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Ayodhya row: Opposition accuses BJP, RSS of trying to divide people; raises concerns of preparation of work on Ram temple

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Opposition members voiced concern over reports of two truck loads of stones for construction of the temple having arrived in Ayodhya earlier this week.

The Ayodhya temple row on Wednesday rocked the Rajya Sabha with Congress, BSP and JD (U) accusing the BJP and RSS of trying to divide Uttar Pradesh on communal lines ahead of the 2017 assembly elections in the state, a charge rejected by the ruling party at the Centre. Raising the issue during Zero Hour, K C Tyagi (JD-U) said the circumstances for a communally-charged atmosphere are being created ahead of assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.Opposition members voiced concern over reports of two truck loads of stones for construction of the temple having arrived in Ayodhya earlier this week. Such activities are being planned “only to charge up the atmosphere,” he said, quoting a reported statement by Mahant Nritya Gopal Das that there was a “signal” from the Modi government that the temple will be built “now”. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said stone carving for construction of the temple has been going at a site 1.5 km away from the disputed site since 1990. The government and the BJP are of the view that the court decision on the dispute should be accepted, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There was no ban on carving of stones and the religious leaders quoted have been living in Ayodhya, he said, adding that stone carving does not mean that the temple was being built. “Please wait for court decision. All of us should respect it,” he said. Outside Parliament, BSP supremo Mayawati told reporters that “this has been the agenda of BJP and RSS for a long time. But the Government of India should apply brakes on such people.”But more than BJP, she used the opportunity to slam her arch rival, the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, saying if the Supreme Court order to maintain status quo on the site is violated, then the “SP will be responsible as the ruling party.” The former Uttar Pradesh CM said it is the responsibility of the ruling party in the state to ensure that the SC directions are not violated. “In such a scenario, nothing wrong should be allowed to take place,” she said. Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh Pramod Tiwari claimed that BJP and its affiliates rake up such issues before every assembly election, especially in UP. “Be it shila pujan or rath yatra, BJP tries to draw a communal divide before every assembly election, especially in Uttar Pradesh. JD(U) President Sharad Yadav said though BJP tries to divide people on communal lines every time, “this time the people have understood their design”. “They divide people on communal lines before elections. But this time the people have understood their design. Like we did in Bihar, we would counter them in Uttar Pradesh,” he said. BJP MP from Gorakhpur in UP Adityanath rejected the charge that the party was raking up the temple issue again

National Herald Case: Congress steps up attack on government; accuses it of indulging in ‘dirty politics’

“Since the government came into power, two laws have become applicable in the nation. One law is for the ministers, Chief Minister and associates of the BJP and another law is for the Opposition of the nation, be it the Congress, the TMC or the BSP,” he said.

Extremely upset over the latest developments in the National Herald Case, the Congress on Tuesday stepped up its attack on the BJP-led NDA Government and accused the ruling dispensation of indulging in ‘dirty politics’.”There is a dirty politics department of the BJP and the ruling dispensation, which has been unleashed to target the Opposition. How can there be double standards or double yardsticks when it comes to invoking the law of the land,” Congress leader Anand Sharma told the media here.Sharma, who is the deputy leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, further said the central ministers have never been probed in connection with the money laundering cases.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There are serious allegations against the Chief Ministers of the BJP-ruled states- Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. But the Prime Minister and the government feel that they are above the law and no action should be there,” he added.He alleged that the government does not believe in the rule of law as it has targeted a non-profitable company.Echoing similar sentiments, another Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad accused the BJP of playing politics on this case.”Since the government came into power, two laws have become applicable in the nation. One law is for the ministers, Chief Minister and associates of the BJP and another law is for the Opposition of the nation, be it the Congress, the TMC or the BSP,” he said.Azad claimed that dictatorship is prevailing in the nation and democracy has ended.”We are not disrupting the House, we are lodging our protest and this is the forum. Democracy of this country is in danger. So, we want to endanger the democracy of the country,” he added.He asserted the Congress Party has great respect and regard for the judicial system and judicial procedures.Meanwhile, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi asserted that it was complete case of ‘political vendetta’ by the Centre and said that he would give an answer over the charges levelled at him in this case in the Parliament.”I will react to this when I go to the Parliament tomorrow. I absolutely see a case of political vendetta and this is the way the Central Government functions. They think they can do vendetta politics and stop me from asking questions, but I won’t. I will keep putting pressure on them, keep asking questions and do my job,” Rahul told the media in Puducherry.Congress president Sonia Gandhi also broke her silence and stood her ground asserting that she was not afraid.”Why should I be scared of anyone? I am Indira Gandhi’s daughter-in-law, I am not scared of anyone,” she told reporters.

7.8% more votes for Grand Alliance gives it another 120 seats

A 7.8% more votes for the JD(U)-RJD-Congress alliance over BJP-led NDA’s tally fetched it another 120 seats catapulting the Nitish Kumar-led coalition to a landslide two-third majority, according to an analysis of Bihar poll results.

A 7.8% more votes for the JD(U)-RJD-Congress alliance over BJP-led NDA’s tally fetched it another 120 seats catapulting the Nitish Kumar-led coalition to a landslide two-third majority, according to an analysis of Bihar poll results.The Grand Secular Alliance with 41.9 % votes got 178 seats in a Hosue of 243 while the NDA with 34.1 % votes could get only 58 seats, final election data tonight showed.Lalu Prasad’s RJD with 18.4 % votes bagged 80 seats to emerge as the single largest party while Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) garnered 16.8 % votes to notch 71 seats.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They both contested 101 seats.Congress, the third partner in the Grand Secular Alliance, fared creditably winning 27 of the 41 seats it contested. It polled 6.7 % votes.The BJP, which contested 157 seats, polled the highest number of votes(24.4) but could bag only 53 seats.BJP’s NDA allies — the Lok Jan Shakti Party and the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) — could manage only two seats and one seat respectively, polling 4.8 % votes and 2.3 % votes. They contested 42 seats and 21 seats respectively.The Rashtriya Lok Samta Party, another BJP ally, contested 23 seats but won only two with a 2.6 % vote share.The JD(U) with BJP as ally in 2010 Assembly polls bagged 115 out of the 141 seats it contested with a vote share of 38.77 % votes. BJP bagged 91 of the 102 seats and its vote share was the highest at 39.56 % votes.The RJD, which waas trounced, could manage only 22 out of the 168 seats it contested against the JD(U)-BJP coalition and had a vote share of 18.84 %.The Congress won only 4 of the 243 seats it contested and had a vote share of 8.37 %.The Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, NCP and the AIMIM, which contested the Bihar assembly polls, have failed to make an impact with their vote share getting restricted to 2 % or below.Percentage-wise, around 2.5 % voters hit the ‘none of the above’ button which is placed as the last option on the electronic voting machine.BSP, which contested all the 243 seats, managed 2.1 % of the total votes polled.BSP had decided to go it alone in Bihar unlike arch rival Samajwadi Party which first became a part of the ‘grand alliance’ but later joined hands with NCP to form a ‘third front’ which too could not last long.Samajwadi Party had contested 85 seats in Bihar and its share was one %.The NCP, which walked out of the ‘grand alliance’ over seat allocation, had contested 40 seats. Percentage-wise, its vote share was 0.5 %.The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), which contested in six seats mainly in the Muslim-dominated Seemanchal region, drew a blank and managed 0.2 % of the total votes polled.

Sack VK Singh, send him to jail for anti-Dalit remark: BSP supremo Mayawati

“The comment is against the self-respect and honour of Dalits all over the country. Our party not only condemns it, but also demands from the Prime Minister that he should immediately dismiss him for having such petty, mean and low- level mentality and send him to jail,” an angry Mayawati said.

BSP supremo Mayawati on Friday demanded immediate sacking of Union minister V K Singh for his dog remark on the Dalit killings in Faridabad and said he should be sent to jail for his “petty, mean and low-level mentality”.”Prime Minister Narendra Modi should immediately dismiss him. He should be sent to jail for harbouring such petty and low-level mentality towards Dalits,” Mayawati told reporters at a hurriedly convened press conference here.Her outburst came after Singh’s controversial remarks that “government cannot be held responsible if somebody stones a dog”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The comment is against the self-respect and honour of Dalits all over the country. Our party not only condemns it, but also demands from the Prime Minister that he should immediately dismiss him for having such petty, mean and low- level mentality and send him to jail,” an angry Mayawati said.”If Modi does not do the same, it will be taken that he has nothing to do with the pride of Dalits and his recent announcement of building memorial in the name of Ambedkar is merely aimed at taking advantage of their votes,” she said.At the press meet, the BSP leader and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister accused the BJP government in Haryana of being “insensitive” towards Dalits and termed as shameful the killing of two children who were burnt alive three days ago in Faridabad.”It clearly indicates that BJP is not at all concerned or sensitive towards Dalits. It shows insensitivity of the Haryana government.”She said the incident is more shocking because it happened despite the police deployment in the area.”Despite police presence, four dalits were burnt alive.What was their fault. It was because they (Dalits) wanted to live with self-respect,” she said.

Dalits feeling ‘insecure’ under BJP government: Mayawati

Mayawati regretted that even after so many years of independence, “atrocities” on the weaker sections and Dalits have not stopped.

Mayawati

Terming the attack on a Dalit family in Faridabad as most unfortunate, BSP president Mayawati on Wednesday threatened to take to the streets over delay in arrest of the culprits, even as she charged weaker sections are feeling “insecure” under BJP government. “The manner in which four members of a Dalit family were set ablaze in Faridabad leading to the death of two children is most unfortunate and condemnable…if the victims are not provided proper security and compensation by the Haryana government and prompt action is not taken against the culprits BSP will take to the streets there,” BSP chief was quoted as saying in a party release here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Mayawati regretted that even after so many years of independence, “atrocities” on the weaker sections and Dalits have not stopped. “At the Centre and in many states, governments are still working with casteist mindset and discriminating against these sections”, she said. She alleged that people of these sections are “feeling insecure specially under the BJP government at the Centre and states and this is a very serious.” The senior party office bearers of BSP in Haryana have been instructed to make all efforts to help the victim family, the release added. Two children of a Dalit family were burnt alive and their parents suffered injuries yesterday allegedly after some persons from upper caste set their house afire at Sunped village near Ballabhgarh while they were sleeping. 11 persons, including a father-son duo, have been booked on murder, rioting and other charges.

Mayawati promises quota for upper caste poor in Bihar

Sasaram (Bihar): Wooing upper caste voters for Bahujan Samaj Party candidates contesting the Bihar elections, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Tuesday promised quotas for them in government jobs and education institutions if her party came to power in the state.

“The socio-economic condition of upper caste poor is as bad as that of their brethren in other communities in Bihar … my party will provide quota for them in government jobs and education if elected to power,” she said at an election meeting for Shamim Ahmed, the BSP candidate from the Karahgar Assembly seat in the Rohtas district.

Mayawati. PTIMayawati. PTI

Mayawati. PTI

Mayawati, a four-term chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, rued that in all the years since Independence, nothing had changed as far as the plight of poor people was concerned, and blamed the successive governments for deficient governance and lack of priorities.

Charging the National Democratic Alliance as well as the secular alliance with making false promises for the weaker sections, farmers and labourers, the BSP supremo said these parties would conveniently renege from their promises once they were installed in power.

Mayawati accused the NDA of working only in the interests of corporates and alleged that the Centre was out to scrap the reservation policy for OBCs and SC/STs under the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s influence.

The BSP, however, would oppose tooth and nail any attempt to tweak reservation policy, she thundered.

PTI

Multiple power centres make bureaucratic transfers a game of musical chairs in Akhilesh’s UP

by Vivek Avashthi

Lucknow: It was a comedy of errors of sorts when it came to transfers and postings of IAS and IPS officials in Uttar Pradesh this time around. On 20 September, the Akhilesh Yadav government effected a major reshuffle involving over 60 IAS and IPS officers, just ahead of the notification for Panchayat election in the state.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. AP

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. AP

The same list also mentioned the transfer of SSP Noida Dr Preetinder Singh as the new SSP of Agra. On receipt of the transfer order, Singh promptly moved to Agra to take up his new posting. But on reaching Agra, he found that the incumbent SSP, Modak Rajesh D Rao, was unwilling to relinquish charge. A confused Dr Singh called up the offices of the DGP and Home Secretary. He was told to wait.

Modak is said to be close to a relative of a Samajwadi Party bigwig in Lucknow. As he had got some assurance from his political godfathers that he would not be moved, he stayed put. The former’s case was also allegedly vigorously pursued by an influential builder from the NCR with interest in land in Agra.

It was after officials of the CM’s secretariat convinced the bigwigs that the transfer could not be revoked since the model code of conduct had come into force that Singh took charge.

Somewhat reverse was the case in Kushi Nagar. Atul Sharma, the Superintendent of Police, was transferred to 15th Battalion of PAC in Agra and Shiv Prasad Upadhyay was posted in his place. One lobby of the ruling party in Kushi Nagar was in Sharma’s support while the rival faction wanted a promotee (non-IPS) officer to be posted there as such an officer is ‘easy to handle’. Hectic parleys and lobbying ended in cancellation of Sharma’s transfer. This was conveyed by an official order dated 21 September.

Similar cases abound in a state known to have multiple power centres, each exerting pressure to get their men in the right places.

The State Election Commission (SEC) has raised questions over the timing of the transfers and asked the Principal Secretary (Home) and Principal Secretary (Appointments) to issue an explanation. Additional State Election Commissioner JP Singh said that it has come to notice of the commission that senior officers were transferred after the notification for Panchayat elections was issued on 21 September, 2015.

The chaos around the latest round of reshuffle makes it evident that a majority of top administrative and police officials in the state are more than well-connected to one power centre or the other, making it extremely difficult for the administration to make them fall in one single line. It also lends credence to the long-standing allegations of opposition parties that Uttar Pradesh is not being run by one chief minister.

Transfer and posting policy of the government has invited criticism since many years now. The two parties which have ruled the state for the major part of the last 15-odd years are the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party. When in power, both parties have indulged in arbitrary transfers from administrative and police circles.

There are two sets of officers in the state, one owing allegiance to the Samajwadi Party and the other to the BSP. Whichever party forms the government, its blue-eyed boys get plum postings; the others lie in wait in insignificant ones.

Some senior and powerful officials of the erstwhile Mayawati government had to face the music after the change in government. All powerful Principal Secretary (Home) and Principal Secretary (Appointments) of the previous government Kunwar Fateh Bahadur was shunted to Religious Affairs Department as Principal Secretary. Another favourite officer of Mayawati was the DGP of the state, Brij Lal. Just before assembly elections, he was posted as DG PAC by the Election Commission. The Samajwadi Party government made him further irrelevant by posting him as Director General of Bhim Rao Ambedkar Academy, Muradabad from where he retired.

In Uttar Pradesh, this is part of the game that does not surprise anyone. But of late, a third class of smarter bureaucrats has emerged. It all started with Panna Lal Punia, a 1970 Batch IAS officer. He was Principal Secretary to Mulayam Singh Yadav in 1993. It surprised many when Mayawati became the chief minister in 1995 and retained him in the same position. She reposed faith in Punia by appointing him to the same post in 1997 and 2002.

Another example is the 1988 batch IAS officer Navneet Sehgal, who was supposed to be very close to Mayawati. He was then not only secretary to the chief minister but also held multiple other crucial charges. In 2012, when Akhilesh Yadav came into power, Sehgal was posted in Revenue Board and later made Principal Secretary of Religious Affairs department, both supposed to be punishment postings. But in February 2014, she was back in favour. She was given the crucial post of Principal Secretary (Information).

Questions have been raised every now and then on the erratic transfer policy of the UP government. The state government has vehemently opposed a rule for a minimum tenure of two years in a particular posting for IAS and IPS officers. On an average, an officer serving in the state is transferred at least two to three times a year, though there are certain obvious exceptions.

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) had in January 2015 notified the amendments in IAS, IPS and Indian Forest Service (IFoS) cadre rules, providing a minimum of two years’ tenure in each posting. It has been a long standing demand of bureaucrats too. But in UP it is hardly adhered to.

The issue was hotly debated after the suspension of IAS Durga Shakti Nagpal in 2013. She had been placed under suspension reportedly after she had taken on the sand mafia operating illegally in Greater Noida. Nothing has changed ever since.

NRHM scam probe: CBI will proceed as per requirement of case, says CBI Director Anil Sinha

CBI had called Mayawati yesterday for examination on two specific issues related to NRHM scam – bifurcation of Health and Family Welfare Department and appointment of District Project Officers considered key to the scam.

AFP
Coming under attack from BSP supremo Mayawati for “being misused” by the Centre to harass her, CBI Director Anil Sinha said the agency will proceed as per requirement in the NRHM scam probe.In a rare encounter with media, Sinha refused to give any details of what was the requirement of examining Mayawati after filing 48 chargesheets in the National Rural Health Mission scam.”The agency will proceed as per the demand of the investigation,” Sinha said.CBI had called Mayawati yesterday for examination on two specific issues related to NRHM scam – bifurcation of Health and Family Welfare Department and appointment of District Project Officers considered key to the scam.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The move was attempt to unravel larger conspiracy in the case, CBI sources claimed.Reacting to the development, Mayawati today questioned the timing of the CBI investigation against her, saying the move against her was an attempt to “demoralise” her party and divert attention from the “failure” of the government to fulfill its promises made to the people.”I have no connection to the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam. BJP, which is trying to use CBI, should give up such tactics as such attempt have cost them dearly earlier,” she told reporters here.She also said that the decision of the agency could be the handiwork of some “casteist officers” who look down upon Dalits and backwards.”It is possible that the high command of the BJP is not aware of the move of these officers…it has to be probed,” she said.NRHM scam: Mayawati accuses Centre of misusing CBI New Delhi, Sep 22 (PTI) BSP chief Mayawati today accused the BJP-led government of misusing CBI after the agency decided to question her on the multi-crore NRHM scam nearly four years after it surfaced and said the move reeked of “political vendetta.”Claiming that she had no connection with the scam, Mayawati, a former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, at the same time said the CBI was free to investigate her and that she would not be cowed down.Questioning the timing of the CBI investigation against her, she said the move against her was an attempt to “demoralise” her party and divert attention from the “failure” of the government to fulfil its promises made to the people.”I have no connection with the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam. BJP, which is trying to use CBI, should give up such tactics as such attempt have cost them dearly earlier,” she told reporters here.CBI Director Anil Sinha said the agency will proceed as per requirement in the NRHM scam probe.”The agency will proceed as per the demand of the investigation,” Sinha told the media but refused to give any details of what was the requirement of examining Mayawati after filing 48 chargesheets in the National Rural Health Mission(NRHM) scam.CBI had called Mayawati yesterday for examination on two specific issues related to NRHM scam–bifurcation of Health and Family Welfare Department and appointment of District Project Officers considered key to the scam.The move was an attempt to unravel larger conspiracy in the case, CBI sources claimed. A number of mysterious deaths of government medical officers had also marked the scam.The BSP supremo claimed that the decision to question her four years after the scam came to light only reeks of political vendetta.She said before a CBI officer called me, the news that “I could be questioned in the NRHM scam was leaked to the media in a bid to demoralise me and my party workers ahead of Bihar assembly elections”.Mayawati said such tactics of misleading the people will not help the BJP in any way. “I do not succumb to pressure, I do not bend,” she said.But at the same time she said the decision of the agency could be the handiwork of some “casteist officers” who look down upon Dalits and backwards.”It is possible that the high command of the BJP is not aware of the move of these officers…it has to be probed,” she said.Explaining her stand on the issue, Mayawati said the decision was taken by her cabinet and subsequent decisions on appointing two chief medical officers in every district was taken by the concerned minister Babulal Kushwaha. The scam took place during Mayawati s regime between 2007 and 2012.”I warn BJP to give up such deeds. Congress had also tried such tricks to divert attention from its failures of governance,” she added.

NRHM scam: Mayawati accuses Centre of misusing CBI, suspects ‘casteist officers’ behind it

But at the same time she said the decision of the agency could be the handiwork of some “casteist officers” who look down upon Dalits and backwards.

Mayawati

BSP supremo Mayawati on Tuesday targeted the BJP-led government over the CBI’s decision to question her on the multi-crore NRHM scam, claiming she had no connection with it and that the Centre was misusing the agency ahead of Bihar elections for political gains.Questioning the timing of the CBI investigation against her, she said the move against her was an attempt to “demoralise” her party and divert attention from the “failure” of the government to fulfil its promises made to the people.”I have no connection to the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam. BJP, which is trying to use CBI, should give up such tactics as such attempt have cost them dearly earlier,” she told reporters here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>But at the same time she said the decision of the agency could be the handiwork of some “casteist officers” who look down upon Dalits and backwards.”It is possible that the high command of the BJP is not aware of the move of these officers…it has to be probed,” she said.The BSP supremo claimed that the decision to question her four years after the scam came to light only reeks of political vendetta.”It is like serving absolute majority in UP elections to the BSP. We have no problems with it…during Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, cases were lodged against me in Taj corridor case as well as a case of disproportionate assets was filed but I was given clean chit by the High Court as well as the Supreme Court,” she said.She said before a CBI officer called me, the news that “I could be questioned in the NRHM scam was leaked to the media in a bid to demoralise my party workers and me ahead of Bihar assembly elections”.Mayawati said such tactics of misleading the people will not help the BJP in any way.”I do not succumb to pressure, I do not bend,” she said. Explaining her stand on the issue, Mayawati said the decision was taken by her cabinet and subsequent decisions on appointing two chief medical officers in every district was taken by the concerned minister Babulal Kushwaha.”I warn BJP to give up such deeds. Congress had also tried such tricks to divert attention from its failures of governance,” she said.Indicating a possible understanding between BJP and SP, she said the Uttar Pradesh government’s “failures” especially on the law and order front are being deliberately ignored by the Centre for political gains.She also attacked the Akhilesh Yadav government for holding the first phase of panchayat elections on October 9 which is the death anniversary of Kanshi Ram.She said people, who will vote in the elections, won’t be able to come to Lucknow to pay their homage to the BSP leader.

Education best way to fight poverty, says PM Modi in Varanasi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a day-long tour of his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi, on Friday said that our main should be how to make poors of India self-reliant.

File picture

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a day-long tour of his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi, on Friday said that main aim should be to ensure poor people of India become self-reliant. Addressing a rally, where he distributed 501 paddle rickshaws and 101 e-rickshaws, Modi said, “The aim of my government is to make poor self-sufficient. For years we have only heard the slogan of ‘garibi hatao’. Our efforts to remove poverty over the years have not yielded the results we desired. The speed (of removing poverty) needs to improve.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi further added, “The biggest weapon one can use to fight poverty is education of children. Every person wants his or her child to lead a life better than what they led. I request you to educate your children. Whatever circumstances are, don’t deprive them of education.”Talking about E-rickshaws, he said that it will change the future of Varanasi & when tourists will come to the temple city, the first interactions they will have will be with rickshaw drivers.”This is the third visit of the Prime Minister to the ancient temple town after assuming office in May last year.Heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces are in place to maintain law and order and control traffic during the nearly seven-hour-long tour of the PM.The BJP, which won 71 out of 78 Lok Sabha seats it contested in UP last year, is likely to lead an aggressive campaign in the state where it will have to take on the formidable SP alongside Mayawati’s BSP in the assembly polls, which are just a little more than a year away.With agency inputs

CBI registers two corruption cases against Noida Chief Engineer

CBI has registered two separate cases against the then Chief Engineer NOIDA, Greater NOIDA and Yamuna Expressway, Yadav Singh and his family members for alleged corruption and amassing assets disproportionate to the known sources of income. The agency on Tuesday carried out searches at 14 locations including at his residence and offices of Noida.

CBI

File Photo
CBI has registered two separate cases against the then Chief Engineer NOIDA, Greater NOIDA and Yamuna Expressway, Yadav Singh and his family members for alleged corruption and amassing assets disproportionate to the known sources of income. The agency on Tuesday carried out searches at 14 locations including at his residence and offices of Noida.CBI sources said the first case has been registered under criminal conspiracy and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act against Singh, his wife Kusum Lata, daughter Garima Bhushan and son Sunny Yadav besides one more person Rajender Minocha for amassing disproportionate assets. CBI sources said it is alleged that during searches by Income Tax department in November, 2014, several incriminating documents and the Income Tax Returns were allegedly recovered from several premises of Singh. “The scrutiny of ITRs and other connecting records have allegedly revealed that during the period 2009-2014, the total likely savings of the family of then Chief Engineer was Rs.1.70 crore(approx) whereas they were in possession of immovable property worth Rs.3.60 crore(approx). Besides, an amount of Rs 10 crores(approx) was allegedly recovered from one of his associates, which also reportedly belonged to then Chief Engineer,” CBI spokesperson said here today. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The official said cases have been registered on the direction of Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court which directed it to conduct an investigation into allegations of corruption and amassing of unaccounted money by the accused in regard to all transactions, persons and entities connected thereto. The official said the second case relates to allegations of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act against Singh.The accused allegedly entered into criminal conspiracy with unknown private persons firms and awarded various contracts without following the laid down procedures and thereby caused undue pecuniary gain to the tune of crores of rupees to private firms and to himself, the official said. “The local police had also registered a FIR No 371 at Police Station Sector 39, Noida (Uttar Pradesh) on June 13, 2012. The FIR ended in closure and a Final report was filed in the trial court by the local police on January 30, 2014 which was accepted by the court on November 27, 2014,” the official said.The High Court had ordered a CBI probe on the petition of activist Nutan Thakur, wife of suspended UP Police IG Amitabh Thakur, alleging Singh had enjoyed plum postings under the regimes of Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati and incumbent Akhilesh Yadav, and the state government was not acting against him. He had executed projects worth around Rs 8,000 crore in Noida in the last 12 years, the Noida authority has said in a report, the PIL alleged.The figure excludes Singh’s involvement in the authority’s land allotment process for commercial, industrial and residential projects, it said. Singh was involved in infrastructure projects such as Ganga water supply, sewage pipelines, drainage, hospitals, parks and the metro. In the electrical department, Singh had signed bonds of more than Rs 500 crore in last nine years. Signing a bond means releasing funds to firms after work is executed.After the tax raids on Singh and companies related to his wife Kusumlata, the authority cancelled several projects. Singh was Engineer-in-Chief of the Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway Authorities for 17 days, where he gave the go-ahead for 15 public projects – all cancelled after the raids. Singh has since been removed from his post and attached to the CEO office. But he has remained absent without applying for leave, prompting the authority to issue him a show-cause notice.The Mayawati government – when BSP formed a coalition in Uttar Pradesh with BJP support had first appointed him as engineer-in-chief of the authority in 2002. After the Samajwadi Party (SP) ousted BSP in 2003, it transferred Singh and his associates. BSP and SP have denied links with Singh.

For a moment, it’s pleasantries in the House

The prime minister’s next destination was Congress benches on the opposition side of arch. He began shaking hands with his predecessor Manmohan Singh and then went up to Congress veteran Moti Lal Vora, who was in the second row.

For a change, the combative mood in Rajya Sabha mellowed, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi walked into the House at noon and instead of sitting on his chair, walked towards the Opposition benches. It was an unusual gesture, keeping in view the face-off between the Opposition and the treasury benches.Modi exchanged pleasantries and shook hands warmly with each of the leaders in the front row. Senior Opposition leaders, including Sharad Pawar of the NCP, Sharad Yadav of JD (U), all occupants in the front row, stood up to greet the PM as he approached them. Modi then walked to BSP supremo Mayawati, who too just until a few minutes ago was lending voice to Opposition chorus demanding resignations of BJP leaders.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The prime minister’s next destination was Congress benches on the opposition side of arch. He began shaking hands with his predecessor Manmohan Singh and then went up to Congress veteran Moti Lal Vora, who was in the second row.Meanwhile, senior MP and scion of royal Jammu Dogra family, Dr Karan Singh, walked up to him. Both were seen having a hearty laugh as they spoke for a couple of minutes. Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and his deputy Anand Sharma, who are are leading the Opposition charge, also exchanged pleasantries with the PM.Congress MP V Hanumantha Rao, who had trooped into the well of the House with a placard demanding sacking of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan just before the House was adjourned,retreated on seeing the prime minister walking towards the Opposition benches. He kept the placard aside, and shook hands with the PM, before retreating to his seat.While Praful Patel of NCP and Naresh Agarawal of BSP came forward to greet the PM, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh who occupies the third row, just waved to him and left the House. Modi smiled and waved back.Minutes before the prime minister walked into the House, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, who is the target of Opposition ire, also exchanged pleasantries with those demanding her resignation. She reached out to Pawar. Looking at their body language from the press gallery, the two were seen immersed in a cordial talk as Sushma was smiling throughout. As Swaraj went back to occupy her seat and was talking to her party colleagues, Samajwadi Party leader Jaya Bachchan approached her from the back, and gave her a tight hug.

Rajya Sabha adjourns thrice over Lalit Modi and Vyapam issue

As soon as obituary references were made, several opposition parties, including the Congress, BSP and the Left, insisted that no debate was possible without the resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje following their alleged involvement in the controversy over former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi.

Rajya Sabha was on Wednesday adjourned thrice in the pre-noon session after uproar over the Lalit Modi and Vyapam admission and recruitment scam in Madhya Pradesh.As soon as obituary references were made, several opposition parties, including the Congress, BSP and the Left, insisted that no debate was possible without the resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje following their alleged involvement in the controversy over former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi. They also raised the issue of Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh. The ruling BJP members wanted a discussion on the Lalit Modi issue to be initiated immediately saying they did not want the opposition members to speak on the adjournment motion they had moved on these issues.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amidst slogan shouting by the opposition members and heated exchanges between them and those from treasury benches including by ministers, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien first adjourned the House for 15 minutes and then again till noon. At noon when the Question Hour was taken up by Chairman Hamid Ansari, the opposition members continued the uproar forcing the third adjournment of the House.Earlier, Finance Minister and Leader of the House Arun Jaitley defended Swaraj asking opposition to point out one provision of the law which she has violated in allegedly trying to help former IPL commissioner. Mayawati (BSP) attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the episode had exposed those who had claimed that “na khaoonga, na khane doonga” (I will neither take bribe nor will I allow anyone to take it). Soon after the obituary reference, Satish Chandra Misra (BSP), Naresh Agarwal (SP), Tapan Kumar Sen (CPI-M) and D Raja (CPI) said they had given notices under rule 267 to suspend business to take up discussion on Lalitgate and Vyapam scams.Jaitley said the Vyapam issue was “squarely a state issue” and if the Opposition wanted to change rule to “discuss state issues and set up new precedents”, then issues ranging from Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Assam and Goa should also be discussed. “So we will be fair to all states,” he said. “If they want to discuss the issue relating to Sushma Swaraj, please start the discussion right now,” he said. However, opposition benches wanted they be allowed to make submissions on their adjournment notices before the Chair decided on the issue.When Kurien called Mayawati to speak on BSP”s adjournment motion, this was met by stiff opposition from the treasury benches with even Ministers Piyush Goyal and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi raising their voice in protest.”Why does the government want to do the opposition”s job,” Kurien asked. “I have not permitted the motion (under rule 267), so how can they start (discussion).” He said yesterday the motion on the same subject was not moved and today he had so far not allowed the motion. As some BJP members continued to shout slogan, he remarked, “how can you pressurise me… treasury benches should not pressurise me. … Why does treasury bench create disturbances,” and adjourned the House for 15 minutes.When the house met again at 12.30 after the first adjournment, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad suggested that some members who had given adjournment notice should be allowed to speak, prompting Jaitley to protest and ask whether such a practice could be allowed everyday. BSP chief Mayawati then rose to speak and referred to Swaraj saying those who had become Cabinet Ministers after taking oath on the Constitution, had helped the former IPL commissioner who was being probed for economic offences in Britain.She also claimed that Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had also done a lot to help Lalit Modi. Despite this Centre was not willing to take action against them, Mayawati said. As she spoke several members of the ruling party shouted in protest, but the BSP chief then hit out at the government on the Vyapam issue. Disagreeing with Jaitley, Mayawati said it was a national issue and from the way the Centre had reacted, the top leadership of BJP stood exposed.Taking a jibe at the Prime Minister, Mayawati said these people were those who had said “Na Khaoonga, Na Khaane doonga” (I will neither accept nor let anyone take bribe). Amidst ruling party protests, Mayawati demanded an impartial CBI probe and resignation of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister. Jaitley then raised a point of order quoting rules to say that no reference to Chief Ministers of MP and Rajasthan can be made and the House can only discuss issues related to the Centre. Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) however asserted that Vyapam issue was not just restricted to one state as people had died even outside Madhya Pradesh under mysterious circumstances.As members from both sides shouted slogans, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien called for order but to no avail. Jaitley defended his colleague Swaraj asking the opposition members, demanding her resignation, asking them to specify which legal provision had she violated. As the din continued and Kurien”s pleas asking members to resume business not finding any takers, the Deputy Chairman adjourned the House till noon. When the House reassembled and Chairman Hamid Ansari took up the Question Hour, opposition Congress responded with a resounding ”No”.Sharad Yadav (JD-U) got up and sought time to speak on the Lalit Modi issue saying his right to speak cannot be denied. He was supported by Rajeev Shukla (Cong) who said the issue was serious enough as it concerned corruption and the concerned Ministers should resign.”Discussion and debate is your right, but rules have been framed with your consent. The Question Hour belongs to your colleagues. Allow them to speak,” Ansari said. At this, Yadav said “the Question Hour has been dispensed with not once but a thousand times. I agree that it is Question Hour, but many times it has been dispensed with. How can you delink the debate?” As Congress and opposition members continued the uproar and indulged in heated exchanges with members of the treasury benches, the Chairman adjourned the House again for half an hour.

Mayawati accuses government of ‘communalising’ Yoga Day celebrations

Alleging that the drama attached to Yoga Day was an attempt by the central government to divert people’s attention from its failures during the last one year, she said, “Neither the policy nor the intention of the Narendra Modi government to make it (Yoga Day) an official programme were right.”

BSP chief Mayawati on Monday accused the central government of “communalising” Yoga Day celebrations and said the ruling BJP had once again proved that it was not ready to shun its “narrow mindedness”.”Efforts to make the ‘yog diwas’ programme an official function and communalising it proves once again what people have alleged that central government and BJP were not ready to shun its narrow mindset,” Mayawati said in a party release. The BSP supremo alleged that the BJP-led government tried to use the maiden International Day of Yoga for communal polarisation but when it failed to do so, the names of the vice-president and president were wrongly dragged in.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP leader Ram Madhav, had in tweets, questioned Vice-President Hamid Ansari’s absence from the mass yoga but deleted those after the Vice President’s office protested. He then tweeted that Ansari was unwell, which was also contradicted by the Vice President’s office, which said he was not invited at all.Alleging that the drama attached to Yoga Day was an attempt by the central government to divert people’s attention from its failures during the last one year, she said, “Neither the policy nor the intention of the Narendra Modi government to make it (Yoga Day) an official programme were right.” “The BJP government had come to power making tall promises but the biggest achievement in national interest of this government appears to be getting an entry into the Guiness Book of World Records after conducting Yoga at the Rajpath with 35,985 people.””The Modi government should have worked towards fulfiling its promises on providing jobs, removing poverty and among others to set a record but all this now seems remote as its policies and programmes appear to be in favour of big capitalists and industrialists,” she said.

Shahjahanpur scribe killing: Family begins indefinite dharna, demands CBI probe

In related developments, BSP chief Mayawati on Sunday slammed the Akhilesh Yadav regime on this count while the Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ) announced a dharna at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi to demand justice and compensation for the scribe’s family.

Journalist Jagendra Singh
Image Courtesy: Facebook

Even as the state government stubbornly refuses to take any action whatsoever against its minister of state charged with a journalist’s murder, the scribe’s family and supporters have started an indefinite dharna demanding a CBI probe.In related developments, BSP chief Mayawati on Sunday slammed the Akhilesh Yadav regime on this count while the Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ) announced a dharna at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi to demand justice and compensation for the scribe’s family.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, there are reports of the family being offered money and also being intimidated to keep silent. The family members are demanding a CBI probe into the incident, immediate arrest of the minister and dismissal of the policemen involved in the horrific crime. The five cops who actively participated in the crime have been suspended.The incident happened on June 1 at Khutar in Sahjahanpur where the journalist Jagendra Singh was set on fire by cops, allegedly at the behest of Minister of State Ram Murti Singh Verma, reported to have been angered by the scribe’s posts on Facebook exposing his dubious land deals.”We are getting threats and also offers of money to keep silent on my father’s murder,” Singh’s son Rahul told reporters on Sunday. He said senior SP leader Mithilesh Kumar had visited them ostensibly to offer condolences. “But he took me aside and said we would never be able to do anything against the minister,” he said, adding that the leader’s hangers-on told him and his father Sumer Singh to accept Rs 10 lakh and “compromise”. Sumer confirmed this before reporters, too.Speaking on the issue, Mayawati expressed concern over the rising attacks on journalists in UP. “This is not only an attack on journalists but on democracy itself,” she said at a press conference. She said the law and order situation was at its worst under the Samajwadi Party government.”The minister should have been arrested the very day the journalist was burnt,” she said, adding that it was “indeed” shameful that the minister continued in office despite being accused in the murder case.The journalist in his dying declaration videotaped by local authorities had clearly named the minister and the cops involved for burning him alive. He had succumbed to the severe burns on June 8.

Ambedkar’s statue vandalised, protests by dalits

Protesting against the incident, members of dalit community blocked traffic on Phagwara-Chandigarh bypass in front of Palahi village, at Bhullarai crossing of the bypass and Phagwara-Palahi crossing.

Ambedkar statue
File Photo

A statue of BR Ambedkar was allegedly vandalised at village Palahi near on Sunday, sparking protests by dalits who blocked roads at many places in the district. The statue’s raised arm was found twisted and damaged in a park at village Palahi, police said. Protesting against the incident, members of dalit community blocked traffic on Phagwara-Chandigarh bypass in front of Palahi village, at Bhullarai crossing of the bypass and Phagwara-Palahi crossing on Phagwara-Hoshiarpur road, they said. Led by BSP leader Jarnail Nangal and Ambedkar Sena Moolnivasi Punjab President Harbhajan Suman, protesters raised anti-government slogans. The protesters also threatened to call for a bandh on Wednesday if the culprits are not arrested by then.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> They alleged that it was the second such incident of vandalisation in two-and-half-months. Earlier, a statue of Ambedkar was damaged in local Palahigate mohalla in the intervening night of April 4-5 and police failed to trace the miscreants, they alleged. They also alleged that miscreants had intentionally vandalised the statues in the localities with dalit population in order to create tension. They demanded immediate arrest of culprits and security for all statues of Ambedkar. The protesters lifted their blockades after DSP Manpreet Singh Dhillon assured them of prompt action. The protests kept the police on tenterhooks as Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was in Phagwara since last night and was holding Sangat Darshan programmes in villages there. Also Read: Government lines up BR Ambedkar anniversary celebrations, BJP woos dalits in Bihar

BSP to lose majority in UP Upper House next month

Ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh will have reasons to cheer when eight BSP MLC retire next month, as Mayawati-led party will no longer enjoy majority in the Legislative Council and be able to block passage of Bills.

Ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh will have reasons to cheer when eight BSP MLC retire next month, as Mayawati-led party will no longer enjoy majority in the Legislative Council and be able to block passage of Bills.After eight BSP MLC retire in May, the party’s strength in the 100-member Upper House will come down to 46 from 54 now, thus reducing the party to minority status in the Council.Presently, the bills that could not be passed in the Assembly because of hurdles created by BSP had to be referred to the Select Committee for a way out.The BSP Members of Legislative Council whose term will expire next month include Kamlakant Gautam, Gopal Narain Mishra, Naushad Ali, AL Tomar, Medhraj Singh, Ramchandra Singh Pradhan, Vinay Shakya, and Shivbodh Ram.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As all the seats vacated will be in ‘nominated’ category, SP would be able to ensure facile victory of its representatives from these seats, thanks to its strength in the Lower House.SP has 224 members in the 403-member Assembly.In the Council, SP has 26 members, BJP seven, Congress two, Teachers’ Group five, Independent four, and RLD one, while one seat is vacant.Though, BSP will no longer have majority, SP will have to wait till January 2016 to get majority in the House when biennial elections would be held for over three dozen seats.Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh are due before March 2017.

Modi’s first major reform win: Rajya Sabha approves long-pending insurance bill

New Delhi: Parliament on Thursday night approved the NDA government’s first major economic reform measure as the long-pending bill providing for raising foreign investment cap to 49 percent in insurance was passed by Rajya Sabha after main opposition Congress and some other parties came on board.

Rajya Sabha. PTIRajya Sabha. PTI

Rajya Sabha. PTI

The controversial Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015, which replaced an ordinance promulgated in December last, was passed by voice vote after walkout by Trinamool Congress and DMK.

The smooth sailing of the bill in the Upper House, where the ruling NDA is in a minority, was possible with the help of opposition parties like Congress, AIADMK, NCP and BJD besides allies Shiv Sena and Akali Dal.

The bill was introduced on Wednesday evening after a heated debate and adjournments over technicalities as a similar legislation was pending in the House.

The original bill, which was brought by Congress in 2008, was withdrawn and the new bill was passed after a debate of about two-and-a-half hours.

Trinamool Congress and Left parties strongly opposed the measure. While Trinamool, DMK as also SP, BSP and JD(U) staged a walkout, Left members moved amendments which were negated.

The bill, which was passed by Lok Sabha on 4 March, provides for raising the foreign investment cap in insurance sector from 26 per cent 49 percent and is expected to bring in funds to the tune of thousands of crores.

The bill was introduced after Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien ruled that the new legislation, as passed by Lok Sabha, could be taken up as it was a “unique and unprecedented” situation.

Moving the bill for consideration and passage, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said the measure was necessary for expanding the penetration of insurance in the country which is very low at present.

He said the measure would help go beyond life insurance to cover other aspects of like health and crop besides providing more funds for development of infrastructure.

Seeking to allay apprehensions, Sinha said the premium will not flow out of the country but will remain within the country and the interests of policy holders will be protected by the IRDA.

The bill provides for imprisonment of up to 10 years for selling policies without registration with the regulator IRDA.

The legislation will also allow PSU general insurers to raise funds from the capital market and provides for increased penalty to deter multilevel marketing of insurance products.

He said more and more FDI is required in the sector to provide more coverage to people of India.

Sinha also sought to allay apprehensions that state-run LIC would be hurt if foreign companies come in, saying it was a very competitive body and match global players.

At the same time, he said the country needs not one, but five to 10 LICs.

The government agreed to incorporate suggestions made by Congress leader Anand Sharma for infusing capital in General Insurance Corporation (GIC) and strengthening it.

“You need capital to pay out claims. We do not have a developed insurance market… Capital is required for provisioning… (Insurance Companies should) have enough capital in hand… If we do not have capital we cannot grow the industry,” the MoS Finance said.

He said capital will flow after raising the cap as large insurance companies want legislation and clarity.

The recent Rs 1.5 lakh crore MoU between LIC and Railways shows that insurance sector could play an important role in the country’s infrastructure development, Sinha said.

The Minister said large insurance companies would benefit citizens “twice” as they will be protected and also avail of better infrastructure.

The law provides that 15 percent of the premium should be invested in building infrastructure.

Allaying concerns of members about investment by FIIs, he said investment will remain with the company irrespective of what happens in the secondary market.

He also said that the Insurance regulator IRDA is being equipped to deal with complaints and claims and will also have Ombudsman.

While supporting the bill, Shiv Sena member Anil Desai said LIC employees foresee “onslaught” on their hard earned business.

Akali Dal member Naresh Gujral also supported the measure but wanted the government to ensure that foreign investments should not go to select individuals.

Government got signals of relief yesterday when main opposition Congress indicated willingness to support the insurance bill.

The issue came up for discussion in a meeting held by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with leaders of all parties in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday morning.

The meeting saw Congress indicating willingness to support insurance bill after government agreeed to opposition demand for referring the Coal and Mines bill and the Mines and Minerals bill to Select Committee.

“Insurance bill is different. It has gone through Select Committee. There could be a unanimity on insurance,” said a senior leader from the Opposition block on Wednesday.

The support of Congress and other opposition parties was critical for the NDA government in Rajya Sabha because of its less numbers there.

PTI

Prashant Bhushan accuses Kejriwal of selecting candidates with money and muscle power to win elections

“There were a lot of complaints about the kind of candidates selected, especially those who had been para-dropped into the party recently. Some of them were referred to the party Lokpal, who recommended the removal of two candidates,” says Prashant Bhushan.

Has Arvind Kejriwal strayed from his path in his desperation to get the magic number to be the next chief minister? AAP’s founder- member Shanti Bhushan said yes and asserted that he should be replaced as party president soon after the Delhi assembly elections. Apparently his son and AAP’s national executive member Prashant Bhushan is also at odds with Kejriwal, as he had submitted a list of 12 AAP candidates with dubious reputation. The list was submitted to AAP’s Lokpal, Admiral (retd) Laxminarayan Ramdas, and it was asserted that they should be removed from the party, if the charges are right. “There were a lot of complaints about the kind of candidates selected, especially those who had been para-dropped into the party recently. Some of them were referred to the party Lokpal, who recommended the removal of two candidates,” says Prashant Bhushan. The Lokpal replaced two candidates — Govardhan Singh with Naresh Yadav in Mehrauli and Rajindar Dabas with Sukhbir Dalal in Mundka. AAP charged Singh with indulging in anti-party activities and being close to the BJP. Recent posters show him welcoming Amit Shah in Haryana. Dabas is an accused in an abetment to suicide case, of one Raj Singh Kataria, brother of AAP volunteer Kartar Singh Kartaria. Dabas was named in the suicide note. A dna team went to the field for two days to find out if the charges are right against the remaining 10 AAP candidates. Evidence found against them and their continued presence in the party suggest that Kejriwal, despite statements to the media, compromised his party ideology by choosing these candidates. Like career politicians, he comes across more desperate to win. In his jan sabhas, Kejriwal has asked people to ensure that AAP gets a full majority and they shouldn’t let it fall short by a few seats once more. These 10 candidates, most in outer Delhi rural areas, seem to have been picked for ensuring those seats, with their money and brute force. Most have joined AAP recently from other parties. Some of the charges include criminal intimidation, rioting, defacement of property and property disputes. In many cases, AAP volunteers had filed FIRs and complaints against some of these candidates contesting as BJP or BSP candidates in 2013. They are now contesting on AAP tickets. AAP core committee member and head-hunter for candidates Sanjay Singh admits that 12 names were submitted by Bhushan. Singh says when deciding suitable candidates, the party looks for criminal cases, corruption cases and problems in character. In case of Amanatullah Khan, it has been an official stand of AAP, including that of Arvind Kejriwal, that it was Amanatullah who was responsible for releasing a controversial communal poster. In fact, Kejriwal had even Tweeted regarding the incident, a complaint filed with the Lokpal reads. On conditions of anonymity, a number of AAP volunteers spoke about how disturbed they are with this criminal and corrupt elements in the party. One even cautioned dna reporters to stay away from Sahi Ram, commonly known as the dabangg of his area. Bhavna Gaur, the candidate from Palam, has been accused of misappropriating Rs 6 lakh from AAP’s campaign funds, given to her by AAP candidate from Bijwasan, Col Devendra Sehrawat. She has also been fined by the Delhi District Court in a land-grabbing case, where she tried to capture the house of one Prem Lata, her own friend. Pramila Tokas, the candidate from RK Puram, a sitting BSP councillor from Munirka, has been accused in an FIR, along with her husband Dheeraj Tokas, also a BSP member, of assaulting a scheduled caste woman. Dheeraj Tokas was also one of the men to call a Khap Panchayat in Munirka, which ordered the eviction of North-Eastern tenants from the area. This was after the rape of a minor Manipuri girl, residing in Munirka. Dheeraj had contested the 2013 assembly election from theseat on a BSP ticket. The couple own several houses and apartments in Delhi worth over Rs 73 crore. AAP candidate from Chattarpur, Kartar Singh Tanwar, has declared ownership of high-end SUVs. Tanwar is a municipal corporation chairman from the BJP. He rose from a junior engineer to become a man worth over Rs 1,000 crore and was reportedly part of a builder mafia in outer Delhi villages. Complaints have been filed against him with CVC, Lok Ayukta and CBI. The Congress and the BJP candidates of Tughlakabad area fear campaigning with Sahi Ram Pehlwan around. Formerly with the BSP, AAP’s candidate here is using both his men and muscle power to win the election. The rest stay at arm’s length. In his affidavit, Pehlwan has mentioned having two FIRs lodged against him. But documents with dna reveal that he has four FIRs against him in cases related to criminal intimidation, rioting, armed with deadly weapons, assault or criminal force to deter public servants, etc. AAP volunteers had also complained to the party that he had rigged the internal election for choosing the candidate from the area. AAP candidate from Badli, Ajesh Yadav, was the BSP candidate in 2008 assembly elections. He had campaigned for Rahul Gandhi in Amethi in 2014 Lok Sabha elections and was the polling agent for Krishna Tirath of the Congress in Delhi. He is a real-estate king owning banquet halls, farm houses and properties worth hundreds of crores. He has 10 apartments in Dwarka and Rohini alone. His brother is facing kidnapping charges in a FIR registered with a local police station. Other tainted AAP candidates listed are Sharad Chauhan from Narela constituency, Ved Prakash from Bawana, Haji Yunus from Mustafabad and Haji Ishraq Ahmad from Seelampur. All of them were recently inducted into the party and are embroiled in property disputes, grabbing cases and theft.

UP Women & Child Welfare Minister says not government, but society responsible for rape

Representational Image

Uttar Pradesh Women and Child Welfare Minister Aruna Kori on Sunday said it was not the government but the society which was responsible for incidents of rape, drawing flak from several quarters for her “insensitive and irresponsible” remarks.Commenting on the recent rape of a teenage girl by two policemen in Badaun district, the minister said “…It’s not government which is responsible for this, but the society…People who assault and rape minors should be immediately brought to book and as soon as we receive information regarding such crimes we order an inquiry and punish the guilty… The government as well as the society should work together to bring in a change in the society,” the minister said.Political leaders, including those from BSP, BJP and Congress, and women’s commission members have criticised the minister for her “irresponsible” comments.Reacting to the minister’s remarks, BSP leader Sudhindra Bhadoria said, “This is an irresponsible comment on her part… The UP government has not been able to stop rapes and other crimes against women.. And to hide their inefficiency they are making such statements. If they are unable to protect the society, especially the women, then they must resign.” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “It’s absolutely appalling when a woman minister does not understand the pain of a woman who has undergone a gory crime like rape… She is trying to shift the onus from the administration to the women and the society.”The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) also criticised the minister for putting the onus on the society to check crimes.Two constables — Veer Pal Singh Yadav and Avnish Yadav, both dismissed – allegedly abducted a teenage girl from her house on December 31 and gang-raped her in the Musajhag police station premises. The Uttar Pradesh government has asked Special Task Force of state police to trace the duo.

Discrimination against Dalits in giving Bharat Ratna, says BSP Chief Mayawati

BSP Supremo Mayawati
File Photo

BSP supremo Mayawati charged the NDA government on Saturday with discriminating against Dalit icons like Kanshi Ram while awarding Bharat Ratna to Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Madan Mohan Malviya. She also attacked the Narendra Modi government for adopting the “ordinance route” on key issues.”Just like the previous Congress-led UPA government, the NDA government is adopting the same discriminatory attitude while honouring two persons of the same caste – Vajpayee and Malviya – with the Bharat Ratna recently,” she told a press conference here.”Kanshi Ram should have been honoured keeping in mind his sacrifices and contribution. Similarly, Jyotiba Phule, who belonged to a backward caste, should have been given the award for his work in the field of education and efforts to establish equality in society,” she said.”Many other deserving persons have been ignored,” she rued.Taking exception to the Modi government adopting the ordinance route, Mayawati said this was not in keeping with the spirit of the Constitution. Her remarks came against the backdrop of ordinance amending the Land Acquisition Act envisaging procuring land for industrial corridors, rural infrastructure, defence and housing, and insurance ordinance raising foreign investment limit in the sector to 49% from 26%, besides an ordinance to push coal auction.On the land acquisition ordinance, she said it was against the interest of farmers. “I do not find it right…the amendments could have been brought in the next session of Parliament.” Alleging that the Modi government appeared to be “failing on all fronts”, she said interests of capitalists were being safeguarded for which, the BSP leader said, changes were being made in laws, flouting the spirit of the Constitution.”The Modi government is playing in the hands of capitalists and now they are out to help them as BJP won the elections with their monetary help and by adopting all wrong tactics,” she alleged. Mayawati also criticised the organisations affiliated to BJP, saying they were hatching a conspiracy to spoil the atmosphere by raising the issue of conversion and promising a ‘Hindu Rashtra’.Slamming the Modi government, she said even after being in office for seven months, the NDA was not interested in solving the problems of poor and weaker sections.”They have also shelved various welfare schemes of the previous governments,” she said and warned that this “drama” was not going to last long, especially in Uttar Pradesh. Mayawati also alleged that as per a conspiracy, the quota for Dalits and backwards was being neutralised by allocating major works to the private sector.To a question on replacing Planning Commission by a new think-tank, NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India), she said government should concentrate on solving problems of the poor and unemployed. “Changing names will not usher in any change in the country,” she said.