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Happy to make Congress leaders ‘walk to the law’: Subramanian Swamy

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While taking satisfaction that he ultimately made top Congress leaders ‘walk to the law’, he also claimed that court declined exemption from appearance. “My goal is not only to eliminate corruption but instill courage in ordinary citizen and fear in the high and mighty,” he further stated.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy, petitioner in the National Herald case, said he did not oppose bail for Congress president Sonia and her son Rahul Gandhi. He also dismissed Congress allegations that it was a case of personal vendetta against the Gandhis or other Congress leaders, saying he had never met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take any directions from him. “No one has told me anything to either slow down or pursue the National Herald case. I do not want any support from BJP or from anyone. I didn’t get support from my party during 2G scam also. I don’t need it,” he said. “I did not oppose bail today, only opposed exemption. Thus, the accused all produced bail for Rs 50 000. No exemption. No bail boast?” Swamy said in a tweet.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While taking satisfaction that he ultimately made top Congress leaders ‘walk to the law’, he also claimed that court declined exemption from appearance. “My goal is not only to eliminate corruption but instill courage in ordinary citizen and fear in the high and mighty,” he further stated.”When Sonia and Rahul Gandhi came they were made to stand in a corner where the accused are supposed to be, they were not allowed to sit,” he further said. Later, in an interview to a TV channel, Swamy also hit out at suggestions that he has been accorded Z category security and government bungalow as a reward for pursuing the case. “Congress persons may be purchasable. I am a sanyasi. I don’t need houses,” he shot back.Responding to Congress’s criticism over the extension of ‘Z’ category security to him, Swamy said it was during former prime minister PV Narasimha Rao’s tenure that he was provided this protection, which was later curtailed by the UPA government.Speaking to reporters here, Swamy said that the Congress government led by Rao had provided ‘Z’ category security to him.That was later curtailed by the previous UPA government and made applicable only in a few states, he added.”When our (BJP) government came, they said this is injustice and again provided me the security that had been given to me during Rao’s tenure,” he said.”Now I don’t know if they (Congress) think Narasimha Rao was a BJP man,” he said.Swamy criticised the Congress for holding “processions and gatherings” ahead of Sonia and Rahul’s appearance in the court. “This taking out of processions, gathering of crowds… so many arrangements have to be made.With all this, a message would go out to the world that not all is equal in our country and democracy is not well-established.”I tell Congress, that is why your name is spoiled… you are losing this case, that is why you are doing all this. If you are winning, then go smiling to court,” Swamy said.—With agency inputs

National Herald Case: Congress exploits Gandhis’ court appearances to the hilt

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Just a year ago, Congress was licking wounds after a massive defeat in the Lok Sabha polls, with the credibility of its top leadership being questioned assiduously, even within party forums. But on Saturday, in a massive show of strength, the party exploited their leaders’ appearance before a city court in the National Herald case to the hilt, to convey political message and revive spirits of its cadres. Despite sending a last-minute missive to party leaders to keep the affair low key, lest they invite wrath of judiciary, the party put up a resurgent and united face standing behind its leaders.

Just a year ago, Congress was licking wounds after a massive defeat in the Lok Sabha polls, with the credibility of its top leadership being questioned assiduously, even within party forums. But on Saturday, in a massive show of strength, the party exploited their leaders’ appearance before a city court in the National Herald case to the hilt, to convey political message and revive spirits of its cadres. Despite sending a last-minute missive to party leaders to keep the affair low key, lest they invite wrath of judiciary, the party put up a resurgent and united face standing behind its leaders.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a flip flop of strategy, finally on Friday night, on legal advice, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her son vice-president Rahul Gandhi and others decided to file the bail bonds. Earlier , the AICC had also sent a missive to PCC chiefs of Delhi, UP, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, not to encourage party workers to come to Delhi. It was decided to make it a low-key affair and not organise any kind of march to the court as planned earlier. But despite the missive, party took all the limelight, alleging “political vendetta” resorted by the government, to target its leaders.The decision to keep it a low key affair was also taken on the legal advice that the judiciary is not well disposed towards the Congress and hence better not to do anything that is seen as a confrontation with the judiciary. Soon after returning from Tamil Nadu, on December 9, Rahul Gandhi had decided to — to brazen it out and like Arvind Kejriwal not take bail or even sign a personal bond and instead prefer going to jail. But, they were told by lawyers that even if the Supreme Court is to be moved, they will have to ultimately sign the bail bonds. They pointed out that Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal had refused to take bail and had to go to jail and they do not want that to happen with the Gandhis.Soon after out of court, fourth generation of Nehru-Gandhi family who faced law, a beaming Rahul told media that neither he, nor his party will bend. “Modiji jhute ilzaam lagvate hain. Vah sochte hain ki vipaksh isse jhuk jayega. Main desh ke logon se kahna chahta hun ki main aur Congress party nahin jhukenge,” (Modiji levels false allegations. They think that opposition will bend. I want to tell the people of the nation that I or Congress party will never bend), said Rahul addressing the media and assembled cheering crowd of Congress workers at the AICC headquarters, after appearing before the court.Just before him, Sonia Gandhi, for whom the bail was furnished by former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said she was quite aware of the assaults by the opponents for generations “but they could never remove us from our path.” Asserting that “none of us will ever be frightened,” she said: “Our fight against them will continue, our struggle for Congress principles, policies and protection of the interests of poor will continue.” Rahul also declared: “Hum garibon aur kamjor logon ke liye ladte rahenge, aur ek inch peechhe nahi hatenge. (We shall continue to fight for poor and weaker sections of people and not back out even an inch.” He also conveyed his respect for the law.Both Sonia and Rahul were just withdrawing after the brief address when the assembled party workers called for Rahul. He returned to tell them: “Modiji Congress mukt Bharat ki baat karte hain — Bharat Congress mukt kabhi nahi hoga (Modi talks of Congress-free India. India will never be without Congress).” His office also put all his remarks on his Twitter handle.Sonia said the government is misusing its agencies, “but none of us will be frightened as our struggle will continue.” She started with mention of the National Herald case, stressing that she appeared before the court like any citizen abiding by the law. “Laws of the nation apply to all equally without fear or discrimination and I have no doubt that the truth will ultimately come out,” she said.Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had also gone to the court as a solidarity with Gandhis, talked of the party’s determined fight for its values, its ideas and ideals and asserted that “nobody can detract the Congress Party from that path.” Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken signed the bail bond of Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, Ghulam Nabi Azad for Oscar Fernandes and Mallikarjun Kharge for Suman Dubey. The only accused in the case unable to appear in the court was Sam Pitroda as he was undergoing treatment in the United States. Congress MLA V S Rathore of Young India appeared on his behalf.Just two hours before Congress leaders appeared before the city court the party dubbed BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy as Prime Minister Modi’s “stooge” and “mask” rewarded with a VVIP security and government bungalow in the capital for dragging her and Congress to court in the National Herald case.”The Congress Party and the whole country had suspected from the beginning that the BJP and specially the PM are behind Dr Swamy slapping a bogus case. It was established now the way he was given the Z category security and a government bungalow as perks,” Rajya Sabha Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters.All top Congress leaders as also Priyanka Gandhi met at Azad’s residence for a strategic session and later reached the court. They included former PM Manmohan Singh, Ahmed Patel, Azad, Ambika Soni, A K Antony and many senior Congress leaders who are not party in the case and yet went to the court in solidarity. The only Congress leaders summoned along with Gandhis are treasurer Motilal Vora and general secretary Oscar Fernandes.Despite denial of any show of strength in support of the Congress leadership, a huge crowd descended at the Akbar Road, many of them coming from Gandhis’ Amethi and Rai Bareli constituencies. Azad and party spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said everybody is free to express solidarity with the leadership and it was the display of an emotional burst despite repeated appeals not to crowd in Delhi.There were protest demonstrations at many places across the country, including Varanasi, Bangalore, Nagpur and Jaipur. Rajasthan PCC chief Sachin Pilot led the Congress workers in Jaipur. Azad and his Lok Sabha counterpart Mallikarjun Kharge said the Congress has full faith in the judiciary to get justice as it has full faith right from the Supreme Court to the lowest court. Azad said Modi used to talk of “Congress-Mukt Bharat” (Congress-free India) but he now wants to finish the entire Opposition. Not only Sonia and Rahul but most of the leaders, barring Dr Manmohan Singh, chose to alight from their cars outside the Patiala Court compound and walk. They included a smiling Priyanka. Sonia was also all smile and waiving as she walked into the court.Meanwhile, the ruling BJP said corruption was synonymous with the Congress party, whether in power or otherwise. “When we say Congress-mukt bharat, we mean corruption-mukt bharat. Unfortunately, Congress and corruption are made for each other,” said parliamentary affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

India’s Gandhis due to appear in court

Indian Congress party leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are due to appear in court on Saturday in connection with a corruption case.

‘Sonia did not allow me to become PM in 1991, treats Congress like family fiefdom’: Pawar’s new book

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Rahul Gandhi prefers jail in National Herald case: Congress sources

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi talks to mediapersons at Parliament during the ongoing Winter session in New Delhi on Wednesday.

PTI
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi prefers jail in the National Herald case and will not take bail or even sign a personal bond on December 19, say party sources.This strategy has been approved even by his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi, a source said. She has given the go-ahead as the party believes that no crime has been committed and it would also create a sympathy wave and highlight Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “vindictiveness” not only against the Congress but all his opponents.However, Sonia will file for a bail bond because of her fragile health. The five other accused, including 86-year old treasurer Motilal Vora, will also do so, said sources.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On December 19, Rahul, along with his mother, will appear before a metropolitan magistrate here.Soon after returning from Tamil Nadu, Rahul outlined his party’s strategy: to highlight the “political vendetta” of the government to garner sympathy. Coming out of Parliament on Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi said: “It’s 100% political vendetta coming out of the PM’s Office. It is their way of doing politics. We have full faith in the judiciary (to come clean in the National Herald case).”In a massive blow to Sonia and Rahul, the Delhi high court had on Monday dismissed their pleas challenging the summons issued to them in the National Herald case, in which they have to appear before the trial court. The court observed that the actions of Congress office-bearers named in the case “smack of criminality”.BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy had filed a criminal case of cheating and misappropriation against them in February last year for allegedly usurping the defunct English daily National Herald’s owner Associated Journals Limited’s (AJL) property worth crores of rupees by forming a company in the name of Young India Limited.Senior advocates and party leaders Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal on Wednesday evening briefed the Congress MPs of both the Houses for an hour about the case in the Parliament House Annexe, assuring them not to be worried as there is “zero criminality” involved in the case since there has been “no cheating” as alleged by Dr Swamy because he has not shown who has been cheated.Asked by MPs why they did not rush to the Supreme Court after a single-judge bench of the Delhi high court dismissed the case, the duo said they would wait for the outcome of the first date in the trial court of the metropolitan magistrate and then move the apex court against the high court judgment, which is full of errors as the judge even went to endorse Dr Swamy’s reliance on a Bill still pending in Parliament for amending the Companies Act that proposes to change Section 8 to allow restructuring of companies.Singhvi said that even if a Section 25 charitable company is dissolved, its assets can only go to another Section 25 company and not to anybody else Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi and Opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and Congress group leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, made it clear that the Congress has “no grudge” against the judiciary, but was protesting against the government’s “policy of vindictiveness”.Kharge got the opportunity, after a lot of struggle with Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, to lash out at the government for the “policy of suppression to harass the opposition leaders and frighten them”.Azad said that Dr Swamy, who had filed the case against the Gandhis, had also taken the matter to the Enforcement Directorate but its then chief was summarily removed after he gave a report to the government in August that there is no case of money-laundering.Rajan S Katoch (59), a 1979 batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, who was given the third extension in June till to October was summarily removed after Dr Swamy alleged that he favoured Gandhis.

National Herald case: India not a ‘Banana Republic’ where media decide guilt or innocence, says Arun Jaitley

The Congress has alleged that there is political vendetta behind the National Herald Case.
File Photo
AFP photo
Lambasting Congress president Sonia Gandhi for leaving it to the media to judge whether the trial court’s summons to her and her son Rahul in the National Herald case was a ‘political vendetta’, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said India is not a banana republic where the media of Parliament will decide the guilt or innocence.”It’s only the court that will decide guilt or innocence. The private complaint is before the court, and it’s irrelevant to find who the complainant is and what his motives are,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Under the Indian law, if any citizen comes to know of a violation of law it’s his duty to inform the court or the investigative agencies. Any citizen can set the process of criminal law into motion, which the complainant in that case has set. Therefore, they have to go the court, face the court and answer the court,” he said.Earlier, Sonia Gandhi had said: “I’m daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi. I’m not scared of anything. Why should I be scared?”Criticising the Opposition for disrupting the parliamentary proceedings, Jaitley said, “Nobody enjoys immunity from the court proceedings in India and, therefore, they have to face the trial. They have a remedy to either challenge them further or go to the trial court. But how does Parliament feature in this?””Parliament, normally, doesn’t decide the guilt or innocence; this is to be determined by the court. To tell the media you decide whether it is vendetta or not; the media doesn’t decide the guilt or innocence; it is the court which do. You can’t use it for a collateral purpose to disrupt the parliamentary proceedings. And if the Congress party is so keen that this issue come up in Parliament, I am here, and now, challenging them,” he said, asking the Opposition to decide whether they want a debate in Parliament on the pattern of debates on corruption charges against a member.Elaborating upon the case, Jaitley, who is also a distinguished lawyer, said: “There is a court proceeding and the substance of the court proceedings a political party, i.e. the Congress Party, has collected funds for the political purpose. For that purpose, a political party gets a tax exemption. By a series of transactions, those funds have been transferred to a trust, and then to a company, which is closely held. That company today is owner of a real estate and getting large amount of wealth, which is certainly not for a political purpose. So, funds collected for a political purpose are being used for commercial activities.””The tax exemption was for a political purpose, and thus, a private complaint has been filed. The government doesn’t come into the private complaint at all. The court deemed it necessary to summon the accused. They have challenged the summons in the high court and the high court dismissed their petitions, saying a prima facie case has been made out, go and face trial,” the Finance Minister concluded.On 26 June, a trial court had issued summons to the Congress leaders on BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s complaint. Swamy has complained about ‘cheating’ and ‘breach of trusts’ in the acquisition of Associated Journals Limited, the publisher of National Herald, by a company called Young Indian Limited, in which the Gandhis reportedly hold shares.Justice Sunil Gaur of the Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed the Gandhis’ pleas, which means they will have to appear before the trial court in the case.Following which, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is also a renowned advocate, said: “We intend to not only challenge it on all legal recourses available at the appropriate forum which I am not going into detail as the matter is sub judice and we intend to seek a continuation of the exemption and stay, which has been continued for over a year when the matter was pending in the high court.”On the same day, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy filed a caveat before the Supreme Court (SC), urging the apex court not to pass any order without hearing him.When asked would he oppose the bail petition, the BJP leader said he would be. “Among the accused two are foreigners, but not having foreign passports, which is a big question. Sam Pitroda is a US citizen, who can run away anytime. Therefore, they should not be granted bail until the trial is finished.”Apart from the Gandhis, the court also dismissed the pleas of Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, family friend Suman Dubey and party leader Oscar Fernandes, who had moved the high court for a quashing of summons to them by a trial court.

National Herald case: I am Indira Gandhi’s daughter-in-law, not scared of anyone, says Sonia Gandhi

“I am the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi. I am not scared of anyone. I am not disturbed.” Gandhi told reporters after a meeting of the strategy committee of Congress party in Parliament.

“I’m daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi, I’m not scared of anything”
File Photo

“I am the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi. I am not scared of anyone,” a combative Congress President Sonia Gandhi asserted on Tuesday, invoking the legacy of the late Prime Minister in the wake of the National Herald case.”I am the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi. I am not scared of anyone. I am not disturbed.” Gandhi told reporters after a meeting of the strategy committee of Congress party in Parliament.She was asked about the Delhi High Court rejecting their pleas for quashing the summons by a Delhi court against them in the National Herald case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The court, however, directed all accused to appear in person on December 19.Senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Harin Raval and Ramesh Gupta appeared for the Gandhis and other accused and moved separate pleas seeking exemption from personal apperance for their clients for today only.”We told the court that the accused are extremely keen, ready and willing to appear before magistrate at the earliest possible date. Earliest possible date was given on our request. On December 19, all accused barring one who’s in US will certainly be present at 3 pm” Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.However, the BJP has vehemently slammed the charges of vendetta by the Congress, saying the violations have been highlighted by the court and not the ruling party themselves. “The National Herald case is under court’s jurisdiction and the government has no role to play in it,” Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy told the media.(With agency inputs)

National Herald case: Subramanian Swamy files caveat in Supreme Court

The Gandhis and the other five accused–Suman Dubey, Moti Lal Vohra, Oscar Fernandez, Sam Pitroda and Young India Ltd– are likely to appear in the trial court on Tuesday, before which the case will come up

Subramanian Swamy

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Monday filed a caveat in the Supreme Court to pre-empt any ex-parte order on appeals likely to be filed by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul in the National Herald case.”I have filed a caveat in the Supreme Court that in case they file any petition, it should not be heard and no order be passed without giving me an opportunity or without hearing me,” he said. Sonia and Rahul’s pleas challenging summons issued to them in the case was dismissed by the Delhi High Court which also declined their plea for exemption from personal appearance in the lower court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gandhis and the other five accused–Suman Dubey, Moti Lal Vohra, Oscar Fernandez, Sam Pitroda and Young India Ltd– are likely to appear in the trial court tomorrow, before which the case will come up. The summons were issued on a criminal complaint lodged by Swamy for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of now-defunct daily National Herald.The Congress party had loaned Rs 90.25 crore to Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL), publisher of National Herald, and on December 28, 2010 it had assigned this debt to Young Indian Ltd (YIL), the charitable company, for Rs 50 lakh, which, according to Swamy, amounted to breach of trust and cheating.

Enough of hurting each other, what’s wrong with feeling good about being an Indian

It was a ‘feel good’ speech. I don’t care if the Prime Minister was being clever or slippery or merely conning the Opposition in Parliament. He managed to jumpstart the session and disarm the prickly hostility that has come to mark the Indian political landscape.

Silencing the Gandhis is not such an important priority because unless you make them important, they are not in command of a very large swathe of the Lower House. Any inclination to cause disruptions that they might harbour were well and truly stubbed and it won’t be easy for them to hold the majority to ransom.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTIPrime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

More importantly, Mr Modi has sent a message to his own people to begin rowing together or get off the boat. His speech has set the tone from a more demanding boss and a higher level of accountability. If the list in the ship is being corrected why argue against it. This is also a message to the RSS and the other right-wingers that they have to control their harangue. In fact, this speech will serve as a watershed for marking good behaviour and tangible result. From now onwards, no more stupid racist and casteist comments, no underscoring communal divisiveness and dumping on each other.

Whoever is advising the PM has got it right. The public is a bit tired of the ‘go to Pakistan’ diatribe. They are fed up with the daily diet of relatively minor acts of misconduct amplified into major indictments. Passing comments made into declaration of deep hatred. Tired of the slurs and the insults, this whole Hindu and Muslim equation that only matters to politicians and keepers of the faith, with everyone else just wanting to get to work, make a living, get through the bloody day and come home to the family. The screaming shrillness of news that consumes everyone, all this was becoming destructive. Numb the nation by the endless flow of explanations that follow gaffes.

Electing to armour his speech with the Constitution and its provisions was a stroke of genius. The theme could not have been more disarming. It was also valid, not just a gimmick. What better way to gel the people of a nation than to remind them of the values enshrined in their Constitution. In fairness, most of us have forgotten or never read the contents of this grand document.

Even media cynicism was muted. Against this backdrop of calming troubled waters, a senior editor sounding tired said to me that the case of the Andhra MP, Mithun Reddy who presumably slapped an airline officer in Tirupathi was an issue that had no national import. You want to talk of VIP racism as a system knock yourself out. But people have a hard life and we, in media, cannot become vigilantes and start lynching people through our channels of power. If he did slap him and it is on cctv well, he will be punished, we cannot spend hours agonising over it. Every such incident in a nation our size cannot measure 8.5 on the Richter scale.

It was a point well taken. It is not that one does not care but everything should be in proportion and media has played a relatively violent role in these past eighteen months inflating every clumsy, oafish and thoughtless conduct as if it was a national epidemic.

I don’t know whether it is Modi’s Bihar loss of face or his self realisation that hosannahs abroad are not balm for the brutal reality at home, but he came off hitting the right notes and setting the pace for a productive winter session. What is wrong with that?

It is also true that the people are exhausted by all the negativity. It saps your energy as a nation. For a while the brickbat competition was fun, let’s see who can hurt the hardest but it was wearing thin and the novelty was souring into dismay and disillusionment.

Of course, it would be easy to poke holes into the fabric of the PM’s comments and nail him for a plastic cleverness linked to ‘oh, where were you these past eighteen months and let’s see if you put your money where your mouth is’ but why pre-empt it.

For once, after a long break, it feels good to see some bonding, some common pages, a relief from the drivel about the utterances for celebs and stars and political has been, a diet that was making us slow witted and dull.

Until Modi is proven otherwise, let’s give him the benefit of setting things in order. I don’t use the word ‘doubt’ because why spoil it? Let’s feel good to be Indian for a change. Maybe the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train thundering down but actually an escape from the darkness of our divides, real and imagined.

Hello there, who knows the ‘achhe din’ stuck on the horizon might, like welcome monsoon clouds be actually on the march.

From anti-corruption crusader to Lalu-hugger: Social media mocks Arvind Kejriwal

The major talking point at Nitish’s swearing-in was Delhi’s anti-corruption Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal hugging former Bihar CM and fodder scam-tainted Lalu Prasad Yadav.

The hug that shook social media

Image Courtesy: Twitter (ANI)
On Friday, Nitish Kumar’s swearing in ceremony was the talk of the town as anyone remotely opposed to the leading party at the centre was attending his fifth swearing-in. The list included Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, former PM HD Deve Gowda, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal among others. However, the major talking point of the swearing-in ceremony was Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal hugging former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad Yadav. Given Kejriwal’s stance as an anti-corruption crusader and Lalu’s alleged involvement in the fodder scam, social media users were quick to mock Kejriwal’s apparent U-turn.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Here are some of the best tweets: Much better than SRK-Kajol. Not just the Gandhis. Old habits never die.

Sonia Gandhi meets President Mukherjee ahead of march against intolerance tomorrow

Gandhi was with the President for about half-an-hour during which they are understood to have discussed the current political situation.

Sonia Gandhi

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Monday met President Pranab Mukherjee ahead of the proposed march by party leaders to Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday to request him to invoke his constitutional powers to stem the “atmosphere of intolerance”.Gandhi was with the President for about half-an-hour during which they are understood to have discussed the current political situation. Congress sources, however, described it as a courtesy call. The Gandhis and other party leaders will march from Parliament House to Rashtrapati Bhavan to plead with the President that as head of the nation, he should ensure an end to “the atmosphere of intolerance, intemperate behaviour, violence and communal polarisation”, Congress sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Members of the Congress Working Committee, AICC General Secretaries and office-bearers and party MPs will be part of the delegation meeting the President, who has repeatedly sought to underline the need to preserve India’s core values of diversity, tolerance, and plurality. The move by the main opposition party came in the backdrop of protests by artistes, writers and scientists over alleged “rising intolerance” reflected in the Dadri lynching, beef row and other such incidents.BJP and Congress today locked horns over the issue of intolerance in the society, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the Congress president had no moral right to lecture the NDA on tolerance and it should “hang its head in shame” for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots where thousands were massacred. Congress hit back, contending like in 2002 post-Godhra violence, Modi has “forgotten Rajdharma” in 2015 too as he was an “endorser of intolerance by his studied silence” over acts of hate and violence.

National Herald case: Delhi High Court terms applications of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi as ‘infructuous’

The Congress leaders in their application had opposed the transfer of the case from the court of Justice Sunil Gaur who had part-heard the matter for eight months to another court of Justice P S Teji.

Delhi High Court on Thursday termed as “infructuous” the applications moved by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul and some other party leaders alleging a “different treatment” was meted out to a challenge filed by them in the National Herald case.The Congress leaders in their application had opposed the transfer of the case from the court of Justice Sunil Gaur who had part-heard the matter for eight months to another court of Justice P S Teji. Justice Gaur on Thursday termed their “applications” as infructuous as the matter has been listed before him by the high court registry.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The judge also said that he had not recused from the matter and added that the petitions came back to him as it was part-heard by him. Even senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Sonia Gandhi, agreed with the court that the applications had become infructuous and also added that they can be withdrawn. The court, thereafter, said it will hear arguments in the matter at 2.30 PM today.The Gandhis in their application had said their petition challenging a trial court order in the case was transferred in violation of the procedures and practise being followed by the court. The application also said that their challenge petition ought to have been listed before the bench of Justice Gaur before whom the matter was pending for over eight months and was heard by him at length on several occasions.”The matter being actually part heard ought to have been listed before the bench of Justice Sunil Gaur before whom the matter was pending for over eight months and was heard by him at length on several occasions.”Even as per the established procedure and practise of this court, the registry ought to have placed this matter before the very same Judge where the matter was part heard especially when the same has been clarified and appended to the Roster Modification Notice itself,” the application said.The application had further said that “petitioner has no difficulty whatsoever in the matter being placed before any appropriate bench in accordance with law”. The contention was made during hearing of a bunch of petitions, filed by Gandhis and five others, challenging the summons issued against them on a complaint by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy alleging cheating and breach of trust in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) by Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YIL), in which the accused party leaders are shareholders.The trial court had on June 26 last year summoned Sonia, Rahul, Congress treasurer Moti Lal Vora, General Secretary Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda to appear before it on August 7, 2014 on the complaint by Swamy. The Congress leaders had, thereafter, on July 30, 2014 moved the high court which had stayed the summons on August 6 last year. On December 15, 2014, the court had stayed the summons till the final disposal of the petitions.

Sushma Swaraj vs Gandhi family: Five reasons why the External Affairs Minister has won Round One

Sushma has managed to convey in no uncertain terms that she will lead the counter-attack in the Lalitgate saga by embarrassing the Gandhi family.

PTI
Sushma Swaraj has always been a fighter and her chequered history with the first family of the Congress goes way back to Bellary in 1999. But on Wednesday, the stinging personal attack launched by the Foreign Minister, took the bitter rivalry to a new high (or low?) and added a fresh twist to the larger Congress- BJP fight, which has marred the entire monsoon session of Parliament. Sushma Swaraj has managed to convey in no uncertain terms that she will lead the counter-attack in the Lalitgate saga by embarrassing the first family and raking up incidents from the past.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As a strategy, this is not new. Infact, Congress has been using the same means to justify their disruption of Parliament. But by attacking the Gandhi family and late Rajiv Gandhi, Swaraj has managed to establish certain things.Firstly, she has managed to change the narrative. Public memory is short and perceptions are often built on fresh reportage. Slowly memories of the scam-tainted UPA 2 raj was starting to fade. For a long time, it seemed like BJP has something to hide and Congress was enjoying the high moral ground. Here, by pointing out the alleged cases of conflict of interest by Congress, Sushma managed to set the cat among the pigeons. She has portrayed that the grand old party can ill afford to keep a high moral ground in this issue.Secondly, it puts Sonia and Rahul Gandhi under fresh public scrutiny. The next time Rahul Gandhi decides to address the press, he would be asked to clarify on the Warren Anderson and Quattrocchi saga. While he may try to avoid the questions, the ghosts of Bofors and the Bhopal tragedy are not something that can be whisked away so easily. Both the issues are dead in reality, but the Indian electorate and press still attach some recall value to them. Hence, Rahul would be left fending topics that have no direct connection to him. It’s clearly a diversionary tactic, but works perfectly well for BJP and Sushma Swaraj in particular. Thirdly, Congress as a party is looking to start afresh after slumping to only 44 seats in the last Lok Sabha elections. Its subsequent performance in the state assemblies has also been lackadaisical. But with Rahul Gandhi finally managing to string some coherent sentences and picking up some relevant debates, the party seemed to be on a comeback trail. It managed to get the Land Bill scuttled. Congress being given 40 seats (disproportionate to the party’s actual strength in Bihar) by the Lalu-Nitish combination in Bihar is also an acknowledgment of the party’s enduring social base. Sushma Swaraj not only attacked the Gandhi family, she also questioned P Chidambaram who has been busy attacking BJP over Lalitgate. Taking a cue from Sushma, it is likely that BJP leaders may pull similar other cases of alleged corruption or conflict of interest to embarrass and counter the Congress leaders. It is also a clever attempt to isolate the Congress from the ‘socialist parties’, none of whom are unlikely to back them in the Bofors or Anderson fiasco.Fourthly, by attacking the Gandhi family, Swaraj has addressed the grievance of BJP’s core constituency. The right wing, especially of the hyperventilating nature found on social media, has for a long time questioned why BJP has been ‘soft’ towards the Gandhis. The recent report that Robert Vadra still gets security check exemptions at airports was received with much chagrin. The right wing believes that the government should pursue aggressively, cases like National Herald, where names of members of the Gandhi family have cropped up. By raking up both the Bofors and Quattrocchi incidents, Sushma has played to the gallery. She has appealed to the basic anti-Gandhi family instincts of the saffron support base. It will help to coalesce the social media might of the right wing before the all-important Bihar Elections.Fifthly, it gives a peek into the BJP’s Parliamentary strategy post Bihar elections. The party hopes that if it wins Bihar, the decibel of the opposition in the parliament will mellow down automatically. But many experts believe that a reversal in Bihar will force BJP to sacrifice one of its big names to run the House smoothly. The cards revealed by Sushma Swaraj today clearly suggest that the party will not back down even if it loses Bihar and instead, attacking the Gandhi family will be their go-to option.But has Sushma Swaraj managed to answer the most critical questions plaguing Lalitgate? The simple answer is no. Like an expert politician, she has managed to shift the goalpost, to change the narrative. There lies the biggest achievement of her speech on the floor of the Parliament on Wednesday. She has reminded the Gandhi family that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones at others.

BJP slams Sonia, Rahul after their attack on Sushma Swaraj, takes dig at dynasty politics

BJP on Friday hit back at Sonia and Rahul Gandhi after their attack on Sushma Swaraj, who was called an “expert in theatrics” by Sonia, with the ruling party taking a dig at dynastic politics.

PTI
BJP on Friday hit back at Sonia and Rahul Gandhi after their attack on Sushma Swaraj, who was called an “expert in theatrics” by Sonia, with the ruling party taking a dig at dynastic politics.BJP fielded Union Minister Smriti Irani to defend the External Affairs Minister as well as Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and attack the top Congress leaders on a day the verbal duel between the two parties escalated with both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi making sharp comments against Swaraj over the Lalit Modi controversy. Taking a swipe at the Gandhi dynasty over their attack on Swaraj and the Speaker, she suggested both of them came from normal families.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also read: Sonia calls Sushma expert at theatrics; Rahul asks how much money Lalit Modi paid the Swaraj family”People in this country know that a woman coming from a normal family has to toil hard to make a space for herself in the society and its economy. It is generally seen that children of such women also work hard. Congress may have an exception in the Gandhi family where they don’t have to sweat it out in the sun to earn their livelihood. I completely deny their charges,” she said.Noting that the “boys of Congress” removed their shirt to protest “naked” against the Speaker’s decision to suspend 25 Congress members from Lok Sabha, Irani wondered if this was the value Rahul wanted Congress to absorb. To a question on the attack of Gandhis on Swaraj, she shot back asking if they wanted to say that Parliament had become a theatre by terming her statement in Lok Sabha as “drama”.”Such a statement is disrespect to the dignity of Parliament. Congress party especially Rahul Gandhi should not work to reduce Parliament’s respect,” she told reporters here. She also attacked Congress for its criticism of the Naga peace accord and opposition to the GST bill, saying the former was historic as far the country’s internal security was concerned while GST would led to economic revolution.

100 Rahul Gandhis cannot match PM Modi’s mega wave: Shiv Sena

“Rahul Gandhi has started moving and speaking after his 56-day sabbatical which has restored confidence among Congress workers. However, the question is how long this renewed energy will last before mega wave of Narendra Modi,” the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said in an editorial.

Mocking at the ‘suit-boot ki sarkar’ jibe of the Congress Vice President, Shiv Sena on Monday said such a government is better then a “suitcase one” and stressed that even 100 Rahul Gandhis cannot match Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “mega wave”.The Sena noted that Rahul had started moving and speaking after his sabbatical but said he cannot match Modi.”Rahul Gandhi has started moving and speaking after his 56-day sabbatical which has restored confidence among Congress workers. However, the question is how long this renewed energy will last before mega wave of Narendra Modi,” the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said in an editorial.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Referring to the ‘Coalgate’ and the 2G spectrum scams, the Sena alleged that suitcases filled with cash used to exchange hands during Congress rule.”Modi is absolutely right when he says that ‘suited and booted government’ is much better than a ‘suitcase government,'” it said.Modi has now started attacking the Congress and its leaders. Even if 100 Rahul Gandhis come forward, they cannot match Modi’s mega wave,” the Sena mouthpiece said, and asked if the BJP would agree with the content and facts mentioned in its editorial.The editorial said suits are worn by people around the world and that a country’s image does not improve by wearing scruffy clothes.”The country is witnessing a new spark in Narendra Modi’s tenure. India’s ‘suit wearing people’ (referring to business community) roam the world with confidence and pride which has been improving the country’s financial condition,” the Sena said.

Zee JLF: Sonia Gandhi is not a goddess: Javier Moro

The new epilogue summarises what I think of her governance. I think she did what she had to do. She was faithful to her constituency, the poor people who voted for her; she fought hard to have the social policies implemented against the liberal [economic policies of the] government that was hampering them.

Javier Moro at the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival
Manit
dna
His effigy has been burnt, the Congress leadership has tried to denounce its authenticity, attacked him at press conferences – but Javier Moro, the Spanish writer whose The Red Sari, a fictional biography of Sonia Gandhi has just come out, is unapologetic. “It’s much better to write an unauthorised biography – what can be more boring than an authorised biography,” he asked the crowds gathered to listen to him speak about the controversial book at the front lawns of Diggi Palace on day three of the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival (ZeeJLF). “She may be a private person, very shy. But she’s a public figure and can’t escape being written about,” he emphasised.The Spanish edition of the book, the result of five long years of research that saw him trace her life from the village of Orbassano, where she was born, through her school, college, later England where she met Rajiv Gandhi and later India, was published in 2008. The English version was to have come in 2010, but for the opposition from Sonia Gandhi and the Congress who even tried to stop its release in other English speaking markets, said Moro.And this despite several attempts by Moro to get Gandhi to give the book her blessings. “I met her at a function to felicitate Dominique Lapierre [Moro’s uncle] at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, went up to her and told her jokingly, ‘Madam, four years I have been sleeping with you,'” referring to the years he’d been researching the book. Gandhi however, he said, turned him away, saying, “We never read anything written about us. “It was a pompous and I was surprised because she is not a pompous person,” Moro commented.Despite all the controversy and the Congress campaign, Moro’s book actually paints quite a flattering picture of Gandhi, depicting her as a simple woman from a humble background who fell deeply in love with her husband-to-be, and so left behind her familiar world, disregarding all her father’s dire warnings, to be with him and make his family and country her own.Moro, however, denies the charge – “My book humanises her.” So it gives details about Sonia’s birth, what she was like in school (“docile”), how she met Rajiv, the couple’s struggles to convince her father for whom, says Moro, “marrying an Indian was like marrying a Martian”, the first and subsequent cordial meetings with Indira, their marriage, life in Indira’s Akbar Road household, some bits about the friction between Rajiv and Sanjay, the Emergency and later Rajiv’s joining politics and becoming PM – through all of which Sonia comes through, in Moro’s narrative, as single mindedly focused on Rajiv and their tight, undoubtedly happy family life. But there’s nothing about the grey areas – Bofors, for instance, or the Gandhis’ alleged role in shielding their friend Quattrochi, or even an unsentimental, convincing account of what exactly made her turn to politics.”If I were an Indian reporter, I would have gone into Bofors in greater depth,” Moro cries off, adding that he was not writing the book in order to judge her. Instead, he tends to the other side. “I have never believed the Gandhis were corrupt people. I have seen the house she has lived in, the house she sold five years ago. Yes, they may have had friends who were corrupt,” he said. As for her son, Rahul, Moro is similarly indulgent: “The Gandhis have always been late bloomers.” If, as you say, there is nothing in the book that puts her in a bad light, then why is the Congress so angry?They did it, I think, to please the lady. They possibly could not have read the book when they did that, because there was no English version. It was all hearsay, or taking lines out to context. Was it because your book shows her as a normal person?She is not a goddess, that p**ssed them off. That I had dug into her past, went into the village where she was born. I was trying to be as close to facts as possible. Of course I did not do anything damaging. I think it was mismanaged – and if they mismanage such a little thing, one imagines the results with the elections. Where did she acquire such a sense of eminence grise? “We don’t read…” and all that?That’s because she is surrounded by sycophants. You can resist that for certain number of time, there is a moment when you end up believing it. But you’ve only perpetuated the myth of Sonia…No, I have only humanised her – how did she fare, what were her fears, how did she decorate her house, how efficient was she in her household chores because she did that for years, how ambitious, or un-ambitious was she, how did she dress her kids, how did she help dress her mother-in-law every time she went out. This is human-making; the myth-makers are the Congress who made a marble statue out of her, inhuman, above the world.She’s always been a very simple person, she still is. She cares about family, she finds her peace in little things. Did you have informants within Congress or 10 Janpath? How did you get intimate details like it was Priyanka who got her medicine when she had an asthmatic attack after getting the news of Rajiv’s death? Did she try to stop others from speaking to you?She couldn’t have done anything. I interviewed Christian from Stiglitz, who introduced Rajiv Gandhi to Sonia at Cambridge, because he wanted to talk – there was nothing bad he was going to tell me. We became friends. [Other, later details about events at 10 Janpath] probably came from books by Pupul Jayakar, who was a very good friend of Indira Gandhi’s, and Katherine Frank. I knew that Sonia asthmatic, so it might have been poetic licence to have her daughter bring her medicine. What do you think of her subsequent career as a politician?The new epilogue summarises what I think of her governance. I think she did what she had to do. She was faithful to her constituency, the poor people who voted for her; she fought hard to have the social policies implemented against the liberal [economic policies of the] government that was hampering them. But she didn’t become a citizen of India until much later, in the 1980s.So what? Why would she? It’s only the opposition who made a big fuss about it. When Rajiv became prime minister, he had to have a wife who was Indian. It doesn’t mean she didn’t feel Indian – she’d lived in this country, she knew Hindi, she had two kids here, she wore saris. She had adapted totally.

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