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Facebook responds to Congress letters




A day after Facebook India head Ajit Mohan was grilled by a parliamentary panel, the social media giant has responded to letters written by the Congress on issues pertaining to alleged content manipulation by Facebook India employees.

A statement issued by Praveen Chakravarty, Chairman, AICC Data Analytics Department said that, “Facebook has acknowledged its seriousness while not refuting any of the charges made against individuals of the Facebook India leadership team in the media articles.”

“They have also expressed their desire to be non-partisan and continue to engage with the Congress party on these matters.” added Chakravarty.

The party said it will await further concrete action from the global leadership of Facebook and demonstration of specific corrective measures being undertaken in Facebook and WhatsApp India”

On August 18, the Congress party wrote a letter to Facebook Inc expressing concern and asking them to acknowledge the issue and take corrective action. Congress had raised alarm over “interference in India’s internal affairs by a foreign company”.

This is not a political issue. This is about India’s democracy and use of digital weapons to disrupt India’s social order by a foreign company, at the behest of certain individuals in their leadership team,” said the letter written by Congress’ K.C. Venugopal.

The party declined to comment on the issues raised in the parliamentary panel meet but alleged that the ruling BJP has become a spokesperson of Facebook in the country

The Congress, whose member Shashi Tharoor is the chairperson of the parliamentary standing committee, has repeatedly raised what it calls “unholy nexus” of the ruling BJP with Facebook and WhatsApp. The attack came after a Wall Street Journal article alleged Facebook India’s Head of Public Policy Ankhi Das was seemingly sympathetic to the BJP in the run-up to last year’s general election.


Cong MLA in MP resigns from Assembly, joins BJP

The Madhya Pradesh by-elections in 28 Assembly segments are slated for November 3.




Kamal Nath

Bhopal, Oct 25 : With just a few days left for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly bypolls, Congress MLA Rahul Lodhi from Damoh on Sunday resigned from his Assembly membership and joined the BJP.

After submitting his resignation to Pro Tem Speaker Rameshwar Sharma, Lodhi reached BJP’s state office and was inducted as its member in the presence of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, party state President Vishnu Dutt Sharma and Urban Administration Minister Bhupendra Singh.

However, the Pro Tem Speaker told the media that Lodhi had sought to resign two days ago but was asked to reconsider his decision. On Saturday, he reiterated his desire to resign and finally quit on Sunday.

Earlier this year, 22 Congress MLAs had resigned from their Assembly membership and joined the BJP under the leadership of Jyotiraditya Scindia, which led to the collapse of the then Kamal Nath-led Congress government.

Three more Congress MLAs later resigned from the Assembly. Now, the latest blow to the Congress has come with the resignation of Rahul Lodhi.

The Madhya Pradesh by-elections in 28 Assembly segments are slated for November 3.

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Caught on camera: UP BJP chief showers flower petals on MLA Surendra Singh days after serving him notice

The video which went viral on Saturday shows Swatantra Dev Singh participating in a ‘bhumi pujan’ programme of a Krishna temple at Kathauda village in Sikanderpur area



MLA Surendra Singh

Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh has been caught on camera showering flower petals on the party’s Bairia MLA Surendra Singh, days after serving him a notice for his statements supporting the main accused in the firing incident at Durjanpur village in Ballia.

The video which went viral on Saturday shows Swatantra Dev Singh participating in a ‘bhumi pujan’ programme of a Krishna temple at Kathauda village in Sikanderpur area. Both the leaders are seen sitting side by side in the footage.

The state BJP chief is seen showering flower petals on Surendra Singh, who acknowledges it with folded hands.

On being asked about the video, BJP’s Salempur MP Ravindra Kushwaha, who was also present at the event on Friday, told reporters that only Swatantra Dev Singh can elaborate on his actions.

Earlier this week, the state unit of the BJP had issued a show cause notice to MLA Surendra Singh for issuing statements in support of Dhirendra Pratap Singh, a local party leader who has been arrested for allegedly killing a man. The legislator was given a week’s time to respond to the notice.

Surendra Singh had come out in open support of Dhirendra Pratap Singh, who allegedly shot dead a 46-year-old man in Ballia’s Durjanpur village following a quarrel over the allotment of ration shops on October 15.

The Bairia MLA had defended the accused, saying that the latter opened fire in self-defence as it was a do-or-die situation for him .

He had also accused the administration of bias and demanded that action be taken against the other side.

Meanwhile, Swatantra Dev had said that BJP national president J P Nadda had sought information about the matter.

Despite being served a notice, the Bairia MLA continued to extend his support to Dhirendra Singh, who is said to be the district unit president of the BJP ex-servicemen cell.

The MLA had also recently claimed that he met senior BJP leaders in the past few days and that everyone backed him.

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Farooq Abdullah to lead Gupkar alliance, asserts it’s not anti-national; Mehbooba to be vice-chairperson

After a meeting at Mehbooba’s house, Abdullah said the alliance is fighting for the restoration of special status to Jammu and Kashmir and is an “anti-BJP platform” and not an anti-national amalgam



Omar Mehbooba Mufti Fraooq

Seven mainstream parties of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday gave a formal shape to their recently cobbled alliance for the restoration of Article 370, electing National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah as its chairman and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti as vice-chairperson, and asserted that theirs was “not an anti-national” grouping.

Veteran CPM leader M Y Tarigami was elected as the convenor while Lok Sabha member from South Kashmir Hasnain Masoodi would be the coordinator of the conglomerate known as Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD).


Sajjad Gani Lone of People’s Conference would be the spokesman for the amalgam.

After a meeting held at Mehbooba’s house, Abdullah, who turned 84 earlier this week, said the alliance is fighting for the restoration of special status to Jammu and Kashmir and is an “anti-BJP platform” and not an anti-national amalgam.

“I want to tell you that this is false propaganda by the BJP that the PAGD is anti-national. I want to tell them that this is not true. There is no doubt that it is anti-BJP, but it is not anti-national,” he told reporters here.

Abdullah alleged that the BJP has tried to break the federal structure through acts like the abrogation of Article 370 and dividing Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories.

“They have tried to destroy the Constitution of the country, they have tried to divide the nation, to break the federal structure which we saw what they did on August 5 last year,” the NC president said.

“I want to tell them that this (PAGD) is not an anti-national jamaat. Our aim is that the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh should get their rights back. That’s where our battle is. Our battle is not for more than that,” he said.

Abdullah said the BJP was doing propaganda against the constituents of the PAGD in Jammu and elsewhere in the country.

“They are trying to divide us (people of Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh) in the name of religion. This attempt will not succeed. This is not a religious battle, this is a fight for our identity, and for that identity, we are standing together,” he said.

The amalgam, which met for the first time after its formation, will come out with a white paper within one month on governance in Jammu and Kashmir over the past one year since the abrogation of article 370, Lone told reporters after the meeting.

“The white paper will not be rhetoric. It will be based on facts and figures to present the reality to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and around the country…. An impression is being given that all the corruption had happened in Jammu and Kashmir,” Lone said.

The amalgam decided to hold its next meeting after a fortnight in Jammu, followed by a convention in Srinagar on November 17.

As a mark of defiance to the constitutional changes made by the Centre with respect to Jammu and Kashmir last year, the alliance adopted the flag of the erstwhile state as its symbol.

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