Congress leader Poonawalla questions Rahul

Congress leader and Maharashtra Congress Secretary Shehzad Poonawalla on Wednesday questioned the process to elect party President, calling it “rigged” and said Vice President Rahul Gandhi must first resign from his post.

Poonawalla said he would also contest the election if it was conducted in a “genuine” manner. On Tuesday, he has also wrote a letter to Rahul Gandhi in this regard. “I cannot contest a rigged election. If the system is genuine, then I will contest. It is a rigged election…it is a selection. Delegates who are going to vote for this election have not been elected as per the constitutional requirements. They have been handpicked,” he told IANS. Poonawalla further said: “I will contest if Rahul Gandhiji agrees to first have genuinely-elected delegates and not handpicked delegates. Second, he must give up his post because he has an unfair advantage by being the Vice President. He has been selected and not elected as VP. He will leave his post, I will leave my post… Then we can contest. “Third, will he be ready for a televised debate where we both as contestants can have a debate on what is our vision for the Congress party? We can be judged on merit, not on the surname,” he said. “And finally, I want him to accept that our party must have a rule of one family-one ticket. I will be happy to contest in a genuine election, not in a rigged election,” the party leader added. In his letter to Gandhi, Poonawalla asked several questions. “Firstly, a common party worker like me joined the party in 2008-09. I spent time, energy and money working voluntarily for the party at all levels and finally got elevated after eight years to the position of a Secretary in a state unit in 2016. “But how and why (other than your surname) did you in the same time span start off with an MP seat in 2004 itself, get general secretaryship in 2007 and then graduate to vice presidentship of the national unit while your mother was the President?” he wrote. “Did you win us more elections, were you genuinely elected to these posts, did you give better speeches than other leaders? You must therefore resign from the VP post and contest as an ordinary member for the election of the president. How can it be a fair contest if a common worker has to contest against the VP (who was selected and not elected as the VP or the number two in the party)?” he said. “Since the delegate system is completely rigged and manipulated, for a fair fight for the presidentship, will you allow real delegates to get appointed and vote rather than a bunch of handpicked ‘yes’ men? “If not, will you at least face your rival in a televised debate to see who articulates a better vision for the Congress party and India? Will you allow yourself to be judged on merit rather than your surname? If yes, let’s have that contest. I am ready.” Poonawalla further said: “You failed to deliver on the promise that IYC, NSUI won’t end up electing children of ‘netas’. Will you at least now curb the innumerable dynasts who are given tickets and posts in the party by implementing the rule – one ticket/post to only one member in any family? “So if I have a party ticket or post – my brother, sister, mother, brother-in-law, etc., cannot be eligible for a ticket or post. We are not into some family business, are we?” his letter read. (IANS) // ]]>

Trump tells Theresa May to mind her own business

US President Donald Trump has told British Prime Minister Theresa May to focus on “terrorism” in the UK after she criticised his sharing of far-right videos. “Don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom,” Trump wrote on Twitter, BBC reported on Thursday.

The US President earlier retweeted three inflammatory videos posted online by a British far-right group. May’s spokesman said it was “wrong for the president to have done this”. The US and the UK are close allies and often described as having a “special relationship”. The videos shared by Trump, who has more than 40 million followers, were initially posted by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, a group founded by former members of the far-right British National Party (BNP). Fransen has been charged in the UK with using “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour”. The first tweet from Fransen claims to show a Muslim migrant attacking a man on crutches. This was followed by two more videos of people Fransen claims to be Muslim. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said May and other world leaders knew that “these are real threats that we have to talk about”. (IANS) // ]]>


India Today lifted the veil off the non-profit organisation Popular Front of India (PFI)- an Islamic fundamentalist organisation, securing astonishing confessions of its top functionaries involved in the mass conversion. Christened as Operation Conversion Mafia, the report claimed that the PFI which is already under NIA investigation, was responsible for brainwashing Hindu women and marrying them off to Muslim men. Hadiya’s father has claimed that the organisation was responsible for converting his daughter, while the BJP leaders are now demanding a ban on PFI. In most parts of the world, marriage is perceived as a personal decision between two people, however, for some centuries, couples in India have not enjoyed the liberty to love and find their own partners. Interfaith marriages have generally been challenging in some sectors of society,  but it was never made out to be a political issue as it is done now. In the 40s, the country saw one of the most celebrated interfaith weddings of Jawaharlal Nehru’s daughter Indira Priyadarshini with Feroze Jehangir Ghandy (later re-spelt as Gandhi), who was a Parsi. Similarly, Vice President of India Mohd Hidayatullah married Pushpa Shah, of Jain faith. Actress Sharmila Tagore married cricketer Nawab Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, but they refused to answer any questions related to their religion or whether there was any conversion. These high profiles marriages were widely discussed but were not seen as ‘Love Jihad’ because the political leaders of the time did not use it as a hate campaign to divide society. In the last few years, Love Jihad has emerged as an aggressive and emotive campaign by some Hindu groups, accusing and targeting Muslim youth of luring non-Muslim women and forcing them to convert. These Hindu groups are indulging in strategic, orchestrated propaganda highlighting the ‘abduction’ of Hindu women by Muslim goondas. With religious polarisation increasing in the country, interfaith marriage is yet another bone of contention which may flare up disharmony even more. It is women who are again the ‘item’ of political tension without their consent or taking their voices into account. One wonders if Indian women will ever acquire the freedom to make personal choices and if it is right to dream of a utopian society where religion will be an absolute non-issue when two people decide to enter the sacred institution of marriage. // ]]>

Rahul's Somnath visit generates unholy row

The Congress on Wednesday accused the BJP of playing dirty politics and hatching a cheap conspiracy by fabricating entries in the register kept at the Somnath temple, that was visited by Rahul Gandhi who the party called a “devout Hindu” and a strong “Shiv bhakt”.

Addressing a hurriedly-called press conference hours after the BJP sought to rake up a controversy over Rahul Gandhi’s name figuring in the register for non-Hindus, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the BJP was scared of the outcome of the Gujarat Assembly elections and was thus resorting to cheap politics. “When the visitor’s book was given to him by the temple committee, Rahul Gandhi wrote a message on it with his name (Rahul Gandhi) and address (12, Tughlak Lane, New Delhi). “A very inspiring place” was the message he wrote in the book,” Surjewala added. “The other register was tweeted by mediapersons. Rahul Gandhi has neither written (in the other register) nor was the register given to him.” The other register contained a signature by AICC media coordinator Manoj Tyagi, who was asked by some temple officials to sign so that the mediapersons accompanying Rahul Gandhi could enter the temple. Surjewala said: “After Rahul left the temple, by misusing some of our media friends, another fabricated entry was made public. Has the BJP become so cowardly that they are scared of coming out and speaking up.”
Read at Lokmarg
Rahul Gandhi in a new avatar

He alleged that the names of Rahul Gandhi and Ahmed Patel were entered surreptitiously on the left side of the register meant for non-Hindus by someone – suggesting manipulation. “This was a fabricated register. Those names were added later,” he said. Showing the pictures of Gandhi wearing sacred thread, Surjewala said that Rahul is a “Janayudhari” (devout) Hindu. “Whether it was during the time of his naming or at the time of his sister’s wedding..or at the time of his father’s cremation, he was seen with the sacred thread.” He urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah not to stoop so low for political gains that “130 crore Indians start hating you”. “Truth will not change because of your conspiratorial tactics,” he added. Another Congress spokesperson Deepender Hooda said: “BJP’s intentions stand exposed today…Even Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has conceded that their party is in bad shape (for elections). Whenever they are in such a state, they lose their rudder.” The episode, Hooda said, “is a sign of intellectual bankruptcy of the BJP”. The Congress reaction came after BJP raked up the issue and questioned Rahul Gandhi’s religion. BJP spokesperson G.V.L. Narsimha Rao said in a tweet: “Rahul Gandhi is a non-Hindu and a ‘Shiv Bhakht’? Very impressive. No wonder he said earlier people go to temples and tease women.” Quoting an article written in 1998 in New York Times, which said by certainty that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka were raised as Roman Catholics, Rao said: “This was never denied. Did Rahul Gandhi convert to Hinduism thereafter? @OfficeOfRG please clarify. It’s not a personal issue any longer.” “Rahulji, Why is there so much secrecy and deceit about your and family’s religion, foreign travels, educational qualifications, passports/citizenship? Questions are never answered. Even British monarchy is more transparent. Is RTI only for govts & not for politicians? @OfficeOfRG,” he said in another tweet.
(Reproduced tweets do not reflect Lokmarg editorial policy)
(IANS) // ]]>

'Modi govt can destroy what they don't like'

S Durga Director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, whose film was not screened at the 48th IFFI despite his best efforts, says the incident has proved how those in power can go to any extent to destroy something they don’t like.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, a day after the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here wrapped up, Sasidharan shared his sentiments. “I am not unhappy even a bit. On the other hand, I am more than happy that my film has helped a lot of people who were asking ‘What is the problem if the Sangh come(s) to power?’ to understand what is the problem actually,” he said. “It is simply proved that those in power now can go to any extent to destroy something which they don’t like. “They can even misuse law or ignore judiciary for their purpose. They can give assurances to executives that nothing will happen to them, even if they do not obey courts. A very dangerous message indeed.” S Durga, a Malayalam movie, was initially dropped from a jury-suggested shortlist of the Indian Panorama section of the IFFI along with another film Nude, triggering controversy. Sasidharan moved the Kerala High Court, which directed IFFI to screen the film at the festival after a censored version was screened for the jury. But fresh title-related issues raised by the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) on the gala’s last day sealed the fate of the movie at the fest.
Read at Lokmarg
S Durga misses filmfest over three new hashtags

The filmmaker said there was a wave of dissent following the row. “I have seen a lot of people who openly accept that they are supporters of this government in the past two three days so depressed and disappointed by the dirty game played by the Ministry against my film. “I have heard multiple times they murmuring that ‘this must go’. What else a film need(s) to do, even without been (being) seen.” (IANS) // ]]>

BJP's 'beheader' Ammu quits over Padmavati

Padmavati director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and lead actor Deepika Padukone. Then he spoke of ‘breaking the legs’ of another Padmavati actor, Ranvir Singh. The he turned his sights on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for saying the film was welcome in her state, saying she would lose her nose like Surpankha in the Ramayana. On Wednesday, he quit the party. Haryana BJP leader Surajpal Singh Ammu has resigned as the party’s Chief Media Coordinator in the state, sending his resignation to Bharatiya Janata Party state chief Subhash Barala through a WhatsApp message.

In his resignation, Ammu said he was upset with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s “attitude towards the Rajput community”. The chief minister, according to him, was surrounded by “a few unwanted people and keeping himself away from loyalist party workers”. Ammu said he would pray to God so that “good sense” prevails on Khattar and requested that he be relieved of the party post’s responsibility. A delegation of Rajput leaders led by Ammu on Tuesday visited Haryana Bhawan in Delhi to meet Khattar and request him to fulfil their demand of announcing a ban on Padmavati in the state but the Chief Minister refused to meet them. Rajput leaders said they felt insulted by Khattar.

And Mulayam’s daughter-in-law does the Padmavati dance

Even as the controversy over Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati is yet to die down, a dance by Aparna Yadav, a daughter-in-law of Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, on the movie’s song has created a political furore. Aparna Yadav danced to the ‘Ghoomar’ song of the yet-to-be-released movie while celebrating her younger brother Aman Bisht’s engagement ceremony at a five-star hotel in Lucknow on Saturday, raising the hackles of elements opposed to the film.  In a video clipping which has since gone viral on the social media, Aparna Yadav is seen leading a group of women dancers on stage at the family function. The song has been picturised on Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone in the film.  “It is sad that a prominent political family’s member has chosen to behave in such a fashion. It is as if she is trying to tease us and rub salt in our wounds,” a leader of Karni Sena, which is bitterly opposing the movie’s release without changes, said. The Karni Sena is particularly miffed at this particular song which, it contends, shows Rajput women dancing in public, which is not a depiction of the reality of the past. Aparna Yadav, who is married to Mulayam Singh’s younger son Prateek, has spoken her mind openly on many political issues and ruffled feathers in the past.
On November 21, Ammu was booked for issuing threats to Bhansali and Deepika over their movie. But he stood by his announcement of Rs 10-crore reward for “beheading” them. Ammu said he gave the statements as a “Rajput” and not as a BJP leader.
Read at Lokmarg
Padmavati row : Deafening silence of top political leadership and Bollywood

Ammu also threated to break the legs of actor Ranveer Singh, who plays the role of Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khilji in the movie. The movie centres around the valour of Rajput queen Padmavati. Asked if he had received any notice from the BJP for his statement, Ammu told IANS: “No notice has been received. I’ll answer if I get one. I am ready to do anything for the welfare for my community.” Police officer Sunil Kumar said the accused would be served a notice soon to join the police probe.   (Reproduced tweets do not reflect Lokmarg editorial policy)  (with IANS) // ]]>

Musharraf declares his undying love for LeT, jihad

Terrorist in soldier’s cloth ! Pervez Musharraf openly saying “I Love Lashkar-e-Taiba,JuD..they love me too,met Hafiz Saeed,always wanted to suppress @adgpi in Kashmir. Gen @P_Musharraf U r disgrace on humanity n uniform

— Maj Surendra Poonia (@MajorPoonia) November 29, 2017 Saeed was freed after 10 months of house arrest last week after Islamabad failed to submit proof to a court to back charges that his release would lead to law and order problems. Acknowledging that the JuD and LeT were waging a “jihad” to liberate Jammu and Kashmir from India, Musharraf said: “Yes, they are involved in Kashmir and I support them.” Musharraf said in the interview that he had always favoured “action” in Kashmir. “I was always in favour of action in Kashmir and of suppressing the Indian Army in Kashmir. They are the biggest force (LeT), India got them declared as terrorist by partnering with the US.” New Delhi accuses Pakistan of arming, training and financing militant groups fighting to secede Jammu and Kashmir from India. Musharraf denied the LeT was involved in the Mumbai terror attack that left 166 Indians and foreigners dead. “I don’t think Saeed was behind the 26/11 attack. In Pakistan, we don’t call him a terrorist.” Ten Pakistani terrorists sailed into Mumbai and carried out multiple attacks spread over three days. One of them was caught and hanged by India. Saeed was put under house arrest after the 2008 Mumbai attack but released about six months later. Musharraf said Washington’s statement following the JuD’s chief release last week was an “insult to Pakistan’s sovereignty”. The US had asked Pakistan to re-arrest Saeed. “Please do not dictate to us; we have to decide who … has to be tried or punished.” Musharraf said democracy in Pakistan was not under threat but required “tailoring” in keeping with the country’s requirements. “We need (to make) amendments to the system, political restructuring, electoral reforms and checks balances.” Musharraf, who ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999, now lives in exile in Dubai. He was declared an absconder by an anti-terrorism court in the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. (Reproduced tweets do not reflect Lokmarg editorial policy) (IANS) // ]]>