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Plea seeks FIR against Mani Shankar Aiyar

The police should lodge an FIR to investigate a meeting involving former prime minister Manmohan Singh, among others, which was allegedly held at suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house to swing the Gujarat elections, an application filed in a Delhi court has stated.The application, filed by BJP leader and advocate Ajay Agarwal, a resident of Jungpura Extension near Aiyar’s house, claimed that on December 6, he saw Hamid Ansari, Manmohan Singh, Sohail Mahmood, and ex-foreign minister of Pakistan Khurshid Kasuri, among others, at Aiyar’s residence.He also claimed that there was heavy security and the car of the Pakistani High Commissioner was parked at the back side of the house. Upon enquiry, he got to know about the meeting, which continued till late at night, Agarwal said.He further said that the former president and PM broke the protocol and attended the meeting with representatives of the neighbouring country, despite knowledge of the political relations between the countries. According to the plea, the meeting was attended by former Army chief Deepak Kapoor, former foreign minister K Natwar Singh, and former diplomats Salman Haidar, TCA Raghavan, Sharat Sabharwal, K Shankar Bajpai, and Chinmaya Gharekhan, among others.The application stated that both the ex-president and the ex-PM were privy to top-secret information and they were duty bound to not share this with anyone. But the duo was found attending meetings to discuss the Indo-Pak affairs, he said.

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Week-long impasse ends after meeting

More than a week-long impasse in the Parliament on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s insinuating remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh finally ended on Wednesday with Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley clarifying that the PM Modi in his speeches “neither questioned nor meant to question the commitment to this nation of either Dr Manmohan Singh, or Hamid Ansari.”The breakthrough came after the BJP relented to Congress’ demand in a backdoor meeting between Jaitley and Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad. Congress, too, agreed that it would accept the clarification by Jaitley on behalf of the PM Modi.The Rajya Sabha met at 2 pm after getting adjourned twice in the pre-lunch session on the issue of minister of state for skill development Ananth Kumar Hegde’s alleged remarks against the Constitution.Azad said there was no question of party succumbing to any pressure and decided to accept the clarification from Jaitley on behalf of the PM because it did not want the impasse to continue as they wanted to pin the government on several issues.Referring to the removal of bindi, mangalsutra and changing of clothes of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother and wife at the behest of Pakistani authorities an insult to 1.3 billion Indians, Azad said, “As Indians we strongly protest and want to show our displeasure on the floor of the House.”As per the understanding the clarification was to happen right in the morning with the start of proceedings but the House got disrupted with other opposition parties demanding discussion on Minister of State for Skill Development, Ananth Kumar Hegde’s controversial remarks against the Constitution. Not to lose out, Congress too entered the arena demanding resignation of Hegde both as minister and MP.”If he does not believe in the Indian Constitution, he has no right to be a Member of Parliament or Minister,” Azad said.Sukhendu Sekhar Ray of TMC asked Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to give ruling if “a person, holding the post of Minister, has right to denounce Preamble in public and can he continue as a minister in the Government?”CALMING EFFECTBreakthrough came after the BJP relented to Congress’ demand in a backdoor meeting between Jaitley and Ghulam Nabi Azad. Jaitley also clarified that PM Modi in his speeches ‘neither questioned nor meant to question Dr Singh’s commitment to nation’

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Modi’s Pak comment: How Vijay Goel’s meeting with Manmohan Singh broke ice between govt and opposition

It was a meeting between Union minister Vijay Goel and Manmohan Singh last week that initiated the process to break the government-opposition deadlock in the Rajya Sabha, a top government official said today.The proceedings of both the Houses of Parliament were disrupted for nearly two weeks over remarks by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Gujarat Assembly election campaign.He had criticised his predecessor Singh for attending a secret” dinner with senior Pakistan officials at former Union minister Mani Shankar Aiyar’s residence. According to the official, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Goel reached out to the former prime minister and showed him the copy of Modi’s speech and convinced him that no derogatory references were made to him.Also readParliament: PM Modi didn’t question Manmohan Singh’s commitment to India, says Jaitely; Congress replies with thanks”Singh then agreed to end the deadlock with a statement from the government,” the official claimed. Goel’s meeting with Singh was followed by a meeting of Leader of the Upper house Arun Jaitley and Goel with Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress leader Anand Sharma at Azad’s residence. The process culminated in a statement today by Jaitley, who said the prime minister has never questioned Singh’s integrity and commitment to the nation.However, ahead of Jaitley’s statement, there was a small disagreement between the two sides over its formulation that was resolved with the intervention of Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. Naidu suggested to the government to drop the contentious word and the government relented, they said.Reacting to Jaitley’s statement, Azad said the Congress does not approve of any remarks made against the prime minister, apparently in a reference to the “neech” remark made by Aiyar.

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Parliament: PM Modi didn’t question Manmohan Singh’s commitment to India, says Jaitely; Congress replies with thanks

Days after the bitter war of words between the Congress and the BJP during Gujarat Assembly Elections, it seems both parties have reached a truce in Parliament on Wednesday.Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while addressing the Rajya Sabha said that, ‘PM (Narendra Modi) in his speeches didn’t question, nor meant to question the commitment to this nation of either former PM Manmohan Singh or Former Vice President Hamid Ansari, any such perception is erroneous, we hold these leaders in high esteem, as well as their commitment to India.’Jaitley’s statement in the Upper House comes after the continuous demand by the Congress lawmakers for an apology by the Prime Minister for his ‘Pakistan meddling in Gujarat polls’ remarks in which he had named his predecessor Manmohan Singh also.In a quick reply, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, ‘Thank leader of the house for clarification on what has been issue of contention. I,on behalf of my party, say that we disassociate from any comments made by any member during elections that may have hurt PM’s dignity,also we don’t want any such thing to be said in future.’During an election rally on December 11, PM Modi had raised questions over a reported appeal by former director-general of the Pakistan Army Sardar Arshad Rafiq, that Congress leader Ahmed Patel be made Gujarat’s Chief Minister in case the Congress wins the elections.He had also said that, ‘There were media reports on Saturday about a three-hour closed-door meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house. It was attended by Pakistan’s high commissioner, Pakistan’s former foreign minister, India’s former vice president Hamid Ansari and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.’He had also linked the ‘secret meeting’ with now-suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s ‘neech’ remark.”The next day, Mani Shankar Aiyar said Modi was ‘neech’. This is a serious matter,” he said.The Congress was demanding PM’s apology on the issue during the Winter Session of Parliament.”Either the government should prove the claim or the Prime Minister must apologise… Nothing short of an apology will satisfy us,” Congress leader Anand Sharma had said prior to the beginning of the Winter Session.

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Congress Working Committee meet focuses on strategy to attract urban voters

Claiming that the party was regaining the trust of rural voters, the Congress Working Committee (CWC), which met under its new president Rahul Gandhi for the first time on Friday, called on building a strategy to entice urban voters.Sources said that during the discussion, leaders pointed out that the party was still to find devices to allure the aspiring middle class and urban voters to its fold in order to unseat the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA in the 2019 general elections.Insiders said the issue cropped up after former prime pinister Manmohan Singh’s intervention, who said that despite the hard work in Gujarat, the party lost the elections because it wasn’t able to connect with the urban voters. In urban areas of Gujarat, the BJP won 45 out of 53 seats. The Congress managed just 8 seats. This was in contrast to rural areas, where the Congress won 69 seats against BJP’s 60.According to the 2011 Census, 270 million Indians aged 16 and above live in urban areas, who also form the backbone of the aspiring youthful middle class.The former PM, who had campaigned in Gujarat’s Surat and some urban pockets while blaming the BJP for the note ban and a faulty tax reform, admitted that the Congress was not able to convince urban voters to switch sides. He said in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress was able to do well in urban areas against all predictions. He stressed that the party must introspect why it hasn’t been able to do well and how it should reconnect with the urban voters.In 2009, the Congress had won 34 of the 57 parliamentary seats in big metros and a majority of the 144 Lok Sabha seats in the country’s smaller cities and towns.Deviating from the ‘Shimla Sankalp’ of 2003, the Congress party’s brainstorming session at Jaipur in 2013 had suggested to focus on the youth, middle class, and women to expand the electoral base beyond Dalits, minorities, and tribals. But there were no matching announcements of schemes to address the new class, which was swayed by the BJP.The meeting participants were also reminded that the party’s youth wing had formed a five-member committee to study an alternate economic model. But since then, the issue was never debated within the party forums.During the discussions, it was also felt to dust out the document adopted at the Jaipur session, which soon went into oblivion after Rahul Gandhi took over as vice-president. The document had asked the party and the then UPA government to recognise the changing aspirations of the people, generate more jobs for the educated youth, and bring gender issues to the top of the political debate.”We have to recognise the new, changing India, an India increasingly peopled by a younger, more aspirational, more impatient, more demanding, and better educated generation,” the document stated.”This is a natural and welcome outcome of rapid economic and social change that has been brought about by the success of our programmes to educate, empower, and indeed unshackle the oppressed and the disadvantaged. Our youth is getting more assertive, it wants its voice to be heard,” the document stated.But with the voters largely fed up with the corruption in the government and the perception build around it, an outreach to growing middle class remained a pipe dream for the Congress.

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2G scam verdict: JD(U) demands action against 2 two ex-secretaries in Manmohan Singh’s PMO

The Janata Dal (United) today alleged that it was the office of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh which was “put in the dock” in the 2G spectrum judgment and demanded action against two former secretaries in his office.”After the 2G judgment, people are making statements that their stand has been vindicated and targeting Vinod Rai (the former CAG),” JD(U) national general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Ramchandra Prasad Singh told reporters here.”But if you go through the 2G judgment, you will find that it is the office of former prime minister Manmohan Singh (PMO) which has been put in the dock,” he claimed.Ramchandra Prasad Singh, who is also the JD(U) leader in the Rajya Sabha, said his party was also demanding action against the two former secretaries of the PMO in view of the adverse comments made against them in the 2G judgment.On December 21, a Special CBI court acquitted former telecom minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and all other accused in the 2G scam case that had rocked the Manmohan Singh-led UPA-II government, holding that the prosecution “miserably failed” to prove any of the corruption and money laundering charges.The JD(U) leader today said it was surprising that former coal secretary Harish Gupta was convicted but former prime minister Manmohan Singh got away in the case especially when he had put his signature as the coal minister.”I served in the IAS and was a UP cadre officer. People know about the conduct and integrity of Harish Gupta, the then coal secretary, but he was convicted,” Ramchandra Prasad Singh said.On the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filing a charge sheet against Lalu Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti and her husband in a money laundering case, the JD(U) leader said if the ED has filed the charge sheet then it must have evidence, otherwise it would have filed a final report.

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PM Narendra Modi’s Gujarat model debunked during polls, says Rahul Gandhi

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who on Saturday met party leaders here to discuss assembly election results, claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much talked- about Gujarat development model was debunked during the polls.The Congress chief held zone-wise “introspection meetings” here to ascertain reasons for the party’s defeat.”You fought very well. We managed to ‘gherao’ the BJP, as you could see that they were not able to give reply to our questions,” Gandhi told party workers.”Modiji, in the end, spoke about himself, about (former prime minister) Manmohan Singh. But all earlier talk about development and Modi model was debunked by Congress workers and the people of Gujarat,” he said.The entire country was asking what happened to the Gujarat model. Modiji would not be able to talk about it in the future, Gandhi said.”The question asked three or four months ago was can the Congress fight elections, nobody was talking about us winning it. The Gujarat Congress has shown the entire country that if it fights in one voice on the basis of its ideology, it won’t get defeated,” he said.”We lost in the elections, but we won. That is the reality. We won because they (the BJP) fought with anger, they had all the equipment, money, chief ministers of different states (to campaign), industrialists, but we had truth,” the Congress chief said.In the morning, Gandhi visited the Somnath temple in Gir Somnath district.While the BJP retained power in prime minister Modi’s home state by winning 99 seats in the Assembly polls earlier this month, the Congress increased its tally significantly by winning 77 seats.

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Congress to demand debate in Parliament today

As the CBI special court verdict on 2G cases came as a big relief for the Congress and its newly-elected president Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hit out at the NDA government for its “massive propaganda” against the UPA, insisting this was “without any foundation”.Like the Bofors scandal that haunted the grand old party for decades, the alleged 2G scam had given a handle to adversaries and in fact, created a public perception against then UPA government in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, resulting in the worst-ever electoral debacle of the party.Soon after the “unexpected” verdict, the Congress leaders huddled together and decided to up the ante against the government and move a motion seeking a debate on the issue in Parliament on Friday. It also decided to demand an apology from PM Modi, FM Jaitley and former comptroller and auditor general (CAG) Vinod Rai.Congress president Rahul Gandhi dialed Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK patriarch K Karunanidhi, telling her that truth has triumphed. Later, many Congress leaders including Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad visited her residence to express solidarity.Manmohan Singh, whose image of impeccable integrity was hit badly after the 2G scam said after the court order, “I do not want to boast (about) anything. The court’s judgment has to be respected. I am glad that the court has pronounced unambiguously. All the massive propaganda which was being done against the UPA was without any foundation. The judgment speaks for itself.”Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal demanded an apology from former comptroller and auditor general (CAG) Vinod Rai and asserted that what he has been saying from day one about zero loss was vindicated. He insisted that there was no case from the beginning and a “scam of lies”.Many other former Union ministers and senior Congress leaders such as P Chidambaram, Anand Sharma, Kamal Nath, and Azad were also quick to target the BJP for what they called “propaganda against the UPA.””Will all such conspirators, whose ‘sardars’ (leaders) including prime minister Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley and their “pichhlagu and pitthu” (stooge) Vinod Rai, should their accountability not be fixed,” asked Congress communication department chief Randeep Surjewala.

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Sachin Tendulkar’s debut Rajya Sabha speech is silenced

Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar’s maiden speech in the Rajya Sabha ended without him uttering a single word on Thursday as the legendary batsman, once feared by bowlers across the world, kept standing, probably thinking how to deflect and tackle the uproar in the House.The legendary batsman was called by Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to initiate a short duration discussion on the right to play and the future of sports in India.As soon as Sachin rose to speak, the first time during his five-and-a-half-year tenure, Congress members stood up demanding an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his insinuating remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh during an election rally in Gujarat.Naidu came to his help, first cajoling and persuading the members and then scolding them for their unruly behaviour.”The hon. member who has been awarded Bharat Ratna by the government, wants to make a submission on sports which is a very important activity for the country. Please follow the rules and let him speak,” Naidu said, beseeching members’ attention and assuring that he has agreed to sort out the issue by calling the leader of the house Arun Jaitley and leader of the opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad for a discussion.When the ruckus did not stop, Naidu warned, “Do not trivialise things. Don’t create trouble in the House, and don’t earn bad name… Names of people who are raising slogans would be published tomorrow.”Despite being egged on by Naidu and helped by Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, Sachin, cracker of many tons amid hostile conditions and roaring crowds, kept standing bemused with a smile on his face.Failing to rein in Congress benches, Naidu finally drew curtains on the proceedings. Sachin was immediately surrounded by his fans who included Derek O’Brien and Jaya Bachchan, among others.Furious for not letting Sachin speak, Jaya later said, “He has earned name for India at the world stage, it is a matter of shame that he was not allowed to speak even when everyone knew it was on today’s agenda. Are only politicians allowed to speak?”O’Brien was upset for being denied an opportunity to bat, with Sachin being the opener.”I was padded up to bat at No. 5 in Rajya Sabha and speak on sports after Sachin was to open the innings. But the match was called off because of bad weather,” the quizzer said wittingly.Congress members, however, were unrelenting. “Why are you making a mockery of Parliament? Are false allegations on 2G and Manmohan Singh are more important or Sachin Tendulkar who never spoke in Parliament for the last five years? Does ‘Bharat Ratna’ give you the licence to speak in Parliament? All are equal in the House,” said Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury.

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Rajya Sabha adjourned after repeated disruptions by Congress MPs

The High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2017 was introduced in Lok Sabha on Thursday.The Bill seeks to revise the salaries of judges as follows: (a) Chief Justice of India – from Rs 1,00,000/pm to Rs 2,80,000/pm; (b) Judge of Supreme Court – from Rs 90,000/pm to Rs 2,50,000/pm; (c) Chief Justice of High Court – from Rs 90,000/pm to Rs 2,50,000/pm; and (d) Judges of High Court – from Rs 80,000/pm to Rs 2,25,000/pm. The revision is effective from January 1, 2016.Lok Sabha also took up discussion on the Supplementary Demand for Grants. The demands for grants include a gross additional expenditure of Rs. 66113 crores. During the discussion, members highlighted several concerns about the overall economy.Also readAfter Naidu’s intervention, Rajya Sabha stalemate over PM’s remarks against Manmohan likely to endMembers raised questions about the impact of GST, challenges in its implementation, impact of demonetisation on employment in the organised and unorganised sectors, falling growth rate, among other issues.With the government’s introduction of the supplementary demands and increased expenditure, members asked if the government will be able to meet its fiscal deficit target.Also readCongress disrupts Rajya Sabha over PM Modi’s remarkThe Rajya Sabha, on the other hand, had to be adjourned, owing to repeated disruptions by the opposition over a demand for the Prime Minister, to come to the House, to give a clarification on his remark that his predecessor, Dr. Manmohan Singh, was conspiring with Pakistan to ensure the Bharatiya Janata Party’s defeat in the recently held elections in Gujarat.Dr. Singh has rejected the charge as “innuendos and falsehoods”, and added he was deeply pained by the prime minister’s “ill thought transgression”.Addressing an election rally in Palanpur, Gujarat, earlier this month, Modi suggested that Pakistan was trying to influence the assembly polls in the state. He claimed that some Pakistani officials and Manmohan Singh met at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house over dinner on December 6. This was a day before Aiyar’s “neech” jibe against Modi.

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LK Advani ‘unhappy’ over Lok Sabha disruptions

BJP veteran L K Advani on Thursday seemed unhappy at the din created in the Lok Sabha due to protests by Congress members seeking an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his remarks against former premier Manmohan Singh during Gujarat election campaign.Advani was seen pointing towards Congress members, protesting in the Well during the Question Hour, while talking to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar.Kumar was also seen pointing at the Congress members while talking to Advani.During the 2016 Winter Session, Advani had expressed his dissatisfaction with the way Parliament was being disrupted, saying neither the Lok Sabha Speaker, nor the Parliamentary Affairs Minister was running the House.

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Full text of special CBI court’s judgment in 2G spectrum allocation case

‘Not guilty,’ with these two words, Special CBI Judge OP Saini on Thursday acquitted all 19 accused including former Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK Kanimozhi in the 2G spectrum allocation case on Thursday.”I have absolutely no hesitation in holding that prosecution has miserably failed to prove any of the charges against any of the accused,” the Judge said.In its chargesheet filed in April 2011 against Raja and others, the CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of 122 licences for 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012. The Congress hailed the verdict in the scam that rocked the UPA government. Ex-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the ‘judgment speaks for itself’ and the party demanded an apology from ex-auditor Vinod rai, who had given the assessment that the national exchequer had lost Rs 1,76,00,00,000,000 due to 2G spectrum allocation.Here’s the full text of the verdict pronounced by special CBI Judge OP Saini:2G spectrum allocation scam verdict: Full Text

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2G scam: Top leaders voice mixed reactions on social media

A number of top leaders expressed their opinion after a special CBI court acquitted A Raja and Kanimuzhi in the 2G Spectrum scam on Thursday.The court had acquitted the DMK leaders, citing lack of evidence. While several people hailed the verdict, others, such as Subramanian Swamy have asked the Centre to file a petition with the High Court.Here’s how people reactedEarlier in the day,a special CBI court on Thursday acquitted, who was the telecom minister in the first UPA government, along with DMK leader Kanimozhi and 17 others in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.The special court judge OP Saini pronounced his verdict as ‘not guilty’ for all accused due to lack of evidence.The case relates to alleged below-market-price sale of lucrative telecoms permits bundled with airwaves in 2008, which a federal auditor said may have cost the government as much as Rs 1.76 lakh crore in lost revenue. The scam came to light following a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India during the second term of the UPA government headed by Manmohan Singh.DMK working president MK Stalin has issued a statement after the 2G verdict. “The CBI court has given a historical verdict. The 2G case was filed in 2009. In the political history, the 2G case was foisted to defame and destroy DMK. It is a false case made up of goofed up figures. In such a case, the special court has acquitted all of them. We are very happy over the order. The court order proved that the DMK has not done anything wrong. I request the media to show the same enthusiasm of how it sensationalized the 2G scam when the case was filed. In the same way, you should take this news of acquittal to all the people,” he said. DMK’s RS Bharathi also hailed the CBI court’s verdict, saying that the case to begin with was a false case. “For the past 2 assembly elections, the case was used against us, now it has been proved to be wrong,” he added.

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2G scam verdict: My name was dragged as part of election game, alleges Kanimozhi

DMK leader Kanimozhi after hearing the verdict said that she was glad and relieved. “I have always believed that I would see the light at the end of the tunnel. The past six years have been harrowing to say the least. To be falsely accused in a case for a notional loss of Rs 176 lakh crore to appease the opposition that was stalling Parliament is atrocious,” she said targeting the BJP and the AIADMK, who were the opposition parties at the Centre and the state respectively at the time.Kanimuzhi added that the sole aim of the opposition (AIADMK) was to malign her name, as elections were five months away. “I was dragged in so that the DMK is defeated in the election that is hardly five months away. I was charge sheeted with the sole aim to tag my name with a mind-boggling amount to ensure that Kalingar’s rule will not continue,” she alleged.The statement issued by Kanimozhi that was circulate on social mediaAlso read2G verdict: Allegations were never true says Chidambaram; government should file appeal tweets SubramanianEarlier in the day,a special CBI court on Thursday acquitted, who was the telecom minister in the first UPA government, along with DMK leader Kanimozhi and 17 others in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.The special court judge OP Saini pronounced his verdict as ‘not guilty’ for all accused due to lack of evidence.Also read2G spectrum verdict: All you must know about the caseThe case relates to alleged below-market-price sale of lucrative telecoms permits bundled with airwaves in 2008, which a federal auditor said may have cost the government as much as Rs 1.76 lakh crore in lost revenue. The scam came to light following a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India during the second term of the UPA government headed by Manmohan Singh.DMK working president MK Stalin has issued a statement after the 2G verdict. “The CBI court has given a historical verdict. The 2G case was filed in 2009. In the political history, the 2G case was foisted to defame and destroy DMK. It is a false case made up of goofed up figures. In such a case, the special court has acquitted all of them. We are very happy over the order. The court order proved that the DMK has not done anything wrong. I request the media to show the same enthusiasm of how it sensationalized the 2G scam when the case was filed. In the same way, you should take this news of acquittal to all the people,” he said. DMK’s RS Bharathi also hailed the CBI court’s verdict, saying that the case to begin with was a false case. “For the past 2 assembly elections, the case was used against us, now it has been proved to be wrong,” he added.

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Parliament functions finally, but threat of Opposition disruption hangs

Opposition parties, which disrupted Parliament for two days, seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s apology for remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh, finally allowed government business on Tuesday, after back-to-back hectic parleys. But the sword of disruptions still hangs.Opposition leaders have decided not to disrupt Parliament till Friday, after Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu intervened on Tuesday, asking treasury and Opposition benches to sort out the issue outside the House.Among various proposals under consideration is also an idea that Modi and Singh could meet in the House to break the logjam. There are eight more sittings after Friday, from December 27 to 29 and from January 1 to 5, that may be hit if Opposition leaders resume protest next week.After Naidu’s directions, there was a series of meetings between Opposition leaders and members from the treasury benches.Earlier, Azad raised the issue of PM Modi’s insinuation against Singh, former Vice-President Hamid Ansari, former Foreign Minister Natwar Singh, a retired Army Chief and a former Foreign Secretary, during electioneering in Gujarat.On his concern that Singh’s “loyalty to the country has been questioned” and it was also a case of breach of (his) privilege since he is a member of the House, Naidu intervened to state “he is the most respected person” and he had already met him to express his concern.Naidu said he has read a note on what exactly was said by Modi, and that he has also read how Modi was abused during the electioneering. He said that it was better to keep in mind that the PM and the ex-PM both deserve respect.He also pulled up Congress members and made them return to their seats without another protest in the Well, saying Azad has aired his grievances and it has gone on record. He also pulled up BJP MPs led by party general secretary Bhupender Yadav, raising their voice, sternly telling them not to disturb when he was trying to search for a solution to allow the House to function.In the meetings outside the House, Opposition leaders made it clear to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley that the blockade would be resumed unless Modi regrets, clarifies and withdraws his insinuation.They however relented to an extent. “We understand the stature of the PM office. We will not insist on his apology. But he must clarify and regret,” said a top Opposition leader.Jaitley was conveyed the stand that in case no solution is found, the Opposition, which holds majority in the Rajya Sabha will be forced to protest. The Finance Minister, who is also Leader of the House, sought time to enable him to speak to Modi and get back to them.Temporary truceThe FM was told that if no solution is found, the Oppn, which holds majority in the RS, will be forced to protest Jaitley sought time to enable him to speak to Modi and get back to them

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After Naidu’s intervention, Rajya Sabha stalemate over PM’s remarks against Manmohan likely to end

The stalemate over the “conspiracy with Pakistan” charge by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against his predecessor Manmohan Singh seemed to be ending today in the Rajya Sabha as the opposition and the ruling party decided to form a panel after agreeing to the Chair’s suggestion for an amicable solution.As the Congress insisted on Modi coming to the House to clarify the statement he made during poll campaign in Gujarat and its members raised slogans and sought an apology, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu urged the opposition and the government to talk and resolve the stalemate over the prime minister’s comments on his predecessor. Raising the issue, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the prime minister should come to the House and clarify on what he said, as his charges that his predecessor was “conspiring” with Pakistan was “a big issue.”Also readCongress to raise ‘Pakistan interference’ remark in ParliamentAzad said allegations are levelled during elections but some are not good for democracy, politics and the country. “Such allegations are deadly for those against whom they are made,” he said, adding that Manmohan Singh’s integrity and loyalty to the country has been questioned. “Is he the person who is conspiring against the Indian state? Is the former prime minister, former vice president not loyal to the country? These allegations are made by no less than the prime minister. “The prime minister of India should come to the House and explain his remarks and if the former prime minister and others are proved wrong, then action should be taken against them,” he told the House amid vociferous protests by Congress members who sought an apology from Modi.Naidu said he had held an “informal meeting” this morning “my suggestion was it is not good for the country to see that the House is not running properly. “I myself suggested, leaders of different parties were there. … To Parliamentary Affairs Minister to speak to Leader of House Arun Jaitley, the Leader of Opposition and other seniors also and then find a way out to end this impasse, which is in the interest of the country,” Naidu said. He also said that for democracy and parliamentary system to function, both sides should come to an understanding and move forward. “All things can be internally discussed and seen that the House functions properly and dignity of Parliament should be maintained,” he said.Agreeing to the suggestion, Azad said, “Let the meeting be held under chairmanship of Leader of the House with all leaders of other opposition parties.” He said it was not a question of Congress party, as other opposition party leaders are equally concerned. “It is a matter of privilege. It should also be to the satisfaction of Manmohan Singh,” he said. Jaitley said “we will try and explore a solution out of that. I will certainly have the privilege to invite leaders of all my colleagues including LoP and we will try and discuss and find solution for this. We will try and do it today” and suggested the formation of a committee for the purpose.Earlier, the chairman said Manmohan Singh had met him and expressed his concern, his feelings to him. “I have talked to him and have understood what he meant. I have also received a note of what exactly what he said and also what the prime minister was sad by others, calling of names,” he said, adding that the prime minister is the prime minister of the country and that has to be kept in mind by everybody. Deputy leader of Congress Anand Sharma said “We want the House to function and the dignity is also maintained. It is the PM’s responsibility.”

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Apologise to Manmohan Singh, Congress tells Narendra Modi

Congress continued its protests in the Parliament on Monday, disrupting proceedings in both Houses for the second day. The party had raised objection to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks that suggested former prime minister Manmohan Singh conspired with Pakistan to influence Gujarat elections.While Lok Sabha was adjourned within minutes on Monday, Rajya Sabha was first adjourned within 10 minutes after it assembled at 11 am. At 12 noon, when it reassembled, it was adjourned again as Congress continued with sloganeering and would not allow any legislative business to continue.Congress leader Anand Sharma demanded a clarification by Prime Minister on his remarks about Singh, a sitting member of Rajya Sabha.Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu insisted on taking up a question, but some Congress members did not allow him to continue. As the chaos continued, Naidu remarked, “I don’t want this kind of thing to be seen by the people,” and adjourned proceedings for the day as Congress members were seen walking into the Well.With both Houses adjourned, there was little activity as the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly election results reached finality.Earlier, soon after Rajya Sabha assembled for the day, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien adjourned proceedings till noon after Congress members stormed the Well demanding an explanation from Modi for his remarks made at an election rally.Leader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said it was not acceptable that every notice was being rejected.”Charges have been levelled against the former prime minister, who is a member of Rajya Sabha,” he said, demanding that a motion be allowed to get a sense of the House on the issue. “Let charges be proved,” he demanded.”The voice of the Opposition cannot be muzzled. The House has to function according to convention.”Azad demanded that Narendra Modi come to the House and explain his remarks. Sharma added that neither the Prime Minister, nor any minister was beyond questioning.

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Congress to raise ‘Pakistan interference’ remark in Parliament

Congress sources said on Monday that they would raise ‘Pakistan-interference-in-Gujarat-polls’ remark in both houses of Parliament, as the Winter Session resumes after the weekend.During the last phase of electioneering in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, quoting media reports, on December 10, said former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Vice-President Hamid Ansari, former Army General Deepak Kapoor had secretly discussed Gujarat elections with ex-Pakistani diplomats at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s residence in Delhi.The allegation has sparked a political furore.Congress, since then, has been demanding an apology from the prime minister.Last week, on the first day of the session, senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad raised the issue in Rajya Sabha.

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Winter Session: As Congress sulks over Pak allegations, PM seeks cooperation at all-party meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today sought the opposition’s cooperation for a constructive Winter Session of Parliament which starts tomorrow even as the Congress insisted on an apology from him for attacking his predecessor Manmohan Singh during the Gujarat poll campaign.Speaking at an all-party meeting on the session’s eve, Modi again pitched for simultaneous polls for the Lok Sabha and state assemblies saying that holding elections once in five years will boost development.Briefing reporters on Modi’s remarks, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the prime minister appealed to leaders of all political parties to help build a consensus on the matter.Modi has been pushing for simultaneous polls, saying an almost uninterrupted cycle of polls across the country hampers government works due to enforcement of model code of conduct and deployment of officials in elections.”He also sought their cooperation to make the session meaningful and constructive,” Kumar said.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Congress files anticipatory complaint with EC against PM Modi’s ‘roadshow’Congress leaders raised the issue of Modi’s claim during a speech in Gujarat that Singh colluded with Pakistan to influence the state polls, and said they will raise it in Parliament. “We will raise the issue in Parliament. Either the government prove the claim or the prime minister apologise. Nothing short of an apology will satisfy us,” its leader Anand Sharma said.

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As Gujarat campaign progressed, we saw complete bankruptcy in BJP: Rahul Gandhi in Kerala

The Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi today hit out at the BJP, saying the saffron’s party “complete bankruptcy” was exposed during campaigning for the Gujarat assembly polls.”As the campaign progressed, we saw complete bankruptcy in BJP. They diverted from one issue to another,” Gandhi said at a function here in connection with the centenary celebrations of late RSP leader Baby John.Taking potshots, Gandhi said “first they (BJP) talked about Narmada, followed by OBCs and then they moved to ‘vikas’ and eventually we saw a spectacle.”Targeting Narendra Modi, Gandhi said “In the last 3-4 days of the campaign, all that was left for the prime minister was to talk about himself and insult the previous prime minister (Manmohan Singh) of this country. That is all they have,” he said.Expressing confidence about his party’s good performance in Gujarat’s two-phased polls that ended today, Gandhi said “we are going to defeat these forces.””These forces are not going to stand in front of us. The foundation of these forces is actually extremely weak. They have inherited marketing muscle and money. So they have very loud voice. But the voice is hollow,” he said.Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | BJP’s attempts to create distractions won’t work this time, says Rahul GandhiHe charged the BJP-RSS with trying to divide people on lines of caste and religion.Gandhi also said they were trying to get a foothold in Kerala. “It is our duty to fight these forces not only in Kerala but also in the country,” he said.The congress leader said after spending time with people of Gujarat, they told him that the last 22 years (of BJP rule) “have been a lie.””The labourers and farmers and women have been forgotten. Health care system has been destroyed and there was a tremendous upsurge against the ideas of BJP in Gujarat itself,” he claimed.Gandhi said the Congress worked unitedly on the basic issues of the people of Gujarat.

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Watch: Pained by falsehood and canards spread by PM Modi, says Manmohan; Amit Shah hits back

Manmohan Singh today stepped up his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the eve of the final phase of the Gujarat polls, releasing a video message where the former premier accused him of spreading “falsehood and canards” to score political points.The sharply-worded message, which was virtually a repeat of his written statement released on Monday, provoked an equally strong backlash from the BJP, which questioned Singh’s silence when “monumental loot” was taking place under his watch. The usually reticent Singh’s video was in response to Modi’s remarks insinuating that the former prime minister had colluded with Pakistan to influence the elections in Gujarat where the BJP and Congeress are locked in a contest, many say, is too close to call.”Fearing imminent defeat in Gujarat, desperation of Prime Minister to hurl every abuse and latch on to every straw is palpable,” Singh said in the message released to TV stations. Singh’s second salvo in three days was apparently aimed at ensuring there was no let up in the heat on the BJP ahead of tomorrow’s polling in 93 constituencies of Gujarat. The remaining 89 seats voted in the first phase on December 9.Results will be known on December 18.Also readBJP accuses Gandhi family of meddling in UPA govt decisions, says Rahul instructed minister to stall project in GujaratNot ready to cede any ground to the political rival, the BJP mounted a spirited counteroffensive, with its president Amit Shah questioning why he was “angry” now after being silent when “monumental loot” was taking place during his stint as prime minister. “We are seeing a very angry Manmohan Singh ji these days. We just want to ask him whether he was so angry when monumental loot and plunder was happening under his watch? The nation missed his anger then!” Shah tweeted.Also readParliament attack anniversary: Modi, Manmohan Singh shake hands after row over ‘Pak meddling’ allegationsShah asked why Singh was not angry and anguished when Modi was called Maut Ka Saudagar’ (merchant of death) or ‘neech’. The raucous campaign, marked by fiesty and often acrimonious speeches where Modi and Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi locked horns repeatedly, ended yesterday.”I am deeply pained and anguished by the falsehood and canards being spread to score political points in a lost cause by none less than Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said and demanded an apology. Singh and Modi ran into each other earlier today at an event to pay homage to the victims of the 2001 Parliament attack, and greeted each other briefly. Singh urged the prime minister to show “maturity and gravitas, as expected of the high office he holds, instead of concentrating his energy solely on scoring “erroneously conceived brownie points”.”I sincerely hope that he will apologize to the nation for his ill thought transgression to restore the dignity of the office he occupies,” he said. Strongly rejecting the “innuendos and falsehoods” made by Modi, Singh said he did not discuss Gujarat elections with anyone else at the dinner hosted by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, as alleged by Modi, and nor was the Gujarat issue raised by anyone else present at the dinner.”The discussion was confined to Indo-Pakistan relations.It is wrong and unfair to question nationalism of journalists, diplomats and public servants present at the dinner,” he said. Singh also asserted that Modi “is setting a dangerous precedent by his insatiable desire to tarnish every constitutional office, including that of a former prime minister and Army Chief”, and described it as sad and regrettable. Pointing out that Modi had gone to Pakistan uninvited after the terrorist attacks in Udhampur and Gurdaspur, Singh said, “Let him also tell the country the reason for inviting the infamous ISI of Pakistan to our strategic Air Base in Pathankot to investigate a terror attack that emanated from Pakistan.”Shah took on Singh over Rahul Gandhi publicly tearing a copy of an ordinance cleared by his Cabinet. “Where was his concern for the dignity of the Prime Minister s office when a Congress MP tore the ordinance in public,” Shah asked.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Clear stand on Ram Mandir: Ravi Shankar Prasad

The Union law and justice minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday took a potshot at Congress president elect Rahul Gandhi on his temple visits. Speaking to mediapersons at BJP’s media centre in Ahmedabad, Prasad claimed that Rahul Gandhi ran misleading campaign for Gujarat polls.”He should understand that the development of Gujarat was not done by visiting temples but sheer hardwork. The white revolution, industrial revelution, growth rate of agriculture and well-being of people is not because of the temple run. Gandhi exhibited his Shiv Bhakti during Gujarat polls, but I want to ask him when he will show his Ram Bhakti. He should be clear on the issue of Ram Mandir whether that will take shape in Ayodhya or not,” he said.”The Congress president elect also took the help of myth during his campaign by spreading false information. He should understand that Gujarat’s GDP was only Rs71,866 crore in 1995-96 which has increased to Rs10,33,791 crore in 2016-17 in BJP’s rule. They are not coming out with the clarification on former PM Manmohan Singh’s meeting with Pakistani officials. I fail to understand that what kind of ideology the Congress is going ahead with,” added Prasad.The BJP leader also expressed his optimism on BJP’s victory in Gujarat and said that people of Gujarat have deep faith in BJP and leadership of PM Modi as evident when he was the CM. ​Gujarat wants peace and prosperity, that the BJP government in state have maintained and assured, added Prasad.

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Nothing more than Indo-Pak relations were discussed at Aiyar’s residence: Ex-Army Chief rejects PM’s allegation

Guests at a dinner hosted by suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar have denied that domestic politics figured in the discussions with Pakistani leaders after PM Modi’s allegation that Islamabad was trying to meddle in the Gujarat election.Two-ex diplomats who were privy to the matter said that discussions revolved around India-Pakistan ties.The meeting included former PM Manmohan Singh and former VP Hamid Ansari were present at the dinner for former Pakistan Foreign Affairs Minister Mahmud Kasuri’s visit.The other guests at the dinner included the Pakistan High Commissioner, former FM K Natwar Singh, former Army Chief Deepak Kapoor, former diplomats Satinder Lambah, Salman Haider, TCA Raghavan, Sharat Sabharwal, Chinmaya Gharekhan.General Kapoor, the 23rd Army Chief, confirmed he was part of the meeting and said they only discussed India-Pakistan relations. He was quoted saying by The Indian Express: “Yes, I was part of the meeting and we discussed nothing more than India-Pakistan relations.”Also readDay after PM Narendra Modi’s ‘poll-meddling’ allegations, Pakistan says stop dragging us in your election debatesGharekhan told NDTV: “It was entirely devoted to talking about relations between India and Pakistan. Inevitably, cross-border terrorism came up and Kashmir came up but no one, I am 100 per cent sure, not a single person talked about either Gujarat elections or the domestic situation in India or for that matter, the domestic situation in Pakistan.”Lambah also said he there was just a general discussion on Indo-Pak relations.Also readWhy did Manmohan Singh not show courage to order surgical strikes post 26/11 attack: PM ModiThe Congress Party on Monday came down heavily upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi for alleging that Pakistan was meddling in the Gujarat assembly polls and supporting Congress leader Ahmed Patel to have him elevated as the chief minister of the state.Reacting to Modi’s comments, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal tweeted that “India should stop dragging Pakistan into its electoral debate and win victories on (its) own strength rather than fabricated conspiracies, which are utterly baseless and irresponsible”.Also readReady for any punishment party deems fit: Mani Shankar AiyarDubbing Prime Minister Modi’s statement as ‘irresponsible’ and ‘outrageous’, Congress leader Anand Sharma demanded an apology from him.‘Ex-Pakistan Foreign Minister was here to attend a wedding. There was a dinner organised for him in which there were former diplomats, former army chief among other dignitaries. Does the prime minister think they were all conspiring with Pakistan’ This is reprehensible. It’s expected of the prime minister to use a language which is equivalent to his post. He should retract his statement and should apologise to maintain the decorum of his post,’ Sharma said.He further said that Prime Minister Modi’s remarks show that the BJP has realised it was going to lose the Gujarat elections.”The Prime Minister has said Congress is conspiring with Pakistan for Gujarat elections. Its outrageous. This is just an attempt to polarize ahead of second phase of voting in Gujarat polls.This also shows their desperation and that BJP’s loss is now certain,” he added.Yesterday, while addressing a rally in Gujarat’s Banaskantha, Prime Minister Modi alleged that former Pakistan Army director general Arshad Rafique was helping Patel to become the Gujarat chief minister.”Former Pakistan Army director general Arshad Rafique was backing and willing to help make Ahmed Patel the chief minister,” he said.The prime minister had also questioned suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and former vice-president Hamid Ansari’s meeting with the Pakistan High Commissioner.Meanwhile, Pakistan Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal has asked India to stop dragging Pakistan into its electoral debate.

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Congress raising 2002 to get votes, Jignesh Mevani backed by ‘anti-national’ PFI: Amit Shah

Seizing on remarks of a Congress leader seeking apology for 2002 Gujarat riots, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Sunday said the opposition party is raising 2002 issue in 2017 for vote bank consolidation in Assembly elections in the state. “Congress’ Charan Singh said PM (Narendra) Modi must go inside Jama Masjid and apologise for 2002 riots. Entire nation knows the allegations leveled on Modi Ji by Congress backed NGO were all false and he is spotless. Yet for vote bank consolidation 2002 is being raised in 2017,” Shah said. He was referring to a Congress leader’s statement that party president Sonia Gandhi apologised for 1984 anti-Sikh riots at the Golden Temple and Prime Minister Narendra Modi should also apologise for 2002 riots at Jama Masjid. Also readAfter PM Modi’s rebuttal against Mani Shankar Aiyar’s ‘neech’ comment, Amit Shah and Arun Jaitley pile on the criticism“Neither my party nor do I support the 1984 (anti-Sikh) riots. Sonia Gandhi visited Golden Temple and apologised in front of the media. Manmohan Singh also apologised in Parliament. In the last 33 years, the BJP has been adding insult to our injury. Can Narendra Modi visit the Jama Masjid and apologise for 1992 riots?” Charan Singh Sapra, a Congress leader from Punjab said at an event organized by a TV channel. Shah alleged that the Congress has been the “creator of polarisation in India.” Also readWhy does Pak Army’s former DG want Ahmed Patel to be Gujarat CM, asks PM Modi“Congress had laid the foundation of Gujarat election on casteism. The would-be President of Congress (Rahul Gandhi) started hopping from temple to temple. Congress has been the creator of polarisation in India,” he said. Also readBJP releases Salman Nizami’s pictures with Shaktisinh Gohil to counter Congress claims of non-associationShah also attacked Congress-backed independent candidate from Vadgam in Banaskantha district, Jignesh Mewani, for allegedly accepting money from the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political wing of the Popular Front of India (PFI). “Jignesh Mewani’s pictures of accepting money from PFI has gone viral. PFI has always indulged in anti-national activities. Rahul Gandhi meets such a person who has relations with an anti-national outfit and Congress gives up its seat for him for vote bank consolidation,” the BJP president said. “Congress knew of his relations with PFI otherwise they would have given him a Congress ticket. They knew of the relations so they made him contest as an independent candidate and supported him from outside”Again raking up Congress leader Salman Nizami, Shah said he is being used for campaigning in Gujarat “for the consolidation of vote bank.” People of Gujarat can see through the cunning ways of Congress, Shah said. He alleged that Mani Shankar Aiyar, former PM Manmohan Singh and former Vice President Hamid Ansari had met Pakistan’s envoy in Delhi recently. “Right before Gujarat election, without informing MEA conducting a meeting with Pak envoy… I don’t know what message does it convey,” Shah asked. First phase of Assembly elections in Gujarat for 89 seats concluded on Saturday with about 68 per cent voter turnout. The second phase of voting for the remaining 93 assembly seats will take place on December 14. The votes will be counted on December 18 for all 182 seats.

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To equal UPA’s average, economy has to grow at 10.6% in fifth year: Manmohan Singh

Continuing his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Dr Manmohan Singh on Thursday once again criticised the demonetization move and alleged that the former has “betrayed” the trust of Gujaratis.While addressing a press conference in Gujarat’s Rajkot, the former prime minister said, “The people of Rajkot and Gujarat trusted the Prime Minister and believed in the policy of demonetization in the hope that their sacrifice would benefit India. Their faith and hopes have been shattered. Modiji has betrayed the trust that Gujaratis had reposed in him?. “99% of the demonetized currency came back to the banks. It is clear that a lot of black money got converted to white and corruption continues to flourish. One immediate impact of demonetisation has been on job sector. Therefore, demonetisation was an uninformed attack and a disastrous decision for our economy”, added Manmohan Singh.He continued, “I invoke memories of more than 100 people who lost their lives while standing in queues as a result of demonetisation. I say with immense pain and a sense of deep responsibility that November 8 was a black day for our economy and democracy.” Manmohan Singh further averred that people should demand the release of documents related to demonetization. “We must demand the government to release all the documents related to demonetisation in public domain for scrutiny?, he said.Also readRahul is Congress’ darling, will carry forward great traditions of party: Manmohan SinghManmohan Singh further criticised the lowering GDP, saying, “To equal the UPA’s ten year average, the economy will have to grow at 10.6% in the fifth year, I would be happy if it were to happen but I frankly do not think it will”.
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89 nominations filed in favour of the Gandhi scion

Early on Monday morning, almost all prominent Congress leaders had assembled at the party’s 24, Akbar Road headquarters in a show of support as Rahul Gandhi finally applied for the Congress’s top job. Wearing a black Nehru jacket and sporting a saffron tilak, Rahul walked into the office of the 132-year old party at around 10 am, a little ahead of the schedule.Before filing his nominations, Rahul sought the blessings of former president Pranab Mukherjee and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, besides his mother, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi. As he filed his nominations after meeting party-workers inside the office, outside, on the lawns of the Grand Old Party’s headquarters, a bevy of the party’s leaders extended their support to the Gandhi scion.The first nomination form was filed by former PM Manmohan Singh and proposed by Sonia Gandhi, and other senior leaders such as Motilal Vora, Ahmed Patel, Mohsina Kidwai, Kamal Nath, Sheila Dikshit, Ashok Gehlot, Mukul Wasnik, Tarun Gogoi, and V Narayanasamy.The second nomination form was proposed by Manmohan Singh, Siddaramaiah, Oscar Fernandes, P Chidambaram, Sushilkumar Shinde, Jyotiraditya Scindia, T Subbarami Reddy, Jaipal Reddy, Mukul Sangma, and Anand Sharma. Three more forms were filed on behalf of Rahul by other senior leaders. These included Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Ambika Soni, Amarinder Singh, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, CP Joshi, KC Venugopal, Salman Khurshid, Janardan Dwivedi, Shivraj Patil, Meira Kumar, Harish Rawat, Avinash Pande, and BK Hariprasad.Sonia Gandhi had received only 56 set of nominations on her behalf in comparison to Rahul’s 89.Party spokesperson Anand Sharma said that the time is right for the Gandhi scion as the country’s ruling party, the BJP, has failed to deliver and that there’s an “assault to democratic freedom” in the country. Punjab CM Captain Amarinder said that Rahul will make an excellent Prime Minister.Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu said that Rahul is scripting the country’s history. “A leader is one who can convert his weaknesses into strength, obstacles into stepping stones and disasters into triumph. He has stood at the front and taken the barbs for all of us quietly,” said Sidhu.Senior leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ambika Soni attacked the BJP over PM Modi mentioning deviant Congress leader Shehzad Poonawala in his speech at an election rally in Gujarat.”In Modi’s speech, there seemed to be no pivotal issue apart from the mention of this young man Shehzad Poonawala,” said Soni.Azad said that since the BJP had no history of its own, it was troubled by Congress’s rich past. “Before India’s Independence and after it, no family had given up so much for the country. Rahul Gandhi’s father and grandmother had given up their lives for the unity of this country. A lot of parties have problems with this fact, especially one particular party, which has no history to call its own, neither does its party workers,” he said.Throughout the day Akbar Road remained jam-packed with Youth Congress leaders readying firecrackers, drums, and sweets.
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Truly democratic process? How Congress leaders congratulated Rahul Gandhi for filing nomination papers

On Monday, Congress leaders with the sole exception of Shehzad Poonawalla, were full of plaudits and praises for Rahul Gandhi. Mani Shankar Aiyar even countered PM Modi’s Aurangzeb jibe by claiming that the Congress election was ‘totally democratic’.The counter to PM Modi’s Aurangzeb jibe however barely holds water, considering the events of the past week. Since Shehzad Poonawalla raised allegations of the election being ‘rigged’, he was removed from all Whatsapp groups from the Congress and disowned as a member, his work airbrushed out of history like the Soviets would do to dissidents.On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi who filed his nomination paper today for the post of party president was accompanied by the who’s who of the Congress party. Sonia Gandhi, his mother and Congress president for the last 19 years, was not present but she was the one who proposed his name. At the time of writing, he was the sole candidate, clearing the decks for a democratic process to make him the president.Also readDNA Edit- Rahul Gandhi’s elevation: A myth called ‘inner party democracy’ in India Former PM Manmohan Singh sang paeans about his greatness at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) saying: “Rahul ji has been the darling of the Congress. Congress president Smt Sonia Gandhi has served the Congress party and, through the Congress party, the country for the last 19 years. This is yet another step forward in that direction. Rahul Gandhi will carry on the great traditions of the Congress party.”Five sets of nomination forms were filed on his behalf by Congress leaders including Congress Working Committee members, party general secretaries, in-charge in various states and chief ministers of party-ruled states.Also read’Promotion without performance’: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi ‘congratulates’ Rahul GandhiAmong those who proposed Rahul Gandhi’s name in the first set of nomination papers were Sonia Gandhi, Motilal Vora, Ahmed Patel, Mohsina Kidwai, Kamal Nath, Ashok Gehlot, Mukul Wasnik, Sheila Dikshit, Tarun Gogoi and Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanaswamy.Party leaders Manmohan Singh, Oscar Fernandes, P Chidambaram, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Anand Sharma, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his Meghalaya counterpart Mukul Sangma proposed his name in the second set of nomination papers.No one else filed papers till Sunday, revealed Mullapally Ramachandran, the chairman of the party’ Central Election Authority. The last date for withdrawal of the candidature is December 11. The poll, if necessary, will be held on December 16 and the counting will take place on December 19. Interestingly, just after he filed the nomination papers, congratulations poured in thick and fast, even though the so-called democratic process wasn’t over yet.Also readRahul Gandhi files nomination for Congress President, party dismisses allegations of dynastic politics Senior Congress leaders also took to Twitter to express their happiness at Rahul Gandhi’s impending elevation, with the likes of P Chidamabram, Shashi Tharoor, Sharmistha Mukherjee, Randeep Surjewala, Ajay Maken, Sheila Dikshit, Sanjay and others using the hash tag #IndiaWithRahulGandhi. Perhaps, the grand old party, often in a state of denial have confused its own members’ feelings for the rest of the nation’s. Because if one thing is apparent from the recent electoral results across the country, India is not with Rahul Gandhi.Here’s how Congress leaders ‘congratulated’ Gandhi for ‘filing his nomination papers’:
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Congress poll not like Mughal rule, process totally democratic: Mani Shankar Aiyar hits back after PM’s ‘Aurangzeb jibe’

Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Monday hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his ‘Aurangzeb’ jibe and sought to remind him that unlike in the Mughal rule, the president election process in the Congress Party was totally ‘democratic’.Speaking to ANI, Aiyar said, “Don’t compare both. During the Mughal rule, it was understood that after Jehangir, Shahjahan will be the leader, but here anyone is free to contest against Rahul Gandhi. It’s totally a democratic process.”Prime Minister Narendra Modi today slammed Rahul Gandhi’s expected elevation as Congress President, dubbing it as “Aurangzebi raj”.Also readRahul Gandhi will not be announced Congress president today. Here’s when is the D-DayWithout referring to the National Herald case, in which Rahul Gandhi had got bail, Modi, addressing a campaign rally in Valsad district of Gujarat, said, “Congress has gone bankrupt, as it is going to make a person who is out on bail in corruption case its president.”Taking potshots at the opposition party, the prime minister said, “Mani Shanker Aiyar who was a minister in Congress government said ‘did elections happen during Mughal rule? After Jahangir, Shahjahan came, was any election held? After Shahjahan it was understood that Aurangzeb would be the leader.’Also readRahul is Congress’ darling, will carry forward great traditions of party: Manmohan Singh”Does the Congress accept that it is a family party? We don’t want this Aurangzeb rule,” Modi said.Earlier, Maharashtra Shehzad Poonawalla, who had called out the party’s president election ‘rigged’, called the entire procedure to be a coronation.”I have objection with this election procedure which is rather a coronation. I would like to tell Rahul to ask his people to wait with a crown and coronate him as soon as he reaches the place,” said Shehzad.Shehzad also expressed his concern regarding the presentation of a dummy candidate in the election procedure.Also read’Promotion without performance’: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi ‘congratulates’ Rahul Gandhi”As per my sources, Congress will have take support of a dummy candidate so the entire procedure seems like an election. I think people shouldn’t be deceived,” added Shehzad.Rahul Gandhi on Monday filed his nomination papers for the post of party chief at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters in Delhi. Rahul Gandhi files nomination paperCongress vice president Rahul Gandhi today filed his nomination papers for the post of party president, paving the way for a generational shift in the leadership of the party headed by his mother Sonia Gandhi.Rahul Gandhi was accompanied by a host of senior party leaders, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, as he filed his papers to become the party president.Congress president Sonia Gandhi, one of the leaders who have proposed Rahul’s name, was not present.The 47-year-old Gandhi scion is likely to emerge as the lone candidate in the fray, clearing the decks for his elevation to the party’s top post, succeeding his mother, who has held the post for 19 years in a row.”Rahul ji has been the darling of the Congress…,” Manmohan Singh told reporters at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters.”Congress president Smt Sonia Gandhi has served the Congress party and, through the Congress party, the country for the last 19 years. This is yet another step forward in that direction. Rahul Gandhi will carry on the great traditions of the Congress party,” he said.Rahul Gandhi arrived at the Congress headquarters around 10.30 am and filed his papers around 11 am. There were five sets of nomination forms filed on his behalf by top Congress leaders, including CWC members, party general secretaries, in-charge in various states and chief ministers of party-ruled states.Among those who proposed Rahul Gandhi’s name in the first set of nomination papers were Sonia Gandhi, Motilal Vora, Ahmed Patel, Mohsina Kidwai, Kamal Nath, Ashok Gehlot, Mukul Wasnik, Sheila Dikshit, Tarun Gogoi and Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanaswamy.Party leaders Manmohan Singh, Oscar Fernandes, P Chidambaram, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Anand Sharma, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his Meghalaya counterpart Mukul Sangma proposed his name in the second set of nomination papers.Today is the last date for filing nominations.No one else had filed papers till Sunday, said Mullapally Ramachandran, the chairman of the party’s Central Election Authority.Rahul Gandhi sought the blessings of former president Pranab Mukherjee and Manmohan Singh before filing his nomination, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted.The last date for withdrawal of the candidature is December 11. The poll, if necessary, will be held on December 16 and the counting will take place on December 19.With inputs from PTI and ANI
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Modi government weakened anti-corruption Lokpal Act: Anna Hazare

Social activist Anna Hazare has alleged that the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre weakened the anti-corruption Lokpal Act.”Former prime minister Manmohan Singh rarely speaks, but he had also weakened the Lokpal law (when it was framed).”Modi has further weakened the law by presenting an amendment in Parliament on July 27, 2016 through which a provision was made that relatives of (government) officers including wife, son, daughter and others will not have to submit details of their properties every year,” Hazare said, talking to reporters here last evening.Also readAnna Hazare backs Varun Gandhi’s ‘Right to Recall’ billThe anti-corruption crusader was here to take part in a three-day `Jal Sammelan’, a convention of water conservation, which concluded last evening.”As per the original law, it was mandatory for (government official’s) family members to submit their property details,” Hazare said.”The amendment bill was passed in the Lok Sabha in just one day, without any debate. It was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on July 28, and on July 29 it was sent to President for his signature. The law…was weakened in just three days,” he said.Also read’Not wishing, but it will happen’ – Modi govt likely to get UPA 2-like corruption tag: ChidambaramHazare, who recently announced an agitation in the national capital on the issues of Lokpal and farmers’ problems on March 23, said he had written several letters to prime minister Modi on various issues, but never received any reply.Talking about the agrarian distress, Hazare claimed that as per a 1950 act, compound interest cannot be levied on crop loans, but banks charge the same nonetheless and the government is not doing anything about it.He demanded that farmers above the age of 60 should get a monthly pension of Rs 5,000.
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Rahul is Congress’ darling, will carry forward great traditions of party: Manmohan Singh

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi would carry forward the great traditions of the party.Speaking to media, Manmohan Singh said, ‘Rahul Gandhi has been the darling of the Congress party and this will add yet another chapter in his quest of serving the people for the Congress party. Rahul Gandhi will carry forward the great traditions of the party.”Meanwhile, Congress leader Anand Sharma also hailed Rahul’s elevation as party president and said it is a historic day for the party.Also read’Promotion without performance’: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi ‘congratulates’ Rahul Gandhi”It is a historic day for Congress. It’s a big day today that Rahul Gandhi is taking this responsibility at a time when there is big challenge before the party. The Congress party will always stand by him to support him in his success,” Sharma told media.Earlier in the day, Rahul filed his nomination papers for the post of party chief at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters .It is speculated that he is running unopposed for the post of party President, but the speculations can only be confirmed on Tuesday when the names of contenders are published after scrutiny of nominations.Rahul is set to fill in his mother Sonia Gandhi’s shoes, who has been holding the post for nearly two decades.Also readLIVE: Rahul Gandhi files nomination for Congress president, ‘congratulations for ‘Aurangzeb Raj’, says PM Modi
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Wish PM Modi found more dignified ways of seeking votes: Manmohan Singh

In a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his predecessor Manmohan Singh today said Modi failed to understand the “pains” of his note ban and GST decisions were going to unleash on the people of his own home state.Calling demonetisation an “uninformed, half-baked crusade” and GST a “badly designed and hastily implemented” measure, Singh also lamented the “low-level rhetoric” used by the ruling party.”I wish the prime minister would find more dignified ways of impressing upon the crowds and seeking their votes…,” he said.Also readModi govt can’t match UPA’s 10-year average growth rate: Manmohan Singh “Just as you were recovering from one blow (of demonetisation), came the GST. Nobody consulted you or tried to understand how your dhandha (business) works,” he told a gathering of members of the local business community here.”The prime minister is from Gujarat, and he claims to understand Gujarat and the poor more than anyone else. How is it that he never understood the pains his decisions will unleash on you?” Singh asked.Also readManmohan Singh criticising demonetization to show allegiance to the family: Dharmendra Pradhan”Your business works on trust and relationships. Without trust in each other, Surat will collapse. You extended this trust to the prime minister and his promise of ‘acchhe din’ (good days). The hope symbolised in those dreams now lies shattered,” he said.In Surat alone, 89,000 powerlooms were sold as scrap and it led to a loss of 31,000 jobs, Singh said. “There are countless such examples from industrial clusters and big mandis (markets) from across the country.”Also read’Don’t want pity’: Manmohan Singh refuses to ‘compete’ with PM Modi over humble backgroundChina benefited from this situation, he claimed.”In FY 2016-17, India’s imports from China stood at Rs 1.96 lakh crore. During the same period in FY 2017-18, the imports from China increased to Rs 2.41 lakh crore. This unprecedented increase in imports by more than Rs 45,000 crore, a 23 per cent increase in a year, can be attributed largely to demonetisation and GST.”These twin blows damaged India’s MSME sector and our businesses had to turn to Chinese imports at the cost of India jobs,” the senior Congress leader said.On demonetisation, Singh said, “This is an uninformed, half-baked crusade on black money where he (Modi) painted everyone as a thief, while real culprits have gotten away.”The Goods and Services Tax was “badly designed and hastily implemented”, the economist-turned-politician said.Maintaining that demonetisation was not the solution to the problem of black money and tax evasion, Singh said the costs of demonetisation substantially exceeded its benefits, and the decision “proved to be mere bluster to reap political dividends while the real offenders have escaped”.Demonetisation and GST have also “sown a deep-rooted fear of tax terrorism among the business community”, he said.”At a time when the economy has slowed down considerably, despite favourable global macro-economic conditions, the fear of tax terrorism has eroded the confidence of the businesses to invest,” he said.”This attitude of suspecting everyone to be a thief or anti-national, the low-level rhetoric is damaging the democratic discourse and has real consequences for how we relate to one another as citizens. Political leaders must stick to the high road,” he said.Singh said on every social indicator, from infant and maternal mortality rates to female literacy, Gujarat has fallen behind the best performing states, including Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu,.He said the recent agitations by the youth cutting across different sections of the society was an indication of the deep dissatisfaction with the performance of successive BJP governments.The former prime minister said a Congress government in the state will hear the voice of every Gujarati regardless of caste, creed, gender or class.Later, talking to reporters, Singh strongly denied Modi’s allegation that the Congress and Congress-led governments hated Gujaratis.”Nothing can be farther from the truth. I realise that many things are said in election times. But when they are gross distortions, they need to be rebutted,” he said, adding that Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first prime minister, and the “most famous Gujarati” Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel worked hand-in-hand, and “nothing is gained, as is often attempted by Modi, by pitting the two great leaders apart.”Modi was “denigrating the country” when claiming that Congress party did nothing in 70 years, the former PM said.”I wish the prime minister would find more dignified ways of impressing upon the crowds and seeking their votes without resorting to statements which denigrate our country,” he said.”…While denigrating the past, the prime minister also tends to exaggerate what he will do in future. He was recently quoted in the press as saying that India will become a developed country by 2022,” Singh said, adding that to achieve that, India needed to grow at the rate of 35 per cent per year.The government should get out of the “culture of constant self-praise”, Singh said.”In the ten years of UPA-I and II, when I was the prime minister, we produced 7.8 per cent GDP growth on average. This includes the slow-down in the last two years of our government. When the present government took over, they said they would take growth to 8 to 10 per cent. Modi so far has produced an average of only 7.3 per cent in the first three years,” he said.
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If GST is Gabbar Singh Tax, why did you support it in Parliament: Rajnath Singh to Congress

On Saturday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh looked to attack Congress over its constant criticism of GST. He also accused the party of practising a politics based on caste and creed for years and said he had sympathies for the three young men who had made an alliance with them.He said: “Congress did politics based on caste & creed for all these years. Now, they are trying to divide Gujaratis on the basis of community. My sympathies are with the three young men who have made an alliance with Congress.”He further added: “I want to ask the young men of Congress, if GST was ‘Gabbar Singh Tax, then why did you support it in the Parliament.”Also read12%, 18% GST rates to be merged in future, 28% will be only for luxury, sin goods: Arun Jaitley Earlier in the day, Manmohan Singh had termed GST as tax terror, saying the BJP government’s version was ‘poorly designed’, ‘badly implemented’ and ‘brought about in such a tearing hurry’.Rahul Gandhi had called GST ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’, which had led to sharp rebuttal from PM Modi. The prime ministers remark came after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi took a jibe at the high GST rates by calling the new indirect tax reform as ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’.Also readRahul Gandhi’s Gabbar Singh Tax mantra for BJP: Don’t waste India’s time, acknowledge your incompetence“When we remember people, we remember Mahatma Gandhi, Lord Buddha, Sardar Patel, Netaji Bose, Bhagat Singh, but they (Congress) remember Gabbar Singh. What more can I say about their thought process,” Prime Minister Modi said while addressing a rally.
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‘You gain nothng’: Manmohan Singh hits out at PM Modi for pitting Nehru against Patel

Senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh on Saturday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for pitting two great leaders, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel, against each other.Manmohan’s remark comes days after Modi hit out at Congress over its treatment of Sardar Patel, who helped built the Somnath Temple.”Nothing is gained as often attempted by Modi to pit the two great leaders (Pandit Nehru and Sardar Patel) of power (against each other),” Manmohan Singh said while addressing media here in the wake of the upcoming Gujarat elections.The former prime minister even went on advising his successor to find more dignified ways of impressing the crowd while seeking their votes.Earlier on November 29, Modi said, “Had Sardar Patel not been there, there would not have been a grand temple in Somnath.” Also readManmohan Singh criticising demonetization to show allegiance to the family: Dharmendra Pradhan”So, people who have visited the Somnath Temple recently, I want to ask them: Do you know history? Your family members, our first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru was not happy with the idea of a temple being built there,” he said while taking a jibe at Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the temple.
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PM Modi believes in unity of India, its potential: Barack Obama

Saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a vision for India, former US President Barack Obama Friday said he was of the opinion that Modi “believes in unity of India”.Obama also met Modi later. This was the first meeting between the two leaders after Obama left the White House in January.The former President also talked fondly of Modi’s predecessor Manmohan Singh, who, he said, had laid the foundation of the modern Indian economy.”I like him (Modi). I think he has a vision for the country… I was also great friends with Dr Manmohan Singh. He laid the foundation of the modern Indian economy. The unifying theme in both these leaders during my tenure was the focus on India-US relations,” he said while speaking at a summit organised by a media house.Saying that politicians often mirror society and the people of India can strengthen the hands of politicians by speaking out against divisive forces, the former US president said he had raised the issue of religious freedoms in a private conversation with Modi.He, however, refused to share Modi’s response to him, only saying, “I think his impulses are to recognise the importance of Indian unity. I know that he firmly believes in the need for that in order to advance to the great nation status that India possesses and will continue to amplify in the years to come.”He also underlined the need for India to cherish and nurture its Muslim population, which, he said “is integrated and considers itself Indian”.”That is unfortunately not always the case in some other countries. And that is something that needs to be cherished and nurtured, cultivated. It’s important to continue reinforcing it,” he asserted.Asking the citizens to speak out against divisive forces, Obama said in democracies like India and the US, the “office of citizen” was the “most important office”.”It is the responsibility of everyone to speak out against divisive forces and to reinforce such views… Politicians, on the other hand, rarely get too far ahead of public opinion, and often reflect the views of society… So if you see a politician doing things that are questionable, one of the things is to ask yourself, ‘Am I encouraging or supporting or giving licence to the values that I am hearing out of the politician?’ Because frankly, politicians tend to be more of a mirror, and more of a reflection of forces in society,” Obama said.He said that if “communities across India” say they won’t fall prey to division, it will “strengthen the hand of those politicians who feel the same way”.Saying that democracy was under threat today, Obama said “a partnership between the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy is the key… The Internet has the ability to propagate propaganda that is destructive to democracies…. The distinction between us and them is dangerous.”Talking about Pakistan’s role in spearing terrorism, the former President said, “We had no evidence that Pakistan was aware of Osama bin Laden’s presence there but that is something obviously we looked at.”He also said that after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, the US Government was “as obsessed as India with dismantling the terror network”. “Terrorism of any sort eventually affects everyone,” he added.In an apparent dig at his successor Donald Trump, who is very active on twitter, mostly to ridicule his rivals and the media, Obama said, “I have more Twitter followers than people who use it more often. Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp are very powerful tools which can be used for both good and bad. We need to understand the challenges of these technologies. It leads to snap judgment.”Later in the day, Obama also conducted a town hall event in Delhi for the Obama Foundation, where he interacted with an estimated 280 young leaders from across India.”India and US have so much in common. The US, is home, of course, to millions of Indian Americans and their proud heritage is at the same time combined with an incredible contribution they make in every field in United States… Both of our countries are hugely diverse. We have different languages and backgrounds and different ethnicities and different race… The partnership I believe between the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy could be a defining partnership of the 21st century,” he said.
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Gujarat elections 2017 | Modi govt improved socio-economic status: Vijay Rupani

"Congress has been putting allegations that economy in India showed decline post-GST and demonetisation initiatives. But I would firmly assert that such initiatives have become helpful to drive Indian economy towards sustainability and has brought living standards of people at a new height. The Congress has been spreading myth in the nation but these indices prove them wrong," Rupani added.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Friday 1 December 2017 7:00 ISTMust readGood news at last for Noida homebuyersGujarat elections 2017: Congress will waive off farm loans if voted to power, says Rahul Gandhi <!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani hailed improvement in the economic performance of India in last quarter. Addressing a press conference at BJP media centre in Ahmedabad on Thursday, Rupani said that PM Modi-led government succeeded to improve the socio-economic condition of India in last three years. Rupani was citing the results of GDP recorded in last quarter which were announced by Central Statistics Office(CSO).Rupani said, “The GDP which had declined to 4.5% during the rule of PM Manmohan Singh led UPA government, has reached 6.3%. This shows that economic picture in India is shining and people of the nation have been living a happy life. Different indices of CSO also indicates that India is gaining a strong position at a global level on the economic front.””Congress has been putting allegations that economy in India showed decline post-GST and demonetisation initiatives. But I would firmly assert that such initiatives have become helpful to drive Indian economy towards sustainability and has brought living standards of people at a new height. The Congress has been spreading myth in the nation but these indices prove them wrong,” Rupani added.
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Chai-meme row: Congress says PM Modi is a ‘serial abuser’, BJP says PM ‘most abused since Independence’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Congress today called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “serial abuser” and the BJP “mother of crass statements”, drawing a strong rebuttal from the ruling party which insisted Modi was a “victim” of abuses.With political discourse often getting reduced to vituperative outburst, senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi targeted Modi and the BJP over it, and sought apology.”BJP is mother and producer of derogatory, insulting, foul language…the sheer brazenness with which BJP escapes any blame after indulging in crude, crass and coarse language is appalling…we demand the BJP apologise for lowering quality of public discourse,” Singhvi told reporters.Singhvi listed several cases where the prime minister allegedly made derogatory remarks by calling his predecessor Manmohan Singh a “night-watchman”, Congress president Sonia Gandhi a “jersey cow” and the party’s vice president Rahul Gandhi a “hybrid calf” in the past.Singhvi also said the prime minister recently called the Congress a “termite”. The BJP mounted a spirited counteroffensive with Union minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore insisting: “If somebody has been abused the most after independence, it is Narendra Modi. He is a victim.” He cited a host of “abusive” comments made by Congress leaders, including its president Sonia Gandhi and her deputy Rahul Gandhi, in the past to target Modi.Sonia Gandhi called Modi ‘maut ka saudagar’ (merchant of death), while her son accused him of ‘khoon ki dalali’ (broker of blood), Singh said, adding that Priyanka Gandhi had used the word ‘neech’ (despicable) against the prime minister. He also cited several others abusive comments made by Congress leaders to make his point.A bitter war of words broke out between the two parties after the Congress’ youth wing yesterday circulated a meme about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘chaiwala’ past, provoking a backlash from the BJP, and prompting a red-faced Congress to distance from it.The meme that unleashed a political firestorm contained photograph of Modi, US president Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May engaged in a conversation.Modi is seen telling the two leaders about the opposition’s memes targeting him. He mispronounces the word as “mainmain”. Trump corrects him, saying the word is pronounced as “meem”, while May tells him to go and sell tea.

Former PM Manmohan Singh to get Indira Gandhi peace prize

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Former prime minister Manmohan Singh will receive the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development this year for his leadership of the country between 2004 and 2014 and for enhancing India’s stature globally.According to a statement from the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust, Singh was unanimously chosen for the award by an international jury chaired by ex-president Pranab Mukherjee.”The Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development is awarded to Manmohan Singh for his leadership of the country and his achievements during the momentous 10 years from 2004 to 2014, for his contributions to the cause of economic and social development, for improving India’s stature in the world and its relationship with the neighbours and the leading nations of the world, and for his dedication to the security and well being of ordinary citizens regardless of their faith, caste, region or language,” a statement from the Trust’s secretary Suman Dubey said yesterday. The Trust said Singh is only the third Indian prime minister to complete two full terms as the PM. His tenure witnessed the path-breaking nuclear agreement with the US and the Copenhagen Climate Change agreement, the statement said.Singh, who as the governor of the Reserve Bank of India and the finance minister in the government headed by P V Narasimha Rao, played a pivotal role in ushering economic reforms, it said, adding that as prime minister he led India in achieving the highest sustained rate of economic growth since Independence. The Trust said Singh has been responsible for making India’s voice heard more effectively at international forums.”The 10 years of his premiership were not only a period of rapid economic and social changes, they witnessed the lowest terrorist violence, prolonged period of communal harmony, peace on the country’s borders and a globally acknowledged rise in India’s standing in the global community of nations,” the statement said.The international award named after former prime minister Indira Gandhi was instituted in 1986. The last two recipients have been the Indian Space Research Organisation and the UN High Commission for Refugees.

India still not out of the woods: Manmohan Singh on Moody’s rating

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Continuing the attack on the NDA-led Centre, Congress leader Manmohan Singh said on Saturday that the government should not be “lured” into a sense of false equivalence because of the US-based agency Moody’s upgrading of India’s local and foreign currency issuer ratings.The former prime minister joined the former finance minister, P Chidambaram, who has been criticising the government over the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), a brainchild of the previous UPA government.While speaking to students of Ernakulam’s St Teresa’s College during an academic function, Singh said: “I am glad that Moody’s has done what they have done but we must not be, I think, lured into a false belief that we are out of the woods.”Also speaking about the “undue haste” in the manner in which the GST was implemented, Singh said both the government and the bureaucrats were to be blamed. “I think there is much to be desired, in administration and in implementation. The bureaucracy has not done its homework,” said Singh, adding that the GST Council met several times only to reduce the tax rates for 211 items.Singh also pointed out that the rising crude oil prices will hurt the economy. “Now the crude oil prices are $62-64, whereas few months ago, they were about $40-45. So, it can hurt the balance of payment. It can also hurt the fiscal system,” he said.Singh’s comments come days after Chidambaram launched a scathing attack on the implementation of GST. Taking to sarcasm, the former finance minister mocked the government after it decided to cut down taxes on 211 items in a meeting in Guwahati. “The Ministry of Finance must be complimented for improving the macro-economic situation in four months and 10 days. Four months and 10 days is the time taken for common sense to germinate, flower, and ripen into a fruit,” Chidambaram had tweeted.Mocking the government’s elation over the sovereign rating upgrade by Moody’s, Chidambaram said only a few months ago the regime had flayed the rating methodology.”Just some months ago, the government had said the Moody’s methodology was all wrong. A long letter was written by Shaktikanta Das (ex-economic affairs secretary) questioning Moody’s ratings methodology, saying they’ve to revise their methodology as it’s all wonky,” he said on Saturday.Chidambaram also referred to the criticality of job creation saying: “The government is unwilling to come up with reliable and authentic data. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), which is a quite credible agency, stated that between January and June 2017, as many as 19,60,000 jobs were lost.”Moody’s had on Friday upgraded the sovereign ratings by a notch to Baa2 with stable outlook, citing the Modi government’s various reform programmes and higher growth prospectus. The last rating upgrade was in 2004.

Rajnath Singh faces heat on Twitter for praising Jawaharlal Nehru

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Many top political leaders took to Twitter on Tuesday to pay their tribute to India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on his 128th birth anniversary. President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi remembered Pandit Nehru. “On his 128th birth anniversary, my homage to Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, our first Prime Minister,” President Kovind said on twitter.”Wish the nation on the occasion of birth anniversary of first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, today,” Naidu tweeted. Modi, who is in Manila to attend the India-ASEAN summit, also paid tributes to Nehru. “Tributes to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on his birth anniversary,” he wrote on Twitter.Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who is campaigning in Gujarat, also tweeted, “Today we remember a brilliant compassionate man. He reminds us: ‘there is nothing more horrifying than stupidity in action’ – Jawaharlal Nehru.” Former president Pranab Mukherjee and former prime minister Manmohan Singh paid floral tributes at Nehru’s memorial at Shanti Van early in the morning.However it was Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh who faced the flak for praising Nehru. He tweeted: Now the second line didn’t go down well with many Nehru baiters, who are presumably on the other side of the political divide.This is how they reacted: This is not the first time Rajnath Singh has faced fire from presumably BJP supporters on Twitter. Earlier he had rebutted a troll saying not all Kashmiris are terrorists, which generated considerable controversy but also earned him praise from a larger section of Twitterverse. With agency inputs

No testing waters here, Guj fishermen are all praise for Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The fishermen of Gujarat laud Prime Minister Narendra Modi for showing diplomatic spine in front of Pakistan and getting their brethren and boats locked away there released.But, they also want the Centre to solve the Sir Creek boundary issue with Pakistan immediately so that Indian fishermen can have a definite idea of where the international boundary would be crossed.”We are extremely proud to have Narendra Bhai as our Prime Minister as his dealing with Pakistan has been such that many of our fishermen brothers who were arrested by Pakistan for accidentally veering into international waters have been released since 2014. We had led several representations to Manmohan Singh but to no avail. But, since 2014 many fishermen have been released,” said Porbandar Machchimar Boat Association chief Bharat Bhai Modi.According to the association, while Pakistan released 68 Indian fishermen in October this year as a gesture of goodwill, another 55 were arrested by Pakistan on November 12. Pakistan has released 438 Indian fishermen between December 2016 and January 2017 from the Landhi and Malir jails in Karachi. “Last time when Narendra Modi had invited Nawaz Sharif to his swearing-in ceremony, Pakistan had released some boats as well as prisoners,” said Modi.But, fishermen community believes that the unclear boundary between the two countries is at the heart of the problem. “From different ports of fishing in India, the international borders at different distances. This confuses the fishermen and they get lost at sea. Moreover, we can’t control sea waves which at times take us across the border,” said Jeevan Bhai Jungi, former president of the association.However, the fishermen are peeved at Pakistan seizing their boats and auctioning them away to its own fishermen which leaves the affected families in India without any means of livelihood. “These boats cost us over Rs 50 lakh and it is not possible to keep making them once seized. It is beyond means of fishermen,” said Jungi.Another problem the fishermen face is the increasing industrialisation along the Gujarat coast. “Who wants to risk going close to international boundary and get caught and rot in Pakistani jails. But, we are now forced to take the risk. Due to incessant dumping of effluents from these industrial units, coastal fish are no more. We are compelled to venture into deep waters. A decade ago we used to go and come back in a day, now we have to camp in the high seas for nearly a month to make the trip profitable,” Jungi, who was the association head for nine years in a row, said.

RS Prasad maybe happy DeMo affected flesh trade, but sex workers in Asia’s largest red-light area recollect their horrors

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sex workers of Sonagachhi, the largest red-light area in Asia have condemned the comments of Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s comments that flesh trade had taken a hit owing to demonetization , saying that the minister had ignored how their livelihood had been adversely affected.Officials of Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC), an NGO which works for the welfare of sex-workers said that it was an irresponsible comment. “I have no words to condemn the minister’s statements. How could he say such things? It is an irresponsible and careless comment. It goes on to show your outlook towards these girls who might not have taken up this profession by choice. Most of the girls have chosen it out of compulsion,” said Bharati Dey, mentor of DMSC. She also said that most girls of the area had at least Rs 1 lakh which they stored in cash for contingency and many of them could not exchange or return the money to bank.The organisation has over one lakh registered members. Some of sex workers of the area too spilled their ire alleging that the statement was an insult to injury that they had received after demonetization. “My landlady comes to me on the first of every month and asks for the rent. Post demonetization our business was down by about 75 per cent. Does the minister have any idea how we paid for our basic necessities?,” she said.
ALSO READ Manmohan Singh, like Rahul, reading scripts written by someone else: RS PrasadAnother said that uncertainty in the market and lack of smaller denominations had affected their business like never before. “Some of us didn’t get a customer for weeks. Many had starved for days together and had lived on others’ mercy. When it comes to votes people talk so much about our welfare and political leaders promise us the moon but as soon as they ascend to power we are looked down upon as scum of society,” she told DNA.On Tuesday, a day ahead of the first anniversary of demonetization , Prasad, talking about the achievements of demonetization said, “Flesh trade has nosedived in India. Trafficking of women and girls has gone down considerably.” He also said that a lot of money flowed out to countries like Nepal and Bangladesh owing to flesh trade and the denominations of Rs 500 and 1,000 were used most to make such payments. After those ceased to be legal tenders, it had come down.”

You looked away when organised plunder was happening: Nirmala Sitharaman attacks Manmohan Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nirmala Sitharaman joined the bandwagon of top BJP leaders who have led a blistering attack against former PM Manmohan Singh for criticising GST and demonetization. It was the time of Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday, who had attacked Manmohan Singh for staying silent during the scam ridden UPA years. Expressing anguish over Singh dubbing demonetisation as an “organised loot and legalised plunder”, Sitharaman on demonetization anniversary deplored usage of such “strong words” by him against the move, which was aimed at strengthening the economy and held no personal gain for anyone. “Actually organised plunder and legalised loot kept happening when he was the Prime Minister,” she told reporters at Tamil Nadu BJP party headquarters ‘Kamalalayam’ here.Referring to scams, including the 2G spectrum and the cases related to it in courts, she said though these happened during Manmohan Singh’s regime, “he did not talk about it and …(it appeared) as if he looked elsewhere”.
ALSO READ From monumental blunder to 2G, CWG loot: Manmohan Singh and Arun Jaitley spar over state of economy She said “he (Singh) was only a tool (nimitha matra) and somebody was directing him from behind.” “I have nothing but anguish, it is very anguishing…. I am unable to describe him by using strong words that he used (to comment on note ban),” the minister, who was here to take part in Tamil Nadu BJP’s anti-black money day events, said. She said Singh had not even constituted a Special Investigation Team to probe black money as directed by the Supreme Court.The BJP government’s first step was to constitute the SIT after assuming power at the centre, she said. “Where is legalised plunder happening? Dr Manmohan Singh, I am very disappointed,” she said. The Defence Minister said the government has been very transparent and has also explained why demonetisation was done. On Congress asking if demonetisation was a success, she said, “All the money that was deposited (in banks following note ban) was not white money.”
ALSO READ Manmohan Singh, like Rahul, reading scripts written by someone else: RS PrasadAbout Rs 2,000 crore were deposited even in accounts that had a negative balance and such cash was withdrawn too and action was taken in this regard to battle black money, she claimed. Sitharaman claimed that note ban resulted in stone- pelting incidents in Jammu and Kashmir coming down to 600 last year from more than 4,000 before demonetisation. Bereft of black money, terror elements were trying to rob banks in Jammu and Kashmir to get cash, she said.With agency inputs

Manmohan Singh, like Rahul, reading scripts written by someone else: RS Prasad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hitting back at Manmohan Singh for terming demonetisation as “organised loot” and “legalised plunder”, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today said the former prime minister “seemed to be reading scripts written by someone else, just like Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi”.Singh and Gandhi must be speaking about the 10 years of the previous UPA government, when rampant corruption had plagued the country, he said.Manmohan Singh who was in Ahmedabad earlier today described the BJP-led government’s demonetisation exercise as a reckless step and said scrapping higher value currency notes was organised loot and legalised plunder.”This is not Manmohan Singhji’s language,” the Minister for Law and Justice told reporters reacting to Singh’s criticism of noteban.”Manmohan Singhji has said that note ban was a dacoity. This is not Manmohan Singhji’s language,” he added.”He was Prime Minister for 10 years and was a man of few words. This is not his language. So it appears that like Rahul Gandhi, somebody is writing the script for Manmohan Singhji nowadays,” the Minister said.”The way Manmohan Singhji and Rahul Gandhi are speaking, they are remembering the 10 years of the previous UPA government,” Prasad said.

From monumental blunder to 2G, CWG loot: Manmohan Singh and Arun Jaitley spar over state of economy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former prime minister Manmohan Singh today said the “twin blow” of demonetization and the GST was a “complete disaster” for the country’s economy and chided the Modi government for not having learnt “any lessons” from what he called the “monumental blunder.” Escalating the Congress offensive against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the eve of the first anniversary of the ban of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes, Singh also tore into the government over the ambitious bullet train project, calling it an “exercise in vanity.” India’s first high speed rail project will link Mumbai and Ahmedabad.Singh said he is repeating what he said earlier that demonetization was an “organised loot and legalised plunder.” He also called it a “reckless step” and a “disastrous policy” which failed to achieve its stated objectives and said the Goods and Services Tax(GST) was “hastily implemented.” With Gujarat headed for Assembly polls next month, the Congress fielded 85-year-old Singh, an accomplished economist, at a party event to take on Modi in his home state. The gathering comprised mostly those representing small and medium businesses who are up in arms against the continued difficulties faced by them over GST issues. Singh later addressed a news conference where he said Modi’s plan of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 would end up as poll ‘jumla'(rhetoric).Stating that “bravado and drama are poor substitute for courage with conviction and the ability to execute well”, Singh told the party event that demonetization and GST have sown a “deep-rooted fear of tax terrorism” among the business community. Singh said “demonetization was clearly not the way to end the menace of tax evasion and black money.” “demonetization has proved to be a mere blister to reap political dividends while the real offenders have escaped. I repeat, this was an organised loot and legalised plunder,” the former prime minister said.
ALSO READ PM Modi’s promise to double farmers’ income will be another election jumla: Manmohan SinghAt the function organised by the Congress, Singh said that Modi should have taken inspiration from two of the “greatest Gujaratis the world has seen — Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.” “Good governance involves both head and heart. It pains me to say that the Union government has completely failed to do its duty on both fronts,” he said. “Think of the human impact from this lost growth — the lost jobs, the youth whose opportunities have vanished, the businesses which had to shut down and the entrepreneurs whose drive to succeed has turned into discouraged disappointment,” he said.”What is even more tragic is that none of the lessons from this monumental blunder have been learnt by the government,” Singh rued. “Instead of providing relief, as I had requested in Parliament, to the poor and marginalised, farmers, traders, and the small and medium businesses, who suffered the brunt of demonetization, the government chose to inflict on them a badly designed and hastily implemented GST,” he further said.
ALSO READ Demonetization was Centre’s resolve to cure India of ‘dreaded disease of black money’: Arun JaitleyThis “twin blow” was a “complete disaster” for the economy, he said.”Did the prime minister stop to consider the wisdom of the Mahatma when asking the RBI governor to sign on the dotted line or while implementing GST in haste?” Singh said, adding that Modi failed to take into account the impact these two policies had on the informal sector and jobs. “If the prime minister had paid attention to Mahatma Gandhi’s talisman, the poor of India would not have suffered the way they did,” he said, adding tha Modi also failed to take inspiration from Sardar Patel.
ALSO READ Questioning bullet trains doesn’t make one anti-development: Manmohan Singh “When undertaking the endeavour of ‘One Nation, One Tax’, if the prime minister had taken inspiration from Patel’s resolve and attention to detail, the outcome today would have been very different. Bravado and drama are poor substitute for courage with conviction and the ability to execute well.” Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe had in September laid the foundation stone for India’s first high speed rail project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. “The bullet train project, launched with much fanfare, is sadly an exercise in vanity and will not benefit either 6.5 crore Gujaratis or the nation,” Singh said. “Rs 88,000 crore through a soft loan may seem like easy money, but it still needs to be repaid to the Japanese.Gujarati entrepreneurs know very well that if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is not,” he said. The government should have rather focused on the existing passenger rail network, the Congress veteran said. “At a time when the economy has slowed down considerably, despite favourable global macroeconomic conditions, the fear of tax terrorism has eroded the confidence of businesses to invest,” Singh said. “As you know, the growth in private investment is at a 25-year low. This is terrible for India’s economy.”Taking on former prime minister Manmohan Singh for calling demonetization an “organised loot”, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today it was an “ethical drive and moral step” while the “loot” happened under him in 2G, CWG and coal block allocation scams. The demonetization decision has led to a larger formal economy, cleaner economy and bigger tax base, Jaitley said, asserting that the government strongly stands by its decision a year after it made the “historic” announcement, marking an “watershed moment” for the economy.At a BJP press conference, Jaitley said the party has a different perspective than the Congress on the issue of ethics, as its priority is to serve the nation while for the opposition party it is about serving the family. On a day Singh launched a withering attack on the government over demonetization, saying it had harmed India’s image, Jaitley asked him to compare pre-2014 and post-2014 reputation of Indian economy. “You were being considered an economy impacted by policy paralysis… You were off the global radar. Today, there isn’t an international agency which does not eulogise the kind and quality of structural reforms India has taken,” Jaitley said.There was an ethical and moral rationale behind the note ban decision, he said, hitting out at Singh over his loot comments.”Anti-black money drive is an ethical drive. Anti-black money step is a moral step. What is ethically and morally correct has to be politically correct. The loot had happened in 2G, CWG and coal block allocation,” he said. Listing out measures taken by the government to curb black money and corruption, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had undertaken a transformation of economy with “structural reforms”. After coming to power, the BJP believed that it was most urgent to “shake up” the status quo. Excessive cash transaction was leading to tax evasion and honest tax payers suffered “double whammy” as they ended up paying taxes for evaders too, the finance minister said. demonetization is not a solution to all problems but it has changed the agenda, ushering in less-cash economy, increasing numbers of tax assessees and squeezing terror funding.Data mining has led to identification of 1.8 million bank account holders with disproportionate income, he said. “The Congress has a history of not taking one big step against black money. We are more than satisfied with the direction we have gone (in),” he said. He parried a question about Raghuram Rajan’s reported stand against demonetization when he was the RBI governor, saying he would choose not to answer it as he does not find it necessary to disclose all the facts he as a finance minister is privy to.To another query, Jaitley played down the political significance of Modi’s meeting with ailing DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi in Chennai yesterday, saying political and social courtesies exist irrespective of political alliances. The Congress has sought to corner the government over demonetization and decided to observe ‘black day’ tomorrow on the first anniversary of the decision which invalidated 86 per cent of the currency in the system.The BJP has announced it will celebrate ‘anti-black money day’ tomorrow, with its leaders fanning out across the country to highlight the “successes” of demonetization. Calling note ban a “reckless” exercise, Singh said during an interactive session with businessmen in Ahmedabad that “demonetization was an organised loot and legalised plunder”.

PM Modi’s promise to double farmers’ income will be another election jumla: Manmohan Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his promise of doubling farmers’ income in five years, his predecessor Manmohan Singh said it would end up just being another election ‘jumla’ (rhetoric) as the government had no concrete plan to achieve the target.Singh, addressing a press conference here today, said that in order to achieve the target of doubling farmers’ income in five years, the agriculture sector needed to grow at a rate of 10 per cent.
ALSO READ Questioning bullet trains doesn’t make one anti-development: Manmohan Singh He also slammed the Modi government, saying its “nice sounding slogans” such as ‘Start up India, Stand up India’ and ‘Skill India’ are not backed by effective policies.
ALSO READ Accept demonetization was a blunder, time to rebuild economy: Manmohan Singh to PM Narendra ModiIn a veiled attack on Modi’s style of functioning, Singh said leaders should also listen to criticism to take corrective action, instead of just expecting praise.Modi has said that he dreamt of seeing farmers’ income getting doubled by 2022 when the country completes 75 years of its Independence.
ALSO READ Himachal polls: Rahul Gandhi cites Niti Aayog report to counter PM Modi’s corruption allegations Singh said that the average growth of agriculture in the first three years of the Modi government “is only 1.8 per cent per year. This is half the average of agricultural growth of 3.7 per cent, which we have achieved in our ten years (of UPA rule).”Stating that 50 per cent of the country’s population is dependent of agriculture, the former prime minister said, “Modiji has given the slogan of doubling the farm income in five years. Doubling it in five years requires an annual growth rate of farm incomes of 14 per cent.””I do not know if doubling was meant to include the effects of inflation. If he was building in inflation at say four per cent, it still requires a growth rate of 10 per cent in real terms,” Singh said.”I have seen no programme that would achieve such a growth for the country’s farmers as a whole. Perhaps, this is another election jumla (rhetoric). But, I feel that the government would be well-advised to come forward with a credible plan to achieve a growth rate of this order,” Singh said.While sharing his views on the negative effects of demonetisation, Singh also took a dig at Modi’s other initiatives — ‘Start up India, Stand up India’ and ‘Skill India’, saying there exists no policy in place to back these “nice sounding slogans”.”We have a number of nice-sounding slogans, such as Start up India, Stand up India… But, they are not backed up by effective policies on the ground. In fact, the policies should come first before the slogans invented to describe these policies. (But today) Slogans come first and efforts come much later. This is not helpful,” said Singh, an eminent economist.In a veiled attack on Modi’s style of functioning, Singh said leaders should also listen to the criticism to take corrective action instead of just expecting praise.”I have spent a lot of time on demonetisation because it worries me that in a world, where economic policy is becoming increasingly complex, we are not developing a culture where policy option are critically-assessed and criticism offered are heard to take a corrective action,” he said while expressing his views on the note ban.”If leaders only want to be praised, they will hear nothing but praise. This is not a recipe for ‘vikas’ (development),” Singh said while referring to Modi’s stress on development agenda.The senior Congressman also raised doubts over Modi’s claim of making India a developed economy by 2022.”He was recently quoted in the press as saying that India will become a developed country by 2022. I would be the happiest person in the world if he can delivers (on) that. But, is he really aware of what it implies?” Singh asked.According to him, Greece, which is at the lower end of developed countries, has a per capita income of USD 25,000, while India’s current per capita income is USD 5,000.”To increase our income five fold in five years, we will have to achieve a growth rate of 35 per cent per year. No country has ever done this. Is Modiji promising he will do that?” Singh asked.

CBI, ED should register case against Sonia Gandhi: Subramanian Swamy on letters revealed by Jaya Jaitly

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Monday urged the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to register a case against Congress President Sonia Gandhi on the basis of letters revealed by former Samata Party President Jaya Jaitly, which were purportedly written by Gandhi to former finance minister P. Chidambaram.”CBI can register a case in the preventional corruption act because she(Sonia Gandhi) wrote the letter under the official title of the chairman of the National Advisory Council and ED can file a case of money laundering. Both Chidambaram and Manmohan Singh are equally culpable because they had assisted in the commission of the crime,” he said.The former Union Minister claimed that he had released a similar letter two years ago, but nobody took it seriously at that time.”I had released a similar letter two years ago, which was written by Sonia Gandhi, the then chairman of the National advisory council to Dr Manmohan Singh, the then Prime Minister of India to save Tejpal (former editor-in-chief of Tehelka magazine) from all the cases that were piled on by the NDA govt,” Swamy said.”It was a total open brazen interference. At that stage, nobody took it seriously. I supposed that people didn’t go deep into the issue since it was me, a politician releasing those letters. I am glad now that the letter addressed to Chidambaram is in a new form,” he added.Author Jaya Jaitly, through a series of letters in her memoir due to be released on Tuesday, suggested that the UPA-led government in 2004, and particularly Gandhi was involved in facilitating the framing of corruption charges against her.The book hints at the links between Gandhi and the Tehelka news portal, particularly in the Tehelka sting ‘Operation Westend.’

Congress hits back, says rank only for ‘metro ease’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking exception to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments on his predecessor Dr Manmohan Singh, the main Opposition Congress said on Saturday that while preparing its Ease of Doing Business index, the WB took into account the parameters in only two metros — Delhi and Mumbai — while ignoring the vast countryside and other cities.Describing Modi’s reference to Dr Singh as highly uncharitable, party spokesperson Kapil Sibal said if the WB had taken into account the plight of Medium and Small Enterprises (MSME), its findings would have been much different.He suggested that instead of relying upon rankings and rhetoric, the Prime Minister should go to the ground and the reality will “starkly stare in his face”.”Has the WB taken MSME’s plight into account? What the WB has studied is called the creamy layer of business, located at the top end of the pyramid,” Sibal said. He added that instead of rejoicing over the Ease of Doing Business report, the PM should find some time to study India’s position in world health and hunger index as well.”Having failed the Indian economy due to sheer ad-hocism and inexperience, the BJP government is clutching at straws to stay afloat even as it sinks the economy and hurts trade and businesses,” he added.Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi also urged the government to listen to small traders about the Ease of Doing Business. He described demonetisation and GST as “twin torpedos” that sunk the entrepreneurs.The WB report has come at a time when the Congress was planning to milch anti-incumbency factor in the Gujarat Assembly elections and it has left the party squirming. The party has now repackaged its campaign, using sarcastic terms for economic reforms — including the catchy ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ for GST — and releasing spoof videos of Bollywood blockbusters to further hammer in the economic disruption theme.

Blast from the Past: When Pranab Mukherjee asked Pak FM to leave India immediately

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In his new book, former President Pranab Mukherjee reveals that he asked Pakistan’s FM Shah Mehmood to return to his country immediately in the wake of the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008. Mukherjee, who was EAM in 2008, pulled erstwhile Pak FM Shah Mehmood Qureshi from a press conference and asked him to leave India.Mukherjee reveals in his new book The Coalition Years: 1996-2012 that he called a journalist at Qureshi’s press conference and when he got his Pak counterpart on the phone, he told him to leave Mumbai ASAP.He said: “Mr Minister, no purpose will be served by your continuing to stay in India in these circumstances. My official aircraft is available to take you back home. It would be desirable if a decision is taken as quickly as possible.”Pranab better suited to be PM: Manmohan Singh
ALSO READ Pranab Mukherjee was more suited to be PM: Manmohan SinghFormer prime minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said that his former colleague Pranab Mukherjee was better qualified than him for the top post and has full rights to get upset.Manmohan was the chief guest at the launch of former President Pranab Mukherjee’s new book ‘The Coalition Years: 1996-2012’.
ALSO READ Pranab Mukherjee had every right to feel grievance, was better qualified to be PM: Manmohan SinghWhile addressing the crowd, Manmohan Singh said, ‘In 2004, Sonia ji chose me to be the Prime Minister. Pranab ji was the most distinguished colleague that I had. I became a politician by accident when PV Narasimha Rao invited me to become Finance Minister. Pranab Mukherjee is a politician by choice and he is one of the greatest politicians living in our country’.‘Pranab Mukherjee had every reason to feel a grievance that he was better qualified than I was to be PM but he also knew I had no choice in matter. Therefore that smoothened our relationship. We ran the government as cohesive team of which Pranab Mukherjee was the most imp member,’ Manmohan added.Pranab Mukherjee and Manmohan Singh had worked together in various capacities since 1970.Pranab Mukherjee was widely expected to be the Congress choice for the Prime Minister’s post, after Sonia Gandhi declined to lead the government in 2004.This is the first time Manmohan Singh has expressed his views in public and acknowledged the disappointment that Pranab Mukherjee must have felt. With inputs from agencies

Rahul Gandhi supporter of destruction, not development: Yogi Adityanath in Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath attacked the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday saying he is not a supporter of development, but of destruction.Speaking at a rally in Valsad, he said, “When a terrorist like Isharat Jahan is killed by security forces in Gujarat, Rahul Gandhi came in her support.””Congress is a not symbol of development, rather a symbol of destruction,” he reiterated.Yogi Adityanath accused Rahul Gandhi of ignoring his constituency and not building a Collectorate office in Amethi.”The person, who could not built Collectorate office in his constituency, how can you expect that he will do development in Gujarat,” he said.Yogi, further attacking the Congress Party, said, Dr Manmohan Singh was the prime minister from year 2004-14 and always spoke on the directives of Nehru-Gandhi family, otherwise he didn’t speak at all.”Earlier on Friday, he launched a scathing attack on the Congress by terming it as a “symbol of devastation”.Ishrat Jahan, and three other men were killed in an encounter on June 15, 2004 in Gujarat as the security agencies suspected they were on a mission to assassinate then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.Continuing his attack on Congress Vice President, Adityanath said that Rahul Gandhi was confusing people of Gujarat during his election rallies.

Pranab Mukherjee had every right to feel grievance, was better qualified to be PM: Manmohan Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Friday, former PM Manmohan Singh broke silence on being picked as Prime Minister ahead of his colleague and former President – Pranab Mukherjee. Speaking at the book launch of the former president he called Pranab Mukherjee the ‘one of the greatest politicians living in our country’.He was quoted saying by ANI: “Pranab Mukherjee is a politician by choice and he is one of the greatest politicians living in our country. I became a politician by accident when PV Narasimha Rao invited me to become Finance Minister.”He added: “In 2004, Sonia ji chose me to be the Prime Minister. Pranab ji was the most distinguished colleague that I had. He had every reason to feel a grievance that he was better qualified than I was to be PM but he also knew I had no choice in matter.” Many though that Sonia Gandhi would pick Pranab Mukherjee to lead the UPA as PM.Manmohan Singh was speaking at the launch of Pranab Mukherjee’s book The Coalition Years: 1996-2012.”Mukherjee wrote in his book that after the 2004 election victory there was intense speculation in the party about who would be the prime minister, but the consensus within the Congress was that the incumbent should be a political leader with experience in party affairs and administration.”The prevalent expectation was that I would be the next choice for prime minister after Sonia Gandhi declined. This expectation was possibly based on the fact that I had extensive experience in government,” he wrote.Mukherjee also said that when he declined to join the government headed by Manmohan Singh, Sonia insisted on his being a part of it as he would be “vital to its functioning and also be of support of Singh”.Mukherjee, in his speech at the book release function, decribed the Congress as a coalition in itself, as it brings all ideas on one platform.”It was difficult to have one coalition within and another outside. But that was done,” he said.Mukherjee said in the book he has described the coalition years and tried not to bring in any personal matters. He said running the coalition government seemed difficult but everything worked out smoothly.Mukherjee said in writing the book about the coalition years of 1996 to 2012, he did not claim the objectivity of a historian, which he is not, but put down things while viewing them as a political activist.Singh said with their relation smoothened, they ran the government as a cohesive team. He said history would record Mukherjee’s great contribution to the management of Indian polity.The former prime minister described Mukherjee as the “most distinguished living parliamentarian and Congressman”, whom everyone in the party looked up to for discussing and resolving ticklish and difficult issues.”He is a politician by choice. He is the greatest politician living in the country. I became a politician by accident when P V Narasimha Rao asked me to become the finance minister,” he said.Singh described Mukherjee and NCP chief Sharad Pawar as respected senior members of his government both of whom were of great calibre. He said if the UPA government ran smoothly, a large measure of credit would go to Pranab Mukherjee.While Sonia Gandhi and Rahul did not speak nor sit on the dais, a number of leaders including CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI Secretary Sudhakar Reddy, SP leader Akhilesh Yadav and DMK leader Kanimozhi spoke.Akhilesh Yadav, in his brief speech, said Mukherjee’s book would come in handy for young politicians like him when elections are due just like good notes ahead of exams.He also said people look forward to another coalition as elections draw closer. Akhilesh, who was recently re- elected the SP president, said people earlier dealt with his father Mulayam Singh Yadav but would now deal with him.Yechury said Pranab Mukherjee has an “elephant-like memory”, remark that prompted Sonia Gandhi to quip he had the memory of “two elephants”.

Gun carriage, fly past mark India’s only Air Marshal’s last rites

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Air Force old timers, including former chiefs, spoke fondly of Arjan Singh — the only Marshal of the Air Force — as someone whose legacy will never die. The mortal remains of the 98-year-old, who passed away on Saturday, was laid to rest with full state honours, including a 17 gun salute and a fly past on Monday.Marking his last rites, hymns were performed at the Brar Square Crematorium in the Delhi Cantonment in the presence of several senior political leaders, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani.In the fly past, Sukhoi 30 fighter jets made the missing man formation in the sky as a mark of respect for the departed.”He has been my icon and will continue to be so. It’s a moment of mourning and at the same time the celebration of the life he lived. He was a legend and an inspiration for many,” said former Air Chief Marshal Fali Major.”He was an exceptional leader, a powerful personality, and his legacy will continue. There have not been many military leaders in the world like him,” said Arup Raha another former Air Chief.The national flag flew at half-mast at all government buildings in the national capital in the honour of the iconic hero of the 1965 Indo-Pak war.Singh’s body was wrapped in the Indian tricolour and taken to the crematorium from his residence — 7 Kautilya Marg in central New Delhi — on a gun carriage.Singh, who led the Indian Air Force during the ’65 war, died of a cardiac arrest.President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Singh’s residence on Sunday to pay their tributes to the decorated war hero.

Even during ‘corrupt’ MMS regime we never criticised Govt abroad: RS Prasad slams Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hitting out at Rahul Gandhi for breaking the “well-laid tradition” of not speaking against the government on foreign soil, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today said the Modi government does not need a certificate for its performance from the Congress vice president.He also had a dig at Gandhi, saying it took him years to understand that Congress lost power due to its “arrogance”, and for that he had to go all the way to California for the realisation.”Rahul Gandhi is breaking the well-laid tradition of Indian polity –that is when you go abroad, you don’t speak ill about the government,” he told reporters here.He was asked to respond to Gandhi’s criticism of the Modi government at an event at the University of California in Berkeley in the US.”We used to go abroad at the height of corruption by Manmohan Singh government, but we never spoke like this. We were muted despite international outcry,” the Law minster said.He said the BJP does not expect the Congress leader to appreciate its work. But at the same time, the government does not require a certificate from the opposition party.”Can Rahul Gandhi appreciate us? We don’t want a certificate of our performance from Rahul Gandhi — a person who is not ready to accept that his party has lost elections in a big way. It took him years to understand that Congress was arrogant and to accept that he had to go to California,” he said taking a swipe at the Congress leader.In his speech in the US, Gandhi criticised Modi, accusing him of divisive politics and causing “tremendous damage” to India’s economy with “reckless and dangerous” decisions like demonetisation and GST.He also argued that India was being run by dynasties and cited the examples of Samajwadi Party, DMK and even Bollywood.

Rahul Gandhi criticises PM Modi’s economic policies; says politics of polarisation has raised its ugly head

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s economic policies, accusing him of causing “tremendous damage” to India’s economy with “reckless and dangerous” decisions like demonetisation and”hastily-applied” GST.Gandhi, 47, who arrived in the US yesterday on a two- week-long tour, addressed students at the University of California, Berkeley, to reflect on contemporary India and the path forward for the world’s largest democracy.He said the November 8 demonetisation decision was taken without asking the Chief Economic Advisor and Parliament, which caused tremendous damage to the economy.Demonetisation, he alleged, imposed a devastating cost on India.”Ignoring India’s tremendous institutional knowledge and taking such decisions is reckless and dangerous,” he charged.Gandhi is on his two-week visit to the US during which he will interact with global thinkers and political leaders, and address overseas Indians as part of an outreach initiative by his party.In Washington DC, the Congress vice president is scheduled to interact with members of the think-tank community, political leaders, and government officials.Gandhi is also scheduled to travel to Princeton University before his final address to overseas Indians in New York. Key highlightsRahul Gandhi in UC Berkeley► The Idea of non-violence is under attack today, yet it is the only idea which can take humanity forward. The idea of non-violence or ahimsa is what has allowed this mass of people (India) to rise together. As Indira Gandhi was asked whether India will switch ‘Left or Right’. She said it will stand straight and tall.► Hatred, anger, and violence can destroy us, the politics of polarization is very dangerous► There is no democratic country in history which has raised so many people out of poverty as India► Small and medium entrepreneurs are the bedrock of India’s economic progress► Decisions like Demonetisation took without asking Chief Economic Advisor and Parliament caused tremendous damage. Demonetisation has led to decline in economic growth► I am with them in their quest for justice, violence again anybody I strongly condemn: Gandhi on Sikh riots► I lost my father, my grandmother to violence if I don’t understand violence then who will?► In 2012, a certain arrogance crept into the party and we stopped having a conversation. Rebuilding the party, we need to design a vision that we can use moving forward.► I am absolutely ready for that, but our party works according to organizational elections► Modi clamped down on RTI. He shut it down. We got in trouble as we dramatically increased transparency► There’s a BJP machine..about a 1000 guys on computers tell you about me that I am reluctant, stupid. All they do is spread abuse about me and the operation is run by the gentleman who is running our country.► For 9 years I worked behind the scenes with PM Manmohan Singh,P Chidambaram,Jairam Ramesh and others on J&K► When we started, terrorism was rampant in Kashmir, when we finished there was peace, we had broken the back of terrorism. By 2013, we basically broke the back of terror, I hugged PM Manmohan Singh and told him it was one of the biggest achievements.► Modi has certain skills, he is a very good communicator, much better than me. He knows how to give a message to 3-4 different groups in a crowd, so his messaging ability is very effective and subtle. What I sense is he doesn’t converse with people he works with, even members of Parliament and BJP tell me that.

Going with an open mind, want resolution to problems: Rajnath Singh ahead of J&K visit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Ahead of his visit to Jammu and Kashmir, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said he is going there with an “open mind” and is ready to meet anyone who wishes to interact with him as the government wants resolution of all the problems.During his four-day visit beginning tomorrow, Singh will travel to Srinagar, Anantnag, Jammu and Rajouri and meet civil society members, leaders of political and social outfits, business leaders and others, a move seen as a follow-up to the prime minister’s Independence Day speech in which he had reached out to the people of the Valley. “I am going with an open mind and I am willing to meet all those who come to meet me. We want a resolution to the problems,” Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a function here today.A home ministry statement said during his visit, the home minister will meet Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. He will also review the works related to the Prime Minister’s development package of Rs 80,000 crore announced in 2015 and security situation in the state, it said. Singh will interact with the personnel of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, the CRPF and the BSF, who have been in the forefront of the anti-militancy operations in the state, in Anantnag.On Sunday, Singh is expected to attend a comprehensive security review meeting with the chief minister and the top brass of the Army, CRPF and J&K police. Singh is also likely to interact with college students in Srinagar to get their views on the Kashmir situation. The home minister will address a press conference in Srinagar on Monday before leaving for Jammu. He will also visit a camp of the BSF in Rajouri. In Jammu, the home minister will meet stakeholders including traders, migrants, Kashmiri pandits and representatives of communities including Gujjars and Bakarwals.In his August 15 speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reached out to strife-hit Kashmiris, asserting that the Kashmir issue cannot be resolved either by bullets or by abuses, and that a solution can only be found by embracing all Kashmiris. The home minister himself had said on August 19 that a solution to the Kashmir problem, besides terrorism, Naxalism, and the northeast insurgency will be found before 2022. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who heads the Congress policy planning group on Kashmir, will also lead a team of party leaders to Jammu and Kashmir next week for discussions on the current situation in the state with party workers and “like-minded” groups.A group of citizens, led by former Union minister Yashwant Sinha, had visited Jammu and Kashmir on August 17-19 and prepared a report which said the sense of “dismay and despondency” had grown among the people and the situation was “much worse” than their previous visits. In September 2016, the home minister had visited the state leading an all-party delegation when he met about 200 members of 30 delegations from various sections of society and listened to their point of view to arrive at a common solution to the Kashmir issue. However, the Kashmiri separatists had rebuffed attempts by five opposition MPs to talk to them.

Even the Opposition can’t call us corrupt: Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the Narendra Modi-led BJP government completed three years in power, not even the Opposition has been able to accuse it of corruption, said BJP National President Amit Shah. He was speaking in Mumbai on Sunday to launch Hamare Narendrabhai — a Hindi translation of a Gujarati book on PM Narendra Modi.Shah lauded the Prime Minister for taking politics beyond considerations of caste, family-dominance, appeasement, and vote-banks and “mainstreaming the politics of performance in the country”.He lambasted the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government for “scams worth Rs 12 lakh crore.” Shah said no one from Modi’s family or extended family has ever misused his position. “There are few leaders who live by such staunch standards of probity in their personal lives,” he added.”In the Manmohan Singh government, every minister considered himself as the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister was never considered as one… Narendra Modi restored the pride of the Prime Minister’s position,” said Shah, adding that the government was decisive, transparent, speedy, and confident.”The democratic system was running on the basis of personalities and families. In Gujarat, Narendra Modi gave the word ‘party’ its previous importance,” said Shah, adding that the party’s platform was given to those with capabilities.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said in over three years, the Modi government has created a situation wherein it is globally accepted that trade ties and diplomacy with India are inevitable.

Top Cong leaders, Pranab pay homage to Rajiv on birth anniv

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Top Congress leaders, including party president Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and former President Pranab Mukherjee paid homage to Rajiv Gandhi on his birth anniversary here today. A prayer meeting was held at the Veer Bhumi, the memorial of Gandhi, where Sonia, Singh, Mukherjee and the late prime minister’s children, Rahul and Priyanka, paid homage to him. Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel, political secretary to the Congress chief, were also present. Rajiv was born on this day in 1944 and was assassinated on May 21, 1991. In Amethi, which Rajiv represented in the Lok Sabha, people from different walks of life and Congress activists paid homage to the former prime minister. In different parts of the district, Congress activists organised meetings to mark the day.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Priyanka Gandhi’s office rubbishes reports of her appointment as ‘Cong working president’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Priyanka Gandhi’s office on Monday rubbished the reports of her taking over as the Congress working president.Shunning media reports of Priyanka being allotted the coveted post in the party, her PA told ANI that no discussion has taken place in this regard.”Complete fabrication. No such discussion took place whatsoever,” said P. Sahay, Personal Assistant of Priyanka Gandhi.According to reports, the news on Priyanka started doing rounds post the August 8 Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting.The reports further said that Congress president Sonia Gandhi raised the subject of a change in leadership of the party.In the meeting senior Congress leaders, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, suggested if Priyanka Gandhi should be made the Working President of the grand old party.

Amit Shah slams Karnataka govt; says it is "corrupt"

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Attacking the Karnataka government, BJP President Amit Shah today said in his public life, he has not seen any other establishment in the country “as much corrupt and shameless” as the one led by Siddaramaiah. In spite of several raids and arrests, the Congress does not even punish wrongdoers because they fear they would expose the government, he said addressing a group of intellectuals, invited by the party here. The BJP, however, has always punished the wrongdoers in power, he added. The BJP chief said that the Narendra Modi government had introduced 106 central schemes but their benefits were not reaching people in the state. He also asked people to overthrow the “corrupt” Siddaramaiah government because the grants by the Centre for various central schemes were not percolating down to the people. The BJP chief urged people to ask the Karnataka government that where the grants given by the centre had vanished. “You should at least ask Siddaramaiah where has the money gone? Someone asks or not, but I am going to come to Karnataka during the run-up to the Assembly election and ask for the accounts from Siddaramaiah,” he said. Under the Manmohan Singh rule, Karnataka had received Rs 61,691 crore from the central government, but under the 14th Finance Commission, the Centre gave Rs 1,86,975 crore to the state, Shah said. “The money has increased three folds under Narendra Modiji’s government,” he said. Attacking the Congress, he said the BJP was among the few parties which has protected internal democracy within the party, unlike the Congress which runs on dynastic principles. “Can anybody predict the next national president of the party (BJP). But one can predict with precision who could be the president of Congress after Soniaji decides to retire. Everybody knows it will be Rahul Gandhi. There is no confusion about it. There is no internal democracy there,” he argued. The BJP is the only party in which a boy who spent his life pasting posters (himself) and a tea seller (Modi) can climb up the ladders of the highest ranks, he said. Shah also said that whenever, the BJP ruled the nation, the GDP grew rapidly, unlike in the Congress rule. “When Atal Bihari Vajpayee took charge as the Prime Minister, India’s GDP increased from 4.4 per cent to 8.8 per cent, and when Manmohan Singh left after ten years of rule, the GDP climbed down to 4.4 per cent,” he said. “Now under the rule of Modi, who is the son of a tea seller, the GDP has increased to 7.2 per cent from 4.4 per cent,” he added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

President Kovind’s inspiring speech sums up essence of India’s strengths, democracy & diversity: PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Ram Nath Kovind on being sworn in as the President on Tuesday. Kovind was sworn in as the 14th president of India.”Very inspiring address by President Kovind, which beautifully summed up the essence of India’s strengths, democracy & diversity,” Modi said in a tweet.”Congratulations to Shri Ram Nath Kovind ji on taking oath as the President of India,” the Prime Minister said.Kovind was sworn in by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar in the Central Hall of Parliament.The 71-year-old took oath in Hindi to thunderous applause and thumping of desks by the gathering, including Vice President Hamid Ansari, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee and former president Pratibha Patil. Former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and H D Devegowda, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, former deputy prime minister L K Advani as well as Union ministers and foreign dignitaries were also present on the occasion. ALSO READ FULL TEXT: President Ram Nath Kovind’s first speech after taking oathAfter he took oath, Kovind was given a 21-gun salute to mark the assumption of office of the highest constitutional post in the country. Once the oath taking was over, Kovind and Mukherjee exchanged seats on the dais after which the new president delivered his maiden speech as president.

Kashmir issue: Cong rejects Farooq’s third-party intervention

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after Farooq Abdullah suggested third-party mediation to resolve the Kashmir issue, a high-level policy-planning group of the Congress for Jammu and Kashmir today rejected the proposal, saying the issue needs to be settled only bilaterally. The group also blamed the central and state governments for the continued killings there and hit out at them for “failing to handle the situation effectively”. The Congress leadership had formed a policy planning group for Jammu and Kashmir to take forward the peace initiative in the state. The group headed by former prime minister Manmohan Singh today met and discussed the prevailing situation in the state and expressed “deep anguish” over the developments in Kashmir. Members of the group include former Union minister P Chidambaram, former J-K chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Karan Singh and AICC general secretary in-charge of Jammu and Kashmir Ambika Soni. J-K Congress chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir and the CLP leader in state assembly are also part of the group. National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah had yesterday suggested third party mediation to resolve the Kashmir issue, saying India should take the help of “friends” and that dialogue was the only solution. Reacting to this, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had flayed any attempt at third party intervention to resolve the issue, saying “Kashmir is India”. “It is being said there should be discussion on Kashmir with China and Pakistan but my opinion is that Kashmir is India and India is Kashmir and this is our internal matter… our internal business and no one should interfere in it,” he said. The Congress has been critical of the Centre as well as the PDP-BJP coalition government over the handling of the Kashmir situation since last year’s unrest triggered by the killing of Hizbul terrorist Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces. “The group met and discussed in-depth the prevailing situation in Kashmir and was very anguished at the continued killings in the Valley. “The governments, both at the state and the centre, have not been able to deal with the situation in an effective way and have not been able to resolve it despite loud pronouncements. There is nothing seen on the ground. Killings are taking place on a daily basis,” Soni said. The group also discussed the initiatives taken by the UPA government and said the present NDA government has “negated and reversed” all of those. Sources said the group will discuss ways and means to reach out to various groups and sections in Jammu and Kashmir and hold discussions with them to help improve the situation there. Manmohan Singh is likely to submit a report on what action should be taken in future in Kashmir, they said, adding the group will study and assess the ground situation and take initiatives for restoring normalcy to the state.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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