Rahul Gandhi citizenship: SC agrees to hear plea

Rahul Gandhi citizenship: Supreme Court agrees to hear plea for directive to ECI to debar him from polls

The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a plea to direct the Election Commission of India (ECI) to debar Congress president Rahul Gandhi from contesting the Lok Sabha polls and “becoming a Member of Parliament” after he had “voluntarily acquired British nationality.”

A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, was responding to the plea by Delhi residents Jai Bhagwan Goyal and Chander Prakash Tyagi, who said they were “social and public spirited persons” who protected democratic institutions.Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

The petition, which has arraigned the Central government, the ECI and Mr. Gandhi in person, said the court should “command” the government to decide the question of voluntary acquisition of British citizenship by Mr. Gandhi and consequently determine his Indian citizenship.

It wanted the court to decide whether a person who has voluntarily acquired British citizenship should be allowed to contest from Amethi and Wayanad, and then “fill a seat” in Parliament.

Petition says court should “command” the government to decide the question of voluntary acquisition of British citizenship by Mr. Gandhi and consequently determine his Indian citizenship.

It was evident that Mr. Gandhi had acquired British nationality, and this was incident from the incorporation certificate of U.K. company BACKOPS Limited and the returns filed by the company, it said. The petition wanted a declaration that Mr. Gandhi “is not an Indian citizen and he is incompetent to contest as per the provisions of the Constitution read with the Representation of the People Act, 1951.” The plea follows a notice issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs to Mr. Gandhi on the question of his “dual citizenship”.

Dismissal of plea in 2015

On November 30, 2015, the Supreme Court dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by a lawyer seeking a CBI investigation against Mr. Gandhi for allegedly declaring himself a British national before company law authorities in the U.K. The court found it too “frivolous” and called it an attempt by the lawyer to start a “roving inquiry”.

A Bench of then Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice (now retired) Amitava Roy berated the lawyer, M.L. Sharma, saying PIL pleas were not meant to target an individual or an organisation but was a medium to resolve human suffering through good governance.

NEW DELHI, MAY 02, 2019

Sonia Gandhi files nomination in Rae Bareli

Sonia Gandhi files nomination in Rae Bareli

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi Thursday embarked on a roadshow here before filing nomination papers for Rae Bareli Lok Sabha constituency. She also offered puja at the Congress’ central office here before starting the roadshow. Sonia Gandhi, who trying to get re-elected from the seat the fifth time in a row, was accompanied by son and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and son-in-law Robert Vadra.sonia filing

The seat, where voting will be held in the fifth-phase on May 6, will see a straight contest between the former Congress chief Dinesh Pratap Singh, who recently joined the BJP after leaving the Congress.

The Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party have not fielded any candidate in this Congress bastion. Sonia Gandhi had won the seat in 2004, 2006 (bypolls), 2009 and 2014.

Sonia Gandhi is fighting for a fourth straight term from Raebareli, which has voted her since 2004, when she vacated Amethi for son Rahul’s debut election. Before filing her nomination, she sat for an elaborate puja with her children Rahul and Priyanka, and later took out a roadshow.sonia-gandhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not invincible, Sonia Gandhi told reporters after filing her papers. “Don’t forget 2004,” she said, reminding the media of her party Congress taking power despite widespread predictions of a BJP victory. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who led a BJP government in 1996, 1998 and 1999, suffered a shock defeat in 2004, despite predictions that he would win another term riding on an “India Shining” campaign.

Sonia Gandhi, who was Congress president at the time, turned down her party leaders’ appeals to take office – amid strong protests by the BJP and other parties over a foreign-born Prime Minister – and named Dr Manmohan Singh for the top job.
sonia-gandhi2

This time in Raebareli, she is contesting against Dinesh Pratap Singh, who recently joined the BJP after leaving the Congress. The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have not fielded a candidate in the Congress bastion.

-PTI |11 April 2019 |  Rae Bareli

Rahul Gandhi submits nomination in Wayanad

Rahul Gandhi submits nomination in Wayanad

Congress president Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination for the Wayanad constituency in Kerala. He is also contesting in his traditional seat of Amethi. He was accompanied by his sister and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. “We had conveyed to Rahulji that it would not have been correct to ignore the sentiments of the Congress workers from southern States,” said senior leader A.K. Antony, who had formally announced the decision.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi filing his nomination papers at Wayanad in Kerala on Thursday. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is also seen. Photo

Photographer injured as barrier on Rahul roadshow vehicle collapses

The barricade of the vehicle that Congress president Rahul Gandhi was conducting his roadshow on in Wayanad collapsed, injuring a press photographer. A reporter for television channel TV9, Supriya said that the rope of the vehicle severed and three perons fell on her.

Rahul Gandhi files nomination in Wayanad, BJP joins hands with its once estranged MLA in Rajasthan. The day’s election-related developments at a glance

A few congress workers climbed on vehicle and were also holding on to the side rails of the moving vehicle. The injured photographer has been rushed to a nearby hospital. The roadshow lasted 35 minutes.

Smriti Irani slams Rahul Gandhi

BJP leader Smriti Irani attacked Congress president Rahul Gandhi, saying his decision to contest from the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat in Kerala was an “insult” to the people of Amethi.

“He is filing his papers from another Lok Sabha seat. This is an insult to Amethi and a betrayal with its people. The people will not tolerate this,” she told reporters in Lucknow.

Rahul’s decision to contest from Wayanad insult to Amethi, betrayal with people: Irani

BJP leader Smriti Irani Thursday attacked Congress president Rahul Gandhi, saying his decision to contest from the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat in Kerala was an “insult” to the people of Amethi. Rahul is contesting from the seat in Kerala in addition to his traditional stronghold of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

Referring to the Congress chief, Irani said a person who is here in Amethi for the past 15 years has decided to leave his supporters and has chosen to file nominations from another constituency. “He is filing his papers from another Lok Sabha seat. This is an insult to Amethi and a betrayal with its people. The people will not tolerate this,” she told reporters here. The Union minister said this is because Congress workers know he does have support in Amethi.

-APRIL 04, 2019

Indian National Congress Sessions from its inception

Indian National Congress Sessions from its inception 

From its foundation on 28 December 1885 by A.O. Hume, until the time India gained its independence on 15 August 1947, the Indian National Congress was considered to be the largest and most prominent Indian public organization, as well as the central and defining influence of the long Indian Independence Movement.

Retired British Indian Civil Service (ICS) officer Allan Octavian Hume founded the Indian National Congress (A political party of India, to Free India from the British Colonial rule) in order to form a platform for civil and political dialogue among educated Indians. After the Indian Rebellion of 1857, control of India was transferred from the East India Company to the British Empire. British-controlled India, known as the British Raj, or just the Raj, worked to try to support and justify its governance of India with the aid of English-educated Indians, who tended to more familiar with and friendly to British culture and political thinking. Ironically, a few of the reasons that the Congress grew and survived, particularly in the 19th century era of undisputed British dominance or hegemony, was through the patronage of British authorities and the rising class of Indians and Anglo-Indians educated in the English language-based British tradition.

first_indian_national_congress_1885

On 28 December 1885, 72 social reformers, journalists and lawyers congregated for the first session of the Indian National Union at Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College, Bombay; the conference was renamed as the Indian National Congress. It took place under the leadership of  Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee.

The second session of the Congress took place under the leadership of Dadabhai Naoroji on December 27, 1886 in Calcutta. The number of delegates had increased to 434. Towards the end of the session, the Congress decided to set up Provincial Congress Committees across the country.

The Post Liberalization Era (1990-2018)

The Post Independence Era (1947-1990)

The Pre Independence Era (1900-1947)

Rahul Gandhi : Life Sketch till date

Rahul Gandhi : Life Sketch till date 

Rahul Gandhi born 19 June, 1970 is an Indian politician. He hails from a long line of politicians, known as the Nehru-Gandhi family, which has occupied a prominent place in the politics of India ever since the country gained independence in 1947. The son of Sonia and Rajiv Gandhi, he is the President of the Indian National Congress and serves such additional offices as the Chairperson of the Indian Youth Congress and the National Students Union of India. A member of the Indian Parliament, Gandhi represents the constituency of AmethiUttar Pradesh in the 16th Lok Sabha.

Gandhi stayed away from the public sphere for much of his childhood and early youth; he attained primary education in New Delhi and Dehradun but was later homeschooled because of security concerns. He later attended Rollins College under a pseudonym, his identity being known only to a select few individuals, which included certain university officials and security agencies. After obtaining degrees in International Relations and Development Studies at the universities of Rollins and Cambridge, Gandhi worked at the Monitor Group, a management consulting firm in London. He established the Mumbai-based technology outsourcing firm, Backops Services Private Ltd.

Gandhi entered politics in 2004 and successfully contested the general elections held that year from Amethi, a seat that was earlier held by his father; he won again from the constituency in 2009 and 2014. Amidst calls from Congress party veterans for his greater involvement in party politics and national government, Gandhi was elected Congress Vice-President in 2013, having served as the General Secretary previously. Gandhi led the INC’s campaign in the 2014 Indian general elections; the party suffered its worst electoral result in its history, winning only 44 seats compared to 206 seats won previously in the 2009 general election. As of May 2018, Gandhi trails behind incumbent Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi as the popular choice for Prime Minister in the 2019 general elections.

Gandhi took over as the president of the Congress in December 2017. He is also a trustee of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust.

Early life

Gandhi was born in Delhi on 19 June 1970, as the first of the two children of Rajiv Gandhi, who later became the Prime Minister of India, and Italian-born Sonia Gandhi, who later became President of Indian National Congress, and as the grandson of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. His paternal grandfather Feroze Gandhi was a Parsi from Gujarat. He is also the great-grandson of India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal NehruPriyanka Vadra is his younger sister and Robert Vadra is his brother-in-law. He identifies himself as a Hindu Brahmin.Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi attended St. Columba’s School, Delhi before entering The Doon School in DehradunUttarakhand from 1981 to 1983. Meanwhile, his father had joined politics and became the Prime Minister on 31 October 1984 when Indira Gandhi was assassinated. Due to the security threats faced by Indira Gandhi’s family from Sikh extremists, Rahul Gandhi and his sister, Priyanka were home-schooled thereafter.

Gandhi joined St. Stephen’s College, Delhi in 1989 for his undergraduate education but moved to Harvard University after he completed the first year examinations. In 1991, after Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) during an election rally, he shifted to Rollins College in Florida, USA, due to security concerns and obtained his B.A. in 1994. During his time at Rollins, he assumed the pseudonym Raul Vinci and his identity was known only to the university officials and security agencies. He further went on to obtain an M.Phil. from Trinity College, Cambridge in 1995.

After graduation, Rahul Gandhi worked at the Monitor Group, a management consulting firm, in London. In 2002, he was one of the directors of Mumbai-based technology outsourcing firm Backops Services Private Ltd. While in 2004, Gandhi had told the press that he had a Spanish girlfriend, an architect, living in Venezuela, whom he had met while studying in England. In 2013, he suggested that he may not get married.

Political career

Formative years

In March 2004, Gandhi announced his entry into politics by announcing that he would contest the May 2004 elections, standing for his father’s former constituency of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of Parliament. His mother had held the seat until she transferred to the neighbouring seat of Rae Bareilly. The Congress had been doing poorly in Uttar Pradesh, holding only 10 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state at the time. At the time, this move generated surprise among political commentators, who had regarded his sister Priyanka as being the more charismatic and likely to succeed. It generated speculation that the presence of a young member of India’s most famous political family would reinvigorate the Congress party’s political fortunes among India’s youthful population In his first interview with foreign media, Gandhi portrayed himself as an uniter of the country and condemned “divisive” politics in India, saying that he would try to reduce caste and religious tensions. Gandhi won, retaining the family stronghold with a victory margin of over 100,000. Until 2006 he held no other office.

Gandhi and his sister, Priyanka managed their mother’s campaign for re-election to Rae Bareilly in 2006, which was won with a victory margin of over 400,000 votes. He was a prominent figure in the Congress campaign for the 2007 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections; Congress, however, won only 22 seats of the 403 seats with 8.53% of votes.

Gandhi was appointed General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee on 24 September 2007 in a reshuffle of the party secretariat. In the same reshuffle, he was also given charge of the Indian Youth Congress and the National Students Union of India. In 2008, senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily mentioned “Rahul-as-PM” idea when the PM of India Manmohan Singh was still abroad. He was elevated to the position of the vice-president of the party in January 2013.

Youth politics

In September 2007 when he was appointed general secretary in charge of the Indian Youth Congress (IYC) and the National Students Union of India (NSUI), Gandhi promised to reform youth politics. In his attempt to prove himself thus, in November 2008 Gandhi held interviews at his 12 Tughlak Lane residence in New Delhi to handpick at least 40 people who will make up the think-tank of the Indian Youth Congress (IYC), an organisation that he has been keen to transform since he was appointed general secretary in September 2007.

Under Gandhi, the IYC and NSUI have seen a dramatic increase in members from 200,000 to 2.5 million. The Indian Express wrote in 2011, “Three years later, as another organisational reshuffle is in the offing, Gandhi’s dream remains unrealised with party veterans manipulating internal elections in the Youth Congress and a host of people with questionable background gaining entry into it.”

2009 elections

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Gandhi retained his Amethi seat by defeating his nearest rival by a margin of over 370,000 votes. Gandhi was credited with the Congress revival in Uttar Pradesh where they won 21 out of the total 80 Lok Sabha seats. He spoke at 125 rallies across the country in six weeks. The nationwide elections defied the predictions made by pre-poll predictions and exit polls and gave a clear mandate to the incumbent Congress-led UPA government.

In May 2011, Gandhi was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police at Bhatta Parsaul village after he turned out in support of agitating farmers demanding more compensation for their land being acquired for a highway project. Gandhi was taken away from the protest site and later given bail and dropped off at the Delhi-UP border.

2012 Assembly elections

Gandhi campaigned during the 2012 Assembly elections in the politically crucial Uttar Pradesh election for almost two months, holding 200 rallies. However Congress ranked as the fourth party in the state, winning 28 seats, an increase of six seats from the previous 2007 elections. Out of the 15 seats in the Amethi parliamentary constituency, Congress won two.

Congress activists defended the result in Uttar Pradesh, saying “there’s a big difference between state elections and national polls and in the end there is only the first family, a hope and a prayer”, and pointing out the turn around attributed to Gandhi in the 2009 Lok Sabha national elections in the state. However, Rahul Gandhi publicly accepted responsibility for the result in an interview after the result was declared.

In the Gujarat assembly elections held later in the year, Gandhi was not made the head of the election campaign. This was seen and regarded by opponents as an admission of defeat and was termed as a tactic to avoid blame of defeat. Congress won 57 seats in the assembly of 182, which was 2 less than the previous elections in 2007. Later in bypolls, Congress lost 4 more seats to BJP.

Indian general election, 2014

Gandhi contested the Indian general election, 2014 from his constituency, Amethi. and led the election campaign of the Indian National Congress. Gandhi held the Amethi seat by defeating his nearest rival, BJP’s Smriti Irani, by a reduced margin of 107,000 votes. Under his leadership, the Indian National Congress suffered its worst ever performance in elections and won only 44 seats compared to 206 seats won previously in the 2009 general election. The Congress-led electoral alliance, the UPA also had its worst ever performance in elections and won only 59 seats compared to 262 seats won previously in the 2009 general election. After the defeat, Gandhi offered to resign his posts, only to be rejected by the party’s working committee.

Post-general election

Farmers’ and Land Agitation

In February 2015, Gandhi went on a leave of absence to an “undisclosed location to reflect both on recent events related to the party and its future course”. After returning from his leave of absence, Gandhi addressed the farmer and worker’s rally, named as Kisan Khet Mazdoor Rally in Ramlila Maidan on 19 April 2015. Here he made “references to his agitations in Niyamgiri in Orissa and Bhatta-Parsaul in Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh“. The rally was attended by 1 lakh people. In the speech he gave, he criticised the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi about his comment in Toronto where he said that he was “cleaning the mess created by previous governments”. He also said “Do you know how Modi won the election?.. He borrowed thousands of crores from industrialists for his several campaigns and advertisements. How will he pay them back? He will pay them back with your land. He will give your land to his industrialist friends.”

He mocked the government as “suit-boot government”, a reference to Modi’s monogrammed suit which he wore in the Republic Day meeting with Barack Obama. Moreover, he used the “acche din government” jibe (which was Modi’s election campaign slogan meaning “good days government”) and mentioned that it had “failed the country”.

A land bill was introduced by the BJP government in the parliament in May which was criticised by the opposition parties. Accusing the government of “murdering” UPA‘s land bill, Gandhi promised to prevent the bill from being passed, if not in the parliament then would “stop you [BJP government] on streets”. He further accused the government of diluting the bill and called it as “anti-farmer”. Gandhi also drew parallel between “daylight robbery” and the bill. On 26 May, the day of the Modi government’s first anniversary, Gandhi commented at a rally in Kozhikode “Unfortunately, birthday celebrations is only for a few powerful friends of the government. Kisan, farmers and mazdoor have nothing to celebrate.

Indian general election, 2019

Gandhi coined the slogan “Chowkidar Chor Hai” as a jibe against Narendra Modi, BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2019 Indian general election. The slogan was aimed at Modi in relation to the alleged irregularities and favouritism in the Rafale fighter jet deal. The government has denied any wrongdoing in the Rafale deal and the case is being heard by the Supreme Court of India.

Political and social views

National security

with Rahul Gandhi at the Roosevelt House in New Delhi.

Rahul Gandhi with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou 
in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi.

In December 2010 during the United States diplomatic cables leakWikiLeaks leaked a cable dated 3 August 2009, where the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh had hosted a lunch on 20 July 2009 for Rahul Gandhi, then the General Secretary of the AICC. One of the guests who was invited for the lunch was the United States Ambassador to IndiaTimothy J. Roemer. In a “candid conversation” with Roemer, he said that he believes Hindu extremists pose a greater threat to his country than Muslim militants. Rahul Gandhi referred specifically to more-polarising figures in the Bharatiya Janata Party. Also responding to the ambassador’s query about the activities in the region by the Islamist militant organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Rahul Gandhi said there was evidence of some support for the group among certain elements in India’s indigenous Muslim population. In a response to this, the BJP heavily criticised Rahul Gandhi for his statements. BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad slammed Rahul Gandhi, saying that his language was a bigger threat to India, dividing the people of the country on communal grounds. Speaking to reporters, Prasad said, “In one stroke Mr. Rahul Gandhi has sought to give a big leverage to the propaganda to all the extremist and terrorist groups in Pakistan, and also some segments of Pakistani establishment. It would also seriously compromise India’s fight against terror as also our strategic security.”Adding that terrorism has no religion, he said that Rahul Gandhi had shown his lack of understanding India. Gandhi has also been critical of groups like the RSSand has compared them to terrorist organisations like SIMI.

After the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, at a Madhya Pradesh election rally in Indore, Rahul Gandhi claimed that a police officer has told him that Pakistan’s ISI was trying to recruit disgruntled riot-affected youngsters. However, the district administration, the UP state government, the Union Home Ministry, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) denied any such development. This remark drew heavy criticism from various political outfits such as BJP, SP, CPI and JD(U). Congress’s Jairam Ramesh said Gandhi needed to apologise to the Muslim community for this remark. In reply to the ECI’s show-cause notice to explain why action should not be initiated against him for violating the Model Code of Conduct, Gandhi said that he didn’t intend to exploit communal sentiments but was referring to divisive politics. The BJP also asked the government to explain why Gandhi, who holds no post in the government, is being briefed by intelligence officers on important security issues. On 13 November 2013, Election Commission of India finding Gandhi’s explanation to be insufficient conveyed its displeasure and advised him to be more circumspect in his public utterances during election campaigns.

Lokpal

Rahul Gandhi opines that the Lokpal should be made a constitutional body and it should be made accountable to the Parliament, just like the Election Commission of India. He also feels that Lokpal alone cannot root out corruption. This statement came out on 25 August 2011, on the 10th day of Anna Hazare‘s fast. This statement was considered as a delaying tactic by the opposition and Team Anna‘s members. It was consequently slammed by prominent opposition leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley. The Parliamentary Standing Committee led by Abhishek Manu Singhvi tabled the Jan Lokpal Bill report in the Rajya Sabha on 9 December 2011. The report recommended the Lokpal to be made into a constitutional body. In response, Hazare attacked Rahul Gandhi, claiming he had made the bill “weak and ineffective”.

Poverty

Rahul Gandhi speaking at The Doon School’s
Model United Nations in 2017

During a rally in Allahabad, Gandhi said “Poverty is just a state of mind. It does not mean the scarcity of food, money or material things. If one possesses self-confidence, then one can overcome poverty.” The phrase “state of mind” drew sharp criticism with BJP Uttar Pradesh spokesperson Vijay Bahadur Pathak alleging him to be mocking the poor. Oneindia News wrote that he made “economics irrelevant”.

Ordinance on Convicted Lawmakers

Rahul Gandhi, on “the convicted lawmakers ordinance” insisted that the ordinance is “complete nonsense” and “What our government has done is wrong”. This was expressed on 28 September 2013 in a press meet, when Rahul made a surprise visit to a press meet organised by Ajay Maken on the topic. The ordinance, earlier, was cleared by the government to negate a Supreme Court’s judgment that would have led to the ejection of convicted lawmakers.

Women’s rights

Gandhi has pushed for the empowerment of women. He backed the Women’s Reservation Bill which would allow 33% reservation of all Lok Sabha and state legislative assembly seats for women. This bill passed the Rajya Sabha on 9 March 2010 but has not yet been voted on by the Lok Sabha as of February 2014.

LGBT rights

Gandhi had backed the repeal of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and the decriminalization of homosexuality.

Source- Microstat & Wikipedia

SP-BSP alliance will contest elections together in UP

SP-BSP alliance will contest elections together in Uttar Pradesh

Will contest 38 seats each in Lok Sabha polls 

Finally the SP-BSP alliance declared today in Lucknow for upcoming Lok Sabha Polls in UP. Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav announced their alliance in Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, sharing 38 seats each out of the state’s 80 parliamentary constituencies.

SP-BSP alliance

The parties kept the Congress out of the alliance, but said they will not field candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli, represented by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. The alliance left two more seats for smaller allies.

SP-BSP alliance
SP-BSP alliance

Making the announcement at a joint press conference with SP president Akhilesh Yadav here, BSP chief Mayawati said that the alliance will rob Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah of their sleep.

“The BJP taught us how to do ginti (arithmetic),” said Mr. Yadav on Friday, claiming that despite having a superior record on development, his party had lost out on the arithmetic.

The parties kept the Congress out of the alliance, but said they will not field candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli, represented by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. The alliance left two more seats for smaller allies

A result of this strategy was seen in Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana where the BJP lost its in by-polls as the grand-alliance tested waters successfully.

Mr. Yadav said the number of alliances stitched up by the BJP to win elections had gone unnoticed. The proximity between the two old rivals, the SP and BSP, started soon after the drubbing in the 2017 Assembly election in which the BJP and its allies secured 325 seats out 403.

The BJP played down the potential of the SP-BSP alliance, with CM Yogi Adityanath calling it a “desperate attempt to save their existence.” “Public knows the truth and they will give the reply when time comes,” he said.

-MICROSTAT, JANUARY 12, 2019

SP-BSP agree ‘in principle’ on alliance for 2019 polls

SP-BSP agree ‘in principle’ on alliance for 2019 Lok Sabha polls

The (SP-BSP), Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party have agreed in principle to an alliance in the coming Lok Sabha elections and a formal announcement on the gathbandhan (alliance) between them may take place later this month, SP’s national spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary told PTI on January 5.

SP president Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati had given their “in principle approval” to the alliance after a series of meetings between them. They met on January 4 too in DelSamajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav with Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati. Filehi, Mr. Chaudhary said.

“Talks are on to accommodate some smaller parties in the alliance,” Mr. Chaudhary said. He admitted that the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), which has a presence in western U.P., is among these parties.

When asked about the possible inclusion of the Congress in the alliance, he said, “This will be decided by Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati.” But the alliance would not field candidates in Amethi and Raebareli, leaving the two Lok constituencies for Congress president Rahul Gandhi and United Progress Alliance chief Sonia Gandhi.

Opportunistic alliance: BJP

The BJP dubbed the coming closer of the two parties opportunistic. “This is an opportunistic alliance and it is completely anti-people. The BJP will register massive wins in Uttar Pradesh in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” party’s State spokesperson Hero Bajpai told reporters in Lucknow.

Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati to decide on including Congress in the ”gathbandhan”; talks are on to accommodate smaller parties like the INLD.

Uttar Pradesh sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha. The opposition parties defeated the ruling BJP in three Lok Sabha bypolls in 2018.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP won 71 seats, securing 42.63% of the votes. The BJP’s ally, Apna Dal, bagged two. The SP won five seats with a vote share of 22.35%. The BSP did not win any seat while securing 19.77% of the votes. The Congress won two seats, bagging 7.53% of the votes.

-PTI, LUCKNOW, JANUARY 05, 2019

Rafale – Lies, Shortlived lies and now further lies- Arun Jaitley

Rafale – Lies, Shortlived lies and now further lies

By- Arun Jaitley

          All the lies spoken on the Rafale deal has been exposed. The Supreme Court judgement is clear. Every word said against the Government has proved to be false. Every “fact” stated by the vested interests against the deal has proved to be manufactured. Truth has once again established its primacy. The creators of falsehood will still persist with falsehood even at the cost of their own credibility. Only their captive constituencies will clap.

The credentials of the disruptors

          Rafale is a combat aircraft with its weaponry required to improve the strike ability of the Indian Airforce. India is geographically located in a sensitive region. It needs to protect itself. The need for such a weapon cannot be overstated. When such defence equipments are purchased obviously some suppliers loose out. The suppliers are clever people. They understand who the “vulnerables” in India are.

Image result for rafale          As a political opponent Rahul Gandhi’s opposition to the deal was a desperate attempt. It was the UPA Government which had shortlisted the Rafale as it was technically the best and the cheapest. PM Modi in an Inter- Governmental agreement struck a deal with the French Government to further improve the terms and conditions including the prices on which the UPA had agreed.

          Rahul’s opposition was obviously for three reasons :-

          Firstly, he could not tolerate the fact that PM Modi has run the cleanest ever Government in recent Indian history. It is a scam-free Government where middlemen and scamsters had to take refuge outside the country.

          Secondly, Rahul Gandhi has the burden of a stigmatised legacy which was tainted by Bofors. He was desperate trying to bring an ‘immoral equivalence’ between Rafale and Bofors. But Rafale did not have middlemen, no kickbacks and obviously no Ottavio Quattrocchi.

          Thirdly, with international cooperation and Governmental cooperation, scamsters of the UPA Government are now being extradited into India. There is obviously a scare of who will talk how much.

Rahul Gandhi got instant support from the “career nationalists” of Lutyens Delhi. The permanent PIL petitioners have always preferred disruptions over concerns of national security. They are willing to cooperate with any one who hurts India. A new job creation has taken place in Delhi with the “loud mouths on hire” and “subject experts” notwithstanding their conflict of interest. The disruptionists alliance was, therefore, quite wide.

The lies that were spoken

          The fundamental truth that Bofors was a choice both for quality and price by the UPA was forgotten.

          The first lie was that only one man – the Prime Minister decided the transaction and that no discussion with the Air Force, Defence Ministry or the Defence Acquisition Council was held. It     was alleged that there was no Price Negotiation Committee, no Contract Negotiation Committee and no approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security. Every fact was false. There were dozens of meetings of Contract Negotiation Committee and Price Negotiation Committee. The bulk of the negotiations were done by the experts of the Air Force and the transaction was cleared by both the Defence Acquisition Council and the Cabinet Committee on Security.

          The judgement of the Supreme Court notes with satisfaction that procedural compliances have been done and the charges on the same are misconceived.

          The second major lie was that as against 500 Million Euros negotiated by the UPA, the NDA paid 1600 Million Euros per aircraft. This accusation was ‘fiction writing’ and a poor one at that. The Government submitted a sealed cover before the Supreme Court giving details in a comparative chart of the UPA era pricing and the present pricing. It showed that for the first aircraft, Government negotiated a 9% cheaper deal for a bare aircraft and 20% cheaper for a weaponised aircraft compared to the UPA. Since the UPA had negotiated the supply of 18 aircrafts, this gain of 9% and 20% would have further expanded with the supply of aircrafts after the first one since a more favourable escalation clause negotiated by the NDA Government would have further widened the price gap. The Court looked into the prices and never commented adversely on the same.

          The third major lie that the judgement of the Court expressed was that the Government of India favoured a particular business house. The Court noticed that the Government has nothing to do with the choice of the offset suppliers which was entirely done by Dassault. After the Court judgement, this debate should have come to an end. But neither lobbyists nor political opponents will ever give up their brief.

The misconceived demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC)

         The opponents of Rafale had a choice of their forum to put their facts, they chose Supreme Court as their forum.

          The Court conducts a judicial review, it is a non-partisan, independent and a fair Constitutional authority. The Court’s verdict is final. It can’t be reviewed by anyone except by the Court itself. How can a Parliamentary Committee go into the correctness or otherwise to what the Court has said. Is a Committee of Politicians both legally and in terms of human resources capable of reviewing issues already decided by the Supreme Court? On areas such as procedure, offset suppliers and pricing, can a Parliamentary Committee take a different view of what the Court has said? Can the contract be breached, nation’s security be compromised and the pricing data be made available to Parliament / its Committee so that national interest is severely compromised with?  This would be putting the price details of the weaponry in public domain. What was the experience of Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the only occasion when they investigated a defence transaction?

          The B. Shankaranand Committee in 1987-88 went into the Bofors transaction. Since Parliamentarians are always split on party lines, it came out with a finding that no kickbacks were paid and the monies paid to the middlemen were ‘winding up’ charges. At that time only Win Chaddha appeared to be a middlemen. But then others including OttavioQuattrocchi, whose bank accounts got detected subsequently, were not entitled to any winding up charges. The reports / documents published by Chitra Subramanium and N. Ram in ‘The Hindu’ and all subsequent facts which came to light conclusively established each fact mentioned in the JPC to be factually false. It became a cover up exercise. After the Supreme Court has spoken the last word, it gets legitimacy. A political body can never come to a finding contrary to what the Court has said.

The CAG ambiguity

          Defence transactions go to the CAG for an audit review. CAG recommendations go to Parliament and are referred to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) whose reports are then placed before the Parliament. This was factually and accurately stated by the Government before the Court. The audit review of Rafale is pending before the CAG. All facts are shared with it. When its report is out, it will go to the PAC. Notwithstanding this factually correct statement made, if an ambiguity has emerged in the Court Order, the correct course is for anyone to apply / mention before the Court and have it corrected. The past practice is that if in a factual narration anything needs to be corrected, any litigant can move to the Court for the same. This has been done.  It must now be left to the wisdom of the Court to state at which stage the CAG review is pending.      The CAG review is not relevant to the final findings on procedure, pricing and offset suppliers. But bad losers never accept the truth. Having failed in multiple lies they have now started an innuendo about the Judgement. Having failed in their initial falsehood, the Congress is now manufacturing further lies about the Judgement.

I am certain that the Congress Party will prefer disruptions over discussion on Rafale during the current session of Parliament. On facts it lied. The judgement of the Supreme Court conclusively establishes the Congress Party’s vulnerabilities in a discussion on defence transactions. It will be a great opportunity to remind the nation of the legacy of the Congress Party and its defence acquisitions – a great opportunity indeed for some of us to speak.

Writer is Union Minster of Finance, Government of India  

PM Modi hits back at Rahul Gandhi over ‘Hindu’ remark

PM Modi hits back at Rahul Gandhi over ‘Hindu’ remark

PM Modi on Monday took a swipe at Congress president Rahul Gandhi for questioning his Hindu credentials and asked the Opposition party if it wanted to win the Rajasthan Assembly elections by raising the issue of one’s knowledge of religion. “Even the saints and sages never claimed that they had full knowledge of Hinduism,” Mr. Modi said. “It is so vast.”

Addressing a rally on the last leg of his Rajasthan campaign, Mr. Modi said it seemed the ‘Naamdar’ (dynast) had the right to speak with authority on the religion, while he, as a “small kaamdar” could not claim it. Mr. Modi’s retort came two days after Mr. Gandhi asserted that the BJP leader did not understand the foundations of Hinduism.

The Congress’s leaders appeared to believe that talking about development was “futile during [the] polls,” Mr. Modi said. “The Congress today has become a university for spreading lies… the student who scores the highest in speaking falsehood is awarded with a new position and title,” he asserted.

Jodhpur Rally of PM

Mr. Modi contended that the Congress’s dream of winning the elections in Rajasthan would be crushed, as had happened in other States. The Congress’s assumption that it would come to power in the State because of the trend of alternate governments being formed by different parties would be proved wrong this time.

Mr. Modi also brought up the issue of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s alleged opposition to the reconstruction of the Somnath temple in Gujarat, while reiterating his charge that Mr. Nehru had objected to the then President Rajendra Prasad’s visit for the temple’s consecration. “This historic temple was destroyed by foreign invaders and renovated by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel,” he told the audience.

In a veiled reference to Mr. Nehru, Mr. Modi said the leader who wore a rose “knew about gardens but did not know about farmers or farming”. “Because of this, the farmers’ community faced hardships,” the Prime Minister added.

Mr. Modi also lavished praise on Jodhpur’s Bishnoi community for its dedication to the cause of environment protection and recalled the historical incident of 1730 when 363 Bishnoi villagers are said to have laid down their lives in Khejarli for protecting trees. “It is because of them that India has won the ‘Champion of Earth’ award.”

JODHPUR, DECEMBER 03, 2018

Indian gov suggested Ambani as offset partner for Rafale

Indian government suggested industrialist Anil Ambani’s company as offset partner for Rafale fighter jets

Former French President Francois Hollande has claimed that the Indian government suggested industrialist Anil Ambani’s company as the offset partner for the €7.87 billion deal to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets. Mr. Hollande was the French President at the time the deal was agreed to iYouth Congress cadres during a protest against the Rafale deal issue, in New Delhi recently.n 2015.

He told a French news outlet, Mediapart.fr, on Friday that his government didn’t have “a choice” in the selection of Reliance Defence, the company owned by Mr. Ambani.

“It is the Indian government which has proposed this service group and it is Dassault that has negotiated with Ambani. We didn’t have a choice, we took the interlocutor that was given to us,” he was quoted as saying.

Repeated assertions

His comments fly in the face of repeated assertions made at the highest level of the Indian government that it was Dassault Aviation (DA) that selected Reliance Defence as its offset partner. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said “no offset contract has been signed so far” and an agreement between two companies did not require the permission of the government. “As per the applicable guidelines, DA is free to select the Indian offset Partners and provide their details at the time of seeking offset credits, or one-year prior to the discharge of offset obligation,” the government had stated.

Responding to Mr. Hollande’s comments, the Defence Ministry tweeted that the statement was being “verified.” “It is reiterated that neither [the] Government of India nor [the] French Government had any say in the commercial decision,” the Ministry said in a tweet.

Reacting to the revelations, Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “The PM personally negotiated & changed the #Rafale deal behind closed doors. Thanks to François Hollande, we now know he personally delivered a deal worth billions of dollars to a bankrupt Anil Ambani. The PM has betrayed India. He has dishonoured the blood of our soldiers.”

Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram pulled up the government over the revelations. “In the NDA-negotiated Rafale aircraft deal, we have got no aircraft, we have got only lies. What is the new lie that the government will put out in response to Mr. Hollande? Defence Minister has been called out again! This time by then President of France, Mr. Hollande,” he tweeted.

In September 2016, India and France signed a €7.87 bn agreement for 36 Rafale jets in fly-away condition. The deal includes aircraft, spares, weapons, maintenance and performance guarantee for five years. The deal has a 50% offset clause to be executed by DA and its partners. Under this, DA and Reliance Defence have set up a joint venture to manufacture aerospace components.

In a recent interview Ms. Sitharaman denied any government role in the choice of offset partner in the Rafale deal.

She had said, “Isn’t that a decision of a commercial enterprise to take on its own? I have nothing to do with it. I have not prompted them, not led them, not told them, not instructed them. I have not done any match-making whatsoever.”

The Reliance Group had stated that it got the offset contract from DA and did not receive any contract from the Defence Ministry till date.

NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 21, 2018