AAP News

Arvind Kejriwal Calls Modi A 'Shameless Dictator', Alleges He's Trying To Deregister AAP

Questioning the timing of a reported move by the Income Tax department to recommend to the Election Commission to cancel Aam Aadmi Party's political party status, the Delhi Chief Minister claimed that it is a "dirty trick" that the Prime Minister has used to avert the BJP's drubbing in the two states, which go to polls tomorrow.

"Modiji's dirty tricks. Losing badly in Goa n Punjab, he tries to de-register the winning party 24 hrs before elections. Shameless dictator (sic)," the AAP's national convener said on twitter.

The AAP is fancying its chances in Punjab, where it is faced with a triangular contest with Congress and incumbent SAD-BJP. In Goa too, the AAP is hopeful of disturbing the ruling BJP's prospects.

According to media reports, the income tax department had on Thursday asked the Election Commission to cancel AAP's status of a political party and a trust for allegedly filing "false and fabricated" audit reports on donations of more than 27 crore.

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11 Patients Died In 2 Months, Women Walk Around Naked In Delhi Mental Health Home, Reveals Surprise Inspection

NEW DELHI -- A surprise inspection by the Delhi Commission of Women at the Asha Kiran home for the mentally challenged on Saturday night reportedly revealed shocking details on the pathetic condition of the patients. At least 11 patients had died in the past two months which was unreported, the team led by DCW chairman Swati Maliwal found.

"Shockingly, nude women were roaming around in the corridors even as there are CCTV cameras installed there which are being monitored by male staff," Maliwal told The Times of India. No reason for the deaths were provided. Child patients were even denied mattresses to sleep in, reported Mail Today.

Asha Kiran was established by the city's government's department of social welfare. The secretary of the department has been now asked to respond to a notice on the matter within 72 hours. The Aam Aadmi Party government had sacked social welfare minister Sandeep Kumar last year, following which deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia has been looking after the department on additional charge.

According to the report, the DCW team also found that up to four patients shared one bed, and women were asked to remove their clothes and stand in line for baths in the open. Staffers were also found using women patients for personal work--like massaging their legs--and cleaning the facility. Patients were also found to be relieving themselves in corridors, which were not cleaned thereafter. Some were patients who should have been in wheelchairs, but were instead crawling to the toilets.

The team also reportedly found a massive staff shortage in the mental health home. Security was also reported to be lax--allowing the DCW team to enter Asha Kiran without any checks.

Over 500 deaths have been reported in Asha Kiran since 2001. In 2010, the Delhi high court had appointed a committee of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) after reports of deaths due to poor medical care and bad conditions in Asha Kiran.

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RBI New Rs 100 Notes To Be Issued Soon

RBI New Rs 100 Notes: After the Demonisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, RBI has turned towards the Rs 100 notes now. As per the recent notification from the central bank, The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will start the circulation new Rs 100 banknotes very soon. The new notes will be quite similar to the design of Mahatma Gandhi Series-2005 bank notes.

“The Reserve Bank will shortly issue Rs 100 denomination banknotes+ in the Mahatma Gandhi Series-2005, with the inset letter R in both the number panels, bearing the signature of Dr Urjit R Patel, Governor, Reserve Bank of India. The year 2017 will also be printed on the back-side of the banknote,” RBI said in a notification.

All the bank notes in the denomination of Rs 100 issued by the Bank in the past will continue to be legal tender, RBI added. which means the Old 100 rupees notes will valid even after circulation of new Rs 100 notes.

Among the features of the banknotes, The new note will have ascending size of numerals in the number panels, bleed lines, and enlarged identification mark on the obverse as upgraded features.

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200 Companies Of Paramilitary Forces Deployed As Punjab Goes To Polls

CHANDIGARH--Polling for 117 Punjab assembly seats that will decide the fate of 1,145 candidates began today amid tight security.

Punjab is witnessing a three-cornered contest between ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance, opposition Congress and new entrant Aam Aadmi Party.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has fielded candidates in 94 seats while its ally BJP has nominated candidates in the remaining 23 seats. Congress is contesting alone on all seats.

AAP, which is contesting Punjab polls for the first time, has fielded candidates in 112 seats, while its ally Lok Insaf Party, led by Ludhiana-based Bains brothers, has fielded nominees in five seats.

Other political outfits in the fray include BSP, former AAP leader Sucha Singh Chhotepur-led Apna Punjab Party, the Left comprising CPI and CPI-M, and SAD-Amritsar.

About 1.98 crore electors will seal the fate of 1,145 candidates by voting through EVMs during the high-stakes election.

Over 200 companies of para-military forces have been deputed for the fair conduct of polls.

Voting for Amritsar Lok Sabha seat by-poll is also being held amid tight security arrangements.

The total number of electors in the state is 1,98,79,069, including 93,75,546 females. There are 415 transgender voters as well.

The total number of candidates in the fray, include 81 women and one transgender. The polling commenced at 22,615 polling stations in the entire state.

While 84 Assembly seats are of general category, 34 are reserved.

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Only One Delhi Minister In Town, Rest Out Campaigning

NEW DELHI -- Five out of the six ministers of the Delhi government were out of the national capital on Thursday, leaving the burden of entire government working on the only AAP minister left behind in Delhi, Imran Hussain.

In the run-up to the Punjab assembly elections, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been campaigning in that north-western Indian state for over a month now, barring a few days when he came to Delhi.

While Kejriwal was leading a road show in Ludhiana on Thursday, his deputy Manish Sisodia was campaigning in Patiala.

Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra, one of the star campaigners for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), was in Pathankot on Thursday, electioneering for the party candidates.

Labour Minister Gopal Rai, who campaigned extensively in Goa for the AAP candidates filded for the state assembly polls, was also in Punjab on Thursday.

Many AAP legislators have also been campaigning in Punjab and Goa, both of which go to polls on 4 February.

Health Minister Satyendar Jain was, meanwhile, out of the country to attend a health conference in Thailand.

Only Environment Minister Imran Hussain was available in the capital to answer for the Delhi government and shoulder its working on Thursday.

Slamming the AAP leaders for "abandoning" the city, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vijender Gupta said while Delhi is facing issues related to pollution and school admission, among many others, the whole Delhi cabinet is busy campaigning for elections elsewhere in the country.

"People in Delhi are suffering as the ministers have deserted the capital for campaigning and public issues are not being addressed," he said.

A government official, requesting anonymity, said that most of the star campaigners had left for Delhi in the afternoon after campaigning in several constituencies in Punjab on Thursday morning, so that government work in Delhi is not affected.

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Punjab Is Returning To The Dark, Violent Days Of The 70s And 80s Because Of AAP, Says Captain Amarinder Singh

In a no-holds-barred attack on Arvind Kejriwal, who is spearheading the Aam Aadmi Party's debut charge in poll-bound Punjab and hoping to wrest power from the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiromani Akali Dal alliance, Congress heavyweight Captain Amarinder Singh told HuffPost India that the Delhi Chief Minister is using radicals to bring the dark days of 70s and 80s back in the state.

Singh's comments came after Kejriwal allegedly spent the night at ex-Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) militant Gurinder Singh's house in Moga during his campaign. Singh is an acquitted former militant.

Amarinder Singh said he was "extremely concerned."

"Kejriwal has used the extreme Left earlier... and now he is using the extreme right in Punjab," the former chief minister of the state, Congress' CM candidate and former Patiala royal, said.

"This is what happened to us in the 70s when the extreme left and extreme right joined up and created a Khalistan movement. Eventually 35000 people died in Punjab. When these elements establish themselves, Kejriwal will be the first victim, they will throw him out and the extremist will take over again. We will be back to square one," he said.

The AAP has thrown its hat in the ring for the 4 February assembly polls, and posed a new challenge to the Congress in the state.

Priyanka Gandhi, Singh said, played a key role in bringing former Indian cricketer and former BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, and former Indian Hockey Captain Pargat Singh to the Congress. Sidhu, who had almost joined the AAP, was ultimately wooed by the Congress. Before joining the party, Pargat Singh was the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA from Jalandhar.

"I think she is already doing a great deal in the back scene activity for us, for instance, bringing Mr Sidhu and Mr Pargat Singh into the Congress fold. Likewise, she played role in UP also," he said. Sidhu and Pargat Singh have brought additional traction for the Congress in the state.

Explaining his decision to contest from Lambi against Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, Singh said: "People elected Badal as the Chief Minister for Punjab and not for themselves (the Badal family). After 10 years of SAD rule, we are demolished, Badal has done nothing for state, industry has moved out, trade is finished, we are absolutely zero."

"This man has been there for 10 years and has brought Punjab to its knees," he said. It's the SAD, not AAP that damaged the Congress. The "breakaway Akali's" are all moving to AAP, he said.

Taking a swipe at former Indian Army Chief General JJ Singh — who is contesting against him from Patiala on a SAD ticket — the Captain said, Singh "wasn't even fit to be a Major" in the Indian Army.

Singh who retired from the Indian Army but returned to fight the 1965 India-Pakistan War said the promotion policy in the military "needs to be examined".

"I am hurt to know that the system is throwing up people like him," Singh said.

"What would happen to the country if we went to war and General JJ Singh was at helm?" he said, taking a dig at his political opponent.

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FIR Filed Against Arvind Kejriwal For His Bribe Remarks At Goa Rally

PANAJI -- Acting on the Election Commission's directive, authorities in Panaji have filed an FIR against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for asking voters to take money from other parties but vote for his AAP, an official said on Monday.

Goa's Chief Electoral Officer Kunal said the FIR was filed under the Indian Penal Code and the Representation of People Act at a local police station.

"In pursuance of a direction from the Election Commission, returning officer of Mapusa has filed a complaint before the Mapusa police station. The matter is sub judice."

"We will send a compliance report to the Election Commission," he said.

Earlier in January, the Election Commission issued a show cause notice to Kejriwal, asking him to explain his comments made in Goa on 8 January where the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader exhorted voters to accept money from other political parties and vote for his party instead.

In all his four speeches at various rallies in Goa last weekend, Kejriwal had said people should not just accept ₹5,000 but demand ₹10,000 from politicians keen on offering money but vote for AAP.

The Congress has demanded that Kejriwal be arrested.

"Asking voters to accept bribes is a serious issue. We demand the arrest of Kejriwal," said Congress spokesperson Sunil Kawthankar.

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AAP Is Creating A Buzz In Punjab, But The Missing Chief Ministerial Face Haunts Its Campaign

The anger against the Badal family, and consequently the ruling Akali Dal-BJP combine, explodes with frightening ferocity. "Ae te vapas nai andene (they aren't coming back)." The refrain is unanimous from Amritsar through Badal territory in the Malwa region all the way to Chandigarh. And it's said with a finality that brooks no debate.

In the weeks since the election dates were announced and the model code of conduct enforced, the mood in Punjab has galloped from subterranean dissatisfaction with the present regime to openly expressed revulsion and disgust at the manner in which one family controls all the levers of power and money. It is evident even in a whistle-stop three-day road trip through the state that the Akali-BJP alliance could face the kind of electoral rout that hit the Congress in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls after ten years of UPA rule.

Till the election process began, it was widely assumed that a triangular contest was brewing between the Akali-BJP, the Congress and Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party, throwing up predictions of a hung assembly. But as the February 4 polling date nears, the Akali-BJP combine seems to be falling off the election map. The Battle for Punjab 2017 has turned into a straight fight between the Congress and AAP.

AAP brings a breath of fresh air with a heady promise of change. And change is what people want.

Only the very brave, or a fool, would risk a prediction. Few elections in Punjab have been so keenly contested or so close to call. On the face of it, the Congress would seem to have the edge. The party's vote base remains largely intact and it's still formidable even though the Congress has been out of power for a decade. Despite losing the 2012 assembly election, it bagged 40.9% of the popular vote. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, its vote share fell but did not go below 33%. That's a big number and with the Congress in contention to form the next government, a chunk of the votes it lost two years ago are likely to come back.

The Congress in Punjab is very much alive and kicking, unlike in states like UP, Bihar and Tamil Nadu where it is almost invisible. The party's robust health means AAP has a lot of ground to cover to win. AAP got 24% of the votes in the Lok Sabha elections two years ago when it won 4 seats. Since then, the party has split multiple times and lost some of its well known and influential local leaders.

But as Kejriwal has proved in Delhi twice over, he should not be underestimated. He sprang a surprise in the 2013 Delhi assembly election when his fledgling party, contesting its first polls, came second and stopped the BJP from winning a majority. And then in the 2015 assembly poll, he wiped out both his opponents, to win 67 of Delhi assembly's 70 seats.

Today, there's a buzz about AAP in Punjab, a state weary of the feudal, corrupt politics of mainstream parties. The Akali Dal and the Congress, which have dominated the political landscape for decades, are seen as two sides of the same coin. AAP brings a breath of fresh air with a heady promise of change. And change is what people want. The challenge for AAP is to convert the buzz into votes and then into seats.

The fight between a party seen as the ancient regime and the new kid on the block has thrown up interesting battle lines that are almost unique in India where elections are often fought on the basis of caste and creed. Mandate 2017 in Punjab is a battle between the haves and the have nots. The demographics of the support base of the two main contenders show a clear class divide.

Congress strategists acknowledge that AAP is going strong in areas dominated by the Scheduled Castes.

The establishment, consisting of traders, shopkeepers, businessmen, middle classes and urban residents, is solidly with the Congress. These groups are worried that an AAP government could upset their applecart and shake things up. Stories from Delhi, especially reports of the constant bickering between the AAP government and the Centre, have served to deepen these fears. And the turmoil in the party in Punjab in the last few months, which led to the exit of a number of people including the convenor Sucha Singh Chhotepur, has strengthened charges by its opponents that AAP means anarchy, not governance.

None of these issues matter lower down the socio-economic ladder. The concerns of the establishment completely bypass vast swathes of the rural poor who in 2017 still have patchy access to metal roads, piped clean drinking water and proper sanitation. Civil society activist Manjinder Singh aka Pappi, based in Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal's assembly constituency of Lambi, laments that most villages in the area have to depend on tankers to bring them drinking water. "This is when Badal has been chief minister for the last ten years," he exclaims in disgust.

Congress strategists acknowledge that AAP is going strong in areas dominated by the Scheduled Castes. This is particularly evident in Malwa which has as many as 69 seats but even in Punjab's smallest region, Doaba, with just 23 seats, there is visible support for AAP among the SC groups. It's an important demographic for Kejriwal's party because Punjab has the highest SC population at 32 %.

AAP's chief weakness is that it does not have a chief ministerial face. Captain Amarinder Singh, who was finally declared the CM candidate of the Congress just a week before polling, remains a popular figure despite his royal ways and his feudal style of functioning. On the other side, there is only Kejriwal who announced that he will not leave Delhi to shift to Punjab. So who will be CM if AAP pulls off a victory? The question haunts its campaign.

Significantly, the Congress is banking heavily on Amarinder Singh's popularity. It is interesting that there are virtually no hoardings or posters bearing photographs of the party's holy trinity of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and Manmohan Singh. The Captain's face dominates everywhere.

"The AAP concept has become a part of Punjab's imagination," says political science professor at Guru Nanak University Jagrup Singh Sekhon. But with a buoyant Congress on the other side, can Kejriwal pull it off? Few in Punjab were willing to answer the question.

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