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Mayawati welcomes 10% reservation for upper castes, but calls Centre’s move ‘political stunt’

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Mumbai: A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government decided to give 10 per cent reservation to the economically backward members of the upper castes, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati on Tuesday told news agency ANI that her party welcomed the move. She, however, termed the move as a “political stunt”.

The BSP has decided to support the bill, which is likely to be tabled in Lok Sabha.

This comes even as other political parties, including the Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Trinamool Congress, targeted the government over the move. While the Congress called it an election gimmick, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee questioned if the move initiated by the government was constitutional or not.

 

Soon after reports of the decision of the Union Cabinet came in, senior Congress leader and former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat had taken a dig at the government, citing Urdu couplet “Bahut der kar di meherbaan aate aate”.

“Bohot der kar di meherbaan aate aate, that also when elections are around the corner. No matter what they do, what ‘jumlas’ they give, nothing is going to save this government,” said Rawat.

Speaking on the issue, AAP supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “The government should extend Parliament session and bring constitutional amendment immediately. Else it is merely an election stunt.”

Mamata Banerjee, meanwhile, questioned the Constitutional validity of the move by the government, saying, “My questions is how can they increase the quota from 50-60%? If they can satisfy in legal terms, I have no problem. I was going through a Supreme Court order, according to which any reservation beyond 50% is unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court’s order mentions that the quota should not exceed 50%. Any reservation beyond 50% will be struck down.”

The decision of the government effectively means that those who are economically backward and fall under the general category will now be able to enjoy the benefits of reservation in government jobs, an advantage that wasn’t available to them previously. The 10% quota economically backward in general category will be over and above existing 50 percent reservation.


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National

‘Mahagathbandhan’ club of ‘nawabs of negativity’: Jaitley

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Mumbai: The opposition “mahagathbandhan” (grand alliance) is a club of “nawabs of negativity” and the only glue of this diverse grouping is its opposition to one man (Narendra Modi), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.

People of an aspirational society which is politically conscious will not buy into this “suicidal” alternative, the senior BJP leader said.

“The nawabs of negativity may come together but that is not something that will carry credibility as far as people are concerned,” Jaitley said, speaking via video link at the CNBC-TV18 India Business Leadership Awards event. During the video call, Jaitley also spoke about the Union Budget.

 

This was the first time Jaitley, now in the US for medical treatment, addressed a gathering since leaving the country on Tuesday.

The setback the ruling BJP suffered in Assembly elections in three heartland states recently (Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan) has enthused some opposition leaders about the likely electoral success of such an alternative.

The “mahagathbandhan” has neither the ideological cohesiveness nor a common programme aimed at building the country or an individual leader, Jaitley said.

As against the BJP’s strengths of leadership, decisiveness, performance and potential, the point being put forward by the opposition is of arithmetic, Jaitley highlighted.

In politics, it is not the arithmetic but chemistry which succeeds, he added.

“The premise is that we have politics which is negative in character and the negative politics is we want one man (Narendra Modi) out. On that negativity of wanting one man out, they (Opposition) have come together,” Jaitley said.

Arun Jaitley also said there is a need to elevate the political debate in the run up to the elections and stressed that we cannot afford a “sloganised political debate” where emotional cries take over sound policy.

Without mentioning the promise of farm loan waivers, which the opposition Congress is pitching for, the minister said “sloganised policies” never help the larger interest of the economy and it is the country’s aspirations which will receive a setback in the process.

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Govt compromising national security, why 36 Rafale jets instead of 126: Chidambaram

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New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday accused the government of compromising national security and asked why it bought only 36 Rafale fighter jets instead of 126 required by the Air Force.

His comments come in the wake of fresh revelations on the Rafale deal in a media report which claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to but 36 aircraft instead of the 126 asked for by the Air Force pushed the price of each jet up by 41.42 per cent.

“In the light of new facts and revelations in THE HINDU, the question gains greater urgency: why did the government buy only 36 Rafale aircraft instead of 126 aircraft required by the Air Force?,” Chidambaram asked in a tweet.

 

“The Government has compromised national security by denying to the Air Force the 7 squadrons (126 aircraft) that it desperately needs,” he said.

Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia also took to Twitter to demand answers from Modi on the increased cost of aircraft. “The PM’s unilateral decision to buy 36 Rafales resulted in a price escalation of 41.42 per cent per jet. When will the prime minister answer? he asked.

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No war, but soldiers are dying on borders: Bhagwat

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Nagpur: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said requisite steps need to combat killings on the border, as soldiers are being martyred sans a war-like situation in the country.

“In our country, there is no war at the moment, still people (soldiers) are getting martyred…Because we are not doing our jobs properly. We need to make efforts in this regard. If we want our country to reach the top, then we all should learn to sacrifice,” he said at a gathering here on Thursday.

Furthermore, Bhagwat said the responsibility of safeguarding the country should not be solely shouldered by the Forces.

 

“Everybody has to make efforts in this regard. This is not something for which we can give a contract to somebody. We keep thinking that the government will do it or the army will do it, the police will do it, but it’s not like that, the entire society has to make efforts,” he opined.

Citing the example of Israel, Bhagwat noted: “If one looks closely, after 70 long years, those countries in comparison with India have done better in terms of growth and development. Israel is a classic example. The natives were weed out before the 19 c. But citizens there gradually came back to their country and started their businesses, trade etc. Finally, in 1948 they got independence.”

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