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After Swamy's attack on Raghuram Rajan, PM Modi breaks silence -
5/28/2016 9:07:11 AM

Modi said that the issue of Rajan's reappointment was an administrative subject and that it should not be an issue of interest of the media.

Amid relentless demand of removal of RBI governor Raghuram Rajan from his party MP Subramanian Swamy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today hinted that the top bank's boss may get a second stint. Rajan's three-year term ends in September.

Modi said that the issue of Rajan's reappointment was an administrative subject and that it should not be an issue of interest of the media.

"I don't think this administrative subject should be an issue of interest to the media," Modi told The Wall Street Journal breaking his silence over the controversy surrounding Rajan.


BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has been demanding Rajan's immediate removal from the top post. The Rajya Sabha MP has even submitted a 6-point chargesheet against Rajan to PM Modi accusing the top bank's chief of leaking "sensitive information to the world".


While Swamy has been gunning for Rajan for a while now, the BJP leadership has distanced itself from the controversy. Party president Amit Shah has avoided any direct comment over the issue.

"The party stand is spelt out by me," Shah told journalists yesterday. "I will only say that the party's stand is articulated by me. I will not comment on institutions and their heads in public," he added when persuaded further.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has also disapproved of attack on Rajan.

"I don't approve of personal comments against anyone, let alone the RBI governor. One can agree or disagree with their judgment, but that's a debate on issues. But I don't think we should allow a public discourse where instead of debate on issues we concentrate on debate on persons," Jaitley had said.


As an outspoken RBI governor, Rajan has expressed his views on host of issues, including intolerance and has even described India as 'one-eyed king' in the land of blind in reference to the country's high economic growth.

"I think we have still to get to a place where we feel satisfied. We have this saying  'in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king'. We're a little bit that way," Rajan had said.

The RBI chief, however, had apologised for his statement which raised eyebrows among central ministers.

"I want to apologize to a section of the population, the visually impaired, who might be hurt by my statement. My intent in saying 'one-eyed king in the land of blind' was to say that our outperformance is in the midst of global weakness," Rajan clarified.

Can Mamata be the glue that keeps 'federal front' intact? -
5/28/2016 8:57:17 AM

From Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad from neighbouring Bihar to the AAPs Kejriwal, National Conference's Farooq Abdullah and Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav, all leaders attended Mamata Banerjee's event in Kolkata.

When Mamata Banerjee took oath as West Bengal Chief Minister for the second consecutive time, key regional leaders who can play a major role in an anti-Modi block were all in attendance.

From Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad from neighbouring Bihar to the Aam Aadmi Party's Arvind Kejriwal, National Conference's Farooq Abdullah and Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav, all made sure to greet Didi on her special day in Kolkata.

The symbolism of the occasion was not lost on anyone.

"It's like a political get-together. We are politicians after all, so what else can we discuss," quipped an elated Mamata as she thanked all her guests for their presence.

And it was Mamata's pet project - the "federal front", a non-BJP, non-Congress block of regional parties to challenge Modi, that was on everyone's mind. "We discussed this in Patna too. At least we can meet each other. This is a good beginning," said a visibly content Didi.


Last year's Bihar results have shown that even the Modi-Amit Shah electoral combine is not invincible. With the big Uttar Pradesh elections next year, a combined strategy to halt the Modi juggernaut keeping 2019 in mind is clearly the priority for these parties with strong regional bases.

After her failed attempt in the past, the big question is - will Mamata be able to act as the glue that keeps this "federal front" intact? With so many powerful regional satraps on one forum, unity always remains the biggest challenge. Mamata knows that well and she was quick to clarify: "As a simple person I'm ready for all cooperation if others move ahead with it. I don't want anything personally," she told mediapersons at the Bengal secretariat after first cabinet meeting.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with Nitish Kumar.

Ever since the results were announced, several Trinamool leaders have been openly hinting at Mamata's national aspirations. Some even said that Mamata was the most credible face to take on Modi in 2019. But does she have the support of the rest? Will Nitish or Mulayam accept her leadership? While the Bihar Chief Minister refrained from speaking on the matter, his RJD counterpart Lalu Prasad was more forthcoming.


"We want all like-minded parties to come together and dethrone BJP from the Centre. This should be our target, because if we don't come together in time, the BJP will divide this country," Lalu said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with RJD supremo Lalu Yadav.

Terming it a historic day, veteran National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah too harped on the need for an alliance to "save the country from disaster". "We will sit together, work out a way and decide what's best for the nation. There is every possibility of a Front. We will all come together and join the process of uniting the nation," he said.


But the BJP remains unfazed amid all the "federal front" speculation. Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, who also attended Mamata's event in Kolkata, reminded everyone about the need for a "stable anchor" for any such opposition formations.

"I have repeatedly said that we  welcome anybody coming in opposition to the BJP. In the past too, such fronts have failed because the anchor has had a very narrow support base. Any alliance which is anchored by a small group can inherently never be stable," Jaitley said

EXCLUSIVE: Kiren Rijiju says UPA govt worked in tandem with LeT in Ishrat Jahan case, Congress demands apology -
5/28/2016 8:55:21 AM

In one of the most fiercest attacks on the previous Congress-led UPA rule, a top Modi government minister has claimed that the then Home Ministry worked in tandem with Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba to cover-up the 'truth'.

In his fiercest and most direct attack on the Congress, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju today charged the previous government of working in tandem with the Lashkar-e-Taiba in the Ishrat Jahan case.

"After the encounter, LeT conceded Ishrat Jahan was a martyr but when a particular police officer was appointed to investigate the matter and when he began his investigation the LeT suddenly announced they made an error and that Ishrat was not their cadre. See how coordinated MHA and LeT were. MHA and LeT were working in tandem and it was disastrous for a great country like India," Rijiju said in an exclusive interview to India Today.

The young minister of state did not mince his words when he charged the UPA government with twisting investigations to suit a certain narrative of "saffron terror". He spoke at length about Batla House encounter, Malegaon blast, Samjhauta investigations and Ishrat Jahan case. "In all these cases at a certain point of time the course of investigation changed when the Congress coined the term saffron terror," he said.

Giving details of the Malegaon investigations Rijiju said: "One person was booked under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). But to put MCOCA a person has to be chargesheeted under MCOCA in two other cases. So in one case he was chargesheeted under MCOCA in 36 hours of investigation and in the other case in just 12 hours of probe. In very serious cases of terror, a probe was conducted and person chargesheeted in 12 and 36 hours? Is this not making a mockery of justice?"

When asked whether Narendra Modi government intends to probe these allegations further or only score political points Rijiju insisted the government was strictly going by the book. "We have gone by the investigations conducted by the agencies and have left it to the courts to take a decision," he added.

On the Batla house encounter case, Rijiju claimed the Congress continued to indulge in politics which was very demoralising for the security forces. "Digvijaya Singh (Congress General secretary) says it was a fake encounter and Shivraj Patil then home minister says it was a genuine encounter. One must never play politics with national security and counter terror operations since it is very demoralising for the security forces," he said.


The Congress hit back at Kiren Rijiju calling the allegations of working in tandem with LeT as "preposterous and completely baseless". Speaking to India Today Manish Tewari former MoS I&B said, "When the NDA government escorted terrorists to Kandahar we did not indulge in politics and said the BJP was working in tandem with terrorists. The junior home minister's statements are very irresponsible."

The Congress has sought an apology from the minister. "The then home minister Shivraj Patil made Congress government's stance very clear on Batla House saying it is a genuine encounter. We demand an apology from Rijiju," he said.


    I personally admire P Chidambaram. He is one of the finest administrators, he is one of the most capable ministers that we had.
    But how he was forced to give a cleanchit to a hardcore terrorist?
    I had said this earlier also, we don't feel that Chidambaram was alone in giving a cleanchit to Ishrat Jahan. It must have been very calculated and calibrated effort from the some of the top Congress leaders.
    If you see the Malegaon blast, Samjhauta blast and Ishrat Jahan case, you can see how things have turned around.
    This show that they were working in tandem, it is such a disastrous thing to happen in such a great country like India.