Wednesday, February 13, 2019

We can't win as many seats to come to power", - Mulayam springs mega surprise of 2019

New Delhi, Feb 13  Big political row has been triggered off by veteran socialist Mulayam Singh Yadav's heaps of praise on Prime Minister and extending of good wishes that Narendra Modi should 'return' to power again.

"Hum log toh itna bahumat mein nahi aa sakte haen, Pradhan mantri ji aap phir pradhan mantri baney (We cannot win as many seats to come to power. Mr Prime Minister, you will again become Prime Minister)," Mr Yadav said in Lok Sabha perhaps making the most surprising political remark of circa 2019.



With UPA stalwart Sonia Gandhi on his side, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav sprang major surprise and without doubt, former UP Chief Minister's praise on Modi created ripples down the political spectrum as Sonia Gandhi and perhaps also NCP lawmaker Supriya Sule were left surprised in the House.

The well televised episode in Lok Sabha - which is expected to haunt the opposition for months in the election season - has already spread like wildfire on the social network.
Prime Minister Modi had acknowledged Mr Mulayam's 'blessings and good wishes' and also reciprocated to Samajwadi Party stalwart with folded hands.

BJP spokesman Sudhanshu Trivedi predictably welcomed the statement from Samajwadi Party leader and said: "The courtesy he showed proves that he (Mulauam) has risen over and above the party politics". "I think it is nothing but the acceptance of credibility of Narendra Modi in the contemporary Indian politics after his government gave an inclusive development," Mr Trivedi told a private TV channel. 


National Conference leader Omar Abdullah only had two words tweet reactions to the episode- "Poor Akhilesh!"


Efforts have been made by Samajwadi Party sources and other opposition parties later to play down Mulayam's remarks saying the former UP Chief Minister has only tried to wish good wishes to all sitting lawmakers in the House as it was the last working session of the 16th Lok Sabha.
Mulayam's son Akhilesh Yadav lately worked out an alliance with BSP of Mayawati and had kept Congress out of the same.

Mulayam's remarks came on a day opposition leaders Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar, Arvind Kejriwal, Farooq Abdullah and Sharad Yadav have tried to come together  to work out a grand alliance.


Later in the day, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, however, said - "Well, I disagree with him. But Mulayam Singh Yadav has a role in Indian politics".

TRS tells BJP 'know your friends' : CPI-M MP says Speaker's 'smile' was permanent feature


New Delhi, Feb 13 (UNI) On the last working day of the 16th Lok Sabha and at the fag end of the working session, the members including veteran parliamentarians sounded emotional but did not fail to articulate their emotions and even latent anguish.

Nevertheless, they punctuated their views - seemingly honest ones - and voiced these with befitting wits and sagacity.

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's rather flattering remarks to the ruling bench made Prime Minister Narendra Modi acknowledged the compliment with folded hands.

"Aap phir PM (Prime Minister) baney (May you return to power again)," Mr Yadav said.

CPI-M floor leader P Karunakaran in his customary last speech at the concluding session thanked and congratulated 76-year-old Speaker Sumitra Mahajan for successfully presiding over the House for last five years.

The soft spoken Marxist lawmaker told Ms Mahajan that all along one constant thing about the Speaker while running the House used to be "your smile".

"Your smile used to be the constant thing.....You were angry at times, but you were unable to hide your smile," said Mr Karunakaran.

TRS leader A P Jithender Reddy while thanking the Speaker and the Union government for cooperation rendered to him and his party colleagues in highlighting issues concerning the nascent state, told the ruling side - "aap yeh nahi jaante they kaun dost hae, kaun dushman hae (In beginning you did not know, who is your friend and who is your enemy)".

The remarks with sarcasm was targeted at TDP, who was part of the NDA dispensation from 2014 when the Modi government came to power and later parted ways.

Notably, the TDP members gave the occasion a miss.



As CAG backs govt on Rafale, PM uses 'earthquake' jibe against Rahul

New Delhi, Feb 13 (UNI) Close on the heels of CAG report giving clean chit to the government on Rafale deal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday took a dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his 'when I speak, there will be earthquake' and said five years have gone and no tremor could disturb him or his government.


''...Hum kabhi kabhi sunte they bhukamp aayega, paanch saal ka kaaryakaal pura ho raha hai, koi bhukam nahi aaya(we have more often heard about earthquake coming but five years have gone, nothing like that happened),''  the Prime Minister said at the valedictory session of the 16th Lok Sabha in the presence of Mr Gandhi.


Prime Minister's remarks were in reference to comment made by Mr Gandhi first in 2016 that if he is allowed to speak, there will be earthquake in the country.


The Prime Minister said, ''Kabhi hawai jahaj bhi ude... bade bade logon ne hawai jahaj udaai.  Lekin loktantra aaur Lok Sabha ki maryada itni unchi hai ki bhukamp bhi pacha gaya aur koi hawai jahaj uski unchai tak nahi pahunch paya (sometimes many people flew aircraft and boasted that they can trigger tremor but the beauty and the strength of democracy is that no allegation could touch it).''


Mr Modi said during the last four-and-a-half years, his government helped the country achieve many milestones and getting rid of 1,400 obsolete laws was one of them.


''This was a good beginning and senior leader Mulayam Singh Yadav has also given his blessings to my government,'' the Prime Minister said, in reference to socialist stalwart's remarks earlier that Mr Modi should return to power again.


''Aap fir bane pradhan mantri (My best wishes are that you become Prime Minister again),'' Mr Yadav said earlier.

The Prime Minister also smilingly thanked him with folded hands.


The CAG report on Rafale deal was placed in both the Houses of Parliament which was hailed by Union Minister Arun Jaitley.


'' Satyameva Jayate – the truth shall prevail.

"The CAG Report on Rafale reaffirms the dictum," he tweeted.


Country's prestige shot up globally because of full-majority govt, says Modi

New Delhi, Feb 13 (UNI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday laid emphasis on the importance of clear mandate for a  'full-majority' government and said this was single biggest reason for the country's prestige to have gone up in the past few years.

''In the comity of nations, India is taken seriously these days. There need not be any doubt that this is happening because of Modi or Sushma Swaraj(External Affairs Minister). The reality is something else and the reason is for the first time in 30 years there came a government with full majority in 2014,'' the Prime Minister said at the valedictory session of the 16th Lok Sabha.

''The world recognises the government with full majority...the fractured mandate in 30 years has often made the country face awkward situation globally,'' he said, adding when a leader goes abroad with full mandate government behind him, he gets different kind of respect.


''When such a leader goes abroad, the world knows that this man has mandate behind him,'' Mr Modi said in presence of senior parliamentarians L K Advani, Sonia Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi.
''This is a big difference I have experience in the last five years and the credit for this goes to 125 crore people and not to Modi or Sushma Swaraj for their decision to vote for a stable government in 2014,'' he said.
The terse political commentary on the issue of fractured mandate and stability from the Prime Minister comes on a day when several Opposition leaders are holding a rally in the Capital.

In his speech in the Lok Sabha, the Prime Minister also made opportune use of the occasion and made a veiled attack on Congress president Rahul Gandhi for the unprecedented 'hug politics' the latter had brought into the House in July last year.

''Pahli baar pata chala ki gale milna aur gale padne mein kya farak hai (only after coming into this House, I could know what hug politics is all about),'' the Prime Minister said in his inevitable style.

Mr Modi said as the leader of the House , he would express regrets for any harsh comments made by any member of the House irrespective of party against anyone.

''Michhami Dukkadam ....'', he said adding this is a meaningful phrase which talks about forgiveness so that no dispute or ill feeling is carried beyond this point.
In a lighter note, he said he personally enjoyed debating in the House with Congress floor leader Mallikarjun Kharge.

''It would have been great had his throat been okay today...He could have enlightened us more,'' he said.

Mr Modi said quite often he based his speeches in Parliament in reference to the context of what Mr Kharge has spoken or analysed things.
K C Venugopal of Congress and Sudip Bandyopadhyay of Trinamool Congress also spoke among others.

Weak Oppn is not good for democracy, says Biju Janata Dal MP Mahtab

New Delhi, Feb 13 (UNI) Even as all is set for curtain to fall on the 16th Lok Sabha, a senior
lawmaker Bhartruhari Mahtab on Wednesday said a weak opposition is not good for
democracy.



Making the customary speech at the valedictory session of the Lower House of Parliament,
Mr Mahtab said in 2014 while the mandate was certainly in favour of BJP and the NDA, it was
also a typical case of 'fractured mandate' for the opposition as well.




"It was such a mandate that the opposition got a fractured mandate......and the principal opposition
(Congress) strength was so less that it could not get the formal recognition as Leader of the Opposition in the House," said Mr Mahtab, who was awarded Best parliamentarian award in August 2018.


"This should not happen again....," he said.


Congress floor leader Mallikarjun Kharge had missed the formal recognition as Leader of the Opposition as the party's strength was less than one-tenth of the total members of the House.


Making his observations, Shiv Sena leader Anandrao Adsul also said democracy needs to have a strong opposition also.


Amid much confabulation between Sina and BJP over alliance talks, Mr Adsul almost

sought to put all speculation to rest and said "those who were our friends, were our friends in the 
past, they are still our friends and will be also our friends".


Full text version of Mahtab's remarks:


: I recollect the day 

when I was sharing the Bench along with Mulayam Singh Ji, where
today Chandrakant Khaire Ji and Ananth Ji are sitting. The day you
took the position of the hon. Speaker in that Chair, that 
13.02.2019 Sh/Hcb Uncorrected / Not for Publication 385
majority. The last this Lok Sabha had witnessed in 1984, when the
Treasury Bench had more than 410 Members. But after that, the
country repeatedly gave a fractured mandate. So, should we blame
the people for that or it was because of the fact that there was
fracture in our politics that was getting reflected in the House.
Political scientists will be debating on those issues. 

But in 2014, the
country gave a full majority, but at the same time, we should also
understand the country also gave a fractured Opposition. It was in
such a situation, the major Opposition Party did not get the requisite
numbers to be the Leader of Opposition. 

I would only hope that in 
future such things do not happen again. 



In 2014, Biju Janata Dal 
became the fifth largest party in Lok Sabha.


We were, because of you, Madam, able to ventilate our point of view,
hopefully forcefully, in this House whenever the situation asked us to do.
 I would also mention here, Madam, that during these days in the 16th Lok
Sabha, many changes have been made and a new history has been created.
But there are certain instances, which we should forget as bad dreams. It is
necessary, today, that we should do away with blame game, and we should look
forward to 2022 when this nation will be celebrating its 75th Anniversary of
Independence. This is the year, as I had said earlier also, when we will be 
13.02.2019 Sh/Hcb Uncorrected / Not for Publication 386
celebrating many historic moments; and I would hope that when this country will
be going to exercise its mandate, a new era will emerge and that morning will
definitely be for a better tomorrow, for a better nation-building.

 With these words, I commend to you, Madam, that the manner in which
you presided over this Lok Sabha, it has added a glorious chapter to our
parliamentary history.

 Thank you, Madam. 


ends

Friday, February 8, 2019

"Gaurav Gogoi, you will not go there" - Speaker tells Cong MP: Kharge insists on JPC

New Delhi, Feb 8 "Mr Gaurav Gogoi you will not go there. This is not fair. You should not disturb him. I am sorry," virtually ordered Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan ventilating her anguish at the conduct of lawmaker from Assam and other Congress legislators when they 'disturbed' Biju Janata Dal member Tathagata Satpathy from participating in the debate on the Interim Budget.
"Hum sabh public representative haen, bahut geyar jimmedarena bartao yeanh par ho raha hae (We all are public representatives; but the way things went on. It was great irresponsible act, such things should not happen in the House)," Speaker said when BJD floor leader Bhartruhari Mahtab drew Speaker's attention and said his party colleague Mr Satpathy was disturbed by Congress members who came to his seat and tried to prevent him from delivering his speech.

The issue figured in the post lunch session when Mr Satpathy speaking on the Budget. Some Congress members including Gaurav Gogoi tried to prevent him from speaking.

Amid din, Congress floor leader Mallikarjin Kharge, however, said unless the Congress demand for a JPC on Rafale is not met, the protest would continue.
"Unless this problem is solved, we have to do this in the interest of the country," he said.


Mr Mahtab maintained: "when Mr Satpathy, was speaking, some members were walking up to him and tried to obstruct him by showing the placards in front of him. This is something which is very serious. ....This is the manner in which young Parliamentarians are behaving. This should be condemned with full force."


Speaker Ms Mahajan shared Mr Mahtab's contention and said - "I also took his name. I told him, by particularly taking his name, that this is not proper. You know public is also seeing all these things. Such things should not be done".
The conduct of such members was really anti-democratic, she said.

PM tears into Oppn, calls them 'mahamilavat'


New Delhi Feb 7 (UNI) The Lok Sabha on Thursday adopted the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address after all the amendments moved by the Opposition members were negated.


In his spirited one hour 40 minute reply to the debate, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lashed out at the Opposition, saying 'mahamilavat'(self styled grand alliance) would come a cropper as BJP detractors did not have any policy for governance.  Seeking to take the spirit of the Opposition campaign that his government has unleashed an atmosphere of fear to the rival camp, he said ,''Desh ko lootne walon ko darna hi hoga (Those who were corrupt and wrongdoers will have to fear the law).''


''This is the task I have been given by this country,'' he said in his characteristic style.
In his speech, Mr Modi liberally took potshots at Congress and Trinamool Congress leaders and said the country still remembers the scene on television when members of Parliament were seen taking currency notes.



This was perhaps in context of Narada scam when Trinamool Congress leaders were seen receiving currency notes.


Extending good wishes to the Opposition parties for 'healthy competition' during ensuing general elections, he said the Congress party should be careful about its false pride as it is this
'ahankaar' that has reduced Congress from 400 to 40.


''In contrast, it is our commitment to the service of the nation that we kept on marching ahead and our strength has risen from two and we are in the government today,'' he said.



The Prime Minister said the opposition Congress has committed 'paap (sin)' by trying to spread a fake news about the army's 'coup attempt'.

He said the Congress party should be careful when they point fingers at him as "four other fingers"
would be turned towards them only.

He said those who allege him and and his government for trying to destroy constitutional bodies
must remember that under Congress worse things have been carried out.

"The power to dismiss state governments was abused over 100 times by Congress and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had alone abused Article 356 and dismissed opposition ruled states more than 50 times," he said amid support of his party colleagues.

Mr Modi said the allegations of being autocrat against him was not only a falsehood but a classic case of the kettle calling the pot black.

''Ulta chor chowkidaar ko daante,'' he said making a variation from the established Hindi saying as the Opposition parties have recently started taking dig at him and calling him 'chowkidaar'.



In  2014 election campaign, Mr Modi had said that he would serve the country as a true chowkidaar - in reference to the post of prime minister being akin to a custodian.

Lashing out at Congress President Rahul Gandhi, the Prime Minister said, "How the sanctity of constitutional mechanism was respected when your leader destroyed a paper which was passed by the Union cabinet". This was in reference to Mr Gandhi tearing a copy of an Ordinance at a media conference in New Delhi. The Ordinance was passed by the Manmohan Singh government aimed at shielding convicted MPs and he as party vice-president had described the document as ''nonsense which should be torn up  and thrown away''.



The Prime Minister in his speech also wondered what was the justification in a former Prime Minister describing Planning Commission as a house of 'jokers'.
He said time has come to make a comparison of 55 years of Congress rule and 55 months of his
government's work.

"People often say my government works for rich...yes, I have worked for the rich and given them toilets," he said in a sarcastic note. Mr Modi also said if the Congress regime had worked properly - all the villages in the country would have got electrified in the first 20 years since 1947.

Thanking President Ram Nath Kovind for his address to the joint sitting of Parliament, he said it was both a 'visionary statement' and focused strictly on highlighting the ground reality.

He also charged Congress party with conspiring to keep the Indian Air Force weak.

Amid strong objections from the Congress members, Mr Modi said : "I want to make the charge seriously. .....The Congress party does not want that the Indian Air Force to become strong and should acquire the requisite prowess".

He said the Congress party and its leadership is upset with the government for  finalising the Rafale aircraft deal with France as they were stunned to realise that suddenly for the first time the defence deals were finalised without indulgence of any middleman.

"Otherwise, always they had some uncles....," Prime Minister said in reference to the likes of
Christian Michel and Ottavio Quattrocchi.

He also said the Congress party is at unease as three 'rajdars (those who know what went behind)'
have been brought to India and are being questioned by the probe agencies.

"Today, they are disturbed and we often see that slips are being passed to those being questioned (like Michel)," he said in reference to the AgustaWestland chopper scam.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

‘No final solution’ to Naga issue before Parl polls: Tokheho tells Lok Sabha


New Delhi, February 5: In a statement that could trigger a major political controversy and battle of wits in Nagaland, the lone Lok Sabha member, Tokheho Yepthomi, today said that any final solution may not come to the vexed Naga issue before the fast approaching parliamentary elections.
“‘Elections are knocking at the door and I believe that the final solution may not take place. That is what I presume,” Tokheho said while participating in the debate on Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address.

A first time MP, Tokheho, who has made it to the Lok Sabha in the bypolls only after Neiphiu Rio returned to the state as Chief Minister in March 2018, did a plain speaking and pointed out while there are “no killings” in the state now, but there is “unrest in our State”.

“Therefore, taking this opportunity, I would like to request the Prime Minister, Home Minister, senior Leaders and the Leaders of this august House to kindly extend all assistance to resolve this
Naga political issue…..so that Nagaland can also be a part of this great nation,” he said.

He reminded the members that negotiations to resolve Naga political problem had started way back in 1997 and talks are going on for last 22 years under so many successive governments.
It goes without saying that the formal Naga peace talks between Central government’s negotiators and the NSCN(IM) has been going under successive Prime Ministers – H D Deve Gowda, I K Gujral, Atal BIhari Vajpayee, Dr Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi.


However, he was cautious that as part of the BJP-led NDA, the NDPP cannot quite displease the Modi government and thus he credited Prime Minister and his government for the Framework Agreement inked on August 3, 2015.
But he hastened to add in carefully chosen words, “We were expecting solution” but nothing came in last few years.
Criticizing previous regimes – especially the one led by Dr Singh – for hardly making any progress in the talks, the Nagaland lawmaker said, “However under the Modi government the Framework Agreement was signed.”


“During the UPA Government, in 10 years, there were only negotiations, and there was no sign of improvement in the negotiations. But during Prime Minister Modi’s time, within two years, the Framework Agreement has been signed — as has been mentioned by me — and it is going on for the last 3 and half years,” he said adding, nevertheless in the absence of the final solution the people are “suffering”.


Tokheho, who has also served as minister in the state, lauded Modi government’s works and said, “Our Government has taken a lot of initiatives and programmes for development, but in Nagaland the four-lane road that was committed by our former Prime Minister, Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji, is under construction. Otherwise, rest of the development works are held-up due to insurgency problems”.
He lamented that there was no mention of insurgency problem in the Northeast in the Presidential address.
He also said people will not get ‘dignity and justice’ in Nagaland unless the issue is resolved at the earliest.

“I would like to congratulate the Prime Minister Modi and the Home Minister Rajnath Singh for bringing all the law and order problems in (Jammu and Kashmir and Naxal hit states) under control. But nothing has been mentioned in the Honourable President’s speech about North-Eastern insurgency problems,” he said.

ends

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Countering Manmohan's 'minority tag', Piyush Goyal says poor have 'first right' on resources


Countering Manmohan's 'minority tag', Piyush Goyal says poor have 'first right' on resources


New Delhi, Feb 1  Castigated for being a 'suit boot ka sarkar', the Modi government on Friday sought to take the battle over poor people's rights to the Congress camp with the Budget speech stating in as many words that it is the 'poor' who will have the first right on national resources.

"The poor have the first right on the resources of the nation," Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said in his Budget speech and also referred to the much talked about Constitutional Amendment Bill that gave 10 per cent reservation in educational institutions and government services for 'poor' among the general category.

Notably, the counter narrative of 'poor' vis-a-vis Muslims or minorities as stated by the then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in 2006 came even as in the past too the BJP leaders have slammed Dr Singh for his remarks.
The reference is to Dr Singh's statement on December 9, 2006 when he had told the 52nd meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) plans for minorities, particularly Muslims, must have the "first claim" on resources so that benefits of development reach them equitably.
"We will have to devise innovative plans to ensure that minorities, particularly the Muslim minority, are empowered to share equitably the fruits of development. These must have the first claim on resources," Dr Singh has said.


For his part, FM Mr Goyal said the government while maintaining the existing reservation for SC/ST/Other Backward Classes, have now ensured 10 reservation in educational institutions and Government services for poor.
"In these institutions, around 25 per cent extra seats (approximately 2 lakh) will be provided so that, there is no shortfall of presently available/reserved seats for any class".

To provide foodgrains at affordable prices to the poor and middle class, the FM said about Rs 1,70,000 crore were spent in 2018-19 which is almost "double" the amount of Rs 92,000 crore spent in 2013-14.

"We ensured that everyone gets food and none goes to sleep hungry. Rs 60,000 crore is being allocated for MGNREGA in Budget Estimates 2019-20. Additional amount would be provided if required," he said.

Mr Goyal said - this government has worked to bridge the urban-rural divide in the country.
"Honourable members in this August House, most of whom are from rural areas, will agree that several times in the past, only empty promises have been made to people living in our villages," he said.

"During the last five years, we have undertaken targeted expenditure to improve their quality of life in all its dimensions. Our aim, is to provide urban facilities in villages while keeping the soul of rural life intact," the Finance Minister said.


Budget: With populism at heart, Modi Govt sounds poll bugle 


The BJP-led NDA on Friday plunged into full steam electoral campaign as in the Budget for first four months for 2019-20, it pledged to reduce tax burden on middle class and unveiled a Rs 75,000 crore new farm income scheme aimed to help at least 12 crore farmers.

No sooner the customary formality in the Lok Sabha was over and Finance Minister Piyush Goyal wrapped up the Budget speech stating  a "grand edifice will be erected" under decisive leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP leaders including Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP) patted themselves for what they repeatedly said was a historic Budget.

''Now, it is absolutely clear we will win more than 400 seats,'' said Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha.

Mr Paswan also echoed the spirit saying ''the new government will be certainly headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi''.

Mr Modi, whose regime has been facing unhappiness over farm incomes, said the Budget gives a new direction to the economy for making of 'New India'.

"This Budget has addressed issues concerning farmers, gave income tax relief to tax payers and also has taken care of manufacturing sector," Mr Modi said in his post-Budget reaction.
Mr Modi also said the Budget will cater to the needs of 30-40 crore workers in the unorganised sector.

BJP chief Amit Shah said the middle class interest has been "more than adequately safe guarded" in this year's Budget.
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Populism was at its best in display in the House and when FM Goyal mentioned about tax relief and announcing that those with income up to Rs 5 lakh will get rebate, there was an unprecedented 'Modi Modi' sloganeering in the House and thumping of desks by ruling bench members.

In fact, Mr Goyal had to pause for a while reading his maiden speech and the sixth for the NDA regime.
After the new measure, Mr Goyal said those having an income of Rs 6.5 lakh annually will not have to pay any income tax provided they make investments in provident fund and other schemes.

The Finance Minister made opportune use of the occasion to thank the tax payers in the country and said the revenues generated by people's contributions help in taking up various welfare measures for millions of countrymen and women.

"Your tax helps give dignity to mothers and sisters with toilet and cooking gas...Your tax pays for the electricity connections for the poor who have lived in darkness for generations," the Finance Minister said.
The ailing Arun Jaitley also gave a thumps up to Mr Goyal Tweeting from the US -  "The economic reforms undertaken by the NDA Government have unshackled Indian economy, unleashed its potential and made us a global leader in growth".

With various opinion polls suggesting that the BJP could face stiff fight in ensuing elections, the Interim Budget presented on Friday seeks to enhance government investment in the rural areas and in other sectors including Defence too.

To provide foodgrains at affordable prices to the poor and middle class, the FM said about Rs 1,70,000 crore were spent in 2018-19 which is almost "double" the amount of  Rs 92,000 crore spent in 2013-14.

"We ensured that everyone gets food and none goes to sleep hungry. Rs 60,000 crore is being allocated for MGNREGA in Budget Estimates 2019-20. Additional amount would be provided if required," he said.

Mr Goyal said - this government has worked to bridge the urban-rural divide in the country.

"Honourable members in this August House, most of whom are from rural areas, will agree that several times in the past, only empty promises have been made to people living in our villages," he said.
"We have undertaken targeted expenditure to improve their quality of life in all its dimensions. Our aim, is to provide urban facilities in villages while keeping the soul of rural life intact," the Finance Minister said.

In his inimitable style, Mr Goyal said: "This is not just an interim budget, this is a vehicle for the developmental transformation of the nation".
"India is solidly back on track and marching towards growth and prosperity," he said amid cheers from PM Modi, BJP patriarch L K Advani and others.
The government had in January announced 10 per cent reservation for the economically weaker sections among the general category people.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Political calculus in Modi's decisions on Bharat Ratna for Pranab, Hazarika, Nanaji

While Nanaji Deshmukh is a former RSS functionary, the decision to confer the highest civilian awards to noted singer from Assam - Late Bhupen Hazarika and former President Pranab Mukherjee, a Congress old war horse, will be seen as decisions aimed at the coming polls vis-a-vis the states of Assam and West Bengal.
In 1940s many youngsters in Maharashtra including the likes of Nanaji Deshkukh inspired by RSS stalwart Keshav Baliram Hedgewar had joined the Sanghparivar fountainhead.


Originally called Chandikadas Amritrao Deshmukh was also deputed to Uttar Pradesh to function as a Pracharak. It may be mentioned here that during 2002 Gujarat riots, Late Deshmukh had visited the western state and had disapproved the violence in the state.
"Gujarat has been caught in a heart rendering genocide orchestrated as a reaction to the ghastly carnage staged at Godhra. Do we want to divide our country once again on a Hindu-Muslim basis?," Nanaji had said on April 9, 2002 during his visit to Ahmedabad, according to a book 'Godhra - Journey of a Prime Minister'.


In what is seen as a well thought of move - coming months before the general elections - the Narendra Modi government on Friday decided to confer country's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna to music maestro Bhupen Hazarika, noted social activist Nanaji Deshmukh and former President Pranab Mukherjee.


Hazarika and Nanaji Deshmukh would be given the prestigious award posthumously, a Rashtrapati Bhavan communique said here.

The move clearly has Sanghparivar imprint and reflection of 'political wisdom' on the part of BJP-led NDA regime with BJP insiders saying the opposition will find little scope to attack the government on its decision to select this year's Bharat Ratna awards.


In general, the decision on Bharat Ratna awardees are taken by the incumbent Prime Minister, who communicates it to the President informally and the announcement is made by the President. 
The established norm is that the Prime Minster can recommend only three names for a year.
The recipients receive a certificate signed by the President and the 'peepal leaf' shaped medallion and there is no monetary grant associated with the award.

In terms of decisions for conferring the award to Pranab Mukherjee, the BJP admirers are linking to 'political wisdom' of Prime Minister and also to give a message that he has tried to remain apolitical in his decision to select this year's award winners.



"All throughout his life, Pranab Mukherjee has been a Congressman opposed to BJP and RSS politics. But by this decision, Mr Modi has shown that some decisions ought to be taken rising above party politics. Congress regimes in 60 years never entertained the idea of conferring such awards to non Congress leaders. But Modi government is different," Virendra Sachdeva of BJP's Good Governance cell told UNI.


He further said: "Look at the irony Congress did not make Pranab babu the Prime Minister, but today justice has been done to Bengal's one of the tallest leaders of our time".



The decision to confer the award on a die-hard Congress leader comes at a time when the opposition parties have tried to corner the Modi government on the charge of pursuing vindictive politics.
BJP circle is happy at the announcement of Bharat Ratna for Nanaji Deshmukh as the move is aimed at winner over Sanghparivar hardliners and also to appeal to the regional sentiment of Maharahstra.


The western Indian state has 48 Lok Sabha seats - second only to Uttar Pradesh.



The decision to award legendary playback singer and musician Bhupen Hazarika from Assam comes at a time when the saffron party is faced with a difficult situation on ground in the northeastern region especially in the context of the government's decision to push with The Citizenship Amendment Bill.

However, it remains to be seen how much difference the decision to award Bhupen Hazarika can make electorally. In 2004, Hazarika himself contesting on BJP ticket had lost the seat to Congress nominee Kirip Chaliha.
Late Hazarika had polled 33.13 per cent of votes as against 40.06 per cent of votes by Congress candidate.



Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed former President Pranab Mukherjee as an 'outstanding statesman of our times' and also described music maestro Bhupen Hazarika as a symbol of 'justice, harmony and brotherhood'.
In a series of tweets, Prime Minister wrote that Late Nanaji Deshmukh is a 'Bharat Ratna' in the truest sense.



ends 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Sharad Yadav commits Bofors 'faux pas' at Kolkata rally: PM mocks Opp rally with '‘bachao, bachao" & 'Kya scene hae' jibes


Sharad Yadav commits Bofors 'faux pas' at Kolkata rally: Such slips happen, says Mamata


Kolkata, Jan 19 Senior parliamentarian and a vocal anti-Modi leader Sharad Yadav on Saturday committed faux pas during his speech at the united opposition rally here and mixed up the infamous Bofors scam of 1980s with the Rafale row of contemporary setting.


Speaking at the rally organised by Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee and attended among others by former Congress stalwarts like Sharad Pawar and the present Congress leader Abhishekmanu Singhvi, the former JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav referred to the Bofors scam twice in his speech. However, at the end of the speech, Mr Yadav corrected himself and apologised and said he wanted to say "Rafale...Rafale..Rafale" and not Bofors.
The chief hostess and organiser of the mega event - Ms Banerjee later remarked that such slips do happen while making speeches and what Sharad Yadav had meant was Rafale aircraft row and not Bofors.


Mr Yadav was referring to the new article on Rafale row as reported in a leading English daily.
Ironically, Mr Sharad Yadav was part of the united Janata Dal in late 1980s and 1990s when Bofors was at the helm of defeat and the scandal had finally led to the ouster of Rajiv Gandhi government.
A massive anti-Congress rally was organised in Kolkata in 1988 wherein opposition leaders had shared stage and had given a clarion call for the ouster of Congress government in the centre.
The likes of Ms Banerjee and Sharad Pawar were all part of the Congress party then.

In fact on July 2, 1988 in 'Calcutta' (old name of Kolkata), top BJP leaders had shared stage with Jyoti Basu among others and had given a call for the defeat of Congress government in the centre.

PM mocks Opp rally with '‘bachao, bachao" & 'Kya scene hae' jibes; errs on lone Bengal MLA

New Delhi/Silvassa, Jan 19 (UNI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday was at his rhetoric best taking dig at the united opposition rally in Kolkata and threw up jibes ''Wah Kya scene hae' and '‘bachao, bachao, bachao’ at his detractors though he committed factual error in talking about 'lone' BJP legislator in West Bengal. "We have just a single legislator in West Bengal but today all these opposition leaders have got together. They have done so because our government in marching on the road map of 'satya (truth)' and they are scared of our one MLA," Mr Modi said in his inimitable style adding, "Look at the desperation, they are screaming bachao, bachao (please save us)".

"Those who curb democratic rights themselves in states....those who prevent candidates filing nominations for panchayat elections and now lecture others, I have only one thing to say....'Wah Kya scene hae'," Prime Minister said addressing a rally in Silvassa in Dadra and Nagar Haveli around the time the opposition conclave in Kolkata's Brigade ground was still on. However, the Prime Minister's observation on 'single MLA' was factually wrong as in 2016 assembly polls, three BJP legislators were elected to the state assembly.

They include state unit president Dilip Ghosh, who won from Kharagpur Sadar and two other BJP MLAs were Manoj Tigga representing Madarihat and Swadhin Kumar Sarkar, who won Baisnabnagar seat in Malda. In terms of elected MPs also - BJP has two lawmakers in Lok Sabha from Trinamool-ruled state - Babul Supriyo (Asansol) and S S Ahluwalia (Darjeeling). At a media conference in Kolkata, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, however, said in reply to a question, "....they have three MLAs".

Prime Minister in his speech and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad also sought to make corruption a major issue vis-a-vis the opposition unity. "Inhe dikkat hae Modi Bhrastachar ke khilaf itni kari karwai kyon kar raha hae (They are not happy why my government is taking so much of a tough stance against corrupt people)," Prime Minister said. "My (his government's) actions against corruption have infuriated some people. It is natural for them to get angry as I have prevented them from looting public money. Consequently, they have now formed an alliance called Mahagathbandhan".


Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad termed the rally organised by the Trinamool Congress as a "rally of rank opportunist elements". Mr Prasad said many of the proposed Gathbandhan leaders who shared the stage at Kolkata's Brigade ground on Saturday also face serious corruption charges. The Mahagathbandhan thus is also an effort to save the corrupt, he said.


The Trinamool regime has been under cloud over Sharada chit fund scam and its leaders have been jailed. Similarly, number of cases of corruption are against top Congress leaders and their relatives as well. Prime Minister said his government's only focused approach is development. "We want to work for 130 crore Indians," he said.


"These people are doing all sorts of things to save themselves and I have undertaken my mission of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas," Mr Modi said. The Kolkata rally saw a galaxy of opposition leaders including the likes of H D Deve Gowda, N Chandrababdu Naidu, Sharad Pawar, Akhilesh Yadav and of course Mamata Banerjee among others getting together and giving a clarion call for the ouster of the Modi government.
A number of leaders including Farooq Abdullah (National Conference) and former BJP leader Yashnwant Sinha said the fight was not against an individual - that is Narendra Modi.


Sitting BJP MP and cinestar-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha also joined the opposition bandwagon and blasted the government on wide range of issues including Rafale aircraft row and for unleashing an alleged authoritarian regime. BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy, however, told reporters here that the opposition rally in Kolkata was "an anti-Modi exercise". "This is a stage of contradiction and conflict.............The rally in Kolkata is a failed front. This (front) is made in a condition of hopelessness. There has been personal hatred and selfishness on the stage," he said.

".....we can clearly see a divided leadership. It's a summit of contradictions and conflict. They talk of a new front but I am not sure if it's even the second or the third front," Mr Rudy said.

"The Left has refused their invitation. SP-BSP alliance snubbed Congress in UP which has now extended support to the rally. This is a rally of self-interest," he alleged.

On BJP's sitting Lok Sabha MP Shatrughan Sinha attending the opposition rally, he said BJP will take cognizance of it.
“They make it a point to be present at the whip so that they don’t lose their membership. At the same time, they are so opportunistic that they want to climb the stage and be present at a conclave. BJP will take cognizance of it,” BJP spokesman Rudy said.
The reference was to Mr Sinha attending the Lok Sabha proceedings during the recently concluded winter session of Parliament. Mr Sinha had attended the Lok Sabha session when it approved the Constitution Amendment Bill that ensured reservation for economically weaker sections of people from general category.


BJP takes 'cognizance' of Shatrughan Sinha's presence in Mamata-led Opp. rally

Days after senior Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi had told disgruntled party MP Shatrughan Sinha to 'leave' the saffron party if he was not happy, the saffron outfit on Saturday said the leadership will take cognizance of Mr Sinha attending the Mamata Banerjee-led rally in Kolkata.


“They make it a point to be present at the whip so that they don’t lose their membership. At the same time, they are so opportunistic that they want to climb the stage and be present at a conclave. BJP will take cognizance of it,” BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters here.

The reference was to Mr Sinha attending the Lok Sabha proceedings during the recently concluded winter session of Parliament. Mr Sinha had attended the Lok Sabha session when it approved the Constitution Amendment Bill that ensured reservation for economically weaker sections of people from general category.


Meanwhile, addressing the rally at Kolkata, the cinestar-turned-politician said, he did not mind being expelled from the party. "If to speak truth is being rebellion, I am a rebel.....I am answerable to the people of India," he said in presence of the likes of Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie.

He also said, "I have only tried to show mirror to the party (BJP)".
In his response to the Mamata Banerjee-organised rally, BJP spokesman Mr Rudy termed the opposition rally in Kolkata as ‘political opportunism’.

“Some people are intelligent in a different way. Some people want to carry stamp of BJP for the facilities that come as a MP,” said Mr Rudy, also an elected MP from Saran parliamentary constituency in Bihar.
Mr Shatrughan Sinha, who was Health Minister under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, represents Patna Sahib parliamentary constituency in Bihar.
As Mamata intensifies battle against Modi, BJP tries to identify candidates for LS polls


New Delhi, Jan 19 Amid Mamata Banerjee’s much talked about and hyped anti-BJP rally in Kolkata, BJP sources indicated on Saturday here that the party is well geared up for 2019 elections and has shortlisted a number of prominent faces for the electoral battle.


According to BJP sources, the list of candidates for the fast approaching Lok Sabha elections will include cine stars and turncoats from Trinamool Congress and even Forward Bloc.

The names like Locket Chatterjee, Moushumi Chatterjee and sitting Lok Sabha MP from Asansol Babul Supriyo figure among the names short listed to take on Mamata Banerjee’s candidates.


Mr Supriyo, Union MoS for Heavy Industries, would be in probability seek re-election from Asansol. However, there are talks that the playback singer-turned-politician may also move to nearby Bardhaman-Durgapur parliamentary seat in south Bengal.


Noted Bollywood actress Moushumi Chatterjee, who joined the BJP earlier this month, may be BJP nominee from Birbhum – which is at present being represented by actress and Trinamool lawmaker Shatabdi Roy. BJP nominee in 2014 was Bengal cinema actor-turned-politician Joy Banerjee.


Locket Chatterjee of Bengali TV and film fame is BJP Women Wing president in West Bengal and may be fielded from Bakura. At present another cine star Moon Moon Sen is representing the seat. The constituency was earlier a noted Marxists' den having returned Basudeb Acharia number of times.

“There is a possibility of fielding Locket Chatterjee from Birbhum also,” sources said.


BJP state unit chief Dilip Ghosh, sitting Kharagpur MLA, may contest from Medinipur parliamentary constituency. Prabhakar Tiway was BJP nominee in 2014 and the seat is at present being represented by actress-turned-Trinamool leader Sandhya Roy.


Another prominent face and BJP leader in the state Rahul Sinha may again try his electoral fortune from North Kolkata. In 2014, he finished second against Trinamool strongman Sudip Bandyopadhyay and importantly from the saffron party’s poll strategy – the CPI(M) nominee Rupa Bagchi  in the constituency could bag only 196,549 votes to finish third. Mr Sinha had won 247,461 votes as against 33,687 votes by Sudip Bandyopadhyay.

Sources said another key leader of the party Samik Bhattarcharjee may be saffron party’s candidate from Dumdum in Kolkata. The seat is at present represented by Saugata Roy of Trinamool Congress.


For Bishnupur parliamentary seat, the saffron party in all likelihood will field the incumbent lawmaker Saumitra Khan, a former Trinamool leader who lately joined the BJP.

Sitting Trinamool MP Anupam Hazra may join the BJP and contest from the Bolpur seat. Mr Hazra was expelled by the Trinamool leadership on January 9.

The name of BJP Youth Wing chief in the state Debjit Sarkar is reportedly being considered for Raiganj Lok Sabha seat. The constituency is at present being represented by CPI-M leader Mohammed Salim. BJP nominee Nimu Bhowmick had finished third, bagging 2,03,131 votes as against 3,17,515 by Mr Salim and 315,881 by Congress leader Deepa Dasmunshi.

The victory margin for Mr Salim was mere 1634 votes and analysts say good performance by the BJP had made CPI-M’s task easier to win the seat.

The nominated member Anglo Indian George Baker, also a former cine star, may be fielded from Howrah or Barasat parliamentary constituency. He had unsuccessfully contested from Howrah in 2014 but could finish only number three.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s kin Chandra Bose, who was BJP nominee against Mamata Banerjee in 2016 assembly polls from Bhawanipur constituency may be fielded from Jadavpur or South Kolkata constituency.
Humanyun Kabir, a turncoat from Congress and Trinamool Congress, may be fielded from Murshidabad. A former Trinamool Minister in the state Kabir is now a prominent face in the party from the region.


Mr Kabir had joined the Congress after he was expelled by the Trinamool leadership in 2015 for his alleged anti-party activities. He later claimed that the people in West Bengal are looking for a genuine alternative to Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool and see the BJP as a credible party to do so.

For Bakura Lok Sabha seat, another ticket aspirant is Dr Subhas Sarkar.

Former Forward Bloc leader Narhari Mahato will be likely BJP candidate from Purulia. The saffron party had put up impressive show during the 2018 local body polls in the region – adjoining Jharkhand.

The saffron party strategists are working out details for suitable candidates for seats like Bangaon, Balurghat, Jhargram and Ranaghat.


Farooq Abdullah raises EVM bogey, calls it 'chor machine'


Kolkata, Jan 19 Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah on Saturday sought to dump the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) calling them "chor machines" and insisted that united efforts ought to be made by opposition parties to bring back the ballot paper system in country's electioneering process.

Speaking at the united opposition rally organised by Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, he said, "Yeh Chor machine hae (The EVM is chor machine)".

He said the opposition unity is not the question of ousting any single person or the Prime Minister Narendra Modi but the bigger issue at stake is the need to save the country from disasters as being brought by the Modi government.

"The EVM is chor machine. Honestly speaking, its use must be put to an end. Nowhere in the world is the machine used. The opposition parties should approach the Election Commission and the President of India to stop the use of the EVM," he said at the Brigade rally also attended by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and the stalwarts among regional party leaders such as Sharad Pawar, N Chandrababu Naidu and many others.


Mr Abdullah blamed the BJP for the 'deteriorating situation' in Jammu and Kashmir and said people are being divided on religious lines.

"I am a Muslim and I love India, my country," he said amid large applause from the gathering.
Speaking at the rally, former Union Minister Arun Shourie said the opposition leaders should be ready for making sacrifices and only then any effective fight can be launched against the BJP-led NDA.

Sitting BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha and former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha were also present at the rally.


Mukul Roy makes 'Jyoti Basu' jibe at Mamata: Supriyo raises traffic woes due to Kolkata rally


New Delhi, Jan 19 BJP leader and former Union Minister Mukul Roy on Saturday made 'Jyoti Basu jibe' at Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and termed the gathering of major regional leaders at the Kolkata rally as "jokers and lying artists coming together".



"West Bengal is again witnessing a circus under Mamata Banerjee's rule similar to what Jyoti Basu had started. Various jokers and lying artists coming together to destroy India again," Mr Roy tweeted with the hashtag 'UnitedAntiNationalsAtBrigade'.



Ms Banerjee's political career in initial years largely focused on fighting the CPI-M and the then Marxist doyen Jyoti Basu.




The ‘United India Rally’ under the aegis of Trinamool Congress is taking place at the Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata where several national leaders, including former prime minister H D Deve Gowda and former chief ministers are present.



In a series of tweets, Union Minister and BJP lawmaker from Asansol Babul Supriyo also took a dig at Trinamool Congress over its mega anti-BJP rally in Kolkata.

"TMC has a large fund base for the rally but not for the state? Kolkata will witness a show of hypocrisy today," Mr Supriyo tweeted.




"The people are aware and can see that the only thing Didi (Mamata Banerjee) has given is big posters and nothing else," he wrote.



He further wrote: "By putting the traffic on stand still and harassing the general public, TMC wants to stand up for the state’s well fare? How ironical! I urge all to share their today's traffic woes".


The Union Minister described the Brigade show as a "rally of unity of corrupt leaders".


"Kolkata will witness a show of hypocrisy today. It is an unholy alliance of political parties for personal survival".


ends 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Is Kharge 'new underdog' ?? Kharge may emerge 'bigger': Cautious BJP set to field a retired IAS officer against him


Does Congress veteran Mallikarjun Kharge face 'Sharad Pawar or Pranab Mukherjee' moment? 

Is BJP concerned with his unblemished and Dalit status?

Cautious that Congress floor leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge could emerge a major 'player' in the post 2019 general elections, the BJP is planning to field former Karnataka Chief Secretary K Ratnaprabha against him from Kalaburagi or Gulbarga parliamentary constituency.



Considered a strong Congress bastion, the BJP had won the Gulbarga seat in 1998 when Baswaraj Patil Sedam had humbled Qamarul Islam of Janata Dal. Mr Islam had won the seat in 1996. For his part Mr Kharge has been winning the seat since 2009.
It may be mentioned that prior to 2009, Gulbarga was a general seat and it fell into Congress kitty after the seat was made reserved for Scheduled Caste after delimitation. Meanwhile, sources say a section of leaders in the Karnataka Congress have already toyed with the idea of 'giving bigger role' to Mr Kharge in the Congress politics after 2019 general elections.
"Mr Kharge, a Dalit face and unblemished, already has Rahul Gandhi's confidence and this was reflected when despite being floor leader, the former Union Minister was made Chairman of Public Accounts Committee replacing another trusted face K V Thomas," a source said.
In a sense, Mr Kharge may get an important position in the 'Congress strategy' after this year's general elections.
"He may be new face in the Congress who will be man to watch. Could he become 'new Manmohan Singh'," a source in Karnataka said.
However, sources also caution there could be 'testing times' too for Mr Kharge as in the past, "ambitious lot" in the Congress party such as past veterans Pranab Mukherjee and Sharad Pawar had to suffer gradual isolation.
According to one school of thought in the Congress party, those who are suggesting 'bigger role' for Mr Kharge are only now trying to harm him.

"He has attained a big position and must be happy about it. To presume, this can grow bigger can only boomerang. Mr Kharge is a keen observer of politics and is thus maintaining his humility. His focus is now to win from the Gulbarga constituency yet again," a source in Karnataka Congress said.
Out of the eight Assembly segments under Gulbarga, two constituencies -- Gulbarga Rural and Chitapur -- are reserved for SC candidates and both are with the Congress at present.


In fact, Mr Kharge's son Priyank Kharge won from Chitarpur and is now Minister of Social Welfare in the Kumaraswamy government.


Considered a strong Congress bastion, the BJP had won the Gulbarga seat in 1998 when Baswaraj Patil Sedam had humbled Qamarul Islam of Janata Dal. Mr Islam had won the seat in 1996. For his part Mr Kharge has been winning the seat since 2009.
It may be mentioned that prior to 2009, Gulbarga was a general seat and it fell into Congress kitty after the seat was made reserved for Scheduled Caste after delimitation. Meanwhile, sources say a section of leaders in the Karnataka Congress have already toyed with the idea of 'giving bigger role' to Mr Kharge in the Congress politics after 2019 general elections.
"Mr Kharge, a Dalit face and unblemished, already has Rahul Gandhi's confidence and this was reflected when despite being floor leader, the former Union Minister was made Chairman of Public Accounts Committee replacing another trusted face K V Thomas," a source said.
In a sense, Mr Kharge may get an important position in the 'Congress strategy' after this year's general elections.

"He may be new face in the Congress who will be man to watch. Could he become 'new Manmohan Singh'," a source in Karnataka said.
However, sources also caution there could be 'testing times' too for Mr Kharge as in the past, "ambitious lot" in the Congress party such as past veterans Pranab Mukherjee and Sharad Pawar had to suffer gradual isolation.
According to one school of thought in the Congress party, those who are suggesting 'bigger role' for Mr Kharge are only now trying to harm him.

"He has attained a big position and must be happy about it. To presume, this can grow bigger can only boomerang. Mr Kharge is a keen observer of politics and is thus maintaining his humility. His focus is now to win from the Gulbarga constituency yet again," a source in Karnataka Congress said.
Out of the eight Assembly segments under Gulbarga, two constituencies -- Gulbarga Rural and Chitapur -- are reserved for SC candidates and both are with the Congress at present.


In fact, Mr Kharge's son Priyank Kharge won from Chitarpur and is now Minister of Social Welfare in the Kumaraswamy government.


According to party sources, a short list prepared by the state unit has the name of former top bureaucrat, who was hugely popular often akin to film stars during her stint as a civil servant.

"Ms Ratnaprabha is a popular name in the state known for credible work. The 1981 batch IAS officer had left her mark as an officer, especially during her work in Bidar district. There have been instances that her office subordinates and others have often named their new born babies as Ratna after her," a party leader said.