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Congress at 131: A decaying zamindar family with servile courtiers out of touch with the world

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DDCA row: No clean chit to Arun Jaitley, BJP begging for apology, says Arvind Kejriwal

Party spokesperson M J Akbar said the DDCA file which Kejriwal made his basis to attack Jaitley over the CBI raid and affairs of the cricket body does not name Jaitley.

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Trouble mounts for Bhai Jagtap after MNS abstains from voting

In all, there are 15 candidates in the fray for the six local authorities constituencies for which voting was held yesterday. Out of the total 2,622 croporators, 2585 corporators cast their ballot, with the overall voting percentage of 98.59 percent being recorded.

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Also ReadIndiaWorse than Trump supporters? When Mehdi Hasan discovered online ‘Hindutva’ trollsIndiaDDCA row: Arvind Kejriwal dares BJP, says let Jaitley be cross-examined in defamation casesIndiaCongress mouthpiece questions Nehru’s policies; says Sonia Gandhi’s father had fascist linksIndiaDarbhanga double murder case: Six detained, SHO suspendedIndiaKejriwal’s ‘stupid’ Odd-Even formula will only create chaos in Delhi: CongressIndiaSpeaker Sumitra Mahajan moots proposal for building new Parliament <!– /.block –>

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PM Modi, Jaitley victims of political intolerance: Ramdev

“Political intolerance” is at its peak in the country and the selective criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley by certain quarters is the fallout of this trend, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev has said.”Political intolerance is at its peak in the country. Therefore, someone is criticising Modi and some other Jaitley and the BJP,” Ramdev told reporters last night after taking part in a book release function.The book “Dev se Mahadev” was written by Akash, son of BJP general secretary Kailash Vijaywargiya. Ramdev also dismissed that religious tolerance has been on rise in the country.”I have not seen religious intolerance even once. On the contrary, nearly 125 crore people of this country, including me, have become victims of political intolerance,” he said. Ramdev also took a swipe at the Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi in connection with the National Herald issue.”Sonia Gandhi had launched thousands of cases against me during the tenure of the Congress-led UPA government, but I faced them all. Sonia and Rahul should face at least one investigation,” he said.Terming Lord Ram as the “soul of India and the national pride”, Ramdev said the issue of construction of Lord Ram’s temple in Ayodhya should not be politicised because it is attached to the faith of people.
Ramdev parried the query on whether parties involved in the issue of construction of the temple should make efforts to arrive at consensus instead of continued litigation.”Will court decide where Lord Ram was born. Entire India and world know that Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya and therefore the temple should be constructed in Ayodhya only,” he said. Responding to a query, Ramdev said that people of the country should have faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll promise to repatriate black money stashed abroad. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

‘We’ll fight the Modi government politically’: Congress set to launch all-out offensive against BJP

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

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

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

Centre ‘vindictive’ against opposition parties: TMC

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TMC will play the role of “formidable opposition” against the vindictive politics of BJP, TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay said.
File Photo
PTI
BJP-led central government is pursuing vindictive politics against opposition parties in the country and Trinamool Congress will oppose this, TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay on Saturday said.”It is well known that the BJP-led government at the Centre is pursuing a vindictive and vendetta politics against the opposition parties. I don’t want to mention any particular case, but this is a well known fact. We are against such tendency of the Centre in a federal and democratic structure,” Bandyopadhyay told PTI.TMC, he said, will play the role of “formidable opposition” against the vindictive politics of BJP.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>His comments were made on the day when Congress President Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi appeared in a Delhi court in connection with the National Herald case filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy and were granted unconditional bail.

Is the BJP ‘match fixing’ survival of Congress by being arrogant or simply stupid?

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National Herald Case: Here’s why Congress won day one

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It is very evident that the party will look to approach this matter with a two pronged approach

PTI
The hype was being built from the morning. Journalists waiting with their mikes and cameras, expectantly looking for a piece of trivia or breaking news in front of the Patiala Court, dishing out minute details of #SoniaRahulHazirHo. The Congress too had its fair share of preparation. Congress workers went through the motions as they displayed their solidarity across the length and breadth of the country. In the capital, the party had its battery of legal luminaries ready to bail out Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. With them in tow, was former PM Manmohan Singh to provide moral support. The process of granting of bail was done in just a matter of ten minutes, reminiscent of the time in May when Salman Khan got bail. But it is just the beginning of a possibly long legal tangle and judging by the reaction of the Congress party after suffering the initial shock of its party leaders under scanner, it is now prepared to slog this case out under the spotlight. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It is very evident that the party will look to approach this matter with a two-pronged approach. On one hand, it will exhaust every legal option possible to save its two top leaders. On the other hand, Congress party will aggressively pursue the line where it accuses the Modi government of being vindictive. With the case unlikely to get over any time soon, it gives Congress enough fodder to keep the pot boiling against the Modi government for a significant period of time. The effects are manifold. Firstly, now it has a legitimate excuse to put a spanner in the government’s day-to-day functioning in Parliament by crying hoarse about political vendetta. It is a play Congress has learnt from the BJP’s book. Politics of obstructionism works in this country and the party will like to practice it fully to halt Modi’s developmental agenda. Secondly, at a time when the Congress is still trying to get out of the abysmal low of 2014 elections, the entire party is suddenly speaking in one voice to save the first family. The Gandhis are the glue which essentially keeps an ideologically directionless party like Congress together. Hence the leaders are more than eager to save the Gandhis and suddenly all the warts in the party setup is glossed over. It is not a full-proof strategy but certainly a workable one for a party looking to regroup after an electoral backlash. As for BJP, its challenge is to build a counter-narrative to call Congress’ bluff in front of the electorate. Today, the Patiala Court gave unconditional bail to the Gandhis. It also rejected Swami’s demand of putting restrictions on their foreign travels. According to PTI, “The accused are reputed persons having deep political grassroots and there is no apprehension that they will flee,” the Magistrate said.BJP so far has been eager to push the National Herald case as a matter between the Congress and Swamy. But with Congress repeatedly trying to invoke a Modi connection, can BJP shrug of the perception that there is some greater power pulling the string from behind. BJP will hope that the muck will stick to the Gandhis and it will like to believe that the fact that first family of Congress had to make a court appearance is sort of a political victory. But if nothing tangible comes out, Congress will play the victim card to the hilt. This is more of a political slugfest than the complicated legal and financial analysis of whether there was cheating and misappropriation of funds by Gandhis in acquiring ownership of National Herald. Congress by playing with a straight bat on a sticky wicket has been the smarter side so far. Can BJP take the cue and change the game? All bets are open till February 20.

National Herald case: Congress workers protest by burning effigy of PM Modi in Lucknow

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The partymen shouted slogans against the NDA government accusing them of framing Congress leaders to harass them and targeting Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case.

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were granted bail by Patiala House district court on Saturday, December 19, 2015.
File Photo
PTI
Congress leaders and workers on Saturday burnt an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and took out a protest march here against the NDA government, accusing it of falsely implicating leaders of opposition parties including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case.Led by Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Nirmal Khatri and AICC secretary assistant in-charge of state affairs Prakash Joshi, partymen took out a padyatra from the state party office to General Post Office here to lodge their protest against the Centre.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The partymen shouted slogans against the NDA government accusing them of framing Congress leaders to harass them and targeting Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case. Youth Congress activists here burnt Modi’s effigy at the busy Hazratganj Crossing to mark the protest.Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul today sought and got bail in the National Herald case after a local court rejected complainant Subramanian Swamy’s opposition to the relief for them on the ground they are influential and can flee the country. The case is based on a private criminal complaint lodged by Swamy against them of cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.

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

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

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

National Herald case: Congress leaders attack BJP, workers protest throughout country

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It’s a political vendetta led by, I am saying with a sense of responsibility, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Swamy is only a small cog in this entire wheel of conspiracy,” Surjewala alleged.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad

Trading guns at each other over the National Herald issue, Congress today alleged that the Modi government was indulging in political vendetta while BJP claimed that it is a legal matter and the opposition party has been trying to give a wrong impression to the people.Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi are scheduled to appear before a magistrate today in connection with the National Herald case.Raising questions about the government’s action, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said if it was not indulging in “political vendetta” then why Subramanian Swamy, who was the complaintant in the case, has been given ‘Z’ category security and only on Friday, a “Cabinet minister’s house” in Delhi’s Lutyen’s Zone.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: LIVE National Herald case: Sonia, Rahul Gandhi to appear in court; Congress meets at Azad’s houseHe also raised questions about statements made by senior BJP ministers on the issue to support his contention that the government was indulging in “political vendetta” and also referred to the removal of the previous Enforcement Directorate Chief.”It’s a political vendetta led by, I am saying with a sense of responsibility, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Swamy is only a small cog in this entire wheel of conspiracy,” Surjewala alleged.He, however, emphasised that his party and the leadership have complete faith in the judiciary, its processes and will fight the legal battle in court.”We will fight the legal battle in accordance with the law and we will fight the political battle with the Modi government both inside Parliament and also by being the voice of 125 crore people of this country,” Surjewala said.He said that since his party leadership has faith and respect the court processes, workers also have been advised not to gather outside the court in Delhi. BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao, meanwhile, said that initially the Congress party’s attempt was to build pressure and give an opinion to the people that this was some kind of administrative action or political vendetta by rivals.But the court order has “nailed all these absurd allegations. They have even tried to use or mortgage their political and parliamentary strength to get some kind of relief in the court of public opinion by building up political pressure. But the reality is, this is a legal case,” Rao said.

National Herald case: Sonia, Rahul may not invoke Indira’s ‘give me handcuffs’ dare, may get home in time for tea

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National Herald Case: Sonia, Rahul may seek bail

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

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi

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

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

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National Herald case: Stonefaced Mum and darling son will eclipse Kejriwal-Modi spat on Saturday

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India’s Gandhis due to appear in court

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

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:

Watch: Congress workers get burned while lighting Narendra Modi’s effigy to protest National Herald case

According to various media reports, Congress workers suffered burn injuries while protesting against the National Herald case in Shimla. Reportedly, three Congress workers were burned when they were lighting up an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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According to various media reports, Congress workers suffered burn injuries while protesting against the National Herald case in Shimla. Reportedly, three Congress workers were burned when they were lighting up an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. ​.What is the case about?Sonia and Rahul were summoned in the case in June 2014, after Swamy had filed a complaint accusing them of cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of now-defunct English daily National Herald. The paper was set up by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1938, and shut down briefly in the 1940s and 1970s, and ceased operations in 2008. Swamy claims that Sonia and Rahul floated Young Indian which bought Associated Journals Limited, publisher of National Herald and the company was shut down by Sonia.He claims that Congress funds were used to buy Associated Journals Limited and that the mother-son duo aimed to grab property worth Rs 2000-crore. The Gandhis are the directors of Young Indian and own 76% and the remaining shares are owned by Motilal Vohra, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda. Swamy has alleged that the Congress gave an unsecured loan of Rs 90 crore to the company. (Read: Swamy v/s Sonia Gandhi — All you need to know about National Herald Case)

National Herald issue: No breakthrough in sight on Parliament logjam

Modi keen to get through the GST bill but it is yet to decide and agree to the three amendments the Congress wants

Sonia Gandhi

The Congress looks all set to brazen out the National Herald issue by reviving recently debated corruption issues in BJP ruled states and launching fresh attacks on the ruling BJP in the week of the winter session beginning on Monday. Not only it is expected to re-seek parliament’s indulgence on issues of corruption including Lalit gate involving external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister Vasudhara Raje Scindia and Vyapam scam of Madhya Pradesh Vyapam but also raise pitch on recent CAG findings on Rice scam in Chhattisgarh and counter PM Modi on the issue of cooperative federalism for keeping Kerala chief minister out from an inaugural event.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress on Sunday said that chief minister Oomen Chandy was kept out from a function to unveil the statue of Congress icon and former Kerala chief minister, R Sankar in Kollam by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. It described it a fresh attempt of BJP and RSS to misappropriate another Congress Icon of the yore after trying to usurp Sardar Vallabhai Patel and Lal Bahdur Shastri. “It was incidentally the chief minister who invited Prime Minister, Modi in the first instance, on the request of Vellapally Natesan general secretary, Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam to unveil the statue,” the Congress said in a statement. At loggerheads with the ruling BJP, Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s met senior party leaders informally at her house on late Sunday evening apparently to decide about the overall strategy to deal with raging issues in the parliament that includes National Herald and positioning on the GST bill among others. Seen highlighting different issues in the two houses of Parliament, the Congress also wants to bring its MPs in sync and raise similar issues simultaneously in both the houses. The meeting assumes significance, as the week of the winter session beginning on Monday is being seen as crucial to decide if issues would settle down between the two bickering parties to allow parliament to function normally where important legislative business is getting piled up with every lost day. PM Modi is keen to get through the GST bill but it is yet to decide and agree to the three amendments the Congress wants it to carry out which include doing away with a proposed additional 1% levy on the supply of goods to be levied over and above GST; capping of the GST rate at 18% and its inclusion in the constitutional amendment bill; and creation of an independent dispute resolution mechanism. To BJP’s irritation, it has also said that GST is not its only priority as other bills are important too. However, as no meeting could take place to break the logjam between the BJP and the Congress last week, the Congress is expected to keep the pot boiling by reviving issues that had lost the lustre during fast faced developments.

National Herald Case: Allegations against Sonia, Rahul are ‘deliberately orchestrated’, alleges Congress

Senior party leaders and legal luminaries P Chidambaram and Ashwani Kumar insisted that all transactions in question are legal and expressed confidence that both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will be “fully vindicated” through the judicial process.
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PTI
Amid the raging row over National Herald case, Congress on Sunday asserted that the allegations and “insinuations” against party leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are “deliberately orchestrated”, “patently false” and “defamatory” as they have “not received a rupee”.Senior party leaders and legal luminaries P Chidambaram and Ashwani Kumar insisted that all transactions in question are legal and expressed confidence that both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will be “fully vindicated” through the judicial process. “(There is) nothing wrong in this transaction. In fact, by putting a non-profit company as the dominant shareholder, we have ensured that not one rupee from the assets can go to any private beneficiary,” said Chidambaram said defending the move to transfer the shares of Associate Journalst Limited (AJL) to Young India, a company of which Sonia and Rahul are major shareholders.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sonia and Rahul have nothing to worry because “they have not received a rupee benefit”, the former Finance Minister said, while raising questions over Modi government’s role saying it had acted hastily on a “private complaint” to reopen a shut case. He claimed that the assets of AJL are now “doubly secure” as a non-profit company is the dominant shareholder.Kumar, in a statement here, said there are “incontrovertible facts” which make it obvious that “allegations and insinuations against the Congress leadership and others are deliberately orchestrated, are patently false and defamatory. All transactions in question are entirely legal.” In this context, he listed some details of the case as well as Delhi High Court’s judgement of December 7 which, according to him, “held that no question of criminality, even upon a prima facie basis arises at this stage”.He reproduced Para 36 of the judgement as saying: ‘ It needs no reiteration that this is not the stage to even prima facie opine that the ingredients of any of the alleged offences exist to justify putting petitioners on trial or not.Any observation made in this regard by the trial court or this court shall have no bearing when the case of the petitioners is considered at the charge state.’ Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have been summoned by a Delhi court in connection with the case on December 19 after the High Court refused to agree to their plea for personal exemption. This issue led to stalling of Parliament for most of the last week with the Congress creating uproar, alleging “political vendetta”. “Congress respects the integrity of the judicial process and is confident that its leaders will be fully vindicated through the judicial process,” Kumar said. Chidambaram told CNN-IBN that Young India is a non-profit company, which means not one rupee from AJL can be given to any one or can be received by the non profit company. “Infact the AJL’s assets have been doubly secured today,” he said, adding there was “no illegality” as there was a need to secure the properties of AJL.When it was pointed out to him that in the Young India company majority of the shares are held by Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, he said “it is again reflection of Congress party structure…. Congress party was lender, now it is a Congress party organisation is a lender. It is the same. The lender is a non-profit company. Much better.” Ashwani Kumar said the transaction in question dates back to November 2010 and was declared by the management of AJL and YI itself in the requisite filings before the competent authorities.”The fact of full public disclosure of the transaction itself demolishes any suggestion of criminality against Directors and shareholders of AGL and YI,” he insisted. The Congress leader said “in the current holding structure YI – a non profit Section 25 company is a major shareholder of AJL which further enhances the safeguards with regard to the use etc. of the properties of AJL. The Directors and shareholders of a non-profit Section 25 company are legally prohibited from deriving any financial benefit in any form whatsoever for themselves. Not a single paisa has been received by YI, its Directors or its shareholders.” He said the properties that belong to AJL continue to remain with AJL.”YI does not own a single real estate asset or immovable property. The majority of AJL properties are in the nature of government leases and according to the terms of the lease(s) the sale of the land under lease is prohibited. For this reason properties of AJL could not be liquidated or sold to clear its outstanding loans,” Kumar added. Insisting that “There is no restriction in law on political parties against advancing loans,” he said, “This was confirmed even by the Election Commission” in its order of November 2012 on a petition for de-recognition of the Congress moved by Subramanium Swamy.”It is a fundamental legal principle that acts lawfully done, as in the present case, cannot give rise to any criminality whatsoever,” the former Law Minister said. He said AJL has been closely associated with the Congress party since 1937 and has espoused its ideology throughout. “It was only natural for the Congress to financially support AJL over the last several decades. The loans advanced by the party to AJL were used to pay unpaid salaries, VRS, taxes, dues to civic agencies and to discharge statutory and other liabilities of AJL.” About the uproar created by Congress over the National Herald issue, Chidambaram said, “We are not criticising the judge but we are entitled to criticise the judgement and that’s what we are doing.” He said there is a summon and the Gandhis will appear “but that doesn’t mean they have lost their right to question the judgement.” The Congress leader criticised the Delhi High court judgement which rejected the plea of Rahul, Sonia and others against summons.”I am criticising the judgement on its own merits. The judgement says, somethings smack of criminality but (says)…. its no part of the exercise to even allude to which section is attracted. Now that’s incomprehensible judgement according to me,” he added. Chidambaram emphasised that the logjam in Parliament has nothing to do with the National Herald case but said the conduct of the government in the matter raised suspicions as “it allowed a closed enquiry to be re-opened at the instance of a private complainant” after sacking the Enforcement Director.”The private complainant’s letter is acted, haste poste haste, the ED is sacked and the enquiry is opened,” he said, adding “Doesn’t that raise suspicions in the minds of the people?”With regard to GST bill, he said Congress considers it a progressive measure provided its “legitimate concerns” are met by the government. He said the government is yet to respond to the concerns raised by Congress at the Prime Minister’s tea meeting.”The last I heard about the GST is that the Prime Minister called a meeting. We have given our concerns in very precise terms,” he said. The government, he said, had promised to come back with revised formulations which it has not done yet and the Congress is waiting for the response.”GST was our idea.. Gujarat and MP opposed it,” the former Finance Minister said, adding he is “happy that those who had held this Bill are now supporting it.” Chidambaram was asked about charges of vendetta levelled by Congress leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad in Parliament. To this, he said if there has to be criticism of the government, then Parliament is the place

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

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Watch: Subramanian Swamy explaining National Herald Case

Subramanian Swamy in 2012 had filed a complaint accusing them of cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of now-defunct English daily National Herald

National Herald Case has been hogging the limelight of late. Congress is currently keeping the Parliament paralysed accusing political vendetta against top leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. Subramanian Swamy in 2012 had filed a complaint accusing them of cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of now-defunct English daily National Herald. The paper was set up by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1938, and shut down briefly in the 1940s and 1970s, and ceased operations in 2008. Swamy claims that Sonia and Rahul floated Young Indian which bought Associated Journals Limited, publisher of National Herald and the company was shut down by Sonia. He claims that Congress funds were used to buy Associated Journals Limited and that the mother-son duo aimed to grab property worth Rs 2000-crore. The Gandhis are the directors of Young Indian and own 76% and the remaining shares are owned by Motilal Vohra, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda. Swamy has alleged that the Congress gave an unsecured loan of Rs 90 crore to the company. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sonia and Rahul Gandhi were issued summons on Monday to appear before the court, but got temporary reprieve on Tuesday.They have been asked by the trial court to appear on 19th December. Here’s Subramanian Swamy explaining the case.

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

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

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

National Herald case: Transfer of shares to Young Indian Limited ‘totally illegal’, says Shanti Bhushan

Former law minister Shanti Bhushan on Friday said that the transfer of shares of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) to Sonia-Rahul Gandhi controlled private firm Young Indian Limited (YIL) was ‘totally illegal’.

Former law minister Shanti Bhushan on Friday said that the transfer of shares of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) to Sonia-Rahul Gandhi controlled private firm Young Indian Limited (YIL) was ‘totally illegal’. “I don’t think any notice were sent to any of the shareholders. The transfer of control and shares from a large number of patriotic people to a family is ‘totally illegal’. A large number of patriotic Indians had contributed for a public cause. Their right has been taken away and transferred to a close held company, namely Young India, in which there are only four share holders Sonia Gandhi 38%, Rahul 38%, MotiLal Vora 12% and Oscar Fernandes 12%,” Bhushan told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Bhushan said his father had bought large number of shares of AJL in 1938, which he had inherited. “National Herald was started in 1937-38. My father was a Congressman, and therefore, like all well to do Congressmen, he had also subscribed to the creation of the National Herald and he had paid for a large number of shares. These facts have to be asserted from the registrar of companies. His name still continues to be on the shareholders list,? he added. The Prime Minister was visibly upset with the opposition party`s unrelenting protests after a Delhi court asked Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to appear before it on December 19 over BJP leader Subramanian Swamy`s lawsuit accusing them of financial misappropriation in taking control of the defunct National Herald newspaper.”Democracy cannot function on the whims and fancies of anyone,” the Prime Minister said. Repeated adjournments of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have stymied the government`s efforts to push key reforms, especially the goods and services tax bill, in the ongoing winter session.

‘Queen’ is not above the law: Arun Jaitley hits out at Sonia Gandhi over National Herald Case

In a sharp dig at Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said India has never accepted that the ‘queen’ is not answerable to the law and asked her and Rahul Gandhi to contest the issue in courts instead of disrupting Parliament.

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In a sharp dig at Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said India has never accepted that the ‘queen’ is not answerable to the law and asked her and Rahul Gandhi to contest the issue in courts instead of disrupting Parliament. Rejecting the Congress charge of political vendetta being pursued by the government, he said the Government has “so far not taken any punitive action”.Posting his comments on Facebook, Jaitley was apparently referring to the Congress plea against summons issued to Sonia, her son Rahul Gandhi and others, which was dismissed by Delhi High Court. The Congress later changed tact and submitted to the trial court that they were ready to appear. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Without naming Sonia or Rahul Gandhi, Jaitley said the Congress leaders created a ‘Chakravyuh’ for themselves through a series of financial transactions where tax-exempt income of a political party was transfered to a real estate company. “The Enforcement Directorate has not issued any notice to them. The Income Tax authorities will follow their own procedure… The Government has passed no order in relation to the disputed transactions,” he said. Detailing the issues involved, he said a Criminal Court had taken cognizance of the offence and the High Court agreed with the Trial Court.”The battle has to be fought legally. But the results of legal battles are always uncertain. The Congress is, therefore, crying foul and calling it political vendetta,” he said asking if the charge was against the courts.The minister said there was equality before the law for everyone.”No one is above the law. India has never accepted the diktat that the queen is not answerable to the law. Why should the Congress Party and its leaders not contest the notice before the Court?”The Government cannot help them in the matter, nor can the Parliament. Why then disturb the Parliament and prevent the legislative activity from continuing?,” he said.Jaitley said the answer to the Congress leadership landing up in a ‘Chakravyuh’ is to fight their battle legally and not disrupt Parliament. “By disrupting democracy the financial web created by the Congress leaders cannot be undone,” he said. Congress has for three days in a row stalled functioning of the Rajya Sabha, where the crucial Goods and Service Tax (GST) is awaiting approval for rolling out the landmark indirect tax regime from April 1, 2016. WHY THE CONGRESS IS WRONGThe Congress Party, for the past few days, has disrupted both houses of Parliament. Its…
Posted by Arun Jaitley on Thursday, 10 December 2015

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.

PM Modi greets Sonia Gandhi on her birthday

“On her birthday, greetings to Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi. May Almighty bless her with long life & good health,” Modi tweeted.

PM wishes Sonia Gandhi on birthday
File Photo
PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday greeted Congress President Sonia Gandhi on her 69th birthday, wishing her a long life and good health.”On her birthday, greetings to Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi. May Almighty bless her with long life & good health,” Modi tweeted.Modi’s greetings came even as the Congress party and the government were locked in a bitter fight with the opposition alleging “political vendetta” after Sonia and her son Rahul were summoned by a court in the National Herald case. Congress on Tuesday stalled Parliament and took to streets over the issue.

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

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

National Herald Case: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee expresses solidarity with Sonia Gandhi

Mamata Banerjee said that it was sad that Sonia Gandhi was asked to appear in the court.
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dna Research & Archives
Expressing her solidarity with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul over receiving summons from a trial in the national Herald case, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said it’s sad that she (Sonia) was asked to appear in the court.”If I get time, I will meet Sonia ji, and will wish her on her birthday,” she said.Elaborating on her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mamata said: “Last time, when I had come to Delhi, the Prime Minister was on a trip abroad; and that is why, I have to come again. There was nothing new, and I have come here to seek flood and drought reliefs for Bengal. Flood had hit Bengal six months back, but there are many areas, where we haven’t got money.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “At present, we are paying 8-10 thousand crores as interest for the money lent by the Left Front Government, and if we pay such a huge amount as interest, how we will do development,” said Mamata, demanding a full-fledged meeting of the Niti Aayog, where they could discuss such things.”Swami Vivekananda, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and Rabindranath Tagore were from Bengal, then why the state is deprived,” she said.

National Herald Case: I will not budge an inch, says Rahul Gandhi

The Congress Vice-President charged the BJP with adopting ‘vendetta politics’, while responding to the case involving him, his mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi and others.
File Photo
PTI
As the National Herald case involving Congress’ top brass snowballed on Tuesday, a defiant Rahul Gandhi charged the BJP with adopting “vendetta politics” and vowed to continue questioning the Narendra Modi government and not “budge an inch.””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,” Rahul said.The Congress Vice-President charged the BJP with adopting ‘vendetta politics’, while responding to the case involving him, his mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi and others. His job as an opposition party member was to question the government, he said, adding, he was “not afraid” of these things.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, at Cuddalore, he accused the BJP of resorting to “political vendetta,” on a day when a magistrate court in Delhi exempted him and Sonia Gandhi from personal appearance today in the case. It had however directed them to be present before it on December 19.”Well I absolutely see a political vendetta. This is the way the Central government functions, the way they think,” Rahul, who was in Cuddalore to distribute aid to flood-hit people, said, showing a similar combative attitude adopted by his mother.Invoking the legacy of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her mother-in-law, Sonia Gandhi had asserted that she was not scared of anyone. Rahul also vowed to keep up the pressure on the NDA government.While Rahul initially said that he will react on the issue after returning to Delhi where Parliament is in session, he, however, later said there was “political vendetta” on the issue while responding to repeated queries from reporters.

Gandhis ordered to appear in court

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

Proceedings in Parliament stalled due to Congress protest

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

Parliament proceedings stalled
File Photo

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

National Herald case: Will Sonia Gandhi, Rahul appear before court today

Turning down the plea of Gandhis and five others for exemption from personal appearance before the trial court – where it is listed for Tuesday – on a complaint filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, justice Sunil Gaur said the gravity of the allegations levelled against them has a ” fraudulent flavor” involving a national political party and “serious imputations smacking of criminality”, and needs to be properly looked into.

In a big blow to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, the Delhi High Court on Monday rejected their pleas for quashing the summons issued by the trial court in the National Herald case, and made scathing observations on their “questionable conduct” regarding how they took control of the publication. Turning down the plea of Gandhis and five others for exemption from personal appearance before the trial court – where it is listed for Tuesday – on a complaint filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, justice Sunil Gaur said the gravity of the allegations levelled against them has a ” fraudulent flavor” involving a national political party and “serious imputations smacking of criminality”, and needs to be properly looked into.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress said it will move the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the high court order. “How does it become a case of cheating, we fail to understand…which is the challenge which led to the stay of over one year,” asked Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Other than Gandhis, those accused in the case are Suman Dubey, Moti Lal Vohra, Oscar Fernandez, Sam Pitroda and Young India Ltd. The judge, in his 27-page order, said: “After having considered the entire case in its proper perspective, this court finds no hesitation to put it on record that the modus operandi adopted by petitioners in taking control of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) via special purpose vehicle i.e. Young India Ltd (YIL), particularly when the main persons in Congress party, AJL and YIL are the same, evidences a criminal intent. Whether it is cheating, criminal misappropriation or criminal breach of trust is not required to be spelt out at this nascent stage.” “In any case, by no stretch of imagination, it can be said that no case for summoning petitioners as accused in the complaint in question is made out. Questionable conduct of petitioners needs to be properly examined,” the order said, rejecting Gandhis’ argument that there was no illegality in Young India Ltd. (YIL) taking over Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL), the publisher of the now-defunct National Herald newspaper, as per the Companies Act. On June 26, last year, the trial court had issued summons to the Congress leaders on Swamy’s complaint about “cheating” in the acquisition of Associated Journals Ltd. (AJL) by Young India Ltd. (YIL) – “a firm in which both Sonia and Rahul own 38% stake each”. Swamy had claimed that Sonia and Rahul, as majority shareholders of YIL, benefited from the acquisition of AJL. He alleged that AJL had received an interest-free loan of Rs 90.25 crore from the Congress and that the party transferred the debt to YIL for Rs 50 lakh. At the time, AJL, which had Congress leader Motilal Vora as its chairman, claimed it could not repay the loan and agreed to transfer the company and its assets to YIL. Narrating the facts of the case, the high court expressed its displeasure over the involvement of the Congress saying “considering the fact that AJL has sizeable assets of Rs 2,000 crore, it needs to be explained by the petitioners (accused persons) as to what was the need to assign the huge debt of Rs 90 crore when this debt could have been easily liquidated by AJL from its sizeable assets. Even writing off such a huge debt by the Congress party can legitimately attract allegations of cheating, fraud, etc…” Swamy files caveat in SCSubramanian Swamy on Monday filed a caveat in the Supreme Court to pre-empt any ex-parte order on appeals likely to be filed by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul in the National Herald case. “I have filed a caveat in the Supreme Court that in case they file any petition, it should not be heard and no order be passed without giving me an opportunity or without hearing me,” he said.

BJP demands resignation of Kerala CM Oommen Chandy

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

Oommen Chandy

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

A moderate Modi: Is the BJP finally planning to switch off its election mode?

PTI
When Narendra Modi started speaking in the Parliament on the Constitution on Friday, most expected the PM, armed with razor sharp wit and sarcasm, to attack the opposition. The stage was set with other senior leaders from the government already having taken potshots at the opposition. But what happened next shocked many. Modi played the role of a perfect statesman, invoked Nehru, paid tributes to all the past Prime Ministers and spoke about cohesion in governance. The PM also gave an account of his foreign trips on the floor of the Parliament.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shorty after that Modi greeted Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh for a session of ‘chai pe charcha’. According to reports, Sonia Gandhi did most of the talking and the PM and his ministers tried to assuage the Congress leadership about their doubts regarding the GST. On Sunday in his monthly radio program ‘Mann Ki Baat’, PM Modi spoke about ‘EK Bharath Shreshta Bharat’ to promote inclusiveness amidst concerns about growing intolerance.Just a month ago, Modi steadfastly refused to mention Nehru in his speech at the India-Africa forum summit even though the African leaders were gratuitous in paying tribute to India’s first PM in cementing the relationship. So what changed in the interim? One suspects BJP’s defeat in the Bihar elections is one of the major reasons behind this change in tactics. The air of invincibility that Modi enjoyed, even after the Delhi debacle, is now gone. The BJP can’t just win elections by having Modi turn up and whip up a mass frenzy. What it will need is strong groundwork and the ability to show tangible results on the ground. For that BJP needs the Parliament to function so that crucial bills like the GST pass. But the BJP is currently a hopeless minority in the Rajya Sabha. So it needs the Congress’ help to get crucial bills through. PM Modi’s outreach can be looked at that context, as a way to mend fences with Congress.The BJP can also afford to tone down its rhetoric for some time as it doesn’t stand to gain much in the upcoming series of polls except in Assam. So till mid-2017, when Uttar Pradesh goes to polls, BJP can afford to lie low and focus on governance and finally gett out of poll mode. But will the opposition allow them to settle down? Having the government firefight peripheral issues helps the opposition.But can the BJP crack down on its fringes who make unsavoury statements from time to time and derail the governance agenda? That remains one big question mark. Sadly for BJP, it is easier to cut down on rhetoric but much more difficult to tame inherent bigotry.

EVS Elangovan’s supporters seek woman MLA’s removal from Congress

On Saturday, State Mahila Congress President and MLA S Vijayadharani had alleged “harassment, use of filthy, abusive, and defamatory language” by Elangovan against her. She also wrote to the party top brass, seeking his removal.

Tamil Nadu Congress president E V K S Elangovan
File Photo
PTI
A day after a woman Congress MLA alleged harassment at the hands of Tamil Nadu unit president E V K S Elangovan, his supporters have sought her removal even as the legislator air-dashed to Delhi to ease the State unit chief out of his office. Of the 61 district Congress presidents, 12, including R Mano (North Chennai), N Rangabashyam (Central Chennai) and V R Sivaraman (Kanchi North), have sought expulsion of S Vijayadharani from the party.On Saturday, State Mahila Congress President and MLA S Vijayadharani had alleged “harassment, use of filthy, abusive, and defamatory language” by Elangovan against her. She also wrote to the party top brass, seeking his removal.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an apparent fall-out today, the 12 district presidents in a joint-statement said “Annai (Mother) Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi should take action against Vijyadharani and establish discipline in the party.She must be removed from her Mahila presidentship and basic membership.” They alleged that Vijayadharani was “haughty and contiuously functioning in a manner which besmirched Congress culture and had taken the matter to police which could be settled within the party.”On November 27, the MLA had sought action from Elangovan against those who had dumped a Mahila unit banner in the restroom. She had alleged that Elangovan rather than taking action had used filthy language and asked her to get out.Referring to this, the functionaries said action could be taken only on the basis of a formal complaint and cannot be done offhandedly.”We are in the process of sending a memorandum to the high command seeking Vijayadharani’s removal,” Elangovan confidant and Kanchipuram (North) Congress president V R Sivaraman told PTI.Vijayadharani, meanwhile, left for Delhi today and her supporters said she was “waiting to meet party chief Sonia Gandhi and Vice-president Rahul Gandhi to protect party interests and seek Elangovan’s removal.”Elangovan reiterated he did not use intemperate language against Vijayadharani. “I did not address her disrespectfully. Since she spoke loudly I asked her to not do it and since she continued, I asked her leave my room,” he told reporters adding “as she did not go out, I got out of the room.”Meanwhile, based on the complaint of Vijayadharani’s supporters, police have filed a case under IPC sections, inclduing 354, for using force to outrage the modesty of woman and 506 (1) for criminal intimidation against Elangovan.In a counter-complaint, Elangovan’s supporter Alice Manohari alleged that Vijayadharani and her party associates insulted her using casteist terms on November 27 here. A case has been registered under the Prevention of Atrocities against SC/ST Act against Vijayadharani. A top police official said FIRs had been filed and they are inquiring into the complaints, but declined to state if action was being contemplated.

India first is only religion, Constitution only holy book: PM Modi

Prime Minister speaks in Lok Sabha during the second day of winter session on Friday

PTI
Skirting replying contentious issues raised by the Opposition during two-day special debate in the Lok Sabha on India’s Constitution to commemorate birth anniversary of its chief architect Dr B R Ambedkar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi rejected contention that his government was denying credit or was undermining the role of leaders like Jawahar Lal Nehru.He sought to refute the Congress charge that all focus on Ambedkar was to undermine contributions of first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and claim ownership over all achievements in the country.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Winding up his 63-minute long speech with slogans on “Idea of India” as Satyamev Jayate, Sarva Dharma Bhavo, etc., Modi talked of “India first” as the government’s “Dharma” and the Constitution as the “Dharma Granth” (religious book) but he padded up his “Idea of India” with quotes from the Hindu religious scriptures. Modi started with a clarification that his government’s resolve to celebrate November 26 as the Constitution Day should not be seen as an attempt to undermine January 26.Breaking the charge of rare appearance in Parliament, for the first time, since he was elected, he sat through the full-day debate in the Lok Sabha on Thursday and in the Rajya Sabha on Friday. He, however, disappointed those, expected him to break silence on growing intolerance in the country, the issue raised by Opposition benches led by Congress President Sonia Gandhi.He regretted that there is too much stress on the rights guaranteed under the Constitution but not an equal stress on “duty” and gave a call for raising a sense of duty to help the nation grow. He also vowed to work for empowerment of those who did not rise in life for want of opportunity and referred to importance of grievance redressal and justice in this regard.Referring to the single most gift of Ambedkar to workers in terms of an 8-hour work a day, Modi listed some of the steps his government took to help the labour class like raising the minimum pension to Rs 1,000 per month and their provident fund (EPF) account moving with them wherever they go.Speaker Sumitra Mahajan steadfast refused anybody seek clarifications after the PM finished as the last participant in the debate and yet Congress group leader Mallikarjun Kharge could put in record that Rs 1,000 pension was the UPA government’s decision and portability of the PF office to let the worker’s PF account move with him was also its decision, first such office opened in Haryana.He even referred to the resolution Nehru had moved on December 13, 1946 and seconded by Dr Rajendra Prasad on what should be objective of the Constitution. Sonia had referred to this resolution. The PM also repeated her reference to Ambedkar on the Constitution being good or bad depends on those who administer it.Modi said he was not saying it today but he had declared from the Red Fort in his Independence Day speech that the nation has advanced because of the efforts of all past PMs and governments and none can say that the previous governments did nothing. However, last August during his trip to the UAE, while addressing investors, he said: I have inherited great amount of difficulties due to the legacy of my predecessors (UPA). I cannot run away from them.”The Congress leaders said Modi was still silent on the charge of promoting intolerance but they will pin down the government in the coming days by forcing a separate discussion on the growing intolerance in the country.They were, however, quite happy at the resolution moved by the Speaker and adopted by the House as it gave credit to not only Ambedkar but also Nehru, Dr Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Maulana Azad and other founding fathers of Constitution for their pioneering and monumental role and contribution to give the Constitution to ourselves.

Amidst GST standoff, Narendra Modi reaches out to Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets former prime minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi at 7 Race Course Road in New Delhi on Friday. Arun Jaitley and M Venkaiah Naidu are also seen.

PTI
Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to the Opposition, saying consensus was more important than majority rule, he hosted his predecessor Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi at his residence to find a way out of the deadlock over legislations like the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill.This was the first such move by Modi ever since he took over as Prime Minister 18 months ago. While a consensus still eluded the two sides on the GST, government sources described the meeting as a “good beginning”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leaders said they would not climb down from their stand, but welcomed the Prime Minister’s efforts. The meeting was also attended by finance minister Arun Jaitley and parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu.Gandhi is understood to conveyed her party’s non-negotiable points on GST – 18% cap on the tax in the Act, independent dispute resolution mechanism and withdrawal of giving powers to states to impose additional 1% tax on supply of goods over and above GST rate. On his part, Jaitley explained the government’s position on these concerns, after which Gandhi said she would talk to her party colleagues, according to sources. Naidu said they will meet again to discuss the matter.Over the next two days, Naidu will talk to leaders of Congress in both houses – Malikarjun Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad.Government tried to convince Congress to give up on capping the tax through constitutional amendment, sources told dna. The government was of the view that in case of emergency or a war, it would be difficult to return to Parliament and amend the constitution for raising tax bar. The government is, however, ready to put a bar in the Act, or incorporate emergency powers to the government.Jaitley said there would be a fresh round of talks after Congress discusses it within the party and after government also considered their position.While appreciating PM’s gesture, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said the government had been forced to take that step. “This meeting is happening after public pressure. Otherwise, this is not the way he (Modi) functions,” said Rahul.He said the Congress does not want the common man to suffer, the reason why the party has demanded a cap on the tax.The government wants to implement GST by April 2016, but the deadline may be missed if Parliament does not pass the bill in the winter session. The GST will create a single market in India after doing away with state levies and is expected to boost the economy.Jaitley on Thursday had told TV channels that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is willing to speak to everyone to get the landmark indirect tax law through. “We have absolutely no hesitation even at the level of Prime Minister, we have never had in it in the past, we don’t have it (now). He is willing to speak to everyone,” he said.Jaitley however added a caveat that “in the process of a political compromise, India cannot have a GST with a flawed architecture. Once you amend the Constitution, it is going to take decades to correct those errors.” Asked if he has spoken to Rahul Gandhi on the GST bill, Jaitley said, “Why should I make public any discussion I have had. I am at a stage where I am discussing with every leader of every political party and I am not supposed to disclose what conversation took place. You should be interested in eventual result.”He said he was “extremely hopeful” of the GST bill being passed in the month-long winter session of Parliament that commenced on Thursday.Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu expressed similar hope claiming 30 of the 32 parties are in support of the GST bill. “We are making efforts for its passage. The public mood is almost one-sided in favour of the GST,” he said.

Modi meets Sonia Gandhi in energized push to close out GST Bill

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted opposition Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi for talks on Friday to try and break a deadlock over launching a new indirect tax, in a bid to put his economic recovery agenda back on track.

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

Modi and Sonia/ Image courtesy: Agencies

The face-to-face meeting between the rivals was the first since Modi rose to power 18 months ago, and could herald a long-awaited compromise on the proposed goods and services tax (GST), billed as the biggest tax reform since independence.

While there was no immediate breakthrough after the 30-minute meeting, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters that the Congress party has raised its concerns, and both parties were expected to meet again soon.

Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh left Modi’s official residence by car without talking to reporters.

Modi, 65, has raised India’s global profile with a series of trips abroad but suffered his biggest setback as prime minister when his nationalist party crashed to defeat in a big state election this month.

That loss, aides and analysts said earlier, means Modi will have to show more willingness to compromise on the GST after Congress – which first proposed the tax when it was in government – set a series of non-negotiable demands.

“The government is under tremendous pressure to get GST cleared,” said Rakesh Sinha, director of the India Policy Foundation, a think tank with close ties to the government.

“Modi’s engagement with the opposition is only way to prove that every effort is being made to accelerate the pace of economic growth. He is willing to discuss, debate and negotiate now.”

Financial markets ticked higher on Friday as TV channels flashed news that Modi had for the first time reached out to Gandhi. Her son and heir-apparent Rahul, the target of a series of public attacks by the BJP, did not attend the talks.

Analysts cautioned that while the outlines of a compromise on GST were taking shape, there was no guarantee that a bargain would be struck.

“Clearly it is not given that today’s talks will be a blanket ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to what the government wants,” said Ashish Vaidya, head of trading and asset liability management at DBS India.

The GST would create a common market in Asia’s third-largest economy and, the government estimates, add 2 percentage points to economic output.

Yet horse trading has threatened to wreck efforts to simplify taxes: BJP-ruled states have called for an extra state levy and a GST rate of over 20 percent, raising concerns of yet more red tape and tax evasion.

BOTTOM LINE

Congress wants to cap the GST at below 20 percent, scrap the state levy and create an independent mechanism to resolve disputes on revenue sharing between states.

“We will discuss every aspect of GST with the prime minister and they will have to accept our demands,” a senior aide to Sonia Gandhi said before the meeting.

Complicating matters for the government is the need for a two-thirds majority in the upper house to pass a constitutional enabling amendment that would make it possible to implement the GST as soon as next April.

The government’s strategy has been to try and win the backing of smaller, regional opposition parties for the GST, thereby isolating Congress.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said that 30 out of 32 parties now backed GST. Still, to be sure of guaranteeing passage the votes of Congress would be needed.

REUTERS

Breakthrough in sight? PM Narendra Modi, Sonia Gandhi meet to discuss GST, pending bills

This is the first direct outreach by Modi to the principal opposition ever since he came to power last year in a bid to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament in the winter session.

This is the first direct outreach by Modi to the principal opposition ever since he came to power last year.

Hopes of a thaw on the GST bill emerged tonight with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaching out to the Congress leadership, which will discuss within the party the government’s response to its three objections on the measure. The government will establish “fresh contact” with the Congress once the party completes its internal discussion on the three issues of “their concerns” on which they made their position clear, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters after Modi met his predecessor Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is the first direct outreach by Modi to the principal opposition ever since he came to power last year in a bid to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament in the winter session. Modi had invited Singh and Gandhi for a tea at his residence where the discussions covered issues pending before Parliament, particularly the large number of bills that have accumulated over the past two sessions.

BJP, Congress interpret Constitution on own terms; Rajnath Singh says India only country where all 72 sects of Islam exist

Initiating the debate, as part of 125th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, Home Minister Rajnath Singh pricked the Congress by raking up the 42nd amendment by Indira Gandhi in 1976 to insert the words ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ in Preamble. Singh said Mrs Gandhi had defied the wish of Ambedkar that the Preamble shall be never tweaked as it is the soul of the Constitution.

TV screen grab.

The government as well as Opposition benches on Thursday used the first day of special debate in the Lok Sabha on ‘Commitment to India’s Constitution’, an opportunity to claim legacy and attack each other on rising incidents of intolerance. Outside the parliament, Opposition Congress demanded incorporating “an inbuilt mechanism to protect the Constitution from the onslaught by the very people who are supposed to defend and preserve its integrity.”Initiating the debate, as part of 125th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, Home Minister Rajnath Singh pricked the Congress by raking up the 42nd amendment by Indira Gandhi in 1976 to insert the words ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ in Preamble. Singh said Mrs Gandhi had defied the wish of Ambedkar that the Preamble shall be never tweaked as it is the soul of the Constitution.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singh went on to assert that ‘secularism’ was wrongly dubbed as dharma nirpeksha (not bound by any religion) and asserted its real literal meaning is panth nirpeksha (free from faiths). “Its misuse should come to an end. Stop use of dharma nirpeksha. Stop misleading nation and society. Because of the rampant misuse of the word, there have been instances of tension in the society and in maintaining of social harmony.”He claimed it was because of the secular nature of Indians that the country cohabits all religions. He pointed out how Parsis and Jews felt the highest respect in India. As regards Muslims, he said Islam has 72 firke (sects) and it’s only in India that all of them exist. Referring to Ambedkar’s stress on social security to women, Singh announced the government’s decision for 33% reservation to women in police and paramilitary forces. “We’ve already sent an advisory to the states; this is our commitment,” he said, pointing out another commitment in the form of ‘beti bachao, beti padhao’ mission.Soon after Home Minister’s speech, AIADMK leader M Thambidurai stood up and demanded that all Indian languages be accorded status of official language. He said declaring Hindi alone as official language was against the federal character enshrined in the Constitution.The Congress counter-attack on Rajnath’s interpretation of Constitution was led by none other than Sonia Gandhi, who quoted from one of Ambedkar’s speech that “howsoever good the Constitution be, it would prove evil if those implementing are bad.”The Congress members shouted at the agitated BJP members claiming she was not levelling any charge but only quoting Babasaheb.Noisy scenes were witnessed again as Sonia went on to say: “What can be a bigger joke than those who have no trust in the Constitution nor any role in its making are trying to hijack its ownership by initiating this debate.”Giving full credit to the Congress for the Constitution India has, Sonia asserted that it was interlinked with the Congress history of the freedom struggle and again it was the Congress that made Ambedkar the chairman of the Constituent Assembly to draft the Constitution. “This is history,” she shouted over the din of uproar from the ruling benches.She said Ambedkar’s struggle for rights to Dalits and downtrodden was also interlinked with the Congress history of freedom struggle.Undeterred by the BJP protests, Sonia said she was both happy and sad – happy about the debate, and sad that it was taking place at a time when the ideals of the Constitution face dangers because of “deliberate attacks on its values in the last few months”.In the afternoon session, BJD member Tathagata Satpathy refuted Singh’s claim that Modi wielding a broom is new to India, pointed out that his late mother used to clean her room as then chief minister and the King of Puri cleaned Lord Jagannath’s passage.He also spoke of the Rajnath Singh’s comments on the word secular. “I do not speak Hindi so I do not know. But let’s not have a myopic view of secularism. Let’s not say that when translated into Hindi, a certain word becomes perverted.”During the break, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu defended Rajnath Singh’s contentions, saying he finds nothing said by Rajnath Singh as objectionable.“The whole nation knows who subverted the Constitution and who amended the Constitution, putting opposition leader behind bars,” he said, referring to the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi during her rein.The Rajya Sabha, which was also supposed to hold a simultaneous two-day debate on the Constitution, had to be adjourned for the day following the death of a sitting member.

Congress lists red lines as government expects support on GST Bill

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who met reporters in Parliament House briefly, said there will be no compromise on the 1% tax for manufacturers, the constitutional cap of 18 per cent for GST rate and an independent dispute resolution mechanism. “Unless the government responds on this, we will not compromise,” they said.

New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi with the party leader Mallikarjun Kharge in Lok Sabha during the first day of winter session of Parliament in New Delhi on Thursday.

PTI
The Congress on Thursday listed three issues, calling them non-negotiable while extending any support to help the government to pass the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, touted as the biggest reform measure since independence.Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who met reporters in Parliament House briefly, said there will be no compromise on the 1% tax for manufacturers, the constitutional cap of 18 per cent for GST rate and an independent dispute resolution mechanism. “Unless the government responds on this, we will not compromise,” they said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The GST will create a single market in India after doing away with state levies and the move is expected to boost the economy.Rahul also denied finance minister Arun Jaitley’s assertion that he had spoken to every Congress leader on GST. “The finance minister came and called on us separately to give us his daughter’s wedding invitation. It was a personal call,” he said.Jaitley had earlier told TV channels that he had spoken to every Congress leader on GST in the last session. “Most of the parties are supporting the Bill. The numbers are with the Bill. I am optimistic about the Bill. I think it will get passed,” said Jaitley.Jaitley also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is willing to speak to everyone to get the landmark indirect tax law through.“We have absolutely no hesitation even at the level of Prime Minister, we have never had in it in the past, we don’t have it (now). He is willing to speak to everyone,” he said.On Monday, minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha said the government was in discussion with opposition parties to reach a consensus on GST.The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has only 48 members in the 245-member Upper House (Rajya Sabha) and the total strength of NDA is 63. To get the constitutional amendment Bill passed, the government needs a two-thirds majority, or the support of at least 163 members in the Rajya Sabha.The government has so far got an assurance from Trinamul Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, which adds its numbers to 91, still way off the mark.

Rajnath Singh’s remarks on ‘secularism’ nonsensical: Justice Sachar

The winter session of Lok Sabha today began with an animated debate on the Constitution during which the government said the word ‘secularism’ mentioned in it had been “misused” while the opposition, led by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, raked up the issue of ‘intolerance’.

Rajnath Singh

Former Delhi High Court Chief Justice Rajinder Sachar on Thursday termed as “nonsensical” Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s remarks that “secularism” was the “most misused” word and it be translated as “panth nirpeksh” in Hindi, even as he expressed surprise that BJP leaders still have not learnt lessons from their drubbing in Bihar polls.”They say the word was incorporated in the Preamble later. Question is not when the two words were incorporated, but whether it is part of the Constitution or not. “I am surprised Rajnath can make such a nonsensical statement, especially in the wake of (his party’s) drubbing in Bihar elections,” Justice (retd.) Sachar said on the sidelines of an event here to mark Constitution Day.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eminent poet Ashok Vajpeyi too lambasted the ruling party, saying it only has “dishonoured” the word most and said it to be replaced with ‘sarv dharma sambhav’ (broadly meaning equality of all religions). Vajpeyi stated the word ‘sarva dharma sambhav’ would be a better replacement for “secularism” as it conveys respect for all the religions.”In my opinion, it should not be either ‘dharma nirpeksh’ or ‘panth nirpeksh’. Instead, we should use the word Gandhiji would use, ‘sarva dharma samabhav’, which is a better word, expressing respect for all the religions.”Dharma nirpeksh has been in use and the ruling party has played a big role in dishonouring the word,” Vajpeyi said on the sidelines of the event. Meanwhile, Sachar defended actor Aamir Khan on his comments on “intolerance”. He also condemned the Centre for the situation that cricket matches between India and Pakistan are being considered to be organised at a neutral location like Sri Lanka.The winter session of Lok Sabha on Thursday began with an animated debate on the Constitution during which the government said the word ‘secularism’ mentioned in it had been “misused” while the opposition, led by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, raked up the issue of ‘intolerance’. Initiating discussion on ‘Commitment to India’s Constitution’ as part of 125th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, Rajnath Singh said the architect of the Constitution had never thought of putting the term ‘secularism’ in the Preamble but it was incorporated through an amendment in 1976.

Sonia Gandhi, Rahul extend greetings on Guru Purab

Guru Nanak Jayanti, the birthday of Guru Nanak Devji, is being celebrated with religious fervour and gaiety across the country and various places abroad. Gurudwaras are decorated and devotees are listening ‘Keertan’ and taking holy dips in the Sarovars.

File Photo | Representational image.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday extended their greetings on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti.”Guru Nanak Dev ji’s message of compassion & humanity will continue to guide our lives and that this holy occasion of Guru Purab on Kartik Purnima, will continue to foster tolerance and coexistence, forever,” the official Twitter handle of Indian National Congress quoted Sonia as saying.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Congress vice-president also took to twitter to extend his greeting on the occasion. My best wishes to everyone on the auspicious occasion of #GuruNanakJayanti,” he tweeted.Guru Nanak Jayanti, the birthday of Guru Nanak Devji, is being celebrated with religious fervour and gaiety across the country and various places abroad. Gurudwaras are decorated and devotees are listening ‘Keertan’ and taking holy dips in the Sarovars.

NDA govt targetting Nehru-Gandhi family to weaken Congress: Ahmed Patel

The political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi also said the results of local bodies’ polls in Gujarat scheduled to be held on November 29 will bring a downfall of the ruling BJP in Gujarat.

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Saturday alleged that the NDA government was indulging in revenge politics and targetting the Nehru-Gandhi family with a view to weaken Congress. “The NDA government is indulging in revenge politics to weaken the Congress. The throwing of muck is not just happening now, since the Independence they have been doing this against the Nehru-Gandhi family. They know that to weaken Congress they have to target and weaken the Nehru-Gandhi family,” Patel said in reply to a question over BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s recent charges against Rahul Gandhi. “All the allegations are baseless and Rahul Gandhiji has given an apt reply,” Patel added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi also said the results of local bodies’ polls in Gujarat scheduled to be held on November 29 will bring a downfall of the ruling BJP in Gujarat. The Rajya Sabha MP is here to campaign for his party ahead of local polls that are being fought amid the Patel quota agitation. Congress hopes to make a mark in the elections riding on the Patel quota agitation. The Congress leader campaigned in Danilimbda ward for the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation elections which are going to be held tomorrow. “The result of the local bodies polls will bring the downfall of BJP in Gujarat. This polls will have a definite impact on the 2017 (Gujarat Assembly) elections,” Patel told reporters here. “I am hopeful that Congress will do very well in the local bodies polls,” he said.According to him, BJP’s claim of ‘Gujarat model’ has failed in Bihar and common people are facing inflation and unemployment. “The debt on the Gujarat government is Rs 1.75 lakh crore and they have to take loan to pay the interest. The growth rate of the state is around seven per cent, which earlier during Congress government used to be around 15 per cent. This tells the state of economy of Gujarat,” Patel alleged Voting for the municipal corporations of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar will take place tomorrow, while that for 31 district panchayats, 230 taluka panchayats and 56 municipalities will take place on November 29.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi accuses BJP of pursuing ‘communal and divisive’ agenda

Sonia alleged that the “ideology at work” shuns the pursuit of secularism, tolerance, inclusion and equality.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
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Accusing the Government and its “masters” of “systematically working to dismantle” the legacy of Congress, Sonia Gandhi on Thursday launched a scathing attack on the ruling BJP over its alleged “communal and divisive” agenda. She said “blatantly partisan” appeals were being made by the ruling establishment to obtain votes and that policies aimed at favouring the “powerful” were being followed at the expense of the weak.Sonia alleged that the “ideology at work” shuns the pursuit of secularism, tolerance, inclusion and equality.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Spokespersons of its agenda make blatantly partisan appeals to obtain votes,” she said.Referring to the defeat of the NDA alliance in the Bihar polls, she said it was possible for the Congress to overcome the recent “obstacles” it faced through hard work and perseverance.”In recent times our party has faced some set-backs, but as the election in Bihar shows, if we persevere and work hard, we can overcome these obstacles. We should never forget that the Congress is much more than just a political party, it is a people’s movement,” she said.”Today, when we see the ruling establishment pursuing communal and divisive politics, when we see the ruling establishment following policies that favour the few and the powerful at the expense of the weak and the many…Indiraji’s life and values acquire even greater importance,” she said.The Congress chief was addressing a gathering of Youth Congress on the occassion of the 98th birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi. Sonia hailed the former Prime Minister as the “mother of millions” and as one who has left an “indelible impression” on history.”National unity and secularism were amongst the pillars of her beliefs. She was keenly mindful of the suffering and injustice faced by the weak and the marginalised…Even today in many parts of the country she is remembered as Maa (mother),” she said.”Today, the present government and its masters who exercise their control from behind the scenes, are systematically working to dismantle the legacy of the Congress, to rewrite our history, to negate all that Nehru, Indiraji and all our leaders have achieved. We will not allow them to succeed. Our party’s history is intimately linked with the history of our country,” she said. She stressed on the need to reach out to the masses by taking up their issues and working among them “not just in time of elections but at all times.””Perhaps, one way for the Youth Congress to do this is to make its own version of Indiraji’s 20 point programme and dedicatedly work towards fulfilling it,” she said.Sonia also recalled the contribution of Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and BR Ambedkar in her speech. Ambedkar was the main architect of the Indian Constitution, she reminded the youth activists.

No Regrets: Mani Shankar Aiyar defends his anti-Modi statements in Pakistan

Aiyar said he had no reason to regret his remarks on Modi. “I gave a straight anwser to a straight question. I regret nothing,” he told a TV channel. He said the panel discussion in Pakistan was recorded on November 6.

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Aiyar’s remarks on Pak channel stoke controversy New Delhi, Nov 17(PTI) Former Union minister and Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar stoked a fresh controversy by reportedly saying, during a panel discussion on a Pakistani news channel, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to be removed if talks between the two nations have to resume. The Congress leader’s comments evoked sharp response from BJP and RJD, with the saffron outfit saying Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi should react to this and let the country know their stand on the issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress, however, said BJP’s charges were “absolute nonsense” and that Aiyar communicated to the party that he had not said any such thing. When the anchor of Duniya TV asked what is to be done to end the stalemate in the relations between the two nations, Aiyar responded, “The first and the foremost thing is to remove Modi. Only then can the talks move forward. We have to wait for four more years. They (panelists) are all optimist and that we can move forward when Modi sahab is there, but I don’t think so.” He further said, “Bring us (the Congress) back to power and remove them. There is no other way (to better the relations). We will remove them, but till then you (Pakistan) have to wait.” When asked for his reaction to the issue, Congress leader Tom Vaddakan said, “This is absolute nonsense. I have a letter with me written by Mr Aiyar in which he categorically denies saying anything like that. So there is no question of distancing from it.”Aiyar tonight said he had no reason to regret his remarks on Modi. “I gave a straight anwser to a straight question. I regret nothing,” he told a TV channel. He said the panel discussion in Pakistan was recorded on November 6. The BJP termed it as “extremely serious, worrisome and completely incorrect.” “What is even more worrisome is that two senior Congress leaders, first Salman Khurshid, who is the former External Affairs Minister, and now Mani Shankar Aiyar, within a week’s span have given such a statement in a nation which is clearly anti-India and has even perpetrated terror in India. “Sonia and Rahul Gandhi should react to this and let the country know its stand on the issue,” BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said.Attacking Aiyar for the statement, RJD’s Manoj Jha said even somebody with “minimum sanity” will condemn this statement. “Even a kindergarten student will not issue such a statement,” he said. Aiyar had last week created a controversy with his remarks in the wake of the Paris terror attacks. Reacting to the attacks in Paris on Friday killing 129 people, Aiyar had said that “the anti-Islam phobia that is being carried out in the western countries should be stopped immediately. The Muslims living in France should be provided with the assurance that they are also citizens of the country.” In addition to expressing remorse, Aiyar said, “we should also think that why this situation has raised?”

Sachin Pilot bats for Rahul Gandhi as Congress President

Pilot sought to give full credit to Rahul for the party’s performance in Bihar, where it won 28 seats of the 41 contested, and even for forging Grand Alliance with JDU and RJD which trounced that BJP-led NDA, winning 178 of 243 seats.

The demand for early elevation of Rahul Gandhi as Congress President grew louder on Tuesday with the party’s Rajasthan unit chief Sachin Pilot saying the time is right for the transition as the party needs to gear up for Assembly elections due next year.The party’s good show in the recent Bihar Assembly elections has rejuvenated it and boosted the morale of the rank and file and the outfit is now showing signs of recovery after the drubbing it received in Lok Sabha polls last year, the former Union Telecom Minister said. Pilot sought to give full credit to Rahul for the party’s performance in Bihar, where it won 28 seats of the 41 contested, and even for forging Grand Alliance with JDU and RJD which trounced that BJP-led NDA, winning 178 of 243 seats.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We were not the main player in Bihar for 25 years. But because of Rahul Gandhi’s efforts, because of the competition that we were able to stitch up together, our seat tally went up to 28 from four (in the previous Assembly). As far as Congress party is concerned, the results in Bihar show the role Gandhi played”, he told PTI in an interview. “But more than that, it’s a fact that secular parties came together on a platform. Rahul Gandhi was the one who first approached and he had a meeting with Nitish Kumar who was then projected as CM candidate and then of course, Lalu Yadav joined the alliance,” he said.Asked if the poll outcome would hasten the elevation of Rahul Gandhi as party President, Pilot said its timing depends on the Congress Working Committee, party President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul himself.”As far as we are concerned, both of them (Sonia and Rahul) are giving able leadership. But..Rahul…yes…there are demands…for example at CLP meeting in Bihar, there was a demand from newly elected MLAs that Rahul should take over as Congress President. And we all believe that. (But) the decision is up to them (CWC, Sonia and Rahul).”But we will like it (elevation of Rahul) to happen as soon as possible because now the party is steadily (growing in strength again) and we have elections in Assam, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal etc.(next year)”, Pilot said.Amritsar MP, Captain Amarinder Singh, who is also Congress Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha, said yesterday that time has come for the party Vice-President to take over the reins of the party, echoing views of party leaders who are pushing for such a move, particularly after the Bihar election outcome.

Tamil Nadu rains: Sonia urges Centre, state govt to spare no effort in providing relief

The heavy north-east Monsoon, she said, has caused a tragic loss of lives, devastated habitations, destroyed crops and disrupted transport, communications and other aspects of normal life.

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Congress President Sonia Gandhi today expressed distress at the damage caused by heavy rains in Tamil Nadu and asked the Centre and the state government to spare no effort in reaching food, shelter and relief to the affected people.”I am deeply distressed to learn of the devastation caused by heavy rains in Tamil Nadu, particularly in the districts of Chennai, Cuddalore, Vizhupuram, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri and Nilgiri,” she said in a statement here.The heavy north-east Monsoon, she said, has caused a tragic loss of lives, devastated habitations, destroyed crops and disrupted transport, communications and other aspects of normal life.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”My heart goes out to the thousands of people affected, who have lost loved ones, whose homes have been flooded and livelihoods lost,” she added.Urging the Centre and state government to spare no effort in providing relief to the people of Tamil Nadu, Gandhi said that Congress and its workers were ready to help in this crisis in anyway they can.

Modi government using development as buzzword to mask communal agenda: Sonia Gandhi

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Saturday ripped into the Narendra Modi government, saying it was using development as a buzzword to mask its communal agenda and people were being viciously attacked for holding different beliefs in the “prevalent atmosphere of intolerance”.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Saturday ripped into the Narendra Modi government, saying it was using development as a buzzword to mask its communal agenda and people were being viciously attacked for holding different beliefs in the “prevalent atmosphere of intolerance”.Gandhi also took on RSS without naming it, saying it actively opposed Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Quit India’ call in 1942 along with another group which was responsible for partition, a reference to Muslim League, and “so called nationalists” nowadays go around giving certificates on patriotism.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking at the culmination of the year-long 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Jawaharlal Nehru, she said the first prime minister believed in a frank exchange of ideas when any citizen could speak his ‘Mann ki Baat’, which has now been “reduced” to a radio broadcast.She was taking an apparent swipe at Prime Minister Modi’s regular radio programme in which he speaks on a host issues.”In a day and age where people are viciously attacked for holding different beliefs, it is important to remember this.Simply because someone holds a different view or disagrees then they cannot be branded a traitor. This is neither the way of our democracy nor a form of patriotism. It is a form of tyranny.”Today, we are witnessing attempts by certain individuals and elements to whitewash their communal agenda in front of the world by hiding it behind the mask of development.Development is used as a buzzword, again and again,” she said.Referring to the decision of a host of intellectuals to return their awards to protest against the climate of intolerance, Gandhi noted that Nehru as the first Sahitya Academy president had said that his first duty was to protect it from the interference of the Prime Minister.”He (Nehru) did this with the objective of fostering a love for art and human values, to help carry out research and propagate a scientific temper, to preserve our culture and diverse ethos. But today these institutions are reduced to a joke. But who will protect the academies and institutions of today?” she said.Attacking Modi, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said when he is abroad, he says India is tolerant and government wants to take all sections together but he says nothing of this sort when he is in India.”Prime Minister is silent when Dalit children are killed in Haryana or when someone is killed in the name of religion in Dadri,” he said.Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said there are some forces in the country which want to spread confusion about Nehru’s role in building new India.”They will not succeed. For some time again, some communal forces are out to pit one community against the other. If these forces succeed, there will be a threat to the unity integrity of the nation and its democracy,” he said.

Tipu Sultan row: BJP demands Siddaramiah’s ouster, takes swipe at Sonia Gandhi

BJP said Siddaramaiah was unable to handle the law and order situation, and sought a probe into the death threats made against playwright Girish Karnad and its MP Prathap Simha.

Tipu Sultan

BJP on Thursday demanded the Karnataka chief minister’s resignation following death of two persons in violence over Tipu Sultan’s birth anniversary celebrations, and took a swipe at Congress chief Sonia Gandhi asking if she will now lead a march and seek Siddaramaiah’s ouster.BJP said Siddaramaiah was unable to handle the law and order situation, and sought a probe into the death threats made against playwright Girish Karnad and its MP Prathap Simha. It also expressed concern that no arrest has been made in the murder of rationalist M M Kalburgi. “Chief Minister Siddaramaiah must resign. Two persons have died and he has not been able to handle the law and order situation. Will Sonia Gandhi go to Bengaluru and march against this? Will she demand Siddaramaiah’s resignation?” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told reporters.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gandhi had on November 3 taken to the streets and led a march of its top leaders to Rashtrapati Bhavan to protest against the climate of growing intolerance in the country and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “endorsing” incidents of hate. Referring to the alleged death threats received by Jnanpith awardee Karnad and BJP MP Simha on social media, the party sought a probe into it.Karnad, who came under severe attack for his remarks that Bengaluru international airport should have been named after Tipu Sultan rather than the city’s founder, Kempe Gowda, received a threat on Twitter that he would meet with the same fate as rationalist M M Kalburgi, who was gunned down recently by two men at his residence in Dharwad in north Karnataka. Karnad, though, later apologised, saying he did not want to hurt people’s feelings.Meanwhile, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu pooh-poohed suggestions that the Bengaluru airport should have been named after 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan and not city’s founder Kempe Gowda.”Decision has been made to name Banaglaore airport after him. Public has also welcomed this decision. Now taking up again the same issue and suggesting different names do not have any meaning. There is no point in discussing now after the airport has been named after a great person who was instrumental creating Bangalore city.”Secondly, the government (Karnataka) before taking any steps should keep in mind the public sentiment. Thirdly, no body should add fuel to the fire,” Naidu told reporters.

Asaram has been ‘framed’ in false case; will seek bail for him: Subramanian Swami

The godman has been in jail since last two years in connection with an alleged rape case.
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BJP leader Subramanian Swami on Monday alleged that godman Asaram had been “framed in a false case” and said he would approach court for his bail after Diwali.”Asaram has been framed in this false case at the behest of Sonia Gandhi following his drive in Gujarat against religious conversions by missionaries,” alleged Swami.The godman has been in jail since last two years in connection with an alleged rape case. Swami, who met Asaram in jail for about an hour this morning, termed the entire case “bogus” and said he would be moving court once again for his bail.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I would be coming back after Diwali and would plead for his bail in the court,” he told reporters.Swami had first visited Asaram in jail on April 23 this year before finally deciding to move to the court with a bail plea in June. His plea, however, was rejected by the trial court. He said he discussed various aspects of the case with Asaram in jail today.”I am sure that this entire case would not stand in the court and Asaram would walk out of jail very soon with full dignity,” Swami claimed.

Time is ripe for Rahul to take over as Congress president: Pratap Singh Bajwa

Bajwa said the phenomenal performance of the Congress in terms of the relative increase in seat tally from the previous Bihar assembly elections is indicative of the growing popularity of Rahul Gandhi.

Rahul Gandhi

Raising the pitch for Rahul Gandhi’s elevation in the party, Punjab Congress chief Pratap Singh Bajwa on Monday said the opportune time has arrived for him to take over as Congress President under the over-all guidance of Sonia Gandhi.”This is the right time for Rahul Gandhi to assume the mantle and lead the Congress from the forefront. Rahul Gandhi has shown excellent political acumen and foresight in stitching an alliance of like-minded and secular parties in Bihar and further brought Nitish Ji, Lalu Ji and Congress on one common platform which trumped the NDA led by Narendra Modi,” he said. Bajwa said the phenomenal performance of the Congress in terms of the relative increase in seat tally from the previous Bihar assembly elections is indicative of the growing popularity of Rahul Gandhi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The decimation of the BJP in Bihar is a bellwether that the youth in the country are looking towards a progressive, sincere, young and dynamic leader who can take the nation forward and can deliver on the aspirations of crores of Indians,” he said. The PPCC chief also said the present dispensation instead of performing is turning the clock back and has created an atmosphere of fear and hatred in society.He said the public has seen through BJP’s propaganda and a strong sense of disillusionment has set in and the Bihar result is “symptomatic” of this trend. Many Congress leaders have in the past raised the demand for Rahul taking over the overall control of the party and lead it in future.

Rahul Gandhi should have met 1984 riot victims: Punjab BJP

Rahul Gandhi saying only Akalis are prospering in Punjab and stressed the Congress is united in the state as he along with two feuding state leaders met the families of the two youth killed in police firing at Faridkot.

Terming Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Punjab on Thursday as “political tourism”, BJP said that the Congress leader should have paid a visit to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots victims. “This visit is nothing but sheer hypocrisy on his part as the Gandhi family, right from Rajiv to Sonia to Rahul have been protecting the perpetrators of 1984 riots besides targeting and discriminating with Punjabis for decades,” BJP National Secretary Tarun Chugh said here.”When did Rahul and for that matter Congress turn sympathisers of the Sikhs?,” he asked. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rahul Gandhi, on a two-day visit to the state, today hit out at the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, saying only Akalis are prospering in Punjab and stressed the Congress is united in the state as he along with two feuding state leaders met the families of the two youth killed in police firing at Faridkot. Chugh claimed that it was very unfortunate that two Sikh brethren were killed in police firing at Behbal Kalan and everybody including the BJP has its sympathies with the affected families but why this public display of Congress’ political motives. “We know that Congress is struggling to find ground across the country but stooping so low? Using the killing of two Sikhs as a political tool cannot be appreciated in any manner,” he said.Terming Rahul’s Punjab visit as “political tourism”, Chugh said before coming to Punjab to show such magnanimity and human feelings, the Gandhi scion should have gone and met the families of Sikhs killed during 1984 riots right under the nose of the then Congress government.

Congress plans big for Jawaharlal Nehru’s 125th birth anniversary celebrations

On the birth anniversary day on November 14, a rally is being organised by the party at a stadium here which will be addressed by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Congress Seva Dal is also taking out a march on that day.
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Congress is pulling out all the stops for celebrating the 125th birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru to highlight the legacy of the first Prime Minister of India which it feels is under assault.This week, the party is organising a conference on November 6 and 7 bringing together many writers and historians, including Left leaning, to discuss freedom, equality, democracy and secularism in today’s context. The theme of the conference is “No Peace Without Freedom; No Freedom without Peace: Securing Nehru’s Legacy and India’s Future: Agenda for Action”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Party leader Anand Sharma dismissed BJP criticism over inviting historians like Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib for the conference. He insisted that they have been respected historians, whatever might be their ideology. “We have offered a platform.Everyone is invited. We do not believe in exclusion…” He said Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Contemporary Studies has organised the two-day meet to develop an agenda for action for securing and strengthening the cornerstone values of the Indian republic laid down by Nehru in his Objectives Resolution of the Constituent Assembly (freedom, equality, democracy, secularism and justice — social, economic and political).Also read: Silencing the fringe? BJP strongly condemns Yogi Adityanath’s comments on SRKThere will be sessions on each of these objectives of the meet which would be inaugurated by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, while Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi will deliver the Valedictory Address.On the birth anniversary day on November 14, a rally is being organised by the party at a stadium here which will be addressed by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Congress Seva Dal is also taking out a march on that day. Two portals on Nehru- one in English and another in Hindi- will be launched on the day. A commemorative volume on the first Prime Minister is also being brought on the occasion.An evening of classical music has also been organised at the Nehru Park here in the evening in which some top artistes are going to participate. Hailing the contribution of Nehru, Sharma accused the RSS and the Sangh Parivar of not believing in Indian nationalism but in Western concept of nationalism, which believed in uniformity and other such ideas, which are against Indian nationalism. He said the remarks by BJP general Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya against Shah Rukh Khan needed to be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

Intolerance debate: Congress knocks President Pranab Mukherjee’s door, BJP says it’s wrong address

Ruling party says state govt and not the Centre should be blamed for such incidents

Sonia Gandhi leads Congress march to Rashtrapati Bhavan
BB Yadav
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Taking political hostilities to the next level, more than 100 senior Congress leaders, including chief ministers and former chief ministers, marched to Rashtrapati Bhavan to express their concern over “growing atmosphere of fear” in the country.Hitting back, the ruling BJP said, “Politically-displaced” people were challenging the democratic mandate and were resorting to such “dramatic actions” out of their desperation to stay relevant. The party also raked up Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra’s Bikaner land deal to accuse the Congress of seeking “tolerance” towards his misdeeds.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress delegation walked down a distance of one km from Vijay Chowk to reach Rashtrapati Bhavan. They urged President Pranab Mukherjee to use the political and moral authority of his office to impress upon the Prime Minister that this is unacceptable. Even while leaders were still assembling at the Vijay Chowk, a group of Sikh protesters appeared and attempted to take a counter-march for victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Members of the group were, however, immediately detained by Delhi Police.Sonia Gandhi and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi later told reporters that those in the government or related to the government and ruling BJP were promoting “intolerance.”The President told the delegation that he too spoke about it expressing concern over an atmosphere of hatred growing in the country. The delegation expressed its gratitude for the stand he took. Gandhi, however, parried a question on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.Vowing that the Congress would fight ‘this politics of hatred with full force’, Sonia and Rahul said the recent events of this intolerance were matter of concern not only for the Congress but for every Indian.Asked about finance minister Arun Jaitley’s comment that protests against intolerance are manufactured, Rahul retorted that BJP was manufacturing this atmosphere. He said the President spoke about it many times, even the RBI governor expressed concern, but the PM’s silence shows his ‘consent’ to the sad events of people being lynched and killed. The petition also expressed regrets that the PM has kept mum while worse is his ministers harbouring individuals who are contributing heavily to spread of hate and divisiveness. “No action has been taken against them for their provocative statements and actions. Distinguished men and women from different walks of life have raised their voices of protest against the growing intolerance, but senior ministers have belittled these actions in characteristically intemperate manner.” Reacting to Congress march, BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said they are going to the “wrong address” as they should have gone to Raj Bhavans instead, as such “stray unfortunate” incidents happened in states ruled by Congress or its friendly parties. “It is a well-organised effort to defame our cultural ethos and a clear effort to derail the momentum of development. They don’t want Modi government to succeed. Now to say that intolerance is rising suddenly is far from truth,” he said. To deflect attention from the march, BJP spokesmen Sambit Patra and GVL Narasimha Rao also distributed documents on 18 FIRs filed by Rajasthan Police in August last year and a charge-sheet filed early this year in a court in Kolayat regarding the alleged illegal land deeds of Robert Vadra. The BJP charge came on the heels of the Enforcement Directorate raiding Allegeny Finlease that had purchased land from Vadra’s firm Skylight Hospitality Private Limited in 2010 for Rs 5.4 crore, a year after Vadra had bought it for Rs 79 lakh.

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Here is a curated list of top 5 stories.

Shah Rukh Khan

1. Growing Intolerance: BJP general secretary slams Shah Rukh Khan, calls him a traitorOn Tuesday, BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya hit out at Shah Rukh Khan for his remarks about intolerance in the country. He said that Shah Rukh Khan lived in India but his mind is in Pakistan and that despite the fact that his films earn crores, he sees India as an intolerant nation. Calling SRK a traitor, he <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>went on to claim that the project India as intolerant nation is part of this conspiracy along with Pakistan and other anti-India forces and asked where SRK was during the 26/11 attacks or the 1993 blasts. Read More 2. Congress’ intolerance march: Sonia Gandhi accuses PM Modi of ‘endorsing’ incidents of hateCongress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday took to the streets and led a march of its top leaders to Rashtrapati Bhavan to protest against the climate of growing intolerance in the country and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “endorsing” incidents of hate. Read More 3. Ghulam Ali concert in India cancelled once againAfter his concert was forcibly cancelled by Shiv Sena in Mumbai last month, now Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali reportedly will not perform in Delhi on November 8. Although this time, the reasons behind the cancellations are reportedly personal. Read More 4. Arun Jaitley willing to reach out to Rahul Gandhi over GST Bill passageFinance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said he was willing to reach out to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to get the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Bill passed in Parliament. Read More5. India v/s South Africa: Kohli likely to field three spinners in Mohali TestWith the PCA track likely to assist the slow ball bowlers against the formidable South Africans, the Indian cricket team management has hinted of fielding three specialist spinners in the Test opener starting November 5. Read More

Sonia, Rahul meet president, accuse Modi government of sinister campaign

New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday led the party’s leaders and MPs in a march to Rashtrapati Bhavan in protest against “growing intolerance” in the country, accusing the Modi government of “unleashing a sinister campaign” to create social and communal tension.

After leading the march from Parliament, Sonia handed over a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking his intervention in checking such incidents which are causing social divide.

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi led Congress leaders in march to Rashtrapati Bhavan. PTISonia and Rahul Gandhi led Congress leaders in march to Rashtrapati Bhavan. PTI

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi led Congress leaders in march to Rashtrapati Bhavan. PTI

“Sinister campaign is being unleashed to create social and communal tension. It is being done with the objective of polarising society and disturbing social harmony,” the Congress delegation told the President.

The opposition party also expressed its gratitude to the President for speaking out “strongly and unequivocally against forces of prejudice, bigotry and intolerance,” its memorandum said while expressing deep regret that the Prime Minister had not deemed it fit to do so.

“While the President has spoken, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is silent which clearly indicates his tacit support to such activities,” Sonia told reporters after meeting Mukherjee.

“Worse, his council of ministers continue to harbour individuals who are contributing heavily to spreading hate and divisiveness,” it added. “Congress conveys its grave concern at “growing atmosphere of fear, intolerance and intimidation being deliberately created by sections of ruling establish men.”

The march comes in the backdrop of protests by artistes, writers and scientists over the alleged rising intolerance reflected in the Dadri lynching, beef row and other such incidents.

Following the march, a 125-member delegation, which included party vice president Rahul Gandhi and senior leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, met Mukherjee to submit its memorandum and seek his intervention.

They also expressed their gratitude to Mukherjee for speaking out strongly and unequivocally against the force of prejudice, bigotry and intolerance.

Police had severely barricaded the route of the march and deployed a large number of personnel. Many Congress leaders were not allowed to march towards Rashtrapati Bhavan as cops allowed only a small delegation to enter it.

PTI

PM Modi’s silence on incidence of intolerance points to his tacit support: Sonia Gandhi

The Congress president had met President Mukherjee last evening seen by many as the precursor to her sounding bugle of a full-fledged confrontation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA Government over the issue of ‘growing intolerance’.

Sonia-Rahul

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, accompanied by her party delegation, reached the Rashtrapati Bhawan to make an appeal to President Pranab Mukherjee to use his constitutional powers to end the ‘atmosphere of intolerance; in the nation.Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was also part of the march, which began from the Parliament House . The Congress president had met President Mukherjee last evening seen by many as the precursor to her sounding bugle of a full-fledged confrontation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA Government over the issue of ‘growing intolerance’.The meeting, which was described by the Congress to be a courtesy call, took place hours after Prime Minister Modi blasted the grand old party during an election rally in Bihar and reminded them of the 1984 riots.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Amid criticism from various quarters over the recent untoward incidents in the country, Prime Minister Modi said the Congress leaders had no right to talk about tolerance when they were involved in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.The Congress? attempt to put the government in dock comes at a time when eminent persons from all walks of life, be it authors, historians, scientist or rating agencies are expressing their concern over the growing trend of intolerance under the NDA regime. Later speaking to the press, Congress President said that. “Whatever happening is painful. The Prime Minister’s “silence” on incidents of intolerance points to his tacit support to such activities”.”The incidents taking place are part of a well-thoughtout strategy to divide our society Incidents of intolerance are issue of serious concern for every Indian. Congress will fight the forces involved with all its strength”, said Sonia Gandhi. Rahul Gandhi was even more scathing in his criticism. He said, “Large numbers of people have made it very clear that they are unhappy with the way this Govt views this country”.Congress also expressed deep regrets that PM has not deemed it fit to do so, his Ministers Continue to harbour individuals..who are contributing heavily to spreading hate and divisiveness.No action has been taken against them,Congress states in its memorandum. Ahead of their ‘tolerance’ march, the Congress on Tuesday slammed the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA Government for limiting the number of protesters only to 125, saying it was a blatant attempt to curb freedom and democracy. Slamming the Centre for limiting the number of protesters to 125, Surjewala said on what grounds were the restriction being imposed on the main Opposition party.”If you put such kind of restrictions on the main opposition party, what will you do with the freedom of the common man? Are Congress leaders a threat to the security of Delhi? This is a curb on freedom”, he added.The Delhi Police had earlier informed the Congress that only 125 people would be permitted to participate in the march. The stretch that the party will march on, from Parliament to the President’s House, is under prohibitory orders and heavy security has been deployed.
With ANI inputs

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