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Rahul Gandhi accuses PM Modi of insulting ‘mentor’ LK Advani

MUMBAI, June 12: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of insulting his “mentor” LK Advani, drawing criticism by the BJP that the country is watching how the chief of the oldest political party is behaving.

Addressing a rally of party workers in Mumbai, Gandhi said Modi did not treat his guru (Advani) with respect even at official functions despite Hinduism teaching how a “guru” was the most important person in an individual’s life.

“Everybody knows who is the guru and mentor of Modi -- LK Advani. But the Prime Minister doesn’t accord respect to him even at official functions. It is me who follows protocol and I am always with him (Advani) during (such) events,” he said.

“Today I feel very sad for Advani ji. The Congress party has given him more respect than Modi ji has,” he said.

The Congress president said his party fought and defeated Advani in 2004 and 2009 parliamentary elections. “Now it is the Congress and our party’s ideology which give respect to Advani,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi said he was the first to pay a visit to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee after his hospitalisation on Monday. “We believe Vajpayee has contributed to the country,” he said.

He will also run away: Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at Narendra Modi

MUMBAI, June 12: Without naming Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday compared him with prominent fugitives and expressed suspicion that even “he may run away” like Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi.

“Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi ran away with Rs 35,000 crore, Vijay Mallya took off with Rs 9,000 crore and even Lalit Modi decamped... But he says nothing... He will also run away,” Gandhi said, addressing a massive meeting of the party’s booth-level workers in suburban Goregaon.

Launching his sharpest attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Modi, Gandhi said claimed there was “fear” now in Modi’s voice.

“Unki awaaz me ek ghabraahat hai (There is fear in his voice)... The Prime Minister runs the country through ‘bhaashans’ (speeches) only... But I am not scared as I am a soldier of truth,” Gandhi said amid spontaneous rounds of claps punctuating his speech.

He said Modi had contended that he would be a watchman of the country and not the Prime Minister, but instead he has become “a watchman for only 15 to 20 rich people”.

Gandhi said the country is suffering under the “lies” of Modi, while the Congress always stood for the truth.

Hinting at Opposition unity in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, he warned that the Congress and all other parties together will defeat the BJP.

“In Gujarat, you barely survived... In Karnataka you were thrown out. In Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, you will be nowhere in the picture. The Congress and Opposition parties will unitedly vanquish you,” Gandhi said.

Referring to the demonetisation of November 2016, the Congress president said that the common masses who used to eke out a survival with Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 were suddenly left in the lurch as the government laughingly spiked those currencies.

However, he said a certain Jayesh Shah (referring to BJP president Amit Shah’s son) did not suffer and could convert his Rs 50,000 to Rs 80 crore in a short time.

Accusing the BJP and Modi of spreading hatred throughout the country, Gandhi pointed out that the Congress has always united India and taken everybody along.

“The ordinary Indians who voted for the BJP had faith in the Prime Minister, but now they feel Modi has betrayed their trust totally. Farmers were expecting proper prices for the produce from him, but now they die alone and the Prime Minister is not there with them... He has made everybody cry,” Gandhi said.

He demanded to know where are the two crore jobs Modi promised, reiterating that the country continues to reel from high inflation, spiralling petrol-diesel prices and unemployment.

Earlier, Gandhi, who attended a court hearing in a defamation case in Bhiwandi (in adjoining Thane district), said: “Ours is a fight of ideology and the system... Let them file any number of court cases against me, I shall fight them... I am not bothered.

Bhiwandi Court judge AI Shaikh summoned Gandhi to the witness box and read out the charges against him, to which he pleaded not guilty.

The defamation case was filed by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist Rajesh Kunte who objected to Gandhi’s utterances at an election rally in March 2014 wherein he blamed the RSS for the killing of Mahatma Gandhi.

The matter will come up for further hearing on August 10.

Arriving here this morning on his maiden visit to Maharashtra after taking over as Congress President, Gandhi was greeted with hoardings proclaiming him as the ‘Future Prime Minister’ on the roads outside the Mumbai Airport to Thane.

He was accorded a warm welcome by state party President Ashok Chavan, Mumbai city chief Sanjay Nirupam, party General Secretary Mohan Prakash, former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, former Union Ministers Ashok Gehlot and Gurudas Kamat, former state ministers Naseem Khan and Manikrao Thakre, and other leaders like Janardhan Chandurkar, Bhai Jagtap, Raju Waghmare and hundreds of party workers.

This afternoon, Gandhi launched the Congress’ national initiative ‘Project Shakti’ by which the he would establish direct communication between the grassroots workers and the party’s central leadership, said Nirupam.

Haryana woman IAS officer accuses senior of sexually harassing for writing dissenting notes

CHANDIGARH, June 11: A Haryana-cadre woman Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer accused her boss of sexual harassment on Sunday, a charge that was denied by the male officer.

Writing in Hindi on Facebook, the 28-year-old woman alleged that her boss sexually harassed her for “writing dissenting notes on official files”.

The woman said she forwarded her complaint to the Chandigarh police on Sunday through an email and lodged a complaint with competent authorities. Repeated phone calls and text messages to state chief secretary DS Dhesi failed to elicit a response till the time of going to print.

The woman officer said she was fine being named in the media but Hindustan Times has withheld the identities of both the complainant and the accused because the matter is pending investigation.

In her Facebook post, the woman alleged that her boss used to force her to stay in office till 7 or 8 pm. “On May 22 afternoon, he told me that I should mend my ways…He asked me not to record adverse comments on files. He said if I did not follow his direction, he would get me transferred. He also threatened to spoil my ACR (annual confidential report).”

“The senior officer summoned me on May 31 and instructed his staff that no other person should enter the room…”

“He asked me to say what type of work I wanted to do, whether I want departmental work or time-pass work... And then he asked me to stop writing adverse comments on files. He told me that he was explaining things to me in the same manner that things are explained to a newlywed bride. His behaviour seemed immoral,” she alleged.

The male officer called the charges “baseless” and said he was open to any type of investigation. “She got posted in my department around a month ago...though she said wrong things to my staff as well, I asked them to ignore it.

“It’s my duty to teach work to junior officers in my department and I did tell her a couple of times when she made mistakes in official files. But there was never any misbehaviour of any kind,” he said.

In her Facebook post, the woman wrote that her police security had been withdrawn and that she had sent an e-mail to the office of President about the incident.

On June 6, she alleged that the senior officer called her in his office at 5 pm and asked her to stay there till 7.39 pm.”I was sitting on the other side of the table in front of him. He asked me to get up and come closer to his chair. On the pretext of how to work on computer, he tried to come close and touch me,” she further alleged.

The male officer dismissed the allegations. “I have always tried to ensure that someone was present in my office while she was there. I don’t think that she was alone in my office, barring for a few minutes on a couple of occasions,” he claimed.


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