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PM Modi’s demonetization could end up as ‘costly political joke’: Chinese media

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “masterstroke” to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes could be reduced to a “nasty partisan conspiracy” or a “costly political joke” if it fails to deliver on its high-sounding promises, Chinese official media commented today.”While it takes political courage to launch such a trailblazing and massive campaign; it actually takes far more wisdom to give it a happy ending,” an article in the state-run Global Times said. “Given the fact that people have to pay an absurdly high price for the expected reform, if BJP fails to deliver its high-sounding rhetoric and promises, then Modi’s much-lauded ‘masterstroke’ or ‘big bang reform’ will likely be reduced to ‘nasty partisan conspiracy’ and even a ‘costly political joke’,” it said. The article noted that demonetization is by no means new to India. However, rooting out India’s perennial and enormous black economy has never been an easy mission, it said.”If Modi fails to supplement the blitzkrieg reform with more enduring and fundamental measures, any beneficial effects the reform has created may evaporate quickly, even if Indian people have paid an absurdly high social and economic price so far,” the article said. The demonetization may also benefit BJP, it said. “Modi’s move also carries an implicit albeit thick partisan agenda: Sudden demonetization may hurt other political parties’ funding more than his own Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), rendering the BJP a significant upper hand in the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab,” it alleged.”In the electorally pivotal states of UP and Punjab, BJP’s primary rivalries are often local and smaller parties which have less diversified funding and depend heavily on small cash donations,” it noted. “So, even if BJP suffers blowback from the clampdown, it is likely to end up less affected, thanks to its national network as well as the numerous ‘family member’ organisations affiliated to it,” the article asserted.The article stated that Modi’s “heroic image” embodied in the anti-black money campaign is also something BJP can bank on, especially as the party seemingly “lacks a strong chief ministerial face” in UP now.”While Modi may find pacifying chaos in the short-term and correcting structural distortion in the long-term (they) are both hard policy goals, the partisan politics appears to be the only low-hanging fruit he can readily pluck,” it said.In the last decade, undocumented sources like cash donations accounted for around 75 per cent of the funding for India’s political parties, it added. “Given this, the sudden clampdown on black money may also be seen as Modi’s clever electioneering for the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab,” it claimed.

Demonetization: Small towns adapting better than metros

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If one goes by the lines formed outside banks in these areas, the immediate impact of the demonetization exercise seems to be less pronounced in rural towns as compared to the metros, The Uttar Pradesh side of Bundelkhand is a case in point. People, who had come to the Sarva UP Gramin Bank, in Ullan village near Mauranipur in Jhansi, which was closed, said that they did need cash. However, they seemed not to be as worried about the lack of it, as those in bigger cities would be.“We consider the demonetization exercise to be just a temporary inconvenience,” said Dharamveer Singh, a resident of the village. Singh pointed out that the government’s decision would not affect him immediately. Mulayam Singh, a marginal farmer in neighbouring Imilia village, believed that unlike their urban counterparts, people living in rural areas had learnt to manage with little.“Bundelkhand is a drought affected region. When we have no water to cultivate our fields or money to buy seeds, fertilizers and fodder, we have learned to manage with little. It must be people in cities and those who have a lot of Rs500 and Rs1000 currency notes who are crying now,” he said. Singh did not seem to be too bothered that the bank was closed. He, along with some others, started proceeding to Mauranipur, the neighbouring town, to exchange the old notes for new.The other interesting thing to note here was the fact that unlike bigger towns, these areas in UP were not too bothered about the fact that there were no bigger note denominations. Indeed, some of the banks in smaller towns like Mauranipur, Orai and Mahoba were yet to receive the Rs2,000 note and instead offered currency denominations in Rs100 and Rs10, to the locals here. What was a sore point for these locals though, was that many private banks were offering preferential service to their own account holders. This upset many who had queued up to exchange the old notes.There were some problems though. Ram Kumar Vishwakarma, a fruit seller in Orai town in Jalaun district in Bundelkhand grumbled that people were not buying fruits in bulk. “Since the morning, people are buying bananas in ones and twos by giving me Rs5 or Rs10. I have not had a single customer who has bought a dozen today,” Vishwakarma said.There were people too to whom the new “cashless” economy and the new cash note denominations seemed to make no difference. Babu Ram, a Dalit daily wage labourer in Mangrol village in Jalaun district, said that he and his family survived on rations. “We survive on the monthly rations that I get from my Antyodya ration card. So the government’s new policy does not affect us much, Ram said.

Demonetisation: ‘Tough day’ for the common man, but we all know who’s having ‘sleepless nights’

The ‘stupid common man’ is happy about the cleaning and with a masochistic smile, sipping the ‘strong tea’, to which in any case, he has become accustomed over the years.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing a rally in Ghazipur (Uttar Pradesh) on Monday, said, “My decision is a little harsh. When I was young, poor people used to ask for ‘kadak’ (strong) tea but it spoils the mood of rich.”

The prime minister has indeed served very strong tea to the people. But it is essentially spoiling the taste buds of those who had in many ways legitimised the illegitimate. While the stories of people struggling in long queues have made the headlines, those who were never part of these queues are intelligently concealing their pain. After all, their expression of dissent is illegitimate.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

When did we last find a top ranking bureaucrat, a politician of some standing, a celebrity or a Porsche-driving businessman standing in the queue for an ATM? It was not that their absence ever made the news, rather it was the other way round.

It was always the common man who was seen standing there, in those long queues. Why is it that the ‘harassed’ lot who are smilingly bearing the brunt of the sudden demonetisation — with great dignity for the greater good — are projected as victims, when they are acting like dutiful soldiers in this battle against corruption?

Why instead we are not talking about those who are having sleepless nights, those who are calling their relatives and friends with generous offers of depositing Rs 2.5 lakh in their bank accounts.

While these people might not be profiled like the ‘60-year-old man who fainted standing the queue’, their numbers are no fewer.

Consider this:

Case 1: On a WhatsApp group of a family from Uttar Pradesh, with most of the members in white collar jobs and one in the civil services (details of the group were shared by one of the non-confirming members), a discussion progressed on 9 November around the topic of demonetisation. While most of the members discussed both pros and cons of the move, one among them was all resentful and dissenting. He was the one who wore the white collar with all ‘civility’. The reason was clear to all the members but no one spoke of it.

Case 2: A marriage venue was shifted from a fancy and expensive heritage site in Rajasthan to a modest banquet hall in Delhi. Nobody asked the reason for the change but everyone who was informed about it could not help a wry smile.

Case 3: At an upscale eating joint in Central Delhi, a man swiped his cards many times and the beads of sweat increased on his forehead with each declined transaction. He had heard the very same morning that the income tax (I-T) department had been instructed to monitor bank accounts and report any ‘abnormal’ transaction. He called a friend and informed him about declined transaction and asks him to ‘do something’.

These are the people who are finding this attack on their accounted wealth absurd.

These are the people who are hit hardest, but then they are using all their sophistication to hide their angst.

In a country where upari kamaai is seen as an achievement and ‘just salary’ is frowned upon, who in his right senses can argue against the existence of huge amounts of black money?

In August last year, CID officials raided a flat in Bengaluru owned by a Karnataka cadre IAS and found cash worth Rs 4.37 crore. Last year in a raid at the premises of former Noida chief engineer Yadav Singh, CBI sleuths found, along with documentary proof of 38 properties, Rs 10 crore in cash. A long list of such cases can be put forward to stress how corrupt government officials and politicians have hoarded crores of rupees in cash, by selling out the entire system.

The common man might be having a tough day in dealing with the cash crunch, but it is the corrupt who are having sleepless nights. And it is evident in memes and jokes on demonetisation doing the rounds on WhatsApp and Facebook.

The best humour is often designed by sad realities.

On 8 November, former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag supported Modi’s decision and tweeted:

In this context, it is fairly ironic that the real victims are not talked about. Sehwag’s wonderful homour was designed by the reality that the corrupt were having a gala time till 8 November.

Abhishek Waghmare, an analyst with IndiaSpend, in an article published on Firstpost,wrote, “The sudden announcement will directly affect black money hoarded by Indians, and will possibly present them two alternatives: either deposit the money after identifying themselves to banks, or exchange the money by 24 November, 2016. According to basic calculations, with a daily limit of Rs 4,000 a day, a maximum of Rs 60,000 can be exchanged by a person, in 15 days from 10 November to 24 November. From 24 November onwards, the exchange process will be eased for convenience, meaning the exchange limit will be increased. However, there is no limit on deposits”.

He added, “As the deadline for Indian individuals to declare undisclosed income — the Income Declaration Scheme — ended on 30 September, 2016, no ‘unaccounted for’ money can be declared now. It ceases to be money; instead it will be a ‘worthless piece of paper’, as (Modi) termed it in his speech”.

The extent of unaccounted wealth and black money is vast and it is no secret. Given this fact, just focusing on the problems faced by the people in the implementation of the demonetisation, and calling for its withdrawal is a perfect case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 13:01 IST

New proposal for settlement of Ayodhya dispute

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A fresh proposal for settlement of Ayodhya dispute was submitted to Faizabad divisional commissioner suggesting that a temple and a mosque be built at the site.The petition, it is claimed, has been signed by about 10,000 members from both Hindu and Muslim communities with former High Court judge Palok Basu leading the initiative.Divisional Commissioner Surya Prakash Mishra, who is the receiver of the disputed site, said, “I received a memorandum regarding the dispute of Ayodhya and a bunch of photocopies containing some signatures. I have yet to decide what to do in this matter”Basu said that they were hopeful that the Supreme Court will take note of it.The petition, which has 10,502 signatures, was submitted on Monday.”We have moved this negotiation process in the Supreme Court through the authorized person (Faizabad Divisional Commissioner). We hope that the apex court will honour the public sentiments of peace and harmony,” he said, adding they have proposed that the disputed site will house both Ram temple and a mosque.In its September 30, 2010 ruling, the Allahabad High Court had awarded two parts of the site, where the Babri Masjid once stood, to Nirmohi Akhara and ‘friend’ of Ram Lalla and one part to Muslims, which went to Sunni Central Waqf Board of Uttar Pradesh.Basu said their “local” effort to resolve the issue started in March 18, 2010In the past, the main litigant in Babri Masjid case, Hashim Ansari, had along with Akhara Parishad president Mahant Gyan Das discussed out-of-court settlement which broadly talked about the 70-acres of disputed premises accommodating both mosque and temple with a partition wall which will be 100 feet high.The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had rejected the proposal calling it an insult to the high court.Ansari died in July this year.

BJP leader Sanjeev Kamboj to Firstpost: Only tweeted about new notes, not ban on Rs 500, Rs 1,000

In a fresh attack on the BJP government, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday alleged that BJP had informed its ‘friends’ beforehand about its decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, to help them fix their black money.

Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Kejriwal claimed that “Sanjeev Kamboj, head BJP Legal Cell Punjab tweeted the picture of Rs 2,000 notes on 6 November.”

“How is it possible that these notes were in his possession before 8 November, the day when the prime minister made the announcement of banning the existing Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes?” asked Kejriwal

Firstpost spoke to Sanjeev Kamboj who rubbished the claims made by the Delhi Chief Minister saying, “I had only written that new notes would soon be introduced. But nowhere I had talked about or even mentioned banning of the old notes.”

“There were various news reports about the probable introduction of new notes. What was new in that?” Kamboj added.

A lawyer by profession, Kamboj said that he understands the legal consequences of doing any such thing. “I know I can land up in big trouble if I do something so foolish. What Kejriwal is doing is nothing more than dirty politics. He will see what will happen to him in Punjab.”

Kejriwal also added that it is being alleged that wads of same Rs 2,000 notes were seen in pictures taken during the wedding of the daughter of Uttar Pradesh BJP Chief, Keshav Prasad Maurya. “But let me tell you that Keshav Prasad Maurya, in fact, does not have any daughter. He only has two sons. This is all a deliberate attempt by AAP and other adversaries to create suspicion and mistrust,” said Kamboj.

Jalandhar-based Kamboj claims that Kejriwal is feeling frustrated as his black money has been blocked ahead of elections in Punjab.

Furthermore, Kambhoj denied that the image on Twitter belonged to him. He had received the photo as a forwarded message in the Whatsapp group. He was, however, tight-lipped when he was asked that it was the BJP person who was holding the bundle of Rs 2,000 notes. He said that it could possibly be an employee (bank) holding the note.

When asked that how does he react to Kejriwal’s allegation that those in BJP with black money had been informed beforehand and had managed to fix it, Kamboj said, “The government that is working under Modiji is doing great work and will never indulge in such activities. Whoever is wrong will be caught.”

He added that he has never met Modi or anyone else. “I think Kejriwal has now given me this opportunity, so hopefully I will be able to meet them,” said Kamboj.

First Published On : Nov 12, 2016 14:15 IST

Yadav vs Yadav | End your ‘Mahabharat’ first, then focus on ‘Mahagathbandhan’: BJP to SP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Continuing to exchange blows over the internal rift within the Yadav clan, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday called on the Samajwadi Party (SP) to sort out their family ‘Mahabharat’ first, before thinking about the formation of a ‘Mahagathbandhan’.”With regard to these kinds of talks about a Mahagathbandhan, let them get over the Mahabharat that is taking place in their own family, in terms what is happening between the uncle and the nephew,” BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli told ANI here. He further said that the Samajwadi Party should present their report of the last five years on a range of issues from law and order to the development of the state.”Law and order has suffered, development has suffered, problems are there in Uttar Pradesh, after that the Samajwadi Party can talk about such notional ideas which have come out from time to time, whether there will be ‘Gathbandhan’ or a ‘Mahagathbandhan’ or a No ‘Gathbandhan’, Kohli added.Earlier, launching a direct attack on the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP), BJP president Amit Shah accused the former of depriving the people of Uttar Pradesh from getting benefits of the Centre sponsored welfare schemes.Speaking at the second leg of the Parivartan Yatra held in Jhansi, aiming to cover all 403 constituencies, Shah said “The Samajwadi Party (SP) has been depriving the people of Uttar Pradesh from accessing welfare schemes sponsored by the Central government.”The internal rift between Samajwadi Party leaders surfaced again on November 5 at the party’s silver jubilee celebrations in Lucknow. Senior party leaders Shivpal Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav made veiled attacks on each other while addressing the people at the event.

Demonetisation a hasty decision by Modi govt: Tejaswi Yadav

Varanasi: Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar Tejaswi Yadav on Thursday said the Centre made a “hasty” decision to demonetise the currency which has severely affected the day-to-day activities of the common people.

Tejaswi Yadav. News18

Tejaswi Yadav. News18

He said the Union government should have made proper arrangements before announcing scrapping of Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes.

The RJD leader, however, said his party supports “all the decisions that are taken to check the flow of black money and fake currency in the market and corruption”.

“The decision has been taken in haste. It has led to a lot of inconvenience. People are unable to carry out their day-to-day activities. The Centre and RBI should have made all arrangements keeping in view the problems to be faced by the public,” he said.

“There are long queues at ATMs, bank branches, petrol pumps, medical services have been hit, traveling by bus and trains has become difficult, small shopkeepers are unable to carry out their business,” Yadav said and questioned the timing of the announcement, saying it has been made just a few months ahead of the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

He asked why Modi made the announcement after two-and-a-half years of becoming the Prime Minister and what is the BJP government doing to bring back the black money stashed abroad?

He alleged that BJP also politicized the issue of “surgical strikes” by the army against on terror launchpads in PoK and said it will bite the dust in Uttar Pradesh like in Bihar”.

Mayawati, Mulayam find common ground as they demand rollback of demonetisation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Arch rivals BSP supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav have found a common issue in to attack the Modi government. Coming on one page, the two stalwarts of politics in the poll bound state of Uttar Pradesh slammed the Modi government for taking an “anarchist” decision, and plunging the country into “financial emergency”, and demanded an immediate roll back.Hinting that BJP stand to gain as demonetization is politically motivated, Mulayam said the decision has been taken at this point in time with elections in mind. Mayawati also lashed out at PM Modi for making life of the poor, small businessmen and farmers difficult.Poll analysts also expect demonetization of Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 currency notes to reflect in the approaching assembly elections of five states, making them a low key affair. Poll watchdog, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) Coordinator for Uttar Pradesh, Dr Lenin, says that the step could suck out a major chunk of Rs. 1000crore of black money from Uttar Pradesh alone, which is usually spent by political parties giving freebies to voters in terms of cash, liquor and other incentives.“The actual impact, however, would be visible when the elections are announced, and close to the voting day,” says Lenin.Cumulative impact of demonetization in all five poll bound states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur could be much more, claim officials in the Election Commission.Former Chief Election Commissioner, HS Brahma, however, is sceptical. He says the step will provide temporary relief in next year’s elections by tightening the grip on money availability but eventually, the answer lies in making political parties fully accountable. “Political parties would again be in position to generate black money in 2018 elections. What we need is to have restrictions on the expenditure of political parties like we have for candidates. If only a candidate is accountable and the party is not, it allows unbridled use of money power in elections. But whenever this issue was broached, all political parties came together to oppose it,” says Brahma.But according to Social Scientist Abhay Kumar Dubey of Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), the move has no relevance in elections as black money is not stashed away in trunks like in earlier times but lies scattered in hundreds of fictitious bank accounts managed by political parties, and also in the form of property and gold, and is pulled out during elections.“Right now, if Modi government fails to rein in the chaos that this scheme has generated, and bring succour to the people, it may make BJP unpopular. The problem with this move is that it has hit the poor man’s white money. If the government does not settle it in a week or so, it may backfire in the elections,” adds Dubey.

War on Black Money: Note ban a bolt from blue in Uttar Pradesh?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes has come at a time when assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh are due and parties normally keep aside a substantial amount of unaccounted funds for campaigning.Though the parties are tight-lipped on the issue, the crackdown against black money has left many high and dry as Assembly elections are barely few months away.The role that cash plays in polls can be gauged from the fact that as much as Rs 1,039 crore of the total collections by parties over the past three Lok Sabha polls 2004, 2009 and 2014 was made in cash against Rs 1,299.53 crore by cheques. Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), which had analysed the I-T returns of political parties, said they declared collecting Rs 2,356 crore during the three parliamentary elections. Of this, 44 per cent or Rs 1,039 crore was in cash and the remaining was by cheque and in kind Rs 1,300 crore by cheque and Rs 17 crore in kind.While cash donations are declared by political parties in line with the Election Commission (EC) guidelines on transparency, seizures during polls indicate that much of the campaign funding is done through black money.For instance, around Rs 330 crore was seized by the EC in cash during the last general elections in 2014. Economist S P Tiwari said the government’s overdrive to root out black money and usher in an era of transparent transactions will remain meaningless as long as it allows political parties to collect donations in cash. “Political parties and elections are major sources of black money transactions,” Tiwari told PTI.With the crucial UP Assembly elections knocking at the door, major parties in the state are already in the process of replenishing their coffers with heavy cash contributions as funding high-voltage campaigns has become a costly affair with hi-tech measures being adopted by bigger parties. Lead players in the poll-bound state are understood to be re-working their strategies on how to manage the campaign with less money with Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes becoming illegal tender in one stroke.”Though all paties will be seriously hamstrung, it is going to be a level playing field for all of us,” said a leader, requesting anonymity. An assessment based on income tax filings by parties revealed that during the Lok Sabha elections of 2004, 2009 and 2014, parties collected over Rs 1,000 crore in cash, and the sources of more than 90 per cent of such funds were never disclosed. Majority of all funds collected by parties was from unknown sources. It is not surprising therefore that most of these contributions are made in cash, said another leader.ADR said Assembly elections too see huge collection of cash donations by political parties. “Collectively, during the 71 assembly elections held between 2004 and 2015, political parties declared collecting Rs 2,108 crore in cash (63 per cent of total funds) and Rs 1,245 crore by cheque (37 per cent),” it said.

Bulandshahr gangrape case: SC seeks reply on Azam Khan’s ‘political conspiracy’ comment

Tue, 8 Nov 2016-06:38pm , New Delhi , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Uttar Pradesh Urban Development Minister Azam Khan to file a reply by November 17 in the Bulandshahr gang-rape case. The apex court also directed media organisations to submit the press conference or byte of Khan in which he made the statement related to rape case.The minister created a controversy after he alleged that a “political conspiracy” is involved in the gang-rape of a minor girl and her mother on the highway in Bulandshahr on July 29. On August 29, the top court issued Khan a notice for his reported comment.The case was subsequently handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). In September, the court asked the CBI to serve a notice to the minister for his alleged statement.

Congress strategist Prashant Kishor meets Akhilesh Yadav amid grand alliance speculation

Lucknow: A day after holding marathon talks with Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, Congress poll strategist Prashant Kishor on Monday held closed-door meeting with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav fuelling speculation that a grand alliance could be on the anvil for the 2017 Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.

Monday’s meeting assumes significance as the 43-year-old chief minister is expected to have a major say in ticket distribution and choice of seats to be contested by his party in case an alliance is cobbled together.

There has been speculation of a “maha-gathbandhan” among erstwhile Janata Parivar parties and Congress to check BJP in its tracks Kishor met Akhilesh and was with him for nearly three hours during which they are understood to have discussed threadbare the state’s political scenario ahead of the upcoming elections.

File photo of CM Akhilesh Yadav. PTIFile photo of CM Akhilesh Yadav. PTI

File photo of CM Akhilesh Yadav. PTI

However, Akhilesh sounded cautious and not in a hurry when he said factors like who will benefit and who will lose in case of an alliance have to be considered. “Elections are near, who will be benefited, who will lose (in alliance) is to be taken note of. The decision is to be taken by party’s national president,” Akhilesh told reporters while refusing to publicly state his stand on the issue.

“I will give my suggestions only at party platform,” he said. When asked specifically about the possibility of SP joining the hands with Congress, Akhilesh parried a direct reply, saying “If SP and Congress want alliance, will you (media) stop it?”

He did not elaborate on the query made against the backdrop of Kishor’s two rounds of meeting with Mulayam in Lucknow on Sunday, triggering speculation of a ‘maha-gathbandhan’ (grand alliance) similar to the one in Bihar.

Kishor’s back-to-back talks with Mulayam and Akhilesh come close on the heels of top leaders of socialist-leaning parties attending SP’s silver jubilee meet — a move seen as an attempt by Mulayam to forge an alliance for the crucial polls hardly a few months away.

This was for the second time in six days that Kishor met Mulayam, who is trying to cobble together an alliance of like-minded parties. The first meeting had taken place at Mulayam’s Delhi residence on 1 November.

Congress, on its part, has not closed its doors for any possible grand alliance for the 2017 Assembly polls. Earlier, Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Raj Babbar had said that no initiative had been taken for an alliance either by his party or by any other political parties in the state.

“No initiative for an alliance, either by us or by any other party in the coming polls has been taken, but Congress has not closed its doors for any such possibility which could benefit people of the state,” he said last week.

The UPCC chief, however, stressed his party “will not enter into an alliance or grand alliance only for numbers, as it were not important in UP polls.”

On the possibility of a grand alliance in UP, state SP President Shivpal Yadav said, “When it materialises, I will tell you.” Samajwadi Party, which was initially part of Bihar’s grand alliance, had walked out of it after it was offered only a handful of seats to contest the assembly elections there.

The grand alliance of JD(U), RJD and Congress had, however, scripted a major electoral victory, defeating the BJP-led NDA.

Delhi Pollution: Suprme Court agrees to hear plea on Tuesday

Delhi Pollution: Suprme Court agrees to hear plea on Tuesday

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New Delhi, Nov 7 (IANS) The Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday a plea on the alarming state of air pollution in Delhi as it was told that it had, in the past, issued several directions but their effective implementation and enforcement was lacking.

Vehicles ply on smog covered street in New Delhi on Saturday. PTIVehicles ply on smog covered street in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI

Vehicles ply on smog covered street in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI

A bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice L Nageswara Rao agreed to hear the matter on Tuesday after Sunita Narayan of Centre for Science and Environment told the court that there was no effective implementation of the directions issued by the apex court last year.

She told the court that as of now the direction issued in the past were sufficient but if the need arose they would urge the court to issue further directions.

She sought from the court monitoring of the implementation of its directions.

The apex court was also given the report by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority for NCR on the state of air pollution in the national capital territory.

Narayan also told the court that Uttar Pradesh and Haryana were diverting the heavy vehicles and other traffic so that they don’t pass through the national capital but because of shortage of manpower the diversion of traffic was not upto the desired levels.

Bring ‘parivartan’ in yourself before launching it in UP: Congress to BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress on Monday took a jibe at Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) ‘Parivartan Yatr’ and said if the leaders of the saffron party really want to bring ‘Parivartan’ then first they have to bring change within themselves.”If they really want to change something then first they have to bring change inside themselves and accept in front of public that they made false promises. Then only they will be able to regain the trust of the people of Uttar Pradesh,” said Congress leader Vijendra Tripathi.Tripathi further said that BJP has only made false promises in past two and a half years and have failed to perform on grounds and added that the reality of BJP is known to all.On Sunday, in the wake of upcoming assembly election in Uttar Pradesh, BJP initiated the Parivartan Rath Yatra from Bundelkhand.This Yatra is to pass through entire Bundelkhand before entering Kannauj, Mainpuri, Jaswant Nagar, Badaun and Firozabad all strongholds of leaders of ruling SP’s first family.Two more Parivartan Rath Yatras will be taken out, one from Sonbhadra and another from Ballia on 8th and 9th November respectively.These Parivartan Rath Yatras will cross-cross all the 403 assembly constituencies in next fifty days before culminating at Lucknow on December 24 where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a mega rally.

All eyes on crucial Congress Working Committee meet today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Monday will take a call on extending the deadline for the completion of the party’s organisational elections which were to be completed by December 31st.The meeting is expected to take stock of the current political situation and discuss its plans for assembly elections to other states including Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur in next year. The meeting is significant as the Winter Session of Parliament is starting from 16th of this month and the Congress will finalise its strategy for the session.There have been repeated suggestions that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi should take over reins of the party from his mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi and the CWC is likely to take a call on that issue today as well.

UP polls 2017: Prashant Kishor meets Mulayam Singh Yadav amid speculations of ‘maha-gathbandhan’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress’ poll strategist Prashant Kishor on Sunday met Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam in Lucknow, triggering speculation of a ‘maha-gathbandhan’ (grand alliance) ahead of the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.The marathon meeting, spread over two sessions and kept under wraps, came a day after top leaders of socialist-leaning parties attended SP’s silver jubilee meet here — a move seen as an attempt by Mulayam to forge an alliance ahead of the assembly polls hardly a few months away. There was no official word from either side as to what transpired at the meeting.State SP President Shivpal Yadav said he would tell the media when such a development took place.”When it materialises, I will tell you,” Shivpal said. This is for the second time in six days that Kishor met Mulayam, who is trying to cobble together an alliance of like-minded parties. The first meeting took place at Mulayam’s Delhi residence on November 1.Samajwadi Party, which was initially part of Bihar’s grand alliance, had walked out of it after it was offered only a handful of seats to contest the assembly elections there. The grand alliance of JD(U), RJD and Congress had, however, scripted a glorious electoral victory, defeating the BJP-led NDA.The ruling SP is yet to open its cards though its main aim in the polls is to prevent split of Muslim votes for which it is looking for an alliance with secular parties. Congress, on its part, has not closed its doors for any possible grand alliance for the 2017 Assembly polls.But, Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Raj Babbar has said that no initiative has been taken for an alliance either by his party or by any other political parties in the state.”No initiative for an alliance, either by us or by any other party in the coming polls has been taken, but Congress has not closed its doors for any such possibility which could benefit people of the state,” he had said on Friday.The UPCC chief, however, stressed his party “will not enter into an alliance or grand alliance only for numbers, as numbers were not important in UP polls.”At SP’s anniversary bash on Saturday, leaders of erstwhile ‘Janata Parivar’ underscored the need for unity to prevent the “communal” BJP from coming to power and spoke about the need for forging a coalition. RJD supremo Lalu Prasad declared his party will not contest the UP elections to prevent a split of secular votes. JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav hinted at his party’s readiness to form a coalition of socialist parties, while RLD chief Ajit Singh, whose party wields influence in western UP, highlighted the need for unity.Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, whose JD(Secular) hardly has any stakes in UP or the Hindi heartland, urged the ‘Janata Parivar’ leaders to “come together and unite” against the “communal” forces.”Senior leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lalu Prasad, Sharad Yadav…should come together in the fight against communal forces,” Deve Gowda had said.Six offshoots of ‘Janata Parivar’ had merged together last year ahead of the Assembly elections in Bihar to form a new party to take on a resurgent BJP. The merger took place almost two decades after the then Janata Dal disintegrated in the 90s.

Wife Dimple joins Akhilesh on ‘Vikas Rath’; says yatra will ensure victory for SP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Exuding confidence, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday said the ‘Vikas Rath Yatra’ will determine victory for the Samajwadi Party in the upcoming assembly elections.Akhilesh said the yatra is an attempt to back the support of the people by making them aware of the unbiased endeavours made by the Samajwadi Party for the development of the state.”If seen from the political point of view, it is the most important state and I believe that this state in the future will give direction to national politics.The way Samajwadi Party has worked for all the sections of the state without any biasness it will win in the coming elections. People vote for the party which has brought development,” he added.Echoing similar sentiments Akhilesh’s wife and MP Dimple Yadav said that the ‘Yatra’ is a historic beginning which will ensure victory for the Samajwadi Party.”This was a historic beginning. All the people who have gathered here including our party workers are youth. The beginning today has been very positive and because of which we are very positive and hopeful about the elections,” she said.”The Samajwadi Party has done a lot of development work and in every step we have brought and implement such policies through which we can improve the lives of the people of the state and like Neta ji said that we will win with huge mandate,” she added.Launching his bid for a second term as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav started a state-wide rath yatra named ‘Vikas Rath Yatra’.

Mandatory voting in army: With military facing disparaging assaults, why every soldier must vote

• It showed the rapid spread and growth of mafias and economic lobbies which have, over the years, developed extensive network with bureaucrats/government functionaries, politicians, media persons and strategically located individuals in the non-state sector; with some also having international linkages, including with foreign intelligence agencies.

• It established that any leakage about the linkages of crime syndicate with senior government functionaries or political leaders in the states or at the Centre could have a destabilising effect on the functioning of the government.

Naturally, the above report has remained buried somewhere because it poses the threat of “destabilising” the functioning of any government. India is not like Singapore, a country where 150 politicians and bureaucrats were jailed overnight when their equivalent of the Lokpal Bill came into being.

No wonder then that former Defense Minister AK Antony couldn’t sleep after discovering the capabilities of the army’s Technical Support Division (TSD). As a result, the TSD was killed off pronto, on trumped up charges, because it “could” have been intercepted by the “mafia”.

Never mind the fact that the mobile interceptors in question were actually imported by the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), which functions directly under the Ministry of Defence (MoD), and not the army.

China is known to extract value in strategic terms for financial gain. Similarly, the mafia can extract value by attracting foreign funding. As a result, the military is continuously put down and many of the defence-industrial complexes remain out-dated.

The prime minister may push hard for “ease of business” but the mafia gets massive foreign funding, and which country wants to see a strong India? The inability to act against the mafia makes it bolder. Remember the efforts under the previous government to hollow the system by pitting the IB against the CBI?

But then the realisation dawned that the IPS manning the intelligence agencies were also privy to the mafia dealings. So now, the mafia is going full blast against the military; even trying to pitch the CAPF against the military (remember the police baton charging military veterans at Jantar Mantar).

In terms of ranking and emoluments, the bureaucracy and civilian defence employees should be left aside. Of course, unlike any other country in the world, the same ranks and uniforms of the military, were quietly introduced into the police forces.

When some military veterans first gave a call for a protest at Jantar Mantar in 2015, an organisation called “Patriots Front” wrote a letter to the prime minister, warning him of a military coup and recommended that “anti-coup measures be put in place”.

Even today, the so called “patriots” dismiss the soldiers’ demands as just “whining”. The soldiers just want their status to be respected, as given in the Constitution and they want the serious imbalances and disparities between soldiers and other government civil employees be rectified, taking into account the average career earnings including pension benefits.

For example, the non-functional upgradation (NFU) demand of the armed forces was reportedly turned down on the pretext that it was applicable only to class ‘A’ officers, like IAS, IFS, IPS, IRS, etc. That begs the question: What is the class of the military officers who are commissioned by the President of India?

Does the government have an explanation for this? Why should 45 percent of the defence pension outlay be consumed by 22 percent civilians under the MoD?

In such an environment, what should the military do? There is no need for the service chiefs to bow down to such “unlawful commands”, even as the mafia appears to be hell-bent upon demolishing the military.

But aside from representing the hierarchy on specific issues, the least the service chiefs must do is to ensure that soldiers must not be denied their right to cast their vote, especially since many of their fundamental rights are already severely curbed as part of their service.

The manner in which caste, creed, and religion are played in our country clearly indicate that anything and everything goes, and anything can be sold for votes. Even US President Barrack Obama celebrated Diwali in the White House and so did the United Nations (perhaps on the behest of the US) with an eye on the Indian origin voters going into next week’s Presidential election.

Fortunately, the Election Commission of India has authorised every military soldier to vote during the elections (both state and local) at the station they are posted in — thanks to the efforts of Rajeev Chandrashekhar, former member of parliament.

Legislative Assembly elections are due in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Goa and Manipur next year, and the battle lines are tightly drawn; especially in UP, where every vote will count.

When the army formations voted during the 2007 Uttar Pradesh Assembly Election, the change in the political attitude towards the army was electric. Interestingly, on discovering that army division at Allahabad would also participate in the 2007 election, a recent Congress defectee from Allahabad to BJP, had executed a summersault at par with perhaps Dipa Karmakar; from complaining against the army to becoming all sugar and honey, in all but a few seconds.

It is true that no political party wants the military to vote as the soldiers vote without a consideration for caste, creed, religion, in the true spirit of “India first”. This often upsets the political calculations. Not only will there be hints for the military to abstain, spanners will be put out like — first get your voter identity cards made; and that voting is impossible where soldiers with even one day of service are authorised to vote.

But, there is precedence to overcome this. In the 2007 Uttar Pradesh Assembly Election, serving soldiers were permitted to vote showing their service identity cards, and the list of eligible military voters was submitted to both the UP and the Election Commission well in advance. In fact, special voting booths were established within military cantonments, where soldiers voted under the supervision of Election Commission representatives.

With Gujarat passing a law to make voting mandatory, this approach should be adopted as dictum even in the military. With the military facing disparaging assaults, every soldier must at least get to vote. This should be the resolve of the service chiefs.

There should be no need for one chief to convince the other two. The three service chiefs actually owe this to their command. The routine instructions for getting soldiers voting cards fooled no one. The only question that remains is, do the chairman chiefs of Staff Committee and the service chiefs have it in them?

The author is veteran Lt Gen of Indian Army.

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BJP switches gears to ‘nationalism’ in UP poll campaign

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With its ‘Hindu’ agenda of building a Ram Museum in Ayodhya getting a tepid response, the BJP is planning to walk the nationalism route ahead of the Uttar Pradesh elections by promoting Kakori and Bithur, two towns that played a crucial role in India’s struggle for freedom but are remembered only in history books.The central government through the Culture Ministry will promote the two towns, both of which lie along the Lucknow-Kanpur route and have predominantly Hindu populations, as destinations of India’s glorious historical pride, an official told DNA.Kakori was the site of the historic train robbery of 1925 when Ram Prasad Bismil, Chandrashekhar Azad and Ashfaqullah Khan looted the British treasury. The town has 51 per cent Hindu population and 48 per cent Muslims. Bithur was the headquarters of the revolt of 1857. Nana Sahib and Rani Lakshmi Bai began their struggle for independence from the small town in Kanpur district which is also a Hindu pilgrimage destination. The town, with a 90 percent Hindu population, is also believed the birthplace of Luv and Kush, the two sons of Lord Rama.The ministry has asked the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a site study of the two locations and to submit its report on what all can be be done. “We are expecting a status report from ASI by the end of this month. The blueprints for developing tourism will be drawn on the basis of the ASI report,” the official said.While Uttar Pradesh remained the centre of the Indian freedom struggle, the two towns find mention in historical texts but have remained neglected by successive governments. The BJP now wants to promote them as symbol of Indian unity and oneness.With both Hindus and Muslims participating equally in the struggles for freedom, this is a campaign that the party is hoping will cut through communal lines. The Kakori train robbery was carried out by both Hindus and Muslim revolutionaries. And the army of Nana Sahib that fought the British also had a Muslim general and Muslim soldiers.”This time it is not the case of polarization but its pitching nationalism. Bringing the two historical towns on the national platform should be looked at an attempt to consolidate the vote bank but as an attempt to inculcate feeling of oneness,” said Professor Malvika Pandey of Banaras Hindu University.”While we find a mention of Kakori in school level textbooks, students get to read about Bithur only at the higher level. The way the government is trying to promote Sardar Patel, as a man behind unified India, it might use these two historical sites to inculcate a sense of national pride and build a bond,” added historian D.N Jha.Parivartan YatrasThe shift to ‘nationalism’ is likely to find space in the party’s Parivartan Yatras (transformational yatras) beginning November 5. It is hoping to change the perception that it is polarizing votes on religious lines, party insiders said.The BJP, which got fresh impetus after the surgical strikes against Pakistan, is also likely to rope in Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, the face behind the surgical strikes to campaign in the state.

Bengaluru: Masked men use noise from Diwali crackers as cover to shoot dead businessman

Bengaluru: A 50-year-old real estate businessman was shot dead near his house on Diwali night by two unidentified assailants, police said on Monday.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“Surendra Kumar was shot from a close range around 10 pm on Sunday by the masked assailants who came on a motorbike and fled from the spot in the cover of darkness and noise from bursting fire crackers,” Additional Commissioner of Police KSR Charan Reddy told IANS.

As a bleeding Kumar collapsed at the gate of his house in upscale Sanjay Nagar, his car driver and another employee rushed him to a nearby private hospital where doctors declared him dead.

“An FIR has been registered under section 302 of the IPC and the Arms Act on a complaint filed by the employee who witnessed the incident along with the driver. We have set up multiple teams to investigate the case and hunt down the killers,” said Reddy.

Kumar, a bachelor, who hailed from Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur, was living in the city since 2000 and was involved in various business activities, including real estate and property development.

He was returning home after celebrating Diwali with his staff in his farmhouse at Devanahalli and his nearby office when he was attacked.

“We are investigating the incident from all angles. Preliminary inquiry hints at business rivalry or a financial deal going awry. Our priority is to first nab the killers to crack the case,” said Reddy.

Kumar’s lawyer Vinod K, however, told reporters that Kumar’s former employee Kapil Saraswat was the prime suspect.

“He had threatened to kill Kumar for filing a cheating complaint, resulting in his arrest and imprisonment in Mathura jail (in Uttar Pradesh) early this year,” said Vinod.

Saraswat is reported to have borrowed Rs 3 crore from Kumar to purchase prime land in Uttar Pradesh but failed to return the money.

“Kapil’s brothers also came to Bengluru recently and threatened Kumar of serious consequences if he did not withdraw his complaint,” alleged Vinod.

Bhopal jailbreak: Why only Muslims break out of jail and not Hindus? asks Digvijaya Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Questioning the authenticity of the encounter video after eight SIMI terrorists escaped from a high-security prison in Bhopal, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh on Tuesday wondered as to what is the reason that only Muslims break out of jail and not Hindus while stating that he was against all those playing politics in the name of religion.The Congress general secretary stated that he had put ban on the SIMI when he was the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. “I was the first Chief Minister to put ban on the SIMI. Rajnath Singh was then the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh…he did not put the ban. Other controvertist Hindu organisations like the Bajrang Dal along with the SIMI used to ensure that riots take place. I had proofs and based on that the NDA put the ban on SIMI,” he told ANI in an exclusive conversation.”I don?t have love either for SIMI or Bajrang Dal. I am against all those who create ruckus and play politics in the name of religion. Owaisiji is also included in that,” he added. The Congress leader stated that the cases of the SIMI terrorists were taken back in 2011 during the BJP?s rule in Madhya Pradesh.”Some SIMI terrorists escaped from jail in Khandwa in 2013. In 2014, the Madhya Pradesh Chief Secretary was informed that they may attempt to run away from the jail. On October 31, 2016, eight SIMI terrorists ran away from jail. Now, what is the reason that only Muslims break out of jail and not Hindus,” he added.Expressing his ire at the opposition parties, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said some leaders are doing vote bank politics which is highly condemnable, adding that one must refrain from doing so.?I don’t know what sort of political mudslinging has begun. Few leaders of our nation cannot see the martyrdom of our soldiers. They cannot see the sacrifice of Ramashankar Yadav. They are the ones who murdered Shiv Prasad Kushwaha. They killed Sitaram Yadav in Khandwa. Some people are doing vote bank politics on this matter which is highly condemnable. One must refrain from doing this,” he told the media in Bhopal after announcing a compensation for the family of slain security guard Ramashankar Yadav.Escalating his attack on the opposition, Chouhan said it is extremely unfortunate that they do not utter a word about the martyrdom of the soldiers. “Shame on such politics and shame on such leaders. For us, nation is our first priority,” he added. Eight terrorists of the banned group SIMI, who escaped from the Bhopal Central Jail after killing a guard yesterday morning, were gunned down in an encounter by the state police.

Uttar Pradesh: 6 injured in stampede at Akhilesh Yadav’s Janata Durbar in Saifai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Six people including a Zila Panchayat head were on Sunday injured in a stampede at a Janata Durbar programme of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav at his ancestral village of Saifai here.Additional SP Ram Kishan Yadav said a large crowd had gathered outside the PWD Guest House where the CM was holding the programme.The main gate had to be closed to keep the crowd away. But when it was opened to allow a VIP car, people rushed inside causing the stampede, he said.Six people, including Kannauj Zila Panchayat head Santosh Yadav, were injured in the melee. One person suffered a head injury.Eyewitnesses said when the chief minister was meeting people and exchanging pleasantries with them, the crowd surged towards him and in the stampede-like situation some fell down and got hurt.Some mediapersons covering the event were also injured, police said. All the injured people were rushed to a hospital in Saifai, they said.This was Akhilesh Yadav’s first visit to Saifai after the recent Samajwadi Party family feud became public. As news of his arrival spread, thousands of people gathered at the venue to wish him on the festive occasion of Diwali.Police had a tough time trying to manage the crowd as the number of people who turned up at the event was far beyond their expectation.Akhilesh also interacted with people and listened to their woes before directing officers to take action. Akhilesh had driven down to his ancestral village Saifai to celebrate Diwali with his extended family.A large number of people greeted the CM along the 200 km route from Lucknow to Safai as he stopped at various places to meet them on the soon-to-be-inaugurated state-of-the-art Lucknow-Agra Expressway.

Yadav vs Yadav: Shivpal meeting ‘socialist friends’, trying to cobble ‘grand alliance’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Concerned over the debilitating power struggle in Samajwadi Party, the Mulayam Singh Yadav- Shivpal Yadav camp continued efforts on Friday to cobble together a grand alliance in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, with the latter meeting RLD chief Ajit Singh. Shivpal, who heads the Uttar Pradesh unit of the party, called on Ajit Singh, whose Rashtriya Lok Dal has areas of influence in western parts of the state, apparently to invite him to SP’s silver jubilee celebrations on November 5.The meeting came against the backdrop of talk of attempts at replicating Bihar’s grand alliance experiment in UP. Shivpal had recently pitched for coming together of ‘Lohiawadi’, ‘Charan Singhwadi’ and ‘Gandhiwadi’ forces to defeat the “communal” BJP in the assembly polls due early next year.Samajwadi Party, which was initially part of Bihar’s grand alliance, had walked out of it after it was offered only a handful of seats to contest the assembly elections there. The grand alliance of JD(U), RJD and Congress had, however, scripted a glorious electoral victory, defeating the BJP-led NDA. Shivpal had recently blamed his estranged cousin Ram Gopal Yadav for Samajwadi Party’s decision to walk out of the alliance in Bihar.
ALSO READ UP polls 2017: Congress likely not to be part of ‘grand alliance’Ram Gopal, a Rajya Sabha member, has been backing Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in his fight against Shivpal. Ram Gopal was recently sacked from the party amid escalating tension between the rival camps. Given the unusual belligerence shown by Akhilesh Yadav, the party apparently wants to fortify its position by bringing in new friends.Carrying an invitation from Mulayam, Shivpal has been meeting “socialist friends” in the national capital. On Wednesday, Shivpal had called up Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar and met senior leaders of the party Sharad Yadav and KC Tyagi. Sources in the JD(U) and the SP said the idea behind the invite was to stitch up an alliance in Uttar Pradesh, where a resurgent BJP and Mayawati’s BSP look set to pose a tough challenge to the ruling party.
ALSO READ Explained: The Yadav PariWar “I have come to invite Ajit Singh for SP’s foundation day. All secular parties do not want the BJP to enter Uttar Pradesh. It is an effort to bring together all Lohiawadis and Charanwadis. If it succeeds, we will stop the BJP (from coming to power),” Shivpal told reporters after meeting the RLD chief. “RLD has welcomed the statement of Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav, calling for a coalition of parties against communal forces in Uttar Pradesh,” RLD general secretary Trilok Tyagi said, but added “no decision has been taken yet”.Interestingly, RLD has already announced a coalition with Janata Dal (United), Sharad Pawar-led NCP and ex-BSP leader RK Chaudhary’s BS4 for the Uttar Pradesh polls. The mega alliance has decided to project Ajit Singh’s son and former Mathura MP Jayant Chaudhary as its chief ministerial candidate.

CM Akhilesh is enacting ‘drama’ to woo people, BSP will probe decisions: Mayawati

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BSP president Mayawati said on Friday she would order a probe into the various economic decisions taken by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in the run up to the state Assembly elections, if voted to power. “Assessing that his party will not return to power, the Chief Minister is taking big economic decisions on a regular basis and they will definitely be probed by the BSP government,” she said in a statement. “Now when the Assembly elections are just round the corner, the Chief Minister is enacting ‘drama’ to woo different sections of society and making announcements,” she said.Her statement said, “The Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to raise honorarium of gram pradhan from Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000 and distribution of the ruling SP’s poll material in the form of steel plates and glasses to school children was aimed at gaining cheap publicity.” The Dalit leader also welcomed the “stern” direction of the Allahabad High Court to the state government for the latter’s failure to contain dengue menace.After being rapped by the HC on the issue recently, Akhilesh Yadav had directed officials to launch a campaign in every district of the state to check the disease. “Accepting apathy and laxity alone in the court will not serve the purpose…. stern measures and prompt action against those responsible for it is required,” she said.Mayawati alleged that though the state government had said that 113 deaths have taken place, but in Lucknow alone 219 people have died of dengue. “There is an immediate need to declare dengue an epidemic,” she stressed. Taking a dig at the alleged family feud in Samjawadi Party, Mayawati added that the Chief Minister should take out time from the ongoing family fight and rather concentrate on people’s sufferings. The crucial state Assembly polls are scheduled for next year.

Yadav v/s Yadav: Never wanted to become chief minister – Shivpal Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav, who was sacked from the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet on Thursday, said he never nurtured an ambition to become the chief minister and will always remain a “disciplined soldier” of his brother Mulayam Singh Yadav. Talking to reporters here, en route to Saharanpur, he said,”I never wanted to become chief minister. Had I wanted, I could have been in 2003 but I supported Mulayam Singh Yadav and he became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh”.Shivpal said that he may or may not be the SP state president but will always remain a “disciplined soldier of Netaji (Mulayam)”.He said SP will form a ‘Maha Gathbandhan’, as was in Bihar polls, with secular parties to check BJP from wresting power in Uttar Pradesh.

Need to review the definition of country’s minority: Union Minister Giriraj Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister Giriraj Singh has said that there is a need to review the definition of ‘minority’ in the country.”We need to have a relook on the definition of minority tag given to the Muslims having a population of over 20 crores in the country,” he said on Wednesday during a programme at Kashi Hindu University.”The places where they (Muslims) are in large numbers as well as where they are less in number…at both places they are called ‘minority’,” he said.On being asked about the current political scenario in Uttar Pradesh, he said, “It’s a fight between ambition and regime. Nobody is interested in healthy politics in the party and this is the reason why the party seems divided. Common people are fed up of family fueds and want a pro-people government”.Reacting to abduction of two brothers, residents of the national capital, who were rescued from Patna yesterday in a joint operation between Delhi police and their Bihar counterparts, he said, “Bihar has become a den of criminals and is limping back to ‘jungle raj'”.

UP: CM Akhilesh Yadav directs officials to launch campaign against dengue in every district

UP: CM Akhilesh Yadav directs officials to launch campaign against dengue in every district

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Lucknow: A day after Allahabad High Court rapped the Uttar Pradesh government for its failure to contain the dengue menace, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday directed officials to launch a campaign in every district of the state to check the disease.

File photo of CM Akhilesh Yadav. PTI

File photo of CM Akhilesh Yadav. PTI

At a meeting held at his official residence, he also directed the formation of a high level committee under Chief Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar to monitor the situation.

Not satisfied with the Uttar Pradesh government’s action on dengue prevention, yesterday the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court has summoned the state’s chief secretary on 27 October.

The court has also asked him as to why action should not be taken against the state government as per the constitutional provisions as it could not discharge its duties in this matter.

SP rift: BJP refuses to buy Mulayam’s ‘all is well’, demands truth

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Refusing to accept party supremo Mulayam Singh’s claim that ‘all is well’ in the crisis-hit Samajwadi Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday questioned him that if there is no rift in the Yadav clan then why did he create such drama in the first place, calling on him to come up with the truth.”If Mulayam Singh is saying there is no rift in Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh then he should say why he wasted so much time of the nation and do so much of drama? You wanted to project unsuccessful Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav that he was not allowed to work. But you got stuck here,” BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh said.”Now you are saying there is no rift. Now, Mulayam Singh need to tell whether he did this drama to save Akhilesh or there is really cracks in ties. He should expose this,” he added. Reacting to reports that the four expelled Samajwadi Party leaders would be re-appointed in the party, Singh said the Samajwadi Party is violating the Constitution.”They are making it clear that whenever they wish they can appoint or remove the leaders. This is toying with the Constitution. I believe the people of Uttar Pradesh will give its answer in 2017 election where they will completely remove the Samajwadi Party from Uttar Pradesh,”he added.Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in Lucknow yesterday, Mulayam said the family is one and the leaders are united, adding that some people are hatching conspiracies in the party.He also said that Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh will not be removed from the party. When asked if the sacked ministers would be reinstated in the party, he replied, “I leave that to the Chief Minister to decide. I have dedicated my entire political life towards the Samajwadi Party and have worked towards alleviating the troubles of my people,” Mulayam stated while steering clear of all questions regarding any animosity with Akhilesh.Incumbent Chief Minister and Mulayam’s son Akhilesh Yadav, however, continues to remain adamant about having a decisive say in ticket distribution and ensuring the respectful return of Ramgopal Yadav and youth leaders to the party.

RSS calls for legal hurdles in the path of Ram temple to be removed

Hyderabad: RSS on Tuesday said it is Hindu society’s “desire” that a Ram Temple be built in Ayodhya and called for removing all legal hurdles to fulfil this wish.

“Hindu Samaj desires that there should be a Ram Mandir there (in Ayodhya). Whatever the legal problems are, they need to be sorted out and a Ram temple be constructed…that is what we all desire. The matter is pending before the Supreme Court,” RSS General Secretary Suresh Bhayyaji Joshi said.

A file image of RSS cadres during a Dussehra rally. PTI

A file image of RSS cadres during a Dussehra rally. PTI

Joshi was talking to reporters at the conclusion of a three-day national executive meeting of the pro-Hindutva organisation in Hyderabad.

He said the Ram Mandir issue has been there for the past over 30 years and it would be wrong to link it to the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

“Since 1984 this movement is going on across the country (for constructing Ram Mandir)…there is nothing new. There is some delay due to court cases,” said Joshi.

The RSS leader said after the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgement, it is difficult to build any other structure except for a Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. (“Lucknow court ke decision ke baad, waha par Ram Mandir ke alava aur kuch bhi hona mushkil hain).”

The Lucknow bench of HC had then ruled the 2.77 acre disputed land in Ayodhya be divided into three parts among Hindus and Muslims. It also held the place where the makeshift temple of Lord Ram currently exists belongs to Hindus.

On ‘gau raksha‘ issue, Joshi said the RSS has been stressing on cow protection since long.

“It is not an emotional issue but associated with the country’s economic growth,” he said, adding “cow protectors” should also be given protection.

The government should take necessary steps to save and develop indigenous cow breeds, Joshi said.

Asked if the meeting discussed the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh and BJP’s Chief Ministerial candidate, Joshi said, “We (RSS) don’t have any role in this. It is the work of BJP and they have to decide because it is they who have to win elections.”

On whether the conclave discussed performance of the Modi Government, the RSS leader said, “We do discuss and assess, but one thing is clear that it is up to the government to do assessment of its works.

“At times, we openly express our views (on issues related to governance), but RSS does not have any role in execution…it is the duty of the government. As a responsible social-cultural organisation, we bring important matters to the notice of the government.”

On genetically modified (GM) crops, Joshi said, “A rethinking process is on across the globe on this issue and scientists are divided on it in the world and also India.”

“This is a scientific issue…any policy decision should be taken considering the tradition of Indian agriculture.”

“One should not think only about increasing crop production, but also take note of soil damage. Scientists should think long term and not short term.”

Joshi said the Sangh now has presence in 44,000 villages across the country and has 70,000 working units. This number is expected to surge to 75,000 by March next year.

He called upon society to end discrimination based on caste and create an environment where women feel safe and empowered to determine their own destiny.

Joshi urged people to respond positively to Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s call to make India a clean and healthy nation.

17 Congress leaders close to Rita Bahuguna Joshi resign from party

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seventeen Congress leaders in Uttar Pradesh close to their former state chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who last week joined BJP, on Tuesday resigned from the primary membership of the party in her support. Among those who resigned were leaders of the city unit and women wing, said Congress state unit secretary Shabnam Pandey, who led the move.Some 17 leaders in a statement said they have resigned from the primary membership of the party as well as their respective posts, condemning the derogatory comments made against Joshi after she joined the BJP.”We condemn the act of the Congress workers for insulting Bahuguna, who had served the party for 24 years,” she said in a statement.In a jolt to Congress in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, senior party leader Joshi had on October 20 joined the BJP, with her previous party terming her a “betrayer” and one pursuing “selfish politics”.

Mulayam says Akhilesh will take final call on Shivpal’s re-inclusion, non-committal on next CM candidate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after high drama at a key meeting of a ruling Samajwadi Party, party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav said that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will decide on reinstating sacked ministers. “CM Akhilesh to decide on reinstating sacked ministers,” said Mulayam. At the press conference, SP state chief Shivpal Yadav accompanied Mulayam, however, Akhilesh was conspicuous by his absence. Mulayam however maintained silence on the next UP chief minister candidate. “Wait for majority in the upcoming polls, you will know who will become the new CM.”Mulayam says Samajwadi Party got majority in Uttar Pradesh Assembly in 2012 because of him. “Yes, it is true that a majority was in my name in 2012. We made Akhilesh the chief minister, now it is up to him to carry out responsibilities,” said the SP supremo. When asked if he would take over the CM’s post, Mulayam said, “Only two months are left for elections, why think about this now?”Talking about Ram Gopal Yadav, Mulayam said, “I do not give importance to him anymore.”At Monday’s meeting, Mulayam Singh sided with his younger brother Shivpal and friend Amar Singh, and reprimanded son Akhilesh but ruled out his removal as Chief Minister. Akhilesh first had offered to step down but later accused Amar Singh and those close to him of hatching a “conspiracy” against him and his father.There were sharp exchanges between Akhilesh and Mulayam, who virtually dismissed him as an insignificant entity in UP politics who could not win an election without his support.”What is your capability? Can you win elections?” he said, snapping at Akhilesh.Addressing the gathering Akhilesh ruled out forming a new party, a claim which Shivpal disputed, saying he was prepared to “swear” by his son and “Ganga Jal” that the Chief Minister had told him he would indeed float a new party and contest the assembly polls in alliance with some political party.The proceedings reached a flashpoint when Akhilesh accused Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh, who recently returned to SP, of having planted a story in a leading English daily in which he was called ‘Aurangzeb’ and Mulayam ‘Shahjahan’.

Yadav vs Yadav: Pari’War’ could benefit Mayawati with support from Muslim community

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The acrimony in ruling Samajwadi Party ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections appears to have all the ingredients to change the electoral prospects of key players. Beleaguered Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has a support base among the middle class and Yadav voters, but which party the Muslims back could determine the outcome of the elections due early next year.The crisis in the SP is being keenly watched by BSP which expects to gain most in the present scenario. BSP has been able to consolidate Muslim electors in its support in the past too, despite SP being the main claimant to their votes. Muslims account for around 12% of the electorate and are a force to reckon with.BSP chief Mayawati had started her poll campaign asking the Muslim community to vote for her as supporting SP could benefit BJP. Analysts say her campaign coupled with the spree of attacks by ‘gau rakshak’ (cow vigilantes) on Muslims and Dalits have strongly polarised the electorate. With the ruling Samajwadi Party a divided house, the BSP would hope the Muslims would overwhelmingly vote for the party in order to prevent a split in minority votes which would benefit the BJP.BSP is also wooing Brahmins with party leader SC Misra, himself a Brahmin, reminding the voters that during Mayawati’s stint in power key administrative posts were held by members of that caste. Muslims have backed Mulayam for decades, but the infighting in SP ahead of its silver jubilee celebrations only means the party, whoever is at the helm, will have to manage this crucial vote bank shrewdly in the run up to the polls just few months away.The development has become a matter of worry for BJP as well. It has reasons to get worried because if Muslims shift their allegiance to BSP, it might upset the saffron party’s applecart.

Ram Gopal says goal to make Akhilesh CM again; silence is the best answer, remarks Amar Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after being expelled from Samajwadi Party, Ram Gopal Yadav on Monday rejected suggestions that he plans to form a new party with Akhilesh Yadav but asserted he will work towards ensuring his nephew becomes the Uttar Pradesh chief minister again after next year’s polls.”There is no question of forming another party. Why should I form another party? Those who have nothing should think of forming another party. Everything is with Akhilesh. People are with him,” he said.Reiterating his loyalty to Akhilesh, he dared party leaders Shivpal Yadav and Amar Singh to list out their charges and allegations against him in a public meeting and walk away unscathed. Praising Akhilesh, Ram Gopal said in no other party a personal war has been waged against a chief minister. It is disappointing that Akhilesh is under attack by people within the party, he said.Asserting his goal right now is to ensure return of Akhilesh as chief minister in the next polls, he said he will leave no stone unturned to achieve his objective. He was expelled from the party yesterday for allegedly colluding with BJP with the purpose of damaging the SP.Silence is the best answer: Amar SinghAs the feud in the Samajwadi Party degenerated into mudslinging, senior party leader Amar Singh on Monday said sometimes silence was the best strategic answer to all questions and allegations brought against him.Giving his “best wishes” to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Singh, once a right hand man of SP supermo Mulayam Singh Yadav, said, “I won’t comment on the matter. For me, at times silence is the best strategic answer to all questions and allegations raised against me”.When asked about his reactions to Akhilesh pointing fingers at him, Singh said, “I give my best wishes to Akhilesh Yadav. I have wished him on his birthday. He is the son of my supreme leader, my best wishes are with him.”Later at another function, Singh thanked SP supremo and UP Samajwadi Party president Shivpal Yadav for standing beside him.”I thank Mulayam Singh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav for standing beside me,” he said. (With PTI inputs)

Break the SP-BSP trap, BJP will turn Uttar Pradesh to Uttam Pradesh in 10 years: PM Modi

Mahoba : With the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election round the corner, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday made an impassioned appeal to the people of the state to “come out of the trap of SP and BSP” and vote for BJP this time to usher in a corruption-free environment.

“UP has seen a lot of politics. All types of games have been played here. Those who wanted to play have played, those who wanted to get (something), they have got. Sometimes SP and then BSP, their world have moved, but yours have not changed. If you want to make UP a Uttam Pradesh in next 10 years, come out from the trap of SP and BSP,” he told a public meeting in Mahoba.

PM Modi addressing the rally. Twitter @BJP4IndiaPM Modi addressing the rally. Twitter @BJP4India

PM Modi addressing a rally in Mahoba. Twitter @BJP4India

Claiming that SP and BSP that have ruled the state alternately in the past 15 years are hand-in-gloves in hiding each other’s corruption, Modi said that whenever elections came both these parties raise corruption cases of each other, but did not act after they assumed office.

“Has BSP sent any SP man to jail in its five-year regime? Now they (SP) are also doing the same. These SP and BSP men used to confuse (the people). This game of SP and BSP is going on in the state. It has ruined the state,” he said.

Noting that not a single corruption case has come to the fore in his over two-and-a-half years of his government, Modi said, “You can see newspapers of 2014 that were filled with cases of corruption. Now have you heard any corruption case or scam in past two-and-a-half years?

“There are honest officers and workers in the country but there is a need to empower them,” he said, adding the game of corruption going in UP should have to be ended.

To woo voters ahead of the Assembly polls due early next year, Modi said like in Lok Sabha polls, this time also the picture is clear as on one side there is a party which is worried about its “family” and the other is for the “chair”.

“BJP is the only one which is worried about UP. This time people of the state, especially youths, have to decide their fate. Your ancestors might have patronised SP or BSP, but if you think about yours and the state’s future, you all should consider BJP this time,” he said.

“I want to do more work than that done by all PMs elected from UP taken together,” Modi told the “Maha Parivartan Rally” here in the Bundelkhand region.

Let’s break cycle of SP-BSP to make UP ‘Uttam Pradesh’: PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cornering the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday urged the nation to break the cycle of the two parties to make Uttar Pradesh an Uttam Pradesh’.”The Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party both loot in their own turns, and when the other comes to power they never take action against the other. SP-BSP-BSP-SP. The power keeps shifting, and in this game, this land never reached its potential. You have faced enough. If you want to escape this trap then you need to get out of this trap of Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party. Let’s break the cycle of SP-BSP and choose instead to make Uttar Pradesh an ‘Uttam Pradesh’,” Prime Minister Modi said while addressing a rally in Mahoba, a district in Bundelkhand here.Escalating his attack on the Samajwadi Party, the Prime Minister said the farmers in Mahoba have faced grave injustice as this land is capable of reaping gold but farmers got no water.”Earlier I used to ask people from Bundelkhand in Gujarat if they were from Uttar Pradesh or Madhya Pradesh. They all used to say Uttar Pradesh then I stopped asking. Because then I realised that had these people been from Madhya Pradesh they wouldn’t have to come all the way to Gujarat for employment,” he added.Expressing confidence, Prime Minister Modi said the people would give absolute majority to the Bharatiya Janata Party in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.Taking a jibe at both the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, the Prime Minister said: “On one side, there are those who want to save their family. On the other side, there are those who just want power. While, we are those who just want to save Uttar Pradesh. This land of Uttar Pradesh is our mother, and we won’t let our mother be looted anymore.”Money was provided to Bundelkhand for some projects, and yet no work was done here…you will be very sad to hear this.Stating that Uttar Pradesh has given many Prime Ministers to the nation, Prime Minister Modi said the state has a claim on him as well.”I want to do more work than all those Prime Ministers put together. Modi is not born to rule…he is born to do hard work,” he added.Prime Minister Modi also said that the issue of triple talaq should not be politicised, adding that proper measures should be taken to give equal rights to women.”I am surprised that for vote bank politics, some parties want to keep Muslim women bereft of their natural rights. I request people who participate in TV debates don’t make women rights into Muslim Hindu issue. Women’s right is a development issue. People from Uttar Pradesh will wait for Uttar Pradesh this time, Delhi knows that Uttar Pradesh has decided this,” he added.

Irreparable split staring at SP due to Yadav family feud – Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress Party on Monday said that the Mulayam Singh Yadav led Samajwadi Party (SP) is staring at an irreparable split due to the ongoing family feud in the Yadav family. Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit told ANI, “The Samajwadi Party’s charisma has eventually declined and the party has fallen into splits. This division is not because of any scheme or for development, but for the greed of power. ?Unfortunately, Uttar Pradesh has had to bear the brunt because of the Yadav family feud. For four-and-a-half years, Akhilesh Yadav’s government has not done any work,” he added.”In the past few months, the government has tried to build roads with the help of industrialists, and now, even that job is not happening because of this tussle. Nothing is happening in Uttar Pradesh for the last two to four months as there is no electricity , hospital and other basic infrastructure. This government has become useless,” Dikshit said. On Sunday, after being sacked from the Cabinet, Samajwadi Party state president Shivpal Yadav expelled party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav from his position and the party for next six years. “Ramgopal is involved with the BJP; he met BJP leaders thrice in the last few days. He is doing such things because his son Akshay Yadav and daughter-in-law are involved in a scam. To protect himself and his son, they are planning a conspiracy as per the direction of the BJP,” Shivpal told a press conference here. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav sacked four ministers, including his uncle Shivpal Yadav from the state cabinet. Narad Rai, Saiyyada Shadab Fatima and O.P. Singh were the other three leaders shown the door by the chief minister.

Yadav vs Yadav: BJP questions UP government’s majority

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) on Monday has questioned the majority of Akhilesh Yadav-led government in Uttar Pradesh, even as the Samajwadi Party (SP) was in the grip of a father and son political tug of war.BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said, “The Samajwadi Party’s internal family feud has some serious ramifications in terms of the question that whether the government of Akhilesh Yadav has the majority or not, because the party is clearly divided between father and the son,” he said. “It also confirms that the Samajwadi Party was never interested in governance, never interested in development, or law and order. They were only interested in power and this fight is a pure fight of power, (and) not about serving the people of Uttar Pradesh,” he added. On June 21, Shivpal had announced the merger of the two parties in the presence of Qaumi Ekta Dal President Afzal Ansari, the elder brother of incarcerated mafia don and legislator Mukhtar Ansari. Akhilesh had opposed the decision and the SP parliamentary board had called it off. On October 1, Akhilesh stripped Shivpal of two other portfolios, social welfare and minor irrigation, and allotted these to other ministers. On his part, Shivpal reiterated that the merger of the Qaumi Ekta Dal (QED) into the SP was effective and there was no need of a fresh announcement. Meanwhile, Shivpal has nominated key aides in the 81-member SP state executive, while showing the door to Akhilesh’s confidants. On October 14, Mulayam, replying to a media query in Lucknow, said the party’s parliamentary board and legislators would select the next CM if the SP secured a majority. This put a question mark over the SP’s election face.A day later, party General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav, another uncle, but one who supports Akhilesh, wrote a terse letter to Mulayam against not projecting Akhilesh as the CM candidate. Later, SP national vice-president Kironmoy Nanda had to announce that Akhilesh remained the party?s official chief ministerial candidate for the polls. He claimed Mulayam was only referring to the procedure of electing the chief minister. On Sunday, Mulayam sacked Ram Gopal from the party for six years. Shivpal said he was accused of colluding with the BJP. Against this backdrop, two things stand clear. First, the fissure is too deep to mend in the SP, witnessing a generational shift in leadership. Second, the party has decided to rally behind Akhilesh for the polls, since he remains the best face in the party to project before the electorate. Akhilesh has now decided to chart his own course on the poll campaign. He has sent a letter to Mulayam on proceeding with the ‘Samajwadi Vikas Rath Yatra’ from November 3. He said it was earlier scheduled from October 3 but had got delayed, even as other parties had kicked off their respective campaigns. On Sunday, Akhilesh Yadav, 43, fired Shivpal Yadav, 61, as a minister in his government for the second time in a month. It was seen as a direct challenge to his father, who has been promoting Shivpal over him. Mulayam Singh Yadav, apparently returning the favour, sacked from the Samjawadi Party, his cousin Ram Gopal Yadav, a trusted adviser to Akhilesh. Shivpal Yadav announced Ram Gopal Yadav’s expulsion “for colluding with the BJP”.Ram Gopal, who wrote to the SP chief on Saturday, had sought to caution his cousin that he (Mulayam) would be held responsible if the party was defeated in the 2017 assembly polls+ . He also said that Akhilesh was “undoubtedly the most popular leader of SP” and must be made the party’s CM face in order to win next year’s elections.In his letter, written on Thursday, Singh alleged that Mulayam’s second wife and his brother Shivpal Yadav had been “part of a conspiracy against Akhilesh” since he was nominated as the CM, and urged Mulayam to make way for his son as the party chief.

Mulayam Singh has signed his own political death warrant: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A senior spokesperson of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), IP Singh, on Monday held Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav responsible for the political crisis in the party. “We can see that now the future of Mulayam Singh’s political career has ended. The latest political crisis in Samajwadi Party is due to Mulayam Singh Yadav. He has signed his own political death warrant,” Singh said. On Sunday, after being expelled from the cabinet, Samajwadi Party state president Shivpal Yadav expelled party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav from his position and the party for six years. “Ramgopal is involved with the BJP; he met BJP leaders thrice in the last few days. He is doing such things because his son Akshay Yadav and daughter-in-law are involved in a scam. To protect himself and his son, they are planning a conspiracy as per the direction of the BJP,” Shivpal told a press conference here.Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav sacked four ministers, including his uncle Shivpal Yadav from the state cabinet. Narad Rai, Saiyyada Shadab Fatima and OP Singh were the other three leaders shown the door by the chief minister.

Tough road for whistle-blowers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The snapping of Julian Assange’s Internet access is the victory of the Obama administration over Ecuadorians. The restriction on Assange would mean that he will not be able to spill any more information that can hurt the US election. It comes at a time when Ecuador is seeing an opportunity to mend its relationship with the Americans post the US presidential election. It also comes at a time when the US requested Ecuadorians not to interfere in the affairs of the US by putting out the leaks and violating the free election process. Whistle-blowers aren’t protected anywhere. Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are cases in point where corrupt systems will not let whistle-blowers rear their head. If the leak is too big then their life is at risk and before it comes out they will possibly be knocked out. If it ain’t big, they get victimised. India is also home to victimisation of whistle-blowers, whether it’s corporate or government. Dinesh Thakur highlighted the issues of fraudulent practices in Ranbaxy concerning drug development, manufacturing, and testing data.In 2005, he was compelled to resign after exposing the fraud internally. But, later he worked closely with the US Food and Drug Administration and exposed the company. Ranbaxy was fined to the tune of US $500 million. He was able to achieve this only because he took protection of the US whistle-blowers’ protection programme. Not everyone has this privilege. Shanmugam Manjunath was killed for exposing adulteration of fuel at few petrol stations in Uttar Pradesh. Satyendra Dubey exposed the corruption in the golden quadrilateral project of National Highway Authority and was later murdered in Gaya, Bihar. In 2014, the amendments to the Whistleblowers Protection Act were passed in the Lok Sabha. However, little good may come out of this legislation. The Bill is still in pending in Rajya Sabha. If the amendments come into existence, the whistle-blower will not be able to disclose information protected under the Official Secrets Act and any information that the government is exempt from disclosing under the Right to Information Act. Any disclosure that would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or lead to incitement to an offence will be excluded. Intellectual property and trade secrets have also been protected. This means that whistle-blower will not be able to complain about corruption, violation of laws, abuse of power, and wasteful government expenditure if the complaint falls foul of these broad exemption categories. The original legislation was heavily problematic and the new one is not close to solving the issue either. India needs harsher punishments. According to an affidavit signed in the Supreme Court, between January 2007 and December 2012, the conviction rate of central vigilance office was only 7.3 per cent. Also, the “recommended” punishments were “minor penalties” like “withholding promotions and increments”. If the fear of the system has to be put in place, then the punishment has to be stronger. The challenge in India is corruption. India stands at the 76th place is the corruption perception index. The second most populous country of the world needs to show a far higher degree of honesty and transparency for it to be able to advance towards the path of nationhood.Whistle-blowers who suffered: Satyendra Dubey: He exposed corruption in the Golden Quadrilateral Project. Murdered in Gaya, Bihar, 2003.Manjunath Shanmugam: Manager at IOC in Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh. Murdered for sealing a petrol station selling adulterated fuel in 2005 DK Ravi: An IAS officer who cracked down on illegal sand mining and encroachment in Kolar and Gulbarga. Found dead in his home in Bangalore, 2015. A 130-page affidavit filed in the Apex Court by CVC says:- Of the 3,634 complaints in eight years, only 1,063 were forwarded. – Of these, the CVOs “recommended” punishment — “minor penalties” like “withholding promotions and increments” — in 78 cases (7.3 per cent). – Nearly 650 cases were closed.

Yadav v/s Yadav: Mulayam Singh surrounded by evil powers, says Ram Gopal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expelled Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav on Sunday said he is not sad by getting expelled from the party, but was hurt by the false allegations levelled against him by state party president Shivpal Yadav.”I am not sad that I have been expelled from the party, but I am hurt because of the false allegations levelled against me,” Ram Gopal said in a statement.Defending himself, Ram Gopal said it is not a crime to meet leaders from any other political party in a democracy.”Whether I am in the Samajwadi Party or not, I will continue to extend my support to Akhilesh Yadav till he becomes Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh,” he said.Commenting on party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, he said Mulayam Singh is not just his elder brother but also a political ‘guru’ who is currently surrounded by evil powers.Earlier today, Samajwadi Party state president Shivapal Yadav expelled party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav from his position and the party for next six years while accusing him of being part of a conspiracy against the party.”Ramgopal is involved with the BJP; he met BJP leaders thrice in the last few days. He is doing such things because his son Akshay Yadav and daughter-in-law are involved in a scam. To protect himself and his son they are planning conspiracy as per the direction of BJP,” Shivpal said. He said that Ram Gopal is making the party weak, adding Akhilesh is not understanding the facts that who is with him and who is against him.Earlier on Sunday, Akhilesh in an unexpected move sacked four ministers including his uncle Shivpal from the Cabinet. Narad Rai, Saiyyada Shadab Fatima and O.P. Singh are the other three leaders, who have been shown the door by the Chief Minister post the meeting called by him on Sunday.

UP, Punjab and three other states likely to go to polls in February- March next year

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Uttar Pradesh, which is set to witness game-changer elections, and four other states will go to polls simultaneously, most likely in February-March next, commencing shortly after the presentation of the Union Budget on February one.While it will be a single-day polling in Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur, Uttar Pradesh is likely to have as many as seven phases, sources in the Election Commission said.The BJP, which had swept the Lok Sabha elections more than two years ago, winning 70 of the 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh, is seeking to make a comeback by wresting power after 15 years from the ruling SP. The BSP is expected to give a stiff challenge to both of them. In Punjab, after two successive terms, the ruling SAD-BJP combine is facing a tough battle from Congress on the one hand and a fledgeling AAP on the other. Uttarakhand, where the ruling Congress staged a sensational comeback this year following a legal battle, is fighting anti-incumbency and facing challenge from the BJP.Goa, where the ruling BJP is seeking a fresh term, is pitted against Congress and AAP. In Manipur, the Congress is seeking to retain power. As a matter of abundant precaution, the government approached the Commission for clearing its proposal to present the Union Budget in Lok Sabha on February one and avoid criticism of violating the model code of conduct that will come into force the day elections are announced.Sources said that the Commission had no objection to the budget exercise being carried on because of the fact that it would cover the entire country and was not specific to the poll-bound states.It has also been conveyed to the government that caution should be exercised so that overtly populist measures are not included in the budget aimed at voters in these states. The Commission is working on a schedule for the polls which should be completed by the middle of March so that new assemblies in these states could be constituted well in time before the expiry of their tenure.It is working out the requirements about security forces with the Centre and the states concerned for ensuring that the polls are free and fair.Nearly a lakh of state police and central armed police force personnel may be deployed to ensure that the electoral exercise is smooth and free from violence and malpractices like booth capturing. Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi had recently said, “We are trying to assess the requirement of security forces, climate and exam schedule — all these inputs are being taken into consideration. Only then we will be able to say whether they will be staggered or multi-phase.” While the term of the Uttar Pradesh assembly ends on May 27, 2017, those of Goa, Manipur and Punjab end on March 18.The Uttarakhand Assembly’s term ends on March 27.

PM Modi to visit Varanasi, launch gaspipeline project ‘Urja Ganga’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit his Lok Sabha constituency on Monday where he is set to launch a number of ambitious projects including a 1500-km-long gas pipeline costing Rs 51,000 crore and doubling of railway tracks on a busy route. On his eighth visit here since becoming Prime Minister, Modi will launch “Urja Ganga”, the gas pipeline project which promises to provide piped cooking gas to residents of Varanasi within two years and, in another year thereafter, cater to millions of people in states like Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha. Modi is also scheduled to flag off projects like doubling of railway tracks on the busy Allahabad-Varanasi section and expansion of the Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) here besides laying foundation stone for a fully air-conditioned perishable cargo centre. He will also release a stamp dedicated to the ancient temple town, which is believed to be among the oldest surviving ones in the world. Besides, he will lay the foundation stone for widening of a road passing through the city’s crowded Cantonment area.Tight security arrangements are in place across the city where the Special Protection Group (SPG) has been camping since Friday to oversee preparations for the Prime Minister s visit. The sprawling DLW premises, where the PM is likely to reach by a helicopter, has been declared a “no fly zone” until his departure tomorrow evening.The city has been abuzz with activity for the past few days during which a number of Union Ministers like Piyush Goyal (Power), Dharmendra Pradhan (Petroleum) and Manoj Sinha (Railways) have visited the venue of the function and supervised preparations for the Prime Minister’s tour of his parliamentary constituency, which comes close to six months after his previous trip on May 1 this year.Local unit of the BJP, on its part, has launched a cleanliness drive across the city besides putting up posters at various places highlighting the various welfare schemes launched since Modi assumed power. Recently, the party’s Uttar Pradesh unit had also issued a statement welcoming the Prime Minister on his “first visit to Varanasi after the surgical strikes”. Modi’s visit to the city comes at a time when assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh are just a few months away and political temperatures are soaring. His arrival in Varanasi will immediately follow a rally, earlier in the day, at Mahoba district in the state’s impoverished Bundelkhand region.

Priyanka Gandhi will be a force multiplier in UP: Sheila Dikshit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Priyanka Gandhi will be a “force multiplier” for Congress in Rahul Gandhi’s “forceful” campaign in Uttar Pradesh and people will reject any attempt by BJP to use army’s surgical strikes across the LoC for political gains, Congress’ Chief Ministerial candidate Sheila Dikshit has said.The Congress veteran, who has been on a whirlwind tour of Uttar Pradesh where assembly polls are scheduled for early next year, also attacked the BJP for “trying to polarise” Uttar Pradesh on communal lines by raking up the contentious issue of Uniform Civil Code.78-year-old Dikshit said Rahul, the Congress vice president, has managed to enthuse party workers to a great extent through his Kisan Yatra and, if Priyanka decides to participate actively, it will work wonders for the party which is out of power in the politically crucial state for as many as 27 years.Talking about Congress’ preparations, she said the party was planning to have region-specific manifestos for the polls as different regions have different problems, adding there were signs of “clear revival” of the party across the state.Claiming that no party will get an absolute majority in the polls, Dikshit said Congress will play a key role in formation of the next government and hinted that the party may not be averse to forging a post poll alliance with either BSP or Samajwadi Party.”We will take a call depending on the situation after the polls. But I am very confident that Congress will play a decisive role in formation of the next government,” she said.The three-time Delhi Chief Minister accused the BJP of “conspiring” to “polarise” the state on communal lines, asserting Congress will forcefully “expose such evil designs”.She also slammed BJP for planning to highlight the surgical strike during the campaign, saying never ever in India’s history the valour of armed forces was used for political gains.”Exploiting political gains out of (a) sensitive issue is very, very unfortunate. It reflects deterioration of our democratic culture. Army was never used for politics. This is reprehensible,” she told PTI.Dikshit claimed Rahul’s Kisan Yatra was a “huge success” and if Priyanka hits the campaign trail, it will strengthen the party’s position.”People are yearning for Congress’ comeback to power.Every section of the society there is fed up with successive governments. People of UP now want change,” said Dikshit, adding Congress was trying to reach out to all communities including Dalits and Muslims.She said Dalits and Muslims were feeling “insecure” under the Modi government at the Centre and termed the situation as alarming.Dikshit was made Congress’ Chief Ministerial candidate considering her Brahmin background as the party felt it will help it win back support of the community, which has a sizeable vote base in UP.Born into a Punjabi Khatri family, Dikshit is the daughter-in-law of Congress heavyweight from UP late Uma Shankar Dikshit, a tall Brahmin leader who had served as a Union minister and governor for a long time.The Brahmin community, a traditional vote bank of Congress, had shifted allegiance to BJP in the aftermath of the Mandir-Mandal politics.A large chunk of Brahmin votes had also gone to Mayawati’s BSP in the past when she gave tickets to many candidates belonging to the community.The community’s support determines the poll outcome in several seats in central and eastern UP.

SP crisis: Despite expulsion, party MLC Udayveer Singh hopeful of justice

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Udayveer Singh, a Samajwadi Party MLC and one of the closest aides of Akhilesh Yadav, was on Saturday expelled from the party for “undignified” conduct days after he wrote to SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav suggesting him to elevate the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister as the party’s national president. The move is likely to further escalate the battle of attrition in the state’s ruling family in which Akhilesh Yadav is pitted against his uncle and state party chief Shivpal Yadav.A decision to expel Singh was taken after the inaugural meeting of the executive committee of SP’s Uttar Pradesh unit adopted a resolution seeking action against him for his “derogatory” comments against Mulayam.”Udayveer Singh has been expelled from the party for six years for his undignified and indisciplined behaviour,” state party spokesman Ambika Chaudhary said.”The party will not tolerate undignified behaviour and indiscipline. It has reached where it is in 25 years because of discipline,” Chaudhary said.In the four-page letter to the party supremo earlier this week, Singh had said, “SP state president Shivpal Yadav and other members of his family have misled you (Mulayam) and hatched a conspiracy against CM Akhilesh, who should be made party national president and given all the powers.”Singh, whose association with Akhilesh is over three decades hold, with both studying in school together, had reportedly also made some comments about Mulayam’s second wife and Chief Minister’s step mother, which angered the SP’s first family.Reacting to the development, Singh said he had only put before Mulayam his thoughts about the “conspiracy” against the Chief Minister. Asked to comment on his expulsion, he said, “I will give my version only after getting the letter.”Maintaining that he had no regrets about the points raised by him in the letter, Singh said,”Netaji is the patron of the party. I am confident that he will do justice to me and the chief minister.””Those who used foul language against the party chief are still in the party, but those who are the real well wishers and wrote letters are being expelled,” Singh said.Gaurav Bhatia, SP spokesman, said Singh had crossed the “Lakshman Rekha” in choosing the words he wrote in his letter to Mulayam which also hurt party workers.”Questioning the leadership of Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is an elected president of the party, was wrong. An MLC cannot dictate who the party president will be. Anybody committing an act of indiscipline has to be punished and this is what has happened,” he said.On Singh’s claim that a conspiracy has been hatched against Akhilesh, Bhatia said,” These are unsubstantiated allegations”.Reacting to the recent developments in the party, old war horse Beni Prasad Verma, who returned to the party fold from Congress recently, said,”Netaji (Mulayam) is deeply pained. What has happened (Singh’s letter to Mulayam) hurt Mulayam Singh’s prestige. I would request Akhilesh to get things sorted out. It is time to close ranks (with assembly polls just months away)… there is little time.”Singh’s explusion came a day after Akhilesh Yadav skipped a crucial meeting called by state party chief Shivpal Yadav to strategise for the assembly polls due early next year where the latter declared him the party’s chief ministerial face.Though Shivpal, the younger brother of SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, had met Akhilesh to personally invite him to a meeting of SP district and city units presidents, the Chief Minister kept away, indicating all was not well in the party despite repeated claims by its senior leaders to the contrary. These delegates had later met Akhilesh separately.Akhilesh, with whom Shivpal is engaged in a running feud over the last few months, had recently made it clear in a letter to Mulayam that he would be proceeding on his ‘rath yatra’ on November 3 to highlight the development work done by his government, in a clear indication that he would skip that event too.With the tense stand-off between Akhilesh and Shivpal continuing, speculations about a possible split in the party are rife. As a crisis-like situation obtained in the party, several top leaders including Beni Prasad Verma, Naresh Agarwal and state Assembly Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey met Mulayam earlier in the day. They were later closeted with Akhilesh in order to bring about rapprochement in the SP’s first family.

Delhi: Fire breaks out in childern’s ward at GTB Hospital, no casulaties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A fire broke out in the children’s ward of a multi-storeyed Delhi hospital in the wee hours on Saturday but all the patients and staff there were evacuated safely. The incident occurred at 3:35am at the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital at Dilshad Garden in east Delhi.”The fire was triggered by overheating of the ventilator following which the electrical wire also caught fire. Our doctors and nurses saw it and immediately raised an alarm. All the 34 children in the ward were evacuated and taken to another ward. No one was injured in the incident. The fire was brought under control by 4:35 AM,” a senior official of the hospital said.Six fire tenders were rushed to the spot after the fire was reported in the ward located on the first floor of the multi-storeyed hospital, at 3:55 AM, a senior official of the Delhi Fire Service said. A major fire had broken out at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar Monday night which has left at least 23 people dead. “The fire call from GTB Hospital was received at 3.55 AM. Six fire tenders were rushed to the spot including one Bronto skylift fire tender,” the official said.”The fire started from room number 1104 from a ventilator there and was doused by 4.20 AM,” the official said.A top official of the Delhi Fire Service said the GTB Hospital has “the fire safety clearance”. The senior official of the city government-run hospital said, “Fire Service has certified us to reuse the facility after inspecting it.”In the wake of the fire tragedy at SUM Hospital in Odisha, the Delhi government has ordered a fire safety audit at all its hospitals and sought a report on it to ensure no such mishap occurs in the national capital. There are 36 hospitals run under the Delhi government, with Lok Nayak Jaiprakash (LNJP) Hospital being the biggest.The seven-storeyed GTB Hospital, with a capacity of 1,500 beds is one of the busiest in the city. Hospital authorities said “nearly 40 per cent of the patients come from Uttar Pradesh”.

Yadav vs Yadav – SP should focus on UP instead of on family feud: Congress

“The party which should have been spending their time working for the people, is instead engrossed in a family feud,” said Punia, a Congress leader. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the rift within the Yadav family becoming wider after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav skipped an important meeting called by his uncle and SP president Shivpal Yadav to formalise strategies for polls next year, the Congress on Saturday said the discord within the family is affecting governance in the state and has asked the party to focus on the welfare of the people. “SP, the party in power, is not doing anything fruitful for people. It is unfortunate that the party which should have been spending their time working for the people, is instead engrossed in a family feud,” Congress leader PL Punia said. Akhilesh, however, met the members separately at his residence after their meeting ended with Shivpal on Friday at the party headquarters. At the brief meeting, Akhilesh apprised them of his ‘rath yatra’ scheduled from November 3 and said that they would be kept informed about it.

Rita Bahuguna Joshi joins BJP; setback to Rahul’s plans to turn party’s fortunes in UP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a major setback to Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi’s plans to turn his party’s fortunes in the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, Rita Bahuguna Joshi (67), former state unit president and a prominent Brahmin face, joined the rival BJP in the presence of its party chief Amit Shah here on Thursday.The Congress UP state chief Raj Babbar conceded that Rahul was hurt most by her betrayal, as he trusted her the most.Joshi’s differences with Rahul had become apparent immediately after the party nominated another Brahmin face Sheila Dikshit as its chief ministerial candidate.Joshi blamed Rahul’s ‘Khoon ki Dalali’ remark, referring to Prime Minister Modi highlighting the Army’s surgical strikes as the trigger for her to switch the sides. “I did not see any myopic agenda in the BJP,” she said in a brief statement after joining the party. But to repeated questions, Joshi, who had taken on the BJP strenuously all these years said: “I have not changed my ideology. I remain secular.”Joshi shift to the BJP was in the air since Monday after she was not seen in public and as such the Congress was prepared for the shock.A visibly upset party general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad called her a habitual defector as earlier she had also jumped on the Samajwadi Party’s bandwagon. He said she may have switched sides, as it was becoming difficult for her to win her assembly seat. She was supposed to contest from Lucknow Cantt constituency. Another veteran leader at Congress headquarters said she, in fact, has traits of being a traitor. Her late father, Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, though a towering leader slighted the Congress despite being made the chief minister and Union minister three times, he said.What had surprised many in Congress is that Joshi was one of the most favourite members of Rahul’s team. But since her brother Vijay Bahuguna, a former Uttarakhand chief minister, joined the BJP after attempting to topple the Congress government, she was being sidelined. Her close confidants allege that she was not kept informed about the party’s programmes despite being a part of the state campaign committee. The Congress sources admit her exit would harm the party’s outreach to the Brahmins who constitute around 10% of the state’s population. By nominating Dikshit as chief ministerial candidate, the party hoped to make a dent in upper caste vote bank. The state hasn’t had a Brahmin chief minister from the time ND Tiwari demitted office in December 1989.Bahuguna admitted that she felt isolated in the Congress, more so after strategist Prashant Kishor was roped in by Rahul to engineer the party strategies in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.Insiders in the party also said Prashant had warned that Rita may leak the party strategies to the BJP through her brother. Joshi acknowledged that Sonia Gandhi had the ability but Rahul has none and that is why the people have rejected his leadership. A former professor in the Allahabad University, she spent 24 years in the Congress. She was the Allahabad mayor for five years from 1995 and the PCC chief from 2007 to 2012.SidelinedWhat had surprised many in Congress is that Rita Bahuguna Joshi was one of the most favourite members of Rahul’s team. But since her brother Vijay Bahuguna, a former Uttarakhand chief minister, joined the BJP after attempting to topple the Congress government, she was being sidelined. Her close confidants allege that she was not kept informed about the party’s programmes despite being a part of the state campaign committee. The Congress sources admit her exit would harm the party’s outreach to the Brahmins who constitute around 10% of the state’s population

IAS probationers get lessons on UP from Rajnath Singh and co

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Labelled a “pep talk” by some and an “unhealthy practice” by others, union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Wednesday organized an interactive meeting between 14 of his ministerial colleagues, mostly connected with Uttar Pradesh, and 34 IAS probationers due for posting in the poll-bound state.The 2014 batch Uttar Pradesh cadre officers will be posted in the state after their probation gets over in December, just before elections due in February-March next year.Addressing the probationers getting ready to join the bureaucracy in the politically powerful state that has already started witnessing a high-voltage campaign, the minister is believed to have said that the most valuable thing they had is their reputation.”Don’t think if you go to place A from place B, people in place A won’t know what you did in place B. Your reputation will travel faster,” the minister was quoted as saying by those who attended the meeting, which has raised opposition hackles with some accusing the BJP of trying to influence the bureaucracy ahead of elections.Amongst the ministers present were Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar (elected from the state), Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi (MP from Pilibhit), Minister of State for Health Anupriya Patel (MP from Mirzapur), Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Balyan (MP from Muzaffarnagar), Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti (MP from Fatehpur) and Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand).Home Secretary, Rajiv Mehrishi, who was also present at the interaction, is learnt to have told the probationers not to think themselves as rulers of the British era but work as “public servants in a democratic set-up”.While all the probationers were promptly whisked away after the interaction, ministers present at the meeting described it as a useful exercise to help groom the officers for good administration.”These people will take care of the districts. It was a good interaction, there was no politics in it. By the time elections start, they all will be transferred to different places,” Baliyan said when asked about the reasons for the interaction.Maneka Gandhi told the young officers to give it their all and help people in their respective districts. “It is easy to say no. But try not to say so,” she is quoted as having said.Opposition viewOpposition leaders questioned the timing of the interactions and pointed out that most of these IAS officers would be serving as returning officers during the elections.”Hope ECI will take note,” Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi tweeted.”I have never heard of such a meeting before elections. It is an unhealthy practice. The Election Commission of India should take note. It seems that the central government instead of taking care of administration is only worried about elections,” added Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi.However, Mirzapur MP and minister Anupriya Patel refuted the criticism and said the officers were very young and would be in no position to influence the elections.

NGT forms panel to check sewage joining Ganga through drains

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Ganga rejuvenation project, which is of national importance, is being carried out by officials “who do not know” how many drains are polluting the river, the National Green Tribunal lamented on Wednesday. While setting up a panel to collect information on the quantum and quality of waste being released into the river, the NGT said “a project of national importance is being carried out and all authorities including Centre and state government do not know how many drains are polluting Ganga.” Taking the authorities to task, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said “you publish books and books, but you know nothing. We are asking you about only 1/5 part of river which is more than 2500 km in length. Still, you don’t have complete information.”The observation came after the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) told the NGT that there were 30 main drains which joined Ganga or its main tributaries like East Kali, Kosi and Ramganga falling in the segment from Haridwar and Unnao.However, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board claimed there were 172 drains, of which 150 directly joined Ganga and its tributaries. According to UP Jal Nigam, there were 172 drains out of which 83 terminated in the Ganga. “We are very disappointed to note that during the hearing of the case, none of the parties could inform the Tribunal as to how many drains join river Ganga. “We are primarily concerned with segment B of Phase-I but as domestic and industrial waste are inseparable and cannot be quantified, we have to deal with the issue of pollution of Ganga collectively. The Tribunal cannot come to a definite conclusion until the quantum and quality of sewage is brought to the notice by the authorities.”Furthermore, providing of data for control of pollution would depend on the number of drains which join Ganga. The uncertainty created reflects upon functioning of the authorities which have a statutory duty to maintain records.Moreover, the officers present in the court are also unable to assist the Tribunal in this regard. “In these circumstances, we direct Member Secretary of CPCB, chief engineer of UP Jal Nigam, senior environmental officer from UPPCB and a representative from National Mission for Clean Ganga shall personally visit segment B of Phase-I of river Ganga,” the bench, which also included Justice UD Salvi, said. The tribunal directed the panel to identify how many drains joined river Ganga and also record quantity and quality of effluents generated in the river.It asked Ministry of Environment and Forests, CPCB, state pollution control board and UP Jal Nigam to clarify their stand on zero liquid discharge (water treatment process), online monitoring of effluents and discharge of waste in drains by industries releasing contaminants in Ganga. The hearing will continue on Thursday.The NGT is hearing final arguments by various authorities on the mechanism to clean the Ganga from Haridwar to Unnao. Earlier, the Tribunal had rapped Uttar Pradesh government for wasting crores of rupees of public money on Ganga rejuvenation and restrained it from spending on any major project except maintenance work on the stretch from Haridwar to Kanpur.UP government had told the NGT that as per estimates, at present 1382.36 million litre per day sewage is generated and only 300 million litre per day get treated in treatment plants. The green panel had divided the work of cleaning the river into different segments — Gomukh to Haridwar, Haridwar to Kanpur, Kanpur to border of Uttar Pradesh, border of Uttar Pradesh to border of Jharkhand and border of Jharkhand to Bay of Bengal.On December 11 last year, the tribunal had imposed a complete ban on use of plastic of any kind from Gomukh to Haridwar along the river from February 1 and decided to slap a penalty of Rs 5,000 per day on erring hotels, dharamsalas and ashrams spewing waste into the river.

BJP pulls up Azam Khan for mocking PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reprimanding Azam Khan for his jibes directed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday reminded the loudmouth Samajwadi Party leader of the incident where the Uttar Pradesh Police were made to frantically search for his buffaloes and said that he should not make unwarranted comments against prestigious institutions.BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli downplayed the Samajwadi Party leader’s assertion and advised him to introspect his comment aimed at the Prime Minister.”After all Narendra Modi ji is the Prime Minister of the country it’s an institution, he is not just the Prime Minister of the BJP. Azam Khan may like him or not like him that is a different issue but should lose comments be made against such institutions,” Kohli told ANI.”The second issue is if he is very keen to comment, there are many issues on which he can comment. For example, the UP Police had more time to look for his buffalo than to catch criminals and what about Mulayam Singh ji’s famous comment on the Mumbai rape case ‘Oh boys are boys after all they can do something like that’ such major issues emanating for Uttar Pradesh,” he added.Bringing forth is prime ministerial ambitions, Khan likened himself on Tuesday to incumbent Narendra Modi. The Samajwadi Party leader took jibes at Prime Minister Modi for his “chaiwala” beginnings, his “monogrammed suit” and his drum playing episodes in Japan and Tanzania.”I have all the qualities of becoming Prime Minister. I can make tea, play the drum, cook food and I wear proper clothes. Besides, I am not all that bad looking or am I corrupt,” he said at an e-rickshaw distribution function in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

Ram Temple part of BJP manifesto, cannot just run away from it: Swamy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections polls due in 2017, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) senior leader Subramanian Swamy on Wednesday said the Ram temple is the part of BJP 2014 manifesto, added that it is the party’s obligation to the people to deliver the promise.”The Ram issue is a part of our manifesto in 2014, how can we run away from it? We have to deliver,” Swamy told ANI.Swamy said that the matter cannot be resolved forcibly, but the Supreme Court needs to take some action as the matter is pending from past six years.
ALSO READ Want Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, not ‘lollipop’: BJP leader Vinay Katiyar hits out at Mahesh Sharma’s museum project”Now it’s time for the matter to be heard and disposed off and the Muslim party is also agreeable for the hearing. I am filling an application on this main matter seeking the court to issue notice to the government,” he said.Yesterday, the Congress Party accused the BJP for selling the name of Lord Ram to siphon off a victory in Uttar Pradesh.
ALSO READ Ram temple is issue no. 3 in UP for RSS”The Congress has nothing to do with the BJP constructing a museum there (Ayodhya), or the Samajwadi party organising things for the Ramayana mela. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is selling the name of Ram in the wake of coming UP polls,” said Congress leader DP Singh.Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Katiyar, on the other hand, asked the BJP-led Central government to intensify its efforts to construct Ram temple in Ayodhya instead of giving ‘lollipop’ (Ram museum) to please the people, who are demanding the construction of the temple.”It’s a big mistake; effort should be made to construct the Ram Mandir (temple); this “lolipapi” (handing over Ramayana Museum as lollipop to please the people who are demanding the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya) won’t work. People ask when will be the Ram Temple constructed? This (Ramayana Museum) is a lollipop, it doesn’t have much importance, and thus, they should make positive effort. I would have said this had I been there. It’s good that I did not go there,” Katiyar told ANI.

UP Elections 2017: Nitish Kumar holds strategic meet of JD(U) leaders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after the JD(U) national council meeting which ratified his election as the new party president, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday met senior party leaders to draw strategy for the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.The meeting was attended by Kumar, former party chief Sharad Yadav, party secretary general K C Tyagi, Bihar party president Basistha Narayan Singh, Rajya Sabha member and Kumar’s close aide R C P Singh and two senior state ministers, Bijendra Prasad Yadav and Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lallan. Tyagi told PTI that the JD(U) chief of Uttar Pradesh Dr Ayub was also present at the meeting to draw strategy for the UP polls and said the meeting also deliberated on expansion programme of the party in other states.Tyagi said JD(U)’s main focus in UP would be to checkmate the BJP as it did successfully getting into an alliance with RJD and Congress in Bihar last year. “Our party chief will play a crucial role in uniting all secular parties to defeat BJP and RSS in UP,” he said. Kumar, in his speech on Monday at Rajgir, had talked about how BJP was trying to rake up its old bogey of Ram temple to reap benefits in the UP Assembly polls.He alleged that ahead of UP election, BJP was talking about construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya in Lucknow. “Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chanted ‘Jai Sri Ram’ at Vijaya Dashmi day in Lucknow, VHP chief Pravin Togadia talked about construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya, an issue which is pending before the Supreme Court,” he said.”BJP and other outfits of RSS are becoming aggressive on Ayodhya in view of the UP poll. We will make all efforts to foil their designs by forging unity among non-BJP secular parties,” Tyagi said.During his recent trips to UP, Kumar had shared dais with RLD leader Ajit Singh, BSP rebel R K Chaudhary and was also in contact with Apna Dal. Yesterday at the plenary session of JD(U) at Rajgir, Kumar had made an overture to his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Akhilesh Yadav, who is locked in a family feud, to enforce prohibition which he said would help him come out of the “family shadow” and win the UP Assembly electionsKumar had also come down heavily on Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and said, “We had offered him the post of president in the reunited Janata Parivar and also the head of the group in Parliament. But, he walked out and the role he played in Bihar elections, it seems brought a curse, which has been manifested in the intense feud in his party.”

UP polls 2017: Nitish Kumar holds strategic meet of JD(U) leaders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after the JD(U) national council meeting which ratified his election as the new party president, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday met senior party leaders to draw strategy for the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. The meeting was attended by Kumar, former party chief Sharad Yadav, party secretary general K C Tyagi, Bihar party president Basistha Narayan Singh, Rajya Sabha member and Kumar’s close aide R C P Singh and two senior state ministers, Bijendra Prasad Yadav and Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lallan.Tyagi told PTI that the JD(U) chief of Uttar Pradesh Dr Ayub was also present at the meeting to draw strategy for the UP polls and said the meeting also deliberated on expansion programme of the party in other states. Tyagi said JD(U)’s main focus in UP would be to checkmate the BJP as it did successfully getting into an alliance with RJD and Congress in Bihar last year.”Our party chief will play a crucial role in uniting all secular parties to defeat BJP and RSS in UP,” he said.Kumar, in his speech on Monday at Rajgir, had talked about how BJP was trying to rake up its old bogey of Ram temple to reap benefits in the UP Assembly polls. He alleged that ahead of UP election, BJP was talking about construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya in Lucknow.”Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chanted ‘Jai Sri Ram’ at Vijaya Dashmi day in Lucknow, VHP chief Pravin Togadia talked about construction of a Ram temple at Ayodhya, an issue which is pending before the Supreme Court,” he said.”BJP and other outfits of RSS are becoming aggressive on Ayodhya in view of the UP poll. We will make all efforts to foil their designs by forging unity among non-BJP secular parties,” Tyagi said.During his recent trips to UP, Kumar had shared dais with RLD leader Ajit Singh, BSP rebel R K Chaudhary and was also in contact with Apna Dal. At the plenary session of JD(U) at Rajgir on Monday, Kumar had made an overture to his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Akhilesh Yadav, who is locked in a family feud, to enforce prohibition which he said would help him come out of the “family shadow” and win the UP Assembly elections.Kumar had also come down heavily on Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and said, “We had offered him the post of president in the reunited Janata Parivar and also the head of the group in Parliament. But, he walked out and the role he played in Bihar elections, it seems brought a curse, which has been manifested in the intense feud in his party.”

Uniform Civil Code another BJP ‘trump card’ like Ayodhya, says CPI’s S Sudhakar Reddy

Hyderabad: Claiming that Uniform Civil Code issue is another “trump-card” of the BJP, the Communist Party of India on Tuesday alleged that the lead party of NDA government may try to keep it alive till the 2019 Lok Sabha elections with an aim to reap political dividends.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

CPI General Secretary S Sudhakar Reddy sees the current debate on the code as a “diversionary tactic” adopted by the BJP-led NDA government.

He expressed the view that the code is a “diverse and complex issue” and not an “urgent issue at the moment” as “there are so many other problems”.

Reddy, however, said there is a necessity to take a second look at the triple talaq issue.

“Some reform should come (in Muslim Personal Law) but it is necessary to convince the minority community (on the need for it)”, he told PTI.

“This (debate on the code and triple talaq, among others) is being brought as a diversionary tactic. There is necessity to discuss the whole in the Muslim community itself about such demand for reforms,” he said.

“It’s not something urgent to divide the nation on that issue and I don’t think the government is serious in bringing the code. The debate before the Uttar Pradesh elections (due early next year) is aimed to get political dividends,” Reddy alleged.

Asked if he expected the code issue to “die down” after Uttar Pradesh elections, he said, “They may continue till 2019 also. This (the code) is another trump card like Ayodhya, so called nationalism, patriotism to cover up pro-corporate, anti-labour, anti-people policies of Government of India. They may keep it as an important point of debate.”

Akhilesh Yadav orders probe into Varanasi stampede

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Uttar Pradesh Chief Minster Akhilesh Yadav has ordered a judicial probe into the Varanasi stampede which claimed 25 lives and left over 100 people injured.The chief minister has constituted a one-man inquiry commission to probe into the stampede, a government release issued on Tuesday. The commission will be headed by retired Judge of Allahabad High Court, Justice Rajmani Chauhan, who has been asked to submit his report within two months, the release said. As many as 25 people, mostly women, were killed in the stampede on the overcrowded Rajghat Ganga bridge in Varanasi on Saturday. The incident happened when thousands of Jai Guru Dev followers were on their way to attend a religious congregation, two kms away in a village in Chandauli district.

Make in India push: Samsung to invest Rs 1,970 cr in Noida unit to double capacity

Lucknow: Samsung will invest Rs 1,970 crore over the next three years to double manufacturing capacity of its Noida facility, a move that will help the Korean company start exporting from India.

APAP

AP

The Uttar Pradesh government has approved Samsung’s investment under Super Mega A by the state’s Cabinet Committee in Lucknow today.

“In line with our commitment to ‘Make in India’, we are pleased to receive the UP government’s approval to invest in the state and expand our manufacturing base here in India,” Samsung India President and CEO HC Hong.

While the company did not disclose details, sources said the investment will help Samsung ramp up its manufacturing capacities across product lines like refrigerators, mobile phones and LED TVs.

They added that Samsung will get an additional 1.3 lakh sqm for the expansion, a move that will generate additional employment for 2,200 people.

Samsung’s mobile phone manufacturing capacity alone will be doubled from 6 million units a month now to 12 million over the course of time, Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar said.

“…we are witnessing an increase in the adoption of electronic devices, appliances and mobile phones. A bigger and more robust manufacturing facility will help us address the needs and demands of our growing customer base across the country and the region,” he said.

Interestingly, the announcement comes within week of Samsung permanently shutting production and sales of its flagship device, Galaxy Note 7, globally.

While the company had not started sales of the Note 7 but analysts expect its smartphone revenues in India to be hit. However, Samsung has has vehemently refuted the claims. Samsung started its Noida plant in 1996 and in 1997 the television was manufactured. The company has two factories, three R&D centres and a design centre, employing over 40,000 people in India.

“Today’s MoU is yet another step in converting Noida into the electronics hub of India. I am happy Samsung is pioneering this transformation yet again,” Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said.

Varun Gandhi’s farmer-funding initiative is the wake-up call India needs

“The most revolutionary thing you can do is get to know your neighbours”

 – Karl Hess

Yes, this is precisely what Varun Gandhi — Sanjay Gandhi’s son and Indira Gandhi’s grandson who represents the Sultanpur Lok Sabha seat on behalf of the BJP — is busy doing these days almost alone, silently. But he is making waves nonetheless. His ‘activities’ have already made headlines in the media. Newspapers and news-portals including The Times of India, The Economic Times, Deccan Chronicle, NDTV and so on have given him rave reviews.

But what is it that Varun is doing?

File image of Varun Gandhi. AFP

File image of Varun Gandhi. AFP

Is he upping the political ante in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. No, not at all. He is, in fact, busy searching genuine marginal farmers who, if not helped, would certainly commit suicide. And after the search is over, he goes to them, pays off their bank loans and builds homes for them. Commendable. What’s even more surprising is that news-hounds are now beginning to see merit in even non-juicy, apolitical events. It’s indeed a blissful, pleasant development in the midst of Uttar Pradesh’s political turmoil.

Can you believe that as many as 3,540 families, who would have otherwise died of starvation, have already been given a sum of Rs 16.2 crore in all so far, making them debt-free? And this is not government money that is being given to them. It’s all a private initiative. Varun contributed Rs 1.4 crore (his parliamentary salary in the last seven-and-a-half years) while 8,000 more individual donors came forward, on Varun’s call, to pool in another Rs 16.2 crore.

“The monies first went to those agricultural families where the main earner had committed suicide and thereafter to those who were on the brink of survival — those marginal farmers whose average debt ranged from Rs 30,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh,” Varun says and talks about his probing journey through 20 districts including Bijnor, Bahraich, Lakhimpur Kheri, Pratapgarh, Aligarh, Sulatanpur, Sitapur and Allahabad.

Speaking of the silent private initiative, Varun adds, “Before visiting a district, we reached out to the local elite — lawyers, rich farmers, traders, businessmen — providing them with data on specific cases of farmers on the brink of bankruptcy, and requesting them to directly donate to them. The data is collated with local banks on hand to scan, to see the level of indebtedness, the amount of years indebted and the frequency of loan default”.

“We have tried to build a model which analyses these indicators to understand the likelihood of the farmer committing suicide and how soon this may happen. Typically, if a farmer defaults on a loan for three cycles in a row, combined with adverse weather conditions, the chances of suicide rise to almost 50 percent. The cases that are chosen all fall in this extreme category,” he points out, adding, “We send volunteer teams in advance in coordination with local administration in order to ascertain the physical environment of his economic condition, assets, family landholding, any fallback provision etc. Other than my own donation, I was conscious that I didn’t want to create an NGO, but simply act as a direct via-media between the giver and the marginal farmer.”

For instance, in Moradabad, Varun states, “Aside from my personal contribution, we managed to raise a further Rs 18 lakh, which saved 26 families from falling into a debt-trap. In Allahabad, we raise Rs 22 lakh and helped 32 such families.”

Asked about the future of his movement, he says, “While it remains a limited exercise with limited resources, I want to transform it into a mass movement by increasing its scale. We will now take to crowd-funding for the next phase where we aim to help 10,000 families in agrarian distress and are working with young technology professionals to help us create a platform to do so.”

Over the course of discussions with Varun, one thing was clear: We all thought farmer suicides were endemic to Vidarbha (Maharashtra) alone. We never knew that the scene was as bad in Uttar Pradesh. How on earth can India go ahead on the highway to glory, unless our farmers, who account for more than 70 percent of our population, get two square meals a day and a roof to live under? All big, high-sounding talk about our diplomatic victories over Pakistan, national growth rate figures and undiminished political stability will otherwise sound hollow.

Like it or not, it’s a wake-up call.

BJP ‘selling’ Lord Ram’s name to win UP polls: Congress

Tue, 18 Oct 2016-10:30am , Lucknow , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress on Tuesday said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is selling the name of Lord Ram to siphon off a victory in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh. Congress leader DP Singh said that the Congress has nothing to do with the BJP’s plan of constructing the Ram museum. “The Congress has nothing to do with the BJP constructing a museum there (Ayodhya), or the Samajwadi party organising things for the Ramayan mela. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is selling the name of Ram in the wake of coming UP polls,” said Singh. According to some reports, the BJP government is planning to build a Lord Rama museum in Ayodhya. Both, Lord Rama and Ayodhya, have a dominant influence in the politics of Uttar Pradesh. The union ministry of culture is also learnt to have increased the museum grant from Rs 175 crore to Rs 225 crore so that a state of the art museum can come up in the ancient town celebrated in Hindu epics as the seat of Ram?s birthplace and kingdom.

Ramayana museum row: Opposition slams BJP for linking religion with politics

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The contentious issue of Ram temple was suddenly back in the political discourse in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh on Monday, a day ahead of Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma’s visit to Ayodhya on Tuesday to inspect the proposed site for setting up a Ramayana museum, a move seen as an attempt to woo pro-Hinduvta elements.BSP supremo Mayawati, a major contender to power in the key battleground state, Congress and the DMK criticised the move, saying it was being made for “electoral benefits”. The land for the proposed museum has been provided by the Uttar Pradesh government.”Developing tourism in Ayodhya is good but, how come the Narendra Modi government thought of developing the Ramayana Sangrahalay (museum) and the state government of Ramleela theme park just before the Assembly polls,” she said in a release in Lucknow.”Linking religion with politics and electoral gains by these governments is condemnable…had they really been so concerned about these issues, they would have thought about them long ago,” the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said.Congress leader and former Union minister R P N Singh accused the Modi government and BJP of invoking Ram months ahead of the assembly polls due early next year for deriving political mileage out of it. “We shouldn’t be surprised. Every five years we see the same drama unfolding. Whenever polls are in the state, they talk of Ram, Ram temple, Ram sangrahalaya. They repeatedly raise these issues,” he said.”Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks of development but what about action….When there is election, he goes to Lucknow to participate in Dussehra festivities and chants ‘Jai Shri Ram’. Did he say Jai Shri Ram during Dussehra events last year wherever he went?” he said.The proposed museum revived the demand for construction of Ram temple, with BJP hardliners like Union Minister Uma Bharti and Vinay Katiyar pitching for it. Katiyar went on to demand tabling of a legislation in the Lok Sabha where the BJP-led NDA has a “massive majority”.”Why only Subramanian Swamy, every devotee of Ram wants the temple to be constructed soon. Until that happens we cannot live in peace. Be it through a bill in Parliament, through dialogue or a court verdict, the government has to find a solution. Of course, we don’t have a majority in the Rajya Sabha, but a bill for construction of the temple can be brought in the Lok Sabha where we have a massive majority. The Ram temple was also a part of BJP’s election manifesto,” he said, adding “no deadline can be set for the government on this issue”.Uma Bharti, another stormy petrel of the Ram temple movement, said, “The issue is what we, the agitators, were claiming as the place where Lord Ram was born was indeed that place or not. A three-judge bench (of Allahabad High Court) agreed with our contention. What is under challenge is the dispute over land between the Waqf Board and Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, not that whether Ram was born there or not,” she said.Mahesh Sharma, however, insisted his visit to Ayodhya had nothing to do with the UP polls, but said he would be visiting the makeshift temple at the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid complex.”My visit to Ayodhya has nothing to do with UP Assembly elections. I am visiting there as a Tourism Minister. It should not be linked to politics but is part of government’s effort to improve tourism in Ayodhya and all over the country. The visit is part of developmental agenda,” he said. DMK Chief Karunanidhi hits out at BJPDMK chief M Karunanidhi also deprecated attempts to rake up the Ram temple issue ahead of UP assemly polls.”There are reports that BJP is trying to rake up the Ram janmabhoomi issue to garner Hindu votes in Uttar Pradesh,” he said in a statement in Chennai.The DMK patriarch took exception to Prime Minister Modi chanting ‘Jai Sri Ram’ at a Ram Leela event in Lucknow last week. Karunanidhi, who had earlier triggered a row with his critical comments about Lord Ram made at the height of the Ramasethu controversy, also criticised the move to set up a Ramayana museum.Sharma, while insisting that the project had nothing to do with politics, said the museum will be a part of the Ramayana Circuit for which the Centre has sanctioned Rs 225 crore, with Rs 151 crore exclusively for Ayodhya, which is the hub of the circuit.”Ram is in the heart of millions of people. As the Tourism Minister, I have to see how Ayodhya can be developed, how Ramayana circuit can be developed from tourism point of view,” the minister said. He said the government has identified three circuits– Ramayana Circuit, Krishna Circuit and Buddhist Circuit– to boost religious tourism.Sharma will also hold a meeting with Ramayana Circuit Advisory Board during the visit. The meeting would discuss routes for connecting Ramayana-related sites in Nepal and Sri Lanka with the proposed museum.Mahesh Sharma likely to hold meetings with religious leadersThe Union Minister would also deliberate on plans for an International Ramayana Conclave, which would be held either in Ayodhya or Chitrakoot district. The conference is likely to be attended by delegates from about 12 countries, sources said. Sharma is likely to hold meetings with religious leaders on building the museum which would portray the epic journey of Lord Rama. He said his Ayodhya visit was planned two months back and had nothing to do with the UP assembly elections, which were “planned five years ago”.When asked if the museum will be inaugurated ahead of the UP polls, Sharma said, “It is a continuous process. It will involve development of ghats, infrastructure etc.”Asked to comment on Katiyar’s demand for bringing a bill in Parliament for construction of the temple, he said,”I am an Indian first. I am going there as a trourism Minister. Ram temple is on (BJP’s) agaida, but (commenting on Katiyar’s demand) is not within my purview as Tourism Minister.”On whether he would visit the makeshift temple during his visit, the Minister said, “Well, the Ramlalla site…there is my spiritual devotion to the place. Millions of devotees visit there for that purpose….I will be going there.”Though the BJP has been insisting that Ram temple will not be an electoral plank in the UP elections to be held early next year, the proposed Ramayana museum and related activities are being seen as an attempt to keep pro-Hindutva elements in good humour. On Dusshera, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, in a departure from tradition, participated in the festivities in Lucknow where he started and concluded his speech with chants of “Jai Shri Ram, Jai Jai Shri Ram”.

Uttar Pradesh polls 2017: BJP won’t project chief ministerial candidate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP will not project a chief ministerial candidate for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections which are a few months away, party’s state unit chief Keshav Prasad Maurya said on Monday.”All political parties are waiting for the chief ministerial candidate of BJP…It is clear policy of our party that we will contest the Assembly elections without projecting anyone as our CM candidate,” he told news persons in Bareilly.”BJP had projected CM faces in Assam and Delhi Assembly polls…While we succeeded in the former, we lost the latter …We fought Haryana and Jharkhand without projecting any CM candidate and won,” Maurya said. He said BJP will win over 300 of the 403 seats in UP and the party’s central parliamentary board will decide who has to be the chief minister.Earlier in Badaun, Maurya accused BSP chief Mayawati of degrading religious leaders for which, he said, the electorate will teach her a lesson in the coming polls.Reacting to Mayawati’s charges that RSS and BJP workers were presented as Buddhist monks in the ‘Dhamma Chetna Yatra’ in Kanpur last week, Maurya said, “Her mental balance appears a little disturbed as a large number of her party men have deserted her.”By making this statement, she has degraded religious leaders and Lord Buddha as well and she will see its result through the EVMs,” he said.To a question as to whether BJP will accept Akhilesh Yadav in its fold if he quits SP, Maurya said no member of the Saifai family has any place in his party. Saifai is the native place of SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav.When his attention was drawn to controversial SP leader Azam Khan facing sediton charges in a Badaun court, Maurya said only BJP government can arrest him in connection with various cases and charges.Terming ‘triple talaq’ as anti-women, he said it needs to be done away with. Maurya also warned Pakistan to desist from anti-India stance or “else Indian forces will unfurl the tri-colour in Islamabad soon”.

Ramayana museum: Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma to inspect site in Ayodhya

New Delhi: Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma will visit Ayodhya on Tuesday to inspect the proposed site for setting up a Ramayana museum, a move seen as an attempt to woo pro-Hindutva elements ahead of assembly election in Uttar Pradesh.

Sharma, however, played down the political agenda behind the visit, saying it is part of the tourism development plans of the Modi-government and should not be linked with elections in the politically crucial state, which goes to polls early next year.

File photo of Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma. PTI

File photo of Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma. PTI

“My visit to Ayodhya has nothing to do with UP Assembly elections. I am visiting there as a Tourism Minister. It should not be linked to politics but is part of government’s effort to improve tourism in Ayodhya and all over the country. The visit is part of developmental agenda,” he said.

Sharma said the museum will be a part of the Ramayana Circuit for which the Centre has sanctioned Rs 225 crore, with Rs 151 crore exclusively for Ayodhya, which is the hub of the circuit.

“Ram is in the heart of millions of people. As the Tourism Minister, I have to see how Ayodhya can be developed, how Ramayana circuit can be developed from tourism point of view,” the minister said.

He said the government has identified three circuits — Ramayana Circuit, Krishna Circuit and Buddhist Circuit — to boost religious tourism.

The state government has identified a 25-acre plot for the museum which is some 15 km away from the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid complex, a source said.

Sharma will also hold a meeting with Ramayana Circuit Advisory Board during the visit. The meeting would discuss routes for connecting Ramayana-related sites in Nepal and Sri Lanka with the proposed museum.

The Union Minister would also deliberate on plans for an International Ramayana Conclave, which would be held either in Ayodhya or Chitrakoot district. The conference is likely to be attended by delegates from about 12 countries, sources said.

Sharma is likely to hold meetings with religious leaders on building the museum which would portray the epic journey of Lord Rama.

Tourism being a state subject, Sharma also sought help from Uttar Pradesh government for development of the circuits to give boost to tourism which, he said, has great potential to earn foreign exchange, employment generation and women empowernment.

Though the BJP has been insisting that Ram temple will not be an electoral plank in the UP elections to be held early next year, the proposed Ramayana museum and related activities are being seen as an attempt to keep pro-Hindutva elements in good humour.

On Dusshera, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, in a departure from tradition, participated in the festivities in Lucknow where he started and concluded his speech with chants of “Jai Shri Ram, Jai Jai Shri Ram”.

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