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Congress disrupts Rajya Sabha over PM Modi’s remark

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

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No need to beg… this is independent India: M Venkaiah Naidu

Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu presiding over his first full session as Chairman of the Rajya Sabha urged MPs to give up colonial terms like ‘I beg to’ while laying papers.”No need to beg… this is independent India,” he said.Presiding over the Upper House proceedings on the opening day of the Winter Session of Parliament, Naidu said, “Just say I raise to lay on the table” the listed papers.He made the observation after the ministers called to lay the listed papers on the table, began their sentences by saying “I beg to lay on the table the papers listed against my name in today’s revised list of business.”Naidu, however, was quick to clarify that this was only a suggestion and not an order.This was not only the change that Naidu suggested on the first day as the presiding officer of the House.He also stood up while reading out obituary references.His predecessors Hamid Ansari and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat used to read the obituary references while being seated. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan too stands while reading out obituary references.Naidu in August took over as the Vice-President of India in August — also the presiding officer of the Rajya Sabha.

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Sharad Yadav should seek Lalu Prasad Yadav’s help now

The Nitish Kumar-led faction of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) took a dig at former party president Sharad Yadav who was disqualified from Rajya Sabha, saying he should move back to Jabalpur or sing praises for Lalu’s family to remain politically relevant.JD-U’s charge was led by its spokesperson-cum-MLCs Neeraj Kumar and Sanjay Singh who said Sharad had lost his political relevance. “Sharad has no base in Bihar. He tried to take the crutches of of Lalu Yadav’s burnt out ‘Laalten’ but now he should move back to his home and take care of his household there,” Singh said.Kumar, on the other hand, said that only chanting “Lalu zindabad” will no longer work for Sharad Yadav. “Now that he has been disqualified as an MP, he will have to sing praises for Lalu’s wife Rabri Devi and sons Tej Pratap and Tejashwi, if he is to remain on their beneficiary list.”The Bihar unit of the JD-U has welcomed the decision taken by Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, to disqualify rebel MPs Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar from Rajya Sabha membership, and said this will spread the message of political propriety. “It is all a result of Lalu’s ‘kusangati’ (bad companionship). People should know that no one is above the party,” said a senior party leader based in Patna.
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Congress flooded with 2,200 applications for 182 seats

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the chances of Congress party surges in Gujarat assembly elections scheduled to take place on December 9 and 14, the screening committee set up by Congress party has been flooded with over 2,200 aspirant applications for 182 seats.According to the screening committee, initially, they received 1500 applications.“After Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi visited parts of Gujarat by road, more aspirants want to contest on Congress symbol now. We are also surprised to receive such huge numbers of applications at eleventh hours. It is a tough job to finalise the candidates,” said one of the members of four members screening committee headed by Balasaheb Thorat, senior Congress leader from Maharashtra.When contacted Balasaheb Thorat, he confirmed that they had received 2,200 applications but refused to reveal more details.“Initially, we received applications from sitting MLAs and newly elected members of Taluka and District panchayat, its various committee presidents. Out of 32 District Panchayat in Gujarat, the 23 are controlled by Congress. Now, ex-MLAs, Member of Parliaments (MP) and ex-ministers are also putting pressure on us for a ticket,” said another member of screening committee requesting anonymity.“They feel that the chances of Congress coming to power has increased. If they get elected, they will have natural claim and chance of getting a ministerial berth in ‘next Congress government’ in Gujarat,” he added.Further stating that Rahul Gandhi has categorically told them not to succumb to any pressure, he added, “We have been asked to go by merits. We have now stopped taking applications.”A member said that before issuing a ticket, they are also taking inputs from multiple agencies and social groups. “Now, most groups have recommended the same names. In next two-three days, we are having the screening committee meeting in Delhi in presence of Congress President and Vice President and other in-charge of Congress party in Gujarat. In this meeting, names of candidates contesting in the first phase will be finalized and declared,” he said. The party leader who is close to Rahul Gandhi said that they have made a cluster system to avoid the division of votes among various caste groups.

Festive season, so few want to fly to Africa with Kovind

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As President Ram Nath Kovind undertakes his first foreign tour, to East African countries of Djibouti and Ethiopia, from Tuesday, his office at the Rashtrapati Bhavan is struggling to cobble up a delegation to go with him.Normally, the Presidential delegation includes a minister and a group of MPs. Unlike the hectic Prime Ministerial visits, those of the President and the Vice-President are largely ceremonial and protocol-oriented. MPs, officials and mediapersons become part of such delegations to take free foreign trips.But a number of MPs, contacted by Kovind’s office, have opted out, preferring to celebrate festivals in their own constituencies. The President’s press secretary, Ashok Malik, confirmed that there have been difficulties in contacting some of the MPs as they are in their hometowns. He said the delegation is expected to be finalised by Saturday.The President will follow Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s practice of taking only a small team of mediapersons on board his special flight, unlike his predecessors, who used to have 30-odd journalists to accompany them on foreign visits.This will also mean an end of the usual on-board press interaction by the President while on foreign tours, which used to be an opportunity for mediapersons to meet him in an informal setting.Dr. Neena Malhotra, joint secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs and in-charge of East and South Africa Division, said Africa was chosen as the first destination for President Kovind’s overseas visit to demonstrate importance attached to the continent by the current government.She said Prime Minister Modi has declared Africa a priority for both foreign as well as economic policies. During the past three years, there have been 16 VVIP visits from India to African countries. India hosted some 50 heads of African countries during the India-Africa summit in 2015 in Delhi.Former President Pranab Mukherjee visited the continent thrice, former Vice-President Hamid Ansari undertook seven visits as part of Modi’s African outreach. PM Modi, himself visited Africa six times. Dr. Malhotra said, during the past three years, there is not a single country in Africa not visited by a central minister.President Kvoind will be in Ethiopia during October 4-6 for a business event and an interaction with the Indian community. This is the first visit to Ethiopia by an Indian President in 45 years. The First Lady, wife of President Mulatu Teshome, has studied in India along with nine other ministers.Ethiopia is also the largest recipient of concessions by India. Before reaching Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, the President will visit Djibouti on October 3 and stay their overnight. The bilateral trade stood at US$284.54 million in 2016-17. India, within the rubric of South-South Cooperation, has extended lines of credit amounting to US $ 49.13 million to the government of Djibouti for construction of a cement plant.The stopover at Djibouti is significant following China’s new military base in the country. In Africa, as in other parts of the world, China has deployed substantive capital and is in the process of implementing infrastructure projects. India banks on historical connections with some countries, the English language, and the presence of diaspora constitutes important pillars to build robust engagements.

In Gujarat, Rahul Gandhi will campaign on bullock cart after permission for open-jeep roadshow denied

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader and Vice-President Rahul Gandhi will start his three-day election campaign in Gujarat’s Saurashtra region on Monday and will use a bullock cart after permission for open-jeep roadshow was denied to him.Gandhi will hit the road for a tour of the Saurashtra region as part of the party’s election campaign in Gujarat.In Hanjrapar village some 25 km from Dwarka, Gandhi will enter in a traditionally decked up bullock-cart after police refused him permission to cover the 135 km stretch from Dwarka to Jamnagar by an open jeep, reported IANS. From there, Gandhi would now be taking a specially done up luxury bus for him equipped with CCTV cameras.Rahul will then proceed for Jamnagar town where he will make a night halt. On September 26, he will cover towns such as Dhrol and Tankara by road before reaching Rajkot.He will interact with traders and industrialists after reaching Rajkot in the afternoon.The much awaited assembly elections in Gujarat will be held towards the end of 2017 or January, 2018. The dates will be announced officially by the Election Commission few months prior to it.

DUSU Election Results 2017: Congress’ NSUI wins 2 out of 4 seats including that of President

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress student wing National Students Union of India (NSUI) has won the posts of President and Vice-President. BJP’s student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) has won the post of Secretary. Re-counting is on for the post of joint secretary. According to PTI, ABVP has won the jt-secy post. Last year, ABVP had won the post of president, vice president, and secretary. NSUI candidate was elected to the post of joint secretary.Rocky Tuseed of NSUI winning the post of president is being seen as a major setback for ABVP as it was hopeful of retaining this position. NSUI has won the post of president after four years. Students’ outfits had contested for a total of four positions: President, Vice-President, Secretary and Joint Secretary. A total of 43% voter turnout was recorded. Here are the total number of candidates who were in the fray: 24 Presidential candidates; 10 Vice-Presidential candidates; 5 Secretary candidates; 5 Joint Secretary candidates.NSUI’s Rocky Tusheed won the president’s post by a margin of 1,590 votes, while the party’s Kunal Sehrawat defeated the ABVP candidate by 175 votes. ABVP’s Mahamedha Nagar defeated NSUI’s Minakshi Meena by 2,624 votes to win the post of secretaryLive updates: 3:35 PMCongress VP Rahul Gandhi congratulates NSUI for winning in DU. 3:00 PM2:00PM 1:18 PMClose contest in Delhi University Students’ Union. ABVP is leading on Vice President and Secretary posts; NSUI is ahead on President and Joint Secretary posts.1:02 PMThe main contestants for the DUSU presidential post are ABVP’s Rajat Choudhary, NSUI’s Rocky Tusheed, AISA’s Parul Chauha, independent candidates Raja Choudury and Alka.Earlier, the Delhi High Court gave a go-ahead to the Delhi University to declare the results on Tuesday for the post of President in the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) election. The court’s order came on a plea by the University seeking modification of its September 8 interim order by which it had allowed National Students Union of India (NSUI) presidential candidate Rocky Tuseed to contest the election but directed the varsity not to declare the results for the post of the President. ABVP candidates: President candidate – Rajjat Chaudhary, VP – Parth Rana, Secretary – Mahamedhaa Nagar, Jt. Sec. – Uma Shankar. NSUI candidates: President – Rocky Tuseed, Vice President – Kunal Sehrawat, Secretary – Minakshi Meena, Jt. Sec. – Avinash Yadav. AISA candidates: President – Parul Chauhan, Vice President – Aditya , Secretary – Jaishree , Jt. Sec. – Akash Gupta

Ansari’s remarks have no takers within Muslim community: Kumar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>RSS leader Indresh Kumar today said there were no takers for former vice president Hamid Ansari’s recent “insecurity among Muslims remark” even within the community. He called the former vice president “unfortunate” as no one came out in support of his remarks. “Hamid Ansari is such an unfortunate (durbhagyashali) person that no one in the country came forward in his support. Muslims in large numbers also opposed his comments,” said Kumar, who was in the city today. Attacking the former vice president, he said all the while during his ten-year tenure as vice president he (Ansari) was secular and after demitting the post he has become hardliner (kattarpanti). The RSS leader also exhorted all those sharing a similar mindset to tell the name of the country where Muslims are secure. “I have one request to him (Ansari) and people like him who feel that Muslims are insecure, they should tell the name of the country where Muslims are secure and they should go and live in that country where they feel secure,” Kumar said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

VP elect Naidu says India is tolerant, people politicise minority issues

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Vice-President elect M. Venkaiah Naidu, a day before his swearing-in ceremony, on Thursday said that the agenda of politics should be development, while also adding that India is the most tolerant country in the world. ?India is the most tolerant country. Indian ethos is of mutual respect for each other. People try to use minority issues for political purposes,? he said. ?Unfortunately, some people are trying to blow it out of proportion and trying to defame India, raising it to national forum,? he added. This came after outgoing vice-president Hamid Ansari asserted that ?there is a feeling of unease and a sense of insecurity among the Muslims in the country.? In his last interview on Wednesday, before demitting the office, Ansari said that the Muslims in the country were experiencing a “feeling of unease.” “A sense of insecurity is creeping in as a result of the dominant mood created by some and the resultant intolerance and vigilantism,” Ansari said, in an interview to Rajya Sabha TV. He referred to incidents of lynching and alleged killings as a “breakdown of Indian values, breakdown of the ability of the authorities at different levels in different places to be able to enforce what should be normal law enforcing work and over all the very fact that Indianness of any citizen being questioned is a disturbing thought.” On a related note, in his last address as the Ansari said that democracy would turn into tyranny, if opposition groups are not given the right to free criticism, adding that a democracy is distinguished by the protection it gives to minority. ?A democracy is distinguished by the protection it gives to minority. Democracy is likely to degenerate into a tyranny if it does not allow the opposition groups to criticise freely and frankly the policies of the government. But at the same time, the minorities have also their responsibilities,? he said, quoting former president Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan during his farewell speech at the Rajya Sabha.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India is tolerant, people politicise minority issues, says Venkaiah Naidu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Vice-President elect M. Venkaiah Naidu, a day before his swearing-in ceremony, on Thursday said that the agenda of politics should be development, while also adding that India is the most tolerant country in the world.”India is the most tolerant country. Indian ethos is of mutual respect for each other. People try to use minority issues for political purposes,” he said.”Unfortunately, some people are trying to blow it out of proportion and trying to defame India, raising it to national forum,” he added.This came after outgoing vice-president Hamid Ansari asserted that ‘there is a feeling of unease and a sense of insecurity among the Muslims in the country.’In his last interview on Wednesday, before demitting the office, Ansari said that the Muslims in the country were experiencing a “feeling of unease.””A sense of insecurity is creeping in as a result of the dominant mood created by some and the resultant intolerance and vigilantism,” Ansari said, in an interview to Rajya Sabha TV.He referred to incidents of lynching and alleged killings as a “breakdown of Indian values, breakdown of the ability of the authorities at different levels in different places to be able to enforce what should be normal law enforcing work and over all the very fact that Indianness of any citizen being questioned is a disturbing thought.”On a related note, in his last address as the Ansari said that democracy would turn into tyranny, if opposition groups are not given the right to free criticism, adding that a democracy is distinguished by the protection it gives to minority.”A democracy is distinguished by the protection it gives to minority. Democracy is likely to degenerate into a tyranny if it does not allow the opposition groups to criticise freely and frankly the policies of the government. But at the same time, the minorities have also their responsibilities,” he said, quoting former president Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan during his farewell speech at the Rajya Sabha.

Feeling of unease among Muslims, ambience of acceptance under threat: Hamid Ansari

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Outgoing Vice President Hamid Ansari on Wednesday said there is a feeling of unease and a sense of insecurity among the Muslims in the country, asserting the “ambience of acceptance” is now under threat.Ansari, whose second five-year term as the Vice-President ends on, made these remarks in the backdrop of incidents of intolerance and cow vigilantism and comments made by some saffron leaders regarding the minority community.Stating that he had flagged the issue of intolerance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet colleagues, Ansari, 80, also described as a “disturbing thought” that Indianness of citizens was being questioned.Asked in an interview to Karan Thapar on Rajya Sabha TV whether he shared his concerns with the prime minister, Ansari replied in the affirmative.”Yes…yes. But what passes between the Vice President and the Prime Minister in the nature of things must remain in the domain of privileged conversation,” the Rajya Sabha Chairman said.He also said that he has flagged the issue with other union ministers too.”Well, there is always an explanation and there is always a reason. Now it is a matter of judgement, whether you accept the explanation, you accept the reasoning and its rationale,” he said when asked about the response of the government.In the interview, Ansari referred to incidents of lynching and ‘ghar wapsi’ and killings of rationalists as a “breakdown of Indian values, breakdown of the ability of the authorities at different levels in different places to be able to enforce what should be normal law enforcing work and over all the very fact that Indianness of any citizen being questioned is a disturbing thought.””Yes it is a correct assessment,” Ansari said when asked whether he agreed with the assessment that the muslim community is apprehensive and that it was feeling insecure as a result of the kind of comments made against them.”Yes it is a correct assessment, from all I hear from different quarters, the country; I heard the same thing in Bangalore, I have heard from other parts of the country, I hear more about in north India, there is a feeling of unease, a sense of insecurity is creeping in,” he said.Asked whether he felt that the muslims are beginning to feel they are not wanted, Ansari said, “I would not go that far, there is a sense of insecurity.”He said India is a plural society that for centuries, not for seventy years, has lived in a certain “ambience of acceptance” which is now under threat.He was of the view that the propensity to be able to assert your nationalism day in and day out is “unnecessary”.”I am an Indian and that is it.”Ansari was of the view that while tolerance is a good virtue, it is not a sufficient virtue. “…therefore you have to take the next step and go from tolerance to acceptance,” he said.At an event in Bengaluru on Sunday, Ansari said the “version of nationalism” that places cultural commitments at its core promotes intolerance and arrogant patriotism.Responding to a question on comments made by some BJP leaders related to minorities, he said he would not talk about political people or political parties.”But to me, every time such a comment appeared or came to my knowledge; I mean my first reaction was that, A: the person is ignorant, B: that he is prejudiced and C: he does not fit into the framework that India has always prided to itself on, which is to be accommodative society,” he said.Responding to questions on triple talaq, Ansari said it is a social aberration, not a religious requirement.”Firstly, it is a social aberration, it is not a religious requirement. The religious requirement is crystal clear, emphatic, there are no two views about it but patriarchy, social customs has all crept into it to create a situation which is highly undesirable,” he said.He said the courts do not have to step in as the reform has to come from within the community.”The courts can say that we don’t recognise it. That’s all. I mean a marriage has to be recognised on certain occasions by the system of the state. And if a state functionary at a particular point of time refuses to recognise a happening which may be the product of a triple talaq, that s it,” he explained.To a poser on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the former diplomat said, “the problem has always been primarily a political problem. And it has to be addressed politically.” He agreed to a suggestion that politicians are ducking the problem.”That s my impression. And I m not the only one in the country…when young boys and girls come out on to the streets and throw stones day after day, week after week, month after month, it’s something to worry about because they are our children, they are our citizens.”Something is obviously going wrong. What exactly, I am not the final word on it, but I think there are enough people in the country who are worried about it. Eminent people belonging to different political persuasions and their worry must be taken on board,” the Vice President said.

Use diplomatic route, take help of friends to resolve Doklam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress today said India should use the diplomatic route and also try to take help of its old friends like Russia to ensure that China withdraws its troops from Doklam. Congress spokesman Ajay Kumar said that India should endeavour to broker peace on the international border, including using the diplomatic route to ensure that China withdraw its troops from Doklam. “If we lose Doklam, there is every possibility that we may lose the northeastern states to China,” he told a press conference here. Kumar, a former parliamentarian from the steel city, also asked the Centre to win back the confidence of “its old friends, like Russia, to face China strongly.” Asked about China’s threat to launch a limited war to drive out Indian forces from Doklam, he said, “A face-off between India and China has never happened in the Sikkim sector. The sector is important for our national security”. Kumar criticised the NDA government for failing to tackle China’s repeated intrusion in the country’s territory. “The government has itself admitted that China had entered into our territory 240 times last year but did not take any step to check it,” he said. The Congress spokesperson also questioned the Modi government’s logic behind scrapping the proposal of the UPA government to raise a Mountain Division force. The UPA government had proposed to raise Mountain Division force at a cost of Rs 60,000 crore in 2013-14 and had even released around Rs 7,000 crore to Rs 8,000 crore for the purpose but the NDA dispensation has cancelled the proposal, Kumar claimed. Appreciating the country’s stand over the Doklam issue, he supported the Modi government’s stand and urged political parties to remain united on the face-off issue to give a “befitting reply” to China. “We should exhibit unity to push China back,” he said. Kumar said attacked the BJP leadership of making an issue over AICC Vice-president Rahul Gandhi meeting the Chinese ambassador amidst the border face off in Sikkim, saying “its senior leaders have been visiting China frequently”.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Congratulations Venkaiah Garu: PM Modi hails Naidu after he comfortably wins VP poll

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>National Democratic Alliance (NDA) nominee and former union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu has been elected as the 13th Vice President of India with 516 votes. On Saturday, PM Modi took to Twitter to congratulate M Venkaiah Naidu for becoming the Vice President of India. He wrote on Twitter; “Congratulations to @MVenkaiahNaidu Garu on being elected India’s Vice President. My best wishes for a fruitful & motivating tenure. I am confident @MVenkaiahNaidu will serve the nation as a diligent & dedicated Vice President, committed to the goal of nation building.”He added: “My mind is filled with memories of working with @MVenkaiahNaidu Garu, in the Party & Government. Will cherish this aspect of our association.”The term of incumbent Vice-President Hamid Ansari, who held the position for two consecutive terms, will come to an end on August 10.Whereas, Opposition nominee Gopalkrishna Gandhi has secured 244 votes. 760 votes were valid while 11 were invalid.381 votes was the quota set to win the polls.Total 771 out of 785 MPs cast their votes today.However, it was revealed that 14 Members of Parliament (MPs) were not present during the voting process.Voting for Vice Presidential Election ended with a total poll percentage of 98.21%.The voting began at 10 a.m. earlier in the day.The Vice-President is selected through a secret ballot by the members of the Electoral College consisting of the members of both Houses of Parliament in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.The nominated Members of Rajya Sabha as well as of Lok Sabha are also eligible to be included in the Electoral College and, therefore, are entitled to participate in the election.Members of Parliament had to use special pens for marking their choice.Votes marked with any other pen are liable to be rejected.The ballot paper contained the names of the contesting candidates, but did not contain any election symbol.

Gopal-Krisna-Gandhi-on-Vice-Presidential-candidate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> c Governor Gopal Krisna Gandhi on Wednesday said he is ?grateful? to the 18 opposition parties which unanimously picked him as the c and added that he is a ?citizen candidate? who is worried about the future of the country. Talking to ANI, Gandhi said he doesn?t feel like talking about himself as the country suffers from a ?mini crisis? of sorts. ?I want to say that I don?t like to talk about myself. It is a time where there is mini crisis in India – crisis of terror, there is fear, there is an agrarian crisis in the country. So I really don?t feel like talking about myself. I am grateful to the members of the 18 parties who have unanimously and without any differences of opinion asked me to be the candidate for the vice-president election. I feel honoured that they are thinking of me in this context,? he said. Emphasising on having faith in the institution of democracy, Gandhi said that terrorism and agragarian crisis are emerging as major problems for the country. He further asserted that he see himself as a ?citizen candidate,? who does not belong to any political party. ?I see myself as a citizen candidate, I am an independent citizen and a very ordinary person. I am not a politician. I am a citizen candidate who is worried about the future of the country as a collective entity in this critical time, but who has faith in the institution of democracy, judiciary, and independent media,? he added. ?And I would like to say to the Parliamentarians, who form the electoral college should choose the Vice-President in a view to make the Rajya Sabha a true instrument as it was in the times passed and it has been over the years – a true instrument for voicing the views and the feeling of the states of India which is called the council of the states and that is what I see the role of the Vice-President as the chairman of the Rajya Sabha to be,? he added. The Opposition earlier named Gandhi as its candidate for the post of next Vice-President of India. The decision to name Gandhi was taken at a meeting of the joint Opposition held at New Delhi on Tuesday. Gandhi is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of Nation. He was the governor of West Bengal from 2004 to 2009.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Rahul Gandhi to hold rally in Rajasthan on July 19

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi will hold a rally and address a public gathering in Rajasthan’s Banswara district on July 19, a senior party official said today. He will address a ‘Kisan Sammelan’ in the district and take up the problems being faced by farmers and people due to the failure of the BJP governments at the Centre and state, Rajasthan Congress vice president Archana Sharma said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Vice-Presidential elections to be held on August 5

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Election Commission of India announced that the polls for the office of Vice-President will be held on August 5 and the results will b announced on the same day. Addressing a media briefing, Chief Election Commissioner of India Naseem Zaidi said the last date of nominations is July 18. ?Last date of nominations is July 18 and polls will be held on August 5. Results will also be announced on August 5,? said Zaidi. Secretary General of Rajya Sabha Shamsher Sharif has been appointed as the Returning Office for the Vice-Presidential election. ?After consultation with the Centre, EC has appointed Shamsher Sharif (Sec. General of Rajya Sabha) as returning officer for Vice-Presidential polls,? Zaidi said. The Chief Election Commissioner also said that they would ensure the election takes place in a fair and free manner. ?Article 324 of the Constitution read with the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Election Act of 1952 and the Presidential election rules 1974 rests the superintendence, direction and control of the conduct of the election to the office of the Vice-President of India in the Election Commission of India. The EC is mandated to ensure that the elections to the office of the Vice-President of India must be free and fair. The commission is taking all necessary steps to ensure that the elections are free and fair and will discharge its responsibilities,? he said. The Vice-President is elected by the members of the electoral college, consisting of members of both the houses of Parliament in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. The nominated members of the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha are also eligible to be included in the electoral college. Presently, there is heat in the political arena regarding the Presidential elections which are all set to take place on July 24. The NDA has announced former Bihar Governor Ramnath Kovind as their presidential candidate, whereas the Opposition has pitted former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar against the former.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Will make India ‘Pappu free’, says suspended Cong leader

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Congress leader from Meerut, who in a recent WhatsApp post referred to Rahul Gandhi as “Pappu”, resigned from the party on Wednesday and vowed to make India “Pappu Mukt (free)”. The party’s Meerut district president Vinay Pradhan was earlier suspended from the party for the controversial statement.Pradhan had offered an explanation to the party high command that he had mentioned “Pappu” in a context to highlight achievements of the Congress Vice-president and his straightforwardness. But he said the Congress seems being governed by sycophancy. “Any reference to the Gandhi family is deemed here as blasphemy, where there is no explanation,” he said.Pradhan belongs to a Gujjar family owing alliance to the Congress. He has been an office-bearer of the party for the past 22 years in various capacities, looking after states of Jammu and Kashmir and Gujarat. “Having given life and time to party, they should have atleast sought an explanation or issued a show-cause notice to hear my side of story or should have seen the message that I had posted on the WhatsApp group,” he said.He said the PM Modi’s dream of making India Congress Mukt (free) is being undertaken by none other but by Rahul Gandhi himself. “And going by Pappu’s track record, there is no reason to believe that party will win any election. Pappu will break his own record of losing more than 27 elections in a row,” he added.He said the Congress should realise that without grassroots-level workers, it cannot survive just on TV talks shows. Pradhan told reporters that he will go around country to make people aware about Rahul Gandhi and his misdeeds, to make India “Pappu free”.

Delhi HC to continue hearing on Kushak nallah cleaning issue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Delhi High Court will today continue the hearing on a plea seeking cleaning of Kushak drain in the national capital. The petition was filed after the Public Works Department (PWD) of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Government and other civic agencies had disregarded court orders to clean it by June. In the previous hearing, the Court had pulled up the PWD over blockage and garbage in the Kushak nallah. The High Court also asked names of the PWD officials in charge of cleaning the drains from INA to Yamuna River. The Court warned it would jail the officials for misleading the court. The court has been looking into the cleaning of drains for the past five years, but status reports given to it have been incorrect and misleading. On August 31, 2016, the High Court rapped the PWD and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) over water-logging on major roads and crippling of traffic movement in large parts of the national capital. Justice B.D. Ahmed, while hearing a matter relating to water logging of the South Extension area of South Delhi, observed, “There is no justification for clogged drains. We cannot tolerate this year after year. Even the road in front of the Vice-President’s residence was waterlogged.” The court further pointed out that the water logging due to rainfall in several areas could become breeding grounds for mosquitoes, leading to spate in diseases like dengue and chikungunya.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BJP-on-cattle-slaughter-in-Kerala @ 5/29/2017 5:07:20 AM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday sought clarification from Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Vice-president Rahul Gandhi, after their party’s youth activists butchered a calf, in public, in Kerala’s Kannur to protest against Centre’s ban on cattle slaughter. Dubbing the action as unacceptable, BJP leader Nalin Kohli said it is a smack on a communal mindset. ?This is unacceptable. Either Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi will have to make it clear and have to take action against such a kind of protest. If they don?t take action, it could be believed that the Youth Congress leaders have done this under the instruction of Sonia ji or Rahul ji. Their way of protest is totally condemnable and is a smack on a communal mindset,? Kohli told ANI. ?What kind of condemnable protest is this? Do they have no concern and consideration? People respect and worship the cow. Is this not an affront to their religious practice. And if the Youth Congress had to protest against the Muslim leaders, would they have slaughtered a pig would and distributed its meat?? he asked. Toeing similar sentiments, another BJP leader Shaina NC told ANI that it is unfortunate that the youth Congress choose to play such low life politics. Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi condemned the ‘barbaric’ incident and dubbed it as ‘thoughtless and unacceptable.’ “What happened in Kerala yesterday is thoughtless, barbaric & completely unacceptable to me & the Congress Party. I strongly condemn the incident,” Rahul said in a tweet. Kannur police yesterday registered a case against district president of Youth Congress and other Congress workers under Section 120 (A) of the Kerala Police Act, for slaughtering calf in public view. The police filed the case on the basis of a video where the president of Youth Congress, Rigil Pookkutty and other Youth Congress workers could be seen slaughtering the calf. The incident comes amid hue and cry over Centre’s new rule prohibiting sale of animals for slaughter or religious sacrifice at livestock markets and animal fairs. Students’ Federation of India (SFI) also staged a protest in Kerala against the ban by eating beef outside University College, Trivandrum.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sonia to form committee for presidential candidate: Lalu Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav on Sunday said that Congress president Sonia Gandhi will be constituting a committee which will come up with names of possible candidates for the post of President and Vice-President. Yadav said that leaders of 17 political parties gathered to take the vital decision. ?Meeting took place in a good cordial atmosphere. This is the first time we all sat after completion of three years of Modi government. We discussed on election of President, Vice President; authorized Sonia ji to form committee,? said Yadav after attending meeting with Sonia Gandhi. With President Pranab Mukherjee’s term drawing to a close, there were reports that the Rashtriya Sawayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat was being considered as one of the leading contenders for the coveted post. Shiv Sena, through its mouthpiece Saamna, also threw its weight behind Bhagwat.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Why not? asks Parameshwara on his name cropping up for KPCC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karnataka Home Minister and KPCC President G Parameshwara today questioned why his name should not figure for the post of party unit chief again, when the High Command sees in him the capability of holding two or three posts in the party and the government. “Why not? (Why my name should not crop up for consideration for KPCC President’s post). “The other day somebody was mentioning I am holding two to three posts, but the High Command sees me capable to handle those posts and hence they have given me those responsibilities,” he told reporters here. Parameshwara was replying to a query whether his name has also surfaced for the KPCC President’s post. He said all these speculations surface when a party gears up for the state Assembly polls scheduled next year. On Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge’s name doing the rounds for the KPCC President’s post, Parameshwara said he does not know whether his name had been discussed at the High Command level. “I don’t know whether all these things (including Kharge’s name) have been discussed at the National President’s or Vice-President’s level, but all these we are hearing and are reading in the media,” he said. To a query, Parameshwara denied infighting in Congress, but acknowledged differences of opinions on some issues, which prompted some leaders to desert the party. “We don’t have infighting, but there are differences of opinion on some issues. Some of them (including former Chief Minister S M Krishna) left because their opinions might not have been heard.” “It could also be for some other reasons. However, we don’t have groups within the party,” he said. Asked to react on the timing of change of guard in the KPCC, he said, “Why suspect? I don’t think there is anything wrong in appointing a new team. In fact, in all other states are doing this. It is a routine exercise any party does before state elections,” he said. He welcomed party general secretary and Karnataka-incharge K C Venugopal, who has been tasked with setting the tone for next state elections by curbing desertions, infighting and change in KPCC President’s post. Venugopal is an experienced party functionary and was minister twice in the state and at the Centre. “I am sure he will guide us and also take us together as a team,” he said. Parameshwara also assured cooperation in whatever instructions and guidance he gives to strengthen the party in the state.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Azan complaint may be valid: AIMPLB official

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) official said on Saturday that if the sound of azan disturbs someone, his complaint should be given attention.”Islam prohibits causing inconvenience to anyone. One should look into the complaint the singer had made because of the disturbance caused to him by azaan and, if it is found to be true, remedial steps should be taken,” Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari, Vice-President, AIMPLB, told DNA on the sidelines of a seminar he had come to attend in Kolkata. He also said that the singer had specified that his problem was not with the azan per se, but rather with the loudspeakers. “It can be the loudspeakers of a masjid or a temple as well. We should not unnecessarily make an issue out of the statement,” he said.Umari was in Kolkata for a discussion on the issue of triple talaq. He said that a lot of misconception is being spread about triple talaq and it is being made to look as if the entire population of Muslim women is in distress. “Cases of talaq or divorce among Muslim couples is negligible in percentage and the one-off cases are being highlighted in the media to make it look as if the practice is rampant. In reality, it is an attempt by politicians to shift focus from other important issues plaguing the Muslim community, such as unemployment, lack of education and social security,” Umari said.

PM Modi extends greetings on Gudi Padwa, Cheti Chand

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Extending his greetings to the people of Maharashtra on the special occasion of Gudi Padwa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said may the coming year bring happiness, good health and prosperity. ?People across India are celebrating the start of the new year. New year greetings to everyone. May the year bring peace, joy & prosperity,? Prime Minister Modi tweeted. In a series of tweets, the Prime Minister also wished on the occasion of Navreh and Ugadi. ?On the auspicious occasion of Navreh, my greetings to everyone celebrating. May the year ahead be characterised by positivity & good health. Ugadi greetings to all those celebrating. May the coming year fulfil all your wishes & may there be happiness all around,? he tweeted. He also extended his greetings to Manipur on the occasion of Sajibu Cheiraoba. ?Sajibu Cheiraoba wishes to my sisters & brothers in Manipur. Have a cheerful & harmonious year ahead. Cheti Chand greetings to the Sindhi community. May Lord Jhulelal bless us and the year ahead be a happy as well as memorable one,? Prime Minister Modi tweeted. The New Year festivals of Chaitra Sukladi, Ugadi, Gudi Padwa, Cheti Chand, Navreh and Sajibu Cheiraoba are being celebrated in different parts of the country today. Prime Minister Modi will observe Chaitra Navaratri fast from today for nine days. He has been following this practice for more than four decades. President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice-President Hamid Ansari have greeted the nation on the occasion. In his message, the President said these festivals mark the onset of spring and promise fresh beginnings of growth, prosperity and well-being. President Mukherjee expressed hope that these festivals will spread peace and friendship, inspiring people to rededicate themselves to the service of the country. In his message, the Vice-President said that these festivals mark the beginning of traditional New Year and reflect the composite culture and rich heritage of the country. He hoped that the festivals bring peace, harmony, prosperity and happiness in people’s lives.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

"We remain committed to fulfilling all that we have

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>promised in our manifesto,” Singh, who was flanked by party leaders Harish Chaudhry and Asha Kumari, said. Singh thanked the people of Punjab for their overwhelming support as well as Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and the party workers. Asked if Congress wins 75 seats, will it be an icing on the cake since he turns 75 today, he said, “I hope that we get 78 seats because that gives us 2/3rd majority.” To a question on whether Congress’ victory was due to his image and efforts, Singh said, “It’s a win of the Congress party. You cannot divorce me from my party.” Asked how crucial was the party’s good performance in Punjab for the Congress as a whole, Amarinder said, “I think every state is important for the Congress”.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Vice-President Ansari on two-day visit to Jakarta to attend IORA Summit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Vice-President Mohammed Hamid Ansari is embarking on a two-day visit to Indonesian capital Jakarta from today to attend the Summit of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). Connectivity, open maritime trade and rights of navigation are expected to be priority areas to be discussed during his visit. Vice-President Ansari is also expected to stress on the member countries about evolving common strategies to meet the conventional and non-conventional threats to the security of the member countries. This is the first Summit level conference hosted by Jakarta, at a time when the regional forum is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Indonesia had played a key role in elevating the IORA to become a summit level forum. During the summit Indian Ocean Rim Association will produce four documents to make Indian Ocean peaceful, stable, and prosperous region. These four documents are IORA Concord, IORA Action Plan, IORA Declaration on Preventing and Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism, and lastly the Joint Declaration of the IORA business Community to Build Partnership for a Sustainable and Equitable Economic Growth. The documents have been discussed in the senior officials meeting on yesterday and got supports from 21 IORA member states as well as seven dialogue partners. These documents will be further discussed at the ministerial level later today and they will be presented to the leaders for consensus tomorrow.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Leaders pay homage to E Ahamed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other top leaders cutting across party lines today paid homage to former Union minister and Indian Union Muslim League MP E Ahamed, who passed away early this morning. I&B Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, CPI leader D Raja, TMC leader Saugata Roy were also among those who visited the residence of the departed leader here. The Vice-President recalled his long association with Ahamed. “He was an eminent personality. He is somebody I have known for a quarter of a century and his passing away is a great loss,” said Ansari. Many leaders from Kerala like A K Antony, Vyalar Ravi and Ramesh Chennithala also paid their respects. “He was a symbol of secularism and Keralites can’t forget his contribution as the Minister of State for Railways and Minister of State for External Affairs and how he used to raise important issues related to minorities and backward classes,” said Antony. Ahamed was an MP from Kerala’s Mallapuram and his body has been taken for last rites in Kannur later today. The 78-year-old passed away in the wee hours at RML Hospital here. He suffered a cardiac arrest during the President’s address to the joint sitting of Parliament yesterday.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

President, PM pay tribute to Gandhi on his 69th death anniversary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President M. Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 69th death anniversary at Rajghat. Prime Minister Modi earlier in the day tweeted, ?Tributes to beloved Bapu on his Punya Tithi.? An inter-religious prayer will also be organised to mark the day. Later in the day, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu will inaugurate improvement works at Gandhiji Samadhi. On this day in 1948, Gandhi was assassinated at a prayer meeting.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

After quitting Congress, SM Krishna takes potshots at Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking potshots at Congress leadership a day after his exit from the party, former Karnataka Chief Minister and veteran leader S M Krishna today said it did not need “mass leaders” but only wanted “managers” as he complained of being sidelined due to his age.”With pain and anguish, I have decided to quit Congress,” he stated, adding that “self-respect” was important for him but declined to spell out the next step, saying he would have to think about it.Stating that Congress had suddenly discovered “I was past my age,” 84-year old Krishna said, “Unfortunately it is somebody else who makes up the mind. It is somebody else who decides. Hence I felt for sometime now that Congress does not need me.””Congress today depends more on managers who can manage the party. They do not want time-tested leaders or time-tested workers like me. Hence I have taken the decision, however painful it has been because today I am going away from a house in which I was familiar,” said Krishna.The former External Affairs Minister said he had seen both good and bad and tasted sweetness and bitterness in the party but he had always remained steadfast in his loyalty.”But it now seems the Congress is in a confusion whether it needs mass leaders or not. Just managing the situation seems to be good enough,” he said.Considered a charismatic leader with pockets of influence in the Vokkaliga belt in the old Mysuru region, Krishna had dashed off a letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi conveying his decision to resign from the primary membership.With his move, Krishna had stunned the party, which is facing challenges both at the central and state levels.Caught off guard, the central and state leaders tried to persuade Krishna till the last minute before his press conference to step back, but he made it plain to them that he remained firm on his decision.”I reminded the leadership that I am still in existence,” he said on a sarcastic note, adding, they said they took note of it.On his next step, he said, “This (quitting) is a decision which I have taken without consulting anyone except my wife.What my next step will be, I will have to ponder, contemplate, introspect and look around and take a decision.” Krishna also said he was not retiring from politics, adding, “The word retirement is not in my dictionary.” He said Sonia Gandhi had given him “special respect” but took veiled digs at the central leadership.On the respect shown by Rahul Gandhi, he shot back, “I will not speak about Vice-President. I will speak about the President.” leadership change was needed, Krishna said, “Being a national party, we look to the President not to Vice-President, General Secretary and some others… Given my seniority in the party, at this stage, I should look to the President, not to others.” On the future of Congress, Krishna said, “I think that is the question that will have to be answered by those who are very active in the Congress.”They will decide whether there is a future in the Congress party or not, but anyway Congress with a long history of 129, 130, 131 years… well nobody is counting. You can as well say Congress is going to be there,” he added.To a query about Congress’ credibility, he said, “I don’t know whether it is complimented by credibility. That is the big question mark.”Krishna made no secret of his unhappiness over the way he had to step down as Minister for External Affairs in 2012 just days before a major ministry revamp, saying he expected a ‘graceful’ exit.”2012 onwards. There is a way of getting rid of a political leader. The Congress should learn the art of being graceful. They could have told me that we are thinking of some drastic step. It would have been a graceful exit,” he said in reply to a query about when his “disillusionment” started.Asked if he would reconsider his decision to quit Congress if Sonia Gandhi makes a request, he said that he would not do it.”It is a question of self-respect and pride,” he said.He dismissed a question if he was an aspirant for the post of the country’s Vice-President and whether he would meet BJP leaders, saying, “Do you think I have gone crazy.” Krishna, who was Karnataka Chief Minister from 1999 to 2004, had returned to state politics after quitting as Minister for External Affairs in 2012.However, he was in a virtual hibernation for the last two years being unhappy over being sidelined both at the central and state levels.

Krishna said Congress President Sonia Gandhi had given

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>him “special respect.” Asked about the respect shown by Rahul Gandhi, he shot back, “I will not speak about Vice-President. I will speak about President.” To a question if he felt Rahul Gandhi was inefficient and a leadership change was needed, Krishna said, “being a national party, we look to the president not to Vice-President, general secretary and some others… Given my seniority in the party, at this stage, I should look to the President, not to others.” Asked if he would reconsider his decision to quit Congress if Sonia Gandhi makes a request, he said he would not do it. “It is a question of self-respect and pride.” Krishna dismissed a question if he was an aspirant for the post of country’s Vice-President and whether he would meet BJP leaders, saying, “do you think I have gone crazy.” Asked if he was not deserting the Congress at a time when it was facing severe challenges, he said, “I am not ditching the party. I am quitting the party. I have struggled for the party for 46 years.” “What will happen. What will not happen. You (media) will have to analyse it,” Krishna said, when asked would not his exit from the Congress benefit BJP, which is hoping to come back to power in the 2018 Assembly polls in the state.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Don’t use President, VP’s picture in poll posters: EC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after Congress used the picture of President Pranab Mukherjee on a poll hoarding, the Election Commission said pictures of constitutional authorities cannot be used for electoral purposes as they cannot be associated with a particular political party. The directions of the Commission came after the President’s Secretariat pointed out that the photographs of the President and Vice-President are being used by political parties, their leaders and candidates in advertisements as part of their election propaganda and urged the poll watchdog to issue “suitable instruction” in this regard.The Ludhiana unit of Congress in an election campaign meeting last week had put up hoardings in which they used photograph and name of President Mukherjee.”It is pertinent to mention here that the President is the guardian of the Constitution and completely apolitical and neutral in the democratic set up as envisaged in our Constitution. It is, therefore, necessary that the political parties and leaders exercise great caution while making any reference to the President of India in their political campaigns,” the EC said.It made it clear that photographs of President and Vice-President of India, as also the photographs of the Governor of the states, should not be associated with or used in any manner in the advertisement/propaganda/campaigning in connection with elections by political parties and candidates.”The Commission accordingly calls upon all the political parties to advise their candidates/leaders to desist from displaying photographs of President and Vice-President of India and Governors of the states in their advertisements or otherwise as part of their election propaganda/campaigning,” the poll panel said. A copy of the Commission’s directions has also been marked to the President’s Secretariat.

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