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RJD chief picks daughter, Jethmalani for Rajya Sabha seats

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Misa Bharti

Patna, May 27 : Contrary to speculation, RJD chief Lalu Prasad has chosen his elder daughter Misa Bharti and eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani as party candidates for the biennial polls from the state to the Rajya Sabha next month.

“Till Thursday, it was concluded in political circles here that Lalu will nominate his wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi to the Rajya Sabha. But he has favoured his daughter Misa,” a senior party leader said.

Misa is a doctor and has been trying to enter politics for several years. She was named Misa as she was born during Lalu’s incarceration under the Maintenance of Internal Security (MISA) Act during the Emergency.

“Misa is young and articulate. She is a good orator, unlike her mother.”

According to party leaders here, Lalu took the decision on Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) nominees after the party’s national and state parliamentary boards authorised him last week on the matter.

Lalu’s sons Tej Pratap Yadav and Tejaswi Yadav are already in politics, with elder son Tej Pratap a Bihar cabinet minister and younger son Tejaswi the Deputy Chief Minister.

Lalu had fielded Misa for the Patliputra seat in Patna in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, following which senior party leader and then Rajya Sabha MP Ramkirpal Yadav revolted.

Later Ramkirpal Yadav joined the Bharatiya Janata Party and contested against Misa and defeated her. Yadav is currently a minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

“Lalu favoured Jethmalani for two reasons: He is a BJP basher after his expulsion from the BJP in 2013; and second, he has been helping the RJD leader in the multi-crore fodder scam cases,” another RJD leader said.

With 80 legislators in the Bihar assembly, two RJD nominees will easily sail through. Out of the total five Rajya Sabha seats, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United with 71 legislators will get to send two candidates to the upper house of parliament. The opposition BJP with 53 legislators will get to nominate one candidate.

The term of five sitting Rajya Sabha MPs from Bihar will expire in July.

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SC declines to entertain plea to link Aadhaar, social media accounts

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Supreme Court on Aadhaar

New Delhi, May 26 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to entertain a plea by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking to link Aadhaar with social media accounts as a measure to curb fake accounts.

A bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Krishna Murari and S. Ravindra Bhat, taking up the matter through video conferencing, declined to interfere with the Delhi High Court passed in 2019, which also refused to entertain the plea. “We see no reason to interfere with the impugned order of the High Court. The Special Leave Petition is, accordingly, dismissed. However, liberty is granted to the petitioner to file impleadment application in Transfer Case (Civil) No.5/2020,” said the top court.

While disposing of the plea, the top court, however granted Upadhyay liberty to file an impleadment application in another matter concerning the linkage of Aadhaar with social media platforms, which is pending before the court.

In this matter, the apex court had ordered the transfer of all pending cases from various high courts to itself. In the last hearing in this matter, on January 30, the apex court had directed the Madras High Court to send all records related to the matter to it at the earliest.

The petitioner argued that the Delhi High Court did not consider that there existed a total of around 35 million Twitter handles in India and approximately 350 million Facebook accounts, and experts reckon that around 10 per cent Twitter handles (3.5 million) and 10 per cent Facebook accounts (35 million) are fake. Upadhyay said that it is extremely difficult for a common man to distinguish between fake and real accounts.

He argued that bogus accounts are also used for proliferation of fake news which is the root cause of many riots, including the recent riots in Delhi. He contended before the top court that fake news is propagated through ghost accounts, shapes opinion and even plays a vitiating role in the context of free and fair elections.

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My statement on Maharashtra was distorted, says Rahul Gandhi

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Rahul Gandhi Video Conf

New Delhi, May 27 : After creating a political stir by saying his party is not the key player in Maharashtra, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has claimed that his statement was “distorted”.

In a late Tuesday night tweet along with the video, the former Congress president said “paid media distorts the truth to distract attention from real issues”.

“I would like to make a differentiation here. We are supporting the government in Maharashtra, but, we are not the key decision maker in Maharashtra. We are the key decision maker in Punjab we are the key decision maker in Chhattisgarh, in Rajasthan, in Puducherry. So, there is a difference between running a Government and supporting Government,” Rahul Gandhi said.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, he said that the Congress is only supporting the Maharashtra government and is not a key decision maker.

He, however, defended the Maharashtra government and said the state is one of the most connected in the country.

“It is going to be one of the most aggressive places where corona is going to act. However, Maharashtra is struggling because of the nature of its connectivity and Maharashtra is one of the most important assets frankly that India has. It is the centre of business.

“So, it requires full support from the Government of India, I fully understand that Maharashtra is fighting a very difficult battle and I appreciate that fact and so many other states and it is important that full support of the Government of India goes to the people of Maharashtra and the Government of Maharashtra,” the Congress leader said.

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Vizag gas leak: SC allows LG Polymer’s 30 employees to maintain safety

The bench said the ad interim direction will continue till the High Court considers the matter. “The High Court may, thereafter, pass appropriate directions”, added the bench.

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Vizag chemical unit ap

New Delhi, May 26 : The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed 30 employees of LG Polymers India Ltd to supervise “round-the-clock safety measures” at its sealed plant in Visakhapatnam, where a gas leak early this month killed 12 people.

A bench comprising Justices U.U. Lalit, M.M. Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran was hearing an appeal of the LG Polymers against the Andhra Pradesh High Court, which directed that nobody, including the directors of the company, should be allowed inside the premises and that it should be completely seized.

The High Court had allowed only the members of the committees appointed by the state government. It had also asked the directors of the company not to leave the country without its permission.

“We permit the petitioner to give a list of 30 personnel as discussed. Upon such names being given to the District Collector, those persons shall be afforded access to the plant round-the-clock to maintain adequate safety measures”, said the top court.

The bench said the ad interim direction will continue till the High Court considers the matter. “The High Court may, thereafter, pass appropriate directions”, added the bench.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the LG Polymer, submitted that a complete seizure or sealing of plant/ premises will have tremendous adverse consequences. Rohatgi submitted that the temperature of the plant cannot be allowed to go beyond 25 degree Celsius. If, because of lack of adequate attention or safety measures, the temperature goes beyond 25 degree Celsius, the situation can have some ill-effects.

“At least 28 technical personnel and two administrative officials/in-charge must be given emergency access to the plant/premises at any given point of time so that adequate safety measures are undertaken round the clock”, added Rohatgi.

It was further submitted that at the intermediate stages of manufacture, the polymers that the company manufactures can have toxic effects, and therefore adequate safety measures have to be undertaken every time. He further submitted that the premises in question also house the administrative and law offices of the company and in case the entire premises are seized/sealed, the operation of the company will stand seriously prejudiced.

“Though, prima facie, we see force in the submissions, considering the fact that the compliance report was directed to be filed by May 26 and the matters may be taken up on May 27 & May 28, we give liberty to the petitioner to place all these issues and aspects for consideration by the High Court”, said the top court.

Rohtagi submitted that inspections to be carried pursuant to the directions issued by the High Court must be in the presence of officials of the company so that adequate assistance as well as complete knowledge about the processes undertaken by the petitioner could be highlighted.

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