Monday, 2 November 2015

Modi, Priyanka, Robert Vadra come under one roof at Hooda nephew's wedding

Perhaps for the first time ever, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's daughter Priyanka Vadra and her son-in-law Robert Vadra came together under one roof when they attended the wedding reception of former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Hooda's nephew at a five-star hotel in New Delhi on Sunday. 

Conspicuous by their absence, however, were Haryana governor Kaptan Singh Solanki and the man who replaced Hooda as chief minister, Manohar Lal Khattar. This despite the fact that Khattar was invited and was in Delhi for a meeting with BJP president Amit Shah after his infamous "Muslims should give up beef remark". 

Modi, his cabinet colleagues and senior BJP leaders attended the reception of Sukhinder Hooda aka Monu, son of the former CM's elder brother Joginder, at Taj Palace. The event was hosted by former CM Hooda. Sources, however, said that Modi and the Vadra couple came to the venue at different times.

BJP's main poll plank against Congress during the Haryana election campaigning was corruption and Robert Vadra-owned company Skylight Hospitality's Rs 58-crore land deal with realty giant DLF was the most effective weapon the saffron party used to pin down Hooda in the assembly elections in October, 2014. The land deal controversy had also played a key role in shaking the foundations of UPA-2 ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in May, 2014. 

Sukhinder, whose father passed away last year, has been handling all political campaigns of the former CM and his MP son Deepender Hooda. He has married Manisha, a girl from a Punjabi family.

Others who attended the event included President Pranab Mukherjee, vice-president Hamid Ansari, former PM Manmohan Singh, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka and her husband Robert Vadra, Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Piyush Goyal and Mahesh Sharma, senior Congress leaders Janardhan Dwivedi, Oscar Farnandes, former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit and Haryana ministers, MPs and MLAs.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Sandeep Dikshit first to speak out in Congress against Robert Vadra

The Congress officially issued a statement backing Robert Vadra, seeking to counter the BJP by saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he was the chief minister of Gujarat, had “removed the mike and walked out of a pre-fixed interview” with a leading journalist when questioned about the Gujarat riots.

Expressing his disapproval of Robert Vadra’s behaviour, Dikshit, a Congress spokesperson and former Lok Sabha MP, said: “I haven’t seen it and I am not responding as a Congress spokesperson because it is a matter between an individual and a cameraperson. All I would say is, for any person, there is a public etiquette and decorum we all maintain, and you can have overbearing media people at times, I can appreciate that, but I think for anybody we must maintain basic civility… And I think if we have some grouse we should just let it go, this kind of public display is unfortunate. I don’t know what the circumstances were and I have not seen the tape, but all of us, specially people who are known in public, must maintain a level of decorum.”

Asked whether Robert Vadra should apologise, Dikshit said it was for Robert Vadra to decide, but it was always good to assuage if somebody’s feelings were hurt. “Who am I advise him? It is up to an individual. I believe if any one of us crossed a particular decorum in terms of public behaviour, it is always good to assuage if you hurt anybody’s feelings,” he said.

Among those who backed Robert Vadra was Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh, who called the row a “minor incident”.

“Why is media making such an issue related to a small incident? I am told the agreement was (that) questions will be asked only about the gym facilities in Ashoka (Hotel), and that’s it. I do not understand the kind of media attention which Robert Vadra is getting on a non-event. Are you all very short of news these days?” he said.

In the party’s official statement, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “The Indian Constitution and our established ethos guarantee right to privacy, personal space and liberty to all individuals, more so when a person is neither in public life nor holds any public office. Unpleasantness of repeatedly asking questions at private functions, like what happened with Shri Robert Vadra yesterday, must be avoided at all times.”

Surjewala added: “The repetitive hounding of an individual on an issue that has been conclusively rejected both by a constitutional body like the Election Commission of India as also high courts and finally the Supreme Court of India is not appropriate.”

The Congress said it was clear that “the episode is being propagated as a political agenda for obvious reasons”. “I want to remind leaders of the BJP and friends of the media as to how none less than the Prime Minister (then chief minister), Narendra Modi, had removed the mike and walked out of a pre-fixed interview,” Surjewala said.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

PM Narendra Modi attacks 'damaad' Robert Vadra over corruption

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Monday, took a dig at Congress president's son-in-law Robert Vadra while stressing that the NDA has provided graft-free governance.

Addressing the Indian community at the packed SAP Centre in San Jose, California, Modi said, "In our country it doesn't take much for allegations to come up against politicians... Someone made 50 crores, someone's son made 250 crores, (someone's) daughter made 500 crores, (someone's) damaad (son-in-law) made 1000 crores..."

Switching on to a question answer mode, he asked the audience "Is the country not disappointed?" The people replied "yes".

"Is there not anger against corruption," he asked. "Yes," people shouted.

Modi then asked, "I am standing before you. Tell me if there is any allegation against me." "No," people shouted.

He then told the crowd that he is giving every minute of his life in the service of the nation and he would live and die for the country.

While Modi's reference to sons and daughters of politicians being corrupt is seen as a reference to culture of corruption in the country, the reference to son-in-law is seen as a barb at alleged land deals entered into by Vadra with the some state governments.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Robert Vadra to ‘erase’ name from all no-frisk lists

"Plans to visit every terminal in the airports in India and add a white tape on my name from the VVIP list and my signature on top !! So look out," Robert Vadra said in a Facebook post Monday.

Incidentally, as reported by TOI the Goa airport had put a white tape on Robert Vadra's name at the no-frisking list earlier this year. The move, local officials had said, was taken after many people used to ask why Vadra's name was on that list.

The aviation ministry -- whose indecisiveness led to constant flip flops on Robert Vadra remaining on that list or not -- reacted furiously to the businessman's Facebook post. "Why is he politicizing the issue by writing on Facebook? He should write to me or the home minister and we will have his name removed in no time," Union minister of state for aviation minister Mahesh Sharma -- who singlehandedly runs the show as the cabinet minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju has taken a back seat -- told TOI. 

"There is a procedure to be followed. Let Robert Vadra write to the home ministry. The MHA recommendation will be forwarded to Bureau of Civil Aviation Security for the needful," Sharma added. 

Robert Vadra's plan to emulate the Goa airport board comes two days after he requested the government to remove him from the list. "I have voiced and given my written consent to remove my name from this list, many times.... I do not need this privilege and have never used it. It takes less than a minute to get frisked and there is nothing to hide, that cameras need be avoided! Maybe I need to personally go to every airport and delete my name, will that work?" he had posted. 

The NDA has done a flip flop on taking that privilege away from Robert Vadra. Ever since taking over as aviation minister last May, Ashok Raju has spoken of removing 'ornamental' names from the no-frisking list. But the home ministry gave an unclear verdict on doing so. Following this, Mahesh Sharma last Thursday said taking Robert Vadra off that list was not on the government's radar.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Robert Vadra Asks Government to Remove Him from List of No-Frisking

Insisting that he is "not a VIP", Congress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra today said he had given consent for removal of his name from the elite 'no-frisking' list at airports and wondered if it was not being done as part of a "conspiracy" to malign his image.

He maintained that he has never used this "privilege" and does not need it and that he should be treated as any other normal citizen of the country.

"I am clear but wish the concerned authorities would understand that I am not a VVIP or a VIP," Mr Robert Vadra said in a statement in New Delhi against the backdrop of the government saying that it has no plans to remove him from the 'no-frisking' list.

The 'no-frisking' privilege, enjoyed by SPG protectees like Mr Robert Vadra's wife Priyanka Gandhi and Constitutional dignitaries, saves them from the requirement of going through security checks at airports.

Mr Robert Vadra's name has cropped up several times with regard to whether he should enjoy the facility.

"I have given my consent to remove my name from this list many times. My conduct says it, but apparently the analysis disclosed by the government on my threat perception, allegedly says I am not required to be on this list," he said, adding "so why double standards in removing my name from the VVIP list?"

Asserting that it takes less than a minute to get frisked and he has nothing to hide, Mr Robert Vadra said "May be I need to personally go to every airport and delete my name. Will that work? Or is it a part of a larger conspiracy to malign my image? I am humble and as normal as any citizen. So please treat me like one."

He asked those concerned to "stop wasting people's time" on this issue. "There are much larger issues to be dealt with. My humble request is to focus on them." - kartikeya sharma & robert vadra

Saturday, 1 August 2015

LokSabha maynot push privilege notice against Robert Vadra

Robert Vadra had maintained in his reply that there was no attempt on his part to hurt anybody and he was only exercising his right to freedom of expression. In a Facebook post on July 21, he had said: “Parliament begins and so do their petty diversionary political tactics… People of India are not fooled. Regret to see India led by such so-called leaders.”

The Lok Sabha is unlikely to pursue the breach of privilege notice given by a BJP member against Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

“We have got his letter (sent by Robert Vadra to the Lok Sabha Secretariat),” said Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. “I have given it to the Secretary-General to examine it as per rules. If there is no issue, we will not take it up further. I do not think it is such a big issue.”

Prahlad Joshi, a BJP member from Karnataka, had sought to move a privilege motion against Vadra. Stating that he had demeaned parliamentarians, he wanted the issue referred to the privileges committee.

“As far as I am aware, the Speaker issued a notice and the person who has to respond will respond,” said Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.

“Beyond this, the Congress does not have to say anything… the final decision will be taken by the Speaker.”