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Use Ordinances Sparingly, Discuss Laws, Says Mukherjee In Farewell Speech
New Delhi, July 24: Outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday gave a message to both government and opposition telling them ordinance route should be used only in compelling circumstances, disruption harms the opposition too and passing bills without discussion was a breach of the people's trust.Addressing a farewell function held in the Central Hall of parliament by the members of both houses, Mukherjee described himself as "humble servant" of people who had sought to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution in both word and spirit.A nostalgic Mukherjee, who will demit office on Tuesday, recalled that he was only 34 years old when he first entered parliament in 1969 as a Rajya Sabha MP and went on to complete 37 years as a parliamentarian - where he "understood the real value of debate, discussion and dissent" - before being elected to the highest constitutional post.Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan read out the farewell address by the lower house's membe...




Ex-ISRO Chief U.R. Rao Passes Away
Bengaluru, July 24: Renowned Indian space scientist U.R. Rao passed away here in the early hours of Monday, said a space agency official. He was 85."Rao passed away at his residence around 3 a.m., after prolonged illness and due to age-related health issues," the official of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) told IANS.Rao, who was the chairman of the state-run ISRO for a decade from 1984 to 1994, leaves behind his widow, a son and a daughter."Rao was in a private hospital till recently for treatment as he had a heart ailment and was recovering at home. Our (ISRO) doctors were attending to him," said the official.ISRO Chairman A.S. Krishna Kumar, senior space scientists and many officials of the space agency rushed to Rao's house to mourn his death and console his bereaved family."Saddened by the demise of renowned scientist, Professor U.R. Rao. His remarkable contribution to India's space programme will never be forgotten," tweeted Prime Minist...




Modi Govt. Wants to Distort Constitution, Implement RSS Agenda: Rahul
Bengaluru, July 22: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Friday warned the ruling NDA government against distorting the Constitution and implementing the agenda of the RSS."The aim of the union government is to distort the Constitution, which was drafted by B.R. Ambedkar, and implement the RSS agenda. We should go by what Ambedkar had exhorted us to do - educate, organise and agitate," he said at an international conference here.Inaugurating an international conference on "Quest for Equity: Reclaiming Social Justice, Re-visiting Ambedkar", Gandhi said truth and power were not the same."Truth and power are not the same thing. Truth is what stands up to power," he told the gathering at the opening ceremony of the three-day conference organised by the state government.Citing a few influential leaders and change makers the world over, Gandhi said iconic personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Ambedkar and and American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr ...




Time Has Come to Reclaim Idea of Social Justice Through Vision of Ambedkar: Karnataka CM
Bengaluru, July 22: Calling for a narrative based on cultural and civilisational ethos of tolerance and compassion, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday said the legacy of pluralism and secularism was at stake."What is at stake is the legacy of pluralism and secularism, as citizens are no longer equal before the law and some are more equal than others in many parts of the country," he said at an international conference here.Noting that the idea of India as a plural society was at a crossroads, he warned that its civilisational values and culture were facing a critical test due to the onslaught of divisive and exclusivist ideas."Time has come to reclaim the idea of social justice through the thought and vision of B.R. Ambedkar, one of the founding fathers of our Constitution," said Siddaramaiah at the opening of the three-day International Conference on 'Quest for Equity: Reclaiming Social Justice, Re-visiting Ambedkar'.Congress Vice President Rahul Gandh...




With Massive Crowd in Front, Mamata Calls for BJP's Ouster in 2019 Elections
Kolkata, July 21: In a blistering attack on the BJP, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday accused it of indulging in massive corruption in many states, and claimed the central agencies were completely silent on the saffron party's scams.She also threatened to slap defamation cases worth thousands of crores if the probe into the Saradha and Narada cases by the CBI and other central agencies did not proceed in a genuine way."In Rajasthan, there is a scam spanning thousands of crores of rupees, but where is the CBI? Are they sleeping? In Karnataka, what is the magnitude of the scams indulged in by the Reddy brothers, who are BJP's friends?""In Madhya Pradesh, there is the Vyapam scam, in which several people have already been killed. Where is the CBI? The Gujarat Petroleum scam runs into Rs 20,000 crore. Where are the government agencies, like CBI, Enforcement Directorate or the Income Tax authorities?" Banerjee said at a massive public rally organised ...




Trinamool to Launch 'BJP Quit India' Movement: Mamata
Kolkata, July 21: The Trinamool Congress is set to launch a three-week-long movement with the slogan "BJP Quit India", West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced here on Friday.The movement will start on August 9 and last till August 30."We will launch the movement in every Lok Sabha and assembly constituency, block, city and village. I urge all my ministers, MPs, MLAs and block leaders to take part in the programme," Banerjee said at a Trinamool Congress Martyrs Day rally.The TMC chief said she would be present at the launch and close of the programme.It was on August 9, 1942 that the Congress launched the Quit India Movement against the British.The Trinamool holds the Martyrs' Day rally annually on July 21 in memory of 13 youths who were killed in police firing on this day in 1993. BJP Will Disappear from Bengal, Says Kabir Suman Leading Bengali singer-composer Kabir Suman on Friday termed the BJP as "ignorant" and claimed that the pa...




We Don't Support Gau Rakshak Violence, Centre Tells SC
New Delhi, July 21: The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that it does not support the violence unleashed by vigilante groups in the name of cow protection.Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told a bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar: "We don't support the violence in the name of Gau Raksha." But the central government sought to wash off its hands in the matter and shifted the burden on the states, telling the court that law and order was a state subject. A number of states have been made respondents in the matter but have not filed their response. So the court adjourned the matter, giving them four weeks to do so. The apex court was hearing a plea by Pune-based activist Tehseen S. Poonawala seeking action against self-appointed Gau Rakshaks resorting to violence and killing people in the name of cow protection.(IANS)




Sparks Fly in Rajya Sabha Over Cow Vigilantism
New Delhi, July 21: Sparks flew in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday during the discussion on cow vigilantism and atrocities on Dalits, with the opposition trying to corner the government and a minister raking up the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the 2002 Godhra incident.As the opposition accused the government of creating an atmosphere of fear in the country, the government in its reply said there was nothing anti-Muslim or anti-Dalit about the incidents, but cow vigilantism should not be "eulogised".Speaking on the issue, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "doublespeak" and giving "gau rakshaks" (cow vigilantes) a free hand."It (mob violence) has nothing to do with cow vigilantes ... It has something to do with Narendra Modi. It is the Prime Minister who is creating the kind of environment in which this is happening," Sibal said in a bitter attack on the government."It is better for the Prime Minister to come c...




Will Work to Protect Constitution, Uphold its Values: President Kovind
New Delhi, July 20: A visibly emotional President-elect, Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday said he will work towards protecting the Constitution and upholding its values, and will serve the nation to ensure happiness for all."This is a very emotional moment," Kovind told reporters after being elected President of India. "This is a very big responsibility for me.""It is my duty to protect the Constitution and uphold its values as the President. I pay my respects to my countrymen and assure them that I'll serve the nation in the spirit of 'Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah' (May all be happy)," he said.Recalling his childhood days, Kovind said: "It has been raining since morning in Delhi. This weather reminds me of my childhood days when I used to live in my ancestral village.""We lived in a 'kuchha' house made of mud. The roof couldn't stop the water trickles during the rainy season. I, along with my brothers and sisters, used to stand in a corner and wait f...




Kovind elected President, first leader with RSS background to occupy Rashtrapati Bhavan
New Delhi, July 20: Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit BJP leader with humble beginnings, was on Thursday elected the 14th President of India defeating UPA candidate Meira Kumar in a straight fight by a huge margin, becoming the first BJP leader and one with RSS background to occupy Rashtrapati Bhavan.Backed by 40 parties, including those outside the ruling NDA, Kovind, 62, a former MP and Bihar Governor, defeated Meira Kumar with a margin of a vote value of 334,730.He got 2,930 votes carrying a value of 700,244 while the former Lok Sabha Speaker secured 1,844 votes with a value of 367,314, the highest vote value recorded by any losing candidate in all the Presidential elections held so far.The electoral college consisted of 4,986 voters with a total vote value of 10,98,903. Seventy seven votes with a value of 20,942 were found to be invalid.While Kovind got 65.65 per cent of the total valid votes with a value of 10,69,358, Meira Kumar got 34.35 per cent. MPs and MLAs are eligible to vote in the...




BJP Youth Wing Members Blacken Naresh Agarwal's Nameplate
New Delhi, July 20: Unidentified persons, claiming to be BJYM members, on Thursday blackened the nameplate at Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agarwal's residence a day after his controversial remark on Hindu gods in the Rajya Sabha.The protesters, who claimed to belong to the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), reached the 6, Tughlak Lane residence here and blackened Agarwal's nameplate.Agarwal's remark linking Hindu gods to alcohol had led to an uproar in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, with the BJP leaders strongly objecting to it.He was speaking during a debate in the House on lynchings in the name of the cow and narrated an incident in 1991 when he visited a school that was turned into a jail.He said the names of some Hindu deities linked to some types of alcohol were written on the wall of the school.The Samajwadi leader later withdrew his remarks after which they was expunged. (IANS) 




Yechury demands ban on cow vigilante groups
New Delhi, July 19: CPI-M chief Sitaram Yechury on Wednesday attacked the Narendra Modi government over growing incidents of lynchings in the country and demanded that cow vigilante groups must be banned."Today when I speak here, my head hangs in shame. What has our Republic come to?" Yechury said while participating in a debate in Rajya Sabha on mob lynching in the name of cow protection.He said that India is the only country with universal suffrage, or right to vote for all, from the very beginning "which was a revolutionary step at that point of time"."Seventy years earlier we felt pride in saying that no other western democracy could have the courage to say that from Day One we gave universal suffrage to everybody in our country irrespective of their religion, caste, gender."Noting that the basis of recognition at the time was equality, Yechury said: "It is that equality today that is being questioned and being severely trampled upon by these inst...




Naidu, Gandhi File Nominations for Vice President's Election
New Delhi, July 18: Ruling NDA's candidate M. Venkaiah Naidu and opposition-backed Gopalkrishna Gandhi filed their nominations for election to the Vice President's post on Tuesday, the last day for filing of papers for the August 5 poll.Scrutiny of the nomination papers will be held on Wednesday.In a show of strength, the top brass of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) accompanied Naidu when the senior BJP leader and four-time Rajya Sabha member went to file his nomination in Rajya Sabha Secretary General Shamsher K. Sheriff's room.Those who accompanied Naidu incluced Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah, several Cabinet Ministers like Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, and Prakash Javadekar, besides veteran party leaders L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi.A number of NDA leaders, including Lok Janshakti Party's Ram Vilas Paswan, Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut and Anandrao Adsul, Shiromani Akali Dal's Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Republican Party's Ramdas Athawle, ...




Mayawati Quits Rajya Sabha, Attacks BJP, Government for Gagging Her
New Delhi, July 18: BSP chief Mayawati on Tuesday resigned from the Rajya Sabha, accusing the BJP of preventing her from speaking in the House on issues close to her heart like the cause of depressed sections particularly Dalits."I had wanted to raise issues in the morning relating to Dalits and about the atrocities committed on them in Saharanpur's Shabirpur village. But you saw the way the treasury benches, including ministers, behaved and prevented me from speaking. When I cannot convey what I want to, then I thought it is not okay."I decided I will resign. I have just met the Rajya Sabha Chairman (Hamid Ansari) and I have handed over my resignation from the House," she told reporters.Mayawati has given a three-page resignation letter to Ansari which officials say may not be accepted because members quitting Parliament are expected to submit their resignation in a simple format and without conditions.Mayawati, whose six-year term was to end in April next year, said wh...




Ruckus in Rajya Sabha over Dalits, Mayawati Threatens to Quit
New Delhi, July 18: Sparks flew as the Rajya Sabha faced repeated disruptions on the second day of the monsoon session on Tuesday as BSP chief Mayawati stormed out, threatening to resign when she was not allowed to speak over "atrocities on Dalits" beyond three minutes.Mayawati demanded a discussion over the issue. Deputy Chairman told her she had already made her demand for a full discussion and should let the House conduct its business.The BSP chief launched a scathing attack against the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh as well as the Modi government.She said the governments remained mute spectators to the violence targeting Dalits in Saharanpur in May when houses belonging to the marginalized were torched and 15 members of the community injured.She said BSP leaders were not even allowed to visit the families of the victims."If I am not allowed to talk, if I cannot represent the section of the society I belong to, if I am not allowed to put across my views on atrocities...




Didn't know BJP got Mandate to Massacre Minorities, Dalits: Azad
New Delhi, July 18: The Congress on Tuesday walked out of the Rajya Sabha after Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the BJP had got a mandate to rule, as BSP supremo Mayawati vociferously spoke against atrocities on Dalits and minorities in Uttar Pradesh and demanded a discussion on the issue.Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad took objection to Naqvi's remarks, saying the BJP had got a mandate to protect the poor, farmers, minorities and Dalits."When Mayawati tried to talk, she was told that we have got the mandate. We did not know the BJP has got the mandate for massacre of minorities and Dalits. We are not with this government," an angry Azad said, and walked out of the House.Other Congress members followed their leader.Earlier, there was a din in the House as Mayawati spoke about "atrocities on Dalits" in Saharanpur of Uttar Pradesh.She said "casteism and capitalism" have grown all over the country, particularly in the BJP-ruled states, after the...




Venkaiah Naidu is NDA's Vice President Pick
New Delhi, July 17: Information and Broadcasting Minister and senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu was on Monday chosen as the ruling NDA's candidate for the August 5 Vice Presidential election, bringing to an end the suspense over the ruling combine's nominee for the second important constitutional post.BJP President Amit Shah announced his candidature after a 90-minute meeting of the BJP's Central Parliamentary Board chaired by Shah and attended by top leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It was said to have been a smooth affair with Naidu having emerged the front-runner much through the day."Venkaiah is a senior political leader across party lines and is a senior leader of the BJP which he had been associated from his youth. He is the unanimous choice of the BJP and all the NDA constituents who have welcomed his candidature," Shah told reporters after the meeting.Indications that Naidu, 68, was an automatic choice came out after his meeting with the Prime Minist...




Voting for Meira to Protest BJP's 'Atrocities': Mamata
Kolkata, July 17: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said her party's support for opposition presidential nominee Meira Kumar is a mark of protest against the BJP's "atrocities" and urged opposition parties to come together by utilising the advantageous timing."We are voting for Meira Kumar because it's a vote against the atrocities of the Bharatiya Janata Party, violence in the name of cow vigilantism, interference in federal structure... It's a vote against injustice."I think Meira Kumar will get the maximum votes from West Bengal assembly as the Trinamool Congress voted for her," Banerjee told the media here at the assembly.She said her Trinamool voted for Meira Kumar knowing she might lose.The BJP-led NDA's candidate Ram Nath Kovind is expected to win since the NDA has the numbers."We will have respect for whoever wins the race, which will probably be with BJP's support. But we want all the opposition parties to come on one platform a...




Meira vs Kovind: Lawmakers vote to elect India's 14th President
New Delhi, July 17: Lawmakers across India voted on Monday to elect the country's 14th President with Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu declaring that ruling NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind would win with a "comfortable and respectable margin" against opposition-backed Meira Kumar.Polling to choose the successor of incumbent Pranab Mukherjee, who demits office on July 25, started simultaneously in Parliament in the national capital and state assemblies at 10 a.m.All elected MPs and MLAs are eligible to cast their vote through secret ballot.As voting picked up, many MPs, including women members, were seen queuing up in Parliament House outside the polling booth in Room No 62 for the voting, that closes at 5 p.m.Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah were among the first to cast their votes in Parliament.Modi, clad in a beige colour sleeveless jacket over a white kurta-pyjama, reached the Parliament premises early to vote on Monday, also the first day of the over thr...




'Communal violence in the name of cow' can't be tolerated: Modi
New Delhi, July 16: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the "issue of communal violence in the name of cow protection" needed to be tackled sternly and asked state governments to act "very tough" against those taking law in their own hands.At an all-party meeting ahead of Parliament's monsoon session that begins on Monday, Modi told MPs that law and order was a state subject and as such the state governments needed to act strictly against those committing violence in the name of cow protection.In his address to floor leaders of parties in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, Modi sought opposition support in fighting the issue of violence done in the name of cow protection.The issue has raised concerns as the targets of such violence have been minority members and Dalits.The Prime Minister "urged all parties to extend their support to the government in fighting corruption and the issue of communal violence in the name of cow protection", said an official...




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