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Dalit MP Savitribai Phule resigns from BJP



Savitri Bai Phule

Lucknow, Dec 6: Savitribai Phule, a BJP MP from Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh resigned from the party on Thursday.

The Dalit leader decided to quit the Bharatiya Janata Party on the death anniversary of BR Ambedkar. She alleged that ‘ the BJP is trying to create divisions in society’.

“I am a social worker. I work for Dalits. The BJP is doing nothing for Dalit reservation,” the saffron-robed politician stated on the sidelines of an event to mark the death anniversary of Amedkar here.

Phule said she will complete her term as a member of Parliament.

According to the reports, the Bahraich MP will also launch a protest to champion the cause of Dalits from December 23.

The 37-year-old has been working at cross-purposes with the BJP for the last one year, many times openly criticising the party line.

Recently, she also took exception to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s statements that Lord Hanuman was a Dalit and asked if that was the case, why Dalits were not made priests in all Hanuman temples.

Phule has sought that instead of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, the BJP should build a temple of Lord Buddha there.

Reacting to Phule’s resignation, Uttar Pradesh cabinet Minister Om Prakash Rajbhar, leader of a BJP ally, said this was the beginning of a revolt in the saffron party.

“There are many MPs and MLAs who are not happy with the style of functioning of the state government, Wait and watch… more such events will happen”, he asserted.



Goa Lokayukta recommends CBI probe into tablet-PCs purchase, slams sluggish government



Manohar Parrikar

Panaji, Feb 15 (IANS) Slamming the BJP-led coalition government for dragging its feet over probing a possible scam in the procurement of thousands of tablet-PCs for distribution to school students in 2013, the Goa Lokayukta has recommended a CBI probe to track down a cartel of businessmen who could have rigged the tender.

Goa Lokayukta Justice P.K. Mishra in his report, a copy of which is available with IANS, has also blamed the reluctance of the state government to probe the matter, due to the “fear of old skeletons” falling out of cupboards, while also ticking off then Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma for his lackadaisical approach vis-a-vis the probe.

“It would be more appropriate, the matter relating to further inquiry relating to the bidding process in 2013-14 in particular and bidding process before 2013 and after 2013 in general, is entrusted to a more independent body such as CBI,” Mishra has said in his report. The document was submitted to the Goa government last month.

Mishra also stated that his recommendation for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe, also stems from the fact that the state anti-corruption bureau had been dragging its feet vis-a-vis probing the possibility of “cartelisation” of the tablet-PC tendered purchase.

“From the very fact that the ACB has apparently kept quiet for about two years by now, it is apparent that the ACB is reluctant to bring out the matter to its logical conclusion by completing the inquiry and booking the persons responsible if any for any conspiracy or even corruption,” it further added.

In 2013, then Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar-led government was one of the first states in the country to allot 47,000 free tablets to students from Class V and VI. The tablets were distributed amid much fanfare on Parrikar’s birthday in December.

Eventually, the scheme was withdrawn by a subsequent BJP-led ruling dispensation led by Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar in 2015, after Parrikar was elevated to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet as Defence Minister.

The Lokayukta probe followed a complaint made to the anti-corruption authority by activist Aashish Kamat, who alleged that the state exchequer had been defrauded by a cartel of businessmen who had manipulated the tender issued by the Goa government’s Information Technology Corporation. The complaint also estimated a scam of approximately Rs 12.64 crore in the purchase of tablet-PCs and violation of Central Vigilance Commission guidelines.

The Lokayukta in its report has said that the government’s dragging of its feet vis-a-vis the authority’s recommendation for a probe into the alleged scam, was perhaps to avoid old skeletons from tumbling out of cupboards.

“The main thrust of the report was a recommendation to inquire further in the matter relating to the bidding process in 2013-14 in particular and the bidding process before and after 2013 in general with a view to find out whether there had been a cartel formed during the year 2013-14 or during previous years or subsequent years,” Mishra said in his report.

“However, the state government for reasons best known to itself, or may be to avoid old skeletons falling out of cupboards does not want to enquire further into such aspect, notwithstanding the fact that similar process had been severely criticised in audit report,” the report also stated.

The Lokayukta report also picks on the role of then Chief Secretary for lacking promptness in signing off on the anti-corruption’s recommendations for a probe.

“It is also worthwhile to indicate that not only in this case but in every case, where the Chief Secretary as the competent authority was required to file ‘action taken or proposed to be taken’ report, no such report has been filed within the stipulated time in any of the matters,” the report said.

“This is indeed a sad commentary on the way the previous Chief Secretary had acted in respect of various reports of the Lokayukta where such Chief Secretary was the competent authority,” it added.

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Opposition stands with our security forces and government: Rahul on Pulwama Attack



Rahul Gandhi , Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, Feb 15: The Congress on Friday strongly condemned the Pulwama terror attack and said that the entire opposition stood with the security forces and the government.

“This is a terrible tragedy. This type of violence done against our soldiers is absolutely disgusting. The entire opposition will stand together with our jawans and our Government. No force can divide or break this country”, Congress President Rahul Gandhi stated while addressing a press conference with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Meanwhile, the former Prime Minister said “Today is the day of mourning. Our country has lost close to 40 armed forces jawans and our foremost duty is to convey to their families that we are with them. We shall never compromise with the terrorist forces”.

“The Congress party stands in full support of our jawans and their families. We will do all that is necessary to keep this nation united”, he added.

In a gruesome attack, nearly 40 CRPF troopers were killed in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.


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CWC to meet in Ahmedabad on Feb 26



Congress Working Committee 2017
Congress working committee (File Pic)

New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) The Congress Working Committee (CWC), the partys highest decision-making body will meet on February 26 in Prime Minister Narendra Modis home state Gujarat to chalk out and finalise the roadmap for the Lok Sabha elections.

To be presided over by party President Rahul Gandhi, the meeting in Ahmedabad will also be attended by newly appointed General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi among other prominent leaders and office-bearers.

Besides the issues to be incorporated in the manifesto, the selection of candidates and electoral understandings both at the national and state levels will be high on the agenda.

With the Election Commission expected to announce the schedule for the Lok Sabha in the first week of March, the central leadership has instructed all the state units to finalise the respective candidate lists before the CWC meeting where the names will be finally approved.

The state units have also been asked to identify seats which can be given to prospective allies.

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