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.”
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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) // ]]>

'What about the loot?' Rahul in Rafale zone

Can you explain “Reliance” on someone with nil experience in aerospace for Rafale deal?

— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) November 16, 2017 This wasn’t the first time that the Congress has invaded Rafale airspace. Earlier this week, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged at a press conference that the Modi government has violated the defence procurement procedure (DPP) in its Rafale deal. “On April 10, Prime Minister Modi visits France and announces the deal for purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aicraft in flyaway condition. This was done unilaterally without following the DPP, without any inter-governmental agreement and in the absence of India’s Defence Minister. However, Mr. Anil Ambani, owner of Reliance Defence Limited was present in France during the Prime Minister’s visit,” Surjewala said. After the BJP-led NDA government took over in May 2014, the earlier Request for Proposal (RFP) for purchase of 126 aircraft was cancelled on July 30, 2015, and a deal was signed the next year for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets for $8.7 billion, Surjewala said, adding that Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence Limited then tied up on October 3, 2016 with Dassault Aviation, the French manufacturer of the Rafale, for an Indian joint venture. Under India’s offset clause, a foreign defence company must invest half of the value of the deal it makes with New Delhi back into India. The Reliance Defence-Dassault joint venture is thus positioned to become a local part of the Rafale supply chain as well as benefit from future orders. The BJP had then said that the allegations are “baseless and unfounded”. Reliance Defence Limited, a part of the Anil Ambani-headed Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, had responded by asking the Congress to correct its facts or face legal action. “Government policy issued on 24 June 2016 allows for 49% FDI in the Defence Sector under the automatic route, without any prior approval. No approvals from the Union Cabinet or CCS were required for the formation of the aforesaid Joint Venture company under the automatic route,” Reliance Defence Limited said in a statement. About the presence of Anil Ambani in France during Prime Minister Modi’s April 2015 visit when the new Rafale deal was first announced, it said: “Shri Anil Ambani is a member of Indo French CEO Forum. In the said meeting, more than 20 CEOs were present.” Surjewala had also said that the joint venture helped Reliance get business (under the offset clause) worth ?30,000 crore. to this Reliance Defence said: “Offsets of Rs. 30,000 Cr. covers obligations of other OEMs including Thales, Safran & MBDA and not of Dassault alone. Over 500 large, medium and small Indian companies will benefit from the offsets which are nothing but an export obligation for goods and services from India.” (with IANS) // ]]>

Cong wants Modi, Jaitley apology for note ban

The Congress on Wednesday termed demonetisation and the GST a “surgical strike” that had destroyed India’s growth story and demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley apologise to the nation for the “mistake”.

Addressing a press conference here, party leader Randeep Singh Surjewala along with chiefs of the party’s frontal organisations said the “double whammy of demonetisation and GST” was being felt across the country. “The disastrous demonetisation and unprepared implementation of GST has led to a surgical strike on the Indian economy. It has not only destroyed India’s growth story but also rendered crores of people jobless and caused businesses to shut down. This is why the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister should apologise to the country,” Surjewala said. “It would have been good if they had said demonetisation was a mistake, sought an apology and initiated a probe. One’s stature does not go down by seeking an apology but Modi is so drunk with arrogance of power that he is not willing to accept it (the mistake),” he added. Congress and several other opposition parties are observing the day as “Black Day”. Surjewala said November 8 was the first “death anniversary” of demonetisation and also of 150 people who lost their lives while in queues in banks and ATMs. He compared demonetisation to the “note bandi” ordered by Delhi emperor Muhammad Bin Tughlak saying that it had caused immense misery. “On the first anniversary of demonetisation, those who looted are celebrating and the common man is mourning loss of livelihood and food,” Surjewala said. The press conference was also addressed by Mahila Congress Chief Sushmita Dev, Youth Congress Chief Amarinder Singh Raja and Congress Seva Dal Chief Mahendra Joshi.

Poor hit hardest, says CPI(M)

Demonetisation of high-denomination notes hit the poor and common people hard as the BJP government at the Centre deceived Indians by unilaterally scrapping Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes last year, the CPI-M said here on Wednesday. “Decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi undemocratically and without any cabinet decision has ruined the life and livelihood of poor and common people,” CPI-M Central Committee member Bijan Dhar told a public gathering while protesting against demonetisation on its first anniversary. He said: “The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) government at the Centre deceived the Indians by unilaterally and suddenly scrapping Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes a year ago. The aims for which demonetisation was enforced have totally failed.” Dhar, also the Tripura state Secretary of the CPI-M, said the entire labour and working class, including construction workers, agriculture workers, workers engaged in unorganised sectors and cottage and medium scale industries were the worst victims of the demonetisation. “Government’s decision to demonetise 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, which together constituted 86 per cent of our currency, also hit the exports and did not help bring black money back to the system,” the CPI-M leader said. Protest rallies and public gatherings were held across the Left-ruled Tripura as the six Left parties called nation-wide protests on Wednesday to mark the first anniversary of demonetisation.
(IANS) // ]]>