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Elections 2015: Victory – Defeat – Gain – Loss

With Assam state elections scheduled for 2016, Congress faced a major setback as Tarun Gogoi had to step down after BJP won 340 wards in the aftermath of Delhi elections and Congress was left with 232 wards.

Yesha Kotak

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National Herald: Case being ‘driven’ by Prime Minister’s office, says Rahul Gandhi

A Delhi court on December 8 had directed Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul and others to appear in person on December 19 in the National Herald case.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi with Prime Minister Narendra Modi

PTI
Asserting that National Herald is a not-for-profit organisation and not a paisa can be taken out, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday alleged that the legal procedure in the case was “driven by the Prime Minister’s office”.”It is being driven by the Prime Minister’s office,” he claimed while responding to reporters’ questions whether the National Herald case was an outcome of vendetta politics.Rahul said, “We have faith in the legal system and we respect it. There is a legal provision. It (National Herald) is a not-for-profit organisation and not a paisa can be taken out.” Asked if he would be applying for bail, he replied, “Let’s see what happens on December 19.” A Delhi court on December 8 had directed Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul and others to appear in person on December 19 in the National Herald case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Congress protests which resulted in the stalling of proceedings in Parliament, Rahul said, “As far as the stalemate in Parliament is concerned, an impression is being given that we (Congress) are not interested on the GST issue. We have told the government that we have differences with them on three issues.”Confident about the ruling Congress returning to power for the fourth consecutive term in Assam in the 2016 Assembly polls, he said that the party will demonstrate who will win in Assam.”(Chief Minister) Tarun Gogoi and Congress will win. We have defeated opponents in Bihar,” he said.Asked if the Congress would forge a grand alliance in Assam on the Bihar line, Gandhi said, “Tarun Gogoi and Anjan Dutta (APCC president) are in charge and they will decide.”

Assam BJP to seek removal of CM Tarun Gogoi for using ‘intolerant language’

BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav also alleged that the Congress is trying to divide people along religious and linguistic lines.

Gogoi does not know how to run a state. Give us the state and we will show them how to run it,” Madhav added.

The BJP will gherao Assam Assembly on December 9 demanding removal of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi for his alleged comment on Hindi-speaking persons leading the party. “We are going to gherao the Assembly on December 9 against the chief minister’s statement. We will demand his removal from the post,” BJP Election Management Committee Convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters here. Sarma said Gogoi’s reported comment that “the state unit of BJP is led by Hindi-speaking people” is divisive in nature and it should be opposed by all sections of the society. “He (Gogoi) is trying to divide the society on the basis of language. It is the most divisive and most intolerant language used by the chief minister,” Sarma said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav also alleged that the Congress is trying to divide people along religious and linguistic lines. BJP, during the day, also announced formation of two committees in the state keeping in view the state Assembly polls slated for next year. Announcing the election campaign committee and vision document committee, Madhav said the two bodies will work till the completion of state polls next year and added that the “BJP will release a vision document for Assam.” The BJP leader also criticied the Congress-ruled state government for alleged “lack of development” in the state despite being in power for 15 years.”Gogoi is responsible for Assam’s present condition.He does not know how to run a state. Give us the state and we will show them how to run it,” Madhav added.

PM Modi’s ‘volte-face’ on OROP is ‘unfortunate’, says Tarun Gogoi

Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Thursday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s assurance and then “volte-face” on implementing the One Rank One Pension policy for ex-servicemen was “unfortunate”.

In a statement in Guwahati, Gogoi termed the development as “unfortunate” and said, “Our war heroes who fought for the sovereignty and national integrity had to resort to hunger strike for 147 days.”

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. PTIAssam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. PTI

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. PTI

He noted that the situation had come to such a pass that the ex-servicemen even returned the honour and recognitions they earned during their service life.

“The ex-servicemen, who are known for adherence to strict discipline, resorting to collective agitation is very unfamiliar with the history of the nation. Even letting them feel that they are suffering from injustice is indeed uncalled for,” Gogoi said.

He called upon the Prime Minister not to “demean the demand of the ex-servicemen and execute his assurance”.

PTI

Nitish Kumar’s oath-taking ceremony: Sonia, Rahul Gandhi to attend

Patna: A number of leaders, including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee, will attend Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s oath-taking ceremony in what is being described as “a new beginning of opposition unity in the country”.

Besides Sonia Gandhi, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi too be present at the oath taking ceremony on 20 November.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will be there along with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his Assam counterpart Tarun Gagoi.

Former Prime Minister Deve Gowda as well as former Jharkhand chief ministers Babulal Marandi and Hemant Soren and Indian National Lok Dal leader Abhay Chauthala have been invited to attend the oath-taking ceremony.

File photo. Image courtesy: PTIFile photo. Image courtesy: PTI

File photo. Image courtesy: PTI

“We have decided to invite all leaders opposed to BJP to attend the oath-taking ceremony of Nitish Kumar,” JD-U spokesperson Ajay Alok said in Patna on Thursday.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad and JD-U president Sharad Yadav will be the main guests at the function.

JD-U general secretary KC Tyagi said that all the big leaders opposed to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) brand of politics will come together to express their show of unity during the oath-taking ceremony.

“It will be a new beginning of opposition unity in the country,” he said.

Nitish Kumar on Wednesday said he will recommend dissolution of the state legislative assembly on 14 November after holding the last meeting of his cabinet. He will stake claim to form his new government after a joint meeting of the grand alliance on the same day.

According to JD-U leaders in Patna, Nitish Kumar will again take oath as chief minister along with a 36-member council of ministers after the Chhath festival to be celebrated in the third week of November.

The Grand Alliance routed the BJP in Assembly elections, the results of which were announced on Sunday. The RJD emerged as the single largest party with 80 Assembly seats, followed by the JD-U with 71 and the Congress with 27 seats.

There will be 16 ministers from Lalu Prasad’s RJD, 15 from the JD-U and five from the Congress.

IANS

Tarun Gogoi and Mamata Banerjee condemn police entry into Kerala House over beef

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Tuesday condemned the entry of the police into the Kerala House in New Delhi following a complaint about beef allegedly being served there, saying it “is an attack on cooperative federalism.”

File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Tuesday condemned the entry of the police into the Kerala House in New Delhi following a complaint about beef allegedly being served there, saying it “is an attack on cooperative federalism.””A complaint about beef being served in Kerala House and the manner in which the Delhi Police entered the state-owned Kerala House is an attack on cooperative federalism in our country,” Gogoi said.The tenets of democracy allow everyone to profess his own religious beliefs and practices and any external control on it is tantamount to violations of the rights of the citizens, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also condemned the “unauthorised” entry by some activists into Kerala House in New Delhi following allegations that beef was being served there saying it was an “unwise and unhealthy” attempt to “curb” people’s fundamental rights.Kerala government on Tuesday dismissed claims that beef was served at Kerala House and said that a complaint had been lodged over the entry of activists without permission after a phone call to the police yesterday claimed that cow meat was being served there.

CM Tarun Gogoi announces Rs 862 crore package for Assam

The people, whose houses have been damaged in recent floods will be offered cash, while most of the amount will be distributed in the form of in-kind such as – yards for weavers, laptops to students, seeds to farmers, blankets to poor people and pensions to senior citizens, Gogoi said.

Tarun Gogoi also claimed that the law and order situation in the state has “improved considerably” during the Congress rule.

PTI
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday announced that a Rs 862 crore ‘package’ will be distributed to the people before the state Assembly polls, slated to be held in 2016.”We will give benefits to 76.41 lakh people across the state. The distribution will start from November this year before completion of our term,” Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said on Saturday.The people, whose houses have been damaged in recent floods will be offered cash, while most of the amount will be distributed in the form of in-kind such as – yards for weavers, laptops to students, seeds to farmers, blankets to poor people and pensions to senior citizens, Gogoi said. The schemes will also provide “benefits” to widows, orphans, unemployed youths and women, he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When asked if the package was meant for political gains in the Assembly polls due early next year, Gogoi said, “Who doesn’t do politics? Has the Opposition not indulged in politics? If this helps me, why will I not do it?” Asked about the “benefits” that the government is planing to dole out to common people, he said it will be in the form of “cash as well as kind”.The “benefits” will be under existing as well as new schemes, he said.”About 25 total schemes will be rolled out for the purpose….The total expenditure for this exercise will be around Rs 862 crore. This will be entirely funded by the state exchequer,” Gogoi said. He said the Congress government in the state in its three terms have given employment to 4.46 lakh people.”This figure is in addition to the people, for whom we have created livelihood opportunities. That will be in many lakhs,” he added. Gogoi also claimed that the law and order situation in the state has “improved considerably” during the Congress rule.”Even Home Minister Rajnath Singh appreciated the scenario during his meeting with NE CMs. But the local BJP unit says that law and order situation has deteriorated. That means they are contradicting their own Home Minister,” he added.The Chief Minister accused the state BJP of full of contradictions and making “cheap political” statements. He also refuted the BJP’s allegations that the state government has diverted funds meant for developmental schemes for other “political purposes”.”In this fiscal, we have received Rs 4,354 crore so far. Out of that, Rs 3,985 crore have been released to various departments,” he added.Gogoi accused the Centre of not working for the North- East and blamed it for scrapping Special Status category states and suspension of North East Industrial & Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP).”The Centre has also not provided any separate flood relief fund to the state. Whatever amount we have got, that is due under the SDRF. In any case, we would have received it,” he added.He said the NDA government in its first and second term together has given a total of Rs 1,024.05 crore fund for calamity relief, while the two tenures of the UPA rule released Rs 2,440.16 crore to Assam. Gogoi also took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign visits, saying no investment has come to Assam, thus failing the very spirit of ‘Make in India’ initiative.”The flow of visits of Central ministers to Assam has come down because they are not able to fulfil their promises. Before polls and after becoming ministers, all of them announced big plans, but nothing happened on ground,” he said.

Patel Quota agitation exposes Modi’s Gujarat model, says Assam CM Tarun Gogoi

If the economically and politically powerful community like the Patels was on a warpath demanding reservation, the condition of the other communities in Gujarat could very well be imagined, he said.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Gujarat Model of development in the wake of the agitation by the Patel Community in the state.”The Patel community, whose economic condition is relatively better than other communities in Gujarat, is now agitating for reservation in jobs and education exposing resentment among them,” Gogoi said in a statement.If the economically and politically powerful community like the Patels was on a warpath demanding reservation, the condition of the other communities in Gujarat could very well be imagined, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The agitation led by Hardik Patel exposes anger, frustration of the younger generation in Gujarat and indicates the hollowness of the Gujarat model of development,” he said.The sluggish development of the education sector and its consequent reflection on the lack of job opportunities was well exposed by the movement of the Patel Community, he said.

Himanta Biswa Sarma was an asset, but his exit will not affect Congress: Tarun Gogoi

Himanta Biswa Sarma was “one of the assets” while he was a part of the government but the former minister’s departure will not affect the ruling Congress in the 2016 Assembly polls, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday said.

Assam CM Tarun Gogoi

Himanta Biswa Sarma was “one of the assets” while he was a part of the government but the former minister’s departure will not affect the ruling Congress in the 2016 Assembly polls, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday said.”Congress will not suffer because of his (Sarma’s) decision to join BJP. Ours is a party of ideology. Leaving of the party by one person will not impact us … Earlier also, many important persons left (Congress), but nothing happened to the party,” Gogoi told reporters here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Joining and leaving are parts of any political party,” he added. Asked about his association with Sarma, who was once a close associate and the state former education and health minister who quit over differences with the chief minister last year, Gogoi said, “He was one of the assets. He was a part of the government. I never said he was inefficient and that is why I gave him important ministerial berths.”Yes, it is true that he was my blue-eyed boy. I helped (Sarma) despite opposition of many senior Congress leaders.Today Delhi is accusing me that he was my blue-eyed boy and he became a dissident and has now joined BJP.” Gogoi questioned Sarma’s ideology for changing his allegiance from a “secular and pro-poor party” to a “Hindutva and communal party.””There were dissidents in ’70s and ’80s too. People left the party and formed or joined different parties. Some even formed new parties, with Congress ideology and name but none left the core ideology,” he said.Gogoi said there were many politicians in Congress, BJP, CPI or any other party and they never left their parties even in bad times because of adherence to its ideologies.Asked about his reaction after getting the news of Sarma’ proposed joining of BJP, Gogoi, who once told the dissident Congress leader was like his son, said “Initially I was shocked, but not now. It is part of life.” “Many people have come and left during my long political career. Personal things don’t count, it is about party ideology,” the Chief Minister said, adding that he did not want to raise old issues and create any “unnecessary bitterness” with Sarma.

Assam CM Tarun Gogoi votes for Indian Idol Junior contestant Nahid Afrin

Intense campaigning is on in Assam, particularly in her home town Biswanath Chariali, for Nahid’s victory in the singing reality show.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday voted for Nahid Afrin, the young singing sensation from Assam, for the “Indian Idol Junior” Season II.In a statement, Gogoi said the young promising singer from Assam has been regaling the audience and viewers with her mellifluous voice and bringing laurels to the state. The Chief Minister appealed to the people of the state to vote for Nahid, who hails from Sonitpur district, to enable her to win the coveted singing reality show.Impressed by the singing of the 13-year old Visharad, a Part 2 student of classical music under the Bhatkhande Kala Kendra, the Indian Idol Junior Season 2 judges said she might get offers for playback singing by the end of this season.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Intense campaigning is on in Assam, particularly in her home town Biswanath Chariali, for Nahid’s victory in the singing reality show.

Eight persons killed, over six lakh affected by floods in Assam

Guwahati: Eight persons were killed and over six lakh people hit by the floods in Assam, where the rising Brahmaputra river and its tributaries have flooded 19 districts prompting the army to launch relief operations.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said one person died due to the flood at No 1 Kawadi village under Bijni revenue circle in Chirang district and two others in Dotoma revenue circle in Kokrajhar district.

Two persons have died in Lakhimpur and one each in Bongaigaon, Baksa and Sonitpur districts, ASDMA said in a press release on Friday.

Over 1.23 lakh people have been displaced by the flood forcing them to take shelter in 177 relief camps set up by the administration, the release said.

Incessant rains in the upper catchment areas have caused the water level of river Brahmaputra and its tributaries flowing through Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Nalbari, Goalpara, Morigaaon, Dhubri, Kamrup, Golaghat, Darrang, Nagaon, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Chirang, Barpeta, Jorhat, Baska and Sonitpur districts to rise alarmingly, a report from the Water Resources Department said.

Flood waters have inundated 27 anti-poaching camps inside Kaziranga National Park and damaged a bridge and a culvert at Burapahar Range, Forest Department reported.

The Red Horn Division of the army has since yesterday deployed two columns consisting of an officer, two junior commissioned officers and 35 of other ranks along with a boat assault universal type with over board motor, life jackets and other flood relief materials in Kokrajhar and Chirang districts, said a Defence spokesman.

Army swung into action as the waters of Saralbhanga river in Kokrajhar and other major tributaries of Brahmaputra in Chirang rose displacing many villagers. They rescued many of villagers from inundated areas and provided food and medical assistance to them, an Army spokesman said.

The Army in consonance with the civil administration is also geared for further operations as the flood situation worsens, he added.

Reports of damage to roads, embankments and bridges, besides erosion have also been reported from the affected districts.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi reviewed the flood situation with the Minister for Water Resources Basanta Das and senior officials here during the day and directed the revenue and disaster management department to take steps to gear up relief and rescue operations.

He also directed the department to provide food, medicine, drinking water and baby food to relief camp inmates and take special care of children and women who have taken shelter in them, a government release said.

PTI

Naga Peace Accord welcome if Assam areas excluded: Tarun Gogoi

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Tuesday said the state government welcomes the Naga Peace Accord if it excludes the extended areas of Naga inhabitation in the state.

Tarun Gogoi

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Tuesday said the state government welcomes the Naga Peace Accord if it excludes the extended areas of Naga inhabitation in the state.”The Government of Assam definitely welcomes the Naga Peace Accord if the framework for any settlement excludes the extended areas of Naga inhabitation in Assam,” Gogoi said in a statement in Guwahati.”If the Naga Peace Accord leads to settlement of all vexed issues, then it will eventually pave way for peace, progress and prosperity in Nagaland and the region as a whole,” the Chief Minister added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Over 5100 people killed in Assam insurgency in last 24 years

They were killed in 9382 incidents of violence by insurgents from 1991 to July 2015, Agriculture Minister Rockybul Hussain said on behalf of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in reply to a query in the Assembly.

Representational Image

File Photo
At least 5166 people, including 912 security personnel, were killed in insurgency in Assam in the last 24 years, the state government said on Monday.They were killed in 9382 incidents of violence by insurgents from 1991 to July 2015, Agriculture Minister Rockybul Hussain said on behalf of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in reply to a query in the Assembly. To control militancy and for the protection of life and property, the Unified Command structure was introduced in the state on January 21, 1997 with the police, army and paramiltary forces working together for anti-insurgency operations, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The measures to control militant activities in the state include setting up of fixed police pickets, increased patrolling by security forces, operation in the insurgent-active areas and involving the local people in the anti-insurgency operations, Hussain added.

BJP slams Sonia Gandhi for her criticism of accord with NSCN (IM)

BJP on Thursday slammed Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on her criticism of the Centre over the Naga accord, wondering whose interests her party was serving by not standing with the government on a national security issue.

Sonia Gandhi

BJP on Thursday slammed Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on her criticism of the Centre over the Naga accord, wondering whose interests her party was serving by not standing with the government on a national security issue.Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman cited initial statements by the Congress chief ministers of north east states welcoming the accord to hit back at the main opposiiton party and suggested that they had been asked to delete their tweets as the party wanted to attack the government.”On political issues, you are opposing the government. On economic issues, you are opposing. Today on an issue of national security, you are opposing. Whose interest are you serving?<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Congress has reached the absolute nadir, absolute bottom in their obstructionist politics,” she told reporters, hours after Gandhi attacked the government for not consulting the chief ministers of the region and accused it of arrogance.Gandhi had said when she called her party’s chief ministers of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, who are directly affected by the Naga accord, she found that they were “totally blank” on the issue.”Nobody has even bothered to brief them, perhaps not in detail, but in a wide sense. After all, our chief ministers are directly affected, be it Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh or Assam. So, what do I take from this? From this I take that this government is arrogant,” she had told reporters.Sitharaman said the Centre had called a meeting of all state chief ministers connected with the accord but those from Congress had chosen to boycott it.Quoting tweets and statements of Assam and Arunachal chief ministers Tarun Gogoi and Nabam Tuki besides Congress MP Ninong Ering, the BJP leader said all of them “welcomed” the accord with Ering calling it historic.What her party is hearing that Congress has chosen to ask all its leaders from north east not to welcome the accord and some have deleted their tweets and withdrawn their comments, she said.Noting that Congress is the oldest party and had ruled the country for decades, Sitharam said its stand was “worrying” and it did not augur well for democracy.

Will oppose NSCN-IM peace pact tooth and nail if it affects Assam: Tarun Gogoi

He said he had strongly opposed the ceasefire with NSCN-IM when it was extended to Assam earlier.

Tarun Gogoi

File Photo
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said he would oppose the central government’s agreement with Naga militant outfit Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) if it hampers his state’s interest, reports The Economic TImes. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has said that he would oppose the peace accord between the Centre and the Naga insurgent group NSCN-IM if it threatens Assam’s territorial integrity. “If it (the accord) affects Assam, I will oppose it tooth and nail,” Gogoi told ET.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said he had strongly opposed the ceasefire with NSCN-IM when it was extended to Assam earlier. He added that the Centre cannot make decisions about Assam without consulting him. He said that he will have objections only if the peace acord includes Assam’s territory. “If the accord pertains to only Nagaland and does not talk about Assam’s territory, then I have nothing to say, I will welcome it”, he added. Nagaland’s neighbouring states have been cautious about the peace deal as one of the key demands of the group was to get all the regions inhabited by Nagas including ones in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh under one state. Other Northeastern states do not have the details of the peace accord.Violent protests have followed the Nagaland’s demand. In Manipur a mob had set fire to the state assembly in 2001.

Vadra deals, Louis Berger bribe scam: BJP gets ready to trade punch for punch in Parliament

by Swati Deb

Punch for punch and jab for jab – the embattled BJP has decided to meet the combativeness of the Congress with more combativeness in Parliament. Apprehensive of a united opposition attack on the twin issues of Lalitgate and Vyapam, the party has decided to rake up the controversial land deals of Robert Vadra in Rajasthan and Haryana and corruption issues in Assam and Goa to put the Congress on the defensive. BJP spokespersons and vocal MPs have been asked to get the lung power ready.

BJP sources said in her meeting with party chief Amit Shah and other BJP trouble-shooters like Arun Jaitley Rajasthan’ Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who is under attack over her association with controversial cricket administrator Lalit Modi, submitted papers related to Vadra’s land dealings in Rajasthan.

“It has come to light rather convincingly that the Congress attack against Vasundhara was intensified after the Rajasthan government cancelled mutation of land purchased by his firm Skylight Hospitality Private Limited,” a source said. Making things worse for the Congress president’s son-in-law, the state government in January this year seized 360 hectares of land that the firm had bought in 2010.

Moreover, it has come to light that “fake land deals were made by Vadra and others in villages like Gajner, Goileri and Madh Gaon”. The state government could soon pursue “further probe” in these. “So the needle of suspicion points at two former Congress CMs – Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan) and Digambar Kamat (Goa),” one leader said. In the ‘Louis Berger-bribe’ scam which allegedly took place in 2010 officials and ministers in Assam and Goa were bribed for water development projects in these two states. Congress’s Digambar Kamat was the chief minister and Churchill Alemao was Public Works Department minister in Goa when the bribe was allegedly paid.

AFPAFP

AFP

Similarly, Assam CM Tarun Gogoi has come under attack in Assam along with a former Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. Louis Berger confessed to the bribery allegations and agreed to pay a fine of $17.1 million criminal fee. Two of its former executives – Richard Hirsch (61) of Philippines and James McClung (59) of the UAE pleaded guilty to the bribery charges.

The Congress sought to be dismissive about the charges. A Congress spokesman today told reporters that the party stands for a thorough probe into the allegations. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi should talk to his friend US President Barack Obama and get the details,” he said.

On the Land Bill, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu dismissed suggestions that it will not fructify this session saying, “there is no need to pre-judge things and I am confident that the JPC examining the Bill will make its recommendations and the suggestions of the panel will be accepted”.

BJP party strategists feel contrary to the general impression, in the long run the Congress will find itself “isolated” as the state governments have already expressed willingness to enact land acquisition laws of their own. “Our strategy vis-a-vis Land Bill will be to present Congress as anti-development and as an antagonist outfit,” one key leader said.

Other key aspects of strategies will be to reach out to regional parties. Despite indications that severa could join hands with the Congress, the BJP is confident most of them would be careful to stay away from the former.

In an elaborate plan on reaching out to regional parties like Trinamool Congress, the AIADMK and the Samajwadi Party, BJP sources said, “Congress party was humbled in Lok Sabha polls and lost a series of assembly elections in states. Our message to these regional parties at  such juncture is when the Congress is desperate to revive itself, should these parties work under the same party who had been at one time their rivals in the states”.

The BJP lawmakers and floor managers would also try to carry message that contrary to the allegations, the new Land Bill that the Modi government brought is timely and a necessary step.

Assam CM Tarun Gogoi orders inquiry into allegations of bribery by Louis Berger

Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday ordered an inquiry into allegations of bribe being paid by an American company to get jobs as consultants to Guwahati Water Supply Project.

Gogoi directed Additional Chief Secretary Subash Das to probe into the allegations that American company Louis Berger had paid bribes to government functionaries to be appointed as consultants, a statement issued by CMO’s said in Guwahati.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. PTI

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. PTI

Gogoi has asked the additional chief secretary to submit the report soon and said if any prima facie evidence of bribe being given is found, the state government will refer the case to CBI.

It was reported that Louis Berger had paid bribe to government functionaries in Goa and Assam to get jobs as consultants in the implementation of water supply projects.

The concerned project in Assam is Guwahati Water Supply project which is being implemented by Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority with funds received under Japan International Cooperation Scheme.

Former Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma held the Guwahati Development Department portfolio when the consultants were selected.

Alleging that corruption in the government has become rampant during Congress-rule in the state, Opposition BJP demanded a CBI probe into the scam.

Those who received bribes must be brought to book, BJP spokesperson Bijon Mahajan said.

Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti leader Akhil Gogoi has also demanded a CBI probe into the alleged scam.

PTI

CM Tarun Gogoi urges Centre to release pending funds to Assam

Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Thursday urged the Centre to initiate steps for the release of Rs 20,193 crore pending to the state to carry on developmental works.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. PTI

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. PTI

Submitting a memorandum to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi, Gogoi said the amount has been pending from various departments and oil companies.

“I request you (Jaitley) to kindly consider the matters favourably on urgent basis,” Gogoi said in the memorandum which was made available to the media in the state.

Out of the total amount, Rs 10,000 crore are the royalty due from oil companies and Rs 9,188 crore will be the anticipated loss during 2015-16 due to cut in budgetary allocations to the state.

Also, Rs 1,254 crore of the central sales tax compensation from 2010 to 2013 along with Rs 471 crore of balance grants under 13th Finance Commission have been mentioned in the memorandum as due amount.

“I would like to draw your kind attention to the inordinate delay in release of funds to the state government from the Centre.

I had also submitted a Memorandum to you on 11 May, 2015, highlighting the concerns of the state and issues which need your intervention.

“As there is no progress in these matters and in view of the reduced budgetary support of Central Government, I would like to bring out these issues again to your kind notice for early and positive consideration,” Gogoi said in the Memorandum to the Finance Minister.

The Chief Minister also requested Jaitley to increase budgetary allocations and financial support to the state by at least 12-15 per cent in the current year compared to the allocations for the year 2014-15, in view of increasing demand for development and inflation.

PTI

Myanmar surgical strike a ‘lesson’ to all militant groups, says government

Mumbai/New Delhi: A day after Army carried out the first of its kind surgical strike in Myanmar, Government on Wednesday said India’s response is a “lesson” to all militant groups that it will not hesitate in going beyond its borders to eliminate terrorists.

As the pre-dawn cross-border operation appeared to signal a possible change in India’s counter-terrorism approach, the Government also said it has “zero tolerance” towards terror and terror organisations.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, meanwhile, fully backed the Army’s strike on insurgent camps in Myanmar, saying such operations should be continued to completely flush out militants from the region.

“The military’s action against insurgents with assistance from the Myanmarese government speaks volumes about India’s resolve to fight terror. This is a lesson and a message to all the terror groups that India will not hesitate in going beyond its geographical borders to eliminate terrorists,” Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said.

Javadekar was speaking to reporters in Mumbai while outlining the achievements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government’s one year in office.

Mum on ops in Pakistan

While replying to a query, he, however, refused to comment on if India will carry out a similar strike on Pakistan-based groups plotting terror against India.

A top army officer on Wednesday also said the surgical strike carried out by the Indian army inside Myanmar following an insurgent attack in Manipur cannot be linked to the situation along LoC in Kashmir where similar “hot pursuit” of militants was not possible.

“Manipur incident (strikes in Myanmar) is according to the situation and circumstances there. I would not like to connect one with the other,” General officer Commanding of Army’s 15 Corps Lt General Subrata Saha said.

Lt Gen Saha was replying to a question whether Army will undertake similar operations against militants on the other side of LoC in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

“A response or reaction to any operational situation is based on the situation in that area. I do not think it is professionally right to link one (situation) with another,” he added.

In New Delhi, senior Minister Nitin Gadkari at a briefing on the Union Cabinet meeting initially ignored questions by reporters on whether the ministers congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the cross-border operation.

When pressed further, he said that the issue was not discussed at the meeting and that the Prime Minister was not congratulated at the meeting.

“It is already clear that we have a zero tolerance towards terror and terror organisation. The official spokesperson of military has given detailed information about the action that our military has done,” Gadkari said.

He was asked whether hot pursuit will be the new policy of Government of India in cases of terror strike.

Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had yesterday said, “This message is now very clear to all those who harboured intentions of terror on our country. Unprecedented though, but our Prime Minister has taken a very bold step and given a go ahead for hot pursuit into Myanmar.”

In the first such cross-border operation, special forces of the army in coordination with the air force yesterday carried out a surgical strike inside Myanmar, killing insurgents of the groups believed to be responsible for the ambush in Manipur that left 18 soldiers dead. A total of 38 insurgents were killed in the strike, according to latest reports.

Elite commandos of the army in coordination with the air force went a few kilometres inside Myanmarese territory to destroy two camps of insurgents hiding there after their attacks in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh last week by suspected NSCN(K) and KYKL outfits.

PTI

No society can forge ahead without women empowerment: Tarun Gogoi

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi says women are no less capable than men.

Tarun Gogoi
File Photo

Women are no less capable than men and they have been in some cases superior to men, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said at the 7th Annual Event Honouring Women Achievers of the North East 2014-15.”Without empowerment of women, no society or state can forge ahead,” he said. “A country’s progress can be judged only on the basis of how far its women have made strides. It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure women empowerment on all fronts,” he said at the award-giving function organised by FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO), North East Chapter. Expressing concern that atrocities against women are on the rise, Gogoi said such incidents must be brought to an end through concerted efforts. Gogoi said that the state government has given more thrust on women empowerment and has made 30% reservation of jobs in government for women. “Assam is the first state in the country to have 30% job reservation for women. Now other states are emulating us,” he added. Stating through capacity building, skill development and vocational training, women can be empowered socially and economically, the Chief Minister said more and more girls are pursuing education and that augurs well for the state and the country. “It’s good to see a sizeable section of girls pursuing education in universities, polytechnics, engineering, medical and other institutions. The demand for girls’ hostels is more than boys. And this augurs well for the state and the country as a whole,” he said. Gogoi also said education without empowering women is meaningless and that the Government has given thrust on capacity building, entrepreneurship training and skill development. The Chief Minister appreciated the endeavour of FLO, North East Chapter for espousing the cause of women and giving them the recognition they so richly deserve. “A little bit of encouragement and appreciation does wonders and inspires and motivates one in the field to work with greater zeal and vigour,” he said. The Chief Minister presented Tongam Rina, a journalist from Arunachal Pradesh who braved terrorists’ bullets, G Lalthanzami from Mizoram who saves women from domestic abuse, Birubala Rabha from Assam who spearheads a campaign against witch-hunting, Meena Debbarma, a young actress from Tripura who fights for tribal rights and Rupshika Borah from Assam, who is the first ever woman director of OIL with Women Achievers of North East Award for the year 2014-15.Also Read: Expat women’s take on India: Travel can be a nightmare

New facts emerge in Dimapur lynching: Syed Khan from military family, not ‘Bangladeshi illegal’

Syed Sharif Khan was dragged out of a Dimapur prison, paraded naked and then beaten and stoned and killed by a mob which believed he was an ‘Illegal Bangladeshi Immigrant’ who raped a Naga college student. However, it now turns out that not only was Khan an Indian but he hailed from a family of army men and had moved to Nagaland from Assam after marrying a Naga woman.

“We are sons of the soil. We can’t be Bangladeshis just because we are Bengali Muslims,” Nasiruddin, Khan’s brother, told the Times of India.

According to his brother Suberuddin, Khan was one of nine children and three of his brothers served in the Indian Army. One of his brothers died while in service, while two others are still serving, Suberuddin was quoted as saying in an Indian Express report.

Protests in Assam over the lynching. PTI imageProtests in Assam over the lynching. PTI image

Protests in Assam over the lynching. PTI image

“Our eldest brother who was in the Army died while in service, while two brothers, Syed Jamal Khan and Syed Kamal Khan, are with the Assam Regiment,” he said.

According to a Hindustan Times report, his slain brother Imanuddin had been killed in the Kargil war and local police officials told the newspaper that the Khan family were Bengali-speaking Muslims who had been living in the state for generations.

Even his father had served and retired from the Military Engineering Services for 20 years.  According to his brother in the army, Khan had set up shops for two other brothers in Dimapur, where he sold second-hand cars.

Khan had been arrested on charges of raping a woman and had been remanded to judicial custody. However, an angry mob had raided the Dimapur district jail on 5 March and after taking him out paraded him naked, beat him, stoned him and dragged him a distance of 7 km which resulted in his death.

His body was brought to his native Bosla village in Badarpur of Assam’s Karimganj district on Saturday even as Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi controversially claimed in a television interview that the Nagaland government needed to prove the facts since he had received an “unofficial medical report” that there was no evidence of rape.

Khan’s family has also claimed that he was framed and the girl was known to them and had demanded some money from him, a claim that unnamed home ministry sources also corroborated to the Hindustan Times. The girl, meanwhile, told a TV channel that the accused gave her money to remain silent about the incident.

Khan’s brother, Nasiruddin, who lived with him in Dimapur has said that his brother led a happy family life and the complainant was his wife’s cousin.  Nasiruddin alleged that Khan had gone with the victim and her friend to attend a party on 23 February and the police had come the next day to arrest him based on the complaint filed by the girl.

He also alleged the victim had sought money which Khan’s wife had refused to pay and blamed social media outrage over the incident for the lynching, according to the Times of India report.

The incident has sparked protests in Assam with truckers refusing to ply to Nagaland over the issue and the Assam government increasing security and telling senior police officials to provide security to people from Nagaland in the state and ensuring the safety of travellers, the Hindu reported.

The Nagaland government, that has instituted a judicial inquiry into the incident, and kept paramilitary forces on standby to instill a sense of security among non-Naga communities of the state but there has been no flag march.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Nagaland Chief Minister T R Zeliang and asked him to ensure safety and security of people and take steps to maintain law and order. He also told Zeliang that strictest action should be taken against those involved in the lynching of Khan.

Assam chief minister Gogoi had written to Singh and Zeliang seeking security measures to protect people from his state.

In his letter to Singh, he wrote, “Attacks on people of a particular community, especially to those belonging to minority, can have widespread repercussion in Assam, which has a huge population of Muslims.”

Zeliang responded to Gogoi’s letter yesterday assuring him of all possible steps to ensure safety and security of people from Assam living in Nagaland.

The Nagaland Cabinet had suspended Deputy Commissioner Wezope Kenye, SP Meren Jamir and B. Chuba Phom, Senior Superintendent of Central Jail, for “their failure to control the situation”.

While local police officials have claimed that a mob consisting of students and women raided the jail and tied their hands, doubts have also been raised over the involvement of prison staff in aiding the protesters since it turns out that all other inmates are still in jail.

Dimapur lynching: Central security forces failed to stop lynching, says Assam CM Gogoi

Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday said that the security at Dimapur Central Jail, from where a rape accused was dragged out and lynched by a mob, was under central security forces who failed to stop the lynching.

“The security in the jail was under central security forces who failed to stop the lynching. It is the Centre who is responsible for ensuring the security of the inmates,” the Chief Minister said here.

Assam CM Tarun Gogoi. PTIAssam CM Tarun Gogoi. PTI

Assam CM Tarun Gogoi. PTI

Gogoi said he has written to his Nagaland counterpart T R Zeliang to ensure the safety and security of Assamese people in the neighbouring state.

The accused Syed Farid Khan hailed from Bosla village in Badarpur of Karimganj district of Assam.

Zeliang has assured that all measures would be taken to provide security to their lives and property, the Assam CM said.

Gogoi has also written to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to ensure that proper action was taken against those responsible for the lynching of the rape accused.

The CM further urged Governor P B Acharya, who is also the Nagaland Governor, to take necessary action to ensure that the guilty were booked and punished.

“The suspension of the Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police by the Nagaland government was itself an admission of the fact that there was lapse on the part of the administration”, he said.

The Chief Minister said that no one could take law unto their hands, however condemnable the crime of the accused maybe and stern action must be taken against those involved in the “heinous crime”.

The Assam Chief Minister said the family members of the rape accused wanted the body to be brought home and efforts were being made to do so.

“Whatever the family wants, we will abide by it and the body is expected to arrive in Badarpur this evening”, he said.

Meanwhile, the body was handed over by the Nagaland authorities to Dimapur Muslim Council at Chumukedima in Nagaland.

Khan’s brothers had left on Saturday for Khatkhati town in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district bordering Nagaland to bring back the body.

Karimganj Deputy Commissioner Sanjib Gohain Boruah had visited Khan’s residence last evening and assured his mother of all possible help.

Protests against the lynching were reported from different parts of the state, including Karimganj, and a strict vigil was being maintained to prevent any untoward incident.

Syed Farid Khan had been arrested on suspicion of raping a woman in Dimapur on February 24 and remanded to judicial custody in Dimapur Central Jail the following day.

On March 5, a mob broke into the jail, dragged him out, stripped him naked, beat him up, pelted him with stones and dragged him towards the centre of Dimapur town, seven kilometres away.

On the way he succumbed to his injuries after which the mob dragged the body to a clock tower and displayed it.

Explosives found in railway station at Guwahati

Representational image.

A huge quantity of gelatin sticks and cordex wires were recovered from an unclaimed bag by the GRPF in Guwahati Railway Station tonight on the eve of the 19th National Youth Festival beginning here tomorrow.During routine patrolling the bag containing 106 gelatin sticks and six wire rolls was noticed in platform number three by the security personnel, said GRPF sources. (an official in the GRPF office in the railway station)To which militant outfit the explosives belonged or who was carrying them was not immediately known as investigations were on, the sources said.Security measures have been intensified in the railway stations and the city where nearly 5000 youths from across the country have congregate to showcase their talent in the field of art and culture at the Festival, police said.At the opening ceremony of the Festival, organised by the union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in collaboration with the state government, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is scheduled to be the chief guest and union youth Affairs and Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal will preside over the ceremony.