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Modi government systemically derailed RTI: Rahul Gandhi

The Modi government has proposed to amend the RTI Act seeking to remove statutory safeguards ensuring the independence of information commissioners at the Centre and in the states.

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, Oct 12 : Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused the Modi government of systematically derailing the RTI Act and asserted his partys commitment towards resisting governments further attempts to dilute the law.

“In the UPA years, the RTI was a powerful instrument in the hands of citizens, forcing the government to be transparent in its decision-making,” Gandhi said on Facebook on the 13th anniversary of The Right to Information Act.

“Unfortunately, since 2014, the RTI has been systematically derailed by the BJP government. Lakhs of RTI queries remain unanswered.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking to dilute the RTI Act. The Congress party will resist any attempt to dilute the Act, and lends its support to all those organisations and individuals who are standing shoulder to shoulder in protest,” added Gandhi.

The Modi government has proposed to amend the RTI Act seeking to remove statutory safeguards ensuring the independence of information commissioners at the Centre and in the states.

Pending in Parliament, the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2018 empowers the Central government to decide the tenure, salaries, allowances and other terms of service of information commissioners at the Centre and states.

Currently, their salaries and tenures are statutorily protected and at par with those of the Chief Election Commissioner and election commissioners.

RTI activists and opposition parties have been expressing strong reservation against the proposed amendments.

IANS

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I will not contest polls: Prashant Kishor

Chief Minister Nitush Kumar, who is also the JD-U president, was expected to soon send Kishor, 41, to Rajya Sabha.

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Prashant Kishor

Patna, Oct 23 : Election strategist-turned-politician Prashant Kishor, who is the new national Vice President of Bihar’s ruling JD-U, said on Tuesday he will not contest any elections for the next 10 years to concentrate on bringing the state out of the “undeveloped” tag.

He would aim all his efforts to strengthen the Janata Dal-United party that he joined in September, Kishor said ending all speculation as he addressed the youth members of his party.

“I will not contest any elections, including for the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha, for the next 10 years… and serve Bihar. My goal is to work to help Bihar get into the 10 developed states of the country,” said the founder of the Indian Political Action Committee (IPAC), who was appointed JD-U’s No.2 on October 16.

There was speculation in political circles here that the former BJP poll strategist, who played a role in Narendra Modi’s party securing an absolute majority in the 2014 general elections, would contest 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Chief Minister Nitush Kumar, who is also the JD-U president, was expected to soon send Kishor, 41, to Rajya Sabha.

Instead, Kishor said he would “work on the strategy to ensure a strong JD-U by attracting youth and students into its fold” and put his entire time and energy into strengthening the party in Bihar and on the national level.

Kishor’s elevation by Nitish Kumar was viewed as a political masterstroke by the Chief Minister, who plans to put his best foot forward ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls

“In JD-U and outside, Prashant Kishor is considered close to Nitish Kumar. More than anyone he enjoys trust and confidence of the Chief Minister,” a senior party leader said.

The former UN official, who founded the Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG), had also successfully ran the campaign of the Nitish Kumar-led Grand Alliance during the 2015 Bihar Assembly election.

The Grand Alliance comprised the JD-U, Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress and it had humbled the BJP-led alliance.

In last two days, Kishor has been busy meeting and interacting with members of the JD-U’s youth and students wing. He has asked each one of them to enlist 200 more active members.

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Cabinet meet cancelled, Yogi leaves for Chhattisgarh

Adityanath has been extensively deployed by the saffron camp in election campaigns ever since his elevation as Chief Minister in March 2017.

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Yogi Adityanth

Lucknow, Oct 23 : The weekly meeting of the Uttar Pradesh cabinet was cancelled on Tuesday as Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath headed for poll-bound Chhattisgarh to canvass support for BJP candidates, an official said.

Adityanath is one of the star campaigners of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and on Tuesday he was scheduled to address election rallies at Rajnandgaon, the assembly seat of his counterpart Raman Singh.

Adityanath has been extensively deployed by the saffron camp in election campaigns ever since his elevation as Chief Minister in March 2017.

Other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah, Adityanath is one of the most sought after campaigners by the party candidates.

In the past too, Adityanath has had successful electoral forays in states like Karnataka, the northeast and Himachal Pradesh.

The BJP has also picked him for campaigning in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, where he will be addressing a string of rallies.

Chhattisgarh will vote on November 12 and 20 while Madhya Pradesh will go for polls on November 28. Voting will be held in Rajasthan on December 7.

Adityanath was lined up for many rallies in these states in the next few weeks, an official said.

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Mirwaiz Umer defies house arrest, shifted to police station

Another senior separatist leader, Muhammad Yasin Malik who had evaded arrest, appeared in Lal Chowk where the police took him into preventive custody.

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Mirwaiz Umer Farooq
Srinagar: Senior separatist leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq defies his house arrest during a protest march against the deaths of seven civilians in an explosion in Kulgam district; in Srinagar, on Oct 23, 2018. (Photo: IANS)

Srinagar, Oct 23 : Senior Kashmiri separatist leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq defied house arrest on Tuesday and tried to march towards the Lal Chowk area here.

According to the police, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq who was placed under house arrest in his residence on the city’s outskirts, tried to defy the order.

“He was taken into preventive custody and shifted to the Nigeen police station,” police sources said.

Another senior separatist leader, Muhammad Yasin Malik who had evaded arrest, appeared in Lal Chowk where the police took him into preventive custody.

The separatists had called for a protest march to Lal Chowk against the killings of seven civilians in an explosion in Kulgam district on Sunday.

Authorities have placed curbs on the movement of traffic to and through Lal Chowk.

Educational institutions have been closed in Srinagar as a precautionary measure.

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