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‘Ray of hope’: Wishes pour in from politicos for Rahul Gandhi as he becomes Congress President

Wishes poured in for Rahul Gandhi from various opposition parties as he took over the reins of the Congress party today, with RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav saying the whole nation “wants to see him as the next prime minister”.Forty-seven-year-old Gandhi responded to the leaders on Twitter, saying, “thank you”. The leaders hoped that Gandhi would strive for the welfare of the people, put up a fight to protect secular fabric of the country. Former Bihar deputy chief minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav lauded Gandhi for “redefining” Indian politics. Also readCongress prez Rahul Gandhi pays tribute to martyrs of 1971 warYadav said Gandhi has proved his mettle in inclusive, secular and liberal politics. The RJD leader said the youth feels “duped and cheated” under the current BJP-led NDA regime. “And this respect, Rahul Gandhi ji is being seen as a ray of hope to bring this pessimistic politics to an end. The whole nation wants to see him as the next prime minister of India,” Yadav said in a video message posted on the Congress’s Twitter handle. Also readBJP rakes up Madhu Koda’s sentencing to target Rahul Gandhi on his first day as Congress PresidentReferring to a line “that there are many promises to keep, miles to go before I sleep” from Robert Frost’s poem, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury hoped it would be the guiding motto for Gandhi during his stewardship of the Congress. “In Indian politics, we wish all those who have taken up new responsibilities the best. Our wishes to him in discharging these responsibilities only with the hope that it will be in the interest of the people and the country,” he said in a video message on the Congress’s Twitter handle. “Congratulations Rahul ji for this big responsibility and our best wishes for all ur endeavours,” Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.In a video message posted on the Congress’s Twitter handle, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav noted Gandhi’s responsibilities have now become greater and hoped he would make consistent efforts to take the grand old party forward. DMK working president M K Stalin also joined the leaders in wishing Gandhi, hoping he would restore glory of secularism. “Am confident that he will fulfil the aspirations and hopes of the people and restore the glory of Secularism, Socialism and Federalism. @OfficeOfRG,” Stalin tweeted. Taking to Twitter, Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that the party takes a pledge for a new movement that is free from fear, fascism, prejudices, equity and true democracy.”New Energy, Newer steps, New Challenges & Navsarjan! Under the leadership of Rahulji, We shall write a golden chapter for Our Nation!” Surjewala tweeted.Facing the uphill task of reviving a moribund party, Rahul Gandhi today took over as the Congress president, and immediately hit out at the BJP, accusing it of spreading hatred and violence in the country.”They break, we unite. They ignite fire, we douse it. They get angry, we love. This is the difference between them and us,” he told party workers.Gandhi, who was heralded by the 132-year-old party’s top brass, family members and boisterous rank-and-file, alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was taking India back to the medieval times.In his first speech to party workers after his formal takeover, he set the tone of its future course and how the party would take on its arch-rival BJP, saying the Congress was for inclusive politics and that it respects all Indians that extends even to the ruling party.The 47-year-old Gandhi family scion said he took over the party reins knowing that he would always be walking in the “shadow of giants”.”Today, the BJP people are trying to spread fire and violence in the entire country and only the force of lovable Congress workers and leaders can stop them,” he said.Before he gave his first address, he sought his mother Sonia Gandhi’s blessings and kissed her on the forehead.Attacking Modi, he said the Congress took India into the 21st century, “while the prime minister today is taking us backward, to a medieval past where people are butchered because of who they are, beaten for what they believe and killed for what they eat”.This ugly violence in the country, he said, has “shamed us” in the world as India’s philosophy and history, born out of love and compassion, are being tarnished by such horror.In an emotionally charged final speech as the Congress chief while passing on the party’s mantle to her son, Sonia Gandhi said the grand old party should set its house in order and introspect while readying for any sacrifice to stop communal forces in the country.She exuded confidence that Rahul would lead the party with courage, patience and devotion. He has endured many personal attacks which have made him “fearless”, she said.She also voiced concern over the alleged attacks on the core constitutional and fundamental values of the country by the BJP and asked party workers not to relent in the fight against such forces.”We are all witness to daily attacks on our fundamental values, against the freedom of speech and expression, against our rich diverse culture, and an atmosphere of fear and suspicion is being created.”Amid this, the Congress must look within and introspect and forge ahead. If we do not stand by our principles, we will not be able to wage this fight for the common people. This is a moral battle and to achieve success, we must set our house in order and be ready for any kind of sacrifice,” she said.Sonia Gandhi said the country was facing “unprecedented challenges”, but stressed that the party was not going to be scared and would fight it out.She recalled the times when she entered politics after losing her “anchor” (Rajiv Gandhi) and “mother” (Indira Gandhi), and how with the support of Congress workers she steered the party to power both at the Centre and in state after state.Congratulating Rahul Gandhi on his elevation, she said personal attacks on him have made him fearless and voiced confidence that his leadership will infuse new vigour in the party.”I am confident that with a new and young leadership, our party will be reinvigorated and bring about changes we need. You have chosen Rahul as your leader. He is my son, and it is not right for me to praise him,” she said.Former prime minister Manmohan Singh said Rahul Gandhi will sustain the “politics of hope” which is needed in the country and not allow the “politics of fear” to take over.In his brief address at an event where the new Congress president was handed over a formal certificate by the party’s election authority, Singh said certain “disturbing trends” are noticeable in the country’s polity and the people were depending on Rahul Gandhi to transform it.Singh described the day as “unique” in the party’s history and said Rahul Gandhi’s leadership would bring a new sense of dedication and commitment to steer the party to greater heights of glory.He also praised Sonia Gandhi for the “powerful and magnificent” leadership provided by her to the Congress which would go down in the annals of its history.”As a distinguished academic pointed out a few days ago, there are dangers that the politics of fear will take over from the politics of hope,” the former prime minister said, apparently targeting the BJP.”May your path be blessed,” he said as he ended his speech.Rahul Gandhi was given the certificate in the presence of Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Robert Vadra and several senior party leaders.The new party chief also met PCC delegates from various states thanking them for electing him unopposed.There was chaos outside the AICC headquarters where party workers gathered in large numbers to witness the event, making it difficult even for senior party leaders to enter the premises.While there was bursting of crackers outside the venue, women played with ‘gulal’ and young party workers danced to the beats of ‘dhol’.Posters and banners were put up in Lutyens’ Delhi and traffic was halted around the AICC office on Akbar Road.

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Gujarat elections 2017: ‘Modi, Modi’ chants and 500-metre walk – When PM Narendra Modi stood in queue to cast his vote

Amid loud cheers and ‘Modi, Modi’ chants, it was a grand homecoming for Prime Minister Narendra as he visited Sabarmati’s Ranip to cast his vote in the second phase of the Gujarat Assembly Elections on Thursday.Hundreds of voters lined up on both sides of the roads leading up to the booth number 115 in Ranip area to catch a glimpse of the Prime Minister.Smiling and waving to the crowd, PM Modi stood in the queue to cast his vote. Later, he walked around 500 metre right outside the polling booth to his cavalcade showing his inked finger to the loud cheers. Many were seen clicking photos of the Prime Minister.The Congress has termed the walk as a ‘roadshow’ and called it a breach of the poll codes. Addressing the media, senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala slammed the Prime Minister. Another party leader Ashok Gehlot said that ‘the Election Commission it seems is working under pressure from PM and PMO.”There are reports that the poll panel will look into the allegations made by the Congress. Earlier in the day, senior-most BJP leaders were seen casting their votes in the second phase of Gujarat elections.The biggies include BJP president Amit Shah, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and LK Advani.After an acrimonious campaign, voting for the second and final phase of the Gujarat assembly elections is under way today in 93 seats in North and Central Gujarat.Around 2.22 crore voters are eligible to exercise franchise today to choose between the two main contenders, the BJP and the Congress.A total of 851 candidates are in the fray for the second phase.The first phase of voting, held on December 9, covered 89 seats of the 182-member House.The election is being seen as a “prestige battle” for Prime Minister Modi and a litmus test for the leadership of Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi.In the 2012 Assembly polls, the BJP won 115 seats while the Congress bagged 61. The votes will be counted on December 18.

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Election Commission notice to Rahul Gandhi on poll code breach

A day before the final phase of polling in Gujarat, the Election Commission cracked the whip on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and certain television channels that aired his interviews even after the end of campaigning.The BJP and the Congress traded charges against each other for trying to influence the voters in the mandatory no-campaign period.Within hours of the filing of three complaints by the BJP, the EC served a showcase notice to Rahul on Wednesday and ordered FIR against certain Gujarati television channels.The EC asked Rahul to explain by December 18 why he violated the poll code of no campaign within 48 hours of the conclusion of the final day of polling.The EC also instructed the Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to stop the display of such matter in districts going to the polls on December 14. Following the EC’s step, the Congress reacted sharply and called it partisan. The party demanded from the EC that an FIR be filed against BJP leaders. At the EC’s doorstep, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala described it as an attempt to strangle the press.”In 2014 Mr Modi had given a television interview just a day before the polling, and on the day of polling, he had even displayed the BJP symbol, but EC did not act then. On December 8, a day before the first phase, the BJP finance minister released the manifesto but EC did not issue a show cause,” he said.In his first interview, Rahul said the “BJP is not scared of him but of the voice of Gujarat.””In the last three months, I have just raised the voice of Gujarat. They are not scared of me. They are scared of the voice of Gujarat. This election is not about Rahul Gandhi or Narendra Modi. This is about the voice of Gujarat,” Rahul told TV channels.He also accused the BJP of distorting his image by putting huge money.”There was no (image) makeover. BJP workers used money to distort the reality of Rahul Gandhi… a lot of money was put into this,” said Rahul.Reacting to the BJP’s oft-repeated line that Rahul is BJP’s biggest ally as he makes it win wherever he goes, he termed Prime Minister Narednra Modi his biggest help.The second phase of Gujarat is today, on December 14.Hitting out, Cabinet Minister Piyush Goyal said, “Congress is so scared and Rahul Gandhi is desperate to save his face. That is why he violated the Model Code of Conduct and gave interviews. We don’t think such interviews are allowed in the 48 hours prior to polls. We have never given such interviews.”He also claimed that the undercurrent which Rahul said was present in Gujarat, will work against the Congress, and the BJP will win over 150 seats in the 182-seat Assembly.In a strong retort, the Congress alleged that the BJP was threatening journalists in Gujarat for airing Rahul’s interview and urged the EC to take notice of it.Surjewala claimed that some journalists were receiving threats from high-level state BJP functionaries who were telling mediapersons that they would be jailed for violating the poll code.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | BJP releases manifesto just a day before polls

Interest-free loans to farmers, setting up of a Gujarat Olympic Mission, a fund for women empowerment, and timely execution of Smart City projects, are some of the promises announced by the BJP in its manifesto for the Gujarat Assembly elections.Senior BJP leader and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, state BJP president Jitu Vaghani, and others released the manifesto on Friday, just a day before the first phase of elections.”Our Sankalp Patra (Vision Document) focuses on infrastructure development, and the social and economic growth of Gujarat. It shows concern for all classes, including the poor, farmers, women, youth, and others. Our vision is to put Gujarat on track for a higher growth rate,” Jaitley said, while unveiling the document.Jaitley also said the manifesto released by opposition Congress was full of Constitutional impossibilities and financially unviable promises.”The Congress manifesto is merely to deceive the people of Gujarat,” he said.State BJP president Jitu Vaghani said that the Vision Document would continue and add pace to the works done by successive BJP governments in the state in the past 22 years.Later in the day, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala told media persons in the city that while announcing their manifesto, that too after the first phase of campaigning is over, Jaitley categorically denied Patidaars their right to reservation, debt-waivers to farmers, women their right to housing and reduction in prices of Petrol and Diesel. Surjewala said the manifesto did not have photographs of Gujarat CM, Dy CM and Gujarat BJP president, which indicates that party president Amit Shah was conspiring to rule the state through a puppet.What’s in itFor farmersThe manifesto promises doubling of income, assurance of right prices, interest-free loans, and effective implementation of cow slaughter laws, among others. EmploymentEstablishing of employment-oriented new industrial areas, skill development, and encouragement to start-ups. SportsThe manifesto promises setting up of Gujarat Olympic Mission and modern training facilities for sportspersons.Backward classesCreating equal opportunities for economically backward classes and their empowerment through various schemes, including scholarship for higher education.WomenThe document says a special fund will be arranged for women empowerment. It also promises assistance for free higher education for girls.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Randeep Surjewala lashes out at govt on GSPC scam

The Congress came out with an exhaustive report which indicates at a major scam by the state government with the Gujarat State Petrolium Corporation (GSPC). Congress leader Randeep Surjewala questioned why Modi should not be investigated for the GSPC scam?Elaborating on the scam worth Rs20,000 crore, Surjewala said, “Zero gas and loot gaya Gujarat ka cash (zero gas and Gujrat’s cash is robbed) is all we can say about the GSPC scam. The BJP-run Gujarat government has looted public money but there is no gas even after spending crores. I demand an independent inquiry into the scam,” said Surjewala.“Looking at the balance sheet of the GSPC’s accounts, shocking revelations of foreign exchange has come out. The amount spent by the GSPC after foreign exchange is Rs 10,651.80 crore, which has been mentioned for the same and isn’t shown in the profit and loss account. Why is this so?” asked Surjewala. “Foreign exchange worth Rs 372.32 crore is shown as miscellaneous expenses. This sudden increase in the GSPC account on foreign exchange points to a scam and I demand an inquiry by the Supreme Court,” he said.

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Gujarat elections 2017 | GSRTC losses have surged: Randeep Surjewala

With elections just a few days away, political allegations are flying thick and fast. On Wednesday, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala accused the BJP government in the state of financial mismanagement and corruption in the running of Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC).In 1994, the number of buses under GSRTC was 7,853, and number of trips was 70,442. He alleged that the number of buses fell to 6,943 in 2017, and number of trips declined sharply to 44,700.”Looking at the growth in population and requirement in the last 22 years, the number of buses and trips made by them should have gone up by 4-5 times. Instead, both the number of buses and trips has declined,” Surjewala said, seeking replies from PM Narendra Modi and CM Vijay Rupani.He claimed that in 1994, when Congress was in power, ST buses were reaching all 18,225 villages, but the number had fallen to 9,000 under the BJP government.The Congress leader also came down heavily on the state government for huge accumulated losses at GSRTC.”The cumulative losses of GSRTC were at Rs389 crore from 1960 to 1994-95. Between 1996-97 and 2016-17, the losses are at Rs2,971 crore,” he said.According to the Congress, GSRTC made loss of Rs 401.78 crore in 2016-17, i.e. Rs 1.11 crore per day, and alleged that the services had declined even though the state had paid thousands of crores as subsidy to the Corporation.Surjewala also alleged irregularities and corruption in construction of five bus stations in the state.
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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Rahul Gandhi posts question 5; asks position of women in state

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday morning questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the safety, education and health of women in Gujarat. The question is part of Gandhi’s plan to ask one question daily to the Prime Minister in poll-bound Gujarat. He has been attacking the PM over his development claims in the poll-bound Gujarat.This was announced recently by Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala who said that Rahul would ask a question to the Prime Minister every day. “Rahul Gandhi is asking a question every day, why did misgovernance of 22 years create such a situation,” he had tweeted on Wednesday.On Sunday morning, Gandhi tweeted a couplet that said.Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | Amit Shah: Who is Rahul Gandhi to question PM?The Congress vice president also claimed that women in the state were not provided security, education or nutrition and only faced exploitation. He further alleged that Anganwadi workers and health workers of Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) have been disappointed in the home state of the Prime Minister.Also readGujarat elections 2017 | Rahul Gandhi targets PM Modi over low government spending on educationThe two-phase Gujarat elections will take place on 9 and 14 December while the counting of votes will be taken up on 18 December.On Saturday, Gandhi had questioned the PM on low government spending on education.”Why is Gujarat on the 26th position with regard to spending on government education? What wrong has the youth of the state done?”The Congress leader, who is leading his party’s poll campaign in in the western state, accused the prime minister of “commercialising education at the cost of government schools and institutions and hitting students hard with fee hikes”.”How will the dream of a ‘New India’ be realised this way,” Gandhi asked PM Modi, who has been canvassing for votes for his party for the assembly polls.The tagline of his posers to the prime minister is “22 salon ka hisaab, Gujarat mange jawaab (Gujarat demands answers for 22 years of BJP rule”.
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Rafale deal: Randeep Surjewala says PM Modi compromised national security

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala on Friday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of compromising national security, and also alleged a huge scam in procurement of Rafale fighter jets from France.Surjewala said that when the UPA government was in power, Rafale had emerged as the lowest bidder for supplying 126 fighter planes to India with a base price of $10.2 billion (Rs54,000 crore). However, as per information available in public domain, the Narendra Modi government junked the earlier tender, and signed a deal for purchasing 36 Rafale fighter aircraft for $8.7 billion (Rs 59,000 crore).”As per the deal negotiated when Congress was in power, each fighter jet would have cost $80.95 million or Rs526 crore, while BJP government has finalised a price of $241 million or Rs1,570 crore. Who is responsible for this huge financial loss?” he questioned.The Congress leader alleged that earlier deal also include transfer of technology for manufacturing the aircraft in India by HAL, and offset clause requiring Dassault Aviation to invest 50% of the sale price in India.
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Congress unhappy with PM Modi going the extra mile for Ivanka Trump

The Congress party on Wednesday expressed unhappiness with Prime Minister Narendra Modi going the extra mile for US President Donald Trump’s daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump.Ivanka, 36, a businesswoman, fashion designer and the eldest daughter of the US President, was invited by Modi during his visit to the White House in June to speak at the Global Entrepreneur Summit (GES).She is leading the US contingent at the Summit themed ‘Women First, Prosperity for All’.”Prime Minister has belittled the position of PM by attending an event of Ivanka Trump, Telangana CM was already there,” said senior Congress leader Anand Sharma.Further questioning why does PM need a certificate from outsiders and dubious foreign rating agencies, Sharma said. “He should ask people of Gujarat for the certificate.”Also readGES 2017: India falls in love with Ivanka TrumpCongress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also took on PM Modi saying, “Dear Modi ji,how hypocritical can you you get?””Beggars & homeless of Hyderabad are evicted to make way for the glitzy summit! Yesterday in Gujarat, you indulged in self-victimization for political gains and made an issue out of your humble beginnings, but Today you insult the poor!,” Surjewala tweeted.Modi also hosted Ivanka to a lavish dinner at Hyderabad’s Falaknuma PalaceAlso readReducing gender gap in labour force could boost Indian economy by $150 billion in next three years: Ivanka TrumpShowering generous praise on the Prime Minister in her keynote address at the 8th annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad on Tuesday, Ivanka termed Modi’s achievement as ‘truly extraordinary’.Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proved that transformational change is possible in rising from a humble tea seller to heading the country, she said.Also readHyderabad’s tech centers may soon outshine its biryani: Full text of Ivanka Trump’s GES 2017 speechPM Modi, Ivanka Trump walk through a display of India’s finest innovations for the World by young entrepreneurs (Pic: GES Twitter)
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King Cong! Rahul Gandhi to take over as party prez in Dec

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Marking a generation shift in the Congress, 47-year-old Rahul Gandhi will become party president next month, before the Guajrat Assembly poll results are out, with its apex decision-making body Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Monday finalising the organisational election schedule.The CWC meeting chaired by party chief Sonia Gandhi and attended by top leaders, including former PM Manmohan Singh, approved a 19-day organisational election schedule for the new Congress president, replacing Sonia, who has been at the helm for 20 years.The nomination process starts on December 1 and ends on December 4. The scrutiny of nominations is on December 5. The last date of nomination withdrawal is December 11.Congress Central Election Authority Chairman Mullappally Ramachandran said that “if needed”, polls will be held on December 16, whose results will be out on December 19. This is well before the deadline of December 31 set by the Election Commission for the Congress to hold its organisational polls.This brings a finality to Rahul’s elevation that has been in speculation since 2011. Rahul, then general secretary, was elevated as vice-president in 2013. The speculation about a takeover of the party by him has gained more currency since 2016.With no contestant in sight, Rahul can take over as early as on December 5 after scrutiny of nomination papers.Outside 10 Janpath, there were celebrations, on a day when a split in Hardik Patel’s camp was evident on the issue of aligning with the Congress and the NCP. Congress communication chief Randeep Surjewala ruled out any “worry” in the Congress.There is a view in the Congress that the party will better its performance in Gujarat and possibly this is the best time to carry out the long-pending elevation.Rahul has been spearheading the campaign in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home turf and his meetings have been drawing good crowds.At the CWC meeting, Sonia gave some sort of a farewell speech, asking party cadres to do their best to bring out positive results in Gujarat.”Rahul and many of you colleagues here and in Gujarat are working hard for a positive result in that state. Let us do our best to prove that people are not fooled and that they will make the right decision and defeat the present dispensation there,” Sonia said.Replying to questions about Sonia’s next role amid speculation that she could continue as chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party or as the head of an Opposition grouping like UPA, Surjewala merely said, “Sonia Gandhi is our leader and mentor. She has always guided the Congress party. Her able leadership will always be available not only to Rahul Gandhi but to the entire Congress.”Sonia had become Congress president on March 14, 1998. She donned the mantle of UPA chairperson on May 16, 2004.Rahul, a three-term Lok Sabha MP from family pocket borough Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, became AICC general secretary in September 2007, before he was elevated as Congress vice-president on January 19, 2013.Elections for the Congress president’s post have happened only twice. Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot had filed nominations against incumbent President Sitaram Kesri in 1997 and senior Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh Jitendra Prasada stood against incumbent Sonia in 2001. All the three had lost badly.The baton was already passed on to Rahul for all practical purposes. He has to revive the flagging fortunes of the Congress, which recorded its worst poll performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, wining only 44 seats. This followed a string of defeats in state polls.BJP spokesperson Bizay Sonkar Shastri said that what the Congress calls internal democracy is a way to legitimise the clutches of Gandhi dynasty.

Congress dismissive of Defence Minister’s counter on Rafael deal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rejecting the government’s counter to its allegations on Rafael aircraft deal as “lameduck” explanation, Congress asked why the 36 Rafale aircraft were purchased on emergency basis when regular purchase had already been negotiated.Soon after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman dismissed Congress allegations relating to the procurement deal for 36 “shameful” and held that such bickering was a “disservice” to the armed forces, Congress Communication chief Randeep Surjewala accused the government of “repeated attempts at shoddy cover up”.Alleging “complete non-transparency” in purchase of Rafale aircraft, Surjewala said India’s defence preparedness cannot be subject matter of politicking nor can the sacrosanct premises of Defence Ministry be “used for political mud slinging”.Repeating the allegations, Surjewala asked what is the price per aircraft of the 36 Rafale aircraft being purchased by Modi government and why are Modi government and Defence Minister “hiding” the purchase price.The Congress leader asked why was the public sector undertaking, HAL bypassed for getting 30,000 crore worth offset contract despite the work share agreement between HAL and Dassault Aviation signed in March 2014.”Why did the Prime Minister promote the interests of a private corporate entity over a public sector undertaking. Defence Minister has said that 36 Rafale aircraft were purchased on emergency basis. What was the need to buy aircraft on emergency basis when regular purchase had already been negotiated?”Why is it then that despite the emergency purchase and lapse of 34 months, not a single aircraft had been delivered? How long will it take for the delivery of aircraft? Shockingly, Defence Minister stated that offset deal for 50 percent of contract value has not been signed. If that is so, how has Reliance placed on its website the award of offset worth 30,000 crore in a joint venture with Dassault Aviation?,” Surjewala asked.Reliance Defence Ltd has rebutted the allegations and flagged “factual inaccuracies” in the Congress statement.The RDL said that the Joint Venture between Reliance Aerostructure Ltd and Dassault Aviation is a bilateral agreement between two private companies and Dassault Aviation selected Reliance Aerostructure Ltd as its joint venture partner. “The Indian Government has no role to play in this,” it has said.It said that that offset obligations are to be undertaken by Dassault Reliance Aerospace joint venture company and not by Reliance Defence.

Moody’s upgrade: Amit Shah says growth rate will soon touch 7.5%

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Moody’s upgradation of India’s sovereign credit rating vindicates the Modi government’s “hard work and reform process”, BJP chief Amit Shah said today, exuding confidence that the country’s growth rate will soon touch 7.5 per cent.For the first time in 13 years, the US-based rating agency upped India’s credit rating, showing that the economic structure, ruined during the UPA’s 10-year rule, is now being strengthened by the Modi government, a BJP press release quoting Shah said.”The Modi government s good governance and reforms receive yet another vindication. Moody s upgrades India s sovereign ratings for the 1st time since 2004,” Shah said in a tweet.India, which was once seen as one of the five fragile nations that posed a hurdle to global economic recovery, became the fastest growing major economy under the Modi government, he added.Citing Moody’s, the BJP chief said the reforms initiated by the government yielded positive results in all segments of the economy.”Moody’s believes that the Modi government’s reforms will improve the business climate, enhance productivity, attract more investment and put India on a higher growth trajectory,” he said, adding “the country will soon achieve 7.5 per cent growth rate”.Referring to India’s recent jump in the ease of doing business index of the World Bank and findings of Pew research on Modi’s popularity, Shah said these are the reflection of the government’s hard work.”Prime Minister Modi has laid the foundation of new India so that the country can again become ‘Vishwa Guru’,” he said.Later talking to reporters, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said the government will continue with reforms and the model of good governance adopted by it.The Congress today accused the Modi government of “clutching at straws” to reclaim the lost credibility, and said it and rating agency Moody’s have failed to gauge the mood of the nation.Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala also sought to downplay Moody’s rating upgrade of India, saying the same agency had miscalculated US subprime mortgages before the economic meltdown.”After destroying India’s economy, the Modi government is clutching at straws to claim lost credibility,” he said on Twitter.”Modiji and Moody’s ‘jodi’ (duo) have failed to gauge the mood of the nation,” he said, adding that hunger deaths, agri distress, job losses, lowest credit ratings, rising prices, plunging exports, flawed GST, demonetisation disaster, stagnant growth are the real indices to measure it.At the AICC briefing, Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said the government relied upon a World Bank report of Delhi and Mumbai to claim that “all is well” and quoted a PEW survey of only 2,464 people to claim victory.”At this pace, it looks like the BJP and Modi will contest the next election from Washington,” he said taking a dig at the prime minister.”Are these reports only meant for clapping?” Shukla asked, while noting that GDP growth rate was on a constant decline.Surjewala also said, “At this pace, Modiji should be fighting next election abroad.”Taking a dig at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Surjewala said, “Mr Jaitley, do remember that Moody s, S&P and other rating agencies defaulted in rating American sub-prime mortgages…before the economic meltdown.” “Lesson is stop acting and get your act together. Shun arrogance and listen to the trade and industry,” he told the finance minister.”Mr Jaitley, history teaches us valuable lessons. You ignore them at your peril! As greed, collusion and crony capitalism sank banks and Wall Street, please read who contributed to wiping away people’s money.”Hope you are not following the same trajectory!” he said.Shukla also accused the Modi government of relying on reports of international agencies to “divert attention from the poor state of the Indian economy”.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman misleading nation on Rafale deal, alleges Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress on Friday accused Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of “misleading” the nation on the Rafale fighter aircraft deal by not making public the price of the aircraft, and alleged a “cover-up”.Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said defence preparedness cannot be a subject for politicising, and accused Sitharaman of using the defence ministry premises for “political mudslinging”.”Repeated attempts at shoddy cover-up and complete non- transparency in purchase of Rafale aircraft have raised serious questions on national interests and national security by the Modi government.”You hold political press conferences in BJP offices where you indulge in political mudslinging but you can’t violate the sanctity, the integrity of the defence ministry by making its premises an occasion or a platform for political mudslinging and I think that is most unfortunate,” he said.Asking why the defence minister or the Modi government are hiding from disclosing the aircraft price, Surjewala said, “The question is rather simple. What is the price per aircraft of the 36 Rafale aircraft being purchased by the Modi government?”He asked whether it is correct that per aircraft price of Rafale as per the UPA government’s negotiations was USD 80.95 million or Rs 526 crore as against the purchase price by Modi government of Rs 1,570.80 crore per aircraft.”Why has the price gone up then? From Rs 570 crore to Rs 1,570.80 crore? And does it mean that there is clear cut loss to the exchequer? And who is responsible for the same?” he asked.The defence minister said that Anil Ambani did not go to France, but his company itself has issued a statement saying he was there in France, Surjewala claimed.”So, who is lying? And who is misleading the country? The day when Modiji announced purchase of Rafale aircraft on April 10, 2015, in France, Anil Ambaniji was present there.”Why is the minister misleading the country? The country is seeking answers for the questions and she will have to answer it,” he said.It is surprising that Sitharaman said India does not require transfer of technology and that the “transfer of technology of manufacturing aircraft does not make any sense”, according to the Congress leader.”Whether she will tell the country why ‘Make in India’ does not make sense? Why the defence minister and Modi government find ‘Make in India’ as non-sensical? “What objection does Modi government have if technology is transferred to a public undertaking so that it can manufacture the aircraft with licence? Whether the minister wants to say that theModi government will not purchase aircraft from Rafale (in future) after the buying these 36 aircraft?” he asked.Surjewala asked how the prime minister took a “unilateral decision” on buying 36 aircraft of Dassault, bypassing the mandatory defence procurement procedure and in the absence of an inter-governmental agreement with France at that time.He also questioned why public sector undertaking HAL was bypassed for getting the offset contract of Rs 30,000 crore despite the work share agreement of March 13, 2014, between HAL and Dassault Aviation.”Why did the prime minister promote the interests of a private corporate entity over a public sector undertaking? “Is it not correct that HAL is the only Indian entity which has decades of experience of building aircrafts? How was HAL by-passed in favour of Reliance, when Reliance had zero experience of building fighter aircraft?” he questioned.On the defence minister’s remark that emergency purchase was made as the UPA did not buy it for 10 years, Surjewala said, “Truth is they are not going to purchase even a single aircraft during five-year rule of Modiji. So what is the consequence of the emergent purchase? Hence, instead of misleading the country, they should give direct answers to the questions asked.”He also said that it was the Congress that initiated internal bidding process and if there was delay in it, the BJP should tell how many aircraft they bought in last 41 months.”When she is not telling purchase price of the aircraft, how would you know the aircraft price has gone up? At least, she should tell what is the price of the aircraft?” he said.

‘Why no questions on PM Modi over Rafale deal,’ Rahul Gandhi asks media

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale fighter aircraft agreement and asked the media why it did not question him for allegedly changing the “entire deal” to benefit a businessman.”I answer all your questions, whatever you ask me. Why don’t you question Prime Minister Modi on the Rafale deal. Why don’t you question the prime minister who changed the entire Rafale deal to help a businessman?” he asked.He was speaking to reporters after the meeting of the newly formed All India Unorganised Workers Congress (AIUWC).He expressed satisfaction over the formation of AIUWC and said he felt good interacting with them.Earlier this week, the Congress accused the government of compromising national interest and security while promoting “crony capitalism” and causing a loss to the public exchequer.The BJP rubbished the allegation, claiming it was intended to “divert attention” as the party bigwigs faced the prospect of being questioned in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scandal.The Congress’ communications department head Randeep Surjewala alleged that the government neglected the interests of public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).Dassault Aviation, the French manufacturer of Rafale aircraft, refused to transfer technology to it and instead entered into an agreement with Reliance Defence.He also alleged that the aircraft was being purchased at much higher rates than what was decided after the completion of the tender process under the previous UPA government.

Govt favouring capitalist friends in Rafale deal: Cong

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after BJP sought to ‘taint’ Congress general secretary in-charge for Gujarat Ashok Gehlot over Potash scam, the Congress on Tuesday hit back alleging a ‘huge scam” in the procurement of 36 ‘Rafale Fighter Aircrafts’ from Dassault Aviation of France.Accusing the Modi government of compromising ‘national interests’ and ‘national security’, Congress communication chief Randeep Surjewala alleged that Modi government announced the purchase deal of the fighter aircrafts without following defence procurement procedure, and helped a private company in bypassing the interests of a reputed public sector undertaking like Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.He also alleged the Modi government of “promoting interests of Prime Minister’s crony capitalist friends”.”A huge scam is brewing in the procurement of fighter aircrafts for Indian Air Force. Grave apprehensions and claims of insurmountable loss being caused to public exchequer are in public domain with the government maintaining a conspiratorial silence,” he said.Posing five questions over the issue, Surjewala asked why the Prime Minister promoted the interests of industrial group Reliance Defence Limited, which led to the company’s tie up for a joint venture with Dassault Aviation worth Rs 30,000 crore.Saying that the UPA government had negotiated 126 Rafale Aircrafts at a base price of $10.2 billion with transfer of technology, Surjewala asked whether it was correct for the NDA government to buy the 36 aircrafts at a rate which would cost $30.45 billion for 126 aircrafts without transfer of technology.Surjewala, however, downplayed questions as to why he was raising the issue now in the run up to Gujarat polls when all these things were in public domain for over an year. Answering a question on this, he said party leaders had earlier also raised in and outside Parliament but were then told that nothing was signed then. He said ever since the deal was signed in September 2016, the party was gathering information.

18 Opposition parties take DeMo protests on to the streets

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 18 Opposition parties, including Congress, the Left, and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) took to the streets on Wednesday, to mark the first anniversary of note ban as ‘Black Day’.Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi spent the day in Surat, the country’s textile and diamond hub, to highlight the effects of demonetization and Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the industry. The party also organised candlelight vigils in the evening, with Rahul participating in one such event near the Vivekanand statue at the Chowk Bazar area. He also interacted with the industry representatives and loom factory workers in poll-bound Gujarat.At the Congress headquarters in Delhi, the chief of Media, Randeep Singh Surjewala, kicked off the day by reciting a Hindi poem, which highlighted the woes of demonetization and the Modi government’s indifference.The lines, ‘Shataranj ki bisaat bichhi hai, Notebandi ki raakh bichhi hai, baadshah salaamat rahe!’ received wide accolades. Earlier, in an opinion article published in London’s ‘Financial Times’, Rahul attempted to demolish PM Modi’s claim that demonetization wiped out corruption, saying: “Twelve months on, the only thing he has wiped out is the confidence in our once-booming economy.””This year, a hastily imposed and poorly conceptualised GST dealt another blow to our economy. Bureaucratic and complex, it has devastated livelihoods, creating a modern-day Licence Raj, which imposes rigid controls and gives vast powers to government officials,” he further wrote.Rahul concluded the article by saying: “Modi has damaged India by converting anger created by joblessness and lack of economic opportunity into communal hatred. He has chosen to hide behind a shallow, hate-filled political narrative. Anger might have brought Modi to power but it will never create jobs or fix India’s institutions.”Meanwhile, former finance minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram took on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in a series of tweets. “FM says demonetization was ethical. Was it ethical to heap misery on millions of people, especially 15 crore daily-wage earners?” he tweeted. He also went on to ask whether it was ethical to destroy 15 lakh regular jobs during January-April, 2017, and forcing thousands of micro and small businesses to shut.Echoing the sentiment, Surjewala said demonetization had turned out to be the biggest scam of independent India. He wanted to know the actions taken against BJP’s Kolkata unit, which was caught depositing old notes worth Rs 3 crore, on the day of demonetization. He also raised questions regarding the ruling party’s investment in at least 8 properties, worth Rs 3.41 crore, in Bihar and 18 properties in Odisha, saying that it amply demonstrated that the ruling party had advance knowledge.He further said that in September, 2016, bank deposits in scheduled banks saw an additional increase of Rs 588,600 crore. “The Modi government has been unable to explain it nor has made names of those who deposited Rs 25 lakh or more public. Also, in a raid on the Vaidyanath Urban Cooperative Bank, owned by BJP minister Pankaja Munde and her sister and BJP MP Pritam Munde, old notes worth Rs 10 crore were recovered. No progress has been made in the investigation against Mahesh Shah of Ahmedabad, who made a declaration of Rs 13,860 crore as part of the voluntary income disclosure scheme,” Surjewala added.

Cong to hold rally across states against note ban, GST

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid the hectic election campaign in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Congress will hold a nation-wide agitation programme ‘Bhugat Raha Hai Desh’ on November 8, as Rahul Gandhi accuses the Centre of having “destroyed” the country’s economy with “two torpedoes: Note ban and GST”.During the three-hour long deliberation Rahul had with party leaders on the two issues, it was decided that they will reach out to people, particularly in the trade hubs of poll-bound Gujarat, and hold candle light marches against the “faulty” implementation of GST, as the declaration of demonetization completes a year.Since demonetization was announced at 8 pm last year, Congress has fixed the same time to hold a candlelight march across the nation. The day is being observed as a ‘black day’ by other opposition parties as well.While the party came out with a six-point questionnaire on demonetization, Rahul trained guns on the government over its decision to celebrate the first anniversary of demonetization. He alleged that Prime Minister Modi “failed” to understand the pain of the people.Besides, a decision was also taken that in the upcoming meetings of the GST Councils, Finance Ministers of Congress-ruled states will espouse the “pain and sufferings of MSMEs, shopkeepers, traders, and common men”.”I don’t know what is there to celebrate,” Rahul said, adding that while the economy was able to withstand the “torpedo” of note ban, it could not withstand the one of GST.The economy, he said, “is in tatters now”, adding that Modi is insensitive to the despondency these decisions have caused.Rahul’s meeting was also attended by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, and Jairam Ramesh.Since Congress has in the past been calling GST its “own baby”, the meeting highlighted “loopholes” in GST’s implementation without abruptly disowning the key economic reform measure.After the meeting, Gandhi said GST is a “good idea” which has been “destroyed” by the Modi government. Reeling out figures, Congress Communication Department Chief Randeep Surjewala raised questions on the reasons given by the government for demonetization to highlight the “folly” of the decision. On GST implementation, he said, “it’s a building without a foundation”.”Congress will not rest until a resolution to these issues is found by the government to the satisfaction of business and services,” Surjewala said.

‘Jammu & Kashmir integral part of India’: Congress distances itself from P Chidambaram’s remark

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After P Chidambaram pitched for greater autonomy for the restive Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress party sought to distance itself from the remarks of senior party leader.Reacting to Chidambaram’s comment, Congress said that the ‘opinion of an individual is not necessarily the opinion of the party’.Chidambaram pitched for greater autonomy for the restive valley, drawing stinging criticism from the BJP, with Union minister Smriti Irani calling it ‘shocking and shameful’.Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also slammed Chidambaram, saying Congress’ position over the issue goes directly contrary to India’s national interest.”The position that the Congress party has taken goes directly contrary to India’s national interest. It was the flawed policy of the Congress party right since 1947 which is responsible for the Kashmir problem. Historically Kashmir problem is a Congress party legacy. Instead of learning from its past mistake the Congress wants to precipitate a crisis further for this country,” Jaitley told ANI. ALSO READ Time for Azadi from Congress: Piyush Goyal hits out at Chidambaram’s ‘autonomy for Kashmir’ commentHowever, Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters, “Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always remain so unquestionably.”The opinion of an individual is not necessarily the opinion of the Indian National Congress. In our democracy, individuals are entitled to their opinion,” Surjewala said when asked about Chidambaram’s remarks.He said the party had constituted a policy-planning group under the chairmanship of former prime minister Manmohan Singh to carry forward the peace initiative in the state.The group will visit Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the Kargil and Ladakh regions, between November 10 and 12.Once the group concludes its deliberations, it will submit a report and share feedback and experience with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, he said. ALSO READ P Chidambaram’s statement on Kashmir reflection of Congress mentality to divide India: Smriti IraniThe Congress spokesperson hit out at the governments at the Centre and in Jammu and Kashmir over their handling of the situation in the state and asked the ruling parties “to introspect” on the issue.He recalled “how terrorist Masood Azhar was released and taken to Kandahar” in Afghanistan after an Indian Airlines flight was hijacked during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.Whereas 10 years of the Congress-led UPA government proved to be a watershed in restoring normalcy, promoting economic activity, tourism and infrastructural development, engaging with the people within the framework of the Constitution and fighting terrorism and militancy decisively, he said.Surjewala also asked the BJP government to list the steps it has taken to restore normalcy and peace in the state and its roadmap to ensure development there.(With PTI Inputs)

Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017: Congress accuses EC of delaying poll dates announcement to ‘suit fake Santa Claus Narendra Modi’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress attacked Election Commission of India on Thursday for not announcing the dates of Gujarat Assembly elections with Himachal Pradesh. Congress Media Cell Chairman told DNA that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Gujarat on 16th October and alleged that major announcement could be made to woo the voters. Congress alleged that it looks as if the Election Commission came under pressure and failed to announce the dates for Gujarat where Congress is pitted against BJP which is reeling under the Patidar crisis.Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “PM Modi does not want to go to Gujarat as a campaigner. He wants to go there as a fake Santa Claus because promises could not be delivered there in past 22 years. The onus lies on the Election Commission to ensure a level playing field. BJP government has put pressure on EC to defer dates to suit its political ends.”Though Election Commission maintains that the reason the dates are not being announced because they were requested by the Gujarat government not to announce the dates as relief work was being carried out in six to seven districts of Gujarat and with the announcement of dates, code of conduct would come into effect hampering the relief work. Congress on the other hand feels that Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s campaign in Gujarat has had a desired result and it is for this reason BJP wants to announce sops first before going into the election mode.During 2013, assembly elections were declared on a single date, unlike this time where Election Commission only said that polling in Gujarat will take place before 18th of December. As per Election Commission’s announcement, polling in Himachal Pradesh will take place on 9th of December and counting will take place on 18th of December.

Ready to face elections anytime: Congress’ open challenge to Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress on Thursday said it was ready to face elections any time and claimed that the people of the country were waiting to give a “befitting reply” to the central government.Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said people were seeking answers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on when they would get to see the government’s promised “achhe din” or good days.”The Election Commission must have been sounded out by the current BJP government that they were going to reschedule the parliamentary elections,” he told reporters.”The Congress has no such knowledge. However, we are prepared to face elections at any time, for people of this country are fed up with the prime minister and his ‘jumlas’ (rhetoric) and the way his government is going about decimating jobs, businesses as also trade and agriculture in this country,” Surjewala alleged.When asked about the EC’s take on simultaneous elections, the Congress leader said the Election Commission had a constitutional obligation to conduct free and fair polls and be ready to conduct them with appropriate notice from the government.”I think people of this country will give a befitting reply, just like they gave in 2004 during ‘India Shining’ to the Vajpayee government, if elections are preponed. People are waiting for elections to happen so that they can actually ask Modi Ji, where are the ‘achhe din’,” he claimed.Election Commissioner O P Rawat had yesterday said in Bhopal that the poll body aimed at efficient conduct of elections and would be “logistically equipped” by September 2018 to hold simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and assemblies.The announcement by the poll panel came days after it issued a formal direction that VVPAT or paper trail machines would be used at polling stations in the future where elections are held using EVMs.”The Election Commission was asked by the Centre what it would require for becoming capable of holding the parliamentary and assembly polls together,” Rawat had said.”In response, the EC had asked for funds to purchase new EVMs and VVPAT machines. The commission would be logistically equipped by September, 2018 to hold parliamentary and assembly polls together,” he had said.Some former election commissioners have said the Election Commission was capable of holding simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies but the government needed to put in place sound legal provisions to carry out the exercise.The prime minister and the BJP had been pressing for simultaneous elections to help save time and the country’s resources.

Congress set to lose chairmanship of key parliamentary panel to BJP MP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress is set to lose chairmanship of a key parliamentary panel, which is finalising a report on political funding, owing to a fall in its numbers in the Rajya Sabha.According to sources in the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, Congress MP Anand Sharma, who is heading the standing committee on personnel, law and justice, is likely to be replaced by BJP’s Bhupender Yadav.Out of the total eight Rajya Sabha standing committees, the Congress is heading three panels — home affairs, science and technology and a third combined committee on personnel, public grievances, law and justice.Top BJP leaders are believed to have conveyed to the Congress leadership that since the Opposition party’s strength has declined to 57, equivalent to the ruling side’s in the Rajya Sabha, it cannot chair three panels in the Upper House.At present, the panel on law and justice besides finalising a report on political funding, is also evaluating recommendations given to replace the first-past-the-post electoral system with proportionate representation.The Congress alleged that the move is being made “as per the whims” of the ruling BJP.Stating that sanctity of parliamentary democracy is at stake, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged that whims of a political party seem to be taking precedence over established democratic parliamentary procedure.”And that is what Congress is objecting to and we shall fight it out,” he told PTI.Besides the Congress, the BJP is heading two panels, while one committee each is chaired by the SP, the JD(U) and the TMC.All 24 department-related standing committees are due for restructuring for their new term.

Haryana govt transfers stalking case victim Varnika Kundu’s father a month after Vikas Barala’s arrest

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Less than a month after a son of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala was arrested in a stalking case, the victim’s father has been transferred to a low-key department.The Haryana government on Tuesday shifted Varinder Singh Kundu – Additional Chief Secretary (Tourism) as ACS (science and technology). He has been replaced by Vijai Vardhan, Additional Chief Secretary (Labour).However, Kundu who is also the Vice Chancellor of Rohtak-based SUPVA, will continue to remain on the post.Kundu was among the 14 IAS and two state civil service officers transferred by the Haryana government.”VS Kundu gets sidelined. Punished for standing upto BJP in quest for justice for his daughter, Varnika Kundu,” tweeted Congress leader Randeep S Surjewala with a list of transferred officers.The stalking incident came to light when the victim called up the police, complaining that two youth were chasing her along a stretch of over five kilometre from Chandigarh right up to a point in the Union Territory, adjoining Haryana’s border.Vikas Barala and co-accused Ashish Kumar were put behind bars after the Chandigarh police slapped a charge of attempted abduction against them.The victim had expressed her anguish in a social media post saying she was lucky not to be the daughter of a commoner or else who knows what her fate could be.”There were two guys inside the SUV, and they seemed to really be enjoying harassing a lone girl in the middle of the night, judging by how often their car swerved, just enough to scare me that it might hit me,” she said in a Facebook post. “I’m lucky, it seems, to not be the daughter of a common man, because what chance would they have against such VIPs? I’m also lucky, because I’m not lying raped and murdered in a ditch somewhere. If this can happen in Chandigarh, it can happen anywhere,” she said in a Facebook post.

Victim’s father seeks SC-monitored probe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Varun Kumar Thakur, father of the seven-year-old student who was found brutally murdered with his throat slit inside Ryan International School in Gurugram on Friday, said that he will move the Supreme Court on Monday to seek a court-monitored CBI probe into the horrific crime.”I will also appeal for safety guidelines to be issued so that such crimes are not repeated anywhere in the country,” he said at a press conference in Delhi on Sunday night. Earlier in the day, the police booked the institution’s owner, Ryan Pinto, even as protests against the brutal murder, criminal negligence and police investigation escalated and turned violent.”The probe is being influenced by someone who does not want the truth to come out. The school owner must be arrested,” said Thakur who works as a quality manager for a private company in Delhi. This death should set an example for strict monitoring of schools and their responsibilities and duties, he said. Hundreds of protesters set ablaze a liquor shop near the school, prompting the police to resort to lathi charge, in which many, including journalists, were injured.Many protesters were detained by the police. The local administration announced that the school will be shut on Monday after parents called for a mass protest.Haryana Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma said that action under Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act will also be taken against the school management. He said new guidelines for the safety of schoolchildren will be issued on Monday. “Any violation of these guidelines will follow strict action,” he said. The police had on Friday arrested a bus conductor of the school after the Class II student was spotted outside a toilet, crawling and bleeding profusely before he died. Protesters alleged that drivers and conductors of the school often had liquor from the shop and could use toilets meant for students. Locals said the school playground that has no boundary wall opens right in front of the liquor shop. This, they said, had made the playground a den of criminals.The conductor, Ashok (42), who had been working for the school for the past eight months, first tried to sexually assault the child before mercilessly killing him when he resisted, the police had said.The area turned near the school into a police garrison on Sunday as three bus-loads of cops were brought in and the school was fortified, with politicians pouring in to exploit the tragedy and angry parents pressing for a CBI probe. Officers justified the police action, saying the mob could have gone out of control.”The case has been probed very shoddily. When we gathered here to demand justice for the family, the police thrashed us and even mediapersons,” said Subhash Kumar, a protester, who received injuries during the violent scuffle. Cameras of some journalists were also damaged.Girdhar Pathak, another local who was hurt, said, “It was when MP Pappu Yadav arrived and began listening to protesters, police officers ordered lathicharge. We were demanding cancellation of the school’s licence. Even those who got into their houses were dragged out and beaten up mercilessly.”Congress leader and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda visited the victim’s parents. He condemned the police action in the BJP-ruled state and backed the family’s demand for a CBI probe. Congress leader Randeep Surjewala sought an apology from Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.The victim’s father said earlier that the sequence of the crime remains unclear. “There are many questions which the police needs to answer. We doubt that the conductor was alone responsible for the crime. We must get justice. This shall not be left as one of the high-profile unsolved cases,” said Thakur.The acting principal of the school, Neerja Batra, has already been suspendGirdhar Pathak, another local who was hurt, said, “It was when MP Pappu Yadav arrived and began listening to protesters, police officers ordered lathicharge. We were demanding cancellation of the school’s licence. Even those who got into their houses were dragged out and beaten up mercilessly.”Congress leader and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda visited the victim’s parents. He condemned the police action in the BJP-ruled state and backed the family’s demand for a CBI probe. Congress leader Randeep Surjewala sought an apology from Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.The victim’s father, Varun Kumar Thakur, said that the sequence of the crime remains unclear. “There are many questions which the police needs to answer. We doubt that the conductor was alone responsible for the crime. We must get justice. This shall not be left as one of the high-profile unsolved cases,” said Thakur who works as a quality manager for a private company in Delhi.The acting principal of the school, Neerja Batra, has already been suspended. The services of a private agency that provided security to the school have also been suspended.Even on Friday, the brutal murder had sparked angry protests by the victim’s father, other guardians and locals who shouted slogans and vandalised school property, flinging furniture around and shattering glass doors. The police had to resort to lathicharge even then to control the mob fury and arrested five protesters who were later let off.REPORT EXPOSES SAFETY LOOPHOLESA government panel said in its report that CCTV cameras at the school were not installed at key areas, drivers and conductors used same toilets, and the boundary wall was broken. Fire extinguishers had expired and there was no police verification of the school’s employees. The Gurugram DC has written to the Director of Secondary Education for action. The Haryana government, however, said de-recognition of the school was not an option as about 1,200 students study there.

Modi government should be named ‘derailment sarkar’: Congress on railway mishaps

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress today attacked the government over back-to-back train derailments, and said the Modi dispensation should be renamed as “derailment sarkar”.Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said railway safety was in shambles in the country as daily train accidents pose a grave threat to passenger safety.Three trains jumped off the tracks in Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi and Maharashtra within a span of nine hours today, the latest in a string of such incidents which saw the exit of Suresh Prabhu as railway minister in the Cabinet reshuffle last Sunday.Luckily, barring injury to a passenger in the accident in the national capital, no casualties were reported in other incidents.After the second derailment, he said daily train accidents exposed the grave threat to passenger safety as the Railway Ministry remained in “deep slumber”.”Another train accident caused by derailment in U.P. Post reshuffling of cards, when will we have passenger safety measures in place?” he asked on Twitter.Surjewala also accused the Railways of “criminal negligence”.

Congress welcomes Right to Privacy verdict, says Centre’s attempt to curb privacy stands rejected

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In a quick reaction to the Supreme Court ruling on the Right to Privacy, the Congress on Thursday said the verdict is a blow to the ?creeping advances? of those who want to convert India into a ?fascist police state?. Taking to the social media, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala hailed the judgement as a ‘path breaking and seminal judgement’ of the Supreme Court. ?Rejects Modi Govt’s attempt to whittle down the right to privacy as a fundamental right by AG’s plea of no mention in Constitution,? he said in a series of tweets. Echoing similar sentiment, while talking to ANI, Surjewala said this is the first such decision taken in the interest of the rights of an individual. ?The decision to give right to privacy a status of being a fundamental right is historic as well as path converter. This is the first such big decision taken in the interest of the rights of an individual. The Congress welcomes this verdict. We welcome this decision as this is the biggest decision on freedom of an individual,? he added. Addressing the media after the apex court?s verdict, Congress leader and former union minister P. Chidambaram said today we can once again celebrate our freedom as this verdict is a setback to the government. ?Article 21 is the right to life and liberty. Any corrosion of that should be fought. Privacy is the core of personal liberty. Privacy is an inalienable part of life itself. Today we can once again celebrate our freedom. This verdict is a setback to the government,? he told the media here. Chidambaram further said that there is no fault in the Aadhar concept, but a fault in how this government plans to use or misuse the Aadhar as a tool. ?The Aadhar we (Congress) thought is completely compatible with the Right to Privacy. Aadhar in itself is not inconsistent with the Right to Privacy, it is the current government’s interpretation that is not correct,? he said, adding, “it is the interpretation of this government of the Article 21 which is an invasion of Right To Privacy.” Chidambaram also took to Twitter to react on the verdict. The Supreme Court today overruled the M.P. Sharma (1962) and Kharak Singh (1954) judgement and held that the Right to Privacy is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, in an unanimous decision (of the nine-judge bench). The verdict was given as soon as the nine-judge Constitution bench of the apex court resumed the hearing on the case on Thursday morning. Following this, a five-judge constitutional bench will decide whether the Aadhar violates the Right to Privacy or not. The Supreme Court, earlier on August 2, had reserved its judgement over the issue of whether right to privacy is fundamental or not. On July 26, the Centre told the apex court that there is a fundamental right to privacy, which is a ‘wholly qualified right’ too. The Centre made this submission before the nine-judge Constitution bench. Attorney General, K.K. Venugopal told the apex court that “privacy, as a fundamental right, could have been mentioned in Article 21, but has been omitted. Right to life transcends right to privacy”. In special circumstances, the government can interfere in a matter that comes under a wholly qualified right. An absolute right cannot be reduced or amended. Earlier on July 20, all the petitioners had completed their argument in the apex court. The petitioners contested that the twelve-digit biometric unique identification card raises privacy threat. On June 10, the top court had ruled that from July 1 onward, every person eligible to obtain Aadhar card must quote their Aadhaar number or their Aadhaar Enrolment ID number for filing of Income Tax Returns as well as for applications for Permanent Account Number (PAN). The Income Tax Department has stepped up its efforts to encourage people to link their PAN with Aadhar.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Centre not likely to bring in new legislation at this stage

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Narendra Modi government on Tuesday evening ruled out the need for bringing any legislation, as mentioned by the minority judgement. There was an apprehension in political circles that in order to keep the issue alive, the ruling BJP would attempt to bring about a legislation and also take an aggressive stand on the uniform civil code. A senior government functionary told DNA that there is no need to pass a legislation after the apex court’s verdict.The source, however, admitted that bringing some amendments to the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 was being discussed at some level.While PM Narendra Modi hailed the Supreme Court judgement on triple talaq “historic”, a big summersault came from the Congress party. The main Opposition party, held responsible for bringing a legislation in 1985 to overturn the SC judgement in the Shah Bano case, on Tuesday hailed the struggles of Shayara Bano — which led the Constitution Bench to end the practice of instant triple talaq.Party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala admitted that circumstances and situation have changed in India. PM Modi said the judgement will serve as a powerful measure for women’s empowerment.Talking to reporters, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also confirmed that there is no need to pass a legislation now. “The government will consider the issue in a structured manner. A prima facie reading of the judgement makes it clear that the majority (of the five-member bench) has held it (the practice of instant triple talaq) as unconstitutional and illegal,” he said.Asked how the SC verdict striking down the practice of triple talaq would be implemented and why a statute is not necessary, a senior government functionary explained that a marriage will now not be annulled even if the husband resorts to instant triple talaq.”After the Supreme Court order, if a husband gives instant triple talaq, it will not be considered valid. His obligation towards the marriage will remain… the wife is also free to drag such a person to the police and file a complaint of harassment or domestic violence,” the functionary said.”It is a beginning of a new epoch of self-respect and equality for Muslim women. The party (BJP) welcomes the rights and respect the women have received and sees it as a resolute step towards a New India,” BJP president Amit Shah said on Tuesday.Verdict’s implicationsThe order comes as a victory for lakhs of Muslim womenVindicates Modi govt’s stand on the issue inThe order sends out a strong message to Muslim clergyIt may boost electoral prospects for BJP

Cong. welcomes verdict on triple talaq as affirmation of Muslim women’s rights

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Congress party, on Tuesday, welcomed the verdict on triple talaq as an affirmation of the rights of the Muslim women, which were perverted over the years. ?The verdict is an affirmation of the rights of the Muslim women and gives relief to them against being subjected to discrimination by the practice. We welcome the acceptance of reality by the court and we welcome the verdict of the Supreme Court,? said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala. Further speaking about the Muslim Personal Law Board?s plea before the Supreme Court against the practice of instant triple talaq, Surjewala said that the verdict is a culmination and acceptance of a wider wisdom. ?Several interveners, including amicus curiae, as also the Muslim Personal Law Board had pleaded before the Supreme Court against the practice of instant triple talaq by speaking it instantly three times, on the ground that it deviated from the practice prescribed by Islamic Law and has no sanction, either in the Quran or in the Hadith- the two main sources of Islamic jurisprudence,? he said. ?The Supreme Court?s verdict is a culmination and acceptance of wider wisdom, as also the recognition of the rights of Muslim women. We welcome the same,? he added. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also welcomed the ?historic? verdict on triple talaq and said, it?s not about anyone?s victory or loss, rather it is about a Muslim woman?s sense of equality in the country. ?I welcome the historic verdict on behalf of the party. This verdict is not about anyone’s victory or loss. This verdict is about a Muslim woman?s equality and democracy in the country,? BJP chief Amit Shah said here. ?The triple talaq is illegal in many other countries. The Supreme Court, with this verdict, has given the Muslim women in this country a way to live with a sense of equality and self respect,? he added. Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court struck down the practice of Triple Talaq as ‘unconstitutional’ by a 3:2 majority. The five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) J.S. Khehar, deciding on the verdict, was seemingly split on the legality of the practice. Justice Nariman, Justice Lalit and Justice Kurien opposed the view of Justice Nazir and Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and dubbed the practice of Triple Talaq as unconstitutional and unislamic. The Supreme Court further asked the Union Government to formulate a new legislation within six months. The apex court reportedly referred to the abolition of triple talaq in the Islamic countries and asked “why can’t independent India get rid of it.” The decision came soon after the apex court resumed the hearing on the matter on Tuesday morning. CJI Khehar, while pronouncing the judgement, however, upheld the practice and said, “Talaq-e-biddat is not violative of articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution.” The CJI, further using his power under Article 142, directed the Union of India to form a proper legislature regarding ‘talaq-e-iddat.’ CJI Khehar said that all parties must decide keeping politics aside. The constitution bench had reserved its verdict on May 18 after a six-day marathon hearing.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Oh Prabhu, hide no more: Cong to Rly min

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Charging Modi government of “criminal negligence” on railway safety, resulting in tragic derailment of Utkal Express, the Congress on Sunday asked Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to accept responsibility for “failing to perform his primary duty to secure passenger safety”.The Congress also demanded a reply from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the derailment of the Kalinga-Utkal Express near Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar district on Saturday night.Lambasting the government, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that no amount of conspiracy theories can absolve the BJP government from the death of 23 passengers owing to compromise on safety protocols.”Dismal safety record of Modi government reflected in 27 major Railway accidents since May 2014, resulting in death of 259 passengers and seriously injuring 899 rail commuters,” he said.Accusing Suresh Prabhu of setting new records in “laxity and unpreparedness” with regard to safety and security of passengers, Surjewala said, “The Railway minister, who continuously unveils grand schemes of privatisation and spends much time on Twitter, has utterly failed to secure rail passengers. People are demanding basic facilities and a safe rail network.”Forget bullet trains, 27 train accidents have taken place since the Modi government took office (in May 2014). Six major tragedies have occurred in Uttar Pradesh alone in 15 months.”Every time, the railway authorities invent a fresh conspiracy theory to wash hands of culpability, but the facts speak otherwise. Even in the present accident, miscommunication, misconduct and total disregard for passenger safety are prima facie apparent,” the Congress leader said.Claiming that reports suggest a massive miscommunication led to the derailment of at least 14 coaches, Surjewala said, it is a sad commentary on the absence of safeguards and vulnerability in which train system operates, not to mention the criminal negligence involved.Questioning why a train supposed to move at 15-20 kilometre per hour speed was moving on “loose coupling track” at 105 kilometre per hour, Surjewala said the signaling work was underway on the tracks on the spot for two days, but still no train driver was cautioned.”Rail fares had increased by 70 per cent since May 2014, but no concrete blueprint was laid to secure passenger lives,” said Surjewala.SPEED FACTORA train supposed to move at 15-20 km per hour on “loose coupling track” was speeding at 105 km per hour.
Though signaling work was underway on the spot for two days, no train driver was cautioned.

Sharad Yadav embarrassing himself by revolting against NDA merger JD (U)

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Janata Dal (United) (JD-U) on Sunday reiterated their warning to rebel senior party leader Sharad Yadavm saying that he will face action if he attends Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav?s rally. Speaking to ANI, JD (U) leader Ajay Alok reiterated, ?Our general secretary (K.C. Tyagi) has clearly stated that if he (Sharad Yadav) attends Lalu?s rally, then he should be ready to face serious consequences.? He also came down heavily on Sharad Yadav for his revolt against merging with the NDA, saying he is making ?fun of himself? by making such statements. ?Why he never raised an objection when the party was separating from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in 2013. Sharad ji is saying that he was against joining NDA is 2013. He was the general secretary then. So somewhere is making fun of himself by making such statements,? he added. He further said, ?The meeting took place and it was decided that JD-U will become part of NDA. And it is for the PM to decide and his prerogative whether to make JD-U a part of cabinet or not. If he wants that then we will be very happy about it.? JD (U) leader KC Tyagi had earlier said that the party has not acted against Yadav for his ?anti-party activities? because of his seniority and long association with the party. ?If he attends RJD chief Lalu Prasad?s rally here on August 27, he will cross the Lakshman Rekha,? he said, and hinted at action against him. Sharad Yadav was sacked as JD(U)’s Rajya Sabha leader when he made his chagrin against Nitish Kumar snapping ties with the Lalu Yadav-led RJD and forging an alliance with the BJP, to form the next government in Bihar, quite evident. Yadav also asserted that Nitish’s flip-flop, as far as his views on the BJP were concerned, was an insult to the 2015 mandate of the people given to the “Mahagathbandhan” and that he was still a part of the grand alliance in the state. In the aftermath, the Nitish-led JD(U) even suspended 21 party leaders for participating in Yadav’s recent three-day Jan Samwad Yatra, wherein he interacted with the people of the state, indicative of a widening rift in the party Lalu Yadav had also come out in support of Sharad Yadav, leading up to the Nitish faction, reportedly, warning the latter that if he attended the August 27 “Desh Bachao, BJP Bhagao” rally of the former, he would be sacked from the party. However, the Congress said politicos who are thinking of taking action against Yadav should introspect. Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said that Yadav stood by his beliefs and principles where Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar got buoyed by power. ?Sharad Yadav was one of the founding members of JD(U). Sharad Yadav has let go power and is standing by his beliefs and principles. Those who are attacking Sharad Yadav should introspect,? said Surjewala.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Reports of active political role for Priyanka fake news: Cong

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress today rejected reports of Sonia Gandhi indicating an active political role for daughter Priyanka and termed it as “mischievous instance of fake news” and unnecessary speculation. “The news is entirely false and baseless,” AICC incharge of media department Randeep Surjewala said in a statement. “It is a mischievous instance of fake news and unnecessary speculation,” he added Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said it is laughable that the media takes planted news seriously. “It is mischievous and a fabrication. We reject it,” he said. “These are government planted fabrications and distractions. They require no comment from the Congress, except that I dismiss this,” Sharma said. The Congress leader alleged that the government was busy planting news and distracting the attention of people from their failures and shortcomings. Sharma, however, cautioned the media not to fall into this “trap of planted news” and said this is to distract attention and focus from what is happening. He said the government does not want to discuss issues like the failures of this government, non-performance, non- deliverance, rising terrorist attacks, killing of soldiers and jawans, as also what is happening and also what has happened in Gorakhpur.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Cong must defend liberty, freedom of individuals,

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress president Sonia Gandhi today said that the party must defend liberty and freedom of individuals and institutions. Speaking at the special CWC meeting here today, she also expressed concerns over the rise in cases of “self vigilantism”. Her remarks come on a day when the party petitioned the Election Commission for cancellation of two votes of its “disgruntled” MLAs during Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat. “Congress must always defend the liberty and freedom of individual and institutions. Anguished by assault on freedom; self-appointed vigilantes are a threat to liberty and enemy of pluralism and diversity,” Gandhi said at the meeting. AICC in-charge of communication Randeep Surjewala also said that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed concerns during the meeting about India’s youth and peasantry as also multiple problems persisting post demonetisation and GST. Rahul Gandhi skipped the special meeting of the CWC on the 75th anniversary of Quit India movement as he is down with fever. The meeting discussed the contribution of the Congress in the movement.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Cong approaches ECI, demands quashing of two MLAs’ votes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress Party leaders Randeep Surjewala and RPN Singh approached the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Tuesday to demand quashing of votes of two grand old party?s MLAs. The Congress said two Congress MLAs showed their votes to unauthorized persons. These MLAs allegedly showed their votes to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani. While talking to the media party leader Randeep Singh Surjewala, ?The INC today went to ECI as two legislators Bhola Bhai Gohil and Raghav ji Bhai Patel had shown their votes not to the authorised person but to the BJP national president Amit Shah, Smriti Irani and to the independent candidate Balwant Singh Rajput. The vote is liable to be rejected as per the verdict of the Supreme Court and under the Section 39 of the Conduct of Election Rules.? He further said that the party has requested the ECI to ensure their votes should not be counted and should be rejected. ?We have requested the ECI to exercise its constitutional obligation duty that is imposed upon the EC by the constitution to uphold the constitution and to ensure that these people who have disclosed their votes to non-authorised persons their votes should not be counted and should be rejected,? he said. He also said that the ECI has assured that they will examine the entire matter. The Congress needs the support of 45 MLAs for victory of party?s Rajya Sabha candidate Ahmed Patel who is contesting for his fifth term for the upper house. In 182 member assembly, the BJP has 122 seats including dissident Nalin Kotadiya. While, Congress has 51 MLAs along with seven of Shankarinh Vaghela’s camp. NCP has two and JD (U) has one MLA in the house.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Party facing challenges but not in ‘existential crisis’ Congress on Jairam Ramesh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A day after Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that his party is in ?existential crisis?, the grand old party on Tuesday flatly rejected the assertion. ?This is true that the Congress is going through challenging phase but we don?t agree this that there is existential crisis. Congress principle, policy is strong under the leadership of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi. Whatever Jairam Ramesh has said that can be his personal views. The Congress does not agree with this,? Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala told ANI. He further said that the Congress leaders should discuss every matter within the party forum and take permission before speaking publically. However, Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar took a more soothing stand saying that Ramesh?s statement saying it should not be ignored as he is a true Congressman. ?Jairam Ramesh has said so many things, I would suggest you read his whole statement. He is a true Congressman, what he has said, shows that he is concerned for the party. Our party is a Constitutional party, if we don?t pay attention to different opinions and find out the solution then we cannot go forward,? Aiyar said. Ramesh on Monday had said that the grand old party is currently facing an ?existential crisis? and called for ?a collective effort? to overcome the challenges it is facing from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah. ?I would say that the Congress is facing an existential crisis. It is not an electoral crisis. The party really is in deep crisis. We have to understand we are up against Prime Minister Modi, Amit Shah. And they think differently, they act differently, and if we are not flexible in our approach, we will become irrelevant, frankly,? Ramesh said in an interview. Ramesh said the Congress party must understand that India has changed and the party should also change accordingly. “Old slogans don’t work, old formulas don’t work, old mantras don’t work. India has changed, the Congress party has to change,” he added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Haryana Girl Stalking Case: BJP MP demands Subhash Barala’s resignation; Subramanian Swamy to file PIL

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid Opposition parties accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of pressurising Chandigarh administration to protect the accused in stalking case, BJP MP has demanded resignation of Haryana BJP Chief Subhash Barala.”Subhash Barala should quit on moral grounds,” said Rajkumar Saini, a BJP MP from Kurukshetra. The girl has accused BJP leader’s son Vikas Barala (23) and his friend Ashish Kumar (27) of stalking her on Friday night after which they were arrested and released on bail.Meanwhile, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy said he will file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the case of an IAS officer’s daughter being stalked by the son of Haryana BJP Chief Subhash Barala.Taking to Twitter, Swamy stated that he along with his associate lawyer A.P. Jagga, will file a PIL in Chandigarh over the attempted abduction of a IAS officer’s daughter by two’ drunk goons’.
ALSO READ Girl Stalking Case: CCTV footage goes missing, BJP leader asks why was she out late nightThe Congress has cornered Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the incident “BJP is hatching a conspiracy to shield the Haryana state chief’s son, who harassed and stalked an IAS officer’s daughter in an alleged inebriated state in Chandigarh,” said Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala.”This is extremely clear that BJP is pressurizing Chandigarh administration and hatching conspiracy to protect the son of its political leader. May we ask on behalf of people of India if drunken youth, goons chase a girl for seven kilometers, attempt to block her car and forcibly open the door and try to enter the car, is it not the case of abduction and outraging the modest of a woman? Why have these offences not been lodged? The Prime Minister and chief minister must answer these questions to the people of country,” Surjewala told ANI.A case was registered by the Chandigarh Police against Vikas and other youth under under Section 354 D (stalking) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 185 (Motor Vehicle Act) of the CRPC on the basis of complaint filed by the woman.

Wish perpetual tourist devoted time to relief work: CM Vijay Rupani slams Rahul Gandhi’s Gujarat visit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Friday, Gujarat Chief Minister attacked Rahul Gandhi’s visit to flood-hit Gujarat calling it another photo-op. He stated that the ‘perpetual tourist’ and Indian National Congress, should’ve devoted their ‘time to proper relief work in flooded areas’.He wrote on Twitter: “The perpetual tourist, Shri @OfficeOfRG came to Gujarat but the people of Gujarat are asking- where are our INC MLAs in this crucial time’ Instead of another photo-op, it would have been better had @OfficeOfRG & @INCIndia devoted time to proper relief work in flooded areas. Rahul Gandhi’s leadership style is working wonders in his party.He also added: “Following him, Congress MLAs are also in vacation mode! People of Gujarat know the tricks of the Congress rather too well. Their anti-people & anti-Gujarat mindset is not a secret.”The BJP today termed Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s visit to flood-hit Gujarat as an example of his “photo opportunity” politics and played down protests targeting him, saying the opposition party should “respect” people’s emotions.
ALSO READ Rahul Gandhi’s car attacked in Gujarat, Congress VP says ‘stones won’t stop him’After the Congress alleged that “BJP goons” were behind the stone attack on Gandhi’s car, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the opposition party should not “abuse” people who are “angry” over the floods and “tired” of Rahul Gandhi’s politics.”For God’s sake, don’t call people goons. Don’t call public of this country as rowdy elements, people who are suffering from floods, people who are tired of this kind of politics that Rahul Gandhi and his party are doing. Let’s respect people’s emotions,” he told reporters.While BJP MLAs in Gujarat are doing their best to help people, Congress MLAs are enjoying themselves in a resort in Bengaluru, he said.People are looking for their representatives but the Congress lawmakers are having fun in Karnataka, he said.The Congress has transported its Gujarat MLAs to the southern state ruled by it in a bid to keep its flock together ahead of crucual Rajya Sabha polls in the state. Six of its MLAs have left the party recently.Hitting out at Gandhi, Patra said everybody knows that he practises politics of opportunism and believes in “fly by politics”.Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala took to Twitter and wrote ‘BJP goons broke Congress VP’s car with heavy stones on his way to the helipad after meeting flood victims at Dhanera.’With 218 deaths in Gujarat, 61 in Bansakanta following the floods due to torrential rains last week, Surjewala further lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat Chief minister Vijay Rupani saying the PM only does an aerial visit while CM takes 5 days to visit.Rahul Gandhi visited flood affected areas in Gujarat, on Friday, where he was also shown black flags by a group of protesters.Addressing the villagers and the media, Rahul Gandhi said that he was in Assam the other day, Rajasthan on Friday and now in Gujarat.Amidst his speech, few people waved black flags to which he asked the guards to let them in, and saying, ‘I don’t care.”It’s a difficult and grievous time for all of you and so I wanted to come amongst you all,’ he said addressing the crowd.He added that many people lost their loved ones and homes due to floods and so he wanted to meet them to tell them that the Congress Party is standing with the people of Gujarat.’It is not our government in Delhi or Gujarat, but we are standing here with you, I am standing here with you and we won’t back down due to a few black flags,’ he said.The Congress vice-president also visited Rajasthan flood affected areas on Friday morning and said that Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje-led Rajasthan Government is not taking adequate steps to provide relief to people of the state who have been affected by floods.Gandhi, who was Jalore to take stock of the situation, said he received poor response from people of the state as no rehabilitation work is being done, while adding that his party is trying to facilitate masses to the maximum extent it can.Thousands of people are still living in shelters in flooded areas. Since July 22, nearly 17 people have lost their lives in the state.Most of the roads of Rajasthan’s Sirohi, Pali and Jalore districts have been blocked and the traffic movement is badly affected due to the massive floods in the state.Earlier on Thursday Rahul Gandhi visited flood affected areas at Lakhimpur in Assam and said that Congress Party will pick up the issue and discuss about the flood situation in the Parliament.The Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) says that 11,93,458 people have in 1,795 villages of 24 districts have been affected by the floods.As many as 79 people have lost their lives in the devastating floods, eight of them from Guwahati.Assam has been dealing with heavy floods since mid-July.

If PM Modi tries to wipe out opposition, it will destroy democracy: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress today said opposition had a crucial role to play in a democratic set up and any attempt to wipe it out will “eliminate” democracy.AICC media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said that like the government, the opposition also has a significant role in a democracy.”If Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes an attempt to wipe out the opposition, it would eliminate democracy. The people of this country need to be cautious,” he told mediapersons here.”In a democracy, the opposition is a mirror. The Congress leaders are voicing public opinion today. They are highlighting the wrong policies of the BJP governments in states,” he said.He attacked the Haryana government, saying that it had “failed” to hear the voice of the common man.He rejected Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s allegation that the Swaminathan Commission report was withheld for ten years by the Congress government.Referring to the recent affidavit filed by the Central government in the Supreme Court, he said that there were 232 recommendations in the report, out of which the Congress government had implemented 152.He said if the Congress did not implement the remaining 80 points, it was the responsibility of the Centre and the Khattar government to do it now.”The Central government has hit small traders and shopkeepers hard by implementing the GST,” he alleged.”The textile industry is closed. The process of GST has become so complicated that the trader will just be filing returns the entire year,” he claimed.He said GST will lead to rise in inflation, hitting the common man hard.

‘Congress to take 46 party MLAs in Gujarat to Bengaluru’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a move to guard its MLAs in Gujarat from being “poached” by the BJP ahead of the August 8 Rajya Sabha polls in that state, the Congress leadership has decided to “shift” them to Bengaluru. According to party sources, the legislators would fly to the capital of Karnataka, a Congress-ruled state, tonight itself. “Looking at the current situation (in Gujarat), where attempts are being made to lure our members, we are taking 46 of our MLAs to Bengaluru tonight,” said a senior party leader, requesting anonymity. Another state leader confirmed the development. Earlier today, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala demanded that the Election Commission (EC) lodged a criminal case against the BJP for “poaching” its MLAs using “money and muscle” power, a charge denied by the saffron party. In a major setback for the opposition party in Gujarat, three more of its MLAs resigned today, taking the number of legislators who quit the party ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls to six. The Congress has re-nominated Ahmed Patel, the political secretary to party chief Sonia Gandhi, to the Upper House of Parliament from Gujarat. In the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, the strength of the Congress has now gone down to 51 from 57. The desertions have cast a shadow on the fate of Patel in the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Cong accuses BJP of using ‘money, muscle’ power to engineer

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress today accused the BJP of using “money and muscle power” to engineer defections by its MLAs in Gujarat ahead of the August 8 Rajya Sabha poll, even as three more of its legislators quit the party. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said at a press conference here that the Election Commission (EC) should register a criminal case against the saffron party. Six Congress MLAs in Gujarat have resigned in the last two days, ahead of the Rajya Sabha election in the state. The party has fielded Ahmed Patel, the political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, in the upcoming poll to the Upper House of Parliament. Three Congress MLAs, accompanying Surjewala at the press meet, alleged that the BJP offered them money and election tickets for cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha election. “On August 8, election to three Rajya Sabha seats will be held in Gujarat, in which BJP president Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani are the BJP candidates. The BJP has the mandate to win only two seats. However, a sinister political conspiracy is afoot,” Surjewala alleged. He added that Congress MLAs were being offered bribes “of crores of rupees”, election tickets and other allurements. “Is it not a blatant violation of the election laws and all established norms? Does such conduct not flagrantly violate the provisions of the Representation of the People Act? Isn’t misuse of government officers, agencies, state power etc. to influence election results a criminal offence?,” he asked. “We demand that the Election Commission take note of this…and register a criminal case,” added Surjewala. Punabhai Gamit, the Congress MLA from Vyara, alleged that a senior police official posted in Tapi district approached him yesterday and offered Rs 5-10 crore to him for switching over to the BJP, which he declined. Dang MLA Mangal Gavit and Ishwarbhai Patel, another Congress legislator present at the press meet, made similar allegations. Asked why the Congress was not able to control its MLAs, Surjewala said like the three legislators present at the meet, those who had a firm faith in the party’s ideology would not fall prey to the “money and muscle power” of the BJP. Asked to react, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Nitin Patel dismissed the allegations. “It is their (Congress) internal problem. The BJP has nothing to do with it,” he said. The terms of three Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat — Irani and Dilipbhai Pandya (both from the BJP) and Patel — will come to an end on August 18. Patel has been re-nominated to the Upper House by the Congress, which had 57 MLAs in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, of whom six have resigned. The main opposition party in the state also has the support of two NCP legislators and the lone JD(U) MLA.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Congress protests "anti-farmers" policies of Centre, Hr govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress today hit out at the BJP-led Centre and the Haryana government for grabbing power by “cheating” farmers and making false promises. The party staged a day-long dharna at the grain market here organised by its national chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala. Addressing the gathering, Surjewala lashed out the state and the Central governments for allegedly grabbing power by “cheating” farmers, farm-labour, and traders by making “false” promises. “Over 12,000 farmers have committed suicide in a year due to anti-farmer policies of the Centre, and the Haryana government,” he said. The BJP, during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections campaigning, promised farmers that if it comes to power, it would ensure 50 percent profit over and above the cost of the producing food grains as envisaged in the Swaminathan Report, he added. “However, after coming to power not only Prime Minister Narendra Modi refused to fulfill his promise but filed a government’s affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that it was not feasible,” Surjewala claimed. The farmers have been ruined financially during the last three years of the BJP rule all over the country, he said. He called, the ‘Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana’ a big “scandal” of all times with the farmers. “According to rabi 2016 figures, ten insurance companies collected Rs 16,700 crore as premium by deducting premiums from the bank accounts of farmers and gave only Rs 6,000 crore as compensation to farmers in the state (Haryana),” Surjewala claimed.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Shankersinh Vaghela quits Congress, accuses party of taking ‘supari’ to let BJP win in Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a body blow to the Congress in Gujarat, one of its tallest leaders Shankersinh Vaghela, today announced he was quitting the party but ruled out joining BJP.The dramatic announcement By Vaghela, a former RSS and BJP member, was made at a public event organised to celebrate his 77th birthday. It came a day after the disunity in the state Congress came out in the open when it transpired that at least eight of its 57 MLAs had not voted for the joint opposition’s presidential Meira Kumar.Vaghela, the Kshatriya strongman whom his supporters fondly address as ‘Bapu’, said: “I am not going to join BJP. I will not join any political party”.He, however, said he was not going to retire from politics, triggering speculation he may float his own party and then cobble together an anti-Congress, anti-BJP front ahead of the Assembly elections likely in November or December.”Today, I free myself from Congress and I set Congress free,” he said. Vaghela’s decision to quit the Congress is a cause of concern for the party, which has been out of power in the state for close to two decades. He enjoys considerable support in North GujaratCongress would, however, draw some comfort from the fact that only two of its MLAs, including Vaghela’s son, Mahendrasinh, attended the event.Vaghela is reported to be upset with the party high command for not being declared the chief ministerial candidate for the Assembly elections.He had stopped attending state Congress meetings for some time, and had even unfollowed Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Twitter to register his protest.Vaghela said he was left with no option, claiming that state Congress leaders “got together to push me out of the party” after he told them to do their homework to take on the BJP in the upcoming polls.He also accused the party of taking “supari”, a common term in some states for contract killing, from the BJP to let it win Gujarat, once dubbed the BJP’s laboratory for testing its Hindutva politics.”You don’t fight the BJP and won’t allow those who do to fight them”, said Vaghela who had a long association with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his RSS days.The elections will also be seen as a prestige fight for Modi and BJP President Amit Shah.Vaghela also claimed that Congress had expelled him yesterday. But the party denied that it had expelled Vaghela or initiated disciplinary action against him.”Both these claims are entirely incorrect,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in New Delhi.Surjewala said the party respected Vaghela which was reflected in him being given important responsibilities and positions. He hoped Vaghela would continue to work for the party despite quitting his posts.”Vaghela wanted that present PCC president (Bharatsinh Solanki) should be replaced and he be appointed in his place.This is a decision of the party and its leadership and no individual can decide it.Vaghela, currently the leader of the opposition in the Assembly, had quit BJP over 20 years ago and formed Rashtriya Janata Party. He headed the RJP government in 1996 before merging his party with Congress.”Party is bigger than individuals. Each one of us needs to understand that interests of the party and its ideals are bigger than the ambition of one person”, Surjewala said.Vaghela, a former Union minister, claimed some Congress leaders had issued a “diktat” to partymen to not attend his birthday celebrations. P

Govt. wants to run away from discussion on real issues Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Congress on Wednesday downplayed the Centre?s allegation that the grand old party is halting parliamentary business and asserted that it is trying to table concerns of the nation which the latter does not want to discuss. Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cadre on the floor of the house is running away from discussions raised by his party, while adding that the saffron outfit does not wishes to be held accountable for the problems the country is facing. Averring that the Congress will not let the BJP escape Surjewala said, ?the Congress as a responsible opposition prepared a list of issues to be raised in the parliament. These issues pertain to the problems faced by the nations and of which the Centre is answerable. And for this session of the Parliament the AICC research team had finalized issues of plight of farmers, unemployment and woes of Dalits, Mob lynching, GST and its aftermath and our team tried to table these issues in the parliament for discussion.? ?The BJP is manipulating our documents which include the list of issues for discussion and is dubbing it as an instrument to disrupt Parliamentary business. I on the behalf of the Congress challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow discussion on the above mentioned issues. When the member of the Parliament from the Congress party raise any issue on the floor of the house it is made sure that they keep well researched and valid facts and Centre by criticizing all these important issues is ridiculing the democracy. BJP has the habit of exaggerating issues. The Centre does not want to run the Parliament it wants to run away from its responsibility and does not want to be held answerable,? he added. The BJP earlier in the day said that the Congress is trying to interrupt the Parliament Monsoon session and termed the documents in the Parliament as ‘dossier of disruption’. “The Congress is trying to interrupt the Parliament Monsoon session. The key points Congress mentioned in the documents to be discussed in the Parliament is not the ‘key’ claimed by the party’s internal strategy team. I would call it a conspiracy to put a lock in the development story of India. I would call this the ‘dossier of disruption’,” BJP leader Sambit Patra said while addressing the media. He further said that the grand old party always tries to plot conspiracies to politicise issues like cow protection and mob lynching. “The Congress always tries to plot conspiracies to do politicise issues like cow protection and mob lynching. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always been strict on mob lynching cases in the name of cow protection and has condemned it thrice,” Patra said. One the third day of the monsoon session, the members of the Opposition belonging to the Congress, the Trinamool Congress (TMC), Left, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha after the House met at 12 noon after the first adjournment. As the House resumed, in the Zero Hour, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge demanded immediate discussion on farmers’ plight and suicides. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, while rejecting the adjournment motion, said the issue would be discussed as it is listed under 193 in the business of the House. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar also pleaded with the Opposition members saying the Government is committed for welfare of farmers. However, unrelenting Opposition members staged a walkout. The Opposition is likely to raise the issue of China, Jammu and Kashmir and Darjeeling unrest, impact of Goods and Service Tax (GST) and other issues.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Congress takes swipe as PM reviews FDI policy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi is believed to have reviewed the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy at a meeting here today, sources said.The meeting was attended by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Secretary in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Ramesh Abhishek among other senior officials, official sources told PTI.The officials, however, remained tight-lipped about the deliberations held in the meeting. There was no official communication about the outcome of the meeting. The government has relaxed FDI norms in over a dozen sectors, including defence, civil aviation, construction and development, private security agencies, real estate and news broadcasting.It is considering relaxing FDI norms in sectors such as including retail and construction, print media, single brand and multi-brand retail trading. The government is relaxing norms to provide investor friendly climate to foreign players and in turn attract more FDI to boost economic growth and create jobs. Foreign direct investment in the country grew by 9 per cent to USD 43.47 billion in 2016-17. Earlier, before the meeting, Congress took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked him not to relegate the opportunity to “photo-ops” and to take measures to boost oversea inflows. Congress’s communications department in-charge Randeep Surjewala said his party-led UPA government had taken several measure to liberalise the economy and boost investment, but Modi and the BJP had “virulently opposed” FDI in retail in 2012. “We hope that the prime minister will move beyond rhetoric to ensure growth in the investment climate in India. We also hope the current meeting will also not be relegated to photo-ops and platitude,” he said.Surjewala said there were reports that the government had been considering relaxing FDI norms in retail and bring FDI in single-brand retail under the automatic route. He said the Congress permitted 51 per cent FDI in multi- brand retail in metropolitan cities without hurting Indian producers, small-scale industries, and wholesale and retail trade.But Modi, who was the chief minister of Gujarat then, had opposed it, he said.Surjewala quoted Modi as saying then, “It (FDI in retail) will immensely harm small shopkeepers, hit the domestic manufacturers and create joblessness. It will also mean that cheap goods produced outside will be dumped in our country.” On December 2, 2012, the BJP moved a motion in the Lok Sabha opposing 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail, but it was defeated, the Congress leader said.On March 7, 2013, the then Leader of the Opposition and present Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had stated that the BJP would fight against FDI in retail “till its last breath”, he said. “We have seen a lot of talk on investment, but minimum results in the three years of the BJP government. No wonder that over 71 FDI proposals running into a few billion USD have been pending on the table of the prime minister since 2015. That is his commitment to ease of doing business, he said.This “spoke volumes” about ease of doing business, he said. “What is even more shocking is that private investment is the lowest in last 25 years,” Surjewala said. He said, “We are awaiting what the prime minister seeks to do and we will watch it closely.”

Cong forms 10-member panel to overhaul communication strategy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress today formed a 10- member panel to overhaul its communication strategy, and appointed new AICC in-charges for Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. P L Punia was made the AICC in-charge for Chhattisgarh, while R P N Singh will look after party affairs in Jharkhand. Earlier, both these states were handled by B K Hariprasad, who resigned as the All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary recently. To help improve the party’s communication strategy, Congress president Sonia Gandhi formed a new communication strategy group. Its members include senior leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, P Chidambaram, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Jairam Ramesh, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sushmita Dev. AICC in-charge of communications department Randeep Surjewala and chairperson of its newly-set up research department Rajeev Gowda have been made its ex-officio members. “The group will meet daily and assist the communication department of the AICC,” a statement from AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said. Another statement said that Gandhi assigned the task of looking after party affairs in Chhattisgarh to a new team, in place of B K Hariprasad and Bhakta Charan Das. Besides Punia, the team includes AICC Secretaries Kamleshwar Patel and Arun Oraon. In Jharkhand, R P N Singh will be assisted by AICC secretaries Umang Singhar and Mainul Haque.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Swamy questions Congress’ patriotism post Rahul-Chinese envoy meet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday questioned the patriotism of Congress leaders after party vice-president Rahul Gandhi met Chinese envoy Luo Zhaohui. ?This is not an issue of who meeting whom but to lie that this didn?t happen. It is shocking to involve China in internal affairs of India and in matters of national security. The patriotism of Congress leaders are at question and that is where they need to clarify,? Swamy told ANI. He further said hiding the meeting was an indication that something clandestine was planned and the Congress Party got caught in it. The Congress party landed in a soup yesterday when the grand old party first denied that Rahul met with the Chinese envoy, but later accepted and revealed that the party vice-president met Bhutanese envoy as well. “Various ambassadors and envoys keep meeting the Congress president and the vice-president from time to time on a courtesy basis, particularly those of G5 nations and also of the neighbouring countries – be it the Chinese Ambassador, or the Bhutanese Ambassador or the former national security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told ANI. “Rahul Gandhi met all of them. So, nobody should try to sensationalise such normal courtesy calls or term them as events,” he added. Surjewala, in a series of tweets, had said ?some news channels were running fake news on Rahul’s alleged meeting with the Chinese Ambassador?. Congress leader Anand Sharma asserted that the meeting has been blown out of proportion and unnecessarily sensationalised. Speaking to ANI, Sharma said, “This is a non issue. I am surprised how it has been distorted and blown out of proportion since morning. The question is whether there was a meeting or not. We have regular diplomatic relations with China; there are no restrictions or embargo and therefore, the manner in which this issue has been dealt with and sensationalised, it is unwarranted and unnecessary.” The meeting came amid the stand- off between India and China that has been taking place for the past three weeks over the tri-junction area of Doklam sector near Bhutan. The stand-off emerged after the China’s People’s Liberation Army construction party attempted to build a road near the Doklam area. Bhutan recognises as Dokalam as its area while China claims it as part of its Donglang region. Doka La is the Indian name for the region.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Amid Sikkim stand-off, Rahul Gandhi meets Chinese envoy, Congress calls it courtesy call

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid the ongoing border stand-off, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday met Chinese ambassador Luo Zhaohui​.The meeting between Rahul Gandhi and the Chinese envoy comes a few days after the Congress leader launched an attack on Narendra Modi asking why the Prime Minister was silent on China.”Envoys met Rahul Gandhi ji, not only Chinese envoy but also Bhutanese envoy and ex NSA Shiv Shankar Menon,” said Congress leader Randeep Surjewala.”Various ambassadors and envoys keep meeting Congress President and Vice President time to time on courtesy basis. Nobody should attempt to sensationalize this,” said Surjewala.Earlier in the day, the Chinese embassy had claimed that Rahul Gandhi met the envoy to ‘exchange views on the current bilateral relations’, but later reportedly deleted the post from their website.The Congress had been questioning the ‘silence’ of the prime minister on Chinese aggression along the border and has asked the government to spell out its strategy to ease the tension in Doklam area near the Bhutan tri-junction.A stand-off erupted between the two militaries after the Indian Army blocked construction of the road by China in Doklam, a disputed territory between China and Bhutan also known as Donglong.Of the 3,488-km-long India-China border from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, a 220-km section falls in Sikkim.

Marked increase in criminal activities under BJP rule: Cong

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It is the primal duty of an elected government to eliminate fascist forces for the progress of a society, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said today. “The law and order has gone for a toss under the three years of BJP rule at the Centre. There has been a marked increase in the number of rape, murder, loot and lynching incidents,” he told reporters here. Surjewala visited the kin of 17-year-old Junaid who was killed by a mob on board a Mathura-bound train recently. He called for justice to the family of Junaid and said strict action should be taken against the culprits so that such a “dastardly act” was never repeated. Other Congress leaders also accompanied Surjewala. Junaid was stabbed to death while his brothers — Hashim and Sakir — were injured by a mob which also allegedly hurled communal slurs against them on board the Delhi-Mathura passenger train between Ballabgarh and Mathura stations.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Presidential Election: Opposition candidate Meira Kumar files nomination, to start campaign from Sabarmati Ashram

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Accompanied by top Congress leaders, former Lok Sabha Speaker and Opposition Presidential candidate Meira Kumar on Wednesday filed her nomination for the upcoming election.75-year-old Kumar is the joint opposition candidate of 17 non-NDA parties against the ruling dispensation’s nominee Ram Nath Kovind.Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh accompanied Kumar while filing nomination papers. Meanwhile, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said that Kumar represents the values that bind us as a nation and people. “Proud to have @meira_kumar ji as our candidate,” he tweeted.Kumar will launch her campaign from Sabarmati. “I will face presidential polls on plank of democratic values, inclusiveness, end of poverty, destruction of caste structure,” she said while addressing media on Tuesday.
ALSO READ Presidential Elections: Naidu hits out at Congress for ‘ideology’ comment, questions emergencyEarlier, Kumar had made an emotional appeal to the electorate comprising MPs and MLAs to cast their vote with their ‘inner conscience’.On questions of the Presidential polls being seen as a Dalit vs Dalit contest, she said such a thought process has to be buried.
ALSO READ Presidential Elections 2017: Meira Kumar gets Z+ securityWhen questioned about Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar supporting NDA’s candidate Ram Nath Kovind, Kumar said that such things happen in politics and she would decide what to do at the right time.

Meira Kumar joins Twitter; gets over 1,000 followers on Day 1

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meira Kumar today made her debut on social networking site Twitter, days after her nomination as the opposition presidential candidate.Kumar, who will file her nomination for the top constitutional post on Wednesday, made two posts on Twitter and had around a thousand followers by late this evening.”Eid Mubarak! Joy, peace and prosperity to all,” she said through her handle @meira_kumar, which is still to be verified for the blue-tick mark.In the other tweet, Kumar asked people to follow her on her official Facebook account for updates on the presidential election.There are 313 million active Twitter users, of which 82 per cent log in through mobile phones.While several politicians across the globe are active on Twitter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi remains the most followed leader in India with 31 million followers.75-year-old Kumar is the joint opposition candidate of 17 non-NDA parties against the ruling dispensation’s nominee Ram Nath Kovind.She will file her nomination on June 28, the last date to do so, and is likely to be accompanied by top Congress and opposition leaders.Kumar, a former Lok Sabha speaker, will launch her campaign immediately after the scrutiny of nominations on June 29.Sources close to her said she is likely to start her campaign from Uttar Pradesh, which was also Kovind’s first halt en route his drive to garner support for election to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.Asked at a Congress briefing, party chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said Kumar was finalising her campaign would share it “very shortly”.Kumar had yesterday made an emotional appeal to the electorate comprising MPs and MLAs to cast their vote with their “inner conscience”.She also said the President’s post cannot be used for narrow political interests.Taking a leaf from former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s appeal made during the 1974 presidential poll in favour of V V Giri, Kumar said, “This is that moment when one should heed to the inner voice of conscience and set the course of the nation.”

Criticising opposition abroad is govt’s foreign policy: Cong

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress said today abusing the opposition on foreign land has become the government’s “foreign policy” and is in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s DNA. The party also took potshots at prime minister Modi over his corruption-free regime claim, saying it would be better if he talked about the corruption of Vyapam, public distribution system and mine scams in BJP-ruled states. The Congress flayed Modi, who at present is in the US for his first bilateral summit with President Donald Trump, for criticising the opposition on foreign soil and addressing public meetings like political rallies. Party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said when the prime minister boasts about his government’s “blot-free” three years abroad, he should also tell the people about scams like Vyapam in BJP-ruled states and how Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya fled India. PM Modi, while addressing a gathering of Indian-American community members at a reception in Virginia, said there has been “not even one taint or blot” on his government in the past three years and remarked that “corruption” was the main reason why governments in India were voted out in the past. The Congress sought to know if the prime minister would raise with Trump the issues of H-1B visa, India’s membership to Nuclear Suppliers Group, racial attacks on Indians in the US and America’s financial support to Pakistan, which it was using against India for aiding terrorism. “Prime Minister Modi is on his 64th foreign travel. Unfortunately, abusing the opposition has become the foreign policy (of the government), diverting from issues the strategy and working with ‘jumlas’ rhetorics their working style, while claiming credit for Congress-started works their politics,” Surjewala said. He said the claim of neem-coated urea that Modi has raised was an experiment started by the Congress in 2011, while the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme was launched in 2013 by the UPA government. “Modiji you are the country’s prime minister and not of the BJP or the RSS. The issue is criticising the opposition has become the prime minister’s DNA. But the country wants to talk about the nation’s interest and issues linked with the people of the country,” he said. Surjewala said when Modi mentions about “no scams” in his government, he should also tell the Indians living abroad about how all agencies which have been “caged by you” and “are misused against your opponents – be it political or even the media”. “When he (Modi) talks of corruption, he should also mention about the Vyapam scam in which many innocent people lost their lives and should have mentioned the GSPC scam in Gujarat, the PDS scam in Chhattisgarh and the mine scam in Rajasthan. “He (Modi) should have also mentioned about the Sahara diaries in which his own name figures. He should have also talked about the land scam by Anar Patel in Gujarat and should have talked about who allowed Lalit Modi and Vijaya Mallya to flee the country,” Surjewala said. Former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi and businessman Vijay Mallya are both accused of corruption and believed to be staying in England. The Congress leader asked the prime minister to raise the issue of H-1B visa with the US President as also India’s membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which is being blocked by China. “Will Modiji raise with the US President the issue of American aid of USD 743 million aid to Pakistan which has been increased and is used against India after diversion? “Will Modiji raise the issue of India’s concerns over Climate Change deal? Will he show the courage to ask these questions to the US President? Will he ask the US President why F-16 technology transfer is not being made and stopped from being transferred,” he wondered. Surjewala also asked whether Modi will ask Trump about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and help it get stopped.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Cong, Left non-committal about attending GST roll-out function

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress and Left parties today remained non-committal about their participation in a special meeting at the Central Hall of Parliament on June 30 to roll out the Goods and Services Tax (GST). AICC chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Congress was considering whether to attend the meeting and suggested that it had not given any concrete assurance to the government on its participation. As per earlier reports, former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and H D Deve Gowda are expected to share the dais with incumbent Narendra Modi. “The Congress party is examining various aspects of the issue including the manner the GST is being implemented causing harassment to the common people, the unorganised sector and small businessmen,” Surjewala said. According to sources, the Congress leadership is divided on its participation with a section of the party feeling that it should abstain. Other opposition parties, including the Left parties, were yet to decide on whether to participate in the event. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he was the chief minister of Gujarat till May 2014, had opposed the system. “Why this unseemly hurry with GST before putting systems in place? After all, BJP opposed it for several years, especially then CM, Gujarat (sic),” Yechury tweeted. The historic Central Hall of Parliament will host a midnight function on June 30 to launch the sweeping tax reform measure, reminiscent of India’s tryst with destiny on the midnight of August 15, 1947. The government will use the circular-shaped Central Hall, perhaps for the first time, to launch a new taxation system that is set to dramatically re-shape the over USD 2 trillion economy. The launch event will in all probability start at 11 pm on June 30 and extend into midnight, coinciding with the roll-out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, official sources said. A gong will be sounded at midnight to signify that GST has arrived. Modi will be the key speaker at the function. President Pranab Mukherjee is also likely to attend the function. The GST Bill was originally piloted by Mukherjee when he was the finance minister in the previous UPA regime.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Misquoted on loan waiver statement, claims Venkaiah Naidu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Union Minister M.Venkaiah Naidu, who drew flak for his ‘loan waiver has become a fashion now” statement, on Thursday defended his stance, while saying that he was referring to the approach of the political parties who are not focussing on long term, but only short term problems.”I am being misquoted. My statement was in a context that the political parties instead of addressing long term issues and bringing in structural policy changes are adopting short term methods which has become the fashion. I was referring to the approach of the political parties particularly of going to the level of populist schemes like giving grinders, mixies, and lollipops to children,”Naidu told ANI. Naidu further said that waiver has to be done in an extreme situation, but that cannot be a solution in the long term, adding that the government needs to focus more on infrastructure.He further said that with his statement he wanted to imply that the Government should focus on basic infrastructure, including the problems of the farmers like godowns, cold storage, refrigerator vans agriculture rural credit, etc. “What I had said was in the context of addressing the infrastructure including the problems of the farmers. I was talking about the lack of toilet areas, lack of roads, and lack of assured power supply that should be the focus,” he added. Highlighting the achievements of the NDA government, he said his dispensation has taken many initiatives including comprehensive crop insurance scheme, and allocation of Rs. 50,000 crore under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichayi Yojana.
ALSO READ Loan waiver has become fashion now, says Venkaiah Naidu”It is very surprising that the political parties, which were in power for years, could not do anything to address these issues and are blaming our Government and adopting populist schemes of asking for waiving loans,” he added. Naidu earlier in the day said loan waiver has become a fashion and that loans should be waived in extreme situations only.”Loan waiver has become a fashion now. Loans should be waived, but in extreme situations only. It’s not a final solution. You have to take care of the systems. The farmers should be taken care in distress,” Naidu said at India’s largest municipal bond programme here. Slamming Naidu”s statement Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala castigated the former and said that the Union Minister should have not made such a harsh statements at a time when the situation in Madhya Pradesh is so volatile.

Surjewala slams Khattar govt over electricity shortage in Hr

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress today hit out at the BJP government in Haryana holding it directly responsible for the “ongoing power crisis in the state”. “The people are facing problems, as the state government has stopped the five power plants. The declared and undeclared cuts of electricity in towns and villages of the state have caused sufferings to the people of the state due to power shortage,” senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said. He said it is shocking that the state government has closed five power plants with the capacity to produce 1,270 MW electricity, of which three are located in Panipat, one in Yamunanagar and one in Khedar village of Hisar. “Electricity is being produced in only one power plant at Yamunanagar, while the 300 MW power plant of Yamunanagar is closed since June 10. Similarly, only one 250 MW power plant is functional in Panipat, while two 210 MW power plants are closed for the past one month and the 250 MW power plant has been closed recently. “Only one power plant is functional in Khedar village of Hisar while the second power plant of 300 MW is closed from May 22,” he said. “Apart from this, the (state) government has refused to take its share of power from the Jharli NTPC power plant, which is a direct treachery with the public,” Surjewala claimed in a statement here. The MLA from Kaithal demanded that the Khattar government clarify why it has stopped five power plants citing inadequate power demand when the public are being forced to stay without electricity during this scorching summers. “It is a hard fact that several power plants were set up in Yamunanagar, Jharli and Khedar during the Congress tenure but this government has stopped the functional power plants and the people are in distress due to power shortage in all parts of the state,” Surejewala said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BJP rakes up ‘goon’ like non-issue to submerse farmers’ woes- Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Congress Party on Monday said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should stop converting the farmers? woes by raising ?non ?issue? like Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit?s ?sadak ka gunda? remark for Army Chief. Dikshit, a former Member of Parliament and the son of former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, has apologised after using the words “Sadak ka goonda (street goon)” for Army Chief General Bipin Rawat. “Ours is not a mafia Army like Pakistani army which makes statements like goons on the street. It looks bad when our Army chief gives a statement like a sadak ka goonda,” Dikshit had told ANI. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told ANI that the Indian National Congress has deep respect for the Army Chief and armed forces of India and has advised Sandeep Dikshit to desist from making such comments. ?The Indian National Congress has always stood by the demands of Indian army including the last one on which they were agitating for one rank and one pension. We have advised Sandeep Dikshit to desist from making any controversial remarks regarding Army Chief. For, the Congress does not subscribe to or support such remarks as we find them not good in taste. Post that advisory, Sandeep Dikshit has already apologised publicly for his remarks,? said Surjewala. The Congress leader, however, alleged that the BJP was trying to divert country?s attention from the farmers? issue by raking up Sadak Ka Gunda (roadside goon) remark. ?The BJP should stop converting the agenda of farmers into non issue of this nature and should concentrate on giving a comprehensive relief package to farmers of India who are dying every day,? he added. The Congress leader also targeted the Narendra Modi-led Government over the frequent ceasefire violations by Pakistan. ?India released Pakistanis as a goodwill gesture but will Indian government tell Pakistan not to kill innocent Indians as a goodwill gesture in return. When will the Prime Minister talk with Pakistan with ?red eyes? and 56-inch-chest?,? questioned Surjewala. The Congress leader said that Pakistan has violated ceasefire agreement more than 1400 times since Narendra Modi led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government assumed power in 2014. Bihar?s Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav refused to comment on Sandeep Dikshit?s remark over Army Chief General Bipin Rawat. He, however, said that the Army should not be politicised.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Amit Shah’s ‘chatur’ Gandhi remark infuriates Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after BJP president Amit Shah described Mahatma Gandhi as “bahut chatur baniya” (a very clever businessman) who used Congress as an SPV (special purpose vehicle) to secure freedom, the Congress hit back, demanding an apology from him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for belittling the father of the nation and the freedom struggle.”It is not only a gross insult to Mahatma Gandhi but also to the whole Independence struggle. Have the emotions to fight for Independence become a business today? Only power brokers like Amit Shah and kale angrez of BJP can have such kind of ideology, ” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.Shah had reportedly said that the Congress was not rooted in any ideology or principles.”Aur isi liye Mahatma Gandhi ne durandesi ke saath, bahut chatur baniya tha woh, usko maloom tha aage kya hone waala hai, usne azadi ke baad turant kaha tha, Congress ko bikher dena chahiye. (And that is why Mahatma Gandhi with much foresight, was a very clever baniya, who knew what was to going to happen, said immediately after independence that Congress should be disbanded),” Shah had said.Responding to Surjewala’s demand for apology, Amit Shah, is purported to have said in Raipur on Saturday, “Everyone present in the public meeting knows with what objective I called Mahatma Gandhi a baniya. It is Surjewala who has a lot to answer on Mahatma Gandhi’s principles.”Slamming Shah, Surjewala alleged that “Amit Shah, who himself is a trader of power, is today saying that the freedom movement was a business model. But in reality, before independence, Britishers used RSS and Hindu Mahasabha as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for partition of the country.”Joining the row, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee termed the comments “uncalled for and unethical” while former CPM general secretary Prakash Karat slammed Shah for the “contempt the BJP- RSS has for Gandhiji.”CPI general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy too demanded an apology from Shah for making “derogatory” remarks.

Gandhi was ‘chatur baniya’, Congress mere SPV for freedom:

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP chief Amit Shah has said Mahatma Gandhi was a “chatur baniya”, a reference to the mercantile caste to which he was born, who had rightly advised dissolution of the Congress after Independence. Addressing a select audience of “prominent citizens” here yesterday evening, Shah also said the Congress was not rooted in any ideology or principles and was sort of a “special purpose vehicle” to secure freedom. In remarks that raised the hackles of the Congress, which demanded an apology from Shah as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP president went on term Mahatma Gandhi a “bahut chatur baniya”, a very shrewd baniya. “The Congress party… was constituted as a club by a British man. It was later converted into an organisation engaged in freedom struggle,” Shah said. It had in its fold both right and left-leaning people like Maulana Azad, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya and many others, he said. “People of various ideologies and thinking associated themselves with Congress to gain independence. Congress didn’t have any ideology or set of principles and it was only used as a special purpose vehicle to secure freedom. “And therefore, Mahatma Gandhi, with a lot of foresight — he was a very shrewd baniya — he knew what was going to happen in future. He had said immediately after the Independence that Congress should be dissolved.” Mahatma Gandhi couldn’t do that, but now some people are completing the task of dissolution of Congress, the BJP chief added in an apparent jibe at the present Congress leadership. Amongst the 1,650 political parties in India, only the BJP and the Communist Party of India have upheld internal democracy, he said. “There are some parties where only dynastic rule prevails. It was clear that after Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi would take over, but nobody can predict who would be the next BJP president after me,” Shah said. Referring to alleged anti-national slogans raised in Jawaharlal Nehru University, Shah said whoever does so will be termed as anti-national. Shah’s remarks on Mahatma Gandhi led to immediate criticism from the Congress in Chhattisgarh and in New Delhi. “Such a comment on the father of the nation is highly condemnable. Shah has crossed limits of politics,” said state Congress general secretary Shailesh Nitin Trivedi. In New Delhi, party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said Shah’s remarks were “an insult to freedom fighters, their sacrifices and also to Gandhi”.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Cong demands apology from Shah, Modi for remarks on Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress today took strong exception to Amit Shah’s comments on Mahatma Gandhi, saying they were an “insult” to the father of the nation, and demanded an apology from the BJP president as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Rather than fighting casteism, they (BJP) identified even the father of the nation with his caste. This shows the character and ideology of the ruling party and its president. Where will these people take the country?” party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked. “We demand that Amit Shah, BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologise to the country, the families of freedom fighters and every citizen for insulting the freedom movement… and the father of the nation,” he said. The BJP chief had yesterday referred to Mahatma Gandhi as a bahut chatur baniya” (a very clever Baniya – the trading caste) while addressing a gathering in Raipur. Shah also said that Congress had never been a party based on principles. It was merely a special purpose vehicle to secure freedom. “Amit Shah, who himself is a trader of power, is today saying that the freedom movement was a business model. But in reality, before independence, Britishers used RSS and Hindu Mahasabha as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for partition of the country,” Surjewala alleged. “Similarly, today BJP is acting as a SPV for few corporates for taking care of their business interests,” the Congress spokesperson added. According to the Congress leader, Shah’s remarks were “an insult to freedom fighters, their sacrifices and also to Gandhi”.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Amit Shah calls Mahatma Gandhi a ‘chatur baniya’; Congress demands apology

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bhartiya Janata Party(BJP) chief Amit Shah on Friday called Mahatma Gandhi a ‘chatur baniya’ while taking a dig at the Congress party at an event in Chhattisgarh.”Mahatma Gandhi was a chatur baniya.. he knew what was going to happen” (Bahut chatur baniya tha woh, usko maloom tha aage kya hone waala hai.), said Shah speaking to a collection of “eminent persons” in Raipur.”After independence, he (Mahatma) wanted Congress to be dissolved. He didn’t do it, but some people are now doing that job,” Shah said.Shah also claimed that Congress was a ‘special purpose vehicle’ to gain independence and not a party based on principles.However, Shah’s remark has invited sharp reactions from Congress and Twitterati. The grand old party has also demanded an apology from the BJP chief.Amit Shah’s remarks on Gandhi: (From 32:40)Without commenting, in an indirect attack on Shah, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi shared a quote by Mahatma Gandhi.Meanwhile, National Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha said, “Dear @AmitShah Ji,Reducing India’s greatest freedom fighters to an SPV, a business model, is repugnant, saddening. India deserves an apology.””#MahatmaGandhi went to jail for India’s freedom struggle. Amit Shah was behind bars for fake encounters. No further comment is necessary,” Jha tweeted.Addressing the media, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “Amit Shah has insulted Mahatma Gandhi, the freedom movement and the sacrifice of freedom fighters by his statement.”

UP Cong chief Babbar slams ‘deplorable’ Kashmir map gaffe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>UP Congress chief Raj Babbar today termed the depiction of Jammu and Kashmir as “Indian Occupied Kashmir” in a booklet released by the party as “deplorable”, and said those responsible for the blunder would face severe action. Speaking to reporters here, Babbar said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala has already cleared the party’s position on the issue. “Kashmir is an integrated part of India, and this incident is deplorable,” Babbar said. To a question of a probe in this regard, Babbar said it is certain that those who are guilty will face stringent action. Page 12 of the 16-page booklet titled ‘Rashtriya Suraksha per Aanch’, which was distributed by the Congress yesterday, depicts the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir as “Indian Occupied Kashmir” in the context of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The booklet was released by senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad in Lucknow. Launching a scathing attack on the Congress, the BJP had said that the Congress must make its stand clear whether it is with India or Pakistan. “Congress which has created the Kashmir crisis must answer and make its stand clear on whether it is with India or Pakistan. “The question arises, as today the Congress came out with a booklet, which mentions Jammu and Kashmir as ‘Indian Occupied Kashmir’. This is highly objectionable, and it goes on to prove that on one hand the Indian Army is eliminating the terrorists, while the Congress is refusing to believe that Kashmir is an integral part of India,” UP BJP spokesperson Shalabh Mani Tripathi said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Cong demands Bharti’s resignation, RSS asserts order gave new life to Ram temple movement

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In the wake of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court framing charges against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, the Congress Party on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek resignation of Union Minister Uma Bharti who is one of the chargesheeted persons. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that his party hopes that the Babri masjid which has been pending now for over 25 years will finally be adjudicated and decided expeditiously as guided by the Supreme Court. ?In Babri Masjid demolition case, special CBI court has framed charges today of criminal conspiracy and other offences against BJP leaders. We sincerely hope that this matter which has been pending now for over 25 years will finally be adjudicated and decided expeditiously and on a day to day basis as ordered by honourable Supreme Court of India we believe and hope that justice would be done, those guilty would be punished and the matter will finally come to an end,? Surjewala told ANI. ?One of the chargesheeted persons is Union Minister Uma Bharti. Having been chargesheeted in this matter she must forthwith resign. We expect the honourable Prime Minister to uphold the constitution and the law and consequently seek her resignation without any further delay,? he added. However, on the other hand Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Rakesh Sinha dubbed the court?s order as unfortunate and asserted that the judicial ruling has given a new life to the movement for reconstruction of a Ram temple. ?The verdict of framing the charges is unfortunate. Since it is a judicial verdict, so any law abiding citizen will have to respect it and fight it on judicial platform. But such developments could give a new life to a discourse and movement for reconstruction of a ram temple in this country,? said Sinha. In a major setback to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veterans Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court earlier today rejected their discharge application, framing charges against them and the other nine accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case. Charges of criminal conspiracy under section 120 (B) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) have been framed. However, the accused will now move the Allahabad High Court against the CBI court’s order. Earlier today, the court granted bail to all the accused by signing a personal bond of Rs. 20,000. “They have been granted bail by signing bonds of Rs. 20,000. We have submitted discharge application. If the court rejects it, then charges will be framed,” said lawyer of accused Prashant Atal. The court had also asked BJP leader Vinay Katiyar, VHP’s Vishnu Hari Dalmia and Sadhvi Ritambara to present themselves before the court in person. While directing the accused to present themselves in person, the judge had said no application for adjournment or exemption from personal appearance shall be entertained. The court, which is hearing two separate cases relating to the demolition, would also frame charges against Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti, Baikunth Lal Sharma alias Prem Ji, Champat Rai Bansal, Mahant Dharma Das and Satish Pradhan in the second matter. The Supreme Court had on April 19 ordered prosecution of Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharti, and other accused for criminal conspiracy in the politically sensitive case. It had also ordered day-to-day trial to be concluded in two years. The apex court ordered that two separate cases in Lucknow and Raebareli against Advani, Joshi and Bharti and unknown ‘kar sevaks’ shall be brought together in one trial. The apex court also directed the trial court in Lucknow to commence the proceedings in four weeks and hear the matter on a day-to-day basis so as to complete the hearing in two years. The apex court also said there will be no ‘de novo’ (fresh) trial. The CBI has been ordered to ensure that at least one prosecution witness appears in the trial court for recording of testimony. To ensure a speedy trial, the top court has given two important directions – first, no party shall be granted adjournments without the sessions’ judge being satisfied of the reasons for it; second, the trial judge hearing the case shall not be transferred till the judgement is delivered.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Despite being denied permission, Rahul leaves for Saharanpur

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today left for strife-torn Saharanpur, despite district authorities denying him permission to visit the area. Party sources said Rahul left for Shabbirpur village, the centre of the caste-based violence in the district, by road this morning after meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi. He is being accompanied by AICC general secretary in charge of UP affairs Ghulam Nabi Azad, and UP Congress chief Raj Babbar. If not permitted to visit the victims in the affected area, Gandhi would court arrest, the sources said. “They cannot suppress the voice of the poor, Dalits and Adivasis of this country. Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party will continue to speak,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said. “Nobody will be able to stop Rahul from reaching out to the victims of the violence which have been perpetrated at the instance of BJP gundas,” he added. Saharanpur has witnessed widespread caste-based clashes his month. Violence first broke out in Saharanpur about 40 days ago following a procession to mark Ambedkar Jayanti. On May 5, a person was killed and 15 people were injured in clashes in which houses of Dalits in Shabbirpur were torched by Thakurs. About a dozen police vehicles were set ablaze and 12 policemen were injured on May 9. On May 23, another person was shot dead and two others were wounded, following which the government suspended the SSP and district magistrate and transferred the divisional commissioner and the deputy inspector general of police. The Centre has sent 400 anti-riot police personnel to Saharanpur to help the state restore peace in the region.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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