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From Gujarat riots to foiling Lalu’s bid to become PM, Jaya Jaitly’s startling claims in autobiography

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From joining politics under firebrand leader George Fernandes, to becoming the president of Samata Party — a key ally in the first National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government, Jaya Jaitly’s rise in mainstream politics invited both awe and envy. Her autobiography, “Life Among the Scorpions” makes a series of startling claims that may have lasting political implications.

She claims that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then Chief Minister of Gujarat, was in constant touch with then Defence Minister Fernandes during the Gujarat riots of 2002. According to her account, Fernandes was at Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s residence when they received a fax from Modi, “asking for the army to be sent urgently to Ahmedabad to quell the violence”. Fernandes, she mentions, stayed at Raksha Bhavan for most of the night and early the next morning was in Ahmedabad.

“I know for a fact that Narendra Modi was in constant touch with the Defence Minister and even supported and cooperated when he later organised a citizen’s peace march of 7,000 people, including Muslims, through the city. I too was present. Modi addressed the marchers at the end of its journey, thanking everyone for working towards peace… There was not a moment’s tension or frustration in the relationship between Modi and Fernandes, whether before or after, and this is a fact even if this has annoyed many Modi-haters and some of Fernandes’ socialist compatriots,” Jaitly writes.

Jaitly goes on to refer to Modi as “quiet”, “serious” and “very respectful”, saying that he was “not given to small talk” which was “a pleasant change from useless banter that many men adopt with women in television studios”. This was when Jaitly often sat with Modi, who was then General Secretary of the BJP, to discuss election trends and results at television studios.

Jaitly also recalls how Lalu Prasad Yadav’s bid to become Prime Minister was foiled in 1996.

“The alliance in the ensuing election saw no campaigning on the Ram Mandir, Article 370 or any other contentious issue. There were no slogans of Jai Sri Ram that had filled the air a few years earlier. It was purely about the condition of Bihar. As usual, I was active behind the scenes. The result of the Bihar alliance was that we succeeded in ensuring that Lalu Yadav had fewer seats than H.D. Deve Gowda in the Janata Dal combine, enabling Gowda to be the Prime Minister,” she writes in the book.

Jaitly mentions that when Deve Gowda later “stepped down” in favour of I.K. Gujral, the latter telephoned her to seek George Fernandes’ and her support to be the Prime Minister.

“He had a good relationship with us, having attended our then-seen-as-maverick international conferences on Tibet and Burma when many others had stayed away.

“We were happy that our election strategy had saved the Party (we had six members in Parliament, including Nitish Kumar) and saved the country from having Lalu Yadav as Prime Minister,” she adds.

She further blames Lalu Prasad for protecting the attackers of Bhagalpur riots of October 1989. “It was clear to me that it was the large Muslim population that had been attacked and many of those who joined in doing so were part of Lalu Prasad Yadav’s caste. It was because of his interest in protecting the attackers (as was widely believed because of his failure to take any action) that even though some eye-wash commissions were set up later to get to the truth of these riots, they never got off the ground,” she maintains in the autobiography.

Jaitly also accuses Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of having given the Rajya Sabha seat, earlier promised to her, to a businessman in 2005.

“On the morning of the very last day for filing nominations, just after the last flight had left Delhi for Patna, George Sahib received a call from the Chief Minister saying he could not give me the seat as he had decided to give it to ‘King Mahendra’ (Mahendra Prasad), a businessman who had moved from Congress to RJD to Congress and now JD(U). He said he had helped the Party in the elections. George Sahib tried to argue that I too had done a lot for the Party over the years and that they all owed it to me. I watched him speak from across the room. His face became stiff and after a few moments of silence, he put the receiver down.”

Among other controversial issues that find elaborate mention in her book are “Operation West End”, which she calls farce and a shoddily created tale; her reference to Nitish Kumar as somebody who always puts his interest first; that BJP lost 2004 elections due to “arrogance” and “disrespecting alliance partners”; some shocking anecdotes of how defence deals are done in India; her revelation of how alleged arms middleman Christian Michel offered her an opportunity to make a “huge pile of money” for her party; and that Sonia Gandhi had asked then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram to shield Tehelka magazine’s financiers.

(Saket Suman can be contacted at [email protected])

Election

EC notice to Gujarat BJP in crucial Dec 20 Assembly by-election

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Election Commission

Gandhinagar, Dec 18 : Even as campaigning for the prestigious by-election to Gujarat’s Jasdan assembly constituency ended on Tuesday evening, the Election Commission issued notices to the state government on electricity bill exemptions announced on Tuesday for rural consumers.

The model code of conduct is in force in the Rajkot town since the by-election was announced.

The state government on Tuesday simultaneously made an announcement on setting up of a branch of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences at Rajkot.

The canvassing for the by-election to the seat in Rajkot district in the Saurashtra region concluded at 5 pm. Cabinet minister Kunvarji Bavaliya, who is a turncoat from the Congress, is contesting from Jasdan which he vacated after he quit the Congress to join the BJP recently.

The veteran Congress leader from the Koli community was inducted in the Vijay Rupani Cabinet within hours of joining the BJP.

Both the parties, the BJP and the Congress, have made it a prestige election since the opposition party as well as Bavaliya have seldom lost from there. While the BJP is trying to woo the influential Koli community in Gujarat through Bavaliya, the Congress feels energized after its recent poll victories in the neighbouring Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

The Election Commission’s notices to the state energy as well as health departments seek state government’s explanation on making the announcements when the model code of conduct was in force in Jasdan.

The BJP government announced pending electricity bill waiver for all categories of rural consumers and the BPL families in urban centres in the state.

Energy minister Saurabh Patel said the state government had decided to exempt the rural consumers from pending electricity bills amounting to over Rs 650 crore.

In addition, the defaulters would also be provided new power connections on a payment of only Rs 500.

The opposition Congress promptly described it as a “lollipop” by the ruling BJP compared to the relief the Congress governments had granted in the other states.

On a trip to the constituency, cricketer-turned-politician and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Siddhu said: “It is as impossible to make the BJP speak the truth as to put an elephant in your lap and feed it.”

He cited the farm loan waiver by newly-formed Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, reminding the voters that Prime Minister Modi, despite making similar election promises, did nothing to waive the farmers’ debts in Gujarat.

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Politics

‘All women’ political party launched

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National Women's Party
National Women's Party, Image : Twitter

New Delhi, Dec 18: A “National Women’s Party” was launched here on Tuesday with the aim of ensuring 50 per cent representation for women in Parliament and other places.

Announcing the launch, the party’s national President Swetha Shetty said: “In a male-dominated political system, an all women’s party is important. Women and their issues are only raised during the mother’s day, the women’s day or during the election time. NWP will be a platform for women to raise their voices.”

The party, which started its ground work in 2012, was launched with the aim of getting 50 per cent reservation for women candidates in the Lok Sabha Election, she said adding they have applied for registration with the Election Commission.

With no prominent names to mention, the party claimed it has the support of 1.45 lakh women members of Hyderabad-based Telangana Mahila Samiti, “and their numbers are persistently increasing across India”.

“Even in 2018, women rights are avoided. I invite all the women, who feel the party can be a platform to improve the condition of women in present time, to join it,” Shetty said.

A doctor by profession, 36-year-old Shetty also heads an NGO in Telangana where she realised “the acute need to be a part of the system to bring the change”.

“We won’t be quiet until we see that women are represented equally in the Parliament.

“My initial aim will be to ensure 50 per cent reservations inside the parliament and slowly in all walks of life,” she said.

She also said the party will contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and will support and seek backing from like-minded parties.

She said that the party also welcomes political support from men, “if they agree with our ideology”.

IANS

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Politics

Land Dispute Case: Non-Bailable warrant issued against BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj

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Sakshi Maharaj

Prayagraj, Dec 18: A non-bailable warrant was issued against BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj in connection with land dispute case.

According to News 18, the Special Judge of MP-MLA Court in Prayagraj, Pawan Kumar Tiwari issued a warrant against him and five others on Monday and passed an order to arrest the accused.

As per the reports,  In 2012, Maharaj along with others had allegedly transferred a portion of land, which was originally a part of a cremation ground in their name.

In this regard, an FIR was filed against them by Jabar Singh and after due investigations, a chargesheet was filed before the court.

WeForNews 

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