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Khattar govt promotes IAS Ashok Khemka as Principal Secretary

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Ashok Khemka, the Haryana bureaucrat who faced 46 transfers in 22 years of his service was given a New year gift as Haryana government promoted him to the post of principal secretary.

Kheka reacted with a tweet :Wish all a very Happy New Year! Grateful to the Almighty. Awaiting posting on promotion to the rank of Principal Secretary.    — Ashok Khemka, IAS (@AshokKhemka_IAS) January 1, 2016

Whistleblower IAS officer Khemka had grabbed headlines after he cancelled the mutation of a controversial land deal involving Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra’s firm and real estate giant DLF in 2012.

Ashok Khemka  was among six officers promoted to the rank of Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary by the Haryana government on Friday.

Then Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government had chargesheeted Khemka for “wrongly” cancelling the mutation of land deal. With the change of guard, the BJP government on November 4, 2015, had dropped the chargesheet paving the way for his promotion.

In November 2015, the BJP-led Haryana government had dropped charge sheet against  Khemka in which he had been charged by the previous Congress regime with exceeding his jurisdiction when he had cancelled the mutation of a land deal between a firm owned by Mr Vadra and the realty major.

The Rs 58 -rore deal related to 3.5 acre land in Gurgaon’s Shikohpur village, which was sold by Mr. Vadra to DLF amid controversy over allegations of undervaluation.
The other five IAS officers of 1991 batch who have been promoted to the rank of Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary are Abhilaksh Likhi, Vineet Garg, Anil Malik, AK Singh and Shrikant Walgad said a senior official here.

“These officers have been promoted to the Higher Administrative Grade (HAG) which entitles them to be designated as Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary,” Additional Chief Secretary Sanjeev Kaushal said.
Mr. Kaushal further said the officers who have been promoted will continue holding the same charge which they are presently handling.

Khemka is currently posted as Secretary and Director-General, Archaeology and Museums Department of the Haryana Government.

Disaster

Only supporting, not a key player in Maharashtra: Rahul

The Governor followed it up by a review meeting of the crisis in which Thackeray excused himself but sent his close confidante Milind Narvekar.

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, May 26 : Amid allegations of mishandling the covid crisis in Maharashtra by opposition leaders who even demanded dismissal of the state government, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that his party is not a key player in running Maharashtra government.

The Congress is part of “Maha Vikas Aghadi” and holds key ministries but Rahul Gandhi said, “We are only supporting the government and are not a ‘key player’ in the state”.

Rahul Gandhi, however, defended the state government and said that Mumbai is a well connected state. and that is the reason why Covid cases are rising there.

Rahul Gandhi asserted that the party is doing better where ever it is running its own government.

Rahul Gandhi’s statement could be a setback for MVA government in Maharashtra where hectic politics is going on. NCP chief Sharad Pawar met the governor on Monday, though all speculations were rejected by Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Faut on Tuesday.

Tongues started wagging as Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar went to meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Raj Bhavan, in what was described by both sides as a “courtesy call”.

Accompanied by NCP MP Praful Patel, this was Pawar’s first-ever meeting with the Governor who was appointed in September 2019, crowning a series of recent political developments in the state.

Later on Monday afternoon, it was the turn of BJP leader and former Chief Minister Narayan Rane to meet the Governor and reportedly demanded imposition of President’s rule in the state.

Among various things, Rane has claimed the government headed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had failed to handle the Covid-19 pandemic crisis in the state.

Rane’s demand came days after Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis called on Koshyari and complained that the Thackeray government had bungled in handling the coronavirus situation.

The Governor followed it up by a review meeting of the crisis in which Thackeray excused himself but sent his close confidante Milind Narvekar.

A couple of days later, Koshyari raised strong objections to a letter written by Minister of Higher and Technical Education Uday Samant to the UGC recommending cancellation of final year university examinations, which the Governor pointed out was against the guidelines.

This was followed by Sena MP Sanjay Raut calling on the Governor, and a day later, Thackeray announced that the lockdown implemented suddenly was not proper, and lifting it abruptly would be detrimental to the people.

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Transparency needed on India-China face-off at LAC: Rahul

He said, what happened with Nepal and why, what is happening in Ladakh should be made clear.

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Rahul Gandhi on Kashmir Situation

New Delhi, May 26 : Amid reports of a face-off between the Indian Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army in eastern Ladakh at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that the Narendra Modi government must come clean on the situation arising and inform the citizen what is happening at the border.

Addressing a press conference through video conferencing, Rahul Gandhi said: “The details of what happened along the border, the government should share with the people.”

He said, what happened with Nepal and why, what is happening in Ladakh should be made clear.

“I cannot see transparency. The issue of Ladakh and China is a live issue. Transparency is required,” he said.

He was responding to a question on the face-off on LAC that was triggered the Chinese objected to road construction and development of infrastructure by India within the Indian territory.

Last week Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli asserted that Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura belong to Nepal and vowed to “reclaim” them from India through political and diplomatic efforts. His Cabinet also endorsed a new political map showing the three areas as Nepalese territory. Oli went a step further and told in the Npal parliament that the territories belong to Nepal but has been made a disputed area.

The former Congress chief also said that till the time there is no transparency, till that time it would not good for him to speak. “If I have more information then I will share more details on it,” he added.

This is Rahul Gandhi’s fourth interaction with the media in the last two months.

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Why you want to hold varsity exams: Raj Thackeray to Maharashtra Governor

The Governor made his displeasure clear in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray as the embarrassed government attempted to combat the crisis – before Raj Thackeray’s unexpected booster dose on Tuesday.

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Raj Thackeray

Mumbai, May 26 : Given the current situation of COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown for two months, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) President Raj Thackeray on Tuesday raised questions on Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s insistence on holding the final year university exam in the state.

“Why is there this unreasonable demand to hold the final year examinations? Why and for who?” Thackeray pointedly asked the Governor in a letter.

The MNS chief detailed how the coronavirus pandemic has led to an unprecedented national upheaval followed by the lockdown, and given the present turbulent scenario, it was impossible to ascertain how long the shutdown will continue, especially in Mumbai and Pune.

“If, even the lockdown is eased, does that mean we are free from the coronavirus? Of course not! You too are aware of this,” Thackeray said, seeking the reasons why the Governor wanted to hold the varsity exams.

He wrote that considering the prevailing circumstances besides the fact that the coronavirus is dangerous and highly infectious, “is it reasonable to ask so many students to step out and set for these exams? Are they not putting their and their families’ lives at risk?”

“What is the logic behind this? Keeping the health of the students in mind, why shouldn’t the decision be taken to cancel the final year exams in totality?” Thackeray urged the Governor.

The surprise intervention by the MNS chief came as the Maha Vikas Aghadi government reeled under a missive by the Governor last week raising, strong objections to a letter by Minister of Higher & Technical Education Uday Samant to the UGC recommending cancellation of the final year varsity exams, which Koshyari – in his capacity as Chancellor of all universities in the state – pointed out, contravened the guidelines.

The Governor made his displeasure clear in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray as the embarrassed government attempted to combat the crisis – before Raj Thackeray’s unexpected booster dose on Tuesday.

However, the MNS leader also said that his plea did not tantamount to indiscriminately declare all the students as ‘pass’, but suggested that their passing could be based on their performance in internal exams or the previous semester, or try to evaluate them by giving projects, or some such practical solutions.

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