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Now conversion for the sake of monetary benefitsNow conversion for the sake of monetary benefits

Dr SK Pandey from Lucknow

There is yet another dangerous trend emerging in Uttar Pradesh, where educated people are converting to minority groups for the sake of benefits and privileges, which are offered to the minority educational institutions.
Indian Constitution prohibits religious conversion on the basis of force or allurement, but this is being done implicitly by the Government itself through its partisan and unjust laws. They are encouraging religious conversions by enforcing the laws, which divide the citizens as the minority and the majority, and give special privileges to the minority community in various matters.
For example, in addition to other benefits, the management committees of minority institutions are entitled to admit 50 per cent students of their choice irrespective of their merit. The fees also can be charged arbitrarily. For example, the prescribed fees for BEd and BTC courses in general colleges of UP is Rs 51000 and Rs 22,000 respectively, but in the case of minority colleges the government has no control. Thus to enjoy this monetary gain people take to the route of conversion, in order to form duly constituted management committees.
One Dr DS Singh, the manager of Amar Shaheed Kanchan Singh Degree College Khaga in Fatehpur district, converts to Buddhism and gets the certificate of minority institution from the Minority Commission, New Delhi and thus becomes entitled to the benefits above-mentioned. Similarly, Dr JN Pandey, the manager of Central Women’s College of Lucknow also converts to another religion for the sake of availing these benefits. Likewise, Citizens’ Girls Degree College Allahabad also gets minority status by similar means. There are about 15 colleges recognised recently as the minority educational institutions via allurement and these unlawful means.
There are, broadly, three benefits available to a minority educational institution that are not available to other institutions – One, Minority educational institutions are not controlled by the Government and its Departments in the matter of appointment, admission and fee structure. These institutions do not have to maintain reservation in employment or admissions for SCs, STs and OBCs as required to be done by other educational institutions. In terms of control over employees, minority educational institutions have much greater powers than other institutions. For instance, in the selection of teachers and principals the minority educational institution can have a selection committee which does not include the university representative. Similarly, while in ordinary schools the headmasters normally have to be appointed on the basis of seniority, minority managements can select a headmaster of their choice. In matters of admission of students, minority educational institutions can have a quota of 50 per cent to admit the students of their choice.
This discrimination leads to lot of resentment amongst the mainstream majority institutions, where it is felt that the government laws are dividing us and thus are detrimental to national integration and social harmony. It is very strongly being felt that such laws need to be reviewed in the light of the negative impact they are creating in the Indian society.
All these benefits emerge from Article 29 of the Constitution, which provides for protection of interests of minorities and states, saying that “any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same”.
Article 30 also provides for the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions and states:
It is further said that “All minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. The State shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language”.
The Institution desirous of obtaining Recognition as a Religious or Linguistic Minority Educational Institution, shall apply to the Competent Authority in the prescribed form indicating specifically whether they are desirous of obtaining recognition as Religious or as Linguistic Minority Educational Institution, along with photo copies of relevant documents.

Ahmedabad bus system a hit with several countries

Omprakash Agarwal

$img_titleDespite a four-wheeler and a couple of two-wheelers parked at his residence, Manubhai Dhruva prefers to take the public transport. On being asked the reason, the 78-year-old retired English lecturer answered with a smile, "It takes me a good 10-15 minutes less to travel by bus than my own vehicle."
Ahmedabad BRTS project has caught the fancy of not just the local commuters but of several nations. Representatives of countries, including Tanzania, Lagos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Dar es Salaam, have visited the city to study and adopt the system. Today, Ahmedabad BRTS, officially known as 'Janmarg', offers commuters an average speed of 27 km per hour -- one of the highest among public road transport in the country. Its dedicated corridor and bus stations running through the middle of the road offers commuters easy access to both sides of the road. "Not just did we win some global awards like the Best Sustainable Transport Award and Best Mass Rapid Transit System but also caught the attention of other countries who now want to study and adopt the success of Janmarg. The project's success has put Ahmedabad and Gujarat on the global map," said Shivanand Swamy, associate professor, CEPT University and team leader of the BRTS project.
IP Gautam, Municipal Commissioner, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and Chairman, Ahmedabad Janmarg Limited (AJL), a special purpose vehicle set up for BRTS, said, "To tap the success of the project after almost 10 months, we recently interviewed a group of doctors at Civil Hospital who used to commute by cars. The results were quite encouraging. Ever since they began commuting on BRTS and the feeder buses, they have been able to save 70 per cent time and 50 per cent conveyance cost." "We gradually intend to move from the lesser congested areas in Ahmedabad where we have been highly successful to highly congested areas in some of the eastern parts of the city. Moreover, the aim behind the project is to reduce the use of private vehicles, reduce congestion and increase use of public transport."
The Ahmedabad BRTS has also been successful in tapping private vehicles owners and users. When its services were launched in October 2009, Janmarg saw about 22 per cent, 21 per cent and zero per cent of two-wheeler, three-wheeler and four-wheeler users respectively move from these private vehicles to the new public transport. After almost 10 months, this shift has risen to 24.5 per cent, 23.5 per cent and two per cent, respectively. Also, of the total 18,000-odd passengers per day on Janmarg, 57 per cent were previously using AMTS which has come down to 50 per cent for a whopping 65,000 passengers per day. "We have already provided parking facilities at major BRTS bus stations and traffic junctions to encourage people to park their two wheelers and four wheelers and opt for BRTS for faster commuting," adds Gautam. What's more, AJL is planning to build at least four major parking zones at areas including Bopal and Narol to encourage two-wheeler and four-wheeler users to shun their vehicles for BRTS.
While Janmarg's phase one was completed on June 2009, the project was commercially launched only in October 14, 2009. Backed by a Detailed Project Report (DPR) prepared by CEPT University, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), led by Municipal Commissioner IP Gautam, took the initiative to follow the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) guidelines on urban mobility and announced the BRTS project in 2005-06. With the project being approved in November 2006 at an investment of Rs 981.45 crore, the work on BRTS commenced in 2007 for the first phase of 12.5 km from RTO to Pirana, wherein around Rs 492.39 crore has been spent, through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called Ahmedabad Janmarg Limited (AJL). To boost its popularity, authorities offered free rides to commuters for the first three months. Moreover, special rides for prominent businessmen, doctors, students, politician, religious leaders, and senior citizens were organised.
But with other cities like New Delhi and Pune building dedicated corridor for such BRT, what makes the Ahmedabad BRTS stand apart? The launch of such systems in other countries as well as other cities in India allowed us not to repeat some of their mistakes. The project also saw a leadership in the State and local government that was more professional and eager to implement sans the bureaucracy hurdles. Add to that, people involved in the project saw it as their own initiative rather than the government's. Not just other countries but also other BRT projects like Pune and Indore intend to now adopt the Ahmedabad Janmarg model since the 900 mm high floor diesel buses from Tata and bus stations in the middle of the corridor offer a walk-in-walk-out experience.
According to Akhil Brahmbhatt, DGM Operations, AJL, at an average ticket of Rs 5 (from a minimum of Rs 2 to maximum of Rs 11), the project currently earns a daily revenue of Rs 3.5 lakh on a 30 km-odd stretch comprising 43 bus stations. While about 41 buses, operational contract for which has been awarded to Chartered Speed Pvt Ltd (CSPL), are plying on the corridor, AJL has ordered for another 680 buses from Tata Motors as well as Ashok Leyland. Of these, about 20 air-conditioned buses costing Rs 30 lakh and 35 non air-conditioned buses costing Rs 24 lakh will be handed over to CSPL for BRTS, rest costing Rs 23 lakh will be handed over to AMTS to be operated as feeder buses for connecting other routes to BRTS corridor.
In next couple of months, AJL intends to add another 12-13 km to take BRTS from RTO to Naroda, thereby completing the second phase of the project. By then, Janmarg is expected to generate a daily revenue of Rs 6-6.5 lakh from about 120,000-130,000 passengers per day. By March 2012, AJL hopes to take the total length of BRTS corridor to 88 km, covering areas like SG Highway, Sola, Gomptipur, Odhav, and Danapith, apart from an elevated route to Kalupur Railway Station.
Source: Business Standard

CBI double standard on Ajit Jogi and Bangaru

Manmath Deshpande

Congress leader Ajit Jogi once spilt the BJP in Chhattisgarh in December 2001, when he walked away with 12 MLAs through money power. In December 2003, when the BJP won Chhattisgarh, winning 50 out of 90 seats, Ajit Jogi tried to split the BJP again and form the Government. He wrote a letter to the then Governor saying, “Our Congress Party’s all 37 MLAs give their support to a government to be formed under the leadership of Baliram Kashyap, MP. Please give us the chance to form the government”. This letter of Jogi was openly brought out in the media and Ajit Jogi admitted that he wrote the letter.
The same day as this letter went out, an audio tape having conversation between Ajit Jogi and a BJP leader of Chhattisgarh on phone was aired. In that tape, Jogi was talking of giving money to buy BJP MLAs to split the party. Jogi later said that the letter to the Governor was his, but the voice in the tape was not his. But this lie was exposed by the forensic lab report which said that the voice in the tape was indeed of Ajit Jogi. This single lie itself is enough to nail Ajit Jogi. This report shows that the lab said it was Jogi’s voice only. (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2006-01-22/india/27803015_1_cash-for-mlas-p-r-khunte-ram-avtar-jaggi)
But just on 4th June the CBI said that it cannot prosecute Ajit Jogi and has filed a closure report.  (http://articles.timesofindia. indiatimes.com/2012-06-05/india/32055198_1_cbi-files-closure-report-ajit-jogi-horse-trading)
For bribing the MLAs, 45 lakh rupees were paid in cash to a BJP leader, directly by Ajit Jogi and his son Amit Jogi. These 45 lakh were handed over to the CBI as well in December. Despite this clear evidence the CBI first said in January 2007 that it cannot prosecute Jogi and now again has said in June 2012 (of course on Congress Government’s orders) PLEASE DO NOT LET THIS CUNNING MAN ESCAPE.
Ajit Jogi is a very cunning and a very dangerous man. Note that former BJP chief Bangaru Laxman was convicted and given 4 years imprisonment on a fictitious case, where all the so-called dealers and deals were unreal. If he could be convicted for an imaginary thing, then Jogi can definitely be convicted for this real attempt to split the BJP giving 45 lakh in cash, which were given to CBI and this was second attempt to split the BJP after splitting once in 2001, also through money. All anti-corruption crusaders like Anna Hazare, Baba Ramdev etc should be asked to raise this issue to nail the CBI and the Congress for trying to let Jogi get away with this.

BJP stuns Congress in Maheshwar

Adhitya Srinivasan

In the recently concluded by-election for the Maheshwar (SC) Assembly seat in Madhya Pradesh, BJP candidate Raj Kumar Mev thrashed his Congress opponent Devendra Sadho by a record margin of 31,766 votes. This election result is important in more ways than one. For Raj Kumar Mev, the victory represents a change in personal fortunes. In the 2008 Assembly election, Mev lost the seat to Dr. Vijay Laxmi Sadho by more than 600 votes. Three and a half years later, Mev has crossed swords with her brother and emerged triumphant. The Maheshwar Assembly seat has been a traditional Congress bastion. Sitaram Sadho and later Vijay Laxmi Sadho had won 9 out of the last 13 elections from this constituency. The margin of the Mev’s victory indicates a decisive shift in voter preference away from the Congress and towards the BJP. It is likely that this trend will continue beyond this election. After all, a margin in excess of 31,000 votes will not swing away in a flash especially with a party with a sound organisational base such as the BJP.
Maheshwar now joins the club of Assembly constituencies including Sonkatch, Kukshi and Jabera which the Congress initially won in 2008 but have lost in various by-elections since. When a party which has been in government for more than eight years not only defies anti-incumbency but also picks up seats in Opposition territory, it is clear testimony to the quality of good governance being provided by the Shivraj Singh Chouhan State government as well as to the grass roots connections of the Madhya Pradesh BJP unit headed by Prabhat Jha.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha election, it will be remembered that the state of Madhya Pradesh which was considered to be a reasonably safe state for the BJP threw up a surprise when it elected only 16 BJP MPs (as opposed to 25 in 2004) and 12 Congress MPs (as opposed to 4 in 2004). Even at that time, the BJP candidate for the Khargone Lok Sabha seat won the Maheshwar Assembly segment by just over 4,000 votes. The current victory margin of more than 31,000 votes demonstrates a significant power shift in the constituency.
Alliances have become fluid in the current polity. The primary battle will continue to remain between the two national parties viz. the BJP and the Congress. Under such circumstances, the only hope for a reversal of the 2009 trend is for the BJP to outperform the Congress in states where there is a direct contest between these two parties. GVL Narasimha Rao identifies these states as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Rajagopal manages to improve on 2004 Lok Sabha vote share

Hindu backlash against UDF minorityism

S Chandrasekhar

undefinedGiving a stern warning to the Congress-Muslim League dominated UDF which is hell-bent on pampering Muslim vote-banks, Hindu voters of Neyyattinkara, hit back by strongly backing BJP stalwart and former Union Minister O Rajagopal, who polled 30,507 votes and managed to improve on his 2004 Lok Sabha vote share of 28,000 in the constituency.
For almost one hour from 8 AM to 9 AM O Rajagopal led, putting the CPM and Congress in 2nd and 3rd place respectively. He came first in 22 of the 144 booths gaining majority in Athianoor, Perumpazhavur and Neyattinkara Municipality areas. The Congress overtook Rajagopal in the Nadar dominated areas of Kulathoor Karode, Chengal and eventually Selvaraj won by a margin of 6,334 votes pushing Rajagopal to the third place.
Despite a 10 per cent increase in voting which will work to approximately 15,000 votes, the LDF vote came down by almost 10,000. Normally whenever there is a voting increase, the CPM also gains out it. But here while CPM vote went down by 10,000 and Congress vote went up by only 4,500, the BJP vote increased by almost 24,000, a fivefold compared to last year's Assembly poll when BJP got only 6,500 votes.

Assam Congress MLA caught in bigamy faces social and political boycott

Jyoti Lal Chowdhury in Silchar

$img_titleAssam MLA Dr Rumi Nath elected from the Borkhola Assembly constituency of Cachar in the extreme south of Assam, married to Rakesh Kumar Singh in 2006 and has a two year old daughter Hriddhi, has been at the centre stage of the anger and wrath of people for eloping with a Muslim boy, a clerk in the Social Welfare Department of the State, and getting into wedlock with him surreptitiously without any care and concern for social and political decency and decorum. The MLA who won as a BJP candidate in 2006 made a volte-face on the eve of the Rajya Sabha elections in 2010 and joined Congress, allegedly on the allurement of huge cash, by committing treachery with the electorates as well as the party that did all the spadework for her electoral success. In 2011, she won for the second time on Congress ticket.
After making political somersault, the flamboyant and maverick lady MLA secretly married the Muslim boy Jakir Hussain alias Jacky, an unknown face, but lucky to hit the media headlines. When the local newspapers and cable channels began to expose all about her second marriage with photographs of nikah in the presence of the controversial minister of  Border Area Development of Assam, Siddeque Ahmed, in April end of this year, Rumi Nath with vermilion on her forehead and two year daughter Hriddhi in her lap dismissed the media reports as ‘false and fabricated’ and the photographs with Jacky and Siddeque as ‘superimposed’. She even threatened to sue the media.
$img_titleBut the media on hot pursuit of the MLA began to dig out many skeletons out of the cupboards notwithstanding her persistent and stout denials. The MLA did the most daring act of coming to the historic Hindu temple of Nrimata (Goddess Parvati and God Mahadev) in her constituency along with Rakesh Singh, her first husband, and the baby in her lap on May 13 and offered prayers to assert that all the stories of her marriage with a Muslim boy were ‘gossips and rumours’.
But, despite all her ‘cosmetic assertions’, facts came out with clinching evidences that Rumi Nath had embraced Islam on April 13, 2012 by marrying Jakir Hussain without divorcing her first husband, Rakesh Kumar Singh. The electorates of her constituency, Borkhola, were the first to react angrily and accused her of betraying them. They had voted her as a Hindu wife and not as Reshma Sultana alias Rubaiya, her converted name. According to them, she was like an absconder since she had eloped to Tripura to register her marriage with Jakir. They demanded her disqualification as an MLA and said she had lost the moral and constitutional right to represent them.
Her visit to the Nrimata temple enraged the president of the temple, Nani Gopal Dey, and the secretary Benu Bhusan Roy for concealing her conversion to Islam and thereby defiling the holy place on May 13, 2012 which according to them amounted to ‘blasphemy’ and hurting the religious sentiments and feelings of the Hindus. They along with five other members of the temple committee filed a complaint before the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Silchar, on June 6 to forward the case to the officer in charge of Borkhola Police Station for investigation and to register a case against Rumi Nath and initiate legal proceedings against her.
Akhil Bharatiya Adhivakta Parishad and Mahila Samannay Mancha have raised the constitutional and democratic propriety of Rumi Nath to continue as the representative of people of Borkhola for her unbecoming conduct and behaviour which reflected her ‘demented mind’, and the 191 (b) clause of the Constitution of the country disqualified her membership of the Assembly. Further under clause 192 of the Constitution, the Governor of a State on the basis of public complaint is the competent authority to decide the continuation of a Member of the House on the ground of constitutional propriety. Besides, in a significant judgement by the Supreme Court, as referred to by the Adhivakta Parishad, in the matter of Union of India Vs Association for Democratic Reforms case 2002 as well as the People’s Union for Civil Liberties Vs Union of India case 2003, it has been held, “disinformation, misinformation, non-information all equally create an uninformed citizenry which would make democracy a farce. A well informed voter is the foundation of the democratic structure. The right of a voter to know bio-data of a candidate is the foundation of democracy. The voters have the right to know the antecedents of the candidates contesting election.” By hiding the facts about her second marriage with a Muslim boy, both Adhivakta Parishad and Mahila Samannay Mancha have accused Rumi Nath of playing fraud and deceit with her electorates and called for immediate removal of her from the State Assembly.
Bharatiya Janata Party of Barak Valley in a memorandum addressed to the Governor of Assam, J B Patnaik, has asked for stern action against Dr Rumi Nath, MLA, and Siddeque Ahmed, Minister of Cooperative and Border Area Development, latter having added and abetted the illegal marriage, for their immediate dismissal from the post of MLA and minister respectively. Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Association of Nath Yugi Sammelani, the community to which Rumi Nath belongs, have demanded social and political boycott of the MLA. They have also threatened Rumi Nath not to step into her constituency. After being in the limelight of the media for the last two months, the whereabouts of the MLA are not known, raising many interesting and intriguing questions in public mind.

Jagan Reddy tramples Congress

Congress doomed in Andhra

N Nagaraja Rao

$img_titleRiding on a strong sympathy wave, jailed MP YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s nascent YSR Congress, decimated the ruling Congress bagging 15 of the 18 Assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat in by-elections in Andhra Pradesh in a showing that could be a political game changer in the State evidently emerging as a alternative to the ruling Congress Party in the State. The ruling Congress won just two Assembly seats, while main Opposition Telugu Desam faced a complete rout drawing a blank in a keenly awaited outcome, touted as the “semi-finals” ahead of the 2014 Assembly elections. Telangana Rashtra Samiti fighting for a separate State hood to Telangana managed to scrape through with a slender margin of 1,562 votes in Parkal, the lone Assembly seat in Telangana region, as it faced a close contest from the nominee of the 15-month-old YSR Congress.
The victory of YSRC was so resounding that the Congress lost deposits in six constituencies and the Opposition Telugu Desam lost deposit in five constituencies that went to polls. The erosion of the ruling party vote-bank is phenomenal .The Congress which had polled 36.5 per cent of popular vote in 2009 elections now managed to poll only 21.84 per cent despite merger of the matinee idol Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam party. It may be recalled that Praja Rajyam Party got 16 per cent vote share in the last election. YSR Congress presently with a vote share of 46.5 per cent won in as many as 15 seats while the Congress had scrapped through in two seats.
Thus it is now clear that YSR Congress is indeed elbowing out the Opposition Telugu Desam and emerging a force to reckon with. The spectacular victories of YSR Congress are more significant as it ensured  that ruling Congress Party lost the Nellore Lok Sabha seat by unprecedented record margins.
Telangana Rashtra Samiti won the Parkal seat in the Telangana region and this time unfortunately did not enthuse party workers.
As of now, there is no immediate threat to the government from the  YSR Congress  nor they foresaw any defections as they still have another two years to go for the term to last. YSR Congress does not have strength to dethrone the government unless it indulges in mass and hurried desertions which is very unlikely. With YSR Congress leader in jail over disproportionate assests case, and Enforcement Directorate too joining to interrogate him the party’s future is uncertain.
If the current swing in Jagan’s favour continues unabated, the YSR Congress will soon replace the official Congress.

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