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President Kovind accepts EC view, disqualifies 20 MLAs

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New Delhi: With President Ram Nath Kovind accepting the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify 20 MLAs of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party for holding offices of profit, the stage is set for a mini-election in the nation’s capital as the poll panel now has to hold byelections in these Assembly seats within six months. Reacting to this development, senior AAP leader Ashutosh said: “The President’s order to disqualify the AAP MLAs is unconstitutional and dangerous for democracy.”
A notification issued by the law ministry on Sunday quoted the President as saying that in light of the opinion given by the Election Commission, the 20 members of the Delhi Legislative Assembly had been disqualified. In a blow to the AAP, the EC had on Friday asked the President to disqualify these 20 MLAs.
“Having considered the matter in the light of the opinion expressed by the Election Commission, I, Ram Nath Kovind, President of India, in exercise of the powers… do here hold that the aforesaid 20 members of the Delhi Legislative Assembly stand disqualified from being members of the said Assembly,” the notification said.
Once the Delhi Assembly Speaker declares 20 vacancies in the House, the AAP’s strength will come down from 66 to 46. But it will still have a comfortable majority as the Opposition has only four MLAs.
Delhi chief minister and AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: “There was some logic when God gave us 67 seats. The Almighty stood behind us in our every step. Otherwise we would have been nothing… Just don’t stray away from the path of truth.” Addressing a fathering in Najafgarh on Sunday, the CM said: “They are trying to harass us by all means… They got a CBI raid done at my office, but after a 24-hour search they only found my four mufflers. Our MLAs were arrested.”
He added: “The L-G had called 400 files of our government (pertaining to decisions taken in two years), but they did not find anything against us. When they did not find anything against us, they today disqualified our 20 MLAs.”
It was in March 2015 that the AAP government had named 21 legislators as parliamentary secretaries. Parliamentary secretaries assist ministers with their work. The AAP had insisted that despite holding this office, these MLAs did not take any salaries or perks.
As the protests over these appointments grew, the government sought to shield the MLAs by excluding the post of parliamentary secretary from the ambit of office of profit laws. But former President Pranab Mukherjee had refused to approve the measure, and had referred a private petition in the matter to the EC. Reacting to another petition, the Delhi high court had struck down the post of parliamentary secretary in September 2015.
Of these 21 MLAs, Rajouri Garden legislator Jarnail Singh had resigned from his seat before contesting the Assembly elections in Punjab. The AAP lost the seat in the byelection to BJP-Akali Dal candidate M.S. Sirsa. Since the President has accepted the recommendation of the EC, the poll panel is bound to announce byelections for these 20 Assembly seats within six months.
The disqualified members are Adarsh Shastri (Dwarka), Alka Lamba (Chandni Chowk), Anil Bajpai (Gandhi Nagar), Avtar Singh (Kalkaji), Kailash Gahlot (Najafgarh) — who is also a minister, Madan Lal (Kasturba Nagar), Manoj Kumar (Kondli), Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli), Nitin Tyagi (Laxmi Nagar), Praveen Kumar (Jangpura), Rajesh Gupta (Wazirpur), Rajesh Rishi (Janakpuri), Sanjeev Jha (Burari), Sarita Singh (Rohtas Nagar), Som Dutt (Sadar Bazar), Sharad Kumar (Narela), Shiv Charan Goel (Moti Nagar), Sukhbir Singh (Mundka), Vijendar Garg (Rajinder Nagar) and Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar).
Transport minister Kailash Gahlot, who represents Najafga-rh, can now retain his ministerial portfolio for another six months. It is mandatory for Mr Gahlot to win any Assembly seat within six months in order to retain his ministerial portfolio.
The AAP had also moved the Delhi high court seeking a stay on the EC’s recommendation. The court has listed the case for a hearing .


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National

85 pc loot during Congress regime plugged:PM Modi

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Varanasi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday described NRIs as India’s brand ambassadors and said they were the symbols of the country’s capabilities.

The Prime Minister was inaugurating the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas convention in his parliamentary constituency Varanasi. “I consider NRIs India’s brand ambassadors.

They are the symbols of our capacities and capabilities,” he told the gathering.

 

“People of Indian origin are in leadership roles in countries such as Mauritius, Portugal and Ireland,” he said.

PM Modi also alluded to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s comment that only 15 paise of Re 1 reaches masses and said the Congress government had done nothing to stop the leakage.

The Prime Minister added that his government had stepped in to rectify the situation. The “85 per cent loot” taking place during the Congress regime had been plugged “100 per cent” through technology, he said.

“We have given about Rs 5,80,000 crore to people, transferred to their bank accounts through various schemes. Imagine, if the country was being run on the older system? Then Rs 4,50,000 crore would have vanished,” PM Modi said.

Continuing his attack on the Congress, he said efforts to stop the “leakage” could have been made earlier as well but there was no intention and will power. “Our government is moving towards ensuring that the aid given by government is directly transferred to beneficiary accounts through direct benefit schemes,” he said.

Mauritian Premier Pravind Jugnauth, who is the chief guest for the three-day event, also spoke on the occasion. He hailed the Prime Minister for India’s transformation through initiatives such as the Skill India and the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao schemes. He also praised PM Modi’s global stewardship in promoting clean energy and for setting up the International Solar Alliance.

Jugnauth announced that his country will hold a Bhagwad Gita Mahotsav next month and a Bhojpuri Festival next year.

For the first time, the three-day convention is being organised from January 21 to 23 instead of January 9 to allow participants to visit the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad and attend the Republic Day parade in the national capital.

The theme of this year’s convention is ‘Role of Indian diaspora in building new India’.

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National

‘Madrasas promote ISIS ideology, shut them’: UP Shia board chief to PM Modi

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New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board chief Waseem Rizvi on Tuesday said that madrasas promote ISIS ideology.

Rizvi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to shut Islamic seminaries across India so that Muslim children are not influenced by it.

“If madrasas across the country are not shut down soon then after 15 years half of the Muslims will start favouring the ISIS ideology. It has been observed across the world that ISIS is targeting children and asking them to follow them,” Rizvi wrote in the letter.

 

The UP Shia Board chief added that Muslim children should study with students of other religions in schools so that they are able to get better education.

The comments are likely to irk several Islamic clerics and scholars.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Rizvi cited the example of Kashmir to substantiate his point

“In Kashmir, ISIS supports can be seen in huge numbers. In rural areas, Madrasas are destroying the future of our children being run on donations as their owners are hungry for money,” he stated.

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National

Yashwant throws his hat in PM race, calls self ‘closest’ person to deliver on job creation

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New Delhi: Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha threw his hat in the race for prime ministership when he declared himself as the “closest” person who could deliver on job creation, building roads, townships and industries.

Sinha, a former finance minister during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led previous NDA government, also said that Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari would not succeed Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he and BJP chief Amit Shah will “not retire” even if the BJP fell below the 200-seat mark in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The former BJP lawmaker said the problem in the country was non-creation of crores of jobs and millions of kilometres of roads. India needs a leader who can make agriculture profitable and set up irrigation projects, townships and industries, he said.

 

“We have to do a lot of work in this country… We will have to find somebody who is prepared to buy this theory and start doing it,” he said.

Asked who the person could be, Sinha told a news channel, “There is nobody in my mind.”

Asked who was closest to deliver all this, he said, “The closest is me, myself, what I am,” leading to a laughter in the audience of the event hosted by the channel.

“I am very close behind him,” said CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, seated next to him, when asked if he endorsed Sinha.

Various opposition parties are seeking to unite to put up a united front to defeat the Modi-led BJP in general elections, with the BJP taking a swipe at them saying all are prime ministerial aspirants in the opposition camp.

About speculation on whether Gadkari would succeed Modi, the disgruntled former BJP MP said, “There is no hope in hell for that.”

Sinha said what he is saying is “because I know the kind of vice-like grip the current prime minister and the party president have over the BJP and even after the loss in elections where they could be below 200, they will not retire from their leadership.”

“It is a very fond hope that some media people are nursing that Gadkari might succeed Modi,” he said, negating the possibility.

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