Evening digest: Govt. dares Rahul to give proof on his allegations against PMO

GN Bureau | December 9, 2015



Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi, the Centre on Wednesday dared him to give proof in Parliament on his allegations against the government and the PMO on National Herald issue instead of wasting time of the House, after the Congress stalled proceedings alleging political vendetta.Soon after Rahul Gandhi alleged that the National Herald case is “hundred per cent political vendetta coming out of PMO”, Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy said Rahul Gandhi “did not have enough courage” to speak in parliament on the issue.“

He (Rahul) is instrumental in disrupting the house. Court has taken some cognisance against him and Sonia Gandhi. They are trying to become a hero after the charges against them and at the same time they do not have enough courage to come inside the House and say what they are speaking outside to the media.“We should ask Rahul Gandhi, if he has courage enough, if he has honesty enough, if he has standing as a leader of his political party, he should come to Parliament and give proof of the statement he has made against the judiciary.“The proof of the statement he has made against the government and the PMO... he should come and give an explanation in the House and the proof of what he is talking,” Rudy said.

Modi to visit Pakistan next year for SAARC summit
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Pakistan next year, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in Islamabad on Wednesday.PM Modi will participate in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit, Swaraj told the media.This will be the first prime ministerial visit from India to Pakistan since Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited the South Asian neighbour in January 2004 to attend that year’s Saarc summit.Sushma Swaraj said she would accompany PM Modi during his visit, Geo TV reported.Sushma Swaraj is in Islamabad to participate in the Heart of Asia Conference on peace and stability in Afghanistan.Sushma Swaraj’s is the first ministerial visit from India to Pakistan since the visit of then external affairs minister S.M. Krishna in 2012.

Former minister holds slippers for Rahul Gandhi, says it was his duty
Photos of former Union Minister V Narayanasamy holding slippers for Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi during his Puducherry visit on Tuesday have gone viral.Narayanasamy was seen holding Rahul's slippers while the Congress vice-president removed his shoes to walk in the flooded area on Tuesday. The images of Puducherry MP holding Rahul's slippers was all over the social media soon.However, Narayanasamy today tried to downplay the incident and said he was not holding Rahul's slippers instead offering him a pair of footwear as he was walking in the mud barefoot."I bent down and gave my chappal to Rahul Gandhi after he had taken off his shoes and was walking barefoot. I do not see anything wrong in it. It is the duty of a Congres worker to take care of our leader," Narayansamy said.

Sensex ends 274 points lower, Nifty50 below 7,650
The domestic equity market saw a fresh bout of selling on Wednesday as investors grew increasingly concerned about a possible delay in the passage of the goods and services tax (GST) bill and the slump in crude oil prices. Market watchers may already be preparing themselves for another session of no-action on the GST front.The S&P BSE Sensex slipped 274 points, or 1.08 per cent, to close at 25,036 while the 50-stock barometer Nifty50 ended at 7,612, down 89 points, or 1.12 per cent. Vedanta and Tata Steel were the top losers in the BSE benchmark.

Jaya urges PM Modi to declare TN floods as national calamity
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare the unprecedented floods in the state as a national calamity and proposed measures, including a moratorium on home and vehicle loans, to enable affected families rebuild lives."I request you to immediately declare this unprecedented, catastrophic and cataclysmic event a national calamity," she said in a letter to Modi. For flood-hit households many of whom are in the low and middle income groups, she proposed a special set of measures like soft loans, speeding up insurance claims disbursal and moratorium by banks on EMIs.

Many affected families also lost their personal vehicles and almost all their durable domestic assets, including furniture, refrigerators, television sets, washing machines and kitchen equipment, she said. "I suggest that, as a special case, flood-affected families may be liberally extended soft loans by banks for purchase of vehicles, educational loans to continue to fund the education of children and personal loans of an amount upto Rs five lakh to finance essential domestic durable assets." The government would provide special certification to all such families, based on which banks could sanction loans as per their norms, she said.Meanwhile, schools and colleges in Chennai will remain closed till December 13.

Sexual harassment accused entitled to get copy of complaint
Accused government officials are entitled to get a copy of the complaint against them even if the allegations pertain to sexual harassment, the Central Information Commission has held.While pulling up Delhi University for withholding records related to a complaint filed by PG students at GB Pant Hospital here against Dr Arun Lata Agarwal on the grounds that allegations pertained to sexual harassment, CIC said it could not "locate" any such allegation against her."In spite of repeated deep scrutiny, the Commission could not locate any point of allegation related to sexual harassment," Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said.Acharyulu said the Central Public Information Officer should have seen the rules and FAQs circulated by the Department of Personnel and Training to understand that officers accused of sexual harassment were entitled to have a copy of the sexual harassment complaint against them."

The CPIO cannot deny the disclosure of the complaint related information or papers to the accused officer. It was not correct for CPIO to raise this kind of contention," Acharyulu said.The case related to allegations of harassment levelled against Aruna Agarwal and her husband Sanjay Agarwal by nine PG students after which she was sent back to the Centre by Delhi Government.Through the RTI application, Aruna Agarwal had sought the information related to the complaint and the inquiry from the University which refused claiming disclosure may hamper physical security of complainants and that it is held in fiduciary capacity.

White House urges Republicans to disown Trump over his Muslim remark
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received widespread condemnation at home and abroad after his call for a ban on Muslims entering the US.White House spokesman Josh Earnest in a media briefing urged Republicans to disown Trump who is in the race to represent them in the 2016 presidential election. Trump’s remarks have been widely condemned for fueling anti-Muslim sentiments.Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of the Council on American and Islamic Relations, said that Trump’s remarks have echoes of Nazi Germany. “He and others are playing into the hands of ISIS. Donald Trump sounds more like a leader of a lynch mob than a great nation like ours. He and others are playing into the hands of ISIS,” said Awad.On Tuesday, an imam of a mosque in US said in a video, “What I am worried about is this kind of thought impacting the Americans who doesn’t know us, whose children go to the same school as our children.

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