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UP gives green signal to Varun’s prosecution

The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday formally sanctioned prosecution of BJP MP from Pilibhit, Varun Gandhi, for spreading communal hatred through hate speeches. The investigating officer (IO) of the case will now submit a chargesheet in the designated court against Varun seeking trial of the case. With the prosecution having done its spadework, the case is sure to give sleepless nights to the young MP.

Home secretary Mahesh Gupta on Friday said that the government sanctioned Varun’s prosecution under Section 153 (A) (for spreading communal hatred) of IPC after the law department approved of the evidences gathered against him as tangible enough to put up a strong case. He, however, ruled out the possibility of a trial in a fast-track court as of now.

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July 4, 2009 Posted by | Congress, News, Politics | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Slum-free India possible in five years: Minister

An ambitious housing scheme aiming to make the country slum-free within the next five years is on the cards, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday.

“The government has decided to introduce a new scheme, namely the Rajiv Awas Yojana, for slum dwellers and the urban poor on the lines of the Indira Awas Yojana for the rural poor,” Kumari Selja, minister of housing and urban poverty alleviation, said in a written reply.

She said the scheme would extend support to states that are willing to assign property rights to people living in slum areas.

“The government’s efforts would be to create a slum-free India through the scheme which also envisages the states preparing their own time-bound plans to make the cities and towns slum free,” she said.

She however said no funds have been released so far to any state under the proposed scheme.

Talking about the UPA’s flagship programme, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, launched in 2005, the minister said Rs 3,749.64 crore (Rs 37.50 billion) and Rs 2,581.06 crore (Rs 25.81 billion) have been released under the basic services to urban poor and integrated housing and slum development programmes respectively to various states.

July 2, 2009 Posted by | Congress, Economy, Indian Economy, News, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cong gives Dalits a treat on Rahul’s birthday

rahul-gandhiHappy Birthday to Rahul Gandhi !!!

Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi may be having his birthday party far away from UP but the real bash is being organised by his party workers in the state on Friday.

Rahul’s birthday will be celebrated as harmony day in UP and Dalit sabhas will be organised across the state. All UP Congress leaders and MPs are expected to participate in the birthday party.

It is believed that the Dalit gatherings are Rahul’s plans to make a comeback in the state and the groundwork has already begun for it. The biggest trump card to drive this plan is the youth card, which worked wonders during the Lok Sabha elections.

Congress is also on a membership drive. In an internal note, Rahul has told his team to get ready for the big fight and return to power in the state in 2011.

“The way he has done it this time is great. I am very confident that he will do it for the Assembly elections too,” MP from Unnao Annu Tandon said.

But it isn’t going to be easy despite the Congress putting up a good show with 21 seats because one can never take the battle-hardened BSP chief Mayawati lightly.

Ready to take on BSP, Rahul has urged his party leaders to concentrate on Dalits, SCs and STs who were once with the Congress but have now moved to the Mayawati’s party.

Not surprising then that top state leaders will infiltrate Mayawati’s bastion and court the Dalits. Speaking about the game plan Congress leader Digvijay Singh said, “Mayawati’s influence in the country is highly overrated.”

The Congress’ strategy in UP is very simple – it is going to fall back on the old association of the party with the state and club it with Rahul’s youthful ideas as the formula to hit out at the BSP.

June 19, 2009 Posted by | Congress, Indian Economy, News, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

L K Advani to file nomination from Gandhinagar today

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate L K Advani will file his nomination papers from Gandhinagar constituency.

According to sources, L K Advani will be accompanied by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

L K Advani will be seeking a fifth term from Gandhinagar after his victory from this constituency in 1991, 1998, 1999 and 2004.

His main rivals are Congress nominee Suresh Patel and noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai, who is making her electoral debut as an Independent. Patel is Congress MLA from Kalol for the second time.

The Gujarat police have already made tight security arrangements in view of L K Advani’s visit.

The collectorate’s office has been turned into a virtual fortress in preparation for L K Advani’s nomination filing.

Intelligence agencies have warned of increased threats to L K Advani.

April 8, 2009 Posted by | Election, News, Politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Girdhari Lal Bhargava passes away

Sitting MP from Jaipur, Girdhari Lal Bhargava, 73, passed away in Ahmedabad in Gujarat after suffering a heart attack on Sunday.

A six-time MP from the city, he was once again given ticket by BJP last week to contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

On Saturday he was in Ahmedabad to attend an ONGC parliamentary committee meeting during which he complained of uneasiness in chest. He was rushed to Apollo Hospital, where he passed away around 8 am on Sunday. He is survived by wife, three daughters and a son.

Chief minister Ashok Gehlot and leader of Opposition Vasundhara Raje paid floral tributes to the departed leader at Sanager airport in the evening when his body was brought here from Ahmedabad. Thereafter his body was taken to BJP headquarters where thousands of workers were waiting for a last glimpse. His mortal remains will be taken to his paternal home at Purani Basti and the cremation is expected to take place at Chandpole crematorium on Monday.

As news of his death spread on Sunday, the entire city plunged into grief and many functions including Vasundhara Raje’s birthday celebrations were cancelled.

Bhargava, who was all set to plunge into another poll battle, will be remembered as a common man’s leader.

March 9, 2009 Posted by | News, Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

Rahul Gandhi emerges as a key player ahead of LS polls

Finalising seats with the NCP in Maharashtra came after a crucial meeting in Pune. Officially, it had nothing to do with alliances, but Rahul’s touch has been seen in many crucial decisions of late.

On paper, the agenda for the meeting was a look at the sugarcane industry. But there was certainly more juice to it, as Rahul Gandhi and Sharad Pawar came around to a seat sharing understanding. So, did Congress use Rahul Gandhi to stall the NCP from getting close to the Shiv Sena?

“Rahul Gandhi is a very senior functionary of the party and if he’s used in various roles, then what is the harm in that?” said Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh.

Of late Rahul Gandhi has been very quiet. He played a key role in the tie-up with another GenNext leader Omar Abdullah after the J&K polls. Rahul’s official role may be limited to reshaping the youth Congress but he has been advising on tickets for candidates too.

“I think it’s just like his father Rajiv Gandhi but this time it’s not under unfortunate circumstances,” said Oscar Fernandes, Union Minister of State for Labour.

During the recent assembly polls, it was Rahul Gandhi not Sonia Gandhi who campaigned extensively. But at that time she was said to be not well. But now there’s no excuse. He’s simply playing a more decisive role.

And later on Thursday is Rahul Gandhi’s big Kerala rally. He will launch the UDF campaign at Sangu-Mugham beach in Thiruvananthapuram. He will also inaugurate the valedictory function of the ‘Kerala Raksha March’ led by state Congress chief Ramesh Chennithala.

March 5, 2009 Posted by | News, Politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment