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Uproar in Lok Sabha over electoral bonds, Congress stages walkout

Congress MP Manish Tewari raised the issue in Zero Hour and mentioned about the adjournment motion over electoral bonds issue.



New Delhi, Nov 21 : Calling electoral bonds a “big scam”, the Congress along with some opposition parties on Thursday alleged during Lok Sabha proceedings that there is “lack of transparency” in the scheme, and staged a walkout on the issue.

The matter was raised by the Congress soon after the House assembled for the day with its leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury announcing that his party has moved an adjournment motion over the issue.

Chowdhury accused the Centre over electoral bonds issue, saying “the country is being looted through the scheme. It is a very big scam. The issue is serious and we have given an adjournment notice.”

Referring to treasury benches, he said they had not allowed the House to function when they were in opposition and had made allegations against the UPA government over coal block allocations.

The Congress members protested on the issue during Question Hour and trooped near the Speaker’s podium.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla intervened and asked the protesting members to go to their seats and raise the issue during Zero Hour, reiterating “Question Hour is important as all members want to raise their issues.”

Birla also warned that “no member should speak to the Chair from the well of the House”.

“I am a new member of the House and want to maintain its dignity. I will give you opportunity after Question Hour,” he told Congress members.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi also asked the Congress leaders to allow the functioning of the House and raise their issues during Zero Hour.

Congress MP Manish Tewari raised the issue in Zero Hour and mentioned about the adjournment motion over electoral bonds issue.

“Since February 1, 2017 when this government moved a proposal to issue unknown electoral bonds during common budget, it was an attempt to cover up corruption. When the scheme was implemented, it was limited only to the Lok Sabha elections,” Tewari said.

As Tewari was not allowed to speak by the Speaker when he tried to raise questions over the Prime Minister’s Office mentioning any incident before Karnataka elections, the Congress members walked out of the House raising slogans against the government.

Congress Leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had on Wednesday attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre over the electoral bonds scheme during a press conference, calling the scheme a “conspiracy”.

Electoral bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India. A person being an individual can buy electoral bonds, either alone or jointly with other individuals.

Only political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and which secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last general election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of the state shall be eligible to receive the electoral bonds.

The bonds shall be encashed by an eligible political party only through a bank account with the authorised bank.

Birla continued Zero Hour as earlier he declared that he has disallowed the adjournment motion moved by the Congress.

The adjournment motion is an extraordinary procedure which, if admitted, leads to setting aside the normal business of the House for discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance.


2G restoration brings little relief in Kashmir




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Srinagar: The restoration of mobile internet, 2G, in Kashmir after nearly six months of no internet has proved to be of little help due to extremely slow speed.

Even permissible sites listed as ‘white listed sites’ by the government are not accessible at times.

“We are not able to upload photos, let alone mail them,” Amir, a photo journalist said. “The speed is extremely slow and the websites just don’t open.”

For broadband restoration the businessmen are signing bonds committing not to allow IP address for accessing social media.

The bond also bars use of ‘VPNs’, WiFi, encrypted files, videos and uploading of photos. All USB ports of the computer will have to be disabled also.

The business units or the company will be responsible for the breach or misuse of the internet.

The business house will provide complete access to all its content and infrastructure as and when required by security agencies.

MAC (minimum access control) will ensure restriction to the use of internet access to registered devices through single PC.

That the restoration of 2G has proved ineffective is also evident from the fact that reporters continue to throng the Media Centre, an internet facility that J&K government has set up for them in the Information Department at Residency Road.

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Don’t call me ‘Hindu Hridaysamrat’: Raj Thackeray




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Mumbai: After a howl of protests from the ruling Shiv Sena, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray on Monday ordered his partymen not to refer to him as the ‘Hindu Hridaysamrat’ (Emperor of Hindu Hearts).

“There are some social media posts with banners mentioning Raj Thackeray as the ‘Hindu Hridaysamrat’. He has instructed us not to refer to him by that title since the late Balasaheb Thackeray is the only ‘Hindu Hridaysamrat’,” a sombre party senior leader Bala Nandgaonkar later told mediapersons here.

Thackeray had come briefly at a party meeting to finalise details for the proposed February 9 procession and rally in support of CAA-NRC-NPR on Monday, which he had announced last week.

The development came four days after the MNS’s first-ever mega-convention in Mumbai wherein several party leaders took the occasion to proclaim him as the new ‘Hindu Hridaysamrat’, besides the formal political launch of his 27-year old son Amit Thackeray.

The Shiv Sena founder-patriarch, the late Bala Thackeray was usually referred to by this title within and outside the party.

Thane MNS President Avinash Jadhav and others referred to Raj as the ‘new Hindu Hridaysamrat’ which was greeted with thunderous applause at the convention on January 23, the 94th birth anniversary of the late Bal Thackeray.

However, a host of top Sena leaders slammed the MNS for seeking to usurp the title of ‘Hindu Hridaysamrat’ and questioned Raj Thackeray’s credentials for deserving the designation in the first place.

On Monday, Raj Thackeray also urged his partymen to accord respect and dignity to the MNS’ newly introduced flag which bears the Royal Seal of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as its symbol, though the new flag will not be used for election purposes.

Nandgaonkar said while the rally will be held at Azad Maidan in south-Mumbai, the MNS was awaiting police clearances for the route to be taken by the procession for the venue of the public meeting.

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Mayawati seeks withdrawal of cases against women protesters





Lucknow: The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Monday demanded immediate withdrawal of cases lodged by the Yogi Aditynath government against women protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

BSP president Mayawati tweeted: “Wrong cases filed against women and others protesting against CAA/NRC by the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government should be immediately withdrawn, and those who lost their lives during this time should also be extended proper help. This is the demand of BSP.”

In several districts of Uttar Pradesh, women have been staging protests against the CAA.

In Lucknow, at the historic Clock Tower, women have been on protest since January 17.

Station House Officer of Thakurganj Police Station, Pramod Mishra, had said on Saturday: “Around 100 women protesters have been booked for violating prohibitory orders at the Clock Tower here.”

He said that a case has been registered against 10 women and 100 unidentified women for violating Section 144 of CrPC, while protesting at Clock Tower. Apart from this, eight persons have been arrested,”

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