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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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Live updates: Sushma Swaraj speaks on Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case in Rajya Sabha

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is making a statement on Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case and the treatment meted out to his family in Pakistan. Jadhav, 47, was allowed to meet his mother Avanti and wife Chetana Jadhav across a glass screen on Monday. India has maintained he was kidnapped and implicated. On Wednesday, political leaders cutting across party lines in Parliament condemned Pakistan’s mistreatment of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family in Islamabad and demanded efforts to bring back the former Indian Naval officer who has been captured and sentenced to death on charges of espionage and terror. Here are the Live Updates:11: 25 am : It was nothing like a humanitarian gesture. Human rights of the family members were violated again and again & an environment of fear was created for them: Sushma Swaraj​11: 23 am: Even after her repeated attempts, the shoes of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife were not returned. Pakistan says there was a camera or a recorder in the shoes, nothing can be more absurd than this as she traveled in 2 flights with those shoes on. It is an absurdity beyond measure: Sushma Swaraj11: 20 am : Not just his wife but bindi and mangalsutra of his mother were also removed: Sushma Swaraj in Rajya Sabha​It was nothing like a humanitarian gesture. Human rights of the family members were violated again and again & an environment of fear was created for them: Sushma Swaraj

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

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

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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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Modi’s Pak comment: After Jaitley’s clarification, Govt and Oppn end stalemate in RS

The stalemate in Parliament over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh and others at a poll rally in Gujarat ended today, with the government saying the commitment of the former Prime Minister was not questioned.The proceedings of both Houses of Parliament were repeatedly disrupted over the past week on the issue, with the Opposition demanding an explanation from the Prime Minister over his “conspiracy with Pak” remarks and seeking an apology. In Rajya Sabha, Leader of the House Arun Jaitley said the Prime Minister did not question his predecessor’s commitment to India.When the Upper House reconvened at 2 PM after adjournment due to protests over union minister Ananthkumar Hegde’s controversial remarks on secularism and changing the Constitution, Jaitley said the Prime Minister in his statements or speeches “did not question the commitment to this nation either by Dr Manmohan Singh, the former Prime Minister, 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 this nation,” Jaitley said.Also readParliament: PM Modi didn’t question Manmohan Singh’s commitment to India, says Jaitely; Congress replies with thanksHe said many statements had been made on all sides during the elections, and added that the government “does not want the stalemate as a result of this to continue”. Responding to his statement, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said: “I want to thank the Leader of the House that he issued a clarification on the issue which was causing the deadlock for the last one week.” Azad sought to assure the government on behalf of the Congress that the party dissociates itself from any statement made against the personality of the Prime Minister, apparently in reference to those made by its MP Mani Shankar Aiyar.”If during the elections (recent assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh), any member of our party gave such a statement that was against the stature of the Prime Minister, then our party dissociates itself from any such statement and we would not want any word to be said against the stature of the Prime Minister,” Azad said. The Congress had suspended Aiyar from its primary membership and slapped a show cause notice on him for calling Prime Minister Modi a “neech aadmi” or a lowly person.After the two statements, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu thanked all members of the House for their cooperation in resolving the stalemate. However, Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal stood up to object, charging that the fate of the proceedings in the House could not be decided based on statements by only two people. To this, Naidu said, “We discussed it in the morning in the business advisory committee. Every member of the House is important. Let us not sidetrack the issue”.

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Tamil Nadu parties divided over Rajnikanth’s much-anticipated political entry

Tamil Nadu’s political fraternity seems to be divided on actor Rajnikanth’s much-anticipated political entry, with the ruling AIADMK saying that it was his “democratic right” while opposition DMK is waiting for the official word.”India is a democratic country. Anybody can join politics. It is up to the people to accept it or not, people are the judges,” senior AIADMK leader and state Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said. Handlooms Minister O S Manian, however, told reporters in Nagapattinam that politics “may not be ideal” for Rajinikanth, considering his health. The 67-year-old actor had availed medical treatment, including at Singapore-based Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre in 2011 for some illness. Manian said the actor should take the political plunge immediately, if he really wanted to do so.DMK Rajya Sabha MP, T K S Elangovan said it would be appropriate to react once the actor officially declares that he would be joining politics. “For any party, ideology and stand on key matters including language is important,” he told PTI. BJP state unit chief Tamilisai Soundararajan said her party had always welcomed the actor’s political debut. She said they could see a “determination” and “clarity” in his address. CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP TK Rangarajan said “he is a good friend..any voter can become a candidate, establish a party and fight election…it is his democratic right.” “But let him first enter politics, outline his policies and politics,”Rangarajan said and added that only then a reaction would be correct.The charismatic actor, who enjoys cult status in the Tamil film industry, today said he will announce his stand on entering politics on December 31.

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TMC wrests seat from Congress

The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal wrested the Sabang Assembly seat from the Congress on Sunday by defeating the nearest CPM contender by 64,192 votes, the results of which were announced on Sunday.TMC received 1,06,179 votes and CPM got 41,987 votes. BJP secured the third position with 37,476 votes while Congress who held the Sabang seat so far was pushed down to the fourth position with 18,060 votes.The bye-election had been necessitated after sitting Congress MLA Manas Bhunia who had won from there as the Congress-CPM alliance candidate in 2016 defected to TMC and had been made the party’s Rajya Sabha MP. His wife Gitarani Bhunia had been pitched as the TMC candidate and she bettered her husband’s winning margin by 15,025 votes. Manas had won in 2016 with a margin of 49,167 votes.TMC attributed the victory to the trust of people in Mamata Banerjee-led government. “People had brought in musclemen from outsiders to put a stumbling block for Mamata. But people have voted wholeheartedly for us. It shows that people have ignored all the canards that the Opposition spreads and have voted against the anti-people policies of the Central government,” said TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee at a news conference in the evening.Manas said the contest of his wife was with him. “We were sure of the win. The TMC leadership only wanted to see if Gitarani could beat me in terms of the winning margin, which she has. I am enjoying my defeat,” he said.CPM candidate Rita Mondal Jana alleged a foul play. “It is the victory of terror, corruption and betrayers. They have not won with people’s votes but the bogus votes cast by a bunch of their cadres. At about 150 booths they had terrorised people and forced them to cast their votes in their favour,” Mondal said.BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said their result was satisfying. “There was hardly any existence of BJP there. We had secured 2.5 per cent vote in the last election. This time the vote share has increased by about 10 times,” he said.Congress leaders were content to put up a ‘brave fight’. “Our organisation was weak there. We did not expect to make any impact there but Congress had put up a brave fight in spite of the police atrocity as well as lawlessness and violence unleashed by the TMC,” said Congress Rajya Sabha MP and former state party president Pradeep Bhattacharya.

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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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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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‘Silenced’ in Rajya Sabha, Sachin Tendulkar uses Facebook to spread message

A day after Sachin Tendulkar was not allowed to speak in the Parliament, the cricket legend took to social media to convey his message. With the Rajya Sabha being adjourned for the second successive day on Friday, he took to Facebook to talk about the importance of sports and fitness in daily life.On Thursday Congress leaders raised a ruckus and did not allow the nominated Member of Parliament to speak in the House. Tendulkar, in his maiden speech on the floor of the Upper House on Thursday, had moved a Short Discussion Motion on the future of sports in India and right to play. Rajya Sabha proceedings were once again disrupted by protesting Congress members on Friday. Also readStumped! Amid uproar, Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar fails to make debut speech in Parliament Sachin then posted a video saying India needed a proper plan and structure in place to become a sporting nation.”It is my endeavour to transform India from being a sport loving nation to a sport playing nation. I urge you all to participate in this effort and help make my dream, our dream. Always remember, dreams do come true! Jai Hind,” he wrote with the video. Here is what Sachin Tendulkar said:On Thursday, As Tendulkar stood up to begin the discussion, Congress MPs created a ruckus demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s apology for insinuating that his predecessor Manmohan Singh was colluding with Pakistan.Tendulkar, a Bharat Ratna winner, remained standing for 10 minutes, tight-lipped, as Opposition members raised slogans, ignoring Chairman Venkaiah Naidu’s calls to come to order.Naidu reminded them that the nation was watching the uproar they were causing in the Rajya Sabha and called on them to let Tendulkar speak. But unruly Congress MPs paid no heed to his requests.”We’re discussing about sports and you don’t have the sporting spirit,” Naidu scolded, before ordering the live telecast of House proceedings to be cut off.

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Upbeat Congress rocks Parliament

Already up in arms on the issue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s insinuatory remarks against former PM Manmohan Singh of conspiring with Pakistan to influence Gujarat polls, the Congress got a shot in the arm when the CBI court acquitted all the accused in the 2G spectrum case on Thursday.An upbeat Congress stepped up their attack forcing two adjournments in the Rajya Sabha and continued to protest in the Lok Sabha that managed to function amid disruptions because of BJP being in the majority. Outside the House too, the Congress was on offensive with many of its MPs venting out their anger.Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad who was seeking clarification from the government on PM Modi’s “false allegations” against Singh raised the issue of 2G in tandem almost immediately after he was told about the judgement.”The second clarification we are seeking is Rs. 1,76,000 crore worth 2G scam because of which we are here (opposition benches) and they (BJP) are there (treasury benches). Prove it here, where has it gone?” asked Azad.Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu was quick to rebut Azad by disallowing his submission.”This is not the issue. You have not given any notice. This is not the way Azad ji,” said Naidu instructing nothing will go on record. The citing May 22, 1990 ruling of then Rajya Sabha Chairman Shankar Dayal Sharma, Naidu said the Chair’s ruling on not allowing suspension of a Question Hour or allowing a discussion was final.But the Congress members refused to relent and started swelling the well of the House, forcing Naidu to adjourn the House till 2 p.m.When the House met again at 2 p.m., Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal came in support of the Congress raising the point of order — whether CAG reports can be leaked to newspapers before they are tabled and can the House summon people responsible for tarnishing those in constitutional offices on the basis of CAG reports.Agarwal also asked whether the image of those in constitutional offices can be tarnished on the basis of CAG reports when ‘99% of the points’ raised in them are settled after they reach the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for scrutiny.Naidu disallowed him too for suddenly raising the issue without quoting the rules. But the pandemonium did not stop forcing Naidu to call it a day.House adjournedCongress members refused to hear RS chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and started swelling the well of the House, forcing Naidu to adjourn the House till 2 p.m.

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Stumped! Amid uproar, Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar fails to make debut speech in Parliament

Politics is a tough game and even ‘God of cricket’ needs time to master it. Bharat Ratna and sports legend Sachin Tendulkar learned it hard way when he failed to make his debut speech in the Rajya Sabha during the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament on Thursday.The 44-year-old lawmaker was supposed to initiate a short discussion on the welfare of sportspersons in the country.As soon as he got up to address the House, the Congress leaders started protesting against the government and demanded apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Pakistan remark against ex-PM Manmohan Singh.The ruckus continued with the ‘Master Blaster’ silently standing for 10-minutes and watching the din.Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu requested the Congress to let Tendulkar speak but it didn’t help the legend to deliver his maiden Parliament speech.Despite Naidu pleading with Congress MP to allow Tendulkar to complete his submission, Congress MP continued raising slogans in the Well of House, forcing an adjournment.”We condemn such behaviour. We don’t understand why they are behaving like this. They seem to have lost direction and plot,” he said.”We’re discussing about sports and you don’t have the sporting spirit,” Naidu said and ordered the live telecast of the Session be cut off.Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said Congress was confused and has lost plot. He said while the main Opposition party is participating in discussion in the Lok Sabha on supplementary demands of grants, it didn’t allow a maiden speech of Bharat Ratna Tendulkar, who is a source of pride for whole nation.Tendulkar was speaking on a non-political and non controversial issue, said the minister.’He has earned name for India at the world stage, it is a matter of shame that he was not allowed to speak even when everyone knew it was on today’s agenda. Are only politicians allowed to speak,’ visibly angry Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan said.

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Tourism min rapped for mismanagement

A standing committee report on tourism has pulled up the ministry for non-performance in several schemes. It went on to recommended that the ministry close its overseas offices if it cannot manage them.”The committee notes that the ministry is admitting its lapses in managing its overseas offices. The Committee feels that if the Govt. cannot manage its overseas offices, it should close down all those offices and alternative arrangements may be explored for promotion of Indian tourism in foreign countries,” states the report of the department-related Rajya Sabha committee headed by TMC MP Derek O’Brien.In reply, the government said that it is realising the objectives of the offices through “an integrated marketing and promotional strategy and a synergized campaign in association with the Travel Trade, State Governments and Indian Missions overseas”. The government runs over 14 overseas tourism offices in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris, Milan, Dubai, Johannesburg, Sydney, Beijing, Singapore and Tokyo.The Committee also pulled up the ministry for not utilising all the funds allocated under the 12th five year plan. “From the data provided by the Ministry of Tourism, the total allocations made all these five years was only Rs. 5479.03 crore out of which the spending up to 31st January, 2017 is Rs. 4644.89 crore.This comes to 20.37% of the 12th Plan outlay,” the Committee stated, adding that it is disappointed.

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Stalwarts tune in to ‘ZEE UP-UK’ in Lucknow

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, high-profile political leader and MP Amar Singh joined Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra at the launch ceremony of ZEE Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, in Lucknow on Wednesday.With this, ZEE Media added a new regional channel to its bouquet and became the largest private player in the country.Besides the two chief ministers, several Cabinet ministers from UP and Uttarakhand, MPs, MLAs, top bureaucrats and prominent members of the society were present at the Crystal Hall of Taj Vivanta to witness the launch of this top-notch ZEE regional channel.Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra said that the new channel will focus on “aap ki baat” (what affects and impacts the common people) in the new regional channel. It will make an attempt to connect the people with the government for quick redressal of their grievances.Speaking on the occasion, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath took a dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi saying that the recent elections managed to turn Rahul Gandhi a thread-wearing Hindu visiting one temple after the other. “Gujarat victory will give a new direction to the country. People have accepted BJP’s development plank and rejected the dynastic rule,” he added.On this auspicious launch, Subhash Chandra played the role of a simple ‘anchor’ asking tough questions to the UP Chief Minister. He began by asking what would be the Yogi government’s expectations from ZEE UP & UK. “My biggest expectation from the ZEE regional channel would be that it plays a positive role in the development of the state and gives space to successful stories to make a positive impact on society,” the CM said.Chandra assured thechief minister that Zee UP-UK will exactly play that role for the development and growth of the two states.On the Yogi government’s attempt to woo investors in UP and holding an investors’ meet, Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra expressed concerns about the law and order situation in the state. “My government has accorded top priority to control crime and improve the law and order situation. Over 25 criminals have been shot dead in police encounters and over 1,400 sent behind bars. We are bringing in new Act UPCOCA to check organssed crime effectively. We have already taken several steps to provide security cover to investors and introduced a new industrial policy and single-window system to create an investor-friendly environment in the state,” said the CM.Replying to Chandra’s question on widespread corruption at all levels, particularly in government schemes, Yogi Adityanath said that his government has introduced an e-office system to hold ministers and bureaucrats babus accountable. “Files would be cleared by ministers and bureaucrats within three days, or else they will held accountable for delay. This system would be implemented at all levels to weed out corruption, from top to bottom,” the CM assured.Chandra also sought to know the Yogi government’s plan to promote tourism. He pointed out that in a country like Thailand, tourism contributes 30 per cent in its per capita income, and if UP promotes tourism, it may surpass even the national average. “With the help of the Central government, the state government is promoting eco, spiritual and religious tourism. UP will top in the country in the coming days in attracting foreign tourists in the state,” assured Adityanath.On the occasion, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat also thanked Subhash Chandra for launching a new regional channel in the Hill State.

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Apologise to Manmohan Singh, Congress tells Narendra Modi

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

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Congress disrupts Rajya Sabha over PM Modi’s remark

Parliament’s Winter Session got off to a fiery start with frequent disruptions in the Rajya Sabha on Friday, as the Congress demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his insinuation that his predecessor Manmohan Singh conspired with Pakistan to meddle in the Gujarat elections.The Opposition protested and raised slogans. There were three adjournments as Opposition leaders did not allow the proceedings to continue before the House was adjourned at 3 pm. The ruckus followed the Prime Minister’s comment earlier in the day that he hoped for a constructive debate in the Winter Session. The Lok Sabha was adjourned after obituaries.Modi had alleged during an election rally in Gujarat that some Pakistani leaders met Singh at a dinner hosted by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on December 6, suggesting they were hatching a conspiracy to influence the Assembly elections in the state.”This is not an ordinary allegation… against a former PM, Vice-President and Army chief,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said. He gave a notice under rule 267, seeking suspension of the listed business to discuss the issue.Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, presiding over his first full session after being appointed Vice-President, rejected the notice and asked the member to sit down. With more commotion, the House was adjourned.Naidu, known for his wit, did not hold himself back as there was continuous shouting by agitated members who also protested against the disqualification of JD (U) chief Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar of the same party.”I don’t appreciate the conduct of coming to the Well. … There is a saying that all is well, not well. Try to understand this.”Amid the shouting, Naidu said there cannot be any discussion on the decision of the Chair. “There is no discussion on the ruling of the chairman. Please sit down.” “This is a political issue which you are raising, which you discuss outside the House.”When the House met again, Azad raised the issue amid uproar and it was adjourned again till 3 PM by Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien.Several Congress members, including Oscar Fernandes, Shamsher Singh Dullo, Renuka Chowdhury and Sanjay Singh, trooped into the Well of the House, shouting slogans.Kurien pleaded with members to take up the private members’ business but Samajwadi Party member Naresh Agarwal raised the issue of the Centre’s move to set up special courts for cases against MPs and MLAs, questioning the move.When Kurien said it was a decision of the Supreme Court, Agarwal said he had not criticised the top court but his questions were directed at the government.Congress leader Anand Sharma also got up and in support of Agarwal. Amid the chaos, Congress members once against tried to corner the government by shouting slogans demanding an apology from the Prime Minister.This is when the House was adjourned for the day.Private members’ bills including ‘The Educational Innovations Commission Bill 2017’ by Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and ‘The Prevention of Enforced Disappearance Bill 2017’ by V Vijayasai Reddy were introduced.

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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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Delhi HC denies interim stay on Sharad Yadav’s disqualification as MP

The Delhi High Court today refused to pass an interim order on a plea for a stay on former JD(U) president Sharad Yadav’s disqualification as a Rajya Sabha member.Justice Vibhu Bakhru, however, allowed Yadav to draw allowances, perks and retain his bungalow as an MP, but restrained him from attending the Winter Session of Parliament. The session, which started today, is scheduled to go on till January 5. The court also sought the response of the Rajya Sabha chairman besides member Ram Chandra Prasad Singh, who is leader of the JD(U) in the Upper House, on Yadav’s plea challenging December 4 order of the chairman disqualifying him as an MP.The court has fixed the main petition for hearing on March 1 next year. The order came on Yadav’s plea challenging his disqualification on several grounds, including that he was not given a hearing before the December 4 order was passed. Yadav had sought interim relief to attend the Parliament session

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‘All in Well, not well’: When Chairman Venkaiah Naidu’s one-liners livened noisy RS proceedings

It was Day One of the Winter Session for Venkaiah Naidu as Rajya Sabha Chairman and the VP didn’t disappoint regaling the Upper House with his witty one liners. However, Congress MPs still fuming over PM Modi’s Pakistan remark during Gujarat campaign might have been too livid to see the funny side. On not finding Tiruchy Siva, a DMK MP from Tamil Nadu in RS, the VP quipped that Siva was missing and made a joke about Lord Shiva’s omnipresence as he remarked, that ‘Shiva was everywhere but not here in the house’.Also readNo need to beg, we are independent: RS Chairman Venkaiah Naidu asks members to get rid of colonial terms Another funny repartee came when SP’s Naresh Agarwal tried to raise a point regarding the disqualification of two former JD(U) members of the House.The Chairman did not agree with him saying there is no “point … in your point of order”. He also said the matte cannot be discussed as it is a decision of the Chair.Also readManmohan Singh meets Venkaiah Naidu on eve of Parliament sessionJoining the issue, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the opposition was not challenging the decision taken by the Chair and wanted to say something more, but Naidu repeated that it was not a matter up for discussion.Meanwhile, when Naidu asked A Navaneetha Krishnan (AIADMK) to go ahead with his Zero Hour mention regarding cyclone in Tamil Nadu, Congress and SP members trooped into the Well raising slogans.Also readPM Modi attacks Congress, Kapil Sibal for linking Ram Mandir with Lok Sabha electionsThis angered the VP no end, as he asked them to return to their seats but they continued to raise slogans. “You want to do like this on the first day…All in Well not well…,” he said and adjourned the House till noon. And that ended a nondescript day in Rajya Sabha where no work was done but the mood was certainly livened up by our quirky new Chairman who has a way with words. Opp leaders protest rejection of notice to discuss PM Modi’s Pakistan remarkOpposition leaders today protested the rejection of their notice in the Rajya Sabha demanding an explanation and apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his “conspiracy with Pakistan” remark involving his predecessor Manmohan Singh.The leaders termed the comment “unfortunate” and told reporters outside the House it was “disappointing” that Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu did not allow a discussion on the notice.They also objected to the “illegal disqualification” of rebel Janata Dal (United) leaders Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar Ansari.In place of Yadav and Ansari, Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar should be disqualified for breaking away from the grand alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress, they said.”We gave a notice, but the chairman adjourned the House and did not let us raise the issue. We are disappointed. The chairman should have given us permission. This is a national… international issue,” Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters.At an election rally in Gujarat on Sunday, Modi had suggested that Pakistan was trying to influence the state assembly polls.He had claimed that some Pakistani officials and Manmohan Singh met at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house over dinner on December 6.Azad said the prime minister should come to the Rajya Sabha and explain his remarks to its members.His party colleague Anand Sharma, Naresh Agarwal of the SP and D Raja of the CPI said the people concerned should be punished if the allegations levelled by Modi were true.”But if it is false, if he levelled such a big allegation to polarise the people in view of the Gujarat polls, then he should apologise not only to the House but also to the people of the country,” Azad said.Raja said it was “not correct” on Modi’s part to cast aspersions on Singh.The CPI national secretary said Modi should have called up his predecessor if he had any information on the “conspiracy” issue.”He should have done it, but the way he raised the issue in an election campaign… It is highly objectionable. It is not good for democracy,” Raja said, asking the government to respect the Opposition.Sharma said it was “undemocratic” that the Opposition’s voice was being “muzzled”.He said the prime minister was “aware” of the notice and could have “used the opportunity to clarify his remarks, express regret and apologise”.”But the prime minister and the dispensation are arrogant and confrontational. And this is most unfortunate. This attitude does not augur well for democracy. It is an ominous development on the first day itself,” Sharma said.With inputs from PTI

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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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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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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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BJP MP Suresh Gopi booked for forging documents to evade Motor Vehicle Tax

BJP Rajya Sabha MP and actor Suresh Gopi has been booked for allegedly forging documents to get his luxury vehicle registered in Puducherry to evade vehicle tax in Kerala.The Crime Branch wing of the state police registered an FIR against the MP and submitted it at the Chief Judicial Magistrate court here, sources said. Police said the actor-turned-politician used a fake residential address to register his luxury vehicle in the Union Territory to evade the 20% tax in Kerala on luxury cars costing Rs 20 lakh and above.Similar cases were also registered last month against Southern film actors Fahadh Faasil and Amala Paul.
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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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Pinarayi Vijayan govt mulls promotion of ‘green habitat’ concept in Kerala

Amid concerns about unscientific construction practises, the Kerala government is considering promoting a ‘green habitat’ concept giving thrust to eco-friendly and reusable building materials, natural water storage and solid waste management.Haritha Keralam Mission, the state-run agency which envisages a clean and green state, has initiated an initial round of discussion with various experts and stakeholders in this regard, official sources here said.An alternative and sustainable architecture practice would be promoted in place of the existing conventional mode of construction under the ‘green habitat’ concept, they said.Also readIndia’s biggest floating solar power plant to be inaugurated in KeralaThe buildings, under the concept, are planned to be designed in such a way that natural sunlight and wind would be used to maximum and the usage of electricity reduces to the minimum.A rainwater harvesting or natural water storage system would be a sure feature of such ‘green’ buildings, where even kitchen and drainage water would be recycled and reused for other household purposes, a top Mission official said.Not only the danger posed by unscientific construction practices, but also the scarcity of conventional building materials is a reason to draw up an alternative green habitat concept, Vice Chairman and CEO of Haritha Keralam Mission, T N Seema said.She said the programme is at the concept level only and discussions are going on.”Our objective is to introduce maximum eco-friendly and reusable materials in the construction.. For example, bamboo can be used for construction.. But, its usage is not common in our state,” Seema told PTI.Waste waster, especially the kitchen and toilet water, can be recycled and reused for watering plants in individual houses and flat complexes, she said.Roof-top solar plants can help bring down the dependency on electricity, Seema, also an ex-Rajya Sabha MP, said.However, she said the green habitat concept cannot be implemented through laws alone.”Laws and legislation alone are not enough to implement the green habitat concept.. A thorough grassroot level campaign is inevitable to create awareness about this among public and inculcate a green culture among them,” she said.Besides individual houses and flat complexes and other buildings, efforts would be taken up to bring government offices also under the initiative, the official added.CPI(M)-led LDF government in the southern state has been promoting green concepts in waste managements, conservation of ground water sources, rainwater harvesting and organic farming with people’s support.Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had recently said that laws would be framed to set apart a particular space for water storage in every new buildings being constructed in the state.
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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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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.

RPI leader Ramdas Athavale rakes up quota issue to reassert his standing

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the run-up to the Gujarat assembly election, the Republican Party of India chief and Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athavale has roared that Modi government won’t be in power if it plans to change the present quota regime.Athavale, who is a prominent Dalit leader from Maharashtra, is NDA ally, has also hinted that he would chart his own way had it been any attempt to touch reservation currently offered to schedule castes (SC), scheduled tribes and others. Despite his elevation to the Union Cabinet, Athavale’s party has not been able to achieve substantial gains in the successive local body elections held in Maharashtra although his association has helped BJP for its sterling performance.RPI leader and Athavale’s close associate told DNA, “Athavale continues to enjoy a good amount of following in the Dalit community which is quite faction-ridden. There are several factions of RPI in the state but Athavale hopes that quota politics along with his alliance with BJP would come handy for consolidation in the state. You must remember Dalit constitutes well over 13% of the Maharashtra’s population. At the same time, Athavale will use his current position to poach vote bank of Mayawati and alike in various states.’’Athavale, who is elected to the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra, has been a three-time Lok Sabha member. He called himself the fearless panther of India, and claims to have led the ‘’Dalit Panther Movement’’ a social movement for equality, justice, and human rights. However, he was unable to mobilize necessary support in Dalit community and make inroads in non-Dalit voters too.Athavale had earlier supported Congress, Nationalist Congress, and Shiv Sena before joining the NDA. He recently demanded reservations for scheduled caste and scheduled tribe in the Army and in the Indian Cricket. Besides, he has been quite consistent in his demand for quota for SCs in the private sector.Athavale’s warning comes close on the heels of the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to introduce reservation in outsourced services while suggesting that there was a need for a debate on the quota in private sector. JD(U), which had recently broken its alliance with Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal to join hands with BJP in Bihar and at the Centre, has indicated that the party would use quota politics to outsmart RJD especially ahead of Lok Sabha election 2019.BL Mungekar, a prominent commentator on Ambedkar movement, said that quota will play important role in electoral politics of 2019. ”For instance, Nitish Kumar, who was recently accused of being anti Dalit, has been forced to introduce quota in outsourced jobs and also to take credit of initiating debate for quota in private sector. Athavale’s threat of disturbing the Modi government is of no consequence as he has not raised his voice against Modi’s government’s policies which are blatantly anti Dalits. ”This is the compromise Athavale made for getting Rajya Sabha seat,” he noted.

KJ Alphons Kannanthanam elected unopposed to Rajya Sabha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Minister of State for Tourism KJ Alphons Kannanthanam was elected unopposed on Thursday in the by-election of a Rajya Sabha seat as the opposition did not field a candidate. After the nomination return on Thursday, Returning Officer Prithviraj declared Alphons MP as elected. After becoming the Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan, he has become the seventh minister from the state in the Modi government.There are eight BJP MPs and two Congress MPs in the state’s 10 seats of Rajya Sabha. Congress’s Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Narendra Budhania will complete their tenure in April next year. This Rajya Sabha seat was vacant since Venkaiah Naidu became the Vice-President. Alphons reached Jaipur from Delhi on Thursday morning with BJP state president Ashok Parnami, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Arun Chaturvedi and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajendra Rathore.BJP legislators and ministers including BJP state president congratulated Alphons for their victory.

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

BJP leader’s staffers made to undergo Agni Pariksha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a shocking incident in ‘modern Gujarat’, a video of six petrol pump employees made to undergo ‘Agni Pariksha’ by dipping their hands in boiling oil to prove their honesty following theft of Rs6 lakh has gone viral on social media.The six sustained severe burns on their hands.The incident which came to fore from Jambuthal village near Sanand town in Ahmedabad district is hardly 10 km from the Tata Nano plant, where the ruling party BJP claims of massive development. Sources said the money was stolen from a petrol pump on Saturday night owned by former MLA from Congress and now a BJP leader Karamshi Patel, of Koli community, near Viramgam.The video shows six semi-clad people taking oath in front of goddess of a temple in the village saying they did not steal money and dipping their hands into hot oil.Sources said Patel initially doubted on three of the employees who were working in night shift. Patel’s son registered an FIR against the trio on Sunday at a local police station. Meanwhile, on Tuesday morning, some men, allegedly related to Patel, forced all the six employees to undergo ‘Agni Pariksha’ at Jambuthal village. When contacted, Karamshi Patel, said, “We did not force anyone to undergo Agni Pariksha. These six people had gone voluntarily as there is a tradition in our Koli community to perform the procedure to come out clean from any allegation.”The politician said, “Out of Rs12 lakh kept in the safe, only Rs 6 lakh were stolen. They had also switched off the CCTV during this incident. When it was switched on, three employees can be seen sleeping peacefully. We suspected their involvement and lodged an FIR against them. We don’t know who called them for ‘Paarkha’.” He however did not pay courtesy to meet the employees after the incident and blamed that Congress was doing this to defame him ahead of polls. Patel was elected as Congress MLA in 2012 polls but voted for BJP candidate Amit Shah in Rajya Sabha polls held in August, 2017. He has demanded a ticket from Sanand before the BJP leaders.

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.

Having returned Z+ security, Mukul Roy gets Y+ category day after joining BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A ‘Y+’ category of armed VIP security cover has been accorded by the Centre to Mukul Roy, a day after he joined the BJP after quitting Trinamool Congress.The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has been entrusted with the task of safeguarding the former railway minister under the UPA regime, official sources said.”A contingent of armed CRPF commandos will take charge of the new protectee in the next few days. Roy will have about three to four commandos with him, whenever he is in West Bengal,” a senior official said.He said a threat analysis report, prepared by central intelligence and security agencies, favoured granting of such a cover to Roy.The CRPF has a special VIP security wing and it secures around 70 dignitaries.Recently, the higher category of ‘Z’ cover of CRPF commandos was extended by the Centre to newly appointed special representative on Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma.Roy, a founder member of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), was inducted into the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) yesterday.He had resigned from the Rajya Sabha and quit the TMC earlier this month.The former TMC ledaer was suspended from the party for six years for indulging in alleged anti-party activities after he announced that he would quit the party.

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.

After two decades, BSP to contest urban local body polls under its own party symbol

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> With the BSP deciding to contest urban local body polls on party symbol after a gap of over two decades, party supremo Mayawati is camping here to personally monitor preparations and finalise candidates.Mayawati is in the state capital and is meeting zonal and divisional level party office bearers on a regular basis and giving instructions on how to go about the elections, a senior party leader said.The party, which has otherwise stayed away from local body polls in the past, has decided to enter into the fray this time round in order to deal with fresh challenges through a new strategy.Though BSP’s base is not as strong in urban areas (as in rural areas), the party decided to face these elections in view of the growth in people’s support in urban areas as well and now it does not want to leave anything to chance and go with full preparations, the leader, who did not wished to be identified, said.The names of candidates are being discussed at the highest level and senior leaders have been asked to apprise cadres and supporters that they have to put in all their might in these elections in a disciplined manner, the leader said.As the process of nominations has started, the lists of candidates are likely to be announced in three to four days time, the party leader said, adding names of some mayoral candidates have already been announced.Senior leaders including state unit president Ram Achal Rajbhar, former ministers Antu Misra, Nakul Dubey and Lalji Verma, Rajya Sabha MP Ashok Siddhart and Shamsuddin Rien, who is in-charge of western UP, will actively campaign for the nominees, he said.As of now there is no plan of the party president taking part in active campaigning, he said.It was after one of the worst drubbing at the hustings early this year that party supremo Mayawati convened a meeting of party leaders of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand here for a detailed discussion on the issue of urban body polls in the state and it was decided that they will be contested on party symbol.The BSP chief had told her partymen that efforts will be to give good results with the help of ‘sarv samaj’ (entire society).The BSP has not fought urban body polls on party ticket after 1995 and the decision to contest them this time was on a demand from leaders who believed it was time to make the party’s presence felt in the state, especially after the debacle in assembly polls.Civic polls are crucial for Mayawati and her BSP as the party has been on the downslide ever since losing power in the state in 2012 Assembly elections.The BSP was decimated in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when it failed to win even a single seat.In the last Assembly elections, the BJP and and its allies won a massive mandate securing 325 seats in the 403-member House. The Mayawati-led party ended a distant third with only 19 seats while the second spot was taken by the SP (54 seats).

JD(U) faction seeks action against party leader in RS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ongoing feud between Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav camps took a curious turn on Tuesday with the latter now shooting off a missive to Rajya Sabha Chairman, seeking disqualification of JDU’s Leader of House RC Singh.Singh’s petition seeking disqualification of party MPs Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar Ansari is already pending before the Rajya Sabha and will be heard on November 8.In the meantime, acting president of Sharad camp of JD-U, Chhotubhai Vasava, has written to the Rajya Sabha Chairman, seeking Singh’s disqualification under the same, which prescribes such action against a member “if he has voluntarily given up his membership of such political party”.Their argument is that Singh by supporting Nitish Kumar’s decision to align with BJP and actively supporting in his programmes thereafter has voluntarily given up membership of the JD(U).In the petition, it has been argued that Nitish Kumar faction of the JD(U) by aligning with the NDA has conducted in contrast to the resolutions/decisions taken by the party’s national executive in the year 2013 to oppose the BJP.

Sharad Yadav seeks eight weeks, gets 8 days to present in Rajya Sabha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Doing some plain talk, Rajya Sabha Secretariat has given eight days extension to rebel JDU leader Sharad Yadav to explain his stand over JDU’s disqualification notice against him, stating “no further extension will be given in the case.”Yadav, who has gone against party President and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to junk the JDU-RJD-Congress grand alliance in Bihar and join hands with the BJP in July this year, is facing the threat of disqualification as Rajya Sabha member.Yadav was served a notice on October 18 by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat to appear and explain his position before Upper House Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu by October 30.Last month, leader of JDU in Rajya Sabha RCP Singh wrote to Naidu seeking Yadav’s disqualification.Yadav wrote to the Secretariat on October 23 seeking eight weeks time to appear before it citing his travel in next few weeks in relation to upcoming assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.He requested the Rajya Sabha Chairman to “kindly postpone” his appearance in person before him in this context for the aforementioned period.In reply, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat on October 24 stated that the Chairman considered his request and directed that Yadav should appear before him before November 8 to represent his case. “It may be noted that no further extension will be given in this case,” the missive from Rajya Sabha Secretariat said.Yadav was renominated for Rajya Sabha in May last year and around four and half years of his term remains.In August, he was removed from the post of Leader of House in the Upper House over the charge of “indulging in anti party activities” and the party later followed it up with seeking his disqualification from the Rajya Sabha on the ground of defection.Yadav, who claims his faction of the party to be the “real JDU” has organised a number of programmes against the BJP and also attended an anti-BJP rally organised by RJD chief Lalu Prasad in Patna on August 27.JDU general secretary KC Tyagi, however, argues that with “more than 90 per cent party leaders are with Nitish Kumar,” Yadav’s claim has “no basis” and is confident that his disqualification will be just a matter of time.

In first TMC core committee meet after Mukul Roy’s exit, Mamata Banerjee warns against anti-party activities

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee today cautioned party workers against indulging in anti-party activities and said anyone who does not agree with its principles and values can leave the party.”There is no place for groupism or ego-fights in Trinamool. We will not tolerate anti-party activities. Party discipline is foremost. If you cannot follow it, you are free to leave… Workers are our biggest assets,” she said at the extended core committee meeting of the party here. The Trinamool Congress core committee meeting is the first since Mukul Roy, a former second-in-command in the outfit and its MP, quit the party and resigned from the Rajya Sabha on October 11 accusing Banerjee of “running a one-man show and propagating dynastic politics”.Banerjee, who is also chief minister of West Bengal, said, “Trinamool did not come power by sitting on armchairs. There is no room for complacency.” She asked Trinamool leaders to take every party-worker along while implementing any party programme in their respective areas. “It is not possible to give position to each and every worker of the party. But every worker should be taken into confidence and party programmes should be implemented properly. No one should be left behind. I want everybody to keep aside their infighting and work for strengthening the party,” Banerjee said.Roy was last month suspended from the Trinamool Congress for six years for indulging in anti-party activities after he announced that he would quit the party. He had described the BJP as a non-communal party and said that TMC would not have tasted success without the backing of the saffron outfit at the national level in its initial years.

Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017: Congress invites Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor, Jignesh Mevani to join hands

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat Congress on Saturdayday invited Patidar quota stir spearhead Hardik Patel, Thakor community leader Alpesh Thakor and dalit leader Jignesh Mevani to join hands with the party to defeat the ruling BJP.Apart from these leaders, the Congress also hinted at forging a pre-poll alliance with Sharad Pawar-led NCP and bringing on board Chhotu Vasava, the lone JD(U) MLA from the state.Addressing a press conference here today, state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki expressed confidence that the party would easily win over 125 seats, out of total 182, with the “support and blessings” of all these leaders and parties.”Though the BJP is trying its best to win the polls, it will not succeed in stopping the Congress’ victory march to Gandhinagar.”We respect as well as endorse the cause for which Hardik Patel is fighting. I appeal to Hardik to support the Congress during the polls. We are also ready to give him a ticket if he wants to fight elections in the future,” Solanki told reporters.”Similarly, we also invite Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani to join hands with the Congress. I also invite Chhotu Vasava, who helped us in the Rajya Sabha polls, to support the Congress,” he saidThough the NCP had “betrayed” Congress in the RS polls, the party’s doors are still open for them if they also want to overthrow the BJP from Gujarat, he added.In the Rajya Sabha polls, two NCP MLAs claimed to have voted for BJP candidate Balwantsinh Rajput despite their promise to vote for Congress leader Ahmed Patel.JD(U)’s lone MLA Vasava, whose party has formed the government in Bihar with the support of BJP, had voted for Ahmed Patel, who eventually won the election.Vasava had said after the Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat in August this year that he had decided to vote for the Congress candidate as he was “unhappy” with the ruling party’s works for the poor and tribal population that he represents.He was elected from Scheduled Tribe-reserved Jhagadia assembly seat in Bharuch district in south Gujarat.Solanki also claimed that some Aam Admi Party (AAP) leaders from Gujarat were also in contact with his party and may join hands with it ahead of the polls.Senior AAP leader Kanubhai Kalsariya had met Rahul Gandhi during the latter’s visit to central Gujarat early this month.”Just like Kalsariya, many other AAP leaders are in touch with us. They may join the Congress soon,” Solanki claimed.He claimed that his party has emerged as a strong contender in the upcoming polls.The Congress is out of power in Gujarat for 25 years.

Former TMC leader Mukul Roy invited to BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha’s birthday party

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Mukul Roy has received an invitation to attend the birthday party of BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha, fuelling further speculation about his growing proximity to the saffron party.Sinha’s birthday party is scheduled to be held here on October 25.”Every year, apart from the BJP leadership, we also invite the leaders of other political parties to the birthday party of Rahul Sinha. This year, we have invited Mukul Roy also as he is one of the most respected politicians of Bengal.We are hopeful that he will attend the programme,” said a BJP leader who is also one of the organisers of the event.Roy had resigned from the Rajya Sabha and quit the TMC earlier this month. Last month, he was suspended from the TMC for six years for indulging in “anti-party activities” after he had announced on September 25 that he would quit the party.Subsequently, Roy had described the BJP as a secular party and said the TMC would not have tasted success without the backing of the saffron outfit at the national level in its initial years. PTI PNT JM

JD(U) distances itself after Pavan Varma demands ‘credible answers’ from EC for not announcing Guj poll dates

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The JD(U) today distanced itself from spokesperson and general secretary Pavan Varma’s remarks asking the Election Commission to give “credible answers” for not announcing the Gujarat election dates, saying it has “full faith” in the impartiality of the poll panel.Varma, in a tweet, urged the Election Commission (EC) to be impartial and also expressed concern over growing hunger in the country in another post. “EC must not only be impartial but seen to be so. Why have the dates for Gujarat elections not been announced? We need credible answers,” he tweeted. Just hours after Varma’s tweet, the party distanced itself from the remarks and said it has “full faith” in the poll panel. “The party does not approve the views expressed by Pavan Varma. We have full faith in the impartial functioning of the Election Commission (EC), a constitutional body,” party’s chief spokesperson and secretary general K C Tyagi said in a statementTyagi said Varma was not authorised to make such a statement and had expressed views in his personal capacity.The remarks had “nothing to do with the party’s official line,” Tyagi said. However, Varma had earlier said he had asked the question of the EC as the party spokesperson. In another tweet, Varma also noted India’s “steep fall” in the global hunger index and said it begged the question who the fastest growing economy was working for. Asked to explain his remarks on the EC, Varma claimed that they should not be seen as a political statement as the Commission was not the “property of any political party”.Opposition parties have also questioned the Commission for not announcing Gujarat dates with those for Himachal Pradesh, with some leaders alleging that it was done to help the ruling BJP in the poll-bound state. Varma said since the dates for the Himachal polls had been announced, it was expected that the schedule for the Gujarat polls would also be declared, but that was not done. “So I have asked the EC that in order to retain its impartiality, which we all respect, it must provide credible reasons for not doing so. That is a question beyond partisan politics. Democracy is about strength of the institutions,” the former diplomat and Rajya Sabha member told PTI.The JD(U) might be a member of the NDA but it was a party with its own identity, ideology and point of view, he said.

Ram temple will be built in Ayodhya by next Diwali: Subramanian Swamy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy today said construction of the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya will commence soon and it will be ready to receive devotees by next Diwali.Hurdles in the way of the proposed Ram temple are being removed, Swami said without elaborating.”Construction of the temple is likely to begin sooner than later. This week we will be celebrating Diwali and by next Diwali the Ram temple is likely to be ready to receive devotees,” he said addressing a seminar here organised by the Bihar unit of Virat Hindustan Sangam (VHS), which he has floated.The Rajya Sabha MP said for electoral success “it is essential that the ideology of Hindutva is never lost sight of”.Swami said VHS would make efforts for the construction of a grand temple dedicated to Lord Ram’s consort Sita at Sitamarhi in north Bihar, believed to be her birthplace. “It is impossible to think of Maryada Purushottam Sri Rama without his companion Jagat Janani Janaki”.Plans were also afoot by VHS to also set up a university there. The university will serve as a centre for Indian renaissance where ancient Indian learning will be promoted alongside imparting of contemporary vocational training, he said, adding the organisation also proposed to undertake similar projects at other places of historical importance in all districts across Bihar.

Solving the problem of sexual exploitation of children not on politicians’ priority list: Independent Rajya Sabha MP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Worried over sexual exploitation of children in India, Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Friday bemoaned that the issue was not a priority for politicians.The lawmaker said while efforts by individuals and the civil society were “well-meaning”, the menace has assumed a form that only an “institutional approach” can address.He blamed “years of neglect” by various governments for this.The independent Rajya Sabha member from Bangalore launched a National Action Plan against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (NAPCSEC) during a press conference in New Delhi.”While we talk of girl education and development, the issue of girl safety and their exploitation has never been made part of the mainstream discussion,” Chandrasekhar said.”The problem has been that we have not been institutionally organised,” he said.Asked why he believed it hasn’t been made a political priority so far, the lawmaker replied, “I think there has been a basic reluctance to accept it as a major problem.” “But if we as a society come together and collectively make it an issue, the government will respond,” he said.The NAPCSEC plan has proposed creation of a national child grid, on the lines of NATGRID, for timely action.P M Nair, Chair-Professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai, also attended the event.Nair, a retired IPS officer, said the need was to keep the ‘customer’ at the centrality of this proposed framework.”That is how the demand would be choked. These ‘customers’ are treated as mere witnesses and that is what needs to change. They should instead be named and shamed,” he said.According to the NCRB data provided by the National Coalition for Protection of Children, an initiative by Chandrasekhar, “The total number of child trafficking cases reported in India in 2015 was 3,490 with an offender conviction report of 14.3 per cent.”Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal are among the states from which girls are picked up for prostitution at an early age. Delhi, Mumbai and Goa are some of the places where they end up, living a hellish life, the NCPOC said

Ahmed Patel pleads HC to reject Balvantsinh’s election petition

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP’s defeated candidate Balvantsinh Rajput’s election petition does not comply with various sections of The Representation of People’s Act and also does not follow the High Court’s rules, and so it should be rejected, claimed Congress Rajya Sabha member Ahmed Patel in his reply.Balvantsinh Rajput had filed an election petition challenging the Rajya Sabha elections, in which Congress candidate Ahmed Patel was declared as elected. His contention was that the two votes disqualified by the Election Commission should be restored and if those votes are counted, he will be declared elected. He has pleaded that the two Congress votes be disqualified.This petition had come up for hearing before single bench Justice Bela Trivedi on August 21. The court had issued a notice to Ahmed Patel, the Election Commission, BJP’s elected candidate Amit Shah and Smriti Irani. Patel filed his reply on Friday but the Election Commission, and BJPs elected candidate Amit Shah and Smriti Irani have not filed a reply.On Friday, Ahmed Patel, through his advocates Pankaj Champaneri and senior counsel Krishnakant Vakharia filed a response to the notice, in which he submitted that Balvantsinh stood to be disqualified under the Anti Defection Act itself, as he was elected on the Congress symbol and had resigned from the state assembly, just few days before the Rajya Sabha elections.Senior Counsel Vakharia further submitted election commission judgments can’t be challenged in any forum and for that reason the petition should be rejected. He even argued that few MLAs who resigned from the Congress voted for Balvanstinh and they were subject to disqualification.In his reply, Patel claimed that even if the two votes, which are disqualified by the Election Commission, even if these votes are counted in favour of the petitioner, yet i would have won the election.After taking the reply on record, Justice Trivedi has asked rest of respondents to file reply by October 12, when the matter is kept for further hearing. It has also asked the petitioner to file a rejoinder by that date so, the hearing of the case can be started at the earliest.PATEL SPEAKPatel, in his reply, claimed that even if the two votes, which are disqualified by the Election Commission, even if these votes are counted in favour of the petitioner, yet i would have won the election.

Sharad Yadav buying time from EC over application of party symbol to protect his Rajya Sabha seat: Nitish Kumar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The JD(U) headed by Nitish Kumar on Monday hit out at rebel Sharad Yadav faction saying that even after rejection of application for party symbol twice, they are trying to buy time from Election Commission as a ‘shield’ to protect Rajya Sabha membership of Yadav.”Even after their application has been rejected twice by the EC as its not backed by any valid papers, Sharad Yadav and his aides are trying to buy time from election panel,” new JD(U) Parliamentary party leader in Parliament R C P Singh told PTI in Patna.”They are doing so with sole intent to use their plea a ‘shield’ to protect the Rajya Sabha membership of Sharad Yadav,” Singh, a trusted aide of Nitish Kumar, said.The Sharad Yadav faction had on Sunday last said that it will submit fresh application to claim party’s poll symbol of arrow after the Election Commission asked it to provide evidence to back the demand.Singh, who replaced Yadav as Parliamentary party head, described as “unconstitutional” Sharad Yadav faction calling a meeting of national executive earlier on September 17 and now summoning national council meet on October 8.”They have no constitutional right to call any such meeting of the party,” he said.Singh laughed at Yadav raising issue against election of Nitish Kumar as President of JD(U) of which he himself was a part.”It was Sharad Yadav who had proposed name of Nitish Kumar for JD(U) President which the party national executive had ratified at Rajgir in 2016,” the JD(U) Parliamentary party chief said.”I and Javed Raza (suspended JD-U General Secretary who is now approaching EC on behalf of Sharad Yadav) had apprised the EC then about Nitish Kumar election as party President,” he added.Differences between Sharad Yadav and Nitish Kumar factions in the wake of disintegration of the Grand Alliance have reached a point of no return now and the two groups have knocked the EC for allotment of symbol to them.

TMC suspends Mukul Roy for six years for ‘anti-party activities’ after he expressed desire to quit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Trinamool Congress (TMC) Rajya Sabha MP and former railway minister Mukul Roy was on Monday suspended from the party for six years for “anti-party activities”, TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said.”He (Roy) has been trying to weaken the party for quite some time. The party’s disciplinary committee has discussed the issue and recommended punishment for him to TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee,” he said. Shortly after Roy announced that he would tender his resignation from the party’s working committee today, Chatterjee told reporters that the Rajya Sabha member had been suspended from the party for six years for “anti-party activities”.Roy also told reporters that he would resign from the Upper House of Parliament and give up the primary membership of the party after Durga Puja.
ALSO READ West Bengal: Senior Trinamool Congress leader & MP Mukul Roy to quit party”If he (Roy) wants to leave, why isn’t he leaving now? What is stopping him?” Chatterjee asked. Earlier in the day, Mukul Roy expressed his desire to quit TMC. “I was one the signatories when the party was founded. I am announcing with a heavy heart that I will resign from the party’s working committee today. “And after the Durga Puja festival, I will resign from the Rajya Sabha and also from the primary membership of the party,” Roy said at a press conference.Roy, whose relationship with the leadership has been strained of late, said he would give an explanation on why he was leaving the party and why he was “forced to do so” after Durga Puja. The TMC, the ruling party in West Bengal, had last week censured Roy for allegedly hobnobbing with BJP leaders and said it was keeping a close watch on him. Asked whether he would join the BJP in days to come, Roy said, “Whatever I have to say. I will say it after Durga Puja.But I would like to mention that people of Bengal don’t like political controversies during Durga Puja,”. Once the second-in-command in the TMC after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Roy was absent from an event to unveil the Durga Puja edition of the TMC mouthpiece, Jago Bangla, on September 19. Banerjee and the entire TMC top brass, barring Roy, was present at the event. Roy was recently removed as the TMC vice president after the party decided to restructure its committee. He was earlier removed as the party’s in-charge of Tripura, where the TMC was steadily making inroads till its members switched over to the BJP earlier this year.

Sonia Gandhi reaches out to Modi on women’s bill

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress president Sonia Gandhi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to use the BJP’s majority in the Lok Sabha and ensure the passage of the long-pending Women’s Reservation Bill. The Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha in 2010 during the Congress-led UPA’s rule, but it has not been tabled in the Lower House since then.The legislation guarantees 33 per cent reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies, ensuring a stronger women’s voice at the top that is expected to lead to policies and laws to help fight abuse, discrimination and inequality.Sonia wrote the letter on Wednesday evening, amid a buzz within the Congress that she might end her 19-year tenure as party president by October 31 in favour of her son Rahul Gandhi.”I am writing to request you to take advantage of your majority in the Lok Sabha to now get the Women’s Reservation Bill Passed in the Lower House as well,” she said in the letter, adding that the Bill has languished in the Lok Sabha for one reason or another.The Bill, when passed, will empower women socially, politically and economically. It could also be a big vote-winner for the government as women account for 43% of the electorate.Sonia also recalled that the Congress and its late leader Rajiv Gandhi had first mooted quota provisions for women in panchayats and municipal bodies through Constitutional amendments.Women have only 11 per cent representation in both Houses of Parliament, placing the country at the 149th spot in the world, according to the latest statistics available with the United Nations.The then HD Deve Gowda government first introduced the Bill in Parliament in 1996. Since then, there has been high drama — marked by frayed tempers and war of words, and, sometimes, scuffles and snatching of papers from presiding officers and ministers, in Parliament — whenever governments attempted its passage.Outside, there have been protests, rallies, demonstrations and hunger strikes by several women groups. But, despite promises, parties have failed to build consensus. Many male politicians believe that the reservation would mean their bastion is gone.Being a Constitution Amendment Bill, it requires a special majority for its passage in each House i.e., a majority of the total membership of a House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting.Since 1996, the Bill has lapsed each time the House was dissolved and was later reintroduced by the government of the day. In 2010, the then UPA government adopted it in the Rajya Sabha to keep it alive on the legislative agenda as Bills introduced and passed by the Upper House do not lapse.While Sonia took credit for the passage of the Bill in the Upper House and her women colleagues came out rejoicing the prospect of its becoming a law, her party’s male members at the Congress headquarters murmured that the issue needs further consultations, and might further fracture the Opposition’s unity at a time when Rahul is expected to take over the Congress.The party’s two most dependable allies — the SP and the RJD — are strenuously opposed to the Bill in its current form. They demand quota within quota for minorities and other backward communities (OBCs).The Bill says the proposed two-thirds reservation will also apply to seats already reserved for scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST) candidates. But the BSP wants a separate and additional quota for SC and ST women, not disturbing the existing quota reserved for these categories.

Out of favour TMC MP Mukul Roy returns ‘Z’ category status

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Senior Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy today returned the ‘Z’ category security provided to him by the West Bengal government.”I have verbally communicated (to the government) that there is no need to provide me with a security cover. I have told my guards not to come,” Roy told PTI. Quizzed on his decision, Roy said “I have come to know from newspapers that I have been removed from the post of the TMC vice-president and from various parliamentary standing committees. So I felt that there is no need for any security cover.” When asked TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said “It is up to him (Roy) to decide whether he wants security or not. He felt he doesn’t need it any more.” To questions on whether Roy would leave the party, Chatterjee said “How can I comment on it? He(Roy) says that staying on the crease is important. But cricket is a team game and how will a striker score runs without another batsman at the non striker’s end.”I don’t know in which crease will he play in days to come, but he is friend of mine and he is still a member of the party’s working committee,” Chatterjee said. Once a number two in TMC, Roy, a Rajya Sabha MP, presently has a strained relationship with the party. He was absent from the inaugural program of party’s mouthpiece ‘Jago Bangla’s’ Durga Puja edition yesterday.The edition was inaugurated by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the entire top brass of the party was present at the programme except Roy. The TMC leadership had recently decided to restructure its committee following which the post of its vice-president was abolished. Roy was earlier removed as the party’s in-charge of Tripura, a state where TMC was steadily making inroads till its members switched to BJP earlier this year.

I am not a political paramour who can be discarded at will: Amar Singh slams Mulayam Singh Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rajya Sabha member and former SP leader Amar Singh took aim at his former benefactor and SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav claiming that he ditched him (Amar Singh) to prevent a split in the Yadav family but failed to keep them together. He was quoted saying by Hindustan Times: “He (Mulayam Singh) used to tell me to come and meet him at his residence at 11pm and leave before 5am. We all know who makes such discreet and nocturnal visits. I am not a political paramour who can be used and discarded at will.”Singh added that he was called ‘outside uncle’ by Akhilesh and blamed for the family feud. He also took aim at SP general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav for projecting him as the villain during the Yadav family feud.Earlier, Singh had said that he wasn’t averse to joining BJP. “The BJP is a very big political party. I won’t say that I will not join the BJP if I get the chance, but who is giving me the chance? I haven’t sent them any request letter either,” Amar Singh had told reporters.

Mayawati brings brother, nephew to the fore at party rally

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati introduced her brother and nephew to party workers at a rally in Meerut, triggering speculation that the two may play a significant role in the party in future.The BSP supremo’s brother Anand and nephew Akash yesterday shared the dais with her for the first time at any party rally. They waved at the public but did not give any speech.Akash had accompanied Mayawati during a visit to Saharanpur in May after the clashes there.Addressing her first rally after her resignation from Rajya Sabha in July, the former chief minister alleged that the dalits, tribals and OBC communities were being oppressed under the BJP.Lakhs of posts were lying vacant, but no effort is being made to fill them, she alleged.In the speech that lasted well over an hour, Mayawati compared her decision to quit the upper house to the resignation of Baba Saheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar as law minister in 1951.She said that she resigned from the house as dalits were not allowed to raise their voice on the issue of Saharanpur clashes.The rally is being as an attempt to galvanise party cadre ahead of municipal elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Sharad, Anwar seek a month’s time to reply to RS communication about disqualification

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>JD(U)’s rebel Rajya Sabha members Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar on Monday sought a month’s time to reply to the House’s communication to them, seeking response to the party’s plea for their disqualification.The Rajya Sabha secretariat had asked the Yadav and Anwar to respond within a week, which ended today. The two MPs had said they were busy in political programmes and needed time to prepare their replies. Speaking to reporters after meeting the Rajya Sabha secretary general, Anwar said any decision should not be taken in a hurry and they should be given “natural justice”. “What is the hurry? We should be given an opportunity to explain ourselves. There should be a natural justice,” he said, and demanded that the matter be referred to the ethics committee of the House. Anwar pointed out that the committee is yet to be constituted.He said they have sought one month time to reply to the Rajya Sabha’s communication to them.JD(U) general secretary Sanjay Jha accused the rebel members of resorting to delaying tactics to avoid their disqualification as MPs for alleged anti-party activities. The party’s Rajya Sabha members on August 12 had removed Yadav, who opposed the party’s decision to ally with the BJP in Bihar, as their leader in the House and replaced him with R C P Singh. It had also suspended its Rajya Sabha member Ali Anwar Ansari from the parliamentary party for attending a meeting of opposition parties convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.Differences between Bihar Chief Minister and party president Nitish Kumar, and Yadav surfaced after the former snapped ties with the Congress and the RJD, and allied with the BJP to form a new government in Bihar in July.

HC judge impeachment: Jurists’ panel submits report to V-P

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over two 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 female Additional District Judge to resign to protect her ‘dignity’) against Justice SK Gangele, a sitting judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, the committee has finally submitted its report.Sources told DNA that the committee comprising Supreme Court Judge R Banumati, Bombay High Court Chief Justice Manjula Chellur, and Attorney-General KK Venugopal submitted the report to Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, who is also the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, last week. While the original committee was headed by Supreme Court judge Vikramjit Sen, after his retirement, it was taken by Justice Banumati.The committee examined several witnesses and also heard the complainant and the accused high court judge. Sources in Naidu’s office said that the report is being “studied” and will be placed before the House at the next session. However, neither the three members nor the RS Chairman’s office was ready to disclose the contents of the report.Ansari had constituted the committee in April 2015 after receiving a motion signed by 58 RS MPs seeking impeachment of Justice Gangele for allegedly sexually harassing a former Additional District and Sessions judge of Gwalior.The judge had resigned in 2014, saying she had done so to protect her “dignity, womanhood, and self-esteem”.In her complaint to the CJI, the ADJ had accused Justice Gangele of sending her a message through the district court registrar to “perform a dance on an item song” at a function in 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, an in-house committee of judges constituted by the CJI to probe the charges against Justice Gangele, had exonerated him, stating there was “insufficient” evidence to establish a charge of sexual harassment.However, the committee had also found Justice Gangele 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 Gangele) holding a public event to celebrate his 25th marriage anniversary on December 11, 2013, which was attended by many government officers.

Venkaiah Naidu seeks professional, expenditure audit of Rajya Sabha TV

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday sought a professional and expenditure audit of the Rajya Sabha TV as he pitched for framing an action plan to expand the channel’s reach, a source said.The Rajya Sabha TV (RSTV) is owned and operated by the upper house of Parliament. Naidu is the chairman of the Rajya Sabha. During a one-and-a-half-hour-long review of the Rajya Sabha TV, Naidu made queries regarding reach of the channel, manpower utilisation, expenditure under various heads, mandate of the channel and its content, the source said. “He directed that a comprehensive professional and expenditure audit may be undertaken,” the source added.The vice president also suggested that RSTV should be able to quantify the reach of the channel (viewership), besides having systems for feedback on and evaluation of the content. Naidu also called for efforts to expand RSTV’s reach with a clear plan of action, the source said. He also suggested exploring the possibility of a synergy with Prasar Bharati, which runs Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR), through sharing of content. Rajya Sabha Secretary General Desh Deepak Verma, Prasar Bharati CEO and RSTV Acting CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati and senior professionals of RSTV attended the review meeting.

I am fighting against a mountain, well aware that I will get hurt: Sharad Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Rebel JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav has called his party’s national council meet in the national capital on October 8, escalating his fight against party president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.Yadav’s announcement came a day after the Election Commission refused to take cognisance of his faction’s claim over the party’s symbol, citing lack of documents to support its stand. At a press conference, the former JD(U) president put up a brave face, saying one does get hurt in a fight against the mighty. He said that he would continue to fight for “truth and democracy” and insisted that he would prove in due course of time that the “real” JD(U) was with him and he would strengthen the party more.”My colleagues have called a national council meeting on October 8. I will also participate,” he said. Though an overwhelming number of popularly elected members of the party and its office-bearers have backed Kumar, Yadav’s move is seen as an attempt by him to launch his next political journey with a bang. His party has also urged Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to disqualify him and another rebel MP Ali Anwar from the Rajya Sabha for their “anti-party” activities, and he had been asked yesterday to file his response within a week.
ALSO READ Sharad Yadav’s claim to JD(U)’s ‘arrow’ symbol misses the mark, EC rejects application He will file reply to the Rajya Sabha notice after consultation with lawyers, Yadav told reporters. He also parried queries on his next step following the EC’s move, saying his lawyers were looking into the matter and would file an appropriate response. “I am fighting against a mountain, a wall. I am well aware that I will get hurt,” he said. The Yadav faction had approached the EC on August 25, staking claim over the party’s election symbol and insisting that a majority of its national council members were with it. The EC had yesterday refused to take cognisance of it.Hitting out at Kumar, Yadav said it was unprecedented that a party joins hands with another it had fought against within 18 months of the election. “It was a mockery of democracy that you won on the manifesto of maha-gathbandhan (grand alliance) and joined hands with the group (BJP) against whom you fought,” he said.
ALSO READ Bihar: Nitish Kumar has the majority support; don’t go by what Sharad Yadav says: JD(U) tells EC

WB CPI(M) state committee recommends expulsion of Rajya Sabha MP Ritabrata Banerjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Communist Party of India (Marxist) Bengal Unit on Wednesday recommended expulsion of Rajya Sabha MP and youth leader Ritabrata Banerjee from the party. The final decision will be taken by the party’s Central Committee. Banerjee was suspended for three months by the party in June.He was removed from the state committee following a report of a party commission headed by Md Salim that found him guilty of leaking information to the media and enemy camp as well as for having a lavish lifestyle.Last week, he had said that he had been a victim of jealousy in the party since he was vocal and very active in Parliament.”It was my fate to become a party MP and that too become very much vocal and active in the Parliament. Had I been dumb in the Parliament and not active as I had been, I would not have to face this fate,” Banerjee told a Bengali TV channel during an explosive interview. “I am a victim of jealousy by some of my party leaders who were always busy to heckle me or malign me. They somehow convinced the party headquarter to take a decision against me,” the CPI(M) youth leader said. He had also alleged that senior leader Md Salim, and his son were spreading canards against him with some purpose or vested interest.Banerjee denied he ever submitted inflated air fare bills as alleged against him saying that he was a member of five parliamentary committees and for that he had to travel a lot. With state committee recommending expulsion of Ritabrata, it looks like this young MP’s fate is all but sealed. Ritabrata so far hasn’t reacted to this new development. He also hasn’t revealed his future political plans. (With agency inputs)

Speaker may reserve opinion on Congress’ plea to disqualify defected MLAs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat Congress’ petition to Assembly Speaker Ramanlal Vora to disqualify 14 defected MLAs may take time to be processed. Vora said that he will think on it before processing anything.”The petition has been received and I will study it before taking action. It requires time to come to any conclusion on such a sensitive issue. It is also necessary to take legal opinion as this kind of case has never been reported in the past,” Vora told DNA.The Congress had filed a petition on Wednesday with the Gujarat Legislative Assembly Speaker, seeking to bar its 14 former MLAs, who had either quit or cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha elections, from contesting elections for six years.”If the process takes time and the term of the Assembly expires before that, the petition may be treated as null and void. Moreover, the Congress has the right to challenge my decision on this petition in the Supreme Court,” he added.However, sources said that Vora may not admit the petition before the next Assembly elections. It is also possible that he may dismiss this petition on several grounds.The BJP-led Gujarat government has been rejecting such grounds, in which MLAs can be disqualified. This had happened when Congress leaders had said before the Rajya Sabha polls for three seats in state, that party MLAs defying the mandate should be disqualified for six years from contesting the polls as per the Representation of People’s Act(RPA).The Minister of State for Parliamentary and Legal Affairs in Gujarat government Pradipsinh Jadeja had said that the Congress was spreading a myth under the camouflage of the RPA and there was no such provision to disqualify the MLAs under such circumstances.THE GOVT STANDThe BJP-led Gujarat government has been rejecting such grounds, in which MLAs can be disqualified.
It said the Congress was spreading a myth under the camouflage of the RPA and there was no such provision.

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