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DNA Morning Must Reads: ATM withdrawal limit hiked; ‘Yadavi’ in Samajwadi Party continues; PV Sindhu sportsperson of 2016, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Daily ATM withdrawal limit hiked to Rs 4,500 from January 1In a relief to common man, the Reserve Bank tonight said cash withdrawal limit from ATMs will be increased to Rs 4,500 per day from the current Rs 2,500 from January 1. Read more here2. Game UP: Samajwadi Party faces split as Mulayam expels AkhileshAfter Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav dropped a bombshell, expelling his son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Friday evening, all eyes are now on the party’s one-day national convention on Sunday. Read more here3. One little BHIM set to change India: Your thumb is your bank now, says PM ModiMore than 50 days after announcing his demonetization move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday launched the mobile app BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) which he said would enable easier digital transactions for the common man. Read more here4. DNA poll: Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu voted Sportsperson of the Year, Virat Kohli finishes distant 2ndIn a year when Virat Kohli hit golden form, Dipa Karmakar’s Produnova made global headlines, Olympic silver-winning shuttler gets giant share of votes. Read more here5. The A to Z of music in 2016From Arijit Singh to Zayn Malik, read all about the year’s newsmakers and trends in music, here and elsewhere. Read more here

Game UP: Samajwadi Party faces split as Mulayam expels Akhilesh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav dropped a bombshell, expelling his son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Friday evening, all eyes are now on the party’s one-day national convention on Sunday.Mulayam also expelled his cousin and party general secretary Ramgopal Yadav for calling the emergency session of delegates, and accused him of “spoiling the career of the chief minister.” The SP chief said both Akhilesh and Ramgopal have been sacked for weakening the party and stated that his son didn’t even consulted him on state matters.In a fight to the finish, Mulayam and his brother Shivpal Yadav have summoned a meeting of party MLAs on Saturday and those named as candidates. Both factions of the Yadav family are vying to entice as many MLAs as they can to strengthen the party. “This expulsion is unconstitutional,” said Ramgopal, alleging that of late, the SP has made a practice of ignoring its playbook. “Half an hour after we were given notice, we were expelled. Even a criminal is given a chance to explain,” said a disgruntled Ramgopal.Party sources from Lucknow told DNA that the convention will appeal to Mulayam to continue to lead the party, but relook the list of candidates he had announced unilaterally on Wednesday and also revoke the decision to expel the Chief Minister. The list, announced by Mulayam, has several candidates backed by Shivpal whose candidacy had been fiercely opposed by Akhilesh. This included gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed, who faces 44 serious criminal charges — including murder.Defying the party and his father, Akhilesh released his own rebel list on Thursday of 235 candidates. One of them included Rita Bahuguna Joshi. Formerly with the Congress before she switched to the BJP, Joshi is the MLA from Lucknow Cantt constituency.The party’s senior leader Madhukar Jaitley described the situation as “unfortunate”. He said a situation was unprecedented where a father, also the founder of the party, was compelled to expel his son. SP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said there was still room for reconciliation, but expressed concern at the move coming at a time when the state was on the verge of elections.Saturday will be a crucial day for the Mulayam and Shivpal camps, party sources said. The majority of MLAs have so far reposed their faith in the Chief Minister.On October 28, Akhilesh had mustered the support of 190 MLAs out of SP’s 229 against his uncle Shivpal. Besides legislators, the majority of party leaders as well owe allegiance to the Chief Minister, as they see him as the future of the party. Immediately after the decision, reports from Lucknow said workers thronged Akhilesh’s official residence, shouting slogans against Shivpal. Over 100 MLAs reached Akhilesh’s house to express support. There were also shouts of self-immolation as the crowds turned emotional.With elections now so close, there is hardly any possibility of the party replacing the Chief Minister now. In case of a majority of MLAs expressing a no-confidence motion, Akhilesh may be allowed to continue as caretaker. Otherwise, the state will move towards the imposition of President’s rule. Sources in Raj Bhawan said Governor Ram Naik is keeping a close eye on the developments, but, so far, no communication has been made to him from either the Mulayam or Akhilesh camp.Denying speculations that Akhilesh will resign, his loyalist Gomti Yadav said the CM will stay on till his last day in power.Already other parties are moving in to align forces. West Bengal CM and Trinamul Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee called up Akhilesh and offered support, saying “you are like my brother.” Congress leader Jayanta Prasad is already mediating between Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh for a possible electoral tie-up.While UP’s ruling party has been headed for a split for some time now, the break point came after Ramgopal called an emergency convention of the party in defiance of the party chief. This came after Mulayam issued a show-cause notice to his son, asking him why disciplinary action should not be taken against him for releasing a parallel list of candidates, which include several party leaders close to him and who did not make it to the official list released by his father a day before. Akhilesh’s list include 187 candidates who have also featured in his father’s list.The Chief Minister’s defiant move was seen as a last-ditch effort to pressure his father into reconsidering the candidacy of his key aides after they failed to reach common ground at a meeting in Lucknow. In recent months, Akhilesh has engaged in a bitter power tussle with Shivpal, who is the party’s UP chief. Notably, Shivpal was present next to Mulayam, when he announced the expulsion of Akhilesh.The SP’s internal battle gives an added advantage to the BJP and Mayawati’s BSP in the mega battle being touted as the semi-final before the general elections in 2019. Elections to UP’s 403 assembly seats are expected to be announced by the Election Commission any day now.The battle, which had been festering for over a year, had been triggered by Shivpal to control the party. This was resisted by Akhilesh, mentored by Ramgopal, his father’s cousin. Akhilesh has contended with a constant undermining of his decisions by Mulayam, under the alleged influence of Shivpal. Among the initiatives which his father thwarted include the lobbying for an alliance with the Congress for state elections, and a request to shun politicians with criminal backgrounds as candidates.Battle between the bahusIt is not just the father and son who are locked in a political battle. It is also a battle between the daughters-in-law. Aparna, wife of Mulayam’s second son Prateek, has stood by uncle Shivpal against Akhilesh’s wife Dimple, who is also an MP. Aparna had recently been handed a ticket from Lucknow Cantt. With the situation getting uglier between the father and the son, theories about the rift continue to emerge. Akhilesh’s supporters allege that Sadhna Gupta, the party chief’s second wife, and the Chief Minister’s stepmother, has instigated him against his eldest son. Now, with his expulsion, Akhilesh, Aparna and Sadhna are vying to become the youth face of the SP. Who will win the political games now remains to be seen.UP Caste Composition in 2016OBC 44%Dalits (Scs) 21.1%Tribals (Sts) 0.8%Forward Caste 16%Muslims 19.3%Christians 0.18%Out of OBCsYadavs -9%Lodhi -7%Jats -1.7%KUSHWAHA (MAURYA, SHAKYA, KOERI, KACHHI, SAINI) 4%Kurmi – 3%Other OBCs (including Sunars, few Muslim OBCs) -20%Jatavs Dalits -9%Non-Jatav Dalits (includes Pasis, Mallah and Valmikis) -11%

Mulayam expels UP CM Akhilesh: Here’s a timeline of the Yadav clan Dangal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ruling Samajawadi Party was on Friday on the precipice of a split with party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav expelling his son and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and cousin general secretary Ramgopal Yadav for six years after they put up candidates against the official nominees and summoned a party meet on Sunday. Ahead of the 2017 UP Elections, Mulayam’s announcement may have been sudden but the feud in the Yadav family have been taking a turn for the worse since the past few months. The latter half of this year has seen the family at constant loggerheads. Here’s a timeline chronicling the disintegration of the Uttar Pradesh’s Samajawadi Party:August 15: Samajwadi Party plans to merge with with gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s Qaumi Ekta Dal(QED). As a result, brother Shivpal Yadav threatens to resign from the party, which is averted by Mulayam Singh Yadav in view of the UP elections.
ALSO READ Yadav vs Yadav Dangal: Mulayam Singh expels Akhilesh and Ram Gopal from SP for six years September 13: Akhilesh steps down from his position in the party as the UP unit chief and Mulayam appoints Shivpal as the Samajwadi Party’s State President. On the same day, Akhilesh strips uncle Shivpal Yadav of key portfolios.September 15: Ramgopal Yadav, another brother of Mulayam and Samajwadi Party general secretary says there is no ‘sankat’ (rift) in the party and it was a wrong decision to remove Akhilesh Yadav as the president of the Samajwadi Party. The day also sees Shivpal resign from the Uttar Pradesh cabinet and quit as the state unit president of Samajwadi Party. This was a result of Akhilesh deciding to sack two ministers from his cabinet – Gayatri Prajapati and Rajkishore Singh over allegations of corruption. Both the leaders were considered close to Shivpal.September 17: Akhilesh Yadav announces that Shivpal will continue as the SP State President. Sacked Mines Minister, Gayatri Prasad Prajapati re-inducted in the Uttar Pradesh cabinet.September 18: Shivpal Yadav expels Ramgopal Yadav and another leader for their alleged involvement in land grabbing. Additionally, Shivpal also expels party MLC Arvind Pratap Yadav, who is a nephew of Ramgopal Yadav and former village head in Etawah.September 19: Shivpal’s firing of seven youth leaders result in a number of youth leaders close to Akhilesh Yadav quitting the party.October 14: “The Chief ministerial candidate will be decided by the elected party legislatures and parliamentary board. This is our job,” Mulayam snubs Akhilesh by saying that the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate will be decided by elected party legislatures after the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. October 17: With much hesitation, Akhilesh is endorsed by Mulayam as the presumptive chief ministerial candidate of the party ahead of state Elections.October 23: Akhilesh sacks Shivpal along with three other ministers from the government.December 25: Akhilesh submits his own list of 403 probable candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections.December 28: Mulayam announces his own list of candidates for 325 of the 403 Assembly seat.December 29: Akhilesh revolts and releases his own list of 235 candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections.December 30: The Yadav feud reached its peak on Friday when Mulayam expelled Akhilesh along with cousin Ramgopal for anti-party activities. “We have to save the party. The party comes first. That is why we are expelling both Akhilesh and Ramgopal,” Mulayam said.(With agency inputs)

Mulayam should explain why he imposed Akhilesh on UP after 2012 polls: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>People of Uttar Pradesh have already “expelled” Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav should now answer as to why he “betrayed” the state by imposing his son after 2012 polls, BJP said soon after Akhilesh was expelled for six years from the party.”Akhilesh Yadav has let down the people of Uttar Pradesh with the all-round failures of his government. He has not fulfilled any promise. People are feeling betrayed. Now Mulayam Singh Yadav has expelled him from the party. People have already expelled him due to his governance failures,” BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma said.”Mualayam Singh Yadav should answer as to why he imposed his son on the state and betrayed it,” he said.People had voted for SP in 2012 as they were angry with the Mayawati government over poor law and order and development but SP has also let them down, he said, blaming Yadav for “deteriorating law and order” as his portfolios includes the Home department.Voters will not fall in this trap this time, Sharma said, claiming that they have made up their mind to vote for BJP.”There is wave in our support,” he claimed. BJP governments in various states have brought development and ensured double digit growth, he said.

Yadav vs Yadav: Akhilesh puts ‘final’ stamp on his list, asks candidates to prepare for upcoming polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Friday confirmed the list announced by him as the final one.Akhilesh asked the candidates to go to their constituencies, prepare for the upcoming elections and mark their victory.The decision was announced at the Samajwadi Party core group meet held at Akhilesh’s residence earlier on Friday.On Thursday, Akhilesh released a list of 235 candidates out of a total of 403 seats for the upcoming state assembly elections, a day after his father and party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had released the official list, hinting at a deepening crisis within the party.Intense political activities continued at the Samajwadi Party headquarters and at the official residence of the chief minister yesterday.Akhilesh met Mulayam Singh, but as per sources, the party chief refused to make changes in the list of 325 candidates issued by him on Wednesday.According to reports, Akhilesh has removed the name of his sister-in-law Aparna Yadav from the list of candidates that will contest next year?s state assembly polls.She was earlier given a ticket by Mulayam Singh Yadav to contest from the Lucknow Cantt seat.

UP Elections 2017: SP headed for virtual split, Akhilesh Yadav releases own list of candidates for 235 seats

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The feud in Uttar Pradesh’s first family appeared to be worsening, with an unhappy Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday meeting legislators who have not found place in the list of 325 declared candidates and then conveying his objections to his father and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav who had announced the nominees yesterday. After the meeting, SP MLA Indal Singh said that UP CM is likely to come up with his own list of candidates for the upcoming UP elections.According to ANI, Akhilesh Yadav has released his own list of candidates for 235 constituencies. Of them, 171 are seating MLAs and there are 64 new faces. Hectic political activities began in the morning with party leaders gathering outside the residences of Akhilesh and Mulayam. A big crowd assembled outside Shivpal’s residence also. Akhilesh, clearly upset over being apparently kept out of the process to select candidates for the upcoming Assembly polls, met at his 5-Kalidas Marg residence here his supporters, including legislators and office bearers who do not figure in the list, party sources said. Later, he spoke to Mulayam to convey his displeasure over the list of candidates from which names of his close confidants are missing, the sources said.Mulayam, along with his brother and state party chief Shivpal Yadav, yesterday declared candidates for 325 of the 403 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh and ruled out projecting Akhilesh as the Chief Ministerial candidate.Akhilesh was away on Bundelkhand tour when the list was released at a hurriedly-convened press conference. The Chief Minister and Shivpal have been involved in a power struggle for several months now. The list, which includes 176 sitting MLAs, announced by Mulayam and Shivpal in the absence of Akhilesh, has left out several pro-Akhilesh ministers, including Ram Govind Chaudhary, Pawan Pandey and Arvind Singh Gope, and does not carry names of over 50 sitting MLAs.Besides, 10 ministers, including Shivpal, sacked by the chief minister over the past few months have got tickets. These former ministers were in open defiance of Akhilesh and it paid off. Within hours after release of the list, which clearly bore the stamp of Mulayam and Shivpal, Akhilesh had said he would take up the choice of candidates with the party chief.”The list does not include names of certain candidates who are sure to win. I will take it up with the SP chief and tell him that some of them have done really good work and they should be given tickets,” an upset Akhilesh had said last night. In a late night tit-for-tat action, the Chief Minister struck back sacking two Shivpal loyalists — Surabhi Shukla, vice-chairperson of UP Awas Vikas Parishad and her husband Sandeep Shukla from the post of advisor of Rajkiya Nirman Nigam. Sandeep has been fielded from Sultanpur Sadar seat.With agency inputs

DNA Evening Must Reads: Arun Jaitley rubbishes critics of demonetization, PM Modi’s Dec 31 address, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Critical part of remonetization over, it will be much better, going forward: Arun JaitleyArun Jaitley said that critics have been proved wrong. Finance Minister quoted tax collection and several other statistics to emphasise that the situation is not as bad as it was predicted. Read more here UP Elections 2017: Akhilesh likely to announce his own list of candidates, says SP MLAThe feud in Uttar Pradesh’s first family appeared to be worsening, with an unhappy Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday meeting legislators who have not found place in the list of 325 declared candidates and then conveying his objections to his father and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav who had announced the nominees yesterday. Read more hereScam-tainted Abhay Chautala ready to relinquish IOA Life President’s postScam-tainted former Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Abhay Singh Chautala who was elevated to Life President’s post along with Suresh Kalmadi, was ready to relinquish the post, if International Olympic Committee (IOC) had reservations over it. Read more herePM Modi’s Dec 31 address to mark beginning of massive campaign to justify demonetizationPrime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to address the nation before New Year. Read more hereVirat Kohli and Anushka Sharma to get engaged on January 1?Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma usually avoid talking about the relationship because they feel it draws unnecessary attention towards their personal lives. But now, there are fresh speculations regarding the couple. Read more here

SP’s feud out in the open again, Akhilesh conveys displeasure to Mulayam over candidates list

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Mulayam Singh Yadav’s public snub to his son in announcement of candidates’ list for UP polls leaving bitterness in the ruling camp, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday spoke to the SP supremo to convey his displeasure over the choice of names.The factional feud in the Samajwadi Party was again in the open, a day after Mulayam Singh Yadav declared candidates for 325 of the 403 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh and ruled out projecting Akhilesh as the Chief Ministerial candidate.A clearly upset Akhilesh met his supporters at his 5-Kalidas Marg residence here and later spoke to his father and party patriarch Mulayam Singh to convey his displeasure over the list of candidates from which names of his close confidants were missing, party sources said.Hectic political activities began right from the morning with party leaders gathering outside the residences of Akhilesh and Mulayam. A big crowd also assembled outside Shivpal’s residence.Party sources said the Chief Minister, before meeting Mulayam, met legislators and office bearers who do not figure in the list of nominees.The list, which includes 176 sitting MLAs, announced by Mulayam and Shivpal in the absence of Akhilesh, has left out several pro-Akhilesh ministers, including Ram Govind Chaudhary, Pawan Pandey and Arvind Singh Gope, and does not carry names of over 50 sitting MLAs.Besides, 10 ministers, including Shivpal, sacked by the chief minister over the past few months have got tickets. These former ministers were in open defiance of Akhilesh and it paid off.Within hours after release of the list, which clearly bore the stamp of Mulayam and Shivpal, Akhilesh who was away in Bundelkhand yesterday, had said he would take up the choice of candidates with the party chief.”The list does not include names of certain candidates who are sure to win. I will take it up with the SP chief and tell him that some of them have done really good work and they should be given tickets,” an upset Akhilesh had said last night.In a late night tit-for-tat action, the Chief Minister struck back sacking two Shivpal loyalists — Surabhi Shukla, vice-chairperson of UP Awas Vikas Parishad and her husband Sandeep Shukla from the post of advisor of Rajkiya Nirman Nigam. Sandeep has been fielded from Sultanpur Sadar seat.Soon after returning to the state capital from Bundelkhand yesterday, Akhilesh had decided to convene a meeting of party leaders to listen to their “grievances”.Mulayam clearly ignored Akhilesh’s objections to certain names, like Sigbatullah Ansari, brother of jailed gangster Mukhtar Ansari, and Atiq Ahmed who faces over 40 criminal cases including of murder.The list also included tainted minister Gayatri Prajapati, whose sacking and re-induction as minister exposed factional fight in the ruling party.The SP supremo also made very clear his differene with Akhilesh on the issue of pre-poll alliance by ruling out any pact for a gathbandhan or maha-gathbandhan and even refused to project a chief ministerial candidate, dealing a serious blow to his son at a time when polls are to be announced very soon.Out of the 325 names announced by Mulayam, 218 tally with the panel submitted by Akhilesh to the SP chief, but 107 names do not match with the list given by the chief minister, indicating their sharp differences.The list of candidates announced by Mulayam included those from 176 seats represented by SP in the outgoing Assembly, while 149 candidates were declared from constituencies where the party did not have an MLA.Candidates for the remaining 78 constituencies are to be announced later leaving a small window for some adjustments to avoid perhaps the final showdown between father-son duo before the elections, a party insider said.

DNA Morning Must Reads: Jarnail Singh vs Parkash Badal in Punjab, train derailment in Mumbai & more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AAP announces Delhi MLA Jarnail Singh as candidate against Punjab CM from home turf LambiAfter declaring MP Bhagwant Mann as candidate from Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal’s constituency Jalalabad, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) announced Delhi MLA and Sikh rights activist Jarnail Singh as candidate to contest in the electoral battle against Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal from his home turf Lambi in Muktsar district. Read detailsMumbai: Five coaches of Kurla-Ambernath local derail, services on Kalyan-Karjat line suspendedFive coaches of Kurla-Ambernath local train derailed between Kalyan and Vithalwadi railway station, on Thursday morning. According to initial information, the incident took place at 5:50 am. However, no person has been injured, but services on Kalyan-Karjat line have been suspended. Read moreUP Assembly Elections | ‘No alliance with anyone’: Mulayam snubs son Akhilesh, leaves Congress in the coldSamajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav not only poured water on the dream of stitching together a grand alliance with Congress and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), but also snubbed his son, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, by announcing 325 candidates out of total of 403 for the upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. Read moreSasikala likely to be elected as AIADMK General Secretary todayVK Sasikala, former chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s aide, has not revealed her cards yet but she is expected to be elected the AIADMK General Secretary on December 29 as thousands of party executives, with their supporters, flooded Chennai today. Sasikala herself is expected to stay away while the party executive committee and general council will formally elect her as the leader. Read moreDemonetization: 600 tonnes and counting, IAF on mission cash liftIn a bid to help the common man with the demonetization process, the government has been pressing the Indian Air Force (IAF) into action. From assisting in the functioning of currency printing presses 24×7 to airlifting cash, the IAF has already transported 610 tonnes of currency and will continue to do so over the next few days. Read more

Mulayam Singh Yadav snubs son, kills hopes of grand alliance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav not only poured water on the dream of stitching together a grand alliance with Congress and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), but also snubbed his son, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, by announcing 325 candidates out of total of 403 for the upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. The list of candidates he released, at a hurriedly convened news conference in Lucknow on Thursday, bore the stamp of Akhilesh’s bete noire—uncle Shivpal Yadav.Congress leaders in Delhi, however, are still pinning their hopes that Akhilesh, who has been in touch with their party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, will fight back. “Wait, it (the alliance) is still in process. We hope better sense prevails in the SP to fight unitedly against the BJP,” a senior Congress leader told DNA.SP supremo Mulayam has been quite annoyed with the Congress demanding some 125 seats. Though interlocutors said the party’s bargain had come down to 85 seats, the SP was apparently not ready to part more than 50 seats. It is also believed that besides a large chunk of seats, the Congress was also insisting for the post of deputy chief minister.Even after Wednesday’s announcement, there are still 78 seats for which the candidates have not been announced, leaving a window of negotiations for an alliance still open. The elections are expected to be held in late February or early March in 2017 along with Punjab and Goa.Among those who have made it to the SP’s list of candidates is Akhilesh’s notable detractor Atiq Ahmed, who faces 44 serious criminal charges—including that of murder. But 53 other sitting lawmakers, out of the SP’s current 224, have been dropped. Among them are close aides of the Chief Minister like Arvind Singh ‘Gop’, Pawan Pandey, and Kamal Akhtar.When asked as to where Akhilesh would contest the elections from, Mulayam said, “He can contest elections from anywhere he wants.” Besides Atiq, Akhilesh had also expressed reservations against Sibagtullah Ansari, whose name figures as a candidate from Mohamdabad. Sibghatullah is the elder brother of Muqthar Ansari, again a noted don. Another name which had upset Akhilesh is Aman Mani Tripathi, who was arrested by the CBI in a case related to the killing of his wife. Tripathi’s name, however, did not figure in Wednesday’s list.Significantly, Mulayam also “ruled out” projecting his son as the chief ministerial candidate.”SP has no tradition of projecting anyone as its chief ministerial candidate. Some parties do it, and in the process bite the dust. In SP, the legislators elect their leader,” he said replying to a question in this regard.Mulayam’s announcement to “go alone” also came just days after BSP supremo Mayawati claimed that the BJP was exerting pressure on the SP chief and his family through the Enforcement Directorate, I-T department and CBI to join hands with the Congress so as to “divide Muslim votes” and stop her party from coming to power.The SP supremo also said that BJP would get a befitting reply from the electorate for demonetization and criticised it for not fulfilling its promises. He also stated that elections would be held before February 28 next year.Earlier, Akhilesh had submitted a parallel list of 403 candidates, in retaliation to party’s list, comprising largely of his loyalists. This move triggered a fresh feud in the already divided Yadav family.”It was an attempt to marginalise the chief minister by Mulayam and his uncle Shivpal, by declaring tickets without consulting him. But I am sure better sense in the larger interests of state and the party will prevail,” said Udaybir Singh, SP’s sacked MLC, who continues to be an advisor to Akhilesh.

Uttar Pradesh assembly elections: SP’s Mulayam Singh Yadav rules out alliance with any party

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid speculations, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of an alliance with any political party for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.Addressing the media, Mulayam said, “Samajwadi party is not forming an alliance with anyone.” The SP supremo also said that the BJP will get a befitting reply for demonetization from the people itself.Last week, amid whispers about an SP-Congress-RLD alliance, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had said that the party was ready to contest the Uttar Pradesh polls, due next year, on its own for now.Singh also said that the party had declared a list of 325 candidates and the names of candidates for rest of the 78 seats would be announced soon. The party has given tickets to 176 sitting MLAs.(More details awaited)

Demonetization: Workers laid off on refusing to accept salary in old notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Workers employed by a builder on Tuesday complained to police that their services were terminated after they refused to accept salary in demonetized currency notes.”On complaint of the workers, the builder has been called for questioning. If any illegality is found, action will be taken against him. Also, efforts will be made so that workers get salary through cheques,” DSP Arvind Yadav said.They also held a protest outside the builder’s office.A worker, Shesh Kumar, alleged, “The salary for October was paid in old currency notes which was accepted by the workers. Now, the builder is pressurizing us to accept November’s salary and that for December in advance in old currency notes.””When we refused, the builder informed us that our services have been terminated,” the worker alleged.

UP Elections 2017: Another bout of power struggle in SP over ticket selection

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bitter power struggle between Akhilesh and Shivpal Yadav came to the fore once again today on the ticklish issue of ticket distribution with the Chief Minister differing with his uncle over selection of candidates.As reports of strains over ticket distribution cropped up, Opposition took a swipe at the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh with BSP supremo Mayawati saying the infighting has split Samajwadi Party into two camps.Shivpal, who had replaced Akhilesh as state party chief during a bitter feud in the Yadav clan, however, maintained there was “no problem” and if there is any it would be resolved.”The matter of ticket (distribution) will be cleared. As soon as elections will be announced, all problems will be resolved…When I have already said everyone’s opinion is being considered, there is no problem…Why are you (media) creating problems,” he posed.After Akhilesh reportedly sent a parallel list of candidates to his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shivpal today met the SP supremo at his residence here for over three hours apparently to iron out differences.Akhilesh is believed to be opposed to nomination of Sigbatullah Ansari, who is the brother of jailed gangster Mukhtar Ansari. He also does not favour giving ticket to Atiq Ahmed from Kanpur, who faces over 40 criminal cases including those of murder and attempt to murder, and Aman Mani Tripathi, now arrested by CBI in a case related to the killing of his wife.These names have reportedly upset Akhilesh Yadav so much, sources say, that he has sounded out his father Mulayam and asked him to intervene. The choice of candidates for 175 seats by Shivpal has apparently not gone down well with his defiant nephew Akhilesh who, according to party insiders, prepared his own list of preferred candidates for all the 403 UP Assembly seats and sent it to Mulayam. The list drafted by the Chief Minister carries his name as well as a candidate from Bundelkhand region where he will embark on a ‘Rath Yatra’ on December 28.During their recent public turf war, Akhilesh had insisted he should have a say in the ticket distribution as the election was a test of his government’s performance. This is Akhilesh’s second power play in the last three days. On December 24, Akhilesh had met first-time MLAs at his residence and promised to give them party tickets.

Talk to real people about demonetization, you will get beaten up: Lalu to PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a dig at Narendra Modi over his remark that people can punish him for demonetization after the 50-day window, Lalu Prasad on Monday asked the Prime Minister to choose a “chauraha” (roundabout) where people can punish him for triggering a chaotic situation in the country. “PM should chose his favourite ‘chauraha’ (roundabout) where people could punish him for leading the country to a chaotic condition in the name of demonetization to fight black money,” RJD President Lalu Prasad told reporters after flagging off Rath to drum up support for party dharna across Bihar on December 28.Prasad was reminding the PM of his utterances at Goa where he had asked people to give him 50 days for fight against black money through scrapping of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes. Launching a scathing attack at the PM, the RJD chief said “Madari ka khel bana diye hain kabhi notebandi to khabi cashless economy (he is re-enacting play of monkeys in the name of demonetization and than cashless economy)”.Prasad said the PM was under “illusion” that people are appreciating him by chanting “Modi, Modi”. It’s a few RSS men who occupy front seats in his rallies and shout Modi, Modi which he is reading as voice of masses”. “If election is held in the country today BJP would draw a nought,” the RJD chief said.Prasad said that the saffron party would bite dust in Uttar Pradesh poll. “BJP ka koi ata-pata nahin rahega Uttar Pradesh ke chunav mein (BJP will be no nowhere in UP polls),” he said.The RJD chief predicted victory for Samajwadi Party in UP and said like in Bihar he and other leaders from the state would campaign for Mulayam Singh Yadav party to ensure its victory in UP. Asked if family feud in SP would mar his chances in the election, Prasad who is related to Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family, dismissed it and said minor fight happens in every family.

Congress-SP alliance for UP elections depends on BJP’s approval: Mayawati

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Commenting on possibility of a tie-up between Samajwadi Party and Congress before Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, BSP supremo Mayawati said on Monday an alliance would be struck only if it benefits BJP. “SP and Congress alliance in UP will come into being only if BJP gives its approval and if it (BJP) feels it will gain from it…the green signal will be given by BJP after evaluating its gains and losses from such an alliance,” she told newspersons here.She said it was being stated that BJP was exerting pressure on SP chief and his family through Enforcement Directorate, I-T department and CBI through disproportionate assets cases, and “other weaknesses” to join hands with Congress to divide Muslim votes and stop BSP from coming to power. “Keeping in mind the chances of BSP coming to power in UP, it is being said BJP is showing threat of central government agencies like ED, I-T and CBI to SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his family in connection with DA cases and other shortcomings to divide Muslim vote,” she claimed.Referring to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s frequent statements favouring an alliance with Congress, Mayawati questioned as to why a person who has come to power on his own in the last Assembly elections is so keen on contesting the coming polls in an alliance. “Why is he so keen on taking the help of Congress which is on oxygen in the state…this fact has to be understood in depth by the people of the state or else SP will be able to take its political benefit,” she said.”The reality is that even if SP contests coming elections in alliance with Congress, it will not come back to power and the CM is well aware of this,” she said, adding if they contest in alliance and lose, SP will put the entire blame on Congress. “…(by doing so) the head of the SP government will be able to save his image in the eyes of the people…this has to be understood by Congress as well otherwise it (Cong) will go in oblivion in the state,” she said.Taking the Bihar elections example, Mayawati said “just as all secular voters” there decided to defeat BJP, they will show the same unity here and defeat the “dangerous” policies and programmes of BJP and vote for BSP. Cautioning Muslims against “designs” of her political rivals, Mayawati said even if SP and Congress came together it will be of no use as infighting in the Yadav family has split the ruling party into two camps – that of Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav – and they will work against each other.”Yadav vote bank will get divided in the two camps and if Muslims vote for SP, this will directly benefit BJP,” she said. She was, however, confident “Muslims will not waste their votes” either on SP or on the alliance, in case it comes into being, “after having learnt the lesson in 2014 Lok Sabha elections”.”Muslims will this time vote only for a party or alliance which has the potential of defeating the saffron party candidates and they feel BSP is the only such party as it alone has 24% Dalit vote which together with Muslim vote bank becomes a major force,” she said. “Due to discriminatory development and jungle raj of the SP and BJP’s unfulfilled promises and hardships caused by note ban, even the upper castes and backwards are coming to BSP which alone can stop BJP from coming to power in UP,” she said.Claiming that SP has a tacit understanding with BJP, Mayawati said although her party had formed government in the state with BJP in the past, it had “never compromised” on its ideals. She, however, cautioned people, especially Muslims, that in order to divert voters’ attention from major issues, BJP might try to cash in on Ayodhya dispute for its “political and selfish” motives or engineer Hindu-Muslim riots during the elections and both communities need to remain vigilant.

Uttar Pradesh: BJP takes jibe at Yadav family, says Samajwadi Party should focus on law and order

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday taunted the ongoing feud between Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his b’te noire uncle Shivpal Yadav, saying the first family of the Samajwadi Party should resolve the ‘mahabharat’ and focus on law and order, corruption and lack of administration in the politically crucial state.BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli also used the occasion to take a jibe at reports suggesting about the possibility of a ‘mahagathbandhan’ in the run up to next year’s Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.”However, in the first family of the Samajwadi Party of Uttar Pradesh a ‘mahabharat’ is already on for quite some time. Now, it appears that there are multiple lists – one by the uncle, one by the nephew who is the Chief Minister and there are all sorts of disputes. They should resolve that,” Kohli told ANI.”As far as the people of Uttar Pradesh are concerned, they are obviously going to vote on the track record of the Samajwadi Party. The substantial issues are law and order, corruption and the lack of administration,” he added.The tussle in Uttar Pradesh’s ruling family reignited yesterday after Akhilesh drew up his own list of poll candidates and submitted it to Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, bypassing his uncle and state president Shivpal Yadav.The Chief Minister’s surprise move angered Shivpal, who is officially in-charge of ticket distribution in consultation with the party president.Shivpal tweeted that ticket distribution would be decided by ‘victory potential'”The party will not tolerate any indiscipline that might hurt the party’s image,” he tweeted.According to sources, Akhilesh while reviewing the list of candidates for 403 assembly seats expressed concern over the party giving 181 tickets to ‘tainted’ persons.This is not the first time that Akhilesh and his uncle have clashed over tickets distribution. The Chief Minister, who is of the view that his image and record is party’s strength, had earlier this month expressed displeasure over the decision to field don-turned politicians Atiq Ahmed and Mukhtar Ansari’s brother Sibaqtullah Ansari for next year’s elections.The Ansari brothers belong to Quami Ekta Dal, which recently merged with the party despite opposition from Akhilesh.Mulayam has so far made all attempts to engineer a truce between his son and brother, but seat allotment has remained a thorny issue in the Samajwadi Party.

UP: BJP mocks ‘Mahabharat’ in first family of Samajwadi Party over poll tickets

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday taunted the ongoing feud between Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his bete noire uncle Shivpal Yadav, saying the first family of the Samajwadi Party should resolve the ‘mahabharat’ and focus on law and order, corruption and lack of administration in the politically crucial state.BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli also used the occasion to take a jibe at reports suggesting about the possibility of a ‘Mahagathbandhan’ in the run up to next year’s Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls. “However, in the first family of the Samajwadi Party of Uttar Pradesh a ‘Mahabharat’ is already on for quite some time. Now, it appears that there are multiple lists – one by the uncle, one by the nephew who is the Chief Minister and there are all sorts of disputes. They should resolve that,” Kohli said.”As far as the people of Uttar Pradesh are concerned, they are obviously going to vote on the track record of the Samajwadi Party. The substantial issues are law and order, corruption and the lack of administration,” he added.The tussle in Uttar Pradesh’s ruling family reignited yesterday after Akhilesh drew up his own list of poll candidates and submitted it to Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, bypassing his uncle and state president Shivpal Yadav.The Chief Minister’s surprise move angered Shivpal, who is officially in-charge of ticket distribution in consultation with the party president.Shivpal tweeted that ticket distribution would be decided by ‘victory potential’. “The party will not tolerate any indiscipline that might hurt the party’s image,” he tweeted.According to sources, Akhilesh while reviewing the list of candidates for 403 assembly seats expressed concern over the party giving 181 tickets to ‘tainted’ persons.This is not the first time that Akhilesh and his uncle have clashed over tickets distribution. The Chief Minister, who is of the view that his image and record is party’s strength, had earlier this month expressed displeasure over the decision to field don-turned politicians Atiq Ahmed and Mukhtar Ansari’s brother Sibaqtullah Ansari for next year’s elections.The Ansari brothers belong to Quami Ekta Dal, which recently merged with the party despite opposition from Akhilesh.Mulayam has so far made all attempts to engineer a truce between his son and brother, but seat allotment has remained a thorny issue in the Samajwadi Party.

Uttar Pradesh: 6 killed in separate fog-related mishaps

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Six persons were on Sunday killed in separate fog-related mishaps in Uttar Pradesh, police said.Four persons were killed and five others injured when a truck hit a van near Lalaganj locality in Gopiganj area in Bhadohi, they said. The incident took place due to dense fog, killing the four persons on the spot.The injured have been rushed to a hospital, where their condition was stated to be stable. Police is trying to ascertain the identity of the victims.Meanwhile, in a separate incident, two elderly persons were killed and seven others injured when a roadways bus hit a jeep in Haldharpur area due to fog in Mau district, police said. Teju Yadav (60) and Jagdish Yadav (70) were killed on the spot in the mishap, they said.The injured have been rushed to a hospital, where their condition was stated to be serious.

Cashless economy is ‘bigger dream’ than achche din: Akhilesh Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a dig at Narendra Modi’s demonetization move, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav termed cashless economy as a “bigger dream” than ‘achche din’ and said the note ban will be an issue in the upcoming Assembly elections in the state.”The dream of cashless economy is a bigger one than achche din… it is however for the government to see how it will be realised,” he said at a function to distribute cheques to the families of martyrs and 14 persons who allegedly lost their lives while standing in queues outside ATMs/banks after demonetization. Attacking the BJP government on note ban, Yadav, without taking names, alleged that people have been betrayed and economy harmed.”Earlier (when the note ban was announced) people had faith, or rather confusion, that a big change will be brought… but soon after the very same people started saying that there could not have been a bigger loss to the economy… national and international economists are also writing about it. “It is for the government to see how it will work out the losses to the GDP but it is a fact the people had to face hardships and I have said earlier too that the government which pose problems are voted out by people,” he said, adding that in the coming elections those who had faced problems will stand against them.Uttar Pradesh is the first state in the country to announce compensation for the families of those who allegedly died while queuing up outside banks and ATMs for long post demonetization.Chief Minister had earlier this month announced Rs 2 lakh compensation for the families of ‘demonetization victims’. Giving examples of major risk in online transactions, Yadav said one of the accused arrested for fraudulently withdrawing money from someone’s account said that he was caught because he was a “novice”.”Anyone who becomes an expert in cyber crime will never be arrested,” the Chief Minister said after presenting cheques of Rs two lakh each to the families of 14 people who allegedly died while standing in bank queues.To a question on what will be the election issue, Yadav said “Development, road, water all will be elections issues… why would note ban not be an election issue”.Taking a dig at the BJP, Yadav said he has come to know that the ‘parivartan rath yatra’ was attacked by those standing in bank queue in Deoria recently… They need to remain alert while taking out the rath yatra and avoid banks on the route.” When asked about alliance, Yadav said party president Mulayam Singh Yadav will decide on alliance. “I have already said that SP is going to form a government and if we go into the polls in an alliance we will win more than 300 seats,” he said.Claiming that the next SP government will take forward the works undertaken by the present regime, Yadav said the state needs to be taken on a new direction towards development and prosperity. Over Centre’s schemes, Yadav said UP government was extending full support to central schemes saying that AIIMS was coming up in Rae Bareli and Gorakhpur only because the state provided land for it.”But if there is any scheme which farmers do not like or feel that they will not benefit from it what can UP government do.. it is for them to explain the benefits of their scheme to farmers and take their schemes to poor… take Jan Dhan Yojna, first it was stated that it is for the poor and when money was deposited it was termed as black money,” he said. Yadav reiterated that UP has had to suffer loss worth Rs 9,000 crore after Niti Ayog came into being.

Agra-Lucknow Expressway to open for commuters today: Akhilesh Yadav’s development spree continues

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav‘s ambitious new Agra-Lucknow Expressway, which was inaugurated in November, will open for commuters on Friday. Akhilesh, who plans to contest the upcoming Assembly elections in the state on the plank of development, on Thursday also laid the foundation of Purvanchal Expressway project which will connect Lucknow to Ghazipur. With Assembly polls likely to be announced any time now, Akhilesh has been on a ribbon cutting spree since the start of the week and set a record of sorts.

The 302-kilometre-long six-lane expressway, which is India’s longest, is expected to considerably reduce the travel time between Lucknow and Delhi which usually takes 12 to 14 hours. The dream project of Akhilesh was inaugurated in Bangarmau by his father and Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on the eve of latter’s birthday at least a month ago.In a first for any road launch, six fighter jets of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Monday made a touchdown barely skimming the road before taking off to mark the opening of the Agra-Lucknow Expressway which can be also used for war-like emergency situations.

The Agra-Lucknow Expressway, which was built in a record time of 23 months, is expected to reduce the road travel time between Delhi and Lucknow by five to six hours. According to The Financial Express, the Agra-Lucknow Expressway has a design speed of up to 120 kms per hour and will have automatic traffic management systems aimed at reducing road accidents and helping even at the time of fog. The report added that the six-lane expressway is expandable to eight lanes.

At a prepatory meeting, states chief secretary Rahul Bhatnagar met with UP Expressways Industrial Development (UPEIDA) and police officials earlier this week to ensure that the necessary traffic management system, road safety and emergency services are in place. Quoting Bhatnagar, Hindustan Times reported, “Police officers have been told to provide one police van (Dial 100) and one ambulance (108 service) on every 30 kilometre stretch of the expressway and also set up requisite check posts.”

File photo of UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. PTI

File photo of UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. PTI

At the time of inauguration, three Mirage 2000 and three Sukhoi-30 jets of the IAF carried out the ‘touch and go’ on a portion of the newly constructed Expressway which has an RCC construction and reinforced and appropriately marked to facilitate aircraft landings. The portion used for the operations is located at Ganj Moradabad in Unnao district in Uttar Pradesh. The expressway has an 8-lane bridge across the river Ganga. This will connect Kanpur and Unnao.

The aim of the exercise is to check feasibility of Expressways being used as alternate airstrips in case of dire emergencies or non-availability of runways for any reason, a defence official said.

Reports said that the Expressway includes 4 rail over bridges, 13 major bridges, 57 minor bridges, 74 vehicular underpasses, 148 pedestrian underpasses and 9 flyovers. It also stretches across 10 districts, 236 villages and 3,500 hectares of land.

The Agra-Lucknow Expressway is considered to be a Greenfield project as there were no work constraints of existing buildings or infrastructure. Uttar Pradesh Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) purchased almost 3,127 hectares of land without a murmur of dissent and decided to pay four times the circle rates (CR) to the land owners in rural areas and twice the CR in urban parts, as purchase cost. The rest of land was acquired through land acquisition method.

Mulayam, at the time of inauguration, congratulated officials for completing the Expressway in a record two years time along with the chief minister who took personal interest in it.

“At the time of laying of foundation stone of the Expressway, I had asked as to when it will be completed and when four years were asked for its completion I had refused to lay the foundation stone. Later, however, it was done giving 22 months for completing it. The result is before everyone to see that today the road is ready in two years. Earlier, it used to take 12 to 14 hours to reach Delhi and now the distance will be covered in far less time. It will be very beneficial for the people,” he said. Akhilesh said the project would prove to be an example before the country as no other state had such a vast expressway. “Samajwadis will go to the polls on the back of such great work,” the SP chief said.

“When roads are laid they lead to development, this road will connect capitals like New Delhi and Lucknow, it will have industries, petrol pumps and mandis along the route and on returning to power in Uttar Pradesh, the SP government will take this expressway further till Ghazipur and Ballia in record time, it will connect one end of the state to the other,” he said.

A high-level meeting held in November, which was presided over by the chief secretary Rahul Bhatnagar, it was decided that every 30 km, on both sides of the 302-km long Expressway, a Dial-100 police vehicle and 108 Ambulance would be stationed for any emergencies. It was also instructed that signages and milestones be put up before the route is thrown open for public use. The chief secretary also ordered breath analysers and speed radars to check traffic violators on the Expressway.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 13:00 IST

Govt neglected backward castes for 5 years, adding them to SC list is ‘mere drama’: Mayawati

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming the Akhilesh Yadav government’s assent to include 17 Other Backward Castes in the SC list as a “mere drama”, BSP supremo Mayawati said on Thursday the decision is both “unfortunate and condemnable” and aimed at deceiving these communities. “After having neglected all the backward castes barring one in the past five years of its rule, the SP government is out to mislead them in the same vein as was done by the then Mulayam Singh Yadav government,” she said in a statement.UP Cabinet’s assent for inclusion of 17 OBCs in SC list is a mere drama played just before the Assembly elections in the state, Mayawati said, adding this decision is both unfortunate and condemnable, aimed at deceiving these castes. This decision is against the law as it is only the Central government which can include any caste in the SC list, she said, adding after Mulayam government’s decision on this issue, these castes were left in the lurch for they then belonged neither in the OBC nor in the SC list.She claimed that it was the BSP government that succeeded the Mulayam Singh Yadav government which reverted the decision bringing the castes back in the backward list and sent a proposal to the Centre for inclusion only on condition of increasing the quota of the SC. This decision has been taken in perhaps the last Cabinet meeting of this government, Mayawati remarked.
ALSO READ Ahead of elections, UP govt gives assent to include 17 Other Backward Castes in SCA Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav this morning cleared the proposal to include Kahar, Kashyap, Kewat, Nishad, Bind, Bhar, Prajapati, Rajbhar, Batham, Gaur, Tura, Majhi, Mallah, Kumhar, Dheemar and Machua sub-castes in the Scheduled Caste category.

Rahul Gandhi is now trying to be new Kejriwal: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday took a jibe at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi over his allegations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he is now competing with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal just to be relevant in the media.BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli also took potshots at Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav for backing Gandhi. “Look at the jungle raj earlier in Lalu Yadav’s regime and its return now. If he supports Rahul Gandhi then Rahul should think about it. Whether this is the kind of support he relishes because his politics has also undertaken a turn,” Kohli said.”He is now trying to be the new Kejriwal, any kind of allegation, nothing to do with evidence, no substantiation. Just make an allegation and be relevant in the media. His competition with Kejriwal is as who will occupy the top spot of this kind of politics. He is happy with Lalu Yadav’s support on his issues then it is good for him,” he said.Another BJP leader Sambit Patra also mocked Gandhi, saying the latter is making desperate attempts to become the supreme power within the Congress Party. “One has to remember that the Supreme Court is supreme and Rahul Gandhi is smaller than that. Rahul Gandhi is maybe trying to become the supreme power within the Congress Party (and) even in that he has not succeeded,” Patra said.”The Supreme Court has categorically observed that the papers provided by him are not authentic. The people of this country are intelligent, they know the Supreme Court is to be respected and not Rahul Gandhi,” he added.Earlier in the day, the RJD chief backed Gandhi’s assertion that corporates paid crores as bribes to Prime Minister Modi in 2013-14 and demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the same.Lalu said that Prime Minister Modi, who is now completely trapped, owes an explanation to the nation. “Rahul Gandhi has alleged Aditya Birla and Sahara Group had given Rs 40 crores to Narendra Modi. The Prime Minister is completely trapped and now he will have to give an explanation. If any BJP spokesperson comes up with justification on his behalf then that would be unfair,” he added.The RJD chief further stated that the Congress vice-president wouldn’t have made such allegations against the Prime Minister without any proof. “Without proof, Rahul Gandhi won’t say this…or any leader won’t accuse the Prime Minister of this. It proves that the Prime Minister was involved in corruption. I demand a Supreme Court-monitored probe in this regard,” he added.Speaking in Gujarat’s Mehsana on Wednesday, Gandhi alleged that in the records with the Income Tax, there were notings of Sahara officials’ claims that they paid Prime Minister Modi nine times between October 2013 and February 2014 and that the total amount was Rs 40 crore.He also alleged that according to documents with the IT department, the Birla Group too paid Rs 12 crore to the Prime Minister.Seeking an independent inquiry, Gandhi said that he was raising the issue “on behalf of the country”.

Watch: Woman brutally beaten for resisting molestation in Uttar Pradesh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttar Pradesh police has arrested a man for brutally beating a woman in a market place for resisting molestation.A case has been registered at Kishani area police station in Mainpuri against the three miscreants.One of the suspects, Anand Yadav, has been arrested. A special team has been made to nab the remaining two culprits.”I was asking a few persons about Ajay’s shop, but they said that come inside with us, we will tell you. I asked him to talk with respect. But he started abusing us and started fighting. The person used a stick to beat my husband, but hit me instead,” the victim said.Superintendant of Police Sunil Saxena said, “We have registered the case and after that the medical checkup was done. We have taken the preventive action by arresting the accused. The accused was arrested within hours of the incident and after that a special team has been made to arrest the remaining culprits. We have made a team which includes the surveillance team and sub-inspectors. I am monitoring that; soon we will complete the remaining proceedings.”

UP polls | Problems faced by people due to demonetization will lead us to victory: Akhilesh Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav feels the days of caste-based politics in the state are over and now the two Ds — development and demonetization problems — will work in favour of the Samajwadi Party in the upcoming assembly polls.According to him, his family feud is no more a factor and all issues have been changed post demonetization. “That is a thing of past now. We are working together to win the elections. Issues have changed and post demonetization nobody remembers that (family feud) now. All the other issues have been left behind and demonetization has emerged as the key issue,” he said.He asserted that Uttar Pradesh will vote for his work, image and not on caste equations. “Our work in last five years and the problems people are facing due to demonetization will lead us to victory in upcoming elections. Jo kataarein ATM ke bahar lagi hai wo polling booth ke bahar lagegi (polling booths will see long queues like ones outside ATMs now),” Akhilesh.When asked who he considers the bigger rival — BJP or BSP, he said people of Uttar Pradesh have lost faith in both of them. “BJP has done nothing for Uttar Pradesh in last two and a half years. The Prime Minister was elected from UP, home minister and defence minister are also representing UP. They have maximum number of MPs from UP but they have given nothing to the state apart from Adarsh Gaon Yojna and nothing is happening on that front also,” he said.”As far as BSP is concerned, people are not interested in getting elephants installed everywhere,” he added.His father and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav has already ruled out any pre-poll alliance with Congress but Akhilesh said it will be premature to predict anything as of now. “Of course the party president will take a call on that but I believe that we will get 300 plus seats if we enter into a pre-poll alliance with Congress. I know that netaji (Mulayam) has said there will be merger, no alliances but there is still time for the elections and you must wait and watch. Politics is full of surprises and you never know what will happen tomorrow,” he said.”I do not have any doubt on getting an absolute majority but we can get 300 plus seats if we fight together. Samajwadis believe that Congress is their best friend when it is weak,” he said.

Just ditched: After marrying and duping 11 men, Kochi woman’s luck runs out

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A team of Kerala Police along with their Noida counterparts has arrested a woman and her two accomplices for duping over 10 men of several lakhs of rupees and jewellery after marrying them, in Noida sector 120.Loren Justin, a resident of Kochi, had registered a case in October against his wife Megha Bhargav, who, he alleged, had disappeared with jewellery worth Rs 15 lakh sometime after their marriage. Kerala Police during investigation found that Justin was the fourth man duped by Bhargav in the state. She had married fourmen in Kerala and duped them all, police said on Sunday.In total she had married 11 men in Kerala, Mumbai, Pune, Rajasthan and Indore, they said. Bhargav used to target divorcees and men with physical disabilities, they said, adding some days after the marriage she used to give food laced with sedatives to her husband and his family members and then eloped with cash and jewellery.Dinesh Yadav, SP (City), said, “Woman was traced to a house in Amrapali Zodiac Society in sector 120 here through electronic surveillance after which she was arrested last evening.” Her two accomplices were also arrested with her, police said.

Demonetization: Will chalk out strategy to counter PM Modi’s ‘farzi’-cal strike, says Lalu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dubbing demonetization as a ‘furzical (fake) strike’, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad Yadav on Sunday said after a meeting of various political parties, they will chalk out a future course of action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘big failure’.”The Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said before the parliamentary election that black money will come back and Rs.15 lakh will be deposited in every bank account, but nothing has happened. We can see that he has failed in every step,” Yadav told ANI.”Demonetization is a big failure of the Modi Government, and so, it is not a surgical strike on black money, but rather a ‘furzical’ strike,” he added.Speaking about the strategy to counter demonetization, Yadav told ANI, “After a meeting of various political parties, we will chalk out a future course of action against the Modi government.”The government’s decision to demonetize notes has drawn flak from all political parties.On Saturday, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said at a rally in Belgaum, Karnataka, “As there is a man-made disaster, similarly demonetization is a Modi- made disaster.”He further said that Prime Minister Modi had attacked the economy by announcing demonetization.”More than 100 people have died because of demonetization drive and PM Modi is responsible for it,” Rahul said, adding that the Modi government has been attacking the poor for the last two-and-a-half years.”Nothing will happen in 50 days. The Prime Minister will give your money to rich. Modi wants to waive off bank loans,” he added.National Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar said “We went and met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and other officials to request them to allow deposit of old notes in district banks but got no answer.””Later, we moved the Supreme Court, and, I am happy that the apex court has ordered district banks to accept old notes. Also new currency must be made available to district banks so that they can lend loans to farmers,” he added.”Now that the Kharif season is completed and soon the Rabi season would commence, banks would need enough currency to dispense loans. If the banks don’t have enough money to dispense, what the farmers will do, where will they go,” he added.Pawar further said that demonetization is an attempt to disrupt the entire channel of banking and the farmers would be the worst affected.

Opposition stalled Parliament to sidestep discussion on political funding : Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP president Amit Shah on Saturday hit out at the opposition for opposing demonetization and accused them of stalling all business in the winter session of Parliament just to sidestep discussion on funding of political parties.”Prime Minister Narendra Modi favoured discussion and change in fund raising process of political parties during the all-party meeting at the beginning of winter session and said all elections from Panchayat to Parliament should be held on the same day,” Shah said. “But the opposition did not allow a discussion in the entire winter session. They do not have any intention of wiping out black money from politics. Modiji has put forward a view, and I want to appeal to leaders of all opposition parties that and we should accept discussion on it to bring probity in politics,” he said at his party’s Parivartan rally here.Continuing his attack on parties opposing demonetization, Shah said only those whose “billions have been reduced to trash” are feeling the pain after the measure. “Have you seen the faces of Mamata (Banerjee) and Mayawati…their faces have lost glow, they have started looking 10 years older in a day’, he said. In one stroke by PM Modi, drug dealers, fake currency racketeers, Naxalites and terrorists have been set right, Shah said.Stressing that development of UP is possible only when BJP is voted to power with a two-thirds majority, Shah termed SP and BSP as family and caste-based parties which cannot work for development of the entire society. “It has been either ‘chacha-bhatija’ or ‘bua-bhatija’ who have been harming the state’s development in the past 15 years,” he said, referring to UP SP chief Shivpal Yadav, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati. Akhilesh was not allowing the benefits of the central schemes to reach the people as it would increase the popularity of central government, Shah claimed.”The benefits of Fasal Bima Yojana could not reach the beneficiaries as there was a tiff for commission between the chahcha and bhatija,” he claimed. Shah said the UP Chief Minister has been talking of an alliance with Congress as it seems he has now realised that defeat is staring him in the face.”Since the past one month Akhilesh Yadav has been talking about alliance. Is he seeing defeat for his party? Even if all the parties come together the people of UP have decided to vote BJP to power in the state,” he said. Shah was also particularly critical of Mayawati for her alleged corruption.”Though there is no record set for corruption in the world but if such a record is made Behenji’s number will come out top in it,” he said. Referring to the issue of ‘triple talaq’, Shah said after the central government clearly stated its views in the Supreme Court against it, the SP, BSP and Congress have all gone silent. “Na haan kehte kain na naa.” He also appealed to women voters to question those parties on what they are doing for women’s rights and whether they agree on triple talaq or not when they come seeking votes. “Should Mulsim women get their rights or not? Modi has worked towards securing the rights of women in the country”, he asserted.

No information about any talks for Cong-SP tie-up: Shivpal Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid reports of a possible alliance with Congress for UP Assembly polls, Samajwadi Party state president Shivpal Yadav on Thursday said he did not have any information about talks going on for such a tie-up.”I don’t have any information about any initiative of talks with Congress for alliance,” he said.Shivpal was answering queries from media persons on reports suggesting that SP and Congress might forge an alliance ahead of UP Assembly polls.”We have declared names of 176 candidates. SP central board will declare remaining names soon,” he said.Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has been saying that a tie-up between SP and Congress would fetch over 300 of the 403 Assembly seats in the upcoming elections while a section of Congress said it is not averse to a “respectable” seat-sharing formula.”Though samajwadis are going to form majority government in the state, if an alliance takes place, it will win over 300 seats. The final decision in this regard will be taken by SP National president (Mulayam Singh Yadav),” Akhilesh had told reporters in Lucknow on Tuesday.On being asked about reports of “hooliganism” by party’s Kanpur Cant candidate Atiq Ahmad at a university in Allahabad, Shivpal said he had come to know about it through the media and “action will be taken against him after probe”.Ahmad, mafia don, and gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s brother has been given ticket to contest the Assembly elections.On being asked about party national general Secretary Amar Singh supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on note ban, Shivpal dodged a direct reply saying, “Amar is friend of the media. You should ask him about his stand.”

Asaram Bapu rape and murder case: ‘We do not want to die,’ witnesses petition SC

Witnesses whose deposition could have a serious bearing on a number of cases against self-styled Godman Asaram ‘Bapu’ and his son, Narayan Sai, have petitioned the Supreme Court with a strange request: They do not want to die.

The four witnesses, the list includes a journalist from the Dainik Jagaran newspaper, claim they need protection because they survived murderous attacks by alleged followers of Asaram. As many as three witnesses who deposed in the cases — there are many spread across four states — involving Asaram and his son, have been murdered by unidentified killers.

Their fears appear genuine.

Asaram, who has over 400 centres across 12 nations and over two million followers, is currently in Jodhpur jail while his son is lodged in a jail in Surat. Both are facing charges of rape and killing children for occult practices.

Among those who were killed was Asaram’s personal (ayurvedic) physician, Amrut Prajapati, gunned down by motorcycle-borne assailants in Rajkot in June 2014, and Akhil Gupta, Asaram’s personal cook, shot dead in Muzaffarnagar on 12 January, 2015. The third witness to be killed was Kirpal Singh — he was to testify in the 2013 Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) – on 10 July, 2015 in Shahjahanpur. Another person, Rahul Sachan, a key witness, went missing in the afternoon of 21 November, 2015. He is also feared dead.

Sachan – a former personal assistant to Asaram from 2009 to 2013 — had been calling cops every week from his home in Balagunj in UP for almost a year to make one, strange request: “Save me till I depose in the courts, if they find me, they will surely kill me.”

File photo of Asaram. PTIFile photo of Asaram. PTI

File photo of Asaram. PTI

Soon after a deposition at a Jodhpur court in February, 2015, he was attacked by one Satyanarayan Yadav, an alleged follower of Asaram. Sachan escaped with stab wounds on his chest and even managed police protection from UP Police. Sachan also demanded that the assault and murder of key witnesses be probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) because he felt followers of Asaram and his son, Narayan Sai, were “trying their best to tamper with witnesses in the case”.

The Allahabad High Court, pushed by the Supreme Court, got him an armed constable but once the deputed constable went on leave in early November, 2015, no replacements were offered. The killers, probably lurking nearby, picked him up and – in the records of the police — Sachan was “a missing person”.

Afzal Mehendi, a senior officer in charge of the Balagunj police station — entrusted to ensure security for Sachan — said efforts are still on to trace him. “The case is not closed, and Sachan’s guard was replaced within a few days. We were in constant touch with him.”

But those petitioning the country’s apex court argue it was police laxity that helped Sachan’s kidnappers complete their job with consummate ease.

“Sachan complained about the cops, it was ignored, he got twitter threats (see attachment), it was ignored. I doubt he is alive,” says one of the four petitioners, Mahendra Chawla, once personal assistant (PA) to Narayan Sai, and now a prime witness in the cases.

The country’s premier investigating agency moved in only this August to probe Sachan’s disappearance after a public interest litigation was filed before the Allahabad High Court by an Indian origin lawyer based in faraway New Zealand, Bennet Castellino. In the PIL, Castellino — who had already earned a name for himself for taking on dubious Godmen and pastors across the world – argued that the CBI’s investigation was necessary because the Uttar Pradesh police had messed up the investigation.

Besides Chawla, other petitioners include Naresh Gupta, father of late Akhil Gupta, the murdered witness. Also in the list is the father of an alleged minor rape victim of Asaram and whose son was assaulted despite police protection, and a journalist, Narendra Yadav.

The petition mentions how one Narayan Pandey, alleged attacker of the brother of the rape victim, was arrested but, later managed to procure bail and allegedly murdered Kirpal Singh. The journalist, Yadav, has claimed he was also attacked by unidentified assailants. Yadav has also mentioned in the petition about how Pandey – though back in Shahjahanpur jail – has been writing threatening letters.

Chawla, who lives in an undisclosed location in Haryana, said the 2015 attack on Sachan in court was “actually meant for me, but the killers attacked Sachan”.

A former sub-broker and insurance agent, Chawla said he had once found solace in the ashram but later grew disillusioned after seeing the father-son duo committing a “series of illegal activities”. Eventually, he deposed against both last year. The threats, claims Chawla, started immediately after his deposition.

Now, Chawla lives in a one room home, and has a armed constable round the clock for protection. But the fear of death hangs menacingly on his head like the proverbial Sword of Damocles, he even made a chilling deposition in his affidavit to the Allahabad High Court: “I want to live at least till I complete my testimony in the Surat and Ahmedabad cases.”

“I know I am on the radar of the killers. A single constable is not enough to stave off the murderers. I genuinely live in fear,” he said in a telephonic interview from his hideout in Haryana.

Chawla says there are times when he covers his face with a dupatta to go out and buy essentials like milk and vegetables from the neighbouring market.

On paper, the seems to be going from bad to worse for Asaram and his son, against whom allegations of occult practices surfaced in 2008 following the mysterious death of Abhishek and Deepesh Vaghela (cousins) in Asaram’s Motera Ashram. The post mortem report said Deepesh’s small and large intestines, stomach, spleen, kidneys and bladder were missing. Yet, Asaram and his son got the shaft from both the Gujarat High Court and the Supreme Court which held there was enough scientific reason to proceed with a charge of death caused by negligence and not murder.

Eventually, Gujarat police submitted a chargesheet in 2012 against seven of Asaram’s followers. The Gujarat government appointed the DK Trivedi commission, tasking it to probe charges occult practices and also of rape – a school girl in Jodhpur and two sisters in Surat – against the father-son duo. Asaram is lodged in Jodhpur jail since August 2013 while his son has been behind bars at Surat’s Lajpore central prison since December 2013.

And then, in what appeared to be a strange series of incidents, a gang of unidentified killers started silencing the witnesses.

The Supreme Court, throughout last year, heard how the attacks had continued on those deposing against Asaram and his son, both lodged in a jail in Jodhpur. Asaram – known for openly flouting rules because of his Godman status – grabbed headlines early this year when he used a handset from within the premises of Jodhpur prison to threaten Kirpal Singh, the witness in Shajahanpur. Singh, in turn, recorded his voice and handed over the clip to the Shaharanpur police. But soon, Singh was killed.

The charges, however, have been denied by Asaram’s counsel, Saurav Ajay Gupta, who called them “baseless and unproven”. There are nearly ten cases pending against Asaram and his son in courts in Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.

The next hearing in the Supreme Court is slated for January, 2017. The petitioners are hoping against hope, they know if they get killed, the cases could take a peculiar, U-turn.

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 12:27 IST

Seventh pay commission: UP govt approves recommendations, 24 lakh employees to benefit

The Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh has approved the recommendations of the seventh pay commission, and said it will be implemented from 17 January. According to a report on CNN News18, the entry salary of a person joining at the lowest rung will be around Rs 18,000, while pay for highest office of chief second will be around Rs 2.25 lakh.

The move comes just months before the key political state goes in for Assembly elections, and Yadav was confident of electoral success. “We will win, and if the alliance happens, we will cross 300 plus seats,” he said, referring to a possible alliance with the Congress party.

The decision to hike salaries was taken after a committee, headed by retired bureaucrat GB Pattnaik, submitted its interim report to Yadav on 7 December, reported The Pioneer.

File image of Akhilesh Yadav. PTI

File image of Akhilesh Yadav. PTI

It could mean that state government employees will get at least a 20 percent hike in their salaries, which would bring about parity between state and central government employees.

As per statistics, the state government will incur an additional burden of Rs 26,573 crore annually in the first year of implementation while in the second year, the expenditure would come down to Rs 22,778 crore annually. Presently, the state government spends around Rs 95,000 crore annually on salary and perks for state employees, the publication noted.

Yadav, while speaking to CNN-News18, claimed that the pay hike is a people friendly move and will help more than 24 lakh employees.

The Central Cabinet gave its nod to the seventh pay commission recommendations in June 2016, allowing an overall 23.55 percent hike in salaries, allowances and pensions of central government employees. The pay panel, in November last year, had recommended a 14.27 percent hike in basic pay at junior levels — the lowest in 70 years. The previous 6th Pay Commission had recommended a 20 percent hike, which the government doubled while implementing it in 2008.

The seventh pay commission’s recommendations will have bearing on the remuneration of nearly 50 lakh central government employees and 58 lakh pensioners. This is estimated to put an additional burden of Rs 1.02 lakh crore, or nearly 0.7 percent of the GDP, on the central government.

The process to introduce the latest pay commission began in January this year, when the central government set up a high-powered panel headed by Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha to process the recommendations.

However, after the government approved the recommendations, there were widespread protests by employees, with many unions threatening to go on strike. Even RSS affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and other trade unions rejected the recommendations, contending that it would increase disparity between the minimum and maximum pay. To placate the grievances, the central government promised to set up a high level committee to look into the issues.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 17:14 IST

Demonetisation woes will take a year to solve: Akhilesh Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday said that the problem caused due to demonetization will take a year to solve.”The people, who had asked for 50 days, are counting more 50 days. This problem will not be solved on 50 days but it will take at least one year,” he said.”We all want to curb corruption and the flow of black money in the nation, but they took the decision without planning and preparation,” he said. “They had assured that the situation will become normal but still I can find people standing in the queue in such cold weather,” he added.Hinting indirectly at the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections, he said, “The people who are queued up for cash now, will queued up again to cast their vote against the Centre, which has caused pain to them.

Ahead of assembly polls, pay hike for UP govt employees gets cabinet nod

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a New Year bonanza for state government employees ahead of UP Assembly elections, Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday decided to implement recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission.The decision is likely to benefit 16 lakh state government employees and six lakh pensioners.”Wetan samiti ka faisla liya hai. Aaney waley samay mey lakhon karmchairyon ko laabh hoga. Issey kai crore ka bhaar aayega (We have taken decision of pay committee recommendations. It will benefit lakhs of government employees. It will put additional burden of crores of rupees on the state exchequer,” Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said.He was briefing reporters after a meeting of the state cabinet charied by him.The pay recommendations will be implemented from January 1, he said, adding in the days to come these employees will help Samajwadi Party form government in the state again.

Delhi: Law firm raid yeilds Rs 13 crore, Agusta link

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The crime branch of the Delhi Police and the Income-Tax (I-T) department have exposed a coterie of lawyers, high-profile arms dealers and middlemen after raids on the residence and offices of a city-based lawyer Rohit Tandon on Saturday night. Tandon owns the Tandon and Tandon (T&T) law firm.Raids were going on T&T offices in the Shivalik area, Lajpat Nagar and Greater Kailash-1 at the time of going to press. So far, Rs 13.65 crore, including Rs 2.6 crore in new currency, have been seized.Crime branch officials said that Tandon has links with prominent arms dealer Abhishek Verma (currently out on bail), and senior lawyer Gautam Khaitan (arrested in the AgustaWestland scam).”This raid is linked to the one on October 6. I-T officials had then recorded the statements of associates and staffers at T&T’s Greater Kailash-1 office, after which unaccounted money of Rs 125 crore were disclosed. The tax department has evidence of Tandon’s investments in properties through shell companies,” sources said.Addressing the media on Sunday, Joint Commissioner of Police (JCP), Crime Branch, Ravinder Yadav, said: “He had been on our radar since October 6.” Though the JCP claimed that Tandon had gone underground and they were tracing him, Tandon spoke to the media. “It is absolute nonsense to link me with Abhishek Verma and the AgustaWestland suspects. I have never met them. Neither they nor I even recognise each other. I am not on the run. I am not in Delhi. I am on my way back and will cooperate with the I-T department,” he said.Tandon also claimed that he did not have any clue about the money recovered during the raids.Stacks of new and old currency were found in a cupboard and a duffel bag in T&T’s Greater Kailash office. “We also found a counting machine,” Yadav said. I-T officials said that every nook and cranny of the Greater Kailash office was covered with security cameras. “When we questioned the staffers, they said Tandon had installed a software in his mobile phone and would have been watching the live feed of raids and searches,” they added.Sources said that the investigating teams are now analysing Tandon’s client list. “He claims to be a corporate lawyer, specialising in mergers and acquisitions, but no big firm has hired him. I-T officials told us that he is more of a liaison… a fixer. We have seized his office computers and laptops. Clients don’t pay in cash to prominent lawyers,” said an investigating officer.”We are probing whether the seized money was parked by businessmen and lawyers,” an officer said. Teams are also questioning other partners of T&T, all of whom claimed that they had no clue about the money found at their offices.Police sources claimed that Tandon was in touch with some high-profile defence dealers and lawyers representing defence lobbyists. Tandon set up T&T in February 2014. He had ambitious plans to set up offices in Dubai and Hong Kong as well. He was, however, never seen in courts or arguing before the Bench.For nearly a decade starting 2005, he successfully ran a law firm called Zeus. Some of his Zeus colleagues later joined T&T. His brother-in-law still runs Zeus. A low-key person, Tandon is not seen in parties or high-profile gatherings, and prefers to meet and entertain clients at his plush farmhouse in Chattarpur.”While questioning his staffers, we came to know that his parties are understated, without any glamour or Page 3 celebrities, but he is well connected. It is interesting that he knows both Bhandari and Khaitan,” said a Crime Branch officer.”He came to the limelight when he bid and got the ownership of a 12,000-sq ft residence in Jor Bagh. The deal was worth Rs 100 crore. Once the deal went public, everyone wanted to know who he was,” he added. In July 2014, Tandon bought a bungalow from the Ruia family via a special purpose company called Devlin Corp, in which he and his son are co-directors. The Delhi Police have informed both ED and I-T Department about the raids and a report will be submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Monday.I-T notices to 1,200 people in SuratSurat: The I-T department in Surat has issued notices to 1,200 people who have deposited Rs1 crore and above in their bank accounts after November 8. The notice has 20 questions and the account-holders have to respond within a week.Interestingly, according to the I-T department, only 55 persons in the city have an annual income of Rs 1 crore and above. – DNA Correspondent

No harm in giving assembly ticket to gangster’s brother: SP leader Abu Azmi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defending the Samajwadi Party’s decision to give a ticket to alleged gangster Mukhtar Ansari’s brother Sigbatullah Ansari for next year’s assembly polls, Abu Azmi, the president of the party’s Maharashtra unit, said one should not have biased opinions on a person just because his brother is involved in illegal activities.”The Samajwadi Party can never give ticket to any gangster, the party always gives tickets to worthy and honest people and, I don’t think that just because his brother is a gangster, he shouldn’t be allowed to contest the polls,” Azmi told ANI.”Even the Vice-President of India, Hamid Ansari, is distantly related to Mukhthar Ansari. But we know the difference of character between the two,” he added.Citing examples of the Mumbai elections, Azmi said that even gangster Rajan’s brother contests elections for Disabilities Affairs Minister Ramdas Athawale’s Republican Party of India.”If you see in the Mumbai elections, Athawale offers tickets to gangster Rajan’s brother. He contests elections in every assembly polls,” he said.The Samajwadi Party yesterday announced 23 candidates for the upcoming UP assembly polls which include the name of Sigbatullah Ansari, the brother of gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari.The Ansari brothers belong to Quami Ekta Dal which recently merged with the party despite opposition from Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.Samajwadi Party Uttar Pradesh unit president Shivpal Singh Yadav released the names at the party headquarters in Lucknow.Akhilesh and Shivpal Yadav have been at loggerheads over the merger of the Quami Ekta Dal with the Samajwadi party, with the latter supporting the move.

Unhappy with demonetization, SP leader announces reward for beheading PM Modi, Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Samajwadi Party leader from Baghpat has promised reward for beheading Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for creating an emergency-like situation in the country following demonetization. In the video below, Tarun Deo reads out a letter from what seems to be youth wing meeting, saying that people have been badly affected by the demonetization move taken by Modi and Shah. Deo blamed Modi and Shah for creating an emergency-like situation in the country and also for the 2002 Godhra riots. He said that an appropriate reward for beheading Modi and Amit Shah would be given. Though Deo calls himself party’s Baghpat district youth wing president, SP president Shivpal Yadav had reportedly dismissed all district units, including frontal organisations in December, as per Financial Express report.

Pakistan admits it has insufficient proof against alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Wednesday admitted that the government was presented with only “insufficient evidence” on alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav who is under detention.

Kulbhushan Jadhav. PTIKulbhushan Jadhav. PTI

Kulbhushan Jadhav. PTI

Addressing a full Senate chamber, Aziz said the dossier on Jadhav contained mere statements.

“It did not have any conclusive evidence,” he was quoted as saying by the Geo TV.

“What the dossier contained was not enough. Now it is up to the concerned authorities how long they take to give us more matter on the agent,” Aziz said.

Jadhav, who was reportedly arrested in Balochistan after he entered from Iran, has been accused by Pakistan of planning “subversive activities” in the country.

Pakistan Army had also released a “confessional video” of Jadhav, who said he was the serving Indian Navy officer.

India has acknowledged Jadhav as a retired Indian Navy officer, but denied the allegation that he was in any way connected to the government.

However, later in the day, Pakistan denied having made such a statement. According to the news agency ANI, Islamabad said that there is irrefutable proof against Kulbhushan Yadav, saying he had made a public confession in March.

First Published On : Dec 7, 2016 22:51 IST

Congress rules out tie up with Samajwadi Party for UP Assembly polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amidst indications that SP leader and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is warming up to the idea of an alliance with Congress, UP PCC President Raj Babbar on Monday said his party will contest alone in the state and described such talks as “hypothetical.””Alliance talks in some way demoralises workers. I have no such information. The party leadership has not asked me to look for a tie up and it’s not under consideration. This is hypothetical,” he told in an interview.Recently Akhilesh had said that his party was capable enough to get majority on its own but if there was an alliance with Congress, they would together get over 300 seats, trigerring speculation of a pre-poll tieup.Akhilesh’s father and SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav has already ruled out any pre-poll alliance, asserting that there can only be mergers.The Chief Minister, however, had said that a final decision on the alliance will be taken by the SP supremo and he can only give suggestions.Akhilesh also suggested that Congress will have to accept that it may have to fight on a fewer number of seats than it wants in an alliance because a tie-up will not work out if it keeps thinking about “profit and loss”.Asked about the issue, Babbar stressed that Congress will “contest UP polls alone” and the first list of the party candidates is likely to be released by the end of this month.”The exercise of candidate selection is on…We have again asked for the prospective candidates list from district presidents,” he said.To a question about the party’s expected performance in 2017, he said, “The situation is changing in the state. Those who were considering Congress as zero are now talking about it. Various campaigns in past few months have succeeded in connecting with people and they are looking for an alternative”.”There is anger among people against BJP, SP and BSP. While BJP will be facing consequences of demonitisation, there is feud in SP and people did not have faith and trust on BSP due to its past record…The only alternative is Congress,” he said, adding that party will certainly be improving its tally in 2017 Assembly polls from 29 it got in 2012.Babbar criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for cashless society, saying people of the country are not “plastic” but “emotional”.”In the country where 90 per cent sector is unorganised people cannot be plastic rather they are emotional. They help each other due to emotions. BJP will have to suffer losses for what it has done creating problems for common man,” he said.Asked why the agressive campaign started by Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi in UP has slowed down, Babbar said it was because of the Parliament session as the entire focus of the top leaders has shifted there.”Important leaders of the state including PL Punia, Pramod Tiwari, Ghulam Nabi Azad have got busy in Parliament where burning issues are being raised. We have to focus there. But soon we will again be concentrating in UP,” he said.In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Congress had secured only two seats in UP with Sonia and Rahul emerging victorious from their family strongholds of Rae Bareli and Amethi respectively.The party is trying to regain its lost moorings in the state where it currently has only 29 MLAs in the 403-member Assembly.Congress has been in political wilderness in UP since 1989 following the emergence of Mandal-Mandir politics and rise of BSP which took away its crucial Dalit vote base.Mayawati’s party had also lured a large chunk of Brahmin votes in the past when candidates of the community were given tickets by her to contest elections.The Brahmin community plays a significant role in poll outcome in central and eastern UP as it is the dominant caste there.Once a traditional vote bank of the Congress, Brahmins in the state shifted allegiance to BJP in the aftermath of the emergence of Mandal-Mandir politics.Perhaps, to keep Brahmins in good humour, the party is projecting former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit as its chief ministerial face.In a bid to woo Hindu votes ahead of the Assembly polls in UP, Rahul Gandhi recently offered prayers at the Hanuman Garhi Temple in Ayodhya, becoming the first member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to visit Ayodhya since the demolition of the disputed structure in 1992.Rahul recently completed 2,000 km kisan yatra in Uttar Pradesh to woo voters in favour of his party.

Army carrying out annual data collection exercise in Bengal, says Maj Gen Sunil Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Army formations in Bengal, GOC (Headquarters), Bengal Area, Major General Sunil YadavNot withstanding Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s allegations that army was deployed at two toll plazas on National Highway 2 in West Bengal without informing the state government which is unprecedented and a serious matter, General Officer Commanding (GOC), (Headquarters), Bengal Area, Major General Sunil Yadav said army formations in Eastern Command at local levels are carrying out routine annual data collection exercises on availability of load carriers at all major entry points in various states in coordination with local police authorities.”This is an exercise carried out for our operational purposes, which will terminate to its logical end tonight. They are only collecting data of heavy vehicles, which is an annual exercise being carried out every year. Similar exercises are also being carried out in Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar from September 26 to October 1 this year”, said Maj. Gen. Yadav.Terming the allegations of money collection from commuters at the toll counters at at Dankuni toll plaza in Hooghly district and Pallsit toll plaza in Burdwan district ‘baseless’, the GoC said, “You must be aware that we have specific targets, specific information and data to be collected. On the completion of data collection at Nabanno, the Bengal State Secretariat, the team was withdrawn last night around 12 o’clock. We were there for almost for 36 hours.””Since it is a major point, we achieved our data and we withdrew. In the entire northeast, 80 search points have been established, and as I said the exercise continuing most of the places including the toll plazas here and Nabanno”, he added.Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s allegation that the state’s rights are being impinged upon by the Centre was a clear sign of her political frustration, and added that it is saddening to see her and other opposition parties questioning the credibility of the Indian Army while it was performing a routine annual military exercise.Addressing the lower house of the Parliament, Parrkiar asserted that the deployment of army is a routine exercise being carried out since many years. “It is army’s routine exercise being carried out since many years. It also took place on 19th and 21st November last year too. Saddening that a routine exercise has been made a controversy now”, he said. “Concerned officials were intimated by Army this year too. Original dates were 28, 29 and 30 December but were changed to 1st and 2nd December later”, he added.Echoing similar sentiments Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu told the Rajya Sabha that West Bengal government was informed about the drill, while urging the Upper House to not drag the Indian Army in to an unwarranted controversy. “It is a sensitive matter as it pertains to the Army, let us not derail from important issues. Bengal was taken into confidence, it happened last year as well and last to last year. Let’s not drag Army into controversy”, said Naidu.Hysteria gripped West Bengal yesterday night after chief minister Mamata Banerjee decided not to go home and instead stayed put at the state secretariat Nabanna to protest against the ‘sudden deployment’ of the army in the area. Banerjee camped overnight at her office in the secretariat in Kolkata, objecting to the presence of Army jawans at toll booths, one just 500 metres from where she was.”Is this a military coup?” the Banerjee asked, alleging that the state government had been had not been informed about what the Army said was a routine exercise that it was conducting across eastern states.

PM Modi present in Rajya Sabha on day 11, yet Opposition stalls proceedings

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For the 11th consecutive day, Opposition stalled Parliament on Thursday even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the Rajya Sabha, a demand they have been making for resumption of debate on demonetization.Changing stance, the Opposition now demanded apology from the Prime Minister for his utterances in which he had targeted those opposing demonetization and created uproar after it was rejected. The initial part of both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha saw concern being expressed over a problem faced by a commercial plane carrying Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee while landing at Kolkata airport last night.Sharing the concern about Mamata’s well-being, the government said a probe will be conducted into the incident. When Question Hour began and Chairman Hamid Ansari called for the first question of the day, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said while the Prime Minister has been addressing his party MPs in Parliament House and even speaking outside, the Opposition parties have been demanding his presence during the debate on demonetization issue.Modi sat through the Question Hour on a day which has questions listed against his name. Subsequently, he was present in the post-lunch session at 2 PM as well. “We had been demanding for last 15 days (presence of PM)….We are against blackmoney. We want to speak on this issue but with whom? Our anguish is that the Prime Minister is holding weekly meetings with his MPs in Parliament House. He is also speaking outside. Our demand is that the Prime Minister should be here and listen to us,” Azad said. Azad said the Opposition demand for the presence of the Prime Minister was “a small demand” and “neither anti-national nor anti-Constitution.”When the senior Congress leader also alleged that the PM has remarked that the Opposition parties support blackmoney holders and said it was a “big allegation”, BJP members protested the remark. Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu insisted that the House should continue with the debate on demonetization, which started on November 16, the first day of the Winter session. Ansari also said that the debate has not been concluded and called the listed speaker AU Singh Deo (BJD) to start.Sharad Yadav (JDU) said he too agreed that the debate should continue, but it “cannot be one-way traffic” and demanded that the Prime Minister should remain seated in the House all through the discussion. “Why are you assuming that he (PM) will not participate,” Ansari asked the Opposition member.As Singh Deo rose to speak on demonetization, Congress members started raising slogans like “Pradhan Mantri Mafi Maango (PM should apologise)” from the aisles. Naidu said the Prime Minister is here and the unfinished debate should be resumed. However amid din, the House was adjourned for 15 minutes. When it reassembled at 1229 hours, Congress members were again on their feet raising slogans as BJD member started to speak on the debate, which was initiated on November 16 and remained inconclusive as the House was stalled. The debate had resumed briefly on November 24 for one hour but could not proceed further due to continuous din.Amid noisy scenes, Deo said, “We support any move taken by the Government of India for corruption and black money.” But as the sloganeering continued, Ansari adjourned the House till 1400 hours. Uproar by the Opposition members continued when the House reconvened.With the Prime Minister present in the House as demanded by the Opposition for days, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien went ahead to resume discussion on demonetization. However, Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi said Modi never came to the House but always spoke outside the Parliament.Members from the ruling side objected to this and said discussion should begin. In the din, Congress leaders and those from the BSP and others trooped into the well of the House demanding apology from the PM and shouting slogans asking the government to return people’s money back into their own hands.Agitated over this, I&B Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the Opposition has been exposed and Congress should apologise for the 60 years of misrule. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also objected to the demand for apology by the Prime Minister questioning whether he should apologise for targeting black money hoarders.He said it was the Congress which should apologise to the poor for what they done in the 60 years of rule. Kurien kept insisting that the Opposition’s demand was that Modi should be present and now since he is here, the discussion should start.With the protests showing no signs of abating, Kurien adjourned the House till Friday morning. Earlier, when the Upper House met for the day, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien said Mamata’s life was endangered last night when she was flying from Patna to Kolkata on an IndiGo flight.He said the plane was low on fuel, still it was made to hover over the Kolkata airport for upto 30 minutes. About 200 km from Kolkata, the ATC informed that the flight was 8th in landing sequence but the pilot relayed a message that it was low on fuel and should be allowed to give priority landing, O’Brien said.Despite the warning, the flight was made to hover over the Kolkata airport for at least 15 minutes and by some count 30 minutes, he said, adding besides Mamata, there were 100 other passengers on the flight whose life was put to danger. “Today it is one opposition leader… this opposition leader is at the forefront (of anti-demonetization campaign),” he said, adding questions are being raised if it is a conspiracy to eliminate opposition leaders.The flight landed under full emergency conditions, he said and asked why was the pilot denied permission to land. “I am not insinuating anything but there is a school of thought which believes it may be a conspiracy.” Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said just when the IndiGo flight called in to report low fuel, two other planes of Air India and SpiceJet also did the same.Mamata’s flight hovered over Kolkata airport for only 13 minutes and it was ensured that the aircraft landed in a safe and orderly manner, Sinha said. He said the IndiGo flight took off from Patna at 1936 hours on Thursday and landed at Kolkata at 2040 hours after hovering for 13 minutes. “At no point was anybody’s life at risk or danger. All safety procedure were fully followed,” he said.”Air safety of all passengers is of utmost importance to us… we did everything possible that every flight landed safely,” he said, adding “passenger security is of utmost importance and we are doing the best and no one should have any doubt on it.”He said DGCA has specific standards for low fuel and priority landing and all procedures were fully followed. As per norms, every plane is mandated to carry enough fuel to allow 30-40 minutes of hovering and travelling to nearest diversion airport, he said.The Minister said DGCA will probe as to how three flights could fly with low fuel despite strict norms. Aircraft instrumentation would also be checked to find out how much fuel was there when the flights took off and whether they carried enough fuel, he said. “Strict action will be taken for any violation,” he said adding criminal investigation would be conducted. “We will do the needful. Passenger safety is number one priority and will remain so.”Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said it was a very serious issue as any plane flying on low fuel should be given top priority in landing and sought a probe into the incident. Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) said the incident has created doubts in minds of people and an inquiry must be ordered and its report tabled in the Parliament.Mayawati (BSP) said the government should rise above party politics and order an inquiry, while Sharad Yadav (JD-U) also termed the incident as serious and sought a probe. Prem Chand Gupta (RJD) said when a flight is low on fuel it should be allowed to land first and it should not be converted into “an opportunity to take out vengeance.” Rajeev Shukla (Cong) said how could airplanes be allowed to take-off when they are low on fuel. KTS Tulsi (Nominated) said based on the material brought out so far, it is a fit case for registering an FIR for attempt to murder and investigating the case.

Uttar Pradesh: Akhilesh flags of fLucknow metro’s trial run; Mayawati says it’s cheap popularity

Lucknow: The trial run of the Uttar Pradesh government’s much publicised Lucknow Metro was flagged off today by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav even as BSP chief Mayawati alleged the project was completed in haste to gain cheap popularity ahead of polls.

The function was held at Transport Nagar depot for the trial run up to Charbagh railway station, a distance of 8.5 km.

Representational image. Pradesh18Representational image. Pradesh18

Representational image. Pradesh18

Addressing the gathering, Akhilesh said it was a challenge to start the project on time, and added that adding that they have “set an example before the country”.

“Metro was not in our manifesto but we initiated the project. The work for the same has also been started in Ghaziabad, between Greater Nodia and Noida, and also in Kanpur. If we come to power again, we will start work in
Varanasi too,” he said. Asserting that the ruling Samajwadi Party did not play politics on the issue of development, Akhilesh said his government gave land for establishment of Aiims in Raebareli and in Gorakhpur as well so that people could avail the best medical facilities.

“We don’t believe in blame game. We are for development and support every move initiated for it,” he said.

The trial run, however, evoked strong criticism from BSP supremo Mayawati, who said it was a decision taken in haste by the ruling SP, “as it knew very well that it would not return to power” in the upcoming UP Assembly elections.

“It was done in haste to gain cheap popularity and smacks of ‘bachkani zid’ (childish stubbornness) of the chief minister,” she said.

SP supremo Mulayam said he was glad the project was completed in a timely fashion.

“When I was asked to lay foundation for the project, I wanted to know how much time it will take and refused when I was told it will take four years. Them they said it will be completed in three years, but I again declined. When I was told it will be completed in 2 years, I agreed,” he said.

Terming it as “historic day”, Mulayam said he would be happy if metro will also be started in Varanasi and appealed to people to vote for SP so that it could form government again to resume developmental work.

“The work done in UP during present SP regime are historic and have set an example before the country. UP’s work is being appreciated everywhere,” he said.

“We have done good work but we don’t discuss it,” Mulayam said, asking party workers to propagate it.

The entire 23-km long North-South corridor will have 21 stations including eight elevated ones, and the estimated cost of the project will be around Rs 6,800 crore.

The primary section (between Transport Nagar to Charbagh) would be open for public on March 26 next year after three months of rigorous trial.

At the function, SP state president Shivpal Yadav was also present.

LMRC, a special purpose vehicle, was registered under the Companies Act by the state government in 2013 to execute metro-rail project in city. Padma Vibhushan E Sreedharan, who has successfully handled many mega projects in country, like Konkan railway and Delhi metro, is principal advisor of LMRC.

First Published On : Dec 1, 2016 16:53 IST

Pay day cash crunch: Painful queues, chaos return and it’s just the beginning

Queues returned to banks and ATMs on Wednesday as people rushed to withdraw cash after monthly salaries got credited in their bank accounts — the first since the high value currency was scrapped — signalling more pain as the crowd is likely to get bigger in from today (1 December).

A PTI report said queues at most of the ATMs and banks across the city on Wednesday were shorter than expected though there were complaints that cash dispensing machines were either dry or shut and customers could not draw the maximum permissible amount.

Most private companies in India credit salaries to their employees on the last day of a month even as labour laws allow wages to be disbursed on any day before the 10th of the next month.

PTIPTI

PTI

As soon as the salaries were credited, millions of employees began queuing up outside banks and ATMs across the country to withdraw cash to meet their monthly needs and pay their domestic helps, drivers and clear their monthly grocery and other bills.

Since the supply of notes from currency chests has failed to keep pace with the demand for cash after 86 percent of currency in circulation was declared illegal on 8 November, the chaos worsened on the payday as more households needed cash than earlier.

People were seen in bigger numbers waiting to withdraw money. Many were annoyed by the rush and the arbitrary withdrawal limits set by banks. And the situation could get worse in the coming days as more number of people will receive salaries.

What are the customers saying?

“I have to pay my maid and grocery bills in cash. I somehow managed to convince my landlord to accept the rent in cheque but I am bound to visit the bank for other payments,” said Vishakha Sharma from west Delhi.

The 27-year-old waited outside a bank for two hours. “It is so humiliating that we have to stand in long queues and beg for our own money.”

An MNC employee, Yogesh Yadav, said he had come to withdraw Rs 24,000 from his bank account but was given only Rs 10,000. “It’s the end of the month and I am supposed to pay bills. How will I manage?” Yadav asked.

A resident of Krishna Nagar in Delhi, Rahul Chauhan got his salary credited on Tuesday but could not withdraw even after standing in a queue at 3 a.m. on Wednesday.

“By the time my chance to enter the bank came, it ran out of cash.”

The case was not different in other parts of the country.

In Kolkata, in apprehension of a mad rush, people started queuing up outside banks and ATMs since morning.

“I am in the queue since 8.30 a.m.,” said Sougata Mitra, an employee of a private firm outside a Bank of India branch in central Kolkata.

It was 10.45 a.m. when IANS caught up with Mitra, and already 50-60 customers had lined up.

The first salary day after demonetization proved haranguing for the maximum city Mumbai where most ATMs ran dry. Desperate men and women drove from one place to another, halting wherever they saw an ATM alive, albeit with long queues.

Though many Mumbaikars have shifted to making certain payments online or by debit/credit cards, there are many bills which need to be paid in cash. Many feared that the situation could worsen on Thursday.

“Everything has come to a standstill. Worse, many online payments systems are jammed due to the sudden heavy traffic and payments are pending,” fumed a pharmaceutical consultant P. Venkataraman from Kandivali, a Mumbai suburb.

“I managed to get only Rs 4,000 this morning against the withdrawl limit of Rs 24,000 as I was told that there was hardly any cash supply to the banks in the last few days. I will have to wait and try my luck later in the day,” a South Mumbai resident has been quoted in a PTI report.

What are the banks saying?

Several banks ran out of cash within hours of opening on Wednesday. Some bank officials complained that they were getting cash much below what they need.

Various media reports put the cash situation at banks at about one-fifth of the demand. A report in The Times of India cites a bank official as saying that his branch received 15-20 percent of the required amount. Due to this, bankers were rationing withdrawals so that more customers were catered to.

“RBI is currently supplying cash based on a variety of calculations including how much a bank branch got the previous day. That will continue. We will continue to ration cash,” one banker has been quoted as saying in a report in The Economic Times.

However, bankers are not ready to be quoted and remain unnamed in the reports, probably for the fear of attracting the government’s wrath. Those who were named said the situation is all fine.

When asked about the cash crunch situation, Central Bank Executive Director R C Lodha told PTI, “We have made adequate arrangements to meet the higher demand for cash as salaries would be credited into customers account (as the month turns). In our bank there would be no shortage of cash.”

“At SBI we have enough currency supply. At some pockets there was shortage, but there also funds are being made available,” State Bank of India’s deputy managing director Manju Agarwal has also been quoted as saying in another PTI report.

It is to be noted that Indian Banks’ Association, the body of the bank management, has not come out with any statement regarding the demonetisation yet.

However, unnamed bank managers are painting a grim picture of the situation. They say the bank branches are not getting enough Rs 500 and Rs 100 notes to cater to the customers. Since these smaller denominations are in short supply, Rs 2,000 that are available now is not in demand since customers find it difficult get change.

A PTI report said nearly 70 percent of ATMs are now recalibrated, but they do not have cash. While people are struggling with the problem of change as the operational ones dispense mostly high denomination Rs 2,000 notes.

The rationing and short supply of smaller denomination notes are adding to the distress of the customers who are waiting in the queues for long time.

Many banks have made ‘SOS calls’ to the Reserve Bank for additional cash for the first few days of December to meet the initial rush of people, already fatigued standing in unending queues.

According to reports, they have started seeking security deployment at branches to manage the angry crowd.

Many banks are contemplating to set up additional counters for withdrawal to meet the rush.

What is the RBI and government saying?

Reports say they are taking steps to improve the situation. A report in The Times of India citing sources said the four printing presses that produce currency notes are now working in three shifts against the earlier two shifts. The aim to is increase the supply of Rs 500 and Rs 100 notes.

It further says citing sources that the RBI has increased the cash supply to banks by four times and the situation will be better today (Thursday).

However, there has not been any official update on the evolving situation from neither the RBI nor the finance ministry in the last two-three days.

Given the lack of information from the authorities, customers are likely to hoard cash anticipating further tightening. And if they do it will just put further pressure on the cash situation. The blame squarely rests on the government and the RBI.

What lies ahead?

As of now, expect more uncertainty and chaos. Even if the government and the RBI have put pressure to produce more Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, this is unlikely to ease the crunch easily. A government official has told the PTI that that there is a lag of 21 days for printed notes to reach markets.

The PTI report notes that 1 December, today, is the pay day and banks are gearing up to face a huge rush as people. The queues at branches across the country are likely to get lengthier.

What has made matter worse is the fact that a large number of ATMs are still dry even 23 days after the government scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

And with pay day just dawning, it seems to be the beginning of the pain.

With IANS and PTI

First Published On : Dec 1, 2016 08:46 IST

Demonetization: Sharad Yadav, Arun Jaitley exchange barbs in Rajya Sabha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley and JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav on Thursday exchanged sharp barbs in the Rajya Sabha over the demonetization issue.The exchange happened when members of the Congress, TMC, BSP and SP were creating a ruckus over their demand that the House mourn the killing of 25 armymen since surgical strikes and deaths of 82 persons in post-demonetization hardships. Yadav said it was unprecedented that there was no obituary reference for the seven army personnel including two senior officers killed in terrorist attack at Nagrota armybase near Jammu yesterday.As he also raised death of “nearly 90 persons” in post-demonetization hardships, Jaitley retorted that he should first discuss demonetization within his party and find “if it is agreeable” with the ban on 500 and 1000 rupee notes or not.His remark was apparent reference to JD(U) chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar supporting demonetization. “We are not against demonetization. We are against the restrictions that have been placed (on withdrawals from own accounts),” Yadav shot back.The JD(U) leader then went on to ask if Prime Minister Narendra Modi was with him or not. “Is your Prime Minister with you? Is he listening to you,” he asked.

Akhilesh Yadav outsmarts Mamata Banerjee, stays away from Lucknow demonetisation rally

Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh have a great political allure. Leaders from afar are attracted to this vast state to come here and try their luck. After all, it is said that the path to Delhi goes via Lucknow, and a good show in Lucknow make people in Delhi take notice.

So, it was West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who staged a protest rally in Lucknow on 29 November after a shrill campaign against demonetisation initiated by her in Delhi that attracted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. In Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in an expression of bonhomie went to the airport to receive her, turning it into a great photo opportunity. It was unofficially given out to the media that Akhilesh had given full support to Mamata’s protest show in Lucknow and he might possibly share the stage with her the next day. Incidentally, Mamta did not meet the Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav.

A file image of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

A file image of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI

But the next day was a different story. The venue chosen for Mamta’s protest meeting was a busy road intersection, one that is identified with the office of the Women Helpline (1090) started by the Akhilesh government. The area is splashed with hoardings of Akhilesh Yadav smiling down amidst a description of his government’s achievements. And there is a huge LED screen that displays videos of his government’s schemes and their success. The venue is a little more than a kilometre from the Chief Minister’s official residence as well, and the road intersection is very busy throughout the day as it connects the trans-Gomti part of Lucknow through two bridges.

Any disruption on this roundabout causes huge traffic snarls within minutes and it so happened that day also, creating an impression that the huge crowd was there to listen to the fiery Didi.

Her party’s hoardings lined the roads leading to the venue, on which there was a single line: Notebandi wapas lo (Withdraw demonetisation) with a picture of Mamata with her stern face and an outstretched hand and a raised finger which resembled the famed posture in BR Ambedkar statues.

The meeting was scheduled to start at 10.30 am with Mamata expected to be at the venue around 1 pm and the crowd — some that had come on purpose and some that had to perforce stop there because of the traffic jam — waited patiently for her. In fact, the venue very soon looked more like a Samajwadi Party gathering with SP banners, slogans and SP flag-waving supporters swarming the place. Akhilesh supporters were shouting slogans for him and it was announced that he would be coming there soon.

But Mamata was delayed by nearly an hour and Akhilesh decided to stay away. In his place, one of his ministers Arvind Singh Gope and the party’s senior leader Kiranmoy Nanda graced the stage. Mamata spoke in her typical style, asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw demonetisation, but as news of Akhilesh not arriving on the spot spread, SP supporters started moving away in large numbers. Besides accusing Modi of hurting the poor with this move, she said she would continue to oppose the prime minister, and dared him to arrest her.

If Mamata was smart enough to choose a busy road crossing for her meeting so that the traffic disruption could give the impression of a crowd, Akhilesh Yadav proved to be smarter. He not only stayed away from what was essentially a Trinamool Congress and Mamata Banerjee show but also avoided sharing the stage with her, as it would possibly have given a signal that he had accepted her leadership in this anti-BJP movement on the issue of demonetisation. But Akhilesh succeeded in giving a signal that despite reports of him being amenable on the issue he was against demonetisation in principle even though he has so far never called for a rollback as Mamata has been demanding from day one. He has also managed to isolate Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on this issue as no senior opposition leader has sided with Mayawati on her anti-demonetisation stance till now.

Mamata is the second non-BJP and non-Congress chief minister to have marked her political presence in Uttar Pradesh in the last few months. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was the first to stage a series of meetings in the state some months ago on total prohibition alcohol. But he has been with Modi on the issue of demonetisation. Mamata, on the other hand, has been on the forefront this time in the anti-demonetisation campaign, demanding nothing less than a rollback. And, she has left Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mayawati far behind in acquiring national opposition leadership on this issue. So, a splash in Lucknow was quite in order.

Incidentally, no leader of the Samajwadi Party owing allegiance to Mulayam Singh Yadav or Shivpal Yadav was present at the Mamata show. Mulayam is not known to be particularly eager on any alliance with Mamata given the past acrimony between the two since the issue of the previous Presidential election in 2012. It would thus appear that Akhilesh’s token support to Mamata and her rally may not be the Samajwadi Party’s stand as far as future alliances are concerned. But Akhilesh could well use Mamta’s support in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Election 2017 campaign that could begin in the coming weeks even if Trinamool Congress is not going to be in the fray for the game of numbers. Akhilesh would remain the party’s undisputed face for UP, but he could well be won over to support Mamata over Nitish in 2019.

First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 13:01 IST

Manoj Tiwari, Nityanand Rai appointed BJP’s Delhi and Bihar unit presidents

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP chief Amit Shah on Wednesday appointed party MPs Manoj Tiwari and Nityanand Rai as party’s Delhi and Bihar unit presidents respectively.While Tiwari replaces Satish Upadhyay, Rai replaces Mangal Pandey. Their tenures were long over and new appointments were awaited for the past few months.Rai is a Yadav, a community over which RJD chief Lalu Prasad has a strong hold.His appointment is seen as an effort by the BJP to go beyond the upper castes, its traditional voters, and reach out to the OBCs in the caste-conscious state where it lost to JDU-RJD combine in the last assembly polls.

Bihar govt to SC: Not averse of shifting Mohammad Shahabuddin to Tihar jail

New Delhi: The Bihar government on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it is not “averse” to shifting of
controversial RJD leader Mohammad Shahabuddin from Siwan jail to Tihar prison.

The state government, in which RJD is a coalition partner, concurred with stand of CBI which has already agreed to suggestion of the apex court that alleged history sheeter be shifted to Delhi as his continuous presence in Bihar may adversely impact the trials in various pending criminal cases against him.

The government told the bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy that Shahabuddin has been facing trial in 45 cases including one in Jharkhand.

Mohammad Shahabuddin. File photo. PTI

Mohammad Shahabuddin. File photo. PTI

“We are not averse to shifting of the accused (Shahabuddin) to Tihar jail but the court should also decide the mode of trial of pending cases against him,” the counsel representing the Bihar government said.

During the hearing, the bench said, “You (the Bihar government) file the list of all the cases against him
including in which he has been convicted or acquitted”. The counsel said that the list has already been filed and is on the apex court records.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave appearing for Siwan-based Chandrakeshwar Prasad, whose three sons have been killed in two separate incidents, said that all these incidents have taken place when Shahabuddin was in Siwan jail. He also informed the bench that Shahabuddin had alleged that lack of means while seeking legal aid counsel to defend him in various cases. The plea was allowed by the trial court.

Dave further said that interestingly, the state government challenged the order in the Patna High Court which in turn stayed the trial court order leading to stalling of proceedings in all criminal cases against Shahabuddin.

“Since the legal aid counsel was looking at all his 45 cases, the trial eventually got stayed after the Patna High Court order,” Dave said.

Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Shahabuddin, said that he is in jail for past 11 years, how
can he hire a private lawyer to defend himself. The hearing, however, remained inconclusive and will continue on Wednesday.

The apex court had on Monday mulled shifting the RJD leader from Siwan jail in Bihar to Tihar Central Jail in the national capital, saying it is test case for the “concept of fair trial and witness protection”.

The bench had on Monday asked the lawyers appearing for different parties to come prepared on the point of transfer of cases and Shahabuddin to Delhi from Siwan.

The CBI had filed status report in the murder case of scribe Rajdeo Ranjan and had that it will welcome if the cases are transferred to Delhi.

On 17 October, the apex court had granted three months time to CBI to conclude probe in the sensational scribe murder case, and directed that six accused, including Mohammad Kaif and Mohammad Javed who were seen alongside the RJD leaders, cannot seek statutory bail on the ground of non-filing of chargesheet in the matter.

Ranjan, 42, a senior journalist working with a vernacular daily, was shot dead on the evening of 22 July in Siwan town.

The apex court, on 23 September, had directed CBI to proceed with its probe into the murder of the journalist and asked Bihar police to provide protection to the family members of the slain scribe.

It had also issued notices to Shahabuddin, Tej Pratap Yadav and the Bihar government on a petition by Ranjan’s wife who also sought transfer of the case from Siwan to Delhi.

The RJD chief’s son was seen in a photograph published in newspapers with one of the two sharp shooters of alleged gangster Shahabuddin.

Asha, the wife of the deceased scribe, had moved the Supreme Court seeking transfer of the probe and trial in the case to Delhi alleging that media photos had shown two absconding killers of her husband in the company of Shahabuddin and Tej Pratap Yadav.

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 18:54 IST

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis condoles ‘Natarang’ novelist Anand Yadav’s demise

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has condoled the demise of noted litterateur Anand Yadav who passed away in Pune last night.”Dr Anand Yadav’s demise is a big loss. He was a great writer who had beautifully created some best books about rural social life,” Fadnavis said in a statement.He captured the transition and transformation in the agricultural society in his literature and created a perfect picture before the readers, he said.His life was full of struggle and he succeeded in effectively representing the woes and sorrows of rural folk.Marathi literature and readers will always miss him for unique empathy for village people and their lifestyle, Fadnavis added.

I am pained by ‘intolerable abuses’, will speak to Mulayam, says Amar Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh has said he is pained by the unacceptable activities and abuses that he is being subjected to by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s supporters.He said the matter has crossed all limits of tolerance and it was time for him to speak to party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, who has stood by him even against the wishes of his son.”A senior leader, while speaking against demonetisation in the Rajya Sabha, said action should be taken against me. At the time when the senior leader was speaking in the Rajya Sabha, an FIR was being registered against me in Azamgarh at the behest of a senior minister, as an SSP told me. Had I not registered a counter complaint in advance, and had I not informed the IB, and had I not informed a New Delhi DCP, then the Uttar Pradesh Government would have possibly arrested me on those charges,” Singh told ANI.”My effigies are being burnt in Azamgarh and Lucknow; a minister of the state government is doing so to please the chief minister, and the chief minister who is the son of a person whom I regard as a brother. In such a situation what would you feel? I am pained by such things. I have not threatened anybody, and I will speak to Mulayam Singhji,” said Amar Singh, a confidante and long-time friend of the SP’s national president.”Mulayam Singhji against his son’s wishes stood with me publically, which is a debt on me. Hence, I don’t want to hurt him, but now the matter has crossed all limits of tolerance,” he added.Recalling that he had said in an interview to a news channel that the political face of Uttar Pradesh will change by October-November, close to the state polls, he said, “My statement, which I had given as a political analyst, was interpreted as if I want to displace Akhilesh to reinstate Mulayam Singhji.””I had said that after observing Modiji’s working style. He gives a long leverage to his political opponents, and when there is an election, he comes to the field displaying his special skills,” he said.”In West Bengal, all stings against Mamata’s cabinet ministers were on corruption, it’s another thing that it did not have any surprising impact on the voters. Madan Mitra, a cabinet-level minister as the matter is in the court. I will not say that Modiji and Amit Shahji got him arrested due to some malice, but he was arrested just before the elections and has not been released till today,” said Singh to buttress his statement on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah’s style of functioning. But my statement was interpreted as if I want to displace Akhilesh to reinstate Mulayam Singhji. I have not threatened anybody, and I will speak to Mulayam Singhji,” he added.Speaking to ANI on October 27, Singh, who kept himself away from the media during infighting in Mulayam Singh Yadav’s clan and was portrayed as a villain by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, had said he might not be with CM Akhilesh, but would always be with Mulayam’s son Akhilesh.”I may not be with CM Akhilesh, but I will always be with Mulayam Singh Yadav’s son Akhilesh. The father of the SP and the chief minister are the same, and god stands as a testimony that whenever I spoke to Netaji, it was in favour of Akhilesh, Netaji also knows this truth,” Singh told ANI, while responding to Akhilesh’s allegations.”When I was struggling for life and undergoing a dialysis, Netaji had come to meet me and he said there was a discussion on the issue of state president and when Akhilesh Yadav replaced Shivpal Yadav as the UP SP president, even then I was blamed for it,” said Singh.”When his (Akhilesh’s) family was opposing his marriage, I was the only one who stood by him, but today I am hurt by his words. There is no photo of his wedding, where this ‘dalal’ is not there,” an emotional Singh had responded then when was called a ‘dalal’ (agent).”It is possible to meet Rahul Gandhi, but meeting Akhilesh is difficult. If my ‘bali’ (sacrifice) can solve the problem, I am ready for it,” he had added then.

Rape accused RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav to remain in jail after SC cancels bail plea

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday cancelled the bail of Rashtriya Janata Dal MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav, who was accused of raping a minor girl.

A bench of Justices AK Sikri and Abhay Manohar Sapre asked whether Yadav was already “released” following the bail granted by Patna High Court earlier. When the apex court was informed that he was not released, the bench said: “Let him remain in jail.”

Raj Ballabh Yadav. Pradesh18.comRaj Ballabh Yadav. Pradesh18.com

Raj Ballabh Yadav. Pradesh18.com

The court order came as it allowed the Bihar government’s plea challenging the bail.

The girl, a resident of Rahui in Nalanda, was allegedly raped by Raj Ballabh on 6 February at his Bihar Sharif residence, around 70 km from Patna. The Times of India reported that the Nalanda police had filed an FIR only in April and Raj Ballabh was named as the key accused. The police chargesheet also names a woman and her relatives for allegedly supplying girls to the RJD lawmaker. RJD then suspended the accused from party membership a day after his arrest.

Ahead of the hearing against his bail plea in the Supreme Court, Raj Ballabh called upon Lalu Prasad Yadav in October, saying that he had no grudge against the state government. He also maintained that there was no serious charge against him and “no FIR or statement of the victim under 164 CRPC against me”.

The third term RJD MLA was suspended from the party in the wake of the rape allegation against him.

The minor girl, however, expressed concern for her and her family’s safety, as the Bihar government in October appealed against the bail order in the Supreme Court. “He [Yadav] is out of jail… I am scared and afraid for my family. What will happen to them? I am already dead after what happened to me. I have nothing more to lose,” said the Nalanda schoolgirl in a WhatsApp message to reporters.

The Supreme Court on 24 October rejected a plea by Raj Ballabh to remain outside Bihar, favouring that the RJD legislator should remain in jail till the victim records her statement “fairly and without any fear”.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Nov 24, 2016 12:50 IST

PM Modi is a saint, everyone else a black marketeer: Mamata ramps up protest againt demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a show of strength, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, backed by JD-U, SP, NCP and AAP, held a demonstration against demonetization and ramped up attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging the country was not safe in his hands. Addressing the gathering at Jantar Mantar, Banerjee alleged that abolition of high-value currency notes had heaped pain on people and snatched away democratic rights of almost every section of the society including farmers, youth, women, labourers and traders, besides halting the country’s economic growth.Accusing the BJP-led dispensation of “looting” the common man, she wondered why those having Swiss bank accounts were “not touched at all”, and warned that people will teach a “good lesson” to the ruling party in the upcoming assembly polls for implementing a “black law”. “I can challenge that no one will vote for BJP. If I were you (PM), I would have apologised to the public. Why you are so egoistic? You have branded everyone in the country a black marketeer and have yourself turned into a saint ,” Banerjee said.In his address, JD-U leader Sharad Yadav questioned the legality of the demonetization exercise and challenged the Prime Minister to explain to the Parliament how the decision will benefit the country.”Under which law have you enforced this measure? You are stopping a person from withdrawing his hard-earned money which is his fundamental right. demonetization has destroyed the business of small traders. Come toParliament and explain the logic as to how it will curb black money,” Yadav said.The presence of Yadav at the protest assumes significance as his party had supported demonetization.The street protest was also addressed by SP’s Dharmendra Yadav, AAP’s Raghav Chadha and NCP’s Majid Memon.The West Bengal Chief Minister also lashed out at a group of people who were shouting pro-Modi slogans, alleging that they were sent to disrupt her public meeting and wondered what the police and administration were doing.Referring to yesterday’s bypoll results, the TMC chief said BJP’s victory margins have come down significantly in Madhya Pradesh and that Modi has left the country in the lurch (Modiji ne desh ka barah baja diya).”Banerjee said she will continue her fight till woes of the people are not addressed, adding she will also support a country-wide protest called by the Opposition parties on November 28 against demonetization.Last week, Banerjee had addressed a rally against demonetization along with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Banerjee said the government has lost all “credentials and credibility” and that because of demonetization, the GDP may decline sharply. “This government will have to go…I am sorry to say, the country is not secure under you Modiji. You do things on your whims and fancies,” she said.Without elaborating, she also alleged that the demonetization measure has brought back the pre-Independence feudal system in the country as people are struggling to get cash.Referring to the Prime Minister’s assertion that more steps to curb black money will follow, the West Bengal Chief Minister expressed apprehension that government may aim to get hold of the gold, land and other properties from the people in the next phase.”Almost all shops have downed shutters. Even malls have closed down. Our economy had improved and we survived the global recession. But because of demonetization, our GDP will go down. The economy has been hit badly,” she said.The West Bengal Chief Minister said her fight against demonetization was not to gain political mileage as there was no election scheduled in West Bengal and that she decided to hit the streets seeing plight of the common man.”This is not a fight for political gains. People in my state are suffering. People across the country are suffering Where should they go? This fight is for the rights of the poor and the downtrodden,” she said.Asserting that she will continue to fight for the common citizens, Banerjee said, “I am not afraid of any government.You put me in jail, I will not get scared. My struggle will continue.”Alleging that people were sent to disrupt her protest, she said in democracy everyone has right to agitate, adding “this soil doesn’t belong to BJP party, but to this country.” The West Bengal Chief Minister said she would travel to Punjab and Gujarat to take forward the fight. She said she was planning to go to Lucknow and Varanasi, Prime Minister Modi’s parliamentary constituency.

UP Elections 2017: After Mulayam’s no, RLD, JD(U) stitch alliance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rashtriya Lok Dal, Janata Dal(U) and a local outfit BS-4 on Monday announced their alliance for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, a move which comes after SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav ruled out entering into any alliance.RLD chief Ajit Singh, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav and BS-4 leader Bachan Singh Yadav held a joint press conference here to announce their alliance which will contest on all the 403 Assembly seats. “There is no name of this alliance as of now but it will be an honest alliance. Though this is an alliance of three parties, talks are on with other smaller outfits,” they said.Attacking Mulayam, Ajit Singh said during Bihar Assembly polls all ‘Lohia wadi’ and ‘Charan Singh wadi’ parties had agreed for an “alliance with SP” but then SP declined. “Now when alliance talks were on with SP, Mulayam talked about merger,” he said, wondering, “Why Mulayam does not want any alliance against communal forces.” JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav said they were trying for unity for a long time and “Mulayam was projected as a leader but it did not materialise.” “I would have merged my party with SP on Mulayam’s call but no time is left for this,” he said. The SP supremo had recently ruled out any alliance for the UP Assembly polls, but had said mergers with his party could be considered. Yadav said on invitation of the SP supremo he, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Ajit Singh, JD(S) leader HD Deve Gowda had attended the silver jubilee celebrations of SP here on November 5. “At that time, it appeared that alliance talks have started but nothing came out of it,” he said.Appealing to the people of the state to support the new alliance, the JD-U leader said it wanted to take the politics of the state on the right track and people should “support” it. JD(U) General Secretary KC Tyagi said at the time of grand alliance (formed during Bihar polls) leaders had accepted everything what Mulayam said but even after that he left it. Asked about possibility of Congress joining the alliance, Ajit Singh said, “No talks have been initiated with Congress in this regard.”