THE LAWFILE

Posts Tagged ‘Commonwealth Games

Ministers, MPs face ‘aam aadmi’ protest

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People protesting for Jan-Lokpal Bill supporting Anna Hazare

Top ministers, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and some MPs on Monday faced protests on the issue of the Lokpal Bill after people gathered in front of their houses here following a call by Anna Hazare.

People protested in front of the residences of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, Ms. Dikshit and some MPs.

The first to face the ire of people was Mr. Sibal. Around 40 protesters staged a protest outside his Teen Murti residence seeking his support for the Jan Lokpal Bill.

The protests came following Mr. Hazare’s call to stage demonstrations outside the residences of ministers and MPs to ask them their stand on the Lokpal bill.

“We have come here to request Sibal to support the Jan Lokpal Bill. This is a good bill and everybody should support it,” a protester outside Sibal’s Teen Murti residence said.

On Sunday evening also several people had gathered outside the residence of Mr. Sibal and shouted slogans against him. They left before the police could come to the spot.

People also gathered outside the Talkatora residence of Mr. Mukherjee, who was member of the joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill along with Mr. Sibal, and shouted slogans against the government.

Police was deployed outside their residences.

Protesters also staged demonstrations outside Dikshit’s Motilal Nehru Road residence. They shouted slogans against the Chief Minister and also mentioned the CAG report on Commonwealth Games.

A protest was also held outside BJP MP Ashok Argal’s residence.

COURTESY: THE HINDU

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Stench of corruption has stuck to UPA: All-India survey

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The constituency that thought highly of Manmohan Singh in 2009 — the educated and the literate — no longer thinks highly of his UPA government. In fact, the core message coming through from a CNN-IBN State of the Nation Survey is just the opposite: the UPA’s corruption stinks.

The survey, conducted by Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) from 1,300 locals in 19 states, confirms that corruption has become a big deal with the aam aadmi, both in urban and rural areas, but more so among the educated classes.

A decisive 60 percent of those surveyed felt that the UPA was running a “Very corrupt” or “Somewhat corrupt” government, with urban respondents showing an even higher percentage of disgust at 66 percent. That’s two out of three people. College-educated people were most vehement and angry, with as many as 71 percent agreeing with the above statements. This is the group from where Team Anna probably finds sustenance.

The constituency that thought highly of Manmohan Singh in 2009 — the educated and the literate — no longer thinks highly of his UPA government. B Mathur/Reuters

Rahul baba, you have a problem on your hands in 2014. Manmohan Singhji, your credibility has been shot to pieces — especially on corruption.

But Gadkariji, Sushmaji andJaitleyji, you have nothing to gloat about. Karnataka is the only state where the people are more concerned about the BJP’s corruption than the UPA’s by a huge margin. You did well asking Yeddyurappa to go, but you have a huge repair job to do.

Interestingly, corruption is a wider issue than the current media obsession with the 2G and Commonwealth Games scams. The survey finds 44 percent of the people agreeing with the statement that “The government has been insincere in responding to issues raised by the anti-corruption movements”, but barely 27 percent of the respondents had heard of A Raja and 25 percent of Suresh Kalmadi. Even fewer (22 percent) had heard of Kanimozhi or Dayanidhi Maran (19 percent).

What this suggests is that the recent incidents of corruption may merely have upped the ante on corruption, but the aam aadmi has more serious concerns about corruption and it goes well beyond the 2G or Commonwealth scams.

Perceptions about central- and state-level corruption also tell the same story. Despite the public’s strong unhappiness with UPA’s poor record on corruption, in many states the concerns are about both central and state corruption. In Karnataka and Andhra, state-level corruption seems like a bigger problem than the UPA’s distant corruption. Dilli door ast.

In Karnataka, for example, 52 percent of the respondents felt that the state government was more corrupt than the Centre, against just half the number who said the Centre was more corrupt. In Andhra, the anger with state-level corruption was 39 percent against 32 percent for the Centre.

Rahul Baba, here’s a tit-bit for you. In Uttar Pradesh, where you are trying to score points over Mayawati, both Centre and state are seen as nearly equally corrupt (at 32 and 30 percent). So maybe you should not make corruption a key talking point.

In Bihar, there is an even more interesting trend: while UPA is seen as corrupt (48 percent) and the state government as a near angel (just 14 percent), the real problems are at the level of local governments – panchayats and zilla parishads. Here the corruption score is 37 percent. Nitish Kumarji, this is your next challenge. Your panchayats are your Achilles’ heel.

Surprisingly, Sheila Dikshit’s government has emerged unscathed, with only 20 percent saying it was more corrupt than the Centre. Or is it luck at work, with people associating the Commonwealth scam squarely with Kalmadi and the Centre?

Given these perceptions, and given the strong antipathy of the educated and literate classes to corruption, it is little wonder that Team Anna is finding traction.

But there is a humbling thought for them, too: only a third of the people polled in 1,300 locations had heard of them, and only one-fourth knew what the Lokpal and Jan Lokpal Bills were about.

But so low is the trust in politicians, and especially the UPA government at the centre, that people implicitly trust the civil society movement more. The Tina (there is no alternative) factor is helping Anna Hazare more than anything else.

   Table 1:UPA government insincere on corruption

UPA government insincere on corruption.

    Table 2: UPA running a corrupt government

UPA is running a corrupt government.

Table 3: Centre most corrupt 

Table 3: Centre most corrupt.

Nowhere has CAG held PMO, Sheila guilty: UPA

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Still for an Interview conducted with Sheila D...

Image via Wikipedia

SMITA GUPTA in THE HINDU

The United Progressive Alliance government and the Congress on Monday vigorously defended the Prime Minister’s Office and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit against accusations made by the Opposition, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, that they had been indicted by the Comptroller and Auditor-General.

Nowhere in the CAG’s report on the Commonwealth Games had the PMO or Ms. Dikshit been found guilty of any wrongdoing, said the government and the Congress.

On a day the Opposition used the CAG report to force an adjournment of both Houses of Parliament without allowing them to conduct any business, the Congress’ response at two separate press conferences was sharp and pointed, as it asked people to read the report carefully.

‘CAG exceeded brief’

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari even went so far as to question the bona fides of the CAG. Pointing out that the CAG was “only an auditing body,” he said it had no “remit to comment on an appointment process” or “on policy choices that a government may or may not make.” When the CAG commented on the appointment process in the context of the Games, “it erred.”

Mr. Tewari wanted to know why three crucial dates had escaped the CAG’s attention: September 11, 2003, when the Host City contract for the CWG was approved by the National Democratic Alliance Cabinet; November 13, 2003, when the Host City contract was signed; and November 1, 2004, when the India Olympic Association general assembly — “which consisted of many eminences of the NDA” — decided to elect Suresh Kalmadi chairperson of Organising Committee.

Questioning the CAG’s intentions, he said: “Were these omissions intentional or was it a case of oversight, given that two of [these] took place during the NDA’s time?”

Fait accompli

The PMO under the UPA regime had “no role” in the appointment of Mr. Kalmadi as it was a “fait accompli,” because of documents signed by the NDA government. “If there is any alleged financial loss, then the Public Accounts Committee needs to look into that,” Mr. Tewari added.

Meanwhile, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal told journalists shortly after the Group of Ministers on the media met that there was no indictment of the PMO in the CAG report: “There is only a reference [to the PMO] … and a statement of facts.”

Law Minister Salman Khurshid and Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni were present at the press conference.

Media restraint urged

Advising the media to exercise self-regulation and check facts, Mr. Sibal pointed out that media organisations were reporting that the PMO and Ms. Dikshit had been indicted by the CAG report, even though that was not true. “There may be a reference to different people but a reference does not mean indictment,” Ms. Soni added, stressing, “there is no indictment of any high office, much less that of the PMO.”

Mr. Sibal, however, parried questions whether he could say categorically that there was absolutely no criticism of Ms. Dikshit in the CAG report. “You should let us know if there is any particular passage which you find as indictment [of Dikshit].”

Mr. Tewari, however, was more direct saying that there was “not even a whisper of an insinuation” against Ms. Dikshit