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EC threatens action against AAP for discrepancies in electoral funding reports

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AAP

New Delhi | Flagging discrepancies in its electoral funding statement, the Election Commission Tuesday threatened the AAP with action for “prima facie failing” to follow its transparency guidelines.

In its show-cause notice, the EC claimed that transactions through hawala operators were “wrongly disclosed as voluntary donations”. The EC has asked the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to respond to the notice “within 20 days”, failing which it will decide on the cases on merit based on the information available with it and the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

Rule 16 A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order allows the EC to either suspend or withdraw recognition of a recognised political party. The AAP is a recognised state party in Delhi. The notice said the AAP had submitted the original contribution report for Financial Year 2014-15, which was received by it on September 30, 2015. The party later submitted a revised report on March 20, 2017.

“The original report contains a list of 2,696 donors with the total donations amounting to Rs 37,45,44,618 and the revised contribution report shows the total amount as Rs 37,60,62,631 received from 8,264 donors,” it said.

The poll panel said that a report was received from the office of the CBDT chairman in 2018 regarding “concealment of donations received by the AAP” during Financial Year 2014-15.

Referring to concealment of donations, the EC notice said the bank account of the AAP recorded total credits of Rs 67.67 crore, including Rs 64.44 crore from donations in excess of Rs 20,001.

“However, the party has disclosed total income of Rs 54.15 crore from donations in its audited accounts for the year. Therefore, it has been held by the assessing officer that Rs 13.16 crore have not been accounted for by the party and these donations have been held to be from unknown sources,” the notice read.

The notice also mentions transactions with hawala dealers, claiming that the party has taken “accommodation entries from hawala operators to the tune of Rs 2 crore. These have also been wrongly disclosed as voluntary donations.”

Referring to the CBDT report, the EC said the AAP made “wrong disclosures” on its official website and also furnished incorrect information to the poll panel under Section 29C of the Representation of the People Act.

“It (CBDT letter to EC) details how the party has changed/revised its contribution report once the correctness of the same was questioned. In conclusion, it is stated that its disclosures to the Election Commission in the form of the contribution report are incorrect,” the EC notice said.

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Government is making efforts to neutralize Naxal supporters: Raman Singh

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Raman Singh

Raipur | Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh Monday said his government is making efforts through development projects to “soon neutralise” the ideological and financial support Maoists receive from sympathisers from Raipur to Delhi.

In an interview to PTI, the longest-serving BJP chief minister outlined several development-related activities, including those being undertaken in the state’s Maoist-affected Bastar region.

Mr. Singh also exuded the confidence of a  consecutive fourth victory for the BJP in the upcoming Assembly polls in the state. Polls for the 90-member Chhattisgarh Assembly are due this year-end.

The chief minister said his government has been working on a plan to completely eliminate maoism from the state since 2003 and that the strategy is showing results. “We have brought development in most (of the naxal-affected) areas and more than that we have been able to win the people’s trust. Naxals are getting discouraged and Naxals activities are going down,” he said.

Referring to Maoists sympathisers, Mr Singh said maoists have got a very strong support system from Raipur to Delhi. “I feel the kind of support that is given Naxals and their ideology is very strong. They make big lawyers who take up their cases. So, they are economically strong too.

“There are people of their (naxals) ideology who support them, from high courts to the Supreme Court (referring to some providing legal aid to them),” the chief minister said. He, however, expressed confidence that these sympathisers will soon be “neutralised”.

“Like the naxals are getting weaker, they (sympathisers) will also become weak. This fight (to check naxalites and their supporters) is of Chhattisgarh and other states.

“We are getting successful (in checking Naxal activities) and this support system will soon be neutralised,” Mr. Singh said.

He also lamented that some human rights supporters are opposing action against Maoists.

“They make noise of human rights violation. They had come to me also. I asked them whether the human rights are of Naxalites alone or of the common people also. They (naxals) abduct their children, girls and destroy schools.

“They are the biggest violators of human rights as they keep the whole area (of their influence) captive. Why you (sympathisers and human rights defenders) don’t speak then? You only think of them (naxals) only?” Mr. Singh said.

His assertion assumes significance as some human rights defenders were arrested last month from different parts of the country, including one Chhattisgarh-based activist, by state police forces. The Supreme Court is hearing a case on a plea made by a historian challenging the arrests.

Talking about the upcoming Assembly polls in the state, Mr. Singh said the BJP is confident of its victory and all set to form the government after the elections.

“The experience of the last three elections tells us that we will be in a better position in this poll. BJP chief (Amit Shah) has decided a target of 65 plus seats in the state.

“We all are set to achieve that. Our workers up to the booth level are doing their jobs. We are sure that we will get a big victory this time,” the chief minister said.

Mr. Singh, who has been the chief minister of the state since December 2003, rejected suggestions that there was anti-incumbency against his administration.

“Sensing, somewhat, a little mood of anti-incumbency in some areas, we started a mass contact programme. We visited different parts of the state and heard the people’s grievances, if any, and provided on the spot solution to them.

“So, whatever little concern or problem they had from the administration, we have already provided solutions to them. Hence, no such (anti-incumbency) feeling exist,” he said.

The chief minister said the BJP is approaching the people with a promise and vision to make a ‘New Chhattisgarh’ by 2025.

“When Chhattisgarh turns 25 (in 2025), our GDP will be doubled, farmers’ income will be doubled. We will ensure 100 percent literacy in the state.

“We are creating an educational hub in the worst Naxal-affected Bastar region to Sarguja, and providing all possible support to the farmers of the state,” Mr. Singh said, outlining plans to approach voters ahead of the Assembly polls.

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BJP’s difference with Rahul Gandhi is ‘political’ not personal, says Rajnath Singh

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Rajnath Singh

Lucknow | Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) leader and Union Minister for Home Affairs Rajanth Singh said that his party’s difference with Congress President Rahul Gandhi is ‘political’ and not ‘personal’.

Addressing students at the Jaipuria Institute of Management in Lucknow, Singh said that BJP believes Bharatiya Janata Party in differing on political and ideological issues and never taking things to personal level.  The Union Home Minister answered to questions of the management student on various national and international topics.

When asked about India’s growing relationship with the United States,Singh said,”  New Delhi’s foreign policy was guided by the traditional credo of “Na kahu se dosti, na kahu se bair.” He added further added that “India wants a good relationship with all countries.”

Rajnath Singh also spoke about Rahul Gandhi’s constant visit to the Hindu temples. He said, “The Congress President is keeping in mind the 2019 parliamentary polls.” When asked about Narendra Modi government’s stand on Section 370 which grants special status to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said, “If I utter a word on this, it will become international news. You should wait, some decisions have to be taken with great seriousness and deliberations.” The Union Minister further added that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India and will always remain one. “Nobody can take away the state from us.”

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Opposition doesn’t have agenda for development, Congress is suffering from ‘Modi phobia’: Amit Shah

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Amit Shah

Puri | BJP President Amit Shah criticised the opposition parties, including the Congress, on Monday saying they suffered from “Modi phobia” and did not have any agenda for the country’s development.

All partners of the BJP in the NDA, on the other hand, are united and serious about transforming India as the number one country in the world, Mr. Shah said.

Hitting out at the Naveen Patnaik’s BJD government in Odisha, he said it is responsible for backwardness and poverty in the mineral-rich state. Its ouster from power is certainly in the 2019 election, he told a women’s meeting in Puri.

“I want to tell the people that the Congress and all opposition parties are working together for breaking India while (prime minister Narendra) Modi-Ji is busy in making India,” he said.

The prime minister is seeking to eradicate poverty, but the opposition wants “Modi Hatao (defeat)”, the BJP president said. PM Modi wants to eliminate unemployment, while opposition calls for his removal.

“We (BJP) say put an end to insecurity among people, but they (opposition) want removal of Modi. The opposition has no specific agenda, no Neta (leader) and no Neeti (policy). Their only programme is the removal of Modi as they are suffering from Modi phobia,” the BJP President said.

Hitting out at the BJD government in Odisha, which has been in power in the state since 2000, he said, “The Naveen Patnaik government has lost all rights to continue in power in Odisha even for a second as the state remains backward despite abundant mineral resources.”

Slamming the Naveen Patnaik government for rejecting the centre’s flagship health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat, Mr. Shah said if the BJP comes to power in the state it would immediately join the programme for the benefit of lakhs of poor people.

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