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BJP reacts to ‘Lie Hard’ remark of Rahul Gandhi, says Congress President indulging in cheap barbs

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday accused Congress President Rahul Gandhi of indulging in cheap barbs and lowering political discourse in his bid to gain power.The attack from party spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao came after Gandhi fired a fresh salvo at the saffron party, saying if the BJP had a film franchise it would be called “Lie Hard”.”Rahul Gandhi, is this the low level of political discourse that you are capable of? To gain power by all means, would you indulge in such cheap barbs?” Rao asked in a tweet.He claimed that whatever Gandhi might say, his party would not return to power as people know its “corrupt face”.Also readRahul Gandhi offers prayers at Somnath temple in GujaratCongress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday mocked at BJP and said if the party had a film franchise it would be called “Lie Hard”.Meanwhile, Rahul visited Gujarat’s Somnath temple on Saturday ahead of a review meeting with newly-elected MLAs and party workers following Gujarat assembly election results.After his Somnath Temple visit on November 29, a controversy erupted after Rahul’s name along with senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel was allegedly mentioned as non-Hindus in the visitor book of the temple. (With inputs from ANI)

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Rahul Gandhi offers prayers at Somnath temple in Gujarat

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Saturday visited the Somnath temple in Gir Somnath district, ahead of his meeting with party leaders to introspect on the Gujarat Assembly polls.The Congress leader landed at Keshod Airport in Saurashtra and offered prayers at the temple which is about 420 km from the state capital.Gandhi is scheduled to hold zone-wise meets with Saurashtra, Central Gujarat, South Gujarat and North Gujarat leaders in Ahmedabad today and is expected to address the Congress workers.Gandhi had visited the Somnath temple during the recent election campaign and his name was found written on the entry register meant for non-Hindus, kicking up a row. The Congress had called it “fake” and the BJP insisted that the leader declare his religious faith before people.Non-Hindus are allowed to visit the temple but have to first get themselves registered at the shrine’s office.Also readRahul’s media coordinator wrote his name in non-Hindu registry: Somnath Temple TrustA purported photocopy of a page of the register for non-Hindus had gone viral on social media with the names of Gandhi and senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel written on it.Gandhi had later said that he and his family were devotees of Lord Shiva.

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Narrow escape for jodi no 1 in Gujarat

Gujarat was indeed tough for BJP. And the ruling party knew that very well. No wonder Jodi No 1 – Narendra Modi and Amit Shah once again led from the front and saved BJP from blushes. Had this invincible Jodi taken this election for granted, the outcome would have easily been termed as referendum against Modi’s radical reforms including GST and demonetization. But the thin margin of 19 seats is enough to trigger a panic button for BJP, which is slated to face stiff challenge from rejuvenated Congress in major states like Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.The results have been a set back for BJP as it was claiming 150 seats but failed miserably to even touch the three figure mark. This is termed as a victory of two individuals rather than the party’s. The Jodi has so far created a record of sorts by winning 13 elections out of 15. Gujarat’s result may not savour well for BJP but it will definitely germinate internal democracy in the party. Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are likely to be more flexible and receptive to ideas of other senior leaders. A green shoot was evident when Amit Shah, in a press conference allowed reporters to ask questions in otherwise what used to be one-sided press conferences.For Congress, this was a moral victory and led to an emergence of a strong leader in party. Rahul Gandhi, who had been relegated as a flop leader after a series of drubbings, is now being hailed as a leader who revived the ailing Congress. He showed consistency, maturity and quick decision making in his 40-day long campaign. For the first time, he looked like throwing direct challenge on Modi. With Rahul, Congress also discovered a shrewd strategist in Ashok Gehlot, who charioteered the election rath of Gandhi. People are saying that Gehlot may take up role of Ahmed Patel but it is not easy to replace Patel. However, still Gehlot might have a major say in Rahul’s decision making process in coming days.There’s much to cheer for Congress but the magic of Jodi No 1 is there to stay. At this moment, there is no apparent challenge to the domination of Modi-Shah, but the tight finish of Gujarat elections has given them enough food for thought ahead of 2019.

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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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‘Pak meddling in Gujarat polls’ remark: BJP is intellectually bankrupt, says its Maharashtra ally Shiv Sena

Wading into the battle between the BJP and the Congress over allegations by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Pakistan was trying to manipulate the Gujarat elections, the Shiv Sena said repeated attempts to bring in Pakistan and fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim in the discourse during polls indicated “intellectual bankruptcy.” Noting that the “Prime Minister should not make allegations but take action,” an editorial in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna, which has party president Uddhav Thackeray as the editor and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Rat as the executive editor, dared Modi to take military action against Pakistan.Alluding to Modi’s charges about a secret meeting with Pakistani officials hosted by former Congress minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, the Shiv Sena also dared Modi to arrest those who were present. “The Gujarat elections are turning out to be more important than the Kashmir imbroglio,” the Shiv Sena said, adding that allegations about Pakistan was pushing for senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel’s name as the chief minister of the state could raise questions about attempts to polarise voters to win elections.Also readNothing more than Indo-Pak relations were discussed at Aiyar’s residence: Ex-Army Chief rejects PM’s allegation“In every election, either Pakistan or Dawood Ibrahim is invoked. This is intellectual bankruptcy” the Shiv Sena charged, adding that these bogeys were used by the BJP when it found the going to be politically tough. The editorial noted that during the Bihar elections, BJP president Amit Shah had said that the victory of the Janata Dal (United) under Nitish Kumar would lead to crackers being burst in Pakistan, but the BJP had allied with Kumar later. “In the Rajya Sabha elections, the BJP government worked to the hilt to ensure Ahmed Patel’s defeat. If these same attempts are made against Pakistan, none if its activities against India will succeed,” the editorial said.

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Mumbai Building Collapse: Five senior municipal officials to be suspended

Five senior officials of the Bhiwandi Nizampur Municipal Corporation have been placed under suspension as part of the investigation into the collapse of a building there in November.The collapse of the three-storeyed building, which occurred on November 24, had claimed four lives and left nine persons injured.The order suspending these officials for dereliction of duty was issued by municipal commissioner Dr Yogesh Mhase on December 8, said officials.The officials placed under suspension are Subhash Zalke, Vinod Mate, Sachin Naik, Vinod Bhoir and Ramakant Mhatre.The order further added that the officials were being suspended so that a departmental enquiry could be carried out against them.Also readMaharashtra: 1 dead, at least 10 feared trapped after building collapses in BhiwandiThe probe by the corporation also revealed that the the officials had violated the provisions of the Maharashtra Civil Services rules.The civic chief’s order stated that the building, owned by one Tahir Rafique Ahmed Ansari, had come up between 2009 and 2013 as shown by satellite images as well as power connection records.Also read3 killed in Bhiwandi building collapseThe building collapse killed Ruksar Yakub Khan, 18, Asfaque Ahmed Khan, 40, Jaibunissa Rafique Ansari, 61 and Parvin Khan, 35.

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Rahul Gandhi’s calls to Sharad Yadav sealed Congress-Vasava deal in Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It was two phone calls made by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to rebel Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav that sealed the deal between the Congress and Chhotubhai Vasava’s Bhartiya Tribal Party for Gujarat assembly polls days after wrangling.The deal was finally done this week but not without tantrums and a fair amount of troubleshooting.Sources say that Congress, which was looking at Vasava, working state President of Sharad Yadav-led faction of JDU as a natural ally in Gujarat assembly polls after the latter’ decisive vote tilted the scale in favour of its veteran Ahmed Patel in Rajya Sabha elections in August, was in for a rude shock as Vasava made a demand for 25 seats.For Congress, a tie-up with Vasava, a consecutive six-term MLA from Jhagadia assembly seat in Bharuch, the home town of Ahmed Patel, was important as Vasava exercised considerable influence on tribal votes even beyond Jhagadia.Congress, which had earlier offered up to three seats to Vasava was baffled as Vasava demanded 25 seats, saying that the influence of his Bhilistan Sena and Bhartiya Tribal Party spreads across East Gujarat.
ALSO READ Gujarat elections 2017: Why Rahul Gandhi’s temple visits may not bear fruit in DwarkaLeaders from Vasava camp had, however, indicated that he would settle for 15 seats. That was also too much for Congress to share.Congress general secretary in-charge for Gujarat Ashok Gehlot and Congress Gujarat chief Bharat Singh Solanki had already met Sharad Yadav twice in last fortnight.
ALSO READ In Gujarat, Rahul Gandhi rakes up Rohith Vemula suicide, says ‘Hindustan ki sarkar’ murdered himYadav was also asked to find time for campaign and accordingly, Yadav will be campaigning in the state from December 4 to December 7. Besides other regions, the rebel JDU leader will also be campaigning in Dwarka-Jamnagar belt, where Yadav community is in significant number.However, as the seat sharing with Vasava remained inconclusive, Rahul called up Yadav twice asking him to speak to Vasava to ensure that some “reasonable” demand is made from the tribal leader.
ALSO READ BJP at vantage point in Gujarat tribal areasAs the undivided JDU for last many years was contesting only around five seats recently, finally a deal was struck with Congress agreeing to give the Bhartiya Tribal Party the seats of Jhagadia, Dediapada, Mangrol, Morva Hadaf and Waghodia, all of which are reserved for the Scheduled Tribes (ST) category.Besides, the Vasava’s close aide Anil Bhagat, who is an office bearer in rebel JDU faction of Sharad Yadav has been offered the Congress ticket from Ankleshwar.There has also been an agreement to field another candidate from Vasava’s party Karni Bhaai from Rajkot East but Congress later declared Mithul Donga as its candidate. These seven seats were earlier supposed to go to Vasava’s party.Congress MLA from Rajkot East Indranil Rajguru has been shifted this time to Rajkot West to take on BJP’s Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.Vasava’s party is contesting the election on party symbol auto rickshaw. This was decided after Election Commission decided to recognise Nitish Kumar faction’s claim on Janata Dal United and allotted him the party symbol arrow.Vasava, who is an MLA from Jhagadia in Bharuch had tilted the balance in favour of Congress veteran Ahmed Patel by voting in his favour in the high-pitched Rajya Sabha elections concluded sometime back.The tribal belt that spreads along Gujarat’s eastern border from Dangs in deep South to Banaskantha in the North had earlier been a Congress strong hold but the BJP has made deep inroads in it last few years with sustained efforts by the ruling party as well its mentor RSS to reach out to tribals.Congress had won 16 out of 27 of tribal seats in this region in 2012 assembly polls. Even at the height of post Gohdra polarisation in 2002, BJP could only win 13 of the 26 seats before delimitation.In the last Lok Sabha polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won all 26 Lok Sabha seats from the state including the ones in tribal-dominated area as Prime Minister Narendra Modi juggernaut rolled out. Nitish’ arrow to hit Vasava-Congress allianceMeanwhile Nitish Kumar’s JDU will be fielding candidates in 50 seats, a move which according to Sharad camp is expected to benefit the BJP.The Sharad camp also cites that JDU has fielded another candidate named Chhotubhai in Jhagadia, where Chhotubhai Vasava is contesting to spread confusion.JDU general secretary K C Tyagi, however, said “we are not fighting Guajrat elections to ensure anyone’s victory or defeat. We have been fighting in Gujarat separately for long even when George Fernades and Sharad Yadav were President of the JDU. We did not fight in alliance in Gujarat earlier also. Earlier also we fought over 50 candidates.”He, nevertheless, recalled Nitish Kumar was the first to support Hardik Patel wand also alleged that Congress has “betrayed Paatidaars” by giving them just a few tickets.“We have people lining up JDU for ticket in Gujarat. We are fighting this election to expand our party organisation and meet the demands of party workers. A dozen Bihar Cabinet Ministers will campaign there,” Tyagi said.

Congress to hold on to list for longer

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress is likely to hold back on announcing its list for Gujarat Assembly polls for a few more days till there is clarity on its on-going talks with Patidar leaders led by Hardik Patel even as Central Election Committee of Congress chaired by party chief Sonia Gandhi held deliberations for the second time on Friday.Sources said that a group of leaders from Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti met Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel and AICC in-charge for Gujarat Ashok Gehlot separately.Emerging from the CEC meeting, Gehlot told reporters that a discussion had been completed on almost all the seats but the list of candidates will be released in a day or two as talks on an alliance with Sharad Pawar’s NCP and JDU were also going on.”All the 182 seats may have been discussed but we will have to leave our claim on some seats when the alliance happens,” he said adding that both JDU and NCP want to have an alliance with Congress and vice versa.On a day when the Election Commission recognised Nitish Kumar’s JD-U as the party and allotted the arrow symbol to it, Gehlot said that that it has now split into two and Congress is talking to Sharad Yadav regarding the alliance with Chhotu Bhaavi Vasava led party in Gujarat.”We are also talking to NCP and when the discussions are complete, we will release our list,” he said.NCP had in the high pitched Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat a few months had sided with BJP. Both its MLAs in Gujarat had voted for the BJP and Ahmed Patel could emerge victorious only after Vasava’s vote in its favour and Election Commission declaring two other votes null and void.PAAS leader Hardik Patel has met senior leader of NCP Praful Patel a number of times in recent days, fueling speculations.Gujarat goes to poll in two phases on December 9 and December 14. The election result will be declared on December 18. In first phase 89 of 182 seats will go to polls and the party is keen to declare candidates all the 89 seats at least on November 16.

JNU: Theories abound as CBI, cops, probe on Najeeb gets nowhere

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday filed a status report on missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed’s case. Najeeb Ahmed’s case took several interesting turns in the last one year, with the Delhi Police and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday reaching a stand-off after the latter rejected formers’ claim that Ahmed was last seen boarding an autorickshaw from his hostel and was dropped at the Jamia Milia Islamia (JMI).Ahmed (28), a first year MSc student, had gone missing from JNU’s Mahi-Mandvi hostel on October 15 last year, following an alleged scuffle with some members of BJP-affiliate Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the previous night.Initially, the Delhi Police had claimed that Ahmed was taking treatment for depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and his medical condition could be responsible for his disappearance. They had also said that he might have taken up an assumed identity and might be living in a secluded place, to distance himself from everyone. The family, however, had confirmed that Ahmed was suffering from insomnia, but they denied any mental illness angle.In November last year, the Delhi Police Crime Branch, which was investigating the matter, had stated that it had interrogated an autorickshaw driver that ferried him from JNU to JMI, where he used to live before shifting to the JNU hostel.The case again took a turn when a letter was delivered at the Mahi-Mandvi hostel from Aligarh by a woman, who claimed to have spotted Ahmed. The woman had claimed that Ahmed had approached her in a market seeking help. But when the crime branch officials reached the address mentioned in the letter, no one could be found.Later, the Delhi Police said that Ahmed was seen in Darbhanga district of Bihar and a team was also rushed to trace him. Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung’s office had also said that he was last seen in Bihar, However, it was later turned out to be a false alarm.In January, the Delhi Police also arrested a man for allegedly making a ransom call to Ahmed’s family and demanding Rs 20 lakh from them.MULTIPLE ATTEMPTSIn November last year, the Delhi Police Crime Branch, which was investigating the matter, had stated that it had interrogated an autorickshaw driver that ferried him from JNU to JMI. After multiple failed theories put forth by the Delhi Police’s crime branch, the Delhi High Court had transferred the case to the CBI on May 16.

2 held with 10 kg charas at airport

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Ahmedabad Narcotic Control Bureau nabbed two men from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Domestic Airport of Ahmedabad and seized 10 kg of Charas inside an Apple box and Rs 2 lakh cash on Sunday night.The accused were identified as Farooq Ahmed Reshi, 28, a resident of Sheri Baramulla of Jammu and Kashmir and Shakeel Ahmed Qureshi, 48, a native of Nagpada in Mumbai and currently living in Shah-e-Alam area of Ahmedabad.As per Hari Om Gandhi, Zonal Director of NCB, “Working on specific inputs about the consignment of Charas, officials kept a watch at Airport, when a passenger matching the description got out of the airport with a box of apples and met the receiver, officials cordoned off the area and nabbed the two.While searching the belonging of the two, officials recovered 10kg of Charas from the apple box and Rs 2 lakh cash from the receiver.”During the investigation it was revealed that Farooq had concealed the drugs in an apple box, somehow managed to get clearance from the three security checks at Srinagar Airport of Jammu and Kashmir and reached Mumbai Airport in the 636 flight of Indigo Airlines and from there through a connecting flight to Ahmedabad.As per a NCB source, Srinagar airport has the highest security arrangements in India, where passengers and their luggage are checked three times by the CRPF jawans, and then twice by the Jammu and Kashmir Police before boarding the plane. If he managed to clear all check points and was able to transport the drugs to Ahmedabad, then it is a question of national security, the source added.Further investigation of accused revealed that Shakeel is a drug supplier in Mumbai and Ahmedabad market. He has been dealing with MD (Ecstasy) and Charas. As per the officials, this was the first time he had transported drugs to Ahmedabad, but earlier he used to transport it to the Mumbai by taking domestic flights. Shakeel had brought Rs 2 lakh cash with him to the airport, which he was supposed to give to Farooq for his delivery, out of which Farooq was going to get Rs 50,000 and rest was advance payment for the next supply of drugs.In the primary investigation it was revealed that Farooq’s younger brother was apprehended in Mumbai for narcotics case and Shakeel was wanted in the case. The duo has been arrested under Sections 8(c), 20(b)(B) and 29 of NDPS Act, 1985 and will be sent in judicial custody on Monday.

Assam: Retired army medical officer, who served in ’71 war, asked to prove citizenship

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The foreigners tribunal in Assam has sent a notice to an army officer who worked as a pharmacist in the Indian army in order to prove his Indian citizenship, said local news reports. Tezpur resident Nayak Subedar Dilip Dutta said that he had also served in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. Dilip who left the service in 1993, said that he received a notice stating that he has been listed as a D-Voter (doubtful voter) a few days ago at his home. “I approached the Foreigners Tribunal and told them about my three-decade-long service to the nation. However, I was told that since it is notice from the government, I will have to fight the order in court,” Dutta told reporters. Dutta joined the medical wing of the army in 1965. He further told reporters that after he’s done with the notice from the Foreigner’s Tribunal, he is thinking of taking the matter to the court. “This is unwarranted harassment’ and I am contemplating filing a defamation case against the government,” said Dutta. Officials of the Assam state government, currently in the process of upgrading its National Register of Citizens (NRC) to fight the influx of undocumented Bangladeshis, has been caught sending notices to genuine Indian citizens. DNA had earlier reported about Assam police constable, Abu Taher Ahmed, posted at the South Salmara police station who received a notice. DNA also reported about the case of retired army man Mohd Azmal Hoque who was asked to prove his citizenship that resulted in widespread outrage across and outside the state. As per a directive from the Supreme Court, the NRC upgradation has to be completed by December 31, 2017.

Congress leader Ahmed Patel writes to Rajnath Singh; seeks fair probe into arrest of ISIS terrorist

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Addressing the issue of a suspected ISIS terrorist working in a hospital where he was a trustee, Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Sunday wrote to Home Minister Rajnath Singh to take stock of the matter and probe the issue in an ‘impartial and objective manner’.”The guilty, irrespective of faith or affiliation must be brought to justice and the government has my support in this,” Patel said in his letter, which was accessed by ANI.Patel also added that framing terror charges must be done by agencies and not political leaders. “National security matters cannot be a prisoner of politics, neither to be reduced to maligning political opponents for electoral gains,” Patel added.Earlier, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Friday launched a scathing attack on Ahmed Patel and asked him to explain how a suspected ISIS terrorist was employed at a hospital Patel was one of the trustees.One of the two ISIS terrorists, Kasim Stimberwala, who was arrested by the Gujarat ATS on Thursday, was employed at a Bharuch hospital where Ahmed Patel was a trustee.Kasim worked as an echo technician in Sardar Patel Hospital and Heart Institute in Bharuch.He, however, tendered his resignation to the hospital management on October 4 this year and served there for another 20 days.Two days later, he was arrested for allegedly plotting an Islamic State-inspired lone-wolf terror attack on a synagogue in Ahmedabad.Addressing a press conference, the Gujarat CM today asked for clarification from Patel and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.”These two accused were working in the hospital run by Congress leader Ahmed Patel who was a trustee there. Patel along with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi should clarify how suspected ISIS recruits were employed at the hospital,” Rupani said.The Gujarat CM demanded to take the responsibility and resign from the Rajya Sabha on moral grounds.

ISIS head-hunter worked at top Gujarat hospital

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One of the two suspected ISIS ‘head-hunters’ based in Gujarat and arrested on October 25 for recruiting youth for terror attacks worked at a prominent hospital in Gujarat, while his accomplice was a law student.The duo was planning attacks on the Jewish community, the police said.After the being arrested by Gujarat Police’s Anti Terror Squad (ATS), Stimberwala Mohammed Kasim, who worked as an echo-cardiogram (ECG) technician at the Sardar Patel Hospital and Heart Institute, Ankleshwar, resigned from his job.Interestingly, Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ahmed Patel has an old association with the hospital. The hospital’s website says: “On the 17th of June 1979 the Sardar Patel trust met under the auspices of Bhailalbhai Patel, Ahmed Patel and other trustees to establish the Sardar Vallabhai Rotary General Hospital.”When DNA sought his reaction, Patel said, “Let’s not divide peace-loving Gujaratis while fighting terrorism. We request that matters of national security not be politicised keeping elections in mind. The allegations are completely baseless. My party and I appreciate the ATS’s effort to nab the two terrorists. I demand strict and speedy action against them.”Kasim, along with Ubed Ahmed Mirza, was arrested for planning “lone wolf attacks”. He had planned to leave for hijrat to Jamaica and meet radical preacher Abdullah el-Faisal, who had been guiding them.The Gujarat ATS has stated in its report that the duo were planning attacks on the Jewish community.”Reconnaissance of Magean Abraham Synagogue in Ahmedabad was conducted by Kasim Stimberwala recently after discussion with Ubed Mirza,” the report stated.Police surveillance has revealed that Kasim was planning to move to Jamaica as a ECG technician and had obtained a work visa. “Both the accused persons are making intensive efforts to radicalise and actively recruit youth from various spectrums of society,” the Gujarat ATS report says.Based on “technical surveillance,” the police has quoted several telephonic conversations to establish how they were radicalising youth and recruiting them to carry out attacks in the name of ISIS.The two were involved in the activities of the Islamic State since 2013-14 and were in contact with Shafi Armar, alias Zahid al-Hindi, the police has stated in its report.Armar is wanted in various cases of bomb blasts carried out by Indian Mujahideen and is suspected to have joined ISIS after being on the run and was based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region initially. He has been responsible for radicalisation of several Indian Muslim youth and luring them to ISIS.Sources in the ATS said the two youth are part of a group of 15 young men loyal to ISIS. “Of this, at least nine are from Ahmedabad and Surat. Six have already been radicalised and can carry out lone wolf attacks anywhere in Gujarat,” said a source in the ATS.?Investigations have also revealed that the two Surat residents arrested on Wednesday for links with ISIS were also allegedly involved in recruiting for terror activities.The duo first came under lens of Intelligence agencies when in August 2014 a group of four boys from Hyderabad was apprehended in Kolkata as they were on their way to Bangladesh — from where they were headed to Iraq to join ISIS.The youth revealed the identities of two of their handlers as Kasim and Ubed Mirza alias Obaid and also provided their phone numbers.While Kasim was traced working at the Sardar Patel hospital in Gujarat, Ubed, a law student, ran a restaurant in Surat.The hospital, however, denied any wrongdoing on its part. It said that Kasim had resigned from his job as eco technician on October 4, and he was relieved on October 24.

Diwali gift: India will grant medical visa in all pending cases to deserving Pakistanis, says Sushma Swaraj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said today that on the auspicious occasion of Diwali India will grant medical visa in all deserving cases that are pending, as she responded positively to a number of such requests by Pakistani nationals.To a request for a visa by a Pakistani woman named Amna Shamin, whose father is already in Delhi for treatment and she wants to visit him, Swaraj said, “Please contact Indian High Commission in Pakistan. We will allow this.” “On the auspicious occasion of Deepawali, India will grant medical visa in all deserving cases pending today,” Swaraj tweeted. Yesterday, she had directed the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to issue a visa to a Pakistani child for medical treatment in India.The child’s father, Kashif, had requested Swaraj on Twitter to grant medical visa for treatment of Abdullah, saying he needed post-liver transplant evaluation in India.”The treatment of your child must not suffer for want of medicine. I have asked Indian High Commission to issue medical visa. @ChachaKashif,” the minister tweeted yesterday. Kashif had said the child’s medicines were about to finish and he needed immediate medical consultation in India. In another tweet yesterday, Swaraj said a medical visa has also been approved for a Pakistani woman, who wants to undergo liver surgery in India.The woman’s son, Rafique Memon, had requested Swaraj to intervene and grant visa to his mother. Swaraj also responded positively to a request for a visa by Nazir Ahmed, whose eight-year-old child Mohammad Ahmed was awaiting medical visa for a year. “We will issue visa to facilitate treatment of your 8- year-old child in India,” she said. Swaraj has been taking a sympathetic approach in granting medical visas to Pakistani nationals, notwithstanding strain in ties between India and Pakistan over a host of issues, including cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.

Sushma Swaraj urges Indian mission to grant medical visa to Pakistani boy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has directed the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to issue a visa to a Pakistani child for medical treatment in India.The child’s father, Kashif, had requested Swaraj on Twitter to grant medical visa for treatment of Abdullah, saying he needed post-liver transplant evaluation in India.”The treatment of your child must not suffer for want of medicine. I have asked Indian High Commission to issue medical visa. @ChachaKashif,” the minister tweeted yesterday.Kashif had said the child’s medicines were about to finish and he needed immediate medical consultation in India.In another tweet, Swaraj said a medical visa has also been approved for a Pakistani woman, who wants to undergo liver surgery in India.The woman’s son, Rafique Memon, had requested Swaraj to intervene and grant visa to his mother.Swaraj also responded positively to a request by Nazir Ahmed that his eight-year-old child Mohammad Ahmed is awaiting medical visa for a year.”We will issue visa to facilitate treatment of your 8- year-old child in India,” she said.Swaraj has been taking a sympathetic approach in granting medical visas to Pakistani nationals, notwithstanding strain in ties between India and Pakistan over a host of issues, including cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.​

J&K: Mob burns down house of former sarpanch who was killed by terrorists, Mehbooba condemns incident

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A mob instigated by anti-national elements and over ground workers of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group today set on fire a house belonging to a slain PDP leader, who was gunned down by militants in the Shopian district of south Kashmir.Mohammed Ramzan Sheikh, a former sarpanch, was killed by terrorsts last night at his house located at Humhuna of Shopian.Sheikh’s family members had a scuffle with the assailants in which one of the terrorists, identified as Showkat Ahmed was also killed.As the mourners were gathering at the residence of Sheikh, a mob mainly comprising of over ground workers of Hizbul Mujahideen and other anti-national elements attacked the house, police said.Immediately, police swung into action and rescued the family members which included Sheikh’s mother, Rafiqa, wife Nusrat Begum, brother Farooq Ahmed Sheikh, his two sons and two daughters.Terming it as inhumane, Director General of Police S P Vaid said, “The family had not even condoled the death of their loved one properly before such a senseless act instigated by terrorists was perpetrated on them in less than 24 hours.””Tears of two small daughters and two sons may not have dried off their cheeks and they had to witness inhumanity once again. Its a shameless act,” Vaid said.He said that an FIR has been registered against the rioters. Strict action as per law will be take against those involved in the incident, Vaid said. With inputsf rom PTI and ANI

A look at Delhi in the year gone by

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>GovernanceAs the Delhi government entered its second year in 2016, the tug-of-war between the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (APP) government and the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre continued, became even more acrimonious, with previous Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Najeeb Jung at the centre of the bitter ballet. Jung and Kejriwal-led government entered into a legal battle over ruling the national Capital and the first round was won by Jung. The Delhi High Court in its decision said L-G wasn’t bound by the ministers’ advice while that the issue should be left to the Centre in the event of a dispute between the two.Towards the end of 2016, Jung submitted his resignation. The pending files of the government then moved to the new L-G Anil Baijal who initially gave approval on the issues which were rejected by his predecessor. As the approvals came in, new projects were launched in the capital. The AAP government did some pioneering work majorly in two sectors — health and education. New classrooms were constructed; patients got free test schemes in the hospitals and much more.EducationOn October 15 last year, a major controversy broke out at the campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). A first-year MPhil student Najeeb Ahmed had gone missing following a spat with some members of the RSS-backed Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP).The incident snowballed into a national controversy with political leaders cutting across parties participating in the “Where is Najeeb?” movement.The matter reached the Court and CBI is investigating it.Even as the JNU students were still at loggerheads with the administration over Ahmed’s disappearance, another issue jolted the campus. JNU announced 83 per cent seat cut in MPhil and PhD courses following a UGC notification that put a cap on number of students a faculty member can supervise. In February, violent clashes broke out at DU’s Ramjas College between two student groups following the cancellation of invitation to JNU students Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid to a seminar, after ABVP objected to their invite. In this year’s DUSU elections, Congress-backed NSUI managed to win important posts.MCDThe three municipal corporations of Delhi — North, South and East — had new administrations with elections being held this year with the BJP, despite anti-incumbency, riding on a Narendra Modi wave registered a thumping victory in all the three civic bodies. The Congress and the AAP had a poor show in the elections. However, except for the South, the cash-strapped North and East civic bodies are still stuck in a blame-game with the Kejriwal government over release of funds.Within a year with new administration having several first-time councillors, the corporations’ focus shifted to waste management, better facilities in its schools, crackdown on illegal constructions and creating alternatives for parking.Also, with the new LG Anil Baijal taking over the city’s administration, the civic bodies had to swing into action for showing results such as in curbing the menace of vector-borne diseases after last year’s massive spread of chikungunya. After a portion of Ghazipur landfill in East Delhi gave way, killing two persons and injuring a dozen others, the corporations woke up, to finally start thinking of ways to manage waste.Delhi MetroThe Delhi Metro, the city’s major public transport system, expanded further with the opening of the Heritage Line connecting the Walled City to the Capital’s outskirts. Also, the Metro started trial runs of the Pink Line connecting South and East Delhi.The Pink Line will have 38 metro stations, which is under construction as part of the phase-3 of Metro network. One of the 6.5 km corridors between Majlis Park and Shakurpur on the Pink Line is expected to open by end of December.The Heritage Line, being the most challenging to build, had been in the works for a long time. It connects the Mughal-era monuments to the rest of the city. The project has also helped decongest the majorly clogged main road of Old Delhi.In a major change from the past, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) proposed to increase the fares for the second time in a year. While it raised the fares this March with the maximum up to Rs 50, it has again hiked fares with effect from October 10. The second proposed hike had the DMRC ran into a confrontation with the Delhi government opposing the hike calling it ‘anti-people’.CrimeIn the beginning of 2017, as Amulya Patnaik took over as the Commissioner of Delhi Police, his focus areas were curbing street crime and bringing down heinous crimes in the Capital. To count on the major incidents that left the the city shaken, in the past nine months, a woman is stabbed brutally in public, multiple times by her jilted lover, for turning down marriage proposal; a man is lynched for objecting to public urination; the mobile phone of a Ukrainain ambassador gets snatched; and four women of a family are killed in one night.Even as police repeatedly claims that the crime rate has declined, data shows that Delhi sees a theft every three minutes, six rapes a day and a murder daily, on average. The workout percentage for street crime also remains low.The Delhi police might have adopted the ‘digital India’ in true sense; however its practical implementation still remains a dream. The ‘Himmat’ application which was a “one touch solution for the safety of women” was revamped and re-launched, however not many people compared to the woman population of Delhi are even making full use of it.

Drop the words ‘Muslim’ and ‘Hindu’ from Aligarh and Banaras University: UGC Panel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The University Grants Commission (UGC) panel has reportedly suggested that the words ‘Muslim’ and ‘Hindu’ be removed from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and Banaras Hindu University (BHU), respectively as they are centrally-funded, secular institutions.The suggestion has been made in the audit of AMU by the committee set up by the UGC at the behest of the HRD Ministry to probe complaints of irregularities against 10 central universities, reported Indian Express.The institution should either be called just ‘Aligarh University’ or be named after its founder, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, the committee suggested in its audit.The committee has also described AMU as ‘feudal’ in nature and called for measures to uplift poor Muslims on campus. Though the AMU audit did not cover BHU, it has also recommended amending BHU’s name.The panel’s mandate was limited to infrastructure and its academic, research and financial operations in these universities.The panel has also made other recommendations such as – a five-year gap for all ex-students before they can be recruited as teachers in AMU and increasing the university’s tuition fee to help raise more resources internally.

India baby deaths: Eight infants die in one day at hospital

Assam’s health minister says the deaths in Barpeta district were not due to human negligence.

Best dad ever? Indian man flies all the way to Singapore to buy his daughter latest iPhone

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An Indian businessman flew all the way to Singapore and lined up for 13 hours overnight outside an Apple store to buy the latest iPhone as a wedding gift for his daughter. Amin Ahmed Dholiya, 43, was the first in the queue outside the Apple store on Orchard Road, where he arrived around 7 pm on Thursday to get his hands on the iPhone 8 Plus which hit the shelves yesterday, reported The Straits Times today.”I will buy two (phones), one for my other daughter (as well). This is my first-time queueing overnight for something.I am feeling good now but it will be hard to stand all night,” he was quoted as saying on Thursday.When the store opened at 8 am yesterday, there were some 200 people, including many foreigners, in the queue.Dholiya returned home last night, according to the Singapore daily.The new iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus were the first major products launched at the store since it opened in May.Foreigners “have a bigger reason to queue up and buy” at the Apple store here because the new devices have not yet been launched in their countries, and many of them may have to buy the phones without contract even when the phones are launched back home,” said Kiranjeet Kaur, a senior research manager for client devices at market research firm IDC Asia-Pacific.Apple had on September 12 unveiled the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus.Singapore consumers will generally prefer to get the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus at a subsidised price with a telco contract, said Kaur. Many customers from the three Singapore telcos avoided queuing for too long as they could book time slots to collect their new iPhones elsewhere.

Delhi Police arrests Al-Qaeda operative Shauman Haq

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A suspected al-Qaeda operative has been arrested from east Delhi, police said here today.Shauman Haq, 27, was arrested near Vikas Marg following a tip-off by Delhi Police’s Special Cell, an official said.Haq’s interrogation is underway and further details are awaited, he added.Last month, two men with suspected links to the terror outfit were arrested here in two separate cases.On August 9, the Special Cell had arrested 29-year-old Syed Mohammed Zishan Ali after he was deported from Saudi Arabia.On August 1, 25-year-old Raja-ul-Ahmed was arrested following a tip-off from the West Bengal Police.

Jammu-Srinagar National Highway: 6 school children, driver injured in accident

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A van carrying schoolchildren collided with another vehicle on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway today, injuring six students and the driver of the van.The incident occurred around 7:45 AM in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir. The van carrying students of KV school, Chennai, from Batote, collided head-on with another vehicle at Bagu Nallah in Batote, a police officer said.The injured driver, Mushtaq Ahmed, and the students were rushed to Community Health Centre Batote for treatment, he added.The children were given first-aid and handed over to their parents. The driver has been shifted to GMC hospital in Jammu for further treatment.

CBI seeks more time to investigate Najeeb Ahmed case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday informed the Delhi High court that they are making all possible efforts to trace JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, who has been missing from October last year.A bench of Justice Chandrashekhar and Justice G S Sistani directed the probe agency to take all steps to find the missing boy.”We direct CBI to take all necessary steps to trace the missing person who is missing since October 15, 2016,” the court said.According to advocate Monika Arora, the CBI stated in the report that they have started all the investigations from scratch and are exploring all possible angles in the case. The agency sought more time which was granted by the court.The CBI counsel informed the court that wide publicity has been given in 12 cities and several mortuaries were being carefully examined. He said the railway records of past one year of the same name and age have been called for.”Apart from a team of eight officials of CBI, officers of DIG rank are also monitoring the probe,” he said.The court also asked the CBI the reason for placing the status report in a sealed cover.In reply, the CBI counsel said they do not want the names of witnesses to be revealed.The High Court had, on May 16, ordered the CBI to take over the probe into the mysterious circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Najeeb since October 2016.

Deceased MP Sultan Ahmed was ‘under stress’ due to CBI probe: Mamata Banerjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Trinamool Congress MP Sultan Ahmed breathed his last on Monday. He suffered a cardiac arrest. The 64-year-old TMC leader was the Union Minister of State for Tourism during the UPA2 government and had been elected to the 15th Lok Sabha from Uluberia. He is survived by his wife and two sons.Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted her condolences. ‘Shocked and deeply saddened at the passing of Sultan Ahmed sitting @AITCOfficial LS MP & my long term colleague. Condolences to his family’, her tweet read. He suffered a cardiac arrest at his Ripon Street residence on Monday morning and when rushed to Belle Vue Clinic, was declared brought dead. “He had suffered a heart attack at about 11.15 am and was brought to the hospital at 12.15 pm. We were prepared for his treatment but had to declare him brought dead,” a senior official of the hospital said. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Sultan Ahmed, who died of cardiac arrest this morning, was under stress after he was interrogated by the CBI in connection with the Narada case. “I have heard that the CBI has sent him (Ahmed) a letter today also,” she told reporters here. “The Narada case is about an amount of just Rs 1 lakh or Rs 1.5 lakh. He was under tension…. He was not that old. This is a very sad news. We are all very sad,” the TMC chief said.‘Wished him Eid Mubarak on Saturday. Gone today. Stunned at the passing of my colleague Sultan Ahmed, MP in Kolkata. Prayers for his family’, read the post of TMC MP Derek O’Brien on facebook. State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury too expressed his grief. “I am aggrieved by the death of a close political colleague. It is difficult to believe that he is not there anymore. He was an amiable person who was ‘Sultan’ from the heart. May the Almighty grant him heaven,” he said. In a statement issued by the Raj Bhavan, governor Keshari Nath Tripathi expressed his condolences. ‘Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi expressed his heartfelt condolences at the sad demise of Shri Sultan Ahmed, a sitting TMC MP from Uluberia Lok Sabha Constituency and former Union Minister of State for Tourism in the Manmohan Singh Government. The Governor conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved family and his numerous followers’, the statement read. Ahmed had been recently summoned by the CBI and questioned for several hours together in the Narada case.TMC general secretary and MP Subrata Bakshi said that mental harassment of CBI had kept Ahmed very disturbed. “The attitude of CBI officials had taken him and many senior leaders to the edge. Ahmed was harassed by the Central investigating agency in Saradha and Narada cases,” he said. Ahmed had begun his political career as a member of Chhatra Parishad, the students’ wing of Congress in the early 70s and later was the member of Youth Congress before joining All India Trinamool Congress when it was formed in 1997 by Mamata Banerjee. Ahmed was also president of Mohammedan Sporting Club.With PTI inputs

Gujarat model ‘exposed’, confident Congress can form govt: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Buoyed by Ahmed Patel’s win in the Rajya Sabhha elections, Gujarat Congress is looking to come back to power in the state after nearly two decades. To boost their confidence, Congress VP Rahul Gandhi went to Ahmedabad on Monday and addressed the party workers. Rahul Gandhi alleged that the much hallowed Gujarat model has failed in the state. Gandhi expressed confidence that Congress will be able to make a comeback in the state and form government. He said the much talked about model has not helped ‘ youth, farmers, small businessmen or shopkeepers”, and has only been beneficial to handful of people. Rahul Gandhi even highlighted several issues like GST, demonetization and unemployment which Congress will try to use to corner BJP in the upcoming elections. Congress VP also took questions from grassroot workers during the interactive session. The Gujarat polls are expected towards the end of the year. Congress is looking to make a comeback with the ruling party BJP grappling with infighting, anti-incumbency and Patidar agitation etc. However many top leaders including Shankersinh Vaghela have deserted Congress in the recent past. Vaghela is yet to make his political ambitions clear but some others have joined BJP. So it will be an upheal task for Congress to make a comeback in the state, although Rahul Gandhi is confident about it. With PTI inputs

Old Delhi comes alive with Eid festivities

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As one walks out of the Chawri Bazaar in Old Delhi, the street moving towards Jama Masjid is bustling with women decked up, and children eating at food stalls, all of which are open despite the heavy rains that lashed the city for the past few days. Matiya Mahal street opposite Jama Masjid smells of food, and colours can be seen everywhere with the constant sound of ‘Eid Mubarak’ being heard every few steps.Further ahead towards Meena Bazaar near Urdu Park, in front of historic Jama Masjid gate, hoards of people make their way through stalls buying jewellery, toys, clothes or footwear; and eating at food stall selling Biryani and fruits.Among all this ‘comfortable chaos’, sits Mohammad Salim Khan, a goat seller at the goat market here, who managed to not only sell all of his 80 goats but all managed to sell the most expensive goat in the market this year.”It takes efforts to rear a good herd of goats. My goats sell the quickest and highest rates every year. This year the most expensive goat sold weighed 350 kilograms and sold for Rs 4.5 lakh,” says Khan, who has been in the business for 35 years.”This is the only time where we earn enough money for the entire year. The rest I save for my two daughters’ tuition who are currently studying in class 12 and 9,” he adds.Khan and another seller, Ahmed Majid, say that a huge amount is spent on rearing the goats. “A goat, which will sell for lakhs, would need milk two times a day, channa and even almonds. It will have to be reared for at least 2-3 years to get a good price for it. Daily expenses can vary between Rs 300 and Rs 600.” Majid says.”I used to feed Masoom, who was two and a half year old. 2.5 litres of milk every morning and evening, and 100 grams of almonds. Channa would cost another Rs 150. Did this for a good 2.5 years to make it healthy,” he adds.Majid, on the other hand, was trying to sell his 58 kg goat for Rs 60,000. The other smaller goats were sold from anywhere between Rs 10-25,000 which is a lot higher than last year’s prices due to less supply.

Friends collect funds to send body of loved one home for burial

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ensuring that their friend’s body reaches his family in Bahraich city of Uttar Pradesh, a group of friends collected Rs 25,000 overnight and were able to send his body home by flight on Friday evening.Bahu Ali, who was a hawker and stayed inside the building on the ground floor godown had came to Mumbai over two years ago. He was found dead after the Hussaini building collapsed at Bhendi Bazaar area on Thursday. “We identified the body on Friday morning,” said Naseem Ahmed, a friend.Four other bodies were sent to UP in an ambulance. 12-year-old Altaf Hyder Mansuri, another victim of the collapse, was sent to Bihar by flight on Friday.Altaf is one of the three minors who die in Thursday’s incident.

UP man has close shave with death

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thursday turned out to be a dark day for 31-year old Sagir Ahmed who he lost his two brothers and a nephew in the Hussaini building collapse.Ahmed, from Bharaich in Uttar Pradesh had come to city five years ago. He worked in a catering shop, situated on the ground floor of Hussaini Building and also used to have a business of dates and fruits.Ahmed, who was sleeping outside the building survived because when the building started trembling before it collapsed, a part of the roof covered him.”They pulled me out soon after the collapse. I suffered minor injuries but my two brothers and nephew did not make it,” said Ahmed.Ahmed, who is yet to get the body of his brothers and 18-year-old nephew Qayuum, said,”My parents and brothers’ wives are distraught. My brother Ahmed (29) has two children – the first is over a year old and second is barely six months old. Naseer (24) was just married.”

Gorakhpur tragedy: Former BRD Principal Rajeev Mishra, his wife arrested by STF from Kanpur

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After registration of FIRs against nine accused in Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College tragedy in which 31 children had died allegedly due to short supply of oxygen on August 10 and 11, a team of the Special Task Force (STF) on Tuesday arrested former Principal Dr Rajeev Mishra and his wife Purnima Shukla from Kanpur.Dr Rajeev Mishra and his wife are the main accused in the BRD case.The doctor couple was on the run and had sought shelter at the residence of a prominent lawyer of Kanpur to seek legal help for quashing of cases against them.A STF surveillance team was keeping a tab on their movements through mobile locations. The team tracked the couple in Kanpur and arrested them from the residence. The SSP Gorakhpur Anirudh Satyarth Pankaj confirmed the arrest and said that a team of the Gorakhpur has been sent to Kanpur to bring the main accused and his wife to Gorakhpur for interrogation. “We appeal all other accused to surrender and help the police carry out its investigation or else they will also meet the same fate,” warned the SSP.The Gorakhpur Police had conducted a raid on late Monday night at the residence of Dr Kafeel Ahmed Khan only to find that he too was absconding.Police searched his residence and nursing home run by his wife and collected several documents to prove charges of Khan indulging in private practice.On the direction of the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the Lucknow Police had lodged FIRs against nine accused including Dr Rajeev Mishra, his wife Dr Purnima Shukla, Head AES Ward Dr Kafeel Ahmed Khan, Head Anaesthesia, Dr Satish Kumar, Owner of Pushpa Sales Maneesh Bhandari, Chief Pharmacist Gajanand Jaiswal, Account department clerks Udai Pratap Sharma, Sanjay Kumar and Sudhir Kumar.FIRs were lodged under Sections 120-B, 308 and 420 on the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Section 7/13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 15 of the Indian Medical Council Act.

Remain united, fight for truth, Sonia, Rahul tell party MLAs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi met the party’s lawmakers from Gujarat in New Delhi on Monday and asked them to remain united and to fight for truth and ideology in Mahatma Gandhi’s home state.Forty-three Congress MLAs, who voted for party’s senior leader Ahmed Patel in the recently held Rajya Sabha elections, were in the Capital to meet the party’s top leadership. The MLAs will also visit Tirupati on Wednesday before returning to Gujarat.Sonia Gandhi chaired the meeting of the MLAs held at her residence at 10 Janpath, which discussed the party’s strategy for the state assembly elections, which are likely to be held in November or December.Rahul Gandhi, Ahmed Patel, and party’s Gujarat in-charge Ashok Gehlot also spoke at the meeting.Both Sonia and Rahul congratulated the MLAs for remaining united to get Ahmed Patel re-elected to the Rajya Sabha.”Our party president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul ji told the legislators that the Congress was not contesting for power, but for restoring values in Mahatma Gandhi’s Gujarat,” party spokesperson and MLA Shaktisinh Gohil said.Gohil said that the party leadership told the MLAs to continue opposing the anti-democratic forces in a united manner, so as to rally public support in the assembly elections.The party MLAs were asked to keep their differences aside, to revive grass-root connect with the people and enthuse booth-level workers.”The political issues to connect with masses were also identified, which the party will take up robustly. There is unemployment, widespread closure of industries, lack of investors and the farce of Vibrant Gujarat Summit. There are many such issues which we would bring forth through our campaigns – social media, audio visual and print,” said party general secretary Ashok Gehlot.A senior leader said that the issue of alliance with like-minded parties for the polls also came up during the discussion.”Had a good meeting with Congress MLAs and leaders from Gujarat today,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted after the meeting.Even as Congress leaders appeared buoyant after the meeting, the ruling BJP lashed out at Rahul Gandhi for allegedly insulting the MLAs.Gujarat BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said that TV visuals showed Congress MLAs standing behind barricades when Rahul Gandhi came to speak with them.”It appeared as if they were standing at a ST stand and seeking tickets,” Pandya said, accusing Rahul of behaving like a ‘Sultan’ and insulting the Congress MLAs.Congress has been out of power in Gujarat for over two decades, and is hoping to ride on anti-incumbency and other factors to upset the BJP in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state in the coming elections. However, rampant internal factionalism is a big challenge for the party. The exit of former chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela is also seen as a huge blow to Congress ahead of the elections….& ANALYSISCongress has been out of power in Gujarat for over two decades, and is hoping to ride on anti-incumbency and other factors to upset the BJP in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state in the coming elections
However, rampant internal factionalism is a big challenge for the party
Exit of former chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela is also seen as a huge blow to Congress ahead of elections
MLAs have therefore been asked to put differences aside and enthuse booth level workers

Massive setbacks to terrorists and separatists in Kashmir Valley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The period preceding Kargil Vijay Diwas (Day) on 26 July, till after Independence Day in Kashmir Valley, has been marked by the elimination of over 120 terrorists, and at long last, the apprehension of the separatists? henchmen involved in funding and organizing terrorist and stone-pelting/heckling activities. General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) Northern Command, Lt. Gen. Devraj Anbu, attended the `Kargil Vijay Diwas? ceremony at Drass, the second highest extreme cold area of the world in Kargil district, to honour the martyrs and interacted with some of their families and other war heroes present. Speaking to media at Drass, he assured that a Kargil-like situation will not be allowed to happen again and that the troops are totally prepared to meet any eventuality. Regarding the overall security situation in the Kashmir Valley, Lt. Gen. Anbu said: ?Army and other security agencies are working in close coordination to carry out anti-militancy operations and they have achieved many successes in the recent past, both along LoC as well as hinterland. He said it was because of the close coordination that security forces eliminated 36 militants, including some self-styled commander in the Valley during the past three months. ?Alert troops also foiled a number of infiltration attempt from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK),? he said, adding that scores of militants were gunned down immediately after they sneaked into this side, while a large number of trained militants are waiting at launch pads near the Line of Control (LoC) in PoK to enter this side before the infiltration routes are closed due to snowfall. Lt Gen Anbu said relations between the people in Kashmir and Indian Army were strengthening day by day and as a result, more than 14,500 students are getting education in 45 Army Goodwill Schools all over Jammu and Kashmir. ?This has helped more than 1,000 local youths to get employment,? he said. Without naming China, he said, the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Western Ladakh is disputed as it has not been demarkated yet. ?We resolve the local issues, if any, at the local level,? he added. Also present was GOC 14 Crops Lt. Gen. P J S Pannu. Having planned the Kargil misadventure as early as when Pakistan?s former army chief, self-styled CEO and later President, Parvez Musharraf was the Director General of Military Operations, twelve battalions of Northern Light Infantry (NLI) were raised for this purpose. Unlike the regular Pak army dominated by major ethnic groups like the Punjabis, Pashtuns etc, NLI comprised a mix of men from the small tribes of the Kashmir region, drawn from eight major ethnic groups-Baltis (from Baltistan), Shins, Yashkuns, Mughals, Kashmiris, Pathans, Ladakhis and Turks who speak the dialects of Balti, Shina, Brushaki, Khawer, Wakhi, Turki, Pushto, Urdu and Persian. The breakdown of NLI personnel was 49 % Shias, 23 % Ismailees, 10% Noor Bakhshis and the remainder 18 % were the only Sunnis. 55% hailed from Gilgit and 35 % from Baltistan. These twelve battalions of NLI were raised by Pak army as convenient and dispensable cannon-fodder and accordingly administered poorly, as came to be known after the fighting began almost six months after their deployment in the Kargil area. Initially, following the fatal casualties of NLI personnel, Pak army disgracefully denied that they were Pakistani troops and even refused to accept their mortal remains. Later there were reports of NLI troops not receiving rations and the bodies of many of them killed being sent back to their homes only in hours of darkness as well as their next of kin lamenting that there were sugar grains stuck to their lips-an indication that they had been starving. Operation Vijay launched by Indian Army in May 1999 was fraught with many disadvantages and difficulties. Owing to New Delhi initially not believing that Kargil heights had been intruded/occupied by Pak army, Indian troops had to negotiate the exacting terrain, including almost vertical climbs to approach the advantageously positioned and well defended Pakistani troops. It was with raw courage and outstanding junior leadership that Indian soldiers successfully gained back the high altitude outposts occupied by Pakistani intruders and at the great cost of over 500 Indian armed forces personnel killed during the 60-day long war. However, refusing learn from its defeat at Kargil, Pak army and Inter Services Iintelligence have continued relentlessly to resort to various other means to keep Kashmir Valley on the boil by inciting youth through the separatists to pelt stones at and heckle Indian Army and security forces, while even helping terrorists in attacking and escaping. The zenith of eight years of anti-India operations was in 2016, when in addition to all mentioned activities, short of forty schools were destroyed by burning. Meanwhile, the Indian Army and security forces (SFs), including J&K police, relentlessly continued- again disadvantageously- to combat the terrorists while dealing with radicalized Kashmiri youth with great restraint. Results began to show by mid 2017, but at the cost of many casualties sustained by both army and SFs, even as the Chinese troops have been maintaining pressure on the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh by frequent incursions/transgressions. In 2017, till July itself, 121 Pakistani / Pak army supported Kashmiri terrorists have been killed by Army/SFs-51 on the Line Of Control (LoC) and 70 in the hinterland- a major achievement. A comparison of ceasefire violations, infiltration bids and casualties in 2016 and 2017, all till end of July, is relevant. There were 248 violations in 2016 and 368 in 2017. In both years till July, 20 terrorists each were eliminated. 40 infiltration attempts were foiled by Army in 2016 and 19 in 2017. Terrorists killed during infiltration attempts were 55 in 2016 and 54 in 2017. Personnel of Army and central armed police organization (CAPF) martyred in 2016 were 61 and 35 whereas in 2017, there have been 40 and 18 so far. 1,00,000 Army and CAPF personnel were deployed for vigil over the Amarnath yatra, which can be considered to have been successfully conducted for almost 3,00,000 pilgrims. The dastardly terrorist attack on a bus on 11 July 2017, killing seven Gujarati women and children and injuring nineteen others succeeded only because that bus did not join the protected convoy. Despite the desperation of Pak army/ISI, one basic reason for the turning of the tide this year is the public in the Valley becoming sick of terrorism and violence. The successes of Army and other SFs have come about mainly through reliable and timely human intelligence. The same populace subjected to radicalization appear to be disgusted and have been readily sharing information of the whereabouts of terrorists. The other front attacked at long last by New Delhi is that of the separatists. On 17 August 2017, National Investigation Agency (NIA) , arrested Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali in connection with a case pertaining to funding of terrorist and separatist activities in Jammu & Kashmir. His arrest followed the searches conducted by the NIA on 16 August at multiple locations in Srinagar, Handwara, Kupwara and Baramulla, belonging to the relatives and employees of Zahoor Watali. The searches unearthed highly incriminating material pertaining to receipt of funds by Zahoor Watali from foreign sources and its further distribution to the terrorists and separatists in Kashmir valley for anti-India activities. Earlier, on 3rd June, 2017, the NIA had searched Zahoor Watali?s house in Srinagar and seized incriminating documents pertaining to several financial transactions and land deals. The property documents seized have shown huge amount of cash transactions in sale and purchase. Watali, who is suspected of acting as a conduit for illegally remitting funds to the secessionists, terrorists and stone-pelters, was earlier arrested in the year 1990 by the Jammu & Kashmir Police, when some anti-national activists were found present in his house at Bagat Barzulla, Srinagar. He was taken into custody along with Yaseen Malik, Sajjad Gani Lone, Bilal Lone and others and was jailed for eight months at Jammu. Earlier,on 24 July 2017, Altaf Ahmed Shah, the son-in-law of hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, was arrested along with six more separatists by NIA in connection with its probe into the funding of terror and subversive activities in the Kashmir Valley. Altaf Ahmed Shah, popularly known as Altaf Fantoosh, was in the custody of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, who had put him in preventive detention immediately after Eid. Geelani’s close aides Tehreek-e-Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar and Peer Saifullah and yet earlier, Shahid-ul-Islam, spokesman of the ?moderate? Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq. The others arrested are Mehrajuddin Kalwal and Nayeem Khan (of the Hurriyat’s Geelani faction) and Farooq Ahmed Dar alias ‘Bitta Karate’. The houses of those arrested had been raided by NIA. Shah is perceived as an influential force in the Tehrek-e-Hurriyat. The NIA had recovered account books, Rs. 2 crore in cash and letterheads of banned terror groups, including the Lashkar eTaiyaba and Hizbul Mujahideen from the raids. The NIA investigation also seeks to identify the network of those financing of terrorist activities, including those who masterminded stone-pelting at security forces, burnt down schools and damaged government establishments. For the first time since the rise of terrorism in Kashmir in the early 1990s, a central probe agency carried out raids to detect the funding of separatists. In 2002, the Income Tax department had raided the establishments of some separatist leaders, including Mr Geelani, and seized cash and documents, but that was of no avail, as they carried on with their anti-India activities. It is reiterated that terrorism in Kashmir Valley can only be curbed completely by nabbing all the separatists and keeping them well away from that region. The views expressed in the above article are that of Col. Anil Bhat.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Man held for ‘spreading anti-national propaganda’ in J&K:

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A man has been arrested on charges of spreading “anti-national propaganda” on social media to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere in Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district, the police said today. The social media monitoring cell of the Doda Police zeroed in on eight people involved in spreading anti-national propaganda through social media, and thereafter arrested Bashir Ahmed from the Gundna area, a police official said. Ahmed “posted anti-national content” on his Facebook wall and WhatsApp, he said. “He was trying to mislead the youth of the area and disturb the peace and communal harmony,” he added. A case has been registered against Ahmed in connection with the matter.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sharad Pawar breaks silence, claims NCP legislator voted for Ahmed Patel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Finally, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar broke his silence on Sunday claiming that the vote cast by his party’s legislator helped Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political advisor Ahmed Patel to win one of the most talked about and bitterly fought election to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat. He said of the two party legislators in Gujarat state assembly, one voted for BJP and another for Congress which proved to be the deciding factor in Patel’s victory. Pawar made this statement during a visit to Kolhapur.Pawar took swipe against Congress for allegedly spreading stories about NCP supporting BJP. NCP supremo without taking name snubbed Ahmed Patel who after his election had said whether NCP voted for him was a million dollar question.On the move to establish opposition unity to take on mighty BJP, Pawar downplayed developments saying talks in this regard have been going on for last three years but nothing substantial has happened so far. He blamed the Congress party for its blow hot blow cold policy.His statement is important as NCP had skipped meeting of opposition parties called by Congress President Sonia Gandhi on August 11 to discuss unity and chalk out a strategy against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. NCP’s absence resulted in talk about cracks in the joint opposition.Senior NCP leader Praful Patel had strongly justified NCP’s decision to boycott the meeting saying that it was to protest against the “lies” spread by the Congress that its legislators had voted against Ahmed Patel in Gujarat. Subsequently, leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Gulam Nabi Azad clarified that NCP continues to be part of joint opposition and said Pawar had communicated his inability to attend due to ill [email protected]naindia.net

Two held with 70 kg of poppy in Rajouri

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police today arrested two persons and seized 70 kg of poppy that they were allegedly smuggling in a gas tanker in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir. “Around 0530 hours, a gas tanker, on its way from Kashmir to Jammu, was stopped by a police party at Lamberi area of the district,” Rajouri SSP Yoygal Manhas said. He said upon searching the vehicle, police found 70 kg of poppy from the vehicle’s cabin following which its driver and cleaner were arrested. The accused have been identified as Raftar Ahmed (driver) and Mukhtiyar Ahmad, both residents of Rajouri. Their vehicle has been seized and a case registered at the Nowshera police station, Manhas said, adding investigation is underway.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Kashmiri biz man sent to 10-day NIA custody

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Delhi court on Friday sent Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Watali to 10-day NIA custody for interrogation after he was arrested by the investigating agency for allegedly collecting money from Pakistani-based terror organisations for Hurriyat leaders.Additional District and Sessions Judge Poonam A Bamba agreed for the custody after it contended that the accused has to be confronted with evidence in which Altaf Ahmed Shah, the son-in-law of Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, and six others were earlier arrested by the agency.During the in-camera proceedings , the judge said that it was the considered opinion of that ends of justice would be met by granting the custody to the agency.According to sources, the probe agency said that it had found various suspicious documents from the accused during the searches, including details of bank accounts and cash received by him from various terror outfits.Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, appearing for the agency, sought his custody for two weeks.Watali was arrested on Thursday by the agency for alleged involvement in the case. Earlier, the agency had carried out raids at his premises and that of other suspects.

Balvantsinh Rajput challenges Ahmed Patel’s RS win

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress rebel, Balvantsinh Rajput, who lost the Rajya Sabha elections on a BJP ticket, has challenged the victory of Congress candidate, Ahmed Patel, in the Gujarat High Court. The matter is likely to be heard on Monday.Rajput has moved an election petition challenging the election results of Patel. His contention is that the Election Commission cannot issue a direction to the returning officer to invalidate two votes when the officer has decided to allow it.The petitioner’s advocate Devang Vyas and senior counsel Satya Pal Jain pled for urgent circulation and hearing of the case before the second division bench of Justice MR Shah and BN Karia. The court has directed the registry for listing the matter before the designated court, and it is most likely to be heard on Monday.In the petition, it has been alleged that Patel acted in violation of the Representation of the People Act, that strictly prohibits candidates from luring voters to seek a vote.The petition alleges that Patel took 44 MLAs to Bengaluru against their wishes and confined them — just to seek their votes for the election.The petitioner has also pled that the court should set aside the result declaring Patel the winner, and declare him the winning candidate instead.To justify his victory, Rajput has claimed that two Congress MLAs had shown their ballot paper to someone other than the party’s polling agent.This was opposed by BJP leader Shankar Chaudhary. If these two votes are declared invalid too, Patel will not have enough votes in the first round, but he will have enough votes in the preferential round to be declared the winner.The EC’s decision paved the way for the victory of Congress candidate Ahmed Patel — who got 44 votes, the minimum he needed to win. Rajput polled 38 votes.WIN OR LOSS?As Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy was on leave on Friday, the petition came up before the senior-most judge, Justice MR Shah, who ordered that it be listed for hearing on August 21 before the appropriate bench
The EC’s decision to invalidate the votes of two rebel Congress MLAs paved the way for the victory of Congress candidtae Ahmed Patel

One of two MLAs voted for BJP in Guj RS polls, admits NCP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior NCP leader Praful Patel today admitted that one of the two party MLAs had voted for the BJP candidate in the recent Gujarat Rajya Sabha election. He, however, dismissed the Congress’ allegation that both the NCP MLAs in Gujarat had voted against its candidate Ahmed Patel in the August 8 polls. The former Union minister said while Jayant Patel alias ‘Bosky’ had voted for Ahmed Patel, the political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, another NCP MLA, Kandhal Jadeja, voted for the BJP in the election to the Upper House of Parliament from Gujarat. “The NCP was very clear from the beginning that both of our MLAs will vote for Ahmed Patel and the whip was issued accordingly. However, Jadeja defied it and voted for the BJP, whereas Bosky stuck to the party directive,” Patel, the NCP in-charge for Gujarat, said at a press conference here. Asked if the party was mulling any action against Jadeja, he said it was an “internal matter of the NCP”. Ahmed Patel won the cliffhanger of the election with 44 votes after the Election Commission (EC) invalidated the votes of two rebel Congress MLAs, who had allegedly showed their ballots to BJP president Amit Shah. Congress sources had said Patel won the polls on the votes of the 43 party MLAs and the lone JD(U) MLA in the Gujarat Assembly, Chhotu Vasava, and not on the votes of the NCP MLAs. The narrow margin of Patel’s victory amidst the see- sawing number game and cross-voting has, however, soured the relations between the Congress and the Sharad Pawar-led party. The NCP, last Friday, skipped a meeting of opposition parties convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to express its displeasure over the allegations levelled by some Congress leaders that the two Gujarat MLAs of the party had not voted for Ahmed Patel in the Rajya Sabha election. Asked about a possible alliance with the Congress for the Gujarat Assembly polls due later this year, Patel said a decision to that effect would be taken by the NCP high- command. “The NCP was part of the Congress-led UPA government in the past. We had entered into a pre-poll alliance with the Congress for the 2012 Gujarat Assembly polls. We may enter into an alliance again if the Congress approaches us,” he said. Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia alleged that the NCP did not stand by his party when it needed its support. “The Rajya Sabha election was a fight to save democracy. Just like some others had come forward to support us, the NCP too should have stood by us. However, it was unfortunate that the NCP failed to do its bit, which was very disheartening for us,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Seven JD(S) MLAs to join Congress on

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Seven Janata Dal (Secular) JD(S) MLAs led by party legislator B. Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan are scheduled to meet Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi tomorrow here regarding joining the party. Speaking to ANI, Ahmed said, ?We are all from JDS party; we left the party seven months back. Rahul Gandhi ji called us in Delhi so that he can officially announce all seven of us into his party. Tomorrow morning at 10:30 am we are meeting him as it is our official appointment day?. Further on joining the Congress, Ahmed stated that JD (S) is no longer a secular party but Congress has these factors in them. ?From the last eight months we have been planning this and finally the day has arrived. We left JD (S) because it was a secular party but does not remain to be so. That is why we are joining the Congress happily and proudly,? he said. On August 14, Ahmed said that the grand old part?s vice-president had invited the seven suspended JD(S) legislators to join the Congress and they all would meet him in New Delhi on August 17. Khan later confirmed that the seven legislators would go to Delhi with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar and KPCC President Dr G. Parameshwar. Claiming that the Congress would win 160 seats in the 2018 Assembly elections, Khan said the BJP would not cross the 60- mark even if Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah camped in Karnataka before elections. On JD(S) President H.D. Deve Gowda asking him to quit as party MLA, Khan said: ?Gowda has no moral right to ask me to resign. I have been elected by the people and not by Gowda. He even called me Mir Sadiq. I have not cheated anyone in my life.?(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

7 suspended JD-S MLAs to join Cong

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seven rebel JD-S MLAs who were suspended by the party are all set to join the Congress ahead of next year’s Assembly elections in Karnataka. The 7 suspended legislators today met senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel and chief minister Siddharamaiah here and would meet the party vice president Rahul Gandhi tomorrow. Zameer Ahmed Khan, who is leading the bunch, said he along with other MLAs have met the chief minister and senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel and K Rehman Khan and would be meeting Gandhi tomorrow. “We will try and strengthen the Congress, as it is the only secular force that we look at. The JD-S has compromised on the secular credentials by siding with the BJP and the only option we have is the Congress, which we will strengthen. We will join the Congress sometime in December,” Zameer Khand told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sharad’s show of strength with opposition parties tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Leaders from opposition parties, including the Congress and the Left, are expected to attend an event tomorrow, hosted by rebel JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, that seeks to save the “composite culture” of the country. Top leaders of the Congress, the Left, Samajwadi Party, BSP, TMC and other parties opposed to the BJP have been invited to the programme which is being seen as Yadav’s show of strength against his party chief Nitish Kumar’s decision to ally with the BJP. Asked who would attend the meeting, he told reporters, “There would be hardly anybody from the opposition who will not come”. Asserting that “composite culture” was the soul of the Constitution, which Yadav alleged was being “tinkered with”, he said similar meetings would be held across the country. While refusing to answer questions on his disapproval of Bihar Chief Minister Kumar’s alliance with the BJP, the former JD(U) chief said the decision to hold tomorrow’s event was taken weeks ago, when his party was with the loose opposition group. “The ‘sajha virasat bachao sammelan’ (save composite culture programme) is not against anybody but in the interest of the country. This is in the interest of 125 crore people of the country,” he said. He cited incidents such as the suicide of Rohith Vemula and the disappearance of JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, besides suicides of farmers across the country, to suggest that the situation was tough for underprivileged people. While supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments against violence in the name of faith, Yadav said it was not reflected on the ground and Modi needed to tell his party’s governments to follow his dictum. Sources close to him said invites had been sent to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad among others in the Congress, Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M), Lalu Prasad of the RJD, Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, besides others. The JD(U), which has asked Yadav not to hold the event, removed him as its parliamentary party leader in the Rajya Sabha when he continued with his campaign against the alliance with the BJP. Yadav was accompanied by Ali Anwar Ansari, a Rajya Sabha member suspended from the parliamentary party by the JD(U), and Arun Shrivastava, recently sacked from the post of general secretary.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Ahmed Patel’s RS poll win, just the booster Congress needed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The dramatic Rajya Sabha win of Congress’ chief strategist Ahmed Patel is being widely hailed in internal circles as the booster shot the party needed and a turning point in its fortunes. Patel, Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary, pushed back an aggressive BJP to win a high stakes battle for the RS seat from Gujarat, providing state cadres a big reason to cheer. Gujarat goes for Assembly elections shortly. Congress general secretary in-charge of Gujarat Ashok Gehlot described Patel’s victory in the RS poll as a morale booster for party cadres across the country and a significant marker of the BJP’s fallibility. “The BJP has suffered a lot of damage in this election. Its credibility has taken a huge hit. There was no tool they didn’t employ to put spokes in Congress wheels. BJP chief Amit Shah himself went and sat in Gujarat during counting. “Ahmed Patel’s win will have a positive impact for us not just in Gujarat but across the country. People saw the extent to which BJP can fall to win one seat at the cost of democracy. One election has exposed the BJP totally and this victory will prove a boon for Congress,” Gehlot said. Congress insiders hailed Patel’s win for another reason – the fact that it showed BJP’s electoral vulnerability after a long time. “This win has broken the myth of BJP invincibility and it has also boosted workers’ morale hugely. It will reverse the down slide Congress was facing. It will send a positive signal across India and will boost Congress’ chances in upcoming polls,” Gehlot said describing Patel as a pole of opposition unity and his win as the harbinger of positive electoral fortunes for the Congress. Gujarat state leaders say Patel’s historic win against the might of BJP top brass will become an turning point in the upcoming state polls. “Ahmed Patel’s win will prove a turning point for Congress in Gujarat. We are getting reports of people not appreciating the aggression the BJP put into winning one RS seat. This is bound to prove counterproductive for the BJP which lost out in the final game,” Shaktisinh Gohil, senior Congress leader from Gujarat and party’s spokesperson told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BJP backs NCP’s decision of skipping Opposition meet @ 8/12/2017 12:46:18 PM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> As the Opposition seek to mount a united fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the saffron party on Saturday stated that the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) skipping the meeting called by Congress President Sonia Gandhi was a good decision. Speaking to ANI, BJP spokesperson Syed Zafar Islam said, ?The opposition can never over rule the BJP with any meeting that they conduct. Also NCP skipping the meeting shows that Congress has no power and has lost it long back. After the Congress MLA?s betraying its own party shows how strong they are?? Hailing over BJP and its rule, another saffron party leader Kailash Vijayvargiya stated that other than no other party is capable of ruling the government than them. ?I would not like to comment much about this situation as it is their problem. But I would like to inform the opposition that; other than BJP no other party is capable of ruling the government or Centre. Conduct any meeting; nothing can hamper us in any way,? he said. The NCP skipped a meeting of Opposition parties yesterday called by Sonia Gandhi after the Congress suggested that the former had betrayed them in the recent Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat. The reason, sources said, might be the NCP being miffed with the Congress after it expressed doubt over its integrity. There were reports that two MLAs of the NCP in Gujarat might have voted for the BJP and not for Congress candidate Ahmed Patel in the Rajya Sabha elections. The joint Opposition meet was called to discuss unity and chalk out a strategy against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central Government. Meanwhile, with Ahmed Patel emerging victorious in the Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls, the NCP on Wednesday reminded the Congress that this triumph happened because of their help, and the grand old party must remember this in the future. “This was indeed a nail-biting finish, his (Ahmed Patel) own MLAs (Member of Legislative Assembly) ditched him. Now, the Congress must remember this in future, reciprocate it and treat us like a younger brother,” NCP senior leader Majeed Memon told ANI. After the intense political developments and the Election Commission (EC) declaring votes of two Congress MLAs – Bhola Bhai Gohil and Raghav Bhai Patel – invalid, Patel was able to retain his Rajya Sabha seat. Total 176 MLAs voted in the crucial elections, but two votes were declared invalid.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BJP puts the onus on EC for losing RS elections in Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Losing the hotly contested Rajya Sabha elections for the third seat to Ahmed Patel of Congress by a wafer-thin margin, the BJP is not ready to call it a day in Gujarat.Willing to raise the stakes further, the losing MLA, Balwantsinh Rajput, a rebel Congress heavyweight who fought against Patel, is soon expected to file an election petition in the high court.”Rajput is talking to his lawyer and would soon file his petition either in Ahmedabad, or Delhi high court,”said a senior BJP leader.Describing the recently concluded elections as a complete victory, BJP sources insisted that the result would have been different had the Election Commission (EC) stuck to pure constitutional aspect by taking the decision of the Returning Officer as final.”The Commission saw on the video footage and did not go into the constitutional aspect,”said BJP sources. “The fact is that the recent elections extended our base and reduced the Congress to the margins just before the Gujarat assembly elections,” said a BJP leader adding that this would help include more seats to its existing tally of 122 MLAs and reach the target of 150 that Amit Shah has set for the party.”The talks of Congress making a come back are just glib talk as before these elections Congress had 57 MLAs besides enjoying the support of four allies. Yet they failed miserably in amassing votes of 44 MLAs, and won the election by fluke,”said the leader.Rebutting Congress allegations, the BJP leader insisted that all the legislators came to party’s fold not because of any inducement but on their own. “All of them are well off and do not need money,”said the leader.

NCP skips Oppn meeting called by Congress chief

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s attempts to put back on track the dream of Opposition unity against the Modi-Shah juggernaut on Friday came a cropper as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar skipped the meeting. This comes after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to join hands with the BJP in Bihar.The meeting attended by 16 parties took place in the Parliament House Annexe Building. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury walked out halfway through the meeting. Yechuri appears to be peeved by the importance given to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Sources said the CPI(M) central committee had directed Yechury to stop “piggybacking on the Congress”. He told reporters that his party will do what is required to form an alternative people’s narrative through struggle. He said his party would work for it independently, and other parties are welcome to join. The meeting, however, authorised Sonia to constitute a small coordination committee for planning future programmes on agrarian distress and other issues. Everyone congratulated her political secretary, Ahmed Patel, for winning the Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat despite the BJP’s best efforts to defeat him.Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad tried to play down the absence of Sharad Pawar, saying he was not well. He refused to agree that Pawar’s NCP was a suspect in not voting for Ahmed Patel. Rebel Janata Dal(U) leader Sharad Yadav is touring Bihar, but was represented in the meeting by the party’s Rajya Sabha member Ali Anwar, who was later suspended from the party’s parliamentary party for attending the meeting.It is believed that the NCP skipped the meeting to express its displeasure over allegations by some Congress leaders that its two MLAs did not vote for Ahmed Patel. NCP leader Praful Patel said even when his party had issued a three-line whip to its MLAs to vote for the Congress, leaders of that party are accusing it of not supporting its candidate. “Even after we issued a whip to our MLAs, they voted for the Congress. Why should we be accused of not supporting it? That is why we decided to boycott this meeting,” Patel said. He also wondered why the NCP should run after the Congress, when the party led by Sonia Gandhi is one of the various opposition parties.

Oppn parties discuss strategy to counter BJP; NCP skips meet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Leaders of 16 opposition parties today decided to evolve a joint strategy to build an “alternative narrative” in the country to counter the BJP.But cracks in the opposition were visible as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), a key ally of the Congress during the ten years of UPA rule, skipped the meeting convened and chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.Opposition leaders authorised Gandhi to form a sub-group that would coordinate with other parties on public issues to be taken up before the start of Parliament’s winter session.The meeting in the capital was also attended by dissident JD(U) MP Ali Anwar Ansari, who is opposed to his party’s alliance with the BJP in Bihar.West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the leaders of the Left parties also attended the meet.Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, down with a viral infection, was not present.Jose K Mani of the Kerala Congress also could not attend the meeting, apparently because of a party function in Kerala.Among those who were present were former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Congress leaders Ahmed Patel and A K Antony, RLD’s Ajit Singh, DMK’s Tiruchi Siva, CPI’s D Raja, BSP’s Satish Misra and SP’s Naresh Agrawal.Omar Abdullah of the NC, Sanjeev Kumar of the JMM, JD’s Danish Ali, AIUDF’s Badrussin Ajmal, RSP’s N K Premchandran and IUML’s Mohammed Bashir were also present.Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said after the meeting that those present authorised the Congress president to form the sub-group.He said the opposition parties’ floor management was well coordinated during the monsoon session of Parliament.The parties would chalk out a joint strategy to raise public issues in the coming three months before the start of the winter session, he said.”This was the fourth meeting of the opposition parties on coordination. After these meetings, there was good floor coordination, which was lacking earlier. Opposition parties will come out with a coordinated effort during the inter- session period from now to the winter session of Parliament,” he said.Azad said it was decided that the sub-group would hold talks with the leaders of the other parties and discuss with them issues to be raised across the country.The opposition parties also thanked former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar and ex-governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi for accepting their proposal to contest the presidential and vice presidential election respectively on behalf of the opposition, Azad said.CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the opposition had to build an “alternative narrative” to counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP.”This alternative is required to be built by raising issues concerning the common man and through struggles on the ground level to counter the BJP,” he said.Yechury said this would be done through an effective strategy and taking up “pro-people issues” such as the ongoing agrarian crisis.Azad said besides farmers’ issues, unemployment and attacks on dalits, minorities and the poor would be taken up.Asked why the NCP and the Kerala Congress did not attend the meeting, he said he had talked to NCP supremo Sharad Pawar in the morning, who said he was unwell.”Had he been in Delhi and not unwell, he would surely have attended today’s event,” he said.The NCP, however, said it had boycotted the meet to express its displeasure over allegations by some Congress leaders that its two MLAs did not vote for Ahmed Patel in the Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections held earlier this week.On the absence of the Kerala Congress, Azad said Mani had said he had a party function to attend in Kerala.RJD’s Jaiprakash Yadav said there was an “undeclared emergency” in the country.”Democracy is being murdered under the BJP, which is carrying out the RSS’s agenda,” he said.Yadav said many opposition leaders would attend the August 27 joint rally in Patna convened by RJD leader Lalu Prasad.Azad and Yechury, however, said nothing had been “finalised” when asked which of the parties would participate in the Patna rally.The opposition moves for a joint strategy come in the wake of a series of assembly polls won by the BJP after the 2014 parliamentary elections which brought the party to power at the Centre.

Shaktisinh displeased Vaghela to appease Patel: Bharat Pandya

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat BJP has taken a dig at Congress senior MLA and national spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil for his role in Rajya Sabha polls. BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said that Gohil displeased a leader of the masses like Shankersinh Vaghela to appease Ahmed Patel while addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad on Thursday.Pandya said, “Congress has always had a culture to appease leaders in the top, may they be from the Nehru-Gandhi family or their close confidantes. Gohil has also done the same and displeased a leader like Shankersinh Vaghela to appease Ahmed Patel. Congress will have to pay a huge price in the near future for Vaghela’s displeasure.”Gohil was Ahmed Patel’s polling agent and had raised an objection against the votes of Raghavji Patel and Bhola Gohil for showing the ballot paper to BJP leaders. The objection was upheld by the Election Commission and both votes were cancelled.He also said that Congress MLAs from different communities like Rajput, OBC, SC and ST have defected from the party as they were not satisfied with the leadership. They had to leave Congress as the leaders did not respect them, he said.”Congress lost 14 of its MLAs and that is almost 25% of their total strength in the Gujarat Assembly. This shows that Congress is broken. They are talking of Navsarjan (reconciliation), but they are leading towards Visarjan (dissolution). They are not considering the people’s mandate and are instead following the path shown by members of Nehru-Gandhi family,” added Pandya.The BJP spokesperson also alleged that Gohil had threatened and admonished Raghavji Patel and Bhola Gohil when they went to show him their ballot papers. Pandya further added that Gohil also tried to the snatch ballot paper from their hands, but failed. This was a part of Gohil’s and Congress’ pre-planned conspiracy, Pandya alleged.

At protest IYC workers hail Ahmed Patel as ‘Gujarat Ka Sher’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The victory of Ahmed Patel in the Rajya Sabha polls from Gujarat seems to be a big morale booster for Congress workers, who gathered here from different parts of the country braving hot and sultry weather, just to listen to their “Gujarat ka sher”. Workers of the Indian Youth Congress had gathered at the Jantar Mantar to protest against the Centre’s policies, led by its president Amarinder Singh Raja. First came C P Joshi, the beleaguered Congress leader who rode his party to victory in 2008 Rajasthan Assembly polls but himself lost by one vote. There was little excitement. Raj Babbar followed next and even he failed to enthuse the workers. But as Ahmed Patel, the reticent Congress heavy-weight who won the Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat despite all odds, arrived, the mood was all charged up. “Aaya, aaya kaun aaya? Gujarat ka sher aaya. (Who has arrived? The lion of Gujarat has arrived),” roared the galvanised IYC workers on Patel’s arrival. The epithet was usually used for Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was the chief minister of Gujarat. For Congress, which has lost nine states since 2013, the otherwise inconsequential victory in the Rajya Sabha appeared to be more galvanising than a win in Punjab as it was over- shadowed by the BJP’s landslide victory in the Uttar Pradesh, Uttarkhand and its formation of governments in Goa and Manipur. “The happiness of victory is visible on your faces. Remember the night of August 8,” Babbar said, referring to the hectic efforts the Congress undertook by rushing to the Election Commission to get votes of its two rebel MLAs invalidated that ensured Patel’s victory. Now it was Patel’s time to address the crowd at the Jantar Mantar. Not the one known for his speeches, Patel, however, had everyone listening to him with rapt attention, reflecting the importance of the man who “defeated” the Modi-Shah pair. Patel targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah for “misusing” the central agencies. “I am sure we will also win Gujarat. The BJP made it a prestige issue, it is their loss. They promised two crore jobs every year and 50 per cent more profit to farmers than what they spend on their yield. They promised to bring down inflation and corruption. But they failed on every front,” Patel said. At the Jantar Mantar, it appeared that the victory gave the carde the confidence that even they can taken on the formidable BJP, said Amrish Ranjan Pandey, Youth Congress spokesperson. “Victory is not just seen as a win alone. It is also seen as how it was achieved. Despite the defections, the luring, the use of central agencies, the party managed to defeat the Modi-Shah pair. This gives a big morale boost. “This gives us confidence that they are not invincible,” Pandey said, adding that the loss in Bihar Assmebly polls for the BJP was not too old, which shows even that party can be defeated.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Two al-Qaeda-linked terror suspects arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Ahead of Independence Day, two men with suspected links to al-Qaeda were arrested here in two separate cases, the police said on Thursday.In the first case, the Delhi Police’s Special Cell arrested one Syed Mohammed Zishan Ali, suspected to be linked to the terror outfit. He was arrested here after being brought back from Saudi Arabia.The police were on the lookout for him for over a year, ever since three alleged AQIS (al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent) operatives were arrested in 2015.Senior officers from the Special Cell confirmed the arrest. Further details are awaited.In the second case, 25-year-old Raja-ul-Ahmed, with links to al-Qaeda, was detained last week by the Delhi Police following a tip-off from the West Bengal police.A senior officer from the Delhi Police said that Ahmed was held last week. He did not divulge details about the date or the place of arrest.Ahmed is a suspected member of Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), that is an al-Qaeda-inspired group in Bangladesh.

Invalid votes, MLAs’ resignations, see Ahmed Patel through

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For veteran Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who pulled off a bitterly contested Rajya Sabha election late on Tuesday night, the two invalid votes and resignations of six Congress MLAs turned out to be a blessing in disguise.The Congress nominee won 44 votes and was declared the winner from the third Rajya Sabha seat after BJP president Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani, who bagged 46 votes each. The losing candidate Balvantsinh Rajput bagged 38 votes, including eight of them from former Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela and other dissident Congress MLAs.The Congress was in panic mode after Vaghela announced that he was quitting the Congress and six of its MLAs submitted resignations. The party reacted by immediately by whisking away its remaining 44 MLAs to a resort in Bengaluru from where they were brought to Gujarat only a day before the polling.However, in hindsight, the resignations of the six Congress MLAs actually paved the way for Ahmed Patel’s victory.”If the strength of the House had remained at 182, the number of votes required to win would have been 47. Looking at how close the election was, it would have been difficult to manage 47 votes. However, resignations of six of our MLAs reduced the House strength to 176, and brought down the winning number to 45. We believed we had the support of 45 MLAs, but one of our MLAs betrayed us,” Congress MLA Gyasuddin Sheikh told DNA after the results were announced.Ahmed Patel’s tally of 44 votes may still have fallen short for a win by one vote, but Election Commission’s decision to declare votes of Congress MLAs Raghavji Patel and Bholabhai Gohel invalid brought down the number of votes needed for a win to 44, exactly the number that the Congress candidate had, and just enough to deny the BJP a clean sweep.The BJP, which had put its entire strength to thwart Ahmed Patel’s re-election bid, may be left blaming itself for the humbling.”We erred in believing that Congress was a divided house and we would be able to get 20 or more MLAs to quit the party. We did get 14 MLAs to either quit or vote against the party, but it was not enough. Looking back, the result could have been different if we had not asked the Congress MLAs to resign, but instead got them to cross-vote,” said a BJP leader, requesting anonymity.PATEL STANDS TALLAhmed Patel pulled off a bitterly contested Rajya Sabha election to win a fifth term
At 44 votes, he followed BJP candidates Amit Shah and Smriti Irani, who got 46 votes each.
Congress deserter Balwantsinh Rajput, who was fielded as BJP’s third candidate lost with just 38 votes.
Two votes invalidated by the EC and the resignation of six MLAs turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Patel.

Congress expels 8 Gujarat MLAs for cross-voting; next target is to win assembly poll, says Ahmed Patel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cracking down on dissidents in Gujarat, the Congress today expelled for six years eight of its MLAs who cross-voted in yesterday’s Rajya Sabha elections.AICC general secretary incharge of Gujarat unit Ashok Gehlot said he has also recommended the expulsion of six of its legislators who had earlier resigned as MLAs. Three of them had later joined BJP. Asserting that indiscipline will not be tolerated in the Congress, Gehlot said those expelled were indulging in anti- party activities. Gehlot, a former chief minister of Rajasthan, said the party will strengthened further ahead of the state Assembly elections due later this year.The Gujarat Congress spokesman Manish Doshi said the eight MLAs were expelled for cross-voting in favour of BJP candidates defying the whip issued by the party. These MLAs are: Shankarsinh Vaghela, his son Mahendrasinh, Raghavji Patel, Bhola Gohil, Dharmendra Jadeja, P K Raulji, Amit Chaudhary, Karan Patel. Vaghela, a former chief minister, had resigned from the Congress and the post of leader of the opposition in the Assembly weeks ahead of the RS elections, but not from the House. “We have expelled them for six years as they defied the party whip and cross-voted. We will take action against them under the anti-defection law also,” said Gujarat Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki.
ALSO READ The return of Ahmed Patel, whither Rahul Gandhi?Gehlot also thanked the Gujarat unit of the party for the victory of Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, in the RS poll. “It is Congress party’s unity in Gujarat which has ensured Ahmed Patel ji’s victory in Rajya Sabha Polls,” he said. Bharatsinh Solanki earlier held a meeting of party MLAs in Gandhinagar and thanked them for the victory of Ahmed Patel. Just like the united Gujarat Congress defeated the evil designs of BJP in RS Polls, we will fight and defeat BJP in upcoming assembly polls,” he said on twitter. Congress stalwart Ahmed Patel, who retained his Rajya Sabha seat in Gujarat in a humdinger of a contest, today said his victory has come as a boost to the party workers and set an aim of 125 seats in the assembly polls due later this year. Patel, the high-profile political secretary to party president Sonia Gandhi, admitted that the election was the “toughest” one he had ever fought in his life. He beat BJP nominee and Congress defector Balwantinh Rajput in the bitterly-fought contest marked by defection of MLAs, political manoeuvring and a see-sawing number game.
ALSO READ Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls: BJP MLA Nalin Kotadiya admits he voted against BJPCongress workers today celebrated Patel’s victory by bursting crackers and distributing sweets at many places. “This was the toughest election that I have fought in my life. I thank my party leaders and my MLAs,” Patel told a gathering of Congress MLAs at the Gandhinagar Circuit House. The meeting was convened by Patel to thank the MLAs who stood by him against “all kind of offers from the BJP”, party leaders said. “The morale of our party workers has skyrocketed after this win. With this victory, we will have to set a target of winning more than 125 seats in the coming elections. Our next target is to win the 2017 elections,” Patel said.The Congress has been out of power in Gujarat for more than two decades. Winning his fifth term to the Upper House of Parliament, Patel secured 44 votes, after the Election Commission invalidated the votes cast by two Congress MLAs for violating the rules. Patel refused to answer queries regarding former Congress heavyweight Shankarsinh Vaghela. Vaghela had quit the Congress last month, followed by resignation of six MLAs.All senior leaders of the Congress who attended the meeting hailed Patel’s victory.

NCP, JD(U) MLAs give both camps the jitters

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One of the two MLAs of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the lone JD(U) legislator said that they voted for Congress candidate Ahmed Patel in the Rajya Sabha election. Looking at how close the contest is, the two votes could very well be the deciding factor.In what was seen as a huge jolt to Ahmed Patel’s re-election bid, NCP MLA Kandhal Jadeja had said on the eve of polling that they have been asked to vote for the BJP candidate.After casting his vote, NCP MLA Jayant Patel told reporters that he had voted for Ahmed Patel, while Jadeja, who is late Godmother Santokben Jadeja’s son did not reveal who he had voted for.”You will come to know who I voted for once voting is over,” Jadeja said.Lone JD(U) MLA in the Gujarat assembly Chhotu Vasava also initially did not reveal who he had voted for. However, he later said that his vote had gone to Ahmed Patel.Vasava, who represents Jhagadia constituency, is facing many serious criminal cases. This is his sixth straight term in the assembly, though he barely attends the assembly.Vasava said he voted for Patel because the ruling BJP failed to do anything for the poor and the tribal population despite ruling the state for more than two decades.He also told a news agency that Bihar chief minister and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar had not issued any whip to him to vote for any particular candidate.”The decision to vote for Ahmed Patel was my own,” he said.Adding a twist to the development, JD(U) claimed later in the day that Vasava had toed the party line and voted for the BJP.

Congress all set to make Gujarat great again- Gohil

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> After Congress claimed victory in the Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls, the party on Wednesday said that their battle for making Gujarat great again has begun. In a series of tweets, Gujarat MLA and national spokesperson AICC (All India Congress Committee) Shaktisinh Gohil said, “Fighting BJP’s money and muscle power wasn’t easy. I end with a self reminder that our battle for making Gujarat great again has just begun.” Gohil thanked all those who believe in democracy. “A big thank-you to all those who believe in democracy and the Idea of India. We are grateful to you,” the Gujarat MLA tweeted. He further stated that tonight’s victory is a message to all those who try to divide us,to lure us and to threaten us. Patel has retained his Rajya Sabha seat, winning 44 votes. BJP President Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani also emerged victorious in the election. Shah will enter the Parliament as a member for the first time, while Irani will return for a second term. Voting for the three Rajya Sabha seats was conducted on Tuesday. Ahmed Patel’s win is being considered a major victory for the Congress and a blow for the BJP. “This is not just my victory. It is a defeat of the most blatant use of money power,muscle power and abuse of state machinery,” Patel tweeted. Congress had made candidature of Ahmed Patel as a matter of prestige. The BJP also left no stone unturned to win all the three seats. The saffron pitted Balwantsinh Rajput, a recent acquisition from the Congress, against Ahmed Patel knowing that Patel’s defeat will bring huge embarrassment for Sonia Gandhi since he is her political secretary. After the intense political developments, the Election Commission (EC) declared results for the three seats of the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat. Total 176 MLAs voted in the crucial elections, but two votes were declared invalid. The EC on late Tuesday night declared votes of two Congress MLAs- Bhola Bhai Gohil and Raghav Bhai Patel- invalid. The decision was taken on a complaint of the Congress. Earlier in the evening, Congress had complained to the EC and said that two of its MLAs- Bhola Bhai Gohil and Raghav Bhai Patel- showed their votes to unauthorized persons and demanded their votes should not be counted and should be rejected. Congress said these MLAs showed their votes to Shah and Irani and independent candidate Balwantsinh Rajput instead of representative of Ahmed Patel. Earlier, the constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap on Tuesday branded that the Congress’ demand to invalidate votes of two of its rebels over cross-voting as ‘political drama’. Subhash Kashyap asserted that if there was any objection, the Congress should have raised it during polling. Speaking to ANI here, he said, “It is not legal issue but a political drama. If there was objection, should have been raised during polling.” Ahmed Patel, the influential political secretary to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, and Shah, Irani and ex-grand old party cadre Balwantsinh Rajput were in the fray. Congress suffered major blow ahead of the RS polls when six of its Gujarat MLAs joined BJP. Panicked Congress sent its 44 MLAs to Bengaluru and termed the move as a bid to save its legislatures from the horse-trading by the BJP. The Congress also accused BJP of offering Rs 15 crore to its MLAs to join BJP. The political environment was also heated when the Income Tax Department on July 29 raided Karnataka Energy Minister DK Shivakumar’s Bengaluru residence and resort, where Congress’ 44 MLAs were staying. After the Congress branded the raids as a ‘political witch-hunt’ by the BJP, the IT department asserted that the raids at Karnataka Energy Minister’s residence and resort had nothing to do with the Gujarat’s Congress MLAs staying at the resort. The Congress also created ruckus in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha over the IT raids at the resort. Ahmed Patel’s victory has acted as booster for the Congress ahead of the crucial assembly elections in the state.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Keep an eye on your wards: J&K police caution parents

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With militants facing acute manpower crunch, Jammu and Kashmir police have issued a public appeal to the parents to keep an eye on their wards and prevent them from falling into the trap of ultras in the restive valley.”It is a humble appeal to parents and conscientious citizens to come forward and help police and security forces to prevent such vulnerable youngsters falling prey to terrorist designs being lured to the killing fields”, said Mir Imtiyaz Hussain, senior superintendent of police, Baramulla.The appeal comes against the backdrop of unearthing a Hizbul Mujhadeen module to lure the youth to join militancy in north Kashmir.Police busted the module when they along with 29 Rashtriya Riffles and CRPF laid a joint Naka at Behrampora Tilgam crossing and apprehended three suspected individuals —Waseem Ahmed Mir, Umer Hassan and Rather Akif Hussain Rather – and recovered two Chinese pistols along with ammunition from their possession.

Gujarat RS polls exposed BJP’s personal vendetta-Ahmed Patel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> After retaining his Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat, Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Wednesday alleged that the election exposed the “personal vendetta and political terror” of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). ?BJP stands exposed of personal vendetta and political terror. People of Gujarat will give them a befitting reply in this year’s election,? Patel tweeted. He also thanked the Congress leadership for giving him the opportunity to fight this election and also lauded the MLAs who voted in his favour. ?I thank my party leadership for giving me this opportunity & all my party workers & colleagues whose relentless handwork made this possible. I want to thank each & every MLA who voted for me despite unprecedented intimidation & pressure from BJP. They voted for an inclusive India,? Patel said in a series of tweets. Patel said that his victory in the Rajya Sabha polls was a defeat of the most blatant use of money power, muscle power and abuse of state machinery. ?This is not just my victory. It is a defeat of the most blatant use of money power, muscle power and abuse of state machinery,? he said in a tweet. He said that the Congress party has emerged stronger after winning the Rajya Sabha polls . ?Under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership Congress will be strengthened and we will win elections. It was a tough election, everyone worked together, party emerged stronger out of it,? Patel told reporters after winning the polls. Voting for the three Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat was conducted on Tuesday. BJP national president Amit Shah and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani were other two candidates. Ahmed Patel’s win is being considered a major victory for the Congress and a blow for the BJP. Congress had made candidature of Ahmed Patel as a matter of prestige. The BJP also left no stone unturned to win all the three seats. The saffron pitted Balwantsinh Rajput, a recent acquisition from the Congress, against Patel knowing that Patel’s defeat will bring huge embarrassment for Sonia Gandhi since he is her political secretary. After the intense political developments, the Election Commission (EC) declared results for the three seats of the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat. Total 176 MLAs voted in the crucial elections, but two votes were declared invalid. The EC on late Tuesday night declared votes of two Congress MLAs- Bhola Bhai Gohil and Raghav Bhai Patel- invalid. The decision was taken on a complaint of the Congress. Earlier in the evening, Congress had complained to the EC and said that the two MLAs showed their votes to unauthorized persons and demanded that their votes should not be counted. Congress said these MLAs showed their votes to the BJP national president and the Broadcasting Minister and Balwantsinh instead of representative of Patel. Congress suffered a major blow ahead of the RS polls when six of its Gujarat MLAs joined BJP. Panicked Congress sent its 44 MLAs to Bengaluru and termed the move as a bid to save its legislatures from the horse-trading by the BJP. The Congress also accused BJP of offering Rs 15 crore to its MLAs to join BJP. The political environment was also heated when the Income Tax Department on July 29 raided Karnataka Energy Minister DK Shivakumar’s Bengaluru residence and resort, where Congress’ 44 MLAs were staying. After the Congress branded the raids as a ‘political witch-hunt’ by the BJP, the IT department asserted that the raids at Karnataka Energy Minister’s residence and resort had nothing to do with the Gujarat’s Congress MLAs staying at the resort. The Congress also created ruckus in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha over the IT raids at the resort. Patel’s victory has acted as booster for the Congress ahead of the crucial assembly elections in the state.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BJP MLA Nalin Kotadiya admits he voted against BJP in RS polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Nalin Kotadiya said that he has voted against BJP in the Rajya Sabha polls after seeing the pain of 14 youths who died during Patidar agitation. He himself admitted in a Facebook post, and said, ?Seeing the pain of 14 youths who died during Patidar agitation I voted against BJP.? His vote may have probably resulted in the victory of Congress candidate Ahmed Patel, who won the election by securing necessary 44 votes. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani are other two candidates and are likely to win with ease. Voting for the three Rajya Sabha seats was conducted on Tuesday. Total 176 MLAs voted in the crucial elections, but two votes were declared invalid. The EC on late Tuesday night declared votes of two Congress MLAs- Bhola Bhai Gohil and Raghav Bhai Patel- invalid. The decision was taken on a complaint of the Congress. The Congress had complained to the EC that the MLAs had shown their votes to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah and Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani and independent candidate Balwantsinh Rajput instead of representative of Congress candidate Ahmed Patel. Ahmed Patel?s win is being considered a major victory of Congress and a blow for the BJP. Congress had made candidature of Ahmed Patel as a matter of prestige. The BJP also left no stone unturned to win all the three seats. The saffron pitted Balwantsinh Rajput, a recent acquisition from the Congress, against Ahmed Patel knowing that Patel?s defeat will bring huge embarrassment for Sonia Gandhi since he is her political secretary.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Gujarat RS polls: Cong-BJP rush to EC thrice, Ahmed Patel’s fate hangs in the balance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>High drama was enacted at the Election Commission tonight over the delay in start of counting for the Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections after Congress approached the poll panel demanding cancellation of votes of its two MLAs for showing the ballots to BJP chief Amit Shah.Three delegations each of the Congress and BJP made a dash for ‘Nirvachan Sadan’ within a span of two hours, with the former demanding that the votes of its MLAs Bholabhai Gohil and Raghavjibhai Patel be declared invalid, and the latter insisting that counting be taken up “immediately”.Congress was the first to move the Election Commission demanding cancellation of votes of its two disgruntled MLAs for allegedly showing their votes to persons other than the authorised party representatives.Congress leaders Randeep Surjewala and RPN Singh also produced a video of the poll proceedings to the commission and demanded that votes of Bholabhai Gohil and Raghavjibhai Patel be cancelled as per law since they violated the “secrecy of ballot”.According to the rules, voters for the Rajya Sabha elections have to show their ballots to authorised representative of their respective parties before casting them.
ALSO READ ‘No chance of Congress winning the seat’: Shankersinh Vaghela says didn’t vote for Ahmed PatelTerming Congress’ objections as “baseless”, a delegation of BJP leaders, including Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Piyush Goyal, approached the EC demanding immediate counting of votes, contending that validity of votes once put in ballot boxes cannot be questioned.Goyal told reporters after meeting EC officials that the decision of presiding officers is final.
ALSO READ RS polls: EC to decide Cong’s demand to invalidate 2 votes, says Gujarat Deputy CM Nitin PatelIf neither they nor election observers objected to it when votes were cast, then their validity cannot be questioned now, he said, and demanded that “the counting of votes be done immediately and results declared”.Prasad said the Congress was acting out of fear of losing the poll, in which its senior leader Ahmed Patel is locked in a tight fight with a Congress rebel fielded by the BJP.Immediately, after the visit of the high-profile BJP team, Congress heavyweight P Chidambaram led another delegation to the EC.After the meeting, Chidambarm told reporters,”If the BJP is so confident of winning the election then it must abide by the law. And the law is very clear. If the ballot is seen by a person other than the authorised person then it is liable to be rejected. BJP was beneficiary of this law on June 11, 2016.How was law changed in one year. These two ballot papers must be rejected.”He was apparently referring to the Rajya Sabha election in Haryana in which BJP-backed independent candidate Subhash Chandra had defeated Congress-supported candidate R K Anand after votes of several MLAs were declared invalid.Objecting to Congress’ contention, BJP leaders also paid a second visit to the commission and insisted on their demand for immediate counting of the votes.Election is over and the situation of confusion should end, Prasad said, adding that Congress is “crumbling” and its people are leaving the party.”The votes cast by these two MLAs are required to be cancelled for the reason of voting procedure violation,” Congress said in its memorandum to the Commission.Surjewala alleged that the two legislators, instead of showing their ballots to party’s election agent, displayed it to BJP president Amit Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani, which he said, “should not be accepted”.The BJP has nominated Shah and Irani for two Rajya Sabha seats from the state and they would sail through. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel is pitted against the saffron party’s Balwantsinh Rajput for the third seat.It has become a high-stakes battle for Congress, thanks to infighting and resignations, with the BJP fancying its prospects to win the third seat also, defeating Patel, who is seeking a fifth RS term.The Congress, alleging that its MLAs were being poached by the BJP, had packed off 44 of them to a Bengaluru resort to keep their flock together.

High drama as BJP, Cong take Gujarat RS fight to EC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP and Congress today traded charges after counting of votes in the Gujarat Rajya Sabha polls got delayed, with the latter demanding cancellation of votes of its two MLAs for alleged violation of rules and the saffron party insisting that counting be taken up immediately. Congress was the first to move the Election Commission demanding cancellation of votes of its two disgruntled MLAs for allegedly showing their votes to persons other than the authorised party representatives. Congress leaders Randeep Surjewala and RPN Singh also produced a video of the poll proceedings to the commission and demanded that votes of Bholabhai Gohil and Raghavjibhai Patel be cancelled as per law since they violated the “secrecy of ballot”. According to the rules, voters for the Rajya Sabha elections have to show their ballots to authorised representative of their respective parties before casting them. Terming Congress’ objections as “baseless”, a delegation of BJP leaders, including Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Piyush Goyal, approached the EC demanding immediate counting of votes, contending that validity of votes once put in ballot boxes cannot be questioned. Goyal told reporters after meeting EC officials that the decision of presiding officers is final. If neither they nor election observers objected to it when votes were cast, then their validity cannot be questioned now, he said, and demanded that “the counting of votes be done immediately and results declared”. Prasad said the Congress was acting out of fear of losing the poll, in which its senior leader Ahmed Patel is locked in a tight fight with a Congress rebel fielded by the BJP. Immediately, after the visit of the high-profile BJP team, Congress heavyweight P Chidambaram led another delegation to the EC. After the meeting, Chidambarm told reporters,”If the BJP is so confident of winning the election then it must abide by the law. And the law is very clear. If the ballot is seen by a person other than the authorised person then it is liable to be rejected. BJP was beneficiary of this law on June 11, 2016. How was law changed in one year. These two ballot papers must be rejected.” He was apparently referring to the Rajya Sabha election in Haryana in which BJP-backed independent candidate Subhash Chandra had defeated Congress-supported candidate R K Anand after votes of several MLAs were declared invalid. Objecting to Congress’ contention, BJP leaders also paid a second visit to the commission and insisted on their demand for immediate counting of the votes. Election is over and the situation of confusion should end, Prasad said, adding that Congress is “crumbling” and its people are leaving the party. “The votes cast by these two MLAs are required to be cancelled for the reason of voting procedure violation,” Congress said in its memorandum to the Commission. Surjewala alleged that the two legislators, instead of showing their ballots to party’s election agent, displayed it to BJP president Amit Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani, which he said, “should not be accepted”. The BJP has nominated Shah and Irani for two Rajya Sabha seats from the state and they would sail through. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel is pitted against the saffron party’s Balwantsinh Rajput for the third seat. It has become a high-stakes battle for Congress, thanks to infighting and resignations, with the BJP fancying its prospects to win the third seat also, defeating Patel, who is seeking a fifth RS term. The Congress, alleging that its MLAs were being poached by the BJP, had packed off 44 of them to a Bengaluru resort to keep their flock together.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

RS polls: EC to decide Cong’s demand to invalidate 2 votes,

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Election Commission will take a call on the Congress’s demand for invalidating votes of two of its MLAs who claimed to have voted for BJP nominees in the Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat today, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said. He also alleged that the Congress was raising “non- issues” as the opposition party has “sensed defeat” Counting of votes for the three Rajya Sabha seats, which was supposed to start at 5 pm, was held up after the Congress demanded that the poll panel invalidate the votes of Raghavji Patel and Bhola Gohil who belonged to the Shankersinh Vaghela camp. BJP president Amit Shah, Union minister Smriti Irani, Congress defector Balwantsinh Rajput and Congress stalwart Ahmed Patel, the political secretary to party president Sonia Gandhi, are in the fray for the three seats. While victories of Shah, who is making his debut in Parliament, and Irani looked certain given the numerical strength of BJP MLAs, the contest appeared close for Patel due to defections of six Congress MLAs and cross-voting. Earlier in the day, the Congress demanded Patel and Gohil’s votes be quashed as they “showed” their ballots to the party’s authorised agent as well as to the BJP’s agent. Patel and Gohil showed their ballots to the Congress agent Shaktisinh Gehlot and to the BJP agent, thus their votes have become invalid, senior leader Shaktisinh Gohil had said. Meanwhile, Nitin Patel said the Election Officer had set aside the objections raised by the Congress about the two MLAs violating the rules. “However, after the Congress insisted that the Election Commission should take up their complaint, a report regarding this has been sent to the poll panel which is likely to take its decision. “A total of 176 votes have been cast. Only counting of votes is remaining which will take nearly one hour to complete once it resumes. Due to the objections raised by the Congress, counting is not started. As the Congress member (Ahmed Patel) is set to lose, the party is now trying to delay the counting of votes,” he said. Shaktisinh Gohil had said counting of votes cannot start until the presiding officer takes action on the objection raised by the Congress. However, the deputy chief minister said, “We believe that result will come from Election Commission and counting will begin in short time… All the three members of the BJP will win. As the Congress has sensed defeat, it is raising unnecessary objections.” Ahmed Patel is tightly placed as he requires 45 votes to win in a situation where several members of his party have either defected to the ruling BJP or cross-voted to the BJP nominees. Patel’s immediate opponent is Balwantsinh Rajput, who before joining the BJP was the Congress’ chief whip in the Assembly. In the 182-member House, whose effective strength was reduced to 176 due to defections by the six Congress MLAs, the Congress now has 51 MLAs, seven of whom belong to the Vaghela camp, while the BJP has 121 members, the NCP 2, the JD (U) 1 and the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) 1.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

RS polls: Voting underway in Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Voting is underway in Gujarat today for the Rajya Sabha elections in which Ahmed Patel, the influential political secretary to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, and BJP’s Amit Shah, Smriti Irani and Balwantsinh Rajput are in fray. As voting began for three RS seats, Patel expressed confidence that he will win. However, former Congress stalwart Shankersinh Vaghela, after casting his vote, told reporters, “As Ahmed Patel is going to lose, I have not given my vote to him.” The elections have turned into a high-stake battle for the Congress in the backdrop of turbulence in the party following the surprise exit of Vaghela and the resignation of six of its MLAs recently. Patel requires 45 votes to sail through his fifth RS election. The Congress has a clear support of 44 MLAs. Some MLAs of his group like Raghavji Patel and Dharmendrasinh Jadeja also came out and said that they have voted for the BJP. A candidate will require 45 votes for a straight win in the poll, and the BJP with 121 MLAs can secure easy victories for BJP chief Shah and union minister Irani. The party will be left with 31 surplus votes for Rajput, who will require the backing of rebel MLAs of the Congress and smaller parties to win. Rajput till recently was Congress’ chief whip in the House. It is after a gap of about two decades that a contest is happening in Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat, where official nominees of major parties used to get elected unopposed, after the BJP fielded a Congress rebel against Patel, who is seeking a fifth term. According to Election Commission officials, a candidate would require one-fourth of the total number of votes plus one to get elected. This would mean a contestant has to muster 45 votes. The MLAs have to give their preferential votes indicating first choice, second, third, fourth (as per number of candidates) or they can choose NOTA, they said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

‘No chance of Congress winning the seat’: Shankersinh Vaghela says didn’t vote for Ahmed Patel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela on Tuesday asserted that he did not vote for the saffron party Rajya Sabha candidate Ahmed Patel, adding that there was no point for the grand old party as they are never going to win the elections.”The entire nation will face the impact and effect of this election. I tried to explain a lot to the Congress party before the elections, they didn’t listen, following which I left the party. Now when the Congress Party is not going to win the elections, there was no point giving my votes to it,” Vaghela told the reporters after casting his vote.Expressing sorrow for not voting for Patel, Vaghela further said the Congress party shouldn’t have put the reputation of the former on stake, when the party knew that their MLAs were resigning.”It is not even sure that all the 44 MLAs of the Congress will vote for the same person, they may also do cross voting. That’s why there is no chance of the Congress Party winning this seat. So, I have not given my vote to Ahmed Patel,” he said.However, Vaghela did not confirm whether he voted for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate or opted for NOTA (none of the above).Meanwhile, two Congress MLA Dharmendra Jadeja and Raghavji Patel have voted for the BJP.”There are only two parties in Gujarat – Congress and BJP. If I’m not with Congress, you know where will I be,” Congress MLA Raghavji Patel said after casting his vote for BJP.Congress MLA Dharmendra Jadeja asserted that the Congress party hasn’t been listening to their leaders for a year and hence he voted for BJP.The voting for the crucial Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections for three seats began at 9 amThe voting will continue till 4 p.m. while the counting will be held from 5 pmGujarat Assembly Secretary D. M. Patel, who is also the returning officer for the Rajya Sabha election said that after the resignation of six Congress MLAs, there are total 176 MLAs eligible to vote.The election has been necessitated following the completion of the tenures of three existing members Union Minister Smriti Irani and Dilip Pandya of BJP and Ahmed Patel of Congress.Meanwhile, the win of two of the three BJP candidates party president Amit Shah and Smriti Irani was almost certain, while the fate of the third party candidate Balwantsinh Rajput who joined BJP after resigning from Congress was hanging in balance along with the sole Congress candidate Ahmed Patel.Congress needs the support of 45 MLAs for victory of Patel who is contesting for his fifth term for the upper house.In 182 member assembly, BJP has 122 seats including dissident Nalin Kotadiya.While, Congress has 51 MLAs along with seven of Shankarinh Vaghela’s camp. NCP has two and JD(U) has one MLA in the house.

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