UK Report Calls For Action Against Pakistan Groups Targeting British Sikh Girls

The UK Home Office said child sexual abuse has been categorised as a national threat. (Representational)


British Sikh girls being targeted by Pakistan-origin grooming gangs for sexual abuse and exploitation over the years have not received full attention of the authorities due to political correctness, claims a new report released today.

The ‘Religiously Aggravated Sexual Exploitation of Young Sikh Women Across the UK’ report, collated by the Sikh Mediation And Rehabilitation Team (SMART) and Sikh Youth UK, received the backing of parliamentarians as it called for an investigation into the pattern of abuse dating back decades.

“Since the early nineteen-eighties, evidence collated by British Sikh organisations has recorded cases of sexual abuse and exploitation against young Sikh females by grooming gangs populated by perpetrators of primarily Pakistani or Muslim heritage,” the report noted.

“Although not exclusively, offences are documented as regularly being committed within the structure of networks, including the nuclear and extended family members of offenders. This has in turn prompted questions surrounding whether young Sikh females are victims of opportunists or being targeted due to their religious heritage,” it said.

The researchers are keen to highlight that the study was not undertaken as a “witch-hunt against any individual, community, culture or faith” but as a means to provide some “clear understanding and acceptance” of key factors contributing to the risk.

Among the factors influencing the trend, the report flagged that some early Sikh migrants claim the organised targeting of Sikh females was conducted, in part, as “retaliation” for the involvement of Sikh soldiers in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

It also documents a string of recent high-profile prosecutions of Pakistani-origin grooming gangs who targeted white British schoolgirls in areas such as Rochdale and Rotherham.

“With the emergence of multiple similar cases across the UK, the perceived failure to act has now been attributed to the ‘political correctness’ that inhibited authorities and agencies from addressing the racial and cultural dimensions understood as causative factors behind the abuse,” the report noted.

It added: “Many within the Sikh community have advocated that it is of the utmost importance that British justice operates on a level playing field.

“However, where it is clear that a child is at threat or targeted for abuse due to their race or religion, it is essential that the recording and prosecution of cases reflects all aspects surrounding the abuse.”

Veteran Indian-origin Labour Party MP Virendra Sharma welcomed the findings that would help tackle the wider issue of child abuse by ensuring that while police are sensitive, they act “effectively” to prevent any immediate risk.

“Steps to end the stigma of reporting abuse and end the culture of silence, referred to in the report, are key but will require many years of difficult intervention. I will be pleased to support steps to end any systematic targeting and this report is a key step in that fight,” said Sharma, who represents the west London constituency of Ealing Southall with a large British Sikh population.

His views were echoed by fellow Labour Party MP Sarah Champion, who has been very vocal over the issue of child sexual grooming as many Pakistani-origin men from her constituency of Rotherham were jailed for sexual abuse and rape of schoolgirls.

She said: “When I first heard about the specific targeting of Sikh girls for abuse I was shocked. Having met survivors, I know the long-term devastation to the girls, their families and the Sikh community as a whole.

“I support the call for an inquiry into this form of sexual exploitation and how it has been able to go on for so long unchallenged by government agencies.”

The issue hit the headlines in recent weeks as six British Pakistanis were sentenced to a total of 101 years behind bars last month for sexually grooming and abusing young girls in the northern England town of Rotherham.

UK home secretary Sajid Javid, himself of Pakistani origin, had taken to Twitter to condemn the “sick Asian paedophiles” and attracted some backlash for singling out a particular community.

He defended his comments once again today, saying: “Any normal person looking at the recent convictions of gangs that abuse children would have noticed that a vast majority are from a Pakistani heritage and we cannot ignore that.”

“If you do ignore that, if you sit in a position of power like me and you ignore that, what you actually end up doing is fuelling the voices of extremism that are out there that will then prey on that,” he added.

The UK Home Office said child sexual abuse has been categorised as a “national threat”, with the government investing millions of pounds to enable officers to actively seek out and bring offenders to justice.

“Group-based child sexual exploitation is a complex issue and the government is working to improve our understanding of how to prevent this heinous crime,” a statement said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Facebook Referred to Key EU Regulator Over Targeting Techniques

Britain’s Information Commissioner has referred Facebook to Ireland’s data watchdog, the lead authority for the social network under Europe’s strict data law, over issues regarding the way it targeted and monitored its users.

Britain’s Information Commissioner has been investigating how Facebook handled personal data after a consultancy Cambridge Analytica was accused of improperly harvesting information from around 87 million users on the social network.

The Commissioner has already slapped the highest possible fine of 500,000 pounds on Facebook for the misuse of data but said on Tuesday it was referring other outstanding issues to Ireland.

“We have referred our ongoing concerns about Facebook’s targeting functions and techniques that are used to monitor individuals’ browsing habits, interactions and behaviour across the internet and different devices to the to the Irish Data Protection Commission,” it said.

Ireland is the lead authority for Facebook under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a law brought in by the European Union in May to protect personal information in the age of the internet.

Britain’s Information Commissioner said it was aware that other regulators have looked at Facebook’s operations over the relevant period. It said it would work with the Irish regulator and other data authorities to develop a long-term strategy for addressing these issues.

© Thomson Reuters 2018

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US Indicts Chinese, Taiwan Firms for Targeting Micron Trade Secrets

The US Justice Department on Thursday unveiled an indictment against two companies based in China and Taiwan and three individuals, saying they conspired to steal trade secrets from US semiconductor company Micron Technology relating to its research and development of memory storage devices.

The charges against Taiwan-based United Microelectronics Corp, China state-owned Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co and three individuals who once worked for a unit of Micron mark the fourth case brought by the Justice Department since September as part of a broader crackdown against alleged Chinese espionage on US companies.

The action is the latest in a long list taken to fight what some in the Trump administration call China’s cheating through intellectual property theft, illegal corporate subsidies and rules hampering US corporations that want to sell their goods in China.

The FBI’s deputy director, David Bowdich, said that nearly every one of the agency’s 56 field offices “has investigations into economic espionage that lead back to the country of China.”

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a news conference that Chinese espionage has been “increasing rapidly,” and the government is launching a new initiative to crack down on Chinese espionage trade cases.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately comment.

United Microelectronics issued a response saying the allegations in the indictment and complaint are “virtually the same as allegations in a civil complaint previously filed against UMC by Micron.”

“UMC regrets that the U.S. Attorney’s Office brought these charges without first notifying UMC and giving it an opportunity to discuss the matter,” the company said.

China and the United States are locked in an escalating trade conflict. The two countries have imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods, and U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on the remainder of China’s $500 billion-plus exports to the United States if the disputes cannot be resolved.

Civil lawsuit
In addition to the criminal case, the Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit seeking to prevent the two accused companies from exporting any products created using the trade secrets and blocking the further transfer of trade secrets.

Micron said in a statement that it “has invested billions of dollars over decades to develop its intellectual property. The actions announced today reinforce that criminal misappropriation will be appropriately addressed.”

The U.S. Commerce Department earlier this week also announced that it had put Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co Ltd on a list of entities that cannot buy components, software and technology goods from U.S. firms.

San Francisco FBI Special Agent in Charge John Bennett, whose counter-intelligence agents led the two-year probe, said China was the largest practitioner of government-backed economic espionage in Silicon Valley, but he noted that some victim companies remained reluctant to come forward to the FBI, for fear of stock price impact or embarrassment.

John Demers, the head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, said Thursday that the multi-prong approach by the government has “stopped the harm” before it could manifest itself in a competing product.

Democratic Senator Mark Warner, vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, cheered the action, and said the administration should do more to crack down on economic espionage by Chinese businesses and the Chinese government.

Micron filed its own a civil lawsuit against Fujian and United Microelectronics in December 2017 in federal court in California, accusing them of secret infringement of intellectual property related to its DRAM chips after prosecutors in Taiwan charged two Micron employees with stealing trade secrets.

In January, UMC filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Micron in China.

“No country presents a broader, more severe threat to our ideas, our innovation, and our economic security than China,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement.

The indictment alleges that China was interested in gaining access to dynamic random-access memory, or DRAM, a type of technology it did not possess. Micron is the only U.S.-based company that manufactures DRAM.

Sessions said the Taiwanese company partnered with a Chinese state-owned company so that ultimately China could steal this technology from the United States and then use it to compete against the United States. “This is a brazen scheme,” Sessions said.

According to charging documents and Justice Department officials, Chen Zhengkun, a former Micron employee who worked in Taiwan, left the company in July 2015 to join United Microelectronics.

Chen, who is one of the three individuals facing criminal charges, then recruited other Micron employees to come and bring trade secrets with them. He also allegedly set up a joint venture with Fujian Jinhua, a China-owned company founded in 2016 for the sole purpose of developing DRAM technology.

Taiwan assisted with the investigation, according to Alex Tse, the US attorney for northern California.

The Justice Department’s announcement Thursday comes on the heels of several other major Chinese espionage cases in recent months.

© Thomson Reuters 2018

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Arvind Kejriwal To PM Over Raids Targeting Minister Kailash Gahlot

New Delhi: 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi should apologise to the people of Delhi for “constantly troubling” the government they voted for, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said following raids at multiple premises linked to his minister Kailash Gahlot.

At least 16 locations in Delhi and Gurgaon were raided by a team of over 60 income tax department officials and the police in connection with an alleged tax evasion case.

“Friendship with Nirav Modi and (Vijay) Mallya and raid on us? Modiji you conducted raids on me, Satyendar (Jain) and Manish (Sisodia). What happened to those (raids)? Nothing was found. So before you go with another raid at least apologise to the people of Delhi for troubling their elected government,” Mr Kejriwal tweeted.

The search teams raided properties in Vasant Kunj, Defence Colony, Paschim Vihar, Najafgarh, Laxmi Nagar and Palam Vihar area in Gurgaon as part of the I-T department’s probe into alleged tax evasion against two firms — Brisk Infrastructure and Developers Pvt Ltd and Corporate International Financial Services Limited — that are operated and owned by the Gahlot family, the officials said.

While the former company is engaged in real estate, the latter is said to be a Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC). The officials said multiple transactions and alleged under-reporting of profits led to the probe against the promoters of the two firms and their operations.

AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj demanded that central agencies, including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to disclose if it found anything related to “corruption” during their numerous raids on AAP leaders and ministers.

“Many such raids were conducted in the past, but nothing substantial came out and no charge-sheet was filed. The court reprimanded the Delhi Police for non-existent cases,” said AAP leader Atishi.

Ms Atishi also accused the centre of trying to “intimidate” the Delhi government and alleged that Kailash Gahlot was targeted for leading the party’s legal battle against disqualification of its 20 lawmakers and for successfully implementing a scheme for doorstep delivery of essential public services.

Mr Gahlot is the minister for transport, law and revenue and is an Aam Aadmi Party legislator from the Najafgarh Assembly Constituency.

“Both PM Modi and Amit Shah want illegal and unconstitutional disqualification of the 20 MLAs whose legal battle was being led by Gahlot,” she said.

The AAP supports investigation of allegations, but why single out only one party’s leaders and ministers, she asked.

“On an average, the AAP gets at least one notice every day from the I-T department. The AAP is the only party that accepts all donations through banking channels, cheques or online. It’s clear that the centre is using all its agencies to intimidate the AAP,” said Atishi, one of the nine advisers to the Arvind Kejriwal’s government, who were sacked by the centre, saying the posts didn’t have its approval.

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BJP demands Thakor’s expulsion from Cong for targeting migrants in Gujarat understands that your privacy is important to you and we are committed for being transparent about the technologies we use.  This cookie policy explains how and why cookies and other similar technologies may be stored on and accessed from your device when you use or visit websites that posts a link to this Policy (collectively, “the sites”). This cookie policy should be read together with our Privacy Policy.

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AppleJeus Malware by Lazarus Targeting macOS, Windows Users Both: Kaspersky

Kaspersky researchers have uncovered a malware attack on Windows and macOS devices by the infamous Lazarus group. The group is apparently using Trojanised cryptocurrency exchanges to spread malware on laptops, including macOS devices. This new operation has been given the term AppleJeus, as it’s the first time Lazarus has been reported to distributing malware on macOS machines. An attack was recognised in Asia, where the attackers penetrated the network of a cryptocurrency exchange using Trojanised cryptocurrency trading software.

The Lazarus group is thought to have links to North Korea, and a government funded threat group. This recent attack was done with the aim to steal cryptocurrency. Kaspersky notes that this is the first time it has seen a Lazarus distributed malware targeting macOS users as well, and said “it represents a wakeup call for everyone who uses this OS for cryptocurrency-related activity.”

It is learnt that the malware arrives on a computer through an update to a third-party software app appearing to be for cryptocurrency trading. Kaspersky notes that it began when a company employee downloaded an app from a legitimate looking company website. This application sent information to back to the command and control server, and once the attackers ascertained that the computer is worth infecting, it sent malicious code in the form of a software update. The Trojan Fallchill is then installed on to the computer, and it gives attackers unlimited access to steal valuable financial information or to deploy additional tools for that purpose.

The AppleJeus operation was possible because of the seemingly legit looking cryptocurrency trading software that was installed. Kaspersky notes that the software vendor even has a valid digital certificate for signing its software and legitimate looking registration records for the domain.

Kaspersky recommends users tread with caution while installing any software related to cryptocurrency. “Do not automatically trust the code running on your systems. Neither an authentic looking website, nor a solid company profile, nor digital certificates guarantee the absence of backdoors,” it added. The security firm also advised to use a robust security solution, equipped with malicious-behaviour detection technologies that enable even previously unknown threats to be caught. Also, it would be beneficial to use multi-factor authentication and hardware wallets if you are dealing with significant financial transactions. For this purpose, preferably use a standalone, isolated computer that you do not use to browse the Internet or read email.

Cybercriminal gang Lazarus is believed to be behind large scale cyber-attacks across the world including recent WannaCry ransomware, and it was also reported to have access to few servers in India as well.

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Chinese Still In Doklam, Rahul Gandhi Says, Targeting PM Modi In London

Rahul Gandhi In London: Earlier this month, Rahul Gandhi had attacked Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.

New Delhi: 

Rahul Gandhi, targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an interaction today in London on a range of subjects including India’s border standoff with Chinese troops last year, said the “Chinese are still in Doklam”. PM Modi could have stopped it had he kept a careful watch, the Congress president added.

“Doklam is not an isolated issue. It was a part of a sequence of events, it was a process. Prime Minister is episodic. He views Doklam as an event. If he was carefully watching the process, he could’ve stopped it,” Rahul Gandhi said at the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London.

Implying that the government was obfuscating facts on Doklam, Rahul Gandhi said: “The words used are very interesting – the Chinese have withdrawn from the point of contact, they have withdrawn from where the altercation happened. The truth is that the Chinese are still in Doklam today.”

He added that “if India was punching above its weight, Doklam wouldn’t have happened.”

Doklam is a strategically important area which is claimed by Bhutan.

A standoff over Doklam saw Indian and Chinese soldiers standing eyeball to eyeball for 73 days over Beijing’s attempt to build a road in the area, which New Delhi viewed as a serious security concern because of the access it provides to Beijing. Chinese military positions in Doklam would have been in a position to strike targets in the “Chicken’s Neck” — a strip of land in West Bengal’s Siliguri, which connects India with the states in the north-east.

The two sides “disengaged” on August 28.

Earlier this month, Rahul Gandhi had attacked Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj for stating in parliament that the Doklam face-off was resolved through “diplomatic maturity” and there was “not an iota of change” in status quo on the ground.

In a caustic tweet, the Congress chief attached a news report that quoted a top US official as saying China has quietly resumed its activities in the Doklam area and neither Bhutan nor India has sought to dissuade it.

“Amazing how a lady like Sushma ji has buckled and prostrated herself in front of Chinese power. Absolute subservience to the leader means our brave jawan has been betrayed on the border,” the Congress president tweeted.

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India did better under UPA, says Chidambaram targeting Modi govt on economy; BJP hits back

नई दिल्ली: पूर्व वित्त मंत्री पी. चिदंबरम ने दावा किया कि कांग्रेस की अगुवाई वाली यूपीए-1 और यूपीए-2 सरकारों के समय देश ने किसी एक दशक में सबसे ऊंची आर्थिक वृद्धि दर्ज की. साथ ही उन्होंने मौजूदा राष्ट्रीय जनतांत्रिक गठबंधन (राजग) सरकार पर तंज कसते हुए कहा कि एक नहीं तीन-तीन वित्त मंत्री अर्थव्यवस्था संभाल रहे हैं. चिदंबरम ने सांख्यिकी मंत्रालय द्वारा हाल में जारी सकल घरेलू उत्पाद (जीडीपी) के वृद्धि दर के आंकड़ों का हवाला देते हुए कहा कि यूपीए-1 सरकार के दौरान औसत वृद्धि दर 8.87 प्रतिशत थी. इस दौरान 2006-07 में वृद्धि 10.08 प्रतिशत तक गई. यूपीए- 2 के दौरान औसत वृद्धि दर 7.39 प्रतिशत रही. इसके जवाब में भाजपा ने कहा कि संप्रग सरकार के समय महंगाई और चालू खाते का घाटा बहुत ऊंचा हो गया था. मोदी सरकार ने आकर स्थिति को सुधारा.

यह भी पढ़ें : रिपोर्ट में खुलासा: पूर्व PM मनमोहन सिंह के कार्यकाल में भारत ने हासिल की थी सर्वाधिक विकास दर

भाजपा प्रवक्ता संबित पात्रा ने कहा कि ये आंकड़े आधिकारिक नहीं हैं और सरकार ने अभी तक इन्हें स्वीकार नहीं किया है. चिदंबरम ने कांग्रेस मुख्यालय पर कहा कि यूपीए-1 और 2 के समय औसत वार्षिक वृद्धि 8.13 प्रतिशत रही जो किसी एक दशक में सबसे ऊंची वृद्धि दर है. इस दौरान 14 करोड़ लोगों को गरीबी की रेखा से ऊपर निकाला गया जो एक रिकॉर्ड है. मोदी सरकार पर तंज करते हुए उन्होंने कहा, ‘इस समय तीन वित्त मंत्री अर्थव्यवस्था संभाल रहे हैं. इनमें एक वास्तविक, एक औपचारिक और एक अदृश्य वित्त मंत्री हैं.’ 

यह भी पढ़ें : कांग्रेस का पीएम मोदी पर हमला: ‘काश, प्रधानमंत्री 15 अगस्त के अपने ‘आखिरी भाषण’ में सच बोलते’

संबित पात्रा ने कहा, ‘कांग्रेस पार्टी जब कोई सफलता हासिल नहीं कर पाती है तो वह अपनी विफलता का ही जश्न मनाना शुरू कर देती है. यूपीए के कार्यकाल में मुद्रास्फीति बढ़ रही थी और वे चालू खाते के घाटे पर अंकुश नहीं लगा पाए थे. वहीं नरेंद्र मोदी सरकार के कार्यकाल में भारत दुनिया की छह सबसे बड़ी अर्थव्यवस्थाओं में शामिल हो चुका है.’  संबित पात्रा ने कहा कि मोदी सरकार के कार्यकाल में भारत ‘पांच कमजोर’ अर्थव्यवस्थाओं की श्रेणी से निकल कर निवेश के सबसे शानदार गंतव्यों में शामिल हो गया है. यूपीए-2 के समय एक निवेश बैंक ने तुर्की, ब्राजील, भारत, दक्षिण अफ्रीका और इंडोनेशिया को बड़ी उभरती अर्थव्यवस्थाओं में पांच ‘सबसे कमजोर अर्थव्यवस्थाओं’ का नाम दे रखा था.


sambit patra

बीजेपी प्रवक्ता संबित पात्रा ने किया पलटवार.

राष्ट्रीय सांख्यिकी आयोग द्वारा गठित वास्तविक क्षेत्र के आंकड़ों पर समिति गठित की गई है. इसके द्वारा तैयार जीडीपी की नई श्रृंखला की पिछली कड़ियों के अनुमानों को सांख्यिकी एवं कार्यक्रम क्रियान्वयन मंत्रालय की वेबसाइट पर शुक्रवार को डाला गया.


यह भी पढ़ें : राहुल का रुपये की ऐतिहासिक गिरावट के लिए PM मोदी पर तंज, ‘सुप्रीम लीडर’ को लगा अविश्वास का झटका

मंत्रालय ने भी आज एक बयान में कहा कि समिति की रिपोर्ट कोई ‘आधिकारिक आंकड़े नहीं हैं.’ औपचारिक अनुमान बाद में जारी किए जाएंगे. मौजूदा सरकार पर हमला बोलते हुए चिदंबरम ने कहा कि इस सरकार को विरासत में ऐसी अर्थव्यवस्था मिली थी जो तेजी से आगे बढ़ रही थी. दुर्भाग्य से पहले दो साल बाद ही सरकार लड़खड़ाने लगी और रफ्तार थमने लगी. इसकी मुख्य वजह नोटबंदी, गलत तरीके से जीएसटी का क्रियान्वयन और कर-आतंकवाद है. उन्होंने कहा कि कांग्रेस बराबरी और सामाजिक न्याय के साथ उच्च वृद्धि दर की हिमायती है. मोदी सरकार के दौर में ये तीनों बातें प्रभावित हुई हैं.

(इनपुट: भाषा)

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India Targeting Hockey Gold At Asiad, Says Captain Manpreet Singh

Riding high on the runners-up performance at last month’s Champions Trophy, India hockey captain Manpreet Singh is targeting the gold medal at the upcoming Asian Games. The Indians, who had reached the Champions Trophy final at the earlier edition in 2016 as well, held formidable Australia to a 1-1 draw in the title clash of this year’s tournament before going down in the penalty shoot-out. Manpreet asserted that the confidence of his team mates are now at a high and they are looking forward to defending their title at the Asian Games which is due to be held in Indonesia from August 18. A successful title defence will also ensure an automatic spot at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

“We have only one aim. We have to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. We will only be happy with the gold, nothing less than that,” Manpreet told IANS on Friday.

The Champions Trophy was the first tournament for India coach Harendra Singh after taking over the reigns from previous incumbent Sjoerd Marijne.

While he admitted that Marijne’s ideas left a strong imprint on the team, Manpreet was confident that Harendra’s approach of letting the Indians play their natural aggressive style will produce results over the long term.

“He is a good coach with a positive attitude. Every coach has his own approach and tactics. We have to play according to his ideas,” the midfielder said.

“Every coach wants to utilise the natural ability of Indians which is attacking hockey. Every coach wants to keep this as a strong point and works on this aspect,” he added.

“Counter attack is a strong point of the Indian team due to our speed. So all the coaches who have come have always worked on this feature of our game.”

The 26-year-old also said that the Indians are focussing on improving their fitness and penalty corner conversion.

“Preparations are going on well. We are focussing more on our fitness and our finishing. We are also paying a lot of attention to penalty corner conversion,” Manpreet said.

“We analyse every team. We try to ensure that whatever mistakes we commit is not repeated,” he added.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Look Who’s Talking, Says Congress Leader, On AAP Targeting Rahul Gandhi

AAP had conditioned its support in the Rajya Sabha election on a personal request from Rahul Gandhi.

New Delhi: 

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has so far been silent on the combative words from  Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party. But today his party colleague Sharmistha Mukherjee  picked up cudgels on his behalf and took out AAP, saying its “boycott” of the Rajya Sabha deputy chairman elections has only helped the BJP. Mr Kejriwal has been at loggerheads with the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi since his party swept to power in 2015. But the abstention of his three lawmakers from today’s voting not only pulled down the opposition score but helped the government by lowering the majority mark.

“AAP says ‘politics does not run on ego’. Indeed! That’s why @ArvindKejriwal is sulking & decided to abstain from voting in RS, helping BJP,” tweeted Sharmistha Mukherjee, daughter of former president Pranab Mukherjee.

AAP had made its support to opposition candidate BK Hariprasad conditional – they wanted Mr Gandhi to dial Mr Kejriwal and seek his help. When that call did not come, the deeply upset party declared that it will stay out of the election. Accusing the Congress of discourtesy, party leader Sanjay Singh said, “If Rahul Gandhi can hug Narendra Modi, why cannot he ask Arvind Kejriwal for support to his party’s candidate”.

Ms Mukherjee, a spokesperson of the party’s Delhi unit, tweeted:

The reference was to the Mr Kejriwal’s unthinkable declaration in Delhi assembly in June that he was ready to campaign for the BJP in 2019 if Delhi was given full statehood.

The strained relation between the Congress and AAP has its roots in the 2011 anti-corruption movement, when AAP was not formed and Mr Kejriwal and his close colleagues were aides of Anna Hazare, who led the movement. It was one of the factors that had hugely discredited the UPA government and helped the BJP win in 2014 general elections.

In 2013, AAP formed the government in Delhi with Congress support, but after 49 days, Mr Kejriwal stepped down, accusing the Congress of allying with the BJP and blocking the Jan Lokpal bill.

During Mr Kejriwal’s face off with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, he received messages of support and encouragement from most opposition parties. But there was none from the Congress. Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken dismissed Mr Kejriwal’s sit-in protest at the LG’s house as “drama”.

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