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Aamir to star at festival in Mulayam’s sefa

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The festival will open with a recital by Mulayam Singh Yadav’s younger daughter-in-law, Aparna, an accomplished singer. Ghazal singer Penaz Masani and contestants from reality TV show ‘India’s Got Talent’ will perform on the second day.

Aamir Khan, Mika Singh and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan will star at the ‘Sefai Mahotsav’, the annual jamboree held at chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s native village in Etawah district, to be held from December 26 to January 11.AR Rahman had performed at a concert in Sefai on Mulayam Singh Yadav’s birthday on November 22. Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit had added Bollywood glamour to the Sefai festival last year. In earlier years, too, megastars from the celluloid world, including the Bachchans, have been part of the glitzy show in this remote but privileged village.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Though opposition parties have often slammed the ruling Yadav clan for the alleged “ugly display of power and money”, they have carried on regardless, contending that not a single penny of government funds is spent on the festival.The festival will open with a recital by Mulayam Singh Yadav’s younger daughter-in-law, Aparna, an accomplished singer. Ghazal singer Penaz Masani and contestants from reality TV show ‘India’s Got Talent’ will perform on the second day.A dance drama based on Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s ‘Madhushala’ is to be staged on the same day as Mika Singh’s performance on December 29.Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan would be performing on January 8.A fireworks show will light up new year’s night on December 31, followed by an entertainment night with TV stars on January 1.The grand finale on January 11 is expected to feature some Bollywood biggies.Given Mulayam’s penchant for ‘kushti’, a wrestling championship will be part of the ‘mahotsav’ in keeping with the festival’s tradition.Volleyeball and badminton tournaments besides Indian Gramin Cricket League (IGCL) matches are also planned.A women’s self-defence display, aimed to set a record as the world’s largest exercise of its kind, is planned on January 5.A cycle marathon, folk music programmes and a grand performance by 200 folk dancers would be other highlights of this ‘mahotsav’.

BJP got donation of Rs 200 crore from beef exporter, alleges Azam Khan

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On the issue of cleaning Ganga river, Azam Khan said that Centre should tell in what time will it be cleaned.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan has alleged that the BJP has taken a “donation of Rs 200 crore” from a “beef exporter”, a charge denied by the party.”BJP plays politics on beef. Ironically, it has taken a donation of Rs 200 crore from a big beef exporter. The party should tell how much money was taken in black,” he said, while talking to reporters here last night.Hitting back at Khan, BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak on Friday claimed he was making “baseless accusations” on his party.”He should first give account of money spent in (Mulayam Singh) Yadav’s birthday celebration in Rampur. Khan has himself said that the money came from Dawood,” he further claimed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pathak was referring to Khan’s remarks in Rampur last month when he was asked about the funding of the birthday celebrations there.”Why does it matter where the money for celebrations is coming from? Some have come from Taliban, some from Abu Salem, some from Dawood(Ibrahim), some from terrorist…,” he had said in an apparent sarcastic response.”BJP is the only party, which runs on principles and ideals and such allegations are signs of frustration of the SP leader,” he claimed.On the issue of cow slaughter, Khan said that “whether it’s cow or some other animal, there should be no slaughter”. Referring to the controversial Ram Temple issue, Khan said that BJP was only “doing politics” on the issue and asked the party to tell as to how much “donations” it had taken in its name.”The Ram Temple issue is being raked for political gains. There is a temple. The people have however understood this propaganda now,” he said.On the issue of cleaning Ganga river, Khan said that Centre should tell in what time will it be cleaned.”One year have passed and now four years are left. They should tell the time-frame for cleaning Ganga,”, he added.

PM Modi’s name among world’s top ten criminals: Azam Khan

“If Modi ji can be the Prime Minister, then why can’t I? Have you seen in Google whose name is there in world’s ten top criminals. I have not said this, it is the Prime Minister’s name,” Khan told the media here.

Samajwadi Party leader and Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan made a shocking allegation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi figures in the list of top 10 criminals of the world.”If Modi ji can be the Prime Minister, then why can’t I? Have you seen in Google whose name is there in world’s ten top criminals. I have not said this, it is the Prime Minister’s name,” Khan told the media here.Khan has said that he aspires to become the Prime Minister, since he is the fittest person for the post. He even claimed that Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh would suggest his name for the post at the right time.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I am the fittest person to become the Prime Minister of the country and I aspire to be the Prime Minister. If Narendra Modi resigns and all MPs elect me the Prime Minister, it will send a good message across the country and India will progress each passing day. When the time comes, Mulayam Singh will propose my name,” Khan said.When reporters asked Azam about posters being put up in Lucknow demanding his elevation to the post of deputy chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, he said, “You are insulting me. I want to be become the Prime Minister and I deserve to hold the post. That’s why I have removed posters of me becoming deputy chief minister.”On the CBI raids at the office of Rajender Kumar, the Principal Secretary of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, he said that the Central Government and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have shown disrespect to political beliefs.”Everyone knows that it’s a biased action. I think there should not be raids at office of any chief minister of the country without prior permission,” he added.Khan had earlier accused Prime Minister Modi of his alleged involvement in the 2002 riots in Gujarat and asked him to clarify his position on the same.

I am fittest person to become Prime Minister, says Azam Khan

Khan claimed that even his Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav will support his candidature for the Prime Minister’s post. “When the time comes, Mulayam Singh will propose my name,” he said.

Claiming to be the “fittest” person to become the Prime Minister, senior Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan on Tuesday said that he aspires to take up the top job and that “if Narendra Modi resigns and all MPs elect me the PM it will send a good message across the country and India will progress each passing day”.Khan claimed that even his Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav will support his candidature for the Prime Minister’s post. “When the time comes, Mulayam Singh will propose my name,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When reporters asked Khan about posters being put up in Lucknow demanding his elevation to the post of deputy chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, he said, “You are insulting me. I want to be become the Prime Minister and I deserve to hold the post. That’s why I have removed posters of me becoming deputy chief minister.”Reminded that UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had recently floated the idea of Mulayam as Prime Minister and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi as the deputy Prime Minister at an event in Delhi, Khan said, “I’m the fittest person to become the Prime Minister of the Country and I aspire to be the Prime Minister.”On the CBI raids at the office of Rajender Kumar, the Principal Secretary of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Khan said, “The central government and the BJP have shown disrespect to political beliefs… Everyone knows that it’s a bias action… I think there should not be raids at office of any chief minister of the country without prior permission.”

I’m the fittest person to become Prime Minister: Azam Khan

Azam Khan claimed that even his Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav will support his candidature for the Prime Minister’s post.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Claiming to be the “fittest” person to become the Prime Minister, senior Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan on Tuesday said that he aspires to take up the top job and that “if Narendra Modi resigns and all MPs elect me the PM it will send a good message across the country and India will progress each passing day”.Khan claimed that even his Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav will support his candidature for the Prime Minister’s post. “When the time comes, Mulayam Singh will propose my name,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When reporters asked Khan about posters being put up in Lucknow demanding his elevation to the post of deputy chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, he said, “You are insulting me. I want to be become the Prime Minister and I deserve to hold the post. That’s why I have removed posters of me becoming deputy chief minister.”Reminded that UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had recently floated the idea of Mulayam as Prime Minister and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi as the deputy Prime Minister at an event in Delhi, Khan said, “I’m the fittest person to become the Prime Minister of the Country and I aspire to be the Prime Minister.”On the CBI raids at the office of Rajinder Kumar, the Principal Secretary of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Khan said, “The central government and the BJP have shown disrespect to political beliefs… Everyone knows that it’s a bias action… I think there should not be raids at office of any chief minister of the country without prior permission.”

Sedition case against Aamir Khan in Kanpur

On Wednesday, an advocate filed a case alleging sedition against Aamir Khan in the sessions court in Kanpur. In contrast, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief came out strongly in support of the actor, saying he agreed with what Khan had said.

Hindu Sena activists carry effigy of actor Aamir Khan during their protest against his remark on intolerance in Noida on Wednesday

PTI
Even though actor Aamir Khan is at pains to clarify his statement regarding the alleged growing intolerance in the country, the storm of controversy triggered off by his comments seems far from abating.On Wednesday, an advocate filed a case alleging sedition against Aamir Khan in the sessions court in Kanpur. In contrast, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief came out strongly in support of the actor, saying he agreed with what Khan had said.Meanwhile, the protests against the actor continued with his effigies being burnt at several places across the state.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Kanpur-based lawyer Manoj Dixit has charged the actor with creating a sense of “fear and insecurity” in a particular community with his “irresponsible” remarks. He told reporters that Khan’s “anti-national” statement amounts to sedition.The case has been filed under sections 124 A (sedition), 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on religious grounds) 153 B (Imputations) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the IPC, and would come up for hearing on December 1.The lawyer had filed a case against Aamir Khan earlier, too, alleging that the poster of his film PK was vulgar and unfit for public display. He had also alleged that the film made fun of Hindu deities, hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus. The Supreme Court had dismissed the petition.Speaking out in support of the actor, SP chief Mulayam Singh said there was nothing wrong in what Khan had said. “He has millions of fans, and is an eminent personality. If such a person has said this, he must have surely been hurt. Instead of criticizing him, the government should ask him why he felt hurt, and try to remedy the situation,” he asserted.

Amar Singh luring Mulayam to get berth in Rajya Sabha: Azam Khan

Azam’s comments have come a day after he likened Singh, his arch rival, to garbage.

Amar Singh

Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan on Monday claimed that expelled Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh was trying to “entrap” party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav for a berth in Rajya Sabha.Azam’s comments have come a day after he likened Singh, his arch rival, to garbage. “There were thousands of guest at Saifai. What can be done if someone enters there. He (Amar) is trying to entrap netaji for Rajya Sabha seat,” Khan said. Asked whether he was rejoining the SP and why the party was not clarifying on it, Khan said, “It would be the worst day (if he joins the party again).”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Azam had on Sunday likened Singh to garbage, saying when there is a storm a lot of trash comes along. “A lot of (kuda-karkat) garbage comes along when there is a storm,” Khan had said in Mainpuri yesterday after former the SP leader prominently attended the mega birthday bash of Mulayam at Saifai, his native place. Khan and Singh are at loggerheads and reports that the former MP might be re inducted in the party fold has not gone down well with the UP minister.At the birthday party, Mulayam and Singh offered cake to each other at the main event, snaps of which went viral on the electronic media. During the event, when Singh was asked about absence of Khan, he had said, “Who is saying he was not here? I have myself seen him and he has just left with the Chief Minister.” Singh said, “Even if I am not in the party (SP), I am in his (Mulayam’s) heart. I will not make any more comments.” To a question, Singh had said, “Azam is my friend and I will not say anything against him.”

Akhilesh Yadav’s plan to replicate Bihar’s Grand Alliance in Uttar Pradesh does not reflect ground realities

By Vivek Avasthi

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has started talking of a Bihar-type Mahagathbandhan in the state to take on the BJP in the Assembly elections of 2017. His uncle and powerful minister Shivpal Yadav has started thinking aloud on similar lines. Given the existing political equations in the state, both seem cut off from the ground reality.

Akhilesh seems oblivious to the fact that it was his father and Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav who had initiated the formation of the Mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance in Bihar and then gone on to fight against it. Though the reason behind him leaving the alliance in Bihar is unclear – on the face of it, it was about the number of seats allotted – its astounding victory has left him with egg on his face. Any party would be wary of allying with him now.

Akhilesh Yadav. PTIAkhilesh Yadav. PTI

Akhilesh Yadav. PTI

Also, the political situations in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are different. Nitish Kumar, despite serving two terms as chief minister, was quite popular; there is strong anti-incumbency against the Akhilesh government. Nitish could bank on his reputation as a good administrator, particularly one who brought the law and order in unruly Bihar under control. The law and order situation in UP has worsened ever since the Samajwadi Party won the 2012 Assembly elections.

Coming to potential allies, the bitter relations between the Samajwadi Party and Mayawati‘s Bahujan Samajwadi Party is no secret. The possibility of them coming together is slim. Though more than 20 years have passed since Mayawati was attacked by Samajwadi Party workers at the VIP Guest House in Lucknow, the former does not seem to have forgotten or forgiven the latter for this.

Moreover, the BSP is also aware that the present government has too many weaknesses; allying with it could be politically suicidal. The party is also gung ho about its recent triumph in the Panchayat elections in the state. It has done particularly well in rural segments.

The Congress and Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) are the only other possibilities left. Though the Congress has hit rock bottom in the last few years, it is unlikely that the party would enter into any seat-sharing arrangement with any political outfit. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are representing the state’s Rae Bareli and Amethi constituencies in the Parliament. The party has more leaders than workers at present, but it still does not want to play second fiddle to any other outfit like it did in Bihar. It does not help that Mulayam is rumoured to have quit the Bihar alliance because Nitish and Lalu accorded greater importance to Sonia Gandhi than to him.

Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) also suffered a serious jolt in the last Lok Sabha elections, where it could not manage to open its account. But Ajit Singh is known to be a wily politician. With formidable control on the Jat votebank of Western Uttar Pradesh, he too, is waiting for the 2017 polls. He would be ready to demand his pound of flesh in power sharing if any political party falls short of the magic number to form the government in UP.

At this moment, it does not seem likely that the Samajwadi Party will get any political party of the state to enter a pre-poll arrangement with it and the formation of a Mini Gathbandhan, leave apart a Maha Gathbandhan, is a far-fetched idea.

The Bihar rub-off: Mulayam faces isolation as new secular axis emerges

Lucknow: The ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, already grappling with anti-incumbency sentiment among the people, has received another jolt with the election result in neighbouring Bihar. The party’s alliance not only failed miserably in the battle for Patna, its leader Mulayam Singh Yadav now faces isolation for having quit the Janata Dal(U)-Rashtriya Janata Dal alliance shortly before the elections.

Leaders of the JD(U) and the RJD are not even invoking his name to credit him with the initiative to bring estranged leaders Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav together in the first place. “Mulayam cannot hope to head a national anti-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance now, since the lead has already been taken by Lalu and he announced it in Patna in so many words,” said a Congress leader in Lucknow. Mulayam had broken away from the alliance in September apparently to show his dislike for the inclusion of the Congress in it, and to show his displeasure at the party being given more seats than the SP for the Bihar election.

Mulayam Singh Yadav. PTI

Mulayam Singh Yadav. PTI

“If Mulayam had remained in the Bihar grand alliance, today he would have been sitting in Patna and making the announcement of government-formation in Bihar, but the error of judgment has isolated him among non-BJP parties,” said a UP Congress leader.

While Mulayam’s move has had its impact on the equations he enjoyed in the past with Nitish and Lalu, the SP is set to rethink its strategy for the 2017 Assembly election in Uttar Pradesh. According to sources, the party might soon announce some populist measures as well as schemes for minorities’ welfare. Already, the induction of former Akali Dal leader Balwant Ramuwalia and a few Muslim politicians into the Akhilesh Yadav ministry has set the trend.

At the same time, the SP’s bitter rival Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has acquired the significance as a strong would-be challenger to the SP in the 2017 Assembly election in UP as the rout of the BJP in Bihar has a rub-off in UP. “The people now perceive the SP to be indirectly helping the BJP, and when they want to choose an alternative to the SP government, the BSP is the only option,” reasoned Raj Kumar Singh, a political commentator in Lucknow.

In fact, with the electoral success of the once-bitter rivals, the JD(U) and RJD combine tasting success in Bihar has led to the exciting but near-impossible speculation about whether the SP and BSP could also come together to stop the BJP in the 2017 election.

In August last year, when Mulayam’s efforts to bring together the constituents of the erstwhile Janata ‘parivar’ had been at their peak, he had responded positively to a suggestion by Lalu that the SP and Bahujan Samaj Party should join hands to strengthen non-BJP forces. Mulayam had also said that Lalu could explore means to do so.

However, the BSP was quick to put an end to any such discussion by saying that the SP was a “covert partner” of the BJP and the party would fight the 2017 UP Assembly elections alone. SP and BSP had jointly contested the 1993 Assembly election and had formed a government as well, but the alliance did not last, with the SP chief later calling it a political mistake.

The SP and the BSP represent two different and rival castes, and the two have traditionally been at loggerheads. While Mulayam has the backing of other backward castes and his party is dominated by the Yadavs, Mayawati represents Dalits and of late has attracted the attention of other MBCs and Muslims, as has been evident in the recent Panchayat election results. Also, the OBCs are big land owners in rural UP and also control a majority of agro-industries such as dairy and sugarcane farming. As a caste group, they often face allegations of suppressing Dalits.

UPCC president Nirmal Khatri, however, said that the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party had “tried every trick” to ensure the victory of the BJP in Bihar. “The people of Bihar have struck a resounding blow to these tricks and the people of Uttar Pradesh will give a befitting reply to the two parties in the 2017 election,” he added.

“The Bihar result has also shown the faith of the people in good governance measures by the erstwhile Nitish government. In UP, the SP government faces growing anti-incumbency feelings. The Akhilesh government is seen as being lax on crime control and law and order enforcement,” says Athar Husain, a social scientist heading the Centre for Objective Research and Development (CORD). “On the other hand people still remember how the BSP government headed by Mayawati had kept the crime situation under control during her tenure,” he said.

“The BJP in UP suffers from almost the same weaknesses that hurt it in Bihar, and it does not appear to be prepared to strengthen itself in the next few months for the battle of 2017,” said Singh. In that event, the ruling SP has to prepare itself for a bitter political battle with an aggressive BSP in the coming days.

Bihar Elections 2015: It’s a big fat zero for Mulayam Singh’s Samajwadi Party

“Netaji had called Nitish and Lalu and congratulated them for their victory,” a party leader said.

SP was initially part of the grand alliance but later pulled out of the grouping and contested the Bihar elections alone.

Samajwadi Party did not win even a single seat in Bihar assembly elections. The party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday congratulated Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav on the victory of the grand alliance in the assembly polls. “Netaji had called Nitish and Lalu and congratulated them for their victory,” a party leader said. SP state chief and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and senior party leader Shivpal also congratulated the grand alliance for its thumping victory in Bihar. “Congratulations to Nitishji and Laluji on their historical victory,” Akhilesh posted on Twitter. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>SP was initially part of the grand alliance but later pulled out of the grouping and contested the Bihar elections alone. The JDU-RJD-Congress alliance is set for a massive victory in the 243-seat Bihar Assembly polls, trouncing the BJP-led grouping.

Senior SAD leader Ramoowalia quits party to become minister in UP govt

In a setback to ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), its senior leader Balwant Singh Ramoowalia quit the party and took oath as a Cabinet Minister in Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh today.

Former SAD leader Balwant Singh Raamowalia (right)

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In a setback to ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), its senior leader Balwant Singh Ramoowalia quit the party and took oath as a Cabinet Minister in Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh today.The sudden decision of the 74-year-old Ramoowalia, who has had stint with different parties during his long political career, took the Akalis by surprise. Ramoowalia, who is a former Union Minister, told PTI that he has resigned from the SAD and forwarded his resignation to the party chief.However, SAD’s senior leader Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal said that “we are yet to receive resignation” of Ramoowalia, who was party’s senior Vice-President. He said that he has great respect for SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and could not say no when the latter himself rang him up yesterday and made the offer to him.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: Akhilesh Yadav inducts 12 new faces in his cabinet”I have great respect for Mulayam Singh ji. He rang me up yesterday morning and told me that the SP party wants my services. I could not say no. When I became Minister in the Union Cabinet in 1996, I was not even an MP then, at that time too it was possible because of Mulayam ji,” Ramoowalia, who was SAD’s Senior Vice-President, told PTI over phone.Ramoowalia said that even UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had urged him to make the switch. To a question, the elader said that he did not have any grudge against the Akali Dal.”I just decided to make the move. I have submitted my resignation from the party. To all my colleagues in Akali Dal, I will say that I will always have great respect for them,” he said. SAD’s General Secretary and MP Prem Singh Chandumajra said that Ramoowalia’s decision to leave the party will not affect the Akali Dal.”Ramoowalia did not have long innings in our party. Our party is like a sea. The Akali Dal is not dependent on any one individual,” Chandumajra told PTI. Ramoowalia was Labour Minister in the United Front government at the Centre headed by HD Deve Gowda. He was today sworn in along with 19 other ministers by UP Governor Ram Naik at Raj Bhawan in Lucknow following revamp of Akhilesh Yadav Ministry.Ramoowalia started his political career way back in 1963 as a student leader and was also twice MP from Faridkot and Sangrur. Over a decade back, he also floated his own party and named it as Lok Bhalai Party, but merged it with Akali Dal which he had joined four years back. He lost during the 2015 assembly elections from Punjab when he contested from Mohali as an SAD candidate.Ramoowalia also used to actively take up the cases of the women who were cheated and deserted by their NRI husbands.

Akhilesh Yadav govt in UP to go for massive administrative changes after cabinet reshuffle

While many were expecting changes after the Bihar election results, the SP high command has decided to go ahead with cleaning house.

Akhilesh Yadav

After the Akhilesh Yadav government reshuffled several ministries in the UP cabinet, a massive shake up in the state bureaucracy and party machinery is likely, reports Hindustan Times. The exercise will be carried out at the behest of party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, and with an eye on the 2017 state elections. It is said that the reshuffle was pending since the SP won just 5 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.While many were expecting changes after the Bihar election results, the SP high command has decided to go ahead with cleaning house.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The move has also denied the BJP from going on a poaching spree. According to HT, many of its leaders were in touch with SP ministers and were planning to poach them after winning the Bihar elections. But the SP feels that the Nitish Kumar-led grand alliance has the upper hand in Bihar elections.The SP’s logic is the following. One, voters are more amenable to the party with a declared chief ministerial nominee. Second, the caste card works better if combined with a leader’s personal image. Holding the grand alliance in good stead so far has been Nitish’s image of probity and performance along with RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s Yadav vote bank.Mulayam knows that while the BJP lacks a credible face in the state — Narendra Modi’s popularity eventually may not help in the state elections — Mayawati’s image of an able administrator is still keeping the BSP in the reckoning apart from the voters’ strong desire for change every five years. UP has seen the SP and BSP control power alternatively for two decades.Mulayam Singh believes that while he was the face of the party in the 2012 assembly elections, it is his son, Akhilesh, who will be pitted against Mayawati or Modi in 2017. There have been persistent allegations that while Akhilesh is the CM, real power lies in Mulayam’s hands. Mulayam Singh has to change this perception if Akhilesh is to cultivate the image of a strong and independent leader, said the HT report.

Akhilesh Yadav’s big shot at image makeover: 8 ministers get the boot; 9 stripped off ministries

Lucknow: In a move widely believed to be an attempt at reviving the sagging public image of his government, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday undertook a major reshuffle in his team, dismissing eight ministers and withdrawing the departments from nine ministers. It’s also being seen as a move from Akhilesh to move out of the shadows of his father Mulayam Singh Yadav and have his own stamp on the ministry.

Interestingly, the move was expected after the Bihar assembly elections early next month scheduled to end next month, and the sudden announcement came as a shock to the sacked ministers. The charges of all 17 ministers will vest in the chief minister till the oath-taking of new entrants and allocation of work, which will be held on 31 October.

Akhilesh Yadav. PTIAkhilesh Yadav. PTI

Akhilesh Yadav. PTI

Speculations about this exercise had grown after Akhilesh met the state Governor Ram Naik in Lucknow on Wednesday 28 October to discuss the expansion of his cabinet. According to a notification from the Raj Bhawan, the Governor, on the advice of the Chief Minister, removed Cabinet ministers Raja Mahendra Aridaman Singh (Stamps, Registration and Civil Defence), Ambika Chaudhary (Backward Classes and Handicapped Welfare), Shiv Kumar Beriya (Textiles and Silk), Narad Rai (Khadi and Village Industries), Shivakant Ojha (Technical Education), Ministers of State Alok Kumar Shakya (Technical Education), Yogesh Pratap Singh (Basic Education), and Bhagwat Sharan Gangwar (Micro, Small and Medium Industries).

In a more surprising move, the departments of nine cabinet ministers have been withdrawn. These include Ahmad Hasan (Health and Family Welfare), Raghvendra Pratap Singh ‘Raja Bhaiya’ (Food and Civil Supplies), Awadhesh Prasad (Social Welfare, Scheduled Castes and Tribes Welfare), Paras Nath Yadav (Horticulture and Food Processing), Ram Govind Chaudhary (Basic Education), Durga Prasad Yadav (Transport), Brahma Shankar Tripathi (Home Guards), Iqbal Mahmood (Fisheries and Public Enterprises) and Mahboob Ali (Secondary Education).

Significantly, there has been a complete revamp in the field of education, and there will be new faces handling technical, secondary and basic education.

Whereas the talk of a major overhaul of the ministry had been making the rounds for several weeks, it was believed that it would come next month. Most of the leaders affected in the reshuffle are veterans in the ruling party, and the action against them indicates a sense of urgency on the part of the chief minister to undertake an image makeover. It also indicates that Akhilesh could finally be taking decisions on his own, since most of the individuals included in Thursday’s exercise are considered to be close to the Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav. Notable among them are Raja Mahendra Aridaman Singh, Ambika Chaudhary, Shivakant Ojha, Ahmed Hasan, Raghvendra Pratap Singh, Durga Prasad Yadav and Paras Nath Yadav.

According to party sources, most of the affected ministers were found unable to control growing factionalism in the party in their districts, while others, especially in education and industries, were facing charges of corruption. For the last several months, Mulayam Singh Yadav had been saying at public platforms that many ministers were not doing their jobs properly and had asked Akhilesh to remove them. Mulayam had also been saying that he was receiving complaints from party workers about many ministers failing to get any work done in their areas.

The exercise, it is learnt, is aimed to give Akhilesh greater say in choosing individuals of his choice for the rest of the tenure of his government. Many young SP leaders might be given ministerial berths, while some others considered close to Akhilesh could be elevated to the Cabinet level. Uttar Pradesh has a maximum permissible strength of 60 for the council of ministers. It is being speculated that up to ten members could be inducted into the Akhilesh ministry.

In a quick reaction, the state president of Bharatiya Janata Party Laxmikant Bajpai held a press conference to claim that the state Government would not get any mileage from this move as the “people have made up their minds to get rid of the government itself.” He also asked why the Minister for Mining Gayatri Prajapti had not removed despite several charges against him leveled by officers, local people and the BJP itself. He also wondered whether the chief minister agreed with the recent statements of senior minister Mohammad Azam Khan.

BJP’s spokesman Vijay Pathak said it was surprising that the ministers were dismissed whereas the Chief Minister could easily have asked them to resign.
The state president of the Congress Nirmal Khatri said that it was a “half-hearted” and belated step by the chief minister. He also wondered why many other minister facing serious charges of corruption had not been removed. “It appears that the chief minister has taken this step to settle the caste arithmetic, and the people have seen through it,” he claimed.

Akhilesh Yadav explains rationale behind massive rejig in UP cabinet

8 ministers sacked by UP CM.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who has sacked eight ministers, on Thursday said certain changes were made in his 43-month-old ministry in order to give opportunity to those who want to do “more good work for the people”.”Some people have done good work by remaining in the government. And, there are people who want to do more good work for the people of Uttar Pradesh,” Yadav told reporters here while replying to a question on the reason behind the sacking of the ministers and stripping of nine others of portfolios.Asked whether he sacked the eight ministers, including five of cabinet rank, in order to infuse young blood into the ministry with an eye on the 2017 assembly elections, Yadav said, “This decision cannot be taken now.” Yadav, who met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik after reaching here on a two-day visit to the state, denied that the meeting was the first step towards the proposed Third Front mooted by his father and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”No, no, we did not talk about that,” he said. Later, he left for Puri for a darshan of Lord Jagannath.

Amitabh Thakur submits CD containing alleged threat call by Mulayam Singh Yadav

Earlier on October 13, vigilance officials had also conducted searches at his house.

Amitabh Thakur

Suspended IPS officer Amitabh Thakur on Thursday submitted to the investigating officer a copy of a CD containing the alleged threat call made by SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, in compliance with the order of CJM Lucknow.An FIR under IPC section 506 (criminal intimidation) was registered against Mulayam for allegedly threatening Thakur on July 10 and its CD was submitted to Investigating Officer K N Tewari today on the orders of CJM Lucknow Som Prabha Mishra, Thakur said. Meanwhile, the bank locker of his wife, Nutan Thakur, was seized today following the directions of vigilance officers in connection with an FIR registered against Thakur in the disproportionate assets case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier on October 13, vigilance officials had also conducted searches at his house.

Bihar Polls: NCP quits Third Front after Mulayam Singh Yadav’s ‘pro-BJP’ statement

Tariq Anwar, the face of the Sharad Pawar-led party in Bihar, had said that at the time they joined hands that the Third Front of six parties, including NCP, had come together to uphold secularism by fighting the Congress and BJP.
File Photo
PTI
The Third Front in Bihar was jolted in the midst of the Assembly polls as Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Thursday decided to walk out of the grouping citing “pro- BJP statements” by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. NCP General Secretary and MP Tariq Anwar announced the party’s decision to quit the six-party Third Front at a press conference in Patna.Anwar said the decision was in reaction to Mulayam’s purported comment that there was a wave in favour of BJP and that the saffron party would form the government in the coming days in Bihar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The statement by Mulayam while campaigning for his party’s candidates in Rohtas and Aurangabad in the second phase of voting is sad and unfortunate,” charged the NCP Lok Sabha member from Katihar. The second phase of polling in Bihar is to be held on Friday.Anwar, the face of the Sharad Pawar-led party in Bihar, had said that at the time they joined hands that the Third Front of six parties, including NCP, had come together to uphold secularism by fighting the Congress and BJP.”But the SP chief’s statement to directly or indirectly help BJP betrays that understanding,” he told reporters.SP, NCP, Janadhikar Party of Madhepura MP Pappu Yadav, Samajwadi Janata Party of former Union minister Devendra Prasad Yadav, National Peoples Party of former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma and Samras Samaj Party of former Union minister Nagmani had come together as part of the Third Front.NCP, which had joined the Grand Secular Alliance of JD(U), RJD and Congress initially and was allocated three seats, had quit that grouping charging it was being underestimated by Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar. The party later joined hands with SP, which had also quit the grand secular alliance complaining about Congress’s membership of it.

Suspended police officer Amitabh Thakur accuses Akhilesh Yadav of personal vendetta

Questioning the timing of the raid, Thakur said “I was to attend court today along with my wife, and there is a raid on my home.”

The Uttar Pradesh government had suspended Thakur in July, claiming that the officer was found prima facie guilty of ‘indiscipline’, ‘having an anti-government point of view’ and other charges.

File Photo
Suspended Uttar Pradesh cadre police officer Amitabh Thakur on Tuesday accused state Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav of personal vendetta by allowing a vigilance raid at his residence. “This is a brazen attempt by Akhilesh Yadav to insult me, Director (Vigilance) Bhanu Pratap is doing this on his directions. I have registered an FIR against a person (Mulayam Singh Yadav) who never thought that his wrongdoings would be reported by anyone, but since his son is the chief minister, he is using all his power against me,” Thakur told media here. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Questioning the timing of the raid, Thakur said “I was to attend court today along with my wife, and there is a raid on my home.” Thakur had earlier filed a complaint at the Vibhuti Khand police station against the Bhanu Pratap Singh, Superintendent of Police (Vigilance) G.S. Kanaujia and other officers, accusing them of “creating a false document” during a vigilance inquiry to build a disproportionate assets case against him. The Uttar Pradesh government had suspended Thakur in July, claiming that the officer was found prima facie guilty of ‘indiscipline’, ‘having an anti-government point of view’ and other charges.The suspension came days after Thakur made public an audio recording in which, he alleged, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had threatened him.

dna Must Reads for morning: From PM Mod’s global impact to latest in Bihar polls

Narendra Modi

1. PM Modi has made global impact with his foreign visits: US NGOPraising the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a US-based NGO on Monday said his systematic approach in reaching out to the rest of the world, including his recent visit to Silicon Valley, has made a huge global impact which will bring concrete benefits, specially in terms of foreign investments for India, in the coming future. Read more here.2. At least 38 Indians missing in Iraq are alive: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 38 Indians missing in Iraq for several months are alive, according to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who, however, provided no evidence to back up the claim. Read more here.3. PM Modi asks bureaucrats to work with team spirit, trustPrime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asked bureaucrats to work with mutual team spirit and trust besides encouraging them to go for innovation and make judicious use of technology. Read more here.4. Giving bail to Teesta Setalvad a ‘mistake’, says Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court on Monday termed as a “mistake” on technical grounds an order extending interim protection from arrest granted to Teesta Setalvad and her husband, indicating that the relief was granted by a two-judge bench earlier instead of three. Read more here.5. BJP winning in Bihar, says Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav​It’s not for nothing that Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav is considered a master of flip-flops in politics. He demonstrated his unique ability once again on Monday by speaking out in favour of arch rival BJP, even predicting a win for the BJP in Bihar. Read more here.

Dadri lynching: Will never quit Bishada permanently, says Mohammed Iqlakh’s family

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, meanwhile, claimed the September 28 killing of Iqlakh was the result of “conspiracy” hatched by “three persons of a specific party”.

Mohammed Akhlaq

Notwithstanding the gruesome lynching of Mohammed Iqlakh over rumours of eating and storing beef, his family has no plans to permanently shift from Bishada where it has lived for five generations, his brother said on Thursday as the village held on to fragile peace.Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, meanwhile, claimed the September 28 killing of Iqlakh was the result of “conspiracy” hatched by “three persons of a specific party”.”As you can see, our family members have not shifted anywhere and do not intend to do so either. We are very much in Bishada,” Jamil, Iqlakh’s elder brother, told PTI at the village near Dadri in Uttar Pradesh, about 60 km from the national capital. He, however, said the family may decide to move out for 2-4 months, if required.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gautam Budh Nagar District Magistrate Nagendra Prasad Singh said the family has been provided round-the-clock police protection. On reports that Ikhlaq son Sartaj had moved the family to Delhi, Jamil said, “He (Sartaj) is saying certain things out of concern but that does not mean he will go beyond my words.” Sartaj had on Wednesday said he had moved the family to Delhi on Tuesday night.Also read- Dadri lynching: Two arrested for spreading rumoursThe SP chief, while addressing the media in Lucknow, alleged three persons of a “specific party” had plotted the incident.”The Dadri incident was a pre-planned conspiracy…you will come to know the names. According to the information I have gathered, three persons related to a specific party are behind the incident,” Yadav said, adding a Samajwadi Party delegation would soon be sent to Bishada after which their names will become clear.”We will take stern action once the names are clear, whatever sacrifices the government has to make…even if we have to sacrifice our government, we will crush the communal forces,” Yadav said.Yadav said it was a conspiracy “to oppress the people of a specific community. The SP will not allow this conspiracy to succeed”.”I want to urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has given the slogan of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’, and is also an MP from Uttar Pradesh to think over it seriously,” he said.Related read: Akhlaq’s family demands slapping of NSA against accusedMeanwhile, two persons have been arrested for allegedly spreading rumours on the social media to “disturb communal harmony” in the area. While one person was arrested form Jewar, another was held from Surajpur, District Magistrate N P Singh said. He said the cyber cell of the local administration is keeping a close watch on those spreading rumours who would be arrested.Jamil, irritated over constant media scrutiny, said more than anything else, bringing the culprits to justice was of parmount importance for the family.”We are tired of saying the same thing over and over again, but media still runs unverified news. For us getting justice is the only objective and only administration and court can ensure that,” Jamil said.He said members of the family, specially Ikhlaq’s duaghter and mother were finding it difficult to lead a normal life after the incident.”She (Iqlakh’s mother) is not in a condition to speak any more. What can a person say when her son has been beaten to death before her eyes,” he said.Jamil said they will never leave Bishada permanently where 5 generations of his family have lived and died. Bishada village, about 60 km from the national capital, remained calm today with the District Magistrate Singh and Senior Superintendent of Police Kiran S holding a series of peace committee meetings.

Dadri lynching masterminded by same people behind Muzaffarnagar riots, says Mulayam Singh Yadav

According to the report, he also said that three suspects are under investigation and their names will be revealed once the investigation is done.

Giving a new twist to the Dadri killing, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has alleged that it was a pre-planned ploy by the same people who caused Muzaffarnagar riots, reported Navbharat Times.He alleged that the conspiracy was executed to tarnish the image of the SP government. Without naming any political outfit, Mulayam has said that the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq was politically motivated.”After the Muzaffarnagar riot the SP government was able to gain the trust of the people and Dadri killing was fabricated to breach that trust between the people and UP government,” the report quoted him as saying.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the report, he also said that three suspects are under investigation and their names will be revealed once the investigation is done.Mulayalam also said that he has advised Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav to take the matter seriously.

Dadri lynching incident was a ‘well planned conspiracy’ of BJP, says SP

Lucknow: Samajwadi Party on Tuesday alleged that the Dadri lynching incident was a well-planned conspiracy of the BJP for political gains and said its government was keeping a strict watch on hate mongers trying to orchestrate riots in the state.

The Akhilesh Yadav government also said it did not stop anyone from visiting Dadri, where a man was lynched following rumours of alleged beef consumption, so that people could know the “truth”.

“The incident of Dadri lynching is a well planned conspiracy of BJP for political gains. Despite much hue and cry, we did not stop anyone from visiting the village so that they could know the truth and ground reality,” senior SP leader and cabinet minister Shivpal Yadav said.

Shivpal Yadav. File photo. Image courtesy: ibnliveShivpal Yadav. File photo. Image courtesy: ibnlive

Shivpal Yadav. File photo. Image courtesy: ibnlive

When asked why no one from SP visited the village, Yadav said, “This is to avoid allegations that the SP is managing things there.”

“The family members of the victim met us in Lucknow and they were given all possible help including Rs 45 lakh, security and assistance in getting their new house. We believe in action not playing politics on such sensitive issue,” he said.

“We are keeping an eye on hate mongers. They have orchestrated riots in Muzaffarnagar and trying the same in other parts of the state. Stern directives have been given to district level officers. Now action will also be taken against them if they were found lax,” Yadav, who is SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav‘s brother, said.

“We want to ensure communal harmony, and any attempt against it will be dealt with an iron hand,” he said.

About the opposition’s claim of poor law and order in the state, Yadav said it was a baseless and politically motivated allegation.

“It’s a baseless and politically motivated allegation. Not only investors, the number of tourists visiting the state has also increased. Had there been problem in law and order, this would not have happened,” Yadav said.

On the BSP’s allegation that SP and BJP are hand-in-glove in creating communal divide, Yadav said, “It’s laughable that a party which itself formed the government twice with the help of BJP is making such an allegation”.

“BSP has lost its base in UP. No one is discussing it and it could not prove itself to be a strong opposition. It has only allegations left for others,” Yadav said.

PTI

CBI at Mayawati’s doorstep in NHRM scam? Just a red herring for some political give-and-take

After years of investigation into the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) claims to have stumbled upon a new evidence which will require the inquisition of Mayawati, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief.

The scam took place during Mayawati’s regime between 2007 and 2012.  A series of mysterious killings of a few prime accused, including some medical officers, and the arrest of top officers such as IAS official Pradip Shukla  for partaking in defalcation of government money, shook her regime in its dying years. But the CBI stayed miles away from Mayawati.

PTI imagePTI image

PTI image

There is little doubt that the CBI’s deliberate and selective leakage of the news that it intends to interrogate Mayawati is a red-herring. Those investigating the case admit that it would be next to impossible for the investigating agency to gather prosecutable evidence against the BSP chief.

Apparently the CBI is relying on changing testimonies of one of the prime accused-turned-approver Girish Malik. Malik, a scam kingpin, was close to Babu Singh Kushwaha, who was then a close confidant of Mayawati and in-charge of the implementation of the NRHM. For the past three years, Malik has been changing his statements and indicting people randomly. His most immediate allegation, according to CBI sources, is that Mayawati bifurcated the health ministry in order to facilitate swindling of public money.

A close scrutiny of documents by top CBI sleuths found this theory untenable in the court of law.

“It is very difficult to prove that the entire cabinet was involved in the scam,” they point out, referring to the fact that bifurcation of a ministry would have had to pass through the cabinet.

Top CBI officials were always hesitant to take this investigation to the doorstep of Mayawati not only for political reasons, but also for want of credible evidence against her in court.

It seems quite unlikely that ground reality has changed. The CBI’s move prima facie seems to be hardly guided by the requirement of the investigation. In fact it would have done good to the image of the CBI if Mayawati had been interrogated at the beginning of the probe. But a favourable and lenient Manmohan Singh government seemed to have provided a protective cover. With the change of guard at the Centre, the threat of interrogating her by the CBI might just be another point of political leverage in the hands of the incumbent government.

Strangely enough, Mayawati’s position is not dissimilar to her bete noire in UP politics, Mulayam Singh Yadav. Of late incriminating evidence has surfaced that indicates the involvement of family members and close associates of Mulayam Singh Yadav in the Yadav Singh scam. Yadav Singh, a promoted engineer-in-chief of Noida (adjoining Delhi), was nabbed by IT officials with cash worth crores.

Subsequent investigations revealed that he amassed huge wealth and partnered with influential members of the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in his dubious ventures. Despite stiff resistance from the Akhilesh Yadav government, the Allahabad high court referred the case to the CBI marking the beginning of Mulayam Singh Yadav‘s travails. Mulayam’s breaking away with the grand secular alliance in Bihar and going alone like the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is seen as a politically placatory gesture towards the BJP.

The latest leak just reaffirms the CBI’s impression that governments will come and go but the CBI will remain a ‘caged parrot’. Forever.

Serve people instead of concentrating on making money, says Mulayam Singh Yadav

“Those in politics, instead of serving the people, are doing business. It has crossed limits,” Yadav said.

“I want to present an ideal in the country that SP is not a party which indulges in corruption or give and take,” he said.

File Photo
With Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh apparently weighing heavily on his mind, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday bluntly told his party leaders to serve the people instead of concentrating on making money. He also took District Magistrates to task on illegal mining at various places in the state, where Assembly elections are due in early 2017.”Those in politics, instead of serving the people, are doing business. It has crossed limits. Has anyone seen any member of my family taking contracts, if so tell me,” Yadav said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He was addressing a public meeting after inaugurating the first 660 MW unit of 1980 MW supercritical thermal power plant commissioned by Lalitpur Power Generation Co Ltd (LPGCL), a part of Shishir Bajaj led-Bajaj Group. “Ours is a party of poor, principles and not those who only concentrate on earning money,” he said.The SP supremo said, “There are certain very serious issues, which I am telling and I want to warn. Illegal mining is continuing unabated and I have got all the information. The DMs will be held responsible if illegal mining takes place. Even leaders involved in it will be sent to jail.” His reference was to Bundelkhand region, which is notorious for illegal mining.”I am the national president of SP. We want to present an ideal in the country that SP is not a party which indulges in corruption or give and take,” he said.Yadav said that on the question of farmers, SP was the lone party which raised its voice against land acquisition against erstwhile Congress-led UPA government. “It was our MP who tore the copy of the bill in Parliament,” he said.

Probe in Yadav Singh matter indicates complex layers of graft

The agency has registered two separate cases against the then Chief Engineer Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway and his family members for alleged corruption and amassing assets disproportionate to the known sources of income.

Suspended chief engineer of Noida Yadav Singh was allegedly running a well-oiled machinery of bribery with fixed percentage of illegal gratification percolating down to a chain of officials in the authority.It has come to light during investigation by various agencies including Income Tax department and CBI that bribes were not limited to Singh alone but transferred to other officials of the department in a scrupulous manner for which detailed records were maintained, sources said.The sources involved in the investigation caught hold of a diary which indicated that about five to 10 per cent of the total contract value was allegedly taken from contractors which was distributed among officers under Singh with the officers at the lowest level getting 0.05-0.10 per cent (five paise to 10 paise per Rs 100 of bribe) of the booty in which bribe amount remains about Rs 50 lakh or above.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the investigators, there were allegedly eight layers of officers of varying seniority with Singh being on the top among which the bribe money was allegedly getting distributed.The agencies are also going through messages and communications exchanged from a phone, believed to be of Singh, through which he had recommended names of several contractors and builders to be included in the “eligibility list” of Noida.The sources said that CBI is looking into the ownership details of two companies– Mccon Infra Pvt Limited and Meenu Creations– allegedly linked with associates and relatives of Singh. Several Kolkata-based companies and real estate developers are also under the scanner.They said the agency will also look into the changes in the share-holding patterns of the companies linked with Singh in an attempt to understand the alleged political clout he enjoyed during his stint in Noida. Sources in CBI said they have got documents from Income Tax department and both the departments are coordinating on the issue.CBI is questioning Singh and his family members– wife Kusum Lata, son Sunny Yadav and daughter Garima Bhushan, all suspects named in the FIRs registered by the agency against him.The agency has registered two separate cases against the then Chief Engineer Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway and his family members for alleged corruption and amassing assets disproportionate to the known sources of income.It is alleged that during searches by Income Tax department in November, 2014, several incriminating documents and 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 crore (approx) was allegedly recovered from one of his associates, which also reportedly belonged to then Chief Engineer,” CBI spokesperson had said.The official said cases have been registered on the direction of the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court which directed it to conduct an investigation into allegations of corruption and amassing of unaccounted money.They 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 CBI FIR said.The high court had ordered a CBI probe on the petition of activist Nutan 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 said in a report besides being involved in infrastructure projects such as Ganga water supply, sewage pipelines, drainage, hospitals, parks and the metro.

Bihar polls 2015: After ditching Janata Parivar, Samajwadi Party forms third front

The announcement came nearly a fortnight after Mulayam Singh Yadav-led SP walked out of the Janata Parivar in Bihar following differences over the number of seats.

Mulayam’s Samajwadi Party, which has negligible presence in Bihar, had been given five seats by the JD(U)-RJD-Congress alliance.

Days after breaking away from the ‘Grand Alliance’ of JD(U)-RJD-Congress, Samajwadi Party on Thursday announced formation of a coalition along with NCP, NPP and Samajwadi Janata Dal (Democratic) to contest the upcoming Bihar elections as ‘Third Front’. “We will contest Bihar Assembly polls with SJD-D led by former Union Minister Devendra Prasad Yadav, NCP and NPP headed by former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma as Third Front alternative in Bihar,” SP National General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav said addressing a joint press conference with leaders of these parties.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The coordination committee of Third Front will meet in Patna tomorrow to decide candidates for the first phase of the Bihar polls for which filing of nominations have already started,” Devendra Yadav said. 49 of the 243 Assembly seats will go to polls in the first phase on October 12 and the last date for filing of nominations for first phase is September 23. The announcement came nearly a fortnight after Mulayam Singh Yadav-led SP walked out of the Janata Parivar in Bihar following differences over the number of seats.Samajwadi Party, which has negligible presence in Bihar, had been given five seats by the JD(U)-RJD-Congress alliance. Former RJD leader Raghunath Jha, who formally joining SP at the venue of the press meet, said he left Lalu Prasad’s party as he was not getting “due respect” there. “I thank Mulayam Singh Yadav for accepting me in his party fold,” he said.Asked about the Front’s chief ministerial candidate, Ram Gopal Yadav said it has not been decided so far. About parting ways with the alliance of Lalu and Nitish Kumar (JD-U), Ram Gopal said “..It (alliance) was a conspiracy. Had we joined them, we would have not only lost the symbol but also the party.”On allegation of rival parties that SP was helping BJP in Bihar by splitting of opposition votes, Ram Gopal said, “Let them make allegations. In politics, such charges are made.” Besides Jha, JD(U) MLC Munna Singh joined SP. Assembly polls in Bihar will be fought in five phases between October 12 and November 5 in a high-stakes battle, seen as a major popularity test for NDA spearheaded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and incumbent Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is in alliance with RJD and Congress.Polls to the 243-seat Assembly would be held on October 12, 16, 28, November 1 and 5. Counting to votes will take place on November 8.

Court orders filing of FIR against Mulayam Singh Yadav for threatening IPS officer Amitabh Thakur

Thakur had approached the court after Uttar Pradesh police had rejected his plea for an FIR against Mulayam for allegedly threatening him on phone with dire consequences

The IG-rank officer had completely disagreed with the enquiry conducted by police into the purported phone call by Mulayam (File Photo)

PTI
A local court on Monday ordered police to file an FIR against Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav for allegedly threatening an IG-rank officer Amitabh Thakur and probe the incident that triggered a massive row. Chief Judicial Magistrate Som Prabha while accepting Thakur’s application under 156(3) IPC directed SHO Hazratganj to file the FIR under relevant sections and probe the matter and also apprise the court. Section 156(3) IPC empowers a magistrate to direct police to file an FIR. The court observed that after going through facts provided by Thakur, it appeared to be a case under 506 IPC (punishment for criminal intimidation). “According to report of SHO, Hazratganj, the application was moved for gaining publicity. However, he did not inform whether the FIR was registered in the matter or not,” it observed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thakur had approached the court after Uttar Pradesh police had rejected his plea for an FIR against Mulayam for allegedly threatening him on phone with dire consequences, saying the allegations have not been substantiated. Inspector of Hazratganj police station Vijay Mal Singh Yadav in his letter of July 17 stated that the complaint presented by Thakur against Mulayam was inquired into and it was found that the allegations have not been substantiated and hence it was being rejected. The letter was handed over to Thakur’s wife Nutan at their residence on July 23.The IG-rank officer had completely disagreed with the enquiry conducted by police into the purported phone call by Mulayam and said the letter did not mention any reason for the conclusion it had reached. The letter “seems to have been drawn superficially, quite visibly under pressure,” he had said.After no FIR was registered by Hazratganj police, Thakur had sent an application to SSP Lucknow on July 22. In his application to the SSP, Thakur had said Mulayam’s statements were “definitely criminal intimidation”, which is a cognisable offence and hence he had sought registering of FIR. The UP government had suspended Thakur on July 13, hours after he approached the Union Home Ministry seeking a CBI probe into the rape case slapped against him.Thakur, who has ever since been locked in a tussle with the state government, was served a 200-page charge sheet and a vigilance inquiry was initiated against him. Thakur had stirred a political storm by releasing the text and audio of the purported phone conversation with Mulayam on the night of July 10.

Bihar polls 2015: Grand alliance a sinking ship: Ravi Shankar Prasad

He claimed the RJD supremo was now trying to mollify his SP counterpart by giving a few more seats from JD(U) and Congress quotas.

Lalu’s and Nitish’s politics rooted in “dynasty, opportunism and patronage to corruption”, he said

File Photo
Bihar’s JD(U)-RJD-Congress alliance has turned into a sinking ship after Samajwadi Party’s exit, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Sunday. “The grand alliance is a sinking ship as its captain Mulayam Singh Yadav has deserted it ahead of Bihar Assembly polls,” he told reporters. Prasad trashed JD(U) state unit president Bashisth Narayan Singh’s alleged remark that the SP chief had walked out of the grand alliance under pressure from the BJP and said it was an “insult” to Mulayam Singh Yadav. He said Singh’s remark reflected the “desperation” in the alliance.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asked if Mulayam’s decision to exit the coalition was the outcome of reported meetings between top SP and BJP leaders recently, Prasad, Union Minister for Communication and Information Technology, shot back, saying “in that case RJD supremo Lalu Prasad should then explain why he along with the SP chief had received Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his daughter’s wedding earlier this year. “What to make of the photo of Lalu and Mulayam receiving the Prime Minister at Lalu’s daughter’s wedding function earlier this year?” Prasad said, noting that such meetings between leaders had no bearing on political decisions.He claimed the RJD supremo was now trying to mollify his SP counterpart by giving a few more seats from JD(U) and Congress quotas. Prasad assailed Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for criticising Modi’s Rs 1.25 lakh crore package for Bihar and following that up with his own Rs 2.7 lakh crore vision document for development of the state over the next five years.The Minister wondered why Kumar had been demanding a special package for Bihar from the Centre when he had the capacity to raise funds for his own package. Prasad accused Kumar and Lalu of trying to prevent the Prime Minister from fast-tracking Bihar’s development to sustain their politics rooted in “dynasty, opportunism and patronage to corruption”. Lalu, he alleged, was speaking the language he used to speak in the 1990s to “create social strife and put different castes on a collision course”.The Union Minister claimed the wind of change blowing in Bihar was slowly transforming into a storm in favour of the NDA. “The momentum is clearly swinging in the NDA’s favour and it does not matter whether our adversaries are three or 30,” he asserted.Responding to questions from journalists, Prasad said the BJP parliamentary board would take a call on whether to project anybody as the chief ministerial face of the alliance. He said seat-sharing talks among NDA allies–BJP, LJP, RLSP and Hindustani Awam Morcha of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi– would be concluded amicably.

BJP ally Kushwaha says no tussle in NDA over seat sharing

Asked whether NDA did the right thing in plunging the poll arena without announcing its chief ministerial candidate when the rival secular alliance had a seasoned campaigner in Nitish Kumar, he said,”It was the best option.” “Opting to fight the election under Modi’s leadership was the best option and we went for that. There is no challenge..

Seat sharing will not be a contentious issue for NDA partners in Bihar polls, BJP ally RLSP said on Sunday as it backed the alliance’s decision not to project a chief ministerial face, insisting it went for the “best option” to contest under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership.RLSP chief and Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha also claimed that with Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party and NCP walking out of the grand alliance, BJP-led NDA was bound to benefit.Downplaying his party’s stand that BJP contest only 102 of the state’s 243 assembly seats leaving the rest for allies, Kushwaha said,”There was a demand, which we had aired in past.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Now the talks are on. So it won’t be appropriate to talk on this subject outside.”I have no intention to bargain. Our only purpose is that there should be an NDA government in Bihar. We are working in this direction. We are not trying to do any pressure politics or make a bargain,” Kushwaha, Minister of State for HRD told PTI in an interview, rubbishing reports of strain in NDA over seat sharing as “propaganda” by rivals.Asked whether NDA did the right thing in plunging the poll arena without announcing its chief ministerial candidate when the rival secular alliance had a seasoned campaigner in Nitish Kumar, he said,”It was the best option.” “Opting to fight the election under Modi’s leadership was the best option and we went for that. There is no challenge…Nitish is not a challenge for NDA today,” he said.Kushwaha, whose party had a few months back demanded that he be declared NDA’s Chief Ministerial candidate, however ducked questions on the issue.When asked whether he expects the BJP to remain open to making even a non-BJP leader the Chief Minister, he said,” Right now this is not the subject in the election. NDA has decided that election in Bihar will be fought under the leadership of Narendra Modi. This issue will be looked at when the time for it comes.”Kushwaha also said BJP had “no say” in running the government when it was an alliance partner of JD(U).”Remaining in alliance and heading the government are two different things. Everyone knows all policy decisions were being taken by Nitish Kumar. Only Nitish’s diktat ran. BJP was in the government just in name and not in reality,” he said.Kushwaha, a prominent leader of the Koiri community, which constitutes around five per cent of the electorate, trashed suggestions in the media that the Samajwadi Party walked out of the secular alliance in Bihar at BJP’s bidding and said it was the result of the “arrogance” of Nitish Kumar.He said the exit of Sharad Pawar’s NCP and the decision of the Left to contest separately would benefit the NDA.”Naturally, if Mulayam Singh and NCP have come out and Left did not go with them, it will benefit us. They tried to stop the division of anti-NDA votes. They failed. So, naturally, this will benefit the NDA,” he said.Kushwaha said after the exit of SP and NCP, the secular alliance should removed the prefix “maha” (grand) as the JD(U)-RJD-Congress combination can no longer be called a “grand alliance”.The Union Minister said the assembly polls in Bihar will be centred around development and social justice.”Both themes will matter in Bihar polls. But People, especially the youth, are more focused on development this time.”Development will be a big issue, which we also want. Social equations will have a role in the election and, from that point of view as well, the NDA is very balanced,” he said, rubbishing claims that with Mandal heavyweights like Lalu and Nitish arrayed against it, the BJP-led alliance would not be able to have a substantial share in the OBC pie.Asked whether the coming together of Nitish and Lalu, who had contested the Lok Sabha polls separately, will not benefit their alliance, Kushwaha said,”Politics does no go like simple mathematics that if two entities got 10 and 15 votes separately, they will get 25 when they are together.”Votes that Nitish Kumar got then were basically anti-Lalu votes. Today he is with Lalu. So all those who voted for him for being anti-Lalu, will now not vote for him,” he said.

Mulayam pulls out of Bihar’s grand alliance, miffed with Nitish for cosying up to Sonia, Rahul

The grand coalition in Bihar seems to have come unstuck, as the Samajwadi Party has decided to fight the state Assembly elections alone. SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav who attended Nitish Kumar’s Swabhiman rally in Patna on 30 August,  announced in a conference in Lucknow on Thursday that his party was parting ways with the JD(U)-RJD-Congress Mahagathbandhan.

Although there may be attempts by the SP to renegotiate political space among its former partners in the coalition in the coming days, the damage to the anti-BJP Mahagathbandhan in Bihar will be irreparable. The genesis of this trouble lies in the fact that Nitish invited Congress president Sonia Gandhi to the Patna rally.

Mulayam Singh Yadav. PTI

Mulayam Singh Yadav. PTI

Ram Gopal Yadav is believed to have conveyed his displeasure to Kumar over his continued overtures to Sonia-Rahul, at the expense of other allies who actually have socialist backgrounds. Apparently SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav did not attend the rally ostensibly to express his reservation over the show, and sent his brother Ram instead to represent the SP.

However the coalition’s show of strength at the rally also exposed its own political vulnerabilities.

Lalu Yadav’s barbs at Sonia and Nitish did not go unnoticed in the audience. In this context, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s decision to go it alone in the Assembly polls is a calculated strategy to pin down Nitish, who has projected himself as the sole leader of the coalition.

The adverse electoral impact of Mulayam’s decision will be felt most by Nitish.

Although the SP does not have a large support base in the state, party candidates can wean away some votes in the districts adjoining Uttar Pradesh. And there is also the possibility that the SP will not erode the RJD’s electoral base, and instead hurt the prospects of the JD(U) candidates. Given the family relations that Lalu and Mulayam have, the immediate target seems to be Nitish, who is practically hemmed in.

Those who watched Mulayam switching sides at his convenience will find a great deal of consistency in his conduct. Under the UPA regime, Mulayam developed a cosy relationship with the government and bailed it out on many occasions, particularly on the India-US nuclear deal. Now, the SP supremo is believed to have developed an equally comfortable personal relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which is precisely why the SP supported External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, when she found herself embroiled in the Lalit Modi episode.

If insiders within the SP are to be believed, Mulayam has been nursing a grudge against Nitish since the time the JD (U) chief began to get along well with Rahul Gandhi. Nitish, then, even considered the option of forging an alliance with the Congress alone. Although Mulayam defused the situation back then by declaring Nitish as the alliance’s chief ministerial candidate, he chose to bide his time and pick his moment to strike back.

Bihar Polls 2015: Samajwadi Party pulls out of Janata Parivar; JD(U) says differences will be sorted out

SP announced its decision on Thursday to leave the alliance saying it felt “humiliated” as it was not consulted while deciding seats and would contest the Assembly election in the state on its own.

JD(U) said on Thursday it will sort out differences with Mulayam Singh Yadav over seat sharing in Bihar after Samajwadi Party pulled out of the ‘grand alliance’ in the poll-bound state saying it felt “humiliated”, days after NCP quit the anti-BJP coalition. Party President Sharad Yadav merely said “the country is full of internal contradictions” when asked whether it was a major setback to his attempt to bring all non-BJP parties together.SP announced its decision on Thursday to leave the alliance saying it felt “humiliated” as it was not consulted while deciding seats and would contest the Assembly election in the state on its own. NCP had pulled out of the alliance last month even as Left parties have decided to contest Bihar polls separately.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Soon after SP announced in Lucknow that it will contest Bihar election separately, the JD-U Chief told a press conference here said he will find a “solution” after talking to “Bhai (brother) Mulayam”.”I have seen that. But let me tell you our alliance will remain. We will talk. We will find a solution. I will not go into details but let me assure you it will not hurt our alliance. We are old very old colleagues. I have to talk to Bhai (brother) Mulayam. I have talked to him once. I will talk to him again. We will resolve this finally,” Yadav said.SP Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav is also the leader of the proposed umbrella party of six erstwhile constituents of Janata Parivar. The JD-U leader dismissed suggestions of SP “playing into the hands of BJP”.”This angle is not correct. Mulayam Singh Yadav is not someone new. There was a time when he had even got the acronym of Maulana Mulayam. Please do not take out any such meaning. Political leaders meet among themselves. Even I meet leaders of many parties. Does that I mean I am working in tandem with them. We will solve it since a probem as arisen. You have to see the country is full of internal contradictions,” Yadav said.He was responding to a question whether he suspects that SP was playing the BJP script by walking out of the alliance in Bihar. Mulayam Singh Yadav had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi some time back while party General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav reportedly met BJP Chief Amit Shah on Monday before a meeting of NDA constituents.Ram Gopal Yadav announced the party’s decision to quit the alliance alleging that the bigger parties in Bihar did not consult it while declaring seats. The SP leader said the party was not happy with the paltry two or five seats offered out of the 243 in the state Assembly.On the future of ‘Janata Pariwar’, he said at that time itself he had stated that he would not sign the “death warrant” of the party.

Mulayam Singh Yadav all set to spoil Nitish Kumar-Lalu Lalu Prasad Yadav show in Bihar

Earlier, after a meeting with the PM on Friday, Mulayam had declared that he would not participate in the “maha-gathbandhan” rally in Patna on Sunday.

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav may once again display his capability of doing the flip he is well known for in national politics. Party sources say the SP is all set to put up “dummy” candidates on 50 seats in the Bihar Assembly poll which would ultimately help the BJP which is facing a tough challenge from the “maha-gathbandhan” (grand alliance) of backward leaders Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar with the Congress.SP national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav’s meeting with BJP president Amit Shah on Monday – just two days after Mulayam met PM Narendra Modi – has fuelled speculation that the SP could well deliver a jolt to the alliance it was originally supposed to join. The meeting between Ram Gopal, known to be the party’s “think tank”, with Shah was a hush-hush affair and became known through sources only on Wednesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, after a meeting with the PM on Friday, Mulayam had declared that he would not participate in the “maha-gathbandhan” rally in Patna on Sunday.While it was Mulayam who had sewn together the JD (U)-RJD-Congress alliance against the NDA in Bihar, his party was not given any seats to contest. Lalu Yadav had tried to pacify a miffed Mulayam by allocating five seats from his quota. But, this was not acceptable to the SP, which is now reportedly preparing to contest 50 seats.The SP parliamentary board would take a final decision on the number of seats it would contest on Thursday. That it would put up candidates against the JD (U)-RJD-Congress alliance is “final”, says a senior party leader.This is not the first time that the SP’s tactical role would benefit the BJP. In the last Bihar election, too, the SP had contested 146 of the total 240 seats. Though the SP did not win a single seat, it did fracture the anti-BJP vote, which resulted in the non-BJP parties losing seats.The SP used the same strategy in other state elections, too. In Maharashtra, it contested 22, in Gujarat 67 and in Madhya Pradesh 164 seats. It scored a duck in all these states, but did help BJP candidates scrape through to victory at several places.The Bihar election is arguably the toughest challenge Modi has faced since taking over as PM. In BJP circles, it is being seen as a prestige issue for him. Besides, having Mulayam on his side would also help Modi steer the GST Bill through in a special session of Parliament.Mulayam, too, needs to keep Modi in good humour because of the CBI inquiry into the DA case pending against him in the Supreme Court. The CBI is also probing the multi-crore Yadav Singh scam in which top SP politicians are allegedly involved.Mulayam, known for his ability to execute U-turns in politics whenever convenient, seems all prepared to put up a display of this ability once again.

Twitter reacts to ‘Sardar’ Hardik Patel

The youngster claims that he wants to be like Sardar Patel and also considers Bal Thackeray and Arvind Kejriwal to be his idols.

Young Master Patel loves guns

Hardik Patel, the 22-year-old who has been demanding reservations for Patels has become one of the most-talked about people in the country. In a recently interview with India Today, he talked about various things including his belief that India should have US-style gun laws which he felt would help Indians fight crime. The youngster also said that he wanted to become Sardar Hardik Patel and be the real deal, not a statue.He also criticised the Gujarat model which he claimed made the rich richer and poor poorer. He also talked about his idols – Bal Thackeray and Sardar Patel – saying he liked it when people called him Sardar Hardik. Here’s how Twitter reacted to his claims:<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Some jokes had to be made about his name.When his paid Twitter agents got caught!Some found it the perfect moment for Some anti-Modi commentsWhen Mulayam seemed like a better option. While he had to be compared to other popular figures.Some jokes had to be made about Hardik ‘turning up’ at other politician’s rallies. Just like the time when we saw the MSG trailer, we are really at a loss to say anything about this. We shall instead leave you with this image:Posted by Hardik Patel Patidar on Monday, 24 August 2015

Bihar polls: Samajwadi Party to contest 5 seats, says Lalu

Patna: RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Saturday announced that Samajwadi Party will contest on five seats in the crucial Bihar Assembly elections scheduled in September-October.

“We have decided to give three seats earlier allotted to NCP and two others from the RJD quota to SP in the Bihar elections,” Prasad told reporters.

Lalu Prasad Yadav. AFPLalu Prasad Yadav. AFP

Lalu Prasad Yadav. AFP

“The way they (secular alliance) ditched us while deciding on seats, it seems there is no room left for talks with it…It seems we are left with only one option – that is to form a third front with Left and other parties,” NCP general secretary Tariq Anwar had said on Thursday.

SP, though, is keeping up suspense over the participation of party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav in tomorrow’s rally of the grand “secular” alliance.

Bihar SP chief Ramchandra Singh Yadav said Mulayam called party secretary general Kiranmoy Nanda to Lucknow on hearing the announcement made by Prasad.

“We are awaiting a final word on participating in the rally tomorrow,” the Bihar SP chief told reporters.

“Nanda was supposed to be present in the press conference here, but he was called to Lucknow by ‘Netaji’ (Mulayam). We are awaiting party decision’s on tomorrow’s rally,” he said.

Asked if he was thankful to Lalu Prasad for allotting five seats to SP, he said “Personally, I regard Laluji as a guardian, but a decision on seats and participation in tomorrow’s rally would come from Lucknow.”

Ramchandra had led an indefinite dharna after the party was denied any seat in the grand “secular” alliance on 12 August, when it was decided that RJD and JD-U will contest 100 seats each of total 243 Bihar assembly, and Congress 40 seats and three seats were left for NCP.

PTI

Kin of Badaun victims want apology from Mulayam for saying case was ‘blown out of proportion’

Badaun: Family members of two sisters, who were allegedly raped and murdered in Badaun, on Wednesday sought an apology from Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav for saying that the case was “blown out of proportion” and it was a “cold-blooded” murder by the girls’ cousins for property.

Mulayam Singh Yadav. PTI

Mulayam Singh Yadav. PTI

“We want an apology from him. He is trying to save the accused of his same caste. If he does not apologise, we will file a defamation suit against him,” a family member Sohanlal said in Badaun.

“The cousins, of whom Yadav is talking about, are between five and 14 years. One brother is 22-year-old, who was in Delhi at the time of the incident,” he said.

Sohanlal’s reaction came after Yadav kicked a fresh controversy, saying while one man commits rape, four are named
to “settle scores” and that rape by four persons was not “practical”.

To stress his point, Yadav cited the alleged rape and murder case of Badaun stating that it was “blown out of proportion”.

“The CBI probed the case and found out that rape was not committed at all. They were cold-blooded murders by the victim’s cousins for property,” he said.

PTI

Rahul Bose to play ‘Netaji’ in film on Mulayam Singh Yadav

The ‘muhurat’ of the film simply titled ‘Netaji’ (a fond reference to Mulayam), which sketches the life and times of the SP chief, was performed here on Wednesday. Netaji’s younger brother and UP minister Shivpal Singh Yadav released a poster of the film on the occasion.

Mulayam’s brother Shivpal Singh Yadav releases a poster of the film

Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav’s political shenanigans are not going to be limited to Lok Sabha or his home turn in Uttar Pradesh for long. The one-time wrestler is all set to display his hold and snatch expertise in politics on celluloid.The ‘muhurat’ of the film simply titled ‘Netaji’ (a fond reference to Mulayam), which sketches the life and times of the SP chief, was performed here on Wednesday. Netaji’s younger brother and UP minister Shivpal Singh Yadav released a poster of the film on the occasion.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The film will focus on Netaji’s trials and tribulations from his humble beginnings in the small non-descript village of Sefai in Etawah to his achieving the stature of a national level politician,” says the director Vivek Dikshit, who himself hails from Etawah, and has been a keen observer of the rapid growth in Mulayam’s stature over the years.Mulayam’s role is likely to be essayed by Rahul Bose, while Naseeruddin Shah has been approached to play Yadav’s ‘guru’ Ram Manohar Lohia. The film would include real-life footage of Mulayam, too.Shivpal Yadav was visibly chuffed as he told reporters: “It’s a moment of pride for all of us that Netaji would now be seen on the big screen. He has struggled all his life as a true socialist, and truly deserves this honour.”The shooting of the film is expected to begin soon, and most of it would be done in UP for obvious reasons, those involved in the making of the film shared.

In a U-turn, Mulayam Singh Yadav disrupts Lok Sabha proceedings

A shrewd politician, Mulayam Singh early morning summoned his four Lok Sabha MPs, asking them to team up with the RJD’s Jaiprakash Narain Yadav, who had given notice for releasing the caste census data.

A day after breaking ranks with Opposition and then earning praise from none but Prime Minister Narendra Modi for serving an ultimatum to Congress for disruptions in Parliament, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Tuesday did a U-turn. He not only led MPs in disruption of Lok Sabha on Tuesday, but also warned the government he would block Parliament functioning unless the government releases the findings of a vast census that collected socio-economic and caste data. He along with Rastriya Janata Dal (RJD) MPs took to the well of the House after registering protest against government for not releasing the caste-data. Yadav, however, made it clear he was steering away from issues being raked by Congress that is resignation of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhra Raje for allegedly helping Lalit Modi and Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan over Vyapam issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Just an hour earlier, Prime Minister Modi, while addressing the last meeting of the BJP parliamentary party during the monsoon session, hailed Mulayam Singh Yadav for “understanding this conspiracy” and working to end the logjam in the House. Modi castigated the Congress leaders saying “some people” with “vested political interests” were disrupting Parliament to block economic development and thwart the country’s dreams.Parliament’s monsoon session ends on Thursday; virtually no business has been transacted because of daily protests within the House. But Yadav’s decision lending moral strength to the BJP has not gone down well within his own party. Sources in his party said, that senior leaders, including his son UP chief minister Akhlesh Singh, felt that the party’s appearing siding with the BJP will cost it heavily. A rejuvenated Congress had already made it clear it will take the issue of Yadav coming to the rescue of the BJP to UP and hit Yadav’s image of being a champion of ‘secular’ causes.A shrewd politician, Mulayam Singh early morning summoned his four Lok Sabha MPs, asking them to team up with the RJD’s Jaiprakash Narain Yadav, who had given notice for releasing the caste census data. The SP supremo said his party will force the government to release the caste data by making it a public issue in the coming days in UP and Bihar.There were already speculations that Mulayam had softened his aggressive tone against the BJP after a CBI probe began against Noida authority engineer Yadav Singh. But as sources in his party say, the SP does not want to look to be seen as having aligned with Congress, which is vying for a similar secular space in UP.Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha witnessed a high drama. Some paper balls were thrown at the deputy speaker, when the government tried to hold discussions on the Lalit Modi issue on its own terms, with the open support of Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. She had rejected the adjournment motion of the Opposition in the morning to discuss the alleged help extended to fugitive IPL founder Lalit Modi by foreign minister Sushma Swaraj while allowing a discussion on a call-attention motion by BJP chief whip Arjun Ram Meghwal under rule 193 to discuss “matters arising out of Indian Premier League (IPL) controversy and other related issues.”When deputy speaker M Thambi Durai tried to start the debate on Meghwal’s motion, some of the Congress MPs already agitating in the well of the House tore papers and flung them towards him. He immediately adjourned the House for 15 minutes.The Congress alleged that the ruling BJP MPs resorted to “intimidation” of its two members in the Lok Sabha, by elbowing and pushing them during their protests in the well of the House.”Two of our members, who are very polite and who never get angry, Gaurav Gogoi and Bittu (Ravneet Singh) were intimidated by the MPs of the ruling party. They tried to assault them, they elbowed them and pushed them. This is something which has happened in the House for the first time,” Congress group leader Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters here after the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day.The BJP MPs had entered the well under the leadership of water resources minister Sadhvi Uma Bharti, with an apparent attempt to take on the Congress MPs agitating in the well with placards, but the Speaker immediately adjourned the House for 15 minutes. Earlier, while parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu kept pursuing the Speaker to take action against the agitators and accused the Congress of running away from debate, Congress group leader Mallikarjun Kharge retaliated that his party was ready to hold discussions on the adjournment motion he had piloted but rejected by the Speaker. He accused the ruling BJP diluting it by forcing discussion under Rule 193 amounting to “discuss and disperse” instead of voting after discussion. “Why the government is afraid of voting despite having a brute majority in the House,” Kharge asked.

Sharad Pawar to meet Mamata Banerjee, Mulayam, Sharad Yadav, Kejriwal tomorrow

NCP chief Sharad Pawar will have a meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Delhi Chief Minister Arvnd Kejriwal on Wednesday, a development being viewed keenly in terms of emerging new political equations.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar will have a meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Delhi Chief Minister Arvnd Kejriwal on Wednesday, a development being viewed keenly in terms of emerging new political equations.”We are meeting over tea,” Pawar responded on being asked about the agenda for the leaders from different parties getting together.Banerjee, who arrived here today from Kolkata, will meet Pawar at his residence soon after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the evening, sources said. Yadav will also attend the meeting, they said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pawar on Tuesday met the Trinamool Congress chief in her party’s office inside Parliament House. Pawar was accompanied by his party colleagues Praful Patel and Tariq Anwar.

APJ Abdul Kalam: The President whose legend endured a myriad controversies

“I am completely indigenous,” APJ Abdul Kalam told The New York Times in 1998.

Nobody could have put it better. Kalam was the embodiment of every Indian ideal. His rags-to-success story made him an achiever against insurmountable odds; contribution to Indian defence and military gave him the aura of a nationalist; conduct in the Rashtrapati Bhawan turned him into a People’s President– a People’s Prince type epithet that instantly gave the West a measure of his popularity; and his inspiring speeches and books made him a hero of the youth and children.

As a son, student, scientist, President, teacher, preacher, poet, writer, aficionado of classical Indian music, inspiration for a film (I am Kalam) and the new Chacha of children of India, Kalam lived an all Indian dream.

PTI image.PTI image.

PTI image.

“In recent history, only a few had endeared themselves to the young and old, poor and the rich, and to people belonging to different faiths,” former finance minister P Chidambaram rightly summed up Kalam’s enormous popularity.

Kalam had many virtues that we hold close to our heart. Never give up, don’t let failure destroy your dream, concentrate on your karma without thinking of the result, don’t let success get to your head and put country above race and religion. Kalam practiced all of them.

As a student born in a humble family, he sold newspapers to support the family and finance his education. When Kalam was rejected for the job of a fighter pilot, a dream he had nourished since childhood, he took up an entry-level post at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

And there was no looking back. A man, who was considered not good enough to fly a plane, became the architect of India’s missile programme. From somebody who was rejected as a fighter, Kalam went on to become the face of India’s nuclear programme. Kalam showed the world that he had wings of steel and determination of iron.

Kalam’s karma brought him not just the deserved fruits of labour, but much more than that. “Kalam did not seek office; the office sought him,” Natwar Singh memorably said after he was elected President. He remains a compelling example of how a karma yogi becomes destiny’s favourite child.

Kalam was not the original choice for President in 2002. It was widely believed that PC Alexander, principal secretary to former PM Indira Gandhi, would get the job. Alexander, who was the governor of Maharashtra during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government, was acceptable to most of the NDA constituents. And his past made him believe that even the Congress would back him. To his dismay, Sonia Gandhi refused to back Alexander’s candidature.

For a very brief period, it seemed vice-president Krishna Kant would get the job. But he was also denied the opportunity after being tipped off to be ready for the election.

During this period, the BJP was trying to shed its rabid pro-Hindutva image — a pursuit that ultimately ended with LK Advani’s ill-fated paean to MA Jinnah. And Mulayam Singh, it is believed, offered a deal that the BJP couldn’t resist. (Ironically, when Kalam became the front-runner for the President’s post in 2012, it was Mulayam Singh who backed out at the last minute, paving the way for Pranab Mukherjee‘s election.)

When the Samajwadi Party agreed to support Kalam as the next President, a consensus soon developed even within the Congress to back his presidency. His election could have been unanimous, but for the Left’s decision to prop up Captain Lakshmi Sehgal as token of resistance. Kalam’s tenure had the potential of getting marred with controversies. But it is an ode to his personal integrity and administrative tact that he managed to steer India through a political storm.

His biggest challenge, of course, was the issue of Sonia Gandhi‘s eligibility to become PM. After the Congress emerged as the single-largest party in 2004, Sonia’s expected ascent to the top job created a political furore. Unexpectedly, Sonia opted out of the race and named Manmohan Singh as the party’s choice for PM.

There were rumours that Sonia had backed out because President Kalam raised the issue of her Italian citizenship. But Kalam maintained a dignified silence through the brouhaha. Years later, in his memoirs, Kalam revealed that if Sonia had staked claim to the post, he would have had no option but to appoint her.

Controversies, though, dogged Kalam for his role as a nuclear scientist. Some of his critics, like Homi Sethna, questioned Kalam’s credentials saying he had received his masters degree in aerospace engineering, which is completely different from nuclear engineering. Kalam’s entire cult as the face of India’s nuclear programme also came under cloud when K Santhanam, the site director of Pokaran II, called the test a ‘fizzle’ and criticised Kalam for giving a false report.

And when Kalam became the President, Princeton scholar M V Ramana attributed it to Kalam’s ability to “dress up even mediocre work with the tricolour to pass them off as great achievements.” But, nothing could stop Kalam from becoming a legend.

When the history of post-Independence India is written, Kalam would rank right up there, in the company of legends like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Rabindranath Tagore. He will inspire India and Indians for years to come.

In his poignant goodbye to Kalam, his aide Srijan Pal Singh says, he once asked Kalam what would he like to be remembered as: “President, scientist, writer, Missile Man, Indian 2020, Target 3 billion..what?”

Kalam replied: “Teacher.”

Yes, Kalam would be remembered for teaching us the value of both karma and raj dharma.

APJ Abdul Kalam: The man whose legend endured a myriad controversies

“I am completely indigenous,” APJ Abdul Kalam told The New York Times in 1998.

Nobody could have put it better. Kalam was the embodiment of every Indian ideal. His rags-to-success story made him an achiever against insurmountable odds; contribution to Indian defence and military gave him the aura of a nationalist; conduct in the Rashtrapati Bhawan turned him into a People’s President– a People’s Prince type epithet that instantly gave the West a measure of his popularity; and his inspiring speeches and books made him a hero of the youth and children.

As a son, student, scientist, President, teacher, preacher, poet, writer, aficionado of classical Indian music, inspiration for a film (I am Kalam) and the new Chacha of children of India, Kalam lived an all Indian dream.

PTI image.PTI image.

PTI image.

“In recent history, only a few had endeared themselves to the young and old, poor and the rich, and to people belonging to different faiths,” former finance minister P Chidambaram rightly summed up Kalam’s enormous popularity.

Kalam had many virtues that we hold close to our heart. Never give up, don’t let failure destroy your dream, concentrate on your karma without thinking of the result, don’t let success get to your head and put country above race and religion. Kalam practiced all of them.

As a student born in a humble family, he sold newspapers to support the family and finance his education. When Kalam was rejected for the job of a fighter pilot, a dream he had nourished since childhood, he took up an entry-level post at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

And there was no looking back. A man, who was considered not good enough to fly a plane, became the architect of India’s missile programme. From somebody who was rejected as a fighter, Kalam went on to become the face of India’s nuclear programme. Kalam showed the world that he had wings of steel and determination of iron.

Kalam’s karma brought him not just the deserved fruits of labour, but much more than that. “Kalam did not seek office; the office sought him,” Natwar Singh memorably said after he was elected President. He remains a compelling example of how a karma yogi becomes destiny’s favourite child.

Kalam was not the original choice for President in 2002. It was widely believed that PC Alexander, principal secretary to former PM Indira Gandhi, would get the job. Alexander, who was the governor of Maharashtra during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government, was acceptable to most of the NDA constituents. And his past made him believe that even the Congress would back him. To his dismay, Sonia Gandhi refused to back Alexander’s candidature.

For a very brief period, it seemed vice-president Krishna Kant would get the job. But he was also denied the opportunity after being tipped off to be ready for the election.

During this period, the BJP was trying to shed its rabid pro-Hindutva image — a pursuit that ultimately ended with LK Advani’s ill-fated paean to MA Jinnah. And Mulayam Singh, it is believed, offered a deal that the BJP couldn’t resist. (Ironically, when Kalam became the front-runner for the President’s post in 2012, it was Mulayam Singh who backed out at the last minute, paving the way for Pranab Mukherjee‘s election.)

When the Samajwadi Party agreed to support Kalam as the next President, a consensus soon developed even within the Congress to back his presidency. His election could have been unanimous, but for the Left’s decision to prop up Captain Lakshmi Sehgal as token of resistance. Kalam’s tenure had the potential of getting marred with controversies. But it is an ode to his personal integrity and administrative tact that he managed to steer India through a political storm.

His biggest challenge, of course, was the issue of Sonia Gandhi‘s eligibility to become PM. After the Congress emerged as the single-largest party in 2004, Sonia’s expected ascent to the top job created a political furore. Unexpectedly, Sonia opted out of the race and named Manmohan Singh as the party’s choice for PM.

There were rumours that Sonia had backed out because President Kalam raised the issue of her Italian citizenship. But Kalam maintained a dignified silence through the brouhaha. Years later, in his memoirs, Kalam revealed that if Sonia had staked claim to the post, he would have had no option but to appoint her.

Controversies, though, dogged Kalam for his role as a nuclear scientist. Some of his critics, like Homi Sethna, questioned Kalam’s credentials saying he had received his masters degree in aerospace engineering, which is completely different from nuclear engineering. Kalam’s entire cult as the face of India’s nuclear programme also came under cloud when K Santhanam, the site director of Pokaran II, called the test a ‘fizzle’ and criticised Kalam for giving a false report.

And when Kalam became the President, Princeton scholar M V Ramana attributed it to Kalam’s ability to “dress up even mediocre work with the tricolour to pass them off as great achievements.” But, nothing could stop Kalam from becoming a legend.

When the history of post-Independence India is written, Kalam would rank right up there, in the company of legends like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Rabindranath Tagore. He will inspire India and Indians for years to come.

In his poignant goodbye to Kalam, his aide Srijan Pal Singh says, he once asked Kalam what would he like to be remembered as: “President, scientist, writer, Missile Man, Indian 2020, Target 3 billion..what?”

Kalam replied: “Teacher.”

Yes, Kalam would be remembered for teaching us the value of both karma and raj dharma.

Amitabh Thakur’s plea for CBI probe into rape charges against him sent to DoPT

The Inspector-General rank officer had met Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs Anant Kumar Singh in New Delhi on July 13 and had sought a CBI probe into the rape case slapped against him.
File Photo
Image Courtesy: ANI Twitter
Suspended IPS officer Amitabh Thakur’s plea for a CBI probe into the rape allegations against him has been referred to DoPT by the Union Home Ministry.According to his wife Nutan Thakur, an RTI activist, the MHA in a letter dated July 16 sent to Thakur stated that his “request was a subject matter pertaining to Department of Personnel and Training, which was CBI’s administrative authority, hence, DoPT is requested to take action as deemed appropriate.” The contents of the letter were released to the media here by Nutan.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Inspector-General rank officer had met Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs Anant Kumar Singh in New Delhi on July 13 and had sought a CBI probe into the rape case slapped against him.The IPS officer has alleged that ever since his wife’s Lokayukta complaint against state Mines Minister Gayatri Prasad Prajapati, they were facing all kinds of charges including “false” rape case and threat by Mulayam Singh Yadav on July 10.Thakur was suspended on July 13 by the Uttar Pradesh government, hours after he had approached the Union Home Ministry in New Delhi. The official was served a 200-page charge sheet and a vigilance inquiry has also been initiated against him.Thakur stirred a political row by releasing the text and audio of the conversation purportedly carrying Mulayam’s voice.

Amitabh Thakur gets ‘moral support’ from Ashok Khemka and Sanjiv Chaturvedi

The officers were confident that IPS officer Amitabh Thakur would emerge “victorious”.

Whistleblower bureaucrats Ashok Khemka and Sanjiv Chaturvedi met Amitabh Thakur on Sunday, who is locked in a tussle with ruling SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, and extend “moral support” to the suspended IPS officer in his “fight for justice”.The officers were confident that Thakur would emerge “victorious”.”Well-known crusader bureaucrats Ashok Khemka (IAS), Haryana and Sanjiv Chaturvedi (IFS) presently working in AIIMS, called up Amitabh saying that they extend their moral support in this fight for justice,” Amitabh’s wife Nutan Thakur said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”They (the officers) said they are sure he (Amitabh) will emerge victorious in this case,” she added. Thakur said that these words from the finest officers have bolstered his morale in his fight for justice.The official stirred a political storm by releasing the text and audio of the conversation purportedly carrying Mulayam’s voice.The Inspector General-rank officer said Yadav threatened him after his wife Nutan filed a complaint before the Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta against Uttar Pradesh Mines minister Gayatri Prajapati.The IPS officer was suspended on July 13 by the Uttar Pradesh government hours after he approached the Union Home Ministry in New Delhi seeking a CBI probe into the rape charges slapped against him. The rape charges came days after Thakur lodged a complaint against the SP chief for allegedly threatening him.Thakur alleged that his suspension and the allegations were aimed at harassing him.”No effort was made to know my version nor was there any attempt to get a report from the civil defence (where he was posted at the time of suspension as IG),” he had said. Thakur said that he would soon move court in connection with these two cases.Justifying his actions, Thakur said his social activities are as per the amended conduct of rules 2014 and fundamental rights under which one could help others in their fight for equality and justice. Chaturvedi is an Indian Forest Service officer. He is currently the deputy secretary of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). He has moved the Central Administrative Tribunal against the Haryana government for “deliberately” denying him the right to be considered for promotion.Khemka is known for cancelling the mutation of Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra’s alleged illegal land deal in Gurgaon.

Saving DD Kisan: Farmers need many things but Amitabh Bachchan isn’t one of them

Mera Bharat mahaan.

In a desi twist on Marie Antoinette’s if they cannot have bread, let them eat cake, ‘our farmers are finding out that if they cannot have fertilizers/seed/help against crushing debt, they can have Amitabh Bachchan.

A source close to Amitabh Bachchan told the media the superstar is “personally very excited and enthusiastic about promoting Kisan”, that is Doordarshan’s new farmers channel, not a jam.

Now we know why. It’s not because Bachchan himself once got himself registered as a farmer ,thanks to a few bighas of prime land he acquired in Muzaffarnagar in UP during the Mulayam Singh government. That in turn allowed him to try to buy agricultural land in Pune as a farmer. In 2007 a Faizabad court clarified he was not a farmer in UP. For “Farmer Bachchan” to now crop up as the brand ambassador for DD Kisan is a rather ironic twist indeed.

PTI image.PTI image.

PTI image.

But this is not about nostalgia for his Old MacDonald days.

Anuradha Raman reports in The Hindu, that Big B is endorsing DD Kisan for a year for Rs 6.31 crore after initially agreeing to Rs 4.02 crore. Lintas India bargained hard for the superstar and this might well be the most expensive endorsement by the actor to date.

At a time when farmer suicide is still a reality, this is a little hard to digest. But it’s unfair to say this is Big Bad Bollywood cashing in on farmer misery either. Bachchan is a star, and as one profile called him the “Lord of Endorsements”. Let’’s give him full credit. Which other star in his seventies is so sought after as a brand? And while he might be a goodwill ambassador for polio eradication, he has no obligation to turn down good money the government is offering for a day’s shoot.

The more pertinent question is why does the government want to spend crores on roping in a Bollywood star for their DD channel. The media reports that before settling on Bachchan’s star power, they toyed with other names – Ajay Devgn and Kajol and Salman Khan, all men and women of the soil.

“We felt the channel required a celebrity and also found that Mr. Bachchan had a strong connect with rural India,” said Ranjan Mukherjee, Additional Director-General of Prasar Bharati. A 6.31 crore connect.

Mr Bachchan’s job is to use his star power to promote the channel. Let’s face it ,garnering eyeballs for a television channel does not exactly have the kind of social impact an exhortation to immunize a child against polio or build a sauchalaya at home can have. That begs the question why spend that kind of money on a celebrity brand ambassador for something as grassroots as DD Kisan? A Bachchan promoting the touristy wonders of Gujarat makes more sense.

The Hindu reports that viewership peaked during the initial buzz around the launch on May 26 by Narendra Modi. A voiceover apprised all assembled about the honourable Prime Minister’s “atoot sraddha” (deep respect) for the kisan and “the sambedanshilta in his hriday” (empathy in his heart) for them. But viewership has declined even though cable and DTH operators must carry it says tThe Hindu. Discovery has more than 10 times the viewership despite sharing the same bandwidth.

And why should that surprise anyone? Who even thought that people would watch a channel day after day merely because a superstar endorsed it? It’s not like Mr Bachchan is hosting a daily Big Kisan reality show on it, or anchoring the Help Kisan live interactive show. To think that some jingles about the show from a superstar would have everyone coming back to the channel day after day like sheep ,shows that someone out there really thinks of farmers as utterly naïve and gullible. All channels live and die by the quality of their programming, not their brand ambassadors and why should DD Kisan be any exception? Anyway,DD Kisan could have no better brand ambassador than Modi himself whose Mann ki baat reaches rural India by radio every week.

DD Kisan promises live weather updates, discussion of ergonomic practices, tips on how to sell crops for higher prices from saffron in Kashmir to spices in Kerala to tea in Assam, a farmer helpline. These programs, worthy as they sound, have to be actually useful for farmers otherwise they will just shrug and change the channel to watch soap operas which are at least entertaining not dull government propaganda showing smiling farmers with twirling mustaches. Farmers have enough troubles on their hand anyway.

In a country where farmer suicide is a political football and a politician says “let farmers die if they must. Those who can afford farming will do it” and then explains he did not mean to be insensitive, it seems unlikely that a DD Kisan will be anything more than another vehicle for publicity peddling shiny happy messages about the kisan as “Bharat ki shaan”. Government channels are not the place to really foster open debate about contentious government programmes like the land acquisition bill for example.

According to the New York Times since 1995 more than 290,000 farmers have killed themselves for various reasons. But politicians are more interested in “debunking” those numbers than addressing the causes of despair. After the farmer suicide in front of television cameras in Delhi, Modi talked about feeling “the pain” and how “collective resolve” was needed to solve this “old, deep-rooted and widespread” problem. 24-hour Kisan is not that solution. And putting an Amitabh Bachchan on top of it like a cherry certainly does not make it one.

Saving DD Kisan: Farmers need many things but Amitabh Bachchan is not one of them

Mera Bharat mahaan.

In a desi twist on Marie Antoinette’s if they cannot have bread, let them eat cake, ‘our farmers are finding out that if they cannot have fertilizers/seed/help against crushing debt, they can have Amitabh Bachchan.

A source close to Amitabh Bachchan told the media the superstar is “personally very excited and enthusiastic about promoting Kisan”, that is Doordarshan’s new farmers channel, not a jam.

Now we know why. It’s not because Bachchan himself once got himself registered as a farmer ,thanks to a few bighas of prime land he acquired in Muzaffarnagar in UP during the Mulayam Singh government. That in turn allowed him to try to buy agricultural land in Pune as a farmer. In 2007 a Faizabad court clarified he was not a farmer in UP. For “Farmer Bachchan” to now crop up as the brand ambassador for DD Kisan is a rather ironic twist indeed.

PTI image.PTI image.

PTI image.

But this is not about nostalgia for his Old MacDonald days.

Anuradha Raman reports in The Hindu, that Big B is endorsing DD Kisan for a year for Rs 6.31 crore after initially agreeing to Rs 4.02 crore. Lintas India bargained hard for the superstar and this might well be the most expensive endorsement by the actor to date.

At a time when farmer suicide is still a reality, this is a little hard to digest. But it’s unfair to say this is Big Bad Bollywood cashing in on farmer misery either. Bachchan is a star, and as one profile called him the “Lord of Endorsements”. Let’’s give him full credit. Which other star in his seventies is so sought after as a brand? And while he might be a goodwill ambassador for polio eradication, he has no obligation to turn down good money the government is offering for a day’s shoot.

The more pertinent question is why does the government want to spend crores on roping in a Bollywood star for their DD channel. The media reports that before settling on Bachchan’s star power, they toyed with other names – Ajay Devgn and Kajol and Salman Khan, all men and women of the soil.

“We felt the channel required a celebrity and also found that Mr. Bachchan had a strong connect with rural India,” said Ranjan Mukherjee, Additional Director-General of Prasar Bharati. A 6.31 crore connect.

Mr Bachchan’s job is to use his star power to promote the channel. Let’s face it ,garnering eyeballs for a television channel does not exactly have the kind of social impact an exhortation to immunize a child against polio or build a sauchalaya at home can have. That begs the question why spend that kind of money on a celebrity brand ambassador for something as grassroots as DD Kisan? A Bachchan promoting the touristy wonders of Gujarat makes more sense.

The Hindu reports that viewership peaked during the initial buzz around the launch on May 26 by Narendra Modi. A voiceover apprised all assembled about the honourable Prime Minister’s “atoot sraddha” (deep respect) for the kisan and “the sambedanshilta in his hriday” (empathy in his heart) for them. But viewership has declined even though cable and DTH operators must carry it says tThe Hindu. Discovery has more than 10 times the viewership despite sharing the same bandwidth.

And why should that surprise anyone? Who even thought that people would watch a channel day after day merely because a superstar endorsed it? It’s not like Mr Bachchan is hosting a daily Big Kisan reality show on it, or anchoring the Help Kisan live interactive show. To think that some jingles about the show from a superstar would have everyone coming back to the channel day after day like sheep ,shows that someone out there really thinks of farmers as utterly naïve and gullible. All channels live and die by the quality of their programming, not their brand ambassadors and why should DD Kisan be any exception? Anyway,DD Kisan could have no better brand ambassador than Modi himself whose Mann ki baat reaches rural India by radio every week.

DD Kisan promises live weather updates, discussion of ergonomic practices, tips on how to sell crops for higher prices from saffron in Kashmir to spices in Kerala to tea in Assam, a farmer helpline. These programs, worthy as they sound, have to be actually useful for farmers otherwise they will just shrug and change the channel to watch soap operas which are at least entertaining not dull government propaganda showing smiling farmers with twirling mustaches. Farmers have enough troubles on their hand anyway.

In a country where farmer suicide is a political football and a politician says “let farmers die if they must. Those who can afford farming will do it” and then explains he did not mean to be insensitive, it seems unlikely that a DD Kisan will be anything more than another vehicle for publicity peddling shiny happy messages about the kisan as “Bharat ki shaan”. Government channels are not the place to really foster open debate about contentious government programmes like the land acquisition bill for example.

According to the New York Times since 1995 more than 290,000 farmers have killed themselves for various reasons. But politicians are more interested in “debunking” those numbers than addressing the causes of despair. After the farmer suicide in front of television cameras in Delhi, Modi talked about feeling “the pain” and how “collective resolve” was needed to solve this “old, deep-rooted and widespread” problem. 24-hour Kisan is not that solution. And putting an Amitabh Bachchan on top of it like a cherry certainly does not make it one.

IPS Officer Amitabh Thakur replies to charge sheet, says he never flouted rules

The IG-rank officer went to the DGP headquarters and submitted his point-wise 30-page reply to IG personnel. The reply to the 16-point charge sheet was addressed to Principal Secretary, Home.
File Photo

Suspended IPS officer Amitabh Thakur on Wednesday submitted his reply to the charge sheet slapped on him by the UP government accusing him of dereliction of duty, saying he never flouted rules and manuals and was “not at fault”.”I was given 15 days to reply to the charge sheet but I have submitted it within 24 hours…I am not at fault in any of the 16 points stated in the charge sheet,” Thakur said.”I have never ever been lax towards my duties nor have flouted rules and manuals,” he asserted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The IG-rank officer went to the DGP headquarters and submitted his point-wise 30-page reply to IG personnel. The reply to the 16-point charge sheet was addressed to Principal Secretary, Home. On Wednesday, Thakur, who had lodged a complaint against SP Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav for allegedly threatening him, was slapped with a 200-page charge sheet by UP government accusing him of dereliction of duty, anti-establishment approach and flouting court orders.Thakur was suspended on July 13 by the Uttar Pradesh government hours after he had approached the Union Home Ministry in New Delhi seeking a CBI probe into the rape charges filed against him after he lodged a complaint against SP supremo Yadav for allegedly threatening him. Thakur said his suspension and charge sheet was to harass him.”No effort was made to know my version nor was there any move to get a report from the civil defence (where he was posted at the time of suspension as IG),” he said.When queried as to what prompted the government to act against him, Thakur said, “It was because me and my wife (Nutan Thakur’s) social activities were causing problems for some influential people.”Justifying his actions, Thakur said his social activities are as per the amended conduct of rules 2014 and fundamental rights under which one could help others in their fight for equality and justice. He stressed on setting aside the charges levelled against him.Thakur, who is locked in a tussle with the state government over alleged threatening phone call by the SP supremo after which rape charges were also levelled against him, said he would soon go to court in connection with these two cases.The official stirred a political storm by releasing the text and audio of the conversation purportedly carrying Mulayam’s voice.

IPS officer vs Mulayam Singh Yadav: Amitabh Thakur suspended by UP government

The suspension with immediate effect came on a day when Thakur, an IG-level officer, approached the Union Home Ministry in Delhi seeking a CBI probe into the rape case filed against him after he lodged a complaint against Mulayam for threatening him.

Senior IPS officer Amitabh Thakur, who is locked in a tussle with ruling Samajwadi Party(SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and took his fight to the Centre, was suspended by the Uttar Pradesh government on Monday night.The suspension with immediate effect came on a day when Thakur, an IG-level officer, approached the Union Home Ministry in Delhi seeking a CBI probe into the rape case filed against him after he lodged a complaint against Mulayam for threatening him.An official release issued in Lucknow said the state government has suspended Thakur with immediate effect on prima facie charges of dereliction of duty, indiscipline, taking an anti-establishment approach and flouting high court orders.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The release said that during his period of suspension, Thakur will remain attached to the DGP office and not leave the state headuqarters without the DGP’s permission.Reacting to the suspension order, Thakur said he will challenge it in a court of law. “I will bring the matter before the court concerned,” he said.Thakur met Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Anant Kumar Singh and also sought central force protection for himself and his wife and social activist Nutan Thakur.”Mulayam Singh Yadav had threatened me with dire consequences. So, today I have met the Additional Secretary and sought security for me and my wife by central forces,” he told reporters outside the North Block, housing the MHA, in Delhi earlier in the day.Thakur said a “false” rape case had been slapped against him after he lodged a complaint against the ruling SP supremo in Lucknow on July 10 for threatening him. “I want a CBI investigation into the rape charge against me,” he said.UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who is Mulayam’s son, saw “nothing wrong” in his father “scolding” a senior IPS officer in the state.”When Mulayam Singh Yadav can scold the chief minister, there is nothing wrong in his scolding an official,” Akhilesh said to pointed questions by newspersons in Farrukhabad.Another senior UP minister Azam Khan demanded that the charges of rape levelled against Thakur be probed thoroughly.”He has committed an immoral act and should not be spared,” Khan said in Jhansi.On July 11, an FIR was registered at Gomti Nagar police station in Lucknow against Thakur under sections 376 (rape), 504 (intentional insult) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC, on the basis of an earlier complaint by a Ghaziabad-based woman. The IPS officer’s wife has been named a co-accused in the FIR.Terming the allegation of rape as “completely false”, Thakur said as per the complaint against him, his wife had helped in the alleged crime and it took place at his home.”No wife will help her husband to rape a woman. Besides my children also live in my house which is very small. Let the CBI probe the allegation,” he said.”If my demand is not met, I will approach the High Court and seek justice… This is nothing but political conspiracy and harassment against me,” he said.Thakur said Mulayam threatened him after his wife Nutan filed a complaint before the UP Lokayukta against state Mines minister Gayatri Prajapati.

IPS officer Amitabh Thakur files police complaint against SP Chief Mulayam Yadav

IPS Officer Amitabh Thakur had alleged on Friday that the Samajwadi Party supremo had threatened him.
File Photo
PTI
An IG-rank officer today filed a complaint with the police against Mulayam Singh Yadav, alleging that the Samajwadi Party chief threatened him with dire consequences if he does not mend his ways.While Mulayam was not immediately available for comments, an SP leader dismissed the charge.According to the wife of IPS officer Amitabh Thakur, the provocation behind the threat could have been the FIR lodged by her against state Mines minister Gayatri Prajapati. Thakur, who has been assisting his wife and RTI activist Nutan Thakur in raising social issues, released an audio tape on Friday purportedly containing the voice of the SP chief.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I felt I should take a stand. Therefore, I gave a complaint against SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav,” Thakur, IG Civil Defence said.”At around 4.45 pm, a phone came from Mulayam Singh’s residence and he talked to me. He told me that whatever had happened in Jasrana, Firozabad, where I had been assaulted by one of his relative and an MLA in 2006, much harsher things will happen to me if I don’t ‘mend my ways’,” Thakur said on Friday.Senior Superintendent of Police, Lucknow, Rajesh Pandey said the matter will be probed to find out the genuineness of the audio tape released by Thakur.Nutan, who is an RTI activist, claimed that when her husband went to Hazratganj police station to lodge an FIR, SHO Vijaymal Yadav refused him. But, on the IPS officer’s insistence, he received a copy of the complaint and said the matter will be inquired.Refuting the allegation, SP leader CP Rai said, “I have not heard the audio but such an allegation appears to be doctored. He (Mulayam) is such a senior leader. I know him for past 30 years…He can never threaten anyone.”

Mulayam Singh threatened me with ‘serious consequences’, claims IPS officer Amitabh Thakur

Senior IPS officer Amitabh Thakur on Friday claimed that Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav has threatened him with serious consequences if he does not ‘mend his ways’.

Senior IPS officer Amitabh Thakur on Friday claimed that Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav has threatened him with serious consequences if he does not ‘mend his ways’.Thakur, who has been assisting his wife and RTI activist Nutan Thakur in raising social issues, released an audio tape purportedly containing the voice of the SP chief.Thakur is an IG-rank officer. Reacting to the allegation, senior SP leader CP Rai said, “I have not heard the audio but such an allegation appears to be doctored. He (Mulayam) is such a senior leader. I know him for past 30 years… he can never threaten anyone.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Rapes happen with mutual consent of boys and girls, says Uttar Pradesh Minister Totaram Yadav

In controversial remarks, Uttar Pradesh Minister Totaram Yadav on Saturday said that “rapes happen with the mutual consent of boys and girls”.

In controversial remarks, Uttar Pradesh Minister Totaram Yadav on Saturday said that “rapes happen with the mutual consent of boys and girls”.Asked if the rape incidents in the state could be controlled, Yadav said, “What is rape? There is nothing as such. Rapes happen with mutual consent of boys and girls.” The senior SP leader also sought to classify rapes into two types, “Rapes are of two types, one which is forced and another that happens with mutual consent.” Yadav was speaking to reporters after inspecting a district jail. He, however, parried queries to elaborate on his remarks.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had last year sparked outrage with his comments questioning the death sentence to three men who were convicted of two gang-rapes in Mumbai.”Should rape cases be punished with hanging? They are boys, they make mistakes,” he had then said.

Private companies should provide reservation for Dalits: Ram Vilas Paswan

Indore: Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday made a pitch for reservation for Dalits in private sector jobs.

Ram Vilas Paswan called for reservation of Dalits in the private sector. PTI

Ram Vilas Paswan called for reservation of Dalits in the private sector. PTI

“Private companies have been availing a number of benefits from the government. Therefore, they should provide reservation to Dalits in employment,” Paswan said during a function organised to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar at Mhow, around 25 km from Indore.

The Lok Janshankti Party (LJP) president said just as reservation is provided in administrative services, there needs to be reservation in appointment of judges.

Criticising Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on the issue, the Union Minister for Food and Civil Supplies said, “It was because of Mulayam Singh that reservation in promotions in government jobs could not materialise.”

“Now, what good will Mulayam Singh do for Dalits after becoming the leader of a grand alliance of Janata Parivar parties?” he said.

Describing Hindu religion as “flexible”, Paswan said, “We should live in harmony as envisioned by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. This is also the core essence of BJP and RSS.”

Ambedkar did not belong to any particular caste or a religion, but he stands as the symbol of humanity, he added.

According to the minister, the Centre plans to develop and give a face-lift to Dr Ambedkar memorials in Delhi, Nagpur and Mumbai, besides Mhow.

PTI

Merger of Janata Parivar will happen before end of this month: Nitish Kumar

Describing RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s announcement in favour of the merger of Janata Parivar splinter parties as “a solid and effective” step towards the process, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said a formal announcement will be made “much before the end of this month.

Describing RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s announcement in favour of the merger of Janata Parivar splinter parties as “a solid and effective” step towards the process, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said a formal announcement will be made “much before the end of this month.”All the constituent parties have made up their mind for the merger and the announcement will be made at a formal meeting to be convened by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav soon,” Kumar told reporters while coming out of the Assembly.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asked if the announcement would be made within this (April) month, Kumar said, “Very soon a formal meeting will be called where the announcement will be made.” Kumar, a prime mover of the merger process of the splinter parties into Janata Parivar, said he met Mulayam Singh Yadav who was authorised to oversee the unification process, and also JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav in this regard in Delhi before coming here in the today.Asked when the formal meeting was expected, Kumar said the SP chief was authorised to call the meeting and so he would not speak about the date.”But, keeping in view the availability of leaders, the meeting will be called soon,” he said. Asked about the decision of JD(U) on the merger, Kumar said the party has expressed willingness in its favour much earlier.”We have rather travelled much ahead of it (taking decision in favour of the merger),” he added. In reply to a question that has RJD chief Lalu Prasad put pressure on other constituent parties to hasten the process by announcing approval in favour of the merger, Kumar said it was not a matter of “putting pressure on anybody or party. These are formalities which every constituent parties have to undergo.”Hurrying up of the merger process was seen as an attempt by Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad to start preparations for the coming Bihar Assembly elections, which would be the first test of the move against the BJP.

Narendra Modi has ‘fooled’ people, says Azam Khan

The “king” has failed in fulfilling promises made during the last Lok Sabha polls campaign, Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan on Saturday said in a veiled reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

File Photo
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The “king” has failed in fulfilling promises made during the last Lok Sabha polls campaign, Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan on Saturday said in a veiled reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Inaugurating a medical college named after SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav at Lalpur village in the district here, the state’s Parliamentary Affairs and Urban Development Minister, without naming Modi said, “A king doesn’t lie and a liar is never a king. The king had promised round the clock power supply, wipe out poverty and unemployment. He had promised to make everyone rich within 100 days of coming to power, but in reality he fooled everyone,” Azam Khan said in Meerut.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said but the Samajwadi party government in the state has done what the party had promised. He also said that those indulging in communal politics should remember, “We (muslims) never disrespected Mahatma Gandhi or demanded to build a temple of those who killed him.”

Youth jailed for Facebook post: Azam Khan says action against boy is justified

Lucknow: A class XI student of Bareilly who was arrested in a dramatic manner by a special branch team of Rampur police on 18 March after allegedly sharing an ‘objectionable’ comment on social networking site Facebook against senior Samajwadi Party leader and Uttar Pradesh Minister Azam Khan was granted bail by a Rampur court on Thursday.

Later in the day, responding to a PIL, the Supreme Court sought an explanation from the Uttar Pradesh government to explain the circumstances in which Section 66A of the Information Technology Act (IT) was imposed against the boy.

Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan. AFPSamajwadi Party leader Azam Khan. AFP

Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan. AFP

While on one hand the incident displayed the extent to which the police in the state, especially in Rampur, could go to please Azam Khan, on the other hand it also indicated that the extent to which a provision of the IT Act could be used (or misused) by the government to curb freedom of expression.

The student named Gulrez ‘Vikky’ Khan is enrolled in Woodrow School in Bareilly and was arrested on Monday on a complaint lodged with the police by the minister’s PRO Fasahat Ali Khan Shanu. Immediately a team of crime branch sleuths was constituted which nabbed the youth from his residence. He was produced on Wednesday before the court of Judicial Magistrate Azad Singh which sent him on a 14-day remand.

He was kept in the lock-up at Ganj Kotwali police station and was booked under Section 66A of Information Technology Act, sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, etc.), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 505 (public mischief) of the IPC. Initial reports quoted the police as saying that the boy would be produced before the minister.

On Thursday (19 March), the court granted bail to him on two bail bonds worth Rs 20,000 each, and he was asked to cooperate with police during investigation and not leave the city pending the investigation.

A police officer Aley Hassan was quoted as saying that the comments posted by the boy could incite communal tensions and spoil peace and harmony. It is learnt that the boy had himself written something and shown as if the comments were made by the minister. According to local sources, the boy’s family members claimed that he had merely shared the post. The family members also expressed their willingness to apologise to Azam Khan.

Khan had defended the police action. “A Class XII student has made objectionable comments against me on FB. Law is enforced with strictness and he has been arrested within 24 hours. Comments were made against me earlier also on FB,” Khan had told reporters in Lucknow. The BJP and BSP have condemned the arrest, saying it indicated how intolerant the SP government in UP had become to criticism of any kind.

Incidentally on 27 February, the Supreme Court had reserved its judgment on the validity of Section 66A of IT Act after marathon arguments from both sides. The petition was filed by a law student Shreya Shingal and other NGOs seeking quashing of Section 66 A of IT act. These petitions were filed after two girls at Palghar in Maharashtra were arrested after they made comments on the protests after the death of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray in 2012.

When the petition was heard initially in 2014, the Union Home Ministry issued directives to all state governments that arrests under Section 66 A can only be made with the approval of senior police officers.

The provisions of this law have led to several cases and arrests in Uttar Pradesh. A few weeks ago, a complaint was filed against a tourism officer of Varanasi Ravinder Kumar Mishra for uploading “objectionable pictures” on social media sites of UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and Azam Khan. He too was booked under similar charges.

In August 2013, a Dalit writer and social activist Kanwal Bharti was arrested by Rampur police for a Facebook post against Samajawadi Party after the suspension of IAS officer Durga Nagpal. Bharti was also booked under section 66-A of the Information Technology Act.

Other well-known examples include that of a cartoonist who was jailed in Mumbai in September 2012 on charges of sedition for his anti-corruption drawings. The charges were later dropped. In April 2012, the West Bengal government had arrested a teacher who had emailed to friends a cartoon that was critical of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. He too was later released on bail.

Azam Khan continues to be in the news for his typical statements that often cause a controversy. On 2 February, 2014, three policemen of Rampur were suspended for dereliction of duty after a delay in recovery of buffaloes stolen from his farmhouse. Several police teams had been formed to launch a sustained campaign to recover the stolen bovines. In November 2014, Azam Khan had hosted a royal birthday bash for SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav complete with huge cake, a Victorian horse-drawn buggy and extravagant paraphernalia. On being asked where the money came from to organise the show, Azam had said, though in sarcasm, “Dawood, Abu Salem and Taliban” were footing the bill.

During the last year’s Lok Sabha election campaign, Azam had been charged with promoting religious enmity for his speeches. The Election Commission also banned him from holding public rallies.

Mulayam Singh in hospital: Why netas preferring private hospitals is bad for public ones

The Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences in Lucknow, established by the Uttar Pradesh Government in 1983 must be a top-rated medical facility. Otherwise, when he fell ill at ease, Mulayam Singh Yadav, former chief minister and now an MP, would not have been admitted for even an “overnight stay” earlier this week. Now he has been moved to Medanta, a private hospital in Gurgaon, suspected to be suffering from swine flu.

Isn’t it revealing that politicians who build institutions for the public, and call them top class, do not trust them? Or for that matter, that they are without adequate facilities to meet a patient’s needs? Remember how Vilasrao Deshmukh, twice Maharashtra chief minister, had to be flown to Chennai critically ill with kidney and liver problems in 2012? He had a chance to better the existing facilities in Maharashtra.

File image of Mulayam Singh. PTI ImageFile image of Mulayam Singh. PTI Image

File image of Mulayam Singh. PTI Image

Mulayam Singh Yadav was admitted to a private hospital and not even the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi which is touted to be best medicare provider in the state sector and duplicated in other parts of the country. In his recent Budget, Arun Jaitley mentioned the plans to open AIIMS or AIIMS-like institutions in some new regions.

This should raise several questions, one of them being whether what is best for people like us who cannot afford extraordinarily expensive hospitals is just not good enough for the political leaders like Yadav or Deshmukh. The mistrust of the public healthcare system appears to be increasing among the leaders, even as the growth of the private sector and respect for it among them is on the rise.

This is despite the various government hospitals across the country having special sections devoted entirely for the VIPs, which the Times Now has been detailing. It is part of its campaign to end the VIP culture. But it so happens that the VIPs who occupy such facilities in such government hospitals are, relatively speaking, small fry like IAS and IPS officers.

Let me take you back to a conversation I had with VP Singh, whose after his prime ministership was behind him, was a regular visitor to Mumbai. He came with his posse of security men, an entitlement of former PMs, and stayed in the State Guest House when not in a private hospital for his dialysis. When asked why he preferred Mumbai to Delhi, he said, “Dilli ka pani acchha nahi hai (Delhi’s water is not good)”. It was as if the water from the municipality was being used.

My jaw dropped to my knees.

“It is like this”, he explained, “I do not trust the cleanliness of the water used there and hence this visits to Mumbai.”

But you have been in Delhi long enough to persuade the authorities to do things right, what about the people like us, we asked? His bland response was, it takes time to change things.

Things have, indeed changed, but for the worse. And here’s why, as Dr Ravi Bapat, an emeritus professor at Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital in Mumbai said on Facebook that he wasn’t surprised to hear of Yadav’s admission in a private hospital. Bapat has dwelt on this tendency in his book, Ward No. 5, KEM, on the steady shift of the VIPs away from public hospitals which should freak out people like us.

He writes:

“Until 1975, all (Maharashtra) ministers and senior government officials would go to the state government-run St George’s Hospital. The municipal big shots and small fries would come to us (KEM); the mayor, the councillors, the municipal officers. Of course, all the best facilities, the most modern equipment and the best doctors of the time were found in these general ‘public’ hospitals.”

And then there was a well-aimed poke at the changing political system, its values and disdain for public hospitals:

“There were special rooms reserved for the VIPs and VVIPs. Also there were few ‘five star’ hospitals then. Or maybe, the kind of money they charge wasn’t available with the politicians of yore. As long as the politicians and officials went to the general hospitals, they were attentive about what was happening there.

“Now things have changed. The workers come to the general hospitals, the leaders go to private nursing homes and the ministers go only to the most expensive, up-market, exclusive five-star places. Central government ministers go abroad. General hospitals have therefore been ignored by the rulers of the land. The same is true about senior bureaucrats and other influential officials Unless and until these people frequent, have faith in and respect general hospitals, the specialists, the equipment and the facilities, they will not be used by the common man without prejudice. They will always be suspect.”

Dr Bapat, who could have worked in any of the private sector hospitals that were coming up, swore he would stay only with public hospitals and has seen it all. The thing is, even as he remains in that government sector, he has been consulted by decision-making politicians who have been treated in posh private hospitals. But there may be a small flaw in his argument about them not having had money to pay the bills of these hospitals. Chances are, they are seldom billed these days, and if billed, they may remain unpaid.

What friendship with Modi? Obama warns of communalism in India: Azam Khan

Azamgarh (UP): Latching on to Barack Obama’s concern about religious “intolerance” in India, senior Samajwadi Party minister Azam Khan on Friday sought to puncture Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s attempts to project the US President as his bosom friend.

“Modi made tall claims about his close friendship with Obama, but at the time of returning home, he warned that communalism was a bane for India,” he said.

Azam Khan. PTI

Khan was here to attend a Samajwadi Party function here in SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav‘s Lok Sabha constituency.

“The foreigner who had come here had warned that the path of India’s development would be affected because of communalism,” he said.

Khan was reacting to Obama’s comment in Washington that the “acts of intolerance” experienced by religious faiths of all types in India in the past few years would have shocked Mahatma Gandhi.

Earlier also, Obama, at the end of his three-day visit to India, had made a strong pitch for religious tolerance, cautioning that India will succeed so long as it was not “splintered along the lines of religious faith”.

Khan said religion would survive only if the country survives.

The SP leader also slammed Modi for reportedly trivialising and humiliating media.

“If the head of the government loses control over his tongue, it will lead to anarchy in the country and we should all condemn it,” Khan added.

PTI

Merger of Janata Parivar parties on track says JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar

JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar

Senior JD(U) leader and former Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday said that the proposed merger of Janata Parivar parties, including Lalu Prasad’s RJD and Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, was on track, though no deadline has been fixed for it.”We all are active on the merger. Mulayam Singh Yadav, who has been authorised to take it ahead, is working on it. We talked about it on January 1 too. He will finalise it after talking to everybody (all parties), but no deadline has been fixed for it yet,” said Kumar.”Merger will be according to a set process and all formalities will be finished before it. Though our party members have suggested that it should not become a never-ending process and should be completed soon,” Kumar added.Kumar, flanked by state JD (U) president Vashistha Narayan Singh and a couple of ministers, was talking to media persons after the end of two-day meeting of party leaders in Patna. The meeting deliberated over various issues including merger of parties, future public engagements and issues that will be taken up in the run-up to the assembly elections next year.Talking about merger Kumar said it has nothing to do with ‘Kharmas’ (inauspicious month from December 14 to January 14) and it will not happen immediately after the period was over. “The timing of the merger of Janata Parivar parties has nothing to do with Kharmas. We don’t know how a section of media arrived on the conclusion that we were waiting for this period to get over. Let me tell you that nothing will happen immediately after January 14,” Kumar added. Talks regarding the merger of six parties that came into existence after breaking away from Janata Dal formed by former Prime Minister V P Singh in 1988 started a couple of months ago. The six parties are JD(U), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Samajwadi Party (SP), Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), Janata Dal (Secular) and Samajwadi Janata Party (SJP) and Nitish Kumar is expected to lead it in Bihar.With regard to unification with RJD in Bihar, Kumar said leaders of both parties will either work together or decide over the future course of action. Speaking on the occasion, Singh said, “Our party leaders have put their stamp of approval on the merger and they have expressed satisfaction over its speed. They have also praised the role of Kumar in it and have asked him to take whatever steps that are needed.”The merger is being touted as an effort to take on the resurgent BJP after its coming to power at the Centre and notching strong performances in Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections

Money for uplift of poor being spent on ‘Saifai Mahotsav’: Mayawati

Charging the Akhilesh Yadav government of “insensitivity”, BSP supremo Mayawati on Saturday said crores of rupees were being diverted for “Saifai Mahotsav” even as several lives were lost due to cold in Uttar Pradesh.”On one hand several people have lost their lives due to cold and on the other this government is spending crores of rupees of the poor and common people on the Saifai mela, displaying an insensitive attitude,” she told reporters.Saifai Mahotsav is an annual jamboree organised at SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s village. Making a fresh demand for imposition of President’s rule in the state, Mayawati said, “Giving even a single mark to the UP government out of 100 on the law and order situation will be betraying people of the state.”Mayawati claimed that anti-social elements were ruling and corruption was at its zenith in the state and added that legislators and ministers were allegedly not allowing honest civil and police officials to function properly.Referring to the recent gangrape of a minor by two policemen in Badaun district, she said, “Girls are not safe while venturing out for work even during day time.” Demanding dismissal of the Samajwadi Party government in the interest of the state and its people, she appealed to Governor Ram Naik through the media for imposition of President’s rule.On the protests by certain organisations against Aamir Khan starrer ‘PK’, Mayawati advised the chief minister, who recently declared it tax-free, that he should desist from taking any step that could fan communal passion.She asked the film makers and government departments associated with film to see to it that they do not project any such thing that could hurt religious sentiments. To a question as to whether she supported VHP’s demand to ban the movie, Mayawati said she does not see films and without viewing it she cannot say anything.

FIR against Sanjeev Balyan for controversial comments against Azam Khan

An FIR has been registered against BJP MP and Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan for his controversial remarks against UP Minister Mohd Azam Khan.The FIR was registered against Balyan at Sambhal Police Station by district President of SP’s youth wing, Mulayam Singh Youth Brigade, which alleged that the minister had hurt the feeling of Muslim community and tried to incite communal passion, Station Officer, Sambhal, Anil Kumar Mishra said. The minister has been booked under 153A IPC (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language..) and IPC 506 (criminal intimidation).The probe will be conducted by Amroha Police. During a meeting in Amroha on December 21, Balyan had allegedly termed Azam Khan as a terrorist. A case was earlier filed against Balyan in Rampur on December 23 at Gunj Police Station alleging that the minister’s speech had created tension and was against communal harmony and peace. Khan and Balyan have been locked in a war of words, with both accusing each other of indulging in communal politics.