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Rajinikanth takes the plunge: From Amitabh Bachchan to Vinod Khanna, 11 Bollywood stars who joined politics

Announcing his political debut, Tamil superstar Rajinikanth on Sunday said he will launch his own party which will contest all 234 constituencies in the next assembly polls in Tamil Nadu. The actor, who enjoys a cult status in the Tamil cinema, is the latest in the long line of cinestars who have influenced politics in the Southern state.In India, people from all walks of life – from sports to glamour – have tried their luck in politics. While some have been quite successful and reached the highest echelons of power, the same can not be said about others. While politics in southern states is more accommodating to filmstars, the bumpy road of politics is less suited for people from Hindi film industry.While actors like Sunil Dutt and Shatrughan Sinha had a successful career as politicians, political journey of Amitabh Bachchan and Govinda had a premature death. Here we list some of the Bollywood A-listers who took the political plunge:Also readTamil Nadu: Rajinikanth to float political party, says, will contest next assembly polls1- Sunil Dutt: As an actor, Sunil Dutt ruled Bollywood in 1970s and 80s with back to back hits. After a successful film career, the actor decided to join politics in 1984 and contested his first Lok Sabha election from Mumbai North West seat on a Congress ticket. Preoccupied with a case against his son Sanjay Dutt, Sunil did not contest 1996 and 1998 elections. He decided to again contest Lok Sabha election in 1999 and won. Later, he won from the same seat in 2000 and 2004 as well. After the Congress formed a government at the Centre in 2004, Sunil Dutt became a Union minister for the first time. He was given the charge of Sports and Youth Affairs Ministry by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. During his political career, he appeared in brief roles in several films with the last being Munna Bhai MBBS starring his son Sanjay. He died on May 25, 2005. 2- Shatrughan Sinha: Known by his many nicknames, Shatrughan Sinha gave several hit films in the 1970s and 1980s before joining politics in early 1990s. He often describes his first election as a mistake as he contested against his friend Rajesh Khanna on the insistence of senior BJP leader LK Advani. He lost the by-election for New Delhi Lok Sabha seat to Khanna. He was later sent to Rajya Sabha by the BJP in 1996 and 2002. In 2003, he was made the Minister of Health and Family Welfare and was later shifted to the Ministry of Shipping. He contested from the Patna Sahib Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar during the 2009 general elections and defeated Shekhar Suman. He won from the seat in 2014 as well. Currently, the politician-actor has been sidelined by the BJP leadership and often takes anti-party stance on Twitter. 3- Rajesh Khanna: Hailed as India’s first superstar after 15 consecutive solo superhits between 1969 and 1972, Rajesh Khanna first campaigned for the Congress party in 1984 general elections. His first electoral battle was against BJP stalwart Lal Krishna Advani from the New Delhi Lok Sabha seat in 1991. He narrowly lost to Advani by nearly 1500 votes. He, however, got a chance to contest from the seat only a year later when Advani resigned to retain his Gandhinagar seat. This time, his fight was with his Bollywood friend Shatrughan Sinha. He won the seat by over 26,000 votes but never forgave Sinha for contesting against him. This was his last electoral battle. He died on July 18, 2012.4- Raj Babbar: Known for his roles in films like ‘Insaaf Ka Taraazu,’ ‘Nikaah’ and ‘Aankhen,’ Raj Babbar entered politics by joining VP Singh-led Janata Dal in 1989. He later joined Samajwadi Party and was elected to Rajya Sabha in 1994. He contested his first Lok Sabha election on Samajwadi Party ticket in 1999 from Agra and was re-elected in 2004. He was suspended from the SP for targeting the then party general secretary Amar Singh. He joined the Congress party in 2008 and contested Firozabad by-election in 2009.In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he lost to General VK Singh from Ghaziabad. He was appointed the president of Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) ahead of the Assembly elections in early 2017. He is very much active in the politics and campaigns extensively for the party in different states. 5- Dharmendra: Known for his roles in ‘Phool Aur Pathhar,’ ‘Chupke Chupke’ and ‘Sholay,’ Dharmendra joined active politics in 2004 and contested his first election from Bikaner Lok Sabha seat in Rajasthan on a BJP ticket. He won the election by over 50,000 votes. He, however, stayed away from the political limelight and did not contest the next election. He has since stayed away from active politics. 6- Hema Malini: A trained Bharatanatyam dancer and star of many hit Bollywood films, Hema Malini campaigned for the BJP in 1999 Lok Sabha elections. She was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 2003 before officially joining the BJP in 2004. She held many posts in the party and was made official candidate of the BJP from Mathura in 2004. She defeated RLD’s Jayant Chaudhary by over 3 lakh votes. She actively participates in Lok Sabha proceedings as BJP member. 7- Jaya Prada: Known for her roles in ‘Sharaabi’ and ‘Aakhree Raasta’ opposite Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Prada gave many hit films in Hindi and regional cinema before joining the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in 1994 at the invitation of its founder NT Rama Rao. She held many posts in the party but left the TDP to join Samajwadi Party after differences with the party chief N Chandrababu Naidu. She contested from Rampur Lok Sabha seat in UP during the 2004 general elections on a Samajwadi Party ticket and was elected with a margin of more than 85000 votes.She is known to be close to ex-Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh who was once General Secretary of the Samajwadi Party. She. along with Singh was expelled from the party in 2010. The two floated their own party, Rashtriya Lok Manch, in 2011. She contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from the Bijnor seat on an RLD ticket but lost. 8- Amitabh Bachchan: A long-time friend of Rajiv Gandhi, Amitabh Bachchan joined politics in 1984 at the peak of his career. He contested from Allahabad Lok Sabha seat against HN Bahuguna and won by polling 68.2% of the total votes. He quit politics after his name appeared in the Bofors scandal. He later grew close to Samajwadi Party but never officially joined the party. 9- Jaya Bachchan: In 1984, when Amitabh Bachchan contested from Allahabad Lok Sabha seat, his wife Jaya went around the city asking for votes as “moohdikhai” – the traditional gift to a bride on her unveiling the face for the first time – as the city was her in-laws’ home. She did not join active politics until her family grew close to the Samajwadi Party in light of Bachchans’ friendship with Amar Singh. She was first elected to Rajya Sabha in 2004 as a Samajwadi Party candidate and has since been the member of the Upper House of the Parliament. 10- Vinod Khanna: The Bollywood actor who wore many suits during his life including that of a monk, Vinod Khanna joined active politics in 1997 and contested from Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency on a BJP ticket. He was re-elected to the Lok Sabha from the same seat in 1999. He was made the Minister for Culture and Tourism in July 2002 and was later shifted to Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) as Minister of State. He won the re-election from Gurdaspur in 2004 but lost the seat to Congress’ Partap Singh Bajwa in 2009. He won the seat again in 2014 and remained an MP until his death on April 27, 2017.11- Govinda: After a successful career in films, in 2004, Govinda decided to take a plunge into politics. He contested from Mumbai North Lok Sabha constituency on a Congress ticket against five-term incumbent and Union Minister Ram Naik. He won the seat by over 50,000 votes. He, however, was heavily criticised for his absenteeism from the Parliament. He was also said to be inaccessible to his constituents while he continued with his film career, giving hits like Partner. He did not seek re-election in 2009 and has shown no interest in politics since then.

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DMK opposes talaq Bill, wants it sent to standing committee

Meanwhile, DMK's high-level committee, which meets for the first time after A Raja's acquittal in the 2G spectrum scam, case greeted him and Rajya Sabha MP MK Kanimozhi for proving their innocence in the court. In the resolution adopted, it was noted that the charge against the Kalaignar TV had also proved to be baseless in court.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByG Jagannath <!–end of artlbotbor–>Saturday 30 December 2017 2:38 ISTMust readMumbai’s Kamala Mills Fire | When midnight birthday bash turned into a funeral Mumbai Fire | ‘Don’t know how I got out alive,’ survivor recalls inferno horror<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Joining its arch-rival AIADMK in opposing the triple talaq Bill, the DMK on Thursday opposed the Centre over the “haste” shown in getting the Bill passed in the Lok Sabha and wanted it to be referred to a standing committee.DMK Working President MK Stalin also objected to the “stringent” three-year jail term for men and wanted to know if the BJP government at the Centre was really concerned about the welfare of Muslim women.Stalin said the Supreme Court had only said that Parliament can enact a law on the matter and there was no mention of awarding a three-year jail term. Underlining his party’s commitment to women’s rights, especially Muslim women, Stalin said: “Questions arise over the government poking its nose into the Sharia law and religious practices and bringing such a Bill with haste”. He added, “If the BJP government had no such intentions, it could have sent the bill to a Parliamentary Standing Committee to elicit views of all party members.”Meanwhile, DMK’s high-level committee, which meets for the first time after A Raja’s acquittal in the 2G spectrum scam, case greeted him and Rajya Sabha MP MK Kanimozhi for proving their innocence in the court. In the resolution adopted, it was noted that the charge against the Kalaignar TV had also proved to be baseless in court.

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Lok Sabha passes ‘historic’ triple talaq Bill

The Lok Sabha passed a Bill that proposes to make instant triple talaq a non-bailable offence with a three-year jail term for guilty husbands, a move that was hailed as “historic” by the Narendra Modi government. The Opposition Congress also welcomed the passage and called it the first step towards protection of Muslim women’s rights. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, was passed after an intense debate. The House rejected amendments proposed by AMIM, Congress and BJD. The Bill will now be sent to the Rajya Sabha for passage before it is forwarded to the President for his assent. The Bill is likely to sail through the Rajya Sabha, given the Congress’ stated support to the proposed law. Turn to P4In August, the Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional the controversial Islamic practice that allows Muslim men to divorce their wives simply by uttering the word talaq thrice. But instances of instant triple talaq have continued. Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who introduced the Bill, called it a “historic” move that would ensure gender justice for Muslim women. He said Parliament cannot remain silent when the fundamental rights of women were being trampled upon. He said the Bill was “not about any religion or community.”“Even today such an incident took place in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh,” he said adding, the husband divorced his wife simply because she overslept. The Bill would empower women to seek remedial measures for herself and her children, said Prasad. Under the law, instant triple talaq in any form — spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp — would be illegal.Trying to score political points, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters that his was the first political party to welcome the Apex Court’s decision. “We welcome the move. It is a firm step towards protection of women’s rights,” he said. However, members of RJD, AIMIM, BJD, AIADMK and Indian Union Muslim League opposed the Bill, calling it a faulty and arbitrary in nature. AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi termed the Bill “bad in law” and said its introduction would further alienate the minority. NCP leader Supriya Sule supported the Bill, with riders. She asked for removal of the three-year prison term provision. She suggested remedial action in the form of counselling. Muslim League’s ET Mohammed Bashir said the proposed law violated personal laws and was a politically motivated move by the BJP government. BJD’s B Mahtab said that he would not delve into the merits of the Bill and called the framing ‘faulty and flawed’.The government has said the Bill “empowers” Indian Muslim women by giving them a larger say in dissolving marriages, custody of minor children and the right to seek maintenance from their estranged husbands. Once the law is in place, victims will have the option of approaching the police and the legal system.

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BJP moves privilege motion against Rahul Gandhi over ‘Jaitlie’ remark

Irked by Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s tweet twisting Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s name as ‘Jaitlie’, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) moved a privilege motion against him in Rajya Sabha on Thursday.BJP member Bhupender Yadav took up the issue soon after the House endorsed External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s statement on Kulbhushan Jadhav.Moving the motion under Rule 187, Yadav urged Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu to take notice of the alleged breach of Jaitley’s privilege, who is also the Leader of the House.”All the members of this House have dignity. The name of Leader of the House Arun Jaitley has been intentionally published by the Congress president with malafide intentions to defame this House,” Yadav said.”The way the name of Leader of the House has been tweeted by the Congress president, it comes in the category of (breach of) privilege. There are precedents such as that of NC Chatterjee in 1954. I request you to go to this precedent and issue notice to Rahul Gandhi,” Yadav said.Naidu said he would take a view after examining the motion.Referring to Jaitley’s statement on Wednesday that led to end the week-long logjam in Parliament, Rahul Gandhi had tweeted, “Dear Mr Jaitlie (sic) – thank you for reminding India that our PM never means what he says or says what he means.”In his statement Jaitley had clarified Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s position vis-à-vis his ‘conspiring with Pakistan’ comments made during Gujarat campaign against his predecessor Manmohan Singh.”The statement (by Modi) did not question nor did he mean to question the commitment to the nation of Manmohan Singh or Hamid Ansari, the former vice president. Any such perception is completely erroneous. We hold these leaders in high esteem as also their commitment to the nation,” Jaitley had said.The finance minister made the statement as part of an understanding with the Congress party reached after several rounds of back channel parleys, that had led to continues stalling of the Rajya Sabha and disruptions in Lok Sabha for several days.The Congress also reciprocated by disapproving Mani Shankar Aiyar’s “Neech” comment regarding PM Modi.TWEET GONE WRONG?Rahul Gandhi had tweeted hitting at Arun Jaitley over his clarification of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment against former PM Manmohan Singh.

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Stone pelting goes down, but terror incident increase in Kashmir

The number of stone-pelting incidents in Jammu and Kashmir have come down to less than half, as compared to last year, till November 2017 even though terror related incidents increased.The total number of stone-pelting incidents have decreased from 2,808 in 2016 to 1,198 till November this year, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.”The incidents of stone-pelting against security forces in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are reported to be 2,808 during the year 2016 and 1,198 till November this year,” Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said while replying to a written question in the Rajya Sabha.The number of terror incidents this year was recorded at 337 till December 14 this year — the highest since 2011. The number was 332 last year. There was an increase in violence in the conflict-hit state since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani in July 2016.Security forces have killed 210 terrorists this year, going well beyond last year’s 150.Ahir said that an adequate number of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) personnel were deployed in Jammu and Kashmir to assist the state government in maintaining public order.”It is not considered appropriate to disclose the level of deployment of the security forces,” Ahir said, replying to another question in this regard.

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New Bill simplifies bamboo farming

The Parliament on Wednesday passed the Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2017 that will omit bamboo from the definition of trees and allow its cultivation and trade on non-forest areas without permits. The amendment was earlier adopted in the Lok Sabha on December 20, and it was passed by a voice vote after a short debate in the Rajya Sabha.Minister of Environment and Forest Dr Harsh Vardhan sought to assure and remind the House that the amendment was meant only for bamboo grown on non-forest areas and thus bamboo grown on forest land will continue to be protected under forest laws. However, opposition members from the Congress, SP and BJD questioned Centre’s haste in promulgating an ordinance on the issue, just weeks before the Parliament convened. They expressed concern that the Bill would only benefit private players, ignoring the demands of tribal communities.”It is impossible to think that there was some exigency, there was some emergency unless there was pressure that was coming from some private industry to allow non-forest areas for bamboo cultivation,” Jairam Ramesh of Congress said while terming the Bill as misleading.In his reply, Dr Harsh Vardhan said: “I am shocked to see that you (opposition) can’t see the benefit of tribals and poor farmers who are going to benefit after the bill is passed.” He argued that the Bill will help farmers double their income and also aid in increasing forest cover. Prior to the vote, Ramesh and other opposition members walked out.

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Pakistan’s ISI trying to revive pro-Khalistan movement for anti-India activities: Govt

Operatives of Pakistan’s espionage agency ISI are making efforts through moral and financial support to revive pro-Khalistan elements for anti- India activities, the government informed the Rajya Sabha today.Certain elements in Pakistan are providing funds to separatists for secessionist and terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir as well, Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said in response to a question.”Inputs indicate that ISI operatives are making efforts towards moral/financial support to pro-Khalistan elements for anti-India activities as well as to revive militancy in Punjab,” he said.He said the government has adopted an integrated approach to counter the attempts to revive militancy. This includes sustained vigilance along the borders, strengthening of mechanisms for intelligence gathering and sharing.”A close watch is maintained on the activities of various groups known to have been engaged in trying to foment terrorist activities. Necessary action is taken so as to maintain peace and harmony in the State,” he said.

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Cases of stone pelting in J&K reduced by nearly 1600 in one year: Govt

Incidents of stone-pelting in Jammu and Kashmir had come down significantly — from 2,808 in 2016 to 1,198 till November this year — Parliament was informed today.”The incidents of stone-pelting against security forces in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are reported to be 2,808 during the year 2016 and 1,198 till November this year,” Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said, replying to a written question in the Rajya Sabha.He said an adequate number of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) personnel were deployed in Jammu and Kashmir to assist the state government in maintaining public order.”It is not considered appropriate to disclose the level of deployment of the security forces,” Ahir said, replying to another question in this regard.

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Uproar in Rajya Sabha over minister Ananth Kumar Hegde’s remarks to change the Constitution

A united Opposition today disrupted proceedings in the Rajya Sabha protesting against controversial comments reportedly made by Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde on changing the Constitution and secularism.Congress, SP and BSP members trooped into the Well of the House shouting slogans seeking removal of Hegde and forcing Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to adjourn the proceedings till 1200 hours.The trouble started during the laying of the official papers on the table of the House as opposition members shouted “shame, shame” when Hegde, who is Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, rose to lay the papers listed against his name.Also readCongress seeks PM Modi’s reply on Ananth Kumar Hegde’s remarksLeader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad sought a clarification from the Minister as he could leave the House soon after laying papers.True to this, Hegde sat in the House for a while listening to opposition protests against his controversial statement that the BJP would change the Constitution by excluding Secularism from the preamble. Soon thereafter, he left the House.Also readSecular remark: Ex-panchayat member announces Rs 1 crore bounty for Ananth Kumar Hegde Azad asked if a minister does not believe in the Constitution, does he has a right to remain as a minister.”Minister who has no faith in the Constitution has no right to be a minister. He has no right to be a Member of Parliament,” he said.Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) said secularism is inscribed in the preamble of the Constitution and asked if a minister is allowed to denounce the same preamble in public.Naresh Agarwal (SP) said the Constitution is the Ramayana and Gita of democracy and any minister who abuses it and its founder Baba Saheb Ambedkar should be removed.At this, Naidu interjected to ask members not to bring Babasaheb Ambedkar into the controversy.But the opposition members remained unrelenting and trooped into the well raising slogans.Naidu asked members not to raise slogans and ordered that nothing they were saying would go on record.He then allowed Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment and Republican Party of India founder Ramdas Athawale to speak.Athawale praised the Prime Minister for honouring the memory of Ambedkar with a fitting memorial and said it was Congress which had insulted Ambedkar.”Don’t create a ruckus. You are going to be defeated in general elections in 2019 and 2024,” Athawale told the opposition.Subramanian Swamy (BJP) claimed Ambedkar did not include the word secularism in the Constitution.Naidu tried to restore order but all his efforts went in vain. “How much should I tolerate. This is not acceptable. This is not done,” he said as slogan shouting continued unabated.As opposition members continued their noisy protest and demanded a discussion on the issue, Naidu said no discussion can take place without a proper notice.He then adjourned the proceedings till 1200 hours.

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Sabang bypoll: TMC wrests seat from Congress, Gita Rani Bhunia wins by 64 thousand votes

In a sign of TMC’s growing clout in West Bengal, it has wrested Sabang assembly seat from Congress. Sabang has been a traditional fortress of Congress, but this time it slumped to the fourth spot. The bypoll was necessitated after Congress MLA Manas Bhunia defected to TMC. He is currently a Rajya Sabha MP from TMC. TMC gave the ticket to his wife Gita Rani Bhunia. According to the final results, she has got 1 lakh 6 thousand and 179 votes. Her nearest rival, Rita Mandal of CPI(M) got 41,987 votes. Bhunia finally won by a margin of 64 thousand and 192 votes. BJP candidate Antara Bhattacharya was third receiving 37,476 votes, and Congress candidate Chiranjib Bhowmick got 18,060 votes.The opposition had accused ruling TMC of widespread violence during the Sabang bypoll. The ruling party however had rejected all such allegations. Reacting to the win, TMC MP Manas Bhunia hailed it a victory for Mamata Banerjee’s developmental politics. With agency inputs

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Scurry within AAP leaders for Rajya Sabha seats

The race has started within the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to get Rajya Sabha seats a day after the Election Commission (EC) announced polls on January 16 to fill up vacancies. Three top leaders — Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh and Kumar Vishwas — who are waiting for four years for a Rajya Sabha seat have started lobbying.But CM Kejriwal wants to give the seats to a Muslim, a woman and a representative of the trading community. Sources in the party has hinted that two of them are Imran Pratapgadi, who campaigned for the party in Punjab and hails from Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi-based businessman Sushil Gupta. Sources, however, rejected speculations on Swati Maliwal being rewarded with a Rajya Sabha seat.Even though chances are less, all the three leaders are doing their best to garner support fore themselves.In case of Vishwas, his relationship with Kejriwal deteriorated after he called him an autocrat. “I am a human being. I also have ambitions. My supporters also feel that I should go the the Rajya Sabha where I will be an articulate voice against the BJP and the Congress. I founded the Aam Aadmi Party with Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia. Yet I have never even had the tea of Delhi Secretariat,” he had said.For Sanjay Singh, Kejriwal has stood by him through eups and downs. He maintains a healthy relationship with both Congress and BJP leaders. During the President’s Rule in Delhi in 2014, Sanjay Singh played a crucial role in bringing back the party from the verge of collapse. In Punjab Assembly polls this year, Sanjay Singh was made the state-in-charge but with the loss of Punjab, chances of him getting the seat is almost impossible.When it comes to journalist-turned-politician Ashutosh, who was behind making Kejriwal a national leader from an RTI activist , chances are low too. Ashutosh joined when AAP went to fight the Parliamentary polls in 2014 against two veterans — Congress Kapil Sibal and BJP Harsh Vardhan.Earlier, the party approached former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan to be its candidate, but he is believed to have declined the offer.The AAP has 66 members in the 70-member Delhi Assembly and its victory on all three seats looks certain.

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A Raja, Kanimozhi receive grand welcome at home

Two days after the CBI special court in New Delhi acquitted all accused in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case, a grand reception was given to DMK leaders – former Telecom Minister A Raja and to Rajya Sabha MP and youngest child of party chief M Karunanidhi, Kanimozhi, when they arrived at the airport on Saturday.DMK working president MK Stalin, along with senior party leaders received Raja and Kanimozhi, presenting shawls at the airport where the passengers faced a hard time with a large number of party cadres gathered to greet their leaders, affecting the movement of vehicles. The highlight of the grand reception was the hug initiated by Kanimozhi and reciprocated by Stalin. Stalin then hugged Raja too.Wading through the crowd, Kanimozhi and Raja assembled at a designated place and received shawls presented by the party cadre. Folk artists of varied disciplines performed at the airport as part of the welcome party.From the airport, Raja and Kanimozhi left to Karunanidhi’s Gopalapuram residence where they were given another round of reception by the cadres. When Kanimozhi met her father Karunanidhi, who is recovering from a prolonged illness, he pinched her cheeks and planted a kiss. Raja, who fell at the DMK patriarch’s feet and presented him a shawl, told the leader that they were all acquitted.”My father was very happy to see me and welcome me after the verdict,” Kanimozhi told reporters after her homecoming. When asked about her political plans, she said that she was very happy with the present role as women wing’s head. “Now I need not go to court and sit for the hearing. I have more time to work for the party’s growth,” she said, amid the rumours of her being given a prime role in the party.Raja said that he had a very emotional meeting with party chief Karunanidhi. “He was very happy to hear when I told him that all were acquitted in the 2G case,” he said.In the DMK patriarch’s family, Stalin has succeeded in side-lining and expelling his elder brother Alagiri, who was controlling the southern districts when Karunanidhi was active. Kanimozhi maintained a low profile with the 2G case but her acquittal would change equations within the party and its first family.

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State has to play neutral role to ensure all citizens get equal protection under law: Hamid Ansari

Former vice-president Hamid Ansari today called for ensuring basic principles of the Constitution so that every citizen can be assured equal protection under the law.Speaking at a discussion on, ‘Is Secularism Dead in India’, at Jadavpur University, Ansari said the state has to play a neutral position to make this possible. “There has to be a neutral standard which the state has to observe not in theory but in practice, equal protection has to be imbibed in the agents of state,” Ansari said. “Who can guarantee my neighbour eats the same food as I do, his faith is the same as my faith. If anything that impedes the reality of our plurality, that should not be allowed to remain there,” he said. Speaking about secularism, Ansari said it was a subject so relevant in this country.”And I dare say not only to citizens of this country but to the world which is indicative of concern in the wider international community,” he said. The fact that we are a plural society is not a matter of debate, Ansari said.From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from Bengal to Gujarat, in every direction the plurality, complexity, diversity of society is self-evident, the former vice-president added. “There is diversity in every conceivable manner, diversity of language and diversity in food habits,” he said. Ansari, who was the vice-president of India from 2007-2017, jokingly described his tenure as ex-officio chairmanof Rajya Sabha “as the referee in a hockey match”.Also readDon’t politicise Urdu; it’s the language of everyone in India: Former VP Hamid AnsariHistorian and Trinamool Congress MP Sugata Bose during in his address said secularism as set of values enables society to ride over prejudice to creatively accommodate differences and respect multiple identities.Bose said the most urgent task now is to rescue religion from bigots and nationalism from chauvinists. “We must take stand against religious bigotry and majoritarianism that is stoking our land. Majority of our people are ‘dharmabhirus’ not ‘dharmandhos,” he said. Talking about Swami Vivekananda and Rishi Aurobinda’s preachings, Bose said, “We need to engage their teachings but not allow distortion of their views for narrow political gains.”

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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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A Raja and Kanimozhi reach Chennai after 2G acquittal, get rousing welcome from DMK cadres

DMK leaders Kanimozhi and A Raja were given warm welcome by party cadres in Chennai after getting acquitted by special CBI court in the 2G court. The airport was throng with party supporters donning the traditional DMK colours. There were large number of supporters also present near DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi’s house. Both Rajya Sabha MP Kanimojhi and former Union Minister A Raja met Karunanidhi.They were welcomed by party leader and Karunanidhi’s MK Stalin. The verdict has come as a huge relief for DMK which has suffered electoral reverses and relegated to sidelines after name of their party leaders got tangled in the 2G case. DMK leader M K Stalin on Friday said the verdict in the 2G spectrum allocation case has come as a “blow” to those who wanted to “taint” the party.Hailing the acquittal of Kanimozhi and A Raja, he said the party has now emerged like “gold refined by fire.” Quoting certain observations made by the special judge in the verdict, Stalin said it showed the case was “fabricated with an aim of targeting and sidelining DMK” at the national level. “The DMK, after having faced insults and slander for baseless false charges, swam through the river of fire, and after seven years has emerged as gold refined by fire,” Stalin, DMK working president, said in a letter to partymen.The DMK was always confident of telling the truth to the world, Stalin said a day after the special court in Delhi acquitted party leaders Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha MP, and former Telecom minister A Raja. The DMK leader said Raja as then Telecom minister, adopted “progressive measures” in allocating 2G spectrum aimed at the welfare of the poorer sections of the society. This, Stalin claimed, led to an increase in mobile phone users even while bringing the rates down. He said CAG Vinod Rai had made charges of “presumptive loss” of Rs 1.76 lakh crore in spectrum allocation and even those who were aware of the differences between “practicality and presumption blew up” the matter. “Those with political vendetta, and media known for sensationalism blew up the issue against DMK in the electoral field,” he said in an apparent reference to the 2011 Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu which the AIADMK and its allies swept.Raja was always confident of getting justice through a legal battle and he himself put forward “strong arguments” before the court even as “Kanimozhi also proved she was not guilty,” Stalin, also state leader of opposition, added. Party president and his father M Karunanidhi was overjoyed when he was told about the outcome of the case, Stalin said.With PTI inputs

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Motor Vehicles Bill panel recommends in-built toilets in buses

A select committee on the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill, 2017, has recommended every traffic police or RTO official to have body wearable cameras to record offences which should be monitored in the control room, to tackle corruption on the part of the enforcement officials.The 24-member committee, to which the Motor Vehicles Bill was referred to for examination, presented its report on Friday in Rajya Sabha. It is headed by BJP leader Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe.The committee has also recommended protection to pedestrians, cyclists and bus users. It states that enforcement agencies of the States should scrupulously implement the law to protect the pedestrians, cyclists and the bus users.It states that the government should “think, while making subordinate legislations, to implement the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, to create a consultative mechanism involving the major stakeholders.” It further recommended that the long distance buses should have inbuilt toilets, stating that that while formulating the rules the governments should make appropriate provisions to incentivise the contract carriages so that they become part of the public transport system.

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Shed ‘raaj-hatth’, clarify remarks against Manmohan: Congress to PM Modi

The Congress today asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to shed his “raaj-hatth” (stubborness) and clarify in Parliament his ‘conspiracy with Pakistan’ remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh to end the stalemate and enable a discussion on issues such as the Rafale deal.With no end in sight to the current impasse on the issue, the proceedings in Parliament continued to be disrupted.Congress leader Anand Sharma held the “obduracy” of the prime minister and the attitude of the government as being responsible for the impasse in Parliament, that continued with a washout of the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha for a fourth day today.He also accused the government of wanting to continue the standoff so that issues of critical concern to the people are not taken up.Sharma alleged that the government does not want the opposition to raise issues of acts of “commission and omission” and the wrong decisions of the prime minister.He said that the government does not want that it is exposed on the floor of the House on issues such as the Rafale scam which the opposition wants to discuss.”It is the responsibility of the PM to clear doubts regarding his accusations. It is his duty to restore the dignity of the office and in the interest of parliamentary democracy that this deadlock comes to an end,” Sharma told reporters.”We urge the prime minister to shed his ‘raaj-hatth’ (stubbordness) and clarify his remarks against Singh and Ansari, which he made to win Gujarat polls,” Sharma said.The stalemate, he said, continues primarily because of the attitude of the government and obduracy of the prime pinister, who refuses to register the seriousness of the situation resulting from his “baseless and unwarranted aspersions” for electoral gains.He said, as one who is occupying the constitutional office, it is the duty of the prime minister to restore the dignity of the office of the institution.Whatever is said in politics, never before a prime minister has pointed any finger of suspicion on the commitment to the country of former prime ministers or former vice presidents or even the former Army chief.”It is in national interest, in interest of parliamentary democracy that this deadlock is brought to an end.”It is unfortunate that prime minister has still not apologised for his ill-thought accusations against the former PM Manmohan Singh who was PM for 10 years and dedicated his life for this country,” he said.Sharma, however, said it is being conveyed by government that the prime minister is not willing to take back his words.He “disappointed” the opposition today when it was his day for the Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, the Congress leader said.Sharma said the opposition also wants to raise other issues concerning the economy and job losses.The Indian economy has suffered losses due to some “wreckless” decisions of the prime minister, he alleged.

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Amidst Rahul’s rising stock, TMC says Mamata has finest credentials to take on BJP in 2019

Young leaders from across the country were reaching out to Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee for her guidance to take on the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, party leader Derek O’Brien said today.A day after Banerjee reportedly had telephonic conversations with Patidar quota agitation spearhead in Gujarat Hardik Patel and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, O’Brien said the young leaders were certain to gain from the TMC chief, who had the “finest credentials” to take on the BJP in 2019.”I am not surprised that young leaders from across the country are reaching out to her (Banerjee) for her guidance and to learn from her experiences. She has the finest credentials to take on the BJP in 2019,” he told DNA.According to O’Brien, the TMC chief was sure that the saffron party could be defeated in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls if all the anti-BJP forces came together.”Her experience, track record, role in people’s movements over the last four decades, the experience as a cabinet minister and the resounding mandate of last year (in the West Bengal Assembly polls) makes her the most credible face to take on the BJP,” The Rajya Sabha member said.”If we were to look at the future of the Opposition, Mamata Banerjee has the best credentials. She has the experience, credentials and integrity. Bengal will have an important role to play now and in 2019,” O’Brien added.Apart from Patel and Mevani, OBC leader Alpesh Thakore also played a crucial role in the Gujarat election in putting up a tough fight against the BJP, which had ruled the state for 22 years.Whereas Thakore won on a Congress ticket and Mevani won as an Independent candidate backed by the party, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), led by Patel, extensively campaigned against the BJP in Gujarat.With PTI Inputs

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Sachin Tendulkar visits adopted village

Former ace batsman and member of Rajya Sabha, Sachin Tendulkar sought speedier development in his adopted village of Donja in Osmanabad district during a visit to monitor development work.With a population of 2,800 people, Donja was adopted under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) and as per the scheme, Tendulkar gave Rs 4 crore from his MPLAD (Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) funds for infrastructure development. The first village he adopted under the scheme was Puttumraju Kandriga in Andhra Pradesh. Donja was to have access to potable water through pipelines that would fetch it from water tanks.Besides that, a new school building, sewage system and concrete roads were part of the plan. InDiya Foundation, an organization associated with Tendulkar, has also undertaken a project to provide solar energy-based lighting solutions to the school, besides other public amenities. Donja was declared an ODF (Open Defecation Free) village in November 2016 after Tendulkar adopted it.After meeting the area’s collector, Tendulkar addressed the crowd, saying, “I am overwhelmed by your enthusiasm and spirit, and hope that all of us can work together towards development of the village. The initial challenges in implementing development work have been successfully overcome and I am sure that execution of work will pick up speed. We want to showcase Donja’s development as a casestudy for other villages across the country.” He also played cricket with some children from the local school.

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When acrimony went up in smoke!

A discussion on the health hazards of smoking prompted Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday to curiously inquire about e-cigarettes, triggering rare laughter and light moments in the House.As Congress member Rajni Patil inquired, during Question Hour, about the risks of e-cigarette smoking and the government’s policy on it, Naidu was quick to ask Health Minister JP Nadda to do the explaining.”The supplementaries are over. But I would like to ask the Minister for the sake of the members’ and country’s general knowledge, what is an e-cigarette?” The question amused MPs who had a laugh, lightening up the mood amid serious discussions.As the query came from the Chair, the Minister was prompt to explain to him about the product and its effects. Nadda said, “It contains a capsule of nicotine which is heated and smoker puffs the vapour,” he said.”It does not contain tobacco but the nicotine gives a high in the head of the smoker,” Nadda added. Nadda informed the House that the government was examining ways to tackle the consumption of electronic smoking on the basis of the reports of three panels formed by the Health Ministry to study different aspects of the issue.Some countries have banned e-smoking, he said, assuring MPs that an appropriate decision would be taken.In the houseHealth Minister JP Nadda assured the House that an appropriate decision would be taken regarding the regulation of e-smoking in the country

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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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3 held for misbehaving with school staff

Three drunkards were arrested for misbehaving with the staff of a school in Badu Kalan. Matoda police reached the spot after receiving information about the misbehaviour with the staff of Rajya Ucch Prathmik Vidhyalaya Meghaniyon ki Dhani Bedu Kalan. Principal Mohan Ram Godara filed the report and told that Police have taken action and arrested the accused.6 ARRESTED IN LOOT CASEIn connection with the robbery near Lunawas Khara Road, the police have arrested six people on Monday. Police have seized the car used in this incident. Bhagwan Sahay, an employee of finance company, was looted when he returning from rural area after collecting money.On December 16, he was returning when some unidentified man looted Rs 60,000. They also took away rs 5,000 of his own.

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A dialogue with JC: Hapless Cong prays for a miracle as BJP set to wrest power in Guj and Himachal

Will results of Exit Polls be proved right in Himachal and Gujarat?The Exit Poll results of Himachal are 100% right. BJP is getting absolute majority there…Dhumal will be the chief minister and Modi-Amit Shah will also be present there…there is a tried trend in Himachal …it’s 5-year term for Virbhadra, 5 year for Dhumal…now it’s Dhumal’s turn.Will Amit Shah’s forecast of 15-year rule of BJP stand true in Himachal or will Congress come back after 5 years?Amit Shah has declared in election rallies that this time Himachal is not voting for 5 years , it is voting for 15 years. But how far this forecast is going to be true, it can’t be ascertained…after 5 years Dhumal will be 78…I think he is playing last innings…I think both the leaders are in their last leg due to their age…new generation is coming. How the pair of J P Nadda in Delhi and Dhumal in Shimla work together? Will they become two different centres of power?Nadda was a contender of chief minister…But when his name was ruled out and name of Dhumal was announced then he withdrew himself and dedicated entire focus on elections but going forward it can’t be denied that Nadda and Dhumal will be two different power centres. One will be Delhi and other will be in Shimla. High Command will have its task cut out to maintain coordination between them. Eventually what is the political future of Dhumal’s son Anurag Thakur and Virbhandra’s son Vikramaditya?As far as Anurag Thakur is concerned, he is an MP and close to Arun Jaitley. On the other hand, Vikramaditya is contesting election this time…his future is in time wrap.Will Gujarat again see the reemergence of Jodi No : Narendra-Modi-Amit Shah? Will there be absolute majority for BJP or will it be the single largest party?Jodi is Super Hit…as far as election results are concerned, I believe that BJP is getting 112 seats and Congress 70. These days public gives decisive mandate…in 2014 polls BJP had led in 162 constituencies out of 165 and in this elections, the polling percentage was 68% and if we look at it, the vote looks even more decisive. Whichever party wins, it will get 125-130 seats. But it is believed that BJP will form government will 105-107 seats.Who besides Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Rahul Gandhi emerged as the hero of poll campaign in Gujarat?If we look at heroes of Gujarat campaign then only three are there – Modi, Amit Shah and Rahul Gandhi…in second category we may keep Yogi, Smriti Irani, Jaitley, Hardik Patel and his two partners.Was the agenda of Gujarat Pride and Hindu-Muslim related issues came again into picture during last days of electioneering? Was there once again polarisation of Gujarati voters?Narendra Modi smartly raised the issue of Gujarat Pride…The word Neech which Manishankar uttered, Modi encashed that sensibly. Modi also raised the issue of Hindu-Muslim when he said that Manmohan Singh was present in a meeting with people of Pakistan to stall BJP from forming government Gujarat. This people believed to some extent. In the last leg of elections, what would be the impact of negative campaign carried out by Modi and BJP against Congress?Negative campaign is the strategy of Modi. But this should not have happened. Maximum people believed that campaigning should not stoop down to this level. When permission for roadshow in Ahmedabad was turned down, Modi campaigned from Sea-Plane. Was it Modi’s poll branding exercise? It was a masterstroke of Narendra Modi…people of Gujarat was hooked to the Plane. It was 100% a branding exercise.In this situation of Gujarat election, what would be the scenario in 2019? Will Rahul be able to give straight fight to Modi? How much impact would Gujarat and Himachal result will have on the outcome of 2019 elections?The 2019 scenario is absolutely clear which is showing Modi on seat. A Times of India survey say that 79% people want to see Modi as prime minister while Rahul Gandhi has only 16% vote for PM.In the second leg, a day before the polling, Rahul has given interview to Gujarat’s regional channel, what would be the impact on this?It was a mastermind move on Congress part…there is anxiety in BJP. That interview of Rahul was a big challenge for media managers of BJP, it was a failure. Interview came into light of election commission, sent notice to the channel and talks about filing FIR against Rahul also came into being. Later Election Commission retreated following uproar over this issue. Is Election Commission favouring BJP in case of violation of Code of Conduct and how much the independence of EC getting affected?It can’t be said that EC is favouring BJP or not but that goes as an impression among people, questions have been raised on the sanctity of EC. BJP has suffered from this.What would be the national agenda of Narendra Modi after winning elections in Gujarat and Himachal? Will he focus on governance or remain in election mode till 2019 elections? Modi is a man of passion. He has his own style of working. Whether he wins elections or not, it doesn’t affect him because he feels whatever he is doing is right. Whether it’s demonetisation or GST. But in coming days, he will have an agenda of conducting assembly and parliamentary elections simultaneously. Second agenda would be to make GST successful, third would be to have a crack down on shell companies and fourth would be to eradicate corruption. What would be the agenda of Narendra Modi’s one man army – Amit Shah? Will he again come into electioneering mode after forming cabinets in Gujarat and Himachal?If BJP forms government in Gujarat then his entire focus would be on Karnataka and then he will concentrate on Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and MP. He is completely immersed making political strategy 24X7. What is the political fallout of entry of Amit Shah in Rajya Sabha? Has remote control of BJP in Rajya Sabha gone to Amit Shah? This is Modi’s strategy not to merely send Amit Shah to Rajya Sabha but to establish him there. With Shah in RS, BJP MPs will be present in full strengthen with aggression. Definitely, the remote control will be with Amit Shah.Do you see any difference in the personality of Rahul Gandhi pre and post Gujarat elections?There is a big difference in both the situations. Earlier people used to make fun of Rahul Gandhi…now two major personality traits have been visible during Gujarat elections. Now he doesn’t hesitate and speak the language of people. His image has also seen a turnaround. Whether he wins election or not, he has emerged as a leader.Who will be Ahmed Patel of Rahul Gandhi? Or will core group of 4-5 leaders keep taking trivial decisions? Ahmed Patel has been in force as an advisor for last 20-25 years…there is no alternate to him in Congress…I don’t feel there can be any Ahmed Patel in the life of Rahul Gandhi Jagdeeshji, if I ask you to summarise this analysis in one sentence, what would you say?BJP is forming government in both the states but in Gujarat possibility of a miracle can’t be ruled out.

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Madhya Pradesh HC judge cleared of sexual harassment

Over two and a half years after the then Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari set up a three-member committee of jurists to probe allegations of sexual harassment, forcing a woman Additional District Judge of Gwalior to resign to protect her “dignity”, against Madhya Pradesh HC Judge SK Gangele, the committee has given him a clean chit.It has also said that “in the interest of justice, the complainant has to be re-instated back in the service” if she wants to re-join.The woman judge had resigned in 2014, saying she had done so to protect her “dignity, womanhood and self-esteem”.The report of the committee headed by Supreme Court Judge R Banumathi, constituted under the Judges Inquiry Act, 1968 in April 2015 was tabled in the Rajya Sabha today.This was done after a motion supported by 58 Rajya Sabha MPs to impeach Justice S K Gangele was introduced.The motion had listed three grounds of misconduct for impeachment of the Judge: “sexual harassment” of the woman judge; “victimisation” of the judge for not submitting to his illegal and immoral demands”, including, but not limited to, transferring her from Gwalior to Sidhi; and “misusing” his position as the administrative judge of the MP High Court to use the subordinate judiciary to victimise the lady judicial officer.In its 135-page report, the committee has said, “The four instances of sexual harassment alleged by the complainant are not proved beyond reasonable doubt… We hold that charge No 1 is not proved.”On the issue of the judicial officer’s transfer from Gwalior to Sidhi, the committee said the transfer committee “committed an irregularity” on solely relying on the recommendation of District Judge Kamal Singh Thakur. The transfer committee, it has said, “without making any verification…was not justified” in transferring her mid- session.More importantly, it has held, “In our view, it (transfer) was punitive”, adding that she had no option but to resign since she was transferred for the wrong reasons and at a time when her child was set to take class XII exams.The panel also found no basis in the charge that Justice Gangele misused his position to use the lower judiciary to harass the complainant.In her complaint to the CJI, the women ADJ had accused Justice Gangele of sending her a message through the district court registrar to “perform dance on an item song” at a function at his residence. She said a day after the function, which she chose not to attend, the Judge allegedly told her “he missed the opportunity of viewing a sexy and beautiful figure dancing on the floor”.Incidentally, a in-house committee of judges, constituted by the Chief Justice of India before the impeachment motion was moved, to probe the charges against Justice Gangele had exonerated him, holding there was “insufficient” evidence to establish the charge of sexual harassment.However, the committee had also found that Justice Gengele to be “ambivalent and evasive about facts which are within his knowledge”. It had also raised questions of propriety of a High Court Judge (Justice Gengele) holding a public event to celebrate his 25th marriage anniversary on December 11, 2013, which was attended by many government officers.

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Winter Session | Rather than demanding apology, Congress should say sorry for Pak meeting: NDA goes on counter-attack

The ruling NDA today decided to take a tough stand against the Opposition in Parliament after the Congress and other parties stalled the Rajya Sabha demanding an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his remarks against former prime minister Manmohan Singh.At a meeting of top NDA leaders here, Modi asked the ruling alliance to strongly push the government’s legislative agenda in the Winter Session of Parliament, sources said. Talking to reporters after the meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said that instead of attacking the prime minister, the Congress should apologise for the meeting held between its leaders, including Manmohan Singh, and Pakistani officials without informing the government.His remarks indicating a counter-offensive by the NDA in Parliament came after the Rajya Sabha was adjourned till Monday following the opposition’s protests over Modi’s remarks at a Gujarat election rally in which the prime minister had accused Singh of colluding with Pakistan to influence the state polls. “Rather than demanding apology from Prime Minister, they (opposition) should apologise for what they have done…. Without informing the government their leaders met Pakistani officials,” Kumar said.Also readWinter session of Parliament: Amit Shah gets royal welcome from BJP MPs on first day in Rajya Sabha NDA sources said Modi referred to India’s progress on a host of issues, including its jump in the ease of doing business ratings and reform measures like the GST, to underline his government’s “able” handling of economy. A leader, who attended the meeting, said the prime minister also pointed out the government’s legislative agenda for the Winter Session and asked them to work together for pushing it in Parliament. The Prime Minister cited various important legislations listed in the session including a bill to to grant the constitutional status to National Commission on Backward Classes (NCBC) and muslim women protection of rights on marriage bill, and asked the leaders to ensure their passage in the session.Also readWinter Session of Parliament begins, Congress seeks PM Modi’s apology over Pakistan remarkModi also asked them to ensure presence of ruling alliance members in both the Houses. Earlier speaking in the BJP’s parliamentary party executive meeting also, the prime minister stressed on maximum attendance of the MPs in both the houses, BJP MP Sharad Tripathi, who was present in the meeting, said.Modi also emphasised that people should be made aware of the rates of the consumer goods which have come down following the reduction in GST rates, Tripathi added. The prime minister also spoke about the law enacted by his government that raised the maternity leave to 26 weeks from 12 weeks. He noted that Ivanka Trump, daughter of US President Donald Trump, had praised the progressive law in her comments during her visit to India and said that even many developed countries do not have such a legislation.

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No need to beg, we are independent: RS Chairman Venkaiah Naidu asks members to get rid of colonial terms

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu brought minor changes in the conduct of the Rajya Sabha on the first day today after taking over as its Chairman, asking ministers and members not to use colonial terms while laying papers on the table.Presiding over the Upper House proceedings on the opening day of the winter session of Parliament, Naidu said no one should use the word “I beg to” while laying papers on the table.”Just say I raise to lay on the table” the listed papers, he said. “No need to beg… This is independent India.”Also readManmohan Singh meets Venkaiah Naidu on eve of Parliament sessionHe made the observation after the ministers called to lay the listed papers on the table, began their sentences by saying “I beg to lay on the table the papers listed against my name in today’s revised list of business.”Naidu was however quick to clarify that this was only a suggestion and not an order.Also readWhat’s wrong with Vande Mataram? If not mother, will you salute Afzal Guru, asks Vice President Venkaiah Naidu This was not only the change that Naidu brought in on the first day as the presiding officer of the House. He also stood up while reading out obituary references.His predecessors Hamid Ansari and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat used to read the obituary references while being seated.Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan too stands while reading out obituary references.Naidu took over as the Vice President of India in August. Vice President is also the presiding officer of the Rajya Sabha.

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Three-member RS panel acquits Madhya Pradesh HC judge accused of sexually harassing colleague

A three-member panel set up by the Rajya Sabha to probe the impeachment of a Madhya Pradesh High Court judge over allegations of sexual harassment of a lady judicial officer found him not guilty.The committee comprising Justices Bhanumati, Manjula Chellur and AG KK Venugopal also said if the lady judicial officer, who resigned due to sexual harassment, wants her job back, she should be given it.The complainant made the charges against the high court judge days after she was transferred and resigned from her position subsequently. In 2015, while the apex court case was pending, 58 members of the Rajya Sabha sought to initiate impeachment proceedings against the high court judge.An additional district and sessions judge at Gwalior had alleged that the high court judge sent her a message through the district court registrar to “perform a dance on an item song” at a function in his residence. She also claimed that she was “victimised” later by being transferred from Gwalior to Sidhi.The panel, however, found evidence that is “suggestive of the respondent judge’s interference with the transfer and rejection of the representations of the complainant… but since charges of sexual harassment are not proven, it cannot be said that this interference is on account of not submitting to his immoral demands”.

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You loved it when same EC declared Ahmed Patel a winner: BJP slams Congress over ‘puppet’ comment

The BJP today lashed out at the Congress after it accused the Election Commission of acting like a “puppet” of the government, and said the opposition party was looking for excuses before its impending defeat in the Gujarat polls.A party delegation, which included Cabinet ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi among others, also met the Election Commission to refute the charges levelled by the Congress against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders.Though the delegation members did not speak to media on record, sources said they submitted a memorandum to the EC where they accused the opposition party of misleading the poll watchdog and called the attack on it “unfortunate”. Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Congress files anticipatory complaint with EC against PM Modi’s ‘roadshow’BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimhra Rao launched a sharp attack on the Congress, saying its “dynastic arrogance” was on display in its attack on the EC.The party should find better excuses for its “impending defeat”, he said and deprecated “verbal abuse” by the Congress.The Congress was upset because the EC dared to serve notice to “King Rahul”, Rao claimed.Also readGujarat elections 2017: ‘Modi, Modi’ chants and 500-metre walk – When PM Narendra Modi stood in queue to cast his vote “Sheer pettiness of the Congress to call the EC names is glaring. You loved it when the same EC declared Ahmed Patel a winner in the Rajya Sabha poll. Why are you taking out your anger now on it for the (people) spontaneous support to the PM?”Isn’t it too much to expect the EC to act as Parivar’s Darbaris (courtiers of the family)?” he tweeted.Also readGujarat elections 2017: PM Modi’s mother Heeraben casts her vote in GandhinagarThe Congress today said the Election Commission was a BJP “puppet” as the party criticsed it for not acting against Modi after he hed a “roadshow” in Gujarat. After casting his vote at Sabarmati in Ahmedabad district, the prime minister was seen walking some distance and greeting people standing on both sides of the road outside the polling booth. Later, he stood on the foot-board of his car and waved to the crowd.

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Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut plans full-fledged commercial biopic on late party patriarch Bal Thackeray

Senior Shiv Sena leader and MP Sanjay Raut is planning a biopic on late party patriarch Bal Thackeray, with an aim to bring before the people the real personality of the fiery leader.”It will be a full-fledged commercial film produced by me. The film will reveal the true personality of the great leader that Balasaheb was,” Raut told PTI.The Rajya Sabha MP, however, refused to disclose the names of the director and actors of the film.Raut, who has closely worked with Bal Thackeray for over two decades, said the formal announcement of the film will made on December 21, when its trailer will be released in the presence of Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.According to him, the shooting of the film will start sometime in January (2018) and is expected to be ready for release by early 2019.Also readBal Thackeray memorial row: Bombay HC asks BMC to maintain status quo on eviction notice to kindergarten school”The film will be shot mostly in Mumbai and many of the scenes will be shot at the actual locations, where a particular event had taken place. It will take around 3-4 months for us to complete the shoot,” Raut said.Thackeray, an advocate of a strong pro-Hindu policy, died on 17 November 2012 in Mumbai at the age of 86. Besides being known as an aggressive leader, Thackeray was famous for his political cartoons.

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Winter Session to mull over 25 bills

The government and Opposition are warming up to face each other in Parliament Winter Session to be held from December 15, a day after the end of Gujarat polls. While Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar has called a meeting of the leaders of various parties on Thursday evening, Rajya Sabha Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has also convened a meeting of Opposition leaders to evolve a joint strategy. With 14 sittings, a heavy agenda awaits the session — there are 25 bills to be tabled for discussion. 14 bills are scheduled to be introduced, one is listed for withdrawal.To ensure a smooth session, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has also convened a meeting of party leaders in the Lok Sabha.The first actual working day of the Winter Session will be Monday as the Houses will adjourn on Friday as a mark of respect to the members who died since monsoon session. The working day coinciding with Gujarat and Himachal poll results is expected to be heated as the ruling BJP and the Congress-led Opposition has several issues to lock the horns.The agenda of the session is to discuss crucial bills including the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, Good and Services Tax (Compensation to State) Amendment Bill, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, to name a few.While the Centre has been keen on passing the bill to outlaw triple talaq, the Opposition has been rallying under the Women’s Reservation Bill that has not been passed for decades. The Bill provides reservation of one-third to women, and was introduced by the UPA in May 2008. Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said that the Opposition will not leave the Centre with any chance of not passing the bill.”You (government) will have to give the women reservation. The Congress party will not leave you with any choice,” Gandhi said while meeting members of the Mahila Congress.Gandhi’s mother, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi had met the Prime Minister in September, urging him to pass the bill. While Sonia said that the bill had been passed in the Rajya Sabha on March 9, 2010, when the UPA was in power, the Centre said that the Congress was aiming for the optics.The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has come under attack from the Opposition for delaying the dates of the Winter Session to accommodate the Gujarat Assembly elections. Usually, the Winter Session convenes from the last week of November and ends in the third week of December. A two-day holiday for Christmas has been approved.

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Rajya Sabha: Amit Shah to be in the front row, 3 senior opposition leaders bid adieu

BJP president Amit Shah will join Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union minister Arun Jaitley in the front row of the treasury benches, adding weight to the NDA’s voice in the Rajya Sabha.With M Venkaiah Naidu at the chairman’s seat in the upper house of Parliament, the front row position he occupied as a senior leader will now be taken up by Shah. The seating arrangements have been issued by the Rajya Sabha secretariat for new members. Shah will be in the front row, on the other side of the aisle from Prime Minister Modi and BJP’s leader of the house, Arun Jaitley.While Shah will add to the strength of the ruling party, the opposition side will be weakened with the absence of three leading and vocal occupants of its first row — rebel JD(U) member Sharad Yadav, CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury and Mayawati of the BSP. With Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) joining the NDA, its members will move from the opposition to the treasury benches. Yadav was recently expelled from the party and disqualified by Rajya Sabha chairperson Naidu. JD(U) leader RCP Singh will now occupy what would have been Yadav’s seat as the party leader in the House.Also readWatch: Pained by falsehood and canards spread by PM Modi, says Manmohan; Amit Shah hits back The opposition voice will lose some of its strength with the absence of CPI(M) general secretary Yechury, whose tenure in the Rajya Sabha came to an end after his party decided not to give him a third term in Parliament. Yechury’s front seat now will be taken by fellow-comrade T K Rangarajan. The BSP will miss its chief Mayawati, who resigned from Parliament in a huff during its last session. The BSP supremo had in July quit the Rajya Sabha, complaining that her voice was being muzzled. After her resignation, her seat was occupied by her confidant, BSP leader Satish Mishra.

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Motor vehicle tax evasion: Actor Suresh Gopi files anticipatory bail plea

Malayalam actor and Rajya Sabha MP Suresh Gopi today filed an anticipatory bail plea in the Kerala High Court with regard to a case of allegedly forging documents to get his two luxury vehicles registered in Puducherry to evade motor vehicle (MV) tax in Kerala.Police had registered an FIR against the actor on December 5, charging him with falsifying and fabricating documents by showing an address in the Union Territory of Puducherry and getting the vehicles registered there, causing revenue loss to the Kerala government.The FIR is pending before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Thiruvananthapuram.Also readBJP MP Suresh Gopi booked for forging documents to evade Motor Vehicle TaxIn his anticipatory bail plea, Gopi said the allegations prima facie were false.He said that he had chosen to register the two vehicles at Puducherry, where he has tenanted a premise since 2009.The BJP MP said he owns agricultural land around Puducherry, which was being looked after by family members, including his brothers.He said he has a house at Bengaluru and his brothers have residences at Coimbatore and Tuticorin, so the vehicles were frequently used to ply within these states.Gopi said the charges had caused great insult and annoyance to him, and this would be further eroded and worsened if he was arrested.He said he was prepared to fully cooperate with the investigation team and at any time they wished to interrogate him.Police have said the actor-turned-politician used a fake residential address to register his luxury vehicles in the Union territory to evade the 20 per cent tax in Kerala on luxury cars costing Rs 20 lakh and above.

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BJP MP files case against Mani Shankar Aiyar in Pune for his ‘neech’ remark against PM Modi

The controversy over suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Pune when a case was registered against Aiyar based on the complaint given by BJP MP Amar Sable. Sable had approached Nigdi police station with a complaint against Aiyar on Friday, claiming that the congress leader’s remark against the prime minister was deliberate. Based on his application, Nigdi police registered a non cognisable case against him on Sunday. Amar Sable, BJP’s Dalit face in Maharashtra, is a Rajya Sabha MP from the state. Senior police inspector Vijay Palsule, in charge of Nigdi police station, told DNA, “We had received the complaint from the member of parliament Sable. In his complaint, the MP has claimed that he was watching Aiyar’s press conference in Nigdi when he heard his remarks against the prime minister. Taking objection to his statement, he had given the complaint. Based on that, we have registered a NC (non cognisable) case against Aiyar.”Also readPM Modi turns the knife after ‘neech’ jibe, lists out every insult Congress threw at himSpeaking to a news agency, Aiyar had called Modi a ‘neech aadmi’. Following his remarks, the BJP and the prime minister took offence to Aiyar’s statement and raised the issue during election campaign rallies in Gujarat. The would-be Congress party president Rahul Gandi had asked Aiyar to tender an apology. Later in his clarification, Aiyar blamed his poor knowledge of Hindi language for his remarks. Also readAfter ‘neech aadmi’ jibe at PM Modi, Mani Shankar Aiyar suspended from Congress He has since been suspended from the Congress party. Amidst the controversy over Aiyar’s statement, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Amar Sable decided to take legal action against the Congress leader. Sable said, “Aiyar’s remark was an deliberate attempt to tarnish the image of the prime minister. By calling him ‘neech’, Aiyar has tried to create a divide in the society over caste issue. Such statement by a him may result into tension between community, hence I thought it was my duty to take legal action against him.”

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Medical cover for sex change ops on anvil for transgenders

The Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry has sought to make a few changes to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill before introducing it in the Winter Session of the Parliament. Significant among these changes — nine to be precise — include the expansion of the definition of transgender to include the hijra community, inclusion of the definition of intersex, and providing medical cover for sex reassignment surgery.Ministry officials said the reason behind the changes was a report on the Bill that the Standing Committee submitted to the Parliament in July this year. The committee, headed by BJP MP Ramesh Bais, pointed at several loopholes in the Bill and said that transgenders “remain at risk of criminalisation under Section 377 of the IPC”, if the Bill was implemented.To bring in these changes, the ministry first sent the changes to the law ministry, which approved it.In a note to the Cabinet that the ministry sent out in November, it wrote: “The Standing Committee has made recommendations, of which nine have been accepted by the ministry. In the above backdrop, based on the report of the Standing Committee, the ministry proposes to make official amendments to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016,” read the note.One of the key changes is the redrafting of the definition of transgender. As per section 2 (i) of the Bill: “Transgender person means a person who is a) neither wholly female nor wholly male or b) a combination of female and male or c) neither female or male, and whose sense of gender does not match with the gender assigned to that person at the time of birth. It includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, and gender-queers.”Yet, as per the new changes mooted by the ministry, a transgender person is one “whose gender does not match to the gender assigned to the person at birth and includes trans-man or trans-woman (whether or not such person has undergone sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy or laser therapy or such other therapy), gender-queer, and persons having such socio-cultural identities as kinnar, hijra, aravani, jogta, kothi, or other similar identity.”A “person with intersex variations”, an addition to the Bill proposed by the ministry, is defined as “one who at birth shows variation in primary sexual characteristics, external genitalia, chromosomes, or hormones from a normative standard of male or female body.”Apart from that, the government has also proposed defining of “family” as “a group of people related by blood or marriage or by adoption made in accordance with law”. The government has also proposed doing away of the District Screening Committee for the issuance of a transgender certificate, and doing away of the minimum number of 100 individuals that need to be in an organisation to make it mandatory for the organisation to have a complaint officer.Another addition is that of children to the list of people that cannot be separated from a transgender, and the provision for “coverage of medical expenses by a comprehensive insurance scheme” for sex reassignment surgery.Yet, the proposed changes to the Bill do not reflect some key recommendations of the Standing Committee report, including addition of a section on “discrimination” against transgender people, specifications of the division of the share of responsibilities of the Centre and the states, defining the role of the National Council for Transgender Persons, provision for counselling for better mental health, provision of meaningful livelihood options, and the inclusion of a section on transgender in application forms or other such forms.Bill’s journeyDMK Rajya Sabha MP Tiruchi Siva introduced a private member’s Bill titled The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 in December 2014, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha in April 2015. His Bill, with several expansive sections, was rejected by the government because they felt it suffered from some “infirmities” and the government drafted its own Bill and introduced it in the Lok Sabha. When appraised of the changes that the government was mooting, Siva said that unless the Bill has provisions for employment, education, reservation, self-identification of gender, and a tougher National Council for Transgender Persons, it was lacking in will. “The Bill will not realise the goals it sets out to make,” Siva said.

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Even Ajmal Kasab got chance, but in my case ‘Supreme Court’ gave order straightaway: Sharad Yadav after RS expulsion

Rebel JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav today said he will challenge his disqualification from the Rajya Sabha in court and claimed that his opposition to JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar and the BJP resulted in the ouster.He suggested that he was denied a fair play, noting that the case of embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who “looted” public exchequer, was sent to the Ethics Committee pf Parliament but he was not allowed such an opportunity despite being a veteran parliamentarian who took up “people’s causes” in his career. At a press conference, Yadav disapproved of Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu’s comments defending his decision but said the institution of the Rajya Sabha was too important to him to attack Naidu.Even Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani terrorist hanged in India following his conviction in the Mumbai terror attack case, was allowed to exhaust all appeals available to him but in his case the “supreme court”, an apparent reference to Naidu, gave an order straightaway without referring the matter to a parliamentary committee, he said. Yadav, who was elected to the Lok Sabha seven times and the Rajya Sabha four times, said in a lighter vein that his “new freedom” will give him more time in uniting opposition parties against the BJP.Also readSharad Yadav’s disqualification from Rajya Sabha illegal, must be revoked: Arvind Kejriwal”I was not shocked that I have been disqualified… I was expecting the same outcome,” he said, suggesting that it was decided in advance. Noting that he had resigned three times in past as an MP on moral ground, Yadav said had he been interested in power, then he would have been part of the government now. The constitutional provisions invoked by the Rajya Sabha chairman to disqualify might not apply in his case, he said, noting that he would file an appeal against it in court.”My fight is for principles and democracy. I will fight it in all forums, including court,” he said. Yadav also accused the BJP of using religion to polarise voters in the Gujarat and claimed that the party will suffer defeat like it did in Bihar. The JD(U) had sought Yadav’s disqualification after he attended a RJD rally in Patna in August following his opposition to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to jettison his party’s alliance with the RJD and the Congress and join hands with the BJP.Also readSharad Yadav should seek Lalu Prasad Yadav’s help nowThe disqualification decision came within three months of the JD(U) moving a plea, inviting criticism from opposition leaders. Naidu, however, said yesterday that justice delayed was justice denied, asserting that such matters should be decided quickly.
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Poster in Surat claims Ahmed Patel to be made ‘Wazir-e-Alam’ of Gujarat, Cong leader calls it fake

A poster has emerged in Surat just couple of days before the first phase of Gujarat elections in support of Congress. It urges Muslims to unite and give vote to the Congress party, so that senior leader Ahmed Patel can become the ‘Wazir-e-Alam’ of Gujarat. So essentially, the poster claims that Ahmed Patel can be the Chief Minister of the state. As soon as the news broke, Ahmed Patel issued a clarification on Twitter. He said that it’s a fake poster and he doesn’t have any aspiration of becoming the Chief Minister of Gujarat. He also blamed BJP for trying to mislead people. He tweeted, ” Putting up fake posters and orchestrating a rumour campaign shows the utter desperation of the BJP. Fearing defeat, do they have to rely on such dirty tricks? I have never ever been a candidate for CM and will never, ever be.”Analysing the reason behind the ‘fake poster’, Ahmed Patel said, “The moot issue is that BJP is trying very, very hard to divert the narrative from its performance of last 22 years to a divisive agenda. Hence their reliance on lies & propaganda.But people of Gujarat have made up their mind this time”. Earlier in August this year, there was massive controversy when Ahmed Patel was re-elected for Rajya Sabha from Gujarat. BJP candidate gave him a close fight. The case is still pending in the High Court.
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Sharad Yadav’s disqualification from Rajya Sabha illegal, must be revoked: Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today condemned the disqualification of JD(U) rebel leader Sharad Yadav from the Rajya Sabha as “illegal” and a “political vendetta”.The disqualification must be revoked, Kejriwal said.”Disqualification of Sharad Yadav ji is completely illegal and unconstitutional. It is political vendetta. We strongly condemn it and demand that disqualification be revoked,” Kejriwal tweeted.Rebel JD(U) MPs Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar were disqualified from the Rajya Sabha on Monday night.Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu agreed to the JD (U)’s contention that the two senior leaders had “voluntarily given up” their membership by defying their party s directives and attending events of opposition parties.Also readVenkaiah Naidu’s decision to disqualify Sharad Yadav, Ali Anwar from Rajya Sabha ‘casts a shadow’: Sitaram YechuryThe JD(U) had sought their disqualification on the grounds that they had attended a rally of opposition parties in Patna in violation of its direction.Yadav had joined hands with the opposition after JD(U) president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kuamar dumped the Grand Alliance in Bihar and tied up with the BJP.Also readRebel JD(U) leaders Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar disqualified from Rajya Sabha Yadav was elected to the House last year and his term was scheduled to end in 2022. Anwar’s term was to expire early next year.
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Sharad Yadav should seek Lalu Prasad Yadav’s help now

The Nitish Kumar-led faction of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) took a dig at former party president Sharad Yadav who was disqualified from Rajya Sabha, saying he should move back to Jabalpur or sing praises for Lalu’s family to remain politically relevant.JD-U’s charge was led by its spokesperson-cum-MLCs Neeraj Kumar and Sanjay Singh who said Sharad had lost his political relevance. “Sharad has no base in Bihar. He tried to take the crutches of of Lalu Yadav’s burnt out ‘Laalten’ but now he should move back to his home and take care of his household there,” Singh said.Kumar, on the other hand, said that only chanting “Lalu zindabad” will no longer work for Sharad Yadav. “Now that he has been disqualified as an MP, he will have to sing praises for Lalu’s wife Rabri Devi and sons Tej Pratap and Tejashwi, if he is to remain on their beneficiary list.”The Bihar unit of the JD-U has welcomed the decision taken by Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, to disqualify rebel MPs Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar from Rajya Sabha membership, and said this will spread the message of political propriety. “It is all a result of Lalu’s ‘kusangati’ (bad companionship). People should know that no one is above the party,” said a senior party leader based in Patna.
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Venkaiah Naidu’s decision to disqualify Sharad Yadav, Ali Anwar from Rajya Sabha casts a shadow: Sitaram Yechury

Vice President and Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu’s decision to disqualify rebel JD(U) leaders Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar from the upper house “casts a shadow”, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said today.Yechury also questioned the “mind-boggling” speed with which the decision was taken.”Like Ceasar’s wife, the Rajya Sabha Chairman’s decision must be above questioning, but the disqualification of Rajya Sabha MPs Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar casts a shadow,” Yechury tweeted.He also questioned the urgency shown by the chairman.”The petition was filed on September 2 and the decision is out on December 4. The speed is mind-boggling. Similar cases are pending in Lok Sabha for over a year. So political affiliation is the only thing that matters?” the Left leader asked.Also readRebel JD(U) leaders Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar disqualified from Rajya Sabha Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar were disqualified from the Rajya Sabha on Monday night.Naidu said in his communication that both leaders ceased to be Rajya Sabha members with immediate effect.
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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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Raj gov employees take out protest rally demanding implementation of seventh pay commission from Jan 1, 2016

Rajasthan government employees today took out a protest rally to press for their various demands, including implementing the recommendation of the seventh pay commission from January 1, 2016.The state government had yesterday announced that it would provide benefits under seventh pay panel recommendations to its nearly 12.5 lakh employees and pensioners with effect from January 1 this year.A large number of state government employees gathered at Ram Niwas Garden here to take out a protest rally to Civil Lines area and decided to carry on with the protest in a phased manner.The employees under the banner of Akhil Rajasthan Rajya Karamchari Sankyukt Sangarsh Samiti will go on mass leave on December 8, convener of the samiti, Gajendra Rathore said.He said on December 11, 12 and 13, employees will go on fast, and observe a pen-down protest.On December 13, state government is completing its four- year rule in the state and yesterday it had announced to give arrear of 7th pay commission from January 1, 2017, but the employees are demanding the benefits from January 1, 2016.
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Gujarat Elections 2017 | PM Modi hits out at Congress; says they oppose for sake of opposing

Prime Minister Narendra Modi continued his campaign in Gujarat as he visits the state for two days. On Sunday, the prime minister addressed a rally in Bharuch, where he hailed his party’s victory in Uttar Pradesh’s civic polls.”We saw what happened to the Congress in the local elections. They were wiped out. Uttar Pradesh knows the Congress well, as does Gujarat,” the PM said.Maintaining that the BJP wave would decimate the Congress in the upcoming Gujarat elections, PM Modi lashed out at the Congress’ caste-based policies that have divided the nation for several years. “Congress is known for making people of different castes, communities fight among themselves,” the PM said.Also readGujarat people believe in vikaswaad, not caste-based politics: Amit Shah takes dig at CongressHe also said that the main problem with the Congress was that they opposed for the sake of opposing. “They oppose things like bullet train only because they could not take this initiative forward and are envious someone else is,” PM Modi said.He also spoke of how Congress leaders from the state fled to Bengaluru when there were floods in Gujarat. “They were trying to save a leader from losing the Rajya Sabha polls. That leader has done nothing for Bharuch or for the state,” the prime minister added.Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | PM Modi to be back for two days today, Rahul Gandhi on 5thPM Modi also played down the Congress’ claims that Muslim areas had not developed under the BJP rule. “Bharuch and Kutch are districts with significant Muslim populations. And, if you see the districts which developed rapidly under the BJP tenure in Gujarat, the names of these two districts figure prominently,” he said, adding that the law and order situation was poor in these districts when the Congress was in power. “At the time, violence was common. The BJP has changed this all over Gujarat,” he said.
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GES 2017: Rajya Sabha MP, Subhash Chandra speaks on the ‘Future of Cinema’

The first day of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2017, Hyderabad, witnessed an engaging panel on the theme ‘Future of Cinema’ consisting of prominent dignitaries from the field of cinema and television. Moderated by Subhash Chandra, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, the panel included Aditi Rao Hydari – Actor, Ronnie Screwvala – Producer and Onyekachi Stephanie Linus Idahosa, CEO, Next Page Productions. Moderating the panel discussion, Subhash Chandra, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha said, “In the initial days of television in India, there used to be only one film on television per week. When we started the first private television station, the film industry felt we are going to close down the industry by showing movies on television but the contrary happened. Now, the satellite television contributes to almost 50% of movie’s budget or even more than that.” Commenting on the advent of digital in Indian films, Chandra added, “When you watch a cinema in a theatre, it’s a larger than life experience while digitally you see everything on a 5-inch screen. With Digital, there are no barriers today, you can cross over to various other mediums and that’s the beauty of the digital world.”Also read’Future of Cinema’ with Dr Subhash ChandraThe panellists discussed in detail the challenges faced by the film industry especially in sourcing adequate funds, decreasing number of theatres and men-women ratio. During the discussion, the panellists highlighted the significant role of the Indian film industry in the Indian economy in terms of job creation and employment.The advent of digital in Indian films and its contrasting approach to that of the theatrical film experience was one of the main discussion points during the session. The panellists advocated for increased creative contribution by women as great writers, producers and directors. They also discussed and acknowledged the need to bridge the gender gap and to make the industry’s environment more conducive to women. The discussed ended with a fruitful question & answer session wherein the audience was keen to hear the panellists’ views on the role of women in Indian and global cinema and the hurdles faced by them in their careers.Also readGES 2017 | Rajya Sabha MP Dr Subhash Chandra says ‘very few female directors, women need to be encouraged’The aim of the annual entrepreneurship gathering- Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 is to highlight the theme Women First, Prosperity for All, and will focus on supporting women entrepreneurs and fostering economic growth globally. On day zero, Subhash Chandra also attended the gala dinner at Hyderabad’s famous Falaknuma Palace, hosted by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the President of the United States. Apart from PM Modi and Ivanka Trump, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao, Telangana Governor ESL Narasimhan, ICICI CEO Chanda Kochhar, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and Tata Sons Chairman N. Chandrashekaran also attended the event.
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On issue of joining politics, my wife clearly says no: Raghuram Rajan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Ruling out any possibility of entering politics, former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan today said he is happy being a professor and it’s the job he likes.On being asked if he had an offer from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to join the Rajya Sabha, he said, “No comments on whether I was offered anything. When I was in RBI, people were desperate to get me off to IMF, when I am back as professor, people are desperate to see me elsewhere. I am very happy being a professor. I have my brain working many hours of day.It is a job I like.”On possibility to join politics, Rajan said, “The answer is no…on issue of politics my wife says very clearly no.” The AAP had approached Rajan offering him a Rajya Sabha seat from Delhi, which was reportedly rejected by the ex-RBI governor.In a recorded interview played at the Times Litfest here, Rajan, without disclosing much details, said he is working on another book.This book will be “an attempt to understand better the world we live in. The issue of identity, issue of community and how it impinges on the broader process of economic integration and growth”, he said.His last book, titled ‘I do what I do’ was released in September, touched various aspects of the Indian economy.He also talked about issues like tolerance and connection between political freedom and prosperity in the book, which was a collection of essays and speeches during his stint as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor.Talking about the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Rajan said it is good in the long run even though there are some issues.”There is need to remove the glitches,” he observed.On the relationship between the RBI and the government, the former central bank governor said that it has been developed over the years and it is largely of mutual respect.”Yes, there are frictions which are always there in any relationship,” he said.To a question if autonomy of the RBI as an institution compromised, he said, he is not alarmed.The RBI functions under the government and complete independence is not possible, he said.

Why Mukul Roy is getting ‘Y-plus’ security? Trinamool leader files plea in Calcutta High Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Trinamool councillor has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Calcutta High Court objecting against the Central government providing for ‘Y-plus’ security to former TMC leader Mukul Roy after his defection to BJP.Earlier the state government had written to the Union Home ministry about it but the Centre never replied to it. Following which councillor of Bidhannagar Municipality and leader of the party’s youth wing Debraj Chakraborty had filed the PIL.After quitting Trianmool Congress and stepping down from his membership to the Rajya Sabha, Roy had joined the BJP on November 3.
ALSO READ Litmus test for Mukul Roy in West Midnapore’s Sabang seatChakraborty, in his plea had stated that after he joined BJP there had been no incident which threatened the life of Roy and thus he wanted to know why was there a need to provide security by the Centre.Earlier in its letter to the Centre, the state government had said that law and order was a state subject and who in the state would get what kind of security, would be decided by the state as well. State also alleged that the Centre, bypassing the state had provided security to a particular individual which was not good for the state-Centre relationship.
ALSO READ Mukul Roy blasts Mamata’s nephew in first speech, claims company which sponsored U-17 WC run by nephew Abhishek Although the Centre had not replied to this letter of the state, officials said that the Centre was responsible for upholding the constitution which guarantees private security. Rajya Sabha MPs George Baker and Roopa Ganguly had not got any security from the state even after asking for it so the state had to arrange for it.After Roy’s defection senior TMC leaders had spoken in public about their lack of confidence on his son Subhrangshu Roy who is still a TMC MLA from Bijpur in North 24 Parganas district after which Subhrangshu had said that he had a feeling of insecurity. He had also written to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee complaining about the deteriorating law and order situation in his constituency.
ALSO READ TMC to organise rally to counter Mukul Roy’s allegations; son Subhrangshu to be key speakerReferring to Mukul and his son Subhrangshu, state food supplies minister and TMC North 24 Parganas district president Jyotipriyo Mullick had said, “It is a game of hide and seek which will not go on for too long. We will soon come to know about the truth in the relationship between the father and son. We are not fools.”

Winter session of Parliament begins December 15: Triple talaq, Bill to grant Constitutional Status to NCBC to come up

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Winter Session of Parliament will begin on December 15 a day after Gujarat election is over and conclude on January 5 during which key bills on triple talaq and constitutional status to the backward class commission will be taken up for passage.Announcing the dates for the parliament session recommended by CCPA after its meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar sought the cooperation of the Opposition parties to make the winter session meaningful. “CCPA met under the chairmanship of Home Minister Rajnath Singh and proposed that we will have winter session from December 15 to January 5,” Kumar said.Rejecting Congress attack that the government has delayed the winter session to avoid facing tough questions on demonetization, GST and unemployment issues before Gujarat polls for fear of being exposed, Kumar reminded that earlier also many times including during the rule of Cong Prime Ministers Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh, winter session have been delayed and begun even from January to avoid overlapping with polls.Replying to questions, Kumar said that the issues of National Commission for Backward Classes and triple talaq are two very important issues.“The country expects that the bills pertaining to these two issues will come to Parliament in this Winter Session. If that is the aspiration of the country, Government will have to respond to it,” Kumar said.The NCBC bill, which seeks to give a Constitutional status to the national body, which recommends reservations norms for backward classes is pending before Parliament and a select committee headed by BJP leader Bhupendra Yadav has already submitted its report to Parliament on the issue in Monsoon Session.While the bill to grant constitutional status to NCBC was passed by Lok Sabha without any amenmdnet but the same could be passed in Rajya Sabha only after an amendment, dropping a clause of the bill as Opposition parties forced four amendments into it.As the bill cannot be sent to President for assent now because two different versions of the bills have been passed by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the bill may have to go to Lok Sabha again.In wake of some recent controversial triple talaq incidents, the government is bringing a bill, seeking to make it a punishable offence as the practice has continued despite the Supreme Court order against it.The two issues will be discussed threadbare during the three-week-long session. The session will have 14 working days. December 25, which falls on Monday and December 26 will be holidays on account of Christmas.The Parliamentary Affairs Minister said that he was hopeful that all members of Parliament will attend the session on all the working days as key issues are to discussed and bills to be passed.The announcement of Winter session dates comes daysafter a political row that saw top leaders from Government and Opposition trading barbs on each other.This could fail to relent the Opposition which has been alleging that the government wants to “run away” from facing the heat on key issues during Gujarat polls, which end on December 14, a day before the session commences now. Congress sources said that they would raise the issue in Parliament.

Rajya Sabha MP’s post hints at differences in ‘unified’ AIADMK

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three months after the merger of the rival AIADMK factions led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami and his now deputy O Panneerselvam, all is not well within the unified AIADMK. A hint has been dropped by senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP, V Maitreyan, in a social media post.“It has been three months since the EPS-OPS faction merged. Months have gone, but have the hearts synced,” Maitreyan wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday morning. Maitreyan was the first AIADMK leader to join Panneerselvam’s rebellion against then party general secretary VK Sasikala on February 7, days after she tried to replace him as chief minister.When asked what prompted him to write such a post, Maitreyan declined to comment, saying he has nothing more to say about it. His Tuesday’s post was his second hint at the discontent in the ruling AIADMK in this month. On November 6, he complained that he has been ignored in the relief works in the rain-hit areas.When asked about Maitreyan’s remark, senior AIADMK leader and minister, D Jayakumar, said he was against discussing the party’s internal issues in public. He also denied any issues within the party.Maitreyan, whose political roots can be traced to the RSS and BJP before joining the AIADMK, was supposed to have played a major role in the merger in which PM Narendra Modi had shown keen interest.

Ram Temple dispute to be decided by court alone: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Monday said that the dispute related to Ram Temple in Ayodhya would be decided by the court alone, and exuded confidence that the construction work would commence next year.The Rajya Sabha member said Art of Living Foundation head Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s effort to find an amicable solution to the dispute was welcome and good for harmony but the matter would be settled and decided by the court.Speaking at the Jaipur Dialogue Forum, he said that people should be ready to go to Ayodhya by next Diwali.He said that the hearing on the matter in the Supreme Court is expected to begin in early December and end by April.The matter is expected to be decided by the court by August, he added.He expressed confidence that Hindus would win the court battle, after which the construction of Ram temple would begin.Targeting the Congress, Swamy said the opposition party was “leaderless” and would soon disappear.”Congress’s end is sure. If it lives, it can live only in Tihar jail. The corruption the Congress party (leaders) committed is now resulting in punishment by courts,” he said.He also extended support to the Vishva Hindu Parishad’s campaign against ‘love jihad’.He said that there was a need to remain alert to ‘love jihad’.

TMC MP Derek O’Brien proposes formula to take on Modi might in 2019

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Trinamool Congress Member of Parliament Derek O’Brien believes he has found a way to take the BJP on. The next national election, he says, should not be treated as a battle between Narendra Modi and a single candidate, but as 29 contests in the states.The opposition should fight the BJP from 29 different regional platforms over diverse issues, O’Brien writes in his new book ‘Inside Parliament: Views From The Front Row’. “The election should be fought in the idiom and language and with the issues and themes of individual states,” he elaborated to PTI today. A united opposition needs to chalk out its poll strategy by pitching all opposition leaders against Modi, he added. “Make this a national election that is a sum of state elections. Make Modi and the BJP fight 29 different regional elections in the idiom and language and with the issues and themes of the individual states,” O’Brien said. O’Brien chalked out the opposition strategy for 2019 in the new publication, which he described as the “real book” out of the 53 that he had written.”Don’t let the BJP make it a contest around polarising issues,” beef, pseudo-nationalism or some such prime-time, made-for-TV-and-Twitter agenda,” O’ Brien said. In an essay titled “The BJP is beatable in 2019”, O’Brien suggested that the opposition consider where the BJP juggernaut was stopped in 2014 — “in Bengal by Mamata Banerjee, in Odisha by Naveen Patnaik, in Tamil Nadu by Jayalalithaa and also where the Congress has beaten the BJP in recent times in Punjab, led by Amarinder Singh”.To win the 2019 general polls, the opposition should counter allegations of corruptions by raising the issue of competence, he said. “I am convinced that they (the BJP) are beatable,” he writes. The government is trying to pen “a false narrative around a ten-letter word — corruption — which the opposition must counter with another ten-letter word — competence — to win the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as BJP cannot win on any competence quotient”, he said. The leader of the TMC in the Rajya Sabha has set up a “common constructive agenda” for opposition unity.”The BJP is trying to use this ten-letter word, corruption, since demonetisation. The opposition needs to use another ten letter word, competence, to counter the BJP. You have to ask questions about their competence about jobs, competence about the economy, competence about handling the situation after demonetisation, competence about how GST has been rolled out,” O’Brien suggests in his book. Opposition parties should not get distracted by “polarisation narratives” such as food habits and religion. “All these will benefit the BJP… This is an agreement all opposition parties need to have. Either inside Parliament or outside,” he told PTI.O’Brien also had some specific advice for the Congress. It urged the party not to give too much heed to the Left. “Too much of listening to the Left will put the Congress in trouble,” he said. To cite a case, he said the TMC had got the sense the Congress was ready to march with it after ten days of demonetization. “The Left bullied them in delaying that march. Because they thought the TMC will take the lead so they were looking at it in a very narrow way. (Sitaram) Yechury in Parliament and the Left were trying to slow them down. So I am glad that they stopped listening to the Left,” he said.He recalled the time when demonetization was announced last year.”We marched with Mamata Banerjee. But we were wondering what’s going on. Only two parties marched with us: Shiv Sena and Omar Abdulla’s NC. Hardly one month later, every one was marching down to Rashtrapati Bhavan,” he said. Hinting at political equations between Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, O’Brien stated that Gandhi was the cementing factor of opposition unity, while Banerjee was the acceptable leader who could bridge gaps between conflicting parties within the opposition. The book, with 50 essays, has been published by HarperCollins and will be launched on November 23 in Delhi.

BJP, Congress locked in battle in Wadhwan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress are locked in a pitched battle to win the Wadhwan assembly seat in Surendranagar. Against the backdrop of demonetization, launch of GST, slowdown in economy and the Patidar community agitation for quota, BJP is leaving no stone unturned to retain its supremacy in the constituency which it has been winning for the past three decades.However, Congress after the two rounds of visit by its vice president Rahul Gandhi and its efforts to forge alliance with Patidar leader Hardik Patel and reach out to the other backward communities including Koli and Dalits have launched an aggressive campaign to snatch the seat away.BJP has included Wadhwan seat in the AA plus category indicating sure victory while Congress believes that BJP cannot ignore its presence this time. BJP has dropped sitting MLA Varsha Doshi from the Wadhwan seat. Doshi has been replaced by Dhanjibhai Patel (Makson). Congress is expected to announced its nominee within two days.BJP leader Yogeshbhai Pandya told DNA,” The party is well placed to win Wadhwan seat and it is undeterred by campaign run by the Congress party and other community leaders against BJP. PM Narendra Modi’s strong leadership and state chief minister Vijay Rupani’s clean image are at our side. BJP is committed to development and it is taking all sections of the society together to achieve inclusive growth.”Senior Congress leader Kamlesh Kotecha said, “Traders forming the core support group of the BJP are up in arms. The Patidars, with a vote share of 10 per cent, enjoy an economic clout and have warned that they will vote against the BJP. Congress has already accepted Hardik Patel’s three demands As far quota is concerned, the party has assured to take decision after reviewing all legal provisions,” he informed.Wadhwan assembly constituency has also been crucial for both BJP and Congress to maintain its grip as it houses the biggest wholesale market of the Surendranagar district in Gujarat with an annual turnover of about Rs 4,000 crore. Congress party had won the election to the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee here which has also helped party’s revival. As far as BJP is concerned, its leaders and cadres are currently busy in convincing how Modi government is alive to the issues faced by traders in particular since GST and bringing to their notice steps taken by the GST Council to provide relief.Already ministers from the BJP ruled Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are camping in the constituency and travelling across to supervise poll arrangement at the booth and block levels. In case of Congress party, Rahul’s visit and the party veteran Ahmed Patel’s recent victory in the Rajya Sabha election has brought various factions together to give an united fight against BJP.

Let the ‘sacrifice’ happen, declares Sharad Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid indications of an early decision on his disqualification from the membership of Rajya Sabha, senior JDU leader Sharad Yadav, who has rebelled against party chief Nitish Kumar’s decision to align with the NDA, said “no post or position holds importance when the fight is over issues”.Yadav, as well as another Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar Ansari, had on Wednesday appeared before Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venakaiah Naidu, who is hearing a petition filed by Leader of JDU in Rajya Sabha RCP Singh, seeking their disqualification from the party.Reportedly, Yadav has been told that the RS is looking at the issue only with the perspective of 10th Schedule of the Constitution regarding his disqualification for acting against the party line and it is separate from the issue which is the real JDU, a matter being contested by both Yadav and the Nitish camp before the EC.”Natural justice should be followed in the matter, though for me, post and position does not hold significance when it comes to issues. When one fights on issues, one has to make all sorts of sacrifices. If the sacrifice happens, so let be it,” Yadav told DNA.Yadav’ remarks come in the backdrop of indications that the Rajya Sabha Chairman could decide the disqualification matter soon without referring the matter to Parliament’s Ethics Committee.Matter gets worseYadav had received a communication from RS office in which his request to allow a lawyer to appear on his behalf on the matter was rejected citing absence of any such precedent in past

KJ Alphons elected as Rajya Sabha member from Rajasthan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons on Thursday was elected as the unopposed Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan.After Congress did not elect any candidate and there was no other nomination for the seat, Alphons was elected as the Rajya Sabha MP.”I thank Honorable PM Shri Narendra Modi ji, Shri Amit Shah Ji, Shrimati Vasundhara Raje ji, MLAs, and the people of Rajasthan for electing me as a member of parliament,” Alphons said after being elected.The seat was vacant since M Venkaiah Naidu was elected as the Vice President.BJP state president Ashok Parnami, State parliamentary secretary Rajendra Rathore, social justice and empowerment minister Arun Chaturvedi and others were present during the occasion.Alphons joined politics when as an independent MLA backed by the CPI(M) in Kerala in 2006 but joined BJP in 2011.(With Inputs from PTI)

‘Ready for sacrifice’: Sharad Yadav says no position holds importance when fight is over issues

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid indications of an early decision on his disqualification from the membership of Rajya Sabha, senior JD(U leader Sharad Yadav, who has rebelled against party chief Nitish Kumar’s decision to align with NDA, said: “no post or position holds importance when the fight is over issues”.Yadav, as well as another Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar Ansari, had on Wednesday appeared before Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venakaiah Naidu, who is hearing a petition filed by Leader of JD(U) in Rajya Sabha RCP Singh, seeking their disqualification from the party.It is learnt that Yadav has been told that the Rajya Sabha is looking at the issue only with the perspective of 10th Schedule of the Constitution regarding his disqualification for acting against the party line and it is separate from the issue which is the real JD(U), a matter being contested by both Sharad Yadav and Nitish camp before Election Commission.“Natural justice should be followed in the matter, though for me post and position does not hold significance when it comes to issues. When one fights on issues, one has to make all sorts of sacrifices and I am ready for it. If the sacrifice happens, so let be it. I had resigned from Lok Sabha twice,” Yadav told DNA. “Yadav’s remarks come in the backdrop of indications that the Rajya Sabha Chairman could decide the disqualification matter soon without referring the matter to Parliament’s Ethics Committee this time.Earlier on Tuesday evening Yadav had received a communication from Rajya Sabha office in which his request to allow a lawyer to appear on his behalf on the matter was rejected citing absence of any such precedent in past.Yadav camp’s argument is that the general practice in such matters has also been that such disputes regarding disqualification are referred to Ethics Committee of Parliament and if past precedents are to be followed, the committee route should not be bypassed.Before this Yadav had sought eight weeks extension from the Rajya Sabha Secretariat last month to appear before it citing his engagements in assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh but he was given only eight days’ extension with a rider that no further extension will be given in the case.The eighth-day timeline ended on November 8 and there are indications that Yadav may find it difficult to save his membership in Rajya Sabha.Ansari, however, questioned the remit of Rajya Sabha Chairman in deciding the matter.”Action regarding disqualification can be taken under 10th Schedule by Rajya Sabha Chairman only in case violation of whip of Parliamentary Party in the House. In other matters, it is for the party to take disciplinary action and in our matter, even this is still disputed as to which is the real party,” he told DNA.

2G Spectrum Case: Special CBI Court adjourns matter, will now fix verdict date on December 5

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Special CBI Court in Delhi on Tuesday adjourned the matter in the 2G Spectrum case and will now fix the verdict date on December 5.Over a week ago, the court had issued production warrants to two accused Karim Morani and Sanjay Chandra for November 7 and asked all accused to be present on the date.In its charge sheet filed against former telecom minister A Raja, DMK Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi and others in 2011, the CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs. 30,984 crore in the allocation of 122 licences for 2G spectrum.In April 2014, the ED filed a charge sheet against 19 people, including Raja and Kanimozhi in connection with a money laundering case relating to the scam.

Keralite Tourism minister finds his ‘Rajya’ in Rajasthan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rajasthan may not be able to win over Kerala in tourism but the desert state, known for his warm hospitality all set to give Tourism minister to the country, a native of Kerala. Union Minister of State (independent charge) for Tourism, Electronics and IT Alphons Kannanthanam on Monday filed his nomination for Rajya Sabha seat from Rajasthan. The seat had fallen vacant after Venkaiah Naidu was elected to the post of vice president.Alphonse wore a traditional Rajasthani turban when he reached the state assembly to file his nomination. He was introduced to the state legislators at a meet that was held in the morning prior to the nominations.Senior members of the state cabinet were present when Alphonse filed his nomination. Chief minister Vasundhara Raje proposed the same. The nomination was filed in four sets and senior ministers and legislators also signed as proposers. The nomination was handed over to returning officer Prithvi Raj who administered oath as candidate to the union minister. Alphons took the oath in the name of God in English. Speaking to the media after filing his nomination, Alphonse said addressing the issues of Rajasthan would be his priority and he would enhance the tourism potential of the state.Monday was the last day for filing the nominations for Rajya Sabha elections. The nominations are scheduled to be scrutinized on November 8 and November 9 is the last day for withdrawal of nomination.But with Congress not fielding a candidate, Alphonse is sure to reach the upper house from Rajasthan. This will once again take the number of ministers from Rajasthan in the Modi cabinet to six. And the number of ministers reaching Parliament through Rajasthan once again reaches to two. At the same time with the nomination of Alphons, Rajasthan gets another non Rajasthani minister. The other minister who is a RS MP from Rajasthan is Vijay Goel. The other four ministers from Rajasthan are elected parliamentarians namely Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Arjun Meghwal, PP Choudhary and CR Choudhary.Rajasthan has always been a safe route to RS for ministers of the party in power at the centre. Both Congress and BJP have had ministers who were RS MPs from Rajasthan. Some of them are:Vijay Kumar Goyal – Minister of Youth Affairs and sports — is presently a RS MP from Rajasthan.Ram Jethmalani – Union Minister of Law Justice and Company Affairs in the Vajpayee Government was RS MP from Rajasthan.Jaswant Singh who had joined politics under the tutelage of Bhairon Singh Shekhawat became the Union Minister of External Affairs in the Vajpayee cabinet during his first stint in RS.Najma Heptulla, the RS MP from Rajasthan from 2004 – 10 went on to be the Union Minister of Minority AffairsAnand Sharma of the Congress was a RS MP from Rajasthan when he held the portfolios of Union Minister for Commerce and Industry and Textiles.Santosh Bagrodia the former Union Coal Minister was RS MP from Rajasthan.

RS bypoll: Alphons Kannanthanam to file nomination today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister of State (independent charge) for Tourism, Electronics and IT, Alphons Kannanthanam will file his nomination for the Rajya Sabha in Jaipur on Monday. The seat has fallen vacant after Venkaiah Naidu was elected as the country’s vice president.Kannanthanam reached Jaipur on Sunday morning. He was received at the airport by state BJP chief Ashok Parnami and several ministers of the Raje cabinet along with large number of party workers.A meeting of the BJP legislative group is scheduled for 10 am on Monday at the Rajasthan state assembly and Kannanthanam will file his nomination after that. His victory is being considered a certainty as the Congress has decided not to field a candidate.Speaking to the media at the state BJP office Kannanthanam expressed gratitude towards the chief minister Vasundhara Raje for making him a candidate from the state. He said the state had immense opportunities in the field of tourism because of its rich heritage and diverse wildlife.Kannanthanam also attended the Swar Govindam programme of the RSS at the Chitrakoot stadium, where RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat was present. He, however, seemed a bit out of place at the RSS programme and did not appear to know what was expected out of him. He did not do the dhwaj pranam of the RSS.The election for Rajya Sabha seat will be held November 16. Kannanthanam left IAS service in 2006 with eight years still left. He became an MLA from Kanjirappally in Kottayam district of Kerala. He has also practised as an advocate in the Supreme Court.

Fight against black money is a continuous process: PP Chaudhary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an interview with MANSI TANEJA, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs PP CHAUDHARY said the recent drive against dubious firms will help clean up the systemWhat has been the objective behind this massive drive to strike off companies from the ROC?As per the mandate of the corporate affairs ministry, we have to regulate the functioning of the corporate sector in accordance with the law. We also have a mandate to protect the rights of investors. However, of late, several investigations into various frauds and scams have time and again exposed the lacunae in our monitoring systems. Misuse of corporate structures seems to have become the norm.What has been the objective behind this drive to strike off companies?A total of 16.87 lakh companies had been registered with the Registrars of Companies (ROC) till July 31, 2017, of which 13.66 lakh were reportedly active companies when we started the exercise of striking off inactive and non-compliant companies.The process started after conducting scrutiny, when they (ROCs) sent notices to about 3 lakh companies requiring them to furnish reasons for being inactive/non-compliant and not filing annual/financial returns with the MCA21. Out of them, actions on around 70,000 companies were dropped either due to objections on such action raised by other regulators or their having responded satisfactorily to the notices by submitting requisite documents.The rest of the companies which did not respond or whose responses were inadequate were dissolved. What action are you contemplating against these companies?Striking off the names of the companies is one of the first steps towards a ‘Swachh Corporate Registry’. We have already frozen their bank accounts for all purposes except accepting accruals to the company or for discharge of liabilities or obligations of the company. Further, we have sought all bank transaction details from them during three periods — pre-demonetization, from post-demonetization till their names were struck-off from the register, and for the period post-striking-off of their names.As of now, transaction analysis of around 28,000 companies out of around 2.24 lakh struck off companies has been done and we have found that Rs. 17,000 crores was deposited and withdrawn from the bank accounts of these companies post demonetization. There are suspicions these funds and account were used for money laundering, drugs funding, terror funding and financial fraud. Fraud cases have been given to the Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) for undertaking further investigations in these cases.How do you plan to use technology to quicken the scrutinising process?Robust data mining systems are in place in our Ministry. In the coming months, we will accelerate the use of tools using technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) which shall enable us to collate compliance data of corporates from a large number of sources, analyse such data and pro-actively report incidences of non-compliance. We will have an Early Warning Systems (EWS) which will send signals when it receives signs of any shady or fraudulent financial activity in the registered companies.A part of the business community views your actions as threats. How do you respond?When some companies, out of the 3 lakh companies to whom we had issued notices, responded satisfactorily with requisite documents, we did not take any action against them. Our actions are not meant to scare anybody, but to fine-tune the system and weed out the black sheep who undertake illegal activities in the garb of corporate governance.What about the assets of these companies? Have you put them on hold as well?We have asked state governments to identify movable and immovable assets of these struck off companies and restrict any transfers or transactions of such assets which have been held in the names of or on behalf of such companies till they are restored by the NCLT.Do you plan to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code?It is a new Code which will take time to stabilise and become part of our economic ecosystem. We are monitoring its implementation. We are constantly in touch with various stakeholders to ascertain practical problems or difficulties arising out of the functioning of the Code. Amendments to the Code will be made only after undertaking due consultations with all relevant stakeholders.Lastly, will there be any amendments in the existing laws to improve ease of doing business in India?A transformational improvement of 30 spots in the “Ease of Doing Business” rankings in the ‘Doing Business Report’ of the World Bank this year is a global acknowledgment of the efforts made by government for improving the investor climate in the country.The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which awaits approval of the Rajya Sabha, is aimed at further improving ease of doing business in India. Our ministry is committed to undertaking measures that would propel India in the league of the Top 50 countries in the “Ease of Doing Business”.

Mamata’s former right-hand Mukul Roy joins BJP, TMC says it’s ‘least bothered’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mukul Roy, who was long the second most powerful leader of the Trinamool Congress, joined the BJP, claiming that people of West Bengal wanted an alternative to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and will vote the saffron party to power in the next polls.The former railway minister, known for his organisational skills, joined the BJP in the presence of its chief Amit Shah.Roy told reporters later that the BJP was not a communal but secular party.”We do not want to give much importance to what Mukul Roy does. He is no longer with the TMC and we are least bothered about him,” a senior TMC leader, who did not wish to be named, told PTI.Roy, a former railway minister and parliamentarian who had recently quit the TMC, formally joined the BJP today. He was inducted into the saffron party at its headquarters in New Delhi in the presence of its president Amit Shah.
ALSO READ Once Mamata’s number 2, former Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy joins BJPThe TMC, which had suspended Roy on September 25 for six years for “anti-party” activities, is yet to come out with an official statement on the issue.The Bengal BJP unit, on the other hand, welcomed the development and expressed hope that Roy would play a vital role in strengthening the base of the saffron outfit in the state.
ALSO READ Mukul Roy quits Trinamool, resigns as Rajya Sabha MP”We welcome the decision. As we all know that the BJP is growing at a fast pace in Bengal, Roy’s induction will strengthen the party in the state. He is known for his organisational capabilities,” state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said.Asked about the corruption allegations against Roy, Ghosh said, “There can be allegations against anybody, but until and unless they are proved, how can you call someone guilty? The law will take its own course.”Incidentally, till a few months ago, the BJP had repeatedly launched verbal attacks against Roy and other TMC leaders for their alleged involvement in corruption and scams.The CPI(M) and the Congress claimed that Roy joining the BJP was a part of a “tacit understanding” between the saffron party and the TMC in Bengal.”We have been saying this for a long time that the BJP and the TMC have a tacit understanding in Bengal. Now, with Roy joining the BJP, it has been proved that the two parties are two sides of the same coin,” CPI(M) politburo member and MP Mohammed Salim said.State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury also echoed his views.Roy (63) recalled how the TMC forged an alliance with the BJP soon after Banerjee founded it and became a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. He said the regional party could not have grown without the BJP’s support.Rejecting Banerjee’s charge against the BJP, he said, “It is not a communal party. It is a secular party. People in Bengal are not happy and are looking for an alternative. The BJP will soon clinch power in the state.” Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told a press conference after Roy joined the party that he was a founder leader of the TMC leader who played a key role in its expansion and march to power in the state.He also effectively fought excesses and atrocities of the previous CPI(M) governments, Prasad said, insisting that Roy expressed his desire to join the BJP unconditionally and the party welcomes him wholeheartedly.Roy later told journalists that “restoring democracy” in West Bengal will be his priority.”I will work for restoration of democracy in Bengal, that will be my first task. I am a national level politician, I will try to see that people in Bengal can at least vote according to their choice. If people can cast their votes in panchayat polls, the BJP will wrest power from the TMC in least in 5 zila parishads,” he said.”I am an organisational man. People of Bengal have turned against the TMC government. I am sure that in the Lok Sabha polls in 2019 and Assembly elections in 2021 the BJP will win Bengal,” Roy said.The party is likely to task him with an important responsibility to drive its growth in the eastern state, where it has been traditionally weak. However, it is not clear yet what role he will have in the organisation.”His role will be decided,” BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is the party’s in-charge for the state, said.The BJP will expand further in the state with Roy’s induction, Prasad said.Asked about corruption allegations against him, Roy said the law will take its own course.It will be his “proud privilege” to work under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah, he said.Roy had quit the Rajya Sabha and the TMC last month. He was suspended by the party earlier as his differences with Banerjee grew and he was seen veering towards the BJP.

BJP names Alphons Kannanthanam for RS in Rajasthan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister of State (independent charge) for Tourism, Electronics and IT, Alphons Kannanthanam is set to enter the Rajya Sabha as an MP from Rajasthan. He has been declared as the BJP candidate for the seat vacated by Venkaiah Naidu after being elected as the vice-president of India. It will be the first time that former bureaucrat turned minister Alphons will become a member of parliament.The Rajya Sabha by-election is scheduled to take place on November 16, a notification for which will be declared on Monday. To be nominated as BJP candidate for the post, Alphons was also appointed BJP’s election in-charge in Meghalaya. Ashok Parnami congratulated Alphons after he was declared party candidate for RS election. Alphons Joseph Kannanthanam was an Indian civil servant.With eight years to go in the IAS, he quit the civil services in 2006 and was elected a Member of the Legislative Assembly, from Kanjirappally in Kottayam District, Kerala. He is also a practicing advocate in the High court and the Supreme Court of India.He is currently serving as the Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Culture, and Tourism, in office since September 3, 2017, under the BJP Government of Narendra Modi. He is the second BJP Central Minister from Kerala after O. Rajagopal. Kannanthanam belongs to the 1979 batch of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Kerala cadre. He was on Time Magazine’s list of 100 Young Global Leaders. He pioneered the literacy movement in India by making Kottayam the first 100% literate town of India in 1989. He served as Commissioner of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

Explain how ISIS terrorist was employed at hospital where you were trustee, Gujarat CM asks Ahmed Patel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Friday launched a scathing attack at Congress leader Ahmed Patel and asked him to explain how a suspected ISIS terrorist was employed at a hospital where the latter was one of the trustees.One of the two ISIS terrorists, Kasim Stimberwala, who was arrested by the Gujarat ATS on Thursday, was employed at a Bharuch hospital where Ahmed Patel was a trustee.Kasim worked as an echo technician in Sardar Patel Hospital and Heart Institute in Bharuch.He, however, tendered his resignation to the hospital management on October 4 this year and served there for another 20 days.Two days later, he was arrested for allegedly plotting an Islamic State-inspired lone-wolf terror attack on a synagogue in Ahmedabad.Addressing a press conference, the Gujarat CM today asked for clarification from Patel and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.”These two accused were working in the hospital run by Congress leader Ahmed Patel who was a trustee there. Patel along with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi should clarify how suspected ISIS recruits were employed at the hospital,” Rupani said.The Gujarat CM demanded to take the responsibility and resign from the Rajya Sabha on moral grounds.It is to be noted that Patel stepped down as the trustee from the hospital in 2014. However, his presence in 2016, when the then President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the hospital, was evident.Meanwhile, the Congress termed Rupani’s claims as baseless with party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala saying, “The BJP is trying to hide its incompetence by making such baseless statements.”Ahmed Patel also rubbished Rupani’s claims as baseless. “Request matters of national security not be politicised keeping elections in mind,” he said.

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