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‘Denied’ chief secy post, senior IAS officer in Rajasthan govt converts to Islam, applies for VRS

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Rajasthan govt targetting Congress leaders, alleges Sachin Pilot

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Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot made the accusation while addressing a public meeting in Jhalawar, about 330 kms from Jaipur.

Rajasthan Congress on hit out at the Raje-led dispensation, alleging that the BJP government was “targetting” Congress leaders and workers and “implicating” them in false cases by “misusing government machinery”.Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot made the accusation while addressing a public meeting in Jhalawar, about 330 kms from Jaipur. The RPCC chief also alleged that the Vasundhara Raje government had “insulted the mandate given by the people by not working in their interest”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP government was “targetting Congress leaders and workers” and “implicating them in false cases” by misusing government machinery, Pilot alleged. “Congress party will strongly oppose the wrong policies of the government and will expose it. The government weakened public welfare scheme initiated by the former government and ignored the interests of people and farmers,” he said.Pilot said that nearly 60 farmers committed suicide in the state due to “negligence” of the state government while other farmers whose crops were damaged due to bad monsoon were still looking for compensation. “People of the state gave a strong mandate to BJP but unfortunately the government is not working in the interest of people. This is the insult of the mandate. Corruption has become rampant, inflation is skyrocketing,” he further alleged.

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

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

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

PM Narendra Modi betraying people, says Former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot

On the National Herald issue, Gehlot said that Modi’s intention was not good.
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Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of betraying the people of the country by not fulfilling the promise of containing “sky-rocketing inflation”.”PM Modi has been exposed. The common man is under the burden of sky-rocketing inflation. Crude oil prices reduced in international market but the benefit was not passed on to the people, instead excise duty was increased,” Gehlot said.He also accused the government of protecting Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in the Lalit Modi controversy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Hardik Patel is a youth and he was booked in Gujarat under charges of sedition whereas this action should have been taken against Rajasthan CM Raje. But unfortunately, no action is being taken against her,” he said, while alleging that the Modi government was targeting Congress leaders.”It is not possible without the nod of PM Modi. This trend is very dangerous,” he said.On the National Herald issue, Gehlot said that Modi’s intention was not good. “National herald issue shows the difference between words and deeds of PM Modi,” Gehlot alleged.

Vasundhara Raje should face CBI inquiry over graft charges: Ashok Gehlot

The former Chief Minister also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to examine and implement the “Vasundhara model” to fulfill his promise of bringing back black money.

Vasundhara Raje

Hitting out at Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje on the second anniversary of BJP government in the state, Congress leader Ashok Gehlot on Sunday said that she should step down from her post and face a CBI inquiry over the corruption charges levelled against her.The former Chief Minister also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to examine and implement the “Vasundhara model” to fulfill his promise of bringing back black money. “Corruption from top to bottom has become rampant in the state. Serious allegations have been made against Raje and she should come forward to face the charges and order a CBI inquiry. She has no moral right to continue as chief minister,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Raje showed that how black money could be brought and invested in her son’s company via Mauritius route. Now, the Centre should examine the ‘Vasundhara model’ to bring back black money because PM failed to fulfil the promise he had made,” Gehlot alleged at a press conference here. He claimed that the ‘Vasundhra model’ might prove fruitful for Modi government which is silent despite several scams in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and has not taken action against them.Gehlot also held Raje responsible for the death of former MLA Gurusharan Chhabra who died on November 3 during a dharna demanding a complete ban on liquor in the state. “The CM is the responsible for his death. She did not have a dialogue…to end his agitation which led to his death,” the former chief minister said.Gehlot also claimed that Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria has no control over his department and officers and also demanded that he should step down. “Crime-rate has increased in the state and common man is suffering. Minor girls are being raped, dreaded criminals escape from police custody but the home minister is boosting police’s morale instead…,” he said. On BJP President Amit Shah’s remark in today’s public rally that there was no corruption and scam in the last two years, Gehlot said, “It seems that Raje is misguiding and hiding scams from Shah and not showing a clear picture.” On Raje questioning the objections being raised on the second anniversary celebrations, Gehlot said, “Rajasthan is not her personal estate that no one will ask for an account of the hard earned money of common people…What right do they have to misuse people’s money?” Expressing confidence that BJP will not be in power the next time, he warned corrupt officials of strict action. “I have already said that officials must work impartially. If they do so, there will be no issue but if they work in biased manner then we will not spare them,” he said.The former chief minister said that performance of the BJP government in two years in the state could not be analysed as “the government has done nothing.” “Farmers are suffering for fodder and seeds, compensation of crop damage due to excessive rains and hailstorm are pending, Barmer oil refinery is delayed for last two years which could had given employment to two lakh people and no progress on Dungarpur-Banswara-Ratlam rain line project are some of the examples of government’s working,” he said.He also criticised the recently held Resurgent Rajasthan summit, terming it as “just a get-together of industrialists”.

Devendra Fadnavis calls on farmers to adopt new agriculture technology

Adoption of newer technology and imbibing science into agriculture, would redeem the cultivation of drought-hit farmers of Maharashtra.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis

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Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has called on farmers to adopt new technologies in order to improve and increase their farm yield, which will ultimately result in their well being.Inaugurating the 7th edition of agriculture festival ‘Agro Vision’ at Nagpur, on Friday evening, Fadnavis said due to rapid changes in climate, embracing new methodology and technologies was the “need of the hour”.Union Minister for Shipping and Road Transport, Nitin Gadkari, who is also the chief promoter of exhibition, Rajasthan Chief Minister, Vasundhara Raje Scindia, Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Hansraj Ahir were also present at the inaugural function.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chief Minister said due to unfavourable climatic conditions, on 2014 there was a drought-like situation in 20,000 villages of the state, which has swelled to 24,000 this year and production has suffered drastically in the entire Marathwada and eastern part of Vidarbha.About 50% population in state is directly dependent on agriculture and makes use of traditional methods of farming, he said.”We cannot depend on nature as the climate is playing hide and seek with farmers. In such situation, we have to adopt new technology and do experiments with new crop that can improve the financial condition of farmers. Farmers must take the help of scientists, experts and change their mindset,” Fadnavis said.The Chief Minister on the occasion requested Gadkari to suggest the Central Government to allocate fund of Rs 2,500-3,000 crore to every state for investing in agriculture infrastructure and emphasised that it was important to improve the condition of farmers in the country.Gadkari, in his address, said irrigation facility for farmers in Maharashtra was 16.8%, 18% in Rajasthan, and 90% in Punjab and Haryana. He said farm yield can increase many fold in Maharashtra if farmers are provided with electricity supply 24X7.Scindia said her government would soon send farmers in small groups to Israel to study use of new technologies in farming.

India police apologise for cow art raid

Police in India’s Rajasthan state apologise to artists for raiding an exhibition which featured a polystyrene cow dangling from a helium balloon.

Modi in Malaysia: PM says corruption being eliminated, Congress promptly hits back

Congress on Sunday latched on to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks in Malaysia on the issue of corruption to rake up the Lalit Modi controversy over which it is seeking resignations of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

Narendra Modi

Congress on Sunday latched on to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks in Malaysia on the issue of corruption to rake up the Lalit Modi controversy over which it is seeking resignations of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.Addressing the Indian diaspora on the second day of his three-day visit to Malaysia, Modi said, “We are eliminating corruption at all levels and making governance driven by policy and systems not discretion of individuals.” In response, Congress tweeted, “He didn’t utter a word when Smt Swaraj & Smt Raje helped a fugitive. #ModiInMalaysia talks about Corruption! Ironic!” The party also used a quote of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to take a jibe at the Prime Minister for his assertion that since his government entered office 18 months ago, no region has seen greater engagement from India than Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean Region.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The person who always talks about his virtues, is in reality, has less of them,” the party said in Hindi quoting Nehru. Senior Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that such comments not only insult the office of the Prime Minister but also the grandeur of the country and asserted that India, with all its fault and shortcomings, has evolved from 1947 to 2015 and every person has contributed to that. “Whenever he (Modi) speaks, he underlines the assumption that India was born and grew up from adolescence to youth to old age and achieved everything in 18 months. Neither any good thing existed prior to May 2014 nor are Indian achievements prior to May 2004 relevant to talk about.”It is regrettable that a person of the stature of Prime Minister can bring in such pettiness in every comment, even on foreign soil. It seems to have become DNA of the NDA. It seems to have become the inbuilt thinking process of the NDA,” he told reporters. “We will only pray with folded hands to the Prime Minister that you not only insult the office of the Prime Minster by saying such things, you also insult the grandeur of India.India with all its fault and with all its shortcomings has evolved from 1947 to 2015 and each one of has contributed. We all are proud of it,” Singhvi said. Congress also utilised a column of former Finance Minister P Chidambaram to “demolish” government’s claims on economy. “Economy is not where @narendramodi claims it is. Former FinMin @PChidambaram_IN demolishes Govt’s claims,” it said on the microblogging site.”The RBI statistics show Rs Vs Dollar was 54.41 in 2012-13. This year’s average is Rs 64.54,” it said. “India is today the fastest growing major economy in the world…We are running at 7.5 per cent per year, but will grow even faster in the coming years,” Modi said while addressing the Indian diaspora on the second day of his three-day visit to Malaysia.The AICC had made it clear last week that it had not given up on its demand for the resignation of Swaraj and Raje in the Lalit Modi controversy and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan in the Vyapam scam. While the Winter Session of Parliament is set to begin on November 26, the Monsoon session had been a virtual washout over the Congress demand.

Rajasthan govt removes Anish Kapoor’s name from cultural panel two days after nomination

Rajasthan Tourism minister Krishnendra Kaur, however, canceled the nominations of all 12 members, including Kapoor, last night saying that she was unaware of the nominations and the Principal Secretary of the department had issued the order without consultation.

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Noted British sculptor Anish Kapoor, who had made scathing remarks against Narendra Modi government in a UK daily during the Prime Minister’s visit there, has been removed from Rajasthan’s cultural panel, two days after he was nominated by the BJP-ruled state government.The Vasundhara Raje government nominated the controversial sculptor and 11 others as the members of the Governing Board of Jaipur’s Jawahar Kala Kendra on November 16.Kapoor’s article critical of Modi appeared in the Guardian on November 12, where he had raised the issue of alleged ‘intolerance’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rajasthan Tourism minister Krishnendra Kaur, however, canceled the nominations of all 12 members, including Kapoor, last night saying that she was unaware of the nominations and the Principal Secretary of the department had issued the order without consultation.”Nomination of all the 12 members has been canceled last night. I had no idea of the nomination earlier,” Kaur said.Kaur’s decision to cancel the nomination came after she was queried by reporters yesterday about Kapoor’s nomination to the panel, especially after he remarks against the Modi government during the PM’s visit to the UK.Pooja Sood, the Director General of JKK, said that the list was issued by the government on November 16.Interestingly, there was no artist from Rajasthan to get nomination in the list that carried names of educationists Homi K Bhabha, novelist Jeet Thayil, among others.

RSS fan handle wants Myntra to ban cowhide items, RSS says views not ours

An independent handle created by RSS Swayamsevaks on Wednesday targeted e-commerce site Myntra, owned by Flipkart for selling cow leather shoes. It demanded that the government should act against Myntra as it sold shoes made from cow leather.

After the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) fan handle on Wednesday demanded that the government should act against Myntra as it sold shoes made from cow leather, the RSS has now said that the views expressed on twitter handle are not of them.An independent handle created by RSS Swayamsevaks on Wednesday targeted e-commerce site Myntra, owned by Flipkart for selling cow leather shoes. It demanded that the government should act against Myntra as it sold shoes made from cow leather.”Govt should take action against @myntra for selling cow leather shoe and hurting religious sentiments of Hindus,” said @RSS_Org.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, responding to RSS_Org’s tweets, Myntra said, “We appreciate your sentiments. We feel sorry if the sale of any particular item does not meet your approval. However, the product in question is an imported product and/or made from imported leather. the sale of leather products is not illegal in India. Please be assured that we function within legally permissible norms.”Meanwhile, after the outrage on social media, RSS Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh Manmohan Vaidya clarified that the views expressed by the fan page are not of them.”We do not subscribe to the views expressed on @rss_org as it is not the official twitter handle of RSS,” said VaidyaThough, vaidya has claimed that @RSS_Org is not an official handle of the Sangh, it is followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje, Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel, and other prominent leaders.

Sacked AAP minister blames internal politics for his dismissal

“I’m a person with a clean image. Don’t know why am I being made scapegoat. I’ve become a victim of AAP’s internal politics,” Khan told media persons on Saturday evening.

Asim Ahmad Khan at a press conference on Saturday
BB Yadav
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A day after Delhi chief minister fired his cabinet colleague Asim Ahmed Khan over graft charges, the former food and environment minister came out in his defence saying that he has become a victim of Aam Aadmi Party’s internal politics and has been made a ‘scapegoat’ in the process.”I’m a person with a clean image. Don’t know why am I being made scapegoat. I’ve become a victim of AAP’s internal politics,” Khan told media persons on Saturday evening.Criticising Kejriwal’s move to sack him publicly without his knowledge and refuting corruption charges, Khan said it was improper for the CM to sack him in this manner without even carrying out a thorough investigation into the matter.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A furious Khan also alleged that the party intentionally did not disclose the identity of the alleged ‘builder’ and has not handed over the audio clip to him.”The second voice was of AAP minority wing vice president Shakeel Malik. Why is his name being hid? Why was he addressed as a middleman?” Khan asked, adding that he has been receiving threat calls from his party ever since he had said he will make further revelations against the party. “I will name everyone, even if it’s a councillor or a chief minister,” Khan said.”I will make more revelations in the next two days,” he said undeterred, as his supporters and family present at the venue shouted anti-Kejriwal slogans in the background.Khan also questioned the credentials of Imran Khan who replaced him as the new minister, saying, “There are 14 pending cases against him. I want to ask why a man with clean credentials has been replaced by a person with criminal record.” He, however, said he is yet to decide if he will resign from the party.On Friday, Kejriwal has announced at an impromptu press meet his decision to sack Khan and handover the case to CBI after examining a few audio clips of a conversation between Khan and another anonymous person, which was submitted to him by a whistleblower.Announcing the decision, Kejriwal had reiterated that his government wouldn’t tolerate corruption from anyone, be it a minister, MLA, or officers.Kejriwal also took a customary dig at the BJP, challenging the party to sack chief ministers Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Chouhan on graft charges.While Kejriwal took the opportunity to reiterate his party’s stand, political observers said the move was carefully crafted to boost AAP’s image, which of late, have suffered because of errant ministers such as Somnath Bharti accused in the infamous Khidki raid case and a domestic violence complaint filed by his wife and Jitendra Tomar who faked his educational qualifications.Khan was the latest in his hitlist after his name featured in the Turkman road rage case and his ineffieciency in handling the recent onion scam allegations. AAP sources said Khan’s sacking was imminent.Meanwhile, Kejriwal has extended an invitation to all AAP legislators and their family members, in order to boost their morale and remind them of AAP’s anti-corruption agenda.”Meeting all MLAs, with families, tomorrow evening. To remind them why we came in politics. To warn them that Asim Khan episode should not happen again,” Kejriwal tweeted.

NHAI land scam: CBI to file reply on plea for probe against Vasundhara, her son

Raje and her son had allegedly illegally claimed ownership of a 567 square metre piece of land sold it to National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for Rs 1.97 crore

The land apparently caused a loss to the state exchequer.

The Delhi High Court on Friday sought CBI’s response on a plea seeking lodging of an FIR and probe by the agency against Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and her son for allegedly obtaining compensation of Rs 1.97 crore by selling a piece of government land to NHAI for widening of a national highway in 2010. “Let reply be filed and put up for argument on December 7,” Justice PS Teji said. Senior advocate Anand Grover, who appeared for petitioner lawyer Srijana Shrestha, said that in compliance with the earlier order of the bench, he is filing the order of special CBI court in which it has refused to order any probe.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench then issued notice to CBI and asked it to file its reply to the petition before December 7. The petitioner has challenged the trial court order of April 18 refusing to order a probe into the allegation against Raje and her son, saying no prior sanction had been obtained as required under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The bench on September 29, had directed the prosecution counsel to place before it the special CBI judge’s order as well as the notification by which the court was set up.The special CBI judge had dismissed the private complaint filed by a Rajasthan-based lawyer, saying there was no sanction order to prosecute them under the PC Act. The petition has said that Raje and her son had allegedly illegally claimed ownership of a 567 square metre piece of land adjoining the Dholpur Palace in Dholpur town and sold it to National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for Rs 1.97 crore, causing a loss to the state exchequer.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal sacks minister Asim Ahmed; challenges BJP to remove Shivraj Chouhan, Raje

The graft charges against Khan were quite serious.

He said that the government is referring the graft complaint to CBI

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Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal sacked his minister Asim Ahmed Khan on Friday over corruption charges. He said that the government is referring this complaint to CBI. Khan held the portfolio for Food and Civil Supply, Environment and Forest, Minority affairs and Election. Speaking about dropping the minister from his cabinet, Arvind Kejriwal said, “We’ve received serious complaint of corruption against our Cabinet Minister Asim Ahmed, the complainant has sent us a one-hour audio clip.”Kejriwal said, “I will not even spare my son, Manish Sisodia or anyone else if he is corrupt.” He added saying that now that AAP sacked a tainted minister it was now BJP’s turn to do the same with Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Regarding Ahmed, he added that along with Manish Sisodia he conducted a preliminary assessment after listening to the audio clip said that prima facie it seemed to be a serious matter.

Money laundering case against me a malicious prosecution: Sachin Pilot

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a criminal complaint in the Rajasthan ambulance scam case and booked former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Pilot and sons of two former Union ministers on money laundering charges.
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Rajasthan Congress President Sachin Pilot on Friday termed the filing of a money laundering complaint against him and others by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the state ambulance scam probe, a case of “malicious prosecution.””This is another attempt in the series of attempts already made by the Union government at the behest of the Vasundhara Raje government to drag my name into manufactured controversies. They have thrown in the whole machinery of the state in targeting leaders of the opposition. They are fighting a losing political battle and trying to settle scores by other means now. This nothing but a brazen continuation of malicious prosecution,” he told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a criminal complaint in the Rajasthan ambulance scam case and booked former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Pilot and sons of two former Union ministers on money laundering charges. The agency took cognisance of the CBI FIR in this regard to register its case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and has named Karthi Chidamabaram and Ravi Krishna, sons of senior Congress leaders and former Union ministers P Chidambaram and Vayalar Ravi respectively. Pilot alleged that the central probe agency was not serious in probing the cases of Lalit Modi in Rajasthan which were recently in the news.”I would like to know what the ED has done about the money laundering, financial malpractices involving Chief Minister Raje and her son in connivance with Lalit modi. The ED had put that investigation into cold storage and instead is busy serving its political masters and registering false cases against me and other Congress leaders. I have always stood for probity in public life. However, this is settling political scores by illegal means,” he said.The former union minister said he has always demanded that the case should be probed by a retired judge of the High Court with a deadline to submit its findings in three months.

First-time MLAs won’t be made minister in my govt, says Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje

The chief minister asked the first-time MLAs to remain up-to-date on the achievements of the government, deliver proper response to party workers’ queries and give on priority on party activities.
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Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Monday said first-time MLAs would not be made minister in her government and that they should focus on development works in their respective constituency, instead of dreaming of a “car with red beacon”.Addressing a training workshop of first-time BJP MLAs, Raje said those who have been elected for the first time should focus on their constituency and perform so that they get re-elected. She also asked the MLAs not to get involved in transfer and posting of officers in their constituency and advised them to make “optimum utilisation” of available officers in developmental works.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The chief minister asked the first-time MLAs to remain up-to-date on the achievements of the government, deliver proper response to party workers’ queries and give on priority on party activities.In the workshop at a hotel here, Raje also said that the government would soon start the process of recruitment in 1.22 lakh vacant posts in the government sector.

Rahul Gandhi elevation as Congress President delayed: reports

Rahul may not replace his mother Sonia Gandhi as the party chief until Bihar elections.

Congress has altered its stance on making Rahul the party chief

PTI
Congress which had been openly talking about Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as the party President, on Thursday altered its stance on the matter, reports NDTV. Sources have reportedly said to the channel that Gandhi will be focusing on reviving the party following its 2014 Lok Sabha poll debacle. Rahul may not replace his mother Sonia Gandhi as the party chief until Bihar elections. Sonia Gandhi who took over as the party head has been the party’s longest serving president. Congress’ top decision body, the Working Committee is set to meet on Tuesday and expected to reduce tenure of the President from three to five years. Elections for the party posts must be held by the end of December , as per Election Commission rules.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress vice-president had faced flak for being absent for the first leg of the Parliament session, after going on a break for at least two months. After his return he led the Opposition charge against the government over issues of Land Bill and recently on One Rank One Pension issue. The Opposition’s continued protest over Vyapam scam and Lalit Modi and demand for resignation of EAM Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje and Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has stalled discussion on important bills like GST.

NDA govt, PM Modi serious about farmers’ issues: Vasundhara Raje

Dismissing opposition’s criticism that the Prime Minister made a “U-turn” on land acquisition, Raje said chief ministers during the Niti Ayog meeting had suggested him to leave the issue of Land Acquisition Bill to the states.
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PTI photo
As opposition targeted Narendra Modi over his announcement that the land ordinance will not be promulgated for the fourth time, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje defended the Prime Minister saying that his radio address reflected how serious he was about farmers’ issue.”Both Centre and the state government are working in the interests of farmers. We want to provide relief to them as much as possible,” Raje told reporters in Dholpur.”The PM’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ reflects how serious he is about farmers’ issues,” she added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dismissing opposition’s criticism that the Prime Minister made a “U-turn” on land acquisition, Raje said chief ministers during the Niti Ayog meeting had suggested him to leave the issue of Land Acquisition Bill to the states.Also read: PM Modi’s decision to not re-promulgate land ordinance is for farmers’ welfare, says Arun JaitleyThe Centre on Sunday decided to avoid repeated confrontation with the opposition over the land ordinance, with Modi announcing it will not be promulgated for the fourth time as his rivals claimed credit for making it “bow down” on the contentious issue. The controversial ordinance will expire tomorrow and the government now is likely to take the legislative route for enactment of a national land acquisition law.

Rajasthan Municipal Elections: Tug of war ensues between BJP and Congress to woo Independent councillors

With an outstanding number of independent winners, speculations are that BJP and Congress are not going to leave any stone unturned to tempt and woo the ‘untagged’ councillors.

Image Courtesy: State Election Commission, Rajasthan

Rajasthan Municipal Elections for 129 civic bodies concluded on Thursday with the Bhartiya Janata Party securing maximum number of seats and winning in most of the civic bodies.A few BJP leaders seem confident that the party will have presidents in at least 80 civic bodies,the Rajasthan Patrika reports. Nominations for the same were conducted between 10 to 11 am on Friday, with voting underway between 2:30- 5 pm. This will soon be followed by counting.The disappointing performance of BJP on the home turf of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje is the little that Congress and other opposition parties can feel good about. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jhalawar Municipal Corporation and Jhalrapatan Municipal Corporation, both fall in Raje’s constituency, where Congress has full majority with 20 and 15 seats respectively. Although Raje didn’t participate in the municipal election campaign at all, many believe this heist should be analysed differently. No formal statement has been made by the BJP so far.Congress MLA from Sapotra, Ramesh Mina, who was appointed as head of the municipal elections campaign, gave all credit to the hard work and unity showed by the party workers in Jhalawar and Jhalrapatan.Out of the 129 civic bodies, BJP has clear majority in 43, Congress in 16 while the independents have majority in as many as 12 corporations. In the remaining 57 corporations, both major parties failed to secure majority.The overall performance for the Congress too wasn’t as disappointing based on its deteriorating performances across the nation. Out of 3351 wards, 1441 BJP councillors were elected against Congress’ 1164. 704 independent candidates won as councillors whereas Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Communist Party of India (CPI) and CPI (Marxists) won only 16, five and one ward respectively. With an outstanding number of independent winners, speculations are that BJP and Congress are not going to leave any stone unturned to tempt and woo the ‘untagged’ councillors. A report in Rajasthan Patrika suggests that soon after the results the two rival parties approached the independent winners in order to win them over to their side. Elections for the president of each civic body are underway.

Rahul Gandhi accuses Sushma Swaraj, Vasundhara Raje of taking black money from Lalit Modi

On Rahul’s black money barb, Jaitley said: “What steps did your government take to bring back money. You did nothing. Every step was taken by us.”

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday once again accused external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan CM of taking black money from tainted IPL founder Lalit Modi and challenged Prime Minister Modi not to be afraid in speaking his “Man ki baat.”Amidst protests from the BJP benches throughout his speech, Rahul insisted that the crux of the issue is the “black money” and the Congress is egging on the PM to respond to the demand for resignations of Sushma Swaraj, Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan by breaking his silence in tune with his promise to the nation after winning the elections that “na khaunga, na khane dunga” (won’t take bribe or allowed anyone take bribe). He even went to the extent of asserting that “PM does not have guts to sit in the House.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The entire Opposition, led by the Congress, walked out in protest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi not coming to the House to reply to the day-long debate on the adjournment motion and instead the government fielded Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to reply. He rejected the charges levelled by them as totally baseless and ruled out resignation of Sushma Swaraj. Since Congress group leader Mallikarjun Kharge had led the walkout, the Speaker took vote on the adjournment motion he had piloted and the same was rejected overwhelmingly by the voice vote.On Rahul’s black money barb, Jaitley said: “What steps did your government take to bring back money. You did nothing. Every step was taken by us.”Rahul described the Indian Premier League (IPL) as the centre of black money in India and dubbed its founder Lalit Modi as swindler, challenging Sushma Swaraj once again to disclose how much her family got from Lalit Modi and was it not in black money. He wanted to know if she had helped Lalit Modi with the knowledge of the PM. Dismissing Sushma’s claim in the House that her daughter got no money as a junior lawyer of Lalit Modi nor her lawyer husband were involved in his passport case, Rahul insisted that her family was looking after the legal affairs of the fugitive and that cannot be without any exchange of money. On her claim of helping Lalit Modi on “humanitarian grounds,” he taunted that she is perhaps the first person to be secretive (chhupkar) in the humanitarian acts. On Jaitley dismissing the financial dealings between Lalit Modi and the Rajasthan CM’s MP son Dushyant Singh as “commercial transactions,” Rahul said it certainly benefitted Vasundhara and her son but he wants to know what benefit they gave in return to Lalit Modi. In his reply to the debate, Jaitley tore apart Rahul’s contentions, saying he wants to be an expert but without knowledge. On Rahul’s taunt that Narendra Modi has overturned story of Mahatma Gandhi’s three monkeys by adopting “not to see the truth, nor to hear the truth nor speak the truth,” Jaitley urged him: “Please do not make money of this country.” He also reminded Rahul that his explanation of the “commercial transaction” of the Raje family tallies with the same interpretation given by then Congress finance minister P Chidambaram on the loan received by his brother-in-law (Robert Vadra). Noting that a court had declared the Dholpur palace as the property of Dushyant Singh, son of Vasundhara Raje, Jaitley said the Congress was conducting as if it were the Supreme Court dismissing the court’s award. He chided the Congress for discussing allegations against Vasundhara Raje and her son despite it not being a part of the motion. Jaitley reiterated the charge he has been leveling on the Congress since last week that it is using Sushma Swaraj only as a pretext to prevent passage of the GST Bill. “You somehow what to sabotage the growth story,” he said, noting that the Congress is scared of the economic progress made by India since the Modi government took charge. In a dig at Rahul without naming him, Jaitley described Sushma Swaraj as one of the honest families whose children work for living and said there are, however, families who live for generations without working to earn.

‘This is murder of democracy’: Angry Sumitra Mahajan slams Congress over Parliament disruptions

New Delhi: Unabated uproar by Congress members in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday invited the wrath of Speaker Sumitra Mahajan who called their protests “murder of democracy” and “hijacking” the rights of 440 members by 40-50 others in the Opposition.

Mahajan also asked the Lok Sabha TV, which broadcasts live proceedings of the House, to show the “irresponsible” opposition members so that the whole country could see their behaviour.

Sumitra Mahajan. PTISumitra Mahajan. PTI

Sumitra Mahajan. PTI

The Speaker’s angry response came as protesting members intensified their slogan-shouting in the Well and the Chair refused to adjourn the House and deciding to continue with the work.

Many Congress members were seen raising placards close to the Speaker’s podium so that they could be seen on camera, prompting Parliamentary Affairs Ministry M venkaiah Naidu to launch an attack on the main opposition party Congress, before Mahajan too spoke against it.

“What is this happening? 20 people cannot dictate the entire House. Let action be taken. What kind of tamasha is this? They go to the Speaker’s house to protest and are now showing placards on the face of the Speaker,” Naidu said as Congress members raised slogans on their demands.

Naidu’s response came after BJP veteran L K Advani was too seen expressing concern over the disruptions to Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Naidu.

Congress is insisting that it would not allow Parliament to function till action is taken against External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and BJP chief ministers Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan for their alleged role in Lalit Modi and Vyapam controversies.

As Naidu spoke, Mahajan lamented “what can be done” before attacking the protesting members, some of whom were apparently urging her to adjourn the House.

“Show them on TV. I am requesting the Lok Sabha TV. This is not the way. I won’t adjourn the House… Let people see what kind of behaviour they are showing. Let whole of India watch. 40 people are hijacking the rights of 440 members.

“This is murder of democracy. This is not democracy. 440 members want to talk and 40-50 members are not letting them. Let people know how irresponsible they are. The Chair has no wish of being seen on the TV. Let people watch them,” she said.

PTI

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan terms Congress protests as ‘murder of democracy’

New Delhi: Unabated uproar by Congress members in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday invited the wrath of Speaker Sumitra Mahajan who called their protests “murder of democracy” and “hijacking” the rights of 440 members by 40-50 others in the Opposition.

Mahajan also asked the Lok Sabha TV, which broadcasts live proceedings of the House, to show the “irresponsible” opposition members so that the whole country could see their behaviour.

Sumitra Mahajan. PTISumitra Mahajan. PTI

Sumitra Mahajan. PTI

The Speaker’s angry response came as protesting members intensified their slogan-shouting in the Well and the Chair refused to adjourn the House and deciding to continue with the work.

Many Congress members were seen raising placards close to the Speaker’s podium so that they could be seen on camera, prompting Parliamentary Affairs Ministry M venkaiah Naidu to launch an attack on the main opposition party Congress, before Mahajan too spoke against it.

“What is this happening? 20 people cannot dictate the entire House. Let action be taken. What kind of tamasha is this? They go to the Speaker’s house to protest and are now showing placards on the face of the Speaker,” Naidu said as Congress members raised slogans on their demands.

Naidu’s response came after BJP veteran L K Advani was too seen expressing concern over the disruptions to Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Naidu.

Congress is insisting that it would not allow Parliament to function till action is taken against External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and BJP chief ministers Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan for their alleged role in Lalit Modi and Vyapam controversies.

As Naidu spoke, Mahajan lamented “what can be done” before attacking the protesting members, some of whom were apparently urging her to adjourn the House.

“Show them on TV. I am requesting the Lok Sabha TV. This is not the way. I won’t adjourn the House… Let people see what kind of behaviour they are showing. Let whole of India watch. 40 people are hijacking the rights of 440 members.

“This is murder of democracy. This is not democracy. 440 members want to talk and 40-50 members are not letting them. Let people know how irresponsible they are. The Chair has no wish of being seen on the TV. Let people watch them,” she said.

PTI

Youth Congress says PM Modi a ‘replica’ of Hitler, demands his resignation

Pressing for their demand, members of Congress’ youth wing also staged a street play taking jibe at BJP ministers at the Centre and in states.

PM Narendra Modi

Youth Congress activists on Tuesday staged a protest demanding resignations of BJP leaders involved in the Lalit Modi controversy and the Vyapam scam, and slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi dubbing him as a “replica” of Adolf Hitler.Pressing for their demand, members of Congress’ youth wing also staged a street play taking jibe at BJP ministers at the Centre and in states.”Modi is replica of Adolf Hitler. He talks when abroad, but is silent on vital issues in the country. His major focus is on wearing shawls, mufflers and spending more on his lifestyle.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”(Sushma) Swaraj and (Vasundhara) Raje took crores of rupees from Lalit Modi and helped fugitive in return. (Shivraj Singh) Chouhan says ’49 toh kya agar 49,000 log bhi mar jaye mein resign nahi karunga (will not resign even if 49,000 people will die in Vyapam scam)’,” Indian Youth Congress president Amrinder Singh Raja alleged.He said the organisation will continue its protest until the “corrupt” BJP leaders resign.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje are at the centre of a row for allegedly helping Lalit Modi procure British travel documents and supporting the ex-IPL chief’s immigration plea, respectively.Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is under attack in connection with the Vyapam scam, which the Congress wing said has claimed lives of 49 persons associated with it.

Broad consensus achieved on land bill, claims Digvijaya Singh

Senior Congress leader and AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh on Saturday claimed that a broad consensus has been arrived at on some points on the land bill.”Broad consensus has been worked out through back channel negotiations while negotiations are on on some others .. I cannot, however, divulge the details,” Singh who is also a member of the committee working on the land acquisition bill said here. “Reports in this regard are also coming in the media on land bill”, Singh who was here for a private meeting with the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the GST Bill, Singh said “It was the Congress led UPA that had introduced the GST Bill and the BJP did not allow it to be tabled for over five years and now it is saying that the delay would cause a loss of one and half per cent of economic growth every year… had UPA been allowed to pass the GST Bill, by the BJP , the nation could have achieved much growth in the last few years.” To a question on the Vyapam scam in his home state, Singh rejected all charges about his involvement .There was no violation of the prescribed procedure in my regime. Every thing was done as per the norms and after the proper cabinet decision, he said. Singh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was running his government on the same pattern on which he ran his government in Gujarat where opposition members were suspended from the House.”During the UPA regime, Arun Jaitley used to say obstructionism is the democratic right in the parliament and disrupted the functioning of the parliament for 20 to 22 days in one stretch,” Singh said . Justifying the Congress stand, Singh said that Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia and Union Minister Sushma Swaraj were caught in different controversy and should step down to pave the way for an independent inquiry.

Congress defends Gurudas Kamat over his comment about Smriti Irani

The women and youth wings of Mumbai Congress on Monday defended party general secretary Gurudas Kamat over his comment about Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani and decried the demonstration by BJP workers outside his house in Mumbai on Sunday.

Smriti Irani

The women and youth wings of Mumbai Congress on Monday defended party general secretary Gurudas Kamat over his comment about Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani and decried the demonstration by BJP workers outside his house in Mumbai on Sunday.The party also asked why these BJP workers were not similarly agitated when Kamat and other Congressmen demanded criminal action against Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje.A statement by Mahila and Youth Congress units said the poor turn-out for the demonstration showed “lack of support and credibility on the issue.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Kamat has clearly stated that his comments did not degrade Irani and he had only questioned her educational qualifications to hold the important portfolio of HRD and made a passing reference to her working at McDonald’s as a waitress which is as per Irani’s own admission,” it said.The women’s wing chief of Mumbai BJP, Shalaka Salvi, had allegedly threatened to disrupt Kamat’s meetings, and “we challenge the BJP Mahila and youth wings to disrupt a single meeting of Kamat’s,” it said.”None of their prominent leaders will be able to move around Mumbai as the Mahila, youth and student wings of Congress across Mumbai will gherao them,” it warned.Kamat was known for his high regard for women and had always supported (party president) Sonia Gandhi in her commitment to the women’s cause, it said.Kamat, while referring to Irani’s stint at McDonald’s, had also asserted that there was nothing wrong with it, but this part was suppressed by the BJP, it alleged.It further said that when Kamat had demanded criminal action against the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje over their links with Lalit Modi, “none of these BJP activists shed any tears for them, though they were much more senior than Irani.” It also expressed surprise over suo motu notice issued to Kamat by National Commission for Women over the issue.

Modi’s views are only poll centric, says Congress

The Prime Minister announced several schemes during his day-long visit to Bihar on Saturday.

Narendra Modi
File Photo

Taking a dig at Narendra Modi’s speech in Patna, the Congress Party on Saturday claimed that his views were poll driven only. “Prime Minister’s opinion is politically influenced and attuned to the upcoming Bihar elections. The Prime Minister always goes to poll-bound states and criticises the former government,” Congress leader Anand Sharma told ANI. Questioning Prime Minister Modi’s accomplishments, he asked “what have you (Modi) done within 13-15 months? You have reached this post by slamming other governments.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “Prime Minister needs to also look after the nation’s resources and the requirements of the states. Talking according to his political convenience is irresponsibility of the highest order. Earlier, he used to use this for his publicity when he was in the opposition, which is a different matter, but now he is the nation’s Prime Minister,” he added. The Prime Minister announced several schemes during his day-long visit to Bihar today and promised the people of the state a package bigger than the amount of Rs.50,000 crores. He also agreed with Nitish Kumar that the development of Bihar has suffered due to politics.Also Read: Congress using Vasundhara Raje’s relations with Lalit Modi to play politics, says BJP

Touched by PM Modi’s ‘graciousness’, says Shashi Tharoor on his praise

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Friday said he was “touched” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “graciousness” in praising him for his Oxford Debate speech.

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Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Friday said he was “touched” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “graciousness” in praising him for his Oxford Debate speech.”I am very touched by his graciousness and his generosity of praise. He is a very fine orator to say these words for me. “I think we need to have the ability to respect people across party lines. We have different political values and affiliations but we can respect each other,” Tharoor said.Tharoor, however, later said he hoped that no one should read anything else into Modi’s praise beyond the prime minister’s act of showing graciousness.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He, however, reiterated his party’s demand for resignations of Union minister Sushma Swaraj and two BJP chief ministers– Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chauhan.Tharoor had on Thursday said that politicians can respect each other across party lines but that does not mean they have to abandon values of their parties.Modi had showered praise on Tharoor, the only Congress MP present at a function organised by the Lok Sabha Speaker for MPs, while talking about the need for free airing of views on national issues irrespective of the party affiliations.”Oxford debate has a huge significance. It is good that Shashi ji was there…. What he spoke there reflected the sentiments of the citizens of India,” Modi had said while inaugurating a workshop on the Speaker’s Research Initiative (SRI) to train MPs on various subjects of global importance.Tharoor also termed as “hasty” the Ufa joint statement of India and Pakistan after talks between Prime Minister Modi and his Pakistani counterpart, saying there was not much homework done by the government.”There was not much homework done in Ufa (Russia) and the immediate incidents just after 48 hours of the joint statement suggested that it was a hasty decision,” he said while speaking at a panel discussion on the book ‘Indian Foreign Policy’ by Sumit Ganguly.

Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress keep government guessing as Parliament logjam continues

Even as the Samajwadi Party and Trinamool Congress continued keeping both the treasury and the opposition benches guessing by their vacillating stands, Congress vice President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday drew a clear-cut line before flying off to Tamil Nadu that resignations of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje and Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan are a non-negotiable imperative for Parliament to function.

Even as the Samajwadi Party and Trinamool Congress continued keeping both the treasury and the opposition benches guessing by their vacillating stands, Congress vice President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday drew a clear-cut line before flying off to Tamil Nadu that resignations of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje and Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan are a non-negotiable imperative for Parliament to function.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the third day of monsoon session, the logjam continued. Finance minister Arun Jaitley, as the Leader of House, had to call off a meeting of the leaders of various parties in the Rajya Sabha in a bid to end the impasse. He gave up after some of the opposition leaders told him that they are not interested in any meetings until Swaraj and the chief ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh resign. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan stepped in later to convene an all-party meeting, pointing out that the Opposition had promised her to allow business but was not cooperating in transaction of even the routine business.Disruptions marked the start of the day in both the Houses. The Speaker rejected some 10 adjournment notices, including one from Congress group leader Mallikarjun on Vyapam scam, and adjourned the question hour, only to return at noon to allow tabling of reports and then call it a day, reprimanding the opposition members displaying placards violating the House rules.Junior Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was quite blunt in the Rajya Sabha, telling the Opposition that nobody is going to resign whatsoever pressure they exert and irrespective of whether they start discussion or not. Leader of House Arun Jaitley tried to embarrass the Congress by pointing out that the Opposition was so far insisted on debate only after the ministers resign but the latest notice of its deputy leader Anand Sharma was not conditional.When the House re-assembled in the afternoon, Sharma continued his protest while CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechuri accused Jaitley of breach of rules by disclosing the notice even before it is taken up by the member concerned. When Sharma and Yechuri tried to question how Jaitley got the copy of the notice even before it is taken up in the House, the deputy chairman dismissed their objections, pointing out that it is the established parliamentary practice to send copies of all notices to the parliamentary affairs minister (for response).Outside the House, the Congress accused Vasundhara Raje of committing the most heinous crime of “treason” by signing an affidavit to help India’s fugitive Lalit Modi, the IPL founder, secure permanent residency in London, putting a condition that “it should not be known to the Indian authorities.” She knew the implication that she was committing a crime as she was aiding and abetting a criminal wanted by the Indian authorities for fraud, money-laundering and swindling of Rs 2500 crore and that is why she wanted that her act be not known to the Indian authorities, senior Congress leader and former Union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad asserted at a press conference here.He said the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party should have suo moto expelled her for such an unpardonable crime instead of defending her as well as foreign minister Sushma Swaraj who too helped the absconding Modi to get the British travel papers. He said the Congress was also demanding removal of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan as he has blood of 48 witnesses mysteriously killed in the Vypam scam, perhaps the biggest in the world, in which careers of 76 lakh youths were ruined and one state cabinet minister and the CM’s private secretary (PS) were languishing in jail.

Now, BJP MLA Kalia accuses Shanta Kumar of embezzling party

The allegations come days after Kumar, in an explosive letter to BJP’s national president Amit Shah, had demanded a ‘Lokpal’ in the party to tackle the cases of corruption like Vyapam which has “made all of us bow our heads in shame”.

Shanta Kumar

File Photo
Senior BJP leader Manoranjan Kalia today wrote to Shanta Kumar accusing him of embezzlement of party funds during last year’s Lok Sabha polls when he was the chief of the party’s Punjab unit. The allegations come days after Kumar, in an explosive letter to BJP’s national president Amit Shah, had demanded a ‘Lokpal’ in the party to tackle the cases of corruption like Vyapam which has “made all of us bow our heads in shame”.During the Lok Sabha polls, Kumar collected funds for BJP and then took it along with him stating that it was meant for him fighting the polls, Kalia, Jalandhar Central MLA, alleged. Asking the BJP veteran whether he submitted a report on the party’s election fund, Kalia said that he had suppressed information about it on being questioned during a meeting in New Delhi. “Was the money for the party fund collected in cash or through cheque? If it were through cheque to which account was it deposited? If it was through cash was it black money?” the BJP MLA asked in the letter to Kumar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also alleged that Kumar, the former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, was lying about the letter (written by Kumar to Shah) getting leaked on Facebook and Twitter. “Nothing gets posted on the social networking site or the microblogging site without the account holder’s consent,” Kalia said and asked whether Kumar would have levelled the charges if he were made a Union minister. “You want to put everyone on the dock and show yourself as an idealistic and honest person. But try to see yourself in the same light in which you want to project others,” he said.In his letter to Shah, Kumar also referred to allegations in some states, hinting to the controversy in Rajasthan surrounding CM Vasundhara Raje over the Lalit Modi controversy and Maharashtra where there are allegations of corruption against BJP minister Pankaja Munde.

Parliament logjam to continue until Sushma, Shivraj, Raje quit: Congress

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said he has regard for Jaitley and he would attend any meeting convened by him the day the deadlock is resolved by taking action against Swaraj, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and her Madhya Pradesh counterpart Shivraj Singh Chauhan.

Congress on Thursday ruled out talks with the government for breaking the logjam in Parliament, making it clear that it will continue till its demand for resignations of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and BJP chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan is met.”The solution to the deadlock in Parliament cannot be found in a meeting, but in action against a Union Minister and two Chief Ministers”, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said. He was asked as to why he did not attend an all-party meeting convened by the Leader of the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley on Thursday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Azad said he has regard for Jaitley and he would attend any meeting convened by him the day the deadlock is resolved by taking action against Swaraj, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and her Madhya Pradesh counterpart Shivraj Singh Chauhan.Dismissing suggestions about lack of unity among the opposition parties on the issue, Azad insisted as far as Rajya Sabha is concerned, leaders of the SP, CPI, CPI-M, BSP and JD-U have all demanded resignations of those involved in the Lalit Modi issue and Vyapam scam.Apparently referring to the statement of senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar, he said there was support for the opposition’s demand also from “within” BJP. With BJP raking up the Robert Vadra issue in Parliament, he accused the government of pursuing “politics of revenge” against the opposition.Azad charged the BJP with raising the issue of alleged corruption by governments in Congress-ruled states like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand in a tit-for-tat action against his party and seeking to divert the attention of the people from the Lalit Modi issue and Vyapam scam.Azad’s remarks came after BJP hit back at Congress in the Lok Sabha by raking up certain comments of Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and demanded action against him for “demeaning” Members of Parliament.

Sachin Pilot says Vasundhara Raje govt’s 75% decisions are pending

Pilot further said, “it is a symbol of working failure in the BJP government as 75% of its decision were still pending in last 20 months of its formation.”

Sachin Pilot

State Congress chief Sachin Pilot today alleged that 75% of decisions by Raje government are pending even after 20 months of its formation. Commenting on Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje”s performance since December 2013, Pilot further said, “it is a symbol of working failure in the BJP government as 75% of its decision were still pending in last 20 months of its formation.”He also criticised Raje”s campaign “sarkar aapke dwar” in which Raje and the ministers of her Cabinet interacted directly with the people to find solutions to their problems. To mislead people the Raje government first organised the campaign at divisional headquarters, and it could not bring any major change, its decision could not be implemented still and could come in limelight, Pilot said. The work disposal mechanism was against the expectations of public, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Referring to the Collectors-SPs conference that began in CMO today, Pilot apprehended that the BJP government should not invite BJP functionaries in such government level meetings as it did in past. “Officers are answerable to the government, and not the party functionaries or any organisation like BJP, he added. He demanded that the state BJP government should implement its old decision in public interest and ensure no party functionary go attending the Collectors-SPs conference.

BJP distances itself from senior leader Shanta Kumar’s views

Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters that what Kumar has said or written, the party completely disassociated itself with it.

Rajiv Pratap Rudy

BJP on Tuesday snubbed party veteran Shanta Kumar over his concerns on charges facing its state governments and demand for a ‘Lokpal’, saying he has been carried away by the Congress propaganda, and completely disassociated itself with his views.Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters that what Kumar has said or written, the party completely disassociated itself with it.”We generally consider Shanta Kumar a very mature leader. But it seems that he has been carried away by the propaganda of the Congress. Whatever he has said or written, we completely disassociate with Mr Shanta Kumar”s version,” Rudy said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kumar, former Himachal Pradesh chief minister and union minister, is among the veteran BJP leaders who have been marginalised under the reign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah. The 80-year-old leaders enjoys a clean image.In an explosive letter to Shah, Kumar has demanded a ‘Lokpal’ in the party to tackle the cases of corruption like Vyapam which has “made all of us bow our heads in shame”.He also referred to allegations in some states, hinting to the controversy in Rajasthan surrounding CM Vasundhara Raje over Lalit Modi and Maharashtra where there are allegations of corruption against BJP Minister Pankaja Munde.

NDA allies express support

Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said that his party will stand with the government but was unhappy with the absence of NDA meetings.

Even as they expressed their support to the government to counter opposition heat in the monsoon session that begins on Tuesday, NDA allies asked BJP to have regular meetings to discuss key issues. The BJP met its NDA allies for the first time since it came to power in May 2014. The meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was attended by all key allies.Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said that his party will stand with the government but was unhappy with the absence of NDA meetings.In its characteristic style, the Shiv Sena pulled up the BJP for remembering allies only during a crisis. Sena’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said that NDA’s allies had a major role in the BJP’s resounding victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and thus, they should always be taken along.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is desirable that the allies are consulted on key issues, but that has not happened over the past year. Majority in government is not permanent and elections keep coming,” Raut said.The senior Sena leader though added that his party will stand with its ally in the monsoon session, where the opposition is expected to demand resignation of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. “Sushma Swaraj,Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan are clean and we will back the government. We will counter the opposition’s obstruction and we will also manage to pass pending Bills,” Raut added.The oldest constituent of NDA and also its biggest partner in the current dispensation, the Shiv Sena has been critical of the government’s Land (Amendment) Bill, 2015, and along with Akali Dal has expressed its opposition to the amendments made to the Bill.

Session to witness ‘muqabla’; Vasundhara Raje, Shivraj Singh Chouhan meet BJP chief

With the Opposition gearing up to corner the government on the Lalit Modi row, Vyapam scam and other issues, BJP chief ministers – Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan – were in Delhi to meet party president Amit Shah and other leaders.

Ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament commencing on Tuesday, rival fronts could be seen reinforcing battlelines, indicating disruption in the timeline for government’s legislative business.As a belligerent Congress spelt out its “sack the scam tainted or face hurdles for bills” stand, the BJP armed itself to “aggressively” counter the Opposition.Senior BJP leaders held a series of high-level meetings to prepare the treasury bench to brace itself for the likely storm in Parliament. With the Opposition gearing up to corner the government on the Lalit Modi row, Vyapam scam and other issues, BJP chief ministers – Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan – were in Delhi to meet party president Amit Shah and other leaders. The meetings were aimed at laying the groundwork for fortifying the government’s house strategy to brazen it out, party sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Opposition has been gunning for Raje for her links with Lalit Modi and Chouhan over the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh, but the BJP has been shielding its leaders. The two chief ministers presented their side of the story before senior BJP ministers and other leaders at Shah’s residence. Among those present at the meeting were Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nirmala Sitharaman and some party leaders. The leadership wanted to be doubly sure of facts in the cases before retaliating to the Opposition, the sources said.”We will aggressively counter the baseless allegations of Congress,” BJP leader Shrikant Sharma said. Party leaders said there was no question of giving in to the opposition demand for resignations.The BJP would also be explaining the leaders’ stand to its allies. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has convened a meeting of NDA constituents on Monday, on the eve of the monsoon session. Modi, while sharing dais with Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad in Jammu at birth centenary of Girdhari Lal Dogra two days ago, had himself said recently that there would be a “muqabla” soon.The mood in the Opposition was evident from Congress leader Digvijay Singh’s tweet and Azad’s news conference. “Amit Shah summons Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj. Would Modi and RSS have guts to ask for their resignation,” Singh had asked. Azad said if the Prime Minister announced resignations of scam-tainted ministers, passing bills would be easy.Besides Raje and Chouhan, the Congress has also been demanding resignations of Sushma Swaraj, over her links with Lalit Modi, HRD minister Smriti Irani, facing allegations of giving false information about her educational qualifications, and Maharashtra minister Pankaja Munde over a Rs206-crore scam in chikki tenders cleared by her department.In the case of the Vyapam scam, the BJP’s argument would be that Chouhan himself had taken the lead in ordering a probe while in the Lalit Modi case, the party’s line of defence was that there was no illegality involved. The court has established that the Dholpur palace belonged to Raje’s son Dushyant. As part of its strategy to hit back at Congress, the BJP is likely to raise charges against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh of being involved in a disproportionate assets case.Caught in the face-off between the government and Congress are 32 legislations, including the pro- reform Goods and Services Tax (GST) and land acquisition bills. The government, which has a comfortable majority in Lok Sabha, is in a minority in Rajya Sabha.There is acknowledgement in the BJP that the spate of allegations against its leaders has hurt the government, but there were apprehensions that succumbing to opposition pressure would only further complicate matters for it. While the government is reconciled to disruption in Parliament amidst a standoff with the Opposition, it would have to be seen who blinks first in the war of nerves. The Congress, which had been at the receiving end of corruption allegations, has been attacking Modi for his silence and is likely to put the onus of running parliament on the ruling side.

PM Narendra Modi calls meeting of BJP parliamentary party executive

BJP has made it clear that it will not be on the defensive and instead target top Congress leaders over issues like Lalit Modi controversy.

Getty Images
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called a meeting of BJP parliamentary party executive on Monday as the government and the ruling party firm up their strategy for the monsoon session of parliament, which is set to be stormy over the opposition demand for the resignation of many party leaders.The meeting will follow Modi’s meet with all the NDA constituents, a first on the session eve, and underlines the government’s resolve to put in place a strong defence against the opposition onslaught it is set to face in the session beginning from July 21.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP has made it clear that it will not be on the defensive and instead target top Congress leaders over issues like Lalit Modi controversy.Bracing for the opposition onslaught in Parliament, government and the ruling BJP today decided to aggressively counter the attack on its leaders like Sushma Swaraj, Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan and rake up controversies related to Congress leaders.With Parliament convening on Tuesday for Monsoon session, BJP chief Amit Shah held strategy meetings with various party colleagues, including Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Smriti Irani, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Piyush Goyal as well as party spokespersons during which Raje, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, was also present.Chouhan joined the confabulations later. Shah along with Jaitley and Singh later also met Modi.

Congress, BJP spar over Modi’s ’56-inch chest’

It will turn into 5.6 inches in six months, says Rahul * Rahul baby in diapers, counters BJP
Amit Bandre
dna
Just two days before the monsoon session of Parliament begins, the antagonism between the Congress and the BJP got fiercer. After Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “we all know how political damaads can be”, in an apparent reference to Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said Modi’s 56-inch chest will turn into 5.6 inches in six months. The BJP retaliated saying the opposition leader’s behaviour was like that of a baby in diapers.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Speaking in Jammu at the centenary celebrations of former Jammu and Kashmir minister Girdhari Lal Dogra, Modi praised him as a good judge of people and said “the example of his good judgment can be seen in the son-in-law he chose” referring to finance minister Arun Jaitley who was present on the dais. Rahul Gandhi, while addressing party workers in Rajasthan a little later, attacked the Prime Minister. “This 56-inch chest will turn into 5.6 inches in six months. And who will turn this into 5.6 inches? It is the Congress party, people of the country, farmers and labourers,” Gandhi said in Jaipur on Friday.He also took on the government over the land acquisition bill and called the Vasundhara Raje government a “Lalit Modi sarkar” and reminded Modi of his pre-poll promise of “na khaoonga, na khane doonga”. He said the remote control of the Raje government was in London. Within minutes, an infuriated BJP made a point-by-point counter-attack. “I can’t call him a toddler. He has to grow out of his diapers. But his behaviour remains that of a baby in a diaper,” BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh said at a press conference here. Extending what Singh described as unsolicited advice, he told the Congress leader to engage in “constructive” politics. “The 56-inch chest is not because of you (Congress) but because of the blessings and pride of crores of people and the nation…. Rahul and Congress should not make the mistake of measuring it as it will turn out costly for them,” he said. On Gandhi’s tirade on the land bill, saying the Congress will not allow an inch of land to be acquired under it, Singh said the party should tell how Vadra got “vast properties” in Haryana. The political discourse between the two sides is a sign of the likely faceoff in Parliament when it meets next week. The Opposition is expected to up its ante questioning the Prime Minister’s silence on the Lalit Modi row and the Vyapam scam. While the BJP seems reconciled to the fact that the Opposition furore is likely to disrupt the session, it is keen on passing some bills, including GST, to boost investor confidence.

Controversies surrounding Chief Ministers likely to rock Monsoon session of Parliament

Opposition parties have given indications that they would raise the issue of scams and controversies allegedly involving Shivraj Singh Chouhan of Madhya Pradesh, Vasundhara Raje of Rajasthan and Raman Singh of Chhattisgarh — all belonging to BJP — and demand their resignations.

In a departure from norms, controversies surrounding chief ministers, especially those belonging to BJP, are likely to figure in Parliament in a big way when it meets for the Monsoon Session in July 21.Opposition parties have given indications that they would raise the issue of scams and controversies allegedly involving Shivraj Singh Chouhan of Madhya Pradesh, Vasundhara Raje of Rajasthan and Raman Singh of Chhattisgarh — all belonging to BJP — and demand their resignations. The opposition would take up the issues involving the chief ministers to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “silence” over the alleges scams and controversies.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chouhan has been drawing flak over the Vyapam scam and Raje is embroiled in the Lalit Modi controversy while Singh is at the receiving end of Opposition attack over the alleged PDS scam in Chhattisgarh. There has been no indication from the BJP so far about action against any of its chief ministers. BJP, on its part, is likely to train its guns on Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh of Congress, who is embroiled in cases of disproportionate assets.The only Left Chief Minister in the country, Manik Sarkar of CPI-M, too may come under attack of Congress and BJP over the chit fund scam in Tripura. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party has been drawing flak over the law and order situation in the state following the murder of a journalist. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of AAP is at loggerheads with the Centre over a variety of issues and is likely to come under attack from BJP and Congress.Perhaps in no other Parliament session in the past, the alleged misdeeds of so many chief ministers have been raised. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of the BJD and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress have seen several of their party colleagues under scanner in chit fund scams. The government’s floor managers conceded to the possibility a stormy Monsoon Session. In the last Lok Sabha, an entire session was virtually washout over the Opposition demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee in the 2G scam.Several Union ministers are also in the dock including External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the wake of revelations of former IPL boss Lalit Modi. HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s resignation is also being demanded in the wake of controversy over her educational qualifications.

Congress to launch nation-wide stir against Modi government on July 22

Joshi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he was busy in clicking selfies even as his party leaders were found to be involved in Lalit Modi controversy.

Congress on Friday said it will launch a nation-wide agitation on July 22 against BJP-led NDA government for its alleged failures to fulfil electoral promises.”It has been more than a year since the BJP achieved the feat of getting a majority on its own. Narendra Modi, who had mobilised public opinion in his favour by making huge promises on one hand and blaming every ill in the country on the Congress-led UP on the other. But, His tenure has been marked by his deafening silence amid scandal after scandal that his party is embroiled in,” Congress national spokesperson Rita Bahuguna Joshi told reporters here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”On July 22, we will be staging demonstrations across all districts in the country wherein we will be explaining to the people how they were being taken for a ride by those who had secured their votes,” Joshi said. “We would do so with the hope that the government shows some sense of responsibility and the Prime Minister breaks his silence on the myriad burning issues facing the nation”, she added.Joshi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he was busy in clicking selfies even as his party leaders were found to be involved in Lalit Modi controversy. “The PM appears to be busy clicking selfies at a time when the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is being accused of having helped Lalit Modi who is a fugitive. He also has been keeping mum over the close links with the former IPL Commissioner which Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia is said to have,” she said.She also questioned PM’s silence over the ongoing multi-crore Vyapam scam. “And we are yet to hear anything from him on the Vyapam scam of Madhya Pradesh which besides involving financial irregularities, has claimed so many lives in its trail,” Joshi said.

Congress to meet Rajasthan governor tomorrow to demand Vasundhara Raje’s removal

A Congress delegation, led by Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot, will meet Governor Kalyan Singh on Friday and demand sacking of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who is embroiled in the Lalit Modi-controversy.

A Congress delegation, led by Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot, will meet Governor Kalyan Singh on Friday and demand sacking of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who is embroiled in the Lalit Modi-controversy.The delegation would meet the Governor and hand over a representation to him demanding sacking of the chief minister, PCC Vice President Archna Sharma said.Leader of Opposition Rameshwar Dudi, Congress MLAs, and the party’s office bearers will accompany Pilot, she said.Raje came under fire after Lalit Modi’s lawyers last month released an set of unsigned papers which they claimed were a secret witness document by Raje favouring Lalit Modi’s immigration pleas in a London court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As per the documents Raje wanted to appear as a witness on the condition that Indian authorities are not told about it.The chief minister’s son, Dushyant Singh, was under attack over reports that his company allegedly received Rs 11.63 crore in investments from Lalit Modi in 2008. Congress attacked Raje on Wednesday citing media reports that Lalit Modi’s name was recommended for Padma award during her previous tenure in 2007.

Modi, Hemant or Dushyant: Who really owns the iconic Dholpur palace?

Who owns Dholpur Palace? How did Dushyant Singh get possession of the property? How did Lalit Modi become a stakeholder in the palace?

On Monday, the Congress claimed Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and her son’s partner Lalit Modi usurped Dholpur Palace from the government. The party quoted her estranged husband Hemant Singh to claim that Dholpur Palace was handed over to the government nearly four decades back.

The Dholpur Palace. Image courtesy: http://dholpurpalace.com/The Dholpur Palace. Image courtesy: http://dholpurpalace.com/

The Dholpur Palace. Image courtesy: http://dholpurpalace.com/

“Today, we present you the documents where Lalit Modi and Vasundhara Raje changed government property into personal property. In 1954, the Dholpur Riyasat merged with the Union in Independent India and in 1977 the Dholpur Palace was made government property. Despite the Dholpur Palace being the property of the government, Raje and Lalit Modi proceeded to convert it into a high-end private luxury hotel,” Congress leader Jairam Ramesh alleged. He said Raje’s husband had admitted in 1980 that the Palace belongs to the government.

The story of the palace is complicated. For nearly 30 years, Raje’s husband Hemant Singh and his son Dushyant fought for it before striking a compromise.

In the summer of 2006, in the middle of this grim domestic dispute which often turned ugly, I met Hemant Singh, scion of the royal family of Dholpur, at a hotel in Connaught Palace.

I had sought an appointment with him to talk about a story I was researching for a national daily. Accompanied by his lawyer and a few assistants, including a feisty young girl who introduced herself as Rudrani Singh, the CM’s estranged husband insisted on checking my identification card and other details. Only after being satisfied, he decided to speak on the subject: the dispute over Dholpur Palace.

Hemant Singh is the last recognised titular king of Dholpur, a Jat kingdom just a few kilometers from Agra. His mother Raja Beti (Urmila Devi) was the daughter of Raja Udaibhan Singh. In 1954, when Udaibhan Singh died, the late king’s widow adopted her grandson as the heir to the throne.

In 1972, Hemant got married to Vasundhara Raje. But soon after the birth of their only child Dushyant, the marriage turned acrimonious and the two separated. A bitter battle for divorce followed. The marriage was annulled by a court, but the decree was challenged by Raje.

While the marital discord was being heard by a court, in 1978, Dushyant Singh’s maternal grandmother Vijayaraje Scindia filed a case for a share in the property owned by the Dholpur royals.

The disputed holdings included the City Palace of Dholpur, a house in Delhi’s Panchsheel Marg, a number of vintage cars, including a few Roll’s Royces, agricultural land, a lodge at Shimla. Together they were estimated to be worth around 250 crore.
The dispute went on for three decades. But in 2007, when Raje was the chief minister of Rajasthan, it was settled and legally approved by the Additional District Judge of Fast Track Court Number 2 in Bharatpur.

Hemant Singh got rights over the property in Delhi while Dushyant became the owner of the Shimla lodge and the properties in Dholpur including the City Palace, adjoing land and palaces, a lush-green garden, around two dozen vintage cars and the jewels kept in the treasury at Dholpur Palace.

The palace was soon rechristened Raj Niwas Palace and converted into a hotel by Dushyant Singh. A few days ago it was revealed that former IPL chief Lalit Modi had invested in Dushyant’s company Niyati Heritage, which claims to own Dholpur Palace. Modi bought shares in the company for an astronomical price of nearly Rs 96000 per share. Raje also claims to have purchased shares in Niyant Heritage but just at a price of Rs 10 per share. Since Niyant Heritage has not filed its balance sheets for the past five years, the whole business is sounded in secrecy.

So, why did Hemant and Dushyant fight over a property that didn’t belong to them? Why did Hemant Singh claim, as the Congress alleges, that the Palace was acquired by the government in 1997?

One theory is that several facts were hidden from the court and the government (under Raje) did not put up its case strongly. The other explanation is that Hemant Singh found it convenient to give up rights over a disputed Palace in return for a clean title of the Delhi property. And, the third explanation, of course, is that the Palace was never acquired and was always a property of the Dholpur royals.

The Raje-Modi-Dushyant story is still unfolding. Secrets from the dark corridors of the Dholpur Palace are likely to stumble out soon.

Inside Dholpur Palace: The hotel at the centre of the Lalit Modi-Raje controversy

The Dholpur Palace, is also known as the Raj Niwas Palace. Earlier today at a press conference Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that, “Despite Dholpur City Palace being property of Govt, Vasundhara Raje & Lalit Modi proceeded to convert it into a high-end private luxury hotel.”

The Dholpur Palace, is also known as the Raj Niwas Palace. Earlier today at a press conference Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that,

Good politics, bad PR: PM Modi keeps maan ki baat on Lalit Modi scandal to himself

New Delhi: In the aftermath of the Sushma Swarna-inspired, Vasundhara Raje-supported Lalit Modi controversy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be seething with anger. But so far, he has done a pretty good job of hiding his emotions. In fact, some might argue that he has done it a bit too well — seeming detached — and that isn’t always a good thing.

With Modi’s Mann ki Baat being scheduled for 1100 am on Sunday morning, there was a hope that he would perhaps finally break the self-imposed silence on the issue but instead, towards the end of the talk show, he only took a jibe at all those who were expecting him to make a political statement by saying, ‘Don’t expect me to use the show to make big political statements… I do that everyday. Here I want to talk about things that are close to my heart.’

PM Narendra Modi. PTIPM Narendra Modi. PTI

PM Narendra Modi. PTI

One would have thought corruption, rather the urge to rid the country of it, was pretty close to the PM’s heart as well. Nevertheless, it gave the Congress more ammo to go after the PM — who has now been rechristened ‘Maun Modi.’ Veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad “was disappointed” and held a press conference soon after the Prime Minister’s Mann ki Baat radio address calling him a “Merchant of Dreams” and nothing else.

“The biggest promise PM Shri Modi made was to bring back Black Money to India, we request the PM to keep his promise,” he said, “While the PM identifies himself as a world leader, talks about the world, did he write a letter to bring back Lalit Modi to India?”

Nabi further added: “Khud kiye tumne apnee deewaron ke suraag, ab koi jhaank ke dekhen to kyun shikayat kee?

So far, Modi has shown himself to be a master of PR. He wants to be in touch with things at the ground level, he tracks things on the net, he congratulates India’s achievers, he tweets out his thoughts, regularly airs his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ and even launched a Narendra Modi app recently to speak to his countrymen directly. But what good is all of that when he hasn’t shown enough concern and anger about the biggest scandal his government has been hit by to date.

When Nestle and Maggi didn’t respond after the recent reports that lead and MSG were found in their noodles, experts termed their response as robotic and complacent, and it hit them hard. Can Modi’s response to the Sushma-Raje-Modi controversy be termed similarly poor?

Good PR would have meant Modi coming out and address all Indians, assuring them that there would be no cover-up; assuring them that he would root corruption out no matter how ‘big’ the guilty party is; assuring that impropriety isn’t proper by his standards. Even if he needed time to find out to figure out whether the documents are authentic, he should have been able to do that by now, it has been two weeks since the scandal first broke in India and even longer since the Sunday Times in UK first wrote about it.

Instead, his silence allowed the opposition parties and Indians in general to speculate.

Does he have something to lose? Why is he backtracking? What happened to all his promises? Is this transparency? All in all, it paints him in a not-too-pleasant light. Just a word from him and the opposition would have had no plank to stand on and it would have convinced everyone that we have a PM who isn’t all talk — at least when it comes to corruption.

As Firstpost editor R Jagannathan wrote, “The time to break the silence is at hand, and Modi should now speak up – and act.”

He also pointed out that though the PM can speak and act when it involves his own cabinet colleagues – Sushma Swaraj and Smriti Irani – he cannot do so in the case of Rajasthan CM. “In a federal polity, it is not the job of the PM to act against Chief ministers, who are independently elected and accountable to the electorate and the law separately. The fact that Raje belongs to his own party does not over-rule federalism. Just as the PM cannot act against Akhilesh Yadav for the unspeakable things happening in UP, or against Mamata Banerjee for the violence and scams in her state, he cannot do so against Vasundhara Raje either.”

Indeed, what might be bad PR may also be good politics. If Modi says anything at the moment, he is committing himself in the public eye and refusal to follow through will hit him hard. By not saying anything; by sending Sushma Swaraj out of the country, he is hoping that the storm will eventually blow over. There are big political advantages to this — if he acts against Sushma or Raje or Smriti Irani — he will show himself to be a man who takes no prisoners. That isn’t something that the allies of the NDA or even the other leaders in his party will take to very calmly.

Our political system isn’t going to clean itself overnight. It will leave many other ‘corrupt,’ ‘helpful’ leaders feeling nervous and that wouldn’t help the BJP or Modi greatly given that the Bihar elections are just around the corner.

On Saturday, Firstpost‘s Akshaya Mishra wrote, “while the party suffers loss of credibility, the only person who is likely to come out unscathed and stronger from the latest development is Prime Minister Narendra Modi. By letting the party to take a call on Vasundhara, he has separated himself from the matter. His Manmohan Singh-like silence may have invited ridicule from the media, but it actually does his image more good than bad.”

And while parts of that may be true, there is no doubt that if he had indeed promised to act then to many in India, he would have shown himself to be the true antithesis of the Congress and proved that their decision to vote him and the BJP to power was indeed a correct one. But for now, everyone lies in wait, hoping that at some point the anger will boil over.

AAP to hold protest march demanding resignation of Swaraj, Raje and Irani

The protest march will take place from Jantar Mantar to the Parliament.

File photo of AAP protesting against Swaraj.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will on Monday hold a protest march in the national capital, demanding the resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and HRD Minister Smriti Irani.The protest march will take place from Jantar Mantar to the Parliament.The BJP, which has been defending Sushma Swaraj despite opposition demands that she be sacked for helping Lalit Modi, has been hit with another worry when the former IPL boss claimed that Raje secretly supported his immigration plea in Britain.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The opposition mounted pressure on Raje after the emergence of a letter reportedly carrying her signature, in which she backs Lalit Modi’s application in the UK.Meanwhile, a Delhi court agreed to hear a complaint against Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani over her educational qualifications.

PR vs Politics: What should PM Modi’s approach be to the Sushma-Raje-Modi scandal?

New Delhi: In the aftermath of the Sushma Swarna-inspired, Vasundhara Raje-supported Lalit Modi controversy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be seething with anger. But so far, he has done a pretty good job of hiding his emotions. In fact, some might argue that he has done it a bit too well — seeming detached — and that isn’t always a good thing.

With Modi’s Mann ki Baat being scheduled for 1100 am on Sunday morning, there was a hope that he would perhaps finally break the self-imposed silence on the issue but instead, towards the end of the talk show, he only took a jibe at all those who were expecting him to make a political statement by saying, ‘Don’t expect me to use the show to make big political statements… I do that everyday. Here I want to talk about things that are close to my heart.’

PM Narendra Modi. PTIPM Narendra Modi. PTI

PM Narendra Modi. PTI

One would have thought corruption, rather the urge to rid the country of it, was pretty close to the PM’s heart as well. Nevertheless, it gave the Congress more ammo to go after the PM — who has now been rechristened ‘Maun Modi.’ Veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad “was disappointed” and held a press conference soon after the Prime Minister’s Mann ki Baat radio address calling him a “Merchant of Dreams” and nothing else.

“The biggest promise PM Shri Modi made was to bring back Black Money to India, we request the PM to keep his promise,” he said, “While the PM identifies himself as a world leader, talks about the world, did he write a letter to bring back Lalit Modi to India?”

Nabi further added: “Khud kiye tumne apnee deewaron ke suraag, ab koi jhaank ke dekhen to kyun shikayat kee?”

So far, Modi has shown himself to be a master of PR. He wants to be in touch with things at the ground level, he tracks things on the net, he congratulates India’s achievers, he tweets out his thoughts, regularly airs his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ and even launched a Narendra Modi app recently to speak to his countrymen directly. But what good is all of that when he hasn’t shown enough concern and anger about the biggest scandal his government has been hit by to date.

When Nestle and Maggi didn’t respond after the recent reports that lead and MSG were found in their noodles, experts termed their response as robotic and complacent, and it hit them hard. Can Modi’s response to the Sushma-Raje-Modi controversy be termed similarly poor?

Good PR would have meant Modi coming out and address all Indians, assuring them that there would be no cover-up; assuring them that he would root corruption out no matter how ‘big’ the guilty party is; assuring that impropriety isn’t proper by his standards. Even if he needed time to find out to figure out whether the documents are authentic, he should have been able to do that by now, it has been two weeks since the scandal first broke in India and even longer since the Sunday Times in UK first wrote about it.

Instead, his silence allowed the opposition parties and Indians in general to speculate.

Does he have something to lose? Why is he backtracking? What happened to all his promises? Is this transparency? All in all, it paints him in a not-too-pleasant light. Just a word from him and the opposition would have had no plank to stand on and it would have convinced everyone that we have a PM who isn’t all talk — at least when it comes to corruption.

As Firstpost editor R Jagannathan wrote, “The time to break the silence is at hand, and Modi should now speak up – and act.”

He also pointed out that though the PM can speak and act when it involves his own cabinet colleagues – Sushma Swaraj and Smriti Irani – he cannot do so in the case of Rajasthan CM. “In a federal polity, it is not the job of the PM to act against Chief ministers, who are independently elected and accountable to the electorate and the law separately. The fact that Raje belongs to his own party does not over-rule federalism. Just as the PM cannot act against Akhilesh Yadav for the unspeakable things happening in UP, or against Mamata Banerjee for the violence and scams in her state, he cannot do so against Vasundhara Raje either.”

Indeed, what might be bad PR may also be good politics. If Modi says anything at the moment, he is committing himself in the public eye and refusal to follow through will hit him hard. By not saying anything; by sending Sushma Swaraj out of the country, he is hoping that the storm will eventually blow over. There are big political advantages to this — if he acts against Sushma or Raje or Smriti Irani — he will show himself to be a man who takes no prisoners. That isn’t something that the allies of the NDA or even the other leaders in his party will take to very calmly.

Our political system isn’t going to clean itself overnight. It will leave many other ‘corrupt,’ ‘helpful’ leaders feeling nervous and that wouldn’t help the BJP or Modi greatly given that the Bihar elections are just around the corner.

On Saturday, Firstpost‘s Akshaya Mishra wrote, “while the party suffers loss of credibility, the only person who is likely to come out unscathed and stronger from the latest development is Prime Minister Narendra Modi. By letting the party to take a call on Vasundhara, he has separated himself from the matter. His Manmohan Singh-like silence may have invited ridicule from the media, but it actually does his image more good than bad.”

And while parts of that may be true, there is no doubt that if he had indeed promised to act then to many in India, he would have shown himself to be the true antithesis of the Congress and proved that their decision to vote him and the BJP to power was indeed a correct one. But for now, everyone lies in wait, hoping that at some point the anger will boil over.

In LK Advani’s remarks, opposition parties see ‘hint’ to Swaraj, Raje to quit

In light of senior BJP leader LK Advani emphasising the need for probity in public life, opposition parties on Sunday said that Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje must “own up responsibility” in the Lalit Modi controversy.

PTI
In light of senior BJP leader LK Advani emphasising the need for probity in public life, opposition parties on Sunday said that Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje must “own up responsibility” in the Lalit Modi controversy.”It is a very clear indication from the senior-most leader of BJP that its ministers, when they are implicated, when there are allegations against them, should own up responsibility.”The Prime Minister should come out with a clear explanation. Nothing is happening. It is in this context that he (Advani) has given this opinion. So, I think that Advaniji’s opinion is the reflection of thinking in general of the people,” said senior Congress leader PC Chacko.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a veiled message to the Narendra Modi government in the wake of the row involving Swaraj and Raje, the BJP patriarch had on Saturday said there is a need to maintain probity in public life and recalled how he had resigned soon after his name cropped up in the Hawala scam.”The very mention of Advaniji’s resignation now means what? It is a hint that he wants that these two people should own moral responsibility,” added Chacko.Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said it was now clear that the ruling BJP does not intend to walk on the path of political morality.”They had claimed to be a party with a difference. What difference is that? They want to protect their own people…They might be feeling that if they take action against one it may trigger a process. By now, it is clear that they don’t intend to walk on the path of political morality. This is what Advaniji has also cautioned about,” Kumar said.Advani had resigned as an MP in 1996 following allegations of his involvement in the infamous Hawala scam. He was consequently re-elected in 1998 after his name was cleared.Entries found in the diaries of Hawala broker SK Jain were presented as crucial evidence against top politicians, including Advani, in the court by CBI.

Not taking action against corrupt will spark calls for PM Modi’s resignation: Ghulam Nabi Azad

Congress on Sunday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Lalit Modi controversy, saying calls will be made for his resignation if he continues to remain silent and not take immediate action against those involved in corruption.

PTI
Congress on Sunday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Lalit Modi controversy, saying calls will be made for his resignation if he continues to remain silent and not take immediate action against those involved in corruption.”It is in the interest of the Prime Minister to take immediate action against those involved in corruption.Otherwise nationally and internationally, it is going to haunt him wherever he goes,” Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The senior Congress leader said that people will start asking for Modi’s resignation if he failed to act. “So far they are not asking, but I am sure people will start asking for his resignation. If he has to save his government and his prestige, he should act”.Speaking soon after the PM’s “Mann ki Baat” programme on the radio, Azad expressed disappointment over the “failure” of the Prime Minister to speak on Lalitgate.”All over India, no one is ready to listen to Mann ki Baat…Everyone wants to listen to voice of people,” Azad said. Taking a dig at the Prime Minister, he said that Modi continued to be a “dream merchant” in the programme as he has been merely selling dreams in India and abroad.Noting that the former IPL chief Lalit Modi had only recently praised the Prime Minister by hailing him as the “most savvy man”, he said Narendra Modi continued to keep mum about him and did not say whether there was any plan to bring the fugitive back to India from abroad.”The Prime Minister considers himself a superman who can order around even heads of government….Has he written to the Prime Minister or Finance Minister of the UK in the last one year” on the issue of bringing back Lalit Modi, Azad asked. “Whatever (LK) Advaniji has to say, he says it clearly. It is for you to understand what he is saying…’lato ke bhoot baton se nahi mante,” Azad remarked when asked about the BJP patriarch’s call for maintenance of probity in public life.”Advaniji is a seasoned leader, who always talks in a measured tone. There are several senior leaders in the BJP who are saying their ‘mann ki baat’. They are saying that there is a difference in practice and precept” of the Prime Minister, he said.Azad’s comments are significant as Advani’s remarks recalling how he quit after his name cropped up in the hawala scam are seen as a veiled message to the Prime Minister over the controversy involving Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje.The Congress leader saw as an attempt at polarisation the reference of the Prime Minister to Raksha Bandhan in his radio talk.”As the Ramzan month is on, it would have been in the fitness of things if the Prime Minister had talked about it. Since ours is a composite culture, he could have talked about festivals of all religions,” Azad remarked.”Regrettably, it appears aimed at polarisation. Chor chori se jaye, heraferi se na jaye (one cannot change one’s essential nature),” he added.

Need to maintain probity in public life, I resigned after Hawala scam: LK Advani

In a veiled message to the Modi government in the wake of the controversy over Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje, BJP patriarch L K Advani on Saturday said there is a need to maintain probity in public life and recalled how he resigned soon after his name cropped up in the Hawala scam.

File photo.

RNA
In a veiled message to the Modi government in the wake of the controversy over Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje, BJP patriarch L K Advani on Saturday said there is a need to maintain probity in public life and recalled how he resigned soon after his name cropped up in the Hawala scam.Advani resigned as an MP in 1996 following allegations of his involvement in the infamous Hawala scam and he was consequently re-elected in 1998 after his name had been cleared.Entries found in the diaries of Hawala broker S K Jain were presented as crucial evidences against top politicians including Advani in the court by CBI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”For a politician, to command people’s trust is the biggest responsibility. What morality demands that is ‘rajdharma’ and need to maintain probity in public life,” Advani was quoted as having told the Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika.Swaraj and Raje are embroiled in the Lalit Modi controversy over extending help to the tainted former IPL boss in connection with his travel documents in the UK triggering demands by the Congress for their resignation.Advani did not want to comment on the controversy involving Swaraj and Raje.”I am far away from all this today. So I don’t have anything to comment. I am not in the decision making and so I have no comments to offer in the matter,” he added.The online edition of the daily quoted the former deputy prime minister as having said that he quit on his own after the hawala scam.”The day allegations were raised against me based on Jain diaries that evening itself sitting in my house in Pandara road I took the decision to resign(as MP). It was no one else’s decision, it was mine. Soon after I called up (Atal Bihari) Vajapyee to inform my decision. He asked me not to resign but I did not listen to anyone,” he said.”People vote for us in elections. So commitment to the people is most important.”Asked whether resignation should be the norm, Advani said, “I can tell about myself. What others will do, what’s their issues, what their problems are I don’t know. And I don’t want to comment on these.”On former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who resigned following corruption charges, he said, “Since Jan Sangh era… even before that in RSS shakhas, we were taught honesty is the best virtue. There should be no compromise on corruption.”Reacting to Advani’s remarks, Congress leader Rashid Alvi said he is showing the way to the BJP as well as the Prime Minister that those people who are “tainted” should be made to resign whether it is Raje or Swaraj or anyone else.

Stupid to call Lalit Modi a ‘bhagoda’: He wasn’t one, and still isn’t one

There has been such a media cacophony in the Lalit Modi affair, which threatens to politically singe the BJP at the centre and in Rajasthan, that not much is making sense anymore. The Congress-led political slug-fest, the media’s extreme shrillness and rush to judgment, and Lalit Modi’s own efforts to toss all kinds of names into the controversial pot through Twitter one-liners suggest that we will soon be chasing our own tails if we do not stop to think. Among others, we have seen the President’s office and the Gandhi family being mentioned in Lalit Modi’s tweets. Regardless of the truth of his statements, the chances are we will soon be overwhelmed by distractions posing as evidence.

Lalit Modi in a file photo. Getty ImagesLalit Modi in a file photo. Getty Images

Lalit Modi in a file photo. Getty Images

Even the BJP isn’t thinking straight on this one, with one worthy who should know better choosing to call Lalit Modi a “bhagoda”. Lalit Modi is a “bhagoda” only in the sense that powerful people seek the protection of another jurisdiction in order to escape the Indian political-legal-justice system’s dysfunctionalities. No one in India expects the system to deliver justice once it has turned against you, and the powerful certainly are not obliged to stay and suffer in silence.

Consider just three things that stick out a mile in l’affaire Lalit.

First, there has been a strenuous effort to paint the former boss of the IPL as some kind of dangerous criminal, helping whom is tantamount to anti-national activity. This is bull***t. Lalit Modi may be an aggressive businessman who may have run the IPL and his other capers whimsically, possibly by contravening the letter of the law, but this is how all businesses are run in the corrupt Indian ecosystem. He is no elevated criminal who needs to be treated like a pariah or desh drohi. This is not to condone any of his illegalities – or the ones his friends in the BJP or other parties may have indulged in – but Lalit Modi’s transgressions are not some exceptionally vile acts.

Second, the media has tended to gloss over the real trigger behind his decision to scoot to the UK: the toxic rivalry within the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Everyone knows that Lalit Modi made IPL a moneyspinner and this made him a future threat to the dominance of other powerful vested interests in BCCI. As an analogy, see how trends in national politics mirror what may have happened in the BCCI. The rise of Narendra Modi has forced rivals and allies to cut him down to size; similarly, the rise of Lalit Modi created a short-term convergence of interests in the BCCI which led to his ouster from IPL. If you are not convinced, consider how N Srinivasan, whose power waxed after Lalit Modi’s ouster, was himself cut down to size when he became very powerful.

So, the chances are the rest of the BCCI ganged up against Lalit Modi to oust him from the IPL, and the UPA government was happy to oblige the cricketing powers by going after him. After some interim changes, the IPL is firmly in the BCCI’s grip, and was, till mid-2013, run by Congressman Rajiv Shukla. He resigned in the wake of the spot-fixing scandal that rocked IPL.

And let’s not forget, Lalit Modi’s most famous run-in with the UPA happened when he cocked a snook at P Chidambaram, who as home minister refused to provide security for IPL in 2009 due to the overlapping timelines of the Lok Sabha elections and the tournament. Lalit Modi overnight shifted his league to South Africa. Chidambaram does not forgive anyone who shows him up easily – and it suited the Congress and the BCCI to keep a BJP-linked businessman out of the country. After returning as finance minister in 2012, Chidambaram reportedly asked the UK government to send him back since his Indian passport had been revoked, but the fact is his government did not do anything to formally seek his extradition. This is for a simple reason: you can’t seek to extradite anybody purely by issuing him show cause notices.

So one must ask Chidambaram and the Congress party: if Lalit Modi’s crimes were of such import, why did they not really go after him? Is it possible that they merely wanted him to stay out and not return home to cause further trouble, this time for many more powers in the BCCI? No one probably wanted him back in the country where he could implicate many more people – as he has been doing in recent tweets. NCP boss Sharad Pawar, Lalit’s old guardian angel, has gone one step further by admitting that he met Lalit Modi in London and advised him to return, promising to get him a fair hearing. This is not the language one uses with a so-called fugitive.

As Surjit Bhalla argues in The Indian Express today (27 June), Lalit cannot be called a fugitive at all. The “two prerequisites to being a fugitive are, one, being charged with committing a criminal offence, and, two, being unlawfully at large in order to avoid prosecution (or arrest or imprisonment)” but both are missing in Lalit’s case (even today, after all this fuss).

Bhalla goes further and suggests that there was no reason for either Vasundhara Raje or Sushma Swaraj to resign because the three things he had been accused of – illegal money transactions, investing in Vasundhara Raje’s son’s company, and cheating (in a complaint filed by N Srinivasan, his rival in the BCCI – have not even resulted in him being charged for these crimes. Says Bhalla: “Future events might “prove” that Lalit Modi did commit these or other crimes — even if that does happen, it does not mean that either Swaraj or Raje did anything wrong, because at the time of their “friendship” acts, Lalit Modi had not been charged with any crime.”

Not only that, it now transpires that the UPA’s decision to revoke Lalit Modi’s passport was itself wrong. The Delhi high court has returned his passport, and three former Supreme Court judges had backed Lalit in his fight to get his passport back. And the Interpol’s former chief, Ronald Noble, made it clear that the Indian media is on the wrong track.

Asked by Ritu Sarin of The Indian Express about Lalit Modi’s fugitive status, Noble blasts the India media for being ill-informed. He said: “The Indian media consistently states that he is ‘wanted by the Enforcement Directorate’. Is this the same Enforcement Directorate that falsely claims there is something called an Interpol light blue notice? There is no such thing as a light blue notice. The Enforcement Directorate never gave Interpol any information about Lalit Modi. Therefore why does the Indian media, including yourself, constantly mistake that Lalit Modi is wanted for arrest when you know that to be false? If he is wanted then publish the arrest warrant they claim was issued in 2010.”

Clearly, the claim that Lalit Modi is a fugitive from justice is a piece of fiction generated by the Congress and the media that has no love lost for the NDA government.

Third, Lalit Modi has been hyperactive in trying to name as many names as he can in recent interactions with the media and on Twitter. He has made no bones about his friendships with Vasundhara Raje or other politicians in other parties. The question is: why is he doing this?

The logical answer to me is this: he is essentially trying to say if my friends are unwilling to help me, I have no obligation to protect them. He is also implying that if he is pushed further to the wall, he will not care who goes down with him.

Some conclusions flow from the above three points. One, the government must pursue cases against Lalit Modi if they have merit. Otherwise, there is no point wasting time and money on this. As of now Lalit Modi is not a fugitive. He can become one if some cases against him generate enough evidence to charge-sheet him. Two, there is no point in sacrificing Vasundhara Raje or Sushma Swaraj in the name of probity, for they have at best tried to help a friend in need, and, at worst, made wrong judgment calls by seeking (as in Raje’s case) Lalit’s money for investment. Three, the BCCI needs to be reined in. It is a den of vested interests where corruption can – and does – flourish. Maybe we need a court-appointed administrator to clean up the BCCI before allowing it to continue to run Indian crocket.

Lalit Modi row: Sadananda Gowda slams former IPL chief for levelling ‘baseless charges’

Bengaluru: Amidst the Lalit Modi controversy, Union Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda on Friday trained guns against the former IPL Commissioner for creating confusion by levelling ‘baseless charges’ to rescue himself.

DV Sadananda Gowda

DV Sadananda Gowda. Agencies

“on Friday Lalit Modi has dropped names of Priyanka Gandhi and Robert Vadra. On Saturday he may name somebody. Day after tomorrow he may name the owner of the channel which is telecasting everything.” he said.

“So, he wants to create some confusion so that somewhere the cases against him are dropped, and somewhere some political activity should go on – so that he can rescue
himself from the clutches of law,” Gowda told PTI in the city.

The former IPL chief claimed in his tweets on Thursday night that he met Priyanka Gandhi and her husband Robert Vadra in London. “Happy to meet the Gandhi family in London.

Asked if the people can expect the Central government to book Lalit Modi anytime soon, Gowda said, the former IPL Commissioner cannot escape from the clutches of law as he had “swallowed big money”.

“Certainly (we will book Modi). The man who swallowed so much of money and committed such a blunder, cannot escape from the clutches of law,” he said.

Flaying the previous Congress-led government, Gowda said unlike the UPA, NDA government had taken action by initiating an ED probe into the matter.

“This matter came to focus in 2010. For the last four years the then government did not take any action. Our Finance Minister has said that already some ED cases are going on and investigation is going on. So, after our government came to power, ED initiatives have been taken up. It will take its own course because it is the matter pertaining to ministry of finance,” he said.

Defending Raje and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Gowda said their actions do not amount to corruption as there were no money transactions between Modi and them.

“As far as Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhra Raje are concerned, there is practically nothing. Is there any money transaction between them and Lalit Modi? As far as Dushyant (Singh) is concerned, of course, he had his own company – that company had some relations with Lalit Modi company,” he said.

Singh, son of Raje, has been under attack over media reports that his company received Rs 11.63 crore in investments from Modi in 2008.

Gowda further said, “Corruption is somebody misusing government money. As far as personal dealings and commercial transactions – don’t come under corruption charges.”

PTI

Lalit Modi row: Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje again rubbishes reports

The Chief Minister is in the dock for reportedly giving an affidavit in favour of Lalit Modi, former IPL Commissioner who is facing ED probe into alleged money laundering in connection with organising of IPL tournament.

Facing opposition heat over the Lalit Modi controversy, beleaguered Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje for the second dayon Friday dismissed media reports surrounding her, including that of a signature campaign by 120 party MLAs in her support.In a statement, a CMO spokesman said the Chief Minister holds “jansunwai” (public hearing) at her residence every Friday, and for this many MLAs come with the public of their constituency for putting forward their problems and demands.”Similarly, the CM is holding public hearing in which MLAs and party workers are meeting”, the spokesman said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The news of signature by 120 MLAs (in her support) is completely wrong. It is not fair to link public hearing with a different view”, he said.The CMO said the Chief Minister never asked or made any call to MLAs to show their strength and support.This is the second day that her office has rubbished media reports surrounding her.The Chief Minister’s Press Advisor had said last night that “false” reports were being run on the basis of “rumours” to tarnish her image and cause “political damage”.The Chief Minister is in the dock for reportedly giving an affidavit in favour of Lalit Modi, former IPL Commissioner who is facing ED probe into alleged money laundering in connection with organising of IPL tournament.Lalit Modi has made London his home ever since the probe began in 2010.The CMO said today that some channels were still broadcasting “baseless and untrue” news.”The Chief Minister has not made any such statements shown in TV news channels. Some media channels were running news to tarnish the political image of Chief Minister”, he said.The CMO advised the media to carry only confirmed news.Raje, meanwhile, started her public hearing at 1000 hrs which was being attended by hundreds of people at her residence.A number of the Chief Minister’s cabinet colleagues including R S Rathore, Yunus Khan, Krishnendra Kaur Deepa and MLAs, and state BJP President Ashok Parnami were present during the hearing which was still underway, the press advisor told PTI.Media persons were not allowed access to the public hearing, the advisor said.

How land disputes are fuelling caste clashes in Rajasthan

Land disputes are triggering caste violence in India

Lalit Modi row: Prima facie, Rakesh Maria’s explanation appears satisfactory, says Fadnavis

In a statement issued by the office of the Mumbai Police Commissioner, Maria said that he was approached by an advocate representing Lalit Modi who stated that the former IPL boss wanted to meet him.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has directed his Additional Chief Secretary (Home) KP Bakshi to look into the statement given by Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria, wherein he admitted to meeting former IPL chairman Lalit Modi. “Prima facie, the explanation of Police Commissioner Maria appears satisfactory. However, some points need further elaboration. I have asked the ACS to look into it,” Fadnavis said. In a statement issued by the office of the Mumbai Police Commissioner, Maria said that he was approached by an advocate representing Lalit Modi who stated that the former IPL boss wanted to meet him.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Maria further said that Lalit Modi repeatedly kept requesting for Mumbai Police’s intervention against the underworld. The Mumbai Police Commissioner’s disclosure comes at a time when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje are in the middle of a controversy over their role in helping the tainted former IPL Commissioner.

Lalit Modi row: Congress produces document signed by Vasundhara Raje; demands immediate resignation

Jairam Ramesh said the Congress seeks her immediate resignation as she has broken four laws – Indian Penal Code, Prevention of Corruption Act, PMLA, Passport Act.

PTI
Seeking her immediate resignation, Congress today stepped up the offensive against Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje accusing her of “repeatedly lying” on the Lalit Modi controversy. “The curtains are off, the secret is out. The document signed by Vasundhara Raje dated August 18, 2011 supporting his immigration case before the British government is out. When the issue came out first, she feigned ignorance and then said she does not remember,” senior party leader Jairam Ramesh told reporters at the AICC briefing.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He was speaking after media reports showed a puportedly signed document by Raje in which she allegedly backed former IPL chief Lalit Modi’s immigration plea in Britain. “BJP has always maintained that if papers are produced with her signature, then she is culpable. There is no need of anymore evidence, Vasundhara Raje stands thoroughly exposed,” Ramesh said.Ramesh said the Congress seeks her immediate resignation as she has broken four laws – Indian Penal Code, Prevention of Corruption Act, PMLA, Passport Act. “She should immediately resign. It should be followed by the resignation of Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and HRD Minister Smriti Irani,” he said.Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ramesh said he knows it will be “difficult” for him to seek resignation of three Ministers.Hitting out at the Prime Minister, Ramesh said, “The government which advocates propriety and zero tolerence to corruption should immediately seek her resignation. The Prime Minister who used to speak so much on these issues one year back has been silent and has gone into a shell”.Asked if he expects the BJP to sack the three leaders, he said it was not an opposition issue but an issue in which even the BJP leaders should demand so.However, he said that BJP is “brazen”. “BJP should be called Brazen Janata Party”. Ramesh said the demand for resignation of the three leaders is “non-negotiable”. After tonight, the continuation of Raje as Chief Minister of Rajasthan is”immoral”, he said.Asked if the issue would be raised during the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament, he said, “Our struggle will continue both inside and outside Parliament”.Displaying the seven-page document having 21 points, he said, “This has never happened in independent India before where a former Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition has batted for a fugitive”.He underliend that the word fugitive has been used by none other than BJP MP and former Home Secretary R K Singh. “There is need for no more evidence. Raje stands exposed completely,” he said.

Lalitgate causes ruckus in Delhi assembly, Arvind Kejriwal asks PM to take action against Swaraj, Raje

BJP MLA OP Sharma being marshalled out after he tried to disrupt CM Arvind Kejriwal’s speech in the Delhi Assembly on Tuesday
Manit
dna
The raging controversy involving Lalit Modi became the reason of a major ruckus in the Delhi assembly on Tuesday with chief minister Arvind Kejriwal calling on the Prime Minister to take action against external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje for their alleged role in aiding the former IPL chairman. The targeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi infuriated the three BJP MLAs. When they protested, on MLA was marshalled out of the assembly after he showed aggression towards the CM.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The verbal attack by Kejriwal on the NDA government came on the first day of budget session of the state assembly which started with the BJP insisting that the Delhi CM give an explanation on the issue of alleged fake degree of former law minister Jitender Singh Tomar, who is currently in Tihar Jail. The three-member opposition persisted on their demand of an apology from Kejriwal forcing Speaker Ram Niwas Goel to adjourn the House for 15 minutes to restore order. Kejriwal rose to reply on the Tomar issue soon after the House was convened.”The moment the issue of fake degree surfaced in the media, I called on Mr Tomar to seek an explanation. I was, however, kept in the dark the whole time. Soon after the arrested (Tomar’s), his resignation was immediately accepted by my office. When will the Prime Minister take action against his ministers,” said Kejriwal before being interrupted several times by the opposition leaders. He continued, “Prime Minister Modi must take necessary action against Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje”.The opposition however refused to budge. “Two of your former ex-law ministers are facing serious charges in the court of law. Will you care to explain your position. You won the Delhi elections by raising the issue of corruption but when one of your own minister is involved in similar crimes you choose to remain silent,” said BJP MLA Om Prakash Sharma, while referring to Tomar’s fake degree case and the allegations of domestic violence against Somnath Bharti, the law minister in AAP’s previous government. Sharma then rushed into the well of the House forcing the speaker to order marshals to take him out. An undeterred Sharma walked towards Kejriwal’s seat aggressively and shouted at him pointing a finger before finally being marshalled out. While the AAP legislators clapped on seeing Sharma being taken out, the remaining two MLA’s spent most part of the session sitting on the floor of the house in protest. “The way Om Prakash rose from his seat and ran towards the chief minister is not acceptable. I gave him a chance to speak and even adjourned the House for 15 minutes. When the chief minister is answering then why not listen to him? I can take strict action against him,” the speaker said addressing the remaining BJP MLAs.The state Congress, however, backed the BJP and criticised the AAP dispensation calling the act of marshalling out an MLA as a shameful act. The ensuing ruckus, however, did not deter the AAP government from tabling three bills before the Legislative House without any opposition. AAP enjoys a majority in the House, having won 67 of 70 seats in the state assembly elections earlier this year.

Lalit Modi row: BJP MP RK Singh exposes rift within party

Calling Lalit Modi a ‘bhagoda'(absconder), BJP MP RK Singh on Tuesday struck a discordant note over party leaders Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje extending help to the tainted former IPL boss, saying this is “legally and morally wrong”.

Getty Images
Calling Lalit Modi a ‘bhagoda'(absconder), BJP MP RK Singh on Tuesday struck a discordant note over party leaders Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje extending help to the tainted former IPL boss, saying this is “legally and morally wrong”.The former Union Home Secretary also urged the government to take all measures to bring Modi, who is currently in the UK, back to India to face the law.Singh’s strong comments in the first public criticism by a BJP MP against the help extended to Modi by Swaraj, the External Affairs Minister, and Raje, the Rajasthan Chief Minister, came even as the Congress said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “losing political capital” by trying to protect the two party leaders through his continued silence on the “indefensible issue”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The comments came a day after Union Minister Nitin Gadkari met Raje in Jaipur and said the BJP as well as the central government are strongly behind her as “accusations” against her have “no substance” and that the allegations against her are baseless and she is “legally, logically, ethically completely correct”.Gadkari’s defence came amid the raging row over the linkages of the Chief Minister and her son Dushyant with Lalit Modi who is facing ED probe for alleged money laundering in an IPL tournament.Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is under attack from the Opposition for describing the deal between Raje’s son and Lalit Modi as a “commercial loan transaction”, meanwhile, said in the US that assessing authorities would continue to do their job in probing the matter.”If anybody helps a ‘bhagoda’ (fugitive), it is wrong. This is wrong legally as well as morally. If anybody meets a fugitive, it is absolutely wrong. Whosoever has helped him, I think it is completely wrong,” RK Singh said in Delhi.The row involving Swaraj and Raje has snowballed into a major political storm for the Narendra Modi government even though BJP has defended both the leaders.Singh said Lalit Modi had been evading judicial warrants and summons and he was clearly a fugitive and any help given to him or any meeting with him was wrong. He did not name either Swaraj or Raje.Asked if Lalit Modi was being “saved”, Singh said the departments concerned should be doing their job.”I have given my view,” he said when asked about BJP’s defence of both the leaders and added that he would not like to name individuals.”All measures should be taken to bring him back to India so that he faces the law,” he said. Swaraj and Raje have been facing flak for helping Lalit Modi in procuring travel documents in the UK, a country which he has made his home to avoid legal processes in India.Rajasthan PCC President Sachin Pilot while targeting the prime minister demanded the resignation of Swaraj and Raje.”PM’s words – Na Khaunga Na Khane Dunga (neither will I take bribe, nor will I allow anyone to take bribe) – have come to haunt him. He is losing political capital and he and his party have been fully exposed. BJP is obstinate on this issue but we will not let the issue die down,” he told reporters in Jaipur.

Transaction between Lalit Modi and Dushyant Singh commercial: Arun Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is on a nine-day visit to the US.
File Photo
PTI
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, on a nine-day visit to the US, chose to largely stay mum on the controversy surrounding Lalit Modi raging back home but said the tainted former IPL chief’s Rs 11 crore transaction with BJP leader Dushyant Singh was a “commercial” one.”I do not want to comment on him (Modi), but it’s a commercial transaction between two individuals,” Jaitley said on Saturday..The Minister was asked: “What is the government doing on the transaction of Rs 11 crore between Lalit Modi and Dushyant Singh?”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jaitley responded, “How the government could be concerned with a several year old loan transaction between… which is a commercial loan transaction by check with all banking approvals in a declared loan transaction.” Singh, son of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, has been under attack over media reports that his company received Rs 11.63 crore in investments from Modi in 2008.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Raje have been facing flak for “helping” Modi in procuring travel documents in the UK, a country which he has made his home to avoid legal processes in India.Modi, 49, travelled to London in 2010 after the Indian Premier League (IPL) became embroiled in allegations of match-fixing and illegal betting.

Met Lalit Modi in London, asked him to return: Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria

Mumbai: A fresh controversy broke out on Sunday in the Lalit Modi episode after Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria admitted that he had met the tainted ex-IPL boss in London in 2014 on the insistence of the latter’s lawyer.

Mumbai's police chief Rakesh Maria. AFP

Mumbai’s police chief Rakesh Maria. AFP

Maria came out with a statement to say this after news channels flashed a photo of the former IPL commissioner and the Mumbai Police chief.

During the meeting that lasted 15 to 20 minutes, Modi sought the help of Mumbai police in view of “threat” to his life by the underworld in London, Maria said, adding that he apprised the then Home Minister about the meeting soon after returning from London.

“In the month of July 2014, I officially attended a conference in London. At the conference, I was approached by an advocate representing Lalit Modi who stated that Lalit Modi wanted to meet me regarding a grave threat to his life and that of his family in London,” Maria said in the statement.

Modi, the first Commissioner of Indian Premier League, and others are facing probe by Enforcement Directorate in the alleged forex violation cases.

“It may be recollected that as Joint Commissioner of Police, Crime, Mumbai, in year 2009-10, the crime branch under me had foiled an attempt on his (Modi’s) life by the Mumbai underworld,” Maria said.

Explaining the sequence of events in London, Maria said Modi’s advocate had requested him to meet Modi briefly.

“The advocate requested me that since it was a serious threat to his (Modi’s) life, I should meet Lalit Modi briefly.

As per the lawyer’s insistence, we met, albeit briefly, wherein Lalit Modi sought the Mumbai Police’s help as he and his family were being threatened by the underworld,” the statement said.

Maria said he “categorically” informed Modi that Mumbai Police has no jurisdiction in London and that he should return to Mumbai to lodge a formal complaint.

“Lalit Modi repeatedly kept requesting for Mumbai Police’s intervention against the underworld. I reiterated to Modi and his lawyer that it was imperative for Lalit Modi to return to Mumbai for the Mumbai Police to initiate any inquiry. Thereafter, the meeting lasted barely for 15/20 minutes,” the Police Commissioner said.

Explaining his position, Maria said he had immediately brought details of the meeting to the notice of the Home Minister on his return to India.

“I also maintained the requisite confidential record of the same. Besides, the Anti-Extortion Cell of the Mumbai Police was also given in writing the details of what had transpired in the meeting for discreet inquiry at their end,” he added.

Modi has been embroiled in a row after it came to light that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had facilitated travel documents for him in London and that Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had reportedly favoured Modi’s immigration plea in a London court.

This has sparked a huge political storm in the country with the opposition Congress demanding the resignation of Swaraj and Raje.

PTI

Congress would be ‘isolated’ if it attempts to stall monsoon session over Lalit Modi issue: BJP

According to reports, the Congress had said that the only way for the BJP-led government at the Centre to save the monsoon session was to seek resignations of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
File Photo

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday said the Congress would find itself ‘isolated’ if they make an attempt to stall the monsoon session of Parliament over the Lalit Modi issue, adding that the latter was looking for excuses to disrupt proceedings. “The Congress Party will be isolated if it tries to raise the issue of Lalit Modi and tries to stall the Parliament. It only shows that they have been looking for excuses to somehow stall legislation, an important economic legislation in the country…There is no support for the Congress from any important opposition parties,” BJP spokesperson said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to reports, the Congress had said that the only way for the BJP-led government at the Centre to save the monsoon session was to seek resignations of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. The monsoon session of the Parliament is important for the government with several bills, including Goods and Services Tax (GST), lined up for clearance by the house.

Swaraj-Modi row: AAP youth wing protests outside Swaraj’s residence

New Delhi: Volunteers of Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) youth wing on Saturday protested outside the residence of Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi, demanding her resignation in the Lalit Modi row.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTIExternal Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI

Over 300 volunteers, including AAP MLA from Palam, Bhavna Gaur, also protested outside Swaraj’s residence in Lutyens Bungalow Zone in central Delhi.

They also demanded sacking of Rajasthan chief Vasundhara Raje.

Swaraj, however, was not present at her residence at the time of protest. The External Affairs Minister has left for New York to attend the World Yoga Day function at the United Nations.

“The Modi government says ‘Na Khaenge, Na Khane Denge’. In such a case, it is the moral responsibility of the BJP and the government to sack Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje who helped Lalit Modi,” AAP youth wing leader Vikas Yogi said.

No one was detained, however, police hoarded AAP volunteers into buses only to drop at the Race Course metro station.

PTI

Lalit Modi row: PM Narendra Modi, Amit Shah discuss damage control

Shah is understood to have discussed possible damage control measures in the wake of fresh disclosures indicating links of Raje and Swaraj with the former IPL boss.

BJP chief Amit Shah met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here amid mounting pressure by Opposition to sack External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje for their alleged ties with scam-tainted Lalit Modi. Sources said that Shah, who had gone to PM’s residence along with a delegation UP farmers last evening, stayed back and had a detailed discussion with him on Lalitgate.Shah is understood to have discussed possible damage control measures in the wake of fresh disclosures indicating links of Raje and Swaraj with the former IPL boss. The sources said Shah is also in touch with RSS leadership on the issue. While BJP’s top leaders have come out in support of Swaraj, they are yet to openly back Raje.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Opposition pressure building on Swaraj and Raje, BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi extended support to Swaraj and visited her residence. Joshi spent more than half an hour with her.Raje, however, today cancelled her Anandpur Sahib visit in Punjab where she was to come face to face with Shah during an event on 350th foundation day celebration of the Sikh shrine.Shah and Home Minister Rajnath Singh have left for Anandpur Sahib to participate in the event. Meanwhile, Swaraj continued her engagements and called on Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete, who is currently in India on an official visit.

Lalit Modi row: Vasundhara Raje cancels Punjab visit citing backache, avoids meeting Amit Shah

Raje, who is embroiled in a controversy over allegedly favouring tainted IPL Chief Lalit Modi’s immigration plea in London, was scheduled to share the dais with BJP Chief Amit Shah and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh at the function in Anandpur Sahib celebrating 350 years of the key Sikh shrine.

Vasundhara Raje

File Photo
Amid raging Lalitgate row, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Friday cancelled her visit to Punjab where she would have come face-to-face with BJP president Amit Shah for the first time since the damaging revelations. “Due to back pain, the Chief Minster’s doctor has advised her to take rest so she has cancelled her visit to Punjab today,” Raje’s press advisor said.Raje, who is embroiled in a controversy over allegedly favouring tainted IPL Chief Lalit Modi’s immigration plea in London, was scheduled to share the dais with BJP Chief Amit Shah and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh at the function in Anandpur Sahib celebrating 350 years of the key Sikh shrine. Significance was being attached to the meeting as none of the BJP central leaders or the government have come to her defence since the issue came out in public. Raje had spoken to Shah over phone on Wednesday to explain her position.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress has been demanding her immediate resignation along with that of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, saying they have no right to continue in office after helping the former IPC Chairman who is facing money laundering and other charges. However, Rajathan Health Minister Rajendra Rathore rejected demands for Raje’s resignation, saying the entire national BJP and party MLAs were with her. “The entire BJP be it at the Centre or the state are with her. She has been leading us and will continue to do so.The entire legislature party is standing strongly with her. Our leadership is standing by her. The question of her resignation does not arise,” he had said.

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