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UP suspends MLA fund, legislators’ pay to be cut 30%

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Lucknow, April 8 (IANS) The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, here on Wednesday, passed a resolution suspending the MLAs fund for one year, which will help the state garner Rs 1,500 crore for Covid-19 fund.

Each MLA gets Rs 3 crore per year for his/her constituency. There are 403 legislators in the Vidhan Sabha and 100 in the Vidhan Parishad.

The cabinet meeting, first through video link, also decided that all legislators and Ministers, including the Chief Minister, would take a 30 per cent pay cut and the money saved would go to the Covid-19 fund.

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Ajit Jogi — brilliant bureaucrat, outstanding politician

But he was largely living in political isolation after Congress stormed to power in the state in 2018 assembly polls and his bete noire Bhupesh Baghel became chief minister.

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Raipur, May 29 : Chhattisgarh slipped into shock on Friday following passing away of Ajit Pramod Kumar Jogi.

Jogi, 74, breathed his last at a private hospital around 3.30 p.m. He was a household name in the tribal state as he rose from the rank of a poor tribal to first Chief Minister of the mineral-rich state.

Jogi was confined to wheelchair since April 2004 following a near-fatal road accident during Lok Sabha electioneering. He was a brilliant IAS officer first and then an outstanding politician and his friends and foes describe him as “a person of rare will power”.

Jogi was born in a poor family at village Jogisar (now under Marwahi assembly segment in Chhattisgarh) on April 29, 1946. He defied all odds to excel in IAS exam in 1970 and served as as Collector in undivided Madhya Pradesh before taking a plunge into politics in 1986 on instruction of Gandhi family.

“He was a statesman, his daily schedule stretched to at least 16 hours. I have never seen a hard working man like Jogi, an extraordinary will power was his added advantage,” remarked senior politician and MLA Dharamjeet Singh who was known as the closest person to Jogi.

Chhattisgarh’s cabinet minister and senior tribal leader Kawasi Lakhma summed up his life: “Jogi was a champion for impoverished tribal community which make up roughly 30 per cent of state’s population. He was a true defender of tribal rights and had always strongly highlighted tribals’ plight as a parliamentarian in Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha besides out in the streets of central India”.

He completed his Mechanical Engineering degree from Maulana Azad College of Technology, Bhopal with a Gold Medal. Jogi was selected for the Indian Police Service and Indian Administrative Service and set a record of the longest serving Collector/District Magistrate for over 12 years at Sidhi, Shahdol, Raipur and Indore districts of undivided Madhya Pradesh from 1974 to 1986.

He had a deep family connect with Congress’ Gandhi family which helped him to outsmart veteran politician V.C. Shukla in his backyard in race for Chhattisgarh’s first Chief Minister when the state was formed in November 2000 with the division of Madhya Pradesh.

He led the Congress government till November 2003 when the BJP came to power in the state’s maiden assembly polls. Jogi’s political downfall started from late 2013 as he failed to live up to Gandhi family’s expectations to checkmate Raman Singh-led BJP government in two successive assembly elections in 2008 and 2013.

After having a strained relationship with the Gandhi family, he finally quit Congress in June 2016 and floated a regional party. But he was largely living in political isolation after Congress stormed to power in the state in 2018 assembly polls and his bete noire Bhupesh Baghel became chief minister.

Baghel in his reaction termed Jogi’s demise as “a massive political loss” to the state, while BJP leader Raman Singh who ruled the state for 15 consecutive years, said: “Jogi’s death has brought an end to a political era in the state.”

Jogi is survived by his wife Renu Jogi and son Amit Jogi.

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Twitter targets Republicans, allows China to spread lies: Trump

“Twitter is doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party,” Trump said.

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San Francisco, May 29 : After issuing an executive order on social media, US President Donald Trump on Friday again accused Twitter of engaging in selective censorship, saying that the platform is “doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China.”

“Twitter is doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party,” Trump said.

“They have targeted Republicans, Conservatives & the President of the United States. Section 230 should be revoked by Congress. Until then, it will be regulated,” he added.

In his executive order on Thursday, Trump said that “online platforms are engaging in selective censorship that is harming our national discourse.”

The order seeks to blunt Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act which generally protects internet companies from legal liability for user comments.

“Section 230 was not intended to allow a handful of companies to grow into titans controlling vital avenues for our national discourse under the guise of promoting open forums for debate, and then to provide those behemoths blanket immunity when they use their power to censor content and silence viewpoints that they dislike,” said the order.

Trump’s offensive came on the back of fact checks by Twitter which took the form of a hyperlink that tagged onto exactly two of Trump’s tweets and said “Get the facts about mail-in ballots”.

Even after the executive order was issued, Twitter flagged a fresh tweet from Trump about the Minneapolis violence, saying that the tweet violated Twitter policies about glorifying violence.

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Ajit Jogi: Clever, confident and ever controversial – Obituary

However, the Congress could not retain the state in the state’s first Assembly polls in 2003 and the BJP, under Raman Singh, began a three-term stint.

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Raipur, May 29 : Ajit Pramod Kumar Jogi (1946-2020) will always be remembered as one who could have put his immense political and administrative acumen to better use to give Chhattisgarh a head-start as its first Chief Minister.

For his intellect and his communication skills in English, Hindi and Chhattisgarhi, he had few peers among the natives — the tribals and the Satnamis — who form the core population of the state. Chhattisgarh was essentially carved out as a new state in 2000 to catalyse the growth of the backward classes. His name did not figure among the contenders for the Chief Minister till ten days before the state was formed. He sprang a surprise by outsmarting the fancied players.

Jogi’s chequered political career was preceded by brief spells as an engineering college lecturer in Raipur and an IPS officer and a long spell as IAS officer.

His 1968 graduation batchmates from Bhopal’s Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology (then known as Maulana Azad College of Technology) remember him as a brilliant student who took his Mechanical Engineering degree, winning the University Gold Medal and never needing the reservation quota except while entering the engineering course.

His stints as IAS officer were marked both by innovative ideas and controversies. Almost after each posting, he faced charges of irregularities. He served as District Collector at Sidhi, Shahdol, Raipur and Indore. During his stint at Sidhi, he cultivated veteran Congressman Arjun Singh who mentored him for many years and guarded him against adversities.

The first case of financial impropriety was filed against him in 1980-81 when the Kodar dam was under construction during Jogi’s stint as District Collector in Raipur. He wriggled out without any damage. Arjun Singh happened to be the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh then. But the case dragged on till the next decade before he was exonerated.

As District Collector in Indore in 1981-85, he was accused of amassing wealth and there was a raid by the Lokayukta. Arjun Singh was alleged to have played an important role in getting Jogi a Rajya Sabha nomination and a reprieve from the probe. Then Chief Minister Motilal Vora was too much in awe of Arjun Singh to resist him.

He subsequently left the IAS for politics, and had a long stint in the Congress organisation and a Member of Parliament before he rose to the helm in newly-carved out Chhattisgarh.

His confidence was exemplary. He would keep consulting media persons about the reforms to improve the lot of the socially oppressed classes.

As Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, a significant contribution was to secure the interests of migrant labour force. He brought legislation to help the labour force headed to states like Punjab and Haryana during paddy transplant season. He wanted the landlords to insure the workers and see that they lived some dignity.

However, the Congress could not retain the state in the state’s first Assembly polls in 2003 and the BJP, under Raman Singh, began a three-term stint.

In June 2007, Jogi and his son were arrested in connection with the murder of NCP treasurer Ram Avtar Jaggi, who was shot dead in June 2003. But, five years later, the CBI said Jogi could not be prosecuted under any law. The BJP then alleged the UPA government misused the CBI to protect Jogi.

Jogi’s Scheduled Tribe status certificate issued by a Pendra tehsildar in 1967 kept haunting him till recent times. The issue has remained unresolved. Jogi challenged the adversaries both in the Congress and the BJP who would not let him wriggle out.

Jogi’s penchant for intrigues sometimes left a hilarious trail. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he was contesting against Chandulal Sahu of the BJP in Mahasamund. In a close contest, Jogi lost by just over 100 votes. Surprisingly the second, third and even the fourth runners up were all named Chandulal Sahu. They were all independents.

The second and third runners up, between them, polled 28,000 votes. It was easy to guess who set them up to baffle the supporters of original Chandulal Sahu. Such smart moves did not always yield the desired result, though.

In 2015, some audio tapes were found featuring a year-old conversation showing Jogi prompting his own party candidate to pull out of the contest to help the BJP win the Antagarh reserved seat. Then Chief Minister Raman Sngh’s son-in-law Puneet Gupta allegedly brokered the pay-off. Congress office-bearers expressed shock over Jogi and his son’s involvement in the act. Congress had smelt a rat when party candidate Manturam Pawar had withdrawn from the contest.

On June 6, 2016, Jogi announced ending his association with Congress in the presence of his wife and son in Chhattisgarh. The party eventually had to jettison Jogi, who set up his Janta Congress Chhattisgarh. However, his party’s performance in the 2018 elections – in which the Congress swept back to power with a thumping majority – was sub par and it has little to brag about its status now.

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