[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Harish Rawat, the chief minister of Uttarakhand, is fighting a lone battle as he takes on an aggressive BJP in the upcoming assembly elections. He spoke to Editor-in-Chief, India Legal, Inderjit Badhwar on APN News’ Face2Face show. Excerpts from the interview:
Q. So many leaders have been changing their political affiliations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah used to talk of “Congress-mukt Bharat” but in reality it seems that the BJP is becoming Congress-yukt. Your comments.
A. BJP has become “Congress dal-badloo yukt”. It used to claim as a “party with difference” which is now being witnessed by the people in many ways. It seems that “the difference” is projecting the BJP’s worst face. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked his party leaders not to adopt “vanshvad” in ticket distribution. Perhaps he wanted to caution Rajnath Singh (Home Minister) not to ask a ticket for his son…
But it was surprising to see that within one week, the BJP announced its candidates’ list for Uttarakhand. The list had names of more than half a dozen leaders who had recently left the Congress and joined BJP; they were allotted party tickets based on “parivarvad”.
Not only that, a father and his son were given tickets within four hours of joining the BJP. Yashpal Arya and his son were given tickets. ND Tiwari took his son to them to ask for a ticket. Tiwariji has recently denied about joining BJP. We don’t know what the fact is.
Q. Uttarakhand was being targeted and at one stage the judiciary had seen it as violation of Article 356. What you had said at that time proved correct. Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes here personally and other BJP leaders focus on Uttarakhand. Why has the 70-member assembly become so important for them?
A. I am a small chief minister of a small state and a person from poor background. I am surprised why a “strong” prime minister is doing all that. Nothing can happen without his consent.
First, he staged mass political defections and then implemented President’s rule based on a sting operation. And you know that if President’s rule is implemented based on a sting operation, no state government will be able to function more than a month. The high court and the Supreme Court did not find any justification in the President’s rule. It was for the first time in India that a suspended chief minister was restored to his position.
Now, I am not surprised because there is no non-BJP ruled state where the CBI is not conducting an investigation. The CBI has been asked to probe chief ministers of all the non-BJP ruled states while it has not yet completed investigation in the Vyapam scam in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh. The Pearl Group scam of Raipur in Chhattisgarh is also yet to be investigated. Investigations against other BJP chief ministers have not been initiated.
But the CBI has been working full force in non-BJP ruled states and I am one such CM. In Uttarakhand, there are no important BJP faces—neither a chief ministerial candidate nor any ministers…
Q. There are former Congress leaders who have defected to join BJP and have become its face. Is this the irony of the time?
A. Of course, as I was saying before that they used to claim to be a “party with difference”. Now they are taking inference from the dal-badloo (turncoats). When Uttarakhand was hit by the worst tragedy of flash floods, none of them looked at this state. Nobody came forward with support or sympathy. But after the elections were declared, they have been roaming around with all “available weapons” in their hands.
Q. You have rightly said that there is no BJP face in Uttarakhand. Then is your fight directly with Narendra Modi?
A. How can I fight with the prime Minister? His position is so powerful.
Q. Then, why is he climbing down to fight with you?
A. I don’t understand. I don’t find myself equal in front of him. I am a very small person. But in a democracy there is no other option but to contest elections. I will contest elections against anyone, either Modiji or anybody. We will contest elections with due respect. The prime minister is the guardian figure for all states. But the latest developments in the state have not given impetus to anybody’s stature except that of the PM.
Q. We are receiving information that some disgruntled leaders from the BJP are trying to get Congress tickets. Is this true?
A. Yes, we have the information. Wherever we find that it suits our election strategy, we will definitely consider giving tickets (to them). There are some good people with them. I felt pained when certain people were turned down (by BJP). They have not even given a ticket to their former state president, who is a thorough gentleman. He is young and has a long future.
I am sure that in this election, 12-14 dal-badloos (turncoats) will be rejected by the people. Because if they win elections, then Uttarakhand will fail. I have full hope that these people will lose elections.
Q. Some pre-poll surveys have recently indicated that the BJP will win 38 seats, but a most recent poll survey has indicated that your party (Congress) will win 41 or 42 seats. What is your assessment?
A. I hope that in this election people will vote for political stability and appreciate the initiatives taken by our government. My government has taken several unique initiatives to fulfill the demands which were being discussed while running the campaign for a separate state. The focal point of those was to restore “Uttarakhandiat”. Some of the demands have been fulfilled, while others will need more time. I hope that people will vote us to see these accomplished and give us a comfortable majority. Because the helplessness I have gone through while running a coalition government was very painful.
Today, we are providing 24-hour electricity supply to our people and Uttarakhand is one of the six fastest progressing states of the country. I am satisfied that we are on the growth path. We have performed well in all economic parameters, succeeded in initiatives for “Uttarakhandiat”, protected our fauna, craft, culture, food, traditional crops, etc.
Q. You have explained the social and economic initiatives taken by your government. But don’t you think this was not projected properly?
A. I have spent enough time in restoring Kedarnath after the unprecedented flood tragedy. I need more time to develop Kedarnath as the only religious place at the highest location in the world.
Tragedies have struck me—first a natural tragedy, then a political tragedy and now I am facing a surgical strike of defections in the party. As a result, I could not project my government’s success at all. I was not doing big things but I was only trying to serve the villagers and the poor.
I would like to mention two major steps here. At the time of my elevation as chief minister, some 1,74,000 people were receiving Rs 200 each as handicap, old-age and widow pensions. Now within two years, this pension has increased to Rs 1,000 per person. Uttarakhand is the highest in pension paying state in India.
As far as women’s empowerment is concerned, our government supports mothers’ right from the time they deliver a female child. The model of women empowerment we have developed, will be, I am sure, copied by other states as well. We have successfully established Indrama canteens that provide traditional food to women.
Q. What is the impact of demonetisation?
A. If demonetisation was aimed to eradicate black money there would have been visible positive results in the society. How much black money has been brought back from foreign lands in the last two and a half years? Which big black money hoarder has been arrested? In fact, this was a surgical strike against the common man.
The demonetisation surgical strike has hit the common man and spared the capitalist. Dr Manmohan Singh has very rightly said that it will reduce the rate of progress. Our small state has already lost over Rs 1,000 crores in tax collection. The impact is very visible.
The tourists who used to come here in winter season are cancelling their bookings. Very few tourists came on the New Year eve. Tax collections and VAT recoveries have decreased substantially.
Now, we wish the prime minister realises the ground situation and takes bold corrective measures. That is why we are raising our voice. The difficulty is that if you raise your voice, the BJP people issue “fatwa” that such people were black money hoarders and not patriots.
Q. Yes, some feel that they are participating in “Satyagraha” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They consider that they will succeed in eradicating black money as Mahatma Gandhi succeeded in removing British rule by following “Satyagraha”.
A. For this reason, they have started removing Mahatma Gandhi’s picture from Khadi and currency notes. There is only one Satyagrahi who successfully removed British rule from the country. Now you want to eradicate black money, perhaps, for this reason they might even remove Mahatma Gandhi’s picture from currency notes. You (the government) call it to be an economic measure and we consider this as a political measure.
You chose to do it in the election season as you had no other achievements to claim. People had started questioning the government on many fronts. Where is (the promised) Rs 15 lakh in each person’s bank account? What happened to the creation of two crore jobs? Why achche din for farmers have not come? Where are your start-ups?… Kindly tell us how much black money has been brought back from foreign lands.
If 90 percent of black wealth is out of the country, then was this “surgical strike” against just 10 percent black wealth? And that 10 percent ‘black wealth’ was yours, mine and in the common man’s pocket. What has happened to the big black money hoarders? When will that money return?… They say that black money is invested in buying land. Has any recovery been done? They claim that it will eliminate terrorism. But the number of deaths in Kashmir is only growing since demonetisation…
Q. If you contest and succeed in winning the election this time, you will probably emerge as a giant-killer. Have you ever thought about this?
A. No, no, I am quite contended as soldier of democracy and a servant of Uttarakhand. I am happy with this status.
For the full interview, see the video below:[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/R-wv09qCU3E”][vc_column_text]Lead Picture: Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat on APN News Face2Face show[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Explainer: The Delhi Liquor Policy case
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was on Sunday questioned by the CBI in connection with its investigation into the purported Delhi liquor policy scam case. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief is latest among the party’s top brass to have been brought under the hammer by the central probe agency, two months after senior AAP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was arrested in the alleged scam.
The Delhi liquor policy has become the flashpoint between the AAP and the BJP with the former accusing the BJP-ruled Centre of “misusing” federal agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to target political opponents, including the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP.
The Delhi Liquor Policy ‘scam’:
The Delhi Excise Policy 2021-2022 was first proposed in September 2020 but came into force in November 2021.
The new liquor policy was framed to increase the Delhi government’s revenue from alcohol sales and claimed to snuff out black marketing and the liquor mafia’s influence on the market.
As per the new policy, government-owned liquor vendors exited the liquor business and the private players were introduced with the National Capital being divided into 32 zones and 27 liquor vendors operating in every zone with 2-3 vendors plying every municipal ward in a zone.
The Kejriwal-led Delhi government, in its bid to attract more private players, allowed the licensed vendors to offer unlimited discounts to customers and set their own prices, regardless of the Maximum retail price or MRP. The policy also allowed the liquor shops to stay open till 3 am and also permitted home delivery of liquor to the customers.
According to reliable data, the new liquor policy boosted the Delhi government’s revenue from liquor sales by 27 percent to Rs 8,900 crore as the state completely left the liquor business which was now under the total control of private vendors.
However, the new excise policy soon came under the scanner after a report by Chief Secretary of Delhi, Naresh Kumar, pointed out “irregularities and procedural lapses” in the new liquor policy and amid allegations of corruption against the AAP dispensation, Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena ordered a CBI probe on Kumar’s recommendation.
The Chief Secretary’s report:
In his report submitted to Delhi LG VK Saxena and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on July 8, 2022, Naresh Kumar said the licensees made enormous profits while the excise department incurred massive losses as a result of an import pass fee waiver of Rs 50 per case of beer.
He also stated that license fee amounting to Rs 144.46 crore, was waived off by the Delhi government due to the Covid-19 pandemic without authorization from the Delhi Lieutenant Governor.
Both of these waivers were allegedly approved by then Deputy CM Manish Sisodia.
According to Delhi Excise Rules, 2010 and the Transaction of Business Rules, 1993, all changes are deemed illegal if not approved by the LG even after they’ve been approved by the cabinet.
A media report at the time said that Kumar took his findings to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police and alleged that the new excise policy had resulted in cartelization and monopolization of the liquor business.
After the raging controversy, the Delhi government scrapped the new excise policy and rolled back to the previous one in July 2022.
The Manish Sisodia case:
The chief secretary’s report claimed that “Minister In-charge of the Excise Department, Manish Sisodia, took and got executed, major decisions/actions”, which were “in violation of the statutory provisions and the notified Excise Policy that had huge financial implications.”
The report claimed that Sisodia waived off license fee and import duty of beer under the garb of the Covid-19 pandemic to benefit liquor vendors and received kickbacks for the same.
It said: “It was done so with the sole aim of benefitting private liquor barons in lieu of financial benefits to individuals at the highest echelons of the government leading up to the Minister in-charge of Excise & Finance, Manish Sisodia.”
In August 2022, the CBI registered an FIR against Manish and 14 others under various sections of the IPC, including 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 477A (falsification of records), and section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
In its FIR, the federal probe agency claimed that payments in crores were made to Sisodia’s close associates by Indospirits chief Sameer Mahendru, who was one of the liquor vendors actively involved in irregularities in the framing and implementation of the excise policy.
In October 2022, the CBI summoned Sisodia and recorded his statement in the case. The former Deputy CM was called in for questioning again on February 26 and later arrested.
Manish Sisodia remains lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail after he was arrested by the ED in connection with a money laundering case that stems from the CBI’s liquor policy case.
Money laundering and the South cartel:
The ED, which probes financial crimes, has alleged in its chargesheet that the AAP used money generated from a purported liquor scam to fund its election campaign in Goa in 2022.
In the chargesheet, the ED has claimed that investigation trail in the Delhi liquor scam case has revealed AAP used part of the funds generated in the scam for its poll campaign in Goa.
AAP managed to win two seats in the Goa Assembly elections.
The ED chargesheet claimed that Rs 70 lakh in cash payments were made to volunteers of AAP’s survey teams, adding that party’s communications chief Vijay Nair allegedly told “certain persons” who were involved in AAP’s campaign related work, to receive payments in cash.
The probe agency’s chargesheet further alleged that, on AAP’s behalf, Nair received over Rs 100 crore in payments from a group comprising of YSRCP MP Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy, his son Raghav Magunta, Aurobindo Pharma director P Sarath Chandra Reddy and Telangana CM KCR’s daughter Kavitha Kalvakuntla.
The ED further alleged that Abhishek Boinpally, a Hyderabad-based businessman, in conspiracy with Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s aide Dinesh Arora had facilitated the transfer of the kickback money.
The central agency had also filed a supplementary chargesheet in the case against AAP’s Vijay Nair, businessmen Sarath Reddy, Binoy Babu, Abhishek Boinpally and Amit Arora.
AAP: From movement to fastest-growing political party
The AAP’s formation was termed as a new age political startup which eventually marketed itself as an alternate choice to the grand old parties such as BJP, Congress and other parties that were in existence since a long time.
AAP- Aam Aadmi Party, a party which is now facing allegations of scam in the Delhi Excise policy, once came into existence with a movement fighting against corruption.
AAP is a party which was born out of the famous India Against Corruption (IAC) movement in 2012.
The Jan Lokpal movement
In 2011, activist Anna Hazare launched a nation wide campaign to implent the Jan Lokpal Bill, which marks as one of the largest civil movements taken up ever in the Indian political history.
Jan Lokpal Bill was a campaign against the high profile corruption scams which came to the light before the public during 2011-12 under the Congress led-UPA government
If we trace back to 2011-12, India’s air was then filled with the issues of corruption such as Coal Scam, Commonwealth Games Scam, Adarsh Housing Society Scam and many more. The poeple of the nation were dwindling with the fact that whether there existed such corruptions, the charges of which were laid against the UPA government in power.
Jan Lokpal Bill, was a legislation bill which was demanded to be implied to help in bringing down the fraudulent system in the adminstration of the government. The bill seeked a Jan Lokpal, an independent investigative body to deter corruption.
With the passage of time the fight for this campaign became a mass movement, with lakhs of individuals joining with this movement from across the nation, coming out of small towns, villages, municipalities united.
The movement which was started by Anna Hazare was backed by incumbent Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Advocate Prashant Bhushan(the son offormer Union Minister Shanti Bhushan, who back in 1970-80’s tried getting this bill passed in the Parliament but failed) and other activists.
Later, Arvind Kejriwal joined by Prashant Bhusan, Yogendra Yadav, Kumar Vishwas, Manish Sisodia and other activists who were part of the IAC movement came to a conclusion that the only way to end corruption is to enter into politics, enter into the system and work from inside to eradicate the corruption.
This was a moment when Kejriwal embraced his political career debut through the doors of IAC movement.
On 02 October, 2012, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Aam Aadmi party was formed, which the AAP terms as an watershed moment in Indian political history and on 26 November, 2012 it officially came into existence.
AAP’s formation was termed as a new age political startup which eventually marketed itself as an alternate choice to the grand old parties such as BJP, Congress and other parties that were in existence since a long time.
AAP was the only party ever in India which was formed without any set of ideological mindset back then.
In an usual account, for entering into Indian politics battlefield, one needs to have a strong political background or must be under the shadow of big gun politicians, Kejriwal had neither of them in his account, a former bureacrat, about whom people never imagined of entering into politics.
The Aam Aadmi Party claims that during its formation and in its initial days it pionnered on crowd sourced model of electoral fundraising with small amount of donations from the people directly.
The party named itself as the Aam Aadmi and it promoted itself as a party of the Aam Aadmi and for the Aam Aadmi(a party of the common man, and of the common man), the message went out directly to the hearts of the people especially the common man.
AAP made a debut in the elections with the Delhi assembly elections in 2013 where for the first time and in just over a year of its formation, AAP with the support of Congress came into the power, which lasted just a few months.
Aam Aadmi Party is considered as country’s fastest growing political party which recently got the tag of National party.
Don’t buy a duck, Just dress your baby
One such video was shared by a Twitter account ‘why you should have a duck’. In this video,
a father can be seen carrying his child by dressing like a duck. The child is looking happy in the video.
Video featuring baby always a delight to watch. And when these videos show a baby dressing in a cute duck, the happiness radiating from the clips increases by many notches.
One such video was shared by a Twitter account ‘why you should have a duck’. In this video,
a father can be seen carrying his child by dressing like a duck. The child is looking happy in the video.
The video has been viewed over 1.4 million times and has gardened many reactions.
One user wrote that he has never wanted to be a father more than this moment watching this right now.
Another user wrote that he would be one of them parents in the future there gonna be so cute.
However, some users criticised the man and wrote that they should do that to the dad/handler, see if he likes being in that contraption, looks uncomfortable as hell!
There are so many crazy people in this world. And the animal lovers are the craziest. The Twitter account has posted many videos for duck lovers.
In an another video of the Twitter handle, a mother duck plays with her baby. It was like fighting in a gym.
Sharing this video one user wrote that that is why we should have a duck. Another user wrote, where did the hammer get stuck? No. Stop it. He does not want to know.
One duck fan writes that the doodle art makes her whole day every single time. Sharing this video, an user wrote that this duck was looking kinda different. He asked, did he get a haircut or something?