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Amit Shah adds to BJP’s political heft, but not numbers in RS



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New Delhi, Aug 9, 2017: The victory of BJP President Amit Shah, who makes his debut in Parliament, and Smriti Irani’s re-election from Gujarat give the party political heft in the Rajya Sabha but do not add to its numbers.

The Bharatiya Janata Party had already become the single largest group in the Upper House after Vinay Tendulkar won the biennial election from Goa, defeating the Congress’ Shantaram Naik.

Tribal leader Sampatiya Uikey, elected last month in a by-election from Madhya Pradesh, only replaced her own party’s Anil Dave, a Union Minister, who passed away in May.

In a house of 245 members, the BJP now has 58 — one more than the 57 of the Congress at No.2 position.

The election of Sonia Gandhi’s political aide Ahmed Patel in a cliffhanger of a contest in Gujarat helped the party and Patel retain the seat and gives no addition to its numbers.

For the BJP, Irani retains her seat while Shah would take the place of party member Dilipbhai Pandya who retires on August 18.

Similarly in West Bengal where biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha were held, the Trinamool Congress retained five seats while its ally Congress retained one.

Among the five candidates the Trinamool replaced was D. Bandyopadhyay. Its new candidates Manas Bhuiyan and Shankar Chhetri won the elections, in which the TMC took away a CPI-M seat being vacated by Sitaram Yechury, whose party declined to renominate him.

The BJP may have gained in recent elections but the NDA coalition headed by it will still lag behind the opposition in the Rajya Sabha for some time to come. Along with allies, the NDA accounts for 101 members. This figure includes 13 of the AIADMK. To this can be added the new ally JD-U, which has 10 members in the Rajya Sabha.

There could be doubts over the loyalty of two members — Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar Ansari, who have expressed reservations over their party chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to go with the BJP.

Since the 2014 victory in the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP has a Prime Minister whose party has a majority on its own in the Lok Sabha for the first time in 30 years, besides the President and the Vice President of its choice.

But to have a majority in the Rajya Sabha, the party may have to wait for some more time.

On the opposition side, the Congress has 57 on its own. The others opposed to the government are 56 in number. Together the opposition accounts for 113 members.

Those not committed to either side account for 13. They include Biju Janata Dal (8), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (3), Indian National Lok Dal (1) and YSR Congress Party (1). There are six Independents, most of whom side with the government.

The Upper House has two vacancies, including the one caused by the resignation of BSP chief Mayawati.

Following is the strength of parties in the Rajya Sabha after the recent elections:

  • BJP: 58
  • Congress: 57
  • Samajwadi Party: 18
  • AIADMK: 13
  • Trinamool Congress: 13
  • Janata Dal-United: 10
  • Biju Janata Dal: 8
  • CPI-M: 7
  • Telugu Desam: 6
  • Bahujan Samaj Party: 5
  • Nationalist Congress Party: 5
  • DMK: 4
  • Shiv Sena: 3
  • Shiromani Akali Dal: 3
  • Telangana Rashtra Samithi: 3
  • Rashtriya Janata Dal: 3
  • Peoples Democratic Party: 2
  • CPI: 1
  • Indian National Lok Dal: 1
  • Sikkim Democratic Front: 1
  • Bodoland People’s Front: 1
  • Jharkhand Mukti Morcha: 1
  • Kerala Congress-Mani: 1
  • Republican Party of India-A: 1
  • Janata Dal-Secular: 1
  • Indian Union Muslim League: 1
  • Naga People’s Front: 1
  • YSR Congress: 1
  • Independents: 6
  • Nominated: 8
  • Vacancies: One each in Telangana and Uttar Pradesh


KC Tyagi says, Cambridge Analytica has no links with JD(U) nor his son



New Delhi, March 22: Senior Janata Dal (United) leader KC Tyagi on Thursday rejected any links with the Cambridge Analytica (CA).

Speaking to Media, he stated that JDU has no relation with Cambridge Analytics, neither has its CEO ever met Bihar Chief Minister Nitish nor me. In any case, JDU is a Socialist outfit and we stay away from such things, except for maybe Prashant Kishore ji helping us during last assembly polls.

There was only a work relation between my son Amrish’s company and Cambridge Analytics , there is no financial transaction or shareholding, everything is open to probe. JDU also has no links with this, neither did they promote us in 2010 polls”, he added.

KC Tyagi’s son Amrish Tyagi owns Ovelina Business Intelligence (OBI), which was Cambridge Analytica’s associate in the country.

OBI in association with CA parent company SCL Group had formed a firm, SCL India.

Meanwhile hitting out at Janata Dal (United), RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, said the name of the company coming out in this matter is in the BJP client list, run by KC Tyagi’s son.

“JD(U) General Secretary’s son is involved and JD(U) is saying that we do not know anything”, he further asserted.

The alleged involvement of the data analytics company and Facebook has erupted a massive political debate across the world as well as in India with a big war-of-words breaking out between the ruling BJP and main Congress.


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Congress hits out at BJP, says Sabse bade data chor macha rahe hai zyada shor




New Delhi, March 22: Lashing out at the Bharatiya Janata Party for levelling charges over the alleged data theft, Congress on Thursday said the ruling government has become a manufacturer of fake news.

Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said the BJP Govt has become a manufacturer of fake news. Sabse bade data chor macha rahe hain sabse zyada shor”.

Taking a jibe the BJP-led government, he said, “Hitler had an associate called Goebbels, Narendra Modi has an associate called Ravi Shankar Prasad.”

His reaction comes soon after, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad retaliated his allegations of Congress’s links to political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica (CA) and claimed that the firm was involved in Rahul Gandhi’s social media campaign and there had been meetings too in this regard.

The minister, accepting full responsibility, said that CA had been managing the social media campaign for Rahul Gandhi and there had been meetings also in this connection.

“The Congress cannot run away from this fact. If the Congress maintains a conspicuous silence on such an important news of the involvement of a dubious social media company and does not counter it, then I am sorry. They don’t have any right to run the country,” he said.

Earlier on Wednesday also, the Congress denied links to CA that has been accused of data theft to allegedly influence the electoral process.


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Death of 39 Indians in Iraq: Congress to move Privilege Motion against Swaraj



New Delhi, March 22: The Congress will move a Privilege Motion against EAM Sushma Swaraj for misleading the kin of the Indians killed in Iraq by the Islamic State.

Speaking to media, Senior Congress leader Ambika Soni said: “We are going to bring a Privilege Motion against the External Affairs Minister for misleading the families of the 39 Indians as well as the House”.

EAM on Tuesday confirmed the death of missing 39 Indians who were abducted by ISIS in June 2014.

Former MoS for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor, too, had cornered the ruling government for giving false hope to the families of the hostages all these years.

“Giving falsehood to people is actually cruel and suggests a certain level of lack transparency on part of the government, Tharoor asserted.

Echoing on similar views, another Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday asked the Central and State governments to provide financial assistance to the families of deceased and job opportunities in government sector.

The thirty-nine persons, most of them hailed from Punjab, were working on projects near Mosul, when they were abducted during their evacuation.


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