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Naidu, Manmohan to speak at leadership summit

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Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be among a galaxy of top leaders from various walks of life at the 15th edition of the Indian School of Business (ISB) Leadership Summit.

With the theme “Transforming Tomorrow: The Future Unravelled”, the summit will be held from September 22 to 24 at ISB’s Mohali and Hyderabad campuses.

Naidu and Singh will be speaking at the Mohali campus.

Administrator of Puducherry Kiran Bedi, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, former Indian Space Research Organisation chairman K. Radhakrishnan, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, Manipal CEO Ajay Bakshi, and director-actor Karan Johar will be among the key speakers.

The summit will focus on the trends that will be instrumental in shaping the future of countries and their economic environments in the years to come, said a statement from the business school.

“The world has been witnessing radical changes across every domain; these trends have been both exciting and intimidating.

“In India, there have been innumerable champions of change, who have pushed boundaries and been at the forefront of creating new contexts and practices, thereby shaping the future of the country in diverse aspects,” it added.

The centrepiece of the ISB Leadership Summit this year is the Emerging Leaders’ Forum, a first-of-its-kind thought leadership debate that will bring together 32 of the brightest minds and orators from 16 of the leading business schools in India.

Participants will debate on topics ranging across politics, society, technology, business and finance.

The event will be judged by an eminent panel of corporate leaders and academics. Teams displaying exemplary leadership ideas will win awards up to Rs one lakh in addition to the opportunity of networking with corporate champions across every sphere.

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Foundation laid for Regional Vocational Training Institute in Hyderabad

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Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday laid the foundation stone for Regional Vocational Training Institute (RVTI) here for training women in various vocational courses.

Being set up by Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), the institute will come up on four acres of land at Vidyanagar at a cost of Rs 19.95 crore.

When completed, it will train around 1,000 women every year. It is expected to cater to the vocational training needs of 480 women annually in regular courses under Craftsmen Training Scheme (CTS), Craft Instructor’s Training Scheme (CITS) and around same number of candidates in various short term courses.

The courses to be run at the institute include fashion design and technology, architectural assistantship, cosmetology, front office assistant, secretarial practice (English), food and beverages service assistant.

Among those who participated in the event included Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Mohammad Mahmood Ali, Deputy Chief Minister of Telangana and others.

Naidu described setting up of RVTI in Hyderabad as one defining step towards women empowerment. He said it was the duty of all government bodies including gram panchayats, to empower women.

He noted that there was a huge demand for skilled workforce world over and India should use demographic dividend to bridge demand supply gap.

Stating that the country was facing an acute shortage of trainers and teachers under skill development initiatives, the Vice-President said he was delighted to see more avenues of training for trainers.

Pradhan said participation of women in the workforce would certainly lead to the nation’s economic growth.

“To ensure this, we have a target of setting up one RVTI in each state. MSDE is presently running 17 such Institutes across India,” he said.

“Skill training exclusively for women is being provided through the network of 11 Central Government Institutions and 1,408 State Women ITIs and Women Wings in General ITIs. Besides this, 30 per cent of the seats in general ITIs in most of the States are also reserved for Women,” Pradhan added.

The Vice-President also inaugurated five Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKKs). They have come up at Etah, Aligarh, Phulpur (Uttar Pradesh), Singrauli and Dhar (Madhya Pradesh).

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Venkaiah felicitated in Amaravati, says retired but not tired

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Andhra Pradesh government felicitated Vice President Venkaiah Naidu at Velgapudi on Saturday. Speaking on the occasion, Venkaiah said that the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh was done unfairly and said it’s time to let bygones be bygones. He reminded the state of its responsibility to fight for its rights.

He shared that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi teased him about being available for Andhra Pradesh always. Vice-President advised that members of the Legislature should act in way that upholds the respect of the Assembly. In his style, Venkaiah said while the government proposes anything and the Opposition may oppose it, but the House has to dispose. Accordingly, he said he will run Rajya Sabha sessions adhering to this principle and work for its revival.

He thanked the government for the felicitation and said that such events remind him of his responsibilities. Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu said “I am retired but not tired”.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu hoped that Venkaiah’s blessings will be there for the state. Governor ESL Narasimhan said that Venkaiah will remain a Telugu bidda evident from the rally from Gannavaram to Prakasam Barrage today.

Vice-President laid the foundation stone for construction of 2.25 lakh housing units in Amaravati. This was the last file signed by Venkaiah as Union Minister for Urban Development.

Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu, Governor ESL Narasimhan, Speaker Kodela Shiva Prasad, Union Ministers Sujana Choudhary, Ashok Gajapathi Raju and others participated in the event.

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AP Govt full page ads : Wasting taxpayers money and misleading

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Andhra Pradesh state government from the past three years has been spending considerably on advertisements featuring Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu. On Friday, the government released a front-page advertisement to the newspapers announcing the felicitation of the Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.

One of the Objective of government publicity by the Information and public relations department of the state as put up on its website is, “The welfare schemes being implemented by the government for welfare of privileged beneficiary should reach them…”

The department and the government on the whole are answerable to the tax payers as to how felicitating Venkaiah is for the welfare of a people? Such Ads felicitating politicians are nothing but propaganda.

Within a fortnight, the GoAP has published full page ads related to several initiatives. While the Jalasiri advertisements (Irrigation projects) are to enlighten the people, they are to an extent misleading. The advertisement on Independence Day lists that TDP government took up 28 projects, which on a keen observation is a misrepresentation of projects. The irrigation department’s website lists the reservoirs and canal under Handri Neeva Sujala Sravanthi Phase2, while the advertisement lists it as an individual project.

With less than two years for the elections, taxpayers should get ready for a barrage of publicity for schemes. Pick up any newspaper, switch on any Telugu news channel or tune into any FM channel or travel on any main road, soon the thrust of communication and advertisements will only be increasing. The Taxpayer will be bombarded with advertisements which are put up using the money they have paid to the government. Nonetheless it’s high time for the government to take cognisance of the taxpayers’ money and start using it in the right way by providing right information.

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Venkaiah felicitated, says Telugu has both grammar and glamour

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Government of Telangana flamboyantly felicitated Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu at Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad on Monday. The programme was attended by Governor ESL Narsimhan, Chief Minister Chandrashekar Rao, Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya and other prominent politicians and film personalities.

After the felicitation ceremony, KCR, Governor, Dattatreya and Venkaiah delivered their speeches. Venkiah personally thanked all the guests and the delegates who attended the meeting.

Speaking on the occasion, Venkaiah advised all the citizens to participate in development of the country. He said that he started his political career in Hyderabad and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call the capital city as mini-Bharat. The Vice President also said that Telugu language has grammar and glamor. He said that the governance should use Telugu as the language of administration. Venkaiah said Telugu language should be protected and the identity of this language should be preserved. He advised the Telugu speaking states to resolve bifurcation issues amicably. He said he not only loves Telugu but is also a great foodie.

Chief Minister KCR said he is fortunate to felicitate the thirteen Vice President, who started his political career as a common worker and is now in the second highest position in the country.

Governor Narsimhan said that Venkaiah’s speech are very good with intense meaning. Union Minister Dattatreya said that the people of Telangana are honoured to be felicitate by the Vice-President.

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TS Govt’s full page ad felicitating Venkaiah faces backlash

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Government of Telangana’s front page advertisements in all Telugu and English dailies felicitating the Vice President is being welcomed with criticism. The ad published on Monday is about the public felicitation ceremony of Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on his first visit to Hyderabad.

Publishing full page ads has always been an essential need for the politicians to function. These ad with beaming faces of politicians for getting personal publicity has to discontinue.

However, posters facilitating Venkaiah Naidu or even supporting Ram Nath Kovind’s candidature are to be rightly seen as mere propaganda.

Both the central and state governments carry full page advertisements every day in almost all the leading dailies talking about the achievements without including the expenditure or full details associated with the schemes.

These political ads are undoubtedly not serving the interests of people.

While the government as an advertiser has a right to publish ads, the question of using taxpayers’ money for personal gains has remain unanswered for a very long time now.

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Venkaiah sworn-in as Vice President of India

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M Venkaiah Naidu took oath as the Vice-President of India on Friday. President Ram Nath Kovind administered the oath of office and secrecy at Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Venkaiah took charge as the chairman of the Rajya Sabha and is the only vice president to be born in the Independent India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcoming Venkaiah into Rajya Sabha said that the Vice President will lead Indian polity to greater heights.

Senior leaders in the upper house welcomed the new chairman in the Parliament. Derek O’Brien of the TMC in Venkaiah’s style described the chairman using an acronym Naidu as Now All India’s Dearest Umpire.

Deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha PJ Kurein said that Venkaiah has a immense experience as a parliamentarian that will help him run the upper House seamlessly.

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Venkaiah to quit politics by 2020

Former Union Minister and NDA Vice Presidential Candidate Venkaiah Naidu’s vision 2020 is to quit politics and retire at his village doing public service. However, if elected as Vice President, Venkaiah’s term will end in 2022.

Speaking at the meet and greet programme on Saturday in Hyderabad, Venkaiah said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is cognizant of his decision to retire in January2020.

The prime minister informed him that the Vice President nominee has to be a leader from the south India and with an agriculture background and acceptable to everyone. Venkaiah said that he was a grass root worker who never aspired for top positions in the Bharatiya Janata Party.

He held that while RSS and ABVP instilled good manners and leadership skills respectively, BJP gave him opportunities. Former BJP President said that it is easy for him to relinquish his ministerial position and said that he sent away the official car within ten minutes of the announcement of his candidature.

The 68year-old says that the thought of not being able to visit the party’s office brings tears to his eyes.

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Congress questions Venkaiah Naidu about alleged irregularities

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The Congress on Wednesday sought replies from NDA’s Vice Presidential candidate M. Venkaiah Naidu on the exemption given to his daughter’s NGO from paying various developmental charges amounting to Rs 2.46 crore to Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority.

Other questions pertain to the supply of vehicles by Harsha Toyota (owned by Naidu’s son Harshvardhan Naidu) to the Telangana government without any tender and that the former Union minister had allegedly secured 4.95 acres of land in Andhra Pradesh reserved for the poor and the destitute.

The party, questioning probity in public life as accountability and transparency, asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah to come forward and reply in the context of the “repeated rhetoric of zero tolerance for corruption and wrongdoing”.

“At least 48 hours have passed without any reply from either of them. As always, the Prime Minister and BJP President have chosen to keep mum,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a statement.

“Replies given by the BJP’s Vice Presidential nominee as also in his defence by the TRS government of Telangana have left more questions than answers,” he added.

Asking a few questions of Naidu, the Congress said: “The Telangana government and Naidu have admitted that the ‘Swarna Bharat Trust’ of his daughter Deepa Venkat was given exemption from paying developmental charges amounting to Rs 2,46,00,000 to Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority.”

“Naidu has sought to justify this unilateral waiver by saying that 16 more trusts were given exemption,” the party said.

“What the Telangana government and Naidu did not tell, as to why similar exemption was not granted to hundreds of other NGOs by the government? What was the criteria for grant of exemption in payment of government charges of Rs 2.46 crore to her NGO in absence of any policy or rationale?” Surjewala asked in a statement.

“Is it not a fact that the ‘Swarna Bharat Trust’ has been issued a notice under Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010. Is it fair to grant exemption in payment of ‘public charges’ to a trust that is facing FCRA proceedings?,” he added.

Surjewala said: “As regards supply of vehicles by Harsha Toyota to Telangana government without any tender, the state government has accepted that 350 Toyota vehicles were purchased directly from Harsha Toyota.”

“Interestingly, as per the government, the 350 vehicles purchased from Harsha Toyota were supposedly purchased under DGS&D rates, while the next lot of 350 vehicles were purchased through tender in which another dealer i.e. ‘Radha Krishna Motors’ became a successful tenderer.”

“Why were both the lots of vehicles not purchased through tender in the first instance? Was the conditionality of tender violated in the purchase of first lot of vehicles from ‘Harsha Toyota’? What is the price at which the two lots of vehicles i.e. the first lot supplied by ‘Harsha Toyota’ and second lot supplied by ‘Radha Krishna Motors’ were purchased?

“Was the price of vehicles purchased from ‘Harsha Toyota’ higher than the vehicles purchased through tender from ‘Radha Krishna Motors’?” he added.

The party also said: “Naidu has admitted that he was the National BJP President and consequently the chairman of ‘Kushabhau Thakre Memorial Trust’, which was allocated 20 acres of land in Bhopal valued at a few hundred crores.

“Is it not a fact that the Supreme Court quashed the allocation of land,” it asked.

“Naidu has not denied that he had secured 4.95 acres of land in Andhra Pradesh reserved for the poor and the destitute. Is it not a fact that he was forced to return the land as the same was illegally allocated to him? Does it absolve him of his culpability?” asked Surjewala.

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KCR meets Modi, seeks increase in assembly seats

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Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday in New Delhi. The CM discussed important issues related to the state with the PM. One of the central point of the discussion was to increase the assembly seats in the state.

It may be noted that the bill regarding delimitation of constituencies in the Telugu speaking states was not in the agenda for Monsoon sessions of Parliament. Consequently, both the CMs of the AP and TS are lobbying for increasing the number of seats.

Rajnath Singh on Tuesday informed the CMs individually that the approval of BJP President Amit Shah and PM Modi is required to go ahead with the delimitation.

KCR and Modi also discussed about protected lands and funds for backward areas.

Earlier in the day the TRS supremo met NDA Vice Presidential nominee Venkaiah Naidu. He affirmed that Venkaiah will win the elections and congratulated him.

KCR also met Union Minister Arun Jaitley and discussed on issues related to the state, economy and defence. MPs Jitender Reddy, Vinod and advisor Rajiv Sharma were present during the meeting.

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Congress targets VP candidate Venkaiah for deals favouring his kin

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Congress is doing its best to ensure NDA Vice presidential candidate Venakiah’s name continues to surface for all wrong reasons. Congress leader Jai Ram Ramesh accused the Telangana government for purchasing police vehicles from Venakaiah’s son owned Harsha Toyota and KCR son’s owned Himanshu Toyota without following the due procedure of bidding.

It may be recalled that in order to improve the brand image of Telangana police, the state government procured Innova vehicles in 2014. Congress accused that without following the due process of inviting bids, TS ordered police vehicles worth Rs. 270 crore.

Congress also claimed that in Madhya Pradesh Government allotted 20 acres in Bhopal at throwaway prices to a Trust owned by Venakiah. Ramesh accused that as an act of favouritism by BJP government, the land classified as “residential and forestry” was given permission to operate for “commercial” reasons without full disclosure.

Two days after reports surfaced that, Swarna Bharat Trust was given an exemption of 2 crore rupees secretly by HMDA, another accusation from the past again Venkaiah purposefully surfaced.

Venkaiah said that these allegations were baseless and the car dealership issue has been sorted in Court. He held that that other trusts also got such exemptions from the government. Former Union minister stated that it is preposterous on part of Congress to stoop to such level in view of the Vice Presidential elections.

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Swarna Bharat Trust secretly exempted from paying over Rs 2crore to HMDA

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Hyderabad Municipal Administration and Urban Development department a month ago issued orders exempting Swarna Bharat trust from paying various charges. However, the order was not made public for unspecified reasons. NDA’s vice-presidential candidate M Venkaiah Naidu’s daughter Deepa Venkat runs the social service organisation which is based out of Nellore.

As per the reports in The Hindu, the order states that the trust has been exempted from payment of a total of Rs 2,20,76,922.38 to HMDA towards developmental charges for total site area, proportionate layout charges, open space charges and compounding charges, for building in an extent of 36,143.5 square metres at Muchintal village of Shamshabad district. Post the exemption the trust has to pay Rs. 26 lakh.

The order reportedly cites a letter written by the HMDA commissioner T.Chiranjeevulu seeking clarity as there was no such provision for exemptions in the HMDA Act, 2008.

Prior to giving the orders on June20, Deepa appealed to the Telangana government in March, requesting waiver of development charges for total site area. The Managing Turstee mentioned that they will pay development charges for built-up area, publication charges, external betterment charges and processing charges.

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Venkaiah Naidu files nomination for Vice President

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Senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday filed his nomination for the post of Vice President in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers.

After filing his nomination, Naidu expressed gratitude to all those who supported him.

“I am thankful to Narendra Modiji, (BJP President) Amit Shahji and all the NDA parties, including AIADMK, Telangana Rashtra Samiti, YSR Congress and Indian National Lok Dal, for extending their support. Some more friends are expected to support me,” Naidu said.

He said there is no need for him to campaign as all the MPs who are going to vote know him too well.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu’s Teleugu Desam Party, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao’s TRS and the rebel AIADMK faction led by former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam have extended their support to Naidu.

The 68-year-old is comfortably placed against opposition-backed Gopalkrishna Gandhi as the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has a clear majority in the Lok Sabha.

The Vice President is elected by an electoral college comprising members of both the Houses of Parliament, including nominated members.

The scrutiny of nominations for the August 5 election will be on Wednesday.

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Amaravati’s first private University Chancellor has a flawed background

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Andhra Pradesh’s first private University by SRM Group was launched by Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu at Neerukonda village in Mangalagiri Mandal in Amaravati. Venkaiah speaking at the launch said that Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) will arrive where there is Saraswathi (goddess of Education). However contrary to the reports SRM university would let a student in only if they have lot of money.

The founder and chancellor of SRM University, T R Pachamuthu alias Pari Vendhar has been facing charges in several cases. He was arrested in August2016 for cheating gullible students to the tune of Rs 75 crore. About 110 parents approached the police saying that they have paid Rs 50 lakh each for admitting their kin into the MBBS course.

Also, as of May 2017, he was given a stay on a cheque bounce case. As per the complaint, Pachamuthu who is one of the partners in Vendhar Movies Production, borrowed Rs. 7.50 crore from the complainant. In return, the firm had issued two cheques for 2.60 crore which bounced.

He is the President and founder of Indhiya Jananayaga Katchi (IJK) political party in Tamil Nadu. IJK contested in the 2014 General Elections through an alliance with the BJP-led-NDA. Key BJP Ministers of state protested against the alliance.

Nonetheless, famous Perkins and Will architecture firm designed SRM campus. It has big tie-ups with international universities like MIT and UC Berkeley college of engineering in USA. The classes for four Engineering courses are set to commence classes from August with 300 engineering students and 30 faculty members.

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Office of President should be above party politics: Kovind

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NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday said the office of the President should be kept above party politics and assured the parties supporting him that he will uphold the highest esteem of the prestigious office.

Stating that he is not associated with any political party, Kovind appealed to all members of the presidential election collegiums to support his candidature.

Kovind was addressing a meeting of the leaders of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the ruling party of Telangana which is extending support to him.

“Ever since I became Governor of Bihar, I have been working throughout in a non-partisan manner, keeping every citizen of Bihar with equal status without any discrimination. I can assure you that I will continue to keep the position of the President above party,” he told the meeting attended by TRS President and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and some other BJP leaders.

“As on today I am not associated with any political party. Of course my earlier background had been with the BJP. I had the privilege of working in the team of Venkaiah Naidu. Even after resigning the governorship I did not join any party,” Kovind said.

Stating that the President is also the supreme commander of the armed forces, he said security of ‘our international borders should be our topmost priority’.

“I can assure you I will always strive for all round development of the nation irrespective of caste, creed, language, region and geographical situations.”

The NDA nominee said he would also do his best to fulfil the aspirations of youth and for development of modern education.

“We have to fulfil dream of new India which our honourable Prime Minister has been advocating till 2022 when we celebrate completion of 75 years of our independence.”

He expressed his gratitude to NDA and non-NDA parties especially TRS and noted that TRS chief had extended him the support even before his candidature was announced.

Kovind thanked Rao for having installed many hoardings in Hyderabad in his honour and for delivering his speech in Hindi.

The TRS President said Telangana would look towards Kovind for his blessings for development. Stating that TRS is extending full support to him, Rao said he was sure to get elected with a huge majority.

Kovind, who arrived in Hyderabad in the morning, also addressed the MPs and state legislators of BJP and YSR Congress Party.

He later left for Vijayawada to meet Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and other leaders of TDP and BJP.

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Pawan Kalyan has the last laugh

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Jana Sena party chief Pawan Kalyan has not been interacting with people through twitter for quite some time. Especially when the BJP leaders have been imposing their own rules and regulations across the country – be it beef ban or imposing Hindi.

Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu just fuelled a fresh controversy over use of Hindi language. He said that “Hindi is our National Language. It is impossible to progress in India without Hindi. Our mother tongue is our identity and we should take pride in it”

Firstly, the Union Minister who hails from South India should realise that Hindi is not our national language but official language. The constitution did not accord national language status to any language. Secondly it is not mother tongue of about 60percent of Indian population.

Venkaiah trying to repair the damage already caused said “It is unfortunate that everyone is bent upon learning English because it guarantees employment. I want the nation to discuss, promote and learn our mother languages more and at the same time learn Hindi as well”

It may be recalled that Venkaiah advised Kalyan not to create hatred among people or regions. It is evident from the recent interactions that Venakiah needs to follow his own words.

Kalyan need not retort with an answer but just needs to retweet his old tweet in the new context. The tweet from April reads “If center doesn’t respect the Sub-national identity’ in a country like ours; which is known for its cultural, linguistic & ethnic diversity then..they are creating a fertile breeding grounds for separatists movements”

It may be noted that BJP lashed out at the Jana Sena chief saying that “He is without citing any specific issues, examples or cases is making casual, random and baseless statements”. It is evident that the BJP leadership is now giving reasons to consider Kalyan’s statements as relevant and calculated.

When doubts are being raised by the non-Hindi speaking states over the imposition of the language, these comments from Union Minister were uncalled for.

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Is a consensus possible on the new President?

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For a party known for its hubris, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) decision to consult the opposition for a consensus on the presidential candidate has come as a pleasant surprise.

However, it is possible that its majority in the electoral college has enabled the party to display a show of magnanimity.

At the same time, the Information and Broadcasting Minister, Venkaiah Naidu, has reminded the opposition parties that although the consultations will take place in the “true spirit of a democracy”, they must remember that “the mandate of the people is for the government.”

Naidu is one of the three chosen by the BJP to interact with the opposition. The other two are Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

However, the chances of a consensus candidate being chosen will brighten only if the BJP refuses to abide by the wish reportedly conveyed by its mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), that the party must utilise the advantage of a majority in the electoral college to choose a person who is a Hindutva ideologue.

Considering that the RSS has succeeded in planting saffron aficionados in a fairly large number of “autonomous” institutions, including the Indian Council of Historical Research and the Indian Council of Social Science Research, it is unlikely to be hesitant about having a man of its choice in Rashtrapati Bhavan — the best prize of all.

Perhaps reading its mind, the Shiv Sena had suggested RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s name as the next President. The Maharashtrian party may have also wanted to test the BJP’s sincerity to the cause of Hindutva, for it has said that Bhagwat will be a good choice to turn India into a Hindu rashtra (nation).

However, after Bhagwat himself turned down the proposal, the Sena has opted for M.S. Swaminathan, known as the father of India’s “green revolution” in agriculture. The name of E. Sreedharan, the engineer who built the world-class Delhi Metro, has also been mentioned. Needless to say, both are eminently suitable for the high office if only because of their distance from politics.

There might have been a faint chance of a compromise between the BJP and the “secular” parties if L.K. Advani’s name was put forward. However, the BJP’s margdarshak (visionary) has not been a favourite of the RSS ever since he praised Mohammed Ali Jinnah during a visit to Pakistan. Indeed, he had to leave the party president’s post soon afterwards.

More recently, however, his involvement in the Babri Masjid demolition case as a “conspirator” has effectively ruled out his chances. Similarly, Murli Manohar Joshi, who is known to be close to the RSS, has also lost the opportunity for making it to the big house on top of the Raisina Hill because of the Babri Masjid case.

Cynics have said that the reopening of the case against them by the Central Bureau of Investigation was meant by the powers that be to keep them out of reckoning, for neither of them is believed to enjoy Narendra Modi’s trust.

However, another person, who was not delighted with Modi’s elevation in the BJP before the general election, viz. Sushma Swaraj, has come to the forefront. She has several plus points. One is her humanitarian acts as the external affairs minister where her help is required by, among others, by stranded NRIs and ailing Pakistanis. The other, and more important, is that she is believed to enjoy the backing of the RSS.

Among the other front-runners are Draupadi Murmu, the governor of Jharkhand, and Sumitra Mahajan, the Lok Sabha Speaker.

The choice of Murmu, a tribal, will enable the BJP to reach out to one of the most neglected communities in the country, about whom the now virtually forgotten but undoubtedly their foremost leader, Jaipal Singh Munda (1903-1970), told the Constituent Assembly that “the whole history of my people is one of continuous exploitation and dispossession by the non-aboriginals of India”.

It is clear that none of the BJP’s opponents will oppose her choice for obvious reasons. But whether Murmu herself will be interested is unclear, for the President’s post can be the end of the road where a political career is concerned. Being 59 years old, a relatively young age for a politician, she may be unwilling to put a full stop to any further advancement in politics. Rumours have it, therefore, that she is keener on a cabinet berth at the Centre.

A consensus is also possible on Mahajan, for she has shown herself to be temperamentally calm. But this may be the very reason why the RSS is said to be against her.

In less fraught times, it may have been possible to evolve a consensus on the former Lok Sabha Speaker, Meira Kumar, who, as a Dalit and with a distinguished lineage — she is Jagjivan Ram’s daughter — may have had claims similar to Murmu’s for being selected for the highest constitutional position in the land.

But her Congress background ruins her chances straightaway in view of the BJP’s avowed intention of making India Congress-mukt (free). Moreover, the RSS would have been appalled to find a Congress person once again becoming the President.

If the Congress is an untouchable for the saffron lobby, so are the Muslims, which is why the Vice President Hamid Ansari did not have a chance. And there is no one like A.P.J. Abdul Kalam around, who was a nationalist despite being a Muslim, as Minister for Culture Mahesh Sharma said.

The Left parties have been pushing for Gopal Krishna Gandhi, a grandson of the “chatur bania” (clever trader) as BJP president Amit Shah descried Mahatma Gandhi.

But for all his credentials — a former governor and diplomat and related to the Mahatma and C. Rajagopalachari — his palpable secularism is a black mark where the Modi dispensation is concerned.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Presidential Elections: BJP sets up 3 member panel, Opposition Parties to meet on June 14

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Both the ruling party BJP and the opposition party Congress are gearing up for the upcoming Presidential elections on July 17. With the issuance of a notification, the nomination process will begin June 14. The last date for filing nomination is June 28.

BJP president Amit Shah formed a three-member committee which includes Rajnath Singh, Venkaiah Naidu and Arun Jaitley. The members as a part of the committee will consult with other political parties regarding the candidate for the elections.

On the other hand, an all-party meeting will be chaired by the opposition party on June 14 to discuss the selection of common candidate. AICC President Sonia Gandhi has initiated the steps to bring the opposition parties on a common platform. A 10-member sub-group was from the members of the Opposition parties. The sub-group will meet on Wednesday and start working towards keeping a check on the ruling party’s moves and shortlisting the candidates. The sub-group consists of Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge, JD-U leader Shard Yadav, RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, TMC leader Derek O’Brien, Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav, BSP’s Satish Chandra Mishra, DMK leader R.S. Bharathi and NCP’s Praful Patel.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Amit Shah, Chandrababu discuss alliance, presidential poll

BJP President Amit Shah met Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu here on Thursday.

After winding up three-day visit to Telangana, Shah reached here along with Naidu from Hyderabad in the same flight. They were accompanied by central ministers M. Venkaiah Naidu and Y.S. Chowdary.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief later met the Telugu Desam Party president over lunch at Naidu’s residence. Central ministers Venkaiah Naidu, Suresh Prabhu and Y.S. Chowdary, Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh and TDP’s Andhra Pradesh unit President Kala Venkat Rao were also present during the meeting, which lasted for more than an hour.

According to sources in the TDP, they discussed the political developments, the alliance between the two parties and the ensuing presidential election.

Naidu urged Amit Shah to ensure that the Centre takes early steps to fulfill all the commitments made in Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.

Earlier, the BJP’s Andhra Pradesh unit leaders met Shah and discussed strengthening of the party in the state and the relations with TDP.

The BJP chief is scheduled to address a public meeting in Vijayawada Thursday evening as part of the party’s efforts to expand base in the state.

Shah’s visit comes a few days after the relations between the two allies turned somewhat strained when some TDP leaders criticised the BJP for allowing YSR Congress Party President Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The TDP is a partner in BJP-led NDA government at the Centre while the BJP is an ally of the TDP in the ruling coalition in Andhra Pradesh.

During his visit to Telangana, Shah hinted that the alliance will continue in Andhra Pradesh but the BJP may go alone in Telangana in 2019 elections.

Interestingly, Naidu was in Hyderabad on Wednesday to address the annual conclave of the TDP’s Telangana unit while at the same time Amit Shah addressed a meeting of BJP workers in Hyderabad, asking them to gear up to bring the party to power in the state.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Venakaih Naidu bats for second term to Modi

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Vijayawada: Union Minister and senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu launched campaign to get second term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In tune with BJP chief Amit Shah who is currently on a 95-day long tour across the country to prepare the party for the 2019 elections, Venkaiah Naidu stressed the need to give another term for Modi to transform and strengthen India in the world.

Venkaiah Naidu said that several countries in the world were looking towards India after Modi became Prime Minister. The country was marching towards growth on all fronts with the slogan of Making of Developed India (MODI), he asserted. The revolutionary decisions taken by Modi in the last three and a half years have already transformed the country, he said and added that the Modi government is clean from corruption and scandals which were order of the day during the Congress-led UPA government.

Venkaiah Naidu said that the BJP had secured second place in 120 Lok Sabha Constituencies during the 2014 elections. Amit Shah was now touring these constituencies to strengthen the party and win them in the next round of elections. He further added that the BJP was trying to expand its base in Andhra Pradesh despite being an alliance partner in the State with the ruling TDP. The party would make use of every hour for the next two years and strengthen its base before reviewing the alliance with the TDP, if required.

The Union Minister justified Prime Minister Modi’s meeting with YSR Congress president Jaganmohan Reddy and said that there was nothing to find fault with it. He took exception to the TDP leaders criticizing Prime Minister for the meeting and said that those who have criticized Modi have no political knowledge and experience.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

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