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2 crore people in flood-affected Tamil Nadu get a call from CM Jayalalithaa

The use of social media and mobile phones to relay Jayalalithaa’s messages is seen as a strong pre-poll strategy for the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections that are coming up in a few months time.

dna Web Team

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From National Herald to Bihar elections, a year in contrast for Congress in 2015

Rajasthan, where like Gujarat Congress had drawn a blank in the Lok Sabha polls, saw sizeable vote for the party in the local body polls. As the year came to a close, the party won Lohardaga Assembly seat in BJP-ruled Jharkhand.

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Bihar-like alliance for UP poll on the anvil

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Nitish and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) president Ajit Singh are reported to have already joined hands after preliminary discussions in this regard in Delhi on Monday. Sources say that the Congress would also readily be part of this alliance, though the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in UP could be kept out of this anti-BJP alignment.

Buoyed by the landslide victory of the anti-BJP ‘maha gathbandhan’ (grand alliance) in the Bihar Assembly election, Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar has already started sewing up a similar coalition in Uttar Pradesh in preparation for the 2017 UP Assembly election.Nitish and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) president Ajit Singh are reported to have already joined hands after preliminary discussions in this regard in Delhi on Monday. Sources say that the Congress would also readily be part of this alliance, though the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in UP could be kept out of this anti-BJP alignment.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Yes Nitish ji and Chaudhry sahib (Ajit Singh) have met. We have been together in the (erstwhile) Janata Dal and have no reservations about forging an alliance for UP,” JD (U) general secretary KC Tyagi told India 24×7 TV channel of Zee Media in Delhi on Wednesday while fielding questions about the prospective alliance.Sources said Tyagi had already been entrusted the task of organizing a joint rally of the RLD and JD (U) in west UP after the Parliament session ends. Nitish is expected to announce the formation of the ‘maha gathbandhan’ at this rally. “The assent of the Congress would be obtained in the meantime,” a senior RLD leader told dna.UP RLD chief Suresh Niranjan told reporters in Allahabad that his party was indeed exploring a tie-up with the JD (U) and the Congress. “We want to repeat the success of the Bihar experiment in UP, too,” he said.The RLD and Congress had contested the 2012 UP Assembly election in alliance. But, the alignment did not continue in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. However, political watchers feel that after the BJP sweeping the parliamentary poll, it would be a matter of political expediency for parties like the JD (U) and RLD to align with the Congress to put up a joint front against the saffron brigade.One queer development in this entire scheme of things is the underlying resistance to including the SP in the proposed grand alliance. The reason for this is obviously the manner in which the SP deserted the ‘maha gathbandhan’ in Bihar, allegedly to help the BJP.For its part, the SP says it doesn’t need any alliance for a repeat victory in UP. “Our party is preparing to contest the election alone and we are confident that we will return with an even bigger victory this time,” SP MP and Mulayam’s nephew Dharmendra Yadav told reporters.The Congress is also being cautious for the time being. “As of now, we are preparing to contest the UP election alone. But let Nitish ji come up with his proposal. The Congress leadership will consider it and take a decision,” said Congress Rajya Sabha MP Pramod Tiwari.

CBI raid was to check Delhi govt actions in DDCA affairs: Manish Sisodia

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Sisodia claimed that during the raid, enquiries were made by the probe agency’s officials about people who had visited Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and each and every file kept in a CMO room was looked into in the “garb” of investigating Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar

Manish Sisodia

The CBI raids in the Delhi Secretariat was “purely” aimed at scrutinising files related to alleged irregularities in Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Tuesday during the special session of the Delhi Assembly.Sisodia claimed that during the raid, enquiries were made by the probe agency’s officials about people who had visited Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and each and every file kept in a CMO room was looked into in the “garb” of investigating Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar. Incidentally, Kumar was seated in the visitors’ gallery of the Assembly during the proceedings.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When her turn to speak came, AAP MLA Alka Lamba heaped praises on him, saying, “We are proud of an officer like you.” Amid protests by Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta, Sisodia, flanked by Kejriwal, moved a resolution on the floor of the Assembly to constitute a Commission of Inquiry to probe the alleged corruption in DDCA. The Deputy Chief Minister said that internal committee of the Delhi Government, after talking to stakeholders, had prepared its report which “pointed fingers at Arun Jaitley”.The report of the government-constituted three-member committee “established Jaitley’s role” in the alleged DDCA irregularities, Sisodia said, adding, “There was massive corruption during Jaitley’s tenure and he tried to save those who committed those acts.” Following a CBI raid in Delhi Secretariat in connection with charges against Kumar, AAP has been claiming that the central agency carried out the searches to target the AAP chief and was looking for a file relating to alleged graft in DDCA.Since then, the party has been demanding resignation of Jaitley from the Union Cabinet. “The raid was purely to check what action plan was being prepared against corruption in DDCA. When we started raising the issue in the media, former cricketers raised their voice and spoke against the leaders of their own party,” Sisodia said referring to BJP MP Kirti Azad, a former cricketer.Reiterating allegations that are being made by AAP since last week’s raid, Sisodia claimed that the CBI had particularly raided the room where “files signed by the Chief Minister, and those to be signed” are kept. “I want to state this with full responsibility that there’s no office of Principal Secretary as such. It comes under the CM’s office. And there would anyway be no old files in CM’s office. It was a shameful incident,” he said.Sisodia claimed that government has the requisite power to constitute such a Commission of Inquiry to probe alleged corruption in DDCA “as sport falls in the state list”. The Kejriwal government had set up an inquiry committee to probe alleged irregularities in DDCA which had submitted its report.

Andhra Pradesh House passes Bill to set up and regulate private universities

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The Bill aims at creating world-class centres of learning with an objective to establish universities, said Minister for Human Resource Development Ganta Srinivasa Rao.

Andhra Pradesh Assembly
File Photo

Aiming to promote higher education, the Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Monday passed a Bill for establishment and regulation of private universities in the state.The Bill aims at creating world-class centres of learning with an objective to establish universities, said Minister for Human Resource Development Ganta Srinivasa Rao. He said the Government would like to see world-class universities like Stanford set up institutions in the State.”Ultimate intention is to develop Andhra Pradesh as a sustainable ‘Knowledge Hub’ which would provide high quality, research-oriented and industrial relevant education,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking on the Bill, BJP floor leader Vishnukumar Raju said the private universities should not become money- spinning institutions and Government should exercise control on them. The courses offered by them should be guided by requirements of the country and state.Sravan Kumar (TDP) said the Government should have a role in appointment of Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors of these varsities. A Satyanarayana (BJP) said the State should not acquire land for the private universities and let them do it on their own.Replying to the debate, the Minister said there will be no compromise with regard to public interest. An expert committee and a screening panel have been proposed to look into establishment and regulation of the private varsities.The House also passed the Andhra Pradesh Metropolitan Region and Urban Development Authorities Bill, Andhra Pradesh Value Added Tax (Third Amendment) Bill and Andhra Pradesh Maritime Board Bill.

YSR Congress boycotts Andhra Pradesh session over ‘call money racket’, RK Roja’s suspension

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YSR Congress boycotted the ongoing winter session of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly for reviewing the suspension of party MLA RK Roja.

Jagan Mohan Reddy

File Photo
The Opposition YSR Congress on Monday decided to boycott the ongoing winter session of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly in protest against the House not taking up the debate on the ‘call money racket’ and reviewing the suspension of party MLA RK Roja.Opposition leader YS Jagan Mohan Reddy led his party members out of the House. The five-day winter session, which began on Thursday, has been rocked by opposition protests on the ‘call money racket’ issue.MLA RK Roja was suspended for one year last week, for her alleged unparliamentary comments against Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Legislative Affairs Minister Y Rama Krishnudu said the debate on ‘call money racket’ had already concluded. He also made it clear that there is no question of reviewing the suspension of Roja.The ‘call money racket’ involves the allegations of harassment of borrowers by private lenders who provide easy loans on call at exorbitant interest rates.

Eye on 2017 polls, SP launches ‘Gaon Gaon Akhilesh’ campaign

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The works done by Chief Minister AKhilesh Yadav will be the focal point of this campaign and they would be highlighted

Akhilesh Yadav

In a bid to garner support for the 2017 Assembly polls, Samajwadi Party on Sunday kickstarted “Gaon Gaon Akhilesh” campaign to connect with the people.Over a dozen vehicles and cyclists started the campaign flagged off by party general secretary Arvind Singh Gope and spokesman Rajendra Chowdhury at a programme here at the SP office. “The campaign is an attempt to reach to the people and inform them about the welfare schemes launched by the Uttar Pradesh government. The party workers will also connect to the people and know their problems,” Gope said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We will also seek suggestions from the people for better governance and schemes that they want for themselves,” he added. Through screening of films on specially-designed vehicles, feedback of people will be taken and under the first phase of the campaign, over 600 villages will be covered, he added. The works done by Chief Minister AKhilesh Yadav will be the focal point of this campaign and they would be highlighted.

2015 review: Saradha scam fails to dent TMC’s electoral fortunes in Bengal

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TMC’s arch rival CPI-M tried hard to regain some lost ground although the Marxists admitted that they still have some “deficiencies” in terms of their strength.

Mamata Banerjee after party’s victory in civic polls

PTI
The multi-crore Saradha scam continued to haunt the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal during 2015 but it had little impact on the party’s performance in municipal and panchayat elections and also bypolls as it registered emphatic wins.TMC’s arch rival CPI-M tried hard to regain some lost ground although the Marxists admitted that they still have some “deficiencies” in terms of their strength. The year began with CBI’s action against several TMC leaders, which the party termed as “vendetta politics” by the Narendra Modi government. CBI arrested TMC leader and former transport minister Madan Mitra and also questioned former party general secretary Mukul Roy after which Roy, once a trusted lieutenant of party supremo Mamata Banerjee, distanced himself from TMC.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For BJP, which had garnered nearly 18 per cent votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the year did not bring much hope as it failed to put up a good show in successive elections to municipalities and panchayats. According to a senior state BJP leader, the notion that the central party leadership is going soft on Saradha scam and has entered into a deal with TMC in return of its support in Rajya Sabha, where BJP is in a minority, has further eroded the party’s credibility. Ahead of the Assembly polls, BJP appointed Dilip Ghosh, an old RSS hand as the new state president replacing incumbent Rahul Sinha.Left and Congress charged the Modi government with “having a deal with TMC” for its support in passing bills in the Upper House in return of CBI going slow on the Saradha scam. They argued that TMC did not raise its voice on issues such as Vyapam scam and Lalitgate when the Opposition protested against it. Allegations and counter-allegations apart, TMC cruised along to impressive victoriesThis prompted TMC Secretary General Partha Chatterjee to say, “The people of Bengal are with us. CPI(M), Congress and BJP are together in their fight. But the election results have shown that they have been rejected by the masses.” However, the year also saw certain cracks in TMC as the party’s once powerful General Secretary Mukul Roy’s wings were clipped and Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek virtually took over as number two of the party. Roy who was under CBI scanner, was stripped of the position of TMC all India general secretary as well as from the post of party’s leader in the Rajya Sabha. However, there were signs of his mending fences with the party as he met Mamata in Parliament and was invited to a dinner meeting.Political observers say that with Assembly poll only a few months away, TMC leadership’s strategy is to bring back the disgruntled partymen in its fold. The CPI-M, which slipped into a state of disarray after repeated electoral setbacks since the 2011 Assembly election in the state, has been trying to recapture some lost ground in the state which it had ruled for over three decades.In an attempt to make its presence felt, it organised some aggressive political programmes and continued rectification drive. The baton of the state party unit was passed on from septuagenarian Biman Bose to a relatively younger Surya Kanta Mishra.Notwithstanding its effort to stage a comeback, the Marxist party still have some deficiencies in terms of its strength which was admitted by former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. “It is true that we are conducting rallies, meetings in various districts. But still there are some deficiencies in terms of strength,” Bhattacharjee recently said.The Marxists have undertaken a move to infuse new blood in the organisation replacing old faces to rejuvenate the party. More than 70 per cent chiefs of the party’s various units from district to local committee level were replaced in the organisational conferences held in the past few months. The party this time has changed secretaries in nine districts including Kolkata.Caught between TMC and CPI-M, Congress leadership was in two minds whether to contest the ensuing Assembly poll alone or to forge an alliance. The state Congress leadership is clearly divided on this issue with a section wanting to go with CPI-M while another group favoured tie-up with TMC with which it had contested the 2011 elections.

Shiv Sena blasts Devendra Fadnavis for ‘backing’ Advocate General on separate Vidarbha

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AG had said on December 5 at Nagpur that the Centre should hold a referendum for separate state of Vidarbha.

Devendra Fadnavis

Coming down heavily on Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for allegedly supporting Advocate General of Maharashtra, Shrihari Aney over his controversial statement on a separate Vidarbha state, Shiv Sena on Friday said “this is because of faulty blood”.”Fadnavis and other BJP ministers have firmly supported Aney. This is not surprising. It is a case of faulty blood. What else to expect from those who don’t have the blood of ‘United Maharashtra’ flowing through their veins,” an editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamana said. “How can Fadnavis say that what Aney said is his personal opinion ? If a minister eats dung, can the CM say it is his personal view ?” the Sena said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There is united Maharashtra today because of the sacrifice of 105 martyrs. The posts of CM and Assembly Speaker exist because there is Maharashtra, it said. “Shiv Sena won’t change its stance on the (Vidarbha) issue,” it added. “People like Aney should remember that those like Prashant Bhushan who spoke of plebiscite in Kashmir were beaten up in their office,” the editorial said.Maharashtra State Assembly speaker, Haribhau Bagde, had recently rejected the Shiv Sena’s notice on privilege motion against Aney. The Sena had demanded his removal from the constitutional post for his statement on creating a separate state of Vidarbha.Aney had said on December 5 at Nagpur that the Centre should hold a referendum for separate state of Vidarbha. He had also said the 105 persons martyred in January 1960 had not given up their lives for keeping Vidarbha in Maharashtra but only to ensure that Mumbai remained in Maharashtra. PTI VT DK

UP CM Akhilesh Yadav, wife get stuck in Assembly lift for 30 minutes

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Officials in the assembly complex said the incident took place because of some technical problem and added that facts would come out only after a thorough investigation.

Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav and Dimple Yadav.
File Photo
PTI
Security personnel were thrown into a tizzy today when Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his wife Dimple Yadav were stuck in a VIP lift at the state Assembly building in Lucknow for nearly 30 minutes. The incident created panic in the building as both the Chief Minister and his MP wife failed to come out of the lift despite efforts by the CM’s security staff.Officials in the assembly complex said the incident took place because of some technical problem and added that facts would come out only after a thorough investigation.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the couple could not come out even after 20-25 minutes of struggle, gas masks were requisitioned and an ambulance was kept ready in case of any exigency as an anxious crowd of Vidhan Bhawan employees and officials gathered outside the lift. However, after nearly 30 minutes of “captivity”, they managed to come out of the lift Number One especially used by the Chief Minister or the Speaker.Security men and assembly staff heaved a sigh of relief when the duo came out safe. Akhilesh and his wife had gone to the state assembly building to participate in an event when the incident occurred.

‘Call money’ racket: 19 held in East Godavari, Rs 23 Lakh seized

Out of the Rs 23,20,500 seized from the arrested persons, Rs 18 lakh was handed over to the Income Tax department as the accused could not show any valid documents of the money in their possession, he said.

Nineteen people have been arrested in connection with the ‘call money’ racket and over Rs 23 lakh cash seized from them, police said on Friday.The 19 people were arrested from different areas of the district last evening during raids and searches conducted on unlicensed businessmen who were collecting high interest from the borrowers, Rajahmundry (Urban) Superintendent of Police S Harikrishna said.During the raids, police also seized Rs 23,20,500 cash, 447 signed blank promissory notes, 80 signed blank cheques, 60 blanked signed white papers, a General Power of Attorney and 26 other miscellaneous documents, the SP said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>’Call money’ refers to a mode of private lending where loan is made available instantly at borrower’s doorstep but at exorbitant rates of interest, and the lender can demand repayment anytime over a call.”The station housing officer and DSP of Rajahmundry Urban district limits conducted surprise raids and searches on call money businessmen and unlicensed businessmen who are collecting high interest from borrowers,” he said.A total of 18 cases have been registered against the 19 accused who were produced in a local court today which remanded them in 14-day police custody.The arrested persons include two rowdy-sheeters.Besides, two more cases of alleged harassment by ‘call money’ operators were also registered on a complaint lodged by some people and an inquiry was on in them, Harikrishna said.Out of the Rs 23,20,500 seized from the arrested persons, Rs 18 lakh was handed over to the Income Tax department as the accused could not show any valid documents of the money in their possession, he said.The SP said the victims of ‘call money’ rackets should inform police about such operators and assured them that their identity will be kept secret while police will initiate action against the culprits.Notably, the ‘call money’ racket issue rocked the Andhra Pradesh Assembly yesterday leading to its adjournment and suspension of two YSR Congress MLAs for two days even as police picked up promoters of two private finance companies in Visakhapatnam in connection with the scam.The state government has decided to order a judicial probe into the illegal private lending and alleged sexual exploitation of women borrowers in some cases.So far, over 80 call money operators have been arrested across the state, of whom 27 had links allegedly with YSR Congress, six with TDP and three with CPI, according to Information Minister Palle Raghunadha Reddy.

Congress wins Jharkhand Assembly by-election; says people have lost faith in NDA

The by-poll, held on December 14, was necessitated following disqualification of AJSU leader Kamal Kishore Bhagat after he was sentenced to jail for five years in connection with an attack on a doctor in 1993. Niru Shanti is his wife.

Congress party workers celebrate after their victory of Lohardaga Assemby by-election at Albert Ekka Chowk in Ranchi on Thursday.

PTI
The one-year-old BJP government in Jharkhand tasted its first defeat when its candidate Niru Shanti Bhagat lost to Congress aspirant Sukhdeo Bhagat by 23,228 votes in the Lohardaga Assembly by-election on Thursday. While Congress candidate Sukhdeo Bhagat, who is also the state PCC chief, polled 73,859 votes, Niru Shanti Bhagat of AJSU, an NDA constituent, bagged 50,571 votes. Former Jharkhand Minister Bandhu Tirkey of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) finished third with 16,551 votes, election commission officials said.The by-poll, held on December 14, was necessitated following disqualification of AJSU leader Kamal Kishore Bhagat after he was sentenced to jail for five years in connection with an attack on a doctor in 1993. Niru Shanti is his wife.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Secretary of Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee (JPCC) S R A Rizvi Chabban on Thursday expressed confidence that the victory of JPCC president Sukhdeo Bhagat in the Lohardaga (ST) Assembly by-election will help the party to improve its position in the state. In a statement issued, Chabban said the victory of Bhagat would help the party to improve its status in the state and also provide a right direction to the party.”The bypoll verdict has clearly indicated that the people of the state have lost faith in the one-year-old Raghubar Das-headed NDA government and want a change in the state,” he said.Taking a dig at former the Chief Minister Babulal Marandi-led Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), Chabban said the Lohardaga result was a lesson for the JVM(P), which was direction less in the state, and it should rethink about its future policies for its survival.

Arunachal Pradesh: Nabam Tuki-led govt shown ‘no confidence’, rebel Congress MLA chosen as new CM

A day after they “impeached” Speaker Nabam Rebia in a make-shift “Assembly” premises in a community hall, the opposition and rebels Congress MLAs met at a conference hall of a hotel at Itanagar today as the Assembly premises have been sealed since Wednesday.

Nabam Tuki
File Photo

In another controversial day of proceedings marked by high drama, Opposition BJP and rebel Congress MLAs got together to show “no confidence” in the Nabam Tuki-led Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh and to “choose” a rebel Congress MLA as the new “chief minister”.A day after they “impeached” Speaker Nabam Rebia in a make-shift “Assembly” premises in a community hall, the opposition and rebels Congress MLAs met at a conference hall of a hotel at Itanagar today as the Assembly premises have been sealed since yesterday. On Thursday, a “no confidence” motion by 11 BJP MLAs and two Independent members was “adopted” with Deputy Speaker T Norbu Thongdok, who is also a rebel Congressman, in the Chair.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A total 33 members of the 60-member house, including 20 dissident Congress MLAs, later “elected” another dissident Congressman Kalikho Pul as the new “chief minister” of the state. The Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and his 26 supporting MLAs boycotted the proceedings terming them as “illegal and unconstitutional”.Today’s “proceedings” were held a new venue as the make-shift premises where Speaker Nabam Rebia was ‘impeached’ last night was vandalised by miscreants and the MLAs opposing Tuki were not allowed to enter the Assembly premises by security forces. As per directive of the Speaker, the district administration has sealed the Assembly premises since yesterday.The MLAs then with “due consent” from Governor J P Rajkhowa shifted the venue to the conference hall of a in Naharlagun. The “session”, which was chaired by Deputy Speaker T Norbu Thongdok passed the motion by voice vote and signature consent by 33 members in the absence of 26 Congress MLAs including Tuki and his council of ministers.Thongdok announced Pul as the “new Leader of the House” and said that the “proceedings” would be sent to the Governor who would ask the new chief minister and his council of ministers to take the oath of office shortly.The Deputy Speaker said the “composite floor test” was introduced by the Supreme Court of India in the case of Kalyan Singh Vs Jagadambila Pal in the UP assembly, for the first time in the country where members could participate in a no-confidence motion against the government.”Since the current situation of the state is similar to that of Uttar Pradesh, the motion was brought in accordance to the apex court judgement on a special leave petition No 4498/1998,” Thongdok said.He added that only maximum six members are required to table such a motion as per laid down norms but in the current session 13 members moved it. Tabling the “motion”, Leader of the Opposition Tamiyo Taga (of BJP) alleged that since April this year the members of the Assembly have been experiencing lack of confidence in the council of ministers led by Tuki.”Because of his (Tuki’s) misgovernance and mismanagement, nepotism and corruption, members are gradually withdrawing their support from him. It is a Congress government with absolute majority of 47 members but looking at the situation we are compelled to bring this motion,” Taga said.The opposition leader further alleged that the financial position of the state deteriorated under Tuki while contractors payment, stipends, salaries were not paid.”The central fund under National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) and State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) have been grossly misused by Tuki. There has been no annual operating plan (AOP) since Tuki took the rein of the state and all development funds have been siphoned off,” he pointed out. He said, the Tuki government has been reduced to a minority and it has no right to exist for even a single day.Terming Pul as a capable leader with his vast experience, Taga supported him as the next chief minister of the state. Seconding the motion, senior BJP member Japu Deru said the Nabam Tuki government had failed in all front, while another BJP MLA Laisam Simai echoed similar resentment. Independent MLA Paknga Bage also extended his support to Pul.The Deputy Speaker called for chief minister and ministers to participate in the discussion on the motion but they were absent. After the motion was adopted, Thongdok adjourned the house sine die. Earlier, the “house” also made obituary references to former President A P J Abdul Kalam. A two-minute silence was observed in respect to the departed soul.

Mohan Bhagwat changes stand, says RSS not in favour of scrapping reservations

Bhagwat, however, stressed on the need to end the discrimination and reject traditions that were redundant.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat
Arijit Sen
dna
Making a complete U-turn from his previous statement that the quota system needed a review, RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat has said reservation should continue in the country as long as there was social discrimination and asserted that the Sangh was not in favour of scrapping it. “RSS is of the firm opinion that there is no question of scrapping the reservation system. Reservation in the country should continue as long as social discrimination prevails in the Indian society,” Bhagwat said while delivering a lecture on ‘social assimilation’ in Nagpur on Wednesday evening.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Incidentally, Bhagwat’s earlier remarks on seeking review of the reservation policy just before the Bihar Assembly polls had stirred a controversy, with many seeing it as one of the main reasons for BJP’s debacle in the state elections.On ‘social assimilation’, the RSS chief said the beginning should be from self and extended to the immediate family, extended family and the society. “This should be done by respecting the diversity in the society, but following the values and philosophy behind the spirit of Hinduism,” he said.Related Read: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat pitches for review of reservation policyElaborating the concept of ‘social harmony and integrity’, Bhagwat said, “No religion, sect, social reformer or saint supported discrimination between human beings. Equality has been the essence at the origin of every sect, which was later divided into castes and sects by us. Discrimination also was born out of behaviour of the people.”Bhagwat, however, stressed on the need to end the discrimination and reject traditions that were redundant.”In the name of tradition, this discrimination should not be allowed to continue further. The feelings of those who have suffered for thousands of years, must be understood. Some sections of the society tolerated the discrimination and injustice for a long period,” he opined.”Now, we should also learn to understand and tolerate for some years and bring about the desired change by our own behaviour. Traditions should be tested on modern scientific parameters, and those which fail the tests must be rejected,” he further said.Unfortunately, these traditions have not been tested for thousands of years and are being followed blindly, because of which the values have deteriorated, Bhagwat said.He also spoke about the thoughts of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar on social discrimination and equality and appealed to the people to study it in depth and understand his teachings.

Andhra Pradesh: Judicial Commission to probe ‘call money rackets’

‘Call money’ refers to a mode of private lending where loan is made available instantly at borrower’s doorstep but at exorbitant rates, and the lender can demand repayment anytime over a call. The pressure on the Chandrababu Naidu government to act against such private lenders, who sometimes usurp the mortgaged assets of borrowers, is increasing.

The Andhra Pradesh cabinet on Wednesday decided to appoint a judicial commission to probe the illegal private lending in the state which is in news due to the infamous ‘call money rackets’, and the alleged sexual exploitation of women borrowers in some cases.In a related development, Vijayawada Police Commissioner D Goutam Sawang today said he had cancelled his leave in view of the ongoing investigation.’Call money’ refers to a mode of private lending where loan is made available instantly at borrower’s doorstep but at exorbitant rates, and the lender can demand repayment anytime over a call. The pressure on the Chandrababu Naidu government to act against such private lenders, who sometimes usurp the mortgaged assets of borrowers, is increasing.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu told reporters after the cabinet meeting that the commission would be headed by a retired High Court judge.”We are planning to bring Money Lending Bill in the Assembly Session (which starts today). The cabinet also gave approval. There is a need to go deep into the issue of illegal money lending and related sexual harassment. So the cabinet has decided to appoint a judicial commission which will submit a report to the government,” Ramakrishnudu said.He did not specify when the commission would be appointed and the time-frame for submission of report.Information Minister Palle Raghunadha Reddy said so far 80 call money operators had been arrested in the state barring in Vijayawada. Of them, 27 had links with YSR Congress, six with TDP and three with CPI; others had no political affiliation.

Delhi govt to finalise names of Delhi Human Rights Commission chairperson and members

The CJI had on December 10 raised an alarm for Arvind Kejriwal government in the national capital by reminding that Delhi has no state human rights body for last 22 years.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal
File Photo
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Six days after Chief Justice of India T S Thakur pointed to the need of state human rights body in the capital, the AAP government has convened a meeting tomorrow to finalise the names of chairperson and members of Delhi Human Rights Commission.The CJI had on December 10 raised an alarm for Arvind Kejriwal government in the national capital by reminding that Delhi has no state human rights body for last 22 years.In the panel, three candidates – Justice Uma Nath Singh (Chief Justice of High Court of Meghalaya), Chief Justice of Jharkhand (rtd) Bhagwati Prasad and Chief Justice of J & K (rtd) B A Khan – have been proposed for the post of Chairman of Delhi Human Right Commission. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Besides, government has suggested three names of human rights activists for the member of state human rights body. These names are Raj Mangal Prasad, S C Agarwal and Indu Prakash.Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain has convened a meeting of committee comprising Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Speaker of Delhi Assembly Ram Niwas Goel, Home Minister and Opposition leader in Assembly Vijendra Gupta, tomorrow.”It is a misnomer that human rights violations are not there in cities. It happens in cities also. It is totally unacceptable that Delhi has no state human rights commission for last 22 years,” Justice Thakur had said on the occasion of Human Rights Day here on December 10.

Kerala CM Oommen Chandy suspects BJP was behind keeping him out of PM Modi’s function

Natesan is the General Secretary of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam, which organised the event in Kollam yesterday, and has floated a new party Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), which is likely to align with BJP in the next year’s Assembly elections in Kerala.

Kerala CM Oommen Chandy met with PM Modi on the latter’s Kerala visit to discuss the Mullaperiyar issue.

PTI
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that keeping him out of a function to unveil a statute of a late chief minister R Sankar by Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday was an “insult” to the state and suspected that BJP was behind it.”If you go by the elimination process, the suspicion leads you there (to the BJP),” he told ‘The Week’, according to a release issued by the news magazine.”Vellapally Natesan (SNDP leader) called me up and told me that it was difficult for him to let me attend the function as he was under tremendous pressure. I am absolutely certain that Natesan is not behind this,” Chandy said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Natesan is the General Secretary of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam, which organised the event in Kollam yesterday, and has floated a new party Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), which is likely to align with BJP in the next year’s Assembly elections in Kerala.”Although I am extremely sad, the grief isn’t personal. To keep the CM out of such a function is an insult to the state,” the chief minister said.Asked about Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement in Parliament that the chief minister’s office had sent a letter saying he was giving the function a miss, Chandy replied that in the the afternoon of December 12, his office issued a press release about him not attending the function which explained in detail that he was skipping it because those who had invited him themselves asked him not to come.”So, quite clear that I was not withdrawing on my own. Then I got a call from an officer of special duty in the PMO saying that Natesan told them I would not be attending and asked for my confirmation. After this the state protocol officer got a call from the PMO asking whether the CM would attend the function. When he said I would not be attending, the PMO insisted that the response should be given in writing. That was how the letter was sent,” Chandy said.The chief minister said the Congress in Kerala was quite sentimental about Shankar as the party never had a CM of its own after him as those who came after him were leading Congress-led alliances. So when he was asked to stay away from the event after being invited to preside over it first, it hurt him deeply, Chandy said. He said although he was sad about the whole thing, he exercised utmost restraint while the prime minister was in Kerala as he did not want the PM’s programmes to suffer in any manner. He received Modi when he arrived in Kochi and the entire Cabinet was present to see him off at Thiruvananthapuram airport.Chandy said he had handed over a letter to Modi about about his views on the controversy while seeing him off at the airport. He said although there was a possibility of an alliance between BJP and BDJS, the people of Kerala would not let the alliance flourish and that the statue unveiling controversy pointed to that.

Maharashtra government appoints Chandrakant Patil for border dispute with Karnataka

A notification in this regard was issued by the General Administration Department (GAD), which comes under the chief minister. First time a nodal minister has been appointed for the border dispute with the neighbouring state which is pending since six decades.

Chandrakant Patil is said to be well-informed about the issue

Giving a big boost to the “Belgaum movement” and its supporters, the Bharitya Janta Party (BJP) led government on Tuesday appointed Chandrakant Patil as the “nodal minister” for the border dispute with Karnataka. A notification in this regard was issued by the General Administration Department (GAD), which comes under the chief minister. First time a nodal minister has been appointed for the border dispute with the neighbouring state which is pending since six decades. PWD and Textiles minister and BJP stalwart Chandrakant Patil hails from Kolhapur which is close to Belgaum. He has also taken part in the Belgaum movement earlier and said to be well-versed with the issue. His appointment is seen as government’s renewed assertion on the disputed area and a big support to the people associated with the movement for years.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Patil couldn’t be reached for comments, PS Meena, additional chief secretary of the GAD confirmed the development. “Mr Patil will coordinate with the people of Belgaum. The nodal ministry under his guidance will try to help people of Belgaum who often approach Maharashtra government with complaints of harassment. Until now, all these people used to do approach the chief minister and GAD.” Situated near the foothills of the Sahyadri mountain range, a mineral rich Belgaum has been a bone of contention between two states. There are 865 villages spread in Belgaum, Karwar, Bidar and Gulberga districts for which Maharashtra has been staking its claim for past 60 years on linguistic grounds. In 2004, state approached the supreme court challenging the government of India’s decision of inclusion of 865 Marathi-speaking villages in Karnataka. The case is still on. People from these Marathi-speaking areas of Karnataka often complain about discrimination and harassment by the Kannada speaking civic authorities. They led several agitations in the past with some of them turning violent. Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) and some other groups are still fighting for the cause. Soon after BJP government came into power, the organisations fighting for the merger of disputed district of Belgaum with Maharashtra had intensified their stir with re-branding their movement as “Second Samyukta Maharashtra Andolan”. On the other hand, Karnataka recently erected Assembly building in Belgaum. Devendra Fadnavis had also maintained that the people of the state have deep emotional connect with residents of Marathi-speaking areas in adjoining Karnataka and their fight for a merger will continue till the goal is achieved. “The emotional strength of 12 crore Maharashtrians is with their brethren on the Karnataka border fighting to be part of this state. We will get justice,” Fadnavis was quoted as saying in an event at Mumbai in August this year. Welcoming the institution of nodal ministry, Deepak Pawar, professor of Mumbai University who is associated with the movement, said, “A politician of Patil’s stature can really do justice to the Marathi-speaking Belgaum people who often face apathy of bureaucrats.” Pawar who had dug out all legal documents in this case to understand the complexity says, “Geographical contiguity, wish of the people and linguistic majority since 1951 census, all prove that Maharashtra’s stand is right.” Box: Hearing in the case this monthThe matter in the Supreme Court is expected to come for hearing later this month, said PS Meena adding that at present, the court commissioner is recording the statements of the witnesses. “We are hopeful about the verdict soon,” said Meena insisting that the state has hired a battery of best lawyers, including Harish Salve, in the case. What is the issue The Belgaum district was part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency. After India became independent in 1947, it became a part of the Bombay State. In 1948, the Belgaum Municipality requested the Indian Constituent Assembly and the Boundary Commission to include the Belgaum Municipal District in the proposed Samyukta Maharashtra state due to large Marathi-speaking population. But, in 1956, the Belgaum district was incorporated into the newly formed Mysore state (now Karnataka) in accordance with the States Reorganisation Act of 1956. Following protests from Maharashtra, the Centre constituted a Commission headed by justice MC Mahajan in 1966 which recommended that Belgaum should be part of Karnataka. While Centre and Karnataka accepted Mahajan Commission’s recommendation, Maharashtra approached the court.

Emergency meeting to select a new UP Lokayukta inconclusive

The meeting, which began at 6 PM, continued for almost five hours to meet a Supreme Court deadline.

The Akhilesh Yadav Government was rapped by the Supreme Court on Wednesday for not having elected a Lokayukta.
File Photo
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The marathon meeting to appoint a new Lokayukta in Uttar Pradesh remained inconclusive on Tuesday as the selection committee failed to reach a consensus.The three-member selection committee comprising Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court DY Chandrachud and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Swami Prasad Maurya could not hammer out a name and will meet on Wednesday again, a senior official said. The meeting, which began at 6 PM, continued for almost five hours to meet a Supreme Court deadline.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The emergency meeting was held a day after the apex court pulled up the state government for not appointing Lokayukta in the state despite its directions and ordered compliance by December 16, saying it seemed that appointing authorities have their “own agenda”.The present ombudsman Justice N K Mehtrotra has already spent nine years in office.Pulling up the state government for not appointing Lokayukta in the state despite its directions, a bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and N V Ramana said, “Why do you not appoint the Lokayukta? Why has our order not been complied with? Why can’t the Chief Minister, the Governor and the Chief Justice (of the High Court) sort this out?””We don’t mince words. It seems, each one of you have your own agenda… you make the appointment by Wednesday,” it said, fixing the petitions on the issue for hearing on December 16.Earlier in the day, the Governor told reporters that the state will have a new ombudsman tonight as a meeting had been convened this evening to hammer out the issue. The last meeting of the selection committee held on September 27 to appointment new Lokayukta remained inconclusive with High Court Chief Justice questioning the validity of the process after a Bill was passed in the state assembly.HC Chief Justice Chandrachud was of the view that as a Bill was passed in the state assembly, deciding name of Lokayukta could amount to its contempt. He suggested to take a legal opinion for the same. The UP Assembly had passed the Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta and Up-Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2015, to amend Lokayukta Act dropping Allahabad High Court Chief Justice from the selection committee.The bill proposed that the committee be made a four-member body comprising the CM, Leader of the Opposition, Speaker and a retired judge who would be selected in consultation with the CM and Speaker. Before this, the Supreme Court had on July 23 asked the government to suggest a name for new Lokayukta by August 23 after which the government finalised the name of former justice Raveendra Singh Yadav and sent it to the Raj Bhawan for the first time on August 5.The state government and the Governor have not been on the same page on Yadav’s nomination and the file recommending his name moved back and forth nearly half a dozen times between Raj Bhawan and the state government. The amendment was passed after the Governor refused to accept the appointment on the grounds that a proper meeting of the selection committee was not held and also the Allahabad HC Chief Justice had expressed reservations in view of Singh’s proximity to the ruling Samajwadi Party.The bill is still awaiting the Governor’s assent. With no consensus over his name, Yadav had opted out of the race for the key post by sending a letter to the chief minister.

PM Narendra Modi takes a dig at Congress in Kerala

The event was marred by a controversy with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy being told to stay away after being invited at the instance of SNDP yogam chief Vellapalli Natesan who received the prime minister.
File Photo
PTI
With Parliament paralysed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday launched a blistering attack on the Congress saying its only programme is to “destroy” the country because it cannot reconcile to defeat in the Lok Sabha polls.”Disrupt, Destruct and Demolish” is now the Congress slogan brushing aside President Pranab Mukherjee’s counsel for debate, dissent and decision for Parliament to function, he said in his broadside, a fortnight after he reached out to them in a bid to sort out differences over the GST bill.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Those who have been defeated and sent home are saying now that we have been destroyed we will destroy you (ruling side) too, whatever happens to the country. We will not let Parliament run,” he said in an obvious reference to the Congress’s stalling tactics, especially in the Rajya Sabha, without naming the main opposition party.”They have made a joke of Parliament’s functioning,” he said addressing a gathering at a function organised by Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP), an outfit of the backward ezhava Community whose votes the BJP is hoping to woo in the Assembly elections in the state due early next year.The event was marred by a controversy with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy being told to stay away after being invited at the instance of SNDP yogam chief Vellapalli Natesan who received the prime minister. On the occasion, Modi unveiled a statue of former chief minister R Sankar, who hailed from the ezhava community and belonged to the Congress. Modi recalled President Mukherjee’s speech in Kolkata on Sunday where he said there are three D’s through which Parliament functions and these are debate, dissent and decision.In an apparent reference to Congress citing Mukherjee’s remarks on intolerance, he said the Congress has the habit of quoting him every now and then and “run it for 15 days” but they are not ready to take note of what he had said in Kolkata.”They have eaten the 3 Ds. They like only one D which is destruct–that is disrupt, destruct, demolish. They have only this D. They have forgotten President’s three Ds,” Modi said.”Our path is the 3 Ds shown by the President and the 4th D for us is development,” he said, amidst cheers by the assembled audience.

BJD seeks action against Congress MLA for watching ‘objectionable’ video in House

Meanwhile, the MLA denied the allegation and claimed innocence over the matter.

Picture for representational purpose

BJD MLA Pramila Mallick on Monday demanded action against a senior Congress lawmaker accusing him of watching “objectionable” video on his mobile phone during the Question Hour in the Assembly today, a charge denied by the MLA.”The Congress member allegedly watched adult video inside the House. It is a matter of shame for all of us, particularly the women members. I demand strong action against him and a probe into the matter,” Mallick, also the president of BJD’s women wing, said while drawing attention of the Speaker. Outside the Assembly, she said she came to know about the matter from a private television channel, which aired the lawmaker watching the objectionable video inside the House.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, the MLA denied the allegation and claimed innocence over the matter. “I will give a clarification in the House tomorrow,” Naba Kishore Das, the MLA from Jharsuguda, told reporters.Though Das admitted that a certain video opened on its own while he was surfing the Internet on his mobile phone, he said, “I have never seen any adult video in my life. It appeared accidentally. I immediately shut it down after I noticed it.” Congress MLA Prafulla Majhi came to the rescue of Das and said he did not find any objectionable material in the video.

Additional BSF deployed to prevent illegal activities at Indo-Bangladesh borders, govt tells Supreme Court

The ministry of home affairs also informed the court that the government has approved the projects for border fencing and installation of floodlights for proper visibility during night in the border areas.

The Centre has told the Supreme Court that in order to prevent illegal cross-border activities at the Indo-Bangladesh borders, additional BSF personnel have been deployed.The ministry of home affairs also informed the court that the government has approved the projects for border fencing and installation of floodlights for proper visibility during night in the border areas.Filing an affidavit in response to a PIL against illegal Bangladeshi immigration, the government said 29 Border outposts have been identified and adequate men power have been deployed with special surveillance equipments, vehicles and othe infrastructure in support to prevent smuggling of cattles.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, the court-appointed one-man commission had recommended a high-powered committee to inquire into various issues relating to infiltration.Senior advocate Upamanyu Hazarika, who was appointed by the court in May, had submitted the 53-page report to the court suggesting the shifting of cattle ‘haats’ 20km away from the boundary area and re-location of the villages from the border fencing area.After visiting extensively to the border area, Hazarika submitted the report.Citing the causes leading to such influx into Assam, the report said as a Bangladeshi passport holder can not only own land in Assam but also contest an Assembly election, it shows that the illegal migrant lobby has struck deep roots in the state. Therefore, the necessity, for an independent investigation and an enquiry into these nexuses and all the facts in this regard, cannot be overstated.The court, which is hearing a plea about the threat of the indigenous population of Assam being reduced to a minority by the year 2047 looming large, is to take a call on the report on November 5.

PM Modi wants to weaken the poor, alleges Rahul Gandhi at Assam rally

Virtually launching Congress’s campaign for the 2016 Assam Assembly elections, Rahul also took a dig at Modi over the defeat in the Bihar polls and asked the people to unite against the BJP.

Rahul Gandhi in Assam

In a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday accused him of only making empty poll promises and creating differences between people in a bid to win elections.Virtually launching Congress’s campaign for the 2016 Assam Assembly elections, Rahul also took a dig at Modi over the defeat in the Bihar polls and asked the people to unite against the BJP.”One year ago, Modi came to Assam and made big promises. He said whatever came to his mind, that he will bring black money back and put Rs 15 lakh in each Indian’s bank account, give employment to the crores of youths in the country.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”People laugh at his promises. Before polls, he makes one Indian fight with another Indian and then tries to win the elections. Before elections, some trouble is always created because if people are united, BJP can never win,” the Congress Vice President said. Slamming BJP, Gandhi said that the party has “only one card — pitting brother against brother”.Referring to the Bihar Assembly elections, the Congress leader said, “Modi went to Bihar and made promises about bringing development there… made empty promises. “When people of Bihar saw and heard him, they said ‘Modi you go back to Delhi. Your hollow promises, your lies we accepted once, but we are alert people, we will not be influenced by you for the second time’.”The people gave such a drubbing in the Bihar elections that Modi now does not sit in Parliament the way he used to earlier, looking upwards with his chest swollen.” Asking Congress leaders and workers in the state to gear up for the upcoming Assembly elections, he said, “It is very easy to make promises. Modi will come, will make empty promises.”Ask him in public meetings what happened to the special status, under which money was sent by UPA government to Assam and northeast region, your poll promises, where is the Rs 15 lakh you had promised to give us. He will return to Delhi.” Keeping up the tirade, he charged that “Modi wants to weaken the poor, he wants to make a government of two/three chosen industrialists, he wants to sell the country to two/three industrialists”.He said that Congress wants to make “the poor, labourers and farmers strong as we understand that it is them and the youth who make India. This is the difference between us and them At the public meeting held in the minority-dominated AIUDF bastion, Rahul also spoke about the achievements of the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government in Assam in the last 15 years. He said that “15 years back, there was violence in Assam when people were killed, mothers and sisters cried, tears flowed, there was bloodbath. “When there is violence there can be no development. When there is anger, schools cannot function. People cannot get jobs and progress cannot take place. Gogoi and Congress brought peace and brotherhood back to Assam.” He said that Congress works for “uniting Assam and joining Hindus with Muslims, connecting one Assamese with another”.”For 15 years we have done this, and Assam has forged forward and progressed,” he said, adding that a leading magazine has put Gogoi’s Assam in number one position on matters of road, bridge construction and infrastructure development. “Tarun Gogoi has linked 30 lakh women with bank accounts, put money in their pockets. This is not done through promises.Such work is done through sweat and takes years. Gogoi and Congress have done this in Assam,” said Rahul. Stating that the Congress-led UPA government had brought in MGNREGA for the poor, he said, “Farmers came to us and asked us to open bank doors for them also, as was done for big industrialists.”The poor farmers toil in the fields and then they are chased out of the banks. Congress gave food security bills, MGNREGA, land to adivasis in tribal belts, farmers’ rights in the land Bill. And then Modi came and attempts are being made to finish MGNREGA, the land acquisition Bill that we amended”, alleged Rahul. Exhorting Congress leaders and workers to unitedly contest the upcoming Assembly polls, Rahul said, “If you work for uniting the farmers of Assam and emotionally connect with the people, then what happened in Bihar is about to happen in Assam.”There is election here and Congress has to win the election. Gogoi, (Assam Congress) president Anjan Dutta and other Congress leaders are here, fight with all your might, show BJP what is the meaning of Congress party, its workers and the people of Assam.”

Ahead of Assembly polls, Dilip Ghosh appointed West Bengal BJP chief

Ghosh has been an old RSS hand and was a state BJP general secretary after joining the party some time back.

Ahead of West Bengal Assembly polls next year, BJP on Friday announced the appointment of Dilip Ghosh as its new state president, replacing Rahul Sinha, whose term had ended.Ghosh has been an old RSS hand and was a state BJP general secretary after joining the party some time back. Sinha, whose term ended in September, has been made a national secretary, a BJP statement said. His appointment puts an end to months of speculation as the party mulled whether to let Sinha continue till the polls or replace him as demanded by many West Bengal leaders, who had argued that BJP was steadily losing its support after putting up a strong show in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and needed a leadership change.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state is likely to go to polls in April next year. The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress and the CPI(M)-led Left block, besides Congress and BJP, are the main parties in the fray. BJP had fetched close to 17 per cent votes, its highest, in Lok Sabha elections in the state and the party had then hoped to consolidate its gains to emerge as a major challenger to the TMC. However, its dismal showing in subsequent local elections have made things more difficult for it, political watchers believe.

Incorrect to doubt those talking about feeling of insecurity: Arvind Kejriwal

“The sense of insecurity that a section of minorities is sensing, that is not being felt by you or me. But if they are sensing something, then we should also and it becomes our responsibility to try and sense that feeling,” said the AAP leader.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said that “ascribing motives” to people who have expressed a sense of insecurity in the country today would be incorrect and that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure justice for all.Kejriwal said that the debate over the “sense of justice” was India’s present “faultine” and referred to a sense of insecurity being felt by “a section of minorities”.”If somebody is feeling insecure, then it would be incorrect for others to attach any sort of intention to that and say that the person is lying,” Kejriwal said on Wednesday at a book launch here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The sense of insecurity that a section of minorities is sensing, that is not being felt by you or me. But if they are sensing something, then we should also and it becomes our responsibility to try and sense that feeling,” said the AAP leader.Kejriwal, who has hailed actor Aamir Khan over his remarks on intolerance, said it is the responsibility of the administration and the government to ensure security for and provide justice to the people.”When there is no justice, many other things also end,” he said.Asked whether India was drifting towards a presidential style of politics, Kejriwal, who led his party to a massive victory in the Delhi Assembly polls earlier this year, said that while such a perception develops sometimes, “in normal circumstances, elections are fought between parties”.

Botched eye surgery: MP CM Chouhan announces monthly pension of Rs 5000 to victims

Over 40 people lost vision in one of their eyes due to a botched cataract surgery conducted at a government camp in Barwani district last month.

Image courtesy: ANI Twitter handle
Madhya Pradesh government will provide a lifetime monthly pension of Rs 5,000 to those people who have lost vision in one of their eyes due to the botched cataract surgery, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan told the Legislative Assembly . Chouhan also constituted a high-level panel to probe the incident, which he termed as a “blot” on the face of state government.The announcement was made by Chouhan while replying to an adjournment motion moved by Ramniwas Rawat and other members of the Congress on the issue. Over 40 people lost vision in one of their eyes due to a botched cataract surgery conducted at a government camp in Barwani district last month. The Congress has sought resignation of Health Minister Narottam Mishra who also holds portfolio of Parliamentary Affairs.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chouhan, who turned up in the House when the Congress members had refused to listen to Mishra’s reply and boycotted the proceedings, said his government will take care to ensure that such incidents do not recur in the future.”The opposition has not shown any patience on the issue. It could have been better if our friends from the opposition would remain in this House which is a temple of democracy to listen to their charges. The incident was a blot on the face of the state and we took it as a lesson. We will ensure that such incidents will not recur in future,” he said.Chouhan said that besides getting the monthly pension of Rs 5,000 for lifetime, the affected persons will also get an assistance of Rs 2 lakh as announced earlier. He said free treatment will be provided to them to cure their affected eye and also another eye which is also affected with cataract and blurred their vision.Chouhan also announced setting up a high-level panel which will be headed by Additional Chief Secretary (Finance), to probe the incident. Other members of the panel are the Dean, Government MGM Medical College, Indore and an expert from AIIMS Bhopal.”The committee will submit its report within a month’s time and based on its recommendations, action will be taken against those responsible for the incident including the drug suppliers. Nobody will be spared,” he added.The CM said the cataract eye surgery camps will not be organised in the state until the panel submits its report and its suggestions are implemented.Before Chouhan came to the Assembly, Congress member Rawat, along with former Leader of Opposition, Ajay Singh, senior Congress MLAs, Mukesh Nayak and Bala Bachchan among others pressed for Mishra’s resignation on the issue. They alleged that a fungal-infected drug was used for conducting the surgery and that large-scale corruption had taken place in its purchase.The Congress members boycotted the proceedings of House when they found that Mishra was replying on the issue instead of Chouhan as demanded by them. When they insisted that they will listen only to the Chief Minister and inquired about his absence from the Assembly on the issue, Mishra told them that he will come.”..But as a Minister, I am also supposed to give the reply to the opposition’s baseless charges on the issue,” he said.When the Congress members failed to get any confirmed response from treasury benches on timing of the CM coming to the House, they refused to listen to Mishra’s reply and walked out of the House. Strongly opposing their conduct, Rural Development Minister, Gopal Bhargava and Transport Minister, Bhupendra Singh condemned the Congress members for their “undemocratic behaviour”.Bhargava requested Speaker Sitasharan Sharma to make a guideline that if the opposition moves an adjournment motion on any issue, they must remain present in the House to listen to the reply. However, the Speaker ruled that he cannot compel anyone to listen to the replies in such matters and it is better if the matter is leaved at their “discretion.”Later resuming his reply, Mishra asked the Congress members, especially Ajay Singh whether his father and former chief minister (late) Arjun Singh had resigned after the Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984 which claimed thousands of lives.As Chouhan arrived in the House while Mishra was replying, the latter said only the CM will now reply on the issue.

Karnataka Lokayukta resigns over alleged bribery scandal

Rao, who had resisted growing calls for stepping down following the allegation, had tendered his resignation on Monday and it was accepted by Governor Vajubhai R Vala on Tuesday, ending months of uncertainty hanging over the institution.

Karnataka Lokayukta resigns
File Photo

Facing the prospect of his removal, controversial Karnataka Lokayukta Y Bhaskar Rao has resigned over an alleged extortion racket in the anti-graft ombudsman’s office involving his son.Rao, who had resisted growing calls for stepping down following the allegation, had tendered his resignation on Monday and it was accepted by Governor Vajubhai R Vala on Tuesday, ending months of uncertainty hanging over the institution. “Hon’ble Governor of Karnataka is pleased to accept the resignation of Dr. Justice Y. Bhaskar Rao, as Lokayukta of Karnataka State with immediate effect,” a Raj Bhavan communique said on Tuesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rao is on a long leave since July last after his son Ashwin Rao was arrested by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in connection with the case. A motion moved by BJP and JDS and also supported by the ruling Congress seeking the removal of Rao is pending before the Karnataka Assembly with the Speaker Kagodu Thimappa considering it before referring the issue to the Karnataka High Court Chief Justice to take the process forward.According to the Lokayukta Act, recently amended to simplify rules for removal of the anti-graft ombudsman, on admission of the motion, the presiding officers shall refer the matter to the High Court Chief Justice for investigation into the grounds over which the removal is sought. If the charges against the Lokayukta are proved by the inquiry, it is then taken up for consideration and adoption of the motion and sent to the Governor for assent.The investigation for proof of misbehaviour or incapacity of Lokayukta has to be done as provided in the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968, by a three-member committee, comprising two judges and a jurist. The scandal surfaced after Lokayukta Superintendent of Police Sonia Narang wrote a letter to the Registrar of Karnataka Lokayukta about the complaint she received from a person who alleged that someone from the Lokayukta office demanded Rs 1 crore in bribe to avoid a raid. The SIT has arrested 11 persons, including Ashwin Rao, and registered five cases in connection with the alleged racket.In another development, a motion seeking removal of Upa Lokayukta Subhash Adi, moved by the Congress but not supported by BJP and JDS, is also before the Assembly. In their petition against Adi, the ruling party members have accused him of “misuse of office, misconduct and inefficiency”. The Opposition maintains there are no specific charges against Adi and the move against him is an attempt to shut down the Lokayukta institution itself.Former Upa Lokayukta SB Majage had earlier alleged that Adi had closed a case of misconduct against a medical officer from Hubballi, which was a being handled by him. Following that, some Congress leaders had demanded Adi’s resignation. The Congress leaders had also alleged that the medical officer was a relative of Opposition BJP leader in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar, during whose Chief Ministership Adi was appointed as the Upa Lokayukta. Procedure for removal of the Upa Lokayukta is similar to that for a Lokayukta.The Assembly Speaker has, however, said that he is not convinced with the evidence produced that alleged Adi had shown favouritism and exceeded his jurisdiction.

Mayawati rubbishes reports of BSP aligning with Congress or BJP in Uttar Pradesh

“Recently, there have been reports in the media that BSP is tying up with BJP in the coming UP assembly elections. This is a rumour being spread by Samajwadi Party,” the former UP chief minister said.

BSP on Monday made it clear that it will not have an alliance with any party and will contest all the seats in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections due in 2017. “I want to state it clearly that BSP will not have any alliance with any party. Neither with BJP nor Congress. Our party will contest all 403 seats and we will contest on our own strength,” BSP chief Mayawati told reporters outside Parliament. She also alleged that Samajwadi Party (SP) was spreading false “rumours” that her party will tie-up with BJP and claimed that it was SP which had joined hands with BJP. “Recently, there have been reports in the media that BSP is tying up with BJP in the coming UP assembly elections. This is a rumour being spread by Samajwadi Party,” the former UP chief minister said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In fact SP has already joined hands with BJP. SP broke out from the grand alliance of Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar in Bihar to help BJP in the recently held state elections. This is a well-coordinated efforts on the part of SP to spread canard,” she said.Stepping up attack on the SP, she said, “Situation in UP is not good and the state is witnessing communal tension. People of UP want change in the state and they want BSP to come to the power.” On VK Singh issue, she said, “We have already demanded resignation of Singh before the commencement of the session.But government is not going to take any action and it shows their anti-Dalit attitude.”Taking on the Congress, BSP supremo said, “Atrocities were committed against downtrodden when Congress was in power in Haryana. Congress was in power both in the state and at the centre. But dalits did not get any justice. So whenever Congress raised the Dalit issue, it is for political purpose only.”Congress MPs led by Rahul Gandhi staged a protest outside Parliament house demanding removal of Union Minister V K Singh for his “dog” remarks.

National Herald Case: BJP hails Delhi HC order; says nobody can ‘hide’ from law

In a blow to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and vice president and son Rahul Gandhi, the court earlier on Monday dismissed their pleas challenging summons issued to them in the National Herald case in which they have to appear before the trial court on Tuesday.
File Photo
AFP photo
BJP on Monday welcomed the Delhi High Court order asking Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her deputy Rahul to appear before a lower court in the National Herald case, saying they cannot “hide” from law which was “taking its own course”.”This is what happens when you buy such a huge property for a pittance. Law is taking its own course. They (Gandhis) had also gone to the court. Law is equal to the common man and Sonia Gandhi. They cannot hide from it,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told reporters.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a blow to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and vice president and son Rahul Gandhi, the court earlier on Monday dismissed their pleas challenging summons issued to them in the National Herald case in which they have to appear before the trial court on Tuesday.Hussain also condemned the Assam Assembly Speaker’s decision to suspend all BJP MLAs from the House for the entire Winter Session, alleging they were punished for raising the voice of people against rising crime and corruption.”The Tarun Gogoi government there is covering up crime and corruption. BJP MLAs were thrown out because it did not want them to raise these issues. We respect the Speaker but the Congress had been planning it for a long time,” he said.Claiming that there was no rule of law in the state, which goes to the polls early next year, and that “jungle raj” prevailed there, he said BJP will go to the people to dethrone the Congress government. He also said BJP would not have any ties with AGP for the assembly polls.Assam is among the five states that would have assembly polls next year and is seen as the only state where the saffron party is in serious contention to capture power.

Assam speaker suspends 6 BJP MLAs, 9 Congress MLAs who backed opposition

With no signs of cooling of frayed tempers, the Speaker called the Marshals, who took the BJP MLAs out of the House, and announced his decision to suspend the members for the Winter Session period.

Assam speaker Pranab Gogoi

http://assamassembly.gov.in
Six BJP MLAs and nine from Congress, who had recently declared their allegiance to the opposition party, were on Monday suspended from Assam Assembly for the 5-day Winter Session by Speaker Pranab Gogoi for disobeying his ruling and creating noisy scenes.Just before the beginning of the Question Hour on the first day of the session, the Speaker gave the ruling that all the BJP members and those from Congress supporting it, have been suspended from the House for the entire Winter Session.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP has six MLAs and nine Congress MLAs recently announced their decision to join the party. All of them were suspended. The strength of the Assembly is 126. Earlier, when the House assembled, BJP MLA Jadav Chandra Deka demanded scrapping of the Question Hour and holding of a discussion on the “deteriorating law and order situation” in the state.”The law and order situation is deteriorating day by day. Hindi-speaking people are being tortured and Jehadi activities are on rise. Allow us to discuss the issues by today itself,” Deka said.When the Speaker did not accept his demand, all BJP MLAs stood up and shouted in support of their demand. Immediately, all Congress MLAs, including the ministers, countered the opposition demand by shouting back.The BJP MLAs then rushed to the Well of the House and pressed the Speaker with their demand. They were joined by the Congress MLAs, who had recently declared their allegiance to the opposition party but had not resigned from the ruling party. Thereafter, Congress MLAs also rushed to the Well and shouted slogans against BJP, leading to a face-off between the members. With no signs of cooling of frayed tempers, the Speaker called the Marshals, who took the BJP MLAs out of the House, and announced his decision to suspend the members for the Winter Session period. Congress MLAs then returned to their seats and normal business began.Outside the House, the expelled BJP members shouted slogans against the state government and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who holds the Home portfolio. The opposition members also demanded immediate resignation of the Chief Minister for failing to improve the law and order situation in the state.However, the Congress MLAs, supporting BJP, have not formally resigned forcing the ruling party to seek termination of their membership just before the start of the Winter Session. On Monday, after the Question Hour ended, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rockybul Hussain again demanded action against the nine Congress members.”Some of our MLAs walked out with BJP members and they have not resigned from the party. It proves that they have defected. There are many recommendations against defection in India. I request you to take action against them accordingly,” Hussain told the Speaker. On this, the Speaker said, “I will take action as per rules.”

Veteran CPI leader AB Bardhan suffers paralytic stroke, rushed to hospital

Bardhan moved to Delhi politics in the 1990s and became the deputy general secretary of the CPI.

CPI leader AB Bardhan

Veteran communist leader AB Bardhan was hospitalised in New Delhi on Monday morning after he suffered a paralytic stroke.92-year old Bardhan, who lives in the CPI Headquarters in Delhi, felt uneasy around 0800 hours and then lost consciousness. He was immediately rushed to the G B Pant Hospital in central Delhi, CPI leader Atul Kumar Anjaan said.He described Bardhan’s condition as “critical” and said the former General Secretary of the Communist Party of India was admitted in the emergency wing and being taken care of by senior doctors. Bardhan’s wife, a professor in Nagpur University, died in 1986. The couple has a son and a daughter.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ardhendu Bhushan Bardhan was a leading figure of the trade union movement and Left politics in Maharashtra and had won as an independent candidate in the Maharashtra Assembly in 1957. He later rose to become the General Secretary and then the President of the All India Trade Union Congress, the oldest trade union in India.Bardhan moved to Delhi politics in the 1990s and became the deputy general secretary of the CPI. He succeeded Indrajit Gupta as the General Secretary of the party in 1996.

Cancel Manohar Parrikar’s birthday bash, donate to Chennai flood: Congress to BJP

“Parrikar should ask his party to spend it (money) for Tamil Nadu flood victims and on the welfare of thousands of people who have lost their jobs with mining gone in Goa,” the Congress leader said.

The Congress on Sunday appealed to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to cancel his “lavish” birthday bash being organised by the BJP on December 13 and instead use the money to help victims of Chennai floods.However, the BJP has defended the move, saying the bash is in fact the “much-delayed” public felicitation of the former chief minister after he was elevated as Defence Minister. “The Goa chief minister and members of his cabinet are mobilising money and manpower to celebrate the Defence Minister’s 60th birthday. Government machinery is being used to collect donations for the birthday bash. This is precious waste of resources which are meant for public good,” claimed AICC secretary Girish Chodankar. He alleged the birthday celebrations are going to be a “vulgar” show of wealth and power.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Parrikar should ask his party to spend it (money) for Tamil Nadu flood victims and on the welfare of thousands of people who have lost their jobs with mining gone in Goa,” the Congress leader said. He alleged that the BJP-led coalition government in Goa was using the state machinery to collect Rs 10-15 crore which would be spent on the bash scheduled to be held at Gymkhana ground here on next Sunday. “How can a Defence minister celebrate his birthday in such a lavish style when agencies of his ministry are engaged in relief and rescue work in Chennai, where the situation continues to be grim and people are losing hope.”People in Goa dependent on mining are facing immense hardship because mining work has not yet started. The tourism industry is also facing a slump. Is there a reason to celebrate lavishly,” Chodankar questioned.He said the BJP should deposit the money into the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund so that “it can be used judiciously towards providing relief to citizens of Chennai”. Meanwhile, State unit BJP president Vinay Tendulkar has justified the move to felicitate Parrikar who had been elected to the Legislative Assembly on five consecutive terms from Panaji Assembly constituency.

AAP planning to contest Gujarat 2017 Assembly polls?

As a part of the exercise, AAP national leaders, including Sanjay Singh, Ashotosh and Delhi MLA Gulab Singh, on Sunday held a meeting with party workers here to chalk out a road-map on party’s future plans in Gujarat.

Ashutosh

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday said it has decided to strengthen its Gujarat unit ahead of the 2017 State Assembly polls.As a part of the exercise, AAP national leaders, including Sanjay Singh, Ashotosh and Delhi MLA Gulab Singh, on Sunday held a meeting with party workers here to chalk out a road-map on party’s future plans in Gujarat.Sanjay Singh told reporters that Congress was not a “natural alternative” to BJP in the recently concluded civic body polls and that voters chose the key opposition at the Centre out of compulsion.”Voters chose Congress out of compulsion as they did not had any other alternative in the elections. Otherwise, Congress was not their natural choice. That is why, AAP wants to give voters a better alternative ahead of state Assembly polls in 2017,” Singh said. Making an impressive comeback in the state, Congress in the recently held local body polls, won 124 taluka panchayat seats out of total 230, while the BJP had to settle with just 60. Forty-six taluka bodies had hung verdict.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Similarly, Congress captured 21 out of total 31 district panchayats, while BJP won just six. Singh termed this poll results as a “warning sign” for BJP and shared details about AAP’s future plans. “Our aim is to provide a better political alternative to not just Congress, but also to BJP ahead of the Assembly polls. We are now focusing on building our booth-level organisation in the state,” he said.AAP leader Ashutosh said the exercise to appoint in-charge of different zones and districts have already been started in the state. “Though our state-unit was dormant till now, we have now taken up the task to appoint various office bearers here. We are also working at building ground level presence. Our aim is to appoint 10 youths per booth across the state” Ashutosh said.Currently, no leader is holding the post of party state chief, which Ashutosh said, it does not believe in projecting only one person as leader. “The leader for Gujarat will eventually emerge from cadres. We don’t believe in politics based on only ‘one face’.We have finalised a list of in-charge for 26 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Thus, a strong leadership will emerge in the near future, just wait and watch,” the AAP spokesperson said. Beside strengthening booth-level outfits, AAP will engage in state-wide agitation against the present BJP-led government, Delhi MLA and Gujarat AAP unit in-charge, Gulab Singh, said.”We are working at two different levels. Apart from strengthening organisation, AAP workers will also engage in agitations against BJP government, which has failed on all the fronts. We are planning to take out 50 rallies across the state within next six months,” Singh said.According to Kanu Kalsariya, former BJP MLA who joined AAP last year, people from both urban and rural areas are agitated against BJP for not fulfilling their promises. “In villages, farmers are forced to commit suicide as they are not given proper Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their agricultural produces. In urban areas, people are suffering from rampant corruption and price rise of essential commodities,” he alleged.

Janlokpal Bill passed in Delhi Assembly

Delhi government yesterday had approved two amendments in the appointment and removal clauses in the draft Janlokpal legislation as suggested by veteran social activist Anna Hazare during his recent meeting with AAP leaders.

The Jan Lokpal Bill has been passed in Delhi Assembly on Friday.Delhi government yesterday had approved two amendments in the appointment and removal clauses in the draft Janlokpal legislation as suggested by veteran social activist Anna Hazare during his recent meeting with AAP leaders.The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday, said senior officials in Delhi government. As per the changes, there will be a provision for one more High Court judge and one eminent person in the selection panel while the impeachment process for removal will begin only after a higher court monitored probe of any allegation against the Lokpal, a senior government official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>These were among the points over which former AAP leader Prashant Bhushan has targeted Kejriwal saying he had “diluted” key provisions of the original draft, a product of the 2011 anti-graft movement. But the government had dismissed the criticism earlier saying that Supreme Court had argued against inclusion of eminent persons in such positions during deliberations over NJAC and had argued that impeachment was the best possible removal clause.As per the draft Bill, the Chairperson or any member of the Janlokpal can be removed on the ground of proven misconduct or incapacity only by the Lt Governor on the recommendation of the Assembly by a minimum two-third majority of the total membership.It has provided for a four-member Selection Committee comprising the Chief Minister, Speaker, Leader of the Opposition and one Delhi High Court judge. The Bill that has already been tabled is scheduled to be debated upon in the assembly tomorrow. With agency inputs

AAP levels charges of corruption against Delhi Police Commissioner Bassi, top cop hits back

However, Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta defended the police commissioner stating that the allegations were “politically motivated”.

BS Bassi
File Photo

The ruling AAP and Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi on Friday sparred over an alleged act of corruption on the part of the latter prompting the visibly furious top cop to retort saying he will take the “cheats” to the “graveyard”.AAP’s Greater Kailash MLA raised the issue, pertaining to an allotment of a flat in a cooperative group housing society, in the Assembly demanding a CBI probe against Bassi. Bhardawaj alleged that Bassi got a flat in the society by allegedly flouting rules in collusion with the officers in registrar of cooperative societies in 1979.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said he has sought details from registrar of cooperative societies. “I had called for related files. I was told some files have gone missing,” he said. Bassi, however, asserted that the property in question is “purely legitimate and was lawfully acquired”. The AAP government has indulged in a “vicious propaganda”, he said. “I will have to get information and reply will be given.CP Delhi cannot work by hiding. CP Delhi works standing on the streets. I have never cheated and shall never get scared of such allegations. Will take such cheats to the graveyard of the cheats,” Bassi told reporters. He said that any perception that the police would stop acting as per law following such attempts of “suppression” was wrong. “Time and again they resorted to such propaganda.” AAP legislators also demanded action against Bassi for the ‘graveyard’ remarks.However, Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta defended the police commissioner stating that the allegations were “politically motivated”.

Congress takes on Arvind Kejriwal, dubs salary hike ‘anti-democratic’

“Kejriwal has acted against the promises he made to the people, this is also one typical example of it. I don’t think this would be appreciated by the people at all,” he added.

The Congress party on Friday took a strong exception to the approval of 400 percent pay hike for the Delhi MLAs, saying AAP supremo and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has acted against the promises made to the people.Congress leader PC Chacko said that the people, who criticised the salary hike very badly in the past, were now repeating the very same thing.”Kejriwal has acted against the promises he made to the people, this is also one typical example of it. I don’t think this would be appreciated by the people at all,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Another Congress leader PL Punia also criticised the decision, saying it was totally uncalled for.”The salary hike of 400 percent for the legislators of Delhi was totally uncalled for. I feel since most of the MLAs are from the AAP so the hike and allowances would be mostly beneficial to them,” Punia told ANI.Congress leader J. P Agarwal on his part dubbed the move as ‘anti-democratic’ said those who were meant to serve the people are now acting like rulers.”They had their own people in the committee. They should have consulted the people over the issue,” he said.”Their action is totally anti-democratic and the Ministry of Home Affairs should not give its approval to the proposal and the LG should also intervene as it is totally wastage of money,” he added.The Delhi Assembly had yesterday approved a 400 percent pay hike for MLAs and ministers, by passing the Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Government of NCT of Delhi (Salaries, Allowances, Pension) Amendment Bill 2015.The House accepted the recommendations made by an independent committee of three experts.

Gujarat civic polls: Results indicate people do not stand behind PM Modi completely, says Shiv Sena

Sena said the results indicate that the people of Gujarat do not stand behind the Prime Minister completely and that the BJP needs to evaluate why “alarm bells” have started ringing on Narendra Modi’s home pitch.

Narendra Modi

PTI
Describing the results of Gujarat local body polls as a “win for Congress despite losing”, NDA ally Shiv Sena on Friday said it indicates that people of Gujarat do not stand behind the Prime Minister completely and the BJP needs to evaluate why “alarm bells” have started ringing on Narendra Modi’s home pitch.The Sena also said that it needs to be studied why the BJP lost in rural areas if the state is claimed to be ‘number one’ in terms of development.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sena said the results indicate that the people of Gujarat do not stand behind the Prime Minister completely and that the BJP needs to evaluate why “alarm bells” have started ringing on Narendra Modi’s home pitch.Out of power for 20 years, the Congress made a stunning comeback in the rural areas of Gujarat where it won 21 of the 31 district panchayats and around 110 of the 230 taluka panchayats, while the BJP retained its hold over urban pockets clinching all six municipal corporations and 40 of 56 municipalities.After its battering in Bihar, the loss in rural local bodies in Gujarat comes more than a year after Narendra Modi, who ruled the state for 12 years, shifted to Delhi.”The results of the civic body polls only indicate that the people of Gujarat do not stand behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi completely. Though the BJP has won all six municipal corporations, one cannot say that the Congress got defeated,” an editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said.”The municipal corporations will be ruled by the BJP and the Zilla Parishads by the Congress. In short, the Congress has won the election despite losing it. The BJP now needs to evaluate why alarm bells have started ringing on Narendra Modi’s home pitch,” it said.The ruling alliance partner also said that the Congress getting a new lease of life in the Bihar Assembly elections is fine, but the party doing well in Modi’s home state is a matter of grave concern.”A study needs to be conducted on why people went against the BJP in rural areas if the picture of Gujarat being portrayed as the number one state in terms of development was true,” it said.”In a democracy, the electorate is supreme which has shown its place to the biggest of politicians. The PM had given a call of a Congress-free India, but after Bihar, the Congress has now risen in Gujarat as well,” the Sena said, adding “the results have given an opportunity for Congress to rejoice.”

Janlokpal Bill: AAP government amends draft, includes points suggested by Anna Hazare

The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday, said senior officials in Delhi government

Anna Hazare

Delhi government on Thursday approved two amendments in the appointment and removal clauses in the draft Janlokpal legislation as suggested by veteran social activist Anna Hazare during his recent meeting with AAP leaders.The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday, said senior officials in Delhi government. As per the changes, there will be a provision for one more High Court judge and one eminent person in the selection panel while the impeachment process for removal will begin only after a higher court monitored probe of any allegation against the Lokpal, a senior government official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>These were among the points over which former AAP leader Prashant Bhushan has targeted Kejriwal saying he had “diluted” key provisions of the original draft, a product of the 2011 anti-graft movement. But the government had dismissed the criticism earlier saying that Supreme Court had argued against inclusion of eminent persons in such positions during deliberations over NJAC and had argued that impeachment was the best possible removal clause.As per the draft Bill, the Chairperson or any member of the Janlokpal can be removed on the ground of proven misconduct or incapacity only by the Lt Governor on the recommendation of the Assembly by a minimum two-third majority of the total membership.It has provided for a four-member Selection Committee comprising the Chief Minister, Speaker, Leader of the Opposition and one Delhi High Court judge. The Bill that has already been tabled is scheduled to be debated upon in the assembly tomorrow.

Delhi Assembly passes bill to effect 400% hike in MLA salary

The Delhi government will now send the bill to the Centre and if it is approved, then basic salaries of legislators will rise from current Rs 12,000 to Rs 50,000 and their overall monthly package will be around Rs 2.1 lakh as against existing Rs 88,000.

The basic monthly salary of Delhi MLAs and ministers is all set to go up by a whopping 400 per cent besides significant hike in a slew of allowances with the assembly on Thursday approving a bill to effect the increase considering rising cost of living.The Delhi government will now send the bill to the Centre and if it is approved, then basic salaries of legislators will rise from current Rs 12,000 to Rs 50,000 and their overall monthly package will be around Rs 2.1 lakh as against existing Rs 88,000. As per provisions of the bill, the basic salary of a minister will be Rs 80,000 which is currently Rs 20,000. If the Centre approves the Bill, then salaries of Delhi legislators will among the highest in the country.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Overall the hike proposed is two-and-a-half fold. “The bill proposes to increase the salaries, allowances and other facilities of the Members of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi so as to facilitate them to work effectively in their fields,” Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, presenting the bill in the assembly. The Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Government of NCT of Delhi (Salaries, Allowances, Pension) Amendment Bill 2015 was drafted based on a report of a three-member committee chaired by former Secretary General of Lok Sabha PDT Achary.”We have accepted all the recommendations of the panel,” Sisodia said. In July, a group of AAP legislators had demanded a significant hike in salary, arguing their earnings were not enough to run their family and offices.Apart from basic salary, the bill proposes hiking constituency allowance from current Rs 18,000 to Rs 50,000, saying the current amount was “grossly” inadequate.The bill also provides for a reimbursable sum of Rs 70,000 per month was also recommended as allowance under ‘Secretarial, Research and Office Assistance’ head which is Rs 30,000 at present.An ‘office rental and related utilities’ allowance of Rs 25,000 has been proposed for meeting expenditure on office space and other essential amenities provided by government agencies.As per the bill, the legislators will be entitled to a communication allowance of Rs 10,000 per month as well as Rs 30,000 as monthly conveyance allowance for each MLA.The ‘daily’ allowance of each MLA during every sitting of the House or its committees has been proposed to be hiked from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000. The salaries of Leader of Opposition, Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Chief Whip will be on par with the ministers. The one-time allowances of MLAs have also been recommended to be increased significantly with one time ‘office furnishing’ allowance of Rs 1 lakh, Rs 60,000 for purchasing office equipment and a vehicle loan of Rs 12 lakh, which is Rs 4 lakh at present.Lawmakers’ salaries were last increased by 100 per cent in September 2011 by the then Sheila Dikshit government, citing inflation and the rise in the cost of living.The Bill also provides for a hike in monthly pension from the existing Rs 7,500 to Rs 15,000 per month for first term of membership and an additional pension of Rs 1,000 per month for every successive year of membership beyond the first term, Achary said.The family pension has been recommended at 50 per cent of the pension being paid to a deceased member or an ex-member, he said. The bill also features a maximum reimbursable travel allowance of Rs 3 lakh per annum for each MLA and his dependents by air, rail, road or steamer. In an important recommendation, the bill also provides for a 10 per cent hike in the basic salary, Rs 5,000 per month, after every 12 months, from the date on which new salary and allowances come into force.The three-member committee of experts had finalised its 21-page “unanimous report” in October. The committee, including non-official members KV Prasad and Balraj Malik, went through pay and allowances structures of many state assemblies as well as those of the US Congress, UK, Australia and many other Commonwealth nations.The Delhi Cabinet on November 28 had approved the hike in salaries and allowances of the MLAs. Both BJP, which has three legislators and Congress with no representative in the House, had opposed the hike.

Delhi Assembly: BJP moves ten amendments to Janlokapal Bill

Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta’s recommendations for amendment to the Bill involve its important provisions related to appointment of Janlokpal, qualification of a member, removal of chairperson or members, constitution of special courts and transfer or suspension of public servant.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta on Wednesday moved ten amendments to the Janlokapal Bill, 2015, which was tabled by the AAP government in the House on November 30. Gupta said he will also meet Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to tell him about the need for “adopting” these amendments.”I will meet the Chief Minister to impress upon him the need for adopting these amendments in order to make the Janlokpal Bill compliant to the Constitution of India and an effective instrument against fighting the corruption,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>His recommendations for amendment to the Bill involve its important provisions related to appointment of Janlokpal, qualification of a member, removal of chairperson or members, constitution of special courts and transfer or suspension of public servant.Gupta’s amendment on appointment of Janlokpal calls for sending recommendation of the Janlokpal Selection Committee to the President through the Lt Governor who will take a final decision regarding the appointment.”Section – 3 ( c ) of the Janlokpal Bill on appointment of Janlokpal clearly makes Lt Governor a mere puppet,” he said.With regard to transfer or suspension of “public servants” by proposed Janlokpal, he has moved amendment that the word “public servant” will include only such Central Government Employees who are on deputation to Delhi Government. He has also moved amendment concerning provision of Special Courts as per Section 18 of the Bill, adding it is against Article 239 AA 3(a) of the Constitution of India.”The Government, may request the Chief Justice of the High Court of Delhi, to designate any court of competent jurisdiction as special court, for any proceedings initiated under this Act,” he said.Other amendments moved by the Leader of Opposition in the Janlokpal Bill pertain to role of the Lt Governor, Presidential assent for appointing Janlokpal and suspension of chairperson or members.

Kerala govt asks Centre, Election Commission to enable online voting for non-residents

State Minister for Non-Resident Keralites Affairs KC Joseph said the state government was ready to extend all support for enabling online voting facility to expatriates from Kerala working in different countries.

Representational Image

Kerala government on Tuesday wanted the Centre and Election Commission of India to take necessary steps to enable Non-resident Keralities to exercise their votes ‘online’ during the Assembly polls next year.Replying to a calling attention on the issue in the House, State Minister for Non-Resident Keralites Affairs KC Joseph said the state government was ready to extend all support for enabling online voting facility to expatriates from Kerala working in different countries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said it was impractical for every diaspora to be present on the voting day in the state for voting and so, “state is for extending a facility to NRKs to exercise their franchise from the country of their employment itself.” The state would take up this matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Election Commission of India, he said, adding, the state wanted online facility at least for elections to the state Assembly.Stressing the important role played by NRKs for the economic and social development of the state, Joseph said as per the latest estimate, total NRK remittance to the state would come to the tune of more than Rs 1.9 lakh crore.PA Ubaidulla (IUML), who took up the matter, said as NRKs played a vital role in the state’s development, they should be given an opportunity to decide on its political future.

Delhi govt’s proposed Janlokpal will have powers to confiscate and attach properties

The AAP government said that a person who files false complaint will be punished with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both.

Deputy CM Manish Sishodia and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi Assembly on Monday.

PTI
Giving a strong message to bureaucrats, Delhi government has made a provision in the proposed Janlokpal Bill under which the ombudsman will have powers to confiscate and attach properties of officials involved in corrupt acts. Janlokpal will have powers of a civil court for discharge of its functions. Ombudsman may attach, confiscate assets gained by a public servant through the acts of corruption.The AAP government said that a person who files false complaint will be punished with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to Bill, the Janlokpal can also constitute a prosecution wing and appoint a Director of Prosecution and such other officers and employees to assist the Director of Prosecution for the purpose of prosecution of public servants in relation to any complaint made under this Act.”The Janlokpal will have powers to confiscate and attach properties of officials involved in corrupt acts. It can sentence someone to life imprisonment,” Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said while tabling the Bill in the House.After the approval of the Janlokpal, the Director of prosecution shall file a case before the special court and take all necessary steps in respect of the prosecution of the public servants in relation to any offence punishable under this act.”Janlokpal will also have powers to the appropriate government or authority for the transfer or suspension of any public servant, named in corruption cases, from the post held by him,” said a senior government official.The official also said that the Bill also proposes higher punishment for a public servant holding higher rank thereby becoming an exemplary ensuring accountability and responsibility.”In case of wilful or malicious false complaints there is provisions of imprisonment or fine or both, Janlokpal will file a case in court for false complaint and court has to uphold it as false case for punishment. False complaints will also be decided by the judiciary,” the Bill stated.

Ex J&K CM Omar Abdullah slams Narendra Modi over ‘growing intolerance’

People are concerned over the growing sense of communal polarisation and intolerance in the country. Incidents like those witnessed in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri and Udhampur here are blots on the social fabric of our country and will continue to haunt the nation’s collective conscience for years to come,” the NC leader said during a rally. He addressed two public meetings at Khari and Banihal areas of Ramban district.

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Growing “intolerance” in the country and the incidents in Udhampur and Dadri are blots on the social fabric of the country and will continue to hauntthe nation’s collective conscience for years to come, former chief minister Omar Abdullah said. Slamming the state government, the National Conference’s working president said several core issues have been sidelined by PDP post its alliance with BJP and this might lead to feeling of further alienation among people in the state.”People are concerned over the growing sense of communal polarisation and intolerance in the country. Incidents like those witnessed in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri and Udhampur here are blots on the social fabric of our country and will continue to haunt the nation’s collective conscience for years to come,” the NC leader said during a rally. He addressed two public meetings at Khari and Banihal areas of Ramban district.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Referring to the death of a truck conductor in a petrol bomb attack last month, he said that the murderous attack on the trucker in Udhampur by a frenzied, communal mob highlights the gravity of the situation the state is confronted with. Criticising the state government, Omar alleged that the PDP-BJP coalition’s policy of putting core political issues on the back burner did not auger well for the prospects of peace and stability within J&K as well as the South Asian region.He claimed that the spate in incidents of intolerance and communal confrontation in the country has created a sense of despondency and restlessness that could have far-reaching, adverse implications for the next generation.”PDP has acted as a ‘political courier’ that carried the alien ideology of intolerance and communal polarisation into J and K at the behest of those who have always harboured a dream to fragment and polarise the state,” he said. “Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed a prolonged period of political unrest and turmoil. A state like ours cannot be starved of political engagement and initiatives to bring the disgruntled and disillusioned elements into the fold of our democratic processes and systems,” he said.Omar said the “continued failure” of PDP-BJP to articulate the need for political engagement with internal and external stakeholders is a threat to the fragile peace in J&K that has been earned after years of political persistence. “A lot of core political issues have been sidelined by the PDP post its alliance with the BJP and this risks further alienation and isolation in the state,” he claimed. Referring to the Rs 80,000 crore package recently announced for the state by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Omar said just numerics would not benefit people on the ground. “Packages alone would not help Jammu and Kashmir to emerge from the shadows of political uncertainty and unrest. It is very important that the political dimensions of the Kashmir issue are also addressed.”Economic packages need to be supplemented with political initiatives and measures. I spoke about this in the presence of a visiting Prime Minister and also articulated this in the Legislative Assembly,” he said.Targetting PDP, Omar said that during 2014 Parliamentary and Assembly elections in the state, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and Mehbooba Mufti campaigned against BJP and sought votes to stop its political march into the state.”But as soon as the election results were out, PDP leaders rushed to Nagpur and New Delhi to embrace top BJP and RSS leaders. Since the very incorporation of PDP, National Conference had highlighted their inherent political nexus with the BJP. Today, their political affiliation with the BJP and RSS is out in the open,” he alleged.Omar further claimed that his party had offered to provide unconditional outside support to PDP during the process of government formation but Sayeed had refused saying his party was looking for massive funding to the state which it will receive by aligning with BJP.He said that the Chief Minister’s office had been “trivialised” under Sayeed ,and that the existing atmosphere of “helplessness and political ineffectiveness” in the state could create an aversion towards a democratic system.Omar lashed out at the government over “developmental inertia” in the state especially the far-flung areas and for neglecting the aspirations of the state’s unemployed youth. “The perpetual delays in releasing timely wages to different categories of workers besides failure to provide financial assistance to categorized segments of the population has resulted in unimaginable miseries and an overall atmosphere of vulnerability and penury,” he said. “The promise of round-the-clock electricity has turned out to be another big, cruel joke,” he added.

Watch: BJP MLA Vijender Gupta carried out of Delhi Assembly by marshals

The BJP MLA resisted attempts by the marshals to remove him and tried to hold on the bench but the staff jostled with him and evicted him from the House.

Vijender Gupta

Image Courtesy: Twitter
Amid high drama, BJP MLA Vijender Gupta, who is leader of opposition in Delhi Assembly, was on Monday marshalled out of the House which saw continued uproar over his party legislator O P Sharma’s alleged derogatory remarks against ruling AAP MLA Alka Lamba.Speaker Ram Niwas Goel initially asked Gupta to leave the House till 4 PM after he entered into a war of words with AAP’s women MLAs over the week-old issue. When he refused to budge, marshals were called in who took Gupta out forcibly. The BJP MLA resisted attempts by the marshals to remove him and tried to hold on the bench but the staff jostled with him and evicted him from the House.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The incident occurred on a day Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was scheduled to introduce the Delhi Janlokpal Bill 2015 in the House. Before his eviction, Gupta accused the Speaker of being partial towards AAP alleging that the three BJP legislators were abused and assaulted by AAP members. “But no action has been taken against them,” he claimed.He said Goel’s action was unwarranted as the House had important business lined up for the day, including the tabling of the Janlokpal Bill. BJP member Jagdish Pradhan also walked out of the House following Gupta’s eviction.BJP MLA O P Sharma has already been suspended by the Speaker for the rest of the session over his remarks against Lamba. Rebel AAP MLA Pankaj Pushkar will also be unable to take part in the proceedings of the day as he was suspended till November 30.Earlier, the woman MLAs of AAP charged that Sharma had used derogatory remarks against Lamba again during a protest at the Nihal Vihar area on Monday. They demanded his permanent expulsion from the house and police action against him. Watch it here:

Bar bribery scam: LDF holds protest in Kerala Assembly

Kerala Bar Hotels’ Association working president Biju Ramesh has alleged that Babu took a bribe to reduce the bar licence fee.

LDF protests in Kerala Assembly

ANI
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) staged a protest in the Kerala Assembly on Monday demanding the resignation of Excise Minister K. Babu for his alleged involvement in the bar bribery scam.There was a proposal to hike the bar license fee to Rs. 25 lakh but the fee was fixed at Rs. 23 lakh in a meeting chaired by Babu. Kerala Bar Hotels’ Association working president Biju Ramesh has alleged that Babu took a bribe to reduce the bar licence fee.

Here’s why people’s President APJ Kalam wanted to quit during UPA rule

When the Apex court quashed the proclamation, Kalam was penitent saying he should have rejected the Cabinet’s decision and thought of resigning from his post

APJ Abdul Kalam

APJ Abdul Kalam had thought of quitting as the President in 2005 after the Supreme Court quashed the proclamation dissolving Bihar Assembly, according to S M Khan, who was his Press Secretary at that time.”Though Kalam was reluctant, he signed the proclamation. He could have rejected it but would have had no option but to sign the same if it was sent to him for the second time,” Khan said while addressing the students of Sikshya O Ansandhan University in Bhubaneswar on Saturday. When the Apex court quashed the proclamation, Kalam was penitent saying he should have rejected the Cabinet’s decision and thought of resigning from his post, Khan said, adding “He even consulted his elder brother in Rameswaram. Kalam later decided against any such step as it would have triggered a lot of constitutional problems, said the former Press Secretary, who is at present the Director General of RNI, in his lecture titled ‘My Days with the Greatest Human Soul Ever’. In 2005, the then Bihar Governor Buta Singh had recommended the dissolution of the Assembly which the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh approved and forwarded to the President. Kalam, who was on a visit to Moscow at that time, signed it there.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It was challenged in the Supreme Court whose five-judge Constitution Bench, headed by Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, in a majority verdict held on October 7, 2005 that “the proclamation of May 23 dissolving the Bihar Assembly is unconstitutional.” Describing Kalam, who passed away in July this year, as a person who was completely detached from material things, Khan said the late President did not own anything, be it a house, a car, a television or a refrigerator.”Almost all his life as a scientist and teacher, he lived in hostels and guest houses. But his only possession were his books. And he insisted that he should buy his books and never took any book from any one as a gift saying chances were that he would not read them,” he said.

Prashant Bhushan steps up attack on AAP’s ‘mahajokepal’

New Delhi: Stepping up the attack on ruling AAP over the 2015 Delhi Janlokpal Bill, ousted party leader Prashant Bhushan on Sunday said that “contrary to the claims” made by the Arvind Kejriwal government, the proposed legislation is “completely” different from its previous 2014 version.

The senior Supreme Court lawyer claimed that the 2015 Bill increases the say of the government in the appointment and removal of the ombudsman and brings under its ambit Union government functionaries, among other “glaring” differences.

Prashant Bhushan. PTIPrashant Bhushan. PTI

Prashant Bhushan. PTI

In the wake of the claims by the Swaraj Abhiyan leader, AAP hit out at Bhushan and alleged that his attack goes on to prove the “collaboration” between him and BJP.

But Bhushan, who was expelled from AAP for “anti-party activities”, lashed out at the claim while likening Kejriwal to Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister under the infamous Hitler regime.

Bhushan also dared the Delhi chief minister to an open debate on the matter. The Delhi government will table the Bill on Monday.

Releasing a comparative study of the several Lokpal Bills and Acts, including the Delhi Janlokpal Bill 2014, Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill, Centre’s Lokpal Act and Team Anna‘s Janlokpal draft, Bhushan said the Bill cleared by the current Delhi Cabinet was the “worst” of all.

“What do they (AAP) think? Is this why they have increased publicity budget to over Rs 500 crore? They should think of having a ministry of propaganda. It’s as if they have been trained by Joseph Goebbels. The new Bill is completely different from the one tabled in 2014,” charged Bhushan.

The Delhi government has not officially released copies of either version of the Bill. Rebel AAP MLA Pankaj Pushkar had yesterday made the 2015 Bill public, which he claimed to have got in his capacity as a member of the Delhi Assembly’s Business Advisory Committee.

Meanwhile, functionaries in the AAP government, when contacted, refused to comment on the charges made by Bhushan at a press conference at his Noida residence.

Significantly, the 2015 Bill gives powers to the anti-graft ombdusman to inquire into and investigate allegations of corruption occurring anywhere in the “National Capital Territory of Delhi”, thus bringing Union government functionaries under its ambit.

The 2014 Bill, released by Bhushan, on the other hand, said that the Lokpal can investigate any matter either suo-motu or based on a complaint in respect of public servants.

It described public servant as someone who is serving in the connection with the affairs of the Delhi government and any such person whose services are “temporarily placed at the disposal of the Central government, the government of another state, the local authority or any other body.”

The 2014 Bill had also proposed to have under its ambit the Delhi Police, the DDA and four civic bodies as part of the public authority category. But the current Bill is more categorical in its phrasing, leaving no ambiguity as to its proposed purview, Bhushan said.

Nowhere in the 2015 Bill is there an explicit mention as to whether the Chief Minister, other Ministers shall be under its purview unlike the earlier proposed legislation.

Kejriwal had ended his first term as Delhi Chief Minister in February 2014 within 49 days of assuming office over his inability to pass that Bill.

Reacting to Bhushan’s allegations, AAP spokesperson Ashutosh questioned as to why Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, another expelled AAP leader, did not protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not appointing Lokpal at the Centre.

“AAP brings LOKPAL PB,YY,SB decide to stage a protest? Why? Double standard? Do you need more proof of collaboration between them-BJP. Modi has not appointed LOKPAL for last 18 months but Prashant, Yogendra, Shanti did not have time to criticise/protest till date. Why?” Ashutosh tweeted.

Bhushan, flanked by his father, former Union Law Minister Shanti Bhushan, said AAP government has deliberately included the provision for initiating proceedings against Union Ministers and officials to stoke confrontation.

“I have nothing against the provision in principle. But the point is that it has been incorporated to play victim later as it is quite obvious that it won’t get the Centre’s approval.

“In the Jan Lokpal Bill 2.3, the final version of what the Team Anna produced, it was explicitly said that Central Lokpal will cover Union government whereas the state lokayuktas will have under their ambit state government functionaries, among others,” he said.

The government, after clearing the Bill, had repeatedly assured that it was similar to the one drafted by Team Anna and the one tabled in 2014.

In the 2014 Delhi Janlokpal Bill, the appointment of a seven-member Lokpal body was to be done by a ‘Selection Committee’ chaired by the Chief Minister and consisting of Leader of Opposition, two judges of the High Court and one previous chairperson of the Janlokpal, said Bhushan.

There was also a provision for a ‘Search Committee’ which would shortlist the candidates for appointment as Chairperson or members of the Janlokpal which, he added, is absent in the new Bill.

The 2015 Jan Lokpal Bill envisages a three-member body to be appointed by a committee under the chairmanship of Chief Justice of High Court, the Chief Minister, Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Legislative Assembly and the Speaker.

More importantly, the removal clause has been changed completely with the onus now on the Legislature rather than the Judiciary. The removal of the Lokpal or its members can be effected by an order of the Lieutenant Governor passed with a two-thirds majority in the Legislative Assembly.

It is to be noted that AAP has 67 MLAs in the Delhi Legislative Assembly.

The 2014 Bill said that the chairperson or any other member of the Janlokpal shall only be removed by the President on recommendation from the High Court after an inquiry on a complaint against the official concerned.

Among other provisions of the previous Act, Bhushan said it had mentioned that the Janlokpal shall have its own investigating wing. The present Bill does not specify any such clause, he claimed.

The new version also rules out review of any of its orders, proceedings, decisions or reports by any court or tribunal. The earlier Bill said any orders passed by the Lokpal “shall be subject to the writ jurisdiction of the High Court”.

Bhushan senior, who had yesterday demanded Kejriwal’s resignation, wondered whether “Goebbels had taken rebirth in Delhi in the form of Kejriwal”.

“Stop this nonsense, stop deceiving the people of Delhi everyday,” he said.

PTI

Assam BJP to seek removal of CM Tarun Gogoi for using ‘intolerant language’

BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav also alleged that the Congress is trying to divide people along religious and linguistic lines.

Gogoi does not know how to run a state. Give us the state and we will show them how to run it,” Madhav added.

The BJP will gherao Assam Assembly on December 9 demanding removal of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi for his alleged comment on Hindi-speaking persons leading the party. “We are going to gherao the Assembly on December 9 against the chief minister’s statement. We will demand his removal from the post,” BJP Election Management Committee Convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters here. Sarma said Gogoi’s reported comment that “the state unit of BJP is led by Hindi-speaking people” is divisive in nature and it should be opposed by all sections of the society. “He (Gogoi) is trying to divide the society on the basis of language. It is the most divisive and most intolerant language used by the chief minister,” Sarma said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav also alleged that the Congress is trying to divide people along religious and linguistic lines. BJP, during the day, also announced formation of two committees in the state keeping in view the state Assembly polls slated for next year. Announcing the election campaign committee and vision document committee, Madhav said the two bodies will work till the completion of state polls next year and added that the “BJP will release a vision document for Assam.” The BJP leader also criticied the Congress-ruled state government for alleged “lack of development” in the state despite being in power for 15 years.”Gogoi is responsible for Assam’s present condition.He does not know how to run a state. Give us the state and we will show them how to run it,” Madhav added.

Farooq Abdullah’s remark seditious, will take back land from Pakistan: Yogi Adityanath

Abdullah had yesterday said “PoK was part of Pakistan” and would remain with it while India.

“The statement given by Abdullah is irresponsible, seditious and amount to contempt of Parliament,” the BJP MP

BJP MP Yogi Adityanath on Saturday termed as “irresponsible and seditious” the statement of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on PoK, and said the part of Kashmir under Pakistan’s control would be taken back. “The statement given by Abdullah is irresponsible, seditious and amount to contempt of Parliament,” the BJP MP told reporters here. Abdullah had yesterday said “PoK was part of Pakistan” and would remain with it while India would continue to control its part of Jammu and Kashmir and claimed that former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had proposed this to the then President Pervez Musharraf. Adityanath said “every inch of land of Kashmir belonged to India and the part of Kashmir under Pakistan’s control would be taken back”. Asked if BJP was contemplating forging an alliance before Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, he said a decision in this regard will be taken by the party’s central leadership and Parliamentary Board.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related read: Dialogue only route to resolution of Kashmir problem: Farooq AbdullahThe BJP MP said Bihar Assembly poll outcome was the result of “casteist mentality”.

AAP govt’s Janlokpal Bill biggest treachery with people: BJP

Alleging that the draft Bill has “done away with” role of Lt Governor and the President, he added that more “shocking” is the process to remove the Janlokpal.

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Attacking Arvind Kejriwal Government over its Janlokpal Bill, BJP on Saturday alleged that it is the “biggest treachery” with the people of Delhi who had given AAP a huge mandate. “Delhi Janlokpal Bill, 2015, is AAP government’s biggest treachery played on the people of Delhi. The government has deceived the huge mandate on which it rode to power, by diluting the power of the Janlokpal and making it a political appointment in its draft bill,” Leader of Opposition in Assembly Vijender Gupta said. AAP government’s cabinet has decided to table the draft Bill in Delhi Assembly on Monday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Alleging that the draft Bill has “done away with” role of Lt Governor and the President, he added that more “shocking” is the process to remove the Janlokpal. “According to the draft Janlokpal Bill, the power to remove the ombudsman has been given to the House that can pass the motion in the Assembly with two-thirds majority, ensuring that the office of the Janlokpal remains at the beck and call of its political masters,” he said. Gupta accused AAP government of “provoking” a situation of “confrontation” with the Centre by bringing its ministers and officials in the ambit of Janlokpal”Continuing with their tradition of provoking situation of confrontation with the Centre to show themselves as the hapless victims, the provision to bring its ministers and officials in the ambit of the Janlokpal has been added in the draft Bill,” he said.

‘Hindustan only for Hindus’ remark: Congress wants dismissal of Assam Governor PB Acharya

Gogoi alleged Acharya was working more as an “RSS pracharak than a Constitutional Head of the state.”

The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee on Friday took out a rally in Guwahati demanding dismissal of acting Governor PB Acharya for his alleged remark that “Hindustan is only for Hindus,” even as the BJP held a rally in Dibrugarh launching its campaign for the Assembly polls in the state due next year. Addressing the rally Congress president Anjan Dutta alleged that by his remark the Governor demeaned his post and violated his position of maintaining neutrality as a Constitutional head of the state by acting as a spokesman of the RSS.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dutta, along with other Congress leaders demanded Acharya’s dismissal alleging the Governor was using the Raj Bhavan as a headquarter of the RSS and claimed that the Governor had appointed pro-RSS persons without required qualifications in University governing bodies here. Earlier on November 22 Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had also demanded the Centre to appoint a permanent Governor in the state by replacing acting incumbent Acharya with an open minded person to keep unity in the country and continue with its development. Gogoi alleged Acharya was working more as an “RSS pracharak than a Constitutional Head of the state.” Meanwhile, launching a scathing attack on the Tarun Gogoi government, BJP president Amit Shah addressing a party Karyakarta Sanmelan in Dibrugarh, exhorted people to vote for BJP in Assam to bring in development, install a corruption-free government, increase employment avenues and safeguard its borders from illegal migrants.

BJP MLA OP Sharma suspended for Winter session following derogatory remarks against AAP’s Alka Lamba

New Delhi: Amid relentless protests over Delhi BJP MLA Om Prakash Sharma’s derogatory remarks against AAP legislator Alka Lamba, Speaker Ram Niwas Goel on Thursday suspended him for the rest of the ongoing Winter session of the Assembly and referred his matter to House Ethics Committee.

However, all six women MLAs and other ruling party legislators were adamant for permanent suspension of Sharma from the House, but the Speaker decided to suspend the BJP legislator till December 4 after the House passed a proposal to take strict action against him by voice vote.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

As uproar continued in the Assembly, the Speaker had to adjourn the House twice.

Najafgarh MLA Kailash Gahlot moved a privilege motion against Sharma for his remarks against the Speaker, who later suspended the BJP legislator after the House passed a proposal against him by voice vote.

On November 24, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had moved a proposal to hand over the matter of Sharma to the Assembly Ethics Committee. Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra in Thursday proposed the same.

Demanding permanent Sharma’s suspension from Assembly, AAP’s six women MLAs, sporting black badges, sat in the well of the House, saying that he be “jailed” for his behaviour.

Sisodia urged the MLAs to withdraw their protest. However they did not relent.

All the women MLAs called off their protest after Speaker assured them that the Ethics Committee’s report will be tabled in the next Assembly session.

“Six women MLAs represent the Delhi’s women inside the Assembly. We will not tolerate the insult of women. Sharma has no right to continue as legislator,” AAP MLA Rakhi Birla said in the House.

The nine-member Ethics committee oversees the moral and ethical conduct of members and examines complaints relating to unethical conduct of a member referred to it by the House or Speaker.

Earlier in the day, leader of Opposition in the Assembly Vijender Gupta and MLA Jagdish Pradhan walked out of the House in protest against non-acceptance of privilege motion under Section 66 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Delhi.

Gupta along with Om Prakash Sharma and Pradhan sat in protest till evening outside the Assembly Hall near Gandhi statue.

Gupta also said that he informed that he had moved the motion under Section 66 in the morning but it was “arbitrarily” turned down by the Speaker.

Speaker Goel had suspended Sharma till November 26 for using derogatory language against the Lamba during a discussion on night shelters.

PTI

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announces ban on sale of alcohol from April 1, 2016

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday announced that sale of alcohol will be banned in the state from April 1 next year.

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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday announced that sale of alcohol will be banned in the state from April 1 next year.Keeping one of his promises made before the Bihar Assembly elections, Nitish Kumar said, “I know people will say that even after banning liquor it will be sold illegally, if it happens then we will deal with that strongly.”He further added, “Women in the state started an anti-liquor campaign, I really appreciated that. Those villages which will help us in our campaign against liquor will be awarded.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, LJP leader Chirag Paswan said, “Welcome move of banning sale of liquor. let’s see how successful it is.”According to reports, the Bihar government earned nearly Rs. 3,500 crore last year through taxes on the sale of alcohol.This is the first major announcement by Kumar since he was sworn in as Chief Minister for the fifth time last week.

BJP MLA OP Sharma suspended for making derogatory remarks against AAP’s Alka Lamba

“Am shocked at language used by O P Sharma, BJP MLA, against a lady MLA. 2 days back also, he abused a lady MLA. Hope BJP will act against him (sic),” Kejriwal tweeted.

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BJP MLA Om Prakash Sharma was today suspended from the Delhi Assembly for two days for making derogatory remarks against AAP legislator Alka Lamba, which led to disruption of House proceedings. Sharma has been suspended till Thursday by Speaker Ram Niwas Goel even as AAP’s women legislators demanded his permanent suspension and apology from the BJP MLA or Opposition leader Vijendra Gupta. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also expressed his shock over the comments and hoped BJP would take action against him. “Am shocked at language used by O P Sharma, BJP MLA, against a lady MLA. 2 days back also, he abused a lady MLA. Hope BJP will act against him (sic),” Kejriwal tweeted. Due to uproar over Sharma’s controversial comment, two proposed bills could not be tabled in the Assembly today. Besides, questions under Rule 280 were also not raised due to persistent protest by AAP MLAs.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sharma made the remarks during a discussion on homeless people and night shelters in the city, initiated through a calling attention motion by BJP’s Vijender Gupta. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia termed the incident as “shameful’ in the history of Assembly and said that Sharma or the Opposition leader should tender an apology. Protesting against the BJP legislator, five women AAP MLAs — Lamba, Bandana Kumari, Rakhi Birla, Bhavna Gaur and Parmila Tokas — and other ruling party MLAs came into the Well, demanding strict action against Sharma. BJP’s Gupta alleged that AAP MLA Amanatullah and Lamba tried to slap him and Sharma, which the Speaker termed as “baseless”.”Two days back, Sharma also used derogatory remarks against Lamba on a news channel and thereafter, women MLAs complained to me against the BJP MLA. Today as well, he used bad language against Lamba. “I have suspended him till Thursday. I will take a final decision on Thursday on a government suggestion that Sharma’s matter should be sent to Assembly’s Ethics Committee,” the Speaker told reporters here.Gupta said this year, 402 deaths of homeless persons were reported till date, under Kashmiri Gate police station area in the city, while the number was 221 last year and alleged that the AAP government was not serious about this matter. Lamba intervened in the discussion saying that the deaths were not due to cold but due to “use of drugs”. This prompted Sharma to counter Alka and he made a derogatory comment against her. AAP MLAs immediately voiced their protest over the remarks and rushed into the well of the House shouting slogans and demanding his expulsion.The Speaker had to adjourn the House twice but despite AAP MLAs continued their protest against the BJP MLA.

Somnath Bharti ‘suppressed’ information in affidavits he filed for Assembly elections, claims wife Lipika Mitra

Lipika in her complaint stated that Bharti had bought the property in south Delhi’s Malviya Nagar out of his own income but is in the name of his mother Manorama Rani Bharti, details of which were completely suppressed by him in his affidavit.
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dna Research & Archives
Lipika Mitra, the estranged wife of former Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti, on Tuesday wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner seeking action against the AAP leader for “suppressing” information in the affidavit he filed for Delhi Assembly elections early this year.Lipika in her complaint stated that Bharti had bought the property in south Delhi’s Malviya Nagar out of his own income but is in the name of his mother Manorama Rani Bharti, details of which were completely suppressed by him in his affidavit.Bharti, she claimed, has suppressed material facts from the Commission regarding his financial status as well as her’s in his nomination form 26 on affidavit which is illegal. She further alleged that her bank balance and insurance details cited by Bharti in the affidavit were manipulated by him without her concurrence.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is a settled law that it is the solemn obligation of the candidates who are contesting election to furnish information regarding him or her and the spouse information and if the same are not given correct, the same would amount to suppression/non disclosure which will be treated as a substantial lapse on the part of the candidate. I would request your office to take immediate action against Bharti as he has made false representations in his election nomination form under oath,” she said in her complaint to CEC Nasim Zaidi.Lipika had filed a complaint of domestic violence with Delhi Commission for Women on June 10 alleging that her husband had been abusing her since their marriage in 2010. She had also given a complaint to the police in this regard, leading to the former minister’s dramatic arrest on September 28. Bharti was later released.

Election Commission likely to ink voters in polling booths with marker pens

New Delhi: Trendy marker pens could soon replace bottle and brush at polling booths for marking index fingers of voters with indelible ink as a proof that they have voted.

The Election Commission has started “testing” the marker pens, provided by Mysore Paints, as replacement for bottles of indelible ink and brushes. Indelible ink has been an integral part of Indian elections since 1962.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The move to go for marker pens was initiated following feedback the EC received from voters, especially the youth, that marking done by brushes is not neat. The other major reason is that pens will be easier to store and transport than bottle along with a brush.

The marker pens provided by Mysore Paints were used in the recently-held elections in Afghanistan.

“We are currently testing the marker pens. No final decision has been taken yet on their large-scale use. Much will depend on the results,” said an EC official.

Officials, however, did not specify whether it was used in the just-concluded Bihar assembly elections.

Indelible ink is used to mark voters’ fingers during polling to avoid fraudulent, multiple voting and malpractices. Once it is applied on finger, it remains for a few months, the company has claimed, although there have been reports of some people managing to erase it.

A bottle of indelible ink contains 10 cubic centimetres (cc) whereas a pen will have much lesser capacity of 3 cc. As per modern measurement methods, one cubic centimetre is equivalent to one millilitre.

A Karnataka government undertaking, Mysore Paints and Varnish Limited provides the famous indelible ink to all states in India and even some foreign countries.

In 1962, the Election Commission, in collaboration with Law Ministry, National Physical Laboratory and National Research Development Corporation, made an agreement with Mysore Paints for supply of indelible ink for Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. Since then, it has been supplying the ink for elections in India.

Following complaints that indelible ink or voter’s ink is not being applied properly by poll officials, the Election Commission had issued orders saying the ink should be applied using a brush specifically provided for the purpose.

The March 2015 order makes it clear that the ink “will be applied on voter’s finger with the help of brush from top of the nail to the bottom of the first joint of the left forefinger”. Use of brush will ensure that besides being bigger, the ink mark will also be bolder and more prominent.

There have been complaints that poll officials use match sticks, instead of a brush, to apply ink. In such cases, the ink is barely visible and often leads to allegations that people have tried to remove it in a bid to cast vote again.

PTI

People and party will decide on whether to contest: CPI(M) leader VS Achuthanandan

Earlier, CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran had stated that Achuthanandan should lead the Left Front during the assembly polls and it will do good for the Front, which has not been taken kindly by the Marxist party.

VS Achuthanandan

Veteran CPI(M) leader VS Achuthanandan on Sunday said it was for the people and party to decide whether he should contest in the assembly polls to be held next year.”Whether I should contest or not, it will be as per the wish of the people and parties (of the Left Front), a beaming Achuthanandan told reporters here. Asked who will lead the Left Front in the polls, 92-year-old Achuthanandan, leader of the opposition in the assembly, said “who will lead the Front? People and prasthanam (party) will decide”, he said giving enough hints that he would be very much in the fray.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Achuthanandan, who led the LDF campaign in the recently held local body polls in which the CPI(M) headed front had emerged victorious giving a drubbing to the ruling Congress led UDF, had once again proved that he was the leader of the masses. The veteran leader’s remarks comes close on the heels of CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury hailing Achuthanandan’s contribution to the party saying “it is something our generation should learn from him”. The party had not yet fixed a retirement age, he had said in Delhi recently.Earlier, CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran had stated that Achuthanandan should lead the Left Front during the assembly polls and it will do good for the Front, which has not been taken kindly by the Marxist party. CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said in Kozikode today that coalition partners should give the party freedom to choose their candidates.CPI(M) state committee will decide who will contest the polls, he said. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and former state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, an Achuthanandan beta noire, who stepped down after completing three consecutive terms in the party, is widely speculated to lead the Front in the assembly elections.

‘Anti-national Congress’: Was it religious to raise pro-Khalistan slogans? Sukhbir Badal asks Amarinder Singh

Sukhbir Badal reacted to a statement issued by Amarinder yesterday that the November 10 congregation was a “religious one and not political or anti-national”.

The Akali leader said that the Congress leader was considered the epitome of failure in the Punjab Congress due to the manner in which he had led the party to two successive Assembly election routs.

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Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Sunday ridiculed Congress leader Amarinder Singh for his remarks that ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ congregation was “not political” and asked him whether it was a religious activity to raise slogans of Khalistan at the gathering.Reacting to a statement issued by Amarinder yesterday that the November 10 congregation was a “religious one and not political or anti-national”, Sukhbir said the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ gathering was definitely not anti-national but all the leaders occupying the stage were. “It is these radical leaders, who controlled the stage in league, with the Congress party responsible for defaming the congregation by announcing a separatist agenda. This was not liked by a large number of people who even left the venue in disgust,” the SAD president said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that Amarinder should correct his definition of anti-national, Sukhbir Badal asked “is the reading out of messages of leaders of banned terrorist organisations religious as you are claiming? Is the demand for an independent Sikh State a religious demand? Is it religious activity to raise slogans of Khalistan and espouse violence to realise this goal?” Badal said that contrary to what the Amritsar MP was claiming, the series of events had made the Congress’ role in organising, supporting and drafting of the resolutions “clear”.”You cannot run away from this in the same manner in which you tried to confuse Punjabis after visiting the Dixie Gurdwara in Toronto. “Then you claimed you had failed to read the ‘Khalistan Zindabad slogans’ in the Gurdwara. It is best you apologise for the conduct of your partymen and throw them out of the party or else people will have no option but to believe that you also supported the secessionists,” Sukhbir added.The Akali leader said that the Congress leader was considered the epitome of failure in the Punjab Congress due to the manner in which he had led the party to two successive Assembly election routs. “I also understand your present day frustration at failing to grab the post of Punjab Congress president despite grovelling at Rahul Gandhi’s feet. You could not have debased yourself more after publicly asserting Rahul was unfit to lead the party,” he added.

Bihar Assembly session to commence from November 30

The state cabinet in its first meeting this evening recommended convening session of the Legislative Assembly from November 30 to December 8, Principal Secretary of Cabinet Coordination department Amir Subhani told reporters.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during a meeting on Law and Order at Secretariat in Patna on Saturday.

PTI
The Nitish Kumar cabinet on Saturday decided to call winter session of the Legislative Assembly from November 30.The state cabinet in its first meeting this evening recommended convening session of the Legislative Assembly from November 30 to December 8, Principal Secretary of Cabinet Coordination department Amir Subhani told reporters. He said the session of the Legislative Council will commence from December 3 and would end on December 8.Giving details, he said that on the first two days – November 30 and December 1 – the newly-elected MLAs would take oath. On December 2, the new Speaker of the Legislative Assembly would be elected.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s close confidante Vijay Chaudhary is pitted as front-runner for the post of Speaker. Chaudhary, who was number two minister in the outgoing JD(U) government did not take oath as minister yesterday which indicates his chance of becoming Speaker.On December 3, Governor Ram Nath Kovind would address the joint session of the two Houses. There will be no session on December 4 and 5. The House would debate Governor’s address on December 7 on which the government would reply on the last day of the session on December 8, Subhani said. The state cabinet also authorized the CM on appointment of Advocate General.

Bar bribery scandal: Kerala HC disapproves of CM Chandy’s defence of KM Mani, to decide on transferring case to CBI

The court also posed a question on whether justice can be meted out if investigation is conducted by the Vigilance Department which is controlled by the state government.

“Chief Minister and others said no offence has been committed by the accused. If that is the view, can a subordinate authority investigate the case honestly,” Justice B Sudheendra Kumar said in oral observation

Kerala High Court on Saturday issued notice to former state Finance Minister KM Mani and others including Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau Director on whether the probe in bar bribery case should be handed over to CBI or any other agency even as it expressed displeasure over Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s remarks defending Mani. “Chief Minister and others said no offence has been committed by the accused. If that is the view, can a subordinate authority investigate the case honestly,” Justice B Sudheendra Kumar said in oral observations after admitting a revision petition filed by Sunny Mathew from Thodupuzha contesting the order of Vigilance Court, Thiruvananthapuram, for further probe into the case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The High Court called for all records of the case from the Vigilance Court, Thiruvananthapuram. “In my view, this should be investigated by some other agency,” Justice Kumar said. “Can you expect justice if the investigation is conducted by this agency (Vigilance Bureau),” he said. The court, which also issued notice to the state government and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly V S Achuthanandan in this regard, will decide the matter on December 2.During the consideration of the case, the High Court cautioned that if the authorities concerned make any comments on the merits of the case, they will be held responsible. It directed the investigation officials and superior authorities to show restraint while expressing anything on the merit of the case. The court said if comments are already made, they can submit affidavit explaining the circumstances. It orally observed that the case should be investigated by some other agencies as it has duty to see that public repose confidence on the investigation.The court also posed a question on whether justice can be meted out if investigation is conducted by the Vigilance Department which is controlled by the state government.On November 10, Mani, against whom an FIR had been registered in the bar bribery case, had resigned, a day after the High Court upheld a further probe into the case. He said his party would continue to support Chandy and ruling United Democratic Front. The case pertains to charges levelled by working president of Kerala State Bar Hotel Owners Association, Biju Ramesh, who had alleged in October 2014 that Mani had demanded Rs five crore as bribe from the Association and accepted Rs one crore for renewal of licenses of over 400 Indian made foreign liquor bars.