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No ‘conflict of interest’ in Sidhu’s TV show: Punjab AG

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Chandigarh, March 23, 2016: Newly-appointed Cabinet Minister in the Congress government in Punjab Navjot Singh Sidhu can continue to work in a popular ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’ on TV since there is “no legal bar” and “conflict of Interest”, state’s Advocate General (AG) Atul Nanda asserted on Thursday.

Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh confirmed on Thursday evening that he has received The Advocate General’s report on the issue, CM’s Media Adviser Raveen Thukral said.

“In the circumstances, the Chief Minister said, there was no hindrance now to Sidhu’s continuation on TV shows, nor any need to change his culture portfolio,” Thukral said.

“There was, in the opinion of the Advocate General, no violation of the Constitution of India, the Representation of the People Act, 1951, or the Code of Conduct in this case. As per his opinion, Sidhu faces no legal bar in continuing with his work on the comedy show,” Thukral said.

Sidhu was made the Minister for Local Government, Tourism, Cultural Affairs, Archives, and Museums.

The four-page report concludes there is no need to change the culture portfolio of Sidhu, Thukral said.

Amarinder Singh had asked the state’s top law officer to give his legal opinion on whether there was any prohibition or restriction in the continuation of Sidhu’s work as celebrity guest on ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’, as such work may amount to the conflict of interest.

Citing the Constitution, the report concluded that the role and function of celebrity judge on the show is not an office of profit under the government of India/state government. It is not even an office under the government of India/state government, it said.

“Hence the continuation of such work would not invite the disqualification of holding of an office of profit within the meaning of Article 191(1),” the report said.

The Advocate General has further opined that there is no impediment to the Minister continuing with his work on the show in terms of the Representation of the People Act, which sets out various disqualifications under Sections 8, 8-A, 9, 9-A, 10, 10-A, and 11-A.

The minister’s continuation of work on the show also does not violate Clause 1(b) of the Minster’s Code of Code, the Advocate General said in his report.

Wefornews Bureau

India

Withdraw farm laws, says BJP ally in Rajasthan; threatens to quit alliance

BJP ally Hanuman Beniwal’s threat to exit the NDA comes a day after Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to scrap the three farm laws.

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Hanuman Beniwal

Hanuman Beniwal’s Rashtriya Loktantrik Party that partnered with the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2019 on Monday told Home Minister Amit Shah that his party would reconsider its partnership with the BJP if the Centre did not withdraw the three farm laws. Beniwal also demanded that the Centre implement the recommendations of the Swaminath Commission and hold dialogue with farmers in Delhi in the right spirit.

Hanuman Beniwal, who was once in the Bharatiya Janata Party, floated his party before the 2018 state elections and became part of the National Democratic Alliance right before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Beniwal won the Lok Sabha election from Nagaur in 2019. His party had won 3 seats in the state elections the previous year and had put up a tough fight in quite a few others.

The jat leader’s threat to consider exiting the NDA is seen to indicate the discomfort within the regional party over the protests that erupted against the three farm laws enacted by the BJP-led coalition at the Centre that change the way India’s farmers do business by creating free markets, as opposed to a network of decades-old, government-controlled agricultural markets.

The laws allow businesses to freely trade farm produce outside the so-called government-controlled “mandi system”, permit private traders to stockpile large quantities of essential commodities for future sales and lay down new rules for contract farming.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior ministers have tried to dispel concerns around the three laws, telling that these had opened up new opportunities for cultivators.

But leaders of farmers who have been marching to national capital Delhi against the law aren’t convinced and have insisted that their agitation will continue. Thousands of farmers have been camping on the borders of Delhi and in the city’s Burari grounds since November 27, a day after their Delhi Chalo agitation was launched from Punjab. The protests have since then spread to pockets in other states as well.

In a string of tweets that he followed up with a letter to Amit Shah, Hanuman Beniwal said his party would be forced to reconsider its alliance if prompt action is not taken since farmers and the youth formed the core support base of his party.

In a video message earlier, Beniwal said the RLP had protested the three farm laws through social media and on the streets. “Today, I have written to Shah that if the laws aren’t withdrawn, then we will reconsider our alliance with NDA,” he said.

“We are with the farmers and if required will march to Delhi. The PM and Shah should hold dialogue with farmers, and provide space to hold dharna in the capital. If any kind of ill-treatment is done with the farmers, then the farmers of the entire country will be on streets to gherao Delhi,” he said.

Beniwal’s tweets came a day after chief minister Ashok Gehlot wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding withdrawal of the farm laws.

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After Bihar loss, Rahul Gandhi takes stock of poll preparedness in Assam, Tamil Nadu

Sources said the BJP government in Assam is likely to bank on the NRC and CAA issues, which had paid the party rich dividends in the stste.

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, Nov 30: After the Bihar defeat in which the Congress was found to be the weakest link in the Grand Alliance, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has started taking stock of poll preparedness in the states where the party is likely to go with an alliance partner.

Last week Rahul Gandhi took stock of the West Bengal poll preparedness and on Monday he held a meeting with Assam and Tamil Nadu Congress leaders. He took feedback from the leaders about the alliances.

Sources say in Assam after the demise of its tallest leader Tarun Gogoi, the Congress may work out an alliance with the AIUDF to counter the BJP after the NRC fiasco. However, the final decision will be taken by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Sources said the BJP government in Assam is likely to bank on the NRC and CAA issues, which had paid the party rich dividends in the stste.

While in Tamil Nadu the Congress already has an alliance with the DMK, stitching together a larger alliance is necessary sources said to defeat the AIADMK which will be fighting its first election without its charismatic leader, late Jayalalithaa.

While in Assam the Congress will be the senior partner, in Tamil Nadu the party won in the Lok Sabha polls along with the DMK, but the challenge is to defeat the AIADMK which has announced its alliance with the BJP will go on. After the Congress defeat in Bihar which led to the fall of the Grand Alliance the party will have a tough task to get more seats.

The Congress’ tallest leader in the state P Chidambaram had also said after the Bihar elections that the party should not have fought on too many seats.

On Friday, the Congress state leadership along with state in-charge Jitin Prasada had a meeting with Rahul Gandhi, in which the state leaders gave a feedback to Gandhi about the current political situation in the state.

Sources say Rahul Gandhi listened to all the leaders carefully and asked about the election preparedness in the state which is going to the polls next year.

The sources say that Congress state leaders have held informal talks with the Left parties but the final decision will be taken by Sonia Gandhi.

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India

Nagaur MP to Amit Shah: Will reconsider RLP’s alliance with NDA if farm bills not withdrawn

“The RLP will reconsider the alliance with the NDA if the matter is not decided with quick effect as farmers and jawans are the strength of RLP, he added.

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Hanuman Beniwal

Jaipur, Nov 30: Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal on Monday wrote a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah in which he strongly said that the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) would reconsider its alliance with the NDA if the central government does not withdraw the three farm bills.

Hanuman Beniwal, in his letter, said that he wants to draw Union minister Amit Shah’s attention to the ongoing farmers’ movement in protest against the recent agri-bills brought by the central government.

“It is requested to take immediate action to withdraw the bills.”

“Even during the severe winter and corona period, the farmer is agitating on roads which is not good for governance,” he said.

The RLP is the NDA’s ally at the Centre. Also in the Rajasthan assembly polls, the BJP did not announce any candidate from Nagaur and instead allowed the RLP to field its candidate, extending its alliance with the BJP at the state level too.

Beniwal wrote that a proper space should be given to the agitating farmers in Delhi where they can continue their dialogue and demanded withdrawal of the three bills and the implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission in the interest of farmers.

“The RLP will reconsider the alliance with the NDA if the matter is not decided with quick effect as farmers and jawans are the strength of RLP, he added.

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