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45-year-old mom drives e-rickshaw for daughter’s education

Do not be surprised if you spot a lady driving an e-rickshaw, offering you a ride in the city.Dressed in a pink half-sleeve shirt over her saree, 45-year-old Sonalben Joddha, a resident of Asarwa, is a new driver who has come out of her societal norms. Her only aim is to afford education for her daughter.One of these days, you may spot her outside the Flower show organized by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) at Sabarmati riverfront, ferrying senior citizens.With a smile on her face, Sonalben’s enthusiasm is what attracts many. Quick enough to spot senior citizens and those who need help, Sonalben approaches them to offer a ride.She says, “I am connected with an NGO called ‘Sakhi group’ in the city and have been making ‘Kheechu’, a Gujarati dough used to make papad, since many years. Before six months, the NGO informed us that e-rickshaws are being given at low-interest rate along with training to promote greener city.””It was then I got interested and bought this rickshaw for Rs 96,000 on loan. We were given training and a license was issued. I was one of the 12 women who received this rickshaw and training from Ahmedabad.”The e-rickshaw has changed Sonalben’s life who used to earn Rs 3000 a month by stitching clothes. “Since five months, I have been driving this rickshaw and earn nearly Rs 1200 a day. It is a great relief to me as I am able to educate my daughter who is studying nursing.”Sonalben drives the rickshaw from Asarwa to Shahibaug from 10.00 to 4.00 pm after which she takes an hour break and resumes to her second job.”I make Kheechu in evenings and work till 9.00 pm every day.” My husband and my son also work. My son does two jobs but is not enough to run our family which is why we all are working hard.”When asked whether she faces any challenging incidents daily, she smiles and says, “Yes, I do. There are passengers who are very nice, whereas there are some who are not. I think I’m able to handle.”Speaking about the initiative, Shailendra Sharma, who has founded haalo.online along with his wife, Shagun, said: “Our initiative is women-driven GPRS enabled electric vehicles on rent that ensures a safe and clean system of transportation in city. To promote our aim, we have deployed two of our electric vehicle services to senior citizens for free at a flower show.”

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Surat-based student makes solar dustbins

A Surat-based student has developed a solar run bin. Termed as an intelligent bin, the bin works on a sensor-based technology which compresses garbage into a bin.Milan Patel, a mechanical engineering student of CK Pithawalla College of Engineering and Technology, has designed the solar based smart dustbin. Apart from the sensor, the bin has a battery, a solar panel and a compressor. “When Prime Minister Narendra Modi envisaged the Clean India concept, I also thought of contributing to society in a noble way. Hence, I came up with the idea of a solar-based smart dustbin,” said Milan.”If the bins are kept at points across every street, a lot can be changed. Also, it will save the fuel cost as it has six times more storage than the normal bins,” said Milan.Patel says the capacity of the 120-litre bin will cost around Rs11,000. Patel presented his idea for at the event of Smart Villages & Cities Innovation Challenge, organised by Confederation of Indian Industry in Ahmedabad. The event was held on Thursday, where 15 shortlisted students gave presentation of their innovative ideas.Students across the state were asked to develop or design some projects for a smart city which could make any difference in society. 74 projects were received at CII from different colleges. Out these, around 15 were churned as innovative models. Professor Anil Roy of Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology screened all 74 received project and found 7 projects plagiarised. He also found 15 projects good and may be able to make a difference. The shortlisted projects were for waste energy, smart streetlight option, automated railway track alters, streetlights in farms, smart farming etc.

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

Water dept saves Rs 6 crore on electricity

At a time when several parts of the city are not getting sufficient water supply due to a frequent breakdown in the pipeline network, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) is giving presentations to other local government bodies on how its water department saved Rs6crore last year on the electricity bill.The civic authority gives credit to Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) not only for the saving but also for utilising 23 MLD (Million litre per day) water that was going to waste.City engineer Jagdish Patel said, “This project includes monitoring of water quantity, quality and energy parameters of 148 water distribution centres, four french wells and four water treatment plants. Soon, we will add 51 water distribution centres in the system.”He added, “After one-year monitoring on the system, we found that we have saved Rs6 crore as electricity bill and also utilised 23 MLD water which was being wasted.”Biren Raval, additional chief engineer, said, “The unit here works round the clock. We monitor all the water stations attached to the system. There is an automatic message and automatic alarm for any trouble which fixes the problem in a couple of minutes. With the online system, we have recently introduced automated valve operating system.”He added, “It will prevent discrepancies and solve water deficiency. If the water tank is filled, the valve will be closed automatically. No manual operations will be required unless there is some technical fault.”Still, there is a problem of inadequate water supply to the end user. One of the engineers said, “SCADA system monitors only measure and gives an audit of water distribution centres and treatment plant. There is no audit from water distribution centres to the end users. Many of the walled city areas have water pipelines which are more than 40 to 50-year-old and leakages occur there.”Criticising the system, leader of opposition Dinesh Sharma, said, “The BJP-run civic body always hurries in announcing its achievements. There are thousands of people in the city who have to struggle daily to get drinking water. Water tankers are being provided by the AMC to many slum pockets on a daily basis. What has the SCADA done for them?”…& ANALYSISSCADA can be effective only when it audits water till end users. There is no water audit from distribution station to water tanks and then to end users. Still thousands of litre of water goes waste.

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

LED, renewable energy helps civic body save Rs 30.25 crore

The introduction of LED streetlights by AMC has helped it save 26 million units of electricity helping it reduce its power bill by Rs15.50 crore a year. With this measure, the civic body says the carbon dioxide emmission would be reduced by 2,900 tonne anually.Not only this, the wind and solar power initiatives by the AMC alongwith the LED will help it ease its wallet burden by a total of Rs 30.25 crore.”We have implemented energy conservation programme under which we have installed 1.35 lakh LED bulbs on 2,800 km of road network,” said Deepak Suthar, additional chief engineer, streetlight and project, AMC. He added that by the end of January 2018, AMC will replace 14,000 more conventional streetlights with LED bulbs. “To generate a kilo watt of energy from fossil fuel, 0.546 emission of carbon dioxide occurs. We don’t use that much energy, and it has been saved. We have calculated the consumption, hence we are saying that we will reduce emission of 2,900 tonne of carbon dioxide annually,” the engineer explained.Meanwhile, a 4.2 MW wind power plant has been commissioned by AMC at Nakhtrana in Kutch which generates 11 million units of energy, which saves Rs7.14 crore a year. Another 4.2 MW capacity’s wind power plant is under construction. Both will help AMC save Rs14.3 crore a year. The civic body has also installed 540 KW solar rooftop power system as a part of renewble energy which generates 6.5 lakh electricity units annually which will help it save Rs45.5 lakh.However, city based environmentalist Mahesh Pandya scrapped AMC claims: “Construction business is mushrooming here. There is a loss in tree cover. Even for the Metro rail project, more than 2,000 trees were chopped.”…& ANALYSISThe AMC’s green efforts which are also pocket savvy are laudable. Its effort to calculate its CO2 emission reduction by introducing LED lights and renewable energy measures is noteworthy. But, it is high time that the wealthiest civic body in Gujarat shifts its focus to calculate carbon footprint on a yearly basis regularly.

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

Board exams to start from March 12


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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Sunday 31 December 2017 5:07 ISTMust readGujarat: Dy CM Nitin Patel wants portfolios back, threatens to quitGujarat elections 2017: 30 seats saw other parties making it to third spot<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The Gujarat State Examination Board has declared dates of Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams to begin from March 12. While the examination for SSC will go on till March 23, for Science and general stream HSC, the exams will continue till March 28.RI Patel, Exam Secretary, Gujarat State Examination Board, said, “While the registration for boards are going on, approximately 17 to 18 lakh students will appear in boards this year that includes 10 lakh for SSC, 5.5 lakh for general stream and nearly 1.5 lakh for Science stream.”In previous boards, 17.59 lakh students took the class X and XII examinations. Around 178 jail inmates had also taken the board exams, and arrangements for them were made in prisons.

Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars<!–end of col 9–><!–end of row–><!–<a href=”/ahmedabad/report-as-cops-get-strict-year-end-parties-move-out-of-city-2571782″ title=”As cops get strict, year-end parties move out of city” rel=”next” class=”nextstorylink” onclick=”window.location.hash=’article-2571782′;” > –>Next story
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As cops get strict, year-end parties move out of city

The police bandobast and checking for alcohol during year-end celebrations as well as the curb on celebration post 12.30 am in the city has had an unintended effect on parties in Ahmedabad.The number of year-end bashes being held has come down if party organisers are to be believed. They blame the police’s over enthusiasm in curbing alcohol flow as well as their insistence that the party be wrapped up after 12.30am as some of the main reason for the dip in number of bashes being held.They said that as a result most of the bashes have moved to safer locations like Udaipur, Goa or even Diu.Viresh Shetty, an event planner who has been in the business for over nine years now said over the last many years the number of parties being held in Ahmedabad has gone down. “It has been a trend for sometime. It began after the cops became strict in implementing the deadlines,” said Shetty. He said most of the happening parties are now being organised in Pune, Goa and Mumbai with many of the patrons being Amdavadis.”Over the years, the street parties and celebrations have also come down because the authorities have become strict as far as deadlines are concerned,” said Shetty.Another organiser who did not wish to be named said the cops also harass those who consume alcohol. “Then there is the problem of playing loud music after 12. Interestingly, no one complains if there is a bhajan sandhya but everyone has a complaint if it is a new year party,” said the organiser.He said Ahmedabad had in fact had a good farmhouse party scene. “In other cities where alcohol is allowed, clubs are where the trendiest parties were held. In Ahmedabad, farmhouses held the trendiest parties. But as cops continued to harass the farmhouse owners for holding parties, it began to dwindle,” said the organiser.He said now most prefer to party out of the state to avoid harassment. “Implementation of prohibition is not the issue, harassment in the name of prohibition is the issue,” he said.Raj Darji, the founder of The Organiser, an event management company said earlier a number of parties used to be held in Ahmedabad on December 31. “There was practically a proliferation of it. But over the years the number has come down substantially but the quality of parties has improved. So what we have lost in quantity we have gained in quality. A number of these parties have good music and DJs,” said Darji.

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

Saurabh Patel takes charge as Finance Minister

Saurabh Patel has got one of the important portfolios, finance, which was with Nitin Patel in the last government. Both these leaders are considered as friends. However, Saurabh avoided to comment on Nitin Patel's sulkiness. Sources from the government informed that CM Vijay Rupani asked Saurabh Patel to assume the charge of his office immediately, and he rushed to Gandhinagar.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Sunday 31 December 2017 4:49 ISTMust readGujarat: Dy CM Nitin Patel wants portfolios back, threatens to quitGujarat elections 2017: 30 seats saw other parties making it to third spot<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Finance and Energy Minister Saurabh Patel assumed the charge of his office on Saturday. Patel was at Botad, in his constituency, on Friday when the portfolios were allocated late on Thursday. Patel also held meetings with officials of his department during the day.Saurabh Patel has got one of the important portfolios, finance, which was with Nitin Patel in the last government. Both these leaders are considered as friends. However, Saurabh avoided to comment on Nitin Patel’s sulkiness. Sources from the government informed that CM Vijay Rupani asked Saurabh Patel to assume the charge of his office immediately, and he rushed to Gandhinagar.

Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Bigg Boss 11: Hiten Tejwani gets evicted from Salman Khan’s show
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
Will Alia Bhatt say yes to Priyanka Chopra?
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
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Ro-Ro service to link Hazira to four places

Union minister for road transport and highways Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday announced plans to start a Ro-Ro ferry and passenger service between Hazira and four other places. The service will connect Hazira to Ghogha, Dahej, Pipavav and Victor in Rajula. Calling 2018 a golden year for water highways in Gujarat, he said plans are afoot to develop inland waterways on the Narmada and Tapi river in the state.Mandaviya made these announcements following a visit to Hazira port on Friday. He said the inland waterways had seen a tremendous development under the present BJP government. “Until the BJP came to power, the country had just five national water highways. Now, under the National Water Highways Act 2016, there are 106 more such water highways which have been announced,” the minister said.He said a feasibility study had found that apart from the five national waterways there was the scope of developing 32 new national waterways across the country in the next three years.Mandaviya further announced that of the 32 new national waterways planned.Of these eight, two are in Gujarat. One will be 126 km long waterway from Panthariya to Khambhat which will be on the Narmada river while the other will be a 173-km-long waterway connecting Hathnur Dam to Khambhat. This will be on the Tapi river.It should be noted that earlier in October, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the first phase of Ro-Ro (roll-on roll-off) ferry service between Ghogha in Bhavnagar district and Dahej in Bharuch.The service was to reduce the travel time between Saurashtra and South Gujarat by five hours. It was later announced that the ferry service will be suspended for a fortnight from January 5 onwards to remove and replace the existing walkway with a linkspan at Gogha. At present, the service only ferries passengers and following installation of the linkspan, it will also be able to transport vehicles.IN THE PIPLELINEMandaviya announced that of the 32 new national waterways planned, the detailed project report of eight of them was ready.

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

Rajkot readies to welcome Vijay Rupani, roadshow to be held

The BJP unit in Rajkot has made all preparations to welcome Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Sunday. Rupani, in his second consecutive term as CM, will reach his hometown Rajkot for the first time after being appointed on the post recently. He will participate in a roadshow from airport and later attend a felicitation ceremony by the BJP.Rajkot city BJP president Kamlesh Mirani said, “This is an auspicious moment for Rajkot as our leader is coming to his hometown for first time after being elected as CM. BJP came to power under his leadership. Entire Rajkot should take an opportunity to welcome him.”On preparations, he said, “We have arranged a grand roadshow from airport to main city to welcome Rupani. Flower petals will be showered on him during the entire route and dances by different troupes have been organised. Decorations and Rangoli will be made by artists and our workers.”The CM has been in Gandhinagar since the first phase of polls on December 9. He could not visit Rajkot as he was busy with campaigning for the second phase, counting of votes, election of CM and deputy CM, swearing in of ministers and portfolio allocation. He also attended several meetings with party leaders.Spokesperson of BJP and leader from Rajkot, Raju Dhruv, said, “This is really and emotional moment for us. We had run a campaign ‘Rajkot ka beta, Gujarat ka neta’ (Rajkot’s son will be Gujarat’s leader). Our mission was successful and under the leadership of Vijaybhai, Entire Rajkot is excited to welcome him and the party has arranged an extravaganza.”He added, “Not only party leaders but industrialists, educationists, social workers, religious and different community leaders are also going to welcome and felicitate Vijaybhai for his victory in this ceremony. We have made all preparations.”

Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
Bigg Boss 11: Shilpa Shinde rebukes Akash Dadlani for touching her inappropriately
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
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NCB to spring New Year Eve surprise at Ahmedabad colleges

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) of Ahmedabad will carry out surprise checks at city’s colleges this New Year’s Eve, the agency has alerted college authorities. The move is aimed to ensure students don’t consume drugs at parties. The agency has also told college authorities that any student caught with drugs will have to face strict action.Students in many colleges throw parties during New Year’s Eve. In the past, NCB officials have nabbed college students consuming and supplying drugs, and they were let off with a warning.According to Hari Om Gandhi, Zone Director of NCB, the agency has cautioned college authorities based on some specific information that some students have been indulging in drug peddling.”We have alerted the more than 50 college authorities. We are going to deploy our officers on college campuses around the New Year’s Eve to keep a watch on any illegal activity. Our team is going to conduct surprise checks at colleges and hostels both during the day and at night. We are going to take strict action against students caught with drugs and alcohol,” said Gandhi.The 50 colleges that the NCB has reached out to include the National Institute of Design, CEPT, Gujarat University, Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, NIFT, etc.

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Dy CM Nitin Patel wants portfolios back, threatens to quit

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel has threatened to resign if he is not given all the portfolios he possessed in the previous government. The senior BJP leader wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah on Friday evening listing his demands.”In his letter, Nitin Patel, mentioned that he felt insulted as he has been given less significant portfolios. He has told the PM and Shah that he should get all the portfolios, including Finance and Urban Development, within two to three days or else they should accept his resignation,” said a BJP source.However, Patel has denied writing any such letter, but accepted that he has expressed his disagreement.Speaking to DNA, Patel said, “There is nothing wrong in asking for my portfolios back as it is about my self-respect. What is the point of being the deputy chief minister if I hold less important portfolios. I have aired my disagreement to the right person. I do not want to talk much on the issue, but will reveal everything when the time is right.”Sources said Patel also held closed door meeting with former chief minister Anandiben Patel. It has been learnt that she has assured him her support. “Anandiben was stung by Amit Shah and Vijay Rupani. Now, she would take this anti-Shah-Rupani movement into her own hands in the days to come,” said a senior BJP leader on condition of anonymity.

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PAAS not one person’s property: Dinesh Bambhania

Dissident colleague of Hardik Patel in Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), Dinesh Bambhania has raised several questions on Hardik Patel’s integrity and honesty again. Bambhania called a news conference on Friday and said PAAS’ Chintan Shibir, scheduled on December 30, was an eyewash. Bambhania, pointing towards Hardik, also said PAAS should not remain an asset of one person alone.Bambhania said, “They are going to hold Chintan Shibir tomorrow but they have given tokens to the sycophants of Hardik Patel, so that no voice of protest arises in meeting. I have not resigned from any post in PAAS and I have been debarred. PAAS is not personal property or ancestral asset of someone, that everything could be run at the behest of that person.”Bambhania also put the list of questions before media and said the PAAS members who attend the meeting should ask those questions to Hardik. He said, “The PAAS members should ask Hardik how he managed to purchase properties at Ahmedabad, Surat and Viramgam; who bears the expenses of Hardik and his several aides’ lavish life style; what was the use of the funds collected by Patel community; why he did not file police complaint against the person who prepared Sex CD and many more.”Bambhania also alleged that Hardik Patel and his colleagues are meeting for Chintan Shibir to analyse the results of polls, when PAAS was totally an apolitical outfit. He held the meeting as eyewash and drama. Dinesh also put the allegation on Hardik Patel that he had demanded 30 tickets from Congress for his men for Gujarat polls.

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Heavy police bandobast on New Year’s Eve

To ensure a safe and sound New Year eve, the Ahmedabad city administration is going to deploy its entire man power in the city. For nabbing drunk drivers, eve-teasers, bootleggers, and to help people ring in New Year without hassles, police have formed special teams, who will specifically look into it.The police teams will be specifically checking the Church, Main Bazaar, food courts, shopping mall, clubs, hotels, farmhouses and private party plots during the New Year celebration. The main areas like CG Road, SG Highway, Sindhu Bhavan Road, Vastrapur, Prahaladnagar, Ashram Road, IIM Road, Maninagar, Amraiwadi, Nikol, Naroda and Vastral will have deployments of police.Drunken drivingFrom December 22 to 31, the police department has called a ‘prohibition drive’ in the city to nab drunk drivers and bootleggers in the city. During the New Year night, 124 check-posts will be made which will include the entry and exit points of the city, were each and every vehicle will be checked by the police.The local police stations are been specifically informed to check car drivers, taxi or cab customers. The party plots, farmhouse and private parties in the area are watched closing by the police and Crime Branch officials.Bootleggers under watchLocal bootleggers, who are involved in prohibition cases in the past, are being called by the police and are being warned. Apart from that, the home delivery network of the bootleggers will be also watched by the department to ensure that no home delivery of alcohol is happening on the occasion of the New Year.CCTV cameras will be used to keep a watch on suspects in sensitive areas of the city.Mahila Decoy team to nab eve-teasersMahila Crime Branch has constituted teams to ensure a bandobast during New Year celebrations. During the bandobast, Decoy teams of Mahila police will be deployed in the crowded areas of the city in civil dress. These teams will nab those indulged in eve-teasing women and they will be taken to the police station.Also, Anti-Romeo Squad will be on toes to nab those found harassing women.Crime Branch team will be putting a watch in the sensitive areas of the city and on those with criminal past. Apart from special operation group (SOG) teams, bulletproof vehicles will be deployed as a backup under Satellite, Maniangar and Navrangpura police station limits. Eight quick response teams, four bomb detection and disposal squads (BDDS), State Reserve Police (SRP) etc will be deployed.

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Harassment takes ex-MNC staff to Gujarat High Court doorstep

The High Court issued notice to the state government and officials of a Kadi-based multinational company on Wednesday over allegations of sexual harassment at the company.A 52-year-old woman knocked at the doors of the high court, alleging that a senior employee at Johnson Controls–Hitachi Air Conditioning (India) Ltd, sexually harassed her and when she refused to give in to his demands, she was forced to resign in November.After hearing the primary submission of the petitioner, single bench justice AJ Desai issued notices to Roopesh Jain, assistant vice-president (legal) of the firm; Gurmeet Singh, managing director; Sanjay Kumar, vice-president (Human Resource); and the state government, directing them to file their replies by January 22, 2018, when the matter comes up for further hearing.The petitioner has submitted that her termination order should be set aside and a criminal and civil complaint be filed against Jain for sexual harassment and others for putting pressure on her to resign or withdraw the complaint against Jain.The petitioner, a graduate in English literature and Law, was a practising lawyer in Gujarat High Court. She joined as a manager at Hitachi Home and Life Solution’s Kadi branch in Mehsana district in 2006.In her complaint, the petitioner claimed that after Johnson Controls Inc. and Hitachi Appliances joined hands, a new firm Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air conditioning (India) Ltd came into existence in August 2016.In February 2017, Jain joined the company as assistant vice-president (legal). He soon started making advances at the petitioner. On a number of occasions, he invited her to go out with him.When she did not give in to his demands, Jain wrote to the Global president (legal) — seeking permission to replace her — and vice-president (HR) and another woman colleague to pressurise her to resign in June.The petitioner alleged that when she refused to resign, Jain resorted to severe mental harassment at work and, earlier this month, the company terminated her services.GIVE IN OR MOVE ON According to the complainant, her superior made several advances at her, and when she refused to give in to his demands, he began mentally harassing her In her petition to the court, she said the superior wrote to the company’s global head, seeking permission to replace her, and also asked an HR official to put pressure on her to resign

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2 died, 1 injured after car rammed into truck

In a tragic incident that took place on Thursday early morning, two persons died and one was injured after a speeding car rammed into a truck, while they were trying to overtake another vehicle.The deceased was identified as Nitin Bhraman (18) and Bhikhaji Rajput (20), both native of Banaskanta. They were working as employees with the Metro rail project in Ahmedabad. Their injured friend was rushed to a hospital for treatment.As per Naroda police, At around 5 am in the morning, the victims were on Naroda- Dehgam road in their company car. They were speeding their way to the destination when they tried to overtake a vehicle on the road and rammed into a truck from behind.In the incident, both the people who were sitting in the front seat of the car died on the spot, while the person in the back seat received injuries.Naroda police have lodged a case in the matter and further investigation regarding the same is on.

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Bad loans in Gujarat fall by Rs 4,023 cr

In what could be a major turnaround, bad loans in Gujarat have dropped by Rs4,023 crore in three months. This is a mix of recovery of loans, writing of loans and transferring them to Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs), according to bankers. Industry players say that if the share of recovery of loans is significant, then it is a welcome change in the economy.According the State-Level Bankers Committee (SLBC) report for the July-September quarter of the fiscal 2017-18, gross Non-Performing Assets (NPA), or bad loans, in Gujarat stand at Rs 31,318.7 crore, a reduction of Rs 4,022.92 crore over NPA of Rs 35,341.62 crore in April-June quarter. Total bank advances in the state stand at Rs 4,89,833 crore, compared to Rs 4,77,480 crore. While advances rose by about 2.6 per cent in three months, NPAs dipped by 12.5 per cent. Bad loans now constitute 6.39 per cent of the total advances in the state, compared to 7.4 per cent in the previous quarter.Vikramaditya Singh Khichi, Field General Manager of Dena Bank, told media persons that this is a net result of recovery of loans as well as loan write-offs as well as transferring loans to ARCs. Dena Bank is a leading bank in Gujarat.It is unprecedented in the recent history of Gujarat that bad loans dropped by such a big margin.Between April-June and July-September quarters of the fiscal 2016-17, bad loans dropped marginally by Rs 457.54 crore from Rs 29,734.12 crore to Rs 29,276.58 crore. Overall, the trend has been on the upswing, with NPA rising dangerously by 74 per cet in the previous eight quarters and by 19 per cent in a year.If bad loans have been genuinely recovered, that is a major improvement in the economy. The development reflects the health of Gujarat’s economic landscape. However, NPAs also fall if they are transferred to ARC or other similar mechanisms being under taken,” said Jaimin Vasa, vice-president of the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry.Bankers say that national banking regulator the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has put many banks on its watch list for their asset quality. “The move has resulted in many banks suspending their expansion operations as well as other operations and focused on recovery of loans. This has resulted in improvement in the recovery of loans,” said an official of a Public Sector Bank in Gujarat.Despite the fall in bad loans, the present level represents a danger signal as the percentage NPA is still above 5 per cent, which is a threshold of danger. For at least nine consecutive quarters now the NPA is over 5 per cent mark.

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Son-in-law gave contract to kill Ghatlodia woman

In the afternoon of December 21, Bhagwati Patel found her mother, 75-year-old Rambha Patel, dead in her residence in Karmacharinagar Housing Society part-2.After a week’s investigation, the police concluded on Thursday that one of her son-in-law had hired a Mumbai-based contract killer to murder Patel.According to a city crime branch officer, Patel was strangulated to death and her gold bangles were looted. Two courier boxes with disposable plastic plates were found at the murder spot. A CCTV footage recovered from one of the bungalows in the society showed a 25-year-old courier boy entering the society with the boxes.Patel had six daughters, all married, the officer said, adding that during their interrogation, it came to the fore that one of the sons-in-law Ramesh Patel, a resident of Chandlodia, was deep in debts worth lakhs of rupees. During his interrogation, Ramesh confessed to hiring a contract killer for Rs 5lakh to eliminate his mother-in-law. The crime branch officer added that Ramesh had his eyes set on Patel’s bungalow worth Rs 3 crore. He knew that after her death, her wealth would have been distributed among her six daughters, and each of their share would have come around Rs 40-50 lakh. He was hoping to pay off his debts with that money.According to police, Ramesh identified the contract killer as one Salim. A team of Ahmedabad crime branch officers arrested Salim from Mumbai late on Wednesday. Furthr investigation in the case is on, added the crime branch officer.

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Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
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Gujarat Literature Festival spreads wings beyond city

The fifth edition of the Gujarat Literature Festival (GLF) has a series of firsts to offer this time around. The festival that was originally conceived to increase interest in Gujarati literature, has over the years expanded to include workshops and seminars that has literary works and authors from several languages.This time the festival will also be held in Vadodara, albeit on different dates. In Ahmedabad, the festival will see workshops begin on January 3, while the formal inauguration will happen take place on January 4. It ends on January7.Festival producer Samkit Shah said the festival will now move to more cities of Gujarat with Vadodara hosting one from February 2 to 4. “In Vadodara, the festival is being supported by Alembic Pharmaceuticals. The session there will be different than what we have here although the format will be the same,” said Shah.The festival will also have Children’s Literature Festival as a subtext of the festival apart from a session on heritage as well as exhibitions around the theme of heritage. A GLF awards will also be given to deserving authors across various fields including movies.The festival has also expanded to different venues within Ahmedabad. This year it will also be hosted at the GU campus apart from Kanorai Art Gallery.The most interesting aspect of the festival however is the Ink Tank a platform that will bring together budding authors and publishers. “It is on the lines of the Shark Tank. The festival will provide a platform for book publishers and young authors who can pitch their books and if found good will get on the spot backing for publishing,” said festival director Shyam Parekh. He said this will inspire and bring in new breed of writers who sometimes despite their talent fail to get the backing of publishers.The festival will aso for the first time recognise the works of various authors across platforms including theatre, film and music by constituting the GLF awards. In all 16 awards will be given.Apart from big names in the field of Gujarati literature, the festival will also see big names from Hindi, Korean and Japanese literature gracing the occasion.The festival will also see five different plays being staged apart from offering a variety of workshop ranging from television writing to storytelling.

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“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars
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Gujarat HC asks AMC to put on record proposed action against its officers

Gujarat High Court has asked the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to file an affidavit stating what action it proposes to take against 26 officers for poor quality of roads, based on the vigilance report. It has also asked the corporation to file progress report on January 16, 2018.The direction has come from the second division bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice Biren Vaishnav on Wednesday, after corporation in its reply informed the court that it has issued 81 notices to officers. These roads had washed away in first rains of monsoon in this calendar year.The bench is hearing public interest litigation filed by Mustaq Kadri. The court on earlier occasion had asked the civic bidy, whether it had taken or intended to take action against those officers responsible for approving the poor quality roads and clear bills of contractors who built them. The bench had also asked if the Corporation had asked its internal vigilance department to investigate nexus between contractors and officers and then submit the report to the court.In its reply, corporation on Wednesday informed the court that it had issued 40 show cause notices to the seven Additional City Engineers, and 40 notices to deputy engineers asking them to respond why actions should not be taken against them.The bench drew the attention of corporation’s advocate Satyam Chhaya about patched roads along the Metro link project and asked the corporation to fully resurface the road.Some 70 per cent roads had washed away in the monsoon. Corporation had taken random samples of 92 roads and sent them for laboratory testing to FSL, LD Engineering College.The corporation also told the court that many roads had been either repaired or completely resurfaced.

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Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
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STOP spreading rumours! Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s special gift for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli REVEALED!
Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars
SHOCKING! ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot’s fake porn video goes viral, here’s what happened

CM Vijay Rupani inaugurates Science Congress

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy CM Nitin Patel swung into action soon after the swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday by staying back in Gujarat instead of going to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Himachal Pradesh CM, who is also from the BJP, and his cabinet members.Surprisingly, Rupani did not call a cabinet meeting as the general practice after swearing-in, and portfolio distribution among ministers is awaited.In his first public programme after assuming the charge of CMO in the new term, on Wednesday, Rupani inaugurated 25th National Children’s Science Congress at Science City in Ahmedabad. It was attended by 900 children from 30 states and six Asian countries, scientists, educationists and others. Addressing the gathering, Rupani said, “Former president Abdul Kalam gave slogan of Jay Vigyan that was added to former PM Lal Bahadur Shashtri’s slogan Jay Jawan, Jay Kisan. Kalam came from a very ordinary background but became a great scientist. His vision for India is showing us the path of progress. We should take inspiration from his life. This Science Congress has laid foundation stone for India’s progress that would bring our nation in top three position in world in the sector of science and technology.”His deputy Nitin Patel took charge of his office and held a meeting with officials to review process of purchase of groundnuts by government at minimum support price.Rupani also reached his residence in the afternoon and cleared pending files of the state government that were piled up on his desk after the model code of conduct came into force.

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Gujarat High Court stays arrest of newly elected MLA Kandhal Jadeja

Gujarat High Court’s single bench justice AG Uraizee heard the special criminal application moved by recently elected MLA from Kutiyana, Kandhal Jadeja, late on Monday after court hours and stayed his arrest in a case in which he was alleged of creating ruckus at a petrol pump on December 24.The court stayed his arrest till December 27. The petitioner’s advocate Harsh Surti’s submission was that the allegation made by the complainant against Jadeja of damaging property at a petrol pump and creating ruckus was baseless. He stated that in the CCTV footage, petitioner was found standing at the petrol pump and not involved in the act at all.State had opposed the petition citing his background. Petitioner’s another ground was that he was recently elected, and if court does not protect him from arrest, he would not be able to take oath as MLA. Earlier, the petitioner and the original complainant both were booked by the Ranavav Police for creating ruckus at the police station on December 21. He was granted temporary bail till December 27. The Porbandar court has granted Jadeja regular bail on Tuesday.TEMPORARY BAIL TILL DECEMBER 27Earlier, the petitioner and the original complainant both were booked by the Ranavav Police for creating ruckus at the police station on December 21. He was granted temporary bail till December 27. The Porbandar court has granted Jadeja regular bail on Tuesday.

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Drop in chikungunya, dengue cases as compared to last year

With a nip in temperature, the number of vector-borne diseases in the city has seen a decline. Interestingly, compared to 2016, December saw a substantial drop in number of cases particularly for chikungunya and dengue. Against 162 cases in December 2016, the city recorded just three cases for chikungunya this month while for dengue, the number of cases was 37 against 119 last year for the same period.The AMC in a release said that there has been 44% drop in chikungunya cases while for dengue it was 3.14% if the yearly data for these diseases is compared. Overall yearly malaria cases also saw a decline of 12.24% compared to last year. The department had also collected 29,736 serum samples so far till December 23, 2017 against 40,590 last year. Water-borne diseases saw a slight increase particularly for jaundice. Against 149 cases of jaundice recorded in December last year, this year the month has so far recorded 174 cases. Two cholera cases were reported in December this year from Jamalpur and Vejalpur ward.As for cases of diarrhoea, the number increased from 459 in last december to 473 this year. Overall, 2017 saw 300 more cases of diarrhoea being registered compared to last year.WHAT AMC DIDAs part of its efforts to control outbreak of disease, the civic body has so far in the year distributed 49,1905 chlorine tablets, carried out 29,934 tests for cholera and sent 2695 water samples for testing.

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Ahmedabad University gets leading economist C Rangarajan

In a major recruitment drive with an aim to create a rich pool of academicians, Ahmedabad University (AU) has roped in leading economist of the country C Rangarajan.Professor Chakravarthi Rangarajan has joined AU as Distinguished University Professor. Not just him, AU has also been able to rope in a retired professor of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) professor P R Shukla who specialises in energy, environment and policies. Professor Shukla will also head the Global Centre for Environment and Energy.Professor Pankaj Chandra, Vice-Chancellor, AU, said, “Since January 2016, we have been able to recruit 35 faculty from across the world. To get best of faculties, we need to show them our vision and make them realise that they can experiment with new ways of teaching.”He added, “Whenever professor Rangarajan is in the university, even at this age (over 80 years), he teaches continously from morning till evening and that shows his dedication.” Prof Rangarajan has played a key role both as an academic and a policy maker. He has held several important positions which include Governor of Reserve Bank of India and Governor of Andhra Pradesh. Interestingly, while Professor Shukla is the first professor who has joined AU immediately after IIMA, AU has three more professors who have worked with IIMA in the past. Professor Chandra, prior to joining IIM-Bangalore as a director worked with IIMA.Professor Devanath Tirupati, one of India’s leading management academicians known for his expertise in Operations Management, too worked with IIMA and has joined AU’s management school. Professor Vivek Banerjee who is presently senior dean, startegic initiatives and planning at AU, has worked with IIMA for 18 years.HALL OF EXPERTISEProf C Rangarajan has played a key role both as an academic and a policy maker. He has held several important positions which include Governor of RBI and Governor of Andhra Pradesh. Professor Chandra, prior to joining IIM-B as a director worked with IIMA.

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With assets worth Rs 123 crore, Saurabh Patel is the richest minister

Former Industries and Finance minister Saurabh Patel is the richest minister in the 20-member Council of Ministers headed by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, announced on Tuesday. Eighteen ministers have assets worth Rs 1 crore or more, according to a report of Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).Assets and IncomeExcept for Raman Patkar and Bachu Khabad, all ministers have assets worth more than Rs 1 crore. Saurabh Patel also has the highest annual salary of all. Patel has disclosed his income of Rs 2.45 crore in his Income Tax Returns. His income includes his salary, interests and dividends. Patel is followed by Parbat Patel, a farmer, with an income of Rs 72 lakh and Jayesh Radadiya with an income of Rs 50 lakh. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani disclosed an income of Rs 21 lakh. His income comprises salary, interest income from partnership, savings interest income and dividends. Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel disclosed an income of Rs 15 lakh from business. He has assets worth Rs 8 crore.Financial LiabilitiesThirteen of the 20 ministers have financial liabilities. Top on the list is Jayesh Radadiya with liabilities worth Rs 16 crore against Rs 28 crore worth of assets, followed by Parsotam Solanki with liabilities worth Rs 6 crore against assets worth Rs 45 crore. Former Revenue Minister Kaushik Patel has Rs 1 crore worth of liabilities against Rs 5 crore worth of assets. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has Rs 83 lakh worth of liabilities against Rs 9 crore worth of assets.Education QualificationTwo ministers are postgraduates, six are graduate professionals while two have a graduation degree. Nine ministers have not crossed school limits. One is a diploma engineer.Ministers with criminal casesThree ministers have facing criminal cases against them. Parsotam Solanki has six cases related to cheating, dishonesty, forgery, fraudulent practices, Jayesh Radadiya has two cases related to causing hurt to others using dangerous weapons, provoking breach of peace as well as abatement to offence and former Home Minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja has one case related to violation of Representation of Peoples Act against him.THREE RICHEST MINISTERSSaurabh Patel Rs 123 croreParsotam Solanki Rs 45 croreJayesh Radadiya Rs 28 crore

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Farmers stage protest for better groundnut prices

Farmers of Saurashtra, North Gujarat and Ahmedabad staged protests across various parts of state on Tuesday claiming that Gujarat government has stopped procurement of groundnut after elections.They say that BJP government had announced that it would procure groundnut at a price of Rs900 per 20 kg, while the market rate was about Rs600-650 per 20 kg. If farmers have to sell in open market, they would have to suffer losses, they say.Atul Shekhda, a leading farmer of Khedut Sangharsh Samiti of Junagadh district in Saurashtra submitted a memorandum to the office of a local Mamlatdar on Tuesday. “There is virtually no buying at the markets. Authorities complain that there are not enough sacks, so they are not able to buy. There is hardly any buying after voting ended in Gujarat,” he claimed.The protest was the most severe in Kalavad in Jamnagar district where farmers staged a road blockade. Their leader Ramdevsinh Jadeja said that farmers are returning empty handed from Haripar Sewa Sahkari Mandali as government’s buying of groundnut has stopped under one pretext or the other.”It is an endless wait for the farmers, who had registered with the government to sell groundnut at MSP. Local market authorities are buying out-of-turn from traders, but not farmers. The market price of groundnut now is in the range of Rs 600-650 and many traders have bought at this price from us. Now they are selling at MSP at the same markets but farmers, who have been waiting for months together, do not get the chance to sell their produce,” said Jadeja.Except for Surendranagar district in Saurasthra, all the other districts have witnessed groundnut buying coming to a grinding halt.”Local farmers have led the protests in respective areas. It is a matter of concern that the government is not living up to its promise,” said Sagar Rabari, Secretary of Khedut Samaj – Gujarat.RTI activist and founder of farmers’ organisation ‘Kranti’ Bharatsinh Jhala said that even MSPs do not meet the cost of cultivation of crops of farmers and the prices should be higher in order to ensure that farmers get remunerative price and food security of the country is not compromised.”We have suggested a price of Rs1,200 per 20 kg for groundnut, Rs1,600 per 20 kg for cotton, Rs 3,500 per 20 kg for jeera. Input cost and inflation factors should be considered while determining the farm prices. But this is not happening,” said Jhala.

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KNOW YOUR MLA: Ellisbridge soon to be clear of traffic woes, says Rakesh Shah

Ellisbridge MLA Rakesh Shah has always said his priority is to make his constituency free of traffic snarls. Shah takes a jan sampark every Sunday in his constituency to keep touch with his voters.”The areas that fall under my constituency sees a lot of traffic problems. If need be, we will build more underbridges and overbridges to ease the problem,” said Shah. He said the constituency has its roads, gutters and water systems in place. “So, I don’t think we need to concentrate much on them,” said Shah.He said some of the demands that have come from voters include construction of more parks and areas for senior citizens to mingle with and interact. “We will look at building more parks and open areas for senior citizens and children,” said Shah. He said they are also looking at creating multi-level parking places in the Navrangpura area,” said Shah.

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Cong slams govt for gas price hike, water woes

The Opposition Congress has come down heavily on the state government for increasing gas prices for industries and stopping water supply to farms in north Gujarat.State-owned Gujarat Gas hiked gas prices for industrial consumers by about 10% from December 23. For the ceramic units in Morbi, the price was revised from Rs24.87 per standard cubic metre (scm) to Rs27.37 per scm. For industries in other regions, price was hiked from Rs 26.59 per scm to Rs29.17 per scm.The ceramic industry of Morbi, which was getting gas at a cheaper rate than other industries, and continues to be charged less, has opposed the hike saying it would put additional burden of Rs80 lakh on them.State Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said that the price hike would hurt thousands of ceramic units.He also said that more than 10,000 jeera farmers of Banaskantha were staring at huge losses due to sudden stoppage of Narmada water supply under the pretext of canal repairing. Doshi questioned if the steps were taken in view of reverses suffered by BJP in Morbi as well as Banaskantha.HIKE HURDLESState-owned Gujarat Gas hiked gas prices for industrial consumers by about 10% from December 23. For the ceramic units in Morbi, the price was revised from Rs24.87 per standard cubic metre (scm) to Rs27.37 per scm.

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Parsis giving a treat to Amdavadis on Dec 29

Amdavadis, gear up for a ‘Parsi treat’ before the year ends. The Ahmedabad Parsi Panchayat in association with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) is all set to bring a first of its kind ‘Parsi fest’ to the city.The fest will be held at 100-year-old Nowrojee Hall in Shahibaug on December 29 and will offer Parsi delicacies, an insight into their garments, vintage car collection and books.Mehr Medora, a member of Parsi Panchayat and trustee of Ushta-te Foundation, said, “On request from the heritage cell of AMC, we have organised the event which will begin from 5.30 pm. Gujarat Governor OP Kohli will preside over the function.”Medora added, “The feat will have stalls displayed by Parsis from across the state. There will be a talk on the contribution of Parsis in the city, Parsi textile exhibition, a tour of Nowrojee hall to delve into the life of how Sir Norojee lived.” The stalls will also be on Parsi cuisine. The star attraction would be stall where visitors can dress up like Parsis in their traditional attire and get photographs clicked with vintage cars in the background.Medora added, “The aim is to showcase our community to the non-Parsis of Ahmedabad. We have invited students of CEPT university, IIMA, NID, NIFT, MICA, etc along with some prominent personalities of Ahmedabad.”Key AttractionsTalk on contribution of the Parsis of Ahmedabad. Textile exhibition. Tour of Nowrojee Hall, to see how Sir Nowrojee lived. Parsi Cuisine. Live music with a dance floor. Dress like a traditional Parsi and get your photographs with a traditional heritage background and Vintage Cars.

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Congress meet to elect CLP leader in January first week

Even as the new government is set to be sworn-in on Tuesday, the Congress meeting to elect the Leader of Opposition (LOP) in the state assembly is likely to take place in the first week of January.Shailesh Parmar, MLA from Danilimda (SC) seat in Ahmedabad, and Congress’s chief whip in the assembly said that the Congress MLAs are likely to meet in the first week of 2018 to elect their leader. “The date of the legislators’ meeting to elect the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader is yet to be finalised, but it likely to take place in the first week of January,” Parmar said.While the loss of senior leaders such as Shaktisinh Gohil, Arjun Modhwadia and Siddharth Patel in the elections has thrown open the race for CLP leader, Paresh Dhanani, the Congress MLA from Amreli, is believed to be the front-runner for the post.Dhanani, who was elected to the assembly for the third time in these elections, is a young and emerging face in the party. He is a Patidar, the community that threw its weight behind Congress in rural areas. Moreover, he is from Saurashtra, the region where the party improved its tally from 11 in 2012 to 27 in 2017. Incidentally, BJP was blanked in Amreli district, as Congress won all five seats.Another claimant for the post of CLP leader is Mohansinh Rathwa, who was elected as MLA for a record tenth time, making him the senior-most legislator in the House. Rathwa has been a member of every Gujarat assembly since 1972, barring the 11th due to his loss in 2002. He was appointed Leader of Opposition in the assembly after Shankersinh Vaghela quit the party. However, Rathwa is 73, and this may go against him. He is also not very aggressive in the House. Shailesh Parmar, a four-term MLA, is another potential candidate as CLP leader. He is a prominent Dalit face and is well-versed with the functioning of the assembly. Moreover, Parmar is one of the handful of Congress MLAs from urban areas, and one of the even fewer ones who has been elected more than once.WHAT MLA SAYSThe date of the legislators’ meeting to elect the Congress Legislature Party leader is yet to be finalised, but it is likely to take place in the first week of January, said Shailesh Parmar, MLA from Danilimda (SC) seat in Ahmedabad.

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BJP outgained Congress for upper hand in Central Gujarat

If there was one key region where BJP clearly outclassed rival Congress in elections, it was Central Gujarat. BJP not only added more votes than the Congress here but also gained two seats widening the lead over the Congress in the region from 20-18 in 2012 to 22-16. Central Gujarat contributes 40 seats to 182-member Assembly.While two seats went to independents this time, in 2012, NCP and an independent had shared a seat each. What helped BJP sharpen its edge was its continuous hold over urban areas and Patidar agitation-led polarisation of votes that made non-Patels vote for BJP.In constituencies in Vadodara city area likeVadodara City, Sayajiganj, Akota, Raopura and Manjalpur, Congress got 2,75,923 votes, almost 20.48% more than 2,29,011 votes in 2012. However, the gain was inadequate to breach the victory margin BJP had in previous election.While BJP held on to its bastion in the city, in the rest of the region, it accelerated its advance where its vote tally stood at 26,55,288, a rise of 16.98% over its 2012 votes of 22,69,773. On the contrary, Congress’ advance almost stagnated at 24,26,563, a meager rise of 8.13% over its 2012 tally of 22,44,025 votes. BJP widened its vote lead from 25,748 votes in 2012 to 2,28,725 votes in 2017. Net result was that BJP widened the seat gap from two to six.Across the 40 seats in the region, BJP’s votes rose by 15.38% while Congress’ votes rose by 9.28%. BJP wrested six seats from the rivals, followed by four by Congress and two by independents. “Kshatriyas have been Congress supporters but Kshatriya equation got disturbed as Congress supported Patidar agitation and Kshatriyas voted for BJP instead,” said Kailash Gadhvi, Congress spokesman in Gujarat.In reality, Patel agitation did not bring any Patel votes to Congress. This is because the agrarian crisis in the region is not so severe in central Gujarat compared to the rest of the state. The region has a fertile land with irrigation water available through canals. Dairy too has diversified the rural income giving cushion to the farmers and Patels here have migrated in large numbers to the USA and UK giving them the financial backup. In fact, non-resident Gujarati Patels are the most vocal supporters of the BJP in general and PM Narendra Modi in particular.Lack of local leadership on the part of Congress also failed to hold on to its traditional vote banks. Retirement of former state and Union minister Dinsha Patel deprived the party of an influential Patidar leader with only Siddarth Patel, son of former CM Chimanbhai Patel in fray. Patel lost to his BJP rival Shailesh Raval by a margin of 2,839 votes.BJP also strengthened its position in the region after cooperative dairy leader Ramsinh Parmar defected to BJP during recent Rajya Sabha polls, increasing BJP’s influence over dairy farmers. While Parmar lost from Thasra constituency, Congress gained in terms of seats.MAJER TAKEWAYSCentral Gujarat is the only region where BJP gained in votes and seats. BJP’s votes rose by 15%, it added two seats. Patidar factor polarised non-Patel votes in favour of BJP. Congress’s votes rose by 9.28%, it lost two seats. Congress failed to make inroads in Vadodara city. Outside Vadodara, it was an even contest between BJP and Congress.

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At Sattvik food festival, rediscover how to write a ‘patra’

At the three-day Sattvik Food Festival held in Ahmedabad, stalls sell traditional vegetarian fare that is often not commonly found in the city and not known to city folks.This year, the festival which began on December 23, drew curious visitors to one stall that is something of a rarity these days. What is interesting is that the stall was not selling any edible fare nor any products made of organic material. But what it offered was something that many now know no more – letters!The stall was set up by the Department of Posts. And what piqued people’s curiosity was its concept urging people to write a letter. Titled ‘Patr lakho” (write a letter) the stall offered people a chance to send a postcard to anyone they liked.”The department provided the pen, the postcard and even the stamps. We wanted visitors to write a letter or postcard to anyone they knew telling them of their experience at the Sattvik food festival. In fact, we encouraged people to write to the festival organisers too,” said GPO MR Trivedi.The department had also set up the red post box near its stall so that the people could post their letters at the venue itself.”We want to encourage people to write a letter. A phone call is forgotten. A mail does not have the same charm as a letter can be preserved for ages and every time you read it, it brings back fond memories. Can an email or SMS compete with that?” questioned Trivedi.He said many people took the opportunity to write letters. “Some even posted a letter to themselves as they wanted to receive a letter in their name. In fact, some of the kids who came to the stall had never written a letter or posted one in their life,” said an employee who manned the post box.The festival that also sees sales of organic produce and products made from organic supply also had women farmers coming together to take a look at the potential of organic farming.In the middle of the food festival, a group of about 30 women farmers sat together discussing how they could go organic and why festivals like these could be a networking place for them to find potential customers.Shilpa Vasavada, who is associated with the Working Group for Women and Land Ownership, said the idea behind bringing these women to the food festival was to show them that there is a demand for organic products as well as traditional grains.”We are encouraging many of these women farmers to go organic and it is a must that we show them the potential or organic products,” she said.

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The Long and Short of Gujarat elections

The results of the 2017 Gujarat assembly election results were something that both BJP and Congress would be happy as well as sad about. The BJP would be happy, because it won for the sixth straight time in the state despite strong anti-incumbency and other challenges, and the Congress would be pleased as it managed to give the BJP a run for its money in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.Why would the BJP be sad with the results? The answer is that Gujarat has been its fortress since the mid-1990s. Even when it barely had presence in other states, Gujarat was its stronghold. The party would be worried as the election results expose the chinks in its Gujarat armour, especially just a little over a year before the elections. The results take away the aura of invincibility from the formidable combination of Modi and Shah, and show that they can be beaten. The reason Congress would be sad is because it was a case of it being so close and yet so far from that elusive victory in Gujarat. In spite of several so-called missteps of the ruling BJP, Congress could not finish the job, so to speak.When the election results were announced on December 18, the BJP was declared the winner in 99 out of 182 seats. This was 16 seats less than the party had won in 2012, and its lowest in any assembly election in Gujarat since 1995, when it first stormed to power. The Congress, on the other hand, won 77 seats, which was 16 more than it had won five years back. The Congress’s allies won three more seats, including Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani from Vadgam seat, effectively taking its tally to 80.The BJP increased its vote-share marginally from 48 per cent in 2012 elections to 49 per cent in the latest polls, but Congress saw its vote share rising from 38 per cent to 41.4per cent . With its allies, the vote-share was more than 42 per cent.BJP biggies had it easyKey BJP candidates such as chief minister Vijay Rupani, deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, and state unit chief Jitu Vaghani were among the key winners. However, many other partyv leaders such as health minister Shankar Chaudhary, assembly speaker Ramanlal Vora, and energy minister Chiman Sapariya ended on the losing side.Cong leaders swept awayThough Congress was surely buoyed by its overall performance in the crucial elections, the loss of its entire leadership in the state, including the likes of Shaktisinh Gohil, Arjun Modhwadia, Siddharth Patel and Tushar Chaudhary, came as a huge shock. Their defeats has led to calls to groom other leaders who can lead the party in the future.Paresh Dhanani, Mohansinh Rathwa and Kunvarji Bavaliya were among the senior Congress leaders who won in the elections. Dhanani is seen as a front-runner for the post of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader in the House.36 sitting MLAs lostAs many as 121 sitting MLAs were in the fray in the 2017 polls. However, of them, 36 ended up losing, with remaining 85 getting re-elected. Of the 85 re-elected MLAs, 58 are from the BJP, 25 from Congress, and one each from NCP and Chhotu Vasava of Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP).Incidentally, BJP had fielded seven Congress turncoats as its candidates. Five of them, viz. Tejshree Patel, Raghavji Patel, Ramsinh Parmar, Amit Chaudhary, and Mansinh Chauhan, lost. Only two of the turncoats, viz. Dharmendrasinh Jadeja and CK Raulji made it to the 14th Assembly.Three Muslim MLAsThe Congress had fielded six Muslim candidates, of whom three emerged as winners, and three came up short. Gayasuddin Sheikh and Imran Khedawala won from the Dariapur and Jamalpur-Khadia seats in Ahmedabad respectively. Sitting MLA Mohammed Javid Pirzada won again from the Wankaner seat. Congress’s Muslim candidates in Bharuch, Bhuj and Surat West seats lost.Close call in 27 seatsThough the difference in number of seats, BJP’s 99 and Congress’s 77, would suggest that BJP notched up an easy victory, the elections were far more closer than the numbers suggest. As many as 27 seats were won or lost with a margin of less than 3,000 votes. Of these, the BJP won 15 seats, while the Congress bagged 12. The victory margin in seven seats was less than 1,000, which means they could have gone either way, but for a few votes.NOTA bad at allAs many as 5.51 lakh voters, or nearly 2 per cent of the 2.98 crore who voted, chose None Of the Above (NOTA). In spite of the presence of Nationalist Congress Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Aam Aadmi Party, it was NOTA that bagged the highest number of votes after BJP and Congress, and in fact, in nearly 30 seats, NOTA votes numbered more than the winning margin. Again, another indicator of how close the elections really were.For Congress, the biggest positive from the 2017 elections was its performance in Saurashtra, where it improved its tally from 11 in 2012 to 27 in 2017, even as BJP’s tally fell from 29 to 21.The Congress did reasonably well in north Gujarat, where it won three more seats than in 2012. In south Gujarat too, it won two more than the last elections, but it won two less in central Gujarat.Near-sweep in cities saved BJPIn the overall analysis, it was its near-sweep in the four major cities of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot, that saw the BJP home. Out of 36 seats on offer in these cities, Congress won just four, all of them in Ahmedabad. The party came a cropper in Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot, even failing to open its account.While it won more rural seats than BJP, the urban seats again proved to be the Achilles Heel for the Congress, once again, where the results turned out to be a lopsided affair.Advantage Cong in RS pollsIf assembly results are anything to go by, the Congress would seem to have the numerical advantage in 8 to 9 Lok Sabha seats, especially the ones in Saurashtra and north Gujarat, when they go to polls in early 2019. In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJP had won all 26 seats in the state.While these are based on conjectures, the results would definitely boost Congress’s strength in Rajya Sabha. Four seats in the Upper House from Gujarat are set to fall vacant in April. Incidentally, all four Rajya Sabha members who are slated to retire are from BJP, viz. Arun Jaitley, Mansukh Mandaviya, Parshottam Rupala and Shankar Vegad.Considering its reduced strength of 99 in the assembly, BJP would be able to fill only two of the four vacant seats, while Congress is assured of the remaining two. However, this could change if elections were held and in the unlikely scenario of massive cross-voting.Hardik fails to deliverPatidar reservation agitation leader Hardik Patel’s roadshows attracted large crowds, but the results show that only few actually voted for the Congress. The second possibility probably explains the lower turnout in many of the Patidar dominated urban seats.“Even with the simmering anger among Patels, we could not win a single Patidar dominated seat in Surat or Ahmedabad. This is a big worry for us, and needs to be addressed immediately,” said a senior Congress leader.Fairer sex strength down to 13Thirteen women were elected this time, three less than in 2012 when the number was 16. Nine of the female MLAs are from BJP, including five sitting MLAs, and four new ones. Four women were elected to the assembly on Congress ticket, including sitting MLA Chandrika Bariya from Garbada.Modi, Rahul slogged it outThough stakes in the Gujarat elections were very high, both for BJP, which was keen to hold on to its traditional stronghold, and Congress, seeking to challenge the ruling party in its own den, the campaign was surprisingly low-key. This in spite of extensive campaigning by both prime minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi.Modi addressed more than 30 rallies across the state, while Gandhi undertook yatra in all corners of the state and also addressed several rallies and public meetings. The Congress’s campaign mainly centred on the Centre’s alleged mishandling of the economy with moves such as demonetisation and hasty implementation of GST, which Gandhi dubbed as Gabbar Singh Tax. Gandhi also attacked Modi for devoting his speeches to the Congress party, while failing to utter a word about his vision for Gujarat’s future.Modi’s speeches, on the other hand, talked about the work done by him while he was the CM and now as PM, and also targeting the Congress for its alleged anti-Gujarat and anti-Gujarati mentality. He also likened Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as Congress president to Aurangzeb-raj, seen as an attempt to polarise voters.Neech, Pakistan,and what notThe election speeches, however, got nastier after the first phase of polling was over, especially after now-suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s comment used the word ‘neech’ for the PM. Modi brought up the word in speech after speech to attack the Congress.However, what led to a major controversy, and was seen by many as an attempt to polarise voters by bringing the Pakistan angle, Modi alleged that Aiyar had hosted a secret meeting with some Pakistani officials a day before calling him ‘neech’, and also accused Congress of conspiring with the enemy country to install senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel as Gujarat chief minister.While it is difficult to say if the episode influenced voters in any way, the election results suggest it did, as the BJP fared much better in the second phase than in the first one.The last of the Pakistan angle is yet to be seen as it later emerged that former PM Manmohan Singh, and former vice president Hamid Ansari were among those who had attended the dinner meeting at Aiyar’s residence. The charge, which Congress alleges amounted to Modi accusing Singh, Ansari and others of treason, continues to paralyse Parliament with the Opposition seeking an apology from the PM, and the BJP ruling out any such possibility.Vikas went missing, crazyThough the Gujarat election was supposed to be contested on the issue of development, the word Vikas somehow did not figure much in election speeches, especially those of BJP leaders. This was quite ironic considering that BJP’s election slogan was Hun Chhu Vikas, Hun Chhu Gujarat (I am development, I am Gujarat).Many believe that this was because of the Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe (Development has gone crazy) campaign that went viral on social media a few months ago. The campaign made BJP the butt of jokes, and also inspired several memes.BJP sought to hit back with the Pappuone Pachtu Nathi (Pappus cannot digest this) and other campaigns, but frankly, they didn’t catch people’s imagination.1,444 lost deposit1,444 of the 1,828 candidates who contested in the Gujarat polls lost their deposits. An analysis of the results reveals that in 172 seats, all candidates barring the winner and loser, lost their deposits. In the remaining ten seats, the third-placed candidates won more than one-sixth of the total votes polled, and hence their deposits would not be forfeited.HOW THE RESULTS WERE EXPECTED & UNEXPECTEDEXPECTED BECAUSEBJP was expected to win, it did It was expected to win less seats than in 2012, it did Congress was expected to put up a fight, it did BJP was expected to sweep urban seats, it did BJP was seen as losing ground in rural areas, it did UNEXPECTED BECAUSEBJP tally was expected to fall, but not below 100 seats, but it did The kind of reverses BJP suffered, especially in Saurashtra, were unexpected Loss of four top Congress leaders was unexpected Patidar anger failed to hurt BJP, or benefit Congress, much, quite unexpectedly POLLS IN FIGURESBJP 49.1% 1,47,24,427Cong 41.4%1,24,38,937Ind. 4.3%12,90,278BTP 0.7%2,22,694BSP 0.7%2,07,007NCP 0.6%1,84,815NOTA 1.8%5,51,615

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Those who did not fight for Cong will face action: Rahul Gandhi

Those within Congress who did not work to make party candidates win will have to face disciplinary action, said Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Ahmedabad on Saturday. He also assured that those who had worked for the party will be rewarded and that the grand old party also has a bright future.Addressing the party workers in Ahmedabad after a review meeting with the party leaders and MLAs, the newly elected party President said, “90% of workers fought for the party. 10% did not help the party. We will act against them, whoever they are, however big they may be. Everything will happen in a gradual manner.”Rahul thanked workers for their fine show even if the party did not get majority. Terming the performance a victory of sorts, he said that it was an uneven fight with BJP putting all the might of central and state governments besides ‘money power’, while Congress had only truth to rely upon.”We fought with love and we have won,” he said adding that during the course of the campaign, Congress was successful in bursting myth about development during Narendra Modi’s rule in Gujarat. “Inspite of asking so many questions, the PM was not able to reply,” he said.Gujarat Congress in-charge Ashok Gehlot said that PM Modi and BJP President Amit Shah had a tough time countering the onslaught of Congress and they had to take resort to sea plane and ‘Son of the Soil’ aspects to emotionally appeal to the masses. He said that the situation has changed in Gujarat and the countdown has begun for BJP, which will be reflected in the 2019 polls.THANKS PARTYMENRahul gave credit to AICC General Secretary and in-charge of Gujarat Ashok Gehlot as well as the party leadership for the results and termed the party manifesto a landmark document

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Gardens, street lighting priorities for Asarwa MLA

As the newly elected candidates get ready to represent you for the next five years, DNA reviews the credentials and promises of each so you know what to expect from their term governing your constituency. Today, the focus is on Pradip Parmar.From a booth level worker, Parmar has risen to an MLA from BJP. Before Parmar, a former bureaucrat, who was fielded by the BJP, had won the election in 2012.Parmar represents Asarwa, which a reserved scheduled caste seat in Ahmedabad. A member of the BJP for past three decades, Parmar said it was an honour for him that a booth level worker like him was selected to contest the assembly election. He believes his victory is mainly because of his connect with people.“Local people know me as I have worked for them and raised their questions and issues. There are many things that have orked for my victory. I will continue to serve people with focus as I now have a larger area to look after,” said Pradip Parmar.His list of priorities include beautification of gardens in the constituency. “I also want to introduce modern amenities in my area, there are some light pole which needs to be replaced with LED light.”Having Asia’s largest hospital in his constituency, the first-time legislator wants to build amenities for visitors to the area. “I want to open more libraries and reading rooms in my area for the locals as well as those who visit the area for different purposes.”

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Likely faces in Vijay Rupani’s cabinet

With the BJP all set to form the government in Gujarat for a sixth consecutive term, top party leaders are busy carryingout the cherry-picking exercise to select the faces for Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s cabinet.Including Rupani as the CM and Nitin Patel as his deputy, sources said, seven other members are likely to be picked as cabinet rank ministers, while 11 to 12 may be selected for state-level minister rank.The final list will be release on December 26, moments before the swearing-in ceremony of the cabinet members in Gandhinagar.In the meanwhile, sources said, senior party leaders, including BJP state chief Jitu Vaghani, CM Rupani and Dy CM Patel, are going to meet for a couple of times to work out a list keeping factors like castes, regions and gender in mind. Here are the names that are likely to find a place in the BJP’s final list of cabinet ministers and ministers of states:GANPAT VASAVAThe tribal face of the BJP and former minister of tribal and forests in Rupani’s government, Vasava is a promising figure. No other tribal leader from BJP of his cadre has been elected in recent polls. He can get the same portfolio again.BABU BOKHIRIADefeated Congress stalwart Arjun Modhwadia for the second time. He was a cabinet minister in last term and is a strong OBC leader in Saurashtra. He can get water supplies and water resources portfolio once more.RC FALDUA former Saurashtra BJP president and a senior leader from the Patel community, Faldu can become the agriculture minister. His clean image and docile nature can earn him a position in Rupani’s cabinet.SAURABH PATELThe industrialist had been dropped last time. But in the absence of other strong leaders, Rupani won’t be able to ignore him this time. Patel is credited with making the Vibrant Gujarat Summit successful. Finance and energy are his forte.JAYESH RADADIAHe and his father Vitthal Radadiya have good hold over the Patel community in Saurashtra region and that is needed more now to placate Patels who are up in arms against the BJP With 2019 polls nearing, can retain civil supplies.DILIP THAKOROBC leader from North Gujarat. May get a berth ahead of 2019 polls. May get social justice and empowermentKAUSHIK PATELFormer revenue minister in Keshubhai Patel’s government, Kaushik Patel is a Kadva Patel leader from North Gujarat. Likely to enter the cabinet and get the revenue portfolio.PRADIPSINH JADEJAA Kshatriya Rajput leader from Ahmedabad, can be elevated to cabinet minister from MoS. Jadeja is believed to be close to BJP president Amit Shah. May get legal and justice parliamentary affairs and urban development portfolios.BHUPENDRASINH CHUDASAMAIf not chosen for the cabinet, he can be made the speaker in Gujarat assembly, thanks to his experience and knowledge of proceedings of the House. His soft-spoken nature can also bag him the new job.

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The madness over bitcoin

As a nomad sharing experiences of excursions on science landscape, I am aware that I have very few readers, so I would love to add some more by dabbling on the subject of bitcoin that has mystified and yet attracted a lot of people!As bitcoins are borne of internet, they are part of a new world where systems are moving out of the regime of authorities like states and nations and into headless collectives formed by common people like you and me interlinked with the web.I find bitcoins extremely interesting, not because they are an opportunity to make money, but because they can be used to force a much-needed debate on “what is money doing to us?”.Historically, money is a collective contract honoured by a group bound by a system that allows parking of effort in time.In simple terms, if I don’t want to consume the rewards of my efforts immediately, I am allowed to park my efforts through this contract to recover them later in time when I need. So, due to its very nature, the contract of money exists only if people agree to honour it. If the collective agreement falls apart, money will instantly become value-less. Hence money requires an authenticating authority to enforce the contract, a role traditionally played by the state.As bitcoin money has moved away from the requirement of sovereign backing of a state, it has potential to dethrone money as we know it, but my question is, do we really know what money is doing to humanity?Money as a contract is just the external cover provided to the concept of human effort, but what it has ended up doing is making the human effort a faceless idea out of bound of the most crucial scrutiny, i.e. moral scrutiny.When money was born, the effort that we traded was normally of survival-useful items like food. It must have slowly encompassed other essentials like clothing, utensils, tools etc. Unfortunately for humans, at some point in our history, due to the natural curiosity about novelty that our brain is gifted/cursed with, survival-useless items like feathers and beads must have started riding the same contract.Once contract of money escaped the scrutiny of survival-usefulness, it has started a crazy downhill journey, and today it has reached a point where strangest of “efforts”, such as readiness to shade cloths in front of a camera or selling a soul-destroying drug, have also earned the right to become money.Today this dilution of concept of money has taken us to a point where efforts of a scientist spending lifetime of effort to discover a drug that will save million lives can be dwarfed by money earned by a cute cat video on YouTube, and what is even more interesting is that we are not questioning is as a society.If we extrapolate the collective madness induced by concept of money running amok into a world running on bitcoin money, the future looks even more crazy as it will liberate money to ride the gratification circuits freely that has enslaved masses today.A lawless money completely backed by an uncontrolled collective mob that we call internet-community is the most dangerous idea that we can unleash upon us.While the new age is all about freedom of choice and finding what people want through collective consensus, it is actually just a trap set up by our gratification-hungry neocortex enslaved by forces of commerce.Moral restrain is the greatest need of the hour if we want to save us from the self and planet consuming fire of gratification fuelled by interconnected masses.So, while technology has unleashed the freest from of money, we need to first reign in the existing concept of money before playing with bitcoin fire.

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Do not believe rating agencies’ report: Subramanian Swamy

The reports of rating agencies are unreliable, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said on Saturday. Recently Moody’s had upgraded India’s rating, while another agency Fitch had lowered the projections of India’s economic growth.Addressing a gathering of Chartered Accountants in Ahmedabad at a function organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), he said that “you can pay them and get the report published.”At a time when there was widespread sentiment of economic slowdown, Moody’s had upgraded India’s sovereign rating after a gap of about 13 years. This had brought cheers to the central government in Delhi. Swamy, however, said that India’s growth story has improved under the BJP-led NDA government, but it is slower than what it should have been. “Our growth should not be less than 10 per cent,” he said.He also advised getting the quarterly data published by the government agencies with a pinch of salt. Organisations like the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) were also under pressure to bring out a report saying that demonetisation did not have any impact. “I am feeling nervous because I know there is an impact,” he said arguing that the printed report was available on February 1, indicating that it was published about three weeks earlier. “So in January, you calculate the GDP to indicate that there is no impact. How can one calculate it?” he said.Swamy suggested that the CSO has a history of collecting statistical data and one can rely on them, but it should not be forced to do something it cannot do.

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Action will be taken against those who didn’t help party in Gujarat: Rahul Gandhi

Addressing Congress party workers in Ahmedabad, days after narrowly losing in the Gujarat assembly election, Rahul Gandhi hinted that internal discord was the primary reason behind their defeat. Congress President said that if the party had worked unitedly, they would have emerged victorious. However, according to Rahul Gandhi’s assessment, while around 80-85% workers gave their best shot, some remained aloof or worked against the party and resulted in the eventual defeat. Congress significantly increased their seat tally and vote share in the recently concluded Assembly election restricting BJP to 99 seats in the assembly. However, even as Congress party did reasonaly well, many of its top leaders had to bite the dust. Alluding to it, Rahul Gandhi said that a new set of leaders have emerged who will be raising their voices in the Assembly. Congress President predicted that the party would win the next election under their leadership and get 135 seats. Also readRahul Gandhi offers prayers at Somnath temple in GujaratHe also said that Congress may have lost the election, but has scored a moral victory because BJP had lot more resource to fight the polls. Also according to Congress President, they spoke the language of love during the elections, while BJP spoke the language of rage. Congress lost many seats by extremely narrow margin in the recently concluded election. The state-leadership is currently taking a stock of the results and Rahul Gandhi joined them on the third day of introspection session. He held review meet with leaders from all four regions of Gujarat. Congress did significantly well in Saurashtra, but couldn’t maintain that surge in other regions. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi today 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 ad 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.With PTI inputs

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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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Congress votes jumped sharply in Saurashtra

If there was any region in Gujarat that voted in a totally different way in 2017 as compared to 2012 was Saurashtra-Kutch. While both the major parties added voters to their previous tally, it was 27.43% gain on the part of Congress to remove the deficit of 21 seats over rival BJP in 2012 to take a seven-seat lead in recent elections.The results also witnessed the resurgent party to narrow the vote lead of 4,30,749 votes in 2012 to 49,351 votes. The prime reason is the addition of 8,14,614 votes by Congress as compared to 3,14,165 votes by BJP in terms of previous elections.The net result was that Congress increased its tally from 16 to 30, while BJP dropped its tally from a massive 35 to 23. Saurashtra region has 48 seats, while Kutch has six seats in the 182-seat Legislative Assembly of Gujarat. Congress was able to regain 16 seats from BJP by conceding only four seats in the region. Seats that Congress wrested from BJP include predominantly rural seats of Dhrangadhra, Morbi, Tankara, Chotila, Wankaner, Jasdan, Kalavad, Jamjodhpur, Khambhaliya, Junagadh, Mangrol, Kodinar, Una, Dhari, Gadhada and Talaja. While the four seats have more urban aspect to it. These include Rajkot-East, Jamnagar-North, Palitana and Jetpur.Saurashtra-Kutch region is the least urbanised among all the regions and this has been one of key reason why BJP suffered a severe setback. With predominantly agrarian economy, the region suffered two erratic monsoons in past three years. What added to the natural calamity was administrative indifference in terms of timely intervention, whether it was ensuring drought and flood relief or remunerative prices for crops like cotton and groundnut. Last minute move to declare MSP for groundnut was too late and too less for the farmers.This region also witnessed the most high profile contest between Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Congress rival Indranil Rajguru from Rajkot-West Constituency. What was supposed to be a keen contest saw Rupani winning by a healthy margin of 53,755 votes.However, former ministers Dilip Sanghani and Bavku Undhad lost their respective battle. Former Finance Minister Saurabh Patel managed to win from Botad by a narrow margin. While Koli heavyweight Purushottam Solanki won, his younger brother Hira Solanki suffered a setback.In fact then Congress vice-president had kicked off his campaign from religious place of Dwarka and his soft Hindutva got reception from the masses. In Amreli, Morbi and Gir Somnath, Congress swept and the contest was absolutely one sided.Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had come to Saurashtra on multiple occasions to woo the voters. In Bhavnagar district, from where state BJP President Jitu Waghani had contested, Modi had addressed two rallies and just after Diwali, he had inaugurated the Dahej – Ghogha RO-RO service. BJP won in most the seats in the district.

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On Rahul Gandhi’s agenda today, visit to Somnath, poll result review

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who is slated to meet party leaders and workers on Saturday to review his party’s performance in the just-concluded assembly elections, will begin his visit by offering prayers at Somnath Temple.Congress officials said that Gandhi will visit Somnath Temple in Gir Somnath district of Saurashtra at 10:30 am before coming to Ahmedabad for the review.This will be the Congress leader’s second visit to the famous temple, one of the 12 Jyotirlings, in as many months. A huge row had erupted during Gandhi’s visit to Somnath on November 29 after an image with his and senior party leader Ahmed Patel’s names, purportedly from a register meant for non-Hindus, went viral. While the BJP raised questions about his religion and accused Gandhi of fooling people with his temple visits, Congress blamed the ruling party for the fake image. The party also sought to put question marks about Gandhi’s religion to rest, saying he was a ‘janeu-dhari’ Hindu, i.e. a Brahmin.On Saturday, after offering prayers at Somnath, the newly elected Congress president will reach Ahmedabad, where he will meet party leaders from four regions of the state one after the other from 1:15 pm to 5:15 pm.”Rahul ji will also address party workers at GU Convention Hall. He is expected to appreciate the workers’ efforts in the elections, and exhort them to start working for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” said a Congress official.Ahead of Gujarat elections, the Congress president spent over 20 days campaigning extensively for his party. The Congress put up a credible performance by winning 77 out of 182 seats, its best performance in the state in the past several elections while restricting the BJP’s tally to 99.

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Amdavadis in for an action-packed year end

With barely a few days left in this year, Ahmedabad, which has been declared as India’s first heritage city, is all set to dole out Amdavadis a vibrant and lively year end. The city is gearing to host a plethora of events catering to varied interests. While there will be a traditional Sattvik food festival to tickle the taste-buds and offer a break from the fast-paced life, literature lovers will get their share of enjoyment too. If these do not interest you, experience the winter and take your children to have an night out at the zoo at Sundarvans or head to Kankaria carnival for fun-packed events. Here is a quick guide:TRADITIONAL SATTVIK FOOD FESTIVAL:Gear up to inner cleansing by experiencing traditional sattvik recipes at a food festival in the city. The 15th Sattvik food festival organized by the Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI) will begin from December 23 and organized at AES ground behind Doordarshan TV tower.The festival will not only have more than 150 stalls, one can expect more traditional fare made of raagi, kodri, millet and bajri as it is mandatory for each stall to have two dishes made from traditional grains. Apart from catering to the taste-buds, Sattvik will also have a creative and innovation corner for children as well as stalls selling organic food.The food festival will also host a community kitchen (food lab) where people will be taught how to cook healthy in right vessels, right process and with right feelings. Over 50 stalls from different states of the country and 75 stalls from Gujarat will be offering traditional food items during the three day festival.What to expect:*Forgotten traditional recipes*Community kitchen*Children’s creativity corner*Seminars related to food, health*Organic products, farmer exhibitionDate: Dec 23-25Place: AES ground, behind Doordarshan TV towerEntry fee: Rs 30AHMEDABAD INTERNATIONAL LITERATURE FESTIVAL (AILF):Literature lovers in the city can head to the second edition of Ahmedabad International Literature Festival (AILF) which will begin on Saturday. The two-day festival, to be held at Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA), celebrates the World Heritage status of Ahmedabad by keeping its theme ‘Heritage’.The festival will have around 80 speakers for different sessions and seminars. It will kick-start with a Bhavai performance. Festival director Umakant Yadav said, “With the advent of the digital age, the world of literature has also been democratized. The consumption of literature has been transformed by an array of digital platforms and social media. In such a backdrop, literature ceases to be limited to a region or nationality.”Some interesting sessions listed below:*When daughters are the Voices of Fathers: Women behind road safety (2.00 pm)*Her story: A global perspective of women*The Karnavati Chronicles: Revealing the city through architectural narrativesDate: Dec 23-24Place: AMAGUJARAT NATIONAL SCIENCE CONGRESS:Ahmedabad is all set to host the final round of the National Children Science Congress (NCSC) from December 27 onwards. The primary objective of the Children’s Science Congress is to make a forum available to children of the age-group of 10-17 years, both from formal school system as well as from out of school, to exhibit their creativity and innovative side and more particularly their ability to solve a societal problem experienced locally using the method of science. It prompts children to think of some significant societal problems, ponder over its causes and subsequently try and solve the same using the scientific process. Children participating in the competition observe, raise pertinent questions, build models and predict solutions on the basis of a model based on field work. A total of 15 projects will chosen as the best and felicitated.Date: Dec 27-31Place: Gujarat Council of Science City, near SG highwayWINTER NIGHT AT THE ZOOThere are fewer occasions when Amdavadis get respite from scorching heat. And this is the time make the most of the dip in temperatures. How about taking your children to a zoo visit in the chilly winter nights? Sundarvan, a nature discovery centre has organized a winter night at the zoo and calling young naturalists to explore Sundarvan in an experiential manner.The visit is open for kids of 8 to 12 years of age and will include a night nature-trail, spider watch, learning activities, craft, huddle around the fire for storytelling, animal yoga and morning trail.Date: Dec 23-24Time: 5.30-9.00 pmPlace: Sundarvan, Near ISRO, Jodhpur Tekra, AhmedabadTRANSLATED BOOKS FAIR AT GUJARAT VIDYAPITH:Get ready to buy books on different genres at 10-percent discount. Gandhian institute Gujarat Vidyapith is hosting a translated pustak mela (book fair). In their attempt to bridge the language barrier in the written word that obstructs dissemination of information, the book fair will have books which are translated in Gujarati. Speaking about the same, Rajendra Khemani, Registrar, Gujarat Vidyapith said, “There will be nearly 1200 titles translated from either local language to Gujarati or from Gujarati to local languages. The most interesting thing is that we had thought that such fairs would. The books have been categorized in 12 sections namely novels, poems, motivation, life history, etc.”Place: Gujarat Vidyapith campus, Ashram roadTime: 10.00 am to 8.00 pmDates: Dec 20-24

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Custodial death of youth: Cops say death due to illness

A case of accidental death was reported with the Kalupur police station on Thursday after a man, accused involved in dispute matter, died in the custody of Kalupur police station on Thursday early morning.According to police, the victim identified as Gafur Shaiyad, a resident of Kalupar and auto driver, was nabbed by police of Dana Suthar police chowki in a matter dispute and was taken to the police station on Wednesday afternoon.On Thursday morning, when one of the police officers went to check Shaiyad, he didn’t respond.Later, 108 emergency service was called in and he was rushed to a hospital. The accused was declared dead on arrival.Shaiyad’s family members have alleged that he was taken by police on Tuesday and he was killed by the cops in custody. On the other hand, Kalupur police inspector RG Desai said, “Shaiyad was arrested under Section 151 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 on Tuesday. An investigation is on and the victim’s body has been sent for autopsy. Further investigation of the matter will reveal what actually had happened in the matter, right now we are following procedures.”Protests were also held by the Auto Association members of Ahmedabad outside the Civil hospital of Asarwa area, seeking justice for Shaiyad and they wanted an investigation regarding the matter and they denied to accept Shaiyad’s body.Later, the case was handed over to the BC Desai, D division ACP and further investigations are on.

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Gujarat University exam leaves students in chaos

Semester 1 students of B.Com, BBA, BA, B.Sc, MA and M.Com were baffled when their examination centre was changed at the last moment on Thursday.While the university claims that the centre was changed because of the sudden visit of National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) at one of its colleges, students allege that their one hour was wasted.Himanshu Pandya, V-C, Gujarat University, said, “At the last moment, NAAC team members had a visit at one of the college. Since it is a technical issue, we had to cooperate with them. But none of the students suffered a loss in their exam hours..”University also changed the seating arrangement a night before the BCom examination. The second phase of examination that was to begin on Thursday led students in chaos. Failing to take into account the actual capacity of examination centres, the department allocated a higher number of students to colleges leading to chaos. Eight government colleges wrote to the varsity that they will not be able to accommodate the higher number of students which forced the varsity to change the seating arrangement at night before the examination starts. More than 50,000 students appeared for exams at more than 70 centres.SEATUniversity also changed the seating arrangement a night before the BCom examination. Eight government colleges wrote to the varsity that they will not be able to accommodate the higher number of students which forced the varsity to change the seating arrangement at night before exam starts.

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75-yr-old strangulated to death

A complaint of murder was lodged with the Ghatlodia police station after a 75-year-old local woman was found dead at her house on Thursday afternoon. The woman was strangulated to death with a cloth. The cops are yet to find the motive of the murderer.The incident took place between 12 to 2 pm in Block 2 of Karamchari Nagar Society Part-2 in Ghatlodia area, the police said. The deceased has been identified as Rambhaben Patel, who used to live alone.Her daughter, who was married, used to visit her daily to help Patel with household chores.Patel’s daughter, who lives in Ghatlodia area came to mother’s her house to prepare lunch, left around 12 pm. Two hours later, when she came back to find the main door of the house broken and her mother lying dead. Patel’s neighbours immediately called the police when the victim’s daughter told them what had happened. Investigating the case, cops said that Patel was strangulated with a piece cloth.A team of FSL officials, fingerprint expert and dog squad were called to the spot to unearth clues. The body has been sent for an autopsy. RG Desai, an inspector of Ghatlodia police station, said, “No sign of robbery or theft could be found from the house.”According to police, the killer might have been a known person to the deceased. The killer entered Patel’s house and there are no signs of hint that the victim struggled when she was attacked.The police have initiated an investigation on the bases of primary reports and are talking to people who might give leads statements of people.CRIME SHEETIncident took place between 12 to 2 pm in Block 2 of Karamchari Nagar Society Part-2 in Ghatlodia area, cops said. Victim’s daughter is married and used to visit her mother daily to help Patel with household chores. A team of FSL officials, fingerprint expert were called to the spot to unearth clues.

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Vote share rise only silver lining for Congress in urban seats

To say that Congress lost the 2017 assembly elections in the four largest cities of Gujarat would be an understatement. The truth is that the party was roasted. This in spite of the fact that Congress won one more seat in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot cities, and even its vote-share was higher, as compared with 2012 polls.In the 2012 assembly elections, Congress had won three out of 36 seats in Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, and Vadodara cities. It had won two seats in Ahmedabad, and one in Rajkot.Move forward to 2017, the Congress won four out of the 36 seats, all of them in Ahmedabad. Voters in Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot firmly backed the BJP, as a result of which Congress failed to win a single seat in these cities.A closer look at the election results shows that Congress failed to add to its tally despite a 2.5% rise in its vote-share in the four cities over 2012 polls.In 2012, Congress had a vote-share of 31.7% in the 36 urban seats of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot. This has gone up to 34.2% in 2017 polls.The vote share of BJP, which won only 99 out of 182 assembly seats, its worst performance in the state since 1995, was unchanged in the four cities at 61%. In other words, in spite of the simmering anger over demonetisation and GST, Congress failed to draw away voters from BJP, and the higher vote share was at the cost of other parties and independent candidates.In the 2017 assembly elections, of the 60.20 lakh votes cast in the 36 urban seats of the four large cities of Gujarat, BJP got 36.77 lakh votes, and Congress 20.56 lakh.In 2012 polls, BJP had got 32.65 lakh out of 53.65 lakh votes case, while Congress had got a little over 17 lakh.Though overall BJP’s vote share remained steady in the four key cities, the analysis reveals different patterns in each city.In Ahmedabad for instance, BJP’s vote-share declined from 62.50% in 2012 to 60.3% in 2017, and Congress’s share rose from 31% to over 35.5% – not surprising given that it won two more seats in the city over the previous elections.In Surat, both parties saw their vote share going up. BJP’s share was up from 60% to 62.6%, and that of Congress up from 30.6% to 32.8%.In contrast, vote share of both parties declined in Vadodara city, whereas in Rajkot, from where Chief Minister Vijay Rupani was among the candidates, BJP’s vote share surged sharply, and that of Congress fell somewhat.IN NUMBERSAhmedabad: 14-2 for BJP in 2012; 12-4 for BJP in 2017Surat: 12-0 for BJP in 2012; 12-0 for BJP in 2017Vadodara: 5-0 for BJP in 2012; 5-0 for BJP in 2017Rajkot: 2-1 for BJP in 2012; 3-0 for BJP in 2017

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Once jobless, PhD woman slays 5-time BJP MLA from Unjha

About five years ago, Ashaben was 35 and held a PhD degree. But she was still jobless. After her initial frustration, she decided it was time to reform the education system in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a man who has been amply vocal about his ambitious development vision. But the hitch was: to change a system, one has to be in the system.Thus, Ashaben Patel, who has her heart in social work and soul in teaching, made the leap into politics.Ashaben’s first poll fight was in 2012, when she was beaten by a BJP MLA on 24,203 votes. Not the one to give up, she worked harder. This Assembly elections, Ashaben, now 40, toppled Narayanbhai Patel, a five-time MLA, at Unjha constituency which includes PM Modi’s hometown Vadnagar.Speaking with DNA, Ashaben said, “My native is Vishol which, too, falls under Unjha. I lost the previous elections as I was very new and people in Vadnagar did not know me. This year, I have won because of the people’s love.”Ashaben wrested the seat which falls in the Patidar-dominated Mehsana district with a margin of over 19,000 votes. She attributed her victory to her extensive social work in Vadnagar.Mehsana was the epicentre of the Patidar agitation which flared up in 2015. Ashaben bagged 81,797 votes as against Patel’s 62,268 votes.”In 2012, every one knew me in Unjha, but not in Vadnagar. My social work spread across 20 villages in Vadnagar over the past few years. Social work is carried out in small places and are low-cost affair,” she says.Ask her why she did not join the BJP. “Their ideology does not suit me,” she notes.Being a Gujarati, she does not accept BJP’s campaign – ‘Hu Chu Vikas, Hu Chu Gujarat’. “The word ‘Hu’ in Gujarati is about an individual and represents arrogance,” she points out.A PhD in Chemistry, Ashaben is a guide to six students today. “I have been into social and community work since my childhood, the reason I never got married. But when I did not get a job despite being a PhD, I had to clear GPSC to join as a class 2 officer. I wanted to teach, but did not get a job; I decided to change the education system. I first fought in zilla panchayat elections, followed by the 2012 Assembly elections.”Now that she has finally won a ticket to the Assembly, Ashaben has set her priority clear: improve the education and health care systems.SYSTEM ERRORAshaben Patel joined politics to change education system in the state Lost in 2012 polls, this time, beat BJP’s Narayan Patel in Unjha

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A display of valour by Army & Air Force on border

The desert area of Shiv Tahsil of Barmer, adjacent to borders of Pakistan, is witnessing bombardment from the sky through tanks and cannons on the ground. In the Combined maneuvers of the Indian Army and Air Force, “Hamesha Vijayee” forces are practicing how to Infiltrate into enemy territory and test the ability to attack them. In this exercise, the air force fighter planes distinguished targets through bombing and missiles. As a result, loud echoes of army’s cannon are being heard everywhere.Nearly forty thousand soldiers of the Indian Army and the Air Force is engaged in maneuvers with all his accessories from Sukhoi to helicopters. Army and Air Force are also working to deal with nuclear and chemical attacks in this exercise.On its conclusion, on 22nd December, the Army and Air Force will show their skills and strengths by performing the live attack of the enemy army in front of the Army Chief. Under the leadership of Southern Command of the Indian Army, a large number of other units are involved in the exercise including 12 and 21 strike corps.It also includes 41st Artillery, 11 Infantry Divisions, and 12 Infantry Divisions etc. units from Pune, Jodhpur, Bhopal, Ahmedabad, and Jhansi are deployed with about four thousand soldiers and officers and whole accessories.Soldiers and officers are learning war skills based on different battle formations as well as testing their abilities. It is being practiced to make its strategic skills and strategy high. Apart from the conventional war, soldiers are also being trained for chemical and nuclear contingency.The purpose of this maneuver is to evaluate the capability of the armed forces to strike deep into enemy territory in an integrated air-land battle. At the same time, a high level of synergy between the Army and the Air Force is also being demo strated.Army spokesman Lt Col Manish Ojha told that The Indian army has always been practicing war with tank, cannons and armored vehicles after the initial training in this warfare named ‘Hamesha Vijayee’.Participation of 40,000 soldiersNearly forty thousand soldiers of the Indian Army and the Air Force is engaged in manoeuvres with all his accessories from Sukhoi to helicopters. Army and Air Force are also working to deal with nuclear and chemical attacks in this exercise. “Hamesha Vijayee” forces are practicing how to Infiltrate into enemy territory and test the ability to attack them.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Hardik Patel in the dock for Ahmedabad poll rally without police permission

Merely two days after election results were announced in Gujarat, a police case was lodged on Wednesday against Patidar agitation leader Hardik Patel and his associates for organising a roadshow on December 11 despite not having permission from the authorities.A case was lodged with the Bopal police in Ahmedabad against the Patel, who is the convenor of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), Raju Patel, Suresh Patel and 50 other members of the Patidar movement for disobeying a police notification. They have been booked under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.”In future, more cases are going to be lodged against me, this is just the start,” Patel said in response to the case. “After 9 days from the day of the incident they have opened their eye, if it was really about the notification they could have lodged the case on the same day of the rally and wouldn’t have waited. They had a fear at that time and waited for the election results to get announced. I know there is more going to come and I am ready for it.”The police, however, dismissed his allegations.”Due to the election bandobast duty and its process, the FIR process was on hold,” said Bopal police station inspector I H Gohil. “Only on Tuesday we got a reply from the Daskoi Taluka Mamlatdar regarding the matter and finally lodged a case against Patel and 52 of his members for disobeying the police order.”On December 11, City Police Commissioner AK Singh had denied permissions for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s roadshows scheduled for the next day, citing security and law-and-order issues, as well as public inconvenience. Permission for Hardik Patel’s 52-km roadshow was also denied; instead, he was allowed to have a convoy along the route with a maximum of 5 vehicles a day before.AK Singh, in his order, had said that “If any individual disobeys the police notification legal actions will be taken against them.”Nonetheless, Patel conducted the roadshow starting from Guma crossroad and ended it in Nikol area, where he was to conduct a public meeting. About 5,000 people joined the roadshow.

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Congress narrows BJP vote lead in Gujarat polls

Resurgent Congress narrowed the vote lead BJP had been enjoying over it for successive elections by adding 1,59,413 more voters than its rival between 2012 and 2017 elections. In the previous elections, BJP had been widening the vote lead over Congress.In urban areas, which is a stronghold of BJP, it added lesser votes than BJP but added seats to its tally. According to political analysts, if the trend continues in upcoming polls, the contest would be more even.In 2002, BJP added 28,93,527 votes as compared to Congress’ 23,55,718. Similarly, it added 5,45,619 votes in 2007 and 23,79,607 votes 2012. Congress added 2,69,274 votes in 2007 and 23,65,227 votes in 2012. Throughout this period, BJP widened the lead by 5,37,809 votes, 2,69,274 votes and 14,380 votes over Congress. However, things turned around in 2017. BJP added 16,04,848 votes compared to Congress 17,64,261 and the lead shrunk by 1,59,413 votes for BJP. It was this key reason why Congress raised its tally from 61 in 2012 to 77 in 2017. Votes added by Congress’ allies Bharatiya Tribal Party and Independent candidate Jignesh Mevani, the lead would further shrink. BTP bagged 2,22,694 votes, while Mevani got 95,497 votes all of which are in rural areas.Congress was definitely a winner in rural areas and it was here that it witnessed the majority of voter addition. Congress added 13,06,795 votes in villages compared to 10,53,781 votes by BJP. Of the 77 seats, it won in recent elections, 71 were in villages and small cities and towns.”Results are a clear indication that agenda is very different for rural and urban voters. Rural voters voted on the issues that affect their day-to-day lives and Congress was a clear winner here. Villages are suffering from agrarian distress and people here voted for Congress. It also indicates that Congress has a better organisation in rural areas compared to urban areas,” said Amit Dholakiya, a Professor of Political Science at M S University in Vadodara.On the other hand, Congress added fewer votes compared to BJP in cities. Congress added 4,57,467 since 2012, while BJP added 5,51,067 votes in the corresponding period. In spite of this, Congress added two seats in these areas.Congress wrested seats of Bapunagar and Jamalpur-Khadia seats in Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar – North and Junagadh from BJP, but lost Rajkot-East and Jamnagar-North to the rival.This indicates that Congress suffers from a severe bottleneck of dysfunctional organisation and party cadre compared to its rival in cities, a fact that even party acknowledge. “The party structure is not so strong in cities. That is the reason why we were not able to convince the voters in spite the fact that our manifesto was far more people friendly. We had announced unemployment allowances, housing for women, free education for girl child, affordable healthcare and education services. But we could not connect to the voters,” said Gadhvi.Dholakiya also said that unlike rural votes, who voted on rational consideration, urban voters were driven by poll propaganda and rhetoric.

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Gujarat: BJP likely to pick CM on Friday; Cong begins analyses of results

The newly elected BJP MLAs of Gujarat are likely to meet in Gandhinagar on December 22 to elect their leader who would be the next chief minister of the key western state, party sources said today.Union minister Arun Jaitley and party general secretary Saroj Pandey, who have been appointed central observers for the election, will hold consultations with the MLAs before the new chief minister is announced. Though incumbent Vijay Rupani continues to be the favourite for the coveted job, there is speculation about his continuance given the BJP’s narrow victory in its bastion. The BJP has 99 seats in the 182-member Assembly, seven more than the 92 required for forming government but its lowest in a long time. The Congress and its pre-poll allies have 80 seats, with the main opposition party having 77.BJP chief Amit Shah had said during the campaign that the elections would be fought under Rupani. Since Modi was the face of the BJP in the keenly fought electoral battle, a last minute change cannot be completely ruled out, sources said. Many in the party wonder if the top leadership would go for somebody from the Patidar community, as the party prepares for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Though the Patidars have traditionally backed the BJP, a section led by young community leader Hardik Patel turned against the party over the quota issue.Also readGujarat elections 2017: BJP had more close victory calls in 2017 than in 2012The BJP leadership’s propensity for springing a surprise while making its choices for top positions, be it a chief minister or the president, has left many guessing if someone new will be chosen to helm the state. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and Manohar Lal Khattar and Trivendra Singh Rawat, his Haryana and Uttarakhand counterparts, were all surprise choices. So was President Ramnath Kovind. Even Rupani was seen as a surprise choice when the party decided to replace Anandiben Patel last year. While many thought Nitin Patel was an obvious replacement of Anandiben, he was eventually made the deputy chief minister. Rupani is known to be close to Amit Shah, has a clean image, and is seen as caste neutral, qualities which may finally tilt the scales in his favour.Congress begins stock-takingAlso readGujarat Election Results: Congress must concede defeat; voters gave a clear cut mandate to us, says BJP Two days after the Gujarat assembly poll results, the Congress today began an exercise to analyse the electoral outcome at a three-day conclave that will be attended by party president Rahul Gandhi on Friday. During the ‘chintan shivir’ (introspection camp), the Congress leaders and workers will analyse the election results district-wise and discuss the road-map ahead in view of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, state party president Bharatsinh Solanki said here.In the elections, the results for which were declared on Monday, the Congress could not wrest power from the BJP even though its tally increased to 77 seats from 61 last time. The Congress ally Bharatiya Tribal Party won two seats, and along with an independent backed by it winning his seat, the tally of the Congress-led alliance stood at 80, 12 short of the simple majority in the 182-memberassembly. The BJP retained power for the sixth time, though with a reduced score of 99 seats against 115 in 2012. The Congress performed well in rural areas of Gujarat but failed to make a significant mark in the urban pockets.The venue of the conclave today and tomorrow is a resort in Mehsana district and on the third and final day, the venue will shift to Ahmedabad where Gandhi will be present, Solanki said. Gandhi, who campaigned extensively in the state for the assembly elections, will address the Congress workers on Friday. “The Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee has organised the ‘chintan shivir’ with the aim of discussing the Assembly poll results and to provide a road-map to strengthen the organisation and increase its connect with the people, keeping in mind the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” Solanki told reporters.”For two days, we will meet here in Mehsana, and on third day, we will meet in Ahmedabad where Congress president Rahul Gandhi will visit to address party workers,” he said. Congress general secretary and election in-charge for Gujarat, Ashok Gehlot, expressed satisfaction over the party’s performance in the polls, while accusing the BJP of “misusing government machinery” and raising questions over the approach of the Election Commission. “Both in terms of seats and campaigning, the Congress performed wonderfully well. Although we could not form the government, a message has been sent across that the BJP can have a tough time fighting the Congress even in the home state of (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi and (BJP president) Amit Shah,” said Gehlot, who is also attending the camp.”The way the BJP campaigned involving cabinet ministers with the prime minister himself making emotional appeals, the way they misused government machinery for polls, and the manner the Election Commission took decisions, we believe we have done exceedingly well,” he said. Senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, who lost from Mandvi in Kutch district, said the party could have formed government had it won 16 seats on which it got defeated by narrow margins.However, he took solace in the fact that the BJP was reduced to “double-digits” despite an aggressive campaigning. “At one point after forming the government in 1985, the Congress was reduced to a mere 32 seats. This time people have supported Congress in large numbers and we have increased our seat tally,” he said. “And after 1990, for the first time the BJP has been reduced to double-digits. We were defeated by small margins on as many as 16 seats. Had we won those seats, we could have formed the government,” Gohil said.

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Paresh Dhanani ahead in race for CLP leader’s post

With most of Congress’s senior leaders biting the dust in the Gujarat assembly elections, Paresh Dhanani, who was elected as MLA for the third time, is seen as the front-runner for the post of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in Gujarat. A couple of other MLAs are seen as Dhanani’s contenders but he is clearly ahead in the race.Dhanani is a Patidar, a community which strongly supported the Congress in the rural belt. What tilts the scale in his favour is that he comes from Saurashtra, a region where Congress nearly doubled its tally from 16 to 30. In fact, in Dhanani’s hometown Amreli, the Congress won all five seats. The firebrand leader is perceived to be close to newly elected Congress president Rahul Gandhi. “Paresh Dhanani’s appointment as CLP leader would be a good move to woo Patidars ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He is also quite vocal and that would help in cornering the government during the assembly proceedings,” said party officials.Dhanani is seen as a giant killer, having defeated senior BJP leaders in each of his election victories. In 2002, he had defeated Parshottam Rupala, in 2012 Dileep Sanghani, and Bavku Undhad in the latest elections.Another potential contender as CLP leader is senior leader Mohansinh Rathwa, who was elected to the state assembly for a record 10th time. Rathwa was appointed leader of opposition after Shankersinh Vaghela quit the Congress in August. His elevation could be seen as an attempt to reach out to tribals, a community where the party’s support base has steadily eroded over the years.Shailesh Parmar, who was elected as MLA from Danilimda (SC) seat in Ahmedabad for the third straight time, is also seen as a potential contender as CLP leader. Parmar was appointed as the Congress’s chief whip in the assembly after Balvantsinh Rajput’s exit from the party in July.

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Full-time DG in eight weeks: Gujarat high court tells state

The Gujarat high court has ordered the state government to appoint a Director General of Police (DGP) by following the regular procedure within eight weeks of time. The order comes after a public interest litigation sought directions to the state government to appoint a regular DGP instead of running the police department with an in-charge DGP. The state had cited assembly elections as a reason for the step. Former IPS officer Rahul Sharma had moved the petition challenging the state government’s decision to continue to appoint in-charge DGP. While passing the order, first division bench of chief justice R Subhash Reddy and Vipul Pancholi on Monday has concluded, “As per the Supreme Court order in Prakash Singh Vs Union of India, and even the Bombay Police Act and the Gujarat Act, the state government is bound to appoint DGP on regular basis. So, there is no reason for the state government for not filling the post with regular DGP. Though the state government has claimed that as the elections are going on it can take any steps, but it is the state government’s obligation to appoint regular appointment. The state government should initiate the process of the selection of the regular DGP and appoint within eight weeks of this order.”The petitioner’s advocate IH Syed had submitted that since 2016 there has been no regular DGP and the state police department is run by the in-charge officer, which is affecting its operations. And though there are rules for appointing regular DGPs, the state is not discharging its duty by doing so.Petitioner’s contention was that in-charge DGP can be influenced by the ruling party, as his/her tenure in office is at the mercy of the ruling party.GOVT’S EXCUSEThe state showed its helplessness in the name of the election notification It claimed that the entire force was busy with the elections It said it couldn’t take any decision of transfer or appointment without the EC’s permission

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Seat swap fails to pay off for most

For some big names who contested the recently concluded assembly polls, the gamble to fight from a seat other than their traditional one failed to pay off, pushing them to the losing side.The most high-octane contest was between Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Congress MLA Indranil Rajguru from Rajkot West constituency. Rajguru, the second richest candidate in the fray, with assets worth Rs 141 crore, had won from Rajkot East in 2012 but shifted to West in a bid to challenge Rupani. His bold move left him beaten by a margin of over 53,000 votes. Contesting against the CM, though, is likely to help his political profile.A shock result from the election was the defeat of senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil.After losing from the Bhavnagar Rural seat in 2012, Gohil had been elected to the assembly from Abdasa in Kutch in the 2014 by-election. This time, Gohil contested from Mandvi and was drubbed by BJP’s Virendrasinh Jadeja by over 9,000 votes.Senior BJP leader Ramanlal Vora was also among the candidates who contested from a different seat and lost. Vora had won from Idar (SC) seat in Sabarkantha five times in a row between 1995 and 2012. Wary of anti-incumbency, the BJP shifted him to Dasada (SC) seat in Surendranagar in this election. The move, however, failed to help him, as he lost by a little under 4,000 votes.Gujarati film actor Hitu Kanodiya, who the BJP fielded from Idar seat in Vora’s place, won by close to 15,000 votes. Kanodiya had contested unsuccessfully from Kadi (SC) seat in the 2012 elections.Former MLA Kanu Kalsaria, meanwhile, tried his luck from Mahuva in Bhavnagar this time but lost. He had won in 2007 from the same seat. In 2012, however, he had contested unsuccessfully from Gariadhar.Senior BJP leader Dileep Sanghani, who contested from Dhari seat in these elections, also lost. He had also contested unsuccessfully against Congress’s Paresh Dhanani in 2012 from Amreli, the seat he had won from in 2007.Bavku Undhad is another senior leader who contested from a different seat and ended up on the losing side. Undhad had won in 2012 from Lathi, but stood from Amreli in the recent elections. He was defeated by Congress’s Paresh Dhanani by a margin of over 12,000 votes.A few candidates, though, also managed to defy the trend.Ex-minister and MLA from Akota, Saurabh Patel, won from his traditional Botad seat in these elections. Former state BJP president RC Faldu won from Jamnagar South this time. In 2012, he had contested from Jamnagar Rural but had lost.THE EXCEPTIONSA few candidates managed to defy the trend. Among them is MLA from Akota, Saurabh Patel, who won from his traditional Botad seat, and former state BJP president RC Faldu

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Voters misled by BJP’s tall claims

Voters across Gujarat have been misled by the BJP’s tall caims, yet they continue to support the party, disregarding harsh realities, says Shashikant Patel, the Congress candidate from Ghatlodia constituency, who lost by a margin of 1,17,750 votes to his BJP rival Bhupendra Patel. He said that Ahmedabad has been allocated tens of thousands of rupees but the corresponding development is not visible.Patel, popularly known as Bhurabhai, is a realtor, while his BJP rival is a former chairman of Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority and a confidante of former Chief Minister Anandiben Patel. “I must have walked close to 250 km to meet people one on one. But we failed to convince voters,” he said.

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One AMC councillor makes it to Assembly

Of the three existing councillors from Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) who tried their luck in the assembly polls, only one could make it through. Imran Khedawala, an independent councillor who won from Jamalpur-Khadia, was given a Congress mandate to contest the polls from the constituency keeping in mind the caste equation.Khedawala belongs to Chhipa community, which is why he was selected. The choice paid off as he won by a margin of 22,939 votes.Incidentally, he was denied a Congress ticket for the municipal election in 2015.The other two AMC councillors who contested are Atul Patel and Jamna Vegda, both of the Congress.The party asked the two to withdraw their nomination, following which Vegda, who had filed her nomination from Danilimda, complied. Congress then fielded Shailesh Parmar, who has won from the reserved SC seat by a margin of 32,600 votes.Atul Patel, a councillor from Vatva, however, remained firm on his candidature and lost the election. The Congress suspended him for six years. It was believed earlier that Patel would become Leader of the Opposition but he was denied that too.In the assembly election, he contested from Vatva constituency, from where he garnered 987 votes, way less than the 2,460 NOTA (None of the Above) votes cast in Vatva.Former councillor Raju Momin also contested from Dariyapur constituency. He turned a rebel and contested as an independent candidate.

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KNOW YOUR MLA: Danilimda MLA seeks to clear constituency air

As the newly elected candidates get ready to represent you for the next five years, DNA reviews the credentials and promises of each so you know what to expect from their term governing your constituency. Today, the focus is on Shailesh Parmar.Parmar, who has been elected from Danilimda for the second time, specifically spoke about seeking a solution to the health concerns surrounding the Pirana dumping site, which is blamed for polluting the air in the constituency. “Pirana is a major risk to the well-being of the people residing near it. I have raised this question a lot of times in the assembly house. I will keep hammering on the issue for a solution,” Parmar said.In 2012, he won by a margin of 14,300 votes. Five years later, he has won from the same seat by a margin of 32,500. He believes that a direct connect to the local people has contributed to his popularity and raised his vote share from last time.”I have been doing door-to-door campaigning for long and have noted the issues of the people. My priority is to ensure the supply of potable tap water to each household in my area.I also want to provide gardens and other public amenities,” he added.

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Cong rebel Ratansinh Rathod wins

Congress rebel from Lunawada, Ratansinh Rathod, won as an independent candidate by a margin of 3,200 votes.Rathod, a member of Indian National Congress for two decades, was fired by the party when he didn’t recall his nomination after the party decided to field Paranjadityasinh Paramar from the constituency.Parmar is the son-in-law of veteran Congress leader Digvijaya Singh.When DNA contacted Rathod after he won the election, he said, “I was a congress candidate but turned a rebel after I was denied the party mandate. I had served the party for a long time. But I am happy now that I have won. I haven’t decided to join any party as of now, and might not join any.”He said his priority is to provide a god drainage system and proper water infrastructure in his constituency.

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47 MLAs face criminal charges

A report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) showed that 47, or 26 per cent, of the 182 MLAs who won in the 2017 Gujarat assembly elections have criminal cases against them. This number has dipped from the 2012 elections, when 57 MLAs had criminal cases against them, which was 31 per cent of the total number of legislators.However, the number of MLAs facing serious criminal charges such as murder, attempt to murder, dacoity and robbery is 33 this time, which is more than that compared to the 2012 election. his forms 18 per cent of the total 182 MLAs, compared to 24 MLAs (13 per cent) in 2012.The Gujarat Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) together analysed the self-sworn affidavits of the 182 winning candidates on the bases of criminal background, finances, education and gender. Their other findings are as follows.Out of 47 MLAs with criminal background who won this time,18 are of BJP, 25 of Congress, 1 of Bhartiya Tribal Party, 1 of NCP and 2 are Independents. Two MLAs, Maheshbhai Chottubhai Vasava of Bhartiya Tribal Party and Bhaveshbhai Babubhai of Congress, face cases related to murder.Six MLAs had cases related to attempt to murder and Ahir Bharwad Jethabhai Ghelabhai of BJP had a case related to rape against him.Financial backgroundOut of the 182 MLAs in the Gujarat assembly this time, 141 are crorepatis, while in 2012 elections, 134 were crorepatis. Out of 182 MLAs, the wealth of 33 is Rs 10 crore or above, and that of 23 is between Rs 5 crore and Rs 10 crore.Another 85 legislators have declared wealth between Rs 1 crore and Rs 5 crore, 37 have asserted it to be between Rs 20 lakh and Rs 1 crore , and four have sworn that it is less than Rs 20 lakh.If we look at the party-wise list of crorepati MLAs, BJP has 84 crorepati legislators of the total 99 who have won, while in Congress, 54 out of the 77 winning MLAs are crorepatis; two from Bhartiya Tribal Party and one from NCP declared assets valued over Rs 1 crore.The top three MLAs with high assets are BJP’s Saurabh Patel of Botad constituency, followed by the party’s Dhanjibhai Patel of Wadhwan constituency, and Congressman Jawahar Chavda of Manavadar constituency. The MLAs with the least assets are Jigneshkumar Natvarlal Mevani of Vadgam constituency and Arjunsinh Chauhan of Mehmedabad constituency.EducationOf the 182 MLAs, 96 have education qualifications ranging between Std V and Std XII, while only 69 are graduates and beyond. There are seven MLAs who have declared themselves as literates while one is unlettered.

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In rural Guj, Congress got more seats, but BJP got more votes

Congress may thump its back for the tough fight it put up against the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party in Gujarat, especially in the urban and semi-urban areas, but BJP is still a force to reckon in villages, small cities and towns. Data from the Election Commission of India suggests that the saffron party actually got 76,614 more votes than Congress and its allies put together in 134 seats that are predominantly rural.The 182-member Assembly has 134 seats that are either rural or semi-urban. Of these, BJP won 57, Congress won 71, its ally Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) won two, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) won one and Independents won three seats, of which Jignesh Mevani was supported by Congress.Congress and its allies got 74 seats in these areas, 17 more than BJP, however they got 98,90,064 votes in rural and semi-urban areas, while BJP got 99,66,660 votes. Congress got 95,71,855 votes, BTP got 2,22,694 votes, while Mevani bagged 95,497 votes.Data indicates that Congress won by thinner margins and BJP won by a wider margins.Dinesh Shukla, a former professor of Political Science at Gujarat University, attributes this phenomenon to BJP’s expertise in dividing opposition votes so votes that should have gone to Congress are shared by planted candidates. Notwithstanding this, the Ahmedabad-resident admits that BJP is a force to reckon with in rural and semi-urban areas, while it continues to monopolize purely urban seats. “But you have to consider that it managed to bag these seats after PM Narendra Modi’s relentless campaign,” added Shukla.In Shukla’s opinion, Congress’s lead holds lessons for BJP – that Modi magic is on a decline and Congress is on the road to resurgence in Gujarat. One also has to consider the rise of Rahul Gandhi, as fence voters may now be encouraged to vote to for Congress. Gujarat Congress spokesman Kailash Gadhvi said that Congress’s hold is stronger in rural areas as BJP’s victories are in seats that are more semi-urban than rural.It terms of votes-share within the party, Congress and allies got 77.53% of the total vote; BJP got 67.69%.While there was neck and neck competition for rural votes, there was a virtual monopoly in urban votes. BJP continued to have an iron hold with 47,57.767 votes, while Congress got 28,67,082 votes, about 40% less than BJP got.

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