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Government suffers embarrassment in Rajya Sabha



Ravi Shankar Prasad

New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) The Narendra Modi government faced embarrassment in the Rajya Sabha on Friday as the opposition insisted on voting on a private member’s Resolution that had sought to amend articles 341 and 342 of the Constitution to ensure that SC/ST people are not denied reservation in any state.

The resolution said that when people of these castes migrate from one state to another in search of employment and settle there permanently, they are rendered ineligible for availing reservation benefits.

The Resolution was moved by Samajwadi Party MP Vishambhar Prasad Nishad.

The government was embarrassed as it had to vote against the Resolution to defeat it in the House amid opposition charges that it was anti-Dalit and “Manuwadi”. The resolution got 32 votes in favour and 66 against.

Had the Resolution been passed, the government would have been bound to bring a Bill in the very next session to make it a law.

As the opposition in an unusual move insisted for voting, and Deputy Chairman Harivansh who was presiding over the House ordered the lobbies to be cleared for voting even as senior ministers loudly objected to the move.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that a new precedent is being set in the House.

Usually, the private members’ resolutions are withdrawn by the MPs moving them after a discussion and the government’s assurance on the matter.

However, on Friday, after Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot while replying to the discussion said that the Modi government was committed to the welfare of the Dalits and STs but it could not immediately bring such changes as desired by the Resolution, Nishad said he would like a vote in the House on the matter.

Amid the treasury benches protest, the Chair said that once the voting had been ordered, it could not be deferred. The opposition MPs welcomed the ruling with thumping of desks.

The Resolution said that people belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes or Denotified Castes were being deprived of facilities and concessions because of the lack of a uniform reservation system in the whole country.

“Provide uniform facilities by amending the articles 341 and 342 of the Constitution to include the homonymous and synonymous subcastes of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes according to the castes registered State-wise in the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 in all the States,” the Resolution said.

“Amend the Constitution so that the persons belonging to SC/ST category in one state may be treated as the person of that SC/ST category all over the country to get the benefit of the reservation,” it said.


RSS Pracharak Satish Dhond appointed Goa BJP organising secretary

Dhond is currently holding charge of Thane and Konkan regions in Maharashtra.



Manohar Parrikar

Panaji, Dec 14 : With an eye on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and the by-polls in two legislative assembly constituencies, the BJP on Friday announced the appointment of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak Satish Dhond as the organising secretary for Goa.

Dhond, a close aide of ailing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, is considered to be one of the key architects of the BJP’s rise as an organisation and its ascent to power, by working behind the scenes and persuading leaders to toe the party line.

Confirming Dhond’s appointment, Goa Bharatiya Janata Party’s general secretary Sadanand Shet Tanavde on Friday said, “He will be reporting to BJP’s general secretary for Goa Vijay Puranik.”

Dhond is currently holding charge of Thane and Konkan regions in Maharashtra.

Dhond is expected to meet Goa BJP office bearers at the state party headquarters on Friday to chart out the course of action for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and review the party’s campaign plan.

The state is also scheduled to witness two assembly by-polls, which have been necessitated following the resignation of two Congress MLAs in October, who eventually joined the BJP.


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Gandhi accuses government of lies in Rafale deal




New Delhi, Dec 14: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused the government of telling “lies” and raised questions over the statement that a parliamentary committee had examined the pricing details of the Rafale deal and asserted that there was no such meeting.

Addressing a press conference after a battery of BJP leaders demanded his apology for his campaign against the government on the issue, he maintained an aggressive posture attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and persisted with demand for a JPC which, he said, will expose the “lies”.

Citing the Supreme Court judgement that referred to a parliamentary committee having examined the price details of the fighter jet, he said no such meeting was held.

“Today Supreme Court gave a judgement and I want to read three lines from it. ‘The pricing details have, however, been shared with the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the report of the CAG has been examined by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).’ This is the foundation of the judgment,” Gandhi said.

Party leader Mallikarjun Kharge, the PAC Chairman who was at the press conference, said no such report came before the panel and the CAG was also not aware of it.

“I asked the Deputy CAG today how it happened. Did someone forge my signatures? If the report is not with CAG, it cannot be with PAC. PAC presents its report to Parliament which I have not done. And it comes into public domain through Parliament,. How did it come, who gave it? The rules say that till the report is presented in Parliament, no one can speak on it,” Kharge said.

“How did it happen. It is really surprising. PAC has been dragged into it,” he added.

Gandhi said questions were rising after the Supreme Court judgment, which was the basic foundation of the BJP’s argument.

“The report was not seen in the PAC, but it was seen by the Supreme Court. I cannot understand this. Because when you say a lie, then it comes out somewhere.

“Now the government should tell us where is this CAG report. Show it to us and to the PAC chairman. Or probably there is some other PAC in some other Parliament. I don’t know. This is possible in the 21st century that Modiji has his own PAC in the PMO.

“Institutions have been destroyed. I don’t know what is happening,” Gandhi said.

The Congress chief insisted that there had been “a theft” of Rs 30,000 crore of public money.

He claimed that no one will buy the BJP’s arguments because “whole of India understands that the chowkidar is a thief”.

“Hide as much as you want and run as much as you want, you cannot escape,” he said.

Gandhi said the day a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe was held into the Rafale deal, it will name Narendra Modi.

Gandhi also said that the government had not answered questions raised by the party earlier on “corruption” in Rafale.

Gandhi alleged that the fighters were purchased at three times the cost negotiated by the UPA government, the contract was snatched from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and given to a private entity. Jobs had been taken away from India in the deal, he said.

Gandhi addressed a press conference hours after the government accused him of spreading lies in the wake of Supreme Court judgment which on Thursday dismissed four petitions seeking a court-monitored probe into the purchase of Rafale jet fighters.


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Tejashwi Yadav dares PM Modi to form JPC on Rafale



Tejashwi Yadav

Patna, Dec 14: Bihar opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav on Friday dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to form a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the purchase of 36 Rafale jet fighters in a ready-to-fly condition from France.

“If Modi is honest and his government is holy, why he is not forming the JPC to probe the purchase of the 36 Rafale jet fighter jets,” Tejashwi Yadav told the media at Patna airport on his return from Mumbai.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader was reacting to a Supreme Court verdict on Friday that dismissed four petitions seeking a court-monitored probe on the issue holding that the decision making process was not in doubt and it cannot go into the question of pricing and choice of offset Indian partner by the French aircraft manufacturer Dassault.

He said the petitions were filed by individuals, not by the Congress, RJD or any political party. “We are demanding a JPC probe into the Rafale deal, it is our old demand. We will not sit silent but intensify our agitation for the probe.”

He said the Bharatiya Janata Party should not be happy as the opposition will take the issue to people’s court.


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