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Assembly Polls 2019: BJP seek votes on Article 370, Independents raise common man issues

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PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP top brass talks about Article 370, Rafale and Nationalism during campaigning in Haryana and Maharashtra Assembly elections to woo voters, on the other side the Congress, other parties and independents sought votes on the issues that matter to the common man i.e. farmers, unemployment, Indian economic situation etc.

Recent case of Punjab and Maharashtra cooperative bank fraud is the case of Modi government’s mis-governance but BJP leaders are not uttering any word related to frauds in the elections and repeating their ‘old Raag’ of criticizing Congress and for a one party system by eliminating all parties. The people of India have voted to Modi in 2019 for governance not for vendetta politics.

The independents has the key to alter maths for National parties in Assembly elections and Bharatiya Janata Party is keen on pulling Politicians from Congress or other regional parties. The ruling party brand independents as spoil sport as they can affect the margin of a victory.

In the garb of Congress Mukt Bharat, BJP has been inviting and inducting all strong leaders of Congress, therefore in a way, the people of India are indirectly voting for the Congress.

Another tactic of BJP is to crush or eliminate regional parties and the differences between regional parties are aiding the goal of the Saffron party. It is imperative for the independents or the rebels who have been denied tickets by BJP and Congress, should fight the elections strongly and try to bring out a different political entity and keep distance from the party who are luring them for their own benefit.

BJP poll strategist Amit Shah’s ‘game plan’ is to lure leaders of regional and other parties who have mass appeal to accomplish saffron party victory in the elections and then make them redundant.

There are some strong independents in fray and Gaje Singh Kablana is one of those who is immensely popular in Gurgaon as he had been engaged in social and religious activities.

Municipal Corporation of Gurugram Senior Deputy Mayor Pramila Kablana’s husband Gaje Singh Kablana and councillor Seema Pahuja filed their nominations as Independents from Gurgaon after the Congress chose former Minister Sukhbir Kataria over them. His mission is to rehabilitate around 2 lakh people who were denied the right to live in the restricted zone of Air force Ammunition Depot in Gurugram, Haryana.

Kablana has promoted sports that state of Haryana is known for like wrestling, kick boxing, weightlifting and sportspersons associated with them. He is contesting election on the issues of education for all, proper sewerage system, development of Aravali region, creating call centre for transfer of domicile certificate and metro connectivity. He said crime has increased under Manohar Lal Khattar also pollution.

BJP won the elections in Jat dominated Haryana in 2014 with the help of Dera Sacha Sauda and due to scattered Opposition:

A divided Congress, a beleaguered INLD battling family feuds and corruption cases. BJP is now banking on upper caste and baniyakhatri votes. No doubt, Haryana has been called the land of three Lals:

Chaudhary Devi Lal, Bansi Lal and Bhajan Lal. Haryana was ruled by the three Lals by turns for the past 30 years after the statewas carved out of Punjab in 1966 and did lots of food work for the farmers, common man and for the development of the state as compared to Punjab under Badal family.

Bansi Lal’s daughter-in law Kiran Chaudhary, who is senior Congress leader, has filed her nomination from Tosham seat. Chaudhary is the wife of Surender Singh, who died in helicopter crash in 2005. The Congress has also fielded Somvir Singh, son-in-law of Bansi Lal, from Loharu seat.

The challenge for BJP remains the 30% Dalit population. Haryana has 14 reserved seats, of which BJP won nine, ally SAD got one, while Congress got four. Another strong independent candidate is Gokul Setia son of Sunita Setia. Sunita Setia, daughter of former Haryana Minister Lachhman Dass Arora joined BJP in 2014 but the Saffron party backstabbed her by not giving ticket to her son Gokul Setia

Arora reigned supreme in Sirsa’s politics for nearly five decades and became member of the Haryana Assembly five times in 1967, 1982, 1991, 2000 and 2005 from Sirsa seat. INLD state unit president BD Dhalia said that the party had decided to support independent candidates Gokul Setia and Balraj Kundu. Gokul is popular as the son of Sirsa and he is contesting on the issues of unemployment, development, farmers and the work done by him in the past five years. He is the first candidate who has worked for the people of Sirsa and now seeking votes.

Congress had in its manifesto for the Haryana elections has made promises ranging from the farm loan waiver, unemployment allowance for graduates and post-graduates, one job in every family based on qualifications, 33 per cent reservation to women in government jobs, free rides for women in Haryana Roadways among other.

Unemployment has risen to a record high, farm incomes have plummeted and industrial production has slumped. Indians has been crushed under the demonetisation, GST and now economic slowdown but Modi effortlessly diverted the problems of common man by fusing nationalism and development and created divisions in the society nationalists (his supporters) versus the anti-nationals (his political rivals and critics).

It is an insult to check nationalism of Indians on the basis of Pro-Modi and anti-Modi. Modi is not a leader, he is a manager of Marketing, managing the headlines and managing the event to divert the people’s attention to other things which are hurdle to one’s progress.

It is in the interest of the nation to create multi party system and the new leaders should emerge to make the country progressive. Regional parties should find ways to keep themselves BJP is best known for dumping the leaders of other parties. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is unconcerned with the PMC account holders who are finding it difficult to survive after Punjab and Maharashtra cooperative bank fraud came to light. Depositors have become beggars of their own hard earned money but Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is only engaged in lip service.

arti
Blog: By Arti Bali, (Senior Journalist)

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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Trump impeachment: Key witness says he was offered Ukraine defence minister’s post

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Donald Trump MSNBC

New York, Nov. Nov 19 : A key witness in the impeachment hearing against US President Donald Trump said on Tuesady that he had been offered the post of Ukrainian Defence Minister.

National Security Council official Lt Col Alexander Vindman said while being questioned during his testimony that Oleksandr Danyliuk, an influential Ukrainian politician, had made the offer.

At that time Danyliuk was close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but subsequently had a falling out and was ousted as Finance Minister.

Vindman was born in Ukraine and his family fled to the US when he was a child.

He and another official, who had officially listened on the contentious call between Trump and Zelensky, testified that they were concerned about the request he made to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son with regard to their involvement in a Ukrainian business.

Vindman said that Trump’s request was “improper” and could affect bipartisan support for that country leading to undermining “national security, and advance Russia’s strategic objectives in the region.”

“It is improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a US citizen and political opponent,” he said.

He also said that when he met Zelensky, he advised him to stay out of US domestic politics.

Vice President Mike Pence’s foreign policy staffer Jennifer Williams said that she found the request to Zelensky for the investigations as political.

A dramatic moment came when House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff was preparing to question Williams about a call between Trump and Zelensky on September 18. A lawyer said Pence had declared it classified which could not be discussed in a public hearing.

The impeachment case centres around Biden’s son Hunter becoming a director of the Ukraine gas company Burisma and receiving $83,000 a month from it, and the Vice President’s successful effort to have a prosecutor looking into the company removed.

Hunter, who was allegedly removed from the Navy for drug use, had no expertise in energy or Ukraine when he was appointed.

The Republicans want Hunter Biden to testify at the impeachment hearing, but the Democrats, who control the House, have blocked it.

The Republican leader on the Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, tried to put the focus on Hunter Biden by asking several leading questions to the two officials about his activities and Burisma’s corruption.

They asserted that they had no direct knowledge of the matters involving the Bidens, but the issue got a public hearing on national television and got on the record.

Another matter that Trump wanted to be investigated was if Ukraine was involved in leaking embarrassing Democratic Party emails during the 2016 elections, rather than Russia.

Schiff in his questioning of the witnesses emphasised that the US Intelligence Committee’s conclusion was that it was only Russia, and that Moscow was trying to shift the responsibility to Kyiv.

Vindman agreed that it was Russia and not Ukraine that was involved in the leaks.

Schiff also brought up the withholding of $1 billion in aid to Ukraine — which was subsequently released.

He said that releasing the aid was made conditional on Ukraine launching the probe — a point Democrats had made linking it to accusations of bribery against Trump.

The witnesses were non-committal on this aspect.

In his opening statement, Schiff said, “To press a foreign leader to announce an investigation into his political rival, President Trump put his own personal and political interests above those of the nation. He undermined our military and diplomatic support for a key ally, and undercut US anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine.”

Nunes began with a scorching criticism of the mainstream media accusing it of being “puppets” of the Democratic Party.

After highlighting accusations since discredited about Trump’s campaign involvement with Russia during the 2016 elections as “hoax”, he said the mainstream media outlets are now playing up the impeachment hearings and the Ukraine factor.

Schiff has blocked the Republican request to call the anonymous whistleblower, who had set off the impeachment probe by complaining that from what he had heard about the July 25 call that an improper request had been made .

Nunes asked a series of questions about Vindman’s contacts with a member of the intelligence community regarding the call.

Vindman refused to answer it, and the refusal was upheld by Schiff.

Earlier in a tweet, Trump had hinted that Williams was a “Never Trumper,” one of those vehemently opposed to this his election.

His tweet said, “Tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls, & see the just released statement from Ukraine. Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know & mostly never even heard of, & work out a better presidential attack!”

Last month, Trump had also called Vindman a “Never Trumper”. He had tweeted, “Was he on the same call that I was? Can’t be possible! Please ask him to read the Transcript of the call. Witch Hunt!”

Schiff reiterated at the start of the hearing that the committee would protect witnesses against reprisals and cautioned against threatening them.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)

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Shiv Sena pushing Aditya Thackeray for CM delaying Maha govt formation

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Yuva Sena president Aditya Thackeray

New Delhi, Nov 19 : As talks between the Congress and NCP continue on a Common Minimum Programme, one factor causing unease is of Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray pushing for his son Aditya Thackeray to be the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

A top source told IANS that Uddhav’s pushing for his son at the helm has caused uneasiness in the Nationalist Congress Party with most NCP leaders not willing to work with a greenhorn like Aditya.

The NCP is also pushing for a rotational chief ministerishp for its party. The leaders of both the parties are ready to work with Uddhav.

A top source said the delaying of government formation in Maharashtra is not because of Congress but NCP chief Sharad Pawar “who is more apprehensive of the Sena than Congress”.

A source said the NCP chief has rightly said that they have not discussed government formation with Sonia Gandhi.

The NCP leader is wary of ideological contradictions with the Sena and its style of functioning.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has also said that “understanding Pawar’s statement is not an easy task”.

As per the deal on the table, the Congress will get the Speaker’s post and a Deputy CM post in the government, while the NCP will get the Deputy CM post along with that of legislative council chairman. All the three parties are likely to get the same share in the council of ministers.

The parties are negotiating portfolios of Home, Finance, Revenue, Housing and Cooperatives in the state.

The Congress is likely to pitch for Home and Revenue, while NCP wants Finance and Cooperatives.

The Ministry of Cooperatives is perceived very important in the state as most of the sugar mills are controlled by cooperative societies. Shiv Sena will get the CM post, said a senior leader.

The Congress wants finalisation of the Common Minimum Programme before moving forward with an official announcement.

The CMP will have clear-cut objective on the issue of core agenda of Shiv Sena, as Congress is apprehensive about the behaviour of the Sena leaders.

(Saiyed Moziz Imam Zaidi can be contacted at [email protected])

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RBI affidavit details how it was ‘fooled’ by scam-hit PMC Bank

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PMC Bank

Mumbai, Nov 19 : In a detailed affidavit filed before the Bombay High Court on Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has virtually admitted that it was ‘fooled’ by the management of the scam-hit Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank.

The affidavit, filed by Rajlaxmi Sethi, Assistant General Manager, Department of Co-operative Bank Supervision, RBI, states that PMC Bank had submitted fraudulently manipulated data to the central bank for sample checks, but “the sample of accounts picked for inspection did not contain undisclosed HDIL accounts.”

While the HDIL accounts shown by PMC Bank were seen by the RBI inspection team, a majority of them were declared as non-performing assets.

It added that the PMC Bank had also sanctioned mortgage limits to a wholly-owned subsidiary of the HDIL when the bank’s Chairman, the now arrested S. Waryam Singh, was also a director of the company — a clear conflict of interests and violation of the RBI’s Master Circulars to the effect of July 2010 and July 2012.

S. Waryam Singh also chaired a PMC Bank board meeting to approve the mortgage overdraft in which he was interested, again contravening RBI norms.

The RBI inspection team established the links between Waryam Singh and HDIL promoters/directors (now arrested), which could have helped them get credit facilities, and later to pay off one-time settlement of dues with other lenders, the affidavit said.

The scale of violation and the connected lending that was established, based on available records, was much lesser due to the ‘camouflaging’ resorted to by the PMC Bank, and hence what was noted was ‘flagged’, though it was not found to be significantly affecting the bank’s financial health.

On September 19, 2019, the RBI sent a team for the annual financial inspection of the PMC Bank and a thorough scrutiny of the HDIL accounts, with specific focus on the dealings and/or exposure of the bank with the HDIL group, besides other aspects.

The inspection was completed on November 2, 2019 and the report is currently being prepared, the affidavit said.

As per the preliminary findings, due to various financial irregularities, the PMC Bank’s networth had turned negative, with a significant erosion in deposits.

Detailing the “modus operandi of hiding the information related to HDIL exposure” employed by the PMC Bank, the RBI affidavit said they tampered with Management Information Systems and NPC Identification Process.

In this, the bank had given special access codes to the HDIL accounts with restricted visibility to less than 25 out of PMC Bank’s 1,800 staffers.

While running the script for system identification of the NPAs, it deliberately excluded the HDIL accounts which were thus omitted from the system generated reports of NPA accounts, and ditto with the Overdrawn Accounts list.

The PMC Bank’s own MIS software called ‘Opine’ had a script for generating lists of newly sanctioned/disbursed accounts, but the undisclosed loan accounts were missing from this list.

These irregularities were not highlighted by the PMC Bank’s concurrent auditors at the Sion Branch, where all these undisclosed accounts were parked though concurrent audits were carried out every month, the affidavit pointed out.

Besides, the undisclosed loan accounts to HDIL group, sanctioned and renewed by then PMC Bank Managing Director K. Joy Thomas (now arrested), were not recorded in the minutes of the Loan Committee, Recovery Committee, or the Board of Directors, though they constituted a vital source of information during inspection.

The affidavit said taht PMC Bank falsified information of offsite returns submitted to the RBI, false indent information provided to the RBI inspection team, and resorted to fictitious booking of profits, etc.

However, following a tip-off by an insider, a senior PMC Bank official, the RBI moved at top speed to arrest the slide and protect depositors/customers interests by slapping sanctions on the bank on September 23. It suspended its BoD and appointed an Administrator to evaluate the securities/collaterals provided by HDIL to auction them to recover the dues.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: [email protected])

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