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

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

RSS, affiliates concerned about economic policies

At a two-day coordination meet between the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), its allied organisations associated with various economic aspects, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling party was apprised of different concerns which would also go a long way in honing the economic polices of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government.The meeting, which concluded on Saturday evening, was attended by RSS’ joint general secretary Krishna Gopal, representatives of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM), Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Sahakar Bharati, Akhil Bharatiya Grahak Panchayat, and Laghu Udyog Bharati.Representatives of these organisations — different wings of RSS that specialise in ideological and practical aspects of their respective realms — told BJP president Amit Shah as well as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley about their problems and concerns.”We are not unhappy with the government and we want to say that categorically. This meeting was organised so that they — party and the government — can listen to us and we can listen to them. There were no complaints, only suggestions, and that too from both sides. This was for coordination,” a senior RSS leader told DNA after the meeting.Participating organisations gave their feedback to the government and the party regarding economic polices and how they have worked out with the people.Some of these organisations have been at variance with the government regarding economic policies in the past. Earlier, SJM had pressured the Modi government to regulate imports from China to save indigenous cottage and small and micro industries from falling prey to glut of substandard but cheap produce from the neighbouring country. SJM has also been a longtime critique of the Niti Aayog, alleging that it was populated by experts who were ‘pro-liberalisation’ and ‘anti-people’.The SJM, sources said, had raised its concerns over Chinese imports at the coordination meet. Laghu Udyog Bharati too had joined the SJM over the issue.The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, which has criticised the government for forcing farmers to sell their produce at lower prices, a factor that has angered the farming communities across the country, also raised its concerns regarding farmers’ plight.

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Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
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Identify heroes of 1857, assist their kin, BJP MP tells Centre

In yet another attempt to change the popular perception of Indian history to suit the right wing, BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh Sharad Tripathi has claimed that freedom fighters from the anti-colonial uprising of 1857 were not well-known to the people, and has urged the Centre to identify them and extend benefits to their families.Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have long asserted that the uprising of 1857 — dubbed as the First War of Independence by none other than Sangh ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar — has not been given the pride of place in Indian history, and that the history has been dominated by Gandhi and Nehru under the ‘Congress-Left hegemony’.Balmukund Pandey, organising secretary of RSS’ history rewriting project Akhil Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Yojana (ABISY), had earlier told DNA that it was conducting a research to find the national heroes who were missing from Indian history books. Several martyrs from 1857, such as Tantia Tope and Jhalkari Bai, figured in this list.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had raked up the issue at a Meerut rally in 2014 accusing the Congress of having ‘insulted’ martyrs by forgetting them.Tripathi too had earlier this year demanded in Parliament that a martyr’s gate be built in Delhi to honour freedom fighters who laid down their lives between 1857 and 1947.A list containing the names of such freedom fighters should be released by the government, he said adding that, so far there was no such authentic record. “While the names of Indian soldiers who fought the World War-II were inscribed by the British on India Gate, there is no such commemoration for the Indians who died for the country’s freedom from 1857 to 1947,” he said.In a similar push, RSS and BJP had in 2008 organised events to commemorate 150 years of 1857.More recently, RSS-affiliated historian Satish Chandra Mittal, associated with ABISY, had said in a seminar this year: “Instead of calling it a revolt, we should rather say it was a fight to protect the Indian culture.”Ironically, Savarkar had considered the Hindus-Muslims unity during the uprising as the cornerstone of Indian nationalism in his book ‘The Indian War of Independence 1857’ first published in 1909.”I believe that India’s fight for Independence began in 1857 led to the freedom in 1947. The government should do a study and recognise such heroes as martyrs. Their family members should be given benefits,” he said.

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Amit Shah takes ‘moral victory’ dig at Congress after BJP’s win in 3 out of 5 by-polls

After winning the by-elections in three out of five constituencies on Sunday, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Chief Amit Shah took on the Congress party, saying he was hoping the latter wouldn’t claim a ‘moral victory’ on Sunday too, as it did in the case of the recently-concluded assembly polls in Gujarat.Shah took to Twitter and posted, “I hope Congress leaders won’t claim a ‘moral victory’ even today. After being rejected by Gujarat and Himachal, they have been rejected by people in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. People do not want to accept the corruption and misgovernance of Congress.”Shah’s comments have come after Congress called Gujarat elections results a massive jolt for BJP and a ‘moral victory’ for them.As opposed to its target of 150, the BJP had won 99 seats in Gujarat.Today’s by-elections were held in five constituencies.Sidelines AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran won the RK Nagar (Tamil Nadu) by-polls as an independent candidate.Trinamool Congress’ Gita Rani Bhunia won the Sabang Assembly constituency bypoll by a whopping margin over her nearest rival Rita Mondal of CPM.In Uttar Pradesh’s Sikandra seat, BJP’s Ajit Pal Singh defeated Samajwadi Party’s Seema Sachan by more than 7,000 votes.In Arunachal Pradesh’s Pakke-Kessang, BJP candidate BR Waghe eked out a narrow victory, in a contest against former Deputy Chief Minister Kameng Dolo, who fought on a Congress ticket.In the Likabali seat, BJP candidate Kardo Nyigyor won over Gumke Riba of the Peoples Party of Arunachal.

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Sikandra bypoll: BJP retains seat, wins by 7000 votes

The Yogi Adityanath led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continued its good show in Uttar Pradesh as it comfortably won the Sikandra bypoll on Sunday. BJP won the Sikandra Assembly by defeating Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party by 7,000 votes.The bypoll was held after the seat fell vacant as sitting BJP MLA Mathura Prasad Pal passed away on July 22 . The BJP then nominated Pal’s son Ajit Pal Singh against Samajwadi Party’s Seema Sachan and Congress’ Prabhakar.Around 12 candidates were in fray including five independents in the Sikandra constituency which falls in Kanpur Dehat district. Around 53% of 3.21 lakh total electorate had cast their votes in the by election.The Kanpur Dehat district is mainly known for bandit queen Phoolan Devi’s vengeance after her rape in 1981 Behmai massacre where she and her gang killed 21 upper caste Rajpats.

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Live updates | Jayalalithaa’s RK Nagar bypoll result: Counting of votes begins, AIADMK legacy at stake

The counting of votes for RK Nagar bypoll began at 8 am on Sunday. Over 73 percent voting was recorded in the Radhakrishnan Nagar (RK Nagar) Assembly by-poll, which was held on Thursday, December 21. It is seen as an acid test for the ruling AIADMK, as it is the first election since the death of former chief minister Jayalalithaa.The RK Nagar Assembly constituency fell vacant after the death of late AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa in December 2016. In this high-stake by-poll, the top contenders are AIADMK’s E Madhusudhanan, DMK’s N Marudhu Ganesh, Bharatiya Janata Party’s K Nagarajan and TTV Dhinakaran – who’s contesting as an Independent.Here are the live updates: 8: 15 am: Visuals from a counting center in Chennai​

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BJP poll prep: Nagaland with Kiren Rijiju, Tripura with Himanta

Even before the celebrations for the twin win in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh could end, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has set its eyes on the upcoming elections in the northeast.BJP president Amit Shah on Saturday appointed minister of state for home, Kiren Rijiju, who was the key planner to wrest power from the Congress in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, as the in-charge of Nagaland, and finance minister in Assam government and convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), Himanta Biswa Sarma, as the in-charge of Tripura.Elections in Nagaland, Tripura, and Meghalaya are due in February-March 2018. Of the eight northeastern states, the BJP already has five under its belt. It has its own government in Assam and Manipur, while in Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Sikkim, it is coalition partner with regional parties.Of the rest of the three states, Meghalaya and Mizoram are ruled by the Congress while in Tripura, Manik Sarkar-led CPM government is in power for the last 25 years. But the BJP, aided by its parental organisation RSS, is hoping to make a dent in the red bastion, where the Left holds a total sway with 51 out of 60 seats.Master strategists of the BJP in the northeast, Ram Madhav and Tripura in-charge Sunil Deodhar have already succeeded in getting the non-existent BJP a foothold in Tripura. After getting six MLAs of the Trinamool Congress under its banner, the BJP has cracked the Congress too by making its MLA, Ratan Lal Nath, defect and join.”With the Congress now left with only two MLAs, the BJP has emerged as the lone challenger to the Left. It is going to be a tough contest for the CPM,” Deodhar said.

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Lalu Prasad Yadav’s conviction becomes breather for the BJP

RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s conviction in fodder scam provided the much needed adrenaline boost to the BJP that was facing Congress heat on its “anti-corruption” plank after the 2G verdict and quashing of the case against former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan by the Bombay High Court.Leading the BJP attack, cabinet minister JP Nadda targeted both, the Congress and the RJD. “The alliance between Congress and Lalu Yadav’s party is an alliance of corruption,connivance and cheating the people of India, it is clear from the verdict of the court,” he said.He also blamed Lalu Prasad for politicising the verdict. “He is even now politicising the issue instead of accepting the verdict, just to deviate attention he is leveling allegations of conspiracy against the BJP,” Nadda said.After his conviction by the special CBI court, Lalu had blamed the onslaught of bias driven propaganda by the BJP and its nexus with the CBI for the verdict.Lalu’s long time adversary, deputy chief minister of Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi, who was one of the petitioners in the fodder scam PIL which resulted in a CBI inquiry and monitoring of the case by the Patna High Court, accused Lalu of playing politics.”Lalu was convicted for the first time during the UPA regime & is now blaming BJP? How can the BJP influence a judicial process? The Court has convicted Lalu not BJP,” Modi said in Patna.”This had to happen. You reap what you sow,” Modi added.Senior BJP leader from Bihar, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who also was one of the prime movers of the case against Lalu, described the verdict as a lesson that law will catch up if you commit corruption.”For me, it is a matter of some personal assurance that I had the privilege to argue the PIL in Patna High Court in the early 90s leading to the institution of the CBI inquiry, which was strongly opposed by the then state government headed by Lalu Prasad Yadav.”Lesson of today’s conviction of Lalu Prasad is that law will catch up with you if you commit corruption,” Ravi Shankar added.Defiant Lalu lashes out on TwitterNew Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav was defiant even as the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Court in Ranchi convicted him in the fodder scam. Yadav took to Twitter and shot off eleven tweets in 22 minutes. He slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and termed its politics as “immoral and malicious” and said that the “wily” party was using rhetoric to hide its “misdeeds” and to sully public perception of the opposition. Yadav also likened his circumstances and conviction to that of former South African President and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, American civil rights activist Martin Luther King and even Babasaheb Ambedkar.

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

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

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Fate of Lalu Prasad in Rs 900 crore fodder scam to be decided today

A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ranchi will pronounce its verdict on Saturday in a fodder scam case in which former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad is an accused.The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo, Prasad on Friday expressed hope that he would get a clean chit in the fodder scam case like other accused in the 2G and Adarsh scams.”We trust and respect the judiciary. We will not let BJP’s conspiracies work,” Prasad said.He said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments since the time of Atal Bihari Vajpayee have been harassing him and his family by misusing the CBI for the past 25 years.Meanwhile, Prasad has reached Ranchi along with his son Tejashwi Yadav to hear the verdict.Also readED attaches Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rs 45-cr Patna plotThe fodder scam case relates to the alleged fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 95 lakh from the Deoghar treasury. Overall, more than Rs 900 crore was reportedly siphoned off from the Chaibasa treasury for two decades.Altogether, there were 34 accused in the case, out of which 11 died during the course of the trial and one turned CBI approver and admitted the crime. Former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra has already been convicted and sentenced to five years of imprisonment in one of the five fodder scam cases.

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One who idolises Tipu Sultan cannot support Hindus: BJP leader Vinay Katiyar

Responding to Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s remark on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) having ‘leased out’ Hinduism, the latter claimed that one who idolises Tipu Sultan cannot support Hindus.”Siddaramaiah is one who idolises Tipu Sultan, who caused a lot of harm to the Hindu community. It is natural that such a person will not support or think for the welfare of Hindus or Hinduism,” BJP MP Vinay Katiyar told.Earlier in the week, Adityanath during his visit to Karnataka had accused the Congress of attempting to convert the state, which is “the land of Lord Hanuman”, into “a land of Tipu Sultan worshippers”.Also readTipu Jayanti row: Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah calls Amit Shah ‘ignorant tourist’To this, Siddaramaiah took to Twitter on Friday to question whether the BJP had “taken Hinduism on lease”.”Are only the BJP leaders Hindus? Are we not Hindus? Has the BJP taken Hinduism on a lease? My name is Siddaramaiah. Siddhu and Rama are in my name,” he said.Also readSiddaramaiah hits back at Amit Shah, says ‘Tipu Sultan was a freedom lover, patriot’In a series of tweets in Kannada, the Chief Minister also called for equal respect to be given to all religions, adding that this was a sign of ‘true Hindutva’.

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2G scam verdict: ‘Vindicated’ Rahul Gandhi says BJP’s foundation based on ‘lies’

Launching a no-holds barred attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday said the saffron party’s whole architecture and foundation were based on “lies.””The whole architecture and foundation of the BJP are based on lies,” said Mr Gandhi. He was speaking after chairing his first Congress working committee (CWC) meeting as the Congress president with his mother Sonia Gandhi seated next to him.”I think 2G has been a vindication (of Congress’ stand),” Rahul Gandhi told reporters when asked about the special CBI court’s Thursday verdict acquitting all the accused. “Everyone knows about 2G, the truth has come out in front of you.”Also readRahul Gandhi chairs first CWC meeting after being elected Congress President “If you see the Modi model in Gujarat, it was a clear lie. When we went to Gujarat, the people said there is no model, they said what is going on is stealing of people’s resources. The promise of 15 lakhs in every bank account, Demonetisation, ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’ everything is a lie,” he added.Rahul today chaired the CWC meeting for the first time after being elected as the party chief earlier this month. Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Rahul Gandhi says PM Modi has credibility problem, BJP ridicules Sonia Gandhi, who served as the party president for 19 years, arrived a little before Rahul for the meeting and was also felicitated by the CWC members. The CWC also paid their respects to former Union Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi who passed away last month. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, senior party leaders Motilal Vora, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Janardan Dwivedi, Mallikarjun Kharge, Karan Singh, Anand Sharma, Mohsina Kidwai, Ambika Soni, CP Joshi, Kamal Nath, BK Hariprasad and Oscar Fernandes are also attending the meeting, along with party in- charges for various states.Rahul Gandhi was elected unopposed as the Congress chief on December 11 and assumed the party’s reins on December 16.(With PTI inputs)

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Modiji we are done with you, go to Himalayas: Jignesh Mevani

Two days after winning the Vadgam seat as an Independent candidate in the Gujarat Assembly election, Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch convenor Jignesh Mevani on Wednesday suggested that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should retire and ‘go to the Himalayas’.”I would very pro-actively want to say that Modi ji we are done with you; you are now boring to us. You should go to the Himalayas and visit a Ram Mandir and ring bells there,” he said. “They (BJP) were claiming they would win 150 seats but that pride has been crushed; the same will happen in 2019. It is a victory for our movement. In the coming days, we will intensify our movement in the Assembly and on streets, will also corner them in 2019,” he addedContinuing his tirade, Mevani claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had cheated with 8 crore youngsters by promising them jobs. “He (PM Modi) made fake promises. He should apologise for cheating the people. Why doesn’t he talk on the valid points? Why no canal has been made in Narmada River” he added.Also readEven as MLA, Jignesh Mevani won’t give up on agitation, says family He further stated that more than one dozen parties had given them )OBC leader Alpesh Thakor, Patidar agitator Hardik Patel and him) support and their unity would defeat the prime minister in the 2019 elections. Mevani won from Gujarat’s Vadgam seat, defeating BJP’s nominee Vijay Chakravarti by 19,696 votes.Jignesh Mevani led the movement against the ruling BJP and tried to unite Dalits and Muslims through his rallies like that of ‘Chalo Una’.

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Gujarat elections 2017: BJP workers celebrate Modi, their ‘Tiger’

Even as votes were being counted to declare the Gujarat Assembly election verdict, workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gathered in hordes as early as 9 am outside the party headquarters at 11, Ashoka Road on the chilly Monday morning.The party office bore life-size hoardings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As the day proceeded, the stretch from bungalow number 5 to 11 was strewn with flower petals, paper, placards, balloons and the remains of fire-crackers. Enthusiastic party workers expecting a win carried BJP flags and saffron caps and had their faces smeared with gulal (colour) as they shouted slogans such as “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Modi Zindabad”.The celebrations also had a tinge of patriotism with Vande Mataram being played in the background. As the leads from various constituencies started coming in, party workers burst cartons of fire-crackers, often posing for the camera. A large number of party supporters, organised in different groups, danced to thumping dhol beats, raising slogans of “Ghar Ghar Modi”.“I have campaigned in Surat for three months without sleeping for days. The youth is with Modiji,” said Aakash Gupta, 24, a volunteer. Saffron supporters holding a life-size hoarding of Modi had it signed as “Ek Hai Tiger”.“I am a Modi Bhakt and I say it openly. Gujarat is what it is because of Modi. Congress must remember now that people have rejected them for indulging in appeasement and politics of caste,” said Sanjay Chauhan, a supporter. Hoping for a sweeping victory, Harpreet Singh, a Yuva Morcha member of the party’s Delhi wing, said, “We have ordered 1,000 kg boondi ladoo to make sure each supporter has the sweetmeats to enjoy the fruit of their labour of so many months.”

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If Ravi Shastri would be commenting, he would say EVMs has won: Twitter reacts to Assembly Election verdict

BJP assumed power in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, much to the joy of its followers who are active on Twitter. The Gujarat win, albeit with a smaller margin, still showed that the party leadership and organisational skills are some of the best in the business.Here is how people on Twitter reactedPrime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the assembly election results in Gujarat and Himachal Prades indicate BJP’s effort for development in the state.Also readAssembly elections 2017 results​: Nitish Kumar congratulates PM Modi, Amit Shah on Gujarat, Himachal victory”Election results in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh indicate a strong support for politics of good governance and development. I salute the hardworking BJP Karyakartas in these states for their hardwork which has led to these impressive victories,” PM Modi said on Twitter.”I bow to the people of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh for their affection and trust in BJP. I assure them that we will leave no stone unturned in furthering the development journey of these states and serve the people tirelessly,” he said in a series of tweets.Also readAssembly elections 2017 result: ‘I salute hardworking BJP Karyakartas,’ PM Modi’s victory tweetThe Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set to form a government in the state of Gujarat for the sixth time and end Congress’ reign in Himachal Pradesh.Union Minister Smriti Irani also hailed BJP’s win saying, “It’s a matter of happiness for us, this is the victory of development.””Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. It is a victory of every booth worker’s hard work and the people who trusted development,” she added.

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Gujarat Election Results 2017 LIVE: ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar,’ Union Minister Smriti Irani tells Congress

After a mid-morning scare, it seems the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set to form a government in the state of Gujarat for the sixth time. The party may be slightly shaken by the fact that these elections have been more uncomfortable than it may have expected – with Congress making significant gains from the 61 seats it won in 2012 and run the BJP close.But Union Minister Smriti Irani said, ” Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar.” On Monday, ​I&B Minister hailed BJP’s win, “It’s a matter of happiness for us, this is the victory of development.”She continued, “Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. It is a victory of every booth worker’s hard work and the people who trusted development.”BJP MP Madhya Pradesh unit president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan said the workers are excited by the increase in the party in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections. “Anti-incumbency is not working there. The prime minister’s popularity is intact. Amit Shah’s strategy has worked,” BJP vice president Shyam Jaju said.BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya also said, “There is nothing to worry. We will form government in Gujarat with comfortable majority.”

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Assembly Elections 2017: Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti asssures EVMs cannot be tampered with

After the Congress, the AAP and Patidar leader Hardik Patel expressed apprehension that the EVMs may have been tampered, the Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti on Monday assured that the electronic voting machines (EVMs) cannot be tampered with.The CEC said, “Questions being raised about EVMs have already been answered by us in the media. VVPATs were there in every polling stations in Gujarat, which enabled voters to see whom they voted for, so issues being raised aren’t right. I assure that EVMS cannot be tampered with.” Joti added that the Gujarat Chief Electoral officer had made all arrangements at all places in counting halls in the state.Former Chief Election Commissioner Naveen Chawla also asserted that political parties or candidate tended to cry foul and blame the electronic voting machines (EVMs) when they are losing the elections. “I have observed that when a political party or a candidate lose, they tend to blame the machine and I think that’s unfair,” Naveen Chawla told ANI.He added that people should have faith not only in the Election Commission (EC) but also the courts, who have called the EVM has one of the technological wonders.”We must have faith in the EC and also in the courts as all of them have examined different aspects of EVM as well,” said the former CEC.Even Bihar CM Nitish Kumar mocked at Opposition for criticising EVMs. “Some may criticise the EVMs out of fear of defeat, but the EVMs have made elections transparent and impartial. Now, nobody can deprive anybody of the right to cast votes,” Kumar, who has predicted a comfortable majority for the BJP in Gujarat, tweeted in Hindi. According to early trends, the Congress was giving tough fight to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in both the states.The counting of votes for 68 Assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh and 182 constituencies in Gujarat began at 8 am today.The hill state went to polls on November 9 while elections were held in two phases in Gujarat on November 9 and 14 respectively.(With ANI inputs)

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Himachal Pradesh Election Results 2017 LIVE: BJP takes early lead

The counting of votes for 68 Assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh that went to polls on November 9 began at 8 am on Monday.The results are expected to come out by afternoon.As many as 50,25,941 voters were eligible to cast their votes and 37,605 polling personnel were deployed at 7,525 polling booths. 983 polling stations were declared vulnerable and 399 critical to ensure free and fair elections in the state.The fate of 337 candidates including Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his predecessor Prem Kumar Dhumal will be known. Both – the ruling Congress Party and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – are confident of their victory.Himachal has a tradition of change in government after every elections and going by the trend, this time it is the turn of the BJP which is upbeat after exit poll results.Security personnel have been deployed outside the counting centres to avoid any untoward situation.8:39 IST Monday, 18 December 2017Counting has begun for Himachal Pradesh. BJP is leading in 9 constituencies, Congress in 4.

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Gujarat Election 2017: Exit polls are ‘nonsense’, BJP will definitely lose, says Jignesh Mevani

Jignesh Mevani candidate from Vadgam constituency and Dalit leader on Sunday rebuffed the exit polls while saying that Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP)’s debacle in the Gujarat Assembly Elections is certain.”These exit polls are fake and rubbish. These are nonsense. The BJP is definitely going to lose this time and will not form the government,” he said.After the two-phase Gujarat assembly elections concluded on December 14, the exit polls of various media houses predicted that the BJP would secure a big win in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home turf.Most of the exit polls showed that BJP would secure more than 100 seats out of total 182 in Gujarat.The results of the Gujarat assembly polls will be declared on December 18.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: Satta bazaar bets big on BJP win

Even as the exit polls have predicted a sweeping win for the saffron party, the ‘satta bazaar’ in Gujarat has also put its money behind the Bharatiya Janata Party. The market, which predicted a close finish till the second phase of polling, has now increased the margin from 90 to 103-105 after the exit polls. As Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi criss-crossed the state rallying votes, the market fluctuated, based on the sentiment of the masses.Initially, the market had predicted a clear victory for BJP, but as the campaign progressed, the Congress started gaining momentum as a series of Rahul Gandhi rallies hit their mark. Closer to voting day, the margin between BJP and Congress reduced, but at the end of the second phase of polling, the odds again changed and the gap widened.The bazaar had prized BJP at 70 paise, giving the ruling party about 90 seats till the second phase of polling. However, after the exit polls, the prize dropped to 25 paise, giving BJP seats in the range of 103-105.In market parlance, it implies a bet of Rs 1 lakh before the exit polls would yield a return of Rs 70,000 on that lakh, but one after would only get Rs 25,000. This indicates a BJP victory is now more obvious.While no such rate has been fixed for Congress, the market has reduced the tally to 66-68 seats after the exit polls, compared to 82-84 seats before.The market is also bullish on BJP candidates compared to Congress candidates. In Rajkot-West constituency, the rating for Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has been pegged at 25 paise, lower than 40 paise for his Congress rival Indranil Rajguru. It means that betting for Rajguru is riskier when compared to Rupani. Similarly for Mehsana seat, rating for Nitin Patel is pegged at 35 paise compared to 50 paise for his Congress rival Jivabhai Patel. The 2017 elections have been the most closely contested in about two decades.MONEY MATTERSThe bazaar had prized the BJP at 70 paise, giving the ruling party about 90 seats till the second phase of polling. However, after the exit polls, the prize dropped to 25 paise, giving BJP seats in the range of 103-105.

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Amit Shah makes his RS debut

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah began his parliamentary debut on Friday — the first day of Winter Session. Walking in just minutes before the proceedings began; he was greeted by treasury benches. The camaraderie conventionally attached to new entrants who are greeted across the aisle, however, was missing.After walking in, he was led to occupy a seat in the front row on the treasury bench side. This seat was earlier held by M Venkaiah Naidu, who was elected Vice-President during the last Monsoon Session. He is now the chairman of the Rajya Sabha.Shah was elected to the Upper House in August. Members of the treasury benches, including Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar and I&B Minister Smriti Irani, clapped to welcome Shah. BJP MPs stood up to welcome him as Shah greeted them.After he took the seat, some members from treasury benches walked up to him to greet him. The bitterness that has cropped between the treasury benches and the Opposition was palpable as no one from Opposition benches greeted Shah.A special seating arrangement has been made for Shah. He has been allotted the aisle seat right next to the two-seat bench shared by Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Normally, first time MPs are given back benches. The seating arrangement in the House also speaks about the clout of its members.Shah shares his bench with Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan and Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot. This front row block is next to bench allocated to AIADMK and TMC leaders, which were earlier occupied by Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Ram Gopal Yadav (SP), rebel JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, and BSP’s Mayawati till the last session.In the new sitting arrangement now the JD-U members have been moved near treasury benches.

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More than 80K MCD students dropped out

As many as 85,412 students dropped out from the schools run by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCDs) during the academic year 2016-17, a report released by NGO Praja Foundation stated on Thursday.”The estimated drop out percentage in schools run by the North MCD is 6.1 percent, South MCD is 6 percent and state government schools is 3.4 percent,” the report titled ‘State of Public (School) Education in Delhi-2017’ said. The East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), however, has not provided any information on the number of dropouts in their schools.On average, from the three Municipal Corporations, in the last three years (2014-15 to 2016-17), the EDMC has witnessed the maximum dropout followed by North Delhi Municipal Corporation.”Number of drop outs from state government schools has been increasing in the past three years (2014-15 to 2016-17),” the report stated.The data has been compiled on the basis of RTIs received from 640 schools of MCD and 749 schools of state government.SCHOOL-STUDENT RATIO

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‘Alarming’ transition rate in Delhi govt, MCD schools

Almost half of the students studying in Delhi government schools did not move to the secondary level through examinations between 2015-17, while in primary and middle classes, they were promoted irrespective of their learning levels, states a report released by an NGO on Thursday.“The transition rate of students in state government schools from Class 9 to 10 at 56.95 percent whereas it is 98.55 percent from Class 7th to 8th for the academic year 2015-16 to 2016-17,” says the report titled ‘State of Public (School) Education in Delhi-2017’ which has been compiled by NGO Praja Foundation on the basis of information collected by RTIs and Surveys.Calling the transition rate “alarming”, the report said, “It clearly shows that students were promoted irrespective of the learning levels in the earlier years and the teachers either were ‘callous’ in their approach or the monitoring of RTE norms was not stringent.”Under Right to Education (RTE) 2009, it is mandatory to promote students to higher classes every year till Class VIII. The policy was instituted to check the high number of dropouts, but gradually experts cited it as a reason for high failure and drop-outs in Classes IX and X.“44 percent of the students enrolled in Class 9 in 2013-14 could not reach Class 12 in 2016-17. Similarly, 43 percent did not go to Class 10 in 2016-17 from Class 9,” the report said.However, adviser to the Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia Atishi Marlena said that the transition rate in state government schools have increased after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government came in power.“The failure rate in Class IX was constantly high because of no detention policy until last year as the AAP government has been taking constant efforts to help students,” she said.The report further highlighted the drop in enrollment numbers both in schools run by the AAP-led Delhi government and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCDs), with highest drop of 30 percent being reported in class I, between 2010 to 2017.“Enrollment in class I has gone down from 1,92820 in 2010-11 to 1,35,491 in 2016-17 in MCD and state government schools,” it stated.While Delhi government officials held “deteriorating state” of MCD schools, responsible for the drop in enrollment in class I, officials at the civic bodies cited “insufficient resources” as the reason behind this. “Primary education in Delhi is under the MCDs and the condition of their schools are really bad. Why would anyone prefer to send their children in these schools,” Marlena said.Besides, the overall drop in enrollment was reportedly 7 percent from 2013-14 to 2016-17 in these schools. “Total enrollment fell down by 1,76743 students, including 93,444 MCD students and 83,299 state government students, from 2013-14 to 2016-17,” the Praja report said.Meanwhile, the report also revealed that 85 percent students from Municipal schools and 74 percent from state government schools are taking private tuitions “It shows that the parents are not satisfied with the quality of education being offered in these schools,” it added.

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Paresh Mesta death: BJP urges Karnataka Guv to intervene, Siddaramaiah says ‘unfortunate’ incident being politicised

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders on Tuesday took out a ‘Raj Bhavan Chalo’ march from Gandhi Statue to submit a memorandum to Governor Vajubhai Vala seeking direction to the Karnataka Government for the National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe in youth activist Paresh Mesta death case. The march was led by MP Shobha Karandlaje. They later reached the Governor’s house and urged him to intervene in this incident. Meanwhile, breaking his silence regarding Paresh Mesta’s death which has lead to law and order unrest in some parts of Karanataka, CM Siddaramaiah said on Twitter:Essentially he accused BJP leaders of fomenting law and order problems with their ‘irresponsible acts’. He also said that BJP leaders are doing it under instructions of party president Amit Shah. In his tweet, he also warned that police will crackdown on people who wil try to break the law. Political temperature has significatly increased in the state over Mesta’s death. Karnataka is slated to have Assembly polls in early 2018. BJP MP Karandlaje rebutted Karnatala CM’s allegation. The body of the missing activist Paresh Mesta, a resident of Thulisinagar in Honnovar was found in a lake behind Shani temple on Friday. He was missing from last Wednesday. There has been significant tension in parts of Uttar Kannada post his death. Mesta’s family has alleged that there was foul play and it’s unlikely that he drowned in the lake. However police have ruled out any foul play, according to reports. Doctors who have performed autopsy on the body say they didn’t find any evidence of assault or mutilation, according to multiple reports. ​BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje has alleged that it’s a ‘brutal murder’ and the state government is trying to cover it up. Several top leaders including Union Minister Ananth Kumar was part of Mesta’s funeral procession, the report says. According to BJP MP Karandlaje, police were mute spectators when a hostile mob attacked Mesta near a temple on Wednesday. The trigger was a street fight between an autorickshaw driver and motorbike rider, which soon took a communal colour. There was stone pelting too and shops were attacked. Reports suggest that Mesta was missing after trying to evade stone pelting. His body was found from Shettikere Lake a couple of days later. With agency inputs

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Narayan Rane warns Uddhav Thackeray, says shut up or I will reveal all

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Narayan Rane has alleged that Uddhav Thackeray and his family tortured Balasaheb, and warned the Sena chief to ‘keep his mouth shut’ or face consequences as he will ‘reveal all’.Rane made the claim while speaking to media persons in Sangli. “I have seen with my own eyes how Uddhav and his family had tortured Balasaheb,” reported IANS quoting Rane.The former Sena leader also warned that if he (Uddhav) does not keep his mouth shut and conspire against him, he won’t hesitate to expose them.”When Balasaheb was alive, I never troubled him in any manner. On the contrary, I have witnessed all the goings-on at their home Matoshree’, and I will definitely reveal everything. Their allegations (against me) are wrong and I have said this in the past.”Rane’s statement came against the backdrop of the Shiv Sena reportedly pressuring ruling ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against inducting him as a minister.The 65-year-old Maratha leader, who was the chief minister in 1999 while in the Shiv Sena, had formed his new political party, Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksh, which became a part of the NDARane also claimed he will become a minister in 2017 itself and there was no pressure on him from the Shiv Sena.”I will become a minister in 2017 itself irrespective of the Gujarat Assembly poll results. From what I have understood by talking to the Chief Minister, I will be asked to join after the BJP forms its government again in Gujarat,” Rane said.

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BJP’s Prasad Lad wins MLC bypoll, beats Oppn by 15 votes

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday proved that their claim of 15-20 MLAs from Opposition being in touch with them was not hot air as the BJP candidate Prasad Lad won bye-election for legislative council seat with at least 15 more votes from Opposition MLAs.The bye-election was due after Narayan Rane resigned as MLC and also left Congress party. Dilip Mane, the congress candidate got 73 votes despite the fact that Congress and NCP together had 83 votes. Two votes were invalid while two AIMIM MLAs Waris Pathan and Imtiaz Zaleel did not vote.BJP has 122 MLAs while Shiv Sena has 62, Congress 42 and NCP has 41 MLAs. The Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) has three MLAs while Bahujan Vikas Aghadi has 3 MLAs. AIMIM has two while Samajwadi Party has one MLA in Abu Azami.MNS has one MLA, Rashtriya Samaj Party has one mla, RPI has one MLA and Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh and CPI (M) has one mla while there are seven independents. Lad was expected to get 194, but got 209 votes, which means at least 15 MLAs cross-voted in favour of BJP. If claim by Congress leader Sharad Ranpise that two invalid votes are of BJP MLAs is true, then two more votes from Opposition have gone in Lad’s favour.VOTES ON THE CARDSLad won at least 15 more votes from Opposition MLAs, suggesting support for the BJP The election was due after Narayan Rane resigned Cong’s Dilip Mane got 73 votes although his party and NCP had 83 votes BJP has 122 MLAs while Shiv Sena has 62, Congress 42 and NCP has 41 MLAs
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DNA EXCLUSIVE | Gujarat elections 2017: Now, Shehzad Poonawalla vs Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat

Facing a tough challenge to its hegemony of over two decades in Gujarat, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is trying to cement its chances with help from all quarters, some of them quite interesting. The latest to join the BJP bandwagon — although not openly — is Congressman-turned-Rahul-Gandhi-critic Shehzad Poonawalla, who recently launched a direct challenge to Congress dynasticism as he questioned Rahul Gandhi’s elevation to the top party post in a “sham election”. Poonawalla now hopes to deal a body blow to the Congress plan to dethrone the BJP on the Prime Minister’s home state by starting an anti-Rahul campaign from Rajkot on December 8.Having decided take a plunge into the muddied waters of Gujarat elections, Poonawalla hopes to do to the Congress what Hardik Patel is trying to do to the BJP — upset the applecart.Poonawalla’s campaign, he asserts, is aimed at defeating “Congress’s dynastic moorings, though not to ensure BJP victory”.”On December 8, I shall sound the bugle against the Aurangzeb of Congress in Rajkot. I will hold a press conference on the theme ‘Asli Congress bachao, Vanshwad ko hatao’ (save the real Congress and remove dynasticism). The first challenge to Congress’ internal emergency which runs in the DNA of Rahul Gandhi needs to start from the state which first challenged Indira Gandhi’s Emergency of 1975 . This will be a pan-India campaign in which I shall be joined by all Congressmen and party sympathisers who agree with my cause,” Poonawalla said.But, Poonawalla doesn’t plan to stop once Gujarat elections are over. He wants to adopt the same strategy in the Gandhi family bastion of Amethi in the 2019 general elections.As much a matter of Gandhi-Nehru prestige as winning Gujarat is for the BJP, the Maharashtra Congress leader would campaign among the people of Amethi to defeat the Gandhi scion, though not as a rival candidate.”Rahul Gandhi will be the first illegal and unconstitutional president in the history ofthe Congress. Therefore it will be observed as a Black Day. Thousands and thousands of Congress supporters will change the display picture on their social media handles to black. My supporters will protest across India wearing black clothes. The Rajkot campaign will culminate in Amethi in 2019,” Poonawalla told DNA.We shall be working day in and day out for the success of the party across all Lok Sabha seats in India, but for one, Amethi. As I shall depose the Aurangzeb of Congress from Amethi, Congress activists will displace him from Akbar Road in Delhi,” Poonawalla asserted.He is also planning to challenge Rahul’s election as Congress president legally. Poonawalla claimed that he has sought the advice of several former Chief Election Commissioners to explore grounds on which Rahul’s elevation to the post of Congress president can be challenged in a court of law.”From moral to legal, I will make this a public challenge for the Shehzada (Rahul Gandhi) and his cronies within the Congress party. I am ready to fight this in the court of the people ultimately,” he said.
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Armed forces are well prepared for any situation: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the Indian armed forces were fully prepared for any eventuality.She made this statement while replying to a question about the reported shortage of arms and ammunition in the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force.”The Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force are fully prepared for any eventuality. The required arms and ammunition are being purchased on a continuous process. It is not like that once a particular purchase is completed, then we’ll sit idle for next five years. Defence purchase is an ongoing process.”Talking about the upcoming Gujarat elections, she said, “A very good government has been ruling Gujarat for the last 22 years, which has a blueprint that no partiality is done in Gujarat; the economic development should reach everyone.”She added that Chief Minister Vijay Rupani-led Gujarat Government was working on the principle of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas.’She expressed hope that the people of Gujarat would repose faith in the Bharatiya Janata Party to continue the development.The 14th Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections, 2017 are scheduled to be held on December 9 and 14. The counting will be done on December 18.
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Oppn blames EVMs for BJP win in UP civic polls

As the Bharatiya Janata Party hailed Uttar Pradesh local body results as ‘massive victory’ and vindication of people’s faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies including GST, rival parties got together to hit back and blamed the results, especially of Mayor elections, on EVM tampering.Social media sites were abuzz with analysis of local bodies results claiming that the BJP’s victory was limited to winning 14 out of 16 Mayor posts and on other bulk of posts it had not done too well.Declaring it as a victory of PM Modi’s governance, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath met the Prime Minister at his residence in Delhi.Using the UP results at a rally in Gujarat, BJP national president Amit Shah said, “Whatever has happened in Uttar Pradesh is nothing compared to what is going to happen in Gujarat on December 18. After the (vote) counting on December 18, the BJP will emerge victorious and form the government with 150 seats.”Soon a stinging rebuttal came from veteran Congress leader P Chidambaram as he tweeted, “After media reports on Q2 GDP and UP local bodies, Oxford and Webster should re-define the words ‘surge’ and ‘sweep’.”Raising the pitch, BSP chief Mayawati said she has full confidence that the saffron party would lose the general elections in 2019 if ballot papers are used, instead EVMs.”If BJP claims that they enjoy the mandate of the people, and the entire country is with them, then they should set aside the EVMs and hold the elections through ballot paper. And, I can say with full confidence that if the 2019 Lok Sabha polls are held by ballot paper, (the BJP) will not come to power,” Mayawati claimed.Joining the chorus Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav too cried foul.”Interestingly, where the polls were conducted through EVMs, the victory percentage of BJP was 46 but where it was carried through ballots, it was 15 per cent,”he said.For the record, BJP won 69 Municipal Chairperson posts as against 126 won by others, for Nagar Panchayat President BJP candidates won on 100 posts against 338 non BJP candidates.In case of Nagar Parishad posts BJP won on 596 whereas 701 were won by non-BJP candidates. Whereas in Nagar Palika BJP secured 916 posts against 4295 by others and in Nagar Panchayat polls it won won- 663 seats in comparison to 4715 won by other parties and independents.About 70% of the elected representatives of the other posts were independent candidates.
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Entire party wants Rahul to become Congress President: Party’s Karnataka chief on Shezhad Poonawalla’s allegations

Amid allegations by Congress leader Shehzad Poonawalla over its presidential election process being rigged, Congress’ Karnataka chief has come out in defence of the party and Rahul Gandhi. Dinesh Gundu Rao, Congress’ Karnataka chief said: “Congress is only party which had polls for President. Even when Sonia Gandhi contested, Jitendra Prasad was opponent. Somebody asking him (Shehzad Poonawalla) to do it to create distractions. Entire party wants Rahul Gandhi to become president.”In the wake of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) lead in the Uttar Pradesh civic polls, Maharashtra Congress Secretary Shehzad Poonawalla on Friday claimed that the losses incurred on the Congress party are due to their ‘dynasty politics’.Also readRahul Gandhi lost Amethi, but dreams of winning Guj: Yogi Adityanath‘The trends of polls show that the people do not want to hold the hands of the dynasty. It is a fact that the present UP government has not been doing too well. However, parties that do not accept dynasty as their principle are doing better than the rest. The loss in elections is due to dynastic politics,’ Shehzad told ANI.Continuing his criticism of the grand old party, Poonawalla alleged that the organisation did not value merit as much as family relations or a ‘sycophant of the dynasty.’ He also claimed that if the Congress got rid of dynasty politics, there would be a 30 percent surge in the number of seats won by them.Also readAhead of Rahul’s impending elevation, Congress leader says party’s presidential election is riggedPoonawalla also opined that rather than blaming any other factors, the Congress must accept defeat on grounds of their leadership not being strong enough.‘The Congress leadership should not blame EVM or any other factor, but review their leadership, as this is what victory or defeat should be based on. Congress minus dynasty will get 30 percent more votes. Even in the upcoming polls in Gujarat, Congress will get 150 seats if they end dynasty politics.’ he said.Earlier this week, Poonawalla had claimed that the poll process to choose the Congress president was stacked in Rahul’s favour just because he belongs to the Gandhi family.”Raising an issue nobody in my party – the Congress will have guts to raise- my conscience will not allow me to stay quiet anymore on Dynasty/ sycophancy,” he tweeted.Poonawalla had also told the media earlier that he would want to contest the party president election if it was conducted in a genuine manner.However, he has been receiving flak from his party members, including accusations of him not being a Congressman.Responding to the same, he categorically stated that he was a ‘Congressman for life,’ and alleged that such comments were a result of the party fearing Rahul Gandhi’s defeat, “even in a rigged election.”
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UP civic poll win a prelude to 2019 Lok Sabha elections: Yogi Adityanath

Reacting to the Bharatiya Janta Party’s massive win in the Uttar Pradesh civic polls, state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the victory had ‘laid the foundation’ for the party to win all the 80 seats in the upcoming 2019 general elections.Speaking to Hindustan Times, Adityanath also took a subtle dig at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav saying that the duo were not youth leaders.Hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development vision and BJP President Amit Shah’s organisational strategy, Adityanath added that the victory was a litmus test to his seven-month long leadership.Also readWhy Uttar Pradesh civic polls will impact Assembly elections in Gujarat BJP won 14 out of the 16 mayoral seats, including the prestigious Ayodhya and Varanasi municipalities. Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party won the remaining two seats in Aligarh and Meerut. The SP could not win even a single mayoral seat and the results have come as a major setback to party president Akhilesh Yadav, who had claimed that his party would ‘thrash BJP’ in the local body polls.Also readTwitterati have a field day mocking Opposition after BJP sweeps UP civic pollsIt wasn’t a good outing for the Congress either as the party lost to the BJP in Amethi, which is Rahul Gandhi’s constituency. Gandhi had not campaigned a single time during the civic elections.In 2012 urban local bodies polls, the BJP had won 12 out of 14 mayoral seats.
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Twitterati have a field day mocking Opposition after BJP sweeps UP civic polls

In what comes as a major boost to the BJP ahead of the Gujarat Assembly polls, the saffron party today swept the Uttar Pradesh civic polls.In the polls which were being dubbed as Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s first electoral test, the BJP bagged several prestigious mayoral seats including Ayodhya, Varanasi, Lucknow, Gorakhpur and was leading in several others.Of the BJP 16 mayoral seats results of which were declared, the Bharatiya Janata Party (​BJP) scored win in 14 seats. Thew BSP, which fought the civic polls on its symbol after 17 years, won two seats.The Congress faced a humiliating defeat Amethi, a bastion of the Lok Sabha constituency of its vice president Rahul Gandhi. The Congress lost in Jais and Gauriganj where Nagar Palika polls were held. In Amethi and Musafirkhana, where Nagar Panchayat polls were held, the party had not fielded candidates.While the top BJP leaders took to Twitter to congratulate Yogi and other state level functionaries of the party, there was somewhat a silence on the Opposition side.Also readTwitterati have a field day mocking Opposition after BJP sweeps UP civic pollsThe results gave another day to twitterati to mock the Opposition leaders. Here are some of the reactions on micro-blogging site after the UP civic poll results:Also readUP civic polls 2017: BJP’s Sanyukta Bhatia creates history, becomes Lucknow’s first woman mayor in 100 years
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BJP releases sixth list of 34 candidates for Gujarat Assembly polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday released the sixth list of 34 candidates for the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections, declaring nominees for all 182 seats. The last date for filing nominations for the second phase of Assembly polls is today. The BJP had released its fifth list of 13 candidates for the second phase on Friday. The Congress, which is seeking to dislodge the BJP from power in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, also released its third list of 76 candidates for the second phase late last night. The polling for the two-phase elections in Gujarat will take place on December 9 and 14 and votes will be counted on December 18.Eighty-nine seats of Saurashtra and South Gujarat region are going to polls in the first phase while the remaining 93 seats in central and northern region would go for polls in the second phase.Meanwhile, PM Modi today launched a campaign blitzkrieg in Gujarat where he will address eight rallies on 27 and 29 November in different parts of Saurashtra and South Gujarat.

Outrage after India minister terms cancer ‘divine justice’

An Indian minister’s remark about the disease “saddens” patients and their family members.

Fingers, hands raised at PM Modi will be chopped off, says Bihar BJP chief Nityanand Rai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Bihar unit chief Nityanand Rai on Monday stoked a controversy when he told party works to chop off the fingers and hands of people who will criticise Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Nityanand Rai who represents Ujiyarpur Lok Sabha constituency, made the remarks while speaking at a function called by the Vaishya and Kanu (OBC) communities.”Your own son rose out of poverty to become PM, regardless of differences everyone in the country should value it. If any hand or finger is raised against him (Modi), we should come together and break it and if needed, even chop it off,” the MP said.Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi and several other BJP’s Bihar ministers Nand Kishore Yadav, Mangal Pandey and Suresh Sharma were also present when the MP made comment.However, Rai defended his comment saying he used it as a proverb to convey a message and was not meant for individuals or Opposition parties.“I used the expression of breaking fingers and chopping hands as proverbs to convey that we would strongly deal with those who rise against the country’s pride and security. I meant country after I had finished talking about the PM’s inspiring journey”. Rai told Indian Express.Earlier this month, Rai on Sunday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a reincarnation of Swami Vivekananda.

Gujarat Election 2017: No celebration if short of target

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is leaving no stone unturned to achieve its ambitious target of winning 150-plus of the 182 seats up for grabs in the Gujarat Assembly elections due later next month. So much so that national president Amit Shah has told party workers there will no victory processions if the party fails to reach the magic number by even one seat.“Shah was clear that the party has to slog to meet the 150 plus target. He went a step further and told the party members across the state that there won’t be victory processions even if BJP is unable to win 150 plus seats,’’ Sanat Modi, president of the Bhavnagar city unit of BJP, told DNA.Shah has also sought tighter coordination between office bearers and grassroots workers instead of relying merely on data.To meet the stiff target he has set, the party has launched a massive exercise to cover almost all 35,000 booths by holding at least three rounds of visits by the assigned leaders. Ministers from the state cabinet as well as from BJP-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh have been deployed to supervise the party’s machinery down to the booth level.“Our party chief has asked party leaders and cadre at the grassroots not be complacent but be pro-active to retain BJP’s supremacy in the Assembly,” Modi, said.Saying Shah’s message of ‘Pull up your socks or perish’ was clear, Modi said the party president’s ‘Get Out the Vote’ formula of reaching out to every name on every page of the voters’ list has been strictly followed in all 182 constituencies.“The BJP has appointed a chief for each page who bears responsibility for getting every voter on that page out to vote on polling day,’’ he said.BJP leader Yogeshbhai Pandya from Surendranagar district said all district unit leaders have completed meeting voters at the booth, block, and circle levels. ‘’Their job was to list a slew of pro-development decisions implemented by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre and the party-led government in Gujarat to counter opposition’s criticism,’’ he said.

Padmavati row: Rajputs to burn Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s effigies in Bihar today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The protests demonstrations against the release of filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Padmavati” has reached Bihar where members of the “Kshatriya samaj” will hold statewide agitation on Saturday.The announcement was made by Lokendra Singh Kalvi, who was in Patna on Friday, to garner support for his movement, and the demonstrations will be led by “Kshatriya Samanvay Samiti-Bihar”.On Saturday, members of the community will burn effigies of director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and other artists in the movie in all district headquarters of the state besides demanding to ban the release of the film, “which hurts their sentiments”. Women of the Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Mahasabha, under the “Veerangana team” will also hit the roads in Saturday’s protest. A “Sankalp Sabha” will be organised in Patna.The protesters will also hold an “Aakrosh march” against the film on November 26. “We will also write to the administration and owners of cinema halls, not to release the movie,” said a functionary of the Kshatriya Samiti.The movie has witnessed widespread protests by members of the Rajput community across the nation, who claim that “their history has been distorted in the film”. On Friday, the protesters faced flak when one of the had said that they will cut actor Deepika Padukone’s nose if the movie is released.

Gujarat elections: BJP’s first list of candidates shows trust in old war horses, several sitting MLAs get ticket

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party put paid to at least some speculation as it came out with its first list of 70 candidates for the Gujarat assembly elections. The list shows both cautions as well as trust in old war horses of the party.Prima facie the list reflects party strategy to come out with its most trusted candidates or such that it feels would be in the safe zone in the polls. As just about half the seats have been taken care of, it also goes on to show that the party is still in the cautious and not a celebratory mood, taking its time to deliberate and read more signs from the ground and taking a last minute feedbacks.A cursory perusal shows that the party has more or less repeated its candidates, at least, on most if the symbolically significant seats.Chief minister Vijaybhai Rupani has been given ticket from the Rajkot West seat. While a couple of other seats in Rajkot have also been declared.Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Bhai Patel has once again given a chance from the hot seat of Mehsana which was one of the most disturbed during the Patidar agitation.Sitting MLA Jayeshbhai Radadiya too has got a ticket from Patidar dominated area of Jetpur. Radadiya is a fairly popular figure in the constituency.Sitting MLAs – Pabubha Virmbha Manek and Jashabhai Banabhai Bar have got tickets from the holy towns of Dwarka and Somnath respectively.In the controversial town of Godhra, the party has poised faith in a sitting BJP MLA and five-time legislator, KC Raulji.From Valsad sitting MLA Bharat Bhai Patel has once again got a chance.The expectant candidates of the party have been on the tenterhooks as sources said the party had decided to axe several sitting and non-performing MLAs, as well as a few sitting ministers. The Patidar question is one of the biggest for the party as there are 45 seats out of 182 that have Patidar majority. Patidars comprise nearly 17% of the population and BJP presently has 44 out of 45 Patidar-dominated seats.

Minister’s wife files ‘dummy’ nomination

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Minister Babu Bokhiria’s wife Jyoti filed her nomination even as the Bharatiya Janata Party is yet to declare candidates. Bokhiria, who expects to be nominated, claimed that his wife’s nomination was a dummy one and will be rejected during scrutiny.The BJP and Congress are expected to announce their list of candidates for the 89 seats going to polls in the first phase in a day or two.In the meanwhile, 15 more candidates filed their nominations for the first phase of the upcoming assembly elections on Thursday, official sources said. As a result, the number of nominations received by election authorities in the first three days has gone up to 25.State’s Chief Electoral Officer BB Swain said in a release that one nomination each was filed for Dasada (SC), Limbdi, Morbi, Wankaner, Rajkot West, Dhoraji, Khambhalia, Dwarka, Porbandar, Mangrol, Talala, Mahuva, Talaja, Limbayat, Surat West and Navsari constituencies.Thirteen of the candidates filed nomination as independents, and one each from Gujarat Janchetna Party and Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI).According to officials, November 21 is the last day for filing nominations. The polling day for first phase is December 9.LIST OUT SOONBJP and Congress are expected to announce their list of candidates for the 89 seats going to polls in the first phase in a day or two.

It’s payback time: Hardik Patel’s clarion call to supporters to oust BJP in new video

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Battling heat from release of three alleged sex tapes, Patidar leader Hardik Patel has put out a video on social media where he is giving a clarion call for payback for all ‘atrocities’ and is urging to get rid of the current establishment.In the video, Hardik said that when Patidars asked for their rights, they were attacked, Even women were not spared. He says that Patel community have been made to look like fools, and taken for a ride for a really long time. Hardik tells his followers if they want to forget all the harassment and again go back to them (BJP), it would be a big insult for the Patel community. In a clear message to oust BJP, Hardik says that Patidars can’t be fooled any longer and it is time for payback for all the sufferings they had to go through to get their rights. Hardik ended his speech saying that people need to do it for the generations to come. The Congress party has agreed to back Patidar leader Hardik Patel’s demands and will field eight candidates that he has recommended for the upcoming assembly elections in Gujarat.According to senior Congress leader, apart from reservations for the Patidar community, Hardik had asked for tickets in seven-to-eight Gujarat assembly constituencies mostly. “Hardik’s demands are very reasonable. We had no problem to fielding strong candidates from the Patidar community. For the rest of the state that are dominated by Patidar, he has asked us to field strong Congress candidates,” a party member informed.Jignesh Mewani,the Dalit youth leader had recently met Rahul Gandhi. Jignesh refused to join Congress but assured that he would support Congress party candidates in Gujarat elections.“Mewani had made some specific demands for Dalit welfare and development which are already accepted by Congress leadership. He told us that the Congress should give ticket to credible and efficient candidates that will be acceptable to all OBC, SC,ST and Patidar communities,” the party member added.Meanwhie, OBC leader Alpesh Thakore, who recently joined the party ranks, has been insisting for 10-15 tickets for his loyalists. “Our only condition is that these candidates should have potential to win elections. We cannot select everyone. We will soon declare the candidates,” the source added. A month before the elections, the Dirty Picture seems to be continuing in Gujarat. A day after a sex video purportedly featuring Hardik Patel went viral on social media, two more videos of the Patidar reservation agitation leader surfaced on social media on Tuesday.DNA cannot vouch for the authenticity of the videos and the claims that the person featured in them is Hardik. One of the two videos shows a male bearing close resemblance to Hardik, along with two other unidentified males, and a female, lying on a bed in a hotel room. The video, shot using a hidden camera, shows the female cuddling up to the person who looks like Hardik. It also shows them talking about Vodka, PAAS members, besides other things.The video is allegedly from May 22, a day after Hardik had undertaken the Nyay Yatra in Botad in protest of atrocities against his community members. He and other Patel leaders had got their heads tonsured a day earlier before undertaking the yatra. Uncannily, all three males who are seen in the video have tonsured heads.In the second video, the person who looks like Hardik, is seen lying on the bed, while the others allegedly consume liquor sitting on the floor.Hardik, who has denied that he was the person in the video that had surfaced on Monday, could not be reached for a comment after the latest videos surfaced. Other members of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) also declined to comment.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has denied having any role in surfacing of the videos, was guarded in its reaction, with a senior functionary saying that the videos have exposed Hardik before the Patidar community.State Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi accused BJP of resorting to Hardik’s character assassination ahead of the elections.In the video that had gone viral on social media on Monday, a person bearing close resemblance to Hardik was seen in a comprising position with an unidentified woman. That video was allegedly from May 16. Hardik said on Monday that it was the beginning of dirty politics in Gujarat.MORE TROUBLE?The video is allegedly from May 22, a day after Hardik had undertaken the Nyay Yatra in Botad in protest of atrocities against his community members. He had got his head tonsured a day earlier, before undertaking the yatra

Amid sex tape bomb, two more alleged videos of Hardik Patel go viral

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after a sex video allegedly featuring Hardik Patel surfaced, two more videos of the Patidar reservation agitation leader went viral on social media on Tuesday. One of the videos shows a male bearing close resemblance to Hardik, two other males, and a female, in a hotel room.The video, shot using a hidden camera, is allegedly from May 22, a day after Hardik had undertaken the Nyay Yatra in Hota.While the male who looks like Hardik is seen mostly lying on the bed, the others are seen allegedly consuming liquor sitting on the floor.Hardik, who had denied that he was the person in the video that had surfaced on Monday, was not immediately reachable.Reacting to the latest videos, the BJP said that Hardik stands exposed before the Patidar community.However, the Congress accused the BJP of resorting to character assassination ahead of the elections.On Monday, a sex video, allegedly showing Patel in a compromising position with a woman, surfaced.Hardik, who expressed apprehensions a few days ago that his opponents could release a sex tape to defame him, denied being the male in the video, and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of being behind it.Note: DNA could not verify the authenticity of the video.

BJP demands 24-hour chest clinics for pollution-hit Delhiites

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) criticised the Arvind Kejriwal government, calling it visionless for its inability to arrest rising pollution levels in the national Capital that has been gripped in a thick blanket of poisonous smog.Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari on Monday said that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) remains indecisive with a string of failed decisions to its credit in handling the hazardous smog.Citing Monday’s pollution levels that were recorded as 4 to 7 times higher than the tolerable 60 mg level, Tiwari said,”With schools set to open and a heavy public activity, the Kejriwal government seems to be lost as it never formulated a strategy to fight such a climatic emergency. People are worried and state administration, especially in hospitals have failed the citizens.”Tiwari also requested Lt. Governor Anil Baijal to call an all-party meeting to discuss the preparation to fight pollution and remedial measures in the Capital. The Delhi BJP also requested the Lt Governor to direct all government and private hospitals to set up 24-hour free chest clinics to help the affected people.The BJP has trained its guns on CM Arvind Kejriwal since Delhi caught itself warped in heavy smog. The party last week distributed masks in the northeast part of the city, as Tiwari attacked the AAP government for being indifferent towards the health of people.The party said the government failed to formulate any decisive policies to tackle the pollution scenario which was turning grim by the day. The Delhi chief minister was also lambasted for passing the buck to neighbouring states for burning stubble while he himself did not have any roadmap for pollution.

Rahul Gandhi shouldn’t visit religious places only during elections: BJP

Updated: Nov 13, 2017, 03:09 PM IST, ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National General Secretary, Bhupender Yadav on Monday took a jibe at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in wake of him visiting shrines and temples in poll-bound states and said that offering prayers is a part of Indian culture but it must come naturally to a person and not only during elections.Speaking at a press conference, Yadav said “Star campaigner of Congress Rahul Gandhi is visiting temples and offering prayers which is good as it is a part of Indian culture. However, this must come naturally to a person and not only during elections”.On November 11, Rahul began his campaign for Assembly polls in north Gujarat with a visit to the famous Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar. He offered prayers to Lord Swaminarayan at the temple and began his three-day tour which will cover six districts.Assembly election here will be held in two phases on December 9 and December 14.

Government introduced scheme to hide inefficacy: BJP chief Manoj Tiwari

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has accused Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of deflecting attention away from his government’s inefficacy in arresting pollution by introducing the Odd-Even scheme. It also went on to clarify that the BJP does not want to indulge in politics over the matter but the recent incident of an AAP leader in Punjab burning stubble there reflects the party’s lack of interest in conserving the environment.Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari also expressed his surprise over the dates finalised by AAP to initiate the scheme. He said that while the AAP declared an emergency situation in view of the rising smog levels, implementing it on November 13 make little sense.”Kejriwal announced the scheme on November 9, touting it as an exigency. However, he is rolling it out a few days later. How would the city benefit then when its reeling under unprecedented pollution levels now?” he said, adding that the scheme did not bear the kind of results that Kejriwal had proclaimed when the government had brought in the scheme in 2016.”The National Green Tribunal had also expressed doubts over the timing and necessity of bringing it back this month,” he added.Tiwari also said that the AAP government failed to take any proactive measures to combat pollution which led to the current situation. Emphasising upon the role of public transport in reducing pollution levels, he said that the AAP government failed to make public transport system more robust.He clarified that the BJP was not opposed to the scheme but doubted whether the government was keen on implementing it with full spirit.

Hubli: Over 150 BJP workers protesting against Tipu Jayanti celebration detained

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karnataka police on Friday arrested over 150 BJP workers protesting against Tipu Jayanti celebration in HubliAuthorities have also beefed up security in the region.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday opposed the Karnataka government’s decision to celebrate Tipu Jayanti in the state on November 10.The Congress government views Tipu Sultan as a patriot, who fought against the British. However, the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) views are completely different from those of the state government, who regard Tipu Sultan as a tyrant monarch for being biased against Hindus.After witnessing major clash in 2015 in the state over the celebrations of Tipu Sultan Jayanti, the Karnataka government last year decided to make the event an annual affair.

BJP says no to nepotism, no ticket for Anandiben Patel’s daughter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Though there were speculations that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could give a ticket to former chief minister Anandiben Patel’s daughter Anar Patel for the Assembly polls, a senior leader has revealed that the party is not considering Anar. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the leader said BJP would not give tickets to anyone on the basis of their relation with senior leaders.Reports were widely shared on social media that the BJP would field Anar from Akota or Manjalpur constituency of Vadodara city or would replace her mother Anandiben in the Ghatlodia constituency of Ahmedabad city.Putting a full stop to all the speculations, the senior leader said, “Anar Patel’s name was never discussed during the meetings of the party’s top brass. There is no chance that she would get a ticket just because she is Anandiben’s daughter. The party will not give tickets to any person just because he/she is the child of a senior leader. The BJP has always been against nepotism.””Another reason why the party will not field Anar is that her name was dragged into a controversy related to land allotment. We do not want to take any risk by giving her a ticket. Not just Anar, none of Anandiben’s children are under consideration for polls. However, if she wishes to contest, Anandiben will get a ticket because she has made great contributions to the party,” the leader said.When asked about Anar’s poll prospects, Anandiben rubbished them as media speculation. “This is media’s work. People never asked me whether Anar will be contesting. I will respond when they ask me,” she said.Recently, there were messages circulated about Anar’s visits to Vadodara.‘JUST RUMOURS’There were messages circulated about Anar’s visits to Vadodara.
However, Vadodara Mayor and BJP leader Bharat Dangar termed them as mere rumours.

Shiv Sena to contest over 50 seats in first phase

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shiv Sena, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) ally in Maharashtra, will contest over 50 seats in the first phase of Assembly elections in Gujarat, a top party leader said here on Thursday. It will contest mainly in Surat, Saurashtra and Kutch and will come out with a manifesto soon.Party leader Anil Desai said that Gujarat elections are very important. Hindutva and development will be the main issues on which it will seek mandate of the people. “Hindutva is an important part of the core of Shiv Sena’s ideology. Just like Maharashtra, Gujarat is progressive in education, health and other sectors but still a lot needs to be done,” Desai told mediapersons here. He was non-committal on whether party president Uddav Thackeray will come to Gujarat for polling. However, he clarified that they are not in negotiations with any of the party or political formations for an alliance.The party has, however, not finalised the seats it will contest in the first phase. It also has plans to contest in the second phase for which announcement will be made at a later stage. Replying to a question, Desai said that BJP has deviated from its original goal of Hindutva and building Ram Temple.He came down heavily on the proposed Bullet Train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, which was recently launched with much fanfare, and said that instead of taking the country in the right direction, the proposed train will take the country in reverse direction. Instead of focussing on such costly projects, the government should focus on improving the existing infrastructure and services,” said Desai.On demonetisation, which happened a year ago as well as Goods and Services Tax (GST) which was rolled out in the country four months ago, the party leader said that both in Maharashtra and Gujarat, businesses have slowed down. “The unorganised sector has been hit the most. The small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are in trouble and its cascading effect is being felt on other sectors as well,” he said.The government’s decision to merge Public Sector Banks (PSBs) has also not gone well with the party. Asked if the party would be able to make any impact in elections, Desai said that the party will put candidates for a win and not to enable anyone to win or lose.WHAT’S ON TABLEDevelopment and Hindutva will be the main issues on which the party will seek people’s mandate Sena is not in talks with any party for any sort of alliance However, it still hasn’t finalised all the seats it will contest in the first phase

Defamation case: Court issues notice to Arvind Kejriwal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Delhi court issued a notice to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and AAP spokesperson Sanjay Singh on Wednesday in connection with a civil defamation case filed by a BJP youth wing leader, seeking Re 1 compensation from them.Additional District Judge Vijay Shankar sought the reply of the duo following the plea filed by Ankit Bhardwaj, State Executive Member of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, a youth wing of the BJP.The complainant had alleged that the duo had shared his pictures in the media, falsely declaring him as the one who had slapped the former water minister of Delhi, Kapil Mishra, when the latter was on a hunger strike on May 10.Appearing for the complainant, his counsel said after an order was passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate stating that the case does not fall in his ambit, he filed an appeal in the higher court.The court, while issuing the notice, fixed the next date of hearing to January 22,2018.The plea had claimed that the AAP leaders had wrongly named him for assaulting Mishra while the person apprehended on the spot for the alleged offence belonged to AAP. Bhardwaj also claimed Singh had shown the former’s Facebook profile on news channels and declared him the accused.

Where are Achhe Din? Mamata Banerjee asks PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the first anniversary of demonetization, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tore into the Bharatiya Janata Party alleging that there was a greater scam waiting to be unearthed, and that ahead of Assembly election in Gujarat, the BJP had had a moral defeat.”They have already had a moral defeat. That is why all the Union cabinet ministers and the Prime Minister have stationed at there campaigning for the polls. If they were confident they would not have organised 50 rallies,” she said while interacting with media persons at Nabanna, the state secretariat.Terming demonetization as ‘a destructive policy of the Centre’ and ‘an organised loot’, she alleged that there must have been a huge scam behind the smokescreen of demonetization. “Was it lack of planning or was it a conspiracy to help a Chinese company? When China itself is investigating into Paytm, the Indian government is promoting it. There must be some investigation. Purdey ke peeche kya hai? (what is behind the curtain). It will not be unearthed as long as they are in power but they must understand that they will not be in power for ever,” she added.The CM said that Modi had promised ‘Achhe Din’ (good days) to people but those were yet to arrive. “Where are the ‘achhe din’? If these are achhe din then why are famers committing suicide? Growth has stopped and manufacturing sector has taken a huge beating. Are these achhe din?” she said.TMC leaders organised rallies across the state against demonetization, terming it as ‘Black Day’. Nearly all cabinet ministers of Mamata government had hit the streets in protest. State Education Minister Partha Chatterjee who was leading a rally along with Mayor and Housing Minister Sovan Chatterjee, said, “How many persons have you caught who possess black money? He had also said that black money would be brought back from overseas and all Indians will have Rs 15 lakh in their bank accounts. Has anyone received even 15 paise?” he said.In another rally, state Sports Minister Arup Biswas who was sporting a black outfit, too, echoed similar emotions. “As many as 148 persons died in queues at ATMs. As long as this government is there at the Centre, this misrule will continue,” he said.From Chetla in south Kolkata, state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim led a rally. “Mamata Banerjee always stood up in the interest of the common people. We are observing this Black Day as representatives of people who had lost jobs and business owing to demonetization,” he said.

Watch: Ex-serviceman who became face of demonetization protests actually supports note-ban

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the anniversary of demonetization, Nand Lal, an ex-serviceman who became the face of the hardships of the note-ban process said that he supported the government’s move.A year later, while life remains hard for him, he firmly believes that the government did the right thing, which is surely an embarrassment for opposition leaders who are making him the face of their protests.Nand earns a meagre Rs 8,000 a month but that hasn’t stopped him in from praising demonetization. He told ANI: “Demonetization is a very good step. It has certainly put a lid on terror activities happening in the country.”Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad hit out at Rahul Gandhi saying: “Rahul Gandhi has tweeted against demonetization by using Nand Lal but Nand Lal has stated on record that he supports Modi Ji.” The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Opposition are facing off as this day rings in the one year anniversary of the demonetisation drive. The Opposition is observing ‘Black Day’ while the BJP is celebrating ‘Anti-Black Day’ to mark the first anniversary of the announcement of the exercise by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BJP workers celebrated the first anniversary of demonetisation by billowing party flags, praising slogans of Prime Minister Modi and by cutting a cake.
ALSO READ From PM Modi’s gamble to Congress’ blunder: Top 6 talking points from the war on black money‘We are celebrating the freedom of economy. We got freedom from fake currencies, funding of terrorism, black marketing, and the bank system became more strong due to this move. This decision by Prime Minister Modi is historic,’ one of the BJP supporters said. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also attended a signature campaign held in Chennai, which was organised by Tamil Nadu BJP Youth Wing to show their support for the move.The BJP leaders, including many Union ministers, will fan out across the country to highlight the “benefits” of demonetisation. Prime Minister Modi took to Twitter and thanked people for supporting the government in eradicating corruption on the first anniversary of demonetisation. “I bow to the people of India for steadfastly supporting the several measures taken by the government to eradicate corruption and black money,” the Prime Minister said.On the other hand, the opposition is leaving no stone unturned to keep the pressure on the Central Government. The Youth Congress members at midnight staged a protest against Prime Minister Modi’s note ban move in front of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in Delhi.Today evening, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi will participate in a candle-light vigil in Gujarat’s Surat as part of “Black Day” protest and will interact with the traders. On November 8, 2016, the Centre declared Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes as illegal and introduced new Rs. 500 and Rs. 2000 notes.With inputs from ANI

Congress unnecessarily criticizing Centre’s economic policies: Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday accused the Congress Party of unnecessarily castigating the Centre for its economic policies.”The Congress is trying to defame the Central government on the economic front. The demonetization and the GST are strong economic measures. Had India’s economy not been strong no foreign investor would’ve come here. Fact is foreign investments is rising,” Singh said.The Union Home Minister also claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will attain two-third majority in the upcoming Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.The polling in the hills is slated to be held in single-phase on November 9. The results will be declared on December 18.Singh also took the occasion to praise the Indian Army.While asserting that the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Jammu and Kashmir Police and the Intelligence Bureau are working together to neutralize the terrorists and their intentions in the Valley, Singh said, “Pakistan indulges in unholy practices but co-ordination among our security forces is so good that terrorists are being regularly neutralized.”

Congress has left the battlefield, it is one-sided contest in Himachal Pradesh: PM Narendra Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Confident about the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sweeping the upcoming assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday termed the inching elections as a one-sided contest.While addressing a public rally in Himachal Pradesh’s Una Prime Minister Modi said, “I have never seen the enthusiasm that I am witnessing this time in HP during elections. It’s a one-sided contest. This is a clear indication that people want change,” the Prime Minister said. “People of Himachal Pradesh have decided to teach a lesson to the Congress in these elections. I will only regret one thing in these elections, that I am not having fun because Congress has left the battlefield,” he added.The Prime Minister also asserted that people of Himachal Pradesh now know that it is only the BJP which will work for their welfare.”People are now well aware of our government that works dedicatedly and a government that used make only statements. Newspaper publications are also tired of posting news about BJP only because nothing else is coming from the other side,” Prime Minister Modi said. Prime Minister Modi also took a dig at former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and said the latter refused to combat the menace of corruption.”Congress did not implement the benami assets law as they were well aware it would reveal all their wrongdoings. Few people who faced the heat of demonetisation are still complaining & planning to observe 8 November as black money day,” he said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday mocked at the Congress in an election rally in Himachal Pradesh’s Palampur saying “corruption is the only identity of the party”. Taking a jibe at Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh for undergoing probe in connection with a Disproportionate Assets case worth Rs 10 crore, the Prime Minister said, “Corruption is the only identity of Congress party. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister from Congress is known for corruption.” The Prime Minister said the people of Himachal Pradesh will remember former chief ministers Prem Kumar Dhumal for his contribution in promoting tourism and Shanta Kumar for taking up the herculean task of laying water pipelines, but the Congress governance for corruption. “Welfare of people has never been a priority for the Congress party. People of Himachal Pradesh have decided to teach a lesson to those who have cheated them,” PM Modi said. Confident about the Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory in the upcoming assembly election, he said, “The Congress is going to mourn a lot in the coming week, but it is natural since they have nothing to do except mourning.”The polling in the state will be held on November 9 in a single phase and the results will be declared on December 18. Former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has been declared as the CM candidate of BJP.

Defamation case filed against Kamal Haasan after Hindu terror remark

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after actor Kamal Haasan’s controversial remarks about ‘Hindu terror’, a case of defamation has been filed against him for hurting religions sentiments. The matter will be heard in Varanasi tomorrow, reported ANI.Kamal Haasan has been booked under section 500 (punishment for defamation), 511, 298 (hurting religious sentiment), 295 A (intent to outrage religious feeling), 505 C (attempt to incite hatred and enmity between classes) of the Indian Penal Code. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday deplored actor Kamal Haasan’s “Hindu terrorism” remark and said that making such irresponsible statements without any evidence only reflects his sick mind.Speaking to ANI, BJP leader S. Prakash said that Haasan is emerging as an irresponsible political aspirant with each passing day.
ALSO READ If you have evidence place it before NIA or apologise: Twitter furious over Kamal Haasan’s ‘Hindu terror’ remark‘If there is any evidence to prove that a Hindu terrorism exists, Kamal Haasan should provide those to NIA or to probe agency to punish those who indulged in such activities. Making such irresponsible statement without any evidence or basis only reflects his sick mind. It is very unfortunate. I completely disagree with him and deplore this sick attitude of Kamal Haasan,’ he said.Haasan, in his column in the Tamil weekly Ananda Vikatan, wrote, “In the past, Hindu right-wing groups would not indulge in violence, but they would hold a dialogue with the opposite parties on their arguments. But this old tactic was defeated and what they stated to do is use muscle power. They started indulging in violence.’”The right wing cannot challenge talk of Hindu terrorists because terror has spread into their camp as well,” wrote the Tamil film icon.Haasan’s remark drew flaw from various quarters especially BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).BJP national spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao compared the actor with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saee and said that by passing such remarks all these people have given Pakistan an upper hand.”There has been a tendency in this country we have seen in the past decade how Sonia Gandhi-Rahul Gandhi led Congress party drew a strategy of maligning the Indian society and Hindu community only to appease the Muslim vote bank. It was done by the former home minister P. Chidambaram and Congress leader Sushil Kumar Shindey saying it on the floor of Parliament that there is Hindu terror in this country. Today, when Kamal Hassan makes similar comments, he is actually joining the ranks of P. Chidambaram, Hafiz Saeed and is possible angling to become an extension of the Congress Party,” Rao told ANI.RSS leader Rakesh Sinha also expressed anguish over Haasan remark and demanded his apology for ‘hurting and defaming Hindu civilization for his petty political end.’With inputs from ANI

Shiv Sena attacks BJP, distributes ‘Ghotalebaaz Bhajap’ booklet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Shiv Sena has launched another attack at ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by distributing to its members a booklet titled “Ghotalebaaz Bhajap”(Scamster BJP) that chronicles the scams involving BJP leaders.The 56-page booklet was distributed during an organisational meeting at the Sena Bhavan on Wednesday.The cover of the booklet features four BJP leaders, along with a mention of the scam alleged against them.A picture of Eknath Khadse features with the mention of the MIDC land scam, Education Minister Vinod Tawde is featured for the irregularities in supply of fire extinguishers to zilla parishad schools without inviting tenders, Food and Civil Supplies Minister of Maharashtra Girish Bapat is featured for the tur dal scam, and lastly, Dilip Gandhi for the loan waiver scam.In addition, several senior BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and national president Amit Shah also get a mention in the booklet. Since forming the government in Maharashtra, in alliance with the BJP, the Sena has been fairly vocal about its grievances with the party.Through its mouthpiece, ‘Saamna’, the party has been continually castigating the Centre as well as the Devendra Fadnavis-led state government.

Not joining Congress, says Jignesh Mevani

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Putting to rest reports of Congress’s overtures to him, Jignesh Mevani on Thursday said that he was not joining the party. The firebrand Dalit leader, though said he is ready for a discussion with top Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi.The convener of Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch said, “I am not going to contest the polls either. The only thing we want is the Congress to clarify its stand on the 17 demands that we have made for Dalits.”Among the demands are allotment of five acres of farmland to each Dalit family, alternative employment to those involved in skinning of cattle and manual scavenging, and the release of a probe report into the firing on the community members at Thangadh in Surendranagar district in 2012. Mewani said the Bharatiya Janata Party has never responded to their demands. “We want the Congress to say what it is going to do if the Dalits were to support it. I am open to talks with the Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi. But it will be an open meeting and not a secret one.”The 34-year-old, a lawyer by training, came under the spotlight after four Dalit youth were stripped and flogged by cow vigilantes for skinning a dead bovine last year. Mevani had managed to galvanise the Dalit youth to lead huge protests across the state. In the past year, Mevani has emerged as someone whom political parties cannot afford to ignore, particularly ahead of the assembly elections. Gujarat goes to polls in two phases on December 9 and 14.BJP has been in power in the state since 1995.To a question on why the demands of Dalits were not a matter of concern for political parties, Mevani said it will soon become one. “Let us first wait for what the Congress has to say. If the parties continue to ignore the demand we will restart the agitation.” At the height of the Dalit agitation, Mevani said, BJP had promised to look into the demands. “In the meeting that we had with home minister Pradipsinh Jadeja after Dalits threatened a rail roko agitation, he said he will look into the demands. We haven’t heard from him or the BJP since then.”Mevani, other backward caste leader Alpesh Thakor, and Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leader Hardik Patel are being seen as game changers in the upcoming state polls. The equation changed after Thakor joined the Congress with his supporters and reports emerged of a secret meeting between Hardik Patel and Congress leaders.His demandsFulfill promises made to Una victims, including govt jobs, BPL cards and trial of the accused in a fast-track court.Farmland for Dalits who have left the job of skinning dead animals or want to quit it. Compensation for those cleaning manholes as they have been forced to work under inhuman conditions

Uddhav Thackeray, Mamata Banerjee meet sparks talks of opposition unity

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday, sparking speculation of a possible political partnership against the Bharatiya Janata Party.The BJP currently leads a coalition government in Maharashtra with the Sena, which is a member of the National Democratic Alliance .Sources said Thackeray, who was accompanied by his son Aditya, and Mamta explored various options to team up against the BJP on issues such as demonetisation, Goods & Services Tax, farmer distress, and the economic slowdown.The meeting is also being seen as an early attempt to rally parties against the BJP ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.”Both Shiv Sena and Trinamool Congress Party (TMC) from day one have been quite vocal against Modi’s decision to withdraw high value currency notes from circulation. Our party president has been quite consistent on his view that demonetization and GST have miserably failed to achieve its purpose,” a Sena functionary told DNA.”Thackeray and Mamta also took stock of the faltering growth and its impact on various sectors. They were of the view that the recent steps taken by the Centre including recapitalization of banks and launch of Bharatmala project are not enough,” he added.The trio also discussed possible strategies to counter BJP in and outside Parliament to mobilise public support, the Sena leader said.Departing from tradition, wherein visiting dignitaries typically head to the Thackeray residence, Matoshree, Uddhav and Aditya drove to a five-star hotel in south Mumbai to meet with Mamata, who was staying there.

Gujarat Elections 2017: Hardik Patel still non-committal about supporting Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convenor Hardik Patel on Thursday said that they will extend their support to the Congress in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections only if their demands are met.”If the Congress takes steps in support of our issue (reservation), we will directly or indirectly support the party… The andolan is still on,” Patel told ANI. He informed that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi came to meet him on Diwali. When asked if he is going to join the Congress to pursue the reservation issue, the PAAS convenor said, “I am not going to join any political party for the next two and a half years. Rahul visited to wish me during Diwali like any other people who come to meet me,” said Patel.On the six organisations coming on the front foot against the Patidar leader’s demand to include the Patels in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category for reservation in education and jobs, Patel questioned if he was wrong then why had the people come to attend his rallies. “People in huge numbers come to attend the andolan. They know that the fight on reservation is right but the media does not show this,” said irked Patel. Alleging the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of spreading such news, he said, “But everybody is talking about this (organisations against the andolan). This is nothing but the BJP’s propaganda.”
ALSO READ Hardik Patel tries to woo business community in SaurashtraOn the government”s claim that they have accepted all the demands kept forward by Patel and the protests that he is leading now is not related to Patidar Community but is an individual ambition, Patel asked: “What demands have been met by the government”” “They rejected even the 1 percent reservation. The Aayog has still not been implemented,” he added. On Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani calling him an “agent” of Congress, Patel affirmed that he instead considered himself as the agent of people.The six organisations that are opposing Patel’s demand include Umiya Mata Sanstha from Unjh, Khodaldham Kagwad in Rajkot, Vishwa Umiya Foundation, Samast Patidar Samaj in Surat, Umiya Mataji Mandir in Sidsar and Sardar Dham in Ahmedabad. The leaders of these organisations alleged that Patel is misleading the society in the name of reservation. They also alleged that Patel is taking political advantage of this demand.Patel’s reservation demand has come on the heels of the upcoming election here, wherein the Congress party is trying to woo the Patidar community.Earlier, Patel had met the Congress leaders to discuss the reservation demand and gave deadline to the party to clear its stance on his demand till November 7. The Congress party had, however, said that it will make a decision after consulting the matter with legal experts. The Congress is counting on the Patidar votes to sway the election results of Gujarat polls in their favour and uproot the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been in power since 1995 in the state. The polls will be conducted in Gujarat in two phases – December 9 and December 14. The counting of the votes will be held on December 18.

DNA Exclusive: Ahead of Gujarat polls, Maharashtra BJP, RSS go into a huddle

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The high-stakes Gujarat polls and the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for 2019 have prompted the Bharatiya Janata Party and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to work towards a strategy for better coordination.A team of RSS leaders from the western zone and few top BJP functionaries from Maharashtra are expected to meet on Saturday to discuss ways to help the ruling party in Gujarat retain power, said people with knowledge of the development.The Maharashtra BJP already has decided to send more than 400 party members, including senior ministers, to campaign in Gujarat. On their part, some activists from the Sangh Parivar are also expected to visit the poll-bound state to provide a backup to the BJP.The efforts towards improved coordination between the two organisations come at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah have led from the front to promote the party, which has been in power since 1995. The state goes to polls in two phases on December 9 and 14.The leaders are also expected to review the performance of the Maharashtra government led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who recently completed three years in office. The government has completed its flagship water conservation project Jalyukt Shivar, taking the state’s irrigation potential to 40 percent from 17 percent.Make In Maharashtra, rural and social empowerment schemes and BJP’s sterling performance in the local and civic body elections and the statewide growth strategy up to 90,000 polling booths are expected to come up for discussion, said sources.A strategy to counter Shiv Sena, which has made repeated attempts to target BJP on a range of issues, including loan waiver, will be debated. While Fadnavis has put the ball in Sena’s court asking the saffron party to take a call on the alliance with BJP, he has also accused it of double standards.State BJP president Raosaheb Danve told DNA: “Such meetings do take place periodically. These meetings are part of keep a rapport between the party and the RSS. We do discuss politics but it is not the sole agenda.”An RSS leader from the western zone who did not want to be named shared Danve’s views saying that politics may be discussed for 10 minutes. ”Apart from coordination between RSS and BJP, the contribution of both in the field of rural and social sectors, empowerment of women will be discussed at length.”The state BJP unit will also step up its efforts to reach out to voters with a slew of decisions taken by the BJP-led government in past three years and its plan for the next two years.

PK Dhumal made BJP’s CM candidate in Himachal Pradesh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Putting months of speculation to rest, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday announced former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, 73, as the party’s CM candidate for the upcoming Assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh. Speaking at a rally in Pachhad, party president Amit Shah announced that the BJP will be led by Dhumal in the upcoming polls.”At every rally, CM Virbhadra Singh questions us that under whose leadership was the BJP contesting the elections. Yet, he remains silent on the charges of corruption and on the justice that evades Gudiya (minor girl who was raped and murdered in Kotkhai). BJP is fighting the elections under the leadership of PM Modi. But, if you want to know who will lead the BJP in Himachal Pradesh, then let me make it clear to everyone, including CM Virbhadra, that we will contest the elections under the leadership of PK Dhumal,” Shah said in the rally held in Pachhad on Tuesday, adding, “I will also tell you that Dhumal ji has been a former CM, and after December 18, he will become the CM of Himachal Pradesh.”Soon afterwards, PM Modi tweeted: “Dhumal ji is among our senior-most leaders with rich administrative experience in Himachal. He will once again make a wonderful CM (sic).” Speculations were rife within and outside the party on whether two-time CM Dhumal or HealthMinister JP Nadda will lead the party. It is understood that PM Modi’s proximity to Dhumal was instrumental in giving him an edge over Nadda. At a press conference in Shimla on Sunday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also hinted at an “experienced hand” to lead the party. It is learnt that the party leadership called Dhumal late on Monday night to inform him about the development.Speaking to DNA over the phone from Hamirpur, where he was campaigning, Dhumal said he respected the party decision. “I am grateful that the party has chosen me to lead the charge in the state. The Opposition has been questioning us over the matter for a long time, and it was making the party workers restless. I’m happy that all these speculations have now been laid to rest,” Dhumal said.The former CM, who is contesting the elections from Sujanpur, will be pitted against Congress leader Rajinder Singh Rana, who defeated several other candidates to win the party ticket.

Shiv Sena says BJP our ‘principal’ enemy, praises Congress VP Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid strain in ties with alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena has called it a ‘principal enemy’ and praised Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi.On the eve of the Devendra Fadnavis government’s third anniversary, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, it is part of the Maharashtra government ‘just for the sake of it’.The MP also said that they were in the government for the sake of it. “The BJP owns the government. Instead of hitting out at the Congress and NCP, the BJP targets the Sena. They (the BJP) are thus our principal enemy,” Raut told reporters in Nashik.Praising Rahul Gandhi, Rahu said there has been a substantial change in Congress leader. “A leader is one who is accepted by people. There is a substantial change in Rahul Gandhi since 2014. People like to listen to him now.”The Uddhav Thackeray-led party has begun preparations for the Lok Sabha and assembly polls of 2019 and it is ready to fight elections.Meanwhile, in a clear bid to hurt the BJP where it could hurt the most, the Shiv Sena has decided to contest from at least 25 seats in the Gujarat Assembly elections due in December. In the remaining constituencies, the party will support Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel, the face of the Patel quota agitation.Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said the cabinet reshuffle will take place before the winter session of the state legislature, and Rane, who quit the Congress recently to form his own outfit, will be inducted into the cabinet.(With PTI inputs)

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