Opp planning joint protest on note ban anniversary

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A united opposition plans to hold a joint protest on November 8, the first anniversary of note-ban which it alleged has “caused harm” to the economy and jobs in the country.

Some opposition parties led by the Congress today met in Parliament to chalk out modalities for the proposed joint agitation.

The leaders of six opposition parties – the Congress, the Left, the BSP, TMC, DMK and JD(U)’s Sharad Tadav faction – who are part of an opposition coordination committee, today met in the chamber of Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad over the issue.

After the hour-long discussions, Azad told reporters that it was an initial meeting and he was asked to consult all 18 opposition parties before finalising anything further.
“We will discuss with the other opposition parties and come with our plan soon,” he told reporters.

Sources said the opposition is planning a nation-wide protest on note ban anniversary to highlight the “ill- effects” on the economy hard and the job market.

“Today the opposition coordination committee met. Representatives of six parties were present. We decided to meet again before parliament session. We will announce our plan tomorrow,” TMC leader Derek O’Brien said after the meeting.

O’Brien said the opposition parties discussed the economic situation in the country, including demonetisation, GST and other issues.

“Today we met to discuss the economic fallout in the country and discuss various aspects of it. Ghulam Nabi has been given the responsibility to discuss the issue with other opposition parties. We will meet again to chalk out our plans,” said CPI leader D Raja after the meeting.

The opposition parties today also discussed the case of Sharad Yadav’s disqualification from the Upper House, which is pending before Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu.

Th sources said the opposition leaders have decided to speak to the Vice President tomorrow at a luncheon, where he has invited all leaders of opposition parties.

TMC leader O’Brien said his party feels Yadav is been targeted by his party JD(U).

“This MP was elected by people on ‘mahagathbandhan’ ideology. He didn’t break the ideology, others broke it. Why should Yadav be penalised ?” he said.

Sharad Yadav, Satish Chandra Misra, Derek O’Brien, Kanimozhi and D Raja were among those present at today’s meeting. Another member of the coordination committee Ram Gopal Yadav of Samajwadi Party could not attend.

Lok Sabha, assemblies becoming ‘hungama sabha’: Rajasthan speaker

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Rajasthan Assembly Speaker Kailash Meghwal today said there was a need to create an understanding for reviving the culture of meaningful discussions in the Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies.

Speaking at a programme at Ravindra Manch here, on the birth anniversary of former vice-president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Meghwal said the Lok Sabha and assemblies were now becoming ‘hungama sabha’.

“Earlier, meaningful discussions used to take place but nowadays uproars consume the time,” Meghwal said.

“Meaningful discussions on public interest issues should take place in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies and there is a need to create an understanding for this,” he said.

Remembering Shekhawt, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said that he was a farsighted leader who taught her many things in politics.

“I learnt patience and other qualities from Shekhawat,” Raje said.

Home minister Gulab Chand Kataria, BJP state president Ashok Parnami and other senior party leaders were among the attendees.

Govt plans to invest Rs 1.45 lakh crore in North-East road infra

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To upgrade infrastructure in the North-East, the government is planning to undertake highway projects worth about Rs 1.45 lakh crore in next two to three years, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said.

The government has already taken up many road improvement projects under Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for North-East for better connectivity in the region, besides setting up National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited to augment the capacity of the agencies involved in development and maintenance of highways in the region.

“The government is planning to invest about Rs 1.45 lakh crore in the North-East for development of National Highways,” Road Transport, Highways, Shipping and Water Resources Minister Gadkari told PTI.

Of the proposed Rs 1.45 lakh crore investment, the government plans to invest about Rs 48,000 crore in Assam, Rs 22,000 crore in Manipur and Rs 20,000 crore in Nagaland for building roads.
Projects worth Rs 17,000 crore are planned in Sikkim, Rs 12,000 crore in Mizoram, Rs 10,000 crore in Arunachal Pradesh and Rs 8,000 crore each in Meghalaya and Tripura, he said.

The government has earlier said that it is giving special attention to infrastructure development projects, such as road, rail, communication, and telecom network in the North- East.

A total of 197 on-going road development projects are being implemented under various programmes/schemes of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in the North Eastern States, it as said.

Winter session of Madhya Pradesh Assembly to start from November 27

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The winter session of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly will start here on November 27, an official said.

The notification in this regard was issued today.

“The winter session will start from November 27 and continue till December 8. During this 12-day session, ten sittings would be held,” Assembly’s principal secretary Avdhesh Pratap Singh said.

This will be the 15th session of the 14th Assembly of Madhya Pradesh

SC to hear plea by Congress party on Gujarat polls

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The Supreme Court today agreed to hear this month end a plea by the Congress party seeking directions to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to frame guidelines for counting of votes through VVPAT machines in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly poll and other elections.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud sought the assistance of Attorney General K K Venugopal in the matter which is to be heard on October 30.

Prakash Joshi, secretary of All India Congress Committee, has moved the top court seeking a direction to the EC to install CCTV cameras inside the polling booth to watch the “mobility of persons inside”.

During the hearing, senior lawyers Kapil Sibal and Vivek Tankha, appearing for him, told the bench that this matter was required to be heard expeditiously as dates for the Gujarat Assembly elections were expected to be declared soon.
“Let a copy of the petition be served to the central agency so that we can have assistance of Attorney General,” the bench said.

The petition said the poll panel should be directed not to post any official, who is facing any inquiry or disciplinary proceedings, in key positions in the districts on contract basis or on extension of time from services.

The plea said they had made representations to the EC in raising these issues but no decision was taken by it.

It has also sought the apex court’s direction to the poll panel not to disturb the voters’ list without notice to the voters as well as the concerned political parties.

“…issue direction to install CCTV cameras inside the polling booth to watch the mobility of persons inside the polling booth and such videograph has to be displayed along with the number of votes poll, outside the polling booth on a display board,” the plea said.

The plea has said the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee had initially given a representation to the state election commission on September 21 expressing concern specifically regarding the comparison of electronic results with the paper trail results.

It said thereafter, another representation was filed on September 22 raising several issues, including framing of rules and guidelines for counting of votes through the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines.

The plea said the party had suggested to the poll panel to increase the visibility time of VVPAT paper trail from 7 to 13 seconds and hold random checks of the VVPAT machines.

It also said there should be video recording of paper trail prints which should be preserved for 120 days.

The plea said that though the EC said it would look into these issues, no decision has been conveyed to them so far.

In August, the EC had told the apex court that it would be able to conduct the Gujarat assembly elections using Electronic Voting Machines with paper trail.

The EC had told this to the court which was hearing a separate petition seeking direction for use of VVPAT machines in Gujarat Assembly polls.