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Exclusive: Motilal Vora’s wish became Hooda’s command for allotting Panchkula land to National Herald

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Congress periodical criticises Nehru

A periodical published by India’s main opposition Congress party criticises the country’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, for his foreign policy moves.

Rahul Gandhi trains his guns at PM Modi, says his silence on corruption is ‘deafening’

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RTI activist who exposed Vyapam scam meets Sonia, Rahul Gandhi over Whistleblowers Protection Act

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Congress general secretaries Digvijay Singh and Mohan Prakash accompanied the RTI activists during the meeting with the top party leadership.

Anand Rai

Protesting against proposed amendments in Whistle blowers Protection Act-2011, an RTI activist from Madhya Pradesh, who exposed the Vyapam scam, met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi over the issue.”We met Congress president and vice president in New Delhi two days back to apprise them about amendments proposed in the Whistle blowers Protection Act-2011 and drew their attention towards the attempts being made to weaken it,” RTI activist Anand Rai told PTI today.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”While Soniaji discussed the issue with us for nearly 15-20 minutes, Rahul Gandhi heard us patiently for nearly 40-45 minutes,” Rai said. Besides Rai, RTI activist Ajay Dube, self-styled cyber expert Prashant Pandey and Gwalior-based activist Ashish Chaturvedi, who exposed the Vyapam and other scams in the state, were present on the occasion.”The Congress president and vice president also discussed the ongoing CBI probe into the Vyapam scam and asked whether we are satisfied with it or not,” Rai said. Congress general secretaries Digvijay Singh and Mohan Prakash accompanied the RTI activists during the meeting with the top party leadership, he said.Because of delay in the arrival of train, Chaturvedi was unable to meet Rahul, but was present in the meeting with the Congress president. Notably, the amendment in the Act is being done with a view to incorporate necessary provisions aimed at strengthening safeguards against disclosures which may prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of the country, security of the state, etc. The amendments would address concerns relating to national security.MP Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), popularly known by its Hindi acronym ‘Vyapam’ or Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal, conducts admission tests for engineering and medical colleges and also for recruitment in various government jobs in which alleged scam took place.The Vyapam scam is a massive admission and recruitment racket that witnessed dozens of mysterious deaths of accused, witnesses and others ever since probe into the alleged scandal began. Several politicians, a host of officials and scores of aspirants have been arrested in the case.

DDCA row: Rahul Gandhi tears into Modi’s anti-corruption slogan, slams PM over Kirti Azad’s suspension

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‘No bigger vice than alcohol’: Punjab health minister does about turn, calls for nationwide prohibition

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As Modi visits Russia, Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at PM’s foreign visits

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Rahul also addressed a few roadside meetings in his Lok Sabha constituency during which he intensified his attack on the Modi government over price rise, saying ‘achhe din’ has come only for the Prime Minister and not the common man.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi

PTI
Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a two-day Russia visit, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday took a dig at his foreign tours, saying such trips would not benefit the country and sharpened his attack on the NDA government over price rise.”The PM is travelling abroad regularly, but people in those countries are very clever. These tours will not benefit India,” Rahul said during a meeting with Nyaya Panchayat chairpersons. He said Modi interacts with industrialists and these meetings had nothing to do with the common people.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rahul also addressed a few roadside meetings in his Lok Sabha constituency during which he intensified his attack on the Modi government over price rise, saying ‘achhe din’ has come only for the Prime Minister and not the common man.”The aam aadmi is groaning under unprecedented price rise. It is no achhe din (good times) for them. It is achhe din only for the Prime Minister,” he said on the first day of his two-day visit to Amethi. Rahul, who led the opposition attack against the NDA government within and outside Parliament, said only his party was fighting strongly against BJP on the price front.”BJP is responsible for the unprecedented price rise in the country,” he said, adding, “inflation is at its peak. Nothing has been done for farmers and the youth”. He alleged that wherever Modi went for election campaign, he tried to create Hindu-Muslim divide for the sake of votes.After Bihar assembly elections, he forgot as if no such state existed in the country.Addressing a few roadside meetings, including at Nigoha and Chatoh, he asked village heads to raise their voice against cancellation of food park and paper mill projects in Amethi and said Congress wanted all welfare schemes of the Centre and the state to be implemented through gram pradhans. At a meeting of newly elected village heads at Ramsapur village in Chatoh block, Rahul said, “We could have changed the face of Amethi through mega food park and Hindustan Paper Mill and these projects would have provided employment to 15,000-20,000 people. Land was given for these projects, but BJP doesn’t want that a food park or paper mill is set up.”He said 40 different factories were to be set up in the food park, which would have benefited farmers the most, but all hopes have been dashed.The Congress leader also alleged that the Centre was trying to close schemes like MNREGA and RTI. He said it was the responsibility of Congress to fight for MNREGA and his party workers could raise the matter in a big way during the 2017 UP assembly elections. He said if Congress came to power in UP, Amethi would be benefited and asked party workers to go to villages and tell people about the “failures” of the Centre and the state government.”We want the village heads to raise their voice against this. Besides, they should protest curtailment of their rights,” he said.Noting that the modern panchayati raj system was the brainchild of his father and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Rahul said Congress favoured more powers for village heads. He claimed various laws enacted by the previous Congress governments gave more powers to village heads, unlike the legislations brought by the Modi government.The Congress leader alleged the Modi government thrice tried to finish the land acquisition law brought by the UPA government but every time the move was blocked by his party.Rahul interacted with village heads on different issues, during which a gram pradhan asked him about the logic behind fixing minimum educational qualification by Haryana government for contesting panchayat elections. He appeared to be in agreement with the decision of Haryana’s BJP government when he said a village head should have some minimum educational qualification to bring about development of the village.Rahul also enquired about progress of MNREGA scheme, a pet project of the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government. Earlier at Nigoha, Rahul said that during the Lok Sabha election campaign Modi had promised to deposit Rs 15 lakh in every person’s account after bringing back the black money stashed away abroad. “Has it been deposited?” he asked sarcastically.Promising to carry on development work in his Lok Sabha constituency, he said, “We will complete development works in Amethi. We will fight unitedly as a single person cannot continue the struggle alone.”There was minor trouble during Rahul’s visit when Congress workers clashed with each other after one car hit another. Two people were injured in the clash.

Exclusive: Bandra plot allotment for National Herald full of violations, says Maharashtra govt report

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Juvenile Justice Bill: Here’s what Maneka Gandhi said in Rajya Sabha

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Discussing the bill in Rajya Sabha, Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development Maneka Gandhi claimed that the bill is compassionate.

File Photo

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill was on Tuesday tabled in Rajya Sabha for consideration and passage. Following the Supreme Court’s dismissal of a plea against the release of the juvenile offender in the December 16 gang-rape case, Parliamentarians have cut across party lines to seek the passage of the amendments to the Juvenile Justice Act at the earliest.Discussing the bill in Rajya Sabha, Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development Maneka Gandhi claimed that the bill is compassionate.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She said, “We may not be able to do anything about the Juvenile convict in the Nirbhaya case, but we can deter many other boys from doing the same.”Here is what she said.Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday assured the parents of Nirbhaya (December 16 gang rape victim), that he would be extending all his support to get the Juvenile Justice Bill passed in the Raya Sabha.”We are meeting every one because the Bill is to be tabled today. He (Rahul Gandhi) has said that he supports the Bill and would support it,” Nirbhaya’s mother told the media.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also assured disappointed Nirbhaya’s parents that the Juvenile Justice Bill would be today passed in the Parliament.

Jyoti Singh’s parents meet Rahul seeking support for passage of Juvenile Justice Bill

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Bottoms up! Alcohol not ‘intoxicant’, says Punjab health minister

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Jyani told journalists during an interaction after inaugurating a de-addiction centre in his constituency Badal.

Surjit Kumar Jyani

Image courtesy: ANI Twitter handle
Bizzare it may sound but Punjab Health Minister Surjit Kumar Jyani does not consider ‘sharab’ (booze) an intoxicant.”I don’t think ‘sharab’ (booze) is an intoxicant. You cannot call alcohol an intoxicant. It is (consumed) there in the army, parties. The government gives licences for manufacturing liquor, we auction liquor vends. As long as it is done, sharab cannot be called ‘nasha’ (intoxicant),” Jyani told journalists during an interaction after inaugurating a de-addiction centre in his constituency Badal.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Incidentally, Punjab has been facing a problem of drug addiction, which once prompted Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to claim 7 out of every 10 youth in the state were addicts.

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

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

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

National Herald Case: Sonia, Rahul have got bail, not medal, says Prakash Javadekar

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Reacting to Sonia and Rahul’s barb against Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing him of levelling ‘false allegations’ against them, Javadekar said, “NDA government has nothing to do with the National Herald case.”

Prakash Javadekar

Union Environment Minister and senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar on Saturday said the local court has granted bail, not medal, to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi, and he failed to understand why the Congress was in a celebratory mood.”I don’t understand why the Congress is celebrating the bail given by court to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. They have got bail, not a medal,” Javadekar told reporters here on the sidelines of an event here, adding that “The court has also found the offence cognisable.” Rahul and Sonia had sought and were granted bail in the National Herald case after the court in Delhi rejected complainant Subramanian Swamy’s opposition to relief for them on the ground that they are influential and can flee the country.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Swamy had lodged a private criminal complaint against the mother and son for cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust. Reacting to Sonia and Rahul’s barb against Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing him of levelling ‘false allegations’ against them, Javadekar said, “NDA government has nothing to do with the National Herald case.”
Seizing the opportunity, the Congress leadership has turned the legal battle into a political one accusing Modi of deliberatley targeting the Opposition and making full use of the state agencies to do so.This was the first time that the Gandhis appeared before a court in pursuance of the summons issued to them on December 8.

#SoniaRahulHazirHo: Twitter has a field day as Congress leaders get bail

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Some of the tweets on the National Herald scam, that has pushed the #SoniaRahulHazirHo tag to the top.

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi
File Photo
PTI
As of Saturday morning, the newest trend on Twitter was what has been leaving the Lok Sabha in a turmoil, turning it to an arena of blame game over the past few days. #SoniaRahulHazirHo is the top trend on Twitter. The case filed by Subramanian Swamy against the President and Vice-President of Congress, on the National Herald scam, has left a string of controversies with mudslinging from all ends.Here are some of the tweets that have attracted our attention:

National Herald case timeline: Sonia and Rahul appear in court

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National Herald case: ‘Spontaneous’ bhakti culture for Sonia, Rahul lays bare Congress desperation

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National Herald Case: Robert Vadra extends full support to Sonia and Rahul

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National Herald case: Congress tears into Modi, says Swamy is just his mask

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The story of National Herald, what it was, what it became and how it paved way for a court trip for Sonia, Rahul

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Sonia and Rahul to appear in court today at 3pm: Here’s the National Herald case timeline

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National Herald: Editorial excellence and journalistic integrity that lies long forgotten now

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National Herald Case: Sonia, Rahul may seek bail

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The Congress President and Vice President have been summoned by the trial court on a private criminal complaint of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy of conspiracy, cheating, breach of trust and misappropriation of property .

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi

PTI
Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi could seek bail when they appear before a magistrate on Saturday in the National Herald case with the Congress today insisting that they were open to all legal remedies and options.”We are open to availing all legal remedies and options including bail” said party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala ahead of the two top leaders appearing before Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen in the Patiala House courts tomorrow. The Congress President and Vice President have been summoned by the trial court on a private criminal complaint of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy of conspiracy, cheating, breach of trust and misappropriation of property.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Surjewala said the Congress leadership does not want the court process to be interfered with or influenced in any manner and so the party has asked workers not to come to the court. Partymen claim that the Congress wants it to be a low key affair. AICC has dismissed reports that the Congress has called its state leaders to Delhi when the Gandhis will appear before the court The party has been maintaining so far that a decision would be taken in accordance with what advice the lawyers will give.Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, who is representing the Gandhis, said “Unnecessary hype over a routine procedure need not be created by the media. We are proceeding in every manner in accordance with law.”Singhvi, who is also party spokesman, said “We have been scrupulously avoiding all hype or hoopla about this as fas as courts are concerned.” Party General Secretary Shakeel Ahmed said the Congress would politically fight the Narendra Modi government on the issue as it was a “vendetta”.Congress MPs have been asked to gather at the party headquarters tomorrow ahead of the appearance of the Gandhis in the court as a measure of solidarity. “The Modi government cannot suppress Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi or the Congress party from continuing to raise the voice of the people,” Surjewala said adding the government was on a “malicious witch hunt” against all political opponents including the Congress leadership.

Land leased to National Herald allegedly encroached in Patna

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National Herald case: Sonia tells Cong cadre ‘no show of strength’ at court

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Land leased to National Herald in Patna allegedly encroached in Patna

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National Herald case: Will Sonia and Rahul Gandhi seek bail in the case?

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul have been summoned by the trial court on prima facie charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal breach of trust and dishonest misappropriation of property under relevant sections of the law.
File Photo
PTI
Congress on Thursday kept up the suspense on the issue of whether Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi would seek bail after appearing before court in New Delhi on Saturday in the National Herald case.”Still there are two days. Lot of time…..(for the decision decision to be taken) on the spot. It will be taken in accordance with what advice the lawyers will give,” Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters.He was asked whether the Gandhis, who have been summoned by a court in connection with the case, would seek bail as there was speculation that they would not do so to draw political mileage out of it.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They have been summoned by the trial court on prima facie charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal breach of trust and dishonest misappropriation of property under relevant sections of the law. The case has arisen out of a private criminal complaint filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.Azad, who is a senior Congress spokesman, said the party chief, vice president and the entire leadership of the party have full faith in judiciary and the law of the land.”Whatever we shall have to do, whatever instruments we have to use, we will use” in the case, he said without elaboration.Azad, however, dismissed suggestions that the AICC has asked partymen to converge in the national capital on that day as a mark of solidarity with the leadership. “No one has been asked to come to Delhi,” he said.In reply to another question, he said party MPs in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha have been asked to be in Delhi till the winter session concludes on December 23.

Congress plans grand show on eve of Rahul-Sonia appearance in court

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The Congress sources said it would be a show of strength to express solidarity with the party leadership and register protest against senior BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy’s attempts to implicate its leaders with the charge of usurping properties of the defunct newspaper National Herald in Delhi and eight other cities.

Sonia Gandhi and other Congress leaders after submitting a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee demanding removal of Arunachal governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa

dna
The Congress is planning a grand show on Saturday, when Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi and five other leaders are appearing before a magistrate’s court here in the National Herald case. They party has summoned all its chief ministers, state party presidents and MPs to the AICC headquarters at 24 Akbar Road here on Saturday for a likely march along with leaders to the Patiala Courts.The Congress sources said it would be a show of strength to express solidarity with the party leadership and register protest against senior BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy’s attempts to implicate its leaders with the charge of usurping properties of the defunct newspaper National Herald in Delhi and eight other cities.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As a strategy, Rahul has decided not to offer bail or sign a security bond as he prefers to be sent to judicial custody. Though, earlier it was decided that Sonia will file for a bail bond because of her fragile health along with 86-year old treasurer Motilal Vora, party sources said, Congress president may also opt for jail to secure a sympathy for ‘victimisation by the ruling BJP and the Modi government’. They said Sonia and Rahul were taking a cue from former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi whose political fortunes resurrected following her arrest in 1977 after losing the elections.

Now, pregnant woman in Shakur Basti slum faces hospital’s apathy

“At first the hospital refused to take the case, they chased her away. Then later one lady came and got the woman admitted in the hospital,” said Sri Ram, one of the residents of Shakur Basti slums.

People collect their belongings after a demolition drive carried out by railways in Shakur Basti of Delhi on Sunday.

PTI
With residents of Delhi’s Shakur basti slums being forced to live on the streets after their shanties were razed to the ground during a demolition drive by Indian Railways, a woman gave birth to child in the wee hours of Monday, battling freezing cold and apathy by hospital staff.The residents of the slums alleged that the local hospital refused to admit the pregnant lady and even asked her to go to a private hospital.”At first the hospital refused to take the case, they chased her away. Then later one lady came and got the woman admitted in the hospital,” said Sri Ram, one of the residents of Shakur Basti slums.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Around 1.30 am, a girl child was born to one of my relatives. First the hospital refused to admit her and then later they admitted her,” said another resident, Lakhan.The residents also said that hospital later admitted the woman after intervention by the media.”They chased the pregnant woman away, when we asked them to give medicine they asked us to go to a private hospital. They came back, and then the ambulance took her away after we complained to media,” said Gulab.Last week, around 500 slums were razed by Railway authorities as part of their demolition drive.Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had on Monday visited the razed Shakur Basti slums and promised them that he would extend every help possible to alleviate them of their problems. He had accused the Delhi government and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Centre for the razing of the slum and asserted that the law had been clearly broken during the demolition.The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi Government had questioned the timing of Railways? action and asked why proper arrangements to rehabilitate the dwellers was not made before their houses were demolished.

Shakur Basti demolition : Post mortem report says infant died due to shock and injuries on chest and head

As per the post mortem report, the six-month-old girl died due to shock and injuries on chest and head due to impact of blunt force and mentioned about fractures in ribs and head

Shakur Basti after demolition drive

PTI
A case of death due to negligence was on Monday registered, two days after a toddler died in a West Delhi slum cluster demolished by railways, triggering a political slugfest with ruling AAP targeting the Centre and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi coming down hard on both.As per the post mortem report, the six-month-old girl died due to shock and injuries on chest and head due to impact of blunt force and mentioned about fractures in ribs and head. Though the Railways maintained that the toddler died two hours before the demolition drive began along the train tracks at Shakur Basti, the parents of the child blamed the authorities for creating a situation leading to her death. As AAP government sharpened its attack on the Centre for death of the child and leaving hundreds homeless in biting cold, Gandhi visited the site and wondered why the Kejriwal dispensation was protesting despite ruling the city and assured the homeless that he will fight their “battle”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Modi sarkar and Kejriwal sarkar are responsible for what has happened. But now they are busy blaming each other. Instead they should provide help to the people who have been displaced & rehabilitate them,” Gandhi said on Twitter. Resolving to fight for the poor, Gandhi told the homeless, “Whenever a slum is about to be demolished, call Rahul Gandhi. He won’t let this happen. We will try to help you. As you know we are not in the government, it is AAP’s and BJP’s government. But we will try to protect you, we will fight your battle.”Gandhi’s comments drew a sharp reaction from Kejriwal. “Rahul Gandhi is still a child. His party probably did not tell him that Railway comes under the central government, and not under the Government of Delhi,” he said.Meanwhile, police probing the toddler’s death, said a case of death due to negligence against unknown persons have been registered at Punajbi Bagh police station on the basis of statement of her father Mohammad Anwar.”The case has been registered under Section 304 A (causing death due to negligence) at Punjabi Bagh police station,” said Pushpendra Kumar, DCP(West). According to police, Anwar, in a statement said a tied bundle of clothes fell down on the girl sleeping on the floor as the family was in a hurry to vacate their shanty. The post mortem said the toddler died 30 hours before the autopsy indicating she might have died around 9.30 AM. “As the officials came knocking, we started quickly packing our belongings. In the ensuing melee we did not realise when a heap of clothes fell on her which turned out to be fatal.”My child, who had just started seeing the world, would have been by my side today if the officials had given us little time and a prior notice,” the toddler’s father Anwar said. The couple has two more children, a girl aged five and a boy aged three. Severely critical of Railways and the police, the AAP government has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the demolition drive and death of the girl. The Chief Minister suspended two Sub-Divisional Magistrates and another senior official for “failing to arrange” food and shelter for those evicted.In its reaction, Delhi BJP hit out at Kejriwal government accusing it of “indulging in politics” over death of the infant.”Politics over death of an infant is not the culture of Delhi,” Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay said. The demolition was carried out on Saturday in which over 1,200 slum units were removed, with the railways insisting that the action was necessary to clear the “encroachments” for expanding infrastructure. The railways said the demolition was carried out after three notices, the first one with the March 14, 2015 deadline.AAP and Trinammol Congress protested near the Mahatma Gandhi statue outside Parliament condemning the demolition. AAP also protested in Parliament over the issue after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan rejected an adjournment motion moved by it. Terming the incident as inhuman, Delhi Minister Satyendra Jain alleged the demolition was carried out “to teach a lesson” to these people who had voted for Arvind Kejriwal.”Without making any alternative arrangements for them, their houses were demolished. The demolition was carried out to teach a lesson to these people who had voted for Arvind Kejriwal. “In the process an infant girl has died and the post-mortem has revealed that she had received severe head injuries and that her ribs had broken,” said Jain.

Rahul Gandhi takes on PM Modi, airs a laundry list of grievances about BJP’s politics

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Shakur Basti demolition drive: Arvind Kejriwal hits back at Rahul Gandhi, calls him a ‘kid’ for questioning Delhi govt

Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Kejriwal tweeted, “Rahul Gandhi is a kid. I think his party has not told him that the Railways come under the Central Government of India.”

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday, hit out at Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi for accusing the Delhi government for the Shakur Basti demolition controversy.As AAP members protested outside the Parliament holding placards, Rahul Gandhi had earlier in the day questioned their actions. “Why is AAP doing dharna in Parliament,” Rahul asked.Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Kejriwal tweeted, “Rahul Gandhi is a kid. I think his party has not told him that the Railways come under the Central Government of India.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A fresh face-off between the Delhi government and the Centre erupted on Sunday, over the demolition of a slum cluster by the Railways, to clear “encroachments” and the death of a baby at the site. The demolition of 1200 slum units at Shakur Basti in West Delhi was carried out, by the Railways.The Railways said the removal of “fresh encroachment” was necessary for expanding the infrastructure and that the action had been taken after three notices, the first one with the March 14, 2015 deadline.Meanwhile, Arvind Kejriwal said he will take up the issue and death of a baby at the site with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu as he was not satisfied with the ministry officials’ response. “Those who have done this (demolition of shanties) are not humans, instead they are animals and bestial,” Kejriwal had said.

BJP, RSS conspired to not allow Rahul Gandhi to enter Barpeta ?Satra: Tarun Gogoi

“While concluding the padyatra, Rahul entered the Satra to pay his respects and seek blessings…It was a conspiracy by RSS, who has infiltrated into Satras also,” Gogoi said

Rahul Gandhi in Assam

PTI
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Sunday alleged that BJP and RSS had conspired to not allow Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi to enter Barpeta Satra during his visit to the state.”They (BJP and RSS) had stationed a few women at the gate (to stop Gandhi) of the Satra yesterday,” he told newsmen here. Gandhi was on a two-day visit to Assam from December 11, which the chief minister described as a “grand success”.”We came to know about it in the morning itself and Rahul was also informed about this. We wanted to avoid a confrontation and so he did not pay a visit in the morning despite having women police with him. “While concluding the padyatra, Rahul entered the Satra to pay his respects and seek blessings…It was a conspiracy by RSS, who has infiltrated into Satras also,” Gogoi said, adding, an inquiry would be conducted into incident to find out who was responsible. He refuted allegations that land belonging to different Satras across the state are being encroached upon by illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Not a single Bangladeshi is on Satra land. If yes, I will resign. I have not received a single complaint from any Satradhikar. It is false propaganda by the BJP,” he added. To questions, Gogoi said his son and Lok Sabha member Gaurav would not be a candidate for the assembly polls scheduled for next year.”He (Gaurav) is not ready yet and he is not capable enough to become a chief minister. For that you need experience,” Gogoi told a press conference here.About Congress’ strategy for the polls, the chief minister said the party will contest alone and form the next government. “We will not go for any alliance. Our governance will be for rule of peace. We are also for a change, but change for development. We have done it in our tenure and this will be our thrust in the coming polls,” he added.

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

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

Rahul Gandhi in Assam

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

National Herald case: We owned more shares in Associated Journals than Nehru did, says Shanti Bhushan

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National Herald case: Smriti Irani calls Rahul Gandhi’s views an ‘insult’ to democracy

Irani, who had unsuccessfully contested 2014 Lok Sabha polls against Gandhi from Amethi constituency, said, courts in the country are “independent and there is no individual, who is bigger than the law.”

Smriti Irani
File Photo

Smriti Irani hit back at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi over his remark that the National Herald case is a “hundred per cent vendetta coming out of PMO”, saying there cannot be a bigger “insult” to country’s democracy than his views on it.Speaking during a media conference here, Irani also targeted Congress leaders over disruption in functioning of Parliament. “There cannot be a bigger insult to country’s democracy and judiciary. If he thinks country’s judiciary functions at someone’s instructions, then there can’t be a bigger insult of country’s court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The kind of comments Rahulji is making, the only message nation is getting is that if country’s law and judiciary don’t kneel before Gandhi family the Parliament will not be allowed to work,” she alleged. Irani, who had unsuccessfully contested 2014 Lok Sabha polls against Gandhi from Amethi constituency, said, courts in the country are “independent and there is no individual, who is bigger than the law.” On the issue of “intolerance”, Irani claimed, no one returned award if something went wrong during Congress’ regime.She added the foundation of the country’s democracy was in allowing one to express him/herself. “When someone asks me about tolerance, I say I am a Hindu woman, married to a Parsi. My children will not be Hindu, but Parsi. There can’t be bigger example I can give to the nation,” she said citing her own example. On another question, the minister maintained education will play an important role in curbing terrorism and said the government is taking efforts to see students from class IX to XII were exposed to socio-political happenings in the world.She also stressed the Centre is making efforts to increase standards of education imparted by government schools and also added that government is taking measures to strengthen base of country’s education system.Congress leaders, including Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul have been summoned by a Delhi court on December 19 on a complaint by BJP’s Subramanian Swamy against them, for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in taking control of the now-defunct newspaper.Rahul Gandhi had on December 9 said that the National Herald case is “hundred per cent political vendetta coming out of PMO” but declared that he had full faith in the judiciary. “One hundred per cent political vendetta. Pure political vendetta coming out of PMO. It is their way of doing politics. Pure 100 per cent vendetta,” Gandhi had said.

Gujarat model has failed, Modi can only give speeches: Rahul Gandhi

File Photo
PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi can only give speeches, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said on Friday, while asserting that the former’s Gujarat model of development has failed, as proven by the victory of his party in the state’s local poll.”Modi can only give speeches…like a balloon which only bounces. The Gujarat model has failed. Congress was victorious in the (local) elections there,” Gandhi said addressing a meeting of block and district level party leaders here, in the run-up to the 2016 Assam Assembly election. “It is because Narendra Modi’s model has failed that a big agitation has been launched by a community (Patels) in Gujarat,” he asserted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”India thought ‘acche din’ (good days) will come as promised by Modi before the elections, but after losing the Bihar poll, he does not mention a word about it,” Gandhi observed. The Congress leader said that during Modi’s poll campaign in Bihar, the Prime Minister had called Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar ‘bewakuf’ (foolish), Rahul reminded those present at the meeting and wondered “are we bewakufs too?” The Gandhi scion also accused Modi of removing the Special Category State status given by the earlier Congress central government to Assam, whereby 90 per cent of central funds were given as grants and rest 10 per cent state funds.”Bihar will be repeated in Assam,” he asserted, saying Tarun Gogoi and Congress had worked real hard. The leader also had an interaction with the women representatives of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in Assam, listening to their problems and assuring them that their issues would be taken up with the government.”The SHGs is a fantastic programme. It empowers women in Assam. I am satisfied with the action taken by Tarun Gogoi,” Gandhi added.

Unruffled by storm in LS, BJP MP says he quoted Ram Manohar Lohia

Singh, 59, a third-time MP who calls himself an agriculturist, social worker and sportsperson, stood by his remarks and said farmers never apologise.

BJP MP Virendra Singh, who was in the eye of the storm in Lok Sabha over his comments against Congress leaders, appeared unruffled by the uproar. His controversial remarks were expunged by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, but the Congress boycotted the House for the entire day after its demand for either action against Singh or an apology from him was rejected. The issue has further intensified the rancour in relations between the ruling side and Congress. Singh, 59, a third-time MP who calls himself an agriculturist, social worker and sportsperson, stood by his remarks and said farmers never apologise. “What have I said? Has the Congress not been disrupting the House even before yesterday? I have not made any derogatory statement. I said rulers were born not just from queens but also women who do menial jobs. Ram Manohar Lohia had said that several times in Parliament,”he told reporters later.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Bhadohi MP had targeted Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia amid the party’s furore in the House over the National Herald case. “I also said that both Rahul Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia learn about farmers only from books, they cannot differentiate between gehun, jowar and bajra. We know the difference because we work in the soll,”he said. Less than a week ago, Singh had demanded that the Modi government open a “gobar (cow dung) bank”. He also sought subsidy to farmers on cow dung manure to curtail cow slaughter, while participating in a debate on a private members’bill on implementation of recommendations of National Commission on farmers. With a 96 per cent attendance in the House, the member has participated in 11 debates, mainly in agriculture-related issues, in the current Lok Sabha. The standoff over his remarks remained unresolved on Thursday. The Lok Sabha resumed business after the Congress staged a walkout, followed by Trinamool Congress. However, the Congress strategy on Friday on the issue was uncertain. The Congress, demanding Singh’s suspension for “derogatory remarks” against its leaders during the a debate on drought, rushed into the well of the House shouting “Speaker Mahoday nyay karo, sadan ka apman nahi sahenge (Speaker, do justice, can’t tolerate insult to House)”. Mahajan said she had expunged the remarks and as far as asking the member to apologise was concerned, she would have to take a similar approach towards the Opposition for throwing paper in the House. The House was adjourned for a 25 minutes. After it met again, the Congress walked out , followed by TMC, saying it will not attend the House for the entire day. “If the government supports such people, we are not going to tolerate. Unless you suspend him or there is an unconditional apology, it will affect dignity of the members,” Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said before the walkout.

PM Modi and Rahul Gandhi shake hands at Sharad Pawar’s birthday celebrations

Rahul greeted the Prime Minister with a ‘Namaste’ before he was about to leave the function after it got over. However, the two immediately followed it up with a handshake.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchanges greetings with Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi during a function to celebrate NCP chief Sharad Pawars 75th birthday at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Thursday.

PTI
Setting aside their bitterness, both within and outside Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi shook hands today at a function to felicitate NCP supremo Sharad Pawar upcoming 75th birthday.Rahul greeted the Prime Minister with a ‘Namaste’ before he was about to leave the function after it got over. However, the two immediately followed it up with a handshake.As the function was about to be over, NCP leader Praful Patel called Rahul and Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled Maharashtra and Rajasthan Devendra Phadnavis and Vasundhara Raje on stage for a group photo with a galaxy of leaders including President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Modi and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Besides Pawar and his wife Pratibha, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, his Punjab counterpart Parkash Singh Badal, BJP veteran L K Advani and National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah were on the dais.There have been hardly any exchange of pleasantries between Modi and Rahul since the latter became the Prime Minister in May last year. The Congress vice president is the one of the most vocal critics of the Prime Minister.

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.

Images of former Union Minister V Narayanasamy holding slippers for Rahul Gandhi go viral

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Lok Sabha: Even as Congress protested on National Herald issue, govt manages to introduce key legislations

Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge accused treasury benches of bull-dozing the opposition and said it is not right to take up or pass any bill when the House is not in order.

The National Herald issue cast its shadow over Lok Sabha also with Congress members continuously creating uproar in the midst of which the House conducted some business, including passage of a bill and discussion on the drought situation.Even as the Congress members raised slogans in the Well and were supported by Trinamool Congress, the House took up the Question Hour, the Zero Hour and the legislative business like discussion and passage of The Indian Trusts (Amendment) Bill, 2015. Amid the din, the House also took up the resumed discussion on the drought and farmers’ suicide in which a number of members from parties like Samajwadi Party, BJD, RJD, TRS, AIADMK, YSRCP besides BJP and its allies SAD, Shiv Sena and TDP participated.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge accused treasury benches of bull-dozing the opposition and said it is not right to take up or pass any bill when the House is not in order.”Government is suppressing, depressing and disregarding the opposition. Such attitude is wrong. We want your (Chair) protection. The Bill should not be passed. Let them (Government) first take action against V K Singh, Rajasthan Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan,” Kharge said.Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu, however, said Parliament cannot go on like this as the people of the country wanted legislation. Attacking Congress, he said, “30 people are not allowing the House to run. They want the democracy to fail. They are obstructing progress. They are exposed. They are frustrated.” He said Congress had not been able to come to terms with its defeat in the Lok Sabha polls and BJP’s massive win under Modi.Referring to National Herald case, he said the case was filed when the UPA was in power. Earlier, Kharge also attacked Union Minister V K Singh, who was present in the House, over his “dog” remark.As Singh kept smiling, Kharge intensified his attack and demanded that the minister be immediately sacked for his “dog” remark after the killing of two Dalit children in Haryana.Naidu defended his colleague, saying a court had also rejected the charge against him and insisted that the government was “proud” of all its ministers for doing an “excellent” job. Saugata Roy (TMC) used his time in Zero Hour to support Congress and target the government, inviting a sharp rebuke from Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. “I fully support the contention of Congress that the government is behaving in a vincdictive way. The Prime Minister must respond,” he said. After the Speaker disallowed him from speaking, TMC members staged a walkout. As Congress members continued to raise slogans from the Well even after Kharge was allowed to speak, the Speaker said, “I have given full time to your leader to have his say. There is no issue before the House. They must go to their seats. I am giving you a warning.” At another point, she wondered if the Congress members were trying to “scare” the Chair.Both Sonia and Rahul were present in the House and the Congress chief was seen giving some suggestions to Kharge when he was speaking. The Prime Minister was present in the House for most of the Question Hour when Congress members stormed the Well but left before the Zero Hour at 12 pm.Citing corruption cases against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan, Kharge accused the government of indulging in “vendetta politics” and claiming that it applied one set of laws against its leaders and another for those from BJP. He, however, made no reference to the National Herald case in which Delhi High Court yesterday refused to give Sonia and Rahul Gandhi any relief from appearance before a local court.”There are two laws in this country — one for the opposition and another for the government. When we raised the issue of corruption involving Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh chief ministers, no action was taken.”But you raided the premises of our Gujarat leader Shankarsinh Vaghela. When a wedding was taking place in the house of Virbharda Singh, CBI raided his house. Nothing came out of this and then ED lodged a case against him. False CBI cases are being registered in Haryana but no action taken against BJP chief ministers involved in scams,” he said. He also raised the reported meeting of a Union Minister with a Muzaffarnagar riot accused in jail and his assurance of support to them.”You are adopting the politics of revenge, repression and tyranny against opposition leaders. This is happening not only with us but others like the TMC too. If people do not agree with you, then you try to harass them,” Kharge said amid support from TMC members. Seeking to dispel the impression that Congress was upset over the National Herald case, he said “we are not against judiciary. We are protesting against your policies of repression.”Rebutting strongly, Naidu raked up the arrest of BJP president Amit Shah and also enquiries against Modi during the UPA tenure and accused Congress of trying to see that the government fails.”A judicial order has come,” he said, referring to the National Herald case. “You are giving a warning to judiciary through Parliament. This is not in national interest.”The discussion on the drought situation, initiated byCongress member Jyotiraditya Scindia on Monday, resumed today in the House amid uproar by Congress members leading to repeated adjournments. While Congress members did not participate in the discussion, the House saw a clash between the opposition leader Kharge and ruling party members over the issue of who has done more for the farmers.Kharge said the previous Congress-led government had given a waiver of Rs 72,000 crore to farmers and questioned what the present government had done. “We care for the farmers more than you. What have you done for farmers? And now they (the government) are becoming champions of farmers. If we are bad, then the government is worse,” he said. Responding to this, BJP member Virender Singh attacked Congress, particularly Rahul Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia, saying they know nothing about agriculture and cannot even make distinction between bajra, jowar and wheat.He also attacked Rahul Gandhi for his “suit boot ki sarkar” remark, saying the Congress was not able to reconcile to the fact that a person from humble background like Narendra Modi can become the Prime Minister as the party believes the post is only for the Nehru-Gandhi family. “They (Rahul and Scindia) have known farmers through books and I have learnt about farmers by toiling in field. I have grown so much of foodgrains, which the seven generations of the Scindia’s must have not grown,” the MP from Badoi said.Targeting Scindia, he said he still is called as “maharaj” even though the world has changed. Participating in the discussion despite lot of noise created by Congress, Samajwadi Party member Tej Pratap Singh said Uttar Pradesh was one of the worst affected state. “Farmers are the ones who are suffering the most because of climate change. In the past there have been several discussions over the issue and suggestions have come from both the Opposition and the government. But the suggestions are not being implemented.”RJD member Jaiprakash Narayan Yadav, who had to halt his speech briefly because of the ruckus, demanded special status for Bihar and a central package in dealing with drought like situation in the state.Others who participated in the discussion and urged the central government to allocate more funds to help the farmers included Sanjay Haribhau Jadhav (Shiv Sena), K Ashok Kumar (AIADMK), Kristappa Nimmala (TDP), B B Patil (TRS) and Renuka Butta (YSRCP).In the midst of the debate, the protest by Congress intensified leading to brief adjournments. On resumption, Naidu said the decision to have a discussion on the issue of farmers was asked by the Congress and members from UP, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bihar and Telangana wanted to raise the issue of it. At this, BJP members started shouting “Shame Shame”.”It is shame for MPs. If you have to protest over any issue, do it, but allow the debate to go on. This is unbecoming of members. I am surprised that how can a senior member like (Mallikarjun) Kharge allow this,” the Parliamentary Affairs Minister said, adding “the entire country is watching”. Prem Singh Chandumajra (SAD) said if the Congress members have any issue, they should approach the Court. He went on to take a dig at Congress, saying he would even request the government to provide a lawyer to it to help them represent their case.”They should not disturb the people’s court”, he said, adding the members should be allowed to express their views and discuss the important issues concerning farmers. Recalling the way the Congress government had declared Emergency in June 1975 after a court case against the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, he said had the Congress been in power they would have imposed Emergency after the recent court ruling.He said this in apparent reference to the court summons to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case.Chandumajara demanded increase in the minimum support price (MSP) and fresh loan waiver scheme to provide relief to the distressed farmers. He suggested that the government should take tough stand at the upcoming ministerial meeting of the WTO at Nairobi to protect the interest of Indian farmers.BJP member B S Yeddyurappa said the whole country was watching how the Congress was disturbing the House when it was discussing important issues concerning agriculture and farmers’ suicide.He wanted the centre to instruct Karnataka government to effectively utilise the assistance for the welfare of farmers who were in distress because of worst drought being witnessed by the state in the last 40 years.The former Karnataka Chief Minister accused the state government of indulging in blame game instead of doing something to help the farmers.

National Herald case: Sonia and Rahul asked to appear in Delhi court on 19 December

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National Herald Case: Why Congress needs to stop saving Sonia and Rahul Gandhi

The Congress needs to choose whether they are a real political party, or simply exist, to serve the whims and fancies of the Gandhi family.

File Photo

There’s a notion among many people that the Congress party has no inherent ideology. This particular school of thought contends that the Congress are neither secular nor left-leaning, and the only thing that binds them together are members of the Nehru-Gandhi family, no matter how incompetent they may be.This along, with a strong perception of corruption was the main reason for the party’s thumping defeat in the 2014 elections but it seems like the Congress still hasn’t learnt its lesson. Every statement the party-members make, along with those made by the Gandhi family members suggests deep arrogance, and a complete disconnect with the feelings of the masses.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The latest example is the National Herald case and the reaction that followed.Congress ImplodesThe Delhi High Court on Monday directed Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to appear before a lower court, which had issued a summons, in a case of acquisition of The National Herald. Congress leader and advocate Kapil Sibal said: “Who is Subramanian Swamy? He is the power of attorney holder of the BJP to persecute and prosecute the Congress party and a member of their central committee. He has been given the specific task of targeting us and this is their methodology used by the BJP, so he is his master’s voice. And the way the BJP has been targeting Congress leaders in the past year, shows they have no idea how to govern this country.”Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi was defiant as he spoke in Chennai and talked about a political vendetta: “Let them do what they want. They can do whatever they want to. I am not going to budge one inch. The same questions I am asking the Prime Minister (Modi) or the government, I am going to continue asking them.””Well I absolutely see a political vendetta. This is the way the Central government functions, the way they think,” said Rahul.The loudest reaction came from Sonia Gandhi, “I am the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi. I am not scared of anyone. I am not disturbed.”While her intention might have been to evoke the memories of one of India’s strongest Prime Ministers, what it did for most people was remind us of the nepotism that exists in the Congress. She might have meant to sound brave, but she ended up paraphrasing a popular Delhi quotes: “Tu janta nahi mera baap kaun hai (You don’t know who my dad is?).” No work in Parliament – again What was the worst thing about the entire incident was how it stopped both houses of parliament from functioning. The reaction was predictable beyond belief, suggesting that the Congress hasn’t learnt anything from its election defeats. Alleging ‘vendetta politics’, Congress members shouted slogans against the government even as the Chair of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha kept asking them to spell out the reason for their protestations.Speaker Sumitra Mahajan even asked: “I am ready to allow you to speak but I don’t know what your issue is. Someone tell me what is your issue.” She asked leader of Indian National Congress Mallikarjun Kharge to explain why there were agitating but he kept mum. All the Congress members would do is shout out loud: “Down with dictatorship… Vendetta politics won’t work.”BJP’s response Such was the Congress reaction that the BJP came out looking really good after the incident. BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi said: “Judiciary is an important body of the government. It works within its limits and according to the law whether it is CrPC, IPC or any other matter. Judiciary is not under the control of any politician or political party,” BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi told ANI.“I am not able to understand the statement made by Rahul Gandhi. I would just like to advise them (Congress Party) to go to the court and participate in the discussion, like we did in Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje’s cases. We are also ready to have discussion in the Parliament but the proceedings should not be disturbed,” she added.Maybe Swamy is right about the case, maybe he isn’t but the statements from the Gandhis and the Congress leaders seem to indicate they believe they’re above the law of the land. The actions of the members of the Congress only strengthens that belief, and the people of India, as they indicated in 2014, are no longer willing to put up that kind of arrogance. The Congress would do well to learn that as soon as possible.

National Herald case: I absolutely see a political vendetta, says Rahul Gandhi

“The Centre thinks it can stop me from asking questions about them by “vendetta” politics. That is not going to happen,” Rahul told the media in Puducherry.

Hitting out at the NDA government, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that he sees a political vendetta in the National Herald case.”I absolutely see a political vendetta. This is the way the Central government functions,” Rahul Gandhi said. “The Centre thinks it can stop me from asking questions about them by “vendetta” politics. That is not going to happen,” Rahul told the media in Puducherry.He also said that he will keep putting pressure on them (government) and will react to this when he will go to the Parliament on Wednesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rahul is presently visiting the rain-hit areas in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her son vice president Rahul Gandhi and others were on Tuesday directed to appear in person on December 19 by a Delhi court in the National Herald case.Senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Harin Raval and Ramesh Gupta appeared for the Gandhis and other accused and moved separate pleas seeking exemption from personal appearance for their clients for today only.The Delhi High Court had earlier rejected their pleas for quashing the summons against them and made scathing observations on their “questionable conduct” regarding how they took control of the publication.”We told the court that the accused are extremely keen, ready and willing to appear before magistrate at the earliest possible date. Earliest possible date was given on our request. On December 19, all accused barring one who’s in US will certainly be present at 3 pm,” Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.Meanwhile, hitting out at Congress for disrupting proceedings in Parliament, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the government had no role to play at all in the National Herald case in which Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul have been summoned to appear by the court.”They should contest it in court. How can you hold the government responsible. It is totally unfair and irresponsible to fix it on the government as they could not face the truth.They are now trying to blame the government,” he told reporters outside Parliament.Congress members, upset over the National Herald case, paralysed Parliament protesting against alleged “vendetta politics” leading to repeated adjournments in Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha.Justice Sunil Gaur had on Monday turned down their plea for exemption from personal appearance in the case in the trial court on Tuesday.Along with the Gandhis, five other accused–Suman Dubey, Moti Lal Vohra, Oscar Fernandez, Sam Pitroda and Young India Ltd–had challenged the summons issued to them by a trial court on a complaint by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy against them for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in taking control of the now-defunct daily.The court had said that the Congress leaders need to explain what was the need to assign the “huge debt of Rs 90 crores” when this loan could have been repaid by AJL from its “sizeable assets” of Rs 2000 crore.Meanwhile, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has filed a caveat in the Supreme Court to pre-empt any ex-parte order on appeals likely to be filed by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul.

Gandhis ordered to appear in court

Indian Congress party leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are ordered to appear in court for allegedly acquiring the assets of a newspaper illegally.

Proceedings in Parliament stalled due to Congress protest

Congress members in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha stormed into the Well no sooner had they met for the day, protesting over the “politics of revenge”.

Parliament proceedings stalled
File Photo

A vociferous Congress on Tuesday forced adjournment of both Houses of Parliament till 11.30 hours, a day party president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi were asked to appear before court in connection with the National Herald case.Congress members in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha stormed into the Well no sooner had they met for the day, protesting over the “politics of revenge”.The court on Tuesday allowed the exemption plea of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and others for the day. In Lok Sabha, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan asked Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge to explain what his party was protesting against. But Kharge did not respond to her as Sonia Gandhi, sitting next to him, gestured him apparently not to say anything.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After hearing Speaker’s call, TMC leader Sudeep Bandopadhyay also told Gandhi to respond to the Chair. She responded to him in gestures but could not be heard in the din. TMC members were also on their feet but the reason for their protest could not be known due to the din.Similar scenes were witnessed in Rajya Sabha where slogan shouting Congress members stormed the Well as soon as it met for the day. They raised slogans like “Tanashahi nahi chalegi” (dictatorship will not be tolerated)” and “Badle ke rajnathi nahi chalegi (politics of revenge).Deputy Chairman P J Kurien got listed papers of the day tabled amidst the din and asked Congress members to go back to their places and explain the reason for their protest. “Instead of shouting slogan, one of you stand up and say what is your grievance,” he said. “Let me also know… I am not able to understand anything.” Congress member however did not pay heed to his requests and continued shouting slogans.Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said their problem is the court not the government. Congress, he said, should respect the judicial process and work under the due process of law.”At least the Chair must know what is the grievance, what is the provocation,” Kurien said as he asked if the Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad would like to say anything. Azad however did not oblige. With Congress members unrelenting, both Houses were adjourned till 1130 hours.

Rahul and Sonia Gandhi v/s Subramanian Swamy: All you need to know about National Herald case

Hailing the order, BJP leader Nalin Kohli said, “This verdict shows that everybody is equal in eyes of the law. The trial court is looking at the matter and Congress cannot just dismiss as it does not suit them.”

File Photo

In a big blow to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and party VP Rahul Gandhi, the Delhi High Court on Monday turned down the plea to quash summons against them in the National Herald case. This means that along with the Gandhis, Suman Dubey, Moti Lal Vohra, Oscar Fernandez, Sam Pitroda and Young India Limited, will have to appear in the trial court on Tuesday. BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, a petitioner in the case said: “After listening the whole case, court has decided that petition of Rahul and Sonia should be quashed and they should appear in the trial court. If Rahul and Sonia goes to Supreme Court, I am prepared for that.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hailing the order, BJP leader Nalin Kohli said, “This verdict shows that everybody is equal in eyes of the law. The trial court is looking at the matter and Congress cannot just dismiss as it does not suit them.”What is the case about?Sonia and Rahul were summoned in the case in June 2014, after Swamy had filed a complaint accusing them of cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of now-defunct English daily National Herald. The paper was set up by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1938, and shut down briefly in the 1940s and 1970s, and ceased operations in 2008. Swamy claims that Sonia and Rahul floated Young Indian which bought Associated Journals Limited, publisher of National Herald and the company was shut down by Sonia. He claims that Congress funds were used to buy Associated Journals Limited and that the mother-son duo aimed to grab property worth Rs 2000-crore. The Gandhis are the directors of Young Indian and own 76% and the remaining shares are owned by Motilal Vohra, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda. Swamy has alleged that the Congress gave an unsecured loan of Rs 90 crore to the company. What the court saidMaking scathing observations on the “questionable conduct” regarding how they took control of the publication, Justice Sunil Gaur also turned down the plea of Gandhis and five others for exemption from personal appearance in the case in the trial court, where it is listed on Tuesday.Along with the Gandhis, five other accused–Suman Dubey, Moti Lal Vohra, Oscar Fernandez, Sam Pitroda and Young India Ltd–had challenged the summons issued to them by a trial court on a complaint by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy against them for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in taking control of the now-defunct daily.”After having considered the entire case in its proper perspective, this court finds no hesitation to put it on record that the modus operandi adopted by petitioners in taking control of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) via special purpose vehicle i.e. Young India Ltd (YIL), particularly, when the main persons in Congress Party, AJL and YIL are the same, evidences a criminal intent. “Whether it is cheating, criminal misappropriation or criminal breach of trust is not required to be spelt out at this nascent stage. In any case, by no stretch of imagination, it can be said that no case for summoning petitioners as accused in the complaint in question is made out. Questionable conduct of petitioners needs to be properly examined at the charge stage to find out the truth and so, these criminal proceedings cannot be thwarted at this initial stage,” the judge said in his 27-page order.The judge was also of the view that “the gravity of the allegations levelled against petitioners (Sonia, Rahul and others) has a fraudulent flavour involving a national political party and so, serious imputations smacking of criminality levelled against petitioners need to be properly looked into”.Referring to the complaint by Swamy, the court said that “the transactions of the Congress Party with AJL via YI are not mere commercial transactions as these transactions legitimately attract the allegations of cheating, fraud, breach of trust, misappropriation, etc.”On whether Swamy had the locus to make the complaint, the high court said “the plea of locus standi cannot be restricted to typical cases of cheating, misappropriation, etc., as here is a case where the act of office bearers of political party having criminal overtones is under scrutiny and so, the challenge to the locus of respondent-complainant to maintain the complaint in question is hereby repelled”.The objection to summoning of Pitroda and Fernandes on the ground that they reside outside territorial jurisdiction of the trial court was rejected by the high court by terming it as “hyper-technical”.It also termed as “questionable” the manner in which the shares of AJL were acquired by YIL.”Even writing off such a huge debt by the Congress Party can legitimately attract allegations of cheating, fraud, etc..”Such grave allegations levelled against petitioners cannot be brushed aside lightly by relying upon judicial precedents cited, to conclude that the ingredients of the criminal offences alleged are lacking. To say the least, to do so would be preposterous,” it saidSwamy Response BJP leader Subramanian Swamy filed a caveat in the Supreme Court to pre-empt any ex-parte order on appeals likely to be filed by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul in the National Herald case. “I have filed a caveat in the Supreme Court that in case they file any petition, it should not be heard and no order be passed without giving me an opportunity or without hearing me,” he said. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Monday filed a caveat before the Supreme Court (SC), urging the apex court not to pass any order without hearing him.“The high court has rejected both the stay and exemption. I expect, as they are law-abiding people, they don’t want to run away from the case after saying that there is no evidence, there is no basis and there is nothing. They should appear in the court and argue there. But, if they want to go to the Supreme Court, I have filed a caveat today, and the apex court, therefore, will not take any decision without hearing me also,” Swamy told reporters here in response to the Delhi High Court’s refusing to quash a lower court’s summons to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi and four others in the National Herald case.‘It took 15 months of arguments, and finally the judge comes to the conclusion that there is a prima facie case and the magistrate has applied her mind, and therefore, has directed them to return and appear before the magistrate,’ he said, adding that if the Congress leaders want to delay the matter they may appeal to the Supreme Court and seek a stay, and perhaps exemption from appearance.‘If they fail to appear before the court, it can issue warrants as well. The trial, I hope, will go on day-to-day basis and bring the matter to a conclusion in a short period of three-four months, as this is the most scandalous case we have seen in the Modern India,’ said Swamy.‘Sonia and Rahul Gandhi have set up a company with just Rs. 5-lakh capital, and by all kinds of conspiracy they were able to acquire the Associated Journals Limited, which is the company that was publishing National Herald, which has Rs. 5,000 crore worth of property ‘ all given by the government on concessional terms to publish newspapers. So, this kind of fraud has been exposed, and I am confident that in the trial they will be convicted and go to jail,’ he claimed.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.’Congress Response Earlier, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is also a renowned advocate: ‘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.’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 quashing of summons to them by a trial court.Case Timeline Following is the chronology in the National Herald case in which Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul’s pleas challenging summons issued to them by a trial court were today dismissed by the Delhi High Court.* Jan 2013: National Herald case filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy against Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, their companies and associated persons in a Delhi court.* Jun 26, 2014: Gandhis summoned as accused by a Delhi court in the criminal complaint for alleged cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of now-defunct daily National Herald.* Aug 1 : Delhi HC issues notice to Swamy on a batch of petitions filed by Gandhis and others in the case seeking stay on summons issued for August 7.* Aug 6 : HC stays proceedings against Gandhis and others in the case.* Dec 15 : HC extends stay till disposal of the appeals.* Jan 12, 2015: Judge recuses from hearing Sonia and Rahul’s plea.* Jan 27: Supreme Court asks Swamy to make out a case for speedy trial in HC since petition cannot be heard directly.* Dec 4: HC reserves order on pleas.* Dec 7: HC refuses to quash lower court’s summons to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in the case.With Agency Inputs

National Herald case: Subramanian Swamy files caveat in SC over appeals likely to be filed by Cong

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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.

Union Labour Minister rubbishes Rahul Gandhi’s charges, claims government committed to wage security

Responding to the Congress leader’s allegations, Dattatreya said during the last one-and-a-half years, the government has taken concrete steps and new intiatives to strengthen the position of workers.

Rahul Gandhi

A day after Rahul Gandhi alleged that there was deliberate attempt to weaken labour laws, Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya on Sunday said the government is committed to ensuring wage and social security for the workers across the country.”Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s allegations are false and we strongly condemn them. The government is fully committed to ensuring employment security and social security to every worker whether in organised or un-organsied sector,” Labour Minister Dattatreya told reporters here. Addressing the 31st Plenary Session of Congress’ trade union INTUC yesterday, Gandhi had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of making deliberate attempts to weaken labour- related laws which were creating dissatisfaction among the workers.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Responding to the Congress leader’s allegations, Dattatreya said during the last one-and-a-half years, the government has taken concrete steps and new initiatives to strengthen the position of workers. “After coming to power, the Narendra Modi government has not only announced a minimum pension of Rs 1000 per month for workers but has also implemented it in perpetuity,” he said. The minister said that the government is also looking at simplifying labour laws and replace 44 such central statutes with four labour codes.

Chennai floods: Rahul Gandhi may visit city on December 8

Torrential rains have left at least 245 people dead since October 1, according to Tamil Nadu government.

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi is likely to visit flood-affected parts of Chennai this week. Sources in the party said that Gandhi is likely to visit there on December 8. The flood-ravaged city was struggling to return to normalcy with partial restoration of telecommunication and train services, besides many roads also becoming fairly motorable even as water-logging woes continued in several areas.Torrential rains have left at least 245 people dead since October 1, according to Tamil Nadu government. The situation took a turn for the worse on Tuesday with large areas of the city flooded. The deluge destroyed crucial road and rail links, shutdown the airport, snapped power and telecom lines and left lakhs of people stranded. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

After Rahul Gandhi accuses PM Modi of weakening labour laws, BJP hits back

BJP leader Vijay Sonkar Shastri highlighted the controversy over Minister of State for External Affairs General (Retd.) V.K. Singh’s remark to taunt the Congress vice-president’s assertion.

Rahul Gandhi

Hours after Congress vice-president lambasted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the ‘pro-rich’ initiatives taken by his government, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday accused the grand old party of giving minimal amount of pension to the labourers and said that the issues put forward by the former are clear only to his party men.BJP leader Vijay Sonkar Shastri highlighted the controversy over Minister of State for External Affairs General (Retd.) V.K. Singh’s remark to taunt the Congress vice-president’s assertion.”Rahul Gandhi says General (Retd.) V.K. Singh has violated the Constitution. He should also specify as to which section has he violated”, Shastri said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Under their (UPA) rule, the Congress Party had not given a provident fund of Rs. 27,000 crores to the labourers. They used to give them (the labourers) minimal amount of pension. Our government has increased that to Rs. 1000. Only the people in his party know what he says and what he asks, the people of this country don’t even understand the issues raised by him,” he added.Launching a blistering attack on Prime Minister Modi, Rahul Gandhi had earlier in the day alleged that the initiatives launched by the BJP-led NDA Government were not benefitting the labour class and was instead trampling their rights. “Prime Minister Modi thinks that the India labourer is corrupt and can work in fear. He thinks he can break and discipline them. The labourers are scared and are living in fear. Modiji, try and secure their children’s future and then watch how far they take India,” Rahul said while addressing the 31st plenary session of Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC).

Modi govt deliberately weakening labour laws, alleges Rahul Gandhi

He said that is why the labour laws were being diluted, so that the workers come to his knees.

Rahul Gandhi

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of making deliberate attempts to weaken labour-related laws which was creating dissatisfaction among the workers.Alleging that Modi has launched a “big assault” on the workers, a combative Gandhi vowed to fight their battle like the Congress did for the farmers on the land acquisition bill.”Like we fought for the rights of farmers, we will fight for the cause of the workers and stand with them and would not retreat an inch. We will fight BJP, Modi and RSS,” he said amid applause at the 31st Plenary Session of INTUC, the trade union wing of the Congress. Gandhi said although he agreed with the Prime Minister’s idea of turning India into a global manufacturing centre to make it more competitive than China, the unanimity ends there.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This, he claimed, was because the Prime Minister considers Indian worker as “dishonest, shirker and one who could be made to work only by wielding the stick”. He said that is why the labour laws were being diluted, so that the workers come to his knees. “If you look at the new laws being made in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana, you will see that Modi has started a big assault on workers,” he said.He claimed the Prime Minister feels that there was need to weaken the labour laws and “discipline” the workers so that they could be forced to work. Modi feels that with ‘hire and fire’ policy and weakening of unions, the workers will be made to work, Gandhi claimed.”I do not agree that our worker is either shirker or indisciplined… Our worker is scared. He is scared of his future, the future of his children. The worker is scared whether the job he has today will be there tomorrow. Will the factory gate open for him tomorrow,” the Congress leader said.Insisting that the government should become “judge” between the labourers and the industry and “not advocate” of industry, he told the Prime Minister that if he is able to remove fear from the mind of the workers then India would be able to surpass China in no time.Addressing the gathering, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the “dissatisfaction” of workers with the “anti-labour and unimaginative” economic policies of the NDA government was obvious from the one day general strike observed in the country on September 2.Gandhi’s attack on the Modi dispensation came after INTUC chief G Sanjeeva Reddy accused the government of launching an assault on interests of the labourers in various ways. Reddy alleged that the government was not recognising INTUC as the largest trade union organisation in the country with 3.31 crore members despite “submission of all documents for verification”. Gandhi said Modi had attempted to acquire lands of farmers by promulgating the land ordinance thrice but Congress MPs resisted and ensured that it was not done. He alleged that now the Prime Minister’s attempt is to break the safety net for workers which was built over decades by the Congress when it was in power.Claiming that whosoever was advising the Prime Minister on labour matters was “wrongly advising” him, Gandhi said the workers would take India to greater heights if their “pain” is removed. Taking a dig at the Prime Minister, the Congress vice-president said “these are days of Twitter and selfies” and Modi has a penchant for using new words and phrases.He assured the INTUC leadership that he would accommodate their representatives in Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and state assemblies as also in the ministries so that the issues of labour get their due attention. Former Prime Minister Singh said that in the name of structural labour reforms, attempts are being made to reduce the scope for secure industrial jobs in favour of contract labour and ‘hire and fire’ approach.”It is generally agreed that we need at least 500 million skilled workers by 2022. The actual pace on the ground is only a fraction of this target,” he said. At the same time, he said that industrial strife, strikes and lockouts are “not the best means” to resolve unrest. “We must enlarge the available space for resolving industrial problems through peaceful dialogue involving all the stake holders of the tripartite process namely workers, industry and government.”He said the trade union movement has to be made aware that at present Indian economy faces a fragile recovery and inadequate expansion of employment opportunities and public enterprises face an uncertain future.

Congress rejects Akhilesh Yadav’s alliance suggestion

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had suggested that an alliance with Congress is possible in an arrangement where Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav is the Prime Minister and Rahul Gandhi his Deputy.

Akhilesh Yadav

Congress on Friday debunked suggestions from the Samajwadi Party projecting Mulayam Singh Yadav as the Prime Minister and Rahul Gandhi as his Deputy after the next polls, saying no alliance is being planned with that party.”As of now, Indian National Congress has no intention of tying up or having any understandaing with the Samajwadi party so the subsequent question does not arise,” party spokesperson Sushmita Dev told reporters. She was asked about Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s suggestion that an alliance with Congress is possible in an arrangement where Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav is the Prime Minister and Rahul Gandhi his Deputy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Akhilesh made the comments in the course of a conversation at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here in the presence of the Congress vice president. However, Rahul refused to comment when asked about it. The UP Chief Minister was replying to a question on whether he was ready to extend his “good” personal relationship with Gandhi to a political level with the Congress.

BJP demands resignation of Kerala CM Oommen Chandy

The party also sought a time-bound CBI probe into the matter and expressed its surprise over the “silence” of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi, calling their conduct “shameful”.

Oommen Chandy

BJP on Friday accused Congress of “quietly approving” the corruption of its leaders even as it demanded the resignation of Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy over the allegation of a solar scam accused that he had paid him a bribe of Rs 5.5 crore.The party also sought a time-bound CBI probe into the matter and expressed its surprise over the “silence” of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi, calling their conduct “shameful”. “BJP’s stand on corruption is of zero tolerance while Congress not only encourages corruption but also protects the corrupt… After the recent revelation, Chandy has lost moral right to remain chief minister. He should immidiately resign,” BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma said in a statement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Citing the “silence” of Congress top brass over the corruption cases against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, he alleged, “It seems the top Congress brass is giving its quiet approval to Singh’s corruption and black money.” He said the silence was raising many questions and wondered if top Congress leaders had a share in the “scams” of Chandy, Singh and other leaders who, he alleged, also included Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat and former Union minister Preneet Kaur.”People want to know what is your compulsion that you cannot act against your three chief ministers facing corruption charges,” he said. Dismissing as baseless the allegation against him by solar scam accused Biju Radhakrishnan, Chandy had told the state Assembly on December 3 that he had no right to continue in public life or hold any post if there was even one per cent truth in the charges.

Intolerance debate: Dissenting Hindus branded traitors; Muslims told to go to Pakistan, says Congress

Congress leader PL Punia said the government on one hand spoke about upholding freedom of speech and on the other they took down the people who opposed their ideologies.

Congress symbol

Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government of ‘curbing freedom of speech and expression’ in the country, the Congress on Wednesday lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for attacking those who did not agree or were not in tandem with the Centre.”Freedom of expression is the greatest power in a democracy. But these days if a Hindu speaks out against the government then they are branded as a traitor and if it’s a Muslim then he is told to go to Pakistan. So does one’s love for the nation stem from their feelings towards Modi ji and the BJP?” Congress leader Pramod Tiwari told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Backing Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi”s statement attacking the Prime Minister for intolerance, Tiwari said that democracy was at threat if one”s patriotism towards the nation was measured on their feelings towards the government.Related Read: Intolerance was displayed during Partition, Emergency and 84 riots: Rajnath Singh in LSEchoing similar sentiments, Congress leader PL Punia said the government on one hand spoke about upholding freedom of speech and on the other they took down the people who opposed their ideologies.”The major difference between India and Pakistan is that they don’t enjoy the freedom that we have as they have been seeing more of a dictatorship,” Punia told ANI.Speaking in the Lok Sabha during the discussion on intolerance in the country on Wednesday, Rahul had said that India has been successful because the people have had the freedom and space to talk and urged the government to listen to the voice of the people.Related Read: Intolerance debate: Rahul Gandhi tells PM Modi not to learn wrong lessons from Pakistan

No one needs to prove his patriotism, says PM Modi in Rajya Sabha

Replying to a debate in Rajya Sabha on the Constitution, Modi underlined the ‘mantra of ekta’, saying there can be “many excuses for disintegration” in a diverse country like India but ways should be explored to keep the country united.
File Photo
AFP photo
Amid the ‘intolerance’ debate, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said any incident of “atrocity” is a “blot” on the society as well as the nation whose “pain” should be felt by all and asserted that unity and harmony is the only way to take the country forward. He said no questions can be raised over patriotism of any of the 125 crore Indians and nobody needs to produce a “certificate of patriotism”, a statement that assumes significance as some people have make controversial remarks like asking dissenting people to ‘go to Pakistan’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Replying to a debate in Rajya Sabha on the Constitution, Modi underlined the ‘mantra of ekta’, saying there can be “many excuses for disintegration” in a diverse country like India but ways should be explored to keep the country united.He said, “If we have a guiding light today, then that is our constitution. The main reason behind celebrating our Constitution was to make our young people aware of our great leaders of the past. The country cannot forget Baba Saheb Ambedkar’s contributions to the nation. I am sure during meetings, there would have been pressure from all corners, different views, but still we got a perfect constitution.””Our constitution is a social document, it is not about only laws. Baba Saheb Ambedkar used to say that industrialization is very important for India,” he further added. PM Modi finally said, “No one needs to prove his patriotism, neither is there any reason to do so.”Also read: PM remains silent when rationalists get killed, Rahul Gandhi’s salvo at ModiAdopting a conciliatory approach towards the opposition at a time when some crucial bills are stuck in the House, he pitched for bipartisan approach to all issues and decried attempts to introduce partisanship or politics in any issue concerning the nation.In his 40-minute reply to the debate during which the government came under attack over ‘intolerance’, Modi said, “if there is any incident of atrocity against anybody, it is a blot on all of us, for the society as well as the nation. We should feel the pain and take this to ensure such things do not happen.”Though he did not specify any such incident, the statement may be seen a reference to the Dadri case where a Muslim man was lynched over beef-eating rumours.

Supreme Court dismisses PIL on probe into Rahul Gandhi’s citizenship

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today dismissed a plea seeking a direction to CBI to register a case against Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi for allegedly declaring himself as a British national before company law authorities there.

Rahul Gandhi. AFPRahul Gandhi. AFP

Rahul Gandhi. AFP

Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy dismissed the PIL filed by lawyer M L Sharma, saying PILs cannot be centered around individuals. The bench questioned the “authenticity of the document” attached with the PIL and the manner in which the papers were procured. “Can we start making roving inquiries,” the bench asked while turning the petition as “frivolous”.

The court also questioned the petitioner about the authenticity of the documents he had placed before the court.

Earlier the apex court had refused urgent hearing on a plea filed by lawyer M L Sharma.

Recently, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has alleged that the Congress Vice President has claimed himself to be a British national before the authorities in connection with incorporation of a firm.

PTI

SC rubbishes plea for probe into Rahul Gandhi’s citizenship

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today dismissed a plea seeking a direction to CBI to register a case against Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi for allegedly declaring himself as a British national before company law authorities there.

Rahul Gandhi. AFPRahul Gandhi. AFP

Rahul Gandhi. AFP

Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy dismissed the PIL filed by lawyer M L Sharma, saying PILs cannot be centered around individuals. The bench questioned the “authenticity of the document” attached with the PIL and the manner in which the papers were procured. “Can we start making roving inquiries,” the bench asked while turning the petition as “frivolous”.

The court also questioned the petitioner about the authenticity of the documents he had placed before the court.

Earlier the apex court had refused urgent hearing on a plea filed by lawyer M L Sharma.

Recently, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has alleged that the Congress Vice President has claimed himself to be a British national before the authorities in connection with incorporation of a firm.

PTI

By inviting Sonia, Manmohan for chai pe charcha Modi shows he is defiant in defeat and gracious in victory

This is an old story with an eternal moral.

When Alexander defeated and captured Indian king Porus in the battle of Hydaspes, Roman historian Arrian writes, the invader asked: “What do you wish that I should do with you?”

“Treat me as a king ought,’ Porus is said to have replied.

“For my part, your request shall be granted. But is there not something you would wish for yourself?” the Macedonian invader asked.”

“Everything is contained in this one request,” Porus replied.

By inviting Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh for chai pe charcha and sending out conciliatory messages during his speech in Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has shown, his willingness to try out the political philosophy of being defiant in defeat and gracious in victory.

Though some of his rivals and critics will mock him for smoking the peace pipe with rivals he had promised to smoke out, the only person who stands to gain from the gesture is the PM himself.

Modi and Sonia/ Image courtesy: AgenciesModi and Sonia/ Image courtesy: Agencies

Modi and Sonia/ Image courtesy: Agencies

Modi’s idea of stooping to conquer is based in political pragmatism. Clearly, his strategy of continued confrontation with the opposition, the background-chorus inspired insistence on Congress-mukt Bharat, isn’t working. Major reforms have failed to take off and important bills are stuck. In the toxic environment of distrust and animus, many issues that could have been resolved through dialogue–non-existent at the moment–escalate into Mexican stand-offs.

In this we-oppose-everything environment, avowed political positions have been ridiculously reversed. We have had the comical charade of the Congress opposing the very laws it had proposed in power just because they are now being promoted by Modi. This cutting off of nose to spite the face had to stop.

There is, of course, a legion of war-mongers, hate-propagators who would want Modi to maintain the pre-election suffocating heat of confrontation in the country. Madhu Kishwar, an erstwhile Modi admire turned critic, laments that the BJP is being discarded in elections because it has failed to go after its rivals and critics. She goes on to cite the Modi government’s failure to act against Rahul, Sonia Gandhi and Robert Vadra for the devastating defeat in Bihar.

Fortunately, Modi isn’t listening to such political sophistry that ignores many crucial facts: One, our legal framework is not subservient to a government’s desire for retribution and law takes its own course. Two, targeting individuals instead of the system ultimately backfires–remember Indira Gandhi, Jayalalitha and Lalu Prasad Yadav? And three, vendetta can never be a substitute for good governance, economic development and social calm and cohesion.

Smart politicians, unlike Quixotic tyros destined to fail, don’t keep flailing their swords at windmills even when the war is over. They know the art of brinkmanship; they realise rajneeti allows them to pick and choose between saam (diplomacy, daam (allurement), danda (punishment) and bhed (spying and taking advantage of secrets) according to their goals and objectives.

Has Modi changed stripes? MK Venu wonders in The Wire“There is little doubt that this is a major tactical retreat on the part of the PM who is staring at a severe loss of credibility after the Bihar electoral defeat. More than the result of the Bihar elections, Modi must be deeply worried about his image globally as the man who promised to bring big changes in India’s political economy, but could not rise to the job,” he argues.

Whatever be the compulsion, Modi is right in trying rajneeti instead of the danda-neeti that has failed to yield the desired results. When he underlined the importance of consensus against majoritarianism, allayed fears of any plan to tinker with the Constitution and praised the contribution of his current rivals and predecessors, Modi signalled his desire for sabka saath for sabka vikaas.

The ball is in the Congress court now. It can now reciprocate Modi’s magnanimity with the promise of constructive cooperation, a strategy that would create a positive impression and help it regain some of the respect it has lost among voters. Modi has given the Congress an opportunity to act responsibly and salvage its image by reiterating its commitment to some of its own initiatives: GST, disinvestment and administrative reforms.

Alternately, it can continue its policy of you-didn’t-cooperate-then-so-we-won’t-now in Parliament and  project the image of an obstructionist, self-centred and vindictive party.

Writing in the Indian Express, Sheela Bhatt argues that for the common man watching the unprecedented scenes unfold on TV, this was the takeaway image: The leader of a majority government with over 40 months to go in power, and whose party currently has 280 seats in a 543-member Lok Sabha, requesting the cooperation of the president of a party with only 44 seats in the same House.

The Congress would do well to not misread Modi’s gesture as a victory for the party and gloat over it. If Rahul Gandhi, who is fond of rubbing it in with grandiose ‘we forced them to do it’ statements, continues with his chest-thumping, he would make the classical mistake of misconstruing the victory of democracy as a Congress triumph and perpetuating an atmosphere on hostility, whose denouement could be devastating for everybody.

If he spurns the gesture, Rahul will only vindicate those who use the P epithet to deride his politics and persona as puerile. But if he holds Modi’s extended hand, Rahul could be taking his first steps on the road to political maturity.

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