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Of trunk call & divine intervention

In this crucial year, BJP’s state leadership will also like to keep close to its traditional lines more so when the Opposition Congress has earned some amount of respect in the Gujarat assembly elections. When we speak of Gujarat polls, the recent visits of political stalwarts to Somnath Temple had created a ripple which is so very vivid still in our minds. A healthy relation between those in power and a mahant reflects peace in society. While the party will try to ensure that its popularity remains intact, blessings of the mahant from the Lord’s house will remain as an icing for a better tomorrow. And in Rajasthan, for any auspicious and momentous event, political parties, irrespective of the colour, industrialists and the aam aadmi seek the blessings of Moti Dungri and the Mahant.”
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–><!–end of breadcrumbx–>Of trunk call & divine intervention Vasundhara Raje
Ashok Parnami, Mahant Kailash Sharma and Vasundhara Raje <!– /11440465/DNA_Article_Right_300x250_ATF –><!–bnr300–>Share

<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByAvanindra Mishra <!–end of artlbotbor–>Monday 1 January 2018 4:52 ISTMust readExplosion after fire in Jodhpur hotelNight riders who believe serving people is the best way to ring in New Year<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>This is time for a major TRUNK CALL. It’s ballot time and whatever be the colour, caste or creed… divine blessings are the most sought after thing as the state readies for a KURUKSHETRA by the end of this year. And in Jaipur when we speak of such issues, blessings of the chief priest of Moti Dungri Ganesh Temple is the ultimate, one can think of.2018 begins with the implementation of the model code of conduct in three districts and will witness bypolls on two parliamentary and one assembly constituency in January itself. The BJP has a task ahead to keep its traditional ‘saffron’ vote bank intact and counter any anti-incumbency within party ranks.In this crucial year, BJP’s state leadership will also like to keep close to its traditional lines more so when the Opposition Congress has earned some amount of respect in the Gujarat assembly elections. When we speak of Gujarat polls, the recent visits of political stalwarts to Somnath Temple had created a ripple which is so very vivid still in our minds. A healthy relation between those in power and a mahant reflects peace in society. While the party will try to ensure that its popularity remains intact, blessings of the mahant from the Lord’s house will remain as an icing for a better tomorrow. And in Rajasthan, for any auspicious and momentous event, political parties, irrespective of the colour, industrialists and the aam aadmi seek the blessings of Moti Dungri and the Mahant.

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Nitin Patel gets Finance, crisis blows over

The 48-hour-long drama that kept BJP’s Gujarat political circle on tenterhooks ended on Sunday, with party chief Amit Shah granting deputy chief minister Nitin Patel the Finance portfolio, following which the veteran leader took charge.Patel, who was given Road and Building, Health, Medical Education, Narmada, Kalpsar and Capital Project during the portfolio allocation on Thursday night, stayed home and refused to take charge, making his displeasure over taking away important portfolios that he had held in the previous government evident.Addressing the media at his residence in Thaltej, Ahmedabad, around 10:45 am, Patel said, “BJP president Amit Shah called me up in the morning and assured me that I will be given a portfolio which befits my stature as the number two in the cabinet and as the deputy chief minister.””I have no more complaints. I was not happy as I didn’t get a befitting portfolio, but I never crossed the party’s line of discipline,” he added.The deputy CM thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shah, the Patel community and other leaders who stood by him. He also acknowledged the Sardar Patel Group, an outfit of the Patel community seeking reservation.Though it was a Sunday, Patel rushed to Gandhinagar and assumed charge at 11:39am.With the new allocation, Saurabh Patel, who was orginally given Finance, is now left with just one ministry — Energy.Soon after taking charge, Patel left for his Assembly constituency, Mehsana, to meet his supporters.Shortly after his arrival at Mehsana in the afternoon, Rupani announced in Gandhinagar that the Finance portfolio had been given to Patel and that the issue was over now.”We have made certain changes in the portfolios. We have given Finance to Nitinbhai. With this, the issue is over now. Such small things happen in a big family like the BJP. I have already sent a letter to the Governor, informing him of this change in the portfolios,” the chief minister told reporters.Patel maintained that the issue was not about some departments, but about “self-respect”.”I had conveyed to the party high-command to either give me respectable departments or relieve me from the cabinet,” he said.The veteran leader added that he had been serving the BJP as a “loyal and disciplined” soldier for the last 40 years.The deputy chief minister performed puja at his office and assumed charge. “I will perform all my duties with integrity and honesty. I thank my party for the responsibility they have given me. I had assumed office soon after the swearing-in ceremony and had reviewed the process of purchase of groundnuts by government from farmers at minimum support price. From Monday, the first day of the New Year, the Gujarat government will work on fast track.”In the previous government headed by Rupani, Patel used to handle key portfolios of Finance and Urban Development, among other departments.However, this time, Finance was given to Saurabh Patel, while Rupani kept Urban Development with himself. Unhappy over the allotment, Patel had refrained from taking charge of the departments, prompting the top BJP leadership to swing into action to placate the senior Patidar leader.Sending feelers to the deputy chief minister, Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel on Saturday said he would extend support to him and talk to the Congress leadership to ensure that Patel got the respect he deserved from the party, if he left the BJP, along with 10 other MLAs, and joined hands with the Congress to form a new government.DISPLEASURENitin Patel, who was given Road and Building, Health, Medical Education, Narmada, Kalpsar and Capital Project refused to take charge, making his displeasure over taking away important portfolios evident.

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Rajinikanth takes the plunge: From Amitabh Bachchan to Vinod Khanna, 11 Bollywood stars who joined politics

Announcing his political debut, Tamil superstar Rajinikanth on Sunday said he will launch his own party which will contest all 234 constituencies in the next assembly polls in Tamil Nadu. The actor, who enjoys a cult status in the Tamil cinema, is the latest in the long line of cinestars who have influenced politics in the Southern state.In India, people from all walks of life – from sports to glamour – have tried their luck in politics. While some have been quite successful and reached the highest echelons of power, the same can not be said about others. While politics in southern states is more accommodating to filmstars, the bumpy road of politics is less suited for people from Hindi film industry.While actors like Sunil Dutt and Shatrughan Sinha had a successful career as politicians, political journey of Amitabh Bachchan and Govinda had a premature death. Here we list some of the Bollywood A-listers who took the political plunge:Also readTamil Nadu: Rajinikanth to float political party, says, will contest next assembly polls1- Sunil Dutt: As an actor, Sunil Dutt ruled Bollywood in 1970s and 80s with back to back hits. After a successful film career, the actor decided to join politics in 1984 and contested his first Lok Sabha election from Mumbai North West seat on a Congress ticket. Preoccupied with a case against his son Sanjay Dutt, Sunil did not contest 1996 and 1998 elections. He decided to again contest Lok Sabha election in 1999 and won. Later, he won from the same seat in 2000 and 2004 as well. After the Congress formed a government at the Centre in 2004, Sunil Dutt became a Union minister for the first time. He was given the charge of Sports and Youth Affairs Ministry by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. During his political career, he appeared in brief roles in several films with the last being Munna Bhai MBBS starring his son Sanjay. He died on May 25, 2005. 2- Shatrughan Sinha: Known by his many nicknames, Shatrughan Sinha gave several hit films in the 1970s and 1980s before joining politics in early 1990s. He often describes his first election as a mistake as he contested against his friend Rajesh Khanna on the insistence of senior BJP leader LK Advani. He lost the by-election for New Delhi Lok Sabha seat to Khanna. He was later sent to Rajya Sabha by the BJP in 1996 and 2002. In 2003, he was made the Minister of Health and Family Welfare and was later shifted to the Ministry of Shipping. He contested from the Patna Sahib Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar during the 2009 general elections and defeated Shekhar Suman. He won from the seat in 2014 as well. Currently, the politician-actor has been sidelined by the BJP leadership and often takes anti-party stance on Twitter. 3- Rajesh Khanna: Hailed as India’s first superstar after 15 consecutive solo superhits between 1969 and 1972, Rajesh Khanna first campaigned for the Congress party in 1984 general elections. His first electoral battle was against BJP stalwart Lal Krishna Advani from the New Delhi Lok Sabha seat in 1991. He narrowly lost to Advani by nearly 1500 votes. He, however, got a chance to contest from the seat only a year later when Advani resigned to retain his Gandhinagar seat. This time, his fight was with his Bollywood friend Shatrughan Sinha. He won the seat by over 26,000 votes but never forgave Sinha for contesting against him. This was his last electoral battle. He died on July 18, 2012.4- Raj Babbar: Known for his roles in films like ‘Insaaf Ka Taraazu,’ ‘Nikaah’ and ‘Aankhen,’ Raj Babbar entered politics by joining VP Singh-led Janata Dal in 1989. He later joined Samajwadi Party and was elected to Rajya Sabha in 1994. He contested his first Lok Sabha election on Samajwadi Party ticket in 1999 from Agra and was re-elected in 2004. He was suspended from the SP for targeting the then party general secretary Amar Singh. He joined the Congress party in 2008 and contested Firozabad by-election in 2009.In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he lost to General VK Singh from Ghaziabad. He was appointed the president of Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) ahead of the Assembly elections in early 2017. He is very much active in the politics and campaigns extensively for the party in different states. 5- Dharmendra: Known for his roles in ‘Phool Aur Pathhar,’ ‘Chupke Chupke’ and ‘Sholay,’ Dharmendra joined active politics in 2004 and contested his first election from Bikaner Lok Sabha seat in Rajasthan on a BJP ticket. He won the election by over 50,000 votes. He, however, stayed away from the political limelight and did not contest the next election. He has since stayed away from active politics. 6- Hema Malini: A trained Bharatanatyam dancer and star of many hit Bollywood films, Hema Malini campaigned for the BJP in 1999 Lok Sabha elections. She was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 2003 before officially joining the BJP in 2004. She held many posts in the party and was made official candidate of the BJP from Mathura in 2004. She defeated RLD’s Jayant Chaudhary by over 3 lakh votes. She actively participates in Lok Sabha proceedings as BJP member. 7- Jaya Prada: Known for her roles in ‘Sharaabi’ and ‘Aakhree Raasta’ opposite Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Prada gave many hit films in Hindi and regional cinema before joining the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in 1994 at the invitation of its founder NT Rama Rao. She held many posts in the party but left the TDP to join Samajwadi Party after differences with the party chief N Chandrababu Naidu. She contested from Rampur Lok Sabha seat in UP during the 2004 general elections on a Samajwadi Party ticket and was elected with a margin of more than 85000 votes.She is known to be close to ex-Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh who was once General Secretary of the Samajwadi Party. She. along with Singh was expelled from the party in 2010. The two floated their own party, Rashtriya Lok Manch, in 2011. She contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from the Bijnor seat on an RLD ticket but lost. 8- Amitabh Bachchan: A long-time friend of Rajiv Gandhi, Amitabh Bachchan joined politics in 1984 at the peak of his career. He contested from Allahabad Lok Sabha seat against HN Bahuguna and won by polling 68.2% of the total votes. He quit politics after his name appeared in the Bofors scandal. He later grew close to Samajwadi Party but never officially joined the party. 9- Jaya Bachchan: In 1984, when Amitabh Bachchan contested from Allahabad Lok Sabha seat, his wife Jaya went around the city asking for votes as “moohdikhai” – the traditional gift to a bride on her unveiling the face for the first time – as the city was her in-laws’ home. She did not join active politics until her family grew close to the Samajwadi Party in light of Bachchans’ friendship with Amar Singh. She was first elected to Rajya Sabha in 2004 as a Samajwadi Party candidate and has since been the member of the Upper House of the Parliament. 10- Vinod Khanna: The Bollywood actor who wore many suits during his life including that of a monk, Vinod Khanna joined active politics in 1997 and contested from Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency on a BJP ticket. He was re-elected to the Lok Sabha from the same seat in 1999. He was made the Minister for Culture and Tourism in July 2002 and was later shifted to Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) as Minister of State. He won the re-election from Gurdaspur in 2004 but lost the seat to Congress’ Partap Singh Bajwa in 2009. He won the seat again in 2014 and remained an MP until his death on April 27, 2017.11- Govinda: After a successful career in films, in 2004, Govinda decided to take a plunge into politics. He contested from Mumbai North Lok Sabha constituency on a Congress ticket against five-term incumbent and Union Minister Ram Naik. He won the seat by over 50,000 votes. He, however, was heavily criticised for his absenteeism from the Parliament. He was also said to be inaccessible to his constituents while he continued with his film career, giving hits like Partner. He did not seek re-election in 2009 and has shown no interest in politics since then.

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BJP can be reduced to double digits in 2019: Jignesh Mevani

Challenging ruling BJP to change the Indian constitution, Dalit leader and newly elected MLA of Gujarat, Jignesh Mevani appealed all the like minded ‘liberal organisations’ to unite against BJP . “We have shown our strength in Gujarat and if we unite nationally, we can bring down BJP’s number of seats to double digits in 2019 elections,” Mevani said in Pune on Sunday.Mevani was speaking at ‘Elgar Parishad’, a conference organised at Shanivarwada to mark 200 years of Bhima Koregaon battle fought between Peshwas and small army of British East India Company mostly consisting of Dalit soldiers. Along with Mevani, Rohit Vemula’s mother Radhika Vemula, JNU student Umar Khalid, national president of Bhim army Vinay Ratan Singh also attended the conference which was being opposed by right wing groups.Mentioning the opposition to the conference in his speech, Mevani said, “There were some people who were trying to scare me to stop me from coming to Pune. I want to tell all of them that when I did not get scared of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah in Gujarat, you have long way to go to be able to scare me. I have torn apart the 56 inch chest in Gujarat.”Also readJignesh Mevani denied permission for Vadaj victory rallyReacting to the recent controversial statement given by Minister of state for skill development Anant Kumar Hegde that BJP has come to power to change the constitution, Mevani said, “I am throwing an open challenge to BJP to change the constitution if they can. We will put our entire might to save the constitution. I am appealing all the like minded liberal organisations to join hands against BJP.””BJP was talking about getting 150 seats but due to our stern fight, they were restricted to 99. Now if we unite all the organisations, we will be able to bring down the BJP’s tally to double digits in 2019,” he added. Umar Khalid in his speech said, “During Gujarat elections, Modi tried spreading communal hatred to win votes. Now since Jignesh has won election in Gujarat, we will have to support him to share his responsibility.”Also readJignesh Mevani asks PM Modi to retire, go to HimalayasSpeaking about the recent incident of Rajasthan where a man was killed and his body was burnt owing to religious hatred, Khalid said, “Today, the entire humanity is in danger. We have already seen the trailer of 2018 in Rajasthan. In the year 2018, we will keep hearing about the topic of Ram mandir, Love Jihad, Gau raksha and not the issues like development and jobs.”

Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
Vidya Balan: It has to be something like Ijaazat with Shah Rukh Khan
“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
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Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
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Vinay Dinu Tendulkar: The other Tendulkar in Rajya Sabha

One a sporting icon with demi-god status who is rarely away from the headlines and the other a relatively low profile parliamentarian, the two Tendulkars in the Upper House of Parliament are a study in contrasts.Both Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, 44, and Vinay Dinu Tendulkar, 56, are debutants in the Rajya Sabha. But that’s where their similarity perhaps ends.While the cricket ace, a nominated member of the House, makes news just by attending the Rajya Sabha, Vinay Tendulkar is the BJP’s man from Goa who stays behind the headlines, a quiet organisational worker who is chief of the party’s unit in the coastal state.Sachin Tendulkar’s first term began in 2012, and will end in April 2018, but Vinay Tendulkar’s run in the Rajya Sabha has just begun. He was elected to the House from the lone seat of Goa in July 2017.The Bharat Ratna awardee hit the headlines last week after he rose to speak on ‘the right to play and future of sports in India’, a discussion initiated by him.The master blaster, who has been in the public eye since he made his cricketing debut in his teens, could not complete his speech due to some heavy balling by the opposition against the government.Vinay Tendulkar’s career profile has been quite different.He quit his job in a mining company in 1994 to pursue politics full-time and went to win the Sanvordem seat twice– in 1999 and 2002. A non-controversial figure, he is known to be close to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.”My great-grandfather was from Maharashtra, who migrated to Goa,” Vinay Tendulkar said.He was a former environment minister in the Manohar Parrikar cabinet from 2002-2005 and vice chairman of the Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation from 2000-2004.Vinay Tendulkar’s tenure as Goa party unit chief saw the BJP winning both the Lok Sabha seats in the state in 2014, a rare feat for the party, and returning to power early this year despite not being the single largest party in the Assembly.Vinay Tendulkar, who belongs to Dabal in South Goa, also known as the mining belt of the state, is also on the parliamentary committee on tourism, transport and culture, and has so far asked three questions, including two to the Ministry of External Affairs on Indian fishermen.But Vinay Tendulkar is more than just a politician with a mining background. He is also fond of acting and has appeared in over 150 Marathi and Konkani plays.Sandesh Prabhudesai, political analyst of Goa politics and editor of Goanews.Com described Vinay Tendulkar as a hard-working party worker with subdued communication skills.Though not so common, Tendulkar is a known surname in coastal belt in south Konkan and Goa, where linguistic and state borders came much later but people more or less have similar habits when it comes to food and traditions.Amongst the others who share the famous surname were late playwright Vijay Tendulkar, known for the hard-hitting plays like “Ghashiram Kotwal” and “Sakharam Binder”, and his daughter Priya, an actor.

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

‘Why waste time, let Thalaivar swear in’: Twitterati celebrate Rajinikanth’s political entry

Breaking: Politics joins @superstarrajini . My bet is he will win 235 out of the 234 seats in Tamil Nadu in next Assembly elections 🙂
December 31, 2017″
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByDNA Web Team <!–end of artlbotbor–>Sunday 31 December 2017 17:35 ISTMust readEx-CJI TS Thakur says no to AAP’s Rajya Sabha offerKamala Mills fire: Know the story behind this picture<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Superstar Rajinikanth on Sunday announced his entry into politics, declaring that his yet-to-be-named political party will contest all 234 seats in the next assembly polls in Tamil Nadu.The announcement, which was made at the last day of his 6-day fan meet in Chennai, ends two decades of speculation over the political entry of the actor. While thrilled fans celebrated the announcement, politicians celebrities and politicians congratulated the actor. Social media also erupted after the announcement, with Twitterati taking to the microblogging site to wish him well on Superstar Rajini’s political journey.Here are some of the comments on Twitter following Rajinikanth’s announcement: Also readRajinikanth’s fans burst into celebration as superstar announces political entry

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

Ishrat Jahan, who was one of the five litigators who went to court against Instant Triple Talaq has joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. On presence of party leaders, she joined Bengal BJP on Saturday, reports ABP. She was instrumental in the long struggle against Triple Talaq which finally lead to SC calling it as unconstitutional. Now, the Centre has passed a bill in Lok Sabha, which seeks to give three years jail to any Muslim man giving instant triple talaq to his wife. On Saturday, Ishrat Jahan joined BJP and said that she had supported the party on the question of Triple Talaq. According to Ishrat, that finally prompted her to join the saffron party. BJP Mahila Morcha President Locket Chatterjee said that Ishrat is going through a financial crisis and they will urge the Central government to give her a job. Locket alleged that the state government hasn’t extended any hep to Ishrat Jahan, who spearheaded such a historic movement. Locket felicitated Ishrat Jahan after she joined BJP. Ishrat earlier said that her life has become worse after the verdict . Speaking to DNA at her home on Nando Ghosh Road, in Howrah district, Ishrat said that the apex court verdict has proved to be more of a bane as she had been socially ostracised and there is a growing sense of insecurity about her future. “It has been the loneliest Eid-ul-Adha (Bakri Eid) for me,” she says from her 7 feet x 10 feet room. “No one came over for the customary embrace and exchange of greetings. Since the day of the judgement, the only good thing that has happened is that the electricity connection, which was cut, had been restored. My in-laws want me to withdraw the case and some neighbours are threatening me because they think I have spoken against the Muslim religious law.”Also readTriple Talaq petitioner Ishrat Jahan’s husband breaks silence, says ‘I want my wife back’She said the media attention has gone against her, and she has had to drop her customary naqab or veil to fence off imposters. “Strangers throng my house as if I am a tourist attraction,” she said. “I used to put on a naqab, but then someone from the locality pretended to be me and gave an interview to the media. If an imposter makes any loose comment, I will have to bear the brunt. That is why I have decided to come out of the veil.”

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Ro-Ro service to link Hazira to four places

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

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BJP’s policy to insult senior leaders, says Congress spokesperson

Describing Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel’s refusal to take over charge of ministries allotted to him as a result of reported tug-of-war between him and Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, the Opposition Congress took a dig at the ruling party saying it was the BJP’s policy to insult senior leaders.”It is the BJP’s policy to humiliate senior leaders and to marginalise them – starting with Keshubhai Patel, Anandiben Patel, AK Patel, Shivlal Vekaria, Vallabh Kathiria and Narottam Patel. Now, the BJP has put Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel in a similar position,” state Congress president Manish Doshi told reporters on Saturday.He was reacting to the crisis that has engulfed the BJP since yesterday by a sulking Nitin Patel, who feeling slighted by the ministries allocated to him, refused to take charge. A full-blown revolt is unlikely, and Nitin Patel himself ruled out any plans to quit BJP, but the crisis is seen intensifying over the next few days.Accusing the BJP of using the Patidar community as a vote-bank, Doshi said, “The BJP sought money and votes from the Patidars during the elections. Now that elections are over, the party is dealing injustice and insult to the community.”

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SPG calls for Mehsana bandh on Monday

The Patel reservation outfit Sardar Patel Group (SPG) also has come in support with Nitin Patel. The SPG president Lalji Patel and his team reached Nitin Patel’s house on Saturday and gave a close call for Mehsana on Monday. However, Nitin Patel placated them to not to give such a call.Lalji Patel said, “This is an insult to Nitin Patel. He was the only BJP leader who struggled against Patel agitators during polls and worked hard to keep Patel community’s votes intact for BJP. What kind of reward BJP gave him? We are with Nitin Patel as he is the senior most leader in BJP who comes from Patel community. We give a close call for Mehsana on Monday.”The vice-president of SPG, Purvin Patel, said, “This is the time to show the strength of Patel community in politics. This is the incident that proves that BJP has been sidelining Patel leaders who are influential. The BJP has stabbed into the back of Patel community. This injustice should not be tolerated anymore.” However, Nitin Patel placated them to not to observe close on Monday. Patel said, “People’s sympathy for me is really touching. But, a close call should not be given as it would create problems for common people.”The Mehsana city BJP president, Kaushik Vyas, also said, “There is no Mehsana close call from BJP and that should be avoided. We do not support any close call and also request people that they should not join in any close calls.”

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Hardik Patel asks Nitin Patel to join Congress

Amid the crisis in BJP sparked by Deputy CM Nitin Patel’s refusal to take over his ministry, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leader Hardik Patel had asked the senior politician to reconsider his political affiliation. Hardik said that if Nitin Patel join Congress, he would hold talks with the party to make him the Chief Minister.The Congress MLA from Lathi constituency, Virji Thumma, also said the same words. Hardik Patel was in Botad town of Saurashtra to attend the Chintan Shibir of PAAS. Before attending this meeting, Hardik said, “This is all because of Amit Shah as he never wished any Patel leader in BJP to bear any importance in the party. I invite Nitin Patel to join Congress. If he is ready, I will negotiate with Congress leader and he would become the chief minister also. What BJP has done with Nitin Patel is a sheer insult of the leader who spent many years in party and made many sacrifices.”Hardik Patel also said that he would meet Nitin Patel at his residence on Sunday. Hardik also claimed that three to four MLAs of BJP were in his contact on the issue of Nitin Patel.Hardik’s remarks Nitin Patel denied to leave BJP but on meeting with Hardik Patel he said, “My doors are open for all who wish to come to meet me. I am courteous enough to welcome the guest, who so ever it may be.” On the other hand, Congress MLA from Lathi in Amreli, Virji Thummar, said, “Nitin Patel is a leader of the Patel community. If he joins Congress, the Patel legislators would help him becoming the Chief Minister.”Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki reportedly reprimanded Virji Thummar for the offer to Nitin Patel. State Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi also said that the invitation to Nitin Patel by Thummar to join Congress was done in individual capacity and did not represent the party’s stand.

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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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BJP, PDP leaders eat beef, pork together, claims National Conference MLA

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leaders eat beef and pork together, National Conference leader Akbar Lone claimed on Saturday.The National Conference MLA made this controversial statement while addressing a rally here.”BJP and PDP leaders are eating cow meat and pig meat together and are two faces of one coin,” Lone said.He added that the Muslim community and the people of Jammu and Kashmir should boycott them.Consumption of beef is highly conflicting to Hindu beliefs, while in the Muslim community, it is pork.In Jammu and Kashmir, a majority of BJP leaders is Hindu, and a majority of PDP leaders is Muslim. The BJP and the PDP are running coalition government in the state.This not first time Lone has made a controversial statement.Earlier, he had said that those who have joined hands with the (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) RSS and BJP, are not Muslims. The people of Kashmir should boycott the people who joined hands with the BJP, RSS.

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Day after 5 Congress’ Meghalaya MLAs quit, Rahul Gandhi appoints new state unit chief

A day after five Congress MLAs resigned from the Meghalaya Assembly to join NDA constituent NPP, party president Rahul Gandhi today appointed Celestine Lyngdoh the new state unit chief replacing DD Lapang.Lyngdoh is a minister in Chief Minister Mukul Sangma’s cabinet.Lapang will be an adviser to the state unit.Gandhi appointed Vincent H Pala the working president of the Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee.He formed a 13-member pradesh election committee under Lyngdoh, with Mukul Sangma as a member. The state goes to polls early next year.Also read4 ex-MLAs join BJP in Meghalaya ahead of next year’s Assembly ​pollsIn a setback to the Congress in Meghalaya, eight MLAs including five from the party, yesterday resigned from the assembly to join NDA-affiliated National People’s Party (NCC).With the resignations, the number of Congress MLAs in the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly has come down to 24.Gandhi also formed an election committee, campaign committee and media committee of the Nagaland Pradesh Congress in view of elections in the state, AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said in a statement.Also read8 MLAs, including 5 from Congress, resign from Meghalaya Assembly to join BJP ally NPPK Therie will be the chairman of the election committee for Nagaland. Ayangba Aonok will head the campaign committee, while Capt G K Zhimomi will lead the media committee.

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Unhappy Guj Deputy CM Nitin Patel says it’s about ‘self-respect’, Hardik Patel courts him to join Cong

Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who has been sulking since the announcement of portfolios in the new BJP government in the state, today said the issue was about his “self-respect”.Patidar leaders Hardik Patel and Lalji Patel have declared support for Patel. Lalji Patel has also announced a bandh in Mehsana on January 1 and demanded that Patel be made the chief minister. Patel, who is yet to take charge of the portfolios allotted to him, said he expected a proper response from the BJP high-command to his “feelings”. “I have conveyed my feelings to the party high-command and I am hopeful that they will give a proper reply to my feelings soon,” he told reporters. “This is not about some departments, this is about self- respect,” he added.The portfolios in the new BJP government, headed by Vijay Rupani, were allotted two days ago. Patel, who handled important departments such as finance and urban development in the previous government, was allotted road and building, health, medical education, Narmada, Kalpsar and capital projects this time. The deputy chief minister, who belongs to the influential Patidar community, has not taken charge of these departments so far, while his supporters today thronged his residence here to express solidarity with him. The finance portfolio has been alloted to Saurabh Patel, while chief minister Rupani has kept the urban development department with himself.Narottam Patel, who was a minister in the Narendra Modi- led Gujarat government, said Patel should be given portfolios “as per his stature”.Also read’Join Congress, bring 10 BJP MLAs with you’: Hardik’s offer to ‘sulking’ Gujarat Dy CM Nitin Patel “Nitin bhai is not an ordinary minister,” he added. Earlier in the day, Rupani skirted reporters’ questions on the issue. While announcing the portfolios, Rupani had said, “It is not true that the minister, who has the finance portfolio, is the number two in the cabinet. Nitin Patel is our senior leader and will remain the number two.”Patidar quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel said he would extend support to Patel. Talking to reporters, he said, “As a veteran politician, Nitin bhai has worked hard for 27 years to ensure that the BJP stays in power. The (Patel) community members need to understand that such politicians are being sidelined (in the BJP).”If Patel decided to quit the BJP and said 10 other MLAs were ready to quit with him, “We will talk to the Congress to take in Nitin bhai and give him a post he deserves,” the Patidar leader said. Senior Congress MLA Virji Thummar said Patel would be made the chief minister with the Congress’ support if he quit the BJP. The opposition party, however, clarified that Thummar was speaking in his personal capacity and described the row over portfolio distribution as the BJP’s “internal matter”. “It is the BJP’s policy to disregard its senior leaders and sideline them once it finds them to be of no use. This has especially been the case with Patidar leaders like Keshubhai Patel, Anandiben Patel, Gordhan Zadaphia among others,” state Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said.Also readGujarat: Dy CM Nitin Patel wants portfolios back, threatens to quitLalji Patel, whose Sardar Patel Group was at the forefront of the Patidar quota agitation, along with the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, met Nitin Patel in Gandhinagar. He called for a bandh in Mehsana — Nitin Patel’s Assembly constituency and a place which was the epicentre of the Patel quota agitation — on January 1. With 99 MLAs, the BJP has a simple majority in the 182- member Gujarat Assembly, against the 77 MLAs of the Congress.

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Fixing accountability: PM Modi asks 6 pointed questions to BJP MPs on Namo App

A day after pulling up BJP MPs for being less responsive on Namo App and generally not replying to messages, PM Modi has now assigned a survey for them to complete. These questions have been posted on the Namo App and the MPs have to fill up the survey by January 11, reports Zee News. With just over an year to go for the next general elections, the PM wants the BJP MPs to expedite development work in their respective constituencies so that expectation of the electorate can be met. The survey is meant to be a feedback for the work done so far and to make a blueprint for the path ahead.Also readBJP gets into huddle mode, discusses bypoll candidatesHere are the six questions the BJP MPs have to answer: 1) Which governmental scheme is having the maximum impact in your area?Also readBJP Going Micro2) How do you assess the central government’s schemes implemented in your area?3) Are you in constant touch with those who benefit from these schemes – either in person or through SMS or email?4) Have you created a mechanism for creating feedback and have you informed the party about it?5) Are all necessary information about government schemes available on the Narendra Modi app?6) Do you have any suggestions?The government has started several schemes and upgraded projects which were started earlier. PM Modi wants to ensure that the schemes are indeed getting traction on the ground and common people are gettiing benefit from them. Earlier in August this year, PM Modi had warned BJP MPs who remain absent during the Parliament sessions. He warned them of consequences if they didn’t mend their ways. On Friday, Modi had made it clear that he wants MPs to use the Namo App much more. According to Zee News report, after PM Modi’s instructions many BJP MPs were seen upgrading their Namo App on Saturday morning. BJP even provided tech support to those MPs.

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‘Join Congress, bring 10 BJP MLAs with you’: Hardik’s offer to ‘sulking’ Gujarat Dy CM Nitin Patel

Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who actively campaigned against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the recently-concluded Assembly elections in Gujarat, on Saturday attempted to woo the ‘sulking’ Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel. Hardik said the Deputy CM, who is believed to be be ‘unhappy’ with the portfolios allotted to him, should join the Congress party, if he can manage to bring along 10 BJP MLAs.”If Nitin Patel is ready to leave the BJP with 10 MLAs then I will talk with the Congress about giving him suitable post in the party,” Hardik Patel, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convener,​ said. Hardik also exhorted BJP’s Patel leaders to back the deputy chief minister.”If the BJP is not respecting Patels, then they should leave the party and should accompany Nitin Patel,” he said.Also readGujarat: Dy CM Nitin Patel wants portfolios back, threatens to quitThe deputy chief minister is reportedly said to be sulking after finance, urban development and petroleum portfolios were taken from him. He is yet to take charge of the portfolios alloted to him, with a source in the BJP saying he has conveyed his displeasure to the party leadership over the departments allotted to him.The senior BJP leader wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah on Friday evening listing his demands. He has reportedly threatened to resign if he is not given all the portfolios he possessed in the previous government. “In his letter, Nitin Patel, mentioned that he felt insulted as he has been given less significant portfolios. He has told the PM and Shah that he should get all the portfolios, including Finance and Urban Development, within two to three days or else they should accept his resignation,” said a BJP source.Also read’Sulking’ Nitin Patel keeps off officeHowever, Patel has denied writing any such letter, but accepted that he has expressed his disagreement.Speaking to DNA, Patel said, “There is nothing wrong in asking for my portfolios back as it is about my self-respect. What is the point of being the deputy chief minister if I hold less important portfolios. I have aired my disagreement to the right person. I do not want to talk much on the issue, but will reveal everything when the time is right.”In the previous government, Patel used to handle important portfolios like finance and urban development. However this time, he has been allotted charge of departments like road and building, and health.Apart from these two, he has also given the charge of medical education, Narmada, Kalpsar and capital project after the portfolios were allotted on December 28.Also readGujarat: Vijay Rupani to continue as chief minister, Nitin Patel named his deputyThis time, the finance portfolio was allotted to Saurabh Patel, while Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has kept the charge of urban development department with himself.(With agency inputs)

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State politics turns ‘hot’ over Barmer Refinery foundation

Politics has become hot in the state in connection with the foundation ceremony of Barmer Refinery.Former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has tweeted the question about the foundation of the refinery between the code of conduct of the by-elections. BJP state president Ashok Parnami said that permission has been sought from the Election Commission (EC) for the foundation ceremony of the refinery and said he (Gehlot) do not have to worry.PM Modi will lay the foundation stone of the refinery in Barmer on January 14. During the last Ashok Gehlot government, Sonia Gandhi laid the foundation stone for the same refinery. BJP has revoked the previous MoU and has made a new one of the refinery.This is the reason why politics is ‘hot’ on the centre point i.e. refinery. Refuting the tweet of Gehlot, BJP state president said that Gehlot Sahab or anyone should not worry about the code of conduct.BJP will not do any work in violation of the Code of Conduct. The refinery has been discussed with the EC for the foundation ceremony.Gehlot also tweeted about the refinery’s ‘twice’ foundation laying ceremony. In response, Parnami said that Gehlot himself did the refinery MoU in a hurry. In this MoU, people of the state were burdened with Rs40 thousand crore.If interest of 30 years of Rs40 thousand crore is added, then this figure becomes Rs1 lakh 54 thousand crore. Gehlot should thank CM Raje to free the state from this burden.The verbal turn During the last Ashok Gehlot government, Sonia Gandhi laid the foundation stone for the same refinery. BJP has revoked the previous MoU and has made a new one of the refinery. This is the reason why politics is ‘hot’ on the centre point i.e. refinery. BJP state president Ashok Parnami said that Gehlot Sahab or anyone should not worry about the code of conduct. BJP will not do any work in violation of the Code of Conduct.

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CM Vasundhara Raje orders party members to fight by-polls on Dholpur model

During the meeting, Raje instructed all the in-charge minister and organisation officials to remain in the Assembly for five days in a week till the completion of the by-elections. During this period, they will meet with booth and the mandal executives and create an environment favourable for the BJP. CM Raje said that the in-charge minister and organisation officer should work in his own Assembly constituency for the remaining two days of the week. During the meeting, BJP state president Ashok Parnami said that the state election committee has sent a panel of probable three candidates for the by-elections to the parliamentary board.”
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–><!–end of breadcrumbx–>CM Vasundhara Raje orders party members to fight by-polls on Dholpur model Jaipur_bjp__meeting
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Saturday 30 December 2017 4:10 ISTMust readVasundhara Raje ensures ‘smooth landing’ for PM Modi at BarmerNow, Veg khao, paisa bachao: Air India style<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will contest Alwar and Ajmer Lok Sabha and Mandalgarh Assembly by-elections on Dholpur model. The BJP’s organisation in-charge and minister in charge will remain in the allotted constituency for five days in a week till the polls are held in all the three by-electoral constituencies. Chief minister Vasundhara Raje instructed the same during the meeting held on Friday at the BJP state headquarters.The meeting was held to chalk out a blueprint for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed Rajasthan tour and for by-polls preparations.The by-elections in the Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha constituency and Mandalgarh Assembly constituency will be held on January 29. Nearly 17 Assembly constituencies are connected with these parliamentary seats. In the wake of these events, BJP has appointed ministers as election in-charge and organisation officers in each Assembly constituency.During the meeting, Raje instructed all the in-charge minister and organisation officials to remain in the Assembly for five days in a week till the completion of the by-elections. During this period, they will meet with booth and the mandal executives and create an environment favourable for the BJP. CM Raje said that the in-charge minister and organisation officer should work in his own Assembly constituency for the remaining two days of the week. During the meeting, BJP state president Ashok Parnami said that the state election committee has sent a panel of probable three candidates for the by-elections to the parliamentary board.

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BJP Going Micro

With eyes set on Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, BJP is fiercely preparing leaving no stone unturned. The party is heavily engaged in a bid to raise above 70 lakh party office-bearers team across the state, to ensure that a record wins can be registered in the upcoming elections. From the polling booth to the state-level, a strong organisation is being formed. To make the plan to reach out to the grassroots work, the number of members in the booth’s executive committee has been increased from 11 to 21.During the membership campaign, the BJP had made 87 lakh members through missed calls. Now, the party is targeting one crore members to expand the organisation as the aim is to reach at the micro level, giving a post to the workers. The BJP has set up Mission-180 for the Assembly elections 2018 and Mission 25 for the Lok Sabha elections-2019. The rationale behind the strategy is that when the worker is entrusted with responsibilty and given a post, he works with greater passion. Moreover, BJP has changed organisational structure to add more workers expanding the party’s reach to the masses. Also, the conception of booth executive was implemented by dismantling the ward unit. In addition, the mandals and districts were reduced to size and instead new districts and mandals were formed.BJP currently has 41 districts and 1046 mandals. Earlier, the executive was made at the ward level, but now the executive is formed at the booth level. Adding to this, the workers are given positions in the organization. Similarly, the number of mandals has also been increased by almost four times and new workers are being given positions in the newly created mandals.EVOLUTIONThe BJP’s origins lie in the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, formed in 1951 by Syama Prasad Mookerjee. After the State of Emergency in 1977, the Jana Sangh merged with several other parties to form the Janata Party; it defeated the incumbent Congress party in the 1977 general election.STRENGTH TO STRENGTHAfter three years in power, the Janata party dissolved in 1980 with the members of the erstwhile Jana Sangh reconvening to form the BJP. Although initially unsuccessful, winning only two seats in the 1984 general election, it grew in strength on the back of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. Following victories, the BJP became the largest party in the parliament in 1996.VAJPAYEE, MODI DOMINANCEAfter the 1998 general election, the BJP-led coalition known as the NDA formed a government under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for a year. Following fresh elections, the NDA government, again headed by Vajpayee, lasted for a full term in office.

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Dy CM Nitin Patel wants portfolios back, threatens to quit

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

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Gujarat elections 2017: 30 seats saw other parties making it to third spot

A third party may be far away from making an electoral impact in Gujarat. It may also not be significant as a vote-breaker in many seats (most of the seats that saw a close contest between Congress and BJP had either NOTA or an independent candidate as a vote-breaker).But an analysis of the parties that polled the third highest number of votes in all the 182 constituencies has thrown up a surprise.Of the 182 seats in the Gujarat Assembly elections of 2017, 30 seats were such where a party (and not an independent or NOTA) polled the third highest number of votes.It should be noted that seats where Congress or BJP was at the third position in the number of votes polled have not be taken into consideration.Of the 30 seats, nine were won by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and six by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). The All India Hindustan Congress Party also won three seats. The rest 12 seats were won by different parties including Vyavasthan Parivartan Party, Bahujan Mukti Party and Gujarat Janchetna Party among others.The parties that came third in the number of votes polled got anywhere between 1,900 to 40,000 votes. The party with the lowest votes polled but which managed to be in the third spot in that constituency was CPM in Dhandhuka. It polled just 1,953 votes but was in the third spot, getting more votes than NOTA.The party that polled the highest votes in the third spot was the Rashtriya Samaj Paksh in Sayajigunj seat which got 40,665 followed by the NCP in Umreth where it got 35,051 votes. The Rashtriya Samaj Paksh in fact got just 160 votes less than the Congress which came second on the seat with 40,835 seats.Seats where a party came third with least number of votesConstituency Party Votes polledDhandhuka CPM 1,953Talala BSP 2,171Dhoraji Hindustan Cong 2,199Seats where a party came third with highest number of votesConstituency Party VotesSayajigunj RSP 40,665Umreth NCP 35,051Morva Hadaf BTP 8,246

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4 ex-MLAs join BJP in Meghalaya ahead of next year’s Assembly ?polls

Four former MLAs, including two from Congress, hailing from the western Garo Hills region of Meghalaya joined BJP today ahead of the Assembly elections early next year.The four former MLAs who joined BJP are– Billykid Sangma, John Manner Marak, Adolf Lu Hitler Marak and Omillo K Sangma.While Omillo and John Manner were members of the National People’s Party, Hitler and Billykid were former Congress MLAs.BJP has two MLAs in the present 60-member Meghalaya Assembly. The term of the Assembly will end on March 6 next year and elections are expected early in 2018.The joining of the four took place in the presence of a large number of party workers who came to attend the karyakarta sammelan held at Mendal in the district.Also read8 MLAs, including 5 from Congress, resign from Meghalaya Assembly to join BJP ally NPPBJP state president Shibun Lyngdoh and vice presidents David Kharsati and Rikman G Momin welcomed the new entrants.”We want to ensure the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come to Meghalaya so that things can change for the better. Don’t believe in propaganda being spread about the party being anti-Christian or anti-Muslim. Our agenda of Sabka Saath, abka Vikas encompasses everyone and these lies will not last,” Shibun Lyngdoh said addressing the sammelan.Also readMeghalaya CM admits not registering for Aadhaar; says he’s concerned over right to privacyShibun also berated at the dynastic rule in both the Congress and the NPP stating that the BJP was the only party that had allowed for development of people based on their capability and not on family.”For decades the Congress has ruled the state but where is the development. This time I will stand behind John Manner for the upcoming elections as he deserves the chance to be a part of the ruling coalition to effect development and we are certain the BJP will be leading the next government,” Hitler said addressing the crowd.Former Tura MLA, Billykid charged Chief Minister Mukul Sangma of neglecting development of Tura.

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5 factors that show Mumbai’s Kamala Mills fire was a tragedy waiting to happen

The fire that engulfed a rooftop restaurant in the Kamala Mills Compound in Lower Parel area of Mumbai, killing 14 people, most of them women, was a tragedy waiting to happen, an activist has alleged. Activist Mangesh Kalaskar said he he had warned the BMC about illegal structures in the Kamala Mills premises but Mumbai civic body ignored the warning saying “nothing wrong here”. “I made several complaints regarding illegal structures in Kamala Mills’ premises, but the BMC replied that there is nothing wrong here,” Kalaskar, who is also a member of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, said. Also readMumbai’s Kamala Mills Fire | When midnight birthday bash turned into a funeral According to initial reports several fire safety rules were violated by the “1 Above” restaurant at the Kamala Mills complex. Here are 5 facts that could have led to the tragedy on Thursday night: Also readKamala Mills Fire: Two young men enter into death trap to save aunt, never to come back1- No fire extinguishers:Early reports suggest that there were no fire extinguishers in the restaurant when the fire broke out. Also readMumbai fire| Kamala Mills is a death trap, BMC responsible for ‘murder,’ says BJP’s Kirit Somaiya2- Illegal construction (Dry bamboo ceiling):The restaurant had a false ceiling made of dry bamboo, which is known to easily catch fire. The Munbai Fire Brigade in its initial assessment found that illegal constructions exacerbated the fire. 3- Gas cylinder:There were nearly half a dozen LPG cylinders stored by the restaurant. 4- No emergency exits:There were also no emergency exits in the restaurant which led to people being stuck in the fire. 5- Clearance despite violations: The restaurant was given NOC (No Objection Certificate) despite fire safety violations, BJP MP Kirit Somaiaya said. He alleged that “the place where fire took place was illegal.”

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Here’s how “well-behaved” Shashi Kapoor was different from Raj Kapoor & Shammi Kapoor, writes Shobhaa De
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“Stop behaving like Aaradhya,” says Amitabh Bachchan to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Watch viral video!
Telugu actor Vijay Sai found dead in his apartment; Did he commit suicide?
Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
Aditya Chopra is one of the first ones to know about Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli’s Wedding!
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Permissions to rooftop restaurants will be made more stringent, BJP’s answer to Kamala Mills tragedy that killed 14

The fire that engulfed Kamala Mills late Thursday and claimed 14 lives has left the city reeling and leaving its citizens asking questions.On Friday, Mumbai BJP President Ashish Shelar said that one needed to review several parameters before handing over permissions to rooftop restaurants in future, while the owners of the Mojo, which is located a floor below 1 Above, where the fire broke out said, “We are extremely saddened by the incident. Mojo’s has all its fire safety norms, certificates and procedures in place. The staff are thoroughly trained in fire drills hence our staff were able to evacuate all our guests and themselves out to safety with zero injury. There were NO cylinders on our premises. We are fully complying with the authorities to help in anyway we can.”Also readMumbai fire| Kamala Mills is a death trap, BMC responsible for ‘murder,’ says BJP’s Kirit SomaiyaIf you look at Mumbai’s history when it comes to fire-related tragedies, they have mostly been due to lack of fire-safety norms. The BMC and the fire brigade on Friday suggested that 1 Above had flouted the norms while setting up the rooftop bar. A similar case was reported when Escobar, a popular nightclub in Bandra was gutted in October 2014. Then, too, it was discovered that the pub had flouted fire-safety regulations. With Yuva Sena Chief Aaditya Thackeray announced that he was working towards making Mumbai a 24×7 city, people rejoiced. However, if this dream is to be a success, there is a major need to ensure restaurants and hang out spots meet all necessary norms, and those who flout them are immediately shut down.Also readKamala Mills Fire: ‘Postmortem reveals all the deaths due to suffocation’ in MumbaiIn 2013, a building in Kemps Corner caught fire resulting in the deaths of seven people. At the time, fire officials stated that the building, which was constructed in 1984, had no refuge floors for emergencies. But fire isn’t the only problem that has plagued Mumbai. Earlier this year, a stampede at Elphinstone Road station that killed 23 and injured over 30, highlighted the high-handedness of the railway authorities. The pedestrian bridge that would shake due to the high influx of individuals moving in and out of the station was dangerous, and the perils had been highlighted to authorities for the past several years. However, it was only after the stampede that the authorities sprung into action.Earlier this week, another incident, this time on Mumbai’s Harbour Line shocked the citizens of the island city. Services were stopped after a power failure near CBD Belapur. However, a video shared by veteran railway journalist Rajendra Aklekar highlighted how an accident was waiting to happen. The video shows a train moving, but the electric cables that usually power the locomotives dangerously close to the coaches, which could have resulted in a major accident.People still talk of the spirit of Mumbai. There was never any spirit. The city is reeling and nobody seems to care. It’s an ‘I need to rush so that I am first’ syndrome that is taking the city nowhere.Related Photos
5 Pics
In Pics: Massive midnight fire at Mumbai’s Kamala Mills Compound kills 14; many restaurants gutted And with this attitude, forget Shanghai. Mumbai will no longer be Mumbai.

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Mumbai fire| Kamala Mills is a death trap, BMC responsible for ‘murder,’ says BJP’s Kirit Somaiya

Kirit Somaiya, BJP lawmaker in the Lok Sabha, blasted the authorities for the negligence after a massive fire in Mumbai’s Kamla Mills compound claimed 14 lives on Friday. (SEE PICS)In a series of tweets, Somaiya, who is BJP MP from Mumbai North-East, slammed the civic body BMC. Talking to reporters in Delhi ahead of Parliament session, Somaiya also said that the BMC officials were responsible for the ‘murder’ of people in Kamala Mills fire.Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha, Somaiya demanded action against corrupt BMC officials and the owner of the pub.Also readMassive Mumbai Fire | PM Modi, President Kovind and Maharashtra CM Fadnavis extend condolences to victims Recalling the Farsan tragedy that killed 12 people 15 days back , Somaiya tweeted, “Fire at Pub at Kamala Mill Compound Mumbai I had urged CM & BMC Commissioner to Order Special Fire Audit of all such Pub, Hooka Parlours & Farsan Mart/Workshops of Mumbai. 2 week back similar type of fire at Farsan Workshop Sakinaka 1 dozen people had died.”He also said that “such establishments at Kamla mills compound are illegal.”Also readKamala Mills Fire: ‘Postmortem reveals all the deaths due to suffocation’ in Mumbai“Kamala Mill pub fire-understood that several such establishments at kamla mills compound are illegal, part of which was regularised lately , the place where fire took place was illegal,” the lawmaker tweeted.He also spoke about Phoenix Mill compound. “Kamala Mills is a death trap. So many new restaurants opened without healthy fire safety system- Even Phoenix Mill at Lower Parel is a death trap with only two exits. One exit at Maruti showroom is blocked – Fire Safety Audits for both Complex be conducted immediately.”Also readMumbai Fire | ‘Don’t know how I got out alive,’ survivor recalls inferno horrorSomaiya is not the only BJP leader who has slammed the BMC. Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar also demanded for a probe in the incident hinting at ‘unholy exchange between the BMC officials and the restaurant’.“The incident was very unfortunate. One should investigate whether there was some give and take unholy exchange between the BMC officials and the restaurant where fire took place. I’m going to ask BMC commissioner to investigate into the matter,” Shelar said.Permissions for rooftop restaurants will have to be given with caution in Mumbai henceforth, Shelar added.A massive fire at a pub hosting a birthday party killed 14 people, most of them women, and injured 21 shortly after midnight in a posh Mumbai locality, police said today.Most of the victims, who included 11 women, died of asphyxiation in the tragedy in Lower Parel area, police said.

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Boond Boond se Vikas

Rajasthan’s fight with acute water shortage is not new. The state has country’s 10 per cent land mass with only 1.1 per cent surface water and that makes it almost dependent on ground water which is fast depleting. This is the reason why the Raje government has gone on a streak of launching ‘ambitious’ water projects, keeping in mind that her governemnt in its last leg before Assembly election. Chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s last one month in which she extensively toured a couple of districts has been dedicated to doling out sops to the area addressing local issues. Her focus remained on the projects which if turns into a reality will help meeting the water needs of over one one crore population. The sources in the power corridor add that the government entering in its final leg wants to provide agri infra to Rajasthan which when poll arrives could win the votes. That is the reason why the ambitious projects which were in limbo for years, have been put on fast track with specific orders to a dedicated team of officials to ensure effective implementation. For instance, Parwan Irrigation Project which was conceptualized over a decades ago failed to see the light the day. When BJP came into the power, the project started taking shape. However, the red tapism marred the project and now a month back its Detailed Project Report (DPR) was finally finalizea petitioner who opposed the plea for premature release of Al-Umma leader SA Basha, serving life term in casa petitioner who opposed the plea for premature release of Al-Umma leader SA Basha, serving life term in casd. This project will help BJP seek support votes in Hadoti region which includes three districts-Baran, Jhalawar and Kota. Its estimated cost is Rs 6,490 crore and its foundation stone was laid recently by CM Raje and Union minister for road and transport Nitin Gadkari recently during a function in Baran. Dholpur irrigation project had a similar fate. The BJP government has chalked out a plan to address water woes in all regions of the state to make the government’s CV strong enough to meet the water requirement. In a bid to aid people, the state water resource department is devoting itself to repair Indira Gandhi Nahar Canal which is meant to provide water in abundance to farmers of Shri Ganganagar, Suratgath districts and many more. Rajasthan government and Haryana Government both are working together to repair the canal. Moreover, districts encompassing Shekhawati- Jhunjhunu, Churu and Sikar are also set to get water from Yamuna river. Its project report is ready and it is planned that water will be brought to the ares through pipelines. Apart from this, the government is working to soon implement Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) which would be a boon for 13 districts. The districts which will be covered are Bundi, Kota, Bharatpur, Dholpur, Karauli, Swai Madhopur, Baran, Jhalawar, Jaipur, Tonk, Dausa and Alwar. Yamuna thrustThe state government has started preparations to bring Yamuna water in the state. It will be brought to Churu district via pipeline from Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh and will be used for drinking and irrigation in Churu, Jhunjhunu and Sikar districts. The Water Resources Department has prepared a project of Rs 20 thousand crore for this. Apart from this, 85 villages falling under Khetri (Jhunjhunu) get water from Kumbharam Nahar.

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We must save Constitution: Rahul Gandhi to party

Congress president Rahul Gandhi presided over a function to mark the party’s foundation day for the first time, and used the occasion to accuse BJP of attacking the Constitution and using lies for political benefits.Without naming Union Minister Anant Kumar Hegde, Rahul said at Congrress’ 133rd foundation that BJP was resorting to deceit and lies directly as also “surreptitiously” to make a dent in the Constitution and remove its secular character. “It is our duty, duty of Congress, duty of every single Indian to defend the Constitution,” he said.The Congress president spoke of a “web of deceit” in the country, asserting that the BJP operates on the basic idea that a lie can be used for political benefit. “And this is the difference between us and them,” he said.”We might suffer, we might not do well, we might even lose, but we will not give up the truth, we will defend the truth,” Rahul said.”The central idea of the party was truth. We work with the truth, we fight for the truth,” he said. He said the Congress had many achievements to its credit, achieved with the help of Indian people. The party was ‘jointly responsible’ for bringing Independence to the country, he said.Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders were present at the function.Rahul’s mother and former president Sonia Gandhi’s absence was conspicuous at the function. In a photograph tweeted by the verified handle of actor Riteish Deshmukh, 71-year-old Sonia was seen cycling and posing for a photograph in a resort in Goa.

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Rahul Gandhi to step up Maha efforts for party revival

In a bid to start planning for the crucial 2019 Assembly polls where 48 Lok Sabha seats and 288 assembly seats are up for grabs, newly-anointed Congress president Rahul Gandhi will soon convene a meeting with Maharashtra leaders and fast track the revival of the party organisation and increase its tally. To that end, Rahul has sent a missive to the state leaders that he will soon carry out his own ‘internal assessment’ to determine the party’s strengths and weaknesses and later take a call on striking a pre-poll alliance or seat adjustment with NCP and like-minded parties.Rahul’s initiative assumes importance in light of the fact that in the 2012 general elections, the party had been routed in the state and bagged just two LS seats in Nanded and Hingoli. It also managed only 42 seats in the state Assembly. In the subsequent local and civic body polls, Congress again failed to take on the mighty BJP effectively.Former minister Balasaheb Thorat, who headed the Congress party’s steering committee for Gujarat election, told DNA, “The state unit is quite serious about regaining power in Maharashtra and quite open to ally with NCP and other like-minded parties. However, state leaders are of the view that the Congress party should neither play second-fiddle to NCP nor should it blindly agree for a pre-poll alliance. Therefore, the state party unit expects to soon meet Congress president and work out the future course of action.”As far as NCP is concerned, state spokesman Nawab Malik said his party hopes the Congress will take a lead to form a broader anti-BJP alliance in the state. “Congress should not underestimate the presence of NCP and other parties in masses, and seriously consider this factor while forging an alliance,” he noted.

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It is NCP’s turn to call out BJP’s ‘irrigation scam’

In the run-up to the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had accused the ruling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) of a Rs 70,000 crore irrigation scam. The campaign, which catapulted BJP to power, now seems to be turning against it. NCP says that under the pretext of project escalation cost, BJP has skimmed off Rs 40,000 crore through revised administrative approvals for 307 irrigation projects across the state.The NCP spokesperson has accused the BJP Irrigation minister of the scam in his three-year tenure.”Going by BJP’s yardstick,” said NCP spokesperson Nawab Mallik, “their Irrigation minister Girish Mahajan, has executed a Rs 40,000 crore irrigation scam in his three-year tenure.””Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, as an Opposition leader, was at the forefront when allegations were made against us. He should now answer our allegations, which are supported by facts.”Malik said that most of the projects – that were revised and the costs were escalated – have been awarded to BJP members and well-wishers. “Some of the contractors are BJP MLAs, ministers and even MPs in the Rajya Sabha. We want in-depth inquiry,” Malik demanded.Giving an example of how project costs have been escalated by BJP, Malik cited the Gosikhurd irrigation project in Vidarbha. “In 2005-06, the estimated project cost was Rs 5,659 crore,” said Malik. “After coming into power, BJP additionally approved Rs 12,835 crore, taking the total cost of the project to Rs 18,494 crore. Additionally, it sought Rs 12,000 crore more from the Centre, which was denied. We want to understand, where exactly the BJP government plans to spend the money.”According to Nawab, the escalated costs of all irrigation projects amounts to Rs 40,000 crore. “We will raise this issue in the upcoming Assembly sessions,” said Malik, “If the government doesn’t heed us, we will take the fight to the people.”When contacted, Mahajan, was not available for comment. However, a government notification dated September 2016 mentions that the state government knew that the cost of the project had been raised but it decided to approve it in the interest of east Vidarbha’s development.

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Varun Dhawan buys a plush new apartment; girlfriend Natasha Dalal attends housewarming party
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Salman Khan cheers up teary-eyed Katrina Kaif during ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ promotions
Not just Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli: Here are other B-Town beauties who bowled over cricketing stars
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Inter-faith marriage disrupted : BJP removes Ghaziabad chief Ajay Sharma

The BJP has removed its Ghaziabad city unit president Ajay Sharma from the post for disrupting the marriage of a Hindu woman with a Muslim man in the Rajnagar area here claiming that it was a case of “love jihad”.Sharma has been removed from the post and Ghaziabad city unit general secretary Man Singh Goswami has been appointed as the officiating city president, according to a letter by BJP Uttar Pradesh State General Secretary Vidyasagar Sonkar.”I have received the letter from the state head office and will obey the instructions,” Sharma said.A large group of BJP workers led by Sharma, and some people belonging to right-wing groups protested outside the marriage venue on December 22.The marriage between the man and the woman, who were friends and worked in a multinational company, was later solemnized in a court.Police said they used mild force to disperse the protesters.

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BJP MPs to Chidu: Stop discussions on Aadhaar in panel

In a controversial move, on Wednesday, several BJP members in the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs asked its chairman P Chidambaram to stop discussions on the subject of privacy and national security of Aadhaar.A united opposition strongly objected to the BJP’s move in the committee meeting on Wednesday, highly-placed sources said.”The Committee was strongly divided on the issue with BJP members on one side and all the opposition parties’ members on the other side. The opposition was unequivocal in its stand that the subject matter on Aadhaar cannot be set aside or withdrawn. The meeting ended without any headway,” the source said.A BJP member was of the opinion that the subject can also be taken up by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, but the opposition members refused the proposition.Before taking up the issue in the meeting, about five to six BJP MPs — all members of the standing committee — had written a letter to Chidambaram, asking him to recuse himself from the matter, since he represented Jairam Ramesh as a counsel, who has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court on Aadhaar, sources added.A committee member said, the committee already has had four meetings on the same subject matter of privacy and security of Aadhaar, but did not face any issues by the BJP.

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Himachal CM, 11 ministers take charge

Jai Ram Thakur took oath as the 13th Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh at the historic Ridge Maidan here on Wednesday. The five-time BJP MLA was sworn in along with 11 Cabinet Ministers in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, veteran party leader LK Advani and a few Chief Ministers, including UP’s Yogi Adityanath.As the number of Cabinet Ministers is capped at 12, the BJP has tried to strike regional balance, giving precedence to Mandi and Kangra districts.The BJP government has the CM and two ministers from Mandi, four from Kangra, besides one each from Una, Kullu, Solan, Shimla and tribal areas. No one from Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Sirmaur and Chamba has been included in the ministry.Former BJP chief and four-time MLA from Shimla, Suresh Bhardwaj, 65, is the eldest among new faces.Three-time MLA from Kasauli, Rajiv Saizal, is the youngest at 46. Insiders have been hinting that RSS has had a bigger say in formalising the new CM’s Cabinet.The new Cabinet has four ministers, including only female minister Sarveen Chaudhary, from the biggest Kangra district. Former Union Minister Pandit Sukh Ram’s son, Anil Sharma, who joined BJP days before the elections, has once again got a Cabinet berth.Dharampur (Mandi) MLA Mahender Singh Thakur took oath as number two after the CM and is the eldest in the government at 67.If sources are to be believed, the name of former Health Minister Rajiv Bindal, who has never lost an election and is a five-time MLA in a row (three times from Solan, twice from Nahan), was struck off at the last minute. He is slated to be elevated as Speaker in the new Assembly.Instead, the name of Dharamshala MLA Kishan Kapoor was, however, added into the council of ministers at the eleventh hour.Third time MLA from Manali Govind Thakur, 49, who is considered a close aide of the new CM, has also been included in the Cabinet. The Son of veteran BJP leader late Kunj Lal Thakur, Govind, is a horticulturist.Others who were administered the oath are: Ram Lal Markanday (Lahaul-Spiti), Virender Kanwar (Kutlehar, Una), Vipin Parmar (Kangra) and Bikram Singh (Jaswan-Pragpur).After the swearing-in ceremony, a large number of people gathered outside the residence of former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal and displayed their displeasure over non-inclusion of his supporter and former horticulture minister Narender Bragta in the Cabinet.Having been a minister twice under Dhumal, Bragta has been seen as the BJP’s face in the upper belt, dominated by outgoing CM Virbhadra Singh for so long. The only Dhumal supporter included in the Cabinet was Shimla MLA Suresh Bhardwaj.

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AAP sharpens attack after LG rejects home delivery scheme

"The BJP is getting sealing (drive) across Delhi. The BJP has got the doorstep delivery proposal of government's services rejected. The BJP has tried to stop the file of mohalla clinics through the LG.
"Why does the BJP want to destroy Delhi?" he tweeted. Labour Minister and AAP's Delhi unit convenor Gopal Rai said the LG's decision to return the proposal "defied logic". "The BJP is resorting to dirty politics and taking help of the Lt Governor's office," he claimed. Rai alleged that the Delhi BJP leaders cared little for the city and their motto was to keep obstructing the works being done by the Arvind Kejriwal government. The Delhi Cabinet had approved the proposal for doorstep delivery of essential public services last month and sent it for approval to the LG. ”
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Wednesday 27 December 2017 23:00 ISTMust readSurgical Strike 2.0: Indian Army planted IEDs to surprise Pak; toll could be higher Indian Army crosses LOC to retaliate, kills three Pak soldiers <!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today alleged that the BJP was using the office of the Lieutenant Governor to obstruct in the works of the Delhi government, a day after Anil Baijal shot down its ambitious proposal to “home deliver” basic public services.LG Baijal had yesterday sent back to the Delhi government a proposal for doorstep delivery of basic public services such as driving licences, caste certificates and water connections for reconsideration.Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who had termed the LG’s move as a “huge setback” to AAP government’s efforts towards providing a graft-free governance, today took to Twitter to lambaste the BJP, wondering why the saffron party wanted to “destroy” Delhi.”The BJP is getting sealing (drive) across Delhi. The BJP has got the doorstep delivery proposal of government’s services rejected. The BJP has tried to stop the file of mohalla clinics through the LG.”Why does the BJP want to destroy Delhi?” he tweeted. Labour Minister and AAP’s Delhi unit convenor Gopal Rai said the LG’s decision to return the proposal “defied logic”. “The BJP is resorting to dirty politics and taking help of the Lt Governor’s office,” he claimed. Rai alleged that the Delhi BJP leaders cared little for the city and their motto was to keep obstructing the works being done by the Arvind Kejriwal government. The Delhi Cabinet had approved the proposal for doorstep delivery of essential public services last month and sent it for approval to the LG.

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Jairam Thakur takes oath as Himachal CM, PM hopes new govt will work tirelessly

Jai Ram Thakur was today sworn in as the 14th chief minister of Himachal Pradesh along with 11 other ministers at a ceremony at the historic Ridge Ground here.Governor Acharya Devvrat administered the oath of office and secrecy to the 52-year-old Thakur, a five-time MLA from Seraj, and other ministers which included six new faces. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, BJP veteran L K Advani and a host of union ministers. The cabinet is complete as all 12 berths have been filled while two MLAs would be accommodated as speaker and deputy speaker.Rajiv Bindal will be the speaker of the legislative assembly.Prime Minister Narendra Modi today expressed confidence that the new BJP government in Himachal Pradesh would work tirelessly for the people.Modi, who was present at the oath-taking ceremony in Shimla, took to Twitter to congratulate chief minister Jai Ram Thakur and his council of ministers.”Congratulations to Jairam Thakur and all those who took oath today. I am confident this team will work tirelessly and serve the people of Himachal Pradesh with exceptional diligence,” he tweeted.Also readJairam Thakur takes oath as Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister; PM Modi, Rajnath Singh attend grand ceremonyJai Ram is the first chief minister from the second largest Mandi district and the 14th chief minister and sixth person to adorn the office of the chief minister. Suresh Bharadwaj and Gobind Singh Thakur took oath in Sanskrit while the others took oath in Hindi. Sarveen Chaudhry is the lone woman in the cabinet. The new ministers include Mohinder Singh, Krishan Kapoor, Suresh Bharadwaj, Anil Sharma, Sarveen Chowdhary, Ram Lal Markanda, Vipin Parmar, Virender Kanwar, Gobind Thakur, Rajiv Saizal and Vikram Singh.Besides, the chief minister, two ministers are from his home district of Mandi, four from the largest Kangra district, one each from Shimla, Solan, Kullu, Una and Lahaul and Spiti districts. Bilaspur and Hamirpur, home districts of Union Health Minister J P Nadda and former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chamba and Sirmaur districts have been left unrepresented. The BJP had won 20 seats in Kangra and Mandi districts and also won 13 out of 17 seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and two out of three Scheduled Tribe seats.Some senior party leaders and former ministers including Romesh Dhawala and Narinder Bragata have not been given berth in the cabinet. There are six Rajputs including the chief minister, Mohinder Singh, Vipin Parmar, Virender Kanwar, Gobind Thakur and Vikram Singh, three Brahmins including Suresh Bharadwaj, Anil Sharma and Ram Lal Markanda, who is both tribal and Brahmin and two OBCs. Thakur had earlier served as minister from 2009 to 2012. He was state BJP chief from 2006 to 2009.Mohinder Singh is seven-time MLA and served as cabinet minister twice in 1998 and 2007 in the BJP government headed by Prem Kumar Dhumal while Krishan Kapoor is four-time MLA from Dharamsala and was cabinet minister in the Dhumal government during 1998-2003 and 2007-12. Sarveen Chowdhary is also a four-time MLA and former minister in the BJP government. Anil Sharma, who deserted the Congress on the eve of election is four-time MLA from Mandi and served as minister in the Virbhadra Singh cabinet in 1993 and 2012 while Dr Ram Lal Markanda, a three-time MLA was minister in the Dhumal government during 1998-2003.Suresh Bharadwaj from Shimla is senior party leader and a four-time MLA. He was also Rajya Sabha member and state BJP chief.Virender Kanwar, four-time MLA from Kutlehar, Vipin Parmar, Gobind Thakur, Rajiv Saizal and Vikram Singh are among the new faces. The BJP had won 44 out of 68 seats in the state assembly and after the shocking defeat of BJP’s chief minister face Prem Kumar Dhumal from Sujanpur, the race was open for the top post and Jai Ram Thakur was elected leader. Thousands of people from Mandi, the home district of chief minister thronged the venue and danced to the tunes of traditional folk music. Apart from Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and J.P Nadda, chief ministers of BJP-ruled states like Yogi Adityanath, Manohar Lal Khattar, Devendra Fadanvis and Sarbanand Sonowal were present on the occasion.

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PM Modi takes break from Himachal schedule; has coffee at Shimla’s iconic Coffee House

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday took a break from his busy schedule to have a cup of coffee at Shimla’s iconic Coffee House.News of the prime minister’s visit spread, and soon the venue was swarmed with supporters wanting to take a picture with the prime minister.Earlier, PM Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president Amit Shah, former deputy Prime Minister LK Advani and several Union ministers and chief ministers attended the swearing-in ceremony of new Himachal Pradesh CM Jairam Thakur at the historic Ridge Maidan in Shimla.Governor Aacharya Devvrat administered the oath of office and secrecy to Thakur. Along with Thakur, a few MLA also took oath as Cabinet Ministers today. The five-time BJP MLA from Seraj constituency of the hilly state was elected to lead the state after the party’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal failed to register a win from his constituency.The BJP have ousted the Congress from power in Himachal Pradesh by winning 44 out of the 68 seats in the recently held Assembly polls.Along with many senior leaders and workers of BJP state unit, thousands of people also witnessed the swearing-in ceremony.

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Rajasthan govt needs more time for decision on farmer ease?

A minister-level committee chaired by Water Resources minister Ram Pratap on Tuesday discussed a study report drafted on the module of farmers loan waivers in Kerala and other states. The committee took the decision to examine the report deeply, which indicates the government wants to buy more time to make any decision on loan waivers for the agrarian community.“The committee will study the report and later will make decisions accordingly. We have to observe financial aspect as well, but we have a target to make farmers debt free. Hopefully, there may be a good news for the farmers in the new year,” said Prabhu Lal Saini, one of the members of the committee, talking to DNA. The chairperson of the committee was not reachable on phone for comment over the development, though. A presentation was given by the officials about farmers loan waiver during the meeting as well. Raje government appears to be in action mode on farmers loan waiver demand which the opposition has started making a poll issue. In Ajmer, Alwar parliamentary and Mandalgarh assembly constituencies bypoll the Congress will churn out this issue to woo farmers. RPCC chief Sachin Pilot, taking out a Nyay Yatra a couple of months back in Hadoti region, already indicated that farmers issues come at the top of the party.Congress is simultaneously raising the issue of farmers suicide making a pressure on the government. “BJP ruled states have gone and given farm loan waiver in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. There is no reason why Rajasthan farmers who are facing severe agrarian distress and are committing suicides, should not be given a farm loan waiver. The government should take waive loans immediately,” said a Congress leader reacting to the development of the meeting. Though, the burden with complete loan waiver decision can’t be ignored by the government. The demand for waive farm loans up to Rs 50,000 per farmer would cumulatively amount to Rs 20,000 crore on the exchequer.Opposition raising the issueCongress is simultaneously raising the issue of farmers suicide making a pressure on the government. “BJP ruled states have gone and given farm loan waiver in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. The government should take waive loans immediately,” said a Congress leader reacting to the development of the meeting.Although, the burden with complete loan waiver decision can’t be ignored by the government. The demand for waive farm loans up to Rs 50,000 per farmer would cumulatively amount to Rs 20,000 crore on the exchequer.

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Five fresh faces in new Vijay Rupani cabinet

In the 20-member cabinet of Vijay Rupani, there are five new faces. These faces includes a senior leader like RC Faldu and four-time MLA Raman Patkar.Ishwar Parmar, Kishor Kanani and Vibhavari Dave got their second term as MLA.Many senior leaders and ministers lost in the recent Assembly polls with the total tally of 99 members in the house. So, BJP was almost pushed to cherry-pick some fresh faces in the Cabinet. MLA from Jamnagar (South) seat and former Gujarat BJP president RC Faldu were lucky enough to secure the berth in the Cabinet this time. Faldu had lost the polls in 2012 elections but succeeded in winning this time when the Patel community was up in arms against the BJP, especially in the Saurashtra region. Faldu was elected as an MLA twice in the past polls held in 1998 and 2002.Raman Patkar, Scheduled Tribe leader and MLA from Umbergaon seat in Valsad district, is four-time MLA and has been elected again. He waited for a longer time than Ishwar Parmar, Vibhavari Dave and Kishor Kanani. All three have been inducted in Cabinet by Rupani in their second term. Of these three, Parmar was lucky enough to get a cabinet position as no any senior Scheduled Caste leader from BJP could win the polls.

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BJP and RSS ‘unmasked’ by Hegde’s comments: Congress

The Congress today attacked the BJP over Union minister Ananth Kumar Hegde’s remarks about changing the Constitution, saying they were a “direct assault” on the composite identity of the nation and the party will oppose any such attempt with all its might.Congress spokesperson Gaurav Gogoi said that the BJP and the RSS were “unmasked” by Hegde’s remarks and alleged that “abusing the oath of office and denigrating the Constitution and its values have become a distinctive feature of Modi government”. Hegde, while speaking at an event in Karnataka, had said he respects the Constitution but “it will be changed in the days to come”. Condemning Hegde’s comments, Gogoi asked if the prime minister would break his silence on Hegde’s remarks as the minister had openly spoken about changing the Constitution.Hegde’s remarks are a “direct assault” on the composite, diverse and secular identity of the nation, Gogoi said. He alleged that the BJP-RSS school of thought is ingrained in “bigotry, hate, divisiveness and prejudices, that envision a monolithic culture”. Gogoi told reporters here that Hegde’s remarks were diametrically opposite to the liberal and inclusive traditions of India and the progressive thoughts of Babasaheb Ambedkar and the makers of modern India. “The Congress strongly condemns and deprecates such regressive remarks which are against the idea and ideals of India. We shall fight this challenge in Parliament and in the court of people,” he said.Gogoi alleged that all such statements have a common link and agenda and were meant to propagate and practice sectarian ideology of the BJP and the RSS.Also readConstitution will be ‘changed in the days to come’: Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde He claimed that the RSS and the BJP’s sole agenda was to change and modify the basic nature and structure of the Constitution and “impose their hate filled, bigoted and prejudiced ideology” on India and its people.”Recent statements by Union ministers in the Modi government thoroughly vindicates those malicious and sinister attempts,” Gogoi alleged. “Their remarks have not only denigrated and demolished the values, principles and the soul of the Constitution but has also exposed their ‘false love’ for Babasaheb Ambedkar which they keep propagating to win votes,” he said. The Congress leader, with another spokesperson Khushboo Sundar by his side, said the Constitution rests on pillars of equality, liberty, fraternity, brotherhood and secularism. Socialistic values are the Magna Carta of India’s Constitution, he said.”Any maleficence attempt to modify this by the BJP- RSS will be fought by the Congress Party with all its might,” he said. Gogoi claimed that Hegde, like other BJP leaders, was suffering from the “foot in the mouth” disease. The Congress spokesperson also highlighted that another Union minister Hans Raj Ahir had made a statement equating senior doctors in a government hospital with Naxals. This, he said, was an outright insult to the medical profession and those who save lives. “It again goes against the spirit of the Constitution and its ideals,” Gogoi said.The Congress leader claimed that in the past as well the BJP and its leaders, including the prime minister, have “systematically insulted” professionals and communities. Gogoi also highlighted that Bachubhai Khapad was sworn-in as a minister of state in Gujarat despite having three criminal cases against him, including under the Arms Act. “Will Shri Modi take cognisance of this fact and drop him from the Gujarat Government’s Cabinet? Is it not yet again an instance, where the BJP is violating the ‘oath of office’ and denigrating Constitution?,” he asked.

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Gujarat: Low-profile Vijay Rupani back at the helm, earns praise from other BJP CMs

Vijay Rupani, a low-profile RSS man who has the trust of BJP President Amit Shah, is back in the chief minister’s chair after having survived the incumbency factor and a violent quota stir by the Patidars. Born in Rangoon (now Yangon, Myanmar) Rupani, 61, joined an RSS shakha as a schoolboy, before graduating to the BJP via the Sangh’s students wing–the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the BJP’s face in the high-octane election campaign in his home state, Rupani, belonging to the relatively small Jain community, steered the party machinery in Gujarat, neutralising the incumbency factor against his government and surviving quota stir by the Patidar community, the bedrock of the party’s support base. That he also successfully contained disenchantment with the government over farm distress in some parts of the state, and economic slowdown due to demonetization and roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), also stood him in good stead.Despite the BJP’s tally falling below 100 in a long time, Rupani’s selection also suggested that the top party leadership wanted continuity before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Though only a second-time MLA, he made a mark as an able administrator. Rupani, who worked mostly in the party organisation in Gujarat, fought his first Assembly election in 2014, winning a bypoll from Rajkot West. This time he won from the same seat with an impressive margin of over 53,000 votes. A bachelor of law, Rupani was a Rajya Sabha member between 2006 and 2012.Also readBJP shows off strength as Vijay Rupani takes oath as 16th CM of Gujarat: 10 points It was under him as chairman of the Gujarat Tourism Development Corporation in 2006 that the hugely successful advertisement campaign ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki’, featuring megastar Amitabh Bachchan, was launched to promote the state as a tourism hotspot. He was also the chairman of the Gujarat Municipal Finance Board in 2013. When the Rajkot West seat fell vacant in October 2014 after Speaker of the Assembly Vajubhai Vala was appointed the Karnataka Governor, Rupani won the bypoll.On February 19, 2016 he was appointed the chief of the Gujarat BJP. It was seen as a victory for the Amit Shah camp in the state unit. When the state’s first and only woman chief minister Anandiben Patel resigned in August 2016 following allegations of inept handling of the Patidar and Dalit agitations, Rupani was catapulted to the hot seat. Rupani honed his political skills in the crucible of the Gujarat Navnirman agitation, a socio-political movement in 1974 by students and the middle-class against economic crisis and corruption in public life.It soon spread elsewhere, particularly in Bihar, where socialist legend Jayaprakash Narayan gave a call for ‘Total Revolution’. The movement finally led to the fall of Indira Gandhi government and installation of the first non-Congress dispensation at the centre under Morarji Desai. Rupani, who was then with the ABVP, was jailed for nearly a year during Emergency. As the mayor of Rajkot in 1996-97, he endeared himself to people of the city with his initiatives for improvement of the civic infrastructure.Rupani’s mettle as a politician will be tested again in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls when Modi bids for a second shot at power. Delivering Gujarat to the BJP is the least he would expect from Amit Shah’s man in Gandhinagar. Chief Ministers of the BJP-ruled states today said the saffron party’s victory in Gujarat for the sixth consecutive time in recently-held polls was a remarkable achievement.Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Assam, and Bihar praised Vijay Rupani, who took oath for the second consecutive time as Gujarat CM at a function held in Gandhinagar.”It is a matter of great pleasure for all of us.Gujarat developed a lot during the tenure of Narendra Modi as chief minister. Some people were assuming that BJP will not come back after Modi left the state as prime minister. But it is a matter of immense pleasure that the BJP managed around 50 per cent vote,” said Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also congratulated Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel.Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who came to Gandhinagar but could not attend the swearing-in ceremony, said the recent electoral outcome shows that people have reposed their “faith and trust” in Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. “I express gratitude to voters and give best wishes to (Vijay) Rupani and Nitin Patel for bringing the BJP back to power for the sixth time. Congratulations to the BJP for Gujarat victory. Gujarat has given a different model of development, and it is a faith and trust towards Modi that BJP keeps winning and coming back to power (in Gujarat),” Chouhan told reporters after the event.His Chhatisgarh counterpart Raman Singh said the poll result was the result of hard work put in by Modi and Shah. “Gujarat has again voted for BJP government. We thank Modi and Amit Shah who worked hard to achieve this. It will be a history that the BJP will rule a state for 27 years,” Singh said. Manohar Lal Khattar, Sarbananda Sonowal, and Nitish Kumar–chief ministers of Haryana, Assam, and Bihar, respectively—also extended their best wishes to the new government.

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BJP says it will go alone in the 2019 Telangana elections

BJP would go it alone in the 2019 elections in Telangana and the party is confident of winning them, state BJP chief K Laxman said on Tuesday.”We will not have any alliances. BJP will fight alone and get elected to power in the next elections in Telangana,” he told reporters.Legislative Assembly elections would be held along with the Lok Sabha polls in Telangana in 2019.People of the state are disappointed with the ruling TRS as it has failed to implement its election promises, he alleged.”People have waited patiently for over three years to see, if CM KCR (Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao) would deliver on his manifesto promises, but they were left totally hopeless in this year,” Laxman claimed.The main opposition Congress has nothing to new offer to the people, he claimed.”BJP is declaring an electoral war against TRS in the year 2018. Congress has nothing new to offer to the people of Telangana, they will be rejected in this state as they are being rejected everywhere in India,” he added.BJP currently has a strength of five MLAS in the 119-member house.Saying that BJP has reached out to the masses in 2017, Laxman hoped that the new year would be good for the party.

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Day after Sabang result, SP close to Mamata Banerjee transferred to less important post

A day after the results of Sabang Assembly constituency bypoll, the West Midnapore district superintendent of police, Bharati Ghosh, who was known for her proximity to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, was transferred to a comparatively less important and more of an ornamental post.In a government notification on December 25, among other officers, Ghosh, has been posted to Barrackpore as the commandant of the third battalion of state armed police. She had been replaced by Alok Rajoria.Ghosh’s transfer after over five years of being the SP of West Midnapore and Jhargram districts has set speculations afoot especially after the convincing win of Gitarani Bhunia, wife of TMC Rajya Sabha MP Manas Bhunia, as the party MLA from Sabang. There are two theories which are doing the rounds behind the transfer of this IPS officer who had at a recent function at Jhargram referred to Mamata as ‘mother of Junglemahal’. Political analysts said that Manas had engineered the transfer of Ghosh because she had not been in his good books since he was a Congress MLA. Manas, after winning as the Congress-CPI(M) alliance candidate from Sabang in 2016, from the area had been at loggerheads with Ghosh. He had also alleged at that time that Ghosh, on the behest of the ruling dispensation, had implicated him with rape and murder charges.Also readSabang bypoll: Seven-fold increase in vote-share for BJP augurs well for its future Sources also said that Ghosh has been transferred because it had been observed that after the former TMC second-in-command defected to BJP, many vital party information and strategies including those ahead of Sabang by-poll, were being leaked into the opposition camp and it was suspected that Ghosh was one of those responsible. Ghosh, has, however, opted to refrain from making any comment about the transfer. Several phone calls made to her went unanswered.

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

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

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Vijay Rupani to be sworn in today for 2nd innings

Gujarat Chief Minister-elect Vijay Rupani, deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, and about 18 to 20 ministers are expected to take the oath of office and secrecy in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah, Union Ministers, and Chief Ministers of all 18 BJP-ruled states, in Gandhinagar on Tuesday.Rupani and Patel will take oath as CM and deputy CM respectively at the swearing-in ceremony to be held at 11:00 am in Sachivalaya Campus in Gandhinagar. Officials said that a huge 2,500 square metres dome — which can accommodate 10,000 people — has been booked and prepared for the ceremony.“Three stages have been erected in the dome. The centre-stage is for CM, deputy CM, and others who will be taking oath. One stage is for VVIP guests such as the PM, Amit Shah, visiting Chief Ministers, Union Ministers, and the other stage is for other politicians, sadhus, religious leaders, and other invitees,” the official said.Highly placed sources in the government said that about 18 to 20 ministers, including 7 or 8 holding Cabinet rank, and remaining state rank ministers, will take oath along with CM Rupani and deputy CM Patel.Security has been tightened at Ahmedabad Airport, which will see a lot of VVIP movement, as well as in Gandhinagar. Entry of private vehicles has been restricted in the Sachivalaya due to the swearing-in ceremony.Officials said that PM Modi is slated to have lunch with the new council of ministers and visiting dignitaries at Mahatma Mandir in the afternoon before leaving for Delhi.A Cabinet meeting is also slated in the afternoon, where newly-inducted ministers will be allocated portfolios.This is the sixth consecutive time that BJP is forming government in Gujarat, but this time with the lowest seat tally. The party won 99 seats in the just concluded assembly elections, just seven more than the half-way mark of 92. On the other hand, Congress increased its tally to 77 seats, its best performance since 1990.

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Shashikant Pandya, Deesa MLA and BJP Hindutva face, may find place in cabinet

The BJP in Gujarat polls played a soft Hindutva card but many strong Hindutva faces were in fray this time. Among these, Deesa’s winning candidate Shashikant Pandya, 54, is believed to be a dark horse. Pandya, a RSS Pracharak, is a bachelor and is believed to be very close to PM Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.Pandya was among the Karsevaks who participated in demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. Pandya said, “I had gone in 1990 for Kar Seva, but we were dragged by police in riverbed of Sarayu near Ayodhya. Mulayam Singh Yadav kept us in jail for many days. All Kar Sevaks had to face very tough time in Tihar prison. Then, I was one of the crowd who climbed up to the peak of the controversial structure of Babri Masjid and demolished it.”Pandya had also participated in BJP’s movement to unfurl the Tricolour in Lal Chowk of Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir during the tense days. Keeping the Hindutva image of Pandya in mind, BJP leaders offered him the ticket for Assembly polls from Deesa constituency in Banaskantha.Pandya said, “Deesa was hit by massive flood in July this year and people faced a lot of hardships. I and other RSS volunteers camped in the affected areas and helped locals. This was the turning point, and perhaps the high command considered me to be a candidate for the Deesa seat. Over 50 RSS Swayamsevaks stayed put in Deesa for poll campaigning and that helped me win against Congress sitting MLA Gova Rabari.”A senior BJP leader in Gujarat said, “Pandya is very promising leader. He is very close to PM and Amitbhai. It is possible that he may get berth in Vijay Rupani’s cabinet and may become minister of state for home. His Hindutva image makes him a dark horse in the race of Gujarat politics.” Pandya was a standing committee chairman in Deesa Municipality. He is an Arts graduate and is associated with the construction business and agriculture activity. He won with a margin of more than 14,500 votes against Rabari.A BJP leader from Banaskantha said, “Some senior leaders of BJP did not want Pandya to win and they tried a lot to make him lose in the polls. However, Pandya is a grassroot level worker and has been associated with RSS and BJP for more than 30 years. It was his Hindutva image and work that earned him the victory, walking against all odds.”

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Vasundhara Raje government draws flak from ABVP

BJP government at Rajasthan was upheld as a major ‘challenge’ for student organisation, Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) as a proposal in this regard was floated at the state level conclave of the former at Jaipur.Associated with BJP’s ideological parent RSS, the ABVP is often considered as a student wing of the party. However, the proposal said at length of the widening gap between the two organisations at the state. A copy of the proposal has been received by DNA.The proposal on “Emerging Challenges In Rajasthan” presented by ‘prant mantri’ of Chittorgarh, Jitendra Singh held the state government anti-farmer, anti-tribal and even accused it of communal ‘appeasement’. It further went to call the government a failure on fronts of curbing corruption and implementation of sanitation campaign.“We have placed the proposal on basis of issues reported by workers and suggestions and amendments at it have been requested from participants at the conclave. After due deliberation the proposal will be decided upon tomorrow” said Rajesh Yadav, president Jaipur prant. It is also not for the first time that differences between ABVP and BJP government at state have come in open. The student organisation few months back had also entered a conflict regarding police action on their demonstration. However, such blatant criticism of the BJP government has been most unexpected from ABVP as BJP and the student organisation share RSS ideology.The proposal to be presented at the 53rd state conclave of ABVP has arrived as much an embarrassment of BJP. It also is further a concern for the party as the student organisation openly expresses its resentment with less than a year left for assembly elections at the state. These ABVP cadres join the youth wing of BJP the to garner support of young voters for the party. Deviation of ABVP is thus not much a welcome development for the party.ConflictThe student organisation few months back had also entered a conflict regarding police action on their demonstration. However, such blatant criticism of the BJP has been most unexpected from ABVP as BJP and the student organisation share RSS ideology. It is also not for the first time that differences between ABVP and BJP government at state have come in open.

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PM Modi meets Atal Bihari Vajpayee on b’day, sends x-mas wishes to citizens

Keeping up with the tradition of December 25, Prime Minister Narendra Modi began the day by wishing countrymen ‘Merry Christmas’, remembering Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya on his 156th birth anniversary, as well as praying for the good health of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his 93rd birthday.PM Modi visited Vajpayee at his residence in Lutyen’s Delhi where he held interactions with his family.”Birthday greetings to our beloved Atalji. His phenomenal as well as visionary leadership made India more developed and further raised our prestige at the world stage. I pray for his good health,” Modi tweeted.A few days ago, Modi had recalled Vajpayee while taking stock of party’s electoral wins at BJP MPs parliamentary meet.Modi had said how Vajpayee congratulated him in person on party’s performance in 1998 Lok Sabha election in Gujarat when he barely had joined the BJP from RSS and was not widely known in the party.President Ram Nath Kovind also joined the PM in wishing Vajpayee. “Birthday wishes to our much-loved and respected former Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee,” he tweeted.Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu also conveyed his ‘heartfelt greetings’ and wished Vajpayee on his birthday. “Convey my heartfelt greetings to Bharat Ratna, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji, on his birthday, today,” he tweeted.PM Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh were among those who visited Vajpayee’s residence at Krishna Menon Marg in Delhi to wish him on his birthday. BJP workers in Kanpur performed a havan on Monday morning and prayed for Vajpayee’s good health and long life.Since 2014, Vajpayee’s birthday has been celebrated by the Government as ‘Good Governance Day’.In his Christmas greeting, the PM asked the countrymen to “remember the noble teachings of Lord Christ”. He also paid tributes to Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya on his 156th Jayanti and recalled his ‘strong and unforgettable’ impact on India’s history.His efforts to further education and a spirit of patriotism will always be remembered, PM Modi said.RemembrancePM Modi also paid tributes to Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya on his 156th Jayanti and recalled his ‘strong and unforgettable’ impact on India’s history. In his Christmas greeting, the PM asked the countrymen to “remember the noble teachings of Lord Christ”.

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Gurjar leaders consider getting Hardik Patel to campaign against BJP

Gurjars leaders in Rajasthan, who are angry with CM Vasundhara Raje-led state government for its decision of giving 1 per cent reservation to the community as opposed to the 5 per cent that they demanded, have started drawing up strategies to beat the saffron party in Ajmer and Alwar and Mandalgarh bypolls. In a step towards this direction, they intend to bring Gujarat’s Patidar leader Hardik Patel — whose alliance with the Congress had damaged BJP’s poll perspective in Gujarat’s major Patel belt — to campaign in the desert state.”We have a thought to bring Hardik here and do campaigning against the BJP which cheated the Gurjars by not giving them 5 per cent reservation which it promised in its Suraj Sankalp Patra. I will get to meet him on December 30, and then will decide further strategy on how to run the campaign here,” said Himmat Singh Gurjar, spokesperson of Gurjar Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti.Both the leaders — who ran quota movements for their castes Patel and Gurjars respectively — have been in touch for months. Himmat, on Hardik’s call, had also campaigned for the Patel reservation in Gujarat. And Hardik, who was in exile in Udaipur, had met Gurjar leaders including Kirori Singh Bainsala, who spearheaded the agitation for over a decade, regularly supporting their cause.Hardik’s landing in Rajasthan hints that on the line of Gujarat he would seek votes for Congress which he had alliance in Gujarat when the party promised to give the community reservation. His popularity may attract voters, but it is yet to see how much his campaign remains successful in consolidating Gurjars who trusted BJP in previous assembly election and Lok Sabha election making it a visible sweep. His campaigning with Gurjars leaders make an impact in election, particularly in Ajmer bypoll where Gurjars voters in a sizable amount.Singh adds that there is legal hurdle before Hardik to campaign in Rajasthan on the request of Gurjars as in accordance to the court orders he can’t leave Gujarat state. “We are hopeful he would get relief in this matter and campaign against the BJP here.” DNA tried to reach Hardik over the development on phone, though he did not respond to the calls.Notably, Gurjars demanded 5 percent reservation for itself and others four castes and run also a violent movement . The government, meeting their demand, had tabled a bill in recent assembly session. But, it was stayed by the Supreme Court which ordered the government not to exceed 50 percent legal ceiling in quota. A couple of days back, the government, hence, has notified 1 percent reservation to the castes meeting 50 percent ceiling.

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Slaughter cow and get killed, BJP MLA warns

BJP MLA Gyan Dev Ahuja has once again courted controversy by warning that those who smuggle and slaughter cows will be beaten up and killed. Ahuja was responding to a query about an alleged cow smuggling incident on Saturday, wherein villagers in Ramgarh, his constituency in Alwar district, thrashed a suspected cow smuggler.Ahuja’s threat came a day after he denied Saturday’s attack, insisting that the suspected cow smuggler suffered injuries after the vehicle he was travelling in overturned.Talking about his favourite topic, cows, Ahuja said, “Gautaskari karte hain, isliye maar khate hain. Maar khaane ke liye gaye hi kyon? Gautaskari karoge aur gaukashi karoge to yun hi maroge kyonki janta mein gay ke prati aastha hai.” (They get beaten up because they smuggle cows. Why did they do it?. People who smuggle and slaughter cows will get killed because people revere cows.)This is not the first time Ahuja has kicked up a storm.His statement against JNU students — that 3,000 used condoms, 2,000 empty liquor bottles, 10,000 cigarette butts and 4,000 beedi stubs are found in JNU every day — had created a major controversy, leaving his party red-faced and subject to severe ire, especially from JNU students.In another instance, Ahuja went on record to say that Pahlu Khan, who was lynched by cow vigilantes, had died of heart attack, even before his postmortem report was out. He had also claimed he was a ‘gaurakshak’ and his ‘men’ patrolled highways at night to ‘catch’ cow smugglers.Ahuja put his party men in another embarrassing situation when, during an interaction of BJP MLAs with national party president Amit Shah in Jaipur, he had asked Shah when the Ram temple would be constructed.

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Gateway of India revamp put on hold yet again

The beautification work near Gateway of India was put on hold after standing committee members of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) raised questions on the lack of maintenance in the previous beautification that was carried out. Now, the standing committee members will pay a fresh visit to check the status of previous works before approving new work.Makrand Narvekar, BJP corporator from Colaba raised the issue of poor maintenance of footpaths and public toilets near the Gateway of India. He attacked the civic administration for failing to maintain previous works while showing promptness in introducing new proposals.Narvekar recalled a survey that was carried out by the BMC in April 2017 wherein it was found that the city’s dirtiest toilet was the pay-and-use toilet near the Gateway of India. “Has the civic administration taken any action to improve the condition of the toilet,” asked Narvekar.Even other members of the standing committee alleged that the civic administration was busy introducing new proposals to benefit contractors. “The Gateway of India is a heritage structure and the civic administration needs to maintain the footpaths, lights and other street amenities in a proper way,” said another member.Ramesh Korgaonkar, the civic standing committee chairman, asked civic officials to pay a visit to the adjoining areas of Gateway of India to know the status of civic facilities. “The proposal of new work has been put on hold till the visit,” said Korgaonkar.

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Congress to fight BJP with a positive campaign in Rajasthan, says Sachin Pilot

The Congress will launch an “affirmative and positive” campaign in Rajasthan to counter the “acrimonious” charge of the BJP and advocate a new model of governance while highlighting the failures of the state government, Member of Parliament Sachin Pilot has said.Buoyed by the results of recent by-elections to local bodies, where the Congress fared well, the party has decided to strengthen its base at the booth level and reach out to the masses through an aggressive mass contact programme to be launched soon, the Rajasthan Congress chief said.Unlike the BJP, the Congress campaign will not be reduced to their level of acrimonious campaign and will not be negative. We will instead launch an affirmative and positive campaign, where the failures of the Vasundhara Raje-led government will be highlighted, Pilot told PTI.The party has already launched its Mera booth, mera gaurav (My booth, my pride)” campaign and will soon unroll its mass contact programme across the state.He said the Congress did not seek to reach out to the people merely on the failures of the BJP, but would offer them a better alternative.We will present the people with the blueprint of a model of alternative governance which will be holistic and inclusive, will care for the young and old, create jobs and have a vision to take the state forward, he said.Pilot said the workers in the state were already geared up and ready to tackle the BJP now that Rahul Gandhi had taken over the leadership of the Congress and infused new energy into it.The Rajasthan government has nothing to show for the four years that the BJP has been in power in the state, he said, charging it with selling off assets to generate money.This, Pilot stressed, was poor fiscal management.He alleged that the state s assets, including buildings, schools, roadways, hospitals and other infrastructure, were being sold to a select few in the name of public-private partnerships.This is nothing but an example of poor fiscal management. Such a policy where precious assets of the state are given out to a select few at throw-away prices smacks of crony capitalism,” he said.Once voted back to power, the Congress would “review and reverse all such decisions taken arbitrarily” and re-acquire the state s assets, he added.Pilot said the Congress, which faced a historic defeat in 2013 when it could win only 21 of the 200 Assembly seats, had got its vigour back and in the just-concluded bypolls had won seven out of 14 urban local bodies.He said the vote share gap between the Congress and the BJP, which had widened to 25 per cent, had narrowed down to 1.5 per cent in the state Panchayat elections held last year.In the Panchayat polls, the Congress won 45.5 per cent of votes against the BJP s 47 per cent. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress was down to 31 per cent, compared to the BJP’s 56 per cent.The former Union minister said the Congress party would now aggressively take its campaign forward while highlighting the problems of the jobless, farmers and the common man.This, he said, would be done through public rallies and by underlining the Congress’s plans for the future.The Congress will “force” the BJP government in the state to announce farm loan waivers to help ease the burden of debt that farmers faced, he said.Pilot wondered why the government was dithering over loan waivers when it could bring in a law that allowed former chief ministers to select a house for their lifetime.”The people of the state did not vote the former chief ministers in so that they could have the power to have a house for life, he said.Asked about the Mera booth, mera gaurav scheme, he said every leader would be put in charge of a booth and would launch a mass contact programme to reach out to every voter in the state.There are a total of 51,000 booths in the state.Rajasthan goes to the polls in 2018, along with Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Master orator and statesman par excellence turns 93 today

Former Prime Minister of India and stalwart of the BJP, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is celebrating his 93rd on Monday.A political persona known for his exemplary leadership and contribution to Indian politics, Vajpayee is the only non-Congress leader who served the nation as the prime minister and completed his full term.As the BJP veteran turn 93, here is a review of his political journey:Vajpayee was born to Krishna Devi and Krishna Bihari Vajpayee on 25 December, 1924, in Gwalior. He completed his schooling from Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Gorkhi, Bara, Gwalior and went on to Victoria College (now Laxmi Bai College), where he graduated with distinction in Hindi, English and Sanskrit. He then completed his post-graduation with an M.A. in Political Science from DAV College, Kanpur, and was awarded a first-class degree.His activism started with Arya Kumar Sabha of Gwalior, the youth wing of the Arya Samaj, of which he became the General Secretary in 1944. He also joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a swayamsevak in 1939. Influenced by Babasaheb Apte, he attended the Officers Training Camp of the RSS during 1940-44 and became a “full-time worker” in 1947, technically a pracharak.He gave up studying law due to the partition riots, and was sent as a vistarak (probationary pracharak) to Uttar Pradesh and quickly began working for the newspapers of Deendayal Upadhyaya, Rashtradharma (a Hindi monthly), Panchjanya (a Hindi weekly) and the dailies Swadesh and Veer Arjun.Vajpayee’s first exposure to politics was in August 1942, when he and his elder brother Prem were arrested for 23 days during the Quit India Movement, when he was released only after giving a written undertaking, expressly declaring not to participate in any of the anti-British struggle.In 1951, he was seconded by the RSS, along with Deendayal Upadhyaya, to work for the newly formed Bharatiya Jana Sangh, a Hindu right-wing political party associated with the RSS. He was appointed as a national secretary of the party in charge of the Northern region, based in Delhi. He soon became a follower and aide of party leader Syama Prasad Mukherjee.In 1954, Vajpayee was with Mookerjee when he went on a fast-unto-death in Kashmir to protest against perceived inferior treatment of non-Kashmiri Indian visitors to the state. Mookerjee died in prison during this strike. In 1957, Vajpayee lost to Raja Mahendra Pratap in Mathura for the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament of India, but was eventually elected from Balrampur.After the death of Deendayal Upadhyaya, the mantle of the leadership of Jana Sangh fell on the shoulders of a young Vajpayee, who became the national president in 1968 and, along with Nanaji Deshmukh, Balraj Madhok and LK Advani, led the Jana Sangh to national prominence.From 1975 to 1977, Vajpayee was arrested along with several other opposition leaders during the Internal Emergency imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of the Indian National Congress party. In 1977, heeding the call of social reformer Jayaprakash Narayan for all the opposition parties to unite against the Congress, Vajpayee merged the Jana Sangh into the newly formed grand-alliance, the Janata Party.Following Janata’s victory in the 1977 general elections, he became the Minister of External Affairs in Prime Minister Morarji Desai’s cabinet. As foreign minister, that year Vajpayee became the first person to deliver a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in Hindi.By the time the Janata government crumbled in 1979, Vajpayee had established himself as an experienced statesman and a respected political leader. However, the Janata Party was dissolved soon after Morarji Desai resigned as Prime Minister in 1979.Subsequently, Vajpayee joined many of his Bharatiya Jana Sangh and RSS colleagues, particularly L. K. Advani and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, to form the BJP in 1980. He became the party’s first President, and emerged as a strong critic of the Congress (R) government that followed the Janata government.Vajpayee has served as the Prime Minister of India between 1996 and 2004 in three non-consecutive terms.In the 1996 general elections, the BJP emerged as the single largest party in the Lok Sabha. The then president Shankar Dayal Sharma invited Vajpayee to form the government. Vajpayee was sworn in as the 10th Prime Minister of India, but the BJP failed to muster enough support from other parties to obtain a majority. He resigned after 13 days, when it became clear that he could not garner a majority.The 1998 general elections again put the BJP ahead of others. This time, a cohesive bloc of political parties joined the BJP to form the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and Vajpayee was sworn in as the Prime Minister.However, in mid-1999, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) under J Jayalalithaa withdrew its support to the government. The government lost the ensuing vote of confidence motion in the Lok Sabha by a single vote on 17 April 1999.As the Opposition was unable to come up with the numbers to form the new government, the Lok Sabha was again dissolved and fresh elections were held. Vajpayee remaining the Prime Minister until the elections were held.In the 1999 general elections, the BJP-led NDA won 303 seats out of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha, in the aftermath of the Kargil operations, thereby securing a comfortable and stable majority. On 13 October 1999, Atal Bihari Vajpayee took oath as Prime Minister of India for the third time.A parliamentarian for over four decades, Vajpayee has been elected to the Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament of India) ten times, and twice to the Rajya Sabha (upper house). He also served as the Member of Parliament for Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, until 2009, when he retired from active politics due to health concerns.On 25 December, 2014, the office of the President of India announced the Bharat Ratna award, India’s highest civilian honour, to Vajpayee. In a special gesture, the President of India conferred Bharat Ratna to Atal Bihari Vajpayee in his residence on 27 March 2015.Furthermore, the Centre under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 announced that Vajpayee’s birthday would be celebrated as Good Governance Day annually.

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Relatives, father-son duo elected in Assembly elections

Several candidates who are relatives won the polls and have been elected to the 14th term of the Gujarat Assembly. For instance, the father-son duo of Chhotu and Mahesh Vasava.Chhotu Vasava had formed new political forum, the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), that had electoral ties with Congress for seat sharing on five constituencies. Chhotu Vasava has been elected from Jhaghadia (ST) reserved seat with a lead of 49,948 votes against BJP’s Ravji Vasava, while his son Mahesh won from Dediapada (ST) reserved constituency by defeating sitting MLA and BJP candidate Motilal Vasava with a lead of 21,751 votes. BTP could win on two seats only out of the five they got from Congress under seat sharing formula.Similarly, 10-time MLA and former leader of Opposition Mohansinh Rathwa and his relative Sukhram Rathwa, a Congress candidate, have been elected on two ST reserve seats. Mohansinh’s son is married to Sukhram’s daughter. While Mohansinh won from Chhota Udepur ST reserved seat with a lead of 1,092 votes against BJP’s Jashu Rathwa, Sukhram was elected from Jetpur Pavi (ST) reserve seat with a margin of 3,052 votes. He defeated BJP’s Jayanti Rathwa here.Two brothers, both from BJP, were also in the fray this polls. These are former Minister of State Parsottam Solanki and his younger brother and former Parliamentary secretary Hira Solanki. While Parsottam contested from Bhavnagar Rural constituency and won with a margin of 30,993 votes against Congress’s Kanti Chauhan, but Hira lost against Congress’ Amrish Der by a margin of 12,719 votes on Rajula seat. Both these brothers were elected in 2012 polls and were members of the House for five years.In the 2012 polls, more relatives were elected as former leader of Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela and his son Mahendra had won as Congress candidates. Mahendra’s daughter’s father in-law Balwantsinh Rajput was a Congress member in the House. Shankersinh and Mahendra left Congress but did not contest the polls this time, while Rajput defected to BJP and did not contest.Saurashtra’s Patel community leader Vitthal Radadiya and his son Jayesh Radadiya also won from Dhoraji-Upleta and Jetpur seats as Congress candidates. Later in 2013, both defected to BJP and Jayesh was made the minister in the then CM Narendra Modi’s cabinet while Vitthal contested Lok Sabha polls from Porbandar seat as BJP candidate in 2014 and won too.

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The Long and Short of Gujarat elections

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

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TMC wrests seat from Congress

The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal wrested the Sabang Assembly seat from the Congress on Sunday by defeating the nearest CPM contender by 64,192 votes, the results of which were announced on Sunday.TMC received 1,06,179 votes and CPM got 41,987 votes. BJP secured the third position with 37,476 votes while Congress who held the Sabang seat so far was pushed down to the fourth position with 18,060 votes.The bye-election had been necessitated after sitting Congress MLA Manas Bhunia who had won from there as the Congress-CPM alliance candidate in 2016 defected to TMC and had been made the party’s Rajya Sabha MP. His wife Gitarani Bhunia had been pitched as the TMC candidate and she bettered her husband’s winning margin by 15,025 votes. Manas had won in 2016 with a margin of 49,167 votes.TMC attributed the victory to the trust of people in Mamata Banerjee-led government. “People had brought in musclemen from outsiders to put a stumbling block for Mamata. But people have voted wholeheartedly for us. It shows that people have ignored all the canards that the Opposition spreads and have voted against the anti-people policies of the Central government,” said TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee at a news conference in the evening.Manas said the contest of his wife was with him. “We were sure of the win. The TMC leadership only wanted to see if Gitarani could beat me in terms of the winning margin, which she has. I am enjoying my defeat,” he said.CPM candidate Rita Mondal Jana alleged a foul play. “It is the victory of terror, corruption and betrayers. They have not won with people’s votes but the bogus votes cast by a bunch of their cadres. At about 150 booths they had terrorised people and forced them to cast their votes in their favour,” Mondal said.BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said their result was satisfying. “There was hardly any existence of BJP there. We had secured 2.5 per cent vote in the last election. This time the vote share has increased by about 10 times,” he said.Congress leaders were content to put up a ‘brave fight’. “Our organisation was weak there. We did not expect to make any impact there but Congress had put up a brave fight in spite of the police atrocity as well as lawlessness and violence unleashed by the TMC,” said Congress Rajya Sabha MP and former state party president Pradeep Bhattacharya.

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Gujarat jitters: Maha govt to soothe farmers’ nerves

After BJP’s poor performance in cotton belt of Gujarat in the recent Assembly elections, the Fadnavis government in Maharashtra has decided not to allow a repeat of it in the state. To nip the anger of the cotton growing farmers in the bud, it is planning to dole out compensation and relief to the farmers before the state and Lok Sabha elections.Large parts of Maharashtra — Vidharba, North Maharashtra and Marathwada — are major cotton growing belts in Maharashtra. In 2014, the BJP got as many as 56 seats out of its total 120 seats in this region. This year, due to the bollworm insecticide, majority of the farmers’ cotton crops got damaged and they suffered huge losses.The BJP is expecting that its announcement of Rs 37,000 per hectare compensation for non-irrigated cotton farms and Rs 38,500 for farmers whose crops were damaged by bollworms will help it stave off any setback in elections.“Besides, the farmers are not getting fair price for their produce. Currently, cotton has been sold at Rs 4,500-Rs 5,000 per quintal against Rs 6,000-7,000 during Congress regime. There is a huge anger among farmers and that will reflect in the coming elections against the BJP government,” said Nawab Malik, spokesperson of NCP.Malik said in Gujarat elections also, the BJP, out of 127 rural — cotton and peanut growing belt — seats, got only 56, while the Congress outperformed with 71 seats. The Congress’ total tally is 80 in the 182-member Gujarat assembly.“We expect same in Maharashtra in rural belt. Despite being PM Modi and BJP president Amit Shah’s home state, farmers decisively voted against BJP in Gujarat. Chief Minister Fadnavis had promised the farm loan waiver. What happened? Hardly any one benefitted,” said Ashok Chavan, Maharashtra Congress chief.“The Congress and the NCP are trying to fan out the uneasiness in the sector. They even called a Halla Bol protest there recently. However, we are confident of applying balm on the anger,” said a senior BJP leader on condition of anonymity.GUJARAT LESSONSThe BJP mainly lost in the rural belt in the recent Gujarat Assembly polls. Of the Congress’ total tally of 80 in Gujarat, 71 seats are from rural sectors. BJP wants to avoid any repeat of this in Maharashtra’s rural belt.

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Ram Vilas Paswan slams Lalu over tweet evoking Ambedkar

RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s evoking names of Nelson Mandela and BR Ambedkar after being convicted in the fodder scam drew ridicule and stinging criticism on Sunday from NDA leaders, including his one-time friend Ram Vilas Paswan, who said Prasad was in jail for corruption while those icons made sacrifices in national interest.Union Minister Paswan said that Prasad had insulted stalwarts like Ambedkar by comparing himself with them and asked whether the fodder scam was a scam of the poor or the powerful people.Senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad, however, said Prasad was framed due to political rivalry. BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao, however, insisted that the RJD chief’s conviction in the fodder scam was an open-and-shut case of “brazen corruption” that did not come as a surprise.Singh also raised questions on the acquittal of former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra, another accused in the scam case and asserted that the RJD will go to the High Court and defeat BJP at the end.On the day the CBI special court convicted him in the fodder scam case, Prasad tweeted, “Had people like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Baba Saheb Ambedkar failed in their efforts, history would have treated them as villains. They still are villains for the biased, racist and caste-ist minds. No one should expect any different treatment.” He also trained guns on the BJP, seeing a “conspiracy”.Paswan, a foe-turned-friend-turned-foe of Prasad in the politics of Bihar, made a strong defence of BJP, and went to the extent of saying that the allegations levelled by Prasad amounted to an insult of the judiciary as he has been convicted by a court not the BJP.”Lalu ji you should not blame the BJP for everything to hide your sin. You should also not compare yourself with Martin Luther King, Mandela or Baba Saheb Ambedkar. They made sacrifices in the national interest. You are in jail for corruption, which is against national interest,” Paswan tweeted.BJP’s Rao also targetted the Congress demanding that the latter should also condemn Prasad’s remarks otherwise it will be seen as they are in agreement with him.On Saturday, Prasad along with 14 others, were pronounced guilty, while seven other accused including Jagannath Mishra, were acquitted in one of the fodder scam cases related to embezzlement of more than Rs 89 lakh from the Deoghar Treasury. The scam allegedly involved the embezzlement of about Rs 900 crore from the state treasury.WHAT PASWAN SAID“Lalu ji you should not blame the BJP for everything to hide your sin. You should also not compare yourself with Martin Luther King, Mandela or Baba Saheb Ambedkar. They made sacrifices in the national interest. You are in jail for corruption, which is against national interest,” he tweeted

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BJP will see a pan-India win over Congress in 2019, says Prakash Javadekar

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, the minister in-charge for BJP for Karnataka is on a three day visit the state from December 23. Before he left the national capital, DNA speaks to him about his views on Gujarat polls, its impact on other elections and BJP’s position in election year 2018 vis a vis that of Congress.2018 BJP faces elections in many states where it has been in power for long time. How do you see anti-incumbency playing out there.We will win hands down in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan but before that along with Karnataka, three North Eastern states- Tripura, Meghalya and Mizoram will go to polls and we will do wonderful in all these three states also. So by 2019, we will have 22 plus states with us. Out of four states, we will win at least three or even all four we can win. We will retain Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. So by 2019, it will be a pan India BJP hurting Congress.Is the defection of Himanta Biswa Sarma, the Congress leader from Assam to BJP two years back is a big boost for BJP in North East?Congress is not serious to retain their folks and good people. People are coming to us and in our party, we give good roles. In Manipur, N Biren Singh (current BJP Chief Minister) was a senior Congress minister, was the right hand of Ibobi Singh (then Chief Minister) but anybody can see the changed Birender Singh now aftern he joined BJP. So people change completely when join BJP. The way he has united Nagas, Kukis and Maitis altogether in keeping peace in the state is really a very difficult task that he has completed..Tripura is a Left bastion. In another Left-ruled state Kerala, BJP has tried hard to expand but not with much success. What is your hope in Tripura?In Tripura, there is a mass upsurge against the Communist government. Besides people from both Trinamool Congress and Congress are leaving their parties and joining the BJP. So it will be a fight between Left and the BJP the Communists. We will give a surprise there. We will win Tripura also.You are the Minister in-charge of BJP for Karnataka. What BJP’s hopes this time in Karnataka, which it lost to Congress in 2013.BJP is 100 percent going to win in Karnataka this time. Last time we lost not for any other fault but because we were a fractured party. Our party had got divided into three factions. Now everybody is together. Everybody has learnt the lesson. Congress has, in last five years, given anti people governance, bad governance. They have made Bengaluru city a pot-holed city, a garbage city. And therefore people are angry, the farmers, the youth are angry.They (the state government) have allowed terrorism. Law and Order is so bad that day in a day out Hindu activists are being killed by terror outfits and Karnatka government has not nabbed even a single accused. They have failed miserably. So People are angry and we are going to win. People will give us decisive mandate.BJP has not done so well in rural areas in Gujarat polls. Will Gujarat rural divide will also be seen in Karnataka, where there are 150 rural seats.In Karnataka, people will unitedly vote for us because the rural support was always with us there and in Lok Sabha Bengaluru city and other cities voted us. This time urban areas are also voting for BJP because they have suffered heavily at the hands of Congress. Gujarat was a different ball game. It was not rural- urban issue. It was the worst kind of politics done by Congress, which was piggybacking on Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani. They tried to divide the society. Here also in Karnataka, they are trying to divide the society on caste and other lines. But I am very happy that Karnaktaka is standing united and they will defeat this divide politics. They (Congress) want to divide and rule, we want to unite and make Karnatka progress. That is what is our slogan.In Gujarat we were fighting for sixth term. After winning five terms consecutively, winning the sixth term is a rare feat no other party could achieve. Congress has never been able to do it anywhere. And therefore we will win this time.How do you see the corruption issue panning out in Karnataka with B S Yeddyurappa as your prime face vis a vis corruption charges against him in past?Corruption (under Siddaramaiah government) and the death of various honest officials and their testimonials is the real issue. Congress is looting the sate Left, Right and Centre. People remember B S Yeddyruappa’s government as a good governance model and so those bogus charges do not stick to BJP.In Karnataka, Yeddyurappa is considered a strong Lingayat face. What about other communities like Vokaligga.He is strong Karnataka leader and he is loved by all communities. All are coming together. First time you will see people are not voting their caste but casting their vote in Karnataka for development.2G case verdict has enthused Congress. How do you assess its impact electorally?What has happened in 2G. Licenses got cancelled because it was a clear case of corruption. The Supreme Court judgement (that had cancelled 122 2G spectrum licences in 2012) is important. What this CBI court has done, they are going to challenge. So let us wait for future. But the issue is very simple. In 2G, Congress did corruption. There was a bad policy. And therefore our stand was vindicated when the licenses were cancelled. And when we auctioned, we exactly received 1lakh 76 thousand crore rupees in auctions.So the BJP will continue to target Congress on corruption in Karnataka even after 2G verdict.Yes: Absolutely.There has been internal dissension in BJP state unit. BS Yeddyruappa versus others particularly with K S Ishwarappa.There were different opinions but we listened to everybody and chalked out a common strategy and therefore now there is now a united BJP team and there is no issue now.Why did BJP declare Yeddyurappa the CM face in Karnatka so much in advance. In many states did not declare CM face at all while in some like Himachal declared it at the last moment.It’s a strategy not a policy issue. Every state election is a different election. So every state will have a different strategy. And therefore here, we have already made it very clear that Yeddyurappa ji will be CM.Will the BJP declare CM faces in other states including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh as well?Election in those states fall in December, which is one year away. So Let us talk about these four states that are going to polls now. So like in Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya, whether we will have alliances or whether we will declare CM face is a state specific strategy issue and that will define our targets.Since Congress has also declared that incumbent Chief Minister Siddharmaiah is the party face, do you see it as a clash of personalities in Karnataka?It’s not a fight just between two personalities. It’s a fight between personalities, parties and principles. And on all these three, principles, personalities and parties, we are much ahead of Congress.Anything that you want to say on your own.The politics of Modi ji has won the hearts of people. It’s politics of development. He is responding to the aspirations of the poor class—like good health service, good houses, good education. Now the poor class are also aspirational class and they are voting for Modi ji. That is our most treasured trove. The plan of the poor, which was with the Congress has already shifted to Modi ji after demonetization, Mudra Yojana, Ujjawala gas and many other schemes that are directly benefitting the people,Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that the BJP has a foundation of lies and Modi vision got exposed in Gujarat. Your Take?This narrative of one liner scripted by somebody else does not work in the long term. BJP has proved and Modi ji has provided a good governance. We have brought a change in the society at many levels and therefore the people are with us.What is BJP’s over-all plank in these state polls.Over all plank is development. Overall plank is new India. That is what we are aiming at.There have been accusations by the Opposition and in the run up polls, BJP goes all out for polarization. What do you say?We donot believe in polarization. The only plank is development, growth and prosperity for all sections of society.

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I ‘prefer’ Indira, but not against BJP either: Shatrughan Sinha

Disgruntled BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha, who had earlier refused to comment on politics earlier from the dais of Ajmer Literature Festival, expressed his liking for Indira Gandhi while speaking at the concluding session of the festival.”I would have rather followed Indira Gandhi, however, after her death I decided to join BJP and learned much from senior leaders of the party,” said Sinha.Sinha had earlier turned down politics oriented questions stating that the literature festival was a platform for ‘creativity’ and not ‘politics’. However, he continued to talk around the political lines.”People assume that I speak in disagreement with the party, but it is not so,” Sinha said. “Party is like a family and if a member is more attached to one member it does not mean he is against other,” he explained further without taking any names.As he reinstated that the party is like ‘mother’ and that he is not against ‘BJP’. He could not help comparing the party’s leadership face Narendra Modi. Even as he spoke high of Modi as prime minister, he left room open on the debate stating that Modi is ‘Nayak’ (leader) while Jai Prakash Narayan was ‘Maha-Nayak’ (great leader).Sinha was among the panelist on the concluding session of the Ajmer Literature festival that concluded on late Sunday evening.

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Congress will lose Gujarat in 2022 even if Rahul Gandhi camps here: BJP

Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani today said even if Congress president Rahul Gandhi were to live in the state for the next five years, his party won’t be able to wrest the power.The Congress president had exuded confidence yesterday that after increasing the tally in the elections earlier this month, his party would come to power in Gujarat in the 2022 Assembly polls.”I want Rahul Gandhi to camp in Gujarat from today to ensure Congress’s victory in the 2022 Assembly polls. I am confident that even if he does that, the Congress will lose that election too, because the people of Gujarat know them well,” Vaghani said, speaking to reporters here.”It is my humble request to the Congress that it should shun its power-centric and caste-based politics. The Congress will never be able to defeat the BJP if it does not embrace positive politics,” Vaghani added.Gandhi held “introspection meetings” here yesterday to ascertain reasons for the party’s defeat in Gujarat.Also readThose who did not fight for Congress will face action: Rahul GandhiVaghani said the Congress will always end up doing introspection.”The Congress loses wherever Rahul goes for campaigning. It also lost in Himachal Pradesh. If its wants to do introspection on that defeat too, I am ready to provide them with a place if they can’t find one,” Vaghani said.Also readPM Narendra Modi’s Gujarat model debunked during polls, says Rahul Gandhi”The Congress will end up doing introspection only while people will keep on electing BJP to power,” the Gujarat BJP chief said.

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