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Government trying to destroy autonomous structure of RBI: Congress

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Anand Sharma

New Delhi, Oct 30:  Sharpening its attack on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the Congress on Tuesday accused the government of trying to destroy autonomous institutions like the Reserve Bank of India and alleged him of interfering in the work of the central bank.

“I have been surprised today by the sharp attack of the Finance Minister on the RBI and its performance. The central bank is independent and autonomous,” Congress leader Anand Sharma told reporters here.

He said that it was in the interest of India and the economy that the RBI alone remains the regulator for the banks for the lending, borrowings and fixes the rates for the banks.

“Only the RBI must have the powers to regulate the public sector banks and none else. This government has ignited a fire through its repeated interference from day one. And now government move to take charge of the monetary policy is a very ominous move,” he said.

“It (attack on RBI) cannot be accepted. It must be opposed. Government being the spending authority, cannot become the monetary authority for the country. Equally important is to remember the role of the RBI as the payment regulator cannot be diluted or taken away by a government nominated body,” the Congress leader said.

His remarks came soon after Jaitley on Tuesday held the central bank responsible for the mountain of bad loans, saying the RBI looked the other way when banks lent indiscriminately during 2008-14 to keep the economy humming.

“Under Modi and BJP, they are damaging all the independent institutions of the country which have their role in maintaining governance and administration like CBI, ED, IT, DRI, Central Universities and many others,” he said.

“I want to make one thing very clear today to Jaitley, since he specifically commented from the year 2008. Very eminent Governors of the RBI, far more competent than Jaitley or Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were there. And that time also the country had the benefit of an eminent economist of unimpeachable integrity in Manmohan Singh as country PM,” he said, adding 2008 was the year when the big financial crisis enveloped the global economy.

“The RBI played a stellar role. It ringfenced the Indian economy and the big economies across the globe took note of the functioning of the RBI,” he said. Even in other big countries their central banks could not effectively ringfence their economy as the RBI did in India,” Sharma said.

Criticising Jaitley for insulting the RBI, he said, “Today Jaitley saying that the RBI is not competent, not capable, is the most unfortunate thing. I demand Jaitley to take his words back and apologise for insulting RBI.”

He said that it was not the first time that the government tried to interfere in the work of the RBI. “The first example the entire world saw was on November 8, 2016 (demonetisation) when 85 per cent currency was invalidated by the Prime Minister,” he said.

“That was the first biggest attack on RBI when it was forced in a board room to take that step,” he alleged.

The Congress leader described Modi and Jaitley as incapable leaders and said, “they have damaged the economy. They have no thinking, and they have wrong policies and wrong direction.”

Slamming the government over the depreciating value of the Rupee, Sharma said, “On the one hand they say that we have the fastest growing GDP and economy and on the other hand there is no investment in the economy, industries shutting down and no employment generation and the rupee value depreciating.

He said that the Indian rupee has lost 16 per cent since January 2018. “And the Prime Minister is busy talking about all matters which are irrelevant and not paying attention to what he and his Finance Minister have proved to be not only inefficient but thoroughly incompetent when it comes to managing of the economy, which has been nose diving.”

“What explanation they have, fastest economy there is a grave contradiction and the worst performing currency in Asia.

“Therefore we demand from this government to desist from destroying another autonomous institution, to retrace their steps and engage in dialogue and consultations rather than seeking to justify what is wrong and unjustified,” Sharma added.

IANS

Politics

Now, Rabri Devi dubs Nitish as ‘warrior of sophistry’

Tejashwi also alleged that Nitish Kumar was facing actions in a murder case of 1991 and that the case was closed recently.

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Rabri Devi

Patna: A day after RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav took a dig at Nitish Kumar and provoked him enough to angrily hit back, Tejashwi’s mother Rabri Devi on Saturday dubbed the Bihar Chief Minister as a “warrior of sophistry”.

“He is a ‘kutark ke yoddha’ (warrior of sophistry). He claims that he made Tejashwi the Deputy CM of Bihar. It is absolute rubbish. He doesn’t have any shame left. In the 2015 Assembly elections, we won 80 seats and the Janata Dal-United got only 69 seats. Tejashwi was the leader of 80 MLAs and Nitish did not oblige him by offering the post of Deputy CM. You (Nitish) have to thank Lalu Prasad ji for extending a political lifeline to you in 2015,” Rabri told the media at her residence here.

“When a person becomes weak, he generally becomes angry and blows his fuse. Nitish Kumar is losing his cool these days and using unparliamentary language against the Leader of Opposition (Tejashwi). The CM is using highly objectionable words for him,” said Rabri Devi, a former Chief Minister of Bihar.

Nitish Kumar on Friday lost his cool after a personal attack by Tejashwi, who said in the Assembly that Nitish Kumar did not become father to a second child as he was probably scared of girl child.

Tejashwi also alleged that Nitish Kumar was facing actions in a murder case of 1991 and that the case was closed recently.

An angry Nitish Kumar in his speech later in the Bihar Assembly accused Tejashwi of lying and indulging in idle chatter.

He also clarified that he had made the remarks about 8-9 children of people just to inject some humour during an election rally.

Meanwhile, Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) President Jitan Ram Manjhi said: “Tejashwi crossed the limit in the Assembly and used unparliamentary language to personally attack the Chief Minister. He should apologise. Nitish Kumar had made the remark at a political rally and not in the Assembly.”

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Politics

Congress and BJP leaders exchange barbs after Yediyurappa’s PA attempts suicide

Sources said Santosh was also eyeing an entry into politics and was working quietly in Arasikere constituency of Hassan district to make his debut in the next Assembly elections.

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Yediyurappa Karnataka

Bengaluru/Karwar: Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa’s personal assistant allegedly attempting suicide on Saturday turned into a political slugfest between ruling BJP leaders and the Congress.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D. K. Shivakumar demanded high-level probe into the suicide attempt by N. R. Santosh Kumar, who is a relative as well as Yediyurappa’s PA.

Speaking to reporters in Karwar, Shivakumar alleged that he knew that Santosh was under tremendous pressure as a few BJP leaders were harassing him. “They are having a CD containing Santosh in a compromising state and this CD was used to harass him,” he alleged. However, he refused to divulge any details.

Although, ruling BJP senior ministers Rural Development and Panchayat Raj minister K. S. Eshwarappa dared Shivakumar to come out in the open with names of which minister or which BJP leaders are involved in this case. “If he has any proof let him release the video and names too. If not, he should accept that he has misled the people of this state,” he said.

Revenue minister, R. Ashoka charged that Shivakumar was making false charges only to gain political mileage. “These days he is making more and more such ‘imaginary’ statements only to stay relevant in state politics,” he quipped.

However, it is pertinent to note that Karnataka Congress chief had made these allegations soon after local Kannada News channels aired Santosh’s wife Jhanavi obliquely claimed that her husband was severely upset with “ongoing political developments” in the state.

She too did not elaborate which political development had led to her husband taking such an extreme step.

However, it was strongly speculated by a section of local media that Santosh had fallen out with the inner circle of Yediyurappa as a result of this he was about to lose his prestigious post – CM’s Political Secretary shortly.

However, this theory was rubbished by none other than BJP state Vice President and Yediyurappa’s son B. Y. Vijayendra stated that they were shocked over the incident.

“I do not wish to respond to any speculations. As of now he is recovering which is good news. I have seen in the media that his resignation was sought, there is no need for such discussions. It is the prerogative of the Chief Minister who decides on who should be given what position and fix responsibilities,” he said angrily in response to a question.

This speculation has been doing the rounds since the last fortnight after Yediyurappa showed the door to a senior journalist – M. B. Maramkal who was appointed political advisor last year. In a quick succession Yediyurappa’s Media Advisor, Mahadev Prakash too put down his papers last week, thus it was speculated that Santosh too might face a similar fate.

It is alleged that Maramkal and Santosh had played pivotal roles in negotiating terms and identifying 17-rebels in Congress and JD(S) coalition government last year and thus paved the way for Yediyurappa to form the BJP government in the state.

Sources said Santosh was also eyeing an entry into politics and was working quietly in Arasikere constituency of Hassan district to make his debut in the next Assembly elections.

Santosh had even held a series of Press Conferences in Arasikere and levelled charges against seasoned JD(S) legislator Shivalinge Gowda. Even Gowda had confessed that Santosh was trying to cultivate his own base in his constituency whenever he met mediapersons in Bengaluru.

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Election

Around 52% Polling recorded in 1st phase of DDC Polls in Jammu and Kashmir

The SEC said that the DDC elections will play a decisive role for development at the grass-roots level.

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Election

Jammu: State Election Commissioner (SEC) K.K. Sharma said on Saturday that the first phase of District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir has been conducted successfully with a voter turnout of 51.76%.

The polling was by and large peaceful in the 43 constituencies of DDC that went to the polls on Saturday in which 3,62,766 voters, including 1,93,375 males and 1,69,391 females, out of 7,00,842 voters, exercised their franchise to choose their representatives in their respective councils, the SEC said in a press conference.

Sharma said that Reasi district recorded the highest polling at 74.62 per cent, followed by Rajouri (70.52 per cent), Poonch (68.69 per cent), Samba (68.61 per cent), Doda (64.49 per cent), Kathua (62.82 per cent), Jammu (61.49 per cent), Ramban (64.21 per cent), Udhampur (57.13 per cent) and Kishtwar (55.16 per cent) — all in Jammu division.

In the Kashmir division, Budgam district recorded the highest polling at 56.96 per cent, followed by Kupwara (50.74 per cent), Ganderbal (48.62 per cent), Bandipora (43.57 per cent), Anantnag 43.32 (per cent), Shopian (42.58 per cent), Kulgam (34.35 per cent), Srinagar (33.76 per cent) and Baramulla (32.51 per cent).

The SEC further said that large number of people came out to cast their votes in the first phase of DDC polls and panch/sarpanch bypolls. Long queues could be seen despite severe cold conditions in the Kashmir division and the hilly areas of the Jammu division, Sharma added.

The SEC said that the DDC elections will play a decisive role for development at the grass-roots level.

He also appreciated all the stakeholders for their tireless efforts for the successful conduct of the polling process. Adequate security personnel were deployed at all the polling stations to ensure the smooth conduct of the polls, he said.

The SEC further informed that arrangements for the second phase of polling — to be held in 43 constituencies, 25 in Kashmir division and 18 in Jammu division — have been put in place.

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