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What the Indian economy in 2017 can tell us about the year ahead

This was Narendra Modi’s toughest year on the economic front, writes the BBC’s Sameer Hashmi.

Who made the mysterious call to CM Vijay Rupani?

Amid the heated political atmosphere in the state, particularly after allocation of portfolios, CM Vijay Rupani inaugurated the sixth edition of much awaited annual flower show at the Flower Park of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) on Saturday.While entering the nursery section, Rupani was handed over his mobile phone by his personal assistant and the CM talked for about 10 minutes with the person on the call. Speculations were rife that it might be either from Prime Minister Narendra Modi or BJP president Amit Shah.It comes in the wake of newly appointed Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel being displeased with the allocation of portfolio to him. He is yet to take charge of the office. It is believed that to know what is going on at the local level, someone from the said two might have called the CM, hence he spend 10 minutes over the call during the public event. After inaugurating the show, the CM said that Amdavadis now have a new place to rejoice the beauty of flowers in this pleasant winter.It is for the first time that the flower show is being organised after Ahmedabad was declared as the World Heritage City by the UNESCO. Several other events are also being organised to celebrate the heritage tag.”The annual flower show helps people in Ahmedabad get closer to nature,” he added. It is speculated that Nitin Patel might not attend the concluding event of Kankaria Carnival which is likely to take place on Sunday.WHO WAS ITSpeculations are rife about who called the Chief Minister today. While many say that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi, others say it wasBJP president Amit Shah.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars

Congress Foundation Day | Constitution under threat, it’s our duty to defend it, says Rahul Gandhi

In yet another stinging attack against the Narendra Modi government, Congress President Rahul Gandhi today said that, ‘ the BJP operates on the basic idea that lies can be used for political benefit and it is the difference between us and them.’Addressing the party members on the 133rd Foundation Day of the Congress at the party headquarters in New Delhi on Thursday, Gandhi said that his party may suffer or lose elections but would not give up truth.He also attacked the government over the Constitution row. “The Constitution, the foundation of our country is under threat, it is under attack directly, statements are being made by senior members of BJP and it is under attack surreptitiously from the back and its our duty, duty of Congress party and every single Indian to defend it,’ Gandhi said.Keeping up the ante against the government, Gandhi said, ‘What is happening today in or country is a web of deceit, The BJP operates on the basic idea that lies can be used for political benefit and it is the difference between us and them, we might not do well, we might even lose but we will not give up the truth.”He also highlighted the Congress’s “glorious” history, claiming the central idea of the party was truth and “we will continue to fight for it”.

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Jai Ram Thakur now part of NextGen Saffron

It’s not that Jai Ram Thakur’s name emerged out of nowhere. In fact, it was the other way round in the run up to the elections in Himachal Pradesh.Most of the party loyalists were in favour of projecting 52-year-old Thakur as the chief minister candidate when the elections were announced in October. This was certainly in sync with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of grooming a new generation of saffron leaders in the states.But the central leadership justified its reason for not projecting any leader at that time, similar to the examples in Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand where BJP announced CMs only after the counting of votes. However, the case of Assam was a bit different with Sarbananda Sonowal being the obvious choice, but that was understandable given BJP’s non-presence in North-East.BJP’s theory is simple and straight — young leaders like Yogi Adityanath or Devendra Fadnavis have greater acceptability among masses, and they are the ones to be bet on during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The gamble had yielded unprecedented results in UP during the last LS elections when Amit Shah-Modi combine swept away the opponents and later repeated it in the 2017 Assembly polls without any local face as leader. So, BJP tried out the new success formula in Himachal too. But politics there is much more complex than what Shah encountered in other states. However, the party leadership was successful in choosing a leader that fit into their scheme of things.

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House uproar ends as govt, Congress truce up

“We disassociate from any comments made by any member during elections that may have hurt PM’s dignity, also we don’t want any such thing to be said in future,” Ghulam Nabi Azad said. ”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByManan Kumar <!–end of artlbotbor–>Thursday 28 December 2017 1:40 ISTMust readSurgical Strike 2.0: Indian Army planted IEDs to surprise Pak; toll could be higher Jaish-e-Mohammad’s ‘commander’ Noor Tantray killed in Pulwama wanted to join BJP in 2003 to eliminate top brass<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Parliament’s weeklong impasse over PM Narendra Modi’s remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh finally ended on Wednesday with Union Minister Arun Jaitley clarifying that the PM neither questioned nor meant to question Singh’s commitment to the nation.The Congress also softened its stand. It said the party has dissociated itself from Mani Shankar Aiyar’s “neech” remark against PM Modi.“We disassociate from any comments made by any member during elections that may have hurt PM’s dignity, also we don’t want any such thing to be said in future,” Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

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Vijay Rupani-Nitin Patel 2.0

Bharatiya Janata Party’s celebrations in Gujarat were muted despite retaining the power, but the party made up for it at the Tuesday’s swearing in ceremony of Vijay Rupani and his Cabinet. The saffron show, where Rupani, his deputy Nitin Patel and 18 other ministers, became sweeter with the presence of the architects of victory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.Vijay Rupani now becomes the second CM from BJP in Gujarat after Narendra Modi, who was given an opportunity to helm the affairs of the state back-to-back. The CM, deputy CM and other ministers were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor OP Kohli in a grand ceremony held at Helipad ground in secretariat complex in Gandhinagar.Apart from Modi and Shah, other BJP leaders who attended the ceremony were veteran leader LK Advani, union ministers Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Ananth Kumar, Ram Vilas Paswan, Ravi Shankar Prasad, and others. The CMs of BJP-ruled states also appeared on the VVIP dais, including UP CM Yogi Aditya Nath, MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis among others. The swearing-in ceremony started at 11:30 am when PM and other invited guests arrived. Three separate stages were raised at the venue — one for swearing in, and two others for VVIPs and religious leaders.Both Rupani and Modi sought blessings of religious leaders before the swearing in started. Rupani also met and greeted his seniors and other leaders including Advani, union ministers, former CM Keshubhai Patel, Anandiben Patel and CMs of other states. Former union minister Shankersinh Vaghela , who quit Congress on the eve of the elections, was a surprise guest. Vaghela has adorned the Gujarat throne from BJP before he moved to the Congress.Also present at the ceremony was a virtual who’s who in Gujarat- businessmen, industrialists, social workers, educationists, judges of high court, other officials and representatives from all walks of life who were invited by the Gujarat government for this ceremony.There was no political speech by any leader addressing a crowd of nearly 10,000 people and entire ceremony winded up in one and half hour.

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Who will challenge BJP? For Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi, one’s loss is the other’s gain

They are roughly the same age, both have been lampooned mercilessly on social media and are hoping to oust the BJP from power.But the similarities, perhaps, are not the link between Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal, 49, and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, 47. What threads their fates together is that one man’s success could spell the other’s failure.”Rahul Gandhi’s gain is Kejriwal’s loss,” said rebel AAP MLA Kapil Mishra. “Both parties vie for the same vote base.”Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal’s attempts to establish himself as an alternative to the Congress seem to be running into rough waters with the party’s improved performance in the recent Gujarat polls under the leadership of its president.The two parties are vastly different, of course. The Congress is 132 years old; AAP has just celebrated its fifth anniversary. The former has a pan-Indian presence, while AAP rules Delhi and is present only in patches in the north.But when AAP came to power in Delhi, it did so by engulfing Congress votes. In 2015, the Congress couldn’t win a single seat. Its vote share dipped to 9 %, whereas the BJP’s remained more or less the same.Now a string of ignominious defeats has battered AAP’s image, posing a threat to the image of its leader, Kejriwal.The chief minister’s influence now seems to be on the wane, while the Congress president’s is on an all-time high.AAP’s success was linked to Congress defeat. Will the Gujarat elections, fought by the Congress leader with such vigour that it upped its 2012 tally of 61 seats to 78, spell bad news for AAP?”Gandhi is yet to make a mark if you compare him with Modi’s electoral performance since 2014. But his rise will have an impact on Kejriwal,” said a former AAP leader.Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) director Sanjay Kumar points out that the AAP leader’s popularity has already taken a hit.?Kejriwal?s ratings have already gone down drastically, as has his popularity in the last few months,? Kumar said.A recent survey by the Pew Research Center, a US-based fact-tank, states that in 2017, 39 % of the people had a favourable view of Kejriwal, down from 60 % in 2015.Born out of the anti-graft movement, four years ago Kejriwal seemed to have captured the imagination of the people, fatigued by the corruption charges that mired the then UPA government led by Mammohan Singh and the Delhi government of three-time chief minister Sheila Dikshit.The Congress’s vote share in the 2008 polls was 40.31 %, which earned it 43 seats in the Delhi Assembly.In 2013, when Kejriwal’s AAP’s stormed to power in Delhi, the Congress was down to eight seats. A year later, in the Lok Sabha polls, Gandhi’s party managed a mere 44 seats.In the Assembly polls in 2015, AAP decimated the opposition, bagging 67 seats with a vote share of 54.3 %. That it won from all the minority dominated areas in Delhi indicated it had ousted the Congress from its bastions.Kejriwal?s visit to the Hyderabad University campus where Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula had committed suicide and a job offer to his brother in the Delhi government were also seen as moves to attract Dalit votes, traditionally won by the Congress, at the national level.AAP’s strategy was to attack BJP leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and establish itself as an alternative to the Congress. But while Kejriwal took Modi on, his campaign sought to project Gandhi as an ineffective rival.In an interview to NDTV, Kejriwal, attacking Modi over the turf war between the Delhi government and the Centre, had said, “Narendra Modi, get this that I am not Rahul Gandhi”.At a press conference in 2016, he said, “Modi ji I am not Rahul Gandhi whom you can scare off.”But then the tables turned. In 2017, the party had expected to do well in Punjab and Goa, which, AAP leaders believed, would help it in Gujarat and the 2019 elections.But the party failed to make a mark in the states, and lost ground in Delhi — where it lost the Rajouri Garden bypoll and the MCD elections.In the traditionally bipolar states of Goa and parts of Gujarat, Kejriwal campaigned hard to make AAP replace the Congress, but his attempts failed, with almost all candidates losing their deposits.While Gandhi may be getting his mojo back after Gujarat, is brand Kejriwal, carefully crafted on the weakness of the Congress president, now under threat?AAP leader Ashutosh does not believe Gandhi’s electoral success will impact Kejriwa’s national ambitions.“We have a very competitive climate in our polity. Rahul’s rise will not have any effect on Kejriwal,” he said.

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Samajwadi Party workers protest at station, slam PM Modi, CM Yogi Adityanath for taking credit

Nearly 200 workers of the Samajwadi Party (SP) stormed into the Botanical Garden Metro station in Noida on Monday and boarded a train as a mark of protest against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for taking all the credit for the newly inaugurated Magenta Line. The line was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath.Nearly a 100 SP workers led by party leader Surendra Singh Nagar reached the Metro station in the evening to stage the protest. They alleged that the work on the project was started by former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, but the PM and the present CM were taking credit for it.”We travelled by Metro train to Kalindi Kunj and returned and told people that the Magenta Line was started by the SP government. Instead taking full credit, the current government should have praised Yadav for the gift of Metro that he gave to the people,” Nagar said.On Monday, PM Narendra Modi inaugurated the Delhi Metro Magenta Line, which connects Noida to Kalkaji Temple. The PM was accompanied by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who made his maiden visit to Noida and broke the much-hyped “jinx”of CMs not visiting the district.

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Goa unit of Shiv Sena writes to PM on Mahadeyi, dubs Parrikar as ‘Bad Santa Claus’

The Shiv Sena in Goa has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking his intervention to stop Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar from taking the step of allowing Karnataka to divert the waters of the Mahadeyi river.In the letter, the party’s Goa spokesperson Rakhi Prabhudesai Naik has termed the move by Parrikar on Christmas as that of being a “Bad Santa Claus” who is snatching the future of our children, which is river Mahadeyi.”Santa Claus distributes gifts to bring smiles on the faces of children but our Parrikar, who is a “bad Santa Claus”, has instead snatched the future of our children by agreeing to divert the water of River Mahadeyi,” the letter states. Naik in the letter said that the party wanted to express to the PM its displeasure over Parrikar’s behaviour.”This is the festival to give joy to people. Birth of Lord Jesus Christ symbolises hope, but Parrikar s action of agreeing to give Mahadeyi river water to Karnataka has resulted in the state losing its hope for a better future,” said Naik. The spokesperson in the letter stated that “the river is a gift for us from nature and our forefathers have worshipped and preserved it. It is our duty to pass it on to our future generation, and not to use it for our petty political gains.”Also readGoa CM Manohar Parrikar announces free medical facilities for outstation patientsThe letter went on to request the office of the PM to act like a “real Santa Claus” by impressing upon “Bad Santa Claus” to take back his decision to allow Karnataka to divert the Mahadeyi river water. “You would spread a message of hope, love and peace, if you do so on the occasion of Christmas,” the letter told the PM. The Sena’s letter is in response to the letter written by Parrikar recently to BJP’s Karnataka president BS Yeddyurappa softening the former’s stand on the water sharing issue.

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Delhi Metro’s Magenta line a milestone in Noida’s development, says Yogi Adityanath

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday said the step to inaugurate a stretch of the new Magenta line of the Delhi Metro would prove to be a milestone towards development of Noida and Greater Noida.Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the metro line in Noida, the chief minister said, “This step to inaugurate Metro’s magenta line will prove to be a milestone towards realising the dreams of development for the Noida and the Greater Noida region.”He added the Uttar Pradesh Government would soon bring new metro lines in Kanpur and Agra as well.Also readPM Narendra Modi inaugurates much-awaited Magenta Line of Delhi Metro”Today is Christmas and it is also the birth anniversary of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving Uttar Pradesh the offering of this new metro line on this occasion,” Adityanath further said.Prime Minister Modi on Monday inaugurated the new Magenta line of the Delhi Metro.The prime minister, along with Adityanath, also travelled on a patch of the new route – from Noida to the Okhla Bird Sanctuary station.Also readHere’s why Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line will set new trends: 5 things you should know The 12.64-km stretch runs between Kalkaji and Noida’s Botanical Garden and accounts for a travel time of 19 minutes, thus facilitating easy access for commuters from South Delhi to Noida, and vice versa.The coaches will reportedly have an LED display, power charging capacity and colourful seats, while the stations will portray themes of nature, yoga, and cultural landmarks.Further, driverless trains are to be introduced along with the Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling technology, which would facilitate the movement of trains within a frequency of 90 to 100 seconds.The Magenta line also marks the usage of the first platform screen doors (PSDs), which are glass-made screens installed near the edge of platforms that open only when a train arrives and shut after it departs.

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Delhi Metro LIVE: Magenta Line will be a milestone in UP’s development story, says CM Yogi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro. Seen as Christmas gift for commuters, the Magenta Line is expected to make commuting between South Delhi and Noida hassle-free.13:52 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: We are going to bring new metro lines in Kanpur and Agra, says UP Yogi13:51 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: PM Modi has given a new meaning to politics of this nation. He is always telling us one thing – we have to move ahead on the path of development, says CM Yogi.13:49 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: Breaking the ‘Noida jinx’, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath travelled with PM Modi on during the inaugural ride of Magenta Line. He also addressed a public rally in Noida and said that the Magenta Line will be the milestone in UP’s development story.13:31 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: After inaugurating the Magenta Line, PM Modi will address a public rally in Noida shortly.13:24 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: Inside visuals of PM Modi’s inaugural ride on Magenta Line:13:22 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: From LED display to colourful seats, the Magenta Line will have host of new features. The stations will also portray themes of nature, yoga, and cultural landmarks.13:15 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: PM Narendra Modi onboard Delhi Metro after inauguration of a stretch of the new Magenta line.13:09 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: The Magenta Line connects Botanical Garden in Noida with Kalkaji Mandir in Delhi.13:07 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: PM Modi inaugurated Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line at the Botanical Garden Metro Station.

PM Narendra Modi’s Gujarat model debunked during polls, says Rahul Gandhi

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who on Saturday met party leaders here to discuss assembly election results, claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much talked- about Gujarat development model was debunked during the polls.The Congress chief held zone-wise “introspection meetings” here to ascertain reasons for the party’s defeat.”You fought very well. We managed to ‘gherao’ the BJP, as you could see that they were not able to give reply to our questions,” Gandhi told party workers.”Modiji, in the end, spoke about himself, about (former prime minister) Manmohan Singh. But all earlier talk about development and Modi model was debunked by Congress workers and the people of Gujarat,” he said.The entire country was asking what happened to the Gujarat model. Modiji would not be able to talk about it in the future, Gandhi said.”The question asked three or four months ago was can the Congress fight elections, nobody was talking about us winning it. The Gujarat Congress has shown the entire country that if it fights in one voice on the basis of its ideology, it won’t get defeated,” he said.”We lost in the elections, but we won. That is the reality. We won because they (the BJP) fought with anger, they had all the equipment, money, chief ministers of different states (to campaign), industrialists, but we had truth,” the Congress chief said.In the morning, Gandhi visited the Somnath temple in Gir Somnath district.While the BJP retained power in prime minister Modi’s home state by winning 99 seats in the Assembly polls earlier this month, the Congress increased its tally significantly by winning 77 seats.

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Deputy Russian PM Dmitry Rogozin calls on PM Narendra Modi

The Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, Dmitry Rogozin, called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday afternoon.Prime Minister Modi warmly welcomed Rogozin on his third visit to India this year.He noted with the satisfaction of the marked increase in high-level exchanges this year. Prime Minister Modi also recalled his own visit to St. Petersburg in June this year for the Annual Bilateral Summit.Both the leaders discussed the steady expansion and diversification of bilateral ties, particularly noting the standout collaboration in the energy sector and the common pursuit of high-technology cooperation.Rogozin also conveyed the greetings of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Prime Minister Modi, to which he heartily reciprocated.The deputy Russian Prime Minister also called on the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.Rogozin, who arrived in India today, met Minister of External Affairs (MEA) Sushma Swaraj ahead of the IRIGC-TEC meeting.The Russian delegation comprised of senior government officials and representatives of trade and industry.

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Vijay Rupani to take oath as Gujarat CM on December 26; PM Modi, Amit Shah to attend ceremony

Incumbent Vijay Rupani will take oath as Gujarat Chief Mminister for a second term on December 26 at a ceremony which is likely to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharataiya Janta Party (BJP) President Amit Shah. His deputy Nitin Patel and the council of ministers will also take oath at the ceremony planned at 11 am at Gandhinagar Sachivalaya Ground.Chief Ministers of all the BJP ruled states have also been invited as guests to attend the swearing-in ceremony.Yesterday, BJP announced that Rupani, a confidante of party chief Amit Shah, would continue as the Gujarat chief minister for a second term.Also readAction will be taken against those who didn’t help party in Gujarat: Rahul Gandhi The announcement was made by Union minister Arun Jaitley, the party’s central observer, after a meeting of state BJP legislature party here.”A proposal to elect Rupani as leader of state BJP legislature party and Nitin Patel as deputy leader of state legislature party has been adopted,” Jaitley told a press conference. Patel is the incumbent deputy chief minister.Also readVijay Rupani’s journey from student leader to CM for second timeThough the BJP retained power in the key western state for a record sixth straight term, there was speculation about Rupani’s continuance due to the party’s narrow victory over challenger Congress.Rupani’s proximity to the top party leadership, his clean and caste neutral image apparently tilted the scales in his favour.Also readOld guard is new guard: Vijay Rupani-Nitin Patel to helm GujaratThe BJP won 99 seats in the 182-member Assembly, the first time its tally slipped below hundred since 1995, while the Congress clocked its best in many years clinching 77. Together with its allies, the Congress has the backing of 80 MLAs.(With PTI inputs)

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PM Modi meets students from Jammu and Kashmir; discusses girl education, Swachh Bharat

A group of 30 school girls from Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Saturday.The students are currently on a tour to various parts of the country, as part of the Indian Army’s Operation Sadbhavna.In the meeting, Prime Minister Modi interacted with the students on various issues such as their dreams and aspirations, girls’ education and Swachh Bharat.During the meeting, the girls posed various questions to the Prime Minister, to which he explained the various steps being taken for girls’ education. He further explained the various spin-off benefits, including on health and tourism that can accrue through the Swachh Bharat Mission.Prime Minister Modi also explained the students about the benefits of concentration-improving Yoga.He further appreciated the increasing number of youths from Jammu and Kashmir making it to the civil services and showing great potential in sports.The Prime Minister asserted that India has a bright future, and the children and youths of Jammu and Kashmir have a lot to contribute to the nation.

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Not for granted! More checks for rural funds

The Central government will no longer give direct funds to higher education institutions under the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UAB), a plan meant to connect them to villages and find solutions to rural India problems. Institutions like IITs and NITs will now have to fight for funds by coming up with implementable technology to address issues like sanitation, water and electricity.The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) issued a circular on December 18 to all education institutions, asking them to manage the scheme with their own funds and with the help of the local administration.UAB is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s idea, launched by the NDA government in 2014 as a flagship programme of the HRD Ministry. The scheme is meant to address the twin objectives of transformative rural development and introduction of greater social relevance in the higher education sector.The policy under UAB has been changed after the government realised that institutions, which are the main centres for technological research, were not utilising funds properly for working with villages.”We found that many institutions, including IITs, were not serious about UAB, so we have decided to stop giving funds to them at the initial level.We don’t want them to use the money for their excursions to villages,” a senior HRD Ministry official said.”We want only those institutions that are seriously interested in working for the rural sector to register for the programme. This will weed out all non-serious participants,” he said.”The entire financial assistance for funding solutions would flow from district authorities, with UBA funding a small portion of the financial gap. UBA component of the resources for customising or installing an existing technology would be provided through challenge method,” the circular said.”There shall be an open call to all higher education institutions to participate, rather than the adoption of pick and chose method. Selection of institutions shall be based on challenge method, according to the fulfilment of criteria like adequacy of qualified faculty, campus, facilities and academic merit, adequacy in number of students, work done in rural areas by institution, proven aptitude of faculty for rural development etc.”

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Teen on a mission to clean up the Mumbai

Inspired by the ‘Swachh Bharat’ mission of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sidharth Runwal, a 17-year-old student of B.D.Somani International School is on a mission to improve the quality of life of ragpickers and garbage cleaners in Mumbai through his non-profit organisation Clean-Up Foundation.The NGO aims to achieve the objective through various activities targeted at improving and enhancing the hygiene and sanitation factors around those who help in cleaning up the city but themselves live in appalling conditions.Runawal said, “The first step towards improving the quality of life for the garbage cleaners of Mumbai is to provide them with clean drinking water. It is ironic that the people who clean the city every day live in such deplorable conditions.” He added that as per the BMC report, the average garbage cleaner does not live for over 40 years. “They do not have access to fundamental necessities such as potable water that are essential for survival,” he added.“The Clean-Up Foundation installed water purifiers at multiple Chowkis across Bandra, Khar and Santa Cruz under the H/West Ward Office. This initiative ensured clean drinking water is available for over 12,000 garbage cleaners in Mumbai,” said Runawal.AWARD-WINNING WORKSidharth Runwal was felicitated by Ministry of Environment, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, BMC and Bhamla Foundation on World Environment Day for his efforts

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2G verdict good news for Congress, but UPA has enough scams to worry about

The CBI court on Thursday acquitted DMK leaders A Raja and Kanimozhi in the 2-G spectrum scam, citing lack of evidence.Rai had calculated that the 2G spectrum allocation in 2008, under UPA 1, led to notional loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the national exchequer.Following the verdict, Congress and DMK leaders slammed Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai, saying that he owed the UPA government an apology and the nation an explanation. Some even suggested that had the scam not been highlighted the way it had, then the BJP would have not won the 2014 elections.While the BJP may have won the 2014 elections with 282 seats, they won 31% of the vote-share, while the Congress won 19% of the votes with just 44 seats. The party that had fielded Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate a few months before the elections played the development and anti-corruption card, stating that the Congress had misguided the nation and the scams that had been unearthed were proof of it.During the period, there were other scams under the UPA II government. These include the coal block allocation scam and the Commonwealth Games scam. While the government passed bills such as the Lokpal Bill and bills to ensure women safety, the controversies clouded any attempt of development that the UPA had claimed they had incorporated for India. Also read2G scam verdict: Fate of cancelled telecom licences depends on agencies’ next step, says ministerIn the second tenure of UPA (2009-2014), 128 bills remained pending in Parliament. Of these, 68 bills were pending in Lok Sabha and lapsed with its dissolution. Sixty bills, which were pending in Rajya Sabha, were carried forward to the 16th Lok Sabha.An India Today report analysed UPA-II report card only on the economic front. “According to the official Economic Survey for 2012-13, the moderation in growth is primarily attributed to weakness in industry which has registered a growth rate of 3.5% and 3.1% in 2011-12 and 2012-13, respectively. This has come down even further during the current fiscal with the manufacturing sector contracting as investment has declined due to the uncertainty created by a government weakened by a spate of scams,” the report stated.Also readIt’s a bad judgement, should be appealed in a higher court: Subramanain Swamy on 2G scam verdictThis, accompanied, by global crude oil prices, added to a number of people protesting against the Manmohan Singh-led government and also cost them votes.Lack of a Health policy and women safetyIn October this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi slammed the Congress-led UPA over the state of healthcare sector in the country, alleging that it had failed to bring a health policy during its 10-year rule. “The last health policy was announced during Atalji’s (former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee) regime around 15 years back. After that, such a government assumed power which used to hate development. It did not have any empathy for the people,” Modi said.Also read2G scam verdict: Former CAG Vinod Rai owes Congress apology, nation explanation, says Kapil SibalBJP played its cards wellTaking leverage on the scams that hit UPA 2, the BJP attacked the Congress during the 2014 election campaign. The Congress, too, had no way of defending the allegations, prompting the voter to go for the saffron party.And while the 2G scam verdict may bring a smile to the Congress and the DMK, they still have skeletons in the closet with respect to coal gate and the CWG scam.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Cong analyses poll loss, prepares 2019 road map

Two days after the Congress lost in the Gujarat assembly elections, but also put up its best performance in over two decades, the Gujarat Congress began its two-day meet to analyse the poll results. Congress president Rahul Gandhi will also meet state party leaders and workers in Ahmedabad on Saturday as a part of exercise.On the first day of the meet, which is being held in Mehsana, Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki, Gujarat Congress in-charge Ashok Gehlot, and other leaders met with party leaders from 20 districts and discussed the performance in the elections.Discussions with leaders from remaining districts would take place on Thursday. During the discussions, some party leaders blamed poor selection of candidates for the loss, while some attributed it to tampering of Electronic Voting Machines. A few also blamed differences between the party’s leadership for the defeat, while others said how the loss of key leaders hurt the party.Addressing party leaders, Gehlot expressed satisfaction at the party’s performance in the elections and accused BJP of misusing government machinery. “The Congress did well. We could not form the government, but we have been able to send a message that Congress can fight the BJP even in the home state of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah,” he said. Speaking with reporters after the day’s proceedings, Bharatsinh Solanki said that the discussions were not just about the assembly elections, but also to start working for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. “We have received various complaints and suggestions. The party will decide on them in due course,” he said. In the election results announced on Monday, the Congress won 77 seats, its best performance in last six elections, while restricting the BJP to 99 seats.RAHUL TO TAKE STOCKCongress president Rahul Gandhi, who had campaigned extensively in the state ahead of the elections, will be in Ahmedabad on December 23 to review the party’s performance. “Rahul ji will meet leaders from the four different zones of the state at GU Convention Hall during the course of the day. In the evening, he will address party workers,” Manish Doshi, Gujarat Congress spokesperson, said.

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Arun Jaitley, Saroj Pandey to be in Gujrat to decide on CM: Jitu Vaghani

Gujarat BJP president Jitu Vaghani said that observers appointed by BJP high command for the election of Gujarat CM will come to the state in a day or two. The BJP chief addressed a press conference at BJP headquarters Shri Kamalam on Wednesday. Vaghani also slammed Congress for celebrating their defeat.Vaghani said, “In very short time, our observers, Jaitley and Saroj Pandey, will come and the process of election of CM by calling a meeting of elected candidates of BJP. The procedure will be conducted very soon in day or two.”Taking potshot over Congress and Gujarat in-charge Ashok Gehlot, Vaghani said, “The Congress is celebrating for what? Their defeat in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. They are creating an uproar that they have got more seats in Gujarat, but they have lost and defeat is defeat. Why they are not talking on their leader Rahul Gandhi’s failure in Himachal Pradesh polls.””The Congress gave luring promises in their manifesto but they should understand that people of Gujarat are self-respecting and they cannot be enticed by hollow promises. We thank the voters who showed faith in BJP, PM Narendra Modi’s leadership and good governance in Gujarat under BJP’s rule for 22 years,” added Vaghani.Vaghani also said that Congress should not go overboard after Gujarat polls and should start daydreaming for Lok Sabha polls. He also added that Congress would not be able to win in Lok Sabha polls to be held in 2019 and next assembly polls of Gujarat to be held in 2022.Meanwhile, The Gujarat government’s cabinet passed the resolution to dissolve the 13th assembly and that was moved to Governor for his approval. The Governor also approved the same and the assembly issued the notification accordingly. Including Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani and other cabinet members, will submit their resignations to Governor on Thursday.

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Poll loss a blip for Shankar Chaudhary

Shanker Chaudhary, the candidate of BJP from Vav seat, who bit the dust in latest Gujarat polls against Alpesh Thakor-supported Congress candidate Geniben Thakor, has great plans for his future. Chaudhary is a promising leader of BJP from OBC community and has a good hold over the party organisation. Leaders in BJP see him at another important position by 2019 LS polls.A senior leader of the party said on condition of anonymity, “Shankarbhai’s defeat is a great surprise with shock for all of us in the party as he lost to the Congress candidate who had not that huge clout. I see Chaudhary on a big and important position in Gujarat’s politics in days to come. He can become the party president before 2019 polls. It is also possible that he can be the Lok Sabha candidate from Banaskantha district.””Shankar Chaudhary has good relations with Narendra Modi and he is one of the close confident of PM in Gujarat. There are many arch rivals in BJP of him only because of the reason that he is close to Modi. He was party general secretary before he was in Gujarat government’s cabinet and has good organisational skill and popularity in masses,” added the leader.Chaudhary can also become the minister in Modi’s cabinet, if high command decided that he should contest the Rajya Sabha polls in near future, further added the leader.Though Chaudhary lost in polls by 6,655 votes from Vav seat in Banaskantha, he held a great show on Wednesday which was attended by thousands of people. Chaudhary addressed the gathering and said, “I accept the mandate, people of Banaskantha have given but my defeat in polls has not weakened my commitment to serve the people here. I would always remain with you to solve your issues. As I was easily available to you when I was the minister, anyone can knock my door at the darkest moment in the night whenever needed.”

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Jignesh Mevani asks PM Modi to retire, go to Himalayas

Dalit activist and newly elected MLA Jignesh Mevani asked prime minister Narendra Modi to retire and go to the Himalayas. Mevani contested in the elections from Vadgam (SC) seat of Bansakantha as an independent candidate, but with Congress’s support.”I want to tell Modi ji that we are done with you. You now bore us. You should go to the Himalayas, find a Ram Temple and ring bells,” Mevani told a news channel on Wednesday, a day after returning to his home at Ahmedabad. However, Mevani’s comment did not go down too well with many in the social media criticising him for his language.In his comment Mevani also said that the BJP, which was talking about winning 150+ seats in the state, had to eat the humble pie by being restricted to under 100 seats.”We are going to fight against the BJP in 2019, and the same will happen then. We will intensify our movement, both in the assembly and outside to corner the BJP,” he said.Mevani, along with Patidar reservation agitation leader Hardik Patel and OBC leader Alpesh Thakor, are seen as three youth leaders in Gujarat. While Mevani and Thakor were elected as MLAs, Hardik had only campaigned for the Congress.(With agency inputs)

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63% plunge in foreign funding of NGOs: Govt

Foreign funding of NGOs has plunged by 63 per cent as the Centre has been coming down heavily against erring organisations and putting several international donors under the lens for working against the country’s interests.In the year 2016-17, Rs 6,499 crore poured in from abroad in different organisations, this was a sharp dip from Rs 17,773 crore in 2015-16.In 2014-15, Indian NGOs received Rs 15,299 crore from foreign donors.The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has cancelled registration of 4,842 NGOs banning their foreign funding for not filing their annual returns under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010.The latest data on foreign funding of NGOs was given to Parliament on Wednesday.Soon after the Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014 intelligence agencies were told to identify advocacy groups that were receiving funds from abroad and were against the interests of the nation. Several NGOs put in the category of impacting the economic stability of the country were put on the list.Intelligence agencies also listed several donors as suspicious and blacklisted them. As a result in 2015 FCRA registration of more than 8,500 organisations was cancelled. This was a big jump from 2014 when only 59 NGOs faced action while only four lost their registration in 2013.Indian NGOs received over Rs 60,000 crore between 2009-10 and 2011-12.As part of stringent measures to monitor the activities of foreign funded bodies the Home Ministry in September asked over 1,200 organisations to give details of their bank accounts that receive funds from international donors.In July the Home Ministry issued notices to 5922 organisations including top educational institutes like Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and several other religious bodies for banning their foreign funding.”Once issues of money laundering, terror funding and derailing the country’s economic growth were raised there was a massive crackdown was planned which is continuing,” said a government official.Sources said many of the NGOs that faced the action were among the highest paid ones but did not file annual returns. Many of these were repeat offenders and failed to file their annual returns on foreign funding for four years between 2010-11 and 2014-15 despite constant reminders from the Home Ministry. All organisations are required to submit their annual return within nine months of the closure of the financial year.DIPPING NUMBERSIn 2016-17, Rs 6,499 crore poured in from abroad in different organisations, as opposed to Rs 17,773 crore in 2015-16. In 2014-15, Indian NGOs received Rs 15,299 crore.

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FIR registered against Hardik Patel for holding roadshow in Gujarat without permission

An FIR was registered on Wednesday against Patidar quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel and around 50 of his supporters for holding a roadshow on the city outskirts on December 11 without permission, police said.The Ahmedabad Police registered the case in connection with the roadshow held in Bopal area.”Hardik, who heads the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), and his supporters were booked under IPC section 188 for disobeying the police order,” Bopal Police Inspector I H Gohil said.Hardik and his supporters, who were on their bikes, had organised a roadshow on December 11, despite being denied permission by the district authorities, he said.”Today, we have lodged an FIR against him and 50 other bikers for disobeying the police notification,” Gohil said.This is the first FIR against Hardik after the state Assembly elections.Three days before the second phase of Gujarat Assembly polls, the rally-cum-roadshow on motorcycles and cars was organised, which started from Bopal and culminated at Nikol area on the other end of the city, covering a distance of around 15 km.While Bopal area falls under the jurisdiction of rural police, Nikol area is under the city police limits.After the roadshow, Police Commissioner A K Singh had expressed displeasure over Patel’s move and said that legal action would be taken for holding the event without permission.Singh had denied permission to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to hold roadshows in the city during the campaign which the leaders of the two parties had obeyed.

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Manmohan Singh-Pakistan remark: Nobody will apologise as incident did not happen in House, says Vice President Naidu

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, who is also the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, addressed the controversy surrounding the allegations made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against former PM Manmohan Singh of conspiring against Pakistan.“This is not the way. Nobody is going to give apology. Nothing happened in the House. The statement was not made here,” Naidu said in the upper House.The Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 2 pm after an uproar by the opposition in the house over the allegations that the Congress had conspired with Pakistan for the BJP to lose in Gujarat. PM Modi had made the allegations following a dinner party hosted by senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar that had ‘top Pakistani officials present.’ However, Singh listed those who attended the dinner hosted in honour of visiting former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri. “None of them could be accused of any anti-national activities,” he said.Also readParliament attack anniversary: Modi, Manmohan Singh shake hands after row over ‘Pak meddling’ allegationsOn Monday, Congress continued its protests in the Parliament on Monday, disrupting proceedings in both Houses for the second day. The party had raised objection to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks that suggested former prime minister Manmohan Singh conspired with Pakistan to influence Gujarat elections.While Lok Sabha was adjourned within minutes on Monday, Rajya Sabha was first adjourned within 10 minutes after it assembled at 11 am. At 12 noon, when it reassembled, it was adjourned again as Congress continued with sloganeering and would not allow any legislative business to continue.Also readApologise to Manmohan Singh, Congress tells Narendra ModiCongress leader Anand Sharma demanded a clarification by Prime Minister on his remarks about Singh, a sitting member of Rajya Sabha.Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu insisted on taking up a question, but some Congress members did not allow him to continue. As the chaos continued, Naidu remarked, “I don’t want this kind of thing to be seen by the people,” and adjourned proceedings for the day as Congress members were seen walking into the Well.

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DNA EXCLUSIVE: Keep environment in mind while developing tourism, says Jai Ram Thakur

For BJP leader Jai Ram Thakur, who is front-runner in the race of CM candidates in Himachal Pradesh, the top most priority would be to develop the state but by keeping environmental issues in mind in this sensitive hilly state.Having been elected for record fifth time from Seraj in Mandi district, Thakur comes from a humble background of Thunag village which is about 65 kms from Mandi town. It has taken him three-and-a-half decade of hard work to reach where he is.Having been state president and cabinet minister in Prem Kumar Dhumal’s last cabinet, Thakur is known as a grass-root worker and representative of dominant Rajput community of the state, Thakur spoke to DNA exclusively on issues which he feels are of greater importance for the coming government. Excerpts:Himachal has seen CMs in the past from either upper hilly area or from lower Kangra belt, but never from Mandi?That’s because Congress dominated this second biggest constituency for decades. Be it Virbhadra Singh or Pandit Sukh Ram, they were representing this constituency for decades. Now that has been changed with BJP workers hard work. Look at the situation now, BJP has got 14 out of the total 17 seats from Mandi district.What will be your focus areas for development in the state?The geography of the state is such that Himachal can’t become an industrial hub. Rather, the state has lot of scope for tourism and there are whole lot of central government schemes which can be used to benefit our population here. Everyone should realise that our PM Narendra Modi ji has an emotional bonding with this state. He has spent prime years of his life here as party pracharak.But the state is facing issues related to environment in tourism industry. National Green Tribunal (NGT) has also ordered closure of many hotels?NGT ruling is certainly a cause of worry for our hotel industry. But we should not forget that we are also culprits in ignoring environmental issues for so long. It’s time when all concerned parties have to seriously chalk out plans regarding these sensitive issues related to our environment and health. We can’t go on like this for ever. We need to first regulate ourselves and then spread this message of clean environment across everyone coming to visit our state.What is immediate priority for you, if chosen by high command?Whatever the party decide, I as a humble worker will follow. I would like to thank all the people of the state who for voted for our party. I can assure you from my side that whosoever will be given responsibility to rule Himachal, the first priority would be to improve the law and order situation, which has deteriorated under Congress rule.

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What the Gujaratj results mean for Congress and Rahul Gandhi

Even though Congress has lost elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the fight and spirit exhibited by the party has given its newly elected president Rahul Gandhi to live for another day. Commenting on the results, a senior Congress leader told DNA that campaigning in Gujarat has helped them to test raw nerves of PM Narendra Modi and imparted lessons on how to defeat him in his own game. “We had modest expectations in the state, where we have been out of power for 22 years. Don’t forget, it is also home state of Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. It was always a tough fight,” he said. The party hopes that the spirited fight in Gujarat will help the party to evolve strategies to retain Karnataka, and wrest Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan from the BJP before 2019 general elections. The party’s general secretary incharge of Gujarat Ashok Gehlot said the results were a “victory” for the party keeping in view the response Gandhi’s campaign got from the people. “The way the Congress campaigned and the way Rahul Gandhi did bus trips, we put up a very nice campaign. Whatever the results, the country will see this as the Congress’ victory,” he said.Since the Gujarat election was nothing but a perception-driven war of credibility and acceptability between Modi and Gandhi, the post poll narrative will focus on them. The Congress has succeeded wresting some 20 seats from the BJP in Gujarat. If one goes by the statistics of 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress has jumped from 33.4% popular votes to 43% plus. The BJP which secured 60.11% in 2014 has come down to 49.3%. With this statistics, the Congress has already announced Gandhi the winner who was able to contain the mass might of Modi and the mind power of Shah. But there are many within party who believe that remarks of Mani Shankar Aiyar against the PM, Kapil Sibal argument in the apex court on Ayodhya issue, pleading to put off the argument till 2019 general elections did cost the party in the second phase of polling.

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Min backtracks, says Aadhaar not mandatory for property deals

The central government on Tuesday ruled out any move to make Aadhaar mandatory for property transactions. In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said the rural development ministry had advised states and union territories to explore the possibility of Aadhaar authentication for registration of properties under the provisions of the Registration Act, 1908.However, he clarified that such a move was not mandatory but would be based on consent.Earlier last month, the minister had favoured linking Aadhaar to property transactions in a way similar to the linkage of the national ID number with bank accounts. He had said such a move would go a long way in sucking out black money from real estate and also help in cracking down on benami properties. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also indicated several times that the government would crack down on benami property. Aadhaar linking with property could form a part of that drive. Puri was the first union minister to state that Aadhaar linkage with property transactions would be made mandatory.However, on Tuesday in response to questions, the minister said, “At present, there is no proposal to make Aadhaar linkage mandatory in property transactions.” To other questions, including one on whether the government had set any time-frame for linking the unique identification number for property dealings, he said, “(The question) Does not arise.” So far, up to 140 government schemes have made linking with Aadhaar mandatory to avail their services.

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Gujarat Election Results: Congress may have lost, but the outcome will bost morale, says Ashok Chavan

The Congress may have lost the Gujarat elections on Monday, but the final results will certainly boost the party’s morale, feels Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee President Ashok Chavan. In Gujarat, in total 182 seats of assembly, BJP won 99 seats while Congress 80. Congress won mostly in the rural belt of Gujarat due to farmers’ unrest. “We are also facing the same situations in Maharashtra. Farmers are not getting the good rates to their crops — cotton, soya bean etc. Besides, the promised farm loan waiver has not been yet fulfilled,” said Chavan on Tuesday.He said that during the Congress regime, farmers were getting Rs 6,000- Rs 7,000 for per quintal of cotton against present Rs 4,000-4,500. “Farmers are working hard but not getting fair rates. On this same issue, BJP MP Nana Patole resigned. BJP has gone back on its given promises. They no more talk about the Ache Din now,” the former chief minister said.Also readHow BJP’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal will impact Bengal political equationsIn Maharashtra, there are total 288 seats. Presently, the BJP has 120, Shiv Sena – 62 while the Congress and the NCP 42 and 40 respectively. “Last elections, the Congress and the NCP fought separately. Now, NCP president Sharad Pawar has also indicated possible alliance of Congress and NCP again. In the upcoming elections, we will put the united face that will help to get us majority in state assembly and improve our tally in parliament as well. Modi-Shah juggernaut which was slower down by Congress in Gujarat will be halted in Maharashtra permanently,” Chavan said.NCP leader Ajit Pawar also criticised BJP. “If BJP struggled to get the century in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its party president Amit Shah’s home state, they will not make much impact in Maharashtra. Here, Gujarat pride, Pakistan and fanning Hindu-Muslim issue will not work. We believe in issue-based politics,” said Pawar.Also readAssembly elections 2017| ‘Gujarat model’ has been shaken, verdict a warning for 2019, Shiv Sena tells BJPInterestingly, the Shiv Sena is unlikely to form an alliance with the BJP in the upcoming state and Lok Sabha elections. “Seat sharing between the Sena and BJP is major issue. No one will cut down their current seats numbers to accommodate each other. Therefore, they have no options but to contest separately. And that will surely go in favour of Congress and the NCP,” said political observer.

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Alpesh Thakor is a clear winner, too

Congress’s new face and OBC leader Alpesh Thakor won Radhanpur constituency with a margin of 14,857 votes. He was trailing initially but picked up soon to take a lead in Radhanpur, one of the largest constituencies in Gujarat. Thakor garnered a total of 85,777 votes as against BJP rival Lavingji Thakor who garnered 70,920 votes.The 40-year-old is the convener of Gujarat Kshatriya Thakor Sena and OBC, SC, ST Ekta Manch and has been campaigning against liquor addiction. He had even formed the Gujarat Kshatriya-Thakor Sena. From Alpesh’s team, Geniben Thakor who contested from Vav garnered highest votes (1,02,328) followed by Kiritkumar Patel from Patan garnering 1,01,006 votes. Alpesh had made news recently and was trailed on social media after his tweet on how Prime Minister Narendra Modi had become fairer as he eats mushrooms from Taiwan costing Rs80,000 each.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Congress candidate wins in PM Modi’s own Vadnagar

Congress nominee Asha Patel won from Unjha constituency, which covers Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hometown Vadnagar, by a margin of over 19,000 votes. Sitting BJP MLA Narayan Patel had previously defeated Asha by nearly 25,000 votes in 2012. While Patel polled 81,797 votes this time, her BJP rival got 62,268.The Congress rode on the Patidar wave. About 40 per cent Unjha’s population is from the Patidar community. One of the 14 men killed in the Patidar quota agitation two years ago, was from Unjha.Congress president Rahul Gandhi, the party’s star campaigner, had extensively campaigned in Unjha during his Navsarjan Yatra. On his visit to the region, Gandhi also prayed at the Umiya Mata temple, close to Vadnagar – where Modi was brought up. Weeks before the election process began in Gujarat where the BJP has been in power for the last 22 years, Modi inaugurated Umiya Dham Ashram in Haridwar for the pilgrims from the region visiting the Hindu holy city on the bank of the Ganges.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Below-expectation results mar joy around sixth straight govt

During the BJP’s rule in Gujarat, its seats have been shrinking, but the tally never went below 100. The party will form government in Gujarat for the sixth consecutive term, but it showed no exuberance after the results were declared. Perhaps, these are the most shocking results for the BJP, in the home state of PM Narendra Modi and the party’s national president Amit Shah.Those who have seen the Modi era in Gujarat till 2014 would remember the scene at the party headquarter where winning candidates would be pouring in, and workers would be seen beating drums, doing Garba, chanting slogans for Modi, bursting crackers, continuously. The entire atmosphere would be coloured with saffron and ‘gulaal’.Visitors of Shri Kamalam, the BJP headquarters near Gandhinagar, were surprised to see the deserted look there. A couple of leaders were present, locked in their offices. A few workers from Gandhinagar reached there just to mark their presence and CM Vijay Rupani came to address a press conference. By 6 pm, Shri Kamalam was almost empty.During the press conference, Rupani said, “We accept the verdict of Gujarat and will try to live up to people’s expectations in the coming five years as people of the state have given us an opportunity to serve them. This is historic in India that a single party won for the sixth consecutive term. This shows people’s faith in Narendra Modi and development. The credit goes to our leader Amit Shah too for his guidance.” In fact, this is the time for the BJP to start reflecting on the reasons of the party’s performance in Gujarat. PM Narendra Modi addressed as many as 34 rallies travelling 10,000 km in Gujarat and held six major roadshows.Moreover, a range of leaders starting from Amit Shah, Union Ministers like Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and others were deployed to woo voters but the charishma of BJP leaders did not shine much this time as compared with past polls.Surprisingly, the PM and the entire cadre of the BJP diligently tried to play victim on the issues of Mani Shankar Aiyar calling Modi ‘neech’ and tossed issues connecting Congress leaders with Pakistan, but failed to earn sympathy from voters in desired numbers. Development was the core agenda of the BJP for the campaign but that became subsidiary and temple visits by Rahul Gandhi, Ram Mandir and Nehru-Gandhi family’s treatment to Gujarati leaders were reverberating in the skies of Gujarat during BJP leaders’ poll rallies in the state.BJP under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi and national president Amit Shah, the BJP aimed for more than 150 seats in Gujarat and could not cross 100 too. Sixth consecutive termVisitors of the BJP headquarters near Gandhinagar, were surprised to see the deserted look. A few workers from Gandhinagar reached there just to mark their presence.

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Congress leaders take cold comfort in the ‘Fall of Modi’

As initial trends started showing, the Congress being ahead of the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, the party headquarters at Akbar road was filled with excited supporters from across the country.However, as the day proceeded and the BJP inched closer to the victory, the celebratory mood turned somber with more media persons thronging the office premises. The party’s robust presence in the initial trends was applauded by the senior party leaders with the former president Sonia Gandhi visiting her son and the new party president Rahul Gandhi at his residence.Back at the Congress office, party workers kept on waiting for Rahul throughout the day. He, however, did not turn up and rather made his way to Parliament.Party leaders termed Gujarat election results as the “fall” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reign. “We have got more support this time if we compare it with 2014 Lok Sabha results when the BJP had won all the 26 seats,” said former All India Mahila Congress, President Shobha Ojha.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Big gains for BJP where PM Modi campaigned

PM Narendra Modi travelled across 10,000 km in Gujarat during poll rallies for the Assembly elections. While speaking at these rallies, he played the victim card, bringing up the abusive terms used by Congress leaders to address him and the ill-treatment of Gujarat leaders by the Nehru-Gandhi family. He addressed people at 34 different places, covering all regions in the state. Out of these 34, BJP won in over 18 places, while Congress won over 16 seats – these includes urban areas such as Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot.Most rallies that the PM addressed had a crowd of near one lakh people. Modi would begin his speeches by listing the achievements of the BJP-led central and state governments, and would then raise issues attached to the sentiments of Gujarat.As polling dates drew close, Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar made the ‘neech’ statement, and PM again became the victim. After that, Congress came under constant attack. Congress leaders meeting Pakistani delegates was also turned into an issue.On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi’s meetings and public rallies were widely attended, but not all of them translated into votes for his party. Gandhi, who formally took over as Congress president two days before Gujarat election results were announced, campaigned extensively in the state. He undertook yatras in Saurashtra, north Gujarat, central Gujarat and south Gujarat.

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Gujarat elections 2017 | The victory in Gujarat is special: PM Modi

After leading his party to a sixth consecutive win in his home state of Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reiterated that the Gujarat polls were fought on the issue of development and ascribed the imminent victory of the party “purely” to development.”The victory was purely achieved on the subject of development. It’s a truth that is giving a new direction to India’s politics, which the public of Gujarat has given its approval to,” Modi said in an address to ecstatic workers at the party headquarters in New Delhi.Giving, yet again, a personal touch to politics, he said: “Thirty years ago, the poison of caste spread so badly in Gujarat that it took workers like me 30 years to get rid of it.”The Prime Minister, who spoke before the final numbers were announced, termed the party’s imminent victory as “historic”. “In this day and age, for a party to keep winning for so long is an extraordinary achievement. In Gujarat, BJP won all the seats it contested in 1989 Lok Sabha polls. We won most of the seats we contested in 1990. In 1995, in 1998, in 2002, in 2007 and in 2012 we won. We won most seats in Lok Sabha polls too,” Modi said.Modi also took a jab at the Congress, saying “The country has a government which has no ulterior intentions.”On Twitter, where he is one of the most-followed politicians in the world, the Prime Minister wrote: “The victory in Gujarat is special. Starting from 1989, people of Gujarat have been blessing BJP in every Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha election. It is an honour to be serving Gujarat for so many years. We will continue to work for Gujarat’s growth.”In his victory speech, Modi also lauded Gujarat’s party workers for continuing developmental work in the state. “For me, Gujarat polls are a matter of double happiness, because after I left the state three years ago, my colleagues there continued the good work,” he added.”In last few months, there were attempts again to sow seeds of casteism, but people rejected it, I congratulate them, but people must be alert. So many conspiracies were hatched in Gujarat by Congress, misinformation was being spread. People cannot bear it if anyone makes fun of ‘vikas’ (development).”

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Gujarat Elections 2017: Congress tried to sow seeds of casteism, people rejected it, says PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today accused the Congress of trying to sow the seeds of casteism in Gujarat in its “hunger for power”, asserting that the BJP’s win in the Assembly elections had underlined the people’s acceptance of his government’s reforms.Addressing BJP workers at the party headquarters here, he was unsparing in his attack on the Congress and critics who, he said, could not accept his party’s victory in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.He also returned to his plank of development and pitched for social harmony in his home state, which had seen several caste agitations in the run up to the Assembly polls, saying that the people should forget the past and embrace each other.Also readAssembly Elections 2017: Gujarat, HP results lesson to parties indulging in caste-politics and dynasty, says Amit ShahAn atmosphere for development had been created after the BJP took power at the Centre in May 2014, he said, adding that nobody should derail it as his “decisive” government was working overtime to strengthen cooperative federalism and had clean intentions.With the BJP — which recorded its sixth straight victory in Assembly elections in Gujarat — drawing its lowest tally this year, Modi said the victory this time was not ‘samanya’ (normal) but ‘asamanya’ (especial).Also readFrom PM Narendra Modi to Jignesh Mevani: Who said what after BJP’s narrow Gujarat winModi, who was the chief minister of Gujarat from 2001 before he became the prime minister in May, 2014, said attempts were made to “demoralise” the state BJP leadership after he moved to the Centre.Referring to the just-concluded Gujarat poll, he said the state government was attacked from all sides and there was a “storm of disinformation”.Also readStop trying to derail India from path of development: PM Modi’s top quotes after saffron sweep “The Congress might be visible on the ground but there were many forces at work beside it. ‘Bring down the BJP once’. All sorts of conspiracies were hatched,” Modi said.There could be anger over the issue of development but some were making fun of it, he said, apparently targeting the Congress and Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who had run a campaign with the meme “development has gone mad” to attack the BJP.The state was rife with the “poison of casteism” until 30 years ago, he said, referring to Congress rule in Gujarat, and added that BJP governments and leaders worked to remove it.”In their hunger for power, some people tried to sow the seeds of casteim in the last few months for the elections. The people rejected it,” he said.He asked the people of his state to be more vigilant.Referring to his party’s win in Uttar Pradesh and the Maharashtra local polls, followed by the victories in the two Assembly polls, Modi said the results proved that the people were ready for reforms and embraced performance for the transformation of the country.Development is the only solution to people’s problems, he said, asserting that India would have to scale new heights of development if it was to do well globally.The BJP’s win in Himachal was also a vote for development and rejection of those who used power for the “wrong” things, he said.He ended his address with a rousing slogan. “Jitega bhai, jitega…(who will be victorious),” he asked the workers. “Vikas (development),” they replied in unison, as exhorted by Modi.

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Assembly elections 2017 result: BJP suffers defeat in PM Narendra Modi’s home district

The Unjha constituency, under which Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hometown Vadnagar falls, on Monday slipped out of the BJP’s hands with the Congress winning the north Gujarat seat.Congress’ Ashaben Patel wrested the seat, falling in the Patidar-dominated Mehsana district, from BJP’s five-term MLA Narayanbhai Patel.Mehsana was the epicentre of the Patidar agitation, which flared up in 2015.BJP was trying to contain the damage in Unjha by playing up the fact that its local candidate heads the Umiya Dham Temple, which is revered by the Patel community, but it clearly came a cropper.Ashaben defeated Narayanbhai by a margin of 19,529 votes. She bagged 81,797 votes as against the BJP candidate’s 62,268 votes.The 79-year-old BJP veteran had defeated Ashaben, 40, in the 2012 assembly election, winning the seat by a margin of over 24,000 votes.Out of the total 2.12 lakh voters of Unjha, over 77,000 are Patidars, while around 50,000 belong to the Thakor community.Both Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi had held poll rallies in Vadnagar.Overall, in the Mehsana district, BJP won five of the seven seats, with two going to the Congress.Apart from Unjha, Congress bagged the Becharaji constituency while the Mahesana city, Kheralu, Visnagar, Kadi and Vijapur seats went to the BJP.

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Assembly Elections 2017 result: It’s a victory of PM Narendra Modi’s development politics, says Nitin Gadkari

The BJP’s performance in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh polls is a victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development politics over “dirty caste politics” of Rahul Gandhi-led Congress, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday.”All sections of society have voted above caste politics. This is a win of development politics of the Prime Minister. In Gujarat, OBC, patidar, dalit all were used for caste politics by the Congress but caste politics could not get success,” senior BJP leader said.Gadkari said the success of the BJP in both the states is “people’s approval of our policies, work done under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his development agenda”.He said, “As far as Rahul Gandhi is concerned, after he became Congress president, he has lost Himachal Pradesh and could not bring the Congress in power to Gujarat.” Gadkari accused the Congress of leaving no stone unturned in portraying the BJP and the central government in bad light and added that “despite the Congress’ dirty caste-based politics, people have reposed faith in the BJP”.”This will strengthen our policies,” he said and added that in Gujarat the BJP is ruling the state since 1989 and after years of governance, the people have reposed faith in the party.Asked about opposition charges of EVM tampering, the senior party leader questioned as to why they raised the issue only after losing elections.”When they lose elections they raise EVM issue. Were EVMs functioning properly when Congress got lead in several seats? “When you (Congress) won Punjab then EVM was functioning properly and when you lose then EVM malfunctions,” Gadkari, who is the minister of Road, Transport, Highways, Shipping, Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation, said.He said victory or defeat in politics and elections should be embraced with an open heart and such kind of allegations were not proper.

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From PM Narendra Modi to Jignesh Mevani: Who said what after BJP’s narrow Gujarat win

The Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP is all set to come back to power for the sixth consecutive time after a lower margin victory in Gujarat assembly elections.BJP crossed 92 seats it requires for a majority in the 182 assembly constituencies in Gujarat.Soon after the results were announced, political leaders from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to young Patidar leader Hardik Patel have come forward expressing their views on their win or loss.Soon after the results were announced, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday took to Twitter to hailed the massive victory as ‘Jeeta Vikas, Jeeta Gujarat’.”Election results in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh indicate a strong support for politics of good governance and development. I salute the hardworking BJP Karyakartas in these states for their hardwork which has led to these impressive victories,” said PM Modi on Twitter.”I bow to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh for their affection and trust in BJP. I assure them that we will leave no stone unturned in furthering the development journey of these states and serve the people tirelessly,” he said in a series of tweets.For Congress, it was yet another major loss for them and newly elected President Rahul Gandhi on Monday accepted the loss and thanked his party workers for fighting ‘anger with dignity’.The Congress party accepts the verdict of the people and congratulates the new governments in both states. I thank the people of Gujarat and Himachal with all my heart for the love they showed me,” Gandhi tweeted.”My Congress brothers and sisters, you have made me very proud. You are different than those you fought because you fought anger with dignity. You have demonstrated to everyone that the Congress’ greatest strength is its decency and courage,” he added.BJP chief Amit Shah hailed the party’s win as “victory of development over dynasty and polarisation”.”We have once again emerged triumphant. I offer heartfelt gratitude to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh that they gave us anther opportunity to serve them,” said Amit Shah”This is a victory of development over dynasty and polarisation,” he added.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh took a direct dig at newly appointed Congress President Rahul Gandhi after the assembly elections verdict.”Won’t say anything now as he has recently been made party president, ‘sar mundwate hi ole pade’ (Abhi toh kuch nahi bolunga kyunki woh haal hi mein adhyaksh bane hain lekin),” Rajnath Singh told ANI.Union minister Smriti Irani on Monday said the victory is “of every booth worker’s hard work and the people who trusted development”.”It is a matter of happiness for us, this is the victory of development. It is the victory of every booth worker’s hard work and the people who trusted development,” said Irani.When Smriti Irani was asked about Congress giving a tough fight in Gujarat she was quick to reply and said, “jo jeeta wohi sikander”.While Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that the election results reflect “people’s unshakeable faith in the agenda of development and classless society”.”I would like to give credit for this victory to the people of Gujarat and I also give assurance that in the coming five years, BJP will work towards what the people of the state wants,” Rupani said.”The party’s vote share has increased and despite the tally of seat share leaning in favour of the Congress, the BJP maintained a lead of over 8 percent. The Assembly elections showed people’s unshakable faith in the agenda of development, caste-less and classless society,” he added.However, young Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Monday alleged that the BJP(BJP) has won Gujarat Assembly elections only because of money and EVM tampering. “There has been tampering in EVMs in Surat,Rajkot and Ahmedabad, hence the gap is very less wherever tampering happened. EVMs are hackable,” Patel was quoted as talking to the reporters.Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, who won the Vadgam constituency, said will raise the voice of Gujarat’s discriminated sections in the assembly. “I express my gratitude to the people of Vadgam for all their support. Now I will raise the voice of Gujarat’s discriminated sections in the assembly,” Mevani said after his win.Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that it was a lesson for those who indulged in “divisive and caste politics” to reject the Gujarat Model of development.”The election results of one state will not have an effect on the election of another state. The issues will be different. Whatever may the Gujarat poll results be, it will have no impact on Karnataka,” Adityanath told reporters at Yadgir in the northern parts of the state.However, the results of the Gujarat assembly elections result did not go down well with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The TMC chief on Monday attacked BJP saying it was a moral defeat for the Hindutva-party the people of the state have “belled the cat for 2019″.”It is a temporary and face-saving win, but it shows a moral defeat for BJP. Gujarat voted against atrocities, anxiety and injustice caused to the common people. Gujarat belled the cat for 2019,” Banerjee tweeted.Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for winning the Assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.”Congratulations to honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party for the victory in the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections. The Congress, which had claimed it would wrest power from the BJP in Gujarat, has ended up losing even Himachal Pradesh,” Kumar tweeted in Hindi.Goa Chief Minister Manohhar Parrikar said the newly-elected Congress President “scored zero in his opening innings.” “In his opening innings he scored zero” Parrikar said. Earlier on Monday, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the results of the Gujarat Assembly polls would not have any impact on the Assembly election in the state, which is due early next year.”The election results of one state will not have an effect on the election of another state. The issues will be different. Whatever may the Gujarat poll results be, it will have no impact on Karnataka,” he told reporters at Yadgir in the northern parts of the state.Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Monday took to Twitter to mock BJP’s victory in Gujarat.”BJP getting limited to double-digit in Gujarat is the beginning of the end for the party. It is the result of neglect of the villages, poor and rural people. This is the BJP’s so-called victory,” Akhilesh tweeted.Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said: “I think it’s clear in Gujarat: the BJP has won but the Congress has not lost.”

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BJP MP who predicted party’s loss in Gujarat eats humble pie; says PM hero, he is zero

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Sanjay Kakade on Monday hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s victory over Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections terming himself ‘Zero’ and latter the ‘Hero’.While addressing the media here, Kakade said, “I personally feel happy and elated for this victory of Prime Minister Modi; he has left the Gandhi family and Nehru behind in gaining people’s love. According to me, only ‘Modi factor’ has worked.”“I also accept that Prime Minister Modi is ‘hero’ while I’m ‘zero’ in comparison to him. In my earlier statement, I have said that BJP’s situation looked tight during the campaign; only because of ‘Modi magic’ everything worked well,” he added.Also readPune: BJP RS MP Sanjay Kakade predicts party’s loss in GujaratFurther hailing Prime Minister Modi’s rule, Kakade stated, it is for the first time that BJP has ruled for 27 years in a state.“It has happened for the first time in India that a certain party has ruled for 27 years in a state. This clearly shows that every community has accepted Modi ji from heart and mind.“I’m even confident with states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan as we will win there too; because the Chief Ministers in both the states are working towards progress,” he further stated.

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Vasundhara Raje hails BJP’s victory, credits Modi-Shah for clean sweep

Congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for winning the Assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje today said there was no alternative to the party in the country.Raje said it was the victory of Modi’s leadership and Shah’s organisational skills.”The people of Gujarat have once again voted for development. They once again reposed faith in the BJP leadership. It shows there is no alternative to the BJP in the country. “Results in Himachal Pradesh have proved that the country is moving ahead to become Congress-free,” Raje said in a statement.Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot said the BJP made tall claims of winning 150 seats in Gujarat. Rahul Gandhi s leadership was accepted by the people of Gujarat, he said.The BJP inched towards a record sixth straight victory in Gujarat assembly polls, and was set to evict the Congress in Himachal Pradesh, tightening the party’s grip over the country’s politics with general elections only 18 months away.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Akhilesh asks Rahul to build opposition unity ahead of 2019 pollsThe Gujarat results proved to be a seesaw, with BJP and Congress running neck and neck in the morning trends. At midday, BJP pulled ahead, but by 5 p.m. it apeared that although the party will emerge victorious it will be with a slim majority. “I assure (people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh) that we will leave no stone unturned in furthering the development journey of these states and serve the people tirelessly,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet.According to Election Commission tally at 5 p.m., the BJP had won 70 seats and was leading in 29 for a possible total of 99 in the 182-member Gujarat assembly. At the start of the campaign, the BJP had said it was aiming for 150 seats. In the outgoing assembly it had 115 seats. The Congress won 62 and was leading in 15 for a possible total of 77, compared to 61 previously.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: It is a face-saving win but moral defeat for BJP in Gujarat, says Mamata BanerjeeCongress President Rahul Gandhi virtually conceded defeat, saying the party “accepts the verdict of the people and congratulates the new governments in both states.” He thanked his party members for fighting “anger with dignity.” The BJP called the results a vote for development pushed by Modi, who was the tireless star campaigner in both states.The Congress took solace in the fact that it bettered its tally in Gujarat, the home turf of Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.Shah expressed satisfaction with the result, saying that the party’s vote share in Gujarat had gone up to 49.10% from 47.85% in 2012. The Congress vote share was 41.5% in Gujarat, compared to 38.93% in 2012 was 38.93%.

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BJP set to form govt in Gujarat with ‘comfortable majority’, party says PM Modi’s popularity intact

The BJP today said the poll trends in its favour indicated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity was intact in his home state Gujarat and it was on its way to form government with a “comfortable majority”.BJP leaders said their party would “retain” power notwithstanding the opposition and the aggressive campaign by the Congress, particularly its new president Rahul Gandhi.It attributed the favourable trends to its Gujarat development model as the anti-incumbency factor had “failed”.Also readWatch: PM Modi flashes victory sign as BJP gets unassailable lead in GujaratThe saffron party, however, said it will analyse the trends in detail later.”We have set a record in the history of the BJP by winning six consecutive polls: four assembly and two general elections.Also readGujarat Election 2017: As BJP gets back in business, Adani Group gains after initial loss”Anti-incumbency is not working there. The prime minister’s popularity is intact. Amit Shah’s strategy has worked,” BJP vice-president Shyam Jaju said.BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya seconded Jaju.”There is nothing to worry. We will form a government in Gujarat with comfortable majority,” Vijayvargiya added.According to trends available on the Election Commission’s website, the BJP was leading in 101 of the 182 assembly segments in Gujarat. The Congress was leading in 74 constituencies.

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Development is the mantra of today’s polity, people are with Modiji: Prakash Javadekar

Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday said that the development is the mantra of today’s polity as the BJP headed for a victory in Gujarat and was set to retain power and also stayed on course to oust the Congress in Himachal Pradesh.Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped out of his car, greeted the media with a ‘namastey’ and flashed a victory sign, while entering the Parliament.Also readWatch: PM Modi flashes victory sign as BJP gets unassailable lead in GujaratWith poll trends favouring the BJP in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the results were an approval of the Modi government’s policies.Asked if the results were an approval of the Modi government’s policies, the former party president said, “Of course. It is an approval of the government.” Seeking a sixth straight term, the BJP was ahead in 100 seats while the opposition Congress is leading in 70 seats, the Election Commission (EC) trends available for 175 of the 182 seats at stake showed.The BJP has been in power in the state since 1995, winning consecutive elections in the home state of Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP was ahead in 42 seats while the ruling Congress is leading in 22.

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Bihar CM Nitish Kumar mocks at Opposition: criticism of EVMs out of fear of defeat

After the Congress, the AAP and Patidar leader Hardik Patel expressed apprehension that the EVMs may have been tampered, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar didn’t let go of the opportunity to mock at the opposition. He tweeted on Sunday night that the electronic voting machines (EVMs) have helped making elections “transparent and impartial” and those criticising them were doing so out of the fear of defeat. Kumar’s observation came a day before the counting of votes for the Assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, and in the backdrop of allegations of EVM tampering in Gujarat to favour the BJP. “Some may criticize the EVMs out of fear of defeat, but the EVMs have made elections transparent and impartial. Now, nobody can deprive anybody of the right to cast votes,” Kumar, who has predicted a comfortable majority for the BJP in Gujarat, tweeted in Hindi. The Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party and Patidar leader Hardik Patel have expressed apprehension that the EVMs may have been tampered with in Gujarat where the BJP has been in power for 22 years and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had served as the Chief Minister for over a decade.(With PTI inputs)

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Gujarat: Counting of votes starts in India PM’s home state

Counting of votes in underway in Gujarat, which Narendra Modi’s party has governed for 22 years.

A dialogue with JC: Hapless Cong prays for a miracle as BJP set to wrest power in Guj and Himachal

Will results of Exit Polls be proved right in Himachal and Gujarat?The Exit Poll results of Himachal are 100% right. BJP is getting absolute majority there…Dhumal will be the chief minister and Modi-Amit Shah will also be present there…there is a tried trend in Himachal …it’s 5-year term for Virbhadra, 5 year for Dhumal…now it’s Dhumal’s turn.Will Amit Shah’s forecast of 15-year rule of BJP stand true in Himachal or will Congress come back after 5 years?Amit Shah has declared in election rallies that this time Himachal is not voting for 5 years , it is voting for 15 years. But how far this forecast is going to be true, it can’t be ascertained…after 5 years Dhumal will be 78…I think he is playing last innings…I think both the leaders are in their last leg due to their age…new generation is coming. How the pair of J P Nadda in Delhi and Dhumal in Shimla work together? Will they become two different centres of power?Nadda was a contender of chief minister…But when his name was ruled out and name of Dhumal was announced then he withdrew himself and dedicated entire focus on elections but going forward it can’t be denied that Nadda and Dhumal will be two different power centres. One will be Delhi and other will be in Shimla. High Command will have its task cut out to maintain coordination between them. Eventually what is the political future of Dhumal’s son Anurag Thakur and Virbhandra’s son Vikramaditya?As far as Anurag Thakur is concerned, he is an MP and close to Arun Jaitley. On the other hand, Vikramaditya is contesting election this time…his future is in time wrap.Will Gujarat again see the reemergence of Jodi No : Narendra-Modi-Amit Shah? Will there be absolute majority for BJP or will it be the single largest party?Jodi is Super Hit…as far as election results are concerned, I believe that BJP is getting 112 seats and Congress 70. These days public gives decisive mandate…in 2014 polls BJP had led in 162 constituencies out of 165 and in this elections, the polling percentage was 68% and if we look at it, the vote looks even more decisive. Whichever party wins, it will get 125-130 seats. But it is believed that BJP will form government will 105-107 seats.Who besides Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Rahul Gandhi emerged as the hero of poll campaign in Gujarat?If we look at heroes of Gujarat campaign then only three are there – Modi, Amit Shah and Rahul Gandhi…in second category we may keep Yogi, Smriti Irani, Jaitley, Hardik Patel and his two partners.Was the agenda of Gujarat Pride and Hindu-Muslim related issues came again into picture during last days of electioneering? Was there once again polarisation of Gujarati voters?Narendra Modi smartly raised the issue of Gujarat Pride…The word Neech which Manishankar uttered, Modi encashed that sensibly. Modi also raised the issue of Hindu-Muslim when he said that Manmohan Singh was present in a meeting with people of Pakistan to stall BJP from forming government Gujarat. This people believed to some extent. In the last leg of elections, what would be the impact of negative campaign carried out by Modi and BJP against Congress?Negative campaign is the strategy of Modi. But this should not have happened. Maximum people believed that campaigning should not stoop down to this level. When permission for roadshow in Ahmedabad was turned down, Modi campaigned from Sea-Plane. Was it Modi’s poll branding exercise? It was a masterstroke of Narendra Modi…people of Gujarat was hooked to the Plane. It was 100% a branding exercise.In this situation of Gujarat election, what would be the scenario in 2019? Will Rahul be able to give straight fight to Modi? How much impact would Gujarat and Himachal result will have on the outcome of 2019 elections?The 2019 scenario is absolutely clear which is showing Modi on seat. A Times of India survey say that 79% people want to see Modi as prime minister while Rahul Gandhi has only 16% vote for PM.In the second leg, a day before the polling, Rahul has given interview to Gujarat’s regional channel, what would be the impact on this?It was a mastermind move on Congress part…there is anxiety in BJP. That interview of Rahul was a big challenge for media managers of BJP, it was a failure. Interview came into light of election commission, sent notice to the channel and talks about filing FIR against Rahul also came into being. Later Election Commission retreated following uproar over this issue. Is Election Commission favouring BJP in case of violation of Code of Conduct and how much the independence of EC getting affected?It can’t be said that EC is favouring BJP or not but that goes as an impression among people, questions have been raised on the sanctity of EC. BJP has suffered from this.What would be the national agenda of Narendra Modi after winning elections in Gujarat and Himachal? Will he focus on governance or remain in election mode till 2019 elections? Modi is a man of passion. He has his own style of working. Whether he wins elections or not, it doesn’t affect him because he feels whatever he is doing is right. Whether it’s demonetisation or GST. But in coming days, he will have an agenda of conducting assembly and parliamentary elections simultaneously. Second agenda would be to make GST successful, third would be to have a crack down on shell companies and fourth would be to eradicate corruption. What would be the agenda of Narendra Modi’s one man army – Amit Shah? Will he again come into electioneering mode after forming cabinets in Gujarat and Himachal?If BJP forms government in Gujarat then his entire focus would be on Karnataka and then he will concentrate on Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and MP. He is completely immersed making political strategy 24X7. What is the political fallout of entry of Amit Shah in Rajya Sabha? Has remote control of BJP in Rajya Sabha gone to Amit Shah? This is Modi’s strategy not to merely send Amit Shah to Rajya Sabha but to establish him there. With Shah in RS, BJP MPs will be present in full strengthen with aggression. Definitely, the remote control will be with Amit Shah.Do you see any difference in the personality of Rahul Gandhi pre and post Gujarat elections?There is a big difference in both the situations. Earlier people used to make fun of Rahul Gandhi…now two major personality traits have been visible during Gujarat elections. Now he doesn’t hesitate and speak the language of people. His image has also seen a turnaround. Whether he wins election or not, he has emerged as a leader.Who will be Ahmed Patel of Rahul Gandhi? Or will core group of 4-5 leaders keep taking trivial decisions? Ahmed Patel has been in force as an advisor for last 20-25 years…there is no alternate to him in Congress…I don’t feel there can be any Ahmed Patel in the life of Rahul Gandhi Jagdeeshji, if I ask you to summarise this analysis in one sentence, what would you say?BJP is forming government in both the states but in Gujarat possibility of a miracle can’t be ruled out.

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Cyclone Ockhi: Rahul Gandhi writes to PM Modi, seeks special package for Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep

Newly-elected Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare a comprehensive special financial package for Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep to undertake rehabilitation and provide financial assistance to families of fishermen who lost their lives in Cyclone Ockhi late last month. In a letter to the Prime Minister, Rahul Gandhi also asked for putting in place adequate measures for strengthening the weather update system and advance cyclone warning communication mechanism in the coastal areas. The opposition leader also pointed out the need to construct seawalls and groynes in the vulnerable sea coasts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.Rahul also asked PM Modi to visit the affected regions. Mr Gandhi had visited some places hit by the Cyclone Ochki in Kerala and Tamil Nadu on December 14.The cyclone hit the coast of Kerala and neighbouring Tamil Nadu on November 30, causing widespread damage besides leaving several fishermen stranded and missing. Cyclone Okchi has claimed over 65 lives, most of them fishermen.

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BJP will register comprehensive victories in Gujarat and Himachal: RS Prasad

Union Minister and senior BJP leader Ravishankar Prasad today asserted that the party will register comprehensive victories in the Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.The law and justice, electronics and IT minister said voters have full faith in the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during whose tenure the country has witnessed “all-round growth”.”The people of Gujarat have not forgotten the economic progress and the excellent law and order that prevailed while Modi was the chief minister. The BJP is all set to retain power in the state with a comfortable majority,” he told reporters here.The minister also expressed confidence that the BJP will “win a thumping majority in Himachal Pradesh and dislodge the Congress from power”.Counting of votes in both the states will begin on December 18.Prasad arrived here on his way to Rohtas district, where he is scheduled to address a four-day training camp for the party’s state-level office bearers that began yesterday.”The country has witnessed all-round growth and new benchmarks of progress have been set under Modi’s leadership,” he said.There has been effective action against terrorists and the PM’s diplomacy has been a huge success, placing India among the strong nations of the world, he added.

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Swati Maliwal: Call to speed up child rape executions in India

A leading women’s rights advocate says the government should take tougher action on rapists.

BJP rakes up Madhu Koda’s sentencing to target Rahul Gandhi on his first day as Congress President

The BJP today dubbed the Congress as a “corrupt thought process” as it shrugged off Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as its president, saying its working style and “corrupt ways” remained the same.BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra launched a sharp attack on the Congress after Gandhi attacked the ruling party soon after replacing her mother Sonia Gandhi as its president.Patra cited the sentencing of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, who was supported by the Congress, in a corruption case to hit out at the party, claiming it would remain corrupt despite the change in leadership.He said it was an irony that despite the Congress not being in power for four years, corruption cases were still tumbling out and people jailed for corruption they did when it was in power.”This speaks volumes about the thought process, the working nature of Congress party. So a new president or an old president, the working style of Congress party, the corrupt ways of Congress party still remain the same,” he told reporters.He said when the Congress talks about a change in leadership, the country is seeing how during its 10-year rule, corruption of ten to fourteen lakh crore rupees took place under their very nose.”Congress is not an ancient thought process as claimed by a few, rather Congress is a corrupt thought process and that has been proved by the judicial process today,” Patra added.After assuming the leadership of the party, Rahul Gandhi accused the BJP of spreading hatred and alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was taking India back to medieval times.Also readRahul Gandhi is captain of a ‘sinking ship’: Union Minister Babul Supriyo”The BJP is spreading hatred and communalism… they break, while we unite. They ignite fire, we douse it,” Gandhi said.Asked about the ‘Aag laga ke’ (ignite fire) comment, Patra said this is “not a decent way” to react.”Elections are won not because of riots on streets, not because ‘sadak pe aag laga ke’. Elections are won because the mantra of reform, transform and perform works in the country under the able leadership of Narendra Modi,” he said.Also readPM taking us back to medieval times, says Congress President Rahul Gandhi He went on to add that elections are won as people compare how during the UPA days, the direct benefit transfer (DBT) was not there and the money could not reach the pockets of poor man.”Today because of DBT, what the poor man deserves, reaches his pocket. Elections are won by giving LPG cylinders to the last man standing in the queue, when electricity reaches every village.”So my simple request is we should not demean the basic nature of democracy in the country. Democracy is vibrant in the country because development is taking place as never before,” he added.Patra said that today is an important day as Madhu Koda, who was the chief minister of Jharkhand with the support of Congress party, has been sentenced to three years in jail because of his involvement in the coal scam.Also readHimanta Biswa Sarma congratulates Rahul’s elevation; says will continue to have political contests with him”We all know that Madhu Koda was an Independent MLA, but because of the fact that the government was formed with the outside support of the Congress party, the government then was almost a Congress government run by10 Janpath, 24 Akbar Road by the help of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Ahmed Patel,” he said.

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PM Modi announces Rs 90,000 Cr for improving roads, highways in North East

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced Rs 90,000 crore for improving roads and national highways in the Northeast in the next two to three years to facilitate better connectivity.The prime minister dedicated to the nation a 271-km two- lane national highway connecting Tura in western Meghalaya and Shillong.Meghalaya was the second stop of the prime minister after Mizoram during his day-long visit to the Northeastern region today.”Over the next 2-3 years, an investment of about Rs 60,000 crore is proposed under the Special Accelerated Road Development Project (SARDP) in the Northeast and an investment of Rs 30,000 crore under Bharatmala is proposed for development of national highways in northeastern states,” Modi said while addressing a BJP rally here.He said the central government has sanctioned around 4,000-km of national highway (NH) across the Northeast at a cost of Rs 32,000 crore.Also readPM Modi inaugurates hydropower project in Mizoram, says northeast development is a top govt agendaThe prime minister said that over 1,200 km of NH was constructed at an expenditure of nearly Rs 14,000 crore during the last three years alone.Union Minister K J Alphons was present on the occasion.

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Five years of Nirbhaya case: DCW chief writes to PM on things remaining stagnant

Delhi Commission for Women Swati Maliwal on Friday expressed the need to increase the punishment of rape cases of children to death penalty within six months of the crime. Maliwal wrote a detailed letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which she also stressed on the need to increase resources for police and forensic labs across the country.Mariwal’s letter to the prime minister comes on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the December 16 Delhi case in which a physiotherapy student was gang raped and murdered by a group of six people onboard a bus. The victim was accompanied by a friend who was also beaten up. Both of them were thrown out of the bus on the roadside.Maliwal also tweeted on the victim late Friday. “At the time of the incident, the nation cried for change, but in all this time things remain the same,” she said, further alleging that the money from the Nirbhaya fund that was established has not been used properly.”A report in UK’s The Guardian said that 24,923 rapes reported nationwide, 3,035 occurred in the large cities. “The number of reported rapes elsewhere in the country was more than seven times higher (despite some cases arguably going unreported) than the number of those reported in the main cities. But the police seem to be selective about what they investigate,” the report added.So why are so few rape cases reported? Studies suggest that women report crimes if female police officers are present. In March this year, the government admitted a shortage of women in the force, saying that only 7% of the total police strength in India comprised women.Secondly, the Indian police is short-staffed. A 2013 Indian Express report said that the rural police in the country did not even meet the 1960 standard, while a revelation in the Lok Sabha in 2016 showed that India was short of half a million police officers across the country.

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Rahul Gandhi to take charge as Congress president today: 10 updates

Rahul Gandhi will take over the reins of the Congress party on Saturday. This marks the beginning of the new era in the Grand Old Party, which has so far seen the leadership of Sonia Gandhi for 19 years.Ahead of the official elevation, here are the major updates on this political story:1: Rahul Gandhi will receive a formal certificate of being elected as the Congress president unopposed from the party’s central election authority at a function at the party headquarters in New Delhi today.2: The 47-year-old will take the charge from his mother Sonia Gandhi, who has been the longest serving president of the Congress.3: Sonia Gandhi, who became Congress president in 1998, steered the 132-year-old party for 19 years.Also readSonia Gandhi ‘retires’ as Rahul Gandhi takes the reins today4: Sonia Gandhi’s two-decade long stint saw the Congress-led UPA winning two successive Lok Sabha polls in 2004 and 2009 and formed UPA-I and UPA-II governments.5: On Friday, the media was abuzz with stories about Sonia Gandhi’s retirement.Also readIt’s official! Rahul Gandhi is new Congress president, to assume office on December 166: Congress, however, clarified that she is retiring from the post of party president and not from politics.7: The reluctance shown by Rahul Gandhi in his initial years of politics is now a thing of past.8: The Gujarat Assembly Election saw him in an alll-new aggressive avatar. Be it going to temples or questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter, Rahul Gandhi managed to infuse new energy in the party’s poll camapign.9: Though all major exit polls are showing the BJP victory in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the fact remains that this would be solely seen in comparison with Rahul Gandhi’s aggressive campaigning.10: At a time when the Congress has been reduced to limited political presence across India, Rahul Gandhi will have huge responsibility on his shoulders.

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Gujarat elections 2017: BJP confident of victory, but won’t celebrate till results out

The array of Gujarat BJP leaders, ranging from current CM Vijay Rupani, party chief Jitu Vaghani to national leaders like PM Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah are confident that the saffron party will win the state assembly polls that concluded on Thursday. However, in a bid not to be seen as counting the chicken before they are hatched, it has been quite restrained and anxious.Party spokesperson Jagdish Bhavsar said, “There is nothing like celebration in the party, as it is not the right time yet. We are confident the party will win with more than 150 seats, but there is no need to show exuberance at this moment. We will celebrate on the day of results and that would be statewide. We will not need too much time to prepare for the celebration.”The election has been a closely fought one, as there were many weighing factors.There were issues like community agitations, Rahul Gandhi’s extensive campaigning and temple visits, anti-incumbency in rural parts of state and focus of Modi and Shah on local issues that could turn the tide.A senior party leader, on condition of anonymity, said, “I agree that the party can win in Gujarat, but it will be hard to predict how many seats it will ultimately get. Congress has also worked hard and to an extent, convince many voters of Gujarat. This could lead to upsets and that is why the party is not celebrating till the results. We are keeping fingers crossed. “Meanwhile, the state party leaders are going to meet on Saturday at the party headquarters in Gandhinagar. The meeting will focus on analysing the poll results and discuss other poll-related issues. The party leader also will prepare an account of the poll expenses of party and candidates individually. State Party chief Jitu Vaghani will head the meeting, and will be attended by Rupani, Nitin Patel and other senior leaders.

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India cabinet backs bill to criminalise Islamic instant divorce

The bill proposes jail of up to three years for a Muslim man who indulges in “triple talaq”.

Manmohan Singh meets Venkaiah Naidu on eve of Parliament session

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday called on Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu.Singh met Naidu, who is also the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, on the eve of the winter session of Parliament.Naidu tweeted about the meeting.Singh is a Congress Rajya Sabha member from Assam.Earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused Singh of colluding with Pakistan to ensure the BJP’s defeat in the Gujarat assembly polls.Singh hit back at Modi for allegedly spreading “falsehood and canards” to “score political points in a lost cause”.The opposition parties are likely to raise the issue in Parliament.

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INS Kalvari, Scorpene-class Make in India submarine, commissioned into Indian Navy; all you need to know

INS Kalvari, the Scorpene-class submarine and a Make in India initiative, was commissioned into the Indian Navy by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday in Mumbai.“To dedicate this submarine to the nation is an equal proud moment for me. After a gap of nearly two decades India has got this kind of a submarine and Kalvari is a fine example of the Make-in-India testimony. It is also a good model for international collaboration,” Modi said at Naval Dockyard in Mumbai.<</p>Here is all you need to know about INS Kalvari:1. Designed by French naval defence company DCNS, INS Kalvari is a silent diesel electric attack submarine.2. The submarine has superior stealth features like low radiated noise levels, advanced acoustic silencing techniques, hydro-dynamically optimised shape and it has precision-guided weapons to launch a deadly attack on the enemy.3. INS Kalvari has the ability to carry out various type of missions like anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, laying mine, gathering intelligence and surveillance of areas.4. Submarine Tactical Integrated Combat System (SUBTICS) of INS Kalvari has the ability to gather and process information from onboard sonars which helps to detect hidden targets and enemies.5. The submarine has infrared or low level cameras and laser range finders to locate enemy targets on sea surface.6. INS Kalvari, named after deep-sea tiger shark, has a speed of 20 knots with SM-39 Exocet missiles and heavy-weight torpedoes. 7. With height of 12.3 metres and length of 67.5 metres, it weighs 1,565-tonne.8. INS Kalvari is the first conventional submarine to be commissioned in the Indian Navy after 17 years. The first time ever a submarine was inducted in the Indian Naxy was from Russia in 1967.9. After being inducted in Indian Navy, INS Kalvari underwent extensive trials and checks for 120 days.10. The first of the six Scorpene-class submarines, is part of the Indian Navy’s ‘Project-75’ costing Rs 23,652.

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India: Is Gujarat synonymous with development thanks to Modi?

As Gujarat votes, Reality Check looks at claims about its economic success by Narendra Modi’s ruling BJP.

Even BJP workers are saying the road is tough for them in Gujarat this time: Rahul Gandhi

Come Thursday, and Voters will cast their votes for the second and final phase of Gujarat Assembly elections. Now, campaigning has ended–no hectic rallies or public meetings–and it’s time for the party workers to ensure their supporters come out in large numbers to vote on December 14. While BJP under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is hopeful of an emphatic victory, Rahul Gandhi has predicted ‘Zabardast’ results for the Congress party. Speaking to Zee Kalak, Zee media group’s Gujarati channel, Rahul said this election is about truth.”This election will be fought on truth – the truth of note ban, ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ (in reference to GST) etc. You go to Surat, Ahmedabad or any other place in Gujarat, all the small businessmen are saying the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has destroyed them,” he said.Also readDay before second phase of Gujarat polls, UP farmers protest, raise slogans against Rahul Gandhi in AmethiThis election is not about Modi, not about me but about the people of Gujarat, he added.Targetting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government, Rahul alleged that all those with black money converted it to white after GST. Rahul claimed that because of the decisions that Modi government took, it’s going to be difficult for the BJP to win the trust of voters. “Even BJP workers in Gujarat are saying this time, the road is tough,” Rahul said.Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | PM Modi’s words on former PM unacceptable: Rahul GandhiWhen asked about his or Congress’ vision for Gujarat, Rahul said, “Gujarat’s vision will be formed by its electorate. It will be formed on the basis of what the people of Gujarat want. I will help in its formulation, but Gujarat’s vision will be based on the wishes of people.””The love and affection people of Gujarat showered upon me during the last three-four months has won my heart. I am at the service of Gujarat,” Rahul said.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | BJP’s showstopper PM Modi ends campaign at Ambaji’s feet

Lakhs of people standing on both sides of the Sabarmati riverfront and on the bridges connecting two sides of Ahmedabad city cheered Prime Minister Narendra Modi by shouting slogans in his favour as he boarded a sea plane for Dharoi Dam reservoir and returned on Tuesday.He tweeted, “My campaign journey in Gujarat, which began with the blessings of Ashapura Mata, ended today with the blessings of Maa Amba. Experienced tremendous spiritual bliss and satisfaction of Karma Yog.”In fact, the PM was to hold a roadshow criss-crossing the length and breadth of the city on Tuesday but police did not grant the permission for the same. But, the surprise show by PM of taking flight through seaplane enthralled Amdavadis. This was perhaps the promise to Ahmedabad by PM of further development in future too.PM reached Dharoi dam reservoir in Mehsana district through this sea plane after boarding it from Sabarmati river and then reached famous Ambaji temple in Banaskantha istrict by road to seek the blessing of the goddess at the Shaktipeeth.”After three and a half years, I got the honour to travel across the length and breadth of Gujarat to seek the blessings of the people. I urge my sisters and brothers of Gujarat to vote in record numbers on the December 14,” the PM tweeted on his campaign. The PM addressed a total of 34 rallies during the Gujarat polls and 17 each for both the phases. He travelled across the state covering approximately 3,500 km distance and visited almost all the districts.Where Modsubi is still CM, and Indira recalledChhota Udepur/Pavi Jetpur: Time seems to have come to a standstill in some tribal areas of Gujarat. More than three years after Narendra Modi became the PM, for a section of people here he is still the CM. In the interior areas of Chhota Udepur district, dominated by STs such as the Rathwas, voters said that when it came to politics, they knew of only three factors — Modi, Modi’s party and the Congress. Few referred to the BJP by name, calling it Modi’s party. And when prodded about the Congress, the only name they could readily recall was that of Indira Gandhi. “Modi will again become the CM of Gujarat,” they said.—PTI inputsModi to votePrime Minister Narendra Modi will be among the top BJP leaders who will cast their votes in the second phase of Gujarat Assembly elections in Ahmedabad on December 14. The BJP said that Modi will cast his vote at Nishan Vidyalaya in Ranip on Thursday.Party veteran LK Advani, who did not campaign in the polls, will cast his vote in Shahpur. BJP president Amit Shah will vote at the Sub-zonal office in Naranpura, whereas Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will vote at Chimanbhai Patel Institute on SG Highway.

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