Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Post ‘Me Too’: Can Wordsmith M J Akbar turn worries to smoke rings ??

Once a bitter critic of Narendra Modi and his post-Godhra handling of 2002 mayhem, M J Akbar announced his decision to join the saffron party ostensibly because he believed Modi was unjustifiably targeted since 2002 and in 12 long years "none could prove his complexity"  in the riots.

Born in 1951, 67-year-old Akbar later said he was influenced to redraw his opinion on Narendra Modi after the BJP's the then PM-nominee in a Patna rally had said that "Hindus and Muslims should not fight each other; both should instead fight poverty".


“Bengal is famous for the magic of its women and the sweet tooth of its men …. The Bihari tooth is different,” wrote M J Akbar – himself a Bihari - in one of his best selling non-fictions ‘Blood Brothers – A Family Saga’.

The highly acclaimed book is said to reflect about his family and especially his grandfather in more ways than one. It is only ironical twists of fate that ‘women’ are today responsible for what is being said as the ‘downfall’ of an iconic Editor – who actually had magical power with his words.
M J Akbar has quit the Modi ministry and will be fighting out the legal battles against numerous women – who have accused him of attacking their modesty from time to time in 1990s when he was the powerful Editor of ‘The Asian Age’.

Such was the power of his magical words that what he wrote years back in 1980s – about corruption in Nagaland – is often referred to even these days.

Corruption has been a way of life in insurgency-hit state and writing about the fungus of corruption in Naga hills so well Mr Akbar had written - “In Nagaland, government payment is made for works done (about contractors) in heaven (meaning previous life)”.

This was in reference to huge contracts being given out for no work done on ground – in a state where people are said to be religious.

The inclusion of Akbar, who was a Congress spokesperson and known to be close to former Prime Ministers Rajiv Gandhi and Chandrashekhar in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's council of ministers in 2016 was no surprise once he transformed into a bitter Congress critic.

Onetime a bitter critic of Mr Modi and especially for 2002 riots – Mr Akbar is said to have endeared himself to the BJP leadership when during the peak of ‘intolerance debate’ in 2015 – he had described Rahul Gandhi (then the Congress Vice President) as the "spoilt child of Indian democracy".
“Kucch toh sharam karo (Be ashamed little)," Mr Akbar had said reacting to Congress criticism of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and waxed eloquently: "On one hand, we have a Prime Minister, a person who is so affectionate of his mother....on the other hand, there is a mother whose blind love for son has already destroyed the party and the attempt is now even to finish the country" alluding to Sonia Gandhi's alleged pampering of Congress vice president.

The BJP leaders were delighted as the Congress party could not have it worse and that too from a former Congressman and a Muslim intellectual.
Mr Akbar’s politics has been surprising but not much impressive as in his first political avatar, Akbar had won the Kishanganj Lok Sabha seat in 1989 by defeating stalwart Syed Shahbuddin. He, however, lost the seat in 1991.
Akbar had backed Rajiv Gandhi during the Bofors controversy and became the official spokesman of the Congress party but had tough time under P V Narasimha Rao and was back in journalism launching the paper ‘The Asian Age’ – a name today that has perhaps grown synonymous with his crestfallen story. 

A lucid writer Mr Akbar has to his credit celebrated works like "Nehru: The Making of India" and others like "Kashmir: Behind the Vale", "Riot After Riot" and "India: The Siege Within".
His book "Tinderbox: The Past and Future of Pakistan" published in 2012 was highly rated by the BJP leaders including L K Advani and Mr Modi himself.
As MP and Minister in the Modi government, he made a few powerful speeches including on December 29, 2017 in Lok Sabha while debating on the high profile Triple Talaq Bill.
Among other things he questioned the rationale behind making All India Muslim Personal Law Board such a powerful entity and said this body set up only in 1973 even does not any process of election.

In March 2016, speaking as an MP in Rajya Sabha, he articulated well trying to emphasise that poverty is the biggest violence against humankind.A good writer that he is – Mr Akbar has the ability to give spin to many things that would appear very ordinary to many onlookers. On Dev Anand’s films he once wrote – that the Bollywood star was a ‘liberator’ and “gave our generation its first beautiful essay on love and adultery”.

Mr Akbar had also written – “Main Zindagi ke saath nibhata ...(reference to the popular song) and added – “Jo mil gaya usko muqaddar samajh liya (What I got became my destinty....Could philosophy be more enchanting than this”.Well, time is ripe for the wordsmith to live up to his own statement of philosophy and fact.

Monday, October 8, 2018

"Thanks to Sachin Pilot ji, he is managing all the funds", say Congress leaders in Rajasthan

Hospitality in Jaipur Press Club: Ex PTI everywhere Sanjay Sharma & Mr Jaidev
Jaipur, Oct 4: It is no longer a hush-hush matter. Every body is talking about it. There is an immense fund crisis in Congress - out of power in Delhi since 2014 and also having lost several key states.
In fact, not long ago, the Congress party launched a nationwide door-to-door election campaign to raise funds. Rajasthan state unit president Sachin Pilot had tweeted: “I appeal to the people of Rajasthan to support the crowd funding initiative of @INCIndia for upcoming Rajasthan Elections to usher in an era of clean and transparent funding.”

But - creditably for Mr Pilot - talk to few Congress leaders at Pradesh Congress office and you realise that Junior Pilot - son of illustrious father Rajesh Pilot - is managing things displaying efficacy and without harbouring ill feelings towards anyone."This fund raising and fund management comes with my job as Pradesh Congress chief. Nothing very great about it," he reportedly told some of his trusted aides in the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Chief.    One close confidant endorsed the statement readily and said: "Thanks to Sachin Pilot ji, he is managing all the funds. There are no complaints so far...But today's poll management is directly linked to money management".    

There are others in Congress who say without Sachin's skills in getting would have been quite difficult as in state politics there are two primary sources of funds - one the chief minister office and the other party high command. In both, the Congress sources had dried up.  The moral of the story being without Sachin's skilful running the show - organising mega rallies - things could have been much difficult.
RPCC general secretary Giriraj Garg is in charge of administration but he categorically declined to talk about funding matters. " I am not authorised to speak on these. So I will not speak a single word, " Mr Garg said, adding that: "It is sheer hard work of Sachin pilot that today, Congress is revived. It is a virtual 'punar janam'- rebirth for Congress when we were reduced to 21 seats in 2013 and our vote nosedived like never before. The difference in vote share with BJP was 15 per cent".

"Now, we are fighting fit and set to capture power in Rajasthan," he said. Meanwhile, sources said despite the fund shortage there is much to be desired for voluntary contributions from Congress leaders, MLAs and others. The 'party fund' of the Rajasthan unit of Congress would be richer by Rs 40 lakh if the monthly salary (basic) from the party MPs, MLAs, former lawmakers and other elected representatives come in.

"Many of our leaders are yet to clear their contribution. We tried to raise it with Sachin Pilot so that he can write to all concerned to make their contribution at the earliest, but Sachinji said let the sleeping dog sleep...whatever that means".  In 1998 at the AICC Session presided over by the then Congress President Sonia Gandhi, the committee under the chairmanship of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had suggested at the Panchmari session and a resolution was passed that the elected members of the party in Parliament, legislative assemblies, legislative councils, chairmen of municipal corporations, Zila Pramukh, Panchayat Samiti Pradhan and nominated chairmen of corporation boards would voluntarily donate one month's basic salary/allowances to the party fund every year.

The resolution was aimed at raising party's fund. "If all contributions come, we will have a ready fund of Rs 40 lakh. Hope it comes," a party insider said. Rajasthan Congress leaders are aware of funding problems at the national level for the party as Nagaland unit of Congress in February polls earlier this year did not field candidates in all 60 assembly segments citing fund problems and the blame went to party's senior leader C P Joshi, a key man in Rajasthan politics.

"I am an admirer of CP Joshi. The fund problem is genuine," one party leader said. Meanwhile on October 2, the party on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti launched a door-to-door election campaign as a part of which the party workers will visit each house in the state to raise funds and tap first-time voters. The campaign is likely to continue till November 19, birth anniversary of Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Keeping Ashok Gehlot away from Jats a master stroke social engineering, say analysts

After a series of electoral setback this is now a season of appreciation for political wisdom of the Congress leadership.
This is precisely the point – political analysts and long time observers of Rajasthan Congress suggest when it comes to party president Rahul Gandhi’s “well calculated game” to keep Ashok Gehlot away from the voters in the poll-bound state.  
“This is Rahul Gandhi’s time of efficient electoral management and social engineering. It can be a master stroke that while Sachin Pilot, a Gujjar, has been made the face of the party as the Pradesh Congress president and at the same time former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has been kept away from voters.

Gehlot had antagonised Jats – a politically hyper sensitive community which can influence at least 55 seats,” a key Congress strategist told UNI here.

Agreeing with him. a party insider says making Mr Pilot the new Pradesh Congress president was actually out of a political compulsion for Mr Gandhi "and not just love for Sachin" as there were clear suggestions and advise from ground zero – at least from 11 Jat dominated districts -- that Mr Gehlot should be kept away from the electorate.

These districts are Sikar, Jhunjhunu, Bikaner, Choru, Ganganagar, Nagor, Jodhpur, Pali, Barmer, Bharatpur and Jaisalmer.

Sources say during his tenure as Chief Minister Mr Gehlot - between 2008 and 2013 - had actually provoked Jats when he could not come to the rescue of a Jat leader in an incident involving a Jat woman. “The incident was said to have been stage managed or used to defame the Jat community and a young Jat leader. The Chief Minister Gehlot could have done his part. He looked the other way,” a source said.

In 1998 also, Congress leader and Jat strongman Paras Ram Maderna-a strong contender for the top job (Chief Minister) lost the race to Ashok Gehlot.

It was on this backdrop in 2013 too – the Jats overwhelmingly had deserted the Congress and shifted their alliance enmasse to the BJP. Jats have at least 35 legislators and altogether leave influence in 20 others, sources said.

“The BJP’s success in winning record 163 seats in 2013 and reducing Congress strength to all time low
21 in 200-member House has lot to do with the Jat anguish and Mr Gehlot is held responsible for the same,” the source said adding “Thank God, the Congress high command took the right message and has thus kept Mr Gehlot away from Rajasthan politics”.

In effect, Jats have harboured complaints that though they were the single largest population among the farming community, any leader from that community was never considered for the top slot.

However, there is no denying that Mr Gehlot is a stalwart among Congressmen in today’s politics and there are large number of pro-Congress voters who would prefer Mr Gehlot and not Mr Sachin Pilot.

Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot, son of Late dynamic leader Rajesh Pilot, is a Gujjar and especially in eastern Rajasthan, a large number of voters would have their own grudge against the Gujjar community.

However, there is a section even among Jats who say Sachin Pilot has over the years “well kept himself away from caste politics” and even a senior Jat leader from Bharatpur Vishvendra Singh told UNI: “Sachin is not a casteist”.

Moreover, there is a political and demographic peculiarity vis-a-vis population of Jats and Gujjars in Rajasthan. There are many constituencies – especially the Jat dominated ones where Gujjars do not matter much. “So, essentially the Gujjar-Jat confrontation cannot harm Congress electoral prospects per se,” said a key party leader.

Another analyst who understands Jat politics of Rajasthan pretty well tried to sum up the socio-political paradox very well.  

“There are three kinds of the political sense in Rajasthan. The one in eastern Rajasthan have different equations with groups like Gujjars while Jats in Jodhpur region and Mewar see things from different perspective. A good calculation has been done by Congress election managers this time and the decision to keep Mr Gehlot away from Jat voters should fetch in rich dividends,” the analyst said.


In April 2018, interestingly, former chief minister Gehlot has maintained that he can never be out of state politics. 
“People of Rajasthan have high expectations from me, they have given me so much love ....I will have to work for them," he has said. 
Projecting one particular face as the Chief Minister could be risky and thus Mr Sachin Pilot said that the party will be fighting elections under the leadership of none other than Rahul Gandhi - making it clear that the CLP leader will be elected only after the final results are out.  

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Upper Caste anguish threaten 'Tsunami like' mood against BJP in Rajasthan (+ Other Stories)

Kota (Rajasthan), Sep 30: Things are certainly turning difficult for the ruling BJP in Rajasthan by the day.The pro-change mood in favour of the Congress party is immense. This is largely due to anti-incumbency wave. For last many years, the voters here have been changing the regime every five years.But adding to the woes for Vasundhara Raje regime is the upper caste anguish.“The SC-ST law ordering immediate arrest of upper caste people just on the basis of a complaint is akin to mob-lynching. This black law should go,” thundered Dr Anil Sharma, Regional President of Samta Andolan Samity near BJP sitting legislator Prahlad Gunjal’s office near Agrasen Chowraha area here.

Hundreds of protestors including Brahmin leaders, Rajputs and Jains gathered near the party office raising anti-BJP and anti-Narendra Modi slogans.
“Narendra Modi hosh mein aao (Prime Minister Modi come to your senses. This is a warning),” screamed Geeta Parikh, a woman activist.
“I am a BJP supporter for last 10 years. But the Modi government has surrendered before the blackmailing politics of casteist leaders from Bihar and UP,” Ms Parikh told UNI referring to leaders like Ram Vilas Paswan.
Another activist of the upper castes organisation readily supported the contention of Ms Parikh.
“Modiji is walking into a trap. This reservation lobby finished VP Singh. He should come to senses and take back the kalankit kanoon (a black law),” said Amar Sharma.
"There will be Tsunami like anger," says Madanmohan Joshi, who says the Kota North legislator should immediately write letters to prime minister Narendra Modi and chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in the matter soon.
The delegation of Samta Andolan Samity submitted a memorandum to the North Kota MLA Mr Gunjal, who is likely to seek re-election from the constituency which has about 2.36 lakh voters and substantial number of them being Brahmins, upper caste Baniyas and Jains.
“This is a constituency, the upper caste voters cannot be ignored,” says a BJP worker Kamal Kishore Singh and admits there is a “pressure from the upper castes”.
But he is hopeful at the end of the day, the BJP workers and supporters will stick to the saffron party’s agenda of achieving ‘Congress mukt Bharat and Rajasthan”.
Besides the upper castes have always backed the right candidate and the party here. “Our MLA Mr Gunjal is a Gujjar, we do not have substantial Gujjar voters in North Kota, but he won by a margin of over 15,000 votes,” says Neel Purohit, a Brahmin BJP office bearer in the assembly segment.

However, the challenges before BJP in both Kota region and also at the state level across Rajasthan cannot be denied outright. The Congress leaders point out that a large section of government employees who may still pretend to be ‘foot soldiers’ of Vasundhara Raje administration may vote against the BJP on the voting day.

According to Congress leader Vishvendra Singh, the entire Panchayat Raj is in standstill.
“All 200 panchayat samities are today defunct. The Roadways staffs are on strike. So the common man is suffering...Old people are unable to draw their pension. Yet, the state government and especially the Chief Minister are indifferent,” he says.
The Congress leaders are working overtime to tap the potentials.
His views were endorsed by a shop owner Dhiraj Singh in Kota. “There will be Tsunami like anguish against Vasundhara this time. You may not believe over one lakh employees of various government departments including babus and junior engineers and panchayati raj workers are not attending to their work for last 12 days”.
In Jaipur, citizens say the Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and others are indifferent and not even trying to correct things.
Unmindful of what’s going around, the Chief Minister is continuing with her Gaurav Yatra – trying to sell the point that her government has delivered, they allege. Reportedly, the Chief Minister also shouted at the bureaucrats and party workers when told about media surveys showing dismal results for the saffron party.

Some of her lieutenants, however, say there is “dus-prachar (false propaganda) against her by vested interest and the people will give such prophets of doom a fitting reply.
State agriculture minister Prabhu Lal Saini recently said there is a conspiracy behind projecting Rajasthan as a ‘Hartalistan’.

Amid confidence of wresting power, Congress faces ally hurdles in Rajasthan

Bharatpur (Rajasthan), Sep 28: The worst fear in the season of confident march towards Rajasthan assembly elections for Congress is that the BSP going alone can ultimately harm Congress prospects and help the BJP instead.

But alliance making has its own pitfalls.

Confident of wresting power in Rajasthan, encashing the anti incumbency wave against Vasundhara Raje regime, the Opposition Congress party is, however, faced with a double whammy problem over opening channels for talks with Mayawati-led BSP for an alliance.

“We want alliance to defeat BJP and to consolidate anti-BJP votes. But there are intricacies. In the event of an alliance or seat adjustment – Congress has to forego 25-30 seats. In such constituencies, we will face immense rebellion and this will adversely hit party’s prospects in Lok Sabha polls,” says Satish Jati, a Congress worker here.

In Bharatpur assembly segment, in last three elections the seat was won by BJP’s Vijay Bansal but it was the BSP that finished second. “The Congress will have to surrender the seat to BSP and this will definitely not go down well,” says former district Congress president Rakesh Pathak.
According to Congress sources, such dilemma has surfaced in many other assembly segments in the state.

BSP’s presence cannot be underestimated on the face value. In 2013, in about 20 constituencies, BSP nominees had bagged more than 20,000 votes and moreover Mayawati’s candidates had come second in seats such as Tijara, Nadbai, Suratgarh and Khinwasar – besides Bharatpur.

Congress MLA, VP: Vishvendra Singh
There are other issues also. In long term perspective the fear is – in the event of an alliance with Mayawati’s outfit, the traditional SC-ST support base of Congress would shift to the BSP camp and thereby harm Congress interest from an organisation’s point of view.

“One is not sure, but even Muslims support base could shift to BSP. As of now, the BJP camp in Bharatpur region or at the state level is in disarray. Therefore, my vote is that Congress should go lone and oust BJP,” says Renu Chaudhary, also a Congress worker.

“Most importantly, depriving a dedicated Congress worker of five years just to make Mayawati happy may not be a wise decision”  says Ramesh Pathak.

Agreeing with them, Dr Suresh Jatav, Congress candidate for 2014 Lok Sabha polls for Bharatpur parliamentary seat, told UNI: "The way it stands today, there is a strong wave in favour of Congress and we do not need an ally. If at all, we opt for it, we also need to be assertive and the claims of genuine Congress workers should not be forgotten".

Amit Shah ropes in RSS support to checkmate Raje, counter anti-BJP mood

Jaipur, Oct 6:  Self-created myth or even image often turns into a foe. BJP national president Amit Shah has created an aura about himself that when it comes to poll management, he is invincible.

Moreover, often he has given impression that single handed he has delivered it for the Lotus party.
But apparently strong anti-incumbency mood and an ‘indifferent’ Chief Minister (from his own party to handle), Mr Shah has been finding things tough to move up the ladder in Rajasthan.

In 2013 - BJP set a record win of 163 seats in 200-member assembly but things could be slipping out.

Who is to be blamed?
Hence, he tried to emulate a working formula of Late Pramod Mahajan – when in problem any BJP leader can seek the services of RSS.

This is exactly he has done in last one week or so.
Realising it well that subtle references to the 'cold war' between him and Chief Minister Raje, often wrong signals were being emanated, Mr Shah recently met top RSS guys in Rajasthan and sought their active cooperation.

“We need their advice, day to day feedback and counselling to draw the electoral strategy and even help zero down on candidates,” a party source said.
Accordingly the Sangh fountainhead leaders and their ‘preferred faces’ in Rajasthan BJP have been taken aboard for steering the election strategy.
Six people have been drafted into a special panel and the state of Rajasthan has been divided into three typical RSS-zones – Jaipur, Jodhpur and Chittoragarh.

Sources said: the leaders enlisted to work in this endeavour include two union ministers Gajendra Singh Shekawat (a Rajput) and Arjun Ram Meghawal (a Dalit) and four others from organisational background – V Satish, Avinash Rai Khanna, Satish Puniya and organisational secretary Chandrashekhar.

“This is a game changer we are hopeful of good results,” says BJP spokesman Jitendra  Shrimali, himself a product of ABVP politics.

Upper castes must not grudge what Scheduled Castes got: senior BJP leader

BJP's Dalit leader: O P Mahendra

Jaipur,  Oct 2: In the midst of heightened row over strong opposition from a large section of saffron party to the restoration of the Prevention of SC-ST Atrocities Act, a key BJP leader has said that “nothing unusual has happened” under Prime Minister Narendra Modi that upper castes should feel unhappy.
“Look, in this country for ages, the Scheduled Caste community people have been suppressed and undermined. Thus, we see it is the responsibility of the entire society to lead the country towards equity and effective balance,” senior BJP leader and president of Rajasthan unit SC Morcha Dr O P Mahendra told UNI in an interview here.

“Aisa koi karan nahi hae, jiske liye kisike mann mein koi rosh ho (I see no reason that one section of the people or the other should feel unhappy about it or harbour any major grievance),” Dr Mahendra said. What has been given to the Scheduled Castes has been in effect guaranteed under “constitutional provisions”.  "Moreover, the new law people are talking about is not a new law. The Modi government has only restored a status quo.

The decision was taken after April 2 agitation. It was a people-centric and sensitive decision of the Centre," he said. “These rights are constitutional rights,” he emphasised. “These were given to SC communities by historical fact at a particular time of history....Dr B R Ambedkar also wanted equity in the society and in the country so that this deprived section can also come up the ladder and join in nation building with all other sections of Indians”. Answering questions, he said the BJP is in favour of reservation – a phenomenon that is being opposed by upper castes social groups especially in Rajasthan. “This should continue as a very large section of Scheduled Caste Communities in Rajasthan and in the rest of India are to get the benefits of reservation and come up in the society”.

“Till there is equity and all sections of the society are at par with each other, this existing reservation should  continue,” he said. Reservation, thus, Dr Mahendra said is a necessary tool to help the deprived sections come up. To a question, he said the SC communities both in Rajasthan and in the rest of the country are well aware of the Congress ploy over the issue of welfare for these sections.
“People have now realised that the Congress ploy is only to use us purely as vote bank, so they are gradually and certainly and in large numbers are getting closer to the BJP. The Congress never worked hard to ensure real uplift of these deprived sections,” he alleged.

It is only under Prime Minister Narendra Modi that in order to appropriate the legacy of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar, the BJP-led NDA government has developed five places as “Panch-teerth” in Mhow, London, Nagpur, Delhi and Mumbai. “This was unique and unprecedented decision and work. The “Panch teerth” include Amedbkar’s birthplace in Mhow, the place in London where he stayed while studying, ‘Deeksha Bhoomi’ in Nagpur, where he took education and ‘Mahaparinirvan Sthal’ in Delhi, and ‘Chaitya Bhoomi’ in Mumbai,” he said.

“Our people (SC communities) are emotional and are thus highly impressed with Mr Modi,” he said adding the NDA regime has also ensured that someone from the deprived section has also become President of India – Ram Nath Kovind,” Mr Mahendra  pointed out. “These sections are thankful to Prime Minister Modi,” he said adding thus they will stick to BJP. Similarly, he said the Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan has also worked tirelessly for the SC communities during the past five years.

Dr B R Ambedkar Shodh Peeth was established in 2015 with initial funding of Rs 1 crore.
It is aimed to provide varieties of services to teachers, scholars, students  and public by regularly organising Lecture series, Seminars, Conferences, Exchange of thoughts etc and ensure social emancipation, economic  empowerment, educational excellence and participation of Scheduled Castes in nation building, the BJP leader added.

On field: Jaipur

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Rafale papers, secret documents recovered from Robert Vadra's friend Bhandari: BJP

The BJP on Sept 25 Tuesday stepped up attack against Congress party for its alleged proximity with 'arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari - an associate of Robert Vadra' - and alleged that even Rafale aircraft deal related papers were recovered by government agencies during raids in 2016.
"After Modi government came to power, we started action against Sanjay Bhandari and his company. Starting as Rs 1 lakh worth company, Offset India Solutions slowly turned big with Robert Vadra's help. There were raids in 18 places across India in 2016 and important papers including on Rafale were recovered," BJP spokesman Sambit Patra told reporters here.

The documents also included 'confidential documents of Ministry of Defence'. "The papers also included proposals to buy mid-air refuellers and defence acquisition council papers. There were minutes of deliberations of the Contract Negotiations Committee".

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Life and Times of Ex French President Hollande and women

Ever since former French President Francois Hollande hit headlines and sparked off a major political row on India's politics vis-a-vis Rafale deal, there is also another version to the story going on in India and that's about his personal life and 'girlfriend' Julie Gayet.
"Hollande has allegedly proved more successful in his love life than in the opinion polls" - reported the UK-based 'The Telegraph' once.

The French magazine Mediapart says there are suspicions on the "circumstances" by which  Reliance Group was assigned as Dassault Aviation’s partner in the building of the Rafale jets. 
"At the very time the deal was struck, Reliance provided funding for a film produced by Hollande’s personal partner, the actress Julie Gayet," says the magazine to whom in an interview Hollande - knowingly or unknowingly - has given a fresh ammunition to Congress President Rahul Gandhi and others to strike at the Modi government - which otherwise by its various anti-corruption crusades have tried to corner Gandhi, his mother Sonia, brother in law Robert Vadra and also colleagues like P Chidambaram.

Mr Gandhi - obviously - wasted no time and tweeted on Thursday evening: "The PM (Modi) personally negotiated & changed the Rafale deal behind closed doors. Thanks to François Hollande, we now know he personally delivered a deal worth billions of dollars to a bankrupt Anil Ambani".

P Chidambaram was not far behind and wrote in the micro blogging site: "In the NDA negotiated Rafale aircraft deal, we have got no aircraft, we have got only lies. What is the new lie that the government will put out in response to Mr Hollande?"

"Although many know her as the girlfriend of former French President Francois Hollande, Gayet is a successful actress-turned-producer who co-produced, through her Paris-based Rouge Intl., two movies that were nominated for an Oscar earlier this year — Ziad Doueiri’s “The Insult” and Agnes Varda’s “Faces Places”," says a report in popular magazine 'Variety'. Gayet also figured in the list of
'Rising Female French Producers' who have made their mark.

According to BBC report, the 45-year-old Gayet also has acted in film 'Quai d'Orsay' - a 2013 satirical film centred on the French foreign ministry.
"Her filmography also includes the titles 'Shall We Kiss?' and 'My Best Friend' among dozens of others," the report says. According to various international reports, the possibility of Rafale business for Reliance Defence could be linked to the 'timing' of Anil Ambani's Reliance Entertainment striking a deal for sponsoring the film 'Tout là-haut (English title, 'To the top'). "The film deal happens in January 24, 2016 and two days later the then French president Hollande arrives India for Republic Day parade and inks the deal....The rest is perhaps more than a history," says a JD(U) leader.

BJP's allies do not want to either defend the government or put pressure on the Prime Minister as of now and would mainly waiting in the wings and testing the ground.

But media reports says Hollande's chequered political life has had dose of number of other women too in his life.

"French President Francois Hollande has appointed his former partner, Segolene Royal, to the cabinet, two months after separating from his official partner, Valerie Trierweiler," the BBC said in a 2014 report. In June 2012, another woman in Hollande's life Valerie Trierweiler used Twitter to back a candidate who was pitted against Hollande's preferred Segolene Royal.
In 2014, Valerie Trierweiler also attended Nelson Mandela’s memorial service with President Hollande and other world leaders. 

The reputed magazine 'The Spectator' once summed up the story well for Mr Hollande: ".....the truth is that Mr Hollande is a bachelor: he’s never been married; he’s not technically an adulterer. That gives him, you’d think, a bit of leeway on the sexual front; the fact he’s never made any vows to anyone (which says something about him) and so hasn’t broken any".

Friday, September 21, 2018

French Govt comes in aide of Modi regime : Statement by the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs

Statement by the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.

Paris, 21 September 2018

The intergovernmental agreement signed on 23rd September 2016 between the French and Indian governments for supplying India with 36 Rafale aircraft concerns the obligations of the French government solely with regard to ensuring the delivery and quality of this equipment.

The French government is in no manner involved in the choice of Indian industrial partners who have been, are being, or will be selected by French companies. In accordance with India’s acquisition procedure, French companies have the full freedom to choose the Indian partner companies that they consider to be the most relevant, then present for the Indian government’s approval the offsets projects that they wish to execute in India with these local partners so as to fulfil their obligations in this regard.

As it happens, agreements have already been signed by French companies with many Indian firms, both public and private, under the framework of Indian laws.

'TRUE FACE OF NEW PAK PM IMRAN KHAN IS REVEALED' : India dumps talk offer from Pak

In a candid and crystal clear statement that Pakistan will "not mend its ways", India on Friday dumped the talks offer by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and said the proposed meeting between the two Foreign Ministers stands cancelled.

MEA statement saying no to Sushma-Qureshi talks

PRESS RELEASE (Sep 21, 2018)

Since yesterday’s announcement of a meeting between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan in New York later this month, two deeply disturbing developments have taken place. The latest brutal killings of our security personnel by Pakistan-based entities and the recent release of a series of twenty postage stamps by Pakistan glorifying a terrorist and terrorism confirm that Pakistan will not mend its ways. 
The decision to agree to Pakistan’s proposal for a meeting between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries in New York later this month was in response to the spirit reflected in the letters from the new Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Pakistan.

The letter from the Prime Minister of Pakistan had spoken of, inter alia bringing a positive change and mutual desire for peace as also readiness to discuss terrorism.

Now, it is obvious that behind Pakistan’s proposal for talks to make a fresh beginning, the evil agenda of Pakistan stands exposed and the true face of the new Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has been revealed to the world in his first few months in office. Any conversation with Pakistan in such an environment would be meaningless. 
In view of the changed situation, there will be no meeting between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan in New York.


"In view of the changed situation, there will be no meeting between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan in New York," MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar said here referring to Pakistani side release of postage stamps glorifying a terrorism and terror menace and also on the attack on J&K police personnel. "Since yesterday’s announcement of a meeting between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan in New York later this month, two deeply disturbing developments have taken place. The latest brutal killings of our security personnel by Pakistan-based entities and the recent release of a series of twenty postage stamps by Pakistan glorifying a terrorist and terrorism confirm that Pakistan will not mend its ways," the statement said.

He said, "The decision to agree to Pakistan’s proposal for a meeting between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries in New York later this month was in response to the spirit reflected in the letters from the new Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Pakistan. The letter from the Prime Minister of Pakistan had spoken of, inter alia bringing a positive change and mutual desire for peace as also readiness to discuss terrorism."

The statement further said - "Now, it is obvious that behind Pakistan’s proposal for talks to make a fresh beginning, the evil agenda of Pakistan stands exposed and the true face of the new Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has been revealed to the world in his first few months in office".Therefore, the MEA statement said, "Any conversation with Pakistan in such an environment would be meaningless".

India had agreed to the meeting between Foreign Ministers after letters from Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi to his Indian counterpart and also Pak PM Imran Khan's letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In his missive to Mr Modi, new Pakistan Prime Minister and a former cricket icon Imran Khan in his September 14 letter remained particularly firm about the possibility of meeting between the two Foreign Ministers on the sidelines of UN General Assembly meet in New York later this month.

"Would be better if the two countries' foreign ministers (Sushma Swaraj and Shah Mahmood Qureshi) can meet on the sidelines of UNGA in order to initiate a formal dialogue process that has been pending for long," Mr Imran Khan wrote in his letter.
Addressing his Indian counterpart as 'Modi Sahab', said he appreciates PM Modi's stance that "the only way forward" for the two countries lies in constructive engagement.

"Yeh sirf meeting hae, yeh koi talks nahi hae...yeh koi resumption of talks nahi hae (This is just a meeting, these are no talks...This is neither resumption of talks)," the Spokesman said, making it clear that the Sushma-Qureshi meet will take place only because there have been persistent requests from Pakistani side for that.
"I must distinguish between a meeting and a dialogue. This should be not confused with resumption of any dialogue, this is a meeting which we have agreed to, based on the request, which we have got from the Pakistani side. This does not indicate any change in the policy as far as our stand on terrorism and cross-border terrorism is concerned," Mr Kumar has said.
Ms Swaraj is expected to travel to New York next week for the annual UN General Assembly.
The timing and venue for the proposed and much expected Sushma-Qureshi meet is yet to be finalised, the MEA said.

Congress leader Sibal said he saw no justification in the meeting between Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart, just because Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has written a letter.
"Just because Imran Khan has written a letter, you feel enthused to talk to them....," Mr Sibal said and maintained that all these were perhaps only part of the 'double standard politics' of BJP.
Punjab Minister and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu has been insisting for dialogue between two sides.

"Pakistan se baat kya karenge aap (What really you want to talk to Pakistan)," Mr Sibal told reporters here.
"Will you remain 'maun (silent)' in that meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister," he said 

For his part, even Imran Khan tweeted on August 21 in support of Mr Sidhu and called him an ambassador of peace.  "Those in India who targeted him are doing a great disservice to peace in the subcontinent," Mr Khan had tweeted.

To certain quarters, however, Pakistani regime's stance is not quite surprising. A source in the BJP pointed out that there were "merits" when Minister of State for External Affairs Gen (Retd) V K Singh had said recently that Imran Khan was only "propped" up the Pakistan army and it remained to be seen whether perceptible change really comes in that country vis-a-vis terrorism or not.