Gujarat votes in shadow of conduct code accusations

Here’s what the opinion polls predict for the 182-member Assembly: Lokniti-CSDS-ABP News: BJP is likely to win 95 seats while the Congress will bag 82 seats. TV9/CVoter: BJP is likely to win 109 while the Congress will bag 73 seats Times Now/VMR: BJP likely to win 111 seats while Congress will bag 68 seats From these three polls: BJP will win 105 seats while the Congress will manage only 74. Meanwhile, former Aam Aadmi Party leader and psephologist Yogendra Yadav has come out with his own take:  

Rahul gets EC notice, TV channels face FIRs The Election Commission on Wednesday shot off a notice to Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by giving election-related interviews to TV channels a day prior to the second phase polling in Gujarat, and asked him to respond by December 18. “The Commission has received reports and complaints that on some TV channels interview given by you has been/is being displayed talking about elections to the legislative assembly of Gujarat, which are currently in progress,” the ECI said in its notice. “By giving such interview and its display on TV channels on December 13, 2017, you have prima facie violated the provisions of Para(1)(4) of the MCC, Section 126(1)(b) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 and Election Commission’s lawful instructions in this regard,” it said. The poll panel told Gandhi that the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Gujarat had reminded all political parties through a letter on December 11 that no matter related to election can be shown or displayed in theatres, TV channels or electronic media during 48 hours prior to the poll timing. “The Election Commission hereby gives you an opportunity to explain by 5 p.m. on December 18, 2017 as to why action should not be taken against you for violating the MCC, failing which the Commission will decide the matter without any further reference to you,” the poll panel said in the notice. The ECI has also instructed the Gujarat CEO to lodge FIR against the TV channels that telecast Rahul Gandhi’s interview. Congress wants code of conduct action against Modi Following the Election Commission notice to Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi for allegedly violating the poll code, the Congress on Wednesday asked the poll panel to take action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his speech at at Ficci on eve of Gujarat polls’ second phase. It also said that the Prime Minister had misused the business chamber’s platform to attack Congress and an FIR must be registered against Modi. The party also demanded that EC should immediately withdraw “the order, if any, directing registration of an FIR against news channels for telecasting the interview of Congress President”. A Congress delegation led by senior party leader Ashok Gehlot met the Election Commission after the notice to Rahul Gandhi. “BJP was putting pressure on the EC to file an FIR against the press. Journalists are being suppressed. By the same standards, we urged the Election Commission to that in 2014, one day before the elections, Modiji gave interviews to many news channels. Election Commission did not take any action against him,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala after meeting the EC. “Narendra Modi entered the polling booth to cast his vote and openly showed the BJP symbol. No action was taken by Election Commission,” he said. The party also said that for the first phase of polling in Gujarat on December 9, the campaign period ended at 5 p.m. on December 7 but despite that Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley accompanied by BJP and other leaders held a press conference in Ahmedabad in the afternoon of December 8. “Not only this, they proceeded to release the election manifesto of the BJP. EC took no action,” said Surjewala. “BJP President Amit Shah gave extensive TV interviews at Ahmedabad Airport today (Wednesday), which were televised by the same channels. He also issued a statement criticizing former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Even this statement was also televised by the same news channels. EC has taken no action,” he added. In a memorandum submitted to EC, the party also said that Union Minister Piyush Goel held two press conferences on Wednesday on Gujarat, which were televised, but, the EC took no action. “In case, the yardsticks of violation of Model Code of Conduct is to be applied as is being done by EC, order registration of FIR against Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Arun Jaitley, Piyush Goel, Jeetu Baghani and other BJP leaders for flouting the Code of Conduct. Election Commission is duty bound to be fair and impartial. We have to regrettably state that aforesaid apparent discrimination and an apparent advantage being given to the ruling party militates against this notion,” it said. (with IANS) // ]]>

Modi talks about himself half the time, says Rahul

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday came down heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asserting that his words had ceased to carry weight since he was lying through his teeth on the promises made to Gujarat and the country. Addressing a series of election rallies in North and Central Gujarat, Gandhi recalled how Modi had promised during the 2014 Lok Sabha election to bring back black money stashed abroad and then deposit Rs 15 lakh into each Indian’s bank account. “Narendra Modi had said you will get Rs 15 lakh in your bank accounts, you did not get even 15 paise,” Gandhi said tauntingly. The Congress Vice President asked the people if they saw anyone “suited and booted” standing in queues to deposit money in the wake of last year’s demonetisation. “Through the back door, the money of all the thieves in India was converted into white right under Modiji’s nose.” Gandhi also said that Modi had promised in his election speeches of 2014 to create two crore jobs every year and to ensure that farmers get the right returns for their produce.  “Is this happening?” Gandhi asked loudly. In response, the crowds roared back: “No, no.” “The Prime Minister’s words should carry weight. Modiji’s words no longer carry any weight because he has been lying through his teeth on every promise he made,” Gandhi added to cheers. He said the people had seen through it all and would not be misled this time. Gandhi asserted that Modi was nervous and afraid of losing the Gujarat Assembly elections and so was changing his narrative every time.  “I have heard and analysed Modiji’s speeches. He devotes half the time to the Congress though Modiji claims that he has finished off the Congress. “And he devotes the rest of the time of his speech to speak about himself,” he added. “Where has suddenly your tall talk of development vanished? You have little to report of the last 22 years of BJP government in Gujarat. This is why you need all this, Modiji,” Gandhi said. Gandhi promised that if the Congress came to power in Gujarat, “we would come out with a policy to exempt farmers’ dues, ensure that the primary responsibility of the government is on education and health and to bring down unemployment.” Gandhi reiterated that the election was neither about him nor Modi but about the future of Gujarat and Gujaratis. He also said that although Modi used foul language against him, he would never resort to such language. “The Prime Minister uses foul language against me but I will never do that because Rahul Gandhi respects the office of Prime Minister.  “I am not going to utter a single word against the Prime Minister. This is what our party, Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel have taught us.”

(IANS) // ]]>

Modi: Did Mani visit Pak to give my supari?

Since Congress party has suspended #ManiShankarAiyar from his primary membership for using derogatory remarks against PM #BJP should be graceful enough to stop making hue & cry on this issue.@OfficeOfRG had clearly said recently that PM must be respected. What he said,he means.

— Sanjay Nirupam (@sanjaynirupam) December 7, 2017 On Thursday, Aiyar called Modi a “bahut neech kisam ka aadmi” who is practising “dirty politics”, triggering a storm. The Congress suspended him for the remarks. Modi said: “This Mani Shankar Aiyar after I became the Prime Minister, went to Pakistan and talked with the people there and said that now there is this Narendra Modi, unless you remove him India-Pakistan relationship cannot improve. I ask you, Why did he go to Pakistan? To give ‘supari’ of Modi?.” Continuing his scathing attack on the Congress, Modi said, “You the people of Banaskantha were here during the floods, afflicted with pain and trouble. Where were your Congress MLAs, and where were the BJP people. The Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Shankarbhai Chaudhary, were they not helping you in times of your trouble? Whereas the Congress MLAs were enjoying themselves in a Bengaluru resort. Here you were drowning in flood waters, there they were enjoying themselves in Bengaluru swimming pools. Here the BJP was holding relief camps for you, there they (Congress) was having Resort Camps. Should you not punish them?” Modi was referring to the Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections in August when the Congress ferried its MLAs to Bengaluru to prevent them from being poached by the BJP. Once again referring to the Morbi tragedy, Modi said, “I was there during the Morbi tragedy in 1979 with RSS workers and helping people. The RSS workers were fishing out decayed dead bodies from putrid waters, while the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi visited keeping a kerchief on her mouth to protect from the bad air. This is the difference in the culture between the BJP and the Congress.” Referring to the Surat floods, Modi said, “During the floods, I went there to clean the roads, helping the local people despite my being the Chief Minister of the state. During your floods recently, I myself came and took an aerial survey to help you and ensured your safety.” “But because of all this, the Congress people don’t like me. We carried out surgical strikes entering into the Pakistan house. I ask you, didn’t you feel good about it? Didn’t you feel proud about it? Did you not feel proud about the Indian Army? But only the Congress didn’t like it. They said that Pakistan has denied the strikes.” In Kalol constituency of Gandhinagar, which goes to polls on December 14, Modi continued in the same vein. He said, “The path of development should continue. I urge the voters who will be voting on the 9th and the 14th, vote for the person who lives for you. You are my family. The 1.25 crore people are my family.” (IANS) / (Reproduced tweets do not reflect Lokmarg editorial policy) // ]]>

BJP revels as Mani talks himself out of Congress

Pride of Gujarat & India PM Modi insulted by Mani Shankar Aiyër again.

MS Aiyër calls Modi “Neech Admi” Born in OBC Caste is Neech? Born in poor family means Neech ? Shame on Cong Casteist Politics! — Sriram (@srirambjp) December 7, 2017 In a quick damage control exercise, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi deprecated Aiyar’s language against the Prime Minister and asked him to apologize which the former Union Minister did, claiming his knowledge of Hindi was not good. He also maintained that he never called Modi a “low born”. As Aiyar’s remarks that Modi was a “neech aadmi” (low man) in the context of his criticism of the Congress vis-a-vis B.R. Ambedkar snowballed, the Prime Minister referred to it in an election meeting in Surat and attacked the Congress leader, saying he called him a “neech jaati” (low caste). “They can call me ‘neech jaati’. Yes, I am from the poor section of society and will spend every moment of my life to work for the poor, Dalits, tribals and backward classes. That is my culture. They can keep their language, we will do our work,” Modi told an election rally.

And Mani gets the boot

The Congress on Thursday night suspended senior party leader Mani Shankar Aiyar from its primary membership and slapped a show cause notice on him for his “neech” remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which has mushroomed into a massive controversy just ahead of the Gujarat polls. Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala broke the news through a tweet. “The Congress party has suspended Mani Shankar Aiyar from party’s primary membership and issued him a show-cause notice,” Surjewala said. “This is Congress party’s Gandhiwaad and sense of respect towards its rivals. Can Modiji (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) ever show such conviction?” he added.
Modi said Aiyar came from a good family, has a number of university degrees, was a diplomat for a number of years and remained a Minister in the Manmohan Singh government, but was resorting to such insults. “This is an insult to Gujarat. Not just to Gujarat but to the entire nation.” He said Aiyar was speaking out of the “Mughlai mindset” that “sees everyone as ‘neech'”. “They called us donkeys, neech, gandi naali ke keede…the people of Gujarat will give a befitting reply to such derogatory language. The Congress leaders are speaking in a language that is not acceptable in democracy. “We have seen enough insults from them. They insulted me when I was the Chief Minister. They called me ‘maut ka saudagar’ and wanted to jail me. But our value system is strong. We have nothing to say to such elements. Our answer will come through the ballot box. “I appeal to all BJP activists not to retort. But answer them on December 9 and 14 (voting days). My people should not lower their standards. We will teach them a lesson. Voting results would mean what low caste means when everyone votes for the BJP. You have lost your mental balance. I am not upset because I work for the people.” As the row became an embarrassment for the Congress, Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to disapprove of Aiyar’s language. “The BJP and the Prime Minister routinely use filthy language to attack the Congress party. The Congress has a different culture and heritage. I do not appreciate the tone and language used by Mani Shankar Aiyar to address the Prime Minister. Both the Congress and I expect him to apologize for what he said,” Gandhi said. Reporters got around to Aiyar at a function in Delhi’s WWF Auditorium Hall and asked him about Modi’s attack and Gandhi’s suggestion to him to apologize. “Yes, I used the word ‘neech’. Now, I am not a Hindi speaker and I translate from English to Hindi. So I used ‘low person’, I translated ‘low’ in my mind. If it happened to mean something else. I apologize. ‘Neech’ as I understand is a direct translation of ‘low’. “I never meant ‘low born’. In English there’s a clear distinction between ‘low’ and ‘low born’. It is very possible that in Hindi — which is not my natural language and which I learned after much effort — I translated ‘low’ as ‘neech’. But if neech also means ‘low born’ then I apologize that I used a word which can be interpreted in many ways, and in the way Modiji is interpreting it, I have nothing to do with that. “I don’t think he is low born but his language is very, I’ll say in English, is very low language. Why would he use such a low language for the Congress on such an occasion. Whatever I say they want to misinterpret. As far as I am concerned the bulk of my remarks dealt with Modi’s very, very nasty remarks about the Congress, particularly with Gandhi’s relationship with Ambedkar.” Wading into the controversy, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Aiyar’s “neech” remark displayed a mindset that only one elite family can be a ruler and the rest are only the “neech”. “The Congress Party has challenged the weaker and backward sections of India by calling the Prime Minister as ‘neech’ . The strength of India’s democracy will be displayed when a person of humble background politically defeats the dynasty and its representatives,” he said in tweets. Jaitley later told reporters that it was part of a Congress strategy to belittle the Prime Minister every day and then say “I will retract”. “If you are unsure of the language or facts, then you are unfit to be in politics,” he said.


  (Reproduced tweets do not reflect Lokmarg editorial policy)
(IANS) // ]]>

GST at present is tax terrorism: Manmohan

‘No competition with Modi on humble background’

Congress leader Manmohan Singh on Saturday said he does not want people to take pity on his humble background as he is not in competition with his successor Prime Minister Narendra Modi over this.

“I don’t want the country to take pity on the basis of my humble background. I do not think I would like to enter in any competition with Prime Minister Modiji on this particular matter,” he said here. Singh was replying to a question on why he never talked about his background like Modi often does by saying he used to sell tea at a railway station in Gujarat to support his family during his childhood. Manmohann Singh, who led UPA government from 2004-14, was born in Gah village in the undivided Punjab in 1932. The former Prime Minister was born into a family of modest means. For the first 12 years of his life he lived in Gah, a village which had no electricity, no school, no hospital, no piped drinking water. He walked for miles every day to school and studied at night in the dim light of a kerosene lamp. When asked once why he had poor eyesight he confessed that it was because he had spent hours reading books in that dim light, according to Sanjaya Baru, who served as media advisor to Singh from 2004 to 2008. His family migrated to Amritsar in India during partition in 1947. He lost his mother at an early age and was brought up by his grandmother. He attended Panjab University where he got his MA in Economics in 1954, standing first throughout his academic career. He completed his Economics Tripos in the University of Cambridge where he was a member of St.John’s College in 1957. After obtaining his doctorate in economics from Oxford, Manmohan Singh worked for the United Nations during 1966-69. From 1969 to 1971, he taught International Trade at the Delhi School of Economics. Over the 1970s and 80s, he held several key posts in the government like such Chief Economic Advisor (1972-76), Governor Reserve Bank of India (1982-85) and Planning Commission head (1985-87). In June 1991, Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao entrusted him with the job of Finance Minister when he carried out several structural reforms that liberalised India’s economy. (IANS) // ]]>