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LS polls: In a first, Congress ticket eludes Brahmin, Muslim leaders in Rajasthan

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Jaipur, March 27 (IANS) Contradicting its ‘Brahmin DNA’ stand, the Congress in Rajasthan has not failed a single Brahmin candidate for any of the 25 parliamentary constituencies in the desert state.

However, the party leaders insisted that the tickets have been given based on surveys, and not on the basis of caste or creed.

The party had played the Brahmin card many times in the past, claiming that the party has ‘Brahmin DNA’.

Congress leader and key Rahul Gandhi aide, Randeep Singh Surjewala, also said that the “Congress has Brahmin DNA in its blood”.

Echoing the party’s claim, Rahul Gandhi has also been seen wearing a ‘Janeu’ (sacred thread) and claiming that he is a Kashmiri Brahmin.

However, contradicting this ‘Brahmin DNA’ claim, the Congress has not fielded even a single Brahmin candidate from Rajasthan, which has irked many community leaders.

Similarly, the grand old party has also not fielded any Muslim candidate for the Lok Sabha polls in Rajasthan to be held in the first two phases on April 19 and April 26.

In fact, this is the first time in the history of Rajasthan that not even a single Muslim or Brahmin candidate has got a Congress ticket.

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The President of the Sarva Brahmin Mahasabha, Suresh Mishra, said, “It seems the Congress doesn’t want votes from the Brahmin community. It gave a single ticket to a Brahmin leader from Jaipur only to cancel it later. Ever since Independence, the party has been giving two to three tickets to Brahmin candidates in Rajasthan. Around one crore people are from the Brahmin community in the state. This is a disrespect to the community.”

Senior Congress leader Varun Purohit said, “Rajasthan has produced some stalwart Brahmin leaders. The Congress seldom tasted defeat when it gave respect to the Brahmin community. However, neglecting Brahmins and promoting other castes led to Congress’ debacle. Examples of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar can be taken in this context where the Congress failed to revive after wiping out the Brahmin leadership. Now the same story is being repeated in Rajasthan.”

The Congress had offered a ticket to Brahmin candidate Sunil Sharma from the Jaipur Lok Sabha seat. However, he withdrew his candidature following a controversy over his links with the pro-RSS organisation, Jaipur Dialogues.

Many Congress leaders, including Shashi Tharoor, had questioned Sunil Sharma over his loyalty to the party. Thereafter, the party fielded former state minister Pratap Singh Khachariya from Jaipur.

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Besides Brahmin leaders, the party has also denied Muslim leaders from contesting the polls as it has failed to field any candidate from the community.

Jaswant Singh Gurjar, the Chairman of the party’s election war room in Rajasthan, said: “The tickets have been given by the party as per the survey, feedback, and demands of the party workers of the concerned seats. Muslims and Brahmins have traditionally voted for the Congress and will keep doing so in the future as well. There are many grounds for candidate selection. Tickets cannot be given only on the basis of caste, community or class.”

He also said that Brahmins and Muslims have been given tickets in other states, so there won’t be much impact politically in Rajasthan.

“The Congress gave tickets to the leaders of both these communities many times in the past. Even in this Lok Sabha elections, the party has given tickets to many Muslim and Brahmin leaders in other states,” Gurjar added.

To recall, Rajasthan has produced Muslim leaders like Barkatullah Khan who held the post of Chief Minister in 1971. In the Lok Sabha polls in 2009, 2014 and 2019, the Congress fielded Maqbool Mandelia from Churu, cricketer-turned-politician Mohammad Azharuddin from Tonk-Sawai Madhopur, and Rafiq Mandelia from Churu, respectively. However, all three leaders lost the elections.

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The Congress has also given significant importance to Brahmin leaders.

In 2009, three Brahmin leaders — Girija Vyas, C.P. Joshi and Mahesh Joshi — were given tickets and the Congress won all three seats. Vyas and Joshi even became Union ministers in the UPA government. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, these three leaders were renominated, but they lost.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress gave a ticket to Rampal Sharma from Bhilwara, but he lost. In fact, the party lost all the 25 Lok Sabha seats both in 2014 and 2019.

Former Chief Ministers of Rajasthan, right from Hiralal Shastri to Jayanarayan Vyas, Tikaram Paliwal and Haridev Joshi, were all Brahmins.

Senior journalist Narayan Bareth said: “Participation of all sections of the society is the basic and most important thing in a democracy. The current political situation across the country has become such that political parties have started marginalising the Muslim community.”

–IANS

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FIR lodged against Prajwal Revanna's brother over alleged sexual assault case

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Bengaluru, June 22 (IANS) The Karnataka Police have lodged an FIR against JD (S) MLC and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda’s grandson Suraj Revanna on Saturday night and summoned him to the police station for questioning in connection with the alleged sexual assault case lodged by a JD (S) worker, the police said.

Suraj Revanna has arrived at the Holenarasipura Rural police station and is being questioned by the police.

Police sources are not ruling out the possibility of arresting Suraj Revanna during the investigation.

The police have registered an FIR against Suraj Revanna under IPC Sections 377 (unnatural sex), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

The victim in the case had sent his complaint to the office of both the DGP and the Hassan Superintendent of Police.

The police after getting the copy of the complaint in this regard had transferred the case to the jurisdictional Holenarasipur Rural police station.

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The police had contacted the victim in connection with the alleged sexual assault case and recorded his statement.

The police had also taken the victim for a medical test.

Sources said that the victim is being taken to Bengaluru for medical tests upon his insistence.

Reacting to the development, Suraj Revanna said that it is a political conspiracy against him, and he has no idea how long it will go.

“Baseless allegations are made against me and I outrightly reject these allegations. Things will be dealt with legally and an FIR is also lodged against the victim.”

“Let there be an investigation and the truth should come out. I have faith in the law of the land. This is a conspiracy, and I won’t comment on it today. I am not going to point my fingers at anyone. The investigation is under progress and the truth will come out. The people of the state will know the truth,” he added.

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The victim alleged that he had met Suraj Revanna at a function organised by him.

Impressed by his organisational skills, Suraj Revanna allegedly shared his mobile number and started sending endearing messages with love symbols.

He was asked to meet him at his farmhouse where he was allegedly sexually abused.

Suraj Revanna’s elder brother and former JD (S) MP Prajwal Revanna has been arrested in connection with the sex video scandal.

His father JD (S) MLA H.D. Revanna was jailed and out on conditional bail in a kidnapping case linked to the sex video scandal.

His mother Bhavani Revanna is facing an investigation in a kidnapping case and was recently granted conditional bail from the court.

The Karnataka Police have also filed an FIR against two persons on charges of extortion following allegations of sexual abuse against Suraj Revanna.

Suraj Revanna’s aide Shivakumar filed a case against the victim and his kin at the Holenarasipura police station.

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Shivakumar said in the complaint that false allegations were made against Suraj Revanna to extort money.

The complaint claimed that the accused had threatened Suraj Revanna with lodging a case of sexual abuse if he failed to pay Rs 5 crore.

The police have registered a case under IPC Sections 384 (extortion) and 584 (criminal intimidation).

–IANS

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Goa BJP MLA claims traffic cops prioritising challans over road safety

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Panaji, June 23 (IANS) BJP’s Calangute MLA Michael Lobo on Saturday alleged that the Traffic Police were prioritising targets to issue challan against traffic violations instead of taking measures to stop accidents.

Former Minister Lobo expressed concerns over the rising number of accidents in the coastal state and advocated the need to take measures at accident-prone zones.

“Accidents are taking place due to rash and negligent driving and also because of lack of traffic signage boards, unpainted speed breakers and uneven roads. Officers and local bodies should see that all these things are done properly,” Lobo said, adding people’s lives are more important.

“Strict measures should be taken. They (Traffic Police) are taking these measures to issue challans to traffic violators. They are busy giving challans for violation of seat belts, no entry, etc. They stand in such places, where ‘No Entry’ boards are not properly seen and then take action against the public,” he said.

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“They are trying to show that the order given by authorities has to be obeyed and hence they fulfill a target of 50 challans per day. All traffic cells have been given a target and to accomplish it traffic cells are issuing challans. This can’t be accepted,” Lobo added.

“I will speak about this issue with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and will raise the issue in the Assembly session. Such targets will not reduce the number of accidents,” he said.

Earlier, MLA Lobo had said that Traffic Police harass tourists by imposing fines, which should be stopped or the wrong message will be sent by the state.

Lobo is the third BJP MLA, who has openly alleged that Traffic Police harass tourists visiting the coastal state.

Earlier, Goa Revenue Minister Atanasio Monserrate and Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte had also alleged that tourists were being harassed by the Traffic Police.

–IANS

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Centre orders CBI probe into allegations of irregularities in NEET-UG

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New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) The Centre on Saturday ordered a CBI investigation into the alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG 2024.

The National Testing Agency (NTA) conducted the NEET-UG on May 5 in the offline OMR mode.

“Certain cases of alleged irregularities/cheating/impersonation/malpractices have been reported. For transparency on the conduct of the examination process, the Ministry of Education, Government of India after a review has decided to entrust the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for comprehensive investigation,” the Centre said in a statement.

“Central government has also enacted the Public Examination (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, to prevent unfair means in the public examinations and to provide for matter connected therewith or incidental thereto,” it added.

The NEET-UG, an abbreviation for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (Undergraduate), is conducted by the NTA for admission in undergraduate medical programs.

–IANS

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Bihar EOU submits NEET paper leak probe report to Education Ministry

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Patna June 22 (IANS) The Economic Offences Unit (EOU) of Bihar Police probing the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) paper leak case submitted its report to the Union Education Ministry on Saturday.

Nearly 24 lakh students appeared for NEET-UG 2024 for undergraduate medical programmes on May 5. The results were released ahead of schedule on June 4. However, controversy arose with claims of question paper leak and the awarding of grace marks to more than 1,500 students, leading to widespread protests and legal actions, particularly in Bihar.

Nayyar Hasnain Khan, the Additional Director General of EOU, met the officials of the Education Ministry in Delhi on Saturday and submitted the report, which includes the statements of 13 arrested persons, admit cards, partially burnt question papers, booklets, and booking records of the NHAI guest house where the aspirants memorised the answers after the papers were allegedly leaked a day before the test.

As per sources, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan is likely to do a hold review meeting with the officials, including Khan, on Monday.

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–IANS

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Union Minister Kumaraswamy holds meeting with HMT officials in B'luru

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Bengaluru, June 22 (IANS) Union Heavy Industries and Steel Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Saturday held a meeting with the top officials of the ailing PSU Hindustan Machine and Tools (HMT) in Bengaluru.

During the meeting, the Minister had discussions with the company’s Chairman and Managing Director Rajesh Kohli, along with other senior officials.

The officials observed demonstrations and received comprehensive information about the company’s activities.

Chairman Rajesh Kohli outlined the various problems HMT was facing, including financial crises, lawsuits, and overall losses.

He stressed the need for the Union government’s intervention to resolve these issues.

In response, Minister Kumaraswamy promised to address these challenges.

Minister Kumaraswamy reviewed details on turnover, net profit, and other key metrics.

He discussed the financial, production, and operational conditions of the company with the officials.

The once-glorious HMT is currently facing significant challenges.

The Minister emphasised the need to strengthen the company and instructed Rajesh Kohli to submit a proposal to the Union government for necessary support.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (Self-Reliant India) initiative was highlighted as a framework for HMT’s revival.

Minister Kumaraswamy encouraged the officials to adopt this vision and lead the recovery efforts, assuring them of the Union government’s assistance.

The Minister noted that HMT produces tools for the Department of Defence and space programmes, and has manufacturing units across the country.

He suggested that the company should enhance its capacity.

–IANS

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