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Modi in Russia: PM Modi takes a jibe at Opposition, says ‘some people always count problems’

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Asserting that India is making attempts to resolve these problems, he said ,”results in this direction are now showing up”.

In an apparent swipe at his detractors back home, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said some people only cry about problems while his government was trying to resolve them. “Yes we also face problems but we are not those who will only cry about the problems. We are finding solutions to the problems we face. “There are some people who all the time are engaged in counting problems,” he said while addressing a ‘Friends of India’ event here. Asserting that India is making attempts to resolve these problems, he said ,”results in this direction are now showing up”. While Modi did not elaborate, he was apparently referring to problems being repeatedly highlighted by Opposition parties. His remarks to a gathering of about 3,000 against the backdrop of the NDA government’s attack on the opposition for stalling the crucial reforms legislations like the GST during the just concluded Parliament session. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

DDCA row: Kirti Azad suspended by BJP, defiant MP threatens to make ‘more revealations’

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erming the charges levelled against him as “laughable”, he rejected that he “colluded” with Opposition in attacking senior party leaders like Arun Jaitley and said it is the Opposition which has picked up the issues raised by him for the last nine years.

Kirti Azad

PTI
Suspended by BJP, Darbhanga MP Kirti Azad on Wednesday threatened to make “more revelations” in the coming days and said he didn’t expect the party “to stoop so low” by acting against him for “speaking against corruption”.”Wait and watch what I do next. Now I will tell everyone,” he said, adding he will move the party’s ‘margdarshak mandal’ which has party veterans like L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi to ask if the party suspends someone for speaking against corruption in Delhi’s cricket body. “I am really very saddened. I never though that BJP would stoop to that level that a person who had joined them from an illustrious Congress family is suspended for fighting corruption,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I will go to the ‘margdarshak mandal’ and ask them that if a person speaks against corruption does the party crucify such a person and suspend him,” Azad told PTI when asked about his next move. Questioning his suspension, he said the party did not follow the due process and also did not serve a show cause notice before taking such an action against a Member of Parliament.”The due process has not been followed. They did not serve a show cause notice. If you have to suspend an MP, you have to move the Parliamentary Board. Did you do that? How can they violate the very own laws that have been made by us,” he questioned. Terming the charges levelled against him as “laughable”, he rejected that he “colluded” with Opposition in attacking senior party leaders like Arun Jaitley and said it is the Opposition which has picked up the issues raised by him for the last nine years.”Who said I have teamed up? This issue I have been raising is very old, I haven’t teamed up with the Opposition. It is a matter of regret that Opposition has picked up the issue which I was raising,” he said.”Now you see and look at the Opposition, how they will have them. They will use my name and attack. My party gave it to them on the platter, not me,” he said, adding that those who have suspended him for raising a voice against corruption have “defamed” the Prime Minister.He added that he is yet to get any letter and asked, “Which letter? I have not received any letter yet. I have just reached Ahmedabad. I will see.” Azad said he felt “let down” by the party as the man against whom he raised charges did not put up a defamation case against him, but the party for which he has fought for all these years has served him a show cause. Asked about the charges that he was colluding with the Opposition, he said, “These people are telling me that I have colluded with AAP which is born only yesterday. What rubbish and ridiculous…”On whether Jaitley was behind his suspension, he claimed, “He was putting pressure, I knew it from everyone.” Claiming himself to be a man who honestly worked for the party and had an opportunity to become a Union minister when his father was the chief minister, who did not allow so, he said, “If party suspends me, it is unfortunate for the party.” He said he has been raising the issue of corruption in DDCA for nine years but “they did not listen to me. If anyone is responsible for this, it is the party itself”.”This is the reason why such a situation has risen. I have not said anything against the party. I have said that I support the Prime Minister on his statement that ‘na khaunga na khane dunga’ (Neither will I do corruption, not allow it to happen),” he said.

Arunachal Pradesh political crisis: CM Nabam Tuki meets President Pranab Mukherjee

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Opposition BJP and rebel Congress MLAs got together on December 17 to “vote out” Tuki and to “elect” a rebel Congress MLA in his place but the Gauhati High Court intervened to keep in abeyance decisions taken at the “rebel session”.
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dna Research & Archives
Against the backdrop of a political crisis in his state due to a tussle between factions of the ruling Congress, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki met President Pranab Mukherjee in Hyderabad on Wednesday.”I called on him. I apprised him the situation. The matter is now sub-judice,” Tuki told PTI.Opposition BJP and rebel Congress MLAs got together on December 17 to “vote out” Tuki and to “elect” a rebel Congress MLA in his place but the Gauhati High Court intervened to keep in abeyance decisions taken at the “rebel session”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress has accused the BJP of hatching a conspiracy to topple the Tuki government, but the saffron party has maintained that it has nothing to do with the dissidence in the ruling party in Arunachal Pradesh. The President is here for his customary southern sojourn which concludes on December 31.

Parliament passes bill to amend Atomic Energy Act

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The Atomic Energy Amendment Bill 2015, that was passed by Lok Sabha on December 14, got approval from the Rajya Sabha on the last day of the session without any discussion, evoking protests from some Opposition parties including Left.

Parliament

State-run NPCIL can now collaborate with other PSUs in the nuclear field, with Parliament on Wednesday passing a bill in this regard after government allayed fears that the step will allow FDI into the sector or enable participation of a private firm in atomic power production.The Atomic Energy Amendment Bill 2015, that was passed by Lok Sabha on December 14, got approval from the Rajya Sabha on the last day of the session without any discussion, evoking protests from some Opposition parties including Left. The law seeks to amend the 1962 Atomic Energy Act to change the definition of “government company” in the Act with a view to expand its scope by including such joint venture companies as may be formed between NPCIL and other PSUs, according to the statement of object and reasons.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At present, only two Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) — Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Bhartiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (BHAVINI), which are under the administrative control of Department of Atomic Energy, operate nuclear power plants in the country. Minister of State for PMO Jitendra Singh, who holds the portfolio of atomic energy, clarified that the Joint Venture is for public sector companies and not private sector ones.Jairam Ramesh (Congress) wanted to know whether private companies can also be permitted under the joint venture. The Bill was was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 7 and proposes to to amend the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 that empowers the central government to produce, develop, control, and use atomic energy. While under the Act, a government company that is allowed to produce atomic energy is one in which at least 51 percent of the paid-up share capital is held by the central government. Paid-up share capital is the capital received by a company from the issue of shares.The amendments expand this definition to include companies where the whole of the paid up share capital is held by one or more government company and whose articles of association empower the central government to constitute its Board of Directors. This provision will allow for the formation of joint ventures between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and other government companies.Under the Act, a license is required for acquisition, production, use, export and import of any plant designed for the production and development of atomic energy or research. The Bill makes consequential amendments to state that such license will only be granted to entities such as a government company or a department of central government.

Maharashtra govt is not in favour of reopening dance bars: CM Fadnavis

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Fadnavis also told the House that the crime rate has dropped to some extent.

Stating that the state government is not in favour of reopening of dance bars, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis on Wednesday told the Legislative Assembly that his government is framing new set of rules for these establishments. The 18 new rules for dance bars include disallowance of showering of currency notes on bar dancers and also a CCTV cover for every dance bar with the feed available at the police control room would be compulsory. Fadnavis also told the Assembly that there was a drastic drop in the crime rate in the state. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>All the members of the Opposition Congress and NCP staged a walkout earlier today protesting against the government’s failure of waiving farm loan and Fadnavis addressed the Assembly facing virtually empty benches. Replying to the ‘last week resolution’, Fadanvis said the government was seeking state Advocate General’s opinion in the issue of dance bars to appeal in the apex court. In October this year, the Supreme Court had stayed the operation of 2014 amendment in the Maharashtra Police Act that had banned dance performances at bars and some other places, paving the way for reopening of dance bars across the state. “A new set of 18 rules and regulations are being framed by the state to curb dance shows and also to keep a tight vigil on activities during the dance shows,” he said. “The entire show will be filmed on CCTV and the nearest police station will be given live feed to check any irregularities. Safe distance has to be maintained by the audience and no showering of currency notes on dancers,” he said.Fadnavis also told the House that the crime rate has dropped to some extent. “There has been a drop in one year period of BJP-Shiv Sena government as compared to what it was during the erstwhile Congress-NCP rule. There has been a significant rise in rate of conviction, which is 48 per cent now, whereas the previously it was just nine per cent,” he said. The Chief Minister admitted that due to enactment of new law after the gangrape and murder case in the national capital, awareness among women on the issue has grown and they are fearlessly coming forward to lodge complaints about sexual abuses. All police stations were working online and from January 1 and surprise checks would be carried out to ascertain whether it was working as per this decision or not.

Rajya Sabha wasted half its time, Rs 9.9 crore, after disruptions during Winter Session

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While the Lok Sabha where the BJP enjoys a good majority worked worked for 115 hours the Rajya Sabha lost 55 hours due to interruptions by the Opposition.

The continuos disruptions happening in the Rajya Sabha where the government is in a numerical minority has led to the house losing Rs. 9.9 crore, reports NDTV. The report says that the cost of running the house is Rs 29,000 per minute. The productivity of the Upper House is far lower as compared to that of Lok Sabha.While the Lok Sabha where the BJP enjoys a good majority worked for 115 hours the Rajya Sabha lost 55 hours due to interruptions by the Opposition. Lok Sabha passed 14 bills and registered 104% productivity, Rajya Sabha passed nine bills with just 46% productivity. The Goods and Services Tax bill is still pending in Rajya Sabha.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Lower House spent 50 hours on non-legislative business and 33 hours on legislation whereas the Upper House spent 37 hours on non-legislative work and less than 10 hours on legislation. 65 per cent of its time was spent on non-legislative business.In the Question Hour, the Lok Sabha got 87% productivity, clocking nearly 15 hours while the Rajya Sabha clocked in 14% productive time at just 2.4 hours.Regarding the Juvenile Justice Bill, the Rajya Sabha functioned non-stop for five hours on December 22 to pass the bill which was passed by the Lok Sabha in May.

Winter Session was ‘victim of strategies aimed to paralyse Parliament’, says Venkaiah Naidu

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Naidu further said that the ruling dispensation at the Centre was ready to discuss issues but for that the House needed to function; but the opposition did not allow the house to function.

Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs M. Venkaiah Naidu

PTI
Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs M. Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday slammed the Opposition for not letting the Parliament function; saying just concluded Winter Session became the victim of strategy which was aimed to paralyse it.”The nation is disappointed in the manner in which the Parliament functioned in the Winter Session. The nation needs to be given an explanation by the Congress as to why they did not let the Rajya Sabha function,” Naidu said. “All international agencies are saying that India is most favoured destination for investments, but our friends in the Opposition don’t respect the mandate of the people and are creating obstacles for us,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Naidu further said that the ruling dispensation at the Centre was ready to discuss issues but for that the House needed to function; but the opposition did not allow the house to function.”The Congress feels threatened by this Prime Minister and the government and they want to sabotage parliament and democracy,” he added.Claiming that the ruling regime didn’t do anything wrong, Naidu said, “No minister has done anything wrong; no one can raise a finger on us….Something happened in Delhi and District Cricket Association in 2012, and they didn’t let Parliament to function in 2015,” he added.Meanwhile both the houses were adjourned sine die today. The Congress lawmakers continued to disrupt the proceedings over the alleged irregularities in DDCA, demanding the resignation of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.Amid the uproar created by the opposition, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan allowed the question hour.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan expunges her own remarks after Congress protests

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“I did not take name of (any) party… I will definitely expunge the ‘vested interest’ remark… I am sorry,” she said.

In a rare act, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Mond agreed to expunge her own “vested interest” remarks made yesterday against members protesting in the Well, after Congress expressed concern saying it was not right on part of the Chair to make such a remark. Soon after the House condoled the death of 10 people in a BSF plane crash yesterday, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge raised concern over the Speaker’s remarks. Yesterday when Congress members were protesting in the Well, Mahajan had said they don’t have any national interest and they only have vested interest. Noting that she did not take the name of any party while making the remarks, Mahajan today said it was made when members were protesting in the Well of the House. “I did not take name of (any) party… I will definitely expunge the ‘vested interest’ remark… I am sorry,” she said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Wondering what would happen tomorrow, Kharge said the Speaker’s remarks yesterday was unfortunate and it hurt them. “(The remarks) were not proper,” he noted. “We are bringing up issues on national interest” whether about Union Minister V K Singh or Arunachal Pradesh or any other matter, Kharge said, adding that whatever problems have happened, the government was responsible. Mahajan said “unko (Congress) bhi kisi baat ke liye dukh hua hai. Achchi baat hai ki woh sochen unki kise baat se doosre bhi aahat ho sakte hain (They are hurt for some reason. It would be good if they also think that for their actions some others might have also been hurt)”. Dissatisfied with the Speaker’s response when Congress members began to protest, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said such actions by the Opposition was not allowed in the House. “Nobody can question the conduct of the Speaker in the House,” the Minister said. Earlier when the House assembled and the Question Hour began, Congress members trooped into the Well raising slogans over Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s alleged role in the irregularities in the Delhi cricket body DDCA.Amid the protests, Jaitley and BJP MP Kirti Azad, who has also targeted the Finance Minister over the DDCA affairs, walked into the House. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Sonia Gandhi were also present in the House.

PM Modi ‘politically forced’ to support Arun Jaitley: Congress

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“If you want to read into the statement, it perhaps very clearly states that the Prime Minister may is forced politically to support Mr. Jaitley,” he added

Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress Party on Wednesday said that the former is ‘politically forced’ to support Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who is under the hammer for irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). “In the DDCA case some enquiries have been constituted. So we should all wait and let the enquiry come. It is unfortunate that the Prime Minister is making a statement like this. He never made a statement like this in the case of Sushma ji, Vasundhara Raje or Shivraj Singh Chouhan,” Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If you want to read into the statement, it perhaps very clearly states that the Prime Minister may is forced politically to support Mr. Jaitley,” he added. He asserted that there is a moral duty of the Finance Minister and it is up to him to take the call. Earlier, in a strong show of support for Jaitley, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the former will come through “with flying colours” against charges of corruption levelled against him by the Opposition.

Jaitley vs Azad plays out in Lok Sabha, as Congress guns for minister over DDCA row

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Amit Shah erms all the allegations levelled by AAP against Jaitley as ‘baseless and far from truth’

BJP member Kirti Azad speaks in the Lok Sabha on Monday

PTI
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley versus BJP MP Kirti Azad battle over financial irregularities in DDCA resonated on the floor of Lok Sabha on Monday. While the Congress was demanding his resignation, as Jaitley dubbed the charges against him as baseless, Azad, who was sitting in the treasury benches, demanded a time bound SIT-monitored CBI probe into his allegations.A day after Azad held a press conference on the DDCA issue, he raised the issue in the House, again stopping short of naming Jaitley, who had headed the DDCA for 13 years.”Modi government is against corruption. That is why CBI is probing DDCA’s activities between 2008 and 2013. Everybody knows who the president was during this time,”Azad said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Azad was allowed to speak without interruptions. Earlier in the day, Azad tweeted challenging Jaitley to file defamation against him too.”hello dear Arun Jaitely, hampar defemation file kar rahe ho na? Please karo na Don’t take injunction, don’t gag freedom of speech,”Azad tweeted.By Monday evening BJP president Amit Shah came to the finance minister’s defence saying the entire party was behind him and will not allow any “conspiracy” to defame him. “AAP was trying to tarnish Jaitley’s exemplary record… Attack on him will harm AAP in the long run,” he said.In a statement, Shah termed all the allegations levelled by AAP against Jaitley as “baseless and far from truth” and said his public life was like an open book dedicated to the country.The party chief’s statement came after Azad took on the minister in Parliament giving ammunition to the Opposition, an unprecedented act by a treasury bench member. Azad had met Shah two days before he held the press conference on Sunday. However, he went ahead with his plans.Union ministers have been coming to Jaitley’s defence, but on the question on whether action would be taken against Azad, they said it was for the party president to take a call. In a show of support for him, five union ministers– JP Nadda, Dharmendra Pradhan, Smriti Irani, Piyush Goel and Rajyavardhan Rathore– accompanied him to Patiala House Courts to file a statement in a criminal defamation case against AAP leaders.”Jaitley does not need a certificate from anyone. He has impeccable character,”parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu said.However, the DDCA issue could bring to the fore fissures in the party. The attack from within the BJP comes close on the heels of the castigation of the leadership by party veterans in the wake of the Bihar debacle.In the House, Congress members shouted slogans demanding Jaitley’s resignation. “The charges (against me) are baseless and wrong. This is all I have to say,” Jaitley said.While reeling out details of the construction of the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium in Delhi, he said the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) report did not find any fault with the expenditure and “accepted” the cost incurred.Congress’s KC Venugopal, who raised the issue, claimed that there were “gross irregularities” in DDCA when Jaitley headed it and alleged his involvement and said Azad’s press conference gave “solid evidence of irregularities” in DDCA. He said the construction work at Ferozshah Kotla had cost Rs 114 cr against the estimate of Rs 24 cr and alleged that it was forced escalation and that there was no record of tender in many cases.”He (Jaitley) is also involved in the scam. We demand a JPC probe and resignation of Jaitley,” he said.Jaitley said that it cost Rs 114 cr to build Kotla stadium, which was merely a “field” prior to the construction, and hit out at the Congress, saying the Nehru stadium was renovated at a cost of Rs 900 cr and the Dhyanchand stadium for Rs 600 cr. The Kotla stadium has a seating capacity of 42000, the Dhyanchad staidum steats only 14000 people.At one point when the Congress members started protesting, Jaitley angrily said “sit down…. You should have courage to listen.” Congress staged a walkout, as the treasury benches booed it. Attack from within the party The DDCA issue could bring to the fore fissures in the party. The attack from within the BJP comes close on the heels of the castigation of the leadership by party veterans in the wake of the Bihar debacle. In the House, Congress members shouted slogans demanding Jaitley’s resignation. “The charges (against me) are baseless and wrong. This is all I have to say,”Jaitley said. Party president backs JaitleyOn Monday evening BJP president Amit Shah came to the finance minister’s defence saying the entire party was behind him and will not allow any “conspiracy” to defame him. “AAP was trying to tarnish Jaitley’s exemplary record… Attack on him will harm AAP in the long run,” he said. The party chief’s statement came after Azad took on the minister in Parliament giving ammunition to the Opposition, an unprecedented act by a treasury bench member. Azad had met Shah two days before he held the press conference on Sunday. However, he went ahead with his plans.

AAP govt making Delhi Assembly arena of political games: Vijender Gupta

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The session has nothing to do with public interest issues and it will only discuss CBI enquiry against a senior official of Delhi government and setting up of an enquiry committee to probe DDCA working, Vijender said.
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dna Research & Archives
Accusing Arvind Kejriwal government of turning the Delhi Assembly into an arena of “political games”, leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta on Monday charged that special session is called to “defame” the Centre and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.”Kejriwal government has turned the Assembly into an arena of political games. The sole purpose of calling the special session tomorrow is to malign the Central Government and the Finance Minister as much as possible,” he said.The session has nothing to do with public interest issues and it will only discuss CBI enquiry against a senior official of Delhi government and setting up of an enquiry committee to probe DDCA working, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP had tried to raise the “corrupt practices” of the officer many times in Delhi Assembly but its efforts were thwarted. The Delhi Government persistently refused to discuss it, he added.

Nirbhaya case: Demand in Rajya Sabha for immediate passage of juvenile bill

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As memories of the brutal 2012 Nirbhaya case returned with the release of the juvenile, Derek O’Brien (TMC) said he has given a notice under rule 267 seeking suspension of business and taking up the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2014.

Juvenile bill gains urgency in Rajya Sabha
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A demand for expeditious passage of the amendments to the Juvenile Justice Act to allow children between 16-18 years to be tried as adults in heinous crime cases was made in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, soon after the Supreme Court dismissed a plea against the release of the juvenile offender in the December 16 gang-rape case.As memories of the brutal 2012 Nirbhaya case returned with the release of the juvenile, Derek O’Brien (TMC) said he has given a notice under rule 267 seeking suspension of business and taking up the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2014. He said the House had only three days to go before end of the Winter Session and government’s listed agenda includes commercial courts, arbitration and real estate bill. The government has not even listed the juvenile bill for discussion and passing on Monday, he said during Zero Hour.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is incumbent upon the House to listen to what is going on outside,” he said, asking the House to rise above politics. “It is not a perfect bill but let us list it and pass the bill,” O’Brien said.Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the bill was listed on December 8, 10 and 11. “We have listed it for tomorrow,” he said, adding if all agree the bill can be taken up for discussion today itself.Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said O’Brien has raised a relevant point. If the government and opposition agree the bill can be discussed. “But government has to list the bill.” Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the bill is not listed on Monday even though the Congress had at all-party meeting last week agreed to its passage.On Monday, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2015 has been listed for passing. “We are committed to passing it today,” he said adding the juvenile bill can be taken up on Tuesday.

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

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

Jagan Mohan Reddy

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

Abohar murder: Accused Amit Doda surrenders, liquor baron remains elusive

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“Amit Doda surrendered before SP Headquarters Abohar last night,” DIG Ferozepur Range, Amar Singh Chahal said.

Amit Doda, one of the accused in Abohar Dalit murder case, has surrendered before police even as the liquor baron and Akali leader Shiv Lal Doda continued to remain elusive.”Amit Doda surrendered before SP Headquarters Abohar last night,” DIG Ferozepur Range, Amar Singh Chahal said.However, he said that Shiv Lal Doda, main accused in the case, has not been arrested so far.”Shiv Lal Doda continues to remain elusive,” Chahal said adding that efforts are being made to nab him.Punjab Police had issued a look out circular against Shiv Lal Doda and his nephew Amit Doda in the case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The duo has been booked for conspiracy in connection with the murder of a 27-year-old Dalit man Bhim Sain whose limbs were chopped off by suspected henchmen of a liquor baron in Abohar on December 11.Meanwhile, the Opposition Congress had accused the Punjab Police of “going soft” on the Akali leader and his nephew due to pressure from the ruling SAD-BJP government.The police have so far arrested 13 persons in the case.

As juvenile in Nirbhaya case is released, debate rages over bill

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Women and Child development minister Maneka Gandhi blamed the delay of bill passage on the stalemate in Rajya Sabha

Delhi police officers escort a juvenile accused of rape, outside the Juvenile justice board in New Delhi.
Manit Balmiki
dna
In the British era, the India Jail Committee had recommended separate trials and institutions for children. Nearly 100 years later, a bill, proposing to open a window for juveniles in the 16-18 age group to be tried as adults in cases of heinous crimes, has sparked off a heated debate.As memories of the brutal 2012 Nirbhaya case returned with the release of the juvenile, the government and the BJP cashed in on protests against his release to blame the Opposition for delay in passage of the juvenile justice bill. The Opposition, apprehensive of the fallout of certain provisions of the bill pending in Rajya Sabha, wanted it referred to a Select Committee.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the two sides slug it out, the juvenile would have been released anyway by December 20, 2015, as criminal laws cannot be used with retrospective effect.Child’s rights lawyer Anant Asthana, one of the members of the drafting committee of the bill, heaved a sigh of relief that it was being referred to a select committee, amidst the sharp divide on it. “Seeing the conditions in jail, in 1919 the first India Jail Committee was of the view that children should not be lodged in jail. Now, this new bill, if passed as it is, will take us 100 years back,” he said.Calling the bill regressive, he said “it will be a recipe for more crime and more criminals in the long run. You cannot bring laws dictated purely by public sentiment.” Reports of the juvenile being the most brutal accused in the gang rape had raised the question that he should not be treated as a child.Asthana said it was not as simple as that. According to him, the bill follows the recommendations of the Justice Verma committee in retaining age of juvenile at 18, but created a window through which certain category of children can be pushed into adult criminal justice system. “This is called the judicial waiver, a concept being brought in for the first time in India,” he said.The bill also takes into purview issues like foster care, easier adoption guidelines, apart from criminalising juveniles committing heinous crimes. However, it must be noted that a standing committee headed by JP Nadda in February rejected several recommendations put forward by the WCD ministry, stating that the Bill violated article 14 and 21 of the Constitution. Activists have also argued that the Bill also violates the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child.As the release of the juvenile became imminent, Women and Child development minister Maneka Gandhi blamed it on the stalemate in Rajya Sabha. She has also said giving the juvenile Rs 10,000 and a sewing machine was incentivising the crime.BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi admitted that even if the bill, brought to Parliament in 2014, was passed, it would not have applied to the juvenile in the Nirbhaya case, but said because of the delay in the legislation, it has also let off others in such cases in the past three years. “In my reading, the sexual maturity age has come down and the law should be changed as per the changing times…. The Nirbhaya case is not just rape but a case of murder and immense brutality,” she said quoting statistics of juvenile crime.Till 1999 the juvenile age was 16 and it was raised to 18 in 2000 during the NDA regime. After the outcry over the juvenile getting away with a three-year sentence in the Nirbhaya gang rape in 2012, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014, proposing that children in the 16-18 age group be tried as adults if they commit heinous crimes, was passed by Lok Sabha. However, in Rajya Sabha, where government is in a minority, several opposition parties were of the view that it required further scrutiny. Opposition members, including those from Congress, Samajwadi Party, JD (U) and TMC, wrote to Chairman Hamid Ansari that the bill be referred to a select committee as there were provisions that should be examined before taking it up in the House. Divided opinionCongress’ Ashwani Kumar, who was law minister during the Nirbhaya rape and murder, said opinion has been divided on decreasing the age of a “juvenile”. While he agreed that governments have to respond to public opinion, Kumar cautioned “there is evidence that harsher the laws, the more ineffective they are.”CPM politburo member Brinda Karat said “we are opposed to dealing with those below 18 as an adult. It goes against international convention. There should be proper monitoring and supervision of the juvenile once released.”

Government defends house allotment to Subramanian? Swamy

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According to the UD Ministry list, those provided government houses on security grounds include Priyanka Gandhi who was allotted 35, Lodi Estate in February 1997

Subramanian Swamy

Defending the Modi government’s decision to allot a bungalow to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, the Urban Development Ministry on Sunday said houses had been to non-MPs for security reasons even in the past.”Government bungalows have been allotted to even non-MPs in the past on grounds of security,” a senior UD Ministry official said. According to the UD Ministry list, those provided government houses on security grounds include Priyanka Gandhi who was allotted 35, Lodi Estate in February 1997. Former Punjab police chief KPS Gill was allotted 11, Talkatora Road in April 1996, while ex-Youth Congress chief MS Bitta was allotted 14, Talkatora Road in June 1996.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader Jagdish Tytler was given house at 3, GRG Road, in December 2006 which he vacated in 2015. According to the list, Ashwini Kumar, Editor, Punjab Keshri was allotted a government accomodation in June 1998. Buta Singh was allotted 11-A, Teen Murti Marg in February 2006 on security ground.Ashwini Kumar vacated government accommodation in 2012 and Tytler in 2015, while all others are still occupying the bungalows allotted to them. Congress had alleged that Swamy was given Z category security and allotted a government bungalow on grounds of security despite not being an MP or hailing from a troubled border state as “reward” for suing top Congress leadership including party chief Sonia Gandhi and her deputy Rahul in the National Herald case.”He is not facing any threat from any terrorist organisation….The bungalow was given as an award for dragging the Congress leadership to court,” Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad had said.

National Herald Case: Congress ‘politicising’ court matter, says BJP

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Sonia and Rahul Gandhi

PTI
Taking strong exception to the burning of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s effigy by Congress workers, BJP on Sunday said the opposition party was “politicising” a court matter and should rather apologise to people for stalling Parliament over the National Herald case.”They are attacking a Prime Minister who is taking all measures to fight corruption. Congress has politicised something that basically Modi has nothing to do. It should apologise to people for its conduct, including stalling of Parliament,” BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma said. Congress should “cooperate” with the government in its fight against corruption, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rejecting the opposition’s charge of “vendetta politics”, he said all the corruption cases for which it was blaming the government were registered during the UPA regime whether it was Aircel-Maxis case or that of National Herald.Congress’s “celebration” yesterday after its chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul got bail in the case made it look like that they had got a “trophy” and not bail. Sonia and Rahul Gandhi had hit out at Modi accusing him of levelling “false allegations” against them and making “full use” of government agencies to “deliberately target” the Opposition.

Congress MP Anand Sharma assures passage of GST after debate with govt

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Sharma said the Opposition have lent support to key bills in the Parliament adding that it is extremely important for the Government and the Opposition to work together to fulfil the aspirations of the people.

Parliament

Congress MP and deputy leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma on Saturday said the Congress party is the real author of GST(Goods and Services Tax) Bill and assured that the country will have GST after debate with the government.”We have been the real authors of GST and we have put across some very genuine concerns. The Opposition is ready to debate with the Government on this. The country will have a GST and there is no doubt about that,” Sharma said while addressing FICCI’s 88th Annual General Meeting here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sharma said the Opposition have lent support to key bills in the Parliament adding that it is extremely important for the Government and the Opposition to work together to fulfil the aspirations of the people.”We have lent our support for passage of some of the key bills in the Parliament recently. We feel that it is extremely important for the Government and the Opposition to work together. And this is most imperative to assure that the aspirations of our young population are met. About two third of our population is below 35 years of age, which is a massive 800 million people. It is for this youth to dream and for us to work towards the fulfillment of their dreams,” he said.He said that at this juncture, there is a need for policies that reflect continuity, predictability and stability, which at present is being threatened.”Merely rebranding and repackaging of policies would not help the economy which at present is sputtering. The present Government needs to decentralise and delegate, in order to meet its claim of improving the governance situation,” he said.”There is a need to undertake a realistic appraisal of where we stand today in terms of our economic situation. If we look at the GDP number there has been only a marginal improvement in growth if go by the new base year numbers. Private investments remain weak and credit offtake has witnessed a significant decline,” he said.

National Herald Case: After getting bail, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi hit out at PM Modi

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Sonia and Rahul, who came straight to the AICC office from the court where they were granted bail in the National Herald case, asserted that they will continue to fight and “not bow down”.

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi

PTI
Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul on Saturday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing him of levelling “false allegations” against them and making “full use” of government agencies to “deliberately target” the Opposition.Sonia and Rahul, who came straight to the AICC office from the court where they were granted bail in the National Herald case, asserted that they will continue to fight and “not bow down”. “Today we had appeared before the court with a clean conscience. We did what any law-abiding citizen should do. The laws of the nation applies to everyone without any discrimination. I have no doubt that the truth will come out,” Sonia Gandhi told reporters.Coming down heavily on Modi government, the Congress President said, “The present government is deliberately targeting the opposition and making full use of the state agencies to do so. Nobody is going to be scared from it. We will continue our fight.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Making a direct attack on the Prime Minister, Rahul Gandhi said, “Modiji levels false allegations and thinks that the Opposition will bow down, I and Congress party will not succumb.” Referring to the case filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, Sonia Gandhi said that she was totally aware of the intention of the people behind the case. “These people have been trying for long to target us.They will not succeed,” she asserted. Asserting that Congress will continue to fight for the poor, Rahul said, “We will not budge an inch.” The Gandhis were speaking after they were granted bail in the case based on a private criminal complaint lodged by Swamy against them of cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the Congress is united in support of Sonia and Rahul. “We will fight. We will give a determined fight,” he said asserting that Congress was a party that stood for certain values and it will not compromise on them.

UP Governor ends row, okays Lokayukta for oath

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The Governor will administer the oath of office to the new appointee on Sunday.

UP Governor Ram Naik on Friday finally gave his assent for the appointment of Justice (retd) Virendra Singh Yadav as the new Lokayukta ending a rather unseemly episode marked by controversies and uncertainty throughout the selection process.The Governor will administer the oath of office to the new appointee on Sunday.In an unprecedented step, the Supreme Court had on Wednesday used its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution and named the Lokayukta, severely chiding the Constitutional authorities responsible for the selection over the undue delay in making the appointment despite several reminders by the apex court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Justice Yadav was one of the five candidates whose names were under consideration by the three-member selection committee comprising the Chief Justice (CJ) of the Allahabad High Court, the UP CM and the Leader of Opposition.On Thursday, the anointment of Justice Yadav had come under a cloud despite a clear order of the apex court after Allahabad High Court CJ Justice DY Chandrachud shot off a letter saying Justice Yadav’s name had already been scrapped, and that a serving judge Justice AN Mittal was the consensus choice of the three-member selection panel.However, the UP Governor has apparently chosen not to be drawn into any further controversy, and has gone by the word of law as clearly spelt out in the Supreme Court’s Wednesday order.

Congress MPs demand aggressive stand against Arun Jaitley

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At the Congress briefing, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad merely said that the party was studying the report in the case and would come to some conclusion in two-three days.

Demands of adopting aggressive stand against Arun Jaitley were on Friday made at a meeting of the strategy committee of the Congress here, in the wake of AAP’s allegation of financial irregularities against the Union Finance Minister.The meeting was presided by party chief Sonia Gandhi. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was also present in the meeting which saw some MPs take up the matter vigorously. Noting that AAP has been taking up the issue spiritedly, they pitched for raising it prominently by the party in Parliament next week.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At the Congress briefing, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad merely said that the party was studying the report in the case and would come to some conclusion in two-three days. Two days ago, Congress had targeted Jaitley demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee to go into the issue and resignation of the Finance Minister pending the inquiry. Following a CBI raid in Delhi Secretariat in connection with charges against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar, AAP has been claiming that the Central agency carried out the searches to target the AAP chief and was looking for a file relating to graft in DDCA, a charge refuted by the Modi government as also the CBI.Since then, the party has been demanding resignation of Jaitley from the Union Cabinet. The Aam Aadmi Party today posed five queries to Jaitley relating to alleged corruption in Delhi’s cricket body DDCA.Addressing a press conference, top AAP leaders dismissed Jaitley’s assertions of no wrongdoing as “vague” and “misleading” and instead sought to put the ball in his court by making a set of fresh charges.

Kerala in 2015: Scams, controversies rocked the state

Kerala was hit by a series of scams in 2015, one of which led to the ignominious exit of Finance Minister K M Mani, and among other headlines was one over the exclusion of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy from a function of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which also had its echo in Parliament.

Oommen Chandy
File Photo

Kerala was hit by a series of scams in 2015, one of which led to the ignominious exit of Finance Minister K M Mani, and among other headlines was one over the exclusion of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy from a function of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which also had its echo in Parliament.Chandy, who was invited to attend the statue unveiling function of late chief minister R Sankar at Kollam, was later politely asked by the organisers — Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP), an organisation of the backward Hindu Ezhva community, to stay away from the function, triggering a huge controversy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kerala was also be the venue of the Combined Commanders conference of the three services held on board India’s largest aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya in Kochi. Inaugurated by Modi, this was the first time that the conference was held outside the national capital.Modi also visited the Sivagiri mutt and paid respects to social reformer and spiritual leader Sree Narayana guru by planting a sampling.The bar scam, in which Mani was allegedly involved, dominated the political scenario in Kerala throughout the year. Mani, against whom vigilance sleuths had registered an FIR in the bar scam, was forced to resign a day after Kerala High court made some stinging observations. Though the 82-year-old strongman from Pala and supremo of Kerala Congress (M) tried to hold on, luck seemed to have given away after Chandy and other UDF partners put pressure on him to quit. A reluctant Mani finally had to give in and submit his resignation.Mani, who has mass base, especially in central Travancore area dominated by Christian community, represented the Pala constituency for 50 years continuously. His resignation came as a big blow to the Chandy government as he is the second minister who was forced to quit from the Cabinet. Earlier, K B Ganesh Kumar of Kerala Congress (B) had resigned after his estranged wife complained of domestic violence. Ganeshkumar and his party led by his father R Balakrishna Pillai, later left the UDF.For Chandy, more trouble seems to be brewing in the bar scam, with a vigilance court now ordering a quick verification against another minister, K Babu, handling Excise and Ports. The development came as an embarrassment for Chandy as Babu is a Congress minister and close confidant of his. The CPI(M)-led LDF opposition has already begun demanding both in the assembly and outside that Babu should quit and face probe. A prominent bar hotelier, Biju Ramesh had made stunning revelations during a television debate that the Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association had paid Rs one crore bribe to Mani and Rs 10 crores to Babu for favourable decisions. The year also saw unprecedented violence in the state assembly with ruling and Opposition MLAs literally coming to blows and vandalising speaker’s dais, breaking computers and hurling chairs at each other. It was a free for all on March 13 in the house when the Opposition tried their best to prevent Mani from presenting the state budget.The solar scam continued to haunt the UDF government with the main accused, Biju Radhakrishnan targeting Chandy claiming that he had video evidence of him and five other ministers in ‘wrongful situations’. A search for the purported video at Coimbatore turned out to be a wild goose chase.While the UDF received a drubbing in the crucial civic polls, which saw the LDF getting an upper hand in the corporation, municipalities and gram panchayats, the UDF had a face saviour by winning the Aruvikkara bypoll in June. The bypoll was necessitated by the death of former Speaker and Congress leader G Karthikeyan. UDF put up his son, K S Sabarinath, as its candidate and he won the seat, represented by his father for 25 years, in his debut election handsomely.BJP, which is yet to open its account in Assembly and Parliament from the southern state, managed to put up a good performance in the civic polls than earlier attempts. The party, which is trying to break the bi-polar politics of UDF and LDF in Kerala, seems to have found an ally in SNDP. Ahead of the next assembly polls, SNDP led by its powerful General Secretary Vellapally Natesan announced the formation of a new political party Bharat Dharma Jana Sena, which is likely to have tie-up with the saffron party.The UDF which is hoping to overcome the anti-incumbency factor by riding to power on its development agenda got a major boost with the foundation stone being laid for the state’s dream project of Vizhinjam International Deepwater Multipurpose Seaport project estimated to cost Rs 7525 crore.Port project was first conceived by the government of late K Karunakaran 25 years ago. Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari also announced cabotage waiver for the proposed port.Kerala’s fourth international airport is getting ready in the northern district of Kannur with construction work of the runway nearing completion and trial flight likely to land early next month. On other political front, politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan took over as state secretary of the CPI(M) after senior leader and Politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan, who was at the helm of the party for nearly three decades, stepped down. Even though CPI(M) has not yet announced who will be leading the Left battle during the elections scheduled early next year, Vijayan is widely tipped to head the front.However, 92-year-old Marxist veteran V S Achutanandan, who is still very popular among the masses, has given enough hints that he was willing to throw in the hat in the electoral arena “if the people and party wishes”. Achutanandan, who had walked out of the party state conference at Alapuzha held in February expressing dissatisfaction over the functioning of the leadership of Vijayan, had caused deep embarrassment to the party. A resolution had also been passed terming Achutanandan’s action as “anti-party”. Despite his action, Achutadanandan was the main crowd puller and much sought after during the civic polls, in which LDF gained over the ruling front.The CPI also saw a change of guard with Kanam Rajendran taking over as state secretary from Panniyan Ravindran.In an unprecedented violent incident in Kozhikode airport, a group of CISF personnel and fire and rescue personnel of the AAI, clashed leading to the death of a CISF jawan.Fall in rubber prices saw the state farmers reeling under financial crisis with price touching below Rs 100 per kg. Even though government announced various schemes to support growers, these did not have the desired result.The year also saw apolitical agitation by a group of women workers of tea plantations of Kanan Devan hills at Munnar. With over 10,000 women blocking the roads in the famous hill resort, government was forced to act by calling them for talks. Subsequently, the entire plantation workers went on a indefinite agitation following which the plantation management and workers reached an understanding on wages on government’s intervention.A boat tragedy in Kochi claimed 11 lives on August 26 when a passenger boat, with 35 people while on its way from Vypin to Fort Kochi was hit by a speeding fishing craft at the harbour mouth. An Iranian dhow was also seized near the Alapuzha coast in the state.The year also saw Kerala hosting the much-delayed and postponed National Games, which was marred by controversies.On the entertainment front, while most of the films of big stars bombed, two love stories “Premam” and “Ennum Ninte Moideen” turned out to be huge success commercially.

Parliament disruptions: Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari calls all-party meeting in view of pending legislation

“Government is ready to extend any cooperation but if somebody is bent upon disrupting and if they do it on a regular basis, the Chair has to take necessary action,” Naidu said reflecting the exasperation in the government with repeated disruptions in the House, which has taken a toll of the legislative business.

With logjam in the Upper House leaving key bills in the limbo, Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari has called an all-party meeting on Friday even as the Government said it is ready to extend cooperation but the Chair has to “act” if Opposition members are “hell bent” on disruptions.In the meeting to be held in Parliament House, the Chairman, who has repeatedly voiced his anguish over frequent disruptions in the House, is expected to urge members of all parties to allow the House to function to transact normal business.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, meanwhile, said, the Chair should see to it that the House functions properly.”Government is ready to extend any cooperation but if somebody is bent upon disrupting and if they do it on a regular basis, the Chair has to take necessary action,” Naidu said reflecting the exasperation in the government with repeated disruptions in the House, which has taken a toll of the legislative business.When asked what specific action the Chair should take, Naidu said he does not want to say what the Chair has to do.”The Chair knows its responsibility and its rights also,” he said while citing examples of the passage of Women Reservation Bill and Telangana Bill in Parliament amid massive protests in the past with the Chair resorting to the use of marshals in one case to evict the protesting members.”We have seen it umpteen times. How the Women’s Reservation Bill was passed in Rajya Sabha. How the Telangana creation bill was passed in Rajya Sabha. The entire country has seen that,” he said.Asked whether those measures are required again, Naidu merely said the nation needs measures that preserve democracy and allow debates and discussion and decision.”The President also said that discuss, debate and then decide. Do not disrupt. He has been saying it continuously.The Chair also has been saying this. But the point is that there has to be somewhere the Chair has to act…If they say we are not allowing this House to function. Then it is bringing bad name to democracy, the country,” the Parliamentary Affairs Minister said.Drawing attention to the difference between functioning of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, he said the one House where the BJP has majority is functioning normally while disruption is the order in the other House where Congress has majority.

Call money racket: Andhra assembly suspends 58 Opposition MLAs over uproar

The Andhra Pradesh Assembly saw the suspension of 58 Opposition MLAs including YSR Congress Party president YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday.

The Andhra Pradesh Assembly saw the suspension of 58 Opposition MLAs including YSR Congress Party president YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday.The Members of Legislative Assembly were suspended after an uproar over the Call Money scam.A massive blackmail, extortion and sex racket linked to Call Money was exposed in Andhra Pradesh, in which 80 people from different political parties have been arrested.Call money is a loan that is just a phone call away, with money delivered at one’s doorstep.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also read: ‘Call money’ racket: 19 held in East Godavari, Rs 23 Lakh seizedThe flipside is that the lender can demand it back at any time and if the borrower cannot repay, the lender can take away property.According to the police, women were coerced into sexual exploitation on not being able to return the amount.The lenders demanded rates of interest that were as high as 120 percent to 200 percent. Promissory notes and blank cheques were taken against the loans. Meanwhile, nineteen people have been arrested in connection with the ‘call money’ racket and over Rs 23 lakh cash seized from them, police said.

UP government misled Supreme Court: High Court CJ

On Wednesday, the apex court had taken the unprecedented decision of unilaterally finalizing the name of Justice Yadav for the post after several of its severe nudges to the Akhilesh Yadav government to make the appointment failed.

The Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court Justice DY Chandrachud has put the proverbial spanner in the works in the appointment of Justice (retd.) Virendra Singh Yadav as the new UP Lokayukta.On Wednesday, the apex court had taken the unprecedented decision of unilaterally finalizing the name of Justice Yadav for the post after several of its severe nudges to the Akhilesh Yadav government to make the appointment failed.On Thursday, the High Court CJ shot off a letter to UP Governor Ram Naik and to the Chief Justice of India saying that the Supreme Court had been misled about the names being considered for this post. The CJ is part of the three-member selection panel for the Lokayukta’s appointment, besides leader of the Opposition and the UP CM.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The allegation puts the state government’s counsel Kapil Sibal in the dock as he was the one who after consulting the state government gave the five names to the bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi. The bench named retired judge Virendra Singh as the new Lokayukta.Though a copy of the letter was not available, Governor House sources said Justice Yadav’s name had already been struck off the list of probables on Tuesday evening when a five-hour marathon meeting of the three-member selection committee failed to name a unanimous choice.The panel had met again on Wednesday morning, an hour before the apex court was to hear the related case. The Supreme Court had fixed Wednesday as the deadline for the UP government to name the new Lokayukta.Sources said that on Wednesday morning, the selection committee named Justice Mittal, a serving judge of the Allahabad High Court, as the unanimous choice for this post.How and why Justice Virendra Singh Yadav’s name was included in the list of probables at the last moment before the apex court remains a mystery. Sources said that the High Court CJ had vetoed Justice Yadav’s name as he was known to be close to the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) leadership.The CJ’s letter, virtually voicing his opinion against the judge the apex court has named, casts doubts about whether the UP Governor would administer the oath of office to Justice Yadav. Chances of this happening seem rather bleak under the changed circumstances.

ATS questions Pune girl ‘radicalised’ by ISIS sympathisers

The girl is now undergoing a de-radicalisation programme with the help of her family members and community religious leaders.
Representational Image
Reuters
A Pune-based 16-year-old Muslim girl, who was reportedly radicalised by her ISIS contacts abroad and brain-washed to go to Syria, has been questioned by sleuths of Pune Anti-Terrorism Squad and sent to a de-radicalisation programme, an ATS officer said on Thursday night. According to the officer, the girl is a bright convent educated class XI student, studying in a city college.”The girl was interrogated by the ATS last week after monitoring her movements for many days on getting information about her. It confirmed her initiation by the ISIS. The interrogation of the girl revealed that she was ready to go to any extent to carry out the ISIS directive,” Pune ATS officer Bhanupratap Barge told PTI revealing the details of the ATS operation.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The girl is now undergoing a de-radicalisation programme with the help of her family members and community religious leaders, who are fully cooperating with us, he added.According to the ATS, the minor girl got attracted to the ISIS ideology after watching a documentary on television and subsequently started regularly monitoring news on Al Jazeera channel.”Later, she used the internet to get in touch with ISIS contacts and got in touch with about 200 young persons from different countries. Her interrogation revealed that she was told to come to Syria for medical education and for further initiation,” Barge said.He said that the girl, who is highly intelligent, had recently changed her lifestyle and started wearing burqa, giving up jeans she used to wear before her exposure to the ISIS contacts.”Even her family members noticed the change in her and felt disturbed,” the ATS inspector said.Barge said the de-radicalisation programme of the ATS with the help of community clergy and family members was “working” for the girl with encouraging results. Pune has been on the terrorist radar and had witnessed bomb blasts including the German Bakery blast that killed 17 persons including many foreigners in 2010.2 YSRC MLAs suspended; House adjourned over ‘call money’ issue Hyderabad, Dec 17 (PTI) Two members of YSR Congress were today suspended from Andhra Pradesh Assembly for two days after the Opposition party stalled the House proceedings on the issue of ‘call money’ racket.Speaker K Sivaprasad Rao suspended B Sivaprasad Reddy and D Ramalingeswara Rao alias Raja for two days, for obstructing the cameras meant for showing the House proceedings. Legislative Affairs Minister Y Ramakrishnudu, who moved a motion for suspension of the two members, said obstructing the cameras is against the democratic principles of letting people know the proceedings of the Legislature.The YSR Congress stalled the proceedings seeking a debate on the alleged ‘call money’ racket, pertaining to harassment and exploitation of borrowers by private money lenders after providing loan on call. The racket, in which names of people with political connections cropped up, came to light in Vijayawada and police conducted searches across the state on private money lenders. The Speaker rejected the adjournment motion given by YSR Congress for a debate on the issue and sought to take up scheduled debate. The YSRCP members, however, stood in the well of the House and raised slogans against the TDP government. As the din continued, the Speaker adjourned the House twice but the situation did not improve.Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said he would make a statement tomorrow on the ‘call money’ issue and sought to speak on Constitution and the contribution of B R Ambedkar to its making. The Legislative Affairs Minister attacked Opposition leader and YSRCP President Y S Jaganmohan Reddy for not letting the House debate on as noble an issue as Constitution and Ambedkar.As the Opposition members continued to insist on a debate on the ‘call money’ issue, the Speaker adjourned the House for the day.

Arunachal Pradesh political crisis: BJP declares rebel Congress leader Kalikho Pul as next CM candidate

Today, a ‘no confidence’ motion by 11 BJP MLAs and two Independent members was ‘adopted’ with deputy speaker T Norbu Thongdok, who is also a rebel Congressman, in the chair.

Rebel Congress MLA Kalikho Pul celebrates with supporters after he was elected as” Chief Minister” by 33 legislators in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday.

PTI
In an interesting turn of events in the Arunachal Pradesh political upheaval, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday declared Kalikho Pul as their Chief Minister candidate.”The sitting chief minister has to prove his majority against the person we are proposing. We are projecting the name of Kaliko Pul for the post of Chief Minister,” leader of the Opposition Tamiyo Taga said.”The next step is to vacate the chief minister post. I have submitted one no confidence motion to be taken up tomorrow in the assembly. There would be a composite floor test for the government. Everything is same but the name is different composite floor test, it is not exactly a no confidence motion,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Today, a ‘no confidence’ motion by 11 BJP MLAs and two Independent members was ‘adopted’ with deputy speaker T Norbu Thongdok, who is also a rebel Congressman, in the chair. 33 MLAs said yes to no-confidence motion against Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and no MLA from the Chief Minister faction was present.Meanwhile, the Congress earlier on Thursday said there could be no business in the Rajya Sabha, because of the recent political developments in Arunachal Pradesh.Briefing media in New Delhi, leader of opposition in the Upper House Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Central government is using the Governor, who is upholder of the Constitution, for political gains. He alleged that the Centre is trying to destabilise Arunchal Pradesh government.In reply to a query, another spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala clarified that the Congress Party has not called any of its state leaders to Delhi on December 19.

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

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

Nabam Tuki
File Photo

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

Dogged Opposition: VK Singh booed in parliament by for his ‘dog remark’

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When he was again called to make a statement regarding status of implementation of the recommendations of the Standing Committee, BSP members joined their Congress counterparts to jeer at him. Some of them also shouted “V K Singh Murdabad” (down with V K Singh).

File Photo

Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, who has been at the centre of the ‘dog analogy’ controversy, was today jeered by some Opposition members in Rajya Sabha when he rose to lay the listed papers. Some Congress MPs booed him when he was called by Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to lay the papers listed against his name in the day’s list of business of the House. When he was again called to make a statement regarding status of implementation of the recommendations of the Standing Committee, BSP members joined their Congress counterparts to jeer at him. Some of them also shouted “V K Singh Murdabad” (down with V K Singh).Singh had kicked up a row when he reacted to the killing of two children from a Dalit family reportedly saying if someone throws stones at a dog, why blame the Govt for it. The opposition had targeted him over the remarks during the earlier part of the winter session, seeking his resignation. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singh laid the statement regarding status of implementation of recommendations and observations contained in the 14th report of the department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance on Demands for Grants (2015-16) pertaining to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. Singh is also a minister of state for statistics and programme implementation. Order was restored in the House once he sat down after laying the papers.

Devendra Fadnavis announces Rs 10,512 crore package for farmers

The state assembly has been witnessing a debate on the drought situation and distress in the farmer community for the last three days and the chief minister in his 72-minute address answered almost all the queries. BJP as well as Shiv Sena congratulated the chief minister for providing relief to cotton farmers and for funds for farm ponds.

Pic for representative purpose only

Announcing a package of Rs 10,512 crore for the distressed farmers in the state, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday said that his government would create decentralised water sources instead of loan waiver and make farmers capable of combating the situation for ever.After chief minister’s 72-minute effective speech, leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said that chief minister has dismayed the farmers since suicides have increased after last year’s package. The entire Opposition staged a walkout after Vikhe-Patil criticised the chief minister for not announcing complete loan waiver.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state assembly has been witnessing a debate on the drought situation and distress in the farmer community for the last three days and the chief minister in his 72-minute address answered almost all the queries. BJP as well as Shiv Sena congratulated the chief minister for providing relief to cotton farmers and for funds for farm ponds. The CM announced more than Rs 1,000 crore for cotton and soybean farmers, Rs 2,500 crore for farm ponds and Rs 1,000 crore for Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan works to provide relief to farmers. Fadnavis said that his government would provide Rs 750 crore for 33 thousand wells in the state. He disclosed that after his government assumed charge, work on 49,000 wells was completed. He said the government has set a target of building 53,000 new wells.Fadnavis announced that his government would provide Rs 1,000 crore for power connections for the wells. He informed that his government has provided 52,000 power connections to farmers from 14 districts in Vidarbha and Marathwada which are facing the worst situation due to drought.Cateorically stating that he was not against loan waiver, the chief minister said that the complete loan waiver announced by the previous government did not result in preventing suicides. Pointing out that the Rs 7,000 crore package by previous government resulted in bringing out cooperative banks from the crisis instead of helping farmers, the CM said that it was observed in Andhra Pradesh that complete loan waiver had resulted in increasing the number of suicides and even more than 100 suicides were reported in a single day. Fadnavis said that the entire package of Rs 10,512 crore would reach farmers directly and assured that the state government would stand behind the farmers in their hour of crisis.Mahabharata referencePointing out that Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan was neither started by his government nor by the previous government but was first started by the late Vasantrao Naik when he was chief minister, Fadnavis informed the House that he had recently come across a reference from Mahabharat in this regard. He said that Devarshi Naarad tells Dharmaraj Yudhisthir (who was eldest of the Pandava brothers) that a king should create decentralised water sources in the form of lakes so that farmers are not dependent on rain God.

UP government stunned into silence

The SC verdict promises to prove ready fodder for the opposition parties’ guns, and is sure to be a big stick to beat the state government with during the upcoming winter session of the UP Legislature.

The Supreme Court’s decision on the appointment of the Lokayukta has delivered a devastating blow which has had the state government reeling under its impact.The judgment is unprecedented and has delivered a resounding rap on the knuckles to the Akhilesh Yadav regime which spent over two years dawdling over the matter despite the stern view of the apex court. On Wednesday, the government seemed to have been stunned into silence as no official reaction to the SC verdict was forthcoming till late evening.The SC verdict promises to prove ready fodder for the opposition parties’ guns, and is sure to be a big stick to beat the state government with during the upcoming winter session of the UP Legislature. Opposition leaders have slammed the Akhilesh government for making a mockery of the Lokayukta institution.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>UP Governor Ram Naik seemed to put the government in the dock as he expressed displeasure over its role in (not) appointing a new Lokayukta. “There has been an undue delay (in appointment). Despite all my efforts, the government did not take any decisive action. The (apex court) order is a lesson (for the government),” he told reporters.”This is a slap on the face for the state government which should now realize how it has circumvented the law to keep its pet incumbent in the Lokayukta office to gloss over the corruption cases of ruling party leaders and bureaucrats close to the powers that be,” said BJP spokesman Vijay Pathak.Congress leader Akhilesh Pratap Singh seemed to agree as he said: “The state government has made a mockery of the Lokayukta’s institution. They wanted to force their choice which the (Allahabad HC) Chief Justice (CJ) rightly resisted.”The criticism is not without basis. The SP government wanted its chosen judge Justice (retd.) Ravindra Singh Yadav as the new Lokayukta. Both HC CJ DY Chandrachud and Leader of the Opposition SP Maurya opposed this. Both are members of the panel, besides the CM, authorized under the UP Lokayukta Act to choose the Lokayukta. The Akhilesh government even took the unseemly step of passing a Bill in the UP Assembly to divest the CJ of this power. However, the Governor had refused to sanction this Bill. The government finally dropped the idea after the Governor had returned Justice Yadav’s file a record four times.

Odisha: Speaker suspends Congress MLA for watching porn in assembly

Raising the issue during Zero hour, BJD member Pramila Mallick demanded expulsion of Das from the House. She said the alleged action of the Congress legislator yesterday had lowered the dignity of the House.

Congress MLA Naba Kishore Das was Tuesday suspended from Odisha Assembly for a week on charge of watching objectionable clips on cellphone in the House on Monday, even as entire opposition staged a walkout urging the Speaker to reconsider his order and wait for probe.Speaker Niranjan Pujari, who first referred the matter to the Ethics Committee of the House for inquiry, ordered suspension of Das for one week after Government Chief Whip Ananta Das brought a motion, which was passed by voice vote.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Raising the issue during Zero hour, BJD member Pramila Mallick demanded expulsion of Das from the House. She said the alleged action of the Congress legislator on Monday had lowered the dignity of the House.As soon as the Speaker gave ruling for suspension of Das, pandemonium began amid protest from Congress members and the House was adjourned till 12 noon.When the House reassembled, Leader of Opposition of Congress Narasingha Mishra said before taking any action against a member on the basis of allegation levelled by another lawmaker there must be an inquiry and the accused legislator given an opportunity to present his position.Action should be taken only after the member is found guilty after proper inquiry and not before that, Mishra said adding he, in fact, had yesterday asked the party MLA to express regret and seek an impartial probe into the matter.Recalling an old ruling by the chair in the House on March 15, 1963, he said a member had made serious allegation against another MLA. The ruling was that any member levelling allegation against another should have enough evidence and the House must be in possession of evidence before action is taken, the leader of opposition said adding “I disapprove of any act of making allegation without having evidence.”Stating that principle of natural justice shows that a person must be heard before he is hanged, Mishra said what has happened in the House was not proper. “Therefore, I request you to reconsider the ruling,” he said.Endorsing Mishra’s views, senior BJP member K V Singhdeo said the allegation should be investigated first and if found to be true then only action be taken. Moreover, the Congress MLA has not been given an opportunity to be heard so far which is wrong, he said requesting the Speaker to re-examine and reconsider the ruling to suspend Das.Describing the suspension of Das as a hurriedly taken decision, Laxman Munda of CPI-M also said the ruling should be reconsidered.Das as a hurriedly taken decision, Laxman Munda of CPI-M also said the ruling should be reconsidered.Thereafter, the Speaker said the Ethics Committee of the House would conduct an inquiry and it would give opportunity to the member and hear him. Pujari, however, ignored members’ plea for reconsidering the ruling on suspension of Das.Not happy with the response, leader of opposition said “let us be rational. As per principles of natural justice, punishment should come after inquiry.” Mishra then led a walkout by Congress seeking reconsideration of ruling.Radharani Panda of BJP said dignity of the House is important but taking action before conducting inquiry is improper.BJP Chief Whip Rabinarayan Naik said punishment should be pronounced only after inquiry and not before that. He said BJP members were also walking out of the House demanding reconsideration of Speaker’s ruling.Dubbing the decision to suspend him as undemocratic, Naba Das told reporters outside the house that he was prepared to request the Speaker after the Zero hour for giving him an opportunity to clarify his stand. “But Before that the ruling BJD moved a motion seeking my suspension,” he said.Just because BJD has majority, it has resorted to dictatorial practise and took action on the basis of simply an allegation, Das added.

Talks between govt and Congress inconclusive, hopes of GST bill passing remains dim

Hopes of an agreement on the GST Bill appeared to fade despite talks between the government and the Congress on Monday even as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley apprehended a “wash out” of the current Winter session.

Arun Jaitley invoked Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru to remind Congress of the responsibility of MPs for governance of the country through Parliament.
File Photo
PTI
Hopes of an agreement on the GST Bill appeared to fade despite talks between the government and the Congress on Monday even as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley apprehended a “wash out” of the current Winter session.The deadlock continued on the Constitution amendment bill to provide for a uniform Goods and Services Tax after inconclusive talks between Jaitley and Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma with the party making it clear that the engagement cannot be restricted to only one issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With just seven days left from Tuesday for the winter session, Jaitley and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu hosted a lunch for the Congress leaders along with Chief Whip in Lok Sabha Jyotiraditya Scindia. Jaitley himself described the talks as a “non meeting”.Citing the absence of Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, who was not in Delhi, the Congress leaders sought another meeting, which was readily accepted by the government, which is to keen to break the logjam.”Today’s talks remain inconclusive. It is a work in progress. There was no structured discussion today,” Sharma said noting that it was the first such meeting after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.He insisted, “Engagement between Government and Opposition cannot be restricted to one issue. After not engaging Opposition for 18 months, Government is desperate to discuss with us just one bill. First they should not be over-obsessed with one bill as other important legislations are also pending.”Meanwhile, Jaitley on Monday apprehended a “wash out” of the current Winter session and attacked Congress over the disruption. He invoked Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru to remind Congress of the responsibility of MPs for governance of the country through Parliament.”The last session of the Parliament did not function. The current session of the Parliament is also threatened with a wash out. The reasons for the wash out of the current session keep changing by the hour. The nation is waiting for Parliament to discuss public issues, to legislate and approve a historic Constitution Amendment enabling the GST. All this is being indefinitely delayed. The question we need to ask ourselves is are we being fair to ourselves and this country?” Jaitley said in a Facebook post.The Finance Minister also quoted a speech on the Parliamentary system by Pandit Nehru to hammer home his point. He said that the speech delivered on March 28, 1957 in the last day of first Lok Sabha by Nehru is “a must read for all of us”.He quoted a paragraph from the speech in which Nehru had said, “Here, we have sat in this Parliament, the sovereign authority of India, responsible for the governance of India. Surely, there can be no higher responsibility or greater privilege than to be a member of this sovereign body which is responsible for the fate of the vast number of human beings who live in this country. All of us, if not always, at any rate from time to time, must have felt this high sense of responsibility and destiny to which we had been called. Whether we were worthy of it or not is another matter. We have functioned, therefore, during these five years not only on the edge of history but sometimes plunging into the processes of making history.”Taking a dig at Congress over frequent disruptions in Rajya Sabha, Jaitley said, “Those who claim the legacy of Pandit ji must ask themselves the question, what kind of history are they making.”Sharma used the occassion to target Modi lamenting that the measure could not be passed for five long years during the UPA-II due to the opposition by the present Prime Minister, who was then the Gujarat Chief Minister.”Indian economy has not gone into deep freeze” because of non-passage of the measure, Sharma who was Commerce and Industry Minister during UPA said charging the Modi government of “mismanaging the economy”.That despite the meeting with the Opposition, there was no let up in the confrontation between the two sides was clear with Jaitley remarking after the luncheon that the current session is also threatened with a washout.”The last session of Parliament did not function. The current session of the Parliament is also threatened with a wash out. The reasons for the wash out of the current session keep changing by the hour,” he said.

BJP’s ‘ache din’ in Maharashtra due to Gopinath Munde’s efforts: Amit Shah

Amit Shah was speaking after inauguration of ‘Gopinath Gad’, the late BJP leader’s memorial, on the occasion of his birth anniversary on Saturday.

BJP Chief Amit Shah
File Photo
PTI
BJP President Amit Shah on Saturday lauded contribution of late Gopinath Munde in building the party in Maharashtra, where the saffron outfit is heading its first Government, and also praised Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for providing a “clean” administration.”The glory days of BJP in Maharashtra today are due to Mundeji, who ensured the party’s spread among the poor and downtrodden,” he said in Beed district of Central Maharashtra.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I have come here to pay my respects to Mundeji on behalf of crores of BJP workers.”Shah was speaking after inauguration of ‘Gopinath Gad’, the late BJP leader’s memorial, on the occasion of his birth anniversary on Saturday. Munde, a former Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra who also served as a Union Minister, contributed to the organisational structure of the party in every region and village, Shah said.The BJP chief also praised Fadnavis, who completed one year in office on October 31 as head of the first party-led Government, saying he was doing commendable work.”I am sure under his leadership Maharashtra will regain the numero uno spot (in economic sphere). So clean has been the Government under his leadership that the Opposition hasn’t been able to level allegation of a single rupee worth of corruption.”Shah used the occasion to highlight pro-farmers initiatives taken by the Narendra Modi Government.”The Government has launched soil health card scheme for farmers. By 2019, all farmers will get these cards. A sum of Rs 75,000 crore has been provided per year for irrigation network.”Talking about Munde’s family, Shah said his daughters Pankaja, a Minister in Maharashtra, and Preetam, the Lok Sabha MP from Beed, have carried forward the late leader’s legacy. Munde’s memorial, which has a 20-feet tall statue of the late leader, has been developed on 18 acres of land here in his home district.Located in the premises of Vaidyanath Cooperative Sugar Mill, it comprises Munde’s ‘samadhi’ called Lotus Temple.

Parliament disruptions: JD(U) blames it on "arrogance" of ministers

Uproar by Congress and other opposition parties against alleged “vendetta politics” in the wake of the court summon to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi and others in the National Herald case continued to disrupt Rajya Sabha for the fourth day with the House witnessing two adjournments in the pre-noon session.

As Parliament witnessed repeated disruptions and adjournments, Janata Dal (United) on Friday blamed “arrogance” of some ministers for it and asked the government to engage with the opposition to find a solution.”The ruling party should engage with the opposition to end the deadlock. They should try to find out a solution,” JD(U) spokesperson KC Tyagi said outside Parliament. Uproar by Congress and other opposition parties against alleged “vendetta politics” in the wake of the court summon to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi and others in the National Herald case continued to disrupt Rajya Sabha for the fourth day with the House witnessing two adjournments in the pre-noon session.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We want Parliament to run. The arrogance of some ministers is coming in the way of a smooth functioning of the House,” Tyagi said. Asked about the public money spent on running of Parliament, he said, “I am worried about the expenditure incurred on running Parliament as well as losses of poor farmers not getting their minimum support price. It is more than losses incurred in Parliament.” “Wheat farmers, rice farmers, cotton farmers do not get adequate support price for their crops and we are worried about them,” he added.

Pakistan opposition alleges joint statement favours India

The opposition assault was led by Shireen Mazari of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Thursday in parliament as even a key coalition partner expressed reservations over the outcome of talks between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz at the Heart of Asia conference.

Reuters
Opposition parties have criticised the Pakistan government over the joint statement with India, alleging that it heavily favoured New Delhi at the cost of Islamabad’s stance on the Kashmir issue.The opposition assault was led by Shireen Mazari of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Thursday in parliament as even a key coalition partner expressed reservations over the outcome of talks between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz at the Heart of Asia conference here, the Dawn reported. “While the statement categorically addressed Indian concerns over the Mumbai trial, what about Samjhauta Express case and Kashmir cause which the government recently took up at the United Nations and kept on boasting about taking such a bold stand,” Mazari said in the National Assembly.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Quoting from the joint statement that “the Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion of the Mumbai attack trial,” she sought clarification about the difference between “composite” and “comprehensive” bilateral dialogue. She wondered whether the resumption of bilateral talks meant Pakistan had relinquished its options to use multilateral forums to take up issues, particularly Kashmir.She questioned the language of the statement and said the prime minister must clarify it on the floor of the house. Chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rehman was also of the view that such statements warranted a clarification from the government side because apparently it didn’t explain what actually transpired during the talks. “When Pakistan highlights the issue of Kashmir at the UN under its resolution, India says it’s a bilateral issue which requires no international forum. At the bilateral level, the Indian argument has been that Kashmir is its integral part.Then somebody must explain to this house at what level the government intends to take it up with India,” he said. Rehman said that as far as the issue of Kashmir was concerned, under the UN resolution, no one could bar Pakistan from highlighting it at any forum in the world. He called for strengthening the National Assembly’s Kashmir committee which he heads, and making it a powerful arm of parliament.However, the JUI-F chief, whose party shares the treasury benches with the ruling PML-N, praised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for organising the Heart of Asia ministerial conference on Afghanistan which he believed would go a long way in bringing regional countries together. Leader of Opposition Khursheed Ahmed Shah, however, reserved harsh comments for the prime minister for his continued absence from the assembly.”Whom should I address? Empty chairs on the treasury benches? I have decided I will not open the discussion on the presidential address unless the prime minister attends proceedings of the house,” he said.

Centre declares Tamil Nadu floods as ‘calamity of severe nature’; Opposition slams govt

DMK President M Karunanidhi levelled allegations of red-tapism, citing news reports. He sought the government’s response on allegations of it not properly handling the issue of discharge of excess water from Chembarambakkam reservoir into the Adyar river.

Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said that on her plea with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Centre had declared the floods as a calamity of severe nature.
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The Centre on Thursday declared the floods in Tamil Nadu as “calamity of severe nature” even as Opposition questioned ruling AIADMK’s handling of discharge of excess water from a city lake during the heavy downpour.Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said that on her plea with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Centre had declared the floods as a calamity of severe nature. She also said that the Parliament Secretariat had issued a circular to MPs stating that they can allot Rs one crore worth renovation and rehabilitation efforts in the flood-affected districts from Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the state government would apprise lawmakers of the requirement in the respective districts on this matter, her party (AIADMK) MPs, totalling 49 in both Houses, had already been asked to contribute Rs one crore each from MPLADS, she said. The state government said 347 persons had died and over 3,300 heads of cattle lost so far, but rehabilitation work had been taken up in full swing.Over 17.64 lakh people were rescued and sheltered in 6,605 relief centres across the state while over 1.28 crore food packets have been distributed, it was officially stated. An amount of Rs 67.47 crore has been disbursed among over 1.11 lakh families as immediate relief.The Opposition parties, which had been critical of the Jayalalithaa government over its handling of the northeast monsoon, demanded a probe into the issue of discharge of excess water from Chembarambakkam reservoir here, which flooded Adyar river, resulting in heavy inundation of the embankments.DMK President M Karunanidhi levelled allegations of red-tapism, citing news reports. He sought the government’s response on allegations of it not properly handling the issue of discharge of excess water from Chembarambakkam reservoir into the Adyar river.”Sad-faced people of Tamil Nadu are awaiting a response from the AIADMK government, especially from Chief Minister Jayalalithaa,” he said in a statement.To ascertain facts behind this issue, a proper probe should be ordered into it, he demanded. His son and party Treasurer M K Stalin also made similar remarks, but the government shot back saying it had properly executed its responsibilities.Electricity Minister Natham R Viswanathan said it was due to government’s prompt work that people were moved in quick time before the river went in spate, which averted loss of life. However, there was damage to property, he admitted.CPI(M) state Secretary G Ramakrishnan blamed “official apathy” for the disaster and alleged that red-tapism over discharge of water had resulted in such a damage. He demanded that an inquiry commission under a sitting High Court Judge be formed with the members, including water management experts, to probe lapses and fix responsibility.PMK founder S Ramadoss said the problems arising out of the post-rains scenario cannot be solved by writing letters to the Prime Minister, saying “political pressure” must be exerted on the Centre to get results.An all-party meeting should be convened to discuss the matter after which Jayalalithaa should lead a delegation of members from all political parties to meet the Prime Minister to take up the issue, he urged. BJP state President Tamizhisai Sounderrajan said the government should come out with a detailed water management for the future.

Government-Congress chill deepens amid Rajya Sabha logjam

Rahul Gandhi sharpened the attack on the government. “It is one hundred per cent political vendetta. Pure political vendetta coming out of PMO. It is their way of doing politics,” he told reporters.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad speaks in Rajya Sabha

PTI
The acrimony in the government and Congress relations intensified on Wednesday as the National Herald case disrupted Parliament for the second day. Both sides hardened positions inside and outside Parliament, leaving a question mark on the fate of the session, in which the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill was to be passed.The government was waiting for Congress president Sonia Gandhi to return from her US trip to begin talks on GST, which was listed in Rajya Sabha this week. However, now she has taken the lead in the Congress strategy on the National Herald case, which the Congress has dubbed as political vendetta.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With frequent disruptions in the Upper House, it was finally adjourned for the day without transacting any business. Though Lok Sabha too witnessed uproar, there was just one adjournment in the House which managed to conduct some business, including zero hour and continuation of discussion on drought.While Congress alleged that it was a 100 per cent case of political vendetta from PMO, the government rejected the charge saying the Opposition party was using Parliament to “intidimate and silence” the judiciary as Sonia and Rahul Gandhi were not given relief by the Court in the National Herald case.Rahul Gandhi sharpened the attack on the government. “It is one hundred per cent political vendetta. Pure political vendetta coming out of PMO. It is their way of doing politics,” he told reporters.At a press conference, parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu dubbed Congress as the “fountainhead of mobocracy” of India politics, saying it was stalling legislative business by “derailing” the functioning of Parliament over court summons.He said other Opposition parties, including Nitish Kumar’s JD-U and SP, were in favour of the GST. The Bihar chief minister who met Naidu at a lunch conveyed to him that he would support GST and that he was against the cap being included in the Constitution, sources said.On the fate of GST Bill, which has been listed for passage in the Rajya Sabha this week, Naidu said it depended on how other political parties reacted and how public opinion shaped up. However, according to sources, the government now appeared reconciled that it may find it tough to get the bill passed in the session, with time running out amidst the standoff.To a question about the TMC supporting Congress on its “vendetta politics” stand, Naidu said “no sensible party or person can support this stand of Congress. Its programme is disruption, disruption, disruption.”Before the House met, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted wishing Congress president Sonia Gandhi on her birthday. “Greetings to Congress president Smt Sonia Gandhi. May Almighty bless her with long life and good health,” he said.As Rajya Sabha met. Congress members rushed into the Well shouting slogans: “Modi teri tanashahi nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi (dictatorship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not be tolerated).” BJP seeks Virbhadra’s removalNew Delhi: Stepping up its attack on Virbhadra Singh, a high-level BJP delegation on Wednesday met President Pranab Mukherjee and handed over a memorandum demanding removal of the Himachal Pradesh chief minister after CBI and Enforcement Directorate booked him for graft.The delegation included Union minister J P Nadda, former Himachal chief ministers Shanta Kumar and Prem Kumar Dhumal, party MPs from the state, besides BJP’s state unit incharge Shrikant Sharma and Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha president Anurag Thakur.”This is probably the first time in the history of the country that raids have been conducted at the residence of a sitting chief minister. The administration and the government is in a coma. No work is happening and chief minister is busy defending himself.”The party is busy defending him and party leaders are fighting the race for his succession. In such a situation a small hill state like Himachal is suffering. We have demanded that the President remove Virbhadra Singh on moral grounds,” Shanta Kumar told reporters after meeting the President.

Top Himachal BJP leaders to meet PM Modi today, seek Virbhadra Singh’s ouster

Virbhadra had said on Monday that the CBI was acting as a tool of Central government, but he was not bothered and has full faith in the judiciary.
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dna Research & Archives
Top leadership of Himachal Pradesh BJP, including Union minister JP Nadda and BJYM president Anurag Thakur, will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday seeking ouster of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.Party spokesperson Ganesh Dutt said, “The appointment of the meeting with the PM has been fixed at 2 PM and the party leaders will apprise him of the corruption charges faced by Himachal Chief Minister and FIR registered against him by the CBI and ED.”All six MPs from Himachal – Union Health minister JP Nadda, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) president Anurag Thakur, former chief minister Shanta Kumar, party general secretary and incharge of Himachal wing Srikant Sharma, leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly PK Dhumal and state BJP chief Satpal Sigh Satti – will meet Modi over the issue and impress upon the fact that Virbhadra’s continuation in office could hamper and influence the investigations, Dutt said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Virbhadra had said on Monday that the CBI was acting as a tool of Central government, but he was not bothered and has full faith in the judiciary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Assam speaker Pranab Gogoi

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

Rahul Gandhi leads Congress’ protest outside Parliament, demands VK Singh’s ouster over dog remark

Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said that they were raising the issue as it was about “the behaviour of a central government minister against a particular community, infact Indians per se”.

Rahul Gandhi leads protest outside Parliament

ANI
Congress MPs led by Rahul Gandhi on Monday staged a protest outside Parliament house demanding removal of Union Minister V K Singh for his “dog” remarks.Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, party leaders Anand Sharma, Deepender Hooda and several others participated in the protest held shortly before the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha assembled for the day. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Later speaking to reporters, Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said that they were raising the issue as it was about “the behaviour of a central government minister against a particular community, infact Indians per se”. He said that Government needs to take action and only giving speeches was not enough. Singh had kicked up a storm in October with his comments that the Centre cannot be blamed if somebody throws a stone at a dog to shield it from criticism for the Faridabad Dalit burning incident, prompting opposition to demand his ouster.Singh, who is Minister of State for External Affairs, has been under opposition fire for allegedly using ‘dog analogy’ to refute allegations of inaction levelled against the government in the aftermath of two Dalit children being burned alive in Haryana. The government side has been insisting that Singh had not made any such comment about Dalits and there is no reason for the Opposition to raise the issue.

With no word from Congress, government to go ahead with GST and other bills

While at the 45-minute long meeting on November 27 at the PM’s official 7-Race Course residence, the government did agree to review its position, Sonia Gandhi told Modi that she would discuss the proposal internally within her party.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi with former prime minister Manmohan Singh at a function in New Delhi on Saturday
B B Yadav
dna
With no response from the Congress, even a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the the PM’s residence, the government has decided to go ahead with key reform legislations, preparing for an imminent showdown, with the main Opposition in Parliament next week. Among other proposed legislations, the government has listed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, officially known as The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014 and also the Real Estate bill for consideration and passage.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> While at the 45-minute long meeting on November 27 at the PM’s official 7-Race Course residence, the government did agree to review its position, Sonia Gandhi told Modi that she would discuss the proposal internally within her party. Since then she has left for the United States for a medical check-up and nobody in the party is now ready to bite the bullet. The government is also planning to pass six bills in the Lok Sabha and seven in the Rajya Sabha next week, beginning Monday. Government sources say, they were still awaiting a response from the Congress in the light of economic advisor Arvind Subramanian’s recommendations that offer more-feasible economic solutions to address the main Opposition’s concern to resolve the long-standing political deadlock. “We cannot wait endlessly and hope Congress puts its point of view before the House during the debate,” said a government source. It is highly crucial for the Modi government not to miss the April 1 deadline for GST rollout, which means the bill has to be passed in the current session itself, to include its cascading effects in the budget preparations, which have already kicked off in North Block and across state capitals. The Business Advisory Committee of the Rajya Sabha has allotted a time of four hours for the GST Bill and two hours for the Real Estate Bill. The Select Committees of the House have already submitted their reports on these two bills which are pending for further consideration and passing by the Rajya Sabha. The legislative agenda of Lok Sabha includes consideration and passage of the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salary and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill 2015, the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2015, The Indian Trusts (Amendment) Bill 2015, the Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Bill 2015, and the Industries (Regulation and Development) Amendment Bill 2015. The non-legislative business which could be taken up in Lok Sabha next week includes a discussion on drought situation in the country, price rise and India’s relations with neighbouring countries. Arvind Subramanian’s recommendations on the GST were seen as an outcome of a meeting between the PM and the top Congress leaders and were held to resolve the deadlock to help it get passed in Parliament’s winter session itself. His panel decided to provide a range for the GST rate for various products and services: from 12 per cent to 40 per cent (the higher rate being applicable for select products such as luxury cars or tobacco products etc). However, the key revenue neutral rate suggested by the CEA panel stood at 15-15.5 per cent. The standard rate for GST stood at 17-18 per cent, the rate at which most products would likely be taxed. It also accepted a key Congress demand to do away with a proposal to levy a 1 per cent inter-state tax on transfer of goods. Congress is, however, refusing to budge . “Unless this, the barrier of 16-18 per cent is not removed and there is an independent authority. We are not going to accept it. The BJP wants the GST which is anti-people,” said Congress spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Pramod Tiwari. “Our leader Rahul Gandhi has made it very clear that we are not going to accept GST which is anti-people, anti-traders and anti-common man,” he added. Another trigger has come from a statement of Skill Development Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy proposing to levy an additional 2 per cent cess on income tax to garner funds for skill development. Congress leaders say, if approved, this cess, would be a part of the basket of 27 different kinds of cess and surcharges. Other than that, the Congress is already unhappy with the 0.5 per cent Swachh Bharat cess that came into effect from 15 November this year. There is also disquiet for not including petroleum products in the GST. Petrol that costs Rs60.48 per litre in Delhi can drop to just Rs30.35 a litre if the 18 per cent GST rate is implemented. The government has kept the petroleum, alcohol and tobacco products outside the purview of GST as the states do not want to lose them as hefty money earners, yielding most of the tax revenue. The way the Congress forced the government’s hand not to allow manufacturing states like Gujarat to levy 1 per cent additional tax besides the national GST, pressure is bound to build on the government in Parliament not to exclude any item from the GST. Since the production cost of petrol today is Rs23.77 per litre while the petrol pumps get commission of Rs2.26 per litre, the GST at 18 per cent works out to Rs4.32, making the selling price of petrol as Rs30.35 per litre. Its inflated price of Rs60.48 per litre in Delhi is because of the central excise of Rs19.06 plus the state’s levy of sales tax or VAT of Rs12.10. The central and state taxes together account for Rs31.16 per litre while it would be just Rs4.32 if brought under GST. The Modi government has, however, steadily raised taxes on petrol and diesel to increase revenue collections as the excise duty on petrol was Rs9.48 per litre in April 2014 and has been hiked five times to rise to Rs19.06 per litre. The industry doubts if the government would be prepared to forgo the revenue by agreeing to bring petrol and other petroleum products under GST.

NCP, BJD back GST bill; Congress stresses on changes

Congress wants an 18% cap on tax in the constitutional amendment bill and dropping of the one per cent tax proposed on inter-state sales.

Courtesy: Priya Saraf
NCP and BJD on Friday made a strong pitch for the passing of GST bill while Congress stuck to its demand for changes in the key reform measure even as it hailed as “good beginning” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s informal interaction with Sonia Gandhi on the issue few days back.While NCP’s Supriya Sule and BJD’s Jay Panda were critical of Congress for “blocking” legislations like GST, the main opposition party’s chief whip Jyotiraditya Scindia put the blame for the logjam on the issue on the government.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress wants an 18% cap on tax in the constitutional amendment bill and dropping of the one per cent tax proposed on inter-state sales.Another demand of Congress is for having a dispute settlement mechanism in the bill. The UPA government’s original bill had proposed setting up of a GST Dispute Settlement Authority.Speaking at the HT Leadership summit, Scindia said that the present GST bill does not represent the original bill brought by the UPA and made a strong pitch for having an independent neutral third party to decide disputes.Sule and Panda said that while the Opposition have to play its role, it does mean it should always be “blocking” legislations.Panda told Scindia that while he supports Congress demand that one per cent tax should go but expressed disagreement with the demand the 18% cap should be enshrined in the Constitution.Supporting Panda, Sule said this has been happening in Parliament for some time and the effort has been “just blocking the legislation”. “We want the GST. We can work on this one per cent.”Scindia, however, said that it’s not about a legislation being blocked.”It’s about the government reaching out. Until some recent results came out, they had no conversation with the Congress in last 18 months. Till now the attitude was my way or highway. But there has been a change. I do hope that this change remains. It takes two hands to clap,” he said.During the interaction, Scindia repeatedly targetted the government on alleged intolerance while Panda felt that selectively picking up incidents from one particularly period and leaving those from ones’ own is “intellectual dishonesty”.Sule felt that the use of the word “intolerance” is negative.The hour-long interaction also saw a debate on dynasty politics. Scindia found nothing wrong in a politician’s son entering politics but parried a question on why Congress’s Prime Minsterial candiate should be only Rahul Gandhi and anybody else including Scindia himself, saying such decisions must be left with the party concerned. On the V K Singh controversy in Parliament, Scindia attacked him for his tweet about “game of cat and mouse” in Rajya Sabha while Panda said there have been Cabinet Ministers even in previous governments, who had made controversial remarks about women.Panda also felt that the attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he has not spoken out on incidents of alleged intoerance is “not correct”. “He has spoken about it enough in Parliament and outside,” the BJD leader said.Scindia said that it is “legitimate” for the country to raise the issue of V K Singh’s remarks on the killing of Dalits if “such derogratory remarks” were made by a Minister.”We will support the government when it brings progressive bills,” he said insisting that the Congress will at the same time play the role of a watchful opposition.Sule disagreed with perceptions that her party is “tilting towards the new regime”. All the three leaders named Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu as good minister in the Modi cabinet.

Janlokpal Bill passed in Delhi Assembly

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

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

Acche din for Delhi MLAs and Ministers as assembly approves whopping 400% hike in basic salary

As per provision of the bill cleared by the Assembly, the basic salary of legislators will rise from current Rs 12,000 to Rs 50,000 and their overall monthly package will be around Rs 2.1 lakh as against Rs 88,000 at present.

PTI
The Delhi Assembly on Thursday approved a whopping 400% hike in basic salary of MLAs and Ministers besides hefty increase in perks and allowances, catapulting them among the highest paid lawmakers in the country.As per provision of the bill cleared by the Assembly, the basic salary of legislators will rise from current Rs 12,000 to Rs 50,000 and their overall monthly package will be around Rs 2.1 lakh as against Rs 88,000 at present.The basic salary of Ministers, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Chief Whip and the Leader of Opposition will be around Rs 80,000 and their total emoluments nearly Rs 3.67 lakh as against Rs 1.2 lakh now.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Government of NCT of Delhi (Salaries, Allowances, Pension) Amendment Bill 2015 will now be sent to the Centre for approval.The BJP attacked the Aam Aadmi Party government for bringing the bill and demanded its immediate withdrawal, contending it will send a wrong message to the people. Two BJP MLAs staged a walkout protesting the move.The overall hike proposed for MLAs is two-and-a-half fold, while for Ministers it would be a three-time increase.”The bill proposes to increase the salaries, allowances and other facilities of the Members of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi so as to facilitate them to work effectively in their fields,” Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, presenting the bill in the assembly.The draft bill was based on the report of a three-member committee chaired by former Secretary General of Lok Sabha PDT Achary.”We have accepted all the recommendations of the panel,” Sisodia said.In July, a group of AAP legislators had demanded a significant hike in salary, arguing their earnings were not enough to run their family and offices.Apart from basic salary, the bill proposes hiking constituency allowance from current Rs 18,000 to Rs 50,000 on the ground that it was “grossly” inadequate.The Ministers will get a monthly amount of Rs 10,000 as communication allowance to pay for their mobile bills and Rs 30,000 for phone bills at their residences and offices.The legislation also provides for a reimbursable sum of Rs 70,000 per month recommended as allowance under ‘Secretarial, Research and Office Assistance’ head which is Rs 30,000 at present.

Government’s plans for Parliament’s winter session going awry?

When the session began last week, the government strategy appeared to have revolved around the passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Opposition members protesting in Rajya Sabha on Thursday

PTI
The government’s efforts for a smooth winter session appear to be fading as new issues are cropping up to fuel confrontation between the government and opposition.When the session began last week, the government strategy appeared to have revolved around the passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). A week later, the mood has changed to a bitter government-opposition face off, with sparring in Rajya Sabha, the BJP listing out corruption cases against Congress leaders and GST’s fate hinging on the main opposition party, which seems to be divided on it.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>That the Congress would be unrelenting in its approach towards government was apparent from Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s speech in Lok Sabha on intolerance. On Thursday morning, at a meeting convened by him, party leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge was criticised by his colleagues who were of the view that the government was let off too easily in the intolerance debate. The issue is likely to come up in Rajya Sabha next week when it takes up CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury’s notice for a house resolution.Gandhi and other younger Congress leaders are understood to be taking a less conciliatory stand on GST than the older generation which includes former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Some Congress leaders are of the view that having brought its demands for amendments from a dozen to three, it should not make further compromises on these.Meanwhile, relations have soured inside the Rajya Sabha. Soon after the government-Congress confrontation in the House over Kumari Selja’s remarks on discrimination in a Dwarka temple, BJP fielded commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman to tear into the Congress. At a press conference, Sitharaman listed out corruption charges against Congress leaders and chief ministers bringing into its line of fire senior members right from Preneet Kaur to former finance minister P Chidambaram, over the ED raids in firms linked to his son Karti Chidambaram.However, to questions about the passage of GST bill, she said she hoped that the attack on the party would not effect the Congress stand on the bill. “GST is something which is their (Congress) bill. It is in national interest. If these are becoming an issue because of which Congress party, and I would not imagine that, would not support GST, then it would be a sad day,” she said, expressing hope that it would deal with the allegations with “maturity”.Sitharaman also raised the charges against Congress chief ministers of Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand– Oommen Chandy, Virbhadra Singha and Harish Rawat– demanding that the party take action against them.The tit-for-tat politics brings back memories of the last session, which was a washout. However, Sitharaman said the attack on Congress should not be linked to business in the House.”I would expect business to run and constructive engagement. I hope its not being suggested that whenever BJP picked up the omissions of Congress, it is tied up with Parliament’s functioning,”she said.To add to the acrimony between the government and opposition, BSP objected to union minister VK Singh’s presence in Rajya Sabha over his alleged remarks about the death of two dalit children.

Congress to boycott Union Minister VK Singh in Parliament

Sources said a decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of senior leaders and party MPs held by party Vice President Rahul Gandhi

VK Singh

Escalating its confrontation on the V K Singh dog analogy issue, Congress on Thursday decided to boycott the Union minister in both Houses of Parliament for his remark in the wake of burning to death of two Dalit children in Haryana.Sources said a decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of senior leaders and party MPs held by party Vice President Rahul Gandhi. This was the first such meeting held by Rahul in the absence of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who is in the US for a medical checkup.Party’s senior spokesman Anand Sharma said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given assurances that he would be taking action against colleagues whose conduct is against established constitutional principles and practices. Sharma said Modi should have recommended Singh’s removal to the President by taking cognizance of his remarks.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress had created a ruckus in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday seeking action against Singh. It had staged a walkout. The Trinamool Congress and the Left too had attacked the minister.At that time, Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge had complained that the government during the debate on intolerance did not touch upon the remarks made by Singh about Dalits. He had also asked Modi, who was then present in the House, as to what action he planned to take against Singh.Rajya Sabha today saw a clash between government and Opposition after BSP and Congress opposed the presence of Singh and demanded his dismissal from the government. During the Vajpayee government, Congress had boycotted the then Defence Minister George Fernandes in Parliament on the issue of the coffin scam. Government managers have been insisting that Singh had not made any such comment about Dalits and there is no reason for the Opposition to raise the issue again and again.

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

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

Anna Hazare

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

Opposition in Rajya Sabha cautions government on anti-graft bill

Participating in the discussion for consideration and passing of the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment)Bill, 2013, Naresh Agrawal (SP) suggested that the government was bringing such anti-corruption bills in a “haste” alleging it was seeking to deflect attention from its “failure” in bringing back black money and called for a “reconsideration” of the measure

Opposition in Rajya Sabha on Thursday advocated caution on an anti-graft bill with a Samajwadi Party member saying the new law instead of checking the menace will increase corruption and make elected representatives more vulnerable.Participating in the discussion for consideration and passing of the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment)Bill, 2013, Naresh Agrawal (SP) suggested that the government was bringing such anti-corruption bills in a “haste” alleging it was seeking to deflect attention from its “failure” in bringing back black money and called for a “reconsideration” of the measure. Holding that mere enactment of laws cannot check corruption, he cited instances of the situation after enactment of tough laws on violence against women after the Nirbhaya gang rape case and asked whether cases of women atrocities have stopped after that.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The anti-corruption amendment bill is aimed at enhancing penalty for graft to a maximum of seven years from five years now, among other new provisions to check the menace. Agarwal rued that while MPs can lose their membership in corruption cases after this bill, prior permission will be required for action against any officer of and above the Joint Secretary level.”Once this law comes into force, cops can put behind bars anybody they want. It is not good giving so much powers to the police. The membership of MPs can go but you are protecting officers. You will have to take prior permission to start prosecution against them. You want to protect officers at the level of Joint Secretary,” Agrawal said.Citing instances or “legalised commission” for defence deals in some foreign countries, he highlighted complexities of implementing the new anti-graft law in India. While asserting that corruption has to be fought tooth and nail, the SP member said that there is a need to work with a “practical” approach. Flagging similar concerns, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said while everyone was committed to fight corruption, “such a law should not be made, which make all of us helpless. … There is a need to think about it. We are committed to check corruption but it should not be a case that the one who is committed to it, does not survive”.KC Tyagi (JD-U) said he considered the measure “a good bill brought in haste”. Agrawal said “nowadays an atmosphere is being created that politicians are the most dishonest people in the country. If there is a talk of increasing the salary of MPs, it leads to a huge uproar in the whole country.”What is not taken note is that as an MP has to meet the needs of his constituency and its people, which bureacrats do not have to do, he said. “Such bills will promote corruption. Bills are being framed to by-pass (issues). What will happen to old laws dealing with corruption. Will all of them go away? Remove those laws first and then bring the new law. Please read this bill again,” the SP member said.Agrawal also found it “contradictory” that the government and wondered why two “contradictory” bills have been listed for passage, including the Whistleblowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and said while the first bill prescribes punishment to bribe givers, the second awards those informing about bribe demands.K C Tyagi (JD-U) said he considered the measure “a good bill brought in a haste” and rued that while MPs have to lose their membership over such issues, there are dozens of secretaries, who served in corporate houses after their government service, which gives rise to suspicions about some quid pro quo.He also demanded that a law be enacted to ensure that no Chief Justice holds any post at least for ten years after retirement. Tyagi also faulted Congress for making a former Chief Election Commissione (CEC) a Rajya Sabha member and said “if any CEC picks up a government post or becomes a member of some party after retirement, his role must have been questionable”.In this context, he also referred to the on-going CBI probe against a former CBI Director. He also made a strong pitch for curtailing the whopping rise in poll expenditure, Tyagi said that as long this is not done, efforts to check corruption will not bear fruit. Minister of State in PMO Jitender Singh said he endorsed the view of the opposition members. “It is not the elimination of corruption. It is the incorruptibility, which has to be the target.”He said that while the point of the Opposition is well taken “but still we need to have a mechanism” and pointed out that the bill has already gone to the Standing Committee.Shantaram Naik (Cong) attacked the NDA government on the Vyapam scam of Madhya Pradesh. He alleged that despite the involvement of about 3,000 persons in the Vyavsyik Pariksha Mandal Scam in Madhya Pradesh, with 1,850 in jail and about 50 persons dying in “mysterious circumstances”, the government has refused to use provisions of prevention of Corruption Act 1988 against state leadership.Naik, said the government has also refused to take cognizance of the fact that the name of Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and his wife figured in the scam. Similarly, there was a “revenue loss of 600 crores due to undue favours” shown to a private tobacco (Gutka) company, he claimed. He also alleged the existence of a Rs 36,000 crore scam in public distribution in Chhattisgarh, where government raided 36 offices of Civil Supplies Department and about 12 Civil Supplies officers were arrested.He suggested that the provisions regarding attachment of property recovered, in disproportionate assets cases, as also proceeds of bribery should be effectively implemented. Naik said the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 was enacted during Rajiv Gandhi’s time and in the course of implementation a number of politicians including members of Congress Party suffered jail sentences.”When charges were levelled against Union Ministers and a Chief Minister of State during UPA regime, they were made to resign by Congress leadership, but in NDA rule corrupt are protected all throughout,” he said.Mansukh Lal Mandavia (BJP) called for a uniform law to deal with corruption. “Corruption is fuelled by black money and strong action needs to be taken against it,” he said, adding that the Prime Minister was committed to bringing back black money.

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

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

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

Solar scam: Kerala CM Chandy denies charges, LDF steps up protest

Chandy said he would take legal recourse to bring out the alleged CD and other “evidence” to reveal the truth.

Oommen Chandy

Dismissing as baseless the allegation against him by solar scam accused Biju Radhakrishnan, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Thursday told the state Assembly that he has no right to continue in public life or hold any post if there is even one per cent truth in the charges. However, the CPI(M)-led opposition targeted Chandy and demanded a probe into allegations as they stepped up their protest over the issue, creating uproar in the House which led to its adjournment ahead of schedule. Chandy, replying to a notice for an adjournment motion moved by the Opposition on the fresh deposition by Radhakrishnan, said he would take legal recourse to bring out the alleged CD and other “evidence” to reveal the truth.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “The allegation, raised by the Opposition, is a very serious one. I have no right to continue in public life and in any post if there is even one per cent truth in it,” he said. “My life is an open book. Levelling charges without an iota of truth is actually a challenge to the society, political system and to the state,” an emotional Chandy said. The charges, made by Radhakrishnan while deposing before the solar judicial commission yesterday, had created a row in the state with Opposition taking on Chandy in the House. CPI(M) leader E P Jayarajan, while seeking leave for the motion, demanded a comprehensive inquiry into the allegations by Radhakrishnan that a bribe of Rs 5.50 crore was paid to Chandy as part of his solar solution business Lashing out at the Congress-led UDF government, he also said Chandy has no “moral or legal right” to continue as Chief Minister. Countering the Opposition charges, Chandy said that “Radhakrishnan had enmity towards this government for farming charges under IPC 320 in connection with the murder of his wife. “Even though I had to pay a huge price (facing allegations) for this, I am happy that I did justice,” the CM said.

Govt slams ‘intolerant’ Opposition for Lok Sabha walkout

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said the Congress has derailed from the main issue and that the walk out that was staged has completely ‘exposed’ them.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi made sharp attacks at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and immediately after his speech the Opposition walked out of the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
File Photo
PTI
Following the walk out staged by the opposition in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, the Government slammed the ‘intolerant’ move, saying it indicated that the opposition was unable to handle the point-by-point rebuttal made by Home Minister Rajnath Singh during the debate.”It’s very unfortunate that Rahul Gandhi and the entire Congress party weren’t there when Rajnath Singh talked about VK Singh. They did not even have the patience to listen to him. They don’t have the tolerance. Rajnath sat for seven hours but Rahul and his team did not have the patience for seven minutes and they decided to walk out,” Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Rajiv Pratap Rudy told the media.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Echoing similar sentiments, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said the Congress has derailed from the main issue and that the walk out that was staged has completely ‘exposed’ them.”They ran away in the last part of the debate and they did not have the tolerance or the capacity to hear out the Home Minister,” he said.Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs M. Venkaiah Naidu accused the Congress of not being able to digest the ‘response’ by the government which led to their walkout and held the grand old party responsible for glorifying ‘isolated’ incidents.”Congress is talking about intolerance but they were the one who imposed emergency, amended the constitution and brought press censorship. Even the protest by the writers is selective. The government has nothing to hide and the Congress cannot digest that,” Naidu said. Reacting to the walk out staged by the opposition, Rajnath said that they should have sat through the session and heard the government’s side.”I countered all their points and replied to their questions. If I can sit through five to six hours and listen to their version, the Congress could have at least heard us for half-an-hour,” he told the reporters after emerging from the parliament.Earlier, the Home Minister defended the government and asserted that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were the biggest victims of intolerance. “At least tolerate is the mandate of the people. The biggest victim of intolerance has been Prime Minister Modi himself. Intolerance has been displayed only thrice. In partition, during emergency and during the 1984 riots,” Rajnath said. Defending the government over the Dadri lynching case, he added that the Centre had sought an immediate report from the Uttar Pradesh government and had done everything in their power to get to the bottom of the case. He said that the reply from the Uttar Pradesh Government was that it was not a communally-motivated incident. However, Rajnath assured that anyone trying to disturb the social fabric of the country will not be spared, and added that the Centre was intolerant towards elements hurting the nation.

Don’t let Opposition provoke you: Government to BJP MPs

The MPs were told that the agenda of the ruling side should be to ensure that Parliament functioned and not “get trapped in the Opposition’s agenda to disrupt the House”, sources said.

Parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu speaks in Rajya Sabha during the winter session of Parliament on Monday

PTI
With the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill apparently on its mind, the government has issued an unwritten advisory to BJP MPs against getting provoked by the Opposition tirade in Parliament.The government had conveyed to the party that it needed to get legislations, like the GST, passed during the session and that it was the treasury benches which had a greater responsibility in the functioning of Parliament, according to informed sources.The MPs were told that the agenda of the ruling side should be to ensure that Parliament functioned and not “get trapped in the Opposition’s agenda to disrupt the House”, sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the face of Opposition-government standoff in the last session, business had come to a standstill in both Houses. This time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself set the rather conciliatory tone—first by reaching out to the Opposition in his speech during the debate on the Constitution and then through a meeting with his predecessor Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi to find a way out of the standoff on the GST bill.In Lok Sabha, Modi had said that consensus was more important than majority rule.The government has given top priority to passage of the GST bill, which could not be passed in Rajya Sabha during the last session. Anticipating disruption over the intolerance issue, the ruling side is to treading cautiously.That the government was not in any mood to rile the Opposition was apparent when Parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu told reporters on Monday that the government was ready to walk the extra mile to reach out to it. “A good beginning has been made for the session. We have to sustain this…. People want collaboration and not confrontation.”In the House, the intolerance debate did spark off a storm resulting in frequent adjournments after CPM’s Mohammad Salim tried to corner home minister Rajnath Singh citing an article in a magazine. However, with Salim refusing to take back his words, the Chair expunged the remarks, and the House resume business.In Rajya Sabha, where the numbers weigh in favour of the Opposition, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury has given a notice for a motion saying the House condemns “rising intolerance” in the country. The Opposition is likely to insist on voting on it or a House resolution, which the government is likely to reject as it would send a “negative”message about the country.While the issue is likely to come up in the Rajya Sabha later this week, Naidu expressed the hope that the “spirit of collaborative functioning” of Parliament will continue to prevail.”Prime Minister has made it clear that he rather prefers consensus based approach than going by the numbers of majority. Government has the numbers in the Lok Sabha while the opposition has it in Rajya Sabha. This dynamics of numbers highlights the need for collaboration in furthering the cause of the nation,” he said.Naidu also reached out to the Opposition by saying that the credit went to both government and opposition for any good work done by Parliament by way of passing important legislations.”This in essence means, both the sides have equal stakes and responsibilities in ensuring effective functioning of Parliament,” he said.

GST will be implemented from next fiscal: Venkaiah Naidu

“The (GST) bill will be implemented next year as it will be passed in the ensuing Parliament session.”

Union minister for Parliamentary Affairs M Venkaiah Naidu

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to the Opposition over the passage of the GST Bill, Union minister for Parliamentary Affairs M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said the Goods and Service Tax Bill will be rolled out in the next financial year.”The (GST) bill will be implemented next year as it will be passed in the ensuing Parliament session,” Naidu said on the sidelines of an event here.The minister said the GST will be the biggest tax reform since independence as it subsumes all indirect taxes to create one rate and integrates country into one market.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Though Lok Sabha has approved the GST Bill, the Opposition in Rajya Sabha referred it to the select committee even though the standing committee had already approved it, he said, adding the select committee has completed its study and made recommendations to Rajya Sabha for its passage.Naidu said the BJP government wanted to pass the GST Bill with broad consensus as this kind of tax is operational in 160 countries across the globe.

Winter Session: Modi govt readies for tough week in Parliament over ‘growing intolerance’

Congress and JD-U have given notices in Rajya Sabha to discuss the issue after suspension of business under Rule 267, while in Lok Sabha Congress and CPI-M have submitted notices for a debate under rule 193.

Govt readies for tough week in Parliament over ‘intolerance’
File Photo

The government is bracing up for a tough week in Parliament from Monday, with opposition parties giving a number of notices in both Houses seeking a debate on ‘intolerance’ in society and action against some ministers for their alleged provocative remarks.Congress and JD-U have given notices in Rajya Sabha to discuss the issue after suspension of business under Rule 267, while in Lok Sabha Congress and CPI-M have submitted notices for a debate under rule 193, which does not entail voting or require suspension of business.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In Lok Sabha, the matter has been listed for Monday, while in Rajya Sabha, it can happen any day in the week after the conclusion of the discussion on the “Commitment to India’s Constitution” as part of the 125th Birth Anniversary celebration of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar initiated by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on November 27.The first two days of the session that began on November 26 were functional as parties did not want to be seen blocking a discussion on the Constitution on the occasion of Ambedkar’s anniversary even though the opposition attacked the government over an alleged rise in intolerance and communal violence.The real confrontation will be there this week when the government brings its legislative agenda on the table. Congress, JD-U, CPI-M, CPI and Trinamool Congress have given separate notices to seek a discussion with and without voting, pass a resolution by the House and seek action against ministers making provocative speeches.”Much depends on how the government responds to the opposition’s issues,” said a senior opposition party leader on condition of anonymity. The Congress’ notice has been moved by Deputy Leader of Opposition in the House Anand Sharma and the party plans to attack the government over alleged “orchestrated campaign to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation” and also raise issues like returning of awards by celebrated writers and others from the intelligensia.The notice by Sharma, which also seeks passing of a resolution by the House, condemns the “assault on the freedom of expression”. JD-U general secretary K C Tyagi has given a separate notice under Rule 267 to discuss the issue and the party has decided to seek the resignation of five Union Ministers over their alleged provocative remarks.”Prime Minister Modi must signal his intent to act against people making such provocative remarks, more so against those from his Cabinet. We have given a notice and we are seeking action against the ministers,” Tyagi said. In a tweet, JD-U President Sharad Yadav said, “PM should have assured the country in his speech that there shall not be any communal violence which is on the rise after NDA Govt came to power.”CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury has also given a notice in Rajya Sabha seeking passage of a one-line resolution by the House condemning incidents of “intolerance” and asking the government to ensure that they do not happen again.In the Lok Sabha, the notices of CPI(M) member P Karunakaran and Congress MP K C Venugopal for a discussion on the matter has been listed for Monday.The opposition has been seeking a discussion on the issue of intolerance for quite some time. At the all-party meeting held on November 25 in the backdrop of actor Aamir Khan’s remarks on “growing intolerance”, opposition parties had made a strong pitch for an early discussion on the issue, insisting that returning of awards by writers, artistes and filmmakers should not be taken lightly.Six Left parties, including CPI(M), would also hold protests, both inside and outside the Parliament, on the “hate offensive” by BJP and Sangh Parivar outfits.With most opposition parties keen on aggressively raising the issue, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said though the government does not agree with their perception of rising intolerance it was “willing to go along with the opposition in this regard for a discussion in an appropriate manner”. He had also contended that such incidents lie in the domain of the state governments, which are vested with the responsibility to maintain law and order.

Jan Lokpal bill is ‘Jokepal’ bill, say the Bhushans

They described the Janlokpal as “Jokepal” saying that under pressure, due to unjustified delay, the Delhi cabinet has now passed a Delhi Janlokpal Bill, 2015 which is cheating with national capital and the Lokpal movement.

Questioning the provisions of the Delhi government’s proposed Lokpal bill, noted activist-lawyers Prashant Bhushan and his father Shanti Bhushan on Saturday accused Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of committing the “biggest fraud” on the people by diluting the original Jan Lokpal draft of the Anna movement and demanded the CM’s resignation. They described the Janlokpal as “Jokepal” saying that under pressure, due to unjustified delay, the Delhi cabinet has now passed a Delhi Janlokpal Bill, 2015 which is cheating with national capital and the Lokpal movement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Swaraj Abhiyaan leaders questioned the present provisions of appointment of the Lokpal, his jurisdiction, removal of chairperson or members of Janlokpal, no investigating machinery and also penalty on false complaints, and claimed that Union ministers and officials were put under the ambit of the proposed legislation “deliberately” to provoke confrontation with the Centre. The AAP government, which is yet to make the bill public, has “diluted” the original provisions of Jan Lokpal of Anna movement, they said. Prashant Bhushan said Kejriwal does not like to be questioned just like “Modi” so he has chosen not to make the contents of the Bill public. “No activist or movement in India’s history has played such a big fraud with people. This will only ensure that the Central government does not approve and the Bill never gets passed. Kejriwal never had the intention to form a strong Lokpal body,” the former AAP leader said. These two lawyers were among those who had founded the Aam Aadmi Party with Kejriwal. They demanded Kejriwal’s resignation saying he had come to power on the promise of providing a strong and independent anti-corruption watchdog but had failed. The Delhi government has extended the ongoing winter session of the state assembly by a week to enable passage of the bill. The Bhushans said the proposed watchdog will not be independent and has been kept under the government, in the bill. The Bill, which was recently cleared by the AAP cabinet, says that a four-member selection committee, comprising the Chief Minister, Speaker, Leader of Opposition and Delhi High Court Chief Justice would appoint the Lokpal, while the removal can be ensured by a motion in the Assembly with two-thirds majority. “Even the Centre’s Lokpal Act, which has been termed as jokepal by Kejriwal, is stronger than this Bill. This is a ‘mahajokepal’. Kejriwal must resign from office,” senior Bhushan said. “In all the draft Lokpals that we have prepared till date, state Lokayuktas are not supposed to have any such powers….,” they said, also questioning the provision which stipulates one-year imprisonment for false complaints, saying it will only deter complainants.

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

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

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

After Lok Sabha adjourns, Narendra Modi shakes hands with members across party lines

Just as the House adjourned for the day after the Prime Minister’s speech, in which he said consensus was more important than majority rule, and adoption of a resolution in the House, Modi exchanged pleasantries with some members, cutting across party lines.

“We are wearing similar clothes” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said sharing a lighter moment with Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.Just as the House adjourned for the day after the Prime Minister’s speech, in which he said consensus was more important than majority rule, and adoption of a resolution in the House, Modi exchanged pleasantries with some members, cutting across party lines.While most leaders from the Congress benches had left, Kharge, was there watching from the other side of the aisle. He was about to leave when home minister Rajnath Singh called him out. Kharge responded saying “Modiji….. Dil nahi mile tho kya, haat tho mila sakten hain (even if hearts dont meet, we can shake hands).” He then went over to the Prime Minister and shook hands with him. Modi, who like Kharge, was wearing a white-kurta pyjama and cream Nehru jacket, then took note of the similarity in clothes and two laughed. Kharge then also shook hands with the home minister.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The differences during the debate were apparently put aside. Kharge had contested the Prime Minister’s claim that his government had ensured minimum pension of Rs 1000 to benefit those under EPFO, saying it was the UPA government that had taken the decision. Kharge had sparked an uproar from the treasury benches on Thursday when he said “any attempt to review the Constitution could result in…consequences.” The word he used was expunged by the Chair after Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu called it an attempt to “threaten” the government.Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, who had demanded during the debate an assurance from the government that the Constitution would not be amended further and that there would be no review of reservation as suggested by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, also came up to Modi and the two shook hands and exchanged pleasantries.Before that, senior leader LK Advani, shook hands with Modi before he left the House. Advani, along with two other mps—Murli Manohar Joshi and Shanta Kumar besides another party veteran, Yashwant Sinha, had put out a statement taking on the BJP leadership after the NDA’s defeat in Bihar. While Shanta Kumar was present in the House, Joshi was out of town.During his speech, which was attended by a nearly packed House, after a two-day scathing debate on the Constitution and BR Ambedkar, Modi had reached out to the Opposition saying “the sanctity of the Constitution, it is our responsibility. We must not forget that people give us power when we move together in consensus… Consensus is more important than majority rule.”Modi not only rejected the idea of reviewing the Constitution saying it would be like committing suicide, he also praised the role of all previous governments.

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