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Gujarat Elections 2017: List of Cong star campaigners indicate massive OBC outreach, Alpesh Thakore and Sam Pitroda included

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress which is reaching out to OBCs through social coalitions in Gujarat in this assembly poll, has included young OBC leader from the state Alpesh Thakore in its list of start campaigners, which also has Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.Thakore’s name figures in the last of the 40-member star campaigner list.Thakore, who is founder of the OSS (OBC, SC and ST) Ekta March and is one of triumvirate with Patdiar leader Hardik Patel and Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani , joined Congress after meeting party Vice President Rahul Gandhi in New Deli in the last week of October.Congress has named Thakore a star campaigner apparently to blunt the BJP outreach to OBCs as the ruling party has made elaborate plans to rope in the community as a counter to Congress’ bid to wean away a chunk of Patel votes by siding with Hardik.Along with a host of senior Congress leaders from Centre and the state, the list also has Sam Pitroda, who had organised Rahul Gandhi’s US tour. Pitroda figures on number eight in the list of campaigners.Pitroda, who headed India’s National Knowledge Commission, and served as advisor to former prime minister Manmohan Singh on public information infrastructure and innovation, is currently the Chairman of Congress Overseas Department.Born to Gujarati parents Pitroda, who was a close aide of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, will travel a number of cities to campaign for Congress had early this month flagged his OBC origin in Gujarat saying “I am a Vishwakarma and the son of a carpenter. Reservation helps in uplifting those who are underprivileged, but that does not stop anyone from achieving his or her own goals.”Even in December 2011 ahead of UP assembly polls 2012, he had accompanied Rahul Gandhi in the Hindi heartland.Rahul had then, trying to reach out to Most Backward Classes, said, “Twenty years back Rajiv Gandhi thought of bringing mobile phones to India. Do you know who brought them? Sam Pitroda, who is a Vishkarma, “Barahi” (carpenter). He brought mobile phones to your houses.”The start campaigner list also includes names of film actress turned Congress leader Nagma and and cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, who left the BJP and joined Congress in January this year before Punjab elections and is a now a minister in Captain Amarinder Singh government.

Rahul Gandhi in US: Congress vice president visits Tesla’s solar research centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has visited US-based electric car major Tesla and a solar research centre in California to understand the implications of renewable and clean energy for India.Gandhi, 47, spent several hours at Sun Power and sought information on its advantages and disadvantages.”The idea (behind visiting the center) was to really understand implications (of solar power) in India,” senior Congress leader Sam Pitroda, who accompanied Gandhi, said after his visit to Sun Power’s research centre in the Silicon Valley.SunPower Corporation is an American energy company that designs and manufactures crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and solar panels.He also visited the Tesla factory in Fremont in California yesterday.Tesla is an American automaker, energy storage company, and solar panel manufacturer based in Palo Alto in California.The company specialises in electric cars, lithium-ion battery energy storage and solar panels.After his visit, Gandhi flew to Los Angeles.He is scheduled to interact with members of the think- tank community and local leaders there.

Rahul Gandhi leaves for two-week US tour; to meet global thinkers and overseas Indians

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday night left for the US, where he will interact with global thinkers, political leaders and overseas Indians on international, economic and technology issues.Gandhi, 47, will begin his nearly two-week trip to the US with an address at the University of California, Berkeley, tomorrow on the subject ‘India at 70 — Reflections on the Path forward’, where he will talk about contemporary India and the path forward for the world’s largest democracy. His great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, delivered a speech at Berkeley in 1949.”Looking forward to addressing students of University of California, Berkeley and interacting with Indian Overseas Congress members with Sam Pitroda during my visit to the US,” Gandhi said on twitter. The Congress party also said on its twitter handle that, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi will interact with students of UC Berkeley on Tuesday, September 12, 7 AM IST.” “The purpose of the visit is two-fold. One is to meet interesting and global thinkers, to have a conversation on what is happening world over on economy, on technology, on opportunities, and really understand different views from experts on the global scene,” technocrat Sam Pitroda, who is involved with the preparations of Gandhi’s visit, told PTI.Pitroda worked with Gandhi’s father and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi for nearly a decade to transform India’s telecom sector. He said Gandhi will meet overseas Indians at an event in New York as part of an outreach by the Congress party. The Congress vice president is scheduled to visit Washington DC. He is likely to address members of the think- tank community at an event organised by the Centre for American Progress, and interact with the corporate world at another programme organised by the US-India Business Council.Gandhi may meet some members of the ruling Republican Party as well. “A lot of these meetings are going to be small and private,” Pitroda said. “He wants to understand more about what’s happening globally and what’s the global view of the situation is,” he said. “He is coming to meet with students and academicians and various thinking people in the US,” Pitroda said. The Congress vice president has often visited the US, but this could possibly be the first time in his political career that Gandhi would hold public meetings, meet political leaders and deliver speeches in the country.”You know he needs to be out, he needs to express his views. You know he has been not, may be, talking publicly about his trips. But I think, it is important that he meets a large number of people this time and also overseas Congress members,” Pitroda said. “Today, the view of India is one short of protected by one group of people. We need to really talk about Indian aspirations, Indian concerns about what is going on not just in India but the world over. Rise of populism is one topic I am sure will come up in the conversation,” Pitroda said.He said Gandhi would interact with Silicon Valley people, where the technology, talent and Indian “brain power” is concentrated. “So, the idea is if you were to meet a lot of Silicon Valley people, it is better to talk about things in San Francisco.” Gandhi will also address a gathering at the Princeton University.

Rahul Gandhi not going to US to talk about Artificial Intelligence, clarifies Sam Pitroda

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming the reports of Rahul Gandhi speaking on Artificial Intelligence during his visit to the US as false, overseas Congress chairman Sam Pitroda on Sunday clarified that party Vice-President will interact with global thinkers.Media reports earlier had said that Gandhi was likely to address a gathering on Artificial Intelligence (AI), the science of making machines that think like humans.However, in a series of tweets, Sam Pitroda said, “I have seen news in media that Rahul Gandhi is coming to the US to give a talk on Artificial Intelligence. This is FALSE information.””I don’t know who is behind it but, it seems like it has gone viral. Rahul Gandhi is not coming to talk about Artificial Intelligence. But he is coming to meet with students and academicians and various thinking people in the US,” he further added.Gandhi, 47, begins his nearly two-week trip to the US with an address at the University of California, Berkeley, on contemporary India and the path forward for the world’s largest democracy.His great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, delivered a speech at Berkeley in 1949.During the visit, Gandhi will also be meeting with Indian Overseas Congress executive members and others.He also tweeted that there is a major event planned in New York with the Indian Overseas Congress, which Gandhi will be attending.He is currently grappling with the party’s sliding electoral graph after a series of defeats. In Gujarat, where elections are slated to be held later this year, it lost a veteran when party leader and former chief minister Shankarsinh Vaghela walked out of the Congress.

Prasar Bharati’s manpower audit likely to be over in 2017-18

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An audit of public broadcaster Prasar Bharati’s manpower is expected to be completed in the current fiscal, the Lok Sabha was informed today. In a written reply, Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Zubin Irani said there was an overall shortage of talent in the Prasar Bharati and many of the sanctioned posts were vacant. “Based on the recommendations of Sam Pitroda Committee report, Prasar Bharati is in the process of conducting manpower audit to look into the issue. This audit is expected to be completed during 2017-18,” she said. The Sam Pitroda Committee had given its report on Prasar Bharati in January 2014. It had recommended a comprehensive manpower audit to map Prasar Bharati’s staff requirement while noting that it has a workforce which is much bigger in size as compared to public broadcasters in other countries. Prasar Bharati runs Doordarshan and All India Radio.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Herald case: Court asks Sonia, Rahul to reply on Swamy’s plea

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Delhi court today granted three weeks’ time to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, its vice president Rahul Gandhi and four others to respond on a plea of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy seeking certain documents from the party in the National Herald case. Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen gave time till July 22 to them after their counsel submitted that they have not received a copy of the application of Swamy, who has filed a private criminal complaint. The court considered the plea of the Congress leaders and directed Swamy to hand them over a copy of the application. Swamy, in his complaint, has accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying just Rs 50 lakh through which the Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI) obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore that the Associate Journals Limited (AJL) owed to the Congress. The Gandhis and the other accused — AICC members Motilal Vora and Oscar Fernandes and Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda — have denied the allegations levelled against them. Swamy has sought documents from the AJL including a copy of the bank statement filed with the registrar of companies (ROC), the minutes of the meeting in which decision to convert the loan into share capital was taken, the balance sheet, the profit and loss account with the auditor’s report in the year in which the loan was granted. The documents sought from the Congress party include the minutes of the meeting of the Congress Working Committee authorising the loan waiver from the AJL to the YI and a copy of the loan agreement between the Congress and the AJL. The court had summoned the accused persons, besides the YI on June 26, 2014. On December 19, 2015, it had granted bail to Sonia, Rahul, Vora, Fernandes and Dubey, who had appeared before it pursuant to summonses. Pitroda was granted bail on February 20, 2016 when he had appeared in the court. Sonia, Rahul, Vora (AICC treasurer), Fernandes (AICC general secretary), Dubey and Pitroda were summoned for the alleged offences of dishonest misappropriation of property, criminal breach of trust and cheating, read with criminal conspiracy of the IPC.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BJP intensifies demand to remove Pitroda as tech. advisor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Opposition BJP today intensified its demand to remove Sam Pitroda from the post of Odisha government’s techincal advisor. “There is no point in keeping Pitroda as the technical advisor of the state govenrment after his appointment as the chairman of Congress’s overseas department,” BJP spokesman Sajan Sharma told reporters here. Pitroda enjoys the status of a cabinet rank minister as technical advisior to Odisha government. He has, however, not availed any facilities and takes a token salary of Re 1 a month. Claiming that BJP’s earlier allegation that there exists a “nexus” between the BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and AICC president Sonia Gandhi through Sam Pitroda has now been vindicated, Sharma said “Pitroda should immediately removed from the Cabinet rank.” The BJP state vice-president Samir Mohanty also alleged that Pitroda was involved in the National Herald case. “There should be no doubt over the existence of nexus betwen the ruling BJD and opposition Congress in the state which is not a good sign for the people,” he said adding that BJP would further intensify its agitation till the removal of Pitroda. The BJP leaders claimed that the people of Odisha have always suffered due to such alliances between the ruling party and the opposition. “It is wrong to say that the ruling BJD is maintaining equal distance from both Congress and BJP. We can claim that Naveenbabu has been maintaining zero distance with Congress and Sonia Gandhi,” Sharma said. Meanwhile, BJD spokesman Amar Prasad Satpathy said that Pitroda is a respected person with wide experience in telecom engineering and should not be measured in political parameters. Congress chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati said that the people in BJP should welcome Pitroda that the state is getting the service of such a “great” technocrat.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

National Herald case: IT proceedings to continue, says HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress today suffered a jolt in the National Herald case as the Delhi High Court refused to stay the income tax proceedings against Young Indian Pvt Ltd, whose major stakeholders are party president Sonia Gandhi and her son and vice president Rahul. “We are not inclined to entertain your writ petition. It is better that you withdraw it and approach the income tax assessing officer,” a bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Chander Shekhar said. The order makes it clear that the income tax proceedings will continue in the case. The court also said that the company has not moved the assessing officer and raised its grievances, so it should first approach the IT department and submit its documents. In case it is still not satisfied, the company can move the court thereafter, the bench added. Sensing the mood of the bench, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the firm, withdrew the petition which was allowed by the court that termed it “dismissed as withdrawn”. Young Indian (YI), which was incorporated in November 2010 with a capital of Rs 50 lakh, had acquired almost all the shareholding of the Associated Journal Ltd (AJL), which is the owner of the National Herald newspaper. BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, in a private criminal complaint filed before a trial court, had accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying just Rs 50 lakh, through which YI had obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which the AJL owed to the Congress party. YI had approached the high court seeking a direction to stay the IT proceedings and quashing of re-assessment notice issued against it with regard to the National Herald misappropriation of assets case. The firm had challenged a notice issued under sections 147/148 of the Income Tax Act by which the department had sought to reopen a past assessment on the ground that certain income had escaped assessment for the year 2011-12. The counsel for the Income Tax Department had opposed the petition, saying the firm has not moved the assessing officer and hence its plea was not maintainable. The trial court had summoned the Gandhis and others as accused persons, besides Young Indian on June 26, 2014. The Gandhis and other accused — Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda — had denied the allegations levelled against them. On December 7, 2015 the high court had rejected their pleas for quashing the summons issued against them by the trial court in the case. On December 19, 2015, the trial court had granted bail to Sonia, Rahul, Vora, Fernandes and Dubey, who had appeared before it pursuant to summons. Pitroda was granted bail on February 20, 2016 when he had appeared in the court. Sonia, Rahul, Vora (AICC treasurer), Fernandes (AICC general secretary), Dubey and Pitroda were summoned for the alleged offences of dishonest misappropriation of property, criminal breach of trust and cheating read with criminal conspiracy of the IPC. The IT department’s move to issue the notices followed its probe on Swamy’s complaint alleging that the Gandhis had misappropriated AJL’s assets while transferring their shares to the newly formed Young India. According to IT records, 83.3 per cent of Young Indian was held by Sonia and Rahul, 15.5 per cent by Vohra and the remaining 1.2 per cent by Fernandes.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

National Herald case: Setback for Rahul and Sonia Gandhi, HC allows Income Tax probe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a major setback for Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi, the Delhi High Court on Friday cleared the way for an Income Tax investigation into the National Herald Case.Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy’s counsel had earlier submitted a list of witnesses and other evidences against them.Swamy, in his private criminal complaint, has accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying just Rs 50 lakh through which Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI) obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which Associate Journals Limited (AJL) owed to the Congress.The Gandhis had on March 25 opposed as “vague and devoid of material particulars” Swamy’s plea seeking summoning of witnesses whose names he had filed earlier.The Gandhis, who are accused in the case along with some other Congress leaders, contended that Swamy’s plea was “in the nature of a fishing and roving enquiry which is not permissible in law”.
ALSO READ National Herald case: Subramanian Swamy seeks ex-Haryana CM BS Hooda as witnessThe list includes the names of eleven persons including All India Congress Committee’s General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi, several officials of AJL and government officials.The Gandhis and other accused — Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda — have denied the allegations levelled against them.
ALSO READ National Herald case: CBI registers case against former Haryana CM BS HoodaOn December 19, 2015, it had granted bail to Sonia, Rahul, Vora, Fernandes and Dubey, who had appeared before it pursuant to summons. Pitroda was granted bail on February 20, 2016 when he had appeared in the court.Sonia, Rahul, Vora (AICC treasurer), Fernandes (AICC general secretary), Dubey and Pitroda were summoned for alleged offences under section 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) read with section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.

Prasar Bharati to shed fat after audit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India’s public service broadcaster Prasar Bharati is all set for a revamp, and the first step towards that would be a manpower audit — a recommendation of the 2014 Sam Pitroda expert committee on Prasar Bharati. The committee’s report, submitted to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on January 2014, had stated the need to undertake a “comprehensive manpower audit and HR planning exercise to map workforce requirements for the future in line with Prasar Bharati’s mandate”. Sources said that the government will be hiring a private agency for the purpose to cancel out redundant positions across all central and zonal offices of Prasar Bharati, as well as Doordarshan (DD) and All India Radio (AIR), which fall under it. Tenders will soon be floated to narrow down on the agency. The decision was taken in the last Prasar Bharati board meeting.“The decision was long pending. The revenue earned by DD and AIR is much less than the regular expenditure of Prasar Bharati towards the salaries of employees and the internal extra-budgetary resources of DD and AIR,” an official said. Prasar Bharati, along with DD and AIR, has an estimated 49,000 employees.IMAGE MAKEOVERAfter conducting a manpower audit for Prasar Bharati, the government will also appoint agencies to work on the look and feel of DD and AIR and their packaging.
Agencies appointed by Prasar Bharati will also work on digitisation of old DD and AIR archives.

Swamy had on February 10 filed the list of witnesses

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>before the court which had on December 26 last year given him the last opportunity to submit the list. The list includes the names of eleven persons including All India Congress Committee’s General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi, several officials of AJL and government officials. In a relief to Sonia and Rahul, the court had earlier rejected “as fishing enquiry” a plea of Swamy seeking a direction to theCongress party and AJL to produce certain records relating to the case. Sonia, Rahul, Vora (AICC treasurer), Fernandes (AICC general secretary), Dubey and Pitroda were summoned for alleged offences under section 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) read with section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Herald case: Sonia, Rahul Gandhi oppose Swamy’s plea

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi today opposed as “vague and devoid of material particulars” BJP MP Subramanian Swamy’s plea seeking summoning of witnesses in the National Herald case. The Gandhis, who are accused in the case along with some other Congress leaders, contended that Swamy’s plea was “in the nature of a fishing and roving enquiry which is not permissible in law”. The submissions were made in the reply filed to Swamy’s list of witnesses and other evidence given to Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen in the case. “The application preferred by the complainant (Swamy) is vague and devoid of material particulars and is in the nature of a fishing and roving enquiry which is not permissible in law. “Swamy has proceeded to enlist the witnesses and enumerate a number of documents without divulging the dates or relevant period for most of the documents sought to be summoned through the said witnesses,” the written reply filed by the accused said. The court, thereafter, listed the matter for further hearing on April 22 after Swamy sought time to go through the submissions made before arguments on the matter could begin. The accused claimed, “Swamy, through this application, is seeking to summon witnesses and call for documents without divulging their necessity and desirability on the basis of the allegations made by him in the complaint. “The persistent attempt on the part of the complainant to have access the documents is clearly an attempt to make out a new case which is impermissible in law,” they said. Swamy, in his private criminal complaint, has accused the Gandhis and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by paying just Rs 50 lakh through which Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI) obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which Associate Journals Limited (AJL) owed to the Congress. The Gandhis and other accused — Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda — have denied the allegations levelled against them. The court had summoned the accused persons, besides YI on June 26, 2014. On December 19, 2015, it had granted bail to Sonia, Rahul, Vora, Fernandes and Dubey, who had appeared before it pursuant to summons. Pitroda was granted bail on February 20, 2016 when he had appeared in the court. (More)(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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