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Indian Muslims don’t let their children get radicalised by ISIS: Rajnath Singh

“As Home Minister, I want to tell you that Indian Muslims are the ones who don’t let their children get influenced or radicalised by ISIS,” he added.

ANI

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<!– /#sidebar-second –>Ram Madhav’s ‘Akhand Bharat’ remark personal, govt’s position needs no clarification: BJP<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Congress says ‘odd-even’ scheme a Muhammad Tuglaq-like act from Kejriwal

“Odd and Even ways !! Creating parallel lists of exemption, is complete hypocrisy. If a law is implemented in the interest of the people, we all must adhere, and not be VIPs,” he said in his Facebook post.
Reacting to it, AAP said he is the “biggest hypocrite” and advised him to contribute and not comment on the initiative.

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Also ReadIndiaIndian Muslims don’t let their children get radicalised by ISIS: Rajnath SinghIndiaLok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan pitches for new Parliament buildingIndiaCongress says ‘odd-even’ scheme a Muhammad Tuglaq-like act from KejriwalIndiaIndia, Pakistan and Bangladesh can become a ‘federation’: Ram Vilas PaswanIndiaFormulate common population policy, redefine minority: Union Minister Giriraj SinghIndiaRemove Modi to save India, remove Mamata to save West Bengal: Sitaram Yechury <!– /.block –>

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India, Pakistan and Bangladesh can become a ‘federation’: Ram Vilas Paswan

Paswan rejected suggestions from opposition parties that ‘Ache Din’ is yet to come for ‘aam aadmi’ even after one-and-half year tenure of the Modi Government, as he listed various initiatives of the Centre, including Jan Dhan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bhima Yojana and Mudra Bank.

PTI
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Also ReadIndiaIndian Muslims don’t let their children get radicalised by ISIS: Rajnath SinghIndiaLok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan pitches for new Parliament buildingIndiaCongress says ‘odd-even’ scheme a Muhammad Tuglaq-like act from KejriwalIndiaIndia, Pakistan and Bangladesh can become a ‘federation’: Ram Vilas PaswanIndiaFormulate common population policy, redefine minority: Union Minister Giriraj SinghIndiaRemove Modi to save India, remove Mamata to save West Bengal: Sitaram Yechury <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan pitches for new Parliament building<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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From National Herald to Bihar elections, a year in contrast for Congress in 2015

Rajasthan, where like Gujarat Congress had drawn a blank in the Lok Sabha polls, saw sizeable vote for the party in the local body polls. As the year came to a close, the party won Lohardaga Assembly seat in BJP-ruled Jharkhand.

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Also ReadIndiaIndian Muslims don’t let their children get radicalised by ISIS: Rajnath SinghIndiaLok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan pitches for new Parliament buildingIndiaCongress says ‘odd-even’ scheme a Muhammad Tuglaq-like act from KejriwalIndiaIndia, Pakistan and Bangladesh can become a ‘federation’: Ram Vilas PaswanIndiaFormulate common population policy, redefine minority: Union Minister Giriraj SinghIndiaRemove Modi to save India, remove Mamata to save West Bengal: Sitaram Yechury <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Quentin Tarantino will ‘probably make only ten films'<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Bihar-like alliance for UP poll on the anvil

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Nitish and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) president Ajit Singh are reported to have already joined hands after preliminary discussions in this regard in Delhi on Monday. Sources say that the Congress would also readily be part of this alliance, though the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in UP could be kept out of this anti-BJP alignment.

Buoyed by the landslide victory of the anti-BJP ‘maha gathbandhan’ (grand alliance) in the Bihar Assembly election, Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar has already started sewing up a similar coalition in Uttar Pradesh in preparation for the 2017 UP Assembly election.Nitish and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) president Ajit Singh are reported to have already joined hands after preliminary discussions in this regard in Delhi on Monday. Sources say that the Congress would also readily be part of this alliance, though the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in UP could be kept out of this anti-BJP alignment.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Yes Nitish ji and Chaudhry sahib (Ajit Singh) have met. We have been together in the (erstwhile) Janata Dal and have no reservations about forging an alliance for UP,” JD (U) general secretary KC Tyagi told India 24×7 TV channel of Zee Media in Delhi on Wednesday while fielding questions about the prospective alliance.Sources said Tyagi had already been entrusted the task of organizing a joint rally of the RLD and JD (U) in west UP after the Parliament session ends. Nitish is expected to announce the formation of the ‘maha gathbandhan’ at this rally. “The assent of the Congress would be obtained in the meantime,” a senior RLD leader told dna.UP RLD chief Suresh Niranjan told reporters in Allahabad that his party was indeed exploring a tie-up with the JD (U) and the Congress. “We want to repeat the success of the Bihar experiment in UP, too,” he said.The RLD and Congress had contested the 2012 UP Assembly election in alliance. But, the alignment did not continue in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. However, political watchers feel that after the BJP sweeping the parliamentary poll, it would be a matter of political expediency for parties like the JD (U) and RLD to align with the Congress to put up a joint front against the saffron brigade.One queer development in this entire scheme of things is the underlying resistance to including the SP in the proposed grand alliance. The reason for this is obviously the manner in which the SP deserted the ‘maha gathbandhan’ in Bihar, allegedly to help the BJP.For its part, the SP says it doesn’t need any alliance for a repeat victory in UP. “Our party is preparing to contest the election alone and we are confident that we will return with an even bigger victory this time,” SP MP and Mulayam’s nephew Dharmendra Yadav told reporters.The Congress is also being cautious for the time being. “As of now, we are preparing to contest the UP election alone. But let Nitish ji come up with his proposal. The Congress leadership will consider it and take a decision,” said Congress Rajya Sabha MP Pramod Tiwari.

Hamid Ansari pulls up Rajya Sabha members, tells them to behave

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According to parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu, the real problem was the main opposition party, which was not reconciled with reality that they had been defeated.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad speaks in the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi on Wednesday

PTI
Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari declared the winter session sine die on Wednesday but not before pulling up members for their behaviour that caused vital loss of productive time.Making scathing observations, Ansari said, “Vehemence in language or behaviour resulting in obstruction of proceedings, apart from interruption and neglect of listed agenda, also results in violation of the privileges of individual members themselves. It reflects adversely on the parliamentary process and our commitment to it.”Showing mirror to the members, the chairman said, “Three weeks ago, on December 1, the Rajya Sabha solemnly committed itself to the principles and ideals of the Constitution…A functioning legislature is an essential concomitant of these principles; disruptions amount to their negation. The record of this session belies this commitment in good measure.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Exhorting members that there is an “imperative need to dispel this impression” Ansari appealed to them “to introspect on this state of affairs, desist from approaches and practices that demean the stature of the Rajya Sabha, and urged them to make the fullest possible use of the instrumentalities of accountability and discussion available to them under the Rules of Procedure.”Providing a sort of solace, Ansari, however, added that though the last week seemed singularly unproductive in terms of legislative work, the 237th session comes to an end this afternoon after having redeemed itself somewhat in the past three days.”Compared to Rajya Sabha whose productive quotient was just 46%, Lok Sabha did rather a commendable job by registering 100.46% productivity. Not only di it pass 14 bills after thorough debates, it also saw introduction of nine bills. Though Rajya Sabha passed nine bills, almost all barring one were without discussion.According to parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu, the real problem was the main opposition party, which was not reconciled with reality that they had been defeated.”It is unfortunate Congress and Left manufacture excuses to disrupt Rajya Sabha. Congress has to take the blame and they are cheating people,” said Naidu.Congress, however, put the blame on the BJP government for an intransigent government that demonstrated that there were no limits in furtherance of its agenda of political vendetta and confrontation.Congress said, “Prime Minister has authoritarian style of functioning as been revealed in the last 19 months both in governance and in dealing with the parliamentary business. The centralisation of decision making, policies and all key appointments has adversely affected both the functioning and effectiveness of the government.”It blamed the Prime Minister for ‘enacting a scripted drama’ of ‘reaffirming’ his faith in the Constitution of India and the ideals of Dr BR Ambedkar and at the same indulged ‘in the murder of democracy, federalism and the Constitution’ in Arunachal Pradesh where the high office of the Governor was used to try and dismiss a democratically elected Congress state government.

Parliament passes bill to amend Atomic Energy Act

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

Parliament

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

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

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

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

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.

‘Achhe din’ only for Modi, not aam aadmi: Rahul Gandhi in Amethi

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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 Gandhi
File Photo

Intensifying his attack on the Modi government over price rise, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on said ‘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 his Amethi Lok Sabha constituency. 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.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”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”. 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.Later, 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 here.” 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. “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. The Congress leader 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.He also enquired about progress of MNREGA scheme, another 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.

Juvenile Justice Bill: Ramdas Athawale claims those with sexual urges should be forcibly married

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“Those who have sexual urges… they should be taught a lesson. They should get married. And if they have sex, then it should be consensual.”

File Photo

On Tuesday, veteran lawmaker Ramdas Athawale, the president of the Republic Party of India made some bizarre remarks before passing the Juvenile Justice Act in parliament. He was quoted saying by NDTV, “Those who have sexual urges… they should be taught a lesson. They should get married. And if they have sex, then it should be consensual.”He also used an expletive that was expunged from the remarks. He also claimed that during the times of Shivaji, no one would commit such crimes as their hands and legs were broken and the law should allow a modern democracy like India to do the same. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi thanked the opposition for passing the much-expected Juvenile Justice Bill under which juveniles aged 16 years and above will now be tried under laws for adults for heinous crimes.”This is a Bill that everyone feels strongly about and I am happy that everyone supported it,” Gandhi said as she stepped out of Parliament. Congress leader Renuka Chaudhary said her party was the architect of the Bill in many ways and just wanted an intense debate on various aspects of the Bill. CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said the walkout by the Left parties was not in protest of the Bill, but because they wanted the Bill to go to a Select Committee so that all aspects are looked into. “If tomorrow you catch hold of a young ISIS terrorist, you will say bring down the age by another two years. The question is not about the age but the kind of crime that has been committed,” he said. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, which provides for lowering the age for trial from 18 years, was passed by Rajya Sabha with a voice vote after a walkout by Left parties which wanted it to be sent to a Select Committee. The bill was passed by Lok Sabha earlier.

Let Jaitley emulate LK Advani on resignation: Congress

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Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad reminded that when Advani’s name cropped in Jain Hawala case, he stepped down from public posts and even contest 1998 election, till the Supreme Court absolved him.

Prime Minister Modi, senior leaders LK Advani, Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu at the BJP parliamentary party meeting
B B Yadav
dna
The Congress and the CPI(M) on Tuesday jumped over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment that finance minister Arun Jaitley will come out of the DDCA (Delhi District Cricket Association) corruption charges with “flying colours” in the same manner as Lal Krishna Advani did in the Hawala case.Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad reminded that when Advani’s name cropped in Jain Hawala case, he stepped down from public posts and even contest 1998 election, till the Supreme Court absolved him. Azad and Congress’s deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma said the Congress had not “manufactured” any allegation against Jaitley but it came from his own BJP colleague cricket-turned MP Kirti Azad first in a Press conference on Sunday and then in the Lok Sabha on Monday. If Kirti Azad was levelling false charges, why no minister nor any BJP MP rose to contradict him in the House, they asked pointing out how seven ministers led by Venkaiah Naidu were on their feet when a Congress member referred to the charges in the Lok Sabha.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Referring to Kirti’s claim in the House that the Modi government has already ordered a CBI probe in October into the DDCA functioning from 2008 and 2013 and everybody knows who was its president during those years, the Congress leaders asked the Prime Minister to make public all details instead of carrying on a hush-hush inquiry to help Jaitley.Showing flexibility from its earlier demand of instituting a joint parliamentary committee (JPC), Congress on Tuesday switched to demanding an impartial time-bound court-monitored probe. The leaders said Jaitley should step down during the inquiry for the sake of own dignity and honour and generate a public confidence into such an investigation. They said a lot has come into public domain against him since the CBI raid on Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s office to look for report of a probe ordered by him into the DDCA.Azad and Sharma said the inquiry cannot be free and fair if Jaitley continues as the finance minister, particularly when the Enforcement Directorate and Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) that will be involved in the probe come under his ministry. Surjewala challenged Jaitley to make public the SFIO report in which he claims to have got a clean chit, pointing out that it probes the corporate bodies and no any individuals and that it did indict the corporates involved in the DDCA corruption.The Congress leaders also claimed that Jaitley had the inkling of all wrongs in DDCA from the beginning as he had opposed, as then leader of Opposition, the then UPA government’s move to bring the sports bodies into the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Surjewala said it were the Congress that wanted to bring all sports bodies under RTI in 2011 when Ajay Maken was the sports minister but it gave up because of no consensus reached. “We did not have the majority in the Rajya Sabha to push for it when then leader of Opposition opposed.”

Juvenile Justice Bill: As parents watch, Nirbhaya gives India what she didn’t get

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We are satisfied … but there is grief that our daughter Jyoti was denied justice, says victim’s mother after RS passes Juvenile Justice Bill

Rajya Sabha members on Tuesday bowed to an emotionally surcharged public pressure, debated for more than four hours, went against a UN convention, rejected amendments and opposition and passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill. In fact, with the 2012 Dehi gang-rape victim Jyoti Singh’s parents watching the proceedings from the gallery, two members even withdrew their motion for sending the Bill to a select committee first. “This is a nuanced Bill….It does not mean that a 16-year-old goes to jail at all,” said Maneka Gandhi, Union minister for women and child development.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> What it prescribes is that if a child, between 16 and 18 years of age, commits a heinous crime, he will be sent to a Juvenile Justice Board. “The board, with the help of psychologists and experts, will decide whether the crime was committed with an adult’s mind or a child’s mind,” she explained. Several Opposition members wanted the Bill to be sent to the select committee first to crease out several anomalies, but withdrew their amendments for a smooth passage of the Bill. Even the Congress did not support the amendments moved by its own member Prof. M V Rajeev Gowda. The Left parties walked out in protest declaring that though they are in favour of the passage of the Bill, it should be referred to the select committee first as it deals with a very sensitive issue that should not be drowned in emotions because of public pressure. Many members also criticised the lowering of age as it went against the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It mandates that all children under the age of 18 years be treated equal. India is a signatory to this convention. The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in May after including 11 out of the 13 recommendations by the parliamentary standing committee. It now needs the final assent of the President to become an Act. Incidentally, it was Maneka Gandhi who, as a minister in 2000, had increased the age of juvenile culpability from 16 years to 18 years. What is the incident?In December 2012, 23-year-old Jyoti Singh was beaten and gang-raped in a private bus by six persons in New Delhi, of which one was a juvenile, a few months short of 18 years. The juvenile walked free after serving the maximum sentence of three years’ confinement in a reform facility. One accused died in police custody, and the other four are on death row. The incident and the law on juvenile justice sparked a public outrage across the

Jaitley row: Opposition latches on to Advani parallel

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Arun Jaitley

Reuters
Opposition on Tuesday claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has signalled to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to quit in the wake of DDCA row by drawing a parallel with LK Advani in the Hawala case, a suggestion BJP rejected outright.”Today I heard Prime Minister saying that Jaitley will come out of this like L K Advani in the Jain Hawala case. I will remind Jaitley that Advani had then resigned and had not come back till he got clean chit from the Supreme Court”, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters. “So the Prime Minister seems to be telling Jaitley that he should not continue as Finance Minister till he gets cleared”, he said addressing a joint press conference with party leaders Anand Sharma and Randeep Surjewala.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Striking a similar note, CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said by drawing a parallel with Advani, the Prime Minister is giving a hint to Arun Jaitley that he should resign, get himself cleared and come back.”I read it as a signal to Jaitley that you also do the same thing”, he said talking separately to reporters. In a strong show of support for Jaitley, Modi today said at BJP parliamentary party meet that he will come through “with flying colours” against charges of corruption levelled against him by the opposition in a same way Advani did in the Hawala case.Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh also tweeted, “Modi: ‘I am sure Arun Jaitley would come out clean as Advaniji did in Hawala case’. But would Jaitley resign as Advaniji did ? No question!”The BJP was quick to dismiss such claims. “There is no parallel between charges against Advani and Jaitley. CBI had registered a case, launched a criminal investigation and Advani quit as an MP on moral grounds. There is no criminal probe against Jaitley. These are allegations levelled by opposition which are unsupported by evidence.”In fact, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office probe was carried out into these allegations when Congress was in power. It stated that there was no fraud or cheating. Due to political rivalry, Congress is ignoring its government’s inquiry. It has no moral right to level such a charge,” BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma said. BJP leaders noted that the SFIO probe was launched on the complaint of party MP Kirti Azad, who has again targeted Jaitley over the issue after AAP and Congress raked it up. First Congress disrupted Parliament over a case in which its leaders are accused of “grabbing” Rs 5000 cr assets by investing only Rs 50 lakh and now they have resorted to levelling false charges against Jaitley to do it, Sharma said.The AICC briefing saw the Congress leaders utilising to the hilt Kirti Azad’s assertions in the Lok Sabha on the issue yesterday, contending that none of the Ministers of party MPs present contested his charges. “It means all of them were agreeing to what Kirti Azad was saying”, the Leader of the Opposition said adding that the BJP member had also spoken of a CBI inquiry having been ordered into the DDCA. He sought to know from the government whether if such an inquiry has been ordered as Kirti Azad had said, at what stage it is now.The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha also suggested that Jaitley’s opposition to the earlier UPA government’s plans to bring sports bodies under the RTI appeared to be linked to the DDCA affairs.He said that whether it is the Lalit Modi controversy or some other scandals, the sports bodies are there.Surjewala said that the Congress was ready to provide full cooperation to the government in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha if the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister bring a bill to bring sports bodies under RTI to address the issue of transparency. Seeking to drive home its demand for Jaitley’s resignation, Azad also noted that the Supreme Court in a judgement in January 2011 had held that office bearers of cricket associations are also public servants and all within the prevention of corruption act.

Failure of government’s policies fuelling price rise: Opposition in Lok Sabha

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Government on Tuesday came under attack from the opposition on the issue of price rise with members alleging failure of its macro-economic policies in controlling the spiralling prices particularly of pulses.Citing examples of onion, pulses and tomatoes, TMC MP Saugata Roy said although the government says that inflation has come down, but the prices of essential commodities have continued to rise.He said the government has not been able to pass on the benefit of declining global fuel prices to the consumer. “There is a problem with macro-management. Fuel prices have gone down, but rather than passing on the benefit to people, the Finance Minister sees fuel as a milch cow,” Roy said during a debate on price rise in the Lok Sabha.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On pulses, he said the government should ensure timely import of the commodity in order to keep the prices under control. “I think one major step would be import on time and that too from countries which are closer to ours, like Myanmar,” he said, adding that pulses prices are already very high and was expected to be the steepest this year. Roy asked the government to elaborate the steps taken to boost the production of pulses and edible oil in order to contain their prices in the domestic market, saying there was no proper mechanism for procurement of pulses in the country.Demanding implementation of recommendation of the M S Swaminathan committee for establishment of “pulses villages”, he said farmers were not growing more pulses because of the huge price fluctuation. He said the government has reduced expenditure on agriculture sector and unless it is increased and said steps should also be taken to increase production of edible oil. He suggested that the Centre ask states to undertake dehoarding drive vigorously and take quick policy decision “because next year also, there will be problems”.BJD leader B Mahtab too said price rise was due to domestic structural problems. While the average prices of vegetables earlier were less than Rs 10, it was now not going below Rs 30. Observing that the problem of high pulses prices was “more manmade than natural”, he said traders were buying pulses from other countries and hoarding them and waiting for the domestic prices to rise.To this, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said there was truth in this and the government was concerned over it.Paswan also sought suggestions to deal with the issue.

India toughens law for juvenile crimes

The Indian parliament passes a bill which allows juveniles between 16 and 18 years of age to be tried as adults for serious crimes like rape or murder.

Union Minister VK Singh should be sent to a reform home: BSP

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Earlier, General V.K Singh (retired), who has been at the centre of the ‘dog analogy’ controversy, was jeered at by some members of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

VK Singh

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Satish Mishra on Tuesday, while speaking in the Rajya Sabha, said people with polluted mindsets like Minister of State for External Affairs General (Retired) VK Singh should be sent to reform homes.”People with polluted mindsets like Minister V.K. Singh should also be sent to reform homes,” Mishra said. Objecting to Mishra’s comment, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “We take strong objection to Mishra ji’s remark on V.K. Singh ji, it should be expunged.”Earlier, General V.K Singh (retired), who has been at the centre of the ‘dog analogy’ controversy, was jeered at by some members of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha. In October, Singh had kicked up a row when he reacted to the killing of two Dalit children by reportedly saying that the government is not responsible if someone ‘throws stones at a dog’. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Declare cow as ‘Mother of the Nation’: Shiv Sena MP

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On Monday, BJP’s Adityanath had said the teachings of the Gita have become all the more relevant at a time when the world is concerned over ‘jehadi’ terrorism.

A Shiv Sena member in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday demanded declaring cow as ‘Mother of the Nation’ saying the benefits one gets from its milk, urine and dung are “priceless”, a day after a BJP member made a strong plea to declare Bhagwad Gita as ‘national book’.Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Chandrakant Khaire said cow should be declared as “Rashtra Mata” for “priceless” benefits it gives to humans in the form of milk, dung and urine which have a variety of uses. On Monday, BJP’s Adityanath had said the teachings of the Gita have become all the more relevant at a time when the world is concerned over ‘jehadi’ terrorism. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Two absconding Indian Mujahideen members joined ISIS: Govt tells Lok Sabha

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Chaudhary said there are no intelligence inputs of members of SIMI seeking shelter in Nepal etc.

Two absconding members of the banned Indian Mujahideen have joined the dreaded terrorist group ISIS, Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday.”There are intelligence inputs of one or two members of the Indian Mujahideen, who were absconding from India since many years, having joined the ISIS/ISIL,” Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.Chaudhary said there are no intelligence inputs of members of SIMI seeking shelter in Nepal etc.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”However, the members of the Indian Mujahideen have been known to have hideouts in Nepal, the Gulf and in Pakistan,” he said.

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.

BJP assures Nirbhaya’s parents over Juvenile Justice Bill

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“We have been assured that Juvenile Justice Bill will be passed in Rajya Sabha today. He (juvenile) would not have been released if this bill had passed six months ago. Be it delayed, but we want this bill to be passed in Parliament,” Nirbhaya’s mother said.

Nirbhaya’s mother Asha Devi

ANI
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday assured disappointed Nirbhaya’s parents that the Juvenile Justice Bill would be on Tuesday passed in the Parliament.”We have been assured that Juvenile Justice Bill will be passed in Rajya Sabha today. He (juvenile) would not have been released if this bill had passed six months ago. Be it delayed, but we want this bill to be passed in Parliament,” Nirbhaya’s mother said.After meeting Nirbhaya’s parents Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi asserted that there should not be any delay in the passing of this bill. “We salute the initiative that has been taken by Nirbhaya’s parents. We had listed the Juvenile Justice Bill 12 times in the Monsoon Session but unfortunately, the Parliamentary proceedings could not take place and eventually the bill was not passed,” Naqvi told media after meeting Nirbhaya’s parents.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”So far, we have listed this bill for five times in the ongoing Winter Session. We are confident that this bill would be passed by the Rajya Sabha today. We believe that there should not be any delay to bring a stringent law,” he added.With the Supreme Court showing its inability to prohibit the release of the juvenile in the Nirbhaya gangrape case in the absence of laws, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had on Monday said the ruling dispensation at the Centre is keen to pass the Juvenile Justice Bill and was also ready to bring supplementary agenda on it in the Parliament.The apex court had dismissed the petition of Delhi Commission of Women (DCW) Chairperson Swati Maliwal against the release of the juvenile offender in the December 16 gang rape case, saying ‘there has to be a clear legislative sanction’ in this regard. Rejecting the DCW’s petition, the apex court earlier said that under existing law detention cannot go beyond three years.

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

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

BJP member Kirti Azad speaks in the Lok Sabha on Monday

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

Nirbhaya case | Black day for women of country: Maliwal on Supreme Court plea dismissal

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“It is a black day for women in history of the country. I also believe that the Rajya Sabha has cheated the country by keeping the law pending which could have facilitated stronger punishment for juveniles in heinous crimes,” the chief of Delhi Commission for Women told reporters outside the Supreme Court.

DCW chief Swati Maliwal on Monday termed it a “black day” for women after the Supreme Court dismissed her last-minute plea against the release of juvenile convict in December 16 gangrape case and said the country has been “cheated” as a proposed law which could have allowed stronger punishment to him remains pending in Rajya Sabha.”It is a black day for women in history of the country. I also believe that the Rajya Sabha has cheated the country by keeping the law pending which could have facilitated stronger punishment for juveniles in heinous crimes,” the chief of Delhi Commission for Women told reporters outside the Supreme Court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She was referring to the bill to amend the Juvenile Justice Act which remains stuck in the Rajya Sabha. The proposed amendment bill seeks stringent punishment for children aged 16-18 years involved in heinous crimes.”The judges told me that they share our concerns but there is no provision to subvert the existing law. I think the time for candle marches is over and women should pick up mashaals (torches) instead to demand for justice,” Maliwal added.Hours before the juvenile was to be freed from an observation home on completion of his three year term at Majnu Ka Tila, Maliwal had moved the Supreme Court on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday in a last-ditch effort to try and stall the release.In its post midnight order, the Supreme Court had declined to stop the release of the juvenile offender and posted the matter before a vacation bench to be heard on Monday.Amid continued protest by the victim’s parents, the juvenile convict was yesterday released and sent to an NGO at an undisclosed destination with police no longer guarding him.The Supreme Court today dismissed Maliwal’s plea saying “there has to be a clear legislative sanction” in this regard.The vacation bench comprising justices A K Goel and U U Lalit’s bench also did not agree with the submission that the juvenile offender can be subjected to the reformation process for a further period of two years under the juvenile law.

Government hopes Congress would help in passing pending bills

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“There are around 16 bills which are pending. 12 of them have been passed in the Lok Sabha and they are all important bills concerning the welfare of the people,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said.

The government on Monday hoped that the Congress and other opposition parties would stand by their “promise” and help in passing of the pending bills as there is no possibility of extension of Parliament “as of now”.”There are around 16 bills which are pending. 12 of them have been passed in the Lok Sabha and they are all important bills concerning the welfare of the people,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said.He hoped that all the parties will go by the spirit of the House. Naidu noted that Congress and others have given positive signal that they will pass some of the important bills.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I hope they will stand by their word and see to it that the bills are passed,” he said speaking to reporters.On the possibility of extension of the Winter session of Parliament, Naidu said, “As of now there is no possibility of immediate extension of Session because 25th is Christmas and people from far off places like Kerala, North East have to travel a lot. That is why we thought of closing the session by the 23rd,” he said.

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

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

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

Don’t interact with media in Parliament House, visitors told

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The secretariat has not mentioned any reason for barring visitors from interacting with the media

Visitors to Parliament House have been advised not to interact with the media.”Visitors are requested not to interact with media,” says an advisory written in red on casual entry permits issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat. Visitors are also not permitted to carry mobile phones, cameras, fire arms etc inside the building, it said.The secretariat has not mentioned any reason for barring visitors from interacting with the media.The winter session of Parliament, which began on November 26 and scheduled to conclude on December 23, has witnessed repeated disruptions by opposition parties led by Congress for the last several days over alleged “political vendetta” by the Modi government and other issues.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

2015 review: Saradha scam fails to dent TMC’s electoral fortunes in Bengal

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TMC’s arch rival CPI-M tried hard to regain some lost ground although the Marxists admitted that they still have some “deficiencies” in terms of their strength.

Mamata Banerjee after party’s victory in civic polls

PTI
The multi-crore Saradha scam continued to haunt the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal during 2015 but it had little impact on the party’s performance in municipal and panchayat elections and also bypolls as it registered emphatic wins.TMC’s arch rival CPI-M tried hard to regain some lost ground although the Marxists admitted that they still have some “deficiencies” in terms of their strength. The year began with CBI’s action against several TMC leaders, which the party termed as “vendetta politics” by the Narendra Modi government. CBI arrested TMC leader and former transport minister Madan Mitra and also questioned former party general secretary Mukul Roy after which Roy, once a trusted lieutenant of party supremo Mamata Banerjee, distanced himself from TMC.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For BJP, which had garnered nearly 18 per cent votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the year did not bring much hope as it failed to put up a good show in successive elections to municipalities and panchayats. According to a senior state BJP leader, the notion that the central party leadership is going soft on Saradha scam and has entered into a deal with TMC in return of its support in Rajya Sabha, where BJP is in a minority, has further eroded the party’s credibility. Ahead of the Assembly polls, BJP appointed Dilip Ghosh, an old RSS hand as the new state president replacing incumbent Rahul Sinha.Left and Congress charged the Modi government with “having a deal with TMC” for its support in passing bills in the Upper House in return of CBI going slow on the Saradha scam. They argued that TMC did not raise its voice on issues such as Vyapam scam and Lalitgate when the Opposition protested against it. Allegations and counter-allegations apart, TMC cruised along to impressive victoriesThis prompted TMC Secretary General Partha Chatterjee to say, “The people of Bengal are with us. CPI(M), Congress and BJP are together in their fight. But the election results have shown that they have been rejected by the masses.” However, the year also saw certain cracks in TMC as the party’s once powerful General Secretary Mukul Roy’s wings were clipped and Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek virtually took over as number two of the party. Roy who was under CBI scanner, was stripped of the position of TMC all India general secretary as well as from the post of party’s leader in the Rajya Sabha. However, there were signs of his mending fences with the party as he met Mamata in Parliament and was invited to a dinner meeting.Political observers say that with Assembly poll only a few months away, TMC leadership’s strategy is to bring back the disgruntled partymen in its fold. The CPI-M, which slipped into a state of disarray after repeated electoral setbacks since the 2011 Assembly election in the state, has been trying to recapture some lost ground in the state which it had ruled for over three decades.In an attempt to make its presence felt, it organised some aggressive political programmes and continued rectification drive. The baton of the state party unit was passed on from septuagenarian Biman Bose to a relatively younger Surya Kanta Mishra.Notwithstanding its effort to stage a comeback, the Marxist party still have some deficiencies in terms of its strength which was admitted by former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. “It is true that we are conducting rallies, meetings in various districts. But still there are some deficiencies in terms of strength,” Bhattacharjee recently said.The Marxists have undertaken a move to infuse new blood in the organisation replacing old faces to rejuvenate the party. More than 70 per cent chiefs of the party’s various units from district to local committee level were replaced in the organisational conferences held in the past few months. The party this time has changed secretaries in nine districts including Kolkata.Caught between TMC and CPI-M, Congress leadership was in two minds whether to contest the ensuing Assembly poll alone or to forge an alliance. The state Congress leadership is clearly divided on this issue with a section wanting to go with CPI-M while another group favoured tie-up with TMC with which it had contested the 2011 elections.

#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:

MPs unite to defeat Bill to amend Section 377

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Criticising the attitude of MPs, a Bangalore-based NGO Sangama, working for the sexual and gender minorities, said that no responsible Parliament should ignore the harassment and persecution of sexual minorities on account of outdated and archaic Section 377.

While the Juvenile Justice Bill continues to languish in Rajya Sabha over a year now, Lok Sabha on Friday shot down an effort by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor to legalise gay sex through a private member’s Bill at the introduction stage itself. The MPs prevented any discussion aimed at dropping Section 377 from the Indian Penal Code (IPC) of 1860 that criminalises homosexuality. The ruling BJP members pressed for division to flung out the Bill and scored victory as its introduction was disallowed by a majority of 71 as against 24 voting for it. Tharoor tweeted: “Surprising to see such intolerance.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Criticising the attitude of MPs, a Bangalore-based NGO Sangama, working for the sexual and gender minorities, said that no responsible Parliament should ignore the harassment and persecution of sexual minorities on account of outdated and archaic Section 377.Shashi Tharoor also said he was only fulfilling the Supreme Court’s wish in a ruling in December 2013, leaving it up to Parliament to remove the obnoxious Section from the statute. In a Twitter post, the former Union minister said: “Intro of Pvt. Member’s Bill 2 decriminalize consensual sex btwn consenting adults defeated in LS 71-24. Surprising to see such intolerance.” He said: “Notice of intent to oppose introduction of Bill came so late, there was no time 2 rally support.”In yet another tweet, he said: “We weren’t at passage. It was just “leave to introduce the bill” that was rejected by the intolerant. They couldn’t even debate!” He is, however, not dejected by defeat of his attempt as he tweeted further: “Will try again in future. We shall overcome!” Tharoor, however, found no resistance to two other private member’s Bills he introduced on Friday, one to amend the IPC to substitute a new section for Section 124A on sedition and another Asylum to protect refugees and asylum seekers and to determine their cases. In a landmark judgment in 2009, the Delhi High Court had stuck down Section 377 of the IPC as “unconstitutional” and decriminalised consensual sex among adult homosexual men. The Supreme Court, however, overturned the verdict on 12.12.2013 to re-legalise Section 377 while putting the ball in the government’s court, arguing that it was free to annul the law through legislation.Section 377 deals with “unnatural offences” and says “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with [imprisonment for life], or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.Rajesh Umadevi, director of Sangama said the retention of Section 377 was aimed at to harass and persecute sexual minorities, including transgender and various identities. “The insidious danger of Section 377 lies in the fact that it permeates different social settings including the medical establishment, family and the state. It also expressed the deep societal repugnance towards sexual minorities and provided the flag leaf of legitimacy for the harassment of sexual minorities,” he said.

Sans GST, Opposition to say "ayes" to bills in RS; washout averted

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The elders have finally decided to get down to legislative business, saving Rajya Sabha from a complete washout for the second session in a row. Chairperson Hamid Ansari stepped in on Friday to get the two sides agree on taking up half a dozen non-controversial legislations, while consensus eluded the contentious Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill.

The elders have finally decided to get down to legislative business, saving Rajya Sabha from a complete washout for the second session in a row. Chairperson Hamid Ansari stepped in on Friday to get the two sides agree on taking up half a dozen non-controversial legislations, while consensus eluded the contentious Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill.Ansari’s last minute initiative to call an all-party meeting comes at the fag end of a frosty Winter Session ending on December 23. The Rajya Sabha, where the number crunch for the ruling NDA has come in the way of controversial bills, has faced frequent disruptions amidst a government-Congress face off, which intensified over the National Herald case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The productivity of the House has been 47 per cent against 100 per cent in the Lok Sabha, according to latest PRS legislative research statistics. While legislative business in the Lower House recorded 27 per cent till December 17, it was 10 per cent in the Upper House.The fate of two crucial legislations–GST, which had been on the top of government’s agenda, and the real estates bill– are caught in the government-opposition standoff over them. Meanwhile, the Opposition has agreed to passage of SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, two Appropriation Bills, Anti Hijacking Bill, Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill, Commercial Courts Ordinance Bill and the Arbitration and Conciliation Amendment Bill during the next week, sources said.All opposition parties gave a word to Ansari to pass the bills after he conveyed that this was one of the “most unproductive sessions”.The government and the Congress have blamed each other for the disruptions. The Congress agreed at the meeting to cooperate in passage of some bills to brush off the perception that it was blocking House in protest against the National Herald case, which it has dubbed as political vendetta by BJP.”Its the government which is not interested in smooth functioning of the House. I have also been parliamentary affairs minister. In the midst of the session, no government topples a state government. Secondly, a chief minister’s office was raided. These are signs that government does not want house to function,” leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said.However, on the issue of charges against finance minister Arun Jaitley in the DDCA issue, there are indications that the Congress has dropped its aggressive stand and demand for his resignation.”We have not retracted from that issue. We are further examining papers related to it. We are studying the entire report. There is enough time,” Azad said.He stressed that the outcome of the National Herald case coming up in a metropolitan magistrate’s court on Saturday will not affect the Congress decision to cooperate in passage of the important Bills. The Opposition opted to drop all the issues in their armour for grilling the government after the Government conceded to debate intolerance.The government also agreed not to press for passage of two Bills – Whistleblower Amendment Bill and Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill– and send them to the Select Committee of the House for further scrutiny. The Opposition wants the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill also to go to the Select Committee.Jaitley unsuccessfully pleaded to include the GST Bill in the list of those agreed to be passed but he gave up after the Congress refused to budge until its conditions are met to modify it.Even if the GST bill had been passed by the Rajya Sabha next week as it has already cleared the Lok Sabha’s muster in the last session, it has now become impossible for the government to meet the next April deadline it had set to implement the tax reform.The Constitution Bill will have to be ratified by half the state legislatures and then Parliament will have to pass the GST Bill for levying the new single indirect tax and frame the rules to implement it. This is just not possible in a short time span of three months left and so the government is reconciled to push the Constitution Bill only in the budget session and plan GST from April 2017. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters that all have decided that the House should function and pass the pending government bills even by sitting late. Blame game The government and the Congress have blamed each other for the disruptions. The Congress agreed at the meeting to cooperate in passage of some bills to brush off the perception that it was blocking House in protest against the National Herald case, which it has dubbed as political vendetta by BJP.”Its the government which is not interested in smooth functioning of the House. I have also been parliamentary affairs minister. In the midst of the session, no government topples a state government. Secondly, a chief minister’s office was raided,” Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

House cannot be run by rules alone but by political consensus: PJ Kurien

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PJ Kurien lauded the Chairman’s initiative of convening the all-party meeting to end the logjam and said the step has came at an “appropriate time” as there are three more days left and members agreed to pass six bills and dispose of three more, besides holding discussions on important issues.
File Photo

After the logjam in Rajya Sabha was broken at an all-party meet, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien on Friday said the House cannot be run on rules alone (rpt) alone but by political consensus and asked members to adopt self restraint and not cross the benchmarks or break their oath.”It is not rules, it is actually the self restraint of members, responsibility of members. You cannot run the House by rules only. The House is run by political consensus and self restraint of the members and your adherence to democratic norms,” he told reporters after the all-party meeting convened by Chairman Hamid Ansari.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He lauded the Chairman’s initiative of convening the all-party meeting to end the logjam and said the step has came at an “appropriate time” as there are three more days left and members agreed to pass six bills and dispose of three more, besides holding discussions on important issues.Ansari convened an all-party meet today attended by leaders of various parties where it was decided to end the logjam with members sitting for extra time to dispose of pending legislations and take up important discussions in Rajya Sabha, which has not been functioning for past few days.Asked if the rules need to be amended to give more powers to the Chairman, the deputy chairman said, “Even if you amend the rules, the same thing can happen. I don’t think the amendment of the rules is the final solution. But that will also help.”Kurien, however, refused to give a direct reply on whether rules should be amended or not. “I don’t want to comment. But there is a feeling, some suggestions are there. Infact, hon’ble chairman himself once suggested amendment of the rules. I think it may be taken up,” he said.Asked if the weapon of suspending a member be given to the Chair, he said, “I don’t want to say that. I am only saying the present position. There is a feeling, including some journalists say why not you suspend these members and proceed.In Rajya Sabha rule book there is no such procedure. In Lok Sabha Hon’ble can do without a motion.”Here, Hon’ble chairman or I can do only if a motion is moved and passed in the House. And going by the composition of the House, do you think such a motion will be passed here. So we are trying our best to run the house….” he said.Kurien said “we were trying our best to run the House every day” and all weapons at their disposal like persuasion, appealing, requesting and even cajoling were used. Ansari had at a meeting of the Rules Committee of the Upper House reportedly sought change of rules to allow more powers to the Chair to suspend members creating frequent disruptions and hamper its functioning.

LS, RS adjourned abrubtly because of lack of quorum

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There were 19 members in the House at that time, compared to a minimum of 25 needed for quorum.

Parliament

Lack quorum on Friday forced abrupt adjournment of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.Rajya Sabha, which re-convened at 2.30 pm after repeated adjournments caused by Congress protests, was to take up private members’ bills as is the practice on Fridays. Soon after, most BJP and Congress members moved out of the House as the Bill to amend the Constitution (Scheduled Caste) Order 1950, moved by Vishambhar Prasad Nishad of Samajwadi Party on April 24, came up for voting. At this, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien said “if the members do not want to attend and there is no quorum, what can I do?” He then adjourned the House for the day.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There were 19 members in the House at that time, compared to a minimum of 25 needed for quorum. For quorum, there is a need for presence of 10 per cent of members of the total strength of 250 members of a House. The Lok Sabha was also adjourned for the day, a little past 5.30 PM because of lack of quorum when the discussion on a private member bill on Compulsory Voting was in progress. Hukum Narayan Yadav, who was in the Chair, wanted to extend the sitting by one hour as on Fridays the House timings are only till 5.30 pm.He sought the sense of the House to extend the time of the sitting so that the discussion on the bill could continue. Even as most of the members agreed, N K Premachandran of RSP objected, saying that it is being done so that a bill on the rights of transgenders is not taken up. “This is a black day in Indian Parliament… It is totally unfair,” he said, demanding that the bill on rights of transgenders be taken up.Noisy exchanges ensued between the Treasury benches and him. Premachandran then raised the issue of quorum as only around 20 members were present in the House. As per the rules, the Lower House should have at least 55 members, 10 per cent of the total strength of 545 members, present for quorum. Yadav then rang the ‘quorum bell’ and in the next few minutes, nearly ten members walked into the House.However, the number still was well below the quorum, forcing Yadav to adjourn the House for the day.Amid the protests, BJD’s Tatagatha Satpathy, who was supporting Premachandran, said the matter was not a question of Congress or BJP but of a group of citizens. Countering Premachandran, BJP’s Nishikant Dubey said since it is a private member bill, there is no need for a quorum. The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 has been prepared by N K Premachandran (RSP), Udit Raj (BJP) and Baijayant Panda (BJD). During the discussion on bill for Compulsory Voting, members of BJP differed on the practicality of implementing such a measure. Daddan Mishra (BJP) said participation of people was needed for a vibrant democracy and it was possible to introduce compulsory voting in the country. His party colleague Udit Raj said there was a need to educate people and encourage them to participate in the electoral process, though it may not possible to make in compulsory in the Indian context.Ravindra Kumar Ray (BJP) said it was everyone’s duty to strengthen democracy as “there is no alternative to democracy.” Banshilal Mahto (BJP) demanded that there should be compulsory voting and also there should be restriction on independent candidates. Kamakhya Prasad Tasa (BJP) regretted that those who do not vote often throng the elected representatives to take various kinds of advantages by getting close to them.Restrictions should be imposed on those who do not exercise their voting right, he added.Jugal Kishore Sharma (BJP) suggested that there should be a mechanism whereby people who cannot step out, can vote from their homes while citing that many people do not come out to vote fearing terrorists.Another BJP member Raman Deka said making voting compulsory is not impractical and that everyone should exercise their voting rights. Kaushalendr Kumar (JD-U) opposed the bill.

Diesel cars proliferate in Parliament as Delhi chokes

Long-distance and cost-effectiveness of diesel car are the reasons for MPs to use it

SUVs parked at Parliament House complex on Thuursday
B B Yadav
dna
The Supreme Court may have banned the registry of new diesel cars above 2000cc, in the National Capital Region for three months, but the country’s legislators seem to prefer them as their ride of choice. As Delhi’s air turns smoggier by the day and pollution levels continued off the charts, the Parliament House Complex turns into a veritable showroom for the fanciest diesel cars.With licence plates from all over the country, countless Innovas, Fortuners, Boleros, Pajeros rolled in and out, ferrying well heeled legislators. Thrown in the mix were Land Rovers and Land Cruisers , Mercedes and BMWs. There was even an eyeball grabbing Porsche from Jharkhand that quietly sped away. Some of these vehicles were so luxurious they made the trusty, omnipresent Innova look quite pedestrian in comparison.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Such was their proliferation, that putting a name to the vehicle turned out to be a nigh impossible task.Each had an engine displacement higher than 2000cc, the line that the apex court has now drawn as to what is permissible. Unaffected by the ban, the gas guzzlers will continue to ply through January to March in and out of Delhi.Many MPs dna spoke to were a tad defensive about their cars. BJP MP Kirron Kher, who drove off in a Mercedes 4matic, said “do they expect MPs to now buy new cars? Where will the money come from for that. I only bought my car last year, and it’s not even from Delhi.” She added, “We’re not as rich as it seems, though we live well. They should have told us not to get our cars before.”PC Chacko, former Congress MP said he had a “personal liking” for diesel cars because of economy. “I travel almost 200 kms daily. A diesel car makes economical sense.” He added, “this is a knee jerk reaction by the court. Delhi does need to withdraw cars, its roads cannot sustain so many. But there is no plan, either by the centre or the state, on purifying air. They should focus on emission standards instead for diesel cars.”Economy as a reason, especially for long distance travel, was repeated by Deepender Singh Hooda, Congress MP. He also said that his main reason for investing in his car was comfort for a bad back. However, he added, “I am not principally against reducing diesel cars. We all must do our bit for the environment.”BJP MP Yogi Adityanath, before whooshing away in his Fortuner, only said that he would obey whatever law was formed, even if that meant not using his car.The only MP dna found firmly supportive of the ban was Selja Kumari, Congress Rajya Sabha member, who admitted to using Innovas, though only when travelling out of town. “Even this ban is a conservative measure, they need to go further. We only use diesel cars because they’re available,” she said.Environment minister Prakash Javadekar, perched outside in the sun, said that the government was already working towards providing better fuel, pre-poning the migration to Euro-6 emission standards.Privately, though, a senior leader grumbled a fair bit about the crackdown on diesel, saying that it took time to upgrade to better fuel and better car design, and that nothing could be solved instantly.Senior advocate KTS Tulsi, MP in the Rajya Sabha, one of the three people to bicycle to the Parliament said that MPs needed big cars in their constituencies, but shouldn’t drive them in Delhi. “We’re reducing the lifespan of our children and inflicting disease. We must wean people off private cars, and on to public transport.” He also plans to start cycling to the Supreme Court from now on. All big playersWith licence plates from all over the country, countless Innovas, Fortuners, Boleros, Pajeros rolled in and out, ferrying well heeled legislators. Thrown in the mix were Land Rovers and Land Cruisers , Mercedes and BMWs. There was even an eyeball grabbing Porsche from Jharkhand that quietly sped away. Some of these vehicles were so luxurious they made the trusty, omnipresent Innova look quite pedestrian in comparison.

Hold simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and state assemblies for the sake of development: Parliament panel

A parliamentary panel has asked the government as well as the Election Commission to explore possibility of holding simultaneous elections, to reduce frequency of polls and enforcement of code of conduct that impedes economic development. “This is important for India, if it is to compete with other nations in developmental agenda on real time basis as robust democratic country,” said the 31-member panel headed by Congress party’s Tamil Nadu MP Dr E M S. Natchippan. The panel said massive costs could be saved with the conduct of simultaneous elections. Only the Election Commission spends around Rs 4,500 crore for holding staggered Lok Sabha and state assembly elections, currently. The costs incurred by political parties are enormous.

A parliamentary panel has asked the government as well as the Election Commission to explore possibility of holding simultaneous elections, to reduce frequency of polls and enforcement of code of conduct that impedes economic development. “This is important for India, if it is to compete with other nations in developmental agenda on real time basis as robust democratic country,” said the 31-member panel headed by Congress party’s Tamil Nadu MP Dr E M S. Natchippan. The panel said massive costs could be saved with the conduct of simultaneous elections. Only the Election Commission spends around Rs 4,500 crore for holding staggered Lok Sabha and state assembly elections, currently. The costs incurred by political parties are enormous.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Committee has envisaged holding of elections of some state assemblies at mid-term of Lok Sabha and remaining with the end of tenure of Lok Sabha. It said the proposed first phase could be held in November 2016, involving states like West Bengal, Kerala, Puduchery, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Goa, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Meghalaya, Tripura, Nagaland and Karnataka. The states whose terms end between May 2016 to May 2018 should be clubbed together. In Phase two, rest of states, whose terms end between December 2018 to June 2019 should be held in June 2019 along with Lok Sabha elections.The MPs in the Standing Committee looking after the Ministry of Law and Justice said if all the political parties cooperate, the necessary steps can be taken without hurting the interests of any political party.First three general elections to Lok Sabha were conducted simultaneously with all state legislative assemblies till 1967. However, the cycle got disrupted due to premature dissolution of some assemblies in 1968 and 1969. In 1970, the Lok Sabha was itself dissolved prematurely. The panel reminded the practice in South Africa, where elections to national and provincial legislatures are held simultaneously for five years and municipal elections are held two years later. In Sweden, elections are held on a fixed date on second Sunday in September for four years.Though admitting that it may not be feasible in 2016 or even in a decade, but it has expressed confidence that a solution will be found in a due course of time.

MPs ‘condemn’ Guj High Court judge’s anti-quota remark, warn of impeachment

The meeting was attended among others by Union Ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Thawar Chand Gehlot.

Members of a Parliamentary panel on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, cutting across party lines, on Thursday assailed the alleged “anti-reservation” remarks of a Gujarat High Court Judge and warned of impeachment proceedings against him. The members of Parliamentary Standing Committee on SC/ST at a meeting in Parliament House “condemned” the remarks by Justice J P Pardiwala and resolved to stage a protest in front of B R Ambedkar’s statue on December 23.The meeting was attended among others by Union Ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Thawar Chand Gehlot. “At the meeting the remarks of the judge were condemned and it was decided that MPs will protest on December 23 in front of the statue of B R Ambedkar. The judge has abused the Constitution and we will move impeachment proceedings against him in Rajya Sabha,” BJP MP Udit Raj told PTI. He said the process of moving an impeachment motion against the judge has begun with several MPs already having signed the petition. Signatures of 50 members are required for moving such a motion. Weeks after the Supreme Court scrapped the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, BJP member Udit Raj had targeted the judge in the Lok Sabha.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pardiwala, while declining to drop the charge of sedition against Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel, had recently said,”If I am asked by anyone to name two things which have destroyed this country or rather has not allowed the country to progress in the right direction, then the same is reservation and corruption.” “It is very shameful for any citizen of this country to ask for reservation after years of independence. When our Constitution was framed, it was understood that reservation would remain for a period of 10 years, but unfortunately it has continued even after 65 years of independence,” he had reportedly said in his order.

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.

Parliament committee for simultaneous Lok Sabha, Assembly polls

Elections to all state assemblies whose terms end prior to or after a time period of six months to one year from the appointed election date can be clubbed together

A Parliamentary Committee has made a strong pitch for holding of simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha elections all over the country, suggesting that it can be done in the near future. But most of the political parties which responded to the Standing Committee’s questionnaire have said the idea is a “noble” one but “difficult to implement”. “The Committee does not feel that simultaneous election in every five year cannot be held in the near future but slowly it would reach in stages for which tenure of some of the state legislative assemblies need to be curtailed or extended,” the Standing Committee on Law and personnel said in its report ‘Feasibility of holding simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies’. The report was tabled in Parliament today.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While as per electoral law, elections can be held six months prior to the end of the term of a House, the term of the House cannot be extended except during proclamation of Emergency. The committee has recommended an “alternative and practicable method” of holding simultaneous elections which involves holding of polls in two phases. The panel has envisaged holding of elections of some assemblies at midterm of Lok Sabha and remaining with the end of tenure of Lok Sabha.It said the “proposed first phase” could be held in November, 2016. Elections to all state assemblies whose terms end prior to or after a time period of six months to one year from the appointed election date can be clubbed together. “The terms of some legislative assemblies may need to be extended while some of them may need to be curtailed,” it said. It admitted that gaining consensus of all political parties may be difficult in certain states.”However, in the larger context of economic development and implementation of election promises without creation of the impediments due to enforcement of Model Code of Conduct as a result of frequent elections, the prospects of holding simultaneous elections need to be weighed and deeply considered by all political parties,” the report said.The AIADMK has supported the idea in principle and so has the Asom Gana Parishad. The SAD said it supports the idea but has doubts on certain issues like mandate delivering a hung assembly. Congress and Trinamool Congress have rejected the idea saying “ideal as it may sound” it is “impractical and unworkable”. The NCP too said that the proposal is “not feasible”. The CPI said the “proposal looks ideal” but there are practical problems such as need for mid-term polls.The Law Commission in one of its reports presented the government in 1999 had also supported the idea of simultaneous polls. Out of 16 Lok Sabhas, as many as seven elected in 1969, 1977, 1980, 1984, 1996, 1998 and 1999 saw premature dissolution due to “emergence of coalition government.”

Now, Congress seeks JPC probe into DDCA scam

Taking animosity to next level, thus making washout of winter session now a certainty, main Opposition Congress on Wednesday demanded constitution of a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to look into irregularities in Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) and resignation of Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, who happens to be a former president of the cricket body. Jaitley, however, dismissed the allegations, saying they are without any basis.Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday had attempted to link the CBI raid on his secretariat to the DDCA enquiry report and other related files. He had proposed to order a commission of inquiry into the report of the committee to go into the cricket affairs.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a virtual tit-for-tat, Congress launched an attack on Jaitley and the affairs of the DDCA, claiming it was a Section 25 non-profit company, and could not divert its funds to non-cricketing activities, as alleged in the committee report. Jaitley had levelled almost similar allegations over the National Herald affairs, implicating Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi for diverting funds from a Section 25 company, without proper authorisation.Flanked by Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and party leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, senior spokesman Ajay Maken said that pending the completion of inquiry through a JPC, Jaitley must step down. He also accused the Delhi chief minister of sitting on a three-member committee report for over a month now. The chief minister had on November 12 asked a three-member committee to go into the DDCA affairs within three days. He wanted to know why Kejriwal did not proceed to take action by registering a first information report or writing to the Delhi High Court for a court-monitored CBI inquiry.Maken said four persons in the DDCA, who have been “known for their proximity” to Jaitley, have been named as “officers in default” by the Registrar of Companies in his order of August last year. “How can a fair probe into the issue be possible as long as Jaitley is the finance minister with corporate affairs portfolio as well,” he wondered.Maken noted that virtually all enforcement authorities – ED, IT, Revenue intelligence, Serious Fraud Investigation Office – directly report to Jaitley. “The same agencies are supposed to take action against DDCA for infraction of various rules and norms of the Companies Act and under criminal law,” he said.Maken, who has earlier been sports minister at the Centre, said the Registrar of Companies has “proved” the charges of irregularities after he had complained to the then corporate affairs minister M Veerappa Moily, who had ordered the ROC inquiry. He said the investigation by the Serious Fraud Investigation Officer had found that the reconstruction of the Ferozshah Kotla stadium was carried out between 2002 and 2007 which saw an escalation of costs by Rs 90 crore. He said the initial budget was Rs 24 crore but eventually it went up to Rs 114 crore.Maken claimed that it was also revealed by SFIO probe that there was no record of tender for most of the contracts issued by the DDCA for the construction of the stadium. He said the report found that many companies that were given contracts were actually owned by the office bearers of the DDCA.

Govt blocked 844 social media pages this year: Ravi Shankar Prasad

Out of the total, the government blocked 492 web pages under Section 69A of Information Technology Act, 2000 based on recommendation of a committee set up in this regard, compared to 10 blocked in 2014, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
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dna Research & Archives
The number of social media pages blocked by the government for carrying objectionable content rose to 844 till November this year, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.Out of the total, the government blocked 492 web pages under Section 69A of Information Technology Act, 2000 based on recommendation of a committee set up in this regard, compared to 10 blocked in 2014, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.Under Section 69A of IT Act, the government has power to block any information in any computer resource in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, national security, friendly relations with foreign states or for maintaining law and order.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”A total of 136, 13 and 10 and 492 URLs of social media websites were blocked in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, till November 30, 2015, respectively under Section 69A through the Committee constituted under the rules therein,” Prasad said. The social media links that were blocked on court orders stood at 352.”Further, a total of 533, 432 and 352 URLs of social media websites were blocked in compliance with the directions of the competent courts of India in 2013, 2014 and 2015, till November 30, 2015,” Prasad said.The minister said that the government does not separately maintain data on web pages blocked for anti-religious content. He said that in 2014, a total of 4,192 cases were reported under Section 66A of IT Act which had provision of jail term for sending offensive messages online, but the section is no longer valid since Supreme Court annulled it in March 2015.As per data of 2014 shared by Prasad, 2,423 persons were arrested, out of which 1,125 were charge-sheeted and 42 were convicted under Section 66A of IT Act.

PM Modi offers a glass of water to AAP MP protesting against CBI raids

A smiling Modi offered him the glass of water kept on his table which the AAP member readily drank. The two exchanged smiles before Mann kept the glass on the table and the PM put the cover on it. Several BJP members thumped their desks at the PM’s gesture.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday offered a glass of water to AAP member Bhagwant Mann, who was protesting in Lok Sabha against the CBI raids on Delhi government secretariat where Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sits.Mann, who was shouting slogans in the Well, felt uneasy and was apparently looking for water on the table of Lok Sabha secretariat officials who sit in the Well.A smiling Modi offered him the glass of water kept on his table which the AAP member readily drank. The two exchanged smiles before Mann kept the glass on the table and the PM put the cover on it. Several BJP members thumped their desks at the PM’s gesture.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mann, thereafter, continued to raise anti-government slogans.Mann, along with several Congress members, were protesting inside the Well soon after the Speaker disallowed their notices of motions to adjourn the Question Hour on various issues including role of Arunachal Pradesh Governor.The Question Hour continued amidst the din.The AAP member from Sangrur constituency in Punjab had been showing a bunch of papers to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to attract her attention. At one point, the Speaker warned Mann and said his behaviour was “not good”.Mann had then moved to the other side of the Well and was standing near the Prime Minister’s seat when the incident occured.Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, who could not see what had happened as several of her party members were standing in the Well blocking her view, wanted to know what occured. She went into a peal of laughter after getting the details.External Affairs Miniser Sushma Swaraj, seated in the front row along with the PM and other leaders, was also seen laughing.While Mann and Sandhu Singh of AAP, as also some Congress members, were raising slogans in the Well, another party member Dharmveer Gandhi was standing on his bench holding a placard demanding renaming of Chandigarh airport after freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.A furious Kejriwal had yesterday accused the Modi government of targeting him over a day-long CBI raid at the Delhi Secretariat.

United opposition decries CBI raids, most parties distance themselves from Kejriwal’s accusations against PM Modi

In the border state of Arunachal Pradesh, where like Delhi Assembly the ruling party is enjoying 4/5th majority, it is alleged that Governor Jyoti Prashad Rajkhowa has summoned the state assembly on Wednesday to topple the Congress government.

Lucknow: Activists of Aam Admi Party stage a protest against the CBI raid at CM Arvind Kejriwals office, at GPO in Lucknow on Tuesday.

PTI
The political climate of the capital abruptly turned hot on Tuesday morning when a team of CBI officials swooped at Delhi government’s secretariat ostensibly on a complaint against principle secretary to the chief minister, Rajender Kumar. Also, the news of alleged horse-trading of MLAs in the far-off Arunachal Pradesh also faded the last hope of passage of important legislations in Rajya Sabha, which like its previous session is heading for an imminent washout.In the border state of Arunachal Pradesh, where like Delhi Assembly the ruling party is enjoying 4/5th majority, it is alleged that Governor Jyoti Prashad Rajkhowa has summoned the state assembly on Wednesday to topple the Congress government.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s twitter messages of a CBI raid at his office starting at 10:18 a.m. immediately got support from almost the entire opposition and from the fraternity of non-BJP ruled states’ chief ministers.West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was among the first to show solidarity as she tweeted “Sealing of a Chief Minister’s office is unprecedented. I am shocked.”Retweeting her comment, Kejriwal replied, “Mamata Di, This is undeclared emergency.”Soon the issue was resonating strongly in the parliament with TMC leader in the Rajya Sabha, Derek O’Brien denouncing the raids at Delhi CM’s office demanded that the government should make its stand clear on the floor of the house.Leader of the house Arun Jaitley responded by saying that chief minister is not the target of CBI raids as they are being conducted at his principal secretary’s office in connection with an old case and simultaneously at 14 other places.But his defence had no impact on the shouting MPs. Soon Kejriwal in a tweet accused Jaitley of lying in the parliament saying that “My own office files are being looked into to get some evidence against me. Rajender is an excuse.”Hurling another blow at Jiatley, Kejriwal again tweeted, “Which file was CBI looking for in my office? DDCA files in which Arun Jaitley is in dock. I was about to order a commission of enquiry.”Showing unprecedented camaraderie Congress, which is at loggerheads with AAP in Delhi, joined the anti-BJP chorus that was also joined by the MPs of JD (U) and Left parties among others.Crying foul of CBI raids being done at the behest of the Centre, without keeping chief minister in loop and at a time when the parliament in session, a united opposition sharply criticised the move calling it an unprecedented attack on the federal structure of the country. As a result the parliament saw frequent and disrupting and ended without conducting any business.JD (U) leader, K C Tyagi described the CBI raids as “return of the emergency”.Joining the protest against CBI raids, leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad raked up the issue of Modi government-appointed Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoti Prashad Rajkhowa arbitrarily convening the state assembly session from Wednesday for removal of the Speaker without consulting the elected government.Describing Arunachal governor “acting like a dictator to murder democracy with intentions to topple a duly elected government” Azad demanded his immediate dismissal.But while opposition parties unitedly fought in favour of Kejriwal, his terse comments against PM Modi, calling him a “coward” and a “psychopath” found little favour as most parties distanced from the undemocratic mannerism.BJP demanded an unconditional apology from Kejriwal for hurling wild accusations against PM Modi. The opposition parties too described the comments as taking the political discourse to a new low.Reflecting on day’s events, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the language used by the Delhi CM against PM Modi cannot be approved of but he blamed the BJP for setting the agenda outside Parliament so the House does not function.”When Parliament session is on, incidents which divert attention is not undertaken by the government normally…Whatever happened in Arunachal, Delhi CM office, are indications in this direction. But then what happened in Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh, Lalit Modi issue in Rajasthan?” asked Yechury.Disapproving Kejriwal’s accusatory language, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi also blamed PM Modi for starting such accusatory language. He said such language is taking the political discourse to low level and need corrective measures as such language has not been used earlier even at the height of political tensions.At the same Sighvi targeted Kejriwal for “hypocrisy” in his conduct.”Chickens are coming home to roost. Kejriwal would demand raids at the drop of hat,” Singhvi said.

Government rejects demand for GST cap in Constitution; Jaitley invokes Nehru to remind Congress of responsibilities in Parliament

Arun Jaitley invoked Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru to remind Congress of the responsibility of MPs for governance of the country through Parliament.

PTI
On a day when senior union ministers and Congress leaders met over a South Indian lunch, hopes further faded on the passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the Winter Session. This means the government’s timeline to implement the key reform measure from April 1, 2016 has gone haywire.As time runs out for GST with just seven sittings left of the Winter Session of Parliament and a washout in Rajya Sabha staring in government’s face, finance minister Arun Jaitley and parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu met Congress leader and deputy leader in Rajya Sabha– Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma. However, the two sides seemed to have failed to find a way out of the Parliament logjam and deadlock over GST.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>All eyes are now on December 19, when Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi, along with five others appear before the metropolitan magistrate in Patiala House Court in the National Herald case. After that, just three days of the session would be left. But, the mood in the Congress is far from conciliatory as it alleges political vendetta and humiliation of its leaders. Party sources said the positive atmosphere in the beginning of the session, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, has been washed out, by the subsequent moves of the government.While officially it was said that Monday’s talks was “inconclusive”, they said there was no breakdown in communication, top sources in the Congress said there was a deadlock, as government has rejected one of their major demands of putting the tax cap in the Constitutional Amendment Bill. With the ball back in the Congress’s court, it is keeping the government on tenterhooks saying it would have to consult other leaders including the party leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge. But many believe it was just a ruse, as the GST was stuck in Rajya Sabha and not in Lok Sabha.Meanwhile, Congress’s RS Surjewala compared international fuel prices and retail prices to say “with this track record of government .how can we believe, they will profit their coffers by taxing people, without putting a constitutional cap on GST,” He said when the international oil prices have fallen to $36 per barrel and refinery price of petrol is only just Rs.23.70 per litre, it is sold at Rs.60.48 per litre (in Delhi). Modi government is earning a profit of Rs.36.71 for every litre of petrol and Rs.21.88 per litre in case of diesel. “How can we allow milking of consumers in the GST regime, the way they are being burdened by government heavy taxation on petroleum?” he asked. Jaitley ‘disappointed’Soon after the meeting, Jaitley wrote an article hitting out at the Congress and reflecting his disappointment with Opposition party’s approach in Parliament. Jaitley quoted Jawaharlal Nehru on the responsibility of being in Parliament and said “those who claim the legacy of Panditji must ask themselves the question, what kind of history are they making.”He said the current was also threatened with a wash out. “The reasons for the wash out of the current Session keep changing by the hour. The nation is waiting for the Parliament to discuss public issues, to legislate and approve a historic Constitution Amendment enabling the GST. All this is being indefinitely delayed. The question we need to ask ourselves is, are we being fair to ourselves and this country?”Here is Jaitley’s post:

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

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

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

Parliament logjam: Arun Jaitley accuses Congress of tarnishing Nehru’s legacy

The Finance Minister also quoted a speech on the Parliamentary system by Pandit Nehru to hammer home his point. He said that the speech delivered on March 28, 1957 in the last day of first Lok Sabha by Nehru is “a must read for all of us”.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday apprehended a “wash out” of the current Winter session and invoked Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru to remind Congress of the responsibility of MPs for governance of the country through Parliament.”The last session of the Parliament did not function.The current session of the Parliament is also threatened with a wash out. The reasons for the wash out of the current session keep changing by the hour. “The nation is waiting for Parliament to discuss public issues, to legislate and approve a historic Constitution Amendment enabling the GST. All this is being indefinitely delayed. The question we need to ask ourselves is are we being fair to ourselves and this country?” Jaitley said in a Facebook post.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>PT. NEHRU AND PARLIAMENT The last Session of the Parliament did not function. The current Session of the Parliament…
Posted by Arun Jaitley on Monday, 14 December 2015The Finance Minister also quoted a speech on the Parliamentary system by Pandit Nehru to hammer home his point. He said that the speech delivered on March 28, 1957 in the last day of first Lok Sabha by Nehru is “a must read for all of us”.He quoted a paragraph from the speech in which Nehru had said, “Here, we have sat in this Parliament, the sovereign authority of India, responsible for the governance of India. Surely, there can be no higher responsibility or greater privilege than to be a member of this sovereign body which is responsible for the fate of the vast number of human beings who live in this country.”All of us, if not always, at any rate from time to time, must have felt this high sense of responsibility and destiny to which we had been called. Whether we were worthy of it or not is another matter. We have functioned, therefore, during these five years not only on the edge of history but sometimes plunging into the processes of making history.” Taking a dig at Congress over frequent disruptions in Rajya Sabha, Jaitley said, “Those who claim the legacy of Pandit ji must ask themselves the question, what kind of history are they making.”

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar to address Parliament on Paris Agreement

The Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change said through this agreement the world has prepared a robust plan to combat the challenge of climate change and added that unlike Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement witnessed participation of almost all countries.

Prakash Javadekar
File Photo

India’s concerns of both national and environmental targets were achieved in the Paris Agreement on climate change and a statement regarding this will be made in the Parliament this week, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Monday.The Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change said through this agreement the world has prepared a robust plan to combat the challenge of climate change and added that unlike Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement witnessed participation of almost all countries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have had a very good agreement in Paris. As Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has rightly said climate justice and environment has won. Future generations have got a promise that they will get a much better earth. This time the whole world is united and a robust action plan has started. Many countries were out of earlier Kyoto regime. This time all countries are there,” Javadekar said.He said that he will brief Parliament about the developments in Paris and how it will benefit India. “I am going straight away to Parliament. I will make a statement tomorrow or day after tomorrow depending upon when the Speaker (Lok Sabha) and Chairman (Rajya Sabha) allow me to do so.””This is one issue on which the whole nation is united. This isn’t a bi-partisan issue, but it’s of whole India. India’s concerns are met and we are really happy that we could also achieve our national target, but more importantly our environmental target. That’s the promise for the future generations of a good Earth,” Javadekar said.

Local leaders’ sentiments, RSS, caste to play crucial role in BJP’s Mission UP

The party, which has already begun the ground work for selection of candidates, is likely to give priority to those who lost by narrow margins or came second in the last assembly election in UP.

RSS

After Bihar, the BJP has started gearing up for its next high stake battle– the Uttar Pradesh assembly election. Though there are still 15 months to go, the party has lined out the broad contours of its strategy in the state, which like Bihar, it had swept in last year’s Lok Sabha elections. With the mistakes made in the recent Bihar assembly election still fresh in the mind, one of the first lessons for the BJP is to factor in sentiments of local unit in UP particularly in ticket distribution, according to party sources. In the aftermath of the Bihar debacle, several state leaders had alleged that the BJP leadership had ignored them and projected “outsiders” in the run-up to the election.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The party, which has already begun the ground work for selection of candidates, is likely to give priority to those who lost by narrow margins or came second in the last assembly election in UP. There are around 15%-20% of such candidates, sources said. Another experience from Bihar was the caste dynamics dominating all other narrative in the state where the BJP and its allies faced a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Nitish Kumar-Lalu Prasad Yadav combine, unlike in the Lok Sabha election when the NDA had won 31 of the 40 seats. Sources said the party will lay emphasis on the caste arithmetic in UP, focusing on the upper castes, OBCs and scheduled castes, while deciding on candidates and working out its strategy in the run-up to the 2017 election. In UP, where party President Amit Shah was in-charge during the Lok Sabha election, the BJP, which had projected Narendra Modi as Prime Ministerial candidate, had won 73 of the 80 seats. During the recent Bihar election, the BJP had pinned its hopes on the “uneroded” Modi wave, which had swept both UP and Bihar for it in 2014. In the Lok Sabha election, the BJP had even encroached BSP leader Mayawati’s dalit vote bank as Modi managed to woo the electorate cutting across caste lines. While in the general election, the BSP failed to win a single seat, the BJP is viewing her as its most formidable foe in 2017.With Mayawati, who is hoping to consolidate the dalit and Muslim vote, having a sway over Western UP, the BJP is planning to focus on development-craving Poorvanchal or Eastern UP. While the Dalit population in UP is around 20 per cent, the Muslims account for 19.3 per cent in the state. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s ideological mentor, is also likely to be play a bigger role in the election to the state, which was the hotbed of hindutva politics and had pushed the party to the national centre-stage in the 1990s. The party strategy is to refrain from chanting about Ram Temple in Ayodhya, which is now in court and on the back burner of the party’s agenda, sources said. However, several of its Hindutva hardliners like Yogi Adityanath, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Sakshi Maharaj are from UP. The BJP is toying with the idea of replacing its state unit chief Laxmikant Bajpayi, a Brahmin. Among the names doing the rounds are union minister of state for HRD Ram Shanker Katheriya, a pracharak and a Dalit leader, Swatantra Dev Singh, an OBC from Bundelkhand and Ashok Kataria, the state vice-president. Bihar debacle : With the mistakes made in the recent Bihar assembly election still fresh in the mind, one of the first lessons for the BJP is to factor in sentiments of local unit in UP particularly in ticket distribution, according to party sources. In the aftermath of the Bihar debacle, several state leaders had alleged that the BJP leadership had ignored them and projected “outsiders” in the run-up to the election.
RSS role: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s ideological mentor, is also likely to be play a bigger role in the election to the state, which was the hotbed of hindutva politics and had pushed the party to the national centre-stage in the 1990s. The party strategy is to refrain from chanting about Ram Temple in Ayodhya, which is now in court and on the back burner of the party’s agenda, sources said. However, several of its Hindutva hardliners like Yogi Adityanath, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Sakshi Maharaj are from UP.

PM Narendra Modi, Sonia Gandhi and others pay tribute to martyrs of 2001 Parliament attack

The Prime Minister also met some of the martyrs’ family members who were present.

Indian Parliament

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other parliamentarians today paid tributes to the martyrs of the 2001 attack on Parliament.Along with Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, veteran BJP leader L K Advani, Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla, and Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha PJ Kurien, were among those who paid floral tributes to the martyrs.Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma, BJP MP Satyanarain Jatiya were among other members who attended a solemn ceremony held in the premises of Parliament on the occasion of the 14th anniversary of the attack.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Prime Minister also met some of the martyrs’ family members who were present. The Parliamentarians also observed silence in the honour of the martyrs. On December 13, 2001, five heavily-armed gunmen stormed the Parliament complex and opened indiscriminate fire, killing nine persons.The martyrs included five Delhi Police personnel, a woman Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) official, two Parliament watch and ward staff, and a gardener.

Pawar play: Maharashtra’s politician for all seasons opens up on his 75th birthday

dna editor-in-chief Uday Nirgudkar with Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar

Zee 24Taas
In your life, a fighting spirit can be seen. Did you get this from your mother?My mother and father both. My mother was from a common family. She rebelled against the social norms of those times and educated herself. My father was in service but he was associated with the Satyashodhak movement and with Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil, a senior figure in educational sector. It is but natural that these things nourished our minds.Your family has a Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) background. Your mother was a PWP local board member and your brother-in-law is ND Patil. Still, you were attracted to the Congress.My mother was not a PWP local board member. She was elected to the Pune local board in 1936-37 for the first time as a Congress nominee. Around 1948, when the Congress went into the hands of Kakasaheb Gadgil and others in Maharashtra, a section of the party who thought intensely about rural areas felt uneasy. Yeshwantrao (Chavan) was part of that but never quit the Congress. Shankarrao More, Keshavrao Jedhe and others started PWP. Those who were uneasy in the Congress, such as my mother and elder brother, joined the PWP.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In reality, the BJP leaders do not want to remain with the Sena. But after Bihar elections, BJP may start adjusting with the Sena… digest its arrogance and accept its demandsLater Yeshwantrao Chavan inspired you. When did you first meet him?In my childhood, my house had photographs of Stalin, Lenin and Karl Marx but my attraction to the Left did not last long. Yeshwantrao and myself had the same attraction for Nehru and his focus on modern science, technology and democracy as a means of life. This attracted me to Yeshwantrao.You took decisions which would hurt politically but were progressive with long-term social ramifications. Of these, one was the renaming of the Marathwada university. Did it hurt you politically?100 per cent. Marathwada was educationally backward. The first educational complex in Aurangabad was Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Milind College. In Aurangabad university, the academic council unanimously decided to rename it after Babasaheb instead of Marathwada. A recommendation was made to the state but no implementation was done during the tenure of the three chief ministers. Then in Marathwada and Vidarbha, the Dalit Panther and such organisations raised the demand and were upset that Mahatma Phule, Punjabrao Deshmukh and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s names were given (to institutions) but despite the academic council’s unanimous decision, Ambedkar’s name was not given. This made me uneasy. I discussed the issue with my cabinet colleagues and SM Joshi gave me the moral strength. We took a decision but that very evening, houses of Dalits were set on fire. They were killed in Aurangabad, Nanded and other places. I had to suspend the decision in the next few days. It was a painful moment.Looking back, what would you call your most revolutionary decision?This can be one such decision. After the suspension, I lost my chief minister’s post and I had to pay the price in my base – Marathwada. When I became the CM in the 1980s, I realised that I had not taken the youth and people from villages into confidence before the decision. I rectified the mistake and took the decision again. The new generation welcomed it.What happened in 1978? The prevailing phrase then was you stabbed (Vasantdada Patil) in the back.The Congress was divided then. There was one Congress led by Indiraji (Gandhi) and one under Swarn Singh and Bramhanand Reddy. In Maharashtra, Yeshwantrao Chavan was our leader and he, Vasantrao Naik, Vasantraodada Patil were a part of the Swarn Singh Congress or Congress (S). We fought polls against each other but the two formed a government to keep the then Janata Party out. Vasantdada was the chief minister from our side and Nashikrao Tirpude was the deputy chief minister. From Day One, the government was not unified. In Delhi, Abasaheb Kulkarni, Annasaheb Shinde and others met at Yeshwantraoji’s place and concluded that we had to exit the government. The responsibility was handed over to me. Accordingly, I, Sushilkumar Shinde, Sundarrao Solankhe and Datta Meghe resigned as ministers. Chandrashekhar, our friend, declared support for us.Yeshwantrao telephoned me and asked me not to form the government. I agreed but Kisan Veer took the phone from me and since they were very close, told Yeshwantrao that if we back down, the political lives of these youth would be devastated and asked me to go ahead and form the government.This back-stabbing allegation has stuck to you. Do you think it would have been better if this has not happened?If this had not happened, the Congress would not have survived here.You went on to the Shiv Sena’s platform in 1984. What had happened then?In those days, textile mills defined Mumbai’s economy and were staffed by people from rural Maharashtra and Konkan. Firebrand leader Dr Datta Samant called for a textile strike. If Samant’s leadership was accepted by the textile sector, the mills would have gradually shut down on the pretext of strikes, and thousands would have been jobless. George Fernandes, myself asnd Balasaheb Thackeray decided to join hands to take the strike out of Samant’s hands. We succeeded then but unfortunately what we feared eventually happened.Modi made irresponsible, below the belt statements during elections. He should not have lowered the dignity of the PM’s post. In my 50 years of politics, I never saw Jawaharlal Nehru, VP Singh and Manmohan Singh use Modi like languageYou rejoined the Congress in Aurangabad in 1986. Is it true that Rajiv Gandhi kept you waiting for one-and-a-half years? He did not mention your name even once in his speech. Why?After Indira Gandhi’s death, Rajiv Gandhi expressed a wish that I should work with him. When I went for final darshan at her home in Delh and offered my condolences to Rajiv, he held my hand and said, “Sharad, I think enough is enough. Now the time has come, we have to work together.” I said we are with you in your crisis. Then polls were declared and we fought separately. I had no desire to contest the Lok Sabha polls and was the leader of the Opposition. There was a sympathy wave in Rajiv’s favour and there were doubts if the Opposition could survive. In those circumstances, to increase my colleagues’ confidence, I decided to contest. We met regularly. This cemented the decision to join hands and he assigned the responsibility to Arun Nehru. Arun told me in the first meeting that he was not amenable to me returning to the Congress as it would hurt both. But since the leader had said this, we had to finalise the modalities. We decided on the Aurangabad meeting. It is true that Rajiv Gandhi did not take my name but I was told that the family never took names on party platforms. So I never felt anything about it.Why did you clash with people close to you, such as Sonia Gandhi, Vasantdada Patil, and your contemporaries in the Congress, such as Antulay?All of them supported me later. Coming to Rajiv Gandhi, when we came together, I was not holding any post. I was in Goa when he called me at 3.30am and in his typical style asked me what I was doing. I said one sleeps at 3.30 in the morning. I asked him what he was doing. He said he was working. I said you are the prime minister, you have no choice, you have to work. He called me to Delhi. When I reached there, I was called to his home from the airport and was asked to take charge as the chief minister the next day. Shankarrao Chavan was the CM but had been moved to the centre.Do you think if this serpentine journey had been avoided, this Marathi manoos would have become the prime minsiter in 1991?I do not think so. In each of these times, there were reasons for the crisis. You spoke about Sonia Gandhi, now our relations are good. When the issue of making her the (Congress) president came up, we all felt that Sitaram Kesari had to be replaced. This included me, Anthony, Ghulam Nabi Azad and some more Congressmen. But one thing rankled me. When I was in Maharashtra, a meeting of the Congress parliamentary party was called and Pranab da (Mukherjee) put forth a proposal to change the Constitution so that an individual who was not a member of Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha could be the leader of the parliamentary party. After this was done, Soniaji was given the leadership of the Congress parliamentary party. I felt this was inappropriate.When I was in Maharashtra, Pranab da put forth a proposal to change the Constitution so that an individual who was not a member of the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha could be the leader of the parliamentary party. After that, Soniaji was given the leadership of the Congress parliamentary party. It was meant to stop meThis was akin to stabbing Sharad Pawar in the back…This was meant to stop me. Then Sonia Gandhi gave a letter asking me to lead the Congress in the Lok Sabha. I was uneasy. Differences started when there was a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) and Sonia Gandhi read a prepared speech that said the BJP was raising the issue of her foreign origins and if this was affecting the Congress party, she will have to think about it seriously. It was decided that the opinions of all in the working committee members would be sought. (PA) Sangma, who was close to Sonia Gandhi, said if leadership is given to you, there will be opposition and the Congress will have to pay the price. Tariq Anwar supported it. I felt these questions would surely come up but we can answer them. The meeting was later adjourned. I took a flight to Pune. At the airport, journalists surrounded me and said that Sonia Gandhi had resigned before the Congress office after we spoke about this. There were demonstrations outside the Congress office and demands were made to expel three of us. We three then met in Delhi and prepared a detailed letter for Sonia Gandhi, in which we said we are not opposed to her foreign origins, but these questions will come up. After getting the letter, the working committee expelled us for six years. We then formed the NCP.Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, Jayalalitha and Biju Patnaik came to power in their states on their own. The NCP, however, never managed to cross 70-75 seats in the 288 member Vidhan Sabha. Why?We are in the 50-69 range. Our weakness includes Mumbai, which has 36 Vidhan Sabha seats. NCP’s base is rural and consists of the Marathi manoos. But the Marathi manoos in Mumbai and Thane is connected to the Shiv Sena.This base that you are talking of has a caste colour, despite the leader being progressive. Why?Our support base essentially consists of farming communities in Marathwada and western Maharashtra, which are largely Marathas. But we have many people (from other communities). Jaidutta Ksirsagar is a Teli and opposition leader Dhananjay Munde is a Vanjari.If someone opens his mind, such as Aamir Khan, people attack him. He is Muslim, therefore, a soft target for these fringe elementsYou had warned about the impact of drought in the coming summer. You were the agriculture minister for years, your party was in power and when the Congress was in government, your loyalists held portfolios of irrigation and power. Despite this, why weren’t the problems around agriculture in Maharashtra solved?In Maharashtra, agriculture faces limitations regarding water. Expert committees said 65 per cent of the state will stay rain-fed. Maharashtra has the largest number of dams in India but due to the scarcity of water, the problems have not been solved.Are you promoting dynastic politics in NCP?I do not believe in dynastic politics. We are very much clear that people have to choose their leaders. Anyone in our party who is ready to work hard, is capable of expanding the party base and has a knack to solve people’s issues can be a leader. There are several in our party who are capable of leading. Late home minister RR Patil was one of them. Unfortunately he is no more. Besides, Jayant Patil, Dlip Valse Patil, Ajit Pawar, Jaydutta Kshirsagar and so on are there.But you have to choose only one as party leader?The above-mentioned leaders have the potential to lead the party. When the party workers feel that this leader can add more votes, he will be elected and accepted as a natural leader. Why people had to chose Indira Gandhi? Because she helped them get elected. She was a crowd puller. Same is the case with BJP’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In the recent general elections, BJP leaders and workers chose Narendra Modi as their leader, despite having a senior leader like LK Advani.After Bihar elections result, do you think that the third front is again getting stronger? Will such a jumbo alliance succeed?I was 100 per cent sure the combination of Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad and Congress will win the elections. The reason is that each one has its stronghold and solid base. If the Congress and NCP come together against the BJP, we will surely defeat the BJP and can come to power. If the regional parties come together in respective states, they can give a strong fight to the BJP. That can change the political picture of the entire country.Do you think that in Uttar Pradesh also, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati will come together?Not all, they will never come together. There is a possibility of the Congress and SP coming together or BSP and Congress and left forces may join hands.You had said that the mid-term poll was likely to happen?The mid-term elections will not take place at the centre because Narendra Modi has enough numbers to run a stable government. I predicted mid-term poll in Maharashtra because BJP had no majority and was surviving on the props of Shiv Sena. I think the BMC elections scheduled in 2017 will be a turning point for the state politics. BMC is crucial for the Sena. In BMC, Sena is in a strong position. At the same time, the BJP is also spreading its base so there is likely to be a stiff competition between Sena and BJP. That will widen the rift and finally cause the separation. In reality, the BJP leaders do not want to remain with the Sena. But after the Bihar elections, BJP may start adjusting with the Sena and digest its arrogance and accept its demands.Many people have returned their government awards in protest against the intolerance in the country. What is your take on it?People’s opinion and government’s stand are two different things. A recent controversial statement by former Army chief VK Singh, now a central minister, was unfortunate. Some one from BJP also said if you are eating beef, then you should go to Pakistan. These statements were made by the ruling party leaders as well as by people who are in the government. The sad part is no one is there to contain them. If someone opens his mind, such as Aamir Khan, people attack him. He is Muslim, therefore, a soft target for these fringe elements. I read that BJP president Amit Shah warned these fringe elements. If it is true then it is the right step. The PM must have also have given suggestions to contain these elements. I did not find anything wrong with artists returning their awards.Modi had come to Baramati during Lok Sabha elections and lambasted NCP. He even called it the Naturalist Corrupt Party. Now the same Modi is praising you.Modi made irresponsible, below the belt statements during elections. He was the prime ministerial candidate. He should not have lowered the dignity of the post. In my 50 years of politics, I never saw Jawaharlal Nehru, VP Singh and Manmohan Singh use Modi like language. During his tours, it is Modi’s responsibility to maintain the dignity of the country and its people.

Virendra Singh’s derogatory remarks expose BJP, Centre’s ‘vendetta politics’: Mallikarjun Kharge

Congress Leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday alleged that BJP MP Virendra Singh’s ‘derogatory and personal’ remarks has degraded the dignity of Parliament and exposed the ‘vendetta politics’ of the ruling dispensation.

Congress Leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday alleged that BJP MP Virendra Singh’s ‘derogatory and personal’ remarks has degraded the dignity of Parliament and exposed the ‘vendetta politics’ of the ruling dispensation.”The statement of Virendra Singh ji was such that it would degrade the dignity of Parliament. The respect and affection that should have been displayed in the Parliament was not seen in him. He kept making personal attack”. He included everyone from Rahul ji, Indira ji to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. If people with such ideologies are there in the Parliament and in the BJP then it shows what kind of vendetta politics they are doing,” Kharge told ANI here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Speaking during a discussion on drought, Singh lashed out at the Congress for obstructing Lok Sabha proceedings and said in an apparent reference to Sonia Gandhi, that the party only wants the ‘fair skinned’ to occupy the Prime Minister’s Office.”I want to tell Rahul and Scindia that these rulers are born not just from queens, but also from women who do menial jobs,” said Singh. He targeted Rahul Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia who were leading the Congress sloganeering in the House and said that while the Congress is talking about the pain of the farmers, their leaders had no knowledge of farming or agriculturists and cannot even distinguish between ‘Bajra, Jowar and Wheat”. Singh’s outburst came after the Congress forced repeated adjournments during a discussion on drought, by trying to get on to the Speaker’s podium when Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai was in the chair.

Rahul Gandhi prefers jail in National Herald case: Congress sources

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

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

National Herald case: Sonia holds meeting with Congress leaders

The meeting came even as the issue has generated much heat in Parliament.

Sonia Gandhi

With the party agitated over the National Herald case, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday held a strategy session in the evening with party leaders, including senior lawyers. The meeting came even as the issue has generated much heat in Parliament. P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal were among the legal experts of the party at the meeting which was also attended by some of the Congress general secretaries. Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and leader of the party in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, along with chief Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, too, attended the meeting, party sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Later, Chidambaram and Sibal also held a meeting with party MPs to brief them about the various aspects of the case so that they can counter the government. Earlier in the day, Abhisek Singhvi, the senior advocate for Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case, said that the court order in the matter was “unsustainable and erroneous”. He, however, said that does not mean that the party was casting any aspersions on the judiciary.

Congress leader explains why he was holding slippers for Rahul Gandhi

On Tuesday, Rahul Gandhi toured flood-hit regions of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu.

V Narayanasamy- Rahul Gandhi

After videos and images of him holding slippers to enable Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi wear them went viral, former Union Minister V Narayanasamy on Wednesday said he did that out of courtesy to help his party top leader wade through a flooded street in Puducherry.On Tuesday, Rahul Gandhi toured flood-hit regions of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu. During his visit to the Union Territory, regional Congress leaders, including Narayanasamy had accompanied him. Among Rahul’s tour pictures and videos was one showing Narayanasamy — slightly bent — and holding a pair of slippers for his leader to wear and it went viral.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A section of the media claimed that the former Union Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office during UPA-II was holding Rahul Gandhi’s slippers. Asked about it, Narayanasamy said,”it was not Rahul Gandhi’s slippers, it was mine and I was holding it for him to wear out of courtesy so that he could walk through a flooded neighbourhood.””Rahulji was wearing shoes and he had to remove it as the street was flooded. As he got ready to walk barefoot, I offered mine as the flooded street had thorns and rough stones,” he told PTI. “I followed Rahulji by wearing another pair of slippers given to me by a party worker,” he said.A former Member of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Narayanasamy is a prominent Congress leader in Puducherry.

National Herald case: 100% political vendetta coming out of PM’s office, says Rahul Gandhi

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said the National Herald case is “hundred per cent political vendetta coming out of PMO” but declared that he has full faith in the judiciary.

PTI
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said the National Herald case is “hundred per cent political vendetta coming out of PMO” but declared that he has full faith in the judiciary.He also rejected the charge that Congress was using Parliament to threaten judiciary saying “it is the other way round”.”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 told reporters outside Parliament.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said he has full faith in the judiciary. “I have full faith in judiciary. We will see at the end what comes out. Truth will come out.”Asked about Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu’s charge that Congress was using Parliament to threaten judiciary (by disruption), he said, “It is the other way round. Who is threatening judiciary. We all know.”Congress members disrupted proceedings in both the houses of Parliament yesterday and got the Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2 PM today.

Herald case: I’m Indiraji’s bahu, not scared of anyone, says Sonia Gandhi

Combative stand by Sonia-Rahul duo against govt raises fears of a Winter session washout

“I am Indiraji’s (Indira Gandhi’s) bahu (daughter-in-law) and am not scared of anyone,” said a frail-looking Sonia on Tuesday. The Congress president had just returned from the United States – where she was undergoing a medical checkup – only to be received by news of Delhi high court rejecting her plea to quash the trial court summons in the National Herald case. The case created a political storm with the Congress paralysing Parliament, accusing the government of “political vendetta” against its president and vice-president, Sonia and Rahul, a charge strongly denied by finance minister Arun Jaitley, who asked the mother-son duo to face trial.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The government dismissed Sonia’s warning, saying it had no role in the case, and accused the Congress of mixing up a court decision with politics. The trial court hearing the case fixed December 19 for appearance of Sonia, Rahul and others after they pleaded “please give us a date of your choice and that of the convenience of Dr Subramanian Swamy.” The senior Congress leaders interpreted her assertion as the BJP digging on death knell and almost an imminent washout of the winter session. They said the government can no longer expect any kind of cooperation to get the Good and Services Tax (GST) Bill and other key legislations passed in Parliament after such vindictiveness. The party leaders said the recent case was part of a series of attacks mounted by the BJP government on its leaders be it Himachal chief minister Virbhadra Singh, former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, Rajasthan PCC chief Sachin Pilot and Gujarat leader Shankarsinh Vaghela or former finance minister P Chidambar’s son Kartik.The equally combative Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi also asserted that he would not back off even an inch from what he was doing. “I absolutely see a political vendetta. This is the way Central government functions. “Let them (govt) do what they want. I will do what I want. I will not back off even an inch,” Rahul said.Parliament remained stalled throughout the day with repeated adjournments as the Congress MPs stormed the well in both the Houses creating a ruckus with anti-government slogans in protest of the case, though as a strategy nobody from the party answered to repeated query by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan in the Lok Sabha and deputy chairperson J Kurien in the Rajya Sabha to know about the issue.Trinamul Congress members, who kept standing in the Lok Sabha in support of the Congress, told the House in the post-lunch session after an adjournment that they too were protesting at the vindictive government putting the opposition leaders in jails.During one such adjournments, Sonia sat in the Central Hall surrounded by a large number of journalists for nearly 40 minutes but tactfully skipped questions claiming she was observing ‘maun-vrat’ (silence), except once when she expressed concern over the Lok Sabha Speaker not allowing Congress group leader Mallikarjun Kharge speak on the Dalit issue. Later in the day, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee expressed solidarity with Sonia saying it makes her “sad” and “feel bad” that she was asked to appear in court. “Sad that Sonia was asked to appear in court. Persons who have been in politics for such a long time, it is not good that they appear in court. I feel bad about it,” she told reporters in Kolkata. What Sonia Gandhi apparently referred to stems from the historic trial that Indira Gandhi was put through between 1977-1979 when she had to make several court appearances in cases misuse of power, corruption and electoral malpractices that were slapped on her during Janata government’s rule.She was also arrested a couple of times. On 3 October, 1977, she was arrested. But the very next day, she was released by the magistrate unconditionally as the charges against her couldn’t be proved. Again, in 1978, she was found guilty of breach of privilege and contempt by the parliamentary privileges committee and sent to jail for a week. In 1979, she made another appearance before the court on charges of electoral malpractices. This time she was granted bail. But these spate of arrests and court appearances helped her revive her political career as these events brought her to the front pages of national and international dailies making her look like a victim of the Janata government’s resorting to political vendetta and reaped the benefits in 1980 when she won the Lok Sabha elections to put the Congress back in power.

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.

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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.

6.5% of India suffering from some form of mental disorder

He said there were three centrally-run mental health institutes, 40 state-run medical hospitals and 398 departments of psychiatry in various medical colleges (183 in government and 215 in private) across the country to treat patients suffering from mental illnesses, including schizophrenia both in urban and rural areas.

More than six per cent of the total population is suffering from either a common or a severe mental disorder such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia, Health Minister JP Nadda said on Tuesday.”In 2005, the National Commission on Macroeconomic and Health reported that 10-20 million (1-2 per cent of population) suffered from severe mental disorder such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and nearly 50 million (5 per cent of the population) from common mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, yielding an overall estimate of 6.5 per cent of the population,” the Union Minister said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said there were three centrally-run mental health institutes, 40 state-run medical hospitals and 398 departments of psychiatry in various medical colleges (183 in government and 215 in private) across the country to treat patients suffering from mental illnesses, including schizophrenia both in urban and rural areas. “The government is also implementing the District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) in 241 districts in all the 36 states/UTs. Activities under DMHP include school and college counselling services, work place stress management and suicide prevention and community outreach activities,” he said.

National Herald case: Congress activists stage protest, try to march to PM residence

Activists of Delhi Congress and the party’s youth and women wings tried to march towards Prime Minister’s official residence on 7 Race Course Road, raising slogans in support of their leaders and slamming BJP, but were stopped by policemen, deployed there in large number.

Scores of Congress activists on Tuesday staged a protest and tried to take out a march from Teen Murti Bhavan to the Prime Minister’s official residence, accusing the BJP-led Centre of pursuing politics of “vendetta” in the National Herald case to “malign” the image of the party and its top leaders.Activists of Delhi Congress and the party’s youth and women wings tried to march towards Prime Minister’s official residence on 7 Race Course Road, raising slogans in support of their leaders and slamming BJP, but were stopped by policemen, deployed there in large number. Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken accused the BJP-led NDA government of following “vendetta politics” to “scare” the party.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Image Credit: PTI”The government is following a set pattern in targeting Congress leaders under its vendetta politics. Previously P Chidambaram and Virbhadra Singh were attacked and now they are trying to malign the image of our top leaders,” Maken said, adding the party will “resolutely” oppose such moves.”We will not allow BJP to pursue political vendetta. You will see a series of such protests throughout the country because the people will stand by the Congress as they know whatever BJP is doing is political vendetta,” said Shobha Oza, Mahila Congress president.
Image Credit: PTIYouth Congress president Amrinder Singh Raja said that “revenge politics” was being pursued by the BJP after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister.”As soon as Narendra Modi became PM, they have targeted Congress leaders including Rahul Gandhi. We are protesting against this vendetta politics,” Raja said.
Image Credit: PTIA local court on Tuesday gave Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi and four others, accused in the National Herald case, exemption from personal appearance but asked them to be present on December 19 when the case will be heard. The Delhi High Court had yesterday dismissed the plea of the Gandhis and others for quashing of summons in the Herald case.In the wake of the development, Congress members on Tuesday paralysed Parliament protesting against alleged “vendetta politics” leading to repeated adjournments in Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha. Image Credit: PTI

Congress trying to divert attention, government has no role in Herald case: Union MInister Venkaiah Naidu

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Naidu said it was “totally unethical, unfair and undemocratic on the part of the Congress party to obstruct Parliament’s functioning on account of the case which has been taken up by the judiciary, where the government has no role to play at all.”

Union MInister Venkaiah Naidu

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Hitting out at Congress for disrupting proceedings in Parliament, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu, on Tuesday, 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.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress members, upset over the National Herald case, on Tuesday, paralysed Parliament protesting against alleged “vendetta politics” leading to repeated adjournments in Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha.Parliamentary Affairs Minister Naidu said it was “totally unethical, unfair and undemocratic on the part of the Congress party to obstruct Parliament’s functioning on account of the case which has been taken up by the judiciary, where the government has no role to play at all.”He said there is no political vendetta on the part of the government and it is steadfast focussing its attention on the issues of development, repairing the economy, bringing back administration and providing good governance.Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the case was completely in the domain of the courts. By giving it the dimension that it is political vendetta, “Are they (Congress) suggesting that the courts are now playing politics? What a shame Congress party,” she said. Accusing the government of trying to malign his party, Congress leader Oscar Fernandez, one of the persons summoned by the court in the Herald case, said the case will be fought legally.”So many legal remedies are present before you. We will be legally fighting the case,” he said.Asked why Congress felt that there was political vendetta, Fernandez alleged that the government has not been able to fulfill any of the promises and the people were seeing failures.”They are scared of the public opinion going against them. We have seen the mandate in Bihar, Jhabua by-election and the results in Gujarat (local body polls). Fearing these things, they are trying to do everything possible to harm, to malign, to damage the Congress party but it is recoiling on them,” he said.Sitharaman said the matter related to money being allegedly collected for a political party which was used for commercial business which itself was violative of certain penal provisions.”If this has happened and if the courts find it fit that it has to be heard, it is completely in the domain of the courts.”A matured party cannot even by remote suggestion indicate that the courts are probably now playing politics. It does not go well for our country. I would rather think be you howsoever high, the law is above you,” she said.On Congress leader and lawyer Abhishek Many Singhvi’s charge that the present case is a “proxy litigation”, used as a “political vendetta” by BJP to attack senior Congress persons, Sitharaman said he wants the public to believe that the courts were yielding to political pressure which is nonexistent.

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
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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.

Dog remark: ‘Rahul trying to give political colour’, says government defending VK Singh

“Rahulji wakes up suddenly and starts some programme. V K Singh has not made any such statement,” Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters.

Rahul Gandhi leads protest outside Parliament

ANI
Defending Union Minister V K Singh, government on Monday rejected the opposition charge that he had made anti-dalit remarks and said it was unfortunate that Congress was bent on giving political colour to the matter.Speaking to reporters outside Parliament after Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi led a protest by party MPs demanding Singh’s ouster, Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy said that Singh is being “traumatised” for a statement that he has not made. “Rahulji wakes up suddenly and starts some programme. V K Singh has not made any such statement,” he told reporters.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rudy said that Singh respects the Constitution and held that he had not said anything what was being attributed to him. “Rahulji wants to do give this issue a political colour. It is unfortunate that a statement not made by someone is attributed to a minister. He is traumatised for that. This is not correct,” Rudy said.Rahul, 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 against Singh’s “dog” remarks held shortly before the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha assembled for the day.Singh, who is Minister of State for External Affairs, 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.

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