Monday December 18, 2017
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RSS is equivalent to East India Company: Delhi’s Women and Child Welfare Minister

Sandeep Kumar says: Main to apni wife ko heroine ki tarah rakhta hoon bilkul (I keep my wife like a heroine)

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Sandeep Kumar

By Shilpika Srivastava and Ishan Kukreti (Staff Writers at NewsGram)

Sandeep Kumar, the youngest member of Delhi Cabinet, oversees the sensitive ministry of SC/ST Welfare and Women and Child Welfare. Though, being a first-time minister, Kumar has a lot to show in terms of his achievements.

From starting a mass awareness program on child sexual abuse to springing out development work in the highly neglected Tahirpur Leprosy Complex, Kumar is quite clear on his priorities.

In an exclusive interview with NewsGram, Kumar shared with us the phases of his life, the schemes that he started, the priorities and much more. Have a look:

Shilpika Srivastava: You graduated from DU and then went on to earn a degree in law from Charan Singh University. You’ve fought cases for the socially and economically backward classes for free. Then, how did politics happen?

Sandeep Kumar: I completed high school from my village before coming to Delhi in 1997. After finishing higher secondary, I got into DU’s Dayal Singh College, which is considered the nursery of political activities.

Although I was attracted to politics, I couldn’t participate due to financial reasons. However, it was during India Against Corruption movement of Anna Hazare that I came in contact with Arvind Kejriwal. And, when the Aam Aadmi Party was formed, I was given a chance to serve the people of Delhi.

SS:  And, we all know that you came out as a huge winner in Delhi Assembly elections. You’re the ‘giant killer.’

SK: One day, Arvind ji told me to find a decent candidate for Sultanpur Majra constituency, who could contest against Jai Kishen, the then INC MLA who was no less than a goon.

When I couldn’t find anyone, Arvind ji told me, ‘Why don’t you fight the elections?’

Today, I visit my constituency daily and listen to residents’ problems.

Ishan Kukreti: How are your policies different from that of the previous governments? What are you doing for the welfare of Delhi’s public?

SK: Earlier, it was believed that the Ministry of Child and Women Development was irrelevant. However, the reality is quite the opposite. My ministry is one of the most important and powerful ministries of the state. Almost 70% population of Delhi’s population comes under our umbrella.

Basically, Delhi’s internal system is so entwined with corruption that the prior MLAs and Nigam Parshad used to falsely increase the age of people on the Identity Cards in the greed of receiving the amount of pensions.

When we came to power, we realized that almost 1 lakh pensions were lying stagnant since Congress rule.

Aanganwaadi workers who went to people’s homes for verification used to ask for a bribe in lieu of verification. To curb this illegal system, we held camps and verified about 50,000 old-age pensions by mid-April and released the payment.

Our top most priority is to streamline the pension system to check fake cases and anomalies.  We have also taken a step in linking financial assistance schemes with Aadhar numbers.

Our ministry has also asked Akshay Patra Foundation to help the government in providing nutritious and healthy school lunch programs in the state.

We have started mass awareness programmes on child sexual abuse. Charts will be put up in classrooms educating children about ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’, in an appropriate and subtle manner. We are also providing the pamphlets to the children so that they could keep it in their bags and use it during the hours of crisis.

SS: What are the steps taken by your ministry for uplifting SCs and STs?

SK: There are numerous schemes and scholarships for children belonging from SCs and STs. However, corruption is a kind of a demon, which does not let the good schemes reach the needy smoothly. The red-tapism and corruption are making things difficult for students. To curb this issue, we organized camps and directly asked people about the problems they were facing. We invited the applications and everything is being done amid the public.

We are also planning to create a technical hub for children belonging from SCs and STs. We will provide free education to these children and the process will be completed as soon as possible.

SS: Aam Aadmi Party came in power with 70 promises. One of such promises was providing pucca houses to the population living in jhuggis and clusters colonies. Where are we on that promise?

SK: I will make Sultanpur Majra slum free in 5 years.

SS: Promise?

SK: Yes! We are in the process of creating housing complexes for those living in slums. The complexes will be equipped with every kind of facilities including schools.

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IK: But DDA comes under lieutenant governor’s office, from where will you get the land for creating housing complexes?

SK:Government kiske liye hai? (For whom the government is?)’ There are 3 BJP MLAs too elected in the city by the people. Don’t they have any responsibility towards Delhi?

But, Delhi government too has portions of lands under its authority. ‘Agar neeyat saaf ho to bahut kuch ho sakta hai (Anything is possible if the intent is clear).’

IK: What about the ongoing war between Arvind Kejriwal and Najeeb Jung?

SK: I personally believe that the state authorities should come under the Delhi government.

Suppose, if there is an honest officer who wants to work with us and contribute towards the development of the state, the centre deliberately transfers that officer to some other place. The thing is that, Is sarkar mein imaandaar log khush hain aur beiman log dukhi hain (In this government, the honest people are happy and the cheaters are discontent).

I don’t know if it’s the irony of India because there was a PM who spent 10 years on silent mode and the one that has come now is always on flight mode.

If there used to be a good politics in India, why would there have been a need for us to enter this battlefield?

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SS: What about the child labor?

SK: You won’t see a child on roads after these five years.
Also, our ministry launched two mobile Anganwadi centres for street children on a pilot basis.

IK: The promises?

SK: I assure you that all the promises, for which we have got the huge public mandate, will be fulfilled in the coming five years. And, for whatever reason, the people have at least learned to protest, which is one of our major accomplishments.Earlier, there used to be an East India Company, a queen and their samants (nobility). Now, RSS is the East India Company, Mohan Bhagwat is the queen and the Adani and the Ambani are the samants, and people like us are the slaves.I don’t know why the centre fails to recognize the fact that we all have come to serve the public and not rule them. Had I been at the place of Narendra Modi today, I would have stood beside Arvind Kejriwal to work together in the public interests.BJP has issues with AAP, but do they also have issues with the janta? The fight is not between the Centre and Arvind Kejriwal. It’s the struggle between the centre and the public.

IK: But the constitution also states that LG holds the key power.

SK: Then, what is the need of elections? By the way, we have all seen the rule of LG during the emergency period.

SS: But, in this Jung-Kejriwal tussle, the bureaucrats are getting quashed. And, in the end, the loss is of Delhi’s public because no appointments are being made.

SK: Tell me one thing, aren’t the honest IAS officers working? They are working even in the adverse conditions. Those who are shouting are the ones who hold secrets in their hearts.  We have come to change the system. We are still leading the life of Aam Aadmi (common man) and deny any kind of special privileges given to us as ministers.

IK: I went to CP to find out the general public’s view regarding AAP’s governance. Most of the people said that they see no change and they hardly have any hope that promises you have made would be fulfilled.

SK: Hamare desh ki janta bahut bholi hai (Indians are very innocent). Things don’t happen instantly. They take time. Compare our 100 days with Modi’s 1 year, we stand far better than them on any given day. On the top of that, we are even working amid the chaos created by the central government.

SS: On a lighter note, you had love marriage. Tell us how your wife inspires you?

SK: I touch my wife’s feet daily in the morning. She was my junior when I was in college. And, in our 10 years of relationship, we never had even a single break-up.  We both come from different family backgrounds. While I lived around the slum areas of Sultanpuri, she had a big house in Defence Colony.

During my struggle face, she supported me with all her heart. There were times when we used to eat only chutney and roti, and not even once she complained.

I believe that a woman could inspire a man towards success. On the other hand, money, land, cars are nothing in life, satisfaction is everything.  She has done numerous sacrifices for me. Main to apni wife ko heroine ki tarah rakhta hoon bilkul (I keep my wife like a heroine).

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Gujarat Elections: The Fight to the Finish between Congress and BJP

The counting of votes for the Gujarat elections will begin on December 18 at 8.00 AM

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The Gujarat elections have brought the BJP and the Congress in close contest with each other.
Women on their way to the polling booths in Gujarat on December 9, VOA News

 

  • The Gujarat elections have brought the BJP and the Congress into a close contest over the seats.
  • The exit polls predict a victory for BJP.
  • The counting of votes will begin at 8.00 A.M. on Monday, December 18.

The Gujarat elections, which were carried out in two phases on December 9 and December 14, will finally come to its culmination on Monday, December 18, as the counting of votes will commence from 8.00 A.M. The Gujarat polls, over which seasoned BJP politicians such as Narendra Modi and Amit Shah  have locked horns with the newly appointed president of the Congress, Rahul Gandhi, have been subjected to numerous speculations and predictions, ever since the two political parties have launched themselves into relentless campaigning for the various constituencies.

The Gujarat elections have brought the BJP and the Congress in close contest with each other.
Rahul Gandhi kissing his mother after being elected as the President of Congress on December 16, 2017, VOA News

Congress vs. BJP: Who will Win the Gujarat Elections

The campaign for the Gujarat assembly elections has been a vehement one for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has extensively referred to the growth index and other statistical details while enumerating the virtues of the BJP government. His developmental policies, such as the Ujjwala Yojana through which free LPG gas facilities were provide to households below the Poverty Line, have made him immensely popular among the women of Gujarat. Modi’s appeal as the ‘son of the soil’ has earned him support in the urban and commercial hubs of Gujarat, in spite of the brewing discontent over demonetisation and the imposition of GST. The BJP has also succeeded in securing the support of the tribal people of Gujarat, who were previously considered as a stronghold of the Congress.
However, with the trio of Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani, Rahul Gandhi seems to have infused young blood into the Gujarat elections, and has thereby attracted a significant number of young voters. Hardik Patel, with his political acumen has become a potential threat for the BJP, as multiple scandalous tapes of him as well as his aides have not decreased his popularity. In North, Gujarat, Saurashtra and Kutch, people seem to be disappointed with the BJP government, since the much-applauded ‘Gujarat Model’ has failed to solve basic issues in their lives, such as shortage of water.

 

The Gujarat elections have brought the BJP and the Congress in close contest with each other.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the voters at Kalol, in the outskirts of Ahmedabad on December 8, 2017, VOA News

Gujarat Elections: The Exit Polls

The Gujarat Polls of 2017 have often been hailed as one of the closest competitions faced by the BJP government during its 22 year long tenure as speculations are rife regarding who will win the Gujarat elections. However, in spite of the unyielding campaign by the Congress and Rahul Gandhi, the speculations hint towards another victory for the BJP in the state. An aggregate of nine exit polls in Gujarat show that the BJP is expected to secure 162 seats, while 65 seats may be secured by the Congress.

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Stand of Chanda Bandh Satyagraha: Hamari AAP ka Siyasi Dafan poora ho, Hamara Hawan Poora Ho

A true volunteer of AAP will not rest until a morally debased AAP is consigned to flames.

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Chanda Bandh Satyagraha appeals to AAP leaders to make donations public.
Chanda Bandh Satyagraha appeals to AAP leaders to make donations public.
  • By Dr. Munish Raizada

One of our steadfast volunteers sent me a message at Facebook and sought my opinion on the current dogfight going between #ChandaChor gang of our Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Through Chanda Bandh Satyagraha, our stand is clearly a matter of conviction:

सच्चे स्वयंसेवक का यज्ञ तभी पूरा होगा , जब सिधान्तों से भटकी हमारी AAP की पूर्ण आहुति दे दी जाएगी.
अगर जनता का दिया गया चंदा खाओगे, तो कोई हक़ नहीं राजनीती में तुम्हे!
2020 में AAP का अंतकाल आना चाहिए. हमारी पार्टी का सियासी दफ़न पूरा हो, हमारा हवन पूरा हो.

Loosely translated: A true volunteer of AAP will not rest until a morally debased AAP is consigned to flames. Because a party that can eat away the public funds (donations), has no moral right to be in politics. The year 2020 will hopefully see the political demise of our AAP.

As you see the dogfight has come to the streets now. A poet is trying to revive and talking of an AAP II. Some well meaning volunteers are standing with him. He is zestfully speaking about bringing back values of the party and old folks too.

Tragically, the other Chandachor camp led by Mukhiya Kejriwal has termed this as a fantasy.

But, we must be able to read through the lines.

In my opinion, our hardcore selfless volunteers who really wanted to see a change of politics and polity through a vehicle called AAP, now understand that the fight is for personal survival and NOT for principles.

Chanda Bandh Satyagraha appeals to AAP leaders to make donations public.
Chanda Bandh Satyagraha appeals to AAP leaders to make donations public.

But the poet is fighting for his survival, so believe me, this fight will not lead him anywhere. It is NOT a MORAL fight. It is a personal fight. Janta ka vishwas nahi milega (public’s trust can not be regained). Janta ek Kejriwal ko dekh chuki hai (the public has already seen one Kejriwal). Abhi 20-30 saal wait kariye (Wait for another generation before you utter of revolution again).  Kraanti kee baaten kar ke janta ko aur dukhi mat kijiye (Do not exploit the sentiments of the society by talking about yet another revolution when the first one was never ever attained).

If you really care about the principles, just do one thing: Ask where is the donation list that the party received?  After all. how can a party fight against corruption and graft, if its own house is  not clean. And then talk about other principles.

Bringing back old folks is a good idea. Reviving AAP is a welcome idea. But, let us remember one thing: Public (janta) is not a toy. You can play with their sentiments once, not again and again.

At AAP, our refrain used to be:

सत्य परेशान हो सकता है, पराजित नहीं.

Today, we know in our hearts, we have eaten the donations given by the public. सत्य को चंदाचोरों व् ‘सत्यवीरों” ने परेशान भी किया तथा पराजित भी (Truth was not only messed around with, it was badly defeated by the so called saints of truth and honesty).

Then, what ideological principles is the poet talking about!

The dogfight is a fight without morality. It is a sign that the rot in our AAP is deep set. However, the karma cycle is trying to complete the circle. The dogfight is exposing the unworthiness of our AAP’s leaders who one time the public thought are statesmen. The poet is helping us achieve our cherished goal: Taking us towards the the Aahuti!

 

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Dogfight in Aam Aadmi Party : The audio clip of Kumar Vishwas reveals the party is no longer for principles but for personal aspirations

Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party seems to be more engaged in dogfight rather than developmental politics. The new audio clip of Kumar Vishwas reveals discontentment within senior leaders of AAP

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  • The abusive audio clip of Kumar Vishwas surfaces hinting at split in Aam Aadmi Party

  • Aam Aadmi Party which claimed to bring clean politics is no longer working on principles, its an ongoing dogfight between unsatisfied political aspirants

Just few days back, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party was slapped with Rs. 30 crores Income Tax notice. The party which claimed to revive clean politics was itself found dirty. The Income Tax notice cited that the Aam Aadmi Party had not disclosed income worth Rs 13.16 crore. According to the IT Department, the money received as donations in its bank account was not recorded in the books of accounts. Today an audio clip of Kumar Vishwas surfaced hinting at rift within the party.

Last year, Chanda Bandh Satyagraha (www.nolistnodonation.com) led by Dr. Munish Raizada was initiated against Aam Aadmi Party’s backtracking on financial transparency which gathered a huge amount of support from section of Aam Aadmi Party who were not ready to compromise on principles. But anyone who raised questions against Arvind Kejriwal’s dubious stance on donation transparency were sidelined from the party.

Aam aadmi Party Illegal Donations
Chanda Bandh Satyagrah led by Dr. Munish Kumar Raizada against dubious donations of Aam Aadmi Party

The leaked audio clip of Kumar Vishwas suggests that individual ambitions are derailing the Aam Aadmi Party, risking the public’s confidence. What issues dominate the AAP? The party members no longer seem to have any aspiration for developmental politics, they are rather engaged in dogfight for power and position. Unmet with expectations, many of the founding members of party like Yogendra Yadav are no more with the AAP today. It certainly affects prospects for party expansion. People supported AAP because it offered hope of a wider democratic platform, giving ordinary Indians a political voice. But it now seems that Aam Aadmi Party is just a bunch of opportunists trying to grab political space for their own development through corruption and dubious political donations.

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Since its inception, Aam Aadmi Party has been indulged in all those things it promised to stood against of. AAP has failed to deliver what it promised. The list of scams by Aam Aadmi Party is endless. From Thali scam where total food bill of 80 guests amounted to Rs 11, 04,357 costing Rs 12,000 to Rs 16,000 per plate to 400 crore Delhi water tanker scam, AAP has crushed the expectations of people who were hoping for an honest political party. Arvind Kejriwal’s government spent a large chunk of taxpayer’s money for party advertisement. The advertisements were found to be in violation of the Supreme Court guidelines.Transport Minister of Delhi Gopal Rai from Aam Aadmi Party is involved in scam worth crores of rupees in Auto Rickshaw Permit scam. Sacked Delhi minister Kapil Mishra alleged that he witnessed Satyendar Jain giving Rs 2 crore in cash to the party chief Arvind Kejriwal. The list can go on, but the serious question here is the credibility of Aam Aadmi Party. The audio clip of Kumar Vishwas hints at rift within the party, this explains well why Delhi is suffering under bad governance, the key members of party are indulged in back bitching and score setting.

– by SHAURYA RITWIK, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik