level.

In army lexicon they have been bypassed, period. They will go home. Has anybody figured out that between these three Generals — who have not been made chief — commanded 70 percent of the active forces in the Indian Army? If they were so average, why were they in charge?

Yes, the government has the right to do exactly what it wishes in the selection, even if others find fault with it. In the ranks of this government is a former chief who fought hard to stay in the job by making an issue of his age thereby setting the most shabby precedent in the Indian armed forces.

The fact that the new chief is in South Block and his three seniors are in active command indicates a definite flaw. The vice chief like the Vice President is a goodbye gift. No one knows what he does. The job is largely a sinecure. So how exactly did he stand out?

To supersede three Generals commanding your armies is either an act of arrogance or such incredible military insight that even the famous strategist Sun Tzu would have been impressed. How do you, and why do you bypass three Generals in active command of your armies?

Not only does this cause dismay, it jump-starts the domino principle with at least 50 potential three-star Generals and two-star aspirants reworking their career paths thanks to this announcement. We suddenly have three degrees of separation and several three-star officers looking at retirement will now look at the possible fourth star and realign their priorities.

You cannot really believe for a moment that between bureaucrats and politicians, they have a clue as to how effective or of what calibre these three sidelined officers are. You have to be naïve to think they know who suited them most or was of the highest calibre. To put it bluntly, as a fellow Gurkha officer incumbent General Suhag probably advocated his brother officer’s cause — the fact that General Rawat was in Delhi gave him access or at least presence in the capital while attending meetings in these troubled times also helped. He was relatively familiar.

Unlike his three seniors who are commanding active armies. Compare their career records — all first rate.

All this said, the government exercised a right. Will it change the dynamics of the Indian army? For sure. The government has found a trump card to keep its top echelons pliable, pliant and obedient and, oh yes, politically non-ambitious. Today, the fourth, tomorrow who knows? (Maybe the ninth).

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 20:31 IST

Army chief Bipin Rawat appointment: Opposition corners govt, BJP says don’t politicise

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A political slugfest broke out on Sunday over the new army chief’s appointment by superseding two officers with Congress asking the Prime Minister to spell out the “compelling reasons” for it and the Left questioning the move even as BJP hit back saying they should not politicise an issue related to defence forces.Congress leader Manish Tewari slammed the government for “playing with institutions” and doing politics in the army even as he wondered if it was “whimsical cherry picking”. His comments came a day after the government appointed Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the new army chief superseding his two senior officers — Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi and Southern Army Command chief Lt Gen P M Hariz.CPI leader D Raja also questioned the government’s move and said appointments whether in the army, judiciary or those of CVC, acting CBI director and to Central Information Commission have become controversial.Commenting on the matter, JD(U) MP Pavan Varma said, “Every question that is being raised is not about politicising an issue but about seeking a clarification for an answer.” BJP condemned Congress for its attack on the government over the army chief’s appointment, saying there should be no politics on defence forces and asserted that Lt Gen Rawat has been elevated keeping in mind the current security scenario.BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma said the new army chief was picked up from a pool of five senior-most officers, who are all competent, and Lt Gen Rawat’s appointment should not be seen as a negative against others.Lashing out at the opposition party, Sharma said Congress by “politicising” the appointment of the army chief was showing its “frustration” after it has been pushed to the “margins” of national politics following successive electoral defeats. Tewari said, “While Lt Gen Rawat, who is being appointed the COAS, may perhaps have all the requisite credentials but the fact remains that in a hierarchy conscious organisation where the principle of seniority is almost sacrosanct, the supersession of three senior officers, Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, Lt P M Hariz, and perhaps even Lt Gen B S Negi, raises extremely serious and critical questions of institutional integrity.”However, senior army officials said that Lt Gen Rawat has only superseded Lt Gen Bakshi, the seniormost army commander and Lt Gen Hariz.Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself should spell out the “compelling reasons” behind this supersession, Tewari told reporters at the party office here. “Why the principle of seniority which has held the field for two decades now not respected by the government. Is it that these officers who were superseded unqualified in any manner? Or is it whimsical cherry picking which has been done by the BJP-led NDA government,” he said.”Why does the army have to go through unnecessary bloodletting at the top? If it has been done, then reasons need to be put out in the public domain,” he said.Raja said, “Appointments in the army have become controversial, the appointments in the judiciary are already controversial, the appointments of CVC, CBI director and to Central Information Commission, all these top-level appointments are becoming very controversial.”

Uttarakhand: Prayer break on Fridays for Muslim govt employees

Sun, 18 Dec 2016-07:32pm , Dehradun , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A special 90-minute break will be given to the government employees from the Muslim community in Uttarakhand for Friday prayers, official sources said. A cabinet meeting on Saturday, chaired by Chief Minister Harish Rawat, decided that a special break from 12:30 PM till 2:00 PM will be given to the employees from the community, they said.The Congress government made other decisions like consent for a detailed project report for metro which has been given to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). The state government also posed a penalty of Rs 2 crore and Rs 2.5 crore for PG doctors for violating bond of 5 years with the state for essential service. The state goes to poll next year.

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat’s appointment as next Army Chief: BJP hits at Congress for ‘politicising’ the issue

New Delhi: BJP on Sunday condemned Congress for its attack on the government over the army chief appointment, saying there should be no politics on defence forces and asserted that Lt Gen Bipin Rawat has been elevated keeping in mind the current security scenario.

File photo of new Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat. News18File photo of new Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat. News18

File photo of new Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat. News18

The party said the new army chief was picked up from a pool of five senior-most officers, who are all competent, and Rawat’s appointment should not be seen as a negative against others.

Lashing out at the opposition party, BJP said Congress politicising the appointment of the army chief shows its “frustration” after it has been pushed to the “margins” of national politics following successive electoral defeats.

“They are all competent officers but under the prevailing security scenario, the government found Lt Gen Rawat as the most suitable candidate. We will urge to all political parties to not do politics over it,” BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma said after the government came under flak for ignoring the seniority norm in picking Rawat.

Responding to the Congress’ critical comments regarding the impending appointment of a new Chief Justice, Sharma said the opposition party should not reach a premature conclusion and wait for an appropriate time.

“If any party has flouted the democratic norms most, it is the Congress party. BJP has always adhered to democratic norms,” he said.

Congress and the Left have questioned the appointment of the new army chief by superseding two officers, asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to spell out the “compelling reasons”, and wondered if it was “whimsical cherry picking”.

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 16:40 IST

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat’s appointment as next Army chief: Congress, Left hit out at Modi govt

Congress party on Sunday hit out at the Narendra Modi government for what it termed as “whimsical cherry-picking” in the appointment of Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the next Chief of Army Staff.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari on Sunday questioned as to why the government was avoiding a clarification on this “unprecedented action.”

Slamming the government, Tewari said that this supersession could be politically motivated. Tewari also said that undermining the set procedure is not a new thing for the present government.

The Opposition party’s comments came just a day after the government appointed Vice-Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the new Army Chief superseding his two Lieutenant Generals. Customarily, the senior most army officer is accorded the position but in this case, as the Congress party claimed, Lt Gen Rawat superseded three senior officers in his appointment as the next Chief of Army Staff.

Tewari also lashed out at Modi over the appointment. “Our current prime minister behaves as if he’s not answerable to anyone… what compelled the government to take this unprecedented action, don’t the people have a right to know,” Tewari asked.

Hitting out at the government for dodging questions over the Army Chief’s appointment, Tewari alleged, “This government believes that anybody who questions them is anti-national and even questions on the Army Chief’s appointment are termed seditious.”

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat. Image courtesy: Twitter@adgpiLt Gen Bipin Rawat. Image courtesy: Twitter@adgpi

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat. Image courtesy: [email protected]

Earlier, Tewari had said that every institution has its own dynamics, hierarchy and seniority which is the overriding dynamic of the armed forces not only in India but everywhere in the world.

“With all due respect to Lt Gen Rawat’s professionalism and no personal animus towards anybody, there is a legitimate question that why has that supersession taken place,” he said.

Arguing that even though three other senior officials, Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, Southern Army Command chief Lt Gen PM Hariz and Lt Gen BS Negi, Army commander Central Command are senior to Lt Gen Rawat, Tewari questioned shouldn’t people of the country ask as to what compelled the government to take this decision.

He said now the argument the government will give that Congress did supersession in the 80s and, therefore it has the right to do so is “complete nonsense”.

“Every situation has its own context and, therefore nothing can be extrapolated out of context in order to justify a supersession. Therefore, the government needs to answer this legitimate question as to why these senior army commanders were superseded,” he said.

“Did the government have anything against them? Was their professionalism in question? What was the reason and I guess the Army being a public institution, the country deserves those answers,” Tewari said.

Meanwhile, Left parties also raised questions over the appointment. CPI leader D Raja also questioned the government’s move and said appointments have become controversial.

“Appointments in the army have become controversial, the appointments in the judiciary are already controversial, the appointments of CVCs, CBI director and to Central Information Commission, all these top-level appointments are becoming very controversial,” he said.

Terming this as “very unfortunate”, Raja said it is not in the interest of democracy and the country.

He said there should be transparency and transparency should go along with integrity and nobody should raise questions. “But now questions are being raised,” he added.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 15:21 IST

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat ‘best suited’ to deal with emerging challenges: Defence Ministry sources

New Delhi: The Defence Ministry insisted on Sunday that Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, named the next Army Chief overlooking the generally followed seniority norm, was “best suited” for the job.

The appointment of Lt Gen Rawat has ignored the seniority of Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi and Southern Army Commander Lt Gen PM Hariz who have spent longer years in service.

Lt Gen Bakshi was not appointed the Vice-Chief when the post fell vacant in September and Lt Gen Rawat was brought in from the Southern Command.

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat. Image courtesy: Twitter@adgpi

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat. Image courtesy: [email protected]

“He was found the best suited among the Lt Generals, to deal with emerging challenges, including a reorganised and restructured military force in the north, continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west, and the situation in the North East,” a source in the ministry said.

On Friday, asked if the line of succession will be broken, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had cryptically remarked: “Line of succession is decided by the people.”

Lt Gen Rawat was commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the 11 Gorkha Rifles in December 1978 from the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun, where he was awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’.

He has commanded an infantry battalion along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), a Rashtriya Rifles Sector and an infantry division in the Kashmir Valley.

He also has vast experience in high altitude warfare and counter insurgency operations.

“Lt Gen Rawat has tremendous hands on experience of serving in combat areas and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades,” said the source who did not want to be named.

“He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the LoC (Line of Control) with Pakistan, LAC with China and in the northeast,” the source said.

“He is known for his balanced approach towards soldiering, compassion, and connect with civil society. His experience as GOC-in-C (general officer commanding-in-chief) Southern Army Command in Mechanised Warfare has been focused towards the western borders, in coordination with the other two services,” the source added.

Soon after the appointment was announced, the Congress questioned the government decision.

Congress leader Manish Tewari tweeted: “Why has seniority not been respected in appointment of Army Chief? Why have Lt. Gen. Pravin Bakshi and Lt. Gen. Mohamed Ali Hariz been superseded, Mr PM (Narendra Modi)?”

The Defence Ministry on Saturday night announced the names of the next chiefs of Army and Indian Air Force, 13 days before General Dalbir Singh and Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha are to retire.

Air Marshal BS Dhanoa will be the next chief of IAF.

Commissioned into the IAF’s fighter stream in June 1978, Dhanoa, who has flown various types of fighter aircraft and is a qualified Flying Instructor, commanded a fighter squadron during the Kargil Operations and flew numerous night strike missions in the mountainous terrain.

He has also held a number of important operational appointments including commanding a fighter base and leading the Indian Military Training Team in Bhutan.

He has also served as Chief Instructor (Air) at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Intelligence) and Senior Air Staff Officer (Chief of Staff) of two operational commands.

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 13:56 IST

Army a public institution, nation needs answers on ‘supersession’: Congress on new Chief of Staff

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the Centre announcing the name of Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat as the new Chief of the Army Staff superseding two seniors for the coveted post, the Congress on Sunday demanded an answer from the government over the decision, while asserting that the Army is a public institution and the nation deserves an answer.Lieutenant General Rawat, who took over as the Army vice-chief in September 2016, bypassed Eastern Command chief Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi (armoured corps) and Southern Army Command chief Lieutenant General PM Hariz (mechanised infantry).After taking to Twitter to voice his annoyance with the decision, Congress leader Manish Tewari assured that this was not a personal attack on the new Chief of Staff but a legitimate question.
ALSO READ Lt Gen Bipin Rawat is next Army chief, Air Marshal Birender Dhanoa to head Air Force”With all due respect to General Rawat’s professionalism and brilliance as a soldier and no personal animosity to anybody, there is a legitimate question as to why has this supersession taken place. After all, Lt. Gen Praveen Bakshi who commands the Eastern Command, the Southern Army Commander Lt. Gen Mohammed Ali and the Central Army Commander are all senior to the gentleman who is being designated,” Tewari said.Reiterating his demand for an answer to the legitimate question as to why this supersession has taken place, the Congress leader added that the government?s defence saying the grand old party superseded in the 80s and therefore the ruling dispensation has the right to do so is complete ‘non sequitur’. Expressing disappointment over the controversy surrounding all high-level appointments during the NDA regime, the Communist Party of India (CPI) said that transparency should go along with integrity in the appointment of new Army Chief Lt. General. Bipin Rawat, adding the decision is not in the interest of democracy.Rawat was found the best suited among current batch of candidates of Lt. Generals, to deal with emerging challenges, including a reorganised and restructured military force in the north, continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west, and the situation in the North-East.According to Ministry of Defence (MoD) sources, Lt. Gen Rawat has tremendous hands on experience of serving in combat areas, and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades. This is very unfortunate that the appointments in Army have become controversial. All the top-level appointments are becoming controversial. Transparency should go along with integrity and nobody should raise question. Now, questions are being raised and it is not new,” said CPI leader D. Raja.The CPI leader demanded a justification from the Centre and Defence Ministry over the new appointment of new Army Chief.”It is very unfortunate. This is not in the interest of our democracy, our country and of course there should be transparency. It is a question about the Army and not about any political party. Army belongs to the whole country and the nation should be convinced,” he said.Lieutenant General Rawat has remarkable experience of serving in combat areas and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades.He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan, the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China and in the North-East.He is known for his balanced approach towards soldiering, compassion, and his connect with the civil society.

Cong questions new army chief’s appointment, MoD sources say Rawat best suited to deal with terror threats

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lt. General. Bipin Rawat, who has been appointed as the next Chief of Army Staff, was found the best suited among current batch of candidates of Lt. Generals, to deal with emerging challenges, including a reorganised and restructured military force in the north, continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west, and the situation in the North-East.According to Ministry of Defence (MoD) sources, Lt. Gen Rawat has tremendous hands on experience of serving in combat areas, and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades.He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the LoC with Pakistan, the LAC with China, and in the North-East.
ALSO READ Lt Gen Bipin Rawat to be new Army Chief, Air Marshal BS Dhanoa to head IAFHe is also known for his balanced approach towards soldiering, compassion, and connect with civil society.His experience as GOC-in-C Southern Army Command in Mechanised Warfare has been focused towards the western borders, in coordination with the other two services.Also, Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa was appointed the next Chief of Air Staff. He was commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF in June 1978 and has served in various squadrons, and in the Intelligence Directorate of Air Headquarters.Meanwhile, the Congress has slammed the Centre over the appointment of the new army chief, as the government overlooked a tradition of elevating senior-most officers as service chiefs.The Congress asked why the Centre did not follow the seniority principle in appointing Lt Gen Rawat, the vice-chief in the army.”Why has Seniority not been respected in Appointing of Army Chief? Why have Lt Gen PRAVIN Bakshi & Lt Gen Mohamed Ali Hariz been superseded Mr PM,” questioned Congress leader Manish Tewari on Twitter.

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat is next Army chief: Govt has superseded two of the best senior officers

Many senior army officers will not only be surprised but also deeply dismayed at the government’s decision to supersede the Indian Army’s two most senior officers while appointing Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the next Chief of Army Staff. For, not only has seniority been given the go-by, the two officers who command almost unparalleled professional respect have been humiliated.

Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, the Commander-in-Chief of the Eastern Command, was widely expected to take over as the next chief. Many in the Army looked forward to that eagerly. Not only was he the senior most, he is respected as an exceptional officer.

The officer next in line, Lt Gen PM Hariz, is equally respected as an outstanding professional of rare calibre. He has also been superseded.

army-chief

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat with be the next Chief of Army Staff. News18

General Bakshi had been the Chief of Staff of the Northern Command at Udhampur before he took over as Army Commander in the East. He has had hands-on experience of the current situations on the major fronts on which India faces threats from both Pakistan and China. He was perfectly trained, prepared and suited for the top job.

Some senior army officers have even compared generals Bakshi and Hariz — and Lt Gen BS Hooda, who retired at the end of last month as Commander-in-Chief of the Northern Command — with the exceptional General BC Joshi, who was chief in 1993-94. Some rate Joshi as the best Chief of Army Staff India has had since Field Marshal Manekshaw retired in January 1973.

“It is very rare to have three such extraordinary officers near the top of the pyramid at the same time,” another very senior officer had remarked earlier this year. Now, the country faces the prospect of losing all three officers. For, it is possible that Generals Bakshi and Hariz may resign rather than serve under their junior.

The worst part of this denouement is that it comes at a time when the country faces a huge security challenge from the Sino-Pak axis. It would be a grave error to think the challenge in Jammu and Kashmir is a thing of the past. Militant attacks keep occurring (three soldiers were killed in one of two attacks reported on Saturday). There has been a lot of infiltration over the past couple of years, and unrest in such disturbed districts as Pulwama continues.

To lose three extraordinarily fine top officers at such a juncture is a compromise on national security. More importantly, this could have an adverse effect on morale down the line — particularly in the higher echelons of a force that has been through a lot of hard knocks in the past few months. Both superseded officers are hero-worshipped by many senior officers.

The fact that Lt Gen Hariz is a Muslim is irrelevant in the Armed Forces, which are more inclusive than perhaps any other major national institution. However, given the doubts that hang over the current government’s commitment to the country’s secular ideal, both domestically and internationally, his supersession gives a negative signal.

The greater irony is that this move has come from a government run by a political formation that strongly criticised Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for years after she superseded Lt Gen SK Sinha in 1983. Until now, that was the only time in the life of the republic that the senior most officer in the army was superseded in the appointment of a new chief of army staff.

This sort of thing is far more common in Pakistan, where the army is much more political than the Indian Army has so far been. If supersessions become the accepted and expected norm, officers would tend to invest in relationships with political parties and build other sorts of political alignments in the course of their careers, hoping for rewards.

That would not be good for the army.

It would be even worse for the country.

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 08:35 IST

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat to be new Army Chief, Air Marshal BS Dhanoa to head IAF

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government on Saturday appointed vice chief of army staff Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the new Army chief superseding his two senior officers, while vice chief of air staff Air Marshal B S Dhanoa has been made the new chief of the Indian Air Force.”Government has decided to appoint Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, vice chief of army staff, as the next chief of army staff with effect from afternoon of December 31,” the Defence Ministry said in a tweet. It also tweeted that Air Marshal B S Dhanoa will take over as IAF chief with effect from afternoon of December 31.Lt Gen Rawat, an infantry soldier, superseded senior most army commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, who headed the Eastern Command and was next in line to be the army chief, besides Southern Command Chief P M Hariz.Government sources said Lt Gen Rawat was found best suited among the Lt Generals to deal with emerging challenges, including a reorganized and restructured military force in the north, continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west, and the situation in the North-East.They said Lt Gen Rawat has tremendous hands-on experience of serving in combat areas and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades.He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the LoC with Pakistan, the LAC with China and in the North-East.He is known for his balanced approach towards soldiering, compassion, and connect with civil society.His experience as GOC-in-C Southern Army Command in Mechanised Warfare has been focused towards the western borders, in coordination with the other two services, the sources said.Supersession in the army is not new though there has not been any such instances in the recent past. In 1983, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had appointed Lt Gen A S Vaidya as army chief superseding Lt Gen S K Sinha, who resigned in protest.Earlier in 1972, the Gandhi government side-stepped the very popular Lt General P S Bhagat, one of the handful of Indian Victoria Cross awardees from World War II, who was in line to succeed General (later Field Marshal) Sam Manekshaw.This was done by giving his junior, General G G Bewoor a year’s extension, during which time Bhagat retired. Bewoor, thus, succeeded Manekshaw.Defence Ministry sources said the focus was on suitability and merit for the selection of the new Army chief.They said that Lt Gen Bakshi, an Armoured corps officer, spent most of his career in Jodhpur and had two postings in Kashmir but the positions he was in were not considered field posting.The sources added that Lt Gen Hariz had no experience in operational areas in terms of counter insurgency or seeing action along the LoC.With Lt Gen Rawat’s sudden promotion as the army chief, the line of succession in the force will get affected.The IAF, which has also seen supersession in the past, was set for a smooth transition with Dhanoa, the first in line for the post, named its new chief.He was commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF in June 1978. He has served in various squadrons and in the Intelligence Directorate of Air Headquarters.Rawat was commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the Eleven Gorkha Rifles in December 1978, from IMA, Dehradun, where he was awarded the Sword of Honour .The General Officer has vast experience in high altitude warfare and counter insurgency operations.He commanded an Infantry battalion along the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern sector, a Rashtriya Rifles sector and an Infantry Division in the Kashmir Valley. He has tenanted instructional appointments at Indian Military Academy, Dehradun and Army War College, Mhow.Lt Gen Rawat also held important staff appointments at Directorate General of Military Operations and Military Secretary s Branch at Army Headquarters.He has been Major General General Staff at HQ Eastern Command. The officer commanded a Multinational Brigade in a Chapter VII mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC).An alumni of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, the Higher Command and National Defence College Courses, the General Officer, during the span of over 35 years of service in uniform, has been awarded for gallantry and distinguished service.Prior to taking over as the VCOAS, Lt Gen Rawat was holding the post of the GOC-in-C, Southern Command.

Uttarakhand govt reverses its own order on whistleblower Sanjiv Chaturvedi’s posting

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttarakhand government has reversed its decision of posting whistleblower Indian Forest Service officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi as OSD National Green Tribunal, with the Chief Minister saying that he will be given a fresh posting “of his choice”. Chaturvedi is said to have been not very keen in taking up his assignment as OSD, NGT where he had to represent Uttarakhand, which is facing over 180 cases related to violation of environmental norms.In reply to a question late yesterday, Chief Minister Harish Rawat told reporters that Chief Secretary Shatrughna Singh has been asked to withdraw the decision taken regarding the posting of Chaturvedi. “The officer will now be given a fresh posting of his choice,” Rawat said.In a letter to the Chief Secretary earlier this month, Chaturvedi had expressed his desire to offer his services in the state vigilance department or state anti corruption bureau. Chaturvedi, a 2002-batch Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer, had been at loggerheads with the Centre and had approached courts against some of the decisions of the central government of allegedly denying him due service- related benefits.He had earlier worked as Chief Vigilance Officer and then as Deputy Secretary in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) from June 2012 to June 2016.Last year, he had sought inter-cadre deputation to Delhi government. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet-led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declined the proposal for inter- cadre deputation of Chaturvedi (for appointment as Officer on Special Duty to the Delhi Chief Minister) from Uttarakhand cadre.

Uttarakhand: Rawat admits govt found 31 skeletons near Kedarnath

Dehradun: The Uttarakhand government on Monday admitted that many skeletons had been recovered from near the Kedarnath temple that was badly hit by flash floods and heavy rains in 2013.

Chief Minister Harish Rawat confirmed that 31 skeletons had been recovered and that 23 had been cremated.

The shocking discovery was made at Triyuginarayan, a spot on the Kedarnath trek which was hit by flash floods and heavy rains in June 2013.

The DNA of the skeletons has been preserved for forensic tests and identification at a later stage, he added.

The disclosure comes after sketchy and unconfirmed reports of recovery of several human skeletons in the Kedarnath region.

Harish Rawat. PTIHarish Rawat. PTI

Harish Rawat. PTI

Officials fear the skeletons were possibly of devotees who fled the raging river waters after the cloud burst over Kedarnath and trekked to higher altitudes but died due to lack of food and water.

The cremation of the remaining eight skeletons would be conducted on Tuesday, an official told IANS.

Chief Minister Rawat has directed officials to do a threadbare combing of the region for the next days to look for more skeletons.

Officials pointed out that the discovery of the 31 skeletons in the Triyuginarayan area indicated that there could be more skeletons buried in the area.

Massive rains struck the Kedarnath-Badrinath and Gangotri routes in 2013, even as the annual ‘Chaar Dhaam’ pilgrimage was underway.

Several thousands had died in the calamity and hundreds had gone missing.

A brief search operation was conducted then but was aborted. Some families conducted their own search and combing expeditions but with very little success.

AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan gets bail in sexual harassment case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Delhi court on Thursday granted bail to AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan, who was arrested in connection with a sexual harassment case filed by his sister-in-law, after the investigator said he was not required for custodial interrogation.Metropolitan Magistrate Vijeta Singh Rawat gave the relief to the politician on a personal bond of Rs 35,000 and a surety of the like amount and asked him not to contact the complainant or threaten her to take back the complaint.”He shall not in any manner whatsoever interfere in the ongoing probe, the court said, adding that whenever he is required in the police station, he will join and not come along with his supporters.While imposing certain conditions on him, the court said that if violated, the investigating officer (IO) will be at liberty to approach the court for cancellation of Khan’s bail.”Prima facie from the allegations, it appears that section 498A of IPC as such is not made out against the accused as there is no evidence for any demand of dowry or regarding mental physical cruelty perpetrated by him on the complainant.”The primary allegations against him are of section 354 IPC which are of year 2011-2012. However, there are allegations of section 509 IPC which may be recent in nature,” the court said.The court passed the order after the IO said that the politician was not required for custodial interrogation and the probe regarding him was complete.In its order, the court also warned the MLA saying, “he shall not in any manner whatsoever, personally or through his relatives, contact the complainant or threaten her to take back the complaint.”Khan was yesterday arrested and sent to a day in judicial custody.The MLA was arrested by Delhi Police for the second time in three months on separate complaints of women.On September 18, the Okhla MLA, who was out on bail in another case of molestation and criminal intimidation, had gone to the Jamia Nagar Police station and had asked the police to arrest him but they had refused.

Amit Shah sounds poll bugle in Uttarakhand, slams Harish Rawat

Describing the Harish Rawat government in Uttarakhand as “one steeped in corruption”, BJP president Amit Shah on Saturday asked the people to dislodge it from power and help the lotus “bloom” in the state.”With a BJP government at the Centre, it would be ideal if there is a BJP government in the state as well. That would ensure smooth implementation of development schemes conceived for the state by the Centre,” he said sounding the poll bugle from the party’s Shankhnad rally at Rishikul Maidan here. Asking the people to get rid of a “corrupt government embroiled in scams”, Shah said if they were looking for development, they should overthrow it in the 2017 Assembly polls in the state and let the lotus bloom.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mocking at Congress for accusing BJP of “murdering democracy” in the hill state, Shah urged the people never to forget June 25, the date on which former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had declared Emergency and “muzzled the whole nation”. “You should never forgive those who imposed Emergency and murdered democracy silencing a whole nation and reducing the media to a helpless mouthpiece of those in power,” he said.Assuring that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “grandiose” plans for Uttarakhand, Shah said it was necessary to have a BJP government in the state to help those plans materialise.Taking a dig at Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for “repeatedly asking” what has the BJP government done in the last two years, he said the party has given the country an “audible” Prime Minister in place of “one who was audible only to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi”. “You ask us what did we do? My answer is, we have given the country a Prime Minister who speaks. You had given the country a PM who could be heard either by you or Soniaji,” he said, adding that the Congress’ also left a legacy of scams worth Rs 12 lakh crore.Rolling out a long list of schemes launched by the Modi government, especially for the poor, farmers and women, the BJP president said Rahul should pose the question to Rawat instead. “While you (Rahul) relax and beat the heat in a foreign land, you ask us what did we do in two years. You better ask that question to your Harish Rawat whom the whole country saw negotiating a deal to buy back the support of disgruntled MLAs for Rs 5 crore each,” said Shah referring to the sting CD controversy involving the Uttarakhand Chief Minister.With his “track record of corruption”, Rawat has no right to remain as the Chief Minister even for a minute, he said, exhorting the people to give BJP a mandate so that Centre’s schemes, including distribution of free LPG connections to five crore poor by 2018, could be achieved in totality.

Drunk youth kills two, injures one

The road behind Tihar Jail in West Delhi is quiet early in the morning on Monday. The early birds on the street include two morning walkers and two others who were presumably on their way to play tennis. This peace was suddenly shattered by a Silver Honda City that raced down the narrow streets mowing down 67-year-old Ashwini Anand.Early Monday morning around 6:30, 21-year-old Rishabh Rawat, driving under the influence of alcohol mowed down three people at three different spots as he was on his way home. Rawat, a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) student, was returning home after a hard night’s partying from a friend’s house in Hari Nagar – which is barely 2.3 kms or about 10 minutes at the time in the morning. Rawat’s father Anil, owns a hardware store in South Delhi’s South Extension area.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Kameshwar Prasad, 40, and Ashwini Anand, 67, were killed in the accident while Santosh, 40, was critically injured and admitted to a hospital,” the official said. Anand and Santosh were residents of Janakpuri, whereas Prasad lived in Sagarpur.”The car was intercepted after a chase of around 400 meters. The errant driver tried to step out of the vehicle and flee. However, the policemen overpowered him. He was found driving under the influence of alcohol,” said Pushpendra Kumar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (West). The driver has been arrested and a case of rash and negligent driving causing deaths and injuries has been registered, Kumar said.According to sources, the youth was so drunk, that he could barely stand and had to be supported by the police officials who nabbed him.According to the Close Circuit Television (CCTV) footage accessed by dna, Anand was walking with his friend Mr. Mehta when a car came careening on the wrong side of the road. The car hit with such force that Anand was flung more than 20 metres away and falling behind a tree on the pavement behind him. His companion Mehta, just stood there in shock as two passers-by, on their way for tennis quickly sprung into action.According to reports, Rawat was driving under the influence of alcohol and hit Prasad first at a corner, then hit Anand a few metres away and finally Santosh.”My father-in-law would go for his morning walks everyday. He was on his way home when he was hit. The spot where the accident took place is barely 250 metres away from our house,” said Sunny Ahuja.Anand who had retired from his tyre business, is survived by his wife Mamta and two daughters. Anand’s funeral will take place tomorrow once his daughters’ Sakshi and Deepti – who live in New York, United States of America (USA), reach Delhi. “I was in town for some work when this incident took place,” said Ahuja, who is married to Anand’s daughter Deepti.The Delhi Police authorities have impounded the Silver Honda City, which has been mangled at the bonnet.

CBI question Harish Rawat for over two hours

Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday in connection with a sting operation in which allegedly shows him trying to influence some rebel MLAs of the state Congress. This is the second time Rawat has been questioned by the agency after it lodged a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) on April 29. The agency had said that Rawat, during his first round of questioning on May 24, did not respond to all of the queries of the probe agency. A claim refuted by the sitting CM of Uttarakhand. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rawat had also denied the allegation and called the video fake after it was released by the rebel Congress legislators but later admitted that he was on camera in the sting operation.“Mr Rawat was questioned today by our investigators are the Delhi headquarter of the agency. The questioning, that lasted for two and a half hours, is part of the preliminary enquiry,” said a CBI spokesperson. The agency official added that the senior Congress leader will be questioned further if required but did not specify the possible date of the next round of questioning. In a PE, which is generally followed by an FIR, the agency verifies the facts in the complaint received by it. The agency can only “request” a person “to join the probe” and cannot summon him, carry out searches or make any arrests, hence the agency had officially requested the Uttarakhand CM to join the probe.The PE against Rawat was registered on the reference received from the state government (during President’s rule) and subsequent notification from BJP-led central government. This was after rebel Congress legislators released a CD showing Rawat offering bribes to rebel Congress lawmakers to support him during a floor test in the Uttarakhand Assembly.After Rawat’s won the floor test, the state cabinet withdrew the notification recommending a CBI probe into a sting operation involving him but his plea to stop the central agency’s probe was rejected by the Uttarakhand High Court.

Gurudas Kamat resigns: Only a surname is leader in Congress, rest have no value – BJP taunts Gandhi family

Taking a jibe at the Congress post the exit of senior leaders Ajit Jogi and Gurudas Kamat, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday alleged that the grand-old party considers only a surname as their leader while giving no value to the rest despite their impeccable contributions. Addressing the media here, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said only one surname is considered a leader in the Congress Party and the rest have no value. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Advising the Congress not to sideline the contribution made by several party stalwarts, Madhav said this was perhaps the main reason for the grand old party’s dismal show in the recent assembly polls.”The Congress should first believe that there are great leaders in their party. They believe only two or three people are there, who are great in the party,” Madhav said. “This has been main the reason for the people rejecting them and that is why they are being defeated after every election,” he added. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, however, downplayed the exit of Jogi and Kamat from the party, saying those weak from the mind and heart tend to run away during troubles, but added that the grand old party would bounce back yet again. “The people, who are weak from the mind and heart, run away during troubles. It is the time of dilemma. If the Congress can come out of 1977 emergency, 1989 and also phase the troubles during the regime of Atal Bihari Vajpayee then it can definitely come out of trouble even now,” Rawat said.The Congress has received a setback with two CWC members’ Ajit Jogi and Gurudas Kamat quitting the party.

Uttarakhand: 9 rebel MLAs who joined BJP will receive enhanced security

Days after they joined BJP, nine Congress rebel MLAs in Uttarakhand including former Chief Minister Vijay Bahugana figure in the Central VIP security list and have been provided a round-the-clock cover by armed commandos from para-military forces. The security cover for the MLAs, who have been disqualified, was provided based on “inputs” suggesting that they were facing “threats” to their lives, official sources said on Thursday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Though the nine MLAs have been categorised for ‘Y’ grade security, instructions have been sent that there should be a round-the-clock cover of their residences. In ‘Y’ grade category, the protectee is only provided with two security officers which includes one with an automatic weapon. However, in this case, each MLA including Bahuguna, will have at least 8-10 commandos from CISF for their security during their movement within the state.”An analysis report prepared by central security agencies had shown threat perception to the MLAs from certain quarters and hence the central paramilitary has been tasked to secure them,” a senior official in the security establishment said.
ALSO READ Uttarakhand HC to hear nine rebel Cong MLAs’ petition todayThe Central Industrial Security Force(CISF) has a special wing to provide security to VIPs and VVIPs and it’s prominent protectees included RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, NSA Ajit Doval and few Ministers of the Union Cabinet. The nine rebel Congress MLAs, who were disqualified from the state assembly under the anti-defection law, had recently joined the BJP. Besides Bahuguna, the other MLAs are Harak Singh Rawat, Amruta Rawat, Shailendra Mohan, Kunwar Pranav Singh, Subodh Uniyal, Pradeep Batra, Shaila Rani Rawat and Umesh Sharma.

Sting CD case: Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat appears before CBI

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Tuesday appeared before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with a sting operation probe in which he was allegedly shown offering bribe to rebel Congress MLAs to save his government.”As a law abiding citizen I will appear before CBI so that people won’t get an impression that I am trying to avoid the agency,” Rawat told ANI before reaching CBI headquarters.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CBI had last week rejected the state government’s notification withdrawing the nod for probing the case which was given during President’s Rule.The Uttarakhand High Court also did not stay the CBI probe as requested by Rawat.CBI had said the notification was rejected after taking legal opinion, which said there was no ground for its withdrawal and it was “not legally tenable”.Earlier on May 20, the Congress government in Uttarakhand decided to constitute a judicial committee to look into various issues, including incidents unfolding after March 17-18 such as horse trading, misuse of agencies and sting operation among others.Justifying the Cabinet’s decision, Rawat then said that it was in the wider interest of the state that this matter is handed over to a judicial commission.The video shows Rawat indulging in horse trading a day before President’s rule was imposed in Uttarakhand on March 27.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had alleged that the sting was proof of unfair means used by the Rawat regime to stay in power. Rawat has maintained his innocence in the matter and termed the entire episode as a ‘conspiracy’ to tarnish his image.

Sting CD case: Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat to appear before CBI today

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat will on Tuesday appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with a sting operation probe in which he was allegedly shown offering bribe to rebel Congress MLAs to save his government.The investigating agency had earlier rejected the notification of the Uttarakhand Government after taking legal opinion which said that there was no ground for its withdrawal.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier on May 20, the Congress government in Uttarakhand decided to constitute a judicial committee to look into various issues, including incidents unfolding after March 17-18 such as horse trading, misuse of agencies and sting operation among others.Justifying the Cabinet’s decision, Rawat then said that it was in the wider interest of the state that this matter is handed over to a judicial commission.The video shows Rawat indulging in horse trading a day before President’s rule was imposed in Uttarakhand on March 27.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had alleged that the sting was proof of unfair means used by the Rawat regime to stay in power.Rawat has maintained his innocence in the matter and termed the entire episode as a ‘conspiracy’ to tarnish his image.

Sting CD case: Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat says he will cooperate with CBI

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harsih Rawat, who has been summoned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the sting CD probe, on Monday hoped for an unbiased probe into the matter and assured to fully cooperate with the investigative agency.Rawat told ANI, “The CBI has given me a date for Tuesday. So, I am going to Delhi in the same regard. Whatever the CBI wants to know I will tell them as I said earlier that I am going to fully cooperate with the investigative agency. Now, I leave it on to the CBI to probe the matter in an unbiased manner.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CBI has asked Rawat to appear before it on Tuesday.Earlier on May 20, the Congress government in Uttarakhand decided to constitute a judicial committee to look into various issues, including incidents unfolding after March 17-18 such as horse trading, misuse of agencies and sting operation among others.Justifying the Cabinet’s decision, Rawat then said that it was in the wider interest of the state that this matter is handed over to a judicial commission.The video shows Rawat indulging in horse trading a day before President’s rule was imposed in Uttarakhand on March 27.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had alleged that the sting was proof of unfair means used by the Rawat regime to stay in power.Rawat has maintained his innocence in the matter and termed the entire episode as a “conspiracy” to tarnish his image.

BJP MP Tarun Vijay attacked by mob for visiting temple with Dalits

Dehradun: Rajya Sabha member Tarun Vijay was today attacked by a mob and his car vandalized after he came out of a temple with Dalit leaders in Chakrata, 180 kilometres from Dehradun.

The mob attacked Vijay and the Dalit leader apparently for visiting the temple where entrance of persons belonging to backward castes is prohibited.

Tarun VijayTarun Vijay

A file photo of Tarun Vijay. AFP

“Vijay, along with a few Dalit leaders visited Silgur Devta temple. The mob pelted stones on them when they stepped out of the temple,” Sub Inspector, Chakrata police station, Lalit Kumar said.

The police team present there rescued the Uttarakhand MP and the Dalit leaders who sustained minor injuries, Kumar said, adding Vijay was taken to a hospital and his condition is stated to stable.

Condemning the attack, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat ordered Garhwal Commissioner to look into the incident.

“Such incidents will not be tolerated. Strict action will be taken against those found responsible for the attack,” Rawat said.

Following the Chief minister’s orders, a team of officers has left Dehradun for Chakrata.

Tarun Vijay attacked: Wife says he is alive as he hid from attackers; CM Rawat promises strict action

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Saturday met BJP Rajya Sabha MP Tarun Vijay who is recuperating at a hospital in Dehradun after an attack on Friday noon. After meeting Tarun Vijay, Rawat promised to take strict action against the accused. Tarun Vijay was attacked by a mob and his car was vandalised after he came out of a temple with Dalit leaders in Chakrata on Friday.Talking to the reporters after meeting the injured MP, the Chief Minister assured that Vijay’s condition was stable and that the doctors were happy with the line of treatment given to him, adding, that he has conveyed to the medical team of complete assistance from the state government.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are pursuing this matter. Investigation has been ordered and as soon as the report comes, strict action will be taken,” Rawat added.He also said that public awareness also needs to be cultivated in the matter. “Yes, customs should be respected, but you can’t stop someone from worshipping. I want to call on all religious leaders in the state to open the doors of their temples to people from all faith and also to the Dalits. After all, everyone is human,” Rawat said.Meanwhile, Tarun Vijay’s wife said, “He is really injured, he told me he hid from the attackers that’s why he is alive. The villagers attacked him with sticks and stones and he is in the ICU right now.” The mob attacked Vijay and the Dalit leader reportedly for visiting the temple where entrance of persons belonging to backward castes is prohibited.The police team present there rescued the Uttarakhand MP and the Dalit leaders who sustained minor injuries. Following the Chief minister’s orders, a team of officers has left Dehradun for Chakrata.(With Inputs from ANI)

Uttarakhand govt to provide free geometry box to students

Uttarakhand cabinet on Saturday decided to provide geometry box to all the students from class third to eighth and sanitary napkins to all the girl students in government and government-aided schools.The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Harish Rawat. 6.25 lakh students from government and government-aided schools would be benefited from the decision, Chief Secretary Shatrughan Singh said. It will cost exchequer Rs 3.25 crore annually. Free napkins to girls would cost Rs 15 crore annually, he added.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Cabinet also decided to contribute half of the premium in Prime Minister Crop Insurance Scheme, that will cost Rs 4 crore annually to the exchequer. However, it will be for rain-dependent crops. The state government will also give Rs 300 per quintal to farmers as bonus for various mountain crops like mandua, ramdana etc.

Harish Rawat sting operation: Congress to respond legally to CBI notice

The Congress Party on Friday said that it would respond legally to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) notice to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat in connection with the alleged sting operation.”We don’t have any information in this regard, when we get any details then only we can comment on it. When we get the CBI’s letter, we will go through its legality and cross verify it with the letter that we have sent to the CBI. Only then, we will come to a conclusion,” Congress leader Indira Hridayesh told ANI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The CBI will give a notice and we will answer it legally. Harish Rawat is the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and a decision will be taken after all considerations,” she added.The comments from the grand old party come after the CBI rejected the Uttarakhand Government’s notification withdrawing permission for it to probe a sting operation allegedly involving Rawat.The investigative agency had on Thursday maintained that it will soon call Rawat for certain clarifications in the case.The CBI, on its part, said they have received a communication from the Uttarakhand Government and are getting the matter legally examined.The video shows Rawat indulging in horse trading a day before President’s rule was imposed in Uttarakhand on March 27. The BJP had alleged that the sting was proof of unfair means used by the Rawat regime to stay in power.Rawat has maintained his innocence in the matter and termed the entire episode as a conspiracy to tarnish his image.The Centre revoked President’s rule from Uttarakhand on May 11 after Rawat proved his majority on the floor of the house.

BJP inducts 9 Congress rebels despite state unit’s unease

A week after Harish Rawat won the trust vote in Uttarakhand assembly, nine rebel Congress MLAs joined the BJP despite reservations of its state unit on Wednesday.The BJP leadership inducted the MLAs, including Vijay Bahuguna, after a long meeting with state leaders, including BC Khanduri, Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and state unit chief Ajay Bhatt. The state unit had expressed it’s concerns about the fallout of the Congress rebels coming into the party fold in the elections next year. according to sources.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state leaders also conveyed that the political developments, the imposition of president’s rule and the trust vote had sent a negative message hurt the party’s image, sources said.There was speculation that a tenth Congress MLA may join the BJP later.The state leaders along with incharge Shyama Jaju held a meeting with party president Amit Shah.The final decision, however, was left to Shah.The state leaders felt Congress rebels joining the party could affect equations in constituencies, which the nine Congress rebels had represented and lead to more factionalism. The BJP leaders would also want tickets from the same seats.

A switch in time: Rebel Congress legislators of Uttarakhand join BJP

New Delhi: The nine disqualified rebel Congress legislators of Uttarakhand, whose shifting loyalty led to a political upheaval in the hill state, joined the BJP on Wednesday.

The nine rebel Congress leaders were barred from voting in the floor test. Getty images

The nine rebel Congress leaders were barred from voting in the floor test. Getty images

The rebel Congress leaders joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at its headquarters here in the presence of Uttarakhand in-charge Shyam Jaju.

The move was decided at a meeting of the Uttarakhand BJP core group leaders with BJP president Amit Shah and other senior leaders.

The meeting was attended by BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, former Uttarakhand chief ministers Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Ramesh Pokharial Nishank and senior leader Satpal Maharaj, among others.

The nine rebel Congress leaders were barred from voting in the floor test.

Congress legislator Rekha Arya, who changed her loyalty to BJP on the day of the floor test, has also given her consent to join the saffron party.

Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal had disqualified the nine, led by former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna.

Other than Bahuguna, the nine rebel Congress leaders were Harak Singh Rawat, Subodh Unial, Amrita Rawat, Umesh Sharma, Shailendra Mohan Singhal, Pradeep Batra, Pranav Singh and Shailarani Rawat.

They had challenged their disqualification earlier in the Nainital High Court and then in Supreme Court, but didn’t get any relief.

In a first, Savinder Kaur, wife of late Hardev Singh, will head Nirankari Mission

After the death of Baba Hardev Singh, the leader of the Sant Nirankari Mission, some news reports speculated that his daughter would take over. Now, according to a report in the Hindustan Times, the decision was taken on Tuesday night that his wife Savinder Kaur will head the spiritual organisation.

Kaur, who married Hardev Singh in 1975, will reportedly be the first woman to head the sect that was founded in 1929, the HT report also added.

A report by Zee News noted that Kaur hailed from Uttar Pradesh and that she used to accompany Baba Hardev Singh at every congregation, sitting on his right as an equal. It also added that she asked for the followers to be friendly with each other and take the mission forward as willed by the former leader.

A report by the website India.com said that Kaur was given the ceremonial ‘dupatta’ during a ceremony on Tuesday and a 21-member management committee was also present.

File photo of Hardev Singh.Photo credit: Facebook, Nirankari Baba Hardev SinghFile photo of Hardev Singh.Photo credit: Facebook, Nirankari Baba Hardev Singh

File photo of Hardev Singh.Photo credit: Facebook, Nirankari Baba Hardev Singh

On 13 May, Hardev Singh, 62, was killed in a road accident in Canada.

Hardev Singh is the son of assassinated Nirankari head Gurbachan Singh. After his early schooling at Rosary Public School, Sant Nirankari Colony, Delhi, he joined Yadavindra Public School, Patiala, a boarding school, in 1963.

On completion of his schooling, he studied in Delhi University. In 1971, he joined the Nirankari Sewa Dal as its primary member.

After the assassination of his father Gurbachan Singh, who was then head of the Sant Nirankari Mission in 1980, Hardev Singh succeeded as the ‘Satguru’ of the organisation.

Sant Nirankari Mission was established in 1929, by Buta Singh.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the demise of Hardev Singh terming it as a “tragic and great loss to the spiritual world. My thoughts are with his countless followers in this sad time.”

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh mourned the death of Baba Hardev Singh.

In a condolence message, Khattar described Hardev Singh as a “great spiritual leader” who would be long remembered for his tireless service to the humanity. His death is a great loss to the spiritual world.”

Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Amarinder Singh said Hardev’s death “is a great loss not only to his followers but also humanity as a whole since he was a great spiritual leader.”

The former chief minister said, the spiritual void created by his death will be very difficult to be filled. “I personally share the grief of the family and followers over this great loss”, he said.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat described Hardev Singh’s death as an “irreparable loss to humanity.”

“Baba Hardev Singh ji’s work in the field of spirituality cannot be forgotten. He added a new dimension to the Nirankari Mission. His death is an irreparable loss to humanity,” Rawat said in a statement.

Uttarakhand Pradesh Congress President Kishore Upadhyay also condoled his death saying his words of wisdom in a terror-torn world were like a guiding light in a room filled with darkness.

With inputs from PTI

Uttarakhand government hand-in-glove with criminals: BJP

BJP on Saturday hit out Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat for withdrawing the Governor’s decision to set up a police station at Tyuni and said the move clearly vindicates BJP’s charge that his government is hand-in-glove with criminals and mafia. “The manner in which Rawat is taking decisions after returning to power justifies our charge that his government has had a close nexus with the mining, narcotics, liquor and timbre mafia,” state BJP spokesman, Munna Singh Chauhan said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said one of the first decisions taken by Rawat after assuming office was to annul a decision taken by Governor K K Paul during President’s rule to set up a police station in Tyuni in Dehradun district on popular demand. “Tyuni is known for narcotics, timber, liquor and wildlife smuggling and residents of the area have been demanding a police station for 18 years now. However, state home minister (Pritam Singh) has been opposing its creation tooth and nail,” Chauhan said. Accusing Rawat of running his government like a “barter business”, in which MLAs and ministers were being allotted areas and given absolute freedom to run them as their fiefdoms in return for their support, Chauhan said his victory in the assembly floor test was part of this quid-pro-quo. “Opposing the idea of a police station in Tyuni whose crime rate is higher than that of Dehradun and is a hub of illegal activity puts it beyond doubt that the state government is doing this to promote the interest of the mafia and perpetuate its unholy nexus with them,” Chauhan said.

Harish Rawat chairs first cabinet meeting after being reinstated

Chief Minister Harish Rawat is holding his first Cabinet Meeting on Thursday after being reinstated to the top post.The meeting is taking place at Uttarakhand secretariat The Centre had yesterday revoked President’s rule from Uttarakhand after Rawat-led Congress proved its majority on the floor of the House.The Congress won by a margin of 33-28 in the floor test on Tuesday.The result of the trust vote was handed over to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover on Wednesday along with video recording of the proceedings in the state assembly. The decision to revoke the President’s rule in Uttarakhand has created an atmosphere of jubilation in the state Congress camp. The Congress has stated it is a victory of democracy. The Centre had imposed President’s rule in the state on March 27, arguing that the Rawat government lost majority when nine rebel Congress MLAs voted against the state government’s annual budget.

Supreme Court puts stamp of trust on democracy, Harish Rawat to be back as CM

Going through an unprecedented patch of uncertainty for six weeks that involved rulings by three benches – two of high court and one of the Supreme Court – Harish Rawat-led Congress government is finally all set to regain the lost power in Uttarakhand.As Supreme Court declared the results of the floor test 33-28 in favour of Congress, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said, “No doubt Rawat had proved his majority. He is to be restored as CM the very moment President’s rule is revoked…We will revoke the President’s rule from today.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Opening the sealed envelop sent by the principal secretary of legislative and parliamentary affairs,Uttarakhand, the bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said “Rawat gets 33 votes out of 61 in the floor test. No irregularities were found in the voting. Nine MLAs could not vote due to their disqualification. He (Rawat) can assume office as chief minister.”Soon after the Supreme Court observation, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “Hope Modiji learns his lesson-ppl of this country & the institutions built by our founding fathers will not tolerate the murder of democracy!”Welcoming the verdict, Rawat said, “Let us forget the past and start a new chapter…I will work without any vengeance and seek cooperation of the Centre for the development of the state. I would soon meet the Prime Minister and the union finance minister and seek their help.” Rawat now faces an uphill task to complete pending public works before elections next year.A thin majority based on outside support gives Rawat little room to play politically. He has only two vacant cabinet berths and it is going to be tough to fill these posts while keeping everyone happy. Sources close to Harish Rawat said that one berth could go to BSP’s Sarvat Karim and the second may go to a Congress or an Independent MLA.A dejected state BJP president Ajay Bhatt who is also the leader of opposition, was sarcastic. He claimed that the return of Harish Rawat would again lead to loot culture in the state.Still hoping that a later verdict on the nine defected MLAs could turn the tide in BJP’s favour, Bhatt said Rawat would have support of only 34 in full house of 71.”Some of undeserving MLAs committed harakiri by falling into BJP’s trap. The BJP has also suffered a loss of face in Uttarakhand because of this. It will tell upon BJP in 2017 elections,” Vishal Dobhal, a senior Congress politician said.Appearing for the ousted CM, Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, “It’s a fair decision and there were no irregularities in the proceeding.”The bench, which recorded that there was no irregularities while conducting the floor test, said Harish Rawat will assume office as CM after President’s rule is revoked and asked the AG to produce the order of revocation by Friday (May 13).”We allow the Centre to revoke forthwith the order of proclamation of President’s rule in the state,” it said.The court, however, kept the plea alive saying it will examine the justifiability of the Presidential Proclamation issued on March 27 night and also the issue of rebel Congress MLAs who were disqualified by the Speaker under the anti-defection law, a decision that was upheld by the Uttarakhand High Court.The bench said the justifiability of the President’s rule has to be gone into and observed, “Suppose we set aside the disqualification of the nine MLAs, there will be another floor test.””We also clarify that nine members of the Legislative assembly did not vote as they stand disqualified,” it said.During the argument, Sibal said, “Our appreciation is for the fair stand taken by the AG.”Earlier, the AG submitted that the order of April 22, 2016 putting in operation the President’s rule, after the high court had quashed it, has to be modified so that Union of India can take steps for revocation of the President’s rule.On Friday, it will peruse the order of revocation of proclamation of President’s rule in Uttarakhand while also fixing the next date for hearing the appeal filed by Centre against the high court order quashing imposition of President’s rule under Article 356 of the Constitution.The Congress demanded an unconditional apology from PM Modi for putting democracy under threat. “He should sack the minister who advised him to go for such an unconstitutional misadventure,” Sibal said.

dna Afternoon Must Reads: Live updates of Uttarakhand floor test; launch of Whatsapp desktop app; and more

1. Live | Uttarakhand: Congress wins floor test; Rawat says will meet PM Modi, FM to tell them state needs their support”Rawat gets 33 votes out of 61 in the floor test. No irregularities were found in the voting. 9 MLAs could not vote due to their disqualification,” an apex court bench said and directed revocation of the President’s rule forthwith so that 68-year-old Rawat can assume office as Chief Minister. Read more here<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Sheena Bora murder case: Indrani’s ex-driver Shyamvar Rai wants to turn approver; says Sheena was strangledIn a fresh twist to the sensational Sheena Bora murder case, key accused Indrani Mukerjea’s former driver Shyamvar Rai on Wednesday told a special CBI court here that he wants to turn approver and “disclose certain truths about the commission of the offence.” Read more here3. Newer model of helmet with enhanced safety standard wouldn’t have saved Phil Hughes, says review reportHughes, who played 26 Tests, died from bleeding in the brain in November 2014 after being hit on the base of the skull by a rising ball at the Sydney Cricket Ground during a domestic match. His death — a freak accident — stunned Australia and the world cricket community, sparking an outpouring of grief. Read more here4. Shocking: AR Rahman’s miffed with Aamir Khan, here’s why!But even before the film goes on floors, trouble has struck the team. Music director AR Rahman and Prasoon Joshi who were working on the soundtrack have called it quits and opted out of the project. Read more here5. WhatsApp desktop app launches for Windows and Mac: Here’s how to useA desktop app version of WhatsApp comes to PC’s running Microsoft’s Windows 8 (or higher) and Apple’s Macintosh computers running OS X 10.9+ (or higher). Read more here

Has Harish Rawat won the Uttarakhand floor test? Here’s what it all really means

The Uttarakhand Assembly took a floor test of former chief minister Harish Rawat’s government on Tuesday, and according to reports on various news channels, Rawat has won the trust vote. The Supreme Court of India will declare the official result on Wednesday.

It was an unprecedented vote in that it is being directly supervised by the Supreme Court.

In India’s constitutional history, the courts have never had to step in on the functioning of a legislature and it’s for that reason alone that, irrespective of whether Rawat actually wins or loses, the message is already loud and clear. The message is for the NDA government at the Centre. And it is simple: Hands off Article 356.

The BJP should introspect on its acts that brought about this unprecedented denouement in Indian democracy where the apex court not only challenged the Centre’s imposition of President’s Rule in a state, but also accorded to itself the responsibilities of a Speaker. Never before in the parliamentary history of India, not even during the Emergency, had the legislature been subjected to such judicial accountability.

File image of former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat. PTI

File image of former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat. PTI

The BJP should have realised that Article 356 is a no-go area since the SR Bommai case when its use became justiciable. The verdict in the Bommai case was a strict warning against the Centre’s adventurism and vile tactics to topple state governments led by its rivals. But, perhaps the BJP felt emboldened by its machinations in Arunachal Pradesh and made the mistake of implementing the same template in the hill state: Promote instability by luring rebels, impose President’s rule, revoke it and allow the rival faction to manipulate the trust vote.

In Uttarakhand, the high court checkmated the Centre by first, warning it against revoking the President’s Rule to pre-empt a trust vote and then, quashing it. That the Supreme Court almost upheld the spirit of the verdict by mandating voting on the floor of the House under its supervision is a rebuke the Centre should not forget. The other important lesson, and this is for every political party, is that the days of Aayaram and Gayaram are history.

By disqualifying rebel MLAs from voting in the Assembly, the judiciary has upheld the Anti-Defection Law in letter and spirit.

The fear of the law is now evident in Uttarakhand legislators. Before the Supreme Court-monitored voting, there were rumours that many horses were available for trading in the state’s political market. Now, afraid that they would be disqualified, they have gone back to their party stables.

Over the past two months, the Narendra Modi government has faced a series of embarrassments, taken several U-turns and been forced to rollback decisions it announced with a lot of fanfare.

The way it has gone around destabilising governments in smaller states — first Arunachal Pradesh and then Uttarakhand — it is apparent the BJP is using the Lok Sabha mandate to accumulate power through undemocratic means. Instead of using the mandate to fulfil the promises made to voters, it is more eager to destroy the rivals and pursue politics of vendetta. Perhaps the only jumla the party has taken seriously is that of making India Congress-mukt.

Even if it manages to topple the Congress government in Uttarakhand, the blot of being made to fall on its knees by the judiciary after toying with Article 356 will be difficult to erase.

When Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph, who was part of the two-member bench that quashed President’s Rule in the state, announced the verdict, he used some really harsh words for the Centre. He said the Court was “pained” by the Centre’s actions in the case on imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand where the Centre was acting like a “private party” instead of being impartial. “We are pained that the Central government can behave like this. How can you think of playing with the Court?” he asked.

Uttarakhand should be a timely reminder to the BJP against the perils of playing with the Court, Article 356, democracy and the 2014 mandate.

dna Morning Must Reads: Uttarakhand floor test; updates on Panama Papers; ‘Dhoom: Reloaded’ casting; and more

1. Bihar road rage: JD(U) MLC’s son Rocky Yadav accused of killing youth arrestedTwo days after allegedly shooting dead a 20-year-old youth in a road rage incident, Bihar police on Monday late night arrested the son of a JD(U) MLC who was on the run after the incident. Read more here<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Uttarakhand floor test: It’s advantage Rawat as Supreme Court benches rebelsOusted Chief Minister Harish Rawat will today move a trust vote in a court-monitored floor test. Read more here3. Panama Papers: New ICIJ data shows about 2,000 Indian linksThe ICIJ has published a massive trove of ‘Panama Papers’ information on detailed offshore holding of companies in various tax haven nations including thousands of documents related to India linking close to 2,000 individuals, entities and addresses from the country. Read more here4. MS Dhoni’s lack of faith in Ashwin surprises Daryll CullinanThe Indian Premier League is the flavour of the season. Thus, it was interesting to hear former cricketers talk about the talent on display and the different aspects of the game in the ongoing tournament. Read more here5. No Abhishek, no Uday; it will be Ranveer Singh vs Salman Khan for ‘Dhoom: Reloaded’?Sources swear that the next sequel of the Dhoom franchise, Dhoom Reloaded: The Chase Continues will have a young actor. And Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra who have been in the earlier three Dhooms, will no longer be part of the franchise. Read more here6. Donald Trump says London’s mayor could be ‘exception’ to proposed ban on MuslimsUS Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States (US), suggested on Monday he would make an exception for London’s newly elected Muslim mayor. Read more here

Uttarakhand floor test: Nine rebel Congress MLAs can’t vote, rules SC

New Delhi: While issuing notice on their plea challenging their disqualification, the Supreme Court on Monday gave no relief to nine Congress rebel MLAs seeking to vote during the confidence motion by ousted Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat.

The Uttarakhand High Court on Monday morning dismissed the plea by nine disqualified MLAs. PTI

The Uttarakhand High Court on Monday morning dismissed the plea by nine disqualified MLAs. PTI

Issuing notice to Uttarakhand assembly speaker, the apex court bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh directed the next hearing of the matter on July 12, saying that on that day it will consider the plea of the rebel MLAs for a stay of the judgment that Uttarakhand High Court pronounced earlier on Monday.

The high court on Monday morning dismissed the plea by nine disqualified MLAs, led by former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, who had challenged their disqualification by the speaker under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution providing for disqualification on account of defection.

The confidence motion by Harish Rawat is set to be conducted on Tuesday.

Uttarakhand sting operation: Former CM Harish Rawat not to appear before CBI today, seeks more time

Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Monday sought more time to appear before Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection to the first sting operation, which was conducted after crisis began in the hill state.Speaking to the media, Rawat said, “I have requested CBI for some time and I am hope that they will understand the situation and grant me the same.”The former chief minister also said that he will appear before the investigation agency and give them all the information that they will seek from him.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had on last Thursday summoned Rawat for inquiry,The sting CD made by the editor-in-chief of a private news channel and circulated by the nine Congress rebels, who created a political crisis in the state by siding with opposition BJP in the state Assembly, purportedly shows Rawat negotiating a money deal with the journalist to buy the support of MLAs who had revolted against him.
ALSO READ Uttarakhand crisis: BJP attacks Harish Rawat on sting, claims it will form govt in stateRawat later virtually accepted his presence in the video. He, however, said meeting a journalist was not a crime.Claiming innocence, Rawat said if the CD contained evidence of him having made an offer in cash or kind in exchange for the support of disgruntled MLAs he was ready to be hanged in public.
ALSO READ Uttarakhand crisis: 12 Congress MLAs were paid Rs 25 lakh each by Rawat, claims fresh ‘sting video'”If any evidence is found against me like me offering money or post to anybody, hang me at Clock tower,” he said.Alleging that the sting operation and the CBI probe into it were part of a “criminal conspiracy” by BJP to topple an elected government, he dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah to put him in jail if he is found in the wrong.

dna Morning Must Reads: From fresh sting video on Harish Rawat, Djokovic winning Madrid open; Game of Thrones and more

1. Uttarakhand crisis: New video stings Harish Rawat, gives BJP fresh ammoAs Congress and BJP prepared for a crucial test of strength in the Uttarakhand assembly on May 10, a new purported sting video targeting deposed chief minister Harish Rawat has sparked off a fierce political row.Read more here<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. We require more than 70,000 judges to clear pending cases: CJI TS ThakurThe country requires more than 70,000 judges now to clear the mounting backlog of cases, Chief Justice of India T S Thakur said on Sunday, making a fresh push for speedy appointments to the judiciary.Read more here3. Haji Ali Dargah has every right to ban women: Congress leaderThe grand old party Congress, which is already reeling into Augusta Westland chopper controversy, raked up another one on Sunday, when one of its senior leaders hailed the ban on women in the sanctum sanctorum of Mumbai’s famous Haji Ali Dargah. Nizamuddin Rayeen, chief of Mumbai Congress’ minority, also condemned efforts of the activists seeking “an equal right to pray”. Read more hereGame of Thrones: How the events of Tower of Joy led to the R+L=J theoryDepending on whose version you believe, it was either a love story or an abduction that sowed the seeds of the continuing political turbulence in Westeros. Read more here.5. Madrid Open: Djokovic defeats Murray to win 29th Masters titleWorld number one Novak Djokovic beat defending champion Andy Murray 6-2 3-6 6-3 in the Madrid Open final on Sunday to capture a record 29th Masters crown. Read more here

Uttarakhand crisis: BJP attacks Harish Rawat on sting, claims it will form govt in state

BJP on Sunday asserted that it will form government in Uttarakhand after May 10, claiming that a new sting video showed that ousted Chief Minister Harish Rawat has lost the support of Congress MLAs and he was bound to lose the trust vote on Tuesday.”If they think that by giving money, they will save the floor then they are wrong. On tenth, the majority will go against Congress and the new government will be formed by BJP,” party leader Bhagat Singh Koshyari told reporters. Terming Rawat’s conduct as “shameful”, he said that Congress is performing its “last rites” in the state as they have kept a leader who is “insulting his own party”. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Koshyari, who is a former chief minister of the state and is seen as a contender for the top post of if BJP forms the government, evaded a query on who will be the party’s CM saying, “This answer can be given by party chief Amit Shah.” “Harish Rawat alleges that BJP is indulging in horse-trading. He is himself indulging in it. First there was a sting on him. Today a new sting has come out.
ALSO READ Uttarakhand crisis: BJP, Congress trade charges after new purported sting targets Harish Rawat”One MLA has himself has said that CM, to please his own MLAs, is giving Rs 25-30 lakhs. There cannot be a more shameful thing than this,” the BJP leader alleged.He said that the episode showed that the chief minister has lost trust in his own MLAs and the MLAs do not have trust in their leader. “MLAs lose their trust in their leader. Around one-third leave him, and those who are left, one-third of them also demand Rs 25 lakh or Rs 50 lakh. In Uttarkhand, this demonic sport should stop and Harish Rawat should stop levelling allegations,” he said, adding that Congress has lost all hope and which is why they were”bribing their own members”.
ALSO READ Uttarakhand crisis: 12 Congress MLAs were paid Rs 25 lakh each by Rawat, claims fresh ‘sting video’He said that MLAs in the sting have alleged that the government is involved with mining and liquor mafias. “Congress which at some point fought for the freedom of the country, which had leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel, that Congress to taking its last breath or rather performing its last rites. “It has kept such a leader in the state who is himself insulting the party and insulting the state as well. I believe that MLAs, for the dignity of the state and its people, will free themselves from such corrupt leaders,” he said.In the latest controversy, a sting video has been released by a private news channel which claimed that Harish Rawat gave Rs 25 lakh to some of his MLAs. The Supreme Court had on Friday ordered a floor test in Uttarakhand Assembly on May 10 when Rawat will seek a vote of confidence during which the nine disqualified Congress MLAs may be able to vote if the High Court permits them. The High Court has reserved its verdict on the rebel MLAs’ plea for tomorrow. Koshyari said that many questions has been raised by the Uttarkhand episode and the BJP was in favour of floor test from the beginning.BJP was in favour of floor test from the beginning. “This is the first incident when the government has failed on money bill and the Vidhan Sabha Speaker has taken a wrong decision. The governor should have dismissed the government on that very day.”Second point is that earlier it was felt that the Speaker is everything and he has many powers. But if the Speaker misuses his power, what should happen? If MLAs want division and the Speaker by not giving division, in a one-sided move says it should be decided through voice vote, then it is murder of democracy. “This issue should also be thought of. Through this episode, many things will be clear in the future,” he said.He added that when President’s rule was imposed, BJP had never asked for dissolution of the Assembly. “We knew that in democracy, the majority should be proved in the Assembly. We knew that the mistake which was committed by the Governor should be corrected and President’s rule imposed and then a floor test should be conducted,” he said.In a statement, Koshyari condemned the allegations levelled by Harish Rawat that central agencies were being misused to “harass” MLAs and leaders, who were being threatened and their phones were getting tapped and said they were “baseless and unfounded”.”He (Rawat) knows that he neither had majority on March 18 nor he has majority today. He has been trapped in his own spiderweb. Rawat’s allegations shows his frustration. These allegations show that he (Rawat) is frustrated and disappointed. He has lost his majority so he is making illogical comments in frustration,” he said.

Uttarakhand crisis: 12 Congress MLAs were paid Rs 25 lakh each by Rawat, claims fresh ‘sting video’

With the Uttarakhand Assembly set to witness a crucial floor test on May 10, a new crisis has risen for former chief minister Harish Rawat in the form of a fresh sting video, which allegedly shows Congress MLA Madan Singh admitting to horse-trading.”Your brother has this much guts to get money out of him (Harish Rawat). I have got them (Congress MLAs) the money and this conversation is between us. I have got the MLAs 25 lakh each. This was given just for the sake of kharcha paani (personal expenditure),” Bisht is seen saying in the video.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The MLAs haven’t demanded the money. I haven’t taken a penny, you can ask Harish Rawat. I told him I won’t take money, give it to poor MLAs. 12 MLAs were paid. I told Harish Rawat to give the money to the MLAs,” he added.
ALSO READ Uttarakhand crisis: Suspense on fate of 9 disqualified MLAs heightens; HC order one day ahead of floor testUmesh Kumar, the editor-in-chief of Samachar Plus, who released the sting said the new video is in continuation with the old sting that shows which legislator has received how much amount of money.”They themselves are Harish Rawat supporters and they had Cabinet ranks. This sting proves that Horse trading is continuing in Uttarakhand and will counter Former Chief Minister Harish Rawat’s claims that there is no horse trading going on in Uttarakhand,” he added.
ALSO READ Uttarakhand crisis: SC directs floor test to be held on May 10, nine disqualified MLAs can’t voteMeanwhile, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiyaand who is camping in the Uttarakhand, said former chief minister Rawat can go to any extent to save his chair.”Harish Rawat can go to any extent to save his chair, he is buying his own MLAs,” he said.

High-decibel discussion on Uttarakhand Budget expected in Lok Sabha on Monday

Government will present Uttarakhand Budget for 2016-17 and table Uttarakhand Appropriation (Vote on Account) Bill, 2016 to replace an Ordinance on Monday when the last week of the current session begins amid raging political rows over imposition of President’s Rule in the hill state and AgustaWestland deal.A high-decibel discussion on the Uttarakhand Budget is expected in the Lok Sabha on Monday as it has been listed in the business for the day.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After laying the Uttarakhand Budget for 2016-17 on the table in the Lok Sabha on Monday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will move a Motion for suspension of Rule 205 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the House to enable discussion on the same day.Otherwise Rule 205 states that there shall be no discussion of the Budget on the day on which it is presented to the House and a subsequent day has to be fixed by the Speaker to take up the discussion.Uttarakhand Budget will also be laid on the table of Rajya Sabha on Monday and the Upper House will take this up for consideration and returning to Lok Sabha later, an official statement said.Government had promulgated the Uttarakhand Appropriation (Vote on Account) Ordinance, 2016 last month which authorised expenditure in the hill state as it had come under President’s rule because of the political crisis there.Congress leader Harish Rawat, whose government was ousted following imposition of President’s rule, will seek a vote of confidence on May 10 following a direction of the Supreme Court. The apex court was hearing theCentre’s petition challenging the revoking of President’s rule by the Uttarakhand High Court on Rawat’s plea.There is not much legislative agenda for the last week of the session.Lok Sabha will resume the inconclusive discussion on drought situation in the country besides taking up the Anti-Hijacking Bill, 2016 as passed by Rajya Sabha.Rajya Sabha will take up the Appropriation (Railways) No.2 Bill, 2016, the Finance Bill,2016 and the Uttarakhand Appropriation Bill,2016 for returning the same to Lok Sabha.The Indian Trusts (Amendment) Bill,2015, earlier passed by the Lok Sabha has been listed for Monday in the Upper House.

Uttarakhand crisis: Assembly to witness floor test on 10 May

Changing its earlier stand, the Centre on Friday agreed to the Supreme Court’s suggestion for a floor test in the Uttarakhand Assembly on 10 May between 11 am and 1 pm.

The revelation came after the apex court had granted Centre time till 6 May to apprise it about their decision on holding the floor test, resolving the political crisis in the state.

Floor test in Uttarakhand Assembly will be held on 10 May from 11 am to 1 pm.

The apex court ruled that the President’s rule will be temporarily lifted for 2 hours in the state when the vote of confidence will take place.

Special session of U’khand assembly will be summoned for 10 May to conduct singular agenda of vote of confidence motion sought by Harish Rawat.

The Supreme court has ruled that nothing else shall be discussed in the Assembly on that day and the proceedings there shall be absolutely peaceful and without any disturbance.

The SC said, “We direct Chief Secretary, state DGP to see that all qualified members participate, attend the proceedings in the Assembly, without any hindrance caused to anyone by anybody. During the trust vote, those in favour of motion will sit on one side of the House and those against on other side”

The Principal Secretary of the Legislative Assembly has been tasked to oversee that the voting is peaceful and recorded.

The top court also directed him to place before it on 11 May in a sealed cover all the documents including the result and video of the entire proceedings.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The court decided that ex-CM Harish Rawat should be allowed to seek vote of confidence on the floor of the Assembly.

The court banned the nine disqualified Congress MLA’s from voting in the vote of confidence motion.

According to a Zee News report, the Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi told the SC bench comprising of Justices Dipak Misra and Justice Shiva Kirti that the former chief election commissioner should oversee the voting procedure.

The political crisis in Uttarakhand emerged after nine rebel MLAs from Congress defected to BJP during a debate over the state budget in March. They were later disqualified.

Following the disqualification, Governor KK Paul asked deposed Chief Minister Rawat to prove his majority in the assembly.
In a stunning verdict on 21 April, the Uttarakhand High Court quashed the President’s rule imposed by the Centre which restored the dismissed Congress government and castigated the Centre for uprooting a democratically-elected government.

The Supreme Court delivered a major blow to the former Congress government on 23 April by staying the Uttarakhand High Court’s verdict setting aside President’s Rule in the state.

The verdict effectively re-imposed President’s Rule in the state. On 27 March, the BJP-led government at the Centre had imposed President’s Rule in Uttarakhand, leading the Congress, which was in power, to term it as a ‘murder of democracy.’ The judgment gave a new turn to the continuing political drama in the state.

Uttarakhand Assembly floor test on 10 May: A no-win situation for BJP

With Supreme Court ordering a floor test in Uttarakhand Assembly on 10 May to decide the majority of the Harish Rawat-led government, the BJP-led central government might soon have to face embarrassment as it had promulgated President’s rule in the state. However, it would not have come entirely unanticipated for the party as considering the nine rebel Congress legislators not being allowed to vote and the numbers stacked, in all likelihood Rawat should sail through the test.

If Harish Rawat (pictured) pulls off a victory, it would leave the BJP with egg on the face. PTI

If Harish Rawat (pictured) pulls off a victory, it would leave the BJP with egg on the face. PTI

Only over week ago, the apex court had put serious questions to the Centre over the imposition of President’s rule in the state. The most important ones being whether members switching loyalties – strictly a development within the assembly – merited imposition of central rule in Uttarakhand and whether it did not violate the basic principles of the centre-state relations as enunciated by the Bommai judgement of 1994. Friday’s decision can seen be as a logical extension of that.

The state lapsed into a constitutional crisis when the rebel Congress legislators on 18 March not only demanded a division of votes on the money bill but also met the Governor along with BJP leaders demanding the dismissal of the government. But before a floor test – initially scheduled for 28 March – could be conducted, the Centre promulgated President’s rule in the state citing a sting video where Rawat was purportedly shown bribing the party dissidents. This triggered several ethical and constitutional questions.

The bigger question, however, is political. The decision to dismiss the state government was seen as a deliberate move to destabilise Congress governments in the country. Coming after the development in Arunachal Pradesh, the Congress saw strong hints of vendetta politics in the move. It cried itself hoarse that the BJP had claimed to ensure a Congress-mukt Bharat and is going about it by dismantling Congress governments. The BJP, on its part, did not seem to have a strong justification for the imposition of President’s rule. The High Court also found its move not in sync with the constitutional arrangement guiding the centre-state equations.

If Harish Rawat pulls off a victory, it would leave the BJP with egg on the face. Even if he does not, it appears that he won’t be losing much politically. According to political observers in Uttarakhand, the action is generally seen as mindless and it has made the BJP unpopular. With assembly elections due early next year, Rawat would love to play the victim card to the hilt. The nine Congress rebels now stand nowhere. They don’t bring much electoral value to the BJP and thus are not likely to be welcomed to its fold. The chances of them going back to the Congress are almost impossible. This only strengthens Rawat’s hand.

The BJP will now need to re-think its strategy. It was a lose-lose bargain from the beginning. It made matters worse by sticking to its position on the government. Uttarakhand had to face the devastating forest fire without a government in place. Popular opinion is likely to hold it responsible for the sorry state of affairs. With not many months to go for the elections it has the enormous task of rebuilding its image.

CBI summons Harish Rawat on Monday

Even as the apex court has sought a response form the Centre to allow a floor test in Uttarakhand assembly, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has summoned former chief minister Harish Rawat on Monday in connection with the sting video.In a preliminary inquiry on April 25, Umesh Kumar, the CEO of Samachar Plus, who conducted a sting video that showed Rawat allegedly attempting to bribe rebel Congress MLAs in exchange for support in the floor test, confirmed the genuineness of the video.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The summons comes after the CBI started probing the allegations in the sting video and its authenticity. The CD of the video was sent to a forensics laboratory in Chandigarh to for examination. A CBI source revealed that a forensic report “confirmed” the video to be genuine.At first, Rawat had denied the allegation and stated the video to be fake when it was first released. Recently, the former chief minister backtracked his statement and admitted his presence in the video. However, Rawat, further added that he is being framed.During its investigation, a CBI source stated an MLA alleged that when the Finance Bill was being discussed in the assembly, Rawat called him to his office and offered a bribe of Rs.2.5 crore in exchange for his support. The MLA further alleged that he was also approached by a state minister in Rawat’s cabinet and offered a bribe of Rs.10 crore if he supported Rawat’s government.”Be it imposition of President’s rule which was done just a day before the state government was to go for a floor test or the summons which comes a day after the Supreme Court asked the Centre to seriously consider the option of a floor test in the assembly, the hurry with which all this has been done shows there is an attempt to influence the floor test if that takes place,” Rawat said addressing media persons at a press conference in Dehradun.The Centre dissolved the Uttarakhand government and imposed the President’s rule a day before Rawat was supposed to take a floor test to prove his majority. The sting video in question was also one of the basis on which Rawat’s government was dissolved.

Uttarakhand sting operation: CBI summons former CM Harish Rawat for inquiry

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday summoned former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat in connection with the sting operation. The sting CD made by the editor-in-chief of a private news channel and circulated by the nine Congress rebels, who created a political crisis in the state by siding with opposition BJP in the state Assembly, purportedly shows Rawat negotiating a money deal with the journalist to buy the support of MLAs who had revolted against him.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rawat will join investigation on Monday.Rawat had on Sunday virtually accepted his presence in the video. He, however, said meeting a journalist was not a crime.Claiming innocence, Rawat said if the CD contained evidence of him having made an offer in cash or kind in exchange for the support of disgruntled MLAs he was ready to be hanged in public.”If any evidence is found against me like me offering money or post to anybody, hang me at Clock tower,” he said.Alleging that the sting operation and the CBI probe into it were part of a “criminal conspiracy” by BJP to topple an elected government, he dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah to put him in jail if he is found in the wrong.

Uttarakhand sting operation: Harish Rawat accepts his ‘presence’ in sting CD

Deposed Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, who had so far been insisting the sting CD of him was “fake”, on Sunday virtually accepted his presence in the video. He, however, said meeting a journalist was not a crime.”Is meeting a journalist a crime? If one of the MLAs who had not been technically disqualified by that time talked to me … how does it matter? Do we block any channels in politics?” Rawat said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Claiming innocence, Rawat said if the CD contained evidence of him having made an offer in cash or kind in exchange for the support of disgruntled MLAs he was ready to be hanged in public.”If any evidence is found against me like me offering money or post to anybody, hang me at Clock tower,” he said.Clock tower is a busy chowk in the heart of the town. However, from what the deposed chief minister said it was clear that a meeting did take place between him and the journalist who made the sting CD. It is significant as Rawat had so far been challenging the veracity of the CD, calling it “fake”.”Why should anyone spend Rs 15 crore for me. The man (journalist) was saying something meaningless to while away my time and I said something to while away his. How does it matter? We keep saying things like this on a daily basis. Does that mean they should be used against us?” Rawat said.The sting CD made by the editor-in-chief of a private news channel and circulated by the nine Congress rebels, who created a political crisis in the state by siding with opposition BJP in the state Assembly, purportedly shows Rawat negotiating a money deal with the journalist to buy the support of MLAs who had revolted against him.

Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat accepts his ‘presence’ in sting video

Dehradun: Deposed Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, who had so far been insisting that the sting CD of him was “fake”, on Sunday, accepted his presence in the video.

He, however, said meeting a journalist was not a crime.

“Is meeting a journalist a crime? If one of the MLAs, who had not been technically disqualified by that time talked to me… how does it matter? Do we block any channels in politics?” Rawat told reporters here on the sidelines of a programme.

Harish Rawat. PTI.Harish Rawat. PTI.

Harish Rawat. PTI.

Claiming innocence, Rawat said if the CD contained evidence of him having made an offer in cash or kind in exchange for the support of disgruntled MLAs, he was ready to be hanged in public. “If any evidence is found against me, like me offering money or post to anybody, hang me at Clock tower,” he said. Clock tower is a busy chowk in the heart of the town.

However, from what the deposed chief minister said, it was clear that a meeting did take place between him and the journalist who made the sting CD.

It is significant as Rawat had so far been challenging the veracity of the CD, calling it “fake”.

“Why should anyone spend Rs 15 crore for me. The man (journalist) was saying something meaningless to while away my time and I said something to while away his. How does it matter? We keep saying things like this on a daily basis. Does that mean they should be used against us?” Rawat said.

The sting CD made by the editor-in-chief of a private news channel and circulated by the nine Congress rebels, who created a political crisis in the state by siding with opposition BJP in the state Assembly, purportedly shows Rawat negotiating a money deal with the journalist to buy the support of MLAs who had revolted against him.

Uttarakhand: BJP dares Congress to say sting video was false

Daring Congress to term the “sting operation” on Harish Rawat as false, BJP on Thursday said it was ready to swear by the Ganga and claim the party did not approach any Congress MLA to garner support.”We are ready to swear by the Ganga in front of the media on the appointed day and time to assert that we did not approach any Congress legislator nor did we make him any offer to buy his support.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Our only condition is that Harish Rawat and PCC president Kishore Upadhyaya should also swear by the holy river and say that the sting operation on the former CM was false,” Uttarakhand BJP presidentAjay Bhatt told reporters while replying to Rawat’s remark that BJP should swear by Ganga if it did not made any offer to Congress MLAs. Terming Congress as a “lie-generating machine”, he said the party’s motto is that a lie turns into truth when spoken over again a hundred times.Rawat had earlier asked the BJP to go to Har ki Pairi in Haridwar and swear by the holy waters of the Ganga to say that the party had not approached Congress MLAs for their support.With Congress and BJP hurling allegations at each other in the wake of the political storm in the state, two Congress MLAs on April 26 accused the BJP of offering them a bribe of Rs 50 crore to break ranks with Rawat.Congress MLA from Badrinath Rajendra Bhandari and its MLA from Tharali Jeet Ram alleged they had been offered a bribe of Rs 50 crore, an assembly ticket to a family member and a Rajya Sabha seat by the BJP in exchange for their support.Reacting to the allegation, BJP had asked the Congress to either produce evidence in support of the charge or offer an unqualified apology for making such wild accusation against the party.

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